Friday, July 15, 2005

I'm watching Hardball

Matthews isn't there. David Gregory filling in. How can apparently intelligent peopel waste so much time on so few facts? There's no there there, folks. Get a life.

I've been having a midlife crisis for the past 17 years, trying to figure out what I really can and want to do. Blogging seems to be it, along with writing letters to local papers which pretty regularly get published. I must be good at composing soundbites.

The soundbite for the Karl Rove criminal standard is that if I were a prosecutor, which I have been at times, I'd be embarrassed to present a case this weak to a judge. The news media owe us all an apology for having wasted so much of our time and taxpayer money investigating this.

All anybody has to do is read the definition of the crime to see it doesn't apply here, and all the indignant whinging from the left won't change it. All this time and attention wasted on the charge, is crumbling into an Emily Litella moment. The more I hear about Ms. Plame, the more it sounds like the only one who thought she was a covert agent was her husband. Every other person in Washington D.C. knew she worked for the CIA. Some reporter told Karl Rove she worked there and his big crime was passing on that bit of gossip to some other reporter.

So what is MSNBC doing with it? Going back and giving us a history of the the claim that Saddam was believed by the Brits to have sought to buy yellowcake from Niger.

With video of bright young reporters asking inquisatorial question without the slightest hint of a blush or a giggle. And the Democrats line up once again to profess outrage and demand someone's resignation. Now there's something we don't see everyday in Washington.

This isn't hardball. It's volley ball: a bunch of people trying to keep a scandal in the air as it leaks flat.

Update: Maybe some good will come out of this. It seems to have disgusted readers of the NYTimes and further damaged its sinking credibility which may be why its stock's earnings are down. Will it go out of business. Probably not, but newspapers are not on the cutting edge any more. I used to read the Times online quite a bit, but when it became so hostile to the president that every news story was spun as some kind of a repudiation of the administration, I got tired of it and never went back. Get a clue, guys.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Chisel this in stone and put it on your mantle.

If you imagine that you can buy immunity from fanatics by curling yourself in a ball, apologising for the world - to the world - for who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, not only is that morally bankrupt, but it's also ineffective. Because fanatics despise a lot of things and the things they despise most is weakness and timidity. There has been plenty of evidence through history that fanatics attack weakness and retreating people even more savagely than they do defiant people.

-- John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia

Via Instapundit

What a welcome sentiment after a day of listening to phoney indignation over Karl Rove's mention of Joe Wilson's wife!

I'd hate to be the guy who has to round them all up again

The NYTimes reports that the White House is mum on the Rove-Plame leak investigation. But, since Democrat donors and voters don't remember anything their elected senators and representatives say about anything, these officials felt free to react like a pack of beagles after a fox, full of sound and fury but signifying their collective sillness.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What hath moral equivalence wrought?

I wonder how many marchers would show up if there were a demonstration in London today against the war. Probably a lot, but also a lot less than protested at the start. The fact thatt the London bombers were home-grown from Leeds suggests that no European state is really safe, since they all have sizable Muslim populations. One hopeful sign is that British Muslim parents and clerics are shocked and troubled by this. If Islam is going to have a reformation, it had better get started soon before people get tired of hearing that it's a religion of peace and start hating brown people indiscriminately. That might be just what the killers want, but it's easily avoidable. Some Muslim leaders must stand up and condemn this stuff and issue fatwas condemning those who engage in suicide jihad or violence of any kind.

Any ethnic group has ways of knowing what's up that outsiders will never share. Unless truly peaceful, law abiding Muslims join the fight to stop more bombings and ambushes, they will appear more and more to have turned against those nations that harbor them as "guest workers."

Hypocrisy as a way of life

That seems more and more what liberals have sunk to in this country. They have their own facts that no amount of evidence will dislodge.

Despite the fact that even the NYTimes agrees that disclosing Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA officer was not a crime, and that Rove was trying not to put a covert agent in danger, but to steer Mr. Cooper away from a gaffe, the Democrats in Congress lined up to denounce Karl Rove for outing her and, of course, demanding his resignation.

What's that the Democrats always say about the politics of personal destruction? Maybe they're worried about the underlying fact that she was trying torpedo the president's case for deposing Saddam by sending her husband on a paid junket to Niger, trusting that he would return with a negative report. The alacrity with which the press seized on the forged document to seed the "Bushed Lied" meme, is a little suspicious. It will never die, because it's about all they have left to throw at Bush.

We all know how anti-censorship and cover-up the press is. Yet, they think the government should fund PBS and NPR but not require political diversity and are doing all they can to prevent conservative shows from being aired. Apparently, they consider it censorship to allow other viewpoints than theirs to be allowed.

John Kerry is more intellectual, but he got lower grades than George Bush, who is the reincarnation of Alfred E. Neuman. As one watchs their desperate search for something that will get them back into power, one notes the lack of any central guiding prinicple, except anti-religion and expanding abortion rights, that motivates them. They mouth platitudes like "It takes a village," but they would think that anyone else in the village who dared to criticize their children as violating their right to be left alone. Of course, they would only have one child per couple so that their own gene pool will shrink while others grow exponentially. When they get attacked, their first impulse is to blame America, unless the attacks are verbal and launched by conservatives. Then they want to silence them.

They roundly condemn America for its freedom to do business and acquire property, yet bristle at any suggestion that they lack loyalty to the country that guarantees their rights to do so. They seem to think that free elections in which they lose were "fixed," and anti-democratic. They want to wipe out poverty through redistribution of wealth schemes, but oppose any measure that helps people acquire wealth in the first place. They expect corporations to provide jobs, but want to tax their profits two or three times. They gladly accept huge contributions from people like George Soros, Barbra Streisand and other wealthy Hollywood types, but dismiss Republicans as representing only the overprivileged. They cry loudly about the failure of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent 9/11 but oppose giving them the legal authority to investigate and keep an eye on suspected terrorists. They wring their hands over the costs of medical care, but expect the government to provide it, when such schemes are floundering everywhere else, and forcing people to wait months and months for urgently needed treatments.

Ms. Ivins Regrets

Molly Ivins recently claimed in print that the war in Iraq had killed more civilians than Saddam ever did. Big mistake.

To her credit, she's acknowledged how wrong she was,
There have been estimates as high as 1 million civilians killed by Saddam, though most agree on the 300,000 to 400,000 range, making my comparison to 20,000 civilian dead in this war pathetically wrong.
She doesn't mention the numbers dead from his wars against Iran and Kuwait, though. That might make him look like more than a mere brutal tyrant, a threat to peace in the entire area. And that, of course, might make the war to depose him appear even more just.

Do you know where your sons are tonight?

The bombings in London now are attributed to some young British nationals of Pakistani extraction who killed themselves in order to murder a bunch of strangers. Police were tipped when the mother of one of the bombers called about her son being missing. If I were a parent of one of this kids, I think I'd be seriously looking at Christianity right now.

Monday, July 11, 2005


According to Howard Kurtz who cites Michael Isikoff's report that Karl Rove told Time's reporter Matt Cooper that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. Money quote:
"Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by 'DCIA' -- CIA Director George Tenet -- or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, 'it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.'

Where does that get us? Anybody not intent on savaging Rove will say, "What was Plame doing authorizing a CIA junket for her husband?" Presumably, she knew how Wilson would do his job, and that it wouldn't redound to the President's benefit.

I suppose Rove didn't know how this would all fall out, or he would have announced the story himself. But maybe he just figured it was a good way to let the press go chase its tail for a few months or years. This doesn't say whether Rove also revealed this factoid to Bob Novak, who is now being painted as a co-conspirator. It will be interesting to find out what really happened but that's about all, unless you're wondering whether Wilson conspired with the media to build up his report into the "Bush lied" theme, which has never made any sense.

I find it kind of bizarre at this point, now that it appears that the leak wasn't illegal in the first place, that the White House press corps is nevertheless trying to use it to demand Rove's firing by invoking a promise that the leaker would be fired. Of course, the understanding at the time that the leak was illegal might render that promise null and void, since it hasn't turned out that way, but don't expect the press to be fair minded about it.

Diagnosis: Paranoia

The NYTimes in an editorial against renewing the Patriot Act, acknowledges that administrative subpoenas are already allowed in civil fraud cases, but doesn't want them allowed to terrorism investigations:
The bill's defenders note that administrative subpoenas are already allowed in other kinds of investigations. But these are generally in highly regulated areas, like Medicaid billing. The administrative subpoena power in the new bill would apply to anything the F.B.I. deemed related to alleged foreign intelligence or terrorism, and could, in practice, give the F.B.I. access to almost any private records it wanted.
Why can we trust the FBI and Justice Department in cases of Medicaid fraud but not in cases of international terrorism? Why does the left assume that the FBI will take advantage of such subpoenas to use them outside of their intended scope? I wish they'd just explain why we shouldn't trust the people we hire to protect us to do their jobs? Or are they still worried about Nixon's enemies list?

I don't get it. Why not call for the elimination of the FBI, if it's that corrupt? It seems that a lot of liberals think that being watched, whether out of suspicion or for one's security, is somehow evil. One would think that the FBI has more important things to spend its time on than keeping dossiers on people who aren't suspected of anything. If they have evidence to the contrary or to justify their fears, they should print them so that we can all determine for ourselves whether we can trust law enforcement.

What is more likely is that this is just part of the Subterranean Homesick Blues scenario in which liberals have been steeped since the 1950s. Why do we complain about the FBI and CIA failing to warn us about 9/11 when we don't want to give them the authority to investigate these things?

What do they want us to do?

The answer, as that of the aliens in Independence Day is "Die."

Amir Taheri makes this clear in an Op-Ed piece in the Times of London:
[S]orry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you.

The ideological soil in which al Qaeda, and the many groups using its brand name, grow was described by one of its original masterminds, the Pakistani Abul-Ala al-Maudoodi more than 40 years ago. It goes something like this: when God created mankind He made all their bodily needs and movements subject to inescapable biological rules but decided to leave their spiritual, social and political needs and movements largely subject to their will. Soon, however, it became clear that Man cannot run his affairs the way God wants. So God started sending prophets to warn man and try to goad him on to the right path. A total of 128,000 prophets were sent, including Moses and Jesus. They all failed. Finally, God sent Muhammad as the last of His prophets and the bearer of His ultimate message, Islam. With the advent of Islam all previous religions were “abrogated” (mansukh), and their followers regarded as “infidel” (kuffar). The aim of all good Muslims, therefore, is to convert humanity to Islam, which regulates Man’s spiritual, economic, political and social moves to the last detail.

But what if non-Muslims refuse to take the right path? Here answers diverge. Some believe that the answer is dialogue and argument until followers of the “abrogated faiths” recognise their error and agree to be saved by converting to Islam. This is the view of most of the imams preaching in the mosques in the West. But others, including Osama bin Laden, a disciple of al-Maudoodi, believe that the Western-dominated world is too mired in corruption to hear any argument, and must be shocked into conversion through spectacular ghazavat (raids) of the kind we saw in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid last year, and now in London.
As a way of telling God to butt out of human affairs this is quite ingenious, more clever and subtle than mere atheism. The problem with it is that God has never told any part of mankind any such thing, and any prophets he might have sent since Mohammed would have been killed by faithful Muslims. It's part of an old pattern for Western religions: God gives revelations through prophets; the people kill the prophets, but later recognize that they were prophets and adopt their teachings; but reject current prophets who try to tell them what the original message meant and murder them as they did the first prophets. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all pay lip service to peace, but they've all been coopted by clerics who came after the prophets and have edited and interpreted their teachings into something that is contrary to what they originally meant. Usually, the message was "Repent!" but somehow it got changed to "Conquer and control by force!" If God wanted that, he could have sent another flood, plague, faminer or what have you. What he really wants is for people to listen to him and quit struggling for power over each other.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Does violence solve anything?

To Eugene Volokh's list, I might add innumerable instances where a person intent on murder or aggravated assault was killed in self-defense.

Maybe the real question should be whether unprovoked homocidal violence really gives one any other option than more violence. If one reacts pacifically, the original violence is likely to continue.

Yep, it's troubling

Instapundit links this report that the GWOT depends on unreliable translators because there is no way to do quick background checks to identify those with ties to terrorism or radical Islam, with the comment "That's troubling."

What is more troubling is that the advocates of privacy keep stalling the Patriot Act and opposing giving those we expect to defend us the power to do their jobs. It may make me feel exposed to learn that there is a dossier on me somewhere, but not if all it says is "This guy is not a risk." That's really what a national ID card should do: 1) Be uncounterfeitable and 2) State only whether the person has been identified as a risk. The real objections to intrusions on privacy deal with who has access to the data and how it can be used. Any person should be allowed to see his/her own file, and have a right to correct it. What's troubling to me that the 9/11 terrorists were so easy to trace after they killed 3,000 people but not before, and that we haven't ever really had a discussion of how to fix that problem.

I'm for religious tolerance

But I'm all for booting people like Abu Hamza al-Masri and Omar Bakri Mohammed out of every civilized nation. Or maybe just arrested and left to rot in jail. They are like toxic waste, poisoning their own people with hatred for those without whom the Arab world would starve.

Any religionist who preaches conversion by force, insurrection or murder, should be shunned, deported and locked up.

I say that as the descendant of Mormons who were killed and driven from state to state. Religious freedom was the basis of emigration of many groups from England to America, which is why it is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, but it cannot extend to violence. We are being given an example of how free speech can be abused to destroy the freedoms that permit it.

Londoners are just beginning to realize this:
Yet there seems to me to be a radical disjunction between our heroic capacity to deal with the immediate effects of terrorism and our collective refusal to confront what lies behind it. The effects of this disjunction are, literally, fatal.