Saturday, May 18, 2002

"Maybe there has been too much bipartisanship lately. You can't get the truth that way."

-MoDo, taking a break from crying about how her success prevents her from landing a man.

I agree. Arguing good. Meek little bunnies bad.

Instapundit earlier knocked me for being gleeful at this potentially making the administration look bad. Actually, that's not really true. What I am gleeful about is the possibility that the administration will finally be subjected to a reasonable degree of suspicion and scrutiny as all administrations should be. Unless some of the tinfoil hat scenarios turn out to be true, I'm quite happy for the administration to look bad for plenty of other well-deserved reasons. But, since the coronation the lapdog media who cover the administration - Dulce, Panchito, Cojones - laid off as much as they did during the campaign, and post-9/11 they just stopped doing anything but publishing Karl Rove's press releases altogether.

So, yes, I'm gleeful if not optimistic that might begin to change.
Josh Marshall helps me get over my recent brush with the VRWC:

Winner of the pie-charts TPM would most like to see contest ...

Percentage of time former FBI Director Louis Freeh spent on counter-terrorism, percentage time former FBI Director Louis Freeh spent on investigations of Bill Clinton, percentage of time former FBI Director Louis Freeh spent on investigations of Al Gore, percentage of time former FBI Director Louis Freeh spent hobnobbing with congressional Republicans, percentage of time former FBI Director Louis Freeh spent talking trash about Janet Reno ... etc.

-- Josh Marshall

To be fair, this Washington Post article, though perhaps technically correct due to a likely fortuitous use of the past tense, does really seem to imply that Jose Valera was Fortuyn's successor at the time of the election. This is days after The American Prowler, nee American Spectator, commits a similar if more overt goof mentioned here.

Tonight, Fortuyn's name remained on countless lips. "I'm sure Pim is looking down on us," said Joao Varela, a 27-year-old economist who was the No. 2 candidate on the Fortuyn party lineup.

[Sent in by W.P., who has a horse in this one.]

[UPDATE: Actually, I was never certain if The Prowler had goofed or if events had just overtaken them.]
Is the President Asking to be Treated DIfferently Than Others?

One can imagine the blistering conservative outrage, the
foaming right-wing oral cavities, the high Falwellian
cynicism and sarcasm to erupt were Bill Clinton or Al Gore
in the White House possessing identical intelligence
information in the summer before 9/11. Impeachment
demands for the misdemeanor of phantasmal stupidity
would flourish. Presidential initiatives would be halted cold
in their tracks--and permanently. For the remainder of his
term, a Clinton or Gore would experience imposed
paralyzation, plagued eight days a week by ever-mounting
Republican investigations. Conservatives would bust a gut
in the comfortable knowledge that this wasn't about some
vague "shoulda known," but what the president indeed
knew and sat on.

Turnabout is but fair. Grab a Louisville Slugger.

To the emailer with an almost terminal case of CHA disease, who I hope will one day be able to get through a night without being tormented by horrific nightmares about Clinton's Tubesteak Messiah, here's a letter to the New Yorker:

Lewis Libby, Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, suggested to Nicholas Lemann that the Clinton Administration's counterterrorism policy made it "easier for someone like Osama bin Ladin to rise up" ("The Next World Order," April 1st). As a former special adviser to President Clinton on national security, I must object. Libby cites the "lack of a serious response" to a laundry list of Clinton-era terrorist incidents, beginning in 1993. Why start there? Why not include the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which killed seventeen Americans; the 1983 bombing of the Marine compound in Beirut, which killed two hundred and forty-one Americans; the 1986 Berlin disco bombing, which killed an American soldier; and, of course, the 1988 sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed two hundred and seventy people? Except for the very limited action against Libya, the Reagan Administration did not respond militarily to any of these attacks.

Under Clinton, spending on counterterrorism more than doubled; the 1993 World Trade Center bombers were caught; and the largest counterterrorism operation in U.S. history thwarted planned millennium attacks. After the 1998 attack on our embassies in Africa, President Clinton authorized Tomahawk missile strikes against bin Ladin. It is also worth noting reports that the current Bush administration backed away from some of the more aggressive measures for dealing with Al Qaeda which Clinton had passed on. President Bush has wisely asked that we all work together to strengthen our counterterrorism policy. Playing the blame game doesn't help anyone.

William Danvers
Arlington, Va.

not online, and stolen from Ted Barlow who actually had to type the whole damn thing in.

Book'em Dano

"I encourage you as the new chief of the
Los Angeles Police Department to investigate
these allegations ... so that we can determine
if prosecutions are warranted," said Los
Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo in
a letter to Chief Martin Pomeroy, who took
over as acting chief following the resignation
of Bernard Parks last month.

Under California's Child Abuse and Neglect
Reporting Act, members of the clergy must
report to law enforcement authorities any
allegation of child sexual abuse within 36
hours of learning about it, with the exception
of reports obtained during the sacrament of confession.

Mahony, head of the nation's largest Catholic archdiocese, said Tuesday he was
aware of the allegations against the priest, who was identified in a civil complaint as
Rev. Michael Stephen Baker.

I think Glenn's gratuitous swipe at Cynthia McKinney is sleaze worthy of Rush Limbaugh, because he knows full well that the above graphic is sleaze worthy of the New York Post!
To all the CHAs:

For the record, no planes flew into the WTC when Clinton was president.

Thank you.
God I hate when the cats wake me up early. Little monsters.

Anyway, it sounds like it's time for that little liar Condi Rice to resign. Aside from presiding over the worst intelligence disaster in history, she decided it was appropriate to stand up in front of the cameras and lie about it. If "I did not have sex with that woman" was enough, you'd think lying about the events leading up to the deaths of 3000 people would be.

This little piece by the utterly unreliable Bobby Woodward tries to exonerate Bush by blaming Condi. Okay, fine, show her the door. If you're gonna scapegoat someone, let'em take take the consequences.

The top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush on Aug. 6 carried the headline, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," and was primarily focused on recounting al Qaeda's past efforts to attack and infiltrate the United States, senior administration officials said.

The document, known as the President's Daily Briefing, underscored that Osama bin Laden and his followers hoped to "bring the fight to America," in part as retaliation for U.S. missile strikes on al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998, according to knowledgeable sources.

Bush had specifically asked for an intelligence analysis of possible al Qaeda attacks within the United States, because most of the information presented to him over the summer about al Qaeda focused on threats against U.S. targets overseas, sources said. But one source said the White House was disappointed because the analysis lacked focus and did not present fresh intelligence.

In earlier comments this week, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other administration officials stressed that intelligence officials were focused primarily on threats to U.S. interests overseas. But sources made clear yesterday that the briefing presented to Bush focused on attacks within the United States, indicating that he and his aides were concerned about the risks.

up down turn around
Well, well, well... Lookie what Bill Kristol has to say

Time for an Investigation
ADVANCE COPY from the May 27, 2002 issue: It's time for Republicans and Democrats to seriously look at the
warning signs.
by William Kristol and Robert Kagan
05/17/2002 4:50:00 PM

IF PRESIDENT BUSH knows what's good for the country--and we think he does--he will immediately appoint an independent, blue-ribbon commission to investigate the government's failure to anticipate and adequately
prepare for the terrorist attacks of September 11. Make George Shultz and Sam Nunn co-chairmen. Give the commission full and unfettered access to all intelligence from the CIA and FBI and to all relevant internal administration documents. Instruct the commission to produce a public report in six months that can stand as the definitive judgment of what went wrong and why.

There are three reasons such an investigation is necessary. First, the administration is now in danger of looking as if it has engaged in a cover-up. The carefully worded and evasive statements by various administration spokesmen in response to the report of the president's August 6 CIA briefing have raised as many questions as they have answered. We understand the conundrum that administration spokesmen face. They can't be precise about what they did or didn't know without revealing classified information. We also presume the administration has nothing to hide. But the cat is out of the bag. The ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Shelby, says that "we've just scratched the surface." The country needs to be assured that a reputable and unbiased group is going beneath the surface to find the truth.

Nor can we assume that the investigation already in progress by a special joint congressional committee will do the trick. Given the vulgar partisanship into which most elected officials descended last week, we have no confidence that any congressional committee can come up with a reputable and authoritative report.

Furthermore, regardless of what Congress does, the president should order an investigation for the sake of accountability within the executive branch. Ever since September 11 we have been troubled and puzzled that almost no one in the government seems to have been held responsible--much less, heaven forbid, stepped forward to assume responsibility--for failure. Was what happened on September 11 the consequence of everyone doing their job perfectly? Can it really be that no one made a mistake? And if someone did make a mistake, shouldn't that someone be held accountable, just a little? People lose jobs in government for hiring nannies and
forgetting to pay their taxes. In the military, officers resign when something goes wrong on their watch, even if they were personally blameless for what happened. Isn't it possible that some people should be reprimanded, or even lose their jobs, when 3,000 Americans are killed in a terrorist attack? For the past eight months the Bush administration has essentially been saying that everything and everyone worked just fine. That is absurd and

And, of course, it's perilous. The third reason we need an investigation is that the system did not work. Either we didn't have the intelligence we should have had before September 11. Or the information was not adequatelydistributed and therefore key signals were missed. Or the intelligence was assembled but wasn't taken seriously enough. Or it was taken seriously but insufficient action was taken to prevent an attack. We don't know where the system broke down. We only know that it did.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Man, I'm starting to compete with 'ole Instapundit's output. But, here's another fun blast from the past:

Officials told to 'back off' on Saudis before September
by Greg Palast and David Pallister

FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington
say they were prevented for political reasons from
carrying out full investigations into members of the
Bin Laden family in the US before the terrorist attacks
of September 11.

US intelligence agencies have come under criticism for
their wholesale failure to predict the catastrophe at
the World Trade Centre. But some are complaining
that their hands were tied.

FBI documents shown on BBC Newsnight last night
and obtained by the Guardian show that they had
earlier sought to investigate two of Osama bin Laden's
relatives in Washington and a Muslim organisation, the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), with which
they were linked.

They said the restrictions became worse after the
Bush administration took over this year. The
intelligence agencies had been told to "back off" from
investigations involving other members of the Bin
Laden family, the Saudi royals, and possible Saudi
links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by

"There were particular investigations that were
effectively killed."

Only after the September 11 attacks was the stance of
political and commercial closeness reversed towards
the other members of the large Bin Laden clan, who
have classed Osama bin Laden as their "black sheep"

Over to you, Andy...

Interestingly, Bob Schieffer of CBS was at Ari's briefing today. That isn't, um, normal. This exchange is kind of interesting:

Q I just want to ask you, did Mr. Clarke, as quoted in The Washington Post today, of the NSC, say in July that
"something really spectacular is going to happen here"? Is that accurate?

MR. FLEISCHER: I'd have to ask him. And if you're --

Q Well, it was in a major paper today.

MR. FLEISCHER: I know, but I don't ask --

Q -- get a briefing on that?

MR. FLEISCHER: I do not receive a daily briefing on his verbatim quotes.

Q Well, I mean, you must have anticipated you would be asked about that.

MR. FLEISCHER: No, as Dr. Rice indicated yesterday, and as the President said in his interview with The
Washington Post, that the reporting that we had over the summer, in the early moments of the summer, did
show that there was something building, mostly focused on somewhere foreign.

Q Well, according to the same story, George Tenet had been "nearly frantic", is the quote, with concern since
June 22nd. I don't recall that kind of thing being -- know anything.

MR. FLEISCHER: Let me just walk you through the facts of what Dr. Rice briefed yesterday in terms of the

Q -- don't need to. I heard it. (Laughter.)

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not in a position to tell you whether somebody's verbatim quote like that.

Q I'm trying to get at what the mind-set was in July and June. You didn't --

MR. FLEISCHER: Obviously people were taking these threats seriously.

Q Well, can I just follow up on the presidential directive, and Clarke's role, actually, because based on what
Condi told us yesterday, he was very much involved in these working groups and sort of bringing all the pieces
together --


Q -- that presumably led to the directive winding up on her desk. But he was also part of the Clinton
administration's counterterrorism team. He was there at the end of that administration. They had also been
working on a plan for dealing with bin Laden and al Qaeda. So would it be fair to say that -- I'm assuming,
when there was the transition, that he would have said to Dr. Rice, look, here's the deal, here's the plan we've
been working on, this is serious, we need to pay attention to this. Was there a delay, because of a changeover
in administration where she said, wait a minute, we're going to have to take our time here, we're new at all
this, and figure out what's a priority and what's not?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, I think just the opposite. As I indicated, the planning began during the transition period.
And the goal shifted to the dismantling of al Qaeda.

Peggy Noonan's latest, archived here, is a bit nutty even by her standards..



By Peggy Noonan

How is George W. Bush doing? In Washington the past weekend everyone I spoke to answered that question by dropping to their knees and sobbing uncontrollably. People love him. They adore him. Men wish they could be him. Women long to have him spank them while screaming, “Peggy’s been a very, very bad girl.”

Nor is the press fully immune, or so it seemed to me. After Mr. Bush gave his humorous speech at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, I mentioned to the chunky host of a Sunday morning talk show that the president's speech was all right but undistinguished. "Wasn't as good as Clinton," I said. Bill Clinton's material at dinners like this were extremely clever, in much the way the Iraqi secret police or the child porn industry can be extremely clever.

"But Clinton was a filthy degenerate scumbag who wanted General Electric to have to clean up the toxic waste we spew into residential neighborhoods!" the journalist said, his eyes steaming like two pissholes in the snow. Mr. Clinton's very cleverness, the fact that he was so brilliant at doing shtick for the media, was indicative of the truly evil nature of the man. Mr. Bush is more like a president should be: stupid.

All the best presidents have been stupid. The greatest president this beloved land ever had was thicker than a glacier, yet - as the left wing smirked - communism tumbled under the weight of Ronald Wilson Reagan’s magnificent stupor!

Click on the link for the rest of Peggy's light speed descent into madness..
According to Kate Snow, the Pope is not a political figure.

I seem to remember he was the head of state of a little country called the Vatican, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, Kate seems to have gone to the Tim Russert school of interviewing, in which you try and put words in people's mouths and get them to agree with you.

I want to follow up on my earlier post about CNN's online poll.

I actually had to go to work today, so I only caught a few bits of CNN in the morning, but I was absolutely horrified.

They kept pumping the results of their online poll which had about 70% of people voting that yes, the criticism of the Bush administration was just politics as usual.

That lecherous old bastard who works with Paula Zahn said something like "I bet those Democrats will be too embarassed to even go on the Sunday shows this weekend with poll numbers like this."

Daryn Kagan kept pushing when Joe Lockhart was on. He dismissed it intelligently.

I heard Bill Hemmer mention it twice.

This was over about a 90 minute period, during which I was mostly doing the morning routine away from the TV.

What. The. Fuck.

Josh Marshall usually has a pretty mild style, so you know when he says this:

Following up on this earlier post, the last thing the
White House should be doing right now is sending
that despicable rat Ari Fleischer out to swipe at
Senator Hillary Clinton for posing a question many
of her constituents are no doubt asking. Fleischer's
*#$%-eating grin and nervously gnashing remarks
aren't called for. Messrs. Daschle's and Gephardt's
comments were far more biting than Hillary's. Hers
were comparatively generous. Trying to get the
Hillary-haters to bail them out of this one will not

he's pissed.
Dianne Feinstein on Ari's lying ways:

"I am very surprised by the tone of the comments by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer regarding concerns I raised last summer about a possible terrorist attack on our nation and the need to reorganize our counter-terrorism and homeland defense efforts to try to head off a possible calamity.

In the wake of the September 11th attacks, the issue is too important to our nation to engage in the kind of politics Mr. Fleischer is practicing. I, for one, do not believe that any of our nation's leadership had specific information last summer to know when and what kind of attack to anticipate.

What I said last July on CNN was that I was deeply concerned as to whether our house was in order to prevent a terrorist attack. My work on the Intelligence Committee and as chair of the Technology and Terrorism Subcommittee had given me a sense of foreboding for some time. I had no specific data leading to a possible attack.

In fact, I was so concerned that I contacted Vice President Cheney's office that same month to urge that he restructure our counter-terrorism and homeland defense programs to ensure better accountability and prevent important intelligence information from slipping through the cracks.

Despite repeated efforts by myself and staff, the White House did not address my request. I followed this up last September 2001 beforethe attacks and was told by 'Scooter' Libby that it might be another six months before he would be able to review the material. I told him I did not believe we had six months to wait.

Since 9/11 I have always wondered why not a single person lost their job over that catastrophe, other than some illegal alien airport workers. I realize that following such a tragedy standing around pointing fingers is not helpful (though someone forgot to tell that to our patriots, and ex-patriates, on the Right.) However, that is not what I'm referring to. I'm talking about someone fairly high up in the leadership choosing to step forward and say "Hey, this happened on my watch. It was my job to prevent this kind of thing, and I failed, and I cannot in good conscience remain in this position. I Will remain around long enough to ensure a smooth transition, and then leave."

Such an act would be largely symbolic, and we could expect to find the noble soul popping up somewhere else government in the not too distant future, but I nonetheless always thought it should have happened. It's called taking responsibility, and it is something people at the top should do more often.

These latest revelations speak volumes about this administration and the media who cover for them. Their inability to admit to a single mistake (at least domestically -- they had little problem apologizing over the spy plane incident) causes them to spin ludicrously and yes, to lie, when it would be oh so easy to say yes, we messed up a little bit. The psychological damage this must be doing to the real victims of 9/11, and yes, to our "Homeland Security" cannot be exaggerated.

Shame on them.

[Update: Bill S. writes in to inform me that Virginia Buckingham, the former head of Boston's Logan Airport, did indeed lose her job, and was not, to my knowledge, an illegal immigrant. ]
Public Nuisance recently opened up shop and has a great post which complements Joe Conason's recent article about the Right being Oh So Wrong about California's problems. He points out that Joe left out an important part of the story -- the attempt to blame California's environmentalists for the problem.
One note to new readers - I generally try (not always successfully) to avoid juvenile namecalling and the mocking of people's physical attributes, but I make an exception for Andy Sullivan because he frequently does these things himself.

Besides, how can you not mock a neck like that...

Apparently Mrs. Bush receives daily security briefings as well, having just informed Europeans that the warnings were too vague and general to act on,

I know there are those who think we should just ignore everything stupid that Bush says because he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about half the time. However, I agree with Mark Crispin Miller that what he says is actually quite telling. Here is what he just said [Rush Trancscript, could be incorrect]:

"If I had known that these hijackers were going to kill people I would have done everything in my power, with the might of America, to stop them."

Update -- Real transcript (or the real doctored one, who knows anymore):

Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that
fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American
CNN has run the results of their online poll about 36 times.

David Corn completes the trifecta of people the Nation needs to fire, but he does raise the point that Little Bobby Woodward missed the big scoop when he wrote his ridiculous "10 days in September" series.

Q Had there been any warnings that the President knew of?

MR. FLEISCHER: No warnings.
Okay, Biggie the Neck's response to all this is beyond stupid. I'll it speak for itself:

Ah, they say, but if this had been president Clinton, you would have jumped on it. Nu-huh. My point about Clinton was his record of eight years of not taking al Qaeda seriously as a real threat to this country and the world. Bush deserves criticism on this score as well, except that he ordered a real review of our efforts and was on the verge of transforming our policies against terror on the eve of September 11. What exactly should Bush have done with this vague information at the time? Shut down the airports? Even then, the use of mere box-cutters to use as hijacking weapons was not anticipated. This is a non-story. It's being used by some to try and get some leverage against the massive support this president rightly has for his conduct of the war so far. It's pathetic.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Charles Dodgson says I'm all over these latest revelations. But, as usual MWO really has things covered, with much more wit, style, and precision than I can ever muster up.

GOP fax machines and file servers all over Washington are on Code Puce today, what with the terrorist threat of actual truth possibly penetrating the botoxed frontal cortexes of the celebcorp's collective brain. From the looks of things, Karl Rove can begin to rest easy.

Chaos Among the Sullivanites!!!!


Rod Dreher discovers that Fortuyn was an advocate of pederasty, posthumously withdraws support! Will Sully follow...

developing hard!

[thanks to Michelangelo Signorile for the tip and kind email.]
Summary of Condi Rice's news conference:

Bush did not know that planes were going to fly into the World Trade Center so stop saying that shut up! Shut Up!! SHUT UP!!! SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!

Andy sure is quiet, as Vaara makes clear...
David Talbot in Salon:

To be fair, it does seem like some steps were taken by the Bush
administration after it learned of the bin Laden threat. For instance,
as CBS News reported last summer, in the weeks before 9/11
Attorney General John Ashcroft was suddenly advised to fly
exclusively on private jets instead of commercial airliners after
receiving a "threat assessment" from his FBI security detail.
Unfortunately for the passengers of United Airlines Flights 93 and
175 and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, they were not given
the same option.

I try to keep the pictures to a minimum, following good blogger etiquette, but I have to post this:

[found on Blowback]
More refutation of Ari's pre/post 9-11 spin:

Rome - A possible assassination attempt
on President George W. Bush - using a
commercial plane - was uncovered by
Italy's secret services at July's Group of
Eight summit, Deputy Prime Minister
Gianfranco Fini said yesterday.

Fini, interviewed for a television program,
said Italian forces shut down airspace
above Genoa and positioned
surface-to-air missiles at the airport.

The missile deployment was known at the
time of the economic summit, but reports
then suggested they were in place for a
possible missile attack against the plane carrying Bush or
another world leader.

"At the time, there were those who made light of those
measures, judging them excessive. But now those who mocked
should think again," Fini said, referring to the attacks in the
United States last week using hijacked planes.

I have never been a full-fledged member of the tin-foil hat crowd who believed that Dick Cheney piloted the planes into the WTC by remote control, BUT...

I appreciated that they were there because they were the only ones who had been staying on top of all of the various news stories that were floating around, some of which were pretty interesting and were never really followed up.

There were a flurry of stories that came out right after 9/11, and then our press started taking dictation from the administration and all of those stories just fell through the cracks. Some of them may have been nothing, some of them may have been sloppy reporting in the chaotic aftermath, but some of them should have been followed up by our crack press.

In addition to Ashcroft not flying commercial, and Bush's complete aversion to Washington over that time, Willie Brown was warned by an anonymous caller not to fly. Salman Rushdie claims he was banned from flying internally in the North America.

When no one bothers to follow this stuff up, you can understand why the tin-foil hat crowd starts to try and connect the dots themselves. What else can they do?

UPDATE: The ORourkian objects to my claiming that the tin-foil hat crowd was vindicated. Of course my little headline was a bit of half-serious hype, but there's an important point here. In the aftermath of 9/11, anyone raising these questions was lumped into the tinfoil hat crowd. The tinfoil hat crowd ranges from those who:

-- Think our intelligence agencies made a colossal boo-boo, which it looks now as if they did. Call this low-level incompetence.

-- Think that higher-ups in the Bush administration had some information they failed to act on appropriately (Ah, Andy Sullivan's Blame Clinton piece looks funnier every day), which we now know is to some degree true. Call this high-level incompetence.

-- Think the Bush administration deliberately failed to act on the information (and there are reports they deliberately pulled back on terrorist investigations of the Bin-Laden family which may or may not be credible). Call this criminal negligence.

-- Think that Dick Cheney, fueled by a Caspian Crude IV, used his newly installed defibrillator/airline remote control device to personally fly the planes into the WTC in order to have an excuse to topple the Taliban and have Unocal build an oil/natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan to feed Dick's insatiable addiction to sweet sweet crude. Call this the Grand Conspiracy.

In any case, the tinfoil hat crowd, no matter where they fell in this spectrum, have been the only ones asking the questions.

If we needed any further proof that things are back to normal after 9/11 in the world of our self-congratulatory whores, CNN's headline for the revelations about White House knowledge is "The Blame Game."
Avedon Carol has a really great post. So good I'm tempeted to C&P and pretend it's mine, but that would be too obvious, so I'll behave and just link and excerpt:

Looking over the last week or so of Blowback brings up something that's been bugging me for a few weeks now, which is the growing feeling that all the fears of the nay-sayers and peaceniks may be coming true. Not that it took prescience to expect Team Bush to fall down on the job of stablizing Afghanistan in any meaningful way, but such warnings were ignored earlier on and then forgotten in the triumphant glow of sheer relief that we'd gotten rid of the Taliban government at last.

There's something ironic if you compare Bush1 with Bush2 on war rhetoric versus outcomes. Poppy Bush went to war in the Gulf to drive the Iraqis back from Kuwait. Whatever else can be said about him (which is quite a lot, really), he did that. And made short work of it. He didn't get bogged down in the dreaded "quagmire", he didn't aim at the wrong country, and he didn't make a load of promises he couldn't (or wouldn't) keep.


I feel kinda sad that all the people who've been joining the bandwagon to attack the lefties who demurred from pro-war rhetoric are probably not going to come around soon and say, "Perhaps we have been hasty...." Whether or not you agree with them, those pacifists and high-volume critics of US foreign policy are part of a necessary dialog that makes us consider our actions with prudence, and it's a mistake to marginalize them completely from the debate.

I remember reading once, perhaps in Slate, the argument that if Jesse Helms didn't exist you'd have to invent him. Someone had to take his foreign policy positions in order to force his opponents to justify theirs. While this was a bit too generous to that 'ole racist, as his obstructionist ways went too far, I did agree with the central notion.

Post 9/11, despite the Right's obsession with the "anti-War Left", which if they were not dishonest propagandists they'd have had to amit there was almost as big a counterpart on the Right, such an entity was so on the margins that Andy Sullivan had to track down its secret headquarters on a web site in the Netheralands which got at least 5-10 hits per day. Their hysterical rantings against anyone who would dare question Great Leader silenced or at the very least delegitimized the other side of the debate. As Avedon says, those people are a necessary party of the foreign policy debate, at least as necessary as 'ole Jesse is.

The warning of the hijacking was given to the president at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., where he was on vacation.

Just to defuse Ari's "well, we didn't know they would be weapons..and, we didn't know it would be more than one..."spin:

By Ned Stafford, Newsbytes.
13 Sep 2001, 1:16 PM CST

Newspaper: Echelon Gave Authorities Warning Of Attacks 09/13/01 FRANKFURT, GERMANY, 2001 SEP 13 (NB) -- By Ned Stafford, Newsbytes. U.S. and Israeli
intelligence agencies received warning signals at least three months ago that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons
to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture, according to a story in Germany's daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

The FAZ, quoting unnamed German intelligence sources, said that the Echelon spy network was being used to collect information about the terrorist threats, and that U.K.
intelligence services apparently also had advance warning. The FAZ, one of Germany's most respected dailies, said that even as far back as six months ago western and near-east
press services were receiving information that such attacks were being planned.

Within the American intelligence community, the warnings were taken seriously and surveillance intensified, the FAZ said. However, there was disagreement on how such terrorist
attacks could be prevented, the newspaper said.

Valid source? Who knows.

Look, it was obvious from day one that the administration knew more than they let on about what happened, either in the deterministic or probabalistic sense. It's time we find out what.

Happy 4000 hits!

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The Smoking Memo was dated from July, right about the time Ashcroft stopped flying commercial.

Come on whores, I can't do your jobs for you...


AP-Bush-Hijackings URGENT

(White House-AP) -- The White House acknowledges that President Bush was told before
September eleventh of a possible plot by Osama bin Laden to hijack
airplanes.But officials say neither Bush nor his advisers had any way of
knowing that suicide hijackers would use the planes as missiles, as
they did against the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the administration
notified the "appropriate agencies" last summer that hijackings
were possible.
The Vice President Comes Clean in Letter to Toledo Blade

Wonder what got into him?

Look, the President has no clothes!

Since Sept. 11, President Bush has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, dismissing any criticism of his actions (or inactions) as anti-American. I believe he stated when he took office that he would "let other nations resolve their own problems." Did this apparent lack of interest in world affairs lead to the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine?

President Bush is the head of the greatest nation in the world. He should be taking a greater leadership role in setting policies and procedures that would lead to greater safety and prosperity for us and for the rest of the world. Instead, it appears that he prefers to use his time visiting school children. I’m sure the students are suitably impressed and inspired, but I think his time would be better spent in other areas of national interest.

His threat to use nuclear weapons was totally irresponsible, and can only result in other nations reconsidering their own nuclear potential.

To me, he is basically a loose cannon in a job that is beyond both his capabilities and experience. If you voted for him in the last election, make sure you are aware of the actions that he is (or is not) taking, and how they will affect you and your family. You may want to reconsider your choice in the next election.

Folks, once his cloak of patriotism is removed, there’s nothing underneath.


Is Der Frei Republik gone for good?
You know, even though Enron's own lawyer admitted today that they were playing naughty in California some people still won't accept reality.

One of my commenters claims that California had a capacity problem due to low rainfall. This is just wrong. It is true that there were concerns about low water levels for the following summer - when there would be peak demand - the "crisis" had ended by then. In any case, if the power magically appeared every time California was willing to write the check there couldn't have been a lack of capacity. It wasn't because power companies were hooking up their stationary bicycle generators.
He then argues that price caps would have shifted the problem to other states because California would have taken "their" power. I really don't understand how price caps in California would cause power companies to become more willing to sell power to them than to other states. This makes no sense.

You can say California had a bad system (it did). You can argue that "true" deregulation would be wonderful (it wouldn't be, but that's a separate argument). But at that time, price caps would have solved all of the problems. Not price caps forever, but price caps until the system could be fixed.
Is Instapundit a Left-Winger? Or does he just transcend all simplistic political categorization as do the rest of us..
Just askin'.
Well, Andy's gonna celebrate tonight:

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The anti-immigration party of
murdered Pim Fortuyn stormed to second place behind the
opposition Christian Democrats in Wednesday's Dutch
election, a dramatic rout for the ruling center-left, an exit
poll showed.

Voters ditched Prime Minister Wim Kok's government in a
landslide swing to the right. Dutch television said the Labor
party, in coalition for eight years with VVD liberals and
D66 centrists, had suffered its worst defeat since World
War Two.

The conservative Christian Democrats (CDA) were
decisive winners, with 40 of parliament's 150 seats. Pim
Fortuyn List (LPF) came a staggering second with 26
seats on its election debut. All three coalition parties
haemorrhaged votes.

But, before he gets too excited, he should consider this:

In his article, Fortuyn wrote: "Paedophilia is just like hetero and homosexuality. It is something that is in the genes. There is little if anything that you can do about it or against it. You are who you are… sooner or later the proclivity makes its irresistible appearance. It is not any more curable than hetero or homosexuality."

The column concludes: "The law philosopher and paedophile [Edward] Brongersma, for years senator of the Labour party, spent his life campaigning for understanding of the paedophile fellow man. He launched this effort fearlessly after serving a sentence for sexual harassment of a minor. The minor in question had not considered it harassment, but the justice department judged otherwise in the 1950s.

"In the 1970s and 1980s, Brongersma slowly but surely gained ground. After the invention of the Pill came sexual liberation. Gay sex became accepted, and why then should paedo sex not be allowed – under the strict condition that the child is willing and that there is no coercion? This enlightened point of view has meanwhile been abandoned, and under the influence of the ologists, the child is defined as totally
devoid of sexual desires, at least where adults are concerned.

(thanks to Ted Barlow via Grim Amusements.)

And, yes, I know that Fortuyn is dead so this really doesn't matter for the current election results. But, the Sullivanites in Blogistan might want to reconsider their canonization.

ALSO, don't you dare write in and tell me that the Harmful for Minors author was advocating pedophilia as well. Not without a quote, anyway.

Barney Gumble does a weekly check of the Washington Times advertisers to marvel at how much money they're making. Listening Mickey?

The Weekly Review of Advertising in The Washington Times: May 13-19, 2000

What these old people have about buying coins is beyond me. Do they really think that society is going to crash in some Mad Max style post-nuclear holocaust and their 78 year old ass is going to survive because of these coins? Or when the rapture comes their coins are going to be lifted up into the sky with them? Oh well, they'll be happy they spent $29 on two "mint-state quality"(?) silver dollars. ($29 + $2 S&H, P. 5 1/4 page)

Buy a Grundig ($149 + $10 S&H, P. 7 Color full page)

"EVERYTHING IS ELECTRONS INCLUDING YOU!" One of those way too much tiny text ads for something that adds oxygen to water. Don't send money, just your name and address. (P.9, full page)

Tours geared towards WWII Vets (Italy campaign etc.) (No price given. P. 11, full page)

"You Too Can Develop a Razor-Sharp Mind", book. Oddly, this medical breakthrough was not first published in Nature or JAMA: "And, finally, a rigorously exercised brain will not develop Alzheimer's disease." ($29.95. + 4.95 S&H, P. 13 1/4 page)

The WT wants you to buy the WT coffee mug. $10.95 + $3 S&H (P. 14, full page)

Again with the coins. Pry a $20 Saint Gaudens gold piece from Charlton Heston's cold, dead fingers. HestonGoldCoins, (No price, P. 18, Color 3/5 page)

Attend the Western Conservative Conference! This is an 12 page "Special Advertorial Section". (their words). I love this headline on the first page Lyn Nofziger: Most Beloved Figure of Reagan Era. Interestingly, the website of the conference is WWW.LYNNOFZIGER.COM so I think he can kiss that "Mr. Humility 2002 Award" goodbye. The section contains a mix of faux articles ("...Hayes especially thanked the Washington Times National Weekly Edition, calling it "The indispensable source of information for conservatives...", and paranoia (booklet, "Stealth Invasion: Red Chinese Operations in North America"). (12 pages, 2 color, murky but probably unwholesome financing.)

Self help CD's, "Conversation Confidence". ...The 2 most powerful instant rapport techniques...How to "work a room" the way the champion socializers do...Verbal Advantage (No price given, which means expensive. P. 19 color full page)

Subscribe to WORLD magazine, The "only weekly news magazine in America to provide you with timely news and current events from a biblical perspective." No price given. (P. 25, full page)

Another Verbal Advantage ad. "I learned more from this program than I did in four years of college." (I think it is safe to say that statement is aimed at people who did not get four years of college). (No Price given. P. 30 color full page)

Book, Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church. I didn't know that "Psychological Counseling is used to screen out the faithful". I might also argue with the premise of the subtitle (Liberalism has only been around since the late 1700's, (picking Rousseau as a starting point)) while the Catholic Church in the 1500's was...not corrupt? Oh well, If you're a Catholic reading the Moonie Washington Times you already have issues. If this melts your butter it will only set you back $24.95 + $5 S&H. (P. 40, color full page, back cover)

What have we learned this week?

Ads for the elderly had an early strong showing, but it looks like the stupid pulled ahead (Razor sharp mind, verbal advantage) around the final turn. It also goes to show that investing in gold and silver is not just stupid, it's elderly and stupid.

I'm kind of distressed at how stupid, elderly hate-filled christians are wasting what remains of whatever life they had. They allow these low on the food chain types at the WT to prey on them just by reinforcing their hate. INSTEAD: Plant a garden, call an old friend, sweep the sidewalk in front of your building. Just do something that reinforces a positive emotion for a change. Don't be a dying cockroach, on your back, legs still twitching, while the HATE tape replays and replays and replays until metabolism finally ceases...

Another WT Reality Check next week.

Instapundit says he's not a right winger, delivering hordes of right wingers (joke) to my site in the process. Okay, libertarian. But, there are left and right wing libertarians. And, the measure of that is whether you vote for Democrats or Republicans. Although, I'll give Glenn a pass on that test given that aside from being a libertarian he's a gun nut (another joke) so that pet issue might have a strong influence on his voting habits.
I haven't found the Medved one yet, but here's a good one (on edit -- sorry, yes a good one BY Medved);

"It makes me sick to my stomach to see these Hollywood actresses like Jodie Foster running around with their celebrity bastard babies. These children must be stigmatized. Those of us with conservative religious values have to do something about these unwed mothers.”

Any of you in the Fortuyn Fan Club want to condemn this one?
Vaara gave me a research project, damn him.

We can start with Annie Coulter:

"I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote."---Politically Incorrect, 2/26/01

Crow Blog takes issue with my assertion that everyone ignores Chomsky, arguing he's been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Post, and Fox News.

Well, I pulled out the old Lex-Nex on this one -- the USA Today piece was a hit-column against him. The NYT is a pretty negative article discussing the fact that his book his sold about 100K copies. The Washington Post does do a broad feature on him, admittedly. And that's about it.

I don't object to people criticizing Chomsky, it's the EMPHASIS that matters His influence over his loyal fan base isn't going to be impacted one bit, and for the rest of the country he's mostly off the radar.

In any case, Chomsky's problem is not that he's anti-War -- this "war" is getting sillier by the minute - the problem is that he's an idiot.

For those of you one the Right - go ahead, pick on Chomsky if you get your jollies out of it, but don't be like Andy Sullivan and claim he speaks for any more than the fringest of the fringe.

For those of you on the Left - hey, if he truly pops up on the radar screen go ahead, knock him down. But, don't play Andy's game and feel that you have to constantly disassociate yourself from him.

[Update - I almost forgot about Fox News. No transcript, but something tells me it wasn't a fawning endorsement...]

My post below criticizing Lefties In Blogistan had a bunch of good comments from people, so let me add a few things.

I am basically a Clinton Democrat - perhaps more along the lines of how Clinton would have done things as benevolent dictator, or at least with a Dem Congress at his disposal, than how things were run in the 90s, but no flaming progressive.

However, my big concern about the political discourse in this country is that it is now nothing more than the Center versus the Right. This narrow framing of the debate, combined with our media's tendency (in David Broder style) to play referee and award the trophy to the position inbetween Center and Right means that the "right" answer becomes somewhere smack dab in the center-right corner of the Republican viewpoint.

What happens in Blogistan, as we all happily snipe away and make our snarky comments, is that the "Liberals" join the Righties in absolutely mercifully piling on those on the Left to the point where they completely undermine the ability of anyone to take anything that person writes seriously ever again.

There are too few voices on the Left. I don't want the debate to be TNR vs. National Review, Mike Kinsely vs. Pat Buchanan. That isn't much of a debate.

Why pile on Eric Alterman? Sure, sometimes he's a bit of a jerk and sometimes he's quite wrong, but he's one of the only practical and sane voices coming from that end of the political spectrum.

It isn't criticism of the Left I mind, but the obsessive criticism which is designed to destroy the utter credibility of a person. If Dame Andrew were "from the Left" he'd have been laughed out of town by now for his factually challenged tenure as Editor at TNR, his ridiuclously morally inconsistent jihad against Paul Krugman, and, yes, his sex scandal.

I want political voices to the left of me, and there aren't many out there. How many people are there between, say, "liberal" E.J. Dionne and Noam Chomsky? Not many, so cut them some slack.

And, as for Chomsky, until he gets a column in the New York Times, just ignore him. Everyone else does.

In addition to the power of Instapundit sending me lots of traffic, he also sent me a very nice email thanking me for my correction. Suddenly my world-view is being challenged. I thought all Right-Wingers were mouthbreathing troglodytes. Maybe they're not so bad at all...feeling the power of the dark side of the force calling me over....noooo....
I don't expect a full apology from the Righties on this issue, but at least a partial apology is necessary.

Last winter there was serious market manipulation in the Western electricity markets. All of us sane people said this had to be happening.

As evidence of this continues to trickle out, the new story is "Yes, but it is the legislature's fault for passing a bad 'deregulation' bill which wasn't really deregulation."

I'll leave aside the deregulation argument for a later opus, but this entirely misses the point.

Obviously if the 'deregulation' bill allowed market manipulation it was a bad bill. Who was defending the bill back then? It is just that those of us who know we were getting scammed proposed a different solution to the problem - price caps. It would have worked. Energy was being sold way above the cost of production. Capping the price would not have diminished the willingness of the companies to provide it.

We can argue what form energy regulation or deregulation should take some other day. But, face it guys, last winter you were wrong. Fess up.
Now that Instapundit has the big scoop from 3 days ago, right wingers in blogistan and perhaps some readers of The Prowler (people actually read that thing? do none of you have any shame?) , will finally divorce themselves from the notion that Fortuyn's successor is a black man from Cape Verde.
Yes, I know that Joe Conason is the pariah of punditry, a Clinton apologist . But, let's take a peek at this week's article in the Observer::

If you remember that terrible "energy crisis"
in California a year or so ago, then you may
also recall that everybody who is anybody
had a strong opinion about
its causes and cures.
Actually, most members of
the opinionated elite were
promoting the same conservative certitudes:
They exonerated the likes of Enron, blamed
environmentalists and regulators, and
mocked any hint of market manipulation by
the energy industry.

As of last week, however, with the exposure of internal
Enron documents that describe the market-rigging strategies
nicknamed "Fat Boy," "Death Star" and "Get Shorty," we
have a clearer idea of what really happened. Now we have
seen proof, in memos written by Enron’s own lawyers, that
the West Coast energy crisis was exacerbated by the
powermongers, perhaps by criminal means. Now we know
about the trading schemes used by Enron to game the
California system, even at the risk of dangerous blackouts.
Now we are learning that deregulation permitted Enron, and
apparently other firms, to "launder" electricity and falsify
congestion on the power grid, in order to rob tens of billions
of dollars from California consumers and businesses.

So we also know now that those dominant voices in the
media, braying about the infallibility of the market, were
loudly, confidently and completely wrong. And who were
they again?

Aside from the nation’s conservative editorial pages—which
is to say, most of them—the defenders of the energy traders
rampaged across the op-ed columns and magazine pages.
Texas Monthly reassured the home folks that Enron and
Reliant Energy were innocent, deriding California as "whine
country." Oil & Gas Daily agreed that the Californians
themselves were "the real culprits in the energy drama."

In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer assured
readers that only "silly" Californians "think that the rolling
blackouts are a conspiracy by the power companies to raise
rates." And William Safire, in an almost incomprehensible
column that termed the rise and fall of prices "as natural as
breathing," warned that "populist interference with the
[electricity] market’s self-correction would lead to worse
shortages and rationing, to inflation and wage control." That
was a scary prediction from the sage of The New York
Times—and also utterly, totally, ridiculously wrong.

I hope Welch and Layne don't devote tomorrow's blogging to the deconstruction of Joe Conason. Hey, even if he's wrong, isn't there anything better to do?

But, note to Welch and Layne: Read The Hunting of the President. Read Fools for Scandal. Read David Brocks's illuminating, if imperfect, Blinded by the Right. Read your most hated left-wing pundit's Sound and Fury. Hell, while you're at it, read Susan Faludi's Backlash.

Ah, crap, I guess it's that time again - MoDo, Good or Evil?

Increasingly I don't think it even matters anymore. But, I predict EVIL!


Hey, I was wrong.. I guess you could call this one good.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Just to follow up, I see this post by Ken Layne says this:

Just more proof that there are only two political sides in the world: Smart and Dumb.

Sorry, Ken, the difference between Tom DeLay and Al Gore isn't a matter of Smart and Dumb. You can spend all day stroking each others' egos with a round of "anti-idiotarian" backslapping, but there are vastly different political viewpoints out there which have little or nothing to do with the intelligence or debating club skills of their proponents.

AintNoBadDude (whose permalinks aren't working) wonders why no one from the "Left" mounts a vigorous defense of their liberal/Democratic positions. Well, I had no idea that Matt Welch and Ken Layne were liberals until I noticed that they called themselves liberals. It isn't because they spend time on their blogs advocating a conservative agenda, it's because they spend all their time on their blogs ridiculing anyone to the Left of them. Hey, guys, no need - Sully, Jonah Goldberg, and practically everyone else in Blogsitan have got that beat covered. What, you think you need to establish your street cred so Instapundit and Tim Blair take you seriously? Is one more post criticizing Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky, who only the 2.5% (generous estimate) that make up the Lefty fringe in this country pay any attention to , really adding anything to the debate? Leave the Right's favorite whipping boys to them. By continuing to talk about them you give credit to the idea that Al Gore and Noam Chomsky are one and the same, as Sully would have us believe, or that the Fifth Column in this country is headed by Terry MacAulliffe.

If you want to join in with Mickey Kaus and devote your existence to making the world safe for centrist Democrats, even though the vast majority of liberals in the media and in reality are centrist Democrats, feel free. But, when I started reading your Blogs I thought you were part of the Vast Instapundit Right Wing Conspiracy.

The Loony Left in this country is so much more marginalized than the Loony Right. It's mostly a mutual masturbation society with little wider influence. Isn't there anything better to do than attack Robert Fisk? He doesn't even write for a freakin' U.S. paper! Turn your guns on Jonah Goldberg or George Will or William Safire or Charles Krauthammer or Mike Kelly or Andy Sullivan or ....

Richard Goldstein weighs in on homocons on both sides of the pond.


Now that he's pushing up tulips, conservatives have rushed to rehabilitate Fortuyn. Here in the States, he's been embraced by neocons as a martyr, the Matthew Shepard of the managerial class. All the more reason to pin Pim's politics down.

Was he a fascist? Not as we understand the word (though fascism might be facilitated by his rise). But he certainly was a right-winger. In America, any conservative could run on his platform, stripped of its planks on personal liberty. Fortuyn advocated slashing the public sector, cutting taxes, and cracking down on crime. Substitute African Americans for immigrants as Fortuyn did, could hope to lead the party of Ollie North. Imagine a politician who made a positive issue of his homosexuality getting a serious crack at the White House.

It was Fortuyn's good fortune to be a citizen of the world's only free state for gay people. But that doesn't mean his perspective was uniquely Dutch. Beyond his immigrant bashing, Pim had much in common with an American homocon like Andrew Sullivan. Both men rose in the liberal media of their countries by professing to be talking common sense, not ideology. Yet both belong to a new kind of conservatism that springs from the love that dare not vote Republican.

Whatever financial troubles The American Prospect has, I don't think they've managed to lose four billion dollars like News Corp has. (Yes, I know, not really an appropriate comparison).

However, where are Mickey Kaus's screeds attacking the Washington Times for losing A Billion Dollars over 15 years. The New York Post is reputed to lose between $20-30 million annually.

Why so quiet, Mickey? I look forward to your articles ridiculing Rupert Murdoch and the Reverend Moon for their financial folly.

Speaking of MaxSpeak he has the best zinger about Joe Klein's incredibly stupid article in Slate about populism:

This is one column that Joe Klein should have signed as “Anonymous.”

While we're on Joe Klein.... I liked Primary Colors. I thought it was quite an affectionate satire of the 1992 Democratic primaries and not the mean-spirited attack that many seemed to think it was. And, I understand the desire to be Anonymous. But, the subsequent games he played while editor shoulda bounced him outta his career for awhile.

Signorile has a great article about the American Right's bizarre reaction to Fortuyn.

Many good parts, but here's one:

I mean, really–suddenly, the hyperconservative Wall Street
Journal editorial page is holding up someone who, as the
editors describe him, wanted "to preserve Holland’s liberal
traditions"? The Wall Street Journal editorial page is
lauding a gay man who took on religious extremists? Gee,
quite a few gay men, pundits and politicians alike, have
been doing just that for quite some time when it comes to
Christian fundamentalists, but they’ve curiously not been
lauded by the WSJ editorial page. In fact, the editors have
often given their pages over to the religious extremists
themselves to do their bashing.

In the Netherlands, meanwhile, Islamic fundamentalists
don’t have even one iota of the political power that
Christian fundamentalists have in America. Fortuyn
appears to have been using his own homosexuality and
gay rights in general to scapegoat a growing immigrant
group that many Dutch have been fearful about, and it was
playing quite well. But it is not a group that, within the
political machine, seems anywhere near as close to
effecting gay rights in the Netherlands as the Christian right
is to preventing the implementation of rights for gays in
America (and to turning back women’s rights). In the
reports I’ve read none spoke of a slew of other politicians
championing the Islamic fundamentalists’ positions and
calling for taking away gays’ and women’s rights. In this
country, however, the President himself has stated that he
supports the Christian fundamentalists’ positions,
advocating an end to abortion rights and supporting
sodomy laws against homosexuals and barring them from
marrying and from adopting children.

Why haven’t we heard the Wall Street Journal editorial
page or National Review’s Rod Dreher standing up to
antigay religious extremism here in the way they’re so
concerned about it across the Atlantic? And if religious
fundamentalism poses such a demographic threat to a
nation’s well-being when it comes to immigration, are the
conservative pundits now ready to call for an end to
immigration by Christian fundamentalists to America?

The more questions you ask, the more suspect the
conservative pundits’ canonization of Pim Fortuyn

He doesn't need a plug from me, since Josh Marshall linked him, and presumably Marshall gets at least 3-5 more hits per day than I do, but in any case a great weblog is MaxSpeak.
Ted Barlow is back from Croatan!

with a bunch of good stuff.

You know, I'm all for criticizing liberal and Democratic pundits and politicians, and I do it myself, but why is it that so many self-proclaimed liberals in Blogistan seem to do nothing else?

I know it is how you get Instapundit to pat you on the head and tell you that you're an "anti-idiotarian," but who above the age of 15 would use a term like that?

It sounds like the name of a club that a bunch of dorks in high school who can't get dates form after stumbling across the writings of Ayn Rand...

Mailbox bomb in Philly. Apparently the one yesterday had a note which said "free Palestine" and mentioned al-Qaeda. I doubt this has anything to do with al-Qaeda. My guess is that it is a homegrown anti-Semitic nutball, but we'll see...

[UPDATE: Confirming my suspicions, CNN reporting that al-Qaeda was ridiculously misspelled.]
Mickey Kaus loves to beat up on the American Prospect. Hey, I've made a few swipes at it myself (though TAPPED is great, as evidenced by the fact that Glenn Reynolds is spending an inordinate amount of time nitpicking it). But to beat up on it for its failure to break even is a bit silly. Why doesn't he make the same point about the New York Post, the Washington Times, and (presumably) The Weekly Standard and National Review.

I posted this over at Oliver Willis' page in response to his comment in response to Matt Welch's comment on this LA Times editorial, but it ended up being long enough that I figured I'd repeat it here:

Castro has been far less evil (and murderous) and far better to his people than Castro-haters in Miami, Nebraska, or Los Angeles are willing to admit. As dictators go, he's probably the best one there is - though admittedly he doesn't exactly have much competition. People in Nebraska have far more reason to hate the Chinese leadership than Castro. And, many of the economic problems have arisen from the embargo which post Cold-War there is zero justification for.

Miami Castro-haters have always been the biggest impediment to getting rid of Castro, and when he dies they will be the biggest impediment to the democratization of Cuba and the normalization of relations with the U.S. They, and their descendants (and some multinational companies), will try and demand that their property be returned, which much like Palestinian Right of Return demands, regardless of the merits, isn't going to happen.

Attempts to exploit uncertainties by the Miami mob after Castro's death will justify an authoritarian crackdown by the next leadership, much as the U.S.'s attempt to battle Castro after the revolution justified it for him.

As for Welch's assertion that Castro has concentration camps for homosexuals - when I was there I had a delightful time with openly gay men and women who were friends of a Cuban-American friend. Openly in that they publicly wore pink triangle pins. And, there was a mini gay-pride parade through Havana which seemed to be a fairly regular occurrence.

As for concentration camps for HIV+ Cubans... This is overdoing it a bit too as this makes clear. Concentration camps were places where 6 million+ Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and other undesirables were gassed or killed by other means (not withstanding the claims of David Irving and his good friend Chris Hitchens). The sanitoriums in Cuba, though mandatory, provide the best possible medical care that Cuba has to offer. People are allowed out on weekends, and increasingly being allowed to have normalized lives. It was more of an overreaction to a potential public health crisis, not unlike what some proposed in this country at the time, than prison.I'm not defending them completely, but they shouldn't be mischaracterized. They're no Auschwitz, nor even Japanese-American internment camps.

Is it just me, or is it a bit odd that some catholics in and out of the church seem more concerned with kicking out priests who are gay on the grounds they might molest children than they are with kicking out priests who actually have molested children...
CNN's coverage of Cuba (not referring to the Carter visit in particular, but the associated coverage of Cuba itself) has been surprisingly positive - too positive, if anything. But, it has also been pretty ignorant. Just now the anchor expressed shock that "Carter's speech will be aired live and uncensored!"

Cuba obviously isn't a model of free speech and free press, far from it, but it isn't North Korea either.

Monday, May 13, 2002

This is an absolutely hilarious interview with David Horowitz.
Conservative Crackup Alert!!

The Bull Moose commits ultimate sin! Calls Clinton a conservative! Says Conservatives may come to miss him! Will soon lose his keys to the VRWC executive washroom!

Bill Clinton, Conservative. The Moose muses that, up until this point, the previous Presidency may be viewed as more conservative than the current one.

Politics moves in mysterious ways. President Bush has already signed into law a dramatic expansion of the federal role in education. He has violated free trade principles by signing on to increasing trade tariffs (taxes) for steel and lumber. W is about to put his John Hancock on a monstrous farm bill that reverses the conservative reform farm legislation passed a few years ago. After a period of surpluses, we now have deficits as far as the eye can see.

Will conservatives soon grow nostalgic for the Clinton good old days?

The Daily Howler Returns!

It's about time.
It is truly horrible when straight people are the victims of anti-gay discrimination.

Fortunately, I'm sure that never happens to actual gay people.
I haven't been able to find a single comment about Gray Davis's Op-Ed in Saturday's New York Times from any of the usual suspects. Did I miss something? It sounds like he's talking to them:

This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released internal memos it had obtained from Enron detailing an edifice of corrupt practices Enron
used to profit from artificial shortages it created in the California energy market.

More than a year ago, we in California stood virtually alone when we charged that Enron and possibly others were ripping off California consumers. The
energy industry scoffed, saying the charge was paranoid. "Get used to it," they said. "That's the way the deregulated market is supposed to work."

Now, after billions of dollars of damage to California's economy, the truth is out. These memos amount to a confession by Enron of its efforts to exploit the
system. Residential rate payers and small businesses were among the victims. More important, the memos are the first inkling that Enron's actions in
California were possibly criminal as well. Through its greed and possibly illegal manipulation, Enron did incalculable damage to California's economy and to
the national economy.

Stupid Free Republic Quote of the Day!

I believe that anyone, including former presidents, are [sic] forbidden from discussing foreign policy issues with[out] expressed permission from the sitting President.

Crusader Shell Game

Dear BuzzFlash,

Mr. Rumsfeld has no intention whatsoever of firing
General White over this phony Crusader flap. Mr.
White did exactly what he was supposed to do and
trained to do - he shilled for corporate America.
The Carlyle Group, the corporate entity where old
Republican war mongers (including George Bush
Sr.) go to die, bought United Defense Industries.
This purchase would and could only be valuable if
the Army bought the Crusader system, price tag
11 billion and counting. General White then hyped
the Crusader and its likelihood of being
commissioned. This caused United Defense
Industries stock to jump. The Carlyle Group then
sold a huge block of the stock and netted over 200
million dollars. After that, Carlyle, nor White, nor
Rumsfeld could care one way or another about
whether the Crusader was built or not. Their
buddies had already made their dough and some
other suckers were left holding the bag. A move
straight out of the Enron playbook.

John Moody
Studio City, CA

Click the link for basic documentation of the scenario.

In Florida, a Limbo for Haitians Only

Haitian refugees are put into detention centers. They are the only refugees who are put into detention centers.

War Liberal makes the obvious point:

Gosh. What is it that Haitians have in common with each other, but not with most other people looking for sanctuary in the US? Hmm.

When will us liberals get beyond our silly race-baiting and identity politics?

Perhaps when things like this stop happening and assholes stop writing columns like this..

Hey, guess what! Uncocal will likely build an Oil pipeline in Afghanistan, with the help of some international dollars of course.

Who woulda thunk it?
Building of the 850 kms pipeline, described by many as the new "Great Game" of the new millennium, was a serious competition issue between the American oil company UNOCAL Corp and Bridas of Argentine during the five years' rule of the Taliban regime, which the United States toppled from power as part of its war on terrorism.

Razim said UNOCAL was the "lead company" among those that would build the pipeline, which is aimed at injecting 30 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas annually to Pakistan and beyond it through southern Afghanistan.

He said Karzai would propose during the summit the building of a road parallel to the pipeline, subsidiary pipelines to villages close to the main line and also the injection of Afghan gas from northern areas, as well as from the south-western province of Helmand for export.


The pipeline will be built using funds from donor countries for the reconstruction of Afghanistan as well as from ADB loans, Razim

This is a very poorly written editorial in the WaPo. I believe the point is that if we're gonna execute any spy, it should be that prick Hanssen. Why don't they just come out and say it?

I'm against the death penalty. But, if anyone deserves it - it's Hanssen, and not the "American Taliban."

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Novak and Hanssen are Friends

It appears that confessed spy Robert Hanssen was not
only feeding the Russian war-machine abroad, but the
conservative war-machine at home. A 13-month probe of
security vulnerabilities and violations at the FBI and CIA,
ordered by FBI Director Louis Freeh and headed by
former CIA and FBI Director William H. Webster,
revealed that on more than 20 occasions, Hanssen
performed computer database searches for confidential
information regarding Hillary Clinton and Chelsea


It is unclear exactly where the fruits of Hanssen's labor
landed, but a good guess might be the syndicated
columns of Robert Novak. Last July, Novak admitted to
using Hanssen as his primary source in a 1997 column
accusing Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice
Department of covering up campaign scandals. Might the
two have discussed more than just the former attorney
general? Novak's columns on "Filegate" and other Clinton
scandals---an enthusiasm apparently shared by
Hanssen---suggest that he might have. (Novak denies
this.) That's not all the pair have in common. Both are
reputedly members of the ultraconservative lay Catholic
order, Opus Dei.

There are two questions here - what other contact did Novak have with Hanssen, and what other journalists did he feed information to?

A guy who gets our citizens killed, sells secrets to the Soviet Union, and videotapes his wife so he can show it to his pals thinks Clinton's a bad guy? sheesh.

I hope Josh Marshall writes the book on Clinton Hating that he has threatened to do a couple of times.

The Daily Brew provides another perspective on the myth of the self-reliant rugged individualistic small government heartland (where Andy Sullivan dreams of visiting, but never bothers to go...):

Some states pay more in federal income taxes than is spent by the federal government in those states. Let's call them "Producer States." Other states take in more federal dollars than they pay in federal income taxes. Let's call them "Welfare States." Despite their repeated rhetoric about a "small federal government," the GOP controlled House of Representatives and the White House are currently planning a massive spending spree, proposing to spend more money than any government in history, much of it borrowed from future generations. How did we get this unhappy state of affairs? A quick look at how the Producer States and the Welfare States voted in the last Presidential election might give us a clue.

Electoral votes from Producer States for Gore: 218
Electoral votes from Welfare States for Gore: 49
Total 267

Among Producer States: Gore wins, 218 to 125

Electoral votes from Welfare States for Bush: 146
Electoral votes from Producer States for Bush: 125
Total 271

Among Welfare States: Bush wins, 146 to 49

And the bricks come tumbling down

Dodgeblog posts comments over at Catallaxy Files about the Whole Fortuyn Thingamajiggy:

I can't wait to see the left splutter when his second in command, a black man becomes a possible PM in Holland after next week's election.

Oops, not gonna happen:

The man presumed by many
to be the next leader, Joao Valera, 27, was withdrawn last
week from a crucial meeting, on the ground that he had
insufficient political experience.