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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
She Was For The War Before She Was Against It
Hillary Clinton is trying to convince Iowa voters that she signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, with no idea that President Bush would actually use military force:
Clinton was making her first campaign swing through this early nominating state, which twice voted for Bill Clinton for president. She met with key activists and held a raucous town hall meeting with 1,500 cheering backers and hundreds of journalists.
"I have said clearly and consistently for quite some time that I regret the way the president misused the authority," said Clinton. "He misled Congress and the country on what he was seeking and what he intended to do."
Uh, didn't you read the resolution you signed, Hillary?
SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.
Rush Limbaugh has commentary on the flip-flop - see here and here.
While I have your attention, check out this 2002 Hillary speech excerpt that appears in the second linked article (emphasis added):
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports showed that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al-Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September the 11th, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare.
Hillary herself links Saddam to al-Qaeda. So don't tell me that we had no reason to invade.
Rarely, says U.S. Naval War College professor Donald Stoker.
Of course, history is not without genuine insurgent successes. Fidel Castro’s victory in Cuba is probably the best known, and there was the IRA’s partial triumph in 1922, as well as Algeria’s defeat of the French between 1954 and 1962. But the list of failed insurgencies is longer: Malayan Communists, Greek Communists, Filipino Huks, Nicaraguan Contras, Communists in El Salvador, Che Guevara in Bolivia, the Boers in South Africa (twice), Savimbi in Angola, and Sindero Luminoso in Peru, to name just a few. If the current U.S. administration maintains its will, establishes security in Baghdad, and succeeds in building a functioning government and army, there is no reason that the Iraqi insurgency cannot be similarly destroyed, or at least reduced to the level of terrorist thugs.
Stoker blasts yet another hole in the tired Iraq-Vietnam analogy: Vietnam fell to a regular army, not to insurgents; the VietCong guerillas had already been "decimated" during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The history of the Soviets in Afghanistan isn't quite what we've been told, either:
Similar misunderstandings persist over the Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan, the other supposed example of guerrilla invincibility. But it was not the mujahidin’s strength that forced the Soviets to leave; it was the Soviet Union’s own economic and political weakness at home. In fact, the regime the Soviets established in Afghanistan was so formidable that it managed to survive for three years after the Red Army left.
The Education Intelligence Agency has a new feature, Video Intercepts. The February issue reports on the No Child Left Behind Act. It is currently on EIA's homepage, and can also be found on Google Video
The Bureau of Labor Statistics completed its annual task of quantifying the decline of the labor movement. There were actually 326,000 fewer union members nationwide in 2006 than in 2005, despite an increase of 2,348,000 working Americans.
According to BLS, there are fewer than 15.4 million union members, or 12.0 percent of the U.S. workforce. Union membership among private sector employees dropped to 7.4 percent, which the New York Times reports is the lowest percentage since the early 1900s. It bears noting, however, that BLS does not count the self-employed in these statistics, and virtually all of these must be non-union.
The Small Business Administration estimates there were 19.8 million self-employed individuals with no employees in 2005, although about 30 percent of these are "moonlighters," holding a second job in which they would be counted in the BLS statistics. Even so, that would add nearly 14 million more non-union working Americans to the total labor force, reducing the union private sector saturation rate to below 6.6 percent.
There are now 8 million private sector union members and 7.4 million public sector union members. At the current rate, there will be more government union members than private sector union members before the end of the decade.
At a town hall meeting in Des Moines, the state capital, on January 27, Clinton said: "I believe we"ve got to take a strong stand on limiting our dependence on foreign oil. And we have a perfect example here in Iowa about how it can work with all of the ethanol that's being produced here."
But as a Senator from New York, Clinton has voted at least 17 times against measures promoting ethanol production, the RNC noted.
During a question-and-answer session in 2004, Clinton was asked about "her outspoken opposition to legislation that would double the use of ethanol as a gasoline additive," the Des Moines Register reported at the time.
"She was momentarily stumped by a question as to why she opposed the ethanol mandate, but then said she was concerned that it would raise gasoline prices for her constituents."
Clinton reportedly said: "I have to look to first protecting and supporting the needs of the people I represent right now."
In 2002, Clinton even signed a letter that read in part: "There is no sound public policy reason for mandating the use of ethanol."
In his speech last Wednesday, Bush declared to a joint session of the U.S. Congress that "I congratulate the Democrat majority." Some Democrats were incensed he did not say "Democratic." The party's proper name is the Democratic Party.
Republicans for years have dropped the last two letters of the name as a slight to the party. Bush's prepared text of his speech had the proper pronunciation, but when he delivered it he made the mistake.
One would hope that he supports Bush's troop surge in Iraq, since he implemented a cop surge in New York City. But beating the bad guy is more about numbers - it's how those numbers are deployed:
Giuliani changed the primary mission of the police department to preventing crime from happening rather than merely responding to it once it had occurred. His police chief, William Bratton, reorganized the NYPD, emphasizing a street-crimes unit that moved around the city, flooding high-crime areas and getting guns off the street.
The Iraqi equivalent would be finding terrorist weapons caches and intercepting arms shipments from Iran and any other foreign suppliers.
Bratton also changed the department's scheduling. Crime was open for business 24 hours a day, but most detectives, including narcotics cops, had previously gone off duty at 5 pm, just as criminals were coming on duty. No more.
For some reason, and old George Carlin joke newscast pops into my head: "Off-duty police officer shot by on-duty criminal."
The department brought modern management techniques to its new mission. It began compiling a computerized database to track the city's crime patterns and the effectiveness of the NYPD's responses to them. That database, known as Compstat, helped police target their manpower where it was needed, and in due course it became a national model.
Translation: better intelligence.
The department drove authority down to its precinct captains and emphasized that it expected results from these top managers. Bratton replaced a third of the city's 76 precinct commanders within a few months. "If you were to manage a bank with 76 branches every day, you would get a profit-and-loss statement from the bank," explained Giuliani. "After a week or so, you would see branches that were going in the wrong direction, and then you would take management action to try to reverse the trend. That is precisely what is happening in the police department."
Read the whole thing. Especially if you live in New Orleans - I suspect that there are parallels between the John Lindsey/David Dinkins law enforcement strategies (or lack thereof) and what your crime-ridden city has been subjected to all these years.
The Blacksmith Institute has released a list of the world's ten worst polluted places. Click the link to each city to get a detailed report on the source of pollution. The breakdown: Russia (3), Ukraine (1), Kyrgystan (1), China (1), India (1), Peru (1), Zambia (1). Zero Western nations.
Five of them are legacies of the Soviet Union:
Chernobyl Ukraine "Type of pollutants: Uranium, Plutonium, Radioactive Iodine, Cesium-137, Strontium, and other metals." I think you all know the source.
Dzerzhinsk, Russia "Type of pollutants: Chemicals and toxic byproducts from Cold War-era chemical weapons manufacturing, including Sarin, VX gas, lewisite - the poisonous effect of which is owed to its arsenic trioxide content, yperite (mustard gas), prussic acid, phosgene, dioxins and other persistent organic chemicals. Lead, from an additives manufacturer, now closed."
Maiuu Suu, Kyrgyzstan "Type of pollutants: Radioactive uranium mine tailings. Gamma radiation from the dumps measures in between 100-600 micro-roentgens per hour. Heavy metals, and cyanides." The sources are "twenty-three tailing dumps and thirteen waste rock dumps scattered throughout Mailuu-Suu," products of the uranium mining operations there.
Norilsk, Russia "Type of pollutants: Air pollution - particulates including Strontium-90, Caesium-137, Sulfur dioxide, heavy metals (nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, selenium), particulates, nitrogen and carbon oxides, phenols, hydrogen sulfide." Here's portions of the site description: "An industrial city founded in 1935 as a slave labor camp...According to the Mines and Communities website the city is considered one of the most polluted places in Russia - where the snow is black, the air tastes of sulfur and the life expectancy for factory workers is 10 years below the Russian average. This city houses the world's largest heavy metals smelting complex, and over 4 million tons annually of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, selenium and zinc are dispersed into the air. Mining and smelting operation started in the 1930s, and is the worlds largest nickel producer."
I'm Senator Jim Webb, from Virginia, where this year we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown ? an event that marked the first step in the long journey that has made us the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth.
The Political Correctness crowd isn't too happy with that anniversary.
Let me simply say that we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious about improving education and healthcare for all Americans, and addressing such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New Orleans.
Got any plans for those three goals?
They're all complex matters, and I addressed two of them yesterday. As for the third...New Orleans has three major problems. One, Louisiana is a den of political corruption. Two, the city of New Orleans has a history of letting its private-sector crime get out of control. Three, the levees that protect New Orleans from flood also cause it to sink (and also do damage to the wetlands). The first two are a lot easier to solve than the third.
We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, and spurring a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs.
Has your party ever proposed anything along this line? Maybe Ted Kennedy could sponsor a bill to expand wind farm development - oh, wait...
The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared.
Sharing is a voluntary action. What you people propose is involuntary redistribution, which is a jobs program for bureaucrats more than anything else - the majority of the budget for welfare programs goes to overhead. Redistribution schemes only subtract from national wealth in the delusional utopian quest for "fairness."
Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world.
But per-capita GDP is higher than it's ever been - see the second update to yesterday's post. How does that jive with your claim?
Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas.
Maybe more factories would stay here if government-imposed costs of doing business were lower. Again, the GDP figures don't show any sign of crisis.
The House just passed a minimum wage increase, the first in ten years, and the Senate will soon follow.
That will send a few more jobs to India.
We've established a tone of cooperation and consensus that extends beyond party lines.
Wooing RINOS doesn't count.
With respect to foreign policy, this country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years.
I agree, but for different reasons. We should have learned the lesson that Rudy Giuliani taught as mayor of New York City: when the bad guys get out of hand, you mass law enforcement where the crime wave is worst. We have been too paranoid about collateral damage to fight a decent war. There war planners are even too spineless to risk damage to bystanders who are already dead. That error costs the lives of both soldiers and civilians - the longer the insurgents stay unmolested, the longer they stay in operation. We need to pulverize them NOW.
Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism...
Iraq IS part of the larger war against terrorism. Al-Qaeda is fighting to take over the country, and so are Shiite militias loyal to Iran and Syria, two nations that have sponsored terrorists who have attacked the US before. If we leave, whoever winds up destroying the current government will have a base of power to plan future attacks against the United States and our allies.
The war's costs to our nation have been staggering. Financially.
Wars cost. But we didn't start this war. Al-Qaeda did. The greater war against the United States began on June 6,1968, that fact cited by Stewart and Jay Manifold in this comments thread. Only surrender will stop the war, and our side must not be the one to surrender.
The damage to our reputation around the world.
I don't give a damn about our reputation among thugs and appeaseniks.
We need a new direction. Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos.
The sane alternative is "clobber the enemy more efficiently. But that's not on his agenda.
But an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.
Negotiate with whom? Rush Limbaugh put it best, recalling from memory a statement he maid on an NBC News commentary segment: You can't negotiate with someone who's starting point is our deaths. The Sunni and Shiite militias want more than Iraq. They want the death of infidel (non-Muslim) civilization. The Indians would have had it a lot worse if these guys were the ones to settle in Virginia 400 years ago. The Kurds would probably agree.
I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.
For another view of that slice of history, read this book.
Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.
What did Roosevelt do? You're not going to tell us?
As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War Two. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.
No, he brought a postponement. North Korea is a rogue nuclear power today, and is starving its citizens to keep a megalomaniac in power and to keep alive the hope of taking the entire peninsula someday.
And tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own -- as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker.
It's a privilege only if she's not a statist or an appeasenik.
A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy -- and that is what we have. We're now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs -- so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise.
Suck on that, Democrats.
First, we must balance the federal budget. (Applause.) We can do so without raising taxes. (Applause.)
Yes, it's possible. Newt Gingrich balanced the budget without raising taxes. Ronald Reagan got Congress to go along with policies that significantly lowered the deficits without raising taxes.
What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C.
Hearing Bush say that is like hearing Britney Spears complain about immodesty. Where have you been for the last six years, Mr. President?
Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour -- when not even C-SPAN is watching. (Laughter.) In 2005 alone, the number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. Even worse, over 90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate -- they are dropped into committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You didn't vote them into law. I didn't sign them into law. Yet, they're treated as if they have the force of law. The time has come to end this practice. So let us work together to reform the budget process, expose every earmark to the light of day and to a vote in Congress, and cut the number and cost of earmarks at least in half by the end of this session.
Best part of the domestic policy portion of the speech.
Blah blah blah fix Medicare and Medicaid -- and save Social Security.
All talk, no plans for how to fix these programs.
The real problem is that it distracts from what really needs fixing - the medicine and retirement planning. On the first issue...where third-party payers exist, medical costs soar - but where they don't (LASIK comes to mind), efficiencies of scale are achieved. The problem is exacerbated by heavy government regulation and predatory slip-and-fall trial lawyers. Reform must start by addressing these issues.
Social Security is a ripoff because the money is immediately spent instead of invested; one's benefits comes totally from the current generation that is paying into the system. In the best of worlds, the government would simply stay out of people's retirement decisions. The next best solution would be for government to replace Social Security with a requirement that people put a certain part of their paychecks into some sort of investment, just as auto owners are required to carry insurance. Current recipients would get a lump sum from the government, those proceeds taken from the sale of the vast tracts of land that the government owns.
Now the task is to build on the success, without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform. We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools...
Hey, if all this authority is being delegated away from Washington, why have a federal Department of Education? It's a jobs program for bureaucrats that adds nothing to the value of schooling. Kill it. Now. You want to balance the budget? There's a place to start.
We need to expand Health Savings Accounts.
I don't want a Health Savings Account, ever. I want a general savings account. I don't know if I'll need that money next year for my prostate or my Ford Ranger. I don't want my liquid assets to be put in a bunch of Rube Goldberg machinery. I want things simple. And I want to keep more of my money on April 15.
Blah blah secure our border blah blah
Ignore the symptoms and get to the root of the illness. We have a border problem because Mexico is a corrupt hellhole where markets can't thrive. We've got to use every diplomatic means to get Mexico to change its political culture, to embrace the economic freedom that thrives in the Anglosphere and places like Hong Kong and Estonia.
We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power.
Solar and wind are tertiary power sources at best - they can't generate as much power as coal, oil, and nuclear. I suggest you push the nuclear. We need a standardized plant design to bring construction costs down. Having a few MOX plants that run on recycled waste will vastly reduce our waste stockpiles and will thus benefit the environment. Pebble bed reactors show great promise as plants that are both safer and less costly. We have ageing coal plants that will eventually need to be replaced with something. Wind farms won't cut it.
Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years.
Hey, replacing coal plants with nuclear reactors will do more to curb atmospheric pollution than driving hybrids.
Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them.
Yes, always take into account the body count that didn't happen.
Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country.
What every terrorist fears most is human freedom...
Yes, they're control freaks, but that's only half of it. They resent that the West is powerful and that most of the Islamic world isn't. The only Islamic nations that can lay claim to greatness - as megalomaniacs define greatness - are Turkey (currently the world's 17th largest economy), Indonesia (4th most populous nation, 15th largest economy), and Pakistan (has nukes). They want Islam to be not only powerful and prosperous, but the most powerful and prosperous. We insult them by outranking them in those arenas, so we must be taken down. And they want former Islamic territory in Europe (and especially in the Middle East) to return to Muslim hands.
In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. (Applause.) We didn't drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq [emphasis added]
The second-best part of the speech.
Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America.
And it probably involved a lot less red tape than building a hospital in the United States.
There were two important lines about Iraq that Speaker Pelosi (along with many her Democratic colleagues) declined to applaud at all. One was the president's call for us to "find our resolve, and turn events toward victory." The other was his statement that "nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East [and] to succeed in Iraq."
Update: Regarding my comment about "great" nations - yes, I know that Turkey and Pakistan have lousy per capita GNP figures - on that score they rank 75th and 125th, respectively. But remember my qualifier - as megalomaniacs define greatness. Such people care about their own prosperity first; the government ranks second, and citizens are in all ways expendable. Free markets produce the wealthiest individuals and the wealthiest governments, but not the wealthiest heads of state.
Update: At the Instant Bark chatroom, Azygos pointed out that the "x number of jobs created" claim is "a scam perpetrated by both parties." It's a figure that includes both full and part time work, and isn't all that useful as an economic indicator. As implied in the previous update, the starting point for measuring individual prosperity is per capita income. So how has that statistic fared since 9/11? Going straight to Department of Commerce data, here are the figures from 1999 forward (adjusted for 2005 dollars):
Over that time frame, the US population rose by 17 million. Over half that number would be working age - 2006 estimate has the 15–64 year bracket at 67.2% of total population.
The data says this: 9/11 (and the dot-com crash) did little to disrupt per-capita income, which means it did little to disrupt job creation. In fact, as of 2005 US citizens are better off than they were under Clinton, or any other previous administration.
One of Libby's assertions is that, “I didn't lie to anybody, I just forgot what I had said and what and when. There were a lot of things far more important than this that were going on,” so he wanted to bring in a memory expert, and the judge said no. Why would the judge allow some people on the jury who have admitted their dislike for the administration when that could clearly influence their thinking? Why would the judge prevent the defense from revealing that Valerie Plame was not an undercover agent? In fact, more precisely, why would he not allow the defense to question her status at the CIA? Yet, Fitzgerald is free to talk about the war in Iraq. But the defense can't bring up Valerie Plame. I don't know that this is political on the part of this judge; I don't know the judge. I don't know him that well. You know, when you think of -- and we all do -- when you think of trials and the legal system, we think "fair." This doesn't seem fair. Now I sound like a whiny lib, but the judicial system is something else entirely.
That Valerie Plame can't be discussed is outrageous. She is the centerpiece of the trial; there is no legitimate case against Libby if she wasn't a covert op. And she wasn't - even Joe Wilson says so. Libby is getting railroaded.
"Anyone who has watched her remarkable trajectory can have no doubt that she'll do whatever it takes to win the presidency. I wish she felt the same way about the war," Liz Cheney, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said in an opinion article in The Washington Post.
"I suppose Hillary Clinton's announcement was a sign of progress. In 2007, a woman can run for president and show the same level of courage and conviction about this war of her male colleagues have," Cheney wrote. "Steel in the spine? Not so much."
Currently there is a diary near the top of the recent diary list that attacks Hillary Clinton for a supposed bigoted comment. The sources the diarist cites are not credible, to say the least, and are more correctly described as right wing websites.
I will not link to this diary as 1) I expect it to be deleted by diarist soon, and 2) I will not spread such filth any further.
But this does raise an opportunity to discuss the First Rule of the Primary Wars. It is expected that there will be diaries criticial of any and all candidates during this time. No one can complain about that. Indeed, your candidate will not be our nominee unless he or she can survive our scruntiny. But, when writing such diaries critical of a candidate, you may not now or ever use source material that emanates from the right wing or Republicans to support your criticisms or attacks.
If your source is NewsMax, delete the diary.
If your source is Insight, delete the diary.
If your source is Drudge, delete the diary.
If your source is Free Republic, consider suicide.
Daily Kos will not be used as a Right Wing echo chamber, for they already have enough echo chambers of their own.
There's an easy way for Kos diarists to get around the mandate - what's on those four sites is bound to be elsewhere. All Free Report stories originate elsewhere, as do virtually all of Drudge's and most of NewsMax's.
And, as this commenter notes, no mention of LGF. A Kos commenter notes that Instapundit and Redstates were also left off the enemies list. They get their material from other sources, too. Unless Markos Zuniga invents a computer virus that allows him to monitor the surfing habits of his diarists, they're free to get material from the "right wing echo chamber" all they want, as long as they cite the echo chamber's news sources (other than Insight).
Of course, left-wing echo chamber material is fair game.
One of the Democrats who extolled an increase in the minimum wage reminded listeners that these workers "had not gotten a raise in 12 years." Well, that's misleading. It makes it seem that hundreds of thousands of workers have been toiling away at $5.15 an hour for more than a decade. Not so. Again, the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] reports that 63 percent of minimum wage workers receive a raise after the first year of employment. Only 15 percent are still receiving the lowest wage after three years on the job.
The BLS also found that part-time workers are far more likely to be paid minimum wage than full-time employees. Only 1.2 percent of full-time, year-round employees earned $5.15 an hour or less in 2005.
I've gone through Andrew Sullivan's archives for December and January (doing a word search on "Malkin," the name of one of the awards), and I can't find an announcement for the 2006 Daily Dish Awards. I emailed him and didn't get a reply. Anyone know what's up? Is he putting the announcement in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnalls' porch or someing?
It's interesting that people who complain about CEOs making too much money hardly ever complain about the fact that government welfare programs typically spend well over half their budgets on overhead.
Over at the Instant Bark chatroom, Loyal Citizen Darth Bacon (aka TripleNeck) linked this Steve Sailer article on how mixing cultures together doesn't always produce the results desired by multiculturalism.
Getting multiple cultures to actually work together on something is hard, as the author's wife discovered. She tried to organize a park renovation in Uptown Chicago. The language barrier was just the beginning:
Getting Koreans, Russians, Mexicans, Nigerians, and Assyrians (Christian Iraqis) to agree on how to landscape a park is harder than fostering consensus among people who all grew up with the same mental picture of what a park should look like. For example, Russian women like to sunbathe. But most of the immigrant ladies from more southerly countries stick to the shade, since their cultures discriminate in favor of fairer-skinned women. So do you plant a lot of shade trees or not?
The high crime rate didn't help either. The affluent South Vietnamese merchants from the nearby Little Saigon district showed scant enthusiasm for sending their small children to play in a park that would also be used by large black kids from the local public-housing project.
Exotic inter-immigrant hatreds also got in the way. The Eritreans and Ethiopians are both slender, elegant-looking brown people with thin Arab noses, who appear identical to undiscerning American eyes. But their compatriots in the Horn of Africa were fighting a vicious war.
But that wasn't the worst of it:
Finally, most of the immigrants, with the possible exception of the Eritreans, came from countries where only a chump would trust neighbors he wasn't related to, much less count on the government for an even break.
This attitude has its advantages and disadvantages:
If the South Vietnamese, for example, had been less clannish and more ready to sacrifice for the national good in 1964-75, they wouldn't be so proficient at running family-owned restaurants on Argyle Street today. But they might still have their own country.
The article explains the relevance of trust to economics:
An important contribution to the scholarly revival came in Francis Fukuyama's 1995 book Trust: The Social Virtues & the Creation of Prosperity. Fukuyama raised the hot-potato issue that Americans, Northwestern Europeans, and Japanese tend to work together well to create huge corporations, while the companies of other advanced countries, such as Italy and Taiwan, can seldom grow beyond family firms. (As Luigi Barzini remarked in The Italians, only a fool would be a minority shareholder in Sicily, so nobody is one.) Fukuyama prudently ignored, though, the large swaths of the world that are low both in trust and technology, such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Note that Africa and Latin America tend to score exceptionally low on the Index of Economic Freedom. And like South Vietnam, they also tend to be politically unstable.
What can overcome this barrier? They key lies with one of the key characteristics of the Anglosphere and especially the United States:
Alexis de Tocqueville famously attributed much of America's success to its "forever forming associations. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types—religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America."
What this means is that any given individual seeks identity in multiple cultures. Work, family, and recreation aren't all self-contained in the same unit. Cultures learn to get along with each other when they are interdependent on each other for these pursuits.
Evangelical Christianity serves as an example of the success of private associations:
Another untold story is the beneficial effect on race relations of the growth of Christian fundamentalism. Among soldiers and college football players, for instance, co-operation between the races is up due to an increased emphasis on a common transracial identity as Christians. According to military correspondent Robert D. Kaplan of The Atlantic, "The rise of Christian evangelicalism had helped stop the indiscipline of the Vietnam-era Army." And that has helped build bridges among the races. Military sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler wrote in All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way, "Perhaps the most vivid example of the 'blackening' of enlisted culture is seen in religion. Black Pentecostal congregations have also begun to influence the style of worship in mainstream Protestant services in post chapels. Sunday worship in the Army finds both the congregation and the spirit of the service racially integrated."
The attitude comes naturally: We'll look out for him; he's one of us. Cross-cultural cooperation doesn't abandon the principle - it broadens the definition of "us."
The junior California senator delivers a low blow:
Boxer lit into Rice on Thursday with bitter diatribe during a heated line of questioning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee looking into Iraq policies. At one point, Boxer turned to the broad question of who pays the ultimate price for war. Rice has never married and has no children.
"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young," Boxer said. "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."
White House spokesindividual Tony Snow responds:
"I don't know if she was intentionally that tacky, but I do think it's outrageous. Here you got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn't have children, as if that means that she doesn't understand the concerns of parents. Great leap backward for feminism," Snow told FOX News Talk's Brian and The Judge.
Boxer spokesgal Natalie Ravitz releases this statement (emphasis added):
"I spoke the truth at the committee hearing, which is that neither Secretary Rice nor I have family members that will pay the price for this escalation. My point was to focus attention on our military families who continue to sacrifice because this Administration has not developed a political solution to the situation in Iraq."
A few thoughts come to mind:
The question of whether politicians have relatives going to Iraq is irrelevant to the merits of war policy.
Boxer's original statement referred to immediate family members, not family members in general. Rice might still have blood relatives of military age. (Would have to be cousins, since she was an only child.)
A Secretary of State, along with the President, VP, and Secretary of Defense, are emotionally invested in the outcome of a war like no one else in the nation. It's a very different kind of personal price, and it's very heavy.
An Iraqi citizen could apply her logic and tell Boxer that she has no family members at risk of slaughter at the hands of the Sunni or Shi'a militias, thus she pays no personal price if the war fails.
At least one prominent member of the Left refuses to side with CAIR. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) periodically gives out "certificate of accomplishment" to constituents who engage in worthy activites. She's under the spotlight now for rescinding one of them:
Sen. Barbara Boxer rescinded a certificate honoring a member of a Muslim advocacy group after his national organization was accused on conservative Web sites of supporting terrorism.
"We made a bad mistake not researching the organization," the California Democrat said. "My organization created this problem. I caused people grief, and I feel terrible. Yet I need to set the record straight, and I'm setting the record straight."
Basim Elkarra, executive director of the council's Sacramento chapter, received a certificate from Boxer's office in November "in recognition of (his) outstanding service." Elkarra said the award reflected his group's bridge-building efforts with Christians, Jews, minority groups and the FBI.
But Boxer's communication's director, Natalie Ravitz, sent a letter Dec. 21 withdrawing the certificate after the senator was criticized on conservative Web sites. Ravitz said that former members of the council had been sentenced to prison and that CAIR had refused to label Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.
Note that CAIR has a webpage with various condemnations of the 9/11 attacks. Somehow that organization forgot to mention al-Qaeda's pre-9/11 attacks - on US forces in Somalia, the first hit on the WTC, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole. No mention of al-Qaeda's attacks against non-US targets, either.
CAIR has not seen fit to put up such a page addressing terrorist activity on the part of entities other than al-Qaeda. Not even Hezbollah, which committed an act of war against the United States in 1983. Hamas has been at war with our ally Israel since its inception in 1987, and, like Hezbollah, is funded by Iran. (Only the common jihad against Israel can bring a Shi'ite nation and a Sunni terrorist outfit together.)
This absence is a significant PR blunder. American-Islamic relations are affected by more than just recent history, and by more than just stuff that happens to us. If CAIR really opposes all terrorism, it should have an easy-to-find mission statement that explicitly condemns - and names - every single Islamic terror organization. (Including the governments of Syria and Lebanon, BTW.) Instead, it gives the appearance of sweeping the issue under the rug.
CAIR does occasionally issue press releases condeming specific terror attacks. In Joel Mowbray's article on the Boxer-CAIR flap, he mentions one in particular:
While CAIR did condemn one specific attack committed by Hamas -- the particularly gruesome Netanya Passover massacre in March 2002 -- it pointedly omitted any reference to the terrorist organization. (Interestingly, CAIR's press release also avoided acknowledging that the bombing occurred in "Israel," writing instead that the attack happened in "the Middle East.")
And what about Hezbollah?
As for Hezbollah, CAIR has never condemned any of that organization's many terrorist attacks. During the month-long war last summer, CAIR issued at least eight condemnations of Israel and America -- but not one of Hezbollah.
The absence of an expressed condemnation doesn't prove anything, but direct questions do:
Given repeated opportunities to do so by outlets such as The Washington Post and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CAIR has flatly refused to denounce either. Asked point-blank by Newsweek just last month to condemn Hamas, CAIR Executive Director and cofounder Nihad Awad demurred, dismissing the question as "the game of the pro-Israel lobby."
Update: Link to the first cited news source was left out of the original post; this has been corrected.
It's at this site. I scored a 37, on a range of 0 (liberal) to 40 (conservative) - supposedly somewhere between Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan - see the graphic at the bottom of the quiz.
The score is not accurate, because some of the questions are flawed:
Question 2: Which do you trust more? This is actually five questions, one subquestion asking to choose between the executive and legislative branches. The answer will depend on who is staffing those branches. I picked the executive branch, and would have picked Dubya even if the GOP held Congress - he strikes me as less incompetent than the congressional Republicans. My answers over time:
Congress vs. Nixon - Congress by a nose (would be a tie without Watergate; both gave us bad domestic policy, both favored the Vietnam pullout)
Congress vs. Ford - Ford by a wide margin (Ford gave us the Helsinki Accords, tried to save Vietnam; Congress gave up on Vietnam)
Congress vs. Carter - tie (both gave us bad domestic policy; both clueless about foreign policy, especially reagrding incipient totalitarianism in Iran and Nicaragua
Congress vs. Reagan - Reagan by several parsecs (Reagan fought on the right side of the Cold War, fought for fiscal sobriety)
Congress vs. Bush 41 - Bush by a nose (moderates beat outright leftists any day)
Congress (Dem control) vs. Clinton - Congress (Congress rejected HillaryCare)
Congress (GOP control) vs. Clinton - Congress (Gingrich got some reforms early on; Republicans descended into incompetence after that, but stupid beats corrupt any day)
Congress (GOP control) vs. Bush 43 - tie (Bush spent like a Democrat, Congress let him)
Congress (Dem control) vs. Bush 43 - Bush (stupid beats corrupt any day)
Question 6: Which would do more to guarantee competitive elections? Choices are term limits and public financing. I don't approve of either, but the former will increase competitiveness once every four or six years when the incumbent is term-limited.
Question 8: 8. Do you see the ideal America as an ethnic "melting pot" in which religious, cultural and ethnic distinctions are blurred, or as a nation in which ethnically diverse groups ought to coexist while retaining their cultural identity? Actually, it's a mix of melting pot and multicultural society, not one or the other.
Question 11: In the long run, do you think we can reduce crime more by building more prisons or providing more financial assistance to rebuilding our inner cities? Selections are prisons, assistance, or both. The correct answer is neither. Increasing prisons does not increase deterrent, and crime is a moral and cultural phenomenon and not rooted in economic causes.
Watergate meant everything to the press and to Washington. The so-called third-rate burglary certainly threatened the DNC's internal security. The public scandal derailed Republican political power, as enough voters in 1976 would unfairly lump the GOP at large with the key Watergate figures. Many Silent Generation Democrats held a grudge against Nixon for what first thrust him into the national spotlight during his Congressional days - his critical role in the Alger Hiss case; Watergate was their ticket to sweet, savory revenge. A major scandal is any journalist's dream, and one going as far as the White House is like winning the lottery.
But were average Americans was all that traumatized by Watergate? The scandal was seen as something distant, an affair involving political operatives digging dirt on other political operatives. Except for the hearings constantly preempting the soap operas, Watergate didn't seem to make any real difference in everyday lives.
Gerald Ford was wrong. For most of us, Watergate was a long national nuisance.
I emailed the original draft of this post to fellow Boomers and fellow bloggers Beth Elliott and Jay Manifold, and asked for their responses. I also asked this:
I'm curious to know if Gerald Ford did anything good during his term. All I know about are one controversial event - the Nixon pardon - and two really bad moves - the idiotic assumptions behind the Whip Inflation Now campaign (debunked in the inflation chapter in Free to Choose), and the appointment of John Paul Stevens to SCOTUS.
Well, I suspect you're right. But follow down the years from the Silent Generation Democrats to those for whom the 1968 election was their first or second chance to vote. The year started with Gene McCarthy's bite out of LBJ in New Hampshire ... but did the young Democrats get "Clean Gene" or Bobby Kennedy into the White House? No--not even Hubert Humphrey, seen as a sell-out of his original Happy (Liberal) Warrior self for his loyalty to LBJ and the Vietnam War.
Then Nixon went and cleaned McGovern's clock in the 1972 election. We boomer young adults felt pretty much entitled to a victory for the presidential candidates of our choosing, and hated Nixon for destroying the illusion that we were the real Americans and could change the world. Ergo all the vilification of "Silent Majority" Americans as not only uptight, but clueless ... Compare, e.g., those calling Bush II "our worst president ever" while Dhimmi Carter is still living and kissing up to murderous dictators.
And don't forget our cultural revulsion at the squeaky-clean Nixon kids.
Meanwhile, I don't think people who shared our revulsion (and dismay!) really cared that much about Nixon either way. He wasn't a Ronald Reagan, who evoked either admiration or the same combination of political and cultural antipathy--amplified at least one order of magnitude with each victory (starting, don't forget, with his two terms as Governor of California).
But see the recently reprised theme of the 1968 episode of Tom Hanks' "From the Earth to the Moon": what people wanted was for things to stop being so sucky, for and end to the uproar and division. Ergo Ford's "Our long national nightmare is now over." The nightmare being radical venting, incl. demonstrations, being at full throttle. He brought the Nixon impeachment drama to resolution ... and continued with mediocre economic policies, which cleared the way for Carter's worse policies.
Don't know that I have a clever remark, but I think your thesis is right on.
Jay follows up with this:
Beth covered it, leaving me to answer the secondary inquiry of whether Ford did anything good (I note only that anybody who's read Caro's bio of LBJ wouldn't likely be impressed by any of the Nixon Admin's shenanigans, but see the more biographical works of Charles Colson for some perspective). I've got a couple of answers to the question of Ford's accomplishments, both based on the idea that there's a lot more continuity of policy across Administrations than their partisans care to admit:
Signed the Helsinki Accord. Carter's human-rights policy was largely a follow-on to this.
More fuzzily but also perhaps more importantly -- and yes, this is just my perception -- Ford set the stage for significantly more laissez-faire domestic policies.
I see JFK/LBJ/Nixon as being relatively more interventionist, which Ford began, even if just barely, to turn around. (The heavy lifting got done, like it or not, by Carter: lotsa dereg, a capital-gains tax cut, and the really big decision, which was the appointment of Paul Volcker to the Fed.) But Nixon and Ford were two very different species of Republican.
We'll never know what might have been if the KC convention in '76 had been able to somehow heal the rift between Ford's and Reagan's supporters, over 1/3 of each of whom vowed to vote for Carter if their man didn't get the nomination. I suspect, though, that it would have made less difference than some people like to think.
A final comment, which almost answers the first question ... consider, for a moment, the difference between the '72 and '76 elections: we went from choosing between a crook and an idiot to a race between a couple of the cleanest guys around, in one Presidential election cycle. That generation we loved to hate knew how to turn things around after all.
According to the Cold War scholar John Lewis Gaddis in his book "The Cold War: A New History" (2005), "[Leonid] Brezhnev had looked forward, [Anatoly] Dobrynin recalls, to the 'publicity he would gain... when the Soviet public learned of the final settlement of the postwar boundaries for which they had sacrificed so much'... '[Instead, the Helsinki Accords] gradually became a manifesto of the dissident and liberal movement'... What this meant was that the people who lived under these systems - at least the more courageous - could claim official permission to say what they thought."
A first step toward ending many long national nightmares in Eastern Europe. Which were ultimately our nightmares as well.
Opinion Journal has this to say about the Pelosi Congress:
Congratulations to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, who begin their new control of Congress today. They also deserve full marks for paying attention while in the minority, because it's clear Democrats learned a few things from Tom DeLay--to wit, how to rush through legislation without any minority participation or public debate.
House Democrats plan to pass a pile of legislation in their first 100 hours, bringing the measures quickly to the floor without committee hearings. These are issues they campaigned on last year and that do well in polls at first blush, such as a higher minimum wage, price controls on prescription drugs and "ethics reform." The rush is supposed to show Democratic resolve to get things done, but it's enough to make us wonder if they're afraid that some of their ideas won't hold up under scrutiny.
I have this to ask: if Tom Delay was so [insert expletives here] good at ramrodding [more expletives] legislation through [still more expletives] Congress, then where is the [invent expletives if you have to] achievement? You had that power, and you gave us crumbs. That's why you don't have that power any more.
Education Intelligence Agency has its annual Public Education Quotes of the Year, posted on the main website and at its Intercepts blog. Here's the top quote:
"The struggle in which we are engaged is as vital to our future today as was the outcome of the Civil War to our nation in 1860 (sic). The goal of these locusts is to impose their will on state after state until they have completely demolished government as we know it. There is a time for every generation to rise to the call – when the very existence of our nation, our state, our values, our culture and our public schools are threatened with extinction." – Nebraska State Education Association Executive Director Jim Griess on Initiative 423, a ballot measure that would have limited state government spending to previous years' amounts, with allowed increases for inflation and population growth. (October 2006 The NSEA Voice)
That one is worthy of Shrillblog. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh NSEA R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn! Aaaaiiiiii!!!!