Needless to say, the infamous Ports Deal is unpopular. Here is an easy way out: The holding company that owns Dubai Ports World, the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, is the same company thatenforces the boycott against Israel. US law prohibits firms from cooperating with Arab governments to boycott Israel.
On an unrelated note, Hillary Clintonslammed her husband's deal to turn over port operations at the Panama Canal to Chinese firms. (She didn't mention him by name, so maybe she forgot he was the President that ok'd the deal.)
"If you are an undergraduate, graduate or professional student or a recent graduate with your own strong interest in crucial issues of our day, the Clinton Foundation Intern Program offers a unique opportunity for growth, learning and meaningful service." Even if it's just delivering pizza. If 25 seems like a lot of interns, they'll be spread out between Clinton's HQ in Harlem, his library in Little Rock, Ark., and a third office in Quincy, Mass. His spokesman said, "I'm not sure why it's surprising that President Clinton's multimillion dollar foundation - that among many other accomplishments provides AIDS treatment drugs to over 250,000 people around the world - would have interns."
Please include a photo with your application. Thanks -Bill C.
With the non-stop talk from the MSM talking aheads about "Civil War" in Iraq, I almost started to believe that Iraq was already lost. But once again, I forgot that reality must always be separated from the media/Democratic wishes. And although Civil War in Iraq could always happen, we're not close to that situation now. John Hawkins has a good post.
Hillary's railing against school vouchersis so foolish I'm not sure where to begin. Is she comparing Catholicism and Judaism with fanaticism? One thing's clear: she thinks that school choice will end up with parents choosing madrassas for their children.
Sorry Richie. I had one LAST thought about the ports. In general I'm a free trader, but at the same time I'm a hawk on national security. So what happens when these two thoughts collide? Of course If I thought this port company was a real risk to national security, I'd be against it. But the more I read about it, the more I do not think this company is any more of a threat to our national security than would be any British or American company.
I'm still going through the facts, and haven't made up my mind on it, but I agree with Richie - this story is way overblown. It's a great way for the MSM to make GW look bad, regardless of the outcome.
I am so sick of the media talking about a transaction about which they have absolutely no clue. The favorite new media "UAE/port" story is one of the least consequential news stories since the "Valerie Plame scandal". Hence these will be my last comments on it.
Unfortunately the story will keep playing because it gives Democrats a great opportunity to pretend to be strong on national defense. President Bush needs to just kill the deal and end this ridiculous faux uproar. There is just no easy way to convince Americans that it is beneficial.
This past weekend, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John Shaw told an audience at a privately-funded "intelligence summit" that Saddam's WMD removal prior to the Iraq War was "a well-orchestrated campaign using two neighboring client states with which the Russian leadership had a long time security relationship." Russian special forces moved the weapons themselves across the border to Syria.
Shaw also spoke of the fierce battle within the CIA and DIA in which pro- and anti-Bush forces were fighting to control policy.
Read thearticle here- you probably won't be seeing it elsewhere in the MSM. The funny thing is that the media/Democratic coalition has taken as conventional wisdom that there simply were no WMDs and will dismiss as fantasy any new evidence to the contrary.
Maybe it's about time our troops leave South Korea? Although there's a good possibility South Korea would either be a part of Russia, China, North Korea, or Japan, if not for US protection during the past 60 years, it appears that Koreans have forgotten about the sacrifice the US has made for its freedom. Let's let Korea fend for themselves.
What do you call it when a sitting UN Secretary General accepts a $500K cash award from a panel whose judges are UN underlings of said Secretary General?
Kofi Annan calls it another day at the office.
Claudia Rosett, who deserved a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the UN Oil-for-food scandal, describes the back-scratching award that Kofi received. View the must-readarticle hereat the Weekly Standard.
In case anyone is wondering whether the port deal by a company in the UAE will go through, it's now as good as dead. Jimmy Carter just stated his support- and that should be a clear signal to the White House that it needs to be revisited.
*Update* Then again, President Bush is adamant about the deal. While he correctly calls out critics for what is essentially racial profiling, I think this will hurt President Bush and Republicans politically. I admire him for his steadfastness, but Bush will only be hurting himself with such an unpopular transaction.
Just days after Kofi Annan has criticized the West, in particular the U.S. for not doing more in Sudan, John Bolton fired back that the Secretary General is using a double standard.
"It would be helpful, I think, if the secretary-general, in addition to prodding the U.S., could also be out there talking to the African Union and the Arab League, and in fact, even talking to his own peacekeepers about the importance of moving ahead," Mr. Bolton told reporters yesterday.
"It's important that whatever is being said rhetorically" by Mr. Annan, Mr. Bolton added, "should be matched by what the Secretariat planners are doing."
You don't send a sheep to do a wolf's job - which is why Bolton is the right man at the U.N.
I've never been a big fan of the IMF or World Bank for the simple reason that I don't trust the money is being spent wisely. I also believe that the giving of excessive aid can create a vicious circle of dependence, but that's a topic for another day. At least if Wolfowitz is cleaning up some of the corruption (never assume he can stop all of it), that'll give more people confidence that our money is being used in a useful way.
Saddam's tapes translator Bill Tierney revealed that one tape reveals Saddam's discussion of a plan to enrich uranium using plasma separation, indicating that Iraq had a nuclear program as recently as 2000.
The media doesn't care - Cheney's hunting accident is more important to the media these days.
It comes as no surprise that Jimmy Carter advises that we should continue to fund Hamas-controlled Palestine and legitimize the government's terrorist stance. Predictably, Carter says that withholding funds would only alienate and hurt the Palestinian people.
I wonder what Carter would have said about funding Hitler's Germany during World War II.
I'm not sure what will be next, but Ireland has either implemented, or is about to implement a special tax on fatty foods and fast foods. Alcohol should be a prime candidate for an outright ban as well, considering the immediate negative impact it can have in most large cities (loud noise, frolicking, vomiting, violence, drunk driving). Regulating peoples' lives is a slippery slope.
If government wants to inform its citizens of the risks of smoking, that's fine. Force a pubowner to put a sign out front, saying: this is a smoking pub. If another guy wants to open a non-smoking pub, that's ok too. But let's let the free markets decide.
The Zero Pointhas a good overview of the background on the potential transaction of Dubai Ports World, based in the UAE, purchasing P&O Steam Navigation Co., based in London. (P&O currently controls security for several major sea ports within the U.S.)
I believe that, because this is a transaction involving national security, much more scrutiny is required on the part of the U.S. in order to approve such a transaction. And while I don't have all the facts, right now I would not be comfortable approving the transaction.
While I find myself aggreeing with the Democrats on this issue opposing the transaction (although Democrats want to nationalize ports, which I do not), there is another more interesting point. Democrats and their ACLU friends have always followed the line that racial or ethnic profiling is wrong and illegal. They believe that 85 year-old American Granny should be checked in the airport security line as thoroughly and often as 25 year-old males from Saudi Arabia.
Yet profiling is exactly what is going on here. British-owned P&O has controlled port security in the U.S. for years and we never heard a loud outcry. Yet now because P&O would be controlled by a company from an Arab nation (UAE), everyone is screaming about security issues. Rightly so, in my opinion, but I'm also in favor of profiling, while most Democrats do not.
Ultimately this transaction will be blocked because the GOP can't be seen as weak on security. But let's call this what it is - racial/ethnic profiling. And we should be comfortable with it.
Fleming Rose, editor of the Danish Jyllands Posten, pens an article today in the WaPo explaining why he published the Islamic cartoons that have drawn so much attention. Rose explains that he was attempting to push back on the self-imposed limits on freedom of expression in regards to Islam. Sadly, he may have had the reverse effect. In Rose's own words, we seem to be submitting to Islam rather than simply respecting it.
Don't look now, but Newt Gingrich might be sizing up a run for president in 08. Most people, including conservatives, assume he's unelectable. I'm not so sure these people are correct. It'll be tough, just because the MSM will be very very against him, and there will likely be many conservatives in the Republican hierarchy that won't approve, much like they didn't when Reagan decided to run in '76. Nonetheless, Newt's running, if it does happen, will be good for the race.
Hypothetically speaking, say a passenger is sitting in first class in an American Airlines transatlantic flight. All of a sudden, he tells the stewardess, "this plane is going to blow up. I can't tell you how I know, but it's going to happen." Well, what should the reaction be? The likely response would be a police escort from the plane, followed by a night in jail, and a full-scale investigation of the man, his house, his friends, and everything about him. I would expect the FBI to look in his kitchen, in his attic, under his mattress, in his computer and phone records. Everything. And they have just cause to do all of this.
Now, what if the FBI does a thorough inspection, and they find a couple manuals on bombs in his apartment. And say they look into the man's phone records, and they find that he's threatened a couple of airplanes before, and on one occasion, they even found a real bomb on him, but it never went off. Say the FBI have all this information, but they stiill can't find any bomb in his apartment.
In this case, was the man innocent? Did the FBI mess up? Should they have ignored the threat and never have searched his house? Is the FBI to blame for all this? Or should we be blaming the threatening man, for threatening to kill all 257 passengers on the plane.
Since 9/11, most Europeans have gone out of their way to alienate their biggest allies, the US, in almost every way. In addition, they've gone out of their way to appease terrorists in return for the hoped for Chamberlain effect - we won't speak out against you as long as you won't target us. A nice try, but...
Unfortunately, the desired result hasn't happened. We've seen Danish embassies bombed, Dutch filmmakers murdered, Spanish commuters murdered, British commuters murdered, French property destroyed, and numerous governments threatened.
Europeans have to be wondering: we've done everything they've asked. We continue to separate ourselves from the US. We speak out against Iraq, Guantanamo, Bush and global warming, US style capitalism, in short everything American. So why are we being targeted? What's the deal? Good questions indeed. Eventually, some may figure out that this nice neat formula for peace isn't going according to plan.
This should be an easy decision - as easy as it would be if we gave money to a Bin Laden-controlled Afghanistan. Hamas doesn't want US "satanic" aid, so why should we bother? If Congress is looking for ways to cut the budget, this is one very easy small step.
Antonin Scalia had someclassic wordsfor liberal judges who believe in a "living, breathing Constitution." "You would have to be an idiot to believe that," said Scalia at a Federalist Society meeting in Puerto Rico.
It appears that Al Gore is not the only one who sold out his country recently. You can add Billy Zane and Gary Busey to the list for their roles in the fictional movie - Valley of the Wolves - Iraq.
In the movie, the most expensive Turkish movie made ever, all the typical hateful middle eastern stereotypes of Americans are written into the script. The fictional script shows Zane as a mindless killer, a typical American commander. But it wouldn't be a great movie to middle eastern audiences if it didn't display the evil of the typical jew. That's where Busey comes in, as the Jewish doctor who is shipping middle eastern body organs all over the world. The ending, ever so fantastic (as in pure Turkish fantasy), shows the triumphant turks stomping all over America as the American commander is killed. Now we know the writer's smokin something.
I'm all in favor of free speech, so if people want to sell their country out, like Al Gore, Billy Zane or Gary Busey, that is their fundamental right. But don't expect applause or even any politeness whatsoever when in America. I hope people remember these guys the next time they get up and talk in public.
Anyone care to contrast America's reaction to this film versus the Muslim's typical reaction vs the Danish cartoons?
Picking up an endorsement from former unpopularGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Hillary appears to be the frontronner in 2008 for disgraced foreign leaders. If she weren't unpopular enough, Hillary will likely get the "Kerry endorsements" of all the international losers - Schroeder, Chirac,...perhaps even Hugo Chavez.
We shouldn't be surprised when Jimmy Carter says something stupid - that seems to be par for the course. So what's so surprising about JC's rant against warrantless wiretaps (at Coretta King's funeral) then? Nothing except it's ironic that:
1. It was JC's own democratic party that wiretapped Martin Luther King. Somehow, he tried to pin this one on Bush.
I wouldn't have had a problem with wiretapping traitors, nor do I have a problem listening to Al Qaeda's phonecalls, whether it's in the US or in Timbuktu. Most Americans don't have a problem with it either. Democrats may or may not figure this out in time for the 2006 elections.
It appears that Rhode Island's Democrats and Republicans have traded places on tax policy. Democrats have recently proposed a flat income taxof 5.5% on high wage earners in order to stay competitive with Massachusetts. And the best the Republicans could do was ask how Democrats planned on "paying for" those tax cuts...
Good for the Democrats - they seem to be the party of fiscal common sense in the Ocean State. Maybe they can rub off their ideas on those in Washington.
Harry Reid is in up to his neck with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. As I mentioned last year, Harry Reid has done everything that Tom DeLay has done (if not worse) - but he's gotten a free pass so far.
John Bolton (who Senate Democrats filibustered) and Ken Timmerman were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Bolton and Kenneth R. Timmerman were formally nominated by Sweden's former deputy prime minister Per Ahlmark, for playing a major role in exposing Iran's secret plans to develop nuclear weapons.
They documented Iran's secret nuclear buildup and revealed Iran's "repeated lying" and false reports to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a press release said.
Bolton formerly served as U.S. undersecretary for arms control and international security, and he authored the Proliferation Security Initiative, an international effort to block WMD shipments. The effort eventually unmasked the secret nuclear network directed by Pakistan nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan.
Bolton has little chance of winning the Nobel (read: Anti-American) Prize, but the fact that he helped uncover two clandestine nuclear programs - and was still filibustered by Democrats - says all you need to know about the Democratic national security policy.
Jacques Chirac asked the French media to do something his nation knows very well -surrender. He believes it is the responsibility of the press not to publish something that could be offensive. (Gosh, we wouldn't have a press in this country if that were the case.)
"I take a back seat to nobody when it comes to fighting terrorism and standing up for national homeland security," she said.
She added, "Since when has it been part of American patriotism to keep our mouths shut?"
The funny thing is that she just took Karl Rove's bait. By believing that she and other Democrats can convince Americans that they are the people to trust withU.S. national security is simply ridiculous. Hillary might like to talk tough, but when it comes down to it, she is against wiretapping terrorists, against the Patriot Act and was against removing Saddam Hussein (even though she voted for it).
Looks like Rove is going to win the election debate before it even starts.
Let's hope so. The WSJ analysis shows that this piece of massive bureaucracy has cost shareholders of American companies $1.4 trillion. Where's the outrage? Not to mention, it makes US exchanges less attractive to companies seeking public listings.
I agree with WSJ - let's retire Sarbanes-Oxley when these two clowns retire at the end of '06. While every other mid and top level manager in the US is held accountable for their companies numbers (and already were before), these two guys get off scot-free. Again - a little outrage please?
The U.S. claims to be willing to publish controversial ideas in the name of freedom of speech, but not when it comes to Islam. Many of the "leading" news outlets onlyoffer lame excusesas to why they won't even show the Muhammed cartoons in question. Michelle Malkinsays that even Fox News was afraid to show them on tv.
Rotterdam, the 2nd largest city in the Netherlands, recently passed a bill, which encourages its people to speak only Dutch in schools and at work. Netherlands has historically been thought of as a tolerant society and has given its people the freedom to choose what they want. However, in recent years, many Dutch have realized that there is a big problem in assimilating its non-Western immigrants, who in many cases, have no desire to be or speak Dutch.
I for one, have no problems with this new bill, especially in schools and the workplace. People should really respect the Dutch culture if that's where they live. I'm not 100% sure if the new law to force people who don't want to be Dutch to feel Dutch will work, but it's definitely worth a try. And since 35% of Rotterdam is considered non-western, it'll be a good test case.
The reactions of most immigrants seem to be typical. They don't like it. Hey, if people don't like where they're living, they can always move back to their country of origin. That's freedom.
The Coretta Scott King funeral was essentially a redux of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a funeral-turned-political rally. Today both Rev. Joseph Lowery and Jimmy Carter used speaking appearances at King's funeral service to once again bash President Bush.
No class. I guess it's what we've come to expect from Carter - the man with the distinction of holding the title of Worst President in American History.
I caught a small part of Larry Kudlow's panel on tv today, where a panel of Democrats, Republicans and Steve Forbes talked about the budget and tax cuts. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) toed the standard line that we couldn't extend the capital gains tax cuts because "they cost too much."
Upon which Steve Forbes responded (paraphrasing), "What do you mean when you say the tax cuts cost money? Last year government revenues were up 15%. If you get a $10,000 raise and you spend $20,000, you have a spending problem, not a revenue problem."
Dorgan seemed a bit stunned and, of course, didn't have an answer. And it's the first time I have actually heard anyone question a legislator on the issue. Thank you, Steve.
And the good news is that Rep. Dreier (R-CA) said that the House has the votes to extend the tax cuts. Let's hope...
Neil Boortzhas a telling post about CNN's recent decision not to show the offensive Muslim cartoons.
..."CNN has chosen not to show the cartoons out of respect for Islam." Well, isn't that special. Go ahead and show a painting of the Virgin Mary created out of elephant poo, but withhold the pictures of these cartoons that are causing carnage around the world. We don't want to insult Muslims, do we? Catholics? Well, apparently they're on their own.
CNN is used to selective self-righteousness. It also refused to show American hostages being decapitated in Iraq but were more than happy to show Abu Ghraib photos.
Porter Goss, the CIA director, is intent on finding out who leaked details of covert CIA operations to the press. But unlike the Valerie Plame case, in which the targets of the investigation were Republicans, this investigation will likely result in investigating anti-Bush forces within the CIA. Hence, ABC's article title, "Is CIA Leak Probe a Witch Hunt?"
I don't recall that label being used when Karl Rove was a potential target of a recent leak investigation...
Gateway Pundithas an interesting post on some fake cartoons that Danish imams were using on their Middle East tours.
Just a hunch, but I bet Denmark will re-examine its extremely generous immigration and welfare policies, of which the majority of beneficiaries are indeed Muslims. Perhaps the disgruntled would be happier under the leadership of the Syrian, Iranian or Saudi regimes.
I watched some of the Senate FISA hearings yesterday, where Attorney General Gonzales was asked publicly about the NSA terrorist spying program. The most interesting exchange was when Gonzales said that one of the restrictions the President placed on himself to balance liberties with security was to listen only to those conversations in which one terrorist suspect was outside of the country (ie. no domestic calls).
Upon saying it, a few Democrats (including Biden and Kohl) immediately attacked Gonzales by saying that it seemed irresponsible not to listen to a domestic phone call if we had some suspicion that both callers were suspected terrorists. That's right - they figured that if they can't get any traction by criticizing the Administration for "abusing our civil liberties," then they'd try to get him for not going far enough in intercepting terrorist phone calls.
Interesting tactic, but I really don't think it will work.
Former President Clinton has an interesting take on wiretapping during his administration:
"To the best of my knowledge, all of the wiretaps we did were conducted in accord with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "
You know, the last cases on this that were relevant were probably Lincoln's suspension or the writ of habeas corpus and two cases around the Civil War called Ex-parte Yeager and Ex-parte McArdle..."
That's right - the man who was found to have hundreds of FBI files on his political opponents and whose national security advisor was caught stealing classified documents thinks that wiretapping terrorist suspects is similar to suspending habeas corpus. To his credit, he did say that he hadn't studied the matter enough to know whether what Bush did was illegal. (Though a President should have researched it...especially when Al Qaeda already attacked us five times.)
I know there have been rumors about a coup in Syria in the past, so take this story with a grain of salt:
The Iranian Republican Guard has reportedly been put on alert to forestall a coup in ally Syria by military figures loyal to former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam, currently in exile in France. In a reportage from Damascus, the Iranian website Saztab - close to the Republican Guard (Pasdaran) - announced the Pasdaran are examining the backgrounds of many army and airforce officers considered close to the former vice president.
Victor Davis Hansonasks whether the Europeans are finally waking up to the realities of Islamofascists. I'm still skeptical, although certain countries will find out the hard truth individually. (I think Denmark might now be fully on board.)
With all the commotion and publicity over the Danish cartoons that have been used by Muslims to start rioting, Brit Hume described it best on Fox News Sunday.
He called the Muslim/Arab reaction a "disgrace" and a "howling double standard." Hume also noted that it would be nice if the slandering of Christianity or Judaism or the slaughtering of innocent civilians around the world in the name of Islam brought the same type of outrage.
They are actions like this that make me wonder whether democracy really can take place in certain Muslim areas in the Middle East.
As No Left Turnspoints out, the Romanians are very excited about having a permanent U.S. base in its country. As part of an agreement that Condi Rice signed with Romania in December, the U.S. will station approximately 2,000 soldiers in the former Soviet country. According to the WaPo:
"We think the establishment of an American base here will be an opportunity for our little town for development," said Vice Mayor Gheorghe Ciocoiu, a former Romanian air force pilot who flew MiG-29s at the base for 13 years before retiring to "this place we love."
"We could feel something happening economically in the community," he [resident Catalin Gheondea] said. "They created jobs and opened shops. It was different -- people had money."
Just like jobs in the private sector of its economy, Germany is finding out that American bases can also be outsourced to friendler countries in Eastern Europe.
When you read articles like this, you wonder how people can state so definitively that Islam is the religion of peace. (I know, these people don't represent all Muslims, but based on the worldwide Muslim reaction to these cartoons, it seems that more than a few are calling for vengeance.) I think calling for the destruction of Denmark might be a bit of an overreaction...
CIA headPorter Goss today saidthat the damage done by the leak to the NY Times of the U.S. phonetapping of Al Qaeda members "has been very severe to our capabilities..."
If a U.S. citizen can be convicted for undermining U.S. national security interests, I wonder if they could also hold the NY Times responsible by either fines or convictions. Hey - they ran Arthur Andersen out of business without even convicting the firm.
Viking Pundit is very skeptical that another bipartisan Social Security commission will do much good. I agree.
Frankly, until SS benefits are sharply reduced, Americans won't care. And members of Congress, who have their own retirement plans, also don't care. But the quote of the day goes to Michael Graham, conservative talk show host:
When Democrats began celebrating wildly the fact that they have done nothing to rescue Social Security, they handed Bush an opportunity to step away from the text and point out the partisan cynicism of celebrating failure. My comment would have been "Remember that applause 13 years from now when Social Security goes broke."
To counter the Islamic demands for a boycott of Danish goods and for Denmark's government to apologize for "insensitive" newspaper cartoons about Muhammed, many conservative bloggers are encouraging a "Buy Denmark" campaign. (Imagine if Bush had to apologize for everything the NY Times said...) The Muslim charge is ludicrous anyway - there are few countries who have more liberal and generous immigration policies (the majority of which are Muslims) than Denmark.
Bob Novak gets it right in his column - namely, that President Bush didn't please conservatives last night with a watered down ("centrist") speech. And, since he can never please Democrats regardless of what he says, he got nothing for his effort.
Unfortunately, I think his speech went over as a dud and a wasted chance. If Bush can't pass conservative reform with a solid GOP Congress, particularly on taxes, spending and market choice, then there is no point in having a majority.