Saturday, April 17, 2004

Big news from war crimes guy!

Kerry Plays a Fierce Defense:
An angry John Kerry yesterday raged that the White House has a "twisted sense of ethics and morality" as he faced new TV ads that accuse him of voting against U.S. troops in Iraq.

"They don't think twice about trying to pretend to America that I somehow don't care about the defense of our nation," Kerry said as he stumped in Pittsburgh using an American flag as his backdrop.
Hmm, they must have left the North Vietnamese flag on the bus. And I hope that when he got testy, he didn't commit any war crimes!
Kerry got livid after Team Bush went national with an ad that paints Kerry as "wrong on defense" for voting against $87 billion to help rebuild Iraq and buy body armor for U.S. troops - even though he voted for the Iraq war.

The Bush ad - now airing in battleground states - ends with video of Kerry's own tangled explanation of his vote: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
Bwahaha! You can see why Lurch would have his panties in a twist. But then it might really be something else:
Kerry furiously ripped into Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush political adviser Karl Rove because they didn't serve in the military as he did.
Kerry's Vietnam record also came into question this week from his former commanding officer, who questioned whether Kerry deserved the first of his three Purple Hearts, saying he suffered just a tiny scratch. Kerry says that's wrong.
But he promises a new military decoration if he gets elected:

John Kerry's Purple Heart

Bzzzt, thanks for playing!
Fidel and his little thugs

Remember yesterday's story about Cuban thugs roughing up an NGO representative at the UN in Geneva? Well, it turns out they have been making a habit of it - U.S. to file protest over activist attack:
"There has been a series of incidents and intimidation," said Mr. Williamson, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations who leads the U.S. delegation at the session.

In a phone interview yesterday, Mr. Williamson said he had met with European Union counterparts, and they were considering how to file a complaint about the latest attack with the proper U.N. authorities.

"We've already filed letters with the head of U.N. security in Geneva, telling them we're concerned about the security of our delegation and staff," he said.
The attack, which took place immediately after a U.S.-sponsored resolution to condemn Cuba's human rights violations squeaked through by a single vote, was the fourth use or threat of force by a member of the Cuban contingent on a member of the U.S. delegation, and the third on U.N. property.

In the first incident, shortly after the annual session began March 15, a Cuban delegate "threatened" a U.S. delegate in the hallway outside the commission chambers, Mr. Williamson said.

Three weeks ago, a Cuban official attempted to prevent an employee of the U.S. mission from distributing position papers, and the "scuffling" that followed was broken up by a U.N. security guard.

And then, last weekend, a member of the U.S. delegation was jogging on a Geneva street when a Cuban delegate attempted to intimidate him.

"He was out there and a van pulled up and said, 'We're watching you,' " Mr. Williamson said. "This is no way for diplomats accredited by the United Nations to behave."
Actually the standard for UN diplomats is pretty low and I never hold my breath waiting for the UN to do anything about anything. On the other hand, it would really be a shame if some "Islamic terrorists" made a "mistake" and blew up the Cuban delegation by "accident" with a remote control bomb.
Oh Puhleeze!

In an article about Lurch's faulty tax return, the Boston Herald provides this tidbit:
The mix-up comes amid a controversy over a decision by Kerry's wife, who files separately from her husband, not to make public her tax returns.

Heinz Kerry, whose fortune is estimated at about $550 million, said she refused to do so because she is not a candidate for public office.

Although she cannot give more than $2,000 directly to her husband's campaign, Heinz Kerry has said she may run so-called ``issue ads'' to help if her ``family honor'' is attacked.

The ads are legal as long as they are not coordinated with the campaign.
We all know that MoveOn and the other "uncoordinated" groups are bogus, but this would be a new low. The candidates wife takes time off from the campaign trail to throw down some of her millions on "issue ads" but they're "uncoordinated" don't you know. I wonder what "family honor" Teresa could possibly be referring to? I thought there was no honor among thieves.

Friday, April 16, 2004


Kerry Files Amended Tax Return, Pays More
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) has filed an amended 2003 federal income tax return to reflect that he had to pay $11,577 more in taxes. His campaign said Friday that the initial underpayment was due to an accounting error.

The amended form, filed Thursday, said the tax on the sale of Kerry's one-half interest in a painting by Dutch artist Adam Willaerts was inadvertently calculated at the 20 percent rate rather than the 28 percent rate.
The 28 percent rate is the capital gains rate for collectibles. You'd think a big art investor like Lurch would have his accountants well trained in all the nuances.
Sounds like my kind of folks!

Rich Lowry at NRO:
Americans hungry for a mistake-proof party uncompromisingly resolute on national security now have found one — the pre-9/11 Democrats. Created in hindsight and forged in recrimination, the pre-9/11 Democrats are unwilling to let any obstacle stand in the way of their defense of the American homeland. Who knew contemporary Democrats could so readily combine the toughest aspects of J. Edgar Hoover and Douglas MacArthur?

The pre-9/11 Democrats, as portrayed by their reaction to the work of the 9/11 Commission, are not plagued by niggling civil-liberty concerns. They were willing prior to 9/11 — or so they imply now — to brush aside the restrictions on cooperation between the CIA and FBI that had been imposed by liberals throughout the course of three decades. Constitutional worries about infringing on the rights of criminal suspects in the United States? Don't be silly. And give the CIA more money and authority to carry out assassinations and other covert actions while you're at it.

The pre-9/11 Democrats don't care about planning or diplomacy. They were willing to leap into a war in Central Asia on a moment's notice — as soon as President Bush took office — without bothering to set a careful strategy or consult seriously with allies. That might take time. They were willing to preempt a threat while it was still gathering strength and before its murderous potential had become clear.

The pre-9/11 Democrats are ethnically insensitive. They were willing to institute a security lockdown at U.S. airports, with presumably a particular emphasis on scrutiny of young Arab men. They were willing to engage in sweeping ethnic profiling at U.S. flight schools and crack down on lax immigration policies. Ethnic pressure groups be damned.

Finally, the pre-9/11 Democrats are perfectly willing to act on sketchy intelligence. The vaguest and most unconfirmed intelligence reports were enough, prior to 9/11, to prompt sweeping security measures and military strikes overseas.
Yeehaw! Put the hammer down!

Hmmm, this sounds too good to be true.
If this seems out of character, there is a reason. The image of the pre-9/11 Democrats created during the past several weeks is a fantasy, the opportunistic canard of a party only willing to be hardheaded in retrospect and when it serves the cause of damaging Bush. The actual pre-9/11 Democrats have a strong resemblance to the post-9/11 Democrats — hostile to necessary law-enforcement powers, allergic to military force, politically correct on any question touching ethnicity and obsessed with not alienating any international actor who can remotely be considered an ally.
You mean they are just fooling? Who'd have thunk it?
C'mon Teresa, let the little people have a look!

GOP Plays the Teresa $$ Card
There was new GOP pressure on Democrat John Kerry to release the tax returns of his mega-rich $525 million wife Teresa yesterday after it was learned that Kerry once said a politician who refuses to release tax returns can't be trusted.

When his wealthy GOP Senate challenger balked at releasing tax returns in 1990, Kerry demanded that he "come clean" and made it a central campaign issue, repeatedly asking: "What is he hiding?"

At that time Kerry claimed a wealthy candidate must release returns to prove he pays a fair share in "a tax system that isn't fair and lets the super-rich get off."
Sounds right to me, Lurch. So where's the little lady's returns?

Drudge has been all over this and there's all sorts of juicy possibilities. The interesting part to me is how a once nearly broke Lurch now seems be the owner of significant assets that he can cash in to fund his presidential campaign. No one is violating campaign finance laws over there are they? And what other political groups is she financing besides Lurch and the Tides Foundation?

And speaking of Teresa, try to restrain your gag reflex while viewing this Cindy Adams column:
I FIRST met the lady who could be our next first lady nose-to-nose. Flat out on the ground. Teresa Heinz Kerry arrived at my home for lunch, was welcomed by my two Yorkies, and went down on all fours.
When Mrs. Kerry subsequently rose, she saw a New York Post photographer. She'd been up since six, gone non-stop, was heading to a Newsweek shoot and it was raining. A nifty lady who can go with the flow, she sat down at my dressing table, grabbed my hairbrush, blow dryer, roller and comb, then helped herself to my powder, blusher and brushes.
Ewwwww! I guess they haven't heard of hygiene over in Mozambique! More than you want to know by following the link.
Break out the barf bags!

Flip Flop and the Bitch do it for the children

Click the photo for the "story". Rush Limbaugh says it's all part of a plan to make Her Heinous the VP nominee and take the microscope off that wingnut moneybags, Teresa. But I think it's more hormonal than that:

Making goo goo eyes

Ruh Oh! It looks like love! Quoting The American Spectator (scroll down):
Presumptive presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry took his presumptive vice-presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton out for a test drive on Wednesday. And boy did everyone have fun.
Woohoo! But here's a tip for Lurch - don't go for any evening walks in Ft. Marcy Park! You may have two vixens gunning for you!
Where do they think they are? Havana?

(Via Instapundit) Oxblog reports on Castro's thugs beating up a member of a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations in Geneva. Seems the goons were in a frenzy after failing to stop a United Nations Human Rights Commission vote that criticized Cuba's human rights record. Which, of course, is a minor miracle considering the sleazy types that are members of the UN and the "Human Rights Commission."

And speaking of Castro and his sock puppets, there's always Oliver Stone's video lip lock on the old rogue's nether region ("Looking for Fidel") that aired on HBO on the 14th. Ann Louise Bardach interviews Ollie and makes us glad he wasn't around to do a documentary on Stalin's show trials. Virgina Postrel points us to a review by Glenn Garvin that is even more hilarious:
Oliver Stone's latest round of pattycake with Fidel Castro, resembles nothing so much as one of those old the-land-that-time-forgot movies, with a couple of lumbering stop-action dinosaurs wrestling harmlessly in front of a crowd of natives that's trying hard not to look bored while it waits for evolution to take its course.

...he walks among adoring throngs of Cubans, whose burbling praise for the Revolution was so wildly delusional (they claim, among other things, that Cuba is the only country in the world where blacks are permitted to own businesses) that I had to wonder if they weren't a deliberate attempt at sabotaging the documentary.
At times, it's hard to tell who is less lucid, Stone or Castro.

Stone, halting and distracted, seems to be reciting a list he learned 20 years ago as he ticks off the Latin American countries supposedly less democratic than Cuba -- including Brazil and Chile, both now governed by socialists.
Dang! Lula is going to be pissed!
Castro, meanwhile, suffers through some seriously senior moments. What are we to make of this impromptu little speech? ''Today, with a computer and a dozen compact disks, you can hold all the literature ever written,'' he tells Stone. ``So many things have changed. I do not know why the world has been making so much progress to end up in this. I am so sorry for the younger generation.''
Must have been all those 5 hour speeches in the hot sun.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Nothing like campaign finance reform

FEC unlikely to act this year on tax-exempt groups:
WASHINGTON — Federal regulators signaled Wednesday that they are unlikely to curb Democratic-allied independent political groups in time to affect this year's presidential election.

Statements from members of the Federal Election Commission at a hearing indicated that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to line up the necessary votes to impose regulations this year on the groups. The Democratic groups plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to defeat President Bush.

The commission is grappling with how to deal with new tax-exempt groups that are fueled mostly by large contributions from wealthy donors. Attention has focused on at least $15 million being donated by billionaire financier George Soros to the groups Voter Fund, America Coming Together and the Media Fund — all dedicated to defeating Bush and helping Democrats.
The FEC mostly never does anything and then only after the election.
Wednesday's developments come just two weeks after the Republican Party indirectly expressed its own doubts that the FEC will act to curb the outside groups.

The party, which wants the FEC to impose new regulations, filed a complaint against the pro-Democratic groups but asked the commission to dismiss it, which would allow the Republican Party to take its complaint directly to court.
I doubt a court is going to do anything either. Predictably, it's time to start up the equivalent Republican groups.

And in related news - Nation's Gun Lobby Creating News Company:
WASHINGTON - The nation's gun lobby is creating an "NRA news" company that will produce a daily talk show for the Internet, buy a radio station and seek a television deal to spread its gun-rights message nationwide.

Looking for the same legal recognition as mainstream news organizations, the National Rifle Association says it has already hired its first reporter, a conservative talk radio host from Oklahoma. plans to start online broadcasts Friday.

The NRA is taking the step to operate free of political spending limits, hoping to use unlimited donations known as soft money to focus on gun issues and candidates' positions despite the law's restrictions on soft money-financed political ads within days of the election.

"If that's the only way to bring back the First Amendment, we're going to bring it back," Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, told The Associated Press. Under the nation's campaign finance law, he said, "if you own the news operation, you can say whatever you want. If you don't, you're gagged."

I hope Senators McCain and Feingold are real proud of their accomplishment.
It's tin foil beret time!

France's US envoy slams "racist campaign" against French over Iraq war
France's ambassador to the United States denounced what he called a "racist campaign" against the French waged by US media and fueled by the Pentagon since the start of war in Iraq.

Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, told staff, students and diplomats at the University of California at Los Angeles that Fox News and the New York Post, media baron Rupert Murdoch's properties, led the onslaught with a daily barrage of insults.
A vast conspiracy fer sure!
The envoy said the campaign of disinformation included "lies from the Pentagon," but said it ended quickly after he lodged a complaint with US Secretary of State Colin Powell last year.
The wave of insults and disinformation spurred by France's opposition to the US invasion of Iraq has since been halted and relations between the two countries and their peoples were strong, he said.
Dang! No one told me the fun was over!

Jean-David Levitte

(Hat tip: LGF)
Fun with Jaime!

Dick Morris says Gorelick U.S. Official Most Responsible for 9/11.

Mark Levin gives a concrete example in Millennial Mistake.

Nope says Gorelick, the statute of limitations has expired. Andrew McCarthy at NRO - The Appearance of Impropriety:
Chairman Kean should understand his business before he tells America to butt out of it

Compared to unraveling the intricate web of factual, legal, and bureaucratic circumstances attendant to the 9/11 attacks, judging conflicts of interest is Sesame Street stuff. The 9/11 Commission is assessing the intelligence lapses that may have factored into the suicide hijackings; it has been revealed that, as Deputy Attorney General in 1995, Commissioner Jamie Gorelick was a key architect of an information "wall" that virtually guaranteed just the types of intelligence lapses that occurred. That's a conflict, Q.E.D.

If Chairman Tom Kean and the other 9/11 Commission members now rallying around Gorelick cannot grasp that straightforward equation, they've got no business taking on the complexities of international terrorism and intelligence overhaul.
Finally, Gorelick's facile time defense, which Kean and the others have bought onto, is just lame — and is again grounds for concern about the commission's comprehension of simple issues. Gorelick, who was Deputy AG from 1994 until 1997, figures the problem is solved if she recuses herself from questioning witnesses — such as former AG Janet Reno and former FBI Director Louis Freeh — with whom she served closely during those years. Conflicts, however, are not time-specific so much as they are issue-specific. If you and I are investigated for stock fraud in 1997 and you get indicted for fraud in connection with the same stock in 2000, I don't get to be the judge in your case. I don't get to say, "What does 1997 have to do with 2000?" The issue is: Do I have involvement in the business practices and knowledge about your intentions that are core issues of the trial. If I do, someone else ought to be the judge.

The temporal defense is especially troubling for an additional reason. What happened on September 11, 2001, is borne on directly by practices, like the wall, which produced the patchwork body of intelligence, and screwy methods for handling it, that were in effect when al Qaeda succeeded in killing 3,000 of us. It was irresponsible of Gorelick, knowing that, to accept the appointment under those circumstances. But more importantly, what does inviting her to serve her say about the commission and those who designed it? It says we are making a judgment that nothing terribly relevant to 9/11 happened much before the Bush administration came to power. Given that we are in a war, and the body count started in 1993, that is simply stunning. It smacks of politics over a search for truth.
But there's some fun in the deal as the Washington Prowler reports in Gorelicks Her Wounds:
It shouldn't come as a big surprise that 9/11 commission member Jamie Gorelick has hidden agendas and conflicts of interest out the whazoo. After all, she's an old Clinton Administration hand.

Give her credit, though, she apparently isn't ashamed to hide them.
And there's a whole new crop:
According to an associate of hers at the D.C. power litigation shop of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Gorelick has made no secret to friends and associates that she has been speaking regularly with people who prepped her former boss at the Department of Justice, Janet Reno.

While Gorelick is said by knowledgeable sources to have not actively participated in the prepping of Reno -- evidence of this was confirmed by Reno's addled testimony before the commission on Tuesday -- they said Gorelick did take an interest in the former attorney general's testimony preparation, and may have tipped the commission's hand on areas of interest. It was all for nothing, however, given Reno's rambling, at time incoherent and often inaccurate testimony.

"How could she not care?" asked a former Clinton staffer. "It was in her interest to have her former boss do well and defend the agency she helped to run."
It's sure swell of her to want to help the old crank. Of course, then there are her own statements too:
What set 9/11 commission staffers' off was the bomb dropped by Attorney General John Ashcroft, when he detailed the newly declassified memo that further buttressed the legal wall that forbade criminal investigators from sharing intelligence with the intelligence agencies. That memo, written by Gorelick when she was at DOJ, had not been requested by the 9/11 commission, because they didn't know about it.

"When we did our initial interviews with all of the commissioners, we asked if they had any knowledge, background information or potential insights into areas we might cover," says a commission staffer. "We asked Gorelick point blank about this kind of stuff and she said nothing about it. No one saw it coming. Even she seemed surprised. I don't know what she was thinking."

Gorelick was so stunned that she handed off her prepared questions for the attorney general to fellow commissioner, former Sen. Slade Gorton, who asked them for her.

"It's too late for her to step down. She should have had the sense and ethical makeup to not accept the commissioner's job. Now we're stuck, and everything this commission does now has the further stench of politics," says the staffer.
Aw c'mon fellas. She can figure out some way to quit. How about an attack of the vapors? Keep those cards and letters going to your local newspapers, folks!

The laugh's on us!

But then it usually is. Michael Smerconish at NRO - Listen to Lehman:
Richard Ben-Veniste and Bob Kerrey received the lion's share of media attention paid to last week's 9/11 Commission hearing with Condoleezza Rice, thanks to their generally intemperate questioning style. But while Ben-Veniste and Kerrey played to the cameras, it was their colleague, John Lehman, who was breaking new ground with the national-security adviser, but few noticed.
Among Lehman's questions was this: "Were you aware that it was the fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory?"
Watching the hearings on television with the rest of the nation, I wondered what in the world Secretary Lehman was talking about. This, I'd never heard before. Was he saying that the security of our airlines had been sacrificed by political correctness? A few days after the klieg lights had faded, I had the chance to ask him.

"We had testimony a couple of months ago from the past president of United, and current president of American Airlines that kind of shocked us all," Lehman told me. "They said under oath that indeed the Department of Transportation continued to fine any airline that was caught having more than two people of the same ethnic persuasion in a secondary line for line for questioning, including and especially, two Arabs."

Wait a minute. So if airline security had three suspicious Arab guys they had had to let one go because they'd reached a quota?

That was it, Lehman said, "because of this political correctness that became so entrenched in the 1990s, and continues in current administration. No one approves of racial profiling, that is not the issue. The fact is that Norwegian women are not, and 85-year-old women with aluminum walkers are not, the source of the terrorist threat. The fact is that our enemy is the violent Islamic extremism and the overwhelming number of people that one need to worry about are young Arab males, and to ask them a couple of extra questions seems to me to be common sense, yet if an airline does that in numbers that are more than proportionate to their number in particular line, then they get fined and that is why you see so many blue haired old ladies and people that are clearly not of Middle Eastern extraction being hauled out in such numbers because otherwise they get fined."

Wow. How refreshing to hear somebody tell it like it is. Too bad this critically important subject is not receiving the attention afforded to items like the PDB of August 6, 2001. Judging by Secretary Lehman's question of Dr. Rice, this ridiculous policy might still be in place by the Department of Transportation, which would mean our airlines continue to be exposed to great risk of terrorists who travels in threes!
It probably still is in force. We wouldn't want to offend any terrorists, would we?
"I know nussing! Let's just move on!"

The NY Post is a tad bemused by the continued presence of Janet Reno's butt girl, Jaime Gorelick, on the 9/11 commission - National Discgrace, Contd.:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner has demanded the resignation of Jamie Gorelick as a member of the federal 9/11 Commission.

Frankly, given her blatant conflicts of interest, she should never have been appointed in the first place.

One stunning Gorelick conflict emerged at Tuesday's public commission hearing: Attorney General John Ashcroft disclosed that in 1995, Gorelick - while deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton - wrote a memo ordering the FBI to separate counterintelligence work from criminal investigations.

As Ashcroft put it, this memo - which went beyond what federal law required - erected a legal wall between the FBI and CIA, creating "the single greatest structural cause for September 11."

So. How can someone who played a key role in the events under investigation possibly sit as one of the investigators?

Indeed, Gorelick has a proper role to play with the commission - as a witness, grilled under oath about her own actions.
Real good question.
And what was Commission Chairman Tom Kean's response to calls for Gorelick's dismissal or resignation?

"People ought to stay out of our business," he huffed.

Funny, but isn't the commission meant to be conducting the people's business?
That's kinda what I was thinking too. Thanks Tom for pretending to have a set.

But wait, there's more:
As it turns out, the memo is just the tip of the iceberg concerning Gorelick's questionable fitness as a member of the panel.

That's because she's a litigation partner in one of Washington's most high-powered Democratic law firms - Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering.

And that firm represents Prince Mohammed al-Faisal al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family and director of a key Saudi financial agency, against a lawsuit filed by a coalition of 600 Sept. 11 families.

The lawsuit, filed by Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism, seeks "to cut off the pipeline that fueled the al Qaeda terrorists" - a pipeline in which the high-paying client represented by Gorelick's law firm reportedly played a central part.

The prince is chairman of Dar al-Maal al-Islami (DMI), which boasts $1 billion in assets.

One of its subsidiaries is the Al-Shamil Islamic Bank, whose directors include Osama bin Laden's half-brother and his brother-in-law.

According to congressional testimony last October by Jean-Charles Brisard, an international expert on terrorism financing, the Swiss-based DMI "is one of the central structures in Saudi Arabia's financing of international Islam," and is rooted in the House of Saud's "support for the radical Islamic cause."

DMI, according to published reports, was a major shareholder of a Bahamian Islamic bank that was shut down after Washington tabbed it a centerpiece of Osama bin Laden's financial network.

Though Gorelick may not be litigating the lawsuit, as a partner she profits from her firm's work for the Saudi prince.

Gorelick, who might have become attorney general in an Al Gore administration, could get that same job if John Kerry wins in November.
There's a pleasing thought.

So what does this wannabe have to say for herself? - Gorelick: I won't quit Sept. 11 commission
Jamie Gorelick – the former deputy attorney general under President Clinton and current 9-11 Commission member under fire for alleged conflict of interest – is rejecting calls that she step down from her position and become a witness.

"I'm not going to resign from the commission," Gorelick said on CNN tonight. "It's a bogus factual issue. When you ask hard questions of people who are in office and who have been in office, they take offense."
Kinda like you, eh Jaime?
When asked specifically by CNN's Wolf Blitzer if she wrote the "memorandum in '95 that helped establish the so-called walls between the FBI and CIA," Gorelick distanced herself from the matter:

"No, and again, I would refer you back to what others on the commission have said. The wall was a creature of statute. It's existed since the mid 1980s. And while it's too lengthy to go into, basically the policy that was put out in the mid-nineties, which I didn't sign, wasn't my policy by the way, it was the attorney general's policy, was ratified by Attorney General Ashcroft's deputy as well in August of 2001. So we are just going to move on from this. This is not a basis for resignation."
Criminal attorney's first ploy: the defendant didn't do it!
Criminal attorney's second ploy: if the defendant did do it, it was legal anyhow!

National Review has a copy of Gorelick's memo online. It's a tad scarey to think that Jaime is contending that the Justice Department generated memos from her that she didn't know about setting important policy for the FBI and CIA. Identity theft must be rampant. And, Jaime, while the "wall" was in statute, your memo made it worse. Cut to the document:
"These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that [federal law] is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation"
Bzzzt, thanks for playing! The only thing moving on should be Jaime's wide load. Get this clown off the commission.
Good news for wingnut collectors!

The Wacky World of French Intellectuals:
Whence comes the phenomenon known as fundamentalist Islam or Islamism? Some French analysts from a range of disciplines (international affairs, Orientalism, security studies, journalism) have come to an agreement: it comes from. . . the United States. Despite the inherent implausibility of viewing a movement engaged in a sustained attack on Americans as a diabolical U.S. plot, this argument has considerable persuasive power. It presents Islamism as an American attempt to retard progress in Muslim countries and divide them from their natural allies in Europe.
Plenty of similar gems by following the link.
Err America Snooze!

Yesterday's flurry on Drudge and elsewhere about the whacky crew at Err America and some "underfunded checks" have been borne out by a Chicago Tribune story. Note the dignified description of events that Err America has posted:
So now everyone’s saying we’re going down the dumper in Chicago and Los Angeles, but what they don’t tell you is that we’re still on in Portland. And we OWN Portland. And let’s not forget Riverside and Plattsburgh.
Be still my heart!
So cool your jets. Air America Radio isn’t dead, we’re in court and we’re going to slam Liu’s head in a car door. Another metaphor.
Classy! I wonder ole Al Franken wrote it? It's a lot like comedy only a lot less funny.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Hot Media Buzz!

Err America, the leftoid gabfest radio network is having a few problems this morning in LA and Chicago where they are now off the air. Drudge has his siren up with a story about bounced checks and the Freepers are updating their dead pool. It's too early for that - the wingnuts can probably get Ernst Blofeld George Soros to kick in some of his loot if he isn't busy overthrowing any governments.

And speaking of folks whose 15 mintues are definitely up, how about pro blogger Wonkette, aka Anal Marie Cox? AOS HQ reports Breaking News: Wonkette Announces New "Morning Zoo" Format:
W A S H I N G T O N -- In what is being called a "innovation" in the blogosphere, Anna Marie Cox and her promoter Nick Denton have announced that the mildly-popular Wonkette blog will be switching to the "Morning Zoo" format so popular in radio during the 1980s.

"We're going to take political analysis to the next level," a triumphant Denton beamed. "And that next level is wacky sound effects."
The new format will be even more tirelessly promoted by Denton. But this time, he'll be using a new technique: "on-line giveaways." "We'll attract readers by having a Phrase that Pays every day of the show," Denton said. "You just have to know the Phrase that Pays when Cox emails you, and you might win tickets to, say, a Tori Amos concert. Or maybe a year's subscription to Salon magazine. Good stuff like that. Things that everybody really wants."

Denton is cagey about whether he has the first Phrase That Pays chosen. "I don't want to give anything away," he says with a smile, "but let's just say it rhymes with "bass-shucking."

"We've been really pleased with the quality of Anna's site so far," Denton said. "But we've always thought it was just missing a few key ingredients. Switching to a Morning Zoo format will give us those missing ingredients-- originality, humor, and class.."
Don't spoil it for her regular fans, Nick!
Now here's an interesting tax return

Having just paid my annual tribute to the powers and principalities, I was interested to hear that John Kerry released his 2003 return and (finally) his returns from 1999-2002. And what a year the long faced fellow had in 2003! See John Kerry’s Bright Financial Picture:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's largest single source of income in 2003 came from the sale of his half-interest in a painting by a 17th-century Dutch artist, according to tax returns released Tuesday by the Kerry campaign.

Kerry's 2003 return shows that he received $175,000 as his part from the sale of a work by the 17th-century Dutch seascape painter Adam Willaerts.
Ain't that a pip? I wonder how much I could get for my "Elvis on Velvet" or "Dogs Playing Cards"? I wonder how Lurch came to be part owner of a fancy painting?
The return says Kerry acquired his half of the painting for $500,000 in May 1996 and sold his portion in March 2003 for $675,000.

In 1996, the year he acquired his half of the $1,000,000 picture, Kerry reported a total income of $143,795.
Just the kind of investment one should make with over 3 times one's annual salary! Hmm, it kinda makes you wonder who he bought it from and who actually coughed up the cash? Maybe he got a low interest loan from a pal? I wonder who that might be?
The return does not say who owned the other half of the painting, which sold in 2003 for a total of $1,350,000, but it was presumably Kerry's multimillionaire heiress wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. The two file separate tax returns, and the campaign did not release any information about Mrs. Kerry's income or taxes.
So did Teresa just buy back Lurch's half or did they actually sell it? And why isn't the candidate's wife releasing her returns too?

But here's the part I like best:
In all, taking into account losses from investments, Kerry reported a total 2003 income of $395,338. His total federal tax bill was $90,575. He had $27,277 of that withheld from his paychecks and paid the rest, $63,298, with his tax return.
I wonder how the lad avoided a heap of underpayment penalties? Maybe he took in most of the loot in the 4th quarter - you know, about the time that he was seriously running for President? That certainly was fortunate!
Skimming the pond scum

NY Post - Scandal of Dems Who Put Politics Above Truth
Now there is no doubt that the Democratic attack dogs on the national 9/11 commission are embarked on a partisan mission: To defeat George W. Bush in November. They want this more than they want the United States to win the war on terror.

Indeed, more than they want to deliver truth to Americans everywhere, but especially to the families of the 9/11 victims - who expect better, and certainly deserve it.

And John F. Kerry, the Democrat who presumes to the presidency, is just fine with all this.

What a disgrace.
Indeed. Then there's the Teresa Kerry funded Jersey Girls, known at your local big media outlet as The Professional 9/11 Widows:
A fair number of the Americans not working in the media may, on the other hand, by now be experiencing Jersey Girls Fatigue--or taking a hard look at the pronouncements of the widows. Statements like that of Monica Gabrielle, for example (not one of the Jersey Girls, though an activist of similar persuasion), who declared that she could discern no attempt to lessen the casualties on Sept. 11. What can one make of such a description of the day that saw firefighters by the hundreds lose their lives in valiant attempts to bring people to safety from the burning floors of the World Trade Center--that saw deeds like that of Morgan Stanley's security chief, Rick Rescorla, who escorted 2,700 employees safely out of the South Tower, before he finally lost his own life?

But the best known and most quoted pronouncement of all had come in the form of a question put by the leader of the Jersey Girls. "We simply wanted to know," Ms. Breitweiser said, by way of explaining the group's position, "why our husbands were killed. Why they went to work one day and didn't come back."

The answer, seared into the nation's heart, is that, like some 3,000 others who perished that day, those husbands didn't come home because a cadre of Islamist fanatics wanted to kill as many of the hated American infidels in their tall towers and places of government as they could, and they did so. Clearly, this must be a truth also known to those widows who asked the question--though in no way one would notice.
They're enjoying their 15 minutes too much to care.

And then there's the puzzling case of 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick:
For those of us who were in the trenches of the struggle against militant Islam beginning in the early 1990s, it is jarring to hear, of all people, Jamie Gorelick - now a member of the 9/11 Commission - hectoring government officials about their asserted failure to perceive how essential it is that the right pieces of intelligence get into the right hands.
Commissioner Gorelick, as deputy attorney general - the number two official in the Department of Justice - for three years beginning in 1994, was an architect of the government's self-imposed procedural wall, intentionally erected to prevent intelligence agents from pooling information with their law-enforcement counterparts. That is not partisan carping. That is a matter of objective fact. That wall was not only a deliberate and unnecessary impediment to information sharing; it bred a culture of intelligence dysfunction. It told national-security agents in the field that there were other values, higher interests, that transcended connecting the dots and getting it right. It set them up to fail. To hear Gorelick lecture witnesses about intelligence lapses is breathtaking.
And even more galling for the Donks, it was John Ashcroft who pointed it out:
Attorney General John Ashcroft turned the tables on the 9/11 commission yesterday, blaming legal restrictions, including a memo written by one of commission's own members, for barring investigators from sharing information that might have stopped the terror attacks.

Ashcroft blasted the "legal wall" put into effect in 1995 which stopped information flowing between intelligence agents and criminal probers.

In a moment of high drama, Ashcroft made his point by referring to a just-declassified memo he brought to the hearings.

"Full disclosure compels me to inform you that the author of this memorandum is a member of the commission," he said.

Ashcroft, the target of criticism by earlier witnesses, was referring to Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general under Janet Reno and now one of the commission's 10 members.

"The simple fact of Sept. 11 is this," Ashcroft said. "We did not know an attack was coming because for nearly a decade our government had blinded itself to its enemies."

"Even if they could have penetrated [Osama] bin Laden's training camps, they would have needed a battery of lawyers" to take action, he said. "The wall left intelligence agents afraid to talk to criminal prosecutors or agents."

Gorelick, who wrote the "wall" memo to then-FBI Director Louis Freeh that codified the restrictions, was not visibly surprised by Ashcroft's move, although other commission members seemed taken aback.
Exactly why is she on the commission? And why doesn't she resign now?

Andrew McCarthy has more on the whole "wall" business going back to 1978 when the whiners in Congress and Jimmy Carter decided to cripple CIA and FBI intelligence and counterintelligence operations although Gorelick did her best to "enhance" it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Sounds pretty good ... and pretty bad

This Sunday, the Raleigh News and Observer ran a cluster of articles about Brazilian farming - Who feeds the world? You might think it's us; try Brazil. Cheap land, cheap labor, minimal government interference, and no ecoweenies. What's not to like? It's worth a read, even if you aren't much interested in agriculture. The only real question is when the "socialists" currently running Brazil via their support in the pesthole urban areas drag the whole thing down.

And speaking of which - Rio de Janeiro state plans to wall off slums:
The government of Rio de Janeiro state yesterday proposed to build a wall around its sprawling favelas in an effort to help control rampant crime in the picture postcard city.

"The wall won't put an end to violence [in the slums] but if we don't contain it, it will destroy the [surrounding] forest, the economy of Rio de Janeiro and the lives of the city's residents," Luiz Paulo Conde, deputy governor, said on Monday.

The proposal comes after yet another wave of violence rocked parts of the city during the Easter holidays, shutting down commerce, and killing 10 people, including civilians, police and gang members.
The unrest broke out when a rival gang on Friday sought to invade and occupy Rocinha, Latin America's largest shantytown, in an attempt to control the drug trade and steal cars.

The episode illustrates not only the power of drug traffickers in Rio but also the ineffectiveness of the police. Hidden TV cameras have repeatedly filmed police officials and prison guards turning a blind eye on drug traffickers and even taking bribes from them. Parts of Rocinha at the weekend resembled a battlefield.

Drug gangs armed with grenades and machine guns, fired relentlessly and local residents were caught in the crossfire.
Must have been a hot time in the old town.
Stand back, folks! He may hurt himself!

Patting himself on the back, that is. The NY Times gives us a progress report on Bubba Clinton's much delayed memoirs - Timing of Clinton Memoir Is Everything, for Kerry
As Bill Clinton seeks to finish his memoirs, leading Democrats are voicing concern that the book could overshadow Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign, diverting attention to Mr. Clinton's outsize legacy of scandal and achievement.
I must have missed the achievement part.
Many Democrats said they wanted the book published as far as possible before the election and, certainly, before the Democratic National Convention in late July. They fear that the book will embolden Mr. Clinton's foes to turn out and vote for President Bush.

Mr. Clinton, for his part, has increased the nervous speculation about the book in Democratic circles by making a habit of picking up the phone to regale friends with long passages and even chapters of his prose. Mixing boyish enthusiasm with a craving for approval, people who have received the calls said, he has proudly narrated excerpts about everything from college antics with his pals at Georgetown to his 1995 standoff with Republicans that led to a government shutdown.
Wasn't the latter when the fat girl showed up with the pizza and wanted to show Bubba her thong?

Anyhow, I don't think the Donks have much to worry about - who could wade through 800 pages of self-indulgent reminiscences by the big bloviator?
Ralphie likes the old tunes best!

Nader tells youths to brace for draft:
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader this weekend warned his constituents that a military draft is pending, and asked younger voters to prepare.
"I don't think that Ralph feels that the draft is imminent, but we are looking at the shortage of troops in Iraq and the calls from [Senator John] Kerry for 40,000 more troops. What Ralph is saying is that if students don't start to organize right now, it will be too late," Mr. Zeese said.
And Ralphie just wanted to help, right? How come no Islamic wingnut ever musses Ralphie's hair?

And speaking of old tunes, how about Creating a New Army of Patriots?
As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service.
Don't worry though, peaceniks! Although Lurch isn't real clear on the concept, it seems to mostly involve singing Kumbaya around the campfire, if having a campfire isn't ecologically unsound. It'll fill all the usual suspects with nostalgia for the good ole days.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Today's Hoots

Yep, it's plural. From ScrappleFace - Bush Failed to Stop al Qaeda During Clinton Years (heck, I failed to stop the Islamic whackjobs during the Carter Years) and August 6 PDB Reveals CIA Agents Rely On 'TV News':
(2004-04-12) -- After careful analysis, the now-famous President's Daily Brief (PDB) memo from August 6, 2001 seems to reveal that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency relies heavily on a previously-unknown intelligence source, code-named 'TV News.'
"When you say 'CIA Agents' most people picture James Bond-style spies, sleuthing around at risk of life and limb," said one unnamed source at the CIA (who is not Valerie Plame). "But most of the time, we're flopped on the couch, eating Pop-Tarts and watching the top three news networks -- FoxNews, CNN and al Jazeera. Of course, it's all in a top-secret, secure location and the TV satellite signal is encrypted."

The source noted that the CIA uses "descrambling" technology, purchased on the cyber-black market, to decode the satellite 'TV signal'.
And for the really tough cases they call out Joe "Secret Squirrel" Wilson for a bout of tea drinking.
Another big honking surprise

Iran, Hezbollah Aid Crazed Cleric
Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah are secretly providing outlawed Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr with money, training and logistical support for his violent campaign against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, The Post has learned.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials said last night there is evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the security services loyal to Iran's hard-line religious leader Ayatollah al Khameini, have funneled as much as $80 million into Shiite charities established by al-Sadr's influential family that have been diverted to fund his fanatic al-Mahdi militia.

Intelligence sources also said operatives from the Lebanese Hezbollah, a Shiite terror group created by Iran, have trained 800 to 1,200 al-Mahdi fighters in guerrilla warfare and terrorist techniques at three camps in Iran near the Iraq border.

Al-Sadr's group is also believed to have been recently provided with 800 satellite phones and new radio broadcasting equipment by diplomats at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, sources told The Post.
Dang, those 25 Hellfire missiles went off course and landed on the Iranian embassy! But save a few for the yapping dogs at al-Jazeera.
Google Bomb Hijinks!

Esoteric Diatribe gets some ink for the Waffles Google bomb - Kerry gets served up with 'waffles'

Sunday, April 11, 2004

I've got to confess! I knew! And I didn't do much about it!

Yep. I've known since 1977 that Islamic wingnuts might hijack an aircraft and try to kill a bunch of people in a big building. And I didn't do a thing about it other than not vote for the party that likes to suck up to goons.
I'm so surprised!

On Friday - 88 held as illegal immigrants after LA-to-Newark flight
NEWARK, N.J. - Acting on a tip that a plane carrying scores of illegal aliens was heading to Newark Liberty International Airport, federal agents detained 88 people, all Latin American immigrants who had flown here from Los Angeles.

The detainees were being held at locations across northern New Jersey on Friday. Their cases will be presented to an immigration judge in coming weeks, said Janet Rapaport, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Fifty-three aliens came from Mexico, 16 from Guatemala, 16 from Ecuador, two from El Salvador and one from Honduras.
Deportation proceedings will begin against the detainees as part of their hearings, Rapaport said.
Full employment for immigration lawyers!
Continental Airlines flight 1803 from Los Angeles landed at Newark early Thursday. Continental spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said the flight had 200 passengers aboard. He said passengers are not required to show proof of citizenship before boarding domestic flights.
But they do have to show photo ID. So c'mon Rahsaan, what did they use?
Federal authorities have conducted similar enforcement actions at Los Angeles International Airport for years, but the number of passengers detained Thursday was "unusual" for a single flight, an airport spokeswoman said.

"This is an ongoing issue for Customs and Border Protection," Los Angeles International spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
An "issue"? It's a monumental disgrace.

But wait, there's more! And catch the nuance since it's from the NY Times - More Travelers Are Detained at Newark. Those pesky travelers!
Federal agents detained 42 people suspected of being illegal immigrants and arrested four others yesterday at Newark Liberty International Airport in the second crackdown in three days on people from Latin countries arriving in Newark from Los Angeles, the authorities said.
Civil liberties lawyers and advocates for immigrants said last week that the detentions on Thursday raised questions about the law and immigration policy, and that such mass detentions were uncommon.
Raise questions about the "policy"? Heck with the "policy," what about airline security and border protection?
They finally noticed!

It's that Mark Morford loon again - 3 Staffers Suspended Over SF Gate Column:, the Web site of The San Francisco Chronicle, suspended three staffers for a column that the site's boss said was "grotesquely outside the standards that we have."

Robert Cauthorn, vice president of digital media for The Chronicle, suspended writer Mark Morford, news editor Vlae Kershner and features editor Amy Moon for a week for their role in the incident.

Moon and Kershner were suspended without pay, starting yesterday. Morford, a union member, will be paid during his suspension, which started Monday, although he was told the suspension might result in his being fired.
Follow the link for what moonbat Morford did this time, but frankly it seems pretty mild compared to his usual screeds about his sex toy collection. Don't let the garage door hit ya on the butt, Mark!

UPDATE: Giving the article another read, it occurs to me that if I felt inclined to feel sympathy for anyone at the Chronicle, it would be for the two unfortunate editors who got suspended without pay. Can you imagine having to edit Morford's bizarre rantings week after week because some clueless suit thinks he's "edgy" and then one day the big cheese falls off the crapper in shock because he sees a column that is "grotesquely outside the standards that we have." Er, how could he tell? They must be some interesting standards if what Morford was doing before fit right in.

And it being San Francisco, I'm sure there will be a protest demonstration to reinstate ole Markie. Hopefully, with lots of pictures.