Political Lomcevak (Tumbling the Liberal Mindset)
Friday, May 02, 2003
Looked at from a purely objective viewpoint, the idea to do the carrier speech was a political masterpiece, and the Democrats know it. The media knows it too.
If Bush had the gift of gab, and came off like Reagan, the Democrats would be completely dead. Bush shares one thing with Reagan that Democrats do not seem to comprehend. The fact that the Presidency has more then a slight touch of theatre about it. Reagan understood this perfectly. Bush apparently does as well.
Don't get me wrong. I like Bill Bennett. But this story is very troubling. You cannot write a book of virtues and lose a few million at Casinos.
It would be one thing to drop a few hundred every once in a while, but the story reports that Bennett has "total losses over the past decade at more than $8 million."
And it appears that Bennett was "worried about news of his habit leaking out. His customer profile at one casino lists an address that corresponds to Empower.org, the Web site of Empower America, the group Bennett cochairs. But typed across the form are the words: NO CONTACT AT RES OR BIZ!!!"
I just hate it when Conservatives that I like make mistakes in this fashion. If you are going to stake out the moral high ground, you better live it.
And in the legal "no shit" of the day, a 3 judge panel strikes down major portions of McCain-Feingold.
And the weekly media SARS update. (SARS being a term I stole from a Mark Steyn article)
"Rumsfeld's soundbites take a back seat as he lashes out at waiting journalists
By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
From the Independent
The Donald Rumsfeld soundbite has become something of an institution since America began banging the diplomatic drum for war on Iraq. The tortured syntax, the rolling eyes and the faintly incomprehensible, slightly menacing utterances. Perhaps this explained why, when he arrived at Heathrow to meet the British press yesterday, there was a mood of heightened expectation, almost sport, among the waiting hacks.
We were not to be disappointed. The US Secretary of Defence treated the national press to a one-man display of verbal shock and awe at the end of a whirlwind tour taking in Baghdad, Afghanistan and America's allies in the Gulf.
Although he may be a diminutive figure who is mocked on the British airwaves – notably BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House, which created a Rumsfeld Soundbite of the Week feature – the former Navy pilot who once served as the youngest head of the US Defence Department left commentators in no doubt about who is the only superpower in the world.
Mr Rumsfeld had earlier met Tony Blair in the heart of old "new" Europe – the Prime Minister's country seat in Berkshire. This was followed by a one-sided encounter with Geoff Hoon, closeted away for more than half an hour with the British Defence Secretary in the tiny reception room at the airport's Royal Suite. Senior military officers in full dress uniform gave the order "shush" to quieten the chatting reporters waiting just feet away as the two men, or rather Mr Rumsfeld, plotted the future military path of the coalition of the willing.
Through a crack in the wall we could see Mr Hoon, head bowed, a virtual statue as the man behind the world's most powerful military machine let rip. "Someone should tell Rummy to shut up," said one of the US press corps. "He won't let anyone get a word in."
Minutes later the two men emerged, but it was clear that Mr Hoon was not to be the only one on the receiving end of Mr Rumsfeld's unique verbal style.
Step forward Jon Snow, the veteran Channel 4 presenter. "Given the intimacy you had with planning for this war, what role did you have in the decisions to protect the oil ministry and the museum in Baghdad, and could I ... " Mr Rumsfeld cut him dead. "Just one at a time."
He tried again: "Mr Secretary, it does seem curious then that the oil ministry was so successfully protected and the hospital so unsuccessfully ..." Mr Rumsfeld snapped back: "Your questions have about eight or ten opinions in them, I notice."
Another reporter dared to challenge both defence secretaries. Mr Rumsfeld replied bafflingly: "Why don't you ask questions to one or the other and not multiple questions to each and let everyone go back?" Blank looks. Was this the soundbite we had been waiting for?
And then it happened – the Donald Rumsfeld Soundbite of the Week. Short, concise and perfectly bizarre. The questioner wanted to know how long US troops would be in Iraq, now that war was over. "I don't know – and it's not knowable," he declared to admiring glances."
BTW, SARS means snotty anti-Rumsfeld Statement
The gratutious aircraft picture
IO-540 powered Pitts S-1 "TERMINATOR"
1087 lb. Empty weight. ( includes oil )
3 blade M - T prop
Delmar Benjamin cowl
Spring steel gear ( 16" wider stance )
325 H.P. Demars Lyc.
Wing mounted oil cooler
Slave struts mounted behind "I" struts and faired in.
Enlarged vert. Fin.
Larger counterbalanced rudder
wing tip smoke on all tips
This little bird will ring your bell. Anything with 325 horse and 1100 lbs, will just scream.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Sean Penn update.
Thanks to Jim March for the information. He served the town of Ross with a Public Records Request, and this was the information they supplied.
The Town of Ross has apparently issued 2 concealed weapons permits, one to Sean Penn, and one to an attorney.
Sean Penn's good cause is apparently for threats issuing from a stalker. Sean apparently hired Gavin De Becker as a security consultant. De Becker's group then studied the threat, and produced reports for Ross PD Chief Ridgway.
The Ross PD chief seems to have spent significant time ensuring that Penn complied with the statutory hurdles. Penn apparently cleared the CA-DOJ background check. Ridgeway also attempted to contact Los Angeles County Sheriff with no satisfactory result, and then tried Los Angeles Police Department, with smilar result. There has been an open letter sent to the Ross PD chief in an attempt to clear up exactly what Penn's criminal record is. The letter says the following.
An open letter to Mr. Michael J. Ridgway, Director of the Ross Department of Public Safety.
First, let me thank you for your candid response to my Public Records Act request. It’s clear you’ve made a good-faith effort to comply with the PRA, far more so than most other agencies.
The ability to access CCW records under the PRA is a matter of some controversy and in some cases, documented illegality. You might find the following material of interest regarding that issue, although the problems noted to NOT apply to how you responded to my request:
As you’re aware, the Sean Penn permit issuance has triggered quite a bit of controversy. I would assume you’re aware that the Marin County Sheriff’s Office has been particularly “stingy” with permits, including at least some reported denials of currently sitting Marin County Superior Court judges. So when news hit that Penn had CCW, it provided a “stark contrast”, as it was initially assumed he was issued out of the sheriff’s office until later media reports pegged Ross PD as the issuing agency.
My first concern with the information in your PRA response is that there are no denials to report. Is it that nobody else asked, or is it that denials weren’t documented? We know that at the state level, the California DOJ has been ignoring a mandate to document denials statewide since 1/1/99 (see URL above) so there seems to be “something to hide” in denial records?
But clearly, I can’t prove anything one way or the other with your case so I’ll simply note that as an interesting data point.
Part of the controversy with Penn’s permit is that, well, he has a history of violence. That and the apparent trend where the wealthy get access to CCW has stirred serious discussion online. Examples you might find interesting include:
In particular, some of the alleged quotes by Penn on his violent past are enough to give one pause:
"I hate journalists. Or better. I hate paparazzi. Yeah, I punched them out and I'll do it again if it's necessary. I think a fist in their face is the only way to protect my private life. I demand my freedom. And I must have it."
"Family makes me feel there's a reason I'm alive... I'm feeling my life, which I didn't always do partly because I'd be drunk a lot."
Of even more concern is an alleged timeline of Penn’s criminal past, as compiled via public sources online:
In 1985, Sean Penn was arrested in Nashville for assault and battery for attacking two photographers with a rock. He plead guilty, paid a fine and was given a suspended sentence.
In 1986, Penn slugged a man he accused of trying to kiss his wife. Again he plead guilty and was placed on parole.
In 1997, while on parole for his previous conviction, he punched an extra working on his film "Colors" who tried to take a picture of him. He served half of a 60-day jail sentence for parole violation.
In 1998, Penn was accused of hitting a photographer with a rock. Penn claimed the photographer attacked the rock in Penn's hand with his head and injured himself. No arrest was made.
Mr. Ridgeway, in your PRA response, you list a traffic incident (minor speeding) in 2001, a lawsuit which Penn was involved in (business dispute resolved in Penn’s favor) in 1998/9, and the assault conviction of 1987 for the 1986 incident. The Nashville incident (assuming the above was correct) wasn’t mentioned, neither was the 1997 assault. Did you and/or the California DOJ “miss these”? Or are these reputed incidents in error somehow?
Any clarifications on these issues you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Please be aware that CCW issuance in general is subject to equal protection principles per the US 9th Circuit in Guillory vs. Gates (1983)
By that standard, the legions of people out there who feel we have been unfairly denied access to permits have a legitimate interest in asking about how permit issuance is handled across the state. Which is exactly why the California Supreme Court threw open the permit records in CBS vs. Block:
This letter and any follow-up public comments to it will be posted at:
Thank you for any light you’re able to shed on these questions,
Equal Rights for CCW Home Page
My understanding is that the movie "Colors" was released in 1987, and so was probably filmed in 1986. This would mean that Penn did not serve time in 1997, and that possibly his time was served in 1987 or 1988. This means that Penn was barred from owning a handgun for 10 years after this event. In any event, I think it is becoming clear that Penn was legally entitled to a CCW. However, this case is a perfect example of the problem with discretionary or may-issue CCW's. While Sean Penn may be legally allowed a CCW, in a state were the vast majority of Police Chiefs simply say no, why should Penn get one? Penn is surely not the most threatened person in the state. It is a clear example of the corruption in the system. Please don't get me wrong. If someone has cleared the procedural hurdles for a CCW, they should receive one. Which is why I favor a system of must or shall-issue, instead of discretionary issue. Think that's outlandish? Minnesota obviously doesn't, and I would not consider Minnesota to be a bastion of conservative thought.
Monday, April 28, 2003
I am still sick as a dog.
I have finals in two weeks, so I must get better.
Only one thing.
I think it is time to resurrect a term that has fallen from regular usage. That term is "collaborator." It is to be reserved as an epithet when referring to the French.
Why? Well, if you do not know now, try this.
"French Helped Iraq to Stifle Dissent
By Alex Spillius and Andrew Sparrow
France colluded with the Iraqi secret service to undermine a Paris conference held by the prominent human rights group Indict, according to documents found in the foreign ministry in Baghdad.
Various documents state that the Iraqis believed the French were doing their utmost to prevent the meeting from going ahead.
Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who chairs Indict, said last night that she would be demanding an apology from the French government for its behaviour, which she described as "atrocious".
The files, retrieved from the looted and burned foreign ministry by The Telegraph last week, detail the warmth and strength of Iraqi-French ties.
They include a six-page letter dated February 1998 from Saddam Hussein to Jacques Chirac, welcoming the French president's support in the campaign against sanctions and assuring him that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
The documents regarding Indict show that pro-Saddam elements, "Iraqi and Arab brothers", gained access to the conference, which opened on April 14, 2000, at the Hotel La Concorde Lafayette.
Indict's attempt to mount a protest outside the Iraqi ambassador's residence was foiled by the authorities.
A month after the meeting, a letter headed "Role of Southern France" (sic) from Saddam's office authorised the finance ministry to pay $383,439 to undisclosed beneficiaries.
Perhaps the most damning document is from the Iraqi intelligence service, Iris. The service, known as the Mukhabarat in Iraq, operated as the domestic secret police and as an external intelligence agency.
Its role abroad was to collect intelligence, murder opponents and maintain relations with friendly groups. The document, dated March 28, 2000, is from the head of Iris to Saddam's office.
At the time the organisation was run by Tahir Jalil al-Habbush, number 14 on America's wanted list. The letter appears to be written by a different hand from one revealed last week purporting to record that George Galloway benefited from contracts under the oil for food programme. But it carries the same signature.
It states that "one of our sources" met the "deputy spokesman" of the French foreign ministry, "with whom he has good relations".
It claims that the spokesman from the justice and interior ministries had sought to find a legal way of preventing the Indict meeting.
The paper said it had been agreed that no Iraqi opposition leaders would be granted visas for France to attend the conference. It is not clear if Iraqis living outside the country were granted visas.
Although the conference went ahead, the Iraqis regarded moves to undermine it as a striking success.
A memo dated April 18, 2000, was sent to Saddam's office by the then foreign minister, Mohammad Said al-Sahaf, who later became the information minister nicknamed "Comical Ali". It is headed "The Failed Enemy Conference in Paris" and says that the French media ignored the event.
Miss Clwyd, MP for Cynon Valley, recalled various attempts at disruption.
Saddam supporters staged a protest outside before it started, she said, and at one point a bomb scare led to the hall having to be evacuated.
Victims of Saddam's regime gave evidence at the conference and filming was strictly forbidden because they feared being identified.
But someone smuggled in a camera and started filming, Miss Clwyd said.
"The police were called. But they could not take the film from the man because he was an Iraqi accredited to the Moroccan embassy."
The French foreign ministry denied collusion.
A Quai d'Orsay source said it should not come as a surprise that French officials met Iraqi intelligence officers in Baghdad. But he denied accusations of specific collaboration to disrupt the conference."
"De Villepin's visit speaks a thousand words: daily
Tehran, April 26, IRNA -- `Iran News' on Saturday focused on
Thursday's visit to Iran of French Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dominique de Villepin, the outspoken critic in the trio that oppposed
the US-led war on Iraq.
The swift conclusion of the war and the obvious defeat of the
anti-war collision, speaks much of the motives behind the French
foreign minister's visit.
"One of the objectives of the de Villepin visit to the region
is gaining support of Iran, Turkey and Jordan for future regional
cooperation in the face of U.S. hegemony," pointed out the daily.
"Following the U.S. military success in Iraq and the opposition of
French officials to the U.S. operations in that country, the French
know that they will have to be resigned to the loss of their interests
in Baghdad," the editorial said.
De Villepin arrived in Tehran Thursday at the end of a
three-nation regional tour which took him first to Turkey and then
"Iran fully knows the crucial role of France in the European
Union, just as the French officials fully know the important role of
Iran, both in the region and among its immediate neighbors," the
editorial further said.
France, which opposed the war, and Iran, which stayed neutral,
have one thing in common: both oppose US hegemony and will not
simply look on as Americans continue to take unilateral measures
against other nations such as its latest decision not to allow UN
weapons inspectors back into Iraq to independently verify Iraq's
alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Notwithstanding the US military success in ousting the Iraqi
dictator, French officials continue to insist that the United
Nations should have the leading role in post-war Iraq and are
insisting Iraq should be made to honor its pre-war contracts,
including its debts to a number of countries including France.
France may now be in danger of losing its investments in the
oilfields in Kurd-populated cities of Iraq, the editorial suggested.
Hence, France is now considering strengthening its ties with other
friendly countries in the region, including Iran, in order to put up
a united opposition against US plans to take over control of Iraq's
oil wells, it said.
Undoubtedly, Iran welcomes the expansion of its ties with France.
But, it said, France as well as other European nations must know that
Iran cannot forget their assistance to Baghdad during the 8-year
imposed war on Iran, it highlighted.
Iran will also never forget that Paris, until recently, supported
Iranian opposition groups, it pointed out.
Iran has welcomed the fall of Saddam Hussein's tyrannical regime
but will continue to watch events in neighboring Iraq to make sure
the rights of all Iraqis--the Kurds, Shias and Sunnis--are protected
and that Iraqis get a truly democratic regime they deserve, it said.
"Accepting the will of the majority and working to restore their
rights is among the Iraqi people's demands for the realization of a
democratic government in Iraq," it stressed.
De Villepin would do well to have this in mind as he reports to
his government on the results of his trip to the region and as he
pursues his battle to assert Franco interests in the region, the daily
AND lastly, this
France Betrayed U.S. to Saddam, Stifled Iraqis Opposing Saddam
NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com Wires
Monday, April 28, 2003
LONDON – France gave Saddam Hussein's regime regular reports on its dealings with American officials, and it colluded with the Iraqi secret service to undermine a Paris conference, British newspapers report.
Documents unearthed in the wreckage of the foreign ministry in Baghdad are the first Iraqi files to emerge documenting French help for the dictatorship, the Sunday Times reported. Paris shared with Baghdad the contents of private trans-Atlantic meetings and diplomatic traffic from Washington, the documents reveal.
The Times reported:
The information, said in the files to have come partly from "friends of Iraq" at the French foreign ministry, kept Saddam abreast of every development in American planning and may have helped him to prepare for war. One report warned of an American "attempt to involve Iraq with terrorism" as "cover for an attack on Iraq."
Another, dated September 25, 2001, from Naji Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister, to Saddam's palace, was based on a briefing from the French ambassador in Baghdad and covered talks between presidents Jacques Chirac and George W Bush.
Chirac was said to have been told that America was "100% certain Usama bin Laden was behind the September 11 attacks and that the answer of the United States would be decisive."
The report also gave a detailed account of American attitudes towards Saddam amid anxiety in Iraq that the country might soon become a target of American reprisals.
The newspaper found a document in folders marked France 2001 that said, "Information available to the French embassy in Washington suggests that there is no intention on the part of the Americans to attack Iraq, but that matters might change quickly.
"According to French information, a discussion about Iraq is going on in Washington between Colin Powell and the Zionist [Paul] Wolfowitz [the deputy defense secretary]. Powell was against a military attack on Iraq whereas Wolfowitz was in favor of a strong military operation against Iraq."
The report said "the Israelis have informed the French ambassador in Washington that they have no evidence of Iraqi involvement in the attacks."
Also noted: an account of a meeting between Hubert Vedrine, former Socialist foreign minister of France, and Powell after 9/11. Powell reportedly revealed that he would discuss with Moscow its alliance with Baghdad.
Powell, the report said, "is going to ask the Russian foreign minister how Russia could co-operate with a country that had expressed satisfaction at America being subjected to such attacks. He is going to ask for a new draft resolution from the United Nations security council on Iraq."
Bernard Jenkin, British shadow defense secretary, said the briefings showed France's "duplicitousness."
We have a new enemy, and it is Gallic.