Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, October 31, 2005

ANWR Drilling And Budget Cuts

The Senate is poised to go for oil drilling in ANWR as part of a new budget package Judd Gregg, Budget Committee Chair calls "the first deficit reduction pacage in almost a decade, and probably the most important legislation to be considered this year." (source)

It proposes cuts of $6 billion this year ... a drop in the bucket compared the the transportation spending bill's excesses ... and $39 billion over five years. If successful, that would be a 2% reduction in the budget, which shows just how powerless Congress is when it comes to fiscal management -- the bill contains $30 billion in new spending.

We're still not seeing the conservative fiscal leadership we expect out of a Republican Congress, but if we get ANWR, at least we'll get something. Environmental groups are threatening, already telling Senators that they'll consider a yes vote on the budget as a no vote in the environmental vote scorecards.

Let them pound the sand they hold so dear, I say. Today in Europe, there is not one remaining Green Party elected official, an indication of the waning strength of the environmental movement. The Dems talk endlessly about the need for energy independence so we can avoid future wars with Iraq.

To that I say, fine, let's drill in ANWR than ... and, did you know the war in Iraq is not about oil?

Muslim Code-Writers

A fourth night of rioting by Muslims in Paris occurred last night ... but again, you need to read between the lines to understand what's going on. Here's an analysis of Reuter's use of code in its coverage, eschewing deliberate definitions:

The lead paragraph mentions a mosque, a very bold code word, but it just calls the event "a fourth night of rioting," not "a fourth night of rioting by Muslims."

The third paragraph uses the popular "immigrant" code word, which lets reporters feel much better about themselves than using something as inflammatory as "angry Islamic youth:"
Youths hurled rocks and set fire to cars in the northeastern Clichy-sous-Bois suburb of the French capital, where many immigrants and poor families live in high-rise housing estates notorious for youth violence.
The article also uses the "meetings with Muslims" code in two separate references. We're not sure why politicos and police are meeting with Muslims, since the article never says Muslims are rioting, so unless you understand the code, you're in the dark.

"Of African origin" is nice code for Muslims from northern Africa; it does not mean Christians from Congo or or Copts from Egypt. Here's Reuter's use of this code:
The violence began four days ago among residents of Clichy-sous-Bois over the deaths of two teenagers believed to be of African origin who were electrocuted while fleeing police.
Then there's the "don't mention anything but let them conclude what they will" code:
In June, an 11-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet in the northern area of La Courneuve. The eastern suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine made headlines in 2002 when a 17-year-old girl was set alight by an 18-year-old boy.
Shall we guess the ethnicity and religion of those involved?

See also:
Who's Rioting In Paris? Who Knows?

Charles As Lawrence Of Arabia?

Prince Charles hits DC this week, Camilla in hand, on a mission to confront Washington's confrontational approach to Islam and, according to WashTimes, America's "failure to appreciate what he regards as Islam's strengths."

Charles has a long history of fondess for Islam that apparently hasn't been significantly dimished by Sept. 11, or the Madrid and London bombings. In 1994, he said that when he becomes king and with it, the head of the Church of England, he will become the "defender of faiths rather than the defender of the the faith."

It's a good thing, this dialog Chuck Windsor wants to start. There's always room for a spirited discussion of all sides of an issue -- especially if it will make Muslims turn more against terrorism, stop their support of CAIR, and reform their faith to dismiss jihad as a false teaching.

It will also be interesting to watch the media coverage. Will his defense of Islam even get mentioned when there's juicy Camilla-watching to do?

The Face Of A Killer

Take a look at the photo. It's the face of a killer.

It's William Freund, who killed Vernon Smith and his 21 year-old daughter Christina, and tried to kill two or three others before shooting himself Saturday in Aliso Viejo, a town just a few miles from my home.

Reading through the OCRegister story, the only word that jumps out is "loner." That word can carry a lot of anger with it.

Investigators are mystified:
"Usually there's some type of motive, some nexus with the victim and suspect," Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said. "They were just casual neighborhood acquaintances. What made him pick that house is a mystery."
I don't think it's too deep a mystery. By all reports, the Smiths were well-liked, engaged in their community, tight as a family. They were happy, giving, caring.

Freund was not. So he killed them.

In coming days, we'll learn more about what was in his computer, and in a couple weeks, the toxicology reports will come back. We'll learn more then. But until then, we've just got a couple murders in a neat, successful and popular neighborhood by a young man who didn't fit in.

The Scooter Miller Clinton Rich Clinton Giuliani Connection

My eyebrow arched a couple days ago when I came across a sentence in one of gig of stories I read about the Plame Game. It said Scooter Libby had been Marc Rich's lawyer. Marc Rich, the international bad boy of finance pardoned by Bill Clinton. That was one to check up on later.

James Pinkerton's done the digging, and the dirt is rich indeed, including the reminder that the prosecutor going after Rich back in 1983 was one Rudolph Giuliani.

Wise Dems won't lash too deeply on the Scoot, since he's surely got good stuff on Bill from the pardon days. And Hillary, sizing up Rudy as a potential presidential opponent, is probably none too happy to have this can of worms re-opened.

h/t Real Clear Politics

The Plame Game: As If

Christopher Hutchins in Opinion Journal:
Mr. Fitzgerald, therefore, seems to have decided to act "as if." He conducts himself as if Ms. Plame's identity was not widely known, as if she were working under "non official cover" (NOC), as if national security had been compromised, and as if one or even two catch-all laws had been broken. By this merely hypothetical standard, he has performed exceedingly well, even if rather long-windedly, before pulling up his essentially empty net.

However, what if one proposes an alternative "what if" narrative? What if Mr. Wilson spoke falsely when he asserted that his wife, who was not in fact under "non-official cover," had nothing to do with his visit to Niger? What if he was wrong in stating that Iraqi envoys had never even expressed an interest in Niger's only export? (Most European intelligence services stand by their story that there was indeed such a Baathist initiative.) What if his main friends in Niger were the very people he was supposed to be investigating?

Well, in that event, and after he had awarded himself some space on an op-ed page, what was to inhibit an employee of the Bush administration from calling attention to these facts, and letting reporters decide for themselves.
As if the Left cared. They were out for blood, not reason, and they, too, pulled up an empty net.

h/t Real Clear Politics

Two's The Charm With Alito

In Sam Alito, President Bush finally settled on the candidate I've wanted for a long time. Not that Alito is the only one who could have filled the bill; several could. But he's got the qualifications that are right for the right and wrong for the Left.

He's ticked off Ralph Nees with a decision allowing religious symbols in a holiday display. He's ticked off Nan Aron with Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Those two positions set up the fight I've been looking for, the fight that was part of my vote for Bush.

No more stealth candidates, just a grudge match fight to the finish.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, wearing the Originalist trunks, is Straight Sam Alito. And in the other corner is the Gang of 14, trying to hold onto the meaningfulness of their trunks; the Dems, wearing the trunks selected for them by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and the Rhinos, wearing just their shamefulness. One round, with Alito and his corner fighting clean, and the other side fighting no holds barred.

It's goodbye Scooter and hello SCOTUS ... and if the Dems vote as expected, the sweet cherry on top is that the deciding vote just might be cast by Dick Cheney, to our perpetual joy and the Left's perpetual fury.

If you're looking for a good links-laden summary, try the new Real Clear Politics blog.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Incongruous Juxtaposition Award

From the Moscow Times, we have a brief two-graph news item beginning with graph one:
Authorities will reserve 300,000 hospital beds in the spring to deal with a possible flu epidemic, a leading consumer rights activist said Thursday.
And ending with graph two:
Nevertheless, the public has no reason to panic about humans contracting bird flu, Dmitry Yanin, chairman of the International Confederation of Consumer Protection Organizations, told reporters at a news briefing.
I'll have chicken soup with an oriental chicken salad and a fried chicken dinner, Miss ... oh, and hold the chicken.

h/t Jim

Luttig For The Court -- No Fantasy?

WaPo is predicting that Michael Luttig will be nominated tomorrow for the associate justice position on the Supreme Court. And the way the Left is responding ...
"Republicans close to the White House" tell the Washington Post that President Bush is "poised" to announce tomorrow the candidate who will replace Harriet Miers as the candidate to replace Justice O'Connor. Quick action, calculated to distract the news media from the Plame investigation, may also be calculated to consolidate the Republican Party behind a nominee who is trusted to advance a conservative agenda. (Talk Left, emphasis added)
... makes me think the Okie just might have nailed it in his "fantasy" about the Miers nomination.

Matthew Cooper: What Crime?

Matthew Cooper has a column in Time recounting his experience with Scooter, Rove and Fitzgerald that concludes:
I was surprised last week that the Libby indictment even mentioned me. But apparently his recollection of the conversation differed from mine in a way that led the prosecutor to think he was lying. As for me, I still have no idea if Libby or anyone else has committed a crime. (emphasis added)
Here's his recollection of the infamous conversation:
When he finally reached me at around 3 p.m., we spoke for a few minutes as I sprawled on my bed. I had no idea that that brief phone call, along with a conversation with Karl Rove the day before, would leave me embroiled in a federal investigation for more than two years and that Libby would end up facing a five-count indictment. I doubt it occurred to Libby either. That afternoon, we talked a bit on background and off the record, and he gave me an on-the-record quote distancing Cheney from Wilson's fact-finding trip to Africa for the CIA. In fact, he was so eager to distance his boss from Wilson that a few days later, he called to rebuke me for not having used the whole quote in the piece.
And here's the session with Fitzgerald that led to one count against Scoot:
On Aug. 23, I had a tuna sandwich and gave a deposition in Abrams' Washington office about the conversation. The Wilson part that really interested Fitzgerald was tiny, as I told TIME readers. Basically, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife having been involved in sending him to Niger. Libby responded with words to the effect of, "Yeah, I've heard that too." (h/t Real Clear Politics)
Libby shouldn't have confirmed Plame's job, but it's a teensy crime, and that the Rebels With A Kos Left could spin this and a couple other petty incidents into a scandal worthy of taking down a dozen administration officials, including the vice president, shows what a dark and vicious world they live in.

Yap Dogs Of The Left

Don Surber gave words to a thought that's been banging around in my brainpan since Friday:
It must be sad to see a friend depart the White House, but scandals happen. If anything, Bush emerges from this investigation with a clean bill of health. So does Rove. They faced the proctology of federal prosecution and survived. (h/t Memeorandum)
I'm not sure how thankful I am that the words he gave me included "proctology," but the image is apt. Fitzgerald is a solid prosecutor who obviously ran a tight and efficient investigation. His team looked hard and all they could come up with was Scooter. And Scooter didn't jeopardize a spy or threaten national security. His crimes occured during the investigation and were not the cause of it.

So come Monday, Bush can start fresh, aware that the yapping bites around his ankle come from liberal chihuahuas who will never grow into pitt bulls or rottweilers.

If Fitzgerald had been investigating the Katrina response, we would have indicted one guy at FEMA.

If Fitzgerald had been investigating Guantanamo, he would have indicted some Lieutenant.

But if Fitzgerald had been investigating the Harriet Miers nomination idea, he would have had no choice but to indict the president.

So tomorrow, Mr. President, feel strong, refreshed and vindicated. Know that the Libs have nothing on you. Know that the base is there for you if you're there for them. And get your administration back on track with a SCOTUS nominee who will make us cheer and keep them pathetically yappin'.

Think Of Three Girls You Love ...

... and then think of them beheaded.

That's the reality of living on the same planet with radical Islamofascists.

The three girls lived in the town of Poso on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, and were walking through a cocoa plantation on their way to school ... a Christian school. Men so bruttal, so beneath contempt that the blackness of their souls is unfathomable, swept down on them, machettes held high, and set to work.

John at Sheep's Crib captures the moment:
These were just little girls on their way to school.

Think of your daughters on their way to school Monday morning as they are dragged into the fields near your home; too far away for anyone to hear their cries for help as their assailants drag them by the hair, their knees and hands scrapping the ground.

Think of your fifteen or sixteen-year-old screaming "Mommy help me!" or "Daddy please help me," as the cold steel blade of the butcher's knife begins to slice your baby's throat.

Jasmine or Mary-Beth, or whatever her name is, is alive through most of the horror; only when both jugular veins are severed does she pass out ... and even then, her sweet little hands and feet twitch as death overcomes life.
BBC reports cooly:
Police say the heads were found some distance from the bodies.

It is unclear what was behind the attack, but the girls attended a private Christian school and one of the heads was left outside a church leading to speculation that it might have had a religious motive.
Good guess. Over 1,000 people were killed in largely Muslim-on-Christian violence in Sulawesi in 2001 and 2002. This May, the predominently Christian town of Tentena suffered a terrorist bombing which killed 23 and injured more than 30.

Besides the fact that many Muslims are happy to kill those who stand in the way of their religion's domination, Indonesian president Suharto also carries substantial blame for this outrage. He encouraged the flooding of the Poso area with Muslims from Java, diluting the established Christian majority and destabilizing the region.

President Bush has asked the nations of the world who is with us on GWOT and who is against us. In Pasa, the headless bodies of three sweet girls tell us Suharto is against us.

Incredible Wife

Gosh, she was so pretty on that October afternoon 23 years ago today. Farrah hair was in style then, and she had these big, loopy curls framing her gloriously pretty face.

It had been raining all day, but when family gathered at the gazebo above the surf in Laguna Beach, the sun broke through in spectacular sunbeams just as we traded our "I do's."

I still do, Beth. God fit us together so perfectly, because He had you to file down my rough edges so the fit locked tight. Let's have another 23, shall we?

Who's Rioting In Paris? Who Knows?

Two young men are electrocuted in Paris as they try to hide in an electrical substation to escape from police.

Three nights of violent protest follow, then a silent parade to honor the two dead youths.

BBC reports the entire story -- 14 paragraphs of it -- and never mentions a word about the ethnicity or religion of the people involved. But there's a hint: the headwear of one man in one picture looks like a fez.

The Guardian's even more opaque, saying "French youths" rioted, which is true but misleading. It only mentions deep in the story that the neighborhoods in question are peopled by recent immigrants from North Africa, aka Muslims.

The Herald Sun's story doesn't say anything about the rioter's ethnicity or religion.

CNN says:
"There's a civil war underway in Clichy-Sous-Bois at the moment," Michel Thooris, an official of police trade union Action Police CFTC, said.
There is? Who's fighting whom? Bakers against candlestick makers? Mods against rockers? The croissant crowd against the baguette bunch? You'd never know by reading any of these stories.

Finally, in AP's story on the third night of rioting, we learn that the dead youths' names were Ziad and Banou. The story also mentions that Muslim community leaders are pleading for calm, as does an NYT story.

Three nights of rioting, with dozens of cars burned, dozens of arrests -- and every single one of these newspapers is afraid to say Muslims are rioting in Paris! Suppose Europeans were rioting in Riyadh. Do you think the newspapers would just report that residents were rioting?

This is not reporting. This is not passing along important news that people need. It is reportorial correctness that brings shame to what we used to be able to call the journalistic profession .. but no more.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Searching For A Caption

This photo of Fidel at a recent sports event is just crying out for your creativity. Post your caption in the comments section, and the winner will have fame and glory.

NYT Editorial: Hopelessly Confused

The NYTimes editorialized about the Plame Game today in a state of utter confusion.

It attempts to put the Libby indictment higher on the list of outrage than the Clinton indictment which, it says, was "on similar charges in a much less serious context."

Really? Nowhere in the Libby indictment is there an allegation of anything more serious than lying about attempting to lead a journalist in a new direction on a story. An indictment for violating the Espionage Act would have been serious; this is grasping at charges.

Having sex with an intern is less serious than violating the Espionage Act; having sex with an intern and lying about it under oath to a grand jury is just as serious as lying under oath about when you talked to which reporter about what.

The NYT still refuses to admit that Wilson was peddling false wares:
As for Mr. Libby's case, the charges suggest that White House officials did, in fact, use Mrs. Wilson's classified C.I.A. job as a weapon against a critic of administration policy - to smear his reputation or to warn off other dissenters.
If a self-serving, wrong-thinking person is misrepresenting reality in order to pursue a personal agenda, what is an administration to do? What they did is provide background on how Wilson got his Niger gig, what he found and how he was now misrepresenting what he found. You'll never hear that from the Rovanoid NYT.

And finally, the NYT remains confused about the whole question of WMDs:
And as absorbing as this criminal investigation has been, the big point Americans need to keep in mind is this: There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Nothing in the Plame Game investigation disproved Hussein's interest in African yellowcake. The NYT also ignores the purchase of nuclear and other WMD basic technology from German, France and other countries.

The big point Americans need to keep in mind is this: There was a willful intent by Hussein to obtain these weapons using oil-for-food money. Our invasion crushed that intent before he had a chance to acquire or use them -- which is exactly what we should do when WMDs are involved.

Ahmadinejad Unrepentant

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood by his statement that Israel should be "wiped off the map," participating in a massive Jerusalem Day demonstration in Tehran -- an event dedicated to wiping Israel off the map. Reports WashTimes:
"They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking. They think they are the absolute rulers of the world," Ahmadinejad said.
Yeah, they became upset. Around the globe, Iranian ambassadors were called in to explain Ahmadinejad's statement. The UN's general assembly condemned Iran and Ahmadinejad, in a refreshing break from its anti-Israel rhetoric. But I doubt that they'll act on Israel's suggestion that Iran be suspended from the UN.

But all Ahmadinejad did was vocalize the sickness that is modern Islam's hatred of Israel. Jerusalem Day rallies from Beirut to Baharain echoed with "Death to Israel" calls. Ahmadinejad just put the slogan into perspective.

Update: Regime Change Iran quotes the London Times:
TONY BLAIR gave warning last night that the West might have to take military action against Iran after worldwide condemnation of its President’s call for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

Ending a one-day European Union summit, the Prime Minister called the explosive declaration by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday a disgrace. Promising discussions with Washington and other allies over how to react, Mr Blair said that he had often been urged not to take action against Iran.

But he added: “If they carry on like this the question people will be asking us is — when are you going to do something about Iran? Can you imagine a State like that with an attitude like that having nuclear weapons?”

h/t Free Republic

Muslim Death Threat Update

From the WashTimes:
A chill ran down the spine of journalist Mizanur Rahman when a neatly folded white cloth symbolizing an Islamic burial shroud tumbled out of a package he received by mail last month.

An accompanying letter addressed to Mr. Rahman, a reporter for the Dhaka daily Janakantha (People's Voice), said that because of his "anti-Islamic" reporting, his days were numbered and he would soon be in a white burial shroud.

White shrouds and death threats also reached eight other journalists the same day in Satkhira, a district in southwestern Bangladesh.

The letters were signed by leaders of the outlawed militant group Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (Awakened Muslim Citizens of Bangladesh, often referred to by its initials, JMJB), the orthodox Islamist movement Ahl-e-Hadith (followers of the Sayings of the Prophet) and Jamat-e-Islami Bangladesh, an Islamist political party in the ruling coalition in Bangladesh. The letters threatened that the journalists would be "slaughtered" because their writings attacked clerics who want to transform the country into a pure Islamic state.

"We are determined to bring total Islamic rule in Bangladesh through an armed revolution," the letters said. "You are some of the obstacles on our way to achieve these goals. You are the country's enemies, so you face removal from this Earth."

Of the nine reporters who received these death threats, five are Hindus, and the letters warned them that as non-Muslims, they had no right to report on Islamic matters.
As President Bush says, the Global War on Terror has many fronts and many enemies. We can't fight them all. Bengaladesh needs to fight them, and they can call us whatever they want to in the process, as long as they fight them. And so it must go in nation after nation, so it's clear to the terrorists that the world stands against them.

Lame: Rhymes With Plame Game

Here's a summary of some of the more pithy and condemning comments on the Fitzgerald indictment:

Opinion Journal:
Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation took nearly two years, sent a reporter to jail, cost millions of dollars, and preoccupied some of the White House's senior officials. The fruit it has now borne is the five-count indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Vice President's Chief of Staff--not for leaking the name of Valerie Plame to Robert Novak, which started this entire "scandal," but for contradictions between his testimony and the testimony of two or three reporters about what he told them, when he told them, and what words he used. ...

If this is a conspiracy to silence Administration critics, it was more daft than deft. The indictment itself contains no evidence of a conspiracy, and Mr. Libby has not been accused of trying to cover up some high crime or misdemeanor by the Bush Administration. The indictment amounts to an allegation that one official lied about what he knew about an underlying "crime" that wasn't committed.
Ace of Spades:
This is a question of law, not fact. You don't need to empanel a grand jury to decide if Valerie Plame was a covert agent, or if any of the various national security laws were broken.

This question could have been, and should have been, answered in the first month of legal investigation, using no greater investigative resources than a law library.

And yet, two years later, Fitzgerald apparently finds there was no violation of the IIPA, the Espionage Act, or any act involving the dissemination of classified information.

And during those two years he's had people in jail for contempt and questioned many witnesses before the grand jury.
There's one thing that's bothering me, though. The indictment goes on and on about how serious it is to leak the identity of an undercover CIA agent (leaving aside the issue of whether someone listed in Who's Who as a CIA agent is really undercover). If Fitzgerald had been able to get the grand jury convinced that they had enough to indict either Libby or Karl Rove on that sort of charge, they would have included indictments on those matters. They didn't pursue that course. So isn't it illegal for Fitzgerald to include all that language in the indictment?
Moonbat Central
Whatever one makes of the indictment against Libby, and whatever comes of the charges levied against him, it seems apparent that the Plame affair will end with him. The New York Times, in a nostalgic bid to reclaim its Vietnam-era status, may splash its front page with three stories pantingly detailing the indictment—incidentally, is this really the best use of the paper’s not inconsiderable resources?—but it’s clear that the media does not have nearly enough rope to hang all its enemies in the White House.
Captains Quarters
In my inexpert opinion, having gone down to this level of detail to get an indictment against Libby but not producing any other indictments, I doubt Fitzgerald has anything left in the holster. It also shows that Fitzgerald didn't feel particularly pressured to come up with indictments or to avoid them -- in other words, it looks like he did his job. While the prosecution of Libby proceeds, more indictments may result as more evidence gets uncovered, but it looks like absent of some unforeseen epiphany, this is as much as Fitzgerald will produce.
Austin Bay
The White House will make another political mistake if it decides to try to defend Lewis Libby. Fortunately –for the country, for the health of America’s governmental institutions– the Bush White House hasn’t pulled a Clinton and trashed the prosecutor. By and large the Bush Administration has respected the judicial process. A Clintonesque trash-the-prosecutor tactic probably wouldn’t work, anyway, given the national press corps’ pro-Democrat bias. Clinton could rely on the national press to amplify his tawdry demonization of Ken Starr. The national press hates the Bush Administration.

If Libby committed perjury he did so out of arrogance. The most likely scenario is this both simple and sad: Libby thought he could get away with it. But then so did Clinton. Clinton lied to a federal judge and lost his bar license for five years. It’s time to give the Beltway Culture a kick.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Not The Meltdown The Left Wanted

Here's AP's summary of the Scooter charges:
- Count one. Obstruction of justice.
The grand jury charges that Libby did "knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice ... by misleading and deceiving the grand jury" about when and how he learned that covert operative Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. He is also accused of misleading the grand jury about how he disclosed that information to the media.

- Count two. False statement.
The grand jury charges that Libby "did knowingly and willfully make a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement" in an FBI investigation. Specifically, the indictment says Libby misled FBI agents in response to questions about a conversation with Tim Russert of NBC News in July 2003.

- Count three. False statement.
Libby is charged with misleading FBI agents about his July 2003 conversation with another reporter, Matt Cooper of Time Magazine.

- Count four. Perjury.
After taking an oath to testify truthfully, Libby knowingly made a "false material declaration" about his conversation with Russert, the grand jury alleges.

- Count five. Perjury
Also under oath, Libby is accused of knowingly making a "false material declaration" about his conversation with Cooper.
Wow. Big news. A political operative is alleged to have lied. Like that never happened in a Dem administration.

As expected, every charge has to do with the investigation of the Plame Game, and nothing has to do with putting National Security or Valerie Plame at risk. A tempest in a teapot if there ever was one.

To all the lefties who were primed for an administration meltdown: Sorry, it's not gonna happen over this.

Well, The Indictment Is On Paper ...

... so I guess that's why it's a paper-thin indictment.

I did a quick skim and it looks like Scooter is blatantly guilty of technicalities, not of willfully trying to harm national security or Plame. But a deeper read will have to wait; I must get back to work. You can read the indictment here.

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

Here's what Harry Reid's got to say about Scooter's indictment:

These are very serious charges. They suggest that a senior White House aide put politics ahead of our national security and the rule of law.
To tie Valery Plame to national security is practically indictable in itself.

This case is bigger than the leak of highly classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president.
No. It's about how the Bush White House attempted to get the truth to the media, so reporters would understand that Wilson was peddling manufactured and manipulated stories. If Wilson hadn't been manipulating the story for his own agenda, there would have been no reason for Scoot to call anyone in the media.

It's now time for President Bush to lead and answer the very serious questions raised by this investigation. The American people have already paid too steep a price as a result of misconduct at the White House, and they deserve better.”

What serious questions? A year of digging and all they get is an aide to the VP? If Reid can point to a nickle of cost -- beyond what we've paid for Fitzgerald's investigation -- I'd be amazed. And don't say the cost was going to war in Iraq. We did not go to war with Iraq over yellowcake.

Opposing War On Moral Grounds?

Cherac and Putin, what a pair. How they pontificated against the war. The things they said about President Bush's motivations for war!

We've known all along they were just poking their heads out of foul slime to call the good guy bad, and now it's all confirmed; from WashTimes:
Russian and French firms dominated the list of companies that made nearly $2 billion in illicit payments to Saddam Hussein's regime in order to win contracts under the Iraq oil-for-food program, according to a massive new report released yesterday in a U.N.-approved inquiry.

More than half the companies that participated in the U.N. oil-for-food program helped Saddam undermine international sanctions by paying kickbacks and fees to the regime, according to investigators, who found that 2,250 firms from 66 nations made illegal payments to Iraq. ...

Those same governments worked to loosen the sanctions, and also opposed the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq.
I seem to recall a certain droll-looking Massachusetts senator with presidential aspirations celebrating the French.

And, as George Galloway threatens a debate with Sen. Coleman, we find:
The final report, also implicates a surprising swath of political figures around the globe ranging from Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky to British lawmaker George Galloway. A Vatican priest who campaigned against the sanctions received a $140,000 contribution from a French oil importer.
And goody, there's even a Clinton connection:
The report also implicates a financial company owned by fugitive American financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon from President Clinton, saying his firm underwrote letters of credit for a French oil firm while trying to keep its role a secret.
Meanwhile, Kofi assures us that he gets the message, that reform is needed at the UN ... but he's not going to fire or reprimand his former chief of staff, Iqbal Riza or UN Dep. Sec-Gen Louise Frechette, both of whom are implicated in the scandal. In fact, Kofi named Frechette to lead the UN's reform efforts.

I'd say the year-long, $35 million Volker report is about to go down the drain.

Heroes Or Hustlers?

I was at an OC Board of Supervisors meeting recently and heard some public employee union lackey talk about mid-level county bureaucrats as "heroes."

That's not been my experience. They're decent enough people, and most of them do have a sense of serving the public -- but they've selected their jobs for the comfort of low stress, good benefits and lush retirement plans. That does not a hero make.

Pension reform and teacher tenure reform are on the California ballot this year, and last night a couple zingers in support of reform came out of a forum in Irvine:
"There are fifteen boards and commissions in the State of California that pay their members over $100,000 a year to show up once a month. Does that seem fair to you?" former Assemblyman Strickland asked a large audience of shaking heads. "We can’t account for twenty-five percent of the state’s fleet of vehicles. The situation is unacceptable."

"Government offers twenty-six percent higher benefits on average than the private sector," explained [OC] Treasurer John Moorlach. "The unions have just done a great job at securing these amenities, and they’re sore winners. This is your tumor. We need pension reform in this state."
Yes, we do. (source)

Miers Fallout

Hugh has an op/ed in today's NYT that is a must-read on the potentially very negative and lasting impacts of the Miers debacle. It closes with:
This triumph of the conservative punditocracy will have lasting consequences, and I hope my fears are misplaced. The first returns will come in the decision on parental notification statutes that will be argued before the Supreme Court in late November. Absent a miracle of Senate efficiency, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will cast one of her last votes on the most important abortion-rights case in a few years. And then the accounting will begin in earnest.
Mike of Mike's America posted an interesting and troubling comment here on the Miers withdrawal:
Unfortunately, in their zeal to deny Miers a hearing, let alone a vote, the Barabas conservatives (those who shouted louder than the vast majority of Bush AND Miers supporters) validated previous Dem demands for attorney/client documents.

Justice Roberts faced a similar problem and the White House, along with our GOP in the Senate said NO!

Next time a nominee, like McConnell, comes forward with Executive Branch experience, that nominee will have a tougher time.

But that damage may be just the tip of the iceberg.
I'm up for a fight. I want a nominee who has the right kind of anti-Roe fingerprints all over him -- the "it's bad law" kind of fingerprints -- and I want him to have authored a zillion memos covered by the executive branch's priviledge, and have a long history of writings and decisions that just stink of originalism.

Please, Mr. President, give us this nominee.

And If Rove Isn't Indicted?

The NYT rumor du jour is that a Libby indictment is likely, but Rove won't be tagged. WSJ and WaPo are both strong-rumor on Libby and iffy on Rove.

We'll know at 2 p.m. eastern. If it's just going to be Libby, batten the hatches! Having recently been subjected to angry comments from a couple dozen lefties who want very much to see Rove, Cheney and Rice (Rice?!) indicted, here's what will likely happen:
  • Fitzgerald, who they've reverred as calm, thorough and leak-proof, will be viciously villified as another tool in the Rove machine.
  • Roveanoia will increase to near-fatal levels. How they can loathe this man so much but think Carville was a fine aide de camp is a curious bit of liberal psychology.
  • Fitzgerald will lose control of his staff and leaks regarding process and deliberation will keep the lefties angry for some time to come. Because this scandal is basically not a big deal, they've had to become incredibly nuanced in their study of it, so they'll be feeding off the bones of the investigation for some time to come.
  • They will continue to push for a Rove indictment. As Kos puts it, "Rove remains tied to the tracks, but the oncoming train has backed up a little." They will not read this to mean that Rove's involvement was minimal and the route to an indictment is not at all clear; they will read it that Rove continues to work the system.
  • If Rove isn't indicted, but Fitzgerald continues to look for a way to do so, look for the White House's polite treatment of Fitzgerald to end -- for very legit reasons. At that point, Fitzgerald will have become partisan.
And most importantly, if Rove isn't indicted, perhaps the president will have his undivided attention again, and we can get a good SCOTUS nominee and can keep working towards 2006.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sewer Leaks

The Dharma Bums scandal at OC Sanitation Dist. -- in which the GM paid $400,000 out to a Buddhist consulting firm to help find the sewage-pumping agency's soul -- has claimed two victims.

Gone is Blake Anderson, the GM, who hired Dharma Consulting. And, quoting OCBlog here, Anderson left ...
Not without exacting revenge, however. As it became clear the Dharma Consulting scandal was going to cost him his job, still-General Manager Blake Anderson fired the OC Sanitation District's communications director, Carol Beekman. Why? Apparently, she had committed the sin of being "disloyal." According to my sources, Anderson was pulling phone records after Teri Sforza's OC Register story was published on July 12, in an attempt to pinpoint the leak. Judging by Beekman's dismissal, it seems Blake Anderson decided to plug the leak before the OCSD Board of Directors flushed him.
Beekman was fired for whistleblowing, although it's a communications directors job to talk to reporters, so Anderson would have trouble proving his case in court. But Carol won't. I hope she sues to collect what's due her.

I know both of these people, Carol well and Blake less so. I won't kick Blake when he's down, but let me just say he appeared to be smarter than the kind of fool who would spend public money to make his workers feel more at Om.

Carol is a smart, straight, hardworking pro who deserved better. If indeed she was Teri's source, she did OC a huge service by leaking this story. Thanks, babe!

Those Fun Loving Muslims

Kamau Kambon, the dreadlocked sometime professor who recently said all white people must be exterminated, has a brother in arms -- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who told The World Without Zionism conference in Tehran,
"Israel must be wiped off the map. The Islamic world will not let its historic enemy live in its heartland."
One thousand "conservative students" in attendance bellowed "Death to Israel, Death to America" in response. I guess we have a difference of opinion. I was thinking, "Death to Ahmadinejad," but I admit that hardly has the ring to it of their slogans.

Now really, their slogan could be better. We should bring a couple of these conservative students to America and take them to a baseball game so they can learn how to yell "Mahmooooooooooood!"

But seriously ... very seriously ... there is only one way that a nation like Iran, that couldn't even defeat Saddam Hussein for cryin' out loud, could wipe Israel off the map, and that's nuclear weapons. Anyone who thinks the Iranians are pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes is gullible enough to ... well, gullible enough to vote for John Kerry.

More than any other country on earth, Iran is in the grip of the sort of state Osama bin Laden and Omar Ahmad would like to see, a state that implements the vision of the religion of peace in its peace through genocide persona.

These zealots like a country that holds a conference called The World Without Zionism, and think it's just swell that a national leader dignifies such a conference by upping the ante to call for a world without all of Israel, not just the Zionists.

We Americans, of course, believe that Iran should not be wiped off the map. We believe that its people have a right to be free of Ahmadinejad and his band of despotic Mullahs. And for this the world doesn't like us?

Then let us be unliked!

Message? Where's The Stinkin' Message?

Ed Gillespie, former usher of the Miers nomination, was on Medved today, and right out of the chute, he was asked the question I asked this morning, the most obvious question of all: Why didn't you guys consider that the Senate would demand documents you would have to protect by executive priviledge?

And to a national radio audience, Gillespie responded (I'm paraphrasing here):
Uh, that's a good question. I guess, uh, we could have done better there. I'm not really sure. We, uh, thought she could stand on her long history of cases and, uh, her court experience, and ...
If that's the best the White House can do, it explains a lot.

Maybe Ed deserves a pass, though. There just might not be a good answer to that question.

Quote Of The Day (Era?)

First Lt. Bruce Bishop, 31, explaining why he's re-enlisting in the Utah National Guard; this is so good I'm up-sizing the type:

"Because as I look around the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-asses that are whining about this or protesting that, I'd be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them."

h/t Taranto

Separation Of Church And State And Sanity

Faced with a request from the Council on American Islamic Relations for school recognition of a Muslim holiday -- the last day of Ramadan -- a school board in Florida has decided to drop Good Friday, Yom Kippur and the day after Easter instead.

Schools are increasingly a religion-free zone, and as a result, they are also free of serious teaching of citizenship and morality.

Kudos to the board for not letting the Muslims in. We are a Judeo-Christian society, and their vote was in a way a brave stand against the dilution of our great culture and the moral principles on which it stands. It is sad that the only way to stand up for Judeo-Christian values in public education is to banish them.

CAIR will not go quietly into the night. This has the stench of an ACLU campaign against crosses and the Ten Commandments. WND points out:
CAIR's chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, was cited by a California newspaper in 1998 declaring the Quran should be America's highest authority. He also was reported to have said Islam is not in America to be equal to any other religion but to be dominant.
CAIR will push again and again until they find chicken school boards and idiot judges who they will use to force their unwanted religion into our system.

What next? Militant Buddhists? Activist witches? A "Coyote-Created-Earth Day" to honor the Sioux?

It could be any of the above, but we can predict with certainty that the answer to "What next?" will not be "common sense."

What's Next For Fitzgerald?

While we're on a "what's next" theme this morning, let's talk about Patrick J. Fitzgerald a bit.

There were a lot of leaks during his investigation, and it's likely some of them were from his staff. As Tina Brown wrote in an otherwise vile piece in today's WaPo:

"Incorruptibility by money is the old story," the New Republic's Leon Wieseltier commented to me this week. "Now it's incorruptibility by media."

That's the new integrity standard: How long can you hold out? How long can you turn down the entreaties of the "Today" show? The seductive power of "deep background?" The lure of A-list dinner invitations?

Not a one of Fitzgerald's staff leaked in a high profile, Today Show way. Most, perhaps even all, of the leaks came from attorneys struggling to raise, lower or cloud the profile of their clients.

So he ran a tight ship and set an example for how Special Prosecutors should behave. Similarly, the White House set an example for how an entity that's under investigation should handle a Special Prosecutor. A very few in the GOP hurled invective his way, but it did not come from the White House; it was an example we wish the Clinton administration had followed, an example we hope other administrations will follow.

Certainly, the White House had a hand in getting the story out on what a lying, self-serving untrustworthy human being Wilson is, but they kept their hands off his wife. Both actions were entirely appropriate. (Lefties will howl at the "hands off his wife" comment. But if there was a leak, that was it. Since then, Plame has not been the focus of their efforts. Even the detailed conservative analyses handled her in a periferal way, just describing how she got her hubby the yellowcake gig.)

But everything to this point has just been a test. Real life starts on Friday, the currently anticipated announcement date.

If there are indictments, will Fitzgerald continue on his current course, or will he melt into a media maniac in front of the cameras, overstating the case, using hyperbole, not the evidence, to promote his case, and sell out for the win? Will his client be justice or just Fitzgerald?

Hopefully, the White House message machine will still have Karl Rove at its helm come Friday. Dems will think I say this because we want someone mean and Machiavellian, but that's not it. Rove had driven the message on the Plame Game thus far, and the product has been good, any alleged initial leaks notwithstanding.

The far left is sufficiently rabid, the doubts about Wilson and the media are solidly in place, and the base is on board. Let's keep it that way -- and the way to do that is to handle it as a Rove would, not as a Carville would.

Krauthammer Got It Right

Updated. See Miers resignation letter at bottom. It's as if Charles Krauthammer scripted the Miers nomination withdrawl.

Here's what he suggested a week ago:
Finally, light at the end of this tunnel. A way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.

For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no previous record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- "policy documents" and "legal analysis" -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.

Which creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.

Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers' putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.
Here's what President Bush said today:

"It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel.

"Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the Constitutional separation of powers -- and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.

"I am grateful for Harriet Miers' friendship and devotion to our country."

Now that's some serious punditing.

The just-released text of Miers' resignation letter shows clearly the use of the White House privilege out -- and includes an affirmation of her commitment to conservative judges:
As you know, members of the Senate have indicated their intention to seek documents about my service in the White House in order to judge whether to support me. I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy. While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue.

As I stated in my acceptance remarks in the Oval Office, the strength and independence of our three branches of government are critical to the continued success of this great Nation. Repeatedly in the course of the process of confirmation for nominees for other positions, I have steadfastly maintained that the independence of the Executive Branch be preserved and its confidential documents and information not be released to further a confirmation process. I feel compelled to adhere to this position, especially related to my own nomination.Protection of the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of my confirmation are in tension. I have decided that seeking my confirmation should yield.

I share your commitment to appointing judges with a conservative judicial philosophy, and I look forward to continuing to support your efforts to provide the American people judges who will interpret the law, not make it. I am most grateful for the opportunity to have served your Administration and this country.
Finely written. But in the end, a major question remains unanswered. Why didn't Miers counsel Bush that this was the inevitable outcome of her nomination? Or did she tell him? And if she did, why didn't he take her counsel?

What's After Harriet?

I stood by her 'til the end, but I'm glad Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination on the eve of hearings. I think the woman today is different from the woman of the early 1990s, and I think such changes can be permanent, so it's likely we would have gotten in Miers an ally to the Scalia side of the court.

But the fight would have been bruttal, and it would have been over all the wrong things. That's hardly unusual for our sick and twisted judicial confirmation process, but it would have been particularly unseemly to see GOP Senators grilling her on whether she is a strict constructionist.

What's next?

For Harriet, most likely some very busy and anonymous times at the White House Counsel's office, since it looks like Fitzgerald may be increasing her work load some. And then, in 2008, a job suiting her now higher profile.

For Bush, hopefully, getting it right. Here's my litmus test:
  • Member of the Federalist Society and proud of it.
  • Writings or better yet, decisions supporting an originalist/strict constructionist view.
  • Writings or better yet, decisions showing that he or she would see Roe v. Wade is bad law.
  • And someone who indicates a bit of chutzpah on the part of the Prez; someone who signals to the Dems that the GOP will stand up for its beliefs despite the likes of Schumer and Leahy.
Let's have a good fight over the right issues this time,with conservatives united against those who are using the courts to force their unpopular agenda on America.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Another Operation Soldier Mission

Operation Soldier, the hard-working and under-funded bunch of vets who are doing so much for our soldiers and their families, has been busy:
Army Staff Sergeant Jesse Walker, Wounded Patriot

Like a lot of men in serving in the war on terrorism, Army Staff Sergeant Jesse Walker, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, proudly carried the torch of freedom to a foreign country to do what he could to defend his country and help an oppressed people.

SSGT Walker recognized the dangers of combat, but knew it was his duty when called upon. On June 30th, 2005, SSGT Walker would witness those dangers, first hand.

While assigned to a security detail, SSGT Walker and his crew were enroute back to the Forwarding Operating Base, in Ramadi, Iraq. As he and his crew drove back, their Humvee ran over a pressure sensitive Improvised Explosive Device. SSGT Walker took the brunt of the blast, suffering compound fractures to his tibia and fibula of his right leg, major tissue and muscle damage to his left leg, a fractured jaw and displaced chin, and a pierced ear drum.

SSGT Walker has undergone several surgeries to repair his injuries and is on the road to recovery. However, like many of the brave men and women of the United States Military, financial sacrifices are unfortunately too common of an occurrence.

His loving fiancé, Jewel Jackson, has left her job, so that she can be by SSGT Walker’s side, to do everything she possibly can to help SSGT Walker’s recovery. Needless to say, this has put a financial strain in their household.

It is an extreme honor for Operation Soldier to assist Army SSGT Walker and his fiancé, Jewel Jackson, with a small contribution of $1000. SSGT Walker and his fiancée are truly remarkable individuals and we here at Operation Soldier will keep SSGT Walker and his fiancé in our thoughts and prayers.

You the viewing and visiting public to the Operation Soldier website can help. Please consider contributing to Operation Soldier, so that we may continue to help the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces that give so much, so that all of us may continue to enjoy Peace, Freedom, and Liberty.

Please visit our website, to read about more the brave patriots like Army SSGT Jesse Walker.
Folks, I don't know about you, but it seems to me that SSGT Walker and his fiance could use more than a grand. Operation Soldier is trying to do a lot with so very little, so please consider including them in your charitable (and patriotic!) contributions.

p.s.: Tonight, a Fresno Police Officer wounded in Iraq, SSG Michael Toes, is returning home for medical treatment near his home. A group of supporters from family, his military unit and Fresno Police Department Officers will be there to cheer him on. Operation Soldier helped SSG Toes as well.

Plame Game Brain Drain

As we await the outcome of the Fitzgerald inquiry, it's clear we're not clear on what it all means:

'A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll taken over the weekend found 39 percent of Americans believe the leak of Plame's name was illegal, another 39 percent believed it was unethical but not illegal and the remainder saw nothing wrong or were not sure.'

I would guess the percent that has a passable understanding of the Plame Game to be less than 10 percent, and comprehension will only decrease as the case - if there is one - begins to unfold.

It's too complex and there's no real tangible damage done so if there's a case, it will be nothing remotely approaching the wild fantasies of the left.

(Posted via Treo, so no links.)

Two Image Frauds In One Day!

LGF has the scoop on today's second instance of photo doctoring, this one the flip-flop of "Halloween Condi," involving making this provocative Ward Churchill photo a little less provocative.

What? Do these people think no one's paying attention? Or, as LGF puts it, apparently the college involved in this little scam "loves radical hate-filled anti-American frauds. Just not armed ones."

John Kerry: Still Dazed

See if this statement by John Kerry, made today in a speech at policy-wonkish Georgetown University, makes any sense to you.

First, according to AP, he said the presence of 159,000 US troops in Iraq is deterring the peace process. Then:
"To undermine the insurgency, we must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks. At the first benchmark, the completion of December elections, we can start the process of reducing our forces by 20,000 troops over the course of the holidays."
To get to logic of this caliber, he must be talking with Teresa more.

It's just a wild guess on my part, but I'd say having 159,000 troops there is deterring the insurgent/terrorist process, which is good for the peace process. Not just because we routinely kick terrorist butt, but also because our troops stand beside peace-loving Iraqis and help them rebuild their country and build their Democracy.

We should all be indebted to Kerry for coming up with the idea of pursuing a political settlement. Wait a minute ... wasn't there some kind of vote, some kind of political process, over there just this last weekend? Maybe John was busy talking to Terry or was tending to his war wounds and missed the papers this weekend.

I guess he also wants us to tell the terrorists what our specific, responsible benchmarks are, so they can set a strategy for driving our withdrawal. What a good idea that is!

And the blue state people think they're so smart ...

Halloween Condi?

Michelle Malkin has found USA Today photo editors at play, turning a perfectly normal picture of Condi into the abomination on the right -- perfectly suitable for one of the many slasher movies now in release.

Editors kindly cropped her bloody chainsaw out of the picture.

No, actually, they retouched her eyes. The question is did they do it incredibly badly or maliciously? And if they did it badly, why is Gannett paying them? The newspaper could get better work from a junior highschooler with a MyPlace page.

Michelle's got an update: USA Today pulled the photo and apologized. More significantly, photographers aren't buying the apology. Just another media bias bust.

Dowdmiller: Catfight Extraordinaire

I couldn't describe the Dowd-Miller spat any better than Myrna Blyth in NRO:
It is Mean Girl vs. Mean Girl in the high-school cafeteria. And who needs hair pulling or nail scratching when you have an op-ed column of your very own?

Of course, Maureen complaining that Judy is a diva is sort of like the pot taking off on the kettle. And bringing up the time Judy wanted Maureen, who was then the Times’s official White House correspondent, to give up “the New York Times seat” to her at a White House press briefing does show what a calculating piece of work Miller can be. But then for Maureen to remember this and use it against Miller 15 years later shows Maureen is some piece of work, too. And Maureen‘s putting down Judy for having influential men friends at the paper while she has had a few of them herself…? Obviously the Times newsroom was never big enough for the two of them.

Blyth was at a luncheon honoring courageous women in journalism when this story came to her, because of the contrast Dowdmiller presents to the winners of the award, a couple of real and heroic journalists. I suggest you read on.

Who Knew About Valerie?

Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald may go public as early as today, so yesterday he was mopping up details. And one of those details makes me think he may have a spy-outing indictment or two ready, but needs to check off a few more check boxes first.

FBI agents interviewed the Wilson's neighbors to see if any of them knew Val was a spy, according to AP. It's important for Fitzgerald to establish that they did not; otherwise his investigation could be embarassed and derailed. Imagine bringing charges against Scooter, only to find that Val bragged about her CIA exploits at the local cocktail parties!

We don't know what the FBI found out, other than one neighbor who said he didn't know Val spied. If they found any neighbors who were aware for some time of her penchant for trench coats, it would mess up the entire case.

I'm not seeing anything in these last days that justify the lefty hysteria that drives them to draw up lists of a dozen or more indictable Republicans. Maybe none, maybe one, slight chance of two -- that's my call.

If there's even one, the Dems will crow about how power has corrupted the GOP. They should look at the Clinton era investigations and resignations first. It took them less than eight years to show their manifest corruption. Some would say eight weeks, pointing to the White House travel office scandal, but I'm feeling oddly kind this morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

After Losing Badly To Hutchins ...

The prerequisite for being a Communist who sympathizes with Islamofascists is to have a healthy disconnect with reality. Case study: George Galloway.

Following Sen. Norm Coleman's clear exposition of evidence that Galloway lied under oath to the US Senate, Galloway has responded, according to the Guardian:
George Galloway is considering taking his fight with Senator Norm Coleman to the Republican's heartland by booking a venue in Minnesota and challenging him to a debate.
Good luck, George. Coleman's investigation revealed:
  • Galloway personally solicited and was granted eight oil allocations totaling 23 million barrels from the Hussein government from 1999 through 2003;
  • Galloway’s wife, Dr. Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with one allocation of oil;
  • Galloway’s political campaign, the Mariam Appeal, received at least $446,000 in connection with several allocations granted under the Oil-for-Food Program;
  • Illegal “surcharge” payments in excess of $1.6 million were paid to the Hussein regime in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal; and
  • Galloway knowingly made false or misleading statements under oath before the Subcommittee at its hearing on May 17, 2005.

Dutch Join Crony Chorus

Dutch foreign minister Ben Bot has asked Condi Rice to urge President Bush to withdraw Ameriquest Mortgage founder Roland Arnell's appointment as ambassador to The Hague.

Their hook is the investigation into mortgage fraud by Ameriquest.

The stakes are high. The Dutch are considering sending fresh troops to Afghanistan, and then there's Hugo Chavez's nasty little Venezuelan experiment.

The US is worried that Chavez's first target of dictatorial expansion will be toward the Dutch Anntilles, just off the Venezuelan coast. We don't want that, and we want the Dutch to help.

Then there's the sympathy we have for the Dutch as they struggle with Islamofascist extremism.

I've never been a fan of big fundraisers getting ambassadorships; in fact, it's a practice that should be legislated out of existence. Our interests are protected by the career diplomats who serve as Chief of Mission and really run the show, as my step dad did during his career. Nonetheless, this is a nomination Bush should let die.

Sources here and here, via Watching America.

Assad Sad Story: UN Resolution

The US, England and France are circulating a draft resolution that calls on Syria to arrest any national identified by UN investigators as a suspect in the killing ex-Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, says BBC.

Anticipating a dismal Syrian response, the draft would also impose an asset freeze and travel ban on anyone considered a suspect in the UN inquiry. Good idea because rats could be fleeing that sinking ship.

The resolution also calls for sanctions against Syria if it continues to resist investigators. As I mentioned in the post below, sanctions seem unlikely given the UN's recent dismal history with oil-for-food.

BBC agrees, speculating that two nations with veto power would probably stop a sanctions effort in its tracks. Which two?

Do you have to ask? Russia and China, friends of demented despots and tinpan dictators everywhere.

UN Investigators Get Death Threats

The head of the UN's investigation of the Hariri assassination told the General Assembly today his team has received ... big surprise! ... death threats. From followers of the religion of peace! He said the threats were made in Lebanon, were not from "official sites," and were deemed credible.

Of Syria, he said,

"The Syrian authorities may wish to carry out on their part their own investigation into the assassination of Mr. Hariri in an open and transparent manner," he said today. "This would enable to 'fill in the gaps' and to have a clearer picture about the organizers and perpetrators of the 14 February terrorist act."

In his news conference Mr. Mehlis said he had asked the Syrian authorities to provide files of Mr. Hariri, and "the Syrian authorities told us 'well, we do not have a single document,' which, frankly speaking, I do not think is true. But what can the commission do? I cannot send 500 investigators which I don't have to Syria to look for documents because I wouldn't know where to find them.

Let alone 500 Special Forces soldiers to go in and kick some Syrian butt. That's why I've been so cynical of this investigation from Day (a very late day) One: Mehlis has no authority, no subpoena power, no Freedom Of Information Act.

"So… we expect from the Syrian authorities not to just react, but to act, to really look into the matter themselves."

As another example of the dealings with Syria, he cited Syrian intelligence chief Rustom Ghazali as telling "us he has the most friendly and personal relationship with Mr. Hariri, and then we come across these taped telephone calls where he is referring to Prime Minister Hariri as a dog. So somehow that doesn't fit and I think it would be a good idea if the Syrian authorities just would make an extra effort by themselves."

Yes, somehow it all doesn't fit. But what's the UN to do if Syria doesn't make an extra effort? They're not likely to impose sanctions so soon after the oil-for-food debacle.

So what they'll do is condemn us when we do what's needed, what the UN is afraid to do.

This Will Only Hurt A Little ...

The California tiger salamander is a pretty good poster child for why Endangered Species Act reform is needed. There's a lot of questionable science behind the listing and also behind declaring that it needs 74,000 acres of critical habitat.

Only in one part of ESA do we get to look at costs, and that's done along with critical habitat designations. (Costs can't be a factor in deciding whether or not to list a species as endangered or threatened.) The feds have done that for the salamander, declaring that just the critical habitat designation will result in economic impacts of $336 million. That doesn't include the economic impact of the listing itself, and it's probably laughably low, if it's like ther economic analyses the feds conducted.

The feds go on to say, "Shucks, that ain't nuthin'. You'll barely feel it." After all, the regional economy is a $28 billion one. Tell that to anyone who's land is part of that $336 million; to them the impact may very well be their complete personal economy.

ESA is the only federal act that puts the cost of achieving society's broad goals on the backs of private landowners. If society feels the need to protect California tiger salamanders, society should bear the cost. That's one provision of the proposed ESA reform that's now being vilified by enviro-mental-ists.

Why? Because they like having private land in public ownership, where they have more control over it.

Evil Progressive's Prize

Thanks to a link from Salon (here's the current page; not the one that linked to me), I got 22 left-wing comments to a rather so-so post in which I simply said I agreed with a Bill Kristol column on the Plame Game investigation.

The prize for the stupidest comment goes to Evil Progressive, who wrote:
Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Rice, Rumsfeld, and assorted Neo-cons fooled you into a war of choice, and you bought their lies, lock, stock, and barrel.
His prize? A post all about him (her?) from me.

EP thinks I'm a stupid fool and says so, which isn't the best way to win an argument. But then the Left doesn't care much for winning arguments. It cares about emoting. Nonetheless, EP thinks I'm a pretty stupid feller for "buying the lies" of the Bush administration.

And he thinks 53 percent of the population is just as stupid as I am, and that the 47 percent stupid enough to vote for a golddigging hypocrite like John Kerry is somehow smarter.

EP seems to think that this is a war about weapons of mass destruction. He must also think that the American Revolution was a war about achieving better treatment from our colonies' masters. That is what it started as -- not as a war for independence, but as a war for representation and fair taxes. It only grew into a war for independence, and thank God the colonials recognized that the reasons for a war can change.

Yet here's EP, a couple years into this war, seeing Democracy begin to bloom in previously totalitarian countries, seeing Libya come to its knees, seeing terrorists killing themselves off ten thousand miles away instead of in his home town -- and yet he still sees Iraq as a war against WMDs! And he calls me stupid!

Furthermore, I never bought a lie because a lie was never uttered. The infamous yellowcake lines were all but purged from Administration-speak, and when they did appear, they were tied to British intelligence, which no one had disputed. The Downing Street kerfuffle came and went without proving anything in that regard. Wilson's trip only covered one of the countries Iraq approached that produces uranium yellowcake. Why does EP think Iraq was suddenly interested in "increased trade" with this small subset of countries? Because they liked black people? The full dossier may never prove definitively efforts to buy yellowcake, but what would EP do? Let them purchase the stuff in order to prove it true?

And WMD had little to do with my support for the war. I understood from the outset that Iraq presented a clear and present danger for a number of reasons, including WMDs. Saddam was working the Taliban, the Africans, the UN. He was pursuing nuclear weapons, absolutely, because he told Arab TV on signing a nuke trade deal with the French that he was going to provide Islam with "the Arab bomb."

He needed to be destabilized and, I remember thinking at the time of the build-up, his was just one of many regimes in the region that needed to be destabilized.

We have accomplished nearly all of our mission in record time with too many but still an amazingly small amount of casualties -- we are currently at 1/10 the casualties the likes of EP predicted would occur in the initial invasion. We will succeed in Iraq.

So returning EP the favor, there is a list of assorted liberals and anti-Americans whose lies you have bought lock, stock and barrel. You bought the lie that not fighting would bring peace. You bought the lie that this is about oil. You bought the lie that Bush is stupid. You bought the lie that Michael Moore had something worthwhile to say. You bought the lie that Kerry had a plan. You bought the lie that its impolite and improper to tell the truth about Islamofascism.

You bought the lie that you are right.

New Bombings Prove Z/Z Letter

Those foolish people who tried to disprove the authenticity of the Zawahiri/Zarqawi letter have some 'splaining to do.

Yesterday's coordinated suicide attack with three huge explosions outside the Palestine Hotel shows again that Zarqawi is following the direction he received from Zawahiri to focus attacks more on Westerners and less on Muslims.

This is the first highly planned attack since the Z/Z letter became public, and it definitely was an anti-Western mission, according to WashTimes:
The largest explosion tore away parts of the Palestine Hotel, which together with the Sheraton Hotel sits some 40 yards from the road. It is protected by large concrete barriers.

The Palestine is favored by TV crews from the Associated Press, Fox News and the Arabic-language U.S.-funded Al-Hurra television, among others. Contractors employed by Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root often stay at the Sheraton.

Another bomb exploded near the al-Sadeer Hotel, which sits across the square and is popular with expatriate police advisers and private security contractors. The al-Sadeer has been attacked several times.
Possible good news in this: Iraqi national security advisor Mouwafak al-Rubaie thinks the ultimate goal of the mission was to take hostages -- following intelligence reports that the media were to be targeted for hostage-taking -- but that the mission failed in that regard.

Assad, Sad Situation: Kofi's Lie

Yesterday's UN press briefing was devoid of outrage over the editing of the Mehlis investigation into Lebanese ex-premier Rafik Hariri's assassination, but Friday's was prefaced by the reading by the UN's spokesperson of this statement:
And I wanted to add on this issue a statement attributable to the Spokesman:

“The Secretary-General has insisted throughout the process on the importance of the independence of the Mehlis’ investigation. This is Mr. Mehlis’ investigation and his report.

The Secretary-General has at no time made any attempt to influence the content of the report.”
How does this jibe with the editing of the Mehlis report, which occurred in Annan's office after Mehlis left the report with him?

Not well. The UN press corps on Friday was all over it, with one reporter summarizing:
Question: The fact still remains that today this report has been totally discredited, and has been undermined completely, with what happened this morning in the Mehlis’ press conference, and consequently the Secretary-General’s reputation is also again being questioned. What is it that can be done to make sure that this report’s credibility is again restored? Because it is, as far as I’m concerned, it is totally discredited at this point.
Yet, the UN spokesman confirmed that the report that will be considered by the General Assembly is the discredited report, and that no names will be in it.
Question: On the Internet, there are bloggers who already have one version and the other version. Everything is right there in the open.

: I understand that. What I’m telling you is that the final version that will be discussed in the Security Council, is the hard copy you all got yesterday [with no names].
That piece of news makes me glad John Bolton is our UN ambassador.

The UN's position is that Mehlis' staff was still editing the report, even as it was handed over to Annan, and that they not he, edited out the names of Assad's brother and his inner circle.

It's ridiculous. The sort of last-minute editing that happens on a report like this, one which has been worked on for quite some time, has to do with micro-edits -- correctings, ordering, getting the table of conents right -- not macro-edits, like whether to name names. Yet the UN soldiers on, apparently ready to sacrifice Mehlis on this one:
Question: Mr. Mehlis said that the reason he made his decision to take the four names out was when he learned the document was about to become public. Can you account for why he didn’t know that? I mean, hadn’t your office said to him “this document will become public at some point”? Was he operating under the idea that it would become public only on Tuesday?

: I will try not to speak for Mr. Mehlis, but it’s obvious that the definition of the word “public” may have a different meaning for those of us here and those of you here in this room, than people who don’t usually work with the UN. When he was told he was given a report to the Security Council, I don’t think it was that clear to him that it would be made public.
It's ludicrous on its face. The UN defence boils down to "It depends on what your definition of public is." Mehlis came into the meeting with Annan comfortable with the inclusion of the names when the report would become public.

Annan either effectively strong-armed his "independent" investigator, or changed the document himself.

Watch the Mehlis staff. The UN knows there is a leaker on the staff:
Question: On the subject of leaks, apparently -- that’s why I’m concerned on the Mehlis’ report -- we have seen besides the New York Times getting it, there were reports from Germany, from Der Spiegel, there were reports from Damascus, so there is a leaker in Mr. Mehlis’s

: You know, if you find me an international organization, a Government organization, or a newspaper that doesn’t have leaks, then I will buy you lunch.
Unless they purge the staff, the leaks won't stop. And the leaks shouldn't stop. The UN has laid down a perposterous defense, and yes, the UN regularly does perposterous things, but we need digging inside and outside the investigation to nail this down.

In any case, the names are out there, whether officially or unofficially, and they will stay public.

See also:
Will This Be Kofi's End?
Assad Tightens His Grip
UN Hariri Report: Questions

Monday, October 24, 2005

What Are The Chances?

I just did a Google search on Kamau Kambon, the bookstore owner and sometime state-paid university professor who recently was caught on C-Span saying all white people needed to be exterminated, and guess how many entries the search engine found for this disgusting piece of human trash!


What are the chances?

By the way, if you'd like to send an email to this guy whose name is only one K away from being KKK, you can reach him at I'm not sure how many underscores are in that underscore.

And in case you're curious, here's an idea of what the guy looks like:

Will This Be Kofi's End?

Taranto picks up today's WaPo/Mehlis reports on a gaffe of huge, historic proportions that just happened to happen on the UN's 60th birthday. What a gift!
The original [UN report on the Hariri assassination] Microsoft Word document is here, and has rendered it in HTML form. Here's the key passage, rendered to look like redlined Microsoft Word text (note that this will not appear properly if you're reading this column as a text e-mail):
One witness of Syrian origin but resident in Lebanon, who claims to have worked for the Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon, has stated that approximately two weeks after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1559, Maher Assad, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Suleyman and Jamil Al-Sayyed senior Lebanese and Syrian officials decided to assassinate Rafik Hariri. He claimed that Sayyed a senior Lebanese security official went several times to Syria to plan the crime, meeting once at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus and several times at the Presidential Place and the office of Shawkat a senior Syrian security official. The last meeting was held in the house of Shawkat the same senior Syrian security official approximately seven to 10 days before the assassination and included Mustapha Hamdan another senior Lebanese security official. The witness had close contact with high ranked Syrian officers posted in Lebanon.

Notice the strike-over of "Maher Assad?" That's Bashar's brother, and the others are Bashar's inner circle. The UN might as well have sent a blimp up over Beirut with "Bashar Offed Rafik!" in lights.

Another birthday gift: This could spell the end (finally!) of Kofi Annan. He promised not to change a word of Detlev Mehlis' report -- a temptation I thought he might fall to. And he did, according to the NYT's report:

But computer tracking showed that the final edit began at about 11.38am on Thursday--a minute after Herr Mehlis began a meeting with Mr Annan to present his report. The names of Maher al-Assad, General Shawkat and the others were apparently removed at 11.55am, after the meeting ended.

This is Kofi's National Guard memo. Watch for a firestorm.

Gas Prices Falling - Where's MSM?

My big German V8 gets decent mileage -- 18.6 -- but even so, I was happy to see premium for $2.999 this morning. It saved me about $3.60 on the fill-up.

Funny ... I don't recall the evening news trumpeting the falling gas prices story, as they did when prices were rising. And I read the on-line editions of a lot of papers, but this story didn't make the home page of any of them.

Good news is no news?

Quit Your Loafing:

LOS ANGELES ( -- Blog this: U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs.
AdAge is missing the point that workers will be better informed and brighter from their blog-reading experience. But the people who work for me are already incredibly bright and well informed, so get back to work! (And pay no attention to the time stamp on this post.)

h/t Jim

Something To Celebrate?

Lest you forget, today is United Nations Day, the 60th anniversary of that nobly envisioned but deeply flawed institution.

So take a moment today to celebrate oil-for-food, child molesting peacekeepers, genocides in Rawanda, anti-Israel resolutions by the truckload and the threatened takeover of the Internet. Perhaps with a strong cup of coffee, so the world will wake up and smell it.

No Indictments From Fitzgerald?

Upate: Welcome Salon readers and thank you for your comments, even the angry, belittling and purile ones. I'll address some of your thoughts at the end of this brief post.

Let's hope William Kristol is right in this prediction (and wrong on Miers):
And here is the point: Unless the perjury is clear-cut or the obstruction of justice willful and determined, we hope that the special prosecutor has the courage to end the inquiry without bringing indictments. It is fundamentally inappropriate to allow the criminal law to be used to resolve what is basically a policy and political dispute within the administration, or between the administration and its critics. One trusts that the special counsel will have the courage after conducting his exhaustive investigation to reject inappropriate criminal indictments if the evidence does not require them, no matter how much criticism he might then get from the liberal establishment that yearns to damage the Bush administration through the use of the criminal law.

And I will go out on a limb to say this, based on the very limited information one can glean from press accounts: It seems to me quite possible--dare I say probable?--that no indictments would be the just and appropriate resolution to this inquiry.
h/t Real Clear Politics

Regarding the comments received from Salon readers:

Several of you alluded to this position as being unfair since the Clinton articles of impeachment were for obstruction of justice and perjury. No one I know of, including Kristol if you care to read the entire piece, says obstruction of justice or perjury should go unpunished.

Bubba broke a rule that's pretty well known: Don't go messin' around on the Main Squeeze, then he looked the national TV camera in the eye and lied, then he lied to the grand jury. That's a pretty cut and dried case. Rove and/or Libby may have unknowingly broken a law that's obscure to the point of being unknown and they've never looked the nation in the eye and lied about it. We'll see about what they said to the Grand Jury.

It's true that Bubba didn't get busted for lying on camera to the nation, only for lying to a grand jury, but any fool can see that there's a major relativity difference here. Conservatives had a big, fat, presidential guilty party in Clinton; liberals are foaming at the mouth over obscurities and underlings in this case.

I respect Peter Swiderski for putting his name on his comments and then saying something intelligent enough. If his first three predictions are true -- big indictments with lots of juicy detail -- his third still isn't true, as long as the indictments stay at the Rove and Libby level.

Mmmm...Sultry, read your current history, OK?! The only people lying about Niger were the French and Wilson. I guess it's so much easier to be outraged if you're swinging in the dark.

Mizerock, if someone's paying me for my views, please let me know where they're sending the checks. I could use the money.