Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friedman is right...and wrong

As to Tom Friedman's idea that we need to forget 9/11, well, there's no better way to kick off an era of 'free' pundit access by having a top columnist poke a sharp stick at Rudy. Doesn't hurt the site traffic, either. But his piece is worth some discussion. I've been thinking about it, too.

Whether purposely or not, he actually did a nice job of laying out the coming Democratic platform for 08. Here's a taste:
Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore. Our government has been exporting fear, not hope: “Give me your tired, your poor and your fingerprints.”
9/11 was evidently a wake-up call for him. He seems to long for a return to the salad days when the population was kept ignorant to the threat; when captured terrorists were given a seat on CIA Airlines for a whirlwind tour of the Middle East until they found vacancy at some country's "enhanced interrogation" facility (funny, they say Republicans are in favor of outsourcing but America outsourced torture in the 90s and nobody cared then); and when our response was to lob a few cruise missiles which prompted some random shiekh to scribble something called a fatwa. But to the jihadists, 9/10 was no different than 9/11 or 9/12.

It's not healthy to run a campaign entirely on 9/11, which Rudy appears to be doing. But it seems Friedman is excluding any candidate that makes mention. Terrorism is not going anywhere regardless of who wins in 2008. Matter of fact, we've been told repeatedly by his own paper that our invasion of Iraq caused more terrorists, which means they will likely act one day. The genie is out of that bottle.

To illustrate, people get some kind of weird, wistful feelings about the 90s when people still loved us. The facts show a different picture. Messers Yousef, Atta, Moussaoui, the Blind Sheikh, bin Laden, Zawahiri, and a host of others were all busy plotting our destruction. Were we better off not knowing? Would things have been radically different had Yousef been successful in knocking down the Towers when he bombed them in 1993 (who would we have retaliated against)?

The Democrats will oblige Mr. Friedman. Their candidates will indeed attempt to turn GTMO into a soup kitchen and treat terrorists like two-bit car thieves. But such things won't alter our image. Bushitlerburton has not been the sole cause of America's degradation of brand--Britney, serial killers, Paris, terrible rap music, corruption and high crime rates and child molesters have all contributed greatly as well, complicating the picture.

As for me, I expect our next leader to NEVER FORGET 9/11 while pursuing the people who want to destroy us. Along the way it wouldn't hurt to remind folks about some of the things that foreigners once saw as great about our nation, and lead us back in that direction. Not sure it's possible anymore but it never hurts to try. But calling people stupid for remaining vigilant about a serious threat is hardly helpful.

Deep cover?

Today's hyperventilating story in the London Daily Mail about Pentagon official Debra Cagan and her hate for all things Iranian will certainly stoke the "neocons are planning to attack Iran" bonfire we've been seeing for some years now (gee, what happened to Scott Ritter?). But her comment begs another question.

If Ms. Cagan is indeed a neocon complicit with the administration's warmongering goals she certainly did a good job suppressing those sentiments when working for the Clinton administration, which this document proves. Are we to believe she was a neocon under deep cover; that all Pentagon officials are neocons; or more sensationally, that her continued employment in the Clinton DoD prove that William Jeff himself was a closet neocon under deep cover??

Perhaps since she was working for the military when Saudi Hizballah terrorists blew up the Khobar Towers and killed DoD servicemen she gets a little emotional on the subject (assuming they are quoting her accurately, which is a big assumption). The Iranians are now killing more American troops with impunity while simultaneously advocating for the elimination of another country and all the western media can do is caterwaul about neocons.

Maybe Ms Cagan is simply one of those people who believes that to forget the past is to repeat it. Maybe she's confused as to why Iran would have cared diddly about US service personnel in Saudi Arabia. Remember, it was supposed to be bin Laden who wanted them out not his "arch-enemy" Iran.

By the way, some might say the picture included with the story is less than flattering. Sort of makes her look like a cartoon super-villain. Deliberately? You can decide for yourself.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Side tracks

The Yardbirds were perhaps most famous for launching Eric Clapton, Jimmie Page and Jeff Beck to fame. They had a memorable sound, which combined 60s pop with the emerging psychedelic rock. Here's a young Jeff Beck playing lead guitar on "Heart Full of Soul"..



Beck replaced Clapton in the mid 60s, who obviously went on to achieve more notoriety and commercial success. Page followed Beck and eventually they turned into Led Zeppelin after a number of personnel changes. Other original members morphed into a band called Renaissance in the early 70s, not to be confused with the more famous version later in the 70s featuring Annie Haslam.

Jeff Beck is still going strong. Here he is last year in Japan doing one of his signature tunes.

Immigration stories

Here are two stories making the rounds. The first illustrates the cultural problems inherent with legal immigrants once they reach a sizable number within a community and how their presence impacts traditional American culture. The second shows why so many taxpaying Americans are irritated with illegal immigration.

Story one:
Parents in an Illinois school district complained about Halloween and Christmas celebrations in their schools. As a result, the school district is considering pulling the plug on all celebrations. But aside from the knee-jerk outrage there might be more to this under the surface. From one of the complaining mothers:
Nixing them isn't the response she was looking for. "Now the kids are not being educated about other people," she said.
Not sure she's telling the truth. It's possible these school officials felt cornered between continuing Christmas parties or having Arab/Muslim cultural propaganda forced down their throats, which might include divisive theories about the Jews or about US involvement in the Middle East, so they punted everything. But it's hard to imagine that wasn't one of two desired outcomes for the people pushing for this change.

Story two:
An illegal Guatemalan immigrant was recently arrested when he tried to pass through airline security with a duffel bag filled with $59,000 in cash he'd saved by working for nine years as a dishwasher. God Bless him for being a dishwasher that long (my first job was a dishwasher at a restaurant) but he made the money under an illegal status and didn't pay taxes on it. The feds have a duty to seize ALL of it:
Zapeta said, "No." He wanted all his money. He'd earned it, he said.

Now, according to Gershman, the Internal Revenue Service wants access to the donated cash to cover taxes on the donations and on the money Zapeta made as a dishwasher. Zapeta admits he never paid taxes.
Which is called tax evasion, another crime.

Yes, businesses, community leaders and the Feds facilitated his nine year crime spree but it's his arrogance that defies belief. It's the same arrogance displayed by illegals marching in street protests holding Mexican flags or anything said by Elvira Arellano. No respect.

But it's also the political hypocrisy that confounds and irritates so many people. Liberals are usually champions of unequal treatment issues but this story begs the question as to whether that zeal equally applies to regular American taxpayers. That's not to leave out the elephants, who should now fully understand that many of their supporters are rule-of-law conservatives and didn't sign on to support a bunch of anything goes, look the other way, destroy the country money grubbers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another day, another media flap

Today's target; Rush. Media Matters and the leftysphere thinks they've got him and some on the right do, too. Others don't.

It's obvious the key sentences were these:
CALLER: No, it’s not. And what’s really funny is they never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.

RUSH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER: Phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they’re proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they’re willing to sacrifice for the country.
He didn't refer to anyone in particular as being phony such as Jesse MacBeth or even Mike the previous caller. That's why this is nothing close to the Moveon "Betray Us" ad, which targeted an individual preparing to testify in front of Congress.

But his lack of specificity also works against Limbaugh. He could have been referring to all war dissenters as phony. He did preface his phony remark by telling the previous caller Mike #1 that his anti-war stance meant he couldn't possibly be a Repub. While it's not clear whether Mike #1 was a genuine caller or a seminar caller it IS clear Rush falsely asserted that real Republicans have no disagreement about Iraq, which is absurd. I know a few myself--including a former tank commander during the Gulf War.

Since it's not crystal clear he should offer a targeted apology to anyone in the military who might have been offended by those remarks. It's fine to stay with his MacBeth defense, hell, it's probably correct. But it's not hard to stipulate and apologize for any possible offense. It might even win him a few new fans.

But let's turn the tables. The left screamed the Betray Us ad outrage overshadowed their real message, whatever it was. The same might happen here. Media Matters and the blogs are trying to diminish Rush's voice as we dive into the primaries and they know Iraq is an unavoidable topic. They are desperately trying to shape that debate as one of errors and failure because it's the only way to win.

The last thing they want is a conversation about our strategic interests in the region and the WoT. Let's remember, the 9/11 Commission report--the same one the new Democratic Congress vowed to follow by enacting all its recommendations--made a point of illustrating how past hasty retreats from Muslim conflicts had left a lasting impression on bin Laden, which contributed directly to the attacks (it left the same mark on Saddam).

Yet stunningly the Dems are suggesting we should GO RIGHT BACK THERE AGAIN, taking the road already traveled and littered with pot holes. They simply do not want the American public to engage in such a debate before Hillary is elected--period. It's about the failures, stupid! And the cruelest irony of all is the new spokesman leading this charge.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Third term

Check out the vintage Bill Clinton. Shades of Fox News Sunday and the finger wag..



As if the GOP criticism of the smearing of a honorable general serving in a war zone, with help from a discount by the same paper who leaked two top secret defense programs, could drown out the constant cacophony of criticism about Iraq. No sir, the game plan is to always bring the discussion back to Iraq and never let the voters forget that Bush failed, which is what Slick was artfully trying to do.

Matter of fact, it looks like the Clintons coordinated this talking point. Hillary used it on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace last week, mentioning Max Cleland and Kerry, although with less force. But coordination was not possible with the debate last night since they didn't know the questions, as evidenced by Tim Russert's "ticking bomb" question (watch for it around the 6:30 4:20 mark):



She told the New York Daily News she was basically in favor of an exception to torture in extreme cases last year, but her spokesman fixed everything today:
Upon reflection and after meeting with former Generals and others, Senator Clinton does not believe that we should be making narrow exceptions to this policy based on hypothetical scenarios.
First, Joe Biden won the debate. Second, note to John Edwards: of course we've held people without trials in the past, they are called prisoners of war.

Third, as to Bill, he's making himself very prevalent of late, showing up all over the place on TV, new book, chummy with Gore, etc. He's clearly trying to influence an election involving his wife. But unlike Bush 41 advocating for his son, Clinton stands to re-enter the White House through the back door, giving him a kind of stealth third term. He should go back to acting presidential and stay the hell out of the fray.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bomb bomb Iran?

In tonight's Democratic debate Senator Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she'd green light the Israelis to launch on Iran. Well, sort of:
Clinton seemed to agree that she would support a military strike on Iranian nuclear strike. She didn't rule it out and was careful not to rule it out.
Meanwhile, Wizbang had a very interesting link to the colorful Jack Wheeler, who was gossiping about the scuttlebutt surrounding the non-response from Syria to IAF F-15s violating their territory in a fashion akin to Michael Jackson:
Let's face it: scaring the terror masters in Tehran out of their wits is fun. So much fun, in fact, that an attack destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and the Revolutionary Guard command/control centers has been delayed, so that France (under new management) can get in on the fun too.
Not sure of the veracity of his column or whether Hillary's comments had any bearing on this, just thought it was weird.

PS, about the debate. Notice how many of the Democrats wore dark sport coats, light shirts, red power ties with lapel pins. Couldn't tell what Kucinich's pin was, though. Maybe a gift from Assad?

The hypothetical question about torturing the number 3 man in AQ provided the most stunning response yet in any of the debates, provided by Hillary when she found out the person suggesting it was her husband. "Well, he's not standing here right now". Then Biden misunderstood. But he's fun.

BTW, the guys talking about no torture on their watch in order to disparage Bush were not asked about the rendition program that was started on Clinton's watch. But the empty-headed comments from Edwards and others about closing GTMO, Secret facilities or other approaches just cannot resonate with a majority of Americans without a viable alternative.

MORE 9/27/07

The debate was actually quite interesting. Some could even accuse Tim Russert of hectoring the candidates, especially Hillary. While watching live it seemed her answer to the "ticking time bomb" hypothetical, which drew some applause as described above, was a score. But the NY Daily News, now conservative rag, begs to differ:
Last October, Clinton told the Daily News: "If we're going to bepreparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law."

She said then the "ticking time bomb" scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.
Hopefully there will be video today.

Moving on with Hansen

What's that? George Soros is funding Hanson? No, no, no, James Hansen, the outspoken NASA scientist who claimed Bush was trying to muzzle him. At least according to these guys:
How many people, for instance, know that James Hansen, a man billed as a lonely "NASA whistleblower" standing up to the mighty U.S. government, was really funded by Soros' Open Society Institute , which gave him "legal and media advice"?
Doubtless the mainstream media will not be tripping over themselves to investigate whether this violates some kind of government act. Chances are many would say it's just partisan speculation... that it's not prudent to come to a conclusion about such a serious matter until all the facts are in. And, that dissent regarding conventional wisdom and speaking truth to power is patriotic. Just a hunch.

At this point in a blog post it seems customary to link back to one's own blog for previous witty and insightful pieces that now scream "told ya so". With all due respect to modesty, here it is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This just in..


The humanity..
Columbia University promised a full investigation into charges of police brutality after today’s reported Tasering of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had come to the Ivy League school to give the annual Adolph Hitler Memorial Peace and Tolerance Lecture.
No word of whether John Kerry was involved but no doubt he "could have handled it" had he been there. Ironically, anonymous sources unauthorized to speak due to the sensitivity of the situation and their dubious credentials claim Mahmoud's spokesman referred to the event as more evidence of America's pariah nature.

Speaking of tazers, Bill O'Reilly is hawking those stickers at his webstore. For the children, of course!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Coming to America

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is coming to America Monday to stir up peaceful discord and cause a lot of overtime for the NYPD.

He got things started on 60 Minutes Sunday night by clumsily parroting almost every single major Democrat talking point used to date:
"This is not Guantanamo Bay. This is not a Baghdad prison. Please, this is not a secret prison in Europe. This is not Abu Ghraib," Ahmadinejad said. "This is Iran. I'm the president of this country!"
There was more, including a reference to Katrina, the 2006 election, an anti-war protest in Washington last week, etc. In other words, very close to the tactics used in the last few al Qaeda tapes. Hey, they're not supposed to be compadres but it makes one wonder.

The Dems should be outraged this little peckerwood is co-opting their talking points. Surely they'd love to come out and publicly nail him but they'd be nailing themselves in the process--a real catch-22 moment. Perhaps they'll be forced to accuse him of being duplicitous, in other words, contend he doesn't believe the things he's saying. But any of them brave enough to attack may get the treatment from the nutroots and Moveon, being lumped in with the angry neocon warmongers. What will they do...

Hopefully the Dean of Columbia was watching 60 Minutes because if nothing else the Pelley interview proves there's absolutely zero value in having this dude over to chat about anything other than modern propaganda techniques (he could actually use some pointers). It also proves beyond any doubt he should not be allowed within twelve miles of Ground Zero. Not to mention nuclear technology.

TAKE AWAY 9/24/07

Outcome? Hard to judge. Bollinger opened with a round of shots to the solar plexis but it's hard to know whether that was planned or in reaction to the negative reaction. It sure seemed real.

As expressed above, my inclination was to just say no, since it was obvious from the treatment he gave to the illegally captured British Marines that this sack of dog doo was only here to spread more propaganda at the behest of his thug leaders, this time using stolen talking points from lefty blogs. He cares as much about honest dialogue as did Hitler, pointed out by Bollinger's list of academic atrocities and proven by his own words about the Holocaust and Iranian homosexuals.

Many figured the Columbia faculty and students would be so awestruck they'd only be capable of a few weak spitballs, giving him a great jumpstart to his American propaganda tour. Yet, this quote is likely to be the most remembered words of the day:
"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause.
So, compared to prior expectations Bollinger handed Mahmoud his ass in a bucket today. He displayed the high-mindedness of a classic liberal--concerned about the rights of women and dissidents and of the free speech of people who have none. This is the same passion that led people like Christopher Hitchens to favor toppling Saddam and leads others to want action in Darfur, a far cry from those who shout about pulling troops from Iraq due to a civil war yet advocate deploying them into Sudan's civil war.

We'll continue to see the fallout from Bollinger's words as the week goes on and the bloggers and pundits react. My hope is his words separate some liberal wheat from moonbat chaff. That's asking a lot, I know but his words allowed a glimmer of hope that Americans of both political stripes are still capable of recognizing evil, even if we can't agree on how to handle it.

Oddly, few bothered to query Dubya's thoughts about his foe's proposed visit to hallowed ground until today. I agree with his reaction,
"speaks volumes about really the greatness of America."
..although I would have left out the word 'really'.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hillary on FNS

She won--from a political perspective, that is. Mainly because, like this post, she was purposefully verbose.

As usual Wallace had a good list of tough questions designed to poke holes in her talking points but she didn't allow him to poke very far.

Media consultants teach candidates to always "stay on message" during interviews, particularly when in hostile waters. Conversely, the questioner's job is to throw off the interviewee and get them to admit stuff not in the script. Mrs. Clinton did an outstanding job of U-turning off his salvos and going quickly back to message followed by near mindless oratory for precious minutes at a time, effectively running out the clock on him (is she a Bears or Giants fan?). She's learning from a good teacher.

Wallace did his best work on Hillarycare Part Deux. He damaged her retort that it's "not government-run health care" by pointing out that well, it is. The govmint will administer it, penalize the insurers for not following strict rules, and mandate that everyone buy into the system whether they want to or not. Yes, Federal employees have a similar program but they are not forced to participate.

The trick seems to be to subsidize the higher risk people by making the lower riskers pony up, which was probably the bone thrown to the insurance companies. They'll probably be guaranteed a profit, which will essentially be made off the backs of those now choosing not to participate (which amounts to a backdoor tax, and a not very progressive one) with any shortfalls made up by tax increases.

But that was about the pinnacle of Wallace's day. There were no questions on illegal immigrants. Heck, even Stephanopolous got a question in about whether illegals would be covered in her policy (no) but Wallace never made it to the border.

They did get to Iraq, which is becoming a less contentious issue for Hillary with each passing day partly because she only gets softballs on it. Here's Chris's about Petraeus:
President Bush said that you and other Democrats are more afraid — his word — afraid of irritating the left wing and MoveOn than you are about insulting the American military. Does he have a point?
"No", she said, then proceeded to whirl into politico-spin that probably made her husband reconsider his many flings. She cheerfully talked about her previous vote for a similar resolution regarding John Kerry (Swiftboated), which presumably was blanket in nature. So much for the building of bridges.

Wallace completely let her slide by not reminding her of her vote to send the General to Iraq this year or her previous vote to allow troops there to begin with, nor did he tap her feelings on what America's role should be if the whole place lights up after we leave. Nuance, as they say.

By the way, the Times discount to Moveon.org, now confirmed, should be investigated insofar as a campaign finance irregularity. Their 50 percent discount would have allowed that many more Republican hit pieces down the line, which suggests the Times is working for the DNC. Just a thought.

Wallace also didn't have time to touch on the cave dwellers or her plan for Afghanistan, but she did weigh in on Mahmoud A'jihad (he bad) followed by a bizarre charge that Bush has somehow outsourced his cowboy-up on Iran to the French and other EU countries. Stunning, since a few years ago Kerry blasted Bush up one side and down the other for alienating the Europeans and not asking for a global test.

And what was up with all the cackling laughter, seemingly coming when laughter wasn't necessarily called for and after short pregnant pauses? Well, we have some theories...

Idea one, it was by design but she partially botched it. They wanted her to come across as friendly and charming, prerequisites for any successful president, yet with her it seems weirdly fake. This is an area she needs more work on.

Idea two, it was just nervous laughter in the face of tough questions to stall for time while thinking of a good reply, similar to her recent interaction with Bill Maher. That's my likely take. But there's a third idea, a tad conspiratorial if you will, which says her laughing was secret code for the nutroots who consider Fox News "Faux News" and who've been rhetorically tearing Chris Wallace a new orifice ever since his dustup with Bill exactly a year ago, mad at him for making any suggestion he had responsibility along the path to 9/11. Wicked laughter at payback, in other words.

Actually, Wallace's failure to interrupt Mrs. Clinton very much might also be a tad conspiratorial. While Mrs. Clinton should be commended for coming on Fox she also knows they will want access down the line if she wins, in effect putting a small pair of handcuffs on them that she can manipulate. If this is true we'll never see her on O'Reilly since his DNA would prevent him from letting her spin that long.

But keep in mind it's not only Fox playing that game. Why do you think a railroad, Norfolk Southern, is running saturation TV ads touting their fuel efficiency (the hopping gas cans)? Because they are hedging against the possibility of a Democratic stranglehold on government for the next decade in an age when Al Gore wins Emmys and Oscars. NS hauls a lot of coal, you know. Let the positioning begin!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday music



Based on my experience the Moodies might have been better on vinyl than live. But they were pretty good here.

Got into an interesting discussion today about who did the song "One Toke Over the Line". Somebody mentioned England Dan and John Ford Coley, Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds, but the answer is of course Brewer and Shipley. Anyway, since those guys are still subversive conservative-hating potheads, we'll stick with Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds with their big hit. This is the studio version.

Behold, the problem

U.S. Representative John Tanner, a Democrat from west Tennessee, is struggling. As one of the many Blue Dog Democrats who voted for military force to remove Saddam Hussein he is trying to cope with the current stalemate while watching poll numbers turning more towards port every day.

Recall he was one of the pro-war advocates jumped by Michael Moore for his anti-war Fahrenheit 9/11 movie, which speaks volumes about Moore's lack of character.

Tanner is a Navy vet who was on active duty (non-combat) during Vietnam and served honorably in the reserves for 20 years as well. The local paper did a story on him this morning to explain his support of the Tanner-Abercrombie bill in Congress, a compromise to the more radical types who want the US out of Iraq now (come what may), one of which is local Rep Steve Cohen of Memphis.

In the interview Tanner states the problem:
"What you have is ... people on the left who want to get out of Iraq tonight, regardless of the consequences. You've got other people over here who sit here deaf, mute and dumb and appropriate $100 billion-plus every six months with no questions asked," he said. "There's got to be a better way for Congress to engage on behalf of the American people."
Sounds reasonable. However, in making such a comment Tanner is de facto calling others irresponsible for their principled stands, including Cohen, who is part of the "Out of Iraq Caucus" and who helped block a vote on the bill last month.

Problem is, in trying to take this moderate statesmanlike approach Tanner still can't seem to get past the past, keeping the divide nice and wide. Here, he discusses what helped to sway his vote:
He says he acted on the information available at the time. When Vice President Dick Cheney said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, he took it seriously.

"Turns out that what the vice president told us wasn't true but I had no way to verify the truth of his statements at the time," he said.
This is a political trick--shifting blame to a low popularity lame duck politician from the opposition party to explain a past vote, exactly what Hillary is trying to do. By doing this he instantly loses all credibility with the right. The so-called "lies" did not begin after 9/11, they were there throughout the 90s. If they were lies after 9/11, they were lies before 9/11 (in reality none of them were lies). You can find this childish game being played on nearly every message board in America.

That's why righties feel compelled to dig up fossils like this from Bill Clinton in 1998. United we stand, right? The amnesia is fairly interesting, matter of fact. Patrick Fitzgerald, who recently gained fame in prosecuting Scooter Libby (which made him a hero of the left) helped write the US Government's 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden, in which was written:
Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.
Tanner and others who want an orderly withdrawal are certainly thinking more clearly than their brethren who dream of choppers lifting off the embassy roof in Baghdad under RPG fire so they can preserve them in pictures to trash the Republican Party for years. But he's a few mileposts short of statesman city.

As his bill states, removing Saddam was a good thing. It had been the goal of many in our government for a decade. And yes, hardliners on the right need to admit the mistakes made by Bush, some quite grievous in nature, which is crucial to moving forward positively. But if the left cannot also bring themselves to abandon the political brownie points inherent from such mistakes and say, "hey, it wasn't a lie, we all thought he had weapons", things will never change and we'll be left with the carnage of our own political warfare.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Somebody please explain

Columbia University:
Columbia President Lee Bollinger, in announcing Ahmadinejad's upcoming appearance, described the event as part of "Columbia's long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate." He said the Iranian president had agreed to answer questions on Israel and the Holocaust.
On the other coast, Stanford University:
Some 2,100 professors, staff members, students and alumni have signed an online petition protesting Mr. Rumsfeld’s appointment, which will involve advising a task force on ideology and terrorism. Faculty members say he should not have been offered the post because of his role in the Bush administration’s prosecution of the Iraq war.

“We view the appointment as fundamentally incompatible with the ethical values of truthfulness, tolerance, disinterested enquiry, respect for national and international laws and care for the opinions, property and lives of others to which Stanford is inalienably committed,” the petition reads.
Is it part of the ethical values of truthfulness to now question their patriotism?

MORE 9/21/07

Forgot about this:
What didn't the University of California regents hear at their dinner Wednesday night? Former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers - whose invitation was rescinded last week after pressure by female faculty and staff - was going to tackle the subject of UC competitiveness.
And there's this.

I'm not saying all universities are the same or that Columbia = Stanford. What I am saying is that all too often the it seems the welcome mat of tolerance, diversity and understanding is laid out for people who've shown themselves to be against every tenet of what universities are supposed to be about while it's often rolled up in protest of those who would fight to the death to protect their right to invite any damn guest they desire.

Embarrassing, indeed

For Reuters, that is. Here's their headline:
Mandela still alive after embarrassing Bush remark
Here's what Bush said.

First off, who said it was embarrassing? Reuters is supposed to report the news, not editorialize or pass along their personal newsroom feelings. Bush made the same comment earlier in the week and it was instantly apparent what he meant.

But every time this occurs his central theme gets lost in the shuffle--and that is, if you're looking to blame somebody, start with Saddam. And don't forget the insurgents and al Qaeda sympathizers blowing up innocent people and taking out infrastructure, essentially in his name. Too many people like to blame Bush for everything bad in Iraq, when in reality he simply exposed it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Map dot madness

Well, Jena is now on the map, essentially for nothing. How a high school turf war ever escalated into a national media circus should be beyond human comprehension, but this is America:
Sharpton told the Associated Press that he and Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and William Jefferson, D-La., will press the House Judiciary Committee next week to summon the district attorney to explain his actions before Congress.
The thought of Cold Cash Jefferson "pressing" the Judiciary Committee for anything--short of mercy--is perhaps the only redeeming value of this whole charade.
The six black teens were charged a few months after three white teens were accused of hanging nooses in a tree on their high school grounds. The white teens were suspended from school but weren't prosecuted..
One group used an ugly symbolism (recently used around there, which resulted in no criminal charges, either) and they got suspended. Yes, many blacks also consider the Rebel flag hateful symbolism yet nobody suggests those flying it be plucked off the streets and tossed in jail. Not yet, at least. This is America, after all.

It looks like the other group, surely mad as fire about the ropes (and rightfully so), went a step further and committed assault and battery, and were charged (and rightfully so). The fact they were clearly over-charged is the crux of the anger but that's apparently being corrected with the exception of the main instigator. Surely they cannot drop the charges at this point due to the perceived message it would send but it might help matters if the prosecutors' office made it clear to the public the initial charges were overly emotional.

As to any ministers or preachers on the scene, they should be trying to foster that public reconciliation first and foremost, not marching around with bullhorns. Reverend Sharpton is not helping anything by making incendiary remarks about southern racism, for example. The south is no longer the land of Jim Crow any more than Portland Oregon. These things are not geographically restricted and haven't been for a long time, as Al should well know. And has Jesse apologized yet for his hyperbole on the Duke rape case?

We need some effective leaders, not those goofs. So far Bush's comments have been about as effective as a statue but nobody cares anyway. This is time for somebody to step up, bridge the divide and help everybody "move on" peacefully.

INTERVENTION? 9/21/07

The newest tropical system, Ten, is moving on a direct line to Jena at present. If it strengthens it will be named Ingrid. Looks like a convergence of sorts might be approaching.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Various and sundry

Definitely a slow news week, so here are some observations about what's passing for news today:


O.J. Simpson. While flipping channels last night heard some network announce they would be interviewing Kato Kaylin (sp?). That says enough for me.

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There was a rally for Taser Bro down at U of F today. Glad that everyone is now straight that he wasn't a neocon trying to heckle Kerry, he was actually a borderline truther mad at the Democrats for not impeaching the Chimpster and getting us out of Vietnam. Sorry, Iraq. Same instrument. Amazing how far some people can take a comedy act. "They're gonna send me to the government"!

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We have a developing case of voter stupidity in Memphis, according to our deranged Mayor. Allow me to plug a site (without resorting to a cheap stunt). Teaser--Diebold is mentioned.

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Ahmadinejihad's request to visit Ground Zero. Well, Iran wasn't officially blamed for 9/11, were they? I say let him go under one condition--he's alone, escorted by about 100 fire fighters, police and victims' family members--no cameras allowed. Maybe his heart will be changed.

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Today Jesse essentially called Barack an Uncle Tom (without actually using the words, of course) regards the "Jena 6". Remember when Rush Limbaugh came under fire for that parody parody song "Barack the Magic Negro"? It was actually about Al Sharpton making similar charges against Obama. It has now been revealed that Jesse's own son was helping Obama craft his statement, making him too white as well. Doesn't matter anyway. Hillary has already won.

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A Tennessee Federal District Judge ruled today that the state's lethal injection process amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment". I'm not exactly gung-ho about the death penalty but calling lethal injection cruel and unusual, a process where they actually swipe your arm with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball before making the injection, is off the charts crazy talk. Oh, and was she? Yep:
Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee Nominated by William J. Clinton on September 22, 1998
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And finally, a California lawsuit against the big three automakers alleging they are causing global warming by selling automobiles in the most emissions-restricted state in the world was tossed by a judge who should be immediately awarded the medal of freedom by Bush for common sense under fire. Legendary hippie Gerry Brown was shocked and saddened. Maybe now he can sue each individual driver in the state for causing global warming.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

About that protester

A few thoughts...

One, "open mikes" for questions at political events just got a lot riskier. In a world of You Tube and blogs (and their potential for instant fame) there's way too much downside for the average bumbling politician. Restricting them becomes a downside for all of us, but it certainly makes Bush look smarter for restricting his guest lists.

We need better ways to keep civil order at such events short of electroshocking non-cooperative (but non-threatening) participants. Maybe some way of injecting a rapid dose of helium so we can laugh at them as they are being hauled off.

It also points out that John Kerry is still John Kerry. It's doubtful even Teddy Roosevelt could have handled the kid--he was out to make a scene by getting tossed out. Maybe Kerry could have jumped off the stage, tracked the guy down and put a full Nelson on him, but short of that it's a natural frozen moment.

Last but not least, if this story and O.J. Simpson's arrest are the leading headlines things must be getting better in Iraq.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What is Dick Morris's angle?

Timesonline

Rarely will one see a bashing of a political candidate as thorough as Morris just gave Fred Thompson on Fox today. It's doubtful a Democrat could have done much better. The question is why he's breaking Reagan's 11th Commandment in such a vicious way when Freddie hasn't even debated yet?

Possibilities--1) he's a big Rudy supporter, 2) he's a big Mitt supporter, 3) he's a big Hillary supporter. I'm tempted to take door number three:
Morris began his relationship with Clinton in 1977 when he handled the Arkansas Attorney General's successful campaign to become the youngest Governor in the nation. Morris did not work on Clinton's defeat for re-election in 1980 but did oversee his comeback victory in 1982 as well as his Arkansas re-election victories in 1984, 1986 and 1990.
The notion he's a die hard Republican has always been somewhat in question but there's no disputing he's a winner, which is exactly why Clinton used him. Gotta wonder how that relationship is doing nowadays?

Of course there's always the remote possibility he's right. Several noted Fred boosters have either cooled off or become downright jaded of late due to several of the above-mentioned items and Fred's slow ways. Maybe Morris believes only Rudy can beat Hillary and is trying to save the GOP ship.

Then again, the mere mention translates to formidability. Example, how many hit pieces has Morris penned on Sam Brownback or Duncan Hunter (Ron Paul writes his own)? Attention is attention, and as Thompson said after skipping the last debate, "at least they didn't forget me". The debates await.

Tutu on terror

Sorry if you were expecting an OJ post, you'll have to settle for a Tutu post. Desmond, that is. According to CNN, the Nobel Prize winning Archbishop said the following while speaking at a conference in Hong Kong, and I just couldn't resist commenting on it:
"You can never win a war against terror as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate -- poverty, disease, ignorance, et cetera," the Nobel laureate said.
Wrong, wrong, right. The Reverend should know by now that Islamic terrorism is the only brand threatening the world and it's not fueled by poverty or disease. Ignorance, yeah, to the extent that desperate suicide volunteers are expecting a perverted sexual award. But as we clearly saw with Mohammed Atta, being poor is not a prerequisite for becoming human ordnance. Cash and medicines won't defeat this ideology. Non-Islamist terror acts are mostly local in scope.

In some ways we could take Tutu's comments as a veiled threat--not only do we need to fear the Islamic nutballs slicing off people's heads with steak knives but also the 3rd world hungry that might rise up in violence if we don't pay up. The Reverend practically admitted it,
"I think people are beginning to realize that you can't have pockets of prosperity in one part of the world and huge deserts of poverty and deprivation and think that you can have a stable and secure world,"
Think of the Democrat candidates for president--all are espousing some bastardized concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through socialism. Think of how Bush is handling the terrorism problem--by attempting to spread Democracy.

The question we face as free Americans is whether our system of government, one based on personal freedoms and liberties bestowed on us from a "Creator", can survive in a world of global warming, poverty, disease and terrorism. The tipping point is approaching.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The real war

Today's Times of London is certainly not lacking for bombshells. Many quoted the Greenspan article, which ferreted out the former Fed Chairman's single sentence opinion about the Iraq war. We'll see what fallout occurs from 60 Minutes tonight, but perhaps the expected Bush response might best be summed up by a comedian.

But equally as many have linked to their story on the Syrian air raid quietly pulled off by IAF a few weeks ago, which seems to somewhat trivialize the spin put on Greenspan's war for oil comment:
This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes
It's hard to ascertain the score in the international game of nuclear proliferation, but it sure appears the US/west may have hit a three-pointer here. Kim Jong was recently persuaded to formally announce the demise of his nuke program in return for some goodies, knowing all along he was going to transfer it. If true he's now in a box, embarrassed, and his technology is in pieces.

The surprise and stealth of the Israeli attack illustrates that the real high-stakes battles in this war are occurring in the background. Eye-opening books like "Allah's Bomb" by A.J. Venter, which describes the A.Q. Khan network and the little-known South African nuclear program (and what happened to it after the fall of apartheid), should be required reading for a proper understanding of our world.

Ironically, Greenspan lauded Bill Clinton for being such a voracious reader in an effort to better understand our world (another slap at Bush). Maybe Venter's book along with several others by Yossef Bodansky were left on the shelf.

Here are a few others commenting on this:
LASunsett: Times: Israel Hit Syrian Nuclear Cache
Rick Moran: Just what are the Israelis targeting in Syria?
A.J. Strata: An Islamo Fascist Nuclear Weapon

And this, which isn't a comment on the raid per se, but about the Iranian proxy war on America.

Shot heard 'round the world

From Alan Greenspan's auto-biography:
"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
That's certainly a kidney punch, eh? One has to wonder if Tony Snow had any inkling of this bombshell before he chose his final day. God help the new Spokeperson in trying to defend this one to Helen Thomas.

The mention of oil is not new. Bush has mentioned it several times, the most famous being his "we are addicted to oil" statement in the 2006 SOTU message. The difference is nobody in the administration has ever described it as "largely about" oil at any time, which represents the bombshell part.

But it's something everyone should understand intuitively. Hitler didn't form and equip his Afrika Korps to conquer the dirt of Tunisia, rather to conquer what was under the dirt of Arabia--juice for his Panzers. FDR sent an geologist to the Middle East during the war who came away with the following assessment:
"The center of gravity of world oil production is shifting from the Gulf-Caribbean area to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf area, is likely to continue to shift until it is firmly established in that area."
FDR, perhaps the biggest liberal of all time, well understood the importance. He eventually sent troops to Baghdad. Yet today's liberals have no capacity for that understanding whatsoever, nor does the media.

The Sunday shows may give a hint as to how team Bush will try to respond. If done poorly it has the potential to topple the whole thing. No doubt Greenspan knew this.

With that, here are a few partisan considerations. One, in the book he reportedly praised Bill Clinton's economic approach towards balancing the budget (old school conservatism) yet claims he was shocked when Slick dipped his pen in Monica Lewinsky ink. Apparently he neither read the papers or watched TV. Pretty tough to believe.

Two, he's married to NBC's Andrea Mitchell, both of whom are good friends with the General Colin Powells. That brings to mind the whole Plame thing, since Mitchell was of course involved in a tangential fashion, at one point saying that all the DC reporters knew Val worked in the CIA yet never having to explain that remark to anyone of substance, much to the chagrin of many on the right. Just something to ponder, there may be nothing there.

The main defense will probably be that he provided no elaboration. The Times of London said:
Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.
In other words, we're not adult enough to understand the geopolitical power of oil. But he also knew his very construct would be fulfilled by merely saying it, since the predictable reaction would be spun wildly, even by our enemies. It was a parting shot. We'll see if it reaches the bleachers.

MORE 9/16/07

Since we all know Bush's cabinet was "highly compartmentalized" (as evidenced by Ashcroft's comments) it's doubtful a guy like Greenspan would have been privy to high level war discussions. So, as Hot Air says, this is more likely about selling books. After all, his hero Bill Clinton used the same rhetoric about Iraq and threw a few cruise missiles their way, too. We'll see if anyone interviews him about this.

My point was about the fallout. This is a sound bite world. The significance centers around having a person of his stature, a Republican, speaking out, so to speak, which can be used in campaigns and Congress to further political agendas. Especially when we're having protests in the streets and debates in Congress about pulling out troops. So far the comment is not making the waves worthy of Drudge's red headline, so we'll see. It wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong.

WOODWARD TIME 9/17/07

Someone did interview Greenspan about his comment, and who better than another Plamegate character, Hollywood Bob. He really knows how to take his own paper to the cleaners:
Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said in an interview that the removal of Saddam Hussein had been "essential" to secure world oil supplies, a point he emphasized to the White House in private conversations before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
So, no problem with Helen, no shot over the wall. I stand corrected. However, after hearing the 60 Minutes interview, today's backpeddle, and his misunderestimation of Bill Clinton's character I'm of the mind that Mr. Greenspan might have been somewhat overrated. That was a pretty tall pedestal, after all.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back to school

Around this time of year the college kids are just getting settled into their fall semesters. This week's musical offering features some music that reminds me of my time at university, which for some odd reason centers on Becker and Fagan (evidence of the corruption of universities!). Here's Kid Charlemagne..



A lot of folks down south probably don't care for Steely Dan what with their distinct New York attitude and sound. Actually, "Do It Again" was a hit all over the country before I hit the road. Here's a version with Skunk Baxter on bongos. You heard that right.



Speaking of Jeff Baxter, he went on to become quite the evil Republican later in life. Here's one more,



Lead guitar player John Herrington is quite talented, which really was a hallmark of the session artists that sat in with this band.

By the way, a lot of blogs are doing the music thing off You Tube, mainly because it's there. Apparently not all of it is there by permission, so sometimes things posted here have a tendency to disappear later. There's certainly no intention to violate copyright on my part, just figure if it's there the artist must not mind, and if they do they'll have it removed.

Hsu and Tennessee

Via Instapundit, the Influence Peddler reports that while the the Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service has decided to return their 75,000 dollar donation from "disgraced Democratic fund raiser Norman Hsu", the New School in New York City has not yet made a similar decision. He makes the point:
Rutherford suggests an inappropriate test for whether or not to return the money. Given in good faith or not, it's still stolen.
These scams sometimes get complicated. If Norman Hsu accepted 40 million dollars from the Woodstock Guy as reported the other day, then that money presumably could have been used to write all these checks to various and sundry Democrats and their pet projects, meaning it's either 1) stolen and inappropriately donated, or 2) a clever way for the Woodstock guy (or others) to funnel tons of money to Democrats or their pet projects.

Mr. Disgraced was quite active in Tennessee politics last year. He gave substantial sums to Harold Ford, Jr. and the Tennessee Democratic Party. Seems Mr. Hsu really wanted them to win down here, and it seems the locals aren't real happy about admitting mistakes:
Despite the revelation that most national Democrats are returning Hsu’s cash, the Tennessee Democrat Party has no intentions of returning the funds or donating them to charity.
If they've since changed their minds it's not making any news. However, with the way they're handling the Rob Briley matter (see previous post) this shouldn't come as a big surprise.

Any other ties? Only tangentially.

As everyone knows, Hsu was on the board of trustees of the New School in New York City. Oddly enough, the school's current director, former Senator Bob Kerrey (who once called Bill Clinton a very good liar), also shows up on the Board of an environmental advocacy group called the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Along with Kerrey, their board features such uber-environmental activists as Laurie David, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert Redford, all renowned scientists in their own minds.

Relevance to Hsu? Not sure, since we don't know all the recipients of his contributions. But it does relate to Memphis. NRDC is currently circulating a study suggesting the approaching apocalypse of air quality if we don't stop Bush-induced global warming, a future that might include widespread use of inhalers. Talk about the politics of fear.

Lots of dots to connect. The next major event is whether Hsu tries to post bail and escape again. Chances are he's so radioactive they'll make sure he gets sentenced and carted off. Matter of fact, the suicide attempt and hospital visit was probably a ruse to set him up for a 3 year sentence in the loony ward. He's a con man, after all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

To resign or not to resign

We've got quite a brouhaha going on here in Tennessee with the Representative Rob Briley drunk driving arrest thing. I mentioned it in a previous post about dropping the Nazi card, which he did after being arrested by serenading the arresting officers with the song "Springtime for Hitler and Germany" in the squad car. I've not made a big deal of it yet because it's mainly a local issue, but there seem to be some national questions emerging.

To recap briefly, this man, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in Nashville, was arrested over the weekend after he smashed into a pickup truck then fled the scene, being chased at speeds up to 100 mph (just like on a TV), finally getting pulled over:
In the video he can be heard cursing at the officer driving him to the station. "Do you have a high school degree, a GED?" he asked the officer driving the car.

Briley later called the officer a Nazi and a brownshirt, then sang the first line of Springtime For Hitler from the Mel Brooks movie and musical The Producers.
So, what's the national political question? Senator Larry Craig was pressured to resign his position for a misdemeanor guilty plea and numerous others have resigned after coming afoul of the law or even a suggestion of such. So far the Tennessee Democratic Party has only suggested that Briley resign his chairmanship (he did, but didn't want to) but not his position in the House, something the Dems are bristling about. Is that fair? Do the voters have a soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to wrong-doing Democrats?

There seems to be a huge disconnect and double standard in America on this issue. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the Democrats don't run on family values or law and order issues, therefore they are immune from the hypocrisy problem, perhaps true, but does that give them a "get out of jail free card" as well? Bad behavior is bad behavior. I think Mr. Briley should do the honorable thing and resign from the House, as should any Representative under the circumstances.

What do the terrorists have against redheads?

From the story about KSM's watery debriefings:
"A red-headed female supervisor was in the room when he was being water-boarded. It was humiliating to him. So he held out."
Was it Kathy Griffin?

Seriously, if red-headed people (or is it just women?) bother the terrorists so much why not have them in every prison? Maybe we could save a lot of trouble with the ACLU.

Godwin's law run amok

Refresher--Godwin's law states, "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one". There's another noted internet rule of thumb regarding the Nazis, which states that given time everyone will eventually be compared to Hitler.

The advocates for deported illegal alien Elvira Arellano have now reached that hallowed territory in their continuing attempt to score points for the amnesty cause by using an 8 year old boy and his disgraced mother as props.

Time out, why call her disgraced? Well, the media is referring to fugitive Hillary Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu as "disgraced" in almost every story. Ms. Arellano has been deported twice for breaking the law. Ok, on with the..

Wait, time out again, why refer to Hsu as "Hillary Clinton fundraiser" when he spread money all over the Democrat party house? Well, because the lion's share of his money was funneled to her and because his suicide note reportedly suggested that Obama's campaign fingered him. OK, on with the story.

Them comparing Arellano's son to Anne Frank illustrates just how crazy the left has become. It's not enough to willfully trash a 4 star general before his testimony was even heard, or disregard the threats of our time in the Middle East by claiming the president lied about a figure most of them had trashed for a decade when it was convenient.

Or to suggest that spying on communications in an effort to stop another 9/11, an attack blamed on the lack of government dot connecting, is somehow akin to the development of the Waffen SS in America. The entire Ashcroft hospital event proved beyond doubt the administration was hung up on making sure things were legal or they wouldn't have even bothered to send Gonzales in the first place.

Here in Tennessee, we've got our own disgraced politician who felt compelled to drop the Nazi card while he sat in the back of a police cruiser on his way to the drunk tank. It just boiled out.

I've never agreed with Michael Savage's characterization of liberalism. In my own experience I've known some upstanding liberals, patriotic and concerned citizens. But recent events are beginning to make me think they are rapidly becoming outliers and oddballs when compared to their own mainstream movement. Yeah, for saying that I'll probably be called a Nazi.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reverse gravitas

Gotta hand it to Bill Maher. He might be a bomb throwin' atheist-lovin' Republican-hatin' tool, but he's no fool. Today he asked Hillary:
"Why should Americans vote for someone who can be fooled by President Bush?"
Maher could have added "disgraced fund raiser Norman Hsu" as well, although he probably thinks more highly of him sitting in jail than he does of Dubya. But regardless, the question was definitely a 3-2 curveball.

Her answer, of course, required the suspension of disbelief.

Especially in light of this. But let's not dwell on the past. Her retort of substance, uttered in obvious fluster, was about the way forward in 2009 if the troops are still in Iraq when she gets back to 1600. Apparently it amounts to "end(ing) our involvement", whatever that means (maybe Sandy Berger will tell us again).

But surely she wasn't expecting Maher to present her gravitas in such a demeaning fashion. After all, that's why she stays away from Fox News. Hopefully we won't see him being pried off an Amtrak train in the near future. I'll be praying for him.

Hating Rumsfeld

If you haven't read the interview with Don Rumsfeld in GQ online you're missing something. It's long--16 internet pages--but well worth it.

The interviewer does her best to expose the monster she expected to find, or to get him to spill the beans on Bush and to apologize for the war, even bringing up Robert McNamara of Vietnam fame. Twice shes asks if he sleeps well at night. Rummy just whizzes on past most of it. All in all, an interesting look at a man who sees things in vivid black and white, totally contrary to modern America.

The "eastern media" (as Rummy called it) honed in on a few low level Bush-bash snippets from this article but missed a few other things, like his land sale to neighbor Julia Roberts or his adventure on a train after becoming a private figure again, which included an anecdote involving Anna Nichole Smith. There was also this:
We move on to some photographs. DHR in his Princeton-graduation photo, DHR on a unicycle, DHR with Gerald Ford in bedroom slippers. And a really creepy shot of DHR's face on a shooting target in Iraq. "These were found in the terrorist training camp," he explains. "Before the war even started, they were there." With you as the target?

"Yeah. When we conquered Baghdad, we went into this terrorist training camp and this was their target, all over the place. They were using these."
In the end you get the feeling he almost enjoys being the bad guy. Example, the Rummys retired to Taos, New Mexico, a well-known liberal maven, where a pickup driver once yelled and called him a warmonger. It seems to steel his resolve. You can almost feel the in-your-face under the surface. It's old school. But somewhere underneath it's gotta hurt when everyone in town treats you like the terrorists.

A book? Well, old school doesn't mean no books, it just means waiting until the former chief has left the building. Gerald Ford would be proud.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Israel's attack on Syria

That's one heck of an airspace violation:
After days of silence from the Israeli government, American officials confirmed Tuesday that Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes inside Syria last week, the first such attack since 2003.

A Defense Department official said Israeli jets had struck at least one target in northeastern Syria last Thursday, but the official said it was still unclear exactly what the jets hit and the extent of the bombing damage.
The Times went on to speculate the installation might have been a budding nuclear facility and even dropped in a Pyongyang connection. Let's turn to the former spook for an important historical reminder:
And there were also reports that a number of Syrian technicians died in a 2004 blast at a railroad crossing along the border between China and North Korea. That explosion has been described as both an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-il (who was returning from China along that route), or some sort of failed WMD experiment involving Syria and the DPRK..
The Syrians are certainly taking their time in responding. Maybe they are just waiting to fit into Diane Sawyer's interview schedule?

Speaking of which, this whole thing occurred right as presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was over there getting the grand tour, meeting with Assad and publicly blasting Bush. Was that planned? Coincidence? Is Dennis actually an undercover agent for the CIA just pretending to be a radical leftist candidate to run interference in the war on terror? If not it certainly seems to bolster the earlier charges, doesn't it?

Profiling truckers and fundraisers

The Democrats, with help from a handful of Repubs, have voted down funding a program that was to allow Mexican truckers access to US highways to point of delivery:
Congress on Tuesday moved to block the Bush administration from allowing Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United States, setting up a collision with the White House and possibly straining relations with Mexico.
Part of the program was for the Mexican truck companies to pass U.S. inspections before rolling north. The one truck that has ventured north so far apparently did so. Short of that, why vote down the funding? It's a provision of NAFTA, a trade agreement backed by Bill Clinton. Canadian trucks already use our highways as part of the deal.

Pandermania, of course. There's an election approaching and the Dems can't go wrong throwing some love to the Teamsters while the Repubs who voted for the ban can show their constituents they are tough on Mexico.

But that's not all. Fred Thompson just accused team Hillary of a lapse of judgment for allowing Chinese native Norman Hsu to become a "Hillraiser" in light of troubles they've had in the past with Chinese fundraisers.
Obama was also a recepient of Hsu funds and was asked to comment about Thompson's charges, to which his team responded:
"Are you suggesting we should have racially profiled Hsu because he's Asian?" Obama spokesman Bill Burton asked.
Guess who voted "yea" on the truck ban? Yep.

Afterthought--See Dubya wonders how Hsu passed any Secret Service background checks. Maybe team Hillbilly delegated that job to the bumbler and he lost it. Like under a trailer or something.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lazy Fred comes out swinging

As mentioned in a previous post, the silence from Republicans over the Norman Hsu fund raising meltdown has been rather curious. No more:
"You have to look at this with a great deal of skepticism that - having been through this sort of thing in '96 - that nobody thought to say, 'Hey, you know, we better take another look at this before we take all this money,' " he said.

"And the fact that nobody did - or if they did, they decided to just put their finger in front of their lips and say shhh and try to sneak off into the distance - tells you a great deal about the fact that the Hillary Clinton campaign is the Bill Clinton campaign redux."
Guess they were all waiting for the alpha male to step up--sorry, the lazy, womanizing, lobbying, Watergatin, cradle robbing alpha male.

But this is a good thing. The Thompson guy couched it as a bad judgment call, cleverly bringing Charlie Trie and Chinagate into the mix by doing so. The primary season is designed to help voters see how the candidates react to adversity, so every so often they need to have their airspaces violated. This was one. We'll see how Fred handles the inevitable charges of racism.

Meanwhile, the LA Times continues to pursue the story and is developing some kind of pyramid scheme angle, where investors were literally forced to give money--only to Democrats--in order to maintain their initial outlays.

Possible, but why would a convicted scam artist come back to America, enter the very same state he was wanted, then start another ponzi scheme, this time using politicians, including one of the best known in the country? Hey, maybe he was actually a Rove operative!

History will be the judge

Do you remember? Like most, I remember precisely what I was doing that morning six years ago. Very routine, nothing sensational.

I had just sat down in front of the computer with a cup of hot coffee to read the morning paper (no delivered newsprint since 1998..Gore would be proud). I was not working that day.

For some reason I clicked on one of my many vast right wing conspiracy sites--Newsmax--first. Normally my practice was to hit CNN or Drudge. After seeing the jaw-dropping headlines my first thought was "it's a hoax, they've been hacked". After successive clicks on Drudge and CNN followed by turning on NBC TV it was obvious. Like most, the TV stayed on constantly for a while thereafter.

Since this blog deals a lot with terrorism issues I felt compelled to write a post on the 9/11 anniversary but nothing substantive was coming to mind. I decided to just search around on the net for ideas. There are some rather disturbing videos out there showing the helpless people trapped in the towers or falling/jumping from windows. Hard to watch. There are videos showing the staging firefighters beneath the towers many of whom were seeing their last fire. Also hard to watch.

But what jumped out more was the sheer number of conspiratorial images/videos/audios available on the first few pages of the search engines. If someone were to emerge from a seven year coma today and begin trying to catch up with history they might be pretty confused about 9/11.

That's why I decided to post the picture above. To my knowledge it's never been fully explained. It certainly looks conspiratorial. Did Saddam commission it? Was some enterprising Iraqi trying to score brownie points with the big guy? Maybe the Butcher was trying to steal credit as a way to keep the fundamentalist radical mobs at bay. He fashioned himself as the new Saladin, after all. Or maybe it was something else. There were other similar paintings found.

To my knowledge there aren't any truther sites run by college professors trying to get to the bottom of this. It's not Hollywood chic to 'entertain' such an idea. It doesn't fall into any preferred categories of 'the truth', most of which center around America bringing the attacks upon ourselves due to our own actions.

All the uncertainty has perhaps forever eroded the espirit de corps so prevalent after the attacks. Because of the events in Iraq we've been told our image around the world has been tarnished, the latest coming from former Gulf War hero Colin Powell. Our country is suffering culturally, which they say is mirror of our collective soul. People remark, "if only Bush had stayed the course in Afghanistan the world would still be with us". Polls say things are worse than before.

It's time for strong leadership, but the Democratic presidential candidates have given up on even addressing the issue. Most are running solely on domestic platforms with a foreign policy plank of withdrawal from Iraq, as if it has nothing to do with anything. We even have a Republican candidate essentially running on a platform of "let's pretend it doesn't exist and maybe it will go away". With a public so uncertain about the truth it might be impossible for the other Republicans to win by staying the course.

Thanks for reading if you've made it thus far. Like the 9/11 truthers I also fear for the future of this nation. Melodramatic? Well OK--surely auto accidents are more concerning to the average citizen and certainly life on the mean streets poses more danger. But that stuff can't bring down an entire nation. Loss of patriotism, trust, faith and pride in our institutions while an enemy nips our heels surely can.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Uh...

Hillary has announced she'll return all of the 850 grand bundled up by Normal Hsu. According to her spokesman:
"An estimated 260 donors this week will receive refunds totaling approximately $850,000 from the campaign."
Wait, doesn't that mean if those indi donors were only conduits in a laundering scheme they've been turned into grand prize winners? Maybe they can now give it back to Hillary as "real" contributions!

It can't get much weirder. And just where are the Republicans on this? The crickets are deafening.

General disturbance

"Withdraw, withdraw, withdraw" was the screaming headline at the HuffPo this morning in advance of the Petraeus report. They actually had the nerve to use an exchange with John Edwards at the Univision Spanish language debate to make their point.

On the other side of the spectrum, on Sunday the Weekly Standard reported this about MoveOn.org:
Tomorrow--as General David Petraeus provides his Iraq assessment to Congress--the antiwar group MoveOn.org is running a full-page advertisement in the New York Times under the headline: "General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House."
In other words, essentially calling the General a traitor. Amidst all of this, bin Laden is set to issue another tape soon. Will it also sound the call to retreat in Iraq? Sure. I'll let you make the connections.

Why, if the Democrats want retreat, don't they work behind the scenes with the president instead of being left to work in front of the scenes with bin Laden? It sure looks like they don't care.

MORE 9/10/07

Bin Laden is clearly trying to divide America, just like the Communists did during Vietnam and like Saddam tried to do several times in his career. Part of the plan employs willful participants:
During the hearing, the four-star general was heckled by anti-war protesters, including Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq. "Tell the truth, general," they shouted.
Kudos to Ike Skelton for tossing them out of the hearing posthaste. America must find a way to come together, or we are toast. This isn't Vietnam.

MORE 9/10/07

More cuss words in Congress. At least it appears to be bi-partisan progress!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Suddenly the worst

And so it begins. We've seen a week full of negative stories about Fred Thompson. Everyone knew they were loaded in the cue, just waiting to pop after his announcement, but it's still a fascinating process to watch. He goes from a respected and admired actor/politician to a low-life, lazy, womanizing sleaze bucket overnight.

For example, here's a screen shot of the Hot Air blog--one of the best on the web--on Sunday evening around 7:30pm:
















Three stories out of ten and they're all negative. Better call up some mettle.

At least Fred didn't show up to the Spanish-speaking Univision debate held in Florida. The thought of him drawling out "hola" would produce immediate heaving. Oh, and here's a takeaway question, as HA likes to say--why are the candidates speaking to people who cannot speak English when to vote one must be a citizen, and to be a citizen one must speak English?

Hsu and who?

The only real reason to care about the story of Mr. Hsu is in the ending...is he just a clever con man or a clever bag man? Rick Moran thinks it's the former, I think it's a bit early to reach such a conclusion while new information continues to trickle out.

In a way Hsu's wild antics have clouded the real story, which centers around the humongous campaign contributions given by middle class folk like the Paw family. I'll leave it to you to determine whether this was on purpose. As for me, the question is whether their donations were legitimate or laundered. Perhaps records of wire transfers or bank statements would shine some light.

The other day we learned about a Pennsylvania packaging plant where three managers gave thousands to the Democrats around the same time Hsu did. It just so happens there's an Asian connection at the company, Newspring, run by a man named Jeffrey Chen. The managers also appear to be of Asian heritage. Yep, I know that might sound xenophobic but this story would not be a story without the looming history of the Chinese fund raisers back in the mid 90s.

Speaking of the Keystone State, one of the recipients of Hsu's donations was none other than Joe Sestak, who defeated long term incumbent Curt Weldon of Able Danger fame, who was taken out with major help from the Clinton gang (including Sandy Berger and his firm Stonebridge) over a leak that his daughter was part of an FBI investigation into a lobbying scandal. Director Mueller later expressed regret. Yet another Clinton connection, however it's fair to say they've got their fingers in a lot of pies, raising the chances of seeing a few bad apples. There, I was fair.

One thing seems to be missing in the Hsu story--the outrage from Republicans. The first law of politics seems to be, "always make light of your opponent's troubles and milk them for all they're worth". Perhaps the second law is, "unless you've got the same troubles". Might they have their own versions of Mr. Hsu or the Paw family lurking around? It wouldn't be a surprise.

Thing is, we already know politicians tend toward crookedness, the question here is whether they're crooked enough to accept money from a foreign government, and if so, what is the quid pro quo? There's always a quid pro quo.

As to Hsu himself, it may turn out he's just a stellar con man who finally met his just rewards--my jury (and the real one) is still out. But it seems way too early to dismiss his relevance. He had a criminal past and owed people big money. He had dabbled with operators in the Chinese underworld. He was a perfect tool.

By the way, seems the play on words is quite the fad with this story. Hsu knew?

MORE 9/9/07

As some have said, the whole Amtrak escape thing is akin to a Hitchcock thriller and has led to rampant speculation. Some think his trip-and-fall might have been his way to exit the train alive. But although the MSM is covering this story it's somewhat strange, in the era of 24/7 wall-to-wall news, that his escape isn't being given the same vigor of the runaway bride or the idiot that confessed to killed JonBenet Ramsey. We haven't even heard many updates on his condition.