Sunday, January 30, 2005

They Held an Election in Iraq

...and from all reports it went pretty darn well.

The blogosphere covered it as thoroughly and as well as has become its quality trademark. But I think this historic event can be symbolized by two fingers:

Another Contributor!

Welcome aboard, TC!

The USAF kept TC quiet for eighteen of his twenty year stint by making him a "Voting Officer" which meant he got people registered to vote and, by law, expressed no opinions of his own politically. After being gagged for all that time he was quite surprised to find he had some fairly concrete opinions hidden.

TC's a Republican Party precinct rep and State Convention Delegate.

He makes his living supporting computer systems at a State MR facility. With two preschoolers (actually they are in K3 and K4 classes already) and a constant 6-9 hour class load, his copious free time is spread out quite thinly.

TC is working (30 years and counting) on an undergraduate degree in Business Management with a double major in Communication Information Systems.

During the monsoon season TC volunteers as a Red Cross Disaster Worker and provides amateur radio support to the Hurricane shelters. He's active in his Masonic Lodge, several ham radio clubs and occasionally puts on a musical presentation for the clients Music Club at the MR center (guitar and voice)

TC has, in his "checkered" past, worked as a HQ Engineering & Installation Division Quality Assurance Manager, Navigational & Weather Systems repair technician, AF OSHA inspector, editor and technical writer for Air Force manuals and regulations, E&I Team Chief, RadioShack Computer Specalist, plumber, construction laborer, produce handler at a farmer's market, mechanic, and photo journalist.

TC's current hobbies (subject to change at whim) are centered around playing and collecting guitars, target shooting and competition, a 22' sailboat and amateur radio....with a half build radio controlled glider on hold for warmer weather.

And now, it would seem, blogging as well.

Coming of Age Moment?

My little girl has been as sick as I've been this past week, but she loves bastketball and didn't want to let down her teammates yesterday, so we all sucked it up and ventured out into the cold and damp for her game, both the venue and time of which were rescheduled earlier in the week.

Their opponents were the same team that physically thrashed them a year ago in their worst defeat of last season. That encounter was at their gym; yesterday was the rematch.

It's difficult for me to say how much better my daughter's team is or how much their opponents have dropped off, or whether it was just home court advantage. But the game was much more competitive this time, though for at least the first half it looked like the end result wasn't going to change very much.

One thing about team sports at the sixth grade level is that on any given team, only one or two players will have any real talent, and the remaining kids are just taking up space. Yeah, that's cruel, but it's also true. And I can say that, since my daughter is in the latter category.

In basketball, the few talented kids will be the ones who dominate the ball. If an ordinary kid brings the ball down, s/he will back it in until s/he's two feet behind the backboard and swarmed by all five defenders and throws the ball away. That happened countless times in the first half, and it was made worse by the fact that the other team boasted two really tall girls who took turns erasing one shot after another.

What kept the game in reach was that, unlike last year, this year's version of the rival opposition wasn't as talent offensively. So an initial four-point deficit never got any worse, and the game was tied back up at the half.

The third quarter belonged to my daughter and her teammates. Oh, she was still feeling tired from being sick all week (she took no shots but did have a steal and a rebound), but her teammates came out like a band possessed. Gone was the timidity and passivity on both ends of the court. Now they were actually taking open shots and making quite a few of them (for sixth graders, you understand...). It was like both the girls AND their coaches really wanted this one.

A four point lead after three quarters quickly disappeared, but the girls held on for a hard-fought 24-18 victory in which, for a change, it was two girls on the other team who took some hard spills and had to come out of the game. Not that I'm celebrating THAT part, but I was very impressed by the effort put forth by our girls. This was the kind of game that they would always lose last year. They'd beat smaller teams, but whenever the other kids were their own size or bigger, they'd all but mail it in.

Not this year.

What a way (3-1) to go into the bye week. Next Saturday sonny boy and his crew are back in action.

Hopefully he brings his shooting eye with him, and a better attitude to match.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The BPC (Blogosphere Prayer Chain) Activates

During the week I check in with the conservative megablogs (TKS, Powerline, Captain's Quarters) several times a day. However, on the weekends, especially during basketball season, that frequency drops to once, and that's just to harvest links for my topical links pages.

Consequently, it was only just now that I learned of the need of Ed Morrissey's wife for a pancreas transplant.

My visceral reaction was, "Oh, my God, I didn't know they even DID pancreas transplants - is she okay?" Each blogger chooses to reveal as much of his/her personal life as s/he wills, and Captain Ed has disclosed something of his wife's health problems in the past, and maybe I missed this level of disclosure, but I had no idea it was THIS bad.

Two things I've learned from life's trials - which, in my case, don't even remotely approach this - is that (1) nobody who isn't in the trial him/herself can possibly truly understand what it's like to live with it first hand, day after day after day; and (2) prayers and good wishes from others aren't meant to mimic that level of empathy, and do feel good nonetheless.

And the blogosphere being network-ive by its very nature, it lends itself, I would think, to a treasure trove of love, friendship, and support.

So the piecemeal, ever-evolving team at Hard Starboard officially joins, and endorses, Captain Ed's request for prayers for his wife and the "family on the East Coast" who lost a loved one whose pancreas was a near-miss as a match for Mrs. Morrissey. I'll also forward Ed's page to my own congregation's email prayer chain.

Hang in there, guys. God is holding you in the palm of His hand.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Political "Fatal Attraction"?

Is the Left's fat bastard feeling jilted, is he just pissed over his BS crockumentary not getting a Best Picture nomination, or could he actually be developing a political inferiority complex?

Disgruntled conspiracy filmmaker Michael Moore blasted the Democratic Party on Thursday, saying its field of candidates for 2008 consists of "a lot of wimps and losers.""The Democrats are going to have a very hard time winning the next election," he told London's Channel Four. "The Republicans have a number of star players and the Democrats have a lot of wimps and losers."

What "number of star players"? The only pachyderm I see out there that could be nationally viable is Jeb Bush, and at least for right now he says he isn't running. The others are either governors who aren't ready or senators, who can't win by definition.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is the de facto incumbent in '08, so assured is her hold on the Dem nomination, and she's one of the few hard-lefties who isn't making a complete ass of herself. Indeed, it's people like Double-M who are making it effortless for her to triangulate between them and the GOP.

If the Donk grassroots weren't certifiably crazoid, I would suspect the "big, fat, stupid white man" of being in on it.

Only last month Moore was calling Hillary Clinton a Democratic Party star who had a good chance of winning in 2008. But her widely reported move to the center has apparently turned him off.

Sure it has. And when she is coronated at the '08 Dem convention, he'll be bowing down to her golden calf right along with the other lib pagans. That's precisely why Mrs. Clinton has the luxury of triangulating, unlike any of her would-be rivals.

Moore was particularly irked that so many Democrats, including Clinton, voted to confirm Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week.

"It was a disgusting sight and indicative of who the Democrats are," he told Channel Four.


"They are lazy and they're cowards and I'm just hoping that the more they continue to act like that the more it will encourage Americans to run against them and put the US back in the hands of the working class, where it belongs."

Good Lord, the verbal lynching they inflicted on her wasn't sufficient? Was he really expecting a filibuster? Well, so was I, as a matter of fact. Score one for me.

As to "Americans running against Democrats and putting the US back in the hands of the working class," we already have people like that - they're called "Republicans."

Moore said the GOP is much more aggressive. "Bush and the Republicans have no shame and will resort to anything in order to win. The Democrats show up to a gun fight with a butter knife and thus they lose."

No, the Democrats showed up with tire irons, brass knuckles, numbchucks, and baseball bats, and they still lost. That's what people like Double-M will never grasp: that just because they hated George Bush's guts didn't mean a majority of voters did. They ran on a cult of anti-personality, while the President ran on a positive, pro-active issues platform that most Americans liked.

Plus, most people liked Dubya personally as well. And that sure as hell wasn't the Democrats' fault. All of which goes to show that sometimes, it's as difficult to make chicken salad into chickenbleep as it is the reverse.

The radical movieman said he "prayed nightly" that Bush's "many scandals" would catch up to him and end his second term prematurely.

Prayed? To Whom? I thought he didn't like Hillary now.

Instead, said Moore, "I will promise you that I will donate as much of my time as I can in the coming months to see that the anti-Bush movement transforms itself into a massive anti-war movement so we can bring these troops home."

What's the old expression? "If wishes and buts were cherries and nuts, every day would be Christmas."

And Michael Moore would look like Brad Pitt.

9/11 victims were "little Eichmanns"?!?

Warning: some impolite language follows. Forgive me, but I think it's warranted on this topic.

Now, then - would somebody explain to me why anybody should have to put up with this bullshit?

A University of Colorado professor who suggested the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were justified and those who died in the World Trade Center were not innocent victims has ignited protests on an upstate New York college campus where he's been invited to speak.

Ward Churchill, an expert on indigenous issues and chairman of the ethnic studies program at CU-Boulder, will take part in a panel discussion Feb. 3 at Hamilton College.

Administrators defended Churchill's appearance but admitted his views are considered "repugnant and disparaging" by many people.

"Hamilton, like any institution committed to the free exchange of ideas, invites to its campus people of diverse opinions, often controversial," the school said in a statement from college spokesman Michael DeBraggio.

In a treatise titled "Some People Push Back," written after the bombings, Churchill asserted the nearly 3,000 people killed at the World Trade Center worked for "the mighty engine of profit" but chose to ignore their role.

"True enough, they were civilians of a sort," he wrote. "But innocent? Gimme a break."

Churchill went on to describe the World Trade Center victims as "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolph Eichmann, who carried out Hitler's plan to exterminate Europe's Jews during World War II. [my emphases]

Of course, it's people like this SOB who also want to see Israel stomped out of existence as well, and who believe that the Jews "really" run the world economy, too.

Jim Geraghty's reaction was telling:

On the one hand, Churchill (Egads, how did this man end up with that honorable name?) has a First Amendment right to saw whatever he wants to say. On the other hand, if somebody called the 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns" in my presence, I have no idea whether I could restrain my outrage and keep my objection merely verbal.

I don't know how applicable First Amendment protections are in this instance. Just as you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, so this execrable "speech" can, at the very least, be classified as "hate speech," it seems to me. Certainly it qualifies as "fighting words." So let me put my own spin on appropriate reaction to it.

If somebody called the 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns" in my presence, I would tear him/her enough verbal assholes to be figuratively regular for the rest of his/her natural life. But if I were related to any of the 9/11 victims and the same thing took place, they would have to pull me off of the bastard with about a gallon of tranquilizer and a jaws of life.

In any case, "Professor" Churchill, let me give you the time-honored double-middle-finger salute. And be very, very careful where you abuse that right to "free speech" - you never know just who might be listening.

UPDATE: Looks like the squeaky wheel still can attract some grease after all....

"Zarqawi" is Arabic for "Kennedy"

The Massachusetts Manatee is a disgusting traitor.

The American military's continued presence in Iraq is fanning the flames of conflict, and signals the need for a new detailed timeline to bring the troops home, Senator Edward M. Kennedy said Thursday.

No, it is the jihadi invaders who are "fanning the flames of conflict"; the American military is the nemesis that is defeating them, and will continue to do so unless and until Senator Zarqawi's quislingist advice is heeded.

Just three days before the Iraqi people go to the polls to elect a new government, the Massachusetts Democrat said America must give Iraq back to its people rather than continue an occupation that parallels the failed politics of the Vietnam war. [my emphasis]

We HAVE given Iraqis their country back. Senator Zarqawi wants to take it away from them and turn it back over to the Ba'athists and jihadis, which would result in a bloodbath on a par with the killing fields of Cambodia and other regions of Indochina that followed the last implementation of his "failed politics of the Vietnam war."

But think about the highlighted passage above: "just three days before the Iraqi people go to the polls to elect a new government." What purpose could this pro-jihadi speech have other than as a desperate, last-ditch attempt to tear down Iraq's burgeoning democracy? And how does that make Uncle Ted any different from the terrorists?

"The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution," Kennedy said in remarks prepared for delivery at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. "We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces."

It is the enemy invaders who are the "problem." Their defeat is the solution to that problem. And the U.S. military is the instrument of that solution.

We have a plan in place already that is working like clockwork. Remember when people like Senator Zarqawi scoffed that power wouldn't, couldn't be turned over to the Iraqi interim government last June 30th? And it wasn't - it was turned over two days early. Then people like Senator Zarqawi immediately started insulting and denigrating Prime Minister Iyad Allawi as a "puppet" of the Bush Administration. Now people like Senator Zarqawi - including Senator Zarqawi - are trying their damndest to talk down and discredit Sunday's Iraqi election. And they'll fail there as well.

What does Senator Zarqawi mean by "fair and realistic goals," BTW? Who determines what that is to mean? Isn't an elected Iraqi assembly better qualified to do so than some UN conference fleshed out by old Saddamite pensioners? Why doesn't Senator Zarqawi want Iraqis to determine their own destiny?

Now, Kennedy said, the United States and the insurgents are both battling for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and the U.S. is losing.

This is as grotesque as it is delusional. We saved the Iraqi people from a brutal, murderous dictator; the enemy is killing as many Iraqi civilians as they can. We're offering the Iraqi people freedom and self-determination; the enemy is offering the Iraqi people death and tyranny even more harrowing than the brand from which we liberated them.

The "hearts and minds" litmus test is turnout in this Sunday's national elections. If it approaches 80%, which is increasingly being discussed as a likely possibility, what will that say about whether we or the "insurgents" are winning the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people?

"There may well be violence as we disengage militarily from Iraq and Iraq disengages politically from us, but there will be much more violence if we continue our present dangerous and destabilizing course," said Kennedy. "It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin."

"Violence" in the sense of the terrorists being systematically decimated. If we cut and run, as Senator Zarqawi urges, the violence will flow entirely in the direction of jihadi vengeance against the Iraqi people for defying their 7th-century will - much like what happened after the last unnecessary, contrived, pell-mell retreat he helped to perpetrate. Like in Vietnam, all our sacrifices will have been for naught; but, unlike Vietnam, we'll have suffered a huge defeat in the GWOT that was entirely self-inflicted, and the enemy, confident that they'd taken our best shot, will come swarming toward our homeland with God-knows-what with unstoppable momentum to butcher us by the thousands.

And "Billionaire Ted" wouldn't be touched by any of it.

This treasonous soliloquoy says far more about the "heart and mind" of Senator Zarqawi than it does anything else. And both are irredeemably diseased.

UPDATE: Mark Noonan urges that Ted Kennedy be censured for his actions. I heartily agree - this is the bare minimum that should be done to him.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"Nothing succeeds like failure"

Still sick, still swamped at work. This week has become about two notches above a death march.

In the meantime, here's a column that gives RINO arrogance the lampooning hell it deserves (reprinted here with permission of


They have a poor record at the ballot box, but Republican Party "moderates" or RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) are arguing, in effect, that nothing succeeds like failure.

Former EPA Administrator and two-term New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman wants you to believe that significant Republican gains in recent years came in spite of the party's conservative leadership.

Though the liberals of the party have a record of keeping Republicans in the wilderness for years at a time, they claim they are best equipped to "save" the GOP from disaster at the hands of "the far right." Judging by Whitman's writings, "the far right" includes any successful Republican official who runs and wins on conservative principles.

She is not alone, of course. When I was in the Big Apple to cover last summer's Republican National Convention for, I spotted an ad in the New York Times by self-described "moderates" urging the Grand Old Party to "Come Back to the Mainstream."
Signed by a group of has-beens and never-wases (including at least one who supported John Kerry for president), the ad basically accused President Bush of failing to protect the health of Americans and not appointing "mainstream" judges, a euphemism for cheerleading Tom Daschle's filibuster strategy.

Now comes Christie Whitman with a book titled "It's My Party Too," a tome that urges "radical moderates" to wage a fight to take back the party from conservatives.

Conservative Republican consultant Craig Shirley says he is inviting Whitman to be his guest at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in late February. Shirley says Whitman can then "learn why the GOP now controls the White House, the U.S. House and Senate and most governorships in the country."

It would be interesting if Whitman actually showed up at CPAC, but don't hold your breath. She seems to have a tin ear when it comes to realizing what works for the party and what does not. Her book lectures the Republicans to get with it and dump the policies that led them to victory at the polls, and instead adopt her "moderate" strategy, which has a history of failure after failure.

Governor Whitman's book "would have had more resonance if we [the Republicans] had lost the election," a bemused Indiana Congressman Mike Pence told Pence, who heads the Republican Study Committee (RSC, a group of conservative House Republicans), believes there was a rush to the galleys to change the book's wording after Kerry lost.

Indeed, it's reasonable to speculate that the book was written in the expectation (hope?) that Bush and the Republicans would lose the election, thus enabling Whitman's book to make the case that "moderates" can "rescue" the party from its conservative folly. Instead, she had to reword it to say, in effect, "Well, yes, the party won, but if Republicans listen to me, they will still do better."

There is so much in this book that ignores reality that it is extremely difficult to know where to begin in trying to refute it without writing an entire book to set the record straight. I will attempt to sum up a response to her direct arguments in another article. Before we do that, however, we should examine the RINO track record as political strategy, both nationally and in Whitman's New Jersey.

Christine Whitman attracted national attention in 1990 when she came close to defeating incumbent Democrat Bill Bradley for the U.S. Senate. She came back in 1993 to become the first candidate to defeat an incumbent governor (Democrat Jim Florio) in the Garden State's modern history.

In both instances, the biggest issue was taxes. Bradley ignored voter outrage over Florio's tax hikes, and Florio's huge tax increases ultimately brought him down.

Interestingly enough, Whitman's gubernatorial campaign, which had been floundering, was rescued with the help of an ardent conservative, Forbes magazine editor Steve Forbes. He helped Whitman craft a tax-cutting plan that was pivotal in her primary and general election victories in 1993.

Whitman makes no mention of Forbes in her book. He becomes a non-person, but not for the first time. Governor Whitman also turned her back on Forbes when he ran for president. She thanked her fellow New Jerseyan for his help by supporting one of his presidential primary opponents, Bob Dole, in 1996.

When Whitman resigned as governor to become President Bush's EPA administrator in Washington in 2001, Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine wrote in the Newark-based newspaper, "Like a dinner companion who goes to the rest room just before the bill shows up, Christie Whitman seems prepared to take off for Washington just as New Jersey's residents are getting stuck with the bill for the biggest state bond issue in American history."

"This is going to do irreparable harm. She's leaving us holding the bag," Bagota, N.J., Mayor Steve Lonegan told NewsMax at the time as he was preparing a lawsuit challenging the legality of the $8.6 million bond issue. (Lonegan is now widely discussed as a possible gubernatorial candidate in this year's election.)

So, what happened between Whitman's successful tax-cutting first two years (when she was riding a wave of popularity) and her ignominious exit that left behind a bond issue of questionable legality?

Richard Kamin, who was the Whitman administration's Director of Motor Vehicles (DMV), says fiscal policy was sound as long as Brian Clymer was her state treasurer. When Clymer left, according to Kamin in a NewsMax interview, that discipline collapsed. Clymer's impressive resume includes a stint as federal transit administrator for the first President Bush.
Some Republicans believe Christine Todd Whitman can take a share of the blame for twice enabling the continued career of Frank Lautenberg, one of the state's leading liberal Democrat politicians.

1. In 1994, generally a good year for Republicans, then New Jersey state Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian (pronounced High-tie-yan) appeared to be well on his way to ousting two-term incumbent Lautenberg in a race for U.S. Senate.

Aside from his mastery of the ethnic politics of New Jersey, Haytaian's candidacy was getting a boost from his repeated appearances on the "Bob Grant Show," then on New York City's WABC Radio, which covers New Jersey. But during the campaign, the left-wing New York Magazine published a hatchet job on Grant.

Lautenberg then used the anti-Grant screed to beat Haytaian over the head in a "guilt-by-association" approach. When confronted with the article and pressured by the media, Governor Whitman joined in the magazine attack on Grant. Of course, that did not help Haytaian, who went on to lose to Lautenberg by a mere 3 percentage points. Some loyalists think Whitman's actions made the difference. (Grant ultimately went on to WOR, where he landed on his feet).

2. In 2002, the re-election campaign of Democrat U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli was rocked by scandal. When the uproar became intolerable, Torricelli had to bow out of the race. That appeared to clear the way for Republican candidate Doug Forrester to win by default.

But thanks to the Whitman-stacked State Supreme Court, that was not to be. The Democrats recruited Lautenberg – who had retired from the Senate two years earlier – to run in Torricelli's place. Just one problem: New Jersey law did not contain a provision for substituting a new candidate so late in the campaign unless a candidate had died. The GOP thus argued that putting Lautenberg on the ballot was unlawful.

The New Jersey Supreme Court – "made up of judicial activists from both parties," according to the Almanac of American Politics – decided otherwise. Lautenberg, with high name recognition, won.

A solid majority of the justices who ignored the law had been appointed by Governor Whitman. And why had a Republican governor appointed such activist judges? It seems that Whitman – who had an "in your face" attitude toward the many in her party who disagreed with her pro-choice stance on the abortion issue – went out of her way to appoint liberals and "feminists" to the state's highest tribunal, apparently unaware that the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington had taken the abortion issue out of the hands of the state courts.

Had she instead appointed justices whose rulings were guided by what the law says rather than what they wish it would say, chances are Lautenberg would have had to run a write-in campaign if he wanted to get into the race. That would have left Republican Forrester with an advantage. Like the return of Dracula, Lautenberg's career had been saved again – however inadvertently – by Whitman's war on GOP conservatives.

Whitman is by no means the first "moderate" Republican governor of the Garden State. Tom Kean, whose world outlook is similar to Whitman's, held that top job for two terms in the '80s.
Whereas Whitman went out of her way to emphasize her war on party conservatives, Kean made conservatives a part of his coalition.

Whereas Whitman was re-elected by a razor-thin margin in 1997 (because of a third-party conservative candidate, who provided an alternative for conservatives who believed they were unwelcome in Whitman's GOP), Kean was re-elected in 1985 with 70 percent of the vote, including 60 percent of the state's minority voters.

Speaking of electoral success, let's take a quick look at "moderate" performance in running things in the Republican Party.

With the GOP under conservative leadership controlling the White House and enjoying increasing majorities in the House and Senate, how does that compare with the history of "moderate Republican" stewardship?

In fairness, we will ignore the last year of the hapless "moderate" Gerald Ford's tenure in the White House. Democrats dominated everywhere else, but the normal electoral process had been warped by the intervention of Watergate. Moreover, Richard Nixon governed as a liberal, but much of his rhetoric was conservative. So that doesn't give us a clear picture either.

That leads us to Ike.

In the first year of Dwight Eisenhower's presidency (1953), the Senate was controlled by Republicans 48-46. In the final year of Ike's "moderate" Republican administration (1960), the lineup was 64 Democrats and 34 Republicans – a loss of 14 senators.

In 1953, Ike had a House in the hands of Republicans by 221-213. In his last year, Democrats ruled the House by the whopping margin of 283-153, a loss of 60 congressmen. (The totals in both chambers did not include tiny numbers of "independents" from time to time, but did account for temporarily larger totals in the House right after Alaska and Hawaii had been admitted to the union).

Figures provided by the Council of State Governments show the GOP had 25 governors at the outset of Ike's leadership. By the time he left the White House, there were a mere 16 Republican governors.

Great job of rebuilding the party, "moderate"-style. Right?

Now let's see how the Republicans fared in New Jersey under Governor Whitman's "moderate" rule.

When she was elected in 1993, the Republicans in 1991 had been swept into total veto-proof control of the Legislature: 27-13 in the Senate, 58-22 in the House. After the 2001 elections – the first opportunity the voters had for a referendum on eight years of "moderate" GOP rule (including Whitman's seven years) – the Democrats won control of the House, 44-36, and secured a 20-20 tie in the Senate.

If Governor Whitman is to claim, as she does, that it's time for "moderates" to take control of the party, it is reasonable to ask why the Republicans were weakened when she was in the driver's seat. This appears to be an argument that says nothing succeeds like failure.

UPDATE: Patrick Ruffini takes his licks at Christi as well....

One more sore loser

Newsmax does us the favor (?) of bringing to our attention the latest missive from our old friend, George Soros, distributed via email to his supporters the other day:

Soros charged that when the President declared war on terror, "he used that war to invade Iraq. When no connection with Al Qaeda could be established and no weapons of mass destruction could be found, he declared that we invaded Iraq to introduce democracy."

In point of fact Mr. Bush cited all three as part of his case for liberating Iraq. What he emphasized was Saddam's defiance of eighteen UNSCRs, including #1441 that promised "severe consequences" in the event of noncompliance. And Saddam didn't comply.

Also in point of fact, there is a long and documented history of collaboration between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. The case that couldn't be definitively made was that there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11, and the Bush Administration never attempted to make that case.

We are now, he predicts, "about to convert elections in Iraq into a civil war between a Shi'a-Kurd dominated government and a Sunni insurrection," a charge the Administration and Iraqi officials deny.

Boy, is HE in for a shock. As John Podorhetz observed yesterday, the principle reason for such diehard, unfounded pessimism is because White House foes are desperate to "pre-empt" any public perception of success for the Bush Iraq policy and the Bush Doctrine in general.

But even if Soros' prediction were at all likely, it would argue for our continued military presence in Iraq, not cutting and running.

Moreover, Soros, a rabid internationalist, insisted that in Iraq and beyond, "when Bush says that 'freedom will prevail,' many interpret him to mean that America will prevail. This has impugned our motives and deprived us of whatever moral authority we once had in intervening in other countries' domestic affairs."

No, "when Bush says that 'freedom will prevail,' people like George Soros interpret him to mean that 'America will prevail.' Just as it is people like George Soros who constantly impugne our motives and try to deprive us of whatever moral authority we once had."

And we did NOT "intervene in Iraq's domestic affairs." That description fits Bill Clinton's military adventures in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, none of which I've ever seen that Mr. Soros has ever had a problem with.

Soros boasts that he has spent billions around the world using "foundations operating on the ground and led by citizens who understand the limits of the possible in their countries.

"To explain what is wrong with the new Bush doctrine, I have to invoke the concept of open society," he wrote, adding that this concept has guided him in his efforts "to foster freedom around the world."

You'll note he provides no examples. And he is AGAINST "fostering freedom" in Iraq.

The U.S., "the most successful open society in the world," he wrote, does not "properly understand the first principles of an open society; indeed, its current leadership actively disavows them. The concept of open society is based on the recognition that nobody possesses the ultimate truth, and that to claim otherwise leads to repression. In short, we may be wrong."

Morally relativistic nonsense. Soros claims to understand what goes into making a "successful open society" yet denies the very principles of America's founding, which the President eloquently proclaimed a week ago today.

The President, however, refuses to acknowledge the possibility that he is wrong, "and his denial appeals to a significant segment of the American public" – the people who elected him twice, to Soros' dismay.

Why would he acknowledge such a thing? History has vindicated him and repudiated ignorant left-wing know-nothings like Soros. The analysis of which the Belmont Club gets into at some length today.

Soros says of the recent election that an "equally significant segment is appalled. This has left the US not only deeply divided, but also at loggerheads with much of the rest of the world, which considers our policies high-handed and arbitrary."

To which the proper answer is: so what? Funny that for a man who makes such a show of embracing moral relativism, he sure has an absolutist view of the inerrancy of "world opinion."

A real open society, Soros wrote, would be able to distinguish "between promoting freedom and democracy and promoting American values and interests. If it is freedom and democracy that we want, we can foster it only by strengthening international law and international institutions."

Ah - like the same den of thieves, murderers, and dictators that gave us the Oily Food scandal, I presume. Gotcha.

Mr. Soros wouldn't recognize "a real open society" if it bit him in the ass. Otherwise, he'd recognize, as the President does, that promoting freedom and democracy - which used to be a liberal staple - is entirely consistent with American values and interests.

But then, "a real open society" DID bite him in the ass - last November 2nd.

And chances are he'll never get over it.

Journalist payola nothing new

C'mon, if there's anything that even emits a hint of corruption, do you really think that Bill Clinton didn't have his piggy fingers in it?

Newsmax reports:

Ever since commentator Armstrong Williams admitted he took $280,000 to promote the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind policy, reporters have been pretending that they're "shocked, shocked!" that any journalist would compromise his objectivity so blatantly.

The latest target is marriage expert Maggie Gallagher, who on Wednesday found herself in the crosshairs of Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. Kurtz was questioning fees she collected for research performed for the Health and Human Services Administration.

Apparently Mr. Kurtz and the rest of the media ethics posse slept through the 1990s, when a number of reporters with much higher profiles than Williams and Gallagher supplemented their incomes with checks from the Clinton White House.

CBS News in particular seemed to have no qualms about some fairly blatant conflicts of interest, having Rita Braver and Linda Douglas cover the White House even though they both had financial relationships with the Clinton administration.

Braver's husband, Robert Barnett, who was the Clintons' Whitewater lawyer when Braver was assigned to the White House beat in late 1992, reportedly recused himself from his role as first-family attorney.

But in July 1993, Barnett was still up to his eyeballs in the Whitewater scandal, traveling to the White House after Vince Foster's death to collect papers investigators later said had been removed surreptitiously from Foster's office.

Barnett continued working for the Clintons in another capacity, as book agent, successfully negotiating $20 million worth of book deals for Bill and Hillary – beginning with Mrs. Clinton's 1998 screed, Dear Socks, Dear Buddy and continuing through Mr. Clinton's My Life last year.

Unless Barnett kept his Clinton paychecks isolated from the household budget, Ms. Braver likely benefited from the White House jackpot more than Williams and Gallagher put together – times 10!

If Ms. Braver ever mentioned her financial relationship to the White House during her news broadcasts, we missed it.

Braver is far from the only high-profile media personality whose spouse was on the Clinton payroll.

Time magazine's Matthew Cooper married longtime Clinton adviser Mandy Grunwald in November 1997. Hillary Clinton even threw Grunwald a baby shower at the White House in July 1998. At the time Cooper was covering presidential politics for Newsweek.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour married Clinton State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin in August 1998. Though Rubin presumably shared his administration paycheck with his new bride, the financial link was never an issue for the Armstrong Williams posse.

Sometime the cash flowed in the opposite direction.

As Byron York reported in 1998, CBS newswoman Linda Douglass [now with ABC] and her husband, an influential public interest lawyer named John Phillips, socialized often with Whitewater scandal figure Webster Hubbell and his wife, Suzy.

Within weeks of Hubbell's 1994 resignation from the Justice Department, said York, "Phillips put together a deal by which a California non-profit group paid Hubbell $45,000 to write a series of articles on the idea of public service.

"Later, Phillips and Douglass picked up much of the tab when they and the Hubbells flew to Greece for a ten-day vacation cruising the Aegean Sea. They stayed in touch after Hubbell pleaded guilty – and even after Hubbell went to prison."

Given examples like these, it would seem that the media ethics police have a lot of catching up to do before continuing the hunt for journalists on the Bush Administration payroll.

Corruption and hypocrisy, my, my, my. Just goes to reinforce one of my long-expressed adages, "for liberals, what you are, not what you do, is all that matters."

War is hell; losing is worse

Still sick, still swamped at work. This week has become about two notches above a death march.

In the meantime, here's a column that refreshes the proper perspective to have on the GWOT (reprinted here with permission of


If you are looking for a word to describe the President's inaugural address, try "grandiose," because that is what it was. Elegantly lyrical, it could have been accompanied by the "Ode to Joy" movement in Beethoven's majestic Ninth Symphony – soaring rhetoric dreamily envisioning a democratic world at peace.

I take no exception to his vision, but as uplifting it was, it dealt with the hoped-for final ending to our present trials and tribulations rather than a recognition of the state of the present conflict we mistakenly call the war on terrorism.

No matter how one views this war, it is global in nature, and, being global, it includes much of the Middle East, and that includes Iraq. Like it or no, Iraq is part of the war, and what happens there will have a huge impact on its ultimate outcome.

We are beginning to experience the first stirrings of Kriegschmerz – war weariness – the malady that helped defeat Germany in World War I. It saps the will of a nation to persevere in a lengthy struggle, and its ultimate effect is to provoke a strategy of cut and run.

The first line of that siren song we are hearing now includes the seductive words "exit strategy." This is another way of saying a planned cut-and-run strategy. I saw a cartoon the other day that well described this strategy: "Do one brave thing today and then run like hell."

Well, we did a brave thing in going into Iraq, driving out a brutal dictator, arranging to turn the nation over to the Iraqi people and establishing a beachhead on the main battlefield of the war on Islamic jihad. Now there are those who want us to run like hell before the job is done. That is their exit strategy.

It is time we took a step back and considered just what this war is all about. First of all, it is not a war against terrorism – that's a weapon, not a foe. It is a war against Islamic fundamentalism and the nations waging it against us, overtly and covertly.

We didn't start this war, which has its roots in the seventh and eighth centuries. As Thomas Madden points out in his new book, "A Concise History of the Crusades," Islam was born in war and grew the same way.

"From the time of Mohammed," he wrote "the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt – once the most heavily Christian areas in the world – quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. Under Suleiman the Magnificent the Turks came within a hair's breadth of capturing Vienna, which would have left all of Germany at their mercy."

Islam has never abandoned its goal of world conquest. As Jed Babbin wrote in the current American Spectator, "under the jihadist's reading of the Koran, only those who are true believers are entitled to life, and they must subjugate themselves to the dogma of jihad."
He goes on to explain that "jihadist ideology promises to restore the idealized Islamic past of a Muslim caliphate, ruling the civilized world."

That war continues today. Its first shot against the United States and the West was fired at the World Trade Center during the don't-rock-the-boat Clinton administration, which reacted by hoping the whole thing would go away and leave us alone to enjoy the benefits of the technology and stock market bubbles before they burst, hopefully in the next administration, under another president.

Another shot was the bombing of the USS Cole, also ignored by the Clinton administration. And then came 9/11, which was not ignored by the Bush Administration, which understood that we were at war and took the required actions.

Afghanistan and Iraq are our footholds in the midst of a Middle East dominated by Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria – the nation-states wedded to the jihad. The existence of a democratic Iraq is simply intolerable to these bellicose Islamic nations. Were we to abandon our foothold in Iraq, it would be quickly destabilized and absorbed by one of its neighbors and Iraq's condition would be far worse than it was before we invaded the country.

Cutting and running from the Middle East would bring the war to our homeland. Left to develop its nuclear capabilities, Iran could be expected to share them with its al-Qaida allies and we would be facing a serious nuclear threat here at home. Fighting the war here at home would entail the creation of a police state mechanism where all America would look like Washington, D.C., during the Inauguration – an armed camp devoid of most civil liberties. And there would be no exit strategy, nowhere to cut and run.

This war is going to last a long time, far beyond my lifetime and those of most Americans. We have no option but to persevere.

War is hell. Losing is worse.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"A protracted debate about a foregone conclusion"

All I can say is I'm glad I'm not a member of the United States Senate.

Over the weekend Senator Babs Boxhead claimed to be the victim of a vicious attack by Condoleezza Rice during her confirmation hearings last week:

Senator Barbara Boxer says she is the real victim of last week's confirmation hearing for Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, yet continued yesterday to question the national security adviser's honesty. "She turned and attacked me," the California Democrat told CNN's "Late Edition" in describing the confrontation during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "I gave Dr. Rice many opportunities to address specific issues. Instead, she said I was impugning her integrity," Mrs. Boxer said.

IOW, she gave Dr. Rice many opportunities to admit to all the recycled false charges made against the Bush Administration's Iraq policy from last year's presidential campaign - you know, the one that re-elected the President.

But what was this "attack"? Answer: Dr. Rice twice expressed her "hope" that Senator Boxhead would not "question my integrity".

Meanwhile, according to the transcript, Senator Boxhead launched at least half a dozen personal attacks against Dr. Rice:

When Senator Voinovich mentioned the issue of tsunami relief, you said - your first words were "The tsunami was a wonderful opportunity for us."

Now, the tsunami was one of the worst tragedies of our lifetime, one of the worst, and it's going to have a 10-year impact on rebuilding that area.

I was very disappointed in your statement. I think you blew the opportunity. You mentioned it as part of one sentence....

So in your statement, it takes you to page three to mention the word Iraq. Then you mention it in the context of elections, which is fine. But you never even mentioned indirectly the 1,366 American troops that have died or the 10,372 who have been wounded, many mentally. There's a report that I read over the weekend that maybe a third will come home and need help because of what they saw. It's been so traumatic to them.

And 25% of those dead are from my home state. This from a war that was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction....

And I think the way we should start is by trying to set the record straight on some of the things you said going into this war....

And I personally believe - this is my personal view - that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth. And I don't say it lightly. ...
And I will be placing into the record a number of such statements you made which have not been consistent with the facts....

So here you are, first contradicting the President and then contradicting yourself. So it's hard to even ask you a question about this, because you are on the record basically taking two sides of an issue....

And after all that, Dr. Rice merely said, "I really hope that you will refrain from questioning my integrity." Something tells me that if she weren't so classy and so disciplined, the woman that makes Babsy look like a three-watt bulb could have verbally reduced her to a grease puddle on the committee room floor if she'd wanted to.

But then, this wasn't really about Condoleezza Rice. This is to be the template for how the Democrats are going to operate in the 109th Congress: blanket obstruction and wall-to-wall scorched earth. Having ridden those tactics deep into the minority, they are simply redoubling their efforts in the same direction.

After Dr. - I beg your pardon, Secretary - Rice was confirmed this morning by the largest margin of any SecState in American history (85-13) - it fell to John McCain, of all people, to put this exercise in puerile futility in its proper perspective:

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Senator John McCain, R-AZ, suggested Democrats are sore losers. Rice had enough votes to win confirmation, as even her Democratic critics acknowledge, McCain said.

"So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion," McCain said. Since Rice is qualified for the job, he said, "I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election."

Indeed - the 2000 election. 2004 just reinvigorated it. And at the rate the Donks are going, by 2008 they and their tactics may have become completely irrelevant.

But no less entertaining.

UPDATE: Guess whose vote was amongst the "yea" votes for Secretary Rice?

Hillary Clinton.


[Hat tip: Captain's Quarters]

Hillary had better learn to pace herself for 2008

Talk about diarrhea of the mouth.

Remember just the other day when Mrs. Clinton appeared to tack to the center on abortion by urging her party to find "common ground" with abortion opponents? Well, that gesture had a short shelf life.

There has been an increase in the number of abortions in eight states, and it's all President Bush's fault, says pro-abortion Senator Hillary Clinton.

Speaking at a pro-abortion rally in Washington attended by about 1,000 abortion advocates, while hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers marched to protest abortion, the wife of the president who vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion charged that President Bush has caused an increase in abortions because he is not fully funding family planning programs.

Hillary claims family planning decreases the number of abortions.

In reality, of course, "family planning" is a code word for abortion on demand. Something that "facts and evidence and common sense" bear out:

Clinton has claimed that during her husband's administration, "we saw the rate of abortion consistently fall."

"The abortion rate fell by one-quarter between 1990 and 1995, the steepest decline since Roe was decided in 1973," Clinton told a conference of the Family Planning Advocates of New York. "The rate fell another 11% between 1994 and 2000."

But the statistics she cited were based on numbers that Dr. Randy O'Bannon, director of education at the National Right to Life Committee, says come from a flawed study conducted by a researcher who used faulty data to survey the rise or fall of abortions during the Bush Administration.

Glen Harold Stassen, a professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, released the politically charged study just before the presidential elections, according to
LifeNews reported that Stassen claimed abortions increased in 11 of 16 states, and assumed abortions must be on the rise nationwide.

Stassen also reportedly used wrong figures in several states – sometimes using old stats and, in South Dakota, using the birth rate instead of the number of abortions.

Stassen wrongly averaged the 17.4% decline to say that abortions decreased at the same 1.7% rate every year during the '90s, argued.

Since Clinton was in office during most of the 1990s, that would give him bragging rights to the abortion decrease. But Dr. O'Bannon said the rate of decline was higher in the first President Bush's years in office and slowed during the Clinton years.

"In Clinton's last year in office, the decline was not 1.7%, but just 0.1%," O'Bannon explained.

So did Mrs. Clinton simply "not have her facts straight," or was she LYING? Whichever it is, we can be confident that she doesn't care one way or the other.

The same veracitical indiscretion was on display in her comments over the weekend that the economy will "collapse" unless the American people "learn to make economic sacrifices":

"I think the economy is standing on a trap door, and I don't know that we necessarily hold the levers," she told an audience at West Palm Beach's Kravis Center.

In quotes picked up by the Bradenton Herald, she complained, "The history of America is ... to make sacrifices today for a better tomorrow. The progress that then occurred moved everyone forward."

Clinton delivered her dire economic warning on the heels of attending Donald Trump's lavish Palm Beach wedding to Melania Knauss, where she rubbed shoulders with the upper crust in the ballroom of Trump's Mara Lago mansion, modeled after the Versailles Palace ballroom.

But an afternoon spent reveling with the likes of Katie Couric, Star Jones, Barbara Walters and Denise Rich didn't dull Mrs. Clinton's concerns about Bush Administration profligacy.

"I don't see that thoughtful, visionary direction that got us where we are today," the former first lady complained.

Well, heaven knows the Bush Administration has done little or nothing to reign in federal spending - although that may be about to change. But is spending discipline what Mrs. Clinton was really referring to? Not a chance.

After blasting the President for the exploding national debt, the top Democrat boasted that his predecessor - her husband - "did it just right."

"The deficit reduction act didn't get one single Republican vote. He took on the gun lobby with the Brady bill. He took on health care," she declared.

Ah - Mr. Bill's three biggest (policy-related) debacles. So in order to keep the economy from "collapsing," President Bush should...raise taxes! But yet Social Security is just fine! Wow! Who can argue with that level of "facts and evidence and common sense"?

Even Hillary! will have a devil of a time trying to sell that statist chestnut.


Yesterday was a total washout. Came down with a version of the flu - hard - but still had to go to work due to duties that had to be performed and couldn't be delegated on such short notice. Between a raging sinus headache, the chills, and enough achiness to give me a preview of what arthritis must be like, it was borderline heroic that I managed to make it through the day.

Went home and immediately went to bed. Slept for eleven hours (with five interruptions). Seem to feel better this morning, though I'm still congested. Amazing the fixitive powers of sustained sack time.

My patience with infirmity was exhausted weeks ago. I am so sick of being sick. Seems like I'm catching everything this winter. I've been ill more times in the past two months than I was in the previous ten years. Enough already.

Anyway, I'll try to get back to posting today. As you might have imagined, there's no shortage of commentary fodder.

Particularly if any of it can make me sick.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I hate Mondays

Well, okay, that might be a little strong. In fact, I don't dislike them nearly as much as I used to.

But today was wall-to-wall busy, I'm beat, and I may be coming down with cold/flu relapse #5 (courtesy of my daughter, this time - that would complete the trifecta).

I'm still working on recruiting more contributors to share the blogging burden. I guess even the ambition of becoming a "poor man's Powerline" was overly ambitious, since the three of them went into the venture jointly from the beginning. Now I'm hoping for sheer numbers.

'Tis a pity, because there are a number of juicy topics today - from Babwa Boxhead's laughable faux victimhood ("How DARE Rice get to talk back! NOBODY talks back to ME!!!") to the University of Oregon's open sedition to Congressional Republicans suffering a collective attack of RINO Syndrome vis-a-vie Social Security to Rick Santorum's ex-Specter-ating into the wind hitting home.

Maybe I'll have a moment to get to one or more of them tomorrow. But for tonight, I'll content myself with making the following observation.

The Supreme Court refused today to reinstate a Florida law passed to keep Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged woman, hooked to a feeding tube, clearing the way for it to be removed. Mrs. Schiavo, it will be recalled, is brain-damaged but perfectly alive, which is a huge inconvenience for her jackoff husband, Michael, who can't marry the girlfriend with whom he's already shacking up until his wife kicks the bucket.

Some might think this akin to comparing apples to carburetors, but I can't help but describe the process of deliberately starving a living human being to death as an act of torture. Which is ironic, since I would surmise that many of the same lefties who are so purportedly frantic over terrorist captives getting panties placed rakishly on their heads and being impressed into mass games of nude "twister," are probably cheering the SCOTUS' decision to allow the SCOF's euthanasian ruling to stand.

My horrified condolances and prayers go out to Mrs. Schiavo's family, who fought like hell to save their daughter from this selfish scumbag who has the gall to presume to know what she would say about this if she were able. And the moral of the story for parents of daughters everywhere (a group in which I reside)? Do everything in your power to ensure that your "little girls" exercise better judgment in the choice of a mate than Terri did. Their very lives may depend upon it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Even Republicans can't be THIS naive....

....can they?

A day after ex-Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd forced the full Senate to delay a confirmation vote for the first African-American woman ever nominated as secretary of state, White House chief of staff Andrew Card blasted Senate Democrats for playing "petty politics." According to the Boston Herald, Card said that the insult would not soon be forgotten, warning Democrats that they "are poisoning any hopes for bipartisanship."

The Senate's Democratic leadership quickly fell in line behind the former Klansman's move, angering their Republican colleagues.

"If this is the kind of comity we can expect for the rest of the session, we are not getting off to a good start," Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona told the New York Times. "It is churlish."

Senator John Warner echoed the sentiment, saying, "You want continuity in this country, and this is a senior Cabinet minister. This didn't win them any merit badges."

"Poisoning any hopes for bipartisanship"? "Comity"? "Continuity"? Are these guys kidding? Please, tell me they're joking. Seriously, I want some 'Pubbie to jump out and cry, "April Fool!" The knowledge that this was all just collective leg-pulling of the grassroots, a product of post-Inauguration euphoria, would be immensely reassuring.

Otherwise I will be forced to conclude that these numbskulls will never learn that the Democrats are not their "colleagues," or their "friends on the other side of the aisle," not "honorable" in the slightest, but in fact their blood enemies who will do anything - and apparently that doesn't stop short of violence - to defeat and destroy them.

This is war without bullets, Senator Frist. Forget about "getting along" - go nuclear. Now. It's the only language Harry Reid and his fifth column understand.

Covering all the bases but home plate

For some inexplicable reason, WAchyderms have filed a separate challenge of last fall's Democrat gubernatorial theft with the Washington state legislature.

The only problem is the Washington state legislature is controlled by the Democrats.

"We did this to cover all our bases," said Mary Lane, a spokeswoman for rightful governor Dino Rossi.

Hard to make sense of that metaphor in this circumstance. As likely as it is that Rossi's court challenge will ultimately be stiffed, this move was stillborn before it was even conceived. Just ask State Donk spokeswoman Kirstin Brost.

"The Republicans are in a hopeless situation," Brost said. "What we have seen in the last couple weeks is them floundering and grasping at straws trying to find some way to undo the election results."

That is, of course, precisely what Christine Grinchoire and her gang of election thieves did. They were simply smart enough to do it first. All of which goes to illustrate my corollary to the Hewittian adage, "If it's not close, they can't cheat":

If it is close, cheat first, because possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Just as "Governor" Grinchoire.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Two more wins for the kiddies

Basketball Saturday II for the youngin's went well, indeed.

Well, for their teams, anyway.

My daughter's team played "on the road," which on the sixth grade level means about a half-hour drive that, in today's instance, took forty-five minutes because of an inexplicable traffic jam near my house. Combine that with my wife impulsivley deciding to drag her on a two and a half hour, sixty-mile round-trip expedition to get her school pictures re-taken because she happened to have her eyes closed when the first ones were snapped (which I didn't think spoiled them at all, but then what do I know, I'm just her dad...), which deposited them back home fifteen minutes after we were supposed to leave for her game, and the end result was that we didn't arrive until the first quarter was almost over.

I did well to avoid having a stroke. It's been a long time since I've had to battle traffic like that, even though I did it for seven years. Believe me, I don't miss it.

My sweetie played the second and third quarters and a smidgen of the fourth. Though her team blew out their overmatched hosts 30-11, she didn't have as good a game as last week largely due to her feeling lethargic all day. She says she's just tired; I'm hoping that she didn't bring home another flu bug to get all that nastiness started again.

My son's game started an hour after my daughter's, so wifey took him to his, which was a "home" game. We got there mid-way through the third quarter of an even bigger blowout victory, a final score of 37-13. Unfortunately sonny-boy didn't have nearly as good a game as last week, and he wasn't happy about it afterwards (e.g. he kicked his water bottle over the bleachers and stomped out to sulk behind a garbage can). I tried to cheer him up by reminding him that his team won the game, but he was inconsolable.

No, I will not deny that he is my son. He's also ten years old, which raises the question of what Seattle Seahawk running back Sean Alexander's excuse was for a similar tantrum a few weeks ago. Also why I bothered saying anything to him when I know for a fact that his tantrums have to run their course, and nothing short of a tranquilizer dart can slow them down.

At least we know that he cares. Now the trick is to get him to care about more than his own performance.

Maybe I should tell him to look on the bright side - perhaps next week he'll score twenty points and his team will get massacred.

I hope I don't find out his reaction to that....

Clintonoids knew about UN Oily Food Scandal

Didn't you always kinda suspect it?

"They [the Clinton administration] knew of problems in the program and were informed on three separate occasions." So claims a central figure in the scandal-ridden U.N.-Iraq Oil-for-Food Program who himself has been accused of wrongdoing.

The program, under investigation by several U.S. and U.N. special panels, was the target of criminal indictments by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday.

"They [the Security Council] always knew what was going on," the source explained. "[Aunt Madeleine] Albright and [Ricky] Holbrooke were well aware of problems. … They knew everything that went on in the 661 Committee."

Well, of course they did. There wasn't a scandal in the Western Hemisphere into which Mr. Bill didn't have his porcine digits inserted like an insatiable proctologist. Aunt Madeleine and her might-have-been-but-mercifully-will-not-be successor as SecState were probably Sick Willie's bagman and, well, bag lady at Turtle Bay.

At least Ms. Half-bright looked the part.

"Sheets" Byrd returns to his roots

Kevin McCullough makes an interesting observation:

[T]he KKK's very own Robert Byrd - senior Senator from West Virginia is [stalling the confirmation of] one of the most accomplished African American females to ever walk the planet.

That's right folks - Democrats=Racists - the party of diversity - as long as your white, liberal, and powerful...


But it's also true. Today's Democrat Party does not champion minority interests, but instead exploits minorities as vote hoards and propaganda props. Their vested interest isn't in lifting up blacks but in keeping them down as much as possible because emancipation from dependence on, and tutelage of, government would free them from Democrat influences. And that would drive the Party even further into the minority, perhaps far enough to threaten its very political viability on the national level.

This fear is what fuels their despicable sliming of distinguished minorities like Justice (perhaps soon to be Chief Justice) Clarence Thomas, the aforementioned Dr. Rice, Attorney-General in waiting Alberto Gonzales, and future SCOTUS Justice (if justice is ultimate served) Miguel Estrada. What they all have in common besides their personal and professional excellence is that they are conservative, and thus are living refutations of the left-wing group grievance ethic. Once elevated to prominence, they can only influence other hyphenated-Americans into independent thinking, and thus away from what the President referred to in last fall's debates as "the far left bank of the American mainstream." And so, having learned their lesson from the Thomas debacle, where a vicious smear still failed to keep him off the SCOTUS, they now take no chances, denying elite illiberal minority candidates even full Senate consideration whenever possible on flimsy grounds that they would denounce as racist if anybody else were to employ them.

It doesn't make Donks racists per se (though Byrd may be an exception); but it does make them roaring hypocrites, as they are on pretty much every other issue. And certainly no friend of "non-whites."

What I can't get over is the symbolism. Bleeding Christ, I know none of these people are Bill Clinton, but does it really require even a beginner's grasp of public relations to see what a frigging disastrous image is created when an ex-Klansman, a veritable Grand Exalted Imperial Omnipotent Stomper, delays a black woman's confirmation to be the nation's chief diplomat and besmirches her character in the process? It couldn't be any starker if Karl Rove had engineered it himself.

This isn't political tone-deafness; it's political tone-death.

Why the ChiComms want the Middle East

In a word: oil. And, according to the Christian Science Monitor's David R. Francis, this has the PRC and the USA on an inevitable collision course.

Look at this imbalance: The average American consumes 25 barrels of oil a year. In China, the average is about 1.3 barrels per year; in India, less than one.

So as the 2.4 billion Chinese and Indians move to improve their living standards, they're going to want more oil - likely more than can be produced.

That perceived shortage is setting off an intensifying scramble to tie up oil reserves around the world. So far, China has been the most aggressive player. But the competition is just getting going.

The pattern is clear. China has been weighing buying Unocal, a major US oil firm. Last month in Beijing, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez promised to open that nation's oil and natural gas fields to China. Russia, in effect renationalizing the giant oil subsidiary of Yukos, may offer China a 20% chunk of the new firm.

China's efforts to tie up oil and gas resources - in places such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan - have not been cheap. But it has an unfair advantage, says Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Amherst, Mass. Its national oil firms have access to cheap capital from government institutions - and few limits on entering areas seen as sensitive for publicly held Western firms. (Think violence-prone Sudan.)

The challenge is huge. For China and India to reach just one-quarter of the level of US oil consumption, world output would have to rise by 44%. To get to half the US level, world production would need to nearly double.

That's impossible. The world's oil reserves are finite. And the view is spreading that global oil output will soon peak.

As a result, "the growing demand for oil is leading to a growing global conflict," warns Amos Nur, a geophysicist at Stanford University. The 1991 Gulf War, the 9/11 attack, and the current war in Iraq are skirmishes that could "pale in comparison with the looming potential conflict over oil with China."

Combine this trend with what appears to be Beijing's laying the logistical groundwork for a military foray into the Middle East, and their nearing a deal to buy as many as forty Tu-22M3 "Backfire" supersonic bombers from the Russians - "enough to guarantee the destruction of a U.S. carrier [battle] group," according to the state-run RIA-Novosti news agency - and the most likely end result is not very reassuring.

They say that second-term presidents usually end up the victims of unexpected, onrushing events beyond their control. In the case of George W. Bush, he could (and will) succeed in pacifying Iraq, and maybe even avert a nuclear Iran, only to come face-to-face with a Russian-backed ChiComm grab for Taiwan that would be the bait for a fifth world war.

And the clock would appear to already be tick-tick-ticking....

First Post of the Day!

Okay, so I'm ripping off the Corner's gimmick; what can I say - I love to stack the deck....

Friday, January 21, 2005

Another Big, Fat "I Told You So"

Two months ago I made the following prediction:

GOPers refrained from pulling the trigger on passing over [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter] out of unfounded fears that he would lead a RINO stampede across the aisle, wiping out the gains made in the election....Yet they've now handed the Judiciary Chair over to a man who is an ideological foe, an iconoclastic grandstander, and whose word has repeatedly proven to mean nothing. And it's not going to be long in coming back to bite them in the ass.

Now read this:

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter went back on his word to Republican caucus members and conservative groups alike when he recently hired Hannibal G. Williams II Kemerer, who until recently was the NAACP's assistant general counsel. Specter hired Kemerer against the wishes of his senior Judiciary Committee staff. "We warned him this was going to cause trouble, but Specter said it was his committee, we are his staff, and he's going to do what he believes is right," says a Judiciary Committee staffer.

Kemerer was a protégé of Elaine Jones, who three years ago, as head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, lobbied Senator Ted Kennedy to delay confirmation of many of President Bush's judicial nominees to a federal circuit court where her group had pending litigation....

Specter hired Kemerer to deal specifically with the nominations and vetting of federal judicial nominees, a position many conservatives were led to believe by Specter would go, at the very least, to a Republican, and most likely to a conservative. Specter, according to a longtime conservative judicial observer, made those promises during a meeting in late 2004 at which Specter was pleading for an opportunity to serve as Judiciary Chairman.

When word of Kemerer's hiring spread within the NAACP and Democratic Senate ranks, virtual whoops of glee were being emailed about.

As word earlier this week began to leak of Kemerer's employment, Specter slid his new hire into a staff position on the committee dealing with civil litigation issues and tort reform. And according to the Judiciary source, word is that all remarks made to the press are to make clear that Kemerer will not be working on judicial nominations.

But Specter, according to some close advisers, has told them as well as Kemerer that Kemerer will play a "critical" role on the Judiciary Committee."What everybody seems to be forgetting is that this guy is going to have access to all of our files, to all of our briefings. He will have access to everything because he is on the majority staff. If he were a Democratic hire, it might be another matter," says the Judiciary staffer. "But theoretically he is one of us."

Specter has further inflamed both the White House and Republican leadership in the Senate by his request that all judicial nominees - even those who previously were cleared by the Judiciary Committee - go through committee hearings. This would mean that someone like filibustered Texas supreme court justice Priscilla Owen would have to face full committee once again. "That hasn't gotten out too far, as far as I know," says the committee staffer. "But conservative legal groups are livid."

In the punchline of my 11/20/04 post, I concluded:

"Until Republicans realize that today's political battles were decided yesterday, and that tomorrow's will be decided today, they will continue to lose in advance and to repent in retrospect," O'Sullivan concluded. To that counsel now has to be added the realization that any political battle - to say nothing of the next election battle in 2006 - is lost before it begins when you put a turncoat in command.

The prosecution rests.

For now.

Inaugural Rorschach Test

Oh, well. I thought maybe, just possibly, President Bush's second Inaugural address could be left to stand without comment, much like a masterpiece painting hangs in the Louvre, without need of explanation or interpretation or analysis. Quite a few commentators have placed his oration yesterday in that rarified stratum, AAMOF, just as the disloyal opposition has reflexively wiped its collective avatar with it, as you might have expected. But there has been enough criticism from serious people that I suppose I should slog my way through it and toss in my two bits as well.

We'll pick it up in the third paragraph.

At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical - and then there came a day of fire.

This is what may be called the prelude to his general theme.

We have seen our vulnerability - and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat.

Here he not so subtley identified our Islamist enemy.

There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

This would seem to be self-evident, to say nothing of non-controversial. As some statesman whose name I cannot recall once said, "Democracies do not go to war with one another." Leaders who are responsible to their people, as opposed to the reverse, do not launch wars of aggression and commit mass murder because no such people could ever get elected legitimately or honestly. A quick review of America's enemies over the past century will confirm this truism.

America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

As Fred Barnes pointed out, and Jimmy Carter must have been appalled by, this passage grounded the President's soaring idealism in the bedrock of realpolitik and national interest. The strategy is so simple it's profound: if you have more friends (or at least neutrals) and fewer enemies, you will be more secure; and the best way to bring that about is to work to bring down your enemies and replace them with friends. As Admiral Kirk said about Gillian Taylor's whales, "It's better for you; it's better for me; and it's better for them."

However, this reiteration of the Bush Doctrine had even a few conservatives pulling out their hair at the unbounded scope of the apparent undertaking.

But check out the very next graf:

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way. [my emphasis]

IOW, no, we're not going to invade every unfree country on the face of the planet and carry out "regime-change." And no, we're not going to break off diplomatic relations with Russia over Vladimir Putin's recent trend towards neo-autocracy. But we are going to stand for the principles the President set forth. Our overt backing of Ukraine's Orange Revolution seems to me to be a good example.

Admittedly this is easier to do in a unipolar world than it would have been during the Cold War, where the overarching imperative of checkmating the Evil Empire forced us into some unsavory partnerships that we would not otherwise have tolerated. But now we can, and apparently, we will be (assuming Condi Rice and Porter Goss can wrestle State and CIA into respective submission).

One does wonder whether this freedom doctrine will be applied to Iran, though. It certainly has not been up until now.

Another nod to realism followed:

The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.

In short, no, Mr. Bush doesn't think he's Superman, able to clean up the entire world in one four-year term. No "pay any price, bear any burden." He is, rather, charting a course, and urging that it be followed faithfully and doggedly by those who come after him. The "vision thing," if you will.

And brother, is he making up for his dad's lack of it.

We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.

Sounds a lot like the mullahcracy, doesn't it? And that will be the test of his commitment to this doctrine.

We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty. [my emphasis]

Could that have been a veiled swipe at the terrorist-loving United Nations?

This next comment was aimed squarely at his defeatist detractors:

Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals.

As the Left's antics of late illustrate, there are quite a few Americans (so-called) who no longer share those same ideals.

Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.

AND are willing to fight and suffer for it. I wouldn't have used the passive form here, myself. Liberty does not "come to" anybody; rather, people must win their liberty if they are ever to possess it.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."

The stick...

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

...and the carrot. Of the two, the stick will the more oft-used, but without it the carrot would be useless, as we found out with Khaddafy.

And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat.

This strikes the perfect balance and tone. Mr. Bush has set the course, and our allies (real and ersatz) are invited to join with us for the collective benefit of all. But any that don't will not divert us from our task, and will in so doing aid and abet the enemy. This is the essence of leadership.

From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world. [my emphasis]

A message first to the disloyal opposition: there will be no Vietnam-style cutting and running from Iraq. And then one to the "insurgents": you cannot defeat us and you cannot outlast us. We will stay until you are beaten and the job is done.

A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause - in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy ... the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments ... the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives - and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.

An acknowledgement of the cost of this policy so far, and that further such costs can be expected in the years ahead. No illusions, no excuses, no "free lunch."

All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.

This probably curled more than a few right-wing toes - or, as Peter Robinson put it on NRO yesterday, "a grand exaltation of the state."

Now came the domestic portion of the speech, which some thought got short shrift.

In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.

Some aforementioned righties denounced this as the passionate embrace of big government. But that's a hoary old battle at this point. George W. Bush is not and has never been a proponent of limited government. His angle all along has been not to tear down the existing superstructure, but to use and transform it toward conservative ends. Kind of like in martial arts, when you use your opponent's momentum against him. It's the philosophical essence of No Child Left Behind (or would have been if the voucher portion hadn't been expunged), of last year's Medicare reform (which at least retained a token effort toward Medical Savings Accounts), and is the very heart of Social Security privatization.

Some have called compassionate conservatism "making peace with the welfare state." And, given the above track record of bona fide domestic policy reforms, there's more than a kernal of truth to it. But from a purely political standpoint, Bush's pincer movements have enjoyed far more electoral success than Newt Gingrich's frontal assaults ever did. And if the President can close the ring on true Social Security reform, cutting the heart out of Democrat liberalism and cementing GOP hegemony in the process, there will be time and opportunity to revisit the other areas and complete that unfinished work.

One could even say that on the domestic side, Bush is the "realist" of the Right. And it's awfully difficult to argue with his success.

In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever. [my emphasis]

The social issues hat tip. The highlighted quote in particular must have burst a panaply of left-wing capillaries. And "communities with standards"; and "truths of Sinai [and] the Sermon on the Mount." He mentioned God! Hell, he used the word "truth." Michael Newdow must have been in a fetal position by this point.

These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes - and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free. [my emphasis]

Just as he invited Old Europe to follow him, so he extends the same gesture to the disloyal opposition, while at the same time minimizing, if not belittling, their diehard recalcitrance - as, quite frankly, it deserves to be. And he follows this up by citing the brief unity after 9/11 and as much as saying that they're the ones who sewed renewed division, and still are to this day.

It isn't so much a veiled threat as it is a gentle admonition against the irrelevance to which their own actions are condemning them, and which he is not going to indulge.

We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. [my emphasis]

IOW, no, he's not a snake-handling fatalist.

We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.

And great leaders are the catalysts for justice's realization. This speech is George W. Bush's stake to a claim in that pantheon.