Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Well, I just noticed that at the upper right corner of the page is a "We Support Ron Paul" icon. Yikes. I wonder how much of their revenue goes to his campaign.
The framers of the Constitution evidently believed that happiness could be achieved, putting its pursuit up there alongside the unalienable rights to life and liberty. Though governments since then have seen life and liberty as deserving of vigorous protection, for all the public policies aimed at increasing economic growth, people have been left to sort out their happiness.As pointed out elsewhere, the framers of the Constitution said nothing about life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness being Constitutional rights. What Mr. Porter is referring to is the Declaration of Independence.
Back in August The New York Times editorial had this:
It is an eminently good thing that the anti-suicide measure would require medical specialists to keep track of veterans found to be high risks for suicide. But that’s to care for them as human beings, under that other constitutional right — to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Respect for the grave sacrifices by veterans requires the Senate to strike down the Coburn ploy and hurry this vital measure to President Bush.I wonder if they know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Do they think they're both parts of the same document? Here's an apt response to the editorial; by Brennan at The American Pundit in August:
Oy vey. Attention Editors: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is in the Declaration of Independence, among the inalienable rights of man - not the Constitution. Being a “constitutional right” would imply that it is in, you guessed it, the Constitution.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Tensions between Hispanic Democrats and House leaders exploded Friday when a bloc of Hispanic lawmakers voted to derail a major tax bill, relenting only after an angry confrontation on the floor with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.Next there's news of a bill introduced by freshman Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler called the SAVE Act, which is touted as "enforcement-only" legislation:
The rebellion was a response to votes by 36 Democrats Thursday night in favor of a non-binding Republican motion Hispanic members called offensive. It instructed House conferees on an appropriations bill to accept a Senate-passed provision prohibiting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from suing employers over certain English-speaking requirements.
That motion was the latest in a series of immigration- and language-related votes that Republicans have used to splinter Democrats, some of whom are nervous about GOP attack ads that could portray them as “soft” on illegal immigration.
Hoyer was toe-to-toe with the much shorter Joe Baca, D-Calif., chairman of the Hispanic caucus. According to one Hispanic Democrat, Hoyer jabbed his finger at Baca and yelled, “How dare you destroy this party? This will be the worst loss in 10 years.
”That same Hispanic lawmaker reported that Pelosi said, “You see this on the board? This is against me, this is against me personally.”
November 11, 2007: Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) introduced legislation last Tuesday emphasizing the principles of Attrition Through Enforcement. The SAVE Act (H.R. 4088) will broaden and enhance border security and interior enforcement. With a number of border security Democrats and Republicans already agreeing to co-sponsor, this bipartisan effort may be Congress’s best chance to achieve substantial immigration reform this Congress.How is the reality based community reacting to these developments? Here's Daily Kos: Is Rahm racist, or merely scared?
It's got to be one or the other, because Rahm Emanuel is behind efforts to build Democratic support for the Shuler/Tancredo "enforcement-only" bill currently winding its way through the House.
Think about it -- our House leadership is strong-arming Democrats into backing a bill which is the central agenda of the biggest racist xenophobe Tom Tancredo.
Crooks and Liars has this one: Is Rahm Emanuel in bed with the Racist xenophobe Tom Tancredo?
Tancredo’s racism is such that he’s the darling of the Malkin wing of the GOP. Americans want to secure the borders, but they also understand that we need true immigration reform and not some whacked out policy initiated by a man that called Miami a “Third World country.”Chris Bowers at Open Left has coined a new term similar to the "Bush Dog Democrat" label: Introducing the Rove Dogs
So, instead of calling them Bush Dogs, I think the more appropriate term would be Rove Dogs. The term "Rove Dog" should apply to any Democrat who votes and act in ways that are harmful to the long-term political standing of the Democratic Party, just as Karl Rove would like them to do.Last but not least we have Jane Hamsher from FireDogLake: Hoyer and Pelosi Draw Rahm's Line - Hispanic Caucus Gets Shaft
These Rove Dogs are undermining positive feedback loops for Democrats and progressives, and any other Democrats who do the same should also earn the Rove Dog label.
Only a pack of amateur monkeys would take the issue that fractures the Republican party every time it comes up and use it against their own. You have to wonder at the genius that inspires Democrats to personally and forcefully stab their Hispanic caucus in the back.Here again we have people attacking fellow Democrats simply because they don't believe requiring employees to speak English or that emphasizing enforcement of illegal immigration laws amount to racism. Think about it a minute; these hacks, holed up in their echo chambers in which they only read other people agreeing with them (they delete comments left on their blogs that disagree), are actually suggesting that Democrats who agree with Republicans on anything are racist or at the very least are betraying their cause. Can it be any clearer that their cause is simply blind, insane partisanship?
Rahm is personally whipping for the Shuler/Tancredo bill. And he’s obviously continuing to tell freshmen that they need to get “tough on immigration” or lose their seats because so many of them have signed on as co-sponsors (immigration is, as you’ll recall, the excuse Rahm uses to cover up for his abject failure to pick good candidates or allow them to speak openly against the war — the Democratic majority happened in spite of Rahm, not because of him).
NYT: It is extraordinary how President Bush has streamlined the Senate confirmation process. As we have seen most recently with the vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as attorney general, about all that is left of “advice and consent” is the “consent” part.
Daily Kos: In their support of Mukasey they (Schumer and Feinstein) have abandoned their role to ADVISE and (not always) CONSENT to a presidential nominee. They have abdicated their principles and capitulated to the anti-constitutional forces that would rend our system of justice in half.
NYT: Democrats offer excuses for their sorry record, starting with their razor-thin majority. But it is often said that any vote in the Senate requires more than 60 votes — enough to overcome a filibuster. So why did Mr. Mukasey get by with only 53 votes? Given the success the Republicans have had in blocking action when the Democrats cannot muster 60 votes, the main culprit appears to be the Democratic leadership, which seems uninterested in or incapable of standing up to Mr. Bush.
Glenn Greenwald: Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they "tried"), the excuse they gave was that they "need 60 votes in the Senate" in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general "60-vote requirement" for everything.
The so-called "60-vote requirement" applies only when it is time to do something to limit the Bush administration. It is merely the excuse Senate Democrats use to explain away their chronic failure/unwillingness to limit the President...
NYT: It was not a difficult question. Waterboarding is specifically banned by the Army Field Manual, and it is plainly illegal under the federal Anti-Torture Act, federal assault statutes, the Detainee Treatment Act, the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. It is hard to see how any nominee worthy of the position of attorney general could fail to answer “yes.”
The real reason the White House would not permit Mr. Mukasey to answer was the risk to federal officials who carried out Mr. Bush’s orders to abuse and torture prisoners after the 9/11 attacks: the right answer could have exposed them to criminal sanctions.
Obsidian Wings: There is an easy way for Mukasey to get around the fact that he has not been briefed on what the CIA did: just define waterboarding, say whether waterboarding so defined is torture, and add that not having been briefed on what the CIA did, he doesn't know whether or not what they did meets his definition. That Mukasey has not taken this obvious route suggests that he is not motivated by his own uncertainty, but by the desire to keep people he believes have engaged in torture from being punished for their crimes.
NYT: The rationales that accompanied the vote in favor of Mr. Mukasey were not reassuring. The promise of a law banning waterboarding is no comfort. It is unnecessary, and even if it passes, Mr. Bush seems certain to veto it. In fact, it would play into the administration’s hands by allowing it to argue that torture is not currently illegal.
Andrew Sullivan: Schumer's promise that the Congress will now pass a law specifically banning verschaerfte Vernehmung, to use the Gestapo's name for the Bush-Cheney techniques, is insufficient. It presupposes that the torture techniques described are not already illegal, thus retroactively exonerating all those who authorized them. And Mukasey's private promise to hold up such a law, if passed, presumes that the president would not then veto the bill.
NYT: We are not suggesting the Democrats reject every presidential appointee, or that the president’s preferences not be taken into account. But Democrats have done precious little to avoid the kind of spectacle the world saw last week: the Senate giving the job of attorney general, chief law enforcement officer in the world’s oldest democracy, to a man who does not even have the integrity to take a stand against torture.
Uncommon Sense: The chief law enforcement officer of this land is a man who either cannot or will not state that waterboarding is torture, and who believes the president is above the law.
And again I ask, why did we need a Democratic majority for this? We could have had this with the Republicans in charge.
Here's some more moonbattery from NYT today:
Frank Rich: The Coup at Home. Here Frank compares the Bush Junta with what's happening in Pakistan.
Paul Krugman: Innocent Mistakes - Rehash of moonbat talking point about Reagan.
What makes it worse is that her staff is apparently lying about the latest incident. The news today is that a second person, a minister, has come forward saying he was approached by a Clinton staffer to ask a specific question:
In a telephone interview Saturday, Geoffrey Mitchell, 32, said he was approached by Clinton campaign worker Chris Hayler to ask a question about how she was standing up to President Bush on the question on funding the Iraq war and a troop withdrawal timeline.Here we go again. Recall the hoopla the other day about the waitress who claimed the Clinton campaign didn't leave a tip:
Mo Elliethee, spokesman for Clinton's campaign in Iowa, told Fox that Hayler and Mitchell "had a previous relationship" and that a discussion about Clinton arose out of a normal conversation between two people who knew each other well.
Mitchell, however, said that he and Hayler did not know each other personally before the event.
"I had no previous relationship with him," said Mitchell. "I knew his name and by name only as some who worked for Sen. Evan Bayh. But we didn't know each other and I had never met him before this event."
The campaign claims it shelled out $100 in cash for a tip to go around the house after paying for lunch at the Maid-Rite in Toledo, Iowa, famous for its "loose-meat'' sandwich. And the campaign has produced photocopies of receipts showing $157.46 was paid for the meal on a VISA card on Oct. 8.Let's digest what's presented here: The waitress said they weren't tipped so the campaign produced a photocopy of the receipt that only shows they paid for a meal, but doesn't show that the tip was left. What kind of BS is that? Nobody disputes they ate there. Then another staffer went back to the restaurant, gave the waitress $20 and kept repeating "there was one left". Now that just seems a bit creepy. "There was a tip left, you see, and here's $20 for you to shut up about it."
And it turns out that Anita Esterday, the waitress, got another visit from a Clinton campaign rep after the story aired on NPR yesterday-- with the rep delivering a $20 bill for that server who still maintains that she never saw any of the tip money spread around the place last month.
"I explained to her that our credit card machine, you know, doesn't add on the tip," Esterday told NPR, recounting the followup visit of the Clinton campaign rep. "And she said, 'Well, then, they left a $100 bill there.' And I said, 'Well, it didn't get divided up amongst us, because I had gotten nothing.'
"She just said, 'Well, there was one left,'" Esterday said. "She just kept repeating, 'There was one left.'
"Why would I lie about not getting a tip?" she told NPR. She also maintained that her co-workers at the restaurant had not received tips.
The pattern I see emerging here is that Hillary's staff consists of a bunch of dishonest hacks. They go around trying to hook members of the public into their narrative and when it falls apart they insinuate the people are lying. Oh, this quote from Mo Elliethee, spokesman for Clinton's campaign in Iowa in regard to the minister approached to ask a canned question is just precious:
"I'm not going to comment on what he said," Elleithee said, referring to Mitchell. "I'm going to discuss what our interpretation is. They had a previous relationship, the subject came up and there's nothing more to it than that. It's not newsworthy. It's innocent. It's not yesterday."Got that? Mo doesn't care if the minister has a different story of what happened; they have their interpretation! That's their story and they're sticking to it! The yesterday he's talking about is the previous incident involving planting questions.
The phrase "It's not newsworthy" is the talking point the Clinton sycophants online are picking up and running with regarding the tip incident as well as the planted questions.
Friday, November 09, 2007
In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling.This is where I'm perhaps a bit overly cynical. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the alarmists really don't believe their dire predictions will come true. They just want to scare everybody enough to get their solutions implemented so that when it becomes clear the planet isn't doomed they can then say "See, it worked! That shows we need more of it!"
h/t Confederate Yankee
Karl Rove teed off this afternoon on the liberal netroots, the coalition of far-left blogs and advocacy groups who are a new power bloc in the Democratic party.I don't think the cursing bit is important, but he's absolutely right about their arguing from anger more than reason. He's also spot on about the fact that their rhetoric will turn off undecided/moderate voters. Hey, maybe this represents a trend! We had Bush (rather clumsily) taking on "moveon.org bloggers", Lieberman letting the netroots have it in his speech yesterday, and of course there was the pitiful example of what happened to Pete Stark when he went on the floor of the House with his moonbat talking points in hand. Think Progress!
"The Web has given angry and vitriolic people more of a voice in public discourse," said Mr. Rove, who served as one of President Bush's top strategists until he resigned this past summer, and is a noted technology nut.
"People in the past who have been on the nutty fringe of political life, who were more or less voiceless, have now been given an inexpensive and easily accessible soapbox, a blog," Mr. Rove said during a speech about politics and the Web at the Willard InterContinental, a hotel just blocks from his former place of employment.
"I'm a fan of many blogs. I visit them frequently and I learn a lot from them," Mr. Rove said. "But there also blogs written by angry kooks."
Mr. Rove cited the results of a study that found that writers and commenters on liberal blogs such as DailyKos.com cursed far more than writers and commenters on conservative Web sites such as FreeRepublic.com.
"My point is not that liberals swear publicly more often than conservatives. That may be true, but that's not my point," Mr. Rove said. "It is that the netroots often argue from anger rather than reason, and too often, their object is personal release, not political persuasion."
The Senate confirmed Mukasey last night by a vote of 53-40. That tally is important for several reasons, which I'll get to in a moment. All the Republicans voted to confirm, except for Alexander (TN), Cornyn (TX), and McCain (AZ), all three of whom skipped the vote. Six Democrats voted for confirmation: Bayh (IN), Carper (DE), Feinstein (CA), Landrieu (LA), Nelson (NE), Schumer (NY) and Lieberman (Technically an independent, but he calls himself an independent Democrat and caucuses with them so I include him with the Dems CT). The Democrats who didn't vote included Biden (DE), Clinton (NY), Dodd (CT) and Obama (IL). You'll notice all the no shows, except for Cornyn, who was at a fund-raiser in Texas with Bush, are running for election next year (Alexander for Senate in TN), but with this particular vote the Dems who ditched are more important.
Now back to that tally: 53 votes to confirm. Notice something about that number? It's not 60. That's how many are needed to head off a filibuster. If you're wondering why a filibuster didn't happen you're not the only one. This morning I read this piece by Glenn Greenwald, who calls himself a conservative, but for some reason is on the moonbat side of just about every issue. Here's some of what he has to say:
Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they "tried"), the excuse they gave was that they "need 60 votes in the Senate" in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general "60-vote requirement" for everything.Ouch! It appears that what Greenwald has noticed, but doesn't come right out and say, is that most Democrats really don't agree with the moonbats that a vote for Mukasey is a vote for torture, otherwise they would have filibustered and those Democrats who didn't vote wouldn't have let the fact they're campaigning prevent them voting against confirmation. Of course they all paid lip service to nutroots sentiment, but when it came down to the nitty gritty they didn't back it up with action.
But it isn't true that there is a "60-vote requirement," because only Republicans are willing to impose it. Democrats won't, even on what they claim are the gravest of matters, such as confirming someone as Attorney General who is "dead wrong on torture" and who won't even "tell the president that he cannot ignore the laws passed by Congress."
The so-called "60-vote requirement" applies only when it is time to do something to limit the Bush administration. It is merely the excuse Senate Democrats use to explain away their chronic failure/unwillingness to limit the President, and it is what the media uses to depict the GOP filibuster as something normal and benign. There obviously is no "60-vote requirement" when it comes to having the Senate comply with the President's demands, as the 53-vote confirmation of Michael Mukasey amply demonstrates. But as Mukasey is sworn in as the highest law enforcement officer in America, the Democrats want you to know that they most certainly did stand firm and "registered their displeasure."
Now let's compare this to what happened with Dennis Kucinich's move the other day offering a resolution requiring House members to vote on whether or not to open up for debate the impeachment of Dick Cheney. There were three alternatives that House members could have taken: They could have voted for the resolution, meaning the ball would have been rolling on impeachment; they could have voted to "table" the resolution, a procedural movement that would have killed it; or voted to send it back to the Judiciary committee, which, while not killing the resolution outright, would have sent it back to committee where it would sit with Kucinich's previous impeachment resolution, which still hasn't been acted on because the House leadership (Pelosi and Hoyer) said a while back that impeachment is off the table.
Okay, so to get things started Steny Hoyer introduced a resolution to table (kill) the resolution. At first it looked as if the motion to table would pass handily, with all the Republicans and enough Democrats voting that way. Then the Republicans got sneaky. A bunch of them decided to change their votes to stop the motion, thereby giving Kucinich, and presumably the rest of the Democrats who voted his way, what they wanted; for the matter to be debated. The vote ended up 251-162 against tabling the resolution. Yay! The moonbats should have then been ecstatic! Finally the House would debate impeaching Cheney for allegedly lying us into war. But no. A short time later another motion was introduced by the Dems to send the resolution back to committee, which as mentioned is almost as good as killing it. Guess what happened? 81 of the Democrats who voted against tabling the resolution when they were pretty sure they would be on the losing side turned around and voted for sending it to the Judiciary Committee. Ouch! They wanted to make it appear they were all for bringing impeachment up for debate (and appeasing the nutroots), but when it looked like it would really happen they ran to stop it!
Given these two votes in the House and Senate, it's obvious that most of the Democrats are simply pandering to the moonbat reality based community because it's a handy fund-raising entity. Some of them are beginning to get wise to the game. Recently the word primary has started being used as a verb among the nutroots clan. As in "We need to make sure Pelosi, Hoyer, and any other Democrat who doesn't vote the way we want gets primaried."
As I've noted before, there's an obvious fracture opening in the Democratic party between those who live in the real world and others whose political world views are dictated entirely by the online echo-chambers populated by paranoid, delusional goofballs. Interesting times lay ahead.
Update Oops! Correction: I just read McQ's post over at QandO and was reminded of something regarding Glenn Greenwald's commentary on the Mukasey vote:
Or it could have something to do with regular legislative business in the Senate requiring 60 votes and judicial nominations, by agreement, not requiring them. How soon we forget all the talk about the "nuclear option", the "gang of 14" and the difference between a judicial filibuster and a legislative one.I'd forgotten all about the "gang of 14" agreement concerning filibusters of judicial nominations. I should have known better than to rely on Greenwald's take. Of course, I don't claim to be a constitutional scholar as he does. In any event, my point still stands somewhat because the Senators running for President, who voiced their opposition to Mukasey, didn't bother to vote. Also, if Greenwald doesn't remember the nuclear option drama from a few years ago, or if he does but is pretending not to, then it's a good bet that most of his readers (moonbats) believe his take on the matter; that the Democrats had the option of filibustering the vote but chose not to. By the way, he hasn't updated his post with a correction yet. I looked on memeorandum and at least two other lefty blogs had followed his lead. Marty Lederman at Balkinization simply deleted the post without issuing a correction and this guy hasn't corrected his post and so far none of his commenters have pointed out the error. I'm still sloshing through the comments to Greenwald's post to see if any of them tip him off.
The short version is the Constitution gives the Senate the power to make its own rules. Under Rule 22 either by unanimous agreement (aka "unanimous consent") or at least 60 votes on a motion to invoke cloture, the Senate must end debate before it can vote on anything to do with legislation. Got that? Legislative filibusters have a long tradition and Rule 22 upholds that Senate tradition.
However a different agreement for judicial nominations has been in place since the 109th Congress, which, of course, would apply any nomination coming from the Senate judiciary committee. That agreement was forged by a group known as the "Gang of 14" who have, in effect, agreed that Rule 22 for judicial nominations won't apply by refusing to become party to filibusters against nominees. In the closely divided Senate, the refusal of 7 Senators on each side to participate in judicial filibusters (which have been described by many as unconstitutional anyway) has effectively nullified thee use of the filibuster there. Thus there is no 60 vote requirement for a cloture since there is no cloture vote. Consequently all judiciary committee nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority. (em)
Update II Okay, I'm confused now. It has been mentioned elsewhere that this wasn't specifically a judicial nomination (for a judge) so the "gang of 14" rule doesn't apply and even if it does Senators have the option of ignoring it under "extraordinary circumstances." That would bring us back to the original question of why none of the Democrats believed this vote to constitute extraordinary circumstances given their melodramatic performances speaking out against Mukasey. If and when I get this sorted out I'll post another update.
Update III: Okay, forget the second update because there was no cloture vote, which is to break off debate (filibuster), so it's safe to assume the Senate was operating under the gang of 14 rule.
Update IV: Perhaps all these corrections and updates are meaningless. It's still unclear what kind of behind the scenes deal making was going on. I'll put up a fresh post tomorrow with the latest info.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I don't have much in common with Joe Lieberman politically (he's a liberal and I'm not), but today he earned my respect in a big way. Let me start with a little background.
It was during the contentious recount mess of the 2000 Presidential election, in which Lieberman was Al Gore's VP running mate, that he began to get on the bad side of moonbats. See, according to this moonbat at Huffington Post, quoting from a book about the 2000 election drama, Lieberman wasn't forceful enough in pushing to drag out the battle.
Later, after 9/11 and the run up to the war in Iraq, Lieberman was criticized for not being antiwar enough. In fact, when he ran for President in 2004, his failure to win the nomination was attributed to his support for the war, which he acknowledged.
Apparently Lieberman isn't one to believe the 2000 election was stolen and he was, and is, a supporter of the war in Iraq. Therefore it's safe to assume he doesn't suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Naturally, this makes him an enemy of moonbats and the reality based community. In 2006, when Lieberman ran for reelection to the Senate in Connecticut, they got Ned Lamont to run against him in the Democratic primary, which Lamont won (shame on Connecticut Democrats). Lieberman ran in the general as an independent and won. Now moonbat hatred of Lieberman became white hot.
Fast forward to the present: Lieberman gave a speech today excerpted by John Podhoretz on his blog for Commentary Magazine. It's breathtaking in it's clarity and as an expression of what Democrats used to be like before they became infected with BDS:
Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically-elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush….Wow. That this man remains a Democrat can only be because he's honestly a liberal, just not a moonbat. In a future post I'll highlight the disgusting, hateful bile dished out against him by the left, but in this post I want to focus on his speech today. Podhoretz wrote a follow-up post about it in which he excerpts other stunning passages. The background to this portion is an amendment he co-sponsored declaring the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization:
Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving, or even that that progress has enabled us to begin drawing down our troops there.
Part of the explanation for this, I think, comes back to ideology. For all of our efforts in the 1990s to rehabilitate a strong Democratic foreign policy tradition, anti-war sentiment remains the dominant galvanizing force among a significant segment of the Democratic base.
But another reason for the Democratic flip-flop on foreign policy over the past few years is less substantive. For many Democrats, the guiding conviction in foreign policy isn’t pacifism or isolationism—it is distrust and disdain of Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular.
In this regard, the Democratic foreign policy worldview has become defined by the same reflexive, blind opposition to the President that defined Republicans in the 1990s – even when it means repudiating the very principles and policies that Democrats as a party have stood for, at our best and strongest….
The reason for [the] amendment was clear. In September, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress about the proxy war that Iran—and in particular, the IRGC and its Quds Force subsidiary—has been waging against our troops in Iraq. Specifically, General Petraeus told us that the IRGC Quds Force has been training, funding, equipping, arming, and in some cases directing Shiite extremists who are responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers.Bravo, Mr. Lieberman! Here's someone who sees and understands the malignancy festering in his party, and he correctly notes that it originates in the delusional, paranoid, George Soros tainted moonbat blogosphere. This is a speech Bush or another Republican should give. Perhaps establishment Republicans aren't aware of how this is playing out or they just don't take it seriously, but Lieberman does. He sees it clearly because it's within his own party.
In light of this evidence, Senator [Jon] Kyl and I thought that calling for the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization was a no brainer. Rather than punishing Iranians indiscriminately, it would apply a set of targeted economic sanctions against the part of the Iranian regime that was responsible for the murder of our troops in Iraq….
First, several left-wing blogs seized upon the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, offering wild conspiracy theories about how it could be used to authorize the use of military force against Iran.
These were absurd arguments. The text of our amendment contained nothing—nothing—that could be construed as a green light for an attack on Iran. To claim that it did was an act of delusion or deception. On the contrary, by calling for tougher sanctions on Iran, the intention of our amendment was to offer an alternative to war.
Nonetheless, the conspiracy theories started to spread. Although the Senate passed our amendment, 76-22, several Democrats, including some of the Democratic presidential candidates, soon began attacking it….
I asked some of my Senate colleagues who voted against our amendment: “Do you believe the evidence the military has given us about the IRGC sponsoring these attacks on our troops?” Yes, they invariably said.
“Don’t you support tougher economic sanctions against Iran?” I asked. Again, yes—no question.
So what’s the problem, I asked. “It’s simple,” they said. “We don’t trust Bush. He’ll use this resolution as an excuse for war against Iran.”
I understand that President Bush is a divisive figure….But there is something profoundly wrong—something that should trouble all of us—when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.
There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base—even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.
Oh, are you curious to know how some of those left-wing blogs Lieberman mentions are reacting to the speech? Here, let me give you an example. From your favorite and mine, Think Progress: Lieberman: 'Paranoid, Hyper-Partisan' "Left-Wing Blogs' Wrote 'Conspiracy Theories' On Iran. Note the sneer quotes in the title. Those are to give the impression that what he said isn't true. I won't excerpt any of it. You can read it yourself to see how it's the usual lies, with links "backing up" their claims that lead back to their previous posts and those of other moonbats, which are also lies and distortions. Again, their readers don't click the links, so they haven't a clue. One thing is for certain though; Think Progress and other outfits like them must be just a little worried that Joe Lieberman has their number. If he's willing to call them out then soon others will, too. And that, I think, is real progress.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
In '88, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis was leading the Democratic White House hopefuls. On April 12, he debated his remaining Democratic rivals in Manhattan. One of them, Sen. Al Gore, mentioned the Massachusetts prison furlough plan that Dukakis had defended. Under that particular program, criminals - even murderers sentenced to life in prison without parole - had been granted, Gore noted critically, "weekend passes." But Dukakis dismissed Gore: "Al, the difference between you and me is that I have run a criminal justice system. You haven't."Pinkerton worked in opposition research for Bush 41, so he knows what he's talking about regarding the 1988 campaign. Others must also be aware of the parallels, specifically people in the Clinton campaign. Could their realization of the trouble she's now in be the reason for the seemingly nonsensical reaction to the debate gaffe?
In that same spring of 1988, Dukakis was also beating the Republicans, forging ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush by 17 points in the polls. Of course Dukakis was ahead; after eight years of Republicans in the White House, voters couldn't be blamed for thinking "time for a change."But Dukakis wasn't destined to be the change that voters were looking for. He had been fatally wounded, politically, by Gore, back in April; he just didn't know it. That seemingly little issue of the weekend passes for first-degree murderers just wasn't going to go away.
Now fast-forward to 2007. I'm long out of partisan campaign politics, but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reminds me a lot of Dukakis. As he was two decades ago, she's from a big state, has a lot of money, is ahead in the polls - and she's been grievously injured. This time, the issue isn't prison furloughs, but driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in her "home" state of New York. Clinton has broadly defended Gov. Eliot Spitzer's unpopular plan, even as most New Yorkers have reviled it.
During the Philadelphia debate of Democratic hopefuls on Oct. 30, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, aiming from way back in the Democratic pack, took a stab at Clinton. Her position was "troublesome," he said, adding, "I think the American people are reacting to it."
Yes, they are, but not inside the "nominating wing" of the Democratic Party, which doesn't worry about illegal immigration. So just as Gore failed to get anywhere in criticizing Dukakis 20 years ago, Dodd is not destined to get any lift from his Clinton criticism.
But the country, of course, is bigger than a few lefty-dominated presidential primaries and caucuses. If Spitzer can't sell his licenses-for-illegals plan to New Yorkers in 2007, how can Clinton hope to defend that plan to Americans in 2008?
The day after the debate I put up a post about the coordinated "Politics of Pile On" campaign that began almost immediately afterward. Later I speculated elsewhere that perhaps she had originally planned to use it in the general election debates but brought it out now because the issue being raised, and her inept handling of it, caught her off guard.
On Friday there were articles in the press expressing disappointment and bewilderment over the tactic of portraying Clinton as being set upon by mean old men. Barack Obama seemed to take advantage of her playing "the gender card." On the same day, E.J. Dionne had an op-ed in The Washington Post titled The Issue the Democrats Dread:
More significant than Hillary Clinton's supposed gaffe at the end of Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate is the subject around which she tiptoed so delicately: immigration. Democrats fear the issue because it could leave them with a set of no-win political choices.Very curious, indeed.
The issue is especially problematic because efforts to appease voters upset about immigration -- including a share of the African American community -- threaten to undercut the Democrats' large and growing advantage among Latino voters. For Republicans, the issue is both a way of changing the political subject from Iraq, the economy and the failures of the Bush presidency and a means of sowing discord in the Democratic coalition.
One poll finding this week that shook Democrats came in a survey conducted by Democracy Corps, a consortium organized by party consultants Stan Greenberg, Al Quinlan and James Carville. It asked voters to pick two from a list of seven problems that explain "why the country is going in the wrong direction."
The survey found that among independent voters, 40 percent -- by far the largest group -- picked this option: "Our borders have been left unprotected and illegal immigration is growing."
By contrast, a lack of action on health care was named by only 24 percent of independents as a core problem, and Iraq by 23 percent.
On Monday I noticed a few left-wing bloggers commenting on the controversy of issuing driver's licenses to illegals. The posts seemed strange because they were trying to play it down by comparing it to illegals opening bank accounts or buying a cup of coffee. One expressed disinterest in the issue, wondering what the big deal is, while at the same time displaying ignorance of it. Granted, these are simply bloggers, but they aren't political dummies. Are they picking up on the same parallels that Pinkerton notes?
Adding to the strangeness were the comments of Bill Clinton I mentioned in my previous post. Will it be suggested from now on that any questions about immigration policy, and Hillary's weakness on the issue, amount to "swift-boating?" If so it will highlight another similarity with the 1988 race. After the famous Willie Horton spot came out and appeared to be doing real damage to the Dukakis campaign, the defense from the Democrats was a chorus decrying the Republicans playing "the race card", supposedly taking advantage of fear of black people in general among whites. To this day hardcore lefties bring up that ad campaign as an example of alleged Republican pandering to racist fears.
It will be interesting to watch in the coming months to see if they continue down this road with the campaign. One thing is certain; Republicans have noticed the weak spot. As Pinkerton notes at the end of his article:
So once again, Republicans are sniffing political blood.h/t Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades
Well, today we have this story from AP:
Oh, brother. Now it's "swiftboating" when Hillary is asked direct questions to which she can't give direct answers. I suppose it's time for Karen Tumulty to write an article for Time describing how Hillary is being mistreated.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former President Clinton on Monday compared Republican criticism of his wife's position on driver's license for illegal immigrants to the ads that helped sink John Kerry's White House hopes in 2004.
"I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again," Clinton told some 3,000 members of the American Postal Worker's Union at a convention.
At the end of a televised Democratic presidential debate last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton hedged on whether she supported a plan by her home state governor, New York's Eliot Spitzer, to issue licenses to illegal immigrants.
Republicans — and her rivals for the Democratic nomination — quickly criticized her answer, accusing her of trying to have it both ways.
But Bill Clinton said the issue is too complicated for sound bites.
"It's fine for Hillary and all the other Democrats to discuss Governor Spitzer's plan. But not in 30 seconds — yes, no, raise your hand," he said.
The former president told the union members not to let the Republican attacks distract them from the important issues of health care and education reform.
He compared the driver's license dustup to television ads during the 2004 presidential campaign that questioned Kerry's patriotism, and campaign commercials in 2002 suggesting that former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was soft on terrorism.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by an extraordinary outpouring of Internet support Monday, hauled in more than $4.2 million in nearly 24 hours.Not mentioned in the story are the antics of Paul's online supporters, who spam internet polls and blog posts, generally making pests of themselves on his behalf. Also left out are his ties to Alex Jones, a well known 9/11 conspiracy theorist as well as the backing of white supremacist and a number of other fringe right groups.
Paul, the Texas congressman with a libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraq pitch, entered heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based giving tied to the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day.
Fawkes was a British mercenary who failed in his attempt to kill King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. He also was the model for the protagonist in the movie "V for Vendetta." Paul backers motivated donors on the Internet with mashed-up clips of the film on the online video site YouTube as well as the Guy Fawkes Day refrain: "Remember, remember the 5th of November."
Paul advocates limited government and low taxes like other Republicans, but he stands alone as the only GOP presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq war. He also has opposed Bush administration security measures that he says encroach on civil liberties.
Even without all that his policy positions themselves, apart from his stance against the Iraq war and in favor of isolationism in general, are rather odd. He wants to return to the gold standard and abolish the federal reserve.
Not surprisingly, his support according to scientific polling hovers in the low to mid single digits. I suppose this goes to show that even candidates with very little actual support among the general population can raise a lot of money from their small groups of diehard boosters.
Yesterday Larry Johnson, moonbat extraordinaire, sent a letter to the committee calling on them to put a hold on the nomination. The signatories listed are a who's who of disgruntled former CIA operatives and other moonbats. I suppose now they'll start working on the full Senate to try persuading them to vote no.
CNN has a story titled Poll results: Waterboarding is torture. Key excerpts:
Asked whether they think waterboarding is a form of torture, more than two-thirds of respondents, or 69 percent, said yes; 29 percent said no.There is no link to the poll itself, so I'm not able to see how the questions were phrased or how much the respondents knew about the issue before being asked. A couple of paragraphs in the story give some indication of how the poll was set up, however.
Asked whether they think the U.S. government should be allowed to use the procedure to try to get information from suspected terrorists, 58 percent said no; 40 percent said yes.
In the procedure, water is used on restrained prisoners to make them feel like they are drowning.Again, I have no way of knowing just how the questions were phrased (if anyone can show me where to view the polling from Opinion Research, please do), but if they were anything like those two statements then it's no wonder the results are as reported. First of all, that's an incomplete explanation of what waterboarding entails. Second, Human Rights Watch is not just some run of the mill "advocacy group". Here's how they're described by discoverthenetworks.org:
Waterboarding was used during the Spanish Inquisition and by Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime and the World War II Japanese military, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) was founded in 1978 as "Helsinki Watch," to monitor the Soviet Union's compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords. Among its founders were Bob Bernstein, CEO of Random House publishers; Aryeh Neier, the current President of the Open Society Institute, a former Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and a co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society in 1959; Orville Schell, Dean of the University of California at Berkley graduate school of journalism and a leftwing journalist; and Jeri Laber, a writer and political activist. In the 1980s, the organization developed a number of "Watch" committees, including Americas Watch, Asia Watch, and Africa Watch, which ultimately united under the umbrella of the U.S.-based HRW in 1988. Today HRW states that its "principle advocacy strategy is to shame offenders by generating press attention and to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on them by enlisting influential governments and institutions" on a wide array of issues.You can see that it's a left-leaning group, to put it mildly, and keep in mind the Open Society Institute is George Soros' baby.
Even as it documented abuses in the Soviet Union, HRW directed much of its censure in the 1980s at the United States. Particularly, the organization denounced the Reagan administration's policy of combating Soviet expansionism in Latin America by aiding anti-Communist governments and opposition forces.According to CNN it's just an advocacy group that lobbies for human rights, and who can disagree with that, right? Also, the title of the story implies that the issue is settled. The people have spoken and declared waterboarding to be torture so the Senate needs to get Mukasey to admit it! As I mentioned the other day, the only reason they want him to make a declaration is so they can get the ball rolling on the war crimes trials.
Update: While I was composing this the usual suspects have chimed in with their responses to the CNN poll.
Andrew Sullivan says Polling Waterboarding - A large majority believes the bleeding obvious. Atrios has a one word title: Torture. We can expect more of this as the day wears on.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 3 -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule Saturday, suspending the constitution amid a heavy security presence including armored personnel carriers on the streets of the capital.This is obviously not a good thing considering Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. The population was already up in arms about Musharraf's dealing with the Supreme Court, even to the point of rioting. Journalists and opposition politicians are to be rounded up according to The New York Times.
Musharraf, who instituted a provisional constitution, was expected to address the nation later and cite continuing fighting in the turbulent Swat Valley as his reason.Opposition parties quickly gathered to denounce the move, which also blocked transmission of private television broadcasts nationwide.
The chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was removed from his job and placed under house arrest. Musharraf had suspended the judge earlier this year, but he was later reinstated.
With his political future hanging on an upcoming Supreme Court decision, Musharraf had been said to be considering the move if the judgment did not go his way.
Adding to the problem is an explosion yesterday, aimed at a Taliban bigwig, that killed 10 people. Many Pakistanis are blaming the US for the attack.
Again, not good. I'll update later as more information comes out.
Others following the story: Hot Air and Captain's Quarters
Photo Credit: AP Photo (from The Washington Post)
I posted yesterday about Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer announcing they'd vote to move the Mukasey nomination for AG out of committee and on to the full Senate where he's expected to be confirmed easily. Well, the predicable responses are coming in this morning. Andrew Sullivan has a melodramatic post titled Schumer and Feinstein Surrender. Here's an excerpt:
Every time the Democrats fold on these matters, Cheney tucks a precedent under his belt. Every time they cave into their cowardice and fear, another critical part of our liberty disappears. These precedents are designed to destroy the rule of law and replace it with the rule of a Decider. And they will last for ever, as will the right to torture, because this war is for ever. This is how democracies perish. The rule of law no longer has any party to defend it.So, our Democracy is finished because Mukasey won't declare Bush, Cheney, etc. war criminals. Keep in mind Sullivan has been pushing that line, that they should be tried at the Hague for war crimes, for quite some time. Oh, and did I mention he calls himself a conservative? He's even written a book called "The Conservative Soul." For someone who calls himself a conservative he certainly has moonbatty opinions.
There's more. From Josh Marshall we get the response from John Dean, Nixon White House Counsel, who just happens to be someone who profits from comparing everything about the Bush administration to Nixon.
As the Senate Democrats complete another sad concession to President Bush, and confirms a nominee who refuses to declare “water-boarding” torture, allow me to offer a brief historical reminder: the Senate Judiciary Committee has conspicuously forgotten that there are direct situational and historical parallels with Judge Mukasey’s nomination to be Attorney General and that of President Richard Nixon nominating Elliot Richardson to be Attorney General during Watergate.By not declaring waterboarding torture and illegal, Mukasey has thrown a wrench into their long held fantasy of getting another Watergate and having everybody from Bush on down tried for war crimes. In fact, they have a lot invested in it. For them Feinstein and Schumer are traitors to the cause. That cause, of course, is their being vindicated, because as I said, they've been hoping for a long time and now it's apparently all shot to hell. Perhaps this explains why Dennis Kucinich now is ready to get the ball rolling on impeaching Cheney.
Nixon’s Attorney General had been removed (and was later prosecuted for lying to Congress) – a situation not unlike Alberto Gonzales’s leaving the job under such a cloud. Nixon was under deep suspicion of covering up the true facts relating to the bungled break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate, not to mention widespread rumors that he had engaged in abuses of power and corrupt campaign practices. Today, Bush is under even deeper suspicion for activities far more serious than anything Nixon engaged in for there is evidence Bush has abused the laws of war, violated treaties, and ordered (or approved) the use of torture and political renditions, which are war crimes.
Before the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee completely cave-in to Bush, at minimum they should demand that Judge Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if war crimes have been committed. If Mukasey refuses he should be rejected. This, indeed, should be a pre-condition to anyone filling the post of Attorney General under Bush.