Wednesday, 23 May 2007

IRAQ: PRINCIPLE AND POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY

Ken Berwitz

Yesterday the Democratic congress did an abrupt about-face and removed all timelines from the Iraq military funding bill.  They did this after months of proclaiming as loudly as they could, to anyone who would listen, that they would not do it. 

Remember that "mandate" they had from the people last November?  The one that you cannot find on paper anywhere, but was unilaterally declared by Democrats and seconded by media?  Well, President Bush stood strong against their phantom "mandate" and Democrats backed down.

Was it fear of President Bush that made them do it?  Not a chance. Hate and fear often go together hand in hand, but in this case Democrats, in aggregate, hate Bush but do not fear him at all.  Remember Mr. Bush's low job approval numbers in all those polls?

I can't prove it, but it's hard not to conclude that they caved because THEIR poll numbers are no better than Mr. Bush's and actually, in the most recent polls, are even worse.  As I cited yesterday, the last three job approval polls for President Bush average to only 34%.  But the last three job approval polls for the Democratic congress that's supposed to have this "mandate"?  An average of 32%. 

Thus the reason for their U-turn, in my opinion, is congressional Democrats coming to the realization that, whatever voters think of why and how we got into Iraq, they do not want us to leave in defeat.  And they understand that handing the enemy a schedule of withdrawal is a blueprint for telling them how to fight most effectively.  For this reason, enough voters have been persuaded (correctly) that a prescribed timetable is a recipe for exactly the defeat they do not want, to make it a political liability for Democrats.

You may or may not like President Bush, but there is no doubt that, in Iraq, he has stood for what he believes, even in the face of impossibly harsh media criticism, relentless daily attack from Democrats and the dropping of his poll numbers to the low and mid 30% range.  HE is acting out of principle.

The Democratic leadership, by contrast, seems clearly to have gone back on its own bravado-filled position regarding a timetable, because they have seen their poll numbers drop to Bushian levels and even lower.  THEY are acting out of political expediency.

Regardless of whether it is borne of principle or political expediency, this war remains in progress.  Maybe, just maybe, it would be better for everyone if politicians worried more about the fact that international terrorism has made Iraq their key battleground, and less about who gets the better headline tomorrow or a really good segment on the Today show.

J Hauser Ken, Great blog! My biggest criticism of all of this is the lack of President Bush taking his convictions to the American public. He has the *bully pulpit* if he would use it. He could ask the American public for support and to sacrifice. The sacrifice is learning patience! The President must tell us what we are to do to support him and this war! (05/23/07)


WHO DO YOU WANT TO PROTECT US?

Ken Berwitz

If I saw that question, I'd probably be thinking that it was less a "who" than a "how".  Specifically, I'd want to be talking about people who understood the terrorist threat and how it jeopardizes our country, our civilization and our lives.

But some people are so off the charts that they make it a "who".  And john edwards, the human oil slick who has no qualifications to be President, happens to be one of them, as you can see below:

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Edwards: Move Past 'War on Terror'
May 23 11:36 AM US/Eastern
By BETH FOUHY
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Democrat John Edwards Wednesday repudiated the notion that there is a "global war on terror," calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained American military resources and emboldened terrorists.

In a defense policy speech he planned to deliver at the Council on Foreign Relations, Edwards called the war on terror a "bumper sticker" slogan Bush had used to justify everything from abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison to the invasion of Iraq.

"We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq military that is mission focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes," Edwards said in remarks prepared for delivery. "By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have setthat we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam."

In the first presidential debate last month in South Carolina, Edwards was one of four Democratsincluding Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravelwho said they did not believe there was a global war on terror. Front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama indicated that they did.

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Is this who you want to protect us?  Someone so committed to the LAMBs (Lunatic-left And Mega-moonbat Brigades) that he denies terrorism is being fought on a multi-national scale? 

Edwards, from a purely political standpoint, has correctly determined that, in today's Democratic party, there is a large niche segment of LAMBs, who will vote for the most leftward major candidate.  And he is determined to be their guy.  I have to admit that making imbecilic statements like this puts him well on their road. 

Now, who else will vote for someone who says this?  If you're not a LAMB, that is where you come in.  Is this the guy you want as commander in chief?  As the nation's policymaker? 

Think about it.


THE OVERSIGHT CONGRESS

Ken Berwitz

Here is the beginning of an article in www.politico.com  about how the new Democratic congress is performing - specifically what they are and are not accomplishing.

Please note that the entire article (certainly the headline) is quite sympathetic to Democrats;  hardly surprising given that one of its co-authors is formerly of the Washington Post and the other came to politico.com from Frontline.  But even with two probably-sympathetic authors, it's hard to come to a positive conclusion about what Democrats are doing in this legislative session.  The bold print is mine:-

The Oversight Congress: Trouble for Bush

By: Josephine Hearn and Jim VandeHei
May 22, 2007 06:00 PM EST

The new Democratic majority's zeal for congressional investigations goes well beyond Alberto Gonzales and the fired federal prosecutors.

Aided by a new investigative team including a former mob prosecutor and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Democrats have launched more than three dozen probes of the administration ranging from the White House to obscure agency heads. The House Oversight Committee alone has conducted 20 investigations.

With few legislative accomplishments in hand -- and only a few prospects in the offing -- it seems plain the 110th is shaping up as "The Oversight Congress."

We're in the middle of a war in Iraq and an ever more fragile situation in Afghanistan.  Iran is threatening to start a nuclear holocaust.  Gas prices are soaring as we continue to ignore our enormous energy resources and instead allow people who hate us to control what energy we get.  We are being inundated by illegal immigrants who demand social services paid for entirely by legal citizens. 

And the Democratic congress's answer?  Let's GET the Bush administration, anyone we can.  That's much more important than those other little trifles.

There's only one appropriate ending for this blog:

"CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU............."


JON MONEYBAGS & CARLA HOMEWRECKER

Ken Berwitz

Do I seem tiresome as I blog over and over again about the difference in media coverage between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to scandalous behavior?  I'm sorry if I do.  But the hits just keep coming and coming.  Here's the latest - bold print is mine:

From today's New York Times:-

-------------------------------------------------------------------

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's multimillionaire governor gave his ex-girlfriend, a powerful union leader, more than $6 million when they broke up in 2004, The New York Times reported Wednesday

Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, have repeatedly refused to discuss the financial arrangement between them . The newspaper cited unidentified lawyers familiar with the deal and union officials who conferred with Katz during recent contract negotiations in its report.

The Times said the sources wanted anonymity because they feared political retribution.

It also said its investigation found no clear explanation as to why Corzine paid the money.

The agreement reportedly included a trust for Katz's two children, now 12 and 15, to attend college, a sport utility vehicle that cost about $30,000 and a cash payment used by Katz to buy a $1.1 million condominium in the same building where Corzine lives.

Mortgage records revealed in 2005 that Corzine gave Katz a $470,000 loan to buy a different home. The loan was forgiven around the time Corzine announced his gubernatorial bid in late 2005.

NOTE:  Here comes my favorite part of the article

A gubernatorial ethics advisory panel recently determined the payments neither caused a conflict for Corzine nor tainted recent state worker contract talks involving Katz's union because the money was paid before Corzine became governor in 2006. -

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How convenient!!!  Corzine was a SENATOR at that time, not the Governor.  So we have a GUBERNATORIAL ethics investigation. 

Keep in mind that New Jersey is a bluest-of-blue state.  It's probably all you have to know here.

This story has been out there literally for years.  And finally, after all this time, we see a single article in the NY Times and probably (I'm guessing here) a few New Jersey newspapers.  Now watch it fade away into nothingness.  Then think about what would have happened if Jon Moneybags was a Republican.

If you want a terrific timeline of the Jon Moneybags/Carla Homewrecker escapade, one that will make you wonder how in the world even a biased media could have let Corzine run a senate and then governor campaign without being nailed on it every day, go to http://enlightennj.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html.  You won't believe your eyes.

Tom Foley resigned in disgrace because he sent suggestive private messages to a couple of pages, neither of whom, as it turned out, was underage.  There has never been any accusation that he ever so much as laid a hand on them.  But Jon Moneybags Corzine dumps his wife of 33 years to consort with the head of the largest employee union in the state he is senator of?  And then gives her millions and millions of dollars, with no apparent reason to do so?  NO PROBLEM.  Nothing to see here, just keep moving, folks.

It's good to be a Democrat.


GUEST COMMENTARY: JAMES DUNNIGAN

Ken Berwitz

I just read a very interesting commentary by James Dunnigan on why Islamic militant men hate women.  Mr Dunnigan is quite a personality, as you can see by reading his biography (http://jimdunnigan.com/bio.htm#top).

I'm not sure I fully agree with Mr. Dunnigan about Islam and women, but I agree with a lot of it.  And since his analysis is so worth reading and thinking about, I'm putting it here for you to see.  The bold print is mine:

-

Why Islamic Militants Hate Women
by
James Dunnigan
May 18, 2007

Discussion Board on this DLS topic

One reason for Islamic terrorism is there are too many Moslems. At least in the sense that the economies of Islamic countries cannot create enough jobs for all the young people coming of age. Consider that for the last fifty years, the population of all Moslem countries has tripled. That's population growth that is more than double the rate of the world as a whole, and about ten times the rate of Europe. It's about five times the rate in the United States.

Many of those unemployed young men are angry, and making war is a typical activity of angry young men. But the women are not too happy either, and this is becoming one a major threat to Islamic terrorists. In Islamic societies, women's activities are greatly restricted. One thing they are encouraged to do is have lots of children. Many women in Islamic countries are rebelling against this. You don't hear much about this, because women don't rebel in the same loud, headline grabbing way that men do. What unhappy women often do is stop having children. Not so easy to do, you think? Well, think again.

The rest of the world has found that the best way to curb population growth is to give women educational and economic opportunities. This actually works too well, with many industrialized nations producing so few children, that their populations are shrinking. The primary way around this is allowing migrants from higher population countries. In Europe, this has meant lots of Moslems. While this has brought in some terrorists, the vast majority of migrants are looking for economic and educational opportunities. But it's in Europe that you get the best look at the womens revolt in the Islamic world. The men are fighting back, and the rebellious Moslem women murdered in Western countries get reported. But they are now becoming news in countries like Pakistan as well.

While Islamic countries tend to have very low levels of education, especially for women, the introduction of satellite television and DVDs has enabled even illiterate women to learn that there are other options. Ignorance is an excellent form of control, but when the ignorance is lost, so is the control.

Thus in most Islamic countries, the women are having fewer children, and making more noise about economic and educational opportunities. This resonates with some of the better informed Islamic men. One reason the West, and other parts of the world, have enjoyed much better economic growth than the Moslem countries, is that they have added large number of educated women to their work force.

Losing control of the women is something that makes Islamic conservatives very angry. Murderously angry. This is a vicious, lethal battle taking place largely out of the media spotlight. But, long term, it is destroying the source of Islamic terrorism.

 


THE DEMOCRATIC COMMITMENT TO ETHICS

Ken Berwitz

You'd think Democrats would at least pay attention to THEIR OWN RULES, that they JUST PUT IN PLACE, wouldn't you? 

Well, think again:-

Democrats turn a blind eye to rule breakers in their own ranks
By Amanda Carpenter
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday night House Democrats refused to reprimand Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) for threatening a Republican colleague in a manner that violates newly installed, Democrat-crafted ethics rules.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, alleges after he tried to strip a $23 million earmark that Murtha inserted into an intelligence spending bill for his district, Murtha lashed out.

Rogers claims that Murtha shouted the following threat: I hope you don't have any earmarks in the defense appropriation bill because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever.

Rogers reiterated this in his May 21 floor statement that introduced a resolution that formally reprimands Murtha. Rogers said that his response was to shout back at the Pennsylvania congressman: This is not the way we do things here and is that supposed to make me afraid of you?

As Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Murtha is a key decision maker in determining which districts will receive federal defense dollars. Murtha does not deny saying he would withhold federal dollars from Rogers for voting against his earmark.

Unfortunately for Murtha, the code of conduct package his close friend Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) ushered in when she took over the House contains a two-line provision that prohibits exactly the kind of threat Murtha made to Rogers. Rule 16 of the Houses new Official Code of Conduct states no members may condition any earmark on any vote cast by another member.

After the incident, Murtha issued a brief statement that only said, "The committee and staff give every Democrat and Republican the same consideration. We have extensive hearings and every request is given careful consideration. We will continue to do just that.

The House voted 219-189 against Rogerss resolution on Tuesday evening.

Two Democrats, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) and Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.) crossed party lines to vote in favor of the reprimand. Rep. Tim Murphy (Pa.) was the only Republican to support to tabling the resolution.

Murthas disputed earmark funds the National Drug Intelligence Center located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Last year, the House Government Reform Committee said the center should be shut down and, in his proposed budget, President Bush designated $16 million to close it. Murtha, however, used his powerful position on the Appropriations Committee to secure funding for the NDIC.

To stymie the project, Rogers tried to attach an amendment to the intelligence appropriations bill that would require the Justice Departments inspector general to audit the Johnstown-based NDIC. His amendment was turned away by the Rules Committee. Then, Rogers got a motion accepted to cut the funding for the project outright.

Instead of routing the $23 million to Murthas district, Rogers proposed redirecting it to fund human intelligence programs. Rogerss amendment to do this was defeated 181-241, largely on party lines.

Piling onto Murthas ethical troubles is Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R.-Mich.), ranking member of the Intelligence Committee. Hoekstra charges that even the way Murtha inserted the NDIC earmark into the intelligence bill violated House rules. According to Hoekstra, Murtha sent in his earmark certification letter for the NDIC five weeks after the committees deadline and did not send a proper copy to Hoekstras office.

Rule 17 of the new Code of Conduct requires that all earmarks be disclosed in writing to the chairman and ranking member of the governing committee.

On May 10, Hoekstra complained on the House floor that The process that was used for the earmarks on this bill did not follow all of the rules that we had agreed up in the committee and perhaps inconsistent with the rules of the House.

The House resolution voted on May 22 did not contain any references to this ethics violation.

Speaker Pelosi defended Murtha on the May 20 edition of ABCs This Week. Congressman Murtha enjoys an excellent reputation in the Congress on both sides of the aisle," she said. "He writes the defense appropriation bill in a bipartisan way each year and with the complete involvement of the Republicans as to who gets what on the Republican side.

Murtha was Pelosis first pick to become Majority Leader after Democrats won the midterm election, but Rep. Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) was elected to the post over Murtha. 

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I think my favorite bold-print part of this expose is where Nancy Pelosi says that... "Congressman Murtha enjoys an excellent reputation in the Congress on both sides of the aisle". 

For the record, John Murtha has an appallingly BAD reputation on both sides of the aisle, as an unindicted co-conspirator in the "ABSCAM" scandal, and a pork barreller who passed tens of millions to his brother and close pal, in defense contracts.  As I've mentioned before, C.R.E.W., a left wing watchdog organization, considers him one of the five most corrupt house members in congress. 

Now, when do you think mainstream media are going to report this?  Well, to paraphrase the great George Gershwin, "In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they're only made of clay, but media bias is here to stay..."  There's your answer.


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