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Kick Assiest Blog
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Hitchens: Anti-War, My Foot, The phony peaceniks who protested in D.C.
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Fighting words A wartime lexicon.
Topic: Columns

Anti-War, My Foot

The phony peaceniks who protested in Washington.

Are they really "anti-war"?
(Photograph of Sept. 24 anti-war protest by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.)


Saturday's demonstration in Washington, in favor of immediate withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq, was the product of an opportunistic alliance between two other very disparate "coalitions." Here is how the New York Times (after a front-page and an inside headline, one of them reading "Speaking Up Against War" and one of them reading "Antiwar Rallies Staged in Washington and Other Cities") described the two constituenciess of the event:

The protests were largely sponsored by two groups, the Answer Coalition, which embodies a wide range of progressive political objectives, and United for Peace and Justice, which has a more narrow, antiwar focus.

The name of the reporter on this story was Michael Janofsky. I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the g?nocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper—to mention only two radical left journalists—who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.

The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" is by no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the "United for Peace and Justice" lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along … well, they just tag along.

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

Some of the leading figures in this "movement," such as George Galloway and Michael Moore, are obnoxious enough to come right out and say that they support the Baathist-jihadist alliance. Others prefer to declare their sympathy in more surreptitious fashion. The easy way to tell what's going on is this: Just listen until they start to criticize such gangsters even a little, and then wait a few seconds before the speaker says that, bad as these people are, they were invented or created by the United States. That bad, huh? (You might think that such an accusation—these thugs were cloned by the American empire for God's sake—would lead to instant condemnation. But if you thought that, gentle reader, you would be wrong.)

The two preferred metaphors are, depending on the speaker, that the Bin-Ladenists are the fish that swim in the water of Muslim discontent or the mosquitoes that rise from the swamp of Muslim discontent. (Quite often, the same images are used in the same harangue.) The "fish in the water" is an old trope, borrowed from Mao's hoary theory of guerrilla warfare and possessing a certain appeal to comrades who used to pore over the Little Red Book. The mosquitoes are somehow new and hover above the water rather than slip through it. No matter. The toxic nature of the "water" or "swamp" is always the same: American support for Israel. Thus, the existence of the Taliban regime cannot be swamplike, presumably because mosquitoes are born and not made. The huge swamp that was Saddam's Iraq has only become a swamp since 2003. The organized murder of Muslims by Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan is only a logical reaction to the summit of globalizers at Davos. The stoning and veiling of women must be a reaction to Zionism. While the attack on the World Trade Center—well, who needs reminding that chickens, or is it mosquitoes, come home to roost?

There are only two serious attempts at swamp-draining currently under way. In Afghanistan and Iraq, agonizingly difficult efforts are in train to build roads, repair hospitals, hand out ballot papers, frame constitutions, encourage newspapers and satellite dishes, and generally evolve some healthy water in which civil-society fish may swim. But in each case, from within the swamp and across the borders, the most poisonous snakes and roaches are being recruited and paid to wreck the process and plunge people back into the ooze. How nice to have a "peace" movement that is either openly on the side of the vermin, or neutral as between them and the cleanup crew, and how delightful to have a press that refers to this partisanship, or this neutrality, as "progressive."

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His most recent books include Love, Poverty, and War and Thomas Jefferson: Author of America.

Slate.com ~ Christopher Hitchens ** Anti-War, My Foot

Related in Slate
Last month, Christopher Hitchens skewered the anti-war movement's den mother, Cindy Sheenan, for what he called her "sinister piffle," here; he wrote about the consequence of Bush granting her wish here. Is leftist gadfly Michael Moore producing Leni Reifenstahl-caliber propaganda for the anti-war crowd? Read Hitchens' analysis of Moore's "Baathist-jihadist" work, Fahrenheit 911, here. The late Jude Wanniski, Ronald Reagan's supply-side economics guru, wasn't a Trotskyite, but like George Galloway he was an "unreconstructed Saddamophile," according to Timothy Noah. Click here to read why, if conservative bomb-thrower Ann Coulter had her way, this bunch would be on trial for Treason.

Posted by uhyw at 1:22 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:41 AM EDT
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Afghanistan Election Not to Be Ignored... 6.5 million voted, 53% of the electorate
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns

An Election Not to Be Ignored
Continuing progress in Afghanistan.

*
Democracy took another important step forward earlier this week, though you might not have heard about it through the hurricane coverage and the Supreme Court hearings. Afghanistan held its first legitimate parliamentary election since 1969. About six and a half million people, 53 percent of the electorate, turned out to vote for candidates for the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga (People's Council, the lower house of the national assembly, the equivalent of our House of Representatives) and for 34 provincial councils. The election came off with comparatively little violence — 19 attacks leaving nine dead, including the first French soldier to die in the country.

Given the size of the country and the low-tech voting system, the results will not be known for several weeks. It is difficult to make predictions because political parties were banned and all 5,800 candidates ran as individuals. There were some reports of irregularities, but a six-member European Union observer team said that the election was free, fair, and transparent. The best news was the women’s vote: 44 percent of registered voters were women, and turnout was high even in former centers of Taliban influence such as Khandahar. 582 female candidates competed for the 68 Wolesi Jirga seats that have been reserved for women.

Naturally, the hard-core oppositionists opposed the election. The Taliban, who vowed not to mount attacks on election day in order to spare innocent lives, nevertheless said the election was not lawful, and any laws passed by the assembly would be illegitimate. They threatened all the elected representatives with violence, and said even losing candidates "would not be safe from [their] bullets." Al Qaeda's number two man Ayman al Zawahiri released a tape calling the election a "fraud," and making similar threats.

However, not all the radicals agreed. This election was noteworthy for the participation of many former Taliban, under the conditions of a general amnesty President Hamid Karzai announced last spring, part of a general national reconciliation program. The amnesty extended even to Mullah Omar, who as one might expect rejected it. Since then Karzai has denied he even made the offer, and the United States still has a $10 million bounty on Omar's head.

The purpose of the amnesty was to bring more Pushtuns — the traditional Taliban base — into the political process, and to divide the opposition. The plan has been effective, but it has also demonstrated that one must develop a tolerance for ambiguity in democratic politics in the developing world. Some people running for office were until recently prime candidates for a vacation at Gitmo. Take for example, Abdul Salam, a.k.a. Commander Rocketi, so named for his skill with the RPG-7 rocket launcher. He used to command Taliban forces in Jalalabad, was in custody for eight months, and now says he wants to bring unity and peace to his country.

More troubling is the candidacy of Maulavi Qalamudin, former head of the Taliban's religious police. Qalamudin's ministry enforced the lifestyle strictures of the Taliban utopia, and he oversaw the systematic application of intimidation, torture, stonings, and other atrocities against Afghans who did not show sufficient ardor in pursuit of the regime's religious ideals. President Karzai released Qalamudin from prison in 2004, and the former Taliban minister is now a strong presidential supporter. He has even reconciled himself to the presence of Coalition forces in the county, saying that they are the only means of staving off civil war.

The Taliban still in the field are not sanguine about their former comrades "selling out" to the regime, which is of course the point of the program. The diehards will never reconcile with the system, they will fight it to the end. But if you ban everyone from the former regime from participating in the political process, those who might make peace are forced into the ranks of the irreconcilables. We have seen similar reconciliation processes in post-Junta Argentina, and post-Apartheid South Africa, where retribution was discarded in favor of compromise and stability. We saw it at home as well — many U.S. politicians from the south in the late 19th century had borne arms against the federal government in their youth.

Perhaps there are limits when dealing with people like Qalamudin, who still points with pride to some of the actions he took as the Taliban's chief inquisitioner. However, allowing him to run was a choice made by the legitimately constituted authority in the country, and something we will have to live with. I hope few voters in Longar Province wanted a return to Qalamudin's "tough love" approach and he will remain a private citizen. I think the Afghan people have outgrown the stage where they want to get stoned.

National Review Online ~ James S. Robbins ** An Election Not to Be Ignored

Posted by uhyw at 1:27 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2005 1:59 AM EDT
Monday, September 12, 2005
Political correctness kills
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns

The BIGGEST threat to this country is from our own home grown liberals. They are far more dangerous than ANY other enemy this country has ever faced!

Forty six million dead babies can't be wrong.

Political correctness kills

The most deadly threat faced by the United States is not killer hurricanes. It is not even the jihadists who want to harm us with the best weapons petrodollars can buy. Our worst threat comes from within, as is nearly always the case when a nation or a person accumulates extraordinary wealth and power, and is therefore able to practice folly on the grandest scale.

Michael Barone has some astonishing facts in his current US News & World Report column:

--- "A team of Indiana firefighters, volunteering to help rescue victims of Katrina, went to Atlanta, where Federal Emergency Management Agency staffers told them that their job was to hand out fliers and that their first task was to attend a multi-hour course on sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity."

--- "This is, astoundingly, standard operating procedure at FEMA. And in other parts of the federal government."

--- "Former CIA agent Robert Baer writes in his recent book how in Central Asia he asked headquarters to send someone who spoke Afghan languages, and Langley offered to send a four-member sexual harassment team instead."

Sexual harassment has now turned into a ball and chain for our military, our police, and even for the rescuers in New Orleans. Looney-tunes Political Correctness is not the only culprit in the Hurricane Katrina response, but it looks like one of the biggest.

It's been killing us for years.

PC made 9/11 possible. I'm sorry, but it's true. Political Correctness made it a venal sin to raise the alarm when Mohammed Atta was identified as the likely leader of a murderous Al Qaeda cell in 1999, two years before 9/11. This was six years after the 1993 attempt to blow up the Twin Towers the first time around.

PC erected Jamie Gorelick's infamous legal Wall between the FBI, CIA and DOD, so that Mohammed Atta, identified by the Able Danger group, had to be erased from the record. You see, he was in the country legally, and the Department of Defense is not supposed to engage in domestic law enforcement. It was PC that blinded us to the hijackers who killed 3,000 innocent people four years ago.

PC kept CNN from showing the death jumpers from the burning Twin Towers, for fear of enraging the American people and making them feel angry at Muslims. But just a few days ago, Political Correctness made in necessary for CNN to get a court order allowing it to televise the bloated bodies of the children and elderly African Americans who drowned in New Orleans. To teach the American people a lesson, in living color.

PC made Hazel O'Leary prohibit color-coded security badges at the Energy Department during the Clinton years, because NOBODY should ever have a better color badge than anybody else. The Energy Department is in charge of our nuclear weapons labs, like Los Alamos, where security became a bad joke when PC took over. Hazel O'Leary should have become a laughing stock, but she is probably thriving somewhere, spreading the virus.

While the Energy Department couldn't protect our nuclear secrets because of PC, Political Correctness made it just fine to sell national security secrets to China. After all, it would be racist to discriminate against China, and they deserve missiles that work just as well as American missiles.

PC made the Clinton Administration treat Osama Bin Laden with great regard for his civil rights. So in spite of multiple offers from the Sudan, the Clintonites could never decide what to do with Osama on a platter.

PC has kept the liberal media from telling the truth about all the ills that the Left has inflicted on us with for decades, from the lies about heterosexual AIDS thirty years ago to the breakdown of the Black family under the tender mercies of the welfare state.

The problem is that lies kill, and Politically Correct lies are practically tailor-made to kill. If the voters of New Orleans had not been lied to year after year, they would have demanded that money be spent on levees. It's not that they lacked the will to live. They were just the latest victims of Politically Correct lies --- by the media, by the educrats of a disastrous school system, and yes, by all the Mayor Nagins and all the Governor Blancos, all the Clintons and the Carters. All the folks who don't think that telling the truth matters a lot.

When people have been suckered long enough, they start to think the truth-tellers are out to kill them. A lot of Black people in this country are convinced that George Bush hates Black people, and that he somehow made those levees fail. Go ask Condi Rice about that.

Bush's disregard for PC might be the biggest reason why the Left hates him so ferociously. He just doesn't believe it. Neither do most of the American people.

Hurricane Katrina will not be the last great threat in the life of this country. If disaster comes knocking at your door, just forget Political Correctness. The life you save may be your own.

The American Thinker ~ James Lewis ** Political correctness kills

Posted by uhyw at 3:55 PM EDT
Federal response to New Orleans was 'faster' than after Hugo and Andrew
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns

No shame

The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed

It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.

"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.

Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.

I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:

More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.

The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.

Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.

Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:

"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.

"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

"You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.

"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."

"You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere," van Steenwyk said.

Guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Guardsmen driving down from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can't be on the scene immediately.

Relief efforts must be planned. Other than prepositioning supplies near the area likely to be afflicted (which was done quite efficiently), this cannot be done until the hurricane has struck and a damage assessment can be made. There must be a route reconnaissance to determine if roads are open, and bridges along the way can bear the weight of heavily laden trucks.

And federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.

Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.

The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.

A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ~ Jack Kelly ** No shame

Posted by uhyw at 1:15 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 12, 2005 3:07 PM EDT
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Left-wing libtard venom exceeds Katrina's fury
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns

Left-wing venom exceeds Katrina's fury

By Salim Mansur

Hurricane Katrina was not quite the Asian tsunami from last December, yet the wreckage left behind where she landed in Louisiana and Mississippi was a reminder of how brittle the human condition is when nature unleashes its fury.

We forget -- perhaps forgetfulness saves us our sanity -- how fragile is our civility, which can readily snap when a mighty storm blows.

It snapped, just as the winds and water breached the levees protecting New Orleans, revealing for a brief passing moment the lurking beasts of looters and rapists beneath our tamed skins.

I was reminded of Shakespeare's Lear, the king unhinged by grief and exposed to the storm around him, who rages, "unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art."

Katrina exposed the human fragility of those in her path. But it also exposed the shamelessly crass politics of those who, form a safe distance, insisted on faulting someone, anyone, for nature's rage.

Katrina had barely made landfall when Robert Kennedy Jr., (a Democrat) launched the blame game by accusing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (a Republican) of responsibility, since he opposed the Kyoto Protocol and thereby contributed to global warming that caused the hurricane.

In recent American politics, the lib-left's venom exceeds Katrina's fury. It was unleashed against President George Bush for deliberately failing to provide New Orleans' citizens, mostly black and poor, with federal resources to move to shelter ahead of the hurricane.

Al Sharpton, the race-baiting Democrat from New York City, rose to his reputation as he slammed Bush on MSNBC: "I feel that, if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lot quicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner."

Race and resentment lurk beneath the skin of American society for political charlatans to exploit in disregard of facts and circumstances. Katrina's wreckage was plainly evident, but the hyperbole of race-baiters exploiting the agony of victims exceeded even the boundaries of broken civility.

Randall Robinson, former president of Transafrica, reported in The Huffington Post online that "black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive." He apparently did not reflect on his words and ask why only "black victims" would turn to cannibalism.

Resentment's toxin has so corrupted people who think like Robinson that they readily spit upon the weakest victims just to score points against Bush. When his statement could not be verified, he posted a retraction but no apology.

Since the 2000 cliffhanger presidential election, lib-left partisans in American politics have steadily gone berserk in their hatred for Bush.

There is no fury in politics like the spitefulness of sore losers. Republicans have won seven of the last 10 presidential elections, control both Houses of the U.S. Congress, and will soon have a commanding majority in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The mainstream left-leaning media have also contributedto the Democrats' disorder -- Dan Rather of CBS News, for instance, using documents about Bush's war record that turned out to have been forged (he apologized) -- making the party one that serious Americans are reluctant to take seriously.

While Katrina's fury was elemental, the Democrats seem increasingly unhinged by the politics of race and resentment. America's Gulf coast will certainly recover from Katrina. The same cannot be said of the once-formidable party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy recovering soon from the lunacy of those who have made it a frat house of juvenile mudslingers.

LOL, When the baby throws a tantrum, it's best to let him VENT, until he falls asleep in his crib.

Toronto Sun ~ Salim Mansur ** Left-wing venom exceeds Katrina's fury

Posted by uhyw at 1:25 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2005 1:41 AM EDT
Friday, September 9, 2005
Ill wind may not blow to the Whitehouse
Mood:  bright
Topic: Columns

Note: Complete article at ireland.com for subscribers only

Ill wind may not blow to the Whitehouse

Newton Emerson is in great form at the Irish Times.
It deserves a much wider play on the Internet.
It's a rhetorical gem.

By Newton Emerson

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush's presidency. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnist are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should be held responsible for the terrible poverty in the southern states revealed by the flooding.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody holds Bill Clinton responsible for making Mississippi the poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as president, or for making Arkansas the second-poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as governor. Otherwise, people might suspect that it is a bit more complicated than that.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should not be concerned by accusations of racism against the federal government.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody remembers that Jesse Jackson once called New York "Hymietown" and everybody thinks Condoleezza Rice went shopping for shoes when the hurricane struck because she cannot stand black people.

Otherwise sensible Americans of all races will be more concerned by trite, cynical and dangerous political opportunism.

As the full horror of that sinks in, this columnist is simply glad that everybody cares.

Slugger O'Toole Blog / The Irish Times ~ Newton Emerson ** Ill wind may not blow to the Whitehouse

Posted by uhyw at 11:09 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 9, 2005 11:35 PM EDT
Thursday, September 1, 2005
The War Among the Democrats
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns


The War Among the Democrats

And a dove shall lead them?

On August 16, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of the failed vice presidential candidate, sent out an email. She urged recipients to sign an online petition in support of Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved mother of a 24-year-old soldier who was killed in Iraq last year. Since August 6, Sheehan has been camped outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding to meet with the president to discuss American withdrawal from the Middle East. Democrats, Edwards wrote, should support "Cindy's right to be heard." Democrats, she continued, should "listen to Cindy."

Two days after Edwards's email, in an appearance at a "listening session" in Marquette, Wisconsin, Democratic senator Russell Feingold announced his "target date"--December 31, 2006--for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. "I am putting a vision of when this ends on the table in the hope that we can get the focus back on our top priority," Feingold said, "and that is keeping America and the American people safe." Three days later, in an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Feingold offered his analysis of the current political scene: "The Democrats are making the same mistake they made in 2002," he said, "to let the administration intimidate them into not opposing this war."

At first blush, Feingold's attempt at revisionism seems a doozy--it's well understood, if not universally agreed, that Democrats lost in 2002, and again in 2004, because of the public's perception that they were weak on national security. Besides which: Feingold is himself proof--along with Sheehan, Edwards, and a whole host of others--that no one is being "intimidated" into silence. Quite the opposite, in fact.

And yet Feingold should not be dismissed. He is just the latest sign that the antiwar wing of the Democratic party is resurgent, that the fault line that appeared between the party's hawks and doves in 2002 still has not been bridged, and that a growing divide between leadership and committed supporters threatens to bring the whole Democratic edifice tumbling down.

Some Democrats, of course, have been adamantly antiwar since the vote to authorize force against Iraq in October 2002. But the terms of the debate within the party are changing. During the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, the central argument was over whether the Iraq war was justified in the first place. Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman both said it was, Howard Dean said it wasn't, and John Kerry said . . . well, he said something in between.

Today, though, the central argument is over how soon American forces should leave Iraq, and whether the United States should set a schedule for withdrawal. On one side are former presidential candidate General Wesley Clark ("It would . . . be a mistake to pull out now, or to start pulling out or to set a date certain for pulling out") and some of the party's most prominent senators, including minority leader Harry Reid ("A timeline . . . only empowers those who don't want us there"), Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Joe Biden ("A deadline for pulling out . . . will only encourage our enemies to wait us out"), Hillary Clinton ("I don't think we should be setting a deadline"), Indiana's Evan Bayh ("To cut and run at this juncture would be a terrible mistake"), and Lieberman ("The coalition should not create an arbitrary timetable to withdraw forces from Iraq"). There is also former president Bill Clinton, who is perhaps still the most important politician in the Democratic party, and who as recently as August 11 told CNN that, "whether it was a mistake or not, we are where we are, and we ought to try to make this strategy succeed."

On the other side, there is Feingold, Elizabeth Edwards (and presumably her husband John), Sen. Edward Kennedy ("America's goal should be to complete our military withdrawal as early as possible in 2006"), 122 members of the House Democratic Caucus, former Colorado senator and Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart--and an enormous, angry army of liberal bloggers, pundits, and activists.

Last week, for example, liberal blogger Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which he argued that mainstream Democrats should "have the courage to break ranks" and support "a gradual, phased withdrawal" with "specified interim goals" and "a hard end-date two years from now." "Being the first liberal hawk to seriously propose such a solution would also carry some rewards," Drum went on. "The antiwar left would finally have someone to rally around, and the Bush administration would finally have some serious competition."

The question is whether Democratic leaders should want to be the rallying point for the antiwar left. Sheehan, the movement's standard-bearer, has said that George W. Bush is the "biggest terrorist in the world," that Osama bin Laden is "allegedly" behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and that American troops should withdraw from Afghanistan as well as Iraq. These are commonplace ideas among many members of the "antiwar left." But they are far from the center of American gravity.

"There are no prevailing institutions" in the Democratic party, a prominent centrist told me last week. "So the blogosphere is filling that vacancy."

Antiwar bloggers were central not only to Sheehan's Crawford protest, but also to antiwar Iraq veteran Paul Hackett's campaign this summer for an Ohio House seat. Yes, Hackett--who livened up campaign appearances by calling Bush a "chickenhawk" and a "sonofabitch"--ended up losing. But he lost by a small margin, 48 to 52 percent, and was the first Democrat in decades to get over 40 percent of the vote in his state's second congressional district. Liberal bloggers, desperate for a win, quickly claimed Hackett's loss as a victory. They want him to run for the Senate in 2006.

The most influential liberal blogger is arguably the Democratic political consultant Markos Moulitsas, who runs www.dailykos.com. Last week Moulitsas declared open war on the liberal hawks in charge of his party. In a post entitled "The calm before the storm," he wrote that the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group that supports the war, is

an aider and abettor of Right-wing smear attacks against Democrats. They make the same arguments, use the same language, and revel in their attacks on those elements of the Democratic party that seem to cause them no small embarrassment.

Two more weeks, folks, before we take them on, head on.

No calls for a truce will be brooked. The DLC has used those pauses in the past to bide their time between offensives. Appeals to party unity will fall on deaf ears . . .

We need to make the DLC radioactive. And we will. With everyone's help, we really can.

Stay tuned.

Moulitsas's threat was greeted with some befuddlement, and more than a few laughs. Charles Johnson, who blogs at littlegreenfootballs.com, is running a "Daily Kos Master Plan Countdown," and has produced several widely circulated (in blogosphere terms) Photoshopped images of Moulitsas's face superimposed on Dr. Evil's body (see above). There's a sense that the liberal bloggers may be taking themselves too seriously.

But there is also a sense that Moulitsas has been steadily accumulating opposition research on prominent New Democrats, and will make that research available in September. Who knows what that oppo may turn out to be, or whether it will succeed in making the DLC "radioactive." What is certain is that September will likely prove a crucial month for the Democrats.

That's because there will be plenty of opportunities to expose the party's divisions. In September, Congress plans to take up the defense authorization bill, which includes funding for the war, thus providing antiwar politicians with the chance to propose various amendments including, presumably, timetables for withdrawal. In September the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to hold a series of hearings on Iraq. Let's see what the Democratic members of the committee, including Biden, Kerry, and Barbara Boxer, have to say. And in September, Cindy Sheehan will likely take part in a war protest in Washington organized by the groups United for Peace and Justice and the International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition. Which Democratic politicians or candidates will appear alongside her?

"If Bush doesn't get his act together, the Democrats benefit without saying anything," a Republican strategist told me last week. Most Democrats understand this. They have been content to let the headlines from Iraq speak for themselves. But that silence has also opened up a space for activists to scream and holler and grab front-page headlines.

It's a perilous moment. If pro-war Democrats do nothing, timetables and target-dates for withdrawal may soon become synonymous with American liberalism. Party leaders may be persuaded to follow Feingold's lead. And the Democrats' transformation into the antiwar party, in a post-9/11 world, will be complete.

Weekly Standard ~ Matthew Continetti ** The War Among the Democrats

Posted by uhyw at 1:19 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2005 1:50 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Former Dem: ''Dude, Who Stole My Party?''
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns

A former Dem wrote this piece talking about the splintering of the Democratic party and the flight of the conservative and moderate Dems.

Dude, Who Stole My Party?

I have a confession to make. It should be made public now, before Dan Rather and the 60 Minutes Team shows up at my door with documents about my past that, although forged, are still accurate. I admit, now and publicly, that I was a Democrat, for more years than I should have been.

I was born just after World War II ended, so I am in the front line of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation. Growing up Catholic in Chicago, of Irish and German heritage, I was of course brought up to be a Daley Democrat. The most powerful person in my neighborhood wasn't the Mayor, Governor, or President. Neither was the Alderman, Senator or Congressional Representative. Not even the Parish Priest was the most powerful or influential person to my family and all the others in my near North neighborhood. No, the person most recognized as a person of authority and influence was the ward heeler, our Democratic Precinct Captain.

Have a streetlight out? Need a job for your brother-in-law, so he and your sister can move out of your attic? Garbage pickup missed your house? Local bully picking on your child? Son needs a recommendation to get into a Union Trade School? All of these problems, and more, were within the purview of the Precinct Captain. He had the ‘clout’ (a Chicago word often misused and misunderstood by persons without a Chicago background) to get things done for you. Your only responsibility was to turn out and vote on every Election Day, and be sure to vote correctly.

Actually, there were three political parties in Chicago back in the forties, fifties and early to mid sixties. You could belong to the Conservative Democrats, Moderate or Centrist Democrats, or Liberal Democrats. I don’t think I heard anything about the Republican Party until I entered High School. Local politicking was fun, because there were so many cat fights between the three Democratic Parties. However, when it came to election time, the votes went to the Democratic candidate for whatever office was being contested, whether he or she was a Liberal, Moderate or Conservative. Accommodation, compromise and reality checks with the actual voters eventually arrived at platforms and candidates that were acceptable to all views within the Chicago Democratic Party.

I was very comfortable while a Democrat, because I could maintain my liberal inclination on social issues, moderate views on fiscal policies, and conservative views on crime, defense and foreign policy. The Democratic Party of my youth and early adulthood was a three winged bird, and had diversity in its makeup long before diversity became just another buzzword. But shortly after the mid sixties, a terrible event occurred that has repercussions that are felt today. Sometime during this period, SOMEONE STOLE MY DEMOCRATIC PARTY!

I don’t know if it was a plot engineered by Gene McCarthy, George McGovern, Ed Muskie and the Massachusetts wing of Liberals Gone Wild; but suddenly, the Democrats became an exclusively Liberal Club with a progressive and secular agenda, rather than a representative Political Party. My own doubts began with the Democratic led opposition to the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. It was Republican support that enabled these important bills to pass. This was followed by the withdrawal of support for American troops by the Democrats in the late sixties. I then began to evaluate the direction the party was going. After involving America in a war in which I lost friends, the Democratic Administration's lack of a win strategy, and subsequent actions by the Democratic Congress to insure the defeat of South Vietnam while disparaging our military, gave me reason to question the new attitude of the Democratic Party. And this began while a Democrat held the presidency. While Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement certainly had an impact, the change was too rapid for the dramatic shift to the Left to be the result of only those two issues. I'm not sure what other forces drove this turn to the far left, but suddenly, I was disenfranchised from the party in which I was raised. The divorce became final when the Democrats adopted the unrestricted abortion on demand plank in their official platform.

Rapid though this change was, it was not apparent to the media (or at least not reported on) until the unexpected first Reagan election, and his subsequent landslide re-election. The phenomenon of the Reagan Democrat seems to have been a surprise to many, but it shouldn't have. Not since Lyndon Johnson had there been a Democratic candidate for the Presidency who could balance Liberal, Moderate and Conservative tendencies within the Democratic electorate. The swing to radical liberal stances on all issues had become entrenched by 1980. As I recall, that was when the term “knee jerk liberal” came into vogue. The only successful Democratic candidate for President since 1980 was Bill Clinton, and he rode the moderate or centrist vote, never voicing any opinion that might be considered too liberal. Clinton never took a stand on anything without first checking with focus groups and conducting numerous polls.

Lets fast forward to 2004. Why are Zell Miller and Ed Koch considered such oddities? That a Democrat would abandon his Party's Presidential candidate, and support a Conservative Republican (although many Conservatives would say GWB is not a Conservative) should not be a surprise. Like me, Senator Miller and Mayor Koch both came from a Democratic Party that had three wings, so they could work to incorporate the views they held on specific issues, while remaining among the Party faithful. However, like me, Zell and Ed did not abandon the Democrats. The Democrats abandoned us, verbally burning us at the stake for not towing the party line. When the shift to the left became the only acceptable view within the Democratic Party, our own Party disinherited both moderates and conservatives. The most prominent person of the last quarter of a century to travel this route was President Reagan himself. A Democrat when he arrived in Hollywood, and still a Democrat when he was President of the Screen Actors Guild, he became Governor of California as a Republican. When asked why he left the Democratic Party, he replied that he had not. Rather, he said, the Democrats had left him.

I am now a Registered Republican, since I seem to favor more Republican candidates then Democrats. I want to be part of both the Caucus system, and the Primary system here in Iowa, so I must choose between Democratic and Republican registration. However, I consider myself more of a Conservative Independent with a slight Libertarian bent, as I have not voted a straight ticket in any election since the Democrats left me with no way to express my beliefs. I wonder how Democrats like Henry (Scoop) Jackson and others of his mien would react to the new Democratic Party of howlers like Howard Dean, anti military propagandists like Dick Durban, and blame America first proponents like Ted Kennedy. Would they also switch to Republican, or perhaps Independent status? An interesting question, but one that I am not qualified to answer. What I do know is that the Republicans seem to have room for Moderates, Liberals and Conservatives, while the Democratic Party does not.

While a three winged bird may appear odd, it is still more likely to fly than a bird with only one wing. That may be why the Republicans have a brighter future than the Democrats.

Mens News Daily ~ Blog Wonks - Guest Commentary, Tom Glennon ** Dude, Who Stole My Party?

Posted by uhyw at 9:27 PM EDT
Sunday, August 7, 2005
Hollywood bucks down the drain as ACT falls apart
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Columns

George Soros and a motley crew of Hollywood entertainers, technology leftists and all the traditional Dem special interests used the umbrella group Amercia Coming Together to spend $ 200 million to elect John Kerry. They organized and ranted and blew money like it was water. They did manage to elect a Democrat to secretary of state in Missouri. Money well spent. Here is the kicker, ACT is broke but Kerry hung on to some of the money that he raised. Ask yourself why.

America Coming Together Comes Apart
The Democrats’ great hope goes away.

A few days after the 2004 election, America Coming Together, the giant pro-Democratic voter turnout group that had raised about $200 million from George Soros, Peter Lewis, and a variety of Hollywood moguls, released a list of its accomplishments. Obviously, ACT, as big as it was, had not put John Kerry over the top, but the group had "held conversations at 4.6 million doorsteps about the truth about the Iraq war, about the state of our healthcare system, about the economy." It had registered half-a-million new voters. In the last days of the campaign it had made 23 million phone calls, sent out 16 million pieces of mail, and delivered 11 million fliers. And on top of it all, it had "launched the largest get-out-the-vote effort the Democratic Party has ever seen," turning out "unprecedented levels of voters in the battleground states."

It all sounded very, very impressive. And then ACT listed its accomplishments at the polls, and the results seemed far less impressive. ACT had "helped ensure George W. Bush’s defeat in several of the key states and made the race close in others." It had "enabled Democrats to take back the Oregon state legislature for the first time in 10 years." It had helped Missouri Democrat Robin Carnahan win election as Missouri secretary of state. And finally, "In New Hampshire, we saw wins for the presidential race and the governor’s race, as well as a gain of four state senate seats."

And that was it. Soros and all his colleagues had spent $200 million to elect a Democratic secretary of state in Missouri.

The question that hung in the air at the time was whether, after such a defeat, the big donors would continue to support ACT — to get ready for the next big campaign — and help it grow into an even larger turnout machine. And now we have the answer: No.

On Tuesday ACT, which had already downsized dramatically in the months since the election, pink-slipped most of its remaining staff and shut down all its state offices. The money had dried up, the donors were on to other things, and the "largest get-out-the-vote effort the Democratic Party has ever seen" was over.

Throughout its life — it started when Ellen Malcolm of EMILY's List, Steve Rosenthal of the AFL-CIO, former Clinton operative Harold Ickes, and others held a downcast post-election dinner in November 2002 at a restaurant in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood — America Coming Together operated on the assumption that big, big money would bring victory to the Democratic party. The McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law had just taken effect after the 2002 elections, and it revealed in stark terms that Democrats, despite their image as the party of the little guy, had for years been far more dependent on seven-figure contributions than Republicans were. With unlimited contributions to the parties banned by McCain-Feingold, Malcolm, Rosenthal, Ickes, and their colleagues — the group included representatives of the Service Employees International Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Sierra Club, and several other groups on the left — had to find a way to keep the big Democratic donors engaged. America Coming Together — a so-called "527" group that could still legally accept big contributions — was the answer.

In July 2003, they traveled to Southampton, to the estate of George Soros, where Soros's political consultants made a pitch for spending large amounts of money on Democratic-voter turnout. Soros, his friend and giving partner Peter Lewis, and several others present agreed that it was a good idea, and the money began to flow. "We came out of that with a big commitment from George and Peter Lewis and some of the other participants," Ellen Malcolm told me when I interviewed her for my book, The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. "So all of a sudden this little idea..." Malcolm paused for a moment before saying, "We could do more."

A lot more. Soros, who would eventually give ACT $20 million of his own money, virtually dictated the size and scope of the new organization; he was personally responsible for its massive effort in all the swing states. "He’s very good at pushing out the limit," Malcolm told me before the election. "At one point, we thought we could only do seven or nine states. And George would come in and say, 'No, you can do this.' He helped us put together some other ways to raise money and pushed us into doing all the states. And he was right."

When rich Democrats across the country saw that Soros and Lewis had joined up with America Coming Together, they decided to hop on board, too. There was Hollywood producer Stephen Bing, who gave $12 million. There was Hyatt hotel heiress Linda Pritzker, whose family gave $5 million. And the Service Employees International Union, which gave $3 million. And Massachusetts technology entrepreneur Terry Ragon, who gave $3 million. And Texas technology executives Jonathan McHale and Christine Mattson, who together gave $3 million And the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which gave $2.1 million. And New York philanthropist Lewis Cullman, who gave $2 million. And Rockefeller heir Alida Messinger, who gave $1.5 million. And Agnes Varis, head of AgVar Chemicals, who gave $1.5 million. And Illinois broadcasting magnate Fred Eychaner, who gave $1.5 million. And Seattle tech entrepreneur Robert Glaser, who gave $1.2 million. And the Teamsters Union, which gave $1 million. And Colorado entrepreneur Tim Gill, who gave $1 million. And television producer Marcy Carsey, who gave $1 million. And Pennsylvania financier Theodore Aronson, who gave $1 million. And Oregon publisher Win McCormack, who gave $1 million. And heiress Anne Getty Earhart, who gave $1 million. And Texas technology entrepreneur James H. Clark, who gave $1 million. And the American Federation of Teachers, which gave $1 million. And Florida millionaire Dan Lewis, who gave $1 million. And Ohio philanthropist Richard Rosenthal, who gave $1 million. And clothing entrepreneur Susie Tompkins Buell, who gave $1 million.

And those were just the ones who contributed $1 million or more. In all, America Coming Together, along with its sister organization, the Media Fund, raised and spent about $200 million. And as Election Day approached, the organization gave off an air of confidence born of the belief that it was simply too big to fail.

In a way, it didn't fail. In 2004, America Coming Together helped create a record Democratic turnout — a performance that would have been a fabulous success had not the other guys turned out even more. In the end, though, the problem for ACT was not that it failed to turn out voters. The problem was, despite its claims to be reaching more people than ever before, it really did not reach a lot of new people. America Coming Together was not, in fact, America coming together; it might more accurately have been named Traditional Democratic Party Constituencies Coordinating Like Never Before. You could go to any office of ACT and find lots of people from NARAL, or the Service Employees union, or Planned Parenthood. They were the same old groups doing the same old thing, only more so.

Despite all the hype and all the press releases, the effort really wasn’t about converting new voters to the Democratic party. Rather, it was about squeezing just a little more juice out of a lemon that had been nearly squeezed dry in the past. Steve Rosenthal’s well-regarded successes in previous elections had not involved attracting large numbers of new people to the cause. They involved getting union voters to turn out in ever-greater percentages, even as the percentage of union households in the electorate shrank. The problem was, you could do that for only so long. At some point, every union member or union household member of voting age could turn out and it still wouldn’t be enough to elect a Democratic candidate. For that, you had to expand your appeal, and that was something ACT failed to do. Malcolm, Rosenthal, and Ickes discovered that you could call it America Coming Together, but saying so didn't make it true.

Byron York, NR's White House correspondent, is the author of the book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President — and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time. This piece is adapted from the book.

National Review ~ Byron York ** America Coming Together Comes Apart

Origional story at...
This Blog **** Libtard grassroots organization, Americans Coming Together... falls apart

Posted by uhyw at 5:28 AM EDT
Saturday, July 30, 2005
A Document Request for Senator Schumer
Mood:  bright
Topic: Columns

A Document Request for Senator Schumer

Turnabout is fair play.

SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER of New York has led the charge for Senate Democrats over the last several days in demanding the release of thousands of pages of highly confidential internal executive branch memos written by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts when he worked as a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration. These document requests are unprecedented in their nature and scope and call on the Bush administration to waive executive privilege and attorney-client privilege to a degree that no other administration has ever previously been asked to do.

Republicans are skeptical of the Schumer request and suspect the senator is on a fishing expedition to try to dig up something with which to oppose the hitherto unassailable Roberts nomination. Republicans have solid reason to suspect Schumer of this, since he was overheard saying on a cell phone that he was going to go to war against whoever the president nominated before Roberts was even nominated.

Evaluation of whether Schumer is or is not on a fishing expedition is impossible given the public record as it stands now. Accordingly, Senate Republicans and the administration should call on Senator Schumer to immediately release and make public all conversations and emails between the senator and his staff, between Schumer staffers and outside left-wing advocacy groups, and between Schumer staffers themselves relating to the Roberts nomination. Schumer should also be required to release phone records of all telephone and cell phone calls that were placed between his office and outside advocacy groups since the Roberts nomination.

It is critically important that these internal Schumer-office documents be made public to determine whether the senator's demand for the Roberts's solicitor general's office memos is a good faith demand based on a genuine concern about positions Roberts may have taken as an executive branch lawyer or whether the senator is on a fishing expedition, as his cell phone declaration of war leads many on the right to suspect. There is simply no way given the public record as it currently stands to determine whether Schumer's request even meets the threshold for deserving serious consideration.{/satire off}

IN MY EXPERIENCE as an executive branch staffer, I became persuaded that some senators and congressmen simply do not appreciate how intrusive and improper their document requests are in terms of the chilling effect they have on the internal deliberations of a co-equal branch of the government. I think that is the case here.

If Schumer is really committed to the cause of openness in government and of transparency, he will not hesitate to make available his internal office records as described above. If Schumer refuses to honor this request, then his opponents are entitled to reject the senator's request for the solicitor general's office documents on the grounds that he is applying a level of disclosure from executive branch officials that he is unwilling to live by himself.

Weekly Standard ~ Steven G. Calabresi ** A Document Request for Senator Schumer


Posted by uhyw at 12:15 AM EDT

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