November 08, 2002


From UPI:

Did Ambassador John Negroponte pull off a classic bait and switch at the United Nations to ensure that the French and Russians finally went along? The U.S. permanent representative kept up the negotiations for eight weeks, and ensured that most of the fuss was about paragraphs 1, 4 and 12. Paragraph 1 says that Iraq "has been and remains in material breach" of U.N. Resolutions. Paragraph 4 says that Iraq's non-cooperation with the inspectors would be "a further material breach." And paragraph 12 says that if the United Nations if the inspectors report non-compliance, the security council must reconvene immediately to consider "the need for full compliance." And there is some quiet self-satisfaction among the Brits and Americans that paragraph 5 -- the silver bullet -- went through with little fuss. This says the inspectors must have "immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and private access to all officials and other persons" and that the inspectors "may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside Iraq." This means an open ticket to the West for all the best brains in Iraqi who would like to leave. It is also the guarantee that Iraq can be declared in material breach if access to any designated scientist, technician, official or civilian is denied. And the CIA and Britain's SIS have drawn up a very long list.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Pelosi has won. San Francisco-style leftism will now dominate the House Dems' approach. Another win for Bush.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Rep. Martin Frost of Texas is out of the race to succed Dick Gephardt as minority leader in the House. Frost is a sharp guy, and would've been a nasty thorn for President Bush to deal with. He's also from Texas, which might have complicated things too by putting a genuine Southerner at the helm. His exit leaves liberal ideologue Nancy Pilosi squaring off against the more moderate and likable Harold Ford of Tennessee.

Go Nancy!

I can't think of a better face to put on the Dems than an unreconstructed lib like her.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Jonathan Chait offers up a few reasons why he thinks the Dems are struggling while the GOP is ascending. He never mentions the war, which is telling--I maintain that the war really is the trump card right now, with a host of other issues playing second tier. But toward the end Chait offers a little hope for his fellow donks:

This isn't to say Democrats will continue to lose forever. Eventually, something--a deep recession, a disastrous Republican overreach--will come along to rescue them.

And this, I think, illustrates the biggest difference between the parties:

The Democrats pin their hopes on your misery, in the form of deep recessions, wartime disasters, and so forth.

The Republicans, on the other hand, pin their hopes on your success, in the form of a blossoming economy and a war win.

For those of you on the fence, remember that.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


The UN has unanimously OKd a new resolution ordering Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences"--i.e. war. Even Syria went our way in the end. Now Saddam is utterly alone as he should be. Bush wins again, but we strengthened his hand on Tuesday, making this a win for the American way of doing things--straightforward, direct and unflinching in the face of danger.

Paradoxically, this probably makes all-out war less likely. Sure, we'll probably still have to go in and take out Saddam, but his neighbors surely must see that today's vote puts them in a tight box if they decide to support him.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Amazing. A TV gabfest has gotten so bad even Madonna thinks it's sunk too low:

Michael Starr in his STARR Report in the New York Post writes: Let's go to the tape: Madonna, 'GMA' mix it up So what's the deal between Madonna and "Good Morning America"?

Madonna scolded "GMA" Monday during a call-in interview on L.A.'s KIIS FM with DJ Rick Dees - when a Dees sidekick brought up a "GMA" report which aired last July concerning the case of Lynn Stuckey, who continues to breast feed her 8-year-old son. The report included videotape of Stuckey in action.

"Why is there a tape of this?" Madonna said. "I tell you, the world is collapsing . . . how dare 'GMA' play it. People have no morals, I swear to God, it's unbelievable . . . the things people do for ratings is unforgivable."

"This was clearly a controversial story that captured the attention of many concerned viewers, including Madonna," "GMA" said in a statement.

"We love Madonna, are happy she's watching 'GMA' and welcome her on the show. We're also looking foward to featuring one of her hottest new artists, Jorge Moreno, on 'GMA' this Friday."

Madonna, without the slightest trace of irony, insists that "people have no morals." It's a self-fisking.

(from ShopTalk)
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November 07, 2002


Or willfull ignorance? Robert Fisk opines on the recent terrorist kill in Yemen. As you might expect, he's not happy about it:

"A clean shot" was The Washington Post's revolting description of the murder of the al-Qa'ida leaders in Yemen by a US "Predator" unmanned aircraft. With grovelling approval, the US press used Israel's own mendacious description of such murders as a "targeted killing" – and shame on the BBC for parroting the same words on Wednesday. How about a little journalistic freedom here? Like asking why this important al-Qa'ida leader could not have been arrested. Or tried before an open court. Or, at the least, taken to Guantanamo Bay for interrogation.

So let me get this right. An al Qaeda terrorist likely responsible for the deaths of untold innocents is an "important leader." He should be taken to Gitmo--the very prison Fisk has denounced time after time--for interrogation instead of the summary judgement he got. He decries the lack of "journalistic freedom" while simultaneously revelling in it by using that freedom to denounce our country, his own country and several others. Look, Fisk, if there were no journalistic freedom you'd be in a gulag by now. But you're not--you're still free to spread your moronic ravings. Get a freakin' clue.

But a "clean shot" is what President Bush appears to want to take at the United Nations. First, he wants to force it to adopt a resolution about which the Security Council has the gravest reservations. Then he warns that he might destroy the UN's integrity by ignoring it altogether. In other words, he wants to destroy the UN. Does George Bush realise that the United States was the prime creator of this institution, just as it was of the League of Nations under President Woodrow Wilson?

Since when does it matter who created the UN? We created it, of course, but not so that it could keep us from defending ourselves. We and our allies got together to create the UN to give us an international framework for dealing with tyrants like Saddam Hussein. As it has apparently ceased to function, it deserves destruction--so that we can make up a new body that will a) enforce its own resolutions, and b) stop hindering us as a free and sovereign country. We made the UN so that it would be useful, no so that it can strangle us.

"Targeted killing" – courtesy of the Bush administration – is now what the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon can call "legitimate warfare". And Vladimir Putin, too. Now the Russians – I kid thee not, as Captain Queeg said in the Caine Mutiny – are talking about "targeted killing" in their renewed war on Chechnya. After the disastrous "rescue" of the Moscow theatre hostages by the so-called "elite" Russian Alpha Special forces (beware, oh reader, any rescue by "elite" forces, should you be taken hostage), Putin is supported by Bush and Tony Blair in his renewed onslaught against the broken Muslim people of Chechnya.

Notice who Fisk thinks we should be aware of--not terrorists, but those who would rescue us from terrorists. Man, does this guy need to be taken hostage by someone, just so he'll get a nice dose of reality. What an idiot.

I'm a cynical critic of the US media, but last month Newsweek ran a brave and brilliant and terrifying report on the Chechen war. In a deeply moving account of Russian cruelty in Chechnya, it recounted a Russian army raid on an unprotected Muslim village. Russian soldiers broke into a civilian home and shot all inside. One of the victims was a Chechen girl. As she lay dying of her wounds, a Russian soldier began to rape her. "Hurry up Kolya," his friend shouted, "while she's still warm."

Now, I have a question. If you or I was that girl's husband or lover or brother or father, would we not be prepared to take hostages in a Moscow theatre? Even if this meant – as it did – that, asphyxiated by Russian gas, we would be executed with a bullet in the head, as the Chechen women hostage-takers were? But no matter. The "war on terror" means that Kolya and the boys will be back in action soon, courtesy of Messrs Putin, Bush and Blair.

So the actions of one or two bad soldiers negates the morality of an entire conflict? No, of course not, else one lone unstable soldier could sully a war fought bravely and honorably by millions of his countrymen. Again, get a freakin' clue. And where is this guy's criticism of bin Laden, Arafat, Saddam and all the others who wantonly, daily, murder innocents as a central tactic? Targeting civilians is a war crime, Mr. Fisk--Yasser Arafat, holder of a Nobel Peace Prize, is probably the most murderous war criminal on the face of the earth. Where's your smack talk for him?

Let me quote that very brave Israeli, Mordechai Vanunu, the man who tried to warn the West of Israel's massive nuclear war technology, imprisoned for 12 years of solitary confinement – and betrayed, so it appears, by one Robert Maxwell. In a poem he wrote in confinement, Vanunu said: "I am the clerk, the technician, the mechanic, the driver. They said, Do this, do that, don't look left or right, don't read the text. Don't look at the whole machine. You are only responsible for this one bolt, this one rubber stamp."

Kolya would have understood that. So would the US Air Force officer "flying" the drone which murdered the al-Qa'ida men in Yemen. So would the Israeli pilot who bombed an apartment block in Gaza, killing nine small children as well as well as his Hamas target, an "operation" – that was the description, for God's sake – which Ariel Sharon described as "a great success".

So the US Air Force officer that offed a murderous goon is now a murderer, and no better than a guy who raped a girl? You can't be serious. Oh yeah, I forgot, you're Robert Fisk. Always serious, and always wrong. As for the Hamas operative killed among the nine children, wasn't he hiding among those children so that killing him would be more difficult? That's a war crime too, by the way. Then on whose hands is their blood?

These days, we all believe in "clean shots". I wish that George Bush could read history. Not just Britain's colonial history, in which we contrived to use gas against the recalcitrant Kurds of Iraq in the 1930s. Not just his own country's support for Saddam Hussein throughout his war with Iran. The Iranians once produced a devastating book of coloured photographs of the gas blisters sustained by their soldiers in that war. I looked at them again this week. If you were these men, you would want to die. They all did. I wish someone could remind George Bush of the words of Lawrence of Arabia, that "making war or rebellion is messy, like eating soup off a knife."

And I suppose I would like Americans to remember the arrogance of colonial power. Here, for example, is the last French executioner in Algeria during the 1956-62 war of independence, Fernand Meysonnier, boasting only last month of his prowess at the guillotine. "You must never give the guy the time to think. Because if you do he starts moving his head around and that's when you have the mess-ups. The blade comes through his jaw, and you have to use a butcher's knife to finish it off. It is an exorbitant power – to kill one's fellow man." So perished the brave Muslims of the Algerian fight for freedom.

What does this have to do with anything? He might as well bring up England's rough treatment of William Wallace, and Cain's little spat with Abel. The wrong actions of predecessors doesn't dent the morality of our present cause.

No, I hope we will not commit war crimes in Iraq – there will be plenty of them for us to watch – but I would like to think that the United Nations can restrain George Bush and Vladimir Putin and, I suppose, Tony Blair. But one thing is sure. Kolya will be with them.

There's that rapist again, as if that had anything to do with disarming a madman with nasty weapons. Fisk is as far from a clue as east is from west. As for the UN "restraining" us, that's the problem we're trying to fix. And we will, one way or the other.

Whew. I hadn't written a genuine Fisking for a long time.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:39 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


George W. Bush sent Ann Richards--once a Dem bright star--into retirement. He got a tax cut passed that has kept the Dems in a corner ever since. He whipped a shadowy terrorist enemy in a far-flung country known for grinding down empires. He won back Republican control of the Senate, increased Republican hold on the House, and helped the party hold its own in state houses around the nation. And now he seems to have the UN lining up behind his plans for disarming Iraq.

Don't mess with Texans.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


What will CAIR make of this:

A former leader of a Seattle mosque was arrested yesterday on charges that he illegally bought a semiautomatic handgun for Semi Osman, a Tacoma man allegedly connected to al-Qaida.

Abdul Raheem Al Arshad Ali allegedly bought the weapon in September 1999 at a Federal Way gun shop for Osman, a non-U.S. citizen not allowed to possess a firearm, according to a complaint filed by an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Ali appeared in U.S. District Court yesterday, charged with lying to the gun dealer about who was actually buying the Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Ali is the third man associated with the Dar-us-Salaam Mosque in the Central District to face federal charges in recent months. Osman and James Ujaama, who is accused of being a terrorist conspirator, are alleged to have been involved in a plot to set up an al-Qaida training camp near Bly, Ore.

Remember, Ujaama and a certain John Allen Muhammad allegedly attened the same training camp in Georgia--the one that used school buses and police cars as targets.

UPDATE: Duh! The training camp, called Ground Zero, is actually in Alabama. My bad.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


John Miller writes in NRO today that as Hispanics make population gains in Texas in the coming decades, the currently dominant GOP will begin to decline. This could turn Texas into a more competitive state for the Dems--who lost all statewide races on Tuesday--or even push Texas into the Democrat column. Maybe, maybe not.

While it's true that Texas is becoming more Hispanic, as Miller notes Texas' Hispanics are the second most conservative Hispanics in the nation, after Cubans, and they are social conservatives for the most part. But there's a second story going on in rural Texas that may offset any Democrat gains statewide.

Leon County is a typical Texas county--mostly rural, dominated by sprawling ranches but with a few towns scattered along the highways. Since Reconstruction, Leon County has been a Democrat stronghold, and as recently as 1998 only one Republican held office in the county, and he was a Justice of the Peace in Leon's wealthiest precinct. But in 1998 things began to swing wildly toward the GOP, thanks to one simple campaign idea: the Republicans erected a billboard listing where the parties stand on various issues. That year, the GOP also began to field more qualified candidates to run against entrenched Democrat office holders, and persuaded one or two old-time Dems to switch. The catalyst for those switches turned out to be the liberalism of Bill Clinton, and his antics in the Oval Office played a major role in persuading these rural, traditional Texans that the Democrat Party was no longer a home for them.

The result: Today, Republicans hold nearly all major offices throughout the country, from county judge on down. All it took to persuade most voters in the county to try out the Republicans was a fact-based billboard along one of the area's busiest roads (busy being a relative term in a county where cattle outnumber the people). This strategy is very easy to replicate, and is likely to work throughout east and southeast Texas, as well as the west--areas that have recently shifted toward the GOP in statewide and national races but remained Democrat strongholds when it comes to local elections. When the two parties' values are put up side-by-side in Hispanic areas, it's likely to be effective as well, as Texas' Hispanics tend to be socially conservative while voting economically to the center or to the left. The effect of strengthening the GOP's hand in local races is obvious--a deeper pool of talent to run statewide, and a more GOP-friendly electorate across the board.

Texas Republicans will face a tough challenge in persuading enough Hispanics to go their way in the coming decades, but they shouldn't be given up for dead just yet. A simple strategy just might keep Texas a pachyderm state.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:34 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 06, 2002


Rep. Dick Gephardt is stepping aside as House minority leader; Sen. Daschle plans to run for another term as the Dems' Senate leader. Somewhat unfortunately, the Republicans will probably keep Sen. Trent Lott as the Senate Majority Leader.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Andrew Sullivan's take on why Simon lost California--that he was too hard right--is silly and exposes one of the fault lines within Sullivan's ideology. It goes along with his fervent Catholicism in the teeth of his personal rejection of many of its core values, and is something of a disconnect. Simon lost because he's a dork who ran an imbecilic campaign. He actually had lots of help from Gray Davis, who ran several million dollars' worth of TV ads aimed at knocking Riordan out of the GOP primary, and that blitz succeeded, leaving only the GOP's worst possible candidate (because of points already mentioned) to face off against Davis. Simon's political ideology played little, if any, role in his defeat.

Sullivan uses Simon to caution the GOP that "religious right conservatism" is poison, and that the Republicans should therefore spurn us. Tell that to George W. Bush, who is closer to the religious right than the less-religious center--and has just won one of the most amazing victories in American political history. Sulli, the religious right is the core of the GOP. If the GOP follows your advice, it will collapse. Ditto the Catholic church, on most issues.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:26 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


I wonder if the second printing of this book might contain a few changes from the first run.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


UPI offers up a sampling of world reaction to the big win:

"We are dealing with a power that has no limit in its dealing with foreign issues," said Mohammed Shaker, head of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations, whose wariness of a Bush administration unrestrained by any other branch of government was widely shared beyond U.S. shores.

Sounds like he works for

"If there were much hope for any American compromises on international issues like the Kyoto Protocol (on global warming) and the International Criminal Court, this election result probably knocks all that on the head," commented one European ambassador. "This might not be an easy administration to work with in the sense of finding agreed solutions. I suspect we might hear rather more 'take it or leave it.'"

And your point is...?

Taku Yamasaki, secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, concluded that America's War on terrorism would continue even more forcefully, since the Republican victory "confirms that public opinion remained united behind the Bush administration's policy."

"In terms of foreign policy, Mr. Bush would gain much more leeway in dealing with the war on terrorism and the Iraq threat," said Singapore's Straits Times.

Yup, that seems to be the point alright. Here's my favorite:

"The big loser of these elections, apart from the democrats, is none other than Saddam Hussein," commented the left-wing French daily Liberation. "An election setback for Bush would have been inevitably interpreted as a rejection by the American people of his threatening rhetoric against 'the axis of evil' whose pivot lies in Baghdad. Bush can thus henceforth claim a strong mandate of popular support for his politics of enforced disarmament of Iraq, and also in his dealing with the U.N."

Daschle and Saddam, felled by the same electoral result. Sweet.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Jennifer Palmieri, Democrat spokewoman and aide to (likely outgoing) DNC chief Terry McAulliffe, says President Bush spent all of his political capital on the mid-terms. That, my friends is hooey--Palmieri is merely putting the best face on a bona fide rout.

Dems should try and spin this--a gender gap has opened up, and it doesn't favor them at all. I noticed it during one of Fox's wrap-ups of the Bush win in Florida last night--women were split evenly between the two parties, while men went something like 60-40 for the GOP. I doubt the mainstream media will talk about it much, but this widening gender gap spells trouble for the donks, especially with a war on.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


The infighting within the Dems is probably going to get ugly. This morning's newsletter shows that the party's hard left has learned nothing. Here are a few of the headlines:

Republicans Gain Control of Senate; Lincoln Chafee May Cross Aisle - Thus
Blocking the Bush Dictatorship

Republican-Lite Democrats Get Clobbered, and the Bush Dictatorship Begins

Senator Daschle Projects No Avalanche of Judicial Appointments in Senate

McBride Vote Registers for Bush in Rigged Florida Machines

People for the American Way's Election Protection Squad Confirms Serious
Problems with Touch-Screen Machines in Miami-Dade County

Surprise, Surprise! Worst Voting Glitch in Nation Occurs in Texas

Terry McAuliffe Denounces GOP Voter Intimidation and Suppression Efforts as

Bush is the Most Partisan - and Corrupt - Resident in History

The Dem left thinks their party lost because it wasn't far enough to the left and hard enough on Bush. The Dem center thinks their party lost because its lefties are too shrill and lack seriousness on the war. The left is right, in that the Dems' lack of a clear message and alternative to the GOP kept its core voters on the sidelines. The center is also right, though--the left is too shrill and unwilling to defend America, and is more focused on getting and increasing political power than anything, including breathing and eating.

This really feels like 1984--morning in America, GOP strength and Dem disarray.

With all the retreads running for the Dems this year, I do spot a trend and will be the first to make a prediction for the big race two years from now:

McGovern in 2004!
Posted by B. Preston at 09:31 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack


, but I'm in a little bit of a state of shock. It feels to some extent like the country has broken somewhat toward the conservative side and therefore the GOP. Republicans have been rewarded for doing what's right--standing for strong national defense, low taxes and American interests. President Bush has been vindicated as a strong leader and a shrewd campaigner, and a loyal party man. He put his prestige on the line in this election, and it has paid off. His win tonight is surely historic, and portends well for his agenda even if the Senate ends up remaining in Democrat hands.

The state of Maryland, and the country as a whole, seems to have shrugged off race-baiting and gun-grabbing as worthy tactics. Both the race and gun cards got lots of play in Maryland by the losing side. Elsewhere, the usual Dem scare tactics seem to have failed them. That is a very good thing for the entire country.

The legal wrangling over this election seems to have been kept to a minimum too, thanks in part to Jeb Bush's decisive win in Florida. Arkansas has had its problems tonight, but time will tell whether it's ultimately of any importance, and Minnesota still threatens, but this has been a far more peaceful election than I expected.

Like I said, I'm a bit shocked. I've come to expect Democrats to always get their way, play the usual canards and win, and Republicans to roll over and take it. Tonight's results aren't without blemish, but for us pure conservatives it's important not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. It has been a good night for our cause from Massachusetts to Georgia, and from Maryland to points south and west. Enjoy it.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Bob Ehrlich has just taken the stage in Baltimore to deliver his victory speech. His winning streak continues--Ehrlich has yet to lose a political race of any kind, from Maryland state legislature, to the US House, and now Maryland governor.

I have to say that as a transplanted Texan with a mile wide conservative streak, the thought of heading north to Pennsylvania or south to Virginia in the event of a Townsend win had crossed my mind. Now I can stay put.

Ehrlich just mentioned Townsend, thanking her for a hard-fought race, etc and so forth. In contrast to Townsend's supporters, who booed Ehrlich, this crowd applauded out of respect. Ehrlich just mentioned President Bush, who deserves a decent chunk of the credit for Ehrlich's win. He visited Baltimore just a few weeks ago, stumping for Ehrlich and helping him raise $1.6 million. That cash put the Ehrlich campaign on a financial par with Townsend's, and he never trailed thereafter. President Bush has also been proven prescient tonight. You know how he nicknames everyone, right. Well, when Ehrlich announced his run for Annapolis, Bush started calling him "governor" when they'd meet.

By the way, the Democrats may want to rethink their reliance on get out the vote campaigns and scare tactics. Maryland had a 65% turnout today, which is pretty good for a midterm, but the GOP guy won anyway. The donks might want to get back to discussing real issues without demagoguery. Steele and Ehrlich have proven that bringing a little substance to the political discourse can lead to victory agains the odds.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 05, 2002


The GOP has made some history tonight in Maryland. Bob Ehrlich has taken the governor's race, the first Republican to do so since 1966. He beat a Kennedy in a Dem state, and beat a gun-grabbing liberal in a gun control state. It's fair to say that Ehrlich has shocked the political world a bit with his win. Now he gets the hard task of governing in a state with an overwhelming Dem majority in the state house, but he's overcome long odds more than once--I suspect he'll do it again.

Michael Steele has also made some history--he's the first black Lt. Gov. in Maryland history. Congrats to Ehrlich-Steele for running a great race and proving all the experts wrong.

Lest I paint too rosy a picture of the local political scene, the GOP will lose two US House seats in Maryland. Ehrlich's former Congressional District, #2, has fallen to Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger, and Connie Morella--probably the most liberal Republican in the House, has lost District 8. Her loss isn't an ideological hit for the GOP but is a seat loss, jeopardizing Republican leadership of committees and, ultimately, the House.

Elsewhere, things look very good for the GOP. The Senate seems destined for more plurality rule for the Dems, but the GOP held serve in North Carolina and New Hampshire, while picking up Georgia but losing Arkansas.

Back to Maryland for a moment, the recriminations for Townsend's loss have already started. A whisper campaign has been underway for months that Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley didn't support her strongly enough, and gave her a lukewarm endorsement at best, and that probably too late. O'Malley has been by most accounts (including my own) a very good mayor for Baltimore. Her loss, when Dems gained elsewhere around the state, is not O'Malley's fault--it is her own. She ran a wobbly campaign and had no real record to run on, so she spent most of her time either demonizing Ehrlich or running from her years as Lt Gov under the now very unpolular Gov Parris Glendenning.

Townsend is now delivering her concession speech, and the mention of Ehrlich's name has produced a chorus of boos from her supporters. To her credit, she's showing class in calming them down, but the rank and file Dems are displaying the same sort of class that was on display in Minnesota not long enough ago.

Townsend has condeded; the race is over; Ehrlich has now officially won. That's three.

UPDATE: Townsend mentioned and thanked Mayor O'Malley for his support during her concession speech--and more boos ensued. Class. But it's also a possible wound for O'Malley's political future. Maryland is a machine-driven state, with the Dem machine very well organized and normally cohesive. Townsend's campaign has exposed a rift here, in that her candidacy was weak enough to actually lose, and weak enough to make Dems like O'Malley think twice about supporting her.

Nationally, I think tonight's election will radicalize and fracture the Dems. The GOP has held its own in a mid-term, against the tide of history. It's a big win for President Bush, as his bold wall-to-wall campaigning has obviously paid off. The left wing Dems will see tonight as vindication of its anti-Bush get tough approach, while centrist Dems are likely to see tonight as a repudiation of the left. Oddly, I think both are right to some degree, and will fight each other as much as they unite to fight Bush and the GOP. For the GOP, it can't help but see President Bush as nearly messianic. He beat in incumbent VP in a prosperous time, and he's now helped his party hold its own in a mid-term with a divisive war looming on the horizon. Amazing.

Back in MD, Lt Gov (elect) Micheal Steele, who will be the first black Lt Gov in Maryland history, has now taken the podium. He seems tired, elated, and extremely happy. As he should, having helped turn Maryland upside down (in a good way, in my opinion).
Posted by B. Preston at 11:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


And so the long, dark night of the poll begins. Those of us who voted get to see whether we supported winners or losers; those who abstained have once again imperiled democracy with their apathy. Fraud and rumor of fraud abound--in Florida and New Jersey, and Georgia, newfangled tabulators seem to be living in opposite day, while in Montgomery County, Maryland, at least one precinct is plagued with Dem-friendly touch-screens. And speaking of Maryland, there's that business with the four fliers in Baltimore City, warning people to make sure they're right with the law before going to vote. And Boston seems to have union workers and cops entering voting booths and pushing around camera operators. Ann Richards used to say, before George W. Bush retired her, that politics is a contact sport. She had no idea.

Legal challenges in Minnesota and Florida are a near certainty. Lawyers have become just another component in our great election machine.

At this point, only the omnipresent Drudge has any data to dispense. Cornyn is up in Texas, Pryor is up in Arkansas, Dole and Bowles are neck and neck in NC. The Voter News Service seems to have become a disservice--at this point, no one is trusting its exit polling. So we're all in the dark probably for another hour or two. Predictions are everywhere--the Dems will pick up in the Senate; no, the GOP will retake the Senate and banish Jim Jeffords to political Siberia; no, the whole thing will still be split until Landrieau finishes her Louisiana runoff in December making Cheney the swing vote for a while.

Whatever the outcome, as I write this the polls are still open. If you haven't voted yet, go do it. Get off the net and go cast a vote. If you don't like any of your local candidates, write yourself in, but vote. Be like Effie Hobby, who's 105 years old and has voted in every election since 1920.

And once you've voted, keep one eye on Fox and the other eye on Jon Stewart. From Fox you'll get the straight dope; from Stewart you'll get a healthy dose of anti-network mockery. And eventually, you'll learn who won.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


French machinations aside, our troop movements must be keeping Saddam close to the Maalox.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Yesterday I posted a bit about the FBI Turkey's unit and its apparent attempt to slow translation of terror-related documents and interrogations. Howie Kurtz has an update:

The FBI made a last-minute attempt to derail a "60 Minutes" interview with a whistle-blower who worked for the bureau.

On Friday afternoon, Oct. 25, attorneys for Sibel Edmonds received a fax from FBI public affairs chief Michael Kortan, saying Edmonds was required to get prior approval before talking to CBS correspondent Ed Bradley.

Edmonds, who had already taped the interview, ignored the letter. The former wiretap translator told Bradley, as she had told The Washington Post in June, that many documents in terrorism investigations aren't translated because of incompetence and corruption. Edmonds is suing the FBI over her subsequent firing.

"They wanted the '60 Minutes' show not to air," Stephen Kohn, Edmonds's lawyer, says of FBI officials. "They didn't want to be criticized. They called it a 'setup.' . . . On the eve of when the show was to air, they come in screaming national security. It was pure public relations. What it accomplished was scaring my client and making her extremely nervous and very upset."

In the FBI fax, Kortan warned that Edmonds signed an agreement as an employee that "expressly prohibits disclosure (without prior approval from the Director of the FBI or his delegate) of information acquired as part of the performance of her contract."

Kortan says in an interview there was no attempt to kill the story. "She was just reminded of her obligations that were part of her contract with the FBI," he says. While Kohn says the non-disclosure agreement is generally invoked only for books and articles on national security, Kortan says its use is "not uncommon" for television interviews.

The bureau also waited weeks -- until that Saturday -- to give "60 Minutes" a brief comment about FBI officials taking the whistle-blower charges seriously, which Bradley added to the end of his piece.

So they fired Edmonds, then tried to silence her by dredging up some non-disclosure agreement to intimidate her. Keystone cops are our front-line against terror. No wonder they missed 9 zillion signals that 9-11 was in the offing.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo are now suspects in an unsolved Arizona murder. This one involves a long-range shot that killed a man while he was practicing on a golf course back in March.

Hmm. Killing on a golf course. Where have I heard that before?

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I went first thing this morning to cast my vote, participate in our republic and all that. Beautiful day here in Maryland, a little cold but nice.

As I strode up the steps to the polling place I passed a couple dozen activists, standing around, handing out fliers and sporting T-shirts emblazoned with various candidate logos. One woman stepped up to me, offering a pamphlet of some sort while saying "Vote Green--for a change." I sneered and kept walking.

Inside the polling place, all I had to do was state my name. No ID required, and I didn't even have to show my voter card which I had at the ready. I didn't have to tell them my address or prove in any way that I am who I say I am. Such is Maryland law--any request for ID on the part of poll workers is considered "intimidation," so they don't ask. I heard a radio talk show caller the other day describe his adventure with absentee ballotting. In Maryland, anyone can become an "agent" for shut-ins and thereby get their absentee ballot request form. This caller had seen a man step up to the local clerk and ask for the forms for several shut-ins, never providing any form of ID or any legal documentation showing his "agent" status. All he had to do was tick off a few names, and then claim to be their agent, and request the forms. Bingo--the guy probably gets to vote four or five times in this election.

So after stating my name at the first set of card tables, a gentleman handed me my ballot and the other paperwork and off I went. According to the ballot scanner I was the 193rd person voting in my precinct this morning. There was hardly any line--I only waited a couple of minutes, and was in the place a total of about 5 minutes.

I expect Bob Ehrlich to become Maryland's next governor, provided everything is on the up and up. Given Maryland's legal system which amounts to an open invitation to fraud, I'm dubious that this election will be completely clean. Already, the Dems are trying to make an issue of four weird, and very poorly produced, fliers that showed up in Baltimore yesterday (my initial suspicion is that the Dems are behind it). It's the usual Dem scare tactic--the Republicans will burn your church/starve your kids/force you to eat spinach and drink motor oil kind of stuff. That's not what has me worried though--it's the Dem machine here, which is adept at manipulating the system's holes to win election after election. This year they're desperate--their gov candidate is on the ropes, and as we've seen in Minnesota, New Jersey and elsewhere, they'll do anything to win. I'm sure this will be a long day, full of surprises and dirty tricks.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Hamas has started its own kids' newspaper. It ain't exactly The Weekly Reader:

The newspaper’s stories emphasize the heroism of children against the cruel enemy, but also mix in other elements which can be seen time and again in Palestinian propaganda. For example, the story of Mihnad, illustrating three important elements in the struggle. Firstly, the link to land and trees, the second of course is the heroism of children against soldiers and the third is the strong nationalism which finds expression in a Palestinian flag fluttering in the wind. The plot of the story describes how Israeli soldiers demand that Mihnad pulls down a Palestinian flag flying above an olive tree. Mihnad refuses and does not give in even when he is shot at. When they force him to climb up the tree, Mihnad cries: “long live my land in freedom, long live the flag.” The soldiers kill Mihnad in reaction and he is left clutching the flag, drenched in his own blood.

Children reading this paper are not only exposed to stories of heroism in fiction, but also to real-life stories. Next to cute and innocent stories like the one about the “ravenous rabbit”, the newspaper instills into the hearts of its young readers the importance of the armed struggle and the heroism of suicide.

Thus, the newspaper presents the last will of one of Hamas’ suicide bombers, who in June 2001 caused “the death of 21 Zionists and wounded 150 more.” In his letter, the suicide bomber turns to the “fathers of the innocent, the hero of heroes…the Engineer, Yahya ’Ayyash” (the head of the military wing of Hamas, assassinated by the IDF six years ago). He says to ’Ayyash, “you taught us…that the true heroes are those who write the history of their people in blood.” After this, he turns to the “families, the wounded, those killed and the widows” and the martyr says to them, “I will turn my body into shrapnel and bombs, which will chase the children of Zion, will blow them up and will burn what is left of them.” In conclusion, the suicide bomber declares that “there is nothing greater than killing oneself on the land of Palestine, for the sake of Allah.”

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


I just heard a soundite with Maryland gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on the news. In the course of a :15 soundbite, she must have said the word "fighting" half a dozen times. She's fighting for this, and fighting for that, and fighting for that other thing over there.

Who's this woman fighting, anyway?

Well, I suppose she's "fighting" against her opponent Bob Ehrlich. But mostly she's fighting abstractions. Fighting for the people, fighting racism, fighting low taxes and hair loss and tooth decay and those little toothpicks sticking up out of your sandwich with the cellophane stuff wrapped around the top. She's just fighting whatever gets within reach.

The problem with all the "fight" rhetoric is that it's deeply divisive and kind of stupid. It's the stupid part that bugs me--give me divisive stuff any day, if it's actually based on facts and not hyperbole. The fight bit is stupid because it just doesn't reflect the times. This ain't the 60s, and the people on her side are mostly "fighting" to preserve an increasingly shaky status-quo. They want abortion legal, rampant and cheap, they want to "reform" the Second Amendment to end your right to defend yourself from criminals, they want education to be the exclusive province of the elite and outside the control of local school boards made up of actual parents, and they want more of your money in their hands so they can pour it in do-good sinkholes. KKT is fighting for statism in a time of increasing decentralization. Significantly, she doesn't seem interested in fighting actual terrorists.

The fight song attack doesn't seem to be working. I just saw a poll report indicating that Ehrlich now leads, 51-46, which is outside the statistical margin of error. It's the first time he's had a true lead, and it's election day. KKT's fight may soon come to an end.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


National Review's Rich Lowry criticized the ACLU for its efforts to thwart the war on terror, pointing out that the same tactic it decried in the ill-fated TIPS program--using truckers to look out for terrorists--is the same tactic that actually helped catch the DC sniper. Yet presumably because Attorney General Ashcroft had nothing to do with the sniper investigation, the ACLU has yet to utter a peep in protest.

So then, Lowry gets a bunch of emails criticizing his anti-ACLU stuff, telling him he's too young to remember Stalin and Hitler. Sometimes I wonder of the idiots who put forth such criticism are old enough to eat solid foods--ACLU founder Roger Baldwin was a hard-left socialist to his dying day, and flirted with Communism throughout his life. While he did turn against all forms of totalitarianism in 1939 (it took the Nazi-Soviet non-agression pact to convince him that Communists might not be the egalitarians they pretended to be), he remained a pacifist, meaning he wouldn't fight to oppose totalitarian states and ideologies attacking democracy. In fact, the great body of his legal case work was on behalf of Communists who had run afoul of the government. He would be very much at home in today's Democrat Party, and would get invites to all the swell Streisand parties.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2002


Er, if you can find enough of them to bag. A US Hellfire strike blew away half a dozen al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, including Abu Ali. He was apparently the top terrorist in Yemen. Now, thanks to the Predator, he's not going to terrorize anyone.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Susanna Cornett exposes a group calling itself Reporters Without Borders (how original), which finds the US 17th in the world in freedom of the press. Reasons? Everything from the fact that 9 media-connected types died on 9-11, which by that logic means the US is incredibly hostile to stock brokers, to the killing of journalists in Afghanistan by Islamist maniacs. Yeah, that's our fault.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


As you enter the voting booth tomorrow, the fine folks over a offer up a heaping helping of overheated rhetoric and good vs evil theological politics. Here are a few headlines from a recent email newsletter:

Only 4 Days to Stop Bush's Dictatorship - Volunteer to Get Out the Vote!
The Right-Wing Wants Us to Believe Voter Turnout Will Be Low

Peggy Noonan 'Writes' a Letter from Paul Wellstone - This is the One of the Most
Offensive Things You Will EVER Read

Bush Regime Escalates Its War against Women

An Example of Compassionate Conservatism: Children Go Hungry So Republicans Can
Win Elections

I don't know what's worse--that a major political party's core operatives think these headlines will scare enough people to vote their way, or that this scare mongering may actually work.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Man, there are just way too many blogs to keep up with nowadays. I think back fondly to the days when there were just a few thousand of us, all vying for InstaPundit's attentions. Getting a link from him a year ago was so much easier back then--I got my first Instablast without even trying. I just fired up Blogger, got things all set up and posted some drivel, then emailed Glenn that I was alive and inspired to some extent by some stuff that he'd said. Bammo--link from the big guy. I didn't even have a stat meter back then, so I have no idea how many hits came my way that night.

Now with 40 million blogs we're all still trying to get Glenn to link us, but it's quite a bit harder. And every day in my referral logs I catch sight of some new (to me) blog, either linking to me based on something I've actually said or, more often than not, just because JunkYardBlog is. And so is the case with Tonecluster, which is the work of Jason Rubinstein. It's good stuff. If you haven't been there, check it out. If you have been there, go back. What I'd like to know is how Jason gets paid for 75% of "this nonsense."

[Quick pause, bedtime for the young un. Tonight's fare included an interpretive reading of The Cat in the Hat. Most nights include the mishievous cat, though occassionally the little guy choose Green Eggs and Ham. Myself, I'd rather read about the cat. Green Eggs is just way too repetitive.]

On the real news front, I know there's an election tomorrow and I'm all fired up about voting and all, but I just can't get myself too motivated to blog much about it. My blogging tends to run into little nooks and crannies that few others are covering--everyone is covering this election. I've mostly said my bit in a variety of ways and with a variety of posts. I'm voting GOP (duh!), nearly a straight ticket with a possible nod or two to some Libertarian candidates. The Dems will get no succor from me this time around, nosiree. Their gangster mentality is on such a naked display that I can' t even think about casting a vote for a donk, and don't get me started on the preponderance of idiotarians on the Dem side of the aisle. A vote for your local Dem is a vote for Barbra Streisand. One local running for the state legislature lost my vote just a day or two ago, when I found out he was a Dem though none of his campaign signs mentioned his party affiliation. Them's the breaks. I hope whoever is running against him trounces him, just on principle. I'm kidding of course. Not about the trouncing, which I hope happens, but that I do know who's up against the guy. I try not to vote for and against stuff if I haven't a clue about it. Too bad we can't convince Hollywood to adopt a similar principle.

The FBI seems to have done just about everything possible to ruin its credibility lately. We all remember the erroneous profiles predicting that the DC sniper would be a white guy, loner McVeigh type with an anti-gov grudge and all. Whoops! He's a black guy with a weirded out sidekick, an Islamist with a record of doing pretty horrible things for the better part of a decade, who among other things trafficked in humans and praised last year's mass murderous 19. Oh, and the local cops stopped the guy 10 times during the spree, including once withing a quarter mile of my office, without bothering to find the hole in the lid of the trunk that made for a nice little sniper port. Now, it seems an FBI unit in Turkey slowed down the translation of terror suspect interrogations and other similar information, in an effort to create the impression that it needed more funding and personnel. Nice. Then, when their translator, a Turkish woman who judging from her pic on the site is quite attractive, blew the whistle the FBI boys did the proper bureaucratic thing and fired her. Can't have hard workers committed to stopping terrorists around here, can we--wouldn't be good for our funding levels. Here are the nugget graphs:

Sibel Edmonds, hired as a translator of Turkish and other Middle Eastern languages after Sept. 11, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the FBI, which she claims fired her for bringing the corruption to light. “Let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department,” Edmonds says one of her supervisors urged.

When Edmonds wasn’t slowing down enough, that supervisor forced her by deleting her work, she says. “The next day I would come to work and the translation would be gone,” she tells Bradley. Edmonds says when she confronted the supervisor, “He said, ‘Consider it a lesson and don’t talk about it to anybody else and don’t mention it.’”

This was after 9-11, folks. It gets worse: The FBI hired another translator to work with Edmonds, and this new hire had terrorism in her past:

Take the case of Jan Dickerson, a Turkish translator who worked with Edmonds. The FBI has admitted that when Dickerson was hired last November, the bureau didn't know that she'd worked for a Turkish organization being investigated by the FBI's own counter-intelligence unit. And they didn't know she'd had a relationship with aTurskish intelligence officer stationed in Washington who was the target of that investigation.

According to Edmonds, Dickerson tried to recruit her into that organization and insisted that Dickerson be the only one to translate the FBI's wiretaps of that Turkish official.

When Edmonds refused to go along with her plan, she says Dickerson threatened her and her family's life.

Makes you feel real secure, doesn't it.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The latest Maryland gubernatorial polls have Republican Bob Ehrlich leading Dem Lt Gov Kathleen Kennedy Townsend by a whisker--four points in one, and a point in the other two. Rumor over the past week was that The Baltimore Sun would endorse Ehrlich, but that rumor was extinguished when the Sun endorsed Townsend. From the looks of the endorsement, the Sun never had much of a debate about it--it never comes up with anything nice to say about Ehrlich, while offering nothing but roses for Townsend. Its statement that she "rocked" in the candidates' single dabate--single because she wouldn't face off a second time--is as laughable as it is juvenile. The Sun was once known for the quality of its writing; those days seem long gone if this editorial is any guide.

Will it matter? I doubt it. Newspaper endorsements don't mean what they once did, even in one-paper towns like Baltimore. The Sun's coverage has been decidedly pro-Townsend from the start anyway, so its endorsement of her comes as no surprise.

My prediction? I don't really have one. Ehrlich has the momentum edge; Townsend has been running a relentlessly negative campaign to try and blunt it. Maryland is an overwhelmingly Democrat state, but Ehrlich is popular here. Fox's The Beltway Boys--Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke--predicted an Ehrlich win in a squeaker tomorrow. I hope so, but I'm not predicting anything.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Babs Streisand, whose brain is like butta, thinks Wellstone's death was no accident. Talk amongst youselves...
Posted by B. Preston at 01:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 03, 2002


I'm adding Cold Fury and A Small Victory, just, well, because....
Posted by B. Preston at 12:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack