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Friday June 20, 2003

Just check out some remarks from those "mean-spirited" Democrats:

"This republic is at its greatest danger in its history because of this administration," says Democratic senator Robert Byrd.

"I think this is deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America," says liberal commentator Bill Moyers.

George Bush's economic policy is the "most radical and dangerous economic theory to hit our shores since socialism," says Senator John Edwards.

John Kerry says Bush "deliberately misled" America into the Iraq war.

"I am furious at [Bush] and I am furious at the Republicans," says Dick Gephardt, trying to sound like John Kerry who is trying to sound like Howard Dean.


A story of "grass-roots" level political reform in Iraq:

Just a few months ago, Ali Hammid Abdullah thought his life, at 42 years, was over. A lieutenant colonel in Saddam Hussein's army, he offended the regime and was slammed into prison, his family terrified, his own future narrowing to torture and a painful death.

Today, Ali is helping invent a new government, self-rule at the very grass roots as part of a largely spontaneous movement with the potential to transform Iraq.

Freed from prison by U.S. combat troops, he returned to his squalid neighborhood of al-Obaidi, in eastern Baghdad, to find a disaster: Government food deliveries had stopped, power and water were off, sewage was backing up and schools and vacant lots -- used as gun sites by the regime -- were littered with live ammunition.

With no government to turn to, Ali and his neighbors decided to make their own, forming a neighborhood council and taking responsibility for getting power and water up and running, cleaning up the sewage, arranging delivery of cooking gas canisters, clearing the schoolyards and every other detail of municipal life.


From the unmitigated gall department: The Catholic Bishops are complaining that the lapses within the church are being exploited by those who don't like the church teachings. Shameless excerpt,

''We all know that we are going through difficult times and that some real problems within the church have been magnified to discredit the moral authority of the church,'' Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo said in a speech at the opening session of the bishops' semiannual meeting yesterday. Montalvo is the apostolic nuncio, the pope's ambassador to the United States.

This cavalier attitude from the church heirarchy when it comes to sexual abuse of children is sickening. I think the moral authority of the church has indeed been discredited. But it has been discredited by the actions of the clergy.


Another sign that this country has gone completely off the deep end:

The company that owns a T.G.I. Friday's franchise restaurant has agreed to pay $21 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of two teenagers killed by a drunken driver.

Mark Eberenz, 42, a home builder, drank alcohol at the Louisville-area T.G.I. Friday's for about eight hours last summer before he drove his truck into a car carrying 16-year-old sweethearts - Jamie Parsley and Cory Stauble. All three were killed in the crash.


Rumors have been sweeping Baghdad that Saddam has been captured. Not likely to be true. I believe if we had captured Saddam that we'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

The latest intelligence does suggest that Saddam is alive.

American intelligence analysts now believe that Saddam Hussein is much more likely to be alive than dead, a view that has been strengthened in recent weeks by intercepted communications among fugitive members of the Saddam Fedayeen and the Iraqi intelligence service, according to United States government officials.


Thursday June 19, 2003

To this I can only say, Bully!

To the extent that the United States has imposed gun controls on a population "protected" by our Bill of Rights, we have a measure of how socialist our country has become. Our government was founded on the idea that individuals have God-given rights that need to be protected from that same government. Furthermore, government was seen as having no rights, but only a few well-defined duties. Socialism requires the reversal of our founding premises.


The Air Force drops charges against the two pilots who were accused of homocide of Canadian forces in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. They may still face an Article 15 -- Commanding Officer's Non-Judicial Punishment. I think the AF realized that: 1) it didn't have a strong case and 2) that it's own practices would come under unfavorable review:

The pilots said they were never told the Canadians would be conducting live-ammunition exercises that night. Defense attorneys suggested Air Force-issued amphetamines, which were routine issued to help aviators stay awake during long missions, had clouded the pilots' judgment. They also blamed a military communications breakdown and said Air Force brass, not the pilots, should be punished.


Molly Ivins (it's a shame she's from Texas) is all a-blather about the media again picking up on the many Clinton, shall we say, discrepancies. She says that conservatives should just get over it and move on. I've been reluctant to bring it all up again here (Hillary-free zone and all) but, gosh darn it, I thought we had all "moved on". That is, until the double barrel Hillary/Blumenthal scatter shot dead aim on the American media. Molly, we would love to move on, but these people just won't go away. They are the ones who keep the acts of this despicable administration in the public eye -- for money! Excerpt,

Watching some dipstick the other day on Fox News carry on with great certainty about Hillary Clinton and her evil motives -- and I don't think this guy actually spends a lot of time tete-a-tete with Clinton while she reveals her deepest thoughts to him -- I wondered, "Lord, when are these people going to get over it?"

Just last week, The Wall Street Journal, reminded of the Vince Foster suicide by Hillary Clinton's new memoir, Living History, wrote a nasty, callous, defensive editorial. It's a classic of the genre of exculpating yourself by blaming others. Given that Foster named The Wall Street Journal in his suicide note, you might think the paper would, if not acknowledge responsibility, at least have the common decency to express some regret.

Well, here's an excerpt from the nasty, callous defensive editorial which quotes, in part, portions of "the book" nope, I can't say it.

"Apparently the final blow came in a series of spiteful editorials published in The Wall Street Journal, which attacked the integrity and competence of all the Arkansas lawyers in the Clinton Administration." She cites in particular an editorial ("Who Is Vince Foster?"), published a month before the suicide, that "proclaimed that the most 'disturbing' thing about the Administration was 'its carelessness about following the law.' "

As history unfolded, we weren't the only ones who came to realize the Clinton Administration's legal carelessness. But in regard to Vincent Foster, his suicide was a tragedy that no one welcomed. The long investigation into his death also showed there was much more troubling him than newspaper editorials.

The state of Mr. Foster's mind was a focus of two independent counsel probes. The first such counsel, Robert Fiske, wrote that a major Foster worry was the White House Travel Office scandal, and that his wife Lisa believed it "was the greatest cause of Foster's stress and anxiety in the weeks prior to his death."


An excellent account of one congressman's journey to DPRK. Even though the "tours" were well orchestrated, this congressman had his eyes wide open. Excellent read:

On his first day in North Korea last month, Joe Wilson spotted a billboard bearing an astonishing image. "We were traveling on a bus in Pyongyang, and our guide tried to call our attention to something on the other side of the street," says the Republican congressman from South Carolina. "So I missed it." On a subsequent excursion, Wilson had his digital camera ready to go. "I sat in the front of the bus waiting like a birdwatcher for my chance." Zipping by the billboard at 40 mph, he snapped this picture.

Joe Wilson was one of six members of Congress making a rare visit to North Korea, a charter member of the "axis of evil." At a meeting with top diplomats, including foreign minister Paek Nam Soon, the North Koreans complained to Wilson and his colleagues about that famous label. "That's when Rep. Curt Weldon spoke up," says Wilson. "He told them that the difference between North Korea and the United States is that in Washington, D.C., we don't have billboards of Americans spearing North Koreans with bayonets."


Wednesday June 18, 2003

Check out the 24 Political Truths:

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. -- George Bernard Shaw

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. -- Pericles

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. -- P.J. O'Rourke

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. -- Ronald Reagan

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. -- Winston Churchill

Go ahead, read the whole list.


Here's a victim who will have to spend three days in jail.

Looking out from his bedroom doorway Dixon saw a man enter his two year old son's bedroom. There was no time to call the police and wait for help. He needed to act, and he did. Dixon had legally purchased a handgun in Florida and was in the process of having it registered in New York where he lived. He took the gun and confronted the burglar. When the felon lunged at him Ronald, Dixon shot the man twice, wounding him. The burglar was arrested and taken away by the police, and Ronald Dixon's family was safe. Then, Ronald Dixon was arrested.

This is just more of this aggressively ignorant "zero tolerance" attitude. Zero tolerance simply equates to zero thought process. It doesn't matter if there are mitigating circumstances. None of the sticky "facts" need to be brought to bear because that would simply muddy the water. Someone in authority might actually have to think and reason and differentiate between willful criminal behavior and an honest citizen trying to protect his family. Zero tolerance = intellectual laziness.


And you thought Saddam's palaces were gaudy? Check out this from Salam Pax in Baghdad:

You walk leisurely by the river on abu-Nawas Street, enjoying the view, you stop when you get to the part where the palaces are and take a look (before you would just rush by that part). On the other side of the road you have all these nice houses, old, colonial style. Exposed brick. Very unobtrusive, everything here has the color of sand. Then suddenly everything jars.

This is the New York Times house in Baghdad. Wasn't there a show called "real Life" on MTV, the one with 5 total strangers living together. They had the most awkwardly colored houses, now we have one in Baghdad. Is anyone interested in doing a "real life" episode about the NY Times house here? You have the cooky looking house and the strangers all you need is a camera


Bully!

The U.S. military said it captured one of Saddam Hussein's most senior aides and millions of dollars that was to be used to pay bounty on the lives of American soldiers.

Abid Hamid-Mahmud al-Tikriti, No. 4 on the list of ``top 55'' most-wanted members of the ousted Iraqi leader's regime, was arrested Monday, according to a statement from the U.S. Central Command. He was Iraq's national security adviser and Hussein's personal secretary and chief bodyguard.


Monday June 16, 2003

More news on the Iranian protests here and here. Excerpt,

After almost a week of protest, the violent demonstrations rocking the Iranian capital each night are limited in size and confined to less than a square mile. And they remain a leaderless expression of anger.

But what started out as a paltry student demonstration is now loaded with significance for the future of the Islamic Republic.

Unlike the student demonstrations four years ago, say analysts in Tehran, these protests are tapping into an unexpectedly fierce determination by thousands of ordinary Iranians - many of them young, and some families with children in tow - who are frustrated with the slow pace of political change in Iran.


"Well, I think this is incrediculous!"

It's also possible he is the world's most successful "man on the street," one of the endless parade of regular Joes that reporters love to use to decorate their stories. Both quotable and available, Mr. Packer has insinuated himself into hundreds of subjects such as a new minor league baseball team (New York Post: "there's no place like Brooklyn"), TV's "Joe Millionaire" (Allentown Morning Call: "the show mostly had to do with money"), and the U.S. invasion of Iraq (AP: "we had to do whatever we had to do"). Last Monday, Mr. Packer was quoted in newspapers about a dozen times, once with his name spelled incorrectly, and was interviewed for television.


Doug Powers predicts that ketchup-boy Kerry will win his party's nomination by a hair:

In past Democrat defeats, their candidate always had the worst hair. Reagan had better hair than Carter; George H.W. Bush had better hair than Dukakis, who looked as if his hair had mated and given birth to twin eyebrows; and I think George W. Bush had slightly better hair than Gore, though that's debatable, and as a result we got one of the closest elections in history...

...Kerry is the clear winner in this category. Each hair is tagged, numbered and hand-placed by a licensed, bonded and insured beautician. It's playfully poofy, but not bloated. Many voters feel a certain kinship with Kerry's hair, mainly because they know they make a contribution to his quest for eternal bouffant perfection every time they buy a bottle of ketchup.


Is liberal media bias a myth? Pat Buchanan has the answer:

If this issue of media bias is to be discussed, there is a need for some standard of left-to-right. Let me suggest a simple one. If Al Gore is center-left and George Bush center-right, one measure of whether a publication is liberal or conservative would be whether it endorsed Gore or Bush and which party's presidential candidate it almost always endorses. And if being pro-life and in favor of Bush's tax cuts is conservative and being pro-choice and against the Bush tax cuts is liberal, what then constitutes the liberal press?

Answer: All three major networks, PBS, NPR and virtually all major U.S. papers Boston Globe, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times. While the Wall Street Journal editorial page is neoconservative, USA Today the nation's largest newspaper is left of center.


Steve Farrell has a book review of Inside the United Nations: A Critical Look at the UN. Excerpt,

And what of the UN Charter? This is Bonta's next point; the Charter is not modeled after the US Constitution, as is too often advertised. He notes. 1. There is no true representation at the UN; all the officials are appointed, not elected. 2. There is no separation of powers, or checks and balances; all power, legislative, executive, and even judicial, resides in a worldwide Security Council of 15 individuals (five of whom possess absolute veto power). 3. There is no limited government; the Charter outlines all of its powers in sweeping, vague, open-ended language. 4. There are no God-given inalienable rights; the UN's Declaration of Rights reads like a reprint from the old Soviet Constitution, with every human right being subject to revocation when exercised inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter (whatever that means -- and that's the point).