January 16, 2004


Their answers to that question are weird. Very weird.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:07 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 15, 2004


Suppose you are a mid-level Al Qaeda operative. Suppose that your boss ordered you to devise ways to get lower-level operatives--suicide bombers, scouts, logistical officers, mission commanders, money movers, bomb builders, document forgers and the like--into the United States.

Prior to 9/11 your job was fairly straightforward. You went through Saudi Arabia and its express visa program from the US State Department, put people on planes with legitimate visas in hand bound for the US, assured that once there they need not worry about deportation. Even if they overstayed their visas, or did things like dropping out of school or quitting work that made those visas no longer valid, your operatives would never face deportation, even if the police happened to catch them on some other charge. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on Sept 11 were Saudis; they overstayed their visas or invalidated them in other ways, yet were never deported. Your job could not have been easier.

After 9/11, though, things have gotten more and more difficult. The Americans have started cracking down on visa holders, holding some of them incognito while deporting others. They have started fingerprinting non-citizens coming into the country via airports, on the reasonable assumption that most people coming in from overseas do so via the airlines, and fingerprinting just might help catch a few of your troops. They always make a big show of halting various flights on suspicion that one more passengers share a surname with one of your jihadis. It usually turns out to be a child or a grandma, but the message they are sending you is pretty clear: The paths into America that you once relied on--the Saudi visa express program, lax airport security, lax visa enforcement--have all been bollixed up.

What do you do?

Naturally, you start looking for ways to move your men around. Water flows toward a path of least resistance, so you just have to find that path and figure out where to start pouring. After all, there is a war on and the fate of the free world--which you are working to overthrow--is at stake. For the glory of sharia you must think strategically.

You might divide the world into three kinds of countries. Group One, the infidels--America, Israel, the UK, Australia, Poland, Japan, Kuwait, the Philippines, etc--all countries that are your sworn enemy and are actively resisting you at every turn. Group Two, the unbelievers--Canada, France, Germany, Russia, most of the Middle East, Pakistan, India, etc--countries nominally opposed to you but in some circumstances useful to your cause. And in Group Three, your allies--Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, perhaps Venezuela, Sudan, Somalia, etc. Those allies seem to be falling like dominoes lately, don't they.

You have set up cells in nearly all the countries in Groups One and Two, only to watch them rounded up from afar. In Britain, crackdowns are dismantling your work. In France, in Germany (which formerly housed your best cell in Hamburg), in Canada, the US and elsewhere, your men are running afoul of the law. Even in far-flung West Africa, the Americans are hording in to grab your men.

What do you do?

You still need to get your men in place to attack the US on its own soil, the majestic symbolism of Sept 11 having rung out. How do you get them there?

In all the news reports from all over the world--from Australia to Thailand to Pakistan and even to Iraq and Iran--you have heard of your men being detained by authorities, or being captured by those infidel Americans, or being blasted away by a drone airplane in Yemen.

But from one of America's closest neighbors, silence. Actually, they have become reliable critics of everything the Americans have done to stop you. You can't decide whether to put them in Group One or Two...or Three.

You are not stupid. You can read a map. Long before 9/11, you put cells in strategic places as per your orders. You even had them inside the US, though your colleagues said it couldn't be done. You had them in Canada, though the undefended border is difficult to cross in most places, and too cold to bother with in the winter.

And you had them in Mexico, where you could depend on the corrupt local officials to look the other way while you set up a fake ID ring and a smuggling operation. And from which the border, undefended for all practical purposes, is easiest to cross. You determine that President Fox has a vested interest in keeping things quiet on his side of the border--too much noise about terrorists, even from crackdowns on them, and the American electorate may become dangerously wary of its porous border and the flood of people that cross it daily. Whether he knows it or not, Fox is helping you break into the American henhouse.

And now you hear that President Bush, the Crusader in Chief, is announcing some sort of amnesty program, the effect of which will likely be a flood of Mexicans and others from Central and South America using all means at their disposal to get inside the US in time to take advantage of it. Your men will have no trouble blending in, and your document forgers can make them look legit. And now you hear that in their summit meeting, Mexican President Vincente Fox will start pressing Bush to erase the international border altogether.

You have found out which way the water flows, and inshallah, you will start pouring.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:55 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack


Who knew New York Nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il had so much in common?

Posted by B. Preston at 10:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


A few stats from the Heritage Foundation:

Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

This squares very well with my own experience a little over ten years ago. I was the youth minister of a start-up church in one of Texas' poorer areas. I forget the exact stats, but the median income was quite low, most married couples did not share the same surname with all of the children living with them (indicating multiple divorces and several varieties of step children and siblings under one roof), and married couples were not the norm. Most homes were single parent, mostly women raising children while the fathers were...?

But...every single home I visited (and I visited a lot of homes) had color TV, and every single one had the latest gaming console. Every single one. Most had microwaves and the other signs of modernity. All had at least one car; most had more than one.

It wasn't hard to see that the TV and game console functioned as babysitters for parents who either worked to support the children or were too uninterested to bother actually raising their kids themselves. The latter was more common.

Given the way my recent immigration posts have been received by some, I hope no one regards this post as anti-poor. It isn't; some of what I saw and heard during that brief period was heartbreaking. I will never forget it. It made be grateful to be a college student from an intact home, even if we didn't live in anything like the manison on the hill.

But it is interesting to note that what we classify as poverty would be seen as luxury in most countries.

Posted by B. Preston at 06:04 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


A homicide bomber, mother of two and 22 years old, detonates herself at a border checkpoint in Gaza, killing four Israeli security officers around her and wounding many more.

Terrorists in Iraq are reportedly planning a major chemical attack, the intent being to irrevocably destabilize Iraq and destroy any hope of democratizing it.

Wherever we dig to look for WMDs in Iraq, we find a mass grave. In the not too distant future, we will unearth our half-millionth victim of Saddam Hussein's ghoulish regime. Put that number against our 500 casualties, and one might wonder what took us so long to go to war.

The wheel of murder and mayhem in the Middle East grinds on. Monsters seem to lurk in every shadow, waiting to kill our troops or even their own countrymen, such is their love of death.

What can we do about it?

I've always been a fan of science fiction, and in some cases the cheesier the better. The cheesiest of all sci-fi has to be the swamp thing genre, which invariably depicts a slimy, moss-wearing goon rising up from some fetid swamp to terrorize a nearby town. Often the swamp monster wants a bride; more often, he wants to eat. Even more often, he's just a monster. He terrorizes and kills because he's a monster. You don't need to understand him. Just stop him.

The swamp thing nearly always runs up against the same cast of characters--the brooding scientist who can't reconcile his need to study the monster with his need to help the town neutralize it. There's the militant lawman, often an actual military general or some such, who is unflinching in his need to kill the thing and doesn't care much about what makes it tick. There's usually the beautiful heroine who's there mostly to show her legs in those old-fashioned swimsuits and gad about pouting that her scientist beau is too distant. Sometimes the monster takes a liking her and tries to kidnap her, tipping the scales for the scientist from study to snuff. It's always a strategic error when the monster kidnaps the lass.

One thing about the swamp thing genre that is always amusing is how the characters go about the fight. It's pretty clear that, for whatever reason, the swamp thing needs the swamp. It brought him into the world, and it feeds him. It created him and sustains him. But instead of thinking in broad strategic terms--what if the swamp has created more than one monster?--the cast sets out just to get the one monster. And they always do. But in going after it, they lock and load, the get in boats, they wear rubber boots and pick up flashlights. They might use a WMD of some sort, a chemical or some type of bioagent. It's always a major production, and good men always get killed in the process.

I always wonder why they don't just drain the bloody swamp in the first place. There's a good chance that there's more than just the one swamp thing in there, and even if there isn't, it's likely that the same swamp that created the present thing will just create another one in the future. So drain the swamp and get it overwith. But they never do, and with wetlands protections having been made more robust since the demise of the swamp thing genre, anyone filming such an epic today isn't likely to propose swamp draining as a solution. Too un-PC. And anyways, not nearly tense enough to build a story around. How exciting would it be to watch water flow for some period, then send in squads of National Guard to hunt for the dessicated corpse of the ex-swamp thing? Not very.

Turning back to the Middle East, our mother of two Gaza terrorist dreamed of blowing herself to "martyrdom" for nine years. From the age of 13, all she wanted to do was frag herself and, one presumes, nearby Jews. She still went to school, got a good education, married, had two little children--and then blew herself up. What created such a murderour monster of a young mother?

And turning to our potential chemical warhead weilders in Iraq, they want to kill as many as possible, to create another 9-11 on occupied soil. They don't care if they kill Iraqi Shiites or Sunnis or Kurds or Marsh Arabs or American or Italian or British or Dutch soldiers or civilian administrators or nurses working for the Red Crescent. As long as the casualties are mass and the destabilization effect maximized, they will be satisfied. Nothing would please them more than creating another mass grave.

The Middle East is a fetid swamp of noxious ideologies. Baathist Nazism mixes with Islamist nihilism and local tyranny to create not one monster, but legions of them. We have fought and captured the biggest, Saddam Hussein. We have chased into hiding or perhaps killed a secondary monster, Osama bin Laden, and we have his army of lesser monsters largely on the run. Other regional swamp things--Baby Assad, the Iranian mullahs, Arafat, etc--are growling from the shadows, sending their minions out to kill Israelis and collaborate on weapons programs and work to keep their swamp moist and monster-bearing.

We can, like the town in the swamp thing films, just lock and load and head for the boats and try and pick off this monster or that monster, and we'll have some success. We'll round up a few, and we'll kill a few others. We'll gather intelligence on a few more, and we'll dam up this river of terrorist funding only to see another one burst forth. But we'll always be fighting monsters as long as there is an environment to nurture them.

Or we can drain the swamp. We can kill the beasts by destroying their habitat. Swamp things need swamps; terrorist autocrats need a subservient culture, the tools of propanganda, total control over the lives of their subjects, to create terrorists. It's no accident that our terrorist mother of two grew up in the Palestinian territories, long the domain of one of the world's worst terrorists. It's no accident that wherever you look in the Middle East, you will find a subset of the population only too ready to become a monster. It's no accident that crushing Saddam Hussein led the former terrorist monster, Muammar Gaddafi, to surrender his own mad designs and turn state's evidence.

We are draining the fever swamp of the Middle East, and intend to leave a more habital environment behind. That is the strategy that the Bush administration has embarked upon in Iraq. We can debate the WMD question or the "Bush lied" question into infinity, but the central fact remains that 9-11 taught some of us that the monsters have grown in number and confidence, that they have increased in cunning, and that at last they have escaped the swamp and have arrived here to terrorize us. It taught us that we must do something to stop not only today's monsters from attacking us, but we must stop the swamp from creating new ones to replace them. If you want to blame the US for making the monsters, go ahead. The facts do not support you, and whoever created them is irrelevant at the moment anyway. We have to stop them first. There will be time for recriminations once we have reduced them and their swamp to bad memories.

That, in essence, is the heart of why we're in Iraq. If you didn't understand that up to now, it's forgivable. The Bush administration has often lurched from one justification to another leaving confusion in its wake, and the administration's political opponents and critics have most often resorted to rants and conspiracy theories instead of pondering what it will take to rid us of the monsters. But the core reason for the war in Iraq has not changed. We are draining the swamp to kill the monsters it has created.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Why does a newspaper use that as its motto? Since when are newspapers in the business of "uplifting" anyone?

Couldn't spare a few pixels to say something about truth?

And check out its logo design--looks like Lenin has a friend in Wisconsin.

(via Jay Nordlinger)

Posted by B. Preston at 09:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004


If the weather forecasts are right, tomorrow (Jan. 15) will be the coldest day in New York in ten years.

On that day, the coldest in ten years, Algore will deliver a major address (well, major for an itinerant professor)--about global warming.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Let me lay a little groundwork. Al Qaeda, in the early 90s, recruited US soldiers to fight on their side. This effort started in the first Gulf War, as reported on Intelwire a couple weeks back. It was a Saudi-funded effort.

The man in charge of that effort was Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and he has been caught and charged with plotting to blow up New York City landmarks in a 1993 plot.

Now, Adham Hassoun, a Palestian who opened up the south Florida office of Benevolence International Foundation, has been arrested and charged with illegally possessing a firearm. BIF has already been shut down by the US government--it's a known al Qaeda front.

Hassoun has been linked to alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla, who himself has been linked to BIF. Hassoun has also been linked to another terrorist outfit:

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in a separate proceeding "Immigration Judge Neale Foster found Hassoun participated in an assassination plot, recruited a "jihad fighter," donated money to charities under investigation for possible links to terrorism and belonged to an international terrorist organization called Al-Gama Al-Islamiyya, according to Hassoun's petition for release to a federal district judge. That petition was denied."

Al-Gama Al-Islamiyya, also known as the Islamic Group, was led by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the spiritual leader of a New York City-based al Qaeda cell. One member of that cell, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, recruited U.S. military veterans for al Qaeda, as reported in an investigative report exclusive to Intelwire. The al Qaeda recruitment plot corresponds closely to the movements of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in key time frames.

So what we have here is a circumstantial case building up the thought that OKC was in fact an al Qaeda operation.

Bullet points:

Tim McVeigh served in the Army during Gulf War I, at a time when al Qaeda was recruiting US soldiers for jihad.

He inexplicably returned from that war forever changed--from a run-of-the-mill patriotic soldier to an anti-government agitator.

His movements in the year or two leading up to OKC match well with the known movements and activities of a variety of terrorists, alleged terrorists and terrorist fronts. It is, at this point, impossible to rule out actual contact between Jose Padilla, the alleged dirty bomber arrested on a tip from an al Qaeda operative in captivity in the US terrorist prison in Cuba, and the OKC bombers.

Padilla resembles FBI sketches of John Doe #2, one of the never found possible "others unknown" of the original OKC bombing indictments.

Links from Padilla to Hassoun go through BIF and to New York City, to the cell that attacked the World Trade Center in 1993.

That cell is linked to Ramzi Yousef (he was the principal WTC bomber), who operated an al Qaeda cell out of the Philippines prior to that attack.

Terry Nichols traveled to the Philippines numerous times in 1993 and 1994, when Yousef and his cell were most active. Nichols' wife was from the Philippines, yet she seldom accompanied Nichols on his travels to her home country.

An unknown American figured called "the farmer" was seen by several informants meeting with Yousef's terrorist cell, and was allegedly trained by that cell in bomb making in 1993 and 94. The identity of "the farmer" remains unknown. It's not even known whether or not he actually existed--the principal witness placing "the farmer" in the company of al Qaeda terrorists, Edward Angeles, is dead.

Is Terry Nichols "the farmer?" Were Nichols and McVeigh recruited during the Gulf War to become American jihadis? Was Padilla their link to the more extensive terrorist network in operation around the country, plotting attacks against us?

I don't know. But I can't resist the path the evidence seems to be taking.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:18 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


Modern journalism is often caught in that pre-Medieval quagmire I mentioned in the Joe Conason post. You'll get a story replete with impressions and visual details, you'll get a few asides in which the reporter attempts to divine the inner thoughts of this or that public figure, and you'll get hints and whispers of things the reporter would find it a sacrilege to actually mention, but what you seldom get is context.

Context is key to understanding just about anything. Context takes a fact and makes it part of a fathomable whole. Without context, you don't have squat. But providing context requires research, and remembering things the way they actually happened and in the correct sequence, and double-checking once in a while to make sure you've got it all together.

Most journalists usually just rely on their own brains and their own subjective impressions. Context is their first casualty.

Along comes USA Today's Steve Komarow. He understands context, and get this, he actually supplies it in a news story! I'm as shocked as you are. Check it out:

Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, a strong critic of what he calls President Bush's unilateral approach to foreign policy, urged President Clinton to act unilaterally and enter the war in Bosnia in 1995.

"I have reluctantly concluded that the efforts of the United States and NATO in Bosnia are a complete failure," he wrote, citing reports of genocide during the Bosnian civil war. "If we ignore these behaviors ... our moral fiber as a people becomes weakened. ... We must take unilateral action."

The July 19, 1995, letter, obtained by USA TODAY, was written on Dean's official stationery as Vermont governor. The language appears to contradict Dean's core complaint that President Bush has followed a unilateral foreign policy, instead of a multilateral approach that relies on consultation and joint action with allies. He has repeatedly attacked Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

But wait, there's more!

Dean's support for the war in Bosnia is one of several examples he uses to differentiate himself from Democrats who oppose virtually all international intervention. His advisers say his stance has remained consistent over the years: A humanitarian crisis of the scale that occurred in Bosnia should trigger an armed intervention. So, too, would an attack or imminent attack on the United States.

The word "imminent" is key to differentiating Dean's policy from the president's decision to invade Iraq, said Jeremy Ben-Ami, policy director for Dean's campaign.

Bush "sold the war on the basis of an imminent threat to U.S. security, and that has now been shown to be false," Ben-Ami said. Since the threat from Iraq was not imminent, the administration could not properly justify the war, he said.

However, when Bush laid out the case for the war in his 2003 State of the Union address, he said the United States should not wait for an imminent threat.

"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent," Bush said. "Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein ... is not an option."

By providing context, Komarow has gone where few reporters dare. He has actually given the reader more than just the blustery fact of sausageneck Dean railing against something that, in a more reasonable day, he once supported. He has actually demonstrated, by putting one fact against another and prodiving context, that Howard Dean (both via his own words and those of his campaign minions) is a lying, flip-flopping sack of, something.

Kudos to Steve Komarow. He understands context and provides it to his readers, who can figure out for themselves what to make of the many faces of Howard Dean.

(thanks to Chris)

Posted by B. Preston at 09:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 13, 2004


I'm becoming convinced to my marrow that the Democrats and their toadies in the press are reverting to a pre-Medieval way of thinking.

Facts seldom make much difference to them, such is their reverence for feelings and emotions. They're quite mystical, usually at the expense of reason.

They are automatically suspicious of anything they do not immediately understand, and are largely intellectually incurious about things beyond the reach of their arms.

They are an increasingly rumor-based culture, relying on Wes Clark's 18--that's right, 18--separate conspiracy theories that tie President Bush into all manner of evil schemes, and on Howard Dean's ill-informed and irrational rants that the President never even intended to catch Osama bin Laden in the first place.

Don't even get 'em started on Halliburton.

Oh, what the heck, get 'em started on Halliburton. Joe Conason got started on Halliburton and tried to tie it to Mars exploration. His conclusion: Bush wants to go to Mars to make his Halliburton buddies rich drilling for oil.

Not kidding.

Anybody out there figure out what's wrong with a scenario that posits drilling on Mars for oil?

Somebody needs to remind Joe what the phrase fossil fuel means. Mars, showing no evidence of even unicellular life as of yet, seems an unlikely place to drill for a substance that is the result of millions of years of the decaying of trillions of dead animals. And plants. And so forth.

Like I said, liberals have become medieval in their thinking. Modernity has, or shortly will, leave them in the dead Martian dust.

(via InstaPundit)

MORE: And just to clarify, of course NASA is interested in drilling on Mars--for soil and sediment samples, to determine the planet's composition and possible disposition of any life there. In seeking drilling experts, NASA would naturally turn to Halliburton among other firms, since they are in fact drilling experts.

Liberals seem to hold valid experience in a given field against people and corporations with which they disagree on purely ideological grounds. It's a leap in non-reason worthy of a 12th Century peasant.

UPDATE: Now apparently Conason says he was kidding. He was talking about oil (point for me), but wasn't serious (point for medieval liberals).

Fine. But.

Since 9-11, and especially as the election nears, we have seen no end to the outlandish theories thrown about by lib'ruls to explain Bush, or the war, or Bush's popularity, or the war's popularity, or the real reason behind 9-11. Democrats.com, the Agressive Regressives, were in the forefront of that, selling 9-11 conspiracy books before even the French did.

So Mr. Conason will have to forgive us for not seeing the joke. His seriousness about a completely ridiculous conspiracy theory was all too plausible.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:19 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


This article is a must-read. So go read it now. I'll wait.

Let's absorb some of its statistics:

• In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

• A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.

• The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S. attorney Luis Li. Francisco Martinez, a Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien, controlled the gang from prison, while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.

Now that we're on the same page, let's re-read this passage again:

Of the incalculable changes in American politics, demographics, and culture that the continuing surge of migrants is causing, one of the most profound is the breakdown of the distinction between legal and illegal entry. Everywhere, illegal aliens receive free public education and free medical care at taxpayer expense; 13 states offer them driver’s licenses. States everywhere have been pushed to grant illegal aliens college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition. One hundred banks, over 800 law-enforcement agencies, and dozens of cities accept an identification card created by Mexico to credentialize illegal Mexican aliens in the U.S. The Bush administration has given its blessing to this matricula consular card, over the strong protest of the FBI, which warns that the gaping security loopholes that the card creates make it a boon to money launderers, immigrant smugglers, and terrorists. Border authorities have already caught an Iranian man sneaking across the border this year, Mexican matricula card in hand.

Now read that last sentence again:

Border authorities have already caught an Iranian man sneaking across the border this year, Mexican matricula card in hand.

I'm sure he was just coming here to pick Georgia peaches.

The next major terrorist strike on the US is very likely to have a Mexican connection due to that country's lax enforcement of its own borders and its president's desire to erase ours. And we will have had the ability to prevent it, the national mood has been such that it could have been prevented, yet our elites will have listened to the illegal alien lobbies and those who have done nothing but argue against our self-defense since 9-11. The blood will therefore be on all their hands--the anti-war and pro-alien apologists, the illegal alien lobbies, the business interests that hire illegals and block sensible reform, and the Bush administration for failing in one of its most basic duties, which is to guard the nation's territorial integrity.

Is this what we want--a country in name only with a Balkanized culture, a bankrupt welfare system and a shadow economy? And with a population that accounts for the majority of drug and gang related crime in Los Angeles, and a back door for terrorists to exploit?

Until illegal alien advocates address the very serious crime and terrorism concerns that accompany our border and legal problems with respect to immigration, they should not be listened to. They should be ignored and marginalized, their arguments cast aside for the enemy-assisting advice that they are.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:17 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


It's been a while since I did a Good Blogs roundup, so it's time to do one again. Basically, a Good Blog is one that's well written and interesting but doesn't get the attention it deserves. Its politics or take on things don't have to agree with mine, but the arguments it presents need to make sense. If it's a humor site, it should actually be funny. Etc.

Feel free to nominate a Good Blog (your own, your friend's, your enemy's, whatever) in the comments here or email me at junkyardblog-at-hotmail-dot-com.

The winner gets a link over on the right, and the fortune and glory that accompany such a link.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 12, 2004


Powerline seems to have sniffed O'Neill and Ron Suskind, author of The Price of Loyalty, out: Their "smoking gun" document is part of an energy study undertaken by Vice President Cheney's office, and not part of any Pentagon pre-911 Iraq war study. That same study included similar oil field maps on other Gulf states, as one should expect any worthwhile world energy study would. That is where most of the world's oil comes from.

But even if it was a Pentagon study (and it apparently wasn't), so what?

Regime change had been the official US government policy on Iraq since 1998. That year, the Clinton administration tried and failed to take us to a sustained air war against Iraq. Gov. George W. Bush stated in debates in 2000 that he wanted to remove Saddam from power. The administration he was campaigning against agreed with that policy, if not in actually implementing it effectively. I'm sure that the Clinton administration either inherited Iraq war plans from Bush 41 or developed them on their own. They have people at the Pentagon who do nothing but study various world situations and develop war plans based on them. I'm sure we have war plans to deal with a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, or a North Korean invasion of the South, or even for a Syrian invasion of Israel (though in the event that should happen, by the time we actually dusted that plan off the Syrians would be suing for peace). Since Gulf War I, any US administration would be irresponsible not to have Iraq war plans on the shelf. That war ended not with a treaty but with a cease-fire contingent on Saddam's good behavior, and could theoretically have resumed at any time.

Remove the substance of the Iraq war charge from O'Neill's attacks on the Bush administration, and what do you have? A guy who was fired saying he worked for a bad boss.

That's not a scandal. It's not even news.

But a fired cabinet secretary perpetrating a hoax to get back at the president who canned him? That's news. That's Benedict Arnold-style news.

There is another problem with all this. O'Neill evidently hasn't been reading the Democrats' talking points, which posit that the Bush administration lied us into war but also failed to plan for the peace afterward. O'Neill asserts that his documents prove the first to be true and the second to be false, thus undercutting the Dems' post-war planning talking point. And to the extent that his papers have turned out to be non-Pentagon studies that fed the Vice President's overall energy study and had nothing to do with the war itself, his faux scandal harms the "Bush lied" theory too--it's just one more of a long list of trumped-up anti-war bullet points that has turned out not to be true.

You'd almost think Karl Rove had something to do with all this...

(link thanks to Hanks)

MORE: This doesn't exactly bolster the "Bush lied" case either.

MORE: The more you play the "who lied" game, the more tangled it gets. Consider that if O'Neill had turned out to be right--that Bush was planning the war from the get-go, that he gets a bank shot against Ted Kennedy.

Ted Kennedy?

Ted Kennedy. Remember, the Senator who swims in swills accused President Bush of cooking up the Iraq war down on the Crawford ranch. But O'Neill has Bush planning the war from day one, which would put him in Washington since Bush spent the first 7 months of his presidency in Washington--he didn't go back to Crawford until August 2001.

Now, I suppose Kennedy could be right accidentally. Perhaps Bush was planning to invade Iraq before he took office. He did say in the 2000 debates that regime change (in Iraq) was his desire. If that's the case, then Bush would have been planning war in Texas. But in stating his intent in the debates, you remove the possibility of deception.

Eh, it's getting too complicated. Next thing you know the Dems or O'Neill will have Bush planning war from the womb.

UPDATE: One more non-scandal bites the dust. O'Neill backtracks, wishes he could take back the "blind man" quote--and says he'll probably vote for Bush in the fall.

That makes two "scandals" that Ron Suskind has trumped up, only to have his star witness backtrack.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Mark Steyn nails it, I think:

It's not politically possible for a civilized nation forcibly to deport a population three times as big as Ireland's.

So which of the remaining options is the least worst? To leave a population 20 times bigger than that of Dean's Vermont living in the shadows, knowing that those shadows provide cover for all sorts of murky activities -- from fake IDs for terrorists to election fraud. Or to shrug ''They're here, they're clear, get used to it,'' and ensnare them, like lawful citizens, within the coils of the bureaucracy.

The president has opted for the latter option. A pragmatic conservative could support that, but only if the move was accompanied by a determination to address the ''root cause'': the inertia and incompetence of America's immigration bureaucracy. But there's no indication in the president's remarks that he's prepared to get serious about that.


Remember the 1986 immigration amnesty? One of its beneficiaries was Mahmoud abu Halima, who went on to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993. His friend Mohammad Salameh wasn't so fortunate. He applied for the '86 amnesty but was rejected. So he just stayed on in America, living illegally, and happily was still around to help Mahmoud and co-attack the Twin Towers. He's the guy who rented the truck, which suggests he had enough ID to get past the rental agent at Ryder.

But I don't want to tar illegal immigrants with the terrorist brush. After all, in their second and much more successful assault on the World Trade Center, most of the killers were approved by the State Department, ushered in through Foggy Bottom's ''visa express'' program for Saudis, even though their answers on the application form were almost comically inadequate (''Address while in the United States: HOTEL, AMERICA'') and they're exactly the category -- young single men with no job and no motive to return -- that's supposed to be a red flag for immigration fraud.

So that's a triple failure. Whether the terrorist (a) does the proper paperwork upfront, (b) applies for a retrospective amnesty, (c) gets rejected and ordered to be deported, or (bonus category d) gets arrested for immigration violations and then released (like Sniper Boy John Lee Malvo), it makes no difference: Whichever menu option he selects, the federal government will let him carry on living here until he's decided which Americans he wants to kill.

Obviously, it's too broad a brush that paints all immigrants, legal and illegal, as terrorists (which isn't what Steyn is doing). But it's too narrow a brush that simply tries to paint over all the problems and challenges associated with the massive number of shadow people living unassimilated in our country without addressing the serious downsides. Have we learned nothing from the French experience, where an unassimilated Muslim population outnumbers practicing Catholics and is agitating for a parallel sharia-based legal system? France is militarily useless in the terror war, in part out of fear that its teeming welfare mullahs will violently take to the streets if it acts with any strength. Or have we learned nothing from the Balkans, where heterogenous ethnicities living side-by-side have been at each other's throats for the better part of a decade? Granted Mexicans are by and large Catholic and thus don't pose the terrorist problem, but they do pose the unassimilated problem, which has been addressed variously by bilingual education (a massive failure), bilingual government services (massive expensive and confusing), and one-way welfare (where people who have never paid into the system get lots of cash out of it, thus breaking the bank over time).

To date, I've seen no proposal that deals with any of this other than stopping bilingual ed. But Bush's amnesty does seem to have destroyed morale among officers who actually risk their lives to enforce immigration law.

A porous border with Mexico essentially means we have a porous border with the world. It's not a theoretical threat the poses terrorists crossing in from Canada and Mexico en route to attack targets in the US. It's already been tried, though thankfully it's also already been stopped. Well, the attacks we know of were stopped, mostly by people who now consider amnesty a "slap in the face."

But back to Steyn's point about INS. The majority of the 9-11 hijackers got into this country legally but stayed on illegally, thus making them illegal aliens. Sniper John Muhammad ran a fake ID ring from his Caribbean hideaway that got him John Lee Malvo as chattel, an illegal alien boy that he turned into a killing machine in the name of Islam (ok, that last bit is my pet theory, but the rest is undisputed fact).

Our borders are porous, and Mexican President Vincente Fox wants to erase them altogether. In Maryland and one presumes several other states, Mexican ID can serve as legal identification and it's even legal for illegals to vote in some local school board elections. There was a push here last year to give illegals in-state tuition at state universities and colleges, which would have treated them better than actual US citizens residing in other actual US states. Can you say reconquista? Presidente Fox sure can (and why not call him President Fox, since he seems destined to take back the part of America that I'm from?).

Meanwhile, fully 83 percent of the American public supports cracking down on illegals, deporting them if necessary.

There is a massive disconnect between the elites of both parties and the common American on this issue. Until that and the border and visa problems are addressed, I can see no way that Bush's amnesty doesn't end up putting up a big "We're Suckers!" sign that will shine throughout Mexico and the rest of the world.

And in a time of war, one should take pains to keep anyone from thinking that you're a sucker.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Ever wonder why a guy like Al Sharpton, who has zero shot at actually winning the presidency, just keeps on campaigning?

I mean, aside from all the race-baiting he gets to do on national television, and aside from the instant inflation his credibility gets just for stepping on a stage to debate with real senators and a former governor, what's in the race for the rotund reverend?

Well, he does get to travel about the nation and live like a king for a while. And someone else usually ends up paying his bills.

And if anyone questions him--well, he can just demagogue his way out of it:

Mr. Sharpton tried to deflect blame for his financial record by suggesting that he and many of the people around him were not financial experts, but activists who should be given some leeway in such matters.

"We are an advocacy group," Mr. Sharpton said in an interview on Christmas morning, referring to his group, the National Action Network. "Your staff sometimes lets things slip through the cracks, probably."

"This morning we are feeding the homeless," he said. "I have no idea if they paid the guy that brings the truck, or tipped the guy that brings in the bread."

Uh-huh. Feeding the homeless while staying at the LA Four Seasons, where you ran up a $7,000 bill in three days? Or at the Dallas Mansion on Turtle Creek, a hotel so exclusive that this Dallas native has never even seen it?

Make sure to tip the concierge, Rev.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2004


Howard Dean's hot temper may have got him in trouble again. Campaigning in Iowa, Dean was confronted by a local man who tried to get Dean to tone down the Bush-bashing. Hilarity ensued:

Dale Ungerer, a retiree from Hawkeye, Iowa, lectured Dean for nearly three minutes near the end of a forum aimed at winning voters for Iowa's Jan. 19 caucuses.

Ungerer accused Dean and other Democratic presidential hopefuls of dividing the country by bashing Bush instead of outlining their own plans and showing respect for authority.

"Please tone down the garbage, the mean mouthing, the tearing down of your neighbor and being so pompous," Ungerer told the former Vermont governor and Democratic front-runner. "You should help your neighbor and not tear him down."

"George Bush is not my neighbor," Dean replied.

"Yes, he is," Ungerer said, to which Dean responded: "You sit down. You've had your say and now I'm going to have my say."

Mr. Christian Dean should know that the New Testament definition of neighbor is very broad, and under it Bush probably is his neighbor. But I digress.

Dean said Bush has harmed communities like Oelwein by failing to fund education programs, by fighting for corporations rather than family farms and sending American troops to Iraq (news - web sites) without telling the truth about why they were deployed.

"That is exactly the problem. Under the guise of 'support your neighbor' we're all expected not to criticize the president because it's unpatriotic," Dean said to enthusiastic applause. "I think it's unpatriotic to do some of the things that this president has done to this country."

It's not "support your neighbor," it's "love your neighbor," which probably includes not lying about your neighbor, or smearing them unjustly ("bearing false witness" in Old Testament parlance, Dr. Dean).

But look at that last passage again:

...failing to fund education programs...

Didn't Bush bring Ted Kennedy in to write the education bill, which increased spending by a gadzillion dollars? Thought so.

...fighting for corporations rather than family farms...

More Democrat class warfare, nothing new.

...sending American troops to Iraq (news - web sites) without telling the truth about why they were deployed...

So what is the truth about why they were deployed, Dr. Dean? We're all ears. Do you have another "interesting theory" to tell us about?

"I think it's unpatriotic to do some of the things that this president has done to this country."

And there you have it--Dean assaulting Bush on patriotism, and thus officially nulling that charge when it comes from the left. When lefties get huffy because they think we righties are questioning their patriotism, we can just point at Dean, who openly questioned Bush's patriotism on the campaign trail.

That is, by the way, something Bush has never done. He has never questioned any Democrat's patriotism--just their judgement. And they prove that he's right to question that every chance they get.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Unless you count nearly all of Iraq's problems. From NewsMax, here's an email from the front that points out just how much progress has been made in Iraq since toppling Saddam:

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1:

The first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty (~60,000 Iraqis providing security to citizens).

Nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.

The Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

Power generation hit 4,518 megawatts (Oct), exceeding prewar output.

All 22 Universities & 43 technical institutes/colleges are open

Nearly all primary and secondary schools are open.

Coalition has "rehabbed" 1,500+ schools (500 ahead of schedule).

Teachers earn from 12-25 times their former salaries.

All 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.

Doctors salaries are at least 8 times what they were under Saddam.

Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from almost zero to 12,000 tons.

Coalition has helped administer 22 million+ vaccinations to children.

Coalition has cleared 14,000+km of Iraq's 27,000km of weed-choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created 100,000+ jobs for Iraqi men & women.

Coalition has restored over 3/4 of prewar telephone services and 2/3+ of potable water production.

4,900+ full-service telephone connections (~50,000 by year-end).

Commerce is expanding rapidly (bicycles, satellite dishes, cars, trucks, etc) in all major cities and towns.

95% of all prewar bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.

Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.

The central bank is fully independent.

Iraq has one of the world's most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.

Iraq has a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.

Satellite TV dishes are legal.

Foreign journalists are not on "10-day visas" paying mandatory fees to the Ministry of Information for minders. There is no such Ministry.

There are 170+ newspapers.

Foreign journalists (and everyone else) are free to come and go.

A nation that had not one single element – legislative, judicial or executive – of a representative government, now does.

In Baghdad alone, residents have selected 88 advisory councils.

Baghdad's democratic transfer of power (1st in 35 years); city council elected its new chairman.

Iraqi Chambers of commerce, businesses, schools and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.

25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq's history, run the day-to-day business of government.

The Iraqi gov't regularly participates in international events.

Since July the Iraqi gov't has been represented in 24+ international meetings, including UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank, IMF and the Islamic Conference Summit.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it is reopening 30+ Iraqi embassies worldwide.

Shia religious festivals (all but banned) are no longer illegal.

For the first time in 35 years, in Karbala, thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.

The Coalition has completed 13,000+ reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Uday and Queasy are dead, and no longer feeding Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.

Children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.

Political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam.

Millions of long-suffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.

As a side effect, in neighboring countries, (1) Saudis will hold municipal elections, (2) Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents, (3) Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms, (4) The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded (first time) to an Iranian (Muslim woman) who speaks out for human rights/democracy & peace.

Saddam is gone.

Iraq is free.

None of these are the primary reasons we went to war. Call them fringe benefits. And to this we can add the disarmament of Libya, and whatever intel benefits we get from Gaddafi's turning state's evidence against the remaining Axis of Evil.

Posted by B. Preston at 06:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack