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Archive for August, 2006

That’s what this USA Today article is suggesting. Here’s the main section of the article:

“The only place they have to go is down,” says Fred Rozell, gasoline analyst at the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). “We’ll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving.” Travel organization AAA foresees prices 10 cents a gallon lower by the end of next week. It reported a nationwide average of $2.84 Tuesday, the lowest since April 20.
It’s good news for consumers and the economy. Continued lower prices “may act like a tax cut” and stimulate spending, says Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City in Cleveland. He calculates that higher energy prices the first six months cut growth of consumer spending 1 percentage point.

When AAA makes gas price predictions, it’s usually a reliable forecast. The other forecasts seem to be bolstered by anecdotal evidence of dropping prices at the pump. It might also signal a drop in demand caused by an economic slowdown. We’ll have to see if what’s causing the drop. Either way, it’s welcomed.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Jack Kelly wrote a great article about Plamegate that’s well worth reading.

A new book by Michael Isikoff, an investigative reporter for Newsweek, and David Corn, who writes for the far left wing magazine The Nation, casts many powerful people in Washington in an unflattering light, but not the people who Mr. Isikoff and Mr. Corn wish to besmirch.
A brief review for those of you who have lives, and who consequently haven’t been following closely the details of the Plame Name Game: In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush said: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
First in leaks to reporters, and then in his own op-ed in the New York Times, a retired diplomat, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, said the president was lying. His claim to speak with authority was that in the spring of 2002, the CIA had sent him to Niger to see if Saddam had tried to buy uranium there.

As I said way back when, I didn’t take Wilson’s accusations, made in his now infamous NY Times op-ed, seriously because people that get sent on CIA junkets sign a nondisclosure agreement prior to their junket. The fact that Wilson leaked information about the trip and wasn’t even investigated for wrongdoing was a bright red flag for anyone interested in the truth.

Mr. Wilson’s charge was important because it marked the beginning of the “Bush lied” meme about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But investigations by the Senate Intelligence Committee; the Robb-Silberman Commission on prewar intelligence, and the British Butler Commission all concluded it was Mr. Wilson who was not telling the truth. Saddam had indeed tried to buy uranium in Africa, as even Mr. Wilson himself had acknowledged to the CIA officers who debriefed him after his Niger trip.

I’ve written many times that the easiest way to tell if Joe Wilson was lying was to see if his lips were moving. He’s that dishonest. These investigations bear witness to that.

Clarice Feldman, a Washington, D.C. lawyer, described Mr. Armitage’s silence as “inexplicable and perfidious.” “Had he spoken out publicly immediately, could there have been a reason for the press to have demanded the appointment of the feckless special prosecutor?” she asked.

I’d like to know why Armitage hasn’t been excoriated in the press like Rove, Libby and Cheney have been. It’s likely that he hasn’t been because he’s considered a ‘moderate’ in a moderate-loving city. The other obvious explanation is that he isn’t one of Bush’s gunslingers.

It’s also obvious that Mr. Fitzpatrick was out to make a name for himself because he knew who the leaker was within days of taking the job. Shame on him for starting this investigation.

UPDATE: The NY Times is running an article that says Armitage has admitted that he’s the original leaker. My first reaction was “How nice of him after all these years.” Mr. Armitage’s image won’t suffer in Washington but I’d doubt that he’s held in high esteem outside the Beltway.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Democrats expressed their outrage over Donald Rumsfeld’s comparison of today’s anti-war crowd with the Hitler appeasers of the 1930’s:

“It is a dangerous business to accuse those who disagree with you of moral and intellectual confusion,” said Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. “Debate in our democracy is based upon respect, not vilification.”
Said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA): “If Mr. Rumsfeld is so concerned with comparisons to World War II, he should explain why our troops have now been fighting in Iraq longer than it took our forces to defeat the Nazis in Europe.”
Sen. Jack Reed, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Rumsfeld has been “substituting sloganing for strategy” and delivered a “calculated political argument” to make people believe that to support a war against terror requires support of the administration’s policies. “I think the analogy is very, very weak,” Reed, (D-RI), said of Rumsfeld’s comparison of Iraq to World War II.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York called Rumsfeld’s portrayal of Democrats a “straw man” and said Americans need answers on how to deal with a looming civil war in Iraq.

Frankly, I don’t think that the comparison is weak at all. The administration didn’t pick a great messenger but they got the message right. The good news is that Republicans aren’t staying silent on the issue:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, (R-TN), shot back, saying Democrats were not committed to winning the war on terrorism. If they were, he asked, “Why does [Schumer's] party attack the president over and over again for using all the tools necessary to identify, track down and stop those who want to do us harm?”

Sen. Schumer, consider yourself zinged. Don’t think that America hasn’t noticed which party is the one that’s putting up roadblocks to every program designed to thwart future terrorist attacks. Don’t think that that won’t be the final consideration for thoughtful people when they enter the voting booth this fall.

The reason why you see these Democratic leaders coming out so loudly is because they know the analogy paints an accurate, unflattering picture of them. They know that Jimmy Carter telling people to “give Hamas a chance” just re-inforces the appeaser image of Democrats.

If the shoe fits…

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

In this instance, the “they” I’m talking about are journalists. Here’s the article I’m refering to:

You may have missed the march in downtown L.A. on Aug. 12, but I was there. I expected the Palestinian flags, the jaunty kaffiyehs, the drum-beating and brow-beating. But I nearly dropped my pen in the gutter when I heard cries of “Long live Hezbollah!” from the marchers.
It’s one thing to protest the Israel-U.S. alliance, to think Israel’s a big bully, etc. I don’t agree, but a free country is open to varied political discourse. Call everyone with whom you disagree a Nazi if it makes you feel better. But it’s quite another to cheer on a terrorist organization. And if you think it isn’t happening in the United States, you may have missed some recent far-left rallies where that anti-Israel stance crossed the line to anti-Semitism, where the traditional anti-Bush chants were supplemented with support for guerrilla militias armed by Iran.

It’s great to see the Agenda Media finally getting it. They’re finally coming to understanding that this is a real war, not a “metaphor” as Richard Holbrooke asserted in 2004.

Isn’t it ironic to read about such protests? It isn’t that they don’t have the right to protest here in America. It’s because the people that they’re protesting for those that don’t allow similar dissent in their native countries.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The good news is that the Klobuchar campaign has posted the Klobuchar campaign’s ‘cure’ for the federal budget deficit. The bad news is that it looks alot like past Democratic budget deficit ‘cures’.

DFL Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar rolled out a plan Tuesday which she says could save the federal government more than $400 billion a year.
Klobuchar says the savings would come from closing tax loopholes, cutting wasteful spending, instituting “pay-as-you-go” spending and negotiating medicare (sp.?) drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. She would also rollback tax cuts on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. Klobuchar says with the savings and increased tax money the deficit could be reduced. She says cutting the deficit would bring down interest rates and make life more affordable for middle class Americans.
“It is time that we put an end to this runaway spending and to stop pretending that we can keep going the way we’re going when we know it is costing average people in our state, that it’s making it hard for them to pay for gas and making it harder for them to send their kids to college and is making it harder for them to afford health care,” she said.

Notice that Klobuchar thinks of tax cuts as spending. WRONG. It’s our money. This ‘plan’ is nothing more than a half trillion dollar tax increase.

Then she’s got the audacity to say that “It is time that we put an end to this runaway spending.” Shame on her for that. Sending a former lobbyist like Ms. Klobuchar to Washington to “put an end to this runaway spending” is akin to putting Jacque Chirac in charge of American military policy: They’d both be ineffective but sounding good.

Here’s the Kennedy campaign’s response:

Amy Klobuchar’s massive tax increase will destroy tens of thousands of MN jobs and hurt the budgets of countless MN families. Washington is taking in plenty of revenue. It just plain spends too much.
“Mark Kennedy’s plan to reduce spending and keep taxes low is the way to balance the budget. When liberal Democrats like Amy Klobuchar start talking about soaking the rich, middle-class families all over MN better watch out because they’re going to get drenched.”

Exactly.

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Last week, Amy Klobuchar put out her plan to protect America. It’s safe to say that I think there’s a few flaws in her plan. Let me cite some of those flaws, starting with the biggest flaw:

INTELLIGENCE
Five years after September 11th, we still don’t have unified information sharing between intelligence agencies. We should insist that our security agencies have complete, accurate, and reliable data, in order to ensure that all of our security agencies are using up-to-date information.

Just how do you propose to get that done, Ms. Klobuchar, when you’re associating yourself with CAIR, which lobbied Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers and John Dingell, David Bonior, Gregory Meeks, Nick Joe Rahall to drasmatically change the Patriot Act?

How will we have “unified information sharing between intelligence agencies” when Harry Reid bragged about “killing the Patriot Act” and Russ Feingold thinks that the filibustering of the Patriot act was “a great moment for our Constitution and our democracy and a great moment in the fight against terrorism.”

That’s hardly the way to protect America.

How does Ms. Klobuchar plan on protecting us when UFPJ is supporting her? UFPJ’s website says:

“This Fall, We Declare Peace! August 15th, 2006″

DECLARATION OF PEACE
We will declare peace by putting our bodies on the line in a variety of acts of peaceful resistance to the war, including with a powerful week of nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action from September 21-28, targeting pro-war members of Congress and coordinated by the nationwide Declaration of Peace campaign.

Here’s a couple of the tabs you’ll find on UFPJ’s homepage:

End the War In Iraq and No War On Iran

Does that sound like an organization that will help protect America? These are the types of organizations that are supporting Amy Klobuchar. It’s a safe bet that they’ll expect her to support their agendas too.

Is that the type of ‘protection’ we want?

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Here’s the opening paragraph of Michael Barone’s latest column:

When asked what would affect the future, the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously said: “Events, dear boy. Events.” The event this month that I think has done most to shape opinion was the arrest in London on Aug. 9 of 23 Muslims suspected of plotting to blow up American airliners over the Atlantic.

Michael isn’t yet saying that Republicans are out of the woods yet but he’s noted a change in the atmosphere surrounding this November’s elections. With good reason. The nation’s attention has been riveted since the foiling of the terrorist plot in London and Anna Diggs-Taylor’s ridiculous ruling. In the aftermath of London, we found out that the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program played a major role in foiling that plot.

The contrast couldn’t have been more damning for Democrats. Whether it was Russ Feingold crowing that the filibustering of the Patriot Act renewal was a “great moment for our Constitution and our democracy and a great moment in the fight against terrorism” or Harry Reid crowing about “killing the Patriot Act” to loud applause from fellow Democrats or Anna Diggs-Taylor’s ruling in ACLU vs. NSA, the American people got a clear picture that Democrats aren’t interested in doing everything possible to prevent terrorist attacks.

This shows people that there’s really only one party that’s committed to preventing attacks. It’s just another area where Democrats just aren’t in touch with the majority of people on an issue. Most people concede that another terrorist attack is inevitable. Democrats took that to mean that people didn’t care if another terrorist attack happened.

What people meant was that the odds were that there’d be another attack but they also expected the federal government to do everything in its power to prevent the inevitable. They didn’t say that we should stop vital prevention programs, whether it was SWIFT or the NSA’s TSP or Able Danger or the Patriot Act.

The arrests were a reminder that there still are lots of people in the world, and quite possibly in this country, too, who are trying to kill as many of us as they can and to destroy our way of life. They are not unhappy because we haven’t raised the minimum wage lately or because Bush rejected the Kyoto Treaty or even because we’re in Iraq.
They’ve been trying to kill us for years, going back at least to 1983, when a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed 241 American servicemen in Lebanon. Then they attacked the World Trade Center, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole in Aden, all while Bill Clinton was president. Sept. 11 woke us up to the threat. The political acrimony of 2004 and 2005 and this year made it seem remote. The London arrests reminded us it’s still there.

Thank you, Michael Barone, for that clarity. Terrorists don’t hate us for all the things you cite; they hate us because (a) we exist and (b) because we don’t agree with them. It’s time that people woke up to that.

Another reminder that evil people were out to get us were the stories about the arrests of young Muslims with 1,600 throwaway cellphones. Let me refresh your memory on that story:

In Ohio, Houssaiky and Abulhassan were stopped by sheriff’s deputies for a traffic violation Aug. 8, then arrested after the deputies found 12 cell phones, $11,000 cash, airplane passenger lists and information on airport security checkpoints in their car, authorities said. Prosecutors have not provided details about the passenger lists. Houssaiky’s mother, Nada Houssaiky, said Tuesday the information was training notes from her job as an airport passenger service agent at Detroit Metro Airport.
The two men acknowledged buying about 600 phones in recent months at stores in southeast Ohio, according to authorities. Investigators said they sold the phones to someone in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
The remaining charges stem from allegations that the two men initially gave deputies different names than appeared on their IDs. The men also initially said they were buying phones for a relative’s construction business, then changed the story when deputies asked for contact information, Washington County Prosecutor James Schneider said. Within days of the Ohio arrests, three Palestinian-American men from Texas were charged in Michigan after nearly 1,000 cell phones were found in a van they were driving. In the Michigan case, the FBI said Monday that it had no indication that the men had any ties to known terrorist groups.

People not living inside the Beltway noticed and they cared about these arrests because they know their lives are at risk. That’s why people are rethinking their vote for Democrats:

Other pollsters are finding that no matter how negative voters are about the Republicans who control both houses of Congress, less than a majority think the Democrats would do a better job of governing. Moreover, many voters who say they will vote for a Democrat in November also say their vote is not definite.

The truth is that there isn’t much chance for a sizeable vote drop for Republicans but there’s a healthy chance that there will be a sizeable drop in Democrats’ popularity.

Factor all these things together and it’s obvious that there’s an atmosphere change happening across the country.

I suspect that Democrats won’t like the change.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

A huge hat tip goes out to Jack Kelly for his brilliant Sunday column on why Democrats can’t be trusted with national security matters. I’ve read alot of Jack’s stuff over the years and I’ve always been impressed but this might be Jack’s best work yet.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor illustrates why Democrats cannot be trusted with political power in time of war. Judge Taylor, who is the chief judge of the federal district court in Detroit, ruled Aug. 17 that it is unconstitutional for the National Security Agency to listen in, without warrants, on telephone conversations between terror suspects abroad and people in the United States. Her ruling was praised by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other prominent Democrats.

I wrote about Taylor’s ruling last week. I thought it was flimsy then and I’ve seen nothing to change my opinion since. In fact, I’m more convinced now than ever. the fact that Pelosi and Reid think that this was a great ruling is telling.

Let’s not forget what Russ Feingold said about the Democrats filibustering the renewal of the Patriot Act:

“Today’s vote is a great moment for our Constitution and our democracy and a great moment in the fight against terrorism. If you don’t have the confidence of the American people when it comes to this fight against terrorism, if they fear that somehow we’re going too far and going after the rights of law-abiding citizens, it will weaken our ability to win in that all-important battle.”

And Democratic strategists wonder why they lose the national security debate?

President Bush has made mistakes in his conduct of the war on terror. But thanks in part to Judge Taylor’s ruling, voters this November will be asking themselves whether they would rather be governed by a political party that thinks Islamic terror is the greatest threat to Americans, or by a political party which is more concerned about Wal-Mart.
I don’t think Democrats will like their answer.

Jack, I’ll bet a tidy sum of money that they’ll not only not like their answer but that Democrats will be positively beside themselves with their answer.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Max Cleland has announced that he’ll lead a vets rally for John Murtha the day before the Boot Murtha rally. Here’s part of his statement:

The Murtha for Congress Committee said that former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) announced last night he’s leading a large-scale effort among his veteran brothers to support U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA), who is coming under attack from “radical right-wing forces in the veterans’ community” aimed at “swift-boating Murtha, like they did former Democratic nominee for president Sen. John Kerry.”

Sen. Cleland, Is it a “radical right wing” thing to demand that John Murtha not betray his oath of office by ignoring the Constitution’s due process and fair trial guarantees? If it is, then I’m guilty as charged. And proudly so. Murtha, on the other hand, is too interested in playing cheap political politics with the military to be concerned with Constitutional guarantees these days.

Sen. Cleland, Is it a “radical right wing” thing to expect our elected officials to not demoralize our troops by saying that we can’t win in Iraq? Rep. Murtha owes our troops an engraved apology for the things he’s said.

Sen. Cleland, Is it a “radical right wing” thing to demand that our representatives to tell the truth about troop morale? If it is, then count me among the “radical right wing.” If you think that Rep. Murtha hasn’t lied about it, I suggest you read this article. Here’s the transcript of Sgt. Seavey’s statement:

“Yes sir my name is Mark Seavey and I just want to thank you for coming up here. Until about a month ago I was Sgt Mark Seavey infantry squad leader, I returned from Afghanistan. My question to you, (applause)
“Like yourself I dropped out of college two years ago to volunteer to go to Afghanistan, and I went and I came back. If I didn’t have a herniated disk now I would volunteer to go to Iraq in a second with my troops, three of which have already volunteered to go to Iraq. I keep hearing you say how you talk to the troops and the troops are demoralized, and I really resent that characterization. (applause) The morale of the troops that I talk to is phenomenal, which is why my troops are volunteering to go back, despite the hardships they had to endure in Afghanistan.
“And Congressman Moran, 200 of your constituents just returned from Afghanistan. We never got a letter from you; we never got a visit from you. You didn’t come to our homecoming. The only thing we got from any of our elected officials was one letter from the governor of this state thanking us for our service in Iraq, when we were in Afghanistan. That’s reprehensible. I don’t know who you two are talking to but the morale of the troops is very high.”

Frankly, Sen. Cleland, I don’t know how anyone can defend John Murtha’s actions the past six months. Sen. Cleland, I don’t know why you’d even try. Is it because you’re doing it only for political purposes?

He continued, “Semper Fi is not a slogan to Jack Murtha, it’s a way of life, in uniform and in the halls of Congress where he’s put the full force of his unyielding support of our military into real leadership for our troops and military families for over three decades in Washington. There’s a reason why Congressman Murtha is one of our most trusted voices on national security and America’s standing in the world, he speaks his mind, he speaks his heart, and he’s willing to speak truth to power.”

It’s insulting to hear Sen. Cleland say that Semper Fi isn’t a slogan to John Murtha. Murtha’s actions don’t speak loudly of his support for our troops. These days, they speak more of betraying the troops. As for the senator’s claim that Murtha is “one of our most trusted voices on national security”, I’d just suggest that he take a look at Murtha’s advice to President Clinton on Somalia:

The Pennsylvania Democrat announced that President Clinton had been “listening to our suggestions. And I think you’ll see him move those troops out very quickly.”
“They’re subdued compared to normal morale of elite forces,” Murtha said. “Obviously, it was a very difficult battle. A lot of Somalis were killed, but it was a brutal battle.” Murtha said the U.S. had to no choice but to pull out now, explaining, “There’s no military solution. Some of them will tell you [that] to get [warlord Mohamed Farrah] Aidid is the solution. I don’t agree with that.”
In a 1998 interview with ABC’s John Miller, Osama bin Laden said that America’s withdrawal from Somalia had emboldened his burgeoning al Qaida force and encouraged him to plan new attacks.
“Our people realize[d] more than before that the American soldier is a paper tiger that run[s] in defeat after a few blows,” the terror chief recalled. “America forgot all about the hoopla and media propaganda and left dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat.”

After reading bin Laden’s statement, it’s obvious that we can’t afford much more of Murtha’s ‘sage advice’ on national security.

That’s why Murtha Must Go.

That’s why it’s time to Boot Murtha.

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Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go

That’s the question that people are asking about John Murtha in this OSC newsletter. Let’s take a look:

Regardless of opinions on Murtha’s past words and deeds, it is what Murtha is saying and doing now that have folks no longer supporting him.
His playing politics now with our soldiers’ lives was a common reason cited for no longer supporting him. His insensitivity to troops in the field and soldiers’ now, who need to know that the family member’s life and sacrifice had good purpose, was another reason for no longer supporting him.
The backlash is coming this November as the truth sinks in. Message to John Murtha: the past is the past. We don’t like what you are saying and doing NOW!

The legacy part of Murtha’s record is fine, albeit a bit dull. Frankly, I heard of Murtha long before I actually heard Murtha speak. He was always a ‘shadows’ representative, meaning he didn’t get much airtime until his immediate redeployment political ploy. Since then, he’s been the military’s worst supporter in terms of what he’s said.

The military voters in PA-12 resent his statements over the past year, whether it was the immediate redeployment proposal, saying that the “military is living hand to mouth”, that they were the main targets in Iraq’s civil war (I still can’t figure that one out, btw.), that Marines killed innocent Iraqi civilians in the terrorist hotbed of Haditha and that they didn’t have the proper equipment, specifically body armor for the soldiers.

The truth is that the soldiers didn’t wear the body armor. Here’s what Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson said:

“In many cases we found [the troops] didn’t wear it because it was too heavy.”

Then there’s these quotes:

  • “We must not burden our soldiers with weight to the point that they become ineffective and susceptible to other dangers,” explained Maj. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army’s director of force development.
  • Marine Sgt. Jared McNerney actually modeled the kind of up-armored uniform Clinton indicated she preferred. But Sgt. McNerney explained that if he was forced to carry that much weight, it could get him killed. “I’m climbing walls, I’m jumping through windows,” McNerney complained. “What I need most is mobility.” With the heavier gear, he said, “I can barely extend my arms over my head.”

Murtha’s been telling one whopper after another this year. That’s why military voters in his district have turned against him. He’s more worried about saying things that endear him to Code Pink and CAIR than he is worried about what he says to our military. It isn’t difficult to figure out why his popularity has plummeted.

The reason you know it’s plummeted is because you don’t hear anything about his job approval ratings in the Pittsburgh/Johnstown press. If his popularity were strong, that’s all you’d be hearing about him.

A couple of veterans I spoke with expressed loyalty to Murtha because he had helped them somehow along the way in the past; or they believed “he was a highly decorated honorable man.” I appreciated their willingness to hear my reasons for not supporting Murtha even as I respectfully listened to them.
Being a real constituent of District 12, I explained that I have family members who have recently returned from on the ground in Iraq, and how deeply concerned I am about Murtha politicizing the military and troops for personal political gain. Such talk puts our troops in even greater danger and demoralizes our troops. As our discussion progressed it became clear that we had much more in common, than not. This impressed both sides in the discussion.

Once people know what the activists know, their opinions change. Some might still vote for him but their opinion is changed.

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Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go