Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Freedom of Press is limited to those who own one - H.L. Mencken

Friday, October 28, 2005

Electric Charges
by Lee

This is my point exactly.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s first charges in the White House leak case don’t get to the heart of his two-year probe: the leak.

The indictment of vice presidential adviser I. Lewis “Scooter’ Libby Jr. is built on charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury _ and it will rest primarily on testimony from a handful of Washington reporters.

“In some ways it seems less satisfying,” said Michael Cahill, a Brooklyn Law School professor, adding that false statements might have impeded the probe into whether top Bush administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Steven Reich, a New York attorney and former senior associate counsel to President Bill Clinton, said Fitzgerald has his reasons for not charging anyone with the leak. “Either he thought there was not a crime, or he thought he couldn’t prove it. No one will know which but him,” he said.

If anyone in he Bush White House knowingly broke the law over the Plame case then let them be charged and tried for it.  If they haven’t, or a case can’t be proved against them, then let’s all shut our pie holes about the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™.  If they broke the law then let’s see them in the dock answering for it, and if they didn’t then let it go.

You know, this incident is going to provide one more slice of delicious irony.  MoveOn.org was formed in the wake of the Clinton impeachment to get the country to “move on” to other things and get over the whole issue.  Now, when it’s a Republican in office, I have no doubt whatsoever that the main group that is going to work feverishly to keep this story in the public consciousness is MoveOn.  You gotta love the way politics works sometimes.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/05 at 03:34 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Parking the Scooter
by Lee

He’s indicted.

Vice presidential adviser I. Lewis “Scooter’ Libby Jr. was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury in the CIA leak case.

Karl Rove, President Bush’s closest adviser, escaped indictment Friday but remained under investigation, his legal status a looming political problem for the White House.

The indictments stem from a two-year investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into whether Rove, Libby or any other administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame or lied about their involvement to investigators.

The five-count indictment accuses Libby of lying about how and when he learned about CIA official Valerie Plane’s identity in 2003 and then told reporters about it. The information was classified.

Okay, so it’s basically the same thing that Marta Stewart went up for; not the crime itself, but for his actions during the investigation.  I don’t have any problem with him being indicted under these circumstances, a crime is a crime, and if he’s guilty he should be awarded whatever punishment is appropriate.  It needs to be noted, though, that for all the investigation into the Plame affair over the past couple of years, this indictment has nothing to do with the actual incident, so this is at least a partial vindication for the Bush folks.  Of course, the media in this country, who have been busting a gut for years to nail Bush over the war, are going to spin it as being the opposite of what it is.  Case in point:

Any trial would shine a spotlight on the secret deliberations of Bush and his team as they built the case for war against Iraq.

Bush ordered U.S. troops to war in March 2003, saying Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction program posed a grave and immediate threat to the United States. No such weapons were found. The U.S. military death toll climbed past 2,000 this week.

How, exactly, is this going to “shine a spotlight” on anything?  If Libby had been indicted for outing the CIA agent then, yes, it would indeed to just that.  But the fact is that, if anything, the lack of a direct indictment over the Plame affair shows that there wasn’t any actual crime committed.  The only reason there’s going to be a spotlight on anything is because the Democratic Party, and their willing accomplices in the mainstream media, are going to keep it there, even when it’s not warranted.

Update: This isn’t to say, of course, that things are swimming for Bush right now.  My prediction is that Cheney will be gone before 2006, and Condi will be his replacement Veep.  Rove might not survive, either.  Even if he isn’t directly indicted for anything he’s still going to be a liability, and might be more of a detriment than he’s worth. 

When you were growing up, how many times did your dad tell you to never do business with your friends?  The logic is simple; often times you’ll need to make tough decisions concerning your business partners, and you don’t want issues of loyalty and friendship clouding your judgment, resulting in nothing more than bad business and a ruined friendship.  Bush, with all his cronyism, is learning that lesson the hard way.  The smart move would be to get rid of Cheney and Rove, for the sake of the presidency, but I doubt he’ll do that.  (I think Cheney will leave on his own.) Rove and Cheney are his close friends, and I don’t think Bush has the intestinal fortitude necessary to turn his back on them.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/05 at 12:07 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Ace of BASE
by Lee

I have often talked of the costs associated with rescuing people who suffer because of their own stupidity.  This is a perfect example.

Rescue crews worked for more than five hours Thursday night to free a man whose parachute got tangled in guy wires supporting a television tower in southern Sacramento County.

The situation came to the attention of firefighters at 6:58 p.m. when the jumper, who identified himself as “John,” called 911 for help. The stranded man was later identified as 41-year-old John Agnos.

The incident took place on a transmitter tower near Walnut Grove shared by several television stations, including News10. The tower is normally tightly secured, with only authorized personnel allowed near the structure. It is not clear how the jumper gained access to the tower.

It is believed that Agnos jumped from the tower and successfully deployed his parachute, but was unable to clear the massive guy wires that support the structure. His parachute became entangled in one of the wires, stranding him nearly 200 feet above ground. Agnos used his cell phone to make the 911 call. …

Agnos was transported by ground ambulance to a landing zone, then by helicopter to the U.C. Davis Medical Center. Paramedics who treated Agnos at the scene reported that he was suffering only minor injuries.

Okay, so he tied up fire and rescue crews for five hours, after which he had a helicopter ride to a hospital.  And for what?  So this dickhead could get his jollies by engaging in risky and illegal behavior.  If I was the local prosecutor I’d not only bring criminal charges against him, I’d sue him to get restitution for the city for the costs of saving his dumb ass.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/05 at 10:10 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Leak Chronicles
by Lee

Supposedly something is going to go down at 2:00 Eastern time.  Seriously, are you guys as sick of this whole thing as I am?  I just want it to end.  If there are going to be indictments then indict them and let’s get the ball rolling, I’m just tired of the bloviating speculation from both sides of the aisle.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/05 at 10:05 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wipe?  My Ass…
by Lee

Iran is sticking to its guns.

Iran’s president has defended his widely criticised call for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

Attending an anti-Israel rally in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his remarks were “just” - and the criticism did not “have any validity.”

Last Wednesday’s comment provoked world outrage. Israel has called for Iran’s expulsion from the United Nations.

Egypt said they showed “the weakness of the Iranian government”. A Palestinian official also rejected the remarks.  …

“Palestinians recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist and I reject his comments,” he told the BBC News website.

“What we need to be talking about is adding the state of Palestine to the map and not wiping Israel from the map,” he said.

If you want to know just what a bunch of crazy fucks are running Iran right now, the fact that they make the Palestinians seem reasonable and diplomatic should give you some indication.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/05 at 09:54 AM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Hallimooreton
by Lee

You’ll be shocked, shocked to read this, but it seems the great man of populist integrity is, at his heart, as much of a filthy capitalist whore as anyone.

PORCINE provocateur Michael Moore likes to portray himself as a working-class man of the people, but a new book exposes him as a “corporate criminal, environmental menace and racist union-buster.”
In “Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy,” Peter Schweizer reveals that Moore, who has been vociferous in his criticism of defense contractor Halliburton, has bought and sold hundreds of shares of Halliburton stock — and that of other defense contractors — through his private foundation.

Moore, who has claimed he doesn’t own a “single share” of stock, has also invested heavily in HMOs and pharmaceutical giants, the targets of his next movie, “Sickos.”

Moore also likes to rail against what he calls rampant racism in the United States and the fact that supposedly no one hires blacks for good jobs. Schweizer points out that “out of the 134 producers, editors, cinematographers, composers, and production coordinators Moore hired, only three were black.” And not one African-American lives in the ritzy Michigan enclave where Moore has a $1 million mansion.

And while publicly championing unions, Moore has been quite anti-union in his own business dealings and had several clashes with the Writers Guild.

We’ve detailed a number of these revelations here over the years, specifically the way Mike treats his staff and won’t allow them to unionize, pays them slave wages, and outsources much of his production work to Canada.  It’s good to see it all laid out in print, nicely researched and sourced.  I just bought this book from Amazon.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/05 at 02:12 AM in Michael Mooron  • (8) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Quote of the Century
by Lee

"[B]ecause as I look around at the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-asses that are whining about this or protesting that, I’d be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them.”

-- 1st Lt. Bruce Bishop, 31, a Salt Lake County firefighter, when asked why he was re-enlisting in the Army National Guard

Posted by Lee on 10/27/05 at 04:56 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Kentucky Fried Muslim
by Lee

On the surface, this seems pretty stupid.

Kentucky has been awarded a federal Homeland Security grant aimed at keeping terrorists from using charitable gaming to raise money.

The state Office of Charitable Gaming won the $36,300 grant and will use it to provide five investigators with laptop computers and access to a commercially operated law-enforcement data base, said John Holiday, enforcement director at the Office of Charitable Gaming.

The idea is to keep terrorists from playing bingo or running a charitable game to raise large amounts of cash, Holiday said.

But to some, the idea of protecting bingo halls from terrorists is nonsensical.

“It’s almost ludicrous,” said Rick Bentley, a Henry Clay High School sports booster as he volunteered last Thursday at a noisy, smoke-filled Lexington bingo parlor. “The thought would never even enter my mind.”

That’s exactly why terrorist groups would think of doing it.  Let’s not forget, for years terrorist groups have been raising money through cigarette smuggling rings operating right here in the US.  I don’t think it’s inconceivable at all that they could try to use gaming as a means of raising money.

Holiday, who applied for the grant, said that terrorists do not currently profit from charitable gaming in Kentucky to the best of his knowledge.

“But the potential there, to me, is just huge,” he said. “You can earn a lot of money very fast and deal entirely in cash.”

With more than 1,300 organizations licensed to raise money through gambling, charitable gaming raised $51 million in 2003.

This is exactly why the mafia and other groups turn to gambling.  It’s high profit, requires virtually no investment up front, and is extremely mobile.  Besides, it’s only a $36,000 grant.  Of all the things that our government has pissed away money on in the name of homeland security, this seems a pittance, and a worthy pittance at that.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/05 at 03:21 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saddam’s Whores
by Lee

Here we see the supreme moral authority of the United Nations.

About half of the 4,500 companies in the U.N. oil-for-food program paid $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges to Saddam Hussein’s government, according to a U.N.-backed investigation obtained by The Associated Press.

The report—to be released in full Thursday by the committee probing claims of wrongdoing in the $64 billion program—indicates that about 2,200 companies participated in extensive manipulation of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

The investigators reported that companies and individuals from 66 countries paid illegal kickbacks through a variety of devices while those paying illegal oil surcharges came from, or were registered in, 40 countries.

The names will be included in Thursday’s report but were not in the key findings obtained Wednesday by the AP.

But buried down the page is this little nugget.

But Saddam, who could choose the buyers of Iraqi oil and the sellers of humanitarian goods, corrupted the program by awarding contracts to—and getting kickbacks from—favored buyers, mostly parties who supported his regime or opposed the sanctions.

He allegedly gave former government officials, journalists and U.N. officials vouchers for Iraqi oil that could then be resold at a profit.

Tracing the politicization of oil contracts, the new report said Iraqi leaders in the late 1990s decided to deny American, British and Japanese companies allocations to purchase oil because of their countries’ opposition to lifting sanctions on Iraq.

At the same time, it said, Iraq gave preferential treatment to France, Russia and China which were perceived to be more favorable to lifting sanctions and were also permanent members of the Security Council.

He gave oil vouchers to individuals who spoke on his behalf, and awarded contracts to three security council nations who just happened to be the three main voices against going to war against him.  But I’m sure that’s nothing but a coincidence, right?

Expect this to get absolutely no media coverage.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/05 at 10:48 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Bye Bye Merde
by Lee

In case you haven’t heard yet, she’s out.

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

“It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House _ disclosures that would undermine a president’s ability to receive candid counsel,” Bush said. “Harriet Miers’ decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers _ and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.”

I anxiously await the next Scalia or Thomas.  Let’s see if Bush has the balls to nominate another one of his cronies.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/05 at 09:45 AM in Politics  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

WWIII
by Lee

Here’s the latest Islamist threat that liberals will insist is nothing we should be concerned with.

Iran’s new president has repeated a remark from a former ayatollah that Israel should be “wiped out from the map,” insisting that a new series of attacks will destroy the Jewish state, and lashing out at Muslim countries and leaders that acknowledge Israel.

The remarks by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—reported by Islamic Republic News Agency—coincide with a month-long protest against Israel called “World without Zionism” and with the approach of Jerusalem Day.

World without Zionism is a nationwide event the planners intend to hold annually, and Ahmadinejad made the remarks during a meeting with protesting students at the Interior Ministry.

Ahmadinejad quoted a remark from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran’s Islamic revolution, who said that Israel “must be wiped out from the map of the world.”

The president then said: “And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism,” according to a quote published by IRNA.

Of course, we should first take this issue to the UN.  Because anyone who states that Israel and the United States should be wiped from the map, and who is developing nuclear weapons specifically to meet that end, well… they’re just the kind of folks who take kindly to diplomacy.  They love nothing more than to kick off their shoes, curl up with a cup of coffee, and talk about stuff.

One thing to remember: Israel is a one-bomb target.  What this means is that for Iran, or any other area state, if they can get one functioning nuclear missile they can destroy Israel, because Israel is such a small, narrow state geographically.  One launch and BOOM! No more Israel.

I’ve said it a hundred times on this blog, and I’ll say it a thousand more.  We are in the middle of World War III.  Nobody wants to admit it, but we are.  Iraq was phase one.  Soon to follow will be Iran and Syria.  Hoo-rah.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/05 at 02:03 AM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Gun Nuts
by Lee

There’s no hypocrisy like Show Hypocrisy.

PISTOL-packing Joe Mantegna is blasting a chink in the politically correct armor of some Hollywood heavyweights — he says they love to own and shoot guns.

The “Joan of Arcadia” star says that such left-leaning showbiz types as Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and playwright David Mamet are all avid shooters.

“Lots of guys in Hollywood love to shoot,” Mantegna, a longtime gun sportsman, tells Fade In magazine. “But they ain’t gonna talk to you.”

“Apocalypse Now” screenwriter John Milius agrees. “It’s fascinating that Hollywood is so hypocritical,” he says. “Many people own [guns], but consistently vote against them and never talk about them. I used to shoot with Spielberg and [Robert] Zemeckis and Robert Stack. But no one else would admit they had any.”

Producer/manager Jay Bernstein, who shepherded Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans to fame, carries a gun in public and is prone to flashing it at Hollywood parties. But even he won’t confirm that he has a Carry Concealed Weapons permit.

“It’s one of the most uncomfortable subjects,” Bernstein says, “because ‘anti-gun’ is more popular than ‘gun’ in Los Angeles.”

As if to illustrate Bernstein’s point, well-known gun enthusiasts Ben Affleck, Charlie Sheen, Tom Selleck and Steven Seagal wanted nothing to do with Fade In’s story.

Even gung-ho action director Richard Donner ("Lethal Weapon"), who has a concealed weapon permit, was reluctant to talk. “I am anything but a gun enthusiast,” he said in a terse statement. “The only reason I would ever own a gun is for the protection of my home, my environment or my family under the circumstances in which I am forced to live.”

How typical.  If you’ll recall, despite the copious use of guns by the main characters, the Lethal Weapon movies were a notorious forum for radical left-wing anti-gun agitprop.  The next time you see one of these films, note that the walls inside the police station are covered in anti-gun propaganda.  I’ve always wondered how these people can be so intellectually dishonest to have no qualms about making millions and millions of dollars off guns, all the while disparaging their legitimate use at every possible opportunity.  So now we find out that the director of Lethal Weapon not only makes money from guns, but he’s a shooter with a CCW permit!

The rank hypocrisy is evident in his statement above.  He has no problem with himself owning a gun for protecting his home or family.  You know, because protecting yourself with a firearm is a daily necessity for a multi-millionaire director who lives in a 30-room Bel Air mansion.  Of course, when it comes to other people using firearms to defend their home or family—you know, poor people who live in crime-filled neighborhoods—he has no problem making sure that minorities who live in poverty are utterly defenseless.

What a fucking scumbag.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/05 at 02:02 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Moment of Truth
by Lee

Leave your World Series comments here.  Come on, Astros!

Update: In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I got t’say about that.

Posted by Lee on 10/26/05 at 08:58 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Explaining George
by Lee

Over at NRO, David Frum responds to Hugh Hewitt on the latter’s continuing endorsement of Harriet Miers, and in the process gives arguably the best thumbnail look at the Bush presidency I’ve ever read.

In a funny way, I think I give the president more credit than Hugh does. Hugh sees Bush as a kind of pragmatic conservative, a leader who comes as close to Reaganism as the circumstances allow. In this telling, Bush is a mere epigone, a president who stands to Reagan as Truman stood to Roosevelt or James Polk to Andrew Jackson. I don’t agree with that at all. Bush has been telling conservatives since 1999 that he offers something very different. Reagan was above all a politician of ideas. Bush is above all a party-builder. As president, Reagan’s top domestic priority was reducing the size and cost of government. Bush’s top domestic priority has been to extend the appeal of the Republican party. I often heard him say so, and his actions support his words.

Everything Bush has done, from his carefully phrased position on life issues to his careless attitude toward spending, has been guided by his vision of a new kind of Republican governing coalition. Bush’s Republicanism has de-emphasized economic issues, in part because he’s not that kind of a conservative, and in part because he has been willing to accept the drift of upper-income highly educated white voters toward the new Democratic party of the Clintons.

In the same way, the president’s pro-life convictions have been reinforced by his perception of an opportunity for Republicans to reach out to religious believers, especially believing Catholics. (Bush and Rove were always mesmerized by the historic voting gap between Protestants who attend church at least once weekly, a group that has been solidly Republican since the 1950s, and Catholics who attend at least once a week, a group that gave a majority of its votes to Republicans only once before 2000, in 1984.)

He has worked hard to try to increase Republican support among Hispanics by favoring open immigration, by promoting new social programs like prescription drugs, and with high-profile appointments.

He has done all this because he sensed that the old conservative movement drew its support from slow-growing or declining segments of the electorate. They cannot quite be written off. But after paying them the Roberts nomination, it was natural that Bush would feel he had done enough for conservatives--and that with this second nomination, he was free to reach out to women voters, to “soft” evangelicals (an important subgroup that attends church regularly but that is not strongly ideological or highly committed to the Republican party). It was natural that he would also feel, as he often does, that having pleased conservatives with Roberts, he was now free to please himself and his wife by promoting a woman he saw as a loyal and under-appreciated family friend.

Hugh’s whole position in this debate rests on the assumption that President Bush thought hard and carefully about Miers choice beforehand. This assumption rests on pure faith, and is alas not supported by experience. This president excels at offering bold visions. All too often, however, he has entrusted his vision to less than capable hands. That is how it is that we can have a promise of comprehensive tax reform--and a third-rate Treasury Secretary like John Snow. That is how we can have inspiring speeches about Middle Eastern democracy--and Karen Hughes as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. That is how we can have a promise to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas--and then Harriet Miers as the actual choice. [Emphasis mine]

Wow.  If that doesn’t sum up Bush perfectly I don’t know what does.  Remember, Frum is a former Bush speechwriter, he’s definitely in a position to know.  I particularly love the last paragraph, because it so elegantly crystalizes the problems with cronyism.  Bush values loyalty over anything, including competence.  He would rather have a friend and partisan in a job, someone who will tell him what he wants to hear, rather than someone who will give him their honest opinion.  What this means for the country is that we end up with positions filled with inept suck-ups.

Posted by Lee on 10/26/05 at 06:01 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Opposites Attack
by Lee

Over the past few days there has been a lot of discussion on this site about Bush’s foreign policy, specifically on Iraq, and how he has bungled it.  Many people on the left have asserted that things would be different under a John Kerry presidency.  Maybe so.  Take a look at these snippets from a recent Kerry speech and see what you think.

“When they [the Bush administration] could have listened to General Shinseki and put in enough troops to maintain order, they chose not to. They were wrong.”

Okay, fair enough.  Kerry thinks that we should have had more troops in Iraq.  As president he undoubtedly would have listened to Shinseki and used greater numbers.

“General George Casey, our top military commander in Iraq, recently told Congress that our large military presence ‘feeds the notion of occupation’ and ‘extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant.’ . . . It is essential to acknowledge that the insurgency will not be defeated unless our troop levels are drawn down.”

Ah, I see.  So Bush was wrong for not having enough troops, and now Bush is wrong for having too many troops.  I think I see a pattern here.  For Kerry and all of his liberal supporters, whatever Bush does is wrong, so then the opposite must be right.  It doesn’t matter if those opposites are totally contradictory, apparently.  As James Taranto says in Best of the Web (from where I piked these quotes), “Apparently Kerry was for more troops before he was against it.”

On Seinfeld, Jerry once said to George: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” I guess Kerry took that to heart, since he seems to think that because every instinct Bush has is wrong, the opposite would have to be right.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

Posted by Lee on 10/26/05 at 05:32 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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