Wednesday, November 30, 2005
"U.S. economic growth rose at a 4.3 percent annual rate from July through September, the quickest since the first quarter of last year and evidence of the economy's resilience in the face of record energy costs. "
The revised figure for gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., was higher than forecast and compares with a 3.8 percent pace initially estimated, the Commerce Department's figures showed today. Growth was 3.3 percent in the prior three months. " (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=71000001&refer=home&sid=aCYMfpGDRK2A)
What's the historical comparison?
"Growth in the U.S. has exceeded a 3 percent rate for 10 straight quarters, the longest such string since the 13 quarters that ended in March 1986."
Why all the doom and gloom?
I guess that doom and gloom is what happens to people who can't win elections!
On a personal level, this is bad news for those concerned. Yet, it is not a reflection of the US economy. It reflects GM's problems.
As IBD said in a recent editorial:
"The world changed. The world's largest (for now) automaker didn't. The good news is that most U.S. businesses haven't made the same mistake."
It goes on:
"GM's management and unions have been denying reality not only for the last couple of years but for the last couple of decades. It's almost as if they were the only ones who didn't see disaster coming."
That's correct. GM and the unions have created a system that can not be funded.
Michael Barone goes further:
"Union-driven legacy costs have already forced many steel companies and airlines into bankruptcy, with pension obligations fobbed off on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The Big Three auto companies might as well do the same. At least there aren't that many big unionized private industries left to fall." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110007604)
GM is more than a problem. It is a prelude to what will happen with the federal Social Security program.
Sooner or later, Washington needs to come to terms with Social Security.
Sen. Joe Lieberman stood up and told the truth. It is time for Democrats to drop their childish behavior and join "the coalition of the adults" (http://www.bullmooseblog.com/2005/11/coalition-of-adults.html)
It's about time that a senior Democrat shut up the irresponsible "we hate Bush" wing of the party.
Iraq is too important to turn into a partisan issue. Iraq is about our national security.
Thank you Sen. Lieberman. Thank you for standing up and telling it like it is!
P.S. My favorite line from Sen. Lieberman's article was this:
"None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007611)
Monday, November 28, 2005
As Roy Orbinson sang "It's over, it's over, it's over"!
The Cindy Sheehan travesty is finally over. About 100 people showed up at Crawford this weekend. (http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/11/26/D8E4E1TG1.html)
Sheehan is now promoting her book. (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/051126/480/txev10211261853)
To be fair, everyone writes a book these days. So I can't fault Sheehan for writing a book. Yet, her big movement has stopped moving.
Salena Zito writes this about Sheehan:
"This very public saga no longer is about her son. This is no longer about peace. This is Bush-bashing at its worst.
Sheehan has become the quintessential freak show, making everyone uncomfortable as we watch the drama -- her drama -- play out. In our heart of hearts, we really do not want to believe this mother has become a handmaiden of the Left.
Few things ever are what they seem to be. Truth often is awkward. And facing the reality that Sheehan's sincerity has ended and absurdity has taken hold is one jagged little pill to swallow.
But in attempting to discredit President Bush, Sheehan discredits herself. Sheehan has become all about Sheehan, a media machine that would make even Martha Stewart blush.
She's now out with a book, "Not One More Mother's Child."
Can "Cindy!," her own talk show, be far behind?" (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/zito/print_398064.html)
Like so many anti-Bushies, Sheehan lost her common sense along the way. She started out as the mother of a fallen soldier. She is now another freak who hates Bush.
This is a terrible way to honor Casey, who volunteered to go to Iraq and fought with courage and honor.
For Casey's sake, this woman needs to be locked up.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
"I think to look at withdrawal from Iraq ... could lead to disaster...We have to keep in mind what our objective should be, and if we leave Iraq under conditions at the end of which there will be a radical government in Baghdad, or part of the country becomes a haven for terrorism, it will have turned into a disaster that will affect the whole world." ( http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,17387565,00.html)
Kissinger is the latest voice to call for caution in Iraq. Our departure should be based on what is going on in Iraq rather than what is going on in Washington.
The media is going to have a hard time spinning this poll.
The RTs in RT Strategies are Thomas Riehle, a Democrat, and Lance Tarrance, a veteran GOP pollster. This is a well respected bi-partisan poll.
What are the voters telling RT Strategies:
"Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies.
Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.
The results surely will rankle many Democrats, who argue that it is patriotic and supportive of the troops to call attention to what they believe are deep flaws in President Bush's Iraq strategy." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112600745_pf.html)
It goes on:
"Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."
It's been a tough 90 days for Pres. Bush. Yet, the Democrats have not scored a single punch on the President.
Today, he published an outstanding op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal. It is required reading for those who are serious about Iraq.
My favorite line is this:
" What most Americans care about is not who is lying but whether we are winning." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110007603)
The bottom line is that we are winning in Iraq. We have accomplished much, such as two, and soon, 3 magnificent elections in one year.
Does Iraq matter? It does. It reminds me of something that Sen. John Kerry said back in 2003 B.D. (Before Dean had a 20 point lead in New Hampshire). Sen. Kerry said:
"Iraq may not be the war on terror itself, but it is critical to the outcome of the war on terror, and therefore any advance in Iraq is an advance forward in that and I disagree with the Governor [Howard Dean]."
The American people always have the last word.
So what should the world get from all of the Iraq debate? What is the message?
The message is this:
1) The American people are not in a pull out mode. There is no polling evidence to prove that. There is a lot of noise but that's all there is.
"a new survey found that 56 percent of the public thinks that efforts to establish a stable democracy in the country will succeed.
President Bush's approval ratings have grown tepid -- but have not tanked -- among Americans.
Overall, Mr. Bush garners a 40 percent favorability among the public, with 52 percent disapproving of him and 8 percent "unsure."
However, 52 percent approve of his efforts to fight terrorism, and 86 percent say defense against terrorism should be a top foreign policy priority, followed by the protection of American jobs (84 percent) and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (75 percent). " (http://people-press.org)
2) The Iraq war battle is within the Democrat party. The left wing wants the party to call for immediate withdrawal. Fortunately, only 3 Democrats had the courate to stand up and vote for that last week.
As Donald Lambro wrote in The Washington Times:
"Two pivotal, but underreported, developments are overlooked in the escalating political battle over the war in Iraq.
First, no matter how disenchanted Americans have become about the war to establish a strong, stable pro-Western democracy in the heart of the Middle East's terrorist breeding ground, a majority still opposes our pulling out before we have achieved that mission.
A recent poll by The Washington Post/ABC News found 52 percent want the U.S. troops kept in Iraq until Iraqis' security forces can maintain civil order. That hasn't changed.
Despite a fierce Democratic offensive in Congress for withdrawing U.S. military forces next year, if not sooner, the poll found only about 1-in-5 believe we should leave right away."
The bottom line is that the American people are not buying all of this doom and gloom.
Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies a policy institute focusing on terrorism. (http://www.defenddemocracy.org/cnlib/custom_tags/content/print_email_doc.htm?action=print&print_fields=char_1,char_5,char_2,date_1,char_4,bit_1,text_2&attrib_types=939,940&bgcolor=EFEFEF&color_bread_crumb=000000&email_options=yes&text_option=yes&print_labels=0,%200,%200,%200,0,%200,%200&month_year_format=no&suppress_doc_id=0&amp;amp;frame_id=0&title=&url=http://www.defenddemocracy.org/in_the_media/in_the_media_show.htm?doc_id=321827)
May takes on Murtha's ideas. He does not question his patriotism but rather his judgment.
May reviews the situation in Iraq. He concludes with this:
"In many other countries where al-Qaeda has been applying pressure -- Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand to name just a few – three things would now be clear:
(1) It is dangerous to be allied with the U.S.;
(2) it is futile to resist al-Qaeda; and
(3) bin Laden and Saddam were correct in predicting that if you bloody Americans, they will always turn tail and run.
As evidence they'd cite not only Iraq but Mogadishu and Beirut and, of course, Vietnam, where you served honorably.
In truth, after that defeat – while millions of Southeast Asians suffered and died – Americans got on with their lives and we even went on to win the Cold War.
Is that the idea, Congressman? To cross our fingers and hope that our defeat in Iraq will follow the Vietnam pattern?
Because if so, I have to say candidly, sir, that isn't much of a plan."
In Vietnam, we left millions behind because the Democrats would not spend the money to defend the cease fire signed in January '73. We left and millions died.
If we leave Iraq, millions will die, too. Worse than that, the terrorists will be emboldened and strengthened.
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and writes on national security matters:
"If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us.
Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.
And they won't all be conservatives."
It's time for Democrats to get over the 2000 election and start looking at the real world.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Memo to Pres. Bush from GE Chairman and business management guru Jack Welch: Start bragging about the economy. (http://www.newsmax.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/11/15/164901.shtml)
"President Bush put a tax bill through that supported capital formation and risk taking...We’ve created 2 million jobs a year after the 9/11 attacks. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Bush has to get out there and talk about it.”
The GDP grew 3.8% in the third quarter. This is the tenth consecutive quarterly increase of above 3%. This is the longest streak of consistent growth since World War II.
How is the holiday season doing? It is early but signs are good. (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-shopping_25edi.ART.State.Edition1.18e8711a.html)
The AP reports from Europe:
"The euro slipped further Thursday against the dollar as speculation continued about American and European interest rates and German business confidence dipped.
The 12-nation currency bought $1.1785 in afternoon European trading, down from $1.1809 late in New York the night before after business sentiment in Germany fell for the first time in three months."
Europe needs more economic growth. The euro is simply reflecting the depressing conditions of the European economies.
Sell your euros. The Europeans won't change!
Friday, November 25, 2005
Sen. Hillary does not support immediate withdrawal. She continues to be a pro-war Senator. Even Cindy Sheehan is mad at Sen. Clinton. THE NATION magazine is angry with pro-war Democrats and we have to assume that Sen. Clinton is on their list.
What's up with Sen. Clinton? Why is she risking an antiwar challenge in the Democrat primaries?
I don't know the absolute answer. Only she knows. Yet, I have two theories.
First, Sen. Clinton was around when her husband bombed Iraq because of WMDs. My guess is that she is one of a handful of people who have seen presidential briefings.
Second, Sen. Clinton trusts Dick Morris' judgment.
A few days ago, Dick Morris was on Hannitty's radio show and said that he thought that WMDs were probably moved to Syria. Morris believes that Saddam moved these WMDs after Pres. Bush got serious about enforcing UN resolutions in '02.
Dick Morris posed this question: What are the political consequences of a US military team running into a WMD cache?
I think that Sen. Clinton knows this better than most of her fellow Democrats.
Sen. Clinton knows that this "Bush lied" hysteria could flip quickly and rapidly.
Fact: We have not found WMD stockpiles.
Fact: It does not mean that Saddam did not have them.
This is why Sen. Hillary Clinton won't join the antiwar crowd. Sen. Clinton wants to win in '08. She has seen her party lose 7 of the last 10 presidential elections over "national security". She does not want to make it 8 of 11!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The NFL demonstrated today why it is the best run sports league in the world. Terrell Owens is done for the season. (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=pasquarelli_len&id=2234834)
This is the text of the ruling: (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2234819)
Owens represents everything that is wrong with the modern athlete. Many are reckless and irresponsible. Unfortunately, they have been spoiled by coaches and fans.
Congratulations to the NFL and the Eagles. This is a good day for those who think that professional athletes need to be responsible as well as talented.
According to the experts:
"Pump prices have been falling as U.S. gasoline supplies have increased. Two major forces are at work increasing gasoline stocks, according to the latest weekly analysis by the EIA.
Part of the gains have come as refineries shut down by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have come back on line. As of last week, refiners were operating at about 86 percent of capacity. That's up from a storm-damaged low of just under 70 percent, but it's still below pre-hurricane highs of 97 percent capacity.
The EIA also noted that gasoline supplies have increased due to a surge in imports, especially from European stockpiles -- which were opened up to U.S. suppliers in response to the hurricanes' impact.
Lower crude oil prices have also helped pull gas prices lower." (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8533441/)
There is more good news. The AP reported on November 22 that:
"The National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade organization, raised its growth forecast Tuesday for the Christmas season to 6 percent from its September forecast of 5 percent.
"When we had made the forecast, Katrina had just hit," said Rosalind Wells, economist for the Washington-based trade group. "Everything looked pretty gloomy." But she said since then, she has seen strong economic indicators.
Wells cited stronger-than-expected retail sales in October and falling gasoline prices as the catalysts for upgrading the holiday forecast.
"We have so much momentum going into the holiday season, so much more than we anticipated," she noted." (AP: Holiday Sales Outlook Looking Brighter)
The US economy continues to outperform the naysayers and that's the best news!
Monday, November 21, 2005
My guess is that the Dems will stop their "Bush lied" routine for a while. Frankly, it did not make them look very smart. I can't believe that Sen. Rockefeller feels very good with his current remarks and the comparisons to 2002 or 1998. His TV appearances did not enhance his image.
It's one thing to say: Bush went to war with bad info.
It's another thing to say: Bush made up the info.
Who wrote Sen. Rockfeller's speech in '98? Who lied to him in '98? Did Pres. Clinton lie to him?
For the record, Bush was the governor of Texas in 1998. I don't think that he was advising Democrats on Iraq intelligence in '98.
Let's drop all of this nonsense and get serious. Let's get serious about the war on terror.
I think that Joe Klein hit the target on TIME:
"Murtha did not talk about the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal.
No one really has.
The most passionate discussions in Washington last week were about the past—whether the President intentionally misled the country into war—not the future.
They are a waste of time.
Two questions need to be addressed:
Will an American withdrawal from Iraq create more or less stability in the Middle East?
Will a withdrawal increase or decrease the threat of another terrorist attack at home?
It does not matter whether you believe the war was right or wrong.
If the answers to those questions are less stability and an empowered al-Qaeda, we'd better think twice about slipping down this dangerous path."
He is right. It's time to get serious about terrorists.
Every morning, terrorists wake up trying to blow up an American city with a WMD.
Are we ever going to get serious about these people? They will probably attack us again. It won't be because we were too tough on them. It will be because we were not tough enough!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
403 to 3? This is not a landslide. This is a wipeout.
For days, we've heard calls for withdrawal.
So yesterday, the Republicans decided to put the issue to a vote. And the liberals went wimpy.
THE NATION is angry with the liberals. This is what they wrote:
"The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign." (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051128/editors)
Did you read that Sen. Clinton?
The Democrats do not have the courage to put their votes where their speeches are.
Three Democrats did vote for the resolution. They represent safe liberal districts. At least they voted yes.
Opposition to the Iraq War does not make you a coward. The late Sen. Wellstone opposed the war and he has my total respect.
As Tom Bevan said:
"What does make you a coward is when you truly believe we should get our troops out of Iraq immediately, you have a chance to vote for doing exactly that, and you choose not to because you fear the political consequences of being on record revealing your position to the public."
The Democrats are a party toward Whigdom! This party may not survive the next census!
What is Whigdom? Go to the internet and do a search for Whigs, the American political party that disappeared in the 1850s because they became irrelevant.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Put me down as someone who is not writing Pres. Bush's political obituary. Frankly, the Democrats have been obsessed with destroying GW Bush since he took out Gov. Anne Richards in '94. It did not help when Gov. Bush was reelected in '98 with strong numbers from African Americans and Hispanics. It did not help when candidate Bush took Gore's Tennessee and Clinton's Arkansas. It really hurt when he carried 31 states in '04 and increased the Republicans' majority in the US Senate to 55.
The Democrats hate this guy. Didn't the Republicans hate FDR too?
The media is obsessed with the current Bush polls. To be honest, Bush is down. However, he is not out.
What you don't hear from the media is how poorly the Democrats are doing. John McIntyre writes for Real Clear Politics. He wrote this analysis today:
"While you hear a relentless drumbeat of "Bush ratings at a new low," how often do you hear "Bush ratings at new low, but Democrats ratings even lower"?
Today's Harris Poll is another dose of bad news for the President, but when you read a little deeper into the poll results you see that the public actually rates the President's job performance 9 points better than Congressional Democrats, 34% - 25%.FOX News' last poll showed a similar type of result, giving the President a 36% job approval and Democrats in Congress only 33%. (Republicans in Congress polled better than the Democrats in both polls as well, though not by much.)
Bottom line, the Democratic enthusiasm should really be muted because right now the most likely '06 result is the Dems pick up a handful of House seats and 1-3 Senate seats."
As McIntyre concluded:
" That doesn't sound like "Happy Days Are Here Again" for the Democrats any time soon."
I agree. The Democrats will be singing "19th Nervous breakdown" next November.
Friday, November 18, 2005
The Republican Congressional leadership is right on target. They have scheduled a vote on the Iraq War. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051118/ap_on_go_co/congress_Iraq&printer=1;_ylt=AgYlCLusfmWVpKTxI0QGit6MwfIE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-)
It's simple: Should we withdraw our troops from Iraq?
It's about time.
Let's put the Democrats on record.
Should we withdraw from Iraq? Yes or No?
Every poll shows that a clear majority of Americans oppose surrender in Iraq. The policy of "Cut-and-run" is what the media wants. It is what the Democratic Party's left-wing base wants. This is not what Americans want.
As the Power Line Blog said this afternoon:
"Notwithstanding the media's breathless heralding of each liberal politician who comes out against continuation of the war, a substantial majority of House members will vote to reject the call for surrender. That's good, as our service personnel deserve the assurance that our government continues to stand behind their mission."
According to a new Canisius College poll, Rudy Guliani beats Sen. Clinton "...54 to 38 percent in a hypothetical battle. Clinton loses among voters in red states, which is no surprise, but Giuliani breaks even in the blue states"
The poll goes beyond Clinton vs Guliani. It tells us this:
"Like several other recent national polls, the Canisius survey shows a high degree of dissatisfaction with the performance of President Bush. Only 42 percent view him favorably, compared with 55 percent who view him unfavorably.
Still, if a presidential recall election were possible, only 42 percent would vote to fire him while 53 percent would vote to retain him."
A few weeks ago, I said that Libby would not be indicted. I did not base my decision on my legal experience. I simply looked at the indictment and saw a perjury charge based on "he said, he said". Libby was not indicted for releasing the name of a CIA agent. Again, it was "Libby said vs. reporter said". In the real world, those types of perjury cases don't go far.
Today, the Libby indictment may have been dealt a mortal blow.
As DEBORAH ORIN wrote today in THE NEW YORK POST:
"CALL it "Deep Throat 2." The CIA-leak probe is in big trouble because superstar reporter and Watergate hero Bob Woodward has emerged as a surprise witness for the defense — potentially undermining the case against ex-White House aide Scooter Libby.
Woodward yesterday revealed that he's told prosecutors he could be the first reporter to learn from a Bush administration source that Iraq war critic Joe Wilson's wife worked as a CIA analyst — but Libby wasn't his new "Deep Throat."
What does Fitzgerald do now? He has clearly been thrown a curve!
David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey are partners in the Washington office of Baker & Hostetler LLP, and served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. They wrote today in THE WASHINGTON TIMES:
"Mr. Fitzgerald could, of course, insist on proceeding with a criminal trial. However, in the interests of justice, and especially since the identity of a covert agent was not revealed in this case, he should simply drop the prosecution now.
To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, it is increasingly evident that there is just no there there."
It won't be long before Libby is back in the White House.
P.S. Check out Tucker Carlson:
"Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald began his press conference announcing the indictment of Scooter Libby with a windy preamble about the significance of his own investigation.
"It's important that a CIA officer's identity be protected," Fitzgerald announced gravely, "not just for the officer, but for the nation's security."
It was Scooter Libby, he said, who violated that protection and put the nation's security in jeopardy: "Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter" Plame's name.
Fitzgerald was wrong on both counts, it turns out.
In fact there is no evidence at all that the leak of Valerie Plame's name hurt American national security (and $100 to the first person who can prove otherwise).
And Scooter Libby was not the first person to leak her name.
We learned that on Wednesday, when the Washington Post revealed that Bob Woodward knew Plame's identity considerably before Libby's now-famous conversation with Judith Miller." (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1105/carlson111805.php3?printer_friendly)
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The latest Harris poll has some interesting information:
Public Opinion of President Bush, GOP, Democrats
Harris Poll: How Would You Rate the Job Of......
President Bush: 34% Positive, 65% Negative
GOP in Congress: 27% Positive, 69% Negative
Dems in Congress: 25% Positive, 70% Negative
The Democrats have decided to pick a fight over Iraq. I'm not sure who is giving the Democrats advice but I am ready for this fight.
Listen to talk radio. The Republican base is up in arms about this irresponsible posturing.
As Michael Barone wrote:
"The Democrats who are peddling the Big Lie of "Bush lied" are doing so either
(a) deliberately to injure the cause of the United States and of freedom in the world or, as I think,
(b) with reckless disregard of whether they injure the cause of the United States and of freedom in the world. What they are doing may suit their political needs, but it hurts our country." ( http://opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110007557)
Watch this great video:
Democrats have usually underestimated Republicans, and specially our ability to win elections by getting the vote out.
So let's make the 2006 a referendum on Iraq. Do the Democrats really want to motivate the Republican base to show up to vote?
Again, I don't know who is giving the Dems advice. It must be Michael Moore. Or maybe it's the same advisor who has guided them to losing 7 of the last 10 presidential elections.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Let me make an exception for Sen. Lieberman:
"As I look back on it and as I follow the debates about prewar intelligence, I have no regrets about having sponsored and supported that resolution because of all the other reasons we had in our national security interest to remove Saddam Hussein from power – a brutal, murdering dictator, an aggressive invader of his neighbors, a supporter of terrorism, a hater of the United States of America.
He was, for us, a ticking time bomb that, if we did not remove him, I am convinced would have blown up, metaphorically speaking, in America's face.
I am grateful to the American military for the extraordinary bravery and brilliance of their campaign to remove Saddam Hussein." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-11_15_05_Lieberman_pf.html)
As a matter of fact, former Presidents Reagan, Ford or Bush did not say a word during the Clinton '98 impeachment proceedings. They did not travel to Republican fundraisers and say that Pres. Clinton had stained the Oval Office.
I personally recall the first Pres. Bush showered with questions about impeachment during a political event in Dallas. He did not comment one bit on Pres. Clinton's problems. He also refused questions on Somalia and the attacks on the two US embassies in Africa.
Former presidents have stayed out of partisan politics. It is no longer that way. Clinton has taken us to a new low, which is a remarkable statement considering that we are talking about the 42nd president of the US.
Pres. Clinton said that the Iraq invasion was a mistake. He is entitled to his opinion. However, you do not go to the Middle East and make such an attack on Pres. Bush. Clinton's remarks are a boost to the enemy. They do not help at all.
I have two questions:
1) What is Sen. Hillary Clinton's position?
2) Why did he wait until November '05 to say this? Why didn't former Pres. Clinton say this in March '03?
Why is he doing this? I think that Dick Morris is right. Morris was on the Sean Hannitty radio show today and said that the Clintons are doing a left-right dance. Bill moves to the left and lets Hillary move to the right.
Mickey Kaus explains it this way in his popular blog:
"Taking Clintonism to the next level!
The old Clintonism: One Clinton succeeds in making both sides think he agrees with them.
The new Clintonism: One Clinton pitches to one side while the other assuages the other side.
Example: Hillary carefully maintains her appeal to pro-war voters while her husband denounces the war that she voted for as a "a big mistake." ... A two-person straddle was needed because Hillary isn't gifted enough a talker to practice the old single-player Clintonism by herself. [Didn't they use this technique before--Bill said he was for "ending welfare as we know it" while liberals were allowed to hope that Marian Wright Edelman's friend Hillary would stop him?--ed True.
But you didn't have Bill saying we should reform welfare while Hillary was out in public saying that would be a "big mistake." ...
Prediction: The new trick won't work. Hillary will come under added pressure because of her husband's remarks.
Baseball has finally decided to get serious about steroids. The owners and union leaders have agreed on a tough program:
"The new agreement calls for first-time offenders to be suspended for 50 games, second-time offenders to be suspended for 100 games and third-time offenders to be banished from baseball for life.
The penalties are identical to those proposed by Commissioner Bud Selig earlier this year.
The new package, which will take effect next season following ratification by union membership and the owners, also bans amphetamines for the first time and calls for an increased number of tests."
This is a big step in the right direction. Baseball has a serious PR problem. I'm glad that Commissioner Selig and the union put aside their silly differences and solved a serious problem.
Now, can they move on to the economic problems? There are too many small market teams that can't compete.
Did anyone watch Howard Dean on Sunday?
Check this from James Taranto:
"Here's party chairman Howard Dean, talking with Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" Sunday:
Russert: What is the Democratic position on Iraq? Should we withdraw troops now? What do the Democrats stand for?
Dean: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.
Russert: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.
Dean: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics."(http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110007553)
My prediction stands. The Republicans will hold the House and Senate. A year from now, the big story will be Pres. Bush's comeback in the polls.
Over the years, I have learned two things. First, people hate Congress and always reelect their Congressman. Second, Americans do not like to vote for people who hate their opponents. They would rather vote for someone who proposes ideas.
Let's talk about the numbers. Maybe it's gerrymandering or just the way things are. Yet, Stuart Rothenberg, a leading analyst of congressional races, estimates that there are only 25 "truly competitive contests" in the House, out of 435 races. Cook Political Report House editor Amy Walter, another top analyst, puts the number at 28. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/11/AR2005111102273_pf.html)
According to Robin Toner of The Washington Post:
"In the last three Congressional elections, the incumbent reelection rate has hovered from 96 to 98 percent, among the highest since World War II. In 2004, only seven incumbents were defeated in the general election, four of them Texas Democrats pushed into new districts engineered by Republicans." (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/weekinreview/13toner.html?ei=5090&en=5832ccca058e4cfb&ex=1289538000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print)
I agree that incumbents have made it difficult for challengers. Yet, I also think that incumbents are giving their constituents what they want.
The Senate is a little different but still the Republicans have an advantage.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor and publisher of the "Rothenberg Political Report," a nonpartisan newsletter that reports on and handicaps U.S. House and Senate races. This is how he sees the US Senate in 2006:
"The numbers in the Senate are even worse for Democrats. Republicans currently hold only 15 of the 33 Senate seats up for election next year, even though the party maintains a 55-45 majority in the Senate. That means Democrats would need to pick up six seats to get to 51 (a 50-50 tie would be broken by Vice President Dick Cheney) to retake control of the Senate.
Democrats will need to hold their own seats and sweep the five solid Senate takeover opportunities they currently have in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Ohio, Montana and Missouri to have any chance of winning the Senate."
The Democrats' problem are two fold.
First, it is a numbers' problem as mentioned above.
Secondly, their problem is a message or lack of message.
All of this was evident when DNC Chairman Howard Dean appeared on Meet the Press. Tim Russert asked Dean for a Democrat plan on Iraq, Social Security et al. Dean punted and said that the Democrats would eventually release one.
Really? So the Democrats are still putting together an Iraq plan? a Social Security plan?
The real answer is that they don't have one. Bush's polls may be dropping but the Democrats' numbers are not rising.
Jim Wooten writes for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He summarized the Democrats' position this way:
"There is no agenda, no inspiring alternative vision of how to prosecute the war on terrorism, no practical or uplifting bundle of programs offering solutions."( http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/wooten/2005/13edsuwoot.html)
They hate Bush. But they don't have much more to say.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Albert Pujols is the NL MVP. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051115&content_id=1268475&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)
I disagree with this choice. I would have voted for Andruw Jones, who led the majors in HRs and plays center better than anyone else in baseball.
Again, I am not saying anything negative against Pujols. However, Jones played a key role in leading the young Braves to the division title.
The Cardinals would have been in the NL Central without Pujols. The Braves would have faded without Jones' leadership.
New York is still angry that the Yankees lost to the Angels. They have directed all of their anger at ARod.
Nevertheless, ARod was selected as the AL MVP. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050908&content_id=1202349&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb)
ARod is the right choice. This is ARod's second MVP in 3 years. His main opposition came from David Ortiz, the Bosox's DH. (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2223736)
In my book, an everyday player is a bigger MVP than a DH. I feel the same way about giving the MVP to a pitcher. The Cy Young is for pitchers. The MVP is for position players.
The Yankees have problems but ARod is not one of them. Congratulations to ARod for winning a very well deserved MVP award.
My second choice was not Ortiz. It was Paul Konerko who was the big bat that led the Chicago White Sox to the World Series. (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/team/player.jsp?player_id=117244)
By the way, the '05 was one of the closest ever. Check out this graph: (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/baseball/mlb/11/13/mvp.close.calls/index.html)
Monday, November 14, 2005
In Virginia, an anti-abortion Democrat just won the governor's election. Tim Kaine ran as a pro-life Catholic and openly spoke of his faith.
In Pennsylvania, an anti-abortion Democrat is leading Sen. Santorum in the 2006 Senate race. Santorum is one of the strongest anti-abortion voices in the country. His opponent is Bill Casey, son of former PA Governor, Bill Casey, the same pro-life Democrat who was not allowed to address the party's conventions in the 1990s.
Last but not least, Pres. Carter has just attacked the culture of abortion. The Washington Times reported last week:
"I never have felt that any abortion should be committed -- I think each abortion is the result of a series of errors," he told reporters over breakfast at the Ritz-CarltonHotel, while across town Senate Democrats deliberated whether to filibuster the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. because he may share President Bush and Mr. Carter's abhorrence of abortion.
"These things impact other issues on which [Mr. Bush] and I basically agree," the Georgia Democrat said.
"I've never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion."
Mr. Carter said his party's congressional leadership only hurts Democrats by making a rigid pro-abortion rights stand the criterion for assessing judicial nominees.
"I have always thought it was not in the mainstream of the American public to be extremely liberal on many issues," Mr. Carter said.
"I think our party's leaders -- some of them -- are overemphasizing the abortion issue." (Carter condemns abortion culture By Ralph Z. Hallow THE WASHINGTON TIMES November 4, 2005)
I think that Carter, Kaine and Casey are on to something here. The Democrats need to change their abortion position, specially if they plan to make greater gains in the Hispanic community. Hispanics may be liberal on economic issues. They are very conservative on the so called "cultural issues", such as abortion and same sex marriage.
The real question is this: Can a pro-life Democrat get nominated? Can he get past the Michael Moore primaries?
The answer is probably not. Yet, this may change if pro-life Democrats keep winning elections.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Pres. Bush fought back yesterday. He needs to do more.
My favorite line from Bush's speech was this one:
"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction." (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/11/20051111-1.html)
My second favorite line is when he quoted John Kerry:
"When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our security."
Interestingly, Sen. Hillary Clinton has been quiet during this period. I think that she knows that this "Bush lied" nonsense is short term poll gain and long term political poison. She is not going down the same road that caused her party to lose 7 of the last 10 presidential elections.
Also, I think Hillary Clinton knows a little more about the WMDs than Bush's critics. I think that she knows that these weapons could appear in Syria or Iran. She does not want to risk her presidential aspirations by appealing to the Michael Moore left.
P.S. Rick Lowry wrote a great article yesterday about Bush's critics. He calls it: "The Gullible Party" (http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200511110833.asp)
As Lowry writes:
"If Bush lied, it stands to reason that they are all naifs, foolishly drawn to the seductions of a charlatan.
They aren't statesmen; they're victims."
And here is the homerun line:
"Dick Polman, a political reporter for Knight-Ridder News, reminds us that Republican George Romney damaged his presidential bid in 1968 by claiming he had been deceived by the military into supporting the Vietnam War.
Voters weren't looking for a president who could, by his own account, be easily misled.
Gullibility is not a leadership trait."
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Let me say up front that I don't think anyone lied about Iraq. Clinton and Gore did not. Bush and Cheney didn't either.
I believe that it was completely reasonable to believe that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. After 9-11, only a fool would have given Saddam the benefit of the doubt.
I say only a fool because Al Gore would have done the same thing. No US president was going to sit back and take the criticism that he is leaving Saddam and WMDs in power.
9-11 changed everything. The Democrats confirmed it when they voted to give Pres. Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq.
It is dishonest, if not utterly irresponsible, to say anything else.
This is Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 8 year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.
(2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.
(3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.
(4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a 7 month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait’s oil wells ablaze upon retreat.
(5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire conditions specified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.
(6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14–16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.
(7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed invasion of or attack against Kuwait.
(8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish regional government.
(9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealmentregarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.
(10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoringactivities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.
(11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105–235, which declared that ‘‘the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations’’ and urged the President ‘‘to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.’’.
(12) On May 1, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105–174, which made $5,000,000 available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition for such activities as organization, training, communication and dissemination of information, developing and implementing agreements among opposition groups, compiling information to support the indictment of Iraqiofficials for war crimes, and for related purposes.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS REGARDING UNITED STATES POLICYTOWARD IRAQ.
It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from powerin Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.
Note the date - 1998. (Read the entire law at http://tinyurl.com/afco)
This is what Pres. Clinton said when he ordered the bombing of Iraq on December 17, 1998:
"Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.
I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish." (Read the entire speech at http://tinyurl.com/3ctc6)
This is what Sen. Lieberman and former Sec. Dick Cheney said during the 2000 VP debates. The moderator is Bernie Shaw of CNN.
MR. SHAW: This question is for you, Mr. Secretary. If Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, were found to be developing Weapons of mass destruction, Governor Bush has said he would, quote, "take him out." Would you agree with such a deadly policy?
MR. CHENEY: We might have no other choice. We'll have to see if that happens. The thing about Iraq, of course, was at the end of the war, we had pretty well decimated their military. We had put them back in the box, so to speak. We had a strong international coalition arrayed against them, effective economic sanctions, and a very robust inspection regime that was in place, so that the inspection regime, under U.N. auspices, was able to do a good job of stripping out the -- the capacity to build Weapons of mass destruction, the work that he'd been doing, that had not been destroyed during the war, and biological, chemical agents, as well as a nuclear program.
Unfortunately, now we find ourselves in a situation where that's started to fray on us, where the -- the coalition now no longer is tied tightly together. Recently the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, two Gulf states, have reopened diplomatic relations with Baghdad. The Russians and the French now are flying commercial airliners back into Baghdad and sort of thumbing their nose, if you will, at the international Sanctions regime. And of course the U.N. inspectors have been kicked out, and there's been absolutely no response.
So we're in a situation today where I think our posture vis-à-vis Iraq is weaker than it was at the end of the war. I think that's unfortunate. I also think it's unfortunate that we find ourselves in a position where we don't know for sure what might be transpiring inside Iraq I certainly hope he's not regenerating that kind of capability, but if he were, if in fact Saddam Hussein were taking steps to either rebuild nuclear capability or Weapons of mass destruction, you'd have to give very serious consideration to military action to stop that activity. I don't think you can afford to have a man like Saddam Hussein with nuclear Weapons in the Middle East
MR. SHAW: Senator.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Bernie, it would, of course, be a very serious situation if we had evidence, credible evidence that Saddam Hussein was the developing Weapons of mass destruction. But I must say I don't think a political Campaign is the occasion to declare exactly what we would do in that case. I think that's a matter of such critical national security importance that it ought to be left to those, the commander in chief, the leaders of the military, the secretary of State, to make that kind of decision without the heat of a political Campaign
The fact is that we will not enjoy real stability in the Middle East until Saddam Hussein is gone. The Gulf War was a great victory.
And incidentally, Al Gore and I were two of the 10 Democrats in the Senate who crossed party lines to support President Bush and Secretary Cheney in that war, and we're both very proud that we did that.
But the war did not end with a total victory, and Saddam Hussein remained there.
And as a result, we have had almost 10 years now of instability.
We have continued to operate almost all of this time, military action to enforce a no-fly zone.
We have been struggling with Saddam about the inspectors.
We ought to do, and we are doing everything we can to get those inspectors back in there. But in the end, there's not going to be peace until he goes.
And that's why I was proud to co-sponsor the Iraq Liberation Act, with Senator Trent Lott; why I have kept in touch with the indigenous Iraqi opposition -- broad-based -- to Saddam Hussein. Vice President Gore met with them earlier this year. We are supporting them in their efforts, and we will continue to support them until the Iraqi people rise up and do what the people of Serbia have done in the last few days -- get rid of a despot. We will welcome you back into the family of nations where you belong."
Anyone who concludes that Pres. Bush misled the public about Iraq is a reckless liar. He is also an irresponsible opportunist who is looking at short term political gain at the expense of national security.
I would strongly recommend Norman Podhoretz's essay detailing the case for war in Iraq. It is a step by step analysis of these irresponsible accusations.
As Tom Bevan wrote:
"On December 7 Iraq submitted a 12,000 page weapons declaration which both the U.S. and the U.N. found to contain "gaps" and "inconsistencies" which Iraq either could not or would not explain.
Inspectors gained access to sites but were accompanied by groups of Iraqi "minders" in ratios as high as five to one.
Iraq initially refused to allow inspectors to interview its scientists under conditions set by the UN. And on and on.
Far from being open and cooperative, what little compliance the UN received from Iraq came at the point of the gun. Saddam became a bit more responsive as the first U.S. soldiers began massing in the Persian Gulf in early 2003, but even after eight full weeks of inspections Hans Blix opened his status report before the U.N. on January 27, 2003 by saying:
Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed the inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.
At the point Bush made the decision to go to war in March 2003, Saddam had had more than four months worth of opportunities after the passage of Resolution 1441 (and another 12 years and 15 resolutions before that) to make a meaningful display of cooperation on the issue of WMD disarmament to the US and the UN. He never chose to do so.
We now know one of the reasons Saddam never felt pressured to cooperate is because he had been running a multibillion dollar bribery scam through the U.N. itself.
Support for sanctions was on the verge of crumbling. And everyone knew maintaining a huge U.S. military force on the Iraqi border to force continued inspections was untenable for any serious length of time.
In the end, the story of the run-up to the Iraq war is about intelligence, but not in the way most people think. Intelligence is always flawed and imprecise, even more so when you're dealing with a closed, paranoid and authoritarian regime like Hussein's.
It's foolish to suggest Bush should have bucked consensus estimates on Iraq WMD built from more than a decade of intel, and it's even worse to suggest he lied for not doing so.
What President Bush did instead was put an end to the decade-long guessing game and place the burden squarely on Saddam Hussein by saying in front of the world:
"This is what we think you have. It's now your responsibility to prove us wrong."
In the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in the history of America, it was absolutely the right thing to do." (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/blog/2005/11/the_case_for_war.html)
So let me send a special message to the French. In the words of PM Winston Churchill:
"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
PM Churchill directed these remarks those who did not take Hitler seriously in the 1930s, including many in the UK government.
Today, we direct these words to Chirac et al. Appeasement does not work.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The local headline said it all:
Gay-marriage ban coasts
The people of Texas have spoken with a very loud "no" to same sex marriage. The victory coalition included every segment of society.
"The measure swept most of the state's major urban counties, including Dallas and Tarrant. Overall, the amendment, Proposition 2 on the statewide ballot, prevailed by about a 3-to-1 ratio as voters decided nine amendments."
Well done, Texas. We are not done yet. This is going to the courts and it may end up in the Supreme Court.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
A few days ago, I thought that the violence in Paris would eventually go away. However, it seems to be growing. Check out this article from the UK:
What concerns me is that the French government looks helpless. Chirac won't act and the cars keep burning.
My guess is that the young people have figure out Chirac and the French. They understand that the French won't fight. Chirac won't defend anything, unless someone puts money in his pocket.
Daniel Pipes has written a great article about the French problem: "Reflections on the Revolution in France" (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=20102)
He makes a great point:
"End of an era: The time of cultural innocence and political naïveté, when the French could blunder without seeing or feeling the consequences, is closing.
As in other European countries (notably Denmark and Spain), a bundle of related issues, all touching on the Muslim presence, has now moved to the top of the policy agenda in France, where it will likely remain for decades.
These issues include a decline of Christian faith and the attendant demographic collapse; a cradle-to-grave welfare system that lures immigrants even as it saps long-term economic viability; an alienation from historic customs in favor of lifestyle experimentation and vapid multiculturalism; an inability to control borders or assimilate immigrants; a pattern of criminality that finds European cities far more violent than American ones; and a surge in Islam and radical Islam."