Wednesday, June 30, 2004

What Does Al Sharpton Know About Reality?

Well, running for president didn't work out, so Al Sharpton is now exploring other career opportunities. One of them is a "reality" television show.

"I like the concept of trying to have people discover their purpose in life, and not have the world define them or settle for less than who they want to be just to pay their bills," Sharpton said Tuesday.

The eight male contestants in the show will quit their jobs and work with two "life counselors," Sharpton and California psychologist Stephanie Raye, who will give them advice and weekly assignments. A panel will decide which contestants will continue each week.

Hell Hath No Fury

Poor Chuck E. Cheese.

Screwed By The Frogs Again

Are these really the people whom John Kerry thinks we should cowtow to?

France yesterday blocked a U.S.-backed plan to use a special NATO force to safeguard elections in Afghanistan this fall, despite a plea from Afghan leaders that the troops are badly needed.
French President Jacques Chirac's veto of the plan on the second and final day of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's summit in Istanbul was the latest in a string of direct rebukes to President Bush in recent days and a sign that French-U.S. relations have not overcome the bitter divisions stemming from the Iraq war last year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Looking For Substance? Avoid Clinton's Book

Mickey Kaus finds Clinton's book astonishingly uninlightening regarding the one achievement his administration can point to, welfare reform.

Why did Clinton sign? Did he think, as Time reported he said at the time, that it was a "decent welfare bill wrapped in a sack of s---"? Did he trust states to take over welfare because he'd been a governor? How much politics was involved? A veto would have given Bob Dole a major issue in the 1996 race. Liberals--and Clinton-bashing conservatives, for that matter-- have long maintained Clinton signed because Dick Morris told him it would win him the election. What did Hillary think? To this day, nobody really knows for sure--some liberals persist in thinking she must have been for a veto. Hillary was mysteriously out of town for the climactic meeting. Was that meeting just for show--a bit of elaborate "Kabuki theater" with pre-ordained outcome? Or was Clinton really potentially undecided, as at least some of the participants thought? Does Clinton now feel the ultimate outcome was better or worse than what he would have gotten if (as Senator Moynihan wanted) he'd pushed his own welfare bill in his first two years instead of Hillary's health care bill?

Historians will want to know these things. What does Clinton have to tell them? I've read all the pages listed in the index* under "welfare reform," and must admit I was shocked by the answer. Clinton says virtually nothing--at least nothing that even uninterested readers of headlines wouldn't know. In 957 pages he brings up welfare reform about twenty times, usually to note that, oh yes, then he vetoed the GOP bill and then he signed the bill, then he did this, then he did that.

This Is News?

Guess what? The New York Times lied.

To a “small number” of civilian employees at the Pentagon, a New York Times story on June 3 came as quite a jolt: some of them had apparently already been polygraphed as part of an investigation into Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmed Chalabi.

Thing is, it never happened. Three weeks later, it appears that the implicated civilian employees at the Pentagon have not been polygraphed.

And the Times is unapologetic in the face of substantial evidence that it got the story wrong.

Not long ago, the Times announced a stricter corrections policy. But announcing it doesn't seem quite the same as honoring it.

The Lethality Of Racial Politics

The Army would like to speed up its acquisition process so that it can get things like body armor and radio jammers to soldiers. The Congressional Black Caucus is against it.

Leading the opposition was the Congressional Black Caucus, apparently concerned that preferences in government contracting would go by the boards. Of the caucus's 36 members, 18 voted against the bill and another 10 abstained. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also abstained--despite her repeated attacks on the administration for not getting necessary equipment to the troops.

Monday, June 28, 2004


Well, I completed Ironman Coeur D'Alene in 13 hours and 14 minutes, placing 949th out of about 1800 participants.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Turning The Tide, With An Assist From Clinton

Events are turning George W. Bush's way. After months of unrelenting bad press and bad luck, Bush fell into a virtual tie in public opinion polls with John Kerry, but has begun to ease back into the lead.

Now comes the latest stroke of good fortune, Bill Clinton's book, "My Lies."

The reappearance of a dysfunctional Clinton is one of many events breaking Bush's losing streak. The image of Sen. John McCain embracing the president, the first of several such appearances, exploded all notions of a dream Kerry-McCain Democratic ticket foolishly promoted in recent weeks. Most important, Sen. Kerry's favorability rating has declined as the Democratic nominee was pounded by Republican negative advertising.


Light blogging today, and no blogging for the next few days. Ironman Coeur D'Alene is this Sunday and I'm heading up for the pre-race festivities.
If you wish to follow my progress, point your browser to:
and enter bib number 1423.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A Lesson Unlearned

Flight attendents on the four planes hijacked by Al Qaida on 9/11 cooperated with the terrorists, just as they had been trained to. That allowed a few hijackers, armed only with box cutters to kill 3000 people.

Unfortunately, flight attendant training still teaches this nonsense.

"Unfortunately, I am here to report to you that nothing has changed since that horrible day. We are no better prepared today to handle a situation like that which occurred on September 11th and our training is still woefully inadequate."

"Trampling The Boundary Between Documentary And Demogoguery"

"Mr. Moore is often impolite, rarely subtle and occasionally unwise. He can be obnoxious, tendentious and maddeningly self-contradictory. He can drive even his most ardent admirers crazy. He is a credit to the republic."

After giving itself artisic license by subtly confesses the movie's dishonesty, the Times writes a rather flattering review of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," concentrating largely on Moore's talent for lying artistically.

In other words, the Times admire Moore for being this country's Leni Riefenstahl.

UNSCAM, The Greatest Cash Cow

Bill Safire again violates unofficial New York Times editorial policy by mentioning the United Nations Oil For Food scandal.

"This was the biggest cash cow in the history of the world," says one of the insiders familiar with the $10 billion U.N. oil-for-food scandal. "Everybody — traders, contractors, banks, inspectors — was milking it. It was supposed to buy food with the money from oil that the U.N. allowed Saddam to sell, but less than half went for that. Perfume, limos, a shipment of 1,500 Ping-Pong tables, for God's sake."

Safire alson notes that the United Nations' response to the scandal has been to accuse the United States of skimming oil money too, but without benefit of evidence.

He also knows what his editors will focus on: "Now, that will get media coverage."

No Balls

Or, as Lady Thatcher might say, going wobbly.

There is much that distinguishes liberals from conservatives other than ideology. One difference is resolution.

One fine example of liberal knee quaking can be found in the June 28 issue of The New Republic.

The editors ask if it was a mistake to invade Iraq. And, as Jonah Goldberg summarizes it, "The upshot seems to be that since the postwar reconstruction is going so badly, liberals should have no responsibility for their decision."

The magazine's editor, Peter Beinart, believes that he too sees a difference between liberals and conservatives. He complains that conservatives lack the liberal talent for introspection.

I prefer to think that we are more resolute. We conservatives are more resolute because we know that we must succeed and we will not succeed if we quit before the job is done. I'm sure we second guess our thinking in private, but have the good sense not to do so in public where it will encourage our enemies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Christopher Hitchens Reviews Michael Moore

"To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability."

"And then, Hitchens gets harsh.
To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery."

John Kerry, Enemy Of Democracy

No wonder Lech Walesa was so thankful for Reagan. Had someone like John Kerry been in office, Poland would still be under the Soviet boot heel.

How do I know? John Kerry says so.

You see, there's another communist dictatorship with a pro-democracy movement, and Kerry is siding with the communists. To him, the pro-democracy movement in Cuba is, unhelpful.

The Solidarity-like movement "has gotten a lot of people in trouble . . . and it brought down the hammer in a way that I think wound up being counterproductive."

The President Lied

President Clinton that is.

Without explanation, in his memoir Clinton departs from his grand jury testimony and corroborates her version: "During the government shutdown in late 1995, when very few people were allowed to come to work in the White House, and those who were there were working late, I'd had an inappropriate encounter with Monica Lewinsky and would do so again on other occasions between November and April, when she left the White House for the Pentagon."

Damned Straight! Beers Deserves The Same Status As Wine

Sometimes, the best fermented for a particular meal is a beer, or better yet in my view, an ale.

"To me," said Mr. Oliver, the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, "beer and wine are both beverages meant to be served with food. And good beer, real beer, often offers things that most wine does not, like carbonation and caramelized and roasted flavors — aspects that sometimes make beer the preferable choice.

"And the most wonderful thing about beer is that it has that ability to `reset' your palate. Take cassoulet, for example: Rustic southern French reds are good, but French beer is a much better choice. Cassoulet can be like cement, but beer busts it up and makes it seem so much lighter."

Though wine snobs might disagree with him, I understood Mr. Oliver's points when we spoke on the phone. It's certainly true that on those occasions I had consumed enough wine to cut through a cassoulet, I had fallen under the table. And I knew that Mr. Oliver, who is also author of the comprehensive "Brewmaster's Table" (Ecco, $29.95), had done wildly successful beer-and-food pairings around the world.

In truth, more work, more science and more experitise goes into the brewing of a fine ale than a good wine. Enologists are still much too satisfied with letting natural conditions dictate the quality of the wine they make.

The President Told The Truth

Yep, Bill Clinton did tell the truth. I was he originally insisted that Al Quaida and Saddam Hussein were partners in crime.

Last fall I spoke on a panel at a Washington think tank. The topic was Iraq, and the moderator wanted my reaction to what he termed Americans' "misperceptions" about the war. Among those he cited was a poll showing that 48% of Americans believed there had been a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

I responded by saying that the American people were perhaps wiser than the pundits who mock them. But hadn't President Bush just said there was no link? No, I replied, he had said that there was no evidence, so far, of a link between Iraq and 9/11, which was a very different thing. At least one of the audience members whose minds I didn't succeed in changing serves on the staff of the 9/11 Commission, which last week released an interim report attempting to muddle the same issue.

Editorialists and headline writers seized on the report as evidence that the Bush administration had exaggerated the Iraq-al Qaeda link. Some even demanded an apology. They didn't get one. "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda," the president responded, is "because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

Monday, June 21, 2004

Man Of Steel

I'll be leaving for Ironman soon. I'll manage to blog for another day or two, then I probably won't be near a computer until I get back.

I was leaning toward making this my last Ironman race - I am 51 years old. But, I've enjoyed the training so much this year that I've reconsidered. Another thing that has tipped the scales in favor of at least one more is Ironman Arizona.

Arizona is my home state. Although the time of year is not good for me. It's hard for a northwestern triathlete to be in Ironman shape by April. It's just too difficult to get the mileage in with the cold, the snow and the short winter days. But, I'll reasonably confident that I'll do it, probably in 2006.

Honesty Is Hard To Do, For The Times

To get an idea of how painfully difficult it is for the Times to concedet that George W. Bush is right, take a look at Jim Miller's dissection of a Times article today.

What's Wrong With This Article

It's the headline.

Support for Bush's War on Terror Slips, Poll Shows

Whether you agree with the war or not, it's your war too. That war war declared on all of us by the terrorists.

If There Were A Connection, Would Times Report It?

Newly developed intelligence places a senior Iraqi intelligence agent near the heart of the September 11 attacks.

A senior officer in Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's security services was a member of the terrorist group that committed the September 11 attacks, a member of the commission investigating the suicide hijackings said yesterday.
"There is at least one officer of Saddam's Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda," said September 11 commission member and former Navy Secretary John Lehman.

Well, yes. The Times would mention it, but just barely, near the end of an article and only after setting it up as a political, not an intelligence issue.

Another Republican member of the commission, John Lehman, said Sunday that new information — not yet confirmed — suggested that a lieutenant colonel in Mr. Hussein's Fedayeen fighter force was a "very prominent member" of Al Qaeda.

"We are now in the process of getting this latest intelligence," he said in an interview on the NBC News program "Meet the Press."

Might We Run Cars On Sugar Daddies?

Seen any hydrogen around lately? The answer is no. Hydrogen has to be manufactured and it's explosive as hell.

On the other hand, we have way too much sugar around and too much of it finds its way onto our wastelines.

But, what if we could run our cars on sugar? Now that would really wean us from foreign oil.

Force Feeding Peace

Elite opinion sniffs that the idea that the United States should impose its will on the world. What moral right do we have to declare altenative systems, like communism, inferior to democracy and capitalism?

Well, history informs us that we not have the right, but the responsibility to do so.

Anyone who dislikes U.S. hegemony should bear in mind that, instead of a multipolar world of competing great powers, a world with no hegemon at all may be the real alternative to it. This could turn out to mean a new Dark Age of waning empires and religious fanaticism; of endemic rapine in the world's no-go zones; of economic stagnation and a retreat by civilization into a few fortified enclaves.

Kerryism would not yield peace, but turmoil. The world is relatively peaceful because we insist upon it.

The War Can Be Won

It's been a long, bloody haul, with heaps of international condemnation, but Israel is winning its own war on terror.

It has been just over three months since Palestinian suicide bombers last struck inside Israel — the longest such lull in more than three years. That attack was on March 14, a double bombing at the busy Mediterranean harbor in Ashdod that killed 10 port workers.

And, it's not that the Palestinians have stopped trying. They're just getting caught.

Last week, Israel's chief of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, told lawmakers that among the dozens of recent foiled attacks was one in which six bombers had planned to blow themselves up simultaneously. Another recently uncovered bomb plot involved two teenage Palestinian girls, the Israeli military said.

Make Up Your Mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even his friends admit that John Kerry has a difficult time making up his mind.

"The Socratic teaching of the law really forces you to look for that truth … and helps you understand sometimes how difficult it is to find in certain instances," Kerry said.

Supposedly, Kerry agonized for three months before deciding how to finance his presidential compaign.

When one considers how often Kerry flubs an issue when he tries to think on his feet, it's easy to understand why he is so pathologically cautious.

See No Evil

There is evil in the world. The press could find it if it looked. If it looked that is. As it is not, the press is interensted only in finding evil within the United States.

But, what they find here is at worst untidy when compared with genuine evil.

We've just had another occasion of the press averting its eyes from genuine evil.

Why have the media continued to report, obsess and revel in the same old humiliation photos from U.S.-controlled Abu Ghraib even as they ignore never-before-aired videotape that documents the hacking, maiming and bloody torture that took place at Abu Ghraib under Saddam Hussein?

When the New York Post's Deborah Orin posed this excellent question to terror expert Michael Ledeen, he responded that "most journalists want Bush to lose." Former Defense Department official Richard Perle also blames "faint hearts in the administration" who believe it's "politically incorrect" to showcase the savage reality of Saddam Hussein's regime. Orin offers another explanation: "We highlight U.S. prisoner abuse because the photos aren't too offensive to show. We downplay Saddam's abuse precisely because it's far worse -- so we can't use the photos."

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Economy Booming, People Bummed

The New York Times asks a question it could easily answer by reading its own pages.

AFTER enduring three years of a deteriorating job market and one economic false start after another, Americans finally have reason to think that the long slump of the early 21st century has ended. Employers are hiring again. The stock market has risen more than 40 percent since early last year.

And how have the American people celebrated? By becoming a lot grumpier about the economy.

Since January, more than a million jobs have been added to the payrolls, yet the percentage of people who say the economy is in good shape has dropped, polls say. Fewer people now than at the start of the year are willing to say it is improving. George W. Bush's marks for economic stewardship have reached the lowest level of his presidency, according to recent Gallup and CBS News surveys.

The reason that Americans don't think the economy is good is that the New York Times, among others, don't tell anyone that the economy is good. Only bad news is reported, and even exagerated. Outsourcing is highlighted more than job creation. You've heard about so-called job losses, but did you know that more people than ever are employed full-time, with at least 15 million self-employed?

Anyone who relies upon the Times for news is very likely to be ignorant of this, along with all the successes we've had in the war on terror. Good news does not fit the Times political agenda, so it isn't reported.

The Rise Of Hispanic Republcans

As and Hispanic Republican myself, this doesn't surprise me at all.

It was predicted, and doubted, years ago.
There are seven Hispanic Republicans challenging Democratic incumbents for congressional seats and another dozen or so running for the [California] state Assembly.

Culturally, Mexicans are quite conservative and I've never understood why they would vote Democratic unless it was to get a handout. Once immigrants become self-supporting, I would fully expect them to vote Republican in overwhelming numbers.

Anonymous Hack?

Mickey Kaus peels the onion that is the "anonymous" CIA operative who supposed wrote a book that scathingly criticizes the war on terror.

This guys claims that we lost the war in Tora Bora. He also claims that we played right into Bin Laden's hands when we invaded Iraq.

He also argues that Bin Laden and Zarqawi are supporting different candidates in the presidential election.

Bush Lied!

No, actually, the Washington Post lied. And John Kerry lied. And lots of others have lied too.

Once again, the Democrats and their press lap poodles are taking one sentence, in this case two words from one sentence from one staff report for the 9/11 commission to call George Bush a liar.

After the commission staff released its findings Wednesday that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda -- challenging an assertion Bush and Vice President Cheney have made for the past two years -- Bush declared again that there was, in fact, a relationship.

In fact, there was a collaborative relationship. And even if there weren't, this is a war on terror, not a war on Al Quaida.

Even if the poisonous snakes and the alligators of a particular swamp do not collaborate, getting rid of both requires swamp drainage.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

I Almost Feel Sorry For Bill Clinton

Almost, that is. Not even the New York Times can bring itself to like Bill Clinton's memoirs, "My Lies."

The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.

In many ways, the book is a mirror of Mr. Clinton's presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities; high expectations, undermined by self-indulgence and scattered concentration. This memoir underscores many strengths of Mr. Clinton's eight years in the White House and his understanding that he was governing during a transitional and highly polarized period. But the very lack of focus and order that mars these pages also prevented him from summoning his energies in a sustained manner to bring his insights about the growing terror threat and an Israeli-Palestinian settlement to fruition.

Professional Blogging

Oh Yeon Ho has enlisted an army of "citizen reporters."

The initial premise is conventional: OhmyNews employs 25 trained reporters who cover the major news stories of the day. But the twist comes with another 10 editors who review and post as many as 200 articles written daily by nearly 33,000 “citizen journalists”—anyone who registers can submit a 750-word piece in exchange for a few dollars per story. If the article makes the “Top News” section, the payout is about $11.

“They are writing articles to change the world, not to earn money,” says Oh. His contributors must agree to a code of ethics and eschew racism or pornography. Every story is posted instantly to the site. There is, however, an editorial hierarchy to the site’s visual design. Hard news (by the site’s professional journalists) and the most carefully edited citizen pieces are front and center, followed by softer stories like entertainment, quick community updates and finally, toward the bottom, stories not yet edited by OhmyNews. Most stories are also accompanied by rich and densely populated message boards.

Benefitting From Low Expectations

The Washington Post credits Bill Clinton with candor in his about to be released memoirs, "My Lies."

Former president Bill Clinton says his admission to Hillary Rodham Clinton that he carried on an extramarital affair with former intern Monica S. Lewinsky left him banished to a White House couch for two months, but also prompted a season of self-examination and counseling that ultimately strengthened his marriage and gave him greater awareness of the origins of his self-destructive behavior.

In "My Life," his long-awaited memoir, Clinton says the affair revealed "the darkest part of my inner life," which he believes had its roots in a turbulent upbringing, in a family beset by domestic violence, leaving him with feelings of shame and a predilection for secrecy, according to advisers who have read the book.

But you don't have to read far into the review to see that tidbits like this are just bait and switch. None of his problems were his fault.

Most of his mistakes in the presidency and life generally, Clinton says, can be traced to moments when he was feeling tired, or angry, according to the AP.

Kerry Fades Before The Truth

The Washington Post noticed a little something the other day. John Kerry has stopped prattling about out-sourcing. Why? According to the Post, it's because it was a non-issue in the first place and now there are statistics to prove it.

But don't expect Democrats to stop moaning about the economy. Then, the Post pronounces an anticipatory BS upon Kerry: Now comes the next round of political gloom-mongering. Sen. John F. Kerry, the victor in the Democratic primaries, has been telling voters this week that although job creation may have recovered, wages are the real problem. "In the last year, wages have gone down, and prices have gone up," the candidate told an audience on Tuesday. Actually, hourly wages for non-supervisory workers have risen this year by 2.2 percent as of May, so they kept pace with consumer price inflation. Precise statements about whether the new jobs being created pay more or less than average are not possible, because it takes months for these data to be assembled. But it is possible to say that new job creation, which in the early stages of the recovery was concentrated at low-paying employers such as restaurants, has now broadened to include manufacturing and other sectors where wages are higher than average.

If Mr. Kerry's message seems exaggerated now, it will seem even less convincing soon. Job markets recover in three phases: As the economy picks up, employers ask workers to put in extra hours; when they've exhausted that option, they hire new workers; when new workers become hard to find, labor scarcity pushes wages upward. We are now well into the second stage and may be entering the third.

Back To Root Causes

John Kerry cooked up some very strange statistics yesterday, and a very strange explanation. He claimed that more blacks were in prison than in college, which isn't true. Then, he said that it was not the fault of the criminals that they committed crimes - it was a shortage of federally funded daycares.

Talking about education yesterday, Mr. Kerry also told the largely black crowd at the day care center that there are more blacks in prison than in college.
"That's unacceptable," he said. "But it's not their fault."
Rather than the inmates, the former Boston prosecutor blamed poverty, poor schools, a dearth of after-school programs and "all of us as adults not doing what we need to do."

Now wait just a minute. I thought the problem was that we didn't have enough federally funded midnight basketball leagues, than that problem was solved a decade ago.

Too Nice?

Many of us wonder why President Bush doesn't unlimber the heavy artillery he has. Is he waiting until the election is closer? UNSCAM should certainly be a campaign issue, given Kerry's intention to turn our security over the the United Nations. Considering that Kerry thinks that we should follow the French example, shouldn't the bribes paid by Saddam to French politicians be brought up?

Maybe, as Neil Cavuto suggests, George Bush is just a genuinely nice guy, in stark contrast to the man he replaced, or the man he beat to win the White House.

President Bush was hosting Bill and Hillary Clinton at the White House for the official unveiling of their portraits. The president heaped it on, and I mean really heaped it on. He said the years had proven how good Bill Clinton was for this country, how much he had done for this country, how both Bill and Hillary were great parents to a teenager growing up in the White House, all but saying he could have used some of those same parenting skills for his own rebellious daughters. And he wasn't done. He went on to commend Hillary as the "only U.S. senator whose portrait hangs in the White House." He complimented her style, her commitment and her devotion. He joked with Bill about bravely campaigning for George McGovern in, of all places, Texas. He got a laugh. He never got much else.

Not once did he bring up items like Whitewater, or Monica, or Vince Foster, or that inconvenient issue of Osama and what this prior president could have done or should have done. No, there was none of that. And to be sure, this decorous scene was not the occasion for that. I thought I'd leave well enough alone with this whole issue until Bill Clinton himself got up to speak.

He wasn't nearly so kind, and he wasn't nearly so generous. While he acknowledged the president's graciousness, he didn't pass along one compliment, not one kind tit-for-tat. I wasn't looking for him to praise George Bush . . . after all, they are political opposites. But, please! Couldn't you throw the guy a bone, Bill? Maybe acknowledge he responded well to terror after Sept. 11, or that he's kept us safe in this country since that day? Maybe mention something goofy, like commending the president for the nicknames he gives those pesky White House reporters? Anything?

No. Nada. Zippo. Zilch-a-rino. Perhaps the contempt for this president from this former president is so acute, so intense, that he can't find the words -- apparently any words -- to say anything nice.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The President Lied

Well, I guess we'll just have to face up to it. The president lied when he linked Saddam Hussein with Osama Bin Laden's terror network, Al Qaida. He also lied when he declared that Iraq and Al Qaida cooperated in producing weapons of mass destruction. Yep, according to the elite, know it all press, there have never been any connections between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. The president made it all up.
The release of the September 11 Commission's Staff Statement 15 removes all doubt that President Clinton lied.
Because you see, it was Bill Clinton who initially claimed that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were partners in terrorism. Indeed, in 1998, the Clinton Administration went so far as to name the government of Iraq in its indictment of Osama Bin Laden for the African embassy bombings.
Bill Clinton specifically cited Iraqi-Al Qaida cooperation in the manufacture of chemical weapons. After attacking a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, also in 1998, Clinton stated that the plant was in fact a chemical weapons factory. A chemical, EMPTA, which was used by Iraq to manufacture the deadly VX nerve gas and has no other known application, had been discovered at that facility. The plant was said to have received financing from both Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, and was advised by Saddam's chemists. That was enough for Bill Clinton to lob13 cruise missiles onto the facility.
Indeed, it requires no great effort to search the archives of the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and even National Public Radio from the 1990's and find all those outlets claiming ties between Al Qaida and Iraq. Today, they collectively form the core of the "Bush lied" chorus.
Press reports earlier this week declared that the bipartisan September 11 commission had found no alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Once again, we were told that "Bush lied." Supposedly another central tenet of the president's justification for the war in Iraq was invalidated, just as was the case when it was determined that Iraq was not an, "imminent threat."
But, if one reads closely, the report says no such thing. It says that there is not a firm case linking Saddam with attacks in the United States. But, it does not in any way dismiss links between Al Qaida and Iraq.
The accusations of lying made against Bush have a remarkable symmetry.
Bush never said that Saddam Hussein presented an "imminent threat." Indeed Bush clearly stated that to wait until the threat was imminent would be to wait until it was too late. That would replicate our errors with North Korea.
In truth, the Bush Administration has stubbornly denied that Saddam Hussein had any role in the September 11, 2001 attacks, even dismissing reports from Czech intelligence that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague shortly before the attacks.
It's quite remarkable that anyone should have to defend himself against words that were placed in his mouth by his enemies. Democrats have repeated the accusations that Bush lied about the imminent threat and Iraq-9/11 links so often that evidence to the contrary no longer makes any impression on the press. Democrats know from experience how malleable is the sympathetic press. Howard Dean and Al Gore angrily accuse Bush of claiming that Saddam was an imminent threat. Say it often enough and the press will inevitably parrot the cry until it become cliché. And, if it can be proven that these statements, never uttered by Bush, are untrue, then Bush must have lied, regardless of whether he said it or not.
So eager are they to smear Bush in an election year, that they'll even twist, edit and distort news to make it fit the preconception - as they did in this instance.
In truth, the war in Iraq was never in retaliation. It was about preemption. As the president said, "We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century...They will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen. There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein."
Oh, is it worth mentioning that the president who said that was named Bill Clinton?

And, If Iran Doesn't Behave, The UN Will Say Something Really Harsh Nex t Time

The United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency censured Iran for building nukes.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency censured Iran for past cover-ups in a resolution adopted Friday, and warned Tehran to be more forthcoming if it wants an investigation of suspect activities to end.

Tehran warned it might retaliate by reconsidering plans to suspend its uranium enrichment.

The resolution submitted by three European powers - France, Germany and Britain - was a product of days of diplomatic maneuvering at a meeting of the 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It did not hand down sanctions against the country.

The document, passed by consensus, "deplores" that "Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been. It notes "with concern that after almost two years" since Iran's undeclared program came to light that "a number of questions remain outstanding."

Ooooooooooooh. I'm sure the mullahs are really, really scared.

Euoropean - Style Preemption Fails

Iran is an example of the failure of Kerry-style talk-em to death preemeption.

NINE MONTHS AGO, as a confrontation loomed between Iran and the United Nations over Iran's illicit nuclear programs, three European governments staged a preemptive operation. Flying to Tehran, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany struck a deal with Iran's Islamic regime: The Europeans would block a referral of Iran's violations to the U.N. Security Council and provide technical cooperation, and in exchange Iran would stop its work on uranium enrichment, fully disclose its nuclear programs and accept a new U.N. protocol giving inspectors greater access. The Bush administration was upstaged; some in Paris and Berlin smugly suggested that it had been given an object lesson by the Europeans in how "soft power" could be used to manage the rogue states in President Bush's "axis of evil."

This week, with the world's attention focused on the troubled situation in Iraq, the European version of preemption is yielding its own bitter -- if less bloody -- result. Inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency have reported that Iran never honored its agreement; it has stalled and stonewalled the inspectors while continuing to work on elements of a nuclear program that could soon allow it to produce weapons. The Europeans have responded by drafting for approval by the 35-member IAEA board a stern statement demanding Iranian cooperation; Tehran has replied with threats to restart uranium enrichment and suspend negotiations with the West.

Read the whole thing, it's not long, then tell me that Kerry's way would keep us safer.

So Smart In Hindsight

Now the September 11 commission has grown truly offensive, criticizing the on-the-spot responses of those who were the real first responders, the United States Military.

The interim staff report issued Thursday offered harsh criticism of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or Norad, which is responsible for defense of the nation's airspace, and the F.A.A., which tracked the hijacked flights, and said they had been unable to share information quickly or coherently as the terrorist attack unfolded.

Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, the commander of Norad, testified to the commission that had information about the hijackings been passed along faster from the F.A.A. - and had there been an immediate shoot-down order - fighter jets could have intercepted and shot down most or all of the hijacked planes, a statement that was received by commission members with skepticism. "I'm assuming that they told us, F.A.A. told us as soon as they knew," General Eberhart said.

Do these know it alls really believe that the order to shoot down an airliner could be taken so quickly?

Another Reason To Miss Reagan

One reason for the outpouring of affection for Ronald Reagan certainly descended from the dignity he displayed in office - in stark contrast with Bill Clinton.

Certainly people miss the dignity he showed as an ex-president, again, in stark contrast to Bill Clinton.

Winning The War On Terror

Israel won against Arafat's intifada.

The end of the intifada does not mean the end of terrorism. There was terrorism before the intifada and there will be terrorism to come. What has happened, however, is an end to systematic, regular, debilitating, unstoppable terror -- terror as a reliable weapon. At the height of the intifada, there were 9 suicide attacks in Israel killing 85 Israelis in just one month (March 2002). In the last three months, there have been none.

The overall level of violence has been reduced by more than 70 percent. How did Israel do it? By ignoring its critics and launching a two-pronged campaign of self-defense.

So, Israel showed that one does not talk terrorism away. You kill the terrorists.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A Cure For Clinton

Bill Clinton is said to discuss his marital infidelity on 60 Minutes. Too bad that he didn't have access to this.

Mr. Historian, Tear Down This President

The war on Reagan continues.

The death of Ronald Reagan wasn't just an occasion for his admirers to reminisce about his life and accomplishments. It was also an occasion for his detractors to try to tear him down. In many cases, they have been aided and abetted by reporters who failed to do their homework and repeated old myths about Reagan's economic program that are demonstrably untrue.

One of these myths is that Reagan sold the country a bill of goods with his 1981 tax cut, promising that it would lose no revenue. Business Week, among others, repeated this myth in its June 21 issue. "Reagan and his supply-side advisers," it said, "believed that big tax cuts would pay for themselves by generating higher tax revenues through greater economic growth."

This is simply nonsense. No one in a position of authority in the Reagan administration ever said that the tax cut would pay for itself. The proposal that the White House sent to Capitol Hill on Feb. 18, 1981, clearly shows that it expected revenues to decline significantly.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Detroit Doesn't Burn

Jimmy Kimmel is not vindicated.

Detroit police characterized the early crowds as moderate and mindful. By 2:15 a.m. as crowds thinned, Detroit mayoral spokesman Dave Manney said at 2:15 a.m. there were no reported major incidents.

Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, who stood near the statue, said the only incidents reported early were backed up traffic and large crowds.

Get Knocked Up And Go Home

Just as it was during the first Gulf War, getting pregnant is a good way to get yourself shipped home. The only difference is that, in deference to political correctness, the Army isn't counting this time.

U.S. Central Command is not tracking the number of troops who must leave the Iraq war theater due to pregnancy, prompting military advocates to charge the Pentagon wants to keep secret what could be an embarrassing statistic.
There have been anecdotal reports of unmarried soldiers becoming pregnant in Iraq. One military police unit reported losing three women for that reason. Pfc. Lynndie England, the 21-year-old photographed holding a leash attached to an Iraqi prisoner, became pregnant during an affair with another soldier at the Abu Ghraib prison compound in Iraq.

WMD's Found!

The New York Times can't be bothered with reported that Saddam's WMD program has been found after all.

It seems that he rapidly dismantled it (just as the satellite photos showed during Colin Powell's United Nations presentation) as the deadline for war approached.

On June 9, Demetrius Perricos announced that before, during and after the war in Iraq, Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction and medium-range ballistic missiles to countries in Europe and the Middle East. Entire factories were dismantled and shipped as scrap metal to Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey, among others, at the rate of about 1,000 tons of metal a month. As an example of speed by which these facilities were dismantled, Perricos displayed two photographs of a ballistic missile site near Baghdad, one taken in May 2003 with an active facility, the other in February 2004 that showed it had simply disappeared.

What passed for scrap metal and has since been discovered as otherwise is amazing. Inspectors have found Iraqi SA-2 surface-to-air missiles in Rotterdam -- complete with U.N. inspection tags -- and 20 SA-2 engines in Jordan, along with components for solid-fuel for missiles. Short-range Al Samoud surface-to-surface missiles were shipped abroad by agents of the regime. That missing ballistic missile site contained missile components, a reactor vessel and fermenters -- the latter used for the production of chemical and biological warheads.

"The problem for us is that we don't know what may have passed through these yards and other yards elsewhere," Ewen Buchanan, Perricos's spokesman, said. "We can't really assess the significance and don't know the full extent of activity that could be going on there or with others of Iraq's neighbors."

Perricos isn't an American shill defending the Bush administration, but rather the acting executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and his report was made to the Security Council. Yet his report didn't seem to be of much interest to a media which has used the lack of significant discoveries to question the rationale for the war.

Did Bin Laden Sign The Geneva Conventons

"There's a reason why we sign these treaties: to protect my son in the military," Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., hissed at the attorney general through his enormous teeth. "That's why we have these treaties, so when Americans are captured they are not tortured. That's the reason in case anybody forgets it."

Jonah Goldberg reminds us of what liberals seems incapable of understanding - that the Geneva conventions do not apply in the war on terror and that our enemies don't recognize them.

The UN Doesn't Even Like Itself

The United Nations finally investigated itself. It surveyed employees to learn their opinions of the body they serve.

The results, summed up in a cover letter by Mr. Annan, suggest that the Secretariat's own employees believe they inhabit a snake pit. Highlights, as Mr. Annan cites them, include such failings as: "integrity and ethical behavior are not taken sufficiently into account in selection, promotion and assessment processes" and "staff believe that not enough action is taken to investigate and address instances of unethical behavior, and that those who expose such breaches may put themselves at risk of reprisal."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Is Detroit Burning?

The Pistons slaughter the Lakers. By morning we'll know if ABC and Detroit owes Jimmy Kimmel an apology.

Libya, Riviera Of The Squalid World

Now that Libya is a respectable nation, Moammar Gadhafi imagines that it will become a tourist destination, drawing 10 million visitor per year.

Last March, the Bush administration announced it was lifting most of America's two-decade-old sanctions on Libya, including a travel ban, as a reward for Moammar Gadhafi's pledge to scrap his nuclear arms programs and resolve outstanding claims from victims of the 1988 bombing of Pam Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Really, Really, REALLY Bad News For Democrats

Economists expect explosive job growth.

U.S. companies are gearing up to create jobs at rates not seen since the height of the 1990s boom, a survey released Tuesday showed, adding to evidence that job growth will keep the U.S. economic recovery rolling.

Don't you know the Democrats want the Whitehouse so bad so that they can claim credit for this?

More Bad News For Democrats

Consumers are opening their wallets and driving the economy forward. This means more jobs.

The appetite of America's shoppers returned in May, boosting sales at the nation's retailers by 1.2 percent, a fresh sign the economic recovery is on solid footing.

The latest snapshot of retail activity reported by the Commerce Department on Monday comes after a consumer pullback in April, which depressed retail sales by 0.6 percent. May's increase was slightly larger than the 1 percent rise some that economists were predicting and marked the biggest gain since March.

Bad news for John Kerry.

P. J. O'Rourke Wants To Debate Too

O'Rourke laments that there's nobody to argue with. Liberals and conservatives prefer to talk to themselves. Talk radio reaches conservatives while NPR is satisfied with liberal listeners. Books are meant to reach the like minded too, and not to change minds.

Do some liberals feel as if they're guarding the net while their teammates make a furious rush at their own goal? NPR seems more whiny than hectoring, except at fundraising time. There's supposed to be a lot of liberal advocacy on TV. I looked for things that debased freedom, promoted license, ridiculed responsibility, and denigrated man and God—but that was all of TV. How do you tell the liberal parts from the car ads? Once more I resorted to books.

To answer my question I didn't even have to open Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. But having done so, I found these chapter headings: "Ann Coulter: Nutcase," "You Know Who I Don't Like? Ann Coulter," and "Bill O'Reilly: Lying Splotchy Bully."

Michael Moore's previous book was Stupid White Men, titled in a spirit of gentle persuasion unmatched since Martin Luther, that original Antinomian, wrote Against the Murderous and Thieving Hordes of Peasants. Moore's new book, Dude, Where's My Country?, contains ten chapters of fulminations convincing the convinced. However, Moore does include one chapter on how to argue with a conservative. As if. Approached by someone like Michael Moore, a conservative would drop a quarter in Moore's Starbucks cup and hurriedly walk away. Also, Moore makes this suggestion: "Tell him how dependable conservatives are. When you need something fixed, you call your redneck brother-in-law, don't you?"

Arguing, in the sense of attempting to convince others, seems to have gone out of fashion with everyone. I'm reduced to arguing with the radio. The distaste for political argument certainly hasn't made politics friendlier—or quieter, given the amount of shouting being done by people who think one thing at people who think the same thing.

But I believe I know why this shouting is popular. Today's Americans are working harder than ever, trying to balance increasing personal, family, and career demands. We just don't have time to make ourselves obnoxious. We need professional help.

The Death Of Debate

John Leo notes that the left is increasing unwilling to debate. Leftists prefer intimidation and insults.

Nothing in my remarks would have come as a surprise to readers of this column, and it turned out that maybe two-thirds of the people at the dinner strongly agreed with my talk. But it shocked one man -- a former university president of some note -- who denounced my comments as "the most intellectually dishonest speech I have ever heard." I think he meant to say that he disagreed. Or maybe he thought I was attacking his old university. Nobody knows what he thought because he just repeated his "intellectually dishonest" remark and left, closing the door quickly behind him.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Kerry Just Doesn't Have It

Just ask his supporters.

John F. Kerry has shattered fundraising records, unified an oft-warring party and pushed past President Bush in some national polls. Yet many Democratic voters, officials and even members of Kerry's staff express an ambivalence -- or angst -- about their presidential candidate that belies this strong public standing.
These Democrats say the enthusiasm for defeating Bush runs much stronger and deeper than the passion for electing Kerry. The chief reason: The senator from Massachusetts, they say, has not crisply articulated what a Kerry presidency would stand for beyond undoing much of the Bush agenda.

So far, these concerns have not slowed Kerry. But if Kerry cannot change this perception coming out of next month's Democratic convention in Boston, it could prove much harder for the party to maximize turnout, win over Ralph Nader voters and keep independents from swinging to Bush, they say.

"There is a danger in that [ambivalence]," said John D. Podesta, White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. "You can't just be against something. [Voters] want a positive vision of where the country is going, and he has to provide that."

Mr. Annan, Tear Down This Wall!

William Safire pronounces BS upon the United Nations' internal investigation into the Oil-For-Food scandal.

Illigitimate Ally Slaughters Al Qaida

Pakistan, part of what John Kerry has disparaged as our "illigitimate" coalition just added 55 al Quaida scalps to its trophy case. And, Pakistan lost 17 of its own in the battle.

Pakistani troops have ended a major operation to flush out al-Qaida suspects and their local supporters from hide-outs in a remote region near Afghanistan. An army spokesman said Monday that 72 people died, including 17 security personnel.

The United States military in Afghanistan praised the operation, but said it was not aware that any al-Qaida leaders had been captured.

That's a whole lot better than the French. Do the French even have 17 citizens in uniform?

Kill 'em Yourself

The New York Times and other anti-American propoganda outlets have carried story after story about how dissatisfied Iraqis are with United State security.
Colin Powell has some advice for Iraqis, kill the terrorists yourselves.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that Iraqis must be willing to kill their own insurgents for order to be restored in the post-Saddam era.
Mr. Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice warned of further attacks on Iraqi government officials in appearances on the Sunday talk shows, on the same day that 12 Iraqis were killed when a car bomb exploded in Baghdad. More than a dozen were injured.
"It's hard to protect an entire government," Mr. Powell said during a "Fox News Sunday" interview. "It's going to be a dangerous period, and these murderers have to be defeated."
In another incident yesterday, a gunman assassinated Kamal Jarrah, a senior official in Iraq's Education Ministry.
On NBC's "Meet The Press," Mr. Powell called the security situation "long and hot and bloody right now," and answered "yes," when asked by host Tim Russert whether Iraqis must "be willing to kill fellow Iraqis if need be to put down the insurgency."
"I think they understand that perfectly," Mr. Powell said. "They know that they are being challenged. They don't want to go back to the past."

Chewing Gum Control

Singapore is a liberal Mecca. They've moved far beyond gun registration and control. They register chewing gum.

For years, Hidayat Osman got around this city-state's ban on the sale of chewing gum by picking up an occasional pack in neighbouring Malaysia.

So it was a pleasant surprise when the 24-year-old saw a few perfectly legal boxes of Wrigley's Orbit chewing gum tucked on a shelf behind a pharmacist's counter here.

"After all these years, it'll be nice to get it locally," he said, as he was about to ask for a pack.

Not so fast. The clerk pointed to a sign that says the pharmacist - the only person who can legally dispense gum - was out to lunch. "Wow. It's like a controlled substance," Osman laughed.

The Religion Of Mutilation

Well, it's now okay with Islam if you wish to mutilate the corpse of an infidel.

The ruling by Sheik Omar Abdullah Hassan al-Shehabi specifies two circumstances in which the desecration of an infidel -- i.e., a non-Muslim -- is permitted. One is retaliation -- "when the enemy is disfiguring Muslim corpses or when it otherwise serves the Islamic nation." The other is when mutilation will "terrorize the enemy" or "gladden the heart of a Muslim warrior."

Is This What Kerry Wants?

John Kerry believes that we should subordinate our security to the United Nations. Well, the United Nations just gave a big que sera sera to Iran's nuclear weapons program.

President George Bush tried it Kerry's way with Iran and soon we will be facing another nuclear capable member in the axis of evil.

We've heard a disturbing number of quiet remarks in Washington and other Western capitals recently to the effect that the world will just have to "get used to" the idea of the Iranians having nukes. Have these people thought through the consequences of such resignation? With the presumed American security umbrella suddenly jeopardized by the mullahs' bomb, the political calculations of every Mideast government would change. Many countries may conclude they themselves have no choice but to go nuclear, and the world could be off to another nuclear arms race.
Last year the U.S. deferred to the Europeans as they brokered an inspection agreement with Iran that the mullahs have since violated with impunity. In other words, the "multilateral" diplomatic path is failing. The question is whether anyone important is going to admit this reality. If not, we at least hope Washington is preparing covert and military options to sabotage the Iranian program, and to step up aid to those Iranians wishing a fundamental change in their terror-sponsoring regime. History will not look kindly on the leaders who let Iran get the bomb on their watch.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Connecting The Dots

An ordinary citizen leafs through "old" US News and Time magazines, and discovers that, before Bush took office, both magazines reported that Al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein were linked.

Seattle Really Knows How To Protest

At least they didn't go on one of their rock throwing rampages. Fifty or sixty (nobody bothered to count apparently) protesters rode bicycles around Seattle Saturday to protest automobiles.

There is some speculation that this may have been the "eco-terrorist" attack that the FBI was warning the Northwest about last week.

Considering the figures that some Seattlistas cut, it may well have been terrifying to see them naked. Disgusting at the very least.

What A Contrast!

Slick Willie's memoirs, "My Lies," will be on the shelves soon. Coming so soon after Ronald Reagan's passing and all the memorials, it will give people a stark contrast between what Republicans consider a great president, and who qualifies as great in the eyes of Democrats.

Now, it's the Democrats' turn. After a week-long flood of commentary on the most popular Republican president of modern times, the country is about to be immersed in another tide of reminiscence and argument about the most successful Democratic president within the memory of most voters.

A month anchored at the beginning by Ronald Reagan will be anchored at the end by Bill Clinton. The release of Clinton's memoirs, "My Life," on June 22 will put a spotlight on a presidency that in policies and style was wholly different from Reagan's. Like Reagan, however, Clinton as ex-president has seen the controversies of his tenure recede while appreciation for his outsized personality has seemed to deepen. And like Reagan, Clinton is now widely regarded as a touchstone for his party, including for the presumptive presidential nominee, John F. Kerry.

Already Pissing On Each Other's Bushes

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has already anointed a presumptive Democratic National Committee chairman to displace Terry McAwful. And, the two don't like each other.

"McAuliffe is hanging tough. He doesn't want to be figurehead. He thinks he knows what's best for the party," says a senior DNC staffer. "Let's face it, what does Sasso have to show for his years of experience. The Dukakis campaign? I'll take McAuliffe's Clinton record over Sasso's Massachusetts miracles."

If Voters Want John Kerry, They'll Vote For John Kerry

I think that President Bush would be far better off if he simply explained that the French and the United Nations cannot be counted upon to act in America's best interest.

Instead, Bush is trying to emulate the foreign policy that John Kerry says we would have if he were president.

For days, President Bush has been performing on the world stage - and trying to meet, one by one, the criticisms of Democratic rival John Kerry. Bush's recent moves and concessions may be an attempt to buy insurance against some of the sharpest Democratic criticism he can expect in the fall.

His political advisers also want to protect the GOP's traditional lead over Democrats on national security issues.

Bad move.

The Kerry Bandwagon Rolls On!!!!!!!!!!

Mickey Kaus has the inside scoop on the excitement that the Kerry campaign is generating.

According to Los Angeles City Councilman and the national co-chair of Kerry Latino Steering committee, Antonio Villaraigosa, "After all, let's face it. Is anyone excited about electing John Kerry or do you really want to defeat George Bush?"

Saturday, June 12, 2004

It's Saving Lives You Stoneheads

In wars, most of the dying is done by the guys newest to the battlefield. The guys who've been there for a while are still alive precisely because they have learned to stay alive.

That, as much as anything is why the Bush Administration has halted retirements and extended tours in Iraq. Most of the death among our soldiers were among newcomers, particularly National Guardsmen.

The Washingonton Post, quite predictably gets it wrong by blaming the extended stays on insufficient forces.

And, of course, the editors blame tax cuts too.

The president's failure to adequately staff the armed forces is just one way in which he fails his own commitment to what he called this week "the imperative of our age." The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed Mr. Bush's view of the world, but he never adjusted his fiscal strategy; he continues to reduce the tax burden on the wealthy and leave the government without adequate resources for the fight. He has yet to invest the funds and energy, on a scale appropriate to an existential struggle, in public diplomacy, Arab-language training, foreign student exchanges, nuclear materials control and many other ventures that are key to eventual victory. And he has yet to acknowledge that the downsized military he favored in 2000 is no longer suitable in 2004.

The reason for this failure -- whether an unwillingness to face the political consequences of demanding sacrifice, or an inability to let go of cherished views on military transformation, tax cuts and the like -- matters less than the consequences. We support Mr. Bush's "vision of dignity and freedom in every culture," but he undermines the cause and feeds only cynicism when he refuses to match the tools to the task. More immediately he places an unfair burden on those in uniform and their families.

Investors Worry About A Kerry Victory

John Kerry's promise to stimulate the economy doesn't ring true in the ears of those who really make the economy go.

A major concern is that Kerry would undo the reduction to 15 percent in the top tax on capital gains and dividends, which investors credit for fueling growth and stock market gains.

"They are concerned Kerry's fiscal policies would be less stimulatory," Johnson said.

Despite the close standings in the survey, Bush should benefit from the sizzling rise in corporate profits this year and a sharp rise in employment gains, said Robert Stovall, managing director at Wood Asset Management Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.

Good News Finally Getting Through

One of the more remarkable aspects of this election year has been the reluctance of the American people to grasp the fact that the American economy is absolutely booming. That's because most people don't look at raw economic statistics. They read newspapers, or worse yet, listen to network news, which continues to exagerrate such topics as "outsourcing."

The American economy isn't just booming, it's on the cusp of an expansion that might exceed the Reagan revolution.

And now, to the sorrow of the Democrats, Americans are starting to figure this out in spite of the good news blackout.

The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index climbed to 91.3 in June, up from a reading of 87.4 in May. The rise in consumer confidence comes as the economy is on a solid growth track and the job market has made gains.

The latest snapshot of consumer sentiment also shows that Americans' view of the economy is considerably more positive as compared with a year ago, when the consumer confidence index stood at 86.8.

What Do You Call 80 Dead Terrorists?

A good start.

The Taliban certainly wish that we were a little more "distracted" by Iraq. Eighty of the scum were sent to their virgins in a recent battle.

Democrats have claimed that the Iraq war has drawn resources away from Afghanistan and what they call the real war. But, if I understand this Washington Times article, we have more forces on the ground there now than at any other time.

"The Marines have been aggressive, relentless and successful," Lt. Col. Tucker Mansager said. "They have demonstrated that there is no refuge for the terrorists."

American commanders sent some 2,000 Marines into Afghanistan in the spring, helping swell the U.S.-dominated force to 20,000 - its largest yet - in an attempt to put militants on the defensive ahead of September elections.

There Is A Depth To Which McCain Won't Seek

McCain won't be John Kerry's Vice President. And yes, Kerry has asked, multiple times it turns out.

Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts senator, made his first direct overtures to Mr. McCain about three weeks after locking up the Democratic nomination in March and approached him again, in person or by telephone, as many as seven times, as recently as last week, according to one person who has discussed the issue with both.

"It was always artfully phrased, but he asked him on several occasions to serve as his running mate," the individual said. "He'd say, `I don't want to formally ask because I don't want to be formally rejected, but having said that, would you do it?' or `I need you to do it,' or `I want you to do it.' "

"It was always phrased in such a way as to give both men plausible deniability," the individual added.

More Bad News For Democrats

It seems that those oafish boobs in the Bush Administration know a thing or two about diplomacy after all. First, they wind the UN around their finger on Iraq resolutions, and now even Moqtada al-Sadr, the fat shitbag troublemaker, has endorsed the new government.

" 'From now on, I beg you to start afresh for Iraq for the sake of peace and safety,' " Sheik Khafaji quoted Mr. Sadr as saying. " 'We have to avoid pushing humiliation and aggression on others and go forward with the independence of Iraq and not respond to the occupiers.' "

But, it this is just a way for the buttery little murderer to save his own skin, we shouldn't let him get away with it. He should be tried and hanged by the new government. That way, his execution would have his own imprimateur of legitimacy.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Will He Get His Show Back If He's Right?

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel had his show pulled by ABC after joking that, "They're going to burn the city of Detroit down if the Pistons win, and it's not worth it."

So, political correctness swallows another. Still, I'd wager that his prediction will hold true.

Mister Historian, Tear Down This Man

The New York Times R. W. Apple leaves it to the historians to decide if Ronald Reagan really was a great president - then tells them that he wasn't, not really.

If Mr. Reagan's celebrated optimism lifted the veil of malaise that darkened the Jimmy Carter era, it also obscured major problems. Many missed Mr. Carter's burning commitment to civil rights and liberties at home and human rights abroad. African-Americans and trade union members felt particularly aggrieved, as did many Jews, who resented Mr. Reagan's participation in a ceremony in 1985 at a German cemetery where Nazi SS troopers were buried.

Then, there's this remarkable statement. So far at least, Mr. Reagan has achieved no such status overseas, although as president he was held in far more esteem in Europe than George W. Bush is. His brand of radical conservatism had a counterpart in Britain under Margaret Thatcher, but it has achieved little success elsewhere.

Perhaps Mr. Apple should pick up a copy of today's Wall Steet Journal for a refresher on what Ronald Reagan meant to Eastern Europeans.

We Will Win, If We Persevere

Has there ever been a time in the nation's history when a major political party has aligned its fortunes with Amerida's defeat? Well yes, there was. It was the Civil War. And again, it was the Democrats versus the United States.

Fred Barnes points out what the mainstream media hides - that we are winning in Iraq.

To share the Iraq-is-lost sentiment, one must ignore a spate of good news. The uprising of Muslim cleric Moktada al-Sadr has fizzled. He negotiated a face-saving compromise that will keep him out of jail for the time being. But his movement failed in two important regards. It didn't ignite a widespread Shia revolt against the American military occupation, and it revealed his Mahdi Army as a paper tiger. American troops will not officially control Najaf, Karbala, and Kufa, the cities Sadr had seized, but they will patrol them and occupy the government buildings. The fate of Sadr, who's been charged with the murder of pro-American Ayatollah Khoei last year, will be left up to Iraqis. This is an imperfect solution, since the Iraqis have been unwilling to arrest Sadr, much less jail or execute him.

The Sadr insurrection also prompted mainstream Shia clerics led by Ayatollah Sistani to speak out. Not only did they ostracize Sadr and tell him to vacate the holy mosque in Najaf, but they also disputed his claim that American soldiers had fired on the mosque. Quite the contrary, they said Sadr himself was responsible for damaging the mosque. The White House was understandably thrilled. Sistani, the most powerful religious leader in Iraq, had never before been as active politically. He wanted Sadr sidelined without a huge battle in Najaf that might have transformed Sadr into a national hero. And that's what Sistani helped to achieve.

Progress In Iraq

Outside of a few hot spots, Iraq is a peaceful place.

For example, while there is trouble in the Sunni Triangle, Victor Davis Hanson notes that in Kurdistan, the northern third of Iraq, “seven million people live under humane government with less than 300 American troops.”

And, there's good news next door.

[I]n Iran an emerging middle class is becoming increasingly restless and wants democracy. Pressures will build for democracy with our successes in Iraq.

The Poles Know Who Won The Cold War

I saw a Democrat on a talking head show the other day (no, I don't remember who. They all read from the same script though), and he was trying to make the case that it was Jimmy Carter who in fact brought down the Soviet Union.

It was all the speeches that Carter had given on human rights that did it.

Those who were liberated from the Soviet yoke know better.

It took a leader with a vision to convince them that there are greater things worth fighting for. Did he seek any profit in such a policy? Though our freedom movements were in line with the foreign policy of the United States, I doubt it.

I distinguish between two kinds of politicians. There are those who view politics as a tactical game, a game in which they do not reveal any individuality, in which they lose their own face. There are, however, leaders for whom politics is a means of defending and furthering values. For them, it is a moral pursuit. They do so because the values they cherish are endangered. They're convinced that there are values worth living for, and even values worth dying for. Otherwise they would consider their life and work pointless. Only such politicians are great politicians and Ronald Reagan was one of them.

Listen up Bush. You can still win in November and in Iraq.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Outsourcing - To Idaho

A new study shows that most "outsourced" jobs never leave the United States.

Nine percent of non-seasonal U.S. layoffs in the first quarter were due to outsourcing, but less than a third of the work was sent overseas, the U.S. Labor Department said in releasing new figures on mass layoffs and outsourcing.

"In more than seven out of 10 cases, the work activities were reassigned to places elsewhere in the U.S.," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its report on mass layoffs for the January-to-March period.

Organized labor, critical of the administration's record on jobs, has promised to make outsourcing an issue in this year's presidential election.

If Only Muslims Were Held To The Same Standard

Brigitte Bardo has been fined for critcizing Islam.

PARIS - French actress-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot was convicted Thursday of inciting racial hatred and ordered to pay $6,000 — the fourth such fine for the former sex symbol since 1997.

The Paris court sentenced Bardot, 69, for remarks in her book “A Scream in the Silence,” an outspoken attack on gays, immigrants and the jobless that shocked France last year.

In the book, she laments the “Islamization of France” and the “underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam.”

“Mme. Bardot presents Muslims as barbaric and cruel invaders, responsible for terrorist acts and eager to dominate the French to the extent of wanting to exterminate them,” the court said.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that French president Jacques Chirac has made it a point to suck up to France's Muslim community, the largest in Europe numbering 5 million.

Not An Opponent Of Intelligence, Just Protecting The Taxpayer

John Kerry has concocted are remarkably silly explanation for his attempts to slash intelligence spending. He was trying to cut pork.

"Unlike George Bush, John Kerry does not support every special spending project supported by Halliburton and other defense contractors." said Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton.

Kerry was seeking to slash the 1995 intelligence budget, a cut that not even Ted Kennedy could support. But not he claims that he was trying to cut pork. But, the congressional record does not support this defense.

He did not address intelligence specifically, much less single out pork barrel projects in the intelligence budget that his campaign now says he was targeting. However, 10 days earlier on the Senate floor, Kerry declared: "The madness must end."

The United Nations' Unfitness

While the United States is attempting to cobble together a stable government in Iraq, the United Nations is attempting some rather silly social engineering almost guaranteed to bring about its collapse.

The United Nations is proposing a "proportional" democracy.

In this system, voters choose not among individual candidates but among parties that are awarded a share of legislative seats based on their percentage of the vote. Proponents say the system better allows all significant voices to be heard. But even in the best of cases--Italy over much of the past 50 years--proportional systems tend to produce unstable governments easily paralyzed by the little parties they have to cobble into a majority coalition. Would-be candidates are beholden to party bosses who determine their place on the electoral list and thus their chances of success.
In Iraq especially, with its many ethnic divisions, the risks of such a system are huge. As much as possible we should be encouraging Iraqis to think of themselves as Iraqis rather than as Kurds or Arabs, Shiites or Sunnis. First-past-the-post elections in Iraqi neighborhoods, many of which are multi-ethnic, would help accomplish this. Where local elections have been held thus far in Iraq, voters have chosen pragmatic and secular figures rather than religious or ethnic extremists.

By contrast, Ms. Perelli's nationwide proportional system will encourage voters and parties to separate themselves along sectarian lines. What's more, where constituency systems tend toward centrist politics as candidates seek a majority, proportional systems empower extremists who could never win outright in any single area but who can garner a significant minority of the vote. Look for the mad Shiite Muqtada al-Sadr, for one, to get elected under these rules.

Furthermore, the UN wants to force a gender quota system upon Iraq, rather as Democrats do for their conventions.

A big part of the motivation appears to be the dogmatic desire of the U.N. and State Department to ensure that at least 25% of Iraqi legislators are women, which is a goal but not a requirement of Iraq's interim constitution. You can rig a party-list election to ensure such an outcome, and Ms. Perelli wants to mandate that every third candidate be a woman. She couldn't do that with constituencies.

It seems to us that advocates for Iraqi women would be better advised to concentrate on creating a stable democracy first. A 25% showing for Iraqi women in the first election isn't going to matter much if an unstable system then gives way to fundamentalist takeover or civil war.

Ronald Reagan's Greatness

Scholars are coming around even slower than network news anchors, but Ronald Reagan's greatness is slowly getting its due.

Just as the news anchors are forced to pay homage to Reagan or risk losing their viewers, scholars are forced to consider Reagan's accomplishments. And, when an ideologically balanced survey was performed, scholars rated Reagan as, "near great."

The only presidents rated as great were Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

I believe that Reagan is still underappreciated here. He had the word craft of Lincoln and the inspirational qualities of Roosevelt. He did not preside over a bloody war as those men did, but he should receive credit for triumphing over a deadly foe without having to fight such a war. He revived our economy and the world's economy by removing shackles from the American entrepreneur.

It will take time, but someday Reagan will be recognized as one of America's four greatest presidents.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

His Venom Overfloweth

Al Gore's roiling anger over losing in 2000 has now boiled over onto Democrats.

Gore told the Miami Herald that Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, who faces a three-way Senate primary, was the "single most treacherous and dishonest person I dealt with during the [2000] campaign anywhere in America."

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Blogger Bike Challenge

Speaking of biking, I'd like to pound my hairy chest and challenge Charles Johnson, along with any other blogger bikers to a race - minimum 100 miles.

LIght Blogging

Blogging will be necessarily light for the next few weeks. It's the beginning of triathlon racing season and I will occasionally be out of reach of a computer for days at a time. Plus, I am in the final stages of preparation for Ironman Coeur d' Alene on June 27 and my training is reaching crescendo. I've done two very intense 100 mile bike rides in the last three days. That doesn't leave much time or energy for other hobbies.

No. Ronald Reagan Won The Cold War

I realize that the Washinton Post is trying to be gracious. But, it must be pointed out that the Cold War didn't end. The United States won it. And the United States never could have won with presidents like Carter, Clinton or, God forbid, John Kerry. We won it because of presidents like Kennedy, Bush and yes, most especially, Ronald Reagan.

Friday, June 04, 2004

First, Secret European Leaders, Now Secret Soldiers

John Kerry says that the military wants him as its commander in chief.

"You'd be amazed at the number of active duty personnel who are coming up at events around the country, greeting me in ropelines or coming to rallies and telling me how important it is for us to stand up and fight for those who are not able to speak out for themselves right now for obvious reasons," Kerry said.

More Bad News For Democrats

The eonomy added 248,000 full time jobs in May.

A Pattern?

One commentator sees a pattern in yesterday's news that George Tenet's resignation fits into.

"You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the connections," said one unnamed expert. "I wouldn't be surprised if Valerie Plame's name comes up in all of this."

We Just Don't Know

Of course, it's entirely possible that George Tenet told the truth about the impetus for his resignation.

At least the New York Times and The Washington Post admitted that they didn't know any better, and didn't waste their readers' time guessing.

No such modesty at Newsweek though.

A Just War

Since when do we have to justify freeing oppressed people. That used to be America's duty. Now, we are on the defensive.

Clifford May recollects Saddam's sadistic despotism for those who have willfully forgotten it.

Was this war necessary? It is tempting to believe that – had we only left Saddam alone -- he would have confined his atrocities to Iraqis and their neighbors, that he would have spared Americans. Overwhelming evidence contradicts that view.

From the heroic statues he dedicated to himself, it was obvious that Saddam dreamed of becoming a Middle Eastern emperor. The Gulf War forced Saddam to defer that dream, to disgorge Kuwait, to dismantle his nuclear weapons program – a program that in 1991 was found to be much further along than intelligence analysts had estimated.

No Clean, Neat Endings

Charles Krauthammer reminds us (and others are probably learning for the first time), that post war instability is the norm and that there is nothing unusual about the insurrections in Iraq.

Yes, Iraq is a mess. Postwar settlements almost invariably are. Particularly in a country where the removal of a totalitarian dictator leaves a total political vacuum. Of course there are difficulties and dangers ahead, and no guarantee of success. But the transition to Iraqi rule is under way. The first critical step has just been taken.

The Political Paranormal

Daniel Henninger argues that Michael Moore, Al Gore's, and George Soro's recent hysterical rants expose a madness within the Democratic Party.

It is a style of politics that has committed believers. The day after Mr. Gore's remarkably intense anti-Bush speech ("a policy based on domination of the rest of the world"), the New York Times carried a story saying some Democrats prefer Mr. Gore's semi-hinged political style (my descriptor, not the Times') to John Kerry's too decorous style of politics.

FDR Had The Greatest Generation, Bush Must Deal With The Worst, His Own

Editorial rooms around the country undoubtedly erupted into storms of snorts yesterday afternoon when word spread that President George W. Bush had compared the war on terror to World War II. I’m confident that in the end, the flashes and booms heard in Seattle Wednesday night will ultimately be attributed to the coincidence of a million simultaneous indignant sniffs emanating from Emerald City coffee houses and poetry reading rooms.
But the comparison is valid. The war is worldwide. It will take a long time to win. And, as long as the country’s morale is not broken from within, we will win.
But the war on terror is also very different from World War II. And on the eve of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, it’s worth noting the differences.
First of all, we have a major political party that has aligned its political fortunes with our defeat, and has done all in its oratorical power to sow defeatism. As survey after survey has revealed, that political party almost monopolizes the mainstream media. The result is an unrelenting stream of what has gone wrong. Imagine how a press hostile to Roosevelt would have reported the battle at Guadalcanal. At Guadalcanal, we sent under-supplied Marines beyond the range of resupply. They were short of ammunition. They had to feed themselves with captured Japanese stores. The First Marines took Guadalcanal. But, the conditions under which they had to fight would have been used by Roosevelt’s opponents to disparage his capacity as a war time leader.
Today, we have retired know-it-alls relentlessly predicting our next move in the war or second-guessing our last move. As D-Day approached, we would have had retired colonels and brigadier generals on the tube every night telling all they knew about the allied order of battle and predicting just how and where the hammer would fall. And Hitler would have tuned in to Aaron Brown every night, just as Osama Bin Laden or his lieutenants undoubtedly do.
In the 1940’s the phrase “loose lips sink ships” was taken seriously. In 2004, loose lips draw big paychecks.
It’s worth remembering that today’s second guessers were recently taking orders from the people running things today. The military is one of the last bastions of meritocracy. It’s just possible that those still working reached their station by being smarter than their retired former subordinates.
Imagine, if you will, what World War II might have been like if Franklin Roosevelt and General Dwight Eisenhower had to fight World War II in the media climate that Bush must endure to fight the war on terrorism.
“Why are you fighting in North Africa?” the self-anointed strategic experts would demand. “Morocco never attacked us,” they would argue.
“Why mess with Guadalcanal? What did they ever do to us?” Aren’t we at war with Japan?
Roosevelt would have been excoriated by the New York Times for destroying the heavy water plant in Norway. “Were all those Norwegian civilian deaths necessary? What proof do you have that Germany had a weapons of mass destruction program?”
There was no CIA then, and thus no director to blame for faulty intelligence. But CNN would have demanded that somebody walk the plank unless proof of a German weapons-of-mass-destruction program existed. If Germany had such weapons, then wouldn’t Hitler have used them?
And, can you imagine any paper in 1944 doubting the moral superiority of the United States versus the Nazis? Just two days ago, this corner of this very newspaper described Iraq as under an American “boot heel.” Really! Kicking out a despot and trying to bring democracy and peace to that tortured region of the world is comparable to a “boot heel.”
A reminder is necessary here. Democracy exists where it does today because we imposed it. The twentieth century dawned on a Europe ruled mostly by monarchies. By 1940, despotic dictators ruled most of the continent. Democracy in various forms rules there today because we insisted upon it. Europeans warred with one another for thousands of year until we enforced the peace.
Nazis apply boot heels. Communists apply boot heels. Islamofascists strive to place us under their boot heels.
Roosevelt and Bush did have to face one thing in common. Both had a Kennedy who made defeatism their cause and had sympathy for our enemy.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

And Even More Bad News For Democrats

Iraq's most influential Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (no, it's not that lardball Al Sadr) endorsed Iraq's new government, even though it's president is a Sunni.

"Still, it is hoped that the government will prove (its) efficiency and integrity, as well as ... its resolve to carry out the big tasks it has been assigned," Sistani said..

His endorsement gives a much-needed boost to the interim government, which takes over from the coalition on June 30.

The elderly, Iranian-born cleric, who holds huge sway over Iraq's 60 percent Shiite majority, urged the new government to get "a clear Security Council resolution enabling the Iraqis to restore full sovereignty" and work hard to end Iraq's occupation.

Good Riddance

CIA director George Tenet has resigned.

Even More Bad News For Democrats

Productivity is soaring! And pay is going up accordingly

The productivity of America’s workers in the opening quarter of 2004 grew at a brisk 3.8 percent annual rate, faster than previously thought. Labor costs moved up.

Then and Now

War in the era of CNN.

It was refreshing recently to see a front page of the New York Times that was not full of editorials disguised as "news" stories, undermining the war and the president. However, it was a souvenir front page, reprinted from the New York Times of June 6, 1944 -- reporting on the invasion of Normandy that day.

More Bad News For Democrats

Rather than moving jobs off shore, the American manufacturing sector of the economy is booming.

According to just-released data from the Institute of Supply Management, which tracks the manufacturing sector, new orders, production, order backlogs, export orders and employment were very strong in May. The industrial sector is so strong that the speed of supplier deliveries has hit its highest level since April 1979. This means that firms cannot produce fast enough to meet rising demand, which is why commodity prices continue to climb. As a result, capacity use keeps growing and inventories are still too low in relation to skyrocketing sales.

Meanwhile, new factory hiring has jumped to a 31-year high, the best since 1973. Of more than 400 industrial firms surveyed, 36 percent added workers in May, while just 7 percent had fewer workers. This is another nail in the coffin of the jobless recovery. As the inventory-rebuilding process ratchets up over the next year, expect even more job creation to follow.

Starved For Book Three

About 13 years ago, I wrote a letter to William Manchester. I informed him that I was suffering a severe case of "Last Lion" withdrawal and wanted to know when I could expect the final volume of his Wintons Churchill biography.

He actually wrote me back. I still have the letter. He told me that he was having health problems and that it would be a few years before he could finish the book.

William Manchester died earlier this week without ever finishing "The Last Lion."

However painful is that loss, there was also some gain. After initially announcing that he would not finish the series, Manchester did resume work, and recently consented to having another author finsh the final book. The publisher expects to have the book on the shelves by 2007. I can hardly wait.


We are approaching the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Historian Paul Johnson takes a moment to revive some memories.

And reminds us that politics can never be separated from war.

These reflections of D-Day and its aftermath remind us that military decisions can never be entirely separated from their political consequences. Geopolitics is like a game of chess: You have to think a dozen moves ahead. This is as true today as in 1944-45. When President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to destroy Saddam Hussein's military power, they took a risk that was abundantly justified both geopolitically and morally. But they paid insufficient attention to the possible political consequences.

Unlike Montgomery in 1944, who never underestimated the German genius for counterattack, and made provision against it, the allies this time did not study and prepare for the peculiar Arab genius for counterattack, which is to carry out prolonged and vicious guerilla warfare, completely disregarding human life, including their own. Moreover they did not study and prepare for the difficulties of meeting this form of counterattack against the political background of a free society at home, reacting nightly to what it sees on TV, and reading highly critical reports from the front written by journalists who have their own opinions and agendas and feel under no obligation to pursue the war (and peace) aims of the allied commanders. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair are currently suffering from their lack of provision and foresight.

Given patience and determination, all will be well in time: Democracy and the rule of law will grow in the Middle East, and the roots of terrorism will be destroyed. But we are learning, once again, that the lessons history has to teach are inexhaustible and that statesmen should never plunge into the future, as we did in Iraq, without first examining what guidance the past could supply.