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News from Debka that the US is amassing evidence of Saddam's weapons programs in Iraq:
After talking in secret to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay declared there was a "truly amazing" deception program to throw UN weapons off the trail. We have people who participated in deceiving UN inspectors now telling us how they did it."
...One of the most horrendous discoveries so far is the secret graveyard of convicts abused as human guinea pigs of Saddam's illegal programs. Kay sent a special team out to Baquba, northeast of Baghdad after a collection of videotapes was discovered in Iraqi central intelligence archives, on some of which Iraqi officers talked freely with dates and locations about prisoners and detainees subjected to biological and chemical weapons experiments. Some involved toxic chemicals or gases; others were infected with germs in varying quantities, their symptoms recorded from stage to stage until their death.
And a corroborating story from Joel Mowbray in Jewish World Review. Mowbray also speculates as to why the Bush administration has been reluctant to release such information despite intense political pressure:
Possibly because, given the sheer number of guerrilla forces present inside Iraq, U.S. investigators believe it would be foolish to leak evidence piecemeal. Sources and methods of intelligence-gathering could be "compromised" — a polite way of saying those helping us or their families could get killed — and the U.S. team's efforts could be hampered if other would-be informants hold back out of fear.
And with many of Saddam's former henchmen still around, U.S. investigators tipping their hand could make it easier for Baathist thugs to destroy evidence or sabotage discovery efforts.
So, to coin a phrase: stay tuned.
The fence thus imposes security benefits and political costs for the Israelis and some political and diplomatic costs for the Palestinians. The Palestinians have forfeited the right to object since it is no more than the minimum penalty for their unwillingness to live in peace with their neighbor. Far from being criticized by America, the fence deserves U.S. support. President Bush has promised to support Israel's efforts to defend the security of its people. Is it not preferable to the justified but more damaging policy of Israeli counterattack to acts of Palestinian terror? Is it not preferable to Israeli military occupation as the only other alternative to containing Palestinian terrorism? Ten years of funerals are surely enough.
Three race-related articles are on the plate today:
One of the most crippling race-related problems we have in this country has little to do with white bigotry, prejudice or racism. It's the anti-achievement mentality that permeates urban black culture. This damaging aspect of black culture has been written about extensively. In a Time magazine article, "The Hidden Hurdle" (March 16, 1992), we read "Social success [in black schools] depends partly on academic failure; safety and acceptance lie in rejecting the traditional paths to self-improvement."
The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger permits colleges to award a "plus" to black, Hispanic and American Indian student applications for admission. As sure as night follows day, we can expect racial fraud. You can bet the rent money that the number of white students identifying themselves on their applications as black, Hispanic and American Indian is going to rise.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, is suggesting storms be given names that sound "black" names like Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn.
She says she feels the current names are too "lily white," and is seeking to have better representation for names reflecting African-Americans and other ethnic groups.
"All racial groups should be represented," Lee said, according to a report in the Hill. She hoped federal weather officials "would try to be inclusive of African-American names."
Some substantive criticism of the Bush agenda is beginning to blossom in certain conservative circles:
I am sorry to say that I see Bush traveling the same path. He has concluded that the Democrats are very likely to nominate a candidate so far to the left as to be unelectable. Howard Dean's ascension to the head of the Democratic pack supports this conclusion. But ironically, rather than making Bush feel more comfortable pursuing a conservative agenda, he continues to move left on domestic issues -- especially the budget-busting prescription drug subsidy bill.
Bush has also signed into law a campaign finance reform bill that most conservatives view as blatantly unconstitutional, endorsed an education bill written by Ted Kennedy and initiated more trade protectionism by any president since Nixon. But against these, Bush continually plays his trump card: the war against terrorism. And just as Nixon played the anticommunist card in terms of the Vietnam War, it has been enough to keep most Republican voters under control -- so far.
I must totally agree. If items such as "No child left behind" or "Prescription Drugs for Seniors" or the latest Farm Subsidy Bill had been passed under Democrat administrations we conservatives would be ranting and shouting from the rooftops. Go Pat Go!!
Some good news from Iraq.
If you don't already read Salam Pax's blog, you really should. He's an Iraqi who was blogging before and during the war. He was picked up by a paper in London--the Guardian, I think--and now writes a column for them. Here's an excerpt,
"I know what we have done is right and we had to do it but there must have been a better way to do it."
When a soldier starts his conversation like this you can't help but really really like him. He was standing in the heat, yesterday it was about 52C, guarding the entrance to building where our "governing council" meets. And he was on a roll, the next victims of his attack were the members of the governing council themselves. "these guys, they work only four days and take the rest of the week off, they should be working 16 hour days to get their constitution going". Give the man a cigar. "they have huge lunches, throw tons of food out and they drive stolen cars", by now we were laughing so loud in the car people were looking at us like we were crazy. He said that if his name is ever mentioned he will be in trouble and mentioned something about an "article 15". We had 20 minutes with him while we were being OK-ed for meeting a Council member, he was so cool I wish the Americans didn't freak out every time an Iraqi walks towards them I wanted to shake his hands and say thank you. He made sure I got my pieces of paper back and let us in. But he left us with one more pearl of wisdom:
"They tell you it's the Oil but I know it is not the Oil, I just can't figure out what the hell it is we are here for."
Now comes one Hendrik Hertzberg bemoaning the success of conservative talk radio.
Now there are more than thirteen hundred talk stations, the vast majority of which are relentlessly right-wing. New York, like a few other big coastal cities, has a squeaky voice or two on the marginal left. WBAI broadcasts Chomskian harangues, and WLIB, which carries mostly Caribbean pop music, dips an occasional toe into protest politics. On the whole, though, the New York lineup mirrors the far right's near-monopoly on political broadcasting nationwide. There is no real liberal or even just noncon counterpart to the radiocons, as we might as well call them. On (mostly) the FM dial, National Public Radio is an alternative but not an equivalent. NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," like "The Rush Limbaugh Show," are carried on some six hundred stations, and their audience is roughly the size of El Rushbo's—somewhere around fifteen million people per week. But these NPR programs are news-feature broadcasts; they adhere to the practices of journalistic professionalism, including the aspirational ideal of objectivity.
Oh, one other point about NPR that Mr. Hertzberg failed to mention, but which most people should already know: NPR is heavily subsidized by the Federal Government. There is simply no demand for liberal talk radio In the free market.
Sorry about the lapse. It's a combination of school, business and vacation. I'll get back into it slowly.
For those who still adhere to the belief (feeling??) that the UN has any real legitimacy, check out this:
Syria assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council yesterday morning for the month of August, marking the second time the terrorist-sponsoring nation has held the prestigious post.
Wow! I've been totally unplugged for at least 10 days and was surprised that stories like this were still being published. I would have thought that this specific line of crappola had been played out by now. But, as I was reading the article, I thought to myself: well, we're still hearing about the "atrocities" in Jenin, aren't we? So, imagine my surprise when I read the byline: Ramzy Baroud is the editor in chief of the Palestine Chronicle. His book, "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion" can be found at www.PalestineBooks.com. Funny, huh? Here's the excerpt,
It defied international law when it invaded Iraq, in a war that claimed the lives of over 6,000 civilians and wounded many more. That's twice as many as those who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Needless to say, the Iraq invasion was and remains an act of terrorism.
While the drafting of international law is often a collective decision where many countries take part, enforcing the law is only a privilege used and misused by countries with powerful armies, who often give themselves the right to interpret laws in ways that serve their own interests.
Consequently, while the United Nations made it clear that the US-British invasion of Iraq was illegitimate and lacked the backing of a legal mandate, US generals argued that the decision to invade a sovereign country was sanctioned by UN resolutions, or perhaps their personal interpretation of these resolutions.
To convince the American public that discounting the United Nations in launching a war was a necessity, the Bush administration resorted to half-truths and unsupported claims about an imaginary danger that Saddam Hussein's government posed to their national security.
When I first read this I thought, Walter Williams wrote this?? Don't worry, it's not Walter E. Williams, erstwhile guest host of Limbaugh's show. I agree with his basic premise: An informed electorate is necessary for a "viable democratic system" (yes, I know it's a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC, apparently Williams doesn't) and no, I don't think that Republicans are the exclusive bearers of truth. I do, however, believe that in many (most) instances, Republicans are better able to back up their positions with actual facts.
Next month, progressive Democrats will open a new think tank, the American Majority Institute, that has an expected yearly operating budget of at least $10 million. This level of support means the institute can challenge the conservative Republican policy shops that in recent years have been much more heavily funded and have clobbered their Democratic counterparts in selling ideas to the public.
The Republicans have been zealots without regard to veracity or consistency. Yet, the Democrats have been fearful of taking on the popular president and the partisan think tanks that have supported his distorted claims. These unscrupulous practices also can be the Republicans' Achilles heel.
Exposing the dishonesty, however, requires that the American Majority Institute attack the Republicans with a hard-nosed relentlessness. It should use the available honest numbers to expose the legerdemain on the tax cuts for the wealthy and other clear policy deception. Now that the Democrats have challenged the Bush administration's deception on the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - and drawn blood - hard-hitting critiques of the fraud in other Bush policies can be reinforcing.
Continued Democratic timidity will fail. Nor are Democrats likely to out-spin the Republicans. Forceful use of honest data is the best option.
The Democrats have a mother lode of reliable information that shows the pattern of calculated deception of the Bush administration. It is a rare opportunity that can be used effectively by a tough think tank that is scrupulous in analyzing and packaging data and commentary that can help Democrats in attacking the Bush administration.