Before this debating season is over, would someone please, please utter the words "boogie to Baghdad?"
You remember the phrase. It was written by Richard Clarke, the White House counterterrorism chief who in 1999 was so worried about the chumminess of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein that he believed bin Laden, if attacked by the United States at his lair in Afghanistan, would "boogie" on over to the Iraqi capital for protection.
We learned of Clarke's concerns in perhaps the most-ignored passages of the September 11 Commission report — those dealing with the very Saddam/al Qaeda connection that is being so vigorously denied by John Kerry and John Edwards.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
They get intrepreted for the Arabic speaking world through the minds of fellows such as Dr. Ahmad Dewidar, imam of the Islamic Society of Mid-Manhattan and a lecturer on Islamic studies at Manhattanville College.
Middle East Media Resarch Institute translated an inteview with Dr. Dewidar who shed these insights on America,
Question: "What steps did you take to fend off the accusation that stuck to the Muslims – [i.e.] that they were behind 9/11?"and then this insight on who calls the shots in the US,
Dewidar: "Although a large part of American society believes that 9/11 was an operation planned and fabricated in order to forge a new reality of world rule under the so-called 'New World Order,' most of society got the message from the Muslims that they were in fact the ones behind [the attacks]. This message was reflected in the [fact that] the Taliban and Osama bin Laden took responsibility for the event, as well as in the reactions of glee in the Arab and Muslim world to what happened.
Question: "What is the extent of the Muslim community's influence on American society?"Finally we get this analysis on our goals for the War against Terrorism,
Dewidar: "The Zionist community numbers only three million, but they control the government, the politics, the economy, and the media in the U.S. At the same time, the Islamic community numbers 11 million, but its influence is weak. There are a number of reasons for this. The main ones are that the Muslim community is composed of different cultures, languages, and countries [of origin] – there are Arabs, Asians, Iranians, and others – and that the Islamic community is a society that only recently emigrated to the U.S., in comparison with many other communities. Thus we lack an organization, a plan, and a strategy around which we can unite and according to which we can act. We need to have generations of specialists in medicine, computers, and other areas that serve society. Even if we now have some representatives in some fields of sciences, this is not sufficient in order for them to stand out and influence American society."
"As for the American policy of controlling the region... The American regime believes in a [certain] ideological or religious program, which is like the New Testament for it. [This program] is the result of a great intellectual effort by a man who is powerful and influential among the intellectuals, who is called Sharatsky [sic; apparently referring to former Israeli minister Natan Sharansky] – a Jew in origin. [His idea] boils down to the claim that in order for America to live in security, it has to change the perceptions in the Middle East regarding the [people's] sense of participation in the political process, and regarding freedom, democracy and education. This, [according to him,] is because the oppression of these [Middle Eastern] societies leads to extremism, which is ruining their countries and America... This Jew has despicable goals, and we see their effects today in America's actions in the region, imposing its opinion and its outlook on democracy, education, and political involvement on our [Arab and Islamic] countries.Count me with the Jewish guy. I've read his book. I don't know how one can be a liberal and not believe in the power of Democracy and Freedom to overcome tyranny and terror.
You're no liberal Sen Durbin, if you can't see the foe. We'll impose in Iraq (and East St. Louis) and the world will be far better place for it. You will have done nothing to help and only caused harm. And history will remember that.
Here's a green-eye shade question from a fellow bean-counter. Fox played the tail end on the news tonight.
Q Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary, General Myers. My name is Fred Newhart. I work for OPNAV as a resource officer. As we're finalizing the '07 budget, we're almost getting the ink signed on that and we're getting ready for '08. I know myself, and most of my counterparts in the other services, every year we -- you know, we're trying to get the best technology, the best equipment out to our soldiers and sailors out on the frontline. And yet every year -- this is my fourth cycle -- we're getting dramatic cuts in the amount of money that we have to do that. Unfortunately, the technology and equipment keeps going up. At some point in time, we're going to end up killing programs that would benefit the soldiers and sailors.
And I was just wondering if you have thoughts on that, sir? Is this a continuing trend, or are we finally going to end up getting to a point where, you know, we stop and we start getting the money that we really need to try and get this equipment?
SEC. RUMSFELD: You know, that's a hard question to answer. I just don't know enough about your personal circumstance and what you're seeing and what trend lines you're looking at, or why.
I do know that from -- on a macro basis, this department is receiving something like a half a trillion dollars a year. That is an enormous amount of money that the taxpayers and the Congress and the president have decided ought to be invested in the single-most important thing we do, and that's provide for the security of our country.
It is not a matter of being short of funds at a half a trillion dollars a year, if one looks around the globe at other countries' investments and the like, it is a matter of allocation, and that means that there's constantly going -- resources, no matter what the level is, are going to be finite. There's going to be some number, and that's it. It happens it's in the neighborhood of a half a trillion dollars a year, which is an enormous amount of money. Then the question is what do you do with it? And that's a competition of ideas, it's an allocation -- set of allocation issues.
And I just cannot accept that there is a money problem. The problem I would characterize it, given our circumstance, I would characterize it as a persuasion problem. In other words, if these things are competing against each other, then -- and they're not properly allocated, then someone who's more persuasive for something that is less important, or the power of the lobby for it, I should say maybe, in the Congress or in the industry, or something, is a part of the issue. But we certainly ought to be smart enough and wise enough to allocate the resources here and go up to the Congress and say, Here's how we believe it ought to be spent.
We've got a phrase we use around here. I don't use it, but others do. There's a couple of phrases that I have trouble with. One is "requirement". I think of it as an appetite. (Laughter.)
The second phrase we have is "high demand, low density". Now, I think of that as we bought the wrong things. (Laughter.) It's a -- it is a world class baloney phrase: high demand, low density. It just means we didn't do our jobs well. That's what it means. So do your job better. (Laughter, applause.)
Q (Off mike.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: (Laughs.) Just kidding. (Laughter.) Don't give him the mike. (Laughter.)
B39 Olds sends a picture of himself in front of the demolished Bishop's Chili in Forest Park on Roosevelt Road near Harlem. We spent a lot of time there.
When driving around Chicago my Dad would tell me to take a good look because we're always tearing it down and building it over again. We're building a lot of Walgreen's this iteration.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Davids Medienkritik protests anti-American bias in the German media during Schroeder's visit to White House
Any 8th grader could visit and if they correctly translated any version as displayed (no cheating by those evangelical kids who have them memorized already; you need to translate as sorted and listed in the Court room) would receive a $1,000 from the Court to be set aside in a school savings fund. Finding a misspelling would get them a $100 bonus per error found.
That's what I'd do.
Monday, June 27, 2005
(Weekly Standard writes about the impact in today's issue. And here's a link to the earlier speech in Cairo which I think will be remembered in time as a great one.)
QUESTION: First of all, we'd like to welcome -- we'd like to say welcome to Riyadh. (Inaudible) would like to know what the American Government official (inaudible) evaluation regarding the Saudi -- the Saudi Arabian achievement in the following issues: fighting terrorism and human rights side and interior reforms.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. We have excellent cooperation on counterterrorism, on fighting terrorism. We share the same goal that al-Qaida and extremism of that type must be defeated. And indeed, we have very close counterterrorism cooperation. We cooperate through our services, through our military training, through every means that we have, to make certain that the people of Saudi Arabia and the people of the United States and the people of the world are safe from the kind of horrors that happened in the United States on September 11th and that happened in Riyadh in May of last year. And so we have very close counterterrorism cooperation.
We believe that the Saudi Government is making progress on reform. We noted the municipal elections that took place. We note that there is a national dialogue underway. Obviously, countries will do this at their own speed, but we encourage reform to go forward as quickly as possible. And as I said, we believe that any reform will expose the fact that there are universal values and freedoms that people
aspire to. And as I've said to the Minister, we believe that the people of the Middle East, including the people of Saudi Arabia, are no different in that regard.
This is a very strong relationship, and on the basis of that strong relationship we can talk about anything at any time. And we have tonight talked about just about everything, which is why you're here at a midnight press conference.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: May I add to that that I really don't understand what the row is about about asking for what type of reforms and what speed the reform is taking in our country or the other. After all, we speak to you about it. I don't see why it would be strange to speak to the State Department or the Secretary of State about it. So the row is really meaningless. The assessment is important for any country in the development of its political reform, in the development of its own people, and that is, in the final analysis, the criteria that we follow.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said in Cairo today that many people in this country pay an unfair price for exercising their basic rights. Did you raise those concerns here today and did you get any sense that things would change on that score?
And, please, to the Foreign Minister, how could Saudi Arabia put people in prison simply for petitioning the government? And also, can you give us your reaction to the
Secretary's speech today in Cairo?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I did raise the issue of the three people who were imprisoned that I raised earlier in Cairo. We have raised it with the Saudi Government in the past and I raised it again tonight. And the Minister will give his own answer, but we will continue to follow the progress of this case. We think it is an important case. And I said exactly to the Minister what I said in Cairo earlier, that the petitioning of the government for reform should not be a crime. The Foreign Minister is open in the way that he discusses these things with us, but I will let him speak for himself.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Thank you. And we did talk about the three prisoners. We don't have any -- and I told the Secretary that they have broken a law; they are in the hands of the court. The government cannot interfere until they -- the court action is taken in this regard.
As to the reaction to the speech, I was so busy in arranging the welcome to the Secretary that I'm afraid I haven't read it, to my eternal shame.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I support free trade. Let the Chinese buy American companies for $2 billion over the last bid. I don't care much how the value their currency Sen. Durbin.
But Samuel Brittan in the FT explains what we should be lecturing the Chinese about:
”Western statesmen have every duty to remind Chinese leaders of their still appalling human rights record – from the Tiananmen Square massacre to the occupation of Tibet and the continued veneration of Chairman Mao, who has been exposed as a killer on the level of Hitler and Stalin.
Unfortunately, they have gone quiet on these issues and have instead lectured the Chinese on the need to revalue the renminbi. It is not as if China were making a mess of its economy. On the contrary, it has a higher growth rate than any country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. And, far from appealing for handouts from the west, it is one of the main sources of the financial inflows sustaining the US economy”.
The Hitler and Stalin comparisons work when you talk about China. There is a past the Chinese need to come to terms with and current human rights behavior that's awful.
I live in Hastert's district and love to visit San Francisco. Below quote from article probably explains why it's just love to visit.
There is also a class difference. Mr Hastert's district is as resolutely middle-class as it is cheerfully mid-American. A few businessmen live in multi-million-dollar houses, and send their children to private schools. But most people send their children to public schools, shop in giant shopping malls and eat in chain restaurants. The region's varied economy means that you do not need a higher degree to get ahead: people do well in farms and factories as well as in office suites. And the almost universal commitment to the public schools reinforces the sense of equality. Sue Klinkhamer, the mayor of St Charles, points out that her local school district is so big that people living on fairly modest incomes can send their children to the same schools as do millionaires.
San Francisco is both higher- and lower-class. The city is home to some of the richest people in the country, many of them, like the Hearsts, Haases and Crockers, the heirs to rather than the creators of huge fortunes. It also has a disproportionate number of single professionals with big disposable incomes. Yet it is also host to one of the country's biggest concentrations of homeless people. Over 8,000 of them, perhaps twice that number, many drug-addicted or mentally ill, live on the streets. “A mixture of Carmel and Calcutta”, is the verdict of Kevin Starr, California's state librarian, on his native city.
First, can you imagine the hullabaloo about separation of Church and State, and the impending theocratic coup if Bush got up on a pulpit and preached about anything?
Second, this strikes me as a speech to the suburbs confirming their worst prejeduces about men in the city. Obama is setting himself up for National Office and this is a speech directed to a wider audience broading his base.
Obama told us,
I know that our schools don't have all of the equipment. ... I understand that the school-financing system in the state is screwed up. ... I understand that our teachers need more money. And I understand that we need more computers and equipment. I understand all those things, but let me say this: That is no excuse.I think it's an excuse. The failure is something that needs to be explained by a politician. Don't tell me it's my job to work around it.
And a politician also ought to explain the security needed to protect my kid so he or she can get to school and use the equipment.
And a politician ought to explain what they'll do to ensure quality public teachers.
Or maybe a politician should offer to voucher back taxes so tax payors can make their own choices here.
I don't need a politician to quote me 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13: Verse 11. I want a politician to tell me how they're going to make sure our tax dollars pay for a quality education so our kids can read the bible themselves. Something they should be perfectly free to study in public schools too.
Blair gave a powerful speech. Look at this quote,
And as ever the people are ahead of the politicians. We always think as a political class that people, unconcerned with the daily obsession of politics, may not understand it, may not see its subtleties and its complexities. But, ultimately, people always see politics more clearly than us. Precisely because they are not daily obsessed with it.I always feel insulted by the Democrats pitch that Republicans have bamboozled the people with lies and falsehoods. Tell the Democrats it's politics. We see the politics clearly. Democrats need to become good politicians and offer some alternatives in the debate. The voters will judge who's selling snake oil.
The Liberty Files says Rove's comments on Liberals' reactions to 911 was another Rove Trap to get Democrats to self-identify with Liberals which now-a-days equates with the loony left.
I'm a liberal, but what passes for liberal today doesn't even feel left, or old left, or new left; it just sounds looney. You hear it when you read some of the reactons to 911 Hewitt's collected.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Thanks for the kind words to me here too Downstate. My wife tells me now I have to clean up my spelling and grammer if people are really reading my blog. My family thought I was typing to myself down here in the basement.
Before ultimately deciding to issue his I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-An-Apology, Durbin's office held a conference call with a number of liberal bloggers. You can read a summary of it here.
The problem is that many of the bigger liberal bloggers are sort of, well, crazy. Go to Buzzflash, for instance, and you'll find a list of insane, over-the-top liberal headlines, as well as an ad which proclaims that "A Fascist Christian America" can "Happen Here." This isn't the liberal analog of the Drudge Report--it's the liberal analog of open-mike night at St. Elizabeth's.
Another liberal blogger who seems to have been invited to the Durbin conference call, but didn't phone in, is Steve Gilliard. Gilliard had previously defended Durbin, but when Durbin tried backing down, Gilliard unleashed with a stream of profanity and invective that I can't reproduce, because the Newsletter would never get past your spam filter. The ur-liberal blogger, Markos Moulitsas, then concurred with Gilliard, right down to the nasty language.
What's happening here? Durbin is finding out that if you turn to crazy people for support, you can't be surprised that if you disappoint them even in the slightest, they might go a little nuts. Dick Durbin shouldn't be enlisting people this, ahem, mercurial, in his cause. Unless he's a total moron, the only reason he would go to them is that he believes these people represent up a huge portion of the electorate.
And here's where the Democratic stupidity comes in: If Senator Durbin wants to know how many votes people like Buzzflash, Gilliard, and Kos really represent, he should talk to John Kerry and Howard Dean.
Demonizing the American military in order to advance an anti-war agenda is, of course, familiar to those who recall the end of the Vietnam War. Most had believed that September 11 put that playbook on the shelf for good. Wrong. It is in wide use among the left and their spokesmen and women in the leadership of the Democratic party.I recall the end of the Vietnam War. I recall McGovern (I voted for him). This damages America but it will mean the end of the Democratic party. This is a catastrophic political strategy Durbin's setting for his party.
via WSJ's James Taranto's Best of the Web today.
I voted for Gore because I couldn't stand Bush's criticism of Clinton's Nation Building efforts.
The record clearly shows that he [Saddam Hussein] has harassed American and United Nations inspectors, ordered the destruction of important documents in anticipation of inspections and hampered the ability of inspectors to carry out their mission. His defiant protection of his weapons of mass destruction cannot go unanswered.
I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad.
--Sen Dick Durbin, December 17, 1998
I couldn't stand Bush's jokes about his own intellect when I was reading what Clinton and Durbin were telling me about Saddam Hussein.
I thought joking about your smarts a horrible thing to do for an American Presidential candidate when people sought our annihilation.
They wouldn't understand an American leader joking about himself and see it as a sign of American weakness.
Man do things change.
Here's IlliniPundit's questions, "In all seriousness, how do you feel now that Senator Durbin has backed away from the statements you celebrated so loudly? Do you still stand by his comparison? Are you still convinced that his statement wasn't disrespectful to our troops? If so, why does he now feel the need to apologize (in tears)? "
Zorn still doesn't get it. Or maybe gets it but's dodging it.
If Republicans and Democrats call each other Nazis or fascists or Pol Potists, or Communists, it's dumb politics.
If a US Senator calls American soldiers Nazis, it's a gross affront to American soldiers.
If a US Senator calls American soldiers Nazis at a time of war, it's aiding America's foe.
If a US Senator describes abuse by American soldiers, and fails to use the powers and prerogatives of a US Senator to investigate, and alleges the abuse is on the scale of Hitler's, Stalin's, or Pol Pot's mass murders, then he's morally weak.
I don't write "morally weak" rhetorically.
If Durbin believed this, he's morally weak not to act. All he has to do is drive over to Andrews AFB, hop a flight to Gitmo, and camp out.
Durbin says the US Marines will only show a US Senator the good side when you do that, but if that stops mass murder, that's ok. The US Marines won't commit mass atrocities while a US Senator is on station; accompanied by Eric Zorn perhaps. Durbin has the power, authority, and right.
He's morally obligated to act.
But Durbin's all bull jive. Leave us Senator. You've disgraced the people of Illinois. Please leave.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Last week on CNN's "Larry King Live," guest host Bob Costas put a question to left-wing actress Vanessa Redgrave:
Costas: Even given the mistakes or perceived mistakes of American policy, what is the greater evil in the world, America and its policies or America's enemies?
Redgrave: It's an important question. One of our most respected judges and highest up in our judicial system said that laws which detain indefinitely without charge, without trial, without defense, without prosecution, without evidence, without cross examination, are a greater evil than terrorism, and I feel the same, actually.
Visits by 400 journalists to Gitmo, full access by International Red Cross 24 hours a day, how many Journalists visit Cook County Jail? Durbin needs to get down there, and he might want to swing by Cook County while he's at it.
KELSO: Sir, I couldn't agree with you more.
Now with any luck, moving on to a different subject here, I'm going to be able to go to Guantanamo Bay and see Camp Delta and that. I've read that Camp Delta is probably the most open prison around. Foreign leaders are able to see their people, the press, the House, the Senate, me, even Dick Durbin is allowed to go down and see for himself what's going on.
KELSO: In light of this openness, how do you personally handle comments like Nazi and Pol Pot and concentration camp?
RUMSFELD: Well, I think that fellow's going to have to live with those words for the rest of his life and I don't envy him.
The thing I would say is that you're quite right. A great many members of the House and Senate have been down there. I think something like 77 members of the House and the Senate, something well in excess of 100 staff members. There have been any number of foreign diplomats who have gone down to meet and interview the nationals from their countries. There have been hundreds of people from the press that have gone down there, all kinds. It is a very transparent situation. Something like media, 400 visits by a thousand national and international journalists. The International Committee of the Red Cross has full access in there, any time of the day or night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I am really struck by the -- I was going to say the apparent lack of knowledge or the ignorance that people are reflecting in their comments about Guantanamo Bay.
It is a --- people can disagree legitimately with the idea that these are people who have not had Article 3 of our Constitution process, and they've not been processed through the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and for good reason. These are not prisoners of war in the normal sense that you just want to take them off the battlefield. These are terrorists. This is the 20th hijacker down there. These are suicide bombers, bodyguards for Osama bin Laden, people who have been providing important information that has enabled us to stop additional attacks. And it seems to me that if you've got trainers and financiers and bomb-makers and recruiters and facilitators, that the goal is to keep them off the battlefield so they don't go out and kill more innocent men, women and children in the United States, and that's what's being done.
Furthermore, a great deal of information is being gleaned from them through perfectly proper humane interrogation procedures.
The ten are believed to be living now in Germany. What will be done with them is a good question for the German Diplomat who Described Civil Rights in the USA as "on a par with those of North Korea".
Might be nice if Sen Durbin joined Davids Medienkritik's next Monday accross from the While House to protest anti-American bias in German media and politics during Schroeder's visit with Bush.
Durbin can ask why Germany can't deal with atrocieties after sixty years. The US Army investigated at Abu Gharib and brought to trial it's own within a year for far far lessor crimes.
They need to tell us if he was crying the whole week it took to apologize.
I think not, because the Chicago Trib quotes Durbin's spokesman Joe Shoemaker saying the reason for the apology was "this loud, continuous drumbeat of misinformation that was being broadcast and printed".
So maybe the tears for Durbin himself; a victim of Bush's "pretty substantial network" of bloggers and radio talk show hosts.
The drumbeat was continuous though, but Durbin's speech was straightforward. No one could deep-deconstruct anything from it but what Durbin said in plain midwest-English.
Here it is again as quoted from Hugh Hewitt's piece in The Weekly Standard on Breaking The Durbin Code,
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners. --Sen Dick DurbinIt doesn't take a team from Bletchley Park to break this enigma. Durbin's just talked himself into a Jane Fonda moment, but Durbin's no Hollywood actress playing politician. He's a US Senator who thought and deliberated before he spoke from prepared text. Worse yet, Durbin spoke on the Senate floor on behalf of the people of Illinois.
The Trib quotes Rumsfeld today from an interview on the Tony Snow show. Durbin will be running around now for the rest of his life trying to recover from this. Let's not have him running around on our time from Illinois. It's time for Durbin to go.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, in an interview to air Wednesday on Fox News Radio's "The Tony Snow Show," tried to equate Durbin's comment with actress Jane Fonda calling U.S. soldiers war criminals during a visit to North Vietnam in 1972. "Some people always in their lives say something they wish they hadn't said," Rumsfeld said. "We just watched Jane Fonda run around trying to recover from the things she did and said during the Vietnam War. ... He said some things and he's going to have to live with them, and I think that that's not a happy prospect." Defense Department spokesman Glenn Flood said Rumsfeld stands by his statements, even in light of the apology. --Chicago Tribune June 22, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Quoting Lincoln takes some real crust on Durbin's part. Lincoln -like Bush- was the target of lies and slander by journalists, and Durbin has more in common with the people hurling abuse.
Lincoln's words fit Bush far better:
"If the end brings me out right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten thousand angels swearing I was right wouldn't make any difference."
On The City Desk on Sunday a.m. the three commentators, decided Durbin calling our military Nazis is his job as the Minority Whip, it was all just political hype, and Joe Connover said that is 'just something to give FoxNews something to do". Then they all said yeah, yeah agreed with each other that it was beneath them to even discuss it and moved on to discuss the Micheal Jackson trial.They think a Senator's job is to call the troops Nazis and than move on over to talk about the Jackson trial.
On March 18, 2005, for the first time on record in the history of Islam, a woman led a mixed congregation of men and women in Friday prayers. The imam was Dr. Amina Wadud, an American Muslim of Indian origin who is professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of the book The Qur'an and the Woman: Rereading the Holy Text from a Female Perspective.Half way down you'll read this about Chicago's impact on faith.
Egyptian Islamist writer Fahmi Huweidi argued scathingly that the event was part of a wide-range American battle aimed at dismantling Islam "both in the name of modernizing it and on the pretext of fighting extremism and terror.Check Martin Marty's write up in the Encyclopedial of Chicago and you'll learn "Chicago boasts more theological seminaries of more denominations than any other American metropolis." We've dealt with the conflicts between tradition and modernity, and I believe have much to offer the world if we can calm things down and defeat the lunatics bent on our destruction first.
"During one of my visits [to the U.S.] I attended a conference of Muslims in Chicago, in which an American Muslim approached one of the participating clerics and asked whether it would be permissible to perform the Friday prayer on Sunday, since his work schedule did not allow him to attend Friday prayers – whereas on Sunday, he had plenty of time to do so…
"At first the question seemed funny. But the man was asking in all seriousness, and seemed upset when told that Friday prayer should be performed on Friday, and that if a Muslim could not do so due to his work conditions, he would be forgiven, and he was not at fault.
Maybe you need to be a history buff to appreciate how offensive Durbin was. Mayor Daley knows, and he's decent enough to feel outrage.
The mayor said he is a history buff and that Durbin was wrong to evoke comparisons to the horrors of the Holocaust or the millions of people killed in Russia under Stalin and in Cambodia under Pol Pot. He became angry when a reporter said he thought Durbin's remarks were being mischaracterized.
"If you really believe that those men and women in Guantanamo Bay are Nazis, you better rethink what America is all about," Daley said. "... You go and talk to some victims of the Holocaust and they will tell you horror stories. And there are not horror stories like that at Guantanamo Bay."
Monday, June 20, 2005
By invoking the Nazis and Pol Pot and the Soviet gulags in the next paragraph, Durbin took the focus off the very disturbing allegations and all but assured that any subsequent public debate would be about his harsh analogies. (I explained why here).I don't feel delighted. I feel disgusted and embarressed by Durbin. No one can take any delight in what Durbin said.
The delightful irony here is that his conservative Republican critics – oh, you should have heard them wetting their pants last night on WLS-AM! – are overplaying their hand by caterwauling for Durbin’s resignation and bleating that his analogies – and not our apparent brutal violations of the Geneva Convention – are doing the greatest harm to our reputation in the Arab world.
War is about anniliation of an enemy. Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States and we're waging war to destroy him and all allied with him. The lucky foes surrender and wait it out in Gitmo. But no one delights in any of this and to say so suggests someone completely detached from the reality of war and death.
We should all look to a future when every government respects the will of its citizens -- because the ideal of democracy is universal. For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people. -SecState RiceThe book that explains why is Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy :
In the prisons, the inmates would communicate with each other by tapping on the walls in Morse code, or talking through toilets after the bowls had been drained of water. Reports of a collapse in the Soviet economy offered threads of hope to the beleaguered prisoners. Above all, news of the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States offered the prisoners hope. When Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the "evil empire," the word spread rapidly through the walls and plumbing of the Soviet prisons. "The dissidents were ecstatic," Sharansky remembers. "Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth--a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us."and...
Sharansky poses the reality like this: "The great debate of my youth has returned. Once again the world is divided between those who are prepared to confront evil and those who are willing to appease it. And once again, the question that ultimately separates members of the two camps remains this: Do you believe in the power of freedom to change the world?"and finally,
Tracing a tragic pattern of Western naivete and complicity with dictatorial regimes, Sharansky warns that a "failure to appreciate the inherent belligerency of all nondemocratic regimes results in the dangerous illusion that they can serve as reliable allies in preserving international peace and stability." With his warning, Sharansky argues that fear societies, whether of the right or the left, cannot be trusted as allies, regardless of the admonitions of the foreign policy realists.So listen Senator Durbin, no one will remember you in ten, twenty years, just as we now seek to forget those who defended appeasement and detente with the Soviets in the 70s and 80s. You'll only be remember as a sad historical footnote. Someone who slandered his country and it's service members in some odd quest for political gain.
"Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you," Sharansky asserts. "Indeed, it is the absence of democracy that represents the real threat to peace. The concept of the friendly dictator is a figment of our imagination because the internal dynamics of nondemocratic rule will always require external enemies. Today, the dictator's enemy may be your enemy. But tomorrow, his enemy may be you."
There can be no mistaking Sharansky's intended point--in the context of the War on Terror, he is advising America and other Western nations that autocratic Arab regimes like the government of Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted as reliable allies. Much like the Communists in the Soviet Union, the royal house of Saudi Arabia is propped up by a regime of fear, he claims, and as such it will inevitably fall of its own weight.
Letter to Senator Durbin:
"As one who was held in a North Vietnamese Prison for nearly seven years and whose definition of torture and bad treatment is somewhat at variance with yours, I deplore your senseless comments about alleged "barbaric treatment" at our terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo.
"Your remarks comparing Guantanamo to the regimes of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are outrageous. I tried to think of why a rational human being could make such an outlandish statement but I keep coming up short. I thought I'd seen it all when Howard Dean performed his infamous scream in Iowa but your diatribe yesterday eclipsed Dean's moment of Hannibal Lecter lunacy. And your moment of pique will be infinitely more damaging to members of our Armed Forces serving in harm's way.
"I noted, when searching for your contact information, that the first item Google came up with was al Jazeera's joy at your comments. You, sir, for having aided and abetted the enemy in time of war, have been relegated in my mind to the status of Jane Fonda and your colleague, John Kerry as contemptible traitors.
"I hope not too many of our valiant members of the Armed Forces have to suffer for your stupid comments. Shame on you.
"This is copied to to the Chicago Tribune's Letters Editor. It is blindcopied to my family members from Illinois and to several military blog groups to which I subscribe.
Paul E. Galanti
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Durbin got this blogger [me] all fired up. I voted for Durbin last time around but guess I'm on "the other side" now and part of the "pretty substantial network". I'm sure angry and focused.
Q: Are you surprised at all this backlash?
Durbin: Yes, I am. Well, I shouldn't be. I have seen it happen before. What happens is this, for your listeners, so they understand now. The people on the other side, the president's supporters, have a pretty substantial network behind them. The first thing they do when they get angry and decide to focus on something, my statement obviously was their focus, they start their blogs, which I don't pay a lot of attention to but some people do. The next thing you know is it moves into this talk radio. I became a poster child for Rush Limbaugh. He put my number on his radio show. People called from all around the country. The Washington Times, a very conservative, Republican newspaper, puts a front page story about me on there. The White House lashes out to me, and pretty soon the mainstream media , it just follows. It has happened time and time again. They have a good way of starting the news when they want to protect the president, but the reality is, as the poll numbers show this morning, despite all this effort, the American people are very worried about what's happening in Iraq. We have lost 1,700, I want to say 1,710, that was yesterday, I think we have now lost 1,713 soldiers. I have attended the funerals. I have sent notes to the families. This is a sad situation with no end in site, and the president's approval for handling this war is at an all time low.
Dick Durbin hasn't been misunderstood, as his Friday web statement claims. He isn't the victim of a right-wing media, as his Friday interview argues. Dick Durbin has been perfectly understood. All of his words have been read and listened to, in their original context and in his original delivery.
Durbin stands with the Michael Moore left, the Howard Dean attack-America-first caucus, and the international chorus that assigns the responsibility for the jihadists to American overreach in the world.
The election of 2004 might have been the occasion when the Democratic leadership took account of where American public opinion stands on this war. That leadership rejected the results of November because those results rejected them. In response they have upped the rhetoric, intent on a replay of the anti-war movement and rhetoric of the late '60s and early '70s, hopeful of converting Bush to Nixon, and of driving American power back to its own shores. The tactic of demonizing the American military worked then, so it is being replayed now. If this rhetoric is not checked, it is only a matter of time until we have a new John Kerry discussing the "Genghis Khan" tactics of the American military operating in the Middle East.
Durbin's slander was simply a rhetorical bridge too far, but for both the man and his party there are no regrets and no apology. Not one senior Democrat has condemned Durbin's statement. Not one Democratic senator has asked for a caucus meeting.
The difference between 2005 and the Vietnam era, however, lies in the public's appreciation of its soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, founded in no small part on the public's recognition that the consequences of a collapse of American will in the new millennium will not be millions dead in Europe or Asia, but more Americans dead in America.
Censure Durbin because he deserves it, and the country's defense demands it.
Why not put the burden on the Democrats? When Sen. Trent Lott made a far less damaging, but still deplorable, statement two and a half years ago, his fellow Republicans insisted he step down as their leader. Shouldn't Democrats insist that Sen. Durbin step down as their whip, the number two man in their leadership? Shouldn't conservatives (and liberals) legitimately ask Democrats to hold their leader to account, especially given the precedent of Lott?
Senator Durbin is scheduled to join Democratic chairman Howard Dean at a big fundraiser at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., this Tuesday. I assume he will withdraw from that appearance. But if he cannot appear with his party chairman, one can ask how he can lead his party in the Senate? And if he does appear with Dean Tuesday night, and stays in his party's Senate leadership, doesn't that tell us everything we need to know about today's Democratic party?
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Beacon News writes, Gorecki, 37, was elected as the county's top prosecutor in 2000. She was forced to leave her post for four months into the last year of her term when her law license was suspended in the aftermath of a phone call she made to an acquaintance, during which she suggested that a county job could be had in exchange for campaign contributions.
Here are Gorecki's words left on the phone answering machine as recorded in her Disciplinary hearing. (Should note Kane County Chair Mike McCoy unaware of any of this and Gorecki was just using his name to make what my Dad would have called a "shake down".)
"Hey Jane, I talked to uh two people uhm, the first person I talked to uhm who, you know, allegedly works inside uh, started talking about Eric's interview, and you know said something like oh 'He didn't interview well ...' And I said I heard he interviewed great and you know I ... I just said and I heard there like you it's allegedly test scores and there weren't scores and this and that and the other thing and so I just said okay thanks for the information. I talked to I went back to my primary source, he just said, 'Meg, quit f-in' around, get the money together and do it if you're gonna do it, uhm just meet with your client, get the money, set up an appointment with McCoy, you know, uhm, sit down, talk to Eric about it uhm, you know.' There are no guarantees in life but he said this is the only way to get it done. If you want the job done uh, you take the bull by the horns and uh you offer him the money, you know. Of course, there are no ... you make 'campaign contributions.' That's what I meant to say ... (laughs). Give me a call uh I'll be in and out this weekend. Uh (cuts off) ... ."
The first message was cut off because of a time limitation on the answering machine. The second message began immediately thereafter:
"Jane, I don't know when your birthday is or when Eric's birthday is but the two of you like need to buy each other a new answering machine, like very soon, cause like I cannot take the music. Anyway, I talked to Mike McCoy, uhh he's on board, everything's uh squared up. The only thing he's getting back to me on is whether or not there are any positions left. Just that simple. Uhm (inaudible) highway, street maintenance, snow removal, etc., and he goes you know Meg, I think we've filled the three spots and I said I heard there were six, blah, blah, blah. We went back and forth he's gonna get back to me today or Monday. I'll talk to ya. Bye."
The senator from Illinois' comparisons are as tired as they're grotesque. They add nothing useful to the debate. But around the planet, folks naturally figure that, if only 100 people out of nearly 300 million get to be senators, the position must be a big deal. Hence, headlines in the Arab world like "U.S. Senator Stands By Nazi Remark." That's al-Jazeera, where the senator from al-Inois is now a big hero -- for slandering his own country, for confirming the lurid propaganda of his country's enemies. Yes, folks, American soldiers are Nazis and American prison camps are gulags: don't take our word for it, Senator Bigshot says so.
This isn't a Republican vs Democrat thing; it's about senior Democrats who are so over-invested in their hatred of a passing administration that they've signed on to the nuttiest slurs of the lunatic fringe. It would be heartening to think that Durbin will himself now be subjected to some serious torture. Not real torture, of course; I don't mean using Pol Pot techniques and playing the Celine Dion Christmas album really loud to him. But he should at least be made a little uncomfortable over what he's done -- in a time of war, make an inflammatory libel against his country's military that has no value whatsoever except to America's enemies. Shame on him, and shame on those fellow senators and Democrats who by their refusal to condemn him endorse his slander.
The only guy who made sense: 'There's an old rule in politics, and I've seen it many times," said retired Gen. Wesley Clark on Thursday night, as he brushed aside Fox News talker Sean Hannity's demand for him to condemn Sen. Dick Durbin. "Whoever uses the 'Nazi' word first loses,"...
And Schakowsky: "If it is Dick Durbin in trouble, then something is wrong. They are so good at changing the subject," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
Then instead of talking about them being so good on changing the subject, let's stay on Sen Durbin's topic of Gitmo on par with crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Let's stay focused on that issue, and the issues of prison management and use of restraints.
And Obama echoes her: Said Obama, "This administration has made a habit of diverting attention of its failures by criticizing the messenger."
Same response to Sen Obama. Let's stay on topic... should Illinois offer the brand new, unopened for lack of funds, Thompson Prison for Gitmo detainess? We in Illinois have a track record of running prisons better then the Feds? And if not, does that make use worse than Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.
Yes to both Obama and Schakowsky, let's please stay on Durbin's topic --and not talk about the Administration diverting the easily distracted, and naive, public. Let's compare the United States and the people of Illinois with Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot over and over again; who do you think loses first with that kind of talk?
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
Don't be fooled when you read articles in the German media criticizing Gitmo. It isn't about human rights. This is about tearing down the United States of America and especially conservative Americans. It is about the intellectual German left winning back the moral high ground, and America is perhaps the greatest single obstacle to that objective. Especially that part of red-state America that stood firm during the Cold War in the face of Soviet Communism. So what do the German elites do? We've documented it on this site: They shamelessly criticize anything and everything about the United States. They lie, twist and distort the facts about America to manipulate public opinion.I think Durbin in his clumsy and offensive way thinks he claiming some moral high ground too. If he thinks we're committing gross crimes down there he's obligated to get himself to Gitmo and investigate. Otherwise he should say he's sorry and leave the Senate for disgracing the people of Illinois so.
The papers have been showing pictures of the New Elburn Metra station and I link some photos of it over on my train blog: Elburn's Metra Station a look alike for CA&E's Ardmore Station.
Number one daughter attends Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. With ten thousand students there you wonder why Metra can't extend all the way to Dekalb too. Dekalb still has the Chicago & North Western depot.
From Illinois GOP today:
McKenna again called on the Senator to retract his remarks and apologize for his insensitive comments: "It's outrageous that Senator Durbin is defending his hurtful comments and perpetuating this false analogy between our troops and some of history's most evil and repressive regimes. Senator Durbin owes the U.S. military - and the people of Illinois - an immediate apology."
Senator Durbin's comments have sparked national outrage at the same time as the release of a new poll showing Durbin's approval rating in Illinois dropping to just 50%. According to the SurveyUSA poll, Durbin's low standing places him 80th out of 100 U.S. Senators in terms of home-state support.
"With mean-spirited comments like these, it's no wonder that Dick Durbin is one of the most unpopular Senators in the nation", said McKenna. "By comparing our troops to murderous thugs, he's done nothing to earn the respect of his Illinois constituents."
Thursday, June 16, 2005
He really ought to apoligize because he's sounding worse than Jane Fonda during Vietnam. At least she was understood as a lightweight then. This guy's an elected Senator. Durbin's contact site is http://durbin.senate.gov/contact.cfm.
I'm writing him.
ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PARTY
205 W. Randolph, Ste 1245Chicago, IL 60606312/201-9000 (ph.) ~ 312/201-0181
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Matthew LeffingwellJune 15, 2005 (312)
Chairman McKenna Calls on Senator Durbin to Apologize for Comments
CHICAGO - On the Senate floor yesterday Senator Richard Durbin (D- IL) commented on interrogation practices at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by saying, "You would most certainly believe that this had happened by Nazis, Soviets in their Gulags or some mad regime, Pol Pot and others, that had no concern for human beings."
"Senator Durbin's comments come as a great disservice to our military personnel in Guantanamo. They are also a great disservice to all US soldiers and veterans who have fought, and continue to fight, to overcome evil regimes and spread democracy across the world," Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna said today. "We call on Senator Durbin to apologize for his comments."
During Wednesday's hearing, Leahy questioned Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Tuesday assertion that the prison camp was an essential part of the U.S.-led War on Terror. "All of us know this war will not end in our lifetime," Leahy said. "Guantanamo Bay is an international embarrassment to our nation, to our ideals and remains a festering threat to our security," he added.Leahy's talking to the wrong guy. The decision to close Gitmo is in Bin Laden's hands. All it takes to end this war is surrender by Bin Laden. Renounce the Fatwa of War against the United States with a Fatwa of surrender and Gitmo closes fast.
Otherwise, if the war lasts a lifetime, these fellows sit in Gitmo a life time. It's really Bin Laden's call unless Sen Leahy has plans to wage this war with a goal short of US Victory.
Sen Session's right to question Leahy's motives as defeatist. Leahy's not making any sense unless he's supporting the other side. They're is no embarrassment locking up those at war with the United States. No offense to our ideals, and far less threat then letting these guys back on the battlefield.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
West Side agent loves trees and especially Oaks and savannah. Number one daughter calls her a tree hugger apparantly not sharing her mom's wonder for them.
I'm inspired by them too. I think it's our German side's tree worshiping peeking out. Attend a Unitarian Universalist Church and this kind of paganism is ok. Somehow I think Jesus is fine with us stopping to marvel at Oak Savannah too.
I first heard this story from Rev Dan Harper at church this past year.
My druthers are same as Sean's,
In the midst of great grief, the overpowering sorrow that comes with an unexpected loss, you aren't in any mood for pious teachings about inevitability and acceptance -- you want a miraculous escape, a for-real deus ex machina. Nevertheless, the miracles aren't forthcoming. Wishing for them is both perfectly understandable, and ultimately fruitless.
I hate to saw something's ultimately furitless though. That runs against my grain even about miracles.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Here are some Iranians writing in English.
Read Madigan's soul-searching on his beliefs today, and you'll see his common thread is mostly contempt for the average person because we don't buy Madigan's style of car, elect Senators who pass the Iraqi Liberation act (and a President willing to enforce it), and won't foot the bill for Madigan's health insurance.
Yep, Madigan's no liberal.
The preacher at my church says, "don't tell me what you believe, show me how you spend your money and I'll tell you what you believe". She makes sense.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
The only 'due process' unlawful combatants are entitled to under the ancient customs of war, and the Geneva and Hague Conventions is the question of which ear the pistol is pointed at."
Which is true and people don't realize how lucky these guys are to have their heads and a cell in Gitmo.
They're not criminals and they can't be put on trial. They've declared war on the United States but they fight outside the rules and customs of war. Their only options are surrender --and internment for the duration-- or death. They should be grateful for the option.
All it takes to release them is UBL to give himself up and issue a Fatwa of surrender. (Here's his declaration of War.) It's over and the US can decide to let these guys go, or keep them. My guess is we let them go.
Every time I watch the Cub's play I hear the Hamm's Jingle.
"From the Land of Sky Blue Waters (Waters),Sad to report Huber's Rhinelander still not available in Chicago market. Sam's told me they're unable to special order it for me. That means a trip to Monroe soon for me.
From the land of pines, lofty balsam,
Comes the beer refreshing,
Hamm's the Beer Refreshing".
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Senator Obama has it wrong on the ownership society though. It's "ownership society" ideas that are going to give workers the security to survive rapid change. A nationally managed system of personal investiment accounts and personal health accounts are going to give workers portable benefits. Benefits they can keep when the companies they work for go under in this rapidly changing economy.
Bush is proposing Nationally managed accounts remember. This is a sort of socialism people can't quite understand because Bush isn't waving a red flag.
Here's an essay by a student from the University of Chicago in response to Dean's comments on seeking the Confederate Flag vote in his bid for the Democratic nomination. It reflects how out of tune Dean is with American people.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
"Sheikh Al-Islam ['the authority of Islam'] Ibn Taymiyya said: 'Complete piety means that man should be able to recognize the better of two good things and the worse of two evils, and that he should know that the basis of Islamic law is that one should [strive to] achieve beneficial things and perfect them and to stop evil things and diminish them...
"He [Ibn Taymiyya] also said: 'Allah made it lawful to kill people as much as necessary for the good of humanity. As He said [in the Koran, 2:217]: "The temptation [of idolatry] [fitna] is worse than killing." [This is so] because, although killing is evil and wrong, there is more evil and wrong in the temptation of heresy'..."
The War Department had Frank Capra do the Why We Fight films during World War II because "...new draftees 'haven't the slightest enthusiasm for this war or this cause. They are not grouchy, they are not mutinous, they just don't give a tinker's dam.' (Kansas newspaper editor William Allen White to White House adviser Lowell Mellett) .
I don't think today's forces are in a fog about the enemy and we don't deal with a conscript service, but the home front needs some education. A foe with such disdain for their own coreligionists isn't going to show the United States any mercey.
I enjoyed it because Remy cites an interesting author: Benjamin Lee Whorf who wrote an interesting essay long ago on why Hopi is a superior to English as a scientific language. MIT has a Whorf web page with some quotes here.
(I bought Whorf's book in the mid 80s in Washington DC for $7.95 and Amazon is showing the same book now for $28!)
Go about half way down the story (good pictures too) and you see Yon meets an Iraqi Veteran of the Iran-Iraq war.
"I wanted to know more about Mr. Qatou's life. He said he was born in 1949, and after being drafted into the Army, was sent to fight the Iranians for 7 years before being captured and imprisoned in Iran for 10 years"
If you're a POW, you're not guitly of a crime and it's against the Geneva Conventions to try you as a criminal. You just sit it out for the duration.
All that we need to release the folks in Gitmo is a fatwa from Bin Laden ending the war. Then these people go.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Friday, June 03, 2005
The Blagojevich administration's plan is to sell up to $10 billion in bonds and place the money in the pension funds, where it will be invested. The governor's budget team says that by selling the bonds at an average interest rate of 6 percent and earning an average, long-term return on the investment of 8 to 81/2 percent, the state will come out ahead.
There are three reasons to be extremely skeptical about this idea.
First: This plan would whittle down the state's $35 billion in unfunded pension liabilities--but would double the bonded debt of the state. That would almost certainly hike the cost of borrowing for future capital improvement projects.
Second: The state will, in effect, be borrowing money and throwing much of it in the stock market, betting that the market will provide a very robust return over the long term. But if the market does not perform well, the state will be saddled with diminishing pension assets and all that debt. Pension fund investments performed very well during the go-go 1990s. But the value of state pension system assets dropped by $5.7 billion between 2000 and 2002, while the systems' liabilities increased by $13.7 billion.
Third: The scramble by political insiders to grab as much as $50 million in underwriting and legal fees from this deal looks all too much like business as usual in Illinois politics. As Crain's Chicago Business reported recently, an investment bank has just taken on the wife of U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, and one of the authors of the Blagojevich plan has just formed a company that could cash in on the bond fees. Others with a connection to Blagojevich are lining up for this deal as well.