Saturday, October 21, 2006

More wishful thinking from the MSM

Newsweek is trumpeting the Republicans' loss of of their accustomed share of the Evangelical vote. There's something a little too celebratory about these claims and polls. What kind of a victory is it when your only way to win is when the other party is mad at its leaders?
That means you're counting on them never learning from their errors, not on any new thinking of your own. The Republicans do need to shed some dead wood, but that's really an opportunity for 2008, to line up some new candidates who haven't been worn out or corrupted by Washington.

Who's afraid of a Democrat win?

Tom Bevan reminds us that all this talk about a Democratic blow out doesn't really amount to much, just more Congressional gridlock. The Republicans have been doing pretty well at helping Democrats to obstruct whatever the president tries to do. So giving back a few seats or even a majority won't change much. There will be a lot of pointless hearings and efforts to avenge past grievances, but if the Dems can't rise above what they seem to have in mind right now, their majority if any will be shortlived.

Robert J. Caldwell also pokes holes in the comparison of this year with the midterm election of 1994. If the Dems win, it won't be a sea change like that.

One of Caldwell's points is that in 1994, the Republicans ran on the Contract with America. Considering how well that worked, you have to wonder why nobody has used it again since. Are the candidates unwilling to commit? Or are they all so self-centered that they can't resist editing it to suit themselves? I blame campaign consultants.

So do they want us there or not?

Amir Taheri reports that the majority of Iraqis is united against the jihadists. That should be getting headlines, but mostly our media are in denial, reporting only the violence and ignoring the millions of Iraqis who voted happily and now expect their votes to count.

I'm in favor of a withdrawal, if civil war cannot be avoided, but we must continue to support Iraq's efforts to chart its own destiny. The worst thing to do at this time would be to abandon everything good we've accomplished, as we did in Vietnam. There's a point where the Iraqis must take over their own security, but it can't be pegged to a timetable.

Ted Kennedy and Benedict Arnold

A KGB memo from 1983 indicates that Senator Ted Kennedy made overtures to the Soviet Union about helping to remove Ronald Reagan.
The offer was to help the Soviet leadership, military and civilian, conduct a PR campaign in the United States as President Ronald Reagan sought re-election. The goal of the PR campaign would be to cast President Reagan as a warmonger, the Soviets as willing to peacefully co-exist, and thereby turn the electorate away from Reagan. It was a plan to enlist Soviet help, and use the American press, in unseating an American president.
Sheesh! It's only politics, people. When you hate your political opponent more than our nation's enemies, you need to take some time out to get your bearings back.

What if they don't take Congress?

Bush and Rove's confidence has Dems warning of conspiracy. No doubt Diebold is involved. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about Dems tampering with machines in order to prove they're unreliable. They've been stoking this stolen election claim, including publishing reports on computer viruses and tampering. Plenty of Conspiracy fodder in the air.

Voter ID Laws Upheld

I've been appalled over the years by the efforts by the left making it easier to register to vote, not because voting shouldn't be encouraged, but because they seemed to make voter fraud almost inviting. All my life it has been common knowledge, even with a wink and nod by Democrats, that the 1960 election was won by voter fraud and machine politics in Texas and Chicago. These days you can register to vote without any real proof that you're a citizen. In the huge pro-immigration marches last year illegals were encouraged to register and vote Democrat, but not overtly. So I support the requirement of photo ID at the polls to discourage fraud, and I'm relieved that the Supreme Court has upheld Arizona's voter ID law.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Let's get this over with.

Lieberman opens up a 17 point lead. I guess it's more anti-Republican than pro-Democrat.

For all the fuss over his "pre-mortem" on the Republicans, Glenn Reynolds may be the typical Republican voter. A lot of us are holding our noses this year.

Of course, I don't really have much of a chance to affect anything. The Republican running in this Congressional district isn't even running any TV ads. Jim Matheson is on all the time with his ads, but I don't know why he's bothering. He's got name recognition and the incumbency, and the challenger has . . . I don't even know what he looks like. I'm probably going to vote for him anyway, just out of contrariness. Matheson's ads are like cotton candy, nothing of real substance, nothing controversial. No mention of Iraq. No attacks on Republicans.

It appears that the Democrats aren't the only ones dropping negative stories into the news pool. The leak of the NIE to the NYTimes is said to have come from a Democrat staffer hired by Jane Harman, Larry Hanauer, whose access to classified information has been terminate.

Rocky Mountain lows

Bob Beauprez, Republican candidate for governor in Colorado, has attacked his opponent Bill Ritter for plea bargaining criminal charges against aliens to misdemeanors that allowed them to remain in the country when the original charges would have required deportation. A local TV channel has revealed that the case records were disclosed by "a federal law enforcement agent from Colorado." I can't really see why there's anything wrong with that. Aren't court records public?

Good News from Iraq?

Iraqi Shiites have celebrated a pilgrimage to Najaf without any violent incidents after an even larger Ashoura procession in September. This demonstrates the nature of the violence, which doesn't really affect most of the people, but keeps our media reporting bad news.

Mr. Kim regrets.

Kim Jong Il has aporogized to China for his nuke test and will return to the multilateral talks if the U.S. will withdraw plans to financially isolate North Korea. Jimmy Carter credits the Clinton Administration's deft diplomacy for this reversal.

Democrat Staff Member to House Intel Committee Suspended

For leaking the NIE to the Will the Times be demanding a special prosecutors?

Maybe they hope this will help the Democrats.

The BBC, of all people, is reporting that "Al-Qaeda has become more organised and sophisticated and has made Britain its top target . . .." I hope their sources are more reliable than our CIA and FBI.

It's not hard to see why. The U.K. seems like a PC patsy for Muslim grievances.

Republicans Play Hardball (finally!)

They're releasing a new ad warning of more terrorist attacks. I wish we could count on Republicans to take this issue as seriously as they should, but legislating just doesn't mesh with watchfulness and taking swift action. Sadly it's a year for voting against a party rather than for one. The Democrats want us to believe that the Patriot Act has made this a totalitarian society, which is childish. The Republicans after going pork happy for the past 6 years, want us to worry about Bush's tax cuts being rescinded.

How about a Constitutional Amendment making it unconstitutional to add earmarked projects to legislation any time the budget is in deficit?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Price of Bias

Editor & Publisher:
The New York Times Co. reported Thursday that its third-quarter 2006 profit from continuing operations plunged 39.2% on costs related to its job cuts and a loss on its sale of its 50% stake in the Discovery Times Channel.
NBC is also laying off 700 employees, 220 of which are from its news operations.

Not a Mistake, but Staying Would Be.

Jonah Goldberg's column today is headed "Iraq Was a Worthy Mistake." No so. I think it was a very good thing that we deposed Saddam and gave Iraq's Shiites a chance to take power. What I don't think is worthwhile is staying there trying to resolve the grievances of 1400 years.

I don't care if they have a civil war. America's divisions were too great to be contained and they were nowhere near as old as the Shia/Sunni split, so why should we deny it to these people, who don't want us around anyway?

John Yoo reviews how the military commissions law tells federal courts to butt out of the President's war powers. It's real import is in reasserting the inherent war powers of the Presidency. I think we may yet reach the point where the Courts are told they'll have to enforce their ruling themselves.

Bush's Biggest Mistake

Will probably be keeping George Tenet on as DCI. If Stephen Grey is correct the CIA has been severely compromised by interference from lawyers.
[T]he CIA’s ability to covertly transport terrorists – a process known as rendition – has been hobbled by boneheaded legal restrictions and laughably poor spycraft. These legal restrictions were imposed during the Clinton era but never lifted by President Bush.

“One CIA pilot told me that in the mid 1990s, when Clinton was president, that the lawyers began to take over. Previously, they used to take CIA planes into hangars all the time, re-spray them, and come out with a different tail number. That way none of the tracing of CIA planes I’ve been doing since 9/11 would have been possible. The idea of flying around with one tail number for three years would have been thought completely nuts,” Grey told me. “But [Clinton-era] lawyers said they needed to stay legal. They even insisted that, to comply with FAA regulations, they needed stewardesses.”

Yes, stewardesses on CIA planes.

With these Clintonian legal rules, it was easy for amateur “plane spotters” around the globe to track the movements of the so-called secret CIA planes. Those plane spotters later pooled their information with Grey, who broke the news in a series of headlines damaging to Bush.

Other CIA mistakes – some of shockingly simple minded – continued well into the Bush years.
The CIA has been leaking secrets like mad. Could it be that some of these lawyers have loose lips? I can practically guarantee that they would be predominantly liberal, opposed to Bush's policies.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Call me Eloi

In 100,000 years,
Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.. . .

People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.
Of course, if we all become gay, it could take slightly longer.

I've had enough.

The nasty ads, the timed "news" stories, the hyped scandals, and smug and snyde opinion pieces, in short the vast compounding of ignorance, arrogance and stupidity have overcome me. Looking over the offerings at Real Clear Politics I found nothing that inspired me to read it. It's all spin, now. And I see nothing new in "the news." I'm about ready to offer Washington, D. C. to North Korea for its next nuke test.

Is the military out of ideas?

Ralph Peters isn't impressed by the /military's new counterinsurgency doctrine. It sounds a lot like "don't bother, just go home."

They're great at coming up with new technologies, but not at effectively countering "assymetrical warfare," i.e. terrorists with AK-47s, RPGs, IEDs and cheap disposable cellphones. They also have practically unlimited access to explosives. How can we have a credible military force when it's so expensive to use, and so worried about our international reputation, that it's essentially useless?

What good is it to win an election when the news media and large parts of the government bureaucracy don't want you to govern?

The Democrat Agenda

Paul Mirengoff disputes the argument that Democrats don't have an agenda:
You hear some Republicans saying that Democrats running for Congress aren't really for anything -- they're against the administration, but offer few concrete proposals of their own.. . .

But that doesn't mean the Democrats are bereft of ideas. They actually have lots of them, and simply choose not to share them with the voters at this time. One big idea the Democrats continue to hold is the need for government control of healthcare.
It was Hillarycare that cost them control of Congress in 1994, but apparently they think that the nation is more ready for it now. Or maybe they just don't really care what the nation thinks.

Of course, without 60 votes in the Senate, they'll face a Republican veto and/or a filibuster. Will the venom lessen? Not in my lifetime.

Trick Question.

Quick, who hates America More, Shiites or Sunnis?

Much is being made of the failure of some government officials to explain the differences between Sunnis and Shiites. Actually, I suspect that this is not much more than intellectual pride at work, and just another of the Times's pieces timed to influence the election.

As far as Hamas and Hezbollah are concerned, what difference this distinction makes isn't all that clear. We know that Persians and Arabs are of different ethnicities, but where does that take us? The piece presumes that we all know why it's important and that the difference between the people who took our hostages at the Iranian embassy and those who blew up the World Trade Center is vastly important. Can you explain the difference between a Wahhabist and Salafist? They come to fundamentalism by different routes, but tracing those routes would require a degree in Islamic law. All that we really need to know is that they both advocate a return to the roots of Islam, stripped of innovations like human rights, democracy, tolerance and making peace with infidels. Ultimately the Sunni-Shiite distinction probably won't come into play until we are defeated and they start dividing up the spoils.

You'd think the author would be more interested in explaining the distinctions to his readers than in ridiculing people without giving a clear explanation of why it matters. I thought the points made by his prey in this game weren't all that irrelevant, or as pathetic as he seems to think. His questions certainly didn't demonstrate why the details are so important, or how it could make much of a difference in knowing how to defeat terrorism. As far as I can see, the techniques of Sunni terrorism and Shiite terrorism aren't all that distinctive. One thing I do know is that Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and the Palestinians are all Sunni and Arabs.

But don't get the idea that this is a connection between Saddam and 9/11. That would be really, really ignorant, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Liberal Glee

So much for moderation. Joe Gandleman seems to think that the President should only speak to hostile reporters from the MSM. His meeting with a number of top talk show hosts last month was reported in the NYTimes in a front page hit piece, three weeks before the election. Apparently it wasn't news when it happened. And apparently, since these people aren't members of the liberal media, they should be kept out of public life. It is a shame in one sense, that the President has to go around the "news" media to get his side of the issues told.

It's kind of comical the way people whose views are all over the broadcast networks, and cable news, with the exception of Fox News Channel, feel so threatened by a segment of the media they don't control. Even more, the relish with which they compound ignorance with their puerile groupthink. I seem to recall that Clinton used to entertain people who agreed with him in the White House, even letting some of them stay overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom.

This election reminds me of the 1976 campaign when voters were sour on the GOP because of Watergate and Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon after he resigned. That's when Jimmy Carter was elected. Four years later, he'd so loused up his job, and the economy that we had double-digit unemployment AND double-digit prime interest rates.
The Democrats are complaining about deficits now. If they cut them, it won't be by cutting spending. I expect that this will be another case of getting what you wish for, but not quite in the way you expected.

What on earth . . .

does a Congressman's daughter have setting up a lobbying firm? If your close relatives are making money off their access to you, basic decency suggests that you ought to pack it in. Doesn't anybody in Washington get that? This is what's really behind the love of earmarks and pork. Local businesses hire lobbyists, who funnel their money to politicians, who get campaign contributions to keep them in office, and the gravy just keeps on flowing. Farming the government seems pretty lucrative.

Where's the outrage?

Mark Foley had to resign in disgrace for sendin lurid emails to former House pages. The Democrats are demanding that Dennis Hastert resign for not getting rid of Foley earlier. Meanwhile, Gerry Studds, a House member who had a sexual affair with a page, was censured but allowed to keep his seat and served for a number of subsequent terms, and was eulogized by his party:
[H]e never apologized - in fact defended the relationship - and was re-elected six times. Congressman Barney Frank said Studds gave people "the courage to be who they are." Ted Kennedy said Studds "changed Massachusetts forever and we'll never forget him." And Congressman William Delahunt said "even now, his legacy is alive and well in the halls of Congress."
Remember this next time there's a scandal: Republicans don't support people who are found to be immoral or criminal. Democrats make excuses and stand behind them. That's the meaning of this episode. Replicans abandoned Nixon when it became clear that he had broken the law. The same with Newt Gingrich and others. Bill Clinton was allowed to remain in office and defended as the greatest president in history.

The European Union repeatedly accuses us of violating human rights at Gitmo and demands that it be closed, but when we've tried to return detainees to their homes in the E.U. they refuse to accept them. The world is sliding unconsciously into hypocrisy and self-deception. And those who see it and say so are doomed to be hated for noticing that the Emperor has no clothes on.

Scandal is not the issue. I know lots of Democrats who are good people, but their national party are hypocrites.

Culture of Corruption Spreads

Harry Reid "has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in an upscale condominium." That appears to against federal election laws. You think someone's sending him a message? Like, don't throw bricks when you live in glass houses.

Stop the Killing. Hang Saddam now!

From Breaking News at the London Times:
The brother of the top prosecutor in the second trial of Saddam Hussein has been shot dead in front of his wife at his home in Baghdad, according to a key official charged with insuring no former members of the Saddam regime hold positions of authority. Imad al-Faroon died immediately after the shooting at his home in west Baghdad, Dr Ali al-Lami, head of the government De-Baathification Committee, said. Al-Faroon's brother is chief prosecutor Muqith al-Faroon, who is leading the Saddam prosecution on charges of crimes against humanity in his alleged killing of thousands of Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war.
Maybe they should postpone more due process until they can guarantee the safety of those who are expected to deliver it.

I've been having a major change in my views about what to do next in Iraq, as I posted below. I'm not sure we are quite up to emptying the oceans with a teaspoon. The complete rule of law is a luxury limited to places where judges, juries, lawyers and parties don't have to fear being killed for their participation.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Night Football

I thought Da Bearss were the team to beat, so far, but the Cardinals are mauling then with Matt Leinart at QB. It's only half-time, but Arizon's defense has been amazing and Leinart has passed for two TDs. Chicago has turned the ball over about four times, and is behind by 17-0 with 44 seconds in the first half.

Update: The only game in NFL history where a team came back from being 20 points down without the offense scoring a point. The Chicago defense and their special teams scored three touchdowns and put their team up by one point, 24-23. Leinart then put together a drive down to within field goal range and the Cardinals' kicker missed the winning field goal.

The Cardinals defense deserved to win. They held Chicago's offense to three points and got 5 turnovers. Rex Grossman was inept. Leinart played very well and kept his cool like a veteran, but in the second half, an Edgerrin James fumble was picked up an returned for taken back for a touchdown. The momentum shifted and the Cards collapsed like a house of--well, you know.

Chicago didn't show up until the second half. I guess it demonstrates how good they are that they could win without a quarterback, but you have to feel badly for the Cards.

Save your bacon. Give up your Pork!

Kimberley Strassel:
If congressional Republicans are facing a rout come November, it's in no small part because they've been headed down the Ohio highway. A few Supreme Court appointments and tax cuts aside, Republicans have largely abandoned the reform agenda that swept them to power in 1994. Their zeal has instead been directed at retaining power, which explains the earmarking epidemic and the Abramoff corruption that followed. Reform of Medicare and Social Security, the death tax, immigration, health care--all fell off the map.
I agree. It's a pretty sad day when your best argument for retaining the majority is that electing your opponents would make matters worse. That isn't going to make me vote for a democrat, even one who sounds like a Republican. My biggest complaint, however, is their lack of discipline and unity.

It might not be a bad idea for Republicans to renew the Contract with America, and explicitly bind themselves to cutting pork, finishing our goals in Iraq, confirming judges who understand the difference between judging and legislating, and gaining control of our borders. I think it could save their bacon to get rid of their pork.

The Myth of Liberal Honesty

Jonathan Alter is coasting on 1970s liberalism. His latest column, "The Myth of the 'Values' Voter," is clichéd to the point of self-parody. If you don't think your values are morally superior to others, why call them values? Essentially you're saying that it doesn't matter what you believe.

This is the kind of argument liberals and postmodernists love to make. It supposedly shows how tolerant and broadminded they are. It also constitutes their biggest complaint about conservatives, the fact that they espouse traditional values, as if their own politics aren't based on liberal values. The current anti-war crowd in control of Democratic Party are as fervent in their ideology as Evangelicals are about their religion, and just as hypocritical, if not more so, in charging religious conservatives are somehow trying to violate the First Amendment. Liberals express disdain for "homophobes" and argue that one's sexuality is nobody's business, until they get a chance to talk about an "influential gay Republican subculture in Washington."

I saw Alter last weekend speaking about his new book, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope. He regaled his audience with stories about the "white lies" FDR employed (such as hiding his disability and living in adultery in the White House) and how he manipulated the American people into near worship of him, with nary a note that such dishonesty wasn't full justified by the ends he was seeking.

I came away with reduced respect for Alter's intellect, and it's even lower now after his column, which is petty and whiny, attacking not the policies and beliefs of those he disagrees with, but the labels that have been applied to them and calling them hypocrites. Wouldn't they be bigger hypocrites if they had reprimanded him but let him keep his seat, like the Democrats did when Gerry Studds was caught having sex with a page?

And then, after decrying the use of the term, he hails Al Gore and Barak Obama as "their best chance yet to grab 'values' back from the right." If it's such a noxious term, why does he think it's such a good thing for Democrats to grab and use?

It seems odd to me that he has just realized that liberals have their own values. We all knew what they were, but, of course, that's why they've been losing elections.

The Memory Hole

I've often dismissed the comparisons of America to Big Brother, but this description of North Korea is chillingly familiar:
My most vivid impression of Pyongyang was that an entire generation must have been eradicated for such a place to exist. Nothing on their empty, energy-deprived streets indicated that anything prior existed. Every book, piece of artwork and building was either made by the Great Leader or about the Great Leader. Their only official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, was four pages long and consisted almost exclusively of praise for their Great Leader. Their state-controlled TV showed mostly undated footage of the Great Leader. Everywhere I went, music played in the background and the subject of the lyrics was inevitably the Great Leader.

The regime of North Korea has done a most efficient job of wiping out Korea's 5,000-year history, imbued with Buddhism, Shamanism and Confucianism, with one amnesia-inflicting spell called "Juche," its political philosophy of self-reliance. And what seems to make the Great Leader so "great" is that he has replaced their lost memory.
Once again, we are all stared down by the threat of war from a tin pot dictator, because his collapse would unlease a flood of 23,000,000 refugees into the South and China, possibly preceded by a war which could easily get out of hand.

We accepted this "solution" because we were tired of war, and could see no end to it if we had to take on China and the Soviet Union too. I don't know if that was the right choice or not, but it hasn't improved in the years since, but only festered. Meanwhile, we don't even have a consensus in the U.S. that there is anything worth fighting for, unless it's a recapture of Congress by Democrats. We have surrendered honor for peace. We now have neither.

Accepting Reality

Dennis Ross is someone with a lot of expertise in peace talks, and I admire him. My first reaction to his Plan for Iraq was negative, but after reading it again, I think that his formulation of the Iraq problem, as "just getting each side to adjust to reality" makes a lot of sense. We have decimated Al Qaeda, but we ought to recognize that resolving the Sunni-Shiite split is not something we can tackle.
The starting point is to recognize that Iraq is not going to be a democratic, unified country that serves as a model for the region. The violence and the Sunni-Shiite division have already ruled that out. Instead, Iraq could, in the best case, evolve into a country that has the following: a central government with limited powers; provincial governments with extensive autonomy; sharing of oil revenue; and, at the local level, some rough form of representation and tolerance for minorities. In those circumstances Iraq might eventually achieve stability.
He next makes a point that I agree with:
Such an outcome won't materialize on its own. To be sure, it could emerge after a prolonged civil war, which is the path we are heading down. Three interconnected initiatives might create a more acceptable path for managing either this outcome or at least our own disengagement from Iraq.
America has grappled with its heritage of slavery of Africans for 3 or 4 centuries, and we still haven't gotten to Dr. King's dream. The divide between Shiites and Sunnis is much older and just as deep, if not more so, than our racial ones, because cruelty and suppression of Shiites has been remembered in religious processions expressing grief over the earliest martyrs of Shiism. The Sunnis have been killing Shiites as apostates and not real Muslims for more than a millennium. By overthrowing Saddam, we have interrupted the latest brutal suppression of Shiite religious practices, and given Shiites the hope of being empowered in a republic in which they are the majority. Most of Iraq's Shiites consider themselves Arabs, but their roots are Persian. They have been massively oppressed and they deserve justice.

Ross proposes three initiatives: a national reconciliation conference "not be disbanded until agreement is reached on amendments to the constitution" assuring Sunnis that their legimate interests be protected; a regional conference with all of Iraq's neighbors, which sounds pretty risky but may be necessary if we are not to get stuck; and lastly:
Third, President Bush should inform Maliki that we will not impose a deadline for withdrawal but we are going to negotiate with his government a timetable for our departure. The difference between a deadline and an agreed timetable is the difference between leaving the Iraqis in the lurch and informing them they have to assume responsibilities.
I think that Condoleeza Rice served notice on Malaki in her latest visit, so that may be what Bush is heading toward doing. Read the whole thing. After learning more about the Shi'ite/Sunni issues, I think that we may not be able to actually have a peaceful end to this, but I do think that our policy has been right so far, but that creating a fully free liberal democracy in Iraq may be a bridge too far. We should acknowledge that, but continue to furnish aid to the new regime.

Another advantage of adopting the Ross plan is that it would allow Republicans to focus on its successes while proving that they are pragmatic about this, as well. We have limited means and the war has limited support at home. We have done a lot of good, but we may need our troops available for other missions dealing with the remaining Axis of Evil. The more I think about this and learn about the history, the more I think that a shakeup in that region might be a good thing.

A blind emphasis on stability isn't necessarily the way to establish justice. Our own civil rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s proves that. It's 50 years on, and we have shown that we are capable of working our problems out. I think that Muslims can do the same if they have to. Will this struggle distract terrorists from targeting the U.S. and other Western societies? Who knows?

Will this be a victory for Democrats? They will claim so, but it will be less credible if Bush follows Ross's advice. I'm willing to admit that I was wrong about the feasibility of establishing a Western style democracy, but I have learned more about Islamic history, and I understand the situation better. I don't feel that we will have failed or that leaving the solution to the Iraqis and their fellow Muslims to work out is a defeat. It is probably all that we could have hoped for.

North Korea and Iran are other problems we have to deal with, but which don't leave us any good options. I believe that we can continue as a superpower as long as we don't expect our military to do more than it was designed for. We had a treaty obligation to help South Vietnam, and we failed that ally. We have no such obligation to Iraq. We have shown adequately that tyrants like Saddam play a dangerous game trying to get around us.

I really think that the book, The Shia Revival, is very important for conservatives to read, and it hasn't received the attention it deserves.

Imitation Marriages Promote Marriage?

Sure, Glenn. And the weakening of family life is an argument for emulating Brave New World. The point is that if gay relationships were "just like" heterosexual ones, they wouldn't be distinguished by labels like "gay" and "same sex." Marriage is not a "same-sex" concept, and the fact that gays yearn to be validated, does not mean we should all have to pretend that it is.

Peace, Man.

The title of Cindy Sheehan's book tells you all you need to know. It's all about her and the source of her celebrity, the assertion that she cares more about peace than anybody else, because she's a mom.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


This bizarre scolding of Britons who find it uncomfortable to converse with people wearing masks is yet another example of why Muslims are making their problems living in Western societies worse. Somewhere, this woman has gotten the idea that being asked to speak face to face is some kind of hate crime, akin to forcing Jews to wear the Star of David on a arm band. She asserts that Muslims are the new Jews. (I'll bet that's a thrill for the imams in Gaza.) Of course, what she is equating here is not being forced to brand yourself so as to be subjected to discrimination, but the practice of wearing your religion and using it as a club to intimidate others in society. All Mr. Straw is saying is that he would prefer that Muslims who come to speak with him NOT hide their faces or dress in the kind of garb that was enforced by the Taliban. They should realize when they come to live in the West, that our local custom, upon meeting people wearing masks, is to assume that we are about to be robbed.

The more I think about it, Muslims aren't the new Jews, they're the new Gays, always pointing to themselves as being picked on and insisting that the rest of society notice and accommodate them, rather than keep their private lives private. Only a society that seeks to enforce its rules tells people what they must wear. Aishah Azmi, a teacher from Dewsbury in England was suspended from her post teaching children learning to speak English as a second language, because she wears a niqab, which hides all but her eyes, and the children couldn't see her mouth move, has achieved fame by complaining of discrimination. Theat's pretty much how the media deal with controversies. Pick the most extreme examples to get every angry and then report the stupidity on both sides.

La Cage Aux Foley

Mark Steyn points out the bizarre frivolity of an election turning on a sex scandal, sans actual sex, while there are real threats to world peace out there:
Thanks in part to last decade's holiday from history, North Korea and Iran don't have to buy any more time. They've got all they need. Life isn't a night on Broadway where you can decide you're not in the mood for "Henry V" and everyone seems to be having a much better time at "La Cage Aux Foley." Forget the Republicans for a moment. In Connecticut, the contest is between a frivolous liberal running on myopic parochial platitudes and a serious liberal who has the measure of the times and has thus been cast out by the Democratic Party. His state's voters seem disinclined to endorse the official Dems' full-scale embrace of trivia and myopia. The broader electorate should do the same.
Part of the column is an object lesson in how the media make up the news. It's simple, really you ask a loaded question and then report the response of those you cover to your question as news. In this case the reporter was sent to report on the indictment of Adam Gadahn for treason. But he apparently sees this as being timed to draw attention away from the Mark Foley scandal. He foils this scurvy trick by asking a Justice Department representative by asking him if that isn't what's really going on. The representative says no, it isn't. But the reporter has his story: ""Justice Department officials denied the case was timed to deflect attention from the fallout over lewd computer messages sent by a former Republican congressman to young male aides, a scandal that may help Democrats seize control of Congress in the Nov. 7 elections."

This is the old McCarthy trick. "Do you deny that . . .?" It's also a method used by trial lawyers to introduce ideas into the minds of the jury for which there is no evidence whatsoever. It's a leading question, and it's not allowed on direct questioning, only on cross-examination. In essence, it allows the questioner to testify to the jury. He doesn't care what the answer is. By asking his questions with details and rhetorical skill, he tells the jury a story the only support for which is that it may be consistent with facts that have been alleged. "Isn't it true, Deputy Fuhrmann, that Mrs. Simpson was a drug addict and was murdered by Colombian drug dealers to whom she owed money?" You get the idea.

Now that's misleading, but our criminal justice system allows it because of the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. These questions are allowed for the purpose of testing the case presented by the state, to probe and perhaps discover weaknesses.

But what is the excuse of a news reporter for using techniques of cross-examination, if he is truly fair and objective>? Journalists, which is a fifty-cent word (in the parlance of Newsweek) for reporter. Reporters like it, because it sounds more professional and it rids them of the association with what "reporting" means. Reporting is boring. Journalism allows you to put words in the mouth of the people you write about, to interpret events for your readers, to play Woodward and Bernstein, but with yourself as Deep Throat.

There are a couple of reasons why this is pernicious. First, there is no judge to rule on the propriety of such questions. I've often thought it would be nice if the people giving press conferences were to interpose objections to questions, based on the rules of evidence used in courts, and just refuse to dignify them with an answer until they drop the implications furnished by the reporter. Second, there is no opposing questioner who can point out the fallacies and sophistries to the reader or listener.

Our First Amendment was written in a journalistic environment of vigorous arguments from all along the continuum of opinions on public issues. It the founders had foreseen our present situation, in which the points of view have been been limited to a very narrow bandwidth, in which only certain points can get through.

I realize that this post is didactic and pedantic, so I'll nip it with this: Go read Steyn's excellent piece and ask yourself if you really need a "news" service to tell you what to think of events in addition to the events themselves.

Santorum is Toast

I liked his politics, but I had doubts about Rick Santorum when it came out that he didn't live in Pennsylvania, but was using the fact of his kids
attending school in PA to claim residency. As a voter, that would offend me quite a bit, no matter how much I agreed with the guy. Casey doesn't appear to be much of a candidate, but Santorum's attack dog routine at their latest debate did him no credit. It just really made him look like a jerk. I'm sure he was coached to do it, but looking desperate and peevish is not what you want to project. He was a pretty good Senator, but he really blew it. Casey will be a back bencher, but a reliable vote for the Dems.

Selena Zito:
For 18 months, Casey has controlled the message and the tone by keeping his head low. That may not work anymore -- if Santorum, finally, can capitalize on himself.. . .

Quite frankly, Casey had done a brilliant job of sitting in a room, raising money and watching Santorum make all of the noise. He's effectively made Santorum run against Santorum.. . .

Staying negative on Casey probably will not work; voters view him as capable -- not spectacular, but capable. In the debate, they even saw a pulse, but he's still not the second coming for Keystone State Democrats. The evidence is in a popular bumper sticker that reads, "Bob Casey for Senate -- well at least he's not Rick Santorum."

The Never Ending Scanal.

Jack Abramoff has pled guilty, but the LATimes still wants to make him a campaign issue. I'm shocked, shocked that lobbying is going on in Washington!

It doesn't say why Mehlman agreed to Abramoff's points, but it implies strongly that the White House was Mr. A's rubber stamp. That's almost certainly a misrepresentation. Not everything Abramoff did was unethical or illegal. If it were, a whole lot of Democrats would be embroiled in scandal as well, like Harry Reid, who received donations from Abramoff's clientele. That isn't mentioned, so it must be OK, right?

Does this make sense?

With Eye On 2008, Kerry Goes After Bush. Does he understand that Bush won't be running in 2008?

The Few. The Proud. The Murtha.

If Jack Murtha thinks he's making a compelling argument for getting out of Iraq, he needs to retire. What kind of Marine wants to run from the kind of cowards who murder civilians indiscriminately?

Murtha is obviously running for Majority Leader when Pelosi moves up to Speaker, but he's also reinforcing Bush's points about the Democrats' being unserious about terrorism.

Got Spin?

Robert Kuttner:
I've heard smart people argue that George W. Bush has left such a mess that maybe the Democrats would be better off just letting the mess fall on the Republicans in 2008.
So if they don't take the House, they can say they really didn't want it? Or is this supposed to explain why they have no real plans or agenda. Somebody has been thinking, and realized that Democrats aren't too likely to do much differently.

Meanwhile, Ralph Peters is telling conservatives that it really won't hurt to lose the House to the Dems, because they'll mess things up so badly that Republicans will be back in come 2008.