January 29, 2011

Thank you again President Bush...

Max Boot, Are We All Neocons Now?:

...But whatever happens, one thing is already clear: as Pete Wehner has already noted, President Bush was right in pushing his "freedom agenda" for the Middle East.

When he pushed for democratic change in the region, legions of know-it-all skeptics — including Barack Obama — scoffed. What business was it of America to comment on, much less try to change, other countries� internal affairs? Why meddle with reliable allies? Wasn�t it the height of neocon folly to imagine a more democratic future for places like Iraq or Egypt?

Turns out that Bush knew a thing or two. He may not have been all that sophisticated by some standards, [the "standards" of nihilism!] but like Ronald Reagan, he grasped basic truths that eluded the intellectuals. Reagan, recall, earned endless scorn for suggesting that the "evil empire" might soon be consigned to the "ash heap of history." But he understood that basic human desires for freedom could not be repressed forever. Bush understood precisely the same thing, and like Reagan he also realized that the U.S. had to get on the right side of history by championing freedom rather than by cutting disreputable deals with dictators.

Condi in black...Too bad he didn�t have more success in pushing the "freedom agenda." If he had — if, for example, he had been willing to hold back American aid to force Egypt to make liberal reforms — the U.S. might possibly have averted the explosion currently seen on the streets of Egypt by engineering a more orderly transition to democracy. But in his second term, humbled by setbacks in Iraq, Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, charted a different course. They did little or nothing while Mubarak locked up liberal dissident Ayman Nour. Instead, they concentrated their energies on the vaunted Middle East peace process, which ended in a predictable failure.

Obama has essentially continued this policy, which he — and legions of like-minded thinkers — sees as the height of "realism." But what�s so realistic about endorsing a sclerotic status quo? The answer is being delivered in the streets of Egypt. So having already endorsed the essentials of the Bush war on terror, Obama is now belatedly embracing the freedom agenda too. Does that mean we�re all neocons now?...

"But in his second term, humbled by setbacks in Iraq, Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, charted a different course." Well, that's not really accurate. It makes it sound like something unilateral and internal to the Bush Administration. In fact our fake-liberals and fake pacifists and fake Christians HATED Bush's freedom agenda from the first. And they battered him with vicious political opposition from the start. From way back in 2001. They hated the thought of overthrowing tyrants, and, judging by the Obama Administration's reactions to Iran and now Egypt, they still do. I spit on them with utter disgust.

Which is a large chunk of why I despise "liberals" and "pacifists" and "progressives" and that whole horrid crew...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 PM

August 26, 2010

This one brought a tear to my eye...

Jeez, remember what it was like to have a real President! You know, one of those right-wing extremists who is pro-American...



Posted by John Weidner at 8:40 AM

August 11, 2010

Very cool...

George and Laura Bush surprise some of our troops returning home from deployment today.

See photos here.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 PM

June 21, 2010

You're a racist if you even read this...

Excerpts from President Obama media doubles down on doublespeak - BostonHerald.com:

...Criticizing Bush - the highest form of patriotism. Criticizing Obama - hate speech. Who caused Bush's problems? - Bush. Who causes Obama's problems? - Bush.

Cindy Sheehan under Bush - a future recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Sheehan under Obama - give it up already, you old bag.

Bush playing a rare round of golf - complete video coverage, showing his utter indifference to the suffering of the American people.

Obama playing one of his endless rounds of golf - only still photos allowed, yet another glowing indication of our dashing president's youth and physical fitness.

Media reviews of Bush's handling of Katrina - he hates black people. Media reviews of Obama's handling of the oil spill - Halliburton did it.

Bush on Air Force One - junkets, fund-raising for GOP fat cats. Obama on Air Force One - fact-finding missions, reassuring the American people of his tireless FDR-like commitment to them.

Two hundred-point midday drops on the Dow under Bush - ominous plummet. Same drops under Obama - the market is seeking direction.

Democrat women elected under Bush - a triumph of feminism. Republican women elected under Obama - a setback for feminism...
Posted by John Weidner at 5:41 PM

June 11, 2010

Bush accomplishments... Add this to the long list

John B. Bellinger III — Without White House muscle, treaties left in limbo:

...But the priority the Obama administration has placed on START contrasts sharply with its approach to other international agreements pending before the Senate.

Despite the presence of 59 Democrats, the Senate has approved only one treaty (a tax agreement with France) during the 112th Congress. The Obama administration must make more vigorous efforts with respect to the many important treaties awaiting Senate approval.

Although the Bush administration was criticized for its alleged lack of respect for international law, it had a particularly good record on seeking and obtaining treaty approvals. It secured Senate advice and consent for 163 treaties from 2001 to 2009. These included 20 treaties during the administration's first two years and a record 90 treaties during its last two years -- more treaties approved by the Senate than during any single previous Congress in U.S. history.

Treaties approved by the Senate during the Bush years included more than a hundred bilateral agreements on such diverse subjects as the protection of polar bears in the Arctic and the return of stolen automobiles from Honduras. There were more than two dozen multilateral conventions on human rights, environmental and marine protection, arms control, nuclear proliferation, cybercrime and sports anti-doping rules. And senior Bush officials testified in favor of treaties restricting the involvement of children in armed conflicts, protecting the ozone layer and creating a marine preserve in the Caribbean....

I'm sure the Bush family will enjoy sitting up in Heaven looking down on their pygmy defamers cooking in the infernal toaster-oven...

Barbara, Laura and Jenna Bush

Posted by John Weidner at 10:00 PM

April 29, 2010

I was right about this one...

Bin Laden had 'no clue' about Sept. 11 retaliation:

... WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview.

"I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000.

"What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger....

I don't have time to find my old posts, but I've written before that al-Qaeda expect one of two reactions to 9/11. Either that America would lash out wildly, or that we would flinch. Either one would have suited bin Laden's purposes.

What they did NOT expect was that we would cooly and methodically take apart two terror-supporting Islamic nations, and try to bring them freedom and democracy. That was a nightmare for them.

President Bush is the only world leader who has really been effective in fighting Islamic terrorism. Because he did what they didn't expect. It may have been unconscious on his part, but it was generalship of a high order.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

December 30, 2009

Is this a valid complaint?

President Obama takes the heat President Bush did not - - POLITICO.com:

Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber's attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received from Republicans and some in the press for his reaction to Friday's incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit....

There's one big difference. President Bush, on September 11, 2001, had the moral clarity recognize, and to say, that we were at war. No one knows whether Mr Obama has the same moral clarity. (I strongly suspect that he has never given the underlying question serious thought.)

That's something the President has to say. It's not his job to lead in battles, other people do that. But seeing clearly and speaking clearly about what the deep problem is, is what a President does. That's what America is still waiting to hear from Obama, and why we are frustrated at his insipid response to Ft Hood, and now to the close call with the "knickerbomber."

Watch this video, if you've forgotten....



Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

November 11, 2009

Thank you, gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago...

This is very cool, and gives me a shred of hope for the Dems. (Thanks to the Anchoress) Thank you former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush—HillBuzz:

Before:

...If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of "Dubya" nearly every day...parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000...and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day...

Now:

...As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

FOR HOURS.

The Bushes went and met privately with these families for HOURS, hugging them, holding them, comforting them.

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks...you tell them at a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes...and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people.

You may be as surprised by this as we are ourselves, but from this day forward George W. and Laura Bush are now on the same list for us as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and the other political figures we keep in our hearts and never allow anyone to badmouth.

Criticize their policies academically and intelligently and discuss the Bush presidency in historical and political terms…but you mess with the Bushes personally and, from this day forward, and you'll answer to us.

We hope someday to be able to thank George W. and Laura in person for all they've done, and continue to do. They didn't have to head to Ft. Hood. That was not their responsibility.

The Obamas should have done that.

But didn't.

Wouldn't....

What most people don't know about, because our slime-animal "journalists" wouldn't report it, is that President Bush, when in office, spent huge amounts of time visiting our wounded, and visiting the families of those who had died. And never once milked this for any publicity whatsoever. (And here's something similar George and Laura did--with no publicity.)

I also remember with deep disgust certain Lefties criticizing the President for not attending military funerals. In fact by longstanding tradition the president does not attend individual military funerals during war-time. (To understand why, read here.)

I also remember with loathing the massive criticism of Bush for not going to New Orleans during Katrina. (Stupid, since he would just have interfered with rescue efforts, but that's how people think the president should act in this Oprah-fied time.) But Obama gets a free pass.


Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 PM

November 7, 2009

Pathetic. Obamba's a girly-man.

Reuters : One year on, Obama cites struggle with Bush legacy:

...MADISON, Wis. — A year after his historic election, President Barack Obama sought to remind Americans on Wednesday the biggest problems he is grappling with — from the economy to the war in Afghanistan — are the legacy of his predecessor, George W. Bush....

Ya'know, Brrack old chap, President Bush left you another legacy as well. He left you a splendid example of how a MAN deals with tough situations. You may have forgotten, but he also inherited an economic recession. The Dot.Com bust happened just before he was inaugurated. And 9/11—a legacy of shocking Clinton neglect—dealt us another heavy economic blow a few months later.

Did you ever hear him whining that Clinton had left him a bucket of worms? No, he never did. Not once. He never complained or pointed fingers, he just rolled up his sleeves and started fixing the problems. That's what grownups do.

Oh, and legacy #3. He fixed his economic problems. Tip: Start by cutting taxes. Wait one year. Cut again. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. It works.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:47 PM

October 28, 2009

I'm starting to like this guy Latimer...

Matt Latimer, Running Away From Rush — The Daily Beast:

...Time and again during the Bush administration, folks on talk radio warned the White House and Congress about grassroots discontent over a divisive immigration bill, would-be Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, and the administration's spending sprees. GOP leaders didn't listen. They should have. Conservatives abandoned the party in droves. (Of course, there are limits to talk radio's influence on the grassroots. Just last year, Rush advised listeners that John McCain would be a disaster for the Republican Party if he was the nominee. He came just short of endorsing practically anyone else—Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, none of the above. Listeners decided differently. That didn't mean Rush was wrong.

As an eyewitness to the final days of the Bush administration, I can report with assurance that the absolutely last people the powers that be listened to were conservative activists on radio and TV. If Chief of Staff Josh Bolten happened to catch Rush or Laura, it likely was only on his way to finding NPR. And Condi Rice wouldn't take her marching orders from Glenn Beck if he renamed his program The Glenn and Condi Variety Hour and let her play piano concertos between segments. Meanwhile, talk radio's remaining White House hero, Vice President Dick Cheney, was all but gagged and tied to railroad tracks while Bolten, Rice, and others did their impersonations of Snidley Whiplash waiting for a train to arrive.

It is true that White House communicators, led by clever sorts such as Karl Rove, cared about their relationships with talk radio and cable news. But as the controllers, not the controlled. Like savvy publicists stuck pitching a mediocre movie, Team Rove furnished select talkers with extravagant perks (tickets to special events, invitations to exclusive dinners, close-hold meetings with the president) to get favorable reviews. When that didn't work, they'd use another old publicist trick of threatening to deny access to Bush, Cheney, or various other administration "stars."

Some of the more popular talkers, like Rush, were too powerful for them to intimidate. (Rush being our equivalent of Tom Hanks.) But the approach worked on others....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 PM

October 24, 2009

Maybe I'll add this to my already cluttered sidebar...

Bush ready to fight, Obama to dither
Posted by John Weidner at 10:59 AM

August 25, 2009

Old scores still needing to be settled...

Most of you will probably not be interested in this. I mean, five years ago? That's ancient history! Just skip it, OK?

Most people forget, but I don't forget. Or in this case, forgive. The campaign of intentional lies and smears in 2004 against the honorable and considerable military service of George W Bush would in itself justify the detestation I feel towards Lefty nihilists.

I knew this part of the story back then, but never made much mention of it, because I was not aware that there was any corroboration. What a treat to find that in, of all places, the report on the horrid fabrications of Dan Rather and Mary Mapes! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

BernardGoldberg.com:

...Until now, the controversy over the Rather/Mapes story has centered almost entirely on one issue: the legitimacy of the documents — a very important issue, indeed. But it turns out that there was another very important issue, one that goes to the very heart of what the story was about — and one that has gone virtually unnoticed. This is it: Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called "Rathergate" mess says. I recently re-examined the panel's report after a source, Deep Throat style, told me to "Go to page 130." When I did, here's the startling piece of information I found:

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush "did want to go to Vietnam but others went first." Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify....

George W Bush in the Texas Air National Guard

I myself would rank Bush's service as more honorable and probably more dangerous that Kerry's flaky maneuvers. Among other reasons, the F-102 was the most dangerous high-performance jet this country has ever put into production. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG pilots.

Here are some of my old posts on the disgusting affair...

Link
Link
Link
Link
Link
Link
Link

Posted by John Weidner at 10:34 PM

August 6, 2009

Thank you (yet again) President Bush...

Editorial - The Battle for D.C.'s High Schools - NYTimes.com:

...Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and his hard-charging chancellor of schools, Michelle Rhee, face great challenges in their attempt to turn around a school system that has long been known as one of the nation's worst. The climb will be especially steep with the city's 15 high schools, 10 of which are undergoing various forms of restructuring because they have failed to meet progress standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. (my emphasis)

The mayor and the chancellor are justified in taking radical steps, especially in schools that have failed for decades on end. Among other things, the city should bring in a select few of the nation's top charter school operators, but only the ones that have demonstrated clear success at the high school level.

Charter groups operate publicly funded schools, but often have great flexibility with curriculum and union contract arrangements. The first step should be to break the larger schools into smaller units and rewrite union contracts to allow for greater flexibility and progress.

Ms. Rhee has already hired two well-regarded outside groups to manage three of the high schools. She has also held preliminary discussions with a nationally known California concern, Green Dot Public Schools, one of the largest and most successful operators in that state....

The real civil rights struggle of our times is the freeing of inner city children from the hideous slavery and human destruction imposed by the corrupt teachers unions nd their lackeys in the Democrat Party. and the genius of NCLB was its ability to force change. Conservatives ought to have given President Bush strong support on this.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:51 AM

July 29, 2009

Midget president...

Washington Times - Obama still cashing in on Bush's failings:

Facing the first real rough patch of his presidency, President Obama and his supporters are once again resorting to a tried-and-true tactic: attacking George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

In his White House press conference last week, Mr. Obama referred to the Bush era at least nine times, three times lamenting that he "inherited" a $1.3 trillion debt that has set back his administration's efforts to fix the economy.

With the former president lying low in Dallas, largely focused on crafting his memoirs, Mr. Obama has increasingly attempted to exploit Mr. Bush when discussing the weak economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the difficulty closing the military prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As he took power, Mr. Obama promised a "new era of responsibility" that would transcend partisan politics....



President Bush, as I recall, never whined or finger-pointed over the problems he inherited from Clinton, such as the dot-com recession. Especially, he never played the blame game over 9/11, although he very obviously could have. He is a gentleman. All man. Obama is a nasty little creep.

I'll just add this to my list of Bush accomplishments...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

June 20, 2009

Wasn't something like this... Predicted?

This is from a few days ago, but still right on target...Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner on National Review Online:

...Reading items like the piece you excerpted from the New Republic reminds me of the strategic opportunities that Obama has squandered by demonizing Bush and the Iraq war for years.

Imagine how powerful it would be for Obama (or, more likely, a surrogate) to be able to stand up and say to the Iranian protesters, "Under the USA, your neighbor Iraq held free and fair elections. The government of Iran went out of its way to demonize the US and undermine those elections. We are now seeing the results of that mindset come home to Iran as you are denied a voice by your government in your own elections. The US government stands behind all who seek free and fair elections."

Of course, he can't say that with any legitimacy because he has spent years putting down Bush and Iraq. This is a classic example of why partisan bickering needs to be toned down; it hamstrings the new Administration. So frustrating to watch....

I'm remembering all the chomskies who scoffed and sneered when people like me said that liberating Iraq could lead to the start of a wave of democracy across the Middle East. Of course you cowardly dogs will pretend it never happened, but I remember. I was right, and my pal George W Bush was right.

Remember this?
Note, Condoleeza Rice to the President, "Iraq is soverign."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

June 2, 2009

Once the poison is in the system...

Wall Street Journal: Islamists Lose Ground in the Middle East:

...The results of Kuwait's elections last month -- in which Islamists were rebuffed and four women were elected to parliament -- will likely reinvigorate the movement for greater democracy in the region that has stalled since the hopeful "Arab spring" of 2005...

Well, it didn't just "stall." When our "Democrats" undermined their own country in war-time, they were also undermining all the good things that were flowing from our efforts.

...It also puts pressure on the Obama administration to end its deafening silence on democracy promotion....

Yeah, like they care...

...Although ruled by a hereditary monarch, Kuwait is the most democratic of the Arab countries. The press is relatively free, parliament has real power, and politicians are chosen in legitimate elections. However, Kuwait is a part of the Persian Gulf, where the subordination of women is traditionally most severe. Historically, Kuwait's political process was for males only. But in 2005 parliament yielded to female activists and approved a bill giving women the right to vote and hold office.

In 2006 and 2008, several women ran for parliament, though none won. The women that captured four of the 50 seats last month weren't aided by quotas; they won on their own merits. Their success will undoubtedly inspire a new wave of women's activism in nearby countries.

So, "feminist" organizations and leaders. You're going to support this, right? Ha ha.

...Almost as significant as the women's gains were the Islamist losses. The archconservative Salafist Movement's campaign for a boycott of female candidates obviously fell flat, and the number of seats held by Sunni Islamists fell sharply.

Thus continues a string of defeats for Islamists over the last year and a half from west to east...

President George W. Bush knew exactly what he was doing when he injected his democracy juice right into the arteries of Islamic despotism. And our "Democrats" and "pacifists" and "feminists" and all the other fake-leftists knew exactly what they were doing when they fought him every inch of the way. Their aim is tyranny.

(I have no good reason to put this picture in, save to remind us of happier times, and perhaps irritate some prune-faced fake-liberals...)

Barbara, Laura and Jenna Bush

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 AM

May 31, 2009

It's nice to have Obama agreeing that I was right all along....

Victor Davis Hanson, And Then There Was Only Guantánamo:

...I think we now have come to the end to the five-year left-wing attack theme of Bush "shredding the Constitution."

Except for the introduction of euphemisms and a few new ballyhooed but largely meaningless protocols, there is no longer a Bush-did-it argument. The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq, Afghanistan — and now Guantánamo — are officially no longer part of the demonic Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld nexus, but apparently collective legitimate anti-terrorism measures designed to thwart killers, and by agreement, after years of observance, of great utility in keeping us safe the last eight years.

Add in the Holder statements about Guantánamo in the 2002 interview, the Pelosi/Rockefeller/et al. waterboarding briefings, the need to consider torture in past statements by senators such as Schumer, and I think historians will now look back at these "dark years" as largely a collective, bipartisan effort.

All of which leaves us a final musing: If so, what was the hysteria of 2001-2008 about other than simple politics?

I doubt we get any more movies about ongoing renditions, redactions, any more Checkpoint-like novels, any more waterboarding skits and reenactments, any more late-night comedians doing their Bush tapped, intercepted, tortured, renditioned, tribunaled poor suspect X routines.

And I guess as well that the good old days of supposedly flushed Korans in Guantánamo and Omar the poor liberationist renditioned to Cairo are over. We are now in the age of a sober and judicious President Obama who circumspectly, if reluctantly and in anguish at the high cost, does what is necessary to keep us safe.

And we won't see a brave young liberal senator, Obama-like, barnstorming the Iowa precincts blasting a presidency for trampling our values with the shame of Guantánamo, wiretaps, intercepts, renditions, military tribunals, Predators, Iraq, etc. That motif just dissolved — or rather, it never really existed.

It short, all the fury, the vicious slander, the self-righteous outbursts, the impassioned speeches from the floor, the "I accuse" op-eds by the usual moralistic pundits — all that turned out to be solely about politics, nothing more....

Bush: Saving your ass, like it or not



Posted by John Weidner at 5:42 PM

May 25, 2009

If Dems didn't have Bush they'd have to invent him...

I think it's really low-class and creepy the way Obama continues to take every opportunity to slam the Bush Administration. It is contrary to American tradition, and un-Presidential. George W Bush, being a gentleman and a decent American, has not answered back. Obama is trying to cover up the emptiness of his Leftist soul, and his lack of any positive vision.

Chris Stirewalt notes Obama's ugly use of Memorial Day for politicking, instead of making this a day for all Americans to share appreciation of our honored dead: Obama takes swipe at Bush in Memorial Day message | Washington Examiner:

And he includes this little gem...

...It gets little notice, but even to this day Bush makes calls on wounded veterans at military hospitals, corresponds with families of fallen servicemembers and gives his own money to veterans charities. In office, Bush hugely increased funding for veterans programs and worked relentlessly to improve the lot of ordinary troops....

Try to imagine liberals, especially Mr Obama, doing that! I'd bet Obam never has and never will give one penny of his own money to veterans charities...

Some links about Bush and soldiers and vets...Link, link, link President Bush with soldiers
Posted by John Weidner at 12:22 PM

May 22, 2009

The genius of democracy....

Krauthammer:

...If hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, then the flip-flops on previously denounced anti-terror measures are the homage that Barack Obama pays to George Bush. Within 125 days, Obama has adopted with only minor modifications huge swaths of the entire, allegedly lawless Bush program.

The latest flip-flop is the restoration of military tribunals. During the 2008 campaign, Obama denounced them repeatedly, calling them an "enormous failure." Obama suspended them upon his swearing-in. Now they're back.

Of course, Obama will never admit in word what he's doing in deed. As in his rhetorically brilliant national-security speech yesterday claiming to have undone Bush's moral travesties, the military commissions flip-flop is accompanied by the usual Obama three-step: (a) excoriate the Bush policy, (b) ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes, (c) adopt the Bush policy....

And this is right on the money...

...The genius of democracy is that the rotation of power forces the opposition to come to its senses when it takes over. When the new guys, brought to power by popular will, then adopt the policies of the old guys, a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established.

That's happening before our eyes. The Bush policies in the war on terror won't have to await vindication by historians. Obama is doing it day by day. His denials mean nothing. Look at his deeds....

Like I been telling you since November of 2001, [link, link] President Bush has been doing what is right, strategically, tactically, legally and morally...in the Global War On Terror. And now we see Obama agreeing with me and the former President. Running the circus "concentrates the mind."

And not once have the slippery Lefty cowards who snipe at me engaged in serious principled debate. They say life imitates art. Well, I say life imitates Random Jottings!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

May 20, 2009

Put pressure on the Palestinians? Unthinkable!

Remember? Remember that "brief interruption" when Bush actually demanded that Palestinians start acting more like human beings as a pre-condition of peace? Heady days, but they couldn't last, of course...

Rachel Abrams in the Weekly Standard...

So, after a brief interruption during which George W. Bush reversed generations of American policy and put pressure on the Palestinians before making demands of the Israelis, it's back to business as usual for U.S.-Israel relations. What happened at yesterday's meeting between Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama was no more than a return to the U.S. policy of pressing Israel to endanger herself for the sake of whichever "strategic interest" happens to be paramount at the moment--today it is our diplomatic opening to Iran that may be imperiled by a lack of progress on the establishment of a Palestinian state--and, of course, that ever-desirable, always-elusive siren, "peace."

Put another way, you, Israel, can have peace as soon as you agree to diminish yourself to a helplessly undefended and vulnerable entity, whether by ceding land or conceding on a divided Jerusalem or acceding to the "right of return" of Arabs displaced after losing the war they launched against you in 1948--and we, America, can have good relations with sheikhs and mullahs who hate you only slightly more than they hate us.

I've explained the "whys" of this many times, but it still amazes me that our "pacifists" can suck-up to people who teach kindergarten children to be suicide bombers, and our "Democrats" always oppose the only democracy in the Middle East. (Well, now there's a second one, and, surprise, they are not rooting for that one either!)

Or that the one country in the Middle East that has equal rights for gays and women is hated by our fake "gay-activists" and fake feminists...

woman of the Israel Defence Forces
Woman of the Israel Defense force. Detail from a
picture by photographer
Ashkan Sahihi.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

May 16, 2009

Toldja...

Another Friday, another bow to Bush's antiterror legacy -- WSJ.com:

...President Obama's endorsements of Bush-Cheney antiterror policies are by now routine: for example, opposing the release of prisoner abuse photographs and support for indefinite detention for some detainees, and that's just this week. More remarkable is White House creativity in portraying these U-turns as epic change. Witness yesterday's announcement endorsing military commissions....

Just call me Sister Toldja. I wrote on August 23, 2008....

...George W Bush has set the template of the Global War on Terror, much like Truman did for the Cold War, and that's the way we will proceed from here on out... [Link]
And here's another link. June 07, 2008...
...President Bush has created the template for fighting the War on Terror, just as Truman set our course for the Cold War. Future presidents will be limited to filling in the details. Even pygmies like Obama. If they are smart, they will just read Random Jottings.

Or, better yet, listen to this deep old file....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:41 AM

April 29, 2009

Just for the record...

How Bush Prepared for the Outbreak - WSJ.com:

...Swine flu has presented the Obama administration with its first major public-health crisis. Fortunately for the Obama team, the Bush administration developed new tools that will prove critical in meeting this challenge.

Under President Bush, the federal government worked with manufacturers to accelerate vaccine development, stockpiled crucial antivirals like Tamiflu, war-gamed pandemic scenarios with senior officials, and increased the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) sample identification capabilities. These activities are bearing fruit today....

I'll add it to my list of Bush accomplishments...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

Slips out... Bush kept us safe.

In the course of a dishonest (see below) editorial bashing the Bush administration for its supposed torture and brutality, Thomas L. Friedman lets this slip:

...I believe that the most important reason there has not been another 9/11, besides the improved security and intelligence, is that Al Qaeda is primarily focused on defeating America in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world — particularly in Iraq. Al Qaeda knows that if it can destroy the U.S. effort (still a long shot) to build a decent, modernizing society in Iraq, it will undermine every U.S. ally in the region.

Conversely, if we, with Iraqis, defeat them by building any kind of decent, pluralistic society in the heart of their world, it will be a devastating blow. Odd as it may seem, the most dangerous moment for us is if Al Qaeda is beaten in Iraq. Because that is when Al Qaeda's remnants will try to throw a Hail Mary pass — that is, try to set off a bomb in a U.S. city — to obscure its defeat by moderate Arabs and Muslims in the heart of its world....(From A Torturous Compromise - NYTimes.com)

If you think that, Friedman, WHY weren't you giving President Bush warm support in that very effort, hmmm? Why weren't you pointing it out when it would have actually helped?

And that last sentence. If al-Qaeda had attacked us before Obama was inaugurated, would you have called it a "Hail Mary pass" to "obscure its defeat?" Not likely. You would say, "Bush didn't keep us safe! Snivel...whine...snivel." You are just preparing your talking points for the likelihood that Obama's feckless weakness gains us an attack.

Friedman's "torture" bashing is dishonest because it conflates interrogation with all deaths and injuries of detainees. Some of which were crimes, to be sure, but had nothing to do with interrogation. And of course gives zero positive weight to the fact that our guys were detaining, at the risk of their lives, terrorists which less moral groups would have just killed on the spot. Especially since in Iraq a lot of detainees were quickly released by Iraqi judges.

And of course gives zero weight to the fact that our opponents commit war crimes every day. They intentionally destroy those rules of war which protect detainees (as a side effect of their main purpose which is to protect non-combatants). Yet of course the liberal criticizes only US forces. (Why? See here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

April 14, 2009

Ha ha. I got under somebody's skin...

As I mentioned here, I have an "I miss W." bumper sticker on my truck.

I left my vehicle in a parking lot this morning, and came back to find a note stuck in the door, which read:

Dear GOP
(Grand Old Pedophiles)
Thank you for supporting "W."
We Liberals LOVE it!

Feelin' a little nervous, pal?

(I suspect this is just a morsel more confirmation of my theory that liberals hate Bush because he is a real liberal, and exposes them as being fake liberals. But whatever it is, I bugged somebody!)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:23 AM

March 31, 2009

Another day, another lie...

JustOneMinute: We Get Pensive On Pensions:

...Inspired by a Boston Globe story and aroused by the indignant yet underinformed Josh Marshall, lefties are aghast that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation switched "much of" (per the Globe) or "most" (per the unflappable Josh Marshall) of its portfolio from safe bonds to risky stocks last February, prior to the stock market wipe-out (see "FEEL THE RAGE", below). However, our friends on the left are so intent on bashing Bush and his appointees that they have overlooked some good news, which I will bury for a while....

In fact it was just a proposal; nothing was done about it. The whole story is bullshit.

But you can depend on it that you will be hearing the lie decades from now as an example of the abhorrent horridness of the Bush Administration. (And of course if the PBGC had done something smart, something that increased their portfolio, that would have nothing to do with Bush and his greedy minions. In that case the agency would have been independent!)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:50 AM

March 21, 2009

Retroactive admiration...

Dr. Weevil: Prediction:

...I don't expect anyone except John Weidner and Orrin Judd to agree with me, but I want to put this on record, so I can gloat if it comes true:

If President Obama does not pull himself together and start acting like a president very soon -- and I doubt that he is capable of it -- retroactive admiration for the decency and (relative) competence of George W. Bush may spread so far and fast that Jeb Bush will have a real chance to be nominated and elected president in 2012. In what will surely be a crowded field, I would not put his chances of winning the nomination higher than 5% or 6%, but that's up from .001% in 2008, when it would have taken a meteor shower wiping out all the other candidates to outweigh pandemic Bush fatigue. I do think that whoever wins the Republican nomination in 2012 has at least a 75% chance of winning the election, and that Bush fatigue and even Bush hatred may (note: may) melt away, leaving only a slight, though extraordinarily foul, odor, like a very small piece of Limburger, or the spot on the road where a dead skunk lay before the highway department or a helpful vulture dragged it away....

Sounds good to me. Charlene and I just bought some   I  miss  W.    bumper-stickers (link). And, if Jeb were President, I would not have to add a new post category; I could just keep "President Bush!"

Of course I'd probably have the same frustrations with Jeb as I did with the President. I mean, the task of explaining things really shouldn't fall to me. Why do I have to give the world a list of 14 reasons to invade Iraq? I'm proud that those who read RJ are among the few who actually know what's happening in the world, but still....It does try my patience.

My guess is that Bush-hatred by the real lefties will never die. Sort of like Nixon-hatred. Come to think of it, there's a real parallel. Let me suggest that leftists hate Nixon because he was right about communists, and because he won the Vietnam War. Watergate was just seized upon ex post facto, to personalize the hatred.

Actually, there's a deeper parallel. Nixon was in many ways a liberal. Us conservatives were deeply unhappy with him on many issues. (remember FAP, wage-and-price controls, end of the gold standard? Probably few of you do--I alone have lived to tell thee!) And of course Bush too is in some ways a liberal. Especially in regards to that classic liberal project, overthrowing a fascist dictator and bringing democracy to oppressed people. They will never forgive him for that.

To a considerable extent my championing of George W Bush was only done because nobody else was presenting the positive side, so it fell to me. I could easily have been a much harsher critic from the right, if conservatives had been supporting the president as they should. But people were not being just. Leftists are unjust by nature of course, but many Republicans and conservatives were failing in this regard too.

What I would really like is a Sarah Palin who could articulate a conservative philosophy. But I doubt if she will hire me to get her up to speed....

Posted by John Weidner at 10:06 AM

February 18, 2009

"We can run from our moral duty but we can't hide"

Bush's Greatness, by David Gelernter, in the Weekly Standard:

...Bush's greatness is often misunderstood. He is great not because he showed America how to react to 9/11 but because he showed us how to deal with a still bigger event--the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 left us facing two related problems, one moral and one practical. Neither President Clinton nor the first Bush found solutions--but it's not surprising that the right answers took time to discover, and an event like 9/11 to bring them into focus.

In moral terms: If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility. It is your duty to prevent outrages--because your moral code demands that outrages be prevented, and (for now) you are the only one who can prevent them.

If you are one of the two biggest boys, and the other one orders you not to protect the weak lest he bash you and everyone else he can grab--then your position is more complicated. Your duty depends on the nature of the outrage that ought to be stopped, and on other circumstances. This was America's position during the Cold War: Our moral obligation to overthrow tyrants was limited by the Soviet threat of hot war, maybe nuclear war.

But things are different today. We are the one and only biggest boy. We can run from our moral duty but we can't hide. If there is to be justice in the world, we must create it. No one else will act if the biggest boy won't. Some of us turn to the United Nations the way we wish we could turn to our parents. It's not easy to say, "The responsibility is mine and I must wield it." But that's what the United States has to say. No U.N. agency or fairy godmother will bail us out.

Of course our moral duty remains complicated. We must pursue justice, help the suffering, and overthrow tyrants. But there are limits to our power. We must pick our tyrants carefully, keeping in mind not only justice but our practical interests and the worldwide consequences of what we intend. Our duty in this area is like our obligation to show charity. We have no power to help everyone and no right to help no one. In the event, we chose to act in Afghanistan and Iraq to begin with--good choices from many viewpoints....

"If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility." That's simply the way it is. We didn't ask the job, it just fell to us.

The complaints that we are oppressors amassing an empire because we are oil-stealing bullies are just stupid crap from nihilists who are desperate to avoid all moral duties. Including the duty of patriotism and love for this greatest of all countries.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 PM

February 15, 2009

Since W left, there is only one world leader...

...Only one giant among the pygmies...

From a good article about B-16, Pope provocateur:

...No doubt Pope Benedict XVI has had some harsh words for his advisers, who let him down badly in the handling of this episode. Yet three weeks out, the Holy Father can take satisfaction in how this will be resolved. Today in Rome he will grant a special audience to American Jewish leaders, and address them about the Shoah. Meetings hastily cancelled by the chief rabbinate of Israel are back on, plans are proceeding for a papal visit to Israel in May, the German Chancellor who publicly rebuked Benedict has now acknowledged what everyone knows, that the Pope is a friend of the Jewish people and does not endorse Holocaust denial.

Even more extraordinary, the breakaway group to which Bishop Williamson belongs, the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), has moved publicly and decisively to distance itself from anti-Semitism (a long-standing problem in far-right French culture). More remarkable still, the SSPX first silenced Williamson, and then relieved him of his duties as rector of their Argentine seminary.

The breach in Catholic-Jewish relations is quickly mending and more change has been wrought in the SSPX on matters related to Jews in the last three weeks than in the last three decades. The cunning plan of a master strategist? Not likely this time; mistakes are mistakes. But the Williamson imbroglio does point to a distinctive feature in the style of Benedict XVI.

Since he arrived in Rome more than 25 years ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has repeatedly and deliberately been provocative, kicking up enormous media storms on sensitive subjects. His calculated risk is that his interventions will not move the debate one way or the other within the given parameters, but change the parameters of debate altogether.

He is willing to play with fire in order to bring both heat and light; the obvious danger is that on occasion the fire scorches the Vatican itself.

We first saw this clearly in his 1985 interview book The Ratzinger Report. Commenting 20 years after Vatican II, Cardinal Ratzinger deliberately used the word "restoration" to speak about what was necessary to correct post-conciliar abuses. It sparked a fevered debate in the Church and earned criticism from other bishops, but his remarks framed the debate for the synod of bishops that year -- the synod which called forth Ratzinger's single most important work, the Catechism of the Catholic Church... [Thanks to Orrin Judd]

Real leaders shake things up. Push through big changes without worrying too much about breaking things. Then the pygmies wring their hands and deplore the messiness and violence that change requires. And the bean-counters scurry to clean up the loose ends and tidy away the smoking rubble. And soon the the revisionist historians claim it was all just the inevitable trend of history, and there's no such thing as a great man.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:56 AM

February 4, 2009

If the dog catches the car...

Orrin Judd::

It's not just that this [stimulus] plan is a political disaster...but that he isn't doing anything else. During his first 100 days George W. Bush was pushing through--or pushing for--tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, SS Reform, abortion limits, CFR, missile defense, killing Kyoto, the FBI, a hemispheric free trade zone, attacks on Saddam Hussein, etc. Mr. Obama, by contrast, is doing just one thing and doing that badly...
I often think about the speculation of Christopher Hitchens, that Obama had no expectation of winning the nomination on this go-round. Now he's a dog in the embarrassing position of having caught the car he was chasing. And he's doubly hampered because, I speculate, he's never really dreamed of doing anything. He has no cause; there's nothing he believes in. He's like a talented writer who has nothing to say.

Now me, I'm a nobody, but I often think of things I'd do if I had the power. Because I care, because there are many things that I consider bigger than me, and worth sacrificing for. I'm sure I'd make a lousy leader of anything, but if I was suddenly catapulted into a position of power, I'd start scribbling a list of things I would like to do, and I'd quickly have a a page full.

And the "stimulus" plan isn't even Obama's--it's Pelosi's, gawd help us. I could come up with an interesting stimulus plan, so why can't Obama? Absurd. The guy's an �ber-nihilist.

George W Bush in the Texas Air National Guard
George W Bush in the Texas Air National Guard

* Update: sometimes when my daughter's in a certain state of mind she signs her e-mails: "flaily flaily." I thought of that, and then Obama, and now I can't think of the poor guy without "flaily flaily."

Posted by John Weidner at 12:19 PM

February 3, 2009

Remember "Bush epic fail?"

I remember well the foul dishonesty with which lefty-bloggers and "journalists" used Hurricane Katrina as a club to beat President Bush. Now we see how much they really believed what they wrote, as Obama gets a disaster of his own.

I'd say it is time for a lot of people on the Left to apologize. But that would be what adults do; we can't expect it from "liberals." The Anchoress puts things well:

More Ice storm & More | The Anchoress:

...The severe ice storm that has crippled parts of the midwest and devastated Kentucky is getting a little more attention from the press than it has since last Tuesday, when the storm hit. This is the Monday after. Time Magazine writes a professional-sounding piece that is completely devoid of emotion, mentions President Obama exactly once (in passive voice) and never ever strays into unfair wonderings such as "why isn't more being done," or "where is the President, why isn't he present here," or "how can the president stay warm, eat steak and watch football when scores have died, half a million remain cold and helpless, without power, water, heat and sometimes without food?" No one is asking why there are no pictures of bodies for the press to print. Wolf Blitzer, who famously (and terribly) cried of the Katrina displaced, "they are so poor, and so black," is not standing in teeth-chattering frost declaring, "these people are so cold, and so white..."

That would also be a terrible thing to say, and I think playing the racism card is stupid, but the point is, when Katrina hit, the press pulled out every stop they possibly could - including the racism canard - to identify that disaster with a "Bush epic fail." They ignored his early pleadings to Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco to evacuate. They ignored his declaring NOLA and surrounding areas as Disaster Areas even before Katrina hit, so the fed could immediately get to work. They ignored the proper jurisdiction of emergencies (local, then state, then fed) and the extreme incompetence of the Louisiana leadership and made Katrina all about "what Bush did or didn't do." By contrast, the press seems to be going out of its way to insure that Obama is not associated with this week-long drama at all.

We"ve heard that "Bush ate cake", while people suffered. (Obama ate steak and watched the Super Bowl). Bush did not quickly enough go to the disaster area to survey it and hug people and cry. (Obama - like the derided Bush - is wisely staying away so as not to impede relief efforts, but he remains un-derided). Bush dared to praise FEMA, even though FEMA was late because flood conditions and Gov. Blanco prevented them from doing much at first. Obama...hasn't said much of anything....

The main responsibility for disaster response is always local. That should be obvious. My criticism of Bush is that he should have used to mandate of 9/11 to make FEMA more of a goad to improve local response capability, rather than trying to place more responsibility at the federal level.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:52 PM

January 30, 2009

It's a pity we no longer have a liberal in the White House...

Mark Steyn, talking on the Hugh Hewitt show about Obama's al-Arabiya interview...
Hugh Hewitt: A lot of people have missed the Obama appeal to Arabiya, and the fact that he didn't bring up its gender apartheid, Christopher Hitchens calls it. It's where gays are executed. And he made no rebuke to these societies. I found it astonishing, Mark Steyn. What did you think?

Mark Steyn: Well, you don't have to be gay, an oppressed homosexual about to be executed. You don't have to be a woman who's being sold to an arranged child marriage. You just have to be a moderate, centrist Arab intellectual in, say, Cairo or Amman, and you listen to Obama sucking up to these creeps, and there's nothing for you in it. What he's doing is he says, he's saying to hell with the Bush freedom agenda. We just want to get back to schmoozing the feted Arab dictatorships and the mullahs in Tehran all over again. And so if you're a gay or a woman, you're out of there. And as I said, if you're a moderate Arab who just would like to have a free society in Cairo or Amman or wherever, you're out of it, too. You're on the Obama horizon. It was a pathetic, disgraceful Jimmy Carter speech.

Hugh Hewitt: I agree with this, and he did it on the day that the Iranians arrested those horrible criminals in Tehran who allowed the women soccer players to play with the men soccer players....

Mark Steyn: ....I think in fact, on that al-Arabiya interview, he just sounded basically way out of his league. And I hope someone brings him up to speed soon, because going around giving those interviews, as I said, he was talking about getting us back to thirty years ago. Well, thirty years ago, they were taking Americans hostage in Tehran. Thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter was communicating weakness to the world, and the Ayatollah rightly concluded these Americans are pushovers. And Obama shouldn't be doing that message all over again. [Transcript of the whole interview here.]

"A pathetic, disgraceful Jimmy Carter speech." Exactly.

It's important to remember how strongly Bush was pressuring the Middle East tyrants towards democracy and human rights, before the Democrat/al-Qaeda Alliance cut the ground from under him. Now we get a "Democrat" sucking up to dictators in the true Carter style.

I'm sure glad I'm not a part of such an evil party.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:35 AM

January 21, 2009

Add one more to the lonnnng list...

US reaches deal on Afghan supply routes to troops - Yahoo! News:

...ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations have agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to American soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening Washington's dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday.

Securing alternative routes to landlocked Afghanistan has taken on added urgency this year as the United States prepares to double troop numbers there to 60,000 to battle a resurgent Taliban eight years after the U.S.-led invasion....

So, is Mr Obama going to say "Thank you Mr Bush?" Thank you that my supply lines are no longer dependent on holding the Khyber Pass?

Here's my list of Bush accomplishments. Let the undoing begin!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

January 20, 2009

Beyond tacky...

Jay Nordlinger - The Corner on National Review Online:

When I read that the crowd today booed President Bush -- and then saw a video of it -- I thought of a quip my friend Eddie made, not long ago: "When the Left asks for a classless society, now I know what they mean."
Posted by John Weidner at 3:18 PM

They hate him for being right...

William McGurn: Bush's Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq - WSJ.com:

...In a few hours, George W. Bush will walk out of the Oval Office for the last time as president. As he leaves, he carries with him the near-universal opprobrium of the permanent class that inhabits our nation's capital. Yet perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on.

Here's a hint: It's not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.

Here in the afterglow of the turnaround led by Gen. David Petraeus, it's easy to forget what the smart set was saying two years ago -- and how categorical they all were in their certainty. The president was a simpleton, it was agreed. Didn't he know that Iraq was a civil war, and the only answer was to get out as fast as we could?

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- the man who will be sworn in as vice president today -- didn't limit himself to his own opinion. Days before the president announced the surge, Joe Biden suggested to the Washington Post he knew the president's people had also concluded the war was lost. They were, he said, just trying to "keep it from totally collapsing" until they could "hand it off to the next guy."...

But it is far more than just being right about not surrendering to al Qaeda. The implications concern the Democrats surrendering of Southeast Asia to Stalinist tyranny and genocide...

...This is Vietnam thinking. And the president never accepted it. That was why his critics went ape when, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he touched on the killing fields and exodus of boat people that followed America's humiliating exit off an embassy rooftop. As the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti noted, Mr. Bush had appropriated one of their most cherished analogies -- only he drew very different lessons from it...

Well, they were right to go ape over it. If the numbers could all be known it is likely that the Democrat Party has killed more people than Hitler.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:25 PM

January 19, 2009

Summoned to a great cause, "liberals" have failed the test...

This is a bit of a piece that Orrin Judd has re-posted.

...Even setting aside the dependence of a healthy liberal democracy on a morality that only Judeo-Christianity can supply -- an issue you can probably never convince most secularists of -- it is unarguable that to the extent that you diminish the central role of religious institutions in society you create a vacuum which government fills and in the process cause people to be more dependent on government. Thus does secularism, which usually casts itself as a liberating movement, instead lead inexorably to an ever more powerful and intrusive state. The resulting State has no purpose other than its own continuance, a purpose which is obviously abetted by exactly that dependence which its very rise fosters, in a brilliant kind of recursive loop.

We can not be surprised then when our former liberal democratic allies in Europe prove incapable of being summoned to a higher cause--like liberalizing the Islamic world--their only cause is themselves. Though folk have been slow to accept the fact, it is simply the case that we longer share a common culture with them...

We don't have to look so far to find people "incapable of being summoned to a higher cause." That's the American Left in a nutshell. George W Bush summoned them to a noble and liberal cause, and they have failed the test.

Now we get to hear people gassing endlessly about the Civil Rights Movement, with the implication that they--liberals--are still the same people. That things are the same now as way back then, and we can continue to bask in the light of MLK forever. In fact today's leftists are solidly aligned with tyrants and big government, while the captives groan unheard. (Including minority children trapped in failing public schools--that's the civil rights cause of our time.)

And leftists jabber on and on about Hitler, as if "anti-fascist" is still what they are. But Saddam Hussein was the Hitler of our time, and 99% of "liberals" desperately wanted him to be left in power...because they knew a summons to greatness would reveal their utter emptiness. And they try to cover up by pretending to be "pacifists." Frauds.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 AM

January 15, 2009

Analysis of President Bush must ultimately be literary..


This, by Orrin Judd, is right-on about President Bush...

...To that last point, one of the great ironies of George W. Bush's career is that while even his most devoted supporters--among whom we include ourselves--would not argue that he is eloquent, nearly every major set piece speech he has given rewards later reading. Of few modern politicians can it be said that they laid out as consistent, direct, and predictive a philosophy and policy program as the current president. For example, go back and read his 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican convention and you see the template for nearly everything he's done in domestic policy. What you saw then was exactly what you got. And, recall, that was just the first time that bewildered pundits puzzled over how far he'd outperformed expectations [their own, of course], how beautifully he'd expressed himself, and how moved they were despite themselves. The analysis of this not especially literary man's presidency must ultimately depend be literary, because he has explained himself so thoroughly to us as he's gone along.

This is particularly true of the decision to regime change Iraq, about which so much subsequent confusion arose, some of it Mr. Bush's own fault, much of it driven by his enemies (sadly, not just opponents). All of the contemporaneous accounts by participants in and reporters upon this decision confirm that as soon as 9-11 occurred the President determined to remove Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath from power in Iraq. His personal preference even seems to have been to do so prior to taking on the Taliban--which would have been the better tactic politically, the Afghan War being inarguable even for the Left. Nor did he have any apparent concern about whether we had any allies along with us nor UN approval. However, during the period when the US military was getting the attacking forces into place, he acceded to Tony Blair's attempt to sell the war to Great Britain and to Colin Powell's attempt to get a new UN Resolution. Whatever those two good men may have known or believed about Saddam's Iraq, they chose to use the threat of WMD as the basis for their respective sales pitches. President Bush graciously backed them up and the public focus did shift to this raison de guerre.

However, in his seminal speech, before the UN on September 12, 2002, George W. Bush himself treated WMD as a somewhat peripheral and based his own case for regime change on holding Saddam Hussein accountable for violations of the UN Resolutions that had ended the Iraq War his father and General Powell fought and upon the ongoing human rights violations in Iraq. He challenged both Saddam Hussein to adhere to the Resolutions he'd agreed to--which actually required the dictator to regime change himself--and the UN to enforce its own edicts, or we'd do so for them....

There's never been a president who has so openly and clearly said what he wants to do...and then did it. My guess is that Leftists--including almost all journalists and historians--are incapable of seeing this, because it is a state of mind they cannot even imagine. Their very existence is about hiding the emptiness inside them. Think of all those loopy theories about Bush as secretive devious mastermind. (Or as moron manipulated by masterminds.) Yet he's been open all along about what he wants to do. My guess is that they can only interpret that as idiocy or a subtlety unfathomably deep...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:41 AM

December 22, 2008

"And the answer is: This is my duty"

I've blogged about this before, but the story is bigger than I knew. A "clandestine operation" forsooth! This is what real men do. Christian gentlemen. Duty, always duty. The hollow men of our time, the Eloi--they find excuses to duck their duty to God and country and the world. They pretend to be "pacifists," or seize hungrily upon abu Ghraib (which was a trifle compared to the usual abuses that happen in war) as their out. Their cold empty hearts acknowledge no duty, except to themselves.

Washington Times: For much of the past seven years, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have waged a clandestine operation inside the White House. It has involved thousands of military personnel, private presidential letters and meetings that were kept off their public calendars or sometimes left the news media in the dark.

Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country.

On Monday, the president is set to make a more common public trip - with reporters in tow - to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, home to many of the wounded and a symbol of controversy earlier in his presidency over the quality of care the veterans were receiving.

But the size and scope of Mr. Bush's and Mr. Cheney's private endeavors to meet with wounded soliders and families of the fallen far exceed anything that has been witnessed publicly, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the effort.

"People say, 'Why would you do that?'" the president said in an Oval Office interview with The Washington Times on Friday. "And the answer is: This is my duty. The president is commander in chief, but the president is often comforter in chief, as well. It is my duty to be - to try to comfort as best as I humanly can a loved one who is in anguish."

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching - balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin - that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

"I lean on the Almighty and Laura," Mr. Bush said in the interview. "She has been very reassuring, very calming."

Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.

The first lady said those private visits, many of which she also attended, took a heavy emotional toll, not just on the president, but on her as well.
Vice President Cheney with troops in Qatar, March 17, 2002
Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 AM

November 15, 2008

The bar has been set, Dems...

I think it is about time to update my list of the accomplishments of President George W Bush. Just so we will have a baseline to judge other presidents of the new millennium...

Global War on Terror

Foreign policy and trade

Economy and "Ownership Society"

Life, Faith

Science, Health

Judiciary

White House and Executive Branch

Education

Politics

Bush: Saving your ass, like it or not
I forgot who sent me this...maybe it was Mike P. ---Thanks!

* Update: Note, I owe many people for items on this list. Especially Orrin Judd. Also Russ M____ Cardiff-by-the Sea, Ca, Michael Novak, Karl Rove, Jim Miller, and Beldar.

* Update: Of course there are things about the Bush Administration I disagree with or would change. But that's another topic.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:27 AM

November 11, 2008

But... He's "shredding our civil liberties!"

Shannon Love:
....Let the rehabilitation of Bush begin! For the past 8 years, the most strident and hysterical leftist criticism of Bush has centered on his intelligence policies which leftists assured us arose purely out of a callous disregard for civil liberties and human rights, if not outright evil.

Now we read this from the WSJ [h/t Instapundit]:
President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say... They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.
Whoa, whoa whoa! Pragmatic? Bush's polices are suddenly pragmatic? What about the incessant ranting for years that Bush had gone far beyond any practical necessity?

Poof, it's gone. It's gone because it has fulfilled its purpose. Leftists demonized and distorted Bush's policies for one of two reasons: (1) They were idiots who didn't understand modern technology and conditions or (2) they sought to demonize Bush for their own political gain. I think Obama operates from Reason 2. Now that the responsibility for national security falls in his lap, the steps that Bush took to bring intelligence methods and law into the 21st Century suddenly look like nothing but common sense. Obama will not risk American lives and his own legacy merely to pander to leftist hysterics who still think everyone communicates over analog phone lines....

In advance, I spit with utmost contempt on all you leftists and "Democrats" who are going to shrug off Obama's doing the very same things that you howled in fake-outrage over Bush doing... You shit upon this great country in her hour of need, and now that it suits your politics you will take shameless advantage of the selfless labors of real men and women....

Posted by John Weidner at 4:14 PM

September 11, 2008

" We have been privileged to live amongst those who have volunteered"

The president this morning at the Pentagon for the dedication of 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

...For future generations, this memorial will be a place of learning. The day will come when most Americans have no living memory of the events of September the 11th. When they visit this memorial, they will learn that the 21st century began with a great struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror. They will learn that this generation of Americans met its duty � we did not tire, we did not falter, and we did not fail. They will learn that freedom prevailed because the desire for liberty lives in the heart of every man, woman, and child on Earth.

We can be optimistic about the future because we've seen the character and courage of those who defend liberty. We have been privileged to live amongst those who have volunteered to spread the foundation of peace and justice, which is freedom....


Posted by John Weidner at 10:41 AM

"The apparent security of the 1990s was an illusion"

During the decade of the 1990s, our times often seemed peaceful on the surface.Yet beneath the surface were currents of danger. Terrorists were training and planning in distant camps. . . . America's response to terrorism was generally piecemeal and symbolic. The terrorists concluded this was a sign of weakness, and their plans became more ambitious, and their attacks more deadly. Most Americans still felt that terrorism was something distant, and something that would not strike on a large scale in America. That is the time my opponent wants to go back to. A time when danger was real and growing, but we didn't know it. . . . September 11, 2001 changed all that. We realized that the apparent security of the 1990s was an illusion. . . . Will we make decisions in the light of September 11, or continue to live in the mirage of safety that was actually a time of gathering threats?
    -- President George W. Bush, October 18, 2004

(Quote borrowed from a very good editorial by Bill Kristol)

President Bush with soldiers


Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 AM

September 4, 2008

McCain should use his nukes...

Guardian:

...Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden said yesterday that he and running mate Barack Obama could pursue criminal charges against the Bush administration if they are elected in November. Biden's comments, first reported by ABC news, attracted little notice on a day dominated by the drama surrounding his Republican counterpart, Alaska governor Sarah Palin...

I think this is a great issue for McCain and Palin. "Dirty little lefty animals want to destroy the great men and women who have been leading us in wartime" is what he should say. (Of course putting it in more politic language.) "Who will be willing to serve our country in the future if they have to fear being thrown in prison by commie atheists disguised as Dem politicians?" (Same caveat.)

In fact I'd advise him to ask the President to fly out and speak to the convention tonight, just to publicly spit in the eye of the horrid little traitors in the Appeasement Party.

Thanks to Tigerhawk.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 AM

August 23, 2008

Biden?

Pretty funny, really. The guy who has never DONE anything, just talked talked talked talked............picks a running-mate who has...........yes, exactly.

And also he picks the closest thing the Dems have to a "neo-con" hawk. Someone who voted for the Iraq Campaign! Well, I told you that it doesn't matter who's president, George W Bush has set the template of the Global War on Terror, much like Truman did for the Cold War, and that's the way we will proceed from here on out....

Mostly I think this is just so revealing of the empty souls of the "Left." To accomplish anything one must, at least in some obscure way, believe in something. For a person to possess the awesome power available to a member of the United States Senate, and to do nothing of note with it—that's just stupefying!

It says as clear as day that you have nothing inside. You are hollowed out.

And if a large segment of society thinks these hollow men are fit to be President and Vice-President........what does that say about them?

You read it here first...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 AM

August 4, 2008

"under the skin of the post-moral left"

I was just rummaging deep in the archives and found this quote from Melanie Phillips, which bears posting again, since it is very close to certain of my own themes...

...Such people often think of themselves as liberals. But authentic liberalism is very different. For it was at its core a moral project, based on the desire to suppress the bad and promote the good in the belief that a better society could and should be built. What has happened in recent decades is that this moral core which upholds social norms and discriminates against values that threaten them has been replaced by a post-modern creed of the left, which has tried to destroy all external authority and moral norms and the institutions that uphold them, and replace them by an individualist, moral free-for-all —the creed which has led to the moral relativism and denial of truth that lie at the core of the anti-war movement.

Where Sullivan is absolutely right is to call Bush a liberal. For in repudiating the corrupted values of both the post-moral left and the reactionary appeasers of the right, Bush has indeed exhibited the classic liberal desire to build a better society, along with the characteristic liberal optimism that such a project can and must succeed.

And this is surely why Bush is so hated by the left. For this hatred wildly exceeds the normal dislike of a political opponent. It is as visceral and obsessive as it is irrational. At root, this is surely because Bush has got under the skin of the post-moral left in a way no true conservative ever would. And this is because he has stolen their own clothes and revealed them to be morally naked. He has exposed the falseness of their own claim to be liberal. He has revealed them instead to be reactionaries, who want both to preserve the despotic and terrorist status quo abroad and to go with the flow of social and moral collapse at home, instead of fighting all these deformities and building a better society....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:10 PM

August 1, 2008

Change for the good...

From The HSA Revolution That’s Already Here, Posted by John Berlau

The new book America’s Health Care Crisis Solved has been praised as providing a detailed, free-market solution for healthcare’s future. This it does, but what’s almost as fascinating about the book is its description of what is going on in the present, with consumer-driven health savings accounts (HSAs). Almost without notice, HSAs have grown dramatically and have solved for millions of Americans the problem of healthcare’s lack of portability.

First, some background. In the 2003 law that was rightly derided for massively expanding Medicare with a new prescription drug benefit was a separate section that let many more working-age people to take advantage of HSAs. This provision allowed any adult under 65 to open a savings account for medical expenses that receives much of the same special tax treatment as employer-based health care.

As a result of this change, you can qualify for an HSA by getting health insurance with at least an $1100 deductible for individuals or a $2100 deductible for families. So long as you don’t have another insurance policy, you can get a tax deduction for contributing up to $2900 for an individual or $5800 for a family to an HSA. Or your employer can contribute some or all of that amount. In either case, the money grows untaxed and can be withdrawn tax-free for health-care expenses....

(It's worth reading the rest.) My belief is that the Medicare prescription drug benefit was going to happen one way or another, but President Bush wisely used it as a bribe to get what was really important, HSA's.

HSA's were blocked for decades by Democrats. I feel about this not only the general contempt I always feel for those who cling to socialism long after history has proved it to be an evil catastrophe, but also personal loathing, since if I'd been able to contribute small amounts to an HSA back when I was young and never got sick, my account would by now have grown tax-free to be a large cushion for the expenses to come in old age.

But no, the @#$%^ collectivists can't endure to have people controlling their own health care. It must be done by big coercive bureaucracies, or not at all. (Charlene and I have an HSA, but it's too late in our lives for it to really grow--the money that goes in soon goes out for this and that. But at least it's pre-tax.)

I think that perhaps anyone who is a registered Democrat should not be allowed to have an HSA. They support the party of evil, so why they should they profit from the good that good men do? Seems fair, hmmm?

Thank you again, President Bush.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:47 PM

July 31, 2008

Send the worms to the mud.

An Affair of Honor, by James Bowman

There is something screamingly funny about the media’s lecturing John McCain about the impropriety of his saying in New Hampshire last week that "This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." Joe Klein of Time wrote: "This is the ninth presidential campaign I've covered. I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation. It renews questions about whether McCain has the right temperament for the presidency. How sad." Sad? I’ll just bet he’s shedding tears about it. Likewise David Wright of ABC News, who said to Senator McCain in an interview: "But what you seem to be saying there is that it's all about personal ambition for him and not about what he honestly thinks is right for the country."

For the last five years and upwards, the media have been saying as scurrilous things or worse about President Bush, and routinely reporting without comment or challenge the words of his fiercest critics — who accuse him of "lying" in order to take the country to war in Iraq. In all that time, I cannot recall an occasion when a reporter came back at one of those critics with the suggestion that the president might have gone to war in good faith and therefore on behalf of "what he honestly thinks is right for the country."...

There is a special deep noxious level in Hell waiting for the nihilist worms who claimed that "Bush lied," when he was saying the very same things that all major Dem leaders said, and all the leaders of the major nations said, and all the intelligence services of the major nations said...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:32 PM

July 28, 2008

"When heroes arise"

Charlene recommends this piece by Andrew Klavan in OpinionJournal, What Bush and Batman Have in Common...

....There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell....

....Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."....

Well, she also recommends the film, but so does everybody else. She told me she thought it was the first film that really deals with the War on Terror. My guess is that it's the second; the first being the Lord of the Rings movies. I recollect John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) writing sardonically that Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) didn't even realize he was playing George W Bush...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 AM

July 15, 2008

Slippery deal...

Dafydd has a good post on some attempted "legislation by bureaucrats" that leftists tried to slip under the radar...

...Today, President George W. Bush did something that shocked some of us: With a sweep of his presidential hand, he rejected the attempt by a low-level advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency to force the administration to regular carbon dioxide (which we all exhale) as a "pollutant," defying both the Democrats and the Supreme Court...

Good for him.

This was, of course, an attempt by Democrats/collectivists to create an "establishment" of their (Global Warmist) religion. Without of course allowing voters any say in the matter, and without requiring the Dems in Congress to actually stand up for something and pass legislation. (Too bad they didn't try, it would be fun to watch them write into law that your every exhalation is destroying the planet, and your breath is an affront to Gaia. Hey, they could market an abortifacient mouthwash!)

Thank you President Bush. (Though how I wish, as always, that George W Bush were a communicator, and could take on these evils in open conflict, asking the American people for help and understanding. But that isn't Bush.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:20 AM

July 7, 2008

"Sprint to the finish"

I've been sort of agreeing with the CW that President Bush is a "spent force." Perhaps even, as Alan speculated, psychologically wounded by the loss in 2006. Possibly I was being too pessimistic...

From Asia Times (thanks to Orrin), Bush carves out a legacy in Asia, By M K Bhadrakumar:

....Bush is undeterred. He meant what he said during Christmas 2006, "I'm going to sprint to the finish." Free of electoral pressures and the tyranny of popularity rating, the sprinter is gaining in velocity. Just as experts began concluding Bush's missile defenses were dying with his presidency comes the news from Washington last Tuesday regarding a US-Poland deal for a future missile shield. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be arriving in Warsaw this week for follow-up. Not only that. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates revealed that Lithuania had agreed to consider hosting a missile interceptor base if the US deal with Poland fell through. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrel explained that "prudent planning requires that we simultaneously look at backups, if necessary. Lithuania would geographically serve as a good alternative." Now, that is how legacies are planned - tenaciously, silently, prudently - until the scaffolding gets removed. Russian commentators were gloating just recently that Moscow's diplomacy had successfully buried Bush's missile defense plans. What appears unthinkable, however, is that Bush's finest legacies may yet be coming - from Asia, the continent that is "reshaping our world today", to use Rice's recent words.

Rice's speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC on June 18 gave away that the Bush administration was working hard. Rice underlined, "The United States, contrary to much of the commentary, is actually in a stronger position in Asia than at any other time." She counted the calming of tensions across the Taiwan Strait; reaffirmation and "modernization" of traditional alliances with Japan and South Korea; recasting of relations with China and Russia; and finessing of a new global security agenda with Australia and an "enhanced partnership" with the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations as major diplomatic gains of Bush's foreign policy in Asia.

Rice said the US's "strategic accomplishments in Asia" also included "partnerships with a newly democratic Afghanistan, a democratic Pakistan, and an historic transformation of our relationship with the rising democratic power, India". But the bulk of her speech related to North Korea problem, underlining Washington's expectation Pyongyang will soon make a "verifiable, complete and accurate" declaration of its nuclear programs, facilities and materials so that Bush claims a legacy.

As Bush heads toward Japan for the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Hokkaido, he anticipates he's likely wrapping up two Asian legacies - and if luck holds, three. Beware the lame duck. As the Washington Post summed up, "George W Bush's presidency seems exhausted and irrelevant, but that's a dangerous illusion. The Decider remains in command ..." Clearly, North Korea has begun disabling its plutonium production facility at Yongbyon under the watchful eyes of US inspectors. Rice's consultations in Beijing last week galvanized the process. The White House announced that Bush proposed to attend the opening ceremony of Beijing Summer Olympic Games in August.

Meanwhile, a second Asian legacy for the Bush era is also gaining traction. On Wednesday, on the sidelines of the G-8, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inform Bush that New Delhi has decided to give the final push to the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with the US....

Trading a de-fanged N Korea for a visit to the Olympics is smart, if that's really what happened. Good move, Condi. So maybe soon we can say, Axis of Evil: two down one to go.....

Posted by John Weidner at 11:17 AM

July 1, 2008

They all laughed...

..when I suggested that George W Bush was the visionary and that following presidents would have to follow the templates he created...

AP / JENNIFER LOVEN: Obama to Expand Bush's Faith Based Programs
Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — support their ability to hire and fire based on faith...

The grownups lead, the children follow...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

June 24, 2008

What's missing from this picture....

From an AP story about the floods in the Mississippi Valley, Flood victims say FEMA is doing a heckuva job .....

...Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina turned FEMA into a punchline, many homeowners, politicians and community leaders in the flood-stricken Midwest say that so far, the agency is doing a heckuva job _ and they mean it.

Up and down the Big Muddy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is being commended for responding quickly and surely....

What's missing? It's a long article about how well FEMA is doing, but no mention of.....President Bush. Surprise surprise.

Remember how our fake-leftists reacted to the (supposed) failures of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina? Remember how it "proved" that Bush was a failure as President? Remember the pitiful fake outrage: Bush....sniff....promised to...to..to... PROTECT US!....sniff sniff sob.

Jackasses. Of course none of those cowards are going to now give Bush any credit for a success.

When rotten people hate you, it's a sign that you are doing something right. (Of course if being hated by scoundrels is a sign of worthiness, then Bush is probably the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But I don't want to go out on a limb here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 2:13 PM

June 16, 2008

Go for it, President Karzai...

One of the really stupid and violence-producing aspects of the world we live in is the common assumption that terrorist thugs can use certain countries as bases for attacks on other countries, but that they can't be counter-attacked, because their bases are in a "sovereign" nation we are not at war with. (This idea would have been laughed to scorn long ago, except that it dovetails perfectly with lefty nihilism, which hates above all things our believing in anything enough to fight for it.)

But one of the good aspects of war is that it slowly burns away falsehoods. What's left may be ugly, but it is true. (ref: Sherman, Grant, Patton, Epaminondas, Chatham, Wellington.) One of the most shocking and radical blows of the War on Terror has been the way President Bush has re-defined sovereignty as requiring democratic legitimacy. That's much a bigger deal than invading Iraq, but his opponents watch the hand that the magician waves in the air, and don't see the real move. The lie that is our old idea of sovereignty is being burned away, and high time...

Karzai threatens to chase militants in Pakistan

President Hamid Karzai threatened Sunday to send Afghan soldiers into Pakistan to fight militant groups that operate in border areas there to attack Afghanistan.

His comments, made at a news conference in Kabul, are likely to worsen tensions between the two countries just days after American forces in Afghanistan killed 11 Pakistani soldiers on the border while pursuing militants.

"If these people in Pakistan give themselves the right to come and fight in Afghanistan, as was continuing for the last 30 years, so Afghanistan has the right to cross the border and destroy terrorist nests, spying, extremism and killing in order to defend itself, its schools, its peoples and its life," Karzai said.

"When they cross the territory from Pakistan to come and kill Afghans and kill coalition troops, it exactly gives us the right to go back and do the same," he continued....

The frontier provinces of Pakistan are waging war on Afghanistan, right now, while crossing their fingers and claiming to be at peace. Tolerating the situation means that that war will continue indefinitely. To do so is to reward the aggressors. The path to peace is to punish the criminals. Being, myself, a real pacifist, not a fake one, I say it is time to put a stop to it.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 AM

June 10, 2008

FDR Lied....Or should have if it had been necessary.

The Rockefeller Report supposedly substantiates the "Bush lied" line of leftist propaganda. But the actual report demonstrates the opposite, as this editorial in the WaPo (no friends of Bush they) shows...

.....But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation....

Now the "Bush lied" story has always been bullshit, among other reasons because all the Dem leaders are on the record as saying exactly the same sort of things about the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime. And they had access to the same intelligence. Still, it's nice to see the Post confirm it.

But I have always thought that the whole controversy is based on a false and very pernicious philosophy. One that in fact causes war. I think the basic Western default "common wisdom" response to terrorism is the very reason terrorism exists and works. It's a game played by rules that ensure that the game will go on and on.

Imagine that Iran sent a plane and dropped a bomb on some American base, and killed some of our people. We would say that that is an act of war. We would, at the very least, bomb them in retaliation, and make no apologies about it. But suppose Iran covertly supports a terrorist group that sends a suicide bomber and kills the very same Americans. We are supposed to pretend that nothing much has happened. If we suspect an Iranian connection and bomb Iran's Presidential Palace in retaliation, world opinion would say that we are starting a war!

That's crazy. And that kind of thinking is the reason there are terror-supporting nations. They fund and arm terror groups because they can get away with it. Our enemies can attack us without much fear of retaliation. So they do. It is the lack of response that promotes terrorism. We reward them, rather than punishing them.

And the way our "conventional wisdom" works is by declaring the terror-supporting nations innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. That's what the "Bush lied" campaign is all about.

But Saddam was openly a supporter of terrorism. He was paying bounties for Jews killed. (Some of whom were Americans.) We are in a global war on terrorism. We have a perfect right to attack any terror-supporters and terror groups. Just as we had a right to attack nations that were aiding the Axis during WWII, even though we were not technically at war with them.

The only way to stop terrorism is to stop playing the silly game of "we can't hit back unless we prove beyond doubt that you hit first." That encourages covert attacks. that rewards them. The way to peace is to smack hard any country that even looks like it might be supporting terror groups.

IF Bush lied about the dangers of Iraq (he didn't) it is only because of a crazy system that protects Iraq. We should be taking out obdurate terror-supporters, and if it took a lie to get us doing what was right, then it was a noble deed. He shouldn't even need to ask permission. We are in a war, Iraq was clearly on the other side, President Bush is Commander in Chief, so he should be able to order the invasion of Iraq without any fuss.

President Roosevelt didn't go to Congress for permission to invade North Africa, even though we were not technically at war with French Morocco. He just did it. And if he had not had a loyal opposition party, if he had had a disloyal opposition, an anti_American opposition, as we do now, then he might have had to lie to get permission to attack. And if so, then his duty would have been to lie.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 AM

June 7, 2008

Toldja... "The sensible options for defending them are relatively limited"

From the Washington Post this morning...

IN THE HEAT of the Democratic primary campaign, some on the left were inspired to believe that Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) offered a far-reaching transformation of U.S. foreign policy, "the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we've heard from a serious presidential contender in decades," as one particularly breathless article in the American Prospect put it. Yet, when Mr. Obama opened his general election campaign this week with a major speech on Middle East policy, the substantive strategy he outlined was, in many respects, not very much different from that of the Bush administration -- or that of Republican Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). That's not a bad thing; rather, it's a demonstration that there is a strong bipartisan consensus about America's vital interests in the Middle East and that the sensible options for defending them are relatively limited....

Do read it all and smile. The re-positioning on Iraq will come soon, depend on it.

President Bush has created the template for fighting the War on Terror, just as Truman set our course for the Cold War. Future presidents will be limited to filling in the details. Even pygmies like Obama. If they are smart, they will just read Random Jottings.

Or, better yet, listen to this deep old file....

Dick Cheney on a Segway

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM

May 26, 2008

There's a little Jimmy Carter in all of us....

John at PowerLine:

On the stump, Barack Obama usually concludes his comments on Iraq by saying, "and it hasn't made us safer." It is an article of faith on the left that nothing the Bush administration has done has enhanced our security, and, on the contrary, its various alleged blunders have only contributed to the number of jihadists who want to attack us.

Empirically, however, it seems beyond dispute that something has made us safer since 2001. Over the course of the Bush administration, successful attacks on the United States and its interests overseas have dwindled to virtually nothing.

Some perspective here is required. While most Americans may not have been paying attention, a considerable number of terrorist attacks on America and American interests abroad were launched from the 1980s forward, too many of which were successful. What follows is a partial history.....

He has a very interesting timeline of terror attacks inside America or against American interests abroad. And a very interesting list of possible reasons why attacks on us have dwindled to nothing.

And yet I think he misses the real explanation.

Terrorist attacks are done for a reason. The terrorists hope to get something out of them. The normal reaction in the West is to give them what they want. They want to sow fear, so we become fearful. They want publicity, so our "journalists" hasten to oblige. They want to demonstrate that we are not really dangerous, and so we lash out ineffectually. They want concessions, we run to the negotiating table. They want a break, we give them a truce.

It's like our collective mind has a little Jimmy Carter whispering in its ear.

2002 and 2003 was the first time we responded to terror attacks by doing something they REALLY don't want us to do. We cold-bloodedly and effectively brought democracy and freedom to two Islamic countries, and most importantly, one of them right in the Arab heartland. If our project in Iraq succeeds, al-Qaeda and its project are locked out of that country forever. They know it, they've said it, they've thrown their best efforts into the counter-attack.

And they fear that if they attack us we may do something like Iraq again

That's why they have not hit us.

* Update: And also, what has been our reaction to al-Qaeda's bloody counterattack in Iraq? It should have been: "YES! We've stung them! Let's do more of this! Faster, please."

Instead, for many of us, including almost all Democrats and leftists, and much of our government, it's been, "Give them what they want!" And who has done the most to resist the pressure to cave in Iraq? To resist the pressure to give the terrorists what they want? President George W. Bush. We are gonna miss this guy, I predict. We're gonna miss him once he's gone. [My thoughts on WHY the left is so desperate to lose in Iraq are here.]

(This is just an old photo from 2003, from my Iraq archives.)

Iraqi schoolgirls with new slates
Iraqi schoolgirls show off their new chalkboards donated by friends and family of U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four. Navy Seabee units have been participating in extensive reconstruction of schools, hospitals and bridges throughout Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brandon Harding [From DefendAmerica's Sept.'03 Photo Archive]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

May 22, 2008

Lead the caravan, let the dogs bark...

Reg Jones posted this excerpt in a comment, and I'd like to emphasize it. If you do the right thing, you are not going to be popular. But history will remember those who fought evil and tyranny and poverty and terrorism. And will utterly forget the ankle-biters who hinder them. The nihilist dogs bark, but the caravan moves on...

This is Jay Nordlinger, interviewing President Kartzai of Afghanistan...

...I say, “There is a lot of contempt for President Bush expressed at conferences like this. What is your opinion of him?” Karzai says that he, along with Afghanistan at large, has nothing but “respect, admiration, and praise” for him...He says that, without American action, Afghanistan would be “the most miserable nation on earth — the poorest, the hungriest, the most suffering.”

But, thanks to that action, the country has a new life. Decency, health, and material supply have been restored. Afghan identity has been “recovered and revived.” And “we are extremely grateful. The Afghans owe George Bush and the United States a lot.”...On the subject of Bush, one of the journalists teases him a little. He says, “You’re the only one who supports him.” Karzai responds that he doesn’t care — he’s not going to criticize someone just because others do; he will not “jump on a bandwagon.” “Others can say what they have to say. I have my own opinion. And my judgment is one of praise and recognition.”

He even allows that he has argued with U.S. senators over Bush, irritating them. I can just see it!..

      -- Jay Nordlinger, Sharm El Sheikh Journal, 5/21/2008
Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 AM

May 16, 2008

True superiority....

I have a long list of reasons why I think George W Bush is a great president (NO, that doesn't mean I agree with him on everything. I've never swooned over him like those pathetic lefties fainting for Obama.) This is a very small but telling example of how he's much classier than the general run of politicians...

US President George W Bush has revealed that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of American soldiers killed in Iraq.

"I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal," Mr Bush said in an online interview for Yahoo and Politico magazine.

"I don't want some mum whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them."...

It is illogical but true, that in our culture golf looks like the sport of those who are indifferent to the pain of the world. As opposed to, say tennis. A leader playing golf in a time of crisis looks nonchalant and detached. Whereas if he's sweating on the tennis court, it's assumed that he's burning off the intolerable stress of one who has the cares of the world on his shoulders. (This probably has some connection with the fact that academics and journalists play tennis much more than golf.)

The important thing is that Bush never said a word about this until now, or used it to make himself look good. That's class.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 AM

March 11, 2008

The last WWI vet...

Bush thanks WWI veteran for 'love for America'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush met the last known surviving veteran of the first world war on Thursday, thanking the 107-year-old for his service and his "love for America."

Bush called Frank Buckles "the last living doughboy from World War I" and said the centenarian still has a crisp memory.

"Mr. Buckles has a vivid recollection of historic times, and one way for me to honor the service of those who wear the uniform in the past and those who wear it today is to herald you, sir, and to thank you very much for your patriotism and your love for America," the president said, seated with Buckles in the Oval Office.

"We're glad you're here."

Buckles, who turned 107 last month, lied about his age to join the U.S. Army at the age of 16...

This seems so poignant and strange to me. When I was young, the gray-haired distinguished men who ran things were of the WWI Generation. Harry Truman, Ike, the presidents of big corporations. And the handsome young men who were just starting to get on in the world were the WWII generation. Now the men of the AEF are all gone. nd the men and women of WWII are pretty much out of public life. (Except one guy, named Josef Ratzinger!)

There was an old-timer who worked for my dad who fought in WWI. Well, actually, he told me that on his first day in France he got in a knife fight with another southern boy, and that was the end of his war! He chewed tobacco--that was a fascinating thing to a boy. And not snuff; he bit pieces off a chaw. And chewed, and then spit. A bit of history I'm glad to have seen, but don't miss....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:36 PM

March 6, 2008

"It was always a shabby line of attack"

Jay Nordlinger:

In the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, we heard this from Democrats, constantly: You have to have worn the uniform, in order to qualify as president. Moreover, you have to have gone to war, in order to qualify as president.

Why did the Democrats say this? Because their nominees were Al Gore and John Kerry, both of whom had been to Vietnam, for some months. And the Republican nominee was George W. Bush, who had merely flown fighter jets in the Guard...

...Okay, my question: Will we hear the same talk from Democrats in 2008? Will they say that you have to have been to war, in order to qualify as president? The Democratic nominee will be either Obama or Hillary; and the Republican will be McCain.

Um, I don’t think so.

It was always a shabby line of attack, that particular one. And I hope that, in retrospect, those who used it will blush a little.

Yeah, right, blush like Ananias. Now they will be back to "soldiers are baby-killers." Frauds.

And you know, I'm still royally pissed about the smears against President Bush's military service. Flying 102's in the Air Guard was more dangerous than the duty Kerry volunteered for--Swift Boats operating off the coast of Vietnam. (It was after he joined them that they were sent up the Mekong. Surprise!) It was certainly more difficult; the F-102 was the crankiest and most crash-prone high-performance jet we have ever put into service. And Bush got high marks for his piloting skill, and gave 2 1/2 years of active service.

Lordy, how I loathe lying leftists. Here are some FACTS on the subject: Link, Link, Link...................

Posted by John Weidner at 12:36 PM

March 4, 2008

Alternate title: "George W. Bush was Right"

Mike Plaiss sent me a link to this article in the NYT, Violence Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics.

...When Muath was arrested last year, the police found two hostages, Shiite brothers, in a safe house that Muath told them about. Photographs showed the men looking wide-eyed into the camera; dark welts covered their bodies.

Violent struggle against the United States was easy to romanticize at a distance.

“I used to love Osama bin Laden,” proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad. The Sept. 11, 2001, strike at American supremacy was satisfying, and the deaths abstract.

Now, the student recites the familiar complaints: Her college has segregated the security checks; guards told her to stop wearing a revealing skirt; she covers her head for safety.

“Now I hate Islam,” she said, sitting in her family’s unadorned living room in central Baghdad. “Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing.”...

Well, there you go. Bush was right, and I was right. I've been saying for a long time that the violence of al Qaeda in Iraq would immunize people against radical Islam. I doubt if the administration intended for things to work out just as they have, but you might call it unconscious genius.

Some people claim that if we nurture democracy in the Middle East, the populations will just elect radical Islamists. No doubt some of them would do just that. But, there's nothing like having your fingers chopped off for smoking a cigarette to concentrate the mind.

And while I'm glad to see young Iraqis rejecting violence-preaching clerics, my advice to them would be to not discard their faith. The combination of peace, prosperity and secularism is deadly, as we see currently in Europe. Shi'ism at least is probably compatible with democracy, since it generally advocates a separation of church and state, at least until the Mahdi comes. The Iranian regime is an exception to the general trend of Shia theology.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:25 PM

February 21, 2008

Toldja...

Amir Taheri, writing today in the WSJ, Islam at the Ballot Box...

....The Islamist defeat in Pakistani confirms a trend that's been under way for years. Conventional wisdom had it that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lack of progress in the Israel-Palestine conflict, would provide radical Islamists with a springboard from which to seize power through elections.

Analysts in the West used that prospect to argue against the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East. These analysts argued that Muslims were not ready for democracy, and that elections would only translate into victory for hard-line Islamists.

The facts tell a different story. So far, no Islamist party has managed to win a majority of the popular vote in any of the Muslim countries where reasonably clean elections are held. If anything, the Islamist share of the vote has been declining across the board....

And he's got plenty of data to back it up. I was a bit surprised at how many elections do get held in the Islamic world.

...Far from rejecting democracy because it is supposed to be "alien," or using it as a means of creating totalitarian Islamist systems, a majority of Muslims have repeatedly shown that they like elections, and would love to join the global mainstream of democratization. President Bush is right to emphasize the importance of holding free and fair elections in all Muslim majority countries.

Tyrants fear free and fair elections, a fact illustrated by the Khomeinist regime's efforts to fix the outcome of next month's poll in Iran by pre-selecting the candidates. Support for democratic movements in the Muslim world remains the only credible strategy for winning the war against terror.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 PM

February 18, 2008

The actions NOT taken were the policy...

Jim Miller writes on the Africa policies of Clinton and Bush. Guess who I think history will consider a great president. For this and a lonnng list of other reasons...

...The actions taken not taken in Rwanda were the Clinton administration's important African policy. Besides that, he did little, other than to continue the policies of previous administration. Africa did not much interest either of his secretaries of state, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright.

In contrast to Clinton, George W. Bush had promised a less activist foreign policy during his initial campaign for office. There were some exceptions. From the beginning, he backed Colin Powell's successful efforts to end the civil war in the southern Sudan, a war that had gone on for decades (or perhaps centuries in some ways of looking at it). (Incidentally, I have thought for some time that Powell has gotten too little credit for that success, and for helping defuse the tension between India and Pakistan, somewhat later.)

But, after the 9/11 attack, that changed, and Bush decided on a more activist foreign policy, in part, I suppose, to get support for the war on terrorism. But the area he chose, and the policies he backed after 9/11 were not inevitable, and show something interesting about the man, and his administration. Bush decided to help the poorest continent, Africa, and decided to help in three principal ways; he provided help for fighting malaria and AIDS, and he set up a new system of foreign aid, which challenges African countries to reform, before they receive the aid.

All three have had successes, some of which you can read about in this article in the Washington Post. It is likely that, in the next decade or so, millions of Africans will live who might have died without these Bush initiatives.

Let's summarize. Bill Clinton could have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Africans — but chose not to, in order to preserve his political viability. George W. Bush has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Africans, in spite of the political costs.

The political gains for Clinton were not great, and the political costs to Bush were probably small. But the contrast, in which one man does the right thing and the other doesn't tells us more than a little about the two men. And the fact that this contrast has gotten so little coverage tells us more than a little about our "mainstream" journalists.

(I was dubious about the Somalia intervention; I was, to the extent I followed the question, in favor of stopping the genocide in Rwanda. That's because I thought that the first required enormous resources — or exceptionally skillful diplomacy — and that the second required trivial resources. In fact, the UN commander in Rwanda at the time, Roméo Dallaire, thought he could stop the genocide with a mere 4,000 troops. In contrast, to disarm the Somalia clans might have required 400,000 troops, or a very long campaign.)....

Bush is a Christian leader. Clinton is a narcissistic lefty nihilist. The results are plain to see. History will judge.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 PM

February 16, 2008

For world peace, poke a thumb in their eye...

From the Daily Mail: Bush branded 'cowboy of space' after decision to shoot down malfunctioning satellite...

President Bush was branded a cowboy last night amid claims that his decision to shoot down a failed satellite could spark a confrontation with Russia and China...

...They warned the president could provoke a new arms race in space by brandishing America's military power.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, called the move "regrettable".

And in a jibe aimed at the President he said: "Clearly someone in the administration who has the instincts of a cowboy has decided this is the perfect excuse to rattle our sabres and show the Chinese that we have the same capabilities."....

Rattling our sabres is good. It will promote peace. Looking weak and indecisive will tend to lead to war. I suggest we should try to make the debris fall so as to make shooting stars over Peking...

US Cruiser fires SM-3

(Image purloined from Neptunus Lex. Thanks. )

Posted by John Weidner at 11:45 AM

February 11, 2008

Toxic to his cause...

This article in Weekly Standard, A New Middle East, After All, is worth reading . This is just a little part that grabbed me...

....Although Senators Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joseph Biden would rather burn in oil than give George Bush credit for his insistence on linking the war in Iraq to the battle against Islamic extremism, the president has damaged al Qaeda--and al Qaeda has damaged itself--more in Mesopotamia than on any other battlefield. Al Qaeda will live on in the forbidding mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from there it may do horrendous harm to the United States and its European allies. But if al Qaeda is ever to evanesce, it will be because its jihadism lost its ethical appeal in the Arab heartland where it was born. American and Pakistani paramilitary successes against al Qaeda will never be sufficient to demonstrate the organization's evil to Muslims worldwide. Indeed, Pakistan's ineffectual attempts to assert control over tribal border areas have been counterproductive, giving bin Laden a fillip of hope at a time when his jihad is facing decided difficulty in Iraq.

By contrast, it is democracy in Iraq, as bin Laden correctly foresaw, that would be toxic to his cause: Few ideas elicit from him more venom. It is one of the great ironies of the war that President Bush, a man not known for perusing much primary material, actually did read bin Laden's declarations about Iraq and did consider his ideas. It is by no means clear Bush's antiwar critics ever have. We have not been able to counter the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian intellectual engines of jihadism against the United States; this would be difficult even if Bush's State Department actually tried it. But what we have done is help Iraqis grope their way toward democracy, even as al Qaeda's cruelty has rallied Iraqis to fight at our side....

"al Qaeda's cruelty has rallied Iraqis to fight at our side.." Exactly. WE can't defeat al Qaeda. It's impossible. It's like, we're gonna try to sort wheat from chaff from amongst a billion Muslims? No way. But, the Moslem world is as divided as any, and so any enemy of ours implies that there are allies we can work with.

Still, it's pretty amazing what George W. Bush has accomplished. He didn't nibble around the periphery, or futz around with half-measures. He flung us right into the Arab heartland, took one of the most populous and advanced Arab countries, and in a very short time (as cultural transformations go) and at a very small cost (as wars go) has converted 25 million people into al Qaeda-haters!

And what fills me with glee is that is is probably too late for our fake-pacifsts and fake-liberals to reverse the decision. Conservatives are still wringing their hands over the possibility that we might pull out and and a Cambodia-type bloodbath would ensue. But there's no need to worry, I believe. It's too late for the Democrat Party's al Qaeda allies. The game's over. We could leave Iraq tomorrow, and Iraq's government would still muddle through. (There are of curse, huge advantages to keeping some forces in Iraq, and we will certainly negotiate a long-term security agreement with Iraq before Bush leaves office. And President Obama will just have to lump it.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 AM

January 26, 2008

Do not miss...

Do not miss How Bush Decided on the Surge, by Fred Barnes.

It is a fascinating article, and very important. Important especially because most of us have no idea how difficult a task it was to change our tactics, and persuade the leaders in government and the military to go along with the surge.

I hear people now claiming that Bush was a poor leader because our tactics should have been changed much earlier. Or that he should have dumped Rumsfeld earlier.(Rumsfeld does not seem to have been the main obstacle.) In fact, the turnaround was a long slow process, with many obstacles to be overcome. Bush was pushing for change long before anything could be seen on the surface.

The President is not a dictator, he can't just give orders and expect things to happen. Rather, any big change requires a vast amount of negotiation, and thought, and study, and the careful building of alliances. What was it that Clausewitz said?..."In war everything is simple, but the simple things are very difficult."

....Inside his own administration, Bush had few allies on a surge in Iraq aside from the vice president and a coterie of National Security Council (NSC) staffers. The Joint Chiefs were disinclined to send more troops to Iraq or adopt a new strategy. So were General George Casey, the American commander in Iraq, and Centcom commander John Abizaid. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice favored a troop pullback. A week earlier, the Iraq Study Group, better known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, had recommended a graceful exit from Iraq.

The presence of former secretary of state James Baker, a longtime Bush family friend, on the commission was viewed in Washington and around the world as significant. It was assumed, correctly in this instance, that Baker wouldn't have taken the post if the president had objected. (At least one top Bush adviser faulted Rice for not blocking the amendment by Republican representative Frank Wolf of Virginia that created the commission in the first place.) Baker was seen as providing cover for Bush to order a gradual retreat from Iraq.

But retreat was the furthest thing from Bush's mind. "This is very trite," he told me. "Failure was no option .  .  . I never thought I had to give up the goal of winning." He wanted one more chance to win.

At the Pentagon, Bush listened sympathetically to the complaints and worries of the chiefs. He promised to ease the strain the war had put on the military. Bush knew the idea of deploying more troops and changing the strategy would be a tough sell. It had been hatched outside the Pentagon. Co-opting the chiefs was "tricky business," an aide said. It "would be the most demanding civil-military challenge the president would face."....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:58 PM

Icky compromises...

Peggy Noonan writes, in the WSJ:

....On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.

Were there other causes? Yes, of course. But there was an immediate and essential cause....

Sorry Peggy, I think you are nuts.

Actually, I think the problems of the party, and of conservatives, are the problems of success.



We spent decades dreaming of getting control of both the White House and Congress. We thought that THEN we would be in the Promised Land!


But each group was assuming that they would then get all those things it especially wanted, and forgetting that the party has become a big tent, and different elements wanted different things. It was never possible for everyone to get all that they wanted. Disappointment was inevitable.


I could write a lonnnnng list of Bush accomplishments. But they still amount to each faction getting half a loaf. And people are not dealing well with that.


Also, many of the objectives conservatives were actually in agreement on have been achieved! Think of Welfare Reform--we did it, and now the issue is no longer uniting us. Or, even bigger, the fall of the Soviet Union. That used to be the biggest blob of glue holding Republicans together.

And even if all Republicans wanted the same things, there would still be disappointments, because we need to gain the support of "independents" to stay in power. That's just the way it is. And those things we've already accomplished are precisely the ones that were easiest to sell to independents!

Now we are facing the more difficult problems, ones that we will have to finesse, and make icky compromises on. I think Bush has done a fairly good job at this sausage-making task. But it's a totally THANKLESS task, because Republicans just hate to admit to themselves that messy incomplete wins are what they are going to have to settle for these days.

Also, we tend to forget the compromises that were made in the past, especially by St Ronnie! He was always being castigated for "betraying the conservative cause."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 AM

January 12, 2008

Legacy...

Salim Mansur, on Bush's current trip to the Middle East...

....George Bush could have remained indifferent to the Arab-Muslim world's malignancy, mouthing pieties as members of the ever fashionable lib-left political class in the West endlessly does, while watching the Arabs sink deeper into the political squalor of their making.

Instead, Bush struck directly at the most rotten core of the Middle East -- Iraq, the land of two rivers, choked to death by the vilest of Arab tyrants in recent memory, Saddam Hussein -- to give the Arabs an opportunity one more time to make a better future.

Regime change in Baghdad has brought a new Iraq to emerge with American support despite the fanatical opposition of the most backward tribal warriors of the Arab-Muslim world.

Iraqis -- Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- now bear responsibility that comes with freedom to write a new history for Arabs as, for instance, the far more populous and ethnically diverse people of India are doing.

The Arab leaders greeting Bush remain frozen in their hypocrisy, unable to say publicly what they will say privately, being relieved in knowing the United States remains committed to maintaining order and security in the Persian Gulf region.

But free Iraq looms large in the capitals of the Arab states, and if Iraqis keep progressing in freedom their example will be an irresistible attraction for the Arab-Muslim world spread between the Atlantic and the Persian Gulf.

A democratic Iraq is George Bush's formidable legacy, and the Arabs will be talking about him long after his contemporary critics bite the dust and are forgotten.

The Bush-haters are pygmies. Moral and intellectual pygmies. They will not be remembered. If you delve into history, you quickly discover that 99% of what is happening at any particular time is just noise--static. It is soon forgotten. And as soon as a bit of distance allows us to ignore the static, then the very few things that are of real importance start to stand out.

The big project for us today is dealing with Islam. Bringing it into the global "Core." The problem has been festering for decades, and no one, no country, has grappled with it. Until now. Until GW Bush and America and our Anglosphere allies smashed right into the nasty heart of Arab despotism, and started on some radical surgery.

And I doubt if our course will change, even if one of the current horrid Democrat candidates becomes president. I suspect the logic of war won't let them change our course now even if they want to.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 PM

January 2, 2008

Thank you, President Bush...for giving me a good laugh!

This is SO funny. Think of all of our lefties who want to apologize to the world for America's sins.....Especially the biggest sin, which is believing that our way of life (or anything) is worth fighting for... And all of them wanting to suck-up to the supposedly superior "culture and sophistication" of Europeans. And expressing their mortification at being in a country led by a cowboy...and even worse, a Christian!

And now we see Euro leaders elbowing and slapping each other aside to bask in the refulgent sunshine of....Oh, I just can't say it, it's too too too......too appalling....too mind-bending....

NY Sun: Not to be outdone by President Sarkozy's amorous overture to President Bush in Washington, Prime Minister Brown of Britain has used the first major foreign policy speech of his premiership to insist that Britain is America's closest ally.

After decades of Anglo-French rivalry, in which France has vehemently deplored the global influence America and Britain have attained and what every president of France since Charles de Gaulle has described as "Anglo-Saxon culture," Mr. Sarkozy claimed during his visit to Washington last week that France, not Britain, is now America's best friend and partner.

Mr. Brown, who has been portrayed on both sides of the Atlantic as having distanced himself from America to avoid the charge against his predecessor, Tony Blair, that he was Mr. Bush's "poodle," fought back last night, claiming in a speech at a banquet thrown by the lord mayor of the city of London that the French president's bid to usurp Britain's traditional place alongside America would not succeed.

"It is no secret that I am a lifelong admirer of America," Mr. Brown said. And, in a thinly veiled reference to France's traditional dislike of America and its culture, he added, "I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere in Europe, and I believe that our ties with America — founded on values we share — constitute our most important bilateral relationship."

He welcomed France's late conversion to the American cause and a similar newfound affection for America expressed by Chancellor Merkel of Germany in her visit to Mr. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, over the weekend.... (Thanks to Rand)

The highest accolade any Euro-premier can hope for, is to allowed to make a pilgrimage to Crawford, TX. Ha ha ha.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:42 PM

December 31, 2007

Good news to wake up to...

Lovely morning! Bad news for lots of bad people. Good news for the good guys. From Gatewaypundit:

With 24 hours remaining...
The US military is on track to see the lowest number of monthly fatalities in Iraq since the war began in March, 2003.

In February 2004 the US lost 20 soldiers in the 29 day period.This month the US has lost 21 soldiers in the 31 day period.

The Bush Surge continues to show amazing results.

This follows the news yesterday that 75% of the Al-Qaeda network has been eliminated in Iraq.

I don't think most people understand what has happened here. In war you always try to choose to fight where the situation is advantageous for you. It's very hard to do—you enemy is trying his best to make just the opposite happen.

And in fighting against a guerilla enemy it's harder yet. In fact it's common to put ones forces in a bad position just so the enemy will be tempted to come out and fight!

And we've all been learning a little bit about Pakistan lately, right? (As the old saying goes, war is God's way of teaching Americans geography.) That would be the worst place to fight al Qaeda. We may have to do just that one of these days, but if we do we will wish we were still fighting in Iraq.

President Bush chose to fight in Iraq, and forced al Queda to come and attack us there. In a country where we automatically had some natural allies—if one group is against us, their old enemies would tend to be for us. And where the population was advanced enough to be immune to most of al Qaeda's blandishments. (For instance, creating alliances by forcing local daughters into marriage with al Queda bosses did not work at all with proud Sunni tribes.) There are many other reasons why Iraq was a smart move. (Here are a few.)

Obviously the administration did not anticipate what a scrap it was getting into. Perhaps that's good; it might have been paralyzed if it had. The historical comparison I keep thinking of is the Guadalcanal Campaign in WWII.

In mid 1942 we were NOT ready to fight Japan head on. Seizing the island of Guadalcanal was very rash, and we were several times close to being defeated there. But, this situation was tactically advantageous for us because we held the airfield, while Japanese air support had to fly hundreds of miles to support their troops. They had better planes and pilots, but we usually knew they were coming, and they arrived with almost no reserves of fuel. Even a little bit of damage or bad luck would mean that the Japs lost a plane and pilot, while our guys had their planes (and wounds) patched-up time and again. The attrition of skilled Japanese pilots over six months of fighting was devastating to their long-term hopes. Everything else—thousands of soldiers killed, dozens of ships sunk—was secondary to that fact.

It was very easy at the time (or later) to perceive the fighting in the Solomon Islands as a pointless stalemate, and as military incompetence. Blood was being shed copiously, but the lines on the map did not move at all! But the real battle was almost invisible. In the Pacific War, air power trumped everything else.

I think Iraq is something similar. The arhabi have poured men and resources into Iraq, and their defeat will be a devastating blow, especially for future recruiting. Bin Laden boasted that Americans would not fight, that we would run away like we did from Somalia. (And our lefty nihilists have done their damnedest to prove him right.) That boast is not going to work any more.

It was decades of weakness and appeasement—pacifism—that caused the global war we are in. And it is only toughness and lots of bloody fighting that will end it. The real pacifists, the real Christians of our time are serving in the United States military.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 AM

December 26, 2007

Ha ha, ha, and ha...

I thought this was just too perfect.

WASHINGTON (CNN) Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday rejected lawmakers' demands for information as the Justice Department investigates the destruction of tapes showing CIA interrogations of two al Qaeda suspects.

In letters to the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Mukasey also said he would not appoint a special prosecutor to conduct the investigation, as some lawmakers had requested.

Mukasey said he would not turn over the material key congressional leaders are seeking because doing so might be seen as bowing to "political influence."

"At my confirmation hearing, I testified that I would act independently, resist political pressure and ensure that politics plays no role in cases brought by the Department of Justice," Mukasey said.

"Consistent with that testimony, the facts will be followed wherever they lead in this inquiry and the relevant law applied." (My emphasis. Thanks to Hoystory)

"How dare he call us political! We're Democrats!"

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

December 19, 2007

Will anyone say, "Thank you?"

AP: President Bush has approved "a significant reduction" in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, cutting it to less than one-quarter its size at the end of the Cold War, the White House said Tuesday.

At the same time, the Energy Department announced plans to consolidate the nuclear weapons complex that maintains warheads and dismantle those no longer needed, saying the current facilities need to be made more efficient and more easily secured and that the larger complex is no longer needed.

"We are reducing our nuclear weapons stockpile to the lowest level consistent with America's national security and our commitments to friends and allies," White House press secretary Dana Perino said...(Thanks to Orrin)

ZO, my question is, will any of those people who think America's development and one-time use of nuclear weapons was a bad thing now express gratitude for this reduction in our stockpiles? Hmmm?

I myself would say that it was one of the best things that ever happened. It immediately put an end to world wars, regional wars, and wars between developed nations. And also to some rather less-developed ones, such as India and Pakistan. They used to fight wars with each other, remember? And Israel no longer fights with Egypt or Syria, either. Remember those wars? They stopped once Israel had the Bomb. (Of course the Arab animals started proxy wars using terrorist scum to blow up pizza parlors full of women and children....but the total bloodshed was still far less than would have happened in wars.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 AM

December 17, 2007

shibbuwichee...

Penraker:

.....Today's latest garbage seminar is being held in Indonesia, where the world's great reformers are gathering:

"If you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way," said Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's ambassador for climate change.

Oh my. Papua New Guinea's "Ambassador" for climate change is dressing us down. My knees are going wobbly. It's not even the president or premier of Papua New Guinea. It's not even a minister in the government. It is some flake that they gave the honorific of "ambassador". No doubt, he is yet another climate change freak dressed out in UN garb to pose as someone of substance.

Bush is giving in to the hysteria, it seems. But he has played this whole faux-crisis brilliantly. Let us enter into a renegotiation of Kyoto. That ought to take about 4 or 5 years, during which he ( or his successor) can use the hysteria to get us into nuclear power in a big way. Oops! That's not what Gore and his buddies wanted! A delicious bit of ju-jitsu by Bush.
And the REAL research will come streaming in, telling us that hey, we are not having as big an effect on the climate as we thought. New data will show that the sun has been fluctuating, and that more warmth is actually good for us. More crops can be grown, less heating oil is used, etc, etc.

That two-foot sea level rise will shrink yet again, to a bare nickel's width per year - the same as has been going on for the last 10,000 years.....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

November 21, 2007

Thanks once again Mr Bush...

From an editorial in National Review....

Today’s papers bring news of an enormous advance in stem-cell research. Scientists in the United States and Japan have managed to turn regular human skin cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells — achieving what they’ve sought until now through the destruction of embryos, but without the need to use embryos, to use cloning, or to use eggs...

...In an effort to cause the country to abandon this conviction, some advocates of the research, including nearly every prominent Democrat in Congress, have made reckless and irresponsible promises, offered false hope to the suffering, depicted their opponents as heartless enemies of science, and exploited sick people for crass political gain.

Meanwhile, in an effort to defend that conviction, President Bush and most congressional Republicans have stood up to all that pressure, and have pursued an approach that seeks to advance science while also insisting on ethics. Contrary to the common myth, Bush never “banned” stem-cell research, or even federal funding for it. Instead, he permitted such funding, for the first time, in a way that could help basic science advance while not encouraging the ongoing destruction of human embryos. He acknowledged the importance of the science, acknowledged the importance of the ethics, and sought to champion both.

For several years now, the president has also clearly understood that the potential for scientific alternatives to the destruction of embryos could offer a powerful means to that end. Helped along by a variety of experts who saw that promise — perhaps most notably William Hurlbut of Stanford University, who was a member of Bush’s bioethics council — he came to recognize that stem-cell science could solve the ethical quandary stem-cell science had created. As early as 2005, Bush was speaking about “ethical ways of getting the same kind of cells now taken from embryos without violating human life or dignity.” And after trying unsuccessfully to get the Congress to support such new avenues of research, he acted on his own through an executive order this summer....

As someone said, Bush accomplishes more in a bad year than Clinton did in his whole 8 years.

And even if you do not care about this particular issue, SANE people should recognize that there should be the possibility that elected governments can exercise oversight in scientific research. I don't think it is sane to say, "Scientists should be allowed to discover or build anything they like, and we should all just pay them to do so and accept humbly whatever they decide to give us." Am I right? (shall I pause and give you Democrats an hour to scratch your heads?)

And therefore sane people should agree that something good has been accomplished. Ordinary Americans said they were not happy with the way certain research was going, and the political process produced a pause, and a change of direction. That's a good thing, right?

And the administration is not "anti-science." That's lying crap from people who can't compete in the arena of ideas. Imagine that researchers were hoping to save lives by inventing what could be an Ozone Layer-destroying chemical? Or by slaughtering baby seals? Would not Al Gore and Democrats be arguing for a slowdown? A change of direction? Alternatives? Hmmm? That would not be "anti-science."

Actually, if you scrutinize that "baby seal-destroying research" analogy, it gives one pause. To be more analogous, Republicans would have to be eager, nay HUNGRY for the destruction of baby seals. And they would have to ignore the fact that there were more promising lines of research that did not kill seals. And they would have to heap scorn on anyone not eager to club little seals en mass, and deride them as knuckle-dragging obscurantists who didn't want Christopher Reeve to be cured.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:27 AM

November 5, 2007

Yet another reason to be glad we have this President...

Jay Nordlinger:

As you may have heard, George W. Bush gave Oscar Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That is, he will present it to him on Monday. Or rather: He will give it to him in absentia. Dr. Biscet is a political prisoner in Cuba.
I have been yelling about him ever since this column began, I believe--- and that was in March 2001. (I think it was March.) He is one of the bravest and most inspired of the Cuban political prisoners. He is a physician, an "Afro-Cuban," a follower of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. If he were a prisoner of anyone but Castro-- a Communist dictator --he'd be world-famous. If he were a South African, under apartheid, he'd be on the stamps of virtually every country in the world...

...You will find a website dedicated to him here...

This is important! Why? Because the groups and organs that would normally be expected to protest human rights violations and fight for freedom are infected by the totalitarian sickness they supposedly are against. They support the brutal tropical hell-hole that is the Castro regime. They are on the other side, and Castro can commit any atrocity with impunity. They don't care at all

Only the President has the "bully pulpit" to bring such atrocities into public view. Most Presidents don't want to swim against the current like this. And even so, you won't be hearing much about Oscar Biscet on you TV news, I'm sure. I remember a few years ago when there was an award-winning documentary about political prisoners in Cuba. And all the local PBS affiliates were refusing to show it, or suggesting that it should only be shown if the Cuban government got "equal time" to refute it. Evil. These people are evil, and their concern about human rights is a sham.

And there is more you will not be hearing from your local Bolshie...

Jeff Jacoby:

...Peter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, has written that the conditions of Biscet's incarceration are like something out of Victor Hugo: "windowless and suffocating, with wretched sanitary conditions. The stench seeping from the pit in the ground that serves as a toilet is intensified by being compressed into an unventilated cell only as wide as a broom closet. . . . Biscet reportedly suffers from osteoarthritis, ulcers, and hypertension. His teeth, those that haven't fallen out, are rotted and infected."...

Keep that in mind when Leftists complain about Gitmo! (Jacoby's article has a picture of the sort of tiny cell Biscet is in. Keep it in mind when you read about US guards putting gloves on to handle Korans at Gitmo.)

...A prolife Christian physician, Biscet first ran afoul of the Castro regime in the 1990s, when he investigated Cuban abortion techniques - Cuba has by far the highest abortion rates in the Western Hemisphere - and revealed that numerous infants had been killed after being delivered alive....

Keep that one in mind when pro-choicers say "Of course I'm opposed to infanticide."

...In 1997, he began the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which seeks "to establish in Cuba a state based on the rule of law" and "sustained upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." In 1999, he was given a three-year sentence for "disrespecting patriotic symbols." To protest the regime's repression, he had hung a Cuban flag upside down....

Keep that in mind when lying leftists protest American "fascism" by burning our flag.

[Thanks to Betsy Newmark]

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

October 25, 2007

Yer gonna miss him when he's gone...

I agree with this 100%. Jay Nordlinger on Impromptus on National Review Online:

....Conservatives are down on President Bush, often unreasonably, I believe. I also think they’re a little ungrateful — ungrateful, spoiled, and smug. They will miss him sorely when he’s gone, I feel sure. This is true whether a Republican or a Democrat succeeds him.

One thing they will miss, I predict, is his truth-telling. I don’t believe they realize how rare it is to have a man in the highest office who over and over again tells the truth — boldly and unapologetically. I thought of this, not for the first time, when reading the speech Bush gave about Cuba yesterday. I hope you will want to read it all (here). But let me offer a couple of snippets:
Cuba’s rulers promised individual liberty. Instead they denied their citizens basic rights that the free world takes for granted. In Cuba it is illegal to change jobs, to change houses, to travel abroad, and to read books or magazines without the express approval of the state. It is against the law for more than three Cubans to meet without permission. Neighborhood Watch programs do not look out for criminals. Instead, they monitor their fellow citizens — keeping track of neighbors’ comings and goings, who visits them, and what radio stations they listen to. The sense of community and the simple trust between human beings is gone.
Cubans have made this point to me over and over again. One woman told me — in words I’ll never forget — “It takes a martyr-level courage even to function as a decent human being in Cuban society”: not to steal, not to inform, not to sell sexual favors, not to buy them, not to lie.

In the president’s speech, I was also interested and pleased to see the following:
Cuba’s rulers promised freedom of the press. Instead they closed down private newspapers and radio and television stations. They’ve jailed and beaten journalists, raided their homes, and seized their paper, ink and fax machines. One Cuban journalist asked foreigners who visited him for one thing: a pen.
The president had in mind Raúl Rivero, the former political prisoner — a poet and journalist now in exile in Spain.

Finally, consider this stirring paragraph:
. . . The socialist paradise is a tropical gulag. The quest for justice that once inspired the Cuban people has now become a grab for power. And as with all totalitarian systems, Cuba’s regime no doubt has other horrors still unknown to the rest of the world. Once revealed, they will shock the conscience of humanity. And they will shame the regime’s defenders and all those democracies that have been silent. One former Cuban political prisoner, Armando Valladares, puts it this way: It will be a time when “mankind will feel the revulsion it felt when the crimes of Stalin were brought to light.” And that time is coming.
I hope that is true; I’m not sure it is. The Western Left — soft and hard — has invested a great deal in Castroism, for the last 50 years. It will be very, very hard for them to give it up — to admit what Communism has done to Cuba and Cubans. I’ve argued about this with Armando before. But, again, I hope he is right; I hope he and the president are right; and that my skepticism is ill-founded.

To say once more: The president has told the truth. He has said things about Cuba that you will never hear from the major university faculties, or the major newspapers, or the major movie studios. And I, for one, will not forget it.

Yes, he spent too much in his first term; yes, he had steel tariffs in place for about two seconds; yes, the prescription-drug benefit is sketchy; yes, there have been mistakes on the war; yes, Harriet Miers — etc., etc. But do you realize how rare this president is? If you don’t now — I have a feeling you will later...

The Left won't learn, because they (most of them at least) don't care. Never did. They didn't care about Hitler's victims either, except as a useful club to bash the right. (The Nazis were socialists of course, with a few nationalist and conservative knobs added. But they are falsely portrayed as conservatives.) Millions have toured Auschwitz and other Nazi sites; How many go to view the camps of the Gulag? And have you ever met a lefty former Vietnam protester who agonizes over Cambodia? Ha ha, it is to laugh.

(Here's another great example of straight talk and honesty from our President.)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:47 PM

September 3, 2007

From the President's speech...

President Bush Visits and Thanks Troops in Anbar Province:

As you know, today is Labor Day back home so I thought I'd come by to thank you for all your hard work. Every day -- every day -- you show bravery under incredibly difficult circumstances. Every day you're doing work on the sands of Anbar that is making it safer in the streets of America. And every day the United States of America is grateful for what you're doing. I want you to tell your families the Commander-in-Chief stopped by to say hello, and he said, I'm incredibly proud to be the Commander-in-Chief of such a great group of men and women.

I'm keeping pretty good company, as you can see. I brought out the A Team so they could be with the folks who are making a significant difference in this war against these radicals and extremists. In Anbar you're seeing firsthand the dramatic differences that can come when the Iraqis are more secure. In other words, you're seeing success.

You see Sunnis who once fought side by side with al Qaeda against coalition troops now fighting side by side with coalition troops against al Qaeda. Anbar is a huge province. It was once written off as lost. It is now one of the safest places in Iraq. (Hooah.) Because of your hard work, because of your bravery and sacrifice, you are denying al Qaeda a safe haven from which to plot and plan and carry out attacks against the United States of America. What you're doing here is making this country safer, and I thank you for your hard work...

....ut I want to tell you this about the decision -- about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground -- not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media. In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure. To do otherwise would embolden our enemies and make it more likely that they would attack us at home. If we let our enemies back us out of Iraq, we will more likely face them in America. If we don't want to hear their footsteps back home, we have to keep them on their heels over here. And that's exactly what you're doing, and America is safer for it.....

I

Posted by John Weidner at 4:02 PM

August 19, 2007

Today's morsel...

The Anchoress, on BDS:

...Perils of Global Warming and How We’re All Going to Die Because Bush Killed Kyoto Even Though Clinton, In 1997, Did Not Even Submit The Treaty To Congress (Which Made A Point Of Unanimously Rejecting It Anyway) Because It Was Smart of Clinton To Reject It But Stoopit of Moron Bush To Kill It And Al Gore Deserves An Oscar And America Is Suffering And Disappearing Because of Evil Bush Who Is Bad And Evil And Who Makes Wars Against Peaceful People And There Is No Threat Of Islamofascism, There Is Only A Threat Of Christofascism And Other Conservative Sorts Of Fascists Things....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 PM

August 14, 2007

You've done well, Mr Rove...

I don't really have anything to say about Karl Rove's departure from the White House, except that I feel confident that history will call him a great man. My guess is that his job and passion is winning elections, and the White House is not where it's going to be happening this cycle. He'll be up to tricks somewhere, just wait. What a great time this is to be alive.

I wonder if his dubious line about "wanting to spend more time with his family" is a bit of Rovian deception. The press will smell the scandal they've been drooling for uselessly for the last six years, and the horrid little creatures will waste man-years of time speculating and chasing their tails, leaving them that much less time for other mischief...

Karl Rove

Posted by John Weidner at 11:21 AM

August 13, 2007

Thank you, President Bush!

AP, WASHINGTON - The federal deficit this budget year is running sharply lower, driven by record revenues pouring into government coffers.

The Treasury Department reported yesterday that the government produced a deficit of $157.3 billion for the budget year that began Oct. 1. That's a substantial improvement from the red ink of $239.6 billion produced for the corresponding 10-month period last year.

The lower year-to-date deficit was the result of a record $2.12 trillion in revenues. Spending, however, was higher - $2.27 trillion, which also marked an all-time high.

The White House predicts that the deficit this year will drop to $205 billion.

But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the government will produce even less red ink this year. It recently said the deficit will be "toward the lower end" of a range of $150 billion to $200 billion...

Who did this? The American people, who will always work wonders if only they are allowed to. And the big moment of the current chapter was in the year 2001, when George W Bush was first elected. A contested election, with Democrats controlling the Senate, with the economy heading south in the ruins of the Clinton dot.com bubble...well...I certainly didn't expect much of anything to happen!

And what happened? George Bush said, "I'm the President. And we need tax cuts. Congress, get busy and pass them." Right then, like the first week he was in office. And they did! The poor booby Dems were so unused to someone who believed in something that they just did what they were told. Truly I tell you, that was the peak (politically speaking) moment of my life. And there were more tax cuts to come. And they worked! And now we have one of the best economies in history. with years of steady growth , low unemployment, almost nonexistent inflation....So good that the slime-animals of our press have to stay up late thinking of ways to talk down our prosperity. "The Dow hit new highs today, but some analysts expressed concern that weak demand for pillow feathers means a housing slow-down is on the horizon."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:59 AM

August 11, 2007

"a final storm before breaking the enemy"

Victor Davis Hansen, from An NRO Symposium on Iraq :

...In a wider sense, the war is as most wars: an evolution from blunders to wisdom, the side that makes the fewest and learns from them the most eventually winning. Al Qaeda and the insurgents in 2004-6 developed the means, both tactical and strategic, to thwart the reconstruction, but we, not they, have since learned the more and evolved.

As in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, the present American military — which has committed far less mistakes than past American forces — has shifted tactics, redefined strategy, and found the right field commanders. We forget that the U.S. Army and Marines, far from being broken, now have the most experienced and wizened officers in the world. Like Summer 1864, Summer 1918, and in the Pacific 1944-5, the key is the support of a weary public for an ever improving military that must nevertheless endure a final storm before breaking the enemy.

The irony is that should President Bush endure the hysteria and furor and prove able to give the gifted Gen. Petraeus the necessary time — and I think he will — his presidency could still turn out to be Trumanesque, once we digest the changes in Europe, the progress on North Korea, the end of both the Taliban and Saddam, and the prevention of another 9/11 attack. How odd that all the insider advice to triangulate — big spending, new programs, uninspired appointments, liberal immigration reform — have nearly wrecked the administration, and what were once considered its liabilities — foreign policy, the war on terror and Iraq — may still save it....

I actually have a much more positive view of the Administration's domestic accomplishments, but I think Bush will indeed be considered "Trumanesqe" by history because he got the big one right on the field of battle. The Korean War was a bloody shambles, with 40,000 dead merely to preserve the status quo ante bellum. It seemed pointless to many. Lots of people at the time thought Truman was a failure. But history says otherwise, because the simple fact is, he saw that we had to fight the Cold War, and he fought it (in both its hot and cold aspects). The mistakes made were beyond counting, but it was ever thus...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:36 PM

August 7, 2007

The leftists "were like putty in our hands"

Mike Plaiss mentioned this WSJ piece to me. It's very good...


Propaganda Redux:
Take it from this old KGB hand: The left is abetting America's enemies with its intemperate attacks on President Bush.

....Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels. This same strategy is at work today, but it is regarded as bad manners to point out the Soviet parallels. For communists, only the leader counted, no matter the country, friend or foe. At home, they deified their own ruler--as to a certain extent still holds true in Russia. Abroad, they asserted that a fish starts smelling from the head, and they did everything in their power to make the head of the Free World stink.

The communist effort to generate hatred for the American president began soon after President Truman set up NATO and propelled the three Western occupation forces to unite their zones to form a new West German nation. We were tasked to take advantage of the reawakened patriotic feelings stirring in the European countries that had been subjugated by the Nazis, in order to shift their hatred for Hitler over into hatred for Truman--the leader of the new "occupation power." Western Europe was still grateful to the U.S. for having restored its freedom, but it had strong leftist movements that we secretly financed. They were like putty in our hands.

The European leftists, like any totalitarians, needed a tangible enemy, and we gave them one. In no time they began beating their drums decrying President Truman as the "butcher of Hiroshima." We went on to spend many years and many billions of dollars disparaging subsequent presidents: Eisenhower as a war-mongering "shark" run by the military-industrial complex, Johnson as a mafia boss who had bumped off his predecessor, Nixon as a petty tyrant, Ford as a dimwitted football player and Jimmy Carter as a bumbling peanut farmer. In 1978, when I left Romania for good, the bloc intelligence community had already collected 700 million signatures on a "Yankees-Go-Home" petition, at the same time launching the slogan "Europe for the Europeans."....

What's really sick is that our leftists have a little KGB man inside them, and keep on following orders from Comrade Yuri long after Communism has fallen and been discredited.

When I was young we were taught to respect the President, even if we disagreed with him politically. It's an American tradition, and traditions often have very good reasons behind them, as the above shows. One of the many important things that George W Bush did, upon becoming President, was to restore the dignity of the White House and the office of President that had been degraded by the Clintons. The Bush White House is not a place where staffers wear jeans and send out for pizza! This is done for the good of all of us.

And of course both Bush's follow American tradition in not criticizing other presidents [link, link].

Also, America's tradition is to support the president in war. America goes to war, not the president or his party. The current usage by leftists in calling the Iraq Campaign (voted by our Congress) "Bush's War" is a dirty thing. Evil and despicable. They are what the poet called "children of dirt."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:19 AM

July 28, 2007

Yes, it's a double standard! Good.

IHT: Three years after President George W. Bush urged global rules to stop additional nations from making nuclear fuel, the White House will announce on Friday that it is carving out an exception for India, in a last-ditch effort to seal a civilian nuclear deal between the countries.

The scheduled announcement, described Thursday by senior American officials, follows more than a year of negotiations intended to keep an unusual arrangement between the countries from being defeated in New Delhi.

Until the overall deal was approved by Congress last year, the United States was prohibited by U.S. law from selling civilian nuclear technology to India because it has refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The legislation passed by Congress allows the United States to sell both commercial nuclear technology and fuel to India, but would require a cutoff in nuclear assistance if India again tests a nuclear weapon. India's Parliament balked at the deal, with many politicians there complaining that the requirements infringed on India's sovereignty.

Under the arrangement that is to be announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Bush has agreed to go beyond the terms of the deal that Congress approved, promising to help India build a nuclear fuel repository and find alternative sources of nuclear fuel in the event of an American cutoff, skirting some of the provisions of the law.

In February 2004, Bush, in a major speech outlining new nuclear policies to prevent proliferation, declared that "enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." He won the cooperation of allies for a temporary suspension of new facilities to make fuel, but allies that include Canada and Australia have also expressed interest in uranium enrichment.

The problem is a delicate one for the administration, because this month American officials are working at the United Nations Security Council to win approval of harsher economic sanctions against Iran for trying to enrich uranium. India is already a nuclear weapons state and has refused to sign the treaty; Iran, a signer of the treaty, does not yet have nuclear weapons....

The world is changing. France and Germany are the past, India is the future. We need India, she needs us, and George W Bush is nurturing the relationship. Transition periods are painful for the old and brittle (which is, psychologically and spiritually, almost all Democrats and Europeans) but the History Train has already pulled out of the station.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 AM

July 20, 2007

fiskiting...

Once again, can't resist...

Bush's Cognitive Dissonance, By Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, Friday, July 20, 2007

One hopes the leader of the free world hasn't really, truly lost touch with objective reality. But one does have to wonder.

Last week, George W. Bush invited nine conservative pundits to the White House for what amounted to a pep talk, with the president providing the pep. Somehow I was left off the list -- must have been an oversight. But some columnists who attended have been writing about the meeting or describing it to colleagues, and their accounts are downright scary.

National Review's Kate O'Beirne, who joined the presidential chat in the Roosevelt Room, told me that the most striking thing was the president's incongruously sunny demeanor. Bush's approval ratings are well below freezing, the nation is sooooo finished with his foolish and tragic war, [Only if you think you and your lefty pals are "the nation"] many of his remaining allies in Congress have given notice that come September they plan to leave the Decider alone in his private Alamo -- and the president remains optimistic and upbeat. [It never enters your darkest dreams that Frodo might just toss the Ring into Mt Doom and then go home to Texas, content that he has done his duty, which is all any man can do. (You won't understand that, it's a Red State thing)]

Bush was "not at all weary or anguished" and in fact was "very energized," wrote Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report. He was "as confident and upbeat as ever," observed Rich Lowry of National Review. "Far from being beleaguered, Bush was assertive and good-humored," according to David Brooks of the New York Times. [It's so FUNNY, the way leftists keep expecting Bush to be "anguished," and then feeling BEWILDERED because he isn't! It's a subset of their bewilderment that the country is no longer what it was when their world-view gelled, somewhere around 1973. Guess what, I'm not "anguished either. I laugh at you, and spit upon your ideas.]

Excuse me? I guess he must be in an even better mood since the feckless Iraqi government announced its decision to take the whole month of August off while U.S. troops continue fighting and dying in Baghdad's 130-degree summer heat. [Uh, make that "fighting and winning." You have read the latest reports, haven't you Mr Robinson? The Iraqi parliament might as well take some time off and see how things develop.]

It's almost as if Bush were trying to apply the principles of cognitive therapy, the system psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck developed in the 1960s. Beck found that getting patients to banish negative thoughts and develop patterns of positive thinking was helpful in pulling them out of depression. However, Beck was trying to get the patients to see themselves and the world realistically, whereas Bush has left realism far behind. [Do we see transference here?]

"He says the most useful argument to make in support of his policy is to show what failure would mean," Barone wrote of the president and Iraq. "It would mean an ascendant radicalism, among both Shia and Sunni Muslims, and it would embolden sponsors of terrorism such as Iran. Al-Qaeda would be emboldened and would be able to recruit forces."

Excuse me again? This is what Bush believes would happen? Hasn't he noticed that these catastrophes have already befallen us? And that they are the direct consequence of his decision to invade and occupy Iraq? [No, they are a direct consequence of your Iranian and al Queda buddies PROVOKING radicalism and violence, because they are shit-scared of the possibility of a democracy in the heart of the Caliphate. As are you. When my enemies react with desperation, it probably means I'm doing something right.]

At a news conference last week, someone tried to point this out. Bush replied with such a bizarre version of history that I hope he was being cynical and doesn't really believe what he said: "Actually, I was hoping to solve the Iraqi issue diplomatically. That's why I went to the United Nations and worked with the United Nations Security Council, which unanimously passed a resolution that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. That was the message, the clear message to Saddam Hussein. He chose the course. . . . It was his decision to make."

Let's see, we have learned that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. That means Bush is claiming that Saddam Hussein "chose" the invasion -- and, ultimately, his own death -- by not showing us what he didn't have. [That is the simple truth. If the inspectors had had really free access, they would have found no WMD's and probably aborted the invasion. Of course it is likely that by then Saddam himself wasn't sure whether he had them or not! His generals thought Iraq did. And, to be precise, UN 1441 mandated that Iraq account for the weapons found in 1992, not show it had none. Funny how I've yet to see a single lefty mention that little fact.]

"Bush gives the impression that he is more steadfast on the war than many in his own administration and that, if need be, he'll be the last hawk standing," wrote Lowry. The president says the results of his recent troop escalation will be evaluated by Gen. David Petraeus, wrote Barone, and not by "the polls."

Translation: Everybody's out of step but me. [That's how great leaders are seen sometimes. But in fact he is in step with an enormous number of people. Wapo just doesn't want to admit we exist.]

One of the more unnerving reports out of the president's seminar with the pundits came from Brooks, who quoted Bush as saying: "It's more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn't exist."

It's bad enough that Osama bin Laden is still out there plotting bloody acts of terrorism, convinced that God wants him to slay the infidels. Now we know that the president of the United States believes God has chosen him to bring freedom to the world, that he refuses to acknowledge setbacks in his crusade and that he flat-out doesn't care what "the polls" -- meaning the American people -- might think. I'm having trouble seeing the bright side. I think I need cognitive therapy. [OK bigshot, why don't you take a poll of Americans and find out how many of us believe that freedom is a "gift of the Almighty?" Oh, and while you are at it, ask how many agree with the Washington Post, that life is meaningless, and there is no god, and that fighting for a better world is equivalent to terrorism?]

Posted by John Weidner at 12:56 PM

July 16, 2007

Nasty surprises coming...

Dr Sanity writes:

...Ledeen [link] is also absolutely correct about the surrender monkey part of the post. Al Qaeda's secret weapon; the Jihadi's "aces-in-the-hole," are none other than the pathetic leadership of the Democratic Party and their dysfunctional puppet-masters on the left, who are absolutely desperate to make sure that America officially loses; because in America's defeat and humiliation, they sense victory for their petty political agenda. They hope to finally succeed (they think) in discrediting George W. Bush, their hated enemy, for all time.

But I think Bush has several nasty (at least for them) surprises in store before the end of his term of office. Whatever you think about the President, he is a man who means what he says; and he acts on what he says. You can disagree vehemently with his agenda, but he will not be deflected by negative polls or lack of popularity...

All true. And the general pattern of the Bush Presidency has been to deliver the "nasty surprises" sometime around September. (Some thoughts here.) Andy Card once drew a ton of flack for saying, in regards to Bush's apparent inactivity in August 2002, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.'' Which was, in fact, a sensible thing to say, since the president is not a dictator, ruling by decree. He has to "market" his policies. And he's done very well at it.

I was very disappointed last year, 2006, when nothing of the sort happened. Although, in fact, something was cooking. It was labeled "the Surge." And it's going to be a very nasty surprise for our terror-supporters if the President gets up in the Bully Pulpit and explains convincingly that violence in Iraq is on the road to extinction, and we've basically won. Peace is the last thing the pacifists want.

I would only disagree with Dr Sanity in that I think lefty hatred of Bush and the Iraq Campaign has much deeper roots than just politics. The WoT is hated because it's based on the idea that what we have and are is worth fighting for. To the nihilist, that's the ultimate reproach and irritation�they have nothing they would fight and die for. And Bush himself is the symbol of that.

More from the good doctor:

...When it comes to Iraq and the war on terror, Like Kristol, I will go out on a limb and say that this Presidency will be judged well by history for his actions--however imperfect--in the war against Islamic fascism. It is amazing what he has been able to accomplish militarily with so little loss of life (despite all the hysteria, troop fatalities are historically low in this war). And, perhaps even more significant, Bush has significantly changed the status quo in the Middle East. He has set forces in motion that had been static and perpetually stalled on the side of despotism. Some will argue that the stasis was a good thing, but I don't see it that way. If nothing else, the world has now had a good taste of what the jihadis have been plotting for the last few decades and have begun to appreciate the potential danger to freedom and Western civilization inherent in Islamic political ideology.

Thus, I will continue to support this imperfect President (and what President, pray tell, has been even close to perfect?); the troops fighting the war; and America...

My sentiments, exactly.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 AM

July 14, 2007

Reports of his death perhaps exaggerated...

President Bush gave an interview to 10 conservative writers recently. Kate O'Biern and Rich Lowry have a report in NRO, He’s Not for Turning. Bush makes his case on Iraq.. Bush is not, perhaps, exactly Churchillian, but it's pretty good...

Forget the leaks and the speculation, President George W. Bush is not looking for a way out of the surge and the Iraq war. In a session with about ten conservative journalists Friday afternoon, a confident and determined president made it clear that he is going to see the surge through, and will rely on General David Petraeus’s advice on how to proceed come September, regardless of the political climate in Washington...Excellent. And I suspect all this may work out better than the pessimists expect.

...Pressed on whether the surge can be sustained despite all the difficulties, he said, “That’s the challenge, but I’m optimistic about it.” He said that back in January, “I suspect you’d be asked the same question, particularly since the outcry was quite significant.” But he went with the surge.

“How can he possibly do this,” he said, characterizing what critics of the war were thinking. “Can’t he see? Can’t he hear?” (At one point he acknowledged that these decisions aren’t easy — “You don’t know what it’s like to be commander-in-chief until you’re commander-in-chief,” he said.)

He explained “that last fall, if I had been part of this polling, if they had called upstairs and said, do you approve of Iraq I would have been on the 66 percent who said, `No I don’t approve.’ That’s why I made the decision I made. To get in a position where I would be able to say ‘Yes, I approve.’...

....He says he has four audiences when he broadcasts his commitment to the mission in Iraq: the American public; the American military and their families; the Iraqis (“because there are a lot of people who doubt America’s resolve”); and the enemy (“the enemy thinks that we are weak — they’re sophisticated people, and they listen to the debate”). As for that last audience, “I really think the additional forces into Iraq surprised them—a lot.”....I hadn't thought of it that way. Poor al Qaeda, they slaughter thousands of innocent men women and children, and then their newsmedia/Democrat/pacifist wing fails to carry out its part of the bargain, and there's MORE Americans coming! Suuuprise! I bet they were flummoxed!

....The president made his intentions clear Friday afternoon. He’s not going to abandon the surge, despite all the talk of his administration being willing to move to the Iraq Study Group model of the Iraq war. He views “this period as fundamental for deciding whether or not this nation is going to be secure throughout a lot of the 21st century. And therefore when it comes to the war in Iraq, as you know, I made a decision not to leave but to put more in, and I will support our troops and support Gen. Petraeus, his plan.”....Thank you. I'll depend on it.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

June 22, 2007

"Clarion of freedom"

Sorry, I'm probably out of the mainstream here, but I think you all oughta appreciate George W Bush now, because you aren't going to see his like again in your lifetime. And in about 20 years, when he's regarded as bigger than Reagan, you will have to scurry over and pretend you gave him heartfelt support all along...

This happened weeks ago, but just came to light today...

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, June 21, 2007; Washington Post:

On May 31, President Bush met for 35 minutes in the private living quarters of the White House with Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Hong Kong, in an event that was not announced and did not appear on his official schedule. Their meeting did not please the State Department, elements of the Catholic hierarchy and certainly not the Chinese government. But it signifies what George W. Bush is really about.

In Hong Kong, Zen enjoys more freedom to speak out than do his fellow bishops in China proper, and he has become known as the spiritual voice of China's beleaguered democracy movement. Since Hong Kong was handed over to Beijing by the British government in 1997, he has increasingly called for both religious freedom and democracy in China. Consequently, the China desk at the State Department in Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing contended that, for the sake of Sino-American relations, it would be a bad idea for the president to invite the cardinal. So did some of Zen's fellow cardinals.

So, why did the president invite him? The fact that no news of the session leaked out for two weeks indicates that this was no political stunt to revive Bush's anemic poll ratings. The president got divided counsel from his advisers regarding the impact the meeting would have on China's rulers. As he nears the end of a troubled presidency, Bush as a man of faith places the plight of the religious in unfree countries at the top of his agenda...

Cardinal Zen! And the cowboy! Two titans. This must have hit State Department commies and certain Vatican Euro-weenies like being doused with pails of ice-water. Makes me cackle and grin. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Charlene says, "They have no clue what's going on." That's for sure.

...But more important to Bush than advice from a college chum is what he believes, as the difficult days of what has been an unpopular presidency dwindle. He met in Washington last year with dissident "House Christians" from China. Speaking in Prague, a week after his talk with Zen, Bush affirmed his position on the side of religious dissidents everywhere: "Freedom is the design of our Maker, and the longing of every soul."...

...Bush asked Zen whether he was the "bishop of all China." Replying that his diocese was just Hong Kong, Zen told Bush of the plight of Catholics in China, including five imprisoned bishops. The cardinal is reported by sources close to him to have left the White House energized and inspired. George W. Bush is at a low point among his fellow citizens, but he is still a major figure for Catholics in China who look to him as a clarion of freedom....

"but he is still a major figure for Catholics in China who look to him as a clarion of freedom..." Got news for you, kiddos. People all over this planet think the same thing. Just as prisoners in the Gulag used to pass scraps of paper with Reagan's words of freedom on them, people are passing the words and deeds of George W Bush right now. And Reagan came through for the hundreds of millions who were oppressed by communism, despite everything the Democrats and pacifists and realists doing everything they could to keep them enslaved.

And the same thing is happening now. As always, the process is messy and bloody and slow, but the Freedom Train is rolling, and the Democrats and sneering leftists and diplomats and Quakers won't be able to stop it.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:21 PM

June 21, 2007

The civil rights battleground of our time...

One of the things that infuriates me about a lot of "conservatives" is the way they refer to NCLB (the No Child Left Behind Act) as a foolish liberal boondoggle, and an example of Bush's naivete in working with Teddy Kennedy. In fact the money involved was a sweetener (and a bribe) for a bill that gave the feds some extremely big sticks to force change on the nation's public schools. And public schools are the civil rights battleground of our time, where the poor and minorities suffer oppression to maintain the power base of the Democrat Party. (Hmmm. Funny thing how these things repeat. Slavery, defended by Democrats. Jim Crow....defended by Democrats.) I think Teddy was snookered by a much smarter guy.

But it has been frustrating for me because there is little reporting on the subject. The Big Stick won't work unless it is used, and bureaucrats tend to resist doing what the Bush Administration wants. And I don't know much about what's going on under the surface. This article, By Nancy Zuckerbrod, is rather interesting...

NEW YORK - The scarlet letter in education these days is an "R." It stands for restructuring — the purgatory that schools are pushed into if they fail to meet testing goals for six straight years under the No Child Left Behind law.

Nationwide, about 2,300 schools are either in restructuring or are a year away and planning for such drastic action as firing the principal and moving many of the teachers, according to a database provided to The Associated Press by the Education Department. Those schools are being warily eyed by educators elsewhere as the law's consequences begin to hit home.

Schools fall into this category after smaller changes, such as offering tutoring, fall short. The effort is supposed to amount to a major makeover, and it has created a sense of urgency that in some schools verges on desperation....(Thanks to Orrin)

See below for a bit more of the article. Including the sentence, "The administration also wants the federal law to override provisions in collective bargaining agreements." Jeez, for being "not conservative," Bush sure does some funny things...

....Other changes the administration is pushing include giving schools in restructuring more options. The Education Department has proposed letting them become charter schools, which are public but operate more freely than traditional schools, regardless of state limits on how many charter schools are allowed. The administration also wants the federal law to override provisions in collective bargaining agreements to ensure failing schools have complete control over who works there.

"These are schools where there are some significant problems," Briggs said. "Without more serious action, we're going to keep getting what we've gotten."

Regardless of whether No Child Left Behind is altered, the message is getting to schools that they must make real changes now, said Douglas Anthony, principal of Arrowhead Elementary in Upper Marlboro, Md., a suburb of Washington.

During a recent visit, first and fourth graders alike were busy with math and reading basics.

It was around 2 p.m, shortly before the school day was to end, and a time when elementary-age students might typically be playing tag, working on craft projects or just easing into the end of the academic day.

But at Arrowhead, a school in the restructuring planning stage, math worksheets were on the desks, kids were sounding out vowels and special-ed teachers were working with small groups of children.

Superintendent Deasy acknowledges the atmosphere at Arrowhead is more intense than at schools that aren't facing restructuring. He said lessons at schools missing testing goals have to be very targeted, and he says there often isn't time for electives and free play like at other schools.

Critics of the law complain about such constraints. But Deasy said Arrowhead's test scores are heading in the right direction, precisely because students are on task and teachers are talking about instruction rather than cafeteria menus or bus schedules.

Said Principal Anthony: "There's a new level of urgency about the work we have to do for students."
Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

June 16, 2007

The "struggle of memory" goes on today...

...because a lot of people still want you to forget what the logical end-point of all leftism is. From the President's speech, at the dedication of Victims of Communism Memorial, Washington, D.C...

...The sacrifices of these individuals haunt history -- and behind them are millions more who were killed in anonymity by Communism's brutal hand. They include innocent Ukrainians starved to death in Stalin's Great Famine; or Russians killed in Stalin's purges; Lithuanians and Latvians and Estonians loaded onto cattle cars and deported to Arctic death camps of Soviet Communism. They include Chinese killed in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution; Cambodians slain in Pol Pot's Killing Fields; East Germans shot attempting to scale the Berlin Wall in order to make it to freedom; Poles massacred in the Katyn Forest; and Ethiopians slaughtered in the "Red Terror"; Miskito Indians murdered by Nicaragua's Sandinista dictatorship; and Cuban balseros who drowned escaping tyranny. We'll never know the names of all who perished, but at this sacred place, Communism's unknown victims will be consecrated to history and remembered forever.

We dedicate this memorial because we have an obligation to those who died, to acknowledge their lives and honor their memory. The Czech writer Milan Kundera once described the struggle against Communism as "the struggle of memory against forgetting." Communist regimes did more than take their victims' lives; they sought to steal their humanity and erase their memory. With this memorial, we restore their humanity and we reclaim their memory. With this memorial, we say of Communism's innocent and anonymous victims, these men and women lived and they shall not be forgotten....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 AM

June 13, 2007

Candid...

An excerpt from the Press conference after the President's speech in Prague.

...Q. Can I go back to your democracy speech?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Did you like it?

Q I loved it.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Say that in your stories.

Q I'll say it anywhere. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: What did he say?

Q I'll say it anywhere.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. How about in print? (Laughter.)

Q Oh, well --

THE PRESIDENT: That may be taking it too far. (Laughter.)...

And of course that was taking it too far, since the major media of course do not report anything that makes the President look good. Unless maybe when he's cooperating with Teddy Kennedy. And they didn't in this case; the speech got little attention. (And the self-styled conservatives aren't interested either—They cover their ears and say immigrationimmigrationimmigration.)

Me, I think that those conservatives (including myself) who find the immigration bill toxic should still be supporting the President on many other issues. But that's not binary enough for most people. a lot of conservatives right now seem to me to resemble poor Andrew Sullivan, who couldn't just disagree on his one big issue, but yet stay constant on the other ones. Once he linked up with Dems on the gay marriage issue, he had to cobble-up reasons why everything Republicans were doing was wrong. even though he contradicted all his previous views and just made himself look like an idiot.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 AM

May 28, 2007

Because of their sacrifice...

From the President's Radio Address:

...On Memorial Day, our Nation honors Sergeant Christoff's final request. We pray for our men and women serving in harm's way. We pray for their safe return. And we pray for their families and loved ones, who also serve our country with their support and sacrifice.

On Memorial Day, we rededicate ourselves to freedom's cause. In Iraq and Afghanistan, millions have shown their desire to be free. We are determined to help them secure their liberty. Our troops are helping them build democracies that respect the rights of their people, uphold the rule of law, and fight extremists alongside America in the war on terror. With the valor and determination of our men and women in uniform, I am confident that we will succeed and leave a world that is safer and more peaceful for our children and grandchildren.

On Memorial Day, we also pay tribute to Americans from every generation who have given their lives for our freedom. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, brave men and women have given up their own futures so that others might have a future of freedom. Because of their sacrifice, millions here and around the world enjoy the blessings of liberty. And wherever these patriots rest, we offer them the respect and gratitude of our Nation.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

May 20, 2007

EMR's...cool

The Economist writes:

The federal government is giving a push to EMRs, following the lead of the Veterans' Health Administration (VHA). Studies have shown that thanks in large part to its sophisticated national database, the VHA has fewer patient errors and better health outcomes than the health system at large, despite the fact that its patients tend to be older, poorer and sicker. George Bush wants a system of universal health-records by 2015. And Medicare, the government-run health scheme for pensioners, is shifting to a tiered reimbursement system in which it pays doctors more if they go electronic.

Employers are also keen on technology, since it promises to curb health-care costs and improve efficiency. Intel, BP, Wal-Mart and several other big companies got together last year to form Dossia, an independent, non-profit company that will develop an EMR system to give employees lifelong, portable medical histories. And over a hundred other firms including Dell, IBM and Microsoft now allow employees to manage their health affairs via WebMD, a big health-information website.

Wayne Gattinella, WebMD's boss, says the popularity of this corporate product persuaded his firm to develop a version for individual consumers, supported by “discreet” targeted ads for pills, devices or relevant consumer products. “The consumer will be the catalyst to drive doctors and community hospitals to adopt IT,” he says.

Intuit, known for its accounting software, is convinced the market is ready for health-care software too. But when it tested such a product last year, it found that users were frustrated at having to fill in so many forms and search for bills and records to which they did not have easy access. So it now plans to offer its software in conjunction with health insurers, so that payment data and other information can be filled in automatically.

Aetna, a big insurance firm, has taken a different path by acquiring ActiveHealth, a firm that provides EMRs for around 14.5m users and also scours those health records with decision-support software to spot signs of trouble (such as missed doctors' appointments or early warnings of obesity). Aetna plans to offer this software to its own customers...

Well, just add this to the list of things being accomplished by the failed/beseiged/dead-in-the-water/lame duck/not-conservative Bush administration.

EMR stands for electronic medical record. The real reason they are a big deal is that if you had your medical records in a standardized electronic form, and your doctor recommended treatment, you could get a second opinion just by sending an e-mail. And, more importantly, you could get BIDS for your treatment, from other providers, without them having to re-examine you. That should start to shake things up.

(Thanks to Orrin)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

April 9, 2007

Item for my list...

I have a lonnng list of reasons why I think George W. Bush will be considered one of the great presidents. (No, I don't agree with everything he does or says, nor do I think he doesn't make mistakes.) Here's a small but significant item to add to the list.

....President Bush has played an unsung role in combating worldwide anti-Semitism and in seeking to stem the surge of anger that has swept the world in the last decade.

The White House required East European nations that sought to join NATO to offer concrete proposals to combat anti-Semitism in their countries. "I have to give a lot of credit to the Bush administration," said Rabbi Andrew Baker, director of international Jewish affairs at the American Jewish Committee. "A major decision in NATO enlargement has been dealing with Jewish issues. The U.S. has repeatedly raised these issues."...(Thanks to Orrin)

It's a Christian thing. Certain people tend to refer to Bush and Rice (and Rumsfeld and Cheney) as Neo-cons. They are not Neo-cons (and none of those people who fling the term around carelessly are able or willing to define it. Try them. And what's worse, they don't care, They don't care that they are telling lies.)

Bush and Rice are best termed "Theo-cons." As am I. And WE are running the circus. (Cue famous quote by Alexander Haig.) After 9/11, we used the Neo-cons, for obvious reasons I've pointed out before. The link, by the way, is to a quote from a very good pre-derangement piece by Andrew Sullivan. Worth reading; it stands up well after 4 years. In fact, I'll just quote a bit now---but read it all...

....When George W. Bush looked around him in the ashes of the World Trade Center for an analysis of what had gone wrong and a comprehensive strategy to put it right, the neoconservatives were the only credible advocates who had an actual plan. They weren't a cabal. And they weren't natural Bush allies. Men like the Pentagon's Richard Perle or Douglas Feith or Paul Wolfowitz or the Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer and Bob Kagan, or the New Republic's Lawrence Kaplan or the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol: all these had been bitter foes of Bush's father, brutal critics of his foreign policy. The Washington Post and New Republic had endorsed Al Gore for president. The Weekly Standard had backed John McCain in the primaries. The reason they rallied behind Bush in the wake of 9/11 was simply because he was the president. And the reason Bush reached out to these theorists was because history had proved them right and disaster had proved them prescient....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 AM

February 2, 2007

Square reality-peg squashed once again into round hole...

This post isn't about President Bush's proposed tightening of Federal MPG regulations [No position. Sorry, can't opine about everything, feel free to comment] but rather the increasingly weird disconnect between reality and the collective unconscious on the Rive Gauche. The unacceptable-to-certain-people fact is that Bush is very "green," and has been all along. But the leftish narrative says that Republicans are environmental plunderers, so that's what must be true.

Of course we all adjust our pictures of the world to fit a story, but what's going on now is a huge distortion. You might want to scan this piece, by Gregg Easterbrook: Give Bush credit for his energy proposal:

...Last week Bush proposed something environmentalists, energy analysts, greenhouse-effect researchers, and national-security experts have spent 20 years pleading for: a major strengthening of federal mileage standards for cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. The No. 1 failing of U.S. energy policy is that vehicle mile-per-gallon standards have not been made stricter in two decades....

....This should have been Page One headline material—PRESIDENT CALLS FOR DRAMATIC MPG REGULATIONS. Instead, most news organizations pretended Bush's mpg proposal did not exist, or buried the story inside the paper, or made only cryptic references to it....

....What's going on? First, mainstream news organizations and pundits are bought and sold on a narrative of Bush as an environmental villain and simply refuse to acknowledge any evidence that contradicts the thesis. During his term the president has significantly strengthened the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution caused by diesel fuel and diesel engines, to reduce emissions from Midwestern power plants, to reduce pollution from construction equipment and railroad locomotives, and to reduce emissions of methane, which is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. You'd never know these reforms even happened from the front page of the New York Times, which for reasons of ideology either significantly downplays or fails to report them....

This is a denial-of-reality almost as big as the things needed to fit Iraq into the Vietnam template...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 AM

January 17, 2007

Surprise, surprise...

U.S. Forces Fighting Iranians In Iraq - CBS News:

As President Bush tries to sell his new Iraq policy, his administration is keeping an eye on another threat — Iran, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

U.S. officials tell CBS News that American forces have begun an aggressive and mostly secret ground campaign against networks of Iranians that had been operating with virtual impunity inside Iraq.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress on Friday that Iranians are now on the target list.

"Twice in the last two or three weeks, in pursuit of those networks, when we have gone and captured those cells, we've captured Iranians," said Gen. Peter Pace.

According to U.S. military figures, 198 American and British soldiers have been killed, and more than 600 wounded by advanced explosive devices manufactured in Iran and smuggled in through the southern marshes and along the Tigris River. Attempts to disrupt these networks, combined with the decision to send a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran, significantly raises the stakes, according to former Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk...(Thanks to Rand)

What's this? We are in conflict with Iran? Who'd a dreamed? Or rather, who would dream that an American government would ever admit it? Well, one can't expect them to be hasty. Iran has only been at war with us since 1979. We don't want to rush into anything...

I think the Bush Administration has been making a grievous mistake, and really, is mostly continuing to do so, in trying to sweep the iranian issue under the carpet. And it just doesn't make sense. I can understand a Democrat administration denying the existence of war or danger, dangers which would shine a spotlight on the deep-rooted anti-Americanism typical of the core of the party... But what the hell did Bush think he would gain by playing this game? Did he think Democrats would like him even one-percent more if he was mealy-mouthed about the dangers we face? Phooey. They would hate him even if he put on Gandhi-robes and led peace marches. Did the think the fake-pacifists would cut him the slightest bit of slack for being pacific? Pacifists don't give a flying blippity blip blip blip about war or peace. Their adgenda is something else...

And mainly, he is making a big mistake by not trusting the American people.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:59 AM

December 30, 2006

“He scaaaares me,”

Dean Barnett shares some of my frustration with a certain American irresolution and fuzzyness in the War on Terror in recent times. But, he also sees the other side of the question...

...But President Bush has his strengths. The weak-kneed among us, like the NewYork Times editorial board and the president’s father, never knew what to do with Saddam Hussein. George W. Bush did – kill him. At his best, Bush shows a focus and a harshness that scares the stuffing out of the rest of the world.

Our enemies were watching last night. I bet Bashir Assad was picturing his neck in that noose, knowing full well that George W. Bush’s ire would be something that John Kerry, Arlen Specter and any other sympathetic Senatorial dhimmis would be unable to save him from. Kim Jong Il and a host of loonies in Iran probably took notice as well. For them, the sad fact is that they remain alive only at the pleasure of George W. Bush. I doubt that thought gives them much comfort.

I’VE NEVER OFFERED THE FOLLOWING SPECULATION in print, primarily because I didn’t want to jinx things. But I think the main reason we haven’t had a repeat of 9/11 or something worse in over five years is because George W. Bush scares the s**t out of his enemies. When domestic liberals whine, “He scaaaares me,” they really mean it. The world’s bad people feel the same way. The American reprisals to a terror attack that took place under George W. Bush’s watch would likely be swift, brutal and disproportionate....

"Swift, brutal and disproportionate.." That describes our response to 9/11. And it was exactly the right thing to do. We didn't just pursue al Qaeda, we invaded and deconstructed TWO terror-supporting Muslim countries. One of them in the very heartland of Arab culture and history. There's not the slightest doubt that we freaked-out our enemies (and we got to fight a lot of al Qaeda thugs to boot). And that's what we are supposed to do. This is a WAR.

Our actions are supposed to be "swift, brutal and disproportionate..." In fact, this is traditional, and there's even a old-fashioned locution to refer to this concept. The term (and this is a very specialized and technical word; you Democrats and fake-pacifists will probably be in over your heads here) is: WINNING.

Many of you have probably been taught that war is a thing to be cherished and coddled, like an endangered species. Pacifists for instance. But war is very destructive, in fact it is harmful to children and other living things, and it is better to bring them to an end. Dean mentions in his piece several little-known techniques to get to the condition called "winning." Such as "focus," "harshness," and scaring the bejeezus out of terrorist animals and genocidal tyrants...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:03 PM

December 3, 2006

Transformative...

Orrin, on comparisons of the accomplisments of George W Bush and Ronald Reagan...

....We of a certain age can recall when even the Right had turned on the Gipper for meeting with Gorbachev, raising taxes and losing the Senate, while the Left had Iran-Contra to brandish about. But, as with Reagan then, W has already accomplished so much that irrespective of the final two years of his presidency he'll eventually rank with the great or near great, not the failures. Even setting aside foreign affairs -- where both the emerging special relationship with India and the liberalization of the Middle East will rank as historic achievements -- Mr. Bush has on the credit side of the ledger: multiple tax cuts; HSAs; the vouchers and anti-Darwinist measures in NCLB; the Faith-Based Initiative; abortion and bio-engineering limitations; civil service reforms and competitive-sourcing of federal jobs; retirement reforms; commencing the deconstruction of the 20th Century military; economic growth in every year of his presidency (though he, like Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior owes that mostly to RWR); two major appointments that could positively influence the country for years (Chief Justice Roberts, who has the potential to be a conservative Earl Warren, and the deflation hawk Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke); and more I'm likely forgetting off the top of my head.

The Left and far Right don't hate guys like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush because they're ineffective, but precisely because they are so successful in enacting measures that their opponents (and putative allies) abhor. W, thanks mostly to a Republican House and Senate, was able to get more done than Reagan was and will, as a result, rank even higher one day....

I'd say this list is about right. There are things I'm worried about at present. Mostly I'm worried right now about the appearance of an administration that's run out of steam. But even if Bush sits on his hands for the next two years, he'll still be viewed by history as a transformative president.

There's a larger lens you can use to look at almost everything Bush has done. We are entering a new era. The Industrial Age is over, and all sorts of ideas and institutions associated with it are brittle, rigid, and they are cracking and crumbling. And Bush has, both in real and symbolic ways, been helping us to shed the old skin. Think of him scuppering Kyoto, the ABM Treaty, ICC, Arafat. And updating Westphalia, and openly saying we will defend Taiwan. And at least proposing to privatize Social Security. He's been rather brutally scraping off all sorts of stupid 20th Century cruft. It's quite proper that leftists should hate him, because their entire mental landscape is a desert of failed 20th Century hogwash.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 PM

November 23, 2006

Be thankful for America, and believe in her!

My country, you are best hope of freedom for our world. Many hate you and revile you and hope that you will fail.

But even here in the nihilist darkness of Pelosiville, we give thanks for this great land.

And especially for the men and women of our armed forces. Billions of ingrates sleep safely because you police the sea-lanes and fight terrorist bandits in distant swamps and deserts. Thank you!
President Bush serving on chow line
From President Bush's address, during his surprise Thanksgiving trip to Iraq in 2003:

....I'm particularly proud to be with the 1st Armored Division, the 2nd ACR, the 82nd Airborne. I can't think of a finer group of folks to have Thanksgiving dinner with than you all. We're proud of you. Today, Americans are gathering with their loved ones to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. And this year we are especially thankful for the courage and the sacrifice of those who defend us, the men and women of the United States military.

I bring a message on behalf of America: We thank you for your service, we're proud of you, and America stands solidly behind you. Together, you and I have taken an oath to defend our country. You're honoring that oath. The United States military is doing a fantastic job. You are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq, so that we don't have to face them in our own country. You're defeating Saddam's henchmen, so that the people of Iraq can live in peace and freedom.

By helping the Iraqi people become free, you're helping change a troubled and violent part of the world. By helping to build a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East, you are defending the American people from danger and we are grateful.

You're engaged in a difficult mission. Those who attack our coalition forces and kill innocent Iraqis are testing our will. They hope we will run. We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost in casualties, defeat a brutal dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.

We will prevail. We will win because our cause is just. We will win because we will stay on the offensive. And we will win because you're part of the finest military ever assembled. And we will prevail because the Iraqis want their freedom...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:21 AM

November 20, 2006

This makes me feel much better...

Fred Barnes, in the Weekly Standard

RARELY HAS THE PRESS gotten a story so wrong. Robert Gates, President Bush's choice to replace Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, is not the point man for a boarding party of former national security officials from the elder President Bush's administration taking over defense and foreign policy in his son's administration. The media buzz about the realists of Bush 41, so cautious and practical, supplanting the idealists of Bush 43, whose grandiose, neoconservative thinking got us stuck in Iraq, is wrong.

President Bush--the current one--decided to hire Gates two days before the November 7 election. He didn't consult his father. He didn't talk to James Baker, his father's secretary of state and now co-head of the Iraq Study Group, whose official advice on Iraq is expected in December. Nor did he tell Rumsfeld that he was lining up someone to take his job.

Before hiring him, Bush had to make sure Gates didn't think America's intervention in Iraq was a mistake and wasn't deeply skeptical of Bush's decision to make democracy promotion a fundamental theme of American foreign policy. With Gates, it came down to this: "The fundamental question was, was he Brent Scowcroft or not?" a Bush aide says....

...Gates had at least one supporter inside Bush's circle, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She, too, had worked for Scowcroft in the senior Bush's administration. She told the president that whenever she had sought to wean Scowcroft from a narrow realist position--such as his dismissal of Russian democratic leader Boris Yeltsin as a rube and his unyielding support for Mikhail Gorbachev--she turned to Gates for help....

Too cool. The press got it wrong (if Barnes is right) and the dextrosphere too. I can't count the number of opinions I've read about how it's all over but for the helicopters landing on the embassy roof. And how the author knew all along that Bush wasn't a conservative, and would sell us all out and cut deals with new pal Nancy.

And the part about Secretary of State Rice is interesting too. How little those on the outside know of what's really going on! How eager I am to read the memoirs that will be coming out over the next decade or two...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 PM

November 18, 2006

"Provocative"

I thought this was interesting; Bush may not be quite the beached whale Democrats hope he is...

Bush Choice for Family-Planning Post Criticized
By Christopher Lee Washington Post Staff Writer 11/17/06

The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women."

Eric Keroack, medical director for A Woman’s Concern, a nonprofit group based in Dorchester, Mass., will become deputy assistant secretary for population affairs in the next two weeks, department spokeswoman Christina Pearson said yesterday.

Keroack, an obstetrician-gynecologist, will advise Secretary Mike Leavitt on matters such as reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy. He will oversee $283 million in annual family-planning grants that, according to HHS, are "designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons."

The appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, was the latest provocative personnel move by the White House since Democrats won control of Congress in this month’s midterm elections. President Bush last week pushed the Senate to confirm John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations and this week renominated six candidates for appellate court judgeships who have previously been blocked by lawmakers. Democrats said the moves belie Bush’s post-election promises of bipartisanship.

The Keroack appointment angered many family-planning advocates, who noted that A Woman’s Concern supports sexual abstinence until marriage, opposes contraception and does not distribute information promoting birth control at its six centers in eastern Massachusetts...
[Ha ha. What fun to imagine all the little chomskyettes biting into THOSE lemons!]

It is important to note that there is a nasty bit of deception included here by our betters in the Old Media. While it's true that nominations must be resubmitted after a long recess, this rule can be over-ridden by the Senate. And in fact, as Matthew Hoy recently explained, it normally has been in the past, as a routine part of Senatorial courtesy. Bill Clinton never had to re-submit his nominations! It is the Dems who are making a provocative partisan move here. And they are filthy liars to imply otherwise.

And it's purely twisted for Dems and their media understrappers to imply that it is odd or wrong or "provocative" for a conservative President to nominate conservatives. (Or for the President of a Christian nation to nominate Christians.) Innuendo must serve when you don't dare argue the issues or the facts.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:06 PM

You go to war (against the welfare state) with the President you have...

AJ Strata has an interesting piece on "Bush Conservatives." I don't agree with every point, but he's really on my wavelength...

....Bush Conservatives not only believe in Reagan’s 11th commandment to not speak ill of fellow conservatives - we live it. From the Gang of 14, to Harriet Miers, to Dubai Ports World and to the immigration issue - there has been a brand of Republican which eschewed the 11th commandment. So let the Republicans be defined by that group - Bush Conservatives will be defined by their antithesis. Bush conservatives are not afraid of the word ‘compromise’. They despise the word ‘failure’. If there is a good idea, we do not care what party gets credit - we care that the good ideas get enacted. It is not Party uber America anymore.

Bush Conservatives, like Bush himself, are for lower taxes and focused government (someplace between liberals and libertarians is the proper role of government). They are not for destroying the public education system, they are for making it work. And they understand private school access is one option. They understand that a prescription drug benefit for Medicare/Medicaid will reduce overall costs and provide a respectable end of life for our seniors who came before us. Yes, it costs a lot to care for our elderly. But it doesn’t represent big government. It represents a big heart. I am not for throwing money away. The prescription drug benefit was a nice optimizing solution to a broken system. It was consumer driven (which is why the liberals should not be allowed to go in and insert bureacratic price controls) and it will save money that was being wasted in emergency room treatments for normal problems....(Thanks to The Anchoress.)

Look, I think big government is one of the worst things that can happen to a country. It inevitably tries to become bigger yet, to eat everything, and it inevitably tries to make smaller the only obstacle to it's cancer-like expansion—individuals and groups who would rather take care of themselves. The welfare state is not moral, it is profoundly immoral. And its end result is the destruction of human society, of human souls, which is just what we are seeing in Europe today.

BUT, we aren't going to get rid of it. To put it bluntly, giving women the vote meant that government was going to get into the business of making people secure. (And probably the same thing would have happened with only men voting, just a little bit more slowly.) There is no way that shrink-big-government politics is going to shrink big government. The votes just aren't there, and never will be. Our canoe is heading for the falls, the current moves faster and faster, and there is probably no escape possible.

The one conceivable escape from this trap is what President Bush called "The Ownership Society." That is, giving to individuals control of, and responsibility for, their portion of the government security blanket. The classic example would be putting people's Social Security tax into private accounts. This has the potential to transform the humblest burger-flipper or sales clerk into an investor, a person with assets. To, in fact, transform their picture of themselves, from hapless client to person in control of his or her destiny.

This is the reason I look at things differently than the sort of guys who write for NRO. They survey the scene and say, "Nothing's happening, except government is growing." I look and see that President Bush has swapped Federal dollars for a law that can provide accountability in public schools, and give parents the possibility of demanding transfers to different schools...I don't call that "nothing." I'd like more, that's for damn sure. But I don't see Republican failure at all.

And yes, I wish Bush would promote these ideas more eloquently and forcefully. But, well, that's dubya. You go to war (against the welfare state) with the President you have... (A few more of my posts on the Ownership Society here)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:36 PM

November 9, 2006

Improved my morning...

You gotta read this. Blogger Chris Lynch invents an interview with Secretary Rumsfeld. But I HOPE people in the White House are laughing and saying, "Heh heh. Truer than he dreams..."

...ALR: But Mr. Secretary are you saying your tenure as Secretary of Defense was ended simply to control news cycles?

Rummy: Goodness no. When all is said and done I will be the longest serving Secretary of Defense in history. All Secretaries of Defense step down. This just happened to be the right time for me and if the President was able to time the announcement to take the wind out the sails of some blowhards well then that's just gravy. The important thing to me is that our brave men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are honored and protected and I think this resignation helps with those ends.

ALR: Again Mr. Secretary I apologize but I don't follow your reasoning.

Rummy: Well Chris you understand the process involved here correct? It will be a few months before Bob Gates even gets his confirmation hearing. The administration will be able to use the confirmation hearings and my farewell tour to reinforce the case of what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ALR: Mr. Secretary can you elaborate on that a little more?

Rummy: Sure Chris. You see between now and the confirmation hearings I will be going back to Iraq on several occasions. The media normally just covers bad news from Iraq but this time they will have no choice. They will have to get soldiers reaction to my resignation and how they feel about their mission in Iraq. A great percentage of the soldiers really believe in their mission and the American people will see that. Oh and the confirmation hearings are a trap for the Democrats. You'd think they would have learned from the Justice Roberts hearings but I guess not.

ALR: Can you share with us what you foresee happening at the confirmation hearings?

Rummy: Oh its going to be great theater. The back seat drivers will finally have to go on record for what they think is the best course instead of always complaining that we just missed a turn....

Leftists don't really care about Rumsfeld himself, though I'm sure his candor and confidence and wit are a huge irritation. But mostly he, and our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, are symbols of the idea that there are things worth fighting and even dying for. That there are things bigger than their bulbous egos. To the nihilist, the thought of young men and women volunteering to go in harm's way because they believe in service and duty is just insanity, and a very disturbing and irritating sort of insanity.

My own suspicion is that it's disturbing to them because serving is what we were made to do, and little voices inside us whisper that this is so. And I'd say that serving one's country in a post of danger is analogous to serving God [Ed: sounds like you are saying that...No, I am not!] and serving God is what we are really long for. What did Satan say? Non Serviam, I think it was. I will not serve! Our letter-day mini-Satans hate America's military for just that reason. Watch them when they say those bullshitting things about "supporting the troops." They never say or imply that serving our country is in itself noble or admirable. ..

Posted by John Weidner at 11:43 AM

November 3, 2006

I already knew Bush didn't lie, but...

...It's nice to have it confirmed by the NYT (I'm sure you've already seen this stuff, but it's fun to post)

Dean Barnett:

....In its semi-annual November surprise, the New York Times “reveals” that the Bush administration put documents on the web that showed that Iraq was quite far along in its quest for nuclear weapons. Naturally, that’s not the focus of the story. The focus of the story is the cursed incompetence of the Bush administration, the Republican Party, and even right-wing media-types (like me!) who wanted the documents released.

But the takeaway from the story for normal people won’t be that conservatives both inside and outside the administration are all a bunch of blithering incompetents. Besides, Andrew Sullivan’s vote had already been pretty much sewed up. The “news” in the story is how far along Saddam was in his bid to acquire the ultimate WMD. While that’s an old story to many of us, it’s heartening to see the Times splash it all over this morning’s front page and in so doing refresh the nation’s memory regarding the most disputed causus belli of the current war....

And of course having the NYT, of all organizations, admit that leaking stuff might be harmful...delicious...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:02 AM

November 1, 2006

Bush Revolution continues...

Card-Carrying-Conservative types expect "The Revolution" to be enacted in neat packages, sort of like LBJ's War on Poverty. Meanwhile, they can't even see the actual revolution...

Thomas Carroll, NY Sun...The teachers unions contribute substantial sums to incumbents on both sides of the political aisle in the state Legislature, but in contested statewide races, they are among the Democratic Party's staunchest allies. That's one reason that Hillary Clinton announced her initial candidacy for the Senate at the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers, New York City's teachers union. That's also why statewide Democratic candidates for office typically offer no ideas that run counter to those held by union bosses.

Given this history, one might reasonably suppose that the likely Democratic takeover of the governor's office might not be good news for those who favor school choice or major educational reforms. A few early signs, however, suggest that Eliot Spitzer, if elected, may break this partisan mold.

Over the past year, Mr. Spitzer has been speaking much more boldly about education reform than any other major figure in his party...

...The federal No Child Left Behind Act, by increasing the focus on test results and accountability, has made the disappointing performance of New York's urban schools more and more difficult to defend. No serious person any longer argues with the central premise that the current educational system in New York is broken.

With the worst test scores concentrated in the state's urban areas, political support for the status quo, especially among minority legislators, is evaporating....[My emphasis. Thanks to Orrin]

NCLB was designed for this. To change the terms of the debate. Change them from "Our schools need more money!" to "Is there something fundamentally wrong here?"

You can't get good answers until you start asking the right questions. I learned that long ago from reading Peter Drucker. NCLB is wickedly designed to keep asking the same questions, year after year, as test scores appear. "Why is this school failing?" "Why hasn't this school improved over last year?"

The standard schools must meet is not just doing well, but improving every year. All of them. It's crazy. That is, crazy within the the terms of the status quo. As a tool of revolutionary change, it's brilliantly designed. A bribe of a few billions to poor sozzled Teddy Kennedy to get it passed was peanuts.

All the NRO types could see was Bush supporting more big government, more spending. Same for Kennedy, though he was in favor of course. Neither saw a new lens for looking at the old situation. A new way of thinking about old messy problems.

It's perfectly understandable lefties are chewing the carpets therse days. It's not just their political strength that's being undermined, but also their world-view.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 AM

October 30, 2006

How these things usually go....

From Hugh Hewitt, a bit of context on mid-term elections with a President in his second term...

...First, some very basic political history:

In the 1986 election, Ronald Reagan saw the Democrats gained a net eight seats in the Senate and take control from the Republicans with a 55-45 majority. The Dems added 5 House seats to increase their majority to a 258 to 177 margin in the lower chamber. For the math challenged, that is an 81 seat majority for the Dems.

In the 1974 election, the sixth year of eight Republican presidential years, the Watergate/pardon election saw Democrats add four seats in the Senate, for a total of 60 Democrats. Democrats crushed the GOP in the House, adding picking up 49 seats for a post-election day margin of 291 to 144 --a 147 seat edge!

In the 1958 election, Ike saw the democrats add 14 senators (including two from Hawaii) for a 65-35 Democratic-GOP split. The Democrats added 48 seats in the House and controlled that body by a margin of 283 to 153. Again, math fans, that's a 130 seat edge!

Now, with some facts in hand, go back and read the Post's agenda journalism. President Bush's unique electoral record is matched only by FDR's, and FDR's Democrats lost 76 House in 1938, and six Senate seats.

The Bush-Rove political legacy is already established, and even a narrow loss of both the Senate and the House would not dent it. If neither body's GOP majority is held, but the margins remain narrow, the Bush-Rove record becomes the most potent political performance in modern times for an eight year presidency, and if either or especially both are held, retire the laurels....

My personal suspicion is that we are in a transition period such as happens every 70 years or so in America. (Link to other posts.) The best comparisons are with FDR's fist two terms. (The 1860's were also such a period, but the war removed most of Lincoln's southern opponents from the game, which makes comparisons difficult.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:53 AM

September 28, 2006

Good way to start the day...

Here's a link to video of the joint press conference of President Bush and President Karzai. It's well worth watching how men deal with ankle-biting pygmies. (Charlene found it at the Anchoress, and we are listening to it right now.)

Karzai's dignity and eloquence are very very impressive. As is his politely-supressed amazement that he has to tell American journalists about the incredible heroism and decency of American soldiers!

I recommend it most highly.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:40 AM

September 27, 2006

Thank you, President Karzai...

From the joint press conference of President Bush and President Karzai...

FoxNews....The president rejected claims that the U.S. presence in Iraq has increased terror threats, saying the United States wasn't in Iraq when America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001; or when the USS Cole was hit; or when the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were bombed.

"If we weren't in Iraq, they'd find some other excuse because they have ambitions. They kill to achieve their objectives," Bush said. "The best way to protect America is to defeat these killers overseas so we don't have to face them at home."

Karzai, whose country is facing an increase in terror after the Taliban were defeated in late 2001, interjected to offer a similar plea.

"Terrorism was hurting us way before Iraq or September 11 ... These extremist forces were killing people in Afghanistan for years, closing schools, burning mosques, killing children, uprooting vineyards," Karzai said. "They came to America on September 11, but they were attacking you before September 11 in other parts of the world. We are a witness in Afghanistan.

"Do you forget people jumping off the 80th floor or 70th floor when the planes hit them? Can you imagine what it will be for a man or woman to jump from that high?" Karzai asked recalling some of the more shocking scenes from the World Trade Center bombing. "How do we get rid of them? ... Should we wait for them to come and kill us again?"....

Of course they forget 9/11. They don't just forget, they have made a heroic effort to expunge it from their own memories, and everybody else's.

And anyway, the attitude that one should only do that which minimizes danger is suicidal in war, and is likely to increase our danger over the long run. Especially in anti-guerilla/terrorist warfare. That's not bravado, or jingoism, it's just what history teaches. In fact, it's that attitude that CAUSED this war.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:01 PM

September 12, 2006

And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear...

My work is keeping me very busy, and I expect to be a bit sporadic in blogging for a while....

But there are more important people to pay attention to than me. From the President's speech last night..

...Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century -- and determine the destiny of millions across the world...

...We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we're offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:48 AM

August 24, 2006

Only path that makes sense...

Norman Podhoretz has a great essay in OpinionJournal, Is the Bush Doctrine Dead?

....Are we then to conclude that the latest reports of the death of the Bush Doctrine are not "greatly," if indeed at all, exaggerated, and that it has at long last really been put to rest?

So misrepresented has the Bush Doctrine been that the only way to begin answering that question is to remind ourselves of what it actually says (and does not say); and the best way to do that is by going back to the speech in which it was originally enunciated: the president's address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001.

In analyzing that speech shortly after it was delivered, I found that the new doctrine was built on three pillars. The first was a categorical rejection of the kind of relativism ("One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter") that had previously prevailed in the discussion of terrorism, and a correlative insistence on using such unambiguously moral categories as right and wrong, good and evil, in describing the "great harm" we had suffered only nine days earlier. But, the president went on, out of that harm, and "in our grief and anger, we have found our mission and our moment."

In spelling out the nature of that mission and moment, [This is really the first pillar, as explained later in the essay] Mr. Bush gave the lie to those who would later claim that the idea of planting the seeds of democracy in Iraq was a hastily contrived ex post facto rationalization to cover for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction there. Indeed, the plain truth is that, far from being an afterthought, the idea of democratization was there from the very beginning and could even be said to represent the animating or foundational principle of the entire doctrine.... ...The second pillar on which the Bush Doctrine stood was a new conception of terrorism that would, along with the "mission" emerging out of the rubble of 9/11, serve as a further justification for going first into Afghanistan and then into Iraq. Under the old understanding, terrorists were lone individuals who could best be dealt with by the criminal-justice system. Mr. Bush, by dramatic contrast, now asserted that they should be regarded as the irregular troops of the nation-states that harbored and supported them...

One thing that's blatantly obvious to me is that no one on either the left or the right has been able to make a case against the Bush Doctrine, or propose a better one. They just snipe at it, or make pronouncements of its death. In fact it was and is the only logical path to take.

For instance, it's frequently claimed that, since democratic elections haven't fixed Lebanon, or the Palestinian Authority, the project has failed. But it's never been claimed to be a quick fix. Rather, we can see, unfolding right in front of us, over the last 50 years or so, the connection between democracy and ever increasing peace and prosperity. Pacifists and Leftists hate this, because it invalidates their elitist world view. But it's a fact. Large parts of the globe no longer fight wars, support terrorists, or indulge in genocide. And those parts are democratic, with increasingly free economies.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 AM

May 28, 2006

Straight talk...

The President's commencement speech at West Point is well worth reading...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:33 AM

May 17, 2006

Starting point

Nathan Smith writes:

Like many of President Bush's speeches, his immigration address last night was awkward, yet quite moving. His core beliefs -- hope for the future, the dignity of every individual, a love of freedom -- shine through every time Bush speaks. They are profound and noble convictions, made all the more poignant by their contrast, both with Bush's personal demeanor -- his everyman drawl, never quite at home amidst the grandiloquence he is uttering -- and with the black legend that surrounds his name throughout the world.

Politically, though, there are just two critical questions here. Can Bush heal the growing rift within the GOP? And has Bush come up with a way to "fix" our "broken" immigration system? Answers: no, and no...

Those "core beliefs" are mine too. I'm not happy about the immigration situation, and I'm not wildly happy with Bush's response to it. BUT, "hope for the future, the dignity of every individual, a love of freedom"---these should be the underlying attitude of us all. And unfortunately they're not.

They should be the starting point for us. Wars, as Aquinas wrote, must be waged with "right intentions," and we are in a kind of war. We should start with the belief that this messy situation is filled with human promise, and presents us with a grave challenge (and an appealing opportunity) to make the world a better place. Which doesn't mean being pushovers and weaklings. The strength and faith needed to do right should also include the strength to fight what is wrong. To smash it flat if that's necessary.

If you know your history you know that most of America's immigrants were looked upon as plagues of locusts by at least some of the people already here. (Themselves probably descended from raggedy-assed ancestors who were just as undesirable when they got off the boat.) I was recently reading in David Hackett Fischer's superb Albion's Seed, (page 605) about the arrival of the first wave of Scotch-Irish in Philadelphia in 1717. They seemed like lean impoverished frightening savages to the solid Quaker citizens, who were very glad that they kept heading west and didn't stick around. "A swarm of people...strangers to our laws and customs, and even to our language," as one Philadelphian put it.

We should also be keeping in mind that it's the rule of law that makes freedom possible. We may not really be helping people by allowing them to flout our laws. And helping people should be our aim. We are the grown-ups in this hemisphere. We have much to teach. We are in loco parentis to a billion or so people who lack our advantages.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:16 PM

May 15, 2006

Lots of bills that were ignored by past presidents...have come due on Dubya’s watch.

Charlene happened to leave The Anchoress open at this post

...But as I put the subject away, I just have to ask all of you people - on every side - who have decided that immigration is one man’s burden, and that every good thing President Bush has done is to be negated because he hasn’t snapped his fingers and done what YOU think is the solution to the immigration problem…what did Clinton do about immigration, what did Bush 41 do? What did St. Reagan do? What did Carter do? What has any president, congressperson or senator done about immigration for the last 30 years, except kick the issue down the road for someone else to deal with?

Reagan, if you remember, was the amnesty president. Clinton was the “borders? What’s borders, everyone is our pal” president.

Lots of bills that were ignored by past presidents, particularly during our “vacation from history” have come due on Dubya’s watch. The whole world seems to be coming due on his watch, and damn him for not handling everything perfectly. What a loser, eh? And it’s easy to kick a guy when he’s down, isn’t it? AJ is getting weary of it, too.....

Too true. She's got a little list. And I can think of other things. My little list of cans-kicked-down-the-road...

New-modeling the Pentagon. The Cold War ended under Bush's father, and the only response from him and Clinton was to cut budgets. No new thinking, no reforms.

In fact, there was no new or clear thinking about the world after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Nothing done about the failure of the "Westphalian System" in the age of terror-supporting rogue states. Bush has redefined sovereignty for the first time since the Thirty Years War.

Our willingness to stand and fight, even if it costs many casualties. Avoiding that by past Presidents, including St Reagan, has now cost us far more casualties. Bush has accepted the painful necessity, paid the overdue bill, and all our future moves will be more effective because of it.

Missile defense.

Arafat.

The issue of whether we would defend Taiwan--fudged since Nixon's time; Bush said clearly we would.

Fetal stem cell research.

The insane exclusion of the most effective organizations from providing social services, just because they were faith-based. Ended by Executive Order.

Reform of the UN (hopeless, but at least someone's trying.)

Education! Paralysis has reigned for decades, and now NCLB is shaking things up big-time. (Dishonest conservitive critics only mention the expense, nothing else.

Health care. Paralysis for decades--now we finally have HSA's. And conservatives don't like the Drug Bill, but they refuse to even take notice of the personal choice and competition included, which has already lowered the costs well below what many expected. (Still huge, I know. But that those things are ignored says to me that the President's conservative critics are not honest.)
this isn't all, but it's time for me to go to work...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:37 AM

May 12, 2006

Good Start!

Bill Sammon, The Examiner:

WASHINGTON - New White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is starting off in a combative mode against the press by issuing detailed rebuttals to what he considers unfair coverage of Bush.

“The New York Times continues to ignore America’s economic progress,” blared the headline of an e-mail sent to reporters Wednesday by the White House press office.

Minutes earlier, another e-mail blasted CBS News, which has had an unusually rocky relationship with the White House since 2004, when CBS aired what turned out to be forged documents in a failed effort to question the president’s military service.

“CBS News misleadingly reports that only 8 million seniors have signed up for Medicare prescription drug coverage,” Wednesday’s missive said. “But 37 million seniors have coverage.” On Tuesday, the White House railed against “USA Today’s misleading Medicare story.”

“USA Today claims ‘poor, often minority’ Medicare beneficiaries are not enrolling in Medicare drug coverage,” the press office complained. “But by April, more than 70 percent of eligible African Americans, more than 70 percent of eligible Hispanics, and more than 75 percent of eligible Asian Americans are enrolled or have retiree drug coverage.”...

(Thanks to Betsy N)

Go Tony!

Bill Sammon is a good man. I just read his book on the Bush Administration, Strategery. A lot of it was anti-climaticic for me, because I'd already followed the issues closely. But his account of the Dan Rather forgeries was quite stunning. The mendacity of the press was a good deal greter than I realized at the time. For instance, I'd not realized that some of the journalists reporting the story as if it were credible had previously declared that Bill Burkett was an unreliable witness. In fact, that he was obviously a lying Bush-hating nutball---but that made him persona grata to the press if there was a chance of swinging the election.

In a larger sense, the sheer stupidity of trying to fight an election in 2004 over stuff that happened in the Vietnam era is a perfect example of how, for the Left, especially for the press, the world gelled around 1973. They desperately wish they could get back to the time when things "made sense" to them. [In fact Bush served honorably in a difficult and damn dangerous job link link link link)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 AM

April 23, 2006

The "Decent Left" game...

Orrin Judd, commenting on an article about the Euston group, writes

Note the core problem that Mr. Hutton and the most good-intentioned members of the Decent Left can't overcome: they accept the notion that you can be a liberal in good standing but oppose replacing a genocidal tyrant like Saddam with a parliamentary democracy on principle. They want to sleep with Evil but wake up virginal in the morning.

There can't be a "Decent Left." Here's the first sentence of the article:

To be on the left is to be both temperamentally inclined to dissent and to be passionate about your own utopia, which can never be achieved. Condemned to disappointment, you rage at the world, your party and your leader...

It's all right there, folks. Though the author does not make explicit a couple of teensy-weensy little things. One of which is that it is always necessary to build any "utopia" by the force of the state. Leading to incarceration or death for those who oppose utopia. Leading, as one of John LeCarré's* characters put it, to: "boiler suits and a long march to nowhere." The other little thing is that since people don't want to be forced into "utopia," to be a leftist is to be opposed to democracy. They may play for a while at being friends of democracy, but it's always just a pose. It never includes support for the possibility of the voters rejecting leftist utopias. Which they will always do in the end.

Back when the right was more reactionary and isolationist, it was easier to play the "Decent Left" game. The decent types could work with the totalitarian types in opposing American support for some fascisitic authoritarian regime, they could all call for democracy, and paper over the fact that most leftists were aiming for another Castro or Mao, and had no interest in democracy.

It's not possible any more. George W Bush has ended the game. He is openly and passionately pushing for democracy, from an explicitly Christian and free-market vision. And from an explicitly American and optimistic vision, that does not imagine that people will embrace democracy in order to install any lefty "utopias."

The Left hates Bush, and America, for good reasons. And any coalition lead by the "decent left" is doomed to failure.

*Le Carré seems to me to be some sort of "decent lefist" himself, which would explain his bitterness and rage against President Bush.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:28 AM

March 17, 2006

Most conservative President since Nixon...

Orrin Judd gives us some numbers to keep in mind, while discussing this article, Hey, Big Spender Should we have known that President Bush would bust the budget? by Peggy Noonan...

....At any rate, given that Ms Noonan believes, for some reason, that Ronald Reagan was a conservative and George W. Bush isn't, it's perhaps helpful to just compare the two: when Ronald Reagan left office in 1988 he was dunning us 18.1% of GDP to pay for a federal government that spent 21.2% of GDP. In 2004, the last year for which I could find numbers, George W. Bush had lowered our tax burden to 16.3% of GDP-- a level last reached in 1959--to pay for a government that spent 19.8 of GDP.

There doesn't seem to be any coherent reason why a president's conservatism should be judged by how much he spends, but if you're using that as your yardstick then Mr. Reagan was the most liberal president since FDR during WWII and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are the most conservative since Nixon....

I love Peggy, but she's SO Industrial Age.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

March 8, 2006

Worth the price of the book to read one page...

I'm still waiting for my copy of the book, but got a teaser from Orrin Judd

As Fred Barnes details in his very fine book, George W. Bush is so fascinated by and admiring of the strike on Osirak in 1981 that when he visited Israel as a governor he asked if he could meet with the squadron that flew the mission and thanked them personally. Anyone who doesn't get that he'll launch similar strikes against Iran if they continue to develop nuclear weapons just hasn't been paying attention for the past seven years.

Good to know. The Osirak strike, by Israel on the reactor Saddam bought from the French, and intended to use to create nuclear fuel for bombs, was one of the most splendid feats of arms of our time. And it saved us from the nightmare of a nuclear-armed terror-supporting Saddam Hussein. We owe Israel a big debt, and I'm thrilled to read that President Bush knows it, and knew it back when he was just a governor, ignorant, as everyone has heard (ha ha) of foreign affairs...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:55 PM

February 8, 2006

I wish I could have seen Hillary's face...

Do we, or do we, have a MAN in the White House!

Newsweek...Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.

His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years....

Can you just imagine the choking and gasping and sputtering as word of this spread among Democrats? They've been feeling so sure they had workers safely confined to the plantation for years to come, and now here comes ol' Marse Linkum, with yet another Emancipation Proclamation...I'm going to be cackling all day...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:40 PM

December 30, 2005

adjectives...

Here's a snarky little piece that tries to make news out of the fact that Bush's core staff is very loyal and has almost no turnover.

I amuse myself by imagining the descriptive terminology that would be used if Bill Clinton had had similar subordinates...loyalty, modesty. selflessness, duty, collegiality, harmony, good management, band-of-brothers, sticking to one's post....I bet we'd hear them all.

Since it's Bush, the terms used are things like out-of-touch, group-think, "surrounded by people who agree with him..."

And of course: "...inside a bubble that isolates him from smart dissent, healthy competition, fresh ideas and bad news."

Posted by John Weidner at 10:56 AM

December 17, 2005

A good start...

Great speech by the President, hitting back at the scum who are leaking secret information to hurt the war, and claiming, falsely, that our NSA intercepts are illegal or are infringing civil liberties...Read it here.

...To fight the war on terror, I am using authority vested in me by Congress, including the Joint Authorization for Use of Military Force, which passed overwhelmingly in the first week after September the 11th. I'm also using constitutional authority vested in me as Commander-in-Chief.

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country. [So for Pete's sake start putting these idiots in jail!]

As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks, and the commission criticized our nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad. Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late. [And if we had known, stupid laws would have prevented our doing anything.]

The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time. And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad. [If we prevent attacks, then the crazies say that we are 'inventing" threats as a cover for undermining civil liberties. If we fail to prevent them they whine that "Bush promised to protect us."]

The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland. During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.

The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general. Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in this activity also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization....[The Administration is OBVIOUSLY bending over backwards to prevent this program from endangering our liberties. But will the frauds who are always prating about civil liberties give them the slightest credit or encouragement for this? No.]

What's just insane is that, under the loony logic of the Plame affair, the news media can publish sensitive information routinely, claim protection of their "sources" ("freedom of the press, you know) then demand that the President's men be investigated and punished for leaking our country's secrets to the press (while still not asking the sacred reporters to tell who their sources are) and all the while claim that those leakers who agree with their politics are patriots motivated by the highest principles who should not be investigated...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:18 AM

December 14, 2005

And when the history of these days is written....

From the President's speech yesterday...

...In our fight to keep America free, we'll never quit. We've lost wonderful Americans like Ryan McGlothlin. We cherish the memory of each one. We pray the loved ones -- pray for the loved ones they've left behind, and we count it a privilege to be citizens of a country they served. We also honor them by acknowledging that their sacrifice has brought us to this moment: the birth of a free and sovereign Iraqi nation that will be a friend of the United States, and a force for good in a troubled region of the world.

The story of freedom has just begun in the Middle East. And when the history of these days is written, it will tell how America once again defended its own freedom by using liberty to transform nations from bitter foes to strong allies. And history will say that this generation, like generations before, laid the foundation of peace for generations to come.

May God bless you all.

It's ironic that the people who castigate Bush for not deferring to our allies never acknowledge that many of them are our allies precisely because we liberated or conquered them with application of massive destructive force, and then took enormous pains and trouble to sponsor democracy and freedom in those places. Iraq may prove a better ally in the long run, because it has had the enormous advantage, unlike Germany or Japan, of having had to fight and bleed for its freedom.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:27 PM

November 11, 2005

"It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil..."

Great speech by the President today. It's so good to see him finally hit back at the despicable lying attacks that he has been bombarded with. I only hope this is the start of a lot more pushback.

I've said this before, but all of our great wars during the 20th Century were Democrat wars. And in every one the Republicans were the loyal opposition, and supported our country and our troops warm-heartedly, and whole-heartedly. Even though it might harm them politically. Even though those wars had screw-ups that sometimes killed 2,000 men in a day. And now, now, to see how evilly we are repaid by those loathsome blackguards and cheats, how they put their momentary political advantage above loyalty to their country, how they voted to send our soldiers into battle, and then turned on them and now undercut their mission in a thousand ways, giving great encouragement to our enemies...

And they aren't even Democrats, really. Hippie frauds and flakes who stand for nothing. Harry Truman would have hated them. He believed in fighting for freedom. They don't deserve to live in this great country.

The main part of the speech of course was on the war....

...The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes — allies of convenience like Iran and Syria — that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America, and on the Jews. This week the government of Syria took two disturbing steps. First, it arrested Dr. Kamal Labwani for serving as an advocate for democratic reform. Then President Assad delivered a strident speech that attacked both the Lebanese government and the integrity of the Mehlis investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The government of Syria must do what the international community has demanded: cooperate fully with the Mehlis investigation and stop trying to intimidate and de-stabilize the Lebanese government. The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy...

You turkeys heard him right; that's must, not should. Nexxxxt domino! Faster, please. Of course the fake peaceniks will try to keep Assad in power, just like they tried to keep Saddam in power. Because Assad is so peaceful, you understand. A man of peace. They just can't help but love him.

...Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples — claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque.

It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 PM

October 27, 2005

Too bad...

Charlene and I are very sorry that Harriet Miers has had to withdraw. We both think she would have made a fine justice. But she's a good soldier, and the controversy was hurting the party. Hugh Hewitt writes:

I think Ms. Miers has been unfairly treated by many who have for years urged fair treatment of judicial nominees.

She deserves great thanks for her significant service to the country. She and the president deserved much better from his allies.

amen. It occurs to me that if the President nominated my wife for the Federal bench, the same objections of a lack of a paper-trail would be made about her. And I would say. "I know her. She's going to be great!" But no one would believe me. "Cronyism" you know. ...So I guess now only judges and professors can be nominated to the Supreme Court...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 AM

October 26, 2005

No act of appeasement would change their plans of murder...

PowerLine suggests we not be "distracted by the minutiae of the day," (which have been getting me in a tizzy lately) and focus on the big issue...for which this great speech by the President to the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Group is good medicine...a small piece...

...No acts of ours involves the rage of killers. And no concessions, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans of murder. On the contrary; they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory...

...Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It's not justified. With every random bombing and every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters -- they are murderers at war with the Iraqi people, themselves. In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast. By any standard or precedent of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress -- from tyranny to liberation, to national elections, to the ratification of a constitution -- in the space of two and a half years.

There's always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. That would be a pleasant world -- but it isn't the world in which we live. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday's brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory -- and we will keep our nerve and we will win that victory...

And here's another thing I found just now, at a moment when I was feeling disgusted with The President for his revoking of his suspension of Davis-Bacon in the Katrina area, this, by Soxblog:

...This line brought me back to an essay I had written on Neville Chamberlain a little over a year ago. I observed that no one really remembers whether Chamberlain had magnificent economic policies, whether he treated women and minorities in an enlightened manner, or even whether he had a lot of good photo-ops when natural disasters struck the U.K.

No, all history remembers about Chamberlain is that he booted the big one. He didn’t realize the danger that Hitler posed, or was unwilling to confront that danger in a forceful manner. As a consequence, tens of millions perished...

"He booted the big one." Exactly. I've read a ton of history books. And diving into history is like putting some fractal image under magnification. You move closer, and the seemingly solid object is seen to be divided into many smaller objects. And if you magnify one of those spots, you see that it in turn is made of many smaller ones...and on and on.

But that doesn't mean that the big picture doesn't exist! And that it is not important, though it can seem impossible to discern when you are down among all the little bits.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 PM

October 25, 2005

The practitioner's view...

More of the vrai from Hugh:

...Over at Powerline, the various posts and points of view on the nomination are an excellent example of how practioners are approaching the debate, which like the posts at Hedgehog and Beldar, are markedly different from those of pure pundits who have not sat first chair through lengthy trials, argued complicated motions on short notice, fenced through endless depositions or negotiated a huge partnership through an annual points redistribution...

I've seen a lot of this stuff, as a spectator to the career of Mrs Random Jottings. So, just like Hugh, I find the views of those bloggers who are practitioners much more compelling. That someone who has been managing partner in a big firm could be considered in any way a second-rater is pure lunacy...

...The modern, large law firm is such a very different beast than it was when the last big firm partner joined the court --a date and name for which I can't even figure out. The appreciation for the skills set that a senior partner and indeed a managing partner brings to the table is very impressive and also very obscure outside of the world of American Lawyer. One reason I believe Miers will do well in the hearings is this background, where daily she had to guide ego-driven, powerful and talented lawyers to a common goal....

Exactly. And being White House Staff Secretary is in much the same league. If you know anything about that job, you know that success (and, even better, quiet success) is a big deal.

...I have been waiting to see if some disgruntled former partner was going to launch a salvo at Miers, but have not yet found such an item, which is very surprising given the opportunities for imagined grievances in large firms...

Yes! Or even absurdly small firms. That's the elephant that hasn't, so far, barked in the night.

(By the way, if you need some savvy legal advice, drop me an e-mail, and I may be able to get you a blogospheric discount, at least for an initial consultation, with the Random Jottings House Counsel...)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:41 AM

October 24, 2005

I kept clicking on Hugh, knowing something was coming...

Hugh Hewitt has a great post up on Miers. I was going to quote stuff, but really, one ought to just read it. But I will quote this sentence, which can stand on its own:

...I do not believe that reliability in decision-making is a sound basis for selection of a nominee for the same reason I don’t believe in close questioning of nominees on specific issues likely to come before the SCOTUS: The rule of law depends on the legitimate belief that the justices and judges are not indifferent to argument....

That should be obvious, and that it has to be said at all is a measure of the terrible harm done to our system by the activist judges who have invented various laws that Democrats could not get past the voters.

"Are not indifferent to argument..." That's what we want from a judge. My good wife puts motions before judges all the time, and I have never once in more than 20 years heard her express a hope for a judge who was predisposed in favor of her case. But smart judges who can grasp her arguments and rule fairly--those she prizes above rubies. (Metaphorically speaking, I mean; real rubies might have unpredictable effects on her levelheadedness...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 PM

October 22, 2005

Right wing bloggers tear off own heads, throw them across room

(The title is a joke; if you are in with the in-crowd you will get it...UPDATE: I've been asked to explain the joke. The title is Andrea's, see here. She's the best writer around, but would never stoop to mud-slinging and controversy)

NZ Bear is polling bloggers on the Miers nomination...He writes:

...I will implement some code this weekend to search for the phrases above, and generate a running list of bloggers for, against, and neutral on the nomination. This will be much more interesting than a standard online poll, as it will ensure "one-blog-one-vote", and avoid the usual ballot-stuffing silliness of online surveys...

So, I'll put in my phrase: I support the Miers nomination. (results here.)

Some reasons: (and I may add more later)

  1. She has Executive Branch experience helping fight the War on Terror. Our courts are fronts in the War. Outfits like the ACLU are fighting on the other side, using the courts to hinder our war fighting. Ivory-tower legal-scholar types might fall for their clever clap-trap; Harriet Miers won't.
  2. She has experience defending businesses. She will have little sympathy for the myriad attacks they endure.
  3. She has practical experience as a lawyer. The sort of people George Will favors have probably never filed a lawsuit, or defended against one. There should be at least one chief who has actually been an Injun, and taken some scalps...
  4. I believe in favoritism. An effective leader, like Bush, will accumulate a following of talented people and keep promoting them. That's good. (And labeling that "cronyism" is an egregious misuse of the English language!)
  5. Miers is in sync with the President. I think a lot of the conservative criticism is actually criticism of Bush, not Miers. But I am mostly in agreement with him, so I have no problem with a loyalist nominee.
  6. It's the President's job to choose which battles to fight. He only has the political capital to fight a limited number of them. A lot of the criticism is really about wanting a big fight right now over judges. "I'll hold your coat while you go fight" is what they are saying. Phooey.
  7. The troops who will actually fight are 55 GOP Senators. That David Frum or Jonah G are feeling pugnacious is irrelevant; it is the combativeness of the 55 that matters. If the general doesn't feel his troops are ready for a fight, he may know something!
  8. She's a regular gal. I'm pretty sure she's far more in tune with ordinary Americans, and especially ordinary Republicans, than the whippersnappers at National Review. She IS an ordinary American, which is worth a lot of points to me. (Most people who vote conservative/Republican have never heard of National Review, and wouldn't like it if they encountered it.) I'm with the Beoetians here, and not the clever-Johnny Athenians...

* UPDATE: Don't miss Grenfull Hunt's answer to George Will's column. And also Big Lizard's. I think the phrase "tears off own head, throws across room" was just made for Mr Will's column...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:00 PM

October 21, 2005

I read the papers, I know all that's happening...

Daniel McKivergan posts:

The speech delivered yesterday by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, got a lot of press attention. But while all these reports highlighted the negative remarks he made about the Bush White House, they didn't mention Wilkerson's other seemingly newsworthy comments...

Well you see, there's the news what's fit to print, and the news what's not.

News has a purpose. Have you ever encountered the bios or memoirs of journalists, and--I don't mean old-timers, you understand, but Baby-Boom or later--and they say why they went to journalism school? They always say that they went to journalism school--old timers didn't even go to J school, they just went out and started reporting things--they always say that they wanted to make the world a better place!

And to do that, you can't report all the news. Some of it is bad, harmful. The little people don't understand that, and it's important to spare them information that might cause bad thoughts. It's such a problem, that the same sort of people who drink tap water and drive Fords can also vote. The harm they do is enormous; just look around at what a mess the world has become since 1980.

But journalists can make a difference. They can edit the world, so it becomes comprehensible, a coherent narrative, pruned of extraneous misinformation and...well, look at me, I'm just rambling on and on. You folks don't need this, you are part of the intelligentsia. You can just click on the link and see what it was obviously necessary to edit out of the news reports...

(Thanks to GOPinion)
Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 PM

October 20, 2005

In trial every day...

Beldar has a great post, with fascinating anecdotes, on the question of trial experience in the Miers nomination...

...Thus, I can tell you this with great confidence, even without knowing whether Ms. Miers would or would not meet my highly subjective standards for being a "real trial lawyer": JPod's [John Podhoretz's] assumption — "If Miers has spent her career helping people and corporations avoid courtrooms, that doesn't suggest she has any judicial legal skills whatsoever" — is badly wrong. His insistence that settled cases are "beside the point" means that he's never understood how litigation actually works, and that's why all those "billions" of lawyers are emailing him! It's the sort of thing that only someone very inexperienced in the American civil justice system could say....

...
The only way that lawyers who handle litigation can "help people and corporations avoid courtrooms" is by being fully prepared to go into courtrooms, and projecting to the other side their readiness and capability to do so...

This is something I can confirm. As you know, Mrs Random Jottings is a lawer. She's a skilled litigator, and takes cases to trial...and wins. However the great majority of her cases never get to trial; they are settled out-of-court.

But I can tell you, since I'm often her sounding-board, that actually she tries all of them! Every move is made with an eye on an eventual trial, and on how the other side is going to think about their chances in that trial. And as the pre-trial maneuverings go on, sometimes for years, the amount each party is willing to settle for keeps changing. If a witness looks good in deposition, or if a motion to exclude some morsel of evidence wins, then everyones calculations change...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:41 AM

October 19, 2005

"We wish for others only what we wish for ourselves"

"America has no empire to extend or utopia to establish. We wish for others only what we wish for ourselves -- safety from violence, the rewards of liberty, and the hope for a better life." ---President Bush's West Point Speech
Our friend Andrew commented on my post Men of Munich:
If guilt-by-doing-nothing-to-stop-it (call it Burkean guilt) is a new standard you wish to employ, we must blame the Conservatives and the Republican party for Milosevic’s tyrannical reign. Let’s not forget that Humanitarian intervention was a hallmark of the Clinton years, and has not been one of the Bush years...

In point of fact the “Bush Doctrine” you mention has nothing at all to do with humanitarianism, it’s one of preemptive warfare. We can debate the rightness or wrongness of that doctrine and that principle, but let us never forget what it is. The Bush Doctrine is one which explicitly puts American interests first, and any humanitarian considerations are merely incidental...
As for "guilt-by-doing-nothing-to-stop-it," I said that the whole world is complicit--in lots of things. The normal habit throughout history has been to ignore problems "elsewhere." And the modern trend has been, gradually and painfully, to start getting involved in various ways in helping others. This movement is not the preserve of any one faction, and you can point to good and bad in both parties. (However, there are no Republicans who would, if they could push a magic button, put Milosovic back in power. And there are a ton of lefties who seemingly WOULD undo the campaign to liberate Iraq if they could.)

BUT, far from having nothing to do with humanitarianism, the Bush Doctrine is the second-most important humanitarian project of our times, because it links the privileges of sovereignty with democratic legitimacy. And democracy is the best guarantor of human rights, and the best way to lift people out of the stagnant swamps that require humanitarian aid. The Bush Doctrine in effect says that the days when the world will tolerate tyranny are numbered. And that, in the long run will have far more humanitarian effect than a trillion food parcels dropped from helicopters.
And putting America's interests first is the third-most important humanitarian project we can support. Why? Because America's strength is the greatest hope for world freedom and prosperity, and because even our "selfish" interventions in the world are almost invariably accompanied by humanitarian and freedom-promoting efforts of a size and efficacy no other nation or group can match. And because we are the best teachers of democracy and capitalism (as witness the dismal results of putting the UN and Europeans in charge of democracy in the former Yugoslavia) and our people teach by example and encouragement even when their mission is not explicitly for that purpose. And because our selfish interests are in fact exactly the things that the world needs. Peace, profits, increasing trade, increasing freedom, scientific progress--all are things that help America and also help everybody else.

And the fourth-most important component of effective humanitarianism today is [sorry Dems, but I'll have some compliments for you at the end of this essay] keeping Republicans in power in Washington. That is because the Republican Party has become the main home of idealists and dreamers who hope to transform the world for the better. One Republican faction you've heard about are the "neocons," who are passionate Wilsonians, and press always for the spreading of democracy. But even more important are the "theocons," whose idealism is religious-based--they are especially important because they are in charge. Bush and Rice are in this group. And the "Hamiltonians" who press for increased trade and the interests of business will probably do the most good of all. The Dem's increasing hostility to free-trade should by itself disqualify them from office.

In recent decades Republicans have been much more effective at promoting democracy and freedom. For instance the Reagan and Bush1 administrations were stunningly successful, not just in the humanitarian triumph (in the long run) of bringing down the Soviet Union, but also in supporting the cause of democracy in Latin America and the Philippines, which went from regions characterized by dictators to areas where dictators are rare. (I bet Andrew doesn't hear any of that in his classes.) and while Mr Clinton deserves credit for intervention in Yugoslavia, his achievements are dwarfed by the liberation of 50 million people from tyrannies far worse then Milosovic's, and by the stunning recent elections we have seen. And by the many peaceful pro-democracy revolutions we are now seeing around the globe.

You are probably wondering why I started with second-most important, and forgot to list the most important humanitarian project of our times. Fuzzy-headed of me. The most important item is capitalism, because all the other good things come on the heels of prosperity. It's only when people reach a certain level of personal prosperity that they even start to think of helping others, and sharing some of their own with the needy. And more importantly, even better than humanitarian help is having people become secure enough that they don't even need help. Which is becoming true now for much of the world, with the world's percentage of non-poor growing steadily. Many places that used to feature famines now worry because their people are earning too much, and low-wage jobs are fleeing elsewhere! India is now a place that gives foreign aid to other countries! Astonishing, and it's the result of their beginning to dump socialist economics in favor of free enterprise, capitalism. While the prodigious amounts of "aid" India used to receive probably made its poverty worse, by propping-up failed socialist policies.

By the way, if we zoom our historical viewer out a bit, to see all of the 20th Century, then perhaps the key contribution to humanitariansm to be seen was accomplished by DEMOCRATS! This was the invention of nuclear weapons. The result was the immediate end of global wars, and also of all wars between Great Powers. The resultant spread of peace to much of the globe is the basis of the prosperity we now hope to extend to other places. And the unfortunate Cold War had the very positive side-effect of forcing the US to become the Global Cop, which sheltered the growth of Globalization and widespread capitalism. Actually, we are probably now at the end of wars between nation states. The conflicts that still happen are all within countries, and pretty much only within failed nations.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:38 PM

October 11, 2005

Confirmation: For.

Paul Deignan is collecting blogger positions on the Harriet Miers nomination.

I've blogged about the nomination here here here here and here. I think she should be confirmed, and strongly suspect that us conservatives will end up liking her a lot.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 PM

Sanity returning?

Jay Nordlinger writes:

....I must tell you, however, that I am rather calmed down now. A little optimistic. Maybe Miers’ll be all right. Maybe our initial reactions are overblown. And maybe some of the most thunderous conservative commentary has been a little insulting — to Bush and to Miers. Wrongly insulting.

I was very much comforted by a talk I had with a federal-judge friend. I thought he would be mortified, as so many of us have been. And I was shocked to find that he was delighted with the choice — and thought the general conservative criticism was bunk.

Since sociology — the awful matter of class — has played a role in the Miers brouhaha, I might give you this judge’s credentials: He went to the very fanciest schools in the country (starting with prep school). He was a partner at just about the fanciest firm in the country. And he was a federal judge pretty early. In other words, he is at the top of the elite heap.

And he thinks Miers is superbly qualified — loves her background, loves what she has done. Loves what he thinks he knows about her character, and her work habits. Thinks she would be terrific on the Court. “The Supreme Court is packed with former Court of Appeals judges,” he said. “We don’t need any more. And, you know? They’re not necessarily all that impressive, trust me.” He went on to describe one of the judges presumed to have been on the president’s short list as “frightening”: frightening as in, not too swift....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:11 PM

October 9, 2005

In the case of Miers v. Chattering Classes...

Dennis the Peasant has a good point about Miers. Actually several, but this one, about polling, makes sense...[ooops, that sounded wrong. They ALL make sense, I just liked this one]

...Ok, I feel better now. That said, where is this screed leading?

Right here: The biggest problem with the main stream media and the political blogosphere is that is lacks any sense of proportion. And because neither do, very often that lack of proportion helps doom it to irrelevancy with those who are not amongst the Chattering Classes. Such will be the case in the case of
Miers v. Chattering Classes.

Being full of themselves, both the main streamers and the bloggers missed the fact that something told Harry Reid and George Bush that, whatever their respective bases may want, what the majority of the citizenry do not want at this time is a big, nasty, bitter, partisan fight. That something is almost certainly polling.

Evidently those outside the Chattering Classes have decided that between Iraq, Katrina, and $60 oil, they’d prefer to see their elected officials focus on something other than trying to figure out where Harriet Miers is a closet lesbian who’s soft on abortion.

Go figure.

Expect to see everyone from George Will to Kevin Drum to draw a yawn from the masses. Expect to see Miers confirmed with roughly 65 votes.
Posted by John Weidner at 4:22 PM

If you don't trust Bush, trust Rove...

NixGuy makes a good point:

...Rove however...does not stand for elections, but let’s assume that he wishes to remain a voice of power and influence within Republican circles. It would be suicide for him to be seen as the one who sold out the conservatives in the one matter that they cared about.

It is hard to believe that Rove, the boy genius, the master strategist, did not understand what conservatives wanted from Bush’s nominees and what would happen if they didn’t get it.

It is easy to believe that Rove understands that an overt fight is not a good idea right now with a wishy-washy republican senate that would not face down a filibuster. So he finds a rock-solid conservative, that is immune to criticism and immune to growing in office, and that the Democrats will not fight him over, (because they really don’t want the fight either). So it’s a win-win-win-lose where everyone gets what they want.

Conservative base gets a good judge (highly likely to be more consistently conservative than Roberts).

Bush satisfies the conservative base without spending political capital in the Senate (what little he has). The Republican senate avoids a fight they might lose (if the filibuster was used).

The Democratic senate avoids a fight that they might win, but would’ve been pyrrhic.

The Democratic base loses ultimately as they should.

Bottom line, if you don’t trust Bush, trust Rove, he has a lot more to lose if Miers turns out to be a liberal. Like the death of his career...

One thing you can usually bet on, is that if a person makes a big mistake, they won't make the same mistake again. And probably the second-biggest mistake of the Bushes (and they are a close family, and a mistake by one affects them all) was putting David Souter on the Court. So, whatever mistake Bush might make now, another Souter isn't going to be it. The people who say "We don't know that Miers might not be a Souter" are wasting their oxygen.

It's the way life is, that it's your mistakes that are remembered. But along with Souter one ought always to mention a nominee with far fewer "qualifications" than he (or Miers). Bush 41 also plucked Clarence Thomas from obscurity, and put him on the Court...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:48 AM

October 4, 2005

My rebuttal to Hawkins...

John Hawkins asks:

Knowing what we know today, why should conservatives trust George Bush after the terrible judgement he has shown on so many issues?

Why? How about because of the great job he has done on many issues. I'll list some after I deal with Hawkins' specifics...

It goes without saying that Bush is worse than Lyndon Johnson in the big spending department. In his entire time in the White House, he has never even vetoed a single pork laden bill. Then there's the enormous Medicare prescription drug benefit which will create a massive expansion of government and add a trillion dollars to the debt next 15 years.

The drug benefit was probably going to happen no matter what--the political pressure was too strong. But with it we got HSA's, which liberals have been blocking for decades. They will be an important component of the Ownership Society. And we got private-sector competition built in to the drug benefit, which is already causing projected costs to fall.

We also can't forget the anti-First Amendment, McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill which Bush signed into law or Bush's position on illegal immigration which has alienated a large chunk of the party.

I don't like either one. (But without Bush we might have the AUTHOR of McCain-Feingold in the WH!)

Since his election in 2004, Bush has spent months senselessly flogging Social Security when almost everyone acknowledges it isn't going anywhere.

Bush's SS reforms are probably the boldest conservative initiative in modern times. Reagan could only dream of making such a proposal. Just to have it seriously debated is a miracle, and for Hawkins to stand aside and sneer is stupid. And I bet it isn't really dead.

Even on the war in Iraq, an area where many conservatives agree wholeheartedly with his policies, it has been frustrating to watch Bush twiddling his thumbs instead of making a real effort to buck up public support for the war.

Bush is fighting and WINNING the war! For that alone he deserves our trust and support. And the winning, as it becomes apparent, is what is going to bring public support. Not more speeches that the media will ignore anyway.

Now, to top it all off, Bush has picked a minimally qualified crony without solid conservative credentials for the Supreme Court because...why exactly? He knows her, she has been nice to him, and that makes her the best person to fill one of the most crucial jobs in the country?

Rubbish. She's only "unqualified" in the "distinguished legal scholar" sense. But we don't need one of those; the Constitution isn't an inscrutable document. She's smart, she's an originalist and a pro-life Christian, and she's been very successful at a variety of jobs. She will do us proud.

You can try to put a good face on this decision if you like, but the very fact that so many conservatives are ripping into Bush over the Miers nomination -- in and of itself -- means she was a terrible selection even if Miers is really to the right of Clarence Thomas.

Phooey. Popular doesn't mean right.
Let me list a few of the ways Bush has shown splendid judgement and got results...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:36 AM

Favoritism is the secret of efficiency...

I really liked Beldar's rebuttal to Prof. Barnett's Op-Ed, Cronyism: Alexander Hamilton Wouldn't Approve of Justice Harriet Miers...

....Alexander Hamilton was not against friendship, he was against incompetence and incompetents being promoted due to friendship. Hamilton himself was both George Washington's friend and his military and then political protégé, the "son Washington never had" and also his most effective cabinet secretary.

It certainly seems to me that Prof. Barnett is using the facts that Ms. Miers comes from a practicing lawyer's background, and that she's become a trusted friend while serving capably as Counsel for the Governor of Texas and the President of the United States, as his sole bases for arguing against her nomination. I believe the nicest term for that is "snotty." It's an unbecoming attitude, and this essay is just not up to his usual high standards of reasoning and writing. There may be persuasive reasons for opposing the Miers nomination, but I don't think these reasons are them.....

In the famous words of Admiral Fisher: "Favoritism is the secret of efficiency."

I read somewhere that it is not uncommon for a politician to become successful at state-level by building a great team. And then, upon being elected President, he takes the team to Washington, and the state government sort of falls apart...(I'm not, by the way, happy about the appointment of Julie Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, but that's not because she's a Bush "crony." She will probably do just fine in carrying on Bush's policies, but those policies are just what I object to.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 AM

October 3, 2005

She's been in the war...

Hugh Hewitt has some good points about Miers. My first reaction to her was to be, as they say, underwhelmed. BUT...

...The Chief Justice's [Executive Branch] experience did not, however, include GWOT experience, and it is here that Miers has a decisive advantage. Consider that none of the Justices, not even the new Chief, has seen the battlefield in the GWOT from the perspective or with the depth of knowledge as has the soon to be Justice Miers. The Counsel to the President has seen it all, and knows what the President knows, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Joint Chiefs and the Attorney General.

I suspect that the President thinks first and foremost about the GWOT each morning, and that this choice for SCOTUS brings to that bench another Article II inclined justice with the sort of experience that no one inside the Court will have.

If there is another opening, we will get the Attorney General, and for the first time in I don't know how long, there will be a block of Article II enthusiasts within the preserve of Article III. If we get two more, a Justice Luttig or McConnell will rise.

The president is a poker player in a long game. He's decided to take a sure win with a good sized pot. I trust him. So should his supporters....

....The Miers nomination is turning into a Rorschach test dividing conservatives into the camp that understands governing for the long term and those that are so emotionally fragile or contingent in their allegiance that anything they (1)don't understand or (2) disappoints in any way becomes an occasion for panic and declarations of irreparable injury....

This is VERY important. We are at war, and in 4th Generation Warfare, the battlefield is everywhere. In fact the decisive battles are probably the ones we are fighting here in the USA. The soldiers of this war are not just muscular young men with machine guns, they can also be sedentary people manning desks...either defending freedom's wall at the White House, or aiding Osama at the New York Times.

The terrorists can never defeat us in combat, but their supporters here are working tirelessly to advance their cause and undermine our will to fight. When Hugh writes that Miers "has seen the battlefield in the GWOT," it's not just a metaphor. It is literally true.

And it's important to remember that the President has a limited fund of political capital. He can't do everything he would like. Capital saved by a relatively easy fight over Miers is capital available for fighting America's enemies, both at home and abroad...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:05 PM

September 28, 2005

bitch bitch bitch...

Washington Times: President Bush yesterday made his seventh trip to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, prompting some Democrats to complain that he was doing too much after initially doing too little.

"The guy's been there enough times that he could register to vote," groused Bob Beckel, a Democratic political analyst. "I mean, enough is enough, OK?"

This week's edition of Newsweek critiques the president's performance with an article headlined, "First, a slow-footed response. Then: hyperactivity." Time magazine complained the president's frequent trips to the Gulf Coast are "making him look too cloying and calculating."...[Thanks to
Betsy N]

Gee, it must just be hell to be a Democrat these days. You get your "Bush is too remote from the problems" line out, and the very next day you have to switch to "Bush needs to stay away from the problems--how can anybody get any work done!"

And no sooner have your media allies mentioned for the 10,000th time that Bush is taking a 5-week vacation in Texas (ignoring all the trips and stuff he's been publicly doing the while) than you have to say that he ought to be doing work by teleconferencing!

But it's good news for Republicans, albeit annoying. Petty carping doesn't win elections. And in every recent crisis, one waits in vain for Dems to come up with some actual substantive contribution or better plan.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 AM

September 18, 2005

Good trick, it looks like...

I've been too busy to blog about what seems to me the most interesting debate happening right now. That's the debate among conservatives who like or dislike the President's response to Hurricane Katrina. It's a miniature version of all our recent debates, because the President is missing chances to promote traditional conservative virtues, but is also slanting his remedies towards "Ownership Society" measures. A painful lot of federal spending, but often in ways that give people choice, rather than simply taking care of them. (There is no interesting debate coming from liberals, just the reenactment of tired rituals.)

Here's an example, from the NYT: (Thanks to JustOneMinute)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - The Department of Education announced a plan today to pay 90 percent of the educational costs of students and schools affected by Hurricane Katrina for one year.

But the plan, which seeks $2.6 billion in new hurricane relief spending, came under immediate attack from Democrats and officials of the nation's two largest teachers' unions, who asserted that a major component - payments to families with children in private schools - amounted to a national voucher program.

The department proposed that the bulk of the spending, $1.9 billion, be used to pay states and school districts for absorbing children from the affected areas into their public schools. An additional $227 million would be dedicated to displaced adults with outstanding student loans and to colleges and universities that have taken in students from the storm areas....

The details are not clear, but it rather looks like large numbers of families are going to get school vouchers for a while. That will be, ummm, shall we say, an educational experience? They are going to be dropped into Anytown, USA, with the ability to look around at the local elementary and high schools, and CHOOSE. And with $7,500 per student going to whoever gets CHOSEN, why, a lot of those schools, especially public schools, will look at those students in a new way.

It's not surprising the Senator Kennedy and the vile corrupt teacher's unions are howling. The disaster spending can be a weapon, and Bush is wielding it.

I put a bit more of the NYT article below...

..."The federal government is doing something it has never done before," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings told reporters, referring to a tenfold increase in federal per-student spending. "Our 9 percent investment is going to 90 percent. That's my big news."

The budget request also includes $488 million to compensate families with children in private schools, which critics said represented an effort by the Bush administration to initiate a favorite approach to school choice, the use of vouchers.

Over all, more than 372,000 schoolchildren were displaced by the storm and are now enrolled in schools as far from the Gulf Coast as California and New England. The total includes about 61,000 who attended private schools in Louisiana, 50,000 of them in Roman Catholic schools.

Under the plan, children in public and private schools would be regarded equally for aid purposes, with a spending cap of $7,500 per student.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, the ranking member of the Senate education committee, said in a statement that he applauded President Bush's efforts to serve the educational needs of displaced children. "But I am extremely disappointed that he has proposed providing this relief using such a politically charged approach," Mr. Kennedy added. "This is not the time for a partisan debate on vouchers."...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:01 AM

September 13, 2005

Praise this day...

I'm too busy and tired to write, but a comment I saw at this post at Gateway Pundit is just right...(Thanks to Glenn)

larwyn said...

Dear Jim, President Talabani was magnificent at the White House press conference today. He said "Thank you. Thank you, you GLORIOUS AMERICANS!" He credited President Bush for his courage and honored our military. You must get transcript.

It really made tears well up. He was very funny when asked about democracy. He said "We have all kinds of Democracy." He then clarified that to mean new freedoms and rights.

Please get the transcript. The Left Stream Media's take on the whole thing is that G. W. took responsibility for any failures by the Federal Government regarding Katrina response.

When truth all comes out, that will be very small part.

Praise this day. Roberts is slaying each dragon as it engages him.

Wonderful WH Press conference - Bush up to top speed.

Now cut screen shows Pres. Bush, Sec. Rice and that mean Amb. John Bolton entering UN. Kofi kowtowing. Bush magnanimous as usual. Why do we continue to misunderestimate him and his administration?

Bush taking the responsibility for Federal failures in Katrina, and not playing blame-games...He's a real man. The Democrats look like pygmies next to him.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:14 PM

September 3, 2005

"but in the end they look shrill"

Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit posted this, by a commenter:
The thing that amazes me is that Bush stays calm and greets the mayor heartily. This is why he is a president I respect. He could have sent his political hacks after the obviously inadequate mayor, but he didn't. Perhaps he felt what so many on the left could never feel for Bush: compassion. Bush realized how sorry this guy's political futue looks, and took pity on him.

The Dems can never figure this out. Their wailing and screaming grabs headlines initially, but in the end they look shrill and appear to lack the inner strength that it takes to lead a nation through crisis, be it a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or war. On a gut level, the American people know this.

Let's face it, acting emotionally and losing one's cool only looks good when the crisis is at its most unbearable, but after the fact, most of us realize how worthless those emotions are, and usually feel quite silly for acting that way.

Bush will come out of this on top. Nagin and the libs will come out of this smelling like, well, like the Superdome does right about now. – Mr. New York City
Amazes me too. I don't know how he does it. I think it's smart politics in the long run, but I always find myself wishing he would lash back at the stupid abuse he endures. Oh well, Lincoln and FDR got much the same sort of contumely, and treated it with the same disdain. (They don't call it the 70-Year Cycle for nothing. A new era is being born, just like in 1932 and 1860. And bewildered fury is the response)
Posted by John Weidner at 3:42 PM

August 13, 2005

Karl, it should be about liberty and opportunity...

Edward H. Cranem, President of the Cato Institute, has a great piece, Memo to Karl Rove...

...If you're wondering why there's so little grass-roots support to date for the president's plan, it's because the focus has been on green-eyeshade issues such as solvency, transition costs, unfunded liabilities and rates of return. Actuaries to the barricades!

Seriously, this should be an emotional issue about liberty and opportunity, not solvency dates. The concept of an Ownership Society is brilliant. Unlike the New Deal, the New Frontier or the Great Society, Ownership Society actually means something integral to the essence of America. That essence is a respect for the dignity of the individual, which is axiomatically enhanced when one has more control over one's life. That is what personal accounts provide....

...I recently undertook the masochistic task of reading the last 10 apoplectic op-eds Paul Krugman has written on Social Security for the New York Times. Not once in his rants does he address the issues of ownership and inheritability. Indeed, opponents of personal accounts shy away from those issues like a vampire from the cross...

...Finally, with regard to the "risky scheme" arguments, I think it's ironic that the people who appear so concerned over the growing wealth gap in America are the one's who refuse to allow low- and moderate-income Americans to accumulate wealth. The investment-risk argument was used in 1983 when the Greenspan Commission refused to even consider personal accounts. Yet the DJIA is now 10 times higher than it was at the peak in '83. How much longer will we deny lower-income Americans an opportunity to participate in the wealth-creation engine known as the U.S. economy?...(Thanks to Pejman).

I couldn't agree more with this. Especially that last. The utter perversity of Democrats who whinge about how "the poor are getting poorer" (not true) yet fight against anything that will allow the poor to accumulate wealth is stupefying. And most people are so clueless about economics that they can't see what's being done to them. I think of our young friend and fellow-blogger Andrew, a student, without much income (though I'm sure he'll do fine once he graduates). He's exactly the sort of person Bush is trying to help climb onto the wealth-train. But he's stuffed with obsolete notions, and actually seems to believe that the Democrats still want to help ordinary people.

And the idea that investing in the stock market is risky is simply a lie. It's risky in the short-term. But for long term investments like your retirement nest-egg, a diversified portfolio with a lot of stocks is the safest option.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 PM

August 6, 2005

Try and try again...

By JANE NORMAN DesMoinesRegister.com

August 3, 2005
Washington, D.C. - Personal accounts must be included in any Social Security changes developed in Congress, President Bush said Tuesday, and indicated he's looking at what could be a very long haul for the battle over the nation's retirement program.

"I know it took at least five years for an energy bill," Bush said while discussing Social Security during an interview at the White House with The Des Moines Register and seven other newspapers.

As for personal accounts, he said, "It needs to be part of the bill." The president said he stated his support for the voluntary personal accounts for younger workers during his campaigns in 2000 and 2004 and "I meant it."....

Yep. He means it. If he says it, it's true.

Think about it. All those liberal Democrats sitting around hugging themselves because they've defeated reform, and have managed to keep workers poor and weak and dependent on government and trapped in a rotten system. And next year, it's all to do over again! Ha ha ha.

It's just so cool having an honest straightforward guy as President. Remember Clinton? How he was supposed to be a "New Democrat?" Except for free trade, all that New Dem stuff just fizzled away. Campaign promises? You got to be kidding.

Whereas Bush is not only still pushing much of what he promised in 2000, he's also continuing with promises made when he was running for Governor of Texas... He doesn't always get what he hopes for of course, but he gets a lot more than most presidents, because he choses a few goals and sticks to them..

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 PM

August 3, 2005

A posie that blooms every year, about this time...

Yet again there are lefties criticizing the President for taking too-long vacations, when he "should" be burning the midnight oil in the White House. Here's an article from the WaPo, Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record...

....But he will make time for fun, or at least his idea of it. Bush rarely takes the type of vacation one would consider exotic -- or, to some, even appealing. His notion of relaxation is chopping cedar on his ranch or mountain biking through rough terrain, all in 100-degree-plus temperatures in dusty Texas where crickets are known to roast on the summer pavement. He seems to relish the idea of exposing aides and reporters to the hothouse environment.

"I just checked in with the house -- it's about 100 degrees," he told reporters Monday. "But no matter how hot it gets, I enjoy spending time in Texas."...(Thanks to Orrin)

The STUPIDITY of the critics always amazes me...

And of course modern communications let the President do the same stuff at the ranch that he does in the White House. But still, there's this fantasy vision people have, of residents as mastermind-spiders, sitting in the Oval Office sleeplessly monitoring a thousand threads connected with everything. We've had presidents who tried to do that. Think LBJ, think Jimmy Carter...They were atastrophes.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:10 AM

July 14, 2005

You watch the hand that's waving the wand...

Watch Rove. Watch the giant puppets. Meanwhile, unnoticed, the good guys slip another win under the radar...

Gleneagles Outcome Major Energy Triumph for Bush:

...The totality of Bush's victory was cloaked by the outrageous rhetoric of French President Chirac, who claimed major U.S. concessions at Gleneagles. ''We have noticed a shift in the American position,'' he said, contending Bush has isolated his country in rejecting the Kyoto pact.

But Chirac's claims are contradicted by what really happened in Scotland. U.S. negotiators insisted on removal from the summit's communique language describing global warming as ''an urgent threat to the world'' requiring ''immediate action.'' Also eliminated were references to melting glaciers and rising seas, plus an audacious effort by France to link Europe with pro-Kyoto U.S. cities and states (mainly California and New England)...

California and New England, huh.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

June 29, 2005

23.08 troops plus almost a ninth of a helicopter...

Everybody's quoting John Hawkins' interview with Mark Steyn. So I will too. Here's a couple of good things...

John Hawkins: Is it time for America to write NATO off as a lost cause or is it worth trying to save the alliance?

Mark Steyn: No, it should be written off. It’s simply not worth the amount of diplomatic effort and negotiation required to crowbar military contributions to, say, Afghanistan that are smaller than those of the New Hampshire National Guard. For example, if you look at last year’s supposed triumph of multilateral cooperation, after the Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, put the squeeze on Nato’s 26 members, they reluctantly ponied up an extra 600 troops and three helicopters for Afghanistan. That averages out at 23.08 troops per country plus almost a ninth of a helicopter apiece. And the helicopters went back after six months. What’s the point?....

...
John Hawkins: Since we invaded Iraq, Qaddafi has given up his WMD's, Syria has left Lebanon which is having elections, the Egyptians are going to have their first multi-party elections although Mubarak is expected to win, women are being allowed to vote in Kuwait, and now Syria is even talking about implementing some democratic reforms. Are we seeing a reverse domino effect in the Middle-East caused by the invasion in Iraq?

Mark Steyn: Yes. The key moment in the Iraqi situation was a couple of hours into the Arab networks' election day coverage: they ran out of snide cracks to make about the American occupation, the stooge politicians, etc., and suddenly fell silent as images of four generations of Iraqi families walking to the polls to vote filled the screens. Those images had a profound impact throughout the region. There's no one-size-fits-all answer and I'm certainly not in favor of that trick many African dictators have learned to master, of holding an election just good enough to get the stamp of approval of Jimmy Carter and the other western patsies. There'll be a lot of two-steps-forward-one-step-back but what’s happening is real and the momentum is all going Bush's way....

I don't think Bush is anybody's patsy. I often wish we'd move faster, but Bush's relentless steady pressure is truly awesome. I can't think of any comparable leader. He makes it look easy, but he never gets bored and he never drops the ball. He has a few things he's decided to concentrate on, things he announced clearly and openly, and he sticks with them. In fact most of what he's doing started as campaign promises in 2000! Social Security, education, tax reform, tort reform....He promised to make education a priority, and maybe the press has lost interest, but I assure you, as one who keeps his eyes peeled on the subject, there's a lot cooking.

9/11 Obviously added a new "campaign promise," and one that's pursued with the same tenacity. One hardly knows whether to laugh or gag at the way Dems complained because Bush mentioned 9/11 in his speech! Get used to it, worms of appeasement. Jeb's gonna give you 8 more years of the same.....

And every single year, things get quiet in the summer, and people start to say that the Bush Presidency has run out of steam. Watch for it. And every September or October the pomposo Democrats get something big, smack! right in the kisser....Ha ha. Watch for it, watch for it...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 PM

June 25, 2005

"no trimming on issues"

Shape of Days has posted the whole of Karl Rove's speech, the quote from which set so many Dems to whining and blubbering about how their feelings were hurt. ["How dare he say we're wimps, the big bully. Sniff, sniff. We're just sensitive! So what if we can feel how harsh rejection wounded the self-esteem of Osama bin Laden, and forced him to become a protester against American Imperialism? That doesn't give Karl Rove the right to question our patriotism!"] The speech is good reading. Here's one thing that's really worth keeping in mind:
...The 2004 election was a steep political mountain to climb, but the President scaled it — and he did so with energy, passion, decency, and an unwavering commitment to principle.

What is significant about November’s victory is not simply that the President won, but how he won. In the 2004 election, President Bush placed all his chips on the table. There was no trimming on issues, no “campaign conversion,” no backing away from Social Security and tax code reform. The President persistently made the case for an “ownership society”; championed a culture of life; defended the institution of marriage; stood with the people of Iraq in their passage to liberty; remained committed to spreading democracy in the Middle East; and continued to aggressively wage and win the war on global terrorism.

President Bush showed himself as he is. He wanted a referendum on what he has accomplished — and most importantly, on what he hopes to achieve....

Back in November 2003, I blogged about how incredible, how amazing it was that Bush was going to include Social Security reform in his campaign. And how honest. It's still one of the most thrilling things that's happened in American politics in our time. But Bush makes it look so easy, no one notices.

[Thanks to Lorie at Polipundit. And that post has a lot of quotes in the comments section, showing just how right Rove was about how liberals reacted to 9/11.]

Writing this made me think of the funny story of Rove and the protesters I blogged in 2-2004. It still makes me laugh and laugh to think of the protesters running away from Karl, and his bewilderment...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:58 AM

June 20, 2005

Colin Powell, you had your chance...

So sweet it is, to have a real Secretary of State, working tirelessly to further the President's vision, instead of undercutting it. And working to further the dream of democracy and peace, indifferent to the scorn of "realists," and the hatred of the anti-democratic Left. Here's Condi in Egypt...

YahooNews:...."For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither," Rice said. "Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people."

She noted that President Bush, in his second inaugural address, said the U.S. would not try to impose an American style of government on the unwilling and that the goal of his administration was to help others find their own voice.

"Throughout the Middle East the fear of free of choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty. It is time to abandon the excuses that are made to avoid the hard work of democracy," Rice said.

Rice took the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both close U.S. allies, to task for cracking down on dissent...(thanks to
Gateway Pundit).

This is the Grand Strategy of the War on Terror. People sometimes make grim jokes, about how we should nuke 'em, turn Mecca into a green glass parking lot, etc, etc...But we are! Freedom and Globalization are going to melt those closed and backwards societies.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:58 PM

June 7, 2005

Almost too cruel...

Bush and Kerry, Yale pictures
[link]
(Thanks to Charlene, who remarks, "If you were a co-ed, which one would you be interested in?")

Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 PM

This made me laugh...

Yale grades portray Kerry as a lackluster student

Thanks to Orrin, who thinks Kerry's releasing his grades because he's running in '08, and wants to appeal to the common man!

Of course the smart Kerry/dumb Bush contrast was always silly. Poor Kerry's never accomplished anything in his life. There was a lot of desperation and self-deception in the way urban-sophisticate types kept insisting that Bush was stupid (except when they were claiming he was too devious and Machiavellian for simple straightforward Democrats to handle). There's lots of evidence that Bush is a very smart cookie.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

May 28, 2005

3½ years left..should be enough time.

Michael Barone:

It pays to take a look at the books George W. Bush hands out to his staffers. Last year Bush's book was Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, which argues that countries that do not protect individual rights cannot be reliable partners for peace. You could hear Sharansky's arguments in Bush's extraordinary second inaugural speech in which he promised to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East and around the world. Bush's critics like to mock him as the sort of person who never read books. But he does, and his reading has consequences.

This year Bush has been handing out copies of
The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag by Kang Chol-Hwan. This is the harrowing story of a man who returned with his Communist family to North Korea to help build a Communist state and who was instead imprisoned. In the past Bush has denounced the North Korean regime as tyrannical and has been chided by some foreign policy experts for what they consider his allegedly impolitic bluntness. But his championing of The Aquariums of Pyongyang suggests that he is more determined than ever to undermine a regime that is probably the world's worst violator of human rights....

Bush has 3½ years left...I'd say the Beloved Socialists should start getting their hideaways and Swiss bank accounts ready. They're toast. Maybe Jimmy Carter will welcome them to his peanut farm.

They really are the worst human rights violators. They have concentration camps where 25% of the inmates die each year. So it's gonna be an especial treat to watch lefties and "peace activists" and the general crew of brain-dead Bush-haters doing everything they can to preserve the NK Gulag, and the socialist monsters that run it. Because of course, Bush is an evil man for interfering with the perquisites of a "sovereign nation," and upsetting the delicate balance of the Peace of Westphalia. And undermining stability--we can't have that.

And violating "International Law." I'm never sure what this "International Law" guff really is; I don't remember it being ratified by the Senate. But I've picked up enough hints and clues to be sure that its job is to hinder the USA and help dictators and terrorists...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:17 PM

May 10, 2005

People who've been under the boot understand freedom...

It's very sweet to read about the warm reception that the Bush's have received in Georgia. They understand. They know what its like to be without it. Freedom is on the march and America under President Bush is leading and helping. What a contrast the jubilant Georgians are to the sour negativity of our local leftists...

From Publius Pundit...

...At first glance you may think you’re witnessing the Republican National Convention all over again. But if you saw President Bush speak just now, you would know that he was winning the hearts and ears of a crowd of jubilant Georgians. When recalling all of the October pre-election polls reflecting how much the world hates the United States and especially President Bush, it would seem odd to the outside observer that over 100,000 people would wait in the heat, for hours on end, before impatiently breaking through police barriers just to hear Bush speak. In reality, however, it isn’t so far-fetched. Due to American support for freedom and democracy in the region during and after the fall of the Soviet Union, countries from the Baltics to the South Caucasus hold the United States in the highest of regards...

George and Laura Bush in Georgia
This picture borrowed from Gateway Pundit

and there's a great post by the Anchoress...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:35 PM

April 24, 2005

Just my usual snark, ignore it if you wish...

Living as I do in a narrow-minded community, I have to keep my mouth clamped shut most of the time. So I do my arguing and answering-back here on the blog. This is a piece from the SF Chronicle, Bush More Certain Than Ever on Iraq War...You've heard all this before, just my usual blah blah blah, but here goes:

Washington -- Two years after his much-maligned "mission accomplished'' speech aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, President Bush and his foreign policy team are trumpeting developments in the Middle East as a vindication of his Iraq policy.

The mission to topple Saddam WAS accomplished. The mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln WAS accomplished. A mission is not the same as a war or a campaign, you blockhead. This line of hokum belongs in the "plastic turkey" file.

The orderly selection of a new government in Iraq, the announced departure of Syrians from Lebanon, the election of a new Palestinian leader, and elections in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have breathed life into a foreign policy that many predicted would be the president's undoing.

You HOPED it would be his undoing, because you would gladly sacrifice America's interests to defeat Republicans. But instead it's a triumph and you are LOSERS! Exactly what you deserve.

Hardly a day goes by without Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or another senior administration official speaking publicly about the "march of freedom'' and the success of the Iraq invasion in securing peace.

It's true.

"There's a movement toward freedom around the world,'' Bush said in an interview with a Lebanese television station this past week. "I believe that a true free society, one that self-governs, one that listens to the people, will be a peaceful society -- not an angry society.''

It's true true true.

The notion that the world is more peaceful as a result of the U.S. invasion, let alone that the mission was a success, is far from universally accepted.

You hate it of course, but still it's true.

In the two years since Bush declared an end to "major combat operations, '' thousands of Iraqis and nearly 1,500 Americans have died; U.S. taxpayers have spent more than $200 billion to secure the peace; troops discovered no weapons of mass destruction, which was the principal reason stated by Bush to justify the attack; and a majority of Americans now say they disapprove of the president's handling of Iraq.

Democrat wars have killed Americans by the hundreds of thousands, and often accomplished NOTHING. Your Kennedy/LBJ war in Vietnam killed 50,000 Americans and then Democrats turned it all over to Communist butchers. Korea killed 40,000 Yanks, and left Communists still in charge of North Korea. Bush has liberated 50 million people from hidious tyrannies and started the transformation of an entire region at a very small cost. A triumph of America and its allies.

Yet the perception by critics that the mission is unproductive, or a debacle, shows no sign of resonating at the White House, where, quite to the contrary, it is evident that Bush feels emboldened by the past two years' experience.

As he should be.

Bush's words suggest he views himself as a transformational figure, able to use the example of American democracy, and the might of the U.S. military, to reshape the governance of an entire region. Rather than serve as a caretaker of a humble foreign policy, a role Bush advocated as a presidential candidate in 2000, he speaks of spreading freedom -- "Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world'' -- around the globe.

He IS a transformational figure (and is also transforming things here at home) while you lefties have NOTHING to offer. No warmth, no joy, no hopes, no loyalty to your country, no plans for ANY transformations. Nothing but sneers and obstruction and failed policies from the 20th Century. You are USELESS.

"The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad will be recorded, alongside the fall of the Berlin Wall, as one of the great moments in the history of liberty,'' Bush recently told troops in Fort Hood, Texas. "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a crushing defeat to the forces of tyranny and terror, and a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.''

That's exactly what seems to be happening.

Bush always mentions that much hard work lies ahead. His handlers have been careful not to repeat the display of the "mission accomplished'' banner that hung from the aircraft carrier behind his May 1, 2003, speech -- and became a rallying cry to opponents who decried as delusional his optimism about Iraq.

And now we can see clearly who was deluded and who was not.

Yet there is a tone of vindication as administration officials defend a policy that prompted anger and scorn from people and many governments around the globe.

Why shouldn't people who have been vindicated feel vindicated? And the "anger and scorn" were carefully orchestrated by governments and the press who themselves have NOTHING positive to offer the world.

The decision to topple Hussein "was not a popular decision, but a decision that now, I think, people are beginning to see has unlocked the possibility of a different kind of Middle East, most especially as they saw Iraqis voting on Jan. 30 and as people in Egypt and Lebanon and other places saw Iraqis voting on Jan. 30,'' Rice told editorial writers earlier this month.

"You can continue to talk about neoconservatives or non-neoconservatives or realists or whatever you want to talk about, but you cannot deny that something is happening in the Middle East that wasn't happening even six months ago," she said. "And, I'm sorry, it didn't just happen by chance.''

Thank you Condi. Exactly right.

Some limits to the democratic developments are rarely mentioned by administration officials. The elections held in Saudi Arabia, for example, didn't permit women to participate. Analysts around the world will be carefully watching what Bush says to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia when they meet Monday at the president's Texas ranch.

No matter what wonders happen you just raise the bar. If women start voting in Arabia you will sneer because there are no handicapped-access ramps.

Nevertheless, "the developments have led them to believe that their assumptions were confirmed,'' said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution who was tapped by Bush to be a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from January through April of 2004.

Our assumptions HAVE been confirmed.

"They learned that military force can be effectively applied to solve major national security challenges to the U.S. -- and that the world will come around,'' said Diamond, who returned from Iraq critical of the U.S. postwar efforts.

Yep. That's right. But what we really learned (or rather confirmed what we knew all along) is that using force ONCE has now made all our diplomatic efforts a hundredfold more effective, and makes it LESS likely that we will need force in the near future. We fought the Iraq Campaign to promote PEACE, and that's exactly what's happened.

"Where would we be today if we hadn't gone into Iraq?'' asked former Secretary of State George Shultz, one of Bush's early foreign policy tutors. "Saddam Hussein would still be ruling the roost. He'd be somewhat of an Arab hero. We'd be saying, 'Why didn't you do something when you had a chance?' ''
Yes.
Even some critics have begun to openly discuss whether Bush might have gotten it right. Editorials in France's Le Monde and Germany's Der Spiegel have praised Bush, and the Independent of London recently ran a banner headline across its front page asking: "Was Bush right after all?''

Yes.

"It is at least imaginable to me that Bush might pull this off,'' said Stanford history Professor David Kennedy, who twice voted against Bush and held a fund-raiser for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

He has pulled it off

Kennedy said it was too early to know whether the roots of democracy would take hold in Iraq and the region, but "if that happens, Bush will go down in history as a bold, innovative leader who stared down the opposition.''

Such expressions do not stand in the way of a vigorous opposition to the war. by people who would gladly toss the Middle East back on the trash-heap if it would help them politically...

California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who returned from Iraq three weeks ago, described the stifling security -- machine guns and Black Hawk helicopters - - necessary for the most basic transport around the country.

Because we are under attack by TERRORISTS, you dimwitted senatorial toad. It's a WAR. Fighting in a war is not evidence of failure. They hate what we are doing, and unfortunately so do you. We are SUPPOSED to be fighting them. YOU won't fight for our country and our values, because you don't believe in them. That's why your party will be in the minority for the next couple of generations.

"It's not a place where you can come close to any kind of normalcy,'' Boxer said. "It's a disaster.''

That's not how the Iraqis feel. Most of them poll as optimistic about the future. And most of them ARE living close to normally, and hate the terrorists who are trying to derail their country. YOU should be hating them too, and wishing for their destruction, instead of parroting their propaganda. (And how utterly stupid it is for a visiting US Senator to be protected by heavy security, and to conclude thereby that IRAQIS can't live normally.)

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, characterized Bush's description of a region marching toward democracy as propaganda aimed at mollifying Americans.

OK, so, how long does it have to keep marching before we notice that Zogby is peddling propaganda aimed at helping terrorists and tyrants?

"We don't have democracy. We have a civil war in the making. We have a very volatile situation that can explode at anytime,'' said Zogby, whose organization has polled extensively in the Middle East. "The rest of the Arab world hates us even more than they did, if you can imagine that.''

Pure sick pathetic delusion. The REAL "Arab world" is starting to emerge from under the heels of the thug dictators. Millions marching for freedom in Lebanon. Millions of Iraqis waving purple thumbs.

The danger, Zogby warned, is that the administration has come to believe its own rhetoric, which blinds it to potential course corrections.

Course corrections such as "abject surrender."

"If you keep thinking, and you keep telling people, 'it's going right, we're doing fine,' then you can't see problems when they occur," Zogby said. "You keep doing the same thing you're doing wrong.''

This is probably incomprehensible to lefty defeatists, but we do see problems as they occur. Then we SOLVE THEM! Because we are going to WIN. Our "exit strategy" is VICTORY.

At least rhetorically, Bush has learned not to declare victory while American troops remain in danger...

It is victory. We are in the mopping-up stage.

...And he is unlikely to dress in a flight jacket and invite cameras to record his landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier the way he did two years ago...

It was a flight suit, not a jacket, and it is REQUIRED SAFETY EQUIPMENT when flying high-performance jets. (And he changed out of it after landing) How you lefty creeps hate our brave troops and hate it that the President doesn't abase himself before you and do penance for the sin of believing in America.

...Yet he often repeats words like the ones he spoke to the sailors returning from battle: "Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free.''

Exactly right. Thank you President Bush. May God continue to watch over you, and this, the greatest country in the world.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:57 PM

April 6, 2005

American tradition...

A pleasant thought, the horrid Jimmy Carter snubbed!

..."The other thing that people forget is that Carter has treated President Bush very badly. He has openly criticized the President in a manner that President Clinton has not," says a Bush administration source. "He has traveled around the world bad-mouthing this president and this country's policies. I would be surprised if a single person gave a thought to including him in the delegation."

By long-standing American tradition, a former President does NOT disparage the President. I happen to know that George HW Bush and Barbara have exercised iron discipline in that regard in order not to voice what they thought of Clinton. Carter's conduct has been a disgrace.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

April 3, 2005

Metrics...

My post on The Ownership Society that got all the attention started with criticizing an article by Ryan Sager. Turns out, Ryan has a blog, and mentioned me here. I posted a comment, and I think I'll post it here too, because it expresses some of what's on my mind...

I will be interested if you return to the subject. My point (probably not expressed well) is not that the Ownership Society is a sure thing, but that people like you need to address it if you are going to criticize the Administration for over-spending.

Burden of proof? I can't prove anything; the proof will only be whether it works. But it might be useful criticism if we were to establish some metrics. I would suggest for instance, that you could call HSA's a failure if they remain a mere niche in the health care world. And a success, or trending that way, if they continue to grow in popularity, start to be offered to employees instead of insurance, and start changing people's perceptions of how they pay for health care.

It might be fair to say that Private Accounts will be a failure unless they grow due to popular demand, and unless they trend over time to something like the status of 401-K's, which are de facto things you own, although de jure they are gifts of the government, and could be regulated out of existence.

Also, I'm not advocating huge spending increases as a usual trade-off--I think (hope) that that was what happened in the first few years of the administration, when it was almost impossible to get anything out of Congress without big concessions. Remember, when Bush was first elected, a lot of people thought he would be unable to accomplish ANYTHING, due to the disputed election and a closely divided Congress....

In a broader sense, there's no way to prove something will work, when what it's intended to do is start a long-term trend. We will have to wait and see. But I imagine the same questions were asked of some proto-socialist who asked his friends to make concessions to get the very first government welfare boondoggle. "Why are you abandoning The Revolution to gain this silly little program to give shoes to the children of red-headed coal miners? You say it's going to start a trend? Oh sure. Suuuure it is. And government's going to grow until it controls almost everything? Say comrade, have you ever thought about buying a nice big bridge?"

Posted by John Weidner at 11:49 AM

March 27, 2005

In the balance pan...

The estimable Bill Quick has listed 10 reasons why he is feeling disgusted with the Republicans. I thought I'd put in my reactions to them. --This is not a Fisking. I'm with him on some things, not on others. (And, as I'm sure you know, he's a libertarian, and I'm a conservative.)

1. The massive entitlement bill pushed through congress by George W. Bush for prescription drugs.
2. The lard-laden education bill Bush and Ted Kennedy put together and pushed through congress.
In both 1 and 2 there is something Bill is missing (or not interested in). I don't like the lard either, but in both cases Bush traded (and this was at a time when we didn't control the Senate) spending increases for important components of the Ownership Society. The Medicare bill included HSA's, and NCLB included the parental-choice provisions.

What's the thinking behind the Ownership Society? First, that shrinking the government isn’t going to happen. Not now, not never. Every law, subsidy, tax-break or program creates a constituency that will fight to preserve that bit of big government. It’s a trap that liberals have created for us, and no number of grumbling fiscal conservatives will ever get us out of it.

BUT, there is a way out of the trap. Even though Social Security (to take just one example) is a big-government program, any diversion of dollars into Private Accounts is, effectively, shrinking government. And that creates a trap of the opposite sort, one that will make people want more and more privatization as they start to see their accounts grow. That’s why the Left is fighting private accounts so bitterly. Bill most likely doesn't agree with the strategy, but he ought to be aware of it. Bush has yielded on spending increases to gain long-term benefits of Choice and Ownership. (I think this is the right plan, but of course it's still an experiment.)

3. The deadly combination of establishing huge new permanent expenditures while at the same time cutting taxes, thereby guaranteeing massive new debt for future taxpayers. Anybody who has ever run up significant personal credit card bills, and then tried to pay them off out of current income, knows what I mean.
NOT deadly, I would opine. At least if the concurrent goal of economic growth is achieved. That's what Reagan did. He increased the National Debt by 1.3 trillion, and people screamed about how their grandchildren would be enslaved by debt. But the economy grew by 17 trillion at the same time--that's what I call a good investment. And more importantly, it kept on growing vigorously. And now it has grown so large that that 1.3 trillion is no great burden at all. Many of those grandchildren have now been born, but they are not being crushed..

My credit card debt is a burden, but suppose I had taken on debt to buy a business? Or buy a house? Bush's tax cuts are like that, I think, and not like credit-card debt. He left money in the hands of the American people in hopes that it would be used for growth. And I think that's what we are seeing now.

4. Bush's support of renewing the assault weapons bill.
5. Bush's administration has refused to move forward, in fact has impeded, one of the most effective steps he could take to protect American air traffic: Against the wishes of the pilots themselves, he has blocked any realistic effort to let those pilots bear arms in their cockpits.
6. Bush's idiotic refusal to profile suspect groups in airports and elsewhere has led to stupidities like strip-searching wheel-chair bound grannies, and does nothing to increase traveler safety. If anything, it puts all of us at greater risk.
I agree with Mr Quick. But, one point to think about... we are on the offensive, and taking the fight to the terrorists home ground, not here. That's the right way to do it. That outweighs, to me, the idiocies of Homeland Security.

7. For those who mentioned the horrors of the Clinton administration, to wit: the sale of pardons, they should also know that not only did the Bush administration cover up or prevent entirely an investigation of the vandalism and thefts committed by the Clintonistas on their departure from the White House, he within the past month also covered up the results of the investigation of Clinton's pardon fire sale.
Bush did the right thing! Don't fight the pig in his own mud puddle. Especially this pig. Bush is attacking Clintonism more effectively by trying to get us back to a climate where nobody even thinks of doing such slimy things. He's ignoring Clinton, and history will ignore him also.

8. Bush's apparent intentions to ram through congress immigration legislation that will, in effect, post facto legalize millions of illegal aliens, and permit the influx of millions more who will initally be "legal," but will morph into illegals as soon as their time limits are up: all apparently in search of votes and support from the huge businesses that depend on illegal immigrants, at the expense of jobs for legal immigrants and American citizens.
I agree with that.

9. Bush's gross mismanagement of Fallujah in Iraq, that needlessly cost dozens of American lives, and for a time threatened the entire future of the Iraqi experiment in democracy.
Mismanaged, probably yes. But Bill's focusing on the wrong thing. We can't give democracy to the Iraqis, they can only do it themselves. Our real job is to do as little for them as possible, and encourage them to do as much as possible, without having things fall apart. The metric to watch is not whether we are defeating terrorists, but whether Iraqis are, and are learning the art of governing themselves. The "insurgency" has, if you will forgive my cold-bloodedness, been an excellent learning experience for the people of Iraq. the way millions voted under threat of violent death will be, with a bit of luck, their Valley Forge, their story to pass down to their children.

(Also, ALL our wars have been mismanaged. We lost 800 men in a few minutes at Slapton Sands, for nothing. Iwo Jima and Pelelieu were unnecessary objectives, pure waste. Belleau Wood was thought to be "lightly held." By historical standards we are doing extremely well in managing the WOT, and Bush should get some of the credit
.

10. The recently revealed first instincts of Bush's FEC to impose draconian measures per the CFR bill Bush signed after he said he did not support it. Bush's signing of that measure is, in my opinion, more than sufficient grounds for his impeachment.
CFR is BAD. EVIL. No question in my mind. Bush is wrong to have any doings with it.

11. Of course, the massive Republican hypocrisies of Schiavo.
Schaivo has become an out-of-control flash-point for many issues and bitter controversies. I don't think Republicans could, politically, have not intervened. I'd tend to give everybody a free-pass, and judge Republicans AND Democrats by how they act in less extreme circumstances.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I'm a believer in Original Sin, and expect ALL human endeavors to be flawed. ALWAYS. So inevitably we have to weigh plusses and minuses, and chose the lesser of evils. I think Bush and his administration have some other plusses that ought to be placed in Bill's balance pan....

A few, in no particular order: Bush has brought dignity back to the White House--personnel don't wear jeans and strew pizza boxes around. He is constantly pushing for freer trade. Rumsfeld's relentless drive to restructure our forces for the 21st Century. Tort Reform. The ever-widening push for democracy. Refusal to deal with Arafat. The sheer genius of the Iraq campaign, which is now paying huge benefits in many ways. Dumped Kyoto, ICC, and ABM. Began serious work on missile defense. First White House in recent decades with almost no leaks. Bush can mingle easily with ordinary Americans, and has won the trust and affection of our troops. And his style and personality torment leftists, leading them to make foolish mistakes. Bush campaigns for the whole party, not just his own reelection.

The Bush Doctrine. Revising the "Treaty of Westphalia" and establishing the principle that national sovereignty is dependent on democratic legitimacy. PSI & Caspian Guard. Libya is out of the WMD game. India is befriended and France sidelined. Declared openly, for the first time, that we would defend Taiwan. Defeated two horrid Democrat candidates. Saved us from at least one truly ghastly First Lady. Saved us from having John McCain as Republican candidate!! [Thank you, God!] Gave us a smart bookish First Lady we can be proud of. Nominating many good judges. Appreciates Scalia and Thomas. Unlike Clinton, Bush picks strong capable subordinates (and according to witnesses I trust, is a superb manager and nobody's puppet.) Thrilling people: Condi. Paul Wolfowitz. Richard Armitage. Elliott Abrams! Dick and Lynne Cheney! (Bush is the first President EVER to have a strong VP doing useful work!!! Not to mention Dick's wife and two daughters, all doing real work in the administration.)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:27 PM

March 20, 2005

Potted Plants 1 and 2...

A friend notices this Thomas Friedman column in the NYT, where he suggests Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani should get the Nobel Peace Prize, and says:

Notice how Friedman reduces the liberators (Bushes I and II) to potted plant status who benefited mainly from good luck, while passing out Nobels to the liberated who demonstrated inspired cooperation and rational self-interest. Maybe they should give Academy Awards to theater chains for creative "movie selection."

It's gotta be hard to be Friedman right now. A liberal Democrat AND a Middle-East specialist. A lot of fancy footwork and smoke-blowin' is called for. And even if you manage to pass the credit to al-Sistani, that just calls attention to the the fact that Bush based his plans on the expectation that people like al-Sistani would emerge. That's what it means when you say that freedom is the gift of God. Rather than a largess of government given to the "little people," who probably won't appreciate it.

...The first person to vote in the [Afghan] presidential election, three years after the Taliban ruled that country with such barbarism, was a 19-year-old woman, an Afghan refugee, who fled her homeland during the civil war. Here's what she said: "I cannot explain my feelings, just how happy I am. I would never have thought I would be able to vote in this election." She's voting in this election because the United States of America believes that freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world...
-- President Bush,
October 9th, 2004
Posted by John Weidner at 2:05 PM

March 15, 2005

Wow!

From The Note:

....Now, per ABC News' Jon Karl:
Condoleezza Rice sure tried to close the door on running for President yesterday (Will somebody please ask her about vice president?), but today she'll announce a couple of high-powered hires that make it clear the State Department is becoming the kind of power center it hasn't been since the days of James Baker . . . or maybe even Henry K.

ABC News has learned that at about noon ET today, Rice will appear in the ornate Benjamin Franklin room with Karen Hughes. The President's most trusted advisor is running back to Washington not to rescue his Social Security plan, but to do something about America's image in the world (and maybe buff up Rice's image in the process).

Once confirmed, Ambassador Hughes' title will be Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. And she's got some high-powered help: White House personnel diva Dina Powell will be Hughes' deputy and the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Egyptian-born Powell is just 31, but she's the highest-ranking Middle Eastern woman in the Administration and she speaks Arabic. When she wasn't helping the President pick his cabinet secretaries, Powell often traveled to the Middle East as a White House emissary on reform and women's rights in the Arab world.

With Rice, Hughes, and Powell all at the State Department, the women who were closest to the President over the past four years (besides the First Lady, of course) will all be going to work at Foggy Bottom. Throw Liz Cheney into the mix (she started as an Assistant Secretary of State two weeks ago) and you have some real VP firepower over there as well.

Karl can keep the Social Security portfolio. Maybe, just maybe, the women are on to something. Could this President's best chance for a history-making second-term accomplishment be in the Middle East, not on Capitol Hill?

The Hughes announcement comes as a shock to almost everybody outside of Rice's inner circle. "They're really serious about this," says a senior State official who worked for Secretary Powell and now works for Rice. "The State Department will be a locus of power that it never was under Colin Powell."....

Liz Cheney too? Splendiferous! This may cause a few of those people who claim Bush is "not interested in diplomacy" to choke on their croutons. And for those who have complained that Bush is doing nothing to clean up the mess that is the State Department, well, it's happening. I rather think it's happening. And I will modestly refrain from saying "I told you so" just because I have several times told you that standing firm in Iraq was going to yield big diplomatic payoffs, and in fact was intended to do just that, and not to start a series of wars.

Rice's image needs no "buffing up" of course, but reporters have to say something snarky.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:32 PM

February 28, 2005

Have we missed a new fad?

This is the silliest thing I've read this week. Matthew Yglesias writes, concerning the recent developments in Egypt:

...Yes, it's but a tentative step and things could still all work out poorly, but still, this is a pretty unambiguous success for Bush's second term freedom kick. It's also a stunning refutation of those of us who argued that he'd never follow through on his lofty rhetoric. Give the man some props.

And not just to poke fun, but it's actually important that props be given. Bush has, historically, gotten a lot of praise for his lofty rhetoric. He's also been rather diffident about actually doing something about it. But he decided to go do something. Test the waters, so to speak. If doing the right thing winds up just being met with stony silence, then there's little reason to think it'll be the start of a trend. But it should start a trend....

First, this is not a "second term freedom kick." We've been working on it since about, oh, September of 2001. And by "work," I mean "work." Not talk. It's probably impossible for a Democrat to grasp this, but Bush's lofty rhetoric is just a tool to help get a job done. Bush and his administration and our military stood firm during two years of bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan, while scoundrel dogs clawed and bit their ankles to the bone. They stood firm because of a dream that transformation in Iraq would start a process that could spread through the Arab Middle East. A dream that was greeted with derision by lefty-bloggers and Democrats.

Everything we've been doing in recent years has been patient spadework leading up to this moment.

And Bush is not "testing the waters." A successful election in Iraq was a necessary prerequisite to ramping up the pressure on the world's despotisms. It's no accident that he more-or-less ordered Egypt to democratize in the SOTU just days after Iraq's election. You think that wasn't planned long in advance? You think Bush just decided to take a flyer on Egyptian democracy as a whim of the moment?

And he doesn't need any props. He's not Bill Clinton. It's not about him. He sticks with his policies no matter how much scorn lefties heap on him. So how can anyone imagine he will stop for lack of their praise? Ludicrous. He's a man. Getting the job done is what matters. (Or maybe Matt means that people on the right should be praising Bush. No need, we're all on the same wavelength. And anyway we have been.)

And last of all, it's not the "start of a trend." The trend started...well, you can point to various dates. I would say a moment early in the Reagan administration, when President Marcos was in trouble, and some people (neocons, many of them) decided that the policy of supporting authoritarian dictators might not be the best way to prevent communist dictators. The new policy of encouraging democracy was pushed especially in Latin America. Not with "lofty rhetoric" a la Jimmy Carter, but with a lot of hard messy work, by people like Elliot Abrams and John Negroponte. They never got any "props," but by the end of Bush I, there was only one dictator left in this hemisphere.

The same people are manning this administration. Same veterans. Same toolkit. Same "new trend." Nobody's "testing the waters" or doing this stuff on a whim. It's been a neocon plot all along. Thank God. (And Yglesias is making the "reality-based" joke seem more utterly hilarious than ever. ''...We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities..." And here's Mr Reality-Based-Blogger himself, peering like Eustace Tilly at this new butterfly and imagining he's discovered something! "Reality!" I love it. I love it. I love it!)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:54 PM

February 26, 2005

"Zee Empire has ways of making you...democratize!"

Things are moving so fast that Bush's State of the Union seems like months ago. But it was just the beginning of this month. And one of the things I blogged about with glee was this line:

...And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.

It seemed like less of a suggestion than a politely-phrased order. I thought it was a splendid example of the confidence we have earned by persisting and winning in Iraq. We are at the point where we can just act as if our goals are inevitabilities, and that we expect that anyone sensible is going to agree. And that kind of confidence tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The crowds gather in the public square, with colorful banners and flowers and calls for elections....the tyrant, with cops and guns and goons at his command.....hesitates. Negotiates. Blusters. Crumbles.

But Egypt! Crazy. I assumed we were talking about YEARS! First the little guys fall. The little dominos. Lybia. Abu Dhabi. Lebanon. Whatever. The pressure slowly ramps up. Mubarak starts to sweat.

Boy was I wrong. Egypt. What did it take, three weeks? Awesome.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Mubarak and the ruling party will probably try to rig things so they stay in power. Makes no diff in the long run. And when Egyptian democracy comes it will be flawed in many ways. You Democrats out there will have lots to sneer at. There will be plenty of failures and back-slidings to smack your lips over. As you sit in the station and watch the History Train recede into the distance.

Condi in black...And what will be the picture, the image that will sum up this moment in history? Maybe, just maybe, a certain Secretary of State with a cool black outfit that makes Darth Vader look frumpy and dated?

Alan suggested she looks creepy, because of the Matrix effect. I think he's missing the point. The only question about any flamboyant fashion is, "can you pull it off? Do you have the style and looks and confidence to wear something splashy?" If you don't you look like a fool.

Condi's got it. The reality-based crowd are being pushed into the background. Buncha dweebs.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:41 PM

February 12, 2005

...security, and choice, and ownership

...Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to members of Congress, because you already have something similar, called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets you deposit a portion of your paychecks into any of five different broadly-based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans.

       -- President George W. Bush
Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 PM

February 5, 2005

Thank you Mr Abrams....

The Washington Post has a snarky and deceptious announcement:

Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty in 1991 to withholding information from Congress in the Iran-contra affair, was promoted to deputy national security adviser to President Bush. Abrams, who previously was in charge of Middle East affairs, will be responsible for pushing Bush's strategy for advancing democracy...
[...]
...His name surfaced last year as part of the investigation into who leaked the name of a CIA operative whose husband publicly disputed Bush administration claims that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Africa. White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said that Abrams denied responsibility.

Once again, the Gasping Media fail to give us the information we need to understand what's going on. The Plame reference is just a smear-by-association, and is beneath contempt. ("Surfaced." The usual passive-voice smear tactic.)

As for Iran-Contra, if you get your history from the approved sources, you don't know that the result of the affair was that Nicaragua became a democracy, instead of the Cuba-style totalitarian dictatorship that all the fashionable people (including John Kerry) were supporting and rooting for. Abrams was in the thick of that. But there's a lot more about Elliot Abrams that the WaPo doesn't want you to know...

This is by David Frum:

...One of the great ironies of Abrams’ career is that this man so reviled by the left is probably the single figure most responsible for what honest leftists ought to recognize as one of the most important achievements of the 1980s: the abolition of the old double-standard in favor of anticommunist dictatorships.

From the 1930s until the 1980s, the United States tolerated (more or less unhappily) Latin American authoritarianism, on the old principle, "he may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." The motives for this tolerance were understandable, even pardonable: Latin America did not spontaneously generate democratic alternatives, and the United States was too busy saving Europe and Asia to divert attention and resources to help invent such alternatives. In the context of global struggles first against Nazism and then against Communism, the United States allowed itself to be associated with some fairly disgusting regimes.

However, by the late 1970s, the Cold War had stalemated itself in Europe and Asia, and Latin America was emerging as the conflict’s hottest front. Abrams was one of those who perceived that the United States had to invest more effort and prestige in the region. He recognized that just as the authoritarianism of Portugal, Spain, and Greece had weakened the anticommunist cause in Europe, so now dictatorship south of the Rio Grande was weakening the anticommunist cause in Latin America. Abrams became a forceful advocate of democratization in Mexico, in Chile, in Argentina, and in Brazil. When the Republicans entered the executive branch in 1981, the only Latin countries whose governments had been competitively elected were Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela. By the time they left in 1992, the
only Latin country without a competitively elected government was Cuba...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 PM

February 2, 2005

From the SOTU....

A couple of things really grabbed me. This:

...while we encourage a higher standard of freedom. Hopeful reform is already taking hold in an arc from Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain. The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.

I've been saying, probably to the point of tedium, that the Iraq Campaign was going to pay off hugely by giving us the credibility and moral capital to push for peaceful change. But this is astonishing! George W Bush now has enough juice to almost order Arabia and Egypt to hold elections! But "order" isn't the right word; it's more like the Godfather saying that it would warm his simple Italian peasant's heart if you would do him this little favor...I bet Hosni choked on his hummus when he heard that one! Ha ha. Call it the No Backwater Left Behind Act.

...America's immigration system is also outdated — unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families, and deny businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists...

There's the nigger in the woodpile ooops, pretend I didn't write that. But what does this mean? If the border is really closed to terrorists and drug dealers it's also closed to illegal aliens. But they aren't mentioned. Or are they de facto guest workers? I'm not going to try to guess, but one thing's for sure: this President isn't going to have one of those second terms that fizzles out quietly.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 PM

January 28, 2005

How sweet it is...

What fun it is to be alive these days! According to this article, the billboard below and a similar one is going to be plastered around Hollywood next week! (I'd love a picture of one of the real signs if anybody spots one.)

Billboard thanking Hollywood for Bush election

Sweet. Sweet sweet sweet.

Is there any excrescence more loathsome than a Hollywood Lefty? Self-righteous pomposos pretending to protect the little people from greedy Capitalists? Campaigning to take guns away from ordinary people while they themselves are protected by armed guards? Stridently lecturing Democrat politicians who have to suck-up to them in hopes of contributions?

Somebody (Jonah?) once said that the best thing about attending Republican functions is that you don't meet any celebrities! Amen brother. Say it again.

Perhaps I'll go buy a lottery ticket. If we win, Charlene and I can give SF and Berkeley and Silicon Valley the same treatment...(Thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:13 PM

January 20, 2005

Believe the evidence of your eyes

I caught part of the President's inaugural speech on the radio as I was driving around. Good speech. Strong, uncompromising stuff. Made me proud.

...All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:56 AM

January 13, 2005

We need more Presidents with MBA's

Cool cool cool cool cool...way too cool..........

PRESIDENT BUSH HAS PROPOSED WHAT appears at first glance to be a relatively modest agenda of health care reforms. But if passed by Congress in its entirety, the administration's plan would fundamentally restructure the health care system. It would turn upside down--actually, rightside up--almost all of the current perverse economic incentives that plague the U.S. health care system.

And that's why the president will get nothing but hand-wringing, nay-saying, and eye-rolling from the liberals and elitists.

Make no mistake: The battle over health care reform is a battle of competing visions about markets, individual responsibility, and accountability. Can people make good, value-conscious decisions in the health care marketplace? Or must we all rely on someone--a bureaucrat, politician, academic, or clerk--to make health care decisions for us?

Will President Bush's ownership society extend to patients and the health care system, or will the nannies seek to undermine the president's plan and resume their drive toward government-run health care?

To understand the problems inherent in the U.S. health care system, you must first understand that it is fraught with perverse incentives. Fix the incentives and you will largely fix the system....

Wow. MORE stuff for the second term. And Bush hasn't even been inaugurated yet. This stuff takes my breath away. We were promised reform of the tax code and SS.. And now there are these other "Oh by the way" things, such as this, plus extending NCLB.

Makes me wonder if he's trying to do too much. But I trust the President's political skills. I can imagine the collectivists burning up all their fury and political capital stopping Social Security reform, while these other things sneak under the radar.

(Thanks to JuddBlog)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:26 AM

January 12, 2005

Splendid clarity....

I highly recommend Norman Podhoretz's The War against World War IV, in the September Commentary. He looks at the many forces ranged against the Bush Doctrine; isolationists of both Left and Right, Liberal Internationalists, Realists, extreme-hawks like Angelo M. Codevilla...and of course all the world's tyrants and terrorists. It is a daunting catlog, and yet Podhoretz is soberly optimistic.

This is from the section on foreign-policy "Realists:"

...Until 9/11, the realists undoubtedly represented the single most influential school of thought in the world of foreign policy, with all others considered naïve or dangerous or both (though a patronizing pass might occasionally be given to liberal internationalists). It would not be going too far to say that for everyone of any great importance in that world, whether as a theorist or a practitioner, the realist perspective was axiomatic. And being, as it were, the default position, it was almost automatically adopted by George W. Bush, too, in his pre-9/11 incarnation. But on 9/11, Bush’s more or less reflexive realism took so great a hit that it collapsed in flames just as surely as did the Twin Towers.

Bush made no secret of his repudiation of realism, and he did not pussyfoot around it:

For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy.

That took care of the first guiding precept of the realist perspective. And Bush was equally forthright—almost brutal—in giving the back of his hand to the realist prohibition against using force to transform the internal character of other states:

Some who call themselves realists question whether the spread of democracy in the Middle East should be any concern of ours. But the realists in this case have lost contact with a fundamental reality: America has always been less secure when freedom is in retreat; America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.

Farewell, then, to cuius regio eius religio as well.....

Podhoretz (like me) has a lot of faith in President Bush and in the strength of the American people. He reminds us of how, in WWIII (the Cold War) anti-communists like Whittaker Chambers thought that Americans "were sure that we lacked the stomach, the heart, the will, and the wit to stand effectively against the Soviet Union and its allies and sympathizers." They were wrong then, and there is reason to feel hopeful that the doubters are wrong now.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 PM

December 23, 2004

"a message that is ancient and ever new..."

I just came across this older item in my "stack of stuff," and felt like posting it...

...Those we lost were last seen on duty. Their final act on this Earth was to fight a great evil and bring liberty to others. All of you -- all in this generation of our military -- have taken up the highest calling of history. You're defending your country, and protecting the innocent from harm. And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope -- a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "To the captives, 'come out,' -- and to those in darkness, 'be free.'"

--President Bush, speaking of those who died in the invasion of Iraq,
May 1, 2003 (link)
Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 PM

WOW! Merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will resubmit to the Senate many of the judicial nominees blocked by Democrats as too conservative, setting off a second-term battle over the make up of the federal courts, officials said on Thursday.

Emboldened by his re-election victory and gains by Republicans in the Senate, Bush plans to resubmit 20 nominations for positions on key U.S. appeals and district courts, the White House said...

The gauntlet is thrown down. I love it. We either get some good judges, or a great campaign issue in '06.

..."It's a disservice to the American people to detract from the important work of the Senate to reconsider these failed nominees," said Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate's new Democratic leader...

Oh no no no Harry Reid, they are not "failed" candidates. You prevented the Senate from voting on them, as the Constitution requires, just because you knew they would be successful. Naughty to tell such lies. And isn't filling judicial vacancies "important work?"

NARAL Pro-Choice America derided what it called the Christian right's "Christmas wish list" of nominees...

Yeah, you hate them Christians. We get the picture. Canada beckons.

People For the American Way President Ralph Neas accused Bush of brandishing "a partisan club" instead of reaching out...

You know, even really stupid people, like Republicans, can see through a brick wall given enough time. We know what your "reaching out" means by now. Bad news pal, you're in the minority party. Better start practicing some "reaching out" yourself.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:24 PM

November 26, 2004

counting our blessings...

Orrin writes, in a post titled Much for W to be thankful for:

When Jim Jeffords switched parties in June 2001, throwing the Senate to the Democrats, after the bitterly contested post-Election of 2000, more than one pundit started counting down the Bush presidency. Here we are at Thanksgiving 2004 and just consider how many of his major opponents have instead reached the end of their political careers: Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, Saddam Hussein, Howell Raines, Dan Rather, & Tom Brokaw. That's quite a kill ratio.

MORE: And soon Kim Jong Il.

Almost scary. And he's arranged for Terry McAuliffe to remain head of the Dem Party, until replaced by Howard Dean.

The real puzzler is, did Karl have a little chat with the architect of the Clinton Library?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 AM

November 16, 2004

big fight...

It looks like the first big struggle of the new term is going to be an attempt to clean out the stables at CIA and State. It's a battle well worth fighting, and I wish the President well. It won't be easy. The Old Media is already filling up with stories about how the "hard-liners" are destroying the agencies and trampling on all the tender delicate flowers with their big fascist Republican boots. And of course, "failing to reach-out." (Republicans are always supposed to "reach out." Democrats, France and Germany, China, the Palestinians, lefty bureaucrats; they're never chided for not reaching out.)

It occurs to me that it is very smart to take on both these agencies at once. It will be all the more clear to the public what is going on, as the same kind of leaks come simultaneously from State and CIA, and are breathlessly repeated by the same news sources and pundits.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 AM

November 10, 2004

Wee little line-items

From the President's press conference:

...Asked about the growing budget deficit, he said he would like to revive the so-called line-item veto....
A line-item veto would be a splendid reform. Most state governments have them, and all those governors are glad they do. Go George!
...He also said the key to controlling the deficit was to have "spending discipline" and an effort to "grow the economy." He added, "As the economy grows, there will be more revenues coming into the Treasury. That's what you have seen recently. If you notice, there's been some write-downs of the budget deficit. In other words, the deficit is less than we thought because the revenues is exceeding projections.... The revenues ARE exceeding projections. Sometimes I mangle the English language, I get that."...
One of the problems with discussing economic matters is that most people are CLUELESS!

They hear that taxes have been cut and the deficit is increasing, and their response is: We're gonna CRASH! Aaaaauuuuggghhhhhhhh!!!!

It's useless to try to explain that our economy is growing more rapidly because there is less of a tax-burden clinging to its ankles, and that the debts will end up smaller as a percentage of our total wealth. That we are in effect borrowing money to buy stocks in a rising market. And also that a larger economy means higher tax revenues, which will shrink the deficit in absolute terms. Both these things are already happening.

It's not that they argue cogently against these ideas, they just don't want to hear them at all. In fact they don't even want to know that our economy IS growing. There seems to be a strong correlation with this sort of obtuseness and support of John Kerry and other Democrats. If a person of moderate intelligence wants to be a Democrat, they must cultivate economic ignorance.

(Thanks to BroJudd)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

November 9, 2004

NYT...looking weak and foolish...

The NYT had a letter from President Bush's uncle yesterday, expressing dismay that the NYT Book Review gave a puff-piece review to that vile scandal-monger Kitty Kelly's book on the Bush family...

...As in any big family there will always be one or two disgruntled exiles, and, not surprisingly, Kelley has used these for some of her material. That they have in some cases retracted the statements doesn't seem to have fazed Ted Widmer, your reviewer, who cites them anyway.

Abundantly clear is the fact that the timing of the release of this book, so close to the election, was clearly designed to enrich Kelley and Doubleday, her publisher. They have greedily published for large monetary gain a book designed by lies, distortion and fabrication to hurt and cause emotional distress to a large, closely knit family.

Might one assume that, by giving this trash such a prominent review, the editors of the Book Review could have been trying to give a slight boost to the candidacy of J. F. Kerry?...(thanks to PowerLine)

A literary journal has a lot of power to shape the reviews it gets, by who it chooses to write them. So who was asked to write this one? You would think, given the circumstances, it would be someone authoritative and respected, wouldn't you? No, it was a Ted Widmer, a former Clinton speechwriter who I've certainly never heard of.

I've read a good deal about the Bush family. They are as decent and honorable a crowd as you are likely to find. Quite unlike the Kennedys. And hard-working; they have more money than you or I, but not the kind of dough that lets them live in idleness. Bush senior, after leaving the presidency, put in about a decade's worth of work earning money to buy the famous Kennebunkport compound from his aunt, to save it from development and preserve it for the whole family.

By the way, if you want something very funny to read, I recommend The Belles Lettres Papers, by Charles Simmons. It's a maliciously witty fictional look at the world of book-reviewing and best-seller lists, by a former editor of the NYT Book Review.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 AM

November 5, 2004

This reminds me why I don't read Business Week...

Wishful thinking from Business Week:
To appreciate Bush's achievement, consider the obstacles in his path: Despite four tax cuts, the pre-election economy was 940,000 jobs short of recovering from the losses of the 2001 recession. Sky-high oil prices are sapping growth, and consumer confidence declined in the final four months leading up to the election. The Dow Jones industrial average meandered all year, stuck near 10,000. And analysts scored a hyperkinetic Bush 0 for 3 in the fall debates against a confident, Presidential-looking Kerry.
Oooops, 337,000 jobs added last month, oil prices dropping fast, Dow heading up...and what "analysts" exactly?
As for Iraq, the President's defining metaphor for leadership, the U.S.-led occupation looms as a disastrous counterpoint to the 3 1/2-week blitz that toppled Saddam Hussein's forces. After more than 1,100 U.S. casualties, what Americans mainly have to show for Operation Iraq Inc. is a seething Iraqi insurrection, uncertain prospects for free elections, and allies who are buckling under the threat of kidnappings and murders.
In your dreams. The election, like the transfer of sovereignty and the interim government, will happen right on schedule. The insurgency will be crushed. Democrats buckle under the threat of kidnappings and murders...that's why they can't be trusted to govern in wartime. Republicans will stand fast, because we still BELIEVE in American and the rightness of our cause. And we believe our battles should be WON.
[What we also have to show is tens-of-thousands of Iraqis saved from hideous tortures and murder...and millions saved from the soul-destroying effects of tyranny. Nothing there that would matter to Democrats.]

Bush's clear-cut victory puts him in a strong position to push ahead with the next leg of his ambitious conservative agenda. But given the deep divisions rending the nation, it would be a stretch to interpret his triumph as an overwhelming endorsement of anything concrete -- much less "stay the course" entreaties on Iraq, a deficit-be-damned drive for more tax cuts, or a dimly perceived "Ownership Society" that proposes partial privatization of Social Security and aims to replace the employer-based health-insurance system.
A new bumper sticker for your Volvo: "Visualize No Mandate."
Also the Ownership Society is not at all "dim." It is very concrete, and you will be dealing with it very soon.

Hemmed in by hostile Democrats, a busted piggybank, and a lack of national consensus on his conservative reforms, Bush faces tough struggles on Capitol Hill.
Does anybody remember Bush's first term? Starting with NO margin of victory? And how he instantly started wringing congress out like an old dishtowel, extracting 3 tax cuts, NCLB, Fast Track, Iraq, Missile Defense, Medicare & HSA's?...And somehow these lunatics think that now he's going to feel "hemmed in?" By Democrats? Ha ha ha ha ha.
What the President mainly won on Election Day, experts say, is a chance to revise the script of 2000, when he ignored a contested victory to govern more from the conservative than the compassionate end of the spectrum.
Actually, conservatism is inherently compassionate. It saves lives and souls from being destroyed by collectivism and "postmodernism.". But to make you happy, the script is being revised. Instead of the falling-safe cartoon, you will get the steamroller cartoon.
He also gained an opportunity to reach across party lines and bind the nation's wounds. "The country remains clearly divided," says Richard M. Kovacevich, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo & Co.. His hope is that "President Bush would decide to bring the country together and be President of all the people."
When you hear that kind of cackle, do NOT make a bet on which little cup the ball is under.
Will Bush seize the moment, morphing from partisan to conciliator?
No. How about you? Why not morph from ankle-biter into useful citizen?
Not likely, longtime Bush-watchers suspect. While the President may mute some base-stoking rhetoric for a while, when Congress convenes in January he's expected to dig in his spurs and charge. good. That means pushing ahead with a troubled Iraq venture, good. possibly upping the ante in a showdown with Iran, good. kicking off a sweeping drive for free-market reforms of domestic programs, good. and -- given the chance -- naming conservative anti-abortion jurists to the Supreme Court. I hope he does it just to make Nancy Pelosi shit ice cubes...
"If Bush were like Thomas Jefferson -- which he is not -- he would issue a statesmanlike call for reconciliation," says Rutgers University political scientist Ross K. Baker.
Them calls never mean anything, even from Jefferson. But here's the deal, guys. The Republicans are now the majority party. It's up to YOU to find ways to deal with that. Ways to accommodate yourself to our plans, and get some crumbs in exchange. And when you join our parade, in a supernumerary capacity, one of the rewards will be...to be told that you are "statesmanlike!"
"Instead he'll interpret his win as a strong sign of support for things like private Social Security accounts."
You political "scientists" are so quick on the uptake...

You know, I'm never sure what these saps mean when they say the President should "bind the nation's wounds." Whatever it is, I'm sure I wouldn't like it. This essay is a good collection of meaningless political clichés. Like "bring the country together and be President of all the people."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 PM

"and now I intend to spend it..."

Ethan Hahn sent me the link to this news article

WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Thursday he earned "political capital" from the 59 million people who voted for him and will use it to advance a broad agenda that includes protecting America and reforming the intelligence community, the tax code and Social Security.

"I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," Bush told a news conference a day after Democrat John Kerry conceded the election to the president...

That is splendid to hear. Not unexpected, but still thrilling. The biggest political disappointment I can remember was the first President Bush, who had his rain-barrel filled with political capital after the Gulf War, and then did absolutely nothing with it...

Ethan also reminds me of this post, from last May, where I wrote about Bush using his capital to maximum effect. And also how he is willing to give the appearance of being weak and ineffectual, but really waiting for the right moment to apply maximum force at a single weak point.

One thing I've learned to depend on is that every summer the Bush administration looks like it has run out of steam. And every year, come September, we discover that the president has been holding a good hand, and looking weak while the Dems push more and more chips onto the table, and think whatever they are ranting about is a winning issue.

Think of the Vietnam Era service issue. Bush served honorably in a dangerous and difficult job, and got high marks. Frankly, his service looks better to a lot of Americans (including the guys who served with him) than Kerry's peculiar stunts. If nothing else, you can take it to the bank that if George W Bush had been in Kerry's place, he would never have used a preposterous technicality to desert his men during a shooting war.

But the Bush campaign just sat there, like the Tar Baby, and said nothing (driving me crazy). And let the Kerry Campaign drag the Vietnam War back into the national consciousness...which was just a crazy thing for them to do, since it is hard to find, except for Jane Fonda, a more conspicuous symbol of the disgusting anti-American pro-communist lefty vileness of that horrid time than....John Kerry.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 AM

October 27, 2004

Just to be fair....

There have been a LOT of photos passed around of Senator Kerry looking like a doofus, with footballs and soccer balls bouncing off his head, or riding his $6,000 bike wearing Spandex. So to be fair, here's one of President Bush in a moment of klutziness, (the only one I've encountered) dropping his dog, Barney....

President Bush dropping his dog

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

October 26, 2004

The coolest thing, politically, this year...

How do you like it? ONE WEEK before the election, the Administration says it will submit a big fat $70 billion bill for the War on Terror next year. That's the most gutsy thing since Babe Ruth pointed to the fence.

And breathtakingly honest. A major slap-in-the-face to the "Bush Lied" crowd.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

September 29, 2004

"Don't bite at their bait"

A little bit of the wisdom of W. By Linda Chavez:

George W. Bush once gave me some good advice -- which I never got the opportunity to use -- now I'd like to return the favor. Back when he picked me to be Secretary of Labor in 2001, the then president-elect sat me down in the Texas governor's mansion for a little heart-to-heart talk. "You know they're going to come after you in the Senate confirmation hearings," he said, fully aware that organized labor and other left-leaning groups vociferously opposed my nomination. "I know you can take care of yourself. You could probably come right back at them, and you might be tempted to do that," he added with a smile. "But here's my advice -- and you can take it or leave it: Don't get bogged down in winning the argument. Don't bite at their bait. I'm not telling you what to do," he said, leaning forward in his chair, "but it's what I'd do in your position."...
And that's exactly what Bush does, and it works very well. The absurd lying attacks on his Air National Guard service have been going on since he ran for governor of Texas. Has he whined or complained once? No. Have the attacks worked? No. (Of course he's in a better position than poor Kerry, who has the disadvantage that the attacks on him are largely true.)

I admire intensely the discipline of Bush and his team. I can't imagine being slandered, and just ignoring it.


Posted by John Weidner at 9:18 PM

September 27, 2004

a couple of good things....

1. There's a story about a National Guard unit being sent to Iraq without any weapons. Be prepared to hear that the heartless Bush Administration is sending our troops naked into battle. Be prepared to refute this:

...The 98th Division (Training) is a training unit and because of its mission is not authorized its own organic weapons. They do not need them to complete their mission statement. This “authorization” was completed decades ago by planners. When they need weapons , another unit will issue them weapons that they will then be responsible for. When they leave Iraq, they will then return the weapons to that unit.
2. Powerline has re-posted an account, by a rabbi they know, of a meeting with President Bush. Good stuff.

3. Powerline also has a powerful comparison of an AP piece by Jennifer Lovens, a hit piece on the "Clear Skies" legislation, compared with an article written by her husband, Roger Ballentine, who is listed on John Kerry's website as one of Kerry's most important supporters on environmental issues. Guess what, they are very similar. They both call it the so-called "Clear Skies" legislation.

When you hear those desperate lies about how the Bush Administration is pillaging the environment, consider the source....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:20 AM

September 21, 2004

"Don't bounce it. They'll boo ya!"

You have to watch this movie clip, Nine Innings, about the President throwing the first pitch, in a Series game at Yankee Stadium after 9/11. It's an extract, I think, from an HBO documentary titled Nine Innings from Ground Zero, that tells the story of the 2001 World Series in New York.

Cops galore, fans being searched, going through metal detectors...guys with automatic weapons, bomb dogs in the locker room. Secret Service men dressing as umpires...

And the President of the United States shows up in the locker room...

Derek Jeter: "...and I asked him if he was gonna be throwing the first pitch from the mound or the base of the mound."

Bush: "I thought I'd throw from the base of the mound."

Jeter: "I wouldn't do that, Mr President. You better throw it from the mound, or you're gonna get booed. This is Yankee Stadium..."

Bush: "...And he's walking out and he looks over his shoulder and says, 'Don't bounce it. They'll boo ya!' All of a sudden the pressure mounted...I'm sittin there, feeling fairly relaxed, and all of a sudden, the great Derek Jeter says 'Don't bounce it.'"

I love this stuff. And just think about it...This is the President of the United States of America, and guys on a baseball team know instinctively they can tease him. Kinda makes the Leftizoids who say he's a theocratic fascist monster look pretty stupid.

(Thanks to Mike)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:47 PM

September 19, 2004

"But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day."

Shannon Love said some interesting things:

...I think Kerry got blindsided by the Swiftvets because he doesn’t really know what happened. He was there, but he remembers with such advantages that it never occurred to him that others that were there as well would have anything but glowing memories of his service. Nobody ever seems to have questioned his “Christmas in Cambodia” story and he retold it so many times I think he honestly believes it himself. The same holds true for his anti-war activities. He remembers the adoration he received from the Leftist intelligentsia but not the fury and hatred he engendered in the majority of veterans.

Bush and Kerry are like two opposing generals. Bush has a realistic understanding of the disposition of his own troops but Kerry does not. Kerry cannot predict the consequences of an enemy movement because he doesn’t know where his own forces are. Kerry ignored the Swiftvets because he never understood that he was in anyway vulnerable to attacks on his wartime service. The attack fell upon a weak point he did not even imagine existed. Worse, it was a weak point he believed was a strong point.

Bush’s business and personal failures in the mid-80’s forced upon him a self-reexamination rare in people involved in politics. I think it knocked the arrogance out him and let him look at himself in a ruthlessly honest fashion. He understands himself and this in turn gives him a good idea of how others see him as well. That’s a tremendous advantage for a politician...

I think it's a bit of a general advantage for Republicans. Getting constant brutal criticism from the Rathers of the world keeps us in fighting trim. And even me, a run of the mill conservative, is constantly answering criticism, though mostly from the imaginary critics in my head. (Boneheaded liberals who just won't understand, even when I explain over and over again. A few decades of that and I was ready to be a blogger...)

Just to clarify a point, the "failures' of Bush's two oil companies had little to do with poor business decisions. They found, and pumped, a lot of oil. But world oil prices crashed in the mid-eighties, and almost all of Texas was suddenly "failing."

Posted by John Weidner at 4:49 PM

September 18, 2004

But nothing went as planned

Just thinking about Rathergate a bit...

By the way, Orin Kerr recently chided bloggers of the Rive Droit for the frivolity of obsessing on forged memos when there are earth-shaking issues now in the balance But in fact, there's not a lot we can do about the big issues right now. This election is this year's battlefield in the War. But the troops are already on the march, and it's too late to haggle over the plans, or give harangues about duty and country.

It's like an old-time war, like the Battle of Borodino as viewed by Tolstoy. Once the armies have been committed, there's nothing much for the general to do. The columns disappear into clouds of smoke and dust, and the onlooker might as well enjoy a pipe and a glass of brandy. Maybe have a game of checkers.

Anyway, those memos. Remember, they were sent by CBS to the White House, which then passed them on to the rest of the press without comment. (The President has released all his military records, so that's what should happen if new documents surface.) But were they just passed on without examination? Not likely.

Another blogger has suggested something like the following [sorry, lost the link. Here it is]: that CBS sent the memos to the WH assuming they would elicit a confession, or a stammered denial that would look like guilt. That's the 60 Minutes schtick, isn't it? Confront the wretched wrongdoer with the carefully-groomed evidence, and his shuffling and confusion pretty much confirms the story right there. And if there's no denial, then Rather points out that that must be taken as evidence of guilt.

But nothing went as planned....

But nothing went as planned. CBS is so sunk in Lefty delusion that probably they just assumed any tale they were telling must be true. Or at least indisputable. But when we talk about experts examining documents, remember the biggest expert of all is in the Oval Office. George W Bush was there! Unlike sneering reporters from Manhattan, he actually knows what the hell he's talking about! He knows what really happened. And Karl Rove is sure to have all the (true) details in his head. They would have seen in an instant that the memo was fishy. Within an hour the FBI document examiners would have confirmed this.

What then? These guys are way too honest and smart to forge documents. But if, like Bugs Bunny, they are handed a stick of dynamite with a hissing fuze, well... they won't at all mind handing it right back, and munching a carrot while Porky Dan goes Ka-Boom! So the memos are passed on to the ProNewsMedia, thereby ensuring that CBS can't just wave them about, like Senator McCarthy, and not let them be examined....

Fiiizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....................Ka-Boom!

NOBODY deserves it as much as that pompous bully Dan Rather.

Another thought. While the vigorous pursuit of Rathergate is being done partly to help the Republican campaign, it's also about a LOT of people who have been angry and frustrated for a LONG time. Sort of like the Swift Boat Vets. People sneer that the Swifties are part of the Republican apparatus. But they aren't. (Which should be obvious just from the fact that they started with only $200k. A Republican scheme would have had $20 million.) They tapped a deep lode of bitter resentment, and probably would have done much the same if Kerry had been the Republican candidate.

And the delicious paradox is that the resentment has been building up pressure for so long precisely because the Rather types have, until recently, controlled the news media, and marginalized anyone who dissented from their liberal orthodoxy. Remember that old woman in Tale of Two Cities, knitting a sweater with the names of them what's gonna get the chop? Ha ha. Well, vets and Republicans have been grinding their teeth in frustration for decades. Kerry and Rather won't be guillotined, but if they were I for one wouldn't shed any tears.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:23 PM

September 17, 2004

Yet another exciting episode of "It's OK to lie to show Bush lied."

Even for someone who is already aware that Bush served honorably and well in the Air Guard, it's pleasing to see another filthy lie go down in flames. A lot of those mentioned by the Bush-haters are conveniently dead, but General Staudt, of forged memos fame, is very much alive, thank you.

Retired Col. Walter Staudt, who was brigadier general of Bush's unit in Texas, interviewed Bush for the Guard position and retired in March 1972. He was mentioned in one of the memos allegedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian as having pressured Killian to assist Bush, though Bush supposedly was not meeting Guard standards.

"I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to," Staudt told ABC News in his first interview since the documents were made public.

The memo stated that "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat" a review of Bush's performance.

Staudt said he decided to come forward because he saw erroneous reports on television. CBS News first reported on the memos, which have come under scrutiny by document experts who question whether they are authentic. Killian, the purported author of the documents, died in 1984.

Staudt insisted Bush did not use connections to avoid being sent to Vietnam. "He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them."

'Highly Qualified'
During his time in charge of the unit, Staudt decided whether to accept those who applied for pilot training. He recalled Bush as a standout candidate. "He was highly qualified," he said. "He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given."

Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody." [Thanks to Bill Hobbs]

So, um, how many years did Mary Mapes work on this story? Five, wasn't it? But never talked to Staudt? And that secretary who would have typed memos for Col. Killian was also unknown 'till the last minute? Uh huh.


Posted by John Weidner at 5:16 PM

At least one evil deed is not going unpunished...

I keep laughing and laughing whenever I think of this post from PowerLine. About how the attempts of the DNCBS to smear the President have resulted in millions of people who were hardly aware that he flew jet fighters, seeing things like this on the news:

George W Bush in the Texas Air National Guard

Guess what? They like him! Especially women...they think he's cute.

Bush never made a big fuss over his military service, because men don't do that. Kerry's preening is the mark of a phony. And after listening to the MSM and the appeasers attack Bush, many people probably imagine that his duty consisted of polishing a brass cannon on alternate Leap Years. But now those same smears are also letting people know Bush flew an F-102. And plenty of people will understand what that means, and respect him for it. (And a lot of people in the press and academia will soon be telling us that the voters are morons, for re-electing Bush. You may feel confident that they are NOT the kind of people who appreciate what goes into flying a high-performance jet, and don't want to know.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:39 PM

September 14, 2004

these other points have also been revealed as forgeries...

Tim Noah writes:

...Which brings us to a larger point. The documents were entirely consistent with everything that's already been established about President Bush's National Guard service. We know strings were pulled on his behalf to get in. We know that, for whatever reason, he wouldn't take a required physical. We know that Bush agitated for a transfer to Alabama, and that for a period of six months there exists no evidence that he ever showed up. None of this makes Bush a bad person—except insofar as he feels free to question, or permits others on his campaign to question, the manhood and patriotism of his opponent, John Kerry. 60 Minutes may have inadvertently framed the president, but in doing so it framed an already guilty man...
Wrong-O Jack.

All of them have been shown to be false, by bloggers. Every rotten one of them, including that Bush "questioned" Kerry's "manhood and patriotism." (Random Jottings is happy to question them, but I'm not part of the campaign.)

It's pathetic. The Democrats are building an edifice of lies. Intentionally! Here's what a CBS news producer said to the Prowler:

...This CBS New producer went on to explain that the questions 60 Minutes folk were asking were specific enough that people would have been able to fabricate the memorandums to meet the exact specifications the investigative journalists were looking for. "People were asking questions of sources like, 'Have you ever seen or heard of a memo that suspended Bush for failing to appear for a physical?' and 'Have you heard about or know of someone who has any documentation from back in the 1970s that shows there was pressure to get Bush into the National Guard?' It was like they were placing an order for a ready-made product. That is the biggest problem I have with this. It's all too neat and perfect for what we needed. Without these exact pieces of paper, we don't have a story. Dan has as much as admitted that. Everyone knows it. We were at a standstill on this story until these memos showed up."...
This is crazy desperation. Crazy. The Dems are going nuts because they can't handle becoming the minority party. And they can't handle that because their whole worldview is based on it being just assumed that they are a real party with a program, with ideas, with ideals. None of those things will withstand scrutiny, and deep inside they know it.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:50 AM

September 12, 2004

The real docs

It's interesting to look at the documents by Colonel Killian that are NOT obvious forgeries...Byron York writes;

...But according to the documents released by the White House, just seven days later, on May 26, 1972, Killian signed on to a glowing report of Bush's performance. "Lt. Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer," the report, written by Harris, said. "He eagerly participates in scheduled unit activities." The evaluation even took approving note of the fact that, "Lt. Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate." Below Harris's signature, there was the statement, "I concur with the comments and ratings of the reporting official," signed by Killian.

And a year before that, on May 27, 1971, Killian concurred with yet another evaluation that said, "Lt. Bush is an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot...[He] possesses sound judgment and is mature beyond his age and experience level.... He continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further."...

As york points out, even if the CBS documents are not forgeries, there's a lot of evidence that directly contradicts them.

Also, the "intercepts" mentioned are probably of Russian bombers flying out of Cuba, something that his wing did routinely. If WWIII had started, Lt Bush would have been on the front lines in the first hours.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:54 PM

September 3, 2004

various things...

Every time I see any of those heartrending scenes of the school children murdered by terrorist animals in Russia, I think of Senator Kerry puffing himself up and declaring that "IF attacked, we will retaliate." What a useless idiot he is. Sit and wait for attacks...brilliant.

How he makes me appreciate the President. I only wish Bush could move faster, and be more aggressive...but he's trying to walk with scores of ankle-biters clinging like giant lampreys to his legs. (Who then have the nerve to criticize him for not doing such-and-such.) I'm predicting we will shed a bunch of them in November, and then the War can be pushed harder. Somewhere I read him quoted as saying, when told there might be 60 countries supporting terrorists, "We'll pick 'em off one at a time." Yeah!

But we are making progress. Here's a bit of the good stuff...a notorious Talib has been killed by our Special Forces in Afghanistan! Way to go, guys! Scalps!

IT'S ONE WAR. Just. One. War. Israelis, Russians, Iraqis, Nepalese, even the French...we're all in it together.

Terrorists turned to grease spot in Yemen.
More of this please....
Captain Ed quotes former Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher, who was participating at a blog conference:
...I used to be a Democrat. I was raised a liberal Democrat in Democratic New York, Upper West Side parents ... [laughter and crosstalk] One of the reasons I left the Democratic Party was that strong-on-defense, Scoop Jackson-Zell Miller wing of the Democrat Party shriveled up and went away. We had people apologizing for America around the world. This is what I'm afraid has taken over the Democratic Party, represented in Fahrenheit-9/11 and those who [defend] it. And I'm proud not to be a Democrat any more, because that proud-to-be-pro-democracy, pro-defense wing of the Democratic Party is gone. They've become Republicans. It's too bad. They've left reality, and I think that that movie and the people who watch it represent that narrow wing of America...
I think the Bush quote earlier in this post was from The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty, by Schweizer. It's a fascinating book, and I recommend it. One of the aspects that interested me about the family is their ability to network, which seems to be genetic. They know, or have in their card files and Christmas card lists, people by the tens of thousands.

W has inherited this in full. He apparently knew personally over a thousand people in his Yale class. (The number of people I knew in college was probably a couple dozen...) There are lots of stories of his ability to connect with people quickly, and grasp their essence and relate to it. And then to remember them, and call on them later. Of course this sort of intelligence is invisible to our "intelligentsia."

Posted by John Weidner at 10:08 PM

"we have a calling from beyond the stars..."

From the President's speech:

...To everything we know there is a season, a time for sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding. And now we have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America.

Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America. And tonight in this place that dream is renewed. Now we go forward, grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.

I think that gets it exactly right.

I thought when I heard that of some lines by Henry Vaughn that stick in my head:

My soul there is a country, far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry, all skillful in the wars...
* Also, I just encountered an article about Bush's speechwriter, Michael Gerson, and discovered he shares with Charlene and I a love of the Chinese mystery novels of Robert van Gulick!

Posted by John Weidner at 3:41 PM

September 2, 2004

Mixing with the right-wing nut-jobs...

Charlene and I had a rare night out without the kids, hobnobbing with the other 98 Republicans in San Francisco, and watching the President's speech. That's her in front wearing blue.

We watch Bush's Convention speech

We were both a touch underwhelmed by the overly broad range of domestic programs, helping community colleges and such, but other than that it was GREAT! Splendid! What a guy. We love him more than ever. He was right on schedule with things he has promised! ...Social Security reform, tax reform, HSA's... the ownership society that will give us more control, and bureaucrats less. (Obviously the thin end of the wedge for fascist tyranny.)

Good jokes, some at his own expense. Loved the mention of the NYT editorial in 1946 about the failed hopeless occupation of Germany. "Maybe the same guy is still writing editorials today."

And Pataki was excellent too. Quite moving. And funny: "This is a candidate who has to Google his own name to find out where he stands."

Posted by John Weidner at 9:47 PM

While at the White House...

If you keep your eyes open for accounts of the President (and his whole clan) you will often encounter stories like this. And not just from Republicans. Which is part of why the arguments of the Bush-haters are so intellectually flabby. They have to ignore so much of what's going on....

While at the White House, I spoke with several media types that have coordinated with both current and the previous Clinton administrations. I had a long conversation with a media guy who had also worked with the Clintons during their eight years. He was young, aggressive, Democratic, and did some work for the current administration. He said, at first, he was unrelenting in his disdain for Bush...that he was a "loyal" Democrat. But, after working with Bush on and off, for the past 4 years, he absolutely "loved" the President and that working with the Clintons was "hell"...they were both demanding, rude, arrogant, paranoid people, who were late for everything. He said that President Bush was a "good, decent man, who respects everyone he works with".

Another thing. This event could have been pure positive PR heaven for the President, given the nature of the organization and the people it represents. But he insisted on it remaining private with no cameras, media, etc...it wasn't even on his daily agenda. He offered himself extensively to the people involved who wished to meet him and talk with him. He continually told the Secret Service to "stand back", so we could have close access to him.

This young Democrat said that if it would have been the Clintons, they would have exploited the event, had the media all over it, refused to pose for pictures, etc., and then been a couple of hours late anyway. And, he went on to tell me, everyone who worked with President Bush on a daily basis pretty much felt the same way as he.

This was quoted at Betsy Newmark's blog, go there for more...

It is actually kind of gratifying when I hear that Bush is the worst President ever, and similar stuff. Because it tracks closely with my theorizing about the 70-Year Cycle. The things being said about Bush now are amazingly similar to what was said about FDR in the 30's, and about Lincoln in the 1860's. They were all three seen as stupid and unqualified, yet at the same time as Machiavellian schemers who were stealing the republic from those less clever.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

September 1, 2004

Patiently untangling lies...

William Campenni, a retired colonel in the United States Air Force/Air National Guard, explains why the sneering questions about Bush's Air Guard service on Kerry's web site don't actually add up to anything. It's the sort of explanation only a person familiar with how things worked at the time can provide. (Whereas anyone can twist "not observed" to look like "not present." Dems should be ashamed of this stuff.)

...First, pay records document Mr. Bush's appearances on base, as verified by Col. Lloyd and Mr. Bush's point credit statement. So why would these other reports be at variance? They are not. Regulations require that an Officer Efficiency Report (OER, now an OES) be completed annually by their reporting official, or whenever there is a change of reporting official of 90 days or more. They evaluate performance. They don't document attendance. "Not Observed" is an Air Force term of art, meaning "I didn't have this guy for more than 90 days, so I can't evaluate him." If you were there 73 days, the reporting official would have to check "not observed," even if he had lunch with you daily. With this criterion, Alabama officials would not report on you, and with six months away in the middle of the year, probably neither would the Houston officials. Sadly, the corroborating officials are now deceased...
One thing I wonder is whether the Bush campaign pondered whether to provide this kind of info months ago, and then decided it was better to be "misunderestimated?" If so, it was a master-stroke, and the current floundering of the Dems is richly deserved.
...We who served in the Guard in that era are proud of our service. Even with obsolescent equipment and condescending attitudes from the regular forces, we were ready to go. Many a guardsman volunteered for Vietnam, but were turned down for often petty reasons, or offered pointless assignments far from the war zone. As verified by at least three witnesses, George Bush was one of those Vietnam volunteers.

    A final comment: With a single phone call, Mr. Bush could round up a flight of wingmen to follow him around as his "Band of Brothers." Choosing not to exploit his squadron mates is indicative of his character and class. Poet and wartime pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote in "Night Flight" that "Like his love, a man keeps his courage dark."

    John Kerry should read it in the original French.

"Character and class" is right. But mostly, Bush is a regular guy. Americans don't make a big deal about their military service. I've only once in my life met someone who bragged about fighting in Vietnam. He turned out to be a flake and a pathological liar.

(thanks to Besty Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 AM

August 29, 2004

"only to use them like rented mules"

Orrin Judd, once again...he just puts this so well...

...One of the things that Democrats and pundits--with the exception of a few wise souls like Mr. Steyn--just don't seem to get is that the President enjoys raising the stakes at exactly those moments when they think they've caught him bluffing. And when they accept he tends to crush them. After the stolen election he was supposed to mark time untril Al Gore could be awarded his rightful crown, but instead he rammed through his tax cuts. After Jim Jeffords jumped the President was supposed to be permanently, but he just went ahead and passed NCLB and Fast Track Trade Authority and the like anyway.

After 9-11 he was supposed to not do anything partisan lest it change the color of the global mood ring, but he went to war in Iraq anyway. Presidents are supposed to lose seats in the congressional midterm but the President staked his reputation on them and won seats. Economy doing badly? He'd have to repeal tax cuts, right? Wrong, he went for more and got them. Iraq going unsmoothly, better apologize to the U.N. and hide behind it, right? Wrong, he invited them in only to use them like rented mules. Senator Kerry served in Vietnam while the President was "only" in the Guard--better avoid that issue right? And so on, and so forth, seemingly ad infinitum.

It's always around July and August that the smart-alecks decide that Bush is holding an empty hand. Every year, the same darn thing! I used to get worried, but not no more, not this year. Now I'm biting my tongue to try to keep from laughing out loud.

And they've been told...remember what Andy Card said a couple of years ago? "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Oh how the stuffed-shirts howled over that one! Ha ha. But they didn't learn the lesson, though Bush beat them with it like a two by four in September. Remember, all summer long: "We need to have a national debate over Iraq!" And didn't they just choke on it in September, the phonies. And Homeland Security, too.

and here's something I blogged in September 2003.


Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 PM

August 17, 2004

A student of these issues...

Don't miss Ronald Kressler's piece on Bush and education:

...Barnett "Sandy" Kress, a lawyer and former Democratic member of the Dallas school board, told me how, when he was only thinking about running for governor, Bush became interested in why so many kids couldn't read and what could be done about it. Bush asked Kress dozens of questions: What are the best ways to teach reading? What are other states doing? Taking notes on a legal pad, Bush wanted to know who had studied the issue. Kress mentioned six experts in the field.

"People think he shoots from the hip or that he's not smart," Kress said. "It baffles me.... He was an incredible student of these issues. He had a voracious appetite for information. He looked into the problem and researched it.... I gave him six names. He called them all. They were as stunned as I was."...

When Bush ran for Governor of Texas he promised to focus on a few issues. He did. Education was one of them. He pushed that relentlessly, and got real results....
...Based on Lyons's advice, Bush developed a way to restore phonics to reading instruction in Texas. The results were dramatic. In 1995, 23 percent of third graders could not read. By 2003, that figure had improved to ten percent, according to state testing figures compiled by Kress, who became Bush's unpaid education adviser. After additional help for kids who failed, only two percent could not read. The greatest beneficiaries of restoring phonics to reading instruction — which includes work on comprehension, spelling, and actual reading — were minorities...
When Bush ran for president he promised to focus on a few issues. He did. Education was one of them. (Here's more)

You people who say "The Bush Administration lies all the time, etc etc," are fools. LIARS! We've never had a President so straightforward. All the "Bush lied" stuff is just an excuse to avoid thinking and changing during a time of change. You don't want to think about how Democrat polices are destroying the lives of poor and minority children by the millions. You are like the Russians and Germans who didn't want to know about concentration camps...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

August 1, 2004

F-102, Vietnam, and George W. Bush

NOTE Aerospaceweb has taken down their page on Bush and the Texas Air National Guard, due to abuse by people linking to photos. Here's the text from the page, taken from Google's cache:.

We normally shy away from the world of politics, but we get variations of this kind of question regularly and feel it necessary to clarify some information. We'll do our best to avoid bringing our own political biases into this article since we are more interested in defending an "old and useless" aircraft than any particular politician!

George W. Bush's military service began in 1968 when he enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard after graduating with a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University. The aircraft that he was ultimately trained to fly was the F-102 Delta Dagger. A number of sources have claimed that Bush sought service in the National Guard to avoid being sent to Vietnam, and that the F-102 was a safe choice because it was an obsolete aircraft that would never see any real combat. However, those perceptions turn out to be incorrect, as will be seen shortly.

The F-102 was a supersonic second generation fighter designed in the early 1950s for the US Air Force. The primary mission of the aircraft was to intercept columns of Soviet nuclear bombers attempting to reach targets in the US and destroy them with air-to-air missiles. The technologies incorporated into the aircraft were state-of-the-art for the day. The F-102 set many firsts, including the first all-weather delta-winged combat aircraft, the first fighter capable of maintaining supersonic speed in level flight, and the first interceptor to have an armament entirely of missiles. Among the many innovations incorporated into the design were the use of the area rule to reduce aerodynamic drag and an advanced electronic fire control system capable of guiding the aircraft to a target and automatically launching its missiles.

The F-102 made its first flight in 1953 and entered service with the Air Defense Command (ADC) in 1956. About 1,000 Delta Daggers were built, and although eventually superseded by the related F-106 Delta Dart, the F-102 remained one of the most important aircraftin the ADC through the mid-1960s. At its peak, the aircraft made up over half of the interceptors operated by
the ADC and equipped 32 squadrons across the continental US. Additional squadrons were based in western Europe, the Pacific, and Alaska.

As the 1960s continued, many of these aircraft were transferred from the US Air Force to Air National Guard (ANG) units. By 1966, nearly 350 F-102s were being operated by ANG squadrons. A total of 23 ANG units across the US ultimately received the fighter, including squadrons in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

One of the primary ANG units to receive the F-102 was the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) at Ellington Air National Guard Station, which operated the aircraft from 1965 through 1974. These planes were given responsibility for patrolling the Gulf Coast and intercepting Soviet Tu-95 bombers that regularly flew off the US shore while carrying a payload of nuclear weapons. The 111th was and still is part of the 147th Fighter Wing in Houston, Texas. It was here that George W. Bush was stationed following his enlistment in May 1968.

It is a common misconception that the Air National Guard was a safe place for military duty during the Vietnam War. In actuality, pilots from the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, as it was called at the time, were actually conducting combat missions in Vietnam at the very time Bush enlisted. In fact, F-102 squadrons had been stationed in South Vietnam since March 1962. It was during this time that the Kennedy administration began building up a large US military presence in the nation as a deterrent against North Vietnamese invasion.

F-102 squadrons continued to be stationed in South Vietnam and Thailand throughout most of the Vietnam War. The planes were typically used for fighter defense patrols and as escorts for B-52 bomber raids. While the F-102 had few opportunities to engage in its primary role of fighter combat, the aircraft was used in the close air support role starting in 1965. Armed with
rocket pods, Delta Daggers would make attacks on Viet Cong encampments in an attempt to harass enemy soldiers. Some missions were even conducted using the aircraft's heat-seeking air-to-air missiles to lock onto enemy campfires at night. Though these missions were never considered to be serious attacks on enemy activity, F-102 pilots did often report secondary explosions coming from their targets.

These missions were also dangerous, given the risks inherent to low-level attacks against armed ground troops. A total of 14 or 15 F-102 fighters were lost in Vietnam. Three were shot down by anti-aircraft or small arms fire, one is believed to have been lost in air-to-air combat with a MiG-21, four were destroyed on the ground during Viet Cong attacks, and the remainder succumbed to training accidents.

Even in peacetime conditions, F-102 pilots risked their lives on every flight. Only highly-qualified pilot candidates were accepted for Delta Dagger training because it was such a challenging aircraft to fly and left little room for mistakes. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today's combat aircraft. For example, the F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14, the F-15 is at 2.47, the F-117 at 4.07, the S-3 at 2.6, and the F-18 at 4.9. Even the Marine Corps' AV-8B, regarded as the most dangerous aircraft in US service today, has a lifetime accident rate of only 11.44 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102 claimed the lives of many pilots, including a number stationed at Ellington during Bush's tenure. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG pilots.

Nevertheless, we have established that the F-102 was serving in combat in Vietnam at the time Bush enlisted to become an F-102 pilot. In fact, pilots from the 147th FIG of the Texas ANG were routinely rotated to Vietnam for combat duty under a program called "Palace Alert" from 1968 to 1970. Palace Alert was an Air Force program that sent qualified F-102 pilots from the ANG to bases in Europe or southeast Asia for periods of three to six months for frontline duty. Fred Bradley, a friend of Bush's who was also serving in the Texas ANG, reported that he and Bush inquired about participating in the Palace Alert program. However, the two were told by a superior, MAJ Maurice Udell, that they were not yet qualified since they were still in training and did not have the 500 hours of flight experience required. Furthermore, ANG veteran COL William Campenni, who was a fellow pilot in the 111th FIS at the time, told the Washington Times that Palace Alert was winding down and not accepting new applicants.

After being accepted into the ANG, Airman Basic Bush was selected to attend pilot training. His six weeks of basic training was completed atLackland AFB in Texas during July and August of 1968. Upon its completion, Bush was promoted to the officer's rank of second lieutenant. He spent the next year in flight school at Moody AFB in Georgia from November 1968 to November 1969. The aircraft Lt. Bush trained aboard were the T-41 Mescelero propeller-driven basic trainer and the T-38 Talon primary jet trainer. He also completed two weeks of survival training during this period.

Bush then returned to Ellington in Texas to complete seven months of combat crew training on the F-102 from December 1969 to June 1970. This period included five weeks of training on the T-33 Shooting Star and 16 weeks aboard the TF-102 Delta Dagger two-seat trainer and finally the single-seat F-102A. Bush graduated from the training program in June 1970. The previously mentioned Maurice Udell was a flight instructor for Lt. Bush who was interviewed by the Associated Press in February 2004. MAJ Udell recalled that Bush was one of his best students saying that, "I'd rank him in the top five percent."

As he was completing training and being certified as a qualified F-102 pilot, Bush's squadron was a likely candidate to be rotated to Vietnam. However, the F-102 was built for a type of air combat that wasn't seen during that conflict, and the plane was withdrawn from southeast Asia in December 1969. The F-102 was instead returned to its primary role of providing air defense for the United States. In addition, the mission of Ellington AFB, where Bush was stationed, was also changing from air defense alert to training all F-102 pilots in the US for Air National Guard duty. Lt. Bush remained in the ANG as a certified F-102 pilot who participated in frequent drills and alerts through April of 1972.

By this time, the 147th Fighter Wing was also beginning to transition from the F-102 to the F-101F, an updated version of the F-101B used primarily for air defense patrols. Furthermore, the war in Vietnam was nearing its end and the US was withdrawing its forces from the theater. Air Force personnel returning to the US created a glut of active-duty pilots, and there were not enough aircraft available to accommodate all of the qualified USAF and ANG pilots. Since USAF personnel had priority for the billets available, many of the Air National Guard pilots whose enlistments were nearly complete requested early release. The ANG was eager to fulfill these requests because there was not enough time to retrain F-102 pilots to operate new aircraft before their enlistments were up anyway. Bush was one of those forced out by the transition, and he was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant in October 1973, eight months before his six-year enlistment was complete. Bush had approximately 600 flight hours by the time he completed his military service. In the fall of 1973, Bush began coursework at the Harvard Business School where he received an MBA in 1975.

The point of this discussion is that the military record of George W. Bush deserves a fair treatment. Bush has been criticized for avoiding service in Vietnam, though the evidence proves that the Texas Air National Guard and its F-102 pilots where serving in Vietnam while Bush was in training. Bush has been criticized for using his family influence to obtain his assignment, but the evidence shows that he successfully completed every aspect of the more than two years of training required of him. Bush has been criticized for pursuing a safe and plush position as a fighter pilot, but the evidence indicates the F-102 was a demanding aircraft whose pilots regularly risked their lives. Bush has also been criticized for deserting the Guard before his enlistment was complete, but the evidence shows he was honorably discharged eight months early because his position was being phased out.

This is not to say that there exist no points of contention in Bush's record worthy of criticism. There are indeed some irregularities from April 1972 to May 1973 that indicate he may not have completed his responsibilities as a National Guardsman. However, these allegations have been fully investigated in the past and were found to lack credibility. Both the New York Times and the Boston Globe investigated Bush's military service and concluded that "Bush logged numerous hours of duty, well above the minimum requirements for so-called 'weekend warriors.'"

While it is not our goal to compare and contrast the records of the candidates on this subject, the fact that the questioner cites John Kerry's military service makes us feel it necessary to comment. It is interesting to note that there are just as many, if not more, irregularities in Kerry's military record as there are in Bush's. Kerry can certainly be praised for some of the actions he performed while in the line of duty, but his record does contain some troubling portions as well. Not the least of these is his involvement in the controversial group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) while he was still an active-duty member of the US Navy. Kerry's testimony before Congress as VVAW spokesman in 1971, during which he accused soldiers serving in Vietnam of being war criminals, was found to be based on largely falsifed information as documented by Wikipedia. The Boston Globe has also reported on troubling accusations regarding the circumstances surrounding Kerry's medals, particularly his first two purple hearts awarded for minor injuries that may even have been self-inflicted.

Nevertheless, the important point to remember is that one can find good and bad elements in virtually anyone's military history. If the military service of both George W. Bush and John Kerry is to be an issue during the upcoming election, then both records ought to be treated with balance and fairness rather than be subjected to double standards.

To learn more about the history and military service of the F-102 Delta Dagger, readers should see The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft by David Donald, ed., and Convair F-102 Delta Dagger by Wayne Mutza. Another excellent resource is Joe Baugher's American Military Aircraft, particularly the F-102A and Squadron Service sections.

As we had anticipated, this subject has generated a tremendous response from our visitors, both positive and negative. Below are a few of the replies we have received.

"I want to express my gratitude for your excellent discussion of the F-102's service in Vietnam. I was a mechanic with the 509th [Fighter Interceptor Squadron] in the Philippines. We were the primary F-102 unit to deploy to Vietnam, and I was stationed at Da Nang when we were attacked by the [Viet Cong] in 1965...the attached picture shows one of our F-102s destroyed in a VC raid.

...I am so happy to find a site like yours that looks past politics to tell the truth about our service and contributions to the war effort. I want to thank you on behalf of myself and my squadron mates, especially those who didn't make it home."
- George, 3 August 2004

"Your site is an obvious front for the right-wing conspiracy that hijacked the media and is destroying America. Your pathetic attempt to defend draft-dodger and deserter Bush is nothing but right-wing lies. Where's the proof? Show it to me and then I'll correct you. All you have is b---s---."
- name withheld, 1 August 2004

"Heartfelt applause to Aerospaceweb.org. I just had the pleasure of reading the answer to the slightly vitriolic question regarding President Bush and Senator Kerry's military service. A plain reading of the available information proved far superior a response than any mere counter vitriol. The fact is mightier than the hyperbole."
- John, 1 August 2004

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 PM

whack whack whack...

It doesn't matter how many time you whack the moles, they pop up again. And for sure there's no way the Dems will stop telling despicable lies about the President's military service, no matter how often the lies are debunked.

You might want to bookmark this page, it's got all the the facts. (The postmodernists won't care about facts of course, but there are still lots of people who are old-fashioned enough to be interested in them.)

.... It is a common misconception that the Air National Guard was a safe place for military duty during the Vietnam War. In actuality, pilots from the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, as it was called at the time, were actually conducting combat missions in Vietnam at the very time Bush enlisted. ...

..Even in peacetime conditions, F-102 pilots risked their lives on every flight. Only highly-qualified pilot candidates were accepted for Delta Dagger training because it was such a challenging aircraft to fly and left little room for mistakes. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today's combat aircraft. For example, the F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14, the S-3 is at 2.6, the F-15 at 2.47, the F-18 at 4.9, and the F-117 at 4.07. Even the AV-8B, regarded as the most dangerous aircraft in service today, has an accident rate of only 11.05 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102 claimed the lives of many pilots, including a number stationed at Ellington during Bush's tenure. Of the 875 F-102A production models that entered service, 259 were lost in accidents that killed 70 Air Force and ANG ....

also keep in mind that while Bush missed some reserve meetings, by that time the war was over (for us at least), the Air Force had way too many pilots for the available cockpits, and the 102's had been taken out of service. There was no longer anything for Lt Bush to actually do in the reserves...And also, every reservist misses some meetings.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 PM

July 31, 2004

The roll-out is beginning...

Hugh Hewitt writes:

In his campaign stops today, President Bush ripped into John Kerry's non-record in the Senate, using a new stump speech in both Missouri and Michigan.  Kerry's left almost no footprint on the Senate though he has spent 20 years there --like the kid at the 25th high school reunion who for the life of you you can't remember in even the smallest way.....

...Bush also laid out the framework for his "ownership culture" and "responsibility first" themes for the fall. I watched the speech uninterrupted on a long plane ride, and thought to myself that the roll-out is beginning, and that it is an impressive debut of powerful themes. No happy talk and no minimization of the tasks ahead. Bush closes with a stern reminder of the battles ahead and the overarching issue of the war, but emphasizes that the domestic agenda is one of tailoring new laws to the new econmy, which means individual ownership of health plans, retirement accounts, and small businesses. It is very progressive in the sense that personal liberty and autonomy are the most progressive of all goals. Kerry's appeal to the cliches of the past felt shopworn opposite Bush's sweeping assessment of the many changes that must accompany the new economy.

"Individual ownership." The Dems worst nightmare...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:39 PM

July 28, 2004

He's a classic liberal...

Melanie Phillips gets this just right

...Where [Andrew] Sullivan is absolutely right is to call Bush a liberal. For in repudiating the corrupted values of both the post-moral left and the reactionary appeasers of the right, Bush has indeed exhibited the classic liberal desire to build a better society, along with the characteristic liberal optimism that such a project can and must succeed.

And this is surely why Bush is so hated by the left. For this hatred wildly exceeds the normal dislike of a political opponent. It is as visceral and obsessive as it is irrational. At root, this is surely because Bush has got under the skin of the post-moral left in a way no true conservative ever would. And this is because he has stolen their own clothes and revealed them to be morally naked. He has exposed the falseness of their own claim to be liberal. He has revealed them instead to be reactionaries, who want both to preserve the despotic and terrorist status quo abroad and to go with the flow of social and moral collapse at home, instead of fighting all these deformities and building a better society....

(Thanks toJonathan Gewirtz at ChicagoBoyz)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:27 PM

July 22, 2004

Among the Amish...

Orrin Judd linked to this piece, about an impromptu meeting of President Bush with some Amish people in Lancaster County:

... An Amish woman who lives on a farm across Witmer Road from Lapp Electric that morning had presented a quilt to the president with a card thanking him for his leadership of the country. Bush said he would like to talk to the quilter and her family.

So the Secret Service invited the family to meet the president. Friends wanted to come along, and the entire assembly eventually numbered about 60. They were evenly divided between adults and children of all ages. The group walked together across the road to Lapp Electric.

Stoltzfus reports: “It took a while to get them through the metal detectors as these were farmers and shop men, with vice grips, pocket knives, and nuts and bolts in their pockets. Some ladies had baby gear. All pockets had to be emptied.’’...

The press wasn't there, but a local writer put together a story for the Lancaster New Era. If you follow Bush, like I do, you encounter these oddities frequently. They are never reported in the mainstream press.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 AM

July 18, 2004

That's all you need to know...

Orson Scott Card nails it:

...George W. Bush is the real thing. Despite unbelievable political hostility, at home and abroad, he has determinedly pursued the war that we had to fight, and still have to pursue until we win.

Reagan caved in on Beirut and on paying off hostage-takers. George W. Bush hasn't caved in on anything significant concerning this war.

But W isn't smooth on TV. He has Letterman ridiculing him viciously every night on NBC. He has a lot of liars calling him a liar. The media message is constantly being pounded home: Even though W has successfully governed our country through the first two campaigns of a war that was forced on us; even though he has presided over a recovery from the recession that began during Clinton's presidency, despite the huge economic setback caused by 9/11; even though he has a track record that would be the envy of any wartime or peacetime president ...

In other words, even though he has the job of President and has done it as well as anyone in recent years (and, I believe, better than Reagan by quite some) ...

He still might lose the election, because Americans are so dumb we actually believe it when political dimwits like Letterman call Bush stupid ...

And because we're such slow learners we actually believe the Democratic candidate when he pretends to be a Republican. Despite his voting record. Despite the fact that the left wing of his own party doesn't believe a word of his promises....(thanks to Mike)

"he has determinedly pursued the war that we had to fight." There it is in a nutshell. Even if Bush had made as many mistakes as critics claim (I disagree strongly), and even if Kerry and the Dems are superhuman beings who don't make mistakes, as they would have us to believe (Well, it's true—they have perfect hindsight), that fact remains that the Dems don't want to fight, and Bush does. That's all you need to know.

When Abraham Lincoln was told that he should get rid of General Grant, because Grant had a drinking problem, he simply replied, "I need this man. He fights."

Posted by John Weidner at 12:04 PM

July 12, 2004

"Bush Lied" balunkey #916

(The numbers are just my joke this week...pay them no mind.) John Podhoretz writes:

...Indeed, the [Senate Intelligence Committee] report destroys the entire edifice of the "BUSH LIED" temple. Here's the key sentence: "The committee found no evidence that the [intelligence community's] mischaracterization or exaggeration of weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of political pressure."

This sentence, on the second page of the report's conclusions, was agreed to, unanimously, by the members of the Senate committee, including every Democrat. Some of them, disgracefully, are already claiming that they don't think that sentence means what it says.

In other words, THEY LIE.

Something to think about: Right now, anyone "on the inside" who will stick a knife in the President has got it made! Democrats will treat them (unlike our soldiers) as heroes, their picture will be on all the magazines, their book will be pushed onto the best-seller lists. They will command rapt respect on the TV shows, and the NYT and Paul Krugman will construct edifices of political thought upon their foundation.

ANY of the hundreds of CIA people interviewed by the Senate Committee could have had their 15 minutes, and their 30 pieces of silver, just for saying they felt pressured to "sex-up" evidence of WMD's...but not one did.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:38 AM

July 11, 2004

It's OK to Lie to show "Bush Lied," # 914, 915...

A couple of tidbits from PowerLine. First, from the Senate Intelligence Committee Report. Remember Joe Wilson, and how he said he found no evidence of Iraq interest in Uranium from Niger? Said that the CIA report was false? Would you believe me if I said he DID find it, TOLD the CIA so, then LIED and said he didn't?

...So: what Wilson actually told the CIA, contrary to his own oft-repeated claims, is that he was told by the former mining minister of Niger that in 1998, Iraq had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from that country, and that Iraq's overture was renewed the following year. What Wilson reported to the CIA was exactly the same as what President Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address: there was evidence that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa... [link]
Stupefying...

And from the corrections section of the NYT:

An Article last Sunday about surprises in politics referred incorrectly to the turkey carried by President Bush during his unannounced visit to American troops in Baghdad over Thanksgiving. It was real, not fake. [Link]
What's not mentioned is that the lie was invented by the press; that, despite immediate debunking by bloggers it was seized upon hungrily and spread around the world by the same lying press, and that the lie is still circulating in the press.

And also that there were plenty of other pictures available, which showed the President dishing-up obviously real chow for our people, and mingling with them happily in a way probably no living Democrat could equal. Photos that are the opposite in their effect of the famous one of Dukakis in a tank. Here's one that appeared in that stodgily respectable weblog Random Jottings:

President Bush serving on chow line

No surprise that that this one was suppressed. If we win the lottery I'll put it up on billboards, just to make the liars squirm...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

July 10, 2004

"The historians will have to tell us"

This is a very interesting piece:

Much of world is more peaceful, By Jonathan Power  |  July 9, 2004

THERE IS A tendency these days -- and I share it -- that urges one on to hit George Bush while he is down. But before he goes, permit me a word in his favor -- or, more accurately, his regime. Briefly put, the world is more at peace than when he came to power. The big powers have never been so relaxed with each other since the late part of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, and the number of small wars -- ethnic disputes, tribal conflicts, and territorial disputes -- has been going down every year...

That's the sort of thing I say all the time, but this guy seems to be a leftish British journalist. Whoa! Scratching his head over these strange goings-on. He ends with:
...If Bush loses the election in November, he will be leaving the world -- Iraq and Israel/Palestine apart -- a better place than he found it. Whom to thank? Colin Powell or the left side of Bush's own brain? The historians will have to tell us, since the press has conspicuously failed to keep us informed.
Left side of his brain? You know, that's very funny. I wonder if it will become a meme—when certain people are forced by facts to acknowledge Bush's successes, we will start to hear more about the little lefty inside him. Sort of like those cartoons where people have those little angels and devils whispering in their ears. There will be a little Powell-Angel, and a little Wolfowitz-Devil, with a kippah and a bagel.

'Course this guy seems to think Bush is "down," thinks he's going to lose. Ha!. He may regret saying these nice things after W takes 50 states without even getting his hair mussed....(Thanks to O Judd)

[Question: Who was the pugilist who was going to beat the champ "without even getting his hair mussed?" My memory says it was Corbett, but I couldn't dredge it out of Google...However Googling lead me to the book John L. Sullivan and His America, which looks intriguing, I've requested it from the library.]

Posted by John Weidner at 2:01 PM

It's OK to lie to show "Bush Lied" #913

When Joe Wilson made accusations against the administration, it was Page 1 news in the Washington Post. Of course.

Now it looks like he was lying! It's good the the WaPo has printed this article. Though apparently it's on Page 9 of the print edition...

...The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

Yesterday's report said that whether Iraq sought to buy lightly enriched "yellowcake" uranium from Niger is one of the few bits of prewar intelligence that remains an open question. Much of the rest of the intelligence suggesting a buildup of weapons of mass destruction was unfounded, the report said...[Emphasis added.]

(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

PS: Steyn says it better:

...National security shouldn't be a Republican/Democrat thing. But it's become one because, for too many Americans, when it's a choice between Bush and anybody else, they'll take anybody else. So, in ''Fahrenheit 9/11,'' if it's a choice between Bush and Saddam, Michael Moore comes down on the side of the genocidal whacko and shows us lyrical slo-mo shots of kiddies flying kites in a Baathist utopia. In the Afghan war, if it's a choice between Bush and the women-enslaving gay-executing Taliban, Susan Sarandon and Co. side with the Taliban. And in the most exquisite reductio of this now universal rule, if it's a choice between Bush and the CIA, the left sides with the CIA...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

July 1, 2004

Two theories

I saw this quote by Brad DeLong at a friend's blog, and just had to stick in a few words.

...can we please please please please please please PLEASE!! stop talking about Bush's "tax cuts." There are no tax cuts. There's a tax shift--current taxpayers pay less, and future taxpayers pay more. Only by pretending that nobody has to service and amortize the growing federal debt can you talk about Bush's "tax cuts." They aren't there, any more than a $5,000 increase in your VISA limit is an increase in your income.
Dave, I think Mr DeLong has let partisan rancor trump his usual knowledge and intelligence. His statement assumes that the economy, and tax revenues, are static. Which is sort of like you assuming that your company's sales will be the same whatever the price you charge.

By his reasoning, you gained nothing by buying your first house, since you burdened your future with both interest and principal payments. But in fact, your income grew, your net worth grew, the value of the house and the whole neighborhood grew, and mortgage payments did not blight your life and turn you into a shriveled old man.

Same thing happens in the big world. Remember what they said about Reagan's tax cuts? That our children and grandchildren will have to slave in poverty to pay off the 1.3 trillion he added to the National Debt? The critics carefully didn't burden our tiny brains with the fact that his term in office added $17 trillion to the national wealth. Sort of like borrowing 1,300 to make an investment that earns 17,000. Not bad.

And our economy has been growing in almost every quarter since. The national wealth is now something like $450 trillion. So the "crushing burden" left by Reagan has now shrunk to a rounding error. Of course I can't prove that Reagan's tax cuts and monetary policies led to our present wealth, but the tax cuts were done according to a theory, and the results fit what the theory predicted.

What's the theory? Suppose when you first bought a house you had also owned stock in a promising young company, maybe something like, oh, Microsoft. And suppose you could have sold the stock and bought your house for cash. Would that have been a good move? Of course not, better to have added some debt. The theory behind the tax cuts is that leaving money in the pockets of the American people is a good investment, much like keeping that Microsoft stock. The theory is that the payoff will be much bigger than the cost of the debt.

Of course that theory won't appeal to Mr De Long, since it assumes that the other theory is wrong. That one says that the money is best put in the hands of "experts" in government and the academy, (which is to say, people like Brad DeLong.) One of the ironies here is that if a Democrat were in the White House, DeLong would almost certainly agree that a wee bit of deficit spending is just what the doctor ordered for a slowed-down economy.


Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 PM

June 28, 2004

What a great time to be alive!

Note, Condoleeza Rice to the President, "Iraq is soverign."

A note from U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to President George W. Bush, confirming the formal handover of power in Iraq (news - web sites) on June 28, 2004 is seen in this White House photo. The note was passed to Bush during a NATO summit in Istanbul and read: 'Mr. President, Iraq is sovereign. Letter was passed from Bremer at 10:26 a.m. Iraq time -- Condi,' prompting Bush to scribble back: 'Let freedom reign.' Photo by Reuters.

Thanks to Athena at Leaning to the Right

* Update: Betsy Newmark writes: I saw on TV this moment taking place. She passed the note to Bush who wrote his note on it and passed it to Don Rumsfeld who got a big grin on his face. Bush then whispered the news to Tony Blair who also smiled broadly and the two leaders then shook hands. It was cool being able to see that little moment of history and the note. I bet that little note will end up in the future Bush Presidential Library.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 PM

June 4, 2004

Bizarro World

The ever provocative Dave T posted this quote

To make a long story short, the results of a second Bush administration would be as follows: A bankrupt United States possessing a broken military -- as Phillip Carter has recently reported for the Prospect, it will take years to reconstitute the supplies that have been cannibalized for the Iraq venture -- faces off against a nuclear-armed Iranian regime that’s seen its two regional adversaries replaced with failed states in which Iran-affiliated warlords wield disproportionate influence.
This is a sort of Bizarro World where everything is the opposite.

We've seen this so many times. Left-leaning Westerners believing the propaganda of totalitarian experiments long after the people living there ceased to believe it, long after the "People's Paradise" has become a hollow shell, ready to collapse into the impoverished mess it really is. Saber-rattling, parades and mass demonstration are not signs of strength—except to comfortable Westerners wistful for orderly places without the mess and confusion of freedom and capitalism.

Iran is the failed state in that neighborhood. The Mullahs have to import foreign thugs because they don't trust their own police and military to put down demonstrations. Hundreds of thousands (some estimates are in the millions) of Iranians are in Iraq right now to find jobs and start businesses. They seem to have a different idea of what constitutes a "failed state." Iran is a place where decent women turn to prostitution to feed their children. Me, I'd risk car-bombs in Iraq to escape that sort of "successful state." And I, (and I'd guess most Iraqis) would prefer the risk of bombs to the risk of a secret-police dungeon.

And nuclear weapons won't make Iran strong. We will just have to be more careful, but regime-change is coming. The world isn't going to put up with much more Kim Jong Il nonsense. Too late for that. Madeleine Allbright isn't coming back.

And two million Afghan refugees have returned home. They don't seem to see a "failed state." They see many traditional problems plus some huge new opportunities and real economic growth. It was the Taliban that was the "failed state." And those warlords are losers. Dead-enders. "Moustache Petes." They may well wreck things for the Afghans, but they will never build anything. they aren't for anything. Sooner or later they're gone. Like those other Iranian hopes Al Sadr and the Falluja rebels. Losers.

And pace Phil Carter, our military is only low on supplies by our own internal standards of what we would like to have. We could burn half our equipment tomorrow, and still be better supplied than any other nation's military. We could sink 90% of our ships and still have the world's strongest navy. Our military budget is roughly equal to all the other countries on earth combined, BUT, it is not, by our historical standards, particularly high! Far from being bankrupted, we aren't even working up a sweat yet.

US defense spending as a percentage of GDP

Our military has its problems, but they are in many ways problems coming from being too strong! It would probably be useful right now if we could swap an armored division for an equivalent number of Civil Affairs troops and MP's. After the Cold War ended we kept thinking a big bad foe would turn up sooner or later. And ignoring the fact that all our military operations now seem to be in places where enemy divisions are not the problem, and "unconventional" is the only game in town.

We built the world's best tanks, and now we wish we had built more up-armored Humvee's. Well, bad call. But, we are cranking them out as quick as we can, and will soon fill the backlog. But if this kind of thing is lamented as a crushing problem, then you can see why lefties always want to discourage the study of history. Big supply problem is when your recruits drill with broomsticks, and are issued real weapons on the way to the troopships. Problem is like at Midway, with torpedo bombers not much faster than the ships they were chasing! Problem is Americans storming the Argonne Forest without tanks.

And focusing on equipment is shortsighted anyway. Human skills and morale are at least as important. We could give half our gear to the Chinese or the "European Union" but that would not make them foes that could come close to beating us. Fighting skill is more important than supplies.

We are right now grinding up equipment in exchange for the priceless asset of experience. It's a good trade. The old Soviet army looked formidable partly because they rarely trained...so all their equipment was always in beautiful shape. (And information is now much more important than any of the other things. We can see any building on the globe by satellite, and destroy it with pin-point accuracy. KaBoom! But that doesn't help if we don't know which one al-Zarqawi is hiding in.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:20 PM

June 3, 2004

CONTEST! ... Gratuitous References, Superfluous Digs...

I invented, in this post, an imaginary "gratuitous reference to Abu Ghraib." Something we are seeing in the press way too often these days. Tom Bowler suggested a contest. I like it. Then Lyle mentioned another oft-seen gratuitous dig at the President: "...seeking to reverse his declining poll numbers..."

And I'm sure you can think of others. In what many see as an attempt to subtly distance himself from the shadow of his father, President Bush today hailed National Broccoli Month.

So, in a spirit of inclusiveness, all superorogatory jabs at the President are eligible! Invent!

"So what's in it for me?" you ask. That's a pretty selfish attitude in wartime, pal! But in fact, you can win big! Glory, of course, is the only prize sought by a Preux d'Homme Littérateur, but in addition you can win a Random Jottings Coffee Mug! This is a very rare item! In fact it is so rare, it was only thought of half an hour ago. But it will probably eventuate sometime soon.

* Update: The problem with this contest is that the New York Times may win! Read this, by Tom Smith, on the NYT's reporting on the President's commencement address at the Air Force Academy. a sample:

...The president's remarks appeared to try to strike a balance between frightening Americans and offering himself as the only choice to lead the nation out of danger and to shore up his credentials as commander in chief in an election year when polls show support for the Iraq war and his presidency declining...
The President's speech, by the way, is well worth reading.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:17 AM

May 22, 2004

Just for your info...

If you were wondering whether the President's daughters were really the bimbos portrayed by comedians, this might be of interest:

Bush twins graduate, join re-election campaign
BATON ROUGE, La. -- For years, they have been as elusive as unicorns, shunning the spotlight and taking no part in their father's high-flying political life.

But today, a new corner is turned in the lives of the Bush twins. President Bush's daughters, Barbara and Jenna, 22, are graduating from their respective universities and plan to join their father's re-election effort, at least for a while...

...Whether Bush wins or loses, Jenna plans to move to New York City to share an apartment with friends and do volunteer work with children, according to People.

Barbara will become a paid staffer, probably this summer, with a pediatric AIDS program based at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, officials said. The job will take her to clinics in Africa...

And if you don't think the newsmedia has two standards, there's this:
"While the Bush girls' predecessor, the similarly protected Chelsea Clinton, projected the reserved image of a shy ballerina, the Bush girls are something different....
Chelsea? A "shy ballerina?" glerrrk! What can I say? Barbara and Jenna, Enjoy life! DRINK UP!

Posted by John Weidner at 12:16 PM

May 21, 2004

Bush lied......Not.

The Washington Times: Editorials:

In September 2000, George W. Bush was surely right to criticize Bill Clinton for playing politics with America's long-term national security. (Mr. Clinton released tens of millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to force energy prices down in order to increase the presidential prospects of Al Gore.) Today, President Bush is right to reject demands from Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats to divert oil from the SPR to the market in order to force gasoline prices down.

Mr. Bush's rationale today is the same as it was nearly four years ago. "The strategic reserve is an insurance policy meant for sudden disruption of our energy supply," Mr. Bush asserted in September 2000. The SPR, he rightly argued, "should not be used as an attempt to drive down oil prices right before an election. It should not be used for short-term political gain at the cost of long-term national security."...

I suppose I shouldn't harp on the point, but the "Bush Lied" ninnies are so aggravating. Of course after a while the fact that their talking points are all negative, all "anti-Bush," just makes it more clear that they are spiritually and politically bankrupt. They are not "for" anything.

Bush criticized Clinton on a point of principle; the SPR is not a political slush-fund. So what principle guides Kerry here? Of course any successful politician needs to fudge and compromise now and then. I'll give Mr Kerry a pass on some unprincipled tactical maneuvers. But still, one would like to know what he's really for....


Also, here's a snippet from TIME Magazine. The article (this is a teaser) looks like it's going to savor Abu Ghraib like a rare bottle of Chateau Watergate. But the piece in fact shows that Bush is a real leader. Just think back to Clinton and Somalia:

Just down the hall from Donald Rumsfeld's third-floor office at the Pentagon is a high-tech conference room where U.S. generals arrayed around the globe can talk to the Pentagon boss—and with his boss, if he happens to stop by. That is exactly what happened last week when Central Command chief General John Abizaid, appearing via videophone from Qatar, admitted that he was worried about the political fallout back home from the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal. Hearing this, George W. Bush peered back at Abizaid, who oversees two continuing wars in Asia, and told him to ignore the static. "You worry about getting the job done," Bush said. "You let me worry about the politics and the things back here."
(via Brothers Judd Blog)


Posted by John Weidner at 7:58 AM

May 9, 2004

This year's battlefield in the War...


From an interesting post by Iain Murray. I think there's a lot of truth in this:

...Such criticisms miss the point. It is true that there will be no major expansions of the war this year because of the US election, but the reason for that is not some dastardly example of a victory for partisan politics over the national interest, rather it is the complete opposite. For the US Election is this year's battlefield in the War on Terror. Just as in 2001 the focus was on Afghanistan, in 2002 it was the UN and last year it was Iraq.

The truth is that the Bush Administration is tired, and has achieved about all that it can in this term. That is no criticism - it is remarkable, given the circumstances of Bush's victory that so much progress has been made, but winning those battles has taken its toll. Endless bouts of diplomatic wrangling, the complete overhaul of the basis of America's foreign policy, the invasion of two countries, two massive tax-cuts and the maintenance of a national war footing, all achieved in the face of a hostile press, intransigent Generals and a diplomatic corps in open revolt have drawn on President Bush's supply of political capital to the extent that it is now depleted.

The only thing that will refill that store is victory in November. Just as the Republican victories in the 2002 mid-terms led directly to breaking the deadlock in the United Nations, so the re-election of Bush will devastate the hopes of so many of America's foes. The thought of how the Europeans would react to his re-election is almost reason enough to cheer for it...

It's easy for us bloggers to sit comfortably and say, "The Administration should do this. And that. And we mustn't forget X, Y and Z."

But the truth is, the only way for a government to accomplish anything is to focus on a few high-priority items. Trying to do everything, or trying to win a battle every week, is a recipe for paralysis.

I remember the near despair I felt in the Summer of 2002. Bush seemed to be doing nothing, and I was sure that a time of golden opportunity was being squandered. How wrong I was! Plans were quietly maturing, and, as Andy Card said, to the New York Times: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Remember how Dems yelped when he said that! vile Capitalism invading the sacred purlieus of government.! Poor Card hasn't done too much talking since. But it's really a perfectly appropriate metaphor. Both parties market their plans and policies, "selling" them to the public.

Bush's moves in September and October of 2002 were dazzling. Congress authorized the Iraq Campaign, Democrats were put behind the 8-ball over the Dept of Homeland Security. We won back the Senate and made gains in the House. (What a blissful moment.) And the UN was persuaded to pass Resolution 1441. Our stores of human energy and political capital were applied at just the right time. And the victories gave the administration new reserves of political capital. Reserves that were not hoarded, but spent to good purpose.


Posted by John Weidner at 10:55 AM

May 8, 2004

Heartlands...

It's easy to start thinking that what happens in NY and Washington DC and the major media is what's real. This NYT article, A Giddy Heartland Gives Bush Warmth Missing in the Beltway is a good reminder that the iceberg one sees is just the 10% above the surface...

...It was, rather, for Air Force One's approach, which the news camera followed as if it was that of the space shuttle.

"You can see a smooth landing at the Dubuque Regional Airport," the anchorman, Scott Sanborn, said in a slightly hushed tone. "There is a lot of anticipation in Dubuque for the president's visit today."

That was putting it mildly. On local television and radio and in the main newspaper here, Mr. Bush's stop in this Mississippi River town, part of his three-day bus tour, has scored blanket coverage for days, much of it downright giddy...

What's hilarious is the obvious subtex of the article: it isn't right that the President should be able to go direct to the people! The press has already decided what the story is right now, and the President and these boobys in the heartlands are not following orders! Hee hee...
...Still, news directors and editors said they did what they could to counter Mr. Bush's campaign spin. Mr. Cooper pointed to a front-page article on Tuesday in which a 77-year-old World War II veteran complained he was refused a ticket to Mr. Bush's speech because he admitted to local organizers he would not support Mr. Bush. The newspaper tempered its coverage on Friday with an editorial referring to his claims that said, "It is disappointing that Americans had to pass a political litmus test to see their commander in chief."

On television, correspondents at all the major stations covering Mr. Bush's speech at the Grand River Center, on the banks of the Mississippi River here, took pains to remind viewers, "This is a very staged setting," as Mr. Steele of Channel 7 did. The later editions of the newscasts included reports about protests...

The article just assumes that it is the normal and proper thing for the media to be anti-Bush, and to hate being "forced "to cover his appearances. Assumes that they will do whatever possible to 'counter" his message. Jerks. Remember this when they claim not to be biased...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:57 AM

May 7, 2004

The long game...

Alan Sullivan writes:

...Whatever his motives or ideology, [Paul] Reynolds is right to observe that the fruits of last year's US victory have begun to rot. I am convinced that the pious president cannot bear to behold the inherently pernicious attributes of Islam. Nor can he bring himself to break with the dictators and sheiks upon whom the US has based its policies for so long. He is caught again on the flypaper of his own indecision, as he was before the war. Recall how he wavered, how he clung to the hope of avoiding conflict via the UN? Only the combat itself afforded a brief time of clear, decisive action. Bush left the conduct of the war to his battlefield commanders, and they handed him a triumph that he seems incapable of grasping.
I'm wondering if Alan isn't making the mistake of expecting the war to run on Internet Time? (Or whatever that term is, for things going seven times as fast as normal life?)

We've gone through a certain kind of Blogosphere Bush-panic several times now, with bloggers tearing their hair because Bush is "wavering," "gone soft," "lost focus," been captured by the State Department, etc. And yet the caravan continued to move on.

"Recall how he wavered, how he clung to the hope of avoiding conflict via the UN?" Frankly Alan, I don't recall anything of the sort. I recall a long battle to get the UN to support us in removing Saddam. It was the UN that was squirming and twisting to avoid conflict. We wanted to fight, and eventually we did. It was a prolonged torment at the time, and Bill Quick rattled my nerves at least weekly by announcing that he had given up hope, that we were doomed, that Bush had wimped out, and nothing would happen. Turns out, not so.

I think it's more accurate to view our war as something like the game of poker, a game which Bush is said to be very good at. A good player wins respect slowly, proving that he doesn't bluff with poor cards. So that when the time comes to really bluff, he's believed, and his force is multiplied...

America has tried way too many weak bluffs in recent decades. We got called in Vietnam, and we've been behind ever since. One of our biggest lacks has been credibility. Osama bin Laden said just exactly that many times. He said we wouldn't stick, that we wouldn't take casualties.

Looked at that way, our difficulties in Iraq are all to the good. By sticking steadily, even ploddingly, to the task despite all, we are earning credibility. Assuredly a lot of the rogue nations and problem dictators of the world are watching carefully. They've figured out that Bush won't repeat Mogadishu, but will the Americans stick through long frustrating bloody months, even years? They are wondering if slow attrition is a tactic to consider using. Will it break us, or is it just another form of suicide?

And those same guys are watching the comparable savage and treacherous attacks Bush is enduring at home. They are wondering if the Democrats are allies to cultivate, or frenzied losers on the way down. So in the same sense our difficulties at home are for the good. The banditti of the world see Bush attacked almost weekly. It's becoming an almost ludicrous series of assaults. Yet he doesn't seem much weakened! And his attackers are looking neither strong nor confident.

I suspect that our poker playing President is planning his game years ahead. Without too many bluffs or fast flashy moves. I could certainly be wrong, but that's my take. Maybe Alan would like to bet on it, though the truth may not be known until various memoirs are published a decade or two from now...

* Also, I think someone who thinks that a "pious President" will likely be weak and unwilling to see evil doesn't know much about Christians.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:20 PM

May 3, 2004

The opposite of flip-flop

I was pleased to see that President Bush still stands behind what he said after his carrier landing a year ago. What he said then was right and true:

...We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes…The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq...
What he said was the simple truth, and scoundrels have worked ever since to spin a lie, claiming he said that all fighting was done, and therefore "he lied."

Lorie Byrd writes:

Regardless of the conventional wisdom, I wish Bush would use that footage in a campaign ad, because everything he said on that carrier was true. What we accomplished in April 2003 in Iraq was unprecedented and to say it was wrong to congratulate the troops on a job well done is asinine. Especially when they had, in fact, accomplished the mission, regime change in Iraq, that President Clinton declared U.S. policy in 1998.
One thing I'm bitter about is that our military has not received proper credit for what was not only a stunning feat of arms, but also one of the great humanitarian deeds of our time. A more conventional campaign would have taken months, and the death toll would have been far far higher.

To simply bypass much of Iraq's military and population was extremely daring and risky. And we made it look easy, like the trapeze artist sailing through the air over the circus crowd. And because it looked easy most people never realized what a virtuoso performance they had witnessed. They didn't know what it was they had seen!

Instead, bitter joyless people filled the news with the looting of the Baghdad Museum (which in fact never happened) as if that was the only important thing going on. That our blitzkrieg had saved tens-of-thousands of lives meant nothing to them. That almost all Iraqi soldiers lived to see their families again meant nothing to them. In fact, the damn Museum meant nothing to them! They ceased their crocodile tears the instant it was no longer useful to bash Bush and defame our military. Frauds.

Not one of those pious prevaricators said, "I'm glad I was wrong, and the Museum treasures are safe." They just dropped the subject.

Someday Charlene and I will tour the Baghdad Museum. And remember with pride our President landing on an aircraft carrier. and the splendid "mission accomplished" of our forces. Accomplished so fast and well that many evils and destructions never had a chance to happen. Including perhaps a real looting of the museum, which might well have occurred if Saddam's regime had not been bewildered by the rapidity of their demise.

...Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear...
President Bush with crewmembers, USS Lincoln, May 2003

* Update: I should add that I am aware that there were losses among Iraq's antiquities. And I regret them exceedingly. But things might have been a million times worse. In the plan, 3ID wasn't to enter Baghdad at all. A messy urban battle was anticipated, with our airborne divisions fighting building by building. But we moved so fast the Iraqi defense never got organized. Our daring entry into Baghdad was an improvisation!


Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 PM

April 15, 2004

A cozy club, no Jews allowed...

It's good to keep in mind, when you hear President Bush criticized for being a unilateralist cowboy who wounds the feelings of our "traditional allies," that ONE of the traditional congenial nuanced positions he rejects is Anti-semitism.

It's always disguised, in the proper nuanced fashion, as support for the Palestinians. But it's pretty obvious what a lie that is; no one protests if Arab governments mistreat Palestinians. Or even slaughter them en mass. It's only Israel that's bad. In fact Israel is the worst country in the world. The cause of most 3d-World problems. The only nation that is never allowed to sit on the UN Security Council! Ahhh, that "International Community." A cozy club, no Jews allowed.

Anti-semitism (always disguised as support for the Palestinians) is the norm in sophisticated left-leaning intellectual and European circles. It's the expected thing in international diplomacy. It's the norm in our State Department, —-condemning, for instance, Israel for retaliating against terrorists, even as we were hunting for Bin Laden in Afghanistan!

That's part of what John Kerry is tacitly accepting. That's part of what George Bush was rejecting when he said Tuesday:

...The violence we are seeing in Iraq is familiar. The terrorist who takes hostages, or plants a roadside bomb near Baghdad is serving the same ideology of murder that kills innocent people on trains in Madrid, and murders children on buses in Jerusalem, and blows up a nightclub in Bali, and cuts the throat of a young reporter for being a Jew...
Finally! Truth. Straight talk. End of bullshit. Yes yes YES!

The nerve of the man, actually suggesting that it is just as bad to murder Jews in Israel as is is to murder Frenchmen in Paris or Americans in New York. Decades worth of nuanced diplomacy and UN Resolutions just tossed out like rubbish.

And do you know why he's talking like that? (Apart from an obvious personal dislike of lies and hypocrisy?) It's not American Jews he's trying to please, they mostly vote Democrat. It's the Republican base—you know, those racist fascistic neanderthals. This is from a memoir by David Frum, who worked in the Bush White House. (page 259)

"What do you think our folks think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" Bush asked Rove one spring day.
Rove answered, "They think it's part of your war on terror."...
That's ME he's talking about. I'm one of Bush's people. I beamed my exact thoughts to Karl Rove and it worked!

I'm going to write it again in purple ink.

"What do you think our folks think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" Bush asked Rove one spring day.
Rove answered, "They think it's part of your war on terror."...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:45 AM

April 14, 2004

Mr President, Do you feel a sense of personal responsibility for mispronouncing "nuclear?"

Ed Moltzen has put together a batch of just the questions from the Press conference. If you read them together the effect is...interesting.

If us Republicans spend gazillions on campaign ads, it will merely serve to offset the blatant bias of the press...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 PM

Projection...


One thing that struck me during the press conference. The media wing of the Democratic Party is pushing the "Bush is to blame for 9/11" thing hard. And it's going to backfire bigtime. As Bush said, it's Osama Bin Laden who's to blame.

The contrast between people who push blame and a President who is pushing the War is going to be glaring.

A Kerry-supporter I know said that Bush allowed ideology to keep him from fighting terrorists. Talk about projection! Wow! And if the Dems want to push the line that Iraq is a sideshow from the WoT, they will be forced more and more to claim that the the fighting in Iraq is just honest Vietnamese Iraqi peasants spontaneously rising up against American tyranny. That'll play well with the voters. In Berkeley.

The position of an opposition party in wartime is tough. I sympathize. We Republicans were there in WWII. It was misery. But wars call for sacrifice. And the path of duty is clear. Constructive criticism is fine. But denigrating and undercutting our war efforts is not. Especially in a case like the invasion of Iraq, where most Democrat senators voted to authorize it. They voted to commit our troops, our credibility, our honor, to that fight.

Even if they think we ought to have done something different, their duty now is to support their country.

Especially now that it is becoming clear that we are fighting against one of the worst terrorist groups in the world, whose tactic is not to defeat us in battle, but to destroy our will to fight with propaganda and a seemingly endless series of terrorist attacks. The Democrats and the press are starting to enter into a symbiosis with Hezbollah, all working together to suggest that our efforts are hopeless.

If Democrat leaders have a better plan for fighting the war, their duty is to present it clearly and forcefully. And then support whatever plan is decided upon, without the endless sniping and carping that we see now. The Constitution gives the Executive Branch a lot of power to act during a crisis. But it has to face the voters afterward. If our war plan really is bad, the Democrats will win big in future elections.

But to undercut and sabotage our efforts while the battle is raging is wrong. It's unpatriotic. (There, I've said it. If you guys don't like it, make a case. With facts and rational arguments. Not by sniveling, "Mommmmy, Johnny called me unpatriotic. Tell him to stop!" )


Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 AM

April 13, 2004

Press conference...

Just a thought on the President's press conference. To answer Jay Rosen's question, I think the press conference was a smart move. He handled himself well before a hostile audience.

And millions of ordinary Americans listening will say, "the press is not on our side." Every question was intended to badger the President into admitting mistakes, or apologizing. Or to highlight anything negative. Those reporters are indistinguishable from Democrat politicians. (Which is not too surprising, 90% of them are Democrats.) Every question was intended to make the President look bad.

They have no flavor of optimism or hope, or of courage in the face of danger. They share no dreams of making the world a better place. And I bet they don't get a lump in the throat when they hear the Star Spangled Banner. (I'd prefer to be wrong in all this, but that's my take.)

That press conference was the campaign in miniature. And I think the Republicans are going to win in a landslide.

And i have no idea whether or not the President feels like he has made mistakes. But he is absolutely correct to refuse the demand to admit mistakes. The people asking have no interest in "forgive and forget." They are probing for weaknesses, and will exploit them relentlessly.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 PM

April 12, 2004

What if we got there 20 minutes earlier?

From an article in the Los Angeles Times: Fundamentally, Bush Works on Faith:

...The president's interpretation of Jesus' parables directly influences his moral vision for foreign policy. Rejecting the notion of realpolitik — that cold, hard self-interest should be the sole guide of policy — Bush embraces the idea that the United States has a moral obligation to help those in trouble.

His friend Doug Wead, a former aide to George H.W. Bush, recounted for us a discussion he had with the current president a few years ago on the story of the good Samaritan. Wead was reminding Bush of the story about our moral obligation to help strangers in distress when the president, in typically blunt fashion, asked: What if we got there 20 minutes earlier, when the traveler to Jericho was being attacked. Don't we have an obligation to help him then too? Such thinking not only influenced his decision to liberate Iraq but also fueled his commitment to combat AIDS in Africa...(via Judd )

It's the followers of realpolitik who are evading reality. It's dreams and ideas and the spirit that drive the world. Not selfishness and peevish calculation.

Strange dreamers arose from the Islamic stew and are trying to destroy us. But look, we have sturdy dreamers of our own! Perhaps Tony Blair and George Bush are just a "last hurrah" of Christendom, before the dull spirit of selfishness and calculation and safety submerges all. Or maybe not.

It's no wonder the Ultra's and the ankle-biters are acting rabid. Marx and Lenin are now just names kids cram before the history test, and realism has dwindled into appeasement and fearfulness. While a 2,000 year-old story, just a few sentences, stirs our hearts and helps to set armies in motion.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 PM

Remember what General Marshall said...

A partisan Democrat mountebank writes:

...Vacation gibes are usually unfair. But with the situation in Iraq so critical, shouldn't the president be at the White House? It's a full-time job, comes with a decent salary.
It's not only unfair, it's unbelievably stupid. It's stupid partly because Bush is just as in-touch with Iraq and the world at his ranch as he is in the White House. He's in touch, and busy, wherever he goes.

And also because the Jimmy Carter-type presidency, with the president personally fussing over every detail, and trapped in the White House during any crisis, is a disastrously bad management style. Any leader of a large enterprise needs to build a strong team, and then trust them to take action. Especially in war!

Do you know what General Marshall said, when the shocking news of what came to be called The Battle of the Bulge reached Washington? And people wanted to send anxious messages to Eisenhower? He said, "Let's just leave Ike alone for a while."

Bush being in Texas is a good sign. A sign of confidence in our military, and in Ambassador Bremer. Also, the situation in Iraq is not critical. Militarily, there's nothing going on we can't handle.

The Democrats seem to have the notion (they never spell-out their beliefs clearly, but it shows) that a war is only successful if we don't have to fight. Or take risks.

I wish Kerry or other Democrats had the wit to realize, and say, that even if being in Iraq is a total mistake, it would be disastrous to pull out under fire. To say clearly that we are in a war now because Mogadishu and Beruit and the Iran Hostage Crisis taught our enemies to attack us.

Or even just have the honesty to say whatever it is they believe...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

March 31, 2004

"the favorable judgment of history..."

Between these alternatives there is no neutral ground. All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization. No government should ignore the threat of terror, because to look the other way gives terrorists the chance to regroup and recruit and prepare. And all nations that fight terror, as if the lives of their own people depend on it, will earn the favorable judgment of history...

-- Abu Jinan, 9/23/2003

Posted by John Weidner at 8:34 PM

March 27, 2004

Oh bliss, for former woes, a thousandfold repaid...

Thinking about the previous post, if plain talk and honesty become the new fashion in the world, it will have to be ascribed to the influence of George W Bush.

There have been a number of times when his clarity and refusal to bullshit have thrilled me utterly. But one of the best, one of the sweetest, one that made me want to fall on my knees and shout PraiseGodHallelujah Delivered at Last! was in April 2001 when he torpedoed the doctrine of Strategic Ambiguity.

It was invented by our worst president, Jimmy Carter, who abrogated the 1955 treaty in which we promised to aid Taiwan if attacked. Instead, we would be "ambiguous" on the question. Carter, of course, never met a dictator he didn't like. But for the United States of America to be ambiguous between a friendly capitalist democratic nation and a brutal tyranny that has no love for us whatsoever was a disgraceful thing. Especially when the end of the Cold War nullified the original reason for the stinking thing.

Here's David Frum's description:

...Perhaps Bush's attention slipped, or more likely, perhaps he could no longer bear the sound of his own voice mouthing the State Department's platitudes. But when interviewed by ABC's Charles Gibson, he dropped the talking points and spoke with startling candor.

Gibson asked: "If Taiwan were attacked by China, do we have an obligation to defend the Taiwanese?"

"Yes, we do," Bush replied.

Astonished, Gibson pressed for clarification. He did not need to say a word, for Bush pressed on unprompted: "And the Chinese must understand that. Yes I would."

Gibson, even more amazed: "with the full force of the American military?"

And Bush gave his final answer, "Whatever it took too help Taiwan defend herself."

"Strategic Ambiguity" was dead...

After so many disappointments and "ambiguities," to be alive at this time is sweet recompense. "Oh bliss, for former woes, a thousandfold repaid."


Posted by John Weidner at 9:28 PM

Which "winger" wrote this ugly smear?

SO, try to guess which shameless partisan from the Republican smear machine wrote this:

...While Clarke claims that he is "an independent" not driven by partisan motives, it's hard not to read some passages in his book as anything but shrill broadsides. In his descriptions of Bush aides, he discerns their true ideological beliefs not in their words but in their body language: "As I briefed Rice on al-Qaeda, her facial expression gave me the impression she had never heard the term before." When the cabinet met to discuss al-Qaeda on Sept. 4, Rumsfeld "looked distracted throughout the session."

As for the President, Clarke doesn't even try to read Bush's body language; he just makes the encounters up. "I have a disturbing image of him sitting by a warm White House fireplace drawing a dozen red Xs on the faces of the former al-Qaeda corporate board.....while the new clones of al-Qaeda....are recruiting thousands whose names we will never know, whose faces will never be on President Bush's little charts, not until it is again too late." Clarke conjured up this chilling scene again on 60 Minutes. Only in this version he also manages to read Bush's mind, and "he's thinking that he's got most of them and therefore he's taken care of the problem." The only things missing are the black winged chair and white cat...

Ann Coulter? Steyn? Goldberg? Lowry? click below to find out.

Ha ha, Gotcha. It was TIME Magazine!

Thanks to Richard Bennett

(Coulter's more pungent take: "...Isn't that just like a liberal? The chair-warmer describes Bush as a cowboy and Rumsfeld as his gunslinger -- but the black chick is a dummy...")

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 PM

March 19, 2004

"The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is an inescapable calling of our generation"

Splendid speech today. I recommend you read it all...

...One man who believed in our cause was a Japanese diplomat named Katsuhiko Oku. He worked for the Coalition Provision Authority in Iraq. Mr. Oku was killed when his car was ambushed. In his diary he described his pride in the cause he had joined. "The free people of Iraq," he wrote, "are now making steady progress in reconstructing their country--while also fighting against the threat of terrorism. We must join hands with the Iraqi people in their effort to prevent Iraq from falling into the hands of terrorists." This good, decent man concluded, "This is also our fight to defend freedom."

Ladies and gentlemen, this good man from Japan was right. The establishment of a free Iraq is our fight. The success of a free Afghanistan is our fight. The war on terror is our fight. All of us are called to share the blessings of liberty, and to be strong and steady in freedom's defense. It will surely be said of our times that we lived with great challenges. Let it also be said of our times that we understood our great duties, and met them in full.

May God bless our efforts.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:39 AM

March 11, 2004

If you share the faith, nothing else matters...

Max Boot has an interesting article, The Fringe Fires at Bush on Iraq, on a variety of people being quoted as experienced foreign affairs experts, without any explanation of where they really are coming from...

....Equally biased are the former CIA officers who call themselves Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — a name that implies the administration, which they oppose, is insane. Ray Close, David MacMichael and Ray McGovern, who make up VIPS' steering committee, have many decades of intelligence experience among them, which is why they are often cited as sources by news organizations like the New York Times when they write stories about how the Bush team has run roughshod over "objective" CIA analysts.

What is seldom mentioned is where the VIPS-ters publish most of their anti-Bush screeds: on Counterpunch.org, a conspiracy-mongering website run by Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn. VIPS even has an e-mail address at Counterpunch, which is so extreme that it has run an article suggesting that the only major difference between George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler is that "Bush simply is not the orator that Hitler was."....

Not just wackos of the Left. Teddy Kennedy quoted as an experrt a retired Air Force officer without giving any hint that she was a turnstone of the far-right isolationist mudflats...
...Since her retirement in March 2003, she has become a prolific contributor to isolationist publications like the American Conservative, Pat Buchanan's magazine, and lewrockwell.com, an ultra-libertarian website. Pretty much all her work is devoted to uncovering "neoconservative warmongers" who have supposedly taken over U.S. foreign policy. ....
I'm continually amazed by the strange bedfellows of the great anti-Bush volkswanderung. Anyone's welcome under the blankets if they claim that "Bush lied." Teddy is chummy with a Paleo-con, and I've seen Libertarians quoting with bland approval crypto-socialists who, when the Revolution comes, will be herding them onto the first trains to the re-education multi-cultural camps.

Bush-hatred is taking on the flavor of some new religion.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 AM

March 4, 2004

verbal gymnastics...

Poor poor Kerry. He's trying out a number of explanations why his vote to authorize the liberation of Iraq didn't actually mean that the administration was authorized to do so, and that for Bush to do what he clearly said he would do was a shocking and astonishing treachery. Here's one of them:

...Kerry's answer reminds me of the angry customer in the Federal Express ad who, clad only in a towel and a loofah mitt, calls a company to complain that FedEx delivered his package as scheduled, which he should not have expected, and by the way, it inconveniently interrupted a "complicated exfoliation."

Kerry's answer was that Washington insiders believed that Bush didn't mean what he said. "I think that you had a hard-line group (then Pentagon adviser) Richard Perle, (Deputy Defense Secretary) Paul Wolfowitz and probably (Vice President Dick) Cheney. But when Brent Scowcroft and Jim Baker (former advisers to the first President Bush) weighed in, very publicly in op-eds in The New York Times and the (Washington) Post, the chatter around Washington and (Secretary of State Colin) Powell in particular, who was very much of a different school of thought, was really that the president hadn't made up his mind. He was looking for an out. That's what a lot of people thought."...

I'm not sure that makes sense, but perhaps it's not intended to be scrutinized too closely. Another line he's taking is that he voted for war because he thought that would make it harder for Bush to go to war!

I don't know how these contrivances will fly with the electorate, but no doubt Josh Marshall finds them perfectly reasonable. (Maybe he wrote them.)

And the poor Dems are going need some other verbal gymnastics soon. They have to explain why the the new Bush campaign ads, which are upbeat and feature happy Americans saying they are pleased with the President, somehow constitute a vicious smear campaign of shocking ugliness, one that's forcing Democrats, despite their reluctance, to respond in kind...

* Update: Jonah Goldberg gets it right, on the complaints that Bush ads shouldn't use 9/11 imagery:

...I'm sorry, but while I have a great deal of sympathy for the families of 9/11 victims, I think these complaints are nonsense squared. A lot more people died during Vietnam than on 9/11 and John Kerry has been running ads with footage from there for months. These families may have a unique relationship to 9/11 but they do not have ownership of that day, politically, culturally or otherwise and it would be absurd if this administration caved on this point, even though I'm sure the media will be delighted to exploit the personal tragedies of these families...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:37 PM

February 25, 2004

A bigger threat than Osama...

Cori Dauber comments on today's NYT:

...What does it take for people to take this seriously? The top three intelligence people in the country (the head of DIA was there as well) just said that we are in as great a risk of attack as we were last year, and of course last year we were in great a risk as the year before. Why does no one seem to want to pay attention? Why isn't this front page news? Someone is crazy here, and I don't think it's me. We have just been told we're at risk of another terrorist attack and that doesn't seem to grasp the media's attention. That just staggers me. It makes me want to grab someone by the lapels and shake them. WHAT ABOUT THIS STORY IS DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND? WHYT ISN'T THIS YOUR TOP PRIORITY? WHY DO I SEEM TO BE THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THIS IS IMPORTANT?...
What's important is to hurt Bush. Since terrorist fears would help him, they aren't "news."

The hate (and I use the word advisedly, because I think it fits the facts�if I'm wrong give me some evidence) these people feel for Bush has nothing to do with rational argument or facts. If 50 Scuds loaded with VX were found in Basra tomorrow, neither the NYT nor any of the "Bush lied" crowd would apologize or change their thinking in the least.

Their visceral loathing of Bush is because he symbolizes the thing they want most to avoid�that in a democracy the vote of the person who mops the floor counts just as much as the votes of journalists or intellectuals.

The New York Times has been called the"Flagship of the Eastern Liberal Establishment." It's been, for a century or more, a bulwark of the idea that, even though the masses can vote, the nation is really guided by a smaller group characterized by good breeding, taste, and intellect.

And their visceral loathing of Bush is because he symbolizes just the opposite. And not just symbolizes; his domestic program is built around the theme of giving choice to ordinary people in many areas where they are now under government control. And he's pushed his program tenaciously from the beginning. It's no wonder that collectivists everywhere see Bush as a bigger threat than Osama...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:59 AM

February 24, 2004

Bush Glacier--grinds exceeding fine...

Security Workers on Merit

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stepped into line with a commonly accepted practice in corporate America: tying pay increases to performance and the type of job performed...

...Salaries will be structured according to the type of work, a person's experience, and job location - and, notably, not by seniority. And in the case of a national emergency, the president can waive labor agreements....

...DHS began putting together 180,000 employees from some 22 government agencies in 2002. When a similar restructuring is complete at the Defense Department, about half the government's 1.8 million civilian employees will have made the transition to the new merit system. That's costly in the short term, but cost-saving in the long run...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 PM

February 20, 2004

This gave me my best laugh in a weeks...

...The event that I've been pitching [fundraiser with Karl Rove speaking] was tonight and it was really fun. I got to Eugene, the event space, about 20 minutes early. I was on the host committee and so was getting a coveted photo taken with Karl Rove. Scott had emailed me that there were going to be the usual corny protesters outside, so I was expecting the small crowd gathered across the street from the place. I walked in and checked my coat and while I was doing that I heard someone say 'Karl is going to talk to them!' I walked over to the door and looked through the glass and indeed, Karl Rove was crossing the street to go talk to the protesters. Everybody watched and whispered 'what is he doing' as he walked over to them. The crowd shifted down the street as he approached them. I watched some of the protesters take his picture. It was stunning.

Later on, when I met him to take the photo, I had to ask: 'what did the protesters say to you?' He said 'they ran away, they wouldn't talk to me.'

The story's here, by NY blogger Karol. Thanks to Brian T.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:07 PM

Equivalence

James Webb, Vietnam vet and writer, has written an article that says that for Vietnam vets, Kerry and Bush are both unattractive. I won't try to debate his assessment of the liberation of Iraq�he calls it "arguably...the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory." Time will tell.

But what's interesting to me is that his criticisms of Kerry are made with very specific and vivid and disgusting examples of how Kerry lied about our soldiers in Vietnam and aided our enemies. But his Bush criticisms are generalizations without any examples. "And yet his actions in Iraq, and the vicious attacks against anyone who disagrees with his administration's logic, give many veterans serious pause...." OK, give us an example of a "vicious attack." Webb doesn't. Which veterans has he asked? How did you find this out? He doesn't say.

Or there's this: "At the same time, those around Bush, many of whom came of age during Vietnam and almost none of whom served, have attempted to assassinate the character and insult the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with them. Some have impugned the culture, history and integrity of entire nations, particularly in Europe, that have been our country's great friends for generations and, in some cases, for centuries...." So where are the specifics? Where are the quotes? Give us an example! I suspect he can't. That "patriotism" thing is a common lefty canard, never accompanied with examples.

(My guess: Webb moves in the sort of trendoid New York circles where just mentioning the words "Bush" or "Reagan" or "middle-class" are witty sallies that have people rolling on the floor. No facts needed.)

And there's also an egregious case of LYING WITH STATISTICS.

But in the zero-sum game of a presidential campaign, to go after Kerry is to give a free pass to Bush, whose actions then and now deserve no prizes. Recent statements defending Bush claim that the National Guard was not a haven for those who wished to avoid Vietnam; but it clearly was. According to the National Guard Association, only some 9,000 Army Guardsmen and 9,343 Air Guardsmen served in Vietnam. Considering that nearly 3 million from the active forces did so, one begins to understand why so many of America's elites headed for the Guard when their draft numbers were called.
There are a couple of things wrong here. First, the ANG is much smaller numerically than the NG. So the number sent to Vietnam is proportionately much higher. Second, all modern forces have many more non-combatants than fighters. For every guy on the front-line, there are 5 or 10 support troops. But, as I understand the history, the ANG was rotating pilots into AF units. They weren't sending any flapjack flippers or medics or clerks. Statistically, that's a very different animal...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 AM

February 16, 2004

"His abilities and anticipated future assignments make him a valuable asset"

This made me grin. Apparently the scurrilous and stupid attacks on President Bush's Air National Guard service have backfired�a lot of people are now becoming aware that Bush got glowing evaluations as a fighter pilot. That's the sort of stuff he's too classy to boast about or even mention, but Terry McAuliffe has done us the favor of publicizing it. Hee hee hee...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:07 PM

February 15, 2004

Jimmy Breslin is such a jerk.

(From Newsday) ...His whereabouts have nothing to do with it. What matters only is that Bush was in the National Guard in Texas because he was dodging the war in Vietnam. In those days, if you were in the Guard, you were not called for Vietnam...

Bush wasn't in the National Guard, he was in the Air National Guard�a very different thing. Men from his unit were fighting in Vietnam when he joined. If he had trained on F-100's he probably would have gone. F-102's turned out to be useless over there.

... What matters to all our senses is that he is a president who struts around as a war hero,

Never did any such.

..who dodged Vietnam and most of the National Guard drills

DID do most ANG drills, did miss some at a time when the AF was shedding excess pilots, and when F-102's had been taken out of service�and that after 2 1/2 years of active duty...

...and who with less shame than anybody we have had maybe ever,

Can one say "Bill Clinton?"

sends your kids to a war that he ducked as if he was allowed to do it by birth....

'cause we elected him to do just that, which is really what Breslin hates. He had no objections when Clinton sent people into danger in Kosovo.

...The picture of him playing soldier suit on an aircraft carrier, the helmet under his arm like he just got back from a run over Baghdad, marks him as exceedingly dangerous...

Guess what, fool, if you flew on a jet to a carrier, you also would be required to wear a flight-suit and helmet. It's safety gear, not a uniform. And Bush took it off after landing. Yikes, does that carrier trip torment the lefties! I shall cherish it in my heart forever for just that reason.

They pretend to be upset because there was something illegitimate about it, but what really chews out their livers is that Bush was obviously right at home with our service-people, and extremely popular. Unlike certain other presidents, nobody had to be ordered to be friendly to him!

It's pathetic that lefty media types who normally ignore our military, and certainly don't want their own children to join, suddenly now value combat service above everything. If some upset gives Dean the nomination they will instantly decide that only physicians should make life-or-death presidential decisions!

AND, do you notice the huge gap in all the articles of this type? Something missing? If there's an article on poverty, aren't there always quotes from some poor people? Isn't a disaster story is always accompanied by quotes from the hapless victims? So why don't Breslin and his fellows go to an Army base and gather some quotes from those unhappy soldiers who are being sent to die by a "guy who ducked the war?"

In fact I think Mr Breslin should be required to visit some bases. He would pick up some very colorful quotes!


(thanks to Cori Dauber)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

February 12, 2004

It's not Bush he hates, but what he symbolizes...

Kevin Drum comments on President Bush referring to himself as a "wartime President."

...Who the hell does George Bush think he is, anyway? We haven't had a "wartime president" since FDR, and there's a good reason for that: you're only a wartime president if you act like you're at war. That means placing the country on a wartime footing, putting aside petty politics to forge a bipartisan wartime consensus, and telling the nation in no uncertain terms that sacrifices need to be made. George Bush has done none of those things. In fact, he's done exactly the opposite, sending the message loud and clear that this war is as trivial and inconsequential as it's possible to be, all the time treating it as little more than a partisan club with which to beat his enemies...
Some odd psychology here. Projection?

Drum's implication that the Democrats would like to forge a consensus or put aside petty politics is simply a lie. Go here for a Lonnng list of Dem leaders who spoke for strong action against Saddam for all the SAME reasons Bush has used--and are now attacking Bush for doing exactly what they advocated. We HAD a consensus and Dems abandoned it. And think of the Democrats on the Intelligence Committees, who had access to exactly the same intelligence Bush had--and are now claiming that Bush lied to us. That's a lot lower than "petty."

And Drum shouldn't be so quick to mention FDR, because there's a BIG difference. FDR didn't have to "forge a bipartisan wartime consensus." Republicans supported our war effort whole-heartedly starting with Pearl Harbor. They had plenty of criticisms, as is appropriate for an opposition party. But nobody doubted that they were 100% in favor of American victory, even if it helped the Democrats. And unlike today, nobody needed to worry whether the war would be fought vigorously if Dewey were in the White House.

And hey, I think the President SHOULD demand sacrifices�just because it will be SO pleasing to watch Kevin Drum and the Democrats cheerfully cooperating and supporting the President. Right.

And the idea that it's only a war if the country is put on a "war footing" is either ignorance or an opportunistic bit of lying. Many of America's wars have been fought without much adjustment for the country as a whole. And what sort of sacrifices or "war footing" does he want? Are our soldiers drilling with broomsticks because they lack rifles? What are we lacking that a country on a war footing could provide? And do Drum and the Democrats promise cross-their-hearts to SUPPORT the President if he asks for a "war-footing?" Let me pause while I laugh until I barf.

And the idea of Drum or any Democrat criticizing the President for treating the war as "trivial and inconsequential" �my sarcasm skills aren't up to that one. But I'm very glad they would like to see the War intensified and fought more vigorously and more widely. I look forward to them URGING the President to go on the attack and start some serious bloodshed.... [It would in fact be SPLENDID if the Dems were a real opposition party urging the prez to get more serious about the war. But how can Drum have the NERVE to talk like this when only anti-war Dem candidates have even a chance to be nominated?]

And you know what�if Bush were really using the war as "a partisan club with which to beat his enemies," he would be talking sort of like....THIS BLOGPOST! But he never does that. Never once. It's not Bush who's beating up the Democrats, it's the American voters. And what Drum hates is not really George W Bush, but what he symbolizes�the American People, who are, in ever increasing numbers, repudiating him and his sclerotic party.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:07 PM

February 11, 2004

a huge glut of pilots

I recommend the WaPo Letter to the Editor (mentioned by Glenn Reynolds) by another pilot from Bush's unit. I've read more than a few memoirs by pilots, and this stuff rings true.

�...There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2� years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.

����The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life...

The desperation of the Democrats is making them look pathetic, and their willingness to feed on the dead bugs at the bottom of the lake is becoming embarrassing.

There's also this to put things in perspective...

�...There was a huge glut of pilots in the Air Force in 1972, and with no cockpits available to put them in, many were shoved into nonflying desk jobs. Any pilot could have left the Air Force or the Air Guard with ease after 1972 before his commitment was up because there just wasn't room for all of them anymore...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:47 PM

February 5, 2004

"A closing net of doom"--Churchill

President Bush gave a speech yesterday at the opening of an exhibit in Sir Winston Churchill's honor at the Library of Congress. PowerLine comments:

...These are excerpts; the speech is worth reading in its entirety. Very few, of course, will read the President's inspiring words. Most, if they hear of his speech at all, will receive it through the media filter, as in this Reuters account, which begins: "Casting himself and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as the spiritual heirs of Winston Churchill, President Bush defended their decision to go to war against Iraq, despite the unraveling of U.S. and British claims relating to Iraq's banned weapons." You get the picture.

But for those who actually listen to the President, it is easy to recall why he has been, and may yet be, for some time, the greatest spokesman for freedom of our generation...

Amen, brother.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:15 PM

February 3, 2004

winding down, for a good reason...

The Democrat accusations of Bush being AWOL are pretty silly�the term AWOL only applies to active duty, and National Guard attendence is often spotty.

But, in case you are concerned, PowerLine makes an important point. The chronology is important here. When Bush joined, the war was at its height, and pilots from his unit were serving in Vietnam. He would have expected to do likewise.

But the war was winding down. (And the program that rotated Guard pilots into combat was ending.)

...In April 1970, President Nixon announced the withdrawal of another 150,000 soldiers. By the end of 1970, American troop levels had declined to one-half their peak level. By May 1972, when Bush moved from Texas to Alabama and his attendance at National Guard training became spotty, troop levels were down to barely more than one-tenth of their peak. In January 1973, President Nixon announced a peace agreement with North Vietnam, and in March 1973, while Bush was working on the Alabama campaign, the last American soldier left Vietnam.

I have no doubt that by the time President Bush moved from Texas to Alabama, he was playing out the string in terms of his National Guard commitment. At that point, it was obvious that he wasn't going to Vietnam. Demobilization was the order of the day. At the time when the Democrats allege that Bush was "AWOL" and a "deserter," his involvement in the Air National Guard was indeed winding down, for a good reason: the war was over. But he finished out his commitment and was honorably discharged.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:19 PM

The Reagan of our fantasies..

This, by Orrin Judd, is thought provoking and kinda funny...

.... One of the most entertaining aspects of the Right's current sniping at George W. Bush is that it's a virtual replay of 1984, except that now Ronald Reagan is no longer the Right deviationist but a principled paragon of conservatism. Mr. Bush is thus measured against a Reagan who is nothing more than the figment of their imaginations. Take any issue that Mr. Frum mentions here and George Bush's record--not just his rhetoric--is more conservative than Ronald Reagan's.

TAXES: After winning his big tax cut, Ronald Reagan went back and raised taxes. After winning his big tax cut George Bush has cut them twice more.

TRADE: Ronald Reagan proposed free trade agreements but I don't think ever secured one on his watch. Meanwhile, he got "voluntary" import quotas on Japanese cars. Mr. Bush's temporary tariffs are minor by comparison to the car quota, while he's negotiated a series of free trade agreements since getting the Fast Track negotiating authority which had been denied his predecessor for several years.

ENTITLEMENTS: President Reagan, an old FDR Democrat, had spoken in the past of privatizing Social Security but not only did he have no plan to do so, he even helped prop up the current system. George Bush doesn't have the Senate votes to pass his first step in the privatization of Social Security but snuck school choice through in No Child Left Behind and both means testing and Health Saving Accounts in the bill that included the prescription drug program.

SOCIAL ISSUES: The limits on embryonic stem cell research funding and the partial birth abortion bill are more significant pro-life measures than any Ronald Reagan ever enacted, while the use of executive orders to farm out social service to faith-based organizations is unmatched by any similar measure during the Reagan years...

Along the same line, I wonder what's happening with Bush's easing of the rules for private firms to bid on government work? (I blogged about it here, in November '02) Anybody know? It's the sort of thing that's going to be slow to show any noticeable results�one of the main changes was to require government agencies to make decisions within one year, rather than five!

If Bush made ringing give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death Conservative declarations, he would frighten a lot of people and galvanize the opposition, and accomplish much less. Instead, the complaints of Conservatives just become part of his smoke-and-mirrors. He quietly says he's going to do something, and then he quietly does it, but what gets noticed are the ridiculous howls of Conservatives threatening to "punish" him by voting for a Democrat...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:30 PM

February 1, 2004

You can't outrun the history train, bub....

President Bush, speaking at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy.

...Our commitment to democracy is tested in countries like Cuba and Burma and North Korea and Zimbabwe -- outposts of oppression in our world. The people in these nations live in captivity, and fear and silence. Yet, these regimes cannot hold back freedom forever -- and, one day, from prison camps and prison cells, and from exile, the leaders of new democracies will arrive. Communism, and militarism and rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we will stand with these oppressed peoples until the day of their freedom finally arrives.

Our commitment to democracy is tested in China. That nation now has a sliver, a fragment of liberty. Yet, China's people will eventually want their liberty pure and whole. China has discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth. China's leaders will also discover that freedom is indivisible -- that social and religious freedom is also essential to national greatness and national dignity. Eventually, men and women who are allowed to control their own wealth will insist on controlling their own lives and their own country...

The Left will fight a long and ugly rear-guard action to preserve "rule by the capricious and corrupt," but they are the past, and we are the future...Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive...Yes yes yes. And tho I can't actually call myself young, it gives me a most charmingly youthful feeling to be laughing at stuffed-shirts and fogies and prune-faces.

"liberty pure and whole."

Posted by John Weidner at 2:50 PM

January 29, 2004

Support local Beatniks...

I posted this as a comment to Pedro's post on Bush supporting the National Endowment for the Arts. Someone asked why Conservatives thought this was bad...My take:

It's bad because it's no business of the Feds to decide what art should flourish. And because the ordinary taxpayer should not be forced to provide money to artists who openly despise him and his values (and his intelligence, and his taste, and his clothes, and his coffee, and his traditional morals, and his belief in American freedoms, and his desire to censor Saddam's chipper-shredder deconstructionism.)

On the other hand, it's not quite as bad as some attention-getters describe. A large part of what's subsidized is quite reasonable and sensible stuff. And often when you hear shrill despair because the NEA is subsidizing somebody's trampling-on-the-cross performance art, the truth is that they gave a grant to a museum to cover, say, 25% of one season of art shows. And maybe one of the shows is loathsome, but the NEA never supported that one in particular, and probably didn't even know it was going to happen...and likely the show organizer didn't know what he was going to get.

The NEA isn't handing out checks to beret-wearing beatniks. It's all much more bureaucratic and stuffy.

Me, I'd like to see a grant go to that Israeli Ambassador to Sweden...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 PM

January 27, 2004

Heartwarming...

Nathan Scharansky told us how the prisoners in the Soviet Gulag would pass tiny scraps of paper with bits of the speeches of Ronald Reagan. Amazingly, Reagan's message of freedom and hope flowed by a sort of capillary action to the most remote and guarded corners of the globe. And the sophisticates and intellectuals who scorned him...what desperate people ever clung to their words? Who remembers them? What torch of liberty did they light?

Now it's happening again. Once again the theorists and "power-to-the-people" types are frothing with contempt at the thought of American values and freedom contaminating the world. And once again a president's speeches cannot be walled away from desperate people...

This is from a column, in awkward but sincere English, by Walid Phares:

...But beyond these two liberated countries, other civil societies expressed their support to the State of the Union. In a sense, it was their state of misery acknowledged in Washington. Students and reformist in Iran cheered. Opposition in Syria and Lebanon breathed better. Southern Sudanese and Nubians reinforced their will. Berbers and liberal seculars in Algeria clapped hands. And from the deepest underground of activism, dissident web sites, with writers around the Arab world, including women in Saudi Arabia, started to count the days. In short: the lowest layers in the region's make-up received their state-of-affairs with the voice of the most powerful man on Earth, the President of the United States.

How ironic. Inside Byzantium (read Washington's beltway), the debate had no respite. It is still about "where are the WMDs?" and "what are we doing in Iraq?" But down-under, in what will become the future generations of the entire Middle East, Shiites, Kurds, liberal Sunni, democratic Arabs and oppressed minorities, women and students are reading President Bush's speech in disbelief. "Who among our own Presidents-for-life and Fundamentalist Monarchs have ever mentioned the mass graves and our vanished human rights?" Let it come from the American President. And if he is not serious, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the Truth was said."�� This is from the underground chat rooms.��� The people have hope...

This is a good time to be alive. And American. And not a Copperhead. And I just now recollected something that happened during the Afghanistan Campaign. At one point we were bombing near the Iranian border. And just across the border, Iranians were painting arrows on the roofs of their houses. Pointing towards Tehran.

"Byzantium." Good term.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 PM

January 23, 2004

Ignore that noise, just dominos falling ...

Remember how so many people were shoveling scorn onto the administration for its "diplomatic ineptitude" in announcing a tough Iraq contracts policy just before negotiating with our faux allies on Iraqi debt relief? And remember how they mostly did not admit that they had been wrong, when France, Germany and Russia capitulated immediately thereafter? Did not admit that they were wrong, but just dropped the subject and tried to pretend it never happened?

Well, they are still pretending, and its still happening. We could have hardly asked countries like Kuwait to compromise their more-or-less legitimate debts before the truly odious ones were reduced. Now that's happening, and Cori Dauber has winkled the news out of some very obscure corners of newspapers, such as this, from page 8 of the NYT:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 � Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III has secured pledges from four Persian Gulf nations to reduce their holdings of Iraq's debt, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

The official said negotiations with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar had been far more difficult than earlier discussions with Russia, France, Germany, Japan and other large creditor nations in Europe and Asia....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

January 6, 2004

For Christmas...

Chuck Colson tells a Christmas story--there's nothing much to add, except that it's not the first thing like this I've read [You're bluffing.--I.C. OK wise guy, chew on this.]

....I remember from my days with President Nixon what photo opportunities are: Get the picture and leave. So I thought the Bushes would shortly depart, but they didn�t. They stayed long after the cameras were gone to greet every child, to have their picture taken with them, their mothers, and their grandmothers, to talk with them, and to ask questions. Though the press didn�t report it, I noticed that both the president and Mrs. Bush talked to the Hispanic children in Spanish.

Just before the president left, I introduced him to Al Lawrence, a member of our staff. I told the president that I had met Al more than twenty years ago in a prison. Jesus had got hold of Al�s life, and he�s been working for us ever since. Then I told the president that Al�s son was now a freshman at Yale. At that point the president stopped, exclaimed, �We�re both Yale parents,� and threw his arms around Al Lawrence�an African-American ex-offender being embraced by the president of the United States in a church basement. The ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross.

I tell you this story because it�s a wonderful Christmas story, and you probably haven�t heard it. With all those reporters who crowded into that basement, the visit resulted in almost universal media silence....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

December 23, 2003

Yet another "Bush Revolution�under the radar" story

They're here! Medical Savings Accounts are here! Or rather, they are now law, and will be available next year. Here's an article (PDF) you should read if you are interested.

The new Health Savings Accounts (HSA) provision in the Medicare bill was signed into law by President Bush on December 8, 2003 and goes into effect January 1, 2004. All 250 million non-elderly Americans will now have access to a Medical Savings Account (MSA), and one that is far more attractive than the Archer MSAs that were enacted in 1996.

Account holders must have a qualified insurance plan, but the insurance requirements have been opened up considerably. Allowable deductibles have been lowered to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family. The maximum deductible requirement has been replaced by maximum out-of-pocket limits of $5,000 and $10,000 for individuals and families. These limits include deductibles and coinsurance for �in-network� providers. There is no restriction on the stop-loss limits for out-of-network services. These amounts will be adjusted annually for cost of living increases.

Preventive care services may be covered on a first-dollar basis. That is, deductibles will not have to apply to services as defined by section 1871 of the Social Security Act.

Annual contributions to the HSA are limited to 100% of the deductible up to a maximum of $2,600 for an individual or $5,150 for a family. Account holders aged 55 and up may make additional contributions of $500 in 2004, increasing by $100 each year until it reaches $1,000 in 2009.

This is going to be BIG. There are MSA's already, but only a limited and tentative plan that hardly anyone uses. But there's nothing tentative about the new law. Look for the banks and brokerages who are now trying to sell you IRA's to soon be pushing MSA's.

What will be interesting are the behavior changes we may expect to see. Imagine tens-of-millions of people going to any doctor they like, and just paying for the visit. Spot cash money. No calls to "the Plan" to see if they will authorize such-and-such. No special negotiated rates because you belong to some group. Just free-market choices. (This is for routine stuff�big problems will still be paid by your insurance.) The savings in overhead should be huge. And the incentives to avoid unnecessary treatments will be huge�the money will be yours. If you don't spend it, it stays in your account and grows.

In the last few years I've been to 3 physicians. And every time I've had to listen to bitter complaints about "managed care." Now a lot of patients and doctors are going to be managing things themselves.

(via Brothers Judd Blog)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:19 AM

December 14, 2003

"Their work continues, and so do the risks..."

I like Glenn Reynolds' term, "Coalition Of The Pissy." My guess is that they will now whine that "Bush promised peace after Saddam was captured." Well. Tough. Luck. The war will go on; Iraq is but one battle, and we haven't declared it over. Here's a bit of President Bush's address:

....Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our armed forces and I congratulate them. I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people, and they will be defeated.

We�ve come to this moment through patience and resolve and focused action, and that is our strategy moving forward. The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by our perseverance, and by our sheer belief in the success of liberty, and the United States of America will not relent until this war is won.

May God bless the people of Iraq, and may God bless America....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:38 AM

December 7, 2003

Like Babe Ruth pointing to the stands...

Michael Barone thinks Bush is going to campaign on Social Security reform:

....Bush has redefined conservatism. It is now not the process of cutting government and devolving powers; it is the process of installing choice and accountability into government even at the cost of allowing it to grow. This is an attempt to move government in the same direction as the private sector, which now offers much more in the way of choice and accountability than it did in the 1950s and 1960s, when big corporations and big unions established wage rates, when you worked for one company until age 65 and then depended on that one company and Social Security for your retirement income.

What is next on Bush's list? Social Security....

Well, I could have told you that was coming. But probably many people will feel Bush is being circuitous and deceptive. "Hey, didn't we already whack that mole? And now it pops up again...It's not fair." Actually it's what he probably learned in business school. If you want to change a big organization, have a few clear and simple goals, and keep pushing towards them.

If you want to understand this administration, you might just start with something David Frum wrote:

....Bush exacerbated these bitter doubts by his own disinclination to communicate his thoughts to the public. In his big prepared speeches, Bush exerts himself, often with tremendous success, to explain his plans and intentions to the public. Read George Bush's major speeches�and nothing else�and nothing will come as a surprise to you. Like Babe Ruth pointing to the stands before hitting his home run, Bush clearly indicates in advance exactly what he will do.

But Bush's more informal remarks can be cryptic, if not unintelligible. When Bush responded to questions about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden or the administration's plans for Iraq with "I'm a patient man," he was in his own mind reaffirming his intention to take action in a considered, deliberate way. But that sentence could easily be interpreted as a prelude to a wimp-out...

That's from Frum's book The Right Man, by the way. Good book, I recommend it.

But what's especially interesting is that this has always been an issue where Republican reformers get chopped to pieces. The program has been crying for reform for decades, but the usual scenario is that Democrats frighten older voters, telling them they will be eating dog food if those cold-hearted Republicans are allowed to tamper with Social Security.

But, if Barone's right, Bush is going to make a frontal attack on what has always seemed like an impregnable bastion! And during his re-election campaign, not after. And I predict he's going to win. He said in 2000 that he wanted to do it�he pointed to the stands�and sure as you're born it's going to happen. What could be more splendid? And what bliss to have a MAN in the White House at last. (And a businessman at that, and not a lawyer.)

Posted by John Weidner at 3:58 PM

December 6, 2003

"fraudulent food becames a metaphor for political lying"

President Bush serving on chow line

In a desperate attempt to shore up his faltering administration, an obviously strained and worried President Bush holds a plastic turkey, heartlessly forcing our sullen soon-to-be-slaughtered soldiers to participate in a cynical election-year public relations stunt...


(Thank you Henry)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:48 AM

December 4, 2003

"He that shall live this day, and see old age..."

The petty spiteful carping about the President's visit to Iraq has hit a new low. The publisher of Harper's dismisses the trip as merely an election ploy, says that reporters ought to have tried to break the secrecy of the trip, should not be serving as a "press agency for the President," (bet he never said that when Democrats were in the White House) and lots more whines of noisy desperation. But this is what really got to me:

....They're used as a photo op, as an advertising platform, as they may get killed in next day, the next three weeks, the next six months, and at this point, what good is George Bush's Thanksgiving visit for them? I don't see what material -- what material advantage there is to having the president come and have his picture taken with them. It's kind of cruel in a way...
OK, so what the @#%&* "material advantage" is there from Hillary visiting the troops? Hmm? What a phony. If President Clinton paid a Thanksgiving visit to soldiers overseas, you can bet this guy would be telling us how heartwarming it was...

And who in the world has suggested the President's visit was supposed to convey some "material advantage?" What nonsense. The results hoped-for are spiritual and psychological...an intangible known as "morale." That's can of worms that this guy isn't about to open up�because those two hours probably "paid off" bigger than any other presidential two hours you can name. Here's the reaction of someone who's opinion is much more applicable than those of a lefty journalist:

...Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying. There was not a dry eye at my table. When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks. It was the most surreal moment I've had in years. Not since my wedding and Aaron being born. Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before.

Just to spend two hours with his troops. Only to get on a plane and spend another 17 hours flying back. It was a great moment, and I will never forget it...

Let me make a prediction. Wait 50 years, then locate someone who was in (or supported) the US military in 2003. Ask them if they remember the President's Thanksgiving trip. I predict that 99% of them will have warm and vivid memories of it. "Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember....Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words,.... Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd..."

Why? Partly because that trip said, in a simple object-lesson kind of way, that the sacrifices of our soldiers are valued, and not overlooked.

But there's another thing. What our people are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is not just a mucky job, not just sacrifices. It's also an adventure. A crazy risky idealistic youthful adventure. America sat on its hands for decades and said "don't bother to try to do big things, because that would be naive and hopeless and old-fashioned and probably just make things worse." And most of us just accepted that our leaders and the experts knew what was best, and that the time of great deeds was far in the past.

And now here comes this guy Bush, saying "Yeah, it's crazy, it's risky, it will be horribly difficult and expensive, but hey, let's just try it anyway! We're Americans! The difficult we do right away (as the cliché goes), the impossible may take 'till 2007." Just thinking about George W Bush makes me feel like Theoden being roused from a long stupor of pessimism. What a great time this is to be alive! (Of course it would be even better to be 20, and not have to settle for just being a spectator.)

And this seemingly minor trip of the President's is resonating with people because it shared the flavor of the adventure. It was light-hearted and light on its feet, the theme was serving and giving, and, perhaps best of all, it royally pissed-off all the stuffed-shirts and sourpusses.

(Both links thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 PM

November 28, 2003

This year we really had something to feel thankful for...

Charlene and I were both thrilled with the President's trip to Iraq. And obviously our soldiers were thrilled. And I have little doubt ordinary Americans (and freedom loving people all over the globe) are thrilled. Our mince pies tasted sweeter than ever before...

Others, of course, are NOT thrilled. My disgust for those sourpusses is mingled most pleasingly with the thought of how their jaws must have dropped. How they must have choked and gagged and sputtered their Thanksgiving wines up their noses as the news reached them. If only I could have watched! "Oh bliss, for former woes a thousand-fold repaid."

Although the White House lied to much of the press to conceal President Bush's Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad, many journalists and analysts yesterday were willing to give the administration a pass....[link]
Can you believe it. They're willing to give him a PASS! How rich. The lofty panjandrums will, digging deep into their not-infinite barrel of tolerance, give the man a PASS.

Oh George Bush, how lucky you are. The press gods will FORGIVE you! Some of them. Some fear it will "set a bad precedent." Others are gravely concerned because Bush Lied! He's flying into a battle zone, whose danger the press has been cherishing and exaggerating for months, and they are bothered because he told lies in order to keep it a secret!

They hate the President for doing going to Iraq, because these gestures matter. Words matter. I just read a good book about Ronald Reagan, (I'll blog it soon) and in it was Nathan Scharansky telling how bits of Reagan's speeches were circulated on tiny scraps of paper among the prisoners in the Socialist Gulag, even as sophisticates here and in Europe were heaping derision on them. And I also read how Henry Kissinger visited with leaders in the former Soviet Union, just after the fall, and asked them what had triggered the collapse. And most of them said SDI!

And the thing is, the experts didn't, couldn't see what was happening. The world was being changed, and they couldn't see it. Whereas poor dumb clucks who actually listened to the President could and did.

And it's the same now. Just read the speech. That's the reality; the NYT is the dream.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 AM

November 24, 2003

"He died serving his country"

Cori Duber notes:

...The President today went to Ft. Carson, a base that has sadly lost all too many troops in recent weeks. As is his habit he met privately with the families of the fallen. Are the troops themselves offended by his decision to do this, rather than attend individual funeral services? It will be interesting to see how the networks edit their soundbites, but Fox was careful to leave in a split second or two of tape after his sentences had ended, and let background noise play -- by which I mean, the thunderous roar of approving, cheering troops....
Here are a few words from his speech at Fort Carson, Colorado. (You can read it here)
....This community knows firsthand that the mission in Iraq is difficult and the enemy is dangerous....It is the nature of terrorism that a small number of people can inflict terrible grief. And here, you felt loss. Every person who dies in the line of duty leaves a family that lives in sorrow, and comrades who must go on without them. The Fort Carson community said farewell to some of your best. One of them was Staff Sergeant Daniel Bader. This good man left behind his wife, Tiffany, and their 14-month-old daughter. Tiffany Bader said this to a reporter recently, "I'm going to wait until she is old enough to realize what happened, and I will tell her exactly what her daddy did for her. He died serving his country so that my little girl could grow up free." (Applause.)....
THESE are Americans! And that's an AMERICAN President. And the mockers who have been attacking and vilifying and sabotaging our efforts and dreams 24/7 are just pond scum compared to them. Heck, I'm just pond scum compared to them...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:50 PM

November 21, 2003

"His critics have yet to offer anything close to a competing vision"

This, in OpinionJournal, is dead on....

....In his Whitehall speech, Mr. Bush continued his recent (and welcome) effort to focus on the battle of ideas behind the war on terror. In this he echoed Prime Minister Tony Blair's words to the U.S. Congress in July: "Our ultimate weapon is not our guns but our beliefs." Mr. Bush's Administration--his Pentagon--has been more effective at killing and disrupting the terrorists than his State Department has been at promoting an alternative vision to the Mideast status quo.

Mr. Bush is now taking up the latter task himself, and without moral apology. "We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East," he told Britons. "Your nation and mine in the past have been willing to make a bargain: to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability." He added--in a direct rebuke to his critics in the old foreign policy establishments--that "it is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it."

Many, including some of Mr. Bush's admirers, predicted his British trip would be a public-relations debacle. But with so much of the world watching the visit has proven instead to be a great opportunity to explain the moral purposes of what the President and Mr. Blair are attempting in Iraq. His critics have yet to offer anything close to a competing vision.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:31 AM

November 18, 2003

a shower, clean clothes, pep-talk, a lot of coffee...

I just read some of the "letters to President Bush" in the Guardian. I couldn't read very far; the smug, flippant, condescending tone of most of them was just too irritating. This one is by the famous Blogger of Baghdad himself...

Dear George,

I hate to wake you up from that dream you are having, the one in which you are a superhero bringing democracy and freedom to underdeveloped, oppressed countries. But you really need to check things out in one of the countries you have recently bombed to freedom. Georgie, I am kind of worried that things are going a bit bad in Iraq and you don't seem to care that much. You might want it to appear as if things are going well and sign Iraq off as a job well done, but I am afraid this is not the case.

"Bombed to freedom?" You weren't bombed. You don't know jack about bombing! Try Googling "Daisy-Cutter." If we wanted to minimize our casualties, we could have worked you guys over for a couple of months. Dropped millions of pounds of bombs. Tikrik wouldn't even exist any more. But instead there was almost no preliminary bombing. We sent a hundred-thousand of our guys racing into Iraq on the first day of action to avoid the usual destruction of war.
Listen, habibi, it is not over yet. Let me explain this in simple terms. You have spilled a glass full of tomato juice on an already dirty carpet and now you have to clean up the whole room. Not all of the mess is your fault but you volunteered to clean it up. I bet if someone had explained it to you like that you would have been less hasty going on our Rambo-in-Baghdad trip.
YOU don't get it. What we are doing is not "cleaning up the mess." It's more like getting you into good enough shape to start cleaning up your own nasty mess. Sort of like taking in hand someone who's been on a drunken binge. Get 'em a shower, clean clothes, pep-talk, a lot of coffee...so that maybe they can make it into work and not get fired. What you would call "cleaned-up" is just a starting-point for what we call a clean-up. The best day Iraq ever had is still squalor by our standards.
To tell you the truth, I am glad that someone is doing the cleaning up, and thank you for getting rid of that scary guy with the hideous moustache that we had for president. But I have to say that the advertisements you were dropping from your B52s before the bombs fell promised a much more efficient and speedy service. We are a bit disappointed. So would you please, pretty please, with sugar on top, get your act together and stop telling people you have Iraq all figured out when you are giving us the trial-and-error approach?
Actually, we are a bit disappointed in Iraq. Have been for, oh, well, quite a few centuries now...You have no idea how pathetic you sound, whining and sniveling because Uncle Sam isn't taking care of you.
Anyway, I hope this doesn't disturb you too much. Have a nice stay in London, wave hello to the demonstrators, and give my regards to your spin doctors. I bet they are having a hell of a job making you look good.

Regards,
Salam Pax
The Baghdad Blogger

Is this jerk like, 16, or something? Didn't his parents teach him any manners? And where exactly was he when Saddam was murdering his countrymen by the hundreds-of-thousands? If he calls what was going on "an already dirty carpet," I'd guess he wasn't worrying too much about having his own tongue cut out or his own sister raped. Wonder why? Well, my sympathies are with those Iraqis who are sifting bones out of the sand, looking for their loved ones. NOT for smart-alec kids of the nomenklatura.

And what exactly is he doing to help his country? Not much I'd guess. Just looking down his nose at any poor grown-ups who are foolish enough to roll up their sleeves and try to fix things. If he were here he'd be a Democrat for sure.

What we've given you Iraqis, Mr Salam Pax, is not freedom. It's a chance to become free. Like teenagers wanting to leave home, you will be truly free only when you can take care of yourselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 PM

November 15, 2003

Damned if you do, and damned if you don't ...

From a good post by Cori Dauber:

....But these arguments are getting sillier and sillier. Here the President is criticized for not meeting with the families of the fallen "at least when there might be a camera around." Talk about not being able to win. His decision to meet with these families whenever he is at a military base privately so that he cannot be accused of doing so for political gain has now been turned against him: it is a way of "hiding" the costs of war. But if he met with these families publicly, then he would be accused of being compassionate only for the cameras, of capitalizing on the situation, of politicizing grief...

I was very unhappy (which is why I'm boring you with the subject again) when the accusation surfaced that President Bush was not attending soldier's funerals from a cynical desire to downplay war losses. I've been following Bush with deep attention, reading especially any accounts by people who actually know him. And I would have sworn that Bush would not act in any dishonorable way concerning our war dead. Was I going to have to revise all my opinions?

So I was very pleased when I was able to post this, back on Nov 2, quoting Cori Dauber utterly demolishing the criticism. Cori told me in an e-mail that she teaches "...the role of rhetoric, ritual, and the presidency." So she knows what she's talking about! She notes also that what the critics are really asking is that the President and the Administration symbolically apologize for the war. That would be a terrible mistake, and is exactly why Presidents never go to soldier's funerals. (And reminds me why conservatives are skeptical when theorist-types want to blithely toss out old customs.)

Cori has just posted here some confirming history. There have been very few exceptions, usually in cases where the President knew the person who was killed.

....All other exceptions fit in the category I keep mentioning where there are large losses taken in a single event, where the President symbolically stands in for the American people and becomes our representative to a moment of collective loss as, for example, he did at the memorial for the Shuttle astronauts or President Clinton did, as mentioned here, for the Memorial after Oklahoma City. He is then, not representing himself as Commander in Chief but becomes, literally, Mourner in Chief, not what the critics are asking of this President right now.

But I have a feeling this is not going to slow the criticism down any.

It won't slow the criticism down, because it is dishonest criticism. It is designed to undercut the President for partisan advantage, even to the point of damaging our war effort. If a Democrat were in the White House we wouldn't hear any of this.

And i've been glad to hear that the President has been meeting privately with families of the fallen. He isn't ducking the pain of the war, nor using it to gain popularity points. Exactly what I would have expected from him.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:36 AM

November 2, 2003

"An honored sacrifice that is accepted..."

Cori Dauber gets this exactly right.

....And one more thing -- she also criticizes the president for not attending memorial services. This is one of the more bizzare things I have ever seen the president accused of. Presidents in a time of war do not go to individual soldiers' funerals as a matter of course. It would be utterly inappropriate. To even think he should is suggestive of the kind of wallowing in grief and loss that the media would like to engender, but which is impossible for a nation at war. Memorial services happen because for each family with a loss, every loss is unspeakable tragedy. But for the nation it is honored sacrifice that is accepted (in both senses) as part of the larger effort. To have the president wallow in the loss of each soldier as a member of a family's particular universe, rather than as a member of the national fabric, cannot happen while the nation is participating in a military effort that demands that sacrifice of some of it's people (volunteers, remember.)

A nation at war takes losses. It is what makes war ugly, it is what makes war so ultimate a choice. But it is part of what war is. That is not a refusal to appreciate the tragedy of those losses -- it is because these are people who accept this risk on all our behalfs that we so honor their falling. But if the issue becomes only the fact that we are losing soldiers, and what that loss means to their families as opposed to the nation, then fighting war becomes impossible. Surely there are those who would find that an acceptable outcome. But if you believe there are evils in the world, and threats to American security, that can only be dealt with through military power, than this is what the world is....

We should expect to hear more of this memorial service stuff from the press and the Left. They do it partly just to attack the President and further their Vietnam analogies. But also because the Left is increasingly Tranzi, and wants to destroy nations. And so they sneer at and deride any example of nations like the US or Britain strongly defending themselves.

The President and Congress have the duty to defend our country and its interests even if it means drafting millions of us and sending us into bloody battles. Electing them is partly like choosing a physician or surgeon, and then trusting them to treat us even to the point of ruthlessness. The President and his actions are symbols of our Republic's willingness to sacrifice in self-defense. The purpose of the memorial service criticism is to undermine that aspect of our government.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:11 AM

October 14, 2003

No bias here...

The Washington Post has an article on The administration's efforts to bypass the national media and talk directly to the American people. But does it actually discuss the issue? Grapple with the reasons the administration might be unhappy? No, the article instantly morphs into a discussion of those form letters that were sent to newspapers...

....Yesterday, Bush granted exclusive interviews to five regional broadcasting companies -- an unprecedented effort to reach news organizations that do not regularly cover the White House.

The effort by Bush to reach out to about 10 million Americans through the regional broadcasters -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer had similar sessions previously -- came two days after it emerged that soldiers in Iraq have sent form letters home to local newspapers asserting that the U.S. troops had been welcomed "with open arms" in Iraq.... (via Betsy)

I knew this was coming.

Everyone who strolls the blogshore knows that the have been heaps of real letters sent by troops expressing astonishment about the biased coverage of the war. And asserting that most Iraqis have in fact welcomed them with open arms. The real letters weren't "news." But now that there is an incident of false letters, that's NEWS, baby!

It's classic smear technique. They don't actually say that the Administration is peddling lies. That would be something you could challenge them on. They just select one incident that sounds phony, fill half the article with that, and hope that the ugly tint of falsity will spread over the whole fabric. And notice how, without actually saying it, they imply that the Administration's move is a response to the exposure of the form letters...

You watch. We are going to hear tons about those letters from the Bush-haters. They are hungry for any issue that will cover up the simple fact that they are the ones who are pushing lies. Those form letters will become part of the whole amorphous "Bush lied" lie, (Ignoring of course the inconvenient fact that the letters were telling the truth about the situation.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:49 AM

October 10, 2003

Lies, damn lies and "imminent threat" lies...

Andrew Sullivan has been collecting examples of the proliferating "imminent threat" lie. He's accumulating quite a heap.

MORE 'IMMINENT' LIES: The Associated Press will not stop lying about the case for war against Saddam. Here's a piece about the vice president's speech today. Money quote:
Yet Cheney offered no new evidence that Saddam posed an imminent threat as the administration claimed before the war.
Grrrr.
What galls me is thinking of these prating hypocrites puffing themselves up and saying that the are "shocked and disappointed" that the Bush Administration should be so dishonest! And some of them are so twisted that telling an obvious lie about Bush is not a lie to them at all--rather a "higher form of truth." "We are good, Republicans are bad, and so we are actually revealing a truth that we could demonstate, if only the Republicans weren't so deceptious."

"Those Bushies have developed a diabolical tactic--they say what they are going to do, and then they do it! The moron voters are fooled, but we of the intellectual elite are not. And to foil this monstrous trickery, we have invented a powerful new tactic: The TruthLie.."

Posted by John Weidner at 4:44 PM

October 9, 2003

From the "It's OK to tell a lie to show Bush lied" files...

From Andrew Sullivan:

THE "IMMINENT" THREAT: Here's a fascinating nugget. Ted Kennedy, who is now claiming that the administration claimed an "imminent" threat from Saddam, didn't feel that way directly after the president's State of the Union address last January. Here's the money quote from the Los Angeles Times:
But afterward, some said the speech failed to end the debate on whether to go to war. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he would introduce a resolution today that would require Bush to come back to Congress and present "convincing evidence of an imminent threat" before U.S. troops are sent to war with Iraq. Congress approved a resolution last fall authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq, and that measure did not require a second review.
Now, presumably that means that Kennedy himself didn't believe that the president had argued or shown that Saddam's threat was "imminent." Now he's changed his tune. Pure politics, as usual, from the senator from Massachusetts. (In another twist, you'll see that the L.A. Times reporter simply describes Bush's speech as arguing that the threat is "imminent" with no evidence at all. She doesn't even notice the discrepancy between her headline and Kennedy's protestation. I guess people hear what they want to hear.)
The "Imminent Threat' lie is being pushed really hard right now. And one can see why certain people like it. Not only do they get to claim that Bush lied when he "said" there was an imminent threat, but they can avoid taking a position on what he really said, which is that we can no longer wait until a threat is imminent. That's a subject to avoid if you are trying to please both the "activists," who would be glad to sacrifice a few million people if it meant that America was humbled and restrained; and ordinary voters, who can't quite see what's so wrong with the sheriff plugging the bad guys before they blow up the town, rather than after.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:57 PM

October 7, 2003

a full month only happens if you truly enjoy it

Scott Chaffin, who actually LIVES in "The Middle of Nowhere, TX," found this, from Ian Hamet, very funny. Me too. Think of those poor reporters dying by inches in Crawford, and wishing they were in Baghdad where the livin' is easier...

....There is nothing more fraudulent to these liberals than authenticity and sincerity. They fell all over themselves over Clinton's used-car-salesman persona, but find it "phony" when Bush spends a full month in Texas every year, away from their beloved beltway, away from any large town at all.

Bush is a politician, and you don't get to be president these days without a certain amount of insincerity. But you don't spend a month in the blistering heat in The Middle of Nowhere, TX, because you want other people to think you enjoy it. A few days, a week tops. But a full month only happens if you truly enjoy it.

And these people hate, hate, hate him for it.

He doesn't care, either, which makes them hate him all the more....

It's true. And they can't understand him. Or his wife. Washington insiders were bewildered when Laura Bush didn't join George for his first two weeks in the White House. Well, the house in Crawford had just been finished, and she was keen to get on with the decorating...

You know, you are where you went to Junior High School. (Which these days seems to be called "Middle School." Maybe that makes the staff feel less "junior"?) George W Bush grew up in Midland, Texas, and no amount of time spent later in the Ivy League has changed that. You don't chew tobacco unless you truly enjoy it, either. Actually I'm not sure if W really chewed, or just dipped snuff....

Me, I grew up around some old-timers who chewed, and man was that disgusting! You bite off a chunk of Mailpouch, chew a while and then spit. Kerblap! Or they chewed on their cigars...Blap. Gross. On the other hand, I think the smell of cigar smoke is about the best smell in the world.

One curiosity about George and Laura is that they both grew up in Midland, they went to the same Junior High at the same time, the two families ate Sunday lunch in the same couple of restaurants....but they didn't meet each other until much later and far away.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 PM

October 6, 2003

Splendid idea...

Bill Hobbs says:

...I think Gaffney's absolutely right. A Bush visit to Baghdad would instantly demolish the "quagmire" theme still echoing in the media and instantly reassure the American people that things in Iraq are going well. I'll just add to Gaffney's suggestion this: that Bush should invite the leading Democratic candidates for president - Dean, Clark, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards [And Lieberman too? - ed. Yes.] - to tag along, and tell the American people he's inviting them along because the future of Iraq and the War on Terror are so vital that he must put partisan politics aside and bring along the top contenders for his job, in case they win and it falls to them to continue the War on Terror....
Too too too utterly delicious. If the Dems turn down the invitation, they make it obvious they don't want to engage the number one issue.

And if they do go along ...Imagine them squirming with embarrassment at the crowds waving American flags and shouting USA! USA! and knowing that Democrat Primary voters won't want to see them smiling or hugging the children. After you, Alphonse. No no Gaston, I insist�you first...

Imagine the visits to mass graves and prisons and torture chambers..."Tell us again, Mr Kerry, how you only voted for the war because you thought it was a bluff" "Mr Dean, shake hands with Muammar. He can't talk; something wrong with his tongue. But I'm SURE he's all ears to hear that we should have left Saddam in power."

"Next stop, a school that just reopened after US forces removed the munitions stored there. Those kids sure look eager to learn don't they? They don't have much in the way of paper and books yet, but we're working on it. Of course some Senators think we should keep our money at home to solve IMPORTANT problems, instead of wasting it on foreigners..."

���������������������

* UPDATE: I ran into this picture at DefendAmerica's Sept.'03 Photo Archive. It was too sweet to resist.

Iraqi schoolgirls with new slates

The caption reads: Iraqi schoolgirls show off their new chalkboards donated by friends and family of U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four. Navy Seabee units have been participating in extensive reconstruction of schools, hospitals and bridges throughout Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brandon Harding

Posted by John Weidner at 1:47 PM

October 4, 2003

Let's get this one straight, because it matters...

I strongly recommend Cori Dauber at RantingProfs. her specialty is clear-eyed looks at how the press handles the WOT. One thing she has noted recently is the way the press is still working hard to reframe the Administration's case for invasion of Iraq. Here's one example:

HOW DID THE TIMES COVER IT? The main news article, by Rosen and Miller (oddly, although a front page article, its below the Sanger news analysis piece on the web site), buries the news that there was an aggressive missile program, leaves out entirely evidence that there were human test subjects, and buries the news that a scientist was hanging on to live botulinum toxin in his home to confound the inspectors and make sure the program could ramp up fast as soon as the regime shook off the UN. Probably worse, though, is the continued effort of the Times' to just blithely frame the Bush Administration's justification for war as having been an "imminent" threat from Iraq. Look, let's get this one straight, because it matters, and given the results of the Kaye report, now more then ever. Maybe you think the war was justified and maybe you don't, but the argument made was not that the Iraqi regime was an imminent threat. It was that September 11th had forever changed the way we looked at what was an acceptable risk and that from this point forward we could not afford to passively wait to see if they became an imminent threat....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:04 PM

September 25, 2003

Shit-kickin' cowboys no match for subtle Europeans...

Michael Gonzalez writes:

BRUSSELS--The Bush administration is often presented as arrogant and unilateralist, probably because successes are kept quiet. Much happens behind the scenes, however. Jacques Chirac's growing isolation in Europe has much to do with White House diplomacy, for example. The same with "star wars."

Remember missile defense? It was a grave threat to world peace and another sign that George W. Bush was a dangerous cowboy, right? Those were the European headlines two years ago. Today you hear not a peep about it. And yet, a first-generation shield may soon have to counter the threat posed by North Korea. Why has it ceased to be "news"?...

Hee hee. What the Bushies did was to quietly ask European defense firms to undertake some of the work. Billions of dollars worth. And would you be so very surprised to learn that that deep and principled European opposition to America's "destabilizing" missile defense plans wasn't so deep after all?

Our Prez didn't earn an MBA for nothing. And it also helps that, unlike most politicians, he doesn't need the world's applause. Behind-the-scenes success is just fine...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:56 PM

September 8, 2003

foolish, idle mischief ...

John Podhoretz has it just right:

President Bush's subdued, powerful and totally straightforward 19-minute address from the White House was a clear message to his critics: Play time is over.

Bush's opponents had their free month to challenge his stewardship of Iraq and the War on Terror - the freedom to descend into a profoundly immoral chasm by claiming that the attacks on our soldiers, the United Nations and Shi'ite clerics were actually America's fault because we'd turned Iraq into an unsafe place.

With the help of bombers in Iraq, they drove his poll numbers down. Americans began talking idly about how we should be pulling troops out.

It was a delightful display of foolish, idle mischief - mischief purveyed by Democratic candidates and others. They approached the deadly serious issues of foreign policy and American security with the sneering attitude of an adolescent saying "What-ever" to an adult who has the temerity to suggest that driving 95 m.p.h. down a curvy and dangerous country road with an open beer can in your hand isn't really the wisest or safest course.

Well, now it's September. Vacation's done. Dad is back at the office...

The unspoken subtext of the President's speech was that the press and the Democrats are encouraging the terrorists. Which is precisely true. Bush said
...There is more at work in these attacks than blind rage. The terrorists have a strategic goal. They want us to leave Iraq before our work is done. They want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past, the terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans, we will run from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken...
Gentleman that he is, "Beirut and Somalia" was nicely bi-partisan. (I would have liked him to add "and the recent Democratic Debate," and stick his tongue out and say, "Bring 'em on.")

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 AM

August 26, 2003

Have a seat next to the elephant I mean sofa ...

(there's nothing new here, I just felt like expressing my feelings. Nothing beats a blog for that.)

It is being reported that large numbers of Islamic terrorist wackos are heading for Iraq. Why? Because they GET IT!

They understand that they've been outmaneuvered and this could be their last chance. If we can go into the worst cesspool of twisted Arab craziness and establish an even moderately free and prosperous country, their long term prospects resemble those of the California Condor.

George W. Bush GETS IT. He said "bring 'em on," because that's just exactly what we want. It's really hard for some people to grasp this point, but in any guerilla-type war, we want to be attacked. We are looking for a fight. Unless we get lucky we can't attack them because they are hiding. Being attacked is the next-best thing. And being attacked in a place where we have a hundred-thousand soldiers with blood in their eyes...well "pleeze, Br'er Bear, don't trow me in dat briar patch!"

And the Democrats DON'T GET IT! All those guys who are niggling about what Bush did or didn't say in the SOTU (like our friend Andrew, who is otherwise a fairly solid fellow) might as well be walking around with signs on their backs that read; Don't entrust National Security to me, because I'm CLUELESS!

And more than that, Bush is giving us a message of hope and optimism. We are no longer going to "adjust" ourselves to this problem, we are going to bear risks and endure pain to solve it. We can solve it. Is it only me that thinks it weird that no Democrat has anything positive to say on the subject? (Or any other subject that I've noticed lately)

And more important yet, it is a message of pure truth and honesty. Bullshit time is over, the Emperor has no clothes, and the road to peace is only going to be through war. Through WINNING the war, not just playing at it and then letting it fizzle-out in negotiations and compromises. That's the big truth right now, and all those Dems who are saying Bush lied are babbling desperately to avoid that big truth, that big elephant in their living-room. With sweating brows, cracking voices and mad bloodshot eyes they talk faster and faster..."Elephant? No elephant. Look, Bush lied I tell you. There's no elephant here! Lied! Lied! You gotta believe me! Ha ha, those blobs on the floor are just truths I mean pillows ha ha. Listen, he lied. Smell? No I don't smell anything. Lied! Ha ha ha, he lied..."

.

So geographers, in Afric maps,
With savage-pictures fill their gaps;
And o'er uninhabitable downs,
Place elephants for want of towns.

-- Swift

Posted by John Weidner at 4:19 PM