Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful and safe holiday, and pleasant travelling. I am off to spend Thanksgiving in Vegas...if my hotel room has Internet access and I can blog, I will, otherwise, I'll be back at it Monday. Don't forget to say a prayer for our troops...

Oil For Food, Part Two - Claudia Rosett

In my first post about Oil For Food, I mentioned Claudia Rosett. The scandal had been brewing slowly, but it was this April article in Commentary that first brought the issue front and center to a lot of people. There was some degree of knowledge that the program was crooked, but the scale was starting to become apparent. Early estimates by Rosett and others had the fraud at a "mere" $11 billion, but most of the storyline was already known. In fact, Ms. Rosett was criticizing Oil For Food as far back as September, 2002, albeit for being basically a UN job program. A quick glance at this link shows just how instrumental Ms. Rosett has been on keeping the fire going on this issue, for which she deserves our thanks this Thanksgiving.

There are huge aspects of this story that I have yet to mention (but will go into soon)...meanwhile, the disgust with the UN seems to be growing by the day. Captain's Quarters alerted me to a quote from US Amabassador to the UN John Danforth, worth quoting at length:
John C. Danforth, the United States ambassador, assailed the General Assembly on Tuesday, saying its decision to avoid voting on a resolution denouncing human rights violations in Sudan called into question the purpose of the Assembly.

"One wonders about the utility of the General Assembly on days like this," he said. "One wonders if there can't be a clear and direct statement on matters of basic principle, why have this building? What is it all about?"

The point: the UN is failing its most basic mission. If the UN cannot stop mass murder in Rwanda and the Sudan, if it can't enforce a dozen resolutions on Saddam Hussein, if it is a hotbed of corruption, then the time has come to pull the plug.

Alexander, the Thanksgiving Turkey

It looks like Alexander may be the bomb of the year (and that's saying something with The Alamo and Home On the Range and the other Disney stinkers this year). People are really ripping on this one (see here and here and here). Colin Farrell can be pretty likeable sometimes (see Minority Report), but he looks pretty ridiculous here (and when was the last time Angelina Jolie was in a decent movie?). More to the point, why the studios keep giving money to Oliver Stone is beyond me. Stone is the major studios' answer to Michael Moore, a leftist conspiracy monger who had a heyday in the 80s but has turned into a cash sinkhole lately (Any Given Sunday, anyone?). Anyone thinking of seeing this should make a U-turn and head into the Incredibles instead, judging from the reviews. (And a tip of the hat to Instapundit.)

It's a Free Speech Thing

Blogger Juan Cole is pretty far left, and I very seldom agree with almost anything he has to say. Still, I don't wish to deny him the right to say it. MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, does good work exposing the extremism of portions of the Arab media, and I recommend their web site to you. However, they are now threatening to sue Cole for a blog post critical of their organization. I have read the post, and it's not worth a lawsuit. Let Cole spout his leftist rhetoric, and I'll keep blowing my conservative horn, and it'll all come out in the wash...if you think such lawsuits are a threat to free speech, as I do, email and let them know (hat tip to pennywit).

Wictory Wednesday

PoliPundit is encouraging all conservatives to support Wictory Wednesdays, so I'm joining in. Please read his post for all the details. If you're able to donate time or money to the cause, remember that it was only through unprecedented grass-roots efforts by Ken Mehlman and people like you that we won this convincing victory. So get involved, and remember, it's never too early...

The most important place to donate right now is Louisiana, as there are two runoffs for the House coming up there. Help out our Bayou Brothers and Happy Thanksgiving! (And check out the Wictory Wednesdays Blogroll to the right).

The Fall of the House of Rather

Now that we've all had time to reflect on Dan Rather's abrupt retirement announcement, it seems that more and more people see a parallel between his end and Nixon's (hat tip to Cadmus). Roger Simons says this is "The Best Proof of the Existence of God Since St. Anselm". Meanwhile, in the alternate universe known as "Liberal Land", I can find (a) no reaction at all, or (b) obvious denial of the impact.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Random Walk Down Blog Street

Still wondering if Kerry gave up Ohio too soon? Well, wonder no more....

Now that Rather's gone, can't someone get rid of Helen Thomas? (hat tip to Dirty Harry)

I've posted a little on Oil-For-Food. Here's a great site with all kinds of good information on this scandal (and the hat tip here goes to Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit). I called it a scandal bigger than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined, they call it "the biggest scam of all time".

And finally, in another Oil-For-Food item (can it possibly get any worse?), Captain's Quarters notes that the U.N. is proposing that the now free-from-despotism Iraq pay for the investigation of all the money they stole from them when they were still under Saddam's thumb...boy, thank God for the U.N., huh?

Dick Cheney - Candidate Profile Two

Dick Cheney, like the President he serves, is a lightning rod. For proof, you need look no further than the reaction to this year's Presidential debates - liberals thought Edwards won, conservatives (including myself) thought Cheney just ran away with it. Cheney emphatically states that he won't run in 2008, and we should probably take him at his word. Still, never say never.

Richard B. Cheney

Official Biographical Site

A highly unlikely combination here

Resume: Served in the Nixon, Ford, Bush 41, and Bush 43 administrations; former Congressman from Wyoming; former White House Chief of Staff; former Defense Secretary; 46th Vice President of the United States

Cheney has served his country well for decades, but he is a long shot among long shots for several reasons:

(1) Electability - like it not, we live in a media age, and Cheney seems to have a permanent snarl on his face (though he scored some good laughs making fun of his good looks in the Vice Presidential debate).

(2) Halliburton - I don't think there's any "there" there, but all the same, Cheney's former company would drag on any potential campaign like an anchor.

(3) Most importantly, the poor guy is obviously in bad health.

Put it all together, and despite what I said above, you can just about say "Never" on this one.

Current Odds: 50-1

Update 02/06/05 2:22 p.m. central:
Dick Cheney on the possibility that he will run:
"I will say just as hard as I possibly know how to say ... 'If nominated, I will not run,' 'If elected, I will not serve,' or not only no, but 'Hell no,' " Cheney told "Fox News Sunday," making clear he intends to retire from politics at the end of his current term.
Put a fork in this one; it's done.

Current Odds: 100-1

Update 03/29/05 10:00 a.m. central:

See this post...


UPDATE 07/24/2005 10:56 p.m.:

see here...

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

That's the title of U2's new album, and it rocks. Bono would certainly not be considered a conservative by any stretch on the imagination, but he has shown a willingness to reach across the aisles. (And he didn't campaign for John Kerry, unlike another one of my musical heroes). I have been a fan since the War album, particularly of their incendiary live shows. So take the opportunity, if you have some time, to check out the organization DATA, an organization devoted to restructuring the debt of poor nations and fighting AIDS in Africa, two causes that are very noble indeed. Bono has devoted a lot of time to these issues and that is to his credit. I was very proud of Bush when he defied the stereotype of Republicans as selfish and uncaring by unveiling the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Rather is Out!!

Dan Rather is leaving CBS News!!! There is no doubt in my mind that he is resigning before he is fired. After all, we still haven't heard the results of the internal investigation of the National Guard document fiasco, and let's face it, even if you're a fan, Rather's credibility is shot after his steadfast refusal to back off of an obviously false story. We are witnessing the biggest victory yet of the blogosphere over the major media. It was blogs, after all, that broke Rathergate and forced the big outlets to pay attention. 'Bye, Dan! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Later today, Candidate Profile #2: Dick Cheney...

UPDATE: Drudge has the following:

ADDRESSES CBS NEWSROOM AT APPROXIMATELY 1:39PM EST [Partial transcript -- joined in progress]: No matter what you hear elsewhere, this was a mutual decision. The timing has to do with (wanting to separate) this decision to leave the anchor chair... from the (investigation) of the 60 MINUTES report. The decision got made the way I described. There is nothing more important (to me) than how honored I am to work with the greatest news organization in the world. Thank you for coming. We're not going to spend much time (on questions) because we have news to cover. (Offered to answer questions, but staff simply gave his signature 'hip hip' three cheers.) Let�s get back to work. Thanks everyone.

UPDATE 1/10/2005 10:19 am central: I subsequently learned that Rather was leaving the anchor chair, not CBS. Four executives, however, were canned.

More on Race and the Left

Racist radio talk-show host and program manager John "Sly" Sylvester says he has apologized for calling Condoleezza Rice "Aunt Jemima", but you be the judge as to how sincere that apology is. Sylvester says he "offended many African-Americans" with his comments...hell, he offended many Americans, period. Sylvester has also called Colin Powell (you guessed it!) an Uncle Tom, and apologized to Aunt Jemima previously for comparing her to Condoleeza Rice (get it? Ha, ha....ehhhh, no.). In my previous post on Campaign 2004 and race, I looked at another case of liberal racism. I am not even close to being the first to comment on this (see here, here, here, and here, among countless others). Nevertheless, the more people who know the true racial feelings of the Radical Left, the better.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Who Killed Kennedy? Cast your vote...and More Journeys Through the Blogosphere

DJ Drummond at PoliPundit is collecting JFK assassination theories from his readers - for the record, I think Oswald was a nut who acted alone...

Sheer delight of the has named Michael Moore the coldest person in Hollywood...(hat tip to Hindrocket at Power Line)

Jim Miller at THAT Liberal Media exposes how the New York Times encourages talk of voter fraud while pretending to disown it...

Oil For Food, Part One - Our Blood, Their Oil

I remember well the Iran-Contra scandal. The arms-for-hostages deal dominated the headlines for weeks and resulted in televised hearings that made a hero out of Oliver North and indictments of high government officials, though most were later pardoned by President Bush. It was, in short, a major story. Where is the outcry over the much worse Oil-For-Food Scandal at the U.N.? True, it's getting some big play now, but still more so in England than elsewhere.

If "Oil-For-Food" is new to you, here's a decent primer. The basic charge is this: Saddam Hussein, while under United Nations sanctions, was allowed to sell a portion of his oil for food and medicine for the Iraqi people as a humanitarian gesture. Instead, Hussein gave out vouchers as kickbacks to businessmen and government officials across the Middle East and Europe, including members of the Russian Parliament and a former Interior Minister of France (kind of puts the whole Iraq War debate in a different light, doesn't it? Thanks for nothing, Jacques!). How much did Saddam and his cronies steal? How about 20 BILLION DOLLARS? That's a full quarter of that $87 billion dollar supplement that John Kerry voted for and against while rubbing his head and whistling "Dixie". While Saddam was building palaces with your money, children in Iraq suffered from malnutrition needlessly. Americans are literally dying as we speak to bring democracy to the Middle East in a war that France and Russia opposed out of sheer greed.

This should be front page news. I can't imagine a scandal with a greater stench than stealing humanitarian aid to prop up a dictator while sanctimoniously accusing the U.S. of trading "blood for oil". Blood for oil, indeed...our blood, their oil. Much more on this later, including a look at the work of Claudia Rosett, in my mind the journalist most responsible for keeping this story alive. Stay tuned...

Good News For Republicans

Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report has a new column on reshaping the electorate. If you watched Election 2004 coverage on Fox News, you'll know Barone as the analyst who was crunching the returns in real-time. His real claim to fame, though, is the Almanac of American Politics, THE source of information on the shape of America's electorate. All this is another way of saying, the guy has some idea of what he's talking about. And what he's talking about right now sounds good to my ears...

Barone says that today's electorate is the most Republican it has ever been, and he gives much of the credit to Ken Mehlman, who must have got a total of 3 hours sleep the last month of the campaign. Mehlman's reward was to be named the new Chairman of the National Republican Party. Kudos to Mehlman, and let me tell you, we couldn't be in better hands. Patrick Ruffini has this advice for the Democrats: brace yourselves.

It's Time for Kofi Annan to Go

I don't have much use for the United Nations. For the most part, it serves as a platform for anti-U.S. sentiments. You may have seen the news stories about the UN employees' union and their possible no-confidence vote. The issue(s) with the union revolve around Annan's seeming inability to discipline his work force, whether the allegation is preferential hiring practices, sexual harassment, or incompetence. The Washington Times has a good story on Annan's sorry saga today.

Later, I'm going to examine a real, honest-to-God scandal at the U.N. that dwarfs Watergate and Iran-Contra put together. It has received some coverage, but not nearly stay tuned.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Al Gore: Candidate Profile Numero Uno

Okay, so I'm calling this blog Decision '08 for a reason (and it's not just because Decision 2008 was taken already!)...I fully intend to spend the next four years building up a real resource for Campaign 2008. I realize there isn't much here yet, but hey, come on, it's the first day of the blog.

One of the things I intend to provide in this blog are candidate profiles from both sides of the aisle, where I'll handicap the serious (and not-so-serious) horses in the race. I'm gonna start off with our ol' buddy from Campaign 2000, Al Gore.

Albert Arnold Gore Jr.

Resume: Former Representative for Tennessee's 4th District, Former Senator from Tennessee, 45th Vice President of the United States, 2000 Democratic Nominee for President

(Unofficial) Campaign Website: Al Gore 2008

Good link for Gore's history

You may think I'm a little off to start with Al Gore, but there is a serious movement to consider him for '08 (however small that movement may be). Recently,
Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post, started tongues wagging with a column endorsing a Gore 2008 candidacy. Cohen stupidly states that the Democrats need a good recession(!!! - that's the kind of optimism that'll win us back!), but "barring that, the party needs a candidate who can be comfy talking religion and who, once that's established, can go on to talk about other things." Cohen also points out that Gore is a Southerner who opposed the Iraq War and that he has a wife whose name is not Te-RAY-za.

Let's use Cohen's column as a starting point in handicapping Gore. How serious would a Gore candidacy be? Consider these points:

(1) Gore famously lost the Electoral College vote after winning the popular vote, then plunged the country into a month-long circus that culminated in the Supreme Court. Compared to that, Kerry was a gentleman. True, there are parts of the Democratic Base that STILL think Bush is an illegitimate president, but the majority of Americans look back at 2000 as a nightmare, notwithstanding Fahrenheit 911.

(2) Gore was initially thought of as somewhat moderate, in line with Clinton's New Democrat presidency. Unlike Kerry, he succeeded in defining himself...he wasn't just a faceless Senator getting rich and taking up space while accomplishing nothing. Sure, we all made fun of his gaffes and grandiose claims, but at least we knew what he claimed about himself. Unfortunately, a lot of that definition and perceived moderation has now flown away, thanks to Gore's intemperate remarks since his loss.

(3) Liberals such as Cohen miss completely the lesson of Election 2004. The fact that Al Gore is from the South and can talk comfortably about religion means absolutely squat. John Edwards (oh, we'll get to him) brought his cornpone "aw shucks ma'am" routine to town and was ridden right back out of town on a rail. You see, Richard and Al and John, we conservatives didn't support Bush because he was from Texas, or because he professes to be a man of faith, but because he shares our concerns and values. The "Religious Right" did not win this election for Bush, but rather religious, mainstream people (Nixon's "Silent Majority") who aren't necessarily against abortion, but just think it oughtta be rare, and aren't necessarily homophobic, but think marriage ought to be just the way it has been for thousands of years, and most of all, who like a President that recognizes that there is evil in the world. Ironically, Gore once knew this; he would do well to remember it.


UPDATE 3/10/2005 9:19 pm central: See this post for downward revision.


UPDATE 04/25/05 6:58 pm central:
See here...


UPDATE 04/25/05 5:33 p.m. central:
Gore is doing nothing at all, that I can see, that makes him a viable candidate at this point. I'm dropping his odds considerably.


UPDATE 07/04/05 10:26 p.m. central:
Is there a reason to consider Gore a player? Not that I can see...


A Quick Journey Around the Blogosphere

Benjamin at the anti-Chomsky blog has some great thoughts on Chomsky's reaction to Election '04 (hint: Chomsky doesn't like the outcome), in which our favorite America hater again reveals his underlying Marxism by mentioning 'class interests' (what a laughable way to analyze modern America!). Benjamin rightly calls him out on his pathetic attempt to use the eligible U.S. voting population as his definition of electorate in order to make the claim that Bush got only 30% of the vote (note to Chomsky: I think even most Democrats outside of West Palm Beach realize you have to actually vote to be counted). I share Benjamin's amusement at Chomsky's risible reference to the 'vast diversity' found in the world of academia. Vast diversity in superficialities like skin color and height perhaps; no diversity at all in viewpoint...

DJ Drummond at Polipundit unmasks Karl Rove's secret agent. In hindsight, the whole Democratic effort in '04 reeks of amateurism. If Bob Shrum advises another presidential campaign, I'll...well, I won't be surprised at all, since the Dems don't ever seem to learn their lesson...

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters takes Nicholas Kristof and the NY Times to task for their blatantly transparent attempt to dictate to the red states by replacing the Electoral College. The whole reason for the Electoral College, as Captain Ed rightly surmises, is so that one or two major population centers can't determine the outcome of an election. Change the system, and you throw our future elections into the hands of the liberal Hollywood and New York elite (and if that thought doesn't scare you, you're reading the wrong blog). One suspects there wouldn't be so much handwringing from the major media about the Electoral College had the results been different.

Race and the 2004 Election

You may not be aware of Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered, particularly since it airs on that paragon of political correctness, PBS. It's a pretty informative new series starring the bow-tied boy wonder (and Jon Stewart punching bag). This week featured, among others, Marjorie Fields Harris, a candidate for Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee...and it was a depressing interview indeed.

Folks, Bush increased his percentage of the black vote despite the scare tactics of the left for two reasons: (1) the shared conservative values of black churchgoers and Republicans, and (2) disgust with the Democratic Party's plantation mentality. You see, according to Ms. Harris, Bush is fundamentally a racist because, well...because Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice aren't really black. You may think I'm joking, so a good ol'-fashioned (partial) fisking is in order.

Carlson: Marjorie, thanks a lot.

Why didn't Kerry do better?

Harris: I think Kerry was a good candidate, to be honest. He was effective in what he was trying to say. I think that the organization around him just did not allow him to penetrate the community as he could have.

Since I am running for the Vice Chairman, I won't say anything bad about our nominee who just lost decisively, that's how effective he was. (Also, he wasn't in control of his own campaign).

Carlson: What about the notion that the Republican party actually has points of common interest with a lot of black voters? A lot of black voters aren't as enthusiastic about legal abortion as your average well-educated white voter is. More comfortable with faith, for school choice. Why don't more black voters vote Republican?

Harris: It's one of the myths of the black community, that we all believe in abortion and these kind of loose moral values. I think that's always been a myth.

I hold your bow-tie wearing opinions in such contempt that I am not even paying attention to you, as shown by my complete lack of understanding of your question.

...the Republicans haven't reached out. This is the first time I've even seen a small effort. Bush, come on, he didn't get the numbers they expected in the African-American community. I can't say that the Republicans were effective in reaching out to African-Americans, but they never tried to embrace us as a community. It's not so much we haven't gone to the party. I think the party hasn't come to us.

Clarence Thomas and J.C. Watts meant nothing to me, as they weren't Democrats and didn't share my views. The fact that Bush made inroads in the black community is just not relevant, despite the fact that he increased his share of the black vote by 37.5% from 2000, because, you see, it wasn't as high as some pre-election estimates.

Carlson: Isn't the real problem a lot of black voters think the Republican party, on some level, is racist, and once that perception goes away, if it does, a large number of black voters come to the party. Why not?

Harris: It's based on the fact that you have a president who's appointed people like Charles Pickering, Pryor, Janice Rogers-Brown, who is African-American herself, to the federal bench. These are people anti-, or for the most part our rights, anti-civil rights, anti-human rights in a large respect. So it's not based on a perception. It's reality. A lot of the --

Tucker, I'd like to take the opportunity here to slander some people without offering any proof. Here are three people who I would like to nonchalantly accuse of being racist and "anti-human rights". So you see, the fact that I can throw these names out at you means that the Republican party is racist in reality, not just perception (oh, and by the way, Janice Rogers Brown apparently hates herself).

Carlson: He's appointed two black secretary of states. That doesn't help at all?

Harris: What does that mean? Colin Powell, a military man, he's not necessarily an icon within the African-American community. He's not related to the African-American community. Condoleezza Rice, who is an outstanding woman, and it's great what she's going to be doing, but she's not connected to our base. She doesn't represent the interests of African-American women. She's never touted herself as being an African-American woman representing our interests. I think it's wonderful what they've done, great personal achievements, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the community overall.

Tucker, you make the common mistake here of assuming the African American community is composed of all African Americans. In truth, any African American who turns his or her back on the victim mentality and rises to the top of American society is no more than an Uncle Tom like Clarence Thomas by definition. In fact, if you rub their faces really hard, the blackface will probably start to come off. If Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were serious about helping the black community, they would pander to us and encourage us to rely more on the government and less on our own brains and hard work.

I could go on, but you get the point...doesn't this crap get tiresome to you? As a Republican, let me say on my behalf to the black community, we welcome you, we don't have an ideology test, and we are truly interested in what you as an individual has to offer our party. If there's one thing this blog will make clear, it's that identity politics makes me sick. There is no "African-American" mentality, anymore than there is a "white male" mentality (if there were such a thing, wouldn't the Michael Moores of the world agree with the Rudy Giulianis(who we'll take a hard look at later as a spotlight candidate for '08)? The most important message of the Republican Party is that it is the individual that matters more than the group.

Welcome to my new blog!

Howdy, folks, and welcome to my new blog. I'm going to spend the next four years looking at the politicial horizon in what will hopefully be a witty, informative manner. I'm a conservative, so I won't insult your intelligence by pretending to be unbiased, but I will try to be fair to both sides (whenever it suits me). I'm also going to be covering general issues that I think reflect on the electorate and where I think it will be heading.

So, in the next few weeks, as I flesh this out, look for profiles of promising candidates from both sides and unexpectedly brilliant analysis that will result is mass hilarity and much head-scratching and pondering, I hope.

Let's kick things off on this inaugural post with a look at a Sunday talking head show, shall we?

Is is just me or has CBS been replaced with a crude parody of a network? We all know by now about Rathergate, but Bob Schieffer (rumored as a Rather replacement, despite his advanced age, albeit probably not for long) is not much of an improvement. Today he just went after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who was very impressive in not getting steamrolled. The issue was the stalling of the not-quite-dead Intelligence Reform bill by conservative House Republicans. Frist made it clear that there was not a guarantee of a bill passing "unless it's done right." (Done right in this case meaning resolving the budgetary issues with the Pentagon and probably removing immigration matters from the bill entirely). David Brooks (a.k.a. the only possible reason to still read the New York Times) made an appearance and finally succeeded in calming Schieffer down.

More to come later today, including a look at race and the liberal mindset.