Sunday, November 27, 2005

Normblog: Continuing the fight for Iraq

Norm rounds up Liberationist posts including this one from the FT by Sara Baxter on Bruce Willis's film,
Unlike many Hollywood stars Willis supports the war and recently offered a $1m (about £583,000) bounty for the capture of any of Al-Qaeda’s most wanted leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, its commander in Iraq.

Willis visited the war zone with his rock and blues band, the Accelerators, in 2003. “I am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported,” he told MSNBC, the American news channel.

He is expected to base the film on the writings of the independent blogger Michael Yon, a former special forces green beret who was embedded with Deuce Four and sent regular dispatches about their heroics.

Yon was at the soldiers’ ball with Willis, who got to know him through his internet war reports on http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/. “What he is doing is something the American media and maybe the world media isn’t doing,” the actor said, “and that’s telling the truth about what’s happening in the war in Iraq.”

ILLINOIZE

A nice blog with lots of fine and familiar bloggers:ILLINOIZE

PS and Illinoize is how we say it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Barack Obama on money and politics

Found on Peoria Pundit . A guy from Chicago should know better about campaign donations. Rest assured Buffet and Oprah expect something from Obama.

“Warren Buffett’s $2,000 is no different than anyone else’s. There are a lot of people who can give me money,” Obama said. “The wonderful thing about Warren Buffett — similar to my relationship with Oprah — it’s somebody who doesn’t need anything from me.”

Consensus science isn't science

David's MedianKritic posts "Kyoto" is Falling Apart and notes my fear of Scientists, especially when big time grant money involved,
Witness Chris Landsea of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who resigned from the IPCC this year because he believed an IPCC top hurricane scientist wrongly linked severe hurricanes to global warming; as a result, he wrote, "the IPCC process has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost."

I've seen this when covering failed educational fads: Curriculum boards chase out the freethinkers, then smugly announce that all the experts agree with them -- so they must be right.

"Dark Ages are alive and kicking in modern-day Iran"

Peter Tatchell writes on Britian's far left's collusion with Islamo-fascism. Tatchell's a Gay Activist in Britian and has written on the betrayal of fundamental principlies by today's left.
Franco’s Spain and Pinochet’s Chile were tea parties by comparison to Iran’s Islamist bloodfest. Since the ayatollah’s seized power in 1979, nearly 100,000 Iranians have been murdered – including socialists, trade unionists, communists, feminists, journalists, students, lawyers, writers, doctors, human rights activists and religious and ethnic leaders.

In the four months following the June election of hardline President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, over 80 people are known to have been executed or sentenced to death. Under Iranian law, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged. So far this year, seven children have been executed.

Torture is endemic. The barbaric tortures inflicted in the name of Islam include the cutting out of prisoner’s eyes, crushing their heads in metal vices, and forcing boiling water into their ears. The Dark Ages are alive and kicking in modern-day Iran.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Don't listen to what the Presbyterians say either

via Normsblog,
I was at a business event in Europe this month just after the Ahmadinejad comment, wandering around wearing a badge with my name, company and country on it. A man identified by his badge as a senior executive of one of Iran's larger companies stopped me, put out his hand, smiled and said (and this is a direct quote), "You're from Israel. We are brothers. Don't listen to what the politicians say. That's not what the people think." It was quite moving, actually.

Presbyterian Church USA's (and Chicago's) Robert Worley assures Hizbullah Presybterians vote Democratic

MEMRI translates Lebanese press on McCormick Theological Seminary's Robert Worley's visit with Hizbullah leader Nabil Qawuq.
Delegation spokesman Robert Worley said: "We do not wish to defend the U.S. administration. We all elected the Democratic Party against the Republican Party. Rest assured that we will return to the U.S. in order to continue our activity for peace, and we want to hear about the charity activities and the cultural and social activities organized by Hizbullah in south [Lebanon]. The Americans hear in the Western media that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, and they do not hear any other opinion. They know nothing about the party's concern for the people of the south. We have suffered much pressure on the part of Jewish organizations in the U.S. because [of our help in] divesting corporations working with Israel. We want Jerusalem to be a united city, just as we encouraged the Palestinians and the Jews to work for peace, and we demanded that our administration adheres to this position." [5]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bipartisan Nervous Breakdown

A Canadian's view on why Bush and Cheney waited to call the bluff,
There are other issues clouding the political field; but in the main, the administration's current effort to call the Democrats' bluff has not caused the latter to crawl back into their holes. It has instead driven them further into cloud cuckooland, with the mainstream media chasing behind. It has resulted in a level of shrieking the like of which I cannot recall in the august Senate chamber. And this, perhaps, was the reason Messrs Bush and Cheney hesitated to try it on before. They thought, perhaps, that just "being presidential" might finally carry the day. Better, anyway, than provoking a kind of bipartisan nervous breakdown.

I look at this business from abroad. I note that polls now show the American isolationist impulse being triggered. On both Right and Left, something approaching half the electorate want to take their marbles and go home. For some unaccountable reason, Americans sometimes respond to being abused and slandered all over the world by turning in on themselves. And this, in the present unsettled state of the world in question, would be nearly the worst thing that could happen. It would leave all of America's allies -- corresponding very roughly to the side of the angels -- up a certain creek without a propulsive device.

The world has left the United States to do too much heavy lifting. It is an urgent matter for countries like Canada to stop mouthing off and heave ho.
--David Warren, Ottawa

Intelligent Design, Darwin, and a Gay's visit with the Dentist

Peter Tatchell has a website and you'll find this in his bio,

Involved in the GLF campaign against the classification of homosexuality as a mental illness, in 1972 he was violently manhandled by doctors and psychologists when he disrupted a lecture by one of the world's leading psychiatrists, Professor Hans Eysenck. The professor had endorsed the use of electric-shock aversion therapy to "cure" homosexuals, dismissively claiming that the treatment was no harsher than "a visit to the dentist". As a result of this and similar protests in Harley Street, the medical profession eventually abandoned its pejorative designation of homosexuality.
The leading authority reference here got me thinking to the authorities telling me Intelligent Design isn't science.

I fear the Gods to much, to tell them they're Intelligent.

I find mystery --not design-- in Creation.

So, while not sure of the science, Intelligent Design seems bad Theology to me.

But when Churchill spoke of his fear Europe ...will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science in June of 1940, he was talking about perverted Biology. The same kind of perverted Biology that empowered a leading Psychiatrist to suggest 'cures' for Homosexuality with a jolt to the brain.

Biologist have allowed their science to be perverted too many times during the past century. Great crimes have been committed with the Biologist's authority.

My kids tell me the ID vs evolution debate does not come up in their classes. What I would prefer they learn in Biology, is a bit about William Jennings Bryan, and why he opposed Scopes.

Bryan may have got the Science wrong, but I'm certain the 20th century would have been different had Biology classes in Germany, and Japan begun with some readings of America's William Jennings Bryan.

From Andrew Varnon's Fundamentally Progressive


I may disagree with Bryan on whether or not evolution should be taught in the public schools, but on almost every other issue (save perhaps Prohibition), I find myself thinking, "I'd vote for him." In short, given our current state of politics, he sounds like the kind of guy I'd like to sit on a porch with and ask where it all went wrong.

Bryan's opposition to evolution wasn't separate from his progressive politics. In fact, he saw Darwinism as being part and parcel of the rising laissez-faire capitalism in America. "Evolution is the merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak," he said. That was contrary to the Bible, which he said taught the "law of love." And indeed, it was the social Darwinists who opposed and defeated Bryan in many of his progressive causes, although the battles he begun would later be won by his successors.
I think it all went wrong when the deeper truth (or Law if you like) in Bryan's message was supplanted with an easily perverted Science.

Worlds paid a huge price with trust in leading Scientific authorities.

I'd rather place my trust in a local School Board in Tennessee.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Australian: Not for the faint-hearted - inteview with SecDef Rumsfeld

good interview from The Austrialian,
So how long before Iraq is peaceful and stable?

"Well, you know, insurgencies often take six, eight, 10 or even 12years."

So will US and Australian troops need to be in Iraq for that long? "Oh no, it will be defeated by Iraqi troops."

Rumsfeld won't give dates or timetables about coalition troop draw-down, but he says that in the period ahead the US will be looking to reduce its footprint in Iraq.

"We have no desire to stay there," Rumsfeld says. "The more we're able to reduce coalition forces, the more it will be clear that [al-Qa'ida leader Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi and his crowd are not fighting the coalition or invaders, they're just killing Iraqis."
[***]
Rumsfeld believes still that Iraq can be a democratic example in the Middle East. He thinks democracy can spread in that region in his lifetime (and don't forget that, fit as he is, he's 74). "This is an important thing. The great sweep of human history is for freedom."

But you could argue about Iraq forever. What about Afghanistan?

"It's an enormous accomplishment, what's happening in Afghanistan. Three years ago in the soccer stadium they were beheading people. You couldn't fly a kite. Women couldn't go out of the house without a male relative. They couldn't go to the doctors because there were no female doctors."

Now, he not unreasonably points out, there is an elected government in Afghanistan. People have rights.

Here's a paradox. Rumsfeld speaks and thinks in straight lines. He looks you in the eye. His method is sometimes Socratic. Often in an interview he asks himself a series of questions to move the logic train along. Yet with all that linear process, he accepts that the world is inevitably very messy. The presence of mess doesn't indicate that policy is not working. Is this realism or just a convenient out?
I'd say realism. A kind I like.

Palestinians protest over poll delay

on Aljazzera net

I don't know if Shubaki is Hamas, or Islamic Fundamentalist or whatever. But a sign of progress is when someone can standup in the Arab world and critize their own leaders in the same language they use to attack the Unites States. This tells me there is progress. Right now it can only happen in a few places but there is progress for sure.
On Thursday, a prominent Fatah leader and former local government minister Jamal Shubaki claimed the decision to delay the elections was taken by Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia.

"I accuse the Palestinian Authority of robbing the people of this town of their inherent right to choose their representatives through fair and transparent elections," said Aziz Dweik, in the rally outside Hebron's municipal council building in downtown Hebron.

"We reject dictatorship, we reject despotism, we reject authoritarianism."

The Al-Najah University academic accused Fatah, the de facto ruling party of the PA, of "tampering with the people's will".

"We will not allow a few hangers-on to tamper with the will of 180,000 people. This town belongs to its people, not to those who are concerned about their self-interests," said Dweik, alluding to the Fatah movement, which is widely believed to be standing behind the PA decision to postpone the elections.

Know the foe

Harry's Place reviews Brian Keenan’s account of his abduction and 1500 days captivity published as An Evil Cradling.

How can one argue terrorism is Imperial Blowback; that if America just doesn't intevene in the world, or we consume less, thugs described below are going to think differently, or continue not to sprout out of the perverted circumstances today in the Arab world?

That I don't understand. We're the targets of a small but significant movement born of uniquely and largely Arab circumstances. We did not create people described here but sure need to protect ourselves from them because they have the money to get the weapons to make savage destruction and slaughter.
Intuitively, this suggests to me that unlike the IRA, ETA, FARC, or just about any other western terrorist group, the Islamic fundamentalists Keenan describes are not so much politicized and radicalized, as utterly and irredeemably [Baar's empahsis] brainwashed. Keenan notes time and again throughout the book that each attempt at political discourse with his captors was met with vacant looks and a desperate attempt to change the subject. Contrast your average Provo, who would likely be difficult to shut up in such a situation. One thing that characterizes the ‘traditional’ terrorist groups is their unshakeable belief that they have all the best arguments. What each says may be as nonsensical as the incoherent rambling that greeted each of Keenan’s attempts to engage his captors, but at least there is a semblance of a motivation that is sustained by a perverse rationale legitimizing every heinous act committed for the cause. In the case of the Jihadists, not only are the warriors incapable of articulating a case for holy war, they show no sign of even wanting to understand this for themselves. Obsessed with sex, clutching the omnipresent Kalashnikov, they spend their days dreaming of martyrdom and it is enough to know that what they do is willed by Allah. Even this they know only because those in whom they trust tell them it is so.

Interestingly, one of the American captives with whom Keenan was imprisoned, Terry Anderson I think it is, explained that at least half of the Jihadists holding them couldn’t even read the classical Arabic in their Qu-rans. They simply parroted interpretations of the text passed down by, presumably, local clerics and/or literate family.
Don't under estimate the role of family here. That's what we learned from the Woman who failed to detonate her sucide belt recently in Jordan. Terrorism is family business.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Aljazeera' translation of Murtha's proposal

via Aljazeera.net

A senior member of the US Democratic Party has called for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, rejecting White House attacks on critics of the war.

The call from Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a leading Democrat voice on military issues, coincides with the release of a new poll on Thursday showing US President George Bush's job approval rating touching a new low of 34%.

"The US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home," said Murtha, the senior Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defence spending.

Murtha's response to Buyer on our plan for Iraq vs WWII

Murtha just responded to Buyer that the US had a plan for invading Europe. Murtha says we don't have a plan now for Iraq.

Murtha should read Paul Fussell's The Boys' Crusade : The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945 to understand how well the plan for liberating Europe went.

Here's a quote from Bill Marsano's review on Amazon,
And here it is his [Fussell's] contention that behind and beneath all that "greatest generation" nonsense was the Boys' Crusade--that last year of the war in Europe when too many things went wrong too often. The generals who'd convinced themselves that this war would not be a war of attrition--i.e., human slaughter--like the last one found they'd guessed wrong. Casualties were horrifyingly high and so huge numbers of children--kids 17-19 years--old were flung into combat. And they were, with the help of the generals, ill-trained, ill-clothed and ill-equipped.

Why not six months instead of immediate?

Andrew Sullivan writes,
WHY NOT THE MURTHA PROPOSAL? Here's what strikes me as the salient question right now. Why won't the Republicans force a vote on the Murtha proposal - a phased withdrawal over six months - rather than "immediate" withdrawal?
Great, you go tell an American Soldier or Iraqi Patriot to stick it out for six months. If the war is wrong, it's wrong. If not, fight it until Iraq a stable Democracy.

A good American is a contrite American (and wipe Israel off the map too)

Clifford May on Blame American First via Carol Gould on Current Viewpoint,
Cockburn got so angry that he approached the podium and for a few moments it appeared he might take a swing at me.

I told Llewellyn – politely but straight to his face – that he was an anti-Semite. That term, I explained, used to mean those who wanted a Europe with no Jewish population; today it means those who want a world with no Jewish state.

The moderator of the debate, Charlie Bird, an Irish TV reporter, made no effort to disguise his sympathies – they were not with anyone who would defend Bush. But he effusively praised the student from the United States – a good American, he seemed to suggest, is a contrite American.

Finally, Bird noted that next week the University Philosophy Society would debate whether Militant Islamism is a legitimate form of resistance to American hegemony. While I'll be sorry to miss that event, I do have a hunch how it will turn out.

It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately

"It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

I can't remember the House ever dealing with a resolution like this two or three years into Vietnam.

Hastert's my Representative and I'm glad he's going to make our Representatives take a stand. We deserve that.

Here's Representative Murtha's statement on Iraq.

Dutch MP to make gay Islam film

It takes some guts to make a film like this.

Doing their best to pave the way for the urgent reappearance of the Hidden Imam.

We don't have intelligence failures in the US. We have political failures to be aware of turmoil among people we think irrelevant. We do that at grave risk.

Here is MEMRI translation on the crisis in Iran, The “Second Islamic Revolution” in Iran: Power Struggle at the Top.

MEMRI's introdution to the lengthy article,
As noted by MEMRI in June 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's win in Iran's presidential elections signaled the coming of the "Second Islamic Revolution."

This is marked by Ahmadinejad's commitment to the ideal of "Islamic justice" as embodied in the messianic belief in the Hidden Imam, and his commitment to the implementation of the ideology of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution. It is also marked by the struggle over key positions in the regime.[1]

In a statement on November 15, 2005, Ahmadinejad explained: "The people, in the last elections, proved their faith in the Revolution, and wish to see a revival of the Islamic Revolution's ideals... This revolution was in fact a continuation of the Prophets' movement and, therefore, all political, economic, and cultural goals of the country need to be directed at materializing the Islamic ideals." He added, "Followers of this divine school of Islamic thought are doing their best to pave the way for the urgent reappearance [of the Hidden Imam]."

Ahmadinejad warned of the danger of deviating from the identity, ideals and virtues of the Islamic Revolution, saying that if this happened, Iranian society would be living aimlessly and lose its noble destination: "So it is our obligation to direct people back to those glorious ideals and to lead the way in the establishment of an exemplary, powerful and progressive Islamic society… Iran must emerge as the most powerful, most advanced country…"[2]

Iran today is at the height of a power struggle in the upper echelons of its regime. The reformist camp has disappeared from the Iranian political scene, and the regime's center of gravity has shifted to the fundamentalist militaristic conservative group, which centers on clerics such as Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-e Yazdi, and on members of the security establishment, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and the intelligence apparatuses. Today, this group controls the Majlis and the office of the president.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

McCain: Our exit strategy in Iraq is not the withdrawal of our troops, it is victory.

via Powerline:
Anyone reading the amendment gets the sense that the Senate's foremost objective is the draw-down of American troops. What it should have said is that America's first goal in Iraq is not to withdraw troops, but to win the war. All other policy decisions we make should support, and be subordinate to, the successful completion of our mission.

Morality, national security and the honor our fallen deserve all compel us to see our mission in Iraq through to victory.

A date is not an exit strategy. To suggest that it is only encourages our enemies, by indicating that the end to American intervention is near. It alienates our friends, who fear an insurgent victory, and tempts undecideds to join the anti-government ranks.

Think about this for a moment. Imagine Iraqis, working for the new government, considering whether to join the police force, or debating whether or not to take up arms. What will they think when they read that the Senate is pressing for steps toward draw-down?

Are they more or less likely to side with a government whose No. 1 partner hints at leaving?

The Senate has responded to the millions who braved bombs and threats to vote, who put their faith and trust in America and their government, by suggesting that our No. 1 priority is to bring our people home.

We have told insurgents that their violence does grind us down, that their horrific acts might be successful. But these are precisely the wrong messages. Our exit strategy in Iraq is not the withdrawal of our troops, it is victory.

NormBlog: Women representatives in... certain countries

Wouldn't have a clue reading the parochial US MSM.

via NormBlog:

Female candidates have triumphed in Afghanistan's parliamentary elections, with one bidding to become the new parliament's speaker.

After a delay in counting of more than a month, official results show women secured seats ahead of male candidates in a quarter of the 34 provinces, while in one a woman was outright winner.

George Galloway on the last Arab Ruler

MEMRI translation of George Galloway's speech at Damascus University to Support Bashar Al-Assad: If the U.S. Invades Syria, the People Will Fight the U.S. Occupation Like the Brits Were Ready to Fight the Nazis.

The days of the great rulers are numbered. Galloway standing with last.
"I want to be very clear. I was clear in July, and what I said in July has followed me all over the world by the American and Israeli propaganda machine, so I want to be very clear again. All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by President Bashar Al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus."
[...]
"For me, he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here and addressing you this evening."

Liberal Fundamentalism

Harry's place links an article from The Guardian on Brit blogs.

Call me a Liberal Fundamentalist. I like that, and think Bush neatly sums it all up for us,
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Abner Mikva

Great thing about the web is it's so easy to find speeches. This is John Paul Stevens's Address to the American Bar Association Thurgood Marshall Awards Dinner Honoring Abner Mikva on August 6, 2005 ,
In closing, I want to congratulate Abner on his designation as the recipient of the Thurgood Marshall award and to endorse the sentiments expressed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the hearing on his confirmation as a circuit judge. Abner "is able to disagree without being disagreeable. He understands that reasonable people can differ without thinking less of each other. Never does he hold a grudge." Would that we had more public servants with his ability, temperament and character!

What should UUs make of this? What should a Jew say of this?

This one saddens me,

from Smijer & Buck,

What color would best represent the bullshit that got us involved over there in the first place? Should it be considered white lies or black lies? What is the color that best represents wishful thinking?

Why not just agree to wear the blue and white colors of the Tallith? That should help remind us of one of the reasons we are there.

Rockefeller to Syria's Assad: George Bush has already made up his mind to go to war

Didn't Rockefeller owe the American people the same kind of frankness back in Jan 2002? How stupid does Sen Rocfefeller think we are?
WALLACE: Now, the president never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn't it Jay Rockefeller?

ROCKEFELLER: No. I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I'll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq, that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.

via Edward Morrissey writing in today's Weekly Standard,
Mind you, it took President Bush nine months from time of Rockefeller's trip to even bring the subject of Iraq to Congress, and even though he got the authorization he wanted, he spent five months after that attempting to negotiate with the United Nations for unanimous backing on military action. That hardly seems like an implacably-resolved president determined to go to war.
and the text of the Logan Act which Rockefeller sure seems to have violated.

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Clinton: Iraq has abused its last chance

via Drudge Today. Another reason why I voted for Gore in 2000. I thought he would have finished the job. I thought Bush was going to go the Brent Scowcroft stability at all costs route. I thought Gore the more Wilsonian. Got that wrong.
"Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces," Clinton said.

"Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors," said Clinton.

Democrats on video talking about Iraq and terror

GOP website is linking video clips of leading Dems speaking on Iraq and terror. I voted for Gore in 2000 because I thought Bin Laden and Saddam serious threats. I feared how Bush's jokes about himself would translate to a world that poorly understands the US. I disliked Bush's criticism of Clinton's Nation Building.

I shared a cubicle at work with a Vet who had been exposed to Saddam's sarin gas at Kamisiyah. Chemical threats seemed real to me then and now.

Illinois HB4156, a ban on taxpayer funded human cloning

Jill Stanek posts on HB4156 after yesterday's blog conference with Leader Cross.

Jill's blog isn't accepting comments but I'm assuming the opponents to this one inspired by Illinois's Medical-Industrial complex's fears of losing research-grant funding. (My boss would say, assumptions make an ass of you and I; and forbid use of the word. So I really avoid making them, but just curious what's behind this one.)

It sure looks like turf that would fit Cross's definition of common grounds for agreement for most of us in Illinois.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tom Cross: Illinois Democrats over legislate, over litigate, and over tax

Illinois House Leader Tom Cross held his November Blogger conference call and a podcast should be available soon at Join Cross blog.

A few bullets here and then more later,
  • no one can or should prune back the number of candidates in the primary
  • Robert Kjellander should step aside; he's a distraction
  • Education's local; let the locals decide on Intelligent Design
  • Hastert retirement rumors? Cross hopes he stays. Hastert's been good for America and good for Illinois.
  • Blogs: Cross reads them; people under 35 not starting their day with the paper. Cross is looking at Abe Log, Capital Fax, Spontaneous Solutions, and more...
  • JBT can rebuild trust
  • The elections going to be about spending and spending and spending. (And that Illinois now run by Democrats who over legislate, over litigate, and over tax.)
A message to number one nephew studying Poly Sci down at U of I. The impact of blogs on the Governor's race is a great research topic. Start keeping track of how they're being used.

Maybe the Primary Candidates should be doing a few bloggers conferences and getting those podcast circulating in the blogesphere.

A final question to Cross at the end on social questions. His response was look for the common ground; things like parental consistent where there's consensus.

The MSM in Illinois always writes about the Republican Primary as dominated by social conservatives at odds with most of the state.

Schiavo was a turning point for me though; and when Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nadar were on TV expressing reservations on where Liberals where taking the issue, you know the grounds shifted. I may not be the only person rethinking some thoughts.

Dr. Raji al-Tikriti III

Thane Burnett in the Toronto Sun in recent interview with Raji al-Tikrit's friend Eric Hoskins.

You would hardly think of al-Takriti as a threat to national order -- or to the throne of a tyrant. But Saddam did.

Al-Takriti was arrested, and accused of leading a pro-democratic movement. A proper defence -- like most of those accused by Saddam -- wasn't needed. There was no delay, to give enough time for mercy. The verdict was quick. Expected.

"(Saddam) gave the order to put a bullet behind (al-Takriti's) left ear," Hoskins recounted of the execution, almost 10 years ago.

Dr. Raji al-Tikriti II

His son says he was hung, not torn apart by dogs. Here's a quote from the link about Saddam Hussein's thoughts on the US,
He says one evening he was speaking alone with his father, who was carrying a bunch of documents. He read aloud a summary of a meeting of Iraqi leaders. Al-Muhanned says Hussein's way of thinking was simple:

"Two paragraphs impressed me from the document. The document quoted Saddam as saying, 'If I owned one-quarter of American technology, I would have destroyed the White House.' And he read one more sentence, 'If I owned one-quarter of the American technology, I would have turned the Atlantic Ocean on the United States,'" al-Muhanned says.

Peaceful, Prosperous, Fat and Evil Incarnate

More quotes from Iraqis from John Wojdylo. Evil often incarnate for those looking for instances of incarnation. They're all around us.

* Hashem al-Iqabi, one of Iraq's leading writers and intellectuals: "The death and destruction caused by Saddam in our land is the worst since Nebuchadnezzar. These prosperous, peaceful and fat Europeans are marching in support of evil incarnate."

He said that, watching the march in London, he felt Nazism was "alive and well and flexing its muscles in Hyde Park".

Dr. Raji al-Tikriti

On page 92 of Stephen F. Hayes The Connection and found here.
By 1993, Alwishah and his family had left the Saudi refugee camp that they called home for 14 months and had resettled in the United States. That's when his brother, Gen. Abdallah, was arrested and charged as an anti-Saddam conspirator and sent to a small prison in Baghdad for high-ranking officials accused as traitors. I asked him about the experience.

ABDALLAH: I was in jail for eleven months. There was no judge. They just put you in. If one was to be executed or put in jail, no judge. They put us in the same room as those five generals who were executed. And they were killed with big knives. Those people were killed with big knives hitting them on the neck. And the room had blood everywhere.

SH: Did you think you might be next?

ABDALLAH: Yes. I thought that they would do the same thing to me. Every day they told me that I will be executed.

SH: How long?

ABDALLAH: Eleven months. Intimidation every day. At that time they found out about a conspiracy by another person who was a big general, a doctor actually, from the same town as Saddam. His name was Raji al-Tikriti. It's a very famous story in Iraq. And they made him a food for dogs.

SH: You were in prison when this happened? You heard about this?

ABDALLAH: They showed me these prisoners that were eaten by wild dogs. They made us--that was one kind of intimidation--they brought all of the generals and officers in the prison to watch it, to intimidate us. . . . They took us from jail and they put some blindfolds on our eyes and they took them off and we saw him. Before the dogs ate him we saw them read the judgment and they said why they were going to kill him. He was the head doctor for all the military, and he was the personal doctor for Saddam Hussein and for former Iraqi president Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.

SH: Was he killed before this happened?

ABDALLAH: He was alive when these wild dogs . . .

SH: Do you remember what month this was?

ABDALLAH: It was the wintertime, but I can't remember exactly because for 11 months I didn't see the sun, nothing--I didn't know what time. There was only spider webs in the room, so I didn't know if it's day or night. [Pause] Probably what you're hearing is impossible to believe, but that's what happened. And all that you're hearing is nothing compared to everything else.


Abdallah later explained that Raji al-Tikriti was dressed in "prison pajamas" with his hands and feet bound when this was done to him. Abdallah and seven other prisoners were forced to watch. The five dogs, he said, "were like big wolves."

Deep Moral Pain

From John Wojdylo in Sydney Morning Hearld:

* Abdel-Majid Khoi, son of the late Grand Ayatollah Khoi, Iraq's foremost religious leader for almost 40 years, spoke of the "deep moral pain" he feels when hearing the so-called "antiwar" discourse: "The Iraqi nation is like a man who is kept captive and tortured by a gang of thugs. The proper moral position is to fly to help that man liberate himself and bring the torturers to book. But what we witness in the West is the opposite: support for the torturers and total contempt for the victim."

Khoi said he would say "ahlan wasahlan" (welcome) to anyone who would liberate Iraq.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Getting suckered...

Rich Lowry writes,
Getting suckered usually is not a sign of good judgment. On the contrary, it's something to be embarrassed by. But Democrats are making the contention that they were told lies prior to the Iraq war, and believed them, central to their party's identity.

They are caught between their base's conviction that President Bush lied about Iraq and the fact that the cream of the party voted to authorize the war. Nearly every Democratic senator who has higher ambitions voted "yes" — Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, John Kerry, and John Edwards. If Bush lied, it stands to reason that they are all naifs, foolishly drawn to the seductions of a charlatan. They aren't statesmen; they're victims.
That the Democrats argue they were bamboozled by Bush has to be the oddest political position ever put forward in American Politics.

I can think of nothing stranger. It's only explainable to me as a disconnect between Lowery's cream and the activist base.

It's a fissure that will devastate the party before 2008; just as Vietnam destroyed the party in 1968.

It's one reason why Howard Dean has to dodge Ken Mehlman so to avoid explaining the logic.

At some point this comes to a head and it will be a major crack up for the Dems and split them into isolationist faction, and a faction of professed fools.

That's a bad outcome for Democrats and the country

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My Vietnam quagmire analogy

I've always thought the best analogy from our history with Vietnam was not to 1968 or 1972; but to 1919 or 1945.

At the end of both World Wars the US rebuffed Ho Chi Minh in favor of French Imperialism.

We pushed Ho to the Communists. I wish we had taken a risk to work with him today and agianst the French when Ho Chi Minh declared in 1945:
"All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America m 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free. The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights." Those are undeniable truths.
[***]
We are convinced that the Allied nations which at Tehran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Vietnam. A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent. For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it is so already. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilise all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.

Today we ally with Ayatollah Sistani and others in Iraq over the objections of France.

It's a point we ought to make to those kids rioting in France too. We can't push them to Bin Laden the way we pushed the Vietnamese to Stalin.

I wish we had taken a risk with Ho. I'm glad we're taking a risk with Sistani. I think in the long run the world will be better for it.



Is it racist we don't protest?

via David's Medienkritick. Maybe no one cares when it's Asians oppressed and Seimen's has a contract at stake.

This week Chinese President Hu Jintao is taking several days to visit Germany. And while Germany's Eurosnob elite wines and dines President Hu, there will be no angry mass protests or cries of indignation on German streets. There will be no rainbow flags embroidered with "PACE" accompanied by Tibetan and Taiwanese flags. There will be no peace drums, silent vigils or burning of Hu Jintao effigies. There will be no courageous speeches on morality or human rights in front of thousands of drunk and screaming marchers. There will be few if any indignant editorials condemning President Hu in leading German papers, magazines or news broadcasts.

Deinstutiutionalization of Marriage: Children raised and obligations incurred

Most Unitarians-Universalist blogs I read still plugging at away at deinstitutionalization and legalizing same sex-marriage when marriage itself becomeing an option only chosen by the 'well to-do' who can afford it.

Read Stephanie Coontz's Marriage, a History. This a quote from page 280,

The breakdown of the wall separating marriage from nonmarriage has been described by some legal historians and sociologists as the deinstitutionalizatoin or delegalization of marriage or even, with a French twist, as demariage. I like historian Nacy Cott's observation that it is akin to what happened in Europe and American when legislators disestablished their state religions.

With disestablishement, the state no longer conferred a while set of special rights and privileges on one particular denomination while denying those rights to others. When this happened, religion itself did not disappear. But many different churches and new religious groups proliferated. Similarly, once the state stopped insistence that everyone needed a government-sanctioned marriage license to enjoy the privileges and duties of parenthood or other long-term commitments, other forms of intimate relationships and child-rearing arragnements came ouf from underground. And jst as people's movetives for joining a church changed when there was no longer one official religion, so people began deciding whether or not to marry on a new basis.

We may personally like or dislike all these changes. But there is a certain inevitability about most of them. For better or worse, marriange has been displaced from its piotal position in personal sand social life. No matter how much society values marriage, it cannot afford to ignore the fact that many childern are being raised and many obligations are being incurred in alternative settings. A perfect storm has reshaped the landscape of married life, and few things about marriage will ever be the same.


Its kids and obligations that's important for me. Not a right to marriage. And the test is HHH's Liberal Mantra. A test he gave for judging Government but one we can be apply to any institution and ourselves,
One of Humphrey's speeches contained the lines "It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped," which is sometimes described as the "liberals' mantra."

Faith in dictators or faith in the people

With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet this fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle because those who put their faith in dictators and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision, and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure, until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent, until the day that free men and women defeat them.

--Bush's Veterans Day speech 2005

Ward Churchill copy rights his speeches

Marathon Pundit posts on a email from Ward Churchill explaining he copy rights his speeches just like a rock star,

What I say is copyrighted, just like the work of any other "performer," to be recorded only with my express permission, and subsequently used in any fashion whatsoever only with my explicit consent.

I guess the days of Bug House square are over. Radicals speak only to the invited, and you need to check with their lawyers before recording.

Lucy Parsons and Emma Goldman's ghosts not happy over at German Waldheim.

Torture and the bean counters: Belmont Club - Be he ne'er so vile

The Belmont Club makes a bet on increased acts of torture. As a former Bean Counter I'm inclined to agree,
I'm going to make a personal prediction. The number of incidents involving the torture of terrorist suspects will increase after the McCain Amendment, or something like it, is passed. There will be a fall in the number of interrogation incidents in US custody. It may even become zero. However, there will be a corresponding increase in torture incidents involving agencies of other governments, including European governments, all of whom will fully subscribe to every piece of human rights legislation which can be imagined, but who in practice will simply do what they want.
My only experience with US practice is having five enlisted soldiers working for me. The oldest of them at 24 was the specialist in charge. At 28 I was an old man.

Every day Specialist H. would take charge of the uniformed guys for an hour to do some military training.

Once I watched them work through torture scenarios from an Army training manual such as, you are Military Advisor to troops of Country A out in the jungle, you capture a belligerent and the Country A troops slice off an ear, what do you do? You have no authority here. Your a guest in the jungle with Armed people intent on slicing off an ear. I was really humbled --after all I was Grinnell College class of 76-- to see how serious kids with GED education would work through these problems.

It was a typical work day then but the image has stuck with me now for 20 years and because of it I understand the training that prompted these people cited in the Taguba Report to report the abuses at Abu Ghraib,
4. (U) The individual Soldiers and Sailors that we observed and believe should be favorably noted include:

a. (U) Master-at-Arms First Class William J. Kimbro, US Navy Dog Handler, knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the MI personnel at Abu Ghraib.

b. (U) SPC Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company discovered evidence
of abuse and turned it over to military law enforcement.

c. (U) 1LT David O. Sutton, 229th MP Company, took immediate action and stopped an abuse, then reported the incident to the chain of command.
I like systems where the lieutenants empowered to take action (how many other Armies could this have happened in?), stop the abuse, report up the chain of command; and a Taguba report is the result. I'd stake my life on that instead an Act of Congress.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Cheney vs Reid debates

The RCP blog is calling for Cheney and Reid to debate the War. We badly need this debate.

It's time for more emails to Durbin, Obama, and Hastert.

If The White House wanted to get really aggressive (and they should), Cheney should fire off a letter challenging Harry Reid to debate the subject on the Senate floor next week. Let's go ahead and have at it, British-parliament style.

Let's see Harry Reid defend his accusations the Cheney manipulated pre-war intelligence. Let's also see Reid explain why he and so many other members of his party have changed their tune on what they believed about Saddam's WMDs. And let's see the Vice President defend the administration's decisions and their interpretation of pre-war intelligence as well.

Fauzia Gailani elected to represent Herat

Chicago Tribune's John Kass wrote about her a few days ago.

I don't think anyone else in the US interested in stories about heroic people fighting a good fight with the help of the United States.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day 2005


Karl Rove and Judy Baar-Topinka roll out the barrel

From the NYT:
"I've noticed a big difference," said one Republican in regular contact with Mr. Rove who declined to speak for attribution because the White House did not authorize it. "There's a spring in his step, more focus, more - something. Some sort of weight off his shoulders."
[****]
"I think he's focused on a lot of things - working to help people at the White House and talking to people on the Hill about the agenda next year, and he's certainly focused on the '06 elections," said Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who filled in for Mr. Rove at the Oct. 15 event for Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's attorney general.

In particular, several Republicans said, Mr. Rove drove the decision to recruit Judy Baar Topinka to run in the Illinois governor's race in 2006, a development this week that suddenly made the race competitive for Republicans.
Maybe JBT's not only playing accordian and making roast pork and dumplings for Gay Pride events, and Alderman Mell, but for Karl Rove and the White House too. She'll be showing Rove the garage sale list from the Berwyn Life.

Do a google search on JBT pictures and you'll find a half dozen of her in Gay Pride parades and not a one of her with her accordian. That shows how the culture is changing. I don't feel threatened but I miss the Frankie Yankovic stuff too.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kurdistan and Kristallnacht

Normsblog links the Kurdish commercials thanking the United States and UK for liberating Iraq.

I saw one on TV this am.

Norm also reminds us it's the 67th anniversary of Kristallnacht Sadly quoting The leader of the Germany's Council of Jews, Paul Spiegel:

[E]ven today, racism and anti-Semitism are almost an everyday fact again.

We did not find the WMDs...

...just corpses of infants in more mass graves. They become an everyday fact again...

The body of one woman was found still clutching a baby. The infant had been shot in the back of the head and the woman in the face."

The youngest foetus we have was 18 to 20 foetal weeks," said US investigating anthropologist P Willey."

Tiny bones, femurs - thigh bones the size of a matchstick."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Get Religion on LA Times coverage of the IRS Church case

A good post on the LA IRS religion story from Get Religion.

Dick Mell and Judy Topinka

Rich Miller posts a pic of the pair at Capital Blog. Check it out. Only in Illinois can we come up with pols like ours.

Dear Sen Obama: Craft the people of Dafur a belligerent foreign policy, or..

...craft them one that's tough and smart as you told Kos should be done here,
The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives' job. After all, it's easy to articulate a belligerent foreign policy based solely on unilateral military action, a policy that sounds tough and acts dumb; it's harder to craft a foreign policy that's tough and smart.
But Hitchens's Realism in Darfur: Consider the horrors of peace leaves me with the sick feeling America will only find the toughness to bear our shame (again as we did in Rwanda, Bosnia, after the first Gulf war) and the strength to forgive ourselves.

This is why you hired Samantha Powers and we deserve something from you.

Dafur and the horror of peace

There are things far worse than war and Hitchens writes of our disgrace in Dafur.

I think Dafur will be the blot History finds on Bush's record.

Strange so few write of it.

Tell me I'm wrong.

It looks as if the realists have won the day in the matter of Darfur. Or, to phrase it in another way, it looks as if the ethnic cleansers of that province have made good use of the "negotiation" and "mediation" period to complete their self-appointed task. As my friend Johann Hari put it recently in the London Independent: "At last, some good news from Darfur: the genocide in western Sudan is nearly over. There's only one problem—it's drawing to an end only because there are no black people left to cleanse or kill."

[***]

Nonintervention does not mean that nothing happens. It means that something else happens. Our policy in Darfur has not just failed to rescue a stricken black African population: It has actually assisted the Sudanese Islamists in completing their policy of racist murder. Thank heaven that we are tough enough to bear the shame of this, and strong enough to forgive ourselves.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Elgin's Chheng Bun: "I don't look back"

The Daily Herald finaly published the story on my barber: Chheng Bun and they did a great job.



Two full pages devoted to his story.
The genocide in Cambodia is one of the benchmarks of evil in the late 20th century," said Bergstrom of World Relief. "For people to have survived and flourished shows a real desire of the human will to succeed and overcome the evils they experienced."

A new generation

A quiet determination drives Bun.

He wakes each morning, drives his sons to school and reports to the barbershop, confident his boys never will begin a day wondering if they will live until night.

"You try to raise them good. You try to raise them right, raise them happy. They don't have to go through what I went through," Bun said, tears streaming down his face. He hurries to wipe them away with his shirt sleeve. "I don't look back."

Nor does he usually speak of life before Elgin. Six-year-old Justin and 3-year-old Kevin know their parents came from Cambodia. They know Bun moved to this country with their aunts and uncles more than 20 years ago.

They know their mother, Vanna, came 10 years later, a young bride who met Bun when he returned to Phom Trang to visit his father in 1994.

But of the devastation that drove the Bun family from Cambodia, they know nothing. That is how Bun prefers it, for now.

His choice is not unique.
I've never heard the story either until I read this tonight. I'll ask him to sign this paper next time I'm there. I'm glad he found a home in Elgin.

Drudge: GOP LEADERS TO LAUNCH NEW 'LEAK' PROBE; INFO TO WASH POST 'DAMAGED NATIONAL SECURITY'

About time, from Drudge:

Sources tell Drudge that early this afternoon House Speaker Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Frist will announce a bicameral investigation into the leak of classified information to the WASHINGTON POST regarding the “black sites” where high value al Qaeda terrorists are being held and interrogated.

CIA Q and A

Excellant essay on Three Years of the Condor Who's side is the CIA on, anyway? by Scott Johnson who also has some question for CIA.

LAST WEEK I contacted the CIA public information officer who fields media questions regarding Wilson. I first asked him why the Agency hadn't asked Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding his trip. He hesitated for a few seconds, then responded: "I don't know." At his suggestion, I followed up with a set of questions by e-mail:

(1) Why wasn't Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger made subject to a confidentiality agreement?

(2) Did the Agency contemplate that Wilson would publicly discuss the trip at will upon his return?

(3) Did the agency anticipate that if he did so, it would attract attention to the employment of his wife by the agency?

(4) Why did the Agency select Wilson for the mission to Niger to check out such an important and sensitive matter given his lack of experience in intelligence or investigation?

(5) Was the Agency aware when it selected him for the mission of his hostility to the Bush administration?

The CIA responded:

Given the ongoing legal process, I don't have anything for you in response to your questions about Ambassador Wilson.

Today's interventionists and people of conscience

A liberalism that cannot make genocide prevention a central plank of its foreign policy is not an idealistic brand of liberalism. Nor is it a liberalism that people of conscience will ever find particularly attractive. --Richard Just via Norms Blog...

...and from TNR: Paul Berman argues that today's interventionists are the true heirs of the radical spirit of 1960s liberalism

Stop the War: The Story of Britain's Biggest Mass Movement

Abdullah Muhsin's review in Democratiya of Stop the War: The Story of Britain's Biggest Mass Movement by Andrew Murray and Lindsey German.
But we have come together in recognition of the new realities created by the war and to seize the opportunities created by the fall of Saddam. Given that Saddam had brutally repressed free trade unions for decades, one of the most positive outcomes of his fall was the re-emergence of a free labour movement which had been kept alive as the Workers Democratic Trade Union Movement (WDTUM) by clandestine activities inside Iraq and by exile-activists forced to leave Iraq.

And here is the great failure of the Stop the War coalition. Able to mobilise hundreds of thousands of people to try to prevent war, its leaders have proved far less adept in understanding the consequences of the fall of Saddam.

[***]

A decent anti-war leadership would recognise the new realities and participate in providing solidarity to Iraqi democrats, socialists and trade unionists in their fight to secure a democratic Iraq. But that would mean opposing a vicious enemy that has no regards for humanity and uses the most destructive and barbaric violence to stop the march towards democracy.
Strange opposing a vicious enemy so hard for so many on the left. They'd rather poke at Sen Biden's American Flag pin.

I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism. --Peter Tatchell

"It is up to Congress to decide...." And after all that's there job.

Long post from the Right Wing Nut here and these great quotes from other bloggers below.

Senate needs to investigate pre and post war Intel and not behind closed doors. Too late for that and the spy guys leak all over anyways.

Victoria Toensing:
“The CIA conduct in this matter is either a brilliant covert action against the White House or inept intelligence tradecraft. It is up to Congress to decide which.”

Deborah Orin:
Having Wilson go public was very useful to the CIA, especially the division where his wife worked — because it served to shift blame for failed “slam dunk” intelligence claims away from the agency. To say that Bush “twisted” intelligence was to presume — falsely — that the CIA had gotten it right.

When the White House ineptly tried to counter Wilson’s tall tales by revealing that he wasn’t an expert and his wife set up the trip, the CIA demanded a criminal probe — and then itself broke the law by leaking that news

Investors.Com:
We believe that someone needs to answer the questions raised recently by Joseph F. DiGenova, a former federal prosecutor and independent counsel:

Was there a covert operation against the president?

If so, who was behind it?


These aren’t the musings of the tinfoil-hat brigade. A sober-minded case can be made that at least some people in the CIA may have acted inappropriately to discredit the administration as a way of salvaging their own reputations after the intelligence debacles of 9-11 and Iraqi WMD.

Questions for CIA on Joe Wilson's trip to Niger

What did CIA pay Wilson for the trip to Niger?

Is there a contract? Is the contract classified?

Did Wilson claim reimbursement for meals, hotels?

How much did he receive? Are the vouchers classified?

Did Wilson violate his contract when he discussed the trip?

I'd like to know.

Wilson and Plame under oath

more Wilson and Plame,

Why Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald did not question Wilson and Plame under oath, "is a mystery to me," Vallely said.

and,

Meanwhile, Wilson's lawyer Christopher Wolf notified Vallely and WorldNetDaily that his office mailed an official demand letter yesterday threatening a lawsuit unless the general retracts his claim.

I hope Wilson takes Vallely to court and it gets Wilson and Plame under oath.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Valerie Plame "outters"

Seems Joe Wilson chatted a lot about Plame's job with the company and the people he chatted with are getting it out on the record.

Red State asks,
The tale grows incrementally and steadily, like history. Questions for those concerned: Did Russert of NBC, or Cooper of Time Warner, or Miller of NYT ever have a similar conversation with Wilson in a green room, or know someone who did? Did Fitzgerald's lengthy investigation ever concern itself with green room conversations, contacting such as Vallely and McInerney and Hanson?

More: what or who at the CIA decided to refer the revelation of Plame to the DOJ for investigation in 2003, after the publication of Plame's employment by Novak, yet never moved to investigate the green room incidents such as Vallely, McInerney in 2002? Did the CIA know of the 2002 green room incidents? Was this not a concern in choosing Wilson to travel to Niger and report on Niger to the NYT and other publications, and to write of the trip in 2003? Does the CIA know if Wilson continued to boast of his wife's employment in 2003 up to and after her identity was revealed by Novak?

In brief, why did Fitzgerald not investigate Wilson for the same concerns he investigated Libby and Rove and others?



More here about Wilson telling Valley to retract the statements. I hope the Libby trial gets Wilson on the stand under oath.

Joe Biden: "Democrats have become elitist"

Sen Biden in The Union Leader via Spontaneious Solutions:

"He told the heavily Democratic crowd that Democrats have become elitist. He noted that some Democrats have questioned why he wears an American flag on his lapel.

“We’ve become disconnected from where we grew up,” Biden said. “The Republicans, because of our distance, they have convinced a lot of people we ain’t one of them.”


The Democrats who question Biden's American flag label aren't elitist. They just think Americans are the biggest problem in today's world, and 911 was blow back for our imperialism or consumerism. That's not elitism, it's anti-American.

Your free to be an anti-American Amercian in America. But your a fool if you think you're going to win many votes that way. Might sell some books though. Get on TV shows and speak at DePaul in Chicago.

Illinois parole officers and All Kids coverage

The Southern Illinoisian on our Gov using parole officers as campaign workers.

Something like 56,000 of the 250,000 of the kids the Gov says will qualify for All Kids already qualify for Medicaid but don't know about their benefits because Illinois fails in outreach to them.

So maybe we should use the parole officers to let the kids know what the state already offers instead of promoting Blagojevich.

LIBERTÉ? ÉGALITÉ? FRATERNITÉ? RÉALITÉ?

From The Independent Online via No Pasaran,

LIBERTÉ? French Muslims banned from wearing headscarves in school.
ÉGALITÉ? France's non-whites twice as likely to be unemployed.
FRATERNITÉ? French government admits integration policies have failed.
RÉALITÉ: Riots erupt for eleventh night.

Which makes me recall this post of mine from WBEZ's inteview with Timothy Garton Ash.
Ash is no friend of the administration but he recognized America's great strength: the way we welcome immigration. He said it's easier to be a Muslim immigrant today in the US than in Europe and cited the Dutch reaction to Theo Van Gogh's murder at the hand of Islamic extremists. Ash explained the 911
terrorists in the US were visitors, while Van Gogh's murderers and the Madrid Railway bombers had lived in Europe for years; marginalized and alienated in slums with no hope of joining Europe's mainstream.

Detroit Free Press interview with Rumsfeld

DFP's Joe Galloway interivew with Rumsfeld. Good read for those who think this administration insulates itself.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Abdullah Muhsin of the Iraqi Workers Federation: "We are nobody's pawns"

From his letter to The Guardian in response to charges from George Galloway and the Stop the War Coalition,
Iraq is not another Vietnam; the so-called resistance are no maquis. The resistance offers at best another dictatorship modelled on Saddam's regime, at worst an al-Zarqawi-inspired mediaeval theocracy using Iraq, rather than Afghanistan, as a base for its war against the US and Arab regimes. These forces offer only hell to Iraqis and harbour some of the world's most dangerous ideas.

They have no open social or political programme and no popular base, and are feared by most Iraqis. Widespread, popular sentiment against the foreign occupation of our country does not translate into legitimation of these forces. With the support of the British and international labour movement, and others, we have a duty to ensure that the voice of Iraqi civil society is heard.
He reminds me of someone I once met from the Jewish Labor Bund who told me of their debates in Poland in 1938 over whether to join the Communist Popular Front (then against Hitler but not for long) or to take an independent pox on both your houses position to facism and communism.

The debates were still fresh and relevant to him in 1974 when thinking about the War in Vietnam. That too was a pox on both your houses position when deciding between Nixon and the Communists (again).

All I could think was some choice; how did he escape the hell soon to be unleashed. I never heard the personal story, only the abstract debates; and perhapes the reality of life was far too horrifying and there was solace in theory.

Muhsin should be thankful for George Bush and Tony Blair and the troops that allow him some space to organize and debate the choice. Sadly, the secularists, liberals, and socialists in the Arab world pretty muddled right now it seems and it's mostly because they borrow so much from the west. A reformation in Islamic thought will need Islamic roots.

Neither Criminal Nor Unethical

A quote from David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey found onRCP Blog. I wish we'd get some more leaks on these cozy connections on contracts in the CIA.
"The reason Mr. Fitzgerald did not charge anyone with leaking Ms. Plame's name, then, is clear. It was not because, as he implied at his Oct. 28 press conference, there was insufficient evidence. It was, rather, because there was in fact no crime as a matter of law. The true scandal here is that, despite Ms. Plame's non-covert status, Mr. Fitzgerald pressed ahead, forcing numerous journalists to testify and actually jailing Judith Miller....

In view of this history, and precisely because the CIA was skeptical of the Niger claims, sending an outside expert to assess them was absolutely correct. The fact that the expert chosen by the CIA was so closely connected to its own bureaucracy was indispensable in assessing the value of that expert's work - especially after he had openly waded into the debate. In short, the revelation of Ms. Plame's name in connection to the CIA was a public service, neither criminal nor unethical." [my emphasis]

Iran's Ayatollahُ Montazeri on blogging

via Editor:Myself,
According to a post on Abtahi's blog, the Ayatollah later tells him that he reads his blogs and asks him about its readership and the time he spends on it everyday. Like many, the Ayatollah is also angry about his website being filtered and provides the blogger cleric with a new unblocked web address for his website.

Any time you have party-animal teenagers and dissident old Ayatollahs doing the same thing, you must know it's a popular thing.

Friday, November 04, 2005

more Blood and Oil: Today's New Scotsman on George Galloway

from The New Scotsman,
Galloway's attempts to clear his name over the oil-for-food scandal suffered another setback yesterday when his spokesman confirmed that he had received payments from a businessman identified as a beneficiary of the scheme.

Ron McKay said he had received $15,666 from Fawaz Zureikat, an associate of Mr Galloway, in August 2000.

Charlie from the UK on France's riots

Normally I try to avoid scatological stuff, but this comment I found on No Pasaran! shows the impact on the world of an African-American SecState. I don't think Charlie in the UK alone and Bush's choices will have long term impacts on the world.

It's also an example of Europe's opposition to buidling an liberal and democratic alternative for the Arab world is going to fuel a racist, far-right. That will be Europe's mainstream after these events.
I am sick of people telling me that France has 'a better qulaity of life' - normally wealthy liberal types with enough money, at the end of their career in the capitalist system, with enough money to buy a countryhouse in the south of France. Really representative. I can't wait to make them eat sh*t at the next dinner party. The right wing racist parties are MAINSTREAM in France, they will win the next election now. Meawnhile, their great enemy, the US has gone from apartheid in the 50's to a black woman sectretary of sate in less than a lifetime. Which society do you think is more functional and at ease with itself now?

God Bless America, the reason we are free.

Charlie (UK)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ramadan Rioting in Europe

The Brussel's Journal on the past few days of rioting in Europe.

"You illegitimate atheist, I will kill you."

Middle East Media Research translates and posts a video clip of Iranian Children's show promoting sucide bombings,

Abd Al-Rahman (grabbing his little sister and hiding): "Be quiet."

(Father runs towards soldiers, his stick raised.)

Father: "You illegitimate atheist, I will kill you."

Israeli commander: "Finish him off."

(Group of soldiers open fire on Father, laughing; blood splashes on oranges on trees. Abd Al-Rahman and little sister sob in hiding place.)

[***]
Jassem: "We are near the border, where the Zionists want to pass. We will attack
them in accordance with our plan. May God be with you, brothers. I know our mission is a hard one, but with God's help we must stop this bloodthirsty enemy. If there are no questions, assume your positions.

(Others depart, leaving only Karim and Al-Rahman.)

"Karim and Abd Al-Rahman, you wait here. Here, these are for you (handing them kaffiyehs and grenade belts). Your role in this operation is very important. While the others are keeping the Israeli soldiers busy, you must throw grenades at them.

(Scene changes: A dirt road. Abd Al-Rahman, waiting for an Israeli military convoy to pass by, ties a string of grenades around his waist. The convoy approaches.)

Jassem: "Brothers, get ready. They are coming."

Abd Al-Rahman: "I place my trust in God. Allah Akbar."

(Al-Rahman pulls the grenade pins and leaps onto one of the trucks, screaming. Gunfire and explosions; the scene is obscured by black smoke. When the smoke clears, there is devastation – the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian attackers, including Al-Rahman, lie dead.

A young Palestinian boy approaches Al-Rahman's body, takes his bloody kaffiyeh, places it on his own shoulders, and walks off into the sunset.)


This kids show from folks seeking Nucs and talking about wiping countries off the face of the map. According to Der Spiegel, Ahmadinejad is finally moving things along.

The illegitimate and atheist ought watch out.

But Iran's nuclear program may have already taken a decisive step in the direction of nuclear weapons in recent weeks. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, the president has placed himself at the head of a new "Control Center for Nuclear Issues," which is managed by his friends, the Revolutionary Guards. This enables Ahmadinejad to direct all nuclear developments himself. With intelligence official Farhad Rahbar, who manages the government's budget, as its deputy director, the organization has unlimited financial resources.

The organization's objective, according to an intelligence document, is to "finally move things along."

Time Mag 1997: "A DISASTER IS JUST WAITING TO HAPPEN IF IRAQ UNLEASHES ITS POISONS AND GERMS"

Worldwide Standard links a Nov 1997 Time story on Iraq and Chemical weapons. It was stories like this that convinced me NOT to vote for Bush in 2000. I feared a guy who made jokes about his intelligence and past drinking habits with folks like Saddam out there. I feared how that foolishness would translate into Arabic for him.
Nov. 24, 1997. Saddam Hussein's unwatched arsenal of poisons and germs can redouble the threat to America, and the terrorists are already among us. That message fairly screamed at Americans last week. In the shadow of the World Trade Center, the target of a bombing in 1993, New York City began the week with a drill involving 600 police, fire fighters and FBI agents responding to a mock attack by terrorists supposedly using deadly VX nerve gas, which Iraq has produced in vast quantities.
[***]
officials in Washington are deeply worried about what some of them call "strategic crime." By that they mean the merging of the output from a government’s arsenals, like Saddam’s biological weapons, with a group of semi-independent terrorists, like radical Islamist groups, who might slip such bioweapons into the U.S. and use them.
WeeklyStandard asks,
Who were these officials?
Intelligence community officials?
Clinton White House officials?
What intelligence did these officials base their "deep worry" on?


You have to wonder if one of the Intelligence community officials was Valerie Plame.

I hope the Senators ask these questions because the stuff is still out there. I think its just part of Syria's stockpile now.
The one common characteristic Syria shares with Iraq in regard to its chemical weapons program is the help it received from the West in establishing it. Former CIA director William Webster told a Congressional panel in 1989 that the CIA had determined foreign assistance was of "critical importance in allowing Syria to develop its chemical warfare capability. West European firms were instrumental in supplying the required precursor chemicals and equipment. Without the provision of these key elements, Damascus would not have been able to produce chemical weapons."

Syria's principle suppliers of chemical and biological weapons production technology were large chemical brokerage houses in Holland, Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany, including many of the same companies that were supplying Iraq.

At least one German company, Schott Glasswerke, has been subjected to an official inquiry for its delivery of glass-lined reactor vessels, sarin precursors and production equipment to a suspected Syrian poison gas plant.
Sen Reid ought to invite the folks from Schott Glasswerke to the Senate's next closed session too.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Max Boot: Plamegate's real liar

Max Boot on Plamegate's real liar. Wonder if the Senators talked about this in their closed session yesterday.
Pretty much all of the claims that the administration doctored evidence about Iraq have been euthanized, not only by the Senate committee but also by the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission. The latest proof that intelligence was not "politicized" comes from an unlikely source — Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, who has been denouncing the hawkish "cabal" supposedly leading us toward "disaster." Yet, in between bouts of trashing the administration, Wilkerson said on Oct. 19 that "the consensus of the intelligence community was overwhelming" that Hussein was building illicit weapons. This view was endorsed by "the French, the Germans, the Brits." The French, of all people, even offered "proof positive" that Hussein was buying aluminum tubes "for centrifuges." Wilkerson also recalled seeing satellite photos "that would lead me to believe that Saddam Hussein, at least on occasion, was … giving us disinformation."

So much for the lies that led to war. What we're left with is the lies that led to the antiwar movement. Good thing for Wilson and his pals that deceiving the press and the public isn't a crime.

The Belmont Club: The Long War

This may be the big picture,
The Belmont Club: The Long War

Peter Beinart's "Tough Liberalism"

Here's Beinarts essay on Tough Liberalism. Beinart restates today's unfortunate problem for liberals,
The fundamental divide is whether you believe that jihadist totalitarianism is produced by a lack of freedom and opportunity, or whether you believe that jihadist totalitarianism is created by American and Western imperialism. The Democratic Party has not fundamentally, internally decided about which of those it believes. Much of the Kerry campaign's inability to be totally coherent on these issues was, I believe, an attempt to straddle rifts in the party that had not yet come to an honest debate on this basic question.
We're not going to find today's equivalents of Arthur Schlesinger, Reinhold Niebuhr, Walter Reuther, and Eleanor Roosevelt creating an Americans for Democratic Action to give the painfully obvious answer to this question. Reid and Kerry will straddle the rail until the party collapses in splits with fringes heading off to obscurity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's the Left scaring Sen Reid

...and stories like draft Cindy Sheehan that have Reid running scared.

You see it in his face the reporters ask him if he would he still have voted for the war. Unlike Sen Schumer, Sen Reid couldn't even answer today, and instead we get the Bush lied line.

This after Reid closed the Senate to the public.

The War should be debated by Congress where we all can hear it.

The Republicans will hold together but the Democrats will destruct as they did over another war when they lost the election and destroyed a great Liberal.

This time they will not recover.

"Politics for us is like filthy dead meat"

I spent five days with Abu Theeb and his people last week, and I witnessed a very curious thing: a bunch of mujahideens talking politics and urging restraint. "Politics for us is like filthy dead meat," Abu Theeb told me. "We are not allowed to eat it, but if you are passing through the desert and your life depends on it, God says it's OK." This is a profound shift in thinking for these insurgents, a shift that might just change the way things develop in Iraq.
From Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's interview in The Guardian with the Arab-Sunni insurgent leader Abu Theeb via Labour Friends of Iraq.

The Democrats ask for "the plan" and it's really plain to see. Only a moderate Islam can conquer bin Ladinism so we seek Muslim allies. We support the Shia and the Sunni Kurds. We're splitting even the Salafi-Sunni Arabs as they find a taste for Democracy's fithy dead meat.

It's an old strategy and it works by making the enemy's life depend on it because that profoundly shifts anyone's taste buds.