Site for Free Markets and Free People

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Simpsons Spoof on Harvard

The Simpsons aired a parody on the Lawrence Summers/Harvard controversy tonight, whereby Principal Skinner was fired for stating that girls might not be as good as boys in math. Like Lawrence Summers, Principal Skinner was forced into retirement for his insensitive comments. (Well, he stayed on as assistant groundskeeper.) Skinner summed up the ridiculousness of Harvard's position when Lisa asked him for his thoughts on the subject:

Skinner: "I don't have any opinions anymore. All I know is that no one is better than anyone else and everyone is the best at everything."

Perhaps that's what Summers should have said.

China Warns UN About Iran

That's right - rather than warning Iran to comply with the UN, China is warning the UN not to disallow Iran to do whatever it damn well pleases.

It could be "dangerous" to introduce a UN Security Council resolution to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment activities, the Chinese ambassador to the UN said here Saturday.

That means that we might have to say "pretty please" in order to get them to give up their nuclear weapons program voluntarily. With friends like China and Russia, who needs enemies?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Most Charitable Politician in History

A Florida newspaper finally gives VP Dick Cheney the praise he deserves from a charity standpoint. In 2005, the Cheneys gave nearly $7 million to charity, the most ever from a public servant. (Al Gore wasn't too far behind in 1997 when he donated a whopping $367.)

A small story perhaps, but come on - doesn't a multimillion dollar contribution to charities by a vice president deserve special recognition? Frankly, I was astonished when I first read this and thought it was a typo because it was buried in a column that leads off with President Bush's tax return - which wasn't even newsworthy - just the typical annual report on the tax returns of the president and vice president. As a matter of fact, the AP headline read "Cheney's income 10 times the Bushes'. And the L.A. Times reported: "Bush pays taxes, Cheney awaits refund," I could go on with other headlines, but you get the point. Not one headline in the mainstream media that Cheney gave $6.87 million to charity.

I congratulate John Reiners for the article - the only one to finally give some props to our generous VP.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Rush Limbaugh Agreement

I've already heard "Rush Limbaugh Arrested" by 6 news stations in the last 10 minutes. USA Today says, "Limbaugh Arrested in FLA on Drug Charges." The article is - as usual - purposely misleading.

ABC News seems to have it more, shall we say, nuanced: "Limbaugh Reaches Settlement in Drug Case."

Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, said his client and prosecutors reached a settlement on a charge of doctor shopping....Limbaugh entered a plea of not guilty in court Friday...According to Black, Limbaugh also has agreed to make a $30,000 payment to the state to defray the public cost of the investigation.

Just to recap: the prosecutor says he will not request a trial and will expunge the charge in 18 months. Limbaugh still denies he "doctor shopped" and entered a plea of "not guilty." In a way, Limbaugh probably should have requested a jury trial because now the media will forever be able to claim he is guilty because he "agreed to a deal" when he simply agreed to allow the charges to be dropped in 18 months.

Roy Black, Limbaugh's attorney, said on CNN that Rush was NOT arrested, but was processed in a pre-trial diversion process, which essentially means that he will not be prosecuted for anything. In order to agree to the pre-trial diversion (meaning he simply has to continue his treatment program), he had to be processed at the district police station.

No doubt about it - this is a huge victory for Rush. Lots of digging and investigations - no prosecution on any charge.

Border Security Revisited

With the Illegal Immigrant March on May 1st, here is a good reminder of why we need secure borders - and it has nothing to do with immigrants.

And guess what? Terrorists don't care if the people they kill in the U.S. are citizens or not...

Dubai Now Supplies the US Military

Dubai has taken over another British firm, this time Doncasters, a US Military supplier. I don't know all the details about Doncasters, but in general, I don't see any problem with this - hey it's capitalism, just like the Dubai port deal would have been, before the MSM forced the government to intervene.

I don't see much of a problem with this because citizens from Dubai already own tons of property, businesses, and hotels in the US. If the US government has a problem with Dubai they can ban all citizens from stepping foot in the country. If we don't have a problem with that, we shouldn't make an issue with them running a port or supplying the military.

State of the Economy

PoliBlogger talks about the state of the economy through the eyes of the NY Times. As usual, the Times main point is that we're on the wrong track - high gas prices, higher mortgage rates, cooling housing markets and low inflation-adjusted wage increases for low-skilled labor,...

May 1 Illegal Immigrant Walkout a Terrible Idea - For Them

The planned May 1st protests by illegal immigrants will be counterproductive. While their point is to show how important illegal immigrant labor is to the U.S. economy and their aim is full amnesty, their rationale is out of whack.

First, Americans are already fed up with these protests. Illegals have had several in the past two months and they have made their voices heard. The more they have, the more Americans get upset with their 'demands' for equal rights.

More importantly, a 1-day boycott is pointless. A boycott/strike is only useful if a group is willing to to continue the boycott for a prolonged/unexpected time period. As Milton Friedman has told us many times, non-union workers will act according to each person's best interests. If illegal immigrants stop working, they stop making money and/or stop sending payments back home. Most cannot afford to do this and everyone knows it. So the point of the 1-day rally? I suppose it is to show they could have an effect on our economy if they were willing to do it every day, which they certainly would not. Their other alternative is to go back to their home country, where they earn a small fraction of the wage they get in the U.S.

Alternatively, if there was no illegal labor here in the U.S., we would see a forced increase in wages for many low-skilled jobs and many employers will suffer - but eventually the wages will simply be passed on to consumers. Farmers might charge higher prices, landscapers would need to hire staff, and Hollywood actors would need new nannys but our lives would not be destroyed.
So who really needs whom here?

Slate Pessimistic about United 93

Ron Rosenbaum sounds off with his take on the film, United 93. He believes there are way too many United 93 films altogether now and they've already documented what happened so need need for another one. I wonder how Ron thinks about the dozens of Bush bashing books that have come out in recent years. Way too many Ron?

No surprises that Ron is also pessimistic on the War on Terror. Maybe his solution is the good ol' white flag. One question I'll throw out there since I don't know the answer: Is Ron French?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sen. Allen to Be Depicted as Racist by New Republic

My hopeful 2008 presidential candidate Sen. George Allen (R-VA) appears to be the subject of a soon-to-be-released article in the New Republic in which Allen is smeared as a racist because of his attitude in high school.

Usually people wait for the announcement of a candidacy before they start smearing a person. Even if he did display the confederate flag in high school, I'm pretty sure that's not as bad as being a member of the Ku Klux Klan...but Sen. Byrd's fans might disagree.

TNR has posted the whole article online.

The Terrible Rebate Idea

The Senate is proposing to give every American a $100 gas "rebate check" to help ease prices at the pump.

"Our plan would give taxpayers a hundred dollar gas tax holiday rebate check to help ease the pain that they're feeling at the pump," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced Thursday. "It also includes strong federal anti-price gouging protection to protect consumers against anti-competitive behavior by oil companies or other suppliers of gasoline. Our free market system works, but it works best when there's full accountability and full transparency."

Demagoguery from Bill Frist at his worst. The smart thing, however, is that he's attached the bill to one that would open up ANWR to drilling. I just hope the GOP doesn't back out and leave us with an idiotic bill to give everyone "rebate checks."

I would rather eliminate the federal taxes on gasoline. The problem with that? Americans would see how the federal government is "gouging" its taxpayers through gasoline taxes. With "rebates," the government can pretend to be giving us their money, when we all know it's our money anyway.

United 93

David Beamer, father of Todd Beamer, writing in today's WSJ (sub. req'd), gave us some good advice:

I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see "United 93."

Be reminded of our very real enemy. Be inspired by a true story of heroic actions taken by ordinary people with victorious consequences. Be thankful for each precious day of life with a loved one and make the most of it. Resolve to take the right action in the situations of life, whatever they may be. Resolve to give thanks and support to those men, women, leaders and commanders who to this day (1,687 days since Sept. 11, 2001) continue the counterattacks on our enemy and in so doing keep us safe and our freedoms intact.

May the taste of freedom for people of the Middle East hasten victory. The enemy we face does not have the word "surrender" in their dictionary. We must not have the word "retreat" in ours. We surely want our troops home as soon as possible. That said, they cannot come home in retreat. They must come home victoriously. Pray for them.

Let's hope our leaders on Capitol Hill heed the advice.

Exxon Mobil Misses Forecasts

Exxon-Mobil reported $88 billion in revenue last quarter, which was approximately 12% under analyst expectations. Earnings per share were also lower than expected.

So with shares expected to trade lower today, XOM shareholders have earned a whopping 5-6% return on their investment year-to-date. Call the regulators - split up the company!

Alternative Energy? Mass. Politicians Say No

Wind farms - they sound like an environmentalists dream. And they are a dream - but not in Ted Kennedy's and John Kerry's backyard.

Kennedy has already voiced his opposition to a wind farm in Nantucket Sound, where he vacations. John Kerry is still undecided and wants to see "environmental studies," despite the fact that the plan has been under review for five years. [Read: Kerry is a 'no.']

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dems Already Bashing Tony Snow

By the way Democrats are talking, you would think they were expecting Bush to appoint some moonbat lunatic like Cindy Sheehan to be his spokesman. The DNC says,

"Snow’s track record of delivering misleading rhetoric is a perfect fit for this Administration that refuses to change and has a problem telling the truth.

Others seem to imply that Tony Snow is a racist. The demonization of conservatives anyone surprised why Congressmen are so despised?

Democrats Get Jail Time in Wisconsin

Democratic operatives who slashed GOP tires to prevent get-out-the-vote efforts in Milwaukee in 2004 have finally been sentenced to jail time. And although it doesn't matter, the narrow margin of Bush's loss in Wisconsin during the election shows just how easy election fraud can be accomplished by even just a handful of people.

What if the U.S. Acted Like the French?

The American Thinker asks the question of what things might look like if the U.S. took the French (or Democrat) approach to Iran and did nothing?

The French option works only because the French know that the United States is there to act like a responsible adult in the world. Kids can act like kids because Mom will kiss their scraped knees and make them feel better. But the world doesn’t have a lot of adults. If the United States acted just like France, even Paris would face disaster.

Tony Snow on The President on Gasoline

The rumor is that the White House will announce Tony Snow is the new spokesman for President Bush this afternoon. If so, it is a fantastic choice. He's articulate, smart and quick on his feet.

And Snow might even have some positive persuasion on the President. Snow's piece at this morning criticizes President Bush for his demagoguery on the oil issue rather than trying to educate Americans on the movements in gasoline prices. Read it because it might be Snow's last opinion piece for a while.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

US Economy Fine

In a world where we hear about China's new superpower status every day, Gerard Baker points out a couple of obvious points. The US, if it grows at 5% expected in Q1, will have added roughly double in absolute terms to the world economy, compared to China in the same period. This is equivalent to the addition of another Brazil to global GDP numbers, which isn't bad, considering all the MSM talk about the US economy being cooked.

One word of warning however:

The only real threat to American economic hegemony, I suspect, is the willingness of its people to continue to tolerate the pains associated with its success. Income and wealth inequalities have grown rapidly in the past ten years — even as the long-term growth rate has accelerated — and, given the continuing direction associated with globalisation, they may get even worse over the next 20 years.

That could tempt Americans to turn their backs on the very free markets that have been the foundations of their continuing prosperity.

I generally believe there is some widening of inequality in the US, but I also believe it's generally a political factor that Democrats and MSM like to point out to support higher tax inititives. So even though almost everyone is becoming wealthier (as a generality) every year, they use the disparity issue, which is ridiculous, since a poor immigrant might be able to improve his net worth by 5-10%/year or say $1000, but this will not compare with Bill Gates' likely increase of $3 Billion - thus a disparity. Nonetheless, many fall for it, and therefore vote Democrat.

Future High School "Journalist" Interviews Fitzgerald

Joseph Santo, a senior at Regis High School, had the opportunity to interview special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. While I will try to cut the high schooler some slack, Santo appears to have all the makings of a MSM journalist. First, he throws in his overly dramatic opinion:

The “CIA Leak Case” has the potential to be the “Watergate Scandal” of the Bush administration;

Then he gets his facts wrong:

While the disclosure of any CIA officer’s identity constitutes a criminal act, the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity in July 2003 has even greater and further-reaching implications.

Finally, Santo mixes up his facts and throws in a well-timed opinion at the same time:

Patrick Fitzgerald has the responsibility to direct the Justice Department’s investigations to hold someone accountable for the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity.

Santo probably should have asked why Fitzgerald why he isn't actually indicting anyone for "outing a CIA officer," but then again, he is trying to become a journalist, where, according to CBS, "it's not the nature of the evidence - it's the severity of the charge..."

Yes, if I didn't know better, I would think Joseph is already a MSM reporter.

Secret Letter From Castro to Florida Delegation

Dear Mr. Mel Martinez & friends,

I want to extend my most sincere thanks for giving me the entire Outer Continental Shelf near Florida/Cuba to drill for natural gas and oil. Also, great job on condemning Congressman John Peterson (R-PA) for his sponsoring of a new bill that would allow the U.S. take some of my black gold. After all, I much prefer my rigs off the U.S. coast than more efficient American rigs. Plus, I don't have to think much about regulations - in case you forgot, I made them myself. :-)

While you and your Greenpeace friends are basking in the sun rather than driving your SUVs, we Cubans will be taking the oil for ourselves. Hugo was right - once a country has oil, it can make you dumb Americans do anything it wants. (Need I cite examples...Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela...).

Anyway, keep up the good work and don't worry about an energy policy. Like I say about food and healthcare for my citizens, who needs it?

Your mejor amigo,

PS - Elian says hello to Janet Reno.

[Note: while I believe this letter is accurate, I can't confirm its authenticity.]

Probing Gas Prices

It's "ridiculous" and "outrageous." "Consumers' tempers are rising with gas prices" is the typical headline to describe today's high oil prices. I just have a couple of comments on the situation.

1) I don't like to pay high prices for anything, whether it's clothes, food, rent, or gas prices and that's why a free market is nearly always best. We should have voiced our objections to OPEC years ago and starved the Islamofascists into submission long ago.

2) If you own an SUV, don't even think about complaining. I like SUVs and have no problem with them whatsoever, but you could have bought a more gas efficient vehicle if that were a more important incentive for you.

3) A proposed "windfall profits" tax on oil is laughable because a) the government gets a windfall profit through taxes on every gallon of gasoline and b) no one complains about windfall profits from the value of that home that's risen 100+% over the past few years or the steel makers or gold miners who have had pretty darn good quarters recently. It's a free country - if you want to start an oil company, you have the opportunity to do so.

4) Finally and most importantly, if politicians are REALLY concerned about the American consumer's pocketbook, how about helping us out by reducing our taxes? Or extending the ones that will expire in two years? Or heck, even just reduce the federal, state and local taxes of roughly $.55 per gallon of gasoline? Until then, I suggest they keep quiet...they sound smarter that way.

Blood On Their Hands?

Patrick Buchanan, who has been no friend of George Bush or the Iraq War, speaks out against John Kerry for his support of Mary McCarthy, particularly when he said, "I'm glad she told the truth...there are larger issues here."

You don't have to be a genius to recognize that the "larger issue" to which Kerry is referring is making the Bush Administration look bad. Now for the potential unintended consequences.

Even if McCarthy never actually specifically said that Americans were torturing prisoners in "secret prisons" in Europe, that was clearly the implication. We supposedly used these prisons so that we could "outsource" harsh treatment of prisoners to other countries. Whether it's true or not, this high profile media story might very likely fuel new terrorists who believe it's fair to kill Americans in retaliation for this "torture" within our "secret prisons."

For example, this exact situation happened with the Abu Ghraib scandal. Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Brooklyn man, was so angry with Abu Ghraib that he was hatching a terrorist plot to kill Americans here in the U.S. in retaliation before he was recently arrested. While I still blame the terrorist rather than the U.S. media for potential acts of terrorism, the media clearly didn't help when they covered Abu Ghraib on the front pages of the news for 46 straight days. Additionally, it's even worse to incite these actions if the story is untrue, which is what the EU said about our secret prisons last week.

So let's take the Left-wing rationale when they claim that the Iraq War is actually fuelling terrorism rather than helping stop it. By that reasoning, Mary McCarthy, John Kerry, the Washington Post and the NY Times will have blood on their hands from their recent statements and actions.

Monday, April 24, 2006

More Evidence of Iraq and Nukes

Captain's Quarters has some detail on another newly released and translated document that discusses Iraq's plans for new nuclear reactors as recently as 2001.

I'm sure CNN and 60 Minutes will be all over this one, as they have been with all the documents showing links between Iraq, terrorism and WMDs.

Dana Priest Links Getting Interesting

It appears that the Washington Post's Dana Priest, who just won a Pulitzer Prize courtesy of the treasonous Mary McCarthy, is no stranger to Radical Left groups. Priest's husband, William Goodfellow, runs the Center for International Policy, which among other things, stresses the evils of American military might and covert imperial ambitions, as well as its support for Fidel Castro. [Yes, I know - Priest is a professional and in no way would let this bias her news coverage...]

Read some of the comments at this post from the Strata-sphere, one of which links many of the anti-Bush players to each other, including Joe Wilson and CIP.

Andrew McCarthy (no relation) at National Review wants to know why Mary McCarthy isn't in handcuffs yet.

ABC News Defends McCarthy

Wizbang has a post about the latest to defend Mary McCarthy - ABCNews. The defense? Leaking is ok - everyone is doing it. Maybe we should stop labelling anything as classified anymore.

McCarthy is #4 of Clinton NSC Team to Attack Bush

The American Thinker is keeping a running tab on the number of Clinton NSC staff to strike out at the Bush White House. Mary McCarthy is number 4.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

'60 Minutes' Up to Old Tricks

"60 Minutes" had a segment tonight dealing with pre-war intelligence, etc. and how Bush ignored certain facts that conflicted with other consensus data. The funniest thing is that CBS used Joseph Wilson and his 3-year old Niger uranium claims to support the story.

Not surprisingly, CBS never mentioned the Senate Intelligence Committee report that debunked Wilson's claims and essentially portrayed him as a liar. Once again, it's not President Bush who's cherry picking facts...

John Kerry's "Patriotism"

I'm suffering from deja vu. If there is one thing John Kerry should have learned from 2004, it's that the vast majority of Americans don't appreciate aiding an enemy during a war. In a speech on Saturday, Kerry said,

"I have come here today to reaffirm that it was right to dissent in 1971 from a war that was wrong. And to affirm that it is both a right and an obligation for Americans today to disagree with a president who is wrong, a policy that is wrong, and a war in Iraq that weakens the nation."

The funniest (or saddest) quote was his position on the Defense Secretary:

"That is cheap and shameful," he said. "How dare those who never wore the uniform in battle attack those who wore it all their lives."

I can only surmise that Kerry believes the U.S. government is wrong in placing a civilian in charge of the military, which has been the case since our founding. Otherwise he must think that if there is not 100% agreement among generals, then we shouldn't make any decisions at all. And he still wants to be President.

By the way, John Kerry was in Vietnam.

Apparently Mary McCarthy fits Kerry's definition of patriotic. According to Drudge, Kerry defended McCarthy by saying:

I don't like leaking. But if you're leaking to tell the truth, Americans are going to look at that, at least mitigate or think about what are the consequences that you, you know, put on that person....You know, classification in Washington is a tool that is used to hide the truth from the American people.

Got that? Trying to catch terrorists through NSA surveillance and/or holding terrorists secretly is tantamount to "hiding the truth from the American people." What a joker.

The Latest Joke at the UN

The UN Disarmament Commission has elected Iran as its Vice Chairman. Such a worthy and appropriate choice. We know they will be doing good work in spending our dollars.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Senators to Face Lie Detector Tests

Senators could potentially face lie detector tests in the DoJ leak investigation...that would be very, very interesting. From the Junkyard Blog.

Europe Squanders Aid Money for Former Soviet States

The EU is involved in a major financial scandal, in which $11.6 billion intended for programs for the states of the former Soviet Union, have been squandered or not used for their intended purpose.

No wonder Europeans weren't too outraged over the UN's Oil for Food Scandal.

John Gibson: The Secret War Against President Bush

John Gibson of Fox News sums up the internal dynamics of the CIA pretty well:

What is really going on here is the secret war by CIA-types against President Bush and his policies. This is the group inside the CIA — think Valerie Plame — who think their opinions and analysis of the world should trump whatever it is the president thinks. If the president goes against their opinion, they call The New York Times and start leaking embarrassing stuff.

This won't shock many, of course, except for those who still believe the most balanced news network is CNN and the most balanced newspaper is the NY Times.

Who to trust: Bush or Iranian Mullahs?

Barbara Corcoran, a guest on Fox's "Cashin' In," had an interesting comment on dealing with the Iran nuclear crisis: "I trust the Iranians as much as I trust the President [Bush]."

While Barbara Corcoran is not a politician, I believe she sums up her party quite well: trust the fanatics, the communists and the fascist dictators (Castro, Chavez, Mugabe, Jintao) but don't trust George Bush.

And that sums up 1) why Democrats will never support military action under a Republican president, and 2) Americans absolutely, positively should NEVER take today's Democratic Party seriously.

Once again, Republicans will have to act solo to deal with the Iran problem. Let's hope people like Barbara Corcoran don't deter us from doing what needs to be done.

EU Says No Evidence Against CIA

No evidence of a story? Interesting that this lady who just won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting about illegal CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and now the story doesn't hold water. (But even if the US were interrogating Al Qaeda in Europe, I don't actually see what the big deal is)

Nonetheless, maybe the Pulitzers should only go to the real stories from now on.

CIA Source of Pulitzer Prize Fired

The CIA officer who was the leak source for the Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize winning stories was fired and will likely face criminal charges. Perhaps the Pulitzer should be taken away as well. And of course, she was a Kerry supporter. Despite Porter Goss' efforts, the CIA is still one of the most partisan organizations in Washington and the partisanship can do a lot of damage.

Of course, Democrats are claiming hypocrisy because the "Valerie Plame leaker" has not been charged - perhaps they need a refresher course on the laws of this country.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Top Democrat on Ethics Panel Steps Down

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), meet Tom DeLay. Today Mollohan stepped down as the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee due to an investigation into corruption first brought to light two weeks ago by the Wall Street Journal.

You're right, Nancy Pelosi - there still is a culture of corruption in Congress...and Democrats are still happily involved in it.

Krauthammer: General Revolt "Disturbing" and "Dangerous"

Charles Krauthammer sums up his position on the new media darlings, the retired generals who want to fire Rumsfeld. The only problem is that civilians hire and fire generals, not the other way around.

We've always had discontented officers in every war and in every period of our history. But they rarely coalesce into factions. That happens in places such as Saddam's Iraq, Pinochet's Chile or your run-of-the-mill banana republic. And when it does, outsiders (including United States) do their best to exploit it, seeking out the dissident factions to either stage a coup or force the government to change policy.

That kind of dissident party within the military is alien to America. Some other retired generals have found it necessary to rise to the defense of the current administration. Will the rest of the generals, retired or serving, now have to declare themselves as to which camp they belong?

One thing's certain: the more fractured the U.S. military, the happier the Left becomes.

WaPo Decries "Indignities" of China's Hu

Dana Milbank's article in the Post today about China President Hu's visit discusses the ill treatment of the Chi-comm leader.

The protocol-obsessed Chinese leader suffered a day full of indignities -- some intentional, others just careless. The visit began with a slight when the official announcer said the band would play the "national anthem of the Republic of China" -- the official name of Taiwan. It continued when Vice President Cheney donned sunglasses for the ceremony, and again when Hu, attempting to leave the stage via the wrong staircase, was yanked back by his jacket. Hu looked down at his sleeve to see the president of the United States tugging at it as if redirecting an errant child.

Spare us your alligator tears, Dana. Would you act the same way if Bush were heckled? Of course not - in fact, you would encourage it. One would think you would be more concerned with China's human rights abuses or lack of freedoms than you would about a reporter heckling a communist leader. But then again, we know where your sympathies lie.

Terror Supporter in Congress

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), decided that he wanted his own terror supporter on his staff, so he hired Mustafa Khalfi, editor-in-chief of Moroccan newspaper At-Tajdid and recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. From LGF.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Hu Heckler

Hu Jintao spoke with President Bush at the White House today, but was heckled by a Chinese woman.

"Falun Dafa is good!" the woman screamed, as Mr Hu was making his opening remarks. "President Bush, stop him from persecuting!" Her voice was so loud that Mr Bush turned to look, appearing visibly embarrassed.

Was Bush embarrassed? I doubt it. In fact, I think this helped his cause. It might have been part of some Bush strategerie to prove the President's point about freedom of expression and freedom of protest to the Commie leader. Recall that when Bush visited China last year, many students asked Bush pointed questions that made it appear everyone in China was agreeable with the government's policies. Of course, those who dissent are quickly jailed in Communist countries.

Bernanke on Tax Cuts

Ben Bernanke weighed in this week on tax cuts in a letter to Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman. While the entire letter was not released, some news outlets seem to be trumpeting a few quotes as contradicting Bush Administration positions. According to the Boston Globe:

''Because they increase economic activity, cuts in marginal tax rates typically lead to revenue losses that are smaller than implied by so-called static analyses, which hold economic activity constant," Bernanke wrote April 18 to Representative Brad Sherman, a California Democrat. ''However, under normal conditions, tax cuts do not wholly pay for themselves."

''The economic literature supports the idea that work effort, saving, and investment respond to tax incentives, but the sizes of the responses are in some dispute," Bernanke wrote.

To me, this is vindication for Congressional budgeters and the Administration, who can now use dynamic analysis in CBO forecasts to prevent anti-tax cutters from claiming the "tax cuts cost us $_ billion without factoring in behavioral changes that the cuts spur. Otherwise, how can anyone explain the 14% increase in tax receipts in 2005? Do naysayers think receipts would have actually been up 25-30% without the Bush tax cuts? That's obviously ridiculous and they have no answer to the empirical evidence of higher receipts after tax cuts.

Additionally, Bernanke does not address precisely how well or poorly an economy would do without well-timed tax cuts. Thus, his statement that "under normal conditions, tax cuts do not wholly pay for themselves" does not imply anything about where receipts would actually be today. We also don't know whether the popping of the Internet bubble and 9/11 are part of "normal conditions."

Still, some bloggers seem to think this contradicts Bush Administration claims. PoliWatch seems to think it does.

Another Kyoto Signatory Says Goals Unattainable

By 2012, Canada is supposed to get down to 94% of 1990's emmission levels. As Husky Energy's CEO pointed out yesterday, "that's completely out of whack."

Maybe we should have signed Kyoto - then we could just be like every other signatory and say that the goals are impossible to meet. Something tells me that the UN would do what it does on the human rights issue - ignore every other offender and focus their condemnation solely on the U.S.

Cashing in Our Diversity Chips

According to the US government, there are now 126 different racial and ethnic categories in the US. And in the US, there are almost no pure breeds, as almost everyone has a mix of different nationalities and ethncities.

Yet we still have affirmative action, and because of this anachronistic legislation, people are still trying to cash in on their "diversity." It's likely that those rumors that Geraldo Rivera was really born Gerry Rivers but knew he had an easy "in" by being hispanic are not true. But there are other stories that are true:

A New York Times article Wednesday opened with the story of adopted twins, born of white parents. Since DNA tests purport to show that the boys have a bit of Native American and African blood, their father hopes the newfound ethnicity will help them qualify for college financial aid.

Then there is the 98% "European" woman who applied to college as an Asian after a DNA test found a 2% "Asian" strain.

I guess you can't blame anyone for wanting to win the lottery, but how do we decide who's black or hispanic enough? And then why don't height and weight come into the equation? Isn't it about time to END (not mend as democrats say) affirmative action? No doubt this is one reason why many Americans are worried about both legal and illegal immigration.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sen. Dorgan Attacks Lee Raymond's Pay Package

Sen. Byron Dorgan is calling for another investigation - this time into departing Exxon-Mobil Chairman Lee Raymond's pay package. As Larry Kudlow explains, Dorgan believes that Congress should be regulating CEO compensation if it's excessive.

I'm surprised no one has accused Lee Raymond (or George Bush) of helping Iranian President Ahmadinejad get elected in order to push up crude prices.

Pulitzer Prize Winners "Worthy of Jail"

Bill Bennett commented on the recently named Pulitzer (read: American Last) Prize winners and said that three of them are "worthy of jail."

...Bill Bennett said that the reporters "took classified information, secret information, published it in their newspapers, against the wishes of the president, against the request of the president and others, that they not release it. They not only released it, they publicized it -- they put it on the front page, and it damaged us, it hurt us.

"As a result are they punished, are they in shame, are they embarrassed, are they arrested? No, they win Pulitzer prizes - they win Pulitzer prizes. I don't think what they did was worthy of an award - I think what they did is worthy of jail, and I think this investigation needs to go forward. "

Powerline also had a great post on the subject: "The Pulitzer Prize for Treason."

Oklahoma City Bombing - 11 Years Ago Today

The BBC re-published an online article today that they first published 11 years ago. Note the following paragraph:

The State Department would not discuss the possibility of this being a terrorist attack but the FBI and Oklahoma police put out an alert for three men believed to be of Middle Eastern origin driving a brown Chevrolet pick-up truck.

Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and ten of his supporters are currently on trial for the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

We all know today that the government dropped its search for any connection to Middle East terrorists, despite strong evidence to the contrary. The Washington Post also has an interesting spin on the event:

"One of the great lessons of the Oklahoma City bombing is that the domestic radical right poses extremely serious threats," Potok [director of Intelligence Project] said. "It taught us that not all terrorists speak different languages, wear turbans or speak to different Gods."

Notice how the article excludes the radical left-wing groups that are also on FBI watch lists as terrorist groups.

Finally, we know today that just because Al Qaeda likes to train American citizens (ie. Jose Padilla) to carry out attacks, that does not mean that Americans acted alone. Based on some of the newly released documents connecting Saddam to the Philippines' Abu Sayyaf group (to whom Ramzi Yousef and Terry Nichols were connected), as well as Jayna Davis' 2004 book, "The Third Terrorist," there is more reason now than ever to take another look at the Oklahoma City case. As I mentioned a year ago, there are lots of reasons to believe that we never got to the full story on Oklahoma City - it would be nice to get it someday.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Democrats' Best Friends: Russia and China

Russia and China are adamant about taking no action against Iran, either through sanctions, or obviously, through military action. Call me cynical, but this is perfect for Democrats: if the Bush administration or the international community does nothing, then we "outsourced" the problem to other countries. If, however, we take action without Russian/Chinese (read: Communist) support, then we are acting unilaterally. Bad for the U.S., but good for Democrats.

Egypt, Arab League Condemn Tel Aviv Bombing

What is the world coming to? Egypt and the Arab League have issued a condemnation of the recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed nine civilians.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit described the attack as "an act of terrorism," a strong condemnation from an Arab state that usually jointly blames both Israel and the Palestinians for the ongoing violence.

Aboul Gheit strongly denied this claim in a statement issued Tuesday. "Premeditated attacks on civilians contradict all tenets and laws," he said. Such attacks are "part of hated acts of terrorism, regardless of any justification," Aboul Gheit said.

We might finally be getting somewhere.

Rumsfeld's Enemies and The White Flag of Surrender

Greg Richards at The American Thinker has a must-read post on the "general revolt" against Rumsfeld.

They [generals] obviously feel strongly, although it is unclear to a civilian exactly what it is they feel strongly about. But the bottom line of the criticism is that Rumsfeld must go.

...A resignation by Rumsfeld would be taken – correctly – by our enemies and friends as a running up of the white flag. What charter would his successor have? None other than to liquidate the Iraq venture in the same way that Clark Clifford’s charter after replacing McNamara in 1968 was to liquidate the Vietnam venture (which he did not get a chance to do).

Everyone knows this is not about Rumsfeld - it is about the Bush Administration and the Left's desire to quickly dispose of it, as well as the War on Terror.

Georgia Passes Tough Illegal Immigration Law

Georgia has just passed a law that would crack down on enforcement of illegal aliens, as well as reduce welfare benefits to illegals. Predictably, if the federal government can't offer a solution, many states will do it themselves.

Iran-sponsored Terror Group Planning 70 Attacks

Islamic Jihad, a terror group backed by both Iran and Syria, says it plans 70 terrorist attacks against Israel.

I remember when GW first declared the war on terror (and he was backed by 90% of all congressmen), that it was agreed upon that those states committing terror and those that sponsored, aided, or abetted terrorists would be potential targets. Iran clearly fits this category.

Global Warming Media Darling Assailed by Colleagues

The colleagues of NASA Scientist James Hansen speak up and say that, contrary to media reports, Hansen was never discouraged from speaking his opinion. It also reminds us that he supported John Kerry for President, received a $250,000 grant from a charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife, and consulted for Al Gore on global warming.

Not exactly an unconflicted source on the global warming debate.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Quick Reminder To Iraq's Naysayers

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
-President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
-Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
-Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
-Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Despite claims that WMD efforts have ceased, Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions, and is concealing extended-range SCUD missiles, possibly equipped with CBW [chem-bio-weapons] payloads."
-Gen. Anthony Zinni, March 15, 2000

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
-Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years . We also should remember we have alway s underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction. "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ...

-Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

I'm sure the media already heard these, but if not, it's a good reminder for them too.

Yes Iran Sponsors Terrorism

Before the Iraq war, everyone from democrats to Europeans to the MSM, claimed that Saddam Hussein was a sponsor of terrorism. Then on the eve of war, all of a sudden, these groups, almost in unison, claimed that there was no connection whatsoever between Saddam and terrorism. Go figure.

I'm sure something similar might happen with Iran. This AP article states that Islamic Jihad, the terrorist group responsible for today's Tel Aviv bombing, is backed by both Iran and Syria. But, if push comes to shove and we're on the verge of military action again, it's likely that this collective group will sing the praises of Iran and state that they have never had any ties to terrorist activity.

Retired General In Support of Rumsfeld

The media seems to think it's big news that 6 retired generals are asking for Rumsfeld's resignation. Here are a few speaking out in favor of Rumsfeld. I'm expecting the MSM to ignore those in favor, as that would not be real news, but here it is. WSJ - subscription required.

Iraqi Boy Band Spreads Good News

A boy band from Iraq is touring the globe trying to spread the good news of their country.

The promise of good news from Iraq sounds like Downing Street propaganda, but for the past six months a five-piece Iraqi pop group has been in London preparing to deliver exactly that. Unknown To No One - UTN1 for short - are desperate to tell the rest of the world that there's more to their homeland than bombings, kidnappings and civil war.

"We don't see Iraq the way you see it on TV," says Hassan Ali, vocalist and guitarist. "That's what we want to tell people.

Huh...maybe they just don't watch enough CNN news to know the truth about their own country.

New Muhammed Cartoon

This should be interesting. An Italian Catholic paper has puplished a new cartoon that shows Muhammed being split in half, depicting the division Islam has created. Michelle Malkin has more.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pope Condemns Judas on Easter Sunday

Pope Benedict XVI denounced Judas as a "greedy liar" during his sermon at St. Peter's Basilica on Easter Sunday, in a clear effort to counter what some revisionists are calling the "gospel according to Judas."

I think he also prayed for the U.S. to extend Bush's tax cuts. (Well, I'm not positive about that one, but that's the rumor...)

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Fmr. JCC Myers Calls Rumsfeld Critiques "Dangerous"

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers appeared on Weekend Live with Tony Snow, where he said that the current situation of retired generals critiquing their civilian superiors is "fundamentally dangerous" and "inappropriate."

Myers said that he has respect for the 6 former generals who have recently criticized Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, but he cannot figure out what the motivation is for them coming out now. While Myers said he wouldn't go so far as to call it "unethical," he made it clear that it was not "healthy" or appropriate for the military or the country.

(By the way, there are approximately 9,000 retired generals in the U.S., yet an outspoken 6 seem to the media to be the overwhelming majority.)

Iran Using Democratic Message

The Democrats must be proud - at least someone is repeating their message that Iraq is a "quaqmire." Today Iran warned the U.S. it would defeat us in the event of military action. General Yahya Rahim Safavi, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said the following:

"The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error... "I would advise them to first get out of their quagmire in Iraq before getting into an even bigger one."

Sadly, many Americans are only too happy to agree with Iran.

MSM Bias: Still Loves Slick Willy

Check out this article on taxes. The headline is Most Americans Say Tax System Unjust. Fair enough. It goes on to say that most Americans believe that the middle class pay too much, while wealthy and big business don't pay enough. Again fair enough.

Now check out the biased analysis on the last three presidents.

The first President Bush abandoned his "read my lips, no new taxes pledge" in a 1990 budget deal that raised taxes.

This is true, but the top tax rate only increased from 28% to 31% under Bush I.

The Clinton administration won passage in 1993 of a deficit-reduction measure that blended tax increases, budget cuts and rebates for the working poor.

Sounds kinda pleasant the way it's worded, huh? Aah - it was a blend, and most blends are good things. Also, gotta love the nobility of doing something for the working poor. I see. Only problem: it's far from the truth. Under Clinton, all tax rates increased for everyone, including the top rate going from 31% to 39%.

And the second Bush administration pushed successfully for tax cuts that lowered the top income tax rate to 35 percent and slashed tax rates for individuals and manufacturers.

Aaagh - those evil manufacturers! and Bush is helping them! How dare he!

Good News: 41 More Taliban Dead

Looks like good news to me.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Reminder of CIA's Operation Merlin

Just as the situation with Iran's nuclear program is heating up, Newsmax reminds us that President Clinton likely helped Iran gain valuable information to build nuclear weapons. (I don't think we'll hear Hillary talk too much about this Clinton "legacy.")

In a hairbrained scheme that was personally approved by then-President Clinton, the CIA deliberately gave Iranian physicists blueprints for part of a nuclear bomb that likely helped Tehran advance its nuclear weapons development program.

The Guardian has much more on this sorry tale.

Based on the CIA's history of dysfunction, as well as Clinton's prior nuclear giveaways to North Korea and China, it's hard to doubt the veracity of this story. In defense of Willy, I place most of the blame on the CIA, as presidents typically just go along with the agency's recommendations.

How The Government Spends Your Taxes

With Tax Day approaching, I think it's appropriate to look at how the American family's tax dollars are allocated. From The Heritage Foundation:

Social Security/Medicare $7,875
Defense 4,701
Low income programs 3,579
Interest on federal debt 1,930
Fed employee retirees 870
Education 732
Health research/education 671
Veterans benefits 618
Community development 456
Highway/mass transit 402
Justice administration 363
Unemployment benefits 338
International affairs 305
Nat. resources/environment 287
Agriculture 235

TOTAL $23,760

How much of these programs do you receive vs. what you pay?

Unfavorable View of Islam

Islam, the religion of peace, has had better days. According to a CBS poll, only 19% of Americans have a favorable view of Islam.

Frankly, I'm surprised it's that high.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Senior Al Qaeda Members Meet Their Virgins

Two more senior Al Qaeda members were killed, including one who was indicted in the 1998 US embassy bombings and one who was a senior operative in Iraq.

Two fewer terrorists alive today.

Prosecutor Fitzgerald Wants More than Perjory

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald must be feeling smaller and smaller every day. What began as a serious inquiry related to national security has turned into a very weak purjory charge against Scooter Libby. And from all appearances, even that will be difficult to prove.

As Byron York points out in the National Review, Fitzgerald seems to want this case to be more meaningful and he is therfore not letting go of the "national security" aspect.

Libby's new filing, and the Fitzgerald filing that preceded it, suggest that the CIA leak case, if Libby case goes to trial, will move far beyond the issue of Valerie Wilson. Fitzgerald's discussion of the National Intelligence Estimate and of the administration's general response to Joseph Wilson, Libby argues, "indicates that at trial all aspects of the government's response to Mr. Wilson will be relevant — including any actions taken by the President." If that is the case, then the trial, which Fitzgerald has said will be a limited criminal inquiry into whether Lewis Libby lied, will more resemble a broad inquiry into the politics of pre-war intelligence.

Who can blame Fitzgerald? At least it wouldn't appear that he wasted the last three years of his life and millions in taxpayer funds.

Comedy Central Intimidated by Islam?

Comedy Central, home to political incorrectness, seems to have caved into the Islamic pressure by censoring an image of Muhammed on South Park. John Hawkins has a good point:

I don't believe in gratuitously offending members of any of the world's great religions, including Islam, but there comes a time when you've got to stand up and refuse to be intimidated into silence.

If we don't have the guts to post these cartoons here in the United States because we're afraid of extremist Muslims, how can we ask moderate Muslims living in the midst of these radical Islamists to stand up to them on other issues?

Just the fact that we now have to censor cartoons because we are afraid of deaths in the street is really quite remarkable. In some small ways, extremist Muslims seem to be winning this war...

{Link to Mudville Gazette's Open Post}

Scalia's "Proudest Thing" on the Court

Speaking at the University of Connecticut's law school, Antonin Scalia said that the proudest thing he has done on the Supreme Court is his 2004 decision not to recuse himself from a case involving closed-door strategy sessions at the White House with leaders in the energy industry. Dick Cheney believed the sessions should be kept private, according to presidential priviledge. Just prior to the case, Scalia went on a hunting trip in which Cheney also went.

I suppose that standing up to media and political pressure would make anyone proud.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Politically Motivated Independent Prosecutor?

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald made another major error when he claimed that Bush and Cheney deliberately distorted a crucial intelligence estimate on Iraq. (The first major error was when he claimed that Libby was absolutely the first person to use Valerie Plame's name to a reporter, when in fact, Bob Woodward had already used it.)

The prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, claimed in a court filing last week that a former White House aide facing criminal charges for obstructing the probe, I. Lewis Libby, said he was told by Mr. Cheney to inform a New York Times reporter that one of the key judgments of a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq was that the country was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium.

While the intelligence report indeed alleged that Iraq was aggressively seeking nuclear materials, that finding was not among the key judgments contained in the document's early pages. The allegation that Mr. Cheney told Mr. Libby to misstate that fact to the Times journalist, Judith Miller, was noted prominently in some news accounts and contributed to an uproar that threw the White House into a tailspin last week.

...However, in a letter yesterday, Mr. Fitzgerald advised the judge overseeing the case, Reggie Walton, that the government's April 5 filing was inaccurate...

The details here have a significant impact on the intentions of the Bush Administration. These crucial and deliberate errors bring up questions about whether Fitzgerald has political motivations. Dan Riehl and Uncorrelated seem to think so.

The most interesting thing about the whole case is that President Bush hasn't uttered a single disparaging word about Fitzgerald, despite his potentially purposeful mistakes. Compare that with what the Clinton Administration said about Kenneth Starr on a daily basis.

WaPo Continues With "Bush Lied" Lie

The Washington Post is trying to do its small part to perpetuate the "Bush lied" myth by claiming that Bush knowingly lied when he repeated in 2003 what the CIA and DIA told him - that mobile trailers found in Iraq were weapons labs.

ABC then took to the air this morning and repeated the allegation. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the following:

"This is reckless reporting and for you all to go on the air this morning and make such a charge is irresponsible, and I hope that ABC would apologize for it and make a correction on the air," he said.

Apparently ABC News called the White House today to apologize - they just did it quietly enough so that they can keep all their viewers believing that Bush lied.

"Peace" Activists Keep Military Recruiters Away

"Peace" activists at UC Santa Cruz are showcasing their acceptance of opposing viewpoints again.

Four military recruiters hastily fled a job fair Tuesday morning at UC Santa Cruz after a raucous crowd of student protesters blocked an entrance to the building where the Army and National Guard had set up information tables.

I wonder if anyone would mind if protesting students blocked doorways so that blacks, Muslims, gays or other groups they despise aren't allowed to enter the building.

Universities that receive federal funds are required to allow military recruiters on campus. But campus officials had worried that Tuesday's protest would get out of hand as it had last April, when Students Against War protesters surrounded the table where military personnel sat, and hundreds of other demonstrators engaged in an angry protest outside. Some of the recruiters reported that their tires had been slashed and one employee at the career center was injured.

There is an easy solution. The federal government should begin by immediately withholding funds until the university is capable of providing adequate security and access.

MIT Professor on Global Warming

Yet another article talking about why it is that some scientists are so quick to jump on the global warming bandwagon. Sounds like the best way to get funding is to scare the living daylights out of everyone, which has occurred on some level. In addition, seems like there's a fair amount of bullying to those scientists that do question the facts behind the science, at least that's happened in his experience. Read the article. (Subscription req'd).

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested -- a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences -- as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union -- formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.

All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists -- a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.

Newt Gingrich's REAL Statements on Iraq

Surely enough, 99% of blogs (including myself initially) fell for the old reporter's trick of taking Newt Gingrich out of context. Thanks to Severe Writer's Block, who offers Gingrich's complete context:

Gingrich's position of Iraq has been consistent and clear:

1. The decision by Paul Bremer to go from a liberation model to an occupation model in June 2003 was a major mistake (Gingrich first said this publicly in December 2003).

2. The United States needs to train the Iraqis as rapidly as possible and "pull back" from the cities to bases and air fields and serve as reinforcers as opposed to occupiers (this position is outlined in today's WSJ as the official policy).

3. The United States is likely to need to keep some forces in Iraq for a very long time (Gingrich has been saying this as far back in 2003).

Hmm....that's a bit more nuanced than the Argus-Leader reporter's statement:

"It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003," Gingrich said during a question-and-answer session at the school. "We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it."

Unfortunately, no one really bothers reading beyond the headline anymore, including every moonbat blog I've come across:

Newt Flips on Iraq: "We Have to Pull Back"
Gingrich Says Iraq Occupation was a Mistake
Why Does Newt Gingrich Hate America?

Beware of Scientific Warnings

I'm a big fan of John Stossel's non-partisan, no-nonsense approach to reporting. He brings up a very good point about science in general:

If you're a scientist working for private industry, it helps to invent something useful. But if you're a scientist trying to get funding from the government, you're better off telling the world how horrible things are.

Examples of past exaggeration is crack babies. Could global warming be an example of present day over-exaggeration? Be forewarned. Many scientists do have an agenda.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Castro to Drill in Outer Continental Shelf

Fidel Castro should send U.S. environmentalists a thank you note. Although the U.S. won't allow itself to drill in the Outer Continental Shelf just 45 miles offshore, Cuba is more than willing to take our share.

Gingrich Quote Taken Out of Context?

A lot has been made of Newt Gingrich's quote that the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003 was a mistake and that we should pull our forces out. On Sean Hannity's radio program today, Gingrich said that there were five reporters covering his speech and the one that everyone has been reading and quoting on blogs took his quote completely out of context. I only heard about a minute of the interview, so I missed his full explanation, but I'm inclined to give Newt the benefit of the doubt until I hear exactly what he said (maybe it's my reluctance to believe anything reporters say these days).

I'm guessing he will be on Hannity & Colmes tonight to clarify.

Media Brandishing Berlusconi Loss as Vote Against Bush

Assuming Silvio Berlusconi loses his bid for re-election, which appears likely, the media has already framed it as a vote against President Bush.

Bush lost two wartime allies in 2004 when Jose Maria Aznar's conservative government was defeated in Spain and Portuguese leader Jose Manuel Barroso stepped down to head the European Commission.

Now it is Blair, the most faithful of Bush's backers and the most visible defender of the 2003 Iraq invasion, who is on the political ropes for the war, compounded by a series of domestic controversies.

His storied friendship with Bush appears to be an increasing liability and the Iraq war a millstone around his neck, as demonstrated by the protests that dogged US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visited Britain 10 days ago.

When the current leaders of Australia, the UK and Poland won their re-election bids last year and anti-Bush candidates Martin, Chirac and Schroeder suffered major defeats, I don't recall the media owing the results to their pro- or anti-Bush stance.

Gingrich: Pull out of Iraq

Newt Gingrich, speaking at the University of South Dakota, said the U.S. should pull out of Iraq:

"It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003," Gingrich said during a question-and-answer session at the school. "We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it."

I don't know if this is mere politicking in an attempt to run for President or whether Newt really believes it. But let's assume that he is correct and occupying Iraq was a mistake (which I do not). What was his alternative? Was a Talibanesque power grab ok with him? Furthermore, how does pulling out today help us with the terrorism / anti-US problem in the Middle East? Nearly everyone concedes that if the U.S. pulls out, the vacuum will likely be filled by militias and, at best, revert to tribalism and lawlessness.

I think Newt Gingrich is one of the top intellectual conservative minds today, but I think his "pullout" strategy is defeatist and wrong. Hopefully he will clarify his position in greater detail.

I should have known better; Newt appeared on Sean Hannity's radio program today and said that the Argus-Leader reporter took his statement completely out of context. I didn't hear the program so I will have to say what he said.

Reid's Favorable Numbers Plummet

President Bush isn't the only politician who has had trouble with poll numbers recently. Harry Reid (D-NV) has seen his favorable-to-unfavorable gap plummet from 28% (28% more viewed as favorable than unfavorable) just two years ago to just 4% today. Lucky for Reid, he doesn't come up for re-election until 2010.

EU Suspends Aid to Hamas

The EU, Palestine's largest donor, suspended aid to the Hamas government because of its support for terror.

I don't think the suspension will last long, as Hamas will probably say a few things to please the EU and the aid will continue, but at least they are taking a stand for now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hillary Would Bail Out Companies' Underfunded Pensions

In an interview with Al Hunt of Bloomberg today, Hillary Clinton offers so much incredible material that I can't cover them all in a single short post. Apart from somehow failing to see a positive economy, Hillary also spoke of rising health care costs, Bush's "Nixonesque" tendencies, tax rate policy, Bush's "outsourcing" of Iran negotiations (she doesn't like multilateralism in this instance), North Korea (she somehow forgot that her husband was completely fooled by Kim Jong Il in his 1994 deal) and other ridiculous statements.

Most ominously, Hillary advocated the potential bailing out of failing companies such as GM for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of unfunded pension liabilities.

First, Hillary's take on the economy:

Well, the economy is working really well for many people. And the indicators at the present time, as you say, are positive. But if you look just over the horizon and below the surface there are some troubling issues.

...Yes, unemployment is four percent, but it was four percent in the Clinton administration and more people were in the workforce. [Shocker: Hillary didn't mention the term "bubble."]

...Replacement jobs for those that are lost are 20 to 40 percent less than income. [Complete b.s., as Greenspan has refuted this Democratic charge several times over the past two years.]

Hillary on North Korea (Please don't laugh):

This administration takes this kind of hands off approach to North Korea, to Iran. All I know is that five years ago North Korea didn't have nuclear weapons. We now believe it does.

Finally, the trillion dollar bailout of GM and other companies that have underfunded their employee pensions:

I think we could in return for over a period of, say, 10 years lifting some of those legacy costs off of the car companies in return for them expediting a move for more energy efficient products. That would be a good bargain for America.

If you think Enron and Worldcom were corporate disasters, you haven't seen anything yet. This potential corporate bailout would be the largest in U.S. history by far.

The Death Knell for Illegal Immigration

Based on the attitudes of the media and many politicians, you might think that these protests are doing wonders for illegal immigrants. I think they have it exactly wrong. I believe that the spotlight illegal immigrants have put on themselves will backfire in a very big way. Americans are quickly getting fed up with all this nonsense.

Here are just a few bloggers weighing in on the issue:

Michelle Malkin: "Muslims for Open Borders"

Wizbang!: "Democrats Recruiting at Illegal Immigrant Protests"

Polipundit: "The Fallout"

Power Line: "Ready. Aim. Shoot."

Common Sense Junction: "Time Poll: Build a Fence"

And one of my personal favorite messages, from Babalu Blog. (Do illegal immigrants really believe they endear themselves to anyone but Castro and Chavez with this garbage?)

Rush Limbaugh also had a great take on the subject. Rush explained today that the "illegal question" today will lead to Democrats' demand for full voting rights by the 2008 election, which would almost certainly guarantee a Democratic majority again. The GOP just can't compare to Dems when it comes to creating a socialist welfare state and illegals know it.

ACLU Anti-Religious Hypocrisy

When does the ACLU not mind government's establishment of religion? When that religion is Islam, of course. American Thinker has the story of a $22 million mosque construction project in Boston that will upset anyone but the most strident anti-Christian/Jewish (read: pro-ACLU) folks.

Not content with support pledged by Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, the ISB [Islamic Society of Boston] sought to purchase the city-owned land at a bargain basement price. And did they ever succeed. The City of Boston obliged the group by selling its 1.9 acre site valued at $2,000,000 for $175,000. Boldly compounding the scam, the City agreed to receive further in-kind payment from the ISB in the form of an Islamic Library and courses in Islamic instruction at a state facility, Roxbury Community College; not a $200 crèche or a menorah made of scrap tubing, but a multi-million dollar enterprise based on defrauding taxpayers and establishing ongoing indoctrination courses on the glories of Islam.

The ACLU never ceases to amaze.

United 93 - It's Time

Some may feel like it's a little too soon to show movies depicting the horrors of 9/11. I disagree, and I hope that most friends and relatives of the victims of 911 do as well. We've already seen a movie or two sympathizing with the terrorists including The Road to Guantanamo, which got a standing O at the Berlin film festival.

Insane but true. It's a good thing that the REAL victims' story now gets heard. It's time.

Chirac: We Surrender!

Why am I not surprised at this?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Affleck: "Bush Can Be Hung"

Ben Affleck should probably stick to being a B-rated actor and stay away from politics.

Appearing on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," Affleck charged that President Bush "probably also leaked” CIA agent Valerie Plame's name and so "if he did, you can be hung for that! That's treason!” He continued: "You could be killed. That's not a joking around Tom DeLay 'I'll do a year, I bribed the state officials with corporate money.' That's like they shoot you in the battlefield for doing that.”

Hmm...a President who can legally declassify information does so in order to rebut a complete lie described in the NY Times by Joe Wilson and Ben thinks that is tantamount to treason. Let's just say we don't have to worry that Affleck will become a lawyer anytime soon.

IBD on Saddam Documents

The Investors Business Daily reviews a few of the damning documents (of the less than 5% that has been translated) recently released about Saddam's sponsorship of terrorism.

Looking at the "Blessed July" document, Foreign Affairs notes this "regime-directed wave of 'martyrdom' operations against targets in the West (was) well under way at the time of the coalition invasion."

Saddam is heard on a 1997 tape predicting terrorism would soon be coming to the U.S., while his son-in-law — who was in charge of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction — gloats about lying to U.N. weapons inspectors to hide the extent of Iraq's WMD program.

Saddam, in a tape made in 2000, talks with Iraqi scientists about his plans to build a nuclear device. He discusses Iraq's plasma separation program — an advanced uranium-enrichment technique completely missed by U.N. inspectors.

An Iraqi intelligence document, released just two weeks ago, describes a February 1995 meeting between Saddam's spies and Osama bin Laden. During that meeting, bin Laden offered to conduct "joint operations" with Iraq. Saddam subsequently ordered his aides to "develop the relationship" with the al-Qaida leader.

A fax, sent on June 6, 2001, shows conclusively that Saddam's government provided financial aid to Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf is an al-Qaida offshoot co-founded by bin Laden's brother-in-law.

According to previous statements from President Bush, the pressure is now on John Negroponte to declassify and release the documents as quickly as possible.