Kick 'em when they're down...

Four years ago at about this time, the Democrats were looking forward to making gains in Congress. Sure, they didn't have a platform and much of their leadership was grating on the ear, but tbey were against Bush in every politically safe way they could be.

Lo and behold, the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November came along and the gains that they were expecting somehow failed to materialize. What lesson did they gleam from this situation? Well, in the House, they did get rid of the Minority Leader, Dick Gephardt, blaming his ineffective leadershipp as the reason that they had such a disappointing election. After this bloodless coup dispensing of their leader, the House Democrats were left with a choice to fill the void of leadership- they could get a mock-moderate who could actually be reasonable in the guise of Harold Ford of Tennessee, or go for the loony leftists by picking Nancy Pelosi for their top position. Choosing Pelosi just seemed to be a sign that the Democrats weren't a mainstream party any longer, and that they did not feel the need to bring alternative ideas to the table.

Two years later, after a close presidential election, the Democrats still did not have control of the Senate. (This is probably as good a place as any to point out that one of the front-runners in the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination was Dick Gephardt. What kind of thought process leads a person who was forced out of his leadership position because he was ineffective at motivating a group that was at least nominally in agreement with him into believing that he was the man to ascend to the Presidency, a job that requires the cobbling together of coalitions with those whose interests are usually at odds with your own? When Gephardt was replaced as House Minoity Leader, most rational societies would have seen that as a big-time signal that a run at the Presidency should be out of the question, but Gephardt, and many Democrat pundits, took the fact that he was found incompetant as a leader to be a great good fortune because it meant he could take more time to campaign.)

Back on topic- Here we find ourselves in the autumn of 2006, and the Democrats are looking forward to taking over control of the House and possibly the Senate too. The word on the street all summer has been that the Democrats would be taking over in December, and the buzz is all around the internet to talk radio to cable news that the Dems are going to have a good year. James Carville, the Democrat pundit and campaigner, has said that if the Dems don't take over Congress in this current environment, then they might as well fold up their tent as a party. (I guess that he forgot the stupid phrase he coined about the economy.) Charles Rangall of New York has stated that he would resign if the Dems don't take the House. But what if...

What happens if the Democrats don't take over? Who gets to be the scapegoat this time? Will the Democrats throw Pelosi under the bus? Who would take over for her? Will the Democrats learn their lesson and get an actual moderate to take her place, or would they find another moonbat like Murtha to fill the bill? Some conservative columnists, such as John Derbyshire of the National Review, have stated that a Republican loss on election day could actually force them to re-evaluate and more closely adhere to their core conservative principles. Does anybody think that a Democrat failure in November would force them to reconsider their outlook and bring them away from the far left leanings that are hurting the country as much as they are hurting their party?



From Taranto's Best of the Web:

If the restrictions on interrogations that Powell and McCain advocate
in another 9/11, then they will have sacrificed the lives of women and
children in order to protect soldiers. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

Yes, James, it is supposed to be the other way around. And, btw, the restrictive provisions that they want to place on our interrogators are not going to do a damned thing to protect any American POW's from being tortured anyway. If I become a POW when they eventually get around to deploying me to Iraq, I sure as hell don't expect to get treated as well as Centanni and Wiig. Hell, if al Qaeada believed in the Geneva Convention, there wouldn't even be a need for Gitmo in the first place.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a defininte need to get information from those we take on the battlefield. While I do not subscribe to a "by any means necessary" philosophy, there are harsh methods that can be effectively employed that we must have the option of using that do not equal torture. The House Republicans should stand firm and give the president what he wants in this instance.


The Path to 9-11

Does anybody else get the feeling that if Clinton had spent as much effort in wiping out terrorism as he has in trying to get a re-edit of the ABC miniseries, that the twin towers would still be standing?

UPDATE 9 SEP; I, for some unknown reason, am going to make an attempt to see this from the Democrat side. I will counter-argue the Democrat side immediately, so I don't know how effective an advocate I will be, but what the heck, let's go.

Democrats are saying that the miniseries will not be an accurate depiction of what really happened. This is, unfortunately, correct. The Path to 9-11 is a movie, and though based on the 9-11 commission report it is still just a movie. The producers have admitted that they have condensed and combined scenes and characters and have, for the sake of the drama, put words in people's mouths that had not actually come out of them before.

Is this sufficient reason to pull the miniseries off the air? I would have to answer that with a resounding "No!" I am sorry, Mr. Clinton, and the DNC, but I think that the citizens of the US are sophisticated enough to realize that even the "true life" entertainment that they watch isn't really what happened. I think that the Democrats are just bringing ridicule upon themselves for acting so petulantly on the matter, especially when they can presumably point to other bits of the movie that might show that Republicans in embarassing circumstances.

I don't think that most critics have seen the movie, but I have seen Tom Kean (by the way, that is pronounced "cane" as in sugar or walking, not "keen" as in razor or peachy), the chairman of the 9-11 Commission, attest to the general veracity of the film. So, what is truly my take on the film? I will probably watch it, because I am not really that interested in the Manning Bowl, but I am not going to delude myself into thinking that anything that the characters in the movie say are actual quotes of the historic figures the characters represent. I will know that the film is probably about 95% true to history, but since I didn't do any additional research into the subject, I don't know which 5% isn't true, so I will have to take the whole thing as speculation. I will think that the events depicted are all possibly what occured, but I will not think of anything on screen as carved in stone "HISTORY". Who knows, it might motivate me to actually peruse the 9-11 Commission report and other source materials to figure out for myself what really went on.


What Cost, Iraq?

It seems that the discussion about our efforts in Iraq can only be thought of in a single way by the media. Everybody likes to mention the "costs." The billions of dollars poured into the desert, and the number of soldiers who have lost their lives.

I am not an accountant, but I can see that this discussion is missing a great big part of the "cost/benefit analysis" process. Nobody ever wants to bring up the benefits. It is easy to understand why- the benefits are in many ways intangible and aren't that easy to put into a five minute video montage, but they do exist. It is a lot easier to point to the amount of money spent on a project than to show how much money didn't have to be spent on others as a result. So, I will try to temper the rhetoric about Iraq by adding to the "benefit" side of the analysis, hopefully without turning this thing into a cheap David Letterman top ten list.

First, Ghaddaffi has turned in his mass destruction programs. Any time that a dictator relinquishes a part of his arsenal like that is a good thing, and it came about directly as a result of the US leading a coalition into Iraq.

The old saw "We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." What does that really mean? Allow me to personalize this for you- Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, aka Zarky, was, until his all to recent demise, the leader of al Quaeda in Iraq. This came about because he was being treated for an injury he received in Afghanistan in the Islamic Republic of Iraq (oh, by the way, if you don't believe this establishes that Iraq was a haven for terrorists before we invaaded, get your logic circuits checked) when France was unable to keep its promises to Saddam. So, if the US doesn't inundate the local area with soldiers how many people think that Zarky is going to sit around idly and sip tea for the next three years? Everybody who thinks that Zarky would have lived peacefully in the mid-East and not planned attcks on the US mainland, please raise your hands. Now, since you have your hands up already, use them to slap some sense into yourselves.

It is very likely that, even without the benefit of ridding the world of Saddam, the invasion of Iraq has prevented the deaths of American citizenbs in the US. But how many? It is impossible to know. I am guessing that it is somewhere between 2,000 and 7,000, but that is truly conjecture that I have no real way of defending logically. It would be just as valid to argue that the number is zero or 25,000, but I would think that just the sheer number of al Quaeda and other terrorist operatives that were too busy messing around in Iraq to plan anything in the US means that there were at least a few attacks that didn't materialize that very well might have if we were not in Iraq.

Preventing these attacks also means that soem of our industries, like travel, are much better off than they would have been without Operation Iraqi Freedom. True, I am not a follower of the oil industry, so I don't know if gas prices are higher or lower as a result of our actions. It copuld be that Iraq is actually able to export more becuase sanctions have been lifted, but I am not sure if oil production there is up to the same level that it was prior to the liberation.

There are other benefits that I have not even touched on, to include the goodwill we have received from many of the Iraqi people for their liberation. Many who claim that our actions have caused a great number of Muslims to become terrorists seem to forget that there are also those who see opportunity in their future, thus don't think that their best option is to splodeydope themselves sooner rather than later to get to meet Allah and the 72 virgins.


Securing the Border

We all realize that trying to secure the border is truly a pipe dream, if only because our government for some reason seems dead set against the idea. It's bad enough that the feds refuse to keep out the smugglers, killers and thugs that cross the border with the hundreds of thousands of otherwise "law-abiding illegal aliens," but now the State Department is giving visas to animal leaders of terrorist states. Or, former leaders of terrorist states.

Mohammed Khatami has been granted a visa to make a swing throught the United States, giving speeches at various forums. It is an outrage that the former president of Iran is able to walk freely about the U. S. without shackles on his hands and feet. I know that in Iran the president is really secondary to the grand ayatollah in terms of power, but to allow the former president of Iran to be given the celebrity treatment in this country is an outrage. The man is responsible for the represion of millions of Iranian people, despite his alleged "reformer" image. The man should be arrested and placed on trial for crimes against humanity for his "leadership" of Iran.


Billion Dollar Buggy Whips

I don't know about most of you, but the cost of fueling my car is starting to cut into other priorities for me recently, and it would appear that things will get worse before they get better. Just today, George W. Bush was speaking about the oil "'crisis" and the rising gasoline prices. He sounded like a man powerless to stop the situation, but at least he didn't seem to have the Chicken Little attitude that seems to emenate from the Capitol Dome. One point that he made was that the American people expect oil companies to put a lot of their profits back into building new refineries, searching for more sources of oil and developing alternate sources of energy.

I agree with these points, and the big oil companies will do well to take heed, especially on that last point that I mentioned, not just out of civic duty, but as a matter of Corporate survival.

Why do I say this? Let's gaze into the crystal ball as we spread the tarot cards.

Then again, let's not. Let's just analyze the situation. Over the past century, there has been an almost explosive increase in technological innovation, and I don't see that trend reversing itself any time soon. One or more of the innovations we can expect to see will involve energy sources, and techniques of putting those sources to use. We might be a long way from using anti-matter to power the warp drive, but in the interim, we will develop something, and more likely sooner than later. Whoever does develop this source is in for a huge payday.

This leaves the oil companies either developing the next source of energy or all but ceasing to exist. Five billion dollars in research and development may sound like a huge amount of money, but considering their alternatives, I don't see BP, Exxon/Mobil or Standard Oil as really having much of a choice. Without the need to refine oil into fuel, there is not much need for all the oil companies, except to provide the source of plastics and other petrochemical products, which won't do much for their bottom lines.

So, I say that we shouldn't be too concerned about the current oil company profits. They should enjoy the market they have while it still exists, because it won't be too long before they are selling off their assets to try to make payroll, unless they develop the next phase of powering the American Industrial Machine.



So, the CIA has fired Mary McCarthy for leaking information about the "secret CIA prisons" in Europe. This is a bit confusing to me, becaue just a couple of days ago I heard that the EU had found that there was no substantial evidence that these secret prisons exist. If these prisons don't exist, then what information did McCarthy reveal that led to the firing? I can only surmise that the EU roport is wrong, and that the "secret prisons" were (or might still be) just a well hidden secret. Besides, I think that the EU report was just about the program being conducted in member countries. I don't know whether it also covered non-EU countries in Eastern Europe.

I really don't care either way. If you take terrorists alive, you have to keep them somewhere, so it may as well be on foriegn soil as domestic, if the host country gives permission, and it really makes very little sense to advertise the capture of possible intelligence sources. Better for the enemy to think that the disappearence of one of their agents means that said agent is dead rather than giving away all of their secrets. And still better to have the facility controlled by an agency of the United States, where we can be reasonably assured that the inmates are at least moderately well taken care of than they be victims of that Clinton administration invention, the practice of rendition.

Should McCarthy have been fired? If she did give away information about secret holding areas, yes, though from news reports it seems that she has admitted that she has done so. She gave away information to the enemy about our tactics that obviously would hurt our ability to use the prisoners as intelligence sources, and also hurt our relationships with some countries that had been helping in the War on Terror. Should she be tried for her the crimes? I qould have to give a qualified yes to that question. She should only be prosecuted if it can be done in such a way that other classified information is not made public as a result. If the prosecutors need to reveal too much to get a conviction, then I would argue that it would be the lesser of two evils to let her get away with her alleged crimes than to put the public at risk by revealing our tactics.


NSA Wiretapping

Question- Does anybody really think that our spy agencies require warrants to eavesdrop on foriegn nationals in their home countries?

If there is a warrant to tap a phone line, does the agency doing the wiretapping need another warrant to authorize listening in on the other party to those conversations?

The answer to both of those questions is no.

Since there is no necessity to obtain a warrant on foriegn calls, and no necessity to obtain a warrant on second parties to authorized eavesdropping operations, it is pretty clear that there is nothing wrong with the NSA wiretapping operations that are ongoing. Not only is this policy fully within the framework of the Constitution, it is all but mandated in the President's oath of office. The Democrats need to get off their hatred of everything this administration does and get their priorities in order.

The ACLU has brought a lawsuit against the government for this operation, hoping to stop it immediately. This is not just misguided, but genuinely evil. If they are successful, I know squarely where to place the blame for the next terrorist attack on American soil.