Saturday, April 19, 2003

Via The Command Post, there's this story out from Reuters:

Schroeder Regrets Words That Hit U.S.-German Ties

"I deeply regret there were exaggerated comments -- also from cabinet members of my previous government," Schroeder told Der Spiegel magazine when asked if there were "grounds for self-criticism" for damage he caused to U.S.-German relations.

The declaration was the furthest Schroeder has gone in trying to mend fences with the U.S.


And this:

Last week he said: "It is always good for mankind when a dictator is removed."

And this:

Bush pointedly did not congratulate Schroeder on his narrow victory. The two have not spoken since November. German media have reported Bush has declined to take calls from Schroeder.

(See: "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists.")


Two weeks ago, a Fox News Channel anchorman asked Newsweek's Eleanor Clift if she thought the war with Iraq was going well, as U.S. forces swept into Baghdad amid the cheers of the Iraqi people.

"No," she said.

Two weeks later, Clift now writes, President Bush is trying to use a "shameless exploitation" of that war - which she said didn't go well - to win approval for his economic proposals at home.

How much is Newsweek paying her? I'm sure there are people out there who could be just as wrong as Eleanor Clift for a lot less money.






When the FBI began "flipping" members of American organized crime families - capturing them and turning them into government witnesses - the government's war on the Mob took off like a snowball down a mountain. The more gangsters turned government witness, the more gangsters who were caught (or rubbed out before they could be caught). In the war on terrorism, the same thing may be happening, especially now that we've rolled over Saddam Hussein's regime:

INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST SURRENDERS

CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar – Khala Khadr Al-Salahat, a member of the Abul Nidal terrorist organization, surrendered to the Marines of First Marine Division in Baghdad April 18.
As the Secretary of Defense said when he outlined the military objectives of Operation Iraqi Freedom, one of our key objectives is to search for, capture and drive out terrorists who have found safe haven in Iraq.


For all of their martyrdom invective, it appears many of these high-ranking terror leaders simply don't want to die - so they surrender and hope for the best. And it's clear the military and Justice Department are telling them they'll only get "the best" if they rat out the other rats in the terror axis.

Friday, April 18, 2003


The FTC is suing Brian D. Westby. Who's that? Well, the government says he's one of the guys who may have been flooding your email box with unsolicited porno spam for at least the last year. And, according to the FTC's lawsuit, Westby somewhat perfected the method of "spoofing" email addresses of innocent people and using them to send said porno spam.

"Third parties whose e-mail addresses or domain names also often suffer injury to their reputations by having themselves wrongfully affiliated with the sending of bulk unsolicited email," says the FTC in its lawsuit against Westby.

Indeed.

You can look at the 7-page complaint against Westby, in .PDF format, by clicking here.
The most active, and loudest, leftist candidate for president is now Howard Dean, who believes strongly that we need France to be our friend. In an essay at CommonDreams.Org, he writes:

This unilateral approach to foreign policy is a disaster. All of the challenges facing the United States – from winning the war on terror and containing weapons of mass destruction to building an open world economy and protecting the global environment – can only be met by working with our allies. A renegade, go-it-alone approach will be doomed to failure, because these challenges know no boundaries.

And:

I will tear up the Bush Doctrine. And I will steer us back into the company of the community of nations where we will exercise moral leadership once again.

This strategy positions Dean well to win over the 19 percent of Americans who think the Iraqi war was a bad idea.


Thursday, April 17, 2003


U.N. Secreteray General Kofi Annan addressed the European Union today. He said of the situation in Iraq, "It is ... imperative that the Coalition, as the occupying power, now give top priority to fulfilling its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations."

He also said that the U.N., among other things, must give a priority "to the need to help the people of Iraq, as quickly as possible, to establish conditions for a normal life, and to put an end to Iraq's isolation."

No mention was made during his speech of the U.N.'s efforts to "help the people of Iraq, as quickly as possible, to establish conditions for a normal life" between 1990 and March 19, 2003.
OpenSecrets.Org has a breakdown of how the Democratic presidential candidates are doing at fundraising in geographic hot spots:

Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) raised more from New York City donors than did any other candidate. His take in the Big Apple from January through March was nearly $779,000. The only region where Kerry raised more was Boston, where he collected $1.4 million. Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) collected the second-highest total from New York--$567,000, good enough for second among the most lucrative metro areas for him. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) raised $466,000 in New York, more than anywhere else in the country; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean took in $238,000 from there; and Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) raised $216,000.

And then there's the action on the other coast:

Los Angeles donors gave the most money ($637,000) to Edwards. He was the only candidate to raise more in L.A. than anywhere else in the country. Kerry took in $560,000, putting Los Angeles third on his metro-area list behind Boston and New York. Gephardt collected $388,000 from Los Angeles donors; the only place he raised more was in his home town of St. Louis ($769,000). Dean raised $232,000 in the City of Angels, slightly less than his total in New York. Lieberman raised $221,000, putting Los Angeles fourth on his metro-area list.

While Lieberman leads the league in congressional endorsements, his support at a grass-roots level badly - badly - trails the others. That Lieberman would raise significantly less than Kerry or Edwards in New York (Lieberman's back yard) is surprising.

God's Lonely Man has this to say about Michael Jordan's (re-)retirement this week:



Another day, another Michael Jordan retirement. Ho hum.I know it's MJ and all, but I am tired of people quitting and then un-quitting. Please just hang it up and be done. I promise when I announce my retirement, you'll never again hear from me.Thank you.


Evander Holyfield, are you taking notes?

Ann Coulter's latest column:




 DESPITE LIBERALS' calm assurance that Iraq wasn't harboring terrorists, this week Abul Abbas, mastermind of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, was captured in Baghdad. This is the second time the United States has caught Abbas. But the last time, the Europeans let him go. That's why liberals are so eager to have Europeans "help" with the war on terrorism. They did a bang-up job last time.


 

We got Saddam's other half brother (the one family members didn't shoot and try to kill.)


MEMBER OF 'IRAQI TOP 55' IN COALITION CUSTODY

Between the captures of Khalid Mohammed, Abu Abbas, two of Saddam's half brothers, it's clear the U.S. intelligence network on terror has improved by light years in barely two months. The better information we get, the higher up the terror food chain we're able to go, which leads to better information. If Osama bin Laden isn't captured in the very near future, it would start looking more and more like he's dead.

This just in: There were no beatings at last night's Chicago White Sox game.
The Bachelor has an Easter dilemma. This guy's blog is hilarious.

On the Sean Hannity radio program yesterday, Steven Brill talked up his latest book - a book which deals with how America bounced back after the Sept. 11 attacks. During his appearance, Brill mentioned this story regarding Sen. Hillary Clinton:


It seems that Sen. Clinton was unhappy that her New York colleague, Sen. Chuck Schumer, was portrayed as more of a hero in the book than she. Brill said that during conversations with Clinton's staff, and then with Clinton herself, they painted a picture where Clinton very specifically went out of her way and actually did more to help New York victims of the Sept. 11 attacks than Schumer.


Brill said that when he checked the stories out, they turned out to be false. Noting that he went to law school with Clinton, Brill said, "just because we're friends doesn't mean I'm not going to check out a story she tells me."

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

General Franks visited one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad today, and, according to a pool report:






At 12: 40 pm, Franks led some of his officers on a tour of the palace. They walked outside past a swimming pool. English writing on the diving board warned would-be divers to check the water level before doing so. There was no water in the pool. They continued to a wing of the palace that had been struck by a Tomahawk cruise missile. Franks stood precariously on a pile of rubble at the edge of the building and surveyed the damaged. Inside, twisted metal rods and wires hung down like so many vines over a crater and, beside, it a huge heap of stone and metal. The air still smelled from the fire. Windows throughout the complex had been shattered by the blast. Besides the cruise missile attack on this wing, US bombing had also destroyed one of the causeways crossing the lake. The palace was not the site of a significant battle. Franks continued his tour of the building. He entered several highly-ornate rooms with pastel arabesque ceilings. He entered the bathroom, which contained gold sink fixtures, a cold soap dish, a gold toilet-paper dispenser and a toilet-bowl brush with a gold handle. Several times Franks commented, "It's the oil-for-palace program."


That may have been a joking remark, but if you take a look at the money raised under this program, and understand that most of it was actually spent at the discretion of the Iraqi government, it may not be that far-fetched.


 

Autographed photo of former Vice President Dan Quayle: $7.99. Baseball signed by former Vice President Walter Mondale: $9.99. Unsigned Christmas Card from former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew: $9.99.


Undated obituary of current, and living Vice President Dick Cheney: Priceless.

The Hill's story today on defections from the John Edwards presidential campaign, to other candidates' efforts (an item linked to by Drudge), doesn't paint a pretty picture for the North Carolina senator.


On the other hand, "media advisors" are so plentiful, you can't swing a cat around during an election without hitting one. Edwards lost consultant Bob Shrum to Sen. John Kerry's campaign three weeks ago, but hired David Axelrod yesterday to take his place. And Edwards has more money than anyone else except Kerry.


Axelrod, by the way, has experience in New York (he was a consultant to the New York Democratic Committee). And no Democrat can expect to beat President Bush unless they can beat him in New York - almost an insurmountable task post-Sept. 11. (When the Marist Institute conducted its last polling in New York late last year, Bush had a higher favorability rating in the state than any other Democrat, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.)


 


 


 

Turns out the war is coming in on schedule and under budget:


 Pentagon: War Cost Is $20 Billion So Far


 WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon has spent more than $20 billion so far in the war against Iraq and expects to spend at least $10 billion more by the end of September, a senior official said Wednesday.


 

From Howard Dean's stump speech (via HowardDean2004 Blog):


What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the president’s unilateral intervention in Iraq?

Congressman Chip Pickering is one busy guy (with a blog):


 PICKERING VOTES TO PROTECT CHILDREN, PROVIDE TORT REFORM FOR GUN SELLERS, AND PREVENT POSTAL RATE INCREASES


The blog is mostly canned, "constituent service mail" faire. But one wonders how long it will take before other members of congress blog.


There's a new sheriff in Dodge:

U.S. MARINES PREVENT ROBBERY, RECOVER MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. Marines stopped a bank robbery Tuesday, recovering approximately US $3.7 million.

The Marines responded to calls by local citizens reporting robbers were looting a nearby bank. A Marine patrol rushed to the site, and as they entered the bank three robbers fired at the Marines from inside the depository. The Marines returned fire killing one person and injuring a second. A third escaped.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has secured the money.


Sen. Joe Lieberman appears to be taking the safest campaign path, as he continues to voice support for President Bush on Iraq, but disagreement on taxes and the economy. In a statement he put out on tax day, he said:


On the issue of Iraq, President Bush recognized the real threat posed by Saddam Hussein in the aftermath of 9/11. But he refuses to face the facts when it comes to the economy.


These remain tough times. Our nation is in growing deficit. We are emerging from a costly war. The Administration has yet to give us an estimate of what it will cost to help Iraq rebuild. And it's shortchanging homeland security, failing to fund the education reform bill the President signed and leaving seniors in need of prescription drugs in the lurch.


Lieberman's statements seem to be in lock-step with the majority of those who answer polling questions. But will that start translating into primary votes beginning in nine months?

Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's campaign manager, sent out an email to the governor's supporters last night that said:


 Will we be unilateralist America, following the Bush Doctrine? Or will we be a more multilateral America with a foreign policy that reflects the American values of hope, liberty, and freedom? Will we have a foreign policy that replaces ideology with thought–that speaks the truth to the American people, and takes a principled yet pragmatic approach to working with the community of nations?


When Democrats say the Bush Doctrine was "unilateral," it's unclear whether or not they mean "without France, Russia and Germany." It's apparent that Dean's campaign is appealing to the kind of hardcore, Democratic base that actually votes in primaries. And for those Democrats who are disgruntled at the success of the Bush Administration, the message could have some resonance - especially in New Hampshire.


 


 


 

 


The Center for Responsive Politics has a roundup on its Web site of Iraq reconstruction contractors and the campaigns to which they've contributed of late:


Halliburton Co.
The Contributions: $709,320 (95 percent to Republicans)
Total to President Bush: $17,677
The Contract: On March 25, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root the main contract to fight oil well fires and reconstruct oil fields in Iraq. The open-ended contract, which has no specified time or dollar limit, was given to the company without a bidding process. KBR has already announced it will subcontract the actual firefighting operations to Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. and Wild Well Control Inc., both based in Houston.
The Company: Halliburton Co., the Dallas-based oil field services giant that took in $12.5 billion in sales last year, is no stranger to government contracts. Kellogg, Brown & Root fought oil well fires in Kuwait and provided support services to U.S. forces in the Balkans in the 1990s. But Halliburton's ties to Washington have made it a target of criticism in the latest bidding process. Vice President Dick Cheney headed the company for five years before becoming George W. Bush's runningmate in 2000. Lawrence Eagleburger, former U.S. secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush, sits on the company's board.


Since the first priority of the Coalition was to prevent oil well fires, and forces were successful in preventing them, it's not clear how much work will actually be involved.


 


 

 


The Center for Responsive Politics has a roundup on its Web site of Iraq reconstruction contractors and the campaigns to which they've contributed of late:


Halliburton Co.
The Contributions: $709,320 (95 percent to Republicans)
Total to President Bush: $17,677
The Contract: On March 25, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root the main contract to fight oil well fires and reconstruct oil fields in Iraq. The open-ended contract, which has no specified time or dollar limit, was given to the company without a bidding process. KBR has already announced it will subcontract the actual firefighting operations to Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. and Wild Well Control Inc., both based in Houston.
The Company: Halliburton Co., the Dallas-based oil field services giant that took in $12.5 billion in sales last year, is no stranger to government contracts. Kellogg, Brown & Root fought oil well fires in Kuwait and provided support services to U.S. forces in the Balkans in the 1990s. But Halliburton's ties to Washington have made it a target of criticism in the latest bidding process. Vice President Dick Cheney headed the company for five years before becoming George W. Bush's runningmate in 2000. Lawrence Eagleburger, former U.S. secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush, sits on the company's board.


Since the first priority of the Coalition was to prevent oil well fires, and forces were successful in preventing them, it's not clear how much work will actually be involved.


 


 

Ok. Sen. John Edwards is serious about running for president - he's hired a media consultant.


David Axelrod To Serve As Edwards For President Media Consultant


RALEIGH, NC - The Edwards for President campaign today announced that David Axelrod has been retained as the campaign's media consultant. Axelrod is founder and president of the Chicago-based campaign media firm Axelrod and Associates...


... Axelrod's firm has been involved with successful political campaigns across the country and at every level of government. His past clients include Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Philadelphia Mayor John Street, the New York State Democratic Committee and the AFL-CIO.


 


 

Ok. Sen. John Edwards is serious about running for president - he's hired a media consultant.


David Axelrod To Serve As Edwards For President Media Consultant


RALEIGH, NC - The Edwards for President campaign today announced that David Axelrod has been retained as the campaign's media consultant. Axelrod is founder and president of the Chicago-based campaign media firm Axelrod and Associates...


... Axelrod's firm has been involved with successful political campaigns across the country and at every level of government. His past clients include Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Philadelphia Mayor John Street, the New York State Democratic Committee and the AFL-CIO.


 


 

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Could Iraqis be ratting out members of the terror axis?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TERRORIST ABU ABBAS CAPTURED


According to CNN, he tried to slip out of Iraq and into Syria, but couldn't make it across the border. After he about-faced it back to the Baghdad area, Coalition forces somehow managed to find him and take him into custody. A day earlier, troops happened to find what could be 11 mobile bio-chem weapons labs that were buried in the ground.

The lights are coming back on in Baghdad:


 U.S. MARINES RESTORE SERVICES TO BAGHDAD


 BAGHDAD, Iraq – United States Marines officially established a civil-military operations center (CMOC) here Monday, drafting a road map of success for Iraqi citizens.

The center was established as Marines from the First Marine Expeditionary Force encountered light resistance while securing the towns of Tikrit and Samarra and the Al Sahra airfield where Marines found six Iraqi military aircraft in poor condition.

Marines at the center direct civil-military operations in four major functional areas, including electricity, law enforcement, water and sanitation, and medical care. The Marines met with key leaders, including Dr. Karim Hasan, Directing General of Iraq for Electrical Affairs, along with 50 key plant managers and engineers, to plan the restoration of the city’s infrastructure.
Engineers determined generator requirements to provide power to the eastern Baghdad city grid. Iraqi engineers that are needed to restore the power grid are being identified and contacted. Marines also delivered 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel for generators servicing water treatment plants in east Baghdad to ensure they run at full capacity and increase the water flow to Iraqi citizens.

Marines are currently conducting joint patrols with Iraqi uniformed police around the city. Police officers have assumed unarmed patrols throughout various sections of Baghdad and other cities to establish presence and restore order. In response to questions of concerned citizens, residents have been advised that officers are being trained and evaluated to ensure that they are capable choices for policing and that they have no ties as regime loyalists.
Six key Iraqi civilian medical personnel formed a committee to coordinate medical efforts in east Baghdad. They have determined Medical City, the main hospital complex in Baghdad, is operational and private hospitals are functioning on a limited capacity.

U.S. Marines are working diligently to minimize the unrest within the city of Baghdad by helping to restore water and electricity and providing humanitarian aid, medical treatment and other basic needs.


Unilateralism


Quagmire

Street-to-Street Combat

Losing the Peace



 


Democracy Begins With A Show Of Hands

The pool report on the meeting at Nasiriyah, in which various factions of Iraq met with acting U.S. administrator Jay Garner, describes a meeting where little was accomplished - except, of course, for the groundwork that was set for establishing a democracy in the dictator-battered nation. According to the pool report:

(Garner) basically told them that they weren't getting out of there until they voted on the next meeting. "The first vote of free Iraq should be (about) when the next meeting is," Garner said. There was vocal and strong support. Garner proposed another in ten days time. Zalmay said he wanted to see a show of hands on ten days or two weeks. The ten days hands won.

The pool report is broken down into a Part 1, a Part 2 and a Part 3.
Tax Day is here, so it's a good day to look at some national leaders who have made good use of the U.S. Tax Court. According to records at the U.S. Tax Court:

• U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, when he was attorney general for the state of Connecticut in the mid-1980s, was found to have shorted the IRS on his tax bill for two consecutive years. When the IRS notified Lieberman, he took them to U.S. Tax Court. For 1983, he and his wife Hadassah were ordered to pay an extra $771, according to records. For 1984, the Liebermans – who had earlier paid a tax bill of more than $20,000 – were still found by the Internal Revenue Service to have shorted the government. After being notified of the 1984 deficiency, according to records, the Liebermans again took the IRS to U.S. Tax Court. There, a judge ultimately ruled they overpaid their taxes by $64.20.

• In 1997, U.S. Sen. Boxer and her husband, Stewart Boxer, were found by the IRS to have underpaid their taxes for 1983 and 1984. While records which would have detailed the exact circumstances of the Boxers’ tax scenario have been destroyed (per U.S. Tax Court procedure), they decided to fight. After their case was reviewed by a tax court judge, the IRS’ claims were thrown out and the Boxers didn’t have to pay any extra tax.

• In 1990, The Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Vada, were found by the IRS to have underpaid their federal taxes for 1986. The Jacksons then fought that finding, and sought to prevent the IRS from charging them any more tax for that year, according to records. A Tax Court judge who heard the case found the Jacksons underpaid their taxes for 1986 by $856.


Jane Gephardt, Rep. Dick Gephardt's wife, says:

My husband is a caring man with a fantastic sense of humor, but he is very serious about the problems we all face.

The New Hampshire Presidential Primary is nine months out.
According to Gallup, most Americans (65 percent) have either some or a lot of confidence that President Bush will take the right course of action for the economy, which now surpasses Iraq as the top concern. Fifty-two percent have the same kind of confidence in "the Democrats in Congress."

So while the Democrats can take heart that the war is no longer the top issue on peoples' minds (since it gave President Bush such an enormous boost in the polls), they have to now wonder how much to bash President Bush over dollars and cents issues. Since the 43rd president has no "read my lips" bullseye on the back of his coat over taxes (like the 41st president did), the Democrats seem to have no economic statues that they can bring down between now and November, 2004.


Howard Dean might have only governed a state with 608,000 people, but he's got someone on his staff who knows how to provide an RSS/XML feed.

The Command-Post has this nugget from the Australian Broadcast Company, in which the Australian Foreign Minister explains why it will probably take a while to find all of Australia's WMD.

Monday, April 14, 2003


A baseball moment: The Mets are getting out to the same kind of start they did last year:

New York (4-9) lost its sixth straight and dropped five games back, its season veering off course just two weeks in. The Mets hadn't been swept by the Expos in a four-game series since September 1972.

This is a team that has a payroll of more than $120 million, and is either the second- or third-highest paid team in baseball. Last year, after a lousy season, its ownership decided to fire the manager, Bobby Valentine, but keep its general manger, Steve Phillips. But, as Tim Robbins' would quote Tug McGraw, "Ya Gotta Believe." Right?



Liberation isn't limited to only Iraqis:

Another Daring Jailbreak Embarrasses French Government

Suddenly, the U.N. is all over the Iraq situation.

Kofi Annan is traveling to Europe to meet with Tony Blair, Spain's representatives and the Axis of Weasel;

The head of the U.N. human rights organization is saying publicly that a heavy U.N. involvement in post-Iraq would be in the Coalition's best interest;

Annan's top Iraq advisor met with Bush Administration officials "to get a clearer picture of the coalition's thinking" on post-Iraq, according to a statement.


The number of suspected SARS cases in the U.S. is now up to 193, according to the CDC.

The CDC right now is listing them, actually, as "suspected cases under investigation." They are not yet posting cases they've investigated, which have turned out to not be SARS.

If you were thinking about it, you're too late. The URL has already been taken.

Dick Morris has some interesting observations on how the mainstream media fared during their coverage of the Iraq war in his column in today's New York Post.

Each morning, we sat reading our copy of The New York Times, The Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times and ruminated on their prophecies of doom and quagmire. Then we looked up to see, on television, correspondents actually embedded with our troops reporting quick advances, one-sided firefights, melting opposition and, finally, welcoming crowds.

Morris spells out what he sees is a growing public distrust of the mainstream media, which has come to benefit the likes of Fox News Channel and other outlets that were accused by some of "cheerleading" the war. He didn't really discuss the impact of the Internet on war coverage - although it may take a while to figure that part of it out. That no one organization or outlet has a monopoly on information any more means that quality, consistency and accuracy are going to be prized more than ever. It's what will stand out. It's what will magnetize the public.

Changes that we've begun to see in journalism during the Iraq war will continue through the 2004 elections. Boy, are things going to be different.






Michael J. Totten has this take on what the Iraqis must be feeling:

All the repression and order in Iraq was simply blown out of the air all at once. When the lid came off it really came off. It wasn't gradual, and there was nothing waiting to replace it. Rigidly put-down people were instantly freed. The resulting anarchy should not have been surprising. Their impulse-control was simply shot.

A similar mental process must be happening. For so many years Iraqis had to repress their opinions. A careless word could get their whole family shot. The only way to survive was to keep their honest thoughts as deeply buried as possible.

And now they can think what they want. They are like whales bred in cages, suddenly released to the limitless sea. Only Iraqis can know what this experience actually feels like.


So, if a new Iraqi parliament evolves into Taiwanese-style fistfights as the new government is put together, it shouldn't be surprising.



Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is giving Syrians a reason to be very, very concerned, based on his comments yesterday on "Meet the Press:"

Q: What happens if Syria doesn't change their behavior?

Rumsfeld: Oh, that's above my pay grade. Those are the kinds of things that countries and presidents decide. That's broad national policy. I am a participant, but I am certainly not a decider.

Q: But could they be risking the future of their government?

Rumsfeld: Well, I guess to a certain extent you are known by your friends, and being on the terrorist list is not someplace I want to be, if I were a country or a leader of a country. I don't quite understand a country that forgoes the economic opportunity that comes from interaction with the world community and the opportunities for their people by creating an environment that's hospitable to enterprise and to economic intercourse, why they want to live like that, why they want to think that the only way to sustain their dictatorships is to repress people and to deny them the fruits of economic interaction with the world. I think it's a shame. I don't know what motivates people except preservation of a regime. You look at dictatorships, and basically they get up in the morning, and the single most important thing is not looking out for their people. It's how do we preserve the regime? How do we continue our ability to control everything and repress everyone, and control the press and deny freedom of religion, and enlarge our prisons, and force people in the case of other countries to live on subsistence food. I don't get it.


...As well as his comments to The Times' Tom Friedman on "Face the Nation:"
Friedman: Is the Syrian government going to pay a price for this?

Rumsfeld: I'm sure they already are if you think about it. I mean who in the world would want to invest in Syria? Who would want to go into tourism in Syria? The government's making a lot of bad mistakes, a lot of bad judgment calls in my view and they are associating with the wrong people and the affect of that hurts the Syrian people. It hurts the Syrian people because reasonable people don't want to be associated with a state that's on a terrorist list. They don't to be associated with a country that's engaged with Hezbollah and moving terrorists down and terrorist materials, equipment, and explosives, down to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. They don't want to be associated with a country that's still occupying their neighboring country of Lebanon.

Friedman: You know the French Foreign Minister today said that the time is not right for the United States to put pressure on Syria, by accusing it of aiding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime. Do these guys piss you off?

Rumsfeld: The French?

Friedman: Yeah.

Rumsfeld: Oh goodness. I think I'll leave diplomacy to Secretary Powell.

Friedman: Why? (Laughter.) Why start now? (Laughter.)

Rumsfeld: You know, I'm always a believer that people ought to - sovereign nations and individuals ought to have their own views. And they ought to argue them and debate them and discuss them. And I think that's good. That's healthy. And I like debate and discussion and competition of ideas. I think that's healthy. I think what is not healthy is when a - someone tries to define themselves by their opposition to others as opposed to what they're for or what they're doing. And the comment that you just sited, suggests that the truth doesn't have any value. And the truth does have value. And the fact of the matter is that Syria has been unhelpful and pretending that that's not the case it strikes me, is to deny the truth. And I don't think you can live a lie.




The Howard Dean Campaign reveals an awful lot, in a little bit of space, about the former Vermont governor's strategy in running for president in its latest blog entry:

People across the country are showing up for Howard Dean. As of this writing, we're only 5 people short of having 15,000 Meetup members-- an absolutely incredible number of netroots activists getting together to elect the best candidate, the man who will defeat George W. Bush, nine months before the first vote is even cast. And they are getting together because of the power of the Net.

They also go on to say the Democratic Party will be the "Internet Party."

More and more, it appears as if Dean is this year's Jerry Brown. That's not necessarily a bad thing. In '92, Brown refused to take campaign contributions of more than $100, and he took no PAC money, corporate contributions or soft money. In a field of about eight candidates that year, Brown finished second in the primaries to Bill Clinton. Brown basically walked away from the conventional wisdom that you needed a ton of money and television spending to attract voters. He was right, and he came closer than six other "traditional" candidates that year to winning the nomination - candidates including Bob Kerrey, Tom Harkin and Paul Tsongas.

But Brown also proved another point: no amount of grass roots success can overcome a message that doesn't resonate with most voters. The day our troops helped Iraqis tear down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Dean said he "suppose(d)" that was a good development. If Al Gore was done in by sighing, Dean may do himself in with the eye-rolling.

Sunday, April 13, 2003



Turns out President Bush is postponing his May 5 trip to Canada, after all:

Statement by the Press Secretary
Postponement of the President's Trip to Canada
After Consultations, the U.S. and Canadian Governments Have Decided

to postpone President Bush's May 5 State Visit to Ottawa. The postponement is due to the President's ongoing obligations to help the people of Iraq build a nation that is whole, free and at peace. President Bush and Prime Minister Chrtien look forward to accomplishing these goals that both share.


If postponing the trip isn't a snub, maybe misspelling the Canadian prime minister's name is.


The latest issue of Vanity Fair has more back-and-forth between Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Dominick Dunne, in the "letters to the editor" section.

It's more of the old rehash between the two, with Kennedy badmouthing Dunne's writings on the Martha Moxley murder and his friendship with Mark Furhman. It's worth the read, though, just to see Dunne write that he has no intention of "getting into a pissing match" with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (He then spends another few paragraphs doing just that.)


Coalition forces have now captured Saddam Hussein's chief scientist, chief nuclear advisor and now his half-brother.

One would imagine that either they'll talk, and tell the U.S. where all the WMD are, or they'll be fitted for new cages at Camp X-Ray. One would also imagine that Camp X-Ray might be a fitting place for a little "Cuban Justice."


Now there is undeniable proof Uday Hussein was into pornography: He had a Yahoo! email address, according to Time, by way of TalkingPointsMemo.com. (As anyone with a Yahoo! email address can tell you, about three-quarters of email time is spent filtering through porno spam.)


Jim Treacher's Democratic bumper sticker slogans keep getting better and better.

I can't even explain this one. You have to read it for yourself.
Al Jazeera, which now bills itself as providing "objective and balanced news coverage and analysis," actually is reporting now that "lawlessness" is subsiding in Baghdad.

Yeah. So there's a war on. Big deal. The public wants information about colossal squid and American Idol.



The New York Times is back to covering Augusta National's membership restrictions. Writes Selena Roberts in today's Times:

For the last 10 months, the Augusta National p.r. machine has successfully demonized (Martha) Burk, casting her as an attention-seeking troublemaker without addressing the issue of sexism at all. (Burk has been the chief activist in attempts to have Augusta National change its membership policies and accept female members. The Times has been the leading news organization covering the story.)

The only trouble is, while The Times has been relentless in its swipes at Hootie Johnson for saying he would not change the club's membership policy, it's mentioned nothing about a member of The Times' family's own involvement in the club. (Remember how The Times, in an editorial, urged champ Tiger Woods to boycott the tournament until it accepted women?)

John Akers, the former IBM CEO and a Times director, is also listed as a member of Augusta National, according to last year's story by USA Today. So while The Times has called for Woods to boycott the tournament, and written relentlessly about the controversy, it's never mentioned its own director is a member of the club.