Friday, August 31, 2007

Craig's List

When I first blogged about the fall of Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig, I couldn't make heads or, um, tails out of the story. It seemed like what he was alleged to have done in that Minneapolis airport men's room was certainly morally wrong and more than a little creepy, but hardly illegal, yet he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge - in the apparent hopes of keeping the incident from being noticed by the Enemy Media. It just didn't add up.

Well, as you probably already know, more of the story has been, er, fleshed in by now, and I think I'm beginning to get, uh, a handle on it. The transcript of Craig's police interrogation is very educational:
OFFICER: You're not being truthful with me. I'm kind of disappointed in you, Senator. I'm real disappointed right now. Just so you know, just like everybody I treat with dignity, I try to pull them away from the situation -

CRAIG: I appreciate that.

OFFICER: - and [crosstalk] Every person I've had so far has told me the truth. We've been respectful to each other and we've gone on their way. I haven't put anyone in jail because everyone's been truthful to me.

CRAIG: I don't want you to take me to jail -

OFFICER: And I'm not going to take you to jail as long as you're going to be cooperative and not lie.
About what did the arresting officer think Senator Craig was lying? In context, that would appear to correlate to Craig's assertion this week that his actions were "misconstrued" - i.e. he wasn't trying to initiate a tawdry, perverted sex act in an airport toilet stall - even though the officer recognized the "foot action" for precisely such a signal of "interest".

Having already foolishly disclosed that he was a U.S. senator, which clearly didn't impress, much less intimidate, the vice cop as he hoped it would, Craig was now, er, over a barrel. The officer's disgust level was elevated and his patience level was plummeting. As a result the senator's options were shrinking rapidly:
OFFICER: Okay, so let's start over. You're going to get out of here, you're going to have to pay a fine, and that'll be it.

CRAIG: Fine.

OFFICER: I don't call media, I don't do any of that type of crap.
Sounds like a do-it-yourself plea bargain, doesn't it? The cop was appalled at having a U.S. senator sitting in his interrogation room and pissed at his arrogance in refusing to admit to what he had been caught red....well, footed, doing. He was, let us say, not inclined towards leniency. He was going to throw the book at Senator Craig one way or the other.

Particularly when Craig continued to protest his innocence even after having issued the confession (of "disorderly conduct") that was wrung out of him:
OFFICER: I would respect you, I don't disrespect you, I still respect you, but that's not the point. I'm being disrespected right now, and I'm not trying to act like I have all kind of power or anything, but you're sitting here lying to a police officer.

CRAIG: I - [crosstalk]

OFFICER: I've been trained to do this. I know what I'm doing .... I just have to say that I'm really disappointed in you, sir. I expect this from the guy that we get out of the hood - I mean, people vote for you! Unbelievable!...Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we're going down the tubes.
For all the arguments that have been made in Senator Craig's defense that what he did (or what the vice cop thought he did) in that bathroom was hardly a crime of any magnitude, at this point Craig didn't have the luxury of indulging in righteous indignation or picking at the nits of local ordinances. He was staring the end of his political career in the face.

Put yourself in his, um, shoes. If he was signaling interest in a sodomistic tryst to the wrong lavatorial neighbor (not unlike former NFL safety Eugene Robinson, also a one-time moral pillar of his community, getting busted for soliciting a [*AHEM*] hummer (and I don't mean a great big, boxy, overpowered SUV) the night before Super Bowl XXXII), there was no way he was going to admit it on tape, because there's no way that wouldn't get to the press almost before he got through with the confession, no matter what the cop promised. But if he didn't acknowledge SOME sort of wrongdoing, the charges would be pressed, Craig would have to go to trial, and it'd be all over the media anyway. So he chose the least "evil" by going with the disorderly conduct citation and paid the fine, which in the end bought him a couple of months and change.

Could Senator Craig's protestations of innocence be true? Well, anything's possible, I guess. The police report never says he verbally "flirted," or indecently exposed himself. For what it's worth, though, I'm inclined to conclude that Senator Craig wasn't so much lying to the arresting officer as not telling the whole truth. When he gives his version of the bathroom incident, he's awfully short on specifics and sounds like he's glossing over parts that he clearly doesn't want to talk about for fear it will give the cop an opening. Which was, of course, futile since the cop immediately brings up those parts (the foot contact, the reaching under the stall partition) and berates Craig mercilessly.

Personally, I try not to poop in public restrooms unless I've got erupting bowels and I can't get to any acceptable facilities in time. The prospect of plopping my ass where so many asses have plopped before just doesn't appeal to me. But on the rare occasions that I have, I have NEVER spread my legs or feet out, even if there was no one else in the can, to say nothing of reaching towards the floor for any reason besides pulling my pants back up. Hell, I don't spread my legs or feet out in my OWN crapper; in a public bathroom I velcro my knees together.

And that was BEFORE learning about this "signaling" business. Now, as I quipped the other day, I'd prefer to just crap my pants and walk around with the Vince McMahon strut than risk an unwanted "invitation." Consequently, it's tough for me to believe that Senator Craig didn't remember touching feet with the vice cop (I'd certainly remember something like that - in my nightmares, most likely) or was picking up "a piece of paper" off the floor in front of him unless it was something he dropped.

I don't think that's a legal crime; some (not I) would say it's not a moral one; but for a Republican officeholder, it's definitely a public relations deathblow. And the hammer didn't take long to fall:
Idaho Senator Larry Craig's political support eroded significantly Wednesday as three fellow Republicans in Congress called for his resignation and party leaders pushed him from senior committee posts.

The White House expressed its disappointment, too — and not a word of support for the 62-year-old lawmaker, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge stemming from an undercover police operation in an airport men's room.

Craig "represents the Republican party," said Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the first fellow GOP member of Congress to urge a resignation. ...

Senators John McCain of Arizona and Norm Coleman of Minnesota joined Hoekstra in urging Craig to step down.

McCain spoke out on an interview with CNN. "My opinion is that when you plead guilty to a crime, you shouldn't serve. That's not a moral stand. That's not a holier-than-thou. It's just a factual situation."
Craig was also facing a Senate ethics investigation initiated by his own caucus, which is about as clear a signal as could be humanly sent that his GOP colleagues wanted him gone, since such a probe would be taken by the Democrats and smeared all over the entire Republican Party. Which, come to think of it, could have been interpreted by Craig as a bluff and called if he'd wanted to be stubborn about it, though the PR cat was already out of the bag in any case.

Public protestations of innocence and defiant clinging to his senate seat and re-election campaign next year quickly wilted in the face of onrushing events. By today, the jig was up:
Several well-placed GOP sources in Washington and Idaho have told CNN that embattled Republican Senator Larry Craig is likely to resign soon, possibly as early as Friday.

A GOP source with knowledge of the situation told CNN's Dana Bash that the Republican National Committee was poised to take the extraordinary step of calling on Craig to resign.

However, that move was put on hold, the source said, because top party leaders have received indications that Craig himself is preparing to step down.

Sources have confirmed that high-level meetings on the matter were being conducted in Idaho on Thursday.
~ ~ ~

Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, Republican officials said Friday.

Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective September 30, GOP officials in Idaho and Washington told the Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.
I can't resist an "Admiral vs. Admiral" post-script to this, well, post. It's just so darned fun to point out our good friend and BTR leader Ed Morrissey answering his own rhetorical questions with what are evidently rhetorical answers.

Here he asks, "If Craig has to go, why not David Vitter"?:
If the [Republican] party wants to start drawing [moral conduct] lines, then one has to wonder why David Vitter isn't getting the same push. He didn't plead guilty in court, but unlike Craig, he openly admits he broke the law and solicited prostitutes. Others serving in Congress at the moment have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors of more import than disorderly conduct without being forced to resign. If morality and credibility are at issue, why isn't Vitter being held to that standard? It's either that Louisiana's Democratic governor would appoint a Democrat in his place, or that Vitter's transgressions involved heterosexual sex and therefore are less objectionable.
Yes, Ed, and your point is....? Of course normal sex is less viscerally objectionable than homosexuality, even if it's solicited extramaritally from prostitutes; why do you think Bill Clinton never got in trouble for his adulterous "lifestyle"? And of course the partisan balance in the Senate matters; if Craig was, say, Gordon Smith instead, do you think 'Pubbies would have been so eager to be rid of him?

Funny how Ed notices how closely Dems pay attention to such things:
I believe that Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) managed to plead guilty to a UI last year without endangering his seat in Congress. Driving under the influence, especially as Kennedy did, represents a greater danger to the community than attempting to make a sexual connection in an airport restroom - and yet few people demanded Kennedy's resignation. If we want to establish standards of conduct that require members to resign after pleading guilty to crimes of any stripe, let's make sure we're applying that standard equally. The same should be said about ethics investigations as well.
Few demanded Kennedy's resignation because (1) he's a Kennedy, and people just assume that Kennedys are all lushes who drive hammered (it DOES tend to run in the family); and (2) he's a Democrat, and Democrats do not voluntarily surrender congressional seats. It's all well and good to say that "standards of conduct" should be "applied equally," but that's not the reality of the American political landscape today. It's all about the unrestrained, bare-knuckle pursuit of power at all costs, the law be damned, and if Republicans don't fight by those "rules" in a time of global war and WMD terror, the party of retreat and defeat will win by default and the lives of countless Americans will be forfeit.

It'd be nice if we could kiss off senate seats for moral peccadillos without potentially dire consequences, but that's not the world we live in. That we can do so in Larry Craig's case is unfortunate for him, but it's a "stall" that he walked into all by himself, and the flushing he's suffering now has no culprit but the man staring back at him in the bathroom mirror.

Enough With The Hsu Jokes, Or I'll Hsu

I'm telling you, this Hillary Clinton-Norman Hsu business makes it feel like it's still 1997. A Clinton is running for president again fueled by shady Asian fundraising hijinx. It's like the past decade never happened.

The latest item ticked off the list is that Mrs. Clinton is only returning part of her Hsu-catalyzed contributions:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign said yesterday that it would give to charity $23,000 it had received from a prominent Democratic donor, and review thousands of dollars more that he had raised, after learning that the authorities in California had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 fraud case. ...

On his own, Mr. Hsu wrote checks totaling $255,970 to a variety of Democratic candidates and committees since 2004. Even though he was a bundler for Mrs. Clinton, his largess was spread across the Democratic Party and included $5,000 to the political action committee of Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois.

Last month, Mr. Hsu was among the honored guests at a fund-raiser for Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, given by Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group at the New York Yacht Club.

Al Franken, a Democratic Senate candidate in Minnesota, said he would divest his campaign of Mr. Hsu’s donations, as did Representatives Michael M. Honda and Doris O. Matsui of California and Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, all Democrats.
This is as opposed to Donk Pennsylvania Governor "Fast Eddie" Rendell, who isn't giving back a single red [*AHEM*] cent.

When I used to write that the Democrat Party had been "Clintonized," things like this are precisely what I meant.

The next shoe to fall was the collapse of Hsu's cover stories and the burgeoning clarity that he's nothing but a Clintonoid bag man:
People who met him said they knew only that he ran an apparel business. Efforts to learn more about his trade hit dead-ends yesterday. Visits to companies at addresses listed by Mr. Hsu on campaign finance records provided little information. There were no offices in buildings in New York’s garment district whose addresses were given for businesses with names like Components Ltd., Cool Planets, Next Components, Coopgors Ltd., NBT and Because Men’s clothing — all listed by Mr. Hsu in federal filings at different times.

At a new loft-style residential condominium in SoHo that was also listed as an address for one of his companies, an employee there said that he had never seen or heard of Mr. Hsu. Another company was listed at a condo that Mr. Hsu had sublet in an elegant residential tower in Midtown Manhattan just off Fifth Avenue, but an employee there said Mr. Hsu moved out two years ago, after having lived there for five years. The employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about residents, said he recalled that Mr. Hsu had received a lot of mail from the Democratic Party.
No Clinton fundraising story would be complete without Clintonoid (and Democrat) feigned cluelessness:

Hillary Clinton told a Manhattan audience yesterday that her team tries to do the best they can in vetting volunteers. How could any vetting process possibly miss this? None of his story checks out at all, not even with the most cursory look at his record. It's filled with false addresses. Not even his listed residence appears current. Exactly what kind of vetting did Hillary do?

Hilariously, Eliot Spitzer joined Hillary on stage yesterday. The Governor, whose previous job was Attorney General, got $62,000 of Hsu money for his campaign. Are we to believe that the former top law-enforcement officer of the state of New York couldn't find out that Hsu was a fraud?

No one vetted Hsu. The only process Hillary and Spitzer used was cashing the check. If it didn't bounce, Hsu got into the club.

The Admiral asked the key, pertinent, and very pregnant question of just exactly where Hsu got all the boodle he lavished upon the campaign coffers of Hillary and other Donks. This leads to the one development in this story that doesn't fit the standard Clintonoid template - the bagman surrendered:
A top Democratic fundraiser wanted as a fugitive in California turned himself in Friday to face a grand theft charge.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge H. James Ellis ordered Norman Hsu handcuffed and held on $2 million bond. A bail hearing was scheduled for September 5, at which the judge will consider reducing his bail to $1 million.

Hsu appeared in court accompanied by a lawyer and publicist, both of whom declined to say whether the New York apparel executive would immediately post bail. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he skipped the sentencing for a 1991 grand theft charge.
Every previous Oriental go-between managed to flee the country when it neared their turn to be thrown under the Clintonoid bus. I guess Hsu had too much past heat to make that a viable option.

However, by going back to the hoosegow he removes himself from public scrutiny, and public questions such as the one Ed asked. That's doubtless precisely what Mrs. Clinton had in mind when she got on the horn to Hsu and gave him these marching orders.

Unlike Dean Barnett, I'm not kidding about that suspicion. Assuming Hsu managed to cover the tracks to his fundraising sources better than he did the grand theft charges, this will be one more Clintonoid scandal fire successfully put out.

And if not, well, who will care? Nobody ever sweated any of Bill's & Hill's other racketeering; why would the public start taking offense to it now?

Where Was God?

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." [a] 6 So we say with confidence, "The LORD is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" [b]

7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

-Hebrews 13:5-8

Waterloo, But For Who(m)?

When Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney-General on Monday, I urged him to throw "the New Tone" to the wind and go for broke by choosing Ted Olson as Speedy's successor at Justice. My reasoning was eminently logical:
The Leahy Committee, having finally scored Speedy's scalp, is going to try to dictate the President's choice of his replacement anyway, and nobody to the right of Janet Reno will be acceptable to them. Since it's going to be a battle to the PR death regardless, why not go for broke and appoint Chertoff or Olson, men who share Dubya's vision of fighting the War Against Islamic Fundamentalism, whom he personally trusts, and who will be highly unlikely to be as out of depth as was Gonzales?

Seeing the Donks dredge up Florida 2K again....would be another delightful opportunity to further educate the public on Dem extremism and partisan boorishness and drive down Congress' approval numbers into single digits at the same time.
Dubya, in other words, has absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by swinging for the fences, and maybe using that bat on Leaky, Chucky, Fussy Russy, and Uncle Teddy while he's at it.

I posted that recommendation in a wistful sense, though, as I held out little hope that the President would opt for the "in-your-face" pick. Oh, he wouldn't abjectly surrender by picking a Democrat, but I was expecting an old Bush41 hand equivalent to his choice of Bob Gates to take over for Rummy.

Imagine my pleasure when I read this WaPo rumor:
A half-dozen or so lawyers are being discussed among Administration officials as possible candidates to replace Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, but no clear favorite has emerged, and President Bush is willing to fight for the right candidate, Administration officials and Republican advisers said [Tues]day.

Democratic Senate leaders have called on the White House to consult them closely during the selection process, but Administration officials warned yesterday that the President intends to nominate an attorney general who agrees with his policies. "It is the President's prerogative to appoint someone who shares his views," a senior Administration official said.
Can you believe the White House has to actually defend what should be such an obvious given? Can you believe the Donks are manifesting such triumphalist partisan arrogance? Do you have any doubt what kind of battle royal/hell-in-a-cell/death match this confirmation is going to be?

Yesterday Brother Meringoff brought even better news:
I'm hearing that the White House presented three names in its consultation with Senator Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committtee. They were Ted Olson, Larry Thompson (the number two man under John Ashcroft), and George Terwilliger. Specter preferred Olson, whom the White House also views very favorably, and he likely will be the nominee.
Ted Olson. Ted honest-to-God Olson. Ted "I'm No Frakking Jamie Gorelick" Olson. I do believe business is about to pick up.

One thing I strongly believe in, as far too many officeholding Pachyderms do not, is the relentless highlighting of the policy and philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats. For the most part, whenever GOPers contrast their center-right views with the Donks' left-wing extremism, the good guys win. When 'Pubbies run away from such ideological fights, they almost invariably lose.

The choice of Oh, Boy, Alberto's successor is just such a fork in the road. A spectacular one, in point of fact; what partisan showdown could be more beneficial to conservatives, and perilous to liberals, than to have it out over counter-terrorism and national security? Are Democrats really going to get on the national stage and shine the multi-kilowatt klieg lights of public scrutiny on arguments against surveilling terrorist communications and financing? Against the Patriot Act and keeping forever down the Gorelick "wall" that preventing FBI-CIA intelligence sharing in the run-up to the 9/11 attacks? And have thrown in their faces the fact that the Bush anti-terror policies they've spent the past six years viciously demonizing have prevented any further al Qaeda attacks on American soil, something nobody would have predicted or even imagined six years ago?

Remember that Ivana Trump ad where she chirped, "Success is the best revenge"? That's what the Bushies have at their backs, plus the recently (and grudgingly) passed and enacted FISA upgrade to re-open the TSP. All the Democrats have is an overabundance of sedition and partisan boorishness that can only be campaign liabilities next year, and all the more so if they try, much less succeed, in "borking" Ted Olson.

Still, they may well do just that. Donks have been feeling the heat from their kook, fringe, bottom-feeding, wacko, lunatic, insane asylum, quisling base over caving to the President on forcing retreat timetables from Iraq (and Afghanistan), the FISA upgrade, and crossing ultraleft orthodoxy and admitting that the Petraeus "Surge" is working. If the Leahy Committee doesn't tar and feather Ted Olson and have him dragged to death on the streets of Washington, D.C. by his tool, the Kos-hacks and moveoners may start issuing death fatwas against their own.

And if they do, the President should go right down the list and send up Larry Thompson, and then George Terwilliger, one "neocon" after another, until the Dems cry "no mas," or the GOP retakes the Senate in November 2008, whichever comes first.

Would Dubya go to those lengths? Would the Dems?

One way or another, we're gonna find out.

Since I wasn't expecting even this much, I figure I'm already ahead.

Stand By The Mission

From the Victory Caucus:

Iraq is now the central front in the War on Terrorism - not because Americans want it to be but because America's enemies have said so and made it so. Al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias are determined to drive the United States out of Iraq. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups would then use that country as a safe haven from which they can mount attacks on the U.S., its interests and allies.

We recognize that the U.S. involvement in Iraq has divided Americans and that our leaders have made mistakes. We also recognize the cost of this war, not only in financial terms but, more importantly, in the loss of more than 3,000 of our bravest men and women. The issue, however, is not how or why U.S. forces became engaged in Iraq but, rather, what is happening there now and what would happen if we were to leave too soon.

Today, U.S. forces are making real and significant progress. We are driving al-Qaeda out of key strongholds, recruiting Iraqis to join the fight, and training them to defend themselves.General Petraeus and the new U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, will report to Congress in mid-September on the American effort. We urge our nation's leaders to:

Recognize the importance of fighting and defeating al-Qaeda, wherever they can be found, not least in Iraq;

Consider the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker with an open mind and without regard for partisan politics;

Recognize the significant threat to U.S. national security that a hasty retreat or a made-in-Washington timetable for withdrawal from Iraq would generate; and

Listen to the U.S. service members who willingly sacrifice to protect our country and who do not want defeat legislated in Washington so long as American troops are on the battlefield.

America has a chance to strike a serious blow against terrorism and the ideologies that drive terrorism. By contrast, the defeat of the United States would embolden terrorists, making the world a more dangerous place for Americans and consigning the people of Iraq and the Middle East to a perilous future.

We urge you to support our troops by giving them the resources and time they need to successfully complete their mission.

To do so, click here.

Still Kickin'...

Hey there everybody! I'm still around. Today is "move-in" day for my youngest at college. Boy, THAT doesn't seem possible. I'm about to be an empty nester, and I have to say I'm not relishing the thought. I LIKE having my kids around! Anyway, my procrastinating son got most of his things ready at around midnight last night. He goes today, my daughter goes Sunday. Where does the time go?

Jim obviously has the current events thing well in hand here. I just wanted to throw in something I was just reading about....

In covering the 2008 presidential campaign, the network morning news shows are "overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, [and] they are actively promoting the Democrats' liberal agenda," according to a study released today by the conservative Media Research Center (MRC).

The study examined 517 campaign segments on the morning news shows broadcast on ABC, CBS and NBC in the first seven months of 2007. It found that the shows covered Democrats "nearly twice as much" as Republicans and framed interview questions from a liberal perspective most of the time.

Wow...shocking, isn't it? Kind of on the order of "Hillary is a liberal" or "Ted Kennedy is a sot."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

In Afghanistan, we're kicking Taliban ass:
More than a hundred Taliban insurgents and allies have been killed in a major battle with US-led troops in southern Afghanistan, according to the US military.

The fighting erupted after a convoy of Afghan and US coalition forces came under attack in Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar province and called in air support.

There were no civilian casualties reported but one Afghan security force member was killed and three foreign troops and three Afghan soldiers were wounded.
In Iraq, we've got Muqtada al-Sadr beaten:

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a six-month suspension of activities by his Mahdi Army militia in order to reorganize the force, and it will no longer attack U.S. and coalition troops, aides said Wednesday.

The aide, Sheik Hazim al-Araji, said on Iraqi state television that the goal was to "rehabilitate" the organization, which has reportedly broken into factions, some of which the U.S. maintains are trained and supplied by Iran.

"We declare the freezing of the Mahdi Army without exception in order to rehabilitate it in a way that will safeguard its ideological image within a maximum period of six months starting from the day this statement is issued," al-Araji said, reading from a statement by al-Sadr.

In Najaf, al-Sadr's spokesman said the order also means the Mahdi Army will no longer launch attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces.

The common threads in these two theatres of the War Against Islamic Fundamentalism?

1) We're fighting the jihadis, not "negotiating" with them;

2) We're not fighting them half-assedly or piecemeal, but systematically flushing them out and forcing them to engage our forces rather than attacking defenseless civilians;

3) We've accomplished that by (1) and by the enemy's own beastiality, which has turned the Afghan and Iraqi populace against the terrorists in droves, and to our side precisely because we haven't run away but have stayed in the fight.

As a result, the Taliban in Afghanistan and al Qaeda and Iranian-backed Shiite militias like the Mahdi Army have been not just militarily shattered, but politically discredited as well. The people hate them, the good guys are all over them, and they have no place to turn to for succor.

Well, no place except....:
Iran, and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, have been actively involved in supporting Shia militias and encouraging sectarian violence in Iraq since the invasion of 2003-and Iranian planning and preparation for that effort began as early as 2002. The precise purposes of this support are unclear and may have changed over time. But one thing is very clear: Iran has consistently supplied weapons, its own advisors, and Lebanese Hezbollah advisors to multiple resistance groups in Iraq, both Sunni and Shia, and has supported these groups as they have targeted Sunni Arabs, Coalition forces, Iraqi Security Forces, and the Iraqi Government itself. Their infl uence runs from Kurdistan to Basrah, and Coalition sources report that by August 2007, Iranian-backed insurgents accounted for roughly half the attacks on Coalition forces, a dramatic change from previous periods that had seen the overwhelming majority of attacks coming from the Sunni Arab insurgency and al Qaeda.

The Coalition has stepped-up its efforts to combat Iranian intervention in Iraq in recent months both because the Iranians have increased their support for violence in Iraq since the start of the surge and because Coalition successes against al Qaeda in Iraq and the larger Sunni Arab insurgency have permitted the re-allocation of resources and effort against a problem that has plagued attempts to establish a stable government in Iraq from the outset. With those problems increasingly under control, Iranian intervention is the next major problem the Coalition must tackle.
Wow. I've only been saying that for the past four years. Welcome to the party, pals.

Evidently, despite what the President said yesterday, the White House has yet to arrive at the festivities:
Eight Iranians, including two diplomats, were released by U.S. forces Wednesday after being detained because unauthorized weapons were found in their cars, the U.S. military said. An adviser to the top U.S. general in Iraq called the detentions regrettable."
How applying the Bush Administration's "catch & release" immigration tactics to Iranian agents and irregulars in Iraq constitutes "confronting Tehran's murderous activities" is baffling to me. Ditto how "isolating the regime [and] imposing economic sanctions" will "confront" the danger of Iranian nuclear missiles.

We're winning on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq because we're actually fighting the terrorists. We can't secure that victory and move on to the war's endgame because we refuse to fight their prime sponsor and controller, the Iranian mullahgarchy, which is most definitely fighting us. Those are two fundamentally contradictory policies.

One way or the other, something will inevitably give. And no matter which way I look at it, I can't see that "giving" breaking in our favor.

Under two weeks until General Petraeus gives his long-anticipated interim report to Congress. Hard to believe something big isn't going to happen between now and then. Only question is how big, and where.

About the domestic political reaction, there's no question at all.

Crap, Trash, Dreck, Porn, & Craven Bigotry

From the Admiral this morning:
Dropping a crucifix into a beaker of urine became a celebrated work of "art". Flinging elephant dung at a picture of the Virgin Mary and surrounding the image with pictures of genitalia got NEA funding here in the US.
In short, "art" literally became sewage nearly twenty years ago. Now it has also literally become garbage as well (via
Bio-art is a new trend that blends art, technology, and science to create interesting and provocative works of art. Most of the works have themes that focus on social and political criticism.

An example would be the art of Kevin H. Jones, whose recent exhibit at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, incorporated bioluminescent bacteria and rotting fruit. A Brazilian artists once had a microchip implanted under his skin to make society contemplate the relationship between humans and technology.
Then there is the sheer indescribable, much of which ended up on the White House Christmas tree during the first Clinton term, as recounted by former FBI agent Gary Aldrich in his White House expose Unlimited Access:

Sure enough, in 1993, I was invited back to assist in hanging the Christmas decorations, but I declined. I was fed up with the attitude of the Clinton administration and its endless scandals.

Just before Decorating Saturday, I ran into some of my old team members from the previous Christmases. They were next to the oval Office working on wreaths. None of them was cleared to be in this part of the complex (you needed a permanent pass), but then again, no one seemed to need clearance for anything anymore.

"Gary, how you doing? I hear you can'thelp us this year. Why not?"

I made a flimsy excuse and avoided eye contact.

"Well, don't feel too bad about it, pal. You aren't missing anything. You wouldn't believe what they're calling 'Christmas decorations' this year. It's unbelievable. In fact, it's downright disgraceful. There's this one ornament, a clear lucite block, and inside are some old computer parts, and that's a Christmas ornament, see?"

My other former team member chimed in, "Yeah, it's true, and there's all of this carved dark wood, not resembling much of anything - just sticks and twigs tied together. They look like fertility gods or something. We can't tell."

"Yeah, and there are pots, and carvings, some that look kind of obscene, and boxes, but nowhere can we find anything that resembles Christmas. Nowhere."

"And have you seen Bertha?"

Yes, I had seen Bertha - big, ebony Bertha. Bertha was a statue that Hillary had selected to be placed along the public tour line. About eleven other examples of modern art were in the Jackie Kennedy Garden (the companion garden to the Rose Garden). Bertha was twice life-size and was very naked. In addition, Bertha had enormous buttocks, far out of proportion to the rest of her body.

That was why the permanent White House staff named her Bertha, which was short for "Bertha's Big Butt." This is what the first lady [and the next president of the United States] considered appropriate for the eyes of the thousands and thousands of visitors who daily toured the White House - Bertha's Big Butt....

Fast forward to one year later. Again I was asked to help decorate the White House. I didn't get it. There wasn't much to do. The Clintons didn't like tinsel - not one tree had any tinsel - nor was there any fake snow, nor did there seem to be much for decorators to do. Christmas 1993 had been pretty stark, but then, it's always hard to hang wooden fertility symbols [no pun intended, I'm assuming] and lucite blocks with old computer parts; the branches keep bending and breaking.

But I agreed to help. It might be a last chance to help the permanent staff with the decorations. I could see retirement up ahead, just six months out, and though I had loved working at the White House, the Clintons had made the idea of retirement particularly sweet for me.

I arrived early. Everyone was in a good mood, but I was surprised to heart the first family was at home. They had not gone to Camp David, as was traditional - that way, the decorating could go on undisturbed and they could be surprised when they returned for the great unveiling. Perhaps Hillary didn't trust us. She had, in fact, "hired" some volunteers of her own. While in New York, Hillary had seen an office she thought was well-decorated. She ordered the staff to find the decorators and bring them down.

The permanent White House staff wasn't wild about this idea, but, after all, it was the first lady's [and next president of the United States'] show, and everyone understood that it would be done the way Hillary Clinton wanted it done.

"Gary, you and your team will work on the Blue Room tree."

What? I had been "fired" two years before from the Blue Room tree, the first lady's [and next president of the United States'] tree, for complete decorative incompetence. "They must have forgotten," I thought.

I went out to unload a truckful of ornament boxes. They had been received at another location and then X-rayed and examined to make sure nobody sent the White House a ticking bomb. We brought the boxes into the hallway just north of the Green, Red, and Blue Rooms, between the State Dining Room and the East Room.

The GSA, the Park Service, and the Residence maintenance staff had erected all the trees. Some staff were on high ladders, hanging evergreen garlands. We gathered around folding tables to unpack the ornament boxes.

It took about ten seconds to get the first reaction. "What in the world?"

Then another. "What the hell?"

Then another. "Look at this thing! What is it?"

"Hillary's ornaments is what!"

From one end of the hall to the other, about forty people were picking up these "things," staring at them, turning them around, trying to figure them out or stifle embarrassed laughter. I turned to one of my team members. "What are these things?"

"I heard the theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas, as interpreted by art students from around the country. Hillary sent a letter out just two months ago, really late actually, asking budding artists to send in an interpretation of The Twelve Days of Christmas, and this is what they came up with."

I couldn't believe what I was looking at. "This stuff is just childish garbage! We can't hang this stuff on any White House Christmas tree! This is a bad joke."

"Gary, the orders from the first lady's office are to hang these. It's what she wants, so we have to hang them. Anyway, many of them are from 'blue ribbon' art schools, as designated by the Secretary of Education. The whole administration has a stake in this."

"Well, if this is blue ribbon, then we're in serious trouble, educationally." I pulled out one ornament that was five real onion rings (five golden rings) glued to a white styrofoam tray, with a hook attached to the back so it could be hung. But where? Maybe in Bill Clinton's bedroom so he could rip off a midnight snack?

I was disgusted, but some of it was actually pretty funny.

"Gary, come here, look at this!" It was a mobile of twelve lords-a-leaping. They were leaping, alright. The ornament consisted of tiny clay male figurines. Each was naked and had a large erection. My friend said, "Whoops!" and he dropped it on the floor. Then, "Oh, no," as he stomped on it. He joked, "Man, I hope I don't get in trouble with Hillary for that!"

Some of the ornaments were silly and some were dangerous, like the crack pipes hung on a string. We couldn't figure out what crack pipes had to do with Christmas no matter how hard we tried, so we threw them back in the box. Some ornaments were constructed out of various drug paraphenalia, like syringes, heroin spoons, or roach clips, which are colorful devices sometimes adorned with bird feathers and used to hold marijuana joints.

Two turtle doves became two figurines that had the shells of turtles but the heads of birds; there were many of these. Four calling birds were - you guessed it - birds with a telephone, and there were at least two miniature phone booths with four birds inside using the telephone. There was a partridge in a pear, without the tree - a clay pear with a [literal severed] partridge head sticking out of it. Three French hens were French-kissing in a menage a trois. So many of the ornaments didn't celebrate Christmas as much as they celebrated sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Several of the birds had dark glasses and were blowing....saxophones [Hey, Monica's antics came a few years later]....

I went over to one of the tables I hadn't looked at yet. What's this? Of course. Two turtle doves, but they didn't have sheels this time - they were joined together in an act of bird fornication.

I picked up another ornament that was supposed to illustrate five golden rings. One of the male florist volunteers grabbed my arms and laughed and laughed.

"What's so funy? What are you laughing at?"

"Don't you know what you're holding?"

No, I didn't, but he was happy to explain it to me: the golden rings I was holding were sex toys known as "cock rings" - and they had nothing to do with chickens.

Another mystery ornament was the gingerbread man. How did he fit into The Twelve Days of Christmas? Then I got it. There were five small, gold rings I hadn't seen at first: one in his ear, one in his nose, one through his nipple, one through his belly button, and, of course, the ever-popular cock ring.

I couldn't believe the disrespect that these ornaments represented. Many of the artistws invigted to make and send something to hang on the tree must have had nothing but disgust, hatred, and disrespect for the White House and the citizens of this country, a disgust obviously encouraged by the first lady [and next president of the United States] in the name of artistic freedom....

Here was another five golden rings ornament - five gold-wrapped condoms. I threw it in the trash. There were other condom ornaments, some still in the wrapper, some not. Two sets had been "blown" into balloons and tied to small trees. I wasn't sure what the connection was to The Twelve Days of Christmas. Condoms on a pear tree?

When we were through, the first lady's [and next president of the United States'] tree had all the beauty and majesty of a landfill.

An apt aesthetic encapsulation of the entire misbegotten Clinton presidency, actually. Hard to believe we're about to make the same grievous mistake twice.

Which brings us to the Christophobic bigotry, which now has an overt ecumenical beneficiary:

The artist behind a controversial work depicting terrorism mastermind Osama bin Laden morphing into Jesus today asked people to look deeper into the work.

Queensland artist Priscilla Bracks denied she had deliberately set out to be offensive.

"Absolutely not, no, no. I am not interested in being offensive. I am interested in having a discussion and asking questions about how we think about our world and what we accept and what we don't accept," she told ABC radio. ...

Ms Bracks said one issue behind her work was the glorification of Osama bin Laden in some parts of the world.

"What I was thinking about is, well, what would happen to the stories about this man over thousands of years. Could that possibly lead to someone with a cult-like status," she said.

Oh, of COURSE Ms. Bracks didn't mean to be offensive. So sincere is she about that assertion that she's going to prove it by making another holographic image showing the "prophet" Mohammed morphing into Pat Robertson or Pope Benedict XVI. I'm sure the global Islamic community will understand perfectly and take no offense at this next piece of "artistic expression".


What's that you say, Ed? Ms. Burke won't be even-handed in her "religious commentary"? Why not?
Because any depiction of Mohammed is considered profane by Muslims and can get an artist killed. Just criticizing Islam got Theo Van Gogh murdered in the street in Amsterdam.

It's much safer to demonize Christians. They don't try to kill people.
Indeed. That must be why Aussie Catholics aren't burning down major cities down under.

If it weren't for emphatically non-bin Ladenite passages like this one, such demonization might not be so safe. But then, vengeance is the LORD's prerogative, and....

Well, not for nothing exists the t-shirt I saw once and have never been able to find again, which said on the front, "Jesus is coming!" and on the back said, "and is He ever pissed!"

That'll make a great work of art in His Kingdom. And there won't be a piss jar, pachyderm poop, rotten fruit, fat ebony ass, roach clip, cock ring, or holographic blasphemy in sight.

No Record Of Our Sins

1 Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD; 2 O LORD, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

3 If You, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O LORD, who could stand?

4 But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.

6 My soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.

8 He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

-Psalm 130

A Poverty Of Perspective

Here is the plight of the "poor" in America:

* 43% of the poor own their homes, and the average home is a three-bedroom house with a garage and 1.5 bathrooms

* Over two-thirds of households have two rooms per occupant, which belies the notion of overcrowding

* 80% of the poor have air conditioning

* Almost 75% own one car; 31% own two or more

* The average living space for the American poor is larger than the average space for all people in Paris, Vienna, and London, among other cities in Europe
Not to anecdotalize or anything, but my house is a three-bedroom with a garage we converted into a utility room and den, and but a single bathroom; it has two rooms per occupant of you count the kitchen/dining area as separate rooms; it has no air conditioning; and we do own two cars, but they're nineties-era pieces of crap with a combined mileage that would overshoot the moon. Is my family "poor"?

Not judging by our income or net worth; which just means that we're cheap. However, if you DID judge by income, we were poor in 1995 when I was unemployed for fourteen months, but the years before and years since we were smack in the middle of the Middle Class. All of which goes to show that economic strata are anything but static; the bulk of America's "poor" don't have the first clue as to what REAL poverty is like; and the "official" definition of "poverty" has elasticized to the point of meaninglessness.

Adds the Admiral:

Rather than Two Americas, what we find is that the poor resembles the middle class in living standards. Even nutrition appears similar to the middle class. Both groups get more than their daily needs, although the poor report more short-term shortages than the middle class, but only 2% of the poor report that they "often" do not have enough to eat.

That 2% of the bottom 20% of income earning households represent the real poverty in America. It exists, without a doubt, but on a much smaller scale than the political class would lead people to believe.
Think a government report conceding that the "poor" only constitute 0.4% of American households would turn a lot of heads? Not to mention piss off the libs, whose four-decade Great Society racket would be exposed as the cynical, exploitive, and yes, racist scam it's always been?

Well, there is such a report, and though it isn't nearly that honest, it doesn't have good news for the "two Americas" crowd:

The nation’s poverty rate fell in 2006 for the first time this decade, the Census Bureau reported today, even as the percentage of Americans without health insurance coverage hit a record high.

The results were not consistent across racial or age groups. For Hispanics, the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points to 20.6%, while for whites, blacks and Asians, it remained statistically unchanged.

For elderly people, the poverty rate was among the lowest since 1959, when the government began collecting such data.

Pop multiple-choice quiz: Will the Left (1) concede these numbers as a vindication of the Republican pro-growth policies of the past generation and stop their classist agitating for bigger government and higher taxes, or (2) ignore it altogether as they are the good news out of Iraq, or (3) dismiss it as more "Bush lies" and whine even louder about "income inequality" (which is what libs always bleat about when they don't have an actual recession to blame on the GOP)?

Hey, at least this is a rhetorical question with more than a single viable correct answer.

Central Command News, 8/30/07

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Bug Zoo

24 "Four things on Earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: 25 Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; 26 coneys [a] are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; 27 locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; 28 a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings' palaces.

-Proverbs 30:24-28

Blackout & Bootlicking

A few days ago I mentioned that the American establishment press almost completely buried the stunning news of the political breakthrough in Iraq brokered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Clearly that is not what what the hard left reportertariat wants to see, blows their anti-war agenda to bits as a matter of fact, and so they have "covered" this dramatic and heartening development as though it never happened. Not unlike how they "covered" the "Surge" up until a month ago, and the Bush speech to the American Legion yesterday.

As one would expect, this requires the war's defenders to go to the lengths of purchasing advertising in order to get that side of the debate heard outside talk radio and the blogosphere. But there's only one teensy-tiny problem with that: The Enemy Media - which is gladly and happily running a blizzard of anti-war shilling - is refusing to sell them the ad time.

More specifically, CNBC and MSNBC, to which the producers of the pro-war ads, Freedom Watch, sent the following letter:
We understand that MSNBC and CNBC (the “Networks”) are refusing to sell advertising time to Freedom’s Watch (“FW”) to air a series of educational advertisements. It is our understanding that the purported basis for the denial is a Network policy denying access to groups that wish to sponsor advertising on controversial issues of public importance.

Given your recent history of airing such ads (see below), we must wonder if your denial to FW is a subjective decision because the network officials disagree with the FW ads’ message? If you continue to refuse to air FW’s advertisement we request an explanation of your basis in writing or station policy within two (2) days from the date above as time is of the essence.

FW has requested time on your networks to air advertisements discussing the War Against Terrorism. Your reporters and commentators discuss this issue on your programs at every hour of the day so you clearly agree this is an issue of great public importance. FW’s advertisements, to be sure, present a view of this debate that rounds out your coverage. These ads feature Iraq War Veterans and their families discussing their sacrifices in personal terms and their belief that we must allow the military time to complete its mission in Iraq and seek victory. This is a side of this issue that should not be silenced by national cable networks. We believe that rather than censor these American heroes, you should let the American public hear their story.

As noted above, it’s troubling that the Networks appear to be airing messages on issues on a selective basis. Our research indicates that your network has accepted and aired advertisements dealing with controversial issues of national importance in the recent past. For example, the Networks aired an advertisement entitled “Shameless Politicians” sponsored by Move America Forward regarding the war on terror in October 2004. In November 2006, the Networks aired advertisements sponsored by the American Medical Association entitled “Patient Voice” concerning the controversial issue of access to health care and coverage for the uninsured. During July 2007, the Networks aired advertisements sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition. Your history of airing other issue advocacy advertisements makes the denial of FW advertisements troubling and raises the issue of whether your denial is based on an editorial disagreement with FW's message.

These ads are about important issues that will shape our national security policies for years to come. These ads present a point of view that your viewers are not now receiving.

Your viewers deserve to hear all sides of this issue so that they can make informed judgments about the future of their country.
This wouldn't be so odious, of course, if the EM really was honest, objective, and yes, "fair and balanced." But since they aren't, and are clearly house propaganda organs of the Democrat Party, it seems all the more egregious (though not the least bit surprising) that MSNBC and CNBC would both slant their own reporting AND deny the other side a response even if they well-pay for it. It's of a piece with the ongoing lib campaign to re-impose the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" and impose editorial regulations on the starboard side of the blogosphere under the guise of campaign finance laws. They want their media monopoly back, they want it back NOW, and they don't care what they have to do, or how brazenly open about it they have to be, to get it.

These two links offer illustrations of the identity of the consistent and seemingly only war-related beneficiaries of the EM's war "coverage" slant besides the elderly Woodstock crowd. Let's just say if they put up Christmas trees the ornaments they'd hang from the branches would be little sticks of dynamite.

There's a reason why I refer to them as the "Enemy" Media, after all. That they are an insatiable bottomless pit of examples is an unsolicited bonus.

Here's one of the Freedom Watch ads that CNBC and MSNBC don't want you to see. Think of it as an in-their-face public service.

Central Command News, 8/29/07

US CENTCOM Latest News Feed

Outsiders Deliver Food, Water, After Devastating Blasts.aspx

Posted: 29 Aug 2007 06:28 AM CDT

TAL ‘ AFAR, Iraq — Soldiers of D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have a unique mission that requires several trips outside the security of Forward Operating Base Sykes.

MNF-West Transition Team sees success in faces of Habbaniyah.aspx

Posted: 29 Aug 2007 06:13 AM CDT

HABBANIYAH, Iraq - When a group of American military advisors deployed to Iraq and took over a small combat outpost on the outskirts of town recently, they knew the task ahead might get tough, but each day would be rewarding. The Marines and sailors that make up Military Transition Team 13, working alongside the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, are increasing the security of the area and the quality of life for local residents as well.

Small meds make big impact in Afghan village.aspx

Posted: 29 Aug 2007 05:58 AM CDT

SHINKAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan (AFPN) - Provincial Reconstruction Team Qalat members left many Afghan villagers with a healthier outlook on life after an August 22 village medical outreach in this remote region of Zabul Province in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On The Left

I was wondering when another Clinton fundraising scandal would surface. I just never figured it would surface this soon:

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Avenue as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show...

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple's grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to "attendance liaison" at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.
Another Clinton running for president, raising illegal campaign cash through Asian front men. I'd wager if you dig deep enough, you'll get right back to James Riyadi, the Indonesian Lippo Group, and even our old friends, the ChiComms.

I tell you, it's like the last six and a half years never happened.

UPDATE: Would you believe that "Mr. Hsu" is a convicted felon and fugitive from justice as well?

Gotta love Ed Morrissey's punchline:
[Hsu] garnered over a million dollars in capital to buy latex gloves for resale, supposedly to waiting clients. Hsu got arrested when investors found no gloves, no clients, and nothing but a scam. Hsu fled after his plea agreement on the grand theft, and turned into a major Democratic fundraiser.

A natural career path, is it not?

~ ~ ~

Well, now, the Left's brownshirts aren't letting any moss grow under their feet, are they? (via the Admiral):

A group of activists who describe themselves as "anarchists and anti-authoritarians" will hold a private strategy session over the Labor Day weekend to discuss plans to protest at the Republican National Convention to be held in St. Paul September 1-4, 2008.

The group, called the RNC Welcoming Committee, held a news conference on Monday at the Jack Pine Community Center on Lake Street in Minneapolis, where Bea Bridges, speaking for the commitee, showed a video that hinted at confrontational tactics, read a statement and walked out, taking no questions.
Just in case you were in any doubt about the ideological orientation of these people, they left no room for it:

Bridges said the group favors "ending capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and all other forms of hierarchy" to be replaced with "direct, participatory democracy."
In other words, the "direct, participatory democracy" that is theoretically supposed to emerge after the attainment of a global communist state, after which the "state" part is supposed to "wither away".

Time was when "Days of Rage" radical rioting at political conventions were spontaneous outbursts. Today's "revolutionary" rabble is evidently as buttoned-down and corporate as they perceive those whose convention they fully intend to shut down, by any means necessary.

~ ~ ~

You wouldn't think - or, rather, I wouldn't think - that I'd find anything interesting in an intra-Donk scrum over the nuts & bolts of its primary scheduling. Not that I don't enjoy watching Dems tear into each other for a change, but the subject matter is so dry.

But you - or I - would be wrong:

Florida will lose all its delegates to the Democratic National Convention unless the state moves its primary from January 29 to February 5, the Democratic Party decided Saturday.

While the one-week change may seem trivial to outsiders, the decision by the party's powerful Rules and Bylaws Committee was seen as a crucial test of party power and discipline.

As several states continue to elbow each other to go earlier and earlier in the 2008 presidential calendar, the Democratic National Committee decided to draw a line in the sand and say "enough."
There are a number of interesting nuggets embedded in this story. One is the laughable irony of Howard Dean being on the establishment side of this equation:

On January 13, 2004, Washington, D.C. held a nonbinding Democratic presidential primary. Its outcome made no difference to anyone, but I remember it anyway because it was the day that perennial Democratic candidate Lyndon LaRouche was supposed to make his big stand....

Democrats had already excluded LaRouche from their debates, and that meant he had absolutely nothing to lose by playing and playing big in a blacklisted primary like the one held in Washington that year. Yes, that’s right: The Democratic party had frowned upon the D.C. primary and its early date. They worked to deprive it of any significance it might have held, forcing party officials to make it nonbinding and threatening to pull D.C.’s delegates as well. This prompted five of the most important candidates to withdraw their names from the ballot.

Despite the advantage this situation conferred upon him, LaRouche received just 498 votes, coming in fifth behind Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich, and Carol Moseley-Braun. The winner of that illicit primary was the one serious candidate who had defied the party by remaining on the ballot — namely, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who was still perceived as the frontrunner for the nomination at that time. As the one guy willing to risk upsetting the party elders, Dean won 43% of the vote and enjoyed the only victory he would have that year aside from his home state of Vermont.
An even better howler is that Florida Dems are pissed at the DNC for - get this - "disenfranchising" them:

In a conference call with reporters [Fri]day, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said the DNC "is poised to assault the basic right of a person to vote at its meeting tomorrow." He threatened to sue the national party to prevent the sanctions from being imposed.
Democrats trying to surpress democracy in the Sunshine state. Boy, some things NEVER change.

Or at least surpressing Donk political prospects there. Given Hillary's inevitability, it's a highly dubious argument to say that the DNC stripping Florida of its representation at the Dem convention will play any role in the eventual winner of that party's presidential nomination. But what it WOULD do is prevent Democrats from campaigning in Florida during the primaries, which some observers appear to believe would be detrimental to Mrs. Clinton next fall. Personally I think the former negates the latter.

In isolation, that is. Were the DNC to impose this penalty on other big states in the ongoing, inexplicable stampede to play "kingmaker," thus effectively whittling down Hillary's campaigning options, it could indeed raise general election alarms. On the other hand, if her negatives are as intractibly high as advertised, limiting her public exposure, not unlike President Nixon's was in 1968, might not be such a bad idea after all.

There are other potential hazards. Federalization of the primary process, for one, which the Admiral worries would shaft small states in favor of large ones, as well as being grossly anti-federalist. Another....well, not hazard, but certainly irony, perhaps the biggest one of all - is that this confrontation between national and state parties could produce the very thing the front-loaded primary process is designed to avoid:

Too many pundits wrongly assume that both nominations will be decided by the results of February 5th. I think that is underdetermined. I think there is a fair chance that February 5th will produce a "split decision" - with major candidates from both parties surviving the day with strong bases of support. This could yield contested nominations at one or both conventions. Simply because this has not happened in the last few cycles does not mean that it couldn't happen this cycle.

I think that such an occurrence - a contested convention - is more likely to occur this cycle than in any cycle in recent memory.

First, there are so many states that are voting on February 5th that momentum may not be as influential this year as it has been in the past. If those February 5th primaries were to be spread out over the course of two weeks, the later states could use the earlier states as a cue to who is "electable," and therefore converge around a single frontrunner. This will not happen to the same extent this cycle. The states of February 5th can only use Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina as their cues. If these five states split their support between several candidates, then there will be no real momentum for anybody - and those February 5th states will vote their first choices. This, in turn, might yield more than one candidate per party with enough delegates to keep on fighting after the fifth.

Second, both parties are offering candidates with real policy differences between them. So, not only might candidates have earned enough delegates to keep on fighting after February 5th, they will also have issue-related reasons to do so. And, since half of the states will have voted by February 5th, a fight that goes past February 5th might be the type of fight that is only settled at the convention.

The prospect of a messy "floor battle not fought simply over who is the better person to represent the party in the general election, but also over who has been treated fairly" would indeed be delightful to watch - if it took place at the Donk convention. But as mentioned above, it is well nigh inconceivable that Mrs. Clinton's coronational processional will be even distracted, much less hampered, by the likes of Barackalacka Ding Dong Obamarama and Hair Boy. And, correspondingly, it is far more likely that a convention split would take place in Minneapolis, where pitched battles would be running inside the Target Center as well as outside.

So all this is most likely, after all, much ado about nothing. If Chairman How is bluffing, nothing will change; if he isn't, he and the DNC will be ignored. As the aforelinked Jay Cost points out, the national parties are gutted shells anyway, with little or no power over their own nominating processes. The probable "reforms" that Admiral Morrissey fears will likely come anyway in 2009, passed by a Donk Congress and signed into law by the Chief Executrix who benefitted most from the old system in getting (re)elected and will benefit most from the new in the absolute control it will give her over her own party.

Now I realize why this wasn't interesting at first glance; it's because any glance past the first is pre-empted by my inate pessimistic cynicism.

Maybe next time I'll trust my instincts.

C'mon, you're not buying that, are you?

UPDATE: With much less fanfare, the RNC has joined the, um, "party".

Visible Reminders

1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

-Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Central Command News, 8/28/07

US CENTCOM Latest News Feed

Diversity is strength for new Iraqi Army.aspx

Posted: 28 Aug 2007 05:05 AM GMT-06:00

NEAR KARMAK, Iraq - The strength of any democracy is the equal representation of various cultural interests; thus, the power of a military force can be measured by diversity as well.

Airmen Work to Keep Aircraft Cool.aspx

Posted: 28 Aug 2007 04:39 AM GMT-06:00

SOUTHWEST ASIA - Global Hawk and U-2 aircraft provide critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and in order to be efficient and effective the technological sensors on these aircraft cannot be subjected to heat for extended periods of time.

US CENTCOM Press Releases


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:41 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:40 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:37 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:35 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:33 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:31 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:30 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:27 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 01:24 PM GMT-06:00


Posted: 27 Aug 2007 08:57 AM GMT-06:00

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Lingo

19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

-1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Conduct Unbecoming A (GOP) Senator

There have GOT to be parts of this Larry Craig story that have been left out by the AP:
Senator Larry Craig of Idaho pleaded guilty this month to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after being arrested at the Minneapolis airport.

A Hennepin County court docket showed Craig pleading guilty to the disorderly conduct charge August 8th with the court dismissing a charge of gross misdemeanor interference to privacy.

The court docket said the Republican senator paid $575 in fines and fees. He was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of ten days in the county workhouse was stayed.
Two questions pop immediately to my mental surface: (1) What the devil did Senator Craig do, and (2) why, since he IS a Republican, wasn't this story front-page national news two and a half months ago?

(2) I still don't know. As to (1).....:
Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which first reported the case, said on its Web site Monday that Craig was arrested June 11 by a plainclothes officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the airport.
"Lewd conduct"? Do I even want to KNOW anything more? Or is this another typical smear of a conservative Republican in order to score another seat for the Dems by means other than the ballot box?

Frankly, I'm still not certain:
Craig said in a statement issued by his office that he was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.

"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions," he said. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
Should I bother asking why, if Senator Craig wasn't involved in any "inappropriate conduct," he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge? Or should I be asking what he considers within the bounds of "appropriate conduct"?

This, too, remains a mystery:
Roll Call, citing the report, said Sgt. Dave Karsnia made the arrest after an encounter in which he was seated in a stall next to a stall occupied by Craig. Karsnia described Craig tapping his foot, which Karsnia said he "recognized as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct."

Roll Call quoted the August 8 police report as saying that Craig had handed the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a member of the Senate.

"What do you think about that?" Craig is alleged to have said, according to the report.
"Lewd" foot-tapping? That's it? No, "Hey, handsome, how 'bout crawling under here and checking out my Capitol Dome?" No, "Say, fella, why don't you come over here and I'll show you what log-rolling is all about?" And Craig pleaded guilty?

I'll admit freely and openly that this whole story baffles me. The real problem with it, though, is that Senator Craig, if he's sincere in his protestations of innocence, sounds as confused as I am baffled. And if he's full of (well-packed) crap, I don't know if he's doing himself any favors making himself look like as big a boob as he evidently thinks his Idaho constituents are to try and foist such a fraud on them.

Hugh Hewitt thinks Senator Craig should resign immediately. I think if he wants to preserve his political career he should "come out of the closet" and admit that he's really been a Democrat at heart all along and officially change his party registration, ensuring that the lavender lobby will rally to his defense. That's all it would take, as NOBODY on the left EVER crosses the lavender lobby.

Brother Trunk has the show-stealing line:
Thanks to Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), I now know which men's room to avoid at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
And Pat Ruffini has the best news of all: Idaho has a GOP governor (C.L. "Butch" Otter) and a ready-made alternative (former Boise Mayor, U.S. Senator, and Governor Dirk Kempthorne) who can step in for Craig next November and hold that seat for the Republicans.

That, and the fact that I'll know never to tap my feet in any public restroom, even at the urinal. From this cautionary tale, even pooping my pants would be preferable.

Maliki Catching Up To Petraeus

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away,

You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

- Simon & Garfunkel

~ ~ ~

It was all right in their grasp. November 2006 gave them control of Congress back; with that control they would wield the pursestrings to the hated George Bush's war for oil and fascism, as well as the power to topple him and is evil puppetmaster Dick Cheney from office and impose regime-change where it was really needed - in Washington, D.C.

For the Democrat Party, the reality has diverged sickeningly from the dream.

Respective caucus leaders "Crazy Nancy" Pelosi and "Dirty Harry" Reid, while long on blustering rhetoric, have been short on concrete anti-war action. They've indulged in many a non-binding resolution that have been nothing more than publicity stunts. They tried to sneakily bleed funding for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to no concrete avail. In their most serious attempt at forcing "a change of direction" in American war policy, they played fifteen weeks' worth of "chicken" with the White House over a critical supplemental war appropriations bill, trying to make the President accept binding retreat timetables. But Dubya called their bluff and vetoed their bill; Donk leaders blinked and caved; and the war raged on.

Last month the success of that war, in the form of the "Surge" strategy of General David Petraus, the Iraq theatre commander whom the Senate unanimously confirmed to that post back in January, became too much for the Enemy Media to continue denying. That shame-enforced candor started spreading even to hardcore Donk war opponents. After which I prediced, and was soon vindicated, that the Dems would simply cut their propaganda losses on the military side and switch their case for cutting & running to the unworthiness of the elected Iraqi government.

The first inkling over the weekend that a breakthrough was in the offing on the political side of the Iraq equation was Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly telling Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton to, you should pardon the expression, go be intimate with a camel:

Iraq's beleaguered prime minister on Sunday lashed out at American critics who have called for his ouster, saying Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carl Levin need to "come to their senses."

Nouri al-Maliki, who is fighting to hold his government together, issued a series of stinging ripostes against a variety of foreign officials who recently have spoken negatively about his leadership. But those directed at Democrats Clinton, of New York, and Levin, of Michigan, were the most strident.

"There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin. They should come to their senses," al-Maliki said at a news conference. ....

The Shiite prime minister said a negative report by Petraeus would not cause him to change course, although he said he expected that the U.S. general would "be supportive of the government and will disappoint the politicians who are relying on it" to be negative.

It shouldn't amaze me, but it still does that Democrats can be such obsequious, enthusiastic boot-lickers to every enemy, thug, tinpot, and dictator on the face of the planet, yet be so imperious, condescending, and contemptuous to democratically-elected allies. Can it really not have ever occurred to the Quaker Oatman's evil twin and Her Infernal Majesty that Maliki does not answer to them but to the Iraqi people? Or that if the Iraqi people want Maliki out, they've got all the legal "machinery" in place to do so? Or that the Iraqi people themselves don't answer to American Democrats either? Well did the Admiral call this "the worst kind of colonialist claptrap," and well did Mr. Maliki blast it back in Levin's and Hillary's sneering faces.

But, of course, we know the source of this addle-minded cognitive dissonance: coddling enemy dictators feeds Donk "peace-maker" egotism, and pissing in the face of the only Iraqi leader who can deliver political goods to match what General Petraeus is getting done against al Qaeda and Iranian proxy militias serves their domestic political ends. Dems can't deny that the "Surge" is working, so they have to make sure Maliki fails, and Iraqi democracy along with it.

But Maliki isn't failing. Not only has he made common cause with the Kurds and freshly US-aligned Sunni tribes against al Qaeda, but yesterday he announced the long-awaited political agreement that people like Levin and Mrs. Clinton declared impossible:
Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation.

The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands. ...

Maliki's appearance on Iraqi television with the four other leaders at a brief news conference was a rare show of public unity.

The other officials present were President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi; Shi'ite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and Masoud Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Iraqi officials said the five leaders had agreed on draft legislation that would ease curbs on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party joining the civil service and military.

Consensus was also reached on a law governing provincial powers as well as setting up a mechanism to release some detainees held without charge, a key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority being held are Sunnis.

This wasn't supposed to happen. Iraq was supposed to be ungovernable. No way that Kurds and Sunnis and Shiites could ever agree on anything, much less live together in the same country without killing each other. Civil war was inevitable. Nothing we could do to stop it. That's why we had to get out as soon as possible.

In the unforgettable words of Zell Miller at the 2004 GOP convention, "They were wrong." And so the libs really have nothing left to say. The "Surge" has crushed al Qaeda in Iraq, and the "irreconcilable" Iraqi factions have come together as a result under the leadership of the man Dems insisted needed to be sacked. The latter's nightmare 2008 scenario of victory in Iraq, and perhaps even some troops starting to come home in hard-fought (in more ways than one) triumph just in time for the general election campaign home stretch, a scenario that seemed such a pipedream to those of us on the Right since last November's midterm debacle, now looms larger than ever as a real possibility.

So how has the lib press reported this breakthrough? That's hard to say, seeing as how they've hardly reported it at all:
Let's say we're at war, and we're waiting for some specific action to take place to show us that our efforts are succeeding. Add in that the war itself would be rather controversial and that our political class is split as to whether we will ever see that specific action take place. Imagine that Congress and the White House have scheduled a showdown in the next couple of weeks to determine how much longer we will wait for that development.

Now imagine that the specific action for which we've waited actually occurs. Where would you think that story appear in Washington's biggest newspaper? The front page, one might assume. Would you believe ... page 9?....

At least the Washington Post reported the story. Over at the Los Angeles Times, where they claim that "From Baghdad to Buenos Aires, the Times' thirty foreign correspondents cover news from around the world," they don't even bother to report the story at all, despite having a later "bed" time than the Post. In fact, they didn't even bother to reprint the AP or Reuters dispatch on it.

Over at the New York Times, meanwhile, another strange silence appears on this story. Again, like their West Coast namesake, the NYT doesn't even bother to run the story from its wire services. On their Iraq page, which lists all of their stories on the topic, they list no new stories for today, and only a background story on Congressional visits and an op-ed by Fred Kaplan about the loss of faith in senior leadership by junior officers from yesterday.

What happened to "all the news that's fit to print"? Perhaps we're seeing "all the news that prints to fit" - the predetermined narrative.

The vindication of George W. Bush in Iraq is not the endgame the American Left wants, so its house media organs simply will not report it. In the classic totalitarian tradition, they evidently believe that any event they ignore "officially" never happened, and if they black it out, the American people will never know about it.

That can't last, of course. Maybe it could have in the Vietnam "glory" days when the three broadcast networks and major metropolitan newspapers were all there was, but not in the sprawling media market of today, in which the Enemy Media is still dominant, but far from the monopoly it once was, and no longer possessing the power to summarily "disappear" stories that don't fit their political agenda. Just as the success of the "Surge" reached the threshold of undeniability, so the political reconciliation of Iraqi factions will get disseminated, and just in time for the September showdown over General Petraeus' long-anticipated interim report to Congress.

It's all slip-sliding away from the Dems. Everything they think got them elected last November and everything they think will get them the White House back November next, going up in smoke.

They better start dialing up their idols, or demons, or holy heads of lettuce, or power crystals, or cosmic muffins, or whatever the heck else those people worship and beg these faux "deities" to empower al Qaeda to set off a dirty bomb in the middle of the Baghdad Green Zone or something similarly spectacular. Because as it stands now, the cherished plug-pulling ambition of the anti-war crowd is being effectively {ahem} pre-empted.