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Saturday, January 31, 2004

David Brooks has a good piece about how the Democrats are searching for someone who has electability.

They dumped Dean because they view him as unelectable in a head to head with President Bush. Screw their principles and what they truly believe deep down, they want to win. That's it. A win at any cost. They were going to nominate a man who promised to raise our taxes and then turn over our national security to France, Germany, and Russia until they realized that was a horribly stupid idea. But at the time they thought he was going to win. Only when it became clear that Dean was a terrible choice who would get bludgeoned by President Bush did they dump the man.

It was the same thing as in New Jersey. The Democrats dumped Torricelli when it became clear he would lose. Never mind that they had just nominated him to run against the Republican. Principles mean nothing. Winning elections means everything.

I've known since 1992 that most Democrats are unprincipled people. They just want to win and as long as the candidate has the big D after his name they will support him in any vote against a Republican. They didn't care if Bill Clinton was an unprincipled womanizing scoundrel; he was a Democrat and they wanted to win the White House. That's all they cared and care about.

Me, I had to be convinced to support President Bush in 2000. I had to hear what the man had to say. In truth I leaned away from McCain when I found out that his wife was wearing a Hillary Clinton campaign button on the trail, but I wasn't ready to support Bush until I heard his speech at the convention. That's when I decided to vote for Bush.

I still believe the Democrats will lose in November and that it won't be very close because Kerry is very much like Dean when it comes to how he views he war on terror. Kerry is pre-9/11 in his views and that alone will cost him the election. But you can bet that if Kerry does enough focus groups and learns that his views are unacceptable to the majority of Americans he will completely change his views. That's the Democratic way and they learned it from the master. Bill Clinton had no principles. He believed what the focus groups told him to believe and that's the sort of principled behavior that has dominated the Democratic party for 12 years now.

The British do not seem to agree with Lord Hutton's findings. Every piece I've read the past few days has been of the "poor BBC....damn that Hutton(!)" variety.

Now Andrew Gilligan, the man who created this whole mess, has formally resigned from the BBC while insisting that the Beeb was a victim of "a grave injustice."

Personally, I think justice was done. The BBC was out of control. The organization had become virulently anti-western and deeply biased in their coverage of the Iraq war. Gilligan was the face of this bias. Gilligan's and the Beeb's reports from the war zone were so infuriating that sailors aboard a British ship asked the ship's captain to turn off the BBC.

Gilligan was not interested in reporting the facts. He was interested in presenting his point of view. That seems to be how he views his job. That is, to report stories in such a way as to confirm his personal beliefs. That's called bias and journalism is supposed to be above that. At least journalism used to be profess to be above that. Now, a reporter's social worldview more often than not will decide how a story is framed and presented to the public.

Gilligan is typical of most reporters. They've been schooled in multiculturalism where no culture or set of values is any better than another. They've been taught that making judgements about a culture is wrong even if that culture is a despotic death cult that thinks little of death and destruction. To the enlightened journalists within the BBC, this was just another "choice" and who are we to judge Saddam Hussein for leading his people in the only way they've known for thousands of years. The gall of western society! How dare we tell Saddam that the way he's brutalizing his people is wrong! Who the hell do we think we are! I can hear Christiane Amanpour now.

This is how Gilligan and the BBC have been reporting. Multiculturalism and politically correctness have gripped England (all of Europe actually) and the Beeb's reporting reflected those views. Gilligan and the BBC was angry because the U.S. and Great Britain were, in effect, judging Saddam Hussein and who were we to judge him. In that post-modern view, the west was morally equivalent to Saddam and we had no right deposing the man when we were guilty of equivalent crimes against humanity.

Justice was done. The BBC was reprimanded and Gilligan was forced to resign. He lied and defamed Tony Blair. Now he's angry because he believes it's okay for journalists to lie and deceive the public. Lord Hutton disagreed. But apparently a large part of Great Britain disagrees with Lord Hutton's findings. They seem to view the BBC as the victim in this whole mess.

Post modernism though took a beating here in the U.S. on 9/11. I hope Great Britain and Europe don't have to lose thousands of people before they learn the same lessons.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The Weekly Standard has republished a piece that appeared online last May. The piece is titled, "Saddam's Cash." It's about the bribe money that Saddam had been paying for many years to journalists and others around the world.

The republication of the article is reaction to the disclosure of the names of people and organizations who had been bribed by Saddam Hussein.

ABC News has picked up the story and has the names of the people and organizations who received bribe money from Saddam.

This could get very interesting.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Iraq's Foreign Minister is saying that WMD's will be found in Iraq.

The New York Times has a good piece that better explains the whole Hutton inquiry. In case anyone needs a full explanation as to what the whole mess was about.

Ann Coulter demolishes John Kerry in her latest piece, but my favorite part of the whole thing is the opening paragraph:

AFTER THE New Hampshire primary, Dennis Kucinich's new slogan is: ".001 Percent of America Can't Be Wrong!" John Edwards' new slogan is: "Vote for Me or We'll See You in Court." Joe Lieberman's new slogan is: "Sixth Place Is Not an Option." (Bumper sticker version: "Ask Me About My Delegate.") Al Sharpton's new slogan is "Hello? Room Service?" Wesley Clark's new slogan is: "Leading America's War on Fetuses." Howard Dean's new slogan is: "I Want to Be Your President ... And So Do I!"

Hehehe. You gotta love her. She may be controversial for some of the things she says, but no one can say she's not clever.

Here's the list of people and organizations who received oil from Saddam Hussein.

Al Mada, an independent Iraqi newspaper, has found evidence at the oil ministry that indicates that many opponents of the war in Iraq were motivated by bribery.

Documents from Saddam Hussein's oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.

Oh, it wasn't just the French. There were many people and organizations on Saddam's payroll according to the documents that al-Mada has uncovered.

Al-Mada's list cites a total of 46 individuals, companies and organizations inside and outside Iraq as receiving Saddam's oil bribes, including officials in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan, China, Austria and France, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Communist Party, India's Congress Party and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

You will never hear any leftist say that France and Russia were motivated by oil. That's why old Europe was trying to get us to drop sanctions against Iraq before 9/11. France and Russia had massive, highly lucrative oil contracts for fields in Iraq and the only way they could realize the revenue from those contracts was if Saddam remained in power. And we all saw how hard France fought to keep Saddam in power. It was almost like they were being bribed.

It's time for my Super Bowl prediction.

I'm a realist when it comes to football. I'm a Panther's fan, but I won't hesitate to pick against them if I think they'll be beat in a weekly game. With that said though, I'm predicting that Carolina beats New England 21-13. I simply believe the Panthers have a decided advantage on the offensive and defensive lines. I believe they'll dominate New England in the trenches where the game is usually won and lost.

Many people are saying that the BBC is in meltdown after the publication of the Hutton report.

I don't think so. Yes, there's embarrassment on the part of senior officials in the BBC, but overall nothing much will change. I take that back. One major thing will change. The BBC will think twice before it accuses a prime minister of willful deceit. Other than that, nothing much will change.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Paul Berman is arguing with another leftist about Iraq and the wider war against fascism.

My friend said, "I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!"
I said, "I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?"
"But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean-admit it!"

My own eyes widened. "You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is," I said. "I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . ."

When you throw out the Halliburton conspiracy theory and the class warfare you will find a great piece about the schism that has developed within the ranks of world leftists.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I mentioned earlier that I was upset with the drunken-sailor frugality of President Bush's administration. I said that I think the spending needs to be brought under control and this issue was dangerous for the president. Well, I want to add a little more to those concerns. I found a post at The Corner where President Bush is honoring people who break American law.

The president said, as well he should, that illegal aliens "need to be treated with respect" -- they are, after all, children of God and must be handled humanely as they are detained and returned to their homes. But the next sentence was the kicker: "They need to be honored for their commitment to their families." Honored? No wonder conservatives are so angry.

WTF?

David Frum and Richard Perle: "The UN Must Change or the U.S. Must Quit"

The United Nations is the tooth fairy of American politics: Few adults believe in it, but it's generally regarded as a harmless story to amuse the children. Since 9/11, however, the UN has ceased to be harmless, and the Democratic presidential candidates' enthusiasm for it has ceased to be amusing. The United Nations has emerged at best as irrelevant to the terrorist threat that most concerns us, and at worst as an obstacle to our winning the war on terrorism. It must be reformed. And if it cannot be reformed, the United States should give serious consideration to withdrawal.

I believe this is the position of many Americans although it's probably not the majority. But, the thing is, it wasn't even close as to whether we should get out of the U.N. before 9/11. That day was a day of reckoning for the U.N. and that organization's ideals. We arrived at a crossroads on that day though we didn't realize it until months later.

The U.N. must reform or it will become irrelevant. Old rules no longer apply, but because the U.S. is the main target many of our U.N. allies are more than willing to see potshots being taken at us. They don't care. It's clear to most people that France was obstinate with the U.S. over Iraq simply because they could be. It wasn't their people who were being targeted for mass murder and since the U.S. was the target, it was almost like a two-fer.

Democrats are campaigning on the notion that the U.N. (France, Germany, Russia, etc.) must be given much more control of U.S. national security. They want the U.S. to give France veto power over our self-defense. France. France, the country that would love nothing more than to see us sniped at by terrorists to the point where our economy and confidence are wreaked so that they could compete more competitively globally. France, that bastion of socialism that is slowly realizing that socialism is doomed, yet seeks a way to maintain the status quo because the alternative is too difficult to admit.

France is not the target and if the U.S. can be brought down a notch or three then, C'est la vie. Eh?

The World Economic Forum takes place each year in Davos, Switzerland.

Jay Nordlinger of National Review goes each year and reports Impromptus style on events. I love to hear what is being said by the various world leaders.

Davos is one of those events where world leaders get together to discuss world issues.

(Anyone and everyone is here, as is always the case. You have your heads of state: Abdullah, Klaus, Kwasniewski, Musharraf, Khatami, Erdogan. You have a slew of foreign ministers, and other ministers. U.S. Cabinet members include Ashcroft and Evans (Vice President Cheney will also show.) You have thinkers, deep and allegedly so (I don't think I'll venture a list). You have noted novelists like Ishiguro, Gordimer, Wiesel, and Theroux. (Granted, these folks--certainly Theroux and Wiesel--write more than novels.) You got a smattering of Hollywood types (Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ron Silver). You have musicians, for instance Quincy Jones and Valery Gergiev (since when have they been paired?).

Ah, I should have mentioned the businessmen, since this is the World Economic Forum: Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina--all the heavy hitters.

Nordlinger does a brilliant job of making the reader feel like they are privy to intimate thoughts of some of the world's most influential people.

National Review's Managing Editor also reports that Davos is dominated by leftwing thought and intellectuals. It's clear from his journal last year that Davos is mostly a place where leftists go to reassure themselves that they are right and that the imperialist, capitalist America pigs are wrong. Ok, it doesn't seem that bad this year, but according to Nordlinger it was that bad last year.

Here's a sample of the sort of dialogue that is taking place in Davos, Switzerland:

Secretary Straw is sort of needled about Iraq contracts flowing to U.S. companies. He says something arresting, from a foreign official: Again, paraphrasing, "The U.S. taxpayer has put an astonishing amount of money in Iraq, through Congress--and that's democracy, by the way. It's only natural that they should want some of the money to come back to American firms. But plenty of subcontracts are going to other Coalition partners. I applaud the astounding generosity of the American people, and I would remind you that the ultimate benefit, of course, accrues to the people of Iraq."

You can live for many days--or years or decades--and not hear such an evaluation of the American people from any foreign leader.



Read the whole series.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Severe Weather Alert from the National Weather Service

WINTER STORM WARNING EXTENDED UNTIL 6 PM EST MONDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG EXTENDS THE WINTER STORM WARNING FOR THE PIEDMONT AND FOOTHILLS OF NORTH CAROLINA.

AREAS OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN... WILL TRANSITION TO PRIMARILY FREEZING RAIN AS THE EVENING WEARS ON. DANGEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE AND ICE WILL CONTINUE TO ACCUMULATE... POSSIBLY RESULTING IN DAMAGE TO TREES AND POWER LINES.

THE SIDES OF THE ROAD ARE FILLING UP WITH PEOPLE WHO DID NOT HEED THE WARNING AND WERE DRIVING TOO FAST FOR THE EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS. PLEASE... DO NOT DRIVE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

Work ain't looking very likely.

A brilliant Victor Davis Hanson piece in National Review. A taste:

We were warned that "preemption" in Iraq would give the green light to Pakistan and India to go to war. In fact, India's economy and culture are more America-oriented than ever before, and Pakistan seems more afraid that such new ties with the United States will leave it odd man out. Both sides are seeking to cool down the crisis. Whatever the wisdom of supporting President Musharraf, at least his country is no longer an unexamined sanctuary for the world's worst terrorists, and a growing democratic opposition there is rivaling the Islamicists. In fact, Pakistan is in internal foment, as fundamentalists for the first time in a decade are under scrutiny and are unsure whether their full theocratic agenda will ever be enacted. Even the madrassas sense that Mr. Karzai and the Iraqi Democratic Council are openly above ground, while Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have not been for the last six months.

I have to include this:

What is strange about our new European relationship is not that it has deteriorated, but that its Orwellian premises had not been questioned long ago. The Iraq war woke us from a deep, dangerous coma, and raised questions unasked for decades: Why defend a continent larger and more populous than our own? Why consider the German and French governments staunch allies, when, by any measure of their rhetorical and diplomatic anti-Americanism, they appear no different from — and indeed, far worse than — what emanates from a China, Brazil, or Middle Eastern "moderate" nations?

Europe, not America, has proved most interested in Iraqi oil over the last decade. Europe, not America, is apt to tolerate massacres in the Balkans or Iraq. Indeed, the victory in Iraq emphasized that our greatest sin is in being cumbersome and often acting belatedly to stop autocratic killing — but this is a far different moral quandary than never acting at all. When you look at Iranian fascists being wined and dined in Paris, count up all the corpses from the August heat wave, and contemplate the explosive issue of school scarves, France, not the United States, is the real sick puppy.

The New York Times (The Ohio State University(!)) has an excellent piece about:

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a reclusive 73-year-old cleric revered by many of Iraq's 15 million Shiites, hears arguments and requests here from the country's most senior politicians, occasionally issuing decrees through them that thwart the plans of the world's sole superpower.

It appears that Sistani is going to be the kingmaker in Iraq. The question now is what does Sistani believe. The Times offers a glimpse that hints that Sistani is the anti-Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution that has brought about the Iran we know today.

Though the ayatollah was born in the holy Iranian city of Mashad and began studying the Koran there at age 5, he spent his early 20's in Najaf, where he became the protege of the late Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qassim al-Khoei.

Ayatollah Khoei was a proponent of the "quietist" school of Islamic thought, which advocates a withdrawal from politics, unlike the activist school promoted by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran and put into practice there after the revolution of 1979.



I don't think democracy is safe just yet in Iraq, but I am optimistic. Sistani may change and make a power grab himself, but for now that looks unlikely.

These are critical days for the people of Iraq.

Another of my favorites writers, Jay Nordlinger, is reporting that Bill Clinton is defending America and President Bush on the world stage.

First there was Ralph Peters relating the story of a speech former President Clinton gave in Qatar where he heroically defended America and refused to bash President Bush while in another country. Now Nordlinger, who is probably even more anti-Clinton than Peters, is reporting on a speech Clinton gave in Davos, Switzerland at the annual World Economic Summit:

And you may be interested to know that any time he referred to the Bush administration, or alluded to it, it was in a complimentary way. He told this crowd -- again, a crowd that could use hearing it, especially from this source -- that much of what we're doing, successfully, in the War on Terror never makes the newspapers. For example, "cells are rolled up," which you never hear about. The administration has achieved "cooperation with other governments" that is not "inherently sensational" but "has saved a lot of people's lives." You never hear about this bomb found in this container on this cargo ship destined for this port ? and "I could give you 50 other examples."

This is extraordinary folks! Bill Clinton is defending America. He's defending American actions post-9/11. He's defending a Republican president who is doing everything he can to defend Americans! I can only hope and pray that the Democrats know what the man is doing. Many leftwingers hate this country because their leaders hate this country. It's nice to see the most influential Democrat of our age stand up and defend America. It's about time!

Myth number three: Guns are bad.

The government wants to say things like the Brady Gun Control Law are making a difference, but they aren't. Some maximum security felons I spoke to in New Jersey scoffed at measures like the Brady law. They said they'll have no trouble getting guns if they want them.

A Justice Department study confirmed what the prisoners said. But get this: the felons say that the thing they fear the most is not the police, not time in prison, but, you, another American who might be armed.

It's a reason many states are passing gun un-control. They're allowing citizens to carry guns with them; it's called concealed carry or right to carry. Some women say they're comforted by these laws.

Many people are horrified at the idea of concealed carry laws, and predict mayhem if all states adopt these laws.

But surprise, 36 states already have concealed carry laws, and not one reported an upsurge in gun crime.

I've decided to link to John Stossel's piece for ABC TV. I loved the title: "Lies, Myths and Downright Stupidity" This is the same report that I linked to earlier which featured the ignorance of Al Sharpton.

Myth number six that says that although Republicans make noises about reducing the size of government they never actually do it. In fact, the government has grown by almost 25% under President Bush.

If President Bush is vulnerable this is the area where he's most vulnerable. I'm not happy at all with the way he's been spending money on non-defense related items. If Bush isn't careful he will piss off his base and he will lose the general election in November. He won't win over Democrats. They'll take the money he's handing out and then they'll vote for the Democrat.

I will vote for Bush, but I agree that he's spending money like a drunken sailor. That must stop and soon.

So, what else did David Kay say?

"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."

I don't care if WMD's have not been found in Iraq. The fact is that many nations agreed that Saddam had them. The Clinton administration agreed that Saddam had WMD's. Everyone knew that Saddam had WMD's. The only question now is what did he do with them. It may take years to find out, but even if we never do I don't much care. The man had to go. I'm glad he's gone.

I've posted pieces about Al Sharpton, but Andrew Sullivan features a quote from the race baiter that I had link to and discuss. Here's the quote:

According to presidential candidate Al Sharpton, "The top one percent in this country pays very much less than ten percent, very much less than five percent."

Sharpton said he thinks the wealthy should pay "somewhere around 15 percent."

I know Sharpton is a ridiculous man, but this is simply unbelievable. The fact is that the top one percent--those who make $300,000 a year-- already pay more than 34% of all the taxes paid in this country.

Why is Al Sharpton a legitimate candidate for president? Because he's black? He's a black David Duke. If Al Sharpton were white he would be vilified as the most evil, hateful man the U.S. has ever seen. The Republican party would be smeared as a racist party (Sharpton and others are already doing that actually) and the national press would be pounding the man relentessly for his racial attitudes.

Al Sharpton is a hustler, a bigot, an inciter to murder and a racial bomb thrower. Why is the Democratic party treating him like he's some moral standard bearer? Because he's black. If he were white he would be a racist. Period.

We're getting snow. The forecast was for freezing rain and the weatherman is still reporting that the snow will change to freezing rain, but still it's always nice to see it snow.