Sunday, July 31, 2005
You don't see a lot of 98-0 votes in the US Senate. Yet, yesterday 98 Senators voted against the ACLU. (I have no idea about the other 2 Senators who did not vote!)
The ACLU sued to ban the Scouts from federal property. Why? Because the Scouts' leadership, with strong support from the boys' parents, decided to ban openly homosexual leaders.
The bottom line is that the Scouts are about teaching life lessons rather than talking about sexual orientation.
After all, we are talking about boys. Why should these boys be exposed to any kind of sexual orientation anyway? Again, we are talking about boys! Can't we protect our kids' innocence for a while?
Like most fathers, I did my Boys Scouts time. My three sons were in the Scouts a few years ago. Eventually, they spent more time playing sports than scouting but the experience was worthwhile and constructive.
I remember spending a few nights at camp retreats, putting tents together and cooking outdoors. It was fun to meet a lot of other fathers and boys.
There was nothing political about the Scouts. There was nothing religious either, although the boys were taught that there is a God.
And last, but not least, the boys were taught some good values, such as respect for parents and authority, love of country and flag.
Why would the ACLU be mad with such a group?
Why is the ACLU concerned with a group that brings dads and sons together?
What's wrong with the ACLU?
I would think that every person in the country would support a group that encourages boys to behave correctly and to spend time with their fathers.
Why is the ACLU at war with the Boys Scouts?
Let me give you two reasons.
First, the Scouts talk about God and that's a nasty word in the ACLU lexicon. The ACLU will defend your right to put obscenities in the Internet but talking about God is too much for them.
The ACLU's technical explanation is that groups should not use state property to talk about God.
Will the ACLU sue federal, state and city governments for closing on Christmas Day? What do we celebrate on Christmas Day anyway? The start of winter?
Second, the Scouts are opposed to teaching that homosexuality is just another lifestyle.
So a big victory for common sense. And a huge loss for the ACLU!
We have a lot of problems in the world. The Boys Scouts should be the least of our concerns.
Teaching boys to respect authority, love their country and believe in a supreme being should not concern anyone.
We need more organizations like the Boys Scouts!
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Four years ago, the Rangers were spending money like crazy. They signed ARod for the '01 season. Then they added Park for '02.
Park was supposed to be the # 1 guy in the rotation.
It turned out to be a disaster. The $100 million payroll bought last place finishes in '00, '01, '02 and '03.
Owner Tom Hicks shifted strategies in mid '03 and the team decided to go young and develop players.
So far the strategy is paying off. The young Rangers won 89 games in '04 and should be in the wild card race in '05.
Friday, Chan Ho Park was traded to San Diego for Phil Nevin.
On paper, it should help both teams.
The Padres give Park a change of scenery. Also, SD is a pitchers' stadium and that should help a fly ball pitcher like Park. I expect that Park will do well in a new team.
Nevin fits nicely in the Rangers lineup. He brings a right handed bat to a lineup that can't beat lefties. He will probably be the DH and give Texeira some time off at first.
Nevin also means that Hidalgo will be traded or released. Hidalgo has been a disappointment and has not provided the power and RBIs.
Who will replace Park in the Rangers' rotation? My guess is that they will take a look at more youngsters. They Rangers have two great kids in AA----Danks and Diamond.
There is still an outside possibility that the Rangers could add a pitcher before Sunday afternoon.
Will Soriano go to the Mets?
I don't mind trading Soriano if he brings a major league pitcher. Otherwise, what's the point?
Nevin for Park is a good deal for both sides.
More on this trade:
Friday, July 29, 2005
Over the last year, I have often said that the Democrats face a terrible dilemma:
1) They have lost the married middle class. Bush carried this group. Bush 41 and Dole split this group with Perot thus giving Clinton a chance to win the presidency. Most of these couples live in suburbs and go to church often. It's tough for Democrats to be competitive if they lose the middle class vote.
2) No one takes them seriously on national security. No one has since Vietnam and Jimmy Carter.
Last but not least,
3) No one knows what the Democrats stand for. The best example of this was the John Kerry campaign.
My Democrat friends usually get mad at me when I point these things out. They accuse me of watching too much O'Reilly.
So let's hear what Democrats are saying about Democrats. Maybe my liberal friends can get mad at Democrats rather than me!
"We've got to be for something, and it is pretty clear that America is waiting for us. They are desperate to know what we are for," Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.
"We Democrats have not yet succeeded in isolating and defeating the far right in part because all too often we have allowed ourselves to be split between left, right and center," Sen. Hillary Clinton.
"Too many of our fellow countrymen and women out here in the heartland have concluded — inappropriately, but they've concluded nonetheless — that we don't have the spine or the backbone to use force even in the face of the most compelling of circumstances, and that must change," Senator Evan Bayh.
"How many times do we have to forward, where we launch a national campaign that goes after 16 states and then hope that we can hit a triple bank shot to get to that 17th state?" Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.
One House member was afraid to use his name but this is what he said:
"I haven't seen a single, serious poll beyond the media's that attacking Rove helps us one bit with the voters...No one can show me numbers. This is all the fringe people like MoveOn and even Howard Dean. It's all about not getting past 2000 and 2004. And I really fear we're going to pay for it down the road."
The anynomous House member goes on:
"My party is making a huge bet on something we really know nothing about..We don't know where this Plame thing is going to go, yet we're giving these people a huge platform. I'd rather be fighting for the issues that we know Americans care about: the environment, more of their tax dollars on national security and homeland defense. That stuff resonates at home."
You can read the entire article at:
Democratic Self-Strangulation by one of my favorite bloggers, the one and only The Prowler
At the DLC meeting, Sen. Clinton was given star treatment although some members were not very impressed. ("Sen. Clinton works to shed liberal image, calls for party unity" BY STEVEN THOMMA Knight Ridder Newspapers):
"She's certainly the big dog in the field, but I don't want her to run in '08," Pat Vance, an alderman from Waterbury, Conn.
"She's too divisive." He said he wants the party to go with a centrist such as Warner, a pro-business Democrat who successfully wooed rural voters.
Ann Mah, a state representative from Kansas, said Clinton could make inroads into Republican "red" states such as Missouri and Ohio if she stresses national security and reframes the debate on such divisive issues as abortion.
"If she takes a moderate path, she could do well," Mah said.
How about in her home state of Kansas?
"Oh no. We're pretty red out there."
I rest my case.
Let me say it again. This is not Harry Truman's party.
This is Michael Moore's party.
It won't win any national elections until it dumps Moore, moveon.org, and Whoopie Goldberg.
I rest my case again!
PS Don't send me any nasty e-mails. Address them to Gov. Vilsack, Sen. Bayh and Gov. Warner, three Democrats who have found a way of winning in red states!
Thursday, July 28, 2005
For two years, we have heard a lot of numbers about civilian casualties in Iraq. The anti-American international media has had a lot of fun repeating numbers about all of those civilian casualties in Iraq.
To be fair, civilians die in war. In fact, the US bombed cities every night in WW2 for the sole purpose of killing civilians.
To be fair again, the US has gone out of its way in Iraq to avoid civilian casualties.
Let's have a little perspective.
Sixty years ago this week, US B-29s dropped leaflets in Japanese cities warning civilians that more fire bombs were coming if their country did not surrender. (Watch the series on The History Channel: "The last days of WW2")
Japan reacted to the leaflets by becoming more strident. Suicide bombers, known back then as kamakazis, kept killing US soldiers. One kamikaze nearly sank a US ship killing 1,200 aboard. The kamikazes were deadly in Okinawa. US casualties were over 10,000!
The Japanese government concluded that it could not win against the US military. So they decided to go after public opinion in the US. They concluded that they could "wear out" the American public by dragging out the conflict and inflicting horrific casualties on US soldiers and sailors.
They did kill thousands of soldiers and sailors. They did not break Truman's will!
Two weeks later, the B-29s dropped two atomic bombs!
Again, civilians get killed in every war. I don't like it but that's war!
In this Iraq war, the left has been quoting some rather bizarre casualty figures. They put them on a Internet site, get picked up by a reporter and then they find their way into the news.
It sounds a lot like those CBS forged memos!
Frankly, I was always skeptical about these figures. Finally, we have a way of combating the misinformation.
The bottom line is this: The numbers have been intentionally inflated.
In other words, the people peddling these numbers want the US to fail in Iraq!
The counter attack started with Britt Hume of FOX NEWS who addressed the subject last week:"
"A group calling itself "Iraq Body Count," or IBC, estimates that nearly 25,000 civilians were killed in the two years following the U.S. invasion of Iraq — a figure picked up by Reuters, CNN and the BBC.
But those reports never mention that IBC arrived at its figure by adding up casualties tallied by all sorts of organizations, including the left wing CommonDreams.org (search) and Al Jazeera.
What's more, IBC counts Iraqis killed in murders and terrorist attacks, saying "The burden of responsibility fall[s] squarely on the shoulders of those who initiate war without U.N. Security Council authorization."
News reports also failed to note that IBC's co-founder and principal researcher has written for a self-described "leftist newsletter," and many contributors are members of left-leaning anti-war groups".
What a coincidence. The source of all of this info is also a group that spent thousands last year to defeat Bush!
But it gets better.
John Leo of US News & World Report wrote an article titled "Fun with numbers":
"Isn't it awful, a friend said at dinner the other night, that 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the U.S. invasion?
When I asked where the statistic came from, he said maybe it was 8,000, but definitely somewhere between 8,000 and 100,000.
That's a pretty broad spread, so I decided to do some checking.
The 100,000 estimate is from a survey of Iraqi households conducted last year by a team of scholars from Johns Hopkins University and published in a British medical journal, the Lancet.
As luck would have it, the team was anti-war, and the study was released just before the presidential election.
The study's co-author called the 100,000 figure "a conservative estimate," the customary phrase attached to politically useful wild guesses.
The study said, "We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95 pct. CI 8,000-194,000) during the postwar period."
Writing on Slate, Fred Kaplan translated that little technical phrase between the parentheses: It means that the authors are 95 percent certain that war-caused deaths totaled somewhere between 8,000 and 194,000.
"The math is too vague to be useful."
Who cares about vague numbers? The terrorists want to blow up subway stations but the left wants to "get Bush"!
As Leo reminded us:
"The modern numbers game of war dead began with the Gulf War.
Greenpeace said 15,000 Iraqi civilians died.
The American Friends Service Committee/Red Crescent claimed that 300,000 civilians died.
Various media assessments hovered around 1,200.
Later, Foreign Policy magazine put the civilian dead at 1,000.
Unsurprisingly, the high estimates come from antiwar groups, often described in the media as neutral and nonpartisan."
There is a big difference between 1,000 and 300,000. Who cares?
Today, two more articles came out about war casualty exaggerations.
The first one is "Iraq Body Fraud" By Alston B. Ramsay (http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/ramsay200507260923.asp):
"Even though IBC is as partisan as they come, the media took the bait — hook, line, and sinker.
And in the rush to publish the blaring headers of the report — U.S. forces killed four times as many civilians as “anti-occupation forces”! — hardly anyone examined the underlying data.
But they should."
The second article is "Bad Counts, An unquestioning media" By Stephen Spruiell (http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/spruiell200507260924.asp):
"The media coverage of this report, by and large, failed to convey that uncertainty to the public.
Nor did it convey the nature of the Iraq Body Count organization, a hard-left anti-war group with a clear agenda.
Nor did it convey, as Stephen Pollard reported in this piece for the London Times, that a member of this group, Marc Herold, had “attempted this trick before, when he ‘revealed’ in December 2001 that there were then 3,800 civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
The now-accepted figure at the time was two thirds less — about 1,200.”
Most stories simply repeated the allegations in the group’s press release, occasionally followed by a statement from a U.S. or Iraqi authority.
Fox News anchor Brit Hume gave the truth about Iraq Body Count a hearing on Special Report last Thursday when he reported the group’s hard-left ties.
Will the rest of the media follow suit and apologize for passing off antiwar propaganda as hard facts?
Don’t count on it."
That's right. Don't count on it!
In the meantime, the NYPost reported today that Osama bin Laden tried to buy a massive amount of cocaine, spike it with poison and sell it in the United States, hoping to kill thousands of Americans one year after the 9/11 attacks.
FOX News reported today that Syria had $3 billion in illegal oil-import and arms-export deals with Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime. The documents, prepared by IRS special agents, have emerged as a new avenue in Congress' investigation into the scandal-plagued U.N. Oil-for-Food program.
Who cares? The left is busy with inflated casualty figures in Iraq. They don't have time to demonize the people blowing up subways!
All of this anti-Americanism has come at a price. As Bill O'Reilly said last night:
"One major casualty in the war on terror is the liberal press in the USA...
Michael Kinsley (search) has been removed as editorial director of the L.A. Times (search) just days after the editor of that paper stepped down.
As you may know, the circulation of the very liberal Times is falling fast.
The liberal stronghold PBS has been shaken up big time. Bill Moyers (search) is gone. And the new management is Republican. Many on the left are crazed over that.
The Air America (search) radio network continues to fail with catastrophic ratings here in New York City, perhaps the most liberal market in the country.
The circulations of long time liberal newspapers like the Boston Globe (search) and Newsday are falling.
And there is not one successful standalone liberal commentator on cable television, not one. Phil Donahue (search) was fired for low ratings at MSNBC, but was actually much more successful than what they put in his place.
So why is the liberal media in retreat?
Well, the answer is that most Americans are not ideologues. They're just everyday folks who want protection from people who would kill us. They want information about the border, about al Qaeda (search), about what the government is doing to defeat the enemy.
Most Americans do not want to hear the USA is the bad guy in the war on terror, which some liberal media are pedaling.
They do not feel the mistakes at Abu Ghraib (search) and Guantanamo Bay define this country.
They do not believe the ACLU (search) is looking out for them.
Media and politicians who continue to run down the USA for ideological reasons will continue to be punished in the marketplace.
But we want the USA to win. And that separates us from some far left elements. We believe the USA remains a noble country, fighting a very vicious enemy."
Did I tell you that O'Reilly has the #1 show on cable? No need to inflate O'Reilly's numbers!
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
How are the parties doing? How are they raising money?
Go to: http://www.fec.gov/
You will learn that the Republicans are doing well in the money area.
The GOP received $59.4 million in contributions, which is very strong for a non-presidential election year. The GOP had more than $34 million cash on hand after raising $6.5 million last month.
By comparison, the Democrats raised $28 million through the first half of 2005, and had about $9 million in the bank.
This is important because the 2006 midterms are just around the corner.
Patrick Hynes is a Republican consultant and a freelance writer. He is also a fellow blogger: AnkleBitingPundits.com.
The 2006 midterms are all about the US Senate. The House of Representatives is safely in Republicans hands and should stay for a while. It would take a combination of a political tsunami and avalanche to change the House. Historically, 95% of incumbents are reelected.
Also, the Republicans have a lot of safe seats in the South and West. So we can safely predict that the House will stay Republican.
Hynes has done a lot of analysis of the Senate races and concludes:
"The Democrats will need to maintain their fundraising parity with Republicans if they are to succeed in any or all of these three goals because they have more work to do in 2006 than their GOP counterparts.
Eighteen Democrats seats are up next year (including three open seats) compared to 15 for the Republicans (with only one open seat.)
Moreover, five Democrat incumbents can reasonably be called "vulnerable" or "potentially vulnerable" compared to only three Republicans.
Finally, these "vulnerable' or "potentially vulnerable" Democrats are in disproportionately more expensive media markets, meaning Democrats will get less bang for their bucks.
The frontline in the battle to control the Senate will be in three of next year's four open seat races: Minnesota, Maryland, and Tennessee (the fourth is Vermont, which is not winnable for the Republicans).
Two of these states -- Minnesota and Maryland -- are open seats the Democrats must defend.
The Republicans must defend the open seat in Tennessee.
Minnesota is a genuine swing state that has gradually trended Republican in recent elections. Bob Dole received 36% in Minnesota in 1996. George W. Bush received 46% in 2000 and 48% in 2004.
In the last two election cycles, the people of Minnesota have elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate and to the governorship and the congressional delegation is now split evenly between Republicans and Democrat-Farm-Labor (4 seats each).
Both parties are likely to nominate tier one candidates.
Maryland and Tennessee are not swing states. Maryland is as blue as almost any state in the nation (Kerry 56% - Bush 43%) and Tennessee about as red (Bush 57% - Kerry 43%).
But in both of these cases, the respective minority parties are likely to nominate tier one candidates.
In Maryland, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele has all but announced he will run.
In Tennessee, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has announced he will seek the open seat.
Both Steele and Ford are unconventional African-American politicians (Steele is, obviously, a Republican while Ford is a right-of-center Democrat) who will generate considerable national attention and support.
Nonetheless, the majority parties in both states are sure to put forward tier one nominees.
Effective communication in these states will be of varying costs.
The Washington, D.C. market, which dominates Maryland, is by far the most expensive market in these open seat races, possibly twice the cost of advertising in Tennessee.
Minnesota will likely cost a little less than Tennessee. (Estimates are imperfect because market forces can change advertising rates swiftly and dramatically.)
The upshot is the Democrats will have more money tied up playing defense and the Republicans will spend theirs playing offense. This makes a huge difference in terms of the portability of resources.
For example, if the Republicans discovered at some point that the Maryland seat is simply un-winnable, they could pull the cash out of the expensive Washington, D.C. media market and redirect it to, say, some closer-than-expected challenger elsewhere.
The Democrats don't have that luxury because they need to hold the Minnesota and Maryland seats.
Worse for Democrats, they could win all three of these open seats (plus Vermont) and still gain only one seat in the Senate, whereas the GOP has two opportunities to move a state into the Republican column.
When seasoned political observers assess the "winnability" of a particular challenger campaign, issues generally rank among the least important factors.
Instead we look at data from previous elections, voting trends, and fundraising reports.
I have reduced these indicators to three straightforward questions:
(1) Is the incumbent a member of the losing party in the 2004 election?
(2) Has there been a noticeable trend in voting behavior in recent years that alters historical electoral inertia (for example, my home state of New Hampshire is unquestionably trending Democrat, while West Virginia has undeniably become more Republican) and is this shift dramatic enough to jeopardize the incumbent's electability?
(3) Has the challenging party nominated a top flight candidate, i.e., can he or she raise the necessary resources to mount a serious challenge?
Needless to say, these are incredibly high thresholds for most challenger campaigns, which is why incumbents generally win reelection easily.
Based on the above criteria, and please understand we are still a long way from 2006, I believe Republicans stand a chance to upend five Democrat incumbents and Democrats stand a chance against three Republican incumbents.
The potentially vulnerable Democrat seats are in Washington state (Sen. Maria Cantwell), North Dakota (Sen. Kent Conrad), Nebraska (Sen. Ben Nelson), West Virginia (Sen. Robert Byrd), and Florida (Sen. Bill Nelson).
The potentially vulnerable Republican seats are in Missouri (Sen. Jim Talent), Pennsylvania (Sen. Rick Santorum), and Rhode Island (Sen. Lincoln Chafee.) (Note: Even though Maine went for Kerry in 2004, I have intentionally left Sen. Olympia Snowe off the "potentially vulnerable" list because, well, because she's going to win re-election handily, so there.)
Without boring the reader, I will explain in a nutshell why I singled out these seats:
Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell won her seat in 2000 by a scant 2,200 votes after outspending the incumbent Slade Gorton two-to-one. President Bush improved his vote share in Washington State only marginally between 2000 and 2004, from 45% to 46%.
But Seattle is an extremely expensive media market and Republicans will make a strategic decision to run hard here to force Democrats to spend heavy resources defending another seat.
President George W. Bush won North Dakota with a hearty 63% of the vote in 2004. Nonetheless, Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad won reelection in 2000 with 62%. But Republican success in sister enigma South Dakota may finally help the GOP generate a formula for success in this culturally conservative but heavily D.C.-dependent part of the country.
If popular Republican Governor John Hoeven decides to enter the race, expect the intensity here to approach the Thune-Daschle race of last year. Besides, this is an inexpensive place for Republicans to invest resources to try to pick up a seat.
President Bush received 66% of the vote in Nebraska last year. Meanwhile, Democrat Senator Ben Nelson received only 51% of the vote in 2000 while outspending his Republican opponent two-to-one. Nebraska is also a fairly inexpensive place for Republicans to play offense.
Is Sen. Robert Byrd (D-KKK) really vulnerable? Isn't it pretty to think so? President Bush received 56% of the vote in West Virginia in 2004 and this state is slowly trending Republican.
If Rep. Shelley Moore Capito runs against Byrd, Republicans will have a strong challenger to back. Full market penetration in West Virginia requires advertising in the Washington D.C., which means forcing Democrats to spend real money to defend another incumbent.
This most famous of swing states is easily the most expensive Senate seat in play in 2006. Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson won the seat in 2000 with only 51% of the vote. His Republican challenger will mount a well-funded and aggressive challenge complete with round-the-clock national attention in this state where President Bush increased his vote share from 2000 to 2004.
Again, Democrats will have to dedicate massive amounts of limited resources to defend this seat, whereas Republicans get to play offense.
Republican Sen. Rick Santorum is the most vulnerable incumbent in America. His polling numbers have sagged all year long and he will face a well-funded challenge from the likable Democrat State Treasurer Bobby Casey.
In this case, it is the Republicans who will have to dedicate extraordinary amounts of money to defend a seat. But here is where the strategy of fielding challengers in other expensive states pays off; with their backs against the wall in pricy Washington state, West Virginia, and Florida, Democrats will have less money to play with in trying to defeating Santorum.
Democrats may or may not field a reputable challenger against Republican Sen. Jim Talent. But the fact is, Talent won in 2002 with only 50% of the vote. Meanwhile, President Bush received 53% of the vote in 2004.
There are a great many things that could go wrong for Republicans here. President Bush received only 39% of the vote in 2004. Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee may face a challenge in the primary from Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey. The Democrats could field a top flight candidate. Or Sen. Chafee could become a Democrat tomorrow. Regardless, this will be a difficult seat for Republicans to hold in 2006."
Bottom line. It looks like Bush will retain a Republican majority.
Not bad. Not bad at all!
P.S. Is Robert Byrd in trouble in West Virginia?
Bush carried West Virginia in '00 and '04. Thanks to Perot, it went for Clinton in '92 and '96. It went for Nixon, Reagan and Bush-41 before that.
Lately, Sen. Byrd has been reminding constituents that he is a conservative. Byrd knows that liberalism won't fly in West Virginia.
Charles Hurt of THE WASHINGTON TIMES writes this:
"Mr. Byrd embraced the same judicial philosophy as the president in his memoir, "Child of the Appalachian Coalfields," released earlier this summer. In the book, he repeatedly blamed "liberal judges" and "activist judges" for many of the nation's problems.
"One's life is probably in no greater danger in the jungles of deepest Africa than in the jungles of America's large cities," he writes.
"In my judgment, much of the problem has been brought about by the mollycoddling of criminals by some of the liberal judges who have been placed on the nation's courts in recent years.
"Mr. Byrd essentially endorsed Mr. Bush's primary stated strategy for picking Judge Roberts and other judicial nominees.
"The high court's share of the responsibility for our increasing lawlessness lies in two areas -- its zeal for bringing about precipitous social change, and its overconcern for the rights of criminals and its underconcern for the rights and safety of society," he writes.
Mr. Byrd detailed the advice he has given presidents about the importance of naming conservatives and strict constructionists to the bench.
"I urged President Nixon to appoint conservative jurists to the court," he recalls in the book.
"I said that such a return to a conservative philosophy would be 'the greatest single service President Nixon could perform for his country.'
I said that the court had hurt the United States with its rulings on school prayer and in criminal cases, and had given aid and comfort to subversives by refusing to bar communists from schools and defense plants."
Can you imagine a Republican senator saying: "One's life is probably in no greater danger in the jungles of deepest Africa than in the jungles of America's large cities".
Paul Jacob wrote this:
"Everyone knows that if Senator Byrd had an R by his name, instead if a D, he would have been ridden out of Congress and public life a long time ago. Appropriately.
Yet, the former Exalted Cyclops has never provoked any trace of outrage from the media establishment, Democrats, or liberal civil rights groups.
The liberal MoveOn.org recently sent a letter to supporters urging them to contribute to Byrd's 2006 Senate campaign.
The letter was signed by none other than Democratic Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Senate's only African American. Byrd has even been called "the conscience of the Senate" by some.
That about sums up the problem, without any levity at all." (Paul Jacob is Senior Fellow at Americans for Limited Government: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/pauljacob/pj20050724.shtml)
Bush won West Virginia by 13 points. A new poll shows Byrd in a dead heat with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.
So let me make one easy prediction.
Byrd will not invite the Clintons to campaign with him next year. Add Gore, Dukakis, Carter, Kerry, Durbin and Jesse Jackson to the list.
Byrd is in trouble in West Virginia. This is why he is blasting liberal judges!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
A few posts back, I wrote that there is more to the Supreme Court than abortion. We need some litigation restraint in this country.
This is where we are.
If you are overweight, you sue McDonalds.
If you hit a tree, you sue the car that you are driving.
Too many lawsuits.
What does this cost? It costs a lot.
Kevin Hassett just wrote "Justice Roberts Will Be Good for the Economy" for Bloomberg (http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000039&refer=columnist_hassett&sid=a4qqfOGxRdzc):
"A recent study by management consulting firm Towers Perrin Tillinghast projects that the costs of the U.S. tort system will be $278.7 billion in 2005. Another study by the same group also determined that only about 22 percent of tort costs actually go to paying victims' economic damages. The rest goes to lawyers, administrative costs and compensation for pain and suffering.
The scale of this waste is awesome. U.S. citizens pay more in direct tort costs each year than they do in corporate taxes. And the problem is unique to the U.S. Relative to GDP, tort costs are about three times higher than they are in Britain and about double the typical cost in the rest of the European Union. "
What's the politics of this? Who are trial lawyers sending contributions to?
"In the 2004 election cycle, for example, the American Trial Lawyers Association donated almost $2.6 million to the political parties, with about $2.4 million of that total going to Democrats."
In fact, John Edwards, the '04 VP nominee, made a fortune as a trial lawyer.
Don't misunderstand. I believe in the capitalist system and people should be free to make money.
However, crazy lawsuits are not helping us. They increase everyone's costs.
We need tort reform for the benefit of consumers!
Monday, July 25, 2005
The US economy is good news, unless you are pessimist who is still counting votes in Florida!
First of all, Bush inherited a country headed into a recession and recovering from a stock market collapse. In other words, Gore would have had the same problem in 2001! Neither Bush or Gore would have been given a magic wand to fix economic problems.
The US economy had a growth cycle from '92 to '00. In '96, the unemployment rate was identical to the one in '04. Starting in '97, we had a high tech boom which inflated stocks and created a lot of paper wealth.
Everything crashed in March '00 and the recession began. Of course, all of this was complicated by 9-11 and the traumatic impact that it had on the US economy and our trading partners.
Let me be fair. I don't call it the Clinton recession. At the same time, I don't call it the Clinton boom. Frankly, Clinton had nothing to do with the business cycle. He happened to be at the right place, first in '93 when he came in as the recovery was underway and later in '00 when he left town as the recession was coming in.
The US economy hit bottom in '03 and it has been doing well ever since.
According the The Wall Street Journal:
"....the deficit as a share of GDP is down to 2.7% (very near its historical average), and that this is all happening because tax receipts are surging by more than 14%."
What about those tax cuts for the rich?
Again, let's go to the Wall Street Journal:
"This revenue surge from investment income also rebuts the mantra that the 2003 tax cuts were a giveaway to the rich. Nearly half of all Americans have some kind of stock ownership, and thus have shared in these gains in investment income.
And if most of the extra tax income is coming from capital gains and dividend payments, that would have to mean that the rich in America are paying more taxes, not less, as a result of the 2003 tax cut".
What abut mortgaging our kids' future? As Mike Rosen said:
"No one will have to pay it off. The national debt is a fixture.
Just like the debt on the balance sheet of a healthy corporation, it gets rolled over.
In the private sector, that's called a debt-equity ratio.
As federal debt has grown, so has the economy and our ability to manage it.
Federal debt held by the public is currently about 40 percent of GDP, about where it was in 1990.
In 1960 it was 46 percent and in 1943, during World War II, it was 98 percent.
The latest news on federal finances is good and getting better."(http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/news_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_86_3944413,00.html)
They key is to focus on the relative values rather than the absolute figures. A $350 billion deficit does not mean anything. A public debt figure does not mean anything.
What matters is the relative value----what is the deficit relative to GDP? or the debt?
As Donald Lambro of The Washington Times said: Don't listen to the pessimists!
"There's an important lesson to be learned from the fed's declining deficit figures: An expanding economy is the only way to shrink the deficit, and lower tax rates spur faster economic growth. That is what led to last week's lower deficit projections and a temporary surplus in revenues.
Another lesson: Don't listen to the pessimists who wrongly predicted a fiscal and economic disaster from the deficits that never materialized. The deficits were largely the result of the war on terrorism costs that followed the September 11, 2001, attacks and the following economic dislocations that and sharply cut federal and state tax revenues."
I'm not suggesting that we live in a perfect economy. We have never lived in a perfect economy. However, I don't listen to the pessimists.
This is the bottom line: 4% growth, 5% uneployment and a deficit of 2.7% of their GDP.
Frankly, I would like to see more deficit reduction. We need a balanced budget amendment which forces the federal govenrment to balance its books. This is what governors and mayors deal with every year in our country. We should require our federal politicians to balance the budget every year!
Second, I am not happy with Bush's domestic spending. We need more cuts. We need a freeze on all domestic spending, except for those items related to national security. I think that we should eliminate the Energy and Education Departments.
Third, we need to replace the current tax code with a flat tax. (More on that in a future blog!)
Overall, we should enjoy life and the wonderful US economy.
Stop counting votes in Florida and enjoy the good economic news!
We live in the greatest economy in the world, unless you are a liberal who can't get over that Bush beat Gore in Tennessee!
Sunday, July 24, 2005
This is what the pro-abortion forces are saying about Judge Roberts:
Howard Dean: "Faced with a growing scandal surrounding the involvement of Deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby in the leaking of the identity of a covert CIA operative, President Bush announced his nomination of John Roberts. ...”
MoveOn.org: "In nominating John Roberts, the president has chosen a right wing corporate lawyer and ideologue for the nation’s highest court instead of a judge who would protect the rights of the American people”
People for the American Way: “John Roberts’s record raises serious concerns and questions about where he stands on crucial legal and constitutional issues”
National Abortion Federation: "Judge Roberts has argued for the reversal of Roe and stated that there was "no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution" for the reasoning behind Roe....NAF is very concerned that if confirmed, Roberts would vote to weaken or even overturn Roe. We implore the Senate to closely examine his judicial philosophies on privacy and women's reproductive freedom."
NARAL: "If Roberts is confirmed to a lifetime appointment, there is little doubt that he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade" The Alliance for Justice: "While we will be conducting a complete analysis of his record on and off the bench, an initial review has led to serious concerns about whether he will be fair, independent and will protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans"
National Organization for Women: "If Roe v. Wade is overturned, these pictures could include your daughter, sister, mother, best friend, granddaughter" (NOW's website shows photographs of four women who died because they could not obtain safe and legal abortions.)
Planned Parenthood Federation of America: "Roberts must be prepared to demonstrate his commitment to constitutional protections for women's health and reproductive rights...The nomination of John G. Roberts raises serious questions and grave concerns for women's health and safety. It is particularly troubling that Roberts went on the record calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned when he served as a lawyer for the government...Only a nominee committed to protecting women's health and safety should be confirmed by the Senate."
In the big scheme, all of this stuff about Roe v. Wade is a liberal joke.
Overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion in the US. It will mean that the issue of abortion will be returned to the states.
What does that mean? It means that voters, and not judges, will decide abortion.
Some states will have abortion. Others won't. That's the way it should be.
Let the voters decide. I am not afraid of people. The American people usually get it right, which is why Republicans have won 7 of the last 10 presidential elections.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Hooray for PM Howard of Australia. This week, PM Howard was visiting the US and the UK. He answered a question about the connection between Iraq and London. Pay special attention to what he said:
"On the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq that the first point of reference is, once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away to use a vernacular.
And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats.
And no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.
Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.
And can I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.
Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor.
Are people, by implication, suggesting we shouldn't have done that?
When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy, not just in Iraq, but Afghanistan.
Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?
When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq, a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations, when Al-Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.
Now, I don't know the mind of the terrorist.
By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber.
I can only look at objective facts are, and the objective facts are as I've cited, the objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq.
And, indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life; this is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation.
And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse, through a perverted ideology, of people and their murder."
Great job PM Howard.
By the way, Howard, Blair and Bush were reelected. Chirac and Schroeder would give an arm and leg to have their approval ratings!
Leadership. That's what we have in men like Howard, Blair and Bush.
Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of "Globalized Islam." This is what he said about the Iraq connection:
"First, let's consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before.
Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan.
Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists?
Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam.
Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan?
It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination"
You can read the entire article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/22/opinion/22roy.html?pagewanted=print
The bottom line is very simple. Terrorists have been trying to kill us for a long time. It did not start with Iraq.
In fact, I believe that this war against our way of life began in Iran in '79 when Pres. Carter permitted a terrorist government to hold US diplomats against every norm of international law.
Just imagine this. What would have happened if Pres. Carter had gone on TV and made the following speech:
"The government of Iran has 72 hours to return every diplomat detained in their country. They can turn them over to the Red Cross. Otherwise, the US will use every ounce of our military power to destroy the barbarians who are holding our hostages"
My guess is that the hostages would have been released. Or we would have turned Tehran into a parking lot. Either way the civilized world would have scored a huge victory!
Carter did not do that. He tried one rescue. He should tried an even bigger one. Then he fell in the trap of trying to negotiate the release of the hostages.
They were eventually released minutes after Pres. Reagan was sworn in. I should add that Reagan was very responsible during the campaign and did not make an issue of the crisis. However, he did say after his landslide election that his administration would take a different attitude.
I can't prove it. But I have a feeling that the Iranian leadership heard Reagan. They understood that Reagan did not care about international popularity but he did care a lot about defending US interests.
In the end, the terrorists learned a big lesson from Iran. You can attack the US, or its citizens, without consequences.
During the 80s, there were hijackings and more killings of US citizens. In '85, a disabled American was killed in front of his wife and thrown overboard from a cruise ship. In '88, a PANAM jumbo was blown up over England.
In all fairness, Pres. Reagan attacked Libya and there were some limited responses. But they were limited responses. In retrospect, we used Band-Aid solutions.
Pres. Bush did force Saddam out of Kuwait in '91. Yet, the UN made a mockery out of the cease fire and resolutions. By the late 90s, there were no inspectors in Iraq and Saddam was shooting at US planes.
The Clinton administration took inaction to an absurd limit. We were hit many times in the 90s and there was no response.
What lesson did these terrorists learn? The US won't fight back. We are weak.
On 9-11 Pres. Bush decided that enough was enough. We are fighting back. Thank God that we have good allies like PM Howard and PM Blair.
As Bill O'Reilly said last night:
"It is becoming very clear that everybody on this planet is going to have to make a decision about terrorism, but there really are only three options.
You can take a hard line, which is my position.
You can appease terrorism, which is Spain's position.
Or you can refuse to confront the issue at all.
And unfortunately, millions of people are doing that." (http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,163325,00.html)
Last but not least, Prof. Victor Davis Hanson wrote another masterpiece this week. It is must reading for those who value freedom. The title is : "And Then They Came After Us" (http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200507220816.asp).
Prof Hanson put the issue on the table:
"Civilizations will either hang separately or triumph over barbarism together.
It is that simple. It's past time for Europe and the United States to rediscover their common heritage and shared aims in eradicating this plague of Islamic fascism."
Friday, July 22, 2005
Let me assume a few things about Judge Roberts.
First, he will be confirmed.
Second, he will be around for a while. Based on life expectancy, Roberts will be around until 2030. He may be around for 3-4 future presidencies. (Judge Stevens was appointed by Pres. Ford in '75 and he is still around!)
Third, we don't have a clue of what Roberts will do in the Court.
It may be that overturning Roe v Wade won't even make the top 10 of Roberts' significant opinions.
Let's take terrorism.
I happen to think that Islamic terrorists are a bigger threat to our society than abortionists. I am not downplaying what abortion is doing to our society, from the devaluation of life to low birth rates.
Yet, terrorists are determined to blow up a Western City and kill 100,000 people.
It is very likely that Judge Roberts will be voting on terrorism cases, such as how we are going to treat terrorists who do not wear a uniform and target civilians.
Some in the world want to understand terrorists. Sorry, I want to kill terrorists. At the very least, I want to make their life and mode of operations as difficult as possible.
You can not negotiate with terrorists anymore than you can persuade a rat not to attack your kids.
So we will need judges who are prepared to do the right thing and give our elected leaders the flexibility to take whatever measures are necessary to put down terrorism.
I think that Judge Roberts is such a man.
Debbie Schlussel wrote today on FrontPageMagazine.com:
"Terrorism is clearly a far more pressing issue, and on that, Roberts is right on target.
Roberts demonstrated his commitment to fight court-system coddling of terrorists and the creation of rights for these murderers that don't exist.
Roberts' position on Salim Ahmed Hamdan (a Gitmo terrorist who was Osama Bin Laden's personal driver)is far more important than his position on Jane Roe.
On Friday, Roberts--as part of a federal appeals court panel--backed the Bush Administration's plan to let special panels of military officers conduct trials of terrorism suspects detained at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, overturning a lower-court decision that has blocked the "military commissions" for the past eight months.
The ruling was an important affirmation of the government's right to deny "enemy combatant" detainees access not only to civilian courts but to the more formal proceedings of military courts-martial, in which they would enjoy additional rights and legal protections.
The decision in Hamdan, joined in by John Roberts, backs up President Bush's decision that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to detainees that Bush declares as enemy combatants and that the provisions of the Conventions are not enforceable by U.S. courts in lawsuits brought by foreigners.
This is additionally important because Roberts--if he makes it to the Court, and he will--will likely get a similar case, that of Jose Padilla a/k/a Abdullah Al-Muhajir, soon. Padilla's lawyer, yesterday, appeared before a federal appeals court, demanding that his client (an Al-Qaeda procurer of dirty bombs) be charged or freed. But the government wants the ability to indefinitely detain enemy combatants intent on murdering Americans.
The issue, whether a U.S. citizen seized on U.S. soil can be designated an enemy combatant is sure to come before the Supreme Court soon.
The trial court, in South Carolina, ruled for the terrorist Hamdan's lawyer, something that needs to be reversed.
Watch for Roberts to be on the right side--the side of the safety and security of the American people--of that, as he was on Hamdan." (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=18846)
Then what about business interests in an ever-changing international business environment? We don't live in world dominated by US business anymore. We are the largest economy but the competition is getting tougher.
So how is Judge Roberts going to come down on business issues?
Lawrence Kudlow is a former Reagan economic advisor, a syndicated columnist, and the co-host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company. He analyzed today how Roberts will look at the business world (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-7_21_05_LK.html):
"This is a far cry from the Supreme Court of the past 70 years.
As Mark Levin writes in his bestselling book Men in Black, the Court has so expanded the commerce clause that it has helped create a huge regulatory state where activist judges have seized private property, taken over school systems and prisons, interceded in private-sector hiring and firing practices, ordered farm quotas and property-tax increases, and expelled God, prayer, and the Ten Commandments from the public square. Levin calls this “socialism from the bench.”
By all accounts, John Roberts will not go down this path.
Roberts’s nomination also signals a bad hair day for trial lawyers and their excessive damage claims which have so crippled business and destroyed tens of thousands of jobs.
In particular Roberts is expected to support recent congressional legislation that would move class-action lawsuits from county and state courts to the federal bench.
Experts anticipate an aggressive effort by the trial lawyers to gradually snipe at the Class Action Fairness Act, but Roberts is expected to uphold the congressional law.
Roberts is a genuine free-market judge, someone who will not assume that business is always guilty until proven innocent.
He should land on the side of limiting damages for personal injury and product liability settlements, which hopefully will include asbestos, medical malpractice, and phony securities lawsuits.
He may also be sympathetic to corporate patent-holders of intellectual property, while seeking to oppose local regulators in areas of telecom access, energy development and production, and streamlined power utilities."
Sounds good to me. Frivolous lawsuits are killing US businesses. We need a judge who understands that you cannot create employees without employers.
There is more to the Supreme Court than abortion.
Just think about this. Science and technology have changed the world in the past two decades.
On the day that Pres. Reagan nominated Sandra O'Connor (1981) we did not have the Internet, wireless communication, stem cell research, cloning, nanotechnology, etc.
We don't know what issues will come to the court in the future. We do know that Roberts is an excellent judge with a wonderful reputation.
I can live with that!
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The New York Times has a wonderful "On this day in History" section. I check it often. It's fun going back and checking the front page from a particular day.
36 years ago, Neil Armstrong steered Apollo 11 to a moon landing. A few hours later, he walked on the moon. I remember watching everything on TV, along with my family.
Kids today do not seem to care that much space travel. My generation grew up watching science fiction movies about Martians and aliens. We loved TV shows like "Lost in Space" and "My favorite Martian".
So the moon landing was a big deal back then.
Was it worth it?
The space program started out as a science and quickly turned into a race between the US and the USSR.
In retrospect, I'm glad that we beat the communists to the moon. I'm thrilled that the US flag is waving somewhere on the moon surface rather than the Soviet banner.
The US flag, which stands for freedom and limited government, is a better symbol than the Soviet flag, which is a tragic reminder of gulags and political prisons.
The space program was also a wonderful demonstration of how the US is at its best when we have a common goal.
Check out the NYTimes front page:
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Pres. Bush made an outstanding choice. Judge John Roberts has an excellent background and is well respected.
Take a look at his resume: http://www.usdoj.gov/olp/robertsresume.htm
Where do we go from here?
I hope that Democrats will get over abortion and return to the days when judicial nominations were respectful and in good taste.
In our history, most Supreme Court nominees refused to answer specific questions about how they'd vote in future cases. In fact, most nominations in the past were approved quickly, and often, by a voice vote.
Can Democrats get over abortion? Kennedy, Leahy and Durbin won't. They have to do battle for moveon.org and the legion of left wing groups that finance the modern Democrat party.
Nevertheless, Bush has the votes and John Roberts will be joining the Supreme Court this fall.
It wasn't that long ago that Judge Grinsberg was nominated by Pres. Clinton and refused to answer specific questions. Sen. Biden did not have any problems with that. Let's hope that Biden is consistent.
Elections have consequences.
The liberals should not be angry that Pres. Bush appointed a conservative. What did they expect? Pres. Bush campaigned in 2000, 2002 and 2004 saying that he would nominate judges like John Roberts.
Don't get mad at Bush for being consistent.
Elections have consequences. Liberals should be mad at Gore for failing to carry Tennessee and at Clinton for failing to deliver Arkansas for the Democrat ticket.
How will this play outside of Washington? I think that Roberts will play well. He is an affable and competent fellow.
Elections have consequences.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The Washington press corps is obsessed with "getting Bush". On the other hand, our enemies are obsesssed with "getting us".
In other words, we are busy with partisan cat fights whereas our enemies, the same ones who killed 55 in London two weeks ago, spend their day trying to sneak a WMD into the US.
How can you fight a war like this?
How can we win a war if we spend much of our time calling each other liars and four letter word names?
It is frankly depressing.
Now I understand why FDR and Truman did not allow unrestricted press coverage during WW2. Thankfully, FDR did not have to spend 1942-44 fighting partisan press reports that he knew the Pearl Harbor attack was coming or that German civilians were being killed nightly by our air force.
To be more specific:
"The Office of War Information (OWI) is established in 1942 to control the flow of information between government agencies and manage the release of war news. The OWI opens an overseas branch and successfully transmits news and propaganda over the radio. The office closes in 1945.
Correspondents are allowed to travel with troops provided all writing is submitted to military censors prior to publication. In 1942 the press voluntarily accepts a Code of Wartime Practices.
No photographs of American dead are released to the public for the first two years of World War II.
In 1943 the ban on photographs of the dead is partially lifted in an attempt to galvanize public support for the war.
Graphic photographs and pictures showing faces of the dead are still censored." (http://www.usnewsclassroom.com/resources/activities/war_reporting/timeline/ww2-censor.html)
By the way, we won that war. We kept public support. The main reason that FDR got away with such censorship is because the Republican opposition behaved like adults.
Let's talk about today's War on Terror. How can you fight a war like this?
Read Jonathan Alter in Newsweek:
"We got in because we "cooked" the intelligence, then hyped it. That's why the "Downing Street Memo" is not a smoking gun but a big "duh." For two years we've known that senior White House officials were determined to, in the words of the British intelligence memo, "fix" the intelligence to suit their policy decisions. When someone crossed them, they would "fix" him, too, as career ambassador Joseph Wilson found when he came back from Africa with a report that threw cold water on the story that Saddam Hussein sought yellowcake uranium from Niger." (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8598301/site/newsweek/)
Question # 1: Does Alter provide any proof of how intelligence was "cooked"? Does he say that the Clinton administration, including media favorites like Madeleine Albright, "cooked" their statements about Iraq's WMDs? How about Senator Hillary Clinton? Did all of these Democrats work in the kitchen when Bush was "cooking" the WMD story?
Did Alter stand up in March 2003 and screamed: Stop this war because I know for a fact that Saddam does not have WMDs?
Alter does not present any facts. He simply accuses the Bush administration of fabricating evidence to get into a war.
Question # 2: Does Alter accuse the UN, France, Russia, Israel, the entire Clinton foreign policy team, the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, et al, of "cooking" WMD evidence?
Alter conveniently skips all of those collaborators and jumps on Bush-Cheney.
Is this journalism? The answer is no.
More importantly, can we fight a war on terror like this? I don't think so!
Question # 3: Why is Alter defending Joe Wilson?
Mark Steyn writes about Wilson in The Chicago Sun Times(http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn17.html) :
"Just about everybody on the face of the earth except Wilson, the White House press corps and the moveon.org crowd accepts that Saddam was indeed trying to acquire uranium from Africa.
Don't take my word for it; it's the conclusion of the Senate intelligence report, Lord Butler's report in the United Kingdom, MI6, French intelligence, other European services -- and, come to that, the original CIA report based on Joe Wilson's own briefing to them."
Christopher Hitchens goes after Mr. Wilson:
"The third bogus element in Wilson's boastful story is the claim that Niger's "yellowcake" uranium was never a subject of any interest to Saddam Hussein's agents.
The British intelligence report on this, which does not lack criticism of the Blair government, finds the Niger connection to be among the most credible of the assertions made about Saddam's double-dealing.
If you care to consult the Financial Times of June 28, 2004, and see the front-page report by its national security correspondent Mark Huband, you will be able to review the evidence that Niger—with whose ministers Mr. Wilson had such "good relations"—was trying to deal in yellowcake with North Korea and Libya as well as Iraq and Iran.
This evidence is by no means refuted or contradicted by a forged or faked Italian document saying the same thing.
It was a useful axiom of the late I.F. Stone that few people are so foolish as to counterfeit a bankrupt currency.
Thus, and to begin with, Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless.
What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press?
Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend." (http://slate.msn.com/id/2122963/ )
It is incredibly irresponsible for someone to accuse a president of fabricating (or "cooking") evidence to go to war. At least, we should expect such a person to present evidence of how the intelligence was "cooked".
What's going on?
The liberal media has dumped the Democrats and decided to become the opposition party.
They will fight Bush. The media understands that the Democrats cannot win at the ballot box so they are going to "get Bush"!
They want Bush impeached. Why? Because they got burned with the CBS forgeries and the Newsweek story. Because they do not like Bush's position on abortion or cultural issues.
Michael Goodwin of the NYDaily News just wrote a story about the media vs Bush. I think that he is exactly right! (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/v-pfriendly/story/327526p-279954c.html)
"The intense grilling that White House reporters inflicted on presidential spokesman Scott McClellan Monday over whether political guru Karl Rove leaked the name of a CIA operative was no ordinary give-and-take.
It was a hostile hectoring that revealed much of the mainstream press for what it has become: the opposition party.
Reporters apparently have decided Democrats aren't up to the job.
Can't blame them.
With Dems reduced to Howard Dean's rants and Hillary Clinton's juvenile jab that President Bush looks like Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman, somebody has to offer a substantive alternative.
The press has volunteered.
That the mainstream media are basically liberals with press passes has been documented by virtually every study that measures reporters' political identification and issue positions.
But bias has now slopped over into blatant opposition, a stance the media will regret.
Instead of providing unvarnished facts obtained by aggressive but fair-minded reporting, the media will be reduced to providing comfort food to ideological comrades.
Already held in lower esteem by the public than lawyers and Congress, the press risks looking like a special interest group.
Its claims to represent "the American people," as one McClellan inquisitor did, are easily ignored when it serves as an echo chamber for the anti-Bush."
Goodwin is not the first media member to bring this up. Months ago, Howard Finneman of Newsweek (hardly a member of the right wing conspiracy) made the same point (URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6813945/):
"The crusades of Vietnam and Watergate seemed like a good idea at the time, even a noble one, not only to the press but perhaps to a majority of Americans. The problem was that, once the AMMP declared its existence by taking sides, there was no going back. A party was born.
It was not accident that the birth coincided with an identity crisis in the Democratic Party. The ideological energy of the New Deal had faded; Vietnam and various social revolutions of the ’60s were tearing it apart. Into the vacuum came the AMMP, which became the new forum for choosing Democratic candidates. A "reform" movement opened up the nominating process, taking it out of the smoke-filled backrooms and onto television and into the newsrooms. The key to winning the nomination and, occasionally, the presidency, became expertise at riding the media wave. McGovern did it, Gary Hart almost did (until he fell off his surfboard); Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton rode it all the way".
Finemann and Goodwin are exactly right.
Check out Andrew McCarthy: "Did the CIA “Out” Valerie Plame?What the mainstream media tells the court ... but won’t tell you." (http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200507180801.asp):
"With each passing day, the manufactured "scandal" over the publication of Valerie Plame's relationship with the CIA establishes new depths of mainstream-media hypocrisy.
A highly capable special prosecutor is probing the underlying facts, and it is appropriate to withhold legal judgments until he completes the investigation over which speculation runs so rampant.
But it is not too early to assess the performance of the press. It's been appalling.
Is that hyperbole? You be the judge.
Have you heard that the CIA is actually the source responsible for exposing Plame's covert status? Not Karl Rove, not Bob Novak, not the sinister administration cabal du jour of Fourth Estate fantasy, but the CIA itself?
Had you heard that Plame's cover has actually been blown for a decade — i.e., since about seven years before Novak ever wrote a syllable about her?
Had you heard not only that no crime was committed in the communication of information between Bush administration officials and Novak, but that no crime could have been committed because the governing law gives a person a complete defense if an agent's status has already been compromised by the government?
No, you say, you hadn't heard any of that.
You heard that this was the crime of the century.
A sort of Robert-Hanssen-meets-Watergate in which Rove is already cooked and we're all just waiting for the other shoe — or shoes — to drop on the den of corruption we know as the Bush administration.
That, after all, is the inescapable impression from all the media coverage.
So who is saying different?
The organized media, that's who.
How come you haven't heard?
Because they've decided not to tell you"
Once again, we see a liberal media determined to destroy Republican presidents.
However, it won't work.
It won't work because the Washington media does not control the information flow anymore.
It won't work because the blogs and talk radio reach more Americans than the Washington media does.
This is not Vietnam or Watergate. The media cannot control what we read.
Last but not least----did Rove do anything illegal?
I am willing to sit back and let Special Prosecutor answer that question.
The media has already concluded that Rove is guilty and wants him out.
Is the media going to win this fight? The answer is no.
By the way, there is a terrorist somewhere in the world, or even here in the US, who is planning to kill you or your family.
Does the Washington press corps care about that? No. They just want to get Bush!
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