Friday, December 30, 2005


It really IS "just like Viet Nam"

There is one almost precise parallel between the Viet Nam war and the Iraq war: the conduct of the "anti-war movement".

Rather than oppose the war as a matter of policy and work to legitimately shift public opinion on that policy, the "anti-war movement" of today has resorted to exactly the same disgusting (and frankly, anti-American) tactics as in the '60's and early '70's. Vilification of the American serviceman (serviceperson?), trumped up "atrocities" that have no basis in fact, fraudulent "veterans' testimonials" ("Winter Soldier", anyone?). Fortunately, there are alternative information sources today available to discredit much of this garbage.

There's nothing un-American about opposing the war, but there really is something distinctly un-American (and anti-American) about the anti-war movement. And what a surprise, many of them are either the same people (Fonda, Kerry) the same elites (academia, media, Hollywood, the "intelligentsia") and the same fringe groups (communists, socialists, anarchists) who formed the core and leadership of the anti-Viet Nam movement at its height.

What a coincidence! These are essentially the same elements that pathologically blame America for everything wrong in the world and see the US as the only obstacle in the way of the socialist Utopia that will be ushered in once all national sovereignty is ceded to the U.N.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Rove Implicated In Identity Leak

December 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—The recent leak revealing Santa Claus to be "your mommy and daddy" has been linked to President Bush's senior political adviser and deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, who stands accused of revealing the non-existence of Santa (below).

"If this devastating leak, which severely undermines the security of children everywhere and has compromised parent-child relations, came from the highest levels of the White House, that is an outrage," said former Bush counterterrorism adviser and outspoken Bush Administration critic Richard Clarke.

The identity of the mythical holiday gift-giver, previously known only in grown-up circles, was published in the popular Timbertoes cartoon in the December issue of Highlights For Children. Jean Abrams, a conservative firebrand known to have close ties to Bush appointees in the Department of Education, revealed "Santa" to be a code name for anonymous parental gift-giving.

Abrams and several other children's-magazine journalists, including Ranger Rick's Kristin Brittany and Cricket managing editor Shaina Belowitz, have testified before a federal grand jury on the source of the leak. Sources say that Randall Polk, Washington bureau chief for Weekly Reader, named Rove after serving eight days in jail for refusing to divulge his sources.

Federal investigators began to suspect a White House connection to the Santa leak when Abrams wrote in Timbertoes that the character of Pa had some "devastating information" on "very high authority."

"Did you know that Santa Claus is really just your mommy and daddy?" Pa's dialogue read. "It's true. Sometimes parents tell little white lies to their children to make them feel special."

Clarke criticized the leak as "foolhardy," saying it was "the kind of conduct you would expect from dangerous zealots who routinely confuse short-term political gain with the national interest."

"This leak compromises generations of undercover work on the part of U.S. parents," Clarke said. "Consider all the covers that will be blown, all the secret gift-hiding places that will be exposed."

The motivations behind the leak remain unclear, but some political observers have characterized it as a calculated act of retribution against Fairfax, VA second-grader Madison Harris. Harris, 7, wore an antiwar T-shirt to her elementary school during a Nov. 2 visit by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

"The shirt, decorated with doves and the word 'peace,' angered White House ideologues, who felt that Harris had undermined a tightly orchestrated visit," independent political media watchdog Ellen Applebee said. "An aggressive attempt to hit Harris where she lived was set in motion."

On Nov. 3, Rove told reporters, "People shouldn't take too seriously the opinions of someone who still thinks a fat man slides down the chimney into her living room every December 25." On Nov. 6, he told several aides, "I don't consider it precocious to wear peace T-shirts and, from what I hear, read Highlights."

Applebee cited these comments as evidence of "Rove's deliberate campaign against Harris."
During that same week, Rove is also believed to have placed calls to several of the children's-magazine journalists who were later called before the grand jury.

If Rove is responsible for leaking Santa's identity to the world's children, it would not be his first political "dirty trick." In 1988, he was fired from George H. W. Bush's presidential campaign for sending an unsigned letter to the young daughter of a Dukakis campaign adviser. In the letter, he revealed the sad ending of the film Old Yeller.

On Capitol Hill, many say they believe that the damage has already been done. Clarke cited the absence of Santas from several department stores across the country as possible evidence that their compromised identities fatally damaged their credibility.

"I don't envy parents of young children right now," Clarke said. "Trust has been shattered. I wouldn't be surprised if some moms and dads are forced into hiding."

[Also posted at Chimps at Work and Babblefest. I received this in an email. If you know anything about its origin please let me know]

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Bill Clinton: Saddam's henchmen "good, decent people"

From a post at BabbleFest:

Former president Bill Clinton praised Saddam Hussein's lieutenants and their underlings on Tuesday [Nov. 15th - ed.] , saying they were mostly "good" and "decent" people."

"When [the U.S.] kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure," Clinton told an audience at American University in Dubai. "Most of the people who were part of that structure were good, decent people who were making the best out of a very bad situation," he added.

While Clinton didn't name, names, Saddam's authority structure was dominated by his two murderous sons, Uday and Qusay, as well as notorious characters like Ali Hassan al-Majid, [aka Chemical Ali], Barzan al-Takriti, who ran the Iraq's brutal intelligence service, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who governed northern Iraq during chemical weapon attacks in the Kurds, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash [aka Mrs. Anthrax], who was a member of Saddam's Baathist National Command.

Clinton offered praise for Saddam's lieutenants during the same speech where he criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq as "a big mistake."

Monday, December 19, 2005


"Domestic spying" story not exactly accurate

Reprinted from

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005 10:10 p.m. EST

Clinton NSA Eavesdropped on U.S. Calls

During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon.

On Friday, the New York Times suggested that the Bush administration has instituted "a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices" when it "secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without [obtaining] court-approved warrants."

But in fact, the NSA had been monitoring private domestic telephone conversations on a much larger scale throughout the 1990s - all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.

In February 2000, for instance, CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft introduced a report on the Clinton-era spy program by noting:

"If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there's a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country's largest intelligence agency. The top-secret Global Surveillance Network is called Echelon, and it's run by the National Security Agency."

NSA computers, said Kroft, "capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world."
Echelon expert Mike Frost, who spent 20 years as a spy for the Canadian equivalent of the National Security Agency, told "60 Minutes" that the agency was monitoring "everything from data transfers to cell phones to portable phones to baby monitors to ATMs."

Mr. Frost detailed activities at one unidentified NSA installation, telling "60 Minutes" that agency operators "can listen in to just about anything" - while Echelon computers screen phone calls for key words that might indicate a terrorist threat.

The "60 Minutes" report also spotlighted Echelon critic, then-Rep. Bob Barr, who complained that the project as it was being implemented under Clinton "engages in the interception of literally millions of communications involving United States citizens."

One Echelon operator working in Britain told "60 Minutes" that the NSA had even monitored and tape recorded the conversations of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond.

Still, the Times repeatedly insisted on Friday that NSA surveillance under Bush had been unprecedented, at one point citing anonymously an alleged former national security official who claimed: "This is really a sea change. It's almost a mainstay of this country that the NSA only does foreign searches."

Big surprise here, huh? Another politically-driven load of garbage flung your way by the New York Times.

Friday, December 16, 2005


The NY Times: It's really not about news at all any more

Let's see, on the day after the Iraqi election, the New York Times runs a "Bush OK'd Spying on Americans" headline.

Only a couple of problems. They've had this story, by their own admission, for about a year. Congressional committee members and the "terrorism court" (which has been around since the '70's) were briefed on the surveillance program. The program ended some time ago. And the "officials" who were "concerned about its legality" are all (surprise!) unnamed sources. Other than those "officials" and the ACLU (another real surprise) there's no suggestion that there is anything wrong with this, certainly not anything illegal.

So why break it as a "Big Story" today? Well, let's see... the Times can't report on the Iraqi election in too much detail, it doesn't fit their agenda... and they can try to undercut the importance of that story with this stuff, dutifully picked up by the rest of the MSM.

Anybody have any doubt why this story appeared today? It's not about news. It's about pursuing the Times' own political agenda.

UPDATE: Anonymous comment #1 sure was closer to bullseye than he apparently realized. The Times release of this story has helped block the extension of the Patriot Act in the Senate.

UPDATE 2: At Little Green Footballs, they're pointing out that this year-old story is tied to an upcoming book:

Risen claims the TIMES delayed publication of the article for a year to conduct additional reporting.

But now comes word James Risen’s article is only one of many “explosive newsbreaking” stories that can be found — in his upcoming book!

The paper failed to reveal the urgent story was tied to a book release and sale.

UPDATE 3: POWERLINE theorizes that maybe the Patriot Act, not the Iraqi election, was the primary target of this hit piece, and raises an ugly question: could the NY Times be coordinating with the Democrats? Wasn't there similar suspiciously timed "reporting" and "news" during the 2004 campaign? You remember, the whole "Fortunate Son" episode?

This morning, I wrote about the New York Times' publication of leaked classified information about a National Security Agency program involving monitoring of international communications between persons in America and known terrorists overseas. Many have wondered about the timing of the story; the Times says that it sat on the story for a year. Some have surmised that the Times was trying to take yesterday's election in Iraq off the front page. I think a more plausible theory is that the paper wanted to give cover to the Democrats' filibuster of the Patriot Act. The Associated Press says:

[T]he Patriot Act's critics got a boost from a New York Times report saying Bush authorized the National Security Agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people inside the United States. Previously, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations.

"I don't want to hear again from the attorney general or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care," said Feingold, the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.

It would be interesting to know to what extent the Times coordinates the timing of its stories with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Poll has McCain leading Clinton

From BabbleFest:

For the poll-watchers out there, here’s an interesting one. (Sorry, we lost our link for this one. You’ll just have to trust us, or go track it down yourself).

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week has Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) leading Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) 44% to 40% for the 2008 presidency if the election were held today.

The telephone poll of 1,230 voters surveyed from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, so the 44-40 split is in fact essentially a statistical dead heat.

Candidates like "unsure" and "other" ran far behind and made up the other 16%.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Flight 93 Memorial: in memory of whom?

A few weeks back, much was made of the “redesign” of the Flight 93 memorial because “some people” had misconstrued its basic red crescent design as being too similar to a widely recognized Islamic symbol, the crescent. [ed note: the muslim equivalent of the Red Cross organization is the Red Crescent].

The Stanford Review, however, has taken a real close look at the redesigned memorial, and reaches the conclusion that it is still an offensive, overtly Islamic structure.

The article includes extensive photographic and documentary analysis. Go check out the posting and decide for yourself what you think.


City refunds money to school zone speeders

The city of Akron, Ohio, has decided to refund fine money to about 2,000 people caught speeding in school zones. It's not that they weren't speeding, it's just that they think it's not fair that they were caught speeding:

AKRON, Ohio -- Speeders in Akron will be getting some money back.

After getting hundreds of complaints, the Akron City Council voted Monday night to refund thousands of tickets issued from cameras set up in school zones, NewsChannel5 reported.
In just 19 days, the cameras caught more than 2,000 people speeding, issuing tickets up to $250 each.

Many residents said the cameras were not publicized and seemingly showed up overnight.
Councilman Mike Williams called the city's plan to put up the cameras a stealth method.
"I think people were ticketed unfairly," Williams said.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said the cameras were publicized and they are making school zones safer.

He said 400 people a day were caught speeding by the cameras in the first few days. Now there are about 30 tickets given out a day.

The mayor said for now until the city decides whether to keep the cameras permanently, new tickets will be $35. The money will not go to the city's general fund, but to promote child safety only.

Motorists who already paid full price for their tickets are expected to get money returned to them.

Am I missing something here? Nobody is claiming these people weren't speeding in a scool zone. Nobody is claiming the cameras didn't work correctly, or that the tickets were issued in error. The sole complaint is that people claim they weren't warned sufficiently that the cameras had been installed.

Let's see...state law in Ohio has been 20 m.p.h. in a school zone forever. School zones are clearly posted with warning signs AND reduced speed limit signs. So anybody driving in a school zone knows (or should know) the speed limit is 20 m.p.h. I guess this falls under the "it's OK if you don't get caught rule"... "since we didn't know about the cameras, and didn't see the cameras, and we didn't see any police car, we had every right to break the law and speed in a school zone, and it's not fair that you caught us breaking the law."

Friday, December 09, 2005


Lafave plea bargain questioned by second judge

Back on November 22 I posted about the plea bargain deal given to Debra Lafave, the female Florida teacher who repeatedly had sex with a 14-year old boy, pointing out that if the genders had been reversed the teacher would have been labeled a child molester and would certainly not have gotten off with no jail time. Lafave’s attorney had the nerve at the time to suggest that putting someone who looked like his client in prison was just not fair, the implication being that she would be molested.

Well, that
plea deal appears to have hit a snag: Ms. Lafave molested the boy in two different counties, and the judge assigned to the case in the second county isn’t sure he’s buying the idea that the trauma a trial would inflict on the boy outweighs the state’s interest in bringing Ms. Lafave to trial:

Lafave was sentenced to three years of house arrest and seven years probation after pleading guilty last month in Hillsborough County to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery.

That plea agreement was supposed to also cover charges in Marion County, where Lafave allegedly had sex with the boy in a sport utility vehicle while his 15-year-old cousin drove.

But Judge Hale Stancil wasn't happy with an agreement the Marion County prosecutors reached with defense attorney John Fitzgibbons and asked for some changes, Ridgeway said.

Fitzgibbons said the judge indicated that he wanted to hear expert information about a trial's potential impact on the two boys involved.

Ridgeway said the attorneys would take a new plea deal to the judge.

So perhaps this child-molesting teacher will do some time after all.

[AP photo from]

Friday, December 02, 2005


Russia sells Iran $1 Billion in missiles

According to this Reuters report, Russia has concluded a deal to sell a billion dollars' worth of surface-to-air-missiles and other modern weaponry and technology to Iran.

Russia plans to sell more than $1 billion worth of tactical surface-to-air missiles and other defense hardware to Iran, media reported on Friday.

Moscow is already at odds with the West over its nuclear ties with Tehran but has sought to use its warm relations with Iran to be recognized as a key mediator between the West and the Islamic Republic.

It is difficult to see how Russia can position itself as a “mediator” between Iran and the west when it is selling Iran missiles which have only one obvious purpose: to attack US (or Israeli) warplanes seeking to knock out Iran’s nuclear program before they start building bombs.

According to Russian sources, this isn’t a proposed deal which might yet be prevented, the deal has already been concluded.

The Vedomosti business daily cited military sources as saying Iran would buy 29 TOR-M1 systems designed to bring down aircraft and guided missiles at low altitudes.

The paper, calling it the biggest sale of Russian defense hardware to Iran for about five years, said Moscow and Tehran had already signed the contract.

Interfax news agency separately quoted a source as saying the deal, which would also include modernizing Iran's air force and supplying some patrol boats, was worth more than $1 billion.

Nothing like throwing gasoline on a fire.

The Russians may be forcing Israel to take action. Israel, which surely must feel Iran can absolutely not be permitted to possess nuclear weapons, may end up deciding that they must strike before Russia equips Iran with new generation missiles and a modernized air force.

Some things never change. You can still generally trust the ham-handed Russians to come bumbling in and make a bad situation worse.


Cindy Sheehan victimized by right-wing media!

Cindy Sheehan, media darling of the “anti-war” movement, is now complaining that she is being unfairly treated by the media.

Sheehan, already exposed as dishonest (“all I want is a meeting” – which of course she’d already had) and a raving anti-semitic (yes, she really said those things, even if the NY Times won’t print it), now reveals just how self-absorbed and self-important her self-centered “movement” is. Editor and Publisher reports that Cindy is upset that the media portrayed her book signing and anti-war rally, attended by maybe 100 people, as a flop:

NEW YORK Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan and her book publisher are upset about Associated Press and Reuters photos that allegedly presented a misleading impression of her book signing last weekend in Texas.

Well, no, Cindy, “misleading” is when you imply that your son Casey was “a boy” considering “the priesthood” who was taken advantage of by big bad recruiters who misled him. Casey Sheehan was in fact a twenty-four year old man who made a man’s decision to reenlist while there was a war going on. He made another man’s decision to volunteer for the rescue mission on which he was killed. And Casey Sheehan persisted in that decision to volunteer after reminded that his classification as a mechanic’s helper made him exempt.

Cindy’s apparent inability to distinguish fact from fiction allows her to believe that a rally and book signing attended by 100 people or fewer is a big event. And her peculiar view of reality seems to have rubbed off on the publisher, who thinks the event was a “huge success”

The Washington Post, which carried Evan Vucci's AP photo, noted that at a protest the same day Sheehan had addressed a crowd of only about 100. “In the morning,” the Post observed, “Sheehan signed copies of her new book, being published this week, for an even smaller crowd,” although it cited bad weather as a possible factor.

But in a statement today, Sheehan accused “right-wing” sites of “spreading a false story that nobody bought my book at Camp Casey on Saturday. That is not true, I sold all 100 copies and got writer's cramp signing them. Photos were taken of me before the people got in line to have me sign the book. We made $2000 for the peace house.”

Her publisher, Arnie Kotler at Koa Books, meanwhile released a letter to her supporters, charging that “AP and Reuters posted photos - I can't imagine why - of Cindy sitting at the book table between signings, rather than while someone was at the table. And now the smear websites are circulating an article, with these photos, that Cindy gave a signing and nobody came. It's simply not true…. the benefit books signing in Crawford, Texas on November 26, 2005 was well attended and a huge success.”

AP photographer Evan Vucci responded that he was at the book signing from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., that at the time the pictures were taken, about five people had been in, and a few small groups continued to arrive later.

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