Sunday, August 28, 2005

This Site Has Moved... the all-new Decision '08 version 2.0. Please join me there, won't you?...

More Crawford Pics

Hey, welcome back to my old home - looks kind of lonesome, doesn't it? Here are the pics, as promised:

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Complete FDNY 9/11 Records

Earlier today I linked to a small sampling of 9/11 audio clips released by the Fire Department of New York City; here, courtesy of the New York Times, is the complete set of records...

Able Danger: There Are Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknown Unknowns... Donald Rumsfeld might say. Our man AJStrata (see his latest here) gets some great pub from Jim Geraghty's TKS blog at National Review Online; Geraghty says Able Danger has got folks stirred up, and he's right there:
I don't know about you readers, but I feel like the revelations about Able Danger have stirred a certain energy, anger, and analytical adrenalin in the blogosphere that we haven't seen since the Rather memos.
Geraghty also lays out the dos and don'ts of our knowledge of Able Danger thus far; highly recommended...

Just Click and Scroll

Few things in all bloggerdom are more fun than reading Mickey Kaus when he's on a roll - and he's on a big one now...reading his thoughts on the continuing debasement of CNN by the hopeless Jonathan Klein is hilarious enough, but all of his other recent items are quite good as well...If you've got the time, I suggest you follow the advice of this post title, here...

The WaPo Hits Another One Out Of the Park

I've commented before, and recently, on the pleasant surprises that can await a visitor to the Washington Post's editorial pages these days, particularly when contrasted with the farcical decline of the New York Times under Gail Collins. Once again, the Post has come out with an unambigious stance that would be almost unimaginable from its rival. Commenting on the despicable attempt by NARAL to smear John Roberts, the Post says:

The ad released this week by NARAL Pro-Choice America is a distressing exception [to the otherwise relative civility of the debate over the Roberts nomination]. Seizing on his role in a 1993 Supreme Court decision as a lawyer for the government, it graphically -- and wholly unfairly -- seeks to tar Judge Roberts with being an apologist for abortion clinic bombings.

In releasing the ad, Nancy Keenan, NARAL's president, said in a statement that she wanted "to be very clear that we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence." That's funny, because the ad does precisely that. It opens with the scene of a bombed clinic -- a clinic attacked years after the case in question -- and then shows a victim of the bombing. An announcer intones that "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber." It closes with the announcer telling viewers that "America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans." A reasonable viewer can only conclude that Judge Roberts -- who served as deputy solicitor general in the administration of George H.W. Bush -- had somehow justified or defended a clinic bombing...

...NARAL is certainly within its rights to disagree with the position the government took in the case. But the impression it creates with this ad is not an argument but a smear-- a smear that will do less to discredit Judge Roberts than it will the organization that created it.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

When Commenters Attack... not the latest crappy reality show from Fox, but rather a reality horrow show taking place at Erick-Woods Erickson's Confessions of a Political Junkie. Read the post, then look at the comments, for a picture perfect example of how a blog with open commenting can get hijacked by someone with an agenda (jeez, seems like something similar may have happened in these parts not too long ago, as I'm sure my regulars will recall)...

9/11: Listen As It Happened...

By now, you've probably heard that the NYC Fire Department has just released a ton of new 9/11 recordings and documents. You can listen to some of them here...a chilling reminder of why we fight...

I'm In the Wrong Line of Work

A research scientist has just left $105 million to the NYU School of Medicine. $105 million dollars - a research scientist. Have I mentioned before that I've wasted my life?...

More Progress From England

Blair's government is keeping up the heat on radical Islamists by intituting a ban on the return of the hateful cleric Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, who fled Britain in haste to seek refuge in Lebanon. The details:
In a statement today, the Home Office said that Charles Clarke, the home secretary, had written to Sheik Mohammed to tell him he no longer has the right to live in Britain. "The Home Secretary has issued an order revoking Omar Bakri Mohammed's indefinite leave to remain and to exclude him from the U. K. on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good," the statement said.

The government's move came a day after it announced that it had seized and planned to deport Abu Qatada, another British-based cleric accused of fomenting violence against the West, along with nine other foreigners suspected of posing threats to national security.

Good for England, and good for the world. We need more clear, unequivocal actions of this sort...

Better Late Than Never

After 15 days of complete silence, the New York Times has finally noticed the Air America scandal. Leon H, who suffered no such lapse, has the scoop...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

So Close I Can Taste It...

Barring some totally unforeseen eventuality, this site will officially close this weekend, to be replaced by the new one, maybe tomorrow, maybe Saturday. I'm getting quite anxious, now that I'm almost there. Today, I solved what had been a really pesky obstacle, a Cascading Style Sheet problem that was killing me in Firefox (anyone who's ever banged their head in frustration at the different renderings between Internet Explorer and Firefox will know exactly what I mean)...I'm like a kid in a candy store, I can't wait!...

Able Danger, Everywhere!

It's starting to feel like a blogswarm...thanks to utron, AJStrata (read his latest Able Danger news here) and Greg Bullock (whose latest delicious takedown of MoDo can be found here) for pointing out these links from Little Green Footballs, Captain Ed, Rick Moran, and Dr. Sanity, and just for good measure, I'm throwing in the great Tom Maguire. The upshot: people are really excited about two possibilities:
  1. Was the Atta connection left out because it interfered with the Commission's conclusions regarding Mohammed Atta's (alleged) trip to Prague to meet with Iraqis?
  2. Does Sandy Berger's inexcusable destruction of documents relate to Able Danger?
There is a third possibility, much less exciting: perhaps Atta's name was not passed on because it was one of dozens or hundreds or even thousands uncovered in the data-mining. Regardless, I stand by my earlier call for congresssional hearings. Let's get it all on the table and see where it goes...

Will Vs. Carter: The Battle of the Briefing Book

Our good friend and disastrous one-term president Jimmy Carter is telling a fib, and George Will ain't gonna stand still for it. Read the whole thing, but the intro is particularly delicious:
A quarter of a century has passed since 44 states said "No, thanks" to Jimmy Carter's offer to serve a second term, yet he still evidently thinks his loss is explained not by foreign policy debacles, such as invading Iran with eight helicopters, and a misery index -- inflation plus unemployment -- of 22, almost triple today's index.
Ahh, that's satisfying stuff...

How Dishonest is the Huffington Post?

This Walter Pincus Washington Post story is linked from the front page. This is the conclusion:
Two other sources appear to support the view that Wilson's wife suggested her husband's trip. One is a June 2003 memo by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The other, which depends in good part on the INR document, is a statement of the views of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and two other Republican members. That statement was attached to the full committee report on its 2004 inquiry into the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The INR document's reference to the Wilson trip is contained in two sentences in a three-page memo on why the State Department disagreed with the idea that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa -- a view that would ultimately be endorsed after the Iraq invasion by the U.S. weapons hunter David Kay. The notes supporting those two sentences in the INR document say that the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was "apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch [him] to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue," according to the Senate intelligence committee report. But one Senate Democratic staff member said, "That was speculation, that was not true."

The full Senate committee report says that CPD officials "could not recall how the office decided to contact" Wilson but that "interviews and documents indicate his wife suggested his name for the trip." The three Republican senators wrote that they were more certain: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee."

The Huffington Post's headline? CIA Officials, not Valerie Plame, Chose Ambassador Joe Wilson for Niger Trip.

You know, it's one thing to be partisan, but time after time, Arianna's site puts up headlines that have little to do with, or are directly contradicted by, the stories they link to. Tabloids would ashamed of these tactics...regardless of whether Arianna's venture is a success or failure commercially, it is an embarrassment of major proportions, and should signal the end of Arianna's credibility.

Jagger Doesn't Even Have the Courage of His Convictions

I think Mick Jagger is one of the great rock and roll stars of all time, but I'm gonna call 'em as I see 'em, and his current attempt to have his cake and eat it, too, isn't going to fly. Jagger has penned a song called 'Sweet Neo Con', as you may have heard, and as you may suspect, it's a diatribe against the Bush Administration. That's obvious to everyone but Jagger:

The Rolling Stones' upcoming album contains a song seemingly critical of President Bush, but Mick Jagger denies it's directed at him, according to the syndicated TV show "Extra."

"It is not really aimed at anyone," Jagger said on the entertainment-news show's Wednesday edition. "It's not aimed, personally aimed, at President Bush. It wouldn't be called 'Sweet Neo Con' if it was."

The song is from the new album, "A Bigger Bang," set for release September 6.

There is no mention of Bush or Iraq. But it does refer to military contractor Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Cheney and has been awarded key Iraq contracts, and the rising price of gasoline.

"How come you're so wrong? My sweet neo-con, where's the money gone, in the Pentagon," goes one refrain.

The song also includes the line: "It's liberty for all, democracy's our style, unless you are against us, then it's prison without trial."

"It is certainly very critical of certain policies of the administration, but so what! Lots of people are critical," Jagger told "Extra."

Mick, Mick, Mick...rule number one: when you're in a hole, quit digging...

Air America: How The Weak Have Fallen

Leon H has the latest on the developing Air America scandal, and notes that it's finally penetrating some traditional media outlets two weeks in. Leon's been on this story like Garfield on lasagna, so be sure to look to him for the latest...

Woodward: It's Cheney in 2008

Bob Woodward is predicting that Dick Cheney will be the 2008 Republican presidential nominee:
If Bob Woodward is right, it will be The Old Man and the She in the 2008 showdown for the White House. Speaking in Colorado last night, the Washington Post journalist predicted that Vice President Dick Cheney and former First Lady Hillary Clinton would face off in the next election for president. Speaking as part of the Aspen Institute's McCloskey Speaker Series, Woodward explained why it is "highly likely" President Bush might implore Cheney to seek the Oval Office."He would be 67 if he ran and was elected," Woodward said, according to a Denver Post account. "Reagan was 69. Republicans always like the old warhorse….both parties like to nominate vice presidents. ... Cheney would do it, and I think it's highly likely, so stay tuned."
The Old Man and the She? Ouch! I think Woodward is wrong, wrong, wrong on this one, and I see no reason to change the analysis I provided here, except to add the additional disadvantage that he would be closely associated with the Iraqi intelligence debacle, nor my odds. I'd vote for him, but I think a campaign would, literally, kill him...

Able Danger: Congressional Hearings Seem To Be In Order

AJStrata joins the MinuteMan and others in broaching the subject of Congressional Hearings into the Mohammed Atta / Able Danger breaking story. For once, I'm gonna ignore my usual cautious impulses and agree; let's look into this thing fully...

UPDATE 2:01 p.m. central: Yet more from AJ here...

9/11 Commission: Oh, Yeah, NOW We Remember

On the heals of a New York Times story revealing that the 9/11 commission knew of, but ignored, the Able Danger/Atta angle, the always-excellent MinuteMan is now convinced, as AJStrata was from the beginning, that the Able Danger story represents a monumental intelligence foul-up:
...At this point we ought to await a description of the one hour condensed briefing that, per Weldon, was given to Gen. Hugh Shelton in January 2001 - that would seem to represent a clear, contemporaneous version of the Able Danger product. It is still dimly possible that the Able Danger briefing given to the 9/11 Commission conflated the initial effort with some post-9/11 updating, and that the original Able Danger briefing either had no names, or too many names to have been useful. Very dimly possible.

But assuming for a moment that Weldon is holding aces, how monumental an intelligence debacle is this, and who will be blamed? The obvious whipping boys of summer would be Clinton/Berger/Gorelick, for fostering an overly legalistic approach to the War on Terror; Bush/Tenet/Rice for failing to draw this information from the system in the summer of 2001, when we were at a high terrorist threat level and Tenet's hair was on fire; and Gen. Hugh Shelton and the Pentagon. Gen. Shelton (ret.) was Chairman of the JCS in Jan 2001 - if he heard and downplayed the Able Danger briefing then, he and the Pentagon might prefer to see it buried now.

As to how significant an error this was - obviously, after the fact Mohammed Atta was very important. Although I assume Able Danger did not offer any specific projections about hijacking planes, if Atta had been put under closer surveillance, the 9/11 plot might have been disrupted. Still, a point to ponder - was Atta noted by Able Danger as a key Al Qaeda figure even in 2001, or was he just one name among fifty, or five hundred?

I suspect that Congressional hearings into this will be forthcoming.

While the Democrats play with the pretend scandal of the publicity hound Joe Wilson and his wife, a truly deadly scandal may have played out under the watch of the last Democratic President. More to come, no doubt...

This Is News?

The quest to unearth something that might derail the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts is becoming increasingly desperate. Today, the Washington Post gives big play to this blockbuster:

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. once urged a previous nominee, Sandra Day O'Connor, not to tell members of Congress how she might vote in cases likely to come before the court.

In a memo written on the eve of O'Connor's Senate confirmation hearings in 1981, Roberts -- then a senior aide to the attorney general helping prepare her -- told her that answering such questions would create an "appearance of impropriety" because her answers might be seen as prejudicing the outcome of cases not yet argued before the court on which she would serve.

Sounds like good advice to me...

Meanwhile, in related Roberts News, the AP is reporting that the nominee once made bunny ears behind a grade school teacher, and, on three seperate occasions in 1982, secretly gave dinner table scraps to his then dog, Muffin...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quick Shots: One Nation, Under God - For Now...

Scott Elliott looks at the latest Pledge of Allegiance court case and wonders if removing God from public life doesn't just enshrine the 'belief' of atheism...

At Americans for Freedom, jp is wondering if the Plame investigation is heading in another direction. Calling AJStrata, come in, AJ...

I'm calling it a night, but before I do, just a quick update. I have imported my Blogger posts into the WordPress blog, and imported the Haloscan comments, with the exception of the posts and comments from the last day or so, but you have to draw the line somewhere and just run with it, and I didn't want to suspend posting while the transition was going on. What's it mean? It means the hard work is done. Now I just need to finish up formatting, recreating the posts and comments since I imported, and just odds and ends like that (I think I lose the trackbacks, unfortunately...there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about that). Here's where I think I am...I should be ready to make the switch by the end of the weekend, if not before. Whoo-hooo! Getting very close now...

Rudy G., McCain Top Hillary, Trounce Kerry

Longtime reader Fred sends a link to this story worth quoting in its entirety:
NEW YORK Apparently it's never to early to speculate on the 2008 race for the White House. Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night had an "Indecision 2008" segment and Gallup just released a new survey on various trial heats. And guess what: Rudy Giulani is in the early lead in the Gallup gallop.

Its most recent survey in late July found the former New York mayor with the highest favorable rating among several top possible choices, at 64%, with Hillary Clinton clocking in at 53%, John McCain at 51% and Sen. John Kerry at just 42%.

Face to face, both Republicans (right now) top Clinton by the same margin, 50% to 45%, and trounce Kerry 54% to 41%.

One problem with Clinton: Her unfavorable rating, at 43%, is nearly twice as high as McCain's, and more than double that for Guiliani. Her favorable rating has remained pretty much at the same level, in the low 50s, for two years.

GOP loyalty for their candidates, at 87%, exceeds the Democrats' 80% level.
Hopeful signs, but caution remains the watchword...

A Conservative Deadhead? You Bet I Am...And I'm Not Alone

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of a loss that hit me hard on a personal level; it was the day Jerry Garcia finally paid the price for his stupid lifelong love affair with heroin. The music of the Grateful Dead is an acquired taste; some can't stand the lengthy breathing room and sometimes aimless noodling that were the price of the occasional flashes of sheer brilliance.

That's fine; to each his own. Once the taste is acquired, though, it's incredibly consuming. One is reminded of the famous Bill Graham tribute: 'They're not the best at what they do; they're the only ones who do what they do.' So it is with great pleasure that I give you this piece from the NY Sun, about famous conservative Deadheads Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, and Deroy Murdock, and how it is that we conservatives could have such a great time in the midst of 40,000 hippies.

I can pretty much endorse the sentiment of the article. Besides the genuinely great music Garcia and gang put out on the best nights, there was a genuine love of the fans, and love between the fans, that was thrilling, comforting, and is greatly, greatly missed. RIP, you big ol' lug, and thanks for the memories...

Everything That's Wrong with Pro-Choicers in One Cartoon

Yeah, I know, that headline makes no sense whatsoever; see here for the details (hat tip to BSR, who, I have on good authority, is NOT the kid pictured with this post)...

Even More on Able Danger

It IS how we got Atta's name that's the problem (see below), says Mickey Kaus, who writes about something that's been bothering me since the Able Danger story broke...and that is this: is our libertarian, instinctual resistance to government data mining compromising our national security - to the point that, in fact, this resistance allowed 9/11 to occur? It's not a slam dunk, but certainly a case can be made...and a far stronger case than the one Leftists routinely throw out about how 9/11 could have been prevented by a vague briefing that al Qaeda was planning a strike...

Able Danger: Is the Problem How We Got Atta's Name?

I must confess that the Able Danger/Mohammed Atta story has, like the Plamegate scandal, so many threads to follow that I find it difficult isolating the significant facts, times, documents, etc., so as a public service to those who may be similarly confused, I present the musings of the MinuteMan and AJStrata. Clearly something is here; but it's safe to say, at this point we're not sure what...

A Textbook Example of Bad Timing

What is with these jurors that are intimidated into not voting their conscience? What power do they think the other jurors have over them? Do we need to start having 'jury duties' added to mandatory public school classes? These are the questions this story brings to mind...

MoDo's Back...

...and as strident as ever.

W. can't get no satisfaction on Iraq.

There's an angry mother of a dead soldier camping outside his Crawford ranch, demanding to see a president who prefers his sympathy to be carefully choreographed.

A new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans now think that going to war was a mistake and that the war has made the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. So fighting them there means it's more likely we'll have to fight them here?

Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged yesterday that sophisticated bombs were streaming over the border from Iran to Iraq.

And the Rolling Stones have taken a rare break from sex odes to record an antiwar song called "Sweet Neo Con," chiding Condi Rice and Mr. Bush. "You call yourself a Christian; I call you a hypocrite," Mick Jagger sings. how was that vacation, Maureen?...You don't seem very rested or relaxed...

NY Times: Sevan's Corruption 'Small-Bore'

My, oh, my, apparently $147,000 isn't what it used to be. The latest big media outlet to downplay the six figure embezzlement of the head of the Oil for Food program, Benon Sevan, is the Gray Lady herself:

If he did take kickbacks, it is still unclear whether the Iraqis thought they were bribing him, rewarding him for being on their side on many issues or simply yielding to his persistence. The report cites instances in which Mr. Sevan argued for easing constraints on Iraq and contends that he knew from personal experience that Iraq was imposing surcharges on recipients of oil allocations yet played down the problem. What's striking is how small-bore the corruption he is accused of looks against the backdrop of a $65 billion oil-for-food program.
The Times Editorial Board (read: Gail Collins) expresses a continued, quite-unjustified faith in the man who should be stopping the buck:

The U.N. clearly needs management reform and closer monitoring to prevent corruption. But neither of these cases sheds much light on what sins, if any, can be attributed to Secretary General Kofi Annan, or on how Saddam Hussein was able to manipulate the program to gain perhaps $2 billion in illicit revenue. For that, we must await next month's report.

Or you could just read Claudia Rosett and find out what's really going on.

Contrast the attitude of the increasingly partisan Times with the well-reasoned, fact-facing response of the Washington Post:
...Mr. Annan's failure to understand that the oil-for-food program was corrupt at its heart -- or perhaps at its head, given the evidence about its director's behavior -- is disturbing. The oil-for-food program -- along with the other forms of sanctions-busting effectively condoned by the United States and others -- was designed to allow Saddam Hussein's government to enrich itself at the expense of Iraq's people. It was a deeply disturbing example of how the United Nations' humanitarian impulse can sometimes go badly wrong. As long as any part of the institution or its defenders continues to believe that the oil-for-food disaster was an insignificant affair dreamed up by U.S. lawmakers and their friends in the media, it's hard to see how any reform, however beautifully structured on paper, will achieve much in practice. Reform begins with an end to self-delusion.

It seems the Post is getting better in direct proportion to the Times getting worse...

9/11 Commission to Review Atta/Able Danger Claim

The assertion by Representative Curt Weldon that the Able Danger team identified Mohammed Atta as an al Qaeda operative in 2000 will be investigated by the 9/11 Commission. Let's hope they get to the bottom of it; though some reasons have been given to be skeptical, the accusation is too explosive to go unexamined. I will be anxiously awaiting the findings...

A Very Good Question... start your day. Christopher Hitchens wonders how the Left can view the Iraq War through the lense of neutrality or hostility:
How can so many people watch this as if they were spectators, handicapping and rating the successes and failures from some imagined position of neutrality? Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East?
I'm not holding my breath...but, as usual, the Hitch is absolutely right...

Sorry For the Light Posting...

...and a heads up that it may be that way for a day or two (light posting, that is...I will be posting some), but I have a very good excuse. I'm getting quite close to unveiling my new WordPress format, hosted environment, got-its-own-domain, brand-spanking new Decision '08 v 2.0. So please bear with's a much cleaner design, far easier on the eyes, and just overall, a vast improvement over the status quo...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Et Tu, Mick?

Reason #493 not to pay any attention to the political views of most celebrities: this, from the Rolling Stones' upcoming album A Bigger Bang:
...The most searing moment, on a song called "Sweet Neo Con," isn't personal but political. "You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of s--t."
'Sweet Neo Con'? Oh, how have the mighty's a long way from 'What can a poor boy do / 'cept to sing for a rock'n'roll band/ 'cause a sleepy London town just ain't no place for a street fighting man' to tripe like that...

Even Al Freakin' Franken Is Talking...

...about the Air America scandal, that is, but still no word from the 'paper of record'. Hmmm...

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident: That All Liberals Are Created Equal

AcademicElephant brings us the latest PC diversity outreach effort, this time at Columbia University, an institution that we've recently gained some familiarity with. Needless to say, there is one underrepresented minority (the conservative academic) the initiative seems to overlook...

Hugo Chavez: Promises Destruction of U.S., Marvels At New Ocean-Front Arizona Property

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised a group of students that the U.S. will 'bite the dust' if we implement the long-rumored Venezuelan invasion that is the clandestine center of our global neocon strategy:
Chavez said late Monday that the U.S. government, which "won't stop caressing the idea of invading Cuba or invading Venezuela," should be warned of the consequences.

"If someday they get the crazy idea of coming to invade us, we'll make them bite the dust defending the freedom of our land," Chavez said to applause.

He spoke during the opening ceremony of a world youth festival bringing together student delegations from across the world and convened under the slogan "Against Imperialism and War."

Chavez called the United States the "most savage, cruel and murderous empire that has existed in the history of the world."

Chavez, who maintains Ringo was the 'really talented Beatle', also spoke to the assembled students about his alliance with Santa Claus, saying his intelligence-gathering operations are second to none: "This guy, he sees you sleeping, awake, whatever - he's got the goods."...

Show Me The Money, Again and Again

It's often useful, when presented with an argument that sounds facile or counterintuitive, to look at the messenger with a close focus on where [s]he gets his paycheck. This is a very good principle to follow in the case of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its opposition to 'racial profiling' on the New York subways. As this excellent piece from Investor's Business Daily (hat tip to Little Green Footballs and Power Line) points out:
[CAIR's national spokesman Ibrahim] Hooper is also on record claiming CAIR receives no "support from any overseas group or government." But land records revealed in the book "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" put the lie to that claim.

It turns out that an anti-Israeli foundation run by the crown prince of Dubai owns the very deed to CAIR's headquarters located almost in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. The foundation has held telethons to support families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Who else might be providing support to CAIR? Don't look to the organization istelf for transparency:
CAIR's funding for a campaign to place pro-Islamic texts in public libraries throughout the country has been identified as coming in part from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, a member of the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam. Who else is funding CAIR? What are their backgrounds? What specifically is CAIR doing in exchange for the money?
Still, this is all pretty mild so far. Aren't most Saudi royals Wahhabis? The deed owned by an anti-Israel foundation? Perhaps you're underwhelmed. How about we throw in some direct ties to Hamas?

One of those groups, CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, is among the most dangerous to American security. CAIR is an outgrowth of Hamas front group the Islamic Association of Palestine. Oliver "Buck" Revell was the FBI's associate director in charge of Investigative and Counter-Intelligence Operations from 1985 to 1991, in charge of all FBI terrorism investigations. "[The Islamic Association of Palestine] is an organization that has directly supported Hamas military goals," he told Capitol Hill newspaper, "The Hill." "It is a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants. It has produced videotapes that are very hate-filled, full of vehement propaganda. It is an organization that has supported direct confrontation." It is also an organization that exists without impingement in Texas.

CAIR's founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, was IAP's public relations director ("Muslim-Americans in Mainstream America," The Link, February-March 2000). Islamic Association of Palestine's publications, including Muslim World Monitor - of which Awad was contributing editor - and Al-Zaitonah, frequently praise terrorist actions.

Awad was the gentleman with the neatly trimmed beard, sitting a couple seats from Mrs. Bush at the president's big speech to Congress and standing next to Bush at several events, including the D.C. mosque and National Cathedral services. IAP and CAIR, according to Revell, had "intertwined membership" and CAIR used IAP propaganda materials.

Incidentally, Awad - for mysterious reasons - appears to have changed his name. On CAIR's 1994 IRS form 990, he is listed as "CAIR Executive Director Nehad A. Hammad." And then there is the similarity in staff.

Besides Awad, CAIR Director of Communications Ibrahim Hooper also worked for IAP. Rafeeq Jaber, IAP's current president, was a founding director of CAIR.

CAIR's funding comes from groups like the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. When it was founded in 1994, CAIR received its original $5,000 from HLF. Mohammed Nimer, director of CAIR's Research Center, was on the Board of United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), the strategic arm of Hamas in the U.S., according to the New York Times. It was founded by Mousa Abu Marzook, the political chief of Hamas and a well-known terrorist operative.

Awad, in the Muslim World Monitor, called the trial and conviction of the first World Trade Center (WTC) bombers, "a travesty of justice." He has openly expressed his support for terrorist groups, like Hamas. "I am in support of the Hamas movement," he said at a 1994 Barry University panel discussion, "The Road to Peace: The Challenge of the Middle East." He's also openly praised Ayatollah Khomeini. Remember him - the guy who directed the taking of U.S. hostages in Iran?

Hooper, echoing the Taliban government, has always refused to condemn Osama bin Laden. In a 1998 interview, after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, Hooper said the bombings were a result of "misunderstanding of both sides." Today, he still will not condemn bin Laden, only the attacks on the WTC. Hooper also defended Arab Muslim Sudan's murder of over two million black Christian citizens and the slavery, rape and torture of millions more, dismissing it as "inter-tribal hostage-taking."

Given the above history, pardon me if I don't treat CAIR's concerns with enough, ahem, care...

Oh, To Be Clueless, In This Carnival of Life

Yes, that's right, it's the ninth edition of the Carnival of the Clueless, so climb aboard and get ready for some good reading...

Have a Nice Trip, and Don't Come Back

I absolutely love this story. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has a message for Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed:
"Enjoy your holiday... make it a long one".

The Deputy Prime Minister, on the second day of his annual holiday cover for Tony Blair, spoke out after it emerged that the preacher - who left Britain for Lebanon on Saturday - had informed reporters that he was merely taking a break.

Asked about the radical Islamist's suggestion that if he was not welcome in England he would not return, Mr Prescott told a news conference in London: "Good."

He was then asked whether Mr Bakri Mohammed was welcome here, and replied: "I don't think he is welcome by many people in this country, is he?

"But at the moment he has the right to come in and out. That is the circumstances at present and we have to change situations in this country by law. It's a democracy, not a dictatorship, for God's sake. I just say 'Enjoy your holiday, make it a long one.'"

The following statement illustrates why Prescott is glad to see Mohammed go:

In the telephone interview, Mr Bakri Mohammed said that he would return to Britain to clear his reputation, adding that he had never committed a crime. But the cleric reiterated his belief that it would be "against Islam" for him to inform the police of any terrorist attacks that he knew were being planned in Britain.

"I say publicly, Islam forbids me to report any Muslims, even if he is oppressive, you see, to the British police," he said. "Islam forbid me, that don't mean I know about crime."

Clearly, Blair's government has taken the gloves off, and that can only be a good thing...

The Headline Says It All

Shuttles Touches Down To Sighs of Relief...indeed...

Jeb 2008? I'm Just Not Seeing It

Brendan Miniter, writing in the Wall Street Journal, gamely tries to keep Jeb Bush's 2008 prospects alive by offering an endorsement of sorts of a Bush doctrine of incrementally smaller government:
Before stepping out onto the national stage, this Bush generation's ideas of incrementally smaller government proved popular with voters in two large states. George W. Bush defeated Democratic incumbent Ann Richards in 1994 to become governor of Texas and was re-elected in 1998. The Lone Star State is clearly among the most conservative in the country, but Gov. Bush helped turn what was once a reliably Democratic state into one where Republicans now dominate. Jeb, meanwhile, lost a hard-fought race for governor in Florida in 1994. But he came back four years later and was re-elected in 2002, despite the residual bitterness from the 2000 presidential election and the Democrats' decision to make his defeat a priority.
Yes, well...that may have been true in Texas and Florida, but in Washington, Bush hasn't shown much inclination towards smaller government outside of Social Security reform, leading nicely into Miniter's next point:
Political symmetry also favors Jeb Bush. Even if President Bush manages to get some sort of private Social Security account this year, it's now becoming clear that the bulk of the reform is unlikely to come until after 2008. Bush 43 may succeed in establishing the principle of private accounts within the Social Security system, but it will likely be the next president (perhaps Bush 44) who will have the opportunity to steer the bulk of our payroll taxes into such accounts. Voters gave FDR four back-to-back terms. They may now conclude that replacing the New Deal with an Ownership Deal will take sending a Bush to the White House in three or four successive elections.

Remaking New Deal entitlements into assets individual Americans can own may become a powerful political philosophy that nudges into oblivion FDR's already dwindling coalition of union members and entitlement beneficiaries. Jeb Bush's close association to George W. would be an asset if voters embrace the Ownership Society. By 2008 we'll also likely have a national consensus on how well the democratic experiment is working in Iraq. If Americans continue to support spreading democracy as our best defense against international terrorism, Jeb's last name will also be an asset here as well.
It all sounds a bit too rosy to me; I support Social Security privitization, and God knows, I support the Iraq War, but I don't think emphasizing either will be the road to success in 2008. Nor do I believe that the last name of Bush will be quite the asset Miniter thinks it is.

In other words, color me unconvinced and still of the opinion that Jeb remains a considerable long shot...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Another Story of What Might Have Been

AJStrata has the scoop on yet another story that illustrates how close we had been to preventing 9/11 if red tape could have been replaced with better cooperation. It is certainly borderline infuriating (hell, infuriating, period) how much information we knew about the hijackers prior to 9/11, including monitoring by government agencies that knew they were national security risks. I still think many people, including the main culprit of AJ's story, got off way too easy for what seem to be colossal, incredibly costly blunders...

UPDATE 08/09/05 10:02 a.m. central: The MinuteMan pours a bit of water on the flames, suggesting we may be seeing a 'publicity leak' for an upcoming book...

UPDATE 08/09/05 3:47 p.m. central: Slate's Eric Umansky is very skeptical; Captain Ed says, fine, just don't let the skepticism run one way...

Columbia: The Epicenter Of Academic Apologists

How does fanaticism develop? What are the circumstances that allow the mentality of the suicide bomber to take root? One could (and many have) write a book on that subject, yet surely one mode to the acceptance of barbaric measures is the demonization of your enemies. When the source of the vitriol has an outwardly acceptable veneer, the insidious virus of hatred takes hold so much the easier. It should come as no surprise, then, that when we examine the roots of Islamic fascism, we discover much of the fuel coming from the world of academia, which, under the rubric of Middle Eastern Studies, promotes an ideology of hatred, and, yes, anti-Semitism (and by extension, anti-U.S. sentiment, as well, since we are identified with our allies, the Israelis).

An excellent article in Commentary by Efraim Karsh provides much of the backstory of how Columbia University came to epitomize this unfortunate trend. A sample:
It is difficult to overstate the tenacity of the resulting infestation of Arab dogmatism in Middle East studies as a field. Over the last two decades, one would be hard-pressed to find books on the Arab-Israeli conflict issuing from Middle East-studies departments that present the Jewish state in a dispassionate, let alone a positive, light, and hardly any such items appear on course reading lists. Thus, at Columbia, the syllabus for Joseph Massad's fall 2004 survey course on the Middle East included, in addition to readings from the canonical Edward Said and the subtler Orientalist Albert Hourani, a single work on Israel: a three-decades-old screed by the French Marxist historian of Islam, Maxime Rodinson, whose title, Israel, a Colonial-Settler State?, says it all. Scholars daring to defy the general stigmatization of Israel have been attacked and marginalized.
Highly recommended...

Air America: The Invisible Scandal?

I've had very little to say on the Air America scandal to date, because other bloggers have had the situation well-covered. The continuing silence of certain outlets, such as the NY Times, however, is becoming painfully obvious. For more on this topic and its implications, I refer you to the Right Honorable Leon H...

Oil For Food: Sevan's Take Down to "Just" $147,184

The third Interim Report of the Volcker commission is out, and again we see a disconnect between the way it is reported, and the serious of the offenses. Here is MSNBC on the embezzlement of the head of the program:
Some critics have accused the United Nations of squandering millions - and even billions - of dollars in its mismanagement of the program. Yet Volcker's team found that Sevan appeared to have received kickbacks of just $147,184 from December 1998 to January 2002.
So over three years time, Sevan only took about the gross median income of a U.S. citizen per year on top of his six-figure salary, money that was intended to help poor Iraqis disadvantaged by sanctions. It was "just $147,184", you see. Notice also the implication that because Sevan is only a six-figure thief personally, that critics who have accused the program of billions in fraud are somehow proven wrong.

Of course, no one has ever stated that the corruption began and ended with Sevan, to my knowledge. I would be willing to wager that there are several dozen recipients of similar largess out there, at the bare minimum.

As an example of the laxness of the U.N.'s monetary controls, there is this, from the same article:
Meanwhile, a U.N. procurement official has been arrested after investigators found evidence he took nearly $1 million in illegal payments from the winners of $79 million in U.N. contracts, a senior U.N. official said Monday...

...investigators also found that he secretly tried to bribe a company called Societe Generale de Surveillance S.A., which was seeking an oil inspection contract under oil-for-food.

They said Yakovlev passed secret bidding information along to a friend in France, Yves Pintore, who then approached SGS to check if it would "work with" him and "influential people in the U.N. in New York."

Volcker's team found no evidence that the company agreed to the bribe. However, it noted that Pintore essentially agreed to its characterization of his involvement.

And then there is this:

[The Interim Report] also found that two men helped Sevan: Fred Nadler, an AMEP director and brother-in-law of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali; and Fakhry Abdelnour, the president of AMEP.

Volcker's team recommended that the United Nations assist in their possible prosecution as well.

Does anyone truly believe they were isolated occurrences? Isn't it far more likely that they are symptomatic of a program and an organization that are hotbeds of corruption, and that this is only the beginning? I know which possibility I'm betting on...

UPDATE 8:28 p.m. central: More from Leon H, who has hit some of the points I was trying to in a much more lucid manner, and from AJStrata, who covers some angles I missed...

Q: How Liberal Is Eleanor Clift?

A: So liberal that she has a column about how the Democratic Party and the Kossacks are in bed together...and she thinks that's a good thing. Some highlights of Clift's glowing portrait of the former Weekly Jackass Kos:
No fewer than three esteemed political reporters from The Washington Post were in the audience taking notes on a steamy Thursday afternoon at a forum called "Reflections of a Blogger," sponsored by the New Politics Institute, a progressive think tank...

...For Democrats desperate to find their way back to a winning coalition, Moulitsas, 33, has emerged as one of the most creative thinkers and activists in the progressive ranks.
Three reporters - to cover the Kos? Creative thinker? Come on, Kos's popularity is due to one thing...he's carved out a niche as ground zero for Bush hatred. Moonbat Central, that's all it is...
Moulitsas is opposed to the Iraq war but says that isn't what drew him to Hackett. "It's not about ideology, pro-war, antiwar, it makes no difference," he insisted. "In the online world, we need Democrats to stand up, not be afraid of Republicans, not be afraid of the right-wing noise machine...We don't care about ideology. We care that you stand up for the party and don't run scared." He pointed out that bloggers backed Democrat Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota, who, he says, ran a Republican Lite campaign. "We're pragmatic," he says. If candidates aren't 100 percent on the environment or they're kind of iffy on choice, progressives should overlook these differences for what Moulitsas terms "the greater good," which is restoring the Democrats to a governing majority. would be hard to intentionally write a more dishonest paragraph than the one above. Pragmatic? Non-ideological? The Kos? The guy who calls Joe Lieberman a disloyal Democrat when he prefers to govern rather than toe the progressive line? The Kos who says Joe Biden is more fit to be president of MBNA than the United States (he may be right on that one)?

The simple equation is this: Progressive support=electoral defeat. It couldn't be any clearer. No Democrat will win the presidency who also has the support of the Daily Kos crowd - ever.

UPDATE 4:58 p.m. central: Many thanks to everyone's favorite elected blogger, John Behan, for the link...

Michael Barone Breaks the Taboo

The excellent Michael Barone crosses a line few would have dared to approach in the quite recent past, and strikes a solid blow against moral relativism in the bargain:
Multiculturalism is based on the lie that all cultures are morally equal. In practice, that soon degenerates to: All cultures are morally equal, except ours, which is worse. But all cultures are not equal in respecting representative government, guaranteed liberties and the rule of law. And those things arose not simultaneously and in all cultures, but in certain specific times and places -- mostly in Britain and America, but also in various parts of Europe.

...Most Americans know there is something special about our cultural heritage. While Harvard and Brown are replacing scholars of the founding period with those studying other things, book-buyers are snapping up first-rate histories of the Founders by David McCullough, Joseph Ellis and Ron Chernow.

Mutilculturalist intellectuals do not think our kind of society is worth defending. But millions here and increasing numbers in Britain and other countries know better.
Just so - respect for other cultures is a necessity, but we needn't elevate barbarism to the level of democracy.

The Stupidest Piece of the Day...

...and it's in no danger of being beaten, is this piece of tripe that's as bad as its headline:
[The United States] is [a] nation that acts for the common good in ways that were meticulously outlined by a radical liberal named Jesus.
Linda Valdez assures us Jesus would be for universal health care, better wages, you know: the Democratic party line. A couple of questions for Ms. Valdez, since she's so sure Jesus would be a liberal:
  • Would Jesus embrace the 'radical liberalism' that looks at His followers as inbred hicks and fights tooth and nail to remove religion from public life?
  • Would Jesus be pro-choice?
Of course, this is all a parlor game. We have no way of knowing what any historical figure, much less Jesus, would say about today's events, but given what we know of Jesus from His words and deeds, I think it's a pretty safe bet He would condemn the actions of both parties and shun politics altogether. Of course, I have no way of knowing, either: beware of anyone who starts a sentence, "If Jesus was alive today, He would...".

Warning: RINOs Have Been Sighted

That's right, it's the latest edition of RINO Sightings, so don't delay...plenty of excellent stuff this week, folks...have a great Monday (is that possible? Well, a not-so-bad one, anyway)...

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Well, we had heard the rumors, but it's now confirmed. Peter Jennings is dead at 67. Very, very sad...deepest sympathy and best wishes to his survivors. I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunity to discuss his legacy, life, and times, but I must say, right now, the news has me feeling rather blue. God bless, Mr. Jennings...

UPDATE 11:39 p.m. central: Good obituary from the NY Times here...

Almost Treason? What Line Remains to Be Crossed?

George Galloway had better watch his butt...the words 'treason' and 'hanging' are beginning to be attached to his name on a regular basis. Our Weekly Jackass is simply skewered in the London Times by Rod Liddle, who concludes:
Even for someone who agreed with you about the war in Iraq and the deception perpetrated by our government to prepare us all for it - the latest stuff feels suspiciously close to treason. It is hard to know whether we should laugh at Galloway or hang him.
My only quibble is the headline (which very well may not have been written by Liddle); 'almost treason' sounds like someone who's just not quite ready to state the clear implication of the evidence.

Oil-For-Food: Sevan Resigns, Blasts Annan

In anticipation of tomorrow's Third Interim Report by the Volcker Comission, former Oil-For-Food chief Benon Sevan has resigned. It has already been leaked that Sevan will be accussed of stealing 'as little as' $160,000 from starving Iraqis. Sevan took some parting shots at Kofi Annan:
"I fully understand the pressure that you are under, and that there are those who are trying to destroy your reputation as well as my own, but sacrificing me for political expediency will never appease our critics or help you or the Organization," Sevan wrote.
On this matter, Sevan is absolutely correct. It's good that he has resigned in shame, for corruption is inexcusable, but until Kofi steps up to the plate and accepts responsibility for his actions, the critics will absolutely not be appeased.

From Afghanistan To The Internet: Jihadist Training in the 21st Century

Fascinating piece in the Washington Post on the increasingly large role the Internet plays in providing training and communications to an al Qaeda that no longers has its (relatively) comfortable training area in Afghanistan. I recommend the entire (somewhat chilling) piece, but I offer one little taste for those lunatic fringers who still think Osama wasn't responsible for 9/11 (and I've met a couple, so I know they're out there):
In the snow-draped mountains near Jalalabad in November 2001, as the Taliban collapsed and al Qaeda lost its Afghan sanctuary, Osama bin Laden biographer Hamid Mir watched "every second al Qaeda member carrying a laptop computer along with a Kalashnikov" as they prepared to scatter into hiding and exile. On the screens were photographs of Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.
The size of the problem is daunting:
The number of active jihadist-related Web sites has metastasized since Sept. 11, 2001. When Gabriel Weimann, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel, began tracking terrorist-related Web sites eight years ago, he found 12; today, he tracks more than 4,500. Hundreds of them celebrate al Qaeda or its ideas, he said.
Further proof, if it is needed, that Juan Cole is completely wrong in painting a picture of homegrown terrorism without any organizational connections.

Transparency At The U.N.? Oh, Yeah, Like That'll Happen...

Claudia Rosett dicussess the latest Oil-For-Food machinations, specificially the manner in which Benon Sevan is hoist upon his own petard of secrecy. The stench from Turtle Bay is nearly overwhelming:
The United Nations did not disclose the names of the contractors, the price, quantity, or quality of goods. The U.N. provided no public accounting for the billions in bank balances, the interest collected, the letters of credit amended or even the $1.4 billion cut of Saddam's oil sales collected by Annan's secretariat to run the program (from which the Volcker inquiry is now drawing its $34 million budget, for which there has also been no public accounting).
I have only determined one thing the U.N. is good at; covering its own hindquarters...

Today's Must Read: Another Felllow Traveller Breaks Ranks

It's a 'goodby to all that' moment for Nick Cohen in the London Observer (hat tip to Gregory Bullock). Cohen surveys his sins that have excluded him from the company of good leftists, and concludes the main problem is he doesn't share their multicultural racism:
With no socialism to provide international solidarity, good motives of tolerance and respect for other cultures have had the unintended consequence of leading a large part of post-modern liberal opinion into the position of 19th-century imperialists. It is presumptuous and oppressive to suggest that other cultures want the liberties we take for granted, their argument runs. So it may be, but believe that and the upshot is that democracy, feminism and human rights become good for whites but not for browns and brown-skinned people who contradict you are the tools of the neo-conservatives.

On the other hand when confronted with a movement of contemporary imperialism - Islamism wants an empire from the Philippines to Gibraltar - and which is tyrannical, homophobic, misogynist, racist and homicidal to boot, they feel it is valid because it is against Western culture. It expresses its feelings in a regrettably brutal manner perhaps, but that can't hide its authenticity.

That's admirably blunt, but pales next to the conclusion:
...The London bombs have added a practical reason for breaking with the consensus: now they're trying to kill us. Even if people think that the Iraq war has made Britain a bigger target, they are still confronted with a fascistic cult of murder and self-murder which allows no compromise.

The thing to watch for with fellow travellers is what shocks them into pulling the emergency cord and jumping off the train. I know some will stay on to the terminus, and when the man with the rucksack explodes his bomb their dying words will be: 'It's not your fault. I blame Tony Blair.'

Devestatingly accurate...

Changes Afoot At Last

Last night, I subscribed to a hosted environment, and I already have the domain name registered (right now it just points you to here), plus, as I've stated before, I have a new WordPress template I've been fooling around with, so things are finally coming together. When I get the directions on my new hosted space, I'll start the installation of the new blog, the importing of the previous posts, hopefully all of the comments, etc., etc. It's not something that will be done tomorrow, by any means, but very soon now. Thanks for sticking with me, and as I unveil the redesign, remember, nothing is set in stone (i.e., feedback is welcome and appreciated). Have a great Sunday...

A Prayer For Peter Jennings

This story makes me unusually sad...I hope Mr. Jennings has many years left, and it turns out not to be the case...yet, we know lung cancer is a tough beast to wishes, Peter...

A Couple of 2008 Items This Sunday Morning

Mike Huckabee gets the 20 questions treatment from the New York Times and acquits himself admirably...

Michael Shear, Richmond correspondent for the Washington Post, dreams of an all-Virginian election...