Saturday, December 31, 2005

You Can Do It

15 For what I am doing, (A) I do not understand; for I am not practicing (B) what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with (C) the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

17 So now, (D) no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my (E) flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

19 For (F) the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, (G) I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then (H) the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in (I) the inner man, 23 but I see (J) a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the (K) law of my mind and making me a prisoner of (L) the law of sin which is in my members.

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from (M) the body of this (N) death?

25 (O) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our LORD! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh (P) the law of sin.

-Romans 7:15-25

We Can't Have THAT...

Ma Albright thinks Bush is using the word "victory" too much. When will these failures from the Clinton Administration learn to keep their mouths shut and stop embarrassing themselves? From Newsmax:

In an interview posted on the Democratic National Committee's web site, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says she doesn't like the way President Bush "repeatedly" talks about achieving victory in the Iraq war.

"I was very troubled recently, particularly by [Bush's] first speech to the Naval Academy," the former top Clinton diplomat complains in a DNC audio webcast.

She was 'very troubled.' HORRORS! Talking about VICTORY? Why does that word scare the Democrats so much?

"They clearly had some kind of a new pollster in the White House tell them that the word 'victory' had to be repeated endlessly," Albright griped. "Plus, [there was] the backdrop that said 'victory' and then there was 'victory' on the podium. I don't know how many times he used the word 'victory.'"

It's a scandal. A scandal, I tell you!

Still, despite her discomfort over President Bush's victory talk, Albright insisted that she and other Democrats really do want the U.S. to prevail in Iraq.

"There's not a Democrat who doesn't want this to work," Albright said. "I think that Democrats are united in not wanting this to fail."

Uh huh. Well, I'm convinced, aren't you?

Now for the mumbo jumbo makes no sense statement of the week. Speaking of Condi Rice's recent trip to Europe:

The former top Clinton diplomat suggested that Dr. Rice may be in over her head, telling the DNC: "I think that you would have had to have been really asleep at the switch not to know what a very hard trip she had and one presumes that others in the White House read the newspapers and could see she had a very hard trip."


JAS adds: Wasn't that the "very hard trip" after which our European "allies" softened their mindless opposition to the seeding and blossoming of Iraqi democracy and pledged greater support and cooperation in the broader GWOT? I guess Aunt Madeleine's problem is that her idea of diplomatic success is playing kissy-face with nuclear gangsters like Kim jong-il much like her bootlicking Euro friends.

I notice Maddy had no criticism of another of Condi's recent "trips." Small wonder that that one is proving to be just the kind of fiasco that was the little troll's specialty.

Sodomizing Logic

Looks like Our Boy Lollipop has just gotten back from a junket to Bizarro World:

Massachusetts could face an "angry, divisive" fight if a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage reaches the 2008 state ballot, Representative Barney Frank says.

The congressman blamed backers of the initiative petition for trying to provoke a new fight despite a lack of controversy over same-sex marriage.

"Basically, they're the disturbers of the civic peace," the Democrat said in a wide-ranging Associated Press interview Thursday. "We now have social peace in Massachusetts. They're the ones who want to stir it up ... This is a non-issue in Massachusetts."

Um, yeah. A "non-issue" that was not enacted legislatively but rather imposed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court by a one-vote margin. A "non-issue" that ignited a lavender insurrection across the country as copycats engaged in open and brazen lawlessness to spread the contagion of sodomarriage as far as possible. A "non-issue" that so overreached it provoked a backlash that last November alone resulted in sodomarriage being formally banned in eleven states.

And a "non-issue" that is quite obviously a big deal in the Bay State itself:

The Massachusetts Family Institute said the 124,000 certified signatures it gathered for the petition, nearly double the number required, was a sign of strong public support for outlawing same-sex marriage.

"All they want is an opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage," said the group's president, Kris Mineau. "Now that the people have spoken, the good congressman has decided this is a divisive issue."

Naturally - that's what libs always say when they're playing defense. A concern notably absent from their rhetoric on, say, foreign policy, national security, and the GWOT these days.

Never let it be said, though, that Congressman Frank doesn't know how to deliver a punchline:

"I have a new rule for politicians: try to avoid saying something that no one will believe."

Do you want to say, "another unmarried marriage counselor" or should I?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Getting in Shape

7 But if the (A) ministry of death, (B) in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, (C) so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

9 For if (D) the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the (E) ministry of righteousness abound in glory.

10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it.

11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

12 (F) Therefore having such a hope, (G) we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, (H) who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.

14 But their minds were (I) hardened; for until this very day at the (J) reading of (K) the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 (L) but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

17 Now the LORD is the Spirit, and where (M)the Spirit of the LORD is, (N) there is liberty.

18 But we all, with unveiled face, (O) beholding as in a mirror the (P) glory of the Lord, are being (Q) transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from (R) the Lord, the Spirit.

-II Corinthians 3:7-18

The Politics of Confusion

What initially caught my eye about this Newsmax blurb is the fact that, contrary to the media's rigidly incessant "everything evil started on January 20, 2001" meme, CIA "rendition" of captured jihadis - i.e. turning them over to friendly powers for the kind of interrogation we're too squeamish to administer - began under Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush, as the former CIA counter-terror operative and now-infamous Bushophobic stooge Michael Scheuer, has publicly admitted in an interview with the German newsmagazine Die Zeit.

But the farther you read into it, the more confused the Clintonoids appear to have grown during the '90s as to first how, and then whether, they should fight what we know as the GWOT:

According to an Agence France Press summary of the Die Zeit interview, Scheuer explained that the Clinton administration "had been looking in the mid-1990s for a way to combat the terrorist threat and circumvent the cumbersome US legal system."

The top Bin Laden hunter recalled that the extralegal directive came after "President Clinton, his national security advisor Sandy Berger and his terrorism advisor Richard Clark ordered the CIA in the autumn of 1995 to destroy Al-Qaeda."

Just which party was it that made the U.S. legal system so "cumbersome" to counter-terror operations in the first place? Indeed, which party thought - and still does think - the U.S. legal system is the appropriate means through and by which to fight al Qaeda and its state sponsors?

That's what makes the aforementioned 1995 directive to the CIA so dubious. If Clinton and his capos truly wanted to "destroy" al Qaeda, why did they seek to do so bound, gagged, blindfolded, handcuffed, legironed, and hanging upside-down in a tank of urine? Oh, yes, they did recognize the handicaps their ilk had imposed upon the system that they were now responsible for running. So instead of taking on those obstacles frontally and honestly and responsibly (as the Bushies have done), they subcontracted the whole kit & kaboodle out to the CIA with a plausible deniability sticker on the pallet - i.e. "We don't care how you do it and don't want to know how you do it, just get it done." And the CIA, run by like-minded weasels who were no more eager to fight the jihadis than the Clintonoids, farmed it out to the aforementioned friendly countries on essentially the same basis.

Then along comes George W. Bush, and then the 9/11 attacks, and he recognizes them as the acts of war they were and engages these declared enemies accordingly, including utilizing the "secret detention system" Bill Clinton had bequeathed him, and the entire American left lurches out of its floundering feckless into the narcissistic self-righteousness that always possesses their minions when a Republican is in the White House. And the cloak of secrecy that the press had no interest in piercing when their guy was POTUS is now atomized at the irresistable attraction of making trouble for his successor no matter what the damage to national security:

The effort President Bush authorized shortly after September 11, 2001, to fight al Qaeda has grown into the largest CIA covert action program since the height of the Cold War, expanding in size and ambition despite a growing outcry at home and abroad over its clandestine tactics, according to former and current intelligence officials and congressional and Administration sources.
"Growing outcry"? Quite the opposite, actually. And those "former and current intelligence officials and congressional and Administration sources" just might end up sorely regretting their own illegal "outcrying".

The broad-based effort, known within the agency by the initials GST, is compartmentalized into dozens of highly classified individual programs, details of which are known mainly to those directly involved.

GST includes programs allowing the CIA to capture al Qaeda suspects with help from foreign intelligence services, to maintain secret prisons abroad, to use interrogation techniques that some lawyers say violate international treaties, and to maintain a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe. Other compartments within GST give the CIA enhanced ability to mine international financial records and eavesdrop on suspects anywhere in the world.
"Some lawyers" translates to "not many, and they're all left-wing fever swamp bottom feeders."

Over the past two years, as aspects of this umbrella effort have burst into public view, the revelations have prompted protests and official investigations in countries that work with the United States, as well as condemnation by international human rights activists and criticism by members of Congress.
"Burst into public view" translates to "leaked," which has given the Justice Department a serious leak investigation to pursue for a change.

Still, virtually all the programs continue to operate largely as they were set up, according to current and former officials. These sources say Bush's personal commitment to maintaining the GST program and his belief in its legality have been key to resisting any pressure to change course.
You can almost hear Dana Priest muttering, "damn it" over and over throughout that paragraph.

"In the past, presidents set up buffers to distance themselves from covert action," said A. John Radsan, assistant general counsel at the CIA from 2002 to 2004. "But this president, who is breaking down the boundaries between covert action and conventional war, seems to relish the secret findings and the dirty details of operations."
IOW, past presidents had the basic human decency to recognize that covert action is the devil's work, but this president is the devil incarnate.

The Administration's decisions to rely on a small circle of lawyers for legal interpretations that justify the CIA's covert programs and not to consult widely with Congress on them have also helped insulate the efforts from the growing furor, said several sources who have been involved.

"Small circle of lawyers" means every other lawyer not in the "some lawyer" category above, "justify the CIA's cover programs" means pointing out the self-evident constitutional authority the President possesses to pursue them, and "not to consult widely with Congress on them" means "the Administration" isn't being run by damn fools with shit for brains. Top congressional leaders have been kept in the loop, but not "consulted," and that's more than enough given how "widely" Democrats have apoplectically pooped their pants over this stuff since the leakers vomited this one-time classified information to the New York Times.

Bill Bennett had a couple of excellent comments about this whole mess this morning:

Priest preens in the piece that because of her revelations, the CIA has had to shut down its so called "black sites" in Europe - this is not something to celebrate: this means the WaPo openly and notoriously changed covert policy and operations, operations that no country before the publicity cared about.

The WaPo didn't change covert policy and operations; they usurped them. And that's why the leakers have to be mercilessly punished.

BB's peroration is something that Democrats serious about regaining national power will have to come to grips with sooner or later:

There you have it: this is the dark and dirty world we live in. Hardly a police state, hardly a truant officer or dog catcher state: we use foreign intelligence to capture and kill al-Qaeda and move detainees around the world; we look at international finanical records, and eavesdrop on suspected terrorists. If anyone told you we did that at a water cooler would you even blink an eye?

Of course not; you'd go nuts, wouldn't you, if we weren't doing that?

Damn right. And Americans will continue to vote accordingly for the foreseeable future.

About that there is no confusion.

[HT: CQ, Powerline]

UPDATE 12/31: I guess Mrs. Clinton has, albeit quietly, decided against being serious.

UPDATE II: More unseriousness, this time from Aunt Madeleine:

In an interview posted on the Democratic National Committee's web site, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says she doesn't like the way President Bush "repeatedly" talks about achieving victory in the Iraq war.

"I was very troubled recently, particularly by [Bush's] first speech to the Naval Academy," the former top Clinton diplomat complains in a DNC audio webcast.

"They clearly had some kind of a new pollster in the White House tell them that the word 'victory' had to be repeated endlessly," Albright griped. "Plus, [there was] the backdrop that said 'victory' and then there was 'victory' on the podium. I don't know how many times he used the word 'victory.'"

Still, despite her discomfort over President Bush's victory talk, Albright insisted that she and other Democrats really do want the U.S. to prevail in Iraq.

By "prevail," of course, she means "retreat like it was Saigon in April 1975".

Sounds like the White House's "some kind of a new pollster" - Dontcha just love a Clintonoid complaining about pollsters? - is definitely onto something.


Bet this isn't what the Dems had in mind:

The Justice Department has opened another investigation into leaks of classified information, this time to determine who divulged the existence of President Bush' s domestic spying program.

The inquiry focuses on disclosures to the New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the September 11 terrorist attacks, officials said.

Not a moment too soon. Whoever is leaking secret information to the press needs to be jailed for life. I hope they find out who it is. Unfortunately, it'll probably get about as much coverage as Sandy Burglar did if it turns out to be a high ranking Democrat(s) or some numbskull in the State Dept. with an axe to grind. Whoever it is, they have to be stopped.

Best and Worst

Fun column up over at NRO about the best and worst political moments of 2006. Lots of different opinions, and hard to disagree with any of them.

Personally, I think the best political moments have been every time Bush has stood up and re-stated his resolve to win the War on Terror. It is so nice to have a person of character at the helm of the country again. Even if we don't always agree with him, we know he is an honest, decent man who is doing what he thinks is right. That is a rare thing in politics today.

Which brings me to my opinion of the worst political moments...the trashing of America and our troops by various and sundry Democrats. Durbin's comments are, in my opinion, the worst. He should have been recalled by the voters of Illinois (yeah, like that's gonna happen). Dirty Harry and Ted "The Swimmer" Kennedy are right behind him. And...let's not forget Demented Howard Dean. The fact that high ranking Democrats such as these men have the gall to publicly state that we are losing in Iraq and comparing our troops to terrorists is just outrageous. In a perfect world, the MSM would have been all over them, and not in such a preening, positive way.

I think 2006 is going to be a much better year...I think the fledgling Iraq democracy will grow stronger, and we will be able to slowly begin pulling out of there. I think Alito will be confirmed, and I think Bush will get another chance to appoint a conservative to the high court before his term is over to replace a departing Ginsburg or Kennedy (good riddance!). I think the Republicans are seeing that when they stand up for what is right and get more vocal about it, the public responds, as evidenced by their rising poll numbers despite the vicious attacks by the Democrats all year. Yeah, some bad stuff will happen in 2006...but I am optimistic about the Republicans' future, and the future of America. (Go ahead Jim, pee all over my Pollyanna attitude now :-) )

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Three Needs

7 (A) Beloved, let us (B) love one another, for love is from God; and (C) everyone who loves is (D) born of God and (E) knows God.

8 The one who does not love does not know God, for (F) God is love.

9 By this the love of God was manifested (G) in us, that (H) God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

10 In this is love, (I) not that we loved God, but that (J) He loved us and sent His Son to be (K) the propitiation for our sins.

11 (L) Beloved, if God so loved us, (M) we also ought to love one another.

12 (N) No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His (O) love is perfected in us.

13 (P) By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

14 We have seen and (Q) testify that the Father has (R) sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 (S) Whoever confesses that (T) Jesus is the Son of God, God (U) abides in him, and he in God.
16 (V) We have come to know and have believed the love which God has (W) for us (X) God is love, and the one who (Y) abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

17 By this, (Z) love is perfected with us, so that we may have (AA) confidence in (AB) the day of judgment; because (AC) as He is, so also are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but (AD) perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not (AE) perfected in love.

19 (AF) We love, because He first loved us.

20 (AG) If someone says, "I love God," and (AH) hates his brother, he is a (AI) liar; for (AJ) the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, (AK) cannot love God whom he has not seen.

21 And (AL) this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God (AM) should love his brother also.

-I John 4:7-21

Bench Stuff

*D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being screwed by Hillary Clinton.

That at least appears to be the obvious conclusion after his nomination, originally made back in 2003 and then re-submitted last Valentine's Day, got caught in the undertow of the "memo of understanding" incident, and as of last Saturday is not being held over to the next congressional session, meaning that the White House will have to re-re-nominate him. The underlying reason for his stint in limbo is thought to be that he was a deputy to former Omnibus Independent Counsel Ken Starr during the latter's five years of investigations of the ongoing criminal conspiracy that was the Clinton administration, and the former first lady who is now the junior senator from New York (only technically) has placed a permanent "hold" on his nomination out of vengeful spite.

One can only imagine the press reaction if Laura Bush decided to run to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Senate during a first Hillary term and did the same thing to Patrick Fitzgerald after the Queen appointed him to a federal appellate judgeship as a reward for his "Plamegate" efforts. One doesn't have to imagine the utter lack of media interest in the abuse of senatorial power being indulged in by the Queen-in-waiting right now.

If Bill Frist or "Snarlin' Arlen" Specter aren't going to get off the schnied and come to Kavanaugh's rescue, and expose the anti-democratic "hold" process in the, well, process, the President should do what he did with now-confirmed appellate court Judge Bill Pryor and just give him a recess appointment along with the third nomination.

After all, it's not as though Mrs. Clinton is president yet, right?

*The Extreme Media now appears to lack even the stamina it mustered to try and smear Chief Justice John Roberts back in late summer. Here we are nearly two months since Judge Samuel Alito was nominated to the SCOTUS, and a mere two weeks away from the beginning of his confirmation hearings, and their coverage of the man already appears to be leveling out:

Papers released yesterday show a young Samuel Alito as a cautious attorney and advisor to the Reagan Administration, offering a conservative strategy in terms of the use of the courts for political purposes, as evidenced by two memos reported by the Washington Post and the New York Sun. The main issue involved a Black Panther lawsuit that had won a technical ruling on standing for its lawsuit against a number of government officials, including Bush's father, that Alito advised should not get challenged....

Another memo given a bare mention by the Post notes that Alito also advised the Reagan Administration not to argue against divestment by state governments in the apartheid nation of South Africa as unconstitutional. At the time, the US had wanted to play a balancing act with South Africa, seeing the issue in the binary Cold War vision and wanted to ensure that the federal government controlled all foreign-policy approaches towards the controversial nation. Alito's advice not only ran counter to what the Reagan Administration wanted to hear, but it also allowed state governments to continue their economic protest of apartheid and discrimination against black South Africans. This runs counter to the attempt to paint Alito as a closet racist.

FWIW, the press seems to have grasped from how utterly foolish they and their Dem hack allies on the Senate Judiciary Committee were made to look by the CJOTUS, and they can see that the Alito hearings are going to be no different. It's yet another indication that the Democrats are saving their resources for the true balance-tipping SCOTUS nomination that will come when Justice Stevens or Justice Ginsberg steps down. And it's also a vindication of the advice that I recall Pat Buchanan offering up way back in the Robert Bork mugging: keep sending up one qualified conservative jurist after another until the Donks give up.

Just imagine a third SCOTUS slot opening up next year, right in the middle of the '06 midterm campaign, and Democrats having to run on repugnant judicial confirmation obstructism and foreign policy sedition. Sure makes my mouth water.

*And, not to leave out actual bench action itself, looky what Cap'n Ed belatedly noticed out of the Sixth Circuit, and shouldn't feel bad about having initially missed since even so voracious an online surfer as I didn't see it either:

A federal appeals court has upheld a display of the Ten Commandments alongside other historical documents in the Mercer County, Kentucky, courthouse.

The judge who wrote the opinion blasted the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the display, in language that echoed the type of criticism often directed at the organization.

Judge Richard Suhrheinrich's ruling said the ACLU brought "tiresome" arguments about the "wall of separation" between church and state, and it said the organization does not represent a "reasonable person."

Thank you, Judge Suhrheinrich. A lot of us have been saying that very same thing for years about the bigots and Christophobes and hatemongers at the ACLU. It is cathartic to finally hear a federal appellate judge tell it like it is.

This ruling came from a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit, so I suppose there's at least the theoretical possibility that the full court may reverse it, though that is highly unlikely. What is doubly interesting, as Ed elaborates, is that when the inevitable appeal reaches the SCOTUS (and assuming that they consent to hear the case), Samuel Alito's careful originalism will have replaced Sandra Day O'Connor's magic eight-ball. Assuming that Justice Kennedy doesn't let being the hinge of Olympus go to his head (admittedly an awfully big if), the ACLU's campaign to completely stamp out every last vestage of religious expression in the United States will be headed for some well-earned and long-overdue hard times.

DLC Sounds General Quarters on the Pequod

R. Emmett Tyrrell has reached the same conclusion as a lot of us on the Right: unless the Democratic Party purges itself of the lunatic far Left that has it in a deathgrip and pointedly regains some credibility on foreign policy and national security - basically, "going Lieberman" - they are doomed to go the way of the Whigs. RET's money quote:

'Tis the end of 2005 and time to look back. In politics what do I see? Well, I see the Republican Party struggling against high seas. In the media the party is depicted as being in danger of losing to the Democrats in the off-year elections next fall. That probably will be the case, unless the Republicans have to run against the Democrats. Against the Democrats they could win with Warren Harding in the White House.

Believe it or not, there are some sane Donks out there, and they are seeing - and saying - things very similar to RET's observations:

Some centrist Democrats say attacks by their party leaders on the Bush Administration's eavesdropping on suspected terrorist conversations will further weaken the party's credibility on national security. That concern arises from recent moves by liberal Democrats to block the extension of parts of the USA Patriot Act in the Senate and denunciations of President Bush amid concerns that these initiatives could violate the civil liberties of innocent Americans.

"I think when you suggest that civil liberties are just as much at risk today as the country is from terrorism, you've gone too far if you leave that impression. I don't believe that's true," said Michael O'Hanlon, a national-security analyst at the Brookings Institution who advises Democrats on defense issues. ...

"The Republicans still hold the advantage on every national-security issue we tested," said Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster and former adviser to President Clinton, who co-authored a Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) memo on the party's national-security weaknesses.

Nervousness among Democrats intensified earlier this month after Democrats led a filibuster against the Patriot Act that threatened to block the measure, followed by a victory cry from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who declared at a party rally, "We killed the Patriot Act."

And, as if ordered up on cue, yesterday Scott Rasmussen released a poll on the NSA's anti-terrorist eavesdropping program which produced results that have to be sending the three blind weasels (i.e. Dean, Reid, Pelosi) in paroxisms of petrified panic:

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree....

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans believe the NSA should be allowed to listen in on conversations between terror suspects and people living in the United States. That view is shared by 51% of Democrats and 57% of those not affiliated with either major political party. [emphasis added]

My friends, Democrat leaders are trying to base an impeachment drive on this issue and make that their 2006 centerpiece for why they should be restored to majority control of Congress when they are 41 percentage points behind on it in the polls and they don't even have a majority of their own rank & file with them.

But they won't learn because they haven't yet reached rock bottom. And as demented as the Donk upper echelon is these days, I can't begin to guess at how subterranean rock bottom has been driven. Unless they sink below the filibuster theshold in the Senate a year from now, I tend to doubt that a mid-term election is big enough to force them, or the Dem rank & file, to see the handwriting on the wall. That'll probably have to wait until 2008, and who knows what the political landscape will look like then (which is a cryptic way of saying, "Can Hillary Clinton triangulate her way to the White House?").

And so the S.S. Pequod sails onward, hard to port, its three-headed Captain Ahab in bloodthirsty pursuit of his elusive great white whale, and the only members of his crew who are willing to tell him that the whale is not, like, a guppy, but really a whale - or, for that matter, that elephants can't swim - have been locked away in the brig.

Sounds like Titanic without the love story....

[HT: CQ, Powerline, B4B]

UPDATE: I neglected to include Jim Geraghty's more specific race-by-race take, though what worth that can have eleven months in advance is, this side of Karnak the Magnificent, anybody's guess.

Not All "Civil Liberties" Are Equal an emailer to RCP pointed out:

Let's win the war on terror. If that means suspending a few rights - fine. Actually, more rights have been lost to the Environmental Protection Agency than to the Patriot Act or any other legislation meant to keep us safe. For example, and this is only a partial list: I can no longer fish where I want, burn leaves when necessary, drive where I want, water where I want, smoke where I want, dispose of cuttings where I want, swim where I want, have access to inexpensive fuel, make our wine where we want, press our olives where we want, and frankly do quite a few other things because our rights to do so have been subjugated to a few fanatics.

The very same "few fanatics" who insist that the American public be left wide upen and vulnerable to mass-casualty terrorist attacks from a few other fanatics for the sake of "civil liberties" they, at best, value only very selectively.

I recall spending quite a bit of time during the Clinton dark age highlighting the dictatorial abuses of that administration, all justified by worthless and/or bogus abstractions or the welfare of all manner of critters and creatures. Remember Mike McCurry's, "Stroke of the pen, law of the land....kinda cool" regarding Sick Willie's penchant for bypassing Congress and ruling by Executive Order after the GOP took Congress away from him? Can you imagine how the fever swamps would react of Scott McClellan said something like that?

Kudos to the emailer and Tom Bevan for posting such a useful reminder.

UPDATE: And, in the case of the EPA, the Bush Administration is subsidizing its own critics.

"Imperial presidency" my ass.

Malkin On The "Times"

Michelle Malkin has a great column up regarding the New York Times and their obvious anti-Bush bias. She shows how the Times has misreported or simply not reported stories regarding statements made by soldiers who have been or are still in the Middle East fighting for America. These are only a few examples of many, and I believe explain why the New York Times' popularity is steadily dwindling.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Digging for Treasure

1 My son, if you will (A) receive my words and (B) treasure my commandments within you, 2 (C) make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; 4 if you seek her as (D) silver and search for her as for (E) hidden treasures; 5 then you will discern the (F) fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.

6 For (G) the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a (H) shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice, and He (I) preserves the way of His godly ones.

9 Then you will discern (J) righteousness and justice and equity and every (K) good course.

-Proverbs 2:1-9

Woe Yo Kyoto Blowhole

Wow, I thought this story on every member of the European Union except Great Britain flagrantly welshing on compliance with the greenhouse emission standards of the vaunted Kyoto treaty they still insist that the United States commit economic suicide and sign was an isolated blurb, since it's hardly classifiable as news, but it's attracted quite a bit of attention.

First, an exerpt:

The UK is almost alone in Europe in honouring Kyoto pledges to cut greenhouse gases, a think-tank claims.

Ten of 15 European Union signatories will miss the targets without urgent action, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found.

The countries include Ireland, Italy and Spain.

France, Greece and Germany are given an "amber warning" and will not reach targets unless they put planned policies into action, the IPPR said.

Hypocrisy, thy name is left-wing liberal. Since the EU is essentially the real-life case study in running a continent according to the cherished ideology of our own Democrat party - kind of like a cross between a zoo and a mental institution, with both turned over to the inmates - it ought not be surprising that the EUnuchs don't practice what they harangue at us.

As I say, it isn't news.

But apparently either I'm in the minority in that observation, or several megabloggers/columnists had a green itch to scratch.

Ed Morrissey:

The EU nations want the US to adopt the Kyoto limits without explaining for themselves why they haven't taken the economically painful steps it prescribes for themselves. The US Senate foresaw the problems, both economic and strategic, and unanimously told then-President Bill Clinton not to bother even presenting it to them for ratification, 95-0....

Kyoto would handcuff the US while allowing [Red] China an unfettered path to sconomic and political domination of [Asia], the latter being especially unacceptable given [Red] China's autocratic one-party regime. Europe, of course, could hardly care less about Chi[Comm] expansionism; they care more about reflexive anti-Americanism. The entire raison d'etre of the EU has always been to provide a global economy to rival the US, and Kyoto gives them an opportunity to slow us down. And just as with their debt controls, the EU contingent has no problem breaking treaty mandates on emissions as long as they feel it necessary to do so to remain competitive, making the agreement worthless anyway.

Jack Kelly:

This week the Institute for Public Policy Research, a left-leaning British think tank, released a study which indicates that 13 of 15 European nations which signed the Kyoto treaty will not meet the "mandatory" emissions reductions to which they agreed.

The worst offenders, the IPPR said, are Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, all falling about 20% short of their targets.

"The poorly performing nations are among the many who have criticized the U.S. and President George Bush," noted Alison Hardie, a reporter for the Scotsman newspaper.

Britain and Sweden are the only two European countries close to meeting their Kyoto targets, the IPPR said. But at a news conference in September, British Prime Minister Tony Blair - heretofore considered a strong Kyoto supporter - said ordering countries to cut greenhouse gases won't work.

But though no signatory has met its Kyoto goals, and only a few are likely to come close, the talk at Montreal was about a new, more restrictive treaty to follow Kyoto when it expires in 2012. For liberals, it is talk that matters, not action. Appearances trump reality.

"Perhaps Kyoto is Japanese for hypocrisy," the CBC's Mr. Murphy said. [emphasis added]

Especially when the lefties can time things so that they can bask in the ecological do-gooder glory and then villify a subsequent center-right regime (like the one we all know and love) as either "favoring greedy polluters" who are bent on "environmental catastrophe" if it doesn't follow their greenstremist nostrums, or a heartless, incompetent gang of "neoHooveroids" presiding over a collapsing economy that is the product of "tax cuts for the wealthy" and too much economic freedom and too little social welfare spending but for heaven's sake has nothing to do with the historic accomplishment that would be, in this case, the Kyoto treaty.

A document that, as Michael Fumento writes, isn't just dying, but has moved on to decomposition, as the EU non-compliance redundantly proves:

Turns out, though, there's little distinction between those who ratified and those who didn't. Of the original 15 European Union ratifiers of Kyoto, at best four are on course to meet the treaty's target of an 8% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2008-2012 from the 1990 base-year level.

"The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem," UK Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted in September.

But this becomes less disappointing once you learn Kyoto's dirty little secret. Even supporters concede that if all countries complied, the amount of warming prevented by 2100 would be at most 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, except that 0.2 degrees is immeasurable. Certainly it won't save a single polar bear....

Of course, Europe could continue setting goals and failing to meet them; but the EU is becoming irrelevant anyway. "By 2010, the net reduction in global emissions from Europe meeting the Kyoto Protocol will be only 0.1%," said Margo Thorning, senior vice president for the free-market American Council for Capital Formation, in recent congressional testimony. That's "because all the growth is coming in places like India, [Red] China, and Brazil." [emphasis added]

And India, Red China, and Brazil are all exempt from compliance with the Kyoto standards.

It all lines right up: "the world," driven by a frenzied cocktail of anti-Americanism and moral narcissism, bullies the U.S. into an economic straitjacket while emerging Third World economies are cut a blank check at our expense and the Euros cheat their way merrily past us as was their intent all along. It was obvious eight years ago when the Senate unanimously told Bill Clinton to not bother submitting Kyoto, and it is obvious now.

Again, it isn't news.

But it still has to be reiterated, as many times as it takes, until the greenstremists give up and move onto their next Chicken Little crusade.

Like, say, another ice age? Haven't done that one since I was a kid....

More Three-Dot Monte

These topics from yesterday's pass are pretty much talked out, at least as far as I'm concerned, but each does merit some brief (or not-so-brief) mention:

*Brendan Miniter throws in his two cents on how the White House and majority Republicans can start acting like they're in power in Washington, D.C., and therefore stay in power after next November. Nothing that hasn't been said before in some form or another, but Pachyderms are notoriously slow learners where aggressive partisan self-interest is concerned.

*This Rocky Mountain News piece on the creation-evolution feud by University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos proves refreshingly that here is a libertarian worthy of the name:

A sure sign that a belief system has triumphed over its opponents is that it stops thinking of itself as a belief system at all. Instead it becomes "what every rational person knows to be the case," or "simple common sense," or, more concisely still, "the truth." In other words, the truly orthodox never think of themselves as orthodox. This allows them to crush all dissent to their orthodoxy with a good conscience, since what reasonable objection could there be to sincere attempts to stamp out self-evident falsehoods?

Thus we have just been treated to the remarkable spectacle of liberals shouting hosannas to the heavens in praise of a federal court ruling that makes it illegal to even mention the existence of a dissenting point of view in a public school classroom. The court held that a Dover, Pennsylvania, school board violated the Constitution when it mandated that a short statement be read at the beginning of the school year to ninth-grade science classes.

The statement noted that students are required to learn Darwin's theory of evolution; that there are gaps in the evidence for this theory; that an alternative theory called intelligent design exists; that the school library contains a book that students may consult if they wish to learn about this dissenting point of view; and that they are encouraged to keep an open mind about theories in general....
This is the statement that Judge John E. Jones decided "established religion" in the Dover public schools. Not replacing the Darwinist curricula with ID; not even teaching both side-by-side; just a mention that evolution is merely a theory, not fact, and that another theory exists, and the school library has a book on it.

In other words, telling students the truth about origins, and that by the very definition of science, no theory of origins, not ID or evolution, can be "scientific" by definition because nobody was present at the beginning to observe either Genesis 1 or the "Big Bang," neither can be empiracally reproduced, and what forensic evidence there is is, to be overly, bending-over-backwards charitable, inconclusive.

False orthodoxies cannot withstand the truth, and resort to circular reasoning - "Science has refuted theories such as intelligent design, because science is based on the postulate that theories such as intelligent design cannot be true" - and, ultimately, the jackboot to keep themselves and their adherents entrenched.

Or, to encapsulate Professor Campos, "mental retardation" usually precedes the "Spanish Inquisition."

*Jim Geraghty manages to let sarcasm be the sour cream of wit on the NSA leak scandal without ever once resorting to the "T" word:

If, in the not so distant future, you happen to find yourself dead, severely injured, inhaling radioactive fallout, or simply breaking your own neck from the intensity of convulsions from al-Qaeda’s release of nerve toxin, remember, you may be going through intense pain, and being killed before your time – but you’re dying a well-informed citizen! Imagine how much worse off you would be if that leaker and that reporter had never met, and these government programs had continued in secrecy!

Yeah, just imagine....

Morning Chuckle

Ann Coulter's latest column is a hoot. It certainly gave me my morning chuckle this morning. The paragraph that did it:

Which brings me to this week's scandal about No Such Agency spying on "Americans." I have difficulty ginning up much interest in this story inasmuch as I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.

I LOVE it when she does that. It just sends jerks like Chris Matthews nuts. I also happen to agree with her, hyperbole notwithstanding. She makes some great points in her column, such as:

But if we must engage in a national debate on half-measures: After 9-11, any president who was not spying on people calling phone numbers associated with terrorists should be impeached for being an inept commander in chief.

With a huge gaping hole in lower Manhattan, I'm not sure why we have to keep reminding people, but we are at war. (Perhaps it's because of the media blackout on images of the 9-11 attack. We're not allowed to see those because seeing planes plowing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon might make us feel angry and jingoistic.)

The Left wants us to forget that 9-11 ever happened. Why, Bush just went on this power-mad tirade because he *could*. Ann ends with this:

It's one or the other: Either we take the politically correct, scattershot approach and violate everyone's civil liberties, or we focus on the group threatening us and – in the worst-case scenario – run the risk of briefly violating the civil liberties of 1,000 people in a country of 300 million.

Of course, this is assuming I'm talking to people from the world of the normal. In the Democrats' world, there are two more options. Violate no one's civil liberties and get used to a lot more 9-11s, or the modified third option, preferred by Sen. John D. Rockefeller: Let the president do all the work and take all the heat for preventing another terrorist attack while you place a letter expressing your objections in a file cabinet as a small parchment tribute to your exquisite conscience.

I think she nails the situation pretty well, don't you?

More Dem Complaining

I read this over at NewsMax this morning and just had to shake my head:

The Homeland Security Department, created in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has failed to fulfill 33 of its own pledges to better protect the nation, according to a report released Tuesday by House Democrats.

The report concludes that gaps remain in federal efforts to secure an array of areas, including ports, borders and chemical plants. There also are still delays in the department's sharing terror alerts and other intelligence with state and local officials, the review said.

Now all of a sudden the Democrats are interested in national security? No matter what the Bush Administration does, they will find something wrong with it. Not that they have any answers of their own, mind you. This quote will get you:

"It would be one thing if the department didn't identify security lapses in the first place, but a more troubling situation when they make promises to the American people and then leave them unfulfilled," Representative Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, the committee's top Democrat, said in a statement accompanying the report.

As if you gave a rip about the American people, sir. Your party has proven that the only thing it cares about is regaining its power and damaging the President.

JAS adds: Does anybody have a mp3 or wav file of Harry Reid last week triumphantly crowing to an assemblage of Democrats that he had "killed the Patriot Act"? That, as a practical matter, is the minority party's last word on the subject of homeland security.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Unopened Tomorrows

25 "(A) For this reason I say to you, do not be (B) worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26 "(C) Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27 "And who of you by being (D) worried can (E) add a single hour to his life?

28 "And why are you (F) worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even (G) Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

30 "But if God so clothes the (H) grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? (I) You of little faith!

31 "Do not (J) worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'

32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for (K) your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and (L) all these things will be added to you.

34 "So do not (M) worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

-Matthew 6:25-34

Uncle Colin Comes Home?

Everybody knows that ex-SecState Colin Powell is the Rorshach blot of American politics. Each of us tends to see in him precisely what we want to see, and for some paradoxical reason that lends his opinions on issues additional gravitas - especially when he criticizes the Bush Administration, in which case it becomes front-page/above-the-fold/lead-story news in the Extreme Media. This probably helps explain why General Powell's two most recent public pronouncements on Bush foreign policy haven't drawn much EM attention.

A little over a week ago, in an interview with the BBC that was picked up on by Mark in Mexico and blown sky-high by Cap'n Ed, Powell disclosed that for all the Monday morning intelligence quarterbacking from the Bushophobes in the spookacracy, the CIA never once indidated any doubt about the prevailing wisdom - which was, in fact, accurate through January of 2003 - that Saddam Hussein was in full possession of both his WMD programs and the arsenal that went with them:

The US administration was never told of doubts about the secret intelligence used to justify war with Iraq, former secretary of state Colin Powell told the BBC in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday night.

Mr. Powell, who argued the case for military action against Saddam Hussein in the UN in 2003, told BBC News 24 television he was "deeply disappointed in what the intelligence community had presented to me and to the rest of us."

"What really upset me more than anything else was that there were people in the intelligence community that had doubts about some of this sourcing, but those doubts never surfaced to us," he said.

You could excuse this omission to some degree by the perfectly prudent adage that it's better to err on the side of caution, as well as making the argument that even if we found no WMD stockpiles, we could take for granted that Saddam would eventually reacquire them - i.e. the "Saddam himself was a WMD" argument. But that doesn't dovetail with the open war that the CIA seditionists have been waging against the White House ever since the end of "major combat operations" thirty-two months ago. Indeed, it suggests that they were trying to set up the President to, at worst, look foolish, and at best, for impeachment. And now the "Voice of Reason" has essentially said so.

On ABC's This Week a couple of days ago, Powell made it a two-fer by demolishing another piece of left-wing stink bait - sort of:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday supported government eavesdropping to prevent terrorism but said a major controversy over presidential powers could have been avoided by obtaining court warrants.

Powell said that when he was in the Cabinet, he was not told that President Bush authorized a warrantless National Security Agency surveillance operation after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Appearing on ABC's This Week Powell said he sees "absolutely nothing wrong with the President authorizing these kinds of actions" to protect the nation.

But he added, "My own judgment is that it didn't seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants. And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it."
Perhaps General Powell let his subscription to the Seattle P-I lapse. In last Saturday's edition was a story [h/t Jed Babbin] revealing that the FISA court, from which such warrants would have to have been obtained, has, since 9/11, become actively obstructionist:

[I]n the first 20 of the court's 21 annual reports, none of the requested warrants were turned down or even modified. But since 2001, at least six warrants were turned down and 173 subjected to substantive modification.

Sure, you'd prefer to get the FISA warrants first whenever possible. But in a war in which intelligence-gathering and dispatch in acting on it are imperatives, if the FISA court becomes an obstacle instead of an asset, is the President supposed to just sit there, helplessly twiddling his thumbs while critical time ticks away and another attack becomes imminent? And General Powell, to his credit, said "no".

Hope the pressies enjoyed their double-helping of [CENSORED]mas coal, and that in the coming year the supply will be inexhaustible as it is promiscuously distributed.

Let Uncle Colin be its pied piper.

UPDATE 12/28: Just to close this loop, the FISA court's obstructionism neatly coincides with Clintonoid Judge George Robertson's appointment to it in the fall of 2002, which makes his melodramatic, high dudgeon exit (though not from the federal bench altogether, which would actually do the country some good) look anything but the spontaneous act of conscience he and the press are trying to put over. Kind of like teasing your dog to distraction by holding a doggie treat just out of his reach and then whacking him across the nose with a rolled up newspaper for jumping up on you.

The President finally decided to just eat from the treat box instead when and where he felt he had to.

Hopefully next time he'll just bite instead.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Love Needs Expression

34 (A) But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced (B) the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.

35 One of them, [a] (C) a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"

37 And He said to him, " '(D) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'

38 "This is the great and foremost commandment.

39 "The second is like it, '(E) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

40 "(F) On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

-Matthew 22:34-40

Big Time Layeth the Smack Down

And the delightfully monikered Nedra Pickle of the ASSociated Press was privileged to be at the veep's rhetorical ground zero:

There's a temptation for people to sit around and say, well, gee, [9/11] was just a one-off affair, they didn't really mean it. Bottom line is, we've been very active and very aggressive defending the nation and using the tools at our disposal to do that. That ranges from everything to going into Afghanistan and closing down the terrorist camps, rounding up al Qaeda wherever we can find them in the world, to an active robust intelligence program, putting out rewards, the capture of bad guys, and the Patriot Act....

Either we're serious about fighting the war on terror or we're not. Either we believe that there are individuals out there doing everything they can to try to launch more attacks, to try to get ever deadlier weapons to use against [us], or we don't. The President and I believe very deeply that there's a hell of a threat, that it's there for anybody who wants to look at it. And that our obligation and responsibility, given our job, is to do everything in our power to defeat the terrorists. And that's exactly what we're doing.

According to the aforelinked Weekly Standard piece, that will soon, and at long last, include captured Saddamite documents that will "provide an unfiltered look inside a criminal regime that brutalized its own citizens, bought off numerous European politicians, and provided significant support to transregional terrorists." And, I'm willing to bet, show Saddam's development, and possession, of WMD.

If the past year's inaction while the Democrats whaled the propaganda tar out of them was intended by the Bushies as another "rope-a-dope" strategy, it certainly appears that that phase of the political war is at an end. And before the next year is past, the other side may wish it had heeded Joe Lieberman's advice, and left the war issue well enough alone.

But they'll never figure it out before November, if then.

[HT: Powerline]

An Offer New Yorkers Can't Refuse?

Just who is Elliot Spitzer, the empire state attorney-general and odds-on favorite to become the next governor of New York, and what kind of thug is he?

Here's indication #1 (according to John C. Whitehead, former chairman of Goldman Sachs, a crown jewel of Spitzer's primary target, Wall Street):

Last April, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by me titled "Mr. Spitzer Has Gone Too Far." In it I expressed my belief that in America, everyone - including Hank Greenberg - is innocent until proven guilty. "Something has gone seriously awry," I wrote, "when a state attorney general can go on television and charge one of America's best CEOs and most generous philanthropists with fraud before any charges have been brought, before the possible defendant has even had a chance to know what he personally is alleged to have done, and while the investigation is still under way."

Since there have been rumors in the media as to what happened next, I feel I must now set the record straight. After reading my op-ed piece, Mr. Spitzer tried to phone me. I was traveling in Texas but he reached me early in the afternoon. After asking me one or two questions about where I got my facts, he came right to the point. I was so shocked that I wrote it all down right away so I would be sure to remember it exactly as he said it. This is what he said:

"Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot. I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done. You will wish you had never written that letter."

I tried to interrupt to say he was doing to me exactly what he'd been doing to others, but he wouldn't be interrupted. He went on in the same vein for several more sentences and then abruptly hung up. I was astounded. No one had ever talked to me like that before. It was a little scary.

This isn't the first time the vindictive little bureaucratic Napoleon has issued blunt and reckless threats in response to public criticism, either:

After a contentious July 2000 interview with ABC Radio host Sean Hannity, Spitzer called back off the air and allegedly threatened to "'use his capacity as Attorney General' against [Hannity] - according to the host's then-producer, Eric Stanger, who took the call.

After Stanger recounted Spitzer's words on-the-air, Hannity responded: "I'd like to know what that threat means. It's not my fault that he embarrassed himself on this radio show."

Fellow radio host Laura Ingraham, who had also participated in the earlier debate, wondered: "Is he going to arrest you?"

A lawyer herself, Ingraham then noted: "I think it's a misuse of office to take action against individuals who are not accused of any wrongdoing."
Indeed it is. For all his efforts to put himself over as an "avenging angel of the people" against the "greedy plutocratic robber barons" of Wall Street, the picture of Elliot Spitzer that is emerging is like something out of the Godfather saga; cross him in any way and you wake up with a multiple indictment in your bed. The classic bullyboy who relies on intimidation to cow his opponents in lieu of open, honest, substantive debate.

It's Spitzer's prosecutorial MO, but it may not work as well as a political template. Taking his life in his hands, Bill Weld, former Massachusetts governor and Spitzer's probable GOP guberantorial opponent, had this response:

On Saturday, New York State Republican gubernatorial hopeful William Weld reacted sharply to Whitehead's allegation against Spitzer, with spokesman Dominick Ianno telling the New York Post: "This was wildly improper for a prosecutor and it would be even more unbecoming for a governor."
"Improper" and "unbecoming" aren't the words I would use. Try "gestapoesque" and you'd be closer to the bullseye. Which, I guess, goes to show that the same people who falsely - and "vituperatively" - denounce President Bush as a "fascist dictator" for doing everything within his constitutional power to protect the American people from mass terrorist attack consider a tendency toward the genuine article a virtue if it means getting back a governorship. Because, after all, New York's red-state "fascist" minority, like the Wall Street "plutocrats," will deserve everything they get.

And just think - a Governor Spitzer will be but the hors d'oever for "thug life" on a national scale three years from now.

Just don't expect the "civil liberties" crowd to raise any strident clarion call warnings then - they'll be too busy burnishing their checked-out Little Red Books of Mao for the inauguration....

What A Surprise

Hey, prepare yourself for a shock. Just read this at Blogs for Bush:

You might have seen the story about University of Massachusetts student who claims Department of Homeland Security agents interrogated him over the checking out of Mao's Little Red Book from the even made it into Ted Kennedy's hit piece on President Bush the other day regarding the NSA program. This was held up by the left as what is going on in George Bush's Amerika...the horrendous repression of any sort of political dissent...we were supposed to be shaking in our boots, waiting for the Neo-Con Gestapo to knock down our door in the middle of the night...

Well, guess what? Yep - you guessed it: the story was made up. A lie, you know? Nothing new, of course - everything the left has thrown at us these past five years has been a lie.

Jonathan over at GOP Bloggers has the details.

Isn't THAT a big surprise? They haven't been able to come up with an example of ANYONE being wrongly accused or interrogated as a result of Bush's NSA decisions, so they had to make one up. Anyone have any doubt whatsoever that this college kid was being used by a liberal professor or Dem operative? His statement that he's 'glad it's over' is a pretty good indicator.

I wonder if there is anyone left in the Democratic Party who is able to have a truthful, civil exchange of ideas regarding President Bush and/or the War on Terror. Other than Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller, I can't think of anyone.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

First Breath

15 He is the (A )image of the (B) invisible God, the (C) firstborn of all creation.

16 For (D) by Him all things were created, (E) both in the heavens and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether (F) thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - (G) all things have been created through Him and for Him.

17 He (H) is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

18 He is also (I) head of (J) the body, the church; and He is (K) the beginning, (L) the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

19 For it was (M) the Father's good pleasure for all (N) the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to (O) reconcile all things to Himself, having made (P) peace through (Q) the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, (R) whether things on Earth or things in heaven.

-Colossians 1:15-20

Profiles In Cowardice

This story so symbolizes the moral and political state of the contemporary Democrat party:

A Senate resolution condemning the president of Iran for anti-Semitic comments he made earlier this month is riling its Republican sponsors on Capitol Hill. They claim Senate Democrats forced them to strip language from the document expressing support for self-determination and a national referendum in the country.

Senator Santorum, a Republican of Pennsylvania, drafted the resolution after a December 14 speech in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a "myth" and suggested Israel be relocated to Europe, Canada, or Alaska. In its original form, the statement condemned the remarks, demanded an apology, and supported efforts by "the people of Iran to exercise self-determination" and hold a national referendum with oversight by international observers.

When Mr. Santorum moved to introduce the resolution last Friday, Senator Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon, registered an unusual objection. According to the Congressional Record, Mr. Wyden told Mr. Santorum on the Senate floor that he was objecting to the resolution because his Democratic colleagues in the Senate had asked him too. Mr. Wyden did not say who asked him to issue the objection.

"While I personally am vehemently opposed to the statements that have been made by the president of Iran," Mr. Wyden said, "I have been asked by the members on this side of the aisle to object, and I do so object."

So let's get this straight: "Senate Democrats" object to Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's hateful, warmongering apocalypticism that could, and evidently will, plunge the world into nuclear Armageddon, but they "vehemently oppose" even the public suggestion that any move be made to avert this disaster in the making by just encouraging the overthrow of the mullahgarchy by the Iranian people. And Ron Wyden - who vehemently opposes Ahmedinejad - nevertheless had no difficulty serving as the designated mouthpiece for his haplessly dhimmized colleagues whose pro-Islamist convictions were so heartfelt that they wouldn't even stand up and be publicly identified with them.

My only real question is why Santorum removed the two sentences backing regime change and freedom in Iran. Haven't Senate Pachyderms yet had enough of this pointless, cowardly, obstructionist crap? Screw "Senate Democrats," and screw Ron Wyden for being their spokesman; keep the blasted resolution as is and make the Democrats defend keeping a madman like Ahmedinejad in power and therefore in the position to set off the nuclear fuse. Maybe even flush out the despicable turban-licker(s) for public villification.

If Senate Republicans won't even stand their ground on a frakking resolution, they might as well pack it in, hand the keys to the kingdom over to Dirty Harry, and go home to dig their fallout shelters.

[HT: CQ]

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Call of the Present

26 Now in the sixth month the angel (A) Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called (B) Nazareth, 27 to (C) a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, (D) of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."

29 But she (E) was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.

30 The angel said to her, "(F) Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.

31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you (G) shall name Him Jesus.

32 "He will be great and will be called the Son of (H) the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him (I) the throne of His father David; 33 (J) and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, (K) and His kingdom will have no end."

34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

35 The angel answered and said to her, "(L) The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of (M) the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason (N) the holy Child shall be called (O) the Son of God.

36 "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.

37 "For (P) nothing will be impossible with God."

38 And Mary said, "Behold, the [a] bondslave of the LORD; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

-Luke 1:26-38

Senate End-of-Year Scoreboard

If you're looking for a gold standard of Senate majority leadership, you need look no further than one Lyndon Baines Johnson, who also served less effective stints as vice president and president of the United States. Well, actually, I don't quite know how to judge what makes a vice presidency successful, but never mind that part, because it is possible to make that determination for the holder of the title "Senate Majority Leader." And there was never anybody better at it than LBJ.

The fundamental reason why is entirely uncomplicated: he was a ruthless, partisan SOB. His party's legislative agenda was his legislative agenda, and he would run figurative eighteen-wheelers over all the womenfolk in his family to get it enacted. Anybody who dared get in his way - by which I mean Democrats, as Republicans were neither in the majority nor anything less (aside from Barry Goldwater) than abjectly terrified of the man - would find out very unpleasantly why that wasn't a very good idea, whether that meant being stripped of a plumb committee chairmanship (or never getting the one you wanted) or a full pork allotment. Goldwater, in his memoirs, described LBJ's intimidating manner of "cajoling" recalcitrant Members into knuckling under, punctuated by menace barely concealed beneath a thin film of southern charm and an arm around the shoulders (Johnson was a big man, remember) that was known by his senate colleagues as a "half-Johnson," a waggish reference to the painful wrestling hold known as the "half-Nelson." The unspoken message was unmistakable: go along with me or I will make you suffer without mercy.

And it worked. Indeed, that background and the powers of the presidency (and the circumstances under which LBJ ascended to it) is what gave the country - or, rather, had inflicted upon it - both the Great Society and the Vietnam war. It's doubtful that either could have seen the full light of day any other way.

There were, of course, other effective SML's - Mike Mansfield, George Mitchell, Robert Byrd. And it isn't difficult to see the common thread running between all of them. Namely, all of them were Democrats.

By stark contrast, the four GOP SMLs of the modern (i.e. post-1980) era - Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, and Bill Frist - have also been linked, but by a weak, floundering fecklessness that has largely to entirely negated whatever majorities they at one time or another commanded.

And of all the times that Republicans should be dominating the U.S. Senate over that time, it ought to be now. The GOP enjoys a double-digit majority, and the Democrats have never been crazier, more irresponsible, more extremist, and led by a man less capable or intimidating.

And yet this week, on three signature measures that range from important to life-or-death critical, the current SML - the aforementioned Fristy - could only manage a push:

Senate majority leader Bill Frist, heading a 55-to-45 Republican majority, might have expected to deliver a pile of legislative gifts this month to the White House, which had hoped to end the year with $40 billion in budget cuts, approval to drill for oil in an Alaskan wildlife refuge, and the full extension of the Patriot Act giving expanded powers to law enforcement.

But Frist, a Tennessee Republican with his eye on the White House, found his party in a pre-Christmas dogfight [Wednes]day, with GOP lawmakers joining united Democrats in a series of embarrassing setbacks for President Bush and the Republican agenda. ...

Republicans attributed some of their party's defections to the politics of a looming election year and the willingness of moderate Republican senators from New England to defy the President.

But others say that Frist, balancing his presidential ambitions with the task of running the Senate, is not doing what's needed to keep his caucus together.

Personally I don't find any of those reasons palatable. "Politics of a looming election year" palpably radiates trademark Republican timidity that won't get any Pachyderm elected or re-elected. New England RINOs simply bend as far left as the prevailing political winds allow them to, and that just gets back to Fristy's failure to lead. And as to that, I don't think that his presidential ambitions have much, if anything, to do with that, since I would think that, as LBJ illustrated, a SML who aspired to his party's presidential nomination would try to be as effective in his job as "legislative shepherd" as possible, and that sure as hell doesn't auger to being a "nice guy."

I think Fristy's biggest problem is not that he wants to be seen as a nice guy, but rather that he is a nice guy. And, unfortunately, his job description requires him to be a ruthless, partisan SOB.
And, unfortunately for the GOP, when it comes to making a change - which will be coming a year from now regardless - there's not a single member of their caucus that comes anywhere near fitting that description. I can conceive of no other explanation for how they can continue to even co-exist with Dirty Harry and his obnoxious band of two-faced, caustic, lying assholes, much less keep seeking "comity" with them in mortifyingly puppy-dog fashion.

So, as you probably already figured out, I was less than impressed with the killing of ANWR, the punting of the Patriot Act renewal, and the passage of a miniscule rafter of budget cuts (or, rather, reductions in the rate of galloping runaway expenditure growth) that required Dick Cheney to warp back from the Middle East to cast a tie-breaking vote. In this I didn't differ from the bulk of the center-right blogosphere.

Cap'n Ed, who stopped being a Fristy fan after the McCain Mutiny, distilled it down to the three "P"s - preparation, passivity, and procrastination:

No, Senator, you need to ask the Republicans why they voted against [ANWR] - that's your job. A real caucus leader would already have known how and why their members would vote and would have held back on calling the question until everyone had gotten back in line. Harry Reid doesn't have too many problems with bloc unity, and he can't offer committee chairmanships and votes on pet causes like Frist can. Lawyers tell you that they shouldn't ask questions during testimony for which they don't already know the answer; doctors shouldn't start surgery unless they know where the abnormality is located. It's called preparation, and we're not seeing a lot of it from the Republican leadership in the Senate.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of putting things off, why did the Senate and the House wait until the very last minute to get this done? The GOP has talked about Patriot Act renewal since last year - but no Democrat wanted to do it during an election year. (Not then, anyway.) The topic has come up at various times all year, but no one did any heavy lifting on the effort until the Act had almost expired. All of a sudden, the House and Senate discovered the Patriot Act, and the Democrats suddenly "discovered" that it had turned America into a police state. Does that make any sense?

Not if ensuring a permanent Patriot Act was a powerful, punctuated priority. And that just gets back to Republican timidity, which even so dogged a GOP cheerleader as Hugh Hewitt has proved unable to continue ignoring:

The inability of the Republican majority to force a showdown earlier in the year, or to carry the day on two of the three major items dooms Bill Frist's presidential campaign, and may have cost Mike DeWine his Senate seat. Watching Bill Frist close the session [Wedneday] night was painful, his rhetoric as tired as his face, and the empty chairs and behind him symbolized the chamber that will not be led.
Hard to tell the "leadability" of a chamber when the man who is supposed to be leading it refuses to lead.

But, just to show that there is still such a thing as right-wing optimism, J. Peter Freire at AmSpecBlog thinks that kicking the Patriot Act can down the road six months is an unqualified victory:

This is being labelled a compromise. This is absolutely untrue. This is no compromise, but a victory. Now, Republicans have had the Democrats vote twice in favor of the Patriot Act. Even with the aid of the supposed "outing" of the President's "secret" wire-tapping, revelations of black sites, and in the midst of McCain's torture amendment negotiations, the Dems still had trouble explaining their filibuster - which was only barely successful. In six months, when it comes time to take another vote on the amendment, opponents won't have BlackSite-gate, Wiretap-gate, nor Torture-gate to pressure the moderates to their side. Instead, they'll have a 2006 election driven by Congressmen needing to appear strong on defense - the Dems have lost.
In order:

1) It doesn't matter how many times Dems vote for the Patriot Act, when it comes up for renewal again they'll always act like it's the first time they've ever laid outraged eyes on it;

2) The only thing that matters about the Dems' PA filibuster is that it succeeded, and enjoyed four GOP defections;

3) Dems and the media will never stop flogging "BlackSite-gate, Wiretap-gate, and Torture-gate" for the next six months, and will probably add several more "-gates" to the mix;

4) If Senate Republicans weren't scared to death of renewing the Patriot Act, they wouldn't have sought to push the next renewal date past the 2006 mid-term election.

None of the above need prove a liability to the GOP majority. Their problem is that they are so often their own liability that they turn such issues that should be their strongest advantages into political millstones 'round their necks instead.

FWIW, Jay Cost of the Horserace Blog doesn't see any way that the Democrats can regain the majority on either side of the U.S. Capitol next year. But that'll be a function of the political landscape and electoral "structuring," rather than any Republican merit. And it won't change the fact, as no less a commentator than Brother Hinderaker has joined me in observing, that:

[W]hen the Democrats are in the majority, the Democrats run Congress. When the Republicans are in the majority, the Democrats still run Congress.
Maybe elections don't really matter that much after all.