Saturday, September 28, 2002

Scoobie has an assignment. Go to it.
Smarter Andrew Sullivan is on a tear.
New poll numbers:

Would you favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam
Hussein's rule?

Overall — 64 percent favor, but that drops to 33 percent if the United States
must act without allies.

Republicans — 77 percent favor, dropping to 43 percent if no allies.

Democrats — 42 percent favor; 13 percent favor if no allies.

Independents — 65 percent favor; 38 percent favor if no allies.

Would you favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam
Hussein's rule, even if it meant that U.S. forces might suffer thousands of

Overall — 48 percent favor, but that drops to 25 percent if no allies.

Republicans — 66 percent favor; 20 percent favor if no allies.

Democrats — 35 percent favor; 13 percent favor if no allies.

Independents — 47 percent favor; 24 percent favor if no allies.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An FBI agent said in August 2001 that accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui might take control of an airplane and crash it into the World Trade Center if he was released from custody, according to a court document made public on Friday.

The document relates communications between FBI headquarters and its office in Minneapolis involving Moussaoui, who was being held in Minnesota in August 2001 on immigration violations after arousing suspicion at a flight school.

The agent said Moussaoui ``might take control of an airplane and crash it into the World Trade Center,'' prosecutors said in the document detailing what has been given to the congressional intelligence committees investigating the attacks.

Moussaoui, who was still in custody on Sept. 11 last year, later became the only person charged in the United States with conspiring in the attacks.

The prosecutors also described an FBI report concerning interviews with Moussaoui in mid-August 2001, in which FBI agents accused him of giving misleading and evasive answers.

The FBI report described how Moussaoui involved his right to a lawyer when confronted with information ``that he was known to be an extremist intent on using his past and future aviation training in furtherance of a terrorist goal.''

Questioning of Moussaoui then stopped.

Middle panel sums it up:

The news that Turkish police have recovered weapons-graded uranium is further evidence of the Bush administration's failed approach to national and world security. This isn't just a cheap shot - this is quite serious. The Bush administration has made sharp cuts in funds for nuclear nonproliferation programs - and has funded them way below the Clinton administration recommendations, policies we can assume president Gore would have followed. The overall spending on these programs is fairly small, but their value has been quite enormous.

This of course will be used to further bolster a case for war against Iraq, based on the usual misrepresentation of the position of war skeptics. Instapundit implies that all of us against war-as-a-first-resort will now have to admit our error in claiming that Hussein was not trying to obtain nuclear weapons. Of course, I have never seen anyone actually make that claim, but we're used to that by now.

Get Your War ON!

Now we know who Martha's replacement might be:

Ann Coulter Living.
More news on the Florida Podiatrist Terrorist.

TAMPA - Federal authorities charged a man they say owned five of the firearms recovered at the home of a podiatrist accused of plotting to blow up Islamic mosques and centers around the state.
Samuel Valiant Shannahan III of Dunedin was arrested at his home Wednesday night by agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and charged with illegally transferring firearms, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Tampa on Thursday.

Shannahan was denied bond after a Thursday afternoon detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Thomas McCoun III. McCoun said he needed to investigate the case further before deciding whether to allow Shannahan to be released on bond to live with his father in Citrus County.

Shannahan, 42, was first questioned by investigators Aug. 23, the day Robert Goldstein was arrested. Police say the Seminole podiatrist had drawn up plans to destroy an Islamic education center and dozens of mosques.

Detailed, written plans referred to a ``Val.'' Shannahan, a federally licensed firearms dealer, told investigators he didn't know why he was named in Goldstein's document.

``He said he had no knowledge of why his name was mentioned,'' ATF Special Agent Warren Randall said during Shannahan's detention hearing. ``He described Mr. Goldstein as a person who dabbled with electronics. He later said he knew Goldstein to dabble with explosives.''

Goldstein's written plan that listed ``Val'' as an accomplice was scratched out with ``Mike'' handwritten over it throughout.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Steve Cole wouldn't comment on whether other people have been questioned.

``We're still trying to determine if anyone else is involved,'' he said.

David E. on the Iranian filmmaker who was denied a visa.
TRR on "Let's Roll."
Well, Eugene Volokh has one correct prediction in his surprisingly ignorant speculative piece. I'll let you guess which one. Max has more.

But, this is the thinking that's going to get us into Operation Deserter Storm...
In my comments, Rea had this to say about the Moussaoui screwup:

Doesn't this shed ironic light on the claim that national security requires abolition of the civil service? Here's a monumental screwup by an at-will patronage employee, not a civil service guy, and do we see any mvoe to discharge him?


So much for declining Welfare Rolls

To pay their monthly bills, many of these missing workers have turned to disability insurance, a government program under Social Security that has become the centerpiece of the new American welfare state. Since 1990, the number of people receiving disability pay has nearly doubled, to 5.4 million, and the government now spends far more on the program than it does for food stamps or unemployment insurance.

My quick glance says this increase basically offsets declines in welfare cases over the same period. Are these things comparable? Actually, I think they are. Though I haven't had any coffee yet so more on this later.

In any case, there's a great Katha Pollitt column lurking in these numbers.

Over to you, Mickey.

Hesiod tells us that Harkin has opened up a 20 point lead against Ganske. That's interesting.
UggaBugga on the echo chamber.
Pandagon brings up an important point. When a report comes out that the Bush administration is lying about a key piece of evidence that they're using to justify their desire to attack Iraq, it barely makes a ripple. When two statements by Al Gore 11 years a part are taken out of context and twisted in two different ways in an attempt to say he's "lying" it's all over the media.

Why is that?

In a weird kind of way I almost agree with Instapundit, in that my objection to the death penalty has a lot to do with a reluctance to give the State the ultimate power to kill its own citizens. So, while I wouldn't quite put this in the libertarian-speak version "The problem with the death penalty is that it's just another big government program that doesn't work," I suppose my objections are kind of similar after they've been run through the appropriate decoder ring.

However, I don't see how that requires me to agree with this statement:

The notion that it's per se immoral for the state to kill peple is absurd -- or at least, proves too much, as killing people is the core function of nation-states, and always has been. Government power is based ultimately on violence; all else is superstructure.

[spock] Fascinating... [/spock]

Friday, September 27, 2002

Moonie Times says:

The International Atomic Energy Agency says that a report cited by President Bush as evidence that Iraq in 1998 was "six months away" from developing a nuclear weapon does not exist.

"There's never been a report like that issued from this agency," Mark Gwozdecky, the IAEA's chief spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
"We've never put a time frame on how long it might take Iraq to construct a nuclear weapon in 1998," said the spokesman of the agency charged with assessing Iraq's nuclear capability for the United Nations.

In a Sept. 7 news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Bush said: "I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied — finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon.

"I don't know what more evidence we need," said the president, defending his administration's case that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction.

The White House says Mr. Bush was referring to an earlier IAEA report.
"He's referring to 1991 there," said Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away."

Mr. Gwozdecky said no such report was ever issued by the IAEA in 1991.

Many news agencies — including The Washington Times — reported Mr. Bush's Sept. 7 comments as referring to a 1998 IAEA report. The White House did not ask for a correction from The Times.

what the hell.
The Hamster gives O'Reilly a taste of his own illogic.
Conason on who we can blame for the Moussaoui screwup:

FUBAR in the rocket docket
A Washington lawyer points out that the U.S. Attorney responsible for the government handing over those four dozen highly sensitive, classified documents to Zacarias Moussaoui by mistake is emphatically not a career prosecutor. In fact, Paul McNulty appears to be the very definition of a political appointee, selected by Bush and Ashcroft to oversee Virginia's "rocket docket" --the district just across the Potomac from the capital where Ken Starr always went to get his way. McNulty's resume includes stints on the staffs of House Majority Leader Dick Armey and the House impeachment managers. He has helped to write criminal statutes but appears to have little case experience. Oh, he was also an "adviser to the Bush campaign" and helped prepare the Attorney General for those grueling confirmation hearings. Is a patronage appointee like McNulty the best lawyer to prosecute sensitive cases like Moussaoui? Will he be fired or disciplined for this massive, potentially dangerous screw-up? Here's a hint: both questions have the same answer.

Who cares. I say we keep him locked up for daring to have 4 consecutive vowels in his name
Charles Pierce who, when not busy writing letters to Eric Alterman, working his day job for Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, or appearing on Adam Felber's radio show Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, is a top national security analyst for the CIA. He has this to report regarding the Iraq reaction to news that Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo's decision to renege on his term limit pledge because his nation needs him in this time of ongoing threats:

-- Text of a CIA intercept from Presidential Palace, Baghdad. 27 September 2002. 0950A

Well, I think it was that Charles Pierce anyway.

Bill Schneider just said that the U.S. has never before gone into war with the majority of the public supporting it. Huh?? That's crap.
Proof that all the crooked money in the world can't buy an ounce of taste.
Public Nuisance takes on the Gorebashers.

"Other countries of course, bear the same risk. But there's no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us," Bush said at a political fundraiser in Houston, Texas. "After all this is the guy who tried to kill my dad."

Without comment.
Clinton Death Squad strikes again!

Alamo-Girl thrilled!
Conason on Snitchens (Salon Premium, I think.)

A couple of years later, in a C-SPAN Booknotes interview, he mocked the wartime pretensions of the President: "Bush throughout that whole war and especially in the run up to it constantly compared himself to Churchill…In the Senate debate for and against the war, the Churchill-Munich analogy was used more often even than Vietnam as a test of which side you were on. I wondered why it is in the United States people are such pushovers for this English mythology."

But, he continued, "there was no way, however it was sliced, that Bush could come off as Churchill, as we now know. As a lot of us guessed at the time, the war with Saddam Hussein was a quarrel that had broken out between two business partners, Bush and Hussein, who were fighting over the spoils. They wanted to involve everyone else in it, and they wanted it to sound noble. They fooled a lot of people for some of the time, but the disillusionment with that war and the rhetoric with which it was fought is now pretty near total."

That interview with the gentle Brian Lamb also included his assessments of two "rogues" whose political shifts elicited his scorn. Paul Johnson he described as "probably the classic instance of the guy who, having lost his faith, believes that he's found his reason, in other words, a defector." But he was even tougher on P.J. O'Rourke, who "gets away, in my opinion, with murder." Why? "He's another ex-leftist, '60s radical dropout…Then saw the light, put on a collar and tie and became a young Republican and has been cashing in this chip ever since."

Somerby on Gore and Daschle.
This Novak article should be read.

Tension between the military and civilians is kept private, but it is palpable. Many young officers heartily dislike Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The top brass respects Donald Rumsfeld as a strong secretary without particularly liking him and certainly not fearing him. There will be no repeat of Vietnam 40 years ago, when career officers were so intimidated by Secretary Robert S. McNamara that they failed to challenge his illusions.

The way Rumsfeld killed the proposed Crusader artillery system was deeply painful to the Army, but officers have saluted sharply and moved on. What lingers is resentment over the lack of U.S. cannon artillery four months ago in Operation Anaconda against al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, when enemy mortar fire killed seven American troopers.

Last week, 105mm artillery finally arrived in Afghanistan for U.S. forces. The cover story was that these weapons compensated for removal from the theater of British artillery. Actually, Gen. Tommy Franks, the Afghanistan commander in chief, withdrew his objection to cannon artillery. When I asked a combat general about the issue last week, he replied: ''I will never go into action without artillery.''

Novak's an odd one. I can never quite figure out which power group he represents.

(via Groupthinkcentral who has some thoughts).
Antidotal inspires an entire Mark Steyn column.
Neal Pollack is misunderstood.

He is the most important modern conservative thinker, writer, and playboy. He should be given the respect he deserves.

Due to a special arrangement between Neal,, and yours truly, if you click the link to the left you can buy one of their only 3 remaining copies of his book. They say they're ordering more, but sometimes they lie.
Great post by Josh Marshall.

So, as I asked several days back, why the endless attempts to fudge? Why the resistance to having this debate on the basis of the very serious facts and threats at hand? Though the rationale for liberating Kuwait was powerful in 1990 there was also testimony before Congress at the time about Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait which was later demonstrated to be entirely bogus. The immediate trigger for our involvement in Vietnam -- as opposed to the larger rationale for our involvement -- was later revealed to be based on exaggerations so great that they basically amounted to lies. And one finds this sort of thing in the lead-ups to many other wars, in this country and in others. It's almost like these little bogus stories are the bon-bons of war, the little morsels and appetizers to chum up those who can't quite swallow the whole complicated rationale whole.

In this case, and from someone like Colin Powell, can't we do better.

Self-made pundit on term limit hypocrites.

I have no beef with people who pledged to not serve more than X terms and who then violate that pledge. Or, more specifically, whatever problem I had was with the initial stupid pledge, not the subsequent breaking of it.

I do have a problem with people who run on mandatory term limits as a campaign issue who then break those pledges.

And, I also have a problem with the guy SMP busts:

Citing an ongoing "threat" to the nation, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) said today he will no longer be bound by his pledge to limit himself to three terms.


"It is my deeply held, and now tremendously reinforced, belief that our nation is confronted with a physical, spiritual and philosophical threat that will require every ounce of our individual effort in its defense," Tancredo said.

Cobb County says " we ain't descended from no monkeys!"

Adam Felber has his own "alternative theories of evolution."
Kristof has a rather naive view of things:

Instead of protecting its borders, Iraq will hide its army within its cities, where air strikes are effective only at an unacceptable (for America) cost in civilian deaths. Saddam has a hiding place for himself that is better than Osama bin Laden's caves at Tora Bora: the teeming city of Baghdad, with five million inhabitants, where he already never spends two consecutive nights in the same place.

Sometimes you just want to go [jonstewart] WUUUUUUH? [/jonstewart]

I appreciate that our military makes an effort to avoid civilian casualties, but he makes it sound as if we never bomb cities.
Franklin Graham says:

"We in the west have never experienced this kind of behavior, have never seen this before, where religion is driving people to mass murder, where religion is killing innocent people," Graham said. "(This) Islamic revolution that has taken place, starting in Iran, is rising and getting stronger."

Never? I can think of a few...
Level Gaze battles the Warbloggers.
Talk Left on Padilla.

Padilla is an American citizen. He was arrested at the Chicago airport in May. He has been in held in a navy brig in South Carolina since June when President Bush declared him an "enemy combatant"-- without any criminal charges, without access to his lawyer, and without any judicial review of his detention. Mr. Padilla is entitled to due process and he isn't getting it.

What more needs to be said?

Why does *this* even need to be said?
Krugman on Mussolini-style fascism.

Federal regulators certainly seemed determined to see and hear no evil, and above all not to reveal evidence of evil to state officials. A previous FERC ruling on El Paso was, in the view of many observers, a whitewash. In another case, AES/Williams was accused of shutting down generating units, forcing the power system to buy power at vastly higher prices from other units of the same company. In April 2001, FERC and Williams reached a settlement in which the company repaid the extra profits, but paid no penalty — and FERC sealed the evidence. Last week CBS News reported that "federal regulators have power control room audiotapes that prove traders from Williams Energy called plant operators and told them to turn off the juice. The government sealed the tapes in a secret settlement" — the same settlement? — "and still refuses to release them."

If that's true, FERC caught at least one power company red-handed, in the middle of the crisis, at a time when state officials were begging the agency to take action — and then suppressed the evidence. Yet this story has received little national play.

For some reason it has never been cool to talk about what was really happening in California. When the crisis was in full swing, most commentators clung to a story line that blamed meddlesome bureaucrats, not profiteering corporations. When the crisis came to an end, it suddenly became old news.

Maybe our national faith in free markets is so strong that people just don't want to talk about a case in which markets went spectacularly bad. But I'm still puzzled by the lack of attention, not just to the disaster, but to hints of a cover-up. After all, this was the most spectacular abuse of market power since the days of the robber barons — and the feds did nothing to stop it.

And if FERC was strangely ineffective during the California crisis, what can we expect from other agencies? Across the government, from the Interior Department and the Forest Service to the Environmental Protection Agency, former lobbyists for the regulated industries now hold key positions — and they show little inclination to make trouble for their once and future employers.

So we ignore California's experience at our peril. It's all too likely to be the shape of things to come.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Normally I find a capella versions of pop songs rather grating, but I accidentally came across this version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers "Soul to Squeeze" which rocks.
Mini book reviews:

Okay, there are a bunch of little pictures to the left which are my book recommendations. Of course, they're actually my desperate attempt to get the 37 cents amazon promises me if you click on the links and buy them. But, here are my reviews:

Neal Pollack's Anthology of American Literature : See him do to literary journalism what he's currently doing to Bloggers.

Philip Roth's The Human Stain: Forget what you've heard - this book is about clinton, monica, blowjobs, and the morally bankrupt disloyal hypocrites who thought it all mattered.

Eric Alterman's Sound and Fury: A prescient history of the punditry, updated fairly recently, though it's only gotten worse since...

"It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." -- Billy S.

David Neiwert's In God's Country: An excellent analysis of the modern "Patriot" movement.

You Go Girl!!!!

Speaking at a Democratic fund-raising breakfast in Wilmington, Del., Gore took issue with the administration's handling of intelligence information prior to the Sept. 11 attacks and for its treatment of some terrorism suspects since then.

"The warnings were there" before the attacks, Gore said. He asserted that Bush's Justice Department had devoted more time and agents to investigating a suspected brothel in New Orleans than to monitoring bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

"Where is the sense of priorities?" asked Gore.

Dr. Limerick's muse returns, and he channels his former self:

It cannot have been accidental;
When Democrats stopped playing gentle
And threw a few stones,
The Dow and the Jones
Began rising, by means transcendental.
Ted Barlow on Kaus:

This guy must have pictures of Bill Gates with a sheep. It's the only thing that makes sense.

Every time Adam Felber tries to stay out of the punditry watch business, they suck him back in....
Planet Swank on the Middle Aged Porker of the Right.
I've been informed that Senator Byrd is currently "reading into the Senate record the dates of shipments, strains and batch numbers of the bioweapons that the Ronald Reagan administration supplied to Saddam Hussein. "

Some life left in that ex-Klansmen yet.
Off the record conversations with newspaper bosses. Cute.

Ari: The President began his day with the regular intelligence briefings. Then he had a meeting with the Newspaper Association of America board of directors -- he met with many of your bosses, the owners of a lot of papers, large and small, across the country. He talked about the war on Iraq -- at war.

Q Is that on the record, something we might see in print?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, it was off the record.

Q Do you have a list of who he met with?

MR. FLEISCHER: Let me see if I can release it.

Not fit to print I guess.

If I were just a bit more paranoid I'd say that was a little threatening...

What Daschle should have said.
Jack Oliver, Deputy Chairman of the RNC was kind enough to email me his special message:

Some in Senate Put Special Interests Over Nation's Security

President Bush has asked the Senate to pass the bipartisan plan by Senators Phil Gramm and Zell Miller that creates a Homeland Security Department with the management flexibility and freedom needed to get the job of protecting the American people done right.

This bipartisan approach is stalled because some Senate Democrats are putting the special interests of a few federal government employee unions over the security of the American people.
Haha. Mark Morford.

(via TBogg)

Kinsley's usually good, but frequently dwells on the too-trivial. This latest one is quite good.
First Hitchens quits the Nation and now Neal Pollack!

hopefully Marc Cooper will be next.
Haha, fisherman Talent has no license.
Check out the Self Made Pundit.
Hey, right wing terrorists.
Man, MWO has the scoop. The "Harkin taping story" comes down to a Republican supporter openly taping the meeting and then giving the tape to a reporter. I notice it's magically disappeared from Drudge's page.


Wednesday, September 25, 2002

You know, I really can't believe Zizka went on vacation right when Michael Kelly possibly is having his finest moment.
O. Dub's been on lately.
What if Senator Daschle said "The Bush administration is more interested in special interests in Washington, and not interested in the security of the American people?"

David E. finally unleashes the fabulous Fablog.
Conason on Sully:

Sullivan speciously charges the Clinton administration with "eight years of indolence and passivity" on Iraq. He knows that as soon as the UNSCOM inspectors were forced out of Iraq in December 1998, Clinton directed heavy airstrikes at Saddam's installations -- without concern for the fact that cheap politicians and their echoes like Sullivan would falsely accuse the president, against all the available evidence, of "wagging the dog."

Back then, Sullivan wrote the following Chomsky-like sentence in a column for a London newspaper: "The many Iraqi civilians being wounded or killed in Operation Desert Fox surely deserve some assurance that they are regrettable victims of a just war, not missile fodder for a narcissist's final gamble."
Wolf Blitzer is going to have a daily Iraq show at noon? Oh god fetch me a bottle..
Not playing politics, Ari?

I am not going to accept a bill where the Senate micromanages, where the Senate shows they're more interested in special interest in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people." Sept. 5 in Louisville, Ky.

"Senators need to understand I will not accept a homeland security bill that puts special interests in Washington ahead of the security of the American people. I will not accept a homeland security bill that ties the hands of this administration or future administrations in defending our nation against terrorist attacks." Sept. 7 radio address.

"For the sake of the security of our homeland, the Senate needs to be more worried about the American people, and less worried about special interest here in Washington, D.C." Sept. 19 in Washington.

"The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people. I will not accept a Department of Homeland Security that does not allow this president and future presidents to better keep the American people secure. And people are working hard to get it right in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats. See, this isn't a partisan issue. This is an American issue. This is an issue which is vital to our future. It'll help us determine how secure we'll be." Sept. 23 in Trenton, New Jersey.

"My message, of course, is that, to the senators up here that are more interested in special interests, you better pay attention to the overall interests of protecting the American people." Sept. 24 before a Cabinet meeting.

Bye-bye Hitch...Don't let the door..

One can only hope his actions will serve as an inspiration to Marc Cooper.
Why does America hate America so much?

And why do they seem to agree with known baby-killer Al Gore?

And why do they think this stuff?

A majority of Americans, 51%, also believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But while more think Hussein the individual is more dangerous than bin Laden, Americans nonetheless think that dealing with Hussein can wait. As many still see the al Qaeda network, blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks, as a greater threat to their security than say Iraq is the greater threat, perhaps because bin Laden's whereabouts or fate remain unknown.

And when it comes to setting priorities, Americans narrowly say that bin Laden and al Qaeda, not Hussein, should be the nation's top priority overall.

Choosing which enemy to fight may not be a mutually exclusive choice, though: an overwhelming majority,70%, believes that members of al Qaeda are currently in Iraq.

Who said this?

"it is no time for the American media to revert to the hysterical, silly, fear-mongering, self-centered, juvenile and ninnyish form that has made them so widely mistrusted and so cordially detested. "
Tbogg says of Michael Kelly:

Ever since 9/11 Kelly has been running around like a high school girl who discovers a big zit on picture day. His columns have become hysterical in a way that makes him sound like the freakish spawn of some bizzare mating ritual between Ann Coulter and Peggy Noonan. Now that's a scary thought.



WASHINGTON - American research companies, with the approval of two previous presidential administrations, provided Iraq biological cultures that could be used for biological weapons, according to testimony to a U.S. Senate committee eight years ago.

West Nile Virus, E. coli, anthrax and botulism were among the potentially fatal biological cultures that a U.S. company sent under U.S. Commerce Department licenses after 1985, when Ronald Reagan was president, according to the Senate

The Commerce Department under the first Bush administration also authorized eight shipments of cultures that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later classified as having "biological warfare significance."

Between 1985 and 1989, the Senate testimony shows, Iraq received at least 72 U.S. shipments of clones, germs and chemicals ranging from substances that could destroy wheat crops, give children and animals the bone-deforming disease rickets, to a nerve gas rated a million times more lethal than Sarin.

Poor Congressman Wilson:

C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" segment started out yesterday morning as typically sedate -- two members of Congress soberly dispensing wisdom about the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But then Bob Filner, a five-term Democrat from California, said something that made South Carolina freshman Republican Joe Wilson go nuclear.

Filner, who opposes unilateral U.S. military action, suggested that in the 1980s, when U.S. officials sided with Iraq in its war against Iran, Saddam Hussein obtained biological and chemical weapons technology from the United States. "We gave it to him," Filner asserted.

"That is wrong. That's made up," Wilson fired back. "I can't believe you would say something like that."

When Filner calmly held his ground, advising Wilson to read newspaper reports and other documentation, the Republican erupted: "This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that."

As moderator Connie Brod sat by helplessly, Filner challenged: "Hatred of America? . . . Are you accusing me?"

"Yes!" Wilson shouted. For good measure, over the next minute Wilson accused Filner of harboring "hatred of America" four more times, of being "hateful" three times and of being "viscerally anti-American" once. Filner responded, "This is not worth replying to," and Brod finally regained control of the discussion by taking viewer phone calls.


Q Mr. President, do you believe that Saddam Hussein is a bigger threat to the United States than al Qaeda?

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's a -- that is an interesting question. I'm
trying to think of something humorous to say. (Laughter.) But I can't
when I think about al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. They're both risks,
they're both dangerous. The difference, of course, is that al Qaeda likes
to hijack governments. Saddam Hussein is a dictator of a government.
Al Qaeda hides, Saddam doesn't, but the danger is, is that they work in
concert. The danger is, is that al Qaeda becomes an extension of
Saddam's madness and his hatred and his capacity to extend weapons
of mass destruction around the world.

Both of them need to be dealt with. The war on terror, you can't
distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war
on terror. And so it's a comparison that is -- I can't make because I
can't distinguish between the two, because they're both equally as bad,
and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.

I'm convinced.
"You see, the Senate wants to take away some of the powers of the administrative branch."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002
The Blogosphere Hawks, busy building their Schroeder bonfires and lamenting his victory, failed to pick up on this comment by his opponent before the election:

Aware that Schroeder's anti-war rhetoric is proving a vote winner, Stoiber toughened his own stance on Thursday.

In a television interview, he said that, if elected, he might bar U.S. forces from using their German bases if Bush decided on an attack without U.N. backing, Reuters news agency reported.

Gene Lyons: (Arkansas readers don't look!)

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie...

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again.

--"Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who

Now let me get this straight: Saddam Hussein is a deadly threat to American security, the worst since Hitler or Stalin. Why, it may take as long as two weeks to conquer Iraq. So now that President Junior's returned from a month-long vacation at his Texas ranch, which he apparently spent rounding up and branding golf carts, the sky is falling and there's not a moment to spare.

A Democrat-Gazette headline last week actually quoted Bush stating "If you want peace, it's necessary to use force."

War is Peace. Where have I heard that before?

"Regime change," the man calls it. Translation: assuming Junior doesn't get diplomatically outmaneuvered by the Iraqi strongman (and especially if he DOES), the administration is determined to invade a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked or threatened us, kill thousands of its citizens and install a dictator more to our liking. Preferably one who sells cheap oil and buys mass quantities of American-made weapons to replace the ones we're fixing to blow to smithereens.

Meanwhile, it's everybody's patriotic duty to keep a straight face. That's why the serious news broadcasts and the heavyweight pundits ignored Junior's unintentionally hilarious performance in Nashville last week. Speaking to one of his preferred audiences of schoolchildren, Bush told them Saddam can't be trusted.

"There's an old saying in Tennessee," he began. "I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee--it says 'fool me once..." A long pause ensued. A befuddled, then somewhat panicky expression appeared on Bush's face. "Shame on...shame" Second pause. "Fool me...can't get fooled again," he finally blurted out.

The irony of Bush's channeling The Who's caustic anthem was almost paralyzing. Written to satirize Sixties-style hippie utopianism, "Won't Get Fooled Again" all but took the roof off Madison Square Garden when they performed it with a backdrop of British and American flags before cheering cops and firemen at the 2001 "Concert for New York." Thirty years on, the song's acid pessimism, fierce anger and anarchic joy somehow made it the perfect 9/11 elegy.

Meanwhile, studio audiences watching Bush's fumbling recitation on the Comedy Channel's "The Daily Show" and NBC's "Tonight Show" hooted derisively. Republicans counting on this stage-managed "crisis" to carry them through November's congressional elections should take heed. The Washington Post reports that even conservative Republicans say constituent mail is running heavily against a U.S.-only first strike against Iraq. CNN reports polls showing 51% oppose it.

Do voters remember that when Saddam actually used "weapons of mass destruction," spraying nerve gas on Iranian soldiers and Kurdish rebels 15 years ago, the Reagan-Bush administration reacted by selling him more helicopters? Probably not. Are they aware that as CEO of Halliburton until 2000, Dick Cheney used offshore subsidiaries to evade sanctions and sell $24 million worth of oilfield equipment to Iraq? The press hasn't exactly emphasized it.

But everybody knows Pete Townshend's song: "Meet the new boss/ Same as the old boss." Only perfervid ideologues like those Bush has surrounded himself with are convinced that democracy will flourish around the Persian Gulf after Saddam. To paraphrase Orwell, only a Washington chickenhawk (hardly anybody pimping for this war has ever fought one) could believe something so absurd. Civil war and chaos loom.

Should Democrats oppose a resolution giving Bush authority to use force if Saddam fails to heed the U.N. Security Council? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker thinks so. Warning that "a further destabilized Middle East could become the stage for World War III," Tucker says that even if "any Democrat who questions the president's insistence on invading Iraq will be defeated come November. I'm still naive enough to believe that there are issues worth losing an election over."

But this is no time for quixotic gestures. By taking the issue to the U.N., Bush did what Democrats asked. Hence a vote authorizing force if Saddam defies the Security Council signals American resolve. It's tactically a vote against war. Unless Saddam's the megalomaniac Bush claims, of which there's surprisingly little evidence, he'll fold. Moving against Iraq with U.N. allies is a far less dangerous proposition.

Six weeks before an election leaves no time to teach the influential Moron-American community the distinction between patriotism and flag-waving bombast. Stealing the presidency gave the GOP the ability to set the agenda. Handing them Congress would give Bush virtually unlimited power to finish wrecking the economy, shredding the social safety net, and gutting civil liberties. And the bitter truth is that Junior's apt to get his war either way.
Jesus Christ, Michael Kelly has morphed into a Blogger.*

No, that's not a compliment and yes I'm a Blogger too
This story is unbelievable (via Hesiod).

Tallahassee · Billionaire John Walton, son of the late Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, has emerged as Florida's biggest individual political donor of this campaign season, giving $325,000 last month to Gov. Jeb Bush's re-election effort.

A major financier of the private-school voucher movement backed by Bush, Walton also sits on the board of directors of the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailing giant that has had an exclusive, multimillion-dollar government contract for the replacement of trees destroyed under Florida's canker eradication effort.

Since 1998, when Bush became governor, the Florida Department of Agriculture has overseen at least two tree replacement programs that have disbursed $52 million in state and federal funds for consumers to spend only at Wal-Mart stores.

I do wonder why a rally supporting Fox Hunting and other Rural Stuff, which in no way was the libertarian uprising people seem to think it was (Take a way farm supports and most farms in the UK die. Period.) got so much attention 'round the 'sphere when this one didn't.

ROME (Reuters) - An estimated 300,000 people, led by film director Nanni Moretti, demonstrated in Rome on Saturday in protest against Prime Minister Silvo Berlusconi, accusing him of using his political power to evade justice.

Under banners proclaiming "Justice for all" and "No justice without democracy," the crowd filled the square in front of Rome's San Giovanni basilica, where Pope John Paul has in the past said mass for as many as 500,000 people.

Reuters cameramen and photographers at the scene estimated the crowd at least 300,000, while police said there were 100,000 and the organizers claimed more than 500,000.

The demonstration was called to oppose Berlusconi's plans to change the justice laws in a way critics say is tailor-made to help him escape trial on charges of bribing judges.
Neal Pollack gives his unconditional support to Big Pharma:

One of the many pharmaceutical companies who sponsor this website recently sent me the most wonderful product, called Minty-Fresh Testostogrease. It is, in fact, male testosterone distilled to its essence, manufactured into a chemically-enriched gel, and shot through with a bit of blue food coloring to give it that extra jolt of goodness. I have absolutely no qualms about praising PharmaMed of Switzerland, fully support their mining practices in Sri Lanka, and don't think it's a conflict of interest that Interior Secretary Gale Norton sits on their board of directors.

For the last two weeks, I've been squeezing a dollop of this magical testosterone substance onto my hairy chest, rubbing it in while rhythmically chanting the name of Ayn Rand, and feeling raw male power surge through my increasingly muscular body. Within minutes of use, I find myself surfing the news channels faster and faster. By the half-hour point, I'm able to absorb both the information coming out of the broadcaster's mouth and from the ticker at the bottom of the screen.

PLA on Dick Armey's latest.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Thank you Lincoln Chafee!
Gallup Poll: (not sure why there's a big space here, but scroll down...)

Range of Support for U.S. Military Action Against Iraq





In general



If other countries participate in invading Iraq



If the United Nations supports invading Iraq



If Congress supports invading Iraq



If the United States has to invade Iraq alone



If the United Nations opposes invading Iraq



If Congress opposes invading Iraq



"When Pat Buchanan becomes the voice of reason and sanity, we're fucked!"

-Jon Stewart
Neal Pollack weighs in on the Gore speech and other issues.

Al Gore's comments on President Bush's Iraq policy are so beneath contempt that I can barely muster the energy to write 1,000 furious words about them. But I can ask Mr. Gore this: Do you negotiate with monsters? Do you invite a pedophile over to have a beer and watch the game? Is there no level to which you won't stoop for personal and political gain?

There is no room for dissent in our society, particularly not from a one-time loser like Al Gore. I can just see the smug looks on the faces of the San Francisco politburo in that room where he gave his so-called speech. God, I can't restrain myself. Excuse me while I howl.

As does Charles Johnson:

Al Gore has really marginalized himself now, taking a position that’s so far left it verges on the loony variety. Daily I thank the Almighty Omniscient Hanging Chad that he isn’t president.

Which American city are you willing to sacrifice, Mr. Gore?

As does Vodkapundit:

You say we need to focus on the Terror War, but ignore Iraq? Albert Jr., you know better than that. Saddam finances and supplies terror, and may well be providing it sanctuary now, as well. The Iraq War will be just a phase in the broader conflict -- and a quicker, cleaner, easier effort than the others lying before us. Pick the low-hanging fruit early. Then again, you've never been a big fan of that, or you wouldn't have lost your home state in the 2000 election.

We aren't going after Jesse James, Mr. Gore. We're going after Saddam Hussein. He is a self-declared enemy of our nation, in violation of every agreement he has signed with us, and of every UN resolution mandated against him. The proper Old West analogy would be High Noon, with the US in the Gary Cooper role.

You lost the election. Now leave the rest of the nation alone to win this new war.

and Andrew Sullivan:

DESTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT: But, as befitting a man whose administration slept while al Qaeda's threat grew, Gore seems more concerned with what Germany and France think than with any threat to this country or elsewhere from Saddam's potential nukes and poison gas. He says we now live in a "reign of fear." Because of the continuing threat of terrorism? Because of Saddam's nukes? Nope. Because of the Bush administration, a statement of moral equivalence that I'm genuinely shocked to hear from his lips. (He also slipped in a sly analogy to the Soviet Union's "pre-emptive" invasion of Afghanistan. So Gore thinks Bush is the equivalent of the Soviet Union?) He says we have "squandered" the good will generated by the attacks of September 11. Really? A liberated Afghanistan, where women can now learn to read, where a fledgling free society is taking shape? No major successful terrorist attack on the homeland since the anthrax attacks of last fall? Growing support among Arab nations and at the U.N. for enforcing U.N. resolutions that Gore's own administration let languish? Signs that Arafat may soon be sidelined on the West Bank? Squandered? The only thing that's been truly squandered is what's left of Gore's integrity. At least Lieberman has been consistent. I must say, as a former Gore-supporter who was appalled by his campaign lurch to the left, that there are few judgment calls I'm prouder of than having picked Bush over Gore two years ago. Now I'm beginning to think we dodged a major catastrophe in world events.

Oh, and here's Jack Kemp. On the issue, not the speech.

Certainly, this wisdom is proving true in Afghanistan. We aren't sure about Osama bin Laden and haven't brought to justice most of his lieutenants. Al-Qaeda's basic infrastructure and financial network appear to be frustrated but essentially intact. Afghanistan is a mess and almost certainly will require more U.S. troops and a longer, larger commitment to nation-building lest the Taliban come back. Al-Qaeda cells fester like a cancer inside Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Egypt, awaiting the day they can destabilize these regimes and gain access to "Islamic Nukes" or chemical and biological weapons. And, al-Qaeda cells infect Kurdish safe areas of Iraq hoping a U.S. invasion will splinter the nation and give them a chance to turn the country into another Afghanistan or at least a Kurdish state on Turkey's border.

In addition to these dangers, the administration believes Saddam Hussein is on the verge of acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them against us. Outside the White House complex, there is some doubt on this score. I am not convinced and I do not believe the majority of Americans are yet convinced that it is wise or prudent to divert resources away from the difficult struggle against the fanatical Islamic Jihadists and the task of rebuilding Afghanistan.

And, finally, Jim Robinson:

IMHO, allowing these Democrats to remain in power is aiding and abetting the corruption and treason, and is acting as an accessory before and after the fact to the murderers of innocent human life. Is doing nothing and allowing this evil to triumph evil itself?

I love my country. I love the Constitution. I love life. I love God. I know that the Democrats hate my country, hate the Constitution, hate God and hate human life. I see that the only Party capable of blocking and defeating the evil Democrats is the Republican Party. I see that many races are so close that as little as a one percent siphon of conservative votes to a third party could be the difference between success and failure. I see allowing a Democrat to remain in power when it could have been prevented as a triumph of evil.

(sent in by Seize the Fish)

I suppose we should let Al Gore speak for himself:

And, I believe that we are perfectly capable of staying the course in our war against Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, while simultaneously taking those steps necessary to build an international coalition to join us in taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion. If you're going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first, especially if you're in the middle of a gunfight with somebody who's out after you.

I don't think we should allow anything to diminish our focus on the necessity for avenging the 3,000 Americans who were murdered and dismantling that network of terrorists that we know were responsible for it. The fact that we don't know where they are should not cause us to focus instead on some other enemy whose location may be easier to identify.

We have other enemies . . .

We have other enemies, but we should focus first and foremost as our top priority on winning the war against terrorism.

TAPPED has a good post on Schroder and the famous Bush loyalty. You know, my way or the highway.

Max has a good take on Gore's speech and reaction to it:

The line from the Right, the better to detract from the impressive substance of his speech, is that Gore has flip-flopped. General Sullivan is reduced to yapping, liberal! liberal! As evidence for a change of position, he links to a news article in 2000 reporting Gore's support for regime change in Iraq. Of course, one can be committed to regime change without launching a full-scale invasion of a country. There are few people in the U.S. who wouldn't welcome a regime change in North Korea, but few contemplate the use of force in that context.

The deeper point is that the Right fails to appreciate that Gore is in principle more interventionist than Bush. Gore has not renounced an industrial-strength effort to destroy Saddam. He is in fact proposing a more comprehensive commitment to that same end, one which more sensibly entails the prior neutralizing of Al Queda and the construction of an international consensus.

It's Buffy Blogburst day. I didn't sign up as I've always found it impossible to describe just what it is I like about the show.
TBogg on Sullivan.
New terror threat level yellow, like our press.
Well, I'm convinced.

Blair's 50-page document contained little in the way of new evidence against Saddam, but sought to lay out the threat posed by him, give voice to the British government's allegations against him, and collate previous reports on his weapons stocks.

In one of its more bizarre pages, the dossier showed a drawing of one of Saddam's vast presidential sites and compared it to the relatively small total area taken up by Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth.

We'd better add Britian to the axis of Evil.

British officials have approved the export of key components needed to make nuclear weapons to Iran and other countries known to be developing such weapons.

An investigation by BBC Radio 4 programme File on Four will disclose that the Department of Trade and Industry allowed a quantity of the metal, Beryllium, to be sold to Iran last year.
Preach on, Molly.

This creepy, un-American document has a pedigree going back to Bush I, when -- surprise! -- Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz were at the Department of Defense and both such geniuses that they not only didn't see the collapse of the Soviet Union coming, they didn't believe it after they saw it.

In those days, this plan for permanent imperial adventurism was called "Defense Strategy for the 1990s" and was supposed to be a definitive response to the Soviet threat. Then the Soviet threat disappeared, and the same plan re-emerged as a response to the post-Soviet world.

It was roundly criticized at the time, its manifest weaknesses attacked by both right and left. Now it is back yet again as the answer to post-Sept. 11. Sort of like the selling of the Bush tax cut -- needed in surplus, needed in deficit, needed for rain and shine -- the plan exists apart from rationale. ` As Frances Fitzgerald points out in the Sept. 26 New York Review of Books, its most curious feature is the combination of triumphalism and almost unmitigated pessimism. Until last Friday, when the thing was re-released in its new incarnation, it contained no positive goals for American foreign policy, not one. Now the plan is tricked out with rhetoric like earrings on a pig about extending freedom, democracy and prosperity to the world. But as The New York Times said, "It sounds more like a pronouncement that the Roman Empire or Napoleon might have produced."


This reckless, hateful and ineffective approach to the rest of the world has glaring weaknesses. It announces that we intend to go in and take out everybody else's nukes (27 countries have them) whenever we feel like it. Meanwhile, we're doing virtually nothing to stop their spread.

Last month, Ted Turner's Nuclear Threat Initiative had to pony up $5 million to get poorly secured, weapons-grade uranium out of Belgrade. Privatizing disarmament, why didn't we think of that before?

The final absurdity is that the plan is supposed to Stop Change. Does no one in the administration read history?

UggaBugga on Russert's fuzzy math.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Make sure to read up on Neal Pollack's obscenity trial.

Yet, because of an obscure French law that makes it illegal in print to call Muslims "grub-eating pig fuckers," I am currently on trial for obscenity in the French city of Orleans. Also under contention is this sentence from my book: "Islam is less a religion than a tawdry mating dance for people descended from dogs." In the United States, such a statement would probably get me hired in the Justice Department's press office. Here, it is an intellectual cause celebre.

Who are these peaceniks?

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — Former high-level military commanders told Congress today that the United States should go to war in Iraq only as a last resort, should continue to press for United Nations support in dealing with Iraq and "not be too quick to take no for an answer," as one of them, Gen. John Shalikashvili, put it.

"We must be very, very careful about going to war, and to do so only when all other attempts to resolve the threat to us have failed," General Shalikashvili said, "and to do so only with the support of the United States Congress and the American people."

General Shalikashvili, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with Gen. Wesley Clark, retired NATO commander, and Gen. John Hoar, former commander of the United States Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East.

The generals agreed that, even if the United States must eventually go it alone against Saddam Hussein's forces, it will prevail. But the cost in treasure and blood may be higher than some people think, General Hoar warned.

General Hoar warned of "a nightmare scenario," in which Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard units, reinforced by other troops and equipped with thousands of anti-aircraft artillery pieces, defend the city of Baghdad.

"The result would be high casualties on both sides, as well as in the civilian community," General Hoar said. "U.S. forces would certainly prevail, but at what cost, and at what cost as the rest of the world watches while we bomb and have artillery rounds exploded in densely populated Iraqi neighborhoods."

Get this Man a Blog!

Lock them up

It makes me sick to my stomach to watch the liberal Democratic politicians like U.S. Rep. Richard Gebhart and Sen. Tom Daschle whining and acting as if they're so sad and torn up about what happened on Sept.11. They all act like they are so upset about it, but they don't have the fortitude or guts to back President Bush.

What really gets me is how they act like they are upset about the attack when they are the ones who caused it. And I really don't mean they caused it 100 percent, but left wing Democratic rhetoric and policies were great contributing factors. The Democrats could be responsible for the downfall of this country. If I had my way, I would put them all in prison.

John Smith
Warner Robins

I like the pictures Drudge has up right now.
Transcript of Gore's speech today.

Far more damaging, however, is the Administration’s attack on fundamental constitutional rights. The idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedies, and that this can be done on the say-so of the President or those acting in his name, is beyond the pale.

Sam Heldman says oppose Estrada.

Being the unreasonable partisan type that I am, I say oppose'em all, but if you want some actual reasons click the link.
So, all snarkyness aside: What happens if:

a) We attack Iraq
b) Iraq attacks Israel
c) Israel attacks Iraq

d) ?
Haha, this could be fun.

Here's a bizarre scenario, suggested to us by an astute reader and confirmed by a glance at Alaska's election law:

Say Republican Jim Talent beats Senator Jean Carnahan (D) and gets seated immediately by Missouri's Democratic governor, and Republicans move quickly to swear him in, giving them a majority in the Senate shortly after election day.

Well, according to Alaska election statutes, if Senator Frank Murkowski (R) gets elected governor of that great state, he must resign his post by December 2 (when the state certifies its gubernatorial election).

Problem is: Murkowski, who would anoint his own successor, would have to wait until December 7 until he can seat him or her. So Republicans would be down one member in the Senate for those five days, allowing Democrats to take temporary control.

There are many what-ifs that would have to occur to make all of this happen, but the fact is, Talent could win and Murkowski seems even more likely to, so it's certainly worth keeping in mind.

Lynne Cheney's going to be pissed.

Ah, the liberal media.

We've printed several packages of letters recently on the possibility of war with Iraq. After the second one, I asked the man in charge of letters -- Jim Peipert -- if there truly were no letters in support of attacking Iraq.

Not one. At least not then.

I had one complaint call about the lack of balance. Please write a letter, I said. "Maybe later" was the reply.

This is not a solicitation for letters, although of course we'll consider any we get. Editorial writer Linda Campbell suggests that we don't have to solicit them -- the readers will write when they are ready and when they have something to say.

I would be careful about reading too much into the theme of the letters.

I'd say that, on the whole, the writers aren't so much saying that they oppose military action against Iraq as they are saying that they want to be sure we know what we're getting into if we take that path.

But I admit I was surprised by the tone of the letters. And I also was surprised when there weren't letters in opposition after the first package was printed.

So was the rest of the Editorial Board.

Part of the point of this column is to say to those of you who are quick to detect deliberate bias in everything we do: Not guilty.

We've been scouring the incoming mail for some balancing reader opinion, and we're not seeing it.

I don't know what that means -- but I just wanted you to know what's going on.
Bad El Paso Corp.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Texas energy company tightened California natural gas supplies during the state's energy crisis, contributing to a rise in power prices, a federal regulatory judge ruled Monday.

El Paso Corp., through its pipeline subsidiary, held back at least 10 percent of the capacity on its pipelines delivering gas from its Southwest fields to California from November 2000 to March 2001, during a period of high demand and large price increases for natural gas, said Judge Curtis L. Wagner, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's chief administrative law judge.

El Paso ``withheld extremely large amounts of capacity that it could have flowed to its California delivery points,'' Wagner said.

TNR joins the blogworld with an annoyingly named blog and a post about Jeb.
Here are a couple late entries in the Bomb Iraq song:

Forget about Osama, bomb Iraq (clap, clap)
Forget about Osama, bomb Iraq (clap, clap)
Forget about Osama, someone else we need to bomb-a
Forget about Osama, bomb Iraq

If you've got no other reason, bomb Iraq (clap, clap)
If you've got no other reason, bomb Iraq (clap, clap)
If you've got no other reason, other than election season
If you've got no other reason, bomb Iraq (clap, clap)

Tom MacGuire has a lot to say on the Central Park Jogger story.
Just heard a retired colonel speaking with Neal Conan about Russia's reaction to the Bush Doctrine. They're scared and pissed.
Ted Rall is going to hell for this one.
Charles Dodgson says:

Which brings us back to Homeland Security, where Dubya stands pat, threatening a veto unless Congress waives civil service rules entirely, even though they've given him just about everything else he asked for --- thus opening another battlefront in the war that this administration has been fighting hard since it entered office, the War on Accountability. How much longer does this have to drag on before it becomes obvious that for Dubya, ditching civil service rules is the point of the bill, and all that security stuff is an afterthought?


Eschaton Assignment Desk

Find out what happened to the White House Travel Office personnel when the Bush administration came in.
The Next Step
Converging on the Real, with some Divergence
by Mikyl Kelly

The tragic events of September 11 transformed the discourse from one seeped in the moral relativism intrinsic in the false dichotomy of Left and Right to one built on the solid foundation of the moral absolutism and clarity of Right or Wrong. There are no longer competing perspectives, except the partisanship emanating from Democrats still stuck in the past using old language to describe the old instead of the new language necessary to describe the new which fortunately is much like the old language I once used to describe the old.

There are some who are stuck in the old, that is some who have yet to recognize, like me, that the past is past and the present is now real. However, divergent voices among the opinion making elites, who lacking their own magazine or columns in nationally read newspapers as I do, or their own television shows or radio programs as do those Right thinking among us who have converged on what is real, have nonetheless corrupted the discourse and elite opinions by spreading their divergent subversion in elite cocktail and dinner parties, to which I have not been invited. The elite thus manage to censor dissent, and I am left with no other outlet from which to shape opinion other than my nationally syndicated column and my own magazine. I worry I cannot compete with the elites and their access to elite catering companies, and the best hors d'ouerves (always enamored of the effete French and their effete words and their effete, if tasty food, and their embrace of moral ambiguity and sex), but never fear I will continue to try to get invited to these parties.

You cannot blame them from dwelling on what was once important – education, health, financial security, and happiness -- but that was the old importance, and this is now the new and the new importance which requires a new language and a new storyline which I shall craft. The old storyline embraced by Democrats is that of the powerful against the weak. While in the old time with the old language hundreds of billions in fraud and tales starving senior citizens unable to afford their medicine would have traction, this is now the new in which such concerns must be put aside as we focus like a laser beam on Osama or Saddam.

Al Gore, who constantly reinvents himself, is still stuck in his old Earth Tone ways and has not changed a bit. His concern for the little people is shared by all of the opinion making elites, but true populists like myself do not bother ourselves with such concerns. Unlike the elite opinionmakers, who did not properly mourn when Dale Urnheart died, I do not claim to speak for the concerns of the masses. As I mentioned, not being invited to the cocktail parties in which the plots of the elite are plotted and their elite opinionmaking is made, I am part of the people. I do not speak for them, as I am them and therefore my words are their words. I mean our words.

Partisan politics of the old is gone which is why it is thoroughly appropriate for me to criticize Gore here in the new using the new language. It was just the other day at a cocktail party (not one of the elite ones – The guests, including 3 Supreme Court Justices, 5 Ambassadors, 37 members of Congress, and many Captains of Industry, and I had Tex Mex and beer, not delicious French food and pretentious wine), when someone expressed a desire for Al Gore to just go away. The people have spoken, for his brand of partisanship has no place in the new.

In the new there is no place for debate, for right thinking people simply know what is right and wrong thinking people do not. It is heartening that in this time most people have come around, except some Democrats and Al Gore, and no longer try and debate me. These few divergent few, the elite opinionmakers with their lack of patriotism and unaccountable affection for fundamentalist Islam, will not be satisfied with anything less than the destruction of our country. Fortunately, the elite opinionmakers don't have their own magazine or nationally syndicated columns as I do, but this just makes it harder to monitor them as we fight for our freedoms.

This AICN description of a possible Superman script should scare everyone.
Sisyphus notes clueless and deceptive headline of the week.

Obscure Labor Issues Block Homeland Security Agency

The issues aren't obscure and, frankly, not really about labor. As Sisyphus notes, it's about having a non-partisan civil service.
Seize the Fish reminds me why I roll my eyes a bit when conservatives use their newfound love for women's rights as a tool for Muslim bashing. Watch the Freepers freak in response to such an article!

Some choice quotes:

"I wish this article would at least touch on the fact that there are a lot of women who have abused their newfound freedoms by divorcing good men who have fathered their children, and then remarrying again and again. I've personally met too many guys who have a kid that they never get to see, but they sure get to pay for them. This just isn't right, and it needs to change, and soon.For the longest time it was practically automatic that when there was a divorce the children went with the mother. Perhaps we need a thirty year period where the children automatically go with the fathers? Maybe that would cool the eagerness of some of these women to dump their husbands and go looking for someone better?"

"I completely support equal rights, opportunities, and responsibilites for men and women.Are you a guy?"

"After a million years of men subduing the wild beasts, pacifying the wilderness, and creating the push-button world--women suddenly come out of hiding to win their rights.Yeah, right."

And on and on...

Oh man, this Michael Kelly article just has to be seen to be believed. If you can't stomach it, Zizka's on it.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Call, Fax, Write.
UggaBugga provides us with Jerry Regier's take on the parking lot beating.
First Sweden, now Germany. So much for the Right's sweep of Europe.

UPDATE: Just wanted to add that some of the analysis I've seen around the 'sphere seems to be that Schroder's near-loss and loss of seats is a repudiation of "anti-Americanism." First of all, Schroder was a doomed man 'till he took his stance against Bush's Iraq policy. Think what you want about that, but it's a fact. Second, being against U.S. foreign policy is not anti-Americanism - either for me or for the Germans. There seems to be definition creep on this. While the perception of the Chomsky caricature is that his criticisms arise from a knee-jerk anti-Americanism (not really having read Chomsky I really don't have a clue), this does not mean that all criticism of U.S. foreign policy comes from America Haters. It wasn't true during the Clinton administration, and it isn't true now.

Whether or not we should care about the opinion of the German people or its politicians is a different matter. Matthew Yglesias has a few thoughts on this.
Condi Rice says we will do some good 'ole fashioned Nation Building.
Joe Conason shows how to go on TV and, well, kick ass. And, of course you all must have read his most excellent book because if you haven't you don't have a clue what's been going on the past few years...
This guy is calling me a liar, though I honestly can't figure out what I am supposed to have lied about. If anyone can figure it out let me know.

Quick! Donate some money so I can go buy some booze! I just can't take this stuff anymore.

Criminal justice experts say they have become increasingly concerned that the Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft is moving to exert political control over previously independent agencies within the department that collect crime statistics and grant crime research awards.

At stake, they say, is the integrity of statistics about whether crime is increasing or decreasing and the findings of scholars about what causes crime and how to reduce it.

The experts' worries center on several little-publicized developments involving the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the statistical arm of the Justice Department, and the National Institute of Justice, its research arm.

A Justice Department official said that despite the changes, the statistical reports maintained "the highest levels of integrity" and that there had been no political interference.

The agencies, created by Congress, have long been independent of the attorney general and had been allowed to release reports or make research grants without clearance by the attorney general's office, former directors of these offices said.

But a number of employees in those agencies as well as former officials and leading scholars said in interviews that over the last year and with increasing speed recently, political appointees under Mr. Ashcroft have worked to undermine that independence.

They claimed one of the men sent a cryptic e-mail to a friend hinting at a future attack: a “big meal" was coming, he wrote. “No one will be able to withstand it, except people of faith.”

Well, lock them up!

I want to be positive about this stuff, but the Lackawanna terrorist cell is getting sillier and sillier by the day.
If anyone's looking for a decent moderated place to chat left of center politics check out the "TAP Alternate Forum" which was created for refugees of Table Talk, TAP, and other places. Mark Crispin Miller stops in to chat, too.
Buy Books!

In another desperate attempt to increase my liquor budget, I've added some exciting Amazon links to the left. Not entirely sure how it works, but I think if you click the links to the left you make Jesus very happy and buy stuff I get a percentage - more for the books I recommend but something no matter what you buy. So, go buy a car or something.
Michael Ledeen provides some insight:

"No stages," he said. "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. And all this talk about, well, first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq, then we will take a look around and see how things stand, that is entirely the wrong way to go about it. Because these guys are all talking to each other and are all working with one another. . . . If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

I wonder what songs he has in mind.
Chris Nelson has more context.

I linked this below, but I just have to do it again. I keep re-reading it and being absolutely amazed. I keep hunting for some sign that it's a parody. Daniel Pipes on 9/11/2002.
I propose that specious comparisons to Chamberlain and appeasement trigger Godwin's Law.

I also propose that anyone who really thinks people who are against going to Iraq are so because of a secret affection for terrorists and fundamentalist Islam and a desire to see more Americans die in terrorist acts should, well, piss off.

Near the end of this SullyWatch entry is a discussion of an email exchange which, if true, says all that needs to be said about Sullivan:

Early on in his blog career, I used to exchange reasonably polite e-mails with him, since at that point I still labored under the misapprehension that he was merely misguided, not fundamentally dishonest. That all changed rather quickly, after the election, and his bizarre take on it. Finally, I said "I'm going to give you the honest Republican test. If Gore and Bush's situation in Florida had been exactly reversed, do you think the Supreme Court would have made the same decision.?" To which he replied "Probably not, but they did the right thing anyway because Gore doesn't deserve to be president." Swear to god, he actually said that.

It's been awhile since guest commentator Snotglass has had his say:

Our elected President, George W. Bush, has demonstrated his firm grasp of foreign policy by issuing his recent policy initiative that provides a sound basis for the conduct of future American diplomacy. Correcting the foolish mistakes of the failed Clinton administration that allowed terrorism to flourish and blemished the honor of America with cynical, wasteful and politically-motivated use of American power, President Bush’s bold and decisive vision for the future will ensure American security and nurture the spread of freedom and democracy throughout the world.

Honoring his solemn campaign promise to conduct American foreign affairs with humility, the President envisions American military power strong enough to take pre-emptive action against hostile states that are developing weapons of mass destruction. Coupled with the tested and proven National Missile Defense system proposed by the President, this strategy will keep the nation strong and vigilant, and ensure appropriate humility in future diplomacy.

Recent research conducted by the Hecate Institute at the Heritage Foundation demonstrated conclusively that President Kennedy’s lack of decisive action despite the clear threat presented by the Cuban Missile Crisis actually prolonged the Cold War and resulted in thirty years of costly military spending.

Independent analysis by noted geopolitical theorist Jonah Goldberg corroborates this view. “An ounce of pre-emptive action in the face of perceived pre-aggression is worth a pound of liberal world-government,” Goldberg wrote in a policy paper presented to seminar at the Skopsy Institute for Conservative Commentary. “Terrorists will be deterred from future attacks on America if we take out Iraq now. And Canada will think twice before they grab another one of our tuna boats.”

Unpatriotic Democrats in Congress should stop their obstructionist and unconstitutional opposition to the President’s clear legal executive authority to demonstrate American resolve to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism by liberating the oppressed people of Iraq. These weak-kneed sisters seem determined to pursue partisan politics, in the face of a demonstrated foreign threat, by continuing to whine about the Clinton recession (actually resolved by the President’s Waco Summit) distorting the President’s position on individual Social Security savings accounts, and demanding higher taxes for their failed social welfare policies.

Continuing with our theme of the week - LIARS, Tbogg notices Andrew Sullivan once again has some problems with the truth, or at least some strange ideas about the meaning of the word "huge." Matthew Yglesias is on this too.