Monday, May 31, 2004

Light Blogging

Sorry about slacking off this weekend. The first triathlon of my season was yesterday and I was out of town and away from any computer. Even if I owned a laptop, the fleabag hotels I favor for such road trips rarely have internet access.

Anyway, I took 81st overall, with a rather slow time but I did manage third in my age group and won a very nice beer mug. I was too tired to try it out yesterday, but I hope to fill it with a very good Rogue Ale this evening.

If you've never had a Rogue Ale, I strongly recommend one. Try their "Half-a-Weizen," Dead Guy Ale, or Buckwheat Ale if you're into lighter brews.

"Chocolate Stout" or "Shakespeare Stout" are good choices if you like porters.

If you like your brews super heavy, try Rogue's "Old Crustacean" barley wine, or any of their extra stouts, like "Imperial Stout."

Don't know yet which one I'll have. Some people have wine cellars. I have an ale cellar. I'll decide later on.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Doesn't She Have Something To Answer For Too?

A Zambian man committed suicide recently after his wife discovered him having sex with a chicken.

What's it like being second choice to a chicken?

Global Cooling?

One reason that I remain quite skeptical of global warming is that three decades ago when I was an undergrad, the environmentalist wackos were warning of global cooling.

In another sign that the wackos are off the mark, it seems that that the earth is absorbing less, not more solar energy - precisely the opposite of what global warming predicts.

How Is It In An Omelet?

Scientists have found a giant mushroom in an African rain forest.

A giant three-tiered mushroom which measures a meter (yard) across and was found in the tropical forests of the Republic of Congo has left experts in the capital Brazzaville scratching their heads.

"It's the first time we've ever seen a mushroom like this so it's difficult for us to classify. But we are going to determine what it is scientifically," Pierre Botaba, head of Congo's veterinary and zoology center, told reporters on Thursday.

The giant fungi stands 18 inches high and has three tiered caps on top of a broad stem. The bottom cap measures one meter across, the second one 60 cm and the top one is 24 cm wide, Botaba said.

The bizarre-looking mushroom was found in the village of Mvoula about 38 miles from Brazzaville and transported carefully to the capital by the local chief.

Post Scolds The Globe For Tellling Whole Story

According to the Washington Post, pictures are required to tell the whole story, which is why the Post barrages us with pictures of prisoner abuse from Abu Ghraib prison. It doesn't matter that the few people involved are an aberration among the valient who are doing a magnificent job.

But now the Post is scolding the Boston Globe, and the Globe is second guessing itself, for running a picture of thoroughly bored Boston College students sleeping through Tim Russert's commencement address.

"I do think it's regrettable that we ran that photo and I think it's not the appropriate photo to select.

"Typically at any graduation there are going to be kids who fall asleep, and as amusing a photo it might have been, it was inappropriately placed and inappropriately used."

The 11th commandment, at least in DC, though shalt not offend Timmy Russert's vanity.

For It, Before He Was Against It, And Vice Versa

John Kerry's opportunistic position shifting.

Saddam and Bin Laden Case Closed?

During Al Gore's insane rant the other night before the far left "Move On" organization, he accused George Bush of lying about Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism.

"The President convinced a majority of the country that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11th. But in truth he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The President convinced the country with a mixture of forged documents and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with Al Qaeda, and that he was "indistinguishable" from Osama bin Laden."

Now where might Bush have gotten the idea that there was a link? Stephen Hayes suggests that, among other places, he might have consulted evidence collected during the Clinton/Gore administration.

"Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."

Clinton/Gore also highlighted Iraq's cooperation with Al Quaida in a supposed chemical weapons plant that they bombed in the Sudan.

The Clinton administration sought to dispel doubts about the targeting and, on August 24, 1998, made available a "senior intelligence official" to brief reporters on background. The briefer cited "strong ties between the plant and Iraq" as one of the justifications for attacking it. The next day, undersecretary of state for political affairs Thomas Pickering briefed reporters at the National Press Club. Pickering explained that the intelligence community had been monitoring the plant for "at least two years," and that the evidence was "quite clear on contacts between Sudan and Iraq." In all, at least six top Clinton administration officials have defended on the record the strikes in Sudan by citing a link to Iraq.

Or maybe Bush believed what he read in Newsweek: "Saddam Hussein, who has a long record of supporting terrorism, is trying to rebuild his intelligence network overseas--assets that would allow him to establish a terrorism network. U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last summer."

Or possibly from ABC News: "Intelligence sources say bin Laden's long relationship with the Iraqis began as he helped Sudan's fundamentalist government in their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. . . . ABC News has learned that in December, an Iraqi intelligence chief named Faruq Hijazi, now Iraq's ambassador to Turkey, made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Three intelligence agencies tell ABC News they cannot be certain what was discussed, but almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcome in Baghdad."

Or even National Public Radio: "Iraq's contacts with bin Laden go back some years, to at least 1994, when, according to one U.S. government source, Hijazi met him when bin Laden lived in Sudan. According to Cannistraro, Iraq invited bin Laden to live in Baghdad to be nearer to potential targets of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. . . . Some experts believe bin Laden might be tempted to live in Iraq because of his reported desire to obtain chemical or biological weapons. CIA Director George Tenet referred to that in recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee when he said bin Laden was planning additional attacks on American targets."

Or, could it have been that Bush read the Washington Post: "The Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against Western powers."

Friday, May 28, 2004

Oregon, Terrorist Haven?

Why would a radical Muslim cleric from halfway around the world consider Oregon as a place where he might like to set up his summer camp for terrorists? Maybe he didn’t choose it. Maybe, he felt invited.
Earlier this week, the United States government indicted Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical London, England-based Muslim cleric for terrorism. He is accused of participating in a 1998 hostage taking plot in Yemen that resulted in four deaths. He is also accused of conspiring with James Ujaama to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon.
Masri, whose real name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, was the spiritual advisor to Richard Reid, who tried to detonate a shoe bomb on a plane trip across the Atlantic. He counseled Zacarias Moussaoui, who stands accused of conspiring with the rest of the September 11th hijackers and is often referred to a the 20th hijacker.
Oregon has been something of a hot bed for Islamic terrorism. Just last autumn, the last of 7 accused Portland area terrorist wannabes pleaded guilty to plotting to fight alongside al-Qaida against the United States in Afghanistan.
Why Oregon? And why shouldn’t Oregon find herself subjected to the same ridicule and amateur sociological speculation that Idaho has at times been forced to endure? In truth, Oregon has much more to answer for and it’s much easier to connect the dots between Oregon public posturing and Oregon’s terrorist appeal.
Idaho has found herself held up to ridicule because white supremacists and anti-government types have occasionally chosen to set up camp in this lovely state. Elite opinion has demanded that Idaho perform some sort of self-examination and asks why Idaho is a magnet for these kooks. How is it that racists feel so comfortable in Idaho of all places?
In truth, Idaho does not really attract such people so much as it is a place where such people can settle unnoticed. Idaho is a state where people tend to mind their own business and land is (or once was) comparatively cheap. There will never be a Ruby Ridge in Massachusetts, because potential Randy Weavers could never find similar isolation there and couldn’t even afford to pay the property taxes There is nothing in the typical Idahoan’s mindset that predisposes him to become a neo-Nazi.
Unlike Idaho, one can easily point to a welcoming environment for terrorism in Oregon. Such organizations as Earth First!, the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front operate comfortably within Oregon’s borders. The former governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber used to drive around with a "Hayduke Lives!" bumper sticker on his car. Hayduke was the “hero” in Edward Abbey’s novel, “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” that told the story of a band of eco-saboteurs. The Monkey Wrench Gang is credited with inspiring the formation of the eco-terrorist “Earth First!” organization.
Among Earth First’s favored tactics is tree spiking. Steel spikes are driven into trees so that loggers’ chains saws will fly apart dangerously upon contact. Should a spiked tree reach the saw mill, the spike can shatter band saw blades exposing mill workers to flying saw teeth. If Earth Firsters don’t kill directly, they certainly exhibit a criminal disregard for human life. And the former Governor of Oregon was a proud fellow traveler with these goons.
What sort of message does it send the world when the governor of a state openly proclaims his sympathy with terrorists?
Oregon’s biggest city, Portland, under the leadership of its kook burger mayor, Vera Katz, was the first in the nation to refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in the war on terror, beating even Berkeley, California for that honor.
A couple of years ago, Vera Katz withheld the Portland Police Department from the scene of an anti-war/anti-globalization/anti-civilization riot and later stated that she wished she could have participated in the civil disobedience.
Additionally a former aide of the mayor had to leave town in a rush after being accused of complicity in an Earth Liberation Front attack. Terrorists on the government payroll? I thought that only happened in Iran, Iraq, or Syria now that we’ve kicked the Taliban from its thrown.
Clearly Oregon can be held more responsible for its reputation as a magnet for terrorists than Idaho does as a haven for white supremacists. But don’t expect Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw to question Oregon’s commitment to American ideals.

"Kerry Has Been Amazingly Consistent"

Well, perhaps campared to his old boss.
John Kerry advisor Sandy Berger made that absurd claim recently, comfortable that he was dealing with a typically, ill-informed network reporter who would simply regurgitate his propaganda lines.
Unfortunately for Berger, Tom Curry was not a fool, on this day at least.

Berger said, “John Kerry has been amazingly consistent from the beginning on Iraq and he has been consistently right on the need for troops” and other issues.

But in the past eight months, Kerry has reversed his position on sending more American troops to Iraq.

In an April 30 Fulton, Mo., speech Kerry said that if U.S. commanders in Iraq need more troops then “they should get them.”

Yet last September in a debate with other Democratic contenders in Albuquerque, N.M, Kerry emphatically opposed sending more American troops to Iraq. “We should not send more American troops,” he said on Sept 4. “That would be the worst thing. We do not want to have more Americanization, we do not want a greater sense of American occupation.”

In his speech Thursday, Kerry said, “On my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: This commander-in-chief will ensure that you are the best-led, best-equipped and most respected fighting force in the world. ... But you will never be sent into harm’s way without enough troops for the task,” a reference to U.S. troops levels in Iraq.

So, What's Different?

With the economy going great guns, John Kerry has decided to focus his campaign on Iraq policy. However, even his own advisors can't distinguish between Kerry's policies and Bush's.

ABC's Dan Harris noted that Kerry offered "no new ideas" on Iraq today. Two people interviewed in an Ohio diner were hard-pressed to identify how Kerry differs with Bush on Iraq. Interview with Kerry foreign policy advisor Richard Holbrooke who said: "Setting an exit date would be a major mistake. It would unravel the situation and only harden the hard-liners." Kerry approach contrasted with Gore. Bush spokeswoman accuses Kerry of daily political calculations on the war on terrorism.

It seems that John Kerry's Iraq strategy is to focus on some bad news, then claim that it never would have happened had he been president.

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, in the "In Depth" second-block piece, emphasized the "tight rope" that Kerry is walking between swing voters and his "anti-war base." Brokaw intro: spoke of Kerry's "difficult job" appearing aggressive on Iraq and setting himself apart from Bush. O'Donnell said that by seeking greater UN involvement and more international support, Bush has left Kerry with a "smaller point to make: simply that he could handle Iraq better." Interview with Tom Andrews of "Win Without War" calling for end of occupation by date certain.

CBS: Rather said Bush and Kerry "appeared to be using each other's campaign playbooks" with Bush talking health care reform in Nashville and Kerry starting a foreign-policy and war strategy push in Seattle. Rather said Kerry emphasized points he has made before. Kerry SOT: "They looked to force before exhausting diplomacy. They bullied when they should have persuaded. They have gone it alone when they should have assembled a team. They have hoped for the best when they should have prepared for the worst."

John Kerry, Plagiarist

"He'll probably blame it on his speechwriters, the way he blames them for everything else," says a former staffer for Wesley Clark.

The Washington Prowler reports that John Effing Kerry lifted a line from the the real JFK while delivering a "major policy address" in Seattle Wednesday.

John Effing Kerry: "We do not have to live in fear or stand alone. We don't have to be a lonely watchman on the walls of freedom."

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: "We, in this country, in this generation, are -- by destiny rather than by choice -- the watchmen on the walls of world freedom."

Yes, he changed it a littl, tiny bit - probably because the Kennedy quotes sounds too much like Bush policy.

More Bad News For Democrats

The economy is soaring. And there's no reason why it shouldn't keep getting better.

Over the past year, following the enactment of the president's tax-cut plan, real economic growth has increased 5 percent with only 1.6 percent inflation. After-tax profits have increased 37 percent (fully adjusted for depreciation and capital consumption). Business spending on equipment and software has grown 12.5 percent. Since last August, 1.1 million jobs have been created. Spendable income has increased 4.9 percent in real terms. Consumer spending is up 4.3 percent.

The economy is roaring at its fastest pace in 20 years, and there's no clear reason why the prosperity trends won't continue. Why can't the naysayers see it?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

More Bad News For Democrats

The United States economy is growing like crazy.

The U.S. economy grew at a 4.4 percent annual pace from January through March, faster than estimated last month, as businesses replenished inventories, government spending rose and home construction accelerated. Corporate profits over the last year increased by the most in two decades.

The revised reading on gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, compares with the advance estimate of 4.2 percent annual rate issued last month, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Profits, reported for the first time today, jumped 31.6 percent in the 12 months ended in March, the biggest increase since the first quarter of 1984.

Increasing sales and profits have given companies such as Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. the confidence to ramp up production and boost inventories. A rebound in manufacturing and more investment in new equipment will enable the economy to keep growing for the rest of the year.

The Unnamed Democrat

Long before the first Democratic primary, polls showed George Bush is some trouble. When matched against an "unnamed Democrat," he polled poorly.

Oddly, whenever a named Democrat was polled against Bush, the results showed an easy Bush victory. Well the Democrat running against Bush has a name today, but many in the Democratic party wish he didn't.

Some party officials say that with three new polls showing President Bush more embattled than he has ever been, Mr. Kerry's wisest course would be to take few chances and turn the election into a referendum on a struggling president. "People have won a lot of campaigns by just saying, `It is time for a change,' " said Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster.

But other Democrats warn that such a strategy entails risks of its own, banking on the proposition that Americans would be willing to fire an incumbent during war time and replace him with someone they know little about. "I don't think anybody in their right mind is going to run for president on a strategy of `people hate the other guy and that's enough for our guy to win,' " said Douglas Sosnik, the White House political director for President Bill Clinton.

Until now, Mr. Kerry has more often than not displayed a caution that is very much in keeping with his style as a candidate over the past 20 years, particularly when he is not feeling threatened. He reacted mildly to Mr. Bush's speech on Iraq on Monday. And on Wednesday, Mr. Kerry backed away from a heavily criticized proposal to put off accepting his party's nomination at the Democratic convention, a maneuver to delay the imposition of general election spending caps.

A Solid Link

I have to wonder. It has become so cliche that Saddam Hussein had no association with Al Qaida that I doubt that any evidence linking the two would even be noticed.

As such, it's not surprising that solid documentary evidence linking Saddam not just with Bin Laden, but with the 9/11 attacks would go unnoticed.

One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. The U.S. has never been sure whether he was there on behalf of the Iraqi regime or whether he was an Iraqi Islamicist who hooked up with al Qaeda on his own.

A Man Of The Cloth

When I first started reading this, I thought Tyrrell was writing about Al Gore.

"I have met one of the prodigies of the age. I actually shook his hand. He is an amiable, suave, butterball of a man with slicked back hair that curls up at the back of his neck. He has a blues-singer's voice that would charm the birds out of the trees. The voice would be particularly effective if the birds carried cash with them or had other transferable assets."

It's Al all right. Just not the Al I was thining of.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Backhanded Demand For Bush Apology

The New York Times is apologizing for not investigating its sources rigorously enough. In short, sources who told the Times about Iraq's WMD program should have had their reliability checked.

Reports of claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or ties to international terrorists contained information that was unchallenged by editors and was not adequately followed up, the Times said in a lengthy editor’s note that appears inside the front section of Wednesday’s editions, alongside its Iraq coverage.

“In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged,” the newspaper said. “Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged or failed to emerge.”

The Times also said it had featured articles containing alarming claims about Iraq under Saddam Hussein more prominently than follow-up stories that countered those claims.

Many of the stories used information from Iraqi exiles and critics of Hussein who were pressing the United States to oust the Iraqi leader, but the newspaper said it did not always emphasize the informants’ motivations. On two occasions, stories described claims that were never independently confirmed.

“Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper,” the editor’s note said.

Is this a backhanded attempt to get the Bush Administration to apologize for overestimating Iraq's WMD's?

A Memorial We Probably Won't See

Is there still too much nostalgia among the American left for us to erect this memorial?

The centerpiece of the new World War II Memorial here--set to open formally on Saturday--is called Freedom's Wall. It bears 4,000 gold stars commemorating the 400,000 Americans who lost their lives in the conflict. "Here we mark the price of freedom," says an engraving.

Nearly two miles to the east, on the other side of the Capitol, there soon may rise a memorial that marks the price of tyranny--specifically, the 100 million people said to have died during the Cold War. If a federal planning board approves the site in July, the Victims of Communism Memorial finally may have a home at the intersection of Constitution and Maryland Avenues, NE.

The original idea, hatched about 10 years ago, called for something much grander than a 10-foot statue on a quarter-acre triangle of land. "We wanted to raise $100 million for an entire museum," says Lee Edwards, director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. "The Holocaust Memorial Museum was our model, and it had brought in much more than that. We thought a dollar for every person killed in the Cold War was a reasonable goal."
Like a production estimate in one of the Soviet Union's five-year plans, however, that number turned out to be far too ambitious. The foundation failed to raise a budget of seven figures, let alone nine, even though the memorial received blessings from Congress and President Clinton. "We kept waiting for a billionaire to show up and write us a big check," says Mr. Edwards. "After a while, it became clear this wasn't going to happen."

And Speaking Of Opportunists, There Are Commencement Speaker

I believe it was Lenin who opined that everything is political. So it's not surprising that leftist speakers cannot resist the temptation to turn invitations to speak at commencements into rants.

Ben Shapiro reviews the list of commencement speakers at the top 50 universities, and find that leftists dominate.

John Kerry Most Ridiculous Pander - You Choose

It's not easy to lower people's opinion of opportunists. But John Kerry seems determined to achieve just that.

First, there was his call for President Bush to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, in response to high gasoline prices. With a war raging in the Middle East, the last thing we need to do is reduce our own petroleum reserves for the sake of an election-year quick fix.

Kerry knows better. But he has to come up with something that at least gives the appearance of proposing his own policies and agendas, instead of just bashing Bush.

This was not an isolated example of Kerry's opportunism. His whole campaign is based on opportunism. He voted for money to support the war in Iraq -- and he also voted against it, as he himself has said.

Back in the 1970s, John Kerry protested the Vietnam war by symbolically throwing away his medals -- apparently. In reality, it turned out that he kept his medals, and threw away someone else's.

Senator Kerry told the automobile workers that he was proud to drive an SUV. But that isn't what he said to the environmentalists. Now he was pointing out that his family owned the SUV, not him.

The Next Margaret Thatcher?

Here's a howler - Nancy Pelosi as Margaret Thatcher.

"Not to get personal about it, but the 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,'' Pelosi declared. "He's gone,'' "He's so gone.''
"He has on his shoulders the deaths of many more troops, because he would not heed the advice of his own State Department of what to expect after May 1, when he ... declared that major combat is over,'' Pelosi charged. "The shallowness that he has brought to the office has not changed since he got there."

This flash of rhetoric so inspired representative David Obey, that he called her, "our Maggie Thatcher. She's tough as hell -- and has a very nice style to her."

If Nancy Pelosi is the next Margaret Thatcher, then why did CBS edit out her most embarassing remarks and only report her as saying. "The emperor has no clothes. When are people going to face the reality? Pull this curtain back."

In fact, as Brent Bozell notes, the leftist media treats Pelosi as the crazy aunt in the attic that nobody wants to talk about.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Give Democrats A Taste Of Their Own Perfidy

No sooner did the president sign the Democrats beloved "McCain-Feingold" campaign finance law than Democrats began searching for loopholes. Of course, they found them, in the First Amendment.

Republicans were more inclined to obey the spirit of the law, but now that the FEC has ruled that 527's are legal, Republicans are taking the gloves off.

Top Republican operatives have launched an effort to compete with Democratic groups for large sums of unregulated presidential campaign funds by designating a group with close ties to the Bush administration to serve as the main conduit.

Republicans who once vigorously opposed the fundraising and spending activities of mostly liberal groups who have been working to defeat President Bush are developing ambitious plans to raise unregulated "soft money" before the November election. The Federal Election Commission earlier this month cleared the way for liberal groups to continue raising millions in unrestricted contributions, and now GOP groups are joining in.

James Francis Jr., who put together the 1999 to 2000 Bush Pioneers, one of the most successful fundraising operations in U.S. history, has been asked to chair the lead GOP organization, called Progress for America (PFA), Francis and other Republican activists said yesterday.

Officials of the organization indicated they are actively considering major purchases of television ads in roughly 18 key battleground states that praise Bush administration policies. PFA and other conservative organizations are vowing to match or exceed fundraising by liberal groups that did not wait for FEC clearance, and which have spent millions to elect the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

Oh, The Poor Oppresed Media. People Are Criticizing Them

Michael Moran is whining. The news is bad. Why blame the mesenger?
For a clue, check Podoretz above, or here.

So! Are We Men, Or Are We Spaniards

As many have predicted, al Quaida is expected to attack the United States this summer.

U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating al-Qaida or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned.

The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a senior federal counterterrorism official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

Of most concern, the official said, is that terrorists may possess and use a chemical, biological or radiological weapon that could cause much more damage and casualties than a conventional bomb.

Should such an attack count as a campaign contribution to John Kerry? If so, al Qaida had better limit it's expentiture to less than $2000, or they could get in a lot of trouble. Or they might want to form a 527 organization.

If You Send Them, We Will Kill Them

According the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Al Qaida has 18,000 "soldiers" prepared to drive the US out of the Middle East.

Bring 'em on.

As Mark Steyn points out, we kill hundreds of bad guys for every one of ours they get.

If The Public Is Pessimistic, Maybe It's The Press's Fault

As we mop up the remnants of Moqtada al Sadr's army of rabble, the story get's scant attention. Former hotspots like Fallujah are thoroughly pacified.

Podoretz asks, "Sadr's uprising two months ago was the moment at which even passionate supporters of the war and proponents of the success in achieving civil order began to grow terrified that somehow the United States might actually lose in Iraq. So shouldn't the fact that we're routing him be grounds for some optimism?"

A Good Start? Let's Hope So

President Bush's speech last night probably gave reassurance to those who were already on his side. But, it probably fell short of regaining the trust of those who have abandoend him.

He needs to make a better case for why the war in Iraq is an essential front in the larger war on terror. He mentioned it only briefly and abstractly last night. Dick Morris actually said it better. Fighting and killing terrorists in Iraq keeps them out of our country.

The downside of that is that Iraqis would not like to hear that we've selected their country as a battleground (the flypaper strategy), and if openly articulated, terrorists would likely be provoked into another attack on our soil.

The good news is that this is only the first of 6 or 7 speeches on the topic. Even if they are no more inspiring than the last one, at least they will convey the message that we do have a plan and are not simply stuck in Iraq.

One thing that he can point to without peril is the evaluation of one Iraq general that the former hotspot of Falujuah is now the calmest and most secure city in Iraq today.

That would demostrate progress in a concrete form and reverse the media and Democratic party portrayal of Iraq as a war where things are getting worse every day.

Go Slow In Iraq?

While it might be good for the upcoming election to have Iraqis appear to be in charge of their country, Mark Steyn is looking at the longer view. He wants to award democracy on the basis of maturity demonstrated.

There are some 8,000 towns and villages in the country. How many do you hear about on the news? For a week, it's all Fallujah all the time. Then it's Najaf, and nada for anywhere else. Currently, 90 percent of Iraqi coverage is about one lousy building: Abu Ghraib. So what's going on in the other 7,997 dots on the map? In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way.

That policy of ad hoc, incremental, rolling devolution needs to be accelerated. Towns and provinces should have as much sovereignty as they can handle, on the obvious principle that the constituent parts of ramshackle federations rarely progress at the same pace. In the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is now an advanced Western economy, Kosovo is a U.N. slum housing project. If one were to cast the situation in rough British terms, the Kurdish areas are broadly analogous to Scotland, Dhi Qar and other Shia provinces are Wales, and the Sunni Triangle is Northern Ireland.

In the British Commonwealth, it's called "asymmetrical federalism."

Interesting thought. Not only might it work better in the long run, but it would show a bit of get-tough leadership to the American electorate for the November elections

Yawn. The Press Is Liberal

This time, it's the left-leaning "Editor and Publisher" stating the obvious. Only the messenger is noteworthy.

More Bad News For Democrats

Moqtada al Sadr's days are clearly numbered as US forces roll up and exterminate his band of rebels.

For seven weeks, U.S. forces have been killing scores of the fighters loyal to Sadr, who has fomented an anti-American insurrection in a region once receptive to the occupation. But the Americans have largely left Sadr alone, fearing that killing him could turn him into a martyr.

The U.S. military's first push into Kufa, where Sadr preaches each Friday, and a strike on a convoy carrying his top aide over the weekend suggest that U.S. commanders have set aside that concern.

That fat little turd's head on a stick will go a long way toward restoring confidence.

Kerry Scheme To Evicerate Boston

John Kerry's plan to defer accepting the nommination so that he can raise and spend more money isn't even sitting well with hard core Democrats. The plan, which almost certainly grew in the mind of the venal Terry McAwful, would allow Kerry to raise and spend $30 million more than the law would otherwise allow.

But it's really pissing off Democrats, particularly Boston area Democrats, who see their city taking a financial beating from hosting the convention and see Kerry's plan as excacerbating the problem.

Democratic Party leader Terry McAuliffe was caught off guard last week when word leaked that the campaign of presumptive presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry was considering a plan to continue unlimited fundraising and spending via a delay in accepting the party's presidential nomination.

By delaying acceptance of the nomination for what amounts to about six weeks -- late July 'til September 1 -- Kerry could spend as much as $30 million in campaign funds his campaign would collect. Then, Kerry would accept the $75 million in federal funds both candidates would receive for the two-month stretch run to the November election.

McAuliffe spent the weekend, according to DNC and party convention planners in Boston, attempting to tamp down the growing anger in Boston that the Kerry campaign's plan was going to deny the city millions of dollars lost due to smaller turnout at the convention.

"We were already looking at the city actually losing money on this thing," says a Boston-based convention planner. "Now this Kerry plan would almost ensure a huge loss. Without a nomination process at the convention, there is no need for state parties to finance big trips here. This could be a disaster. What's more annoying is that this is a plan put out by a candidate from Boston."

Meanwhile, Cosby Makes A Black Liberal Squirm

Truth has that effect upon those who prefer fantasy.

Jabari Asim, of the Washington Post asks, Did Cosby Cross The Line?

The Washington Post reported that Cosby unleashed a diatribe against "the lower economic people" who, in his estimation, "are not holding up their end in this deal." He said their transgressions included incompetent parenting, poor financial management and failure to master the basics of English. According to Cos, "Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. ... You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!"

And, in comments sure to warm the hearts of lawful citizens everywhere, he also aimed his wit at petty criminals: "These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, (saying) 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"

And, of course, he descends into excuse making: You needn't be poor, of course, to wonder why it's possible to be shot in the head for stealing Coca-Cola or pound cake when people who steal much more (Tyco, anyone? Enron?) get away with a slap on the wrist or less. The few poor people present when Cosby spoke were probably too busy carrying trays and taking orders to pay much attention to his remarks. If he had been able to talk with any of them later, say at the bus stop or while they walked to their second job, he'd find that many "lower economic people" are calling for more policing, not less. They just want unequal law enforcement replaced with intelligent, community-oriented and compassionate applications of justice -- the very goal to which the champions of Brown v. Board dedicated their talent and lives.

One Cranky Old Black Man Praises Another

It really gets no attention when a self-identified conservative scolds blacks for not taking advantage of the opportunities won for them. But when Bill Cosby lambasts recent generations for squandering the legacy of people like Martin Luther King, it gets attention.

Bill Cosby has provided a lot of laughs for millions of Americans over the years but black "leaders" were not laughing after he lashed out at those black parents who buy their children expensive sneakers instead of something educational. He also denounced both those children and those adults in the black community who refuse to speak the king's English.

"Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads," Cosby said. "You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth." He also mocked those who referred to "the incarcerated" as "political prisoners."

Thomas Sowell has been saying this for years - and has been largely ignored. But, when Bill Cosby says it, more harshly, people sit up in their seats. Will it have an effect? Only if he keeps it up. Right now, it's excuse makers like Jesse Jackson and Snoop Doggy Dogg who have all the credibility.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Sadr's Army Dissolving

Their alternative is death.

American troops attacked insurgents loyal to a rebel cleric around a mosque in the southern holy city of Kufa late on Saturday and early on Sunday, killing at least 36 fighters, military officials and witnesses said. Soldiers seized a cache of heavy weapons in the mosque afterward, the military said.

The attack came shortly after American commanders in Karbala said it appeared that the militia led by the cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, had cleared out of the shrine area in the city center here in Karbala. Members of the militia, the Mahdi Army, had been using two shrines as shields in their war against the occupiers.

The withdrawal by the insurgents came after American forces pulled back from a mosque in downtown Karbala early on Friday that they had been using as a forward base.

Seems that there's no hurry for those 72 virgins.

I don't think Iran is getting its money's worth from this teletubby.

"Witnesses" Forget Their Lines

There is some reason to doubt the reliability of witnesses who claim that Americans bombed a wedding party.

Yesterday’s Guardian headline was unequivocal: the Americans were behind a “Wedding Party Massacre.” No scare-quotes. No qualifiers. There was a wedding and there was a massacre. It’s not unlikely, of course. The Unites States military has made grave errors in the past (recall the wedding party in Afghanistan, the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and the Chinese embassy in Belgrade).

But I am skeptical of this “massacre” for a variety of reasons, not least the conflicting eye-witness accounts.

One “massacre” survivor told the Washington Post that “the wedding party was in full swing – with dinner just finished and the band playing tribal Arab music – when US fighter jets roared overhead and US vehicles started shining their highbeams. Worried, the hosts ended the party men stayed in the wedding tent, and women and children went inside the house nearby, the witnesses said. About five hours later, the first shell hit the tent.”

But other ‘witnesses’ forgot their lines, saying that “revelers had fired volleys of gunfire into the air in a traditional wedding celebration before the attack.” The response—like in Afghanistan—was just a big misunderstanding.

So were they hiding in the house for five hours or did the American military–who just happened to be in the area—nervously overreact to a raucous party?

UPDATE: Skepticism over the “wedding massacre” in the New York Times. In the Times account, notice that the slain “wedding singer” has, in death, decided upon a name change.

“Among the dead was Hussein Ali, a popular wedding singer.” - Washington Post (5/20)

“Among the dead, by several accounts, was Nazar al-Khalid, a well-known Iraqi wedding singer who often traveled to Syria.” - New York Times

Guess What? Palestinians Will Kill Their Own Children

Palestinians know that they cannot defeat Israelis by force of arms. They can only win by destroying Israeli morale. They're willing to use their children as bombs, so who would doubt that they shoot them and then let a lapdog press blame the Iraelis?

Greens For Nukes

Suddenly, one environmentalist wacko figures out that nuclear is our cleanest energy source. Maybe, we out to try it?

Global warming is now advancing so swiftly that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's main energy source can prevent it overwhelming civilisation, the scientist and celebrated Green guru, James Lovelock, says.

His call will cause huge disquiet for the environmental movement. It has long considered the 84-year-old radical thinker among its greatest heroes, and sees climate change as the most important issue facing the world, but it has always regarded opposition to nuclear power as an article of faith. Last night the leaders of both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth rejected his call.

This really is the day after tomorrow.

This Just In, Michael Moore Is A Liar

Fred Barnes proves it.

A FEW YEARS AGO Michael Moore, who's now promoting an anti-President Bush movie entitled Fahrenheit 9/11, announced he'd gotten the goods on me, indeed hung me out to dry on my own words. It was in his first bestselling book, Stupid White Men. Moore wrote he'd once been "forced" to listen to my comments on a TV chat show, The McLaughlin Group. I had whined "on and on about the sorry state of American education," Moore said, and wound up by bellowing: "These kids don't even know what The Iliad and The Odyssey are!"

Moore's interest was piqued, so the next day he said he called me. "Fred," he quoted himself as saying, "tell me what The Iliad and The Odyssey are." I started "hemming and hawing," Moore wrote. And then I said, according to Moore: "Well, they're . . . uh . . . you know . . . uh . . . okay, fine, you got me--I don't know what they're about. Happy now?" He'd smoked me out as a fraud, or maybe worse.

The only problem is none of this is true. It never happened. Moore is a liar. He made it up. It's a fabrication on two levels. One, I've never met Moore or even talked to him on the phone. And, two, I read both The Iliad and The Odyssey in my first year at the University of Virginia. Just for the record, I'd learned what they were about even before college. Like everyone else my age, I got my classical education from the big screen. I saw the Iliad movie called Helen of Troy and while I forget the name of the Odyssey film, I think it starred Kirk Douglas as Odysseus

There's more. It's all worth reading.

Has The Beeb Learned Its Lesson?

The BBC tries its hand a fair and balanced reporting in Gaza.
The Israeli Army is attempting to destroy a series of tunnels in southern Gaza that are used for smuggling arms into the strip from Egypt. A photographer accompanied Israeli soldiers on a recent mission into southern Gaza. This is his record for BBC News Online of what he saw.

The operations include widespread house demolitions that have been criticised as a war crime.

What follows is a slide show, proving that the Israelis are in fact finding and destroying tunnels the Arafat uses to smuggle explosives and weapons.

Falujah: "The calmest city and the most stable city in Iraq"

Why isn't this news?

"When the Coalition Force came to Iraq, they didn't come to fight at all. They came to get rid of the worst dictatorship on earth. It's a bad example for the history and the present. So we asked the Coalition Forces to help us get construction back and get things back on the trail.

Happiness you can see on the face of Fallujahans and their smiles, I see the same thing on the faces of the Marines, our guests. Most importantly is that we work together that is our main goal. And this is going to be an example for all Iraq. And I hope peace will come and everyone is living happily in this country."
- Gen. Mohammed Latif, commander of the Fallujah Brigade

More Bad News For Democrats

A panel of economists has raised sharply its prediction for economic growth to a very robust 4.7%.

A top panel of business economists upgraded their forecast for U.S. economic growth for the fourth time in a row to a robust 4.7 percent, but inflation expectations also picked up sharply, it said on Monday.

The National Association for Business Economics panel of 31 professional forecasters said rising energy and commodity prices would feed into 2.3 percent inflation this year -- up sharply from the forecast for a 1.6 percent rise in the consumer price index just three months ago.

Inflation for 2005 was also pegged at 2.3 percent -- up from 1.9 percent projected in the February outlook.

"One should conclude from the latest survey that the expansion is now on a solid and sustainable path. If there is a dark lining in this silver cloud, however, it is the upward revision to the panel's forecast of inflation for 2004 and 2005," chief economist Duncan Meldrum said in releasing NABE's May outlook survey.

Hmmm. 2.3% inflation doesn't sound all that frightening to me, but I suppose that press is obligated to temper economic good news as long as there is a Republican in the White House.

Vain, Condescending, Arrogant Asshole

When John Kerry fell off his snowboard, he blamed his Secret Service protection. When he fell off his road bike, it was no big thing. When George W. Bush fell off his mountain bike, John Kerry could not restrain his arrogance.

"Did the training wheels fall off?" quipped snootily.

I am a very experienced cyclist. In fact, I race bicycles. I have not crashed my street bike since I was about 10 years old.

But crashing while mountain biking is just part of the game. If anybody needs training wheels, it's the guy who crashed his street bike.

He's More Loyal Than Ted Kennedy

The Washington Times has an interesting piece about the "uneasy loyalties" of a Muslim soldier.

As I read the story though, I can't help thinking that I find him much more reliable than many Democrats.

Mirza Mahmood Ahmad of Great Falls, Va., recalls his uneasy feelings about his son's deployment to Iraq in January, though he is proud of the young man's service in the Virginia National Guard.
"I said, 'Bashir, you want to go? There is no confusion in your mind? You are a Muslim. You may have to fight against other Muslims.' "

His son was annoyed by the question, Mr. Ahmad says.
"He said, 'First of all, I'm a medic. I won't be fighting.' 'Second,' he said, 'I can't back out' — because of his loyalty to his fellow soldiers," says Mr. Ahmad, 47, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen who owns his own international wireless company.
Muslims make up a small minority in the U.S. military and have been regarded with suspicion by other Muslims at home and abroad, as well as by fellow members of the armed services of different faiths who question their enthusiasm for fighting fellow Muslims.

Does The Times Want To Invade North Korea?

The New York Times seems to think that George W. Bush is acting too much like John Kerry when it comes to North Korea.

The discovery that North Korea may have supplied uranium to Libya poses an immediate challenge to the White House: while President Bush is preoccupied on the other side of the world, an economically desperate nation may be engaging in exactly the kind of nuclear proliferation that the president says he went to war in Iraq to halt.

Yet to listen to many in the White House, concern about North Korea's nuclear program brings little of the urgency that surrounded the decision 14 months ago to oust Saddam Hussein. When Mr. Bush has been asked about North Korea in recent months, he has emphasized his patience. He does not refer to the intelligence estimates that North Korea has at least two nuclear weapons, or to the debate within the American intelligence community about whether North Korea has spent the past 18 months building more.

Instead, he lauds the progress he says the United States has made in organizing China, Russia, Japan and South Korea to negotiate as one with the North Koreans - though those talks have resulted in no progress so far in ending either of North Korea's two major nuclear programs.

Winning Hearts And Minds At Home

The Bush Administration has devoted a great deal of effort toward winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis. He has taken the home front for granted. The importance of tonight's speech cannot be overrated.

Michael Barone provides historical perspective. And offers advice.

When Bush speaks to the public, he might follow the example of one considerably below him in the chain of command, Marine Corps Maj. Ben Connable, who wrote is USA Today: "This is my third deployment with the 1st Marine Division to the Middle East. This is the third time I've heard the quavering cries of the talking heads predicting failure and calling for withdrawal. This is the third time I find myself shaking my head in disbelief. ... Just weeks ago, I read that the supply lines were cut, ammunition and food were dwindling, the ‘Sunni Triangle' was exploding, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was leading a widespread Shiite revolt and the country was nearing civil war. As I write this, the supply lines are open, there's plenty of ammunition and food, the Sunni Triangle is back to status quo and Sadr is marginalized in Najaf. Once again, dire predictions of failure and disaster have been dismissed by American willpower and military professionalism."

This Will Only Verify What People Already Think About Kerry

The Wall Street Journal takes note of John Kerry's slimy campaign finance evasion.

Thank you, John Kerry. The news that the Massachusetts Senator may delay accepting the Presidential nomination until several weeks beyond the Democratic Party's late-July Boston convention exposes two truths that the political class hates to admit.

The first is that the party conventions are now little more than free advertising vehicles. They long ago lost all political drama, but this year one of them may not even nominate a candidate. The next step would be for the media finally to agree not to cover them, though we probably won't because these week-long affairs have also become the equivalent of cardiologist conventions for the political press. We get to see old friends and eat well on expense accounts.

Even better, this Kerry trial balloon exposes campaign-finance limits as a monumental farce. The Kerry camp is considering this maneuver so it can keep raising and spending money as long as possible without having to abide by spending limits that kick in once a party formally nominates its candidate.

To Important For Consistency

“You don’t appreciate what happened in that prison until you see it.” Aaron Brown, CNN.

The Big Time Media knows what's best for you. You need to see every single Abu Ghraib picture the media can find. But, you are not to view Nick Berg's beheading. And, you cannot see pictures of partial birth abortion.

What determines what picture the media will show you seems to depend upon their agenda, not, as Aaron Brown phrased it, a need to appreciate.

[I]f, as Brown argued, graphic detail is essential to understanding stories, why did the media agonize over (and largely suppress) close-up photos of the dismembered bodies of the four American civilians murdered and torched at Fallujah? The tape of Berg being beheaded is in the public domain. Why doesn’t Aaron Brown demand that CNN show it so that we can better understand terrorism? And why did the networks and the print media withhold the grisly 9/11 pictures of bodies hitting the ground at the World Trade Center? Many factors are at work here, in­cluding queasiness about pouring violent images into family newspapers and broadcasts. But surely one factor is a semi­conscious double standard: The media are more likely to show what is done by Americans than what is done to Americans. Group attitudes about American power and values tend to affect news judgment. No surprise there.

John Leo notes not just this, but other glaring double standards in reporting.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Price Of Being A Law-Abiding Party

As bad law, McCain-Feingold has few equals. It's really too bad that the Supreme Court did not trash this piece of garbage when it had the chance.

As any simpleton should have been able to predict, it simply facilitated the development of shadow organizations to fill the void left by the political parties. These are known as "527's" referring the section of the IRS code under which they are founded.

Republicans naively tried to follow not just the word, but the spirit of McCain-Feingold. Democrats went straight for loopholes. As a result, Democrats have tons of unregulated money on hand for the upcoming campaign.

Look for Republicans to fight back now that the gloves are officially off.

A Hard Day's Work And A Clear Conscience Works For Me

Twenty Grand for a mattress?

Vi-Spring, a manufacturer from Plymouth, England, opened its first U.S. store in Scottsdale, Ariz., five years ago and is having no trouble selling $10,000 to $24,000 mattresses, mostly by phone, said Roger Magowitz, owner of the Scottsdale store, Bedroom Eyes.

I hereby declare the economic slump a myth. Our economy is well into the conspicuous consumption phase of recovery.

I never did believe that there was much of a recession anyway. Last summer, I was driving through one of Spokane, Washington's least prosperous neighborhoods and passed several stores that specialized in doing nails.

Mike's 39th. law of economics states that, if poor people have enough money to keep pedicurists in business, the economy is just fine.

Quick, Call The French, Call Kofi Annan! What Should We Do Gerhardt?

Inspectors have established that North Korea sold Libya two tons of uranium to Libya. It's likely that North Korea has provided nuclear weapons fuel to others as well. North Korea is estimated to have 4 million tons of high quality, highly exploitable uranium. That enough for two million uranium based warheads.

At a moment when the Bush administration is focused on Iraq, the fresh intelligence on North Korea poses another challenge to the United States.

The classified evidence — many details of which are still sketchy — has touched off a race among the world's intelligence services to explore whether North Korea has made similar clandestine sales to other nations or perhaps even to terror groups seeking atomic weapons.

"The North Koreans have been selling missiles for years to many countries," one senior Bush administration official said recently, referring to the country's well-known sales to Iran, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and other nations. "Now, we have to look at their trading network in a very different context, to see if something much worse was happening as well."

Nuance will not solve this.

And, once again, Clinton-era intelligence agency dismemberment seems to be costing us again.

[T]he emerging story of the North Korean sales also reveals another intelligence lapse: Though American satellites monitor North Korea more carefully than almost any nation, intelligence officials apparently failed to detect the uranium shipments.

As recently as March, when the Bush administration invited reporters to a secure Y-12 nuclear facility in Tennessee to view the nuclear hardware turned over by Libya, a senior administration official said that Libya's uranium had likely come from Pakistan. American officials say they are now backing away from that statement, while they seek to verify the new evidence.

As the I.A.E.A. continues its investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Energy Department and the State Department's intelligence unit are engaged in what one official called "two or three separate reviews" of the American assessment of the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

More Bad News For Democrats

The available evidence points to the photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse are the result of a fairly isolated event, committed by just a few, low level bad apples after all. Rumsfeld is clean after all.

Prisoners posed in three of the most infamous photographs of abuse to come out of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were not being softened up for interrogation by intelligence officers but instead were being punished for criminal acts or the amusement of their jailers, according to previously secret documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Several of the photographs taken by military police on the cellblock have become iconic, among them the naked human pyramid, the hooded man standing on a box hooked up to wires, and the three naked prisoners handcuffed together on the prison floor. The documents show that MPs staged the photographs as a form of entertainment or to discipline the prisoners for acts ranging from rioting to an alleged rape of a teenage boy in the prison.

Does This Mean Kerry Will Support More Drilling?

Nope. ANWAR is to be forever pristine. And they will be no more oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Kerry will make us independent of foreign oil as all Democrats would, with hot air.

“There are two reasons why we cannot be asleep at the wheel during this current energy crisis,” Kerry said in the weekly Democratic radio address. “First, soaring energy prices are putting our economy at risk and second, our dependence on Middle East oil is putting our national security at risk. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”

In the short term, the Massachusetts senator said, the United States should divert oil being used to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and bring it to market. The White House says, though, that would have only a negligible impact on pump prices. Kerry also said the country’s leaders should demand that Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing nations increase supply.

Even the New York Times knows that the strategic oil reserve ploy is bullshit. As for forcing OPEC to lower prices - how? Threaten them?

And of course there are those imaginary alternative fuels and laws that would require violations of the first law of thermodynamics.

He said his long-term strategy as president would include investments in alternative fuels and new technologies that are more fuel-efficient. He said he would establish tax credits to help make fuel-efficient cars more affordable.

The Times Lied!

It seems that the New York Times and the Bush administration may have been hoodwinked by the same guy - Ahmed Chalabi.

The Times used Chalabi at least twice as a major source regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Yesterday, American and Iraqi forces raided and ransacked the Iraqi National Congress leader's office in Baghdad, completing his fall from grace as what the Times terms a "favorite" of the Bush administration. Today, two front-page articles in the paper, and an editorial titled "Friends Like This," take a harsh view of Chalabi. One would never know that the Times itself once relied on him heavily for its "scoops" on Saddam's WMD stockpiles.

In fact, one must painfully recall the now famous May 1, 2003, e-mail to the paper's Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns from star Times reporter in Iraq, Judith Miller, who wrote: "I've been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper. ... He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper."

Oh, how quickly the Times forgets its friends, Chalabi must be thinking today.

Describing Chalabi, Sanger wrote today: "He became a master of the art of the leak, giving new currency to the suspicions about Mr. Hussein's weapons." Leaks? Who was his favored drop? Miller of the Times, although there were many others.

And in today's Times editorial: "Before the war, Ahmad Chalabi told Washington hawks exactly what they wanted to hear about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction ... Much of the information Mr. Chalabi had produced was dead wrong. He was one of the chief cheerleaders for the theory that Iraq had vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction. ... But he can't be made a scapegoat.

The difference is that, as judge, jury and executioner, the Times can simply excuse itself and blame its sources. But, of course, Bush lied.

The Anti-Bush

John Kerry's campaign has discovered a fundamental truth about their candidate. The American people don't like him. He's haughty, pompous, vain, arrogant, and let's not forget, he looks French.

So what to do? Bash Bush all the time.

Plus this: "Word is that Kerry has settled on at least two Cabinet members: Kofi Annan at State; Dominique de Villepin at Defense. So far, however, it's all hush-hush."

You Are Not Alone

Fully 70% of television viewers believe that network television news coverage is politically biased.

A Fox News poll released yesterday found 70 percent of those surveyed say that news reports about U.S. military operations in Iraq focus only on the negative, and "leave out the positive."

That figure is up 10 points since Fox posed the same question in October.

The survey also revealed that the public can detect an "agenda."

When asked where "most problems are being created" regarding the situation in Iraq, 27 percent blamed "the news media." Another 23 percent said they were created in Iraq, 18 percent felt they originated in Washington and 21 percent in a combination of factors.

The poll of 900 registered voters was conducted on May 18 and 19.

In terms of news coverage, 34 percent said the press spent an "excessive" amount of time covering the abuse of Iraqi prisoners; 9 percent said the media had dwelled too much on the beheading of American contractor Nicholas Berg. Another 35 percent felt that both stories were in the news too often.

The poll found that 60 percent were more upset by the Berg story than the prisoner abuse; 8 percent felt the abuse was worse. Another 29 percent rated them "equal" on an emotional scale.

Slippery And Slimy

John Kerry has evolved a richly deserved reputation for slipperiness. In fact, in a recent poll, respondents were asked for a word that described Kerry and "honest" did not show up.

So, Kerry is now considering postponing his acceptance of the Democratic nomination because doing so would permit him to spend money not regulated by federal finance laws.

This might make fiscal sense, but it would cement his image as a dishonest man.

Friday, May 21, 2004

May We Rough These Guys Up A Little?

Would anybody really mind if we softened these guys up a little bit so that they might tell us where Zarquawi might be found?

Well, It Worked Didn't It?

Byron York focuses on an overlooked point in Symour Hersh's hit piece on Donald Rumsfeld. The rough interrogation tactics worked. They saved lives and put terrorists either behind bars or underground, where they belong.

Didn't Arafat Win A Nobel Peace Prize?

There's another Arab prisoner abuse scandal that the Washington Post and al-CBS might want to look into.

ARAB prisoners beaten and tortured, innocent bystanders killed by gunfire - another damning human rights report.

But the difference this time is that the violence is being perpetrated not by coalition forces in Iraq, but by the Palestinian Authority, and the victims are its own people.

The report, partly funded by the Finnish government, claims Palestinian cities are in a state of near anarchy, with people on the payroll of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed for 90 per cent of gangland violence.

Kofi's Coverup Continues

United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan continues to stonewall investigations into the Oil-For-Food scam.

Despite U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's promises to fully investigate the scandal in the Oil for Food program, United Nations officials have been doing their level best to conceal information from investigators and the public. The office of Benon Sevan, the outgoing boss of the program, has sent at least three letters to companies who participated in it urging them not to hand over documents to investigators without first clearing their release with the United Nations. Unfortunately, while Mr. Sevan has continued to stonewall, Ambassador Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), is undercutting efforts by the Iraq Governing Council to conduct its own audit of the program.
One of Mr. Sevan's letters was sent to a firm called Cotecna Inspection SA, which for five years had responsibility for verifying that relief shipments provided through the Oil for Food program actually reached Iraqis in need. Cotecna once employed Mr. Annan's son, Kojo, according to scholar-journalist Claudia Rosett, who has played a major role in exposing the scandal. Mr. Sevan's letter to Cotecna warns that all information "shall be treated as confidential and shall be delivered only to United Nations authorized officials."

Exotic Dancers For Kerry

It's not just foreign leaders and terrorists who are rooting for a Kerry victory. Strippers are on board too.

Will Tom Daschle Be The Next Tom Foley?

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has spent $7 million trying to convince South Dakotans that they should return him for another six years. His opponent, John Thune hasn't spent a cent. And yet, the race is a statistical dead heat.

Oh, and dont' believe that poll published in the Argus-Leader. The editor of that paper has been in Daschle's pocket since the two were classmates together in college.

He Was For Antonin Scalia, Before He Was Against Him

John Kerry regrets his vote for Antonin Scalia.

Of course, he had to say something after gaffing that he would consider appointing pro-life judges.

Can Star Wars Be Saved?

No, I'm not talking about the strategic defense initiative. I'm talking about the movie, Star Wars episode 3. Frankly, I don't care. I never thought the series was very good and after Jar Jar Binks, I lost all interest.

I'm not the only one who has thrown up his hands in despair.

A Blind Pig Finds An Acorn

Once in a while, even the New York Times is right.

The editorial page takes John Kerry on the Democrats to the woodshed for their ridiculous proposition that Bush tap the strategic oil reserves.

As the energy secretary, Spencer Abraham, correctly noted yesterday, "The reserve is not there to simply try to change prices." In fact, the law calls for it to be tapped only in the event of supply disruptions. And even if Washington wanted to alleviate rising fuel costs, the reserve is not a very effective instrument for doing so, as President Bill Clinton learned in the fall of 2000. Experts estimate that at most, turning on the spigot now would knock only a few cents off a gallon.

Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, knows this, of course, and he demeans the seriousness of his own candidacy when he suggests that President Bush could single-handedly bring down fuel costs. Senator Kerry has urged the administration to stop buying oil for the reserve, as if that would make a difference. Fortunately, some residue of shame has kept him from joining the other Democrats calling for the reserve to be raided. The government's oil purchases have taken place at a time of higher prices, but they are not a major cause of the increase.

Sex - A New Way To Have Kids

A childless German couple was trying to figure out why 8 years of marriage had produced no children. Then, somebody asked them how often they had sex.

"We are not talking retarded people here, but a couple who were brought up in a religious environment who were simply unaware, after eight years of marriage, of the physical requirements necessary to procreate."

The 30-year-old wife and her 36-year-old husband are now being given sex therapy lessons while the university clinic undertakes a study to try to find out if there are more couples with a similar lack of sex education.

Who's Time Is More Important, Colin Powell's, or Tim Russert's

Tim Russert made a big deal about one of Colin Powell's aides trying to cut short an interview of her boss by the host of "Meet the Press." The Secretary of State was on a tight schedule and Russert had exceeded his alloted time and tried to end the interview.

Was it, "attempted news management gone berserk," as Russert accused?

If so, the Russert is guilty of the same thing.

"We were given precisely 10 minutes with Russert to tape an interview about his new book from 8 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. for broadcast at 10 a.m. last Friday," the WNYC radio host told me yesterday.

"My impression was that he was very tightly scheduled, and had to do five or six interviews one after the other and his people were trying to keep him on schedule ... Eight minutes into the interview, a woman's voice cut in and barked, 'WNYC, you have eight seconds left!' And the interview came to a quick end."

Lehrer added that the glitch was deleted from what sounded, when it was broadcast, like a seamless conversation.

"It was no big deal," Lehrer said, noting that the interrupter was not an NBC News employee. "These things happen. It was just the usual bureaucratic stuff and getting an interview. So we edited it out."

But two days later, Secretary of State Powell's press aide, Emily Miller, was so desperate to keep her boss on schedule that she tried to end Russert's taped interview when it ran into overtime. The "Meet the Press" moderator went ballistic.

Not only did Russert castigate Powell's aide on his own NBC show, he gave righteously indignant interviews about "attempted news management gone berserk" to CNN and The Washington Post.

On Monday, Lehrer poked fun at Russert's tantrum by airing the rude interruption that he had earlier excised.

"If Colin Powell's people were guilty of attempted news management gone berserk," Lehrer told me yesterday, "then I can say only that Tim Russert's people succeeded at it."

Russert could not be interrupted for comment yesterday.

You'd Never Know This If You Read The New York Times

There is good news from Iraq. It's just not showing up in the news.

On any given day, Americans are treated to maybe a dozen stories highlighting the good deeds being done by coalition forces—building bridges, literally and figuratively, and generally improving daily life for ordinary Iraqis—and that’s among all cable news outlets and hundreds of newspapers and magazines.

How many Americans know about the five million Iraqis who are now returning to school or the many non-Baathist professionals who are now finally starting to earn a decent salary?

Jew Baiting, By The Democrats

One would expect some mountain-dwelling kook to accuse the Jews of manipulating the United States government. But now we have prominent Democrats making the same accusation.

Sen. Ernest Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, wrote a column that appeared in several newspapers. The column asserted that the U.S. war against Iraq represented a decision by President George Bush to protect Israel and ensure American Jewish support for his reelection.

The column reflects a growing sentiment in the corridors of power in Washington according to congressional sources.

The view attributes the U.S. war in Iraq to the so-called neo-conservatives in the administration, particularly Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, Middle East Newsline reported. Both men are Jewish.
"There is a strong fear among American Jewish leadership that the whispering campaign that 'the Jews started it,' will become public," a senior congressional staffer said. "We could be seeing others get on Hollings' bandwagon."

"Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats," Hollings said in a column first published on May 6 in the Charleston Post and Courier. "You don't come to town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq."

Lileks summarizes: Charles Krauthammer used his super-powerful Jew Beams to cloud the minds of hapless pliable goyim. Then Bush realized he could win reelection by getting that overwhelming number of Jewish voters.

Hear Our Evil, See Our Evil

My what a stroke of luck those Abu Ghraib prison photos were for the mainstream press! Just look at all the stories those pictures have permitted them to overlook just during the last few weeks.
Nick Berg’s beheading barely managed a blip. A huge, attempted chemical weapons attack that could have killed tens of thousands in Jordan was thwarted, but was scarcely reported. A monumental train explosion in North Korea, that registered 3.6 on Japanese Richter scales, and apparently took with it a large shipment of weapons bound for Syria, came and went barely leaving a trace. The New York Times felt free to dismiss the discovery of a couple of Iraqi artillery shells loaded with enough sarin nerve gas to kill 15 million adults as containing only a “trace” of the poison.
If not for those photos, the press might have had to spend more time and space telling the story of Libya’s disarmament, or they might have had to start paying attention to the United Nations Oil for Food scandal and its potentially seismic political ramifications.
Instead, the press was handed a few disturbing photos that breathed new life into a story that was in fact months old and used those photos to smear our military, our president and our nation.
The Washington Post’s media reporter, Howard Kurtz, argued that the press was correct not to focus attention on Nick Berg’s beheading, because doing so would hand the terrorists a propaganda victory. Meanwhile, his paper gift-wrapped a huge propaganda victory for the terrorists by running 33 headline stories regarding Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse during the same week that the Al Qaida video was released.
In truth, the larger story of those abuse photos is not what they show, but how we as a nation reacted to them. We were revolted. If the tramps and punks in the pictures showed no shame, we felt plenty of it in their stead.
Contrast that with Islamic reaction to the pictures of those Americans who were killed, mutilated, dragged through the streets of Fallujah, and had their shredded body parts hung on a bridge as trophies. I saw dancing in the streets, not shame. If there was any introspection, it was not shown on Al-Jazeera or Al-CNN, Al-ABC, Al-NBC, Al-CBS, or the Al-New York Times. What we saw was not self-examination, but pride.
As the press fed like sharks on those photos, evil was allowed to slip the noose as Nick Berg’s gruesome beheading was largely ignored. To make it worse, many in the press repeated the terrorist line that the beheading was in reaction to the prisoner abuse photos. This permitted the press to lay the blame for the beheading, not on the killers, but at the doorstep of the Bush administration.
The press managed to forget that Wall Street Journal reported Daniel Pearl was similarly beheaded by the same terrorists long before. The likely motivation in both cases was that the victims were American Jews.
The press should be paying a great deal more attention to the United Nations Oil For Food scandal. Instead, there is willful blindness. For years, Iraq was permitted to sell oil through the United Nations and the money derived from those sales was supposed to benefit the Iraqi people. What happened was that Saddam sold the oil to United Nations bureaucrats and prominent foreign politicians (including possibly some of John Kerry’s foreign leaders) at bargain prices. They resold the oil at market value and split the profits with Saddam.
Considering that there is growing political pressure to turn over as much of Iraq’s reconstruction to this same United Nations, it would seem responsible of the press to investigate and report on this scandal. The French-looking John Kerry has made subordinating our foreign policy to this organized crime syndicate a centerpiece of his proposed foreign policy. Instead, we get silence.
Democratic congressman Tom Lantos of California lamented the embryonic investigations now under way arguing that we should not be doing anything that might undermine the American people’s confidence in the United Nations. It would seem a much more responsible position to verify the trustworthiness of the United Nations before assigning it so much responsibility.
Context matters. As bad as the prison abuse scandal is, it deserves to share the stage with these other, neglected stories.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

That's Because They Know He's Lying

Earlier, John Kerry declared that he was opposed to same sex marriage, but the homosexual rights groups stayed by his side because they knew he was just saying that to pander to rubes.

Similarly, pro-abortion groups did not waver in their support for Kerry after he said that he might appoint pro-life judges.

Well Duh! David Broder Grasps The Obvious

McCain-Feingold didn't get the money out of politics after all. And, you just can't prevent political discourse. That damned First Amendment you know.

For the first time, the nominees of both major parties have discarded public financing of their pre-convention campaigns. Instead, George Bush and John Kerry have entered a free-spending competition and have shattered all fundraising records.

Second, the money chase by members of Congress has reached what Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, called "dizzying new heights." The Federal Election Commission reported that by the end of March, House and Senate candidates had raised $583 million -- one-third more than at a comparable point two years ago.

Third, a whole new category of groups -- allied with but formally separate from the party -- has sprung up to raise hundreds of millions of additional dollars for the presidential campaign. These "527" organizations (named for the section of the tax code under which they're organized) are collecting the same huge "soft money" contributions that were outlawed by McCain-Feingold, from many of the same individuals and groups.

But, the news isn't all bad. To be sure, these are not the only effects of the legislation. As Fred Wertheimer, the veteran "clean government" lobbyist, points out, you must also count one positive accomplishment. No longer can federal officials personally solicit six-figure donations from people with a powerful interest in issues pending before Congress.

No, we don't have that anymore. Instead we have Democrats soliciting 8 figure donations from leftist kooks like George Soros.

Casting A Blind Eye At The United Nations

I suppose we could be kind and simply say that the United Nations can't do simple math.

Records from the U.N. agency overseeing the oil-for-food program "show massive discrepancies between Cotecna reports and U.N. agency reports" for the value of the shipments into northern Iraq, according to a summary of the audit obtained by The Washington Times.

Incidentally, Cotecna employs UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's son as a consultant.

Perhaps We Are Becoming More French

There is little doubt that anti-Semitism is growing among the left in this country.
Michael Rubin describes how Jew-hating is becoming more mainstream and vituperous among liberals.

Good News! Paul Erlich Is Predicting Doom

He's at it again. Paul Erlich, who has made a fortune predicting the end of the world, has a new theory about how it's going to happen. And, as usual, it will be our prosperity that kills us.

The good news for Paul Erlich is that, the catastrophe he predicts will not occur in his lifetime so he won't be embarassed by this one. And, it won't cost him any lost bets.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Open The Reserves!

John Kerry says that if he were president, he would open the strategic reserves and lower gasoline prices.

Not only would that be irresponsible during a Middle Eastern war, but as John Kerry himself said in 2000, it doesn't help.

You Mean, He's Not Talking About Ted Kennedy?

Paul Krugman disparages the "wastrel son."

Does Kerry Really Want To Go There?

John Kerry says that the current state of the economy is Bush's fault.

Let's see, surging growth, soaring productivity, 300,000 new jobs per month, low inflation, record low interest rates. Hmmm. I don't think that George Bush would mind taking the blame for that.

Letting Evil Off The Hook

Why can't our own media grasp the importance of what we're trying to achieve in Iraq? They averted their eyes from the murder of Nick Berg so that they could imagine that we are the real problem.

The horrific slaughter of Nick Berg should be compulsory viewing for those who seem to have forgotten who our real enemy is.

IT took a long, long time to saw off the head of Nick Berg, and for nearly a third of it you could hear the 26-year-old American screaming and gurgling.
I know that because I saw the video his five killers – Islamic terrorists – made of his murder.

It is God-awful to watch, and ends with one of these animals holding up as a trophy Berg's severed head, eyes staring in shock. The video was then rushed to an al-Qaida-linked website, which gleefully published it.

The ABC seemed annoyed to have had this interruption to its wall-to-prison-wall coverage of the "torture" of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.

"Beheading deflects focus from Iraq prison scandal," sighed the headline of the ABC Online report.

Sorry, but shouldn't that have read: "Beheading puts Iraq prison 'scandal' in focus?" After all this hysteria over pictures of Iraqi prisoners being made to pose naked, there's nothing like a live-on-video decapitation to remind us what real evil looks like, and to make us ask if a media that forgot the difference helped to kill Nick Berg.

It was probably about the very time this video of Berg's murder was being sent to the al-Qaida site that I found myself in a heated argument on ABC TV's Insiders program.

Death By Cicada

At least as many people will be killed in Cincinatti by cicadas this summer as will die from shark attacks, snake bites, and scorpion bites combined. If you don't believe me, check it out.

On the other hand, they don't look quite so frightful on the Washington Post's cicada camera.

Now That The Recall Is History

Democrats are moving fast to screw one of the powerful public employee unions that Grey Davis tried to buy off with taxpayer money just before last year's recall election.

A majority of Democrats in the state Senate said Tuesday they plan to try to force correctional officers to renegotiate a lucrative contract secured in a controversial deal with former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
Seventeen of the state's 25 Democratic senators signed a written pact that they will not vote to finance an 11 percent pay raise the correctional officers are set to receive in July. Correctional officers' pay is projected to increase 37 percent by the end of the five-year contract.

In fact, undoing Grey Davis has become such a popular pastime in California, that even Democrats are starting to play.

Five Deadly Sins

John O' Sullivan evaluates the mainstream media's herd mentality and finds a pattern of error. And, naturally, the press always errs on the side of America's enemies.

Flip Flop, Straddle, No Guts

John Kerry now says that he would consider nominating pro-life judges. But only if there was no danger that Roe vs. Wade could be overturned.

Kerry, the presumptive nominee of a party that overwhelmingly favors a woman’s right to abortion, struck a moderate note as he lashed out at one of the high court’s most conservative justices, telling The Associated Press he regrets his 1986 vote to confirm Antonin Scalia.

“If you’re looking for me to admit that I made a mistake in my years in the Senate, there you go — there’s one,” said the four-term Massachusetts senator.

Talk about trying to have it both ways!

Here's A Way To Get Attention

John Kerry is having difficulty getting anyone to pay attention to him (which probably works to his advantage). Maybe he should try this.
Why not? It worked for his daughter.

Kerry's Nixonian "Secret Plan"

Richard Nixon had a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War. Liberals have derided the phrase ever since. But now, it's their man who has the secret plan.

[F]or John Kerry, the struggle to talk about Iraq seems as hard as the administration’s struggle to find an exit strategy. He hedges and he dodges; he issues caveats and subordinate clauses. Kerry’s underlying suggestion is that he thinks he can turn the war around. But he finds it unusually difficult to say so in simple terms, without offering ammunition to his rivals.

"Compared to what?" and "At what cost?"

Thomas Sowell has two questions for our disloyal press.

It is not just the left's agenda on economics, race or the environment that cannot withstand a serious examination in the light of these questions. The whole current endless carrying-on in the media about prison abuses in Iraq could not stand up under these questions.

No one defends the abuse of Iraqi prisoners or thinks that those who are guilty should get off without punishment. But compared to what?

Senator Ted Kennedy compares what happened in the prison to what happened under Saddam Hussein, suggesting that it is the same thing, just "under American management." People in Iraq don't seem to think so -- and they know from personal experience what it was like under Saddam.

And, if any of them were left standing, he would administer the coup de gras with this question: "What hard evidence do you have?"

Thinking Ten Moves Ahead

Chess champion Gary Kasparov understands that we are fighting evil people and that there is no such thing as a "moderate Islamist." And, he understands that we must not abandon Iraq.

U.S. success in Iraq is essential in order to provide an alternative model. Unlike Vietnam, there will be repercussions for global security if America does not finish the job. This is the big picture that must stay in focus. We are dealing with an enemy who considers the concessions and privileges of democracy to be weaknesses. To prove them wrong we must follow through.

The Islamic public-relations offensive is focused on proving that the West is corrupt and offers no improvement on the despots in charge throughout the Islamic world. At the same time, Al Jazeera isn't examining Vladimir Putin's war against Muslims in Chechnya. All of Chechnya is one big Abu Ghraib, but the Islamic world pays scant attention to the horrible crimes there because Mr. Putin shares their distaste for liberal democracy. The war is not about defending Muslims; it is about Western civilization and America as its representative.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to pursue a nuclear arsenal and the U.N. Secretariat, France and Russia are busily covering up their involvement in the Oil-for-Food scandal. If we are to impress the superiority of the democratic model upon the Muslim world we must thoroughly investigate any and all allegations of abuse and clean up our act. This goes for plush U.N. offices as well as Iraqi prison cells.

He also understands that the French/John Kerry model for appeasing Islamofascism only postpones the inevitable.

In this fight the enemy does not play by our rules, or by any rules at all. WMD will be in terrorist hands eventually; conventional wisdom recognizes this reality. Concessions and negotiations at best only delay catastrophe. Europe and its people are in this war whether they acknowledge it or not. Those who would appease terrorists must realize that by pretending that this battle does not exist, they will soon have blood on their hands--both real and metaphorical.

A Sneak Peak At UNSCAM Shows Kofi Should Have Known

Or, how Kofi twisted the rules to the benefit of his own son. Hey! Why shouldn't the family get rich too?

Reflecting the findings of a U.N. internal audit conducted during the sixth year of the seven-year Oil-for-Food program, the report focuses on one contractor hired directly by the U.N. Secretariat: Swiss-based Cotecna Inspection SA. This is the same company that, while bidding against several rivals for its initial Oil-for-Food contract in 1998, had Mr. Annan's son, Kojo, on its payroll as a consultant. Both Mr. Annan and Cotecna's CEO, Robert Massey, have insisted that the contract was strictly in accordance with U.N. rules.

Although this report doesn't mention Kojo, it does go on for 20 pages about inadequacies and violations in the U.N.'s handling of the Cotecna contract. The report explains that "the Contract had been amended prior to its commencement, which was inappropriate" and recounts that within four days of Cotecna signing its initial lowball contract for $4.87 million, both Oil-for-Food and the U.N. Procurement Division had authorized "additional costs" totaling $356,000 worth of equipment.

The U.N. auditors say this "contravened the provisions of the Contract," and that Cotecna (not the U.N., which was using the Iraqi people's money) should have paid the extra costs. Within a year of the start of Cotecna's services, its contract was further amended to add charges above those initially agreed to, including a hike in the "per man day fee" to $600 from an initial $499. This higher fee "was exactly equal to the offer of the second lowest bidder," say the auditors, adding that the Procurement Division and Oil-for-Food "should have gone for a fresh bid."