Friday, October 07, 2005

Bush's Latest On The War On Terror

Last night the president gave a major speech about the war on terror in front of the National Endowment for Democracy. You can read the text of the whole speech here, and I highly recommend doing so since the MSM isn't giving the address much coverage. The speech opened as follows:
The images and experience of September the 11th are unique for Americans. Yet the evil of that morning has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa, and Casablanca, and Riyadh, and Jakarta, and Istanbul, and Madrid, and Beslan, and Taba, and Netanya, and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we've seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and a deadly bombing in Bali once again. All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random and isolated acts of madness; innocent men and women and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building, or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Many militants are part of global, borderless terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, which spreads propaganda, and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups, often associated with al Qaeda -- paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, and the Philippines, and Pakistan, and Chechnya, and Kashmir, and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells, inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives, fighting on scattered battlefields, share a similar ideology and vision for our world.

Even if you don't read the entirety of the speech, though you should, be sure to read Power Line's expert analysis of it. Power Line breaks down the key parts of the speech and offers good insight as to why this speech was one of Bush's most important and powerful to date.

The stance that the president takes is a good one, and especially necessary with the elections coming up in Iraq next week.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The NY Times Finally Catches Up

A few weeks late, the New York Times finally published a story regarding the Democrats' credit report fraud scandal. Better late than never, right? Well, not exactly. The story published by the Times runs on page 20 and is packaged as an election piece, rather than a crime or scandal piece. It opens as follows:
National Republicans, who face an uphill battle in their efforts to capture the open United States Senate seat in heavily Democratic Maryland next year, are trying to exploit potential legal problems that Democrats are now suddenly facing in that race.

I bet you can't wait to read on after that hook. But that's the idea, sell the article as another boring election piece and bury the facts deep within the story so that no one ever finds them. For example, we don't even discover that there is an ongoing criminal investigation until the 7th paragraph. But when the Times finally ran a piece on the DSCC scandal, you had to expect them to cover for their Democrat friends.

As usual, Michelle Malkin was right on task:
The article fails to mention former DSCC research director Katie Barge's previous employment by the left-wing opposition research outfit, Media Matters.

The article fails to mention exactly how Barge and underling Lauren Weiner obtained Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's credit report--by abusing his Social Security number in order to obtain the report under false premises.

The article fails to mention that Barge and Weiner's employer, Sen. Charles Schumer, has ironically fashioned himself a champion of privacy and defender against identity theft. See this Newsday article for the angle the Times refused to print.

And the article fails to mention who's picking up the tab for Barge and Weiner's legal bills.

But there's no biased reporting going on here. One wonders how many key facts you can conveniently leave out of a story before it becomes a different story altogether.

Perhaps I'm being harsh, but Matthew Hoy's dissection of the Times' story argues that I'm not.

This story is a perfect example of MSM bias hard at work, and if you're looking for a case study on Agenda Journalism, you couldn't find a better source. Read the NY Times' piece, Hoy's dissection of it, and then the Newsday article that Malkin links to in the quote above. Once you finish, the truth should be glaringly evident.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Spy In The White House?

This evening while I was going over today's news online I came across this alarming ABC News story:
Officials tell ABC News the alleged spy worked undetected at the White House for almost three years. Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, was a U.S. Marine most recently assigned to the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney...

Federal investigators say Aragoncillo, a naturalized citizen from the Philippines, used his top secret clearance to steal classified intelligence documents from White House computers...

Officials say the classified material, which Aragoncillo stole from the vice president's office, included damaging dossiers on the president of the Philippines. He then passed those on to opposition politicians planning a coup in the Pacific nation.

"Even though it's not for the Russians or some other government, the fact that it occurred at the White House is a matter of great concern," said John Martin, who was the government's lead espionage prosecutor for 26 years.

There isn't much else out at the moment regarding the story, so we'll have to wait for more information from investigators at the White House.

But one striking aspect about this story is the fact that Aragoncillo is a naturalized citizen. There's nothing inherently wrong with that fact, but perhaps this shows that there should be more scrutiny involved in background searches of officials working in and around the top levels of government, especially if those officials are originally from other countries. Otherwise, we can expect other serious threats to national security.

Power Line On Miers

I like Power Line's most recent post on Harriet Miers' nomination to the SCOTUS. The post considers the reactions of three big names --George Will, Tony Blankley, and Michelle Malkin-- to the Miers nomnation. Will misses the mark completely, while Blankley is quite on target with his observations, but it is the comments of Power Line's John Hinderaker that stuck with me:
I think Will is way off-base on this one. I don't think Miers was one of the best nominees Bush had available, but no one asked my opinion (or Will's). The bottom line is, the President gets to appoint Supreme Court justices. Miers is easily--very easily, in my opinion--within the range of qualified nominees that it would be improper for the Senate to reject. I think her qualifications are better, for example, than Ruth Ginsburg's were. I think it would be very foolish for Republicans to start campaigning for Senators to refuse Miers confirmation, on the theory that we would then get someone better. If Bush gets another nomination, we probably will get someone about whom I am more enthusiastic, but in the meantime, Miers is the President's nominee and she ought to be confirmed.

This echoes what I have been arguing for the past couple days. While there may have been other justices that Republicans preferred ahead of Miers as the next SCOTUS nominee, our focus needs to be on reaffirming the unity of the party, offering backing and support for the president, and getting Miers confirmed.

Also, in the continued search for information on Miers, look to Austin Bay, who posts an evaluation of Harriet Miers by a Dallas attorney who knows her quite well.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Miers Revisited

After a day of reflection, my thoughts from yesterday on the SCOTUS nomination still remain much the same. However, I would say that I've begun to lean slightly further to being alright with the president's pick. While I still maintain that I think there are better picks the president could have gone with, such as Luttig or McConnell, Harriet Miers' nomination is what we have been given, and so we must now attempt to deal with it properly.

As I said yesterday, Republicans can be upset with the choice, but for now they should register their frustrations, pack them away for a later day, and look towards getting Miers seated.

The more I think about Miers' nomination, the more I see her potential to be a dark horse for the strict constructionists and hardcore conservatives. She has worked closely with President Bush for five years in the White House, and recently was directly involved in seeking out judicial nominees for him. If the president asked her to be his nominee, I'm sure she must possess the views that he wanted in a SCOTUS judge. So perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to allow our lack of knowledge about her to cause us to condemn her nomination by the president.

Erick at RedState has good perspective in thinking about this side of the issue:
I start from the premise that Miers is exactly as Bush says she is --- a prolife conservative who will interpret the law faithfully to the original meaning of the constitution and not legislate. We know that Democrats, including Harry Reid, recommended Miers for the position.

So, Bush went with their recommendation. Now we are in this position: If the Democrats accept Miers they will most likely have put a female Scalia on the bench. If the Democrats now reject Miers, the President can make the case that he (A) consulted the Democrats; (B) took one of their own recommendations; (C) saw them reject she who they recommended; (D) so now he feels free to go with someone like Alito or Luttig or Batchelder or Corrigan.

Bush has been thrown into a political briar patch and, while I disagree with the nomination based on her stated qualifications, it just might be that this is the play of the year. One way or the other, it is one hell of a political gamble.


On another note, have you forgotten about Chuck Schumer? Chances are that you did, or perhaps didn't even know to begin with, but even if you haven't forgotten about Schumer's dirty trick, you definitely haven't heard any serious reporting on it. For example, the New York times still hasn't published a word about the issue, and there has been essentially no MSM coverage of it since the day it broke.

However, good center-right bloggers like Michelle Malkin have kept their ear to the ground. She has the latest, including information saying that the DSCC is picking up the laywer bills for the two employees who engaged in fraudlent activity on behalf of Schumer. Don't lose track of this story, it's going to be important in the months to come.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Miers Is Nominated To SCOTUS

This nomination has me caught in two minds. Part of me is upset and disappointed that the president passed over a few very qualified nominees, while part of me is inclined to think this is a big picture move that will prove right in the long run.

I would rather have seen a Luttig or a McConnell appointed to the bench, as these are clearly the best suited judges to fill the vacancy. Their service on the district court level has demonstrated this, and their brilliant minds are forces to be reckoned with. Miers has little (at best) judicial experience, and as a result members of the Republican party have taken offense with her nomination. I don't fault those who feel this way; I share a lot of their frustrations.

But there is also reason to believe that Miers is a more strategic appointment then many would like to concede. The fact that Miers is a woman --which is something that Democrats were calling for-- helps her cause for confirmation. Also, because of her lack of judicial involvements, she has close to no track record on political opinions or rulings that could be cited for potential decisions on the SCOTUS. These facts will make her confirmation easy, and she should have no problem getting the seat she was appointed to.

Furthermore, her experience in the White House should be considered largely important in how she'll go about her business on the SCOTUS. Five solid years with the Bush administration will give her unique perspective in reaching judicial decisions, and the case could be made that this will help her to steer the court in a more conservative direction. This is what the White House has argued as it reasons for Miers' appointment, and I hope this holds. If she turns out to be another O'Connor, then the president will look back on this decision with regret.

In any case, while the Republican Party is divided on this appointment, it cannot let itself become two separate, opposing camps. Republicans should agree to disagree, and move forward with the push to seat more Republican Congressmen and Senators in the 2006 elections. If Republicans can continue to take strides at retaining solid majorities in both houses, then policy will go the way we want, and when we win the next presidential election we'll be in a really good place for the next SCOTUS nomination, which is where McConnell or Luttig should make their appearance.

New York Newspapers

Michelle Malkin stays after the New York Times, which still has yet to publish anything related to Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's dirty trick against Maryland GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

A good friend of mine from the USMA at West Point brought to my attention a New York Post op-ed piece by Ralph Peters about the anti-war protests in D.C. last weekend. It's worth a read.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

SCOTUS Speculations

The president is expected to announce his next SCOTUS nominee some time this week. My tendency is to believe that the announcement will come early in the week, with tomorrow looking especially promising.

I'm still rooting for the president to pick Judge Michael Luttig of the 4th Circuit, who is a very high caliber justice with qualifications nearing that of John Roberts. I also wouldn't mind Judge Michael McConnell of the 10th Circuit. ConfirmThem's latest guess is that the nominee will indeed come from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, though the conjecture is that Judge Luttig and Judge Williams are equally likely possibilities.

If the president uses his brains on this one, he'll pick the most intellectually gifted, even-tempered, and experienced judge for the next justice of the SCOTUS, and I believe that Luttig fits the bill. Despite speculation last week that Bush might seat a woman or a minority to replace O'Connor, I think that in the end the administration will make the move that makes the most sense: picking the most qualified judge to put on the SCOTUS.

Any base-bolstering or politically sensitive nomination would be a waste, and a victory for the Democrats. The country deserves the best availalbe justice with an intellect that can uphold the constitution, not a political concession.