Saturday, August 06, 2005

Weekly Jackass Number Thirty-Eight: George Galloway

Even in the exalted world of the Weekly Jackass winners, there are gradations. Some jackasses are more intrinsicially jackassical than others. This week's honoree belongs to the upper stratum of jackassdom, by virtue of a lifelong ability to be on exactly the wrong side of most every issue. He is a man who has been credibly accused of corruption by writers far greater than I, a man who has time and again chosen grandstanding over personal virtue, and a man whose intellectual opinions, such as they are, possess a rare toxicity even by the standards of the Radical Left. I'm speaking of none other than George Galloway, MP, RESPECT the Unity Coalition.

That Galloway was a notorious apologist for Saddam Hussein is now widely known; that his financial interests lined up with Saddam's under the Oil-For-Food regime is, I suppose, a lucky coincidence. Galloway's toadying for Saddam included this remarkable tribute to the man who invaded Kuwait:
Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability - to Saddam in Baghdad, January 1994
as well as this equally remarkable statement:
The state of Kuwait is "clearly a part of the greater Iraqi whole, stolen from the motherland by perfidious Albion."
Thus does moral relativism show its true colors.

The coalition that sponsors Galloway (or is it vice versa?) is remarkable in its own right. On its website, RESPECT the Unity Coalition lets us in on the secret of its acronym:


Never mind the haziness of some of the items; the clarity of those remaining speaks volumes.

With the above as background, then, it is no surprise that Galloway and his supporters are defeatists in the War against Terror. What is surprising, shocking, and, dare I say, treasonous, is the outright wish for the defeat of one's own military. The following resolution was adopted by RESPECT in 2004:
Motion 1: War and Imperialism - National Executive Conference notes:

1. That the defeat of the US led occupation of Iraq is critical if the global economic and political offensive begun by the US state and its allies at the time of the first Gulf War is to be defeated.

2. That the resistance in Iraq is engaged in a battle to liberate the country. That resistance is composed of elements which are Islamic, nationalist and socialist. It is a national liberation movement.

3. That the anti-war movement has a crucial role to play in forcing the imperialist governments to leave Iraq.
6. That Islamophobia is central to the ideology of war in this era.

7. That attacks on civil liberties are the inevitable domestic counterpart of the "war on terror".

8. That much older questions of self-determination, for instance for Palestinians, Kurds and Kashmiris, are now bound up with the struggle against the new imperialism.
What has Palestine to do with Iraq? Oh, right, the 'Jewish question'...

Of course, England is a partner in the War in Iraq, so if the above doesn't constitute treason, then I say we have set the bar too low. There is no phoney-baloney 'support the troops' nonsense here; no, Galloway is openly rooting for the 'resistance' to defeat (and presumably kill quite a few of) his fellow countrymen.

Do I go too far? Consider the following statements broadcast on Arab television following a trip to Syria by Galloway:
In his most inflammatory outburst yet on the invasion of Iraq, George Galloway has sought to justify lethal attacks on British troops on the grounds that the rebels "are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony"....

..."It is not the Muslims who are the terrorists," he said. "The biggest terrorists are Bush and Blair."...

...In a third section of the interview, this time carried on Syrian television, Mr Galloway appealed to the Arab world, drawing a parallel between Baghdad under coalition control and Jerusalem under Israeli control since the 1967 war.

"Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners: Jerusalem and Baghdad," he said. "The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help and the Arab world is silent. Some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters. Why? Because they are too weak and too corrupt to do anything about it."

May I be forgiven for wondering where Mr. Galloway's funding is currently coming from? Clearly, he is either on the payroll of some Arab terrorist apologist organization, think tank, or government, or he is clinically insane. Two further quotes from Galloway illustrate his complete and utter lack of concern for the truth and the victims of terror:
Mr. Blair is using this crime and all these dead people as a justification for this absurd idea of a war on terrorism. "Terror" is a word... Terror is a tactic, it's not a strategy. The idea that Muslims have some kind of sickness in their bodies, which must be cured, which is the idea behind Bush, behind Mr. Blair, and behind Mr. Berlusconi's government in Italy - It must be resisted. It's not the Muslims who are sick. It's Bush and Blair and Berlusconi who are sick. It's not the Muslims who need to be cured. It's the imperialist countries that need to be cured.
Most of the children, most of the schools, most of the buses, were bombed by the United States. Let's keep this clearly in perspective: Most of the children who died in Iraq were killed by George Bush, not by Zarqawi. Most of the schools that were wrecked, buses that were bombed, hospitals that were destroyed, lives that were taken, were taken by George Bush, not by Zarqawi.
Generally speaking, I try to avoid extremist rhetoric myself...but I will say in closing that statements far milder than those of Galloway have, at various points in history, resulted in prison sentences - or hangings.

For myself, I only have words at my disposal, and it is my distinct pleasure to metaphorically spit upon the recipient of our lastest award. May the day come when I can literally do so, as well...

UPDATE 08/06/05 9:36 a.m. central: Some thoughts in a similar vein from Austin Bay (hat tip to Michelle Malkin)...

UPDATE 08/08/05 12:39 p.m. central: Many thanks to the good Dr. Shackleford for the link...

The Power of the Blog

No, not this blog...I barely have enough power to get my beagle to behave. In particular, the power of a particular blog, as illustrated by the great Tim Blair. A job well done...

More Novak Than You Can Shake A Subpeona At

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; when Jay Rosen covers a story, said story is covered. Rosen's latest on the Novak 'Inside Politics' brouhaha is a case in point. Even this lengthy excerpt doesn't do justice to the thoroughness of the piece, but it's a good taste:

Why did it go down Thursday? Because on Monday, Aug. 1, Novak violated the terms of a professional stand-off that had been keeping him just this side of legitimate in the eyes of his colleagues in Washington journalism. He had previously said that, on the advice of his lawyer, he couldn't talk about the case, or answer any questions interviewers might put to him, until the prosecution had run its course.

But then he went ahead and talked about the case in Monday's Chicago Sun-Times column ("Ex-CIA official's remark is wrong") in which he disputed the account given by Bill Harlow, the official spokesman at the CIA whom Novak called for more information about Valerie Plame.

That was the fail safe conversation. That is where the system broke down. If Novak was going to be successfully warned off the naming of Plame, it was by Harlow as spokesman for the Agency, responding to the questions of a reporter with a story. Harlow told the Washington Post last week that he warned Novak in the strongest possible terms not to name Valerie Plame. He said he told Novak that his story was wrong, and would harm U.S. interests. Harlow said he told the federal grand jury the same thing.

Novak, in order to counter the suggestion that he had been properly warned but went ahead anyway - which he said would be "inexcusable for any journalist and particularly a veteran of 48 years in Washington" - decided to take up his pen. Ladies and gentlemen, he said, people have got to know whether their columnist is a crook. Or a jerk. Or a tool. Did I go ahead with the name of a CIA covert operative despite being warned? No, I did not.

Old Novak rules: sorry fellas, can't talk. New rules: Novak chooses when. When to take the Fifth on advice of counsel, when to ignore counsel and respond to the news with his own explanations of what happened to reveal Plame's name.

This, I believe, is the real cause of Thursday's break down of professional discipline on air. The legitimacy of Novak's exemption from questioning had collapsed earlier in the week. Ed Henry knew it and was ready with that news. Novak was not ready to receive it. So he invented an out.

Makes sense to me; after all, Novak, you, me, and the whole world know James Carville's a jerk; always has been, always will was the Plame game, and that copy of Who's Who, that made the difference...

And, On the Other Hand...

Earlier today I waxed rhapsodic, as I am wont to do, about the great Bono. Lest you think I am losing my anti-celebrity credentials, though, here's the latest *cough* 'statement' *cough* from Barbra Streisand:
August 6, 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb, which decimated the Japanese city and its people, was never used in combat again. This day is also the anniversary of another "bomb" that was dropped 4 years ago, this time into the lap of President Bush in the form of a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US." While on yet another extended vacation at his Crawford ranch, the President chose to neglect his duties as Commander in Chief by refusing to act decisively and immediately on this impending threat, leading to the worst terrorist attack in American history. These anniversaries remind us to learn from our past actions in order to ensure a safer more secure future.
My God, what a fool! To draw a comparison between a vague memo, with no date and time, and the atomic bomb! To imply that Bush could have stopped 9/11! To give Clinton a clean pass for his failures in fighting terrorism! To suggest that, had Bush been in Washington, rather than Crawford, 9/11 might not have happened!

Most staggeringly idiotic of all, though, is this statement:
August 6, 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb, which decimated the Japanese city and its people, was never used in combat again.
That will certainly come as a surprise to the decendents of the survivors and casualties of Nagasaki...

Barbra, do us all a favor, and let the grownups talk now, okay? You run along, dear...

Not Your Everyday, Ordinary Rock Star

U2's Bono (October in Houston, baby!) on grace vs. karma:

The thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics - in physical laws - every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ... Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff ... I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace.

I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

...The secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched.

Now, I don't proselytize on this blog; I have my own ideas on faith, and as I've stated before, I'm a believer, though my own doctrine would be rejected by most of the world's churches, no doubt. I certainly respect your beliefs, including atheism.

Regardless of your particular stance, though, isn't this just a breath of fresh air from a guy who makes untold millions playing rock'n'roll? John Lennon, great musician that he was, and God rest his soul, was a hero to the multitudes, but his message was squishy - all you need is love, give peace a chance, 'Imagine there's no heaven'. Not sure I can go on that journey with you, John.

Contrast with Bono - Sunday, Bloody Sunday; New Year's Day; Pride (In The Name Of Love); Where the Streets Have No Name. Bono's world is not a world of empty slogans and altruistic sentiments; it's a world with strife, war, disappointment, hunger, AIDS, betrayal, and broken hearts; it's a world that has no chance of redemption on its own terms; it's a world that requires mercy, not justice.

Needless to say, I find Bono one of the most interesting of celebrities in a world of quite uninteresting celebrities...

If You REALLY Cared About Me...

Oh, sure, you read my blog. You may compliment me from time to time on a particular piece, or leave an insightful comment, or even take my side against a wandering troll...but you don't REALLY care about me - because if you did, you'd all pitch in and buy me this...

A Man Hears What He Wants To Hear And Disregards the Rest

The wonderful Wretchard writes at the Belmont Club about the Soviet Union and its false socialist paradise:
...[T]he El Dorado wasn't there; and the really big historical question is why it took the best minds of the West more than 50 years and countless lives to discover that elementary fact. This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know; and when politicians and media talking heads speak with perfect assurance about "religions of peace" or alternatively, about a "death cult" with bloody borders, how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?
The above puts me in mind of North Korea: will we ever know the true story of what goes in that giant prison of a nation? When we do find out, will we be able to bear the shame? Will China? Many questions have I, but answers few...

A Reprieve Is Granted

My Weekly Jackass this week was going to be Paul Krugman. Three factors have combined to give Krugman a postponement: he is Forbes Magazine's Dunce of the Week already, he has just been skewered by a far better blogger than I, and John from Kill Righty (who has just undercovered Michael Moore's secret identity) had an excellent suggestion for an alternate candidate. I think you'll be pleased with the choice...look for our esteemed winner later today or tomorrow...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Well, Blow Me Down...

A certain prominent possible Presidential pugilist from the Republican side is differing with President Bush on Intelligent Design. Care to guess which one? It surprised me...

An Absolute Must Read

Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House has been an absolutely wonderful recent discovery for me, and I only wish I had known about him from the beginning. Today, he has a post so perfect, so funny, and so dead on right that I refuse to say anything else in the hopes that you will go read it for yourself. It's that good...

Hanson on Hiroshima

Tomorrow, of course, is the 60th anniversary of a horrible day. I say that even though I believe the dropping of Little Boy was inevitable. 100,000 civilian casualties, no matter how necessary, no matter what the historical context, is a tough nut to swallow. The great Victor Davis Hanson offers his take:
Americans of the time hardly thought the Japanese populace to be entirely innocent. The Imperial Japanese army routinely butchered civilians abroad - some 10-15 million Chinese were eventually to perish - throughout the Pacific from the Philippines to Korea and Manchuria. Even by August 1945, the Japanese army was killing thousands of Asians each month. When earlier high-level bombing attacks with traditional explosives failed to cut off the fuel for this murderous military - industries were increasingly dispersed in smaller shops throughout civilian centers - Curtis LeMay unleashed napalm on the Japanese cities and eventually may have incinerated 500,000.
My own initial in-depth reading on World War II was the aptly named Total War, a most valuable survey by Peter Calvocoressi that sadly seems to be out of print. The concept of total warfare is foreign to any American born after WWII. Never since, not even in Vietnam, have we faced a conflict that consumed the world so completely. Civilians were indeed seen as fair game - by the Allies no less than the Axis. Population centers were routinely targeted by both sides, and eventually, by the end of the war, it hardly mattered if any military installations were in the vicinity.

We can thank God and that much-heralded generation of heroes that we have not been in a similar situation since, and may we never be again. I don't condemn the decision of Truman, but neither do I celebrate it, and I shudder to think what it must have been like to be walking down the streets of Hiroshima that grim day. Robert Oppenheimer famously said, upon seeing the successful Trinity test in the New Mexico desert, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds". God have mercy on their souls, and ours...

Terrible News From A Man Known For Good News

Via Michelle Malkin and Power Line, we learn the sad news that Arthur Chrenkoff will soon be blogging no more. My own tribute to the great one is here...Good luck, Arthur, congrats on the new job, and God bless!...

UPDATE 08/06/05 10:46 a.m.: Arthur addresses his imminent departure here...

News Flash: 8 of 10 Americans Make 80%

Arianna's vanity project is proving to be even worse than anyone could have anticipated. Routinely, stories are given spins that would shame Paul Begala, and headlines seldom bear any resemblance to reality. 97% of the posts and news stories revolve around the timeless 'progressive' theme of Bush hatred, and the 'celebrity bloggers' she promised have fled in droves, to replaced by little known, intensely partisan hacks.

Today, Huff'N'Puff gives us the breathless headline "77% Of Americans Think Admin. Is Hiding Something Or Lying In Plame Investigation...". What is your initial thought when you see that headline? I'll tell you what mine was - "No way do 77% of Americans even know who Karl Rove is, much less what the Plame investigation is about".

And indeed, the underlying story puts the lie to Huff'n'Puff's deceitfulness. Let's look at what the poll really says:

Americans are skeptical about the Bush administration's behavior and public statements about the 2003 leak of the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters. Only 12 percent think the Bush administration is telling the entire truth about the matter; more than half - 55 percent - think the administration is mostly telling the truth but hiding something, and another 22 percent think it is lying.


Telling entire truth
Hiding something
Mostly lying

Over half of Americans say they have heard or read at least some about this issue. Those who have heard or read a lot about the matter are more apt to think the administration was involved, and to view the administration's actions as part of a larger effort. Democrats (19 percent) are about as likely as Republicans (17 percent) to have heard or read a lot about the issue. Men are more apt than women to have heard a lot, as are those over age 45 and those with more education.


A lot
Undecided/haven't heard
Well, clearly, something's amiss here. If 75% of Americans are undecided(???) or haven't heard of the Plame Leak, how can 77% think the Bush administration is hiding something or mostly lying?

We're given no additional information to reconcile this conflict, leaving me to believe one of two things: either the 77% figure refers to the subset who have heard of the scandal (this is definitely not the way it is worded in the article, however), or, more likely, people hear about a 'scandal' from the media, don't want to appear stupid, and take the implication that is handed to them on a platter.

In a world dominated by headlines about how Jennifer Aniston feels about her ex-boyfriend, though, I can assure you that Arianna's headline is not only wrong, but intentionally deceitful...

It May Be Time To Adjust Kerry's Odds

Few stories bring me as much sheer delight as those that show John Kerry in a poor light (I'm shallow that way - so sue me!). Naturally, then, it's my pleasure to direct you to these poor favorability ratings (hat tip to the Instapundit)...

The Secret Behind Novak's Strange Behavior

Makes perfect sense, once you know it...see Mickey Kaus, the MinuteMan, and the Mystery Pollster for the details...

UPDATE 3:15 p.m. central: Novak has now apologized for the incident...

...These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For...

An Iranian spokesman attempts the Jedi Mind Control trick...

The Times, They Are A-Certainly Not Staying Motionless

If there can be a silver lining to the horrors of terrorism, at least it may be said that the London attacks have sparked a new serious in combating extremism at the source. Tony Blair has announced a new set of proposals that include making justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence. I hope Juan Cole is not planning a move to England (come to think of it, the same could be said of practically the entire roster at Huff'n'Puff)...

Ken Livingstone: Stay Safe Through Appeasement

When a Ken Livingstone opinion piece appears in the Guardian, you can fairly well bet that you're about the in the presence of some grade-A nonsense. Livingstone, the lefty mayor of London, gives his prescription for a safe populace:
Acceptance that the invasion of Iraq increased the likelihood of a terrorist attack on London now extends far beyond the usual suspects - from Guardian writers to MI5, Douglas Hurd, the Daily Mail, the Spectator, and a majority of the British public. Jack Straw has also acknowledged this debate. If the invasion of Iraq had been justified, it would be possible to argue that we must bear the sacrifices necessary to achieve a just outcome. However, it is evident that the war in Iraq was not justified. It has made the situation worse. The illusions with which it was launched are collapsing. we go again. Does Livingstone not realize that the terrorist demands, as stated this very day, go far beyond a withdrawal of troops from Iraq? Does he not agree that foreign policy decisions in a democracy are the province of elected representatives, and not mass murderers? The apologetics of the Leftists for terror grow more wearying by the day...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Is the Pressure Getting To Novak?

Sure looks that he blew up at James Carville after a fairly innocuous statement, exclaiming "That's bull**it", and walked off the set of Inside Politics. An indefinite suspension by CNN followed (don't cry too much, though; Novak's wealth is the stuff of legend)...

Server problems, apparently, at the first can also view the video here...

The Iraq Index, Part One: U.S. Troop Casualties

I learned of the Brookings Institute Iraq Index through our good friend the MinuteMan. Essentially, it's 41 pages of statistics in chart and graph format related to our progress with 'reconstruction and security in post-Saddam Iraq'. There is much valuable information contained, too much to cover in a single post, so if you will indulge me, I'd like to take a series of looks at the numbers over the next several days.

The report covers U.S. troop casualties first, and so will we. Fatalities among our armed forces peaked in late 2004, with 137 in the terrible month of November, and have been declining lately at a fairly rapid pace (though we lost 14 in a single day just this week). Roughly 70% of the 1,800 U.S. fatalities have been white males, and the bulk have been active personnel from the Army.

1,397 troops were wounded in November, 2004. In retrospect, the losses of that month, in a low-intensity guerilla war, are pretty stunning; it's a sober reminder to even staunch supporters of the war like myself that the human cost has been high. (That same month saw 30 attacks on Iraqi oil and gas pipelines, by far the worst month on that score, as well).

Is there any good spin to put on these horrible numbers? Yes, there is; the frequency of the attacks on coalition forces has barely declined since then, but the lethality, as far as United States personnel are concerned, is way down. A stunning 77 daily attacks were recorded in November on our men and women, and that number has only receded to about 70 a day, and yet there were 39 deaths and 467 wounded in July, versus the aforementioned November numbers.

In other words, a 10% decrease in daily attacks has resulted in about a third less casualties. By such grim yardsticks is progress measured in times of war...

AP: Sevan "Only" Received $160,000 in Kickbacks

In another sign of the AP's lopsided coverage of world affairs, the embezzlement of $160,000 in Oil-For-Food kickbacks by the program's chief is reported in the following manner:
Investigators have concluded that the former chief of the Iraq Oil-for-Food program, Benon Sevan, took kickbacks under the $64 billion humanitarian operation and refused to cooperate with their probe, his lawyer said Thursday.

While the amount of money Sevan allegedly took wasn't immediately known - and may be as little as $160,000 - the findings would be a major blow because of his stature in the organization and the control he had over it.

Presumably the author of this piece writes for a living and thus knows the importance of words, and that makes this coverage even more baffling. '...As little as $160,000"? "A major blow because of his stature"? $160,000 wouldn't be a big deal if he weren't the program head, is that the implication?

This is somewhat akin to saying although most people think O. J. Simpson is a murderer, he 'only' killed 2 people. If Sevan is corrupt, he's corrupt - and $160,000 isn't the taking home of a few pens with the U.N. Oil-For-Food logo on them. Anything less than 2 years in prison would be a scandal if these allegations are proven.

UPDATE 08/05/05 3:04 p.m.: Many thanks to the Instapundit for the link!...

The Israeli Settler Movement Is Out of Control

I'm quick to condemn atrocities directed against Israel, but idiocy like this is equally deplorable. The settlers have proven to be just the sort of extremists that I routinely condemn on the Arab side. Ironic, but sad, that the 'extremist' Sharon now finds himself pitted against radical Israelis who resort to terroristic tactics. Sharon is correct to draw a hard line against the settlers; murder is murder, and terror is terror, and this sort of thing must stop.

A Lesson to the Appeasers from al-Zawahri

A little deconstruction of the latest terrorist videotape:

In a videotape broadcast Thursday, Al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said British Prime Minister Tony Blair was to blame for the London bombings and that Blair's support of the U.S.-led war in Iraq would incite further attacks.

"Blair has brought to you destruction in central London, and he will bring more of that, God willing," al-Zawahri said in the tape, while never claiming responsibility for the July 7 bombings. The statement was broadcast on the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera.

Referring to the Western nations like Britain that have contributed troops in Iraq, he said: "As to the nations of the crusader alliance, we have offered you a truce if you leave the land of Islam."

"Hasn't Sheik Osama bin Laden told you that you will not dream of security before there is security in Palestine and before all the infidel armies withdraw from the land of Muhammed?" al-Zawahri asked, referring to the leader of the al-Qaida network.

"Our message is clear: you will not be safe until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and wealth and stop supporting the corrupt rulers," he said.

The first sentence will get the most attention from the anti-war crowd: "See," they'll say, "it's Iraq! Bush has brought on more terror, not less."

They will say that, and they will be wrong. For the rest of the statement reveals demands that we surely cannot and will not meet: the infidel must leave the land of Muhammed (all Americans - and Israelis, you can bet - must leave the Middle East). Security in Palestine (why is there no security in Palestine? Because of the Palestinians. What do the Palestinians want? The destruction of Israel).

Notice also that the hateful murderer speaks for the terrorists, that he offers a truce...but wait! Didn't Juan Cole just tell us that there is no centrally organized terrorist front, and we might as well fold the hand?

The 'Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism'? Hell, No...

President Bush sets the record straight - it's the War on Terror, after all...good for him. Political correctness in slogan phrasing is not the nation's highest priority at the moment...

Byron York and 'Abuse of Power'

In light of my recent post on the 'official' Democratic reaction to the appointment of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador, I'm especially pleased to read this similar piece by Byron York:
Quick: What do you call President Bush's decision to recess-appoint John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?

"Abuse of power," says Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

"Abuse of power," says Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

"Abuse of power," says Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
How remarkable that all of the top Democratic leaders had the exact same reaction - but of course you know better. York details the sordid story of how the Democrats convened a war room to implement the recommendations of a pollster who discovered that 'abuse of power' (the phrase, not the action) struck fear in the hearts of the electorate - and lo and behold, a message was born.

If you harbored any doubts whatsoever that the Bolton fight was strictly partisan, harbor them no more...

A Most Welcome Competitor

The latest addition to the blogosphere is the great political analyst Michael Barone, who has started a blog under the auspices of the U.S. News website. Barone is one of the best, and I look forward to his increased output. Here's a taste of his insightful commentary, as he dissects the results of the Ohio special election (hat tip to PoliPundit).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What Does the 'Official' Democratic Reaction to the Bolton Appointment Tell Us?

Certain unnamed elements took me to task for my wildly successful post on 'The Top Ten Leftist Reactions to the Bolton Nomination' (an appointment, actually - my fault). Apparently, there is some confusion that Leftist somehow means an elected official, a well-known public figure, etc., and an insinuation was made that perhaps I played 'dirty pool' by picking comments from the Daily Kos and the Democratic Underground.

The larger point I and many of my commentors were trying to make, however, is that the Democratic Party is, in fact, in danger of being overrun by the nutcases. To make my case, here are some examples of highly placed Democrats and their reactions:

Teddy Kennedy, Senator, Massachusetts: "It's a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility at the U.N."

Harry Reid, Senator, Nevada, Minority Leader: "President Bush has decided to send a seriously flawed and weakened candidate to the United Nations. It's an unnecessary result, and the latest abuse of power by the Bush White House."

Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman: "A truly arrogant move. By moving unilaterally to overrule the Senate and appoint a nominee who is being dogged by significant questions about his integrity on intelligence matters, Bush has reduced our nation's ability to cooperate with our allies on the war on terror."

Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader, House of Representives:
"For President Bush to use a recess appointment for such a controversial nominee - not because there was a compelling case that Mr. Bolton was the best person for the job, but merely because the President had the power to do it - subverts the confirmation process in ways that will further harm the United States' reputation in the eyes of the international community. The American people deserve better."

And there's this from the DNC's official blog:

We know John Bolton is unfit for the job, with a record of harassment and retribution in his tenure at the State Department. We know he lied to Congress on a questionnaire, saying he hadn't been questioned in any investigations in the last five years when in fact he's been questioned in the CIA leak scandal.

With a public record like that, we can only imagine what the White House is hiding by refusing to disclose his full record.
Admittedly, these professional politicians clean up their language considerably compared to their radical supporters, but the underlying message is the same: the President is accused of deviousness, arrogance, unconstitutional actions, and deliberate concealment of wrongdoing. The nominee has 'a record of harassment and retribution', is accused of perjury, and associated with a pseudo-scandal that some elements of the Left have called treasonous.

We have moved well into Orwellian territory here. Words exist independent of their larger meaning to serve the temporary partisan wishes of those who utter them. Little, if any, thought is given to the national security repercussions of accusing political enemies of the most foul deeds and thoughts.

Meanwhile, Democrats of moderation are routinely spat upon and ridiculed by this election-losing fringe faction that is on the verge of usurping control of the once-proud party. Do I exaggerate? Consider the blogroll of the DNC, yes, the Democratic National Committee itself, now headed by the far-left Howard Dean:
There are some voices of reason on there, sure, such as Kevin Drum's Political Animal and Taegan Goddard's Political Wire. Far more prevalent, though, are foul-mouthed, hateful sites such as the Daily Kos, Oliver Willis, Eric Alterman, and Atrios.

Again, the point is that the inmates are, if not running the asylum, at least in very close contact with those who do; and the keepers of the keys are becoming increasingly beholden to them, financially, and spiritually. Was John Bolton the best man for the job at the U.N? Arguably not...but he certainly is not the figure he has been made out to be by the partisan rhetoric...and we see the same pattern with John Roberts.

When it was directed at the Democrats, President Clinton decried 'the politics of personal destruction'...and he was right. The tendency to demonize our opposition is not new, but it is dangerous, and it divides our nation and can only serve our enemies. It's time for the Democrats to grab hold of the wheel, before the progressives steer the Party right off the road of mainstream America.

Pretty Sweet...

Michelle Malkin gives us a sneak preview of her upcoming book - I like it. A lot (even though I'm green with envy)...

New Poll On Rove

The John Roberts nomination will be approved on a party line vote, according to 29% of you, but a whopping 60% think Roberts will get at least some Democratic support, while 7% think he will be approved unamimously. Next up - whither Rove?...

The Top Ten Liberal Oxymorons, From BSR

10) Civil Disobedience
9) Devout Atheist
8) Girly Man
7) Global Village
6) Open Marriage

Where are the rest? Hey, you gotta get those from the source...

The War on Terror: Predictability and "Useful Idiots"

This weekend, I took Weekly Jackass Simon Jenkins to task for referring to those of us who prefer to stop the terrorists before they kill as 'useful idiots'. Anthony Browne, Europe Correspondent for the London Times, puts that appellation back where it belongs: on "left-wing activists, The Guardian and sections of the BBC." In other words, on those who, like Professor Juan Cole, insist that we cannot fight this war proactively. Cole insists there is no way to predict who the terrorists are, or when and how they might strike, as they are too decentralized.

Not so, says Christopher Brown at FrontPage Magazine:
The good news is that preventing terrorist attacks is not as impossible as conventional wisdom would have it. Al-Qaeda, after all, is anything but subtle. Al-Zawahiri has clearly indicated al-Qaeda's desired targets. Note that his second video was at once an order and a warning that the attack was going to occur within a month. Finally, the Internet posting a week before the London attacks gave us a clue that the target was Europe and the attack would come shortly. Put all of this together with al-Qaeda's previously scouted targets, its propensity for going back to targets that they failed to destroy before, its limited yet strategically successful attack in Madrid, and a globe of potential targets is reduced to a few neighborhoods in London, Paris, or Rome. (It is very likely that a similar set of indicators will emerge in relation to the Egyptian attack.)
Oversimplified? Perhaps...but preferrable by a wide margin to the plan of those like Cole who would engage in sociological apologetics aimed at explaining the motives of murderers after they kill, or changing American foreign policy to suit the agenda of Islamic extremists (after all, if we just left Israel to be destroyed and gave up all of our strategic interests in the Middle East, they wouldn't hate much).

Intelligent Design And Science...The Debate Continues

Clearly, "Intelligent Design" is a very divisive topic in Republican circles. I intend to do my own longish contribution soon, but in the meantime, here's a couple of more takes on the matter, from Ryan Bonneville at the Big Tent Blog, and Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House. I also recommend this dairy from Red State, from a concerned Republican who thinks we need to find some common ground on this issue...

UPDATE: Also see this post by our good friend Minh-Duc, who has considered the issue from a most interesting angle...

Does Juan Cole Even Believe Juan Cole?

Former Weekly Jackass Juan Cole, at his blog Misinformed Conjecture, says that basically global terrorism amounts to a few hooligans:
The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."

I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn[sic] in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.

The Scotsman reports on the spectacular arrest of the Somalian suspect in the July 21 failed bombing attempts, saying, "The ethnicity of the eight London bombers, ranging from Somalis, to British-born sons of Pakistani parents and an Anglo-Jamaican Muslim convert, have surprised detectives investigating the attacks"...

...Former CIA analyst Marc Sageman estimates the number of radical Muslims who can and would do significant harm to the US in the hundreds.

That's right. The old "war on terror" was a war of the world's sole superpower on a few hundred people. (I exclude Iraq because it is not and never was part of any 'war on terror,' though the incredible incompetence of the Bush administration has contributed to the ability of terrorists to operate there.)
Funny how those 'few hundred people' have been killed dozens of times in Iraq alone, eh? As to not doing a good job on keeping the bombs from going off, I beg to many attacks on the American homeland since 9/11, Professor? Is it zero, perhaps?

Juan makes a big deal about how there's no common thread linking the London bombers and other terrorists, as they sometimes come from different countries or have differing ethnicities. Let's see, common threads, common threads...hey, here's one! They're all radical Islamists! Why didn't anyone think of this before?

Cole tries to deflect this obvious point by trying to confuse the issue with tales of our Muslim allies. Of course, no one (at least, hardly anyone) thinks our war is with Muslims, per se, so much as a particularly dangerous branch of radical Muslim ideology.

Fortunately, I don't need to spend a lot of time rebutting Cole, because Michael Totten has done so...beautifully...

(hat tip to Hit and Run via the Instapundit)...

The Problem With Diplomacy

One of the knocks on John Bolton is that he's too combative to make an effective diplomat, or so it is alleged. Beans, I say - if two or more parties have a mutually advantageous negotiation to undertake, a way will be found to reach agreement. Contrast that with North Korea (or Iraq during Saddam's reign), where the limits of diplomacy become painfully apparent.

Compromise is inherent in negotiation; there's nothing to be gained from dealing with a party that (a) presents demands rather than trade-offs, and (b) has no intent to honor any agreements made to begin with. Despite my brief optimism that North Korea had returned to the six-party talks, it is now almost certain that we have nothing to say to this totalitarian regime. I see only two good resolutions to the North Korean impasse:

(1) the death of Kim Jong-Il, provided he is replaced by someone of more moderation, or
(2) a definitive crackdown by China, the only power with any real negotiating power in this situation.

The possible bad resolutions? I shudder to contemplate...

The Definition of Ad Hominem

A certain someone whom I decline to address directly because life is too short to waste on foolishness appears to not understand the definition of 'ad hominem'. Not that I gave a rat's, um, tushie, but for the sake of my regular readers who must read through countless regurgitations of the same pointless drivel, I present the following definitional interlude as a service:

Person A makes claim X. Person B makes an attack on person A. Therefore A's claim is false.

The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

Example of Ad Hominem

Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."
Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."
Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?"
Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."

Read slowly, rinse, wash, repeat, then consider devoting your time to something worthwhile...

Journalistic Opportunities Await

Tom Maguire has given would-be journalists an invaluable gift by practically giftwrapping fruitful lines of inquiry for PlameGate (including Joe Wilson Interviewed By Fitzgerald - are you listening, AJ?)...

Meanwhile, a terrible day in Iraq, as 14 marines are killed, as well as an investigative journalist, Steven Vincent, remembered here by his friend Arthur Chrenkoff.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Two From the National Review

For your consideration:

Donald Luskin engages in one of my favorite leisure time activities: demolishing the propaganda of Paul Krugman...

Rich Lowry reviews the Bolton saga and concludes that, as so often is the case, the Democrats turned a possible winning hand into a dog (hat tip to Greg Bullock)...

Why Is the Belmont Club Indespensible?

Because of brilliant posts like this:
Totalitarianism is ultimately founded on an idea; the exact reverse of the notion that all men are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights. How much of this idea still lives on in visions of a new European superstate whose constitution runs to thousands of pages is hard to say. But it is not unfair to assert that the greatest scar inflicted by the totalitarianisms of the 20th century was not on the material landscape, but on the soul of the West. The Communism and Fascism which abolished God and disabused civilization of the sacredness of human life in the name of enlightened progress also destroyed much else. If we are lucky Islam is simply progressing through a Western vacuum that has not yet been filled, stepping over a population still mesmerized by the illusions of the 20th century. If we are unlucky it is coming to build the cities that we ourselves have dreamed, the necropolis over the ruins of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
That's good stuff...

More On Intelligent Design

President Bush jumped right into the "Intelligent Design" fray today by suggesting it should be taught in schools alongside evolution. From the comments here, I see we have a mixed opinion on the validity of the idea, but let me tell you, the RINOs aren't happy: see the Commissar, Right Wing Nut House, and John Cole for more...

For the opposite view, here's Leon H at his new digs (like the redesign, Leon!)...

Bolton: Right for the U.S., right for the U.N.

That's the view of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, at any rate:

Can anyone beyond the Beltway recall what the Bolton drama was about beyond yelling at a few bureaucrats? Deciding yesterday that it was past time to get on with the serious work of confronting the U.N.'s manifest problems, President Bush used his recess-appointment power to send John Bolton to Turtle Bay. That should be good news for anyone with a good-faith interest in reforming the U.N., now at perhaps the most critical moment in its 60-year history.

The post had been vacant for six months. Senate Democrats, under the "leadership" of Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, have prolonged and thwarted every attempt to hold a vote on Mr. Bolton, who of course would have been confirmed had his name reached the Senate floor. No wild accusation was ever proved, other than that he sought the removal of two intelligence analysts for incompetence and insubordination. Notably, both the 9/11 Commission and Robb-Silberman Commission said policy makers have a responsibility to question and challenge intelligence analysts.

Senators Biden and Dodd ostentatiously demanded that the Administration let them see confidential intelligence intercepts relating to Mr. Bolton's testimony on Syrian weapons of mass destruction. These same Senators agreed that Mr. Bolton's testimony was accurate. And they knew that intercepts had been reviewed by the Intelligence Committee's two ranking Senators, who said they showed nothing of import. But this reality check didn't stop them from pressing a filibuster.

Still, the WSJ sees a silver lining:

Ambassador Bolton said yesterday that he is committed to making the U.N. "a stronger, more effective organization." After his past half-year's experience with the U.S. Senate, we trust that he at least has some sense of the institutional challenge ahead.


A Carnival for One and All...

Think I'm clueless, as one recent visitor does? Why not hop by the Carnival of the Clueless, now in its eight wonderful week. You don't know clueless until you've seen this roundup...

Some Midday Quick Shots

Even the best of us get it wrong sometimes...from the latest from Hitchens:
The Roman Catholic Church claims the right to legislate on morals for all its members and to excommunicate them if they don't conform. The church is also a foreign state, which has diplomatic relations with Washington. In the very recent past, this church and this state gave asylum to Cardinal Bernard Law, who should have been indicted for his role in the systematic rape and torture of thousands of American children. (Not that child abuse is condemned in the Ten Commandments, any more than slavery or genocide or rape.) More recently still, the newly installed Pope Benedict XVI (who will always be Ratzinger to me) has ruled that Catholic politicians who endorse the right to abortion should be denied the sacraments: no light matter for believers of the sincerity that Judge Roberts and his wife are said to exhibit.
Christopher, Christopher...Ratzinger said no such thing, although he did lay out some circumstances where that could be considered...

At Red State, Erick-Woods Erickson highlights the fundraising success of Evan Bayh...

Also from Red State, Leon H spotlights some Roberts-related fearmongering at the Washington Post...

More On Mitt

Pam Belluck of the NY Times has a pretty good profile of one of the more intriguing 2008 possibilities, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney:
Gov. Mitt Romney says he will decide in the next few months whether to run for the Republican presidential nomination. And if he does, his resume will carry him a long way. He is the high-profile governor of a prominent state. He has a background as a turnaround specialist in the business world and as the savior of the scandal-plagued 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He is telegenic and articulate, and he is wealthy.
Well, Romney will run, it's safe to say at this point; consider his quite noticable shift to the right:
Mr. Romney vetoed a...morning-after bill, but he went much further than [New York Governor George] Pataki, who supports abortion rights. Mr. Romney labeled the morning-after drug an "abortion pill" - not just emergency contraception, as the Food and Drug Administration calls it - and wrote an opinion article for The Boston Globe saying that he did not believe that abortion should be legal.

Mr. Romney, who in the past had said that abortion should be "safe and legal" and that he supported the "substance" of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, wrote in the article that his views on abortion had "evolved and deepened."
Of course, some folks are never satisfied:
Although some conservatives welcomed Mr. Romney's actions last week, others were skeptical.

"Most pro-life voters aren't looking for 'evolving' views among candidates," Carrie Gordon Earll, senior policy analyst for bioethics for Focus on the Family, wrote in an e-mail message. "They're hungry for principled positions based on immovable morals - something that doesn't come from a veto and an op-ed."
I'm with Earll on this one, but others feel differently.

Instead of taking the pure conservative position of opposing all embryonic stem cell research, Mr. Romney, whose state is full of leading scientists, has said he supports using embryos if they are leftovers from fertility clinics, but not if they were created solely for research.

That is, of course, the Frist position...

What's the best thing about this article? One noticable omission - did you spot it (or rather, fail to)?...

A Public Service Announcement of Sorts

This post has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with what makes America great. Sgt. Juan Salas of Manhattanville College has put together a pen pal program called My Soldier. There's a $10 registration fee to cover costs, I'll tell you up front, but come on, now, that's less than a CD...and it makes a huge difference. Here's Sgt. Salas:
Active U.S. Army Sergeant Juan Salas, a naturalized US citizen originally from Venezuela, served for almost two years in Iraq, where he saw active combat duty and was commended for his part in saving the life of a child.

His mission was to "win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people." "It was long," says Salas. "But the thing that kept me going was getting letters. From kids, boy scouts, students. A letter was like a piece of gold. Something you will keep for the rest of your life." When he got back to Manhattanville College, he wanted to help his fellow soldiers still serving overseas.

Do me a favor, and think about just might make someone's day, someone that's putting it all on the line for you and me...

The NY Times on John Bolton: Terrible News For the UN

Here's the NY Times editorial board (i.e., Gail Collins) on John Bolton:
If there's a positive side to President Bush's appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it's that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department, and it's hard not to think that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's generally positive performance in office is due, in part, to her canniness in dispatching Mr. Bolton out of Washington.

But the appointment is, of course, terrible news for the United Nations, whose diplomats have heard weeks of Senate testimony about Mr. Bolton's lack of respect for their institution and his deeply undiplomatic, bullying style of doing business...

...This may be the first time a world superpower has used its top United Nations post as a spot for the remedial training of a troublesome government employee.
Please - remedial training? The Times editorial page is sinking like a stone because of dreck like this.

I have stated my problems with Bolton before; I don't think he's a particularly effective diplomat. Over-the-top rhetoric like the above, though, makes me think he may be the right man for the job, after all; any appointee that gets the Times this uptight can't be all bad. What about the substance of Collins' charge (I know, it's unsigned, but we know who calls the shots)? Let's let Kofi Annan have the last word:
"We look forward to working with him [Mr Bolton]," Kofi Annan told reporters.

However, he gave a word of caution for Mr Bolton amid reports that the new US ambassador would be forcing the US reform agenda of the world body.

"It is all right for one ambassador to come and push [his agenda] but an ambassador always has to remember that there are 190 others who will have to be convinced... for action to take place," Mr Annan said.

Well, it's a more responsible statement than the Times piece; but a word of caution to Kofi, too...there may be 190 others, but they don't represent the United States. Bolton will, and I wish him well, despite my misgivings...

Monday, August 01, 2005


I just want to thank my regular readers, the big dogs who were kind enough to link to me, and all those people who came by looking for Mariah Carey wardrobe malfunction pictures for making July my best month yet, with over 40,000 visitors.

Having said that, I'm just flabbergasted with how August has started. Thanks to the kindness of so many wonderful bloggers who linked to my Bolton reaction piece, there were nearly 16,000 visitors today. For some bloggers, that would be nothing to be excited about, but for me, it's truly a thrill. For some perspective, this one day has seen more visitors to this blog than the month of April.

So thanks a lot, and believe me when I tell you that I greatly appreciate your company...

Alterman on Bolton

From everyone's favorite 'progressive' hack:
Let's hear it for George W. Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton to the United Nations. Bolton hates the UN, misled the Senate, can't get confirmed, may have been involved in outing the identity of a CIA agent and therefore committing a felony (and quite possibly to Judy Miller, though that part is confusing - see Arianna--) and wont [sic] reveal just who he was spying on during the UN debates, though it may have been his superiors. No wonder Condi is fighting so hard to get him out of the State Department. No wonder Bush and Cheney want him so desperately to represent them before rest of the world. They are as one. This is the true face of the Bush Administration, and I hope all of its fans can deal with that.
Oh, we'll make do, Eric...say, your name isn't Josh, is it?...

Faith and Science: A Brilliant Essay From Charles Krauthammer

I am a person of faith (my faith is difficult to pigeonhole, and uniquely my own, but it is faith none the less). I am also a person who believes that science and mathematics are the language of God, and the instruments we use to understand creation. How can the two be reconciled? And should faith be taught as science (i.e., 'Intelligent Design', hostility to evolution)?

Those are deep questions, and I am at peace (mostly) with my own answers. It gives me great pleasure, then, to recommend this truly wonderful piece by Charles Krauthammer to you. A couple of highlights:
Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, a man very close to the Pope...says...the Roman Catholic Church rejects "neo-Darwinism" with the declaration that an "unguided evolutionary process--one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence--simply cannot exist."

Cannot? On what scientific evidence? Evolution is one of the most powerful and elegant theories in all of human science and the bedrock of all modern biology. Schonborn's proclamation that it cannot exist unguided--that it is driven by an intelligent designer pushing and pulling and planning and shaping the process along the way--is a perfectly legitimate statement of faith. If he and the Evangelicals just stopped there and asked that intelligent design be included in a religion curriculum, I would support them. The scandal is to teach this as science--to pretend, as does Schonborn, that his statement of faith is a defense of science. "The Catholic Church," he says, "will again defend human reason" against "scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of 'chance and necessity,'" which "are not scientific at all." Well, if you believe that science is reason and that reason begins with recognizing the existence of an immanent providence, then this is science. But, of course, it is not. This is faith disguised as science. Science begins not with first principles but with observation and experimentation...

...This new attack claims that because there are gaps in evolution, they therefore must be filled by a divine intelligent designer.

How many times do we have to rerun the Scopes "monkey trial"? There are gaps in science everywhere. Are we to fill them all with divinity? There were gaps in Newton's universe. They were ultimately filled by Einstein's revisions. There are gaps in Einstein's universe, great chasms between it and quantum theory. Perhaps they are filled by God. Perhaps not. But it is certainly not science to merely declare it so.

To teach faith as science is to undermine the very idea of science, which is the acquisition of new knowledge through hypothesis, experimentation and evidence. To teach it as science is to encourage the supercilious caricature of America as a nation in the thrall of religious authority. To teach it as science is to discredit the welcome recent advances in permitting the public expression of religion. Faith can and should be proclaimed from every mountaintop and city square. But it has no place in science class. To impose it on the teaching of evolution is not just to invite ridicule but to earn it.

Amen; and thanks to all the scientists and mathematicians who make this world a better place to live: we are truly in your debt.

UPDATE 08/02/05 12:09 a.m. central: For a different perspective on Intelligent Design, see the always interesting Leon H...

The Recess Apointment: A Perk of Office

It's that simple, really; don't be confused by the strawmen thrown up by the Left, there is a long tradition of recess appointments from both parties. Thanks to Greg Bullock (whose wonderful site is here) for bringing this Washington Post piece to my attention:

Other recess appointments of note:

_President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October 1961, getting around opposition from Southern senators. Their resistance had weakened by the following September, and the Senate approved him 54-16.

_President Dwight Eisenhower made three recess appointments to the Supreme Court: Chief Justice Earl Warren (1953) and Associate Justices William Brennan (1956) and Potter Stewart (1958). Each later received Senate confirmation.

_President George Washington appointed John Rutledge of South Carolina as chief justice during a 1795 recess. The Senate rejected the nomination and his appointment expired after he served one term.

So we see how disingenious the apoplexy from the left is; the fuss is really about their failure to derail a Bush appointee. This lame duck president has scored again...

More on the subject from Ryan James, Ed Driscoll and Betsy Newmark...

From the Great and Powerful Kos Himself

I'd like to dedicate this one to all the people who think Kos is more responsible than those who comment at his place:
Bush thinks he's flashing the middle finger at Democrats, but in reality he's setting back his own cause for reform at the United Nations. As for U.S. diplomacy, it's yet another setback. But this administration has done nothing but give F.U.s to the world community for five years running. This is simply par for the course.
Oh, you rascal, you (guess he's just speaking to the already converted, though, eh, Josh?)...

Singing and Swinging, RINO Style

All Things Jen(nifer) is hosting this week's RINO Sightings, and she's gone all musical on us...great job, definitely check it out...

Top Ten Leftist Reactions To The Bolton Nomination

10. ...the planet is doomed, but with an idiot like Bolton at the U.N., the U.S. is going down first. I hope they search him and his staff thouroughly for explosives every day.

9. The US has an October deadline to come clean to the UN about human rights violations. My guess is that Bush is pushing Bolton in now in order to avoid this fall deadline. After all, it's now August and that only gives Bolton two months to destroy the UN before the day of reckoning can arrive.

8. I'm digging into the deep, dark recesses of my mind, trying to figure out what this administration could possibly have up its sleeves next.

What are they planning that sooooo required them to have Bolton in this position? I know Shrub is a pig-headed child that insists on getting his way, and that's likely part of the reason for moving forward with this... but I also know they scheme and plot their destruction well in advance, and look for their opportunity to implement. What's coming?

7. I hope the United Nations refuses to deal with him.

Maybe they'll even turn off his microphone.

Actually, what I would do if I worked at the U.N., would be to ask the translators to make up funny stuff for their little earphones, instead of what Bolton's really saying.

Let him stand at the podium and wonder why the delegation from Zambia is rolling in the aisle with laughter.

Bolton: "We need to reform the way the U.N. does business, so that America's interests are the primary concern."

Translator says: "I smell bad and my pubic hair is as nasty as the hair on my head."

6. I think it was Seymour Hersh who said the nomination of Bolton was crucial to jumpstart the case against Iran. That's why Chimpy is installing him, no matter what.

5. far as Bush and his cronies are concerned (yes, that means you in particular Big Dick), America can go screw itself. This isn't about America's future, it's about Bush's la-la-land fantasy of power in the present.

4. Bush is a lazy, hollow, immature idiot which is why Cheney runs the government.

3. Just another neocon to be frog-marched to jail after the Fitzgerald Grand Jury gets done.

2. Time to educate people about the SLIME and MONSTERS of PIMP LAND and the CREATURES they PIMP FOR. Did NBC say anything about his role in lying to the world about wmd? Did NBC say anything about his bosses refusing to release precise records that the Senate asked him to submit? Of course, we know that he is a target of serious speculation in regard to the law breaking and traitorous acts involving the CIA exposure and all the consequences.

...and our winner:

1. President Bush, says he is exercising his "God-given right to do whatever the hell I want to - I'm the president," in bypassing the Senate and appointing John "Stache" Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Press Secretary Scott "Tricycle" McClellan said that Bolton is the "bomb," but quickly changed that to "the perfect person for the job."

"He has the experience and has done the kinds of things the president wants in our ambassador to the UN," McClellan said. "For instance, he's been an outspoken critic of the United Nations, he's manipulated intelligence, he's intimidated intelligence analysts to support his hawkish views, he completely screwed up his job securing "loose nukes" in Russia and he's lied to Congress."

UPDATE 10:33 a.m. central: Many thanks to Erick-Woods Erickson for the link; don't miss Erick's latest Rehnquist scoop here, and also don't miss this from Senator Harry Reid:
John Bolton is a person who, in his personal relationship with government employees, has been abominable, mean, unreasonable and bizarre. His not producing the papers we have requested only underscores the importance of why we need those papers. There must be something he's trying to hide.
Well, isn't that nice...

UPDATE 2 11:10 a.m. central: Thanks also to the lovely and talented Michelle Malkin - thanks, Michelle!...

UPDATE 3 1:15 p.m. central: To those who think I haven't been fair here, because these were mostly comments left at blogs: I didn't characterize these comments at all, I posted 'em and let them speak for themselves. What's unfair about that? And thanks for the additional links from the lovely and talented Mary Katherine Ham, the lovely and talented Anchoress, and the - um- well, the talented Jeff Goldstein...

UPDATE 4 1:38 p.m. central: Thanks to Paul Mirengoff of Power Line as well; for more proof that these reactions are typical of progressives rather than isolated, I suggest taking a look at the Huffington Post right now...and see also Ted Kennedy's reaction here...

UPDATE 5 3:15 p.m. central: And a big thank you to the lovely and talented Betsy Newmark, as well!...

UPDATE 6 4:55 p.m. central: And now I get a link from the lovely and talented Lorie Byrd, too...thanks, Lorie!...and thanks to Scott Elliott, as well (sorry about the Daily Blog Roundup, Scott - but I do appreciate it)..

UPDATE 7 11:46 p.m. central: John Hawkins at Conservative Grapevine has my thanks, as well!...

Bolton Is In

As expected, Bush appointed John Bolton as the new UN ambassador, using his recess appointment privilege. While I'm not a Bolton fan, I say good for Bush. The stalling tactics of the Democrats are quite wearying. The Left will scream bloody murder, but they brought it on themselves by denying the President an up-and-down vote.

Novak Breaks His Silence

Infuriated over what he considers a slur on his reputation by ex-CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, Bob Novak has, against the advice of his attorneys, spoken out at last about the Plame affair. Specifically, Harlow implies that Novak went to print with an article that he knew to be false as part of the alleged 'smear Wilson' campaign. Says Novak:
...What was "wrong" with my column as Harlow claimed? There was nothing incorrect. He told the Post reporters he had "warned" me that if I "did write about it, her name should not be revealed." That is meaningless. Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as "Valerie Plame" by reading her husband's entry in "Who's Who in America."

...The recent first disclosure of secret grand jury testimony set off a news media feeding frenzy centered on this obscure case. Joseph Wilson was discarded a year ago by the Kerry presidential campaign after the Senate committee reported much of what he said "had no basis in fact." The re-emerged Wilson is now accusing the senators of "smearing" him. I eagerly await the end of this investigation when I may be able to correct other misinformation about me and the case.
So do we, Bob, so do we...

UPDATE 9:25 a.m. central: The despicable Armando is torn between his hatred of Novak and his hatred of Rove, and sputters incoherently...wait until he hears about Bolton!...Meanwhile, Arianna Huff'N'Puff is slandering Judith Miller right and left...

UPDATE 2 11:05 a.m. central: The MinuteMan weighs in:
This sort of debacle - a nationally syndicated columnist ignores a clear warning from the CIA press office and outs a covert agent - does not happen every day, or even every decade. In any proper bureaucracy, a miscommunication of this magnitude would have produced a mountain of memos.
Follow the memos!...

The Morning Must-Read: Good News From Iraq

The great Arthur Chrenkoff has the 32nd installment of 'Good News From Iraq', and it's a typically thorough affair that is bound to lift your spirits. Arthur knows the secret: progress is being made every single day...

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bonus Quick Shots: Jimmy, We Barely Knew Ye

In the department of "I'm not the only one to notice that"...

a. ...Jimmy Carter is a tiresome bore;

b. ...this stem cell thing is kinda out of hand.

Enjoy your week, everyone...

Quick Shots: The End of the Weekend Already?

Ryan James has taken a quick look around the Coalition and uncovered some gems...please see for yourself...

From the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin says the next big SCOTUS battle may be over gay rights (hat tip to RealClearPolitics)...

A must-read by Paul Johnson on the intellectual disease of anti-Semitism in Commentary...

Note to Barbara O'Brien: don't mess with the Commissar...

The funniest book review of the year (tip of the hat to Ann Althouse)...

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water... comes the return of PlameGate. I was rather enjoying the lull in breathless leaks, but Time Magazine is stirring the pot up again with a story that suggests that Rove learned of Plame's identity from the Administration, and not from a journalist as he has said all along. Trying to make sense of any PlameGate story without the help of the invaluable Tom Maguire is just plain silly, so I'll let Tom take it from here...

Weekly Jackass Number Thirty-Seven: Simon Jenkins

At Arianna Huffington's vanity project known around these parts as Huff'n'Puff, you will currently find a denunciation by Simon Jenkins, columnist and former editor of the London Times, of the 'useful idiots' who 'have signed up to the League of Friends of Terrorism.' Strong words, those - but naturally, some backlash against the politically collect multiculturalism that has allowed terror cells to grow in the heart of our urban cities is understandable. Only problem is, that's not Jenkins' target - his useful idiots are, well, those who want to prevent the recurrence of the London attacks:
The truth is that those who want to subvert freedom can always rely on "useful idiots," a phrase Lenin is said to have used of liberal apologists for extremists (but never did). Modern terrorism neatly inverts this attribution. It relies on "useful idiots" of the right to exploit any terrorist incident to foment xenophobia, suspend civil liberties and seek revenge from any ethnic group vaguely linked to the incident.
What solution does Jenkins, then, offer? Why, the very John Kerry-esque 'law enforcement' approach (i.e., wait until the terrorists kill, then try to apprehend them):

Urban terrorism can only be treated as a crime. Conspiring to explode devices in public places endangers life, destroys property and causes public nuisance. Like all criminal effects it has causes. A sensible democracy addresses those causes. But since ordinary citizens and even the police can do little about them in the short term, they rightly concentrate on the crime itself. The streets of London are alive with like dangers, with people who shoot, kill and maim dozens of people a year. We fight them all, whatever their proffered and spurious justification.

A public nuisance, then, that those 50 dead Londoners, the 300 killed in Madrid, the 3,000 victims of 9/11 have fallen to. As if terrorism was a drunk driver, a pickpocket, a stray bullet from a criminal. As if we are helpless to take proactive action (Jenkins reminds one of the old, awful admonition to rape victims to 'just sit back and enjoy it').

Concludes Jenkins:
Terrorism's "useful idiots" have had a field day this past fortnight. They have jumped from "nothing can justify the bombing" (true) to "nothing can explain the bombing" (absurd). They have jumped from "Britain's war in Iraq is no excuse for killing innocent Londoners" (true) to "Britain's war in Iraq has nothing to do with the bombing" (palpably absurd). They jump from "we must not be driven to alter our way of life" (true) to demanding that we do just that. The useful idiots demand new powers, new restrictions and new measures against the muslim community. Above all they declare "war on terror," turn murdered into warriors and incite Islam to proclaim jihad in response.
Ironically, these 'useful' words of the 'idiot' Jenkins come just as people all across the world are awakening to the threat and demanding a less laconic response from European lawmakers. Jenkins appears to have caught precisely the wrong train at the wrong moment in time.

This is not news, though, to those who know his history. That Jenkins can be incredibly misinformed and take the opposite stance than the evidence would suggest is illustrated by some comments he made a while back on the subject of blogs:
When the internet arrived I thought it was like the non-stick pan or the self-lighting match, a novelty of uncertain necessity or future. The web, I wrote, would be of interest to law researchers and sex fiends. Who else would want the Library of Congress on their kitchen table and a club bore ranting on their desk? When the chat room and the web-log (blog) arrived, they were surely of use only to librarians, lonely hearts and those suffering rare tropical diseases.

This week I attended a seminar in Washington on the future of opinion journalism. Normally such seminars are places where underworked neophiliacs fry each other's brains. This time I felt the earth shake. The talk was dominated by bloggers. They were everywhere, permanently online to each other through 3G handsets (???? - what do cellphones have to do with blogs? - Mark). The dedicated blogger updates his site two or three times day, as if no gossip must go unpassed and no abuse go unanswered. It is manic.

These people claim to be the unofficial legislators of free opinion. They quake, rant, muckrake, scream like 17th-century Puritans. Most of the blog sites regurgitate and spin what the mainstream media (dismissively the "MSM") has spent millions finding and checking. Most are fanatically conservative. All you need is a taste for exhibitionism and a fancy name: mediabistro, FishBowlDC, wonkette. One Yahoo blogger, Ted Rall, gives warning of the blogosphere: "A new sheriff's in town. He's drunk. He's mean, and he works for the bad guys." The web is the Bushites' revenge on the liberal media establishment. A blog polarises or dies.

The web has undoubtedly honoured its claim to be the democracy of the air. Every columnist's motto may be Milton's "Opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making". But to what end? On the web, opinion travels first class while facts go steerage. The opinion blogs that I occasionally read - one is formed every seven seconds - show scant respect for the disciplines of journalism.

Well, the disciplines of journalism bit is, of course, a laughable image in the age of Easongate, Rathergate, Jayson Blair, the L.A. Times, etc. etc. Give Jenkins credit for chutzpah, though - he admits that he totally dismissed the most significant advance in communications since the television, then expects you to join him in condescending dismissal of blogs (and the bit about Ted Rall - hilarious!). For further takedowns of Jenkins 'useful idiocy' on this subject, I refer you to the dynamic duo of Tim Blair and Scott Burgess.

The indictment against Jenkins could continue (his support of wasteful public extravagance, his swallowing whole of the discredited Lancet study '100,000 civilian casualty' number for Iraq), but I don't wish to try your patience. Allow me, then to congratulate Simon Jenkins, and to thank him for reminding us that you needn't be a celebrity or a Frenchman to be a Jackass.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m. central: Shortly after posting this, I came across this by John Leo:
The denial of the peril facing America remains a staple of the left. We still hear that the terrorism is a scattered and minor threat that should be dealt with as a criminal justice matter.
Indeed, we do, John, indeed we do...