Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mr. Woodward's Sources

WaPo editorialized We've said from the start of the investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's identity that if administration officials deliberately set out to unmask a secret agent, they should be punished.

That never was the case. Some low level CIA employees decided to attempt a coup, and affect the outcome of an election, and blame the VP's office at the same time, and the VP's office was just making it clear that they did not send Wilson to investigate something he had no expertise in.
But we've also said that, absent evidence of such behavior, criminalizing communication by officials to journalists would run counter to the public interest. Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation is continuing -- he said yesterday he's going back to a grand jury -- and new facts may come to light. But the principle remains valid: It's not in the public interest for reporters to be forced to reveal their confidential sources in cases such as this. That's why Post reporter Bob Woodward should not be vilified for protecting the identity of his source in this complex affair.
Actually there are WAY too many "confidential sources" and I wish every reporter printing something just attributed to "confidential sources" should be required to reveal those sources. But this should not be selectively done.
Here we remind readers that the editorial page operates separately from those who gather and publish news in The Post. Mr. Woodward doesn't answer to us, and he has no input on our page. Like other interested observers, we have noted that Executive Editor Leonard Downie, to whom Mr. Woodward does report, has faulted his investigative reporter for failing to tell him sooner what was going on and for expressing personal opinions on television about the Fitzgerald investigation, and Mr. Woodward has apologized. Both rebukes strike us as reasonable -- as does Mr. Downie's characterization of Mr. Woodward as "one of the most careful, accurate and fair journalists I have ever worked with." But the Woodward flap has significance beyond The Post's newsroom. The longtime Post reporter disclosed this week that, while conducting research for a book, he received information from an administration official about Ms. Plame before her identity was revealed by Robert D. Novak in a July 2003 column. That information was potentially relevant to Fitzgerald's investigation and to a news story that has been extensively covered in this and other papers. Mr. Woodward said he told one Post reporter at the time what he had learned but did not disclose the source. Mr. Woodward recently testified to the prosecutor, with the source's permission and after the source had spoken with Mr. Fitzgerald, but still (again according to his agreement) has not publicly identified the source.

Much of the public finds the media's extensive use of confidential sources objectionable, and understandably so.
Then why do you continue to do it.
Their use should be as limited as possible. When they are relied upon, reporters should impart as much information as possible about the sources' motives. Those guidelines are accepted but too often ignored by the press.

But over the years innumerable cases of official corruption and malfeasance have come to light thanks to sources being able to count on confidentiality.
And the left wing MSM has been able to make use of unnamed, "confidential" sources (that may or may not be real) to hurt the administration.
It's astonishing to see so many people -- especially in the journalism establishment -- forget that now. Many of those who condemn Mr. Woodward applauded when The Post recently revealed the existence of CIA prisons around the world, a story that relied on unnamed sources.
I believe the reporter that wrote that story should be brought befor a grand jury and compelled to reveal the source, and if the source is not revealed, the reported should be sent to jail.
Is there a distinction to be made based on the motives of the leakers? If so, Mr. Woodward might have had to pass up his first big scoops three decades ago, because his Watergate source, Deep Throat -- recently revealed as FBI official W. Mark Felt -- was disgruntled at having been passed over for the post of FBI director. Newspapers face difficult questions all the time in evaluating the reliability of sources and the appropriateness of publishing their secrets. But if potential sources come to believe that they cannot count on promises of confidentiality, more than the media will suffer.


Watcher of Weasels

Watcher of Weasels hilighted a piece by The Anchoress called Attention GOP Leadership. I agree with them. I missed it when it was first posted (I was still getting caught up from my time in the hospital), but I urge everyone to read it now. Here are some highlights If your plan was to make people so disgusted with your cowardice

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) asking Bill Frist to hold off on a probe of the disclosure of classified information on secret prisons to The Washington Post
, your disorganization
A leak suspected to have come from the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) complicated, confused and nearly derailed a joint effort by Senate and House Republican leaders to seek an investigation of the unauthorized release of classified information related to how The Washington Post discovered of the existence of CIA-run detention and interrogation facilities in eight foreign countries.
and your political tone-deafness
House Drops Arctic Drilling From Bill
that they either stop contributing to the RNC, or they decide to just sit out the next election (because what’s the point), or they decide to vote out every stinking one of you in the next elections, because you freaking well deserve ouster for literally doing nothing constructive and squandering your majority…well…you have succeeded spectacularly! Beyond your wildest imaginings, I am sure. I can’t think of a single reason to vote to re-elect a any one of you.
The only possible reason would be that a Democrat might be elected instead. What should be done is that reliable conservatives need to challenge the RINOs and the weak-backbone Republicans in the primaries.
The world is tilting, and you useless, ineffectual, dithering moneysuckers seem increasingly to be empty suits, given shape and movement not by ideas and a willingness to serve the electorate, but by wispy tufts of ambitious smoke. You seem directed toward nothing more than keeping your almighty Senate or House seat in your name. You give away your power, you give away your advantages in committee, you leave in place utterly feckless people like Arlen Specter and then, when you finally seem like you are on the cusp of doing something productive and right, like investigating the CIA or okaying drilling in a bare, muddly, uninhabitable tundra, you fall into a faint and go slinking back to your states and districts to gladhand and pump for money and then gladhand some more.....


Index ranks Middle East freedom

BBC reports There is a wide range of democratisation across the Middle East, a survey by a leading research and advisory firm has found. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked 20 countries on 15 indicators of political and civil liberty. The Index of Political Freedom lists Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories as the most democratic parts of the region. Libya received the lowest rating, below Syria and Saudi Arabia. The EIU scored each country on a 10-point scale, awarding one point for the least political freedom and 10 for the most. Lebanon is free in a very particular sense: it is no longer under military occupation. Most Palestinians do not enjoy that freedom, and yet they have just had local elections and are preparing for parliamentary ones in January, our correspondent says. As for Iraq, its high score is a bit surprising, given the level of violence there, our correspondent says. Iraqis no long live under a dictatorship and now have plenty of publications and political parties to choose from. But their freedom of movement is constrained by the bombings and kidnappings, and that is a big limitation.

I find it interesting that they rank Iraq and Palestine equally. There are bombings in both places, but in the case of Iraq it is a minority of a minority trying to regain control plus some foreign fighters trying to create anarchy, and in the case of Palestine it is terrorists wanting to wage war on a neighbor, and unwilling to follow instructions from their own government.
Index Of Political Freedom
  • Israel: 8.20
  • Lebanon: 6.55
  • Morocco: 5.20
  • Iraq: 5.05
  • Palestine: 5.05
  • Kuwait: 4.90
  • Tunisia: 4.60
  • Jordan: 4.45
  • Qatar: 4.45
  • Egypt: 4.30
  • Sudan: 4.30
  • Yemen: 4.30
  • Algeria: 4.15
  • Oman: 4.00
  • Bahrain: 3.85
  • Iran: 3.85
  • UAE: 3.70
  • Saudi Arabia: 2.80
  • Syria: 2.80
  • Libya: 2.05

Freedom Indicators
  • Election of head of government
  • Election of parliament
  • Fairness of electoral laws
  • Right to organise political parties
  • Power of elected representatives
  • Presence of an opposition
  • Transparency
  • Minority participation
  • Level of corruption
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Independence of the judiciary
  • Press freedom
  • Religious freedom
  • Rule of law
  • Property rights


Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan

CNN reported The top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense official. Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq early next year....

I am not surprised that some troops may be withdrawn after the December election, but it will not mark the start of the steady withdrawal, irregardless of what else happens in Iraq, that the Democrats are calling for.
Rumsfeld has yet to sign Casey's withdrawal plan but, the senior defense official said, implementation of the plan, if approved, would start after the December 15 Iraqi elections so as not to discourage voters from going to the polls. The plan, which would withdraw a limited amount of troops during 2006, requires that a host of milestones be reached before troops are withdrawn. Top Pentagon officials have repeatedly discussed some of those milestones: Iraqi troops must demonstrate that they can handle security without U.S. help; the country's political process must be strong; and reconstruction and economic conditions must show signs of stability.
Precisely. The milestones must be met, not some arbitrary calendar date.


House Rejects Iraq Pullout

WaPo reported Differences over policy on the Iraq war ignited an explosion of angry words and personal insults on the House floor yesterday when the chamber's newest member suggested that a decorated war veteran was a coward for calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

I don't believe Murtha was a coward. His life was not threatened. I believe that he has decided to embrace Al Qaeda's desires, and give them a training ground in Iraq, without having to worry about US Troops there.
As Democrats physically restrained one colleague, who appeared as if he might lose control of himself as he rushed across the aisle to confront Republicans with a jabbing finger, they accused Republicans of playing political games with the war. GOP leaders hastily scheduled a vote on a measure to require the Bush administration to bring the troops home now, an idea proposed Thursday by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.). The Republican-proposed measure was rejected 403 to 3, a result that surprised no one.
At least the troops know that the House voted 403 to 3 to support them.
The idea was to force Democrats to go on the record on a proposal that the administration says would be equivalent to surrender. Recognizing a political trap, most Democrats -- including Murtha -- said from the start they would vote no.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Phony Theory, False Conflict

Charles Krauthammer wrote in WaPo Because every few years this country, in its infinite tolerance, insists on hearing yet another appeal of the Scopes monkey trial, I feel obliged to point out what would otherwise be superfluous: that the two greatest scientists in the history of our species were Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, and they were both religious.

Newton's religion was traditional. He was a staunch believer in Christianity and a member of the Church of England. Einstein's was a more diffuse belief in a deity who set the rules for everything that occurs in the universe. Neither saw science as an enemy of religion. On the contrary. "He believed he was doing God's work," James Gleick wrote in his recent biography of Newton. Einstein saw his entire vocation -- understanding the workings of the universe -- as an attempt to understand the mind of God.

Not a crude and willful God who pushes and pulls and does things according to whim. Newton was trying to supplant the view that first believed the sun's motion around the earth was the work of Apollo and his chariot, and later believed it was a complicated system of cycles and epicycles, one tacked upon the other every time some wobble in the orbit of a planet was found. Newton's God was not at all so crude. The laws of his universe were so simple, so elegant, so economical and therefore so beautiful that they could only be divine.

Which brings us to Dover, Pa., Pat Robertson, the Kansas State Board of Education, and a fight over evolution that is so anachronistic and retrograde as to be a national embarrassment.

Dover distinguished itself this Election Day by throwing out all eight members of its school board who tried to impose "intelligent design" -- today's tarted-up version of creationism -- on the biology curriculum.

It is not that the people of Dover wanted only secularism taught in school, they just did not want to pay for the lawsuits that might be necessary.
Pat Robertson then called the wrath of God down upon the good people of Dover for voting "God out of your city."
Pat Robertson is an embarrasment to Christians
Meanwhile, in Kansas, the school board did a reverse Dover, mandating the teaching of skepticism about evolution and forcing intelligent design into the statewide biology curriculum.
Good for them.
Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable. How does one empirically disprove the proposition that God was behind the lemur, or evolution -- or behind the motion of the tides or the "strong force" that holds the atom together?
As a scientific theory Intelligent Design does have its problems; but it's purpose is not to challenge the provable parts of evolution, i.e. the adaptation of a species to its environment. What the proponents of ID object to is the Secular Humanists have extended the provable parts of Evolution and have said that the same process (random chance) must apply to the creation of new species - something that has never been proven scientifically. If the schools would just teach that part of evolution which can be proven scientifically, there would be no reason for ID. But if they insist on teaching the Secular Humanist (an athiest/agnostic religion) view of the creation of new species, then they should give equal time to the ID (a religious perspective that should be acceptable to Christians, Jews, and Muslims).
In order to justify the farce that intelligent design is science, Kansas had to corrupt the very definition of science, dropping the phrase " natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," thus unmistakably implying -- by fiat of definition, no less -- that the supernatural is an integral part of science. This is an insult both to religion and science.

The school board thinks it is indicting evolution by branding it an "unguided process" with no "discernible direction or goal." This is as ridiculous as indicting Newtonian mechanics for positing an "unguided process" by which Earth is pulled around the sun every year without discernible purpose. What is chemistry if not an "unguided process" of molecular interactions without "purpose"? Or are we to teach children that God is behind every hydrogen atom in electrolysis?
God is not a puppet master, controlling everything. He created everything, and while He has the ability to intervene anytime He wants, He seldom does.
He may be, of course. But that discussion is the province of religion, not science. The relentless attempt to confuse the two by teaching warmed-over creationism as science can only bring ridicule to religion, gratuitously discrediting a great human endeavor and our deepest source of wisdom precisely about those questions -- arguably, the most important questions in life -- that lie beyond the material.
Don't teach ID; but don't teach the Secular Humanist version of the creation of new species. Just teach the parts of Evolution that can be proven.
How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein? Even if it did give us the Kansas State Board of Education, too.

NotInMyBible blogged There is no rational reason for faith and evolution* to be in conflict (*Or any other aspect of science.) There are, however, political and financial reasons for theofascists to keep stirring the pot. They are separatists who want eventually to get rid of everyone who isn't one of them.
ID can appeal to the beliefs of Christians (Protestants and Catholic), Jews, and Muslims. That does not sound like getting rid of everyone who isn't one of them.
Oh, and Charles Krauthammer is even right this time. First time in my memory he was right about anything.

"Radical" Russ blogged But this -- agreeing with Washington Post columnist and Fox News talking head Charles Krauthammer -- ugh, I don't know if I should celebrate or take a shower
Perhaps you should do both.
Cleek blogged Charles Krauthammer, who looks like Mandy Patinkin's grumpy brother, is usually someone worth disagreeing with. Nonetheless he has an excellent column today about my second favorite subject: 'Intelligent Design'.

Jason blogged Periodically I go off on a rant about the anti-science tendencies of the modern Republican party. I do so knowing that in response I can expect some well-meaning commenter to lecture me about how not all conservatives are anti-science and that I shouldn't paint with such a big brush and all that.

In that spirit, allow me to link to this excellent column from Charles Krauthammer. It gets off to a shaky start, talking up the religiosity of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Einstein, however, was not religious in any sense an evangelical Christian would recognize. In fact, he once ridiculed the idea of a personal God as a childish delusion.
It depends on what you mean by a personal God. If you mean someone to do what you want, just because you pray for it, I agree that is foolish. If you are talking about someone having a personal relationship to God, that is to be admired.


Dutch MP to make gay Islam film

BBC reports A Somali-born Dutch MP who collaborated on the film that led to the murder of director Theo van Gogh has written a sequel, about Islam's attitude to gays.

Look for the next attack of the Islamofascists to be in the Netherlands.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali received death threats after her work on Submission, a film about Islam's treatment of women. Van Gogh was shot and stabbed by a Muslim radical, Mohammed Bouyeri, as he cycled through Amsterdam in 2004. The film will use anonymous actors and carry no credits in an effort to protect those involved in the project. Ms Ali told Dutch media that she had co-written the script with Van Gogh in the summer of 2004, months before he was killed last November. "I examine the position of homosexuals in Islam in the film Submission II," she told the De Volkskrant newspaper. "In the movie, they are called Allah's creatures," she added. The MP is an outspoken critic of Islamic values and describes herself as a "lapsed" Muslim. Mainstream Islamic thought treats Islam and homosexuality as incompatible, and hostility to homosexuals is widespread in many parts of the Muslim world.
When Christian Churches point out verses in the Bible that say homosexuality is a sin, they are accused of being homophobic. The Christians dont kill anyone, or bomb any buildings, they just speak out against homosexuality. It will be interesting to see what the reaction will be when Muslims react to this new Dutch film.


Extension of Patriot Act

NYT reports A tentative deal to extend the government's antiterrorism powers under the law known as the USA Patriot Act appeared in some jeopardy Thursday, as Senate Democrats threatened to mount a filibuster in an effort to block the legislation.

First we have a key Democrat urging immediate withdrawal of forces from Iraq, which would result in turning the country over to Al Qaeda, and now we have Democrats wanting to block renewal of the powers that have protected us since 9/11
"This is worth the fight," Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview. "I've cleared my schedule right up to Thanksgiving," Mr. Feingold said, adding that he was making plans to read aloud from the Bill of Rights as part of a filibuster if necessary.
If these idiots do go forward with their filibuster, make them do a real filibuster, and keep tapes on everything they say. A lot of it will make for some really good campaign ads when (not if) there is an attack in the US that could have been prevented had the Patriot Act been renewed.
The political maneuvering came even before negotiators for the House and Senate had agreed on a final deal to extend the government's counterterrorism powers under the act. With a tentative deal in place on Wednesday, Congressional negotiators had been expected to reach a final, printed agreement by early Thursday for the full House and Senate to consider. But despite minute-by-minute updates about a possible conclusion, the day passed on with no final agreement, causing no shortage of nervousness among Bush administration officials and Republican supporters of the tentative deal. By Thursday evening, officials said negotiators had reached what amounted to an impasse for the day, as those from the Senate pushed for further civil rights safeguards that were seen as unacceptable to House leaders. Talks are expected to pick up again on Friday, officials said. The tentative deal reached by negotiators would make permanent 14 of the 16 provisions of the law that are set to expire at the end of the year. The remaining two provisions - related to government demands for records from businesses and libraries and its use of roving wiretaps - would have to be reconsidered in seven years, as would a separate provision on taking aim at people suspected of being "lone wolf" terrorists.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not all Muslims want to integrate

Bruce Bawer wrote in csmonitor The recent rioting in Paris suburbs and elsewhere in Europe should not have surprised anyone. Europe's Muslim communities are powder kegs, brimming with an alienation born of both an assiduously inculcated antagonism toward infidel society and an infidel society whose integration policies - which should actually be called segregation policies - have perversely encouraged this ire.

I first noticed the problem when I lived in Amsterdam in 1999. A visitor to that city might imagine that not one Muslim lived there. But to venture just a few blocks beyond the tourist-crowded streets was to learn otherwise. In my neighborhood, the sidewalks were crowded with hijab-clad women pushing baby carriages. There were as many signs in Arabic as in Dutch. Outside the "neighborhood center" waved a large Turkish flag. Such districts, I learned, could be found across Europe. Muslims were a huge, rapidly growing - and highly segregated - minority. In city after city, downtown areas were almost 100 percent European, the outskirts increasingly Muslim.

Americans know about ghettos. For many of our families, they've been a stage in the transition from immigrant to native. Many ghetto residents are still, essentially, foreigners; integration takes place largely in the next generation, as the children of immigrants go to school, find jobs, and leave the ghetto behind.

Not in Europe. Officially, to be sure, France is less multicultural than most European countries - witness its rejection of religious labels in public documents and its ban on hijabs in schools.

France is multicultural but it just hates religion. Not just Islam. They also dont like Christians or Jews. The ACLU would love living in France.
But enduring segregation is a fact of life in France as it is elsewhere on the continent. Millions of "French Muslims" don't consider themselves French. A government report leaked last March depicted an increasingly two-track educational system: More and more Muslim students refuse to sing, dance, participate in sports, sketch a face, or play an instrument. They won't draw a right angle (it looks like part of the Christian cross). They won't read Voltaire and Rousseau (too antireligion), Cyrano de Bergerac (too racy), Madame Bovary (too pro-women), or Chrétien de Troyes (too chrétien). One school has separate toilets for "Muslims" and "Frenchmen"; another obeyed a Muslim leader's call for separate locker rooms because "the circumcised should not have to undress alongside the impure."

Many Muslims, wanting to enjoy Western prosperity but repelled by Western ways, travel regularly back to their homelands.
If they don't like western ways, then they should stay there.
From Oslo, where I live, there are more direct flights every week to Islamabad than to the US. A recent Norwegian report noted that among young Norwegians of Pakistani descent, family honor depends largely on "not being perceived as Norwegian - as integrated." .....

Read the rest.


Ignoring the Facts

Richard Cohen wrote in WaPo In one of the most intellectually incoherent major speeches ever delivered by a minor president, George W. Bush blamed "some Democrats and antiwar critics" last week for changing their minds about the war in Iraq and now saying they were deceived. "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said. Yes, sir, but it is even more deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how history was rewritten in the first place.

The only rewriting of history is that being done by the MSM and the Dems
It is the failure to acknowledge this -- not merely that mistakes were made -- that is so troubling about Bush and others in his administration. Yes, the president is right: Foreign intelligence services also thought Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Yes, he is right that members of Congress drew the same conclusion -- although none of them saw the raw intelligence that the White House did.
The intelligence committees had access to it.
And he is right, too, that Saddam Hussein had simply ignored more than a dozen U.N. resolutions demanding that he reopen his country to arms inspectors. When it came to U.N. resolutions, Hussein was notoriously hard of hearing.We can endlessly debate the facts of the Iraq war -- and we will. More important, though, is the mind-set of those in the administration, from the president on down, who had those facts -- or, as we shall see, none at all -- and mangled them in the cause of going to war with Iraq. For example, the insistence that Hussein was somehow linked to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- a leitmotif of Bush administration geopolitical fantasy -- tells you much more than whether this or that fact was right. It tells you that to Bush and his people, the facts did not matter.
It really says a lot more about the Democrats and their willingness to lie. Bush never said that Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He said that Hussein had supported terrorists, and he did, paying for many of the suicide bombers in Israel. And he said that Iraq hosted terrorists, and it did, both in Baghdad and in camps in the North. And Hussein did make efforts to communicate with Al Qaeda.
It did not matter that Mohamed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 terrorists, never met with Iraqis in Prague, as high-level Bush officials claimed.
There were several cases where the intelligence agencies were wrong.
It did not matter that Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was finding no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
He has not done much better with Iran or North Korea? Does Richard Cohen believe that neither of them have such programs?
None of that mattered to Vice President Cheney, who warned of a "reconstituted" nuclear weapons program, promoted the nonexistent Prague meeting and went after legitimate critics with a zealousness that Tony Soprano would have admired: "We will not hesitate to discredit you," Cheney told ElBaradei and Hans Blix, the other important U.N. inspector. ElBaradei recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. Cheney's gonna have to wait for his.
I would not expect the left wing Nobel Committee to honor Bush or anyone else in the administration, even if Bush is right and democracy in Iraq spreads throughout the Middle East.
Nobody has been repudiated by Bush for incompetence and dishonesty regarding Iraq. Instead, some -- former CIA director George "Slam-Dunk" Tenet comes to mind -- have received presidential medals. What's more, there's evidence aplenty that the sloppy thinking, false analogies and bad history that led to the Iraq war remain the cultural style of the White House. The president's recent speech, for instance, conflates all sorts of terrorist incidents -- from Israel to Chechnya -- neglecting that they are specific to their regions and have nothing to do with al Qaeda. Every bombing somehow becomes an attack on Western values "because we stand for democracy and peace." Oh, stop it!
Please don't stop it.
It would be nice, fitting and pretty close to sexually exciting if Bush somehow acknowledged his mistakes and said he had learned from them.
Democrats certainly are focused on sexual matters, aren't they.
But more important -- far more important -- is what this would mean for the conduct of foreign policy from here on out. Repeatedly in his speech, Bush mentioned Syria, Iran and North Korea -- Syria above all. If push comes to shove there, it would be nice to have absolute confidence in American intelligence and the case for possibly widening the war. If we are to go to the mat with North Korea or the increasingly alarming Iran, then, once again, it would be wonderful to have the confidence we once had in the intelligence community -- as imparted to us by our president. Is there or is there not a threatening nuclear weapons program on the horizon?

At the moment, no one can have confidence in the Bush administration. It has shown itself inept in the run-up to the war and the conduct of it since. Almost three years into the war, the world is not safer, the Middle East is less stable,
Saddam is no longer in charge of Iraq, even with the insurgents and foreign fighters killing Iraqis, fewer Iraqis are dying than under Saddam, and Iraq now has a democratic constitution, and will elect the first government under that constitution in December.
and Americans and others die for a mission that is not what it once was and cannot be what it now is called: a fight for democracy. It would be nice, as well as important, to know how we got into this mess -- nice for us, important for the president. It wasn't that he had the wrong facts. It was that the right ones didn't matter.


Rep. John Murtha joins Al Qaeda

Yahoo! News reports An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

Such an action would guarantee that Iraq would become a host nation for terrorism, just like Afganistan was when Al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attack, except it is much easier to get to and from Iraq, and they would find it much easier to attack their neighbors. Since what John Murtha recommends is exactly the opposite of what is good for America, I am left with no alternative to conclude that he has betrayed the USA, and sold his soul to Al Qaeda.
"It is time for a change in direction," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats. "Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region."
All wrong.
House Republicans assailed Murtha's position as one of abandonment and surrender, and accused Democrats of playing politics with the war. "They want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world,"
That is the job of the French.
Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said. Murtha estimated that all U.S. troops could be pulled out within six months. A Vietnam veteran, he choked back tears during his remarks to reporters. Murtha's comments came just two days after the Senate voted to approve a statement that 2006 "should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" to create the conditions for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces.


Open Source (Pajamas) Media

James Joyner blogged in Outside The Beltway The thing bloggers most like to blog about is blogging itself, especially the hypothesis that blogging will one day transform the global media--if it already hasn't. Thus, it's not surprising that yesterday's launch of Open Source (nee' Pajamas) Media is among the hottest topics in the blogosphere. Of course, if you just like to read blogs, it may be the most boring topic in the blogosphere.

Below is a lengthy collection of responses to a survey I sent out yesterday to several prominent bloggers associated with OSM/PJM supplemented with other blogger commentary on the subject

James mentions my response in his post:
Don Singleton was perhaps the most enthusiastic of the responders:

I believe that the blogosphere is the wave of the future, and am interested in participating in any endeavor that advances it.
He sees the organization as
A clearinghouse for advertisements, to allow me to focus my efforts strictly on blogging.


AFAIK, the only control they will apply is requiring me to insert some code to process their ads. They forbid me to take other ads, but I do not object to that. Getting ad revenue without having to solicit my own ads, deal with the advertiser, etc, was a big positive.

Christopher Lydon blogged In May we named our show “Open Source” and we named our non-profit production company “Open Source Media.” In fact, used to be our URL until we decide to scrap the “net” and look for an “org.” is a domain name owned by Jack Brighton in Champaign, Illinois, who is apparently affiliated with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but the website at that domain is just a parked page.
But here’s the actual legal-type description of what we are:
A joint production of Open Source Media Inc. and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Open Source is presented by WGBH Radio Boston and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI).
What this means is that we are seven people in a rented office with, incidentally, a rather bold mouse who does not yet have a name. We make a radio show four times a week that uses bloggers as local and topical experts; this show is distributed to public radio stations by Public Radio International, and to truckers and early adopters by XM satellite radio.

So this morning I got an email from a listener with the following subject header:
did someone steal your name?
Hm. A company that used to call itself Pajamas Media now calls itself Open Source Media, which is — scroll down to our legal notice — kind of exactly what we call ourselves. They’ve collected $3.5 million in venture capital, and, to celebrate their re-naming of our already-named name, they’re holding an event at the Rainbow Room.

So what to do. A couple of blogs —
Atrios, Stephen den Beste, Dennis the Peasant, Begging to Differ, Homocon — have picked up on this already, unprompted, perhaps because if you Google “open source media”, we’re the third result. Presumably the new “Open Source Media” Googled their new name before they settled on it?

Don’t get us wrong; we didn’t invent the idea of working with bloggers to make media, we certainly didn’t invent the concept “open source,” and there’s plenty of room for everyone to do what we’ve been doing. But they chose the same name that we established in May and, seeing as how we work in the same industry, people might find that a little confusing. And that has us puzzled.

Update 11/16, 4:33 pm
The Talent Show and Daily Kos point out that the original idea behind “open source” — the software concept, not the radio show — was that you borrow from the work of others, then release your own work back out to be borrowed in turn. To that end, we made a priority from the very beginning of putting a Creative Commons license on our site and all of the mp3 files of our broadcasts.

Whether the board at PM/OSM will stick with the OSM name, or be forced to select another one, is something for them to figure out, but I still think the concept is a good one.


Vaccine Funding Tied to Liability

WaPo reported Legislation that would pour billions of dollars into the production of vaccines against avian flu and other pandemic diseases is threatened by the trial lawyers' lobby, which objects to proposed limits onlawsuits against drug manufacturers.

This is stupid. There is not that much money to be made on vaccines, particularly vaccines that must be developed quickly to protect from a pandemic. If we want the drug companies to devert efforts in making popular drugs like viagra, to develop low profit margin vaccines we need to give them some protection against lawsuits.
Republican congressional leaders, acting at the urging of President Bush, hope to approve a measure soon that would appropriate about $7 billion to pay for vaccines that would combat a flu epidemic and biological attacks by terrorists. The bill could begin moving on Capitol Hill this week. But the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and some of its Democratic allies in Congress are working to scuttle or drastically transform the effort, asserting that anti-lawsuit language in the bill would so broadly indemnify pharmaceutical companies against suits that consumers' rights would be denied.
Vaccines would not be forced on anyone. If someone thinks a vaccine might make them sick, they should not take it, rather than taking it and then bringing a lawsuit against the manufacturer
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the Senate's chief advocate for strict liability protections, asserted that the companies need to be thoroughly indemnified against suits to provide enough of an incentive for them to make vaccines, which tend to be low-profit products.


Two 'Bridges to Nowhere'

NYT reported Congressional Republicans decided Wednesday to take a legislative wrecking ball to two Alaskan bridge projects that had demolished the party's reputation for fiscal austerity.

It is good that they removed the earmarks for these two projects. But Alaska will still get the money, to spend any way they want. They should remove all of the earmarks for the other projects, and return the funds to the treasury.
Straining to show new dedication to lower spending, House and Senate negotiators took the rare step of eliminating a requirement that $442 million be spent to build the two bridges, spans that became cemented in the national consciousness as "bridges to nowhere" because of the remote territory and small populations involved. The change will not save the federal government any money. Instead, the $442 million will be turned over to the state with no strings attached, allowing lawmakers and the governor there to parcel it out for transportation projects as they see fit, including the bridges should they so choose. Lawmakers said widespread news coverage had turned the bridges, near Ketchikan and Anchorage, into symbols of Congressional excess. Some members of Congress said they got more questions at town meetings about the bridges than about the new Medicare drug program. A Republican pollster warned that the projects were a political albatross.
They still have the albatross around their necks; just the albatross dead.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Terrorism: The Root Causes

David Meir-Levi wrote in FrontPage magazine Many of our contemporary intellectual and political leaders are continually in anguish trying to figure out what the U.S. has done to make so much of the Arab/Moslem world hate us. They desperately search for the ways they believe the U.S. is responsible for triggering terrorism against itself. The terrorists and their supporters, meanwhile, knowing that the West perpetually looks for reasons to blame itself, provide the world with many compelling – but false – reasonns why the West should be blamed in the terror war. If we accept these faux explanations uncritically, we shift our focus in the war against global terrorism and the terrorists will have a much easier time defeating us.

In order for us to be able to fight – and win – this terror war effectively, we must discredit the false explanations of why Islamists wage war on our free societies. It is a priority, therefore, that we highlight how the enemies of Western freedom are not telling the truth. And we can do that by dealing with the following issues concretely:

The State Department defines the enemy for us. Its website lists those defined as terrorist groups and terrorist leaders worldwide. Almost all of them are Moslem. Almost all of these Moslems are Arabs. Many non-Arab Moslem groups have carried out terror attacks in conjunction with Arab Moslem groups, or with Arab Moslem leaders. The recent Beslan carnage is an example of a non-Arab Moslem group with Arab (Saudi, to be more specific) leaders.

In his ground-breaking book The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel Huntington lists scores of conflicts caused by Moslems: Bosnia, Kosovo, Turks vs. Greeks, Turks vs. Armenians, Chechens vs. Russia, Ingush vs. Ossetians, Bangladeshi Moslems vs. Buddhists, Myanmar Moslems vs. Buddhists, Indonesian and Malaysian Moslems vs. ethnic Chinese, Thai Moslems vs. their Buddhist government, Moslem East Timor government represses Catholic Indonesians, Chad and Kenya, and Tanzanian Moslems attack Christian groups in Nigeria.

Based on this you would think that the Moslem religion is a religion of violence. There certainly are violence sections in the Koran, just as there are in the Bible (particularly the Old Testament), but that is just because both are history books, and there was violence in the past. But the Islamofascists causing all of the problems just focus on the violence sections, and treat those references as instructions to do likewise.
In addition, many current conflicts have been initiated and maintained by Moslem forces: Afghanistani Taliban and al-Qaeda, Mauritanian slavery, Sudanese slavery, Sudan's 19-year civil war, Ivory Coast's recent revolt, Nigeria's 10-year war, Algeria's 10-year war, Ethiopia vs. Eritrea, Iraqis vs. Kurds, 8 years of the Iran-Iraq War, then Kuwait, Lebanon’s 27-year occupation by Syria, Lebanon’s 12-year occupation by the PLO, The PLO's war against Jordan (1967-70), Pakistan vs. India in Kashmir, Indonesia (with Bali the latest manifestation), Arabs vs. Jews in Israel, jihad in Philippines, Islamists in Daghestan, Uighur in China, Islamic extremists in Uzbekistan, Ditto in Pakistan, Thailand's Moslem insurrection, Chechnya and Arab/Moslem involvement in Beslan, Syrian training grounds for terrorists of all creeds, colors, Iraq "insurgency" (Syrian, Iranian and Saudi terrorists), and al-Qaeda in Somalia.....

There is a lot more to this article, including a list of possible "reasons" why they hate us, with each being specifically debunked. Also check out Dr Sanity's take on this article: The root cause of terrorism is very simple. It is the interaction of a backward and aggressively misogynistic Arab culture with a rigidly medieval religion, within which its most sadistic aspects not only thrive, but are enshrined as religious doctrine.


Air America resorts to spamming

Danny Carlton blogged Received via email...

Dear Friend of Air America:
There's is no way in the world anyone could have ever mistaken me for a “friend of Air America”. The email was to my yahoo address, which spammer frequently sent crap to by simply guessing common names.
I'm thankful for you.
Heh, heh, heh, boy are they in for a big surprise.
With your help, voters across America have sent a powerful message to the Bush Administration and their right-wing cronies.
Right-wing cronies...hey, that would be me, wouldn't it?
The party's over.
Well, apparently someone's been hitting the bottle.
Last Tuesday's sweeping victories for Democrats and progressives pulled back the curtain from the much-vaunted Bush-Cheney-Rove political machine, revealing what Air America listeners have known all along: there's nobody there. After five years of lies, fear-mongering and electoral manipulation, voters from New Jersey to Virginia said, "Enough."
Sweeping? In Virginia the Democrat candidate for governor won by 52%. But the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General won. In New Jersey the democrat candidate for governor won by just 53%. How in the world is that “sweeping”?!? You can more accurately say that 48% of the voters in Virginia and 47% in New Jersey voted against the Democrat. To imply that either election was about national politics is quite an illogical leap.
Governor-elect Jon Corzine summed it up succinctly in his acceptance speech: "I want to thank the people of New Jersey for rejecting the Bush-Rove tactics that we see in politics."
LOL, those Libs like their strawmen, don't they.
And it was more than just the victories in New Jersey and Virginia that sent shockwaves through the Republican establishment. The right-wing agenda took a major hit from voters across the nation last week:

· In St. Paul, Minnesota the incumbent Democratic mayor, who last year endorsed George W. Bush for a second term, was trounced in his own reelection bid by a Democrat who made that endorsement the centerpiece of his campaign.
He was “trounced” in the primary, because he is a Democrat. St. Paul, MN, voted 3-1 for John Kerry in the last Presidential election, so it could hardly be said that this is an example of what Americans at large are thinking.
· In Maine, an effort to repeal a law that protects gays and lesbians from discrimination was defeated
Yeah, and a last minute media blitz by homosexual activists with deep pockets had no effect at all on that, did it.
· In Dover, Pennsylvania, all eight of the local school board members who supported the teaching of "intelligent design" were voted out.
They lost their seats because voters didn't want to pay the massive legal fees to defend the schools against litigation giants like the ACLU. In Dover, ignorance won because the ignorant had more money. Not something to brag about.
But now is not the time to sit back and rest on our victories. Our fight to restore progressive values in America still has a long way to go.

With your support, Air America Radio will remain at the forefront of that fight. There are three ways that you can help right now:

1) Join the Air America community by strongly supporting the AAR Associates campaign by clicking here:
If you're winning, then why can't your network get enough of an audience to pay its bills without begging or stealing money from poor children?
2) If you're listening to Air America Radio on your local station, thank them for carrying your favorite AAR programs.
Yeah, both of you.
3) If you don't yet have an Air America Radio affiliate in your area, let us know today.
LOL, what a deluge of calls that would be.
The biggest obstacle progressives face isn't even the Bush Administration or a Republican-controlled Congress.
No, it would be your own massive stupidity, obtuseness, bigotry and condescension.
Our greatest challenge continues to be the stranglehold of the right-wing propaganda machine over our nation's media
ROTFL. That's a good one.
Thirty percent of Americans now say that their primary source of news is talk radio.
Because most of the rest is nothing but Liberal propaganda.
And a lot of the rest get their news analysis from the Blogosphere
And fully ninety percent of talk radio is dominated by the leading propagandists of the Right: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and their factually-challenged ilk.
Right Wing Talk Radio is powerful because the MSM is so left wing, and that is why Air America is finding it hard to get listeners, because they hear the same thing the MSM spews out.
Yet they thrive in a free market, where the only limitation is who people actually want to listen to. And as for the “factually-challenged” bit, these Libs have yet to come up with any real evidence of that, that isn't minuscule compared to their own lies.
With your strong support, Air America Radio has defied the so-called "experts" who said that progressive talk radio would never succeed.
Oh, this is rich. It' s hanging on by donations, and that's a success?!?
In less than twenty months, Air America Radio has grown to include more than 70 stations, reaching over 60% of the country.
And gets constant free advertising in the NYT as well as other liberal papers and media sources. Even then 70 stations is pretty paltry considering that there are well over 1,000 talk radio stations in the US.
More than ever, we must continue that growth. With the 2006 mid-term elections less than a year away, we need Air America Radio to remain a powerful voice for progressive values in the public square.
In warms the cockles of my heart to think that the “powerful voice for progressive values” is such a whiny, little radio network that after all this time can't even turn a profit. The voice of Liberalism is a screaming gnat.
Become a part of the Air America community by joining the AAR Associates campaign today at thanks.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, there are strong signs that the right-wing's domination of talk radio is finally coming to an end. And that's something for which we can all be thankful.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Well, Robert, I think you've been in the Kool-Aid line, way, way too long.


Deal averts Internet showdown

CNN reported A summit focusing on narrowing the digital divide between the rich and poor residents and countries opened Wednesday with an agreement of sorts on who will maintain ultimate oversight of the Internet and the flow of information, commerce and dissent.... Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.

This is very good news. The incompetent UN would have screwed up the internet beyond recovery.
U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.... The accord reached late Tuesday also called for the establishment of a new international group to give more countries a stronger say in how the Internet works, including the issue of making domain names -- currently done in the Latin languages -- into other languages, such as Chinese, Urdu and Arabic.
That is reasonable, but it needs to be checked carefully to make certain that domain names in those other languages are consistent with existing design specs.
Under the terms of the compromise, the new group, the Internet Governance Forum, would start operating next year with its first meeting opened by Annan. Beyond bringing its stakeholders to the table to discuss the issues affecting the Internet, and its use, it won't have ultimate authority. Gallagher said the compromise's ultimate decision is that leadership of the Internet, and its future direction, will remain in the hands of the private sector, although some critics contend that the U.S. government, which oversees ICANN, if only nominally, could still flex its muscle in future decisions. "The rural digital divide is isolating almost 1 billion of the poorest people who are unable to participate in the global information society," the agency said in a statement.
The rural digital divide is caused by political and economic problems in some countries, not with who controls the root servers for the internet.
Claudia Rosett wrote in Opinion Journal Why dictators are cheering the U.N. Internet turf grab.... The United Nations' so-called World Summit on the Information Society opens today in Tunis, Tunisia, proposing to set up U.N. sway over the Internet under the slogan of bridging the "digital divide." But that's the wrong metaphor. This three-day jamboree is a U.N. turf grab: the latest case of the U.N. misinterpreting its noble mandate to promote peace as a license to take a piece of anything it can get.
The corrupt UN wants a piece of the pie, and authoritarian and totalitarian countries want to be able control the flow of information into (and out of) its countries.
For anyone who cares about the vast freedoms and opportunities afforded by the Internet--for pajama-clad bloggers, for journalists, for businessmen and especially for people in the poorest countries--it is time for a call to arms. Sen. Norm Coleman, whose investigations into U.N. corruption have provided him with more insight than most into the cracks and chasms of that aging institution, has already warned in The Wall Street Journal against the possibility of Tunis becoming a "digital Munich." Whether America retains control over the root directory or some other setup ultimately evolves, the clear bottom line right now is that allowing the U.N. to involve itself in these questions is the wrong answer. A U.N. unable even to audit its own accounts or police its own peacekeepers has no business making even a twitch toward control of the Internet.

Worse, the corruption and incompetence at U.N. headquarters, however disturbing, are the least of the problems linked to the U.N.'s bid to control interconnectivity. The deeper trouble is that the U.N. has embraced the same tyrants who in the name of helping the downtrodden are now seeking via Internet control to tread them down some more.... Mr. Annan concluded with what I suppose was meant to be a clarion call: "I urge all stakeholders to come to Tunis ready to bridge the digital divide," etc., etc.

What Mr. Annan evidently does not care to understand, and after his zillion-year career at the U.N. probably never will, is that for purposes of helping the poor, the problem is not a digital divide. It is not the bytes, gigs, blogs and digital wing-dings that define that terrible line between the haves and the have-nots. These are symptoms of the real difference, which we would do better to call the dictatorial divide.

In free societies, all sorts of good things flourish, including technology and highly productive uses of the Internet. In despotic systems, human potential withers and dies, strangled by censorship, starved by central controls, and rotted by the corruption that inevitably accompanies such arrangements. That poisonous mix is what prevents the spread of prosperity in Africa, and blocks peace in the Middle East, and access to computers, or for that matter, food, in North Korea (which is of course sending a delegate to Tunis).

But never mind the realities, as long as Mr. Annan and his entourage see an opportunity for more U.N. turf, job patronage, global clout and funding (including the prospect of a "ka-ching" for the U.N. cash register every time someone logs on). Leading the charge, with policy documents posted on the U.N. information summit site, are such terrorist-breeding blogger-jailing regimes as those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, and such millennial pioneers of backward motion on free speech as Belarus and Russia. China's rulers, who have recently been availing themselves of modern technology to censor the Chinese word for "democracy" out of Internet traffic, and to track down and punish its users, have been toiling away to add their two cents to this summit. Sudan, better known for genocide than free speech, has registered to set up a pavilion. Were Saddam Hussein still in power in Iraq, as Mr. Annan tried to arrange, the odds are good that a front company for his regime, with U.N. blessing, would be setting up a booth in Tunis as well.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pajama-Clad Revolutionaries

Andrew Leigh wrote in NRO A year ago, Jonathan Klein, current president of CNN, airily dismissed the bloggers who dethroned Dan Rather. "These bloggers have no checks and balances... You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances [at 60 Minutes] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."

60 minutes with its multiple layers of checks and balances was wrong; the bloggers in their pajamas were right.
Of course, it wasn't so long ago (25 years, to be exact) that CNN was the new media outlet on the block. And the neighborhood kids turned their noses up at Ted Turner's brainchild. Broadcast newshound Sam Donaldson derided CNN as the "Chicken Noodle Network." Time, you see, not only heals all wounds.
It wounds all heals.
It heels all mavericks, making top dogs out of underdogs. The underdogs of our time, journalistically speaking, are bloggers. And the online unraveling of Rathergate was their first unmitigated triumph.

One of the bloggers who led the charge against Rather is Charles Johnson, proprietor of the curiously named Little Green Footballs. Shortly after this triumph, Johnson joined forces with another popular blogger, Roger L. Simon, to form (thumbing their noses at Klein and all other doubters) Pajamas Media.
I am proud to say that I am a member of Pajamas Media
Aside from blogging, Simon is a screenwriter and novelist, Johnson a session musician and computer-software entrepreneur. The business partners have spent the past several months lining up bloggers and investors to participate in their new venture. "Our intention is to create an aggregation of good blogs, quality-wise, to provide an alternative to the mainstream media," Simon tells NRO.


Next-Day Pill

NYT reports Top federal drug officials decided to reject an application to allow over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill months before a government scientific review of the application was completed, according to accounts given to Congressional investigators.

That sounds like a reasonable way to do it. Premature sale of a drug that might cause deaths would just open the Drug Companies for additional litigation.
The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, concluded in a report released Monday that the Food and Drug Administration's May 2004 rejection of the morning-after pill, or emergency contraceptive, application was unusual in several respects. Top agency officials were deeply involved in the decision, which was "very, very rare," a top F.D.A. review official told investigators. The officials' decision to ignore the recommendation of an independent advisory committee as well as the agency's own scientific review staff was unprecedented, the report found. And a top official's "novel" rationale for rejecting the application contradicted past agency practices, it concluded.
Drug approval should not be made for political reasons, either because of pressure from Pro Choice or Pro Life organizations. Until the scientific study is completed, the boys should keep their pants up, and the girls should keep their skirts down.
The pill, called Plan B, is a flashpoint in the debate over abortion, in part because some abortion opponents consider the pill tantamount to ending a pregnancy. In scientific reviews, the F.D.A. has concluded that it is a contraceptive. The report suggested that it quickly became apparent that the agency was not going to follow its usual path when it came to the pill. "For example," it said, "F.D.A. review staff told us that they were told early in the review process that the decision would be made by high-level management."
That is wrong.


Another Set of Scare Tactics

E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote in WaPo Mr. President, it won't work this time.

You must be afraid it will, or you would not have written this piece.
With a Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll finding 57 percent of Americans agreeing that George W. Bush "deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq," the president clearly needs to tend to his credibility problems.
That 57% is because the MSM has been helping the Dems spread that lie.
But his partisan attacks on the administration's critics, in a Veterans Day speech last week and in Alaska yesterday, will only add to his troubles. Bush was not subtle. He said that anyone accusing his administration of having "manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people" was giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
He is right. But the NYT and WaPo provide aid and comfprt to our enemy all the time.
"These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will," Bush declared last week. "As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them." You wonder: Did Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the Valerie Plame leak investigation, send the wrong signal to our troops and our enemy by daring to seek the indictment of Scooter Libby on a charge of perjury and obstruction of justice? Must Americans who support our troops desist from any criticism of the use of intelligence by the administration?
Fitzgerald made it clear that his indictment had nothing to do with the war in Iraq.
here is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts.
Because it is a foolish discussion. Dems dont want to talk about it because they supported it; they just want to destroy Bush with fake charges about fooling them into doing something their left wing did not like, and Republicans want to focus on getting the job done right.
Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Terror For Export

Newsweek reported Afghanistan used to be the place to go for terrorist training, funding and real-world experience in battle. Not anymore. Iraq has become, in President George W. Bush's words, "the central front" in the war on terror. And compared with distant Afghanistan, Iraq has more fighting, more people, more money and a far better strategic position in the heart of the Middle East. If Afghanistan under the Taliban was a backwoods school for terrorism, Iraq is an urban university. "Bin Laden and Zawahiri remain in the leadership's safe haven in Afghanistan," says a senior Taliban official who uses the nom de guerre Abu Zabihullah. "But Iraq is where the fierce encounters take place, where we recruit and dispatch fighters and where jihad's spirit thrives."

But fortunately it is a place where we have over 100,000 forces to do battle with the jihadists, so that our military is confronting the Islamoterrists in Baghdad and Basrah rahter than Broken Arrow, Boston, or Beumont; in Mosul rather than Muskogee, Memphis, or Mesquite; in Karkuk and Karbala rather than Ketchum, Kansas City, or Kilgore; in Tall Afar and Tikrit rather than Tahlequah, Texas City, or Texarkana. And the idiots that are pushing to see our forces withdrawn must want us to fight them on our own country. Is not the loss of 3,000 people and two tall buildings on 9/11 enough for them to understand it is better to fight them over there than over here?
The suicide bombers Zarqawi sent to slaughter hotel guests and wedding parties in Amman on Nov. 9 (a date that in Jordan would be written "9/11") were all Iraqis, according to a Web site used for Qaeda pronouncements. But Zarqawi is also suspected by European officials of running or inspiring cells in Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as an underground railroad for terrorists between Iraq and Italy. American intelligence officials believe his network is trying to recruit in the United States.
I hope they are smart enough to get some people inside the cells.
U.S. officials are also increasingly worried that a global underground of financiers that once served Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is now aiding the Iraqi insurgency. Treasury officials have specifically designated a Libyan in Dublin, Islamic journalist Ibrahim Buisir, as a terrorist financier. "Especially given the merger between Al Qaeda and Zarqawi's group," a U.S. official says on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, "we are concerned that Buisir may be helping to finance the [Iraqi] insurgency." (Buisir denies the charge, telling NEWSWEEK, "I'm not involved in anything... your country has gone crazy.") French investigators worry that 10 of their fellow citizens killed or captured while fighting in Iraq may be just the beginning of a wave. "Iraq is a great black hole that is sucking up all the [radical] elements in Europe," French antiterrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere told BBC Radio recently, worried that such radicals already are returning home with more knowledge and training.
Europe has a number of radical elements, and they allow them to exist unchallenged, so I dont think they have anything to worry about all of them getting sucked into Iraq.
Sitting there in the middle of that hole is Zarqawi, a Jordanian who until the Iraq war was a relative nobody as terrorists go. "He was a small man, with a small group, in a small jail," says Jordanian journalist Abdallah Aburomman, who spent three months in the same prison with Zarqawi in 1996. Zarqawi's jihadist views were even more extreme than bin Laden's at the time, says Aburomman, who was jailed on political charges. "The Taliban were trying to win Afghanistan's seat in the United Nations, and he said, 'Why do they want to belong to an infidel organization?' "

As Zarqawi became increasingly successful in Iraq, through a combination of brazen suicide attacks and gruesome propaganda videos, he publicly appealed to bin Laden for support and pledged to follow his lead. Bin Laden responded by anointing him "emir" of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and lavishly praising his newfound protege. Zarqawi gained recruits, and made common cause with Saddam's Baathist followers, whom he had long bitterly denounced. Even in Jordan, where he was widely despised before the Iraq war, a semiofficial poll in August (quickly suppressed) suggested that 70 percent of Jordanians approved of Zarqawi's actions in Iraq.
Jordanians are not nearly as approving of what he is doing since the three hotels were destroyed in Jordan, killing primarilly Jordanians.


A world gone mad

Caroline B. Glick wrote in JWR Last week it was reported that the US has given the Palestinian Authority $4.4 million dollars to pay the salaries of terrorists from Fatah's Al Aksa Brigades. For its part, the terror group showed its gratitude to the US by becoming the first Palestinian terror organization to publicly endorse Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

No further payments should be made until they at least disarm the other terrorist groups.
Then we have the latest machinations of the Sharon-Peres government regarding Israel's policies now that we have vacated Gaza.

This week the IDF announced that it was removing non-essential personnel from bases bordering Gaza. The move is being made due to information that terrorists are digging tunnels beneath the bases for the purpose of either bombing the bases or infiltrating Israel for the purpose of bombing civilians. Since the withdrawal, 16 bombs have been discovered along the new border.
The fence is a good idea, but it is not enough, there needs to be a second parallel fence 1 mile inside the other, and the area between the two needs to be patrolled by soldiers with equipment to look for tunnels.
As critics of the withdrawal from Gaza warned, the Palestinians have smuggled shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza from the Sinai Peninsula. After denying these reports for six weeks, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz finally acknowledged that these missiles have in fact been brought in during testimony before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
Firecontrol radar needs to be mounted on the fence, and armed UAVs used to target anyone with a rocket, sholder fired or Katyusha or other.
Air Force commanders, whose forces are the only ones that remain active in Gaza, told the media last week that they are revising their operational methods over Gaza in light of the presence of these missiles. That is, the IAF considers these missiles to be a threat to its aircraft.

If these missiles manage to find their way into Judea and Samaria they will threaten not only IAF aircraft but civilian aircraft taking off and landing at Ben Gurion Airport. The fact that al-Qaida — whose presence in the Sinai is enormous, according to IDF Intelligence Analysis Chief Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser — and its Palestinian allies wish to attack Israeli civilian aircraft was made clear this summer with the Katyusha rocket attack on Eilat's international airport as well as in the 2002 attack on the Israeli jetliner in Mombassa, Kenya.

Since late 2002 when then Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna put forward the notion of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip replete with the uprooting of Israeli communities from the area, critics of the move argued that such a plan would open Israel to grave security risks. These warnings became increasingly detailed and specific as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in late 2003 adopted Mitzna's plan after basing his campaign for the premiership on laughing at it.
The withdrawal made sense. There were too many military being used to protect too few settlers outside the border wall/fence.
Critics of the plan explained that a unilateral departure from Gaza, particularly if such a withdrawal included vacating Gaza's border with Egypt and surrendering control over the airspace over Gaza and its coastline, would enable and indeed invite international terrorists to use Gaza as a new international terror base. Critics further warned that terrorists in Gaza would transfer their center of operations to Judea and Samaria and place the major population centers of Israel at risk of rocket and mortar attacks. The communities in Gush Katif and northern Gaza stoically absorbed some 6,000 such attacks over the past five years. In their absence, and as the critics warned, those rockets and mortars have already become the scourge of residents of some 40 communities surrounding Gaza in the western Negev. Just last week the IDF arrested two terrorists attempting to transfer rockets to Judea and Samaria.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Wounded Chirac

Times Online reported Wounded Chirac ‘losing grip’ of riot-hit France

How could he lose his grip; that would imply he once had a grip on things.
Franceyesterday ordered a ban on public meetings likely to provoke disturbances as thousands of police were deployed on the streets of Paris to stop youths turning the tourist centre into a battlefield. The initiative came as speculation mounted over a severely discredited Jacques Chirac’s ability to endure the last 17 months of his presidential term.
He will not resign, but he is clearly in over his head
Ringleaders of the riots that have shaken France for the past two weeks were suspected of planning to set ablaze the affluent Champs Elysées. Through text and internet messages they were encouraging followers armed with Molotov cocktails to converge on the tree-lined tourist haunt just a stone’s throw from Chirac’s palace.


Five Questions For Muslims

La Shawn Barber blogged

  1. Why are you so quiet?
    i suspect they are afraid of being targeted themselves. After all, most of the people being killed by terrorists in Iraq are Iraqi, and most killed in Jordan were Jordanians.
  2. Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
    Because Christ preached Peace, not Conquest
  3. Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
  4. Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?The Islamofascists are not civilized
  5. Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?
    Because if they only persecuted fellow Muslims, the people would turn against them more rapidly.



Iraqi Woman Confesses on Jordan TV

Yahoo! News reported An Iraqi woman confessed on Jordanian state television Sunday that she tried to blow herself up along with her husband during a hotel wedding reception last week, saying that the explosives concealed under her denim dress failed to detonate.

It did not take long for the Jordanians to find her, and even less time to get her to talk. But then they don't have congress micromanaging how they interrogate people that blow up hotels and kill their citizens.
Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, 35, made her statement hours after being arrested by authorities tipped off by an al-Qaida in Iraq claim that a husband-and-wife team participated in Wednesday's bombings at three U.S.-based hotels. The attackers killed 57 other people at the Radisson SAS, Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels. Al-Rishawi's brother was once the right-hand man to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, said deputy premier Marwan Muasher. He said the brother, Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, was killed in the former terrorist stronghold of Fallujah, Iraq.


Al-Qaeda calls Queen an ‘enemy of Islam’

Times Online reported Al-Qaeda has threatened the Queen by naming her as “one of the severest enemies of Islam” in a video message to justify the July bombings in London.

Another stupid thing they have done. Britain has had very liberal acceptance of even violent Islamists in their country, and now those that were not already ticked off because of the 7/7 bombing are not going to be happy about a threat against their Queen. And particularly because Prince Charles tried to tell Bush to be nicer to the Islamofascists.
The warning has been passed by MI5 to the Queen’s protection team after it obtained the unexpurgated version of a video issued by Al-Qaeda after the 7/7 attacks. Parts of it were broadcast on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite channel. In the video, Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden, targets the Queen as ultimately responsible for Britain’s “crusader laws” and denounces her as an enemy of Muslims.


Jordanians turn against al-Qa'eda leader over bombings

Telegraph reports Sympathy for al-Qa'eda's leader in Iraq turned to hatred in his home town yesterday as clan members and ex-neighbours dismissed the justification for the Amman bombings.

And this is surprising?
The terrorist who chose his nom de guerre, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to honour his birthplace, used to enjoy wide support on these tatty, rundown streets because of his rabid anti-Israeli rhetoric. The backing continued when he took up the fight against American troops in Iraq and did not waiver when his followers began beheading kidnapped aid workers and contractors. But Wednesday's hotel attacks that killed 57 innocent people, mostly Jordanian civilians and all Muslims, appeared to have quickly transformed him from hero to villain.
I suspect they fear other Jordanians will turn against them.
"I feel ashamed of what he did in the name of Islam," said Moussa Rashid Khalayleh, a senior member of Zarqawi's Khalayleh clan.