December 11, 2003


They've gutted the First Amendment, and made rulings based on international law.

Now France (go figure) is mulling legal bans on any outward religious symbols. No turbans or scarves, no yarmulkes, no crosses in schools. Individuals would no longer have the right to wear any religious garment or effect. I wonder what they'd do about tatoos. Or those stupid haircuts we used to get where we'd have words or drawings razored onto the backs of our heads.

How long before SCOTUS cites this to strike down what's left of our religious freedom? A year, maybe two probably.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

THE BUSH ECONOMY expected to grow at 5.7% next year, making it the best in 20 years.

Best. Economy. In. 20. Years.

Spin that, lefties.

MORE: And since we're talking about the Bush economy, it might be useful to look back at the Clinton recession. That's right, the Clinton recession. It's looking like the economic revisions will peg the beginning of the so-called Bush recession to sometime in 2000. Now, unless you lefties really think Bush is an evil genius capable of time travel, you can't call it the "Bush recession" anymore. If you're interested in being honest, anyway.

Now, let's say it together--growing economies shrink deficits, receeding economies do what? They grow deficits. least some of the responsibility for today's deficits should be placed on Clinton's shoulders, if we're going to blame presidents for recessions and all. Not all of it, obviously, since the Bush administration has in fact been spending like a collection of drunken sailors, and not all of that spending has been on the necessary war meant to save all of us from terrorism (you folks who don't support the war aren't exempt from protection, unfortunately, or you might be forced to change your tune). But, here's the interesting thing. The economy took a massive hit on 9-11. It was already in recession at the time, therefore we were on a track to hit deficit spending before long if we weren't there already. But we're miraculously out of recession now, and were less than two years after that hit. Why? I'd say that the Bush tax cuts are a likely reason. You got a better one?

Posted by B. Preston at 04:51 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


See if this makes any sense to you. Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (stop laughing--he is actually running even if his chances are so poor that ABC has pulled its reporter from his camp) has been having a contest aimed at bringing chicks his way. Somewhere Bill Clinton must be shaking his head, wondering "Why didn't I think of that?" But in Kucinich's case, it's somewhat legit--he's unmarried, having divorced twice (Clinton must be thinking about that one too), so the contest is about getting him dates from which he might select a First Lady (I said stop laughing--of course she'll never be First Lady, because Kucinich will never win). The spectacle of a man running for president who can't even score his own dates is amusing, but hardly inspiring in a time of war and all. Kucinich makes Neville Chamberlain look like Audie Murphy.

Anyway, some lady wins the deal and goes out on a date with Dennis the Dating Menace. It was a rousing time--policy wonk talk over oatmeal (Dennis, you're such a romantic devil). The date ends with a smooch and an endorsement (did Dean get Gore's endorsement similarly--I don't want to think about it, I'm working the whole Tipper slobberfest out of my mind, and I apologize for any mental imagery thus conjured).

Will they date again? Well, it's a little complicated:

[Gina] Santore, 34, of Maple Shade, N.J., called herself a lifelong Democrat. She said she works as a confidential aide to the Camden County sheriff in southern New Jersey and lives with her boyfriend. (my emphasis)

So....she's in some sort of semi-committed 21st century equivalent-of-marriage relationship with a guy, yet she's out on a very public date with a dude who's currently losing badly in a contest to become leader of the free world. Ooookay. What are these people--swingers? This whole thing smacks of the kind of ambition that leads people to make idiots of themselves on Blind Date.

I can't make sense of the Democrats' response to terrorism, their knee-jerk hatred of Bush, or even their dating habits now. Red-blue America has never been more divided.

And Dennis, dude, don't get your hopes up here. Gina's just using you for her 15 minutes of fame.

Posted by B. Preston at 04:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


...that the liberal campaign finance reform anti-speech laws now have SCOTUS' stamp of approval. Note to President Bush: Never expect the unelected justices down the street to do your dirty work for you. You've stood up to terrorists and other foreign enemies of the Constitution. Now stand up to its domestic enemies. It's in your Oath of Office--look it up.

That the entire impetus for CFR came mostly from the same party that sold its soul to the ChiComs (who are as we speak meeting with President Bush and cozying up to our enemies around the MidEast) in 1996 is an outrage. That RINO McCain put his name on it is an outrage. That the feckless Repubs in the House and Senate passed it, figuring Bush or SCOTUS would save them, is an outrage. That Bush still hasn't vetoed a thing, including the worst threat to free speech since the founding of the Republic, is an outrage. That the Supreme Court has cast aside the Constitution in favor of international law is an outrage. And that that same court has now so circumscribed political speech that no one really knows for sure what's legal anymore is beyond outrage.

I can say all that without having read the decision; Spoons is reading it, and he's even more outraged than I am. Volokh has some posts about it, but not nearly enough, and IP is AWOL for some reason. What do we not pay you lawyer bloggers for, if we can't count on you to man the barricades once in a while?

Where do we go from here? I don't know. I suppose we'll be good little sheep and live with it, like we do the countless other outrages we let the government get away with. But this one is a big one; the sting will last a long, long time. I think Spoons is right in comparing it to Roe, Dred Scott and similarly awful rulings. It's as bad, or worse. I mean, what part of

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

do the five justices in the majority not understand? And what can we do to get them to understand it, crystal clear? These people can find the right to buggery in the Constitution, which you'll find nowhere in the document's actual text, but they can't find the right to say bad things about elected officials, when it's clearly spelled out in the First Amendment?

Yesterday was an awful day for liberty. It may go down as the day the Constitution died.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Diana of Letters from Gotham (apparently back from the blog-dead for the 8 quadrilltionth time, but for how long?) links to a NY Times article titled, in the Times' inimitably fair and balanced way, Blueprint for a Mess. It's about Iraq, after Saddam and during the present rebuilding/occupation phase. That article has already gone into archive land, meaning I'd have to pay to read the whole thing, and I ain't paying to read it. No need, and no Paypal love lately anyway. Its title and opening paragraph are enough to get the gist, I think:

On the streets of Baghdad today, Americans do not feel welcome. United States military personnel in the city are hunkered down behind acres of fencing and razor wire inside what was once Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace. When L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, leaves the compound...

...he has to wear seven layers of body armor. He has to surround himself with the entire Fourth ID with close air support from A-10s and Predators. Whatever. Funny that those same unwelcome Americans can jog up and down the streets of Baghdad unmolested, though. And funny that GIs seem to be getting themselves in hot water for marrying Iraqi women, in the country that doesn't want them around.

Diana links to this story as though it should dispel anyone's idea that anything in Iraq is working, or that the American troops there are seen as liberators by any actual Iraqis, nevermind a majority. Even though recent polls do show a clear majority of Iraqis are generally optimistic about their future now, and are generally hoping that we stay there long enough to help them rebuild. Never mind all that--one Times reporter has all the facts she needs. She calls out Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan, suggesting they read something they can't easily dismiss.

Problem is, the story is pretty easy to dismiss. Granted I haven't read it all, but Diana and her vaunted Times reporter obviously haven't read or absorbed anything that might counter their opinions. But to take things in some detail, obviously Bremer has to travel with tight security in Iraq, magnet for every crackpot terrorist in the MidEast these days. You know what--President Bush, most of his staff, and every single candidate to replace Bush have to travel with pretty tight security, right here in the US of A. The Secret Service details security to all of 'em (which should be a sore spot in at least one respect--we're paying big bucks to keep a bunch of well-trained agents around Dennis Kucinich when he doesn't have a snowball's chance of actually winning a single primary, much less the White House). It's no surprise that Paul Bremer has to have beefed up security in a war zone. Remember, the UN rejected US offers of enhanced security around its compound, and look where it got them. They got a bloody nose and got the heck out, blaming us all the way.

Secondly, while Baghdad is indeed dangerous, it's apparently less dangerous in some ways that East Baltimore or Washington, DC. Trust me on that. I once got lost trying to get out of DC and ended up in Anacostia. Yikes. I was wishing for Popemobile-type bulletproof glass while I figured out how to get my car on the right road to get me home post haste. There's no way I'm going jogging in that area, in broad daylight or any other time.

Third, what about all the contrary information coming from Iraq itself, plus the glaring fact that the Times consistently fails to mention any of it? Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated for the US presence and against terrorism yesterday--where is the Old Gray Liar's story about that? Sorry--it doesn't exist. Why? Should we detect a hint of bias, or just assume that the Times is right and the people that actually live in Iraq are wrong? Diana seems to trust the Times and big media to the hilt. Having worked in the media and been around it enough to know how it operates, I do not. I don't trust it at all. I've seen too many ideologues in reporter drag to ever really trust the media to handle much fairly.

Diana, it's nice to have you back blogging again. I can't say that I always agreed with you before, and will probably agree with you less now that you seem to have jumped the anti-Bush shark for good, but you're always interesting and you do have a knack for keeping us warblogger types honest. Stick around this time.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The Democrats' civil war is heating up. Algore's Dean endorsement has apparently enraged the DLC wing enough to start hitting Dean and working him over behind the scenes.

I'd like to take a moment to thank Algore for his horrid political instincts. During the Florida recount, Gore's initial decision to cherry-pick which counties would be recounted made it all too clear that he wasn't interested in knowing the truth about that vote to any degree--he just wanted to shame the Bush side into going along with a tactic he expected would deliver him the presidency (several press recounts proved that more or less wrong, btw). That decision--to cherrypick--got kicked around in all of Florida's courts save one, the notoriously partisan state Supreme Court, and the chief justice of that court (a Democrat, btw) castigated his fellow justices for going along with it all. SCOTUS eventually halted the farce on equal protection grounds--such an outcome would probably have been off the table had Gore decided to recount the whole state from the get-go. Gore's decision may have cost him the White House--given how close the vote was, an across-the-board recount might have actually won the thing for him (it's possible, though unlikely given the multitude of press recounts that showed he still lost). But a fair recount was not what he asked for.

And now, Gore has endorsed Dean, opening an angry fissure in the Democrat party. Lieberman is livid, and the various other candidates seem to be shocked and irritated that Gore inserted himself into the campaign in this way. The Clintons, obviously the most skilled pols in the bunch, are now openly gunning for front-runner Dean, and in so doing run the risk of fracturing the party between the center-left DLCites and the hard left Dean fedayeen (their word, not mine). Well, I shouldn't say that the Clintons are running the risk of schism--that risk has always been there, and Gore has just made the cracks a little wider and more brittle. If Dean takes the nomination as I expect, watch lots of centrist Dems stay home next November, or do what Ed Koch and Zell Miller did and endorse Bush (Bush gots lots of centrist Dem endorsements in his second run for TX gov, so it's not out of the question that he'll pick of several national Dem endorsements this time around). If the Clintonites manage to stop Dean, watch Ralph Nader enter and pull off the hard left vote and reduce the Dem nominee's vote. And all mostly thanks to Gore's political stupidity. He handled his endorsement in absolutely the dumbest, most heavy-handed way possible. The man possesses the subtlety and nuance of Dirty Harry on a bad hair day (with necessary apologies to Dirty Harry for the comparison).

Thanks, Al. You're the best (political) friend George W. Bush ever had.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 10, 2003


Iraqi civilians are taunting Arab media with the same kind of language I'd like to hurl at the New York Times. Just give us the truth, for once in our lives.

Seriously, it's very very good to see ordinary Iraqis meeting en masse to denounce terrorism and embrace the possibility that Iraq can become a free, responsible member of the world where its citizens govern themselves well and their state is no longer a threat to anyone. It's safe to say that they won't be thanking Howard Dean for their newfound freedom to assemble, since he was the only major candidate to "get the call right" on the war--a call that would have left all of them living under Saddam's bloody jackboot.

If you take a look at the pictures, the crowd looks large, peaceful and seems to consist of everyone from little kids holding "NO terrorism" signs to elderly tribal leaders in traditional dress.

Welcome to freedom, Iraq. Help us secure it for you, and we'll leave you in peace as soon as we can.

(via InstaPundit)

Posted by B. Preston at 02:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Michelle Malkin lays out the case against Lee Malvo. I have to say that it's nice to see the NY Post publish Malkin's piece, but Alex's blog post does a better job of it and deserves more attention that it is getting.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Charges against him have been reduced from Article 32 action (court martial) to Article 15, which can range from a written reprimand (the miliary equivalent of putting it on West's "permanent record") to confinement to quarters. This is very good news, as his attorney says--it means he is very unlikely to face long-term repercussions for saving the lives of his subordinates. The worst fate seems to be that he would have to retire as a Major, though he has achieved Lt. Col.

But--the West case has exposed a glaring weakness in our relations with captured insurgents/terrorists:

"All of the intelligence witnesses regularly expressed the fact that detainees bragged they know they don't have to talk because we can't do anything to them," Mr. Puckett [West's attorney] said. "The bad Iraqis are ID'd by human sources. The Iraqis who are ID'd as bad guys and questioned all know we can't touch them. We can't even so much as threaten them."

The price we pay for being civilized...perhaps we can find some way to correct this problem. The logic here is inescapable, and we see it nearly everywhere--take guns from law abiding citizens, and soon only criminals will have guns (because they're criminals, they'll just break the gun laws). Sign agreements with rogue states, and pretty soon you're helping prop them up while they cheat on the agreement (e.g. North Korea). We need to find some way to remain civilized, yet get detainees to fear us enough to want to talk. It might lead to speedier capture of Saddam and (if he's alive, which I doubt) bin Laden if detainees think we're open to more, um, persuasive methods now.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Candle-powered Howard (candle-powered, both because he's one of those turn-back-the-clock greenies and because he's apparently just not all that bright), when pressed on his wacky 9-11 conspiracy theory in last night's debate, had this to say:

WMUR’S SCOTT SPRADLING: “Governor Dean, you had once stated that you thought it was possible that the president of the United States had been forewarned about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You later said that you didn't really know. A statement like that, don't you see the possibility of some Democrats being nervous about statements like that leading them to the conclusion that you are not right for being the next commander in chief?”

HOWARD DEAN: “Well, in all due respect, I did not exactly state that. I was asked on Fox, fair and balanced news, that … I was asked why I thought the president was withholding information, I think it was, or 9/11 or something like that. And I said, well, the most interesting theory that I heard, which I did not believe, was that the Saudis had tipped him off.”

Yeah, yeah, gov, blame it all on Fox. Those nasty Murdoch clones must have trapped you into hinting that you thought Bush had preknowledge of 9-11. Except for one inconvienent fact--it's a brazen lie. The Fox connection is that Chris Wallace asked you about your theory after you'd already aired it on NPR's Diane Rehm show on Dec 1, in the following dissertation on why President Bush is supposedly concealing 9-11 records from the investigating commission:

“The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far – which is nothing more than a theory, I can’t think – it can’t be proved – is that [President Bush] was warned ahead of time [about the 9/11 attacks] by the Saudis.”

On Fox News Sunday (Dec 7), Wallace was merely asking a good follow-up, not putting words in your mouth or somehow tricking you into tinfoil hat land. And even if he did trick you, what does that say about your mental wattage?

Want further evidence that Howie is a shifty sort who may not be ready for prime time? Check out this exchange with Chris Wallace on the same show:

WALLACE: A newspaper columnist this week called you the first Teflon-coated Democrat. You've hit some rough patches recently -- the comments about the Confederate flag, keeping your records as governor secret. But why do you think you're able to defy, so far, the laws of political gravity?

DEAN: Well, I think a lot of people are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at us, which is what they do at this time of year if they think you're the front-runner.

Neither of the problems mentioned were "thrown at" Dean by anyone else. He created them himself, and has tried to spin his way out of them. The Confederate flag--only a problem because Dean made it one. His Vermont records--he's the one who sealed them up. No one threw any of those issues at him--he tossed them up and they just came back down to bean him on the head. Kind of like those morons who fire guns into the air to celebrate New Year's, only to have the bullet come straight back down and hit them.

The rest of Dean's appearance is literally filled with lies. Not spin--lies. He says we hit Iraq unilaterally, even though Britian, Australia, Spain, Italy and Poland all took part, and Japan and South Korea and lots of smaller states are set to send troops or already have. He says Bush tried to cut the military's hazard pay--never happened.

Howard lies more than Bill Clinton in a room full of debutantes. Maybe MoveOn's Daily Mislead will tackle this? Heh. Right. Fat chance.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Al Gore, in February 12, 2002:

"I also support the President's stated goals in the next phases of the war against terrorism as he laid them out in the State of the Union. What I want to talk about tonight are the fundamental, strategic questions before us as a nation. What are the next steps in the war against terrorism? And beyond immediate next steps, what is the longer-range plan of action? And finally, what should be done to deal with root causes of this threat?

"Since the State of the Union, there has been much discussion of whether Iraq, Iran and North Korea truly constitute an "Axis of Evil." As far as I'm concerned, there really is something to be said for occasionally putting diplomacy aside and laying one's cards on the table. There is value in calling evil by its name.

"One should never underestimate the power of bold words coming from a President of the United States. Jimmy Carter's espousal of human rights as an integral part of American foreign policy was in truth the crucial first step towards the democratic transformation of Latin America. And Ronald Reagan's blast against "the evil empire" was a pivotal moment reminding everyone that there was more at issue in the struggle between east and west than a contest for power.


"Our most important immediate task is to continue to tear up the Al Qaeda network, and since it is present in many countries, it will be an operation, which requires new forms of sustained cooperation with other governments.

"Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq.

"There is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms.”


"When all is said and done, I hope that when the people of our country next return the White House for a time to the Democratic Party, our leadership then will be big enough to salute the present administration for what it will have done that is wise and good. And to build upon it forthrightly.”

Al Gore, December 9, 2003:

"Now, one other thing, I've spent a long time thinking about national security and national defense. And I've heard a lot of folks who, in my opinion, made a judgment about the Iraq war that was just plain wrong, saying that Howard Dean's decision to oppose the Iraq war calls his judgment on foreign policy into question. Excuse me. He was the only major candidate who made the correct judgment about the Iraq war. And he had the insight and the courage to say and do the right thing. And that's important.

"Because those judgments, that basic common sense is what you want in a president. Our country has been weakened in our ability to fight the war against terror because of the catastrophic mistake that the Bush administration made in taking us into war in Iraq."

Gore in 2003 praises Dean for not listening to the very advice Gore dished out in 2002. Gore in 2003 believes that the very war he endorsed in 2002 is a catastrophic mistake. So what changed between February 2002 and December 2003? Did Saddam Hussein change? No. Did President Bush suddently sprout horns and a tail? No. Did the threat of terrorism end in Afghanistan? No--but if if did, where is the credit due President Bush? Al Gore, today, offered none of the credit that in the 2002 speech he said would be due.

The only thing that changed (other than the fact that Saddam is in fact gone now) is the Democrat party itself, which went from a mostly supportive role as loyal opposition to barking moonbat brigade of conspiracy mongers. Its presidential frontrunner now traffics in the sort of wacky rumors that got Rep. Cynthia McKinney tossed out of her confy seat in the House. And Al Gore must be the most craven politician alive today to endorse Dean for opposing the war that he, Gore, endorsed less then two years ago.

I think that when Dean falls next year, he takes Gore with him. Hillary! must be grinning like a Cheshire cat.

MORE: Doug Payton adds a nice piece on Gore's sense of loyalty. I must say that though I'm no fan of Lieberman, Gore really did shaft him yesterday. But why is Lieberman so shocked that Gore has gone lefty? Gore ran in 2000 as a left-wing populist. Gore wrote a book that has become a lefty-greenie bible--Earth in the Balance--back in the 80s. Gore is a lefty--his DLC years were a calculated pose to increase his stature in the party. Now that the party is lurching back to the left with Dean, Gore is just coming back out of the closet. He's always been a Naderite in drag.

Gore's endorsement of Dean, and Dean's rise to the top, show two nearly indisputable truths: Neither Gore nor the Democrats as a party have any core values or principles. Gore can be a corn-fed Southern moderate one day if it makes him popular with the DLC in-crowd, then a green tree-hugger the next if it makes him popular with the Dean fedayeen (their own word for themselves, btw). Likewise, the Dems move right when the DLCite Clinton takes command, then lurch hard left when the Deaniacs are apparently ascendant--before a single vote has been cast in any primary. And in the process, Gore and the party literally flipped from patriotic loyal opposition to mouth-breathing conspiracy mongers of the worst sort. Gore and the Dems have no principles other than the pursuit of power, and are therefore undeserving of the power he and his party seeks.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 09, 2003


Miserable failure. Yeah, you read that right. Miserable failure. Jimmy Carter was such a miserable failure, I'd be a miserable failure if I didn't mention how much of a miserable failure he was.

Here's the explanation for all this miserable failure business, if you're interested. But only read it if you're not a miserable failure.

(thanks to Hanks, who is not a miserable failure)

Posted by B. Preston at 04:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


There are sections of Baltimore I wouldn't jog through without body armor. When my dad was an arson investigator in Dallas, he often commented that there were sections of the city that the police didn't want to patrol, even in daylight. It was just too dangerous. I bring this up, because I've just heard about one of my acquaintances in Baghdad. He's the sone of a friend of mine, and he recently went on a 10k jog through Baghdad with his Army Reserve unit. They jogged right under the big double sword arch. No kidding.

Baghdad is dangerous, no doubt about it, but how dangerous can it be if US Army Reserve troops are jogging through the streets sans armor?

Posted by B. Preston at 04:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


So Al Gore has officially endorsed Howard Dean for President. In Harlem. When his former choice for #2, Sen. Joe Lieberman, is also running.

Can you say "Democrat civil war?" Gore's endorsement is the political equivalent of firing on Ft. Sumter. Let the war for the soul of the Democrats begin.

In endorsing Dean, in Harlem (Bill Clinton's HQ), Gore has thrown in his lot with the hard left and repudiated his old chums in the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, including the Clintons as well as Lieberman (whom Gore didn't even call beforehand). Gore called on the Dems to rally around the angriest candidate in the race, and the candidate with the second or third least interesting ideas on combating terrorism, and the highest profile candidate to tacitly endorse the Cynthia McKinney conspiracy school of political attack, and the candidate most likely to bring back the era of really big government (we've already returned to the era of big government under Bush) should he win. But Gore has also done something else here that's worth a look.

In his endorsement, Gore said that Dean was the only major candidate to get the Iraq war right. Dean was opposed to the Iraq war; a President Dean would have left Saddam standing to this very day. Which would not only have condemned roughly 25 million people to life under the bootheel of a mass murdering thug, but would have left a known terror kingpin in power, after 9-11, when the entire world suspected that thug had weapons of mass destruction. In essence, Gore said that Dennis Kucinich was closer to getting the call right than President Bush, Sens. Lieberman and Kerry (who has since flipped to opposition) and Rep. Gephardt, and in so doing Gore has also repudiated everything his own administration said about Iraq and the need to contain it or eliminate it as a threat. That's because in February 1998, the Clinton administration took a stand that is substantively identical to that of the Bush administration. So Al Gore has, in endorsing Howard Dean, repudiated his own 8 years as Vice President of the United States. Thank God for that constitutional quirk that kept Gore from taking the White House in 2000. It's clear now that he would have had no idea how to grapple with the post-911 world.

Why would he do this? Gore was as establishment as it comes in today's Democrat party--a former veep, a former senator, the guy who actually got more votes in 2000. And he has tossed all that aside in favor of the angry left. Far be it from me to read Al Gore's mind (I suspect that there is no more boring chore on earth), but a few thoughts do come to mind. Gore is at heart a lefty; his work with the centrist DLC, which was built to push the Dems away from the lefty brink and toward the political center, was all a pose. He only did it to ingratiate himself with the up and comers, and it paid off--he got the veep nod in 1992 from DLCite Clinton. It fits with what we know about Gore's loyalty to himself above principle--he infamously traded his vote on the 1991 Gulf War for face time on teevee, and ultimately voted to support the war when the GOP promised him the face time he craved. Like all Dems who run for high office, Gore chucked principle on abortion to kneel at the NARAL altar of death. Strategically, Gore may now think that the left is the future of the Democrats. That's how he ran in 2000, an angry populist outsider crusading, in essence, against himself (since he'd just spent 8 years riding the pines for Clinton). Now he is crusading against the whole Clinton administration and its legacy, literally, if you believe that Gen. Clark is a Clinton proxy meant to pull the party back to the center.

So what all this means is that the fight for the soul of the Democrats has now split the players in what is arguably the most successful Democrat administration in recent memory. The Clintons may in their heart be lefties, but they believe that that the party's future is in keeping some credible claim to the center. Al Gore believes that the left is the future, and is using his name to pull some of the center in that direction rather than pull the party toward the center. Thus Gore has chosen sides in the Democrat civil war to come, and it's Clintonite brother against brother now.

It's probably a mistake, for Gore and the party, though it's good for Dean for all the obvious reasons. Gore is probably just extending his own abrasive, arrogant personna and post-911 fog to Dean. He has all but wrecked the campaign of his old friend Joe Lieberman, and yanked the Dems to the hard, angry, anti-war left, to a position most Americans neither share nor understand. And in helping Dean solidify his hold on the nomination, Gore has put the party's future in the hands of a guy known for being an angry jerk, but otherwise not terribly interested in fighting terrorism (Dean's response to the fall of Saddam was "I guess that's a good thing").

So what about Dean, and the angry jerk mask he wears? Some might argue that that would be an asset in the war. I disagree. Imagine for a second that, after 9-11, President Bush had reacted angrily and simply shot off his mouth the way Dean does, but then done little to combat terrorism, as Dean seems to believe is appropriate. You'd have a tough-talking, non-fighting administration--exactly what the terrorists want. American credibility as a nation capable of insuring the security of itself and its allies would evaporate overnight. We would be the noisy paper tigers that al Qaeda thinks we are. President Clinton also talked tough on terrorism--he even declared war on it once--but what did he do about it? Very little--missiles lobbed at empty tents; hands-off approach when the Saudis stymied the Khobar Towers investigation. Dean just offers more of the same, but with an less temperate edge. Talk is cheap, and swaggering tough talk that isn't backed up by action is hollow and makes the world more dangerous.

MORE: Andrew Sullivan sees it mostly the way I do. David Frum doesn't. And Ramesh Ponnuru says that Dean is probably not a good shot to win in 2004, but may be the Dems' best shot. From the point of view of a party that believes discontent on the left as voiced by Ralph Nader cost them the White House in 2000, Ponnuru makes a lot of sense.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 08, 2003


seem like they're getting ready for some serious rough patches in the short term.

The JYB is not surprised. Well, I'm a little surprised that it took so long.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


As painful as it is for me to write this, I'm afraid the facts on the ground force my hands. I can no longer ignore reality. For too long now, the facts we have been led to believe by the press and various officials no longer square with what is obviously actually taking place in the hearts and minds of the people most impacted by policies authored from far away. One section of the populace is particularly lost; there now seems no way to win them over.

The grand scheme concocted by a very few, very smart people seems to have run aground. And those people at the center of the plan seem oblivious to the fact that their house of cards is threatened by a menacing breeze. Yet those same people are set to foist on their unwilling people an unpopular new set of laws--laws that their people have had no role in drafting and no say in implementation. These arrogant leaders must be stopped. They're ignoring their own people, who by a slim majority now oppose their master plan... unite Europe in a commonwealth of states.

The effort to build a United States of Europe, intended by its architects to be a counterbalance to the actual United States, has become nothing more than a sad quagmire. Just 48 percent of Europeans now view membership in the EU as a good thing, down from 54 percent just a few months ago. And the British are particularly hostile to the EU--just 28 percent support EU membership.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Interesting new book about the spiritual journey of Johnny Cash, looks like it's worth a read.

Without reading the book, my take on Cash is that he was a Christian from the leftist set. His work with prisons squares quite well with mainline, neither right nor left Christianity, but his emphasis on prisoners' rights over those of the victims pushes him to the left. He also protested Vietnam, and refused to answer questions about the current war in any direct way, leading me to think that he didn't have anything positive to say about it but didn't want to alienate anyone. I realize I'm reading tea leaves a bit here, but that's how I see Johnny Cash--a lefty, but not a very vocal one. At the end of the day he was more interested in making great music and being a good husband than anything else.

But to counter my own take, Cash also wrote and published a large body of work with strong scriptural foundations. I'm thinking of his songs about Relevation, "Going by the Book" and "The Man Comes Around," which hit escatology from a fairly right of center, pre-trib world view, and others which talk about the centrality of the blood of Christ to Christian thinking on redemption. That is not the kind of work you typically find among left-of-center Christians--from what I've seen, they're mostly interested in social justice and generally water down any scriptural references in their work. Johnny Cash never watered anything down--if he sang about Jesus, it was usually about the blood. If he sang about world events, it was usually from a theologically conservative perspective.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that Johnny Cash was a difficult man to pin down. Maybe The Man Comes Around ties it all together.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:01 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

FAHRENHEIT 911 the name of Michael Moore's next agitprop documentary. Any guesses what it's about?

Earlier this year Michael Moore announced his intention to do a documentary about George W. Bush and his family's link to the bin Laden family. Now in a recent talk with the United Press International, he spoke out more about what his aims with the project are:

"The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months
after Sept. 11...It (the new project) certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties, it asks a number of questions that I don't have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out".

A portion of the doco will deal with the business relationship between former president George Bush and the late Saudi construction magnate Mohammed bin Laden (Osama's father). However overall the main thrust of the film will be examining what has happened to the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

The film's french [sic] distributors Wild Bunch (outputing through Miramax in the US) are trying to target a world premiere at Cannes but in regards to it's [sic] official release, its date will probably be November, 2004... election day!

More conspiracy bilge from the wacky, increasinly irrational left. But Miramax...isn't that a Disney outfit? Mickey Mouse teaming up with Michael Moore to drop a bomb on next year's elections? Has Disney become part of America Votes or something?

(thanks to JG)

Posted by B. Preston at 12:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


...and those unilateralists in Washington, and, um, a few allies (Japan, the EU, Canada), made sure it couldn't.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Rich Lowry is wondering why the Geneva pseudo-accord, negotiated among private citizens of Israel and the Palestinian territorities, has generated so much anger in Tel Aviv. In reply, Jonah Goldberg writes the following:

Rich - A couple points off the top of my head. First of all, when you say this is precisely the sort of thing we should want from Palestinian and Israeli civil societies, I understand your point, but I can also understand the Israeli government's rage. After all, I'm sure you would have considerable contempt if private citizens here started working on peace treaties, environmental accords etc. without approval of the US government. If Jimmy Carter cut a deal with North Korea -- without consulting the White House -- I bet you'd be livid. And whether you were or not, Carter would be in violation of the Logan Act -- as Charles Krauthammer recently noted.

That's a very good example--in fact, it actually happened, in precisely the way Jonah describes. In 1994, the Clinton administration was trying to talk Kim Il-Sung back from the brink of nuclear statehood. Carter was a quasi-official representative of the US, and negotiated the deal that became the '94 Agreed Framework, without letting the administration in on the details. How did he solidify the deal, which he had good reason to expect the Clinton administration would reject? He first got a handshake from the North Koreans, then went to CNN and announced that a deal had been reached, leaving the Clinton administration in the position of either rejecting a deal that it had apparently sanctioned (via Carter), or accepting a deal it didn't want. Feckeless to the core, Clinton chose the latter, setting up a regime that tried to buy off the world's looniest dictator, and then tried to persuade everybody in the world that the deal was so good that it was his idea all along.

Jonah wrote a nice piece about the Carter debacle last year, as a matter of fact.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Dennis Kucinich, or his supporters, or someone connected to him, has produced an awful Flash movie that blames all our war dead on Bush and argues that the whole Iraq war is about enriching Halliburton--and it uses the names of our fallen soldiers to do it.


But we're not supposed to question the left's patriotism...

UPDATE: It's linked off of his official site.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The mad doctor has deep links to these people.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Right Wing News has the list. It's good to see my old friends, the Dixie Chicks, made the cut.

MORE: And I just noticed that John included this humbleblog on his list of The 25 Best Blogs That Didn't Win a Thing. Thanks, John! It means a lot, coming from the nexus of the VRWC and all. There's some very good company on that list.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Queen Hill has had to backtrack on her "we're less safe" line, in the face of questioning from ABC's George Will:

GEORGE WILL: “In your statement to the Houston paper, you said, ‘less free, less fair, less smart.’ How about … safe, however? …”

CLINTON: “It’s a combination. And I have said repeatedly that we have made some real progress when it comes to homeland security, but we haven’t done nearly enough, according to any expert, any nonpartisan, independent observer who has looked at what we’ve done since 9/11. Have we made ourselves safer? Yes, we have. We’ve done some good work that needed to be done.” (emphasis mine) (ABC "This Week," Dec 7, 2003)

Hillary! Clinton is not a stupid woman. She had to know that her rant would attract some attention, and not all of it from the leftwingnuts that dominate the Dems these days. Maybe she really thought no one would call her on it; more likely, she figured the original comments would reach their target audience, while any follow-ups or rebuttals would come from obscure blogs or the least watched Sunday morning gabfest. It's hard for someone like her to lose, even making the most insane comments, when the bulk of the press just ignores her warts and plays up her strengths.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 07, 2003


The failed quasi-state of Transdniester--an unapologetically Communist sliver of Moldova--may have been the point of origin for 38 rockets armed with radiological warheads:

TIRASPOL, Moldova -- In the ethnic conflicts that surrounded the collapse of the Soviet Union, fighters in several countries seized upon an unlikely new weapon: a small, thin rocket known as the Alazan. Originally built for weather experiments, the Alazan rockets were packed with explosives and lobbed into cities. Military records show that at least 38 Alazan warheads were modified to carry radioactive material, effectively creating the world's first surface-to-surface dirty bomb.

The radioactive warheads are not known to have been used. But now, according to experts and officials, they have disappeared.


Why the Alazan warheads were made is unknown. The urgent question -- where are they now? -- is a matter of grave concern to terrorism and nonproliferation experts who know the damage such devices could do. A dirty bomb is not a nuclear device but a weapon that uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive materials, which could cause widespread disruption and expose people to dangerous radiation. Unlike other kinds of dirty bombs, this one would come with its own delivery system, and an 8-mile range. A number of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, have sought to build or buy one.

The Alazan rocket has been used in a number of ethnic wars over the past decade or so, but the Transneister version is the only known "dirty" version. They turned up two years ago:

Since Soviet times, at least three Alazan batteries were known to exist in the Transdniester region, as documented by military inventories of the time. In 1992, there was a confirmed case of attempted smuggling of Alazans for use as weapons. On May 24 of that year, two Moldovan police were killed when they tried to stop delivery of Alazan rockets to ethnic Gagauz militants, according to local press accounts of the incident. Moldovan officials believe the source of the rockets was Transdniester.

But the existence of "radiological warheads" for the Alazan was unknown until two years ago, when military documents describing them were obtained by the Institute for Policy Studies, a research group in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital.

The documents, which were provided to The Washington Post, are a series of official letters written in 1994 by a Transdniester civil defense commander, Col. V. Kireev, who apparently became concerned about radiation given off by the rockets.

One document described an inventory of 38 "isotopic radioactive warheads of missiles of the Alazan type," including 24 that were attached to rocket. In the two other documents, the commander requested technical help in dealing with radiation exposure related to storage of the warheads. He complained that uniforms of soldiers working with the warheads were so contaminated that they had to be "destroyed by burning and burying."

They're very short range and wildly inaccurate rockets, certainly nothing that poses a threat from anywhere outside a ten or so mile range. But--if you're a terrorist looking to somehow strike fear by lobbing a dirty bomb into a heavily populated area, the radiological Alazan would be a likely weapon to use. And apparently 38 of them have gone missing.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack