The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Image Problem (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 1/31/2006 10:56:00 PM | Permalink | |

A stirring review of "Flight 93"

I haven't seen the A&E film Flight 93 yet (this is the film about the passengers that brought down the hijacked airliner on 9/11 that was heading for the White House, and crashed it in a Pennsylvania field)--I did TIVO it; in fact I may even watch it after the speech tonight--especially after reading Russ Vaughn's review of the A&E film on The American Thinker; now I am really interested:

My heart is heavy and my eyes misting in a most un-paratrooper-like manner, for I have just watched A&E’s presentation of the movie Flight 93, and I am filled with a whirling mixture of emotions: sadness first for the innocent lives lost: anger second for the horrible, fright-filled deaths inflicted upon blameless Americans by Islamic fanatics; but thirdly and most powerfully, a newly reinvigorated, soul-deep, cold resolve that my country must do whatever is in its power to defeat these Jihadists, to hunt them down in every rat hole corner of the world and to exterminate them without hesitation or mercy.

I’m an old warhorse now, too old to actually aim the weapon, to get one of those bastards in my sights, pull the trigger and grimly satisfied, claim the kill. But I tell you now, I am resolved to do everything in my power to enable those young warriors now in the field to accomplish what I would gladly do were it in my power. I would hope that others who view this film will share my sense of resurrected resentment and renewed resolve.

Although I have been a staunch supporter of the administration since 9/11, I, like many, have backslid a bit: my anger and sense of retribution somewhat mitigated by the misting effects of history on the events of 9/11. Like so many others, I have fallen into the habit of carping at the Republicans in Congress, forgetting that it is their majority presence that is the only thing that enables our government to relentlessly pursue these Jihadi bastards into their heartlands, the sole power that prevents cut and run, defeatist, weak-willed Democrats like Murtha, Kerry and Kennedy from disgracing our nation before the world.

Flight 93 also filled me with a sense of pride: there were Sheepdogs on that flight, the kind of Americans of whom I have written previously, who, in the face of fiery, explosive death, rose up and attacked the invading wolves with a brave ferocity that denied the predators their ultimate victim, the veritable fold of the flock, that great, symbolic White House or Capitol in Washington, DC. Yes, they were unable to save their immediate flock, but those stalwart Sheepdogs fought tooth and fang to protect the heart and soul of our national flock, icons of democracy whose destruction would have been a breathtaking victory for the terrorists and a dreadful blow to the American psyche.

Our debt to those gallant Sheepdogs will be forever unending.

Were it within my power, I would gather Murtha, Kerry, Kennedy and all of their weak-sister kin and force them to watch Flight 93 over and over until it might finally penetrate their partisan, politically besotted brains that this country is in a war for its very existence. But that is surely wishful thinking; for I am convinced that the only thing that is going to shock these liberal idiots into reality is to once again be witness to the constant replaying on their office television monitors of the horrific sight of a new terrorist strike. But this time, rather than twin crumbling towers, it will most likely be a dark, fulminating, mushroom cloud over one of America’s great cities.

Of course, if that great city is our capital, then the fools won’t be watching anything, will they?

DiscerningTexan, 1/31/2006 08:21:00 PM | Permalink | |

Louisiana refused Federal Evacuation Aid BEFORE Katrina

An email has surfaced that categorically proves that the Louisiana Democratic State government refused an offer by the Federal Government to assist with evacuations. Captain Ed has the story:

A new memo has surfaced from the investigation into the response to Hurricane Katrina which shows that state and local officials turned down federal help in evacuating hospitals and nursing homes until it was too late:

A ranking Louisiana health official turned down federal offers to help move or evacuate patients as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, a newly released document shows.
But the state's top medical officer said Louisiana coordinated with the federal Health and Human Services Department in evacuating hospitals and nursing homes after Katrina hit.

Two days before the Aug. 29 storm, HHS was told by the state's health emergency preparedness director that the help was not needed, according to an e-mail released Monday by a Senate panel investigating the government's response to Katrina.

Read the rest here.
DiscerningTexan, 1/31/2006 08:12:00 PM | Permalink | |

State of the Union Liveblogging Links

Michelle Malkin has an excellent set of liveblogger links who will be covering President Bush's State of the Union address, including whether Cindy Sheehan (who was invited by a Democrat) will attempt to disrupt the speech--and what actions should be taken if she tries it--I say they get the very best Secret Service agents to hover nearby, ready to remove her from the building if she so much as opens her mouth:

I had planned to be in D.C. tonight to join a cool bunch of bloggers at the State of the Union Bloggers Row sponsored by the House GOP Conference. Unfortunately, my son has a terrible stomach bug that requires Dr. Mom's TLC. Don't know if I'll be able to catch the speech live, so check out these livebloggers from Bloggers Row (let me know if I forgot anyone, guys) and beyond:
Expose The Left
No End But Victory
Right Side Redux
Robert Bluey, Human Events Online - Right Angle
A Soldier's Perspective
Tim Chapman,'s Capitol Report
NAM Blog
Open thread at Polipundit

Ed Morrissey,
Captain's Quarters
La Shawn Barber
Meantime, pre-speech buzz is focusing on Hugo Chavez's big squeeze, Cindy Sheehan, who has a gallery pass to watch the speech live.
Wonder if she will be wearing
pink lingerie?

UPDATE: It appears that Cindy Sheehan has already been removed (before the speech) for attempting to unfurl a banner. Bravo!

UPDATE: Little Green Footballs has up a full text of the President's strong, to-the-point speech.

UPDATE: Of all the synopses I have read, I thought Hugh Hewitt's came closest to the mark:

A great speech, focused early on the crucial issues facing the world, combining an appeal to the Democrats to return to bipartisan support for national security with a message that even if that bipartisanship is not forthcoming, the president will not be turned from his understanding of the dangers the country faces and his strategy to meet and defeat those dangers.

The key paragraph:

It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack , based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute, I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.

Unfortunately, as Republicans rose to applaud this resolve and the president's defense of his NSA program, Democrats remained seated and did not applaud. Fox cut to Senator Clinton who shook her head slowly with a tight and disapproving smile.
Notice was served to Hamas and to Iran in unmistakable terms. The direct address to the Iranian people was a brilliant move, but an ominous one as it telegraphs that 2006 will be the year of confrontation that cannot be postponed, and that confrontation could come soon.

The Democrats were enthusiastic and on their feet alone only over the president's acknowledgement of their successful obstruction of Social Security reform. It was a very interesting moment: They celebrated the failure to fix a growing problem. It was a revealing moment.

There was great urgency in the president's speech tonight, and a recognition impossible to avoid that one party is serious about the national security and pressing domestic issues and the other is not.
DiscerningTexan, 1/31/2006 08:05:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, January 30, 2006

If you liked the Iranian Hostage'll LOVE the Encore...
DiscerningTexan, 1/30/2006 09:35:00 PM | Permalink | |

Broadcasting the words of the Monsters

How much longer are we going to sit by and allow the enemy to broadcast his messages of hatred and evil over our airwaves. I can see it now, the next reality show: "Live from Fallujah, it's Decapitation Saturday Night!"

Just a simple question for the history buffs reading this: do you think if FDR had the chance to take out the transmitters and broadcasters carrying the messages of "Tokyo Rose" he would have done so? (Do you even have to ask?). If Allied bombers in one air raid could have denied Hitler the ability to fire up the Nazis with his fiery rhetoric, do you think the 8th Air Force just might have dropped one of those 500 pounders down Radio Berlin's pie hole?

So my next question is: what in the hell are we doing now?

What kind of twisted sick world are we inhabiting where our own networks deem it a "public service" to bring live broacasts of our sworn enemy's message to the masses. (Granted I am doing the same here, but at least I am not trying to spin it as if these cretins are anything less than the mass murdering slime that they are...). If the networks are going to continue to try and undermine our war effort, I say we send in the FBI and shut their sorry asses down. But what do I know...

But, unfortunately we live in the real world--the one where America's press is no longer about the Home team. Still, we are fortunate to have men like Dr. Whalid Phares of the Counterterrorism Blog to analyze the content (and intent) of the Al Zawahiri tape released by Al (why the hell haven't we taken that network out yet) Jazeera. As Phares reports, the AP is already busy spinning this story just as Zawahiri wanted them too. (Come to think of it, why don't we take them out too?):

The new Zawahiri videotape released by al Jazeera today shows a sophistication in the propaganda war waged by the Jihadists worldwide against the US and its allies. Designed to "crumble" the morale of the American public and "boost" the commitments of the Jihadi forces, the tape is another attempt to score points in the War of ideas and media. The results were immediate in the West. The Associated Press immediate leads were stunning:

1) Zawahiri proves he wasn't killed by the US strike, therefore he scored one point against the US.

2) He labeled his enemy, the US President, as "butcher of Washington," hence attempting to rally the widest anti-American axis as possible AP lead.

But the tape is not just that, another message from the number two in al Qaida. It is a very well orchestrated political offensive aimed at the nervous centers of the "enemy's public. A shot that may preceed action or asking for it. Here are the ingredients:

The tape shows al Zawahiri addressing the Arab Muslim world and the West at the same time. "Exclusive" to al Jazeera, which controls the timing of the airing of the tape and the selection of the the commentators it gathers to share with the public their "analysis" of the message, the speech is structured thoroughly al Jazeera lead

First, the Pakistan component. Al Jazeera summarized:
قال الرجل الثاني في تنظيم القاعدة أيمن الظواهري إن الغارة التي استهدفت قبل أسبوعين إحدى قرى إقليم وزيرستان الباكستاني, كانت بتواطؤ مع الرئيس الباكستاني برويز مشرف.
وأوضح الظواهري في تسجيل مصور جديد بثته قناة الجزيرة مساء اليوم أن الغارة أدت إلى مقتل 18 شخصا بينهم أطفال ونساء, "بدعوى قتله هو وأربعة من رفاقه, لكنها لم تنل منه شيئا
Zawahiri said the raid that targeted a village in Waziristan was in coordination with Pakistan's President Musharraf. Hitting the latter while attacking the US intervention aims at mobilizing against The Pakistani leader and forcing his Government to take further distance from Washington. Zawahiri stated that 18 people, including children and women were killed in the raid while aiming at eliminating him and four of his companions. He then stated that only Allah will decide of the time of his death. Therefore, he said "the US and its allies cannot change anything in the plan."

He then moves on the offensive to state:
وأضاف أنه يريد أن يفهم من أسماه جزار واشنطن -في إشارة إلى الرئيس الأميركي جورج بوش- أنه ليس كذابا ومنهزما فقط, "لكنه أيضا فاشل وخائن, وسيجر الكوارث على أمته, وأنه لا يملك أن يقدم في أجله ولو ثانية واحدة
"The American President, the butcher of Washington, is not only a liar and a defeated President, but a failure and a traitor and he is dragging his nation into catastrophes."

In a warning to the American and British peoples he states:
كما اتهم الظواهري بوش بأنه يمد شعبه في الأوهام, ويصور له مستقبلا بلون الدم, مذكرا بالرفض الأميركي لعرض الهدنة الذي تقدم به زعيم القاعدة أسامة بن لادن كـ "مخرج كريم", بدعوى أن بلاده منتصرة في حربها على ما يسمى الإرهاب, وطلب من الشعبين الأميركي والبريطاني أن يفهما أن بوش وتوني بلير هما المسؤولان عن التوابيت التي تصلهم من العراق وأفغانستان
He states that the American refusal to accept the Truce offer by Usama Bin Laden as an honorable way out, under the pretext that the US are winning the war against what it calls Terrorism, is a Bush "mirage." He said the public in the US and the UK should make Bush and Blair responsible for the bodies which will come from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He adds:
وتساءل الظواهري إذا كانت الولايات المتحدة فعلا منتصرة فلماذا تقدم على الانسحاب من العراق, ويقدم جنودها على الانتحار, متوعدا بوش بمعارك أخرى لا في العراق وأفغانستان فحسب, ولكن في عقر الولايات المتحدة.
If the US winning the War why isn't it withdrawing from Iraq? Why are its soldiers committing suicide? He promised Bush that other battles are coming, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also inside the United States.

Al Jazeera's web title is interesting and indicative:
الظواهري ينتقد رفض بوش الهدنة ويهدد بهجمات بعقر داره
"Al Zawahiri criticize Bush for refusing the truce and threatens with attacks inside his homeland"

Which seems to be the beef of the message. Al Jazeera's first analysis of the tape was made by two guests who appeared instantly after the airing. From London, M Abdelbari Atwan, the editor of al Quds al Arabi, and frequent intellectual interpreter of Bin Laden's messages went straight for the bottom line: The US, the West must take Bin Laden's offer for a truce seriously. He said Washington think it is winning the war on Terror and is mistaken. He surprisingly criticized the "so-called Terrorism experts" within the US Government and in the media who states that al Qaida is in trouble. (A very and unusual statement that indicates that a special observation of the analysis by Terrorism experts in the West is ongoing). M Atwan said the West must recognize the fact that negotiations with al Qaida are a must.

The second guest, M Larry Johnson, a former US Marine, recently hired by al Jazeera, appeared from Washington and mildly underlined that al Qaida has credibility in its own midst.

As I argued on MSNBC in my first assessment, along with my colleague Ret Col Rick Francona (NBC analyst), the most important impact of the tape is going to be in which way the Western and Arab commentators will "explain" the tape
MSNBC link. From a global and immediate analysis of the message the bottom line is about how to explain the War between the US-led coalition and the Jihadi-led Al Qaida axis. The Jihadi camp is increasingly concerned that out of the West and the Arab world, a new analysis is explaining that it is al Qaida which is not achieving its goals with the peoples it wants to enlist. It is against this particular analysis of the War on Terror, that the "architects" of the tape are attempting to redress the political situation in their own midst.
DiscerningTexan, 1/30/2006 09:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

Cindy Sheehan to run for the Senate???

I can't decide which is more entertaining, the 72-25 thrashing that the lame attempt by the Democrats to filibuster Judge Alito got, or the earth-shattering news that Cindy Sheehan was thinking of running for the Senate (from California, of course...where else? OK, Massachusetts maybe...).

Anyway I think I will vote for option "A", (which stands for ALITO kicked ASS), especially considering the always reliable performance from the
Bloviator in Chief.

But let's not understate the Sheehan campaign: at least we know
Cindy will get the Venezuelan Marxist Vote...
DiscerningTexan, 1/30/2006 07:11:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, January 29, 2006

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 1/29/2006 09:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

Democrats use racial smears to taint Republican candidate Lynn Swann

You might remember a couple of months back when a couple of Charles Schumer's staffers were caught doing "operations reasearch" on Maryland Republican Lt. Governor Michael Steele, who is running for the US Senate (and who happens to be black; actually they pulled his credit report--the only credit report pulled by the entire Democratic Senate Committee). What followed were some disgraceful racist smears (from Democrats of all people...) on Steele. It was as sordid as it gets. Michelle Malkin had some great coverage of this at the time--(what, you didn't read about it on the cover of the New York Times??? Amazing...they must have been leaking some important National Security secrets that day...)

Anyway--wouldn't you know it--the Democrats are racially slurring ANOTHER black Republican candidate. This time it is Pennsylvania Gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann. You remember him: played a little ball for the Pittsburgh Steelers, did a little commentary for ABC Sports. Well now that he is a Republican, he apparently now is an "Uncle Tom" too--at least to hear the Democrats talk.

Now just why is it that Democrats get away scott free from the MSM when it is hurling racial epithets at African-Americans? Anyone? Could it be...I don't know...a DOUBLE STANDARD??? Martin Luther King is rolling over in his grave, and rightfully so. I am not sure what the bigger disgrace is: the slur or the complete ignorance of it by the "usual suspects" in the MSM. It stinks to high heaven, and if I were African American I would be OUTRAGED. My guess is that Jesse Jackson won't even mention it though...

Michelle is all over this story too:

This is Lynn Swann. Pro football star. Republican. Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate. Black man: (accompanied by photo of Swann on Malkin's blog)

This is James Seif, who until Wednesday night was the campaign manager for GOP rival gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton: (accompanied by photo of Seif)

On a statewide TV call-in show, Seif and Swann campaign aide Ray Zaborney were debating when Seif casually unloaded a disgraceful race-based slur against Swann:

Download and watch the video (.wmv file).

SEIF: The--uh, uh--Bill Scranton has--and I've known him for 30 years now--as much integrity as any person I've ever known. And that means intellectual integrity as well. His decision on the primary was made after a great deal of thought, a great deal of anger that one of the candidates had been captured by Senate leadership, by the party, by others, and directed into pretending he had the victory sewn up and pretending that he was the outsider. In fact, the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann. He's the one that hangs around the, uh.
ZABORNEY: That's one of the most ridiculous and insulting things that I think I've heard in politics. You're two-for-two tonight -- two of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard in politics.
At the close of the show, Seif defended his remarks when a caller complained about Seif's characterization of Swann as the "rich white candidate."

Download and watch the video (.wmv file).


SEIF: If Mr. Swann finds it objectionable, I will apologize. But the fact of the matter is, he's the guy at the country club that hangs around the country club, plays golf with the legislators and is the inside candidate. Bill Scranton is the insurgent. Bill Scranton will change the rules of the game....Bill's vision is that we need to be governed with a great deal more integrity, organization, transparency, and the like. The fact is that the voters are remarkably colorblind. That's wonderful. That's progress. That's something a lot of us fought for long ago and still. Uh, uh, but I need to emphasize who's the insider and who's the outsider here.

At midnight on Wednesday, Bill Scranton displayed a bit of that integrity and fired Seif from his campaign. "I want to apologize to Lynn Swann, his family, supporters and [Pennsylvania cable news] viewers for the offensive and disturbing comments made on my behalf," Scranton said in a statement.

But proving that Republicans can be every bit as idiotic and craven as Democrats in invoking race traitor rhetoric, Seif
dug himself deeper by denying the gobsmackingly obvious racial overtones of calling a black man white and implying that his success was a renunciation of his skin color:

"There's no excuse. It was a stupid thing to say," said Seif, who added that the comment was not intended as a racial slur.

Seif, 60, said he was trying to say that Swann, who portrays himself as a political outsider, was really part of the establishment.

"I tried to underline the idea by turning around race, to show that it was the opposite of what it looked like," said Seif, who served in the Reagan administration and was head of the state Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Tom Ridge. "There was no racial thought to it."

We've come to expect such
unthinking race-based smears from the Left. Now, we're witnessing the odious spectacle of a Republican operative engaging in the same sort of slander against a fellow Republican. Seif's sanctimonious comments about fighting for a colorblind society make his defiant defense of his flippant attack all the more galling. National Republicans ought to follow in Scranton's footsteps and condemn Seif's remarks as vigorously as they condemned similar attacks by Democrats on black GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.
Some political observers say Scranton's campaign
isn't over.

Sure looks dead to me.
Tigerhawk weighs in.

Lynn Swann interview on Fox News over at
The Political Teen.
Rodger Morrow, who worked with Seif, shares his insights.
DiscerningTexan, 1/29/2006 07:43:00 PM | Permalink | |

NYT continues unrealistic skewed coverage of NSA

Paul Johnson of Power Line points out that the capacity of the New York Times to gerrymander its way around the truth in this NSA non-scandal has become simply pathetic; not only are they wrong in asserting that Bush does not have the constitutional authority to conduct surveillance of the enemy during wartime (he clearly does...), but the "Grey Tramp" (my adaptation of Sinatra's "The Lady is a Tramp"...) is also completely ignoring that the Times itself has violated multiple Federal laws and put our citizens MORE at risk of horrible terror attacks by leaking the story in the first place (bold emphases are mine):

Last night at the end of his long post "Ahabs everywhere," John took a look at the New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau and Adam Liptak purporting to assess the Bush administration's argument for the legality of the NSA surveillance program. John notes the article's failure to come to terms with the case law unanimously recognizing the president's inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, let alone the international surveillance at issue in the NSA program.

John notes that the article acknowledges the 2002 decision of the FISA appellate court stating:

We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.

The Times, however, misrepresents the FISA appellate court's statement and simply omits the court's recognition that "FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional authority." In other words, if FISA infringed on the president's constitutional authority to ordeer warrantless surveillance, FISA would be unconstitutional.

Like John, I think that the administration's NSA surveillance program as described by the president, the vice president, the Attorney General, and General Hayden is legal. I don't think it's a close question, though I think reasonable people can disagree on that point. What is clearly illegal, however, in my view and the view of everyone involved in the Times story disclosing the existence of the NSA surveillance program, are the leaks that led to the story. The illegality of the leaks is precisely why the "nearly a dozen current and former government officials" who leaked the story to James Risen and Eric Lichtblau in connection with the original December 16 story demanded and received anonymity from the Times.

By the same token, however, and to the same extent, James Risen, Eric Lichtblau and everyone else at the Times involved in the publication of the NSA surveillance story have engaged in conduct violative of the federal espionage laws. Yet the Times has never even acknowledged its own legal jeopardy. John concludes with a point close to my heart:

[I]t is worth mentioning that Lichtblau and Liptak purport to sit in judgment on the legality of the administration's conduct, without ever noting the fact that Lichtblau and the Times itself unquestionably violated federal law by publishing leaks about the NSA program. In the world of the antique media, illegality requires no explanation if it is directed against the Bush administration. Every word the Times now publishes about the NSA surveillance story is deeply compromised by a conflict of interest that the Times has yet to acknowledge.
DiscerningTexan, 1/29/2006 02:49:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, January 28, 2006

An Equal Opportunity Scandal (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 1/28/2006 07:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

Hugh Hewitt Interviews Robert Kaplan

On my latest jaunt to South America, I took with me a copy of Robert Kaplan's Imperial Grunts, and it is riveting. This is a book where Kaplan visits American Special-Ops troops deployed in numerous global hot spots (some of which you haven't even heard of....), and I cannot say enough good things about this book, and of the incredibly positive impression it gives of the sheer professionalism of our military abroad. So naturally when I saw that one of my favorite hosts (Hugh Hewitt) interviewed Kaplan about the book (transcribed as usual by the meticulous Radio Blogger):

HH: Everything going on, but in the middle of all that, there's been one theme. I don't know if you've listened to it very closely. I keep bringing up a book. It's a book called Imperial Grunts. I've had its author on before, but now I'm rejoined by Robert Kaplan, because Robert, I want to talk to you a little bit about this. Welcome back. Thanks for making some time this afternoon.
RK: It's my pleasure to be here, Hugh.
HH: Now Robert, I asked the Vice President and the Secretary of Defense, and neither of them yet had the chance to read your book. But I asked them specifically about the idea that Special Forces at the forward operating bases, which you described in meticulous detail in Afghanistan and other places, are being constrained by a big Army, as you put it, at Bagram and other places, and they deflected the question. And I didn't have enough time to push them and go deep on this. They just were non-responsive. What do you think that indicates?
RK: Well, I think to be fair to them, it indicates how de-centralized the system is. I'll tell you a story. I had a piece on U.S. Marines training in a country in sub-Saharan Africa, Niger. And it reached the office of the Secretary of Defense, and some people said wow, we had no idea we had people there. And that would have happened it Willian Cohen was Secretary of Defense, William Perry. It's not a reflection on the Republicans. It's a reflection of how de-centralized the system is. Unless there's something uniquely controversial about the deployment, this is something that's going to be decided at the level of European command and Schtutgard, if it's Africa for instance. So let's get back to the Special Forces bases. These are issues that are basically decided, in the case of an Army Special Forces, a forward operating base, or fire base as they call it, in Afghanistan, it would be decided at the level of the two star general at Bagram, in Afghanistan, and would not go up to the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense may have like an overarching order that I want as little bureaucracy as possible. I want our people unconstrained. But the problem is that those are all general commands, which can be interpreted in so many different ways as you go down the chain. And the Vice President being further above, probably knows even less about this.
HH: That's remarkable. But it is a real problem. Is it getting remedied?
RK: See, this goes back to one of the main points in my book, that many of the policy discussions in Washington and New York are so ill-informed, because they often know even less than these people about how all this stuff is being carried out.
HH: Right.
RK: And the people who are best qualified to, say, write an op-ed is a staff sergeant somewhere, who would never even think of reading the editorial page of a newspaper, let alone submitting an op-ed.
HH: Right.
RK: My in-feeling is that things have gotten better.
HH: All right. Now Francis Harvey, Secretary of the Army, was also my guest in the last week, and I asked him where are we going with Special Forces in terms of numbers. He said 16,000 by '09. Is that enough?
RK: Right. Yeah, in the quadrennial defense review, which I think will be out next month, I expect to see a whopping increase in Army Special Forces. I believe right now there are about 9,000 Green Berets over about five active duty groups, and two National Guard reserve groups. So that's going to go up by about a third or so. But remember, you cannot produce Special Operations Forces overnight. It takes years to produce them. That's why they're special. So what it means is they will begin recruiting, in the hope of training and develop...and ramping up this force from 9 to 16,000 over the next two or three years or so. But again, let me emphasize that the real issue, in terms of our military is not Special Ops, it's the regular Army.
HH: Now Robert Kaplan, I want to again know the book is Imperial Grunts. I've linked it many times at Go to And I've been through it now twice. It's really epic. And I want to ask this question particularly of you, because I don't think there's an American journalist at work today who has spent more time with the American military over the last three years. I think that's just an objective statement.
RK: Well, let me put it this way. There are a lot of great reporters doing great work, men and women, in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it's very hard to find people who even want to go to all these other places that I've been. And in many cases, it's not because they lack the curiosity or willingness. It's that they can't get their editors to assign them to go.
HH: Sure. But there are lots who don't exactly want to deploy from Kuwait across the Iraqi desert as you did in that last great wheeling motion with the Marines. That was fascinating, logistically.
RK: Yeah, well that's one of the advantages, Hugh, of being a magazine writer, and not writing on deadline, and having to file a great piece in three or four days.
HH: Right.
RK: You know, it's one of the advantages of being able to let a piece marinate and develop over weeks.
HH: Well, yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, a young writer, not so young, 35, by the name of Joel Stein, wrote a piece that began, I don't support the troops, and ended with a declaration that parades should not be given for them when they return. Did you see that piece, Robert?
RK: No, I didn't. Frankly, I didn't.
HH: If you have a chance to, I would encourage you to read it and write something. And I actually hope you'll put it in the L.A. Times, because it needs to be answered by someone like you. But when you see someone who is esteemed by many as a fine talent and a writer, write I don't support the troops, what are they missing?
RK: Well, first of all, I had a piece in the L.A. Times, to be fair to the L.A. Times, in late December, making the exact opposite point. And the piece basically said that the future of America is being written in Iraq, because all the future great politicians are right now captains and lieutenants in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because they will be the first greatest generation in history that will have real on the ground democratic governance experience, unlike previous war veterans that we've had.
HH: Oh, that's interesting.
RK: All right. Basically, what I think they're missing is that we frankly live in a society that has been...that is divided up into all these sub-groups, because of its size and complexity. We have not had a draft for a third of a century, so that the military is this mysterious kind of vestigial other. There's something like retrograde about it. People feel they have to say nice things about it. It's not, you know, it's good polite company now, you always have to praise the troops. But deep down, particularly on the left, though obviously a lot of people on the left don't fall into this category, but a sizeable minority do. There's just this roiling kind of angst that they really don't support the troops. And the reason is because they have no real social connection with troops.
HH: That's actually how I...
RK: I mean, their social connection is limited to like watching a retired general on TV, or going to a seminar and hearing Wesley Clark or something like that, or maybe, if they're really, really curious, they'll hear a few colonels at the Council on Foreign Rela...who are always fellows at the Council On Foreign Relations, or who are always fellows at the Harvard Kennedy School. But of course, as you and I know, high-ranking officers, as high-ranking officers will tell you, is not at all what the military's about.
HH: Yeah, I was unfair to him when I had him on the air yesterday, because I pop quizzed how much do these guys make, and I'd read your book, so I was up to speed on everything.
RK: Yeah, you know, this is a reflection about the military is a whole separate branch of society that a lot of policy people, intellectual...they're people they never encounter around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
HH: Last question, Robert Kaplan. And I hope before you deploy again, we'll talk to you at length, because I'd like to go chapter by chapter. The drone took out Zawahiri's buddies. That said to me that we're getting much more aggressive than when you were there. Did it say the same thing to you?
RK: It said something analogous, but different. It's that we've solved some diplomatic issues with the Pakistani government, that allows us to operate over the border in a way that we couldn't in '03 when I wrote that chapter. We've somehow come to some understanding in a very like unwritten, informal way with Musharraf, that there are things we can do now that we couldn't do a year or two ago.
HH: And that's what's going to be fascinating when you go back, is how our imperial grunts have seen the world change in front of them as they've deployed. When are you going back?
RK: Well, actually, I'm leaving Sunday for a month with the Air Force in Korea and Thailand. And...
HH: You're going to Korea in January?
RK: Yes. I've got to do it. I mean, a real traveler goes to places during the worst time of year.
HH: I'm trying to remember Hayam Potok's book about light. It's about a Korean guy, or an American stationed there in the Winter, and it made me freezing just to read it.
RK: Yeah. But in the Spring, I hope to be back in Colombia for the first time in three years, back in the Philipines for the first time in two years, back in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in a year and a half, all with the same units.
HH: Whenever you get near a phone, Robert Kaplan, please call us and let us know if you feel like talking.
RK: Well, it's a pleasure you having me on, Hugh. Thank you so much.
HH: Thank you. Make sure you get that book, America.
Imperial Grunts. If you want to fill in the knowledge gap, that's the place to begin. Imperial Grunts.
DiscerningTexan, 1/28/2006 06:40:00 PM | Permalink | |

Good News! Bill Whittle has a new essay coming soon!

When Bill Whittle writes ANYTHING, I am usually hanging on every word. And so when I saw the news that a new tome was coming soon from Whittle's site Eject! Eject! Eject!, I had to pass on the good news:

Greetings, pathetic Earthlings!

Yes, I'm still here. Yes, it's been five months. I may have appeared deceased, but I was merely hibernating in one of the suspended animation tubes visible behind me in the picture above.

Here's the skinny: for the last six months now, I have been pretty much totally consumed by a new project. I've returned to the dark habits of my misspent youth and have almost completed my seventh movie script. I suppose I could work three jobs instead of two, the third being essay-writing, but my back has been very delicate lately. Oh, the pain! The Pain!

Why go AWOL and write a movie script, when the Idiotarian Mootbat Hunting Season is in full flower, and the skies are black with swarms of gaseous, leathery-winged bloviators, ripe for the skewering? Well, I'll tell you. On my best day here at trusty Triple-E, I might reach forty thousand people. With a semi-successful film, I might reach ten million, maybe ten times that.

Many times in the past five months -- MANY times -- I have felt the call to pound out some essay or another, and every time I am reminded of the huge lead time necessary for getting a film produced, a clock that only starts ticking once the script is finished. And so time and again I have forced myself to stay on target and press on with this screenplay; which, I am sure you will be shocked - shocked! - to discover, is somewhat overwritten. Overwritten by a factor of two. Maybe three.

It's just that I have such a huge story to tell. I can't reveal the plot as yet, but I can give you a rough idea of what has been taking my essay time away from us at such a demanding rate:
It's a science-fiction story. It takes place in the Strange and Mysterious World of Tomorrow -- the unimaginable world of TEN YEARS FROM NOW! In this mad, topsy-turvey, upside down Future World, several things happen that are inconcievable to Modern Man and his Puny Brain.

Here are some poster tag lines that may help. They are:
(spoiler alert!)
* Men travelling through space WITHOUT THE AID OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES!
* People facing extreme risks and DECIDING TO TAKE THEM ANYWAY!
* Nuclear Energy being portrayed in a NON-EVIL FASHION!

It's a World Gone Mad! Only Science Fiction can capture such a fantastical future!
No, folks, deep down, I am deadly serious. I hope to be finished by mid February. Then, at long last, I will be back in earnest with the one word that, after five months, has crystallized what I've been thinking about lo these five long months:

(spoiler alert!)

Don't worry. When it comes to cultural suicide, I'm aginn' it.

I'll be back soon, I promise. I'm almost finished. Until then, here's a little tease to tide you over...

I cannot WAIT!
DiscerningTexan, 1/28/2006 05:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

CBO: 2003 Capital Gains Tax Cuts MORE than paid for itself

Another triumph of "supply side" economics: the Laffer curve prevails again! (Like it has every other time it has been tried: by JFK in the 60's, by Reagan in the 80's, and now by Dubya!

Donald Luskin of NRO has the story. Read it and weep libs! Some excerpts (bold emphases mine):

On Thursday the Congressional Budget Office released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook, and buried in one of its nearly impenetrable tables of numbers is a remarkable story that has gone entirely unreported by the mainstream media: The 2003 tax cut on capital gains has entirely paid for itself. More than paid for itself. Way more.

To appreciate this story, we have to go back in time to January 2003, before the tax cut was enacted. Table 3-5 on page 60 in CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook published in 2003 estimated that capital-gains tax liabilities would be $60 billion in 2004 and $65 billion in 2005, for a two-year total of $125 billion.

Now let’s move forward a year, to January 2004, after the capital-gains tax cut had been enacted. Table 4-4 on page 82 in CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook of that year shows that the estimates for capital-gains tax liabilities had been lowered to $46 billion in 2004 and $52 billion in 2005, for a two-year total of $98 billion. Compare the original $125 billion total to the new $98 billion total, and we can infer that CBO was forecasting that the tax cut would cost the government $27 billion in revenues.

Those are the estimates. Now let’s see how things really turned out. Take a look at Table 4-4 on page 92 of the Budget and Economic Outlook released this week. You’ll see that actual liabilities from capital-gains taxes were $71 billion in 2004, and $80 billion in 2005, for a two-year total of $151 billion. So let’s do the math one more time: Subtract the originally estimated two-year liability of $125 billion from the actual liability of $151 billion, and you get a $26 billion upside surprise for the government. Yes, instead of COSTING the government $27 billion in revenues, the tax cuts actually EARNED the government $26 billion extra.

CBO’s estimate of the “cost” of the tax cut was virtually 180 degrees wrong. The Laffer curve lives!

This straight-A report card on supply-side tax-cutting was noted Thursday by Daniel Clifton of the American Shareholders Association — the man who predicted that exactly this would happen when the tax cuts were first enacted. Clifton wrote on his blog,

a capital gains tax cut spurs the growth of new businesses, increases the wage of workers, enhances consumer purchasing power, and grows the economy at large, resulting in more overall gains to be taxed. When capital is taxed at a lower rate, any revenue losses are offset because there is more overall capital being produced, and thus more total revenue being generated.

Using the same kind of analysis, we can see that attempts to raise tax revenues by raising tax rates simply doesn’t work. Consider the massive increase in personal income-tax rates imposed by President Clinton and a Democratic Congress in 1993. Compare actual total tax revenues for the four years from 1993 to 1996 to what had been estimated by CBO in 1992 before the tax hikes took effect. Despite increasing the top tax rate on incomes by 16 percent to 28 percent, actual revenues only beat the 1992 estimate by less than 1 percent.

Read the rest here...any questions?? Harry? Hillary? How about you Ted? No questions? Hmmm... Funny how we didn't see this lead the news on CNN... "The rich" get their money back--and tax revenues RISE. Imagine that...
DiscerningTexan, 1/28/2006 05:23:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sign of the times (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 1/28/2006 11:52:00 AM | Permalink | |

(Updated) The pillars of the "new" Democratic party: Marxism, State Socialism, and utter stupidity

(I was dead tired last night from my overnight flight when wrote what I will call my "first draft" of this last night--and it showed--so I have done a bit of editing; hopefully it actually makes a bit more sense now--DT):

After an entire week in Brazil, during which I only bothered to even turn on CNN (one of the few English channels available) a couple of times, I arrived at my home in the great State of Texas. I had to get some work done and I also turned on Fox News, and within about 30 seconds my eyes were rolling to the back of my head: for from the slopes of Davos Switzerland--a place where you will not find many blue-collar union workers whose union dues have been stolen from them and donated to Presidential candidates that hang out in ski resorts in the Swiss Alps--stood Mr. "Reporting for Duty" himself.

In poker, when you have absolutely nothing in your hand at all--when there literally is no way you can win the pot-- it is typically NOT the best timing to go "all in", especially when you know this--unless you are happen to have married a widowed billionaire, as did John Kerry. Now there are those who say he did it not for the good of his Party's mid-term elections (obvioulsy...because it will hurt those chances) but rather for his chances at grabbing "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party" in 2008... Ah John--he always was a "team" player... Stand at attention and salute the winner of three purple hearts in two months and the liberator of Cambodia.

So there he was, announcing to anyone who would listen (and believe me, the Euro press, CNN and the rest of the left's well-oiled and propaganda machine [h/t George Soros] were listening.). And what they heard was that Kerry was going to "personally lead" an attempt to filibuster a decent, kind, brilliant, and exceptionally well qualified Supreme Court nominee--who already is reportedly a shoo-in to be confirmed. And now a few other Democrats have said they would follow (Kennedy and Feinstein among them). Jefferson is this minute trying to dig his way out of his tomb... Talk about following the Pied Piper off the cliff...

Maybe the left is thinking that Jack Abramoff will be enough to bring down the Republicans, but I doubt it. The Abramoff Scandal will taint both parties--it is just the way things have been done in Washington--but since the Republicans have been the majority in the House since 1994, there will be more Republians associated with Abramoff because...well, because there are a lot more Republicans, in the House period. But I think relying on Abramoff as a mid-term election strategy is a colossal mistake, and furthermore that the latest Democrat stupdities (Kennedy in the Alito hearings, Gore's latest explosion...) appear to a large majority of Americans as self-inflicted suicide; the whole Democratic party seems to be about marching to a different "pied piper"--you know the one--the one that Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, John Dean, and Dick "Turban" Durbin march to. (Hint: he wrote his economic theory back in the late 1800's--and it STILL has never worked).

In all seriousness, say what you will about the role of lobbyists in Washington, but there is a more sinister and hidden group of organizations that seem to continue to fly under the radar when it comes to Democrats and get a free pass from the biased media covering them. And these "groups" are not ones which give the average American in Peoria (or even Cambridge, Mass..) the warm and fuzzies. For once you begin to take a closer look at who these people are and to follow the money, you begin to uncover some very uncomfortable truths.

Let's have a look at the organizations and key players who have defined this debate for the Dems. Besides Soros himself, we have other Shadow Party Members like America Coming Together,, Institute for Policy Studies, many of whom are receive funding from the Workers World Party, a global Marxist Lenninist front, who is also the primary funding behind the new Democratic PAC, which will donate money to Democrat candidates who will pledge to vote to impeach President Bush. But if that weren't enough, we have the Democratic Underground groups such as International ANSWER, the "Center for Constitutional Rights" (get a load of these guys...). Then we have former LBJ Attorney General Ramsey Clarke, Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, Michael Ratner, and Cindy Sheehan --who by-the-way spent this past week in Venezuela praising the "workers paradise" of Hugo Chavez--and this is just scratching the surface. Let us not forget that it was former President Carter who certified that the Chavez coup d'etat (the MSM called it an"election"--which you could concede if you conceded that dead people still ought to be allowed to cast ballots) was "fair". There was Jimmah, giving the stolen election legitimacy (exit polling for some crazy reason showed that 70% of the voters in that election voted AGAINST Chavez...yet he "won" by 65%! Go figure...). Another public service brought to you by perhaps the worst President in American history. You will also recall that Jimmy sat next to that ultra-patriotic icon, Michael Moore at the Democratic Convention... And I can still see in my mind that heart warming picture of Jesse Jackson hugging Cindy Sheehan (see story above). And the hits just keep on coming...

Let's face it, today's "Democratic wing of the Democratic" party is not too far to the starboard side of Stalin. The few remaining statesmen in the party--men like Joe Lieberman, Sam Nunn, and Zell Miller--have either been completely marginalized or else have quit politics altogether in utter frustration. The fringe is now in complete control. To get an idea of the kind of thinking driving the big money behind the Democratic party today, one need only look at the
Democratic Underground discussion boards (do not attempt without first taking your blood pressure meds). Just for grins, go read a few of the threads out there--read about 20 or 30 posts. And then you tell me where the real "hate speech" is coming from.

Another suggestion: spend some serious time looking into the links I posted above. David Horowitz (a former 60's radical and Marxist who fortunately for the rest of us saw the light and now is a leading conservative voice...) has done marvellous work putting together the Discover the Networks site, in which all of the webs of leftist and anti-American organizations (inclucing radical Islamist organizations who are receiving finincial backing from leftist groups!)--and their ties to the Democrats--are well documented. This is a National disgrace. Joe McCarthy, where are you when we need you now? You appeared 50 years too soon...

Unlike the witch hunts of the 50's, these ties are very real and they are eye-opening (hell they ought to be a cold slap to your face..). A large percentage of the organizations who provide big money to Democrats are decidedly Marxist, or front organizations for other Marxist groups. And they who give the money also are driving the Dcmocratic Party's agenda. So do a little research into these organizations as I did--and get to know the true "base" of the "Democratic wing" of the Democrat party. And yes, the more you find out about these groups and their associations, the more disturbing it becomes. Perhaps terrifying is a better word....

But I wouldn't expect to find anything about these connections in the New York Times...

UPDATE: After the debacle in the last week that included Gore, Kennedy, and now Kerry, if I owned NYSE shares on Democrat futures I would be selling like hell... To document the probable ramifications of the laughingstocks that the Democrats are rapidly becoming, J. Peter Mulhearn, writing in yesterday's American Thinker gives an idea of why the tactics of these far-left Dems may be suicidal to Dermocrat election prospects next fall:

I believe his central thesis--that the American people would never give the Democrats power if they were fully aware of the forces driving the party. These groups make Abramoff look like a saint:

With no shortage of important matters to discuss, why do Democrats insist on talking about trivia? They are determined to spew piffle even when they plainly pay a political price for doing so. Consider what our leaders should be grappling with.

Israel’s popular Prime Minister is incapacitated by a massive stroke. Iran’s President believes fervently in an imminent apocalypse. He and his colleagues repeatedly threaten Israel and the West with annihilation even as they put the finishing touches on their capacity for a nuclear first strike. The “international community” wrings its hands; when the bombs start to fall it will wash them.

Any novel premised on this situation would probably remain unpublished. Who would believe it? But this isn’t a novel, it’s reality. The war that began in earnest on September 11, 2001 is about to take a dramatic turn.

Our political leaders should be doing their best, during the calm between the storms, to prepare the nation for the challenges that lie ahead. Instead, the Democratic Party gives us hysterical irrelevance.

What are Democrats doing as the clock ticks down to Armageddon? They are fighting renewal of the Patriot Act and trying to manufacture a scandal out of the Bush administration’s efforts to gather intelligence about terrorist activity inside the United States. They are falling all over each other to get in front of cameras so that they can malign a decent and talented man who will soon be sitting on the Supreme Court. In any spare moments that remain, they are attacking President Bush’s decision to liberate Iraq as they desperately try to transmute manifest success into failure.

Democrats know that the important parts of the Patriot Act will be renewed indefinitely, that George W. Bush will not suffer politically or otherwise because he keeps close tabs on terrorists, that Samuel Alito will be confirmed, and that we are succeeding in Iraq. Not one of their favorite hobby horses is ever going to take them anywhere. Their contributions to the public debate are so much verbal flatulence.

The flatulence is bound to drive voters away in disgust. Whining about civil rights for terrorists will only convince even more people that Democrats are too soft-headed to deal with a dangerous world. Slandering Samuel Alito will only make Democrats look mean and extreme.

Carping about Iraq is particularly foolish as open war with Iran looms. Positioned as we are in Iraq, we can bring tremendous force to bear on Iran very quickly. We might even be able to seize most of the Iranian oil fields at the outbreak of hostilities and prevent war from throwing the international oil market into chaos. A hostile Iraq under Saddam Hussein would make the Iranian situation still more dangerous than it is. A little more hindsight will probably make the wisdom of eliminating Saddam clear even to the dimmest among us. So why can’t Democrats talk about something that matters? Why do they keep blasting away at their own feet?

There is no rational explanation.

The conventional theory is that Democrats have to appeal to the lunatic fringe because that’s where their money comes from. But money alone doesn’t win elections. Besides, if their lunacy were a considered fundraising strategy Democrats would have abandoned it by now. The crazier they talk the more their funding dries up. doth not a major political party make.

These days the Democrats aren’t rational. Instead of trying to win the next election they are primarily focused on dealing with the ghost of losses past. Most of what they say isn’t calculated to appeal to the electorate. It is calculated instead to help heal the festering wounds they still carry from 1994, 2000, 2002 and 2004.

They are practicing therapeutic politics.

The subject of homeland security always sends the Democrats into full therapy mode. Republican strategists do back flips every time a Democrat complains about “domestic spying.” Even so, the complaints keep coming. They are politically damaging but psychologically soothing.

The Clinton administration made a conscious choice to fight terrorism blindfolded in the name of civil liberties. This may have been the most costly dereliction of duty in the history of the United States. Democrats can’t take responsibility for that dereliction. That would entail acknowledging that Bill Clinton’s sidekick Al Gore couldn’t be trusted with national security and that the best man won the agonizing 2000 election. Instead they attack George W. Bush for stepping up and doing what Clinton should have done. The more successful the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism efforts are, the more powerfully Democrats will feel compelled to portray them as illegitimate.

Another example of therapeutic politics is the Democrat crusade against any judicial nominee who might threaten the precious constitutional right of predatory men to use abortion as a last line of defense against child support. That crusade isn’t going to change anything. No matter what Democrats do, their favorite constitutional holding is going overboard and it won’t even make much of a splash.

The doctrine that grew out of Roe v. Wade is in an advanced state of decay. That doctrine has no intellectual underpinnings. For most Supreme Court Justices not named O’Connor, that’s a serious problem. A majority consisting, at a minimum, of Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Alito and Chief Justice Roberts will soon begin tossing Roe’s debris over the side.
Democrats have absolutely nothing to gain politically by making jackasses out of themselves in an effort to save a doomed doctrine. Dismantling Roe will be a gradual process. Most voters care only about practical things and, as a practical matter, Roe’s demise won’t change much. When all the dust settles, abortion will be restricted everywhere but available under most circumstances almost everywhere. Nobody will be terribly pleased by this state of affairs, but nobody is going to be marching about it either. Very few voters will give Democrats any credit for standing by Roe in its final years.

But Democrats will give themselves credit for it and that’s enough for them. They are willing to look like jackasses so that, years from now, they can hark back to the golden age of constitutional rights and tell themselves that they fought the good fight to preserve it. When you’re a Democrat you have to take self-esteem wherever you can find it.
The Democrats’ Iraq obsession is therapeutic politics at its most self-destructive. That obsession is another byproduct of the Democrats’ need to paper over Bill Clinton’s many failures.

Iraq is, of course, Bill Clinton’s war. He
determined that we had to remove Saddam from power. He even took military action to move toward that goal. But that action was as feckless, ineffectual and politically motivated as everything else Clinton did. If Democrats were honest with themselves about Clinton’s despicable war with Iraq, they would all have to slink out of public life in humiliation.

George W. Bush committed the unpardonable sin of completing the project Clinton started but lacked the courage to finish. He showed the Democratic Party up for the collection of poltroons that it is.

There is nothing a coward hates more than a hero. Democrats will say and do anything to tarnish Bush’s victories, at whatever cost to their country, because the alternative is to acknowledge their own shameful weakness.

Therapeutic politics may make Democrats feel better in the near term. But politicians who focus on feeling good about themselves aren’t going to win hard-fought elections. Turning your back on reality never works.

Reality always bites you in the butt.
DiscerningTexan, 1/28/2006 11:15:00 AM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

State of the Union by Carl Moore (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 1/25/2006 01:09:00 PM | Permalink | |

Bravo, Canada!

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL--I normally do not take pleasure in the suffering of others, but I have to admit to making an exception to this rule when it comes to CNN International, which is basically the only English-language news I can get in my Sao Paulo hotel; for as it has become increasingly clear that the Canadians were going to throw their morally corrupt and intellectually bankrupt Liberal party--who have been a tremendous thorn in the side in the United States' War on Terror--out on their collective derrieres, the doom and gloom settling over the CNN correspondents has become truly palpaple. And I have to admit, this brings me no shortage of joy to see. I guess it has just gotten to the point with me that if CNN is against something, it must be a GOOD thing.

Also, knowing that Mark Steyn is a resident of Canada, I went searching for his take on the Conservatives' victory there; and when I found this Mark Steyn commentary in The Australian, I was not disappointed. In the meantime, to the people of Canada, congratulations on making a sound decision in your future and our collective futures--we have a natural affinity for Canadians and share a common heritage. Hopefully we now also can cooperate to a much greater extent in the War against Radical Islamism:

A SAD day for Michael Moore. In the event of a terrible tragedy, the corpulent anti-corporate crusader is wont, like the Queen and Kofi Annan, to issue a formal statement to the world. And his "Michael Moore Statement On Canadian Election" made distressing reading: "Oh, Canada - you're not really going to elect a Conservative majority on Monday, are you? That's a joke, right?"

Well, no. In a very Canadian kind of revolution, we rose up yesterday and threw the bums out but gave them a soft, fluffy landing, nevertheless installing in office a minority government that somehow managed to get itself elected despite having the word "Conservative" in its name.

For Tories, it was a good night, if not a great night. But, given that the party was reduced to two seats in the 1993 debacle, after 12 years in the wilderness most Canadian conservatives will take a strong minority government as a spectacular landslide. We'd be dipping our voting fingers in maple syrup and triumphantly waving them at the UN observers if they hadn't all fallen asleep 20 minutes into the thrilling election-night coverage.

For the past century, Canada's ruling Liberals have been the democratic world's most consistently successful political party. This time round, mired in a series of scandals that were turning Canada into the G7's first Third World kleptocracy, the flailing Trudeaupians adopted an even more ferocious version of their usual strategy: scare the voters back to Nanny. As the Liberals warned Canadians - or, rather, shrieked at them - Stephen Harper will take away "a woman's right to choose"! The unwanted boys you'll be forced to have will grow up to be Bush cannon fodder in Iraq, and the unwanted girls will be sold as white slaves for Halliburton corporate cocktail parties round the pool at Dick Cheney's ranch.

Well, that's certainly why I voted Conservative, but it's hard to believe many of my fellow Canadians (and even my fellow Quebecers) felt the same way. South of the border, Michael Moore wasn't the only one shocked by Liberal attack ads painting Scary Stephen as a Bush-loving neocon warmonger who'll slash and gut Canada's lavish social programs. For the past two weeks, American radio hosts have been asking me, with drooling anticipation: "Wow! Tell us about this great guy, Stephen Harper!"

And then I'd take a deep breath and try to explain that, no, he's not Canada's Thatcher or Reagan. But, with a bit of luck, he might be Canada's John Howard. Not in the sense that he's a blunt, no-nonsense, plain speaker: that seems to have been bred out of our political DNA, alas. Howard is an ordinary bloke, but he's not bland. By comparison, Harper is not just unexciting, he's unexciting even by Canadian standards! As he told a meeting in Ontario the other day, "Bland sells."

Apparently it does. Even "the politics of personal destruction" (in Bill Clinton's phrase) depends on a certain basic plausibility. Canada's Liberal Party produced at one point an unintentionally hilarious attack ad intended to suggest that Scary Stephen's unexceptional proposal for some modest reorganisation of the military was a covert plan to introduce martial law.

It began with an ominous drumbeat and then, in urgent staccato typewriter script over a close-up of the Tory leader: "Stephen Harper actually announced he wants to increase military presence in our cities. Canadian cities. [Drumbeat] Soldiers with guns. In our cities. [Drumbeat] In Canada. We did not make this up. [Drumbeat] Choose your Canada." Rimshot! You might conceivably make this pitch work super-imposed over a close-up of certain hatchet-faced politicians. But it's hard to get away with "Aaaaieee! Here comes the right-wing death-beast!" and then show a picture of a fellow who looks like one of the more avuncular back-up singers on The Andy Williams Christmas Show. By the end of the campaign the Liberals were sounding more than a little unhinged - but, to an extent, it worked, at least in the sense that it terrified enough of the base back into the polling booths to prevent a meltdown.

Obviously I wish he really were as scary a right-wing death-beast as the Liberals say he is, but there's no point pretending that's what the Canadian electorate wants. John O'Sullivan, a former editor of National Review and Thatcher's long-time adviser, observed that post-war Canadian history is summed up by the old Monty Python song, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK", which begins as a robust paean to the manly virtues of a rugged life in the north woods but ends with the lumberjack having gradually morphed into some transvestite pick-up singing that he likes to "wear high heels, suspenders and a bra" and "dress in women's clothing and hang around in bars".

I'm not saying Canadian men are literally cross-dressers - certainly no more than 35, 40 per cent of us are - but nonetheless a nation that in 1945 had the fourth-largest armed forces in the world has undergone such a total makeover that it's now a country that prioritises the secondary impulses of society - government health care, government day care, rights and entitlements from cradle to grave - over all the primary ones.

As I said, Scary Stephen's no Ron or Maggie. But as a young man in the '80s he was spurred into politics by his clear understanding - unlike most so-called Canadian "conservatives" - that his country had missed out on Thatcher-Reagan economic liberalisation. Essentially, he's a political economist with a libertarian streak: he thinks that if you leave taxpayers with more of their money they're more likely to spend it in ways that do more social good than letting the government disburse it.

And here's where I think Harper could prove Howardesque. He shares two of the Australian Prime Minister's great qualities: he's very secure in his sense of himself, and he has a very shrewd sense of what's politically possible. If he plays those cards right - and I'd bet he will - he could be, as Howard has been, one of those unflamboyantly transformative leaders who leaves the political landscape significantly altered.

I can't claim to know Stephen Harper well. But a couple of years ago, at some international confab, I introduced him to a British cabinet minister as "leader of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition", neglecting to specify the realm. From the momentarily startled look on his face, the Blairite bigwig seemed to think I was introducing him to that week's UK Tory leader. British Conservatives should be so lucky. A month before all those American radio hosts started badgering me about Stephen Harper, they were badgering me about this new guy in Britain - I forget his name, but he's very cool and glamorous, full of charisma. Ginger Spice, I think. No, hang on, Austin Powers.

Well, anyway, whatever the Brit guy's name is, the UK Tories have done what a lot of parties do: pick a great personality and then see if they can order him up a political philosophy from room service. John Howard in Australia proves that's the wrong way round to do it, and so I think will Stephen Harper.

And, if over the next few years Canada upgrades its presence on the international scene from "All But Invisible" to a functioning member of the Anglosphere, that will be all to the good, too.

DiscerningTexan, 1/25/2006 12:36:00 PM | Permalink | |

When Fear Is and Is Not Justified

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL--Tom Bevan, writing in Real Clear Politics today makes a germane and sorely needed distinction between things that we ought to be fearful about as a nation, and things which are used primarily as political "strawmen".

For the Democratic party, the game of "fear politics" has become a disingenuous attempt to scare voters into supporting an otherwise unsupportable ideology. But this modus operendi does much more insidious damage to the United States: the party of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" has made it much more difficult for the average American to ferret out those things which really are worthy of their collective attention from the shrill, hysterical, but empty claims of the American Left. Bevan does a terrific job of drawing a line between the opposing forces of What is good for Country vs. What is good for (an increasingly marginalized) Party. Bold emphases are my own:

Two years ago I was on a business trip when my wife called and frantically explained that an intruder had broken into our house while she and our two small children were sleeping. She had heard the creak of the hardwood floor outside our bedroom and looked up, expecting to see one of the kids trying to crawl into bed as they sometimes do when they’ve had a bad dream. Instead, she saw the dark shadow of a man standing in the doorframe less than five feet away. She screamed and, thankfully, the intruder raced out the same way he had come in – through the backdoor. Our lives have returned to normal since then but they are not, nor will they ever be the same.

We don’t really talk about the incident any more, but every now and then it will cross my mind. My heart will start to race and I’ll get a deep pit in my stomach over the thought of an intruder being in my home and the unspeakable possibilities we were lucky enough to avoid. As hard as it is to contemplate, things could have turned out much, much worse.

Nevertheless, I live with that memory tucked away in my head every day. A small part of me fears it ever happening again. And even with all the security improvements we have made to help make sure that it doesn’t, that fear is what makes me touch every door and every window in the house before I go to bed at night.

The moral of the story, for those who are wondering, is that maintaining a bit of fear in the face of a real threat is a good thing. In the case of national security, it is an imperative. The sooner we forget what happened on September 11 or come to believe the threat no longer exists, the sooner we become less vigilant, more complacent, and more vulnerable to attack.

This is one of my main beefs with Democrats who continually accuse President Bush of being a “fear monger” for using the threat of terrorism to scare and “divide” people. The fact is that Americans need to be reminded from time to time about the ongoing threat of terrorism, and there is simply no way of doing that without putting people on edge. Terrorism is real, it is scary, and it is now an unfortunate fact of life. Pretending otherwise would be a dereliction of duty for this or any other administration.

The hypocrisy of Democrats on the issue is even more infuriating. They are the ones who have perfected the art of scaring the voting public over the last twenty years with apocalyptic visions that range from farfetched to non-existent. It seems like every two years we’re treated to the same refrain about Granny eating dog food because she can’t afford her pills.

The fact is that all threats are not equal and should not be equally feared. So which is more of a threat worth fearing, exactly: that al-Qaeda will try and explode a bomb in a major U.S. city or that Sam Alito is going to make black people sit at segregated lunch tables? That Bush is going to cause the end of human existence by not signing Kyoto or that terrorists get their hands on a two vials of anthrax or ten pounds of enriched uranium?

A fundamental yet consistently unappreciated fact is that the first thing President Bush does when he gets to work every day is sit down and listen to a litany of threats and plots against the American people. We probably can’t even imagine the magnitude of the hair-raising things he hears, nor can we appreciate how real those threats must appear to a Commander in Chief in charge of national security in a post-9/11 world.

So a bit of fear is in order under the circumstances. Some will suggest this means the terrorists have already won. Hardly. Vigilance driven by focused concern is not weakness, utter complacency is.

DiscerningTexan, 1/25/2006 12:08:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, January 23, 2006

The New York Sliming of Joe Lieberman

Ignore the Left has the perfect response to the New York Times article about the "pressure" on Joe Lieberman. From where I sit, the only "pressure" on Lieberman is pressure from his fellow Democrats to turn real integrity into run-of-the-mill partisanship. Is this really what the American people wants to see as an "example"--more hypocrisy??:

Democrat Falls in the Forest

I hate to link the truth haters at the New York Slimes but they write this article about Leiberman being marginalized by the left for a reason, which is why they write all their articles. The left does not believe anything. They have no positions on any political matters. They never believe anything they state publicly. They only have transitory political statements, repeated through liberal propaganda media, to assist the public in believing what they want them to believe. Tomorrow, they may change the position but will never be called on it because there is no truth to the left, only today's propaganda.

The purpose is to shake up Senator Leiberman, who has been getting good right wing press. If he is the good left leaner that he has been, he'll change his tune when he sees the Times on his rear. Bad press from the New York Times is like a last notice from a boss to a leftist politician. Leiberman has done the absolute worst thing a leftist can do: Tell the truth in the face of the juggernaught of lies being currently told by the left en masse. The most powerful thing the liberal propaganda media can do is use their power of focus to alter public opinion.
DiscerningTexan, 1/23/2006 08:53:00 PM | Permalink | |

Saddam-era secret documents may make an excellent case for the subsequent US intervention

(Road trip Day 2: Sao Paulo, Brazil) - Facts can be really powerful things can't they? Especially when the media and the left has been so busy trying to perpetuate a lie. Fortunately, according to Stephen Hayes--writing in the Weekly Standard--the government is soon likely to release secret Iraqi government documents from the Saddam era. And from all reports, these documents will speak volumes about the truth of this regime. When the documents are released, do not expect to see it on the front pages of the New York Times. But that is OK; that is why the alternative media is here:

More than two months ago, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra requested 40 documents captured in postwar Iraq as he sought better understand the activities of the Iraqi regime in the months and years before the U.S. invasion in March 2003. On Friday afternoon, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence finally provided 39 of the 40 documents Hoekstra had requested.

I had been seeking the same documents. For more than five months I pestered Department of Defense public affairs staff to see them. I provided titles to the Pentagon staff and, eventually, filed a Freedom of Information Act request. I got nowhere, so in mid-November we
published the 40 titles in THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Here is how I described them in that article:

Some of the document titles I requested are suggestive, others less so. It's possible that the "Document from Uday Hussein regarding Taliban activity" was critical of one or another Taliban policies. But it's equally possible, given Uday's known role as a go-between for the Iraqi regime and al Qaeda, that something more nefarious was afoot.

What was discussed at the "Secret Meeting with Taliban Group Member and Iraqi Government" in November 2000? It could be something innocuous. Maybe not. But it would be nice to know more.

It appears that we will know more soon. Hoekstra has asked his staff to review the documents before releasing them to the public. It is important to remember that this set of documents is a tiny percentage of the Iraqi
documents that have been translated (.078 percent of the 50,000) and a mere sliver of the overall document take of approximately 2 million.

Whatever emerges from this group may not be a representative sample of the overall document takes.

Here is the list we published.

1. Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) Correspondence to Iraq Embassy in the Philippines and Iraq MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
2. Possible al Qaeda Terror Members in Iraq
3. IIS report on Taliban-Iraq Connections Claims
4. Money Transfers from Iraq to Afghanistan
5. IIS Agent in Bulgaria
6. Iraqi Intel report on Kurdish Activities: Mention of Kurdish Report on al Qaeda--reference to al Qaeda presence in Salman Pak
7. IIS report about the relationship between IIS and the Kurdish Group Jalal Talibani [sic]
8. Iraqi Mukhabarat Structure
9. Locations of Weapons/Ammunition Storage (with map)
10. Iraqi Effort to Cooperate with Saudi Opposition Groups and Individuals 11. Order from Saddam to present $25,000 to Palestinian Suicide Bombers Families
12. IIS reports from Embassy in Paris: Plan to Influence French Stance on U.N. Security Council
13. IIS Importing and Hiding High Tech Computers in Violation of UN
14. IIS request to move persons, documents to private residences
15. Formulas and information about Iraq's Chemical Weapons Agents
16. Denial and Deception of WMD and Killing of POWs
17. 1987 orders by Hussein to use chemical weapons in the Ealisan Basin 18. Ricin research and improvement
19. Personnel file of Saad Mohammad Abd Hammadi al Deliemi
20. Memo from the Arab Liaison Committee: With a list of personnel in need of official documents
21. Fedayeen Saddam Responds to IIS regarding rumors of citizens aiding Afghanistan
22. Document from Uday Hussein regarding Taliban activity
23. Improvised Explosive Devices Plan
24. IIS reports on How French Campaigns are Financed
25. French and German relationships with Iraq
26. IIS reports about Russian Companies--News articles and potential IIS agents
27. IIS plan for 2000 of Europe's Influence of Iraq Strategy
28. IIS plans to infiltrate countries and collect information to help remove sanctions
29. Correspondence from IIS and the stations in Europe
30. Contract for satellite pictures between Russia, France and Iraq: Pictures of Neighboring Countries (Dec. 2002)
31. Chemical Gear for Fedayeen Saddam
32. Memo from the IIS to Hide Information from a U.N. Inspection team (1997)
33. Chemical Agent Purchase Orders (Dec. 2001)
34. Iraq Ministry of Defense Calls for Investigation into why documents related to WMD were found by UN inspection team
35. Correspondence between various Iraq organizations giving instructions to hide chemicals and equipment
36. Correspondence from IIS to MIC regarding information gathered by foreign intelligence satellites on WMD (Dec. 2002)
37. Correspondence from IIS to Iraqi Embassy in Malaysia
38. Cleaning chemical suits and how to hide chemicals
39. IIS plan of what to do during UNSCOM inspections (1996)
40. Secret Meeting with Taliban Group Member and Iraqi Government (Nov. 2000)

According to a preliminary review, 5 of the 39 documents have titles that are either terribly misleading or plain wrong. We should know more about the rest of the documents in the coming weeks.

I can't wait!
DiscerningTexan, 1/23/2006 03:32:00 PM | Permalink | |