Friday, December 30, 2005

It is about time

It was announced today by the White House that the Justice Department is launching an investigation into who leaked the top secret NSA intellegence gathering program to the media. Earlier the Gray Lady made a big deal out of "Who outed Valerie Plame" thinking that it had to be someone in the White House and cried about the dire consequences to Natioal Security and then the dear old gal herself outed the covert CIA flights and the black ops detention centers for terrorists and then this NSA story without blinking so much as an eye about damaging "National Security". The NY Post had a good editorial about the actions of the "Paper of Record" where it had this to say.

Does The New York Times consider it self a law unto itself — free to subversively undercut basic efforts by any government to protect and defend its citizens?

The Times, it appears, is less concerned with promoting its dubious views on civil liberties than with undercutting the Bush administration. The end result of the paper's flagrant irresponsibility: Lives have been put in danger on the international, national and local levels.

The ability of the nation to perform the most fundamental mission of any government — protection of its citizens — has been pointlessly compromised.

The Jayson Blair and Judith Miller fias coes were high-profile embarrass ments for The Times, but at the end of the day mostly damaged the newspaper alone.

The NSA, CIA and NYPD stories are of a different order of magnitude — they place in unnecessary danger the lives of U.S. citizens.

The New York Times — a once-great and still-powerful institution — is badly in need of adult supervision.

The NYT cited current and former members of the intellegence community as its source. These sources need to be found and prosecuted to the fullest exent of the law. The NYT and the Washington Post have both been shown to care nothing for our security and only for what damage they can do to Bush and Company. The worst thing that can happen to a newspaper is to lose its crediblity and the two mentioned along with the LAT are certainly working on that.
From Ed Morrissey :
In another attempt to find something sinister to hang onto the Bush administration, another secret program constituting a major part of the war on terror has been exposed by another member of the Exempt Media. This time, the Washington Post uses its contacts in the CIA to expose an umbrella program called GST, the code for a loose affiliation of dozens of programs designed to locate and fight terrorists abroad rather than wait for them to show up here. Nothing about the article stands out as a smoking gun, it never alleges anything specifically illegal, but Dana Priest writes the front-pager as a warning that the President has gone out of control in defending the US from attack Reading the lengthy article, it becomes clear that the sources feeding this to the Post come from the CIA. Not only does the article expose Langley programs exclusively, the entire end of the article is dedicated to the whining of CIA personnel over their public image.

If Porter Goss can't clean out this cesspool then Congress should. It seems the only successful black ops this CIA can succeed in, is against our own Government. As I have said before, the CIA and our entire intellegence community seems to have more leaks than an Iraqi sewer. Some super secret bunch of spooks we have entrusted the security of our country to.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The UN and Tsunami Response

This is the UN we have all grown to know, love and respect. From the Heritage Foundation website comes the shocking (not really) information that the UN is still the UN. After the Oil for Food scandal and Kofi's missing Mercedes, you would think that maybe, just maybe there would be some actual reforms going on. Not. It seems that it is business as usual in the "World Body". (this is the same UN that was going to give that Global Test)
The research, done by the Financial Times (subscription required) focuses a spotlight on the tsunami relief effort taken over by the UN.

When the U.N. took over the tsunami relief operation in early 2005, the world body pledged full transparency, in light of its disastrous handling of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program. The U.N.’s under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, boasted in an opinion editorial that “only the UN has the universal legitimacy, capacity, and credibility to lead in a truly global humanitarian emergency.”[2] Egeland had earlier criticized the U.S. contribution to the tsunami relief effort as “stingy.”[3]

A recent investigation by the Financial Times, however, has raised serious questions regarding the U.N.’s handling of the tsunami relief effort, in particular the way in which it has spent the first $590 million of its $1.1 billion disaster “flash appeal.” The appeal includes nearly $50 million from the United States.[4] The two-month FT inquiry revealed that “as much as a third of the money raised by the UN for its tsunami response was being swallowed up by salaries and administrative overheads.”[5] In contrast, Oxfam, a British-based private charity, spent just 10 percent of the tsunami aid money it raised on administrative costs.[6]

The Financial Times concluded that “a year after the tsunami, pledges of transparency and accountability for the UN’s appeal appear a long way from being realized. This is primarily blamed on dueling UN bureaucracies and accounting methods plus what in many cases appears to be institutional paranoia about disclosure.”[8]

This is an excellent overview and insight into what the UN is all about and should be read in its entirety.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Very Interesting

This will be a short post but with a few interesting reads about the NSA kerfuffle and the "Bush Lied" screed from some unexpected places. The first comes from the NYT op-ed column by David Rivkin and Lee Casey on the law applicable to the NSA terrorist eavesdropping program: "Unwarranted complaints."
The next is from the WSJ by Robert Turner. Both excellent reads, so take your time and absorb the information.
The "Bush Lied" screed is addressed by the Chicago Tribune. I wonder if anyone is listening to this or are they like the monkey with his hands over his ears and doesn't want to hear what he doesn't like.

Also interesting is this new poll from Rassmussen:

December 28, 2005--Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely.

Just 26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he is not while 26% are not sure.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

My Wish...

for everyone today is for all to have a Merry Christmas and to keep our men and women in harms way and far from home in your thoughts this Holy Day Season. May God bless them, their families and yours. Merry Christmas all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Gotta love it

From the WSJ "Best of the Web" by Tarantino. 'We Didn't Have English Class'

Last week Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority leader, boasted to a Democratic gathering that "we killed the Patriot Act." Perhaps realizing that this was not the most appealing message to send to voters outside the Bush-hating base, Reid took to the Senate floor Monday and offered an apology of sorts (link in PDF):

Mr. President, maybe I didn't have the education of a lot of my friends. I was educated in a little school in Searchlight, NV. We didn't have English class. Maybe my choice of words wasn't perfect. Maybe I should have said we killed the conference report. But the fact is, that is what we had done. People can try to change the words and the meaning of it all they want, but that is what happened. I may not have the ability to express myself like the folks who were educated in all these private schools and fancy schools, but I understand the Senate rules. Everyone knows that cloture was defeated, killed, whatever you want to call it. That means that cloture was defeated and that bill is still before the Senate.

This is the same Harry Reid who, a little over a year ago, called Justice Clarence Thomas "an embarrassment to the Supreme Court" because "I think that his opinions are poorly written." If Reid's literacy is as defective as he himself claims it is, doesn't this make him, by his own standard, an embarrassment to the Senate?

Further, if Reid never even had an English class, what qualifies him to evaluate Justice Thomas's writings? Or was he merely stereotyping Thomas as unintelligent because of his race, in the manner of ignorant men throughout history?


Still more on the NSA story

From an interview with a noted Constitutional scholar(and by no means is he a consevative one) Cass Sunstein on the Hugh Hewitt Show yesterday. Transcript via The Radioblogger.
Here is an excerpt:

HH: ....First, did the authorization for the use of military force from 2001 authorize the president's action with regards to conducting surveillance on foreign powers, including al Qaeda, in contact with their agents in America, Professor?

CS: Well, probably. If the Congress authorizes the president to use force, a pretty natural incident of that is to engage in surveillance. So if there's on the battlefield some communication between Taliban and al Qaeda, the president can monitor that. If al Qaeda calls the United States, the president can probably monitor that, too, as part of waging against al Qaeda.

HH: Very good. Part two of your analysis...If...whether or not the AUMF does, does the Constitution give the president inherent authority to do what he did?

CS: That's less clear, but there's a very strong argument the president does have that authority. All the lower courts that have investigated the issue have so said. So as part of the president's power as executive, there's a strong argument that he can monitor conversations from overseas, especially if they're al Qaeda communications in the aftermath of 9/11. So what I guess I do is put the two arguments together. It's a little technical, but I think pretty important, which is that since the president has a plausible claim that he has inherent authority to do this, that is to monitor communications from threats outside our borders, we should be pretty willing to interpret a Congressional authorization to use force in a way that conforms to the president's possible Constitutional authority. So that is if you put the Constitutional authority together with the statutory authorization, the president's on pretty good ground.
Read Sunstein's original post on his blog. It seems that there is a concerted effort to not only deflect but obscure the true issues of the NSA intelligence gathering program and convince the public that it is something it is not.
Cass Sunstein seems to think so too.

Read Sunstein's assessment of the poor job that the media has done covering this issue.
HH: Do you consider the quality of the media coverage here to be good, bad, or in between?

CS: Pretty bad, and I think the reason is we're seeing a kind of libertarian panic a little bit, where what seems at first glance...this might be proved wrong...but where what seems at first glance a pretty modest program is being described as a kind of universal wiretapping, and also being described as depending on a wild claim of presidential authority, which the president, to his credit, has not made any such wild claim. The claims are actually fairly modest, and not unconventional. So the problem with what we've seen from the media is treating this as much more peculiar, and much larger than it actually is. As I recall, by the way, I was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, and they did say that in at least one person's view, the authorization to use military force probably was adequate here.

HH: Do you think the media simply does not understand? Or are they being purposefully ill-informed in your view?

CS: You know what I think it is? It's kind of an echo of Watergate. So when the word wiretapping comes out, a lot of people get really nervous and think this is a rerun of Watergate. I also think there are two different ideas going on here. One is skepticism on the part of many members of the media about judgments by President Bush that threaten, in their view, civil liberties. So it's like they see President Bush and civil liberties, and they get a little more reflexively skeptical than maybe the individual issue warrants. So there's that. Plus, there's, I think, a kind of the American culture, including the media, streak that is very nervous about intruding on telephone calls and e-mails. And that, in many ways, is healthy. But it can create a misunderstanding of a particular situation.

(ht Betsy Newmark)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

DOJ Response to NSA questions and more.

Glenn Reynolds points us to this missive from the Dept.of Justice response to the NSA issue. (via The Corner).
More answers and more understanding will tend to lead to more hand wringing and gnashing of teeth on the left. heh.

Speaking of a Quagmire

It seems from all I have been reading that the Democrats have found themselves in a querulous quagmire politically on the NSA position along others that they have taken. From what I can glean from those much more qualified than I am, the warrantless searches being talked about is not only legal but common when talking about international intelligence gathering. John Hinderaker has one of the most extensive posts on it to date. Scroll down on their site and read much more on this issue. The is also an interesting link to Harvard Law Review article by Professors Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith: "Congressional Authorization and the War on Terrorism."

It seems that the Democratic Party leadership and talking points are not being produced "in house", rather they are being written by the NYT etal. First the non story of the flushed Koran, then lately the NSA story followed by the revelation that the FBI was surveillance the ELF/ALF and their support groups (egad, the horror) and that even the NYPD was sending undercover cops into demonstrations in NY. The New York Times has reported leaks about the covert CIA flights, the covert detention facilities and now the NSA legally spying on foreign communications and they seem to be proud of it. Where is the outrage about the leaks and the leakers ala Valerie Plame? Whose side are these people on?
Ed Morrissey writes: "This series of articles show just how much that leftists want to return to a 9/10 world, where the evils of society comprise the government agents that want to protect the US from terrorists instead of the terrorists themselves. New Yorkers, at least those at the Times, appear to have forgotten why a huge gaping hole exists in Lower Manhattan. They either forgot or stopped caring about "connecting the dots", a phrase that they used to castigate these same security forces for not divining the intent of Mohammed Atta and al-Qaeda prior to 9/11 -- but now resolutely oppose and expose the very methodology which would allow them to see the 'dots' in the first place."
I could not agree more.
ht to OBT for the link.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Patriot Act and National Security.

First let me say I am not an attorney or a Constitutional scholar but I am an everyday lay student of the law and its different effects on our life. I try to read as much as I can from the postings and writings of those that are. Being a citizen, I think that is the least that we can do.
As for the Patriot Act under fire now, it is my understanding that it was mainly an extension of what has been used for years against the drug runners and organized crime and was expanded to include the terrorist enemies of our country. The PATRIOT Act is based on fifteen extant statutes, most importantly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed by Congress in 1978.

The PATRIOT Act, as described in the Department of JusticeÂ’s website does the following:
· Allows law enforcement investigators to use the tools that were already available to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking.
· Allows laws enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror, including the development of networks and training for violence.
· Allows federal agents to follow sophisticated terrorists trained to evade detection, especially by allowing the same “roving wiretaps” long used to track organized gangs and smugglers.
· Allows law enforcement to conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists, in much the same manner as they already do against organized crime and drug cases.
· Allows federal agents to request a Court Order to obtain business records in national security terrorism cases, rather than wait for the violence to begin.
· Facilitates information sharing among government agencies, to see trends and planning before they evolve into violence.
· Updates the law to reflect new technologies and threats; most laws before the PATRIOT Act were written before the age of portable computers and roving cell phone towers.
· Allows victims of computer hacking to request law enforcement assistance.
· Increases the penalties for terrorist acts.
· Acts against the creation or support of terrorist networks.

The main concern supposedly about this act is the possible infringement of our civil liberties although an extensive search including the ACLU has found no such examples or complaints. I would think that any examples of such abuse would be shouted from the rooftops. I therefore have to conclude that there has been no such abuse.

Bill Roggio posted these telling quotes from some of todays detractors yet they were yesterdays supporters:

Regarding the need to expand FISA to allow roving wiretaps - “the FBI could get a wiretap to investigate the mafia, but they could not get one to investigate terrorists. To put it bluntly, that was crazy! What’s good for the mob should be good for terrorists” (Senator Joe Biden, D-DE)(Congressional Record)

Regarding the need for expanded cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement – “We simply cannot prevail in the battle against terrorism if the right hand of our government has no idea what the left hand is doing” (Senator John Edwards, D-NC)(Press Release)

Regarding the need to take legal action against the financial support for terrorist groups and networks – “if one is going to cope with an al Qaeda, with a terrorist entity such as Osama bin Laden, who moves his money into this legitimate marketplace, law enforcement has to have the ability to hold people accountable” (Senator John Kerry, D-Mass)(Congressional Record)

Since no one I could find have had their rights trampled under the jackboots of this legislation in 4 years and untold numbers of terrorists and their networks have been destroyed, this seem too much of a political ploy for gratuitous gain than true interest in National security. What is going through these people mind? Apparently it is okay to use these laws for fighting organized crime and drug trafficking but we need to go out of our way to protect the civil liberies of terrorists and those sworn to destroy us. Go figure.I'm outta time for now but will be back with a follow-up later including my research on the NSA kerfuffle.

I think that the Democratic Party has again jumped the shark on national security and will once again be judged to be on the wrong side of history just like their commitment to defeatism will be judged by the American voters. Who do you trust when it comes to security for America? It seems that the left is more interested in the civil rights of terrorists and enemies than they are about the safety of the people, or perhaps it is just a bigger interest in their political future and the downfall of Bush that is upmost in their minds. Either way, they are again showing the true colors of the left. This is not the Scoop Jackson Democratic Party. I'm not sure what party it is anymore.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Who do you Trust?

I was reminded today about one of my older posts highlighting the idiocy of our Congress when it come to keeping National Security secure and keeping secrets secret. The article cited was from Jeff Babin and noted the following:
It's been about two years since Sen.
Richard Shelby blew one of our most important secrets -- that we were bugging
Osama bin Laden's cell phone, a fact that could have led to the capture of
America's most wanted terrorist -- by bragging about it to a reporter. Shelby's
action (if it really was him) has never been prosecuted. Why not?

He went on to talk about the members of the Senate Select Committee on intelligence:

Three members of the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence have apparently committed a very serious crime by
blabbing about a highly-classified satellite program to the press last week. If
these men actually did what it appears they did, we ought to throw the book at
'em for divulging one of our most-protected secrets: stealthy reconnaissance
satellites. As a result of their revelations to the public and the press, three
U.S. Senators -- Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who's also the ranking Dem on
the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Ron Wyden
(D-Ore.) -- are the subject of a "criminal referral" made on Monday for speaking
publicly about this satellite. Such referrals are made to the Justice Department
by the administration when criminal conduct is suspected.

Now some of these same people are crying about not being in the loop about the NSA intercepts of foreign communications (Rockeffeller is one and has been briefed on this operation. He is still on the intelligence Committee).

What ever came of this breach of security? Nothing that I could find. Tell me again that this latest dustup is not political. Would you tell the Congress-at-large anything that needed to be kept even confidential , much less Secret? They have more leaks than old plumbing. And apparently so does the CIA and the NSA. There needs to be a serious house cleaning in all three. There is this and then the leaks about the CIA covert airline flights, the covert detention centers, and the covert operations with the NSA. Yet outing Valerie Plame is such a scandalous evil scheme that it needs to be investigated for two years and two Grand Juries when no crime has even been charged in the original compaint. Hell no, none of this is political.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

PC Greetings again

PC Greetings

[I posted this a year ago and thought it would go with the current year as well]
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all ...

... And a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the Western Hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)

In other words... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

First let me get something straight. If the exposure of Valerie Plame, a desk clerk-analyst of little consequence at the CIA is allowed and it beomes known to apparently the only people who didn't know who she was, those outside of DC, it is a matter of National Security and needs to be investigated. Even if it appears there was no illegality found or charged. If covert CIA flights and even tail numbers and the names of employes and the Company is exposed, it is just the media doing their job. If the locations of covert detention facilities used by the US to house and interogate terrorists, it is not a security breach, it is just the media doing their job. If several current and former intellegence officers leaks to the press about an apparently legal though covert operation to trace terrorists phone calls and contact to and from people here in the US and elsewhere, it is not a National Security breach, it is just the press doing their job. Is that about it?

It seems to me that there needs to be a massive investigation of the CIA. They are no better at keeping a secret than Aunt Ethel the town gossip. They also seem to be better at covert operations against our own government than against our enemies. There is much here that does not pass the smell test.

According to the Washington Post:

Bush said the program is reviewed every 45 days by the attorney general and White House counsel and that he must then reauthorize it to keep it active. He said he has reauthorized it more than 30 times "and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups."

The president also said the administration has briefed key members of Congress on the program a dozen times. Classified programs are typically disclosed to the chairmen and ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
...The president criticized the media for reporting on the NSA surveillance as well as the officials who "improperly" provided the information. "As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk," he said.

So the Senate Intellegence Committee was fully aware of this as was the Justice Department and the FISA judges. I have no doubt the Administration was very sensitive about sharing NSA programs with Congress after this intel debacle involving NSA intercepts and Senator Shelby.

Tom Maguire has been writing extensivly about this latest exposure of the lefts hypocracy and that of the NYT as has Ed Morrisey .

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Woe is us, all is for naught

According to this nabob of negativity from CBS [no, say it isn't so.] Charles Wolfson "There are no corners to turn in Iraq". "In the run-up to the voting in Iraq this week, an interviewer on National Public Radio asked George Packer, author of “The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq,” if this round of elections meant we were turning the corner there, to which Packer replied “there are no corners in Iraq …” He went on to say what Americans need to realize is that the war in Iraq is just one long haul with many problems ahead..."
Wolfson went on to point out "If Iraq is a distance race and not a sprint, can we say this week’s election was a success? Just as the two elections earlier this year should be seen as successes, of course this week’s balloting should be seen in the same way. But even before millions of Iraqis voted this week, it was pointed out the hard work isn’t in holding the election itself. The more difficult piece is whether those elected can form a government which most Iraqis from across the ethnic and religious spectrums will rally around and support."

No good news shall go unspun and all is lost no matter what the facts say it seems.

Patriot Act

Thanks to Senate Democrats and a few Republican votes, the Patriot Act will expire December 31. "God forbid that there is a terrorist attack that could have been prevented by the Patriot Act after it has expired." Sen. Jon Kyle said yesterday. "If that happens, those who have supported the filibuster will have to answer for it,..."

The New York Times can take some credit for the disclosure of the NSA monitoring communications after 9-11 in the story headlined "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Court Orders" That apparently influenced some in the Senate to vote the way they did however not surprising is what the NYT left out of the story. The NSA monitors only international calls. Paragraph 17 of the NSA program states "The program accelerated in early 2002 after the CIA started capturing top al Qaeda operatives overseas...The CIA siezed the terrorist' computters, cellphones and personal phone directories...The NSA surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible."

The program helped uncover al Qaeda operative Iyman Faris who was ordered by Bin Laden to research the possibility of destroying New York City bridges. He has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Hopefully the day will come when we will no longer find the need for the Patriot Act and others like it but today is not that day.

Ouch, that's gotta hurt.

Rich Lowry in the Salt Lake Tribune tells it like it is and there is bound to be some of the Democratic Party who will remind us of the "Not Me" ghost in the old Family Circle cartoons. I found this part to be especially chuckle worthy.

More than 100 Democrats in Congress voted to authorize the war because many of them thought it was good politics to do so. It turns out it would have been much better politics to have voted their beliefs, so no flip-flopping would be necessary when they came to oppose the war openly. Part of the Democrats' indictment against President Bush is that he made them vote on the war prior to the November 2002 election as if to say, ''How dare you make us vote at a time when we would be running scared from our own principles.'' All the pressure that had built up from this self-defeating opportunism burst when formerly hawkish Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., called for an immediate pullout of American troops in Iraq. A frisson of excitement coursed through the Democratic Party at the prospect of again declaring a war lost: Oh, to be young (or even graying and paunchy) was very heaven once again! Rep. Murtha, a former Marine, was declared by the media the perfect vessel for an anti-war message. Not quite. Blogger Mickey Kaus noticed that within the same interview he said we had to get out of Iraq because there was a raging civil war, and also that it was OK to get out of Iraq because a civil war wouldn't erupt if we left. He told Newsweek that he wouldn't have publicly denounced the war if the White House had returned his calls. Maybe if he makes the list for the White House Christmas party he'll call for more American troops in Iraq. The sight of Murtha denouncing (even incoherently) the war was too much temptation for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The House Democrats' strategy was to let Murtha take the lead with his surrender proposal and otherwise get out of the way. But Pelosi couldn't resist blurting out that she agreed with Murtha's call and so did most House Democrats. As the political damage of that outburst sank in, Democrats - including Pelosi - began to backpedal. She explained that she would lobby her House colleagues to keep them from officially adopting her position and, apparently, their own position. Elsewhere, in the spirit of the moment, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean declared the war lost - until a furor prompted him to explain what he really meant to say was that we could still win, and that it's imperative that we do so.

He goes on to point out even more of the obvious...

The Democrats can't help themselves. The party's attitudes about matters of war and peace were forged during Vietnam, and so defeat is stamped in its DNA. Learning what they consider the lesson from Vietnam - that the war dragged on too long when it was a lost cause - they consider declaring defeat the height of geopolitical wisdom in almost any circumstance. Perhaps they eventually will be proved right, but the American public would prefer to try to win. This is why Democratic calls for retreat are so politically perilous, and so senseless, when Iraq might be on the cusp of a turning. What a fine irony it would be if after denouncing President Bush for being out of touch with Iraqi reality, Democrats were even more so, right at the moment they began to be true to themselves.

Here we are after the third successful election in Iraq in the last year and the continued re-building of the security and infrastructure including schools and all we hear from the Democratic Leadership and the MSM is defeatism and doom and gloom.

I'm Back

Having negleted this blog for some time, I plan on getting active again with all the ramblings and rants with some of the usual dark humor. Consider this an open thread for now and check back later for what may be another climb up the ecosystem ladder to mammalian evolution.
A note about one of my commentors Tom Thumb. His comments are out of line and I usually try to delete ones like his with that kind of language but I have chosen to let them stay for now. This is just to let others know what the considerate and civil left is like. I also know now who he is. Bush Deraingment Syndrom at its finest.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Do-it-Yourself Book by Jay Rockefeller?

New "Do it Yourself" book promises to be blockbuster. Jay Rockefellers new, soon to be released, book promises to set new standards as a guide to others on the left of the political spectrum. With a foreword by Senator Edward M. Kennedy it has been recieving rave reviews from those who have read the advanced copies..."A true guiding light" Harry Reid; "A true model for us all" Nancy Pelosi; "Aarghyaaa" Howard Dean.
Titled "How to Step on your Johnson in Three Easy Lessons", it walks the reader through a step by step plan on how to really make a fool of yourself and does it with panache. Senator Rockefeller, a shining light on the Senate Intellegence Committee gives us an insiders look at what it takes to become a revered member of that committee.
Step one: Give an impassioned speech on the Senate floor and include in that statement, things such as...

"Saddam’s government has contact with many international terrorist organizations that likely have cells here in the United States...But it is equally clear that doing nothing and preserving the status quo also pose serious risks. Those risks are less visible, and their time frame is less certain. But after a great deal of consultation and soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that the risks of doing nothing -- for our citizens and for our nation -- are too great to bear.

There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.

When Saddam Hussein obtains nuclear capabilities, the constraints he feels will diminish dramatically, and the risk to America’s homeland, as well as to America’s allies, will increase even more dramatically. Our existing policies to contain or counter Saddam will become irrelevant.

There has been some debate over how "imminent" a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!

The President has rightly called Saddam Hussein’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans. The global community has tried but failed to address that threat over the past decade. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks -- and we should not minimize the risks -- we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat. And so I will vote for the Lieberman/McCain resolution.

By my vote, I say to the United Nations and our allies that America is united in our resolve to deal with Saddam Hussein, and that the U.N. must act to eliminate his weapons of mass destruction. By my vote, I say to Saddam Hussein, "Disarm, or the United States will be forced to act."

September 11 has forever changed the world. We may not like it, but that is the world in which we live. When there is a grave threat to Americans’ lives, we have a responsibility to take action to prevent it.

Step Two: Forget what you said then and hope that the media and the public has a short memory and no one will make the effort to look up the public record. This approach would have probably worked for much longer had there not been the coup de grace.

Step Three: Appear on national TV with Chris Wallace and conduct this interview. Admit that you gave Syria a heads up 14 months before the war that it was coming and deny responsiblity for your vote. Priceless.

WALLACE: Senator Rockefeller, the President says that Democratic critics, like you, looked at pre-war intelligence and came to the same conclusion that he did. In fact, looking back at the speech that you gave in October of 2002 in which you authorized the use of force, you went further than the President ever did. Let's watch. SEN. ROCKEFELLER (October 10, 2002): "I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11th, that question is increasingly outdated."

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?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. The – 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. Now, the intelligence that they had and the intelligence that we had were probably different. We didn't get the Presidential Daily Briefs. We got only a finished product, a finished product, a consensual view of the intelligence community, which does not allow for agencies like in the case of the aluminum tubes, the Department of Energy said these aren't thick enough to handle nuclear power. They left that out and went ahead with they have aluminum tubes and they're going to develop nuclear power.

WALLACE: Senator, you're quite right. You didn't get the Presidential Daily Brief or the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. You got the National Intelligence Estimate. But the Silberman Commission, a Presidential commission that looked into this, did get copies of those briefs, and they say that they were, if anything, even more alarmist, even less nuanced than the intelligence you saw, and yet you, not the President, said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. ...

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


WALLACE: You're not?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. I'm responsible for my vote, but I'd appreciate it if you'd get serious about this subject, with all due respect. We authorized him to continue working with the United Nations, and then if that failed, authorized him to use force to enforce the sanctions. We did not send 150,000 troops or 135,000 troops. It was his decision made probably two days after 9/11 that he was going to invade Iraq. That we did not have a part of, and, yes, we had bad intelligence, and when we learned about it, I went down to the floor and said I would never have voted for this thing.

WALLACE: My only point sir, and I am trying to be serious about it, is as I understand Phase Two, the question is based on the intelligence you had, what were the statements you made? You had the National Intelligence Estimate which expressed doubts about Saddam's nuclear program, and yet you said he had a nuclear program. The President did the same thing.

Expect to see this book on the Best Sellers list in the near future.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Tale Of Two Storms Part Two

The verdict of Florida's emergency response officials is that not only did Louisiana fail to properly plan and train for an eminently forseeable disaster, but it also failed to follow the flawed plan it had:

One thing Florida knows is hurricanes.

Florida emergency planners criticized and even rebuked their counterparts -- or what passes for emergency planners -- in those states for their handling of Hurricane Katrina. Gov. Jeb Bush, the head of Florida AHCA and the head of Florida wildlife (which is responsible for all search and rescue) all said they made offers of aid to Mississippi and Louisiana the day before Katrina hit but were rebuffed. After the storm, they said they've had to not only help provide people to those states but also have had to develop search and rescue plans for them. "They were completely unprepared -- as bad off as we were before Andrew," one Florida official said. ...

Louisiana also lacked an adequate plan to evacuate New Orleans, despite years of research that predicted a disaster equal to or worse than Katrina. Even after a disaster test run last year exposed weaknesses in evacuation and recovery, officials failed to come up with solutions. ...

But the most recent Louisiana emergency operations plan doesn't address how to evacuate in the case of flooding from storm surge, saying simply that "The Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area represents a difficult evacuation problem due to the large population and its unique layout."

It continues, "The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating."

However, the article by a crew of Times writers instead inadvertently encapsulates the incompetence of Louisiana's governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, in a single anecdote that also calls into question the ability of the four reporters to properly investigate their subject matter.

The scene: three days after Katrina's landfall, and a day after the levees broke. The place: Baton Rouge. The setting: the state's command center for emergency response.

The governor of Louisiana was "blistering mad." It was the third night after Hurricane Katrina drowned New Orleans, and Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco needed buses to rescue thousands of people from the fetid Superdome and convention center. But only a fraction of the 500 vehicles promised by federal authorities had arrived.

Ms. Blanco burst into the state's emergency center in Baton Rouge. "Does anybody in this building know anything about buses?" she recalled crying out.

They were an obvious linchpin for evacuating a city where nearly 100,000 people had no cars. Yet the federal, state and local officials who had failed to round up buses in advance were now in a frantic hunt. It would be two more days before they found enough to empty the shelters.

Why didn't Blanco know about these buses?

Did Louisiana and Governor Blanco follow any of its plan? Based on the report we read in the New York Times yesterday, it appears that Blanco didn't even know what the plan required, or even have any knowledge of the resources and responsibilities that the state government had.

Also note the date on Louisiana's EOP. Its last revision came in January 2000. No one in Louisiana has updated this plan despite the events that followed after that date:

* 9/11
* Hurricane Ivan (Sep 2004)
* Natural Hazards evaluation of LA/NO response (Nov 2004)

Florida officials have called this correctly. The response to Katrina and its unnecessarily deadly consequences started years ago, when Louisiana and its officials refused to take emergency planning seriously and neglected to make what slight planning did take place known to the various agencies expected to respond. No amount of federal intervention could have overcome the mistakes made by state and local response agencies in the days and hours before landfall, and even afterwards the reluctance of Blanco to allow federal authority to take over the area cost more time and lives while she dithered.

Sheer incompetence. Louisiana needs to ask itself why their elected officials left them so vulnerable to this kind of disaster.The Times-Picayune publishes/blogs a lengthy interview with Mayor Nagin by reporter Gordon Russell. Lots in there; judge for yourself.On the buses:

Federal officials have also faulted Nagin’s administration for not marshaling its own buses and those of the School Board to start ferrying the tens of thousands of evacuees stranded at the Superdome and the Convention Center out of town.
Nagin said perhaps some of the criticism is fair. But he said there were various logistical hurdles that made it hard to use that equipment, and the buses would have hardly created a dent in the size of the crowds anyway.
“It’s up for analysis,” he said. “But we didn’t have enough buses. I don’t control the school buses, and the RTA (Regional Transit Authority) buses as far as I know were positioned high and dry. But 80 percent of the city was not high and dry. Where would we have staged them? And who was going to drive them even if we commandeered them? If I’d have marshaled 50 RTA buses, and a few school buses, it still wouldn’t have been nearly enough. We didn’t get food, water and ice in this place, and that’s way above the local level.
“Our plan was always to use the buses to evacuate to the Dome as a shelter of last resort, and from there, rely on state and federal resources.”
Those resources took way too long to arrive, Nagin said – in fact, much of the help didn’t arrive until after the mass evacuations from the Dome and the Convention Center had occurred.
Well, there’s the first FOIA I want to see: Let’s see the plan. Let’s see all the plans: city, state, and federal. Who was supposed to do what. Oops, we have already seen the plans. Both the New Orleans plan and the State plan. Maybe Nagin or Blanco haven't seen their own plans. Could it be? Read the entire interview, it's a doozy.

Update: There were 21,000 buses in Louisiana. Her failure to procure them locally is bizarre.

Vehicles and Conveyances

Automobiles registered: 2.0 million

Light trucks registered: 1.5 million

Heavy trucks registered: 32,000

Buses registered: 21,000

Motorcycles registered: 48,000

Rail transit systems: 1 light rail

Numbered boats: 314,000

UPDATE: I was going to save my vitriol at the Feds and blame game as well as a summary of things that went right for a new post or two but this was worth a bump in the queue: This from Jack Kelly of the Pittsburg Post- Gazette is well worth the read and it does put things in a bit more perpective.

"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom."

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Tale of Two Storms Part One

I have been remiss in my posting and picked a hell of a time to start up again. My goal after this return is to focus on “A Tale Of Two Storms”. Actually it will evolve into a tale of at least four storms. This first post since my sabbatical will be about the storm called Katrina and the second storm of the political storm following in its wake.

Katrina is the most devastating natural disaster in our history. Nothing like stating the obvious.

Rick Moran has an excellent timeline of the hurricane from when it first became clear that it was heading towards the Gulf coast. Lots of links and he's updating it regularly. As more news and anecdotes come to light it seems there is going to be plenty of blame to go around, from the city government, to the state government on up to and including FEMA. One of many that is disturbing is this from the Red Cross.

Regarding the explosive story that the state authorities kept the Red Cross out of New Orleans, the Red Cross has a message up on their website that seems to verify this allegation.

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

Access to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.

The reason given? If food, water and hygiene supplies were provided more people would show up and not leave. Give me a break. It is one thing to have a plan in case of a disaster like this one and the plan has flaws but it is quite another thing to have a good plan and not follow it. Hugh Hewitt links to this photo pointing out satellite photography and showing all the buses in New Orleans that were unused and available to evacuate people and placing the buses on a map of the city and their dry access to highways. It is so very disheartening to see what might have been possible if the mayor had exercised more leadership. Read This via Betsy's Page. I've reviewed the New Orleans emergency management plan. Here is an important section in the first paragraph.

"We coordinate all city departments and allied state and federal agencies which respond to citywide disasters and emergencies through the development and constant updating of an integrated multi-hazard plan. All requests for federal disaster assistance and federal funding subsequent to disaster declarations are also made through this office. Our authority is defined by the Louisiana Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, Chapter 6 Section 709, Paragraph B, 'Each parish shall maintain a Disaster Agency which, except as otherwise provided under this act, has jurisdiction over and serves the entire parish.' "

Check the plan -- the "we" in this case is the office of the mayor, Ray Nagin who was very quick and vocal about blaming everyone but his own office. A telling picture, ... taken by The Associated Press on Sept. 1 and widely circulated on the Internet shows a school bus park, apparently filled to capacity with buses, under about four feet of water. If a mandatory evacuation was ordered, why weren't all the taxpayer-purchased buses used in the effort?

And after Mayor Nagin continued to twist off on TV and blame everybody in the world for his failings instead of showing leadership, he sends busses and law enforcement people to the Hyatt to rescue 400 tourists and demanded they be put on evacuation busses at the Superdome ahead of all those citizen who had been waiting and living in fear and squalor. Some leader.

Lest you think I don’t have something to say about how this was mishandled by the State and the Feds, including Mr. Bush, hang around. I see much that has gone wrong but I also have seen much that has gone right. I can already see that my rantings are going to take several posts and updates as we follow some of this tragic comedy as it unfolds.

Paul at Powerline has this post. The city of New Orleans followed "virtually no aspect of its own emergency management plan" during the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina, reports the Washington Times. New Orleans also ignored various federal guidelines, including the one stating that the Superdome was not a safe shelter and the one stating that school buses be used to evacuate residents. So the biggest mistake the federal government made here was probably that it forgot to tell the mayor and the governor to follow the plan. It reminds me of former Redskin coach Norv Turner's comment after quarterback Gus Frerotte injured himself by head-butting a wall following a touchdown -- "I forgot to coach him not to do that."

The article also confirms that FEMA was in New Orleans as the storm approached working with the Louisiana National Guard, which delivered seven trailers of food and water to the Superdome on August 29 (Monday) and another seven trailers the following day.

More later.

UPDATE: Glenn at Instapundit has this with many links. Shameful. While relief was not allowed in, people were not allowed out.

POLICE TRAPPED THOUSANDS IN NEW ORLEANS: This report from UPI seems to confirm the item I linked earlier:

Police from surrounding jurisdictions shut down several access points to one of the only ways out of New Orleans last week, effectively trapping victims of Hurricane Katrina in the flooded and devastated city. . . .

"We shut down the bridge," Arthur Lawson, chief of the City of Gretna Police Department, confirmed to United Press International, adding that his jurisdiction had been "a closed and secure location" since before the storm hit.

"All our people had evacuated and we locked the city down," he said. The bridge in question -- the Crescent City Connection -- is the major artery heading west out of New Orleans across the Mississippi River.

Lawson said that once the storm itself had passed Monday, police from Gretna City, Jefferson Parrish and the Louisiana State Crescent City Connection Police Department closed to foot traffic the three access points to the bridge closest to the West Bank of the river.

He added that the small town, which he called "a bedroom community" for the city of New Orleans, would have been overwhelmed by the influx.

"There was no food, water or shelter" in Gretna City, Lawson said. "We did not have the wherewithal to deal with these people."

"If we had opened the bridge, our city would have looked like New Orleans does now: looted, burned and pillaged."

But -- in an example of the chaos that continued to beset survivors of the storm long after it had passed -- even as Lawson's men were closing the bridge, authorities in New Orleans were telling people that it was only way out of the city.

An absolute disgrace. (Via Rogers Cadenhead). I renew my suggestion that the Civil Rights Division look into this, as there's some reason to think it was racially motivated.

UPDATE: This satellite photo shows the Crescent City Connection bridge as a "dry route to safety." (Compare with this map.) But it was a blocked dry route. So while the Red Cross was being kept out of New Orleans, refugees were being kept in.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on Chief Lawson. Meanwhile, reader Jim Chandler doubts there was racism involved: "Most of the police officers I've seen there are black, so where does the racial motivation come in?" The article suggests otherwise, but I don't know. I think DoJ should look into it, though.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on Chief Lawson. And here's an article that makes me wonder if he was worried about the fate of his video poker machines.

MORE: Bruce Rolston thinks that the New Orleans authorities are at fault.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Kelo v New London

This is one of the bigger travesties and further eroding of our Constitution in this session of the Court. Private property be damned if you are the little guy. The final paragraphs of both O'Connor and the Thomas dissent says it all.

Justice O'Connor:

"It was possible after Berman and Midkiff to imagine unconstitutional transfers from A to B. Those decisions endorsed government intervention when private property use had veered to such an extreme that the public was suffering as a consequence. Today nearly all real property is susceptible to condemnation on the Court’s theory. In the prescient words of a dissenter from the infamous decision in Poletown, “[n]ow that we have authorized local legislative bodies to decide that a different commercial or industrial use of property will produce greater public benefits than its present use, no homeowner’s, merchant’s or manufacturer’s property, however productive or valuable to its owner, is immune from condemnation for the benefit of other private interests that will put it to a ‘higher’ use.” 410 Mich., at 644—645, 304 N. W. 2d, at 464 (opinion of Fitzgerald, J.). This is why economic development takings “seriously jeopardiz[e] the security of all private property ownership.” Id., at 645, 304 N. W. 2d, at 465 (Ryan, J., dissenting).

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result. “[T]hat alone is a just government,” wrote James Madison, “which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.” For the National Gazette, Property, (Mar. 29, 1792), reprinted in 14 Papers of James Madison 266 (R. Rutland et al. eds. 1983).

I would hold that the takings in both Parcel 3 and Parcel 4A are unconstitutional, reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, and remand for further proceedings."

Justice Thomas:

"The Court relies almost exclusively on this Court’s prior cases to derive today’s far-reaching, and dangerous, result. See ante, at 8—12. But the principles this Court should employ to dispose of this case are found in the Public Use Clause itself, not in Justice Peckham’s high opinion of reclamation laws, see supra, at 11. When faced with a clash of constitutional principle and a line of unreasoned cases wholly divorced from the text, history, and structure of our founding document, we should not hesitate to resolve the tension in favor of the Constitution’s original meaning. For the reasons I have given, and for the reasons given in Justice O’Connor’s dissent, the conflict of principle raised by this boundless use of the eminent domain power should be resolved in petitioners’ favor. I would reverse the judgment of the Connecticut Supreme Court."

I could not agree more. For the entire Syllabus and opinions in HTML or PDF here

Durbin update...An Apologia not an Apology

If anyone can read what Durbin said in his "apology" as an apology them that tells me what kind of people fall for internet phishing scams. It was in fact an apologia, a formal defense or justification, not an apology.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nazis Troops

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, took the Senate floor yesterday and likened American servicemen to Nazis (link in PDF):

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [at Guantanamo Bay]--I almost hesitate to put them in the [Congressional] Record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

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.

We are fighting an enemy that murdered 3,000 innocent people on American soil 3 1/2 years ago and would murder millions more if given the chance--and according to Dick Durbin, our soldiers are the Nazis.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Bastante es bastante

Enough is enough. This link from the Immigration Blog about pending legislation on a new amnesty bill for illegal immigrants is enough to get the blood to boiling.

Sens. McCain and Kennedy have introduced the "2005 Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act". They were joined by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ). Kennedy specifically denies that this is an "amnesty", but any difference between SAOIA and amnesty is purely semantic. Expect semantics - or, more properly, doublespeak - to be a major part of the debate on this bill....More here

If that is not enough, here come this from the Washinton Times today.

U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, The Washington Times has learned.
More than a dozen agents, all of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said orders relayed by Border Patrol supervisors at the Naco, Ariz., station made it clear that arrests were "not to go up" along the 23-mile section of border that the volunteers monitored to protest illegal immigration.
"It was clear to everyone here what was being said and why," said one veteran agent. "The apprehensions were not to increase after the Minuteman volunteers left. It was as simple as that."
Another agent said the Naco supervisors "were clear in their intention" to keep new arrests to an "absolute minimum" to offset the effect of the Minuteman vigil, adding that patrols along the border have been severely limited
....Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Volcker Counterattacks

This update is thanks to The Counterterrorism Blog. This is the first part of the post.

At IIC Chairman Paul Volcker's request, the United Nations filed papers in US District Court to restrain access to the documents provided to the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations by ex IIC investigator Robert Parton. Fox News reports May 10th that US District Court (Washington DC) Judge Ricardo Urbina issued a temporary restraining order which will freeze access to the documents for ten days to permit the parties to work to resolve the matter. Volcker has also written to House National Security Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Shays about his concerns that breach of IIC confidentiality would hamper his continuing investigation and put his investigators at potential risk. His May 5 letter to Shays states that "what is at stake is the ability of the IIC to go about its work effectively, maintaining the confidentiality and staff protection essential to investigatory activity." Volcker was also critical of Robert Parton for breaching his obligation to respect this confidentiality. "In the present case," Volcker wrote, "all IIC staff members have willingly agreed to srict confidentiality obligations....Moreover, staff members have the further protection of the privileges and immunities inherent in theUnited Nations itself.... Staff members who have voluntarily assumed the privileges and responsibilities associated with work with the IIC cannot, in my judgment, reasonably and honorably unilaterally violate those pledges of confidentiality and acceptance of immunity at the expense of their former colleagues and the investigation itself."


Monday, May 09, 2005

A Letter to Paul Volcker

This is a long and involved letter to Paul Volcker . Thanks to Roger Simon and Pajamas Media

Adrian Gonzalez-Maltes, attorney for Oil-for-Food witness Pierre Mouselli whose connections to Kojo Annan were detailed earlier on this blog and elsewhere, has written a lengthy letter to Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme. Dated today May 9, 2005, it begins:

Oh behalf of my client Pierre Mouselli, I would like to draw your attention to the treatement he has received from the Independent Inquiry Committee ("IIC") in the course of its investigation. Mr Mouselli is particularly concerned that you be informed of these facts in the light of the concerns you mentioned at your press conference on May 6 regarding persons in the investigation whose "lives are at stake."

The rest of this letter and accompanying documents are available for you to read at the Pajamas Media website. They include information about the behavior of the IIC or of some of its members that should be of interest to all, especially in anticipation of possible testimony by resigned Oil-for-Food investigator Robert Parton before Congressional Committees.

More on Maurice Strong

In a continuation of this post, Ron at Acepilots has this and more on Mr. Strong and the Global Governance movement.

Maurice Strong's name keeps coming up in various articles. If you remember he is the person who promoted the Kyoto Protocols into existence and former president Clinton signed the agreement just before his final term was up. President Bush however killed it as soon as he was sworn in to office. Now a story has arisen about 17,000 scientists saying its based upon "bad" science and its a major Scam. It was signed into law in Canada and has already had cost overruns of $5 Billion Dollars just for starters. Its hard to think of a bigger Scam than "Oil for Food" but the Kyoto Protocols could surpass it easily and could ruin the industrial nations of the western world besides. The same type of scheme is before the Senate for ratification and its called, "Laws of the Sea" and it is a hot item for the Democrats. The "Law of the Sea" is a UN thing and there are taxing provisions that could give the UN more money than any existing nation now in existence. Lots of liberal Senators like Kerry, Kennedy, Feinstein etc. have voted for the Kyoto Protocols and will vote for the "Laws of the Sea" because the UN wants independent financing for their operations. Maybe we should look at what 17,000 thousand scientists are saying about "Kyoto" because "The Laws of the Sea" is from the same bunch of rascals. Fox News, where are you, check this out.

This is the organization that many on the left want to lead the world and give out those global tests we heard so much about in the last campaign.

Connecting Dots

What do Paul Volcker, the UN Oil for Food scandal, the Canadian Adscam and Bill Clinton have connecting them? I am glad you asked.

  • Paul Volcker served on the Board of Directors for Power Corporation, one of Canadas largest companies of which Maurice Strong is a past President.
  • Paul Martin, Canadian PM is owner of Canadian Steamship Lines Group Ltd. CSL Group Ltd is a part owner of Cordex Petroleum, owned by MauriceStrong and son Fred. Maurice Strong admitted that Tongsun Park, a Korean named by US Federal authorities as being an illegal Iraqi agent invested in Cordex, the company Strong and his son own, in 1997.
  • The one million dollars (US) came from Saddam Hussein through Park to Cordex. The Company is being investigated by the UN Oil for Food Independent Inquiry Committee headed by Paul Volcker.
  • Two investigators working for the UN committee have resigned and have stated their reason as Koffi Annans corruption is being untruthfully minimized and because of what they see as a whitewash. One of the investigators, lawyer Robert Parton has given the US House International Relations Committee headed my Henry Hyde material gleaned from his investigation following a subpoena by the committee. Parton has retained as his counsel, Lanny Davis, former White House Council to Bill Clinton.
  • Paul Volcker, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman and currently head of the UN Independent Inquiry Committeee, appointed by Kofi Annan.He apparently is neither independent nor uninvoled personally in the Oil for Food scandal. He was a past Board of Director member of Power Coporation.
  • Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, owner of CSL GroupLtd. and investor in Cordex Petroleum, a company started with one million dollars from Saddam Hussein. Intimately involved in Canada's Adscam scandal and with close ties to Maurice Strong. Started Canadian Steamship Lines with lauch by Paul Desmarias's Powerline Corporation.
  • Maurice Strong is a story unto himself. Henry Lamb gives us a good look at Mr. Strong in a biography written in 1997. Another very good look at this man is from Ronald Bailey in the National Review Sept. 1, 1997. In the first paragraph of this excellent article, Baily set the tone.
  • The survival of civilization in something like its present form might depend significantly on the efforts of a single man," declared The New Yorker. The New York Times hailed that man as the "Custodian of the Planet." He is perpetually on the short list of candidates for Secretary General of the United Nations. This lofty eminence? Maurice Strong, of course. Never heard of him? Well, you should have. Militia members are famously worried that black helicopters are practicing maneuvers with blue-helmeted UN troops in a plot to take over America. But the actual peril is more subtle. A small cadre of obscure international bureaucrats are hard at work devising a system of "global governance" that is slowly gaining control over ordinary Americans' lives. Maurice Strong, a 68-year-old Canadian, is the "indispensable man" at the center of this creeping UN power grab.

  • Mr. Volcker's March report on Kofi Annan and Kojo Annan failed to mention that the younger Annan had served on the board of directors of a now-defunct company, Air Harbour Technologies, first alongside the U.N. secretary-general's special adviser, Maurice Strong, and then alongside an adviser for U.N. oil-for-food contractor, Cotecna Inspections. Mr. Strong has taken leave from his U.N. job until information about some of his own business connections can be clarified, part of a tangle arising from a federal bribery complaint issued last month and related to oil for food.

    Lanny Davis, former White House Council and still the Clintons lawyer is interested in the demise of Annan because Bill Clinton is being touted by him, Madelaine Albright and others for the Sec. General job after Annan and Clinton has stated that he wants the job.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Call it a sabbatical

Or just call it a break or laziness. I have not posted to this blog in some time but now I am back and will be in the saddle again. There is much going on in the world and of course I have an opinion on most of it. Stay tuned for insightful as well as inciteful posts.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Pull out the Troops

I think it is time to get out. Lock, stock and barrel. Iraq? No, Germany. We spend millions of dollars in the German economy because of our presence there with military and support troops. Originally the troops were there to help protect the Allied countries against the possibility of Soviet aggression. We spent thousand of lives destroying the Nazi war machine, freeing most of Europe from occupation and then untold billions rebuilding Germany and Europe after the devastation of that war. Because of our past actions in the Cold War, the Berlin Wall came down and Germany was re-united and many Eastern Block countries are now democratic, with more becoming so.

The old saying that no good deed goes unpunished is apparent and the anti-American feelings in Europe and in Germany in particular brings that old saying new meaning. Davids Medienkritik has an eye opening post about some of the latest actions of our friends the Germans and links to many German news outlets that makes my point.

There can only be one response to this: America needs to pull its troops, families and money out of Germany and keep pulling them out until this stops. There are plenty of other nations in Europe where American troops would be welcomed with open arms and where American financial investments would be greatly appreciated.

He also adds this:

More than anyone else, the German government and media have allowed America-hate to get out of control to this extent. So it is particularly ironic that an SPD mayor is so worried and appalled at what is happening. It is equally ironic that SPIEGEL ONLINE, of all news outlets, is reporting on this matter with such a concerned and worried tone. This all represents nothing more than the chickens coming home to roost...reaping what you sow.

Perhaps these groups will finally realize that they have spread the seeds of anti-Americanism to the point that even Nazis can successfully exploit the sad phenomena. Soon the growing Fascist movement in Germany will be able to intimidate and threaten American families in Grafenwoehr.

I'd bet Poland would love to have our troops, support and money as would many others whose memory of US help hasn't faded.
Yey Another staw on the camel comes from Spiegel Online.
"Germany's highest ranking female member of parliament has a new theory: the US government set the Catholic pedophilia scandal in motion because it wanted to weaken an already frail pope. That's also why it made Poland its chief partner in the Iraq war: to make the Vatican look bad."
The person in question is Antje Vollmer, the Green Party member and, more importantly, the vice-president of Germany's Parliament, the Bundestag. (via Chrenkoff)

"As a guest on the weekly talk show 'Berlin Mitte,' Vollmer seemed to be starting off with the right intentions. She spoke of the 'wonderful image' of President George Bush, his son President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton before the body of the pope in St. Peter's Basilica. But then, out of nowhere, she veered straight off a cliff.

"Her theory? It seems the U.S. had to do something to weaken the influence of the pope, who was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. Vollmer finds it all very suspicious that after the war, 'Poland was made a top occupying power in Iraq, naturally to weaken the pope's hinterland. Or how then, of all times, the campaign against the Catholic Church and the pedophilia was started, which was, of course, totally justified, but at this point in time was definitely a tit-for-tat response.' Vollmer found it somehow strange that the US presidents traveled to the Vatican despite the 'tough power struggles'." [And the Caravan moves on.]

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Euthanasia Revisited?

One of the many things I wrote yesterday that disappeared into cyberspace due to some Blogger malfunction was the story of another similar but even more frightening case of withholding food and water from a patient. If true, in this case it is a patient that is neither vegatative, comatose, terminal or wishes to die. I'm not going down the "slippery slope" path but this looks a lot like eugenics of the 30's. From what I have read, this elderly lady has a living will and is conscious and the guardian assigned is not even the next of kin. Here is a couple of links to what one blogger has to say. BlogsforTerri has much more and new good news.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bad Idea

In answer to a commentor who said that she comments one time and I quit blogging, I'm back In order to make a political statement, I decided to have every other front tooth removed to better fit the stereotype of a Red State Republican. I was drinking at the time and it sounded good. The problem happened when I did not check out the dentist as to her political leanings. The gas was oxygen only, the shots were saline and the tool used for removal was a pair of rusty CeeTee pliers. After this experience I decided to forgo the arm lengthening procedure to knuckle dragging proportions. I have decided, since now being drug free for almost a week to also cut back on the alcohol consumption. I don't think that last decision will make it a week but it's like a New Years Resolution.

The Captain seems to have done a yeomans job of pissing off the Canadian Government and shining the light of day on a bunch of roaches. He along with others should be applauded. I shall be back with a vengeance tommorrow with more links and good stuff. Now I think I'll go get a beer.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

UN Resolution for Darfur

The United Nations, my favorite organization has decided to send 10,000 peacekeepers to Darfur. A little too little and a lot too late. Hundreds of thousands displaced and by some counts a genocide of 150,000 has been taking place there and the UN decides to pass a Resolution. That's all this region needs right now, 10,000 rapists and pedophiles to add to their problems.

March 24, 2005


Remarks by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Alternate U.S. Representative to the UN for Special Political Affairs, on the Resolution to Authorize Peacekeeping Forces in Sudan, at the Security Council Stakeout, March 24, 2005

Ambassador Holliday: I'd just like to make a brief statement that the United States is pleased that the Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution that is one part of the Council's ongoing efforts to address the peace and stability in the Sudan. Much more work needs to be done, there are critical issues that remain on the table.

We hope that this resolution will help consolidate the North-South peace accord that was an achievement signed in Nairobi, actually witnessed by the Security Council. The North-South Agreement, of course, brings to an end the civil war, which claimed many, lives and has torn the country apart.

We remain very concerned and disturbed by the situation in Darfur, in the western part of the country. And we will continue working with our Council colleagues to address that important question in the days ahead. Thank you.

Reporter: What does this resolution do if anything to help address the Darfur situation? And how can you break the deadlock over your other two resolutions, the provisions of which have been out there for some time?

Ambassador Holliday: Well, among the things that - of course, having a transitional government in Sudan will help provide a political framework that we hope will improve the situation in Darfur. Secondly, we've asked the Secretary General to give us recommendations about how the Council can strengthen the African Union's efforts in Darfur. Finally, the Council also in this resolution is going to see the opening of a UN office in Darfur. Again this is a small part of our ongoing effort to address the Darfur crisis. Thank you.

I hope my cynicism is misplaced but all I have to go on is past history. The history of UN peacekeepers is dismal and the response from the UN has been tepid or non existent. That is all. Have a blessed Easter.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sovereignty and the 1st Amendment

I have been following the lawsuits filed in British courts against publishers in the US, whose books have never been published in the UK nor distributed there. Such is one case profiled in Editor and Publisher .

Sheik Khalid Salim a bin Mahfouz has allegedly endowed and arranged financing for a number of Islamic charity organizations that have been accused of funding terrorism. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Muwafaq Foundation “transferred millions to Mr. bin Laden.” According to Ehrenfeld, “There are currently over 10 lawsuits outstanding by numerous plaintiffs in the United States claiming billions of dollars in damages from Mahfouz's alleged involvement in financing the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Center."

On his Web site, Mahfouz says he is "increasingly angered" over accusations such as Ehrenfeld's. "There is no truth to these reports," reads the statement. "We condemn terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations."

In an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment protection of American writers like Ehrenfeld, Mahfouz has successfully sued or settled with over 30 publications and authors for defamation and libel in British courts for years. "That many legal actions brought in a plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction evidences a consistent campaign by Mahfouz to silence any author, journalist, or publication who attempt to analyze or document any role he may have had in funneling the money of the Saudi royal family or wealthy Saudi families to terrorist activities," Korenstein points out.

Now comes this account via Ed Morrissey." Now British courts have laid claim to the entire Internet for libel and slander cases and Arnold Schwarzenegger has become their first target:" [ed.note. apparently the LAT has also been named in the suit]

Schwarzenegger, who is now governor of California, had challenged a ruling by a senior High Court official giving Anna Richardson permission to serve proceedings on him out of the jurisdiction.

The decision today, by Mr Justice Eady, has cleared the way for a libel trial in London sometime this year.

Miss Richardson alleges she was libelled by Schwarzenegger and two campaign workers in an October 2003 article in The Los Angeles Times, which also appeared on the internet.

As Ed points out, the only outlet avaible for the LAT is via the internet for the online edition.
They do not publish in the UK, they have no UK Edition. This type of legal use of foreign courts to venue shop out of our jurisdictions promises to erode the 1st Amendment and the constitution and sovereignty of our country if allowed to stand. This also bodes ill for the internet and bloggers as well. Alarmist? I don't think so. The FEC is already coming after citizen pundits using the McCain /Feingold bill and the SCOTUS is using foreign law and customs to interpret our own constitution. See my posts here and here.
Ed should be read by all. He has been following this as closely as anyone including this post.

UPDATE: has the compleat FEC notice pertaining to internet communication. At first glance it look rather benign until you get to those devilish details and it seems downright scary as hell for our 1st Amendment. How in the hell the Campaign Finance bill was signed by Bush and found constitutional is beyond me.

UPATE:Democracy Project has the draft and a good overview of the FEC notice. Check this out and read it in depth.

UPDATE: The Captain has a more indepth look at the FEC notice and he seems to be more critical than some others and in my opinion, rightly so.