August 03, 2002


mentioned in the previous post is produced with archives from the recently-bombed Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I wonder now if American insurance companies will force the US tour to be cancelled, as it was in China, because they're worried about "risky Jewish origins?" No? Well, they just did that to the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra tour:

Shoshani said his American contact received the same answer from each company he approached. "We can't take the risk due to the high fear of terror attacks." Shoshani said that apparently in the United States, the IPO "has become a security risk." ...Yediot Aharonot reported that orchestra members, including musical director Zubin Mehta, were stunned by the sudden cancellation.

Tell me, are the Sears Tower and Empire State Building still insured? How about airports and airlines? When senior political figures make speeches, are the venues insured? I'll bet they all are. So is this anti-risk common sense or anti-Israel bias? Either way, I hope we'll still be able to learn more about the exceedingly brilliant "Man of the Century" beginning at the American Museum of Natural History on November 15. It's then scheduled to travel to various US cities next summer.
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August 02, 2002


We know how tough they are on all religious people, but the Communists are really off their rocker with this:

China has forced the cancellation of an Israeli exhibition about Albert Einstein because it referred to the physicist's Jewish identity...The incident follows another diplomatic row when Beijing served pork and shrimps - both forbidden to religious Jews - to an Israeli delegation to punish their country for an arms deal that had fallen through.

And you thought raising a second child is expensive for the average couple? Try it in China, where one province has:

raised fines for second children to eight times an offending couple's annual income...Villagers claim family planning officials operate by terror in many counties, forcing women to have abortions and imposing penalties on families, most commonly demolishing their homes. Mr Bush last week withdrew £23 million of funding for the United Nations Population Fund in response to reports that forced abortions were common in Sihui county in Guangdong

Hey, at least they'll have nicely modified weather for the Olympics, because image is everything.

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didn't take my hint and pen what would have been a unique, powerfully descriptive and moving story about the Somerset miners. At least not yet. Like no other writer, she could have taken us down into the depths of the mine and their minds, brought us soaring out into the light of hope realized, then imparted broader meaning to it all. I guess we'll just have to imagine it for now.

She instead segued from her last amazing column to reflect more on "John Paul the Great." She could have skipped it though, since she said so much in just two paragraphs last week. Not being a Catholic myself, I see that John Paul is a noble, yet humble individual fighting against a mammoth bureaucracy of priestly fiefdoms. Unfortunately, his failure for whatever reason to demand accountability and reform in the Church diminishes his legacy as a shepherd. All the power that Noonan is happy to see remain in the papacy may be wasted if he dies, and someone not as great becomes pope. It's time for him to use up all his religious capital on behalf of current and future victims, and shake up the priesthood. The laity are ready. Hopefully the cardinals are too.

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An on-again, off-again FBI investigation into Steven Hatfill, the main "non-suspect" in the anthrax case is now on again. Here's the latest info. So why can't the guy be a suspect, and why is it going so slow? The agency is desperately trying to avoid another Richard Jewell fiasco. They're probably overreacting, but Jewell's life is pained even now, and the sad truth is he should have been our first 9-11 style hero. 60 Minutes II just had an interview with him and wrote:

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, though, has refused to settle with Jewell, and five years after the bombing, the paper is still fighting the case in court. Attorney Peter Canfield is defending the newspaper. ...Wood responds, “ Look, call him a suspect. Put it in your newspaper. You will not be sued for calling Richard Jewell a suspect. You will be sued when you publish in your newspaper that he's a villain, a bad man. He fits the profile of the lone bomber of the park. He sought publicity. And he's like Wayne Williams, a convicted murderer of children. Put that in your newspaper and you will be sued. That's what the Atlanta Journal and Constitution said about this man.”...In late October of 1996, the U.S. Attorney finally wrote a letter saying Jewell was not considered a target of the federal criminal investigation - a statement delivered to one of Jewell's lawyers at an out-of-the-way coffee shop, far away from the TV cameras. And unlike the very public FBI investigation of Jewell, there was no FBI press conference. Jewell and his attorney, Lin Wood, say the FBI was simply too embarrassed...Wood says suspicion remains. “You'd be surprised,” he says, “to know how many people come up to me and will still nudge me and say, ‘Hey, so tell me, did he really do it ?’ That question is still asked.”

I say Richard Jewell deserves a public Rose Garden award ceremony, because it's the only thing that can restore his name and dignity. If George Bush fails to give him one, then he should be as ashamed as Bill Clinton. I know it's not high on his priority list but it's the right thing to do. If he has to, he can just mix him in with other recent heroes to avoid embarrassment.
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is creating a giant sucking sound in Latin America. Banks are being closed and investors are fleeing Uruguay. They're following Argentina into the whirlpool, and Brazil isn't far behind. Then you have Bolivia, Paraguay...OK you get the message. Did I mention Mexico? Well, speaking of Mexico, I posted something earlier on the global financial crisis of 1998 and if you want some background on global financing problems, check that out. This problem in Latin America didn't happen overnight (hello Robert Rubin). Unfortunately though, the current plan for the region looks like more massive bailouts from the IMF and others -- now that concrete economic reforms aren't working politically.

The question is: Will Bush follow Bill to Bailout City? It's the easy way out of a big mess, and it worked for Clinton in the short-run. But, when you consider the serious political destabilization already underway due to Columbian drug cartels in the region, and the prospect of more leaders like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, we may have a serious problem on our hands no matter what.

UPDATE: The U.S. will provide an emergency $1.5B short-term loan for a few days so banks can open back up in Uruguay. Then the IMF takes over.

U.S. officials insisted that the loan was not a return to the bailouts of the Clinton years. They included support during the Asian crisis and billions of dollars in direct loans to Mexico in 1995 to help that country recover after it was forced to devalue its currency the year before. The Bush administration has softened its hard line in recent days against large IMF aid packages, given the troubles in Latin America.

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from Pakistan, but the current Saudi rulers may not live long enough to realize those dreams. Bryan posted some info below on the health of the royal family. It's not looking good for them, even if you ignore the princes dropping like sand flies. If they're going to fall, I'd much rather they fall now before they get nuclear warheads for their ballistic missiles and Wahabis take over. I'm sure we have a plan in place to protect our interests, if you know what I mean, and once we have troops over there based in a friendly Iraq it will be much easier to do. Anyhow, has the details:

"Saudi Arabia does not have weapons of mass destruction," the report, authored by former Pentagon official Anthony Cordesman, said. "It did, however, buy long-range CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China. Very senior Saudi officials have held conversations with officials involved in the Pakistani nuclear program, and possibly with similar officials in other countries."...U.S. officials said Saudi leaders have also discussed the procurement of new Pakistani intermediate-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. They said Saudi officials were invited to tour Pakistan's nuclear weapons facilities and that no sale has been concluded.

It seems the Middle East will be a very different place in five years with probable regime changes in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, maybe Syria, and even Jordan if a new state of Palestine causes ripples. Jordan's Hashemite king is great, but if ousted he could be used somewhere else, leaving the Palestinians to all merge together in glorious self-detonation self-rule.

UPDATE: By saying King Abdullah II is great, I mean it only in relative terms. In other words, he keeps a country half-full of Palestinians from becoming a basket case and seems to have a level head himself. Jordan has also been somewhat helpful to us lately, but the king may actually be playing both sides just like Syria is now doing. So although the jury is still out, he will be more useful once Saddam is gone. Even if someday he's no longer welcome in Jordan.

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The Economist has some mixed results to report regarding America's second front in the war on terror, based out of the Philippines for now. We definitely have some catching up to do, just as with any pest problem left alone for a while. Maybe we should have been on the case back in, say 1995?

Distinguishing between local and international terrorist outfits, or between formal organisations and bands of like-minded individuals, is next to impossible...The biggest breakthroughs in the fight against terror in the region have come by chance, or the would-be terrorists' incompetence. Philippine policemen stumbled on to schemes to assassinate the pope and bomb 12 American aircraft thanks to a fire in Mr Yousef's flat in Manila in 1995.
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August 01, 2002


of information on the Philippines factor in the OKC bombing was reported by James Patterson in the Indianapolis Star last week as Terry Nichols appeals his case to the Supreme Court:

Sealed court documents that I have obtained show that Nichols, McVeigh and possibly others, using a pre-paid phone card purchased under a fictitious name, called the Philippines dozens of times in the months before the bombing...Last week, Nichols asked the Supreme Court to determine whether the federal government withheld vital information from his earlier defense...In the months leading up to the bombing, Nichols made dozens of phone calls from his residences in Herington, Kan. and Las Vegas, Nev., and public pay phones in Junction City, Kan., to several numbers in the Philippines, according to telephone records and other sealed documents filed in connection with McVeigh's case. Nichols and McVeigh were convicted partly on evidence showing they made calls seeking bomb-making materials on a pre-paid phone card purchased from Spotlight magazine. They bought the card under the name "Daryl Bridges."...The phone logs of the Bridges card suggest more to the story. These are the same logs that defense attorney Steven Jones unsuccessfully tried to enter in the court record during McVeigh's trial.

Among all the calls he details, Nichols' final call to a suspected terrorist boarding house was placed On April 21, 1995 at 1:14 p.m, right before he turned himself in.

Meanwhile, some interesting info also reported last week in the alternative paper L.A. Weekly attempts to connect Mohamed Atta and Zacarias Moussaoui together -- at the same motel that OKC bombers McVeigh and Nichols reportedly stayed at in 1995, "interacting with a group of Iraqis during the weeks before the bombing."

UPDATE: For newcomers to the investigation into foreign terrorist connections to the OKC bombing perps, the circumstantial evidence isn't yet tied together conclusively so everyone is still digging, and finding things. Check out the links Bryan has put on the left side of the page. Click on the one with Terry Nichols' name to see why the Philippines is a critical link to establish.

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who may have thought I was being gullible, and the NY Times was helping out the Bush Administration, this article from the Washington Post today should disabuse you of those notions. As I replied to reader Bill Dennis' comment on an earlier post, if they tried to use the Times to plant stories you would see headlines like, "Bush Team Attempts Disinformation Campaign." They have their reliably disloyal sources to keep them up to speed. What's really going on here is certain people are afraid that a smaller force attacking unexpectedly at the center of Iraqi command structure would be a disaster, so they sabotaged the option. Surprise is the critical element that would have allowed a smaller force to succeed, and dissenters knew a leak would help them moot an argument that they weren't winning intellectually. It would be interesting to know which military planners are going beyond loyal disagreement to covertly undermining the war with classified information leaks. Here's a good excerpt from the article with safe descriptions of other options, let's hope we don't find out specifics in the Times:

Much of the senior uniformed military, with the notable exception of some top Air Force and Marine generals, opposes going to war anytime soon, a stance that is provoking frustration among civilian officials in the Pentagon and in the White House. In addition, some suspect that Powell’s stance has produced an unusual alliance between the State Department and the uniformed side of the Pentagon, elements of the government that more often seem to oppose each other in foreign policy debates. In addition, several other “bolt from the blue” approaches are being discussed behind closed doors and studied in war games. “There are a lot of out-of-the-box options, very few of which have gotten into the public eye,” said one Pentagon consultant. The Special Operations Command in particular has suggested some “tactically innovative” approaches that combine “precision strike and information dominance,” said a Pentagon official. Yet no matter how innovative the suggestions, the planners at Central Command seem to weigh them down with conventional thinking that would prolong both the preparations for any attack and the war itself, according to people involved in the process.
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This annoying question goes back and forth almost every day. I'm sick of caring. Does it even matter? To me he's dead -- dead with his ugly mouth shut. He was a publicity hound who had more guaranteed coverage than a Bush press conference, and compulsively made those videotapes to keep the faithful energized. So even if he's not dead, I'm glad his megalomaniacal personality has been humbled due to sickness and defeat in battle.

Well wait, what about this? If he's really as alive and sophisticated as some say, and still has his cash, then of course he must have hired a PR agency to advise him on his options. A good PR plan would have had him laying low for a while (but not too long) to create some mystery until he puts out his next big hit, thereby avoiding overexposure in today's competitive media environment. I'm only half-joking of course. Either way, the pressure is building and he can't afford to let "the Arab street" down. They, like some Elvis fans, hope and pray he's still alive and about to stage a comeback. If that happens, they and the TV media want to see a jocular "Fat Osama."

If he's alive, he better put on some pounds and do something soon according to Stratfor:

The problem for al-Qaida is that the same secrecy and compartmentalization that has hindered U.S. intelligence also makes it difficult for its own members to evaluate the organization's viability. Knowledge that its operatives have been captured, coupled with opacity about its capabilities, seems to have created a crisis of confidence in al-Qaida that Abu Ghaith's statement was designed to overcome. It appears to have succeeded, but this is a success with a time bomb built in. Abu Ghaith bought al-Qaida a few months, but if it does not strike soon, the crisis of confidence will return with a vengeance.

UPDATE: I was just beginning to write this when I accidentally posted it online. It wasn't even edited before, but it's final now. Hopefully that won't happen again.

UPDATE: In his latest column today, R. Emmett Tyrell echoes my frustration, ripping into the Osama-loving media and confidently announcing "He's Dead." Tyrrell credits Mark Steyn for being the only other journalist publicly taking the "Dust bin" position. No one counts the Arab News guy who took to bragging last month that we heard it from him first, because Mark Steyn actually got the bandwagon rolling well before that guy. (Thanks Dave)

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July 31, 2002


can be confusing to keep up with. National Review Online has a great synopsis. All the various communication techniques, hacking and counter-hacking make it seem like the battle will continue in cyberspace for a very long time. You would think Congress might legalize hacking against terrorists sites by having a constantly updated "approved list." It might take people away from hacking our own government servers. But instead, they're working on legalizing hacking against music lovers, where the "approved list" is infinite, and the hackers will only be big political contributors. Of course, not just any musician will be allowed to prowl the net looking for his garage band's songs and hacking people. So let them hack terrorists.
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A Hamas bomb killed more civilians in Jerusalem, including three Americans. It's all over the news today and it would just be another horrible bomb story, but this quote from witness Eddi Vaaknin woke me up:

"...the most difficult sight was that of a girl who didn't seem to be hurt or burned. She was dead with beautiful eyes, open."

It made my heart sink and put a human face on what has become numbing slaughter. The full report is here.

Meanwhile, Hamas is also now experimenting with chemical weapons for use in future bombs according to the Pentagon

UPDATE: Five Americans now dead along with two others, and Israel is poised to retaliate.
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Looks like senior holdovers from the last administration are still abusing their power by releasing personal information on the Republican challenger for governor of California, Bill Simon:

Landmark’s Levin said, "We are asserting that this does violate Section 6103 of the internal Revenue Code.” The point at issue is why it was thought necessary or legal to reveal the names of individual taxpayers. "William Simon Jr. is not a party to this complaint,” Levin said. "William Simon Jr. and his tax filings are not an issue in this complaint. And in fact, it is not even clear that William Simon entered into the tax shelter arrangement that the IRS is questioning with respect to KPMG.” Simon, running close in opinion polls with the unpopular incumbent Democrat Gov. Gray Davis, was blindsided by the government’s publicizing his name in the tax case.

Of course Gray Davis and others are blowing up the tax info as much as they can, safe in their knowledge that the media won't portray it as a dirty trick. This reminds me of when political hacks in the DoD released Linda Tripp's confidential files to smear her. I wonder if all the civil libertarians making the rounds lately are worried now that Bush is president? Nope, not about the IRS as long as Rossotti and Dem Party activist Stuart Gibson are still running the show. But if any Bush cronies started targeting enemies for leaks or audits there would be no end to the howls of protest on the nation's front pages. The history of recent abuses goes back to 1992. Some parts of the story were covered in the late 90's by the mainstream press, but they never covered all the details that concerned conservatives.
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to prepare for war. Saddam can relax and possibly work on a "Blue Nile" Ebola virus project now that we have to provide more justification to Congress and build up troops:

President Bush has told senior members of Congress the US will not launch a military attack on Iraq before the November midterm elections, giving Congress time to debate such an operation. The Pentagon has said it needs six more months to put forces in place to fight in Iraq.

As far as needing more proof for an attack, we could barely find all Saddam's bio/chem weapons with Scott Ritter's team trudging around the country. Demanding conclusive legal proof while dismissing repeated defector claims seems as crazy as trying enemy soldiers in civilian courts and not allowing the CIA to use "unsavory" enemy informants. Plus, it's not like Saddam hasn't supported terrorists for decades. Even though a sudden attack in Sept-Oct with smaller forces is now off the table, thanks in part to leaks I'm sure, it's amusing that this article covers the announced delay needed to build up troops but still says:

Options under discussion include:

* Attacking suddenly, without the lengthy and obvious buildup that preceded the 1991 Gulf War.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has great coverage today of Iraqi bioweapons and the search for ever-elusive proof. Iraq's main advantage is how tightly and brutally controlled the society is. "The central reality is uncertainty, and the defectors' stories only reinforce that," Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) said.

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July 30, 2002


The Saudis are slowly realizing their power was built on sand, and it's shifting away from Riyadh. So now they're lashing out at their "dwarf" neighbor for stealing some of it:

The dispute was ostensibly triggered by a June 25 live debate on Al Jazeera in which participants criticised Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's Middle East peace initiative, accused Saudi Arabia of having “betrayed the Palestinian cause,” and made disparaging remarks about the kingdom's founder. “Under the pretext of freedom, the station has been fighting against the freedom of others ... in a bid to serve its policies and the interests of those standing behind it,” Al Watan said. “Insults, abuses and dwarfing the role of others will not create a state. Sowing discord and playing with fire will not make history and civilisation,” it added.

Stratfor's excellent analysis covers what it all means for the war against Iraq:

Saudi daily al Watan called Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al Thani, a "dwarf" today after he met with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in Paris. The insult is just the latest in a string of sour notes sounded between Riyadh and Doha. Layers of resentment are contributing to the tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. At the surface, Riyadh is genuinely angry about the negative press coverage by Doha-based Al Jazeera, a satellite TV network that broadcasts relatively uncensored material throughout the Arab world. Beneath this outrage over Qatari press freedoms is the fear that Qatari support for a U.S. military campaign against Iraq could result in Washington's advancing its war plans.

The dwarf references seemed curious, so I did some checking around. Turns out Saddam calls corrupt Arab monarchies "throne dwarves." And Saudi Prince Sultan wanted to make Israel a "dwarf before a battle" a couple months ago. I guess the term really carries some weight over there. Oh, I bet the Saudis wouldn't like being called "soccer dwarves." But I prefer to play it safe and may use the more politically correct "little people of the sand."

UPDATE: Time asks, Do We Still Need the Saudis? (Thanks Dave)

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have been shut down again, while others are back online. Details from a friendly Pakistani site:

The websites, and www.jihad-online, could not be [reached] on Friday and Saturday...However, another pro-Osama website, alneda, is still functional...on the address, ...The exclusive Taliban website,, is also functional.

UPDATE: Speaking of, it was just reported that a few weeks back a Maryland man took the site over and cloned it, then offered it to the FBI.

Almost immediately after putting the site online July 16, he saw visitors from Arab nations and references to it on other militant Islamic Web sites. "I (was) tracing back to hostile message boards that say when translated, 'Praise Allah, the Alneda site is back up,'" Messner said. Since he couldn't write any new articles in Arabic, he needed the FBI's help to keep the site alive. He said FBI officials in Baltimore and Salisbury, Maryland, encouraged his work but took too long to decide how to help him.

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promo for tonight:

DATELINE NBC - TUESDAY, JULY 30 - 10:00 P.M. ET - Among the heroes: You’ve heard the theories about what happened aboard Flight 93. Now the astonishing truth. Never-before-revealed details about how a group of ordinary men and women together foiled a terrorist attack. The stories you haven’t heard about the heroes of Flight 93.

The article should appear here after the show airs. Good timing, since the mining rescue brought them back to our memory. Looks like the people over at the leftist radical site are going to need to get busy modifying their assertion that Bush and Cheney are sinister murderers who need to be impeached. Of course we know if the plane was really shot down, as Bush's orders did allow for, he would have just said so. Then he and the fighter pilot would have been courageous sympathetic wartime heroes just like the ones on board who actually did the takedown.
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I caught MSNBC editor-in-chief Jerry Nachman's new program yesterday, and he said after writing for the TV show "UC: Undercover" he kept his almost humorous I.D. badge that simply has "UNDERCOVER" written in under the photo. You know the punch line already. Yep, he's been able to use it for the entire year so far at airports. It's never failed him once. He's even got the dark sunglasses going on in the photo to convince any skeptics. And although we're tempted to say he just blew his cover, I bet he still has no problem using it. He may just need to add a gun in a shoulder holster so they know for sure he's the real deal. Meanwhile, it looks like we can't find enough qualified applicants to serve as passenger screeners. And on it goes...

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publishing leaked battle plan discussions, this time about taking Baghdad first:

The aim would be to kill or isolate Mr. Hussein and to pre-empt Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction...If that can be accomplished with a smaller invasion force than the 250,000 troops suggested in early drafts, the approach could appeal to skittish gulf allies whose bases would be required for a war...Something nearer the 250,000 figure might have to be deployed to the region anyway, to make sure that any forces that drop into Baghdad do not become isolated or surrounded, bereft of a land line providing military support, food and ammunition.

We come up with an innovative plan, then the NY Times tries their best to make sure we can't pull it off as we hoped. So is it even worth knowing about? After the last Times leak, David Horowitz pointed out how it may violate the Espionage Act. When you consider how these insider leaks are political and designed to throw our (not Saddam's) decision making process off course, they should go to prison. Even if we put lots of plans out there now to obscure the real one, it only benefits Saddam. Although we know the FBI is looking for the leakers, the Times seems to be getting a pass for their role. What will stop them from publishing more revisions of our war plans? Nothing but public shame or a boycott I guess.
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July 29, 2002


may have a new life in the Pakistan border region where they've blended into the population, and according to Pakistani terror experts they're "contracting out [local] terror assignments to Pakistani militant groups." Nice. The first part about their escape into Pakistan was known already, but the extent of their makeshift network is now becoming more clear. The good news is that Osama is probably still dead, and his Saad son may be taking over al-Qaeda. I may have transposed a word or two there.

(Thanks to Dave)

UPDATE: India claims Pakistan is harboring bin Laden and Pakistan goes ballistic. Well not literally, but they're very mad. You never know what can happen when these two start leveling accusations at each other.

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All of a sudden we have a scandal shy media who leave it to Robert Novak to report today how the IRS was used by Democrats to audit political enemies:

The IRS, perhaps unknowingly, incriminated itself July 8 with a 1,500-page document dump answering to four years of freedom of information requests by the watchdog organization Judicial Watch. The material shows that the IRS audit of Judicial Watch was preceded by written complaints from the White House and prominent Democratic members of Congress.

We need to give credit to one political audit target (a journalist no less) for staying on the case -- Joe Farah said it best a few years back with his challenge to Democrats:

Imagine how courageous you will appear -- challenging a president of your own party on a vital civil liberties issue. If you don't take this advice, you will have no excuses later. You will also demonstrate conclusively for the whole world to see that you do not really believe in civil liberties for one and all. It's only a question of whose ox is being gored.

Now that we're in the middle of a liberal frenzy about ensuring civil liberties for terrorists, the hypocrisy is evident and offensive. In contrast, the Bush administration gets frequent harsh criticism on serious issues by the same Joe Farah, Judicial Watch and other non-partisan conservatives. Intellectual freedom and consistency sure are refreshing. If you're still sitting way out on the lock-step left, it's not too late to defect. Remember, even Richard Nixon couldn't get the IRS to do his dirty work.
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I'm betting even more now that her next column will be a lofty take on the "Nine for Nine" mining miracle. A reader of that earlier post let me know her last column covered this "wonderful and terrible time of lore" we're now living in as history unfolds before us. I think she's really onto something that I and many others have felt but find hard to express. It's well worth reading what seems like her segue to Somerset.

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July 28, 2002


trying to blunt the discussion about his economic policies, and then steps deeper into other matters:

"These people ran on responsibility, but as soon as you scratch them, they go straight to blame," Clinton said. "Now, you know, I didn't blame his father for Somalia when we had that awful day memorialized in 'Black Hawk Down.' I didn't do that."

So he's saying he could have blamed Bush-41 for the deaths of his soldiers that day, but simply chose not to? It appears his guilt from refusing to approve the armor requested by the men under his command hasn't gone away after being "scratched" by the movie. So now he "goes strait to blame" Bush-41 in a slick passive-aggressive way, apparently to warn Dubya away from discussing the long-term effect of past economic policies.

NOTE: I could only find Clinton's full quote in one source on the entire web. The key phrase, "...when we had that awful day memorialized in 'Black Hawk Down.'" has been removed from the AP articles carried in most newspapers so as to completely change the message and remove the outrageous implications. If the AP reporters just wanted to shorten the newsworthy quote, why not be more politically honest and remove the second redundant "I didn't do that" at the end instead?

Posted by Chris Regan at 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


glad to see you arrived OK and are enjoying the strange new content on your own blog. I'm getting used to it, and wanted to publicly say thanks for the opportunity to contribute. Hopefully you'll get some good feedback from readers.

If anyone wants to send me an interesting article or feedback directly just email me here.

UPDATE: I had to edit that header so it was clear who I was addressing.

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, but I've found a local library where I may occassionally be able to blog. Since leaving Baltimore for Kansas, I've learned two things:

1. Kansas is hot. It was 102 yesterday. I went for a walk in the afternoon, only to turn around after a few minutes and head back in inside, drenched with sweat. It's been a while since I've walked in a scorcher like that.

2. Tabasco is pretty good on popcorn. Stuck for a while in O'Hare Airport, got hungry, found a wacky cheese popcorn concoction with Tabasco. Not bad--not spicy enough, but not bad.

I see Chris has been blogging away. Cool. My guest blogger experiment is off to a good start.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


on the brink of collapse? That's what this article says (ok, it's a Guardian article, but it's still interesting). The last couple of paragraphs sum it up:

The tensions between the royal factions will intensify with the
death of King Fahd. The condition of the king, in hospital in
Switzerland, is 'unstable', doctors said.

British-based Saudi dissident Dr Saad al-Fagih said: 'There is
now an undeclared war between the factions in the Saudi royal

So my question is, so what if the House of Saud does fall? Even if it's to a more radical regime, it would probably just serve to clarify our relationship with them. The problem as things now stand is that the Saudis greet us with smiles but seem to be doing everything they can behind the scenes to make our war more difficult to prosecute. There would be an oil problem, but we already have ways around that--Russia, Mexico, and Venezuela, just to name a few. So the end of the House of Saud isn't much of a crisis in my view, thought it might give us a handy excuse to, ahem, appropriate, a few oil fields if need be. Besides, as I've written before, shuffling the deck in Iraq is likely just the beginning of a domino effect, as regional powers either rise up to fight against us (and we beat them) or fall of their own accord (such as Iran seems poised to do).

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The New York Sun startup newspaper has some content online now, and thankfully Andrew Sullivan continues to do a great job exposing Rubin's role in "Bubba's Bubble" and finds this great closing quote:

“When people say Bill Clinton will go down as a great president because of his record on the economy, they mean two different things. First, they mean that Clinton’s economic policies have contributed to an unusually prosperous eight years. By and large, that’s true. Second, they mean that his economic team — including Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, and Alan Greenspan — developed an enduring formula for successful economic management. By and large, that’s nonsense. In fiscal policy, international economic policy, and monetary policy, the principles with which the Clinton administration has become identified can’t solve the challenges faced by the next administration. In fact, they didn’t even solve the challenges faced by this one.” — John B. Judis, The New Republic, January 2001.

From my perspective, so many financial institutions and their clients in the 90's were encouraged to throw out the old economic rules while taxpayers took all the risk, just like with Citibank's bailout in Mexico and Enron's sweetheart deal in India. For some good background info check out the 1999 PBS Frontline investigation The Crash: Unraveling the 1998 Global Financial Crisis. Lots of great interviews. Frontline concluded, "Americans became unknowing investors in a laboratory experiment in globalization." So much global lending was based on the Greenspan-Rubin signals that there was hardly any risk for lenders, and famously no more business cycle to worry about either. William Greider said in 1997 that "US insistence on unfettered flow of capital will prove to be dangerous." How the global crash was patched up, by rewarding friends in financial institutions with all the taxpayer revenue generated by the bubble itself, ultimately failed. It left a lot of problems unaddressed as we now know. And now that the market has deflated we need to brace for a liquidity shortage that could derail our still lively economy.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


or you're with the terrorists. Or both. It seems that Syria, who was recently awarded a seat on the UN Security Council while still supporting terrorism, has found a convenient way to feign support for the war against terror. It appears they'll just interrogate certain terrorists for the CIA. Of course the CIA isn't allowed to monitor the interrogation, so the Syrians could just lie if it suits their purposes:

Syria believes it can score points with the US by cooperating against Al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups to counterbalance its support for hard-line anti-Israel organizations such as Islamic Jihad and Lebanon's Shia Muslim Hizbullah. "Al Qaeda and its associates are not favored by the [Syrian] regime," says Nizar Hamzeh, professor of politics at the American University of Beirut. "So the Syrians are more than happy to deal with the US against such groups." The Syrian authorities have refused to publicly confirm that they are holding Mr. Zammar, the Syrian-born German reported to have connections to the 9/11 hijackers. Sources in Damascus say that the CIA has not been granted access by the Syrians to directly question Zammar.

Ignoring the moral aspects or efficacy of the presumed torture, it doesn't seem worth it to let Syria ride the fence in the war like this. It's like using one drug cartel or mafia family to interrogate a rival and then trusting their report. It doesn't get you much but gives them much needed legitimacy. Just as we did with Pakistan and are finally doing with the Palestinians, it's time to demand key concessions before dealing with terrorist supporters. I've noticed we don't openly warn Syria much, as we may just be playing along short-term, but also it may be that in the long-term Israel is going to take care of them if they continue to support terrorists in Lebanon who attack northern Israel.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Here's hoping we're seeing a trend. The report from Somerset PA (Sept 11 crash site of Flight 93) is all nine PA coal miners are still alive after being trapped for days, hundreds of feet down, with millions of gallons of very cold water. Only two guys were initially reported slightly injured, and six have just been pulled out with the other three still to go. Every 15 minutes another one comes up soaking wet from the bowels of the earth and is treated for hypothermia. The hot air that was pumped down to them saved their lives.

With all the terror anxiety, business and Catholic Church scandals to go with the ever-present political scandals, and the children recently ripped out from under their parent's noses as if we had wild lions roaming about, we needed some good news out of this mine collapse. Last year we had the heroic takedown of Flight 93 in Somerset. Last week we had one tough child from Philly gnaw her way through duct tape and kick down a door to escape her captivity. And now we have a dramatic rescue of nine more tough Americans thanks to a whole team of fellow heroes (yep, we may as well add miners to our new list of rescue heroes to celebrate).

It should remind us once again that "elites" in government aren't the ones who can save us with more and more laws, and that we all need to get tougher and more ingenious to survive and save others. Now if we can only figure out a way to straighten out the weak uncreative bureaucratic mindset in D.C. so we can survive as a nation.

UPDATE: At the risk of pre-empting Peggy Noonan's take on this rescue, I have a feeling "Nine for Nine!" is the latest proud American slogan to go with "Let's Roll!" You may only understand this if you live in or vote with the vast red part of the election map. Otherwise it's often..."What are they saying? Lettuce roll? Let us rule? Nein 49? I just don't get it, but they seem excited about something." It's poetic that both come from horrible events in Somerset PA that were transformed into great moments for America by great American heroes.

Posted by Chris Regan at 01:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack