Saturday, December 24, 2005



It’s no secret that the Democrats would like nothing better than to impeach President George W. Bush. A lot of their words and actions in recent weeks have been devoted to purusing that goal. Since Republicans own a superior position in both House and Senate numbers, as well as higher public approval by party, it would appear unlikely that the Democrats could hope to produce the conditions where they could actually bring about an impeachment, but at the same time, it would be wise to recall that because the House is always up for re-election every two years, even unlikely events are still possible. And if Democrats were able to claim the House, the likelihood that Bush would be impeached would increase significantly, due to the extremist character of the DNC campaigns, and the unity in hatred of Bush that Democrats have displayed these past three years.

Or would it? Many people believed that as soon as Republicans gained control of Congress, they would immediately put everything in the new order of Conservatism, yet that did not happen, in the main, in the years following the 1994 change in House control. Even now, with solid majorities in both chanbers of Congress, a Republican measure is not a sure thing to pass, to say nothing of a Conservative measure. It is reasonable to presume that Democrats are largely united now, generally as a defensive measure to avoid becoming completely irrelevant to the legislative process. If the Democrats were able to become a majority again in the House, the factions that existed in the past would almost certainly resurface. It should be understood that the desire to impeach President Bush is neither new, nor truly a universal desire among Democrats. Some of the more extreme Democrats began looking for ways to impeach Bush during his first term, simply as punishment for beating Gore. But also, most Democrats understand that impeachment is rare for important reasons, much more important than the spite of bitter extremists like Dean, or sour losers like Kerry or Gore.

Most people, when considering impeachment, naturally recall the case against President Clinton, or the near-impeachment of President Nixon, averted only because Nixon resigned the office. But many people have forgotten that Democrats regularly pilloried President Reagan, and impeachment was suggested by more than one leading Democrat, and for very much the same imagined offense - protecting American interests and advancing freedom in the Middle East. But despite the publicity gained by those most litigious Liberals, the process never really gained steam; Democrats in the main recognized that the American public would not support impeachment of Reagan; he was simply too popular. Modern Democrats, naturally, will not accept any comparison of Dubya to Reagan, especially since they themselves were forced to praise Reagan for his undeniable accomplishments last year. But they would also do well to recall the history of impeachment threats, and why they do not usually come to pass.

Presidents generally get into impeachment-level trouble not because of unpopularity with the public, but conflict with Congress. one may lead to the other, but unless the Congress is outraged, impeachment is not an option. As an example, some of President Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War were unpopular, as were some of FDR’s policies to install the New Deal, but in neither case was Congress sufficiently angry to begin impeachment hearings. Perhaps the earliest example of a case where a President provoked the anger of Congress was the Louisiana Purchase which is now, ironically, 0widely considered to be one of the savviest and succesful negotiations in U.S. history. At the time, however, many Congressmen were unhappy with President Jefferson acting in a capacity which they felt belonged solely with Congress, and for a time Jefferson found it necessary to conduct sensitive diplomatic negotiations with his own Congress. Another good example, and an obvious one for historians, would be President Jackson, who did a great deal to increase the power and authority of the Presidency, and to Congress’ mind this came at the expense of Congressional authority. The Congress stopped short of impeaching Jackson, but he was censured, in a clear ‘shot across the bow’ to warn that he had reached a limit with the Congress.

When a President steps over the line with Congress, the resolution is usually more private than a direct confrontation. When President Truman fired General MacArthur, many Congressmen were outraged, but rather than publicly display a fractured government in time of war, leading Democrats made it known to Truman that he would not have their support for a 1952 re-election campaign, which led to his statement declining a run for another term.

In total, then, President Bush is very unlikely to be impeached, even if the Democrats should somehow take control of the House. Public support for Bush in terms of job approval rises and falls, but the public generally like the man, and support his ideals. Also, it is very likely that Democrats could only take the House by a campaign of reasonable policies; a vendetta against the President would not only be likely to fail in its immediate desired result, but create a backlash which could easily sweep in another Republican as President in 2008, which is the Democrats’ worst-case scenario.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Clinton-Appointed Judge Tries To Coerce President Bush, Demands Less Work At Full Pay


I wonder how many people realize that James Robertson, the judge who “Quit In Protest” over the legal surveillance of terrorist-connected international communications, was a Clinton appointee known for interfering in National Security debates, and who did not actually “quit” at all?

First off, a look at Robertson’s brief bio reveals that Robertson’s private practice work included the District of Columbia bar (not the most even-handed of forums), and included a strong emphasis on defendant’s civil rights, even where none existed in statute. Also, while Robertson has stepped down from his post on the FISA court, he has not resigned his position as a federal judge on the D.C. District Court, nor refunded even one penny of his salary. In actual effect, all Robertson has done is to demand less work for the same pay, and he got in a political swipe in the process.

As Hugh Hewitt noted on his radio show Wednesday, it will mean something if Robertson actually resigns his lifetime post and salary. Until then, it’s just more politics from a liberal unwilling to work in the system when it doesn’t go his way.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Testimony At The Congressional “Hollygate” Hearings

ho ho ho

Washington, D.C. (MSM) – As the controversy over surveillance into Americans’ private conversations and electronic messages continues, the Congress of the United States, holding hearings in a unique Joint Session, subpoenaed and interrogated several high-ranking officials regarding their knowledge of the programs. This report discloses some of the questions asked, and the responses by witnesses.

SEN. REID: I was appalled, as I am sure all Americans are, to discover a secret base used to spy on Americans. I believe this base was constructed with the full knowledge and approval of the President, and so I and my colleagues intend to get to the bottom of all this. I begin with a report from the Central Intelligence Agency, and call to the stand agent Joe Wilson.

SEN. FRIST: Wait a minute, Joe Wilson was never an agent for the CIA!

SEN. REID: You can’t prove otherwise. Morning, Joe. Nice layout of you and the wife in the Post this morning.

WILSON: Morning, Harry. Well, as you know we’re really very private people, but for the sake of the country, we had to do those three talk show interviews and photo shoots on Tuesday. Got four more this weekend.

SEN. REID: I understand completely, and applaud your thankless service. Now then Mister Wilson, how did you first learn about this secret base?

WILSON: I noticed a disturbing trend of unpleasant notes every Christmas morning. For many years now, instead of a pile of well-deserved presents, I have been finding a brief note claiming that I had not been a “good boy”, and so I did not receive my due as an American, which is maximum bling.

MR. HASTERT: Hah! Joe Wilson, you just got what you deserved! You did a lot of lying and cheating and conniving, and now you’re just angry you didn’t get rewarded for it.

WILSON: Well, even if I have, how does anybody know? And what right does anyone have to know I have been “bad or good”? I demand to know how they find out this kind of thing, and who is behind rewarding “good” behavior and punishing “bad” behavior. So I asked around, and there’s this guy named ‘Claus’, who runs a secret base up north of the Arctic Circle, where all kinds of private information gets funneled for his personal use.

SEN. LOTT: Hey, I know Santa Claus, and he’s a really good guy!

WILSON: Just what I mean. Seems this ‘Claus’ likes Republicans a whole lot more than Democrats right now. That is just not fair.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: I also know Mr. Claus, and he’s a very fine man. The wife and I have had him visit for dinner a number of times.

SEN. REID: Shut up, you’re not even a real Democrat anymore!

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Harry Truman might disagree.

SEN. REID: Well, we’re not talking about him. Sorry Joe, please continue.

WILSON: Anyway, my sources led me to a meeting of H.C.U.T.P’s, who-

SEN. FRIST: I’m sorry, what?

WILSON: “Height-Challenged Unknown Technology Professionals”. They manufacture a variety of material items for Claus, but their funding and purpose is unknown.

SEN. FRIST: Oh, you mean elves. They make toys for children.

WILSON, REID, KENNEDY together: There’s no such thing as elves!!!

SEN. FRIST: Whatever. Please continue, Mr. Wilson.

WILSON: It took some talking, but I was able to develop a working idea of how the conspiracy functioned. Claus obtained intelligence by spying on the general public, and then set out on a specific plan to punish his enemies and reward his friends.

SEN. KYL: Oh for the love of – Get over yourself, the man just likes to give out toys to children!

WILSON: People he likes, you mean. If you’re on his bad side, that’s something else entirely. I heard rumors that he literally crushes the tracheas of his enemies.

SEN. KYL: Claus doesn’t do that, you mean Darth Vader!

WILSON: Ever think they might be the same person? I mean, no one has ever seen those two together, have they?

SEN. KYL: You’re sick, do you know that?

SEN. BOXER: You can’t say that to a witness, without first proving they are a Conservative. Please continue, Joe.

WILSON: Actually, that’s pretty much all I have. Except, “Bush sucks”, of course.

SEN. REID: We all agree there.

(significant outcry and dissent from the Republicans present)

SEN. REID: To sort this matter out and prove the allegations the ranking member calls Mister Kris Claus.

CLAUS: Good morning. You had my name wrong a little, but I believe I am the man you meant.

SEN. KENNEDY: Are you contradicting a United States Senator?

CLAUS: Well, most people call me “Santa Claus” or “Kris Kringle”, they don’t usually mix the two like that.

MR. CONYERS: Sir, I don’t think I like your attitude!

CLAUS: Well, I’m sorry about that, but I can’t really be anyone other than who I am.

MS. PELOSI: And that’s what we are worried about. According to Fortune magazine, you are the wealthiest man in the world. Tell me Mister Claus, just how rich are you?

CLAUS: I have no idea. To me, money has no meaning.

SEN. KENNEDY: Mister Claus, you are obviously a man of immense wealth and privilege. How is it that you feel you can judge people who have to work hard for everything they have?

CLAUS: Coming from you, that’s a very odd question.

SEN. KENNEDY: I, sir, am a hard-working representative of the people of Massachusetts. Who the hell are you to question my integrity in representing the disadvantaged?

CLAUS: I gave more last year to people who had nothing, than you spent on liquor. And please do not use profanity, if you can so refrain from it.

SEN. KENNEDY: What the hell is that supposed to mean?

SEN. LEVIN: Getting back on track, isn’t it true, Mister Claus, that you track and record the behavior of private Americans?

CLAUS: Yes, that’s correct. I keep a list, and I check it.

SEN. LEVIN: Isn’t it also true, that you categorize the actions and words of private individuals according to your personal opinion of their merit?

CLAUS: Well, it is true that I know who is naughty, and who is nice.

SEN. LEVIN: Isn’t it true that you even observe the times that individuals go to sleep and wake up?

CLAUS: Sort of. I know if someone is really asleep or not.

SEN. LEVIN: Mmm-hmm. And tell me please, what court approved a warrant for any of these activities of yours?

CLAUS: No court. I just do it.

(murmurs of disapproval among Democrats)

SEN. REID: You have never asked for permission from even a single court to spy on Americans?

CLAUS: I never saw it as necessary.

SEN. REID: And what about this giving-out of presents you do? Who decides what a person gets, and who approves your entry and exits into and from private residences?

CLAUS: Good children get very nice gifts, bad children usually get nothing, although in either case I sometimes leave a note.

SEN. REID: So you might decide to give presents to a child whose family is already wealthy, but you might also decide not to give to a child who lives in a poor neighborhood?

CLAUS: Hypothetically, yes, that could happen.

SEN. REID: Outrageous. And just who lets you in and out of people’s homes?

CLAUS: No one. I let myself in and out.

(anger among Democrats)

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I believe there is a disturbing correlation between your “good” list and Republicans, and between your “bad” list and Democrats. Is that true, and can you explain that?

CLAUS: Sadly yes, the Democrats have generally been very naughty lately.

(outrage among the Democrats)

CLAUS: I am sorry to have to say so, but you know it’s true. You have been saying some very, very false and mean things recently, and what you’ve been doing – well, it’s just not “nice”. Now, it’s true that many of the people on my “nice” list are Republican, but not all Republicans. I don’t like to point out individuals for hard words, but really Ms. Snowe, Mr. Chafee, Mr. Hagel – have you forgotten what your parents taught you, what you promised your constituents, the commitments you agreed on? So it’s not about the politics, Senator, I have to disagree with you there.

MS. PELOSI: I have had enough of this! We bring in this man, this, this obscenely wealthy neocon troglodyte, to get questions answered about the latest adventure by that cowboy in the White House-

CLAUS: George? He’s a bit headstrong yes, but hardly a cowboy. And I have never heard a word from him trying to tell me how to run my workshop.

MS. PELOSI: So, you admit to being personal friends with the President?

CLAUS: Oh my, yes, the whole Bush family is so very nice. I will never forget five years ago, when Dasher and Dancer had that nasty mishap with the freight truck on I-10. Barbara made a very effective poultice for their legs, Poppy set them in place with Dubya’s help, and the Cheneys came over and helped fix the sleigh in no time at all!

SEN. REID: What intelligence information has the President discussed with you, specific to the War on Terror?

CLAUS: None at all, really. My line of work is bringing presents to children, you know. Not much use knowing anything about terrorists, they are never on the “nice” list anyway.

SEN. LEVIN: So the intelligence provided to you is not used at all for the War on Terror?

CLAUS: I really think you are confused, sir. I use magic, not wiretaps.

MR. RANGEL: You know what I think? I think this whole “magic” and “presents” thing is a cover for how you Republicans stole two elections and manufactured a needless war! People like you gave Bush the White House, in exchange for favors and inside information.

CLAUS: Michael Moore’s version of “Miracle on 34th Street”, sounds like.

MR. RANGEL: What do you mean by that?

CLAUS: Nothing, just an observation. Listen, it was very nice chatting with you all, but I am on a rather tight deadline, and I really do have to go.

But before I do, I have to remind you that no one “gave” the President either of the last two elections, unless you count the American people’s decision to have Mister Bush serve as their President. And there are quite a few brave men serving in dangerous places right now, who deserve your support in reality, and not just a few words when you’re in front of a camera. The really meaningful gifts are not the ones I can deliver, but which come from family, close friends, and from people keeping their word when it really matters. And that brings me to my Christmas wish for you all, but it’s one you have to decide for yourselves to give.

You have a nice country here, full of good people and a lot of opportunity. I have to say though, this city doesn’t reflect that country all too well. If you want to give this nation a really nice gift for Christmas, maybe you should try listening to what your citizens really want and considering what protects them and will mean something to their children.

And with that, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

MS. PELOSI: Can he say something like that in Congress?

SEN. REID: Sergeant at Arms, stop that man!

SERGEANT: Stop who?

SEN. KENNEDY: Where’d he go? He just disappeared into thin air!

SEN. LEVIN: Ted, I warned you about drinking that much for breakfast.

SEN. REID: Never mind, we’ll just subpoena him again.

SERGEANT: Uhhhhh, no, that won’t work.

SEN. REID: Why not?

SERGEANT: We could never serve him the first time. The address search kept coming back empty.

SEN. REID: Then why was he here today?

SEN. FRIST: Maybe he felt like he should make a statement.

SEN. LEVIN: Nevermind. I want to interrogate that reindeer, Rudolf, next. That “shiny nose” could just be neocon code for a spyware or activity tracking device…

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Authority Confirmed


John Schmidt wrote a compelling article for the Chicago Tribune's Editorial page, one which should be required reading for anyone interested or concerned about the question of President Bush’s authority to order domestic surveillance for phone calls and e-mails. Schmidt’s argument is thorough and compelling. I thought about quoting some of it here, but it’s better that you simply read it. All of it.

President Had legal Authority To Order Wiretaps

Now that you have read the article, the matter should be very clear. But there are two additional points I would like to make in this matter. At the bottom of the article, it is noted that Mr. Schmidt served President Clinton as the Associate Attorney General between 1994 and 1997. He is not some neocon trying to justify an extreme action or violation of the Constitution, but a professional with significant and direct experience in the matters of the law as they pertain to National Security. This is not a Democrat or Republican position vis a vis the decision to collect vital intelligence which could decide the life or death of countless innocent Americans, but a serious responsibility of the President, and it carries the necessary authority for him to act on his judgment as the elected Chief Executive of the United States of America.

Also, it should be understood that the War on Terrorism is not some game that Democrats play badly and Republicans play well, but the defense of the nation at the highest stakes. It is grossly unfair to imply that Bill Clinton is responsible for the 9/11 attacks, simply because one might disagree with his decisions or priorities. A lot of the people who served in the Clinton Administration were top-notch people, and as stupid and unreasonable as certain individuals were to common sense, many others have valuable experience and insight that should be considered and employed.

Largely, the real difference between Republicans and Democrats since the 9/11 attacks, is that many Republicans have been willing to work with responsible Democrats, specifically because the Republicans knew that the politics played by Clinton and Gore were not necessarily reflected at the other levels. Unfortunately, the Democrats changed their actions about the middle of 2002, to try to play for political gains, putting pressure on a lot of Democrats who would personally have preferred a higher moral ground. So it is that we are still encountering not only the occasional Republican who seems surprised by the tactics of a Howard Dean or a John Kerry, but also every so often we get a Miller or a Lieberman who decides to put country ahead of politics. As difficult as it is, it is imperative that every voice offering advice in the War on Terror must be given a chance to prove their worth, and as frustrating as this can be in certain respects, it is vital to keep our focus and proper perspective.

Desperate and Foolhardy


There was a time in America, when unions made sense. Dangerous working conditions, disregard for fair compensation, collusion between major owners of factories and industry to deny workers an equitable voice in their own condition, all led to the creation, by necessity, of labor unions to protect and advance the interests of working-class Americans.

However, the present TWU strike in New York City is a strange anomaly in union history, but is also sadly typical of union arrogance in the last generation. According to USA Today, the transit workers already average $63,000 a year in pay, plus pension and benefits. As a comparison, that’s more than an NYPD cop makes, even a veteran. It’s almost twice the starting salary of a FDNY firefighter.

So, what’s the beef? Are the transit workers worried they are about to be laid off? Actually, no, no one has suggested there were going to be layoffs or a reduction in employment numbers. Were they worried about getting a pay cut? Again, no, there was already a 3% annual pay raise planned to take effect. Were they going to lose their benefits. Not really; the Authority wanted employees to contribute 1% of their salary towards their health coverage, very much like tens of millions of Americans already do, although most Americans have to pay far more than 1% towards their healthcare programs. And while it is true that the Authority wanted to move the effective age of pensions from 55 to 62, that is still earlier than the age at which most people expect to see any sort of pension money, assuming they are fortunate enough to have a pension plan offered. In other words, there was no substantive reason for the union to strike. Also, the strike is illegal, and will cost the union millions of dollars, which is to say that many union members will have to pay out of their own pockets for the stupidity and callous arrogance of their leadership, to say nothing of the two days’ wages every union member is being personally docked for every day on strike.

What’s more, the union has chosen an especially poor time and means to bring their grievance to public attention. At the moment, public support appears to be overwhelmingly with the MTA, not the union. And small wonder. Who, facing the dilemma of suddenly having to replan long trips through ice and snow to go to and from a job which generally pays far less in salary and benefits than these workers already enjoyed, would decide that the tactics of shutting down the city to serve their personal greed should be rewarded? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So, why on earth would the TWU do something like this? Surely they understand that this act of theirs is suicidal, that the more permanent effect of this venture is further loss of credibility and stature, and that choosing a clearly illegal option will cost them in the courts as well. What on earth could possess these people to believe the strike was a good plan?

Simply put, they had little choice. While the unions are largely in denial about the fact, the plain truth is that union membership nationwide is in decline, and what’s worse for these people, they have no relevance to modern conditions. Put simply, the leadership of modern unions have nothing to offer the country, the plane of modern business, or even their own members. All they have left is their history and their pride, and so that is what motivates and drives their decisions.

How did this come about? Remember at the beginning, I noted that unions came about largely to address the grievances of regular employees against their management and company owners. Well, the owners got smart. They created Personnel departments to address employee concerns, and they hired people who had studied Economics and Labor Law, and while no one would say that the upper management of most corporations puts their employees first, it is a fact that companies generally put a high value on employee satisfaction and in rewarding high performers. The unions, for their part, did nothing to move from their base position of addressing all issues in the Collective sense. That is, any union has power and authority only in the sense of Collective Bargaining, not at the level of the individual, and this is a fatal flaw.

Consider that unions exist to primarily protect the collective interests of their members. That is, they will sacrifice the individual to protect the group as a whole. This means that workers who stand out, by definition will find the union unsuited to their personal needs and priorities.

Consider a company, which has determined that to do as well in 2005 as they did in 2004, they needed their factory employees to average producing 400 quality-controlled products a week per employee. Now, let’s say that there are three employees, Adam, Bruce, and Charley, whose average production is 500, 400, and 300 quality-controlled products a week, respectively. Between them, they are averaging the needed 400 q-c products the company needs to stay where they are, and if these three men all worked for a union, the union might claim that should be good enough for the company, but there’s a problem. First, of course, no union is ever happy to just stay where they are, which means this union would be demanding pay and benefit raises for meeting the standard, even though that standard demonstrates no actual improvement in company production as a whole. Also, the company would dislike the union’s position regarding Charley. The company would like to motivate Charley to either improve his performance, or else the company would like to replace Charley with an employee who can keep up with the 400-product standard. The union, holding an obligation to protrect all their members, would necessarily be defending an admittedly poor employee for no reason other than he is a union member. That means that the company’s owners and management would naturally find themselve in opposition to union demands over compensation and standards, from the start.

But the union has a problem, too, and it’s a big one. Remember Adam, the 500 product a week guy? He’s doing an impressive job, and so naturally he wants to be recognized for it. It’s in the company’s interest to reward Adam; he not only represents high productivity they want, but if employees see Adam rewarded for superior work, that may motivate some to also produce superior results. This is great for the company, and great for the employees being rewarded on the real basis of their work. It’s not great for the union, however.

If the union allows Adam to be rewarded for superoir performance, then they end up allowing merit pay, better pay for better work. Inevitably that logic means that poor performers like Charley don’t get the rewards for excellence, and the union cannot allow that kind of system to be put into place. So, the union has no choice but to demand that Adam be denied extra rewards for his superior performance; it’s that sacrifice of the individual to protect the group I mentioned. But the natural effect of this kind of system, is to drive superior performers like Adam away from the union, to other companies which do reward excellence. And the union becomes a group of sup-par performers by definition, as more and more excellence-driven workers seek their hard-earned reward.

So what does the union do? In a work, extortion. If you think about it, that’s all a strike is, for instance – ‘do as I demand, or I will hurt you'. In the end, that kind of strategy is a sure loser. But it also led to union-only shops and contracts for a long time, until the NLRA ruled that practice illegal. But unions continue a number of practices, which could reasonably only be compared in their intent and effect to Organized Crime.

So, what does all this have to do with the TWU strike in New York? The end is near, folks, and the union bosses know it. Just as the Democrats continue to use the courts to try to create laws they could never hope to pass in open legislature, unions hope to create and establish and protect the privileges they have held for so long. They know their membership is declining, their tactics are outraging many millions of honest people, and the tide is moving against them. They are grabbing now whatever they can take, like an Iraqi Baathist in 2002 on his way out the door, they know they don’t have very long, and so this strike is a desperate attempt to grab what they cannot hope to have by any right or agreement. Coercion is all they have available to them. But in the end, all this will do is confirm the need, not to make unions or help them gain power again, but to wipe them out as the corrupt gangs they are in actual fact.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Addressing A Boor


Richard Cohen, feeling rather full of himself, lectures the President of the United States about Accountability. If you have any doubt about what form Cohen’s article took, just recall that Cohen writes under a copyright called the “Washington Post Writer’s Group”.

Anyway, in a rant in the New York Daily News entitled “Enough. Let’s Try ‘Accountability’”, Cohen goes off on Dubya, and like most Liberals, he ignores the facts and just goes off on a tantrum. Given his scale of audience, it seems appropriate to answer him according to context and perspective.

Cohen begins, as a good Liberal, by attacking the President on Iraq, saying “In his Sunday night speech to the nation, Bush once again ran up this tattered rhetorical banner: ``I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.'"

Yes, Mr. Cohen, the President made clear that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein, install a democratic republic, rebuild the infrastructure and protect the security of the entire region was his choice. That’s hardly “tattered”, Mister Cohen, especially in the light of the just-completed elections in Iraq, where turnout was extremely high and confidence extremely strong. Many millions of people, including many Americans, consider this to be a good thing, actually even a sign of victory and a wise decision by the President. It speaks volumes that Cohen would still regard the decision as a mistake, something which seems to be the starting point for any Liberal talking point.

Cohen goes on:

I take responsibility,'' he said Sept. 13 about the botched Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Of course, anyone familiar with the actual events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, is well aware that the breakdown began with Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, and it was only when the federal officials were allowed to take charge, that supplies and organized relief began to work. So again, where the actual actions by the President were effective and useful, Cohen prefers to assign blame, in clear defiance of the evidence and actual events.

Cohen, having displayed clear Liberal credentials, now moves into his true message:

This recitation of the obvious is a bit of clumsy rhetorical strutting, but also a way of ducking the ultimate in responsibility: accountability. This is something Bush will not accept or countenance. He will not be trammeled or constrained or answer to any person. He will, as we recently learned, not give a fig for the law as passed by Congress when it comes to restrictions on domestic spying. He asserts, but does not show, that asking for a warrant from the special intelligence court would endanger the country and -- his idea of a jolly-good debating point -- shows irritation when pressed.”

Here Cohen proves himself quite the fool. In the first place, the Liberal assertion that President Bush must take blame and prostrate himself for the unforgivable sin of doing his job is the usual flame game we see from pompous asses like Cohen in places like New York or Los Angeles. But more, Cohen fails to recognize that the authority for the surveillance came from Congress. As much as Cohen would like to cast Bush as a dictator who cares nothing for the law, Cohen would do well to go back and actually take a look at the Congressional bills passed since September 11th.

I also find the “domestic spying” canard amusing, although the malicious deceit applied by the Mainstream Media is a bit disturbing. That is, the “spying” means that certain phone calls, under certain conditions, are surveilled, examined to see if they represent a threat. This is no different than a police officer following a car which is acting strangely, to decide whether it may be driven by a drunk driver, or whether the driver is involved in some other illicit activity. Drug smugglers have been caught, specifically because a police officer followed their truck or car for a while to see why they were acting strangely. That has never been illegal, and in practical use, paying attention to people who mention bombs, names of specific terrorist individuals and groups, or otherwise reference suspicious behavior.

Further, the United States has done this for years under a variety of circumstances and conditions, it’s not something which just started under President Bush. During the War of 1812, troops would enter the house of a suspected spy to determine whether the person inside was acting against American security. Same during the Civil War, and in all the Wars of the 20th Century, from the First World War through the Second, Korea, and Vietnam, the government regularly intercepted mail and phone calls involving international communications and soldiers, and this was commonly understood to be a necessary security action to protect lives and secrets. That has not changed now, despite Mister Cohen’s intense desire to protect the sanctity of people discussing terrorists and bombs while on the phone to foreign countries.

Undeterred by facts or a functional sense of history, Coehn then says “It was the same with the intelligence failure that was Bush's prime justification for the war. The president asserts repeatedly that he's responsible for that -- but so is Congress. It saw the same intelligence. But it is the president who runs the spy agencies, not Congress, and it is he who ought to be accountable for their dismal performance.”

If anything proves Cohen to be both an idiot and a liar, this claim does it. Liberals have always screamed about the need for a Congressional Authorization for War, even though the 2002 Congressional action was the first undeniable authorization for the use of force in almost half a century. Actually, I think that’s the heart of it – Liberals are outraged that President Bush can point to a clear, specific authorization by Congress.

What’s more, Cohen surely remembers that the reason we went to war in Iraq was because the Intelligence Community, not just here in the U.S., but also in the United Kingdom, in Russia, even in France, agreed that Saddam very likely had WMD, and if he had them he certainly planned to use them. In fact, David Kay explained later that if anything, the instability in Iraq in 2002 made Saddam even more dangerous than we thought, and Kay said the decision to invade was the right one. Does Cohen mean to say that President Bush also controls the opinions and recommendations of Intelligence Agencies in Europe and Asia, too? And no, Bush does not “run” the “spy agencies”, he appoints the Director of the CIA. Other agencies are overseen by the military, and by Congress. We should also recall that the chief deficiency of the Intelligence Community in answering the question of WMD, was Human Intelligence, and for that issue we must fall back to the Clinton Doctrine of depending on Satellite Reconnaissance and reducing field agents. In other words, if you feel you have to pin the Intel blunder on a specific person, the “Gorelick” Wall at the Department of Justice, and the Clinton Doctrine of reducing HUMINT in the region are the two chief causes for the poor information used to make such a critical decision. I have no intention of blaming President Clinton for this, because I understand the limits to what a President can anticipate and plan, but I observe that Cohen has wholly missed the cause and nature of the error – it’s just so much easier for him to lie so that he can blame President Bush.

So, one must wonder why Mister Cohen is so desperate to smear President Bush. Surely he realizes that President Bush, with a rising Approval rate and a solidly Republican Congress, is not about to be cowed by a man who can’t bother to get his facts straight, and whose hatred for the President has clearly unbalanced him. The truth comes out as Mister Cohen closes his little rant:

He works with the same team of happy incompetents who failed him once (bad intelligence), then again (going to war), then again (the administration of it) and then again (postwar reconstruction). A responsible leader would get some people around him with the guts to challenge him. This is a White House of the meek.
Finally, the ``responsibility president'' would understand that his crew has lost all credibility. He cannot expect a nation, and in particular its military, to accept the assurances of people who will be mocked by history or to have faith in leaders whose failures are sadly obvious in the only ledger that really matters -- the body count in Iraq

And there it is. The Bush Administration, far from being the dismal band of failures Mister Cohen hopes we will believe, is actually quite accomplished in their success. It occurs to me that Mister Cohen might perceive what I do; that while Neither Bush nor Cheney will be running for office in 2008 (although Cohen seems to have the Liberal’s requisite fear of anything involving Cheney), there are others within the White House who may do quite well indeed in a Presidential campaign run. Cohen and his ilk would hate, beyond words, the effectiveness of a Republican President elected in 2008, if that Republican happened to be named Rice or Chertoff, or someone who thinks like Bush, say, Kyl or Barbour. So, they must be demonized, by proxy and as a group until they know at whom to aim their vitriol.

In summary, only a fool, a malicious liar, that is to say, a Liberal spokesman, would pretend that the war in Iraq is of no import beyond counting bodies. That was not the ledger for victory in any war of consequence, and it is a typical but mean slap form the Left, to so attempt to diminish the work and accomplishment of our military, and of their Commander in Chief. Millions of Iraqis and Afghanistans are free to build their own future, because of Bush’s decision and the efforts of the U.S. Military. The entire Middle East is more secure because the United States acted with decision and resolve. The authority and influence of the United States is unmatched, because President Bush was clear and thorough in his decisions, promises, and actions. You are fooling nobody, Mister Cohen, and there is no honor in your blatant attempt to smear a far better man than yourself.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What Is Really Going On


Liberals hate the PATRIOT Act. That's commonly understood, but how many people think about why that is so?

In February 2004, POTUS wanna-be John Kerry explained that we need "not only a strong military, but renewed alliances, vigorous law enforcement, reliable intelligence, and unremitting effort to shut down the flow of terrorist funds. " Kerry, however accidentally, endorsed the PATRIOT Act in that statement, because the PATRIOT Act was the most signifiant tool given to agencies to find and apprehend terrorist cells before they could strike American targets. The simple fact is, the tools that Liberals and the MSM are calling 'spying on Americans', are tools which have long been in use to catch mob bosses and child predators. Terrorists certainly deserve no better treatment than the Mafia or some pervert trying to snatch your kid.

Back in January, I wrote this about President George W. Bush, and it is still true today:

"George W. Bush is weird. That’s either a really bad thing, or a really good thing, depending on your perspective. The strong emotions surrounding this President are unique; while every President has his supporters and critics, no one in memory has suffered the absolute hate that has been spewed at Dubya, nor has a President often enjoyed the sort of loyalty that GW Bush has created. I believe this comes, in large part, from the clear and decisive policies and plans of this Bush Administration. Most Presidents try to set their policies in such a manner as to minimize conflict, which reduces outright anger but also dilutes their effectiveness. Dubya puts 100% into accomplishing his goals, but 0% into sugar-coating them".

The PATRIOT Act should not be controversial at all. It should be understood not only for the vital purpose it serves, but also for the fact that without it, we will be significantly more vulnerable. And if you should be wondering about whether renewing it would damage your Civil Rights, consider the number of civil cases won against the Government for civil rights violations via the PATRIOT Act: zero. Padilla's case notwithstanding (which was procedural, rather than a civil rights case per se), there has not yet been even a single case against the U.S. Government, not one suit which has been brought to trial on the claim that a specific person's civil rights have been violated, much less a judgment in support of such a claim. The facts bear out the truth, but there is no truth in the Liberal attack on the PATRIOT Act.

Once again, one stands either with the people defending the nation against terrorists, or against the defenders. There is no other position.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas - The Culture War


Well, it’s that time again, with angry types on the Right complaining that there isn’t enough Christ in Christmas, and angry types on the Left arguing that we should be having Christmas at all. So far, that’s the usual routine. I really think there are people who feel obliged to bicker just to do so, to go through the motions of not only having an opinion, but fighting for it to somehow prove their devotion. At least, that’s the only way I can explain the bitter hostility to things like Santa Claus and Christmas Trees.

Yes, that’s right. Here in Houston there was actually a group protesting displays which included the jolly old elf and brightly decorated trees. I took a few religion courses back in school, and there is nothing in Christian doctrine of any major denomination, which connects the myth of Santa Claus to the faith, nor emphasizes the use of indoor foilage as a sign of piety. But there you are; the fat guy and the gaudy tree have been connected to that whole Christanity thing in the public mind, and so that perception is driving a counter-offensive against it. It seems extraordinarily silly, but then to me, so does proving your love by blowing the limit on your credit card.

Part of it can be blamed on the ‘Narnia’ movies. Liberals, who understand the meaning of symbolism and metaphor, are alarmed at the apparent indoctrination of children to such things as love for others, devotion to truth and good, or a sense of personal responsibility. They apparently prefer to have children made to appreciate class warfare, reverse race and sexism, the campaigns of victimization, or the evils of dominant cultures. Anyway, I think it really hit home this year, when ‘Harry Potter’ introduced not only the sixth book in the series, but also the fourth movie. While extremists on the Right were offended by what they saw as glamorization (pun intended) of Witchcraft, extremists on the Left were appalled to discover that the protagonists in the ‘Harry Potter’ series were exhibiting behavior that could reasonably be described as, gasp, Christian. The horror!

So here we are, with a campaign to abolish Santa Claus. Of course, it’s been in the works for a while; the original Saint Nick smoked a pipe. Can’t have that now. I figure in ten years or so, we’ll start seeing a Santa Claus who is on the latest diet, and would never think of intruding on a family without their knowledge and permission. That is, a non-magic, non-ofensive, totally banal Santa Clause. From ‘HO HO HO’ to ‘hum hum hum’.

As for me, while my faith hardly requires it, it’s a fat, happy, smoking Santa Claus for my decor, and a tree wrapped in foil and lights. It’s not about fighting anything you understand, but my daughter likes such things, and that makes it important for me to encourage her joy.

PFL Week Fifteen

. .

Week Fifteen Scoreboard

Teddy Roosevelt (15-0) 42, Jackson (6-8) 6
Washington (15-0) 31, Polk (10-4) 17
George W Bush (14-0) 61, Fillmore (2-12) 6
Jefferson (13-2) 19, Eisenhower (13-1) 18
Reagan (14-0) 66, Coolidge (3-11) 3
FDR (13-2) 27, JFK (10-4) 9
Grant (12-2) 21, JQ Adams (7-7) 15
Monroe (11-3) 64, A Johnson (0-14) 3
Truman (11-3) 19, Wilson (7-8) 10
Lincoln (10-5) 18, Madison (7-7) 15
Taft (9-5) 32, Tyler (4-10) 9
John Adams (8-6) 61, Harding (2-12) 6
Cleveland (8-6) 39, Buchanan (0-14) 9
McKinley (8-6) 50, W Harrison (2-12) 9
Hayes (7-7) 19, Nixon (7-7) 18
Arthur (7-7), idle
GHW Bush (7-7), idle
Van Buren (5-9) 25, Taylor (6-8) 9
Ford (6-8), idle
B Harrison (5-9), idle
Carter (4-10), idle
Garfield (3-11) 31, Clinton (0-14) 15
LBJ (2-12) 22, Pierce (2-12) 18
Hoover (2-12), idle

Division A
[02] Washington (15-0) Division Champion
[09] Monroe (11-3)
[12] Polk (10-4)

Division B
[05] Eisenhower (13-1) Playoff berth clinched
[06] Jefferson (13-2) Playoff berth clinched

Division C
[01] T Roosevelt (15-0) Division Champion
[08] Grant (12-2)

Division D
[03] George W Bush (14-0) Division Champion
[10] Truman (11-3)

Division E
[04] Reagan (14-0) Division Champion
[13] Lincoln (10-5)

Division F
[07] FDR (13-2) Division Champion
[11] JFK (10-4)