The Discerning Texan

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

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 11:08:00 PM | Permalink | |

Breaking News: Haditha Insurgents Used Children

There is a reason why they are saying not to try and convict the Marines of Haditha before all the facts are out. Not all of the dead "killed in cold blood" (to quote the John Murtha) in Haditha were necessarily "innocent." Islamists can't have it both ways. If they are going to glorify the sending of children on suicide missions and otherwise using them to help them kill, they are going to have to deal with it when children in harms way get caught in the crossfire.

I am not trying to necessarily infer that there was no wrongdoing on the US side. The fact is: I was not there. Neither was the traitor, Congressman Murtha. When all of the facts are in, I will weigh in further about guilt and innocence and crime and punishment. Until then, at the very least what this story (via Michelle Malkin) shows is that this affair was not all black and white. I say we wait and see how grey the shades really are.

By the way a BIG Attagirl to fellow Texan Frau Budgie at Red Hot Cuppa Politics (attention Michelle: get your blog titles right!) for getting this ball rolling. Go read her post as well, the text below is from Malkin:

Seattle's KING 5 TV nabbed a must-see interview with one of the Marines injured at Haditha on Nov. 19. (Big hat tip noted below to Red Cuppa Hot Politics.)

The Marine is Lance Cpl. James Crossan, who rode in the passenger seat of the Humvee that was struck by an IED. The driver was Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, whose body was split in two by the attack. Lance Cpl. Crossan suffered a broken back, shattered bones, and perforated eardrums.

You should watch the entire interview (we've got a four-minute segment over at Hot Air) and then you should compare it with the selective MSM coverage--which is hyping the parts that damn the Marines most and ignoring the full context of Lance Cpl. Crossan's remarks. I've transcribed a significant portion for you here:

Crossan: We used to go out on patrols and have the little kids count the patrols and all that stuff and we couldn’t really do anything except grab them and throw them inside their houses…
KING 5 TV interviewer: Why would you do that? Because you were afraid that the kids were scouting for the insurgents or you thought they were in danger?
Crossan: There are little kids that scout for ‘em. ‘Cuz later that day we, along the main road there, we cut behind a few buildings and the next patrol that went out got hit. And that little kid that was just there and there was people all around. But the day that I got hit they were planning a major attack and it got spoiled, so, and there was like 20 some people, insurgents, that were gonna attack the cop that day.
Then we got hit by an IED and the cops sent out a squad of Marines, and the insurgents just started attacking then, just right off the bat and we just foiled it. We were just driving back from the cop. I remember taking a left and then a right, and then remember waking up from the ground for a split second. And then waking up in the helicopter and then finally knew what happened in the hospital.
KING 5: So after you were injured, also tell me, you lost one of your guys. What can you tell me about him?
Crossan: We lost Lance Col. Miguel Terrazas. He was a good guy. He was from El Paso, Texas. And he was my point man. He was pretty much the guy I went to if I needed anything.
KING 5: Was he driving the Humvee at the time?
Crossan: Yes he was.
KING 5. And so you were sitting next to me?
Crossan: Yes, I was in the passenger side. I know in my heart if I was there, I possibly could have stopped what happened, so. ‘Cuz I know that the other team leaders and even staff sergeants…they both, they all kinda, listened to me and I just gave ‘em ideas and all that stuff. Things just went smoother. But I just don’t know.
KING 5: How do you feel about the villagers involved? Um, you know, do you have emotion as you think about them or not really?
Crossan: No. Because half of them were bad guys. You just never know, so. It really didn’t cross my mind.
KING 5: There are reports of, you know, little children being killed and women being killed.
Crossan: Little kids I can see being bad and even some of the women, but just over there, you just can’t tell who the bad guy was...

Now, Lance Cpl. Crossan does suggest that Marines crossed the line (the part of the interview that will become the most publicized), though it should be kept in mind that he had been helicoptered from the scene and did not witness the alleged atrocities:

Crossan: ...And I know they [the Marines] did something irrational and they’re gonna get the consequences put on them.
KING 5: You think there are other instances like this that have happened with perhaps your squad or other squads?
Crossan: Probably yes in the Marine Corps and in the Army.
KING 5: Why do you think so?
Crossan: Things happen every day that you just don't hear about. You, I don't know, America only hears about the bad things over there. And they don't hear any of the good things. America just doesn't understand.
I think they [the Marines] were just blinded by hate, when they see T.J. (Terrazas) blown to pieces and me stuck underneath the wheel not knowing what happened. And they just lost control. Bad things happen.

If you watch the interview, you'll note the KING 5 interviewer sounding perplexed about the idea of children being used by the insurgents. I suggest she and other MSM reporters shocked, shocked by this concept familiarize themselves with LGF's Palestinian child abuse slideshow.
Terrazas' father
backs the Marines.
Troops to receive "core value" training
Milblogs contest: Send Murtha an inscribed book
Read Mark Davis in the Dallas Morning News if you haven't already:

Anyone with a shred of human decency approaches this with the utmost gravity. Those of us who support the troops and the war they are fighting have a special responsibility not to sugarcoat, minimize or marginalize any wrongdoing by those troops.

But, conversely, those who are exercising their right to speak ill of the war and the Americans fighting it have a responsibility not to allow their anti-war venom to inflame their assessments of bad moments in the war's history.
That track record is forever blemished by the absurd overreaction to Abu Ghraib, a prison scandal that was bad enough if treated objectively. The wheels of justice turned, and prices are being paid for humiliating detainees outside the protocols of interrogation.

But the day Sen. Ted Kennedy equated American misdeeds at that prison with the unspeakable torture that had happened there under Saddam, the reputation of war criticism was deservedly damaged beyond easy repair.
And now we have Mr. Murtha, barely able to contain the spring in his step as he basks in the grisly particulars.

"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said this weekend. "And we're set back every time something like this happens."

He should know a thing or two about setbacks, having inflicted so many with his own derisive tongue.

Our troops will face PR hurdles when Iraqis ask how a force they are supposed to trust can have bad seeds that create dark chapters like Abu Ghraib and, perhaps, Haditha.

But that pales compared to the sucker punch Mr. Murtha delivered to every man and woman in uniform when he said the mission they still believe in is a "flawed policy wrapped in an illusion."

And I think I'd rather explain to Iraqis how we are an army of human beings who may sometimes display tragic flaws than explain how a key congressman – and ex-Marine, remember – could say as he did a few months ago that he would not join today's military, empathizing with those who did not wish to serve.
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 10:25:00 PM | Permalink | |

A Death threat from Reuters

It is probably not that unusual for bloggers to get death threats from the lunatic fringe. But it is quite unusual when the death threat comes from inside REUTERS. Just ask Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 09:43:00 PM | Permalink | |

Blitzer blows it with Russert

Tom McGuire reports that Wolf Blitzer missed a Golden Opportunity when interviewing Tim Russert about the Valerie Plame affair. Check it out: this is a wonderful education at how just one turn of a phrase can make all the difference between "truth" and "spin". I'll leave it to the audience to count all the instances per evening that stuff like this happens; I get pretty frustrated when I start talking about it...
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 08:38:00 PM | Permalink | |

Congress: Above the Law? I think NOT.

Pejman Yousefzadeh, writing in Tech Central Station, zeroes in on Members of Congress who seem to believe the law doesn't apply to them. I personally don't understand why the Majority Leader, a member of the Republican Party, is siding with Nancy Pelosi and with a two-bit Louisiana hustler--but I don't like it one bit:

The reaction of certain members of Congress to the FBI search of Rep. William Jefferson's office in light of allegations that Rep. Jefferson took bribes has placed Congress in an even poorer light. Various Representatives and Senators have objected to the search, contending that it is an encroachment on the prerogative of the Legislative Branch by the Executive -- this despite the fact that the FBI acted fully within its rights and backed up by a search warrant that was a last resort after repeated attempts to arrange for a search of Rep. Jefferson's office without having to resort to the use of a search warrant. Indeed, shoddy legal analysis has combined with poor political judgment to give Congress a black eye over the entire issue.

In the wake of the search of Rep. Jefferson's office, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went so far as to demand that the papers seized from Rep. Jefferson's office be returned to him -- prompting Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales and other key members of the Justice Department vaguely to threaten that they would resign rather than cater to Hastert's and Pelosi's demands. Such principled stances appear to be few and far between, however; even President Bush appears to have been stampeded into deciding to seal the Jefferson documents for 45 days in order to institute a "cooling off period" -- an extraordinary piece of intervention by the President of the United States in an ongoing criminal probe.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner has decided to institute hearings on the issue -- claiming that the FBI search of Rep. Jefferson's office was just as inappropriate as a Capitol Hill police search of the Oval Office would be. This argument is nonsensical on its face; the Capitol Hill police's jurisdiction does not extend beyond Capitol Hill while the FBI was well within its rights to conduct its search of Rep. Jefferson's office in light of the allegations that Rep. Jefferson broke federal law by accepting bribes. Alas, even patently nonsensical claims such as the ones proffered by Chairman Sensenbrenner are finding their place in the discourse surrounding this issue instead of being laughed out of the realm of respectable opinion.

By far the most prevalent legal justification cited to decry the search of Rep. Jefferson's office has been the Speech and Debate Clause found in Art. I, Sec. 6 of the Constitution. The Speech and Debate Clause states the following:

"The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

Purportedly pursuant to the Speech and Debate Clause, the House leadership put out a set of talking points designed to advance the argument that the FBI search constituted an encroachment on Congressional privileges. This blog post takes apart the talking points and points out that the House leadership does not even read carefully the case law it claims support its arguments. The House leadership cited to the Supreme Court case of United States v. Helstoski in defense of its positions but failed to note the following passages that undermine its very arguments:

"... A legislative act has consistently been defined as an act generally done in Congress in relation to the business before it. In sum, the Speech or Debate Clause prohibits inquiry only into those things generally said or done in the House or the Senate in the performance of official duties and into the motivation for those acts.


"... Of course, a Member can use the Speech or Debate Clause as a shield against prosecution by the Executive Branch, but only for utterances within the scope of legislative acts as defined in our holdings. That is the clear purpose of the Clause." (Emphases added.)

Obviously, taking bribes does not constitute "an act generally done in Congress in relation to the business before it." It does not constitute a thing "generally said or done in the House or the Senate in the performance of official duties." And taking bribes is not "within the scope of legislative acts" as defined by holdings of the Supreme Court (at least, one hopes not). As such, it is impossible to see how reliance on the Speech and Debate Clause is supposed to have shielded Rep. Jefferson's office from a search conducted by the FBI with a warrant duly obtained from a judge.

The Speech and Debate Clause has been dismissed by prominent legal commentators and observers. Backing up the commonsense observation that taking bribes is not "within the scope of legislative acts, University of Virginia law professor Robert Turner points out that:

" the Supreme Court observed in the 1972 case of U.S. v. Brewster, the clause was never intended to immunize corrupt legislators who violate felony bribery statutes -- laws that have expressly applied to members of Congress for more than 150 years. In Brewster, the court noted the clause was not written "to make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility," adding: "Taking a bribe is, obviously, no part of the legislative process or function; it is not a legislative act. It is not, by any conceivable interpretation, an act performed as a part of or even incidental to the role of a legislator."

Such behavior is therefore not protected by the Constitution. The purpose of the Speech or Debate Clause was to protect the integrity of the legislative process, and the court noted that bribery, "perhaps even more than Executive power," would "gravely undermine legislative integrity and defeat the right of the public to honest representation.""

Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar writes:

"...No arrest-immunity exists whenever a congressman stands accused of "Treason, Felony, [or] Breach of the Peace" -- and the last phrase was, according to the canonical jurist William Blackstone, a catchall term of art that effectively covered all crimes. Following Blackstone, the U.S. Supreme Court has read the catchall expansively in leading cases decided in 1908 and 1972. Thus, sitting congressmen enjoy no special immunity from arrests in ordinary criminal cases.

"So, what did the Arrest Clause actually privilege? Basically, it insulated a sitting congressman from certain civil lawsuits brought by private plaintiffs seeking a court order that would physically "arrest" the defendant, with the effect (and perhaps purpose) of removing the congressman from the floor and thus disenfranchising his constituents. As Thomas Jefferson explained in his famed Manual of Parliamentary Practice: "When a representative is withdrawn from his seat by summons, the people, whom he represents, lose their voice in debate and vote." The theory was that one private litigant should not be allowed to undo the votes of thousands.

"None of what T.J. said helps W.J. [Rep. William Jefferson]. W.J. is a target of a criminal corruption investigation, and if criminally charged, he would have no more Arrest Clause protection than any of the countless other sitting Congress members who have been criminally prosecuted over the years -- Dan Rostenkowski, Duke Cunningham, and Tom DeLay, to name just three."

In the end, reliance on the Speech and Debate Clause, fatuous comparisons between the FBI's warrant-based search and a hypothetical search of the Oval Office by Capitol Hill police (not to mention unjustified demands for the return of Rep. Jefferson's papers) are but fig leaves for the real issues at stake; the overzealous assertion of Congressional powers and prerogatives. To be sure, Congress must defend its rights and authority; if it does not, no one will. But the defense of rights and authority must be based on a solid foundation, something those members of Congress who decry the search of Rep. Jefferson's office sorely lack in their arguments.

Remember, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives staked their claim to power twelve years ago via the "Contract with America," the first article of which said that "all laws that apply to the rest of the country [should] also apply equally to the Congress."

It was a good idea back in 1994. It is a good idea now. Let's enforce it.
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 08:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

See ya Katie

Tomorrow Katie Couric goes where she rightfully belongs: to the network where they manufacture the left-leaning news.

Meanwhile our friends over at Expose the Left have put together a little video montage of
Katie's greatest hits. Have a look--it might surprise you. (then might not...).
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 07:54:00 PM | Permalink | |

Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 07:53:00 PM | Permalink | |

Moore faces lawsuit for 'Farenheit 9/11' Lie

Heh. Courtesy of Say Anything blog :

Michael Moore Being Sued For Big Fat Lie In Fahrenheit 9/11


A double-amputee Iraq-war vet is suing Michael Moore for $85 million, claiming the portly peacenik recycled an old interview and used it out of context to make him appear anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Sgt. Peter Damon, 33, who strongly supports America's invasion of Iraq, said he never agreed to be in the 2004 movie, which trashes President Bush.

In the 2003 interview, which he did at Walter Reed Army Hospital for NBC News, he discussed only a new painkiller the military was using on wounded vets.

"They took the clip because it was a gut-wrenching scene," Damon said yesterday. "They sandwiched it in. [Moore] was using me as ammunition."

Damon seems to "voice complaint about the war effort" in the movie, according to the lawsuit.

But what the father of two from Middleborough, Mass., was really talking about was the "excruciating" pain he felt after he lost his arms when a Black Hawk helicopter exploded in front of him.

Damon wasn't expressing any opinion about the war, the suit charges, but rather extolling the drug.

"I just want everybody to know what kind of a guy Michael Moore is, and what kind of film this is," said Damon. He has appeared in two films attacking "Fahrenheit" -"Michael Moore Hates America" and "Fahrenhype 9/11."

Not much to add to that.

Michael Moore is a doofus, and anyone who takes his political commentary seriously is one as well.
DiscerningTexan, 5/31/2006 06:57:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Once Upon a Time...when Priorities Were Straight (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 5/30/2006 11:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

...but perhaps the Umpire has a thing or two to say about the HOME team

On a night I am genuinely depressed about the seditiousness of our media and its role in defeating Western Civilization--if things are allowed to keep going the way they have been going; a ray of sunshine from the Supreme Court via AJ Strata. Please God, don't let these be mere words--someone in the Bush Administration needs to wake up and act on them:

USSC Slaps Leakers - Little Protection
The New York Times, Washington Post and other media outlets are going to see a serious cutback in leaks coming from government sources on the news coming out of the US Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court today narrowed the First Amendment protections for public employees who reveal perceived wrongdoing they happen to observe in the course of doing their jobs.

The decision enhances the ability of governments at all levels to punish employees for speaking out, shielding officials in many instances from lawsuits for violating the right to free speech.
Kennedy distinguished between an employee speaking out in his role as a citizen on matters of public interest, which may be protected by the First Amendment, from an employee who speaks out “pursuant to official duties.”

That means the inidividual cannot take the law into their own hands, cannot circumvent the democratic process with personal or partisan views, and cannot risk our lives simply because they have a different opinion than the overarching government (which is elected to enact the people’s will).

Hopefully, this law will apply to Congress as well. Serves them right since they leak more than anyone else. The can change policy on the House and Senate floor. That was what they were elected to do. They should never try to change policies by illegally leaking information to the news media. They have voices, the simply need to use them.

Amen, brother! "Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of War!..." Our First stop needs to be: imprisoning the NSA leakers and the traitors in the media who knowingly betrayed America's classified information--despite White House requests not to publish them--and thus have aided our enemies in their quest to kill us. WE THE PEOPLE, IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH THE COMMON DEFENSE, NEED FOR AN EXAMPLE TO BE MADE.

The President of the United States and the Attorney General need to ask themselves a question: "Do we REALLY want to WIN this War? Or Not?" I am slowly but surely coming to the conclusion with our MSM that it really is that simple. Prior to 9/11, I was probably one of the most Libertarian people you could meet. But that has all changed over a period of less than 5 years; we are rapidly approaching the point where our "free" press--when all it does is try to undercut the interests of the United States while it is at war--does not have the right to that level of freedom. It is as simple as that. It is a slippery slope, but frankly I am wondering if there is any other way to win this war. Perhaps Bin Laden was right about us all along: as long as our media is allowed to run roughshod over our leadership, our Armed Forces and any War effort we attempt to undertake--while meanwhile our forces are in a war for their and our very survival--and the survival of the very the idea we were founded upon, America may not be able to weather the storm. I am quite obviously disenchanted and angry beyond words tonight.

Lincoln and FDR did not stand for a seditious press while at War. Neither should President Bush. There, I've said it.
DiscerningTexan, 5/30/2006 11:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

"...And it's root root root for the VISITING team / If America wins it's a shame..."

Just as I stop seething about the New York Times piece I just posted about earlier, blogger Mary Katherine Ham had to go and point out this atrocity from Chris Matthews on MSNBC. How can ANY Americans be so dense as to not see the unbelievably skewed picture that big media is exposing the American public to, day in and day out? When are we going to wake up and recognize the message the public is receiving at home IS the difference between defeat and victory in a war as long as the War on Radical Islamism is destined to be.

Should we all just throw my hands up, go out, face Mecca, grow a beard, and buy some burkas for our wives? Is THIS END RESULT what our "free press" stands for?

Remember the old World War II newsreels? Our parents saw America at its best, in victory--and even when things weren't going so well. No matter what, the War was a noble cause and we all needed to band together if it was to be won. Americans saw the barbarity of the enemy and the line was drawn between our just cause and their unjust cause. And as a result, the whole country banded together and won a brutal war, in which hundreds of millions died. They grew "Victory Gardens". They rationed gas and tires, rather than blaming FDR for high gas prices. They worked double shifts. They sacrificed for a greater cause. Why do you think they were known as "The Greatest Generation?" It damn sure isn't because they burned flags and blocked troop trains and shouted: "FDR Lied, Nazis Died..."

Today our men and women are still sacrificing for a greater cause: the very survival of Western Civilization. The tragedy is: there is NO equivalent of the Newsreels of yesterday in todays MSM. Instead, Ladies and Gentlemen--Proud Citizens of the United States--I give you: Chris Matthews. Enjoy...and think about the difference that makes such an enormous difference every day:

I watched the "Hardball" show on Haditha tonight and pulled some classic, Matthews quotes (my favorites are bold):

"Is it a cover-up and if it is, did it go straight up to the senior command?"

"Is this a cover-up?"

"Is this the act of someone who's done too many tours?"

In response, Gen. John Batiste (who has often called for Rumsfeld's resignation) said, "This is the act, again if it's true, because the investigation is ongoing..."

"These guys have been there for a long time, seen their buddies shot up and killed, and so they went on this rampage to get even basically? Is this something that happens a lot? Do you just get so pissed off at someone for hitting your people that you hit their people even if they're not fighting?"

Batiste: "I don't think we should second-guess the investigation that's going on?"

"Do they pick a target with that kind of intelligence or do they just pick a target?"

Batiste: "I think they're very exact in their intelligence."

"So, from your experience in these kind of assymetrical battles, these kind of incidents just occur? And you can also expect this kind of anger from our troops in this kind of assymetric battle?"

"Do you blame him (Rumsfeld) with regard to what's happened in this case-- the murder of 24 Iraqis in an apparent revenge situation?"

"What percentage, would you estimate, of a Marine unit or a military unit are bad apples?"

"If out of 150 guys, there's gonna be a mad dog who just likes the action... the question is who's calling the shots? What causes a whole unit to go like this?"

"I think what most of the viewers of this show are looking for is a littler perspective. Should we jump on it (these allegations) and say the war is no good? Should we jump on it and say the military is no good or should we take a more nuanced view?"

"Knowing the war and knowing this gonna kill the case for, is this gonna hurt the morale of our country?"

Check out the transcript later, here.

I think I am literally going to be sick... Am I making my point yet? Well then read on... tonight is "news night".
DiscerningTexan, 5/30/2006 10:34:00 PM | Permalink | |

Journalistic Treason: at High Tide

Who else but the New York Times would write a "fluff piece" about a clearly psychopathic Iranian President? That anyone would paint a picture of this man as less than a raving lunatic is disturbing; but for a major US daily with (regrettably) a lot of influence still, to actually write an article which seems to be designed for nothing short of "softening" the American public's view of this man--who is arguably as megalomaniacal as Hitler, with the same desire to exterminate the Jews (read: "wipe Israel off the map")--is mind boggling.

Why would they do this? Is an American newspaper trying to help the number one sponsor of State Terror in its propaganda war against the Bush Administration? Or worse, is it trying to "prime the pump" for attacking the war effort in case hostilities break out between the US and Iran? Why else would an American newspaper do such a thing? This really is analagous to the NYT trying to sway American public opinion--in say 1938--by saying: 'that Adolf Hitler's not such a bad guy--he's just misunderstood... Germany really does have a historical "right" to liberate Austria and the "illegal" Czech occupation of the traditionally German Sudetentland...' Seriously; what's the difference??

It would be redundant to call this "a new low" for the Times--because when it comes to supporting the American war effort post-9/11, the Times has not really had any "highs" that I can remember. Their "support" has been absolutely non-existent. Some may think it over the top for me to continue to call this publication 'The Enemy of the State'--to me it is simply rational thinking. And in today's PC world, today's particular instance of American journalistic irresponsibility is in itself not enough to prosecute; but it is close--especially when one considers that "Tokyo Rose" arguably told the "truth" in her broadcasts to American troops in the field during the darkest days of WWII. It could be argued that, for the Marines on Iwo Jima, many of their comrades were dying--"Rose" wasn't misrepresenting the truth. So why prosecute her after the war? Easy, because the entire purpose of "Tokyo Rose's" broadcasts were to demoralize American troops and make them want to quit. And "Tokyo Rose" was tried and convicted as a war criminal for just this reason.

So one might ask--if the object of a large number of New York Times or Washington Post or CNN stories is to try and convince the people at home that their sons and daughters are fighting for "nothing"--and if news of this is regularly reaching the troops on the front lines (which it is), how can the intent of our seditious media NOT be to demoralize both the troops abroad and the support for those troops at home? Yet for some reason, the incessant anti-Americanism pouring daily from these papers is given a "pass" by the public and--more to the point--by our law enforcement agencies during this war.

Still there have been plenty of cases where the papers have knowingly revealed classified information--which has served to endanger US National Security by revealing to our enemies technical secrets which allows them to adjust their methods of communicating so as not to be detected. That is more than just "demoralizing". As I see it, it is a much different thing to subtly and persistently try to demoralize our troops--even though in my book it ought to be criminal, especially if we went by the same standards in today's war as we did in prosecuting "Tokyo Rose" after World War II--and to knowingly publish TOP SECRET information that endangers our troops and the rest of us. The latter is nothing short of is high treason.

It is time for the prosecutions to begin. Enough is enough. Faster, please, Mr. President and Mr. Attorney General. To win this war, we must pull out all the stops--much as Lincoln and FDR had to do. And if that means shutting down a seditious press, for the sake of those whose lives are on the line, the sooner the better.

Here is Steven M. Warshawsky's take on the lastest outgrage, from The American Thinker:

The New York Times Sunday offered a disgustingly sympathetic portrait of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (hat tip: Dinocrat). While the article acknowledges (in the words of an anonymous political science professor in Tehran) that “being against Jews and Zionists is an essential part” of Ahmadinejad’s political identity, the focus of the article is on Ahmadinejad’s “speed and aggression” in accumulating power and in “reshaping” the nature of Iran’s government.
For what ends? Here the article is curiously silent about Ahmadinejad’s threats to destroy Israel and Iran’s support for international Islamic terrorism.

While the New York Times cannot quite bring itself to call Ahmadinejad a “reformer,” that is clearly the thrust of the article. For example, the article repeatedly trumpets that Ahmadinejad is “a proponent of women’s rights,” has “challenged high-ranking clerics on the treatment of women,” and has “defended women in a way that put him outside the mainstream of conservative Islamic discourse.” Of course, the “mainstream of conservative Islamic discourse” takes a rather dim view of “women’s rights”—certainly as westerners have understood that term for the past several hundred years. Moreover, the only specific example of Ahmadinejad’s alleged support for women was his proposal to allow women into sports stadiums—which was promptly rejected by the Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei. So much for Ahmadinejad as Iran’s Susan B. Anthony.

Another aspect of Ahmadinejad’s leadership style that appeals to the New York Times is his economic populism. The article quotes Ahmadinejad as saying that “parliament and government should fight against wealthy officials,” who “should not have influence over senior officials” and who “should not impose their demands on the needs of the poor people.” As for the poor people, Ahmadinejad “promises to improve the lives of the poor” by forcing banks to lower interest rates, offering inexpensive housing loans, promoting “development projects” throughout the country, and trying to inject oil revenue into the economy.

Although the Times acknowledges that the Iranian economy is “almost entirely in the hands of the government” and that Ahmadinejad lacks “a strong grasp of economics,” nowhere does it suggest that greater freedom and deregulation might be the keys to a stronger economy.

Ah, freedom. Something the New York Times interprets most expansively at home (e.g., the alleged First Amendment right to expose national security secrets), but cares rather little about abroad, at least in countries not allied with the United States. Hence, the article on Ahmadinejad offers little disapprobation for his “political arrests,” which the Times brightly reports “are down”; or for his “pressure” on newspapers “to be silent on certain topics, like opposition to the nuclear program”; or for his “punishment” of officials running the nation’s cell phone system, which people were using to circulate jokes about Ahmadinejad’s poor personal hygiene.

This sounds like a joke itself, but totalitarianism is no laughing matter. Plainly, the Times downplays the tyranny and brutality of Ahmadinejad’s regime because it does not fit into the “reformer” mold into which the article tries to squeeze him. Apparently, Islamic tyrants are now going to be accorded the same white glove treatment that the Left has always shown Communist tyrants.

Lastly, the Times article paints Ahmadinejad as an “ideologically flexible” leader who seeks a “dialogue” with the United States. Indeed, Ahmadinejad’s ridiculous, and chilling, letter to President Bush is presented as a “significant” act of “reaching out.” The Times also describes Ahmadinejad’s “consistent theme” as “the concept of seeking justice.” Again, a term that has very different meaning to westerners than to Ahmadinejad and his supporters.

The point of these word games, and blatant misrepresentations, is to suggest that Ahmadinejad is not the warmongering Islamic fanatic that he, in fact, has shown himself to be time and time again. Quite obviously, this is part of the Times broader strategy of opposing U.S. military intervention in Iran. The Times once again takes the side of America’s enemies.

I predict we will be seeing many more Times articles over the coming months portraying Ahmadinejad as a reasonable fellow with whom the United States can negotiate peacefully—and all the while Ahmadinejad will continue his pursuit of nuclear weapons to use to destroy Israel and terrorize the West into submission.

The intellectual dishonesty, and moral hollowness, of the New York Times no longer surprises me.
DiscerningTexan, 5/30/2006 07:40:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, May 29, 2006
DiscerningTexan, 5/29/2006 10:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

The importance of Remembering WHY the United States is the 'Last Great Hope on Earth'

Suzanne Fields, writing in Real Clear Politics, calls attention to the history and meaning of Memorial Day, and points to a new book by Bill Bennett (America - The Last Best Hope); a book which from all indications should be required reading in American History classes nationwide. The book, of course, takes its title from the famous quote of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War--up until now probably the greatest threat our Republic has faced. Millions gave their lives in that war, and in wars before or sense. Those millions all share one great bond--they died for a better America; for Lincoln's vision--which spawned the title of Bennett's new book:

"My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth."

As soon as I post this, I'm clicking on the Amazon link and buying Bennett's book myself; because of the essay below (which I have emphasized with my own bold "highlights"), and because--before it went off the air in Dallas--I listened to Bennett's radio show every single morning on my way to work, because he never gets flustered, he is a man of real integrity, and he alwasy has a rational, non-emotional, highly intelligent take on current events. I can't wait to read this book, to better understand and appreciate both how we got here, and the enormity of the sacrifices of so many others have made to make it possible to be so fortunate.

Today, in places like Anbar Province, Baghdad and Fallujah men and women continue to lay down their lives for us. These places, join the list of places--like the Ardennes, Flanders, San Juan Hill, Shiloh, Iwo Jima, and hundreds of others--as hallowed ground. For where American blood is spilled in our defense, the contract felt by every citizen ought to be renewed to keep the burning flame of the American idea alive. When Ronald Reagan left office, his last words to a grateful nation summed it up well:

And that's about all I have to say tonight. Except for one thng. The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.
We've done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, good-bye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

One day--possibly in places like Tehran, Caracas, Havana, or Taiwan; or some place we don't yet know about--more American blood will be spilled for this idea--for the idea that the United States of America is indeed the Last Great Hope for Planet Earth. But let us not forget how we got here; and let us not forget those who gave their lives for that:

Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day, when the women of Columbus, Miss., decorated the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers, many of whom had been killed at nearby Shiloh Church in the first great blood-letting of our Civil War. Union wives and mothers soon followed the example, to sing of kneeling "Where Our Loves are Sleeping."

For generations, schoolchildren learned as a Memorial Day recitation the lines written by Col. John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, as he took a break at a field hospital beside a cemetery at the Ypres salient in 1915:

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses row on row,/That mark our place; and in the sky/The larks, still bravely singing, fly/Scarce heard amid the guns below . . . Take up our quarrel with the foe:/To you from failing hands we throw/The torch; be yours to hold it high./If ye break faith with us who die/We shall not sleep, though poppies grow/In Flanders fields."

Schoolchildren today rarely learn very much about the honored dead who sleep beneath the poppies from any of our wars. Patriotism isn't what it used to be. Neither is the teaching of history. Two senators, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a Republican, and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, a Democrat, are trying to do something about that.

"The American History Achievement Act is one more step toward putting the teaching of American history and civics back into our classrooms," says Sen. Alexander, "so our children grow up learning what it means to be an American."

This legislation is not a panacea, but it's a start. In 2001, the National Assessment of Education found that students score lower in history than in math, science and reading. Three of four fourth-graders can't identify the three branches of the federal government, and only one in 10 eighth-graders can tell you even one of the reasons why the North fought the South.

William Bennett's new book, "America - The Last Best Hope," couldn't be more timely, an attempt to rescue our schoolchildren -- and many of their parents -- from the amnesia for our endlessly fascinating history. Mr. Bennett, who was once chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the secretary of education in the Reagan administration, says he wrote his book for many reasons, but particularly to identify and emphasize the history articulated by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in their letters and speeches.

On the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he intended to tell an audience in Dallas that "we in this country are the watchmen on the walls of freedom." He might have been speaking to us today. In Ronald Reagan's farewell address, he spoke of the resurgence of pride in America: "This national feeling is good, but it won't count for much, and it won't last unless it's grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge."

We hear the longing for lost pride, for the knowledge of why we love our country, an appreciation for our language and for the melting pot that forged our nation, an understanding of what it means to be an American. Multiculturalism, as emphasized in our schools and colleges, highlights only how we're different, not how we become as one. "The Star-Spangled Banner" is one of the most difficult national anthems to sing, but singing it in Spanish (or Urdu or Bulgarian or Swahili) won't make it easier.

America's history is rowdy, unruly and uneven. Our experiment in democracy was begun when men owned slaves and women couldn't vote or do very much of anything without the permission of fathers or husbands. But we were endowed with a government that enabled and encouraged course correction. Freedom of speech enables us to criticize, to expose flaws to the sunlight. Our fights have always been ferocious, but we've always made up and moved on.

The Bennett book reflects the words of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the senator from New York who used the poetry of the English language with insight and precision: "Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy?" he asked. "Not one bit. Find me a better one. . . . Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do. Have we done obscene things? Yes, we have. How did our people learn about them? They learned about them . . . in the newspapers."

We learned, in short, from our history. It's a history we can't afford to lose, or discount or neglect. We owe it to ourselves, to our children and to "loves who lie sleeping," in Flanders and all those other fields where poppies blow.

DiscerningTexan, 5/29/2006 05:46:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, May 28, 2006
DiscerningTexan, 5/28/2006 11:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

Getting tired of the Democrat "we support the troops" BULLS**T

Is it just me? When I see the person who could potentially be the Speaker of the House if Republicans don't wake up--namely Nancy Pelosi--talking about "supporting our troops" on television, it is enough to make me want to hurl.

Those of you who read this blog regularly are quite clear that I am not a big fan of hypocrisy--to say the least. And now, after heraing some of the rhetoric from the Democrats prior to Memorial Day weekend I am to the point where I don't care how this sounds, it needs to be said: namely that you know and I know that probably 75% of the Democrats who pay lip service to the sacrifice of our brave military abroad are secretly glad as the American casualty count rises, because they see it as discrediting our President and thus helping their chances to recapture one or both Houses of Congress this fall. If anything, Pelosi and company are "honoring" a "sacrifice" which they actually feel is necessary- for them to succeed--not by winning the War against the head-decapitating zealots we are fighting; monsters who would like to see every last one of us murdered--but by Democrats gaining partisan political advantage in upcoming elections by capitalizing on the misfortunes of the fallen and the families who support both them and the war effort.

This not only does great dishonor to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; the Dems' "desirable end result" of gaining control of the House could endanger us all in the long term by distracting our Commander in Chief with baseless and partisan Impeachment proceedings in a time of war and great peril for all of us in the United States.

Radical Islamist states with nuclear weapons is the greatest threat the United States will face in this century--it only takes one city going up in a mushroom cloud to bring world ecomonic markets into free fall and usher in an era of depression and anarchy such as the world has not seen in centuries. And--in the face of this kind of threat--our Commander in Chief does not need to be distracted by a rabid partisan Democratic majority playing tit for tat for the Impeachment of Bill Clinton. And as unhappy as we may be with some Republicans in Congress, it is essential that we do everything in our power to prevent the nightmare scenario of a Democrat takeover of the House.

In the meantime, we pause this weekend to honor the fallen. And when I saw this poem by Russ Vaughn on The American Thinker website, I felt it fitting to honor our brave men and women overseas by calling attention to these hyporcites--whose cause is only advanced as the body bags multiply. These opportunistic frauds need to be called out for who and what they are. They do not support our troops; they disgrace them, and most of all they discrace those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might not have to. They and their families are in our hearts. And simple words cannot express our enormous gratitude for what they have given for the rest of us. God bless them all:

Forsaken Honor, Forgotten Shame
“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”
Macbeth 1.7

The liberals found a new Macbeth
To bait the media with claims of death,
And atrocious acts by his own men,
Opportunely vague ‘bout where and when.
But liberal bloggers shared with glee,
New proof of our troops’ infamy;
Web witches stirred their bitter brew,
Caring not their broth might be untrue.

But liberals heed not lessons learned,
That hollow heroes leave them burned.
So fools rush in, disdaining danger,
And hold on high a phony Ranger,
Exploit a mentally troubled youth,
To extend their version of the truth.
Because our troops they so despise,
They swallowed whole his vicious lies.

So now we witness once again,
The Lefties just can’t seem to win,
When it comes to picking warrior heroes,
Liberal heroes often turn out zeroes,
Who wrap themselves up in the flag,
And unlike heroes, boast and brag;
And trot out rows of Purple Hearts,
For scratches on their body parts.

Why must they seek to elevate
Themselves with lies that desecrate
The brave and honorable reputation
Of those who serve, protect our nation?
John Kerry, Murtha and Macbeth,
All share a trait, exploiting death.
In their own selfish quest for fame,
They’ve forsaken honor, forgotten shame.
DiscerningTexan, 5/28/2006 06:39:00 PM | Permalink | |

CBS reports that Corrupt Louisiana Congressman Jefferson is a Republican. Is this a deliberate misrepresentation?

After reading this John Hindraker post on the Power Line blog, a few simple questions quite naturally come to mind. First the inexcusable error for a so-called "major" media giant:

The media would love to help the Democrats with their "culture of corruption" campaign theme; unfortunately, the facts aren't cooperating very well. Which didn't stop CBS News from doing its best, in this story about the Justice Department standing firm on the documents seized from Congressman William Jefferson:

Top law enforcement officials at the Justice Department and the FBI indicated to their counterparts at the White House that they could not, and were unwilling to, return documents to the Louisiana Republican which were seized as part of a bribery investigation.

Jefferson is, of course, a Democrat. It's common for news stories about scandals involving Congressional Democrats to omit any reference to their party, but this really is going too far!

Thanks to reader Greg Roth.

Next are my simple questions for CBS News--the network of Dan Rather and the most blatant anti-Republican bias in all of the United States' mainstream media.
  1. The first and most basic of these questions: does CBS News have Editors and Fact Checkers that it uses to "vet" news? If so, are they still employed? (and if so, WHY??)
  2. If the answer to question #1 is "yes", where were these fact checkers when CBS reported to millions of people that Rep. Jefferson--the Louisiana Congressman who accepted over $100,000 in bribes from FBI Agents--was a "Republican" when in fact he is a DEMOCRAT?
  3. Most disturbing is this question: did CBS DELIBERATELY misinform the American people who had the unfortunate misfortune of relying on CBS News for the TRUTH?
DiscerningTexan, 5/28/2006 12:54:00 AM | Permalink | |
Saturday, May 27, 2006

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 5/27/2006 06:49:00 PM | Permalink | |

Scandalizing Haditha: the Media lynch mob in full frenzy

Mary Katherine Ham has hit the nail on the head. It is Memorial Day weekend. Grisly things happen in war, not all of them rational or good. War is not pretty, but sometimes it is necessary to prevent or address even greater evils. And on a few occasions over time our country has been discredited by a select few in uniform; but not very often. In general our Armed Forces during wartime have gone out of their way to spare as many civilians as possible, while still accomplishing their dangerous and difficult missions. We don't HAVE to spend millions of dollars on "smart bombs; we COULD just take out entire city blocks with much cheaper "Daisy Cutters". But we do spend that money: to spare the innocent. Think about that for a moment...

While you are thinking, consider the fact that Americans who have volunteered to protect the rest of us are over there laying it on the line for us every single day. They are worthy and deserving of our gratitude and respect. And certainly--even when misconduct is alleged by the pihranas in the media--our fighting men and women deserve the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Personally, if there must be "collateral damage" in wartime (and this is of course the nature of the beast that is war), I would just as soon wish the collateral damage upon those who are so quick to judge and so slow to give credit where credit and honor are due, than upon any other innocents.

In the meantime, my plans this Memorial weekend do not include trying to lynch people who are risking their lives every day while I sit here and type and watch a baseball game. My plans this weekend are to silently honor and pray for our troops abroad and the success of their mission to protect us from being murdered by religious zealots. For that is the one aspect in which the scandal mongers fail to see the forest for the trees: the zealot Islamist head-chopping baby-killing monsters we are fighting brutally murder innocents--"in cold blood"--EVERY SINGLE DAY. Given that fact, what say we give our Marines the benefit of the doubt until ALL the facts are in. Take it away, Mary Katherine:

What Happened in Haditha?

Something very bad happened in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005. One Marine and 24 Iraqis died in the wake of a roadside bombing, which hit a Marine convoy. Fifteen of the 24 casualties were civilians, some women and children. Was it the fog of war? Were the civilians "collateral damage?" Or was it a deliberate massacre?
We don't know. The investigation is ongoing and no Marine has yet been charged.

But you'd have trouble discerning that from reading press coverage of the incident. Time originally reported the incident in March, under the headline "Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha?"

Earlier this month, Congressman and retired Marine John Murtha announced at a press conference that U.S. Marines had killed innocent civilians "in cold blood," referring to the incident in Haditha. The press conference was a political event held to mark the 6-month anniversary of Murtha's high-profile political failure of 2005-- his call for cutting and running in Iraq.

Because Murtha decided to convict his brother Marines before their trial, the press got the soundbite it needed to do the same. The headlines largely dispensed with the question posed in the original Time piece. Today, the phrase "in cold blood" brings up 1,450 Google News hits. It's been the headline of the month.

The Haditha story picked up pace this week as Pentagon sources close to the investigation started leaking word that there may be murder charges in the case. The Marine Commandant's trip to Iraq has also piqued interest.

The Post has been unable to get anyone from the Pentagon on the record on the investigation, using mostly anonymous sources. The one man they did get on the record on Friday was retired Brig. Gen. David H. Brahms, a long-time lawyer with the Marine Corps who has experience with these types of cases. His quote is in the third paragraph. See if you can guess why the prominent first-quote placement:

"When these investigations come out, there's going to be a firestorm," said retired Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms, formerly a top lawyer for the Marine Corps. "It will be worse than Abu Ghraib -- nobody was killed at Abu Ghraib."

I have a feeling someone was lying in wait for an Abu Ghraib reference. I read the quote and was taken aback because I spoke to the same Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms about the case this week, and his sentiments were very different from those presented in the Post. Which explains why he sent me this statement yesterday:

"Recent reporting on the events in Haditha, Iraq have included significant factual errors and/or misleading statements. This includes a quote attributed to me in the Washington Post this morning that was taken completely out of context and its meaning distorted. Many facts that are favorable to the Marines involved have not yet been disclosed."

When Brahms and I spoke, he made it clear that his concern is that the Marine Corps do a thorough investigation and punish severely those who did wrong, if in fact it is found that they did. He feels confident that will happen. His other concern is that the Marines involved get a fair trial in a highly politicized environment:

"The worst thing that can happen in a case of this kind is to have it politicized...that's exactly what has happened here. They're leaking a story which is yet unwritten."

"It's not normal to have a Member of Congress to decide to have hearings, at least while this whole business is in flux."

"I think there has been (a rush to judgement)...This has got to impact the fairness of the procedure."

"We'll get more precise information. Let's kind of step back, let's try to realize that there's another side of this story...People accused may be guys like my son and your brothers."

"The problem is, of course, that everybody's got a political the middle are a group of American Marines."

Those quotes are all taken from a phone interview I did with Brahms this week.

Brahms confirmed what press reports have said, that charges in two investigations-- an NCIS investigation of the incident itself and an Army investigation of whether there was a cover-up of the incident-- are likely to come in mid- to late-June or July, with military justice proceedings in August.

Brahms did mention Abu Ghraib during our conversation. He's hoping Haditha does not turn out to be a similar black mark on the American military and the war effort in Iraq. He's also hoping press coverage won't make Haditha a black mark even before the investigations are complete.

If indeed Marines acted out of line, they will be punished, he said, and he's confident the Corps will be circumspect in its investigations. Three commanders were sacked in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

Folks on the anti-war Left are crowing that Friday's leaks mean "Murtha was right," as Oliver Willis put it.

Well, no. Murtha said Marines murdered civilians in cold blood. The leaks say Marines may be charged with murder in the case. We've got charges and a trial to go before Murtha can be right.

It's an important process, during which much more truth will be revealed about this incident than can come out through leaks.

If Marines did murder civilians without regard, then Haditha is a name that will rightly forever bear the same kind of shame for the American people and the American military as My Lai. But conferring My Lai status upon this Iraqi town before the truth is out is irresponsible.

It is Memorial Day Weekend. Our men in uniform certainly deserve the presumption of innocence and a little patience from us, no matter our positions on the war.
DiscerningTexan, 5/27/2006 03:19:00 PM | Permalink | |

Urgent White House "Help Wanted": Strong Commuications, Event Management, and Public Relations Expertise--Apply immediately.

I am convinced that History will look back upon President Bush as having been one of the most visionary Presidents in modern history; unfortunately a lot of that vision is being wasted due to mismanagement of the public's perception of the Presidents decisions and reactions to events. This one flaw has been Bush's Achilles heel, and it threatens to derail not only the potential successes that the Bush Administration might otherwise enjoy; but also could possibly cost the Republicans their Congressional majority at a critical point of the GWOT--namely the moment in history where radical Islamists either do or do not get their hands on nuclear weapons which they intend to USE.

The chances that a Democrat majority would have the backbone to stand up to this looming threat are virtually non-existent: they will be too busy trying to impeach the one true LEADER we have had since Ronald Reagan. And because of this fact, the inability to date for this President and his advisors to get out in FRONT of events and issues and to USE the "bully pulpit" effectively could essentially be the difference between victory and an American or European Armegeddon. So this is not a trivial thing.

Steve Feinstein, writing in The American Thinker, documents the shortcomings of the President and his "handlers" to date. One can only hope that Tony Snow can help to turn things around in this area--and that the President and his advisors can improve the art of pro-actively communicating to the American people the depth of his brilliant strategic vision and the nature of the evil we face. The President must be seen as guiding events; not in letting events guide him.

But time is short--if the President cannot get out in front of the public approval "communications game" more effectively in the very near future, we could be heading towards a real national disaster. (Bold emphases are my own):

Conventional wisdom says that the Republicans are in real danger of losing one, if not both Houses of Congress this November.

There has been a never-ending stream of bad political news for the President and his party since last year—the Libby-Plame affair (with the real target being President Bush’s advisor and strategist Karl Rove), the supposed Federal “failures” in response to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, the President’s misstep in the Harriet Miers nomination, the Tom Delay-Jack Abramoff episode, the United Arab Emirates port-control debacle, the NSA wiretapping/phone record collection, and of course, the War in Iraq. In each of these situations, the Antique Media have played their customary role in fanning the flames of public opinion for maximum anti-Republican impact.

Liberal bias in the media is old news. It exists, and it’s not going away anytime soon. The drive-by media even seem willing to acknowledge the accusation from time to time, often citing polls and studies that purport to show they’re not that biased after all.

The far more interesting take-away from all this is President Bush’s almost total blindness to current political events. His predecessor, President Clinton, was absolutely unexcelled at managing the day-to-day political landscape. With the Svengali-like guidance of operative James Carville, Clinton perfected the art of pre-releasing potentially damaging information and putting his Administration’s twist on it at the beginning of the news cycle, before the mainstream media even ran the story. Clinton was very rarely, if ever, blindsided into a reactive damage control mode. Even during the Lewinski affair, Clinton’s “war room” made sure that the most salacious findings of Ken Starr’s investigation saw the light of day before they were officially released, reducing the impact of the news from “Unbelievable!” to “Yeah, I’ve heard that already.” Masterful.

President Bush is clearly not playing in the same league. His stunning inability to shape the daily news flow in a manner favorable to his administration and his party is inexcusable. The U.S. economy has created over 2 million jobs in the last two years, unemployment is at near-historic lows, consumer spending remains extremely strong, and the markets are an incredible 40-something percent higher than their post-9/11 lows. Yet the majority of the public seems to think we’re in a recession and the President’s team seems powerless to do anything about it.

Why is President Bush so completely incapable of controlling his own public perception? Interestingly, it’s probably no accident. President Bush is one of the least poll-driven, least opinion-driven presidents in memory. He seems, instead, motivated almost entirely by his desire to put forth what he sees as the correct solution to a given situation.

This approach has netted him significant positive returns when it comes to long-term objectives. Rejecting the present-day pressures of “diversity,” President Bush appointed two very significant Supreme Court members—Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, both white males—who will have a lasting impact on the Court’s rulings for decades to come. His tax-reduction economic strategy, recently extended to at least 2010, will likely keep the country’s economic forward momentum in place, even as the liberal sector continues to whine about “tax cuts for the rich.” And in foreign policy, the President’s recent initiative to India has the potential of cementing a relationship—both militarily and economically—with a country poised to become one of America’s most significant partners in the coming decade.

President Bush took all of these actions because he undoubtedly thought them to be the right thing to do, not because they were short-term poll winners. It’s especially frustrating to the President’s supporters that he expends such little effort managing his public approval. His sporadic, verbally-challenged press conferences, his too-infrequent Oval office speeches to the nation—especially in a time of war or in the aftermath of a national disaster—his seeming reluctance to engage in the daily give-and-take of political hardball, all lead to the impression that the President is detached from the public, somehow disengaged and uncaring.

President Clinton may likely be judged by history as merely a “caretaker” chief executive, presiding over an administration bereft of truly major domestic or foreign policy initiatives. He rode the wave—not of his making, certainly—of a terrific economy driven by a once-in–a-lifetime confluence of events: the lull between the ending of the Cold War and the time before the heating up of the War on Terror, coupled with the Internet explosion and the Y2K IT expenditure frenzy. He did, however, “feel our pain.” For that, we judged him a great communicator and awarded him with commensurately high approval ratings.

By comparison, President Bush’s accomplishments—massive, fundamental tax reduction, the re-shaping of the High Court, the bridge to India, and the active attempt to defeat Terror and re-define Middle East politics forever—are not the stuff of which instant poll winners are made. Even his recent proposed resolution of the illegal immigration problem does not intentionally bend to any current whims, instead leaving large blocs unsatisfied on all sides of the issue.

History will undoubtedly be kinder to President Bush than the voters will be to his Party in the 2006 mid-term elections. Yet with some skillful events management, high instantaneous approval ratings and long-term accomplishments are not mutually exclusive. It’s a shame the President and his team don’t understand that.
DiscerningTexan, 5/27/2006 02:09:00 PM | Permalink | |

Great News: Sea-based missile defense test successful

Great news from Spook86. And not a minute too soon...:

Our ballistic missile defense efforts took a potentially important step yesterday, with a successful test of a Navy Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) against an incoming missile in the final seconds of flight. The test marked the first time that any sea-based missile conducted a successful intercept of a ballistic missile in its terminal flight stage. The SM-2 (a modified, Block IV variant) was fired by the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie, operating in the Pacific Missile Range Facility near Hawaii. The significance of this test cannot be understated.

For years, the U.S. has been attempting to extend its ballistic missile defenses to sea-based platforms, with mixed results. In 2001, the Pentagon cancelled the Navy's SM-2 IVA Area Defense program, which was built around modified SM-2 missiles (equipped with an imaging infrared seeker, to track incoming missiles), fired from surface vessels equipped with the Aegis system. At the time of the cancellation, the initial SM-2/BMD effort was at least two years behind schedule, and $400 million over budget. Efforts at developing medium-range missile defenses proved more successful (more on that in a moment), but the lack of a sea-based, terminal defense capability meant that U.S. forces would have to rely on land-based Patriot missiles for short-range defense. In some regions (namely the Taiwan Strait), that capability either doesn't exist, or would be quickly overwhelmed by enemy ballistic missiles, underscoring the importance of terminal defenses on naval vessels.

To meet that requirement, the Navy and DOD's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) pursued more affordable variants of the SM-2 Block IV, culminating in yesterday's successful test launch near Hawaii. Additionally, the Pentagon has developed the longer-ranged SM-3, in an effort to create a layered, sea-based missile defense. The SM-3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in mid-course (outside the earth's atmosphere), and has been successful in 6 of 7 test flights (so far).

Deployment of the terminal phase SM-2 would complement the SM-3 on 15 modified Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and 3 Ticonderoga-class cruisers, optimized for theater missile defense. According to the Missile Defense Agency, "considerations to deploy SM-2 terminal defense missiles" are still under review, indicating that the project's future is far from assured. But, given the requirement for short-range defense of naval forces and shore facilities from missile attack (and yesterday's successful test launch) the terminal defense program should find more support in Congress and the Pentagon.

When Ronald Reagan first raised the possibility of missile defense two decades ago, he was roundly ridiculed, and program managers were chided for wasting money on technology that "would never work." Despite some over-publicized failures, BMD programs have advanced steadily over the past 20 years, affirming both the validity of Reagan's original vision, and his faith in America's ability to make the dream a reality.
DiscerningTexan, 5/27/2006 01:56:00 PM | Permalink | |
Friday, May 26, 2006

Hugh Hewitt reads "the letter". You've GOT to hear this...

Radioblogger has a link where you can actually hear Hugh Hewitt reading an English translation of President Ahmadinejead's letter to President Bush. Every American should hear this. If you think we can just leave this guy be and all will be well, this recording should be a cold hard slap in the face. You owe it to yourself to listen to this.

You've heard reporting about the letter, you may have even heard snippets read from it. But 99.9% of you haven't or won't take the time to actually read it. But I would ask you to take a few moments and listen to what Mahmoud Ahmadinejead wrote to President Bush, translated into English, read by Hugh Hewitt earlier this afternoon.


You owe it to yourself to know what this guy is saying, and about the looming confrontation we're facing as a nation, and what the next two elections here will say about whether we're going to face up to it or not.

UPDATE: If you didn't see "President Bush's Response" to the letter, you can find it here (if only...).

But on a more serious note, Hillel Fradkin, author of Current Trends in Islamic Ideology, and a senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute dissects this letter in light of Islamic thinking and culture, and finds it to be nothing short of a
full declaration of war on the United States.
DiscerningTexan, 5/26/2006 05:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

John McCain? Or Jimmy Carter? My nomination for lame gesture of the year.

This is about as lame as it gets: Senator John McCain is introducing a resolution that would ask FIFA to ban Iran from the World Cup Soccer match unless they stop trying to build nuclear weapons.

And to think, I thought McCain was wishy washy on the issues; man have I ever been proven wrong. He's REALLY playing real hardball now--I'll bet Ayatollah Khameni and his puppet President Ahmadenijad are quaking in their boots... Expect them to drop their nuclear program any second now in the face of this ominous threat....

Sometimes I wonder if I am living in an Orwellian sequel to
Animal Farm.
DiscerningTexan, 5/26/2006 05:39:00 PM | Permalink | |

(click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 5/26/2006 05:36:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, May 25, 2006

And from the "Tolerant" Left...

...Noam Chomsky finds a soulmate.
DiscerningTexan, 5/25/2006 11:22:00 PM | Permalink | |

Please...a moment of silence for Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. that the moment of silence has passed: Enjoy your R&R in the big house guys! Or more appropriately: I hope your fellow inmates in the big house enjoy you...

What goes around comes around... it is days like this that give all of us hope.
DiscerningTexan, 5/25/2006 11:03:00 PM | Permalink | |

Tony Snow performs jiu jitsu on NPR

Going to be relatively slow blogging for the next couple of days because the Discerning Nephew is graduating from high school and moving on to the University of Alabama. Now as a (defending National Champion) Texas Longhorn grauate and fan, I could be upset about this turn of events; but personally I am looking forward to someday visiting Tuscaloosa and experiencing the Tide as it "Rolls".

However I did notice
this little sound byte today on Power Line though that gave me reason for a bit of optimism: National Public Radio (your tax dollars at work folks) was hoping to draw a little blood in their first on-air interview with new Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow. It was a bloodbath all right--more like me trying to take it to the hoop against Shaq. Check it out and see if you don't agree.

Tony Snow could not have been hired at a better time. Scott McClellan gave it his all, but frankly Snow has a perfect repertoire of poise, positive attitude and command of the issues that allows him to run circles around the hostile wolves in the White House press corps.
DiscerningTexan, 5/25/2006 10:34:00 PM | Permalink | |