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Showing posts from February, 2004
Schroeder says he is not alienated

Gerhard Schroeder:

"We never had a war. What we had was a difference of opinion. We've overcome that and decided not to dwell on the past but to focus on the present and the future. As far as Iraq is concerned, both of us are interested in seeing a stable and democratic Iraq....

"I believe that we have a good working relationship, and that the president and I deal with each other in an atmosphere that is very much in line with the expectations of our respective peoples. To that extent, I'm very satisfied with my visit."
Vets and Vietnamese demonstrate against Kerry

NY Times:

"Around 200 U.S. Army veterans and Vietnamese people demonstrated outside Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry's New York headquarters on Saturday to protest his opposition decades ago to the Vietnam War.

"Waving American and South Vietnamese flags and singing the U.S. national anthem, they held up signs saying 'Hanoi John,' and 'Kerry Betrayed Vietnam Vets.'

" 'We won't sit by and let the American people think that we are going to stand by somebody who stabbed us in the back,' said Jerry Kiley, a veteran and one of the protest organizers."
The consequences of making up law and avoiding the democratic process

Lisa Schiffren:

"George W. Bush is not a culture warrior by inclination. And he clearly did not seek this fight over gay marriage. I'd guess that he, like most Americans, wishes it would go away. At very least, it is a distraction from the real culture war, which is being fought in the Middle East against terrorists and anti-democratic fanatics.

"Amending the Constitution is a big deal, and as a conservative, President Bush wouldn't seek to do so if there were other political or legal options. But his hand was forced. The mayor of San Francisco, in contravention of all existing state and federal law, started handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples as if they were political placards. More ominously, four Massachusetts judges, looking to bring about radical social change from the bench, decided that their commonwealth must begin performing same-sex marriages this spring. Undoubtedly, there a…
Haiti

David Warren:

...

"Yet Haiti is still a victim of 'abroad.' Lionized as the seat of the world's first independent black state, after one of history's most memorable slave rebellions, Haiti has been celebrated, patronized, and excused for two full centuries. It has a history of false dawns, and great expectations, and unbelievable tyranny. Through which, it would appear, no real progress has ever been made in creating a people who are susceptible to self-government.

"The spontaneous, wild looting that has followed the progress of the rebellion from Cap-Haitien to Gonaives to Saint-Marc to the docks of Port-au-Prince provide the hard facts. The country is the victim of that reverse racism, which refuses to demand that an 'oppressed people' behave reasonably, even under duress, and instead blames outsiders for all their problems."

They desperately need a colonial administratoror.
The Osama hunt

The Guardian:

"American and British forces have launched a dramatic new effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and other senior al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan.

"SAS detachments will join thousands of US troops - including a 'super-secret' special forces unit transferred from Iraq - and contingents of Afghan soldiers in a huge sweep of mountainous border areas where the terrorists are believed to be hiding.

...

"The hunt is being boosted by a computer program developed in Iraq to locate 'high value human targets'. The program charts links between thousands of people associated with a fugitive, allowing intelligence officers to detect key individuals who might have vital information.

"The Americans are also employing 'psychological operations' against bin Laden, allowing news of the new push to leak into the media. US intelligence specialists know that, like Saddam, bin Laden and his aides monitor the media and are hoping th…
Benefits of "adventurous" policy

Reason blog:

"As someone who was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and still has mega-doubts about the 'region building' talk coming out of the Bush folks and neocons, I have to admit that Gadhafi's shift is clearly linked to Bush's adventurous foreign policy (as are other positive developments throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world). This isn't to sign on to the agenda--it's too early to tell whether the US intervention in Iraq, much less elsewhere, is going to bear sweet or bitter fruit, and there remain tough questions about ends justifying means, etc--but it's clear that US policy is having some beneficial effects."
Kerry insults allies as well as US intelligence

No one has done more to insult allies like the UK, Spain and Poland than John Kerry. While he complains about President Bush "alienating" our allies, their "alienation" was not the result of insults on the part of the Bush administration. In fact it was the other way around with the German leaders insulting President Bush because they did not want to liberate Iraq. It was also the French who behaved badly by trying to undermine US policy to protect a homicial despot. But it is Kerry who has been insulting our real friends. His campaign has been based on insults directed at the President and insults directed at our friends.
Dems acknowledge their chances for gaining control of House are remote

NY Times:

"Strategists, independent analysts and House members of both parties say that after a decade out of power, Democrats are unlikely to reclaim control of the House in November.

"Many Democrats now concede that their immediate goal is far less ambitious: to narrow the divide so they have a better chance of recapturing the House in 2006.

...

"One major reason Democrats are pessimistic about taking back the House can be found in Texas. In redrawing the boundaries of Congressional districts last year in favor of Republicans, the Texas Legislature built a fire wall against potential losses elsewhere in the country. The formerly Democratic-dominated House delegation from Texas is now evenly divided, with 16 members of each party, and Republicans say they hope to end up with a minimum of 20 seats. That number, they say, would better reflect the state's political bent.

"The new lines have alre…
International law fiction

Telegraph Editorial:

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"The most striking thing about this debate is its pointlessness. The 'legality' or otherwise of the war is a non-subject, for the simple reason that there is no binding body of international law which compels obedience, either in morality or in fact, from the sovereign nations of the globe.

...

"The most plausible view to take about the bulk of international law is that it is a very successful con-trick: a forged coin which many people have been duped into thinking is the real thing. The Americans have seen through the forgery, and wisely refused to sign up to the creation of The International Criminal court in 1998, judging that its procedures would almost certainly include an attempt by countries who resent American power to frustrate it.

...

"The invasion of Iraq may or may not have been 'illegal' under international law. The point, however, is that the whole issue of 'international legality' is…
Advice for Kerry

William Saleton:

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"I think I speak for many people in the press corps when I say we've been trying harder to get you nominated than you have. Ron Brownstein and Larry King practically begged you tonight to give voters a reason not to choose Kerry. And what was your answer? 'He's a good man. ... He'd make a good president.' You said your position was the same as Kerry's, even when his position (on amending the Constitution to let foreign-born U.S. citizens become president) was that he hadn't formulated a position. Why don't you save us a lot of time and cut the ad for him, already?"
Iran threatens Lybia

Con Coughlin:

"Iran is trying to prevent Libya from disclosing incriminating details of Teheran's top-secret nuclear weapons programme, by threatening to unleash Islamic fundamentalist groups opposed to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

"Western intelligence specialists have learned from interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects, captured close to Afghanistan's border with Iran, that a militant group of Libyan extremists is being protected and trained by terrorism experts from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

"The Libyan Combat Islamic Group (GICL) was expelled from Libya by Gaddafi in 1997 after it was implicated in attacks against government targets. At first the group relocated to Afghanistan, where it became closely involved in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organisation.

"After the war in Afghanistan in 2001 the Libyan group was given a safe haven in Iran, together with other North African terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda. Now the Iranians have a…
Winter soldiers

History of Kerry's winter soldier episode in an interesting website.
The oil for palaces scam

NY Times:

"In its final years in power, Saddam Hussein's government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions.

"Millions of Iraqis were struggling to survive on rations of food and medicine. Yet the government's hidden slush funds were being fed by suppliers and oil traders from around the world who sometimes lugged suitcases full of cash to ministry offices, said Iraqi officials who supervised the skimming operation.

"The officials' accounts were enhanced by a trove of internal Iraqi government documents and financial records provided to The New York Times by members of the Iraqi Governing Council. Among the papers was secret correspondence from Mr. Hussein's top lieutenants setting up a formal mechanism to siphon cash from Iraq's business deals, an ar…
Hugo Chavez puts his ignorance on display

San Francisco Chronicle:

"Clashes between police and thousands of protesters pressing for the recall of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez overshadowed a summit of developing nations, with at least two people killed and dozens injured.

"The confrontation came Friday as Chavez opened a two-day summit with the leaders of 18 other developing nations in Caracas, urging them to reject free-market policies imposed by industrialized nations.

" 'Globalization has not brought expected independence. It has increased dependence. ... It has extended poverty,' Chavez said. 'Free market ideology was created by the North to serve its own interests.'

Chavez thinks the Castro model is the way to material wealth in the developing world. Of course he igors South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, all countries that have moved from developing to prosperous by following the free market strategy. Unless Chavez is removed he will do for V…
Damacus and Teheran entities enter axis against Israel

Amir Taheri:

"IN a reversal of its policy not to enter into military alliance with any foreign power, the Islamic Republic of Iran (aka the Teheren entity) has just concluded a defense pact with Syria (aka the Damacus entity). Signed in Damascus yesterday, the pact commits Iran to Syria's defense against 'the Zionist entity,' which in the Iranian lexicon means Israel.

"The idea of a pact was first raised by Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of Iraq last April. The Syrian leader paid three visits to Tehran, pressing the Iranian leadership to come to the help of his beleaguered regime.

"Sources in Tehran say the Iranians were at first reluctant to commit to a course that could make war with Israel almost inevitable. All changed sometime last November when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian 'Supreme Guide,' decided that the only way to deal with the …
Flip-flop record

Washington Times:

"The presidential election year hasn't even reached March yet, and Democratic front-runner John Kerry has already set the all-time records for policy flip-flops and fund-raising hypocrisy. In his latest gambit, he has managed to combine the two by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by the very same tax-dodging 'Benedict Arnold CEOs' whom his campaign condemns for 'tak[ing] advantage of tax loopholes to set up bank accounts or move jobs abroad simply to avoid taxes.' In the political boxing arena, Mr. Kerry can now claim the undisputed titles in two classes: flip-flopping and hypocrisy.

"On the policy front, Mr. Kerry spent nearly two decades promoting free trade, and now he is running as an unabashed protectionist. He voted to authorize war in Iraq, and he has now become one of its most strident opponents. He voted for the USA Patriot Act, and now he opposes it. He voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, an…
Kerry talks tough and votes weak

Washington Times:

"Sen. John Kerry went toe-to-toe with President Bush on national security yesterday, charging that the president has weakened the U.S. military and been too timid to commit troops at Tora Bora in Afghanistan, thus blowing the chance to capture Osama bin Laden.

...

"Mr. Kerry voted in 2002 to authorize the president to use force in Iraq, but has since been one of the harshest critics of how Mr. Bush has followed through.

"He has consistently said the administration should have worked to gain approval of more nations before beginning the war. This is consistent with his belief expressed after the Vietnam War, that the United States should not commit troops to war without the approval of the United Nations.

"Yesterday, though, Mr. Kerry said he would not let allies 'tie our hands and prevent us from doing what must be done.'

...

"Mr. Kerry said Mr. Bush has failed to properly fund the military, including …
Shiek hunt

Washington Times:

"Pakistani forces moved into selected areas along their country's border with Afghanistan after satellite-telephone intercepts indicated al Qaeda members were hiding there, security officials said yesterday.

"There was no indication al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was involved in the conversations, but two intelligence officials said participants discussed a man referred to as 'Sheik' — a code name for bin Laden."
Kerry's bright shining lie

Pat Buchanan:

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"Kerry told the Senate that 150 honorably discharged veterans, many of them highly decorated, had 'testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia . . . on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.' As Kerry's lurid depiction ran:

" '[T]hey had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wire from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam. . . .'

"Kerry has lately backed away from the more sensational of these charges. Yet still he calls it 'Nixon's War.'

"This is slander. This is scape-goating. This is a bright shining lie by a man who showed bravery in battle but lacks the moral courage to tell th…
NY times tries to nuance Kerry's antiwar activity

NY Times:

"On April 22, 1971, John Kerry, a decorated 27-year-old Navy veteran of two tours in Vietnam, electrified the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with his passionate testimony against the war, and with tales from fellow veterans about 'the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do' in Southeast Asia.

"Summarizing the accounts of American soldiers he had heard at an antiwar conference in Detroit weeks earlier, Mr. Kerry said the men told how 'they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.'

"As both a veteran and anguished opponent of the Vietnam War, Mr. Kerry has sp…
Palestinian's fed up with Arrafat

San Francisco Chronical:

"The mayor of the West Bank's largest city has resigned, accusing Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority on Friday of letting Nablus descend into lawlessness.

"The announcement came as a major blow to Arafat as he tries to stem demands for change in his Fatah movement. The Palestinian leader agreed Friday to hold Fatah elections within a year. But disgruntled younger activists said they doubt he will keep his word."
Kerry supports law he described as "gay bashing" when he voted against it

Deborah Orin:

"Democratic front-runner John Kerry yesterday came out for a Massachusetts constitutional ban on gay marriage and suggested that a law he once blasted as 'gay-bashing' should remain the law of the land.

"Kerry's shift in tone came as Rosie O'Donnell wed her longtime girlfriend and fueled the debate over same-sex marriages - at a time when a court in Kerry's home state of Massachusetts has ordered that they be legalized this spring.

" 'If the Massachusetts legislature crafts an appropriate amendment [to ban gay marriage] that provides for partnership and civil unions, then I would support it, and it would advance the goal of equal protection,' Kerry told the Boston Globe.

"Then last night, Kerry told a Los Angeles debate that he's against gay marriage and declined to reaffirm his opposition to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), whi…
Norks for Kerry

Seattle Times:

"North Korea has never had a real election, doesn't believe in democracy and wouldn't dream of putting the political fate of 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong Il in the hands of ballot-wielding commoners. But it does have an election strategy ? as far as the United States is concerned.

"The regime in Pyongyang, analysts say, is rooting for virtually anyone other than George W. Bush to be the next U.S. president. That's why many observers are expecting little progress at the six-party talks aimed at halting North Korea's nuclear program that started yesterday in Beijing.

...

"Bush has been tougher on North Korea than many of his predecessors. But analysts stress that North Korea's dislike of the administration is more than political. It's personal.

"The president has vilified Kim as someone who banquets while others starve, and named North Korea as a member of the 'axis of evil.' In 2002, Bush told intervie…
Preemption

Victor Davis Hanson:

"...Preemption is a concept as old as the Greeks. It perhaps was first articulated in the fourth book of Thucydides's history. There the veteran Theban general Pagondas explained why his Boeotians should hit the Athenians at the border near Delium, even though they were already retreating and posed no immediate threat. The Boeotians did, and won — and were never attacked by the Athenians again. On a more immediate level, preemption was how many of us stayed alive in a rather tough grade school: Confront the bully first, openly, and in daylight — our Texan principal warned us — before he could jump you as planned in the dark on the way home.

"Despite the current vogue of questionable and therapeutic ideas like 'zero tolerance' and 'moral equivalence' that punish all who use force — whether in kindergarten or in the Middle East — striking first is a morally neutral concept. It takes on its ethical character from the landscape i…
Taliban and al Qaeda fadingin Afghanistan

LA Times:

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai declared Thursday that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are no longer effectively operating in the country, despite a series of recent attacks, including one on Wednesday that killed five aid workers."

One of the interesting aspects of the war in Afghanistan is how weak the Taliban and al Qaeda attacks have been. There is no comparison to the tempo of attacks against the Soviet occupatation. In fact the Taliban and al Qaeda attacks in Afghanistan have been less intese that Arafats attacks against Israel during the same time period. The US accomplishment in Afghanistan is nothing less than extroidinary. While the country is far from being under Karzai's control, it is also far from being at war with his control.
Bad news for Dems

MSNBC:

"America’s economy, bolstered by brisk business spending, grew at a healthy 4.1 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 2003. That was even faster than first thought and offered new evidence that the nation’s economic recovery was firmly rooted going into the new year.

...

"The 4.1 percent pace was better than economists were predicting. They were forecasting growth rate of around 3.8 percent.

"Looking ahead, the economic picture seems promising, analysts say. Economic growth in the current January-to-March quarter is expected to clock in at a rate of around 4.5 percent or higher, according to some analysts’ projections."
The most liberal senator

National Journal via Drudge:

"NATIONAL JOURNAL on Friday claimed Democrat frontrunner John Kerry has the 'most liberal' voting record in the Senate.

"The results of Senate vote ratings show that Kerry was the most liberal senator in 2003, with a composite liberal score of 96.5 -- far ahead of such Democrat stalwarts as Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

"NATIONAL JOURNAL's scores, which have been compiled each year since 1981, are based on lawmakers' votes in three areas: economic policy, social policy, and foreign policy.

" 'To be sure, Kerry's ranking as the No. 1 Senate liberal in 2003 -- and his earning of similar honors three times during his first term, from 1985 to 1990 -- will probably have opposition researchers licking their chops,' NATIONAL JOURNAL reports."
Dem debate

Kausfiles:

"The CW in the press rooms at last night's debate was that Kerry either won or did well enough to preserve his lead. He certainly had some good moments (his answer on Haiti, for example). But he had some bad ones too--most obviously, Ron Brownstein reducing him to evasion on whether he'd vote for the Defense of Marriage Act. (Brownstein also nailed him for wanting to water down standards in the No Child Left Behind Act, but unless there are more neoliberals in the audience than I imagine it didn't cost Kerry many votes). ... My main impression was of how pissed Kerry still is that Edwards needled him for his long answer in that Wisconsin debate. In last night's discussion, Edwards had just done him the huge favor of essentially defending both of their pro-war votes when Kerry couldn't resist making fun of Edwards' non-brevity. ('Let me return a favor from the last debate to John ...') How small and thin-skinned was that? Kerry&#…
The Comanche kill

Ralph Peters:

"EARLIER this week, the U.S. Army scored a victory for our national security and the American taxpayer: It killed the Comanche attack-helicopter program, a $40 billion legacy of the Cold War.

...

"Sexy though it was, the Comanche didn't offer a decisive advantage over systems already fielded. And the battlefield equation is changing. Drones handle more missions at less expense, from reconnaissance to precision strikes. And the service couldn't afford the luxury of buying the Comanche: Our soldiers have practical needs, from more personnel to a new generation of combat vehicles to replace an aging fleet.

...

"TRADITIONALLY, only the Marine Corps and our chronically under- funded Coast Guard have been responsible stewards of our tax dollars. Now the Army has turned a corner, demanding value and real utility, instead of gold-plating the McClellan saddle again.

"The other services? A victim of its own success at dominating the sea…
Selling bugs to Soviets

Washington Post:

"In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.

"Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in 'At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War,' to be published next month by Ballantine Books. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of 'cold-eyed economic warfare' against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William J. Casey during the final years of the Cold War.

...

" 'In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipelin…
What is the reverse of "dog-eat-dog"?

Llewellyn Wells, "West Wing" co-executive producer, said "Hollywood is dog-eat-dog, and Washington is the complete reverse."

Isn't the reverse of dog-eat-dog still dog-eat-dog?
Bush economic numbers betters Clinton's 96 figures

Rich Lowry:

...

"The numbers speak of strong overall economic growth. The gross domestic product -- the figure for the total output economy -- grew at an 8.2 percent rate in the third quarter of 2003, and at a 4 percent rate in the fourth quarter. The GDP is forecast to grow at a 4.5 percent rate in 2004. As economist J. Edward Carter writes: 'For the third consecutive year, the U.S. economy is poised to grow faster than most other industrialized economies. France, Germany and Japan, for instance, are not expected to grow even half as fast as the United States.'

"The numbers indicate an economy constantly finding new and better ways to work. Nonfarm productivity -- a crucial indicator of economic efficiency that corresponds over the long term with higher wages and greater national wealth -- grew at a healthy 4.2 percent rate in 2003. During Bush's first three years in office, productivity has been increasing at…
Insurgency of the losers continues in London

Washington Post:

...

"Clare Short, who resigned in protest after the invasion, said she had seen transcripts of Annan's conversations in the weeks before the war, which was launched last March.

" 'The U.K. in this time was also getting spies on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on,' Short told BBC radio. 'These things are done, and in the case of Kofi's office, it was being done for some time.'

"Asked about Britain's role in the eavesdropping, she replied: 'Well I know -- I've seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.'

"She added: 'In fact, I have had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to the war thinking, "Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying."

Yeah, they might find that you are working against the interest of your government. That is certainly what Short is doi…
Brit Sec. of State for Trade hits Kerry, Edwards

The Independent:

"Patricia Hewitt delivered a blistering attack last night on the two Democratic candidates for the US presidential nomination, accusing them of vying with one another in their 'protectionist rhetoric.'

"In a speech laced with digs at America over its attitude towards free trade, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry took John Kerry and John Edwards to task for pandering to the protectionist lobby.

...

"Now the battleground had become 'offshoring' - the movement of jobs to countries where labour costs were cheaper. Britain, she said, had rejected protectionism as the answer at every level - from government through to employers and unions. 'But it's not the same in the United States. There, every night, television newsreaders vilify business leaders who are investing abroad. The presidential economic adviser who dares to speak the truth on globalisation is threatened with redun…
Disputed job loss figures

Newsmax:

"The media and Democrats keep repeating it over and over: "2.3 million jobs lost" since President Bush took office. His could be the worst job record since before World War II, they claim.

"One little problem: It's not true.

"Not only has there been no net loss of jobs during the Bush administration, there has been a net gain, even with the devastation of 9/11. At least 2.4 million jobs have been created since the president took office, 2 million of those in 2003. The gains more than offset the losses.

...

"The 5.6 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in two years and below the average of the 1980s (7.3 percent) and '90s (5.8 percent), and still continues to drop.

"The nation's economic output revealed the strongest quarterly growth in 20 years. The data for the fourth quarter of 2003 show that the civilian labor force rose by 333,000, while the number of unemployed in the labor force dropped by 575,…
Dems are losing the outsourcing debate

Without President Bush even engaging on the issue the Dems are already losing their case against outsourcing. George Will was the first to nail them, then David Ignatius, and Robert Samuelson, all of the Washington Post. Today Thomas Friedman of the NY Times showed how wrong they are. Yesterday, UK's Secretary of State for Trade took offense at Kerry's Benedict Arnold charge. (BTW, has there ever been a candidate who has done more to offend our best ally?) Stories by the writers are linked below.

It is remarable that Democrat candidates could do so much to undermine their own case on the jobs issue. They did it by overreaching and demogogery. Of course, their case against the Bush policy in Iraq is also based on demogogery. You have to wonder why they thought no one would notice.
Haiti Hooey

NY Post Editorial:

"Sen. John Kerry has tried to blame the crisis in Haiti on President Bush, claiming that the administration fostered the instability that led to the uprising against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"Nonsense.

"Haiti has been a basket case since forever - and the roots of this crisis are directly traceable to the effective abandonment of Haiti by the international community after the United States returned Aristide to power in 1994.

"Does that make it Bill Clinton's fault?

"Actually, if anyone is responsible for the rebellion that has conquered the north of Haiti and now threatens the capital of Port-au-Prince, it is surely Aristide himself.

How bad is Haiti? It is so bad al Qaeda is not interested in setting up a terrorist training base there. It is hard to imagine another country that has shown itself so incompetent at governance. What the Haitians desperately need is a colonial governor who can develop institutions t…
Kerry takes money from "traitor" executives

Washington Post:

"Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, frequently calls companies and chief executives 'Benedict Arnolds' if they move jobs and operations overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

"But Kerry has accepted money and fundraising assistance from top executives at companies that fit the candidate's description of a notorious traitor of the American Revolution.

"Executives and employees at such companies have contributed more than $140,000 to Kerry's presidential campaign, a review of his donor records shows. Additionally, two of Kerry's biggest fundraisers, who together have raised more than $400,000 for the candidate, are top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world's best-known offshore tax havens, federal records show. Kerry has raised nearly $30 million overall for his White House run."

Why are t…
How congress outsourced jobs in the candy business

Walter Williams:

...

"Chicago has been home to many of America's candy manufacturers, but today they've fallen on hard times. In 1970, employment by Chicago's candy manufacturers totaled 15,000, and now it's 8,000 and falling. Brach used to employ about 2,300 people; now most of its jobs are in Mexico. Ferrara Pan Candy has also moved much of its production to Mexico.

"Yes, wages are lower in Mexico, but wages aren't the only factor in candy manufacturers' flight from America. After all, Life Savers, which for 90 years manufactured in America, has moved to Canada, where wages are comparable to ours.

"One of the ignored stories in the clamor and demagoguery over job losses, not only in the candy industry but in others as well, is the devastating impact on our industries of congressionally created 'miracles.'

...

"Their success in getting Congress to do their bidding means our domestic …
The Dem's outsourcing demogogery

Thomas Friedman:

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"Yes, I want to be able to huff and puff about complex issues — like outsourcing of jobs to India — without any reference to reality...."How can it be good for America to have all these Indians doing our white-collar jobs?" I asked 24/7's founder, S. Nagarajan.

"Well, he answered patiently, 'look around this office.' All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent. The air-conditioning is by Carrier, and even the bottled water is by Coke, because when it comes to drinking water in India, people want a trusted brand. On top of all this, says Mr. Nagarajan, 90 percent of the shares in 24/7 are owned by U.S. investors. This explains why, although the U.S. has lost some service jobs to India, total exports from U.S. companies to India have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002. What goes around comes around, and also benefits America…
69 charged in al Qaeda Turkey bombings

BBC:

"Turkish prosecutors have issued charges against 69 people suspected of involvement in four deadly suicide bombings in Istanbul last November.

"The semi-official Anatolia agency said life sentences were demanded for five suspects described as 'leaders of the al-Qaeda cell in Turkey.'

"Prosecutors asked for sentences of up to 22 years for the other defendants."
Five in pace march killed

Reuters:

"Five people were killed in a northern Ugandan town Wednesday when a peace march to protest the massacre of more than 200 people turned into a riot marred by ethnic lynchings and gunfire, witnesses said."
Neocon nonsense

David Bernstein, Volokh Conspiracy:

"Neocons, Iraq, Iran, and Israel: Putting aside the anti-Semitic implications of the view that a small band of Jewish "neocon Likudniks" somehow managed to manipulate the clueless goyim in the Bush Administration to invade Iraq on behalf of Israel, two stark facts demonstrate the absurdity that any sort of Likudnik lobby is controlling U.S. foreign policy: (1) Yasser Arafat is still alive, well, and dictating a terror campaign from his headquarters in Ramallah. All it would take to get rid of him, a far bigger prize for Sharon than Saddam, would be a nod with no domestic political cost from Bush--no invasion, no American soldiers' lives lost, no billions of dollars--yet there he sits, safe as can be; and (2) Israel didn't want Saddam to be the primary target of the U.S. post-9/11 anti-terror campaign. Before the conflict in Iraq arose, Israel was desperately trying to get the Bush Administration to focus instead …
Palestians riot at loss of terror funding

Haaretz:

"Security forces raided four banks in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, seizing vast amounts of cash which Israel said was mostly sent by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to fund Palestinian militants.

"The joint operation by police, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service marked the largest-scale effort since the start of the intifada to stop the flow of funds to militant groups, officials said.

...

"Palestinians rained stones on Israeli jeeps. Flames leapt from one of the vehicles as it was struck by a Molotov cocktail. Israeli troops rejected the accusation of Palestinian medics that it fired back some live rounds.

"The soldiers also used tear gas to repel the protestors, and a curfew was placed on the city center, witnesses said.

...

"The Israeli operation came a day after Palestinian security officials confirmed that Hezbollah helped fund the last two Jerusalem bus bombings - one on …
Zawahri son captured

The Australian:

"A son of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, has been captured by Pakistani forces, one of Pakistan's leading newspapers reported today.

...

"The report, quoting diplomatic sources, said Khalid was handed over to US custody soon after the arrest and flown out of Pakistan."
Canada continues to shrink its defense

National Post:

"Canada's army, navy and air force are facing a funding shortfall of up to half a billion dollars, defence sources told the National Post, and the military is recommending drastic measures to make up the difference, including closing some of the largest bases in the country.

...

"The military sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the reports foresee a situation so dire that they recommend curtailing operations, dry-docking ships and mothballing vehicles or aircraft and closing at least four Canadian Forces bases.

"Unless additional funding is awarded by the government, the air force is suggesting closing bases at Goose Bay, Nfld., Bagotville, Que., North Bay and Winnipeg, the sources said.

"Further, the air force report says that unless its fleet of ageing CC-130 Hercules transport planes is replaced or modernized, the main transport base at Trenton should be closed within 10 years. 'There won…
Passinate about the Passion

David Horowitz:

...

"Contrary to Mr. Turan, The Passion does not blame the Jews for Christ's death. The priest Caiaphas and his sect do not speak for the Jews. As the film makes clear Jesus and Mary and their followers were Jews. If the Jew Caiaphas condemns Christ, the Jew Simon carries his cross (a fact that none of these detractors even mentions). But for me the most revealing statement is Turan's claim that the film is 'inaccessible for all but the devout.' I am a Jew by tribe and an agnostic by faith. I was profoundly moved by this film -- moved to tears. This is an artistic vision of the Gospels through the eyes of a 20th Century artist. The violence in the film is perfectly appropriate for the times we have lived through. The problem that Turan and reviewers like him have is that they are so blinded by their arrogant contempt for religious views (not Islamic fundamentalism of course -- to which they are hypersensitive in their conc…
The threat fromthe "stateles zones"

Belmont Club:

"George Tenet's remarks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence lays out the interlocking structure of threats facing the United States -- and by extension the rest of the developed world. It's most striking feature is the absence of a Great Power threat to the general peace. The danger comes entirely from brutalized nations consisting largely of the Islamic World and Third World countries so wholly collapsed that they are effectively "stateless zones". Into this cauldron of human misery two important ingredients have fallen. The first is an ideology which provides the disaffected and ignorant Islamic masses with a convenient explanation for their wretchedness: the modern world as represented by the United States; together with a means to end their suffering by plundering through the Jihad and the promise of earthly paradise under a restored Caliphate. The second is the growing availability of …
Ethnic hatred of Jews by the left

George Will:

"It used to be said that anti-Catholicism was the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Today anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.

"Not all intellectuals, of course. And the seepage of this ancient poison into the intelligentsia -- always so militantly modern -- is much more pronounced in Europe than here. But as anti-Semitism migrates across the political spectrum from right to left, it infects the intelligentsia, which has leaned left for two centuries.

"Here the term intellectual is used loosely, to denote not only people who think about ideas -- about thinking -- but also people who think they do. The term anti-Semitism is used to denote people who dislike Jews. These people include those who say: We do not dislike Jews, we only dislike Zionists -- although to live in Israel is to endorse the Zionist enterprise, and all Jews are implicated, as sympathizers, in the crime that is Israel.

...

"Like tr…
The Dems phony jobs debate

Robert J. Samuelson:

"We are having a ferocious jobs debate, most of it fraudulent. If presidents could easily create jobs, the unemployment rate would rarely exceed 3.5 percent. But all they can usually do is influence the economy through taxes, spending and regulatory decisions -- and hope that job growth follows. In our market system, private employers play the pivotal role. They will add jobs only if: (a) demand justifies new workers; (b) labor costs aren't at unprofitable levels; and (c) they think healthy economic conditions will last. Electing a president based on job creation makes as much sense as selecting a doctor based on palm reading.

"The jobs rhetoric captures politics' casual cynicism. John Kerry and John Edwards must grasp a president's modest job-creating powers; otherwise, they wouldn't be fit for the White House. Their jobs obsession is dishonest expediency. They know President Bush is vulnerable. To be fair, the …
Anti terror net launched

Washington Post:

"Hundreds of federal, state and local intelligence and law enforcement agencies will be able to share threat reports, investigative leads and potential evidence instantaneously under a new counter-terrorism computer system announced yesterday by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

"Developed since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the Homeland Security Information Network is part of a sweeping data-sharing policy adapted by federal authorities. The network, created in response to presidential priorities, is designed to prevent acts of terror and to give local police chiefs, mayors and governors greater access to federal intelligence."
Guardian's Chicken Little report on climate wargaming debunked

Inside the Beltway:

"Some alarmists are pointing to the Pentagon report as proof that we face impending climate disaster, but even a brief review shows that that isn't the case," argues Myron Ebell, director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"As with past national security assessments, the Department of Defense was presented with a worst-case scenario, not the likely future," he says. "The Pentagon naturally believes it has to research any possible threat ? whether it be an alien invasion, an accidental nuclear detonation, or catastrophic climate change."

Authors of "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security" also reportedly acknowledge that many climate scenarios they discuss are "extreme" and "not the most likely," Mr. Ebell notes.
Passion

Samizdata:

"The way I see it, a couple thousand years ago a Jewish man called Jesus, most of whose followers were Jews, was executed on the basis of trumped up charges. This was done with the grudging sufferance of the Imperial Roman authorities at the behest of certain powerful Jewish political and community leaders. Thus it would be fair to say he was killed by Jews.

"This is of course not at all the same thing as saying he was killed by the Jews: that makes about as much sense as saying 'John F. Kennedy was assassinated by the Caucasians.'

"This is just history, guys! What is the big deal?"
Zarqawi bomb maker found

CNN:

"Abu Mohammed Hamza, an explosives expert, was carrying a Jordanian passport when the military found his body after a raid Thursday, the Army said.

"The United States believes Hamza was one of the top lieutenants of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of writing a letter to al Qaeda leadership seeking help to combat the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Iraqis who work with it. The U.S. military said it intercepted the letter last month with an al Qaeda courier. The letter's author claims responsibility for attacks in Iraq.

"Coalition forces found bomb-making material, suicide vests, passport materials, electronic components, pro-Saddam Hussein material and pictures of Zarqawi in the house where Hamza was staying, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt at a briefing in Baghdad."

Another one bites the dust.
Is inconsistency a problem?

Kausfile:

" 'Nut graf' of the day:

'Kerry's past support for policies he now condemns is complicating his run for the White House, strategists from both parties say, and could prove problematic ....'

"Ya think? ... P.S.: It looks as if Bush is smart enough to try to define Kerry as a flip-flopping opportunist rather than as Dukakis II. This is very bad news for the Democrats (because Kerry ... er ... is a flip-flopping opportunist). [But he was in Vietnam-ed. Well allright then!] ... "
Gays and Dems react emotionally to Bush's call for amendment defining marriage

Fox News:

"President Bush called Tuesday for a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriage, saying the nation must defend 'the most fundamental institution of civilization.' "

Gays accused the President of going to a "nuclear" reaction to gay marriage, while Dems, would you believe, accused the President of being political. The Dems evidently oppose an amendment although they claim to oppose gay marriage. This looks to be a difficult issue for them.

It is not as if the President has been looking for an excuse to start this fight. It was provoked by the Massachusetts Supreme Court manufacturing a "right" to marriage, and a San Francisco mayor who decided to ignore California law. The emotional reaction of the Dems is caused by them having to take a stand that the majority of Americans disagree with. They feel especially put upon because they thought they had fram…
Sunshile for the "Winter Soldiers"

Joel Mowbrey:

"After the media tore into President Bush’s 30-year-old National Guard record like a rabid pit bull into a bacon-scented postman, Democrats have been licking their chops in anticipation of highlighting John Kerry’s decorated service during the same time period.

"A new web site that launched yesterday (Monday, January 23), however, should give Democrats more than a moment’s pause—and is likely just the opening salvo in exposing the truth about the outlandish actions of Kerry and his comrades as part of an anti-war group known as Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

"Created by the conservative Free Republic Network, WinterSoldier.com seems to contain the most comprehensive compilation of Kerry’s words and deeds shortly after returning to America more than three decades ago. (It can also be found at JohnKerryforPresident.info.)"

Original has links to the sites.
Zawaheri postures for tape recorder

USA Today:

"Audiotapes purported to be from Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant aired on Arabic TV stations Tuesday, one taunting President Bush and threatening more attacks on the United States, the second criticizing France's decision to ban Islamic headscarves in schools."

This appears to be an attempt to boost the President's chances of reelection by reminding voters that the terrorist are still out there and that we cannot afford to let our guard down and elect a Democrat. As for the French head scarf issue, it is not clear why muslim women's hair emanate dangerous rays which drive men to lust, while other women's hair is of no concern. Perhaps there is a shampoo out there that will solve this problem.
The Dems dishonesty on trade

David Ignatius:

...

"This anti-trade talk is dangerous nonsense, and the Democrats should be embarrassed by it. It suggests to U.S. workers that there is an alternative to change and adaptation -- to getting the skills that are necessary to compete in an increasingly competitive world. That's wrong, most of all because it misleads people about their real options. Rather than helping workers build a bridge to the future, as Clinton tried to do, these Democrats talk as if they want to build a roadblock. Shame on them.

"Shame on the Republicans, too, for disowning the administration's chief economist, Gregory Mankiw. He made the 'gaffe' (a Washington term for stating something that is true but politically embarrassing) of saying that 'outsourcing' jobs abroad can be beneficial, by lowering costs and improving efficiency.

"In economic terms, Mankiw's statement was utterly noncontroversial (unless you imagine that it&#…
The weapons Kerry did not want US military to have

Charles Hurt, Washington, Times:

...

"The Massachusetts senator voted against defense appropriations bills that included money for weapons such as the Patriot missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the B-2 stealth bomber — all of which military leaders say have become integral to the U.S. force and were crucial to winning the 1991 Gulf war and last year's war in Iraq.

"According to voting records, Mr. Kerry also favored cutting or canceling spending on the Apache helicopter, the M-1 Abrams tank and a wide range of fighter jets.

...

"The Center for Security Policy has analyzed more than 75 votes over the past decade cast by Mr. Kerry and other senators. The Washington-based conservative think tank gave Mr. Kerry one of the lowest ratings of any senator.

"In 1995, for instance, the group gave Mr. Kerry a rank of five out of a possible 100. In 1997, Mr. Kerry earned a zero from the Center for Security Policy, wh…
Bush stings Dems with humor

NY Times:

...

"Without using Mr. Kerry's name, the president mocked him as a politician whose positions changed with the wind. The Democratic field, Mr. Bush said, is 'for tax cuts and against them. For Nafta and against Nafta. For the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts.'

...

"Mr. Bush, who has told Republican officials in recent weeks that he was eager to begin defending himself, was himself biting at times in his portrayal of his opponents. Referring to Democrats who opposed the war in Iraq despite supporting the policy, adopted under the Clinton administration, of removing Saddam Hussein from power, Mr. Bush said, 'Maybe they were hoping he'd lose the next Iraqi election.'

"In an indirect slap at Mr. Kerry, who in a 1970 interview suggested that the United States military should be deployed only under the auspices o…
Kerry's silver star

In a lengthy story of Kerry's Vietnam service the Boston Globe gave details among other things on the event that got Kerry his Silver Star. His Swift boat had taken fire from a B-40 rocket. Kerry beached his boat and ran down a VC carrying a B-40 launcher(?) while one of his crew fired .50 caliber machine guns at the fleeing man who was apparently wounded. Kerry apparently shot and killed the guy carrying the B-40.

Curiously his citation says something different according to the Globe.

"With utter disregard for his own safety and the enemy rockets," the citation says, Kerry "again ordered a charge on the enemy, beached his boat only 10 feet from the Viet Cong rocket position and personally led a landing party ashore in pursuit of the enemy. ... The extraordinary daring and personal courage of Lt. Kerry in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire were responsible for the highly successful mission."

It is hard t…
Kerry--if you were not in Vietnam shut up

The Kerry tantrum after having his voting record criticized by Saxby Chambliss was full of the Kerry trademark condescending and arrogance. While his argument is nonsensical it is time for the Republican vets to step up to the plate and say so. John McCain would do the public debate a service by stepping up and telling Kerry to argue about the issues and defend your voting record rather than argue about the motives of those who challenge you. Chuck Hagel should also make such a statement. Perhaps then we could discuss whether Kerry's votes to cut defense and intelligence where good for the country and suggest how he would operate as president.
Kerry refuses to release his military record

The Australian:

"VIETNAM has been the defining issue for John Kerry. His status as a decorated war hero has helped to propel him to the front of the pack of Democrat candidates seeking to evict George W.Bush from the White House. Conservative critics believe he has been given a free ride for too long on his war record, however, and are planning a fightback.

"Support for their case is expected to come from a book to be published next month by reporters from The Boston Globe in Kerry's home state of Massachusetts. The book, JF Kerry, the Complete Biography, will question the extent of his injuries in Vietnam and whether he was entitled to an early release from the war."
Return fire

Mark Levin:

...

"President Bush has done more in three short years to liberate and defend Muslims the world over than any former president, any foreign leader, or any Muslim leader. He set in motion events that freed 50 million Afghans and Iraqis. In so doing, he badly damaged the terrorist networks that had been funded, encouraged, and embraced by the oppressive Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes. We can react forever to Democratic demands for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — weapons Democrats themselves have argued existed for more than a decade. But their main concern is hardly WMDs; their purpose now is to downplay or dismiss the remarkable accomplishments of the Bush presidency in a part of the world where America has suffered repeated setbacks under both Democratic and Republican presidents.

"Other dictators have witnessed U.S. military action and resolve, and several have responded in ways that no one could have previously imagined. Libya has now surrende…
Dems AWOL from wr on terror

Mark Steyn:

"How goes the war? No, not Vietnam. The other one. You remember. It was in all the papers until a month ago when Vietnam returned for a Democratic Party dinner-theater tour starring Massachusetts' answer to Robert Goulet.

"Can't get into it myself. I dozed off the other day watching a White House press conference in which President Bush was asked nary a question about anything that had happened since 1972, and I dreamt there was a muffled explosion from al-Qaeda down the street blowing up the Capitol. And, when it had died away, the press corps brushed the plaster dust off their suits and said, 'But, Mr President, critics point out that National Guard pay stubs from the '70s are notoriously easy to forge. ...'

...

"Meanwhile, there's this whole other war going on, the one Mr. Bush has to attend to while everyone else is on cable TV talking about the early '70s. This war has an ambitious aim: the transfo…
Rumsfeld--"This is wr"

Rowan Scarborough:

"Donald H. Rumsfeld sat in a vault-like room studded with video screens and talked with President Bush as the Pentagon burned.

" 'This is not a criminal action,' the secretary of defense told Bush over a secure line. 'This is war.'
"The word 'war' meant more than going after the al Qaeda terrorist network in Afghanistan, the fault line of terrorism. Bush said he wanted retaliation.

...

"Rumsfeld's instant declaration of war, previously unreported, took America from the Clinton administration's view that terrorism was a criminal matter to the Bush administration's view that terrorism was a global enemy to be destroyed.

" 'That was really a breakthrough strategically and intellectually,' recalls Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy. 'Viewing the 9/11 attacks as a war that required a war strategy was a very big thought, and a lot flowed from tha…