Saturday, November 05, 2005

France in peril

I am unequivocably opposed to any American intervention in France. As one of Jonah Goldberg's readers points out this has all the signs of another quagmire, like the French war in Vietnam.

If France seeks support from the U.N. in this civil war, America should oppose such action vigorously and veto any action in the Security Council.

The Delaying Game

No, it's not about Tom Delay. He's the kind of person that democracies and politics always produce but no one is proud of.

It's about the effort by the Democrats to delay the hearings on Sam Alito. Is it true that there's another abortion case coming up and the Dems want to have O'Connor hear it rather than the new guy?

New and Old Ideas

Richard Reeves: "Democrats [have] deteriorated into a party of tactics rather than strategy, much less ideas."

This from a liberal who believes they should be "rather than hammering at the incompetence, stupidity and deviousness of a White House waging war and torturing prisoners around the world while American cities sink into the sea." This is what he considers "ideas"? The ideas of the right are winning because they make sense, especially in light of the founding principles of this nation, whereas the Democrats can't let go of the ideas of the 1930s. Most of the right's "new ideas" were new in the eighteenth century. They have been recently rediscovered after being nearly annihilated by FDR. The problem is that those old new ideas haven't succeeded nearly as much as they need to if the country is to be salvaged, which is why so many conservatives are upset with George Bush. Entitlement programs will eventually swallow up our prosperity but no politician alive will make that point. Maybe the next generation will figure it out when they get handed the bill.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Pyrrhic Victory

Byron York (link requires subscription) has a piece in the NR headed "Playing Nice-President Bush gave the special counsel all he wanted — which the press, among others, may regret"

The piece compares the response by the Bush White House to the Fitzgerald investigation (minimal) with that of the Clinton White House to Kenneth Starr (all out attack), and questions whether Bush's cooperation has established too forthcoming a standard:
[T]the question is whether, by forcing staffers to sign waivers releasing reporters from any pledges of confidentiality regarding the CIA-leak affair, the White House has set a terrible precedent both for future presidents and for the press. The way in which George W. Bush acceded to Fitzgerald’s demands virtually assures that there will be more, and perhaps increasingly intrusive, leak investigations in the years to come.
The precedent should be of great interest to reporters in Washington who rely on leaks. I hope it causes leaking to dry up. It probably won't, because you probably can't force civil service employees to waive confidentiality, but it might be the first effective technique to stop leaks.

Bush hates the press. He hates leaks. They accuse him of being secretive. But what president hasn't hated to be informed about issues roiling among lower levels of his administration by the press?

The upshot is that journalists are still not sure it was helpful for the NYTimes to have pressed so hard for an investigation. This may be only the first of many cases where we see reporters serving time for contempt. This won't be lost on future presidents, especially when they have the power to pardon people like Libby. I don't know if that power extends to contempt in a particular grand jury proceeding.

Byron York is one of the best reporters around. He is scrupulous in eliminating personal opinion from his reports. He even resisted denouncing Harriet Miers when everybody else at the corner was doing so. Just the facts. And he's thorough.

I respect him a great deal. If reporters had to study casebooks like law students do, he'd be one I'd want to cite.

What's up with Chuck?

Why does anybody take Chuck Schumer seriously? He has no sense of decorum or restraint. Maybe that's why he doesn't support judicial nominees who do. His big blurt this time around was to try to tie the nomination of Sam Alito to recently departed Rosa Parks: "[Judge Alito] would use that seat to reverse much of what Rosa Parks and so many others fought so hard and for so long to put in place.”

That is a scurrilous and false charge, but we're so used to this kind of silly hype from Democrats we are no longer shocked by it. Schumer especially has made so many outrageous statements that he should be ignored by the media.

Why . . .

should I as a blogger have to lower my ethics and professionalism to that of the New York Times reporter to have my freedom of speech protected?

And when will the grand jury be empaneled to look into Dana Priest's report that the CIA maintains top-secret prisons for terrorists?

Next time appoint me

It shouldn't have taken Patrick Fitzgerald two years to figure out that the law was not violated by telling a reporter that Valerie Plame was Joe Wilson's wife and that she worked for the CIA. All he had to do was read the statute and read the facts that were in the newspapers. If he had done that, Judy Miller wouldn't have had to go to jail for contempt, Scooter Libby wouldn't be indicted, and Washington could have been saved a lot of wasted time.

Anyone with any smarts saw what was going on from the start. The Democrats having voting in large numbers to authorize the war in Iraq, are now desperate to deny that support, and to blame it on Bush for "misleading them." Of course, Bush was also misled by the CIA, into believing there were WMD in Iraq, as opposed to all the acres and acres of various kinds of munitions lying around in the country free for the taking. That wasn't hard to believe since Saddam had been developing nukes prior to the 1991 war and had used nerve gas on the Kurds, which proved that he had the knowhow to make it, and he had pesticide factories far larger than were needed by the Iraqi agricultural economy which could supply the basic precursors for such weapons.

Now the Democrats have decided that "Bush lied!" will be their campaign strategy for next year's midterm elections and seeing Bush's poll number slide are trying to make them slide further. This is now a political war to sell the big lie that Bush knew there were no WMD in Iraq, and excuse Dems who vociferously called Saddam a threat, which he was. They have two allies in this, the CIA and the MSM.

Scootergate is just a battle in this political war, one that should not have taken place, because the story of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame is a manufactured scandal. Plame was not a covert agent at the time her employment by the CIA was made public. Being a classified employee is not the same thing. The story has all the earmarks of a political IED and when someone said something to Novak, the thing blew up. But since there was nothing to the story, two years later no indictment other than lying about something that wasn't a crime.

Maybe we need to put these investigations up for bid. I could have saved the DOJ a boatload of money. Why Libby was socializing with a New York Times reporter, is the biggest question I have. He deserves to get fired, but not charged with a felony.

The Irony is delicious!

Greenpeace fined for damaging reef!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ummmmm. Oreos!

Nothing new in politics today.

Call Fitzgerald!

The WaPo has a report that the CIA maintains several secret prisons including one in Eastern Europe. Byron York asks:
The Post's decision to publish the article raises several questions. Is the existence of the prisons classified information? If so, did a government official give that classified information to someone -- a reporter, perhaps -- who was not authorized to receive it, in possible violation of the 1917 Espionage Act? Did that official give other classified information to the paper which does not appear in the article, the disclosure of which might also constitute a violation of the Espionage Act? Should the Department of Justice open a criminal investigation of this matter? Should the president order government officials, including those at the CIA, to sign waivers releasing reporters from any pledges of confidentiality made in the reporting of this story? Should Dana Priest or other journalists be forced by a court to reveal the content of their discussions with confidential sources? In the not-too-distant past, none of these questions would be particularly urgent. Now, in the post-Plame world, they are.

Invisible is not the same as "see through"

This is why I never bought those X-Ray glasses advertised in the back pages of comic books.

There is a technology using terahertz waves that work the way those glasses claimed to and the images are hardly erotic. They show people squeezed into their clothing, mashed up as if they were against glass. They also show genitals, which may make people less willing to be subjected to them. They're like a strip search.

Shining Starr

From The NYTimes reports:
Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, rejected a $24,000 bonus to re-enlist. Corporal Starr believed strongly in the war, his father said, but was tired of the harsh life and nearness of death in Iraq. So he enrolled at Everett Community College near his parents' home in Snohomish, Wash., planning to study psychology after his enlistment ended in August.

But he died in a firefight in Ramadi on April 30 during his third tour in Iraq. He was 22.

Sifting through Corporal Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the marine's girlfriend. "I kind of predicted this," Corporal Starr wrote of his own death. "A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances."

Michelle Malkin reports the part of the email that the Times left out:
"Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark." [Italics added]

From the same Times report:
More than 420 service members, the majority of them marines and soldiers, have died while on repeat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The truths from the Gettysburg address come to mind.

What did they die for? Freedom. And few get to die for something that important.

Personal: Starr was my mother's maiden name. It's my middle name. One of my Starr uncles died in the South Pacific in WWII when the plane he was in crashed. His older brother Warren was captured at Corregidor and was in the Bataan Death March, and lived to tell about it. They are heroes to me. And so is Marine Corporal Jeffrey B. Starr. No greater love hath any man.

So the Senate is closed. Do you miss it?

Dana Milbanks:
In the genteel club that is the United States Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had a screaming temper tantrum yesterday.
"Screaming?" "Tantrum?"

We saw it on TV. Frist was angry all right, but there was no screaming, nothing like I think of as a tantrum. Where do reporters get off getting so casual about their reports? It's as if the readers don't matter, only other reporters. Who cares about Dana Milbanks' reaction to Frist's reaction? We don't need any "local color."

Beyond that, I have to wonder how clever it was to put the Senate into closed session to dramatize your concerns about intelligence failures. The only way the public will know about what happens now will be through leaks of what was supposed to be kept private. I did like the way Harry Reid added punch to his motion to go into closed session with that little pantywaist swing of his arm. It reminded me of the slogan of Powdermilk Biscuits® "made from whole wheat raised by Norwegian bachelor farmers, so you know they’re not only good for you, they’re also pure, mostly. Whole wheat that gives shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Heavens, they’re tasty!"
I guess Reid had his biscuits.

Alitio, Scalito, Schmalito

No link. Just an impression from the day's news: Alito will generate more heat than Roberts, but will cruise to confirmation. They know now how to beat the Borking. Don't act like Bork. No sloppy little beard; no arrogant spouting off; no impatience; no rudeness. The Dems can make all kinds of accusations. They already have, but this guy is John Roberts times two. They can ask all the questions they want, and he'll tell them the same thing. Remember Joe Biden's whining and playing at Perry Mason? Ted Kennedy's direct assault, denouncing the nominee without asking any real questions? Schumer's tasteless moronic arguments and pandering to feminists? Feinstein's schoolmarm lecture? This is likely to be more of an endurance test than anything else. Everybody said John Roberts was a great pick, but Alito is John Roberts with more experience on the bench.

We'd love to see a filibuster get smacked down, but I think the Dems are too smart to try it without the votes, unless their big donors put too much pressure on them. I'm sure that Barbara Boxer will try, but nobody takes her seriously anymore.

Now if only Stevens will throw in the towel, and the right wing can keep its mouth shut.

Update: The Boston Globe reports:
As a senior at Princeton University, [24 years ago! - ed.] ]Samuel A. Alito Jr. chaired an undergraduate task force that recommended the decriminalization of sodomy, accused the CIA and the FBI of invading the privacy of citizens, and said discrimination against gays in hiring ''should be forbidden."
Who cares? He WENT TO PRINCETON! He's an elite!

The Democrats are now using the revolt over the Miers nomination to portray Alito as more right wing than he is. And the Gallup poll reports that Alito's polls resemble Miers'.

Monday, October 31, 2005

An up or down vote

" Once again, all is right with the world." -- James Taranto

Easy for him to say. I won't forget the conservative MSM's treatment of Harriet Miers. I've lost my enthusiasm. The message has been delivered that if you don't support their party line, conservatives will flay you alive. They want us to forget that this wasn't just criticism. That would have been fine, but demanding a withdrawal, raising money against her, poisoning the atmosphere, those things are not the things I believe in.

Suddenly, being a conservative feels like tiptoeing through a minefield. Bush has been whipped back into line, and we know who our real masters are. It doesn't feel like democracy anymore.

I might feel more positive about Judge Alito if it weren't for that.

Career ruination.

Joe Wilson is whining that Scooter Libby ruined his wife's career. True or not, it doesn't add up to endangering national security, or even endangering his life. If Congress wanted to make it a felony to ruin someone's career, it should have said so.

The last word in hypocrisy goes to Bill Clinton for this gem:
I like Joe Wilson, the man who was the target of the wrath of somebody in the administration. But he didn't vote for me in '92. He voted for former President Bush and he said so publicly. He's a career diplomat. He didn't deserve to have his career ruined and his wife didn't, because he wouldn't say what they wanted him to say, which was that in Niger they sent uranium yellow cake to Iraq. He knew there was no evidence about it, and he wasn't going to lie about it. And he shouldn't be punished for it.

The fight they wanted

Well, the liberals haven't wasted any time launching denunciations of Sam Alito. Reviving memories of Bork, calling him "Scalito" (clever, huh?), claiming he's not enough like O'Connor, against equality, and a whole parade of other horribles.

Others are counting votes.

James Taranto:
Once again, all is right with the world. Regaining his footing after the Miers misstep, President Bush this morning nominated Judge Samuel Alito of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
The snarling dog is wagging its tail again. So much for presidential discretion.

Alito was confirmed to the Third Circuit by acclamation. Don't expect that to happen again.

This reminds me of the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings, except that both sides see themselves in the defending role. I hope it's worth it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Today's worst prediction

"Scooter" Libby will be nominated tomorrow to replace Sandra O'Connor on the Supreme Court, just to make everybody across the political spectrum mad.

Democrats you can respect.

Score one for Lanny Davis, for promoting honesty, and two against Harry Reid, first, for not knowing that there was no crime in the first place, and two, for trying to score points from a non-indictment and pushing the tired "culture of corruption" line. Nobody wins these silly games. Everybody loses.