Thursday, October 30, 2003

Friedman: Iraq isn’t Vietnam - - There is a reason why I continue to read Thomas Friedman. Many actually. He doesn’t always say things I agree with, but he is almost always interesting, and increasingly the anti-war crowd loathe him. What’s not to like. Today he’s got a must read column.

“What to do? The first thing is to understand who these people are. There is this notion being peddled by Europeans, the Arab press and the antiwar left that "Iraq" is just Arabic for Vietnam, and we should expect these kinds of attacks from Iraqis wanting to "liberate" their country from "U.S. occupation." These attackers are the Iraqi Vietcong.

Hogwash. The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge — a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis.”

More: “Let's get real. What the people who blew up the Red Cross and the Iraqi police fear is not that we're going to permanently occupy Iraq. They fear that we're going to permanently change Iraq. The great irony is that the Baathists and Arab dictators are opposing the U.S. in Iraq because — unlike many leftists — they understand exactly what this war is about. They understand that U.S. power is not being used in Iraq for oil, or imperialism, or to shore up a corrupt status quo, as it was in Vietnam and elsewhere in the Arab world during the cold war. They understand that this is the most radical-liberal revolutionary war the U.S. has ever launched — a war of choice to install some democracy in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.”

UPDATE: NRO's James Robbins believes that the press is on analytical autopilot on Iraq by comparing it to Vietnam.

Cartoon of the Day - - Day by Day sums up the upcoming creative drive by the Bush Hating Moveon.org.

Are we witnessing the Bush Boom? - - The headline says it all. The Economy Grows at Fastest Pace Since 1984 “The economy grew at a scorching 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter in the strongest pace in nearly two decades. Consumers spent with abandon and businesses ramped up investment, compelling new evidence of an economic resurgence.”

Random quotes for all the Bush hating peeps. “Do you like Apples? The economy grew at 7.2% how do how do like them apples?” Or perhaps this is the place for a really good C3P0 Star Wars classic? “May I suggest a new strategy? Let the Wookie win.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

If you are a Democrat did you’re party jump the shark? - - Nice news cycle for the Democrats today. Let’s slice and dice it in brief: The leading Presidential candidate Howard Dean happily proclaimed himself to a “metrosexual” today in the Denver Post. Then later, Mr. Dean admitted that he didn’t know what a metrosexual even was. So was he waffling on metrosexuality or simply exploring the fact that living in Vermont for so long will soon expose him as woefully out of touch with the majority of America? (More on Metrosexuals here.)

It’s October 2003. More than a year before next years election. Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat, just endorsed George W. Bush for president. Ouch, hey Fonzie, please, please don’t jump over that Shark!
“The next five years ‘will determine the kind of world my children and grandchildren will live in,’ Miller said in an interview. And he wouldn't "trust" any of the nine Democratic presidential candidates with governing during ‘that crucial period,’ he said. ‘This Democrat will vote for President Bush in 2004.’”

This, Courtesy Oliver Willis, will be the answer from Democrats and their supporters on the latter: “Now please tell me when in God's name Zell Miller ever took a Democratic position on anything. Look up Democrat In Name Only and Zell Miller is staring right back at you.” So you can’t be a fiscal conservative and strong on National Defense in the Democratic Party? Is that the theme for 2004? Good luck with that.

Last but not least. Drudge has the goods on a new Quinnipac University Poll showing that if Hillary Clinton entered the Presidential Primary she would be leading, nationally, with 43%. (Followed by Clark 10, Lieberman 8, Gephardt 8, Kerry 7, Dean 7, Edwards 5, and undecided 10). Contrary to what people think nobody knows who these people are, period.

Warren Kinsella is a big fat idiot - - Nice to see that our old “friend” Warren Kinsella is at it again. Okay fine, I’m no fan of Ann Coulter, but she’s such a wind bag that its fun to watch and read isn’t it? A guilty pleasure perhaps?

Apparently between the National Post running Ann Coulter columns combined with the addition of regular commentaries by Colby Cosh has caused poor Warren to give up his subscription to the Post. What a whiner. To think he believes that by sparing his kids these commentaries yet subject them to the columnists over at the Star is some sort of principled decision. What a joke! Believe me I think the Post isn’t as good as it used to be (how could it be without Mark Steyn) but seriously, the Star?

“Cosh, meanwhile, is someone I dislike,” said Kinsella. “And vice-versa, naturally (he calls me his "adversary;" personally, my rule of thumb is that actual adversaries are only those who rise up to your level). I was astounded that the Aspers would hire someone like him. I am quite certain he costs a lot (a lot) less than Mark Steyn - but Steyn had a panache, and an intelligence, that Colby Cosh could not achieve in a lifetime of trying. Cosh clearly aspires to be Mark, but Mark he is not.”

This is the same sort of I’m-better-than-you crap Kinsella emailed me about in the summer. I’m gonna start buying the National Post daily for the rest of the year just to encourage them!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Is Howard Dean a Carter, a Mondale, or a McGovern? - - Political Wire seems to be on the Jimmy Carter side of the debate. “The emergence of Howard Dean is clearly the biggest political story of 2003. But Dean's anti-war rehetoric and liberal image have many Democrats wondering if they are on the verge of nominating another George McGovern; a candidate out-of-touch with the American mainstream. Naturally, supporters say the better comparison is Jimmy Carter, the small state governor who came out of nowhere to defeat an incumbent president.”

Meanwhile Polipundit suggests it’s much worse than this. Dean is Mondale + McGovern or if it was a major Hollywood film we might simply call this “Box Office Poison.” (or if we were more generous just”Gigli”)

And James Lileks has some interesting comments too. You’ll have to read the whole thing, but here’s a choice bit:

“The anti-Saudi speech was given to a group of American Jews. The pro-Palestinian speech was given to a group of American Arabs. Which Howard Dean would show up on Inauguration Day? Depends on who's invited, perhaps. Pack the Capitol grounds with bipolar transsexual agnostics, and Dean may spin himself so fast he bores a mile into the earth.”

First Bouncing Dead Cats, Now this - - Let’s just get you up to date on the most amusing set of events today.

12:00 AM (Or whenever your NY Times was delivered) Another Paul Krugman’s column starts its day. Paul Krugman feeds his cat.

8:41 AM Associated Press reports that durable goods orders up. No doubt the first of many Krugman spit takes.

9:24 AM Jonah Goldberg’s 1st Response. “That Cat you saw flying by your window was probably Paul Krugman's. After hearing the news that durable goods orders are up he probably kicked it pretty hard.”

9:57 AM Jonah Goldberg’s 2nd Response: “If I may be so presumptuous, maybe we should make the physical condition and safety of Paul Krugman's cat an ongoing metaphor for the health of the economy across the blogosphere.”

10:46 AM Goldberg begins getting emails on his new meme. “How about Krugman Cat Lives (or KCL's). Economy's up: only 1 KCL
remaining. Economy's down: Full 9 KCL's.”

12:04 - 12:21 PM In what can only be described as either a pile on, or merely politely throwing fuel onto the Krugman fire there are shots across Krugman’s bow by both The NRO Financial Editors and Goldberg again. “As for Krugman, today's column simply reveals that he's so obsessed with Bush, so sure of his rightness, and so outrageously arrogant that he can't even see when he's making a fool of himself. His assertion, last week, that Mahatir's anti-Semitism was Bush's fault simply made no sense just as a matter of logic and established facts -- as the New Republic itself notes in the current issue. That Krugman thinks he's some sort of martyr for daring to speak the truth about Bush makes it almost impossible to take him seriously.”

12:40 PM Briefly moving on from Krugman, Goldberg goes clay kitten shooting.

2:34 PM Goldberg’s new artist in residence, Jeremy Yoder, accepts the commission to skewer Krugman, cats, and whatever else. “I'm all over it. I feel like Michelangelo being commissioned on the Sistine Chapel. I now have purpose in life.” It was Yoder who produced this classic bit of Flash Animation earlier.

Now that is how you do that people. Proving again that conservatives are having more fun. I think it also demonstrates how over the top those who dislike Bush are. They are so caught up with hating him that are beyond any rational debate. I can only imagine what the invention of the Krugman Cat Index, or the very mention that Krugman kicks his cat will do to Krugman.

Monday, October 27, 2003

2004 Election: Blogger Coverage - - Over at Right Wing News, John Hawkins hosted a very cool symposium on the 2004 election that is worth the look. I particularly liked this comment by Hawkins giving a possible message preview for Bush-Cheney next year:

“I'd go with, "We cut your taxes and brought the economy back. The Dems are going to raise your taxes. When times were tough for America after 9/11, we fought the terrorists. Can you trust the Democrats to do the same? The War on Terrorism is still going on and we've had so much success, do you want to change horses in mid-stream?" Taxes and the war on terrorism would be the 1-2 punches I would beat them with constantly assuming the economy keeps looking good.”

And in other news, possibly more exciting for the blogger world, there is Joshua Micah Marshal of Talking Points Memo. Marshall asked for donations to send him to cover the New Hampshire Primary. In roughly 24 hours Marshall received nearly $5,000 and asked for people to stop donating suggesting he already has enough for hotels, travel, food, and car rentals. That is unbelievable! Now I don’t always agree with Marshall, but he’s great, and I will read every damn word of his commentary.

Coalitions? We don’t need no stinking Coalitions… - - At Sunday’s Democratic debate, Sen. John Kerry proclaimed that the coalition that went to war in Iraq was “fraudulent.” Interesting, as Darren Kaplan asks, wasn’t this the same coalition that landed in Normandy in WWII? You’re right Canada was out this time. Try not to hold it against us. (Thanks to Andrew Sullivan)

The Planets are aligned? - - My efforts to include Star Trek references in my last column as some sort of tribute to Jonah Goldberg got some nice comments, and then when Jonah tries something of the same trick in his G-File today mentioning the pain collars from Episode 45, And you thought I was kidding about writers peppering there prose with tidbits of Trek lore and useless information, or in some cases very useful information.

Why is Goldberg so damned good? Easy just read this sentence, “The test as to whether or not you should be taken seriously — as, say, a food critic — would be if you could keep your hatred of the man from clouding your judgment of his chicken. That is, if you thought the Colonel made a damn fine bird before he shot your dog, but now you claim that his chicken tastes like Michael Moore's socks, then your judgment may be in doubt.”

And Brock Stephenson adds his two cents on my column and post about Star Trek and Michael Moore, but raises the stakes with a five-star wresting reference, “That guy has fallen a long way since he did TV Nation and was funny social commentator rather than a Bush-whacker (pardon the insult to cousins Luke and Butch of pro wrestling fame).” In a word, yes! And the lesson? More Trek references, and when I think of it, less Michael Moore socks references. The horror, the horror.

Year Three inside the Lion’s Den - - Is it me or is it hard to fathom that we are now entering a third Ramadan holy month inside the heart of the Middle East? While many are searching for any excuse to undermine the war in Iraq, the Bush Administration is prepared to be more resolved than ever. The mulitiple bombings yesterday in Iraq, killing as many as 40, underscores the danger of the entire mission - but also expose the reasons why this is the begining of the third year deep inside the heartland of Islamic Fundementalism and terrorism.

And let's not leave out Victor Davis Hanson keep us on the right track:

"For some reason or another, a series of enormously important issues — the future of the Middle East, the credibility of the United States as both a strong and a moral power, the war against the Islamic fundamentalists, the future of the U.N. and NATO, our own politics here at home — now hinge on America's efforts at creating a democracy out of chaos in Iraq. That is why so many politicians — in the U.N., the EU, Germany, France, the corrupt Middle East governments, and a host of others — are so strident in their criticism, so terrified that in a postmodern world the United States can still recognize evil, express moral outrage, and then sacrifice money and lives to eliminate something like Saddam Hussein and leave things far better after the fire and smoke clear. People, much less states, are not supposed to do that anymore in a world where good is a relative construct, force is a thing of the past, and the easy life is too precious to be even momentarily interrupted. We may expect that, a year from now, the last desperate card in the hands of the anti-Americanists will be not that Iraq is democratic, but that it is democratic solely through the agency of the United States — a fate worse than remaining indigenously murderous and totalitarian."

More on this later...

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Memos and the Kobayashi Maru - - My new Enter Stage Right column is up tonight and I was able to work in some useless Star Trek information – woo hoo! “Memos and the Kobayashi Maru highlights the fabled no-win scenario of the Starfleet Academy (I think this is some sort of tribute to Jonah Goldberg at National Review, and apparently Enter Stage Right has no ban on Star Trek references, yet. And special props must go to Steve Martinovich who added some sweet links to the article! No Kirk picture?) Ha ha!

For those wondering if I am a closet Trek geek, well, the truth is no. I certainly don’t have a communicator or uniform but I admittedly went to one Trek Convention once for fun – and I awoke to the reality after seeing all the pathetic losers. Now, is it me or did the people lined up to see Moore look like a hippy version of the Trek convention crowd? I digress…

“Okay, fine, you're still wondering what the point is of all this Star Trek naval gazing? Well last week Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, the closest thing to "Kirk" in the current administration, was the talk of the town when one of his memos was leaked to the press. Time now asks, "Is Rumsfeld losing his Mojo?" and Reuters speculates over what degree the "Republicans fret over Rumsfeld's drag on his party."” [Read More]

”Boo…Scary” - - Just got back from the scary Halloween “Ghost Train” that runs through Stanley Park. This was the fun brainchild of my friends Dan and Joanna and along with our friends Craig and Katie and their nearly 2-year old Abby and 3-week old Ella and Joanna’s sister Laura we went to get spooked. Abby was really ready to play Halloween with her Zebra costume and a cool glow stick necklace – her new phrase of the weekend was simply, “boo-scary.” Ella was unavailable for comment.

Wasn’t actually that scary, but it was a goofy fun to ride on a mini train – the theme was some sort of biohazard-x-files-alien thing and was pretty funny. It was a lovely foggy night in Vancouver.

Fall Weekend - - Sorry for the lighter posting this weekend. Plenty of activities were on deck. In a nutshell? Well my friend Sonja “made me” eat some “vegetarian lemon chicken” (you can imagine the confusion, but since it appeared deep fried the lack of chicken was less of an issue.), and some great deserts at True Confections, before checking out “School of Rock” which was excellent (more on that later I’m sure)!

Also had the misfortune to be in the vicinity of Michael Moore’s Vancouver book signing and saw many eager beaver malcontents picking up his book and waiting for the dude to sign them. When will somebody do something about the civil liberties in America – Michael Moore is having trouble selling books people, can we crack down some more on free speech? Coincidentally there was some sort of anti-something or other protest downtown on Saturday too – I love a good protest, and seeing the ragtag group and the “Make Peace Not War” banners plus the requisite USSR flag was fun. Gotta love those fun-loving Totalitarians and Stalinists! Viva la revolution!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Howard Dean the hack - - According to Lloyd Grove, Gov. Dean has hired the dirt-monger who helped Gov. Gray Davis. "Dean likes to present himself as a breath of fresh air: He won't join the cynical, insider political culture that he repeatedly describes in speeches as 'Say whatever it takes to get elected.' So it was with considerable glee this week that a top aide to a Dean opponent informed me that the former Vermont governor has just hired killer gumshoe Ace Smith to gather dirt on political rivals."

The Rumsfeld Memo: Day 2 - - If you read one thing today it has to be James Lileks. "It’s not an “admission of failure, ” as Daschle put it - hell, the administration could put Osama’s head on a stick in the Rose Garden, and Daschle would call it an admission of failure that they hadn’t located the torso. I will never trust these people with national security again. Never, never, never. We’re in the fight of our lives, and all they can do is carp and bitch and piss and moan, because - as was the case with many conservatives in the Bosnian conflict - it’s not their war."

Lileks is amazing! Read the whole thing.

Bouncing dead cats - - The 2004 Presidential Race is starting heat up so here is a second helping of the '04 Journal column this week. Mens News Daily has "Bouncing Dead Cats" which covers plenty more about polls, is Bush dead cat bouncing, is Gephardt boomlet an oxymoron, Jaws quotes, inside the hearts and minds of the Democratic Party of Howard Dean. [Read More]

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Lost in time - - Shocking revelations from Andrew Cuomo in a new book he served as editor. Cuomo, a former gubernatorial candidate and Clinton cabinet member, seems to be redefining himself as a hawkish democrat.

“Democrats lost elections in 2000 and 2002 because we were lost in time,” writes Cuomo. “To voters, we seemed bloodless, soulless and clueless . . . We fooled ourselves into a political strategy of timidity.”

Memo of Memos - - Donald Rumsfeld’s latest memo has been leaked (so much for no leaks). Some will decry that the war on terror isn’t going well (the glass is half empty) but the sense I get is that Rumsfeld is honest and smart enough to know that the huge slow moving bureaucracy of the DoD may not be changing quickly enough to take the war on terror to another level.

“DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.”

Here’s the USA Today ‘news analysis’ accompaniment piece.

Over in National Review’s “The Corner” Stanley Kurtz links the big picture of Rumsfeld’s memo to the mornings other big story - that Pakistan is secretly agreeing to exchange nuclear technology and secrets with Saudi Arabia for cheap oil.

Kurtz: “Over the long term, nuclear proliferation is going to be next to impossible to halt, although we can slow it down. The real solution is regime change. With all these nukes floating around, and legions of terrorists ready to use them, we simply can’t afford to allow rogue regimes to exist.”

Which brings us back to why went to war in Iraq. And 2004 and what is really at stake in the next election.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

More Good News Amid Bad in Iraq - - Karl Zinsmeister writing in The Christian Science Monitor outlines the situation, both good and bad, in Iraq.

*”More than 170 newspapers are being published in Iraq, and broadcast media proliferate.”
*”Oil production has passed 1 million barrelsper day, and is heading toward 2 million.”
*”Most critically, the US is now on offense, rather than defense, in the war on terror. With a shock being applied to the seedbeds of Middle Eastern violence, the US homeland has been blessedly quiet for two years.”

Well worth the read!

An interesting question - - I got a very nice email from Dan Wismar at Wizblog today. There has been plenty of talk about Bush hatred as compared to Clinton Hatred. And Dan makes some interesting points that would have been bullet piercing ammunition to the Clinton Haters in the 1990’s. Mostly Bush hatred boils down to generalizations of Bush’s radical agenda but few if any actual examples.

Imagine, Dan suggests, a world where, “Laura Bush has been placed in charge of the formulation of all major domestic policy legislation and decisions in the Bush White House, it was learned today. Dismissing critics' concerns that she is neither elected nor officially "appointed", and is therefore unaccountable, the Bush team emphasized the fact that Mrs. Bush is highly intelligent and capable, and that George and Laura are really now co-Presidents, working as a policy-making "team". They express surprise that anyone could be critical of granting an important policy-making role to a First Lady, especially one with such manifest intellectual gifts.

But wait that was what happened under Clinton. Oh well. Go check out the rest.

Also required reading of the Howard Kurtz article.

“Kill Bill and the Wave of Globalization” - - Over at Blogcritics I have a short look at Tarantino's "Kill Bill." I hope you enjoy.

One exiting development in some recent films is the seamless integration of globalization. Say what you will about Quentin Tarantino’s bloody new homage to kung-fu and spaghetti westerns “Kill Bill Vol. 1” but it is as close to a movie can get to removing national borders.

It’s about as simple a tale as can be told, but Tarantino’s thrown in 70’s Hong Kong action star Sonny Chiba, music by Zamfir’s that would make a clown cry, the rhythm’s of The RZA, the wildness of the 5,6,7,8’s, and even boot walking Nancy Sinatra. The film is in English, it’s in Japanese, there are subtitles, then they are gone, and there’s even an Anime sequence. And let’s not forget Uma! There are so many competing influences you’ll probably have to see the film a few times to sort them out. [Read More]

All New ’04 Journal - - Mens News Daily has my latest 2004 column “Donkey Race: Who’s in first?” Repulican-eruptions of Gen. Clark, the possible dead cat bounce of John Kerry, Joe Lieberman’s Delaware strategy, Dick Gephardt’s Tortoise strategy, John McCain, and why there still isn’t a real leader in this race.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Raining on the new party's parade - - I don't mean to be cranky abou this political merger business, but the new party isn't governing anything yet. My new Enter Stage Right column is up on the subject, "Raining on the euphoria of the merger." Plenty of Red Sox, Cubs, Yankee, Tarantino's Kill Bill references. And could it be Jean Chretien to lead the new party? Read on...

Looking forward to Next November - - Walter Russell Mead writes today in the LA Times that things are looking up for Bush.

Meanwhile here is a fascinating article detailing the first Burger King in Iraq. “The former Saddam International Airport now houses Iraq's first Burger King. Part creature comfort, part therapy for homesick troops, its sales have reached the top 10 among all Burger King franchises on Earth in the five months since it opened. The shiny metal broiler spits out 5,000 patties a day.”

And Rich Hailey figures that Bush has pulled another rabit out of the hat with this week's UN vote.
"Here's the thing; the unanimous passage of this resolution signals that things are going well in Iraq, much better than France or Germany thought possible. As long as they thought the US was stepping into another Viet Nam, their best strategy lay in sniping from the sidelines, allowing the US to flounder, digging itself in deeper, until at last we would have to crawl to the UN for help. By agreeing to the new resolution, they abandoned that strategy, and that has telegraphed their evaluation of the situation in Iraq. If it were a quagmire, as most of the press would have us believe, France and Germany would have at the very least abstained from the vote, hoping to add to the US troubles. Since they approved the measure, that signals that they know things are going well in Iraq, and that they are rapidly losing leverage. The only way for the UN to maintain any relevance now is to be seen as allied to the US efforts, rather than opposed."

A Meet the Press Moment - - First thing this morning the fact that Sen. Bob Graham was, I think, trying to jump through the camera during Meet the Press and into my living room was to say the least, creepy at best. Then the round table which was a turkey shoot. It was four on one-William Safire on one side versus Katty Kay of the BBC, Robin Wright of the LA Times, and David Broder (and marginally Russert) on the other. They all dumped on everything.

Very interesting when Safire turned their negativity, at every turn, into talking points for him – suggesting that listening to these people is the filter that Bush was talking about earlier when he started giving interviews to the region press, over the national media to get his message out. All of them (Kay, Wright, and Broder) were extremely smug.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

New Tape from bin Laden - - A new audio tape appeared today, said to be from Osama bin Laden. In one interesting passage he says, "America is embroiled in the swamps of Tigris and the Euphrates (rivers). America is in real trouble ... it is now screaming for help, from the lowest of people."

Now, who is he calling the “lowest of people?” The United Nations? Is the U.N. gonna take that? Is it at all possible that Bush went to the U.N. not because they truly needed the help, but to make the U.N. Osama’s enemy too. Surely the U.N. can’t ignore someone who hates them, can they?

Iraqi Situation Room - - Pappa Murphy is always asking what is really going on in Iraq – whether things are going well or not. I thought today’s required reading would interesting if we take a look in the past.

Foreign Affairs has reprinted and posted a thoughtful and interesting blast from the past. For their next issue they dug deep and came up with what Allen Dulles was thinking way back in 1945. As the journal itself describes the article: “U.S. troops on conquered territory, infrastructure in ruins, international squabbling over reconstruction: a window onto occupied Germany seven months after V-E Day, when progress was still unsteady and Europe's future hung in the balance.” As Glenn Reynolds points out, “It sounds rather familiar.”

Next up is this. Jessica Well sounding the same theme as Foreign Affairs finds an old Life Magazine article suggesting that “Americans are losing the Victory in Europe”. It’s a pretty interesting look at how the fragile peace and reconstruction post-WWII was being reported on. Again, it all sounds vaguely familiar. Six months after victory could you imagine, looking back now, that anyone could really have written, “We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.”

Devasting Brooks Column - - David Brooks the new conservative writer in residence at the NY Times campus has begun hitting his stride. Last week he was continuing to feud with fellow op-ed contributor Paul Krugman. This week he examines the Democratic Party and their vote on the $87 billion Iraqi reconstruction package. He divides the Democrats into three groups.

1. The Nancy Pelosi Democrats: “First, there are the Nancy Pelosi Democrats. These Democrats voted against Paul Bremer's $87 billion plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. The essence of their case is that the Bush administration is too corrupt and incompetent to reconstruct Iraq. If Bush is for it, they're against it.”
Note that this ingenious group includes the likes of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and sealing his fate for the future John Edwards. Kennedy and Kerry you can understand, almost, but Edwards? Was this a preemptive “I’ll be VP on even Dennis Kucinich’s ticket?”

2. The Evan Bayh Democrats: “Next we come to the Evan Bayh Democrats, named after the Indiana senator. These Democrats can see past their dislike of the president. They would appropriate some money for Iraqi reconstruction. But siding with the anti-foreign-aid Republicans, they'd turn the rest of the aid into loans. The Iraqi people have been raped, tortured and left bloodied on the floor. The Bayh Democrats say to them: Here's a credit card. Go buy yourself some treatment, and you can pay us back later. The Bayh Democrats are centrist but not visionary, and they seem to worry more about adding an extra $10 billion to the deficit than about the future of the Middle East.”

Ouch. A party without vision.

3. The Cantwell Democrats: “This group could be named after Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt, but Maria Cantwell, the Washington senator, sits at Scoop Jackson's old desk on the Senate floor. The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They'd like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future. This week, Gephardt, who has to win over Iowa liberals to have any shot at the White House, is the bravest man in Washington.”

Friday, October 17, 2003

Good Times Howard - - Howard Dean is on the warpath again aggressively attacking anything and everything. What I find interesting is that when it come time to the mano-e-mano debate next year. Who are people really going to vote for? Will they honestly vote for tax increases?

Fascinating Article and new political rule: The Rule of 14 - - Over at Reason.com Jonathan Rauch takes some of the gloom and doom off of what is certainly a dreary day here in Vancouver, and quite possibly the worst day in a long time for Red Sox fans. Without further delay, here is the Rule of 14:

"With only one exception since the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, no one has been elected president who took more than 14 years to climb from his first major elective office to election as either president or vice president.

George W. Bush took six years. Bill Clinton, 14. George H.W. Bush, 14 (to the vice presidency). Ronald Reagan, 14. Jimmy Carter, six. Richard Nixon, six (to vice president). John Kennedy, 14. Dwight Eisenhower, zero. Harry Truman, 10 (to vice president). Franklin Roosevelt, four. Herbert Hoover, zero. Calvin Coolidge, four. Warren Harding, six. Woodrow Wilson, two. William Howard Taft, zero. Theodore Roosevelt, two (to vice president). The one exception: Lyndon Johnson's 23 years from his first House victory to the vice presidency."

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Clearly God is no Red Sox or Cub fan - - Gosh. The second heartbreaking loss in baseball in two days. Is there something about baseball and heartbreak? Worse, Major League Baseball has to welcome another must-not-see World Series starring the New York Yankees-this time versus the Marlins. On the other hand Roger Clemons pitching career survives another day which is something to watch. If you weren’t rooting for the Marlins before, now is the time to get onboard the anyone-but-Yankee bandwagon. Space could be limited Cub/Sox fans as well as a second dose of heartbreak.

The Boston Dirt Dogs website neatly summarizes the initial feelings after the loss: “NATION WANTS GRADY FIRED BEFORE SUNRISE THEO.”

Hard to believe that anyone could be more hated than that unfortunate Cub fan, but Grady Little should probably start having 3-Martini Lunches with Bill Buckner, that fan, Alex Gonzales, and Pedro during the off-season. But you know what? Hats off to Mickey Kaus for being so positive about failure. He was quick earlier to “predict that within five years Steve Bartman will be a beloved figure in Chicago. My reasoning: the Cubs' image as a cursed team is much more precious to the city than a mere World Series appearance. You win the NCLS or even the Series, you get to party for a couple of days--and then you're just another team like all the other teams that have had one good year. You're Anaheim. But not having won a World Series since 1908? Priceless. ... Winning, for the Cubs, would be like Susan Lucci winning an Emmy. They'll be naming bridges after Bartman. ....”

And the same goes for the Red Sox. Watching the Yankees win, yet again, completely fills one with the sense one guesses the French have when wars start and the Democratic Presidential candidates have these days. As the Baseball Crank tells us, this is all how it should be.

“Dreams do come true in life,” writes the Crank. “David does beat Goliath. Hollywood endings do happen. But not in the Bronx. The New York Yankees were put on this earth for one reason -- to remind us that Goliath usually wins, and that Hollywood endings are the stuff of dreams precisely because life so rarely works out that way. Cubs fans believed; Red Sox fans believed. Yankee fans just expect, and they are yet again rewarded. Yankee Stadium remains the place where dreams go to die.”

So everything is as it should be. And we’ll all eagerly wait until next year. There is always next year in Baseball. And for Cubs and Sox fans, they should be ready to add to the legends and stories of where they were when in 2003.

The Good News Express is leaving the station - - The Wall Street Journal asks the 2004 question du jour. What do the Democrats do if the economy continues its march toward recovery?

‘All of this poses a challenge for the Democrats running to replace Mr. Bush. The premise of their economic criticism is that the tax cuts have failed, so the way to stimulate the economy is to raise taxes and spend that money on health care or homeland defense or to reduce the deficit. But growth is already shrinking the deficit estimates as revenues increase above expectations. Last week the Congressional Budget Office shrank its estimate for the 2003 deficit to $374 billion from $401 billion.”

Sullivan Giving Gears to Anti-war Crowd - - Andrew Sullivan breaks down the new anti-war (and lets remember that we are in the almost post-war period) talking points as exemplified by a letter from Moveon.org (the crowd having a love in with Howard Dean):

Here is some Moveon.org direct mail talking points:

“President Bush and Republican leaders are trying to portray the $87 billion package as the only way to help the troops in Iraq. But it's the President's failed policies that put the troops in harm's way, and it's the President's refusal to work with the UN that keeps them there. It's time for Congress to draw a line in the sand and tell the President that for our national security, the safety of the troops, and the stability of the Middle East, he must change course. A strong vote against the $87 billion will demonstrate just that.”

And here is Sullivan’s well crafted response.

“Well, we're working with the U.N. already, and have just reached an agreement with Russia, China and Pakistan. What, one wonders, does Moveon want? They want Rumsfeld fired, immediate withdrawal of American and allied troops, no aid to the Iraqi reconstruction effort, and abandoning Iraq to a United Nations that has no ability to run it. What this means is complete chaos, a chaos in which the Baathist thugs of the old regime, together with their terrorist allies around the region, can use Iraq as a new base for international terror. No sane person of good will can justify that - except as pure domestic politics, with an entire country as a play-ball. This is the morality of the left?”

The Conservative Merger in Canada - - I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of ESR’s Steve Martinovich that this near-merger of the right (and we’ll use that term loosely) in Canada will result, in drum roll please, the election of Paul Martin as Prime Minister next year. Let’s say they get Mike Harris as leader. I think it’s a great start, but no guarantee that the new party will be competitive. The Alliance and Conservatives have a relatively long history in politics (where things happen pretty quick) that is a combination of Red Sox/Cubs luck/success/attitude. A lot of “wait until next year” musings. Time will tell if this gets eliminated in Game Seven too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Dogs and Cats living together - - While the Red Sox managed to push it to an all-or-nothing game seven, their would be "Field of Dreams" foe, the Chicago Cubs lost their bid to make their first World Series appearance in 58 yeas. Meanwhile the Yankees of Canadian politics, the Liberals, with their soon to be new GM are making the slow march to yet another victory. But perhaps if it wasn't the Cubs year, or even the Boston's, the cosmic realignment means the two warring conservative parties and Canada will finally get back together. Will Canada's conservative curse come to end? Will the Red Sox win tomorrow? Chaos theory alive and well, nothing to see here folks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Curses Strike Back - - The come back victory by the Marlins, the obvious fan interference, the error at short all combined in a perfect storm for the Cubbies to be denied their spot in the World Series.

And in Boston the evil empire struck back at the Red Sox taking a 3-2 lead in the series sending it back to New York.

My friend Lance and I were discussing the lack-luster commentating tonight. I agree with him whole heartedly – Tim McCarver who thought the fan interference wasn’t an issue, should probably be “spending his time being Punk’d by Jim Grey.” And seriously where in the world is Bob Costas?

Tomorrow will be the biggest day of baseball in years. And it could spell doom! The Baseball Crank has some useful, albeit depressing, ideas and thoughts on tomorrow. “Just heard on ESPN Radio: John Burkett's regular season career record against the Yankees: 0-6, 8.59 ERA. You can't sum up the last 85 years of Red Sox history better than this: the Sox are facing elimination tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium, and they're starting a 38-year-old pitcher who had a 5.15 ERA this season. They'd be better off with Denny Galehouse.

Frankly, if he was healthy (concerns about his shoulder have been cited as a reason for leaving him off the ALCS roster), I'd far rather see Byung Hyun Kim starting this game, bad experiences at Yankee Stadium or no.” Ouch, but really Kim? That might be what the curse needs.

Monday, October 13, 2003

A holiday Monday Morning Gem - - James Lileks brightens up a otherwise slow Canadian Thanksgiving this morning. Remember the FBI whistleblower? We'll she's got an open piece in James' paper, and he does a thorough and medical gloved examination of her "essay."

To cut to the chase, Mr. Lileks takes pride in the fact that, "You still have the liberty to call her a fool. That may or may not make you feel more secure." Read every raw word.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

More on the Governator - - Over at Mens News Daily, my early thoughts of last nights stunning Arnold Schwarzenegger victory are up! “The Governator Revolution” looks at what this might mean for 2004 and who might benefit. Arnie’s the Governor of California, The Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are vying for the World Series…all hell’s breaking loose-in the best way possible! I hope you enjoy!

“Get your clown shoes, makeup, and miniature cars ready the circus is only beginning as Arnold Schwarzenegger takes control over the largest state in the union. When else in an article can you mention clowns and then simply say, but seriously? Recall 2003 that’s when!

Schwarzenegger outlasted a five-day mudslinging siege as the campaign wound down and come out the other side to become the next Governor of California. If Arnold was playing for the Boston Red Sox this week his shocking victory would be described as a serious “cowboy up” by the Golden State.”

Update; Someone already sent me a nice morning email, "Another Right Wing Nut on the loose. Thankfully your column is seen by so few." Clever, I think they might be on to me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Gray Out – Arnie In - - Unbelievable! Arnie is projected winner!

Headlines:

Drudge: "CALEEEEEFORNEEEEA, HERE HE COMES!"

Less imaginative NY Times.com 'News Alert': "Voter Survey Backs Davis Recall and Victory for Schwarzenegger (11:11 p.m. ET) "

Washington Post: "Voters Appear to Oust Davis, Exit Polls Show Schwarzenegger Likely to Become Calif. Governor"

An obviously disapointed LA Times: "Schwarzenegger Appears Headed to Victory"

San Fran Chronicle: "Networks project Davis recalled, Schwarzenegger in"

Weather Report: A cool breeze and cold front moving into Hell… - - Chaos theory is throwing the delicate balance of the world into question. First the Cubs buck a 95-year trend. Then if you can even imagine it, last night the Red Sox-the most cursed team of all time-completed a series comeback to beat the A’s and move on to face the Yankees in the A.L.C.S. Get your snow gear hell buddies, it’s about to get a tad bit ‘chilly’ down there. Mr. Steinbrenner…call your office.

The new magic number is 8. 8 is the number of wins the Cubs and Sox collectively have to win face each other in the World Series. Meanwhile, it appears that The Red Sox are set to win the California Governor’s race.

See also “Boston Dirt Dogs” whose headline today, “Mannyfest DestiNY” is pretty amusing.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Things are getting better all the time - - The big story this morning is that President Bush has reorganized the administration the management of American actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, placing National Security Advisor Rice as the head of the new “Iraq Stabilization Group.”

Already some are taking this as evidence that everything is being fumbled-That we are losing Iraq or worse that we’re messing it up.

But the reality is that things are going well in Iraq. We wouldn’t know about it, and frankly most people don’t. Check out todays must read article. Jonathon Rauch writes:

Consistently, however, observers -- including some I know personally and trust -- return from Iraq reporting that the picture up close is better than the images in the media. Michael O'Hanlon, a Brookings Institution military analyst who is no pushover for the Bush administration, recently came back saying that the quality of the work being done in Iraq by American forces is "stunning."

If the future in Iraq looks dismal, someone forgot to tell the Iraqis. A poll by the Gallup Organization found Iraqis saying, by a 2-to-1 ratio, that Saddam Hussein's ouster was worth the subsequent hardships. A plurality told Gallup (a month ago, when the poll was taken) that Iraq was worse off than before the invasion, but two-thirds expected Iraq to be better off in five years than before the invasion, and only 8 percent expected it to be worse off.

The Bush administration reports that "virtually all" major Iraqi hospitals and universities have been reopened, and hundreds of schools have been rebuilt. As of late September, American fatalities (just over 300), although too numerous, were still only slightly higher than the 293 lost in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.


And this part too:

In truth, the planning mind-set is exactly wrong for Iraq. Anything might have happened after the war: a flood of refugees, a cholera pandemic, a civil war -- or, for that matter, the discovery of an advanced nuclear program. The fact that the Bush administration keeps adjusting its course, often contravening its own plans or preferences, is a hopeful sign. The administration's decisions to raise rather than reduce troop levels, to ask for $87 billion that it never planned on needing, to go looking for help from the United Nations -- all this suggests not that the Iraq effort is failing but that the administration is more flexible than its rhetoric.


Like an infomercial, I want to say, but wait there’s more! In only 3 easy payments of $19.99! But seriously there are stories beginning to permeate the media that rather than suggesting quagmire and disaster they suggest success and better hope.

And these few links are for Pappa Murphy who is always asking what is really going on in Iraq:

”Success Story in Iraq”

”Free after 50 years of tyranny” - We may have fought for the wrong reasons, but there is more good than bad in post-Saddam Iraq

”Heard the Good News From Baghdad?”

Sunday, October 05, 2003

See New Evil - - My new Enter Stage Right Column is online now! “See No Evil” is about David Kay’s interim report, the New York Times sad analysis and it’s weak interpretation of the facts. I hope you enjoy.

“The fact that Sanger dismissed the entire amount of evidence of what we know, and more importantly what Mr. Kay knows is shameful. Sanger reported everything that hasn't been found, the actual weapons, but reported nothing that has been found which in this case is the proof of clear intent. The idea that nothing found thus far in Iraq supports the President's rational for war is utterly false…” (Read More)

Extra Innings Iraq Debate - - The debate over whether we should or should not have gone to war in Iraq pops up in the most interesting of places. It’s hard to believe but this ‘leak’ is defining people just as starkly than the actual war in Iraq did. Read Eric Margolis today, especially his closing argument.

“Real patriots do not start wars to win elections while diverting attention from financial scandals.

CIA chief Tenet ought to come out and denounce those who led the U.S. into an unnecessary war that has become a bloody and unimaginably expensive mess.

But CIA officers are trained to remain silent and obey the chain of command.

So it's up to Congress to demand a full investigation of the corruption of national security, and of the extremist ideologists who misled America into a war that should never have been waged.”

There is so much wrong with Mr. Margolis’ piece I don’t know where to start. I guess with the idea that it has been politically advantageous to fight war. I doubt it ever has been truly a winning platform to fight wars. Now disagree with the war in question, call it a mistake but a “bloody and unimaginably expensive mess.” Now whose diverting attention?

I think most agree that the outing of CIA agents is a terrible thing and someone will have to pay for that. But I think suggesting that Bush misled America into war is an outrageous charge. Blair is backing down from this war, and neither should Bush.

And Margolis rather vague applause to French intelligence is rather amusing too.

“The CIA does deserve sharp criticism over Iraq. It had a shocking lack of reliable human intelligence there, forcing the agency to rely heavily on dubious defectors and foreign intelligence, rather than its own resources.

Ironically, France had excellent intelligence in Iraq and rightly warned Bush his war would lead to disaster. Bush was too busy listening to the neo-conservatives' hyped intelligence to heed France's excellent and reliable advice.”

Surely France’s sources couldn’t have been any better, unless they were based upon the inside information from Baghdad itself. And isn’t that intelligence dubious in itself? Of course it is. I have a hard time taking Margolis’ piece as anything but an extension of his pre-invasion anti-war stance. And if anyone thinks that the things beyond simply the WMD issue like Saddam’s regime of terror and the laundry list of other reasons outlined by Bush and Blair before the war weren’t reason enough to go to war, you have to wonder what would be? Would the forces against this war ever feel the need to use force?

Listen to Prime Minister Blair’s latest speech:

“Imagine you are PM. And you receive this intelligence. And not just about Iraq. But about the whole murky trade in WMD. And one thing we know. Not from intelligence. But from historical fact. That Saddam's regime has not just developed but used such weapons gassing thousands of his own people. And has lied about it consistently, concealing it for years even under the noses of the UN Inspectors. And I see the terrorism and the trade in WMD growing. And I look at Saddam's country and I see its people in torment ground underfoot by his and his sons' brutality and wickedness. So what do I do? Say "I've got the intelligence but I've a hunch its wrong?" Leave Saddam in place but now with the world's democracies humiliated and him emboldened? You see, I believe the security threat of the 21st century is not countries waging conventional war. I believe that in today's interdependent world the threat is chaos. It is fanaticism defeating reason. Suppose the terrorists repeated September 11th or worse. Suppose they got hold of a chemical or biological or nuclear dirty bomb; and if they could, they would. What then?”

In all seriousness we better home we did overestimate the threat. Because if Saddam’s weapons have vanished and into that murky trade and into the heart of terror central, then we really will not no until attacked what he had.

As Clifford May adds, “What's more, every reputable intelligence service in the world — including the French — believed Saddam's WMD programs were ongoing in this period. So what did happen over the last dozen years? One possibility is that sometime before the Gulf war, Part Two, he transferred his stockpiles — to Syria, Lebanon or elsewhere. A number of knowledgeable analysts believe this frightening scenario. Let's hope it isn't true.”

…Boston forces Game 5 - - The Sox “Cowboy’d-up” a second day in a row and they are alive for game five. So there could be just bigger heartbreak or jubilation in Oakland for that one!

Ring of Fire - - Time’s cover calls this the “War over the Leak.” After watching Wilson on Meet The Press this morning, I think you have to figure that while he is charging this whole affair as politically motivated, that he too is playing politics.

For more, read two competing looks at Mr. Wilson. First a short look at Wilson from The Weekly Standard. Then try out this sugary-sweet ‘puff piece’ in today’s New York Times on Wilson.

The money quote in the times piece has to be this:

“Mr. Wilson's personal style is alternately straightforward and laid-back. One moment he is holding forth eruditely about what he called the current administration's "penchant for unilateralism," and its mistake in taking what he called the "highest risk, lowest reward option of invasion, conquest and occupation." The next moment he is rocked back in his chair, referencing Jimmy Buffett and the need to "change latitudes and change attitudes," to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, or criticizing the way the Bush administration "dissed" the Europeans in the prelude to the war.”

Playing At Foreign Policy - - I have finished my Enter Stage Right piece for tonight and it is all about the Kay Report, but until then there is some great stuff on the Democratic response to the report.

Let’s start with Kim du Toit who levels the boom on them:

“Democrats play at foreign policy. It doesn't seem to occur to them that while they're playing touch football and giggling, their opponents are suited up and trying to emulate the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And when the Republican grownups take the field and try to win the game, they spend most of the time just trying to erase the 25-point deficit made by the feckless twerps like Albright, Carter, Clinton and Vance.

And the kids' parents are in the Press box, moping and whining about how little Jimmy and Hillary and Billy aren't in the game anymore.”

His comments are a riff spurn on by this post by Mitch Berg. Who has some amusing things to say about Rep. Pelosi.

Meanwhile the talking points of the Democrat apparatchiks continue to deny that Iraq was ever a threat at all. If you couple their attitude towards what is actually in the Kay report (see here) and their desire to talk down the real situation in Iraq with their overplaying of cards in the Plame CIA leak story and you must conclude as Mr. du Toit does that Democrats are merely playing with the foreign policy of the United States.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Red Sox Are Alive - - Pinch hit walk off home run by Trot Nixon in the 11th. Cowboy Up folks. He got a hair cut after the sixth inning. It worked.

Baseball Musings titled its post, simply, "Nixon For President." Will it be Nixon in '03? They may be still down 2-1, but think of a few quick things. The A's have now lost thier 7th game in a row while trying to clinch a post-season series (ouch), so they can make it 9 before this post-season is out. Can Boston do it?

Liberal-Conservative Bestselling Book Index - - What will Al Franken do now that his book has been knocked from the top spot of this week’s New York Times Bestseller list?

Bill O’Reilly’s latest has taken the number one spot away from the ‘it’ boy of the liberal set. But look this won’t last; everyone’s favorite Michael Moore is poised with another book this week.

The Dispatches Liberal-Conservative Book Index (The look at Liberal and Conservative Books in the Top Ten List of the NYT’s) 5-4-1. I would say stands at Liberal 5, Conservative 4, and Independent 1.

Conservative:
O’Reilly (1), Ingraham (6), Reagan “Letters” (7), Limbaugh’s Bro (8)

Liberal:
Franken (2), Albright (3), Ivins (4), Krugman (5), Clinton (10)

Independent:
A book about Ben Franklin by Isaacson.

Time for a trip to the Woodshed - - The Plame-bé situation is not getting any more clear. But William Kristol, of the Weekly Standard, has used the state of affairs to make an entirely bigger argument about the Bush Administration. The short version is that CIA Director Tennant, Sec. Powell, and Sec. Rumsfeld might need a trip to the woodshed to smarten up this administration and get them back to Good Cop/Bad Cop routine that worked so well in 2001 & 2002.

“One reason for this is that the civil war in the Bush administration has become crippling,” writes Kristol. “The CIA is in open revolt against the White House. The State Department and the Defense Department aren't working together at all. We are way beyond "fruitful tension" and all the other normal excuses for bureaucratic conflict. This is a situation that only the president can fix. Perhaps a serious talk with Messrs. Tenet, Powell, and Rumsfeld can do the trick, followed by strengthening the National Security Council's role in resolving intra-administration disputes. Perhaps a head or two has to roll. But the present condition is debilitating, and, given the challenges facing us in postwar Iraq, in Iran, and in North Korea, it is irresponsible to let it fester.”

(Via Daniel Drezner)

MORE: And Drezner also has more on the situation in The New Republic Online.

“In the Reagan administration, this management style contributed to the Iran-Contra fiasco. In the Bush administration, the battles over Iraq's WMD program have led to open hostility between the Defense Department and the CIA. The leaks and counter-leaks over Nigerien yellowcake have escalated to the point where the Justice Department is investigating whether anyone in the White House violated federal law and jeopardized national security by outing the identity of an undercover CIA operative. What's amazing about this episode is that, if true, a felony was committed over what was truly a minor dispute. Which leads to a troubling question--if an administration official was willing to commit an overtly illegal act in dealing with such a piddling matter, what lines have been or will be crossed on not-so-piddling matters?”

I don’t think its anything to get crazy about, but a couple of nights hanging out with Cheney, Rice, and Bush at Camp David might restore the balance again.

A new hope? Disunity in Canada Watch - - There was plenty of fuss in recent weeks as the Canadian Alliance Party and the Progressive Conservative Party held talks regarding the possibility of a merger. Kevin Michael Grace as all the bases covered in this thoughtful post.

The highlight for me was this part: “Joe Clark is a strategic genius. Yes, that’s right. Clark understood that it was never necessary for the Tories to prevail over Reform/Alliance; it was necessary only for the Tories to survive. Clark reasoned that given enough time Reform/Alliance would commit suicide—and it has.”

You could almost hear the right wing groan last week. It was almost like watching Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars feel the destruction of that first planet, Alderaan, by the Death Star when he says , “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”

To wit, if I were a fly on the wall of the merger talks, and elevating them to something like Potsdam is silly, but would probably just say, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

Those French Missiles - - Yesterday it was reported that the Polish military in Iraq had found French made missiles that were manufactured in 2003. Today the story is reported as wrong as the French deny it, and it state they haven’t made those missiles since 1993, and haven’t sold them to Iraq since 1990.

Fair enough. Questions remain. Are these missiles 13 or more years old? Were they sold anytime during the U.N.’s arms embargo? Will Poland remain on Chirac’s Christmas card list (presuming they don’t cancel Christmas in France)?

(Via Steve Martinovich at ESR’s Musings.)

In a lighter note - - Over at NRO, Jonah Goldberg gives us the battle we’ve always wondered about. Kirk-Picard.

Rusted-out Dune Buggy Watch Part I- - As the two Canadian soldiers killed this week in Afghanistan come home the debate over what happened and the status of Canadian military equipment in the field is just heating up.

The National Post has a large lead article today outlining the situation. Typically not available online yet-well at least I couldn’t find it. In it Major-Gen. Leslie stated that the Iltis vehicle offers very little protection for troops. At the same time he suggested that the other vehicle in the Canadian arsenal, the LAV [or light armored vehicle] is only used on unproven ground or to, “make a show of force.”

Far be it for me to armchair QB this from my living room in Vancouver, but it seems to me that the whole point of having troops in Afghanistan is to make a show of force. So having old rusting and unsafe vehicles offering little if any protection seems to fly in the face of it.

Alliance MP Jay Hill asks the big question: “Why are these soldiers out there in that area with these unprotected, unarmored, rusted-out dune buggies rather than light armored vehicles?”

Liberal MP David Pratt (who chairs the House of Commons Defense Committee) takes issue with the statements by Hill. “What he’s doing is second-guessing the commanders on the ground, and I think before an investigation is conducted, that’s particularly irresponsible and unproductive at this point.”

No he’s putting two and two together. It’s Simple math. Two troops have died in a tragic land mine attack. They were in terrible vehicles. Known to be flimsy and unreliable and the U.S. warned us about using them. They were It’s not second-guessing the commanders on the ground; its second guessing how we have sadly left our forces without the tools to do the job. So it’s second guessing the 10-years of Liberal rule that has hamstringed the Canadian Military while still asking it to fight.

Rusted-out Dune Buggy Watch Part II: - - Another must read has to be retired Major-General Lewis Mackenzie’s oped from Friday also in the ‘Na-Po’. “These missions are combat by another name -- peace enforcement (a euphemism for "keep the peace or I'll kill you"), armed humanitarian operations, or security operations.”

Why are we using light unprotected vehicles in a war zone? If you read Mackenzie it’s because we think of what were doing in Afghanistan as peace keeping. It’s not. It is part of the war on terrorism. That’s why we need the best equipment for any task, not aging old clunkers.

But there is good news. Our soldiers are overcoming, adapting, and are winning. Mackenzie again: “Now for the good news. Members of the 3rd battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment from CFB Petawawa, Ont., constitute the majority of the present Canadian contingent in Kabul,” writes Mackenzie. “In typical Canadian soldier style, as clearly demonstrated in just about every troubled corner of the globe over the past 50 years, they refused to restrict themselves to the tasks that their predecessors carried out. With firm direction and support from their leadership they expanded their patrol routes to offer greater security to both themselves and the local population. They searched out people in need and provided assistance beyond their mandate.”

Rusted-out Dune Buggy Watch Part III: - - And if you want even the tiniest bit of reason why we need to debate these things it is made simple and clear by our own Prime Ministers complete misunderstanding of what our troops are even doing there. Look no further than today’s Na-Po Editorial.

“Prime Minister Jean Chrétien called the deaths of Sergeant Robert Alan Short of Fredericton and Corporal Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger of Ottawa "an accident." They were not. Whether the two Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan were killed by a landmine planted long ago or a bomb set recently -- the exact cause remains unknown -- whatever it was that took their lives was intended to kill. Afghanistan remains a war zone.”

An accident? No wonder he is talking about smoking pot when he retires because he is clearly more concerned with ‘the munchies’ than he is with the affairs of this nation. This is outrageous.

Bottom line: “It is a tribute to the quality of our soldiers that they can do more with less than the forces of any other major nation in the Western world. But they shouldn't have to.”

But they are. In fact to replace the useless Iltis the Globe and Mail reports that, “After years of delay, Ottawa has ordered some German-made Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen jeeps as a possible replacement for the Iltis. Although heavier and more powerful, they offer no more protection.”

The logic of the government to replace old flawed vehicles without addressing the flaws. We couldn’t walk into a Hummer store in Toronto and buy some ready made street tanks? I guess not. We must have some of the bravest men and women on the planet who sign up to go on these missions with some of the world’s worst military equipment. It doesn’t make any sense to in the words of Sean Connery in ‘The Untouchables’ to “take a knife to a gun fight.”

One last thing. If you think this will get any better with Paul Martin you’re wrong. This government has consistently ignored military and international affairs, the dangers in the world today, and Canadian security. This should be the single most important issue in politics today. Not decriminalizing pot, not gay marriage, or whatever else the government thinks is important in 2003. Perhaps this issue will wedge them into the public eye, I doubt it.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Plame-ing Lips? - - Here’s an interesting development in the leak story. The Washington Post details the outing of a CIA front business because of the leak. It also details the $1000 contribution to Al Gore by the undercover Plame.

The name of the CIA front company was broadcast yesterday by Novak, the syndicated journalist who originally identified Plame. [Robert] Novak, highlighting Wilson's ties to Democrats, said on CNN that Wilson's "wife, the CIA employee, gave $1,000 to Gore and she listed herself as an employee of Brewster-Jennings & Associates."

"There is no such firm, I'm convinced," he continued. "CIA people are not supposed to list themselves with fictitious firms if they're under a deep cover -- they're supposed to be real firms, or so I'm told. Sort of adds to the little mystery."

In fact, it appears the firm did exist, at least on paper. The Dun & Bradstreet database of company names lists a firm that is called both Brewster Jennings & Associates and Jennings Brewster & Associates.

The phone number in the listing is not in service, and the property manager at the address listed said there is no such company at the property, although records from 2000 were not available.


What are we to make of this? I have no idea, but it sure doesn’t leave you much confidence in the covert nature of the CIA does it? Bring on the fake mustaches and beards too I suppose.

Where are the weapons? - - Well we’ll get into that, but lets start with this story from today. That the Polish troops operating in Iraq have found French made anti-aircraft missiles-did we mention that these weapons were made, in France, this year?

So either France cannot account for its own weapons or worse is lying about when and where they sell them. I guess it’s not that surprising. And even the French can’t resist getting their own scandal-Arnie and Bush can’t hog the limelight all of the time.

(Via Instapundit)

Pirate Powered Cubs Win - - Contrary to the hopes of my friend Francis, it was pretty cool to see Mark Prior pitch a complete game 2-hitter as the Cubs took the lead in the series versus the Braves. I got a kick out of seeing the sign in the crowd thank Pittsburgh for Randall Simon, Kenny Lofton, and Aramis Ramirez who all played a role in the game.

Talk amongst yourself about whether or not God is a Cubs fan. Well he has a funny way of showing, so time will tell.

Over in the Giants-Marlins series it was the Ivan Rodriguez show as he drove all four Marlin runs in. A Cubs-Marlins NL would be fun to watch especially if we got to see a Prior or Woods Willis match up. Just a thought.

More Military Equipment Issues - - Now The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Canadian Jeep which struck a mine yesterday in Afghanistan is inferior. The CBC story doesn’t go that far, but questions are being raised. We don’t have sufficient transport planes, and our Jeeps on patrol in the field are old and not up to the task putting soldiers lives in danger. This is unacceptable. There needs to be a major military procurement in this nation soon.

Comparing the Canadian iltis jeep with the U.S. Army HMMWV (also known as the Humvee):
ILTIS
Weight: 1,550 kg
Top Speed: 130 km/h
Engine: 74 hp., 4 cyl., gasoline

HMMWV
Weight: 2,358 kg
Top Speed: 120 km/h
Engine: 150 hp., 8 cyl., diesel

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Absolutely Outrageous - - News that the return of 150 Canadian troops serving in Bosnia will be delayed by up to 11 days today. First they were delayed because the main transport aircraft was grounded. Then because the Governor General Clarkson is on her costly tour the troops are stuck.

This is completely unacceptable. 1. That we don’t have more transport aircraft. 2. That Clarkson is on this porked-up, love-in, cultural boondoggle using government cash and resources. I echo Damian Penny’s thoughts, “I'm not sure what's the bigger scandal: that we treat our soldiers so shabbily, or that we have so few transport planes.”


And with news that two Canadian soldiers were killed by a mine in Afghanistan today, it hits home, that stretched thin as it is, Canada still has troops in action all over the world and we don’t have the resources to deal with it. What if we really needed these troops to evacuate? The Governor General is jet setting around burning valuable cash. It’s outrageous. Ms. Clarkson should get that plane to Bosnia now, and get back to Canada so she can resign along with the Minister of Defense, John McCallum.

Welcome to the party - - My great friends Craig and Katie welcomed their second beautiful looking baby into the world this week, Ella! What a great name! Craig reports that all are doing well. Now where is my damned cigar? Fine, I'll get them, and some celebratory spirits for the next time we meet. I sense an Ella party will happen soon. I know a certain someone who has been without the sweet nectar of wine for a few months and been on designated driver duty...

Also it must be noted that both times we all got togther for brunch with our friend Andrew shortly before the births of both children. When we were gearing up for the 'punk-never-happened' party, Craig was unavailable because he was, "on Amber alert." But it sounds like it was pretty much red alert! Way to go!

The Punk never happened Night of Rock n’ Roll - - I’ve been to0 busy, or something like that, to talk about the other night's adventure to Richards on Richards - a local venue here in Vancouver. I saw a great night of what my friend Chris called a party of “punk never happened rock n’ roll.” And it sure was cool to see good old fashioned rock for a change. He promised it, and they delivered it, big time.

His band, The Years, were the opening act and they certainly brought out their A-Game. They set a big rock tone for the evening and fit in perfectly with the other two bands. They had a really nice bunch of press on radio and in the city's Province newspaper. "The musical environment also changed to be conducive to a band whose sound Kinnon variously describes as "pre-punk" rock, the Rolling Stones crossed with T Rex, some BTO influence. The album will come but 604 still has to deliver," writes Tom Harrison.

604 is the Record label of "Vancouver's Chad Kroeger of Nickelback and his lawyer/manager, Jonathan Simkin."

Following The Years, was a great Australian band, called “Jet.” They were amazing! They were loud, really loud, and just kept ratcheting up the sound. It was sort of like 1977 gone wild or AC/DC in their heyday sort of a thing. You can check out a few videos here. and their official site here.

And if that wasn’t enough the headliners were the excellent Kings of Leon. They were great too, with just a hint of rock-a-billy in their sound-see their official site here.

It was a great night with friends Dan, Brett, and Mark. I think we were pleasantly surprised by such a cool evening of rock. One question remained. If you aren't allowed to smoke in bars, how come they can smoke while playing? Is that technically a pyro-technical thing?

Okay, very funny, who sold something to the devil? - - The dreaded Yankees evened up their series with the Twins while the A’s smackdowned the Red Sox who seem to ready to break a few hearts. Talk about Weapons of Mass Heartache.

The fact that last nights game reduced the moneyball team to a bunt victory was something truly amazing, even if you want the Sox to win. If you want to gain insight into the inner workings of a Red Sox fan go here… if you dare. I love the Headline: “A's Up! 2-0 in 20 Hours… 162 Games Down the Drain So, are we all meeting at Logan or the Baseball Tavern with our Wild Card Champion T-Shirts?”

Update: Trying to figure out what the Red Sox have done now, in the grand voodoo sense of things. Is it that they've been voting for Teddy Kennedy for so long? Just a though.

Scandal Vacuum: “Up in Plames?” - - The interesting thing was that between this Arnie stuff and the double whammy Rush Limbaugh news today, that a third bigger story, the leaking of CIA officer by name seems to drop to back of the pack.

Okay, I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around this one. If you read some stuff you’d wind up believing that that Bush and Ashcroft broke into the Watergate Hotel and made a bunch of late night phone calls outing Ms. Plame as secret agent.

But if you read Max Boot this morning, in the LA Times, and others you would scratch your head wondering who didn’t know who Valarie Plame was. If she was a covert undercover agent she sure seems to have had funny way of going about it.

Boot breaks it down:

“The Democrats seem to have learned a valuable lesson from Republicans about how to attack a popular president: First, take some complicated incident that no one outside the Beltway understands. Trumpet it as a "scandal." Denounce the president as the biggest scoundrel this side of Spiro Agnew. Demand that the FBI, an independent counsel, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and every gumshoe under the sun investigate this shocking breach of ethics. Then sit back and watch the election returns roll in.”

And a good rule of thumb on these things is to gauge the outrage coming from Maureen Dowd. If she is making unintelligible grumblings you should throw a flag on the play. “The men who won the 2000 election by promising to restore honor and integrity to the White House spent yesterday doing a pretty good imitation of O. J. Simpson, looking for the culprit. You could just picture President Bush with his Sherlock Holmes deerstalker, magnifying glass and bloodhound Barney. Silly. The White House knows who did it. All Mr. Bush has to do is roll heads.”

Andrew Sullivan has the a pretty good look at the whole subject:

“There is also something surreal about the whole event. This, after all, is about telephone conversations which one party will almost certainly deny and the other party likely won't reveal. What are the odds that we will ever find out anything for sure whoever investigates? Even a pissed-off third party in the CIA or White House can't prove what was said in such telephone conversations. And doesn't everyone involved in this - including those calling for an independent counsel - know this already? The point, then, is to besmirch what has so far been a relatively scandal-free administration, with little chance of our actually finding out what actually happened and why, and maybe get a resignation or two if you're lucky. A kind of perfect Washington storm - about something that will never formally become much more than nothing. I could be wrong, of course; and it doesn't mean the investigation shouldn't take place. But it does make it all seem a little ritualistic."

What a Rush? - - Which brings us to Mr. Limbaugh. He had the perfect storms of scandal. First he resigned his position at ESPN for making remarks on Sunday involving Eagle QB Donovan McNabb. Then the mainstream took a long bomb, Hail Mary, pass from the National Enquirer about Rush and some addiction to painkillers.

The consensus as it stands seems to be that he fell on his sword for his new buddies at ESPN (the Network). And this much is clear it is making many on the left giddy with joy. Even some really good commentators are probably way off the rails, especially on the drug issue.

He does have some supporters. Allen Barra writes that he was essentially right. “Rush Limbaugh didn't say Donovan McNabb was a bad quarterback because he is black. He said that the media have overrated McNabb because he is black, and Limbaugh is right. He didn't say anything that he shouldn't have said, and in fact he said things that other commentators should have been saying for some time now. I should have said them myself. I mean, if they didn't hire Rush Limbaugh to say things like this, what they did they hire him for? To talk about the prevent defense?”

And if Dogs and Cats aren’t living together, here is more proof. Bill Maher comes to Rush’s defense too. Also adding, “Limbaugh also didn't help himself when he outted McNabb's wife as a CIA operative.” I guess that seals his fate then too, doesn’t it?

It’s Raining Scandals - - I’ve taken a small break from posting the past week or so. Lots of activities and stuff to talk about. But I thought for my first post we would dive right into the 24-scandal-thon which is in full-on siege mode right now.

Lets start with the California Governors Race. Imagine that, rolling into the home stretch and stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger mud slinging is in full swing. This morning it was the LA Times running a fun expose we’ll simply call “Arnie the Groper” – detailing his past dealings with women. Arnie addressed it pretty much head on and kept on campaigning which was pretty amazing to see really. Taking a page out of Political Survival 101, Arnie got way out in front of this one.

“Where there is smoke there is fire,” Schwarzenegger told supporters at a morning rally in San Diego. “I have behaved badly sometimes...I was on rowdy movie sets and have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I have offended people...I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize becaue this is not what I'm trying to do.”

Arianna Huffington dropped out of the Gov’s race but her swan song will be her participation in this press conference with Moveon.org and one of the women who accused Mr. Schwarzenegger.

Then tonight the “let’s see if it sticks” story is “Arnie in Hitler Fan Club”. Guess that one was dusted off just for this final weekend. Fire in the hole might have to be the new Schwarzenegger Campaign motto. Mickey Kaus, in Slate.com, has more details.

Just wondering when the other shoe will drop. Well already two shoes have fallen, is there more? Will Cruz still drop out? Will Bill Clinton weigh in?