Friday, April 21, 2006

Quislings and Pulitzers

Who gets to decide what should be declassified? Dana Priest won a Pulitzer for printing the classified info that the CIA had a secret detention facility in Eastern Europe. Today the agent who gave her the leak was fired. Good riddance.

However, when Bush declassified some information that showed there was nothing to the allegations by Joe Wilson, the liberal media acted like he'd violated the law.

I'd like someone to show me the Constitutional provision that gives the media the right to flaut the law? Are they so narcissistic that they can't imagine how they look to the rest of us? The president can't declassify information, but they can? The New York Times informed Al Qaeda that the NSA was wiretapping their communications with their agents in the U.S. How is this different from the Rosenbergs' delivery of our nuclear secrets to the Soviets?

I've been hearing this blather about the peoples' right to know all my life, but in the current political climate I don't trust anybody at the NYTimes or WaPo to decide what top secret operations should not be classified. The NSA wiretaps were arguably illegal, but there are exceptions in ordinary search and seizure law for exigent circumstances where vital information or evidence may be lost if the police have to wait around for a warrant. Didn't the NYTimes have any lawyers who knew that and could point out to them that the President has powers independent from Congress?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poll Droppings

The Polls have bad news for Bush, et al., mostly due to a matter beyond anyone's control, oil prices.
Far and away the top reason for those saying it feels like the economy is getting worse is gas prices. Six in 10 cite rising gas prices, outdistancing other frequently mentioned reasons such as the lack of jobs (28 percent) and grocery prices (15 percent).

When read a list of factors that could play a part in assessing the economy, large majorities of Americans say the availability of good jobs (89 percent) and gas prices (83 percent) are either "extremely" or "very" important factors in deciding whether the economy is in good shape.
I find it interesting that Americans have so little understanding about matters like this. I get the feeling that if Yellowstone were to blow up, Democrats and the media would try to blame Bush for it.

Begging the question

Fitzgerald knows that the person who leaked Plame's identity committed no crime. So why are we still spending money on this nonsense?

Someone should be beheaded for this!

A UAE-owned airline has decided, apparently, that if Westerners can publish images of their prophet, then they can make cartoons of our, er, cartoon - by creating characters in an ad campaign copied from South Park.

Caution: Whatever you do, DON'T suggest that any of the three is a cartoon image of Mohammed. We don't want anybody to kill Kenny.

The Beast of the Apocalypse?

This article from TNR (requires registration) is getting a lot of comment. It's another chilling report of how creepy Ahmadinejad really is, and reminds us how really evil the Ayatollah Khomeini was. If you think that deterrence will work against this crowd, remember that they've already used children to clear mine fields. A corps of volunteer suicide bombers is not an empty threat. If I were Iranian, I'd be trying to get out with my family as fast as possible.

This is becoming Biblical.

Cue the Twilight Zone Theme

In an odd bit of prophecy, Timothy Garton Ash imagines a Hillary administration in which she orders the bombing of Iran in an effort to destroy its nuclear program. Iran responds with massive numbers of suicide bombers.

What's ironic is that I've had similar thoughts. After all, LBJ turned the war in Vietnam into a mess by trying to be tough but refusing to take the fight to the enemy.

The Three Faces of Hiltzik

Professional reporters are always complaining that blogs aren't edited. Most of them don't need much supervision, but not all reporters should be allowed to post anything without an adult overseeing it. A columnist/blogger employed by the LATimes has apparently been commenting on a variety of blogs using alternate identities, commenting and supporting his own posts and comments made in his true identity.

This is really bizarre. He must be really insecure. His blog has been taken away from him.

Yes, they aren't patriotic.

Via Best of the Web, Michael Tomasky gives a glimmer that some Democrats are coming to their senses. I disagree that government entitlements have been good for our people or our government. But Roosevelt's public works projects created jobs and circulated money and maintained a climate of hope. The main problem with the New Deal is that it became the template for Democrat politics ever since, when they were no longer needed. The expansion of bureaucracy has run on and on, until is almost impossible to stop.

Now the generation that knew FDR is dying out and the Anti-war Boomers seem to have taken over. They'll run the party into the ground, unless someone with some sense rescues it.

This is tragic.

After all the efforts of the left, the quagmire is slipping through our hands. The Iraqis are practicing -gasp!- POLITICS!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Making News

Maybe they should shuffle the West Wing more often. It would give the media something true to talk about, for a change. My nominee for Scott McClellan's replacement: Bill O'Reilly. Now that would be a press briefing I'd love to watch.


Michelle Malkin is the victim of a hate campaign by some real jerks. This sounds like it should fit the definition of a hate-crime. I'm not normally a big supporter of privacy complaints, but this one really reeks of terroristic threat. I hope they suffer.

Double Lacrossed ?

For once, I agree with Ann Coulter. I have a hard time feeling sorry for either the alleged victim or the Duke lacrosse team. There really is a slippery slope in many of life's choices. I'll bet that if this jocks had asked, their mama's would have told them not to go.

My Point Exactly.

Herbert Meyer analyzes the statements from generals calling for Rumsfeld's head and finds them lacking in specifics. That's why I suspect that their real complaints are too petty to admit.

And Richard Brookhiser makes the persuasive case that the way the war has been fought so far has been more, not less, effective than it would have been had the career military experts been deferred to.
The transformed military toppled the Taliban government in quick time, using Special Forces on horseback and pilotless drones. Point to Mr. Rumsfeld. In Iraq, Baghdad fell in three weeks, but the war against the insurgency has lasted three years. Point to his critics? Mr. Rumsfeld’s great failing, in their eyes, was not sending in enough troops. If we had had more boots on the ground, so the indictment runs, the insurgency either would not have blossomed or could have been crushed. But this too is an issue with two sides. More boots can mean more firepower. But they can also mean more targets. More boots would also have meant a draft, which would mean more neophyte troops.
The cliche is that we tend to fight the last war is true. And the last war was Vietnam. Some generals concluded that being mobile and presenting fewer targets made sense against an enemy who hides among the population. Others just thought we needed more boots on the ground. The latter seem to be the ones who resent Rumsfeld, who, after all, was tasked with transforming the military and then was called upon to fight a war while doing so.

I'd go get Roger Ailes

for CEO at the NYTimes. It would make the liberals go bananas, but it would make the paper more interesting if it had a spectrum of opinions and coverage.

The Generals' Discontent

Dean Godson in the Times of London"
What of these charges? Mr Rumsfeld was right in believing that the war itself could be won with a much smaller force than was used in the first Gulf War of 1991, not least because the Iraqi army had halved in size. He was right effectively to send Tommy Franks away with a flea in his ear when the then US commander presented the original war plans, as General Franks has conceded. Pace George Galloway, there was no Stalingrad by the Tigris.

This was no McNamara-style micromanagement of targeting when Pentagon “whiz-kids” constantly encroached upon professional military prerogatives. Rather, Mr Rumsfeld’s big picture approach is exactly what civilian control of the military is supposed to be all about: in other words, asking what would be the price in blood and treasure of a particular plan? Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, did much the same as Defence Secretary in 1990 when he asked Norman Schwarzkopf to revise his plans for a costly frontal assault on the Iraqi forces in Kuwait.

What about the postwar period? General Jack Keane, the Army Vice-Chief of Staff during this critical period, told me that it was just as much the military’s responsibility to anticipate the insurgency, if not more so. “We had no plans for that”, he said. “It was our fault, not Donald Rumsfeld’s.”
It seems pretty clear that Rumsfeld's remark about going to war with the army you've got was spot on. If the military wasn't ready for the orders it received, why is it the fault of the ones giving the orders?

Also, Austin Bay relays some specific comments about General Zinni, whose reversal from earlier testimony certainly doesn't make him look too bright. That won't hurt him with the Fever Swamp, but it should with thinking people.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Here's the deal.

You don't have to make the case for negotiating with Iran, because that's pretty obvious. We don't want another war right now, or ever. Nobody does.

The problem is that when you read the kinds of things Iran's leaders have been saying and doing and their reactions to efforts to stop them from developing nuclear weapons, you have to be concerned, because these people don't care if they destroy their own country and its culture. They think a nuclear holocaust will bring back the 12th Imam.

To overcome that concern, you've got to show that they're all just bluffing. I don't want to wait until they drop a bomb on Tel-Aviv before we decide they're dangerous.

Heh, indeed.

It turns out that being anti-business and anti-capitalism can be personally quite profitable. Maybe the MSM has picked that up from Hollywood.

The Hobbs Kerfuffle.

I didn't have much sympathy for Bill Hobbs. I figure that he's a big boy and can take the lumps when he exercises free speech. However, the actions of Mike Kopp and John Spragens seem to have been motivated by cynical political opportunism rather than any ethical concerns. Bill Hobbs will survive, but Kopp and Spragens and Belmont University don't look much better than Hobbs' cartoon. In particular, Kopp looks like an egregious pc hypocrite. In a mud fight, nobody comes away clean.

Bush was right!

Andy McCarthy rounds up the emerging proofs that Saddam was up to his neck in terrorism, the most recent of which shows that Iraq was recruiting suicide bombers to send abroad. Of course, the MSM is ignoring these in their haste to find something to destroy George Bush.


Listening to the White House press briefing, I'm once again filled with loathing for these so-called journalists. To me they sound and act more like the scribes and Pharisees in the New Testament, asking leading and accusatory questions and laying verbal traps. Half the questions today were about why Bush hasn't caved to the handful of retired generals calling for Rumsfeld's dismissal. I'd love to see a spokesman who would turn the questions aroung: "Why should the President listen to these few people when they're no longer involved in the defense department and ignore those who are?" or "Why are you so intent on creating news instead of reporting it?"

If the press is so free, how come they sound like a well-rehearesed chorus? And why are there so few among the mainstream media conservative or libertarian.

Yeah, I know this is trite and trampled ground, but it just doesn't change. I wish we could just skip forward to the time when nobody can make a living as a reporter and we can just see everything live and make our own conclusions.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Has it come to this?

That a university defending freedom of conservative speech should be considered extraordinary? Where did America go?

Who do you trust?

James Caroll takes his lead from an "Iranian official." He recounts his nervousness over Sy Hersh's latest "insider" reporting and the clarity of the Iranian's view:
But who can trust the Bush administration to play games of feint and intimidation without unleashing forces it cannot control, stumbling again into disastrous confrontation?

An Iranian official dismissed the talk of imminent US military action as mere psychological warfare, but then he made a telling observation. Instead of attributing the escalations of threat to strategic impulses, the official labeled them a manifestation of "Americans' anger and despair."

The phrase leapt out of the news report, demanding to be taken seriously.
Not like Ahmadinejad's proposed wiping of Israel off the map, his 40,000 martyrdom voluntiers, and his drive toward nuclear weapons to bring back the 12th Imam. It's our leaders we should fear.

American Nightmare

Nina Burleigh:
Our family first arrived in Narrowsburg in 2000, as city people hunting for a cheap house. For barely $50,000 we were able to buy the "weekend house" we thought would complete our metropolitan existence. But soon after we closed on the home, we moved to Paris, spurred by the serendipitous arrival of a book contract. When our European idyll ended after two years, and with tenants still subletting our city apartment, we moved into the Narrowsburg house. After growing accustomed to the French social system -- with its cheap medicine, generous welfare, short workweek and plentiful child care -- life back in depressed upstate New York felt especially harsh. We'd never planned to get involved in the life of the town, nor had it ever occurred to us that we might send our son to the Narrowsburg School.. . .

Still, for the first few months, we felt uneasy. Eighty of Narrowsburg's 319 adults are military veterans and at least 10 recent school graduates are serving in Iraq or on other bases overseas right now. The school's defining philosophy was traditional and conservative, starting with a sit-down-in-your-seat brand of discipline, leavened with a rafter-shaking reverence for country and flag. Every day the students gathered in the gym for the "Morning Program," open to parents, which began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a patriotic song, and then discussion of a "word of the week." During the first few weeks, the words of the week seemed suspiciously tied to a certain political persuasion: "Military," "tour," "nation" and "alliance" were among them.

But it wasn't until our boy came home with an invitation in his backpack to attend a "released time" Bible class that my husband and I panicked. We called the ACLU and learned this was an entirely legal way for evangelicals to proselytize to children during school hours.
This is obviously leading to a tale of incest and cannibalism.

More Warning signs

Arnaud de Borchgrave says we should buckle our seatbelts. If we think the current military casualties are too high, we're certainly not going to like the deployment of Iran's claimed 40,000 suicide bombers. Something tells me the fun time is over. The people who want to destroy the human race, might just get their wish, but it result in Utopia.

The price of gas

If I read him right, Michael Barone thinks the Republican majorities will hold if they can get their base out to vote. They should ask if they can borrow Karl Rove.

On the other hand, I don't see the Democrat base ready to charge to the polls either. Of course, I'm not a psephologist. I still think the Republicans can win it if they go out and fight. If gasoline prices are the major factor behind the low polls, how could the Democrats make it any better? The only thing they know how to do is impose price controls and give us rationed gas. The higher prices, on the other hand, mean freedom from Middle Eastern oil, which appears endangered anyway if the current signs from Iran are correct. We have to decide whether we want cheap gas on our knees or stand up and pay the price. I predict that we'll get past $3.00 gas, just as we lived through the scarce gas in the late 70s, and in a few years we'll see a new oil glut, along with expanded choices among alternatives.

The balloon is losing helium

So now The New York Sunn is reporting that a declassified State Dept. Memo shows that Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent wasn't all that closely guarded. So all the hot air and money and indictments and scandalmongering have been over nothing, essentially. Don't assume, however, that the NYTimes or Fitzgerald's office will let it die.

Tom Maguire owns this story. Although I've never thought it deserved so much attention, I love seeing the NYTimes and other MSM being caught in their mendacity.

Are we wasting money on clean air?

Joel Schwartz reports a study by L. C. Green and S. R. Armstrong, "Particulate Matter in Ambient Air and Mortality: Toxicologic Perspectives, published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 38 (2003): 326-35. which found:
It remains the case that no form of ambient PM -- other than viruses, bacteria, and biochemical antigens -- has been shown, experimentally or clinically, to cause disease or death at concentrations remotely close to US ambient levels.
Of course, there are more reasons than health to want to clean up the air we breath. Aesthetics, acid rain, global warming are examples. But beware junk science among them, as well.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Pelosi Doctrine

The Democrat approach to human rights and national security.

More on Iran

Mark Steyn lays the wood to the Iran apologists. I tend to agree. When they say they want to get nukes and then they start enriching Uranium, does it really make sense to treat it as non-serious?

Steyn says it better:
It's not the world's job to prove that the Iranians are bluffing. The braggadocio itself is reason enough to act, and prolonged negotiations with a regime that openly admits it's negotiating just for the laughs only damages us further.
BTW, I found the following on Ask.Com:
Looking for Uranium? Find exactly what you want today.
Why didn't Ahmadinejad think of that?


Helpful tips for Americans visiting Europe.

"The Americans are impatient"

If you thought we could live with a nuclear Iran, Amir Taheri has some sobering news for you.
According to Shia lore, the Imam is a messianic figure who, although in hiding, remains the true Sovereign of the World. In every generation, the Imam chooses 36 men, (and, for obvious reasons, no women) naming them the owtad or "nails", whose presence, hammered into mankind's existence, prevents the universe from "falling off". Although the "nails" are not known to common mortals, it is, at times, possible to identify one thanks to his deeds. It is on that basis that some of Ahmad-inejad's more passionate admirers insist that he is a "nail", a claim he has not discouraged. For example, he has claimed that last September, as he addressed the United Nations' General Assembly in New York, the "Hidden Imam drenched the place in a sweet light".

Last year, it was after another khalvat that Ahmadinejad announced his intention to stand for president. Now, he boasts that the Imam gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a "clash of civilisations" in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the "infidel" West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war.
Hmm. Jerry Falwell doesn't looke nearly so bad condidering that. Ahmadinejad makes Hitler look sane and rational. Apocalypse now, indeed. And we had better not be too impatient in the coming confrontation.

Read the whole thing. Really.

Update: Then read Robert Tracinski's take:
Iran is already fighting a war against the United States. We just haven't been fighting back. We have held our fire as if Iran were protected by a shield of nuclear weapons. How much more aggressive will the Iranians become when they are actually protected by such a nuclear shield?

Iran threatens more terrorism.

40,000 suicide bombers have been recruited by Iran to attack the U.S. and Britain if any harm comes to Iran's nuclear facilities. Never fear, though. Richard Clarke is on the job, telling us basically that there's nothing we can do but lie back and enjoy it.

To me, this makes nuking Iran look more attractive. Dealing with suicide bombers will cost fewer lives than a nuke strike on Israel would. If suicide bombers began operating in the U.S. it might no longer be safe to be a Muslim here.

A General Answers the Generals

Lt. General Michael DeLong, U.S.M.C. retired, who worked closely with Donald Rumsfeld answers the generals calling for his dismissal.