Shorter Oliver Willis

Oliver has a long-winded screed that is yet another version of the “Democrats need to fight like Republicans” or “Finally Democrats are fighting back” genre, and we learn some fascinating things:

– The Right is whining

– Oliver is still mad about Florida (“partially because of the method in which he gained his office”)

– September 11th was a major event

– Afghanistan was warranted (though Bush should be given no credit)

– Democrats are bipartisan (Republicans aren’t)

– Rumsfeld and Cheney have been planning to invade Iraq since 1976

– All of Ted Kennedy’s legislation that has been passed by Bush has ‘fizzled’

– Democrats are United (someone tell the DLC)

– Democrats are finally attacking (giggle)

– Bush’s foreign policy and national security policies are foolish or lies. Take your pick.

– Democrats need to fight, fight, fight.








Matthews on Kucinich

If you didn’t see this, you really missed out. Matthews performs an abortion on Kucinich’s already feeble candidacy:

MATTHEWS: Were back with more Political Buzz with Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, whos running for president, and Duncan Hunter.

Heres the Congressman Kucinich earlier today addressing the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian political advocacy group..

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KUCINICH: I would nominate any gay to the Supreme Court, or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered person to the Supreme Court, as long as they were ready to uphold Roe v. Wade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What are we to make of that, Congressman Kucinich, statement?

KUCINICH: Youre to make of it that equality before the law is an essential and cardinal principle of our government. And in
addition to that, women in our society will never truly have equality if Roe v. Wade is repealed, and so Im take a stand of behalf of equality for everyone.

MATTHEWS: But it just looks like the most patent kind of pandering. Youre saying the only issue that matters to you in terms of picking a Supreme Court justice, in terms of the persons background, the only issue that matters to you is an issue on which you took a 180 degree different position throughout your career. In other words, you will only accept judges on the Supreme Court who totally disagreed with you your entire life until recently when you decided to run for president and go national.

KUCINICH: Actually, Chris, what Im saying here is that I believe that upholding Roe v. Wade…

MATTHEWS: But you were always against it. Now youre for it and saying if a judge is against it, they can be gay, straight, transgender, whatever, as long as they agree with you this instant and they didnt agree with you your whole career. It looks like pandering and it looks like, I dont know what. Hypocrisy of the worst kind. But go ahead. Explain it.

KUCINICH: OK. Thanks, Chris. I think criminalization of abortion would set this country back.

MATTHEWS: Who is proposing criminalization of abortion?

KUCINICH: Actually, Congress has been increasingly moving in the direction.

MATTHEWS: Who supports criminal punishments for abortion.

KUCINICH: Congress has been increasingly moving in the direction towards criminalization.

MATTHEWS: Name a U.S. congressperson.

KUCINICH: Its a fact.

MATTHEWS: Name a Congressperson who supports putting people in jail for having an abortion. Name one.

KUCINICH: Trent Lott, at the beginning of this Congress, stated that it was the number one agenda for his, the legislative agenda to move forward to make abortion illegal.

MATTHEWS: No, you said to put them in jail, to criminalize abortion. Name a member of Congress who wants to-name any member of Congress in either party who says put a person in jail for having an abortion. Name one.

KUCINICH: I campaigned for Congress in 1996 against an opponent who was backing a constitutional amendment to make abortion illegal. And what Im saying that its important in this country-

MATTHEWS: You didnt say that. You said criminalize it. You said put a person in jail for having an abortion. Do you believe any member of Congress wants to do that?

KUCINICH: Well, I think there are members of Congress who want to do that. Thats absolutely right.

MATTHEWS: Name one.

KUCINICH: This isnt about naming one.

MATTHEWS: Name one. Name one.

KUCINICH: I think Chris Smith would support it. I do…

MATTHEWS: He would. Well, thats a nice subjective move, but you dont have his testimony supporting it. Well check with him on that. I think its a rotten thing to say. Lets go on…

KUCINICH: Whats a rotten thing to say?

MATTHEWS: To say that somebody in Congress wants to put a woman in jail for having an abortion when you dont even know their name.

KUCINICH: Well, you asked me to…

MATTHEWS: Name one.

KUCINICH: You asked me to who would be responsible and take that kind of a position. And I think Chris has had a strong position all of his life on it, and I think hes probably be..

MATTHEWS: Youre desperate. Lets move on here. Congressman Hunter, let me ask you a serious question because youre a serious man. This was not a serious conversation.








Forged Documents

A reader wrote in with a very interesting question:

“Why would anyone forge the documents?”

Why, indeed? Whowould forge them is just as good a question. That, to me, rather than whether or not the President and his staff relied on British intelligence for a line in the SOTU address, seems to be the reall issue.








Walter Pincus- Go Read Spinsanity

Walter Pincus concludes in today’s WaPo piece:

On March 16, Cheney appeared again on “Meet the Press” and reiterated his views of the previous August about Hussein’s nuclear program. “We know he’s been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” The war began three days later.

Clearly Pincus does not read Spinsanity, because once again, a member of the press fails to use the quotation in the appropriate context. From Spinsanity:

Finally, a dispute has arisen over a quote from Vice President Dick Cheney, who said on the March 16 edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.” To date, the assertion remains unproven, and has drawn heavy criticism in the dispute over statements made by the administration in arguing on behalf of a potential war with Iraq. However, as UCLA law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh points out in an article on National Review Online (echoing a point made by a several bloggers), commentators such as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Slate’s Tim Noah and Salon’s Joe Conason have neglected to point out the context of Cheney’s statement. Specifically, Cheney said four times in the same interview that Saddam was pursuing nuclear weapons, not that he already possesses them, and the phrase “reconstituted nuclear weapons” makes little sense on its own (why would Saddam give up nuclear weapons if he possessed them?). Volokh argues that Cheney likely misspoke and that he meant to say “reconstituted nuclear weapons programs” or something similar, which is exactly what his aides told the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank (see his May 20 White House Notebook column). Cheney’s critics may believe his statement was intentional, but they owe their readers a clearer picture of the context in which he said it, as do too many other journalists and pundits of late, it seems.

But, as the Daily Howler has pointed out, the press has made up their minds.








Urain’tium

If anyone has been found to be a liar regarding this whole uranium non-scandal, it is me, because I proclaimed I wasn’t going to talk about this anymore and then promptly posted 5 pieces on it. Here is one more to complete the package.

At any rate, Kevin Drum, in the comments section of this post regarding Ken Pollack’s pre-war predictions regarding the Iraqi WMD programs (and more specifically, the nuclear capabilities), states the following:

I don’t think Pollack is a liar. I think he truthfully reported the consensus of the intelligence community, which matches what Tenet said about the NIE in October. The CIA *did* think that Saddam had a large and active nuclear program.

Pollack blew it, but the real question is why the intelligence agencies blew it so badly. That story is just starting to come out.

Unfrotunately, the left does not seem willing to extend the same benefit to Bush. Regardless of the partisan shenanigans that the Donks are now engaging in (which appears to be having some serious blowback of its own), the real question is “What is wrong with our intelligence services?”

Let’s start from the top:

1.) I believe Saddam had and continued to possess weapons which placed him in material breech (including long-range missiles, chem and bio weapons, and perhaps part of a nuclear program).

2.) I can also list about 25 other reasons why I was an still am in favor of what we did in Iraq.

3.) Bush’s SOTU address with the infamous line is still not only technically accurate, but according to the Brits COMPLETELY accurate.

4.) The same people who are now in hysterics about Bush lying, even though he didn’t are the same people who all believed and agreed that Saddam had WMD. The only thing that differed was the approach to the issue. Most on the left wanted continued sanctions and inspections.

5.) No one in the House or Senate, and I mean no one, voted for the war because of the line in question. This, of course, is indisputable and undeniable. Pretending that war was not imminent after the Senate vote is merely additional evidence that Democrats and the anti-war crowd suffer from dementia.

All of that is pretty clear, and yet the Democrats are lauching into a full-fledged scandal mode, spinning their own webs of lies and deceit that are so obvious that the Daily Howler has now dedicated TWO days worth of posts pointing out the duplicity. What is going to happen because of all this?

Here are my predictions:

1.) Mucho partisan bickering at House and Senate hearings. Both parties will claim that they have been vindicated by the same testimony, not noticing the irony.

2.) Democrats, in their attempt to find something (“Please, Dear God, give us any issue to run on next year”) to attack Bush with will miss the really relevant issue, which is why are our intelligence services so f——d up? They probably won’t ask the question, because this is something that has taken a while to get to this point. God forbid they accept some accountability from their behavior during the Clinton years.

3.) Republicans, on the defensive, will blame it all on the Clintons.

4.) Tenet will survive, slightly bloodied, and Bush will remain unscathed. In fact, Bush’s numbers will probably increase (a la Clinton impeachment- the public recognizes witch hunts, and I am not sure why politicians have not figured out what clear BS detectors most people have.)

5.) Because the Democrats are in attack mode and the Republicans are in CYA mode (for no real reason), there will be NO FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES to the intelligence services. And that just really pisses me off.








More On Dean’s Guest Blogging

It appears that I was not the only one who thought Dean’s guest blogging appearance at Lawrence Lessig’s site was less than inspirational. Richard Bennett and Greg at Begging to Differ comment.








Here’s Mud In Your Eye

Although it does not rise to the level of deceit and incompetence that riddled the NY Times under Raines, the Washington Times had their own little crisis to deal with:

A letter to the editor of The Washington Times, purported to be from a senior U.S. diplomat with scathing criticism of the Foreign Service for lack of loyalty to the Bush administration, was exposed yesterday as a forgery.

Wesley Pruden, the editor in chief of The Times, said the newspaper learned “from the highest level at the State Department” that the letter was a hoax and the newspaper fully accepts “as true that the ambassador was not the author of this letter.”

Stephan M. Minikes, ambassador to the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, writes in an authentic letter to The Times, published in full this morning on Page A18, that the forgery was a “complete and utter fabrication. It was not written by or for me and it expressed views that are diametrically opposite to the views I hold.

“The fact is that never in my long career have I worked with a more dedicated group of professionals than those I have encountered in the Department of State led by Secretary Powell people who are absolutely committed to executing the president’s foreign policy goals.”

Oops. I rarely cite the Washington Times because when you do, all that happens in the comments section is some moron rants and raves about the Rev. Moon. This happens even when all you cite is an AP story that may appear exactly the same way in every other newspaper in the country. I do cite their opinion pieces, because, well, they are opinions, and not pretending to be hard news. Regardless, the transparent and open way the Times staff has dealt with this hoax is the model some other newspapers should try to copy.








The Paper of Record

Why is the Washington Post the new ‘paper of record?’ Balance:

In the absence of evidence, there has been an extraordinary amount of attention paid to marginal issues — most recently, those 16 words in President Bush’s State of the Union speech that said, accurately, that British intelligence believed Iraq had been seeking to obtain uranium in Africa. In fact, British intelligence did believe that — and still does, even though one set of documents purporting to show an Iraqi procurement mission in Niger proved to be forgeries. Last week the White House announced that the sentence should not have been included in the speech, because the CIA knew of the Niger forgery and had not been able to confirm the broader British report. The claim was deleted from other administration statements, but some White House officials, banking on the British, apparently pressed for its inclusion in spite of the CIA’s doubts. If so, that would represent one of several instances in which administration statements on Iraq were stretched to reflect the most aggressive interpretation of the intelligence.

The piece is titled “Wait for the Facts.” Fat chance.








Rape on the Rise in Iraq

Via TalkLeft, this story from the NY Times:

In her loose black dress, gold hairband and purple flip-flops, Sanariya hops from seat to seat in her living room like any lively 9-year-old. She likes to read. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and she says Michael, her white teddy bear, will be her assistant.

But at night, the memory of being raped by a stranger seven weeks ago pulls her into its undertow. She grows feverish and has nightmares, her 28-year-old sister, Fatin, said. She cries, “Let me go!”

“I am afraid of the gangsters,” Sanariya whispered in the twilight of her hallway. “I feel like they are killing me in my nightmares. Every day, I have these nightmares.”

Since the end of the war and the outbreak of anarchy on the capital’s streets, women here have grown increasingly afraid of being abducted and raped. Rumors swirl, especially in a country where rape is so rarely reported.

The breakdown of the Iraqi government after the war makes any crime hard to quantify.

But the incidence of rape and abduction in particular seems to have increased, according to discussions with physicians, law-enforcement officials and families involved.

I really am conflicted about this story. First, I do not want to downplay the devestation, fear, and wreckage that rape creates in any society, but I also think that some perspective is necessary. Certainly, in a security vacuum created by the fall of a totalitarian dictatorship, we would expect crime to increase temporarily (particularly since Hussein emptied the prisons of all the violent felons prior to and during the war). What is not available, however, is any way to measure the actual incidence of rape now as compared to before the war. Are there reliable pre-war statistiucs. Perhaps people are feeling more comfortable reporting the rapes now as opposed to before. Perhaps now the rapists are not only Ba’ath party officials, and people can confront the problem. Also, we know that crime statistics are always higher in free societies- after all, we document the crimes, prosecute them, and deal with them in the open, rather than merely walking people behind the ‘police station’, putting a .38 to the back of the accused’s head, and burying them in an unmarked grave.

In short, there is more to this story than the headline would suggest.








The Failure of Iraq

It seems that despite the fact that Ted Kennedy and other Democrats are gleefully attempting to claim that the rebuilding of Iraq is a failure, others have different ideas:

What is less expected is the venom with which some in Congress are second-guessing President Bush’s decision to free Iraq. Their criticism is based on two factors: the military’s failure to unearth weapons of mass destruction and the inability to document a pre-war statement made by Bush that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa for a revived nuclear program.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., appearing on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday, said, “There is a broader issue, and that is the failed policy toward Iraq.”

Members of Iraq’s new Governing Council would no doubt disagree. They are jubilant that the tyrant is gone and eager to create a new country in which all religious and political groups have voice. Little wonder that the council, as a first order of business, wanted to create a judicial body to try crimes of the Hussein regime, including the massacre of 8,000 members of the Kurdish Barzani tribe in 1983 and the killing of 300,000 Shiites following the 1991 Gulf War. (The New York-based Human Rights Watch has opposed the idea, saying it would be almost impossible to ensure fair treatment of the accused.)

Second-guessing is inevitable, but the facts remain. Hussein was a brutal and ruthless dictator who had admitted to the possession of 10,000 nerve gas warheads, 1,500 chemical weapons and 412 tons of chemical weapons agents.

Saddam Hussein is gone, and a democratic council is up and running. To call that a failure is to ignore reality.

Democrats ignoring reality is nothing new.








More Dumb Democrats

Our next nominee for stupid pandering Democrat Presidential candidate is Dennis Kucinich, who had this to say over the weekend, while speaking to the Human Rights Campaign:

On other matters, all of the candidates at the forum said they support overturning the ban on gays in the military, and expressed no reluctance to appointing gays and lesbians to top cabinet posts or to fill Supreme Court vacancies.

“I would appoint any gay or lesbian or transgender person to the Supreme Court,” Kucinich said, drawing a laugh. “As long as they were willing to uphold Roe vs. Wade.”

Let’s ignore the obvious hypocrisy regarding the fact that Kucinich has been a VOCAL opponent of abortion for his ENTIRE career (until he decided to run for President). The question I have is why a homosexual lobby would care about abortion? Certainly this is not a top priority.








Good Day For Democrat Candidates

Here is a nice comparison made by Al Sharpton in a CBS interview with Bob Schieffer. IN a discussion about Fidel Castro, Schieffer noted that Sharpton had the following to say about the tyrant:

“He’s brilliant. I’ve never met anyone with a more rapid mind. He’s reasonable and intelligent.”

The discussion then went as follows:

SCHIEFFER: Well, Reverend Sharpton, if I may, you describe Castro as `awesome,’ and if you’re talking about leadership qualities, the reason that Fidel Castro has outlasted nine American presidents is because he doesn’t allow his people to have elections. And when he has political opponents, he puts them in jail. Why would you cite that as a…

SHARPTON: And if that is so…

SCHIEFFER: Why would you cite that as a leadership quality?

SHARPTON: No, well, first of all, I think that Winston Churchill was an imperialist. I think Ronald Reagan turned the country backwards. I think Fidel Castro has done a lot wrong.

When I talk about qualities of a personality, it does not at all support, condone or endorse their policies. And I think that clearly you must be able to divorce the character of people, in terms of their personality traits, from policy so that you can say to people ‘This is how good attributes can be used wrongly.’ Electricity can be good or bad.

SCHIEFFER: But…

SHARPTON: So me to observe someone’s awesome personality doesn’t mean they’re using it in a positive way and that’s what that chapter was about. But I’m glad you read the book.

SCHIEFFER: So you don’t admire him putting his political opponents in jail. You don’t consider that awesome.

SHARPTON: I don’t admire him — I don’t admire him putting his political opponents in jail anymore than I admire the Bush administration for locking us up for protesting in Vieques. I think people should have the right…

SCHIEFFER: Now…

SHARPTON: …to protest in Cuba and in the United States.

SCHIEFFER: Now, Mr. Sharpton, you’re not going to sit here and compare President Bush to Fidel Castro, are you?

SHARPTON: Absolutely not.

Castro and Bush- why they are just the same to the Democrats. Except they admire Castro.








Uranium Nonsense

Here is the Daily Howler on the Bush SOTU address:

It isnt hard to state the Bush Admins case about that uranium-from-Africa statement. According to the Admin, Bushs sixteen words were based on British intelligenceand British intelligence still believes that Bushs statement is accurate. According to the Bush Admin, it may turn out that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium from an African country. We dont know if this is true. But this is what the Bush Admin has said.

After you have read the Howler, check out this transcript of Bush’s 2003 SOTU address. I have put the entire thing below for your ease. Do a word search for Niger. Good luck.

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished citizens and fellow citizens, every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year, we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead.

FWIW- this whole thing is absurd. The war was settled with the Senate vote in the fall, and the SOTU changed nothing, just as the multiple ANSWER/Communist front peace rallies changed nothing. This is the most non-scandalous scandal I can remember.
Read more








More Hearings

Another threat:

Former defense secretary William Perry warned that the United States and North Korea are drifting toward war, perhaps as early as this year, in an increasingly dangerous standoff that also could result in terrorists being able to purchase a North Korean nuclear device and plant it in a U.S. city.

“I think we are losing control” of the situation, said Perry, who believes North Korea soon will have enough nuclear warheads to begin exploding them in tests and exporting them to terrorists and other U.S. adversaries. “The nuclear program now underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities,” he said in an interview.

If it turns out that North Korea is lying, does that mean Rep. Waxman (D-CA) will call Bush a liar again and call for more hearings?








Quick To Judge

From the mouth of known murderer Teddy Chappaquiddick:

The Bush administration has acknowledged its error in using the Niger allegations in Bush’s speech, despite serious doubts expressed by the intelligence community.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., appearing on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday, said “there is a broader issue, and that is the failed policy toward Iraq.”

So, several months is time enough to declare Iraq a failure. I guess they really did think it would be a cakewalk.