Saturday, November 12, 2005

Washington Post: Democrat Spin Machine

Over at Power Line, Paul Mirengoff has some insight on how the Washington Post works to further Democratic intrests. The article in question is one titled "Bush spars with critics of the war." The article attempts to adress the president's delayed response to those who claim that the administration has lied about its pre-war intelligence regarding Iraq.

An aside: President Bush's response came in the form of a speech Friday that was his most forceful defense yet of his Iraq war policy, where he accused his critics of trying to rewrite history, and charged that they are undercutting America's forces on the front lines (which, I might add, is completely true). You can read the text of the president's speech in two parts, here and here.

But back to the Post's story.

Mirengoff notes that in the article, the Post's Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus grudgingly admit that the administration in fact did not lie at all about it's pre-war intelligence on Iraq. The article admits that "Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction" and that President Bush didn't claim that that there were no exceptions to this view.

Here is where Mirengoff gets to the center of the issue:
Thus, a non-partisan paper would headline the story of Bush's defense of the integrity of his administration by saying something like "Bush responds to critics" or "Bush defends administration's handling of pre-war intelligence." But the Washington Post isn't non-partisan. It is a pro-Democratic spin machine, even on issues where it knows that the president's position is correct. So it tries to make the president sound like he's engaging in partisan quibbling rather than finally responding to charges which, in their strongest form, cast him as one of the great villains of American history.

The Post also misleadingly presents itself as above the fray. If Bush is sparring, he's sparring with the Post as well as with the Democrats, to whom the Post refers in the sub-title.

The sub-title, of course, is intended to further demean the president. What could be more tacky than resorting to a "campaign-style" tone. The president is supposed to be leading the country, and here he is engaged in the dreaded "permanent campaign," sparring with the Democrats.
The pro-Democratic Post simply can't help itself when it sees an opportunity to take a stab at the president, and thus we must continue to debunk its reporting.

But the point of all of this is that the Democrats are nervous. The president finally revealed to the public in his speech Friday what the blogosphere has known for a long time: that bi-partisan investigations and the majority of intelligence agencies shared the administration's views about the threat of Iraq, as well as Saddam's potential possession of WMDs.

The truth hurts the Dems, and so they leave it up to the Washington Post and the rest of the MSM to spin the news in their favor. That is the only way they can convince the American people that they're right.

I've Been Linked!

Hugh Hewitt has made me his blog of the month for November.

This is quite exciting for me, as I'm honored to be noticed by such a big-time blogger. Check under blogs of the month on the left margin of his site for the link to this blog, and perhaps read a little bit of what he has to say in his posts while you're there. He knows what he's talking about and his comments are certainly worth a read.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day

To all of America's men and woman who have served in the military and given us this opportunity at freedom: thank you for your sacrifice, and god bless you for your service of this country.

Take some time today to consider what those who have served our country have given us. If it weren't for the valiant efforts of our soldiers from the Civil War to World War II to the war on terrorism, we would not enjoy the liberties that we all take for granted everyday.

Consider these tributes:

Cape Cod Mouse.


Here's the White House's Veterans Day web page.

And be sure to read the Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Iraq.

Finally, make the effort to donate to any of the wonderful programs sponsored by Soldiers Angels.

To those who have served and given us freedom, we salute you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kelo Gone Wrong

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state's police power in Kelo v. New London, proponents of property rights and freedom of contract were outraged, and rightly so.

In the case, the court essentially held that the government could seize the private property of one individual and give it to another private party, as long as the new owner of the property would use it for the "public benefit." Now, the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment allows the government to use its power of eminent domain to seize land for public use, but the court stretched this way beyond its meaning in Kelo.

Justice John Paul Stevens reasoned in the majority opinion that when the framers used the term "public use" they did not necessarily mean "literal" public use. Thus the court found it reasonable to allow the seizure of private property in order to increase the tax revenue that could be extracted from that property, as this constituted a non-literal "public use."

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in her dissent, showed the problem with this logic. She observed that based on the the court's reasoning in the case, the government could condemn a Motel 6 in order for someone else to build a Ritz-Carlton, for no other reason than the fact that the Ritz-Carlton would generate more tax revenue.

Well, the horrible precedent set by the Kelo decision is being applied in Oakland, California, where a tire store is being condemned in order to build... you guessed it, another tire store:
Revelli Tire has been a family-owned business in Oakland, Calif., for 56 years. But if action by the city council remains on course, the tire store will have to find a new home or go the way of the dinosaur...

Revelli's property is located in a block targeted for redevelopment. Not only the tire store but dozens of other parcels have been seized so a private developer can put in condominiums and apartments.

The city also used its power of eminent domain to obtain the parcel for a commercial retailer, Sears, which wants to put in its tire store.
Another fact worth knowing: the place in which Revelli Tire resides is not a "blighted" neighborhood. Thus, it does not meet the criteria laid out in Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, which says that if a situation is in such a "blighted" condition, the government can step outside the bounds of "public use" and pursue action for the "public benefit." But even so, Kelo erases this precedent and does not require any such distinctions.

The situation in Oakland illustrates this, and marks a sad day for those who value property rights. We can only hope that the new Supreme Court gets presented with an eminent domain case such as this, and reverses the decision of Kelo.

Update From Jordan

The bombings in Jordan are officially not just a foreign affair:
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - At least one American was among the 56 people killed by suicide bombers in attacks on three U.S.-based hotels Wednesday night, a U.S. Embassy official said Thursday. At least two other Americans were wounded. The victims were not identified.
If anyone was skeptical about why we should be concerned about al-Qaida's attacks on the rest of the world, they should now understand one reason why.

There are Americans abroad who can be killed by terrorist attacks just as easily as the members of the countries that they are visiting. In a lot of cases, these Americans, or "westerners" in general, are even more susceptible to being victims of terrorism. Al-Qaida routinely targets hotspots of western influence, either in culture or physical presence. Consider al-Qaida's reasoning for its attack on Jordan:
The al-Qaida claim [that it was responsible for the bombings] said Jordan was a target because it was "a backyard garden for the enemies of the religion, Jews and crusaders ... a filthy place for the traitors ... and a center for prostitution." Its authenticity could not be independently verified, but it appeared on an Islamic Web site that is a clearinghouse for statements by militant groups.

The claim said the attacks put the United States on notice that the "backyard camp for the crusader army is now in the range of fire of the holy warriors."

The hotels, frequented by Israelis and Americans among other foreign guests, have long been on al-Qaida's hit list.
The holy-war is against the west, and these radical Islamists will continue to try to intimidate us with malicious attacks on civilians. Nations that harbor terrorists only make it easier for al-Qaida and other terror networks to continue with these kinds of tactics. Any such footholds in foreign countris are threating to the United States.

This is simply another reason as to why it matters that we fight an agressive, pre-emptive war on terrorism. The president further illustrated this point in his speech condemning the attacks.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Suicide Bombers, The CIA Leak, Elections, and Judith Miller

Terrorists targeting citizens of "the West" exploded bombs at three hotels in Jordan tonight, killing 67 people.
Suicide bombers attacked three hotels frequented by Westerners in the Jordanian capital Wednesday night, and at least 67 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in the near-simultaneous explosions, CNN quoted a top government official as saying.

Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher also said a car packed with explosives approached one of the hotels attacked in the heart of the capital. He said there was no claim of responsibility, but Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group, was a "prime suspect."
The bombings were described as trademark al-Qaida style, further implicating al-Zarqaqi as a culprit in the bombings.

These attacks mark the third major instance of radical Islamic violence in little over a week. First came the riots in Paris, then the weapons threat in Australia last night, and today the bombing in Jordan. This string of attacks illustrates how fierce and ruthless in nature radical Islamic fundamentalists have become, and provides plain reasons as to why national securtiy must be considered our nation's number one priority.

The president and his administration know this fact, and so does the rest of the GOP. The Howard Deans, Michael Moores, and John Kerrys of the United States do not, and this is a prime reason for them not to be trusted in running our country. Bringing troops home prematurely, re-opening an investigation into "what we knew" before the war, or attempting to limit the authorities of the Patriot Act are all wrong approaches to fighting terrorism. They are the Democrats' approaches, and they will get us killed.

GOP Congressman are finally pursuing an investigation into CIA-leaks published in the Washington Post.
WASHINGTON — With pressure mounting on the Bush administration over its detainee policies, Republican House and Senate leaders asked Tuesday for an investigation into who leaked information to the Washington Post about CIA-run secret prisons abroad.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) requested that the Senate and House intelligence committees "immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media" about the existence of the prisons.

"Such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences," the pair said in a letter to Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The call for this investigation should have happened a long time ago, but Republicans in Congress are finally back on the right track. The public needs to see the CIA's war on the president for what it is, a cheap, illegitimate partisan attack.

Democrats weren't silent about the Republicans' announcement today either. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid claimed the GOP's call to investigate the leak was "only a play to the press."

If anyone should knokw how to play to the press, it's Sen. Reid and his Democrat colleagues. They have the privilege of "playing to the press" everyday they go to work. But just because the Dems take every opportunity they get behind a mic or in front of a camera to feed the MSM, it doesn't mean that's how Republicans go about their business.

Maybe Sen. Reid is nervous that the investigation will yield something he doesn't like. If it does (and it probably will), how will he make the Dems' anti-Bush case to the press with a straight face, especially in the shadow of a mountain of evidence against him?

Captain's Quarters considers the CIA-leak situation at length, and provides a truthful account of what is really going on.

Yesterday boasted elections in three states: California, Virginia, and New Jersey. The elections in California were arguably the most important ones of the day, where citizens considered eight widely debated propositions, including one that would force minors to notify their parents about getting an abortion.

However, all eight propositions were defeated. It was not a good day for Governor Schwarzenegger, who saw voters reject all four of the propositions he backed. The terminator did not heavily campaign for these propositions, and it appears that in hindsight this might have been a good idea. The failure of his four big propositions is an obvious setback, and it seems Arnold is in for a political battle.

Hugh Hewitt has some choice words for the governor.

The gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia both saw victories for the Democratic candidates.

Finally, Judith Miller has "retired" from the New York Times. I find this hard to believe, as does Spectator Blog, who offers this: (HT: Instapundit)
Judy Miller has been fired from the New York Times, and one of the Times's crack pavement-pounding reporters writes that "Ms. Miller could not be reached for comment."

What, they lost her phone number? And couldn't walk down the hall to the desk she was cleaning out?
For the Times to say that Miller "retired" is to just plain lie. I guess the NY Times has the same requirements for pieces about its own affairs that it does for everything else that it reports.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Elections, Terrorists In Australia, and The Avian Flu

RealClearPolitics has the lastest polls on all the state elections going on today. New Jersey and Virginia are electing new governors, and California is considering some important ballot initiatives, including a proposition to amend the state consitution so that parental notification and a waiting period would be required for a minor to have an abortion.

As of noon today, the Democratic candidate for Governor is ahead in both New Jesery and Virginia, while it looks like Arnold will get about half of the initiatives he has lobbyed for in California. Track RealClearPolitics for updates.

Here is a brief summary of the situation in Australia:
Police arrested 17 terror suspects in Australia's two biggest cities Tuesday in raids authorities said foiled a plot to carry out a catastrophic terror attack. A radical Muslim cleric known for praising Osama bin Laden was charged with masterminding the plot.

More than 500 police backed up by helicopters were involved in raids across Sydney and Melbourne, arresting eight men in Sydney and nine in Melbourne and seizing chemicals, weapons, computers and backpacks.
Coupled with the riots currently plaguing France, the terrorist plot to strike Australia should remind us of the impacts of radical Islam. Our nation's national security depends on our attitudes toward radical Islamic fundamentalists, as well as our ability to control the terrorism that these jihadists promote.

Last night on Anderson Cooper, Hugh Hewitt considered what this means for our domestic politics:
But, tonight, we're watching Australia, Anderson, where 15 different arrests are under way, even more at this hour, for a plot that threatened chemical attacks, it said, on railheads. We are looking at France aflame. We are seeing it spread to Germany. We are seeing unrest and a threat in Italy.

And whenever national security returns to the fore, I think the Bush presidency surges, because what Senator Edwards didn't reference, what the big elephant in the middle of the room -- and I don't mean the Republican elephant -- is, the Democrats are not trustworthy on national security.

They're not reliable. They did a terrible job of it in the '90s. And the American people don't forget. So, the reality of the threat from abroad is the best sort of politics for the Republicans, because they don't play politics with it. They play national security with it. That's where they win.
Hewitt added to his argument in his blog today:
Whenever the harsh realities of the world push themselves into American living rooms, the GOP sees its position improve because it is the serious party, the grown-up party, the NOT-Howard-Dean-and-Michael-Moore-and-John-Kerry-party.
This logic is right on track, and the American people should take notice of the fact that Democrats just do not have the necessary approach to national security.

Finally, this is the latest story on the Avian Flu:
HANOI (Reuters) - A Vietnamese man has died of bird flu, the latest case in Asia that underlines the urgency for top health experts drawing up a strategy in Geneva to prevent the virus from spreading to humans around the globe.

Hours after Vietnam reported its latest case, Indonesia said a girl who died on Tuesday might have had bird flu.
For more, WSJ's Avian Flu Tracker will have the most up to date information.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Massey Story, Alito, and France's Riots

Earlier this morning, CNN aired an interview with Ron Harris, the author of the piece I linked to in the post below that exposes former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey as a liar. Michelle Malkin has the transcript of the interview.

Senate Democrat Joe Biden said yesterday that Samuel Alito should get an up-or-down vote on his Supreme Court nomination. From AP:
"I think that judgment won't be made until the bulk of us have had a chance to actually see him and speak to him. But I think the probability is that (a vote) will happen," Biden said on ABC's "This Week."
Sounds like some good news for Alito and the president. We should see a full court by the end of January.

The situation in Paris hasn't gotten any better. And the riots are spreading to the rest of France. Here is's Tuesday headline: "Leaders Fiddle as France Burns."
France was struggling to overcome one of its gravest post-war crises last night as every major city faced the threat of fierce rioting that began 12 nights ago and now seems to have spun out of control.

More than 1,400 vehicles were destroyed during a night of increasing violence despite an assurance from Philippe Douste Blazy, the foreign minister, that France was "not a dangerous country", the spread of violence prompted the Foreign Office in London to warn travellers that trouble could break out "almost anywhere".

Dominique de Villepin, the beleaguered prime minister, announced that officials in riot-hit areas would be authorised to impose late-night curfews "wherever it is necessary" in a bid to halt the disturbances.

He rejected calls by a police union for troops to be sent in but said that 1,500 reservists were being called up and repeated an appeal to parents to keep adolescent rioters off the streets.
Villepin is looking less and less coherent in his approach to the riots, and it does not appear as though he is taking the situation very seriously. The longer he acts in such a way, the more likely it is that the angry mob will become more committed to its violent tendencies, and could arise as a real, threatening political movement. If Villepin and Chirac refuse to deploy their forces in strength, they could find themselves out of a job in the near future.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Uncovering The Truth

Over the past year, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling story after story to MSM journalists about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq. His comments were reported on major news networks and in major U.S. newspapers.

The only problem is, he was making it all up.

It turns out that, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Massey's fellow marines and embedded reporters who worked with their unit are finally being heard after the Marines conducted an internal investigation into Massey's claims. Michelle Malkin has more on the story.