Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Tuesday evening, virtually no one watched the Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC, because by and large, it was virtually unwatchable. But there was one section that caught my eye, and if you are someone who cares about the continued existence of the state of Israel, regardless of which political party you belong to, it should have caught your eye as well.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is well known for his apocalyptic speeches about how the Zion state cannot continue, how they must be wiped off the map, etc. So when a Holocaust-denying, religious zealot is in a position of importance in a country who is trying to obtain nuclear weapons capabilities, when that same country is supplying or training many of the main terrorist organizations in the world today, when that country is interfering in the metamorphasis of Iraq by supplying weaponry that has killed our troops, you would naturally conclude that Iran is a growing threat, is not showing any signs of cowering to international sanctions, and could indeed grow into a threat that will require a military solution to stop an unthinkable genocide.
Foreign policy experts from the center, right and left do see Iran as a threat that might ultimately require military action. Most recently, Walter Russell Mead of the Council on Foreign Relations appeared this past Friday on the Hugh Hewitt Show
, saying, "Should we reach a point where we have to make a choice between a nuclear Iran or some kind of military action, then I think it’s pretty clear that a military action is where we’d have to go."
Tuesday night at Drexel University, Brian Williams asked the Democratic candidates about their position on Iran. While they all postured their way into attacking frontrunner Hillary Clinton and/or George Bush, John Edwards took his critique into the land of the Jewish conspiracy.
The Silky Pony got worked up because Hillary and the rest of the Democrats won't stand up to the president and say no, we're not going to let you do this. He wasn't saying this about the Iranian president, mind you, the one who wants to go nuclear and make Israel glow in the dark. He was saying this about our president. Ahmadinejad doesn't seem to bother him as much as the twice-referred neocons (or as the left wing blogs call them, the Jooooos). Edwards doesn't seem to get the concept that our military has in its custody members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, captured in Iraq trying to kill our troops by assisting insurgents. I'm sure Israel supporters all over the world are not exactly looking forward to the Edwards presidency.
After all the candidates thought they handled their obligatory Iran policy question, Tim Russert, to his credit, visually stunned them all by making them all answer a simple yes or no follow up question. Russert asked all of them individually if they would take a pledge tonight to the American people that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb while they are president. Here is how Hillary responded.
Standard Clintonian double-speak. She will only pledge to try. But if they do become a nuclear power, well, Israel, it sucks to be you.
Next up to take the pledge was John Edwards.
He must have been worn out looking for neocons around every corner. Short and sweet, but not taking the pledge. He's a trial lawyer. You get no guarantees, Israel.
Barack Obama was next up in Russert's hot seat.
When the audience starts laughing uncontrollably at what you consider a serious answer, you've got a credibility problem on this issue, Senator Obama. No pledge, then immediately deviate to Bush bashing, government by fear, Iraq never should have been fought, why aren't we talking about domestic issues like civil liberties. Israel, President Obama is not going to let fear get in the way of Iran going nuclear. You're on your own.
The spotlight turned next to Slow Joe Biden.
Biden won't offer a pledge. Why should we worry about Iran when we need to worry about Pakistan falling apart? In a Biden administration, he's going to have all he can handle, foreign policy-wise, by sitting around and wondering what to do if the Pakistani government collapses. There's just not enough time left over to worry about Iran going nuclear. Sorry, Israel, Joe can apparently handle only one potential crisis at a time.
What about Christopher Dodd?
Dodd won't even address the pledge. Four words in his response to Russert's question, he's worried about who on this stage is more experienced to address these types of problems, marshall resources, put together a team. So if Iran approaches critical mass under President Dodd's watch, at least Israel can feel better knowing that at least Dodd will be working feverishly to make sure that everyone sitting in on the Cabinet meetings is part of the Dodd team of experience. What will he do about Iran? He doesn't know, but at least he'll have a team, by God.
The award for going the farthest astray on a yes or no question easily goes to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
He would make the pledge, but only through diplomacy. He will talk Ahmadinejad into submission. Mahmoud will be so tired of talking that he'll just give up his nuclear ambition of annihilating Israel. But then he goes prop and deviates away from Iran and points out a person he brought in the fourth row who he personally rescued from the prison in Abu Ghraib, and how his lifetime of being a diplomat will help him solve North Korea. In other words, Iran may be about to go nuclear, but at least Richardson has a shiny yellow pencil and he has Give Peace A Chance on his I-Pod. It's about as relevant. But at least he made the pledge, Israel. He will talk his way out of a madman acquiring nuclear weapons.
But the piece de resistance has to be Dennis Kucinich.
He won't take the pledge, and instead goes after Tim Russert for daring to ask that question in that kind of way. Everyone knows if we just rid the world of all nuclear power, period, then in the spirit of love and harmony, the Iranians will follow suit and global utopia can finally be achieved.
So there you have it. Not one Democrat views Iran as a serious enough threat to even think about preventing them, by using military force, if they're about to go nuclear. Just to show that there really is a difference between the two parties, here's what the top two Republican candidates have said about the specter of Iran going nuclear under their watch.
Rudy Giuliani in a Reuters story from just this last Friday
said, "America will not allow them to become a nuclear power," and "the military option is not off the table and the Iranians should understand that, that America will not allow them to become a nuclear power." Notice the use of the phrase will not allow. That's a pledge, something the Democrats just couldn't bring themselves to say.
Mitt Romney on his campaign website, quoting from a speech earlier
The Iranian regime threatens not only Israel, but also every other nation in the region, and ultimately the world. And that threat would take on an entirely new dimension if Iran were allowed to become a nuclear power. And just think of the signal a nuclear Iran would send to other rogue regimes with nuclear ambitions – this could be a tipping point in the development and proliferation of nuclear regimes. . . It is time for the world to plainly speak three truths: One, Iran must be stopped. Two, Iran can be stopped. And three, Iran will be stopped.
Again, will be stopped. No equivocation.
I'm pretty sure I know which party Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would prefer to see in the White House in 2009. The question is are you going to support that party as well by sitting out the next election if your candidate doesn't win the nomination?
Monday, October 29, 2007
A 61 minute stem-winder was given on the Senate floor today by one of California's dimmest elected bulbs, Barbara Boxer. Serving this term as the Albert A. Gore, Jr. czar of the Senate Global Warming Will Kill All Life On Earth If We Don't Regulate Everything Committee, Senator Boxer spewed enough CO2 single-handedly today during her speech to be classifed a gross polluter.
During her chart and quote-laden presentation, in which she holds that there is no credible dissent tolerated anymore about the catastrophe of global warming, no acceptable view that might hold that whatever warming that is occurring is cyclical and not deserving the hysteria it is being met with by liberals, the only interesting part was to see if she'd somehow weave the California fires being global warming's fault.
She made it a good three-quarters through her rant without making the reference. But like a moth fluttering around the blue flourescent light hanging off the eave of the roof, she just couldn't resist flying into the zapper.
Fires a consequence of climate change. Now listen, this is touching my heart, because my state has been burning. And all of you know this, and all of you have been most wonderful to us, to Senator Feinstein and to me, about offering help and assistance. Well in the long run, we need to do something about global warming or we're going to have that horrible combination of drought, low humidity, high temperatures, and terrible winds, weather extremes, Madame President, that you've experienced from time to time. This is what we're going to see. Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, said that the weather phenomena this year favored as never before the outbreak of destructive fires. We are already living with the consequences of climate change. So this just gives you an idea.
Yes, dear Senator Boxer, it does give us an idea, the idea that you are a complete and total moron. You have been representing California, or at least the liberal parts of it, in the Senate for fifteen years, and you act like you've never heard of a Santa Ana wind before. Drought, low humidity, high temperatures and terrible winds? Senator Boxer, Los Angeles has a simple name for all of that...it's called autumn. But this doesn't fit the Boxer global warming meme.
In Boxer speak, if we don't do something about global warming, this normal weather pattern is going to continue. So if the Earth cools down a degree or two over the next century, is that going to prevent high pressure systems from parking over the four corner states in the Southwest like they've done since the beginning of recorded weather? If the Earth cools, will the local mountains flatten out so that the air mass coming off these high pressure systems doesn't get funneled and accelerated into the Los Angeles basin?
The global mean temperature will obviously do nothing to change the elevation of different land masses in the interior of the United States, and anyone that knows anything about this part of the country knows that. You'd think Ms. Boxer would know, but she may not be that bright.
In citing the Greek prime minister, the one she sounded like she'd never heard of before trying to pronounce his last name, butchering it in the process, she, and Prime Minister Karamanlis for that matter, are ignoring one teensy-weensy detail that both the Greek fires from earlier this year and the California wildfires do have in common, and that is they were both started by multiple arsonists. There were public statements by Greek officials that openly wondered if the series of fires there were the work of al Qaeda, because of the number of the fires at the same time, and that they were arson-caused. While the cause of all the California fires haven't been determined yet, several of them are suspected of being started intentionally. You can say what you want about global warming, but you can't say if we reverse it, arsonists will be out of business.
I know there have been people on both sides of the aisle that have made dumb comments in regards to the fires in California. But it takes a special level of stupidity to say something it while using props to do it.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The weekend can't come soon enough for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, the feckless Democratic majority leader. He got caught politicizing the California wildfires as being global warming related, and then when questioned by a reporter a short time later about his comments, he denied he said it.
Today, Reid and the Democrats got thumped twice before lunch. First, a Democratically-led filibuster of one of President Bush's Appellate Court judges, Leslie Southwick, failed as 62 Senators voted to invoke cloture and move on to a final vote, where they confirmed Judge Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court.
Next up on the docket was Illinois Senator Dick Durbin's latest amnesty incarnation, nicknamed The Dream Act. This also needed to get sixty votes to invoke cloture and work towards a final vote of passage. Here's how badly the Democrats have managed the Senate. Durbin, who is assistant majority leader and serves as the Whip, thought they easily had the sixty votes to invoke cloture. In fact, he and Reid were so sure of their head count that Reid already had blocked the rest of the afternoon and tomorrow in the Senate for debate on the Dream Act, leading up to a final passage vote. But a funny thing happened. Reid, Durbin and the rest of Democratic leadership miscounted their votes by a smidge. Instead of getting 60 or better, they only fell short by eight votes. Only 52 Senators voted for this turkey. Reid was stunned. Not only did he get two shots to the chops before the morning was over, he now had no idea what to do with the rest of the day on the floor. He had reserved a day and a half worth of time for a bill that can't possibly get past cloture.
For your enjoyment, here is the video of what a Senator looks like when he has no idea what he's doing, has no plan, no agenda, and basically just wants his mommy.
Since Reid is now consulting with Mitch McConnell to see what to do next, might I offer a suggestion? How about telling Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to get off his rear end and move the nomination along of Michael Mukasey to be the next Attorney General? After a long delay, the Judiciary Committee finally held hearings last week. But they haven't held a vote to move his nomination to the floor. They haven't even put the nomination on the docket for future consideration in the Judiciary Committee. Wouldn't you think that the Senate Democrats, the same ones who couldn't wait for Alberto Gonzales to leave, would want someone in there that even ultra-lefty Chuck Schumer esteems?
Which Senator do you think has the most to gain by stalling on the nomination of Mukasey? Which Senator benefits from having a Justice Department in a continued state of transition for the rest of the Bush administration? I'll give you a hint. She's running for president. The Los Angeles Times has done a nice series of stories
looking into the very bizarre fundraising of the Clinton campaign, not only from the donor bundling of Norman Hsu, but into questionable fundraising by minimum wage-earning dishwashers in L.A.'s Chinatown district. If there are any illegalities in the Clinton campaign fundraising, it's going to be up to the next Attorney General to decide whether or not to investigate, prosecute, or hire an outside counsel to look into it. The longer the Bush Justice Department is in disarray, the more the Clinton machine can try and run out the clock.
In the meantime, we'll continue to monitor the Senate to see if Harry Reid has any bright ideas on what to try next. It may be a very slow afternoon.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
After a closed door policy meeting with other Senate Democrats, Majority Leader and utter buffoon Hary Reid of Nevada took to the microphones just outside the floor of the United States Senate, and fielded questions.
In response to a question on the energy bill, Reid said the following:
As you know, one reason that we have the fires burning in Southern California is global warming. One reason the Colorado Basin is going dry is because of global warming.
Six questions later, a reporter followed up on Reid's amazing statement.
Question: Senator, on the California fires, you said that the reason the fires are burning in California is global warming?
Reid: No. Here's what I - I didn't say the reason the fires were burning in Southern California was global warming...
First, Reid is an idiot because tried to use global warming as a prop in a current news story in order to advance his energy bill agenda. When called on it, he denied he said it. It's on tape. You can listen to it here
Second, he has no idea what he's talking about. Southern California is a desert. The Santa Ana winds are as normal this time of year as any other local weather phenomenon. In fact, some of the weathermen in the area had speculated on television newscasts in recent weeks that we usually get Santa Anas before now. And in the scope of the severity of the winds, this batch isn't even as bad as we've had. This is a very average wind pattern for us.
Reid may have wanted to blame the fires on global warming before he got called on it and ran away, but I'd be hard pressed to be persuaded that global warming caused arsonists to start several of these fires, or that global warming knocked down a power line in Malibu starting that fire, or that global warming caused a couple of construction workers to work with an arc welder in high winds, showering the local brush with sparks.
So now that Reid has publicly raised the global warming specter...that is, before he lowered it again in classic John Kerry fashion, it makes you wonder what's worse for Harry Reid's environment? Letting the fires burn, or polluting the ozone with all the hydrocarbons that come out of the exhaust of the DC-10's and helicopters that are frantically dropping water and fire retardant on the hot spots? Should Reid be calling for the removal of the firefighting from the air in order to minimize the footprint the fires are already putting in the air and remain consistent with his radical environmentalism?
Reid is a witless opportunist. Half a million people are evacuated, at least 1,200 homes have been lost so far, federal, state, county and local resources are performing acts of heroism all over California to save lives and property, and Harry Reid wants to blame it on global warming to score political points for his energy bill? What a creep.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Go Rocks. You are a team of destiny. Do not let that big, ugly green wall bother you. Sorry, Tribe. The bandwagon started losing the air out of the tires in game 5.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
If you go back to Wednesday on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Howard Kurtz, author of the new book, Reality Show, which looks in depth at the current world of the news divisions at the ABC, CBS and NBC, joined Hugh for two hours. They had this following exchange about the ideology of the network newspeople, and why red state America just doesn't trust them:
HH: Here’s my proposition, Howard, and you’ve been studying them now for three years. The reason they’ve lost so much audience is that they have bad news judgment, and we don’t trust them. And we being the half of America that’s red, the red state Americans. And sure, they might be trusted by blue state Americans, but I just don’t trust these people to understand the news or to report it accurately, especially when it runs contrary to the interests of the left wing of the Democratic Party. Your reaction?
HK: Well, I can’t dispute that the perception clearly is as you say as far as conservatives. In fact, there was a Gallup poll that I cite in the book showing that 65% of Democrats thought that Katie Couric is doing a good job as CBS anchor, 36% of Republicans. There was a similar but smaller gap for the other two anchors. So that is a problem for network news. I mean, it’s got a lot of problems, as we’ve been discussing. That is a problem.
Yes, it is. Yesterday, I joined Ed Morrissey on his Blog Talk Radio program about the news of the day and week. During the course of the hour, we talked about two stories that we both thought were the stories of the day, certainly, and ought to make the networks' nightly newscasts. But we both predicted that the MSM, nightly news division, would miss it.
Story number one was the resolution of a multi-week story about Harry Reid and the Democrats deflecting away from Senate Republican resolution denouncing the MoveOn.org General Petraeus/betray us ad. They picked fellow broadcaster Rush Limbaugh as a target weeks ago, using Media Matters erroneous talking points, and accused Rush of slandering the American military in a formal letter to Clear Channel executive Mark Mays, calling for his removal from the airwaves. Rush demonstrated with ease that he was merely calling a fraud a fraud, pinpointing one man who embellished his service record into claims that were proven to be false. Rush then obtained the original letter from Mays and to make a point, auctioned the letter on E-Bay for a Marine Corps charity as a shining example of where the United States Congress is actively targeting a U.S. citizen for political purposes.
The bidding closed Friday, and $2.1 million dollars went to the charity, along with a matching donation from Rush himself. Harry Reid's attempt to deflect on MoveOn.org's behalf backfired in a glorious manner. So what did Harry Reid do? He spoke out on the Senate floor Friday and actually attempted to take credit for the raising of money for the charity, as though he had been in on the planning of the auction all along. See for yourself here.
I can't remember the last time the majority leader of the United States Senate got beat that bad by PR stunt boomeranging back on him, and being shameless enough to actually try to take credit for his opponents' victory in the process. You'd think he would be laughed off the floor for a speech like this. But Harry Reid knows better. He still has allies in the mainstream media.
Story number two of the day had to do with another uncharacteristically good investigative piece in the Los Angeles Times diving further into the Clinton fundraising machine, showing that the Democratic presidential front-runner has lost nothing from her husband's run in the 90's. Their fundraising was crooked then, and it's just as crooked now, if anyone will just take a look. According to the Times report, apparently every minimum wage earning dishwasher in Chinatown is donating $2,000 to Hillary Clinton. Following up from the Norman Hsu bundling charges, the Times seems to be the only mainstream media outlet in America who sees Clinton-Hsu Investments for North America, or CHINA for short, as somewhat of a problem. But again, to 25 million people who only get their news from Katie, Charlie or Brian at the networks, this simply doesn't exist.
What exactly did those 25 million learn yesterday? If they watched Katie Couric on the Tiffany network, they saw two minutes on the stock market crash, something that wouldn't have warranted two minutes at the lead if the market had made huge gains. That was followed by two minutes of bad weather in the country (global warming undertone), 30 seconds on kids cold medicine warnings, 2 minutes of follow up to the attempted assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, one minute of the pedophile being caught, two minutes of a promo to watch 60 Minutes and see Valerie Plame dump on George Bush and Karl Rove, 3 minutes of Hemingway's cats, really, then two minutes of politics, on the trail with Hillary Clinton, not about her phony fundraising, but about how she's trying to shore up her women's voting bloc after new polling came out. Finally, after 30 seconds of the Sands hotel being razed, the featured 3 minute feel good story about a lost bank bag returned to an elderly woman containing memorabilia from a lost Vietnam soldier. Nothing about Reid, certainly nothing about the fundraising scandal.
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams didn't fare much better. 3 minutes on the cold medicine warning, 2 minutes on the stock market, 2 minutes on the weather, 2 minutes on Ron Paul, of all people, 1 minute of break-in coverage of a small plane crash into a building in Canada, 2 minutes of cities turning lights off for an hour at night to save energy, 2 minutes of drought in the South, and 2 minutes of feel good on building libraries in China. Again, nothing about the news that red state America would consider news.
Charlie Gibson's World News Tonight is not available to watch on a podcast. They have an edited version, but all their posted news stories and video were on a par with the other two.
While the blogs and talk radio and cable news have made huge inroads into why the viewership of the network news nightly broadcasts are declining, their numbers are still dwarfed by the 25 million that literally have no idea what they're missing. So if you're a part of the new media, the next time you feel like resting on your laurels, realize there's still a lot of work to do.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
A fine day all around, Wednesday. Mitt Romney, Ted Olsen, The Smart Guys (Erwin Chemerinsky and John Eastman), Lynne Cheney and Jeffrey Toobin. So much show it almost leaves you breathless. And yet, that was just the beginning of the night for me.
Coach Jerry is somewhat of a local icon in Southern California, and a former friend of Hugh Hewitt. The Coach is one of these guys who will call you out of the blue, talk a little shop, and then see if you want amazing tickets to go see a game, whether it's baseball, basketball or hockey. Usually, the call goes to Hugh. Tonight, Hugh fell like the Trojans out of the Coach Jerry top ten, and the Generalissimo climbed up the call list with a bullet. The venue? The Honda Center, home of the Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks, in their first home game as reigning champions. Just the opportunity to see the pregame production, including a spotlit Stanley Cup descending from the scoreboard high overhead from a silver cage to thunderous applause, and seeing the Stanley Cup banner hoisted high over center ice, definitely was the first part of the perfect sports night.
The video package showed the Ducks' path to the Cup last seaon, including an absolute thumping of their first round opponent, the Minnesota Wild. When the Ducks-Wild series highlights were shown, there was a lustful booing of the Wild players. I keep being told about Minnesota being the state of hockey and all, but I think I'm going to have to send the knitted and embroidered cloth replica of the Stanley Cup banner that all fans got as a souvenir on the way out to my friend Jay Larson, so he can get a sense of what it must be like to actually see hockey played on winning ice.
The icing on the cake? The opponent tonight was the Boston Bruins, which feature a seven foot Croatian basketball player on skates and a bunch of other guys with sticks who essentially skated around a lot and didn't really do anything. The final score was 2-1 Ducks. Finally, at least for 24 hours, us SoCal people can relish in the fact that a Boston team sucks. It doesn't completely ease the pain of the Angels' anemic performance against the Red Sox last week, but it sure helps.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
After sitting through every inning of the 3:45 long funeral of the Angels this afternoon, with all due respect to my friend Dean Barnett, I have only two bitter, bile-filled words to say.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Game MVP? This guy and about 5 million of his little Canadian soldier friends.
At least that's what TBS' field reporter called them. Others have described them as your garden variety swarm of midges, or these things.
The wind off the lake died around the 8th inning, and as Hugh has described it, a swarm of Heaven-sent locusts showed up in God's country to help the Indians any way possible go up 2-0 against the New Yorkers in the best of five ALDS. How miserable was it?
Apparently not bad enough to bother Indians starter Fausto Carmona, but certainly bad enough to help cause Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain to throw two wild pitches in the 8th allowing the Indians to get off the deck and onto the scoreboard.
So you want to be a Major League pitcher?
I talked to Dean Barnett about the bugfest, and he said it was disgusting enough to watch that he switched down from HD to normal resolution. I don't blame him. Fortunately, I hear the health care plan is top notch for the pros, and even includes treatment for Malaria.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Some days, A Robert Byrd Senate speech is fun to lampoon because of his advancing age, rhetorical style, and subject matter that has little to do with anything. Today, however, Byrd was all business in a ten minute address regarding our policy towards the menace in Iran, and Byrd must be challenged on his views not just because he's dead wrong, but because he is the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, and he is three heartbeats away from the presidency. Here's some of the key excerpts:
Mr. President, last week the Senate voted on an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that designated a portion of the Iranian armed forces as a terrorist organization. I joined 21 of my illustrious colleagues in voting against that amendment. It was a dangerous, unnecessary provocation that is escalating the confrontational rhetoric between the United States and Iran. In response to the passage of that amendment, the Iranian parliament on Saturday designated the U.S. Armed Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency as terrorist organizations. Would someone please explain to me what has been achieved by this exchange of international verbal spitballs?
Not that I have any expectation that he'll read this and understand, but what has been achieved is a monetary victory. Senator Byrd, as Chairman of Approps, should realize this. By classifying that part of the Iranian Army as a terrorist organization, which of course is a perfectly appropriate moniker to a wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that trains radical extremists to become terrorists, that gives the U.S. government more lattitude in seizing assets internationally to try and defund them. Iran's economy is not a stable one. They do not have unlimited resources like many of their other Middle East neighbors. If we can seize the assets of companies that deal internationally with the Iranian regime, and therefore weaken Iranian military capabilities, that's a good start. Robert Byrd doesn't see it that way. He likes Iran just the way they are.
I am no apologist for the Iranian regime any more than I was for Saddam Hussein. But I fear that we may become entangled in another bloody quagmire.
If you have to spend time on the Senate floor to explain that you are not an apologist for the Iranian regime, the bulk of what you're saying must be being perceived as apologizing for the Iranian regime.
Four and a half years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell made a speech before the United Nations Security Council claiming to have evidence that proves Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and was an imminent threat to U.S. and international security.
Legacy of Ashes author Tim Weiner, a man of the left and a reporter with the New York Times, wrote, "This was not a selective use of intelligence. It was not cherry-picking. It was not fixing the facts to fit the war plans. It was what the intelligence said - the best intelligence the Agency had to offer. Colin Powell had spent days and nights with George Tenet, checking and rechecking the CIA’s reporting. Tenet looked him in the eye and told him it was rock solid." As for the imminent threat part, President Bush himself said that the reason for action in Iraq was precisely because he did not want Iraq to become an imminent threat on his watch. Byrd's staffers who clearly wrote this speech are misleading the American people in order to perpetuate the myth that George Bush misled us to war.
The proponents of war compared Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler, warning ominously of the dangers of Chamberlain-like appeasement. That is a seductive analogy, but it is a dangerously specious one. Every foreign adversary is not the devil incarnate.
True, not every adversary is the devil incarnate. But when they propose genocide and seek nuclear weaponry in order to make that fantasy a reality, they become the devil incarnate. Saddam Hussein was trying to achieve nuclear capabilities, as Christopher Hitchens has frequently documented. He also sought to wipe out Israel, and then, weapon technology permitting, eventually desiring to hit us. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel, and is trying to achieve the nuclear capacity to make that happen. Even French President Sarkozy understands this.
The intelligence that suggested he was an imminent threat was flat wrong. Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein had not attacked our country. Saddam Hussein was a ruthless tyrant, but he was not an imminent threat to national security.
More perpetuation of the same lie. The Hussein threat was growing, not imminent. We didn't want it to become imminent. That's what the preemption doctrine was all about. He did have weapons of mass destruction. Ask the Kurds, where thousands were slaughtered at the hands of Hussein chemical weapons. Saddam didn't attack our country, just like Germany hadn't attacked our country in 1941.
While there may be some superficial similarities between Hitler and Ahmadinejad, it does not mean that our only option is to start World War III.
World War III was the Cold War, Senator. We're on number four now. Try to keep up.
Every day it seems that the confrontational rhetoric between the United States and Iran escalates. We hear shadowy claims about Iran’s destabilizing actions in Iraq with little direct evidence offered to back it up.
Shadowy claims? This is where he is reflecting widespread Democratic opinion that the American military is populated with generals who are all liars. Members of the Quds force, the foreign terrorism wing of the Revolutionary Guard, have been captured trying to kill American troops in Iraq. IED's that have killed American troops have Iranian signature characteristics. Generals Abizaid, Casey, Pace, Myers, Simmons and Petraeus have detailed the existence of Iranian interference in Iraq. Byrd saying there's little evidence is akin to looking skyward and saying there's little evidence the sky is blue. All he has to do is look.
The President telegraphs his desire to designate a large segment of the Iranian Army as a terrorist organization. And instead of counseling prudence, the United States Senate rushes ahead to do it for him. I hope that we can stop this war of words before it becomes a war of bombs. We have seen the result when the U.S. Senate gives this administration the benefit of the doubt.
The Dinner Jacket just said to the attentive youth at Columbia recently that there is no meddling by Iran in Iraq. Robert Byrd seems quite content to take him at his word, yet he's unwilling to give the benefit of the doubt to either our own military commanders or our President.
We need to talk directly to the government of Iran without preconditions or artificial restrictions, and indicate that regime change is not our goal. Unfortunately, the President seems unwilling to take that step.
Michael Ledeen, AEI scholar and author of The Iranian Time Bomb, just said on the program yesterday this about the folly of our government the last few decades trying to negotiate with these people:
HH: Carter began it, and he tried, and this came as a surprise to me, he armed the Mullahs and pleaded with the Mullahs, rather than resisting the Mullahs.
ML: Yeah, well, he wanted, he had various reasons. First, he was completely misled on the nature of Khomeini. Nobody in the American government at that time understood what a monster Khomeini was, and how terrible this regime was going to be. Secondly, he desperately wanted to show that he had not lost Iran, because if it turned out that Iran had fallen into the hands of these evil people, they were afraid in Washington that they were going to be blamed for it. And so in a lot of the cables back and forth, you find people saying you see, we haven’t lost Iran after all, we can make an agreement with these people, these people are reasonable, we can work with them, etc. And then as time passed, and it became more and more urgent to deal with the Iranian threat in one way or another, all the diplomats argued that anything can be negotiated, and we can negotiate it with these people too, just have patience.
HH: Even after the hostage crisis and the embarrassment of Carter, and the freeing of the hostages on the first day of the Reagan administration, one would have thought that Reagan and Bill Casey and George Schultz and the rest of them would have been on guard against this, but as you recount, Reagan fell for it, too. Can you tell our audience how?
ML: Well, Reagan was sucked into the Iranian matter by the hostage crisis. The various Americans were taken hostage by Hezbollah, which is to say by Iran, and the it became possible to negotiate with the Iranians to ransom out some of the hostages. And so they got involved with that, and once they were involved in talking to them, then they said well, now we’re talking to these people, we can talk about broader things. And in fact, from the very beginning, the Iranians kept on saying, you know, let’s reach some kind of modus vivendi, because we don’t have to hate one another. Remember, there was still a Soviet empire then, and the Iranians were very active against the Soviet empire. And there were actually things on which there was convergence of interest between the United States and Iran, namely the Soviet business.
HH: But after the interregnum that is Bush 41, and after Iran-Contra, everyone leaves it along, arrives Bill Clinton, and again, falls for it hard, for the temptation of the Iranian thing. And why the Albright apology? It’s one thing to hope for something, but it’s another thing to embarrass yourself in the quest for that which isn’t being delivered.
ML: Well, you see, what happened was that in the meantime, Khatami, the so-called great moderate, had become president. And so all the experts in the State Department and the intelligence community went to Clinton and Albright and said everything’s changed, Iran is now a moderate country, now is the time to go all out to normalize relations. And so we did all these terrible things. We enabled the Russians to sell nuclear technology to Iran, and to sell weapons to them. In open violation of American law, we permitted the Iranians to smuggle weapons into the Balkans, which made it possible for them to set up their terrorist network there, and to expand it. And then you know, we let the Iranian wrestling team into the country, the usual symbolic gestures, we eased some of the banking restrictions and so forth. And Khamani spit in our faces. And my grandmother always used to say when somebody spits in your face, don’t pretend it’s raining.
ML: But once we were committed to that negotiating track, we just plowed on. And Mrs. Albright even apologized for things we hadn’t done, let alone things we had done. She said she apologized, for example, for helping Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, when the first assistance we gave went to Iran, not to Iraq. And I think that on balance, we helped the Iranians more than the Iraqis.
Ledeen, of course, is spot on. Byrd is 180 degrees off. Imagine the line about how regime change in Iran is not our goal being broadcast to the 50 million Iranians who would love to have something positive to hang onto to reclaim control of their government, and how dispiriting something like that will be.
And yet, Byrd is not all by himself on his foreign policy views. His desire to talk with Iran directly is straight out of the Barack Obama playbook. His version of history about the beginning of the Iraq war sounds like a Hillary Clinton stump speech. 21 other Senators voted with him against the amendment naming the Quds force a terrorist organization. A fifth of the Senate cannot seem to recognize a threat when it's presented to them.
Keep that in mind as the election cycle starts to ramp up. Are Democrats really the ones you want in charge of the Congress and the White House?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Yesterday at Fort Myer, Virginia, the ceremony took place honoring the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, and swearing in Admiral Mike Mullen. General Pace spent a few minutes thanking those around him for their support throughout his extremely distinguished military career, and then spoke quite eloquently about the last forty days of his term as Chairman. This video needs to be watched.
General Pace didn't want to step down, and should be starting his second term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. But thanks to MoveOn.org and their puppets on the Democratic side of the aisle in the United States Senate, General Pace was deemed unqualified and unable to be confirmed for a second term.
A political party that can discard a man of Pace's caliber, character and credibility as easily as throwing out last week's leftovers for no other reason than their opposition to the war in Iraq is not a party that can be seriously considered to be placed in charge of this country in a time of war.
Make no mistake, Admiral Mullen is a very capable replacement for General Pace, and the country's military opinions will be accurately offered to the President and the Secretary of Defense. But there is only one winner when General Pace is sent off to retirement earlier than necessary, and it isn't the Democrats or MoveOn.org. The only one that wins is the enemy we face, because of the propaganda win it provides them. Al Jazeera hails the change in military leadership
as a good chance that the policy in Iraq will finally change.
Thanks, Dems. Once again, you've let your desire for political power trump one of the best men tot ever serve in this country's military with no regard to the impact of national security. Hope you sleep well.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Oh, the shivers that were sent down the collective spine of the Hugh Hewitt Show audience that fateful summer day when Los Angeles Times columnist and wannabe Walter Mitty, William Lobdell, attempted to show the world how easy it was to host a nationally syndicated radio show. You can see Bill in the picture above leaving the studio after his three hour long hour of radio, contemplating the column he is going to have to write. That column appears in the Tuesday editions of the Los Angeles Times
. Here's what Bill had to say about his radio experience:
In the movie "For Love of the Game," announcer Vin Scully refers to the pitching mound at Yankee Stadium as the "loneliest spot in the world."
But I'd argue that it's behind the microphone of a conservative talk radio show that's picked up by more than 110 stations throughout the country. Especially when you're seen by the audience as part of the liberal mainstream media, which is like waving a juicy T-bone in front of a pride of lions.
No, the loneliest spot would have to be at the L.A. Times call center, trying every day to find the one cold call contact that will not hang up on you and actually consider subscribing to the Times. More Lobdell:
As soon as the show's opening music boomed into my headphones, my mind began to shut down. You wouldn't think being a talk radio show host would be all that tough -- just read a few newspapers, magazine and Web articles others have slaved to produce and then riff about them.
Maybe Bill didn't notice, but radio is an aural medium. Booming is what we do. That's why the Marcel Marceau Show wasn't a huge success. More Bill:
But here's the hard part. It's just you, your voice and the microphone. You are giving a monologue in an empty studio. You can't see your audience or sense their engagement. It felt like being locked in a sensory-deprivation chamber. Time seemed to slow, the awful way it does during a car accident.
You can't see your audience or sense their engagement? That's just like writing at the Times. Lobdell should have been a natural. But the really funny thing here was the fact that Lobdell claims he felt he was locked in a sensory-deprivation chamber. I was there. Adam was there. Hugh definitely was there. If only you could hear the coaching Mr. Hewitt gave Lobdell in his headphones during his lay-down of an interview with a fellow Times reporter, sensory-deprivation would not be the right description. In fact, at the minimum, it was sensory overload. Andrew Sullivan would most certainly classify it as torture.
The technical aspects of hosting a radio show flummoxed me as well. My producer kept barking instructions in my ear, messing up what little rhythm I had going. I had to put callers on the air, a seemingly simple task that resulted in several hang-ups and accompanying dial tones that made the airwaves. And I had to be constantly aware of the time, making sure the show broke away smoothly for commercial breaks and news (another failure).
Bill's rhythm, what there was of it, was impervious to anything I could offer. It's a simple studio, actually, we have four call-in lines. Bill acted as though he was Ernestine the switchboard operator from Laugh-In.
You ought to go read the rest of the whine-fest and watch the accompanying video here
for a chuckle. The best part after watching Bill's sullen, balding head saying how much fun this wasn't, then followed by the next assignment, which was a botox session. Bill seems hell bent on becoming a living cue ball with eyes.
The real reason Bill struggled is because radio is a real time medium. What you say, how you conduct interviews, how you think on your feet is responded to directly in real time, something newspapers just aren't capable of doing. When Bill writes a column, there might be an e-mail or two in a few days, but there's a buffer between the reporter and the target audience, a buffer that does not exist in radio.
Good luck with the botox, Bill. All that's left then to do is a trip to the Hair Club, grow a little beard, and then you can try your hand at being Kenny Rogers for a day.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Despite being in the National League, you've got to hand it to the comeback this year by the Philadelphia Phillies, overcoming a seven game deficit with 17 games to play and winning the division in dramatic fashion on the last day of the season.
Things weren't always so rosy for the Phillies, however. In fact, I seem to remember when I visited Philadelphia a couple of months ago, they were mired in third place, fighting to claw ahead of the Atlanta Braves. That was when the ol' Generalissimo took the mound to show the Phillies the way.
A listener writes to Hugh and I:
Hugh, I know you don’t follow the National League (the real league), but the Phillies went 30-19 and won the NL East for the first time in 14 years since the Generalissimo threw out the first pitch at Citizens Bank Park on August 10th. My question: Is he available for the playoffs? If he doesn’t have anything left in his arm (or he’s afraid of pushing his luck with the bouncing-it-to-the-plate issue), maybe he can sing the anthem or something. Anything to get him back in the park for a little more of that Duane magic would be appreciated.
Also, I think he should inquire with the club about a playoff share (at least a partial one).
I'm flattered by the notion about the playoff share. I'm much too humble of a person to accept that. But you have to acknowledge success where success takes place. The facts don't lie. The Phillies are gracious enough to let me throw out the first pitch, and they immediately go on a roll. That doesn't just happen by itself. I'm sure there are plenty of other teams around the Majors that might like to cash in on the mojo of the Generalissimo. I am willing to entertain most offers. The arm is sound, the arm is strong.
I say most, because there are certain teams, like the Dodgers, which are beyond the help and reach my first pitch can bring them. I'm not a miracle worker, after all. So if you are affiliated with a professional baseball franchise, and would like to tap into the magic, I can be reached through the Hugh Hewitt Show. I figure there are 29 MLB teams, 30 if you include the Dodgers, and if I average a couple teams a year, I could have a fifteen year career in the bigs.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Hugh and I got an e-mail this weekend, asking us to provide the Hillary cackle we played last week for a Halloween party they have upcoming. Being the old DJ I am, I'm always happy to play requests.
Hillary Cackle MP3
In case you missed it, John Stewart on the Daily Show, in a rare moment of fair play, lampooned the Hillary cackle as well.
Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson is the producer of the nationally syndicated "Hugh Hewitt Show". In a sense Duane is "the man behind the curtain" -- and this is his blog.
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