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Monday, January 31, 2005

Inside the Beltway

By John McCaslin - 31 Jan 2005

"....Cough it up: Several lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, have broken a federal statute by pocketing thousands of dollars in salary while being away from their jobs during 2003 and 2004.

An obscure federal statute requires congressional absentees to forfeit pay unless they or a family member are ill, but some lawmakers seem reluctant to comply, says the National Taxpayers Union.

The NTU says "chronically absent" members of the 108th Congress, besides Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards, include Democratic presidential candidates Bob Graham, former senator of Florida; Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; former House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri; and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio...." ( source )

The voice of democracy in Iraq

By John Mc Caslin, "Inside the Beltway" columnist - 31 Jan 2005

"On television sets from Maine to California yesterday, Americans saw something they had not seen since Iraq was liberated by President George W. Bush nearly two years ago. They saw the Iraqi people.

Not the politicians, not the pundits, not the candidates, not the naysayers. The Iraqi people.

And this time there was no spin the previous bunch could provide to top them.

Headlines from Baghdad told the story: Men and women, young and old, blind and in wheelchairs, wearing their finest clothes -- embraced democracy in huge numbers, standing in long lines to vote in defiance of suicide bombers and boycott calls.

"The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," declared President Bush, who had every reason to rejoice on Sunday. Mr. Bush might not have the entire world's support in his fight against terrorism in Iraq. But as Americans saw for the first time yesterday, he has the Iraqi people behind him." ( source )

Iraq exposes intel ring run by Iranian embassy

BACKGROUNDER: Compiled by Bill Gertz

"Iraq's intelligence service last week uncovered an Iranian intelligence network in that country that had targeted the new Iraqi government and an Iranian opposition group.
Press reports from Baghdad stated that Hasan Jum'ah confessed to working for Iranian intelligence by conducting espionage operations.

Jum'ah identified his Iranian contacts working at the Iranian embassy as Tukaylan and Hamdi.
In addition, Iraqi national Nash'at al-Hasani also admitted to working with Iranian intelligence officers in Iraq. Other members of the Iranian spy ring are currently being held...."entire article

The Return of the Tabloid

Breaking News - By Jon E. Dougherty - Feb. 1, 2005

"As the Internet drives newspapers sales and circulation down, tabloids have made a stunning comeback.New tabloids are popping up across the country and around the globe – and many are completely free....

According to media industry executives and analysts, the return of the tabloid is an idea that seems to be working....

One area that has taken a heavy toll on traditional newspapers is the new media — all-news cable channels and Internet-based news services like the NewsMax.com, which publish breaking stories at the speed of light....

Some U.S. and European publishers have recently launched tabloid versions of their paid broadsheets. Britain's two largest daily newspapers have reduced their papers to tabloid size....

In Washington, D.C. billionaire Philip Anschutz launches a new free daily, the Washington Examiner, which some believe will ultimately challenge the city's main broadsheet, the Washington Post and may also undermine the city's conservative broadsheet, the Washington Times....." entire article

Rep. Issa Against Licenses for Illegals

Monday, Jan. 31, 2005 5:18 p.m. EST
By Carl Limbacher and NewsMax Staff

"U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is helping bankroll a California state proposition that, if passed, would bar illegal aliens from getting driver's licenses and other state benefits. Issa has contributed $100,000 of his own money to the effort which, according to the Sacramento Bee, has garnered some 400,000 signatures; backers of the proposition need 600,000 certified voter signatures before a Feb. 22 deadline, in order to get the measure on the November ballot....

Naturally, Hollywood won't be left out of the fun, with dozens of celebs urging the Governator to allow illegals to get the de-facto ID cards....

As for Issa, involving himself in the politics of his home state is nothing new. He led the recall effort against Davis which ultimately resulted in his ouster from office and Schwarzenegger's ascendancy to the governorship...." entire article

'Realists' have it wrong

By Mark Steyn - 31 Jan 2005 *****Five Stars and an absolute must read

"In Europe, the wise old foreign-policy "realists" scoff at the Iraq elections — Islam and democracy are completely incompatible, old boy; everybody knows that, except these naive blundering Yanks who just don't have our experience....

The Afghan election worked so well that, there being insufficient bad news out of it, the Western media's doom-mongers pretended it never happened. They'll have a harder job doing that with Iraq, so instead they'll have to play up every roadside bomb and every dead poll worker. But it won't alter the basic reality: that the election may be imperfect but more than good enough.

OK, that's a bit vague compared with my usual psephological predictions. So how about this: Turnout in the Kurdish north and Shi'ite south probably was higher than in the last U.S., British or Canadian elections. Legitimate enough for ya? But look beyond the numbers: When you consider the behavior of the Shi'ite and Kurdish parties, they've been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible...." entire article

Mexico and Prop. 200

EDITORIAL - 31 Jan 2005

"In Washington, Mexican officials say all the right things about illegal immigration: that only a cooperative approach will work, that any solution must meet the needs of both countries and that Mexico respects U.S. sovereignty. But then their superiors back home contradict those sentiments in word and deed.

The latest example is an apparent campaign to bring down Arizona's new Proposition 200 illegal-immigration law — a set of measures to limit distribution of public benefits to illegals — even if it means going to international courts....

As Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said last week in an interview on W Radio, all means will be used to defeat Prop. 200. He plans to "first us[e] the legal capacities of the United States itself and ... if that does not work, [bring] it to international tribunals...."

Just a few weeks ago, the "Guide for the Mexican Migrant" came in for criticism here and elsewhere for encouraging illegal immigration. The guide — which gives tips to would-be illegals on how to cross the border safely, how to evade detection and what to do if caught — is published by the Mexican Foreign Ministry, and in our view constitutes...."

Joy explodes across Iraq

By Sharon Behn - 31 Jan 2005

BAGHDAD — Triumphant Iraqis yesterday defied the terrorists, turning out by the millions to vote in Iraq's first free elections in almost 50 years.

Voters joyfully waved celebratory purple-stained fingers aloft, proof that they had cast their ballots, defying a vicious campaign of assassination and intimidation to keep Iraqis from the polls.

"Freedom has won," said Adel Lami of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq. "We have conquered terrorism."

VINDICATED

By John Podhoretz - January 31, 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"WHEN you heard about the stunning success of the Iraqi elections, were you thrilled? Did you see it as a triumph for democracy and for the armed forces of the United States that have sacrificed and suffered and fought so valiantly over the past 18 months to get Iraq to this moment?

Or did you momentarily feel an onrush of disappointment because you knew, you just knew, that this was going to redound to the credit of George W. Bush? This means you, Michael Moore. I'm talking to you, Teddy Kennedy.

And not just to the two of you, but to all those who follow in your train.

There are literally millions of Americans who are unhappy today because millions of Iraqis went to the polls yesterday. And why? Because this isn't just a success for Bush. It's a huge win. It's a colossal vindication.

It's a big fat gigantic winning vindication of the guy that the Moores and Kennedys and millions of others still can't believe anybody voted for.

And they know it.

And it's killing them...."

PURPLE BADGE OF COURAGE

By DEBORAH ORIN

January 31, 2005 - "IT was the blue badge of courage — Iraqis defied evil and danced through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to cast their ballots and then wave the purple ink-stained fingers that proved they'd voted.

The sheer joy recalled the fall of the Berlin Wall, some said, but the Germans dancing around that wall didn't have to face down evil because communism had already fallen, while Iraqis knew they risked death — and more than 30 were killed. "The people have won . . . Take a look today to meet the model of courage and human desire to achieve freedom, people walking across the fire to cast their votes," proudly wrote the Iraqi bloggers Mohammed and Omar.

For over a year the two brothers — whose Internet site is "Iraq the Model" — have recounted Iraq's daily life and their hopes for freedom and yesterday they told of their joy at dipping their fingers in purple ink.

"I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink. I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants," one of the brothers wrote...."

'THE VOICE OF FREEDOM'

EDITORIAL - January 31, 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"The sea of purple index fingers, stretching from one end of liberated Iraq to another, told the story.

Like the orange flags and banners that so recently swept Viktor Yushchenko into the presidency of Ukraine, following a stolen election and an attempt to poison him, those purple fingers — marking an Iraqi who braved terrorist violence to come out to the polls and cast a vote — will forever serve as a symbol of Iraq's march to freedom.

Iraqis by the millions defied the terrorists and came out to vote for their first post-Saddam democratic government: They waited patiently on line, sharing chocolates and juice with each other, clapping and cheering as they waited.

Even in cities like Fallujah and Mosul — hotbeds of the anti-democracy insurgency — Iraqis turned out in unexpectedly large numbers, defying the terrorists and sending the world a message about Iraq's courage and determination...."

Iraq Finishes First-Phase Ballot Count

Breaking News - Jan 31, 11:14 AM EST
By Jason Keyser, AP Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - "Iraq's interim leader called on his countrymen to set aside their differences Monday, while polling stations finished the first-phase count of millions of ballots from the weekend election that many Iraqis hope will usher in democracy..." entire article

New York Times Tempers Good News of Irac Elections with Many Negatives, following the lead of Kennedy and Kerry....

Defying Threats, Millions of Iraqis Flock to Polls
By Dexter Filkins, NY Times - January 31, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 30 - "Defying death threats, mortars and suicide bombers, Iraqis turned out in great numbers on Sunday to vote in this country's first free elections in 50 years, offering a powerful, if uneven, endorsement of democratic rule 22 months after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

Voters in Shiite and Kurdish areas turned out in especially large numbers, and at the day's end election officials here estimated that the nationwide turnout could exceed 60 percent. The turnout in the Sunni-dominated areas like Falluja and Mosul...., where the guerrilla insurgency rages and where many Sunni leaders had called for a boycott, appeared to be substantially lower.

Still, election officials said voting in the Sunni-dominated provinces had appeared to exceed initial expectations, and in some cases might reach 40 percent...." entire article

Jacqueline's Soapbox:

On NY Times' e-mailed news alerts this morning, the above article was featured more negatively as: "NY Times 'Today's headlines: "Attacks kill 35; Turnout heavy among Shiites and Kurds.' "

In the rest of the NYTimes article---in addition to their statement above "where the guerilla insurgency rages"---they included the following negatives:

"They did so despite relentless insurgent attacks that left 35 people dead, plus nine suicide bombers...."
"For Iraqi and American officials, the prospect of a broad Sunni boycott has proved to be the most troubling aspect of the elections...."
"The dire predictions appeared to be borne out in some areas of the Sunni Triangle, the area north and west of Baghdad where the insurgency burns with the greatest intensity. In the town of Baji in northern Iraq, election officials did not show up."
"In Ramadi, where Iraqi officials set up a pair of polling places just outside the city, a total of just 300 ballots were cast, many of them by police officers and soldiers...."
"But in Mosul, a Sunni-majority city and the country's third largest, the reports were mixed and contradictory. Some officials reported lines of voters stretching outside polling places in the city's Arab districts, with others saying the insurgents were managing to keep voters away...."
"In November, more than 4,000 police officers in Mosul fled their posts when they were attacked by insurgents, and earlier this month, the city's entire election commission resigned...."
"Still, there were troubling signs that in some pockets of Mosul's Arab districts, the insurgents were successfully keeping voters away."
"It was unclear how the results would affect Sunni resentment, one of the most daunting challenges to Iraq's future...."

Like Senators Edward "Ted" Kennedy and John Kerry, and some other liberal elite hard-left Democrat Congressmembers and operatives, the NY Times just could not appreciate or present the good news about the outstanding success of the Irac election without coloring it as negatively as possible with all their negative "buts," "stills," and qualifications that take away some of the joy and as much of the credit to the Bush Administration as possible.

Ted Kennedy, the leading fanatic on the left, set the tone for Democrats to follow, with his televised remarks that the U.S. is more of a threat to Irac than the terrorists are and the Irac War is a "quagmire" and with his demands that President Bush begin pulling out our troops---starting with 12,000 troops pulled out "immediately."

John Kerry, who hasn't gotten it that he lost the election and, like Kennedy, is not Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, proceeded on yesterday's Sunday morning TV News Shows---as well as before cameras outside afterwards---to preach to the Administration that they must not "hype" the enormous turnout of Iraqis to vote and claim their right to a democratic form of government as a success. Kerry also assumed to set a new arbitrary "real test" that President Bush must pass in the United States' future role in Irac. In other words, George W. Bush, don't you dare try to take any credit for your, your Defense Department's, U.S. troops', U.S. Allies', and Iraqis' accomplishments and enormous success. And here are the tests you have to pass and here is what you must and must not do. Yatta, yatta, yatta...

Quite obviously, both Kennedy and Kerry timed their remarks to deflate the good news as much as possible---as did the NY Times in the above article and CNN in their reporting about the Irac election. Since when do leftist Senators or the media get to set up arbitrary "tests" that the President must pass to their satisfaction? And since when does the President have to provide a timetable for military actions in wartime to civilian partisan politicians and in so doing also inform the enemy? Never, that's when.

Not to be outdone, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are both coming out to provide an earlier today CNN announced "rebuttal" of President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech---when he hasn't even given the State of the Union yet or distributed it to the press. These elite liberal hard-left Democrat politicians and their like-minded media sidekicks, who are going down the CBS road of partisan politics presented as "news," forget what fate befell the last Senate Minority Leader and chief obstructionist Tom Daschle, the plummeting of CBS and CNN's ratings and the decline of readership and subscribers to the NY Times. They are so caught up in their hatred for George W. Bush and all things Republican, their determination to block Bush and his Administration from getting any credit for their earned successes, and trying to shove their socialist anti-war ideology down the throats of all Americans, that they don't see that they are creating their own demise. What we're seeing from these folks is the true face of abject desperation.

Americans get it. And they're fast finding sources for legitimate, unbiased and pro-America news.

Our troops also get it...and they're increasingly talking and writing about the negativism and negative reporting that only shows terrorist successes rather than those of our troops and civilians who are fighting and working in Irac and have outstanding accomplishments to their credit. I doubt they were too happy to hear that some American Democrat Senators think our troops are creating a "quagmire" and are more of a danger to the Iraqi people and their country than the terrorists who are attacking and beheading them....or that they must be yanked out of Irac before their job is successfully completed....or that their President and Commander-in-Chief should shut up and not "hype" their successes in Irac as what they are---successes. They are true heroes one and all and they deserve recognition, credit and thanks for all they do to bring freedom and security to the Iraqi people and preserve ours here at home.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

"V" is for Victory


"V" is for Victory...for millions of Iraqis who overcame fear, intimidation, and threats of death to cast their votes for their future. Their victory and hope for the future was evidenced by their smiling faces, tears of joy and elation in their words after voting. They were even proud of their ink-stained fingers which they held up to show that they had voted in the first free and democratic elections in their country's history. As President George W. Bush said this afternoon, "the men and women of Irac have, today, taken control of their destiny." It is a destiny in which they will each have a voice. -Jacqueline, from the Soapbox

Talk of Taxes, Social Security and Blogs at G.O.P. Retreat

By David D. Kirkpatrick - January 30, 2005

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va., Jan. 29 - "Republican members of the House and Senate turned their attention to the politics of changing the tax code and the lessons of President Bush's campaign on Saturday, the second day of a party retreat here....

In another presentation, Senator John Thune of South Dakota introduced senators to the meaning of "blogging," explaining the basics of self-published online political commentary and arguing that it can affect public opinion.

The House members also discussed immigration, one person present said, reiterating that adding measures to tighten border security should precede discussion of Mr. Bush's proposed guest-worker program...." entire article

Iraqi Heroes.... They voted by the millions


Long lines of Iraqis walk miles to polling places to cast their very first votes in a free and democratic election. Braving extreme danger from terrorists, their desire to live in freedom and peace overcame their fears. Allied and Iraqi troops were out to make their journey to the polls as safe as possible. Every Iraqi who stood in the face of terrorism to claim their right to vote and choose their leaders and form of government are truly heroes---one and all. Today is their historic day to long be commemorated. They have taken a giant first step into the free world and now must work toward true equality, justice and a strong, stable democratic republic that will be their solid rock on which to stand and a beacon of hope for the Middle East. -Jacqueline, from the Soapbox

Bush's Remarks About Iraqi Elections

Sunday, Jan 30, 1:57 PM EST (AP)

Text of President Bush's remarks on Sunday about the Iraqi elections, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks, Inc.:

"Today the people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East...."

Soros Says Kerry's Failings Undermined Campaign Against Bush

Jan. 30 2005

"...Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate. Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, spent $26 million in last year's campaign that he said was undermined by the candidate he supported.

"Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative,'' Soros, 74, said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "That had a lot to do with Bush being re-elected.''

The comments by the Hungarian-born Soros marked his sharpest criticism of Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran who later spoke against the war and focused his campaign against Bush on the war in Iraq. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate, including the defeat of the Senate's highest-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Republicans have 55 seats in the 100-seat chamber.

The Kerry campaign "tried to emphasize his role as a Vietnam War hero and downplay his role as an anti-Vietnam War hero, which he was,'' said Soros. "Had he admitted, owned up to it, I think actually the outcome could have been different.'' entire article

Iraqis Brave Bombs to Vote in Their Millions

By Luke Baker - Jan 30, 9:12 AM EST

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - "Some came on crutches, others walked for miles then struggled to read the ballot, but across Iraq, millions turned out to vote Sunday, defying insurgents who threatened a bloodbath.

Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates.

Even in Falluja, the Sunni city west of Baghdad that was a militant stronghold until a U.S. assault in November, a steady stream of people turned out, confounding expectations. Lines of veiled women clutching their papers waited to vote. "We want to be like other Iraqis, we don't want to always be in opposition," said Ahmed Jassim, smiling after he voted.

In Baquba, a rebellious city northeast of Baghdad, spirited crowds clapped and cheered at one voting station. In Mosul, scene of some of the worst insurgent attacks in recent months, U.S. and local officials said turnout was surprisingly high.

One of the first to vote was President Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni Muslim Arab with a large tribal following...."

Go to entire article for remarkably good news about voter turnout in the largely Sunni Muslim areas, the high voter turnout throughout Irac, and the birth of self-representation through a democratic form of government. The happiness, tears of joy and dancing in the streets of the voters, some of whom walked as much as 13 miles through dangerous territory just to vote, was a wonderful sight to behold---one which should give inspiration and hope to oppressed and terrorized people in many nations that still keep them shackled with the chains of tyranny. -Jacqueline, from the Soapbox

Jennings: Election 'Illegitimate' for Sunnis

By Carl Limbacher and NewsMax Staff - Jan. 30, 2005 10:04 a.m. EST

"Reacting to reports that Iraqi election turnout was far higher than predicted, with voters dancing in the streets in celebration of their newfound democracy, ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings insisted that for Iraq's Sunni population, the vote was still "illegitimate...." entire article

72% Iraqi Turnout Stuns U.S. Press

By Carl Limbacher and NewsMax Staff - Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005 7:52 a.m. EST

"Preliminary reports that turnout in Sunday's Iraq election has topped 70 percent have surprised American reporters, many of whom had predicted that terrorists would succeed in sabotaging the U.S.- backed referendum."I have to say, it's going a lot better than I thought it would," Rod Nordland, Newsweek's Baghdad bureau chief, said Sunday as the numbers came in.

"The attacks by the insurgents, while they're numerous, haven't reached that kind of critical threshold where it really kept everybody home," he told the Fox News Channel.

With an hour left to go before the polls in Iraq close, Reuters reported that turnout had reached 72 percent nationwide. Election officials in Shiite areas say turnout there may top 90 percent....

Initial voter response was slow as the polls opened late Saturday U.S. time, but increased dramatically after threats of spectacular attacks failed to materialize. Of 5300 polling stations, only 15 reported attacks. 29 people were killed, including five police officers.

"Once it seemed like the worst was over, [voters] came out in very large numbers," Nordland said. While Sunni turnout was lower, "it was a lot better than would have been expected."

FAILED DEMOCRAT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DEAN HATES REPUBLICANS

"Dean: 'I Hate Republicans' "
By Carl Limbacher and NewsMax Staff -Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005 10:44 a.m. EST

"The frontrunner in the race to head up the so-called party of compassion and understanding said unabashedly on Saturday that he "hates" the opposition. "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for," former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean told Democrats gathered at a Manhattan hotel, in quotes picked up by the New York Daily News.

He and six other candidates came to address the final DNC forum before the Feb. 12 vote for chairman.

Dean said that despite his hatred for the GOP..." entire article

Kerry: Iraq Election No Big Deal

Breaking News - Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005 12:02 p.m. EST *****Five Stars, a must read
By Carl Limbacher and NewsMax Staff

"A bitter-sounding Sen. John Kerry dismissed the historic Iraqi election on Sunday, warning Americans not to "overhype" the watershed event."No one in the United States should try to overhype this election," Kerry told NBC's "Meet the Press." The failed presidential candidate questioned the historic referendum's legitimacy, saying, "It's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote."

Kerry also pooh-poohed reports of a surprisingly high 72 percent turnout by Iraqi voters, insisting instead that the election has "gone as expected."

Asked if he thought Iraq was now less of a terrorist threat, Kerry at first said, "No, it's more. And, in fact, I believe the world is less safe today than it was two and a half years ago...." entire article

AFTER IRAQ'S VOTE

By AMIR TAHERI - January 30, 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"Designed to give Iraq a new democratic frame work at local, provincial and national levels, today's elections should also confirm the emergence of a new leadership in the newly-liberated country.

This emerging leadership will have to develop a national consensus on a new government, a permanent constitution and the status of the U.S.-led forces present in the country. It will also have to face and ultimately defeat determined enemies both at home and abroad: the remnants of Saddamism, diehard Islamists and some of Iraq's neighbors — who all, for different reasons, do not wish it to become a working democracy....

Most of the new leaders will be..."

Read entire op-ed piece for an excellent analysis of the major players from each of the larger and more influential political parties and who is likely to hold top offices when new leaders are finally chosen. -Jacqueline, from the Soapbox

Rice: Iraqi Voting Exceeds Expectations

By Anne Gearan, AP Diplomatic Writer - Jan 30, 12:04 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Iraqi elections went "better than expected" Sunday, despite incomplete reports about the extent of voter turnout in areas plagued by intimidation and violence. She also called insurgents "terrible thugs" who will not succeed in stopping voting and the progress of democracy in Iraq.

"Every indication is that the election in Iraq is going better than expected," Rice said on ABC's "This Week."

But Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sounded a note of caution in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press"....

"What we are seeing today is what the Iraqis want their future to be," Rice said on "Fox News Sunday." "They want it to be one based on democracy - on the vote, not the gun. And yet there are some terrible thugs, mostly from the old regime, who are trying to forestall that process, and we saw today that they are not succeeding...." entire article

Self- indulgent orgies

By Thomas Sowell - 30 Jan 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"The enraged speeches and street disorders across the country that accompanied the second Inauguration of President Bush may tell us more than we want to know about what is happening to this country.

The media dignify these outbursts by calling them "protests." But what are they protesting? That they lost the election? Doesn't somebody always lose an election? Did the Republicans take to the streets when Bill Clinton was elected? Are the shouters and the rioters protesting that they disagree with Mr. Bush's policies?

....Elections are supposed to be an alternative to other ways of settling political differences, including riots, military coups and dictatorships. But riots have been rechristened "demonstrations" by the mealy-mouth media...." entire article

Bill Clinton's Social Security options

EDITORIAL - 30 Jan 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

In a recent editorial, The Washington Times reminded its readers that then-President Clinton, in a major policy speech delivered in February 1998 at Georgetown University, warned about "the looming fiscal crisis in Social Security" that "affects every generation." Today, congressional Democrats are downplaying Mr. Clinton's "looming fiscal crisis" in an effort to sabotage any reform effort that might include individual (or personal) retirement accounts....

In addition, before the 1998 speech, three national panels had already been commissioned during the Clinton administration to review Social Security reform options:

....All three panels offered long-term reform plans that included individual accounts....

The authors respectfully noted that "[t]he administration's economic team was also aware of a significant group within the Democratic Party that downplayed the need for Social Security reform." Then, they proceeded to demolish the Democratic group's arguments, which today are being repeated by pro-status quo Democrats....

....the grossly irresponsible president's decisions to engage in sexual relations with a White House intern and then to repeatedly lie about it forced him to embrace his liberal Democratic base (and their aversion to individual retirement accounts)...." entire editorial

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Riot, Bomb Scare at Australia Polls

Saturday, January 29, 2005

SYDNEY, Australia — An Australian polling station for Iraqi exiles voting in their homeland's historic election was closed for an hour on Saturday after a riot broke out and a suspicious bag prompted a bomb scare, organizers said.

Bernie Hogan, the head of Australia's (search) overseas voting program, said the riot erupted when a group of around 20 protesters started yelling insults at voters leaving the polling center in a Sydney neighborhood dominated by Iraqi Shiites (search).

Hogan said the protesters were holding up the same black flag with white lettering that has appeared as a backdrop in videos released by Iraqi insurgents featuring foreign hostages begging for their lives.

Thair Wali, an Iraqi adviser for the International Organization for Migration (search), said the protesters' flag and Arabic slogans identified them as Wahabis, followers of an austere brand of Sunni Islam practiced mostly in Saudi Arabia. Wahabis (search) are suspected of having influence over militants waging a 17-month insurgency in Iraq...." entire article

Freedom over Cynicism: Bush and the Iraqis get it. Peggy Noonan doesn't.

By Larry Kudlow - 28 Jan 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"When you read that Jordan’s King Abdullah is taking steps to organize new elections in his country, with regional election districts that look a lot like Iraq’s, you realize just how wrong my friend Peggy Noonan is when she writes that President Bush’s inaugural speech “forgot context.”

When you read the latest fatwa from the murdering terrorist Zarqawi, that it is our democratic, freedom-embracing way of life that makes us the enemy, you realize how wrong Noonan is in calling Bush’s vision of eradicating tyranny worldwide “rhetorical and emotional overreach of the most embarrassing sort.”

When you recall FDR’s famous address of more than 60 years ago, when he talked about a world founded upon four essential human freedoms (to speak and worship freely as well as the freedom from want and fear), you realize how mistaken Noonan is when she tries to restrain Bush’s vision...." entire article

Hamas Victory Rally Erupts Into Shootout

Breaking News - Jan 29, 3:41 PM EST

JERUSALEM (AP) - "A political rally by the militant Palestinian group Hamas turned violent Saturday, as supporters of the rival Fatah faction opened fire, sparking a melee that left more than 25 people wounded, a Palestinian official said.

The incident in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza was the first instance of violence between rival Palestinian factions since the election of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in early January.

Abbas has been holding talks with rival political factions, including Hamas, in hopes of reaching a truce agreement between militants and Israel.

The shooting occurred at an outdoor rally staged by Hamas to celebrate its victory in municipal elections in Gaza earlier in the week. Hamas' strong showing dealt a setback to Abbas' dominant Fatah faction...." entire article

SADDAM'S BUNKER

Breaking News - 29 Jan 2005 3:30pm EST
By Jacqueline at pelicanpost.blogspot

Shepard "Shep" Smith, Fox News Channel journalist and commentator, now on location in Baghdad, Irac, takes his viewers on a tour of Saddam Hussein's enormous and elaborate underground bunker system that was built deep under one of his palaces after the Persian Gulf War---a war in which he was defeated, forced out of the country of Kuwait he had invaded, and forced to sign a peace agreement. This palace was bombed with bunker buster bombs and other types of bombs a total of twenty-seven times, none of which were able to penetrate the well fortified, five stories deep labyrinth. It was built as a fortification for Saddam and very likely his personal bodyguards and closest associates and family. Not even the military knew it existed.

Saddam's bunker is like a small underground city that can house hundreds of people and where people could live for months or even years. It contains a command and control center, sophisticated intercom system, air conditioning and filtration systems, many security locks, sleeping quarters with bunk beds, an elaborate fire control schematic and system, and well outfitted kitchen facilities that Shep Smith characterized as "for the dictator who has everything, this is your underground kitchen."

Also secure and fortified are numerous tunnels connected to the huge bunker, including a control panel tunnel that reaches a parade ground a mile away from the palace---the same parade ground where Saddam was often seen holding up his sword and showcasing his military---all to better intimidate and oppress the people of Irac and reinforce his tyrannical rule by force.

The gigantic complex of bunker and tunnels was built at an estimated cost of ca. $1 billion, while Irac was under continuous imposed sanctions during the period the U.N. Oil-for-food program was in effect---a program that was subverted by Saddam and involved corruption at the United Nations and by associated banks and contractors. Saddam's fraudulent fleecing of that program and smuggling of oil in excess of what he was allowed to sell supported his building of this fortified city under a city and many elaborate palaces, to which none of the Iraqi people had access.

Everything for the dictator---nothing for the people.

E-mail Jacqueline: pelicanpost (civil discourse only, no solicitations, no attachments)

Iraqi Election: "Emotional Iraqis Cast Votes in America"

Sunday, Jan. 29, 2005

"SOUTHGATE, Mich. - Voting in an Iraqi election for the first time was as personal as it was political for Adim Altalibi. Altalibi, a 55-year-old engineer who left Iraq in 1987, was tearful Friday as he thought about his five nephews killed under Saddam Hussein's regime."We lost a lot of our young men and women struggling against Saddam Hussein. It's paid off now," he said after casting his ballot at a suburban Detroit voting site.

Altalibi was among hundreds of Iraqis who streamed into polling places in five U.S. cities Friday, the first day they could vote in their homeland's election. Nearly 26,000 people have registered to vote in five metropolitan areas with heavy Iraqi populations: Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles and Washington. Tens of thousands more are expected to vote in 13 other countries during balloting that runs through Sunday.

In Iraq and around the globe, the voting has been a cause for jubilation among Iraqis who have long been tormented by Saddam...." entire article

Hillary, Daschle Helped Bankroll Dem Radio Hosts

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005 12:53 p.m. EST

"While the media continues its quest to "expose" conservative pundits on the Bush administration payroll, reporters don't seem to have any qualms about the fact that the nation's top elected Democrats helped bankroll liberal commentators on Air America and North Dakota talker Ed Schultz. Unlike the Armstrong Williams case, there's been no outrage over the fact that Sens. Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle and Debbie Stabenow lined up $1.8 million in funding for Democracy Radio, which underwrote Mr. Schultz's show.

According to the Washington Post, Democracy Radio is "a non-profit organization" run by Stabenow's husband, Tom Athans, "with a board composed of three Clinton administration veterans....

Mr. Schultz decided to express his gratitude financially, contributing $2,000 apiece to Democrats Daschle and Sen. Byron Dorgan in last year's campaign....

So it was just a coincidence that when his show debuted in February, Daschle, Clinton and Dorgan were his first on-air guests...." entire article

Jacqueline's Soapbox:

With all the Democrats' screams for an FBI investigation into the actually legal advertising of a government program by Armstrong Williams, you'd think the Dems would be howling for the FBI to also fully investigate U.S. Congressmembers Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, Byron Dorgon, Debbie Stabenow, Democracy Radio and fledgling but stumbling Air America.
Air America is, of course, the Democrats' hard-left talk radio answer to conservative talk radio that so many Americans listen and respond to daily---the same conservative talk radio that has helped liberate the communicated word from the 30 year stranglehold of the liberal elite media who only communicate their own leftist ideology and what they deem the public needs to hear.

Seems only fair that these left wing conspirators and their quid pro quo upon quid pro quo, you-scratch-our backs-and-we'll-scratch-yours sweetheart deal that combined efforts to fund ultra-liberal talk show hosts---including Ed Schultz, who then donated money to Clinton's, Daschle's, and Dorgan's campaigns and gave them instant air time---should have their own FBI investigation---maybe even a special prosecutor.

And weren't those left-wing talkers advocating the defeat of George W. Bush right up to the Nov. 2 presidential election? Isn't Democracy Radio a non-profit, 5-2-something-or-other? And, with three former Clinton administration veterans on Democracy Radio's board and all the experience that crowd had with shady methods of fundraising, such as selling overnights, attendance at coffees, and photo-ops at the White House---and running the Clinton war machine, it really begins to smell like something very sick and wrong.

Seems highly unlikely the "honorable" four U.S. Congressmembers and Stabenow's husband who runs Democracy Radio solicited the Democrat big spenders into forking over substantial donations to bankroll ultra-liberal talk radio hosts---who would then do their political assassination politics of personal destruction number on George W. Bush and other Republicans in the runup to the election---without spelling it out to those donors exactly what those talkers would be talkin' and what their money would accomplish.

So... Hey, you guys over there at the public corruption section of the FBI, how about it?

E-mail Jacqueline: pelicanpost (civil discourse only, no solicitations, no attachments)

U.S. EMBASSY COMPOUND IN BAGHDAD ATTACKED BY ENEMY ROCKET

Breaking News - 29 Jan 2005 2:20pm EST
by Jacqueline at pelicanpost.blogspot.com

Breaking news announced by Fox News Channel reported an enemy rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad housed in the "Green Zone." The rocket exploded on the outside of the palace at the east end. What was believed to be at least a 120 millimeter rocket killed one U.S. Naval officer and one U.S. civilian and also wounded four other Americans.

The U.S. military was able to pinpoint the source of the rocket and track the two carloads of attackers through Baghdad to a house in S. Baghdad where they were able to call in troops with tanks who then captured and took the three attackers into custody as the helicopter hovered above. Then they were able to get the other carload and take four more attackers into custody.

According to military sources who informed Fox News correspondents, the seven attackers are now undergoing questioning.
E-mail Jacqueline: pelicanpost (civil discourse only, no solicitations, no attachments)

Md. Governor Decries 'Assassin Politics'

By Tom Stuckey - Jan 28, 5:07 PM EST
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, center, Full Image

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - "Gov. Robert Ehrlich's annual State of the State address was overshadowed by a six-minute introduction in which he rebuked "a very, very few people" who engage in "Capitol Hill assassin politics." In a voice tinged at times with anger, Ehrlich departed from his prepared remarks Thursday to complain about a lack of respect from some lawmakers, whom he did not name. "Respect is about not playing the Capitol Hill game of demagoguing on personal ethics," Ehrlich said. "It's (the lack of respect) Capitol Hill assassin politics. It has no place in the state legislature."

Ehrlich, elected three years ago as Maryland's first Republican governor since Spiro Agnew left office in 1969 to become vice president, did not say what prompted him to delay his prepared speech in order to complain about the political atmosphere in Annapolis. But there has been an increasingly partisan tone to his dealings with the Democratic-controlled legislature....

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele explained that some Democrats have engaged "in what I would consider harsh, partisan language, referring to the governor as right wing, referring to his agenda as some form of cabal or some insidious plan by ideological Republicans." "We just want to take out the noise because it's not accomplishing anything," Steele said...." entire article

Friday, January 28, 2005

Poll: Wash. Voters Want a Revote

Breaking News - Jan. 28, 2005 1:22 p.m. EST *****Five Stars, a must read

"A Strategic Vision, LLC poll asked respondents in Washington who they would vote for in a revote, and Republican Dino Rossi was selected by 51 percent; Democrat Christine Gregoire was the choice of 43 percent; and 6 percent were undecided, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. When asked who do they believe actually won the gubernatorial election, 53 percent said Republican Rossi, 37 percent said Democrat Gregoire, and 10 percent were undecided.

"This poll is ominous for Christine Gregoire,” said David E. Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Strategic Vision, LLC. "Even though she has been sworn in and is acting as governor, a clear majority of voters do not believe that she won the election fairly and if given the chance would replace her with Dino Rossi...." entire article

Specter Rebuffs Democrats on Judiciary Hearings

By Robert B. Bluey - Jan 28, 2005

"Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) told HUMAN EVENTS he would resist pressure from Democrats to hold new hearings on the judicial nominees that President Bush plans to soon renominate. Most of the nominees have already undergone questioning by members of the Judiciary Committee, leaving Specter with the option of bypassing another round of hearings and instead sending them to the floor for a vote. "In general, I do not propose to have rehearings," Specter said. "There would have to be an exceptional circumstance that would require a hearing. We've already had hearings." Specter, however, said he might subject two appellate court nominees...." entire article

Billboard Blitz to Blast Hollywood

Posted Jan 28, 2005

"HUMAN EVENTS has learned that a billboard blitz "thanking" Hollywood for the reelection of President Bush will be unveiled early next week. The advertisements feature the faces of liberal Hollywood icons Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Martin Sheen, Chevy Chase, Barbara Streisand, and Sean Penn, and offer thanks to Hollywood their help getting President Bush reelected. Two versions of the billboard were created, both "thanking" Hollywood -- the first for "4 more years" and the second for "W. Still President."Billboard creator Citizens United, a group that advocates a return to traditional American values, has..." entire article

Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice


In a swearing-in ceremony this morning, incoming Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes her second oath of office, this one administered by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who also happens to be Secretary Rice's neighbor and the first Jewish female to become a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Ginsberg gave a brief historical review of Secretary of State oaths of office and various changes made in them over time. This is indeed an historical day, with Rice becoming the first black woman in the nation's history to hold the office of Secretary of State. President George W. Bush began the ceremony with some brief remarks, after which he introduced Justice Ginsberg who then administered the oath. The ceremony ended with some remarks by Secretary Rice, whose first oath of office was administered at the White House by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Secretary Rice will spend most of the coming month traveling abroad to meet with her counterparts in many other nations, many of whom she already knows from her experience as President Bush's National Security Advisor.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Re-Vote: Washington State needs to get their gubernatorial election right.

By Rich Lowry, NR Editor - January 28, 2005, 8:05 a.m. *****Five Stars, a must read

"During the Florida-vote controversy in 2000, Democrats always said they wanted to "count all the votes." Skeptics thought what they really meant was "count enough votes for Al Gore to win." In Washington State it is this latter mantra that has apparently been the operating principle. A Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, has just taken office after the state kept recounting until she finally overcame the slight advantage of her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, and — voilá! — all curiosity about getting ever-more accurate vote counts ended.

For years, experts have warned that the nation's election process is scandalously sloppy and prone to fraud....

In King County — home to liberal Seattle — that party is the Democrats. Rossi supporters suspect Democratic officials there have gamed the process to find new after-the-fact votes. Nine times, they say, King County discovered additional ballots that tended to favor Gregoire. Even if this wasn't partisan manipulation, county officials have been zealous in finding uncounted ballots and utterly blasé about excluding improperly cast ballots, creating a process inherently skewed against Rossi.

And there were plenty of improperly cast votes...." entire article

Islamo-Klansmen@Work - From Bombingham to Baghdad

By Deroy Murdock, NRO Contributing Editor - January 28, 2005, 9:51 a.m.
*****Five Stars and an absolute must read

"As Iraqis prepare to cast secret ballots in Sunday's free election, terrorists work day and night to obliterate the entire project. Their political violence recalls that of white supremacists who shielded Jim Crow in the battle for civil rights. Those who block the doorway to Iraqi self-determination are nothing more than Islamo-Klansmen.

"Those of you who think you can vote and then run away...we will shadow you and catch you, and we will cut off your heads and the heads of your children," threatened one Muslim-extremist leaflet the New York Times's Dexter Filkins saw distributed on Baghdad's Madaris Street. "This is a final warning to all of those who plan to participate in the election," it continued. "We vow to wash the streets of Baghdad with the voters' blood."

That blood already flows. On Wednesday alone, terrorists bombed three Baghdad polling places. A fourth explosive was disarmed at another precinct: an elementary school. In Baquba, Islamic fanatics...."

...Perhaps an equally diabolical terrorist bomb will inspire Bush haters to redirect some of their abundant rage toward Iraq's anti-democratic butchers. So far, the only thing more jarring than improvised explosive devices is the accompanying quietude of American liberals. They rail against Bush's efforts to share with the Iraqi people the blessings of liberty. They have fretted themselves into knots and even stalled the electoral college's certification of the November 2 vote because some Ohioans were "disenfranchised" by long lines at some precincts. How does the Move-On crowd respond to Iraqi voters and election officials being disenfranchised through decapitation and detonation? In a word: "Whatever...."
entire opinion editorial

Kennedy: Bring Troops Home Now

WASHINGTON - 27 Jan 2005 "The American military's continued presence in Iraq is fanning the flames of conflict, and signals the need for a new detailed timeline to bring the troops home, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Thursday. Just three days before the Iraqi people go to the polls to elect a new government, the Massachusetts Democrat said America must give Iraq back to its people rather than continue an occupation that parallels the failed politics of the Vietnam war.

"The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution," Kennedy said.... "We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces." .... his remarks continued what has been a long and blistering assault on the administration's Iraq policies.

He has called the war a "fraud made up in Texas," and said the administration mislead the people about the threats leading up to the war.

Now, Kennedy said, the United States and the insurgents are both battling for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and the U.S. is losing.

"There may well be violence as we disengage militarily from Iraq and Iraq disengages politically from us, but there will be much more violence if we continue our present dangerous and destabilizing course," said Kennedy. "It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin...."

Kennedy, who has called Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam," drew parallels between that failed conflict and the current deadly battle against guerrilla insurgents. He said the United States must learn from the mistakes of Vietnam - which he termed a misguided war that carried on too long and was not honestly portrayed by officials to the American people.

Kennedy said the first goal in the current situation should be for the United Nations - not the United States - to convene an international meeting to help the new government take shape and draft a constitution. entire article

Humanity With Flaws Forgiven

ART REVIEW 'REMBRANDT'S LATE RELIGIOUS PORTRAITS'
By Michael Kimmelmen - January 28, 2005

"....Had he been a poet instead of a painter, Rembrandt would have seduced countless women with his love sonnets. Every lover would have believed him when he wrote yet another poem that swore undying devotion to her unrivaled feet and peerless earlobes.

His portraits convey pretty much the same message, after all. Each one says: "Here, stripped bare, is the true essence of this person, the depth of his or her soul in paint. Have you ever met anyone so authentic and remarkable?" Painting after painting makes that point. Rembrandt's touch was itself about his own individuality, suggesting the inimitability of his genius....

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., the curator of this focused gem of an exhibition this focused gem of an exhibition, contemplated including the Trip portrait, which was painted sometime around 1661. It would have joined 17 other works from the 1650's and 1660's, pictures late in Rembrandt's career (he died in 1669, at 63), which have mystified scholars.

They are paintings of Jesus, Mary and assorted evangelists, apostles and monks. Or some are. Others may be. Some look like "portraits historiés," commissioned portraits in which...."

Hillarycare: Abortion Free for All

By Carl Limbacher - Jan. 28, 2005 7:21 a.m. EST *****Five Stars, a must read

"Aides to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton insist that her comments to an Albany abortion rights group earlier this week were nothing new for the top Democrat - that she's always been against the procedure and has long pushed for programs to make abortion "safe, legal and rare." But when Mrs. Clinton was in charge of health care reform, she sought a radical expansion of abortion availability, making it a taxpayer funded woman's right....

Under Hillarycare, all health insurance plans were forced to cover abortions as part of the standard benefits package. Medicaid beneficiaries would have been covered for elective abortions. Mrs. Clinton would have also had taxpayers pick up the tab for abortions for uninsured women who previously had to pay for the procedure themselves....

....her refusal to compromise on the abortion provision became a lightning rod for opposition and was one the reasons Hillarycare went down in flames.

Every now and then, Mrs. Clinton drops her "abortion is tragic" facade, and her true position emerges. In 1994, for instance, she cabled American diplomats at the U.N. population conference in Cairo to urge participating countries to affirm that "access to safe, legal and voluntary abortion is a fundamental right of all women."

Mrs. Clinton's new image as an abortion moderate also doesn't jibe with her continuing support for partial birth abortion. Asked about the gruesome procedure during her 2000 Senate campaign, Hillary called it "horrible." But in the next breath the real Hillary blurted out: "But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake, if the potential for having any more children is at stake, this must be a woman's choice...." entire article

Iraqi official says authorities close to capturing Jordanian terror mastermind al-Zarqawi

By Sameer N. Yacoub, AP Writer - 28 Jan 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq — "Authorities in Iraq have arrested three close associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, officials said Friday, claiming to be close to capturing the al-Qaida-linked terror mastermind himself two days ahead of historic elections that extremists have vowed to subvert.

The announcements, made days after the arrests, appeared aimed at helping reassure Iraqis about security ahead of Sunday's polls....

Asked by reporters if authorities were close to arresting al-Zarqawi himself, Saleh replied: "We are getting close to finishing off al-Zarqawi and we will get rid of him...." entire article

FOREIGN POLICY: Tough job but right person

EDITORIAL - 28 Jan 2005

"Condoleezza Rice takes on the job as the nation's top diplomat facing a world full of foreign policy challenges. Her plate as the nation's new secretary of state includes the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and simmering tensions with Iran and North Korea over nuclear weapons programs.

But, most of all, it includes advancing the president's agenda for democracy and freedom, while trying to forge stronger ties with countries throughout the globe.

It won't be easy -- but Rice is used to bumpy roads....

She inherits a job from Colin Powell that is the crown jewel of all Bush Cabinet positions, and her assumption of the post makes her one of the world's most powerful women.

Rice's credentials are strong, her determination to succeed proven and her intellectual prowess unquestioned -- even by those Democrats who dislike or disagree with her views.

Her time has come to achieve even greater things. entire Editorial

VOLCKER THE IN-'CREDIBLE'

EDITORIAL - January 28, 2005

"Paul Volcker was picked by U.N. Sec retary-General Kofi Annan to head an "independent" panel to investi gate the Oil-for-Food scandal ostensibly because of the former Federal Reserve chairman's international credibility.

But credibility, like fame, can be fleeting — and Volcker's is fading fast.

Volcker hasn't had much luck probing Oil-for-Food. He said, bizarrely, "There's no flaming red flags in this stuff" — right before federal investigators found, well, a flaming red flag: a former agent for Saddam Hussein who pleaded guilty to taking millions from the program and who is now singing like the proverbial canary.

But maybe luck has had nothing to do with Volcker's unimpressive results.

As Fox News Channel's Jonathan Hunt reported yesterday, Volcker is smack in the middle of the interlocking global corporations that appear to lie at the very heart of the scandal...." nypost - entire editorial

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Palestinian Authority Issues Weapons Ban

Breaking News - Jan 27, 11:23 AM EST
By Mohammed Daraghmeg, AP Writer

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - "The Palestinian leadership banned civilians on Thursday from carrying weapons, its latest step aimed at reining in militant violence, as the Palestinian leader said he was awaiting Israel's response on a proposal for a mutual cease-fire declaration.
If enforced, the ban on weapons would be a strong move against militant groups, whose gunmen often openly brandish their automatic weapons in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank - reflecting the lack of control by the Palestinian security forces.

In the next step to impose order, the Palestinian security forces were preparing to move into the volatile southern Gaza Strip to prevent rocket and other attacks into Israel, extending their control from the northern part of Gaza, where they deployed earlier...."

Jacqueline's Soapbox:
Now the Palestinians need to clarify just who they consider to be other than "civilians." In other words, does extra-civilian mean only Palestinian military, security and police? Specifically, are they including armed terrorists in terrorist groups such as Hammas, Hizbollah and Fatah as other than "civilians" or are they being classified as "civilians" and banned from carrying and use of all weapons also? If they are being folded into the military, security or police forces in any way, this move is a total sham. The ban needs to be precisely clarified, documented, signed and enforced against all terrorist and terrorist supporting groups and individuals---including those mentioned here---before the rest of the world lends it any credibility or engages in another hypocritical "peace process" shuffle.

Make no mistake, Mahmoud Abbas' integrity and credibility are on the line here. Only full faith actions and verification are acceptable. People all over the world will be watching closely to see what the Palestinians and their new leaders in fact mean and what they in fact do to enforce this new ban.

The Palestinian culture is one where its "civilians" have been bred and indoctrinated to hate both Israel and all Israelis and the U.S. and all Americans. Could it be that Abbas fears that "civilians" in the Palestinian territories have learned of the real democracy movement and will revolt against him and the sham election they just had their rights subverted in---through both the rushed-up and controlled procedures and who could be a candidate in preparation for the election and the breaking of election rules in the voting itself by Mahmoud Abbas? It was not a democratic election by any stretch of the imagination.

Abbas is in a precarious position between the terrorists he has supported for many years up to the present and an electorate that cannot trust him. Sort of an up the down staircase at all points.

Israel and the United States need more facts and evidence of lasting results before they proceed into any peace process. Like President Ronald Reagan said, "Trust but verify."

President Sees Progress Promoting Liberty Abroad

U.S. Department of Defense Press Release: By Samantha L. Quigley, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2005 - "President Bush today restated his commitment to promoting freedom.

"Because our own freedom is enhanced by the expansion of freedom in other nations, I set out the long-term goal of ending tyranny in our world," the President said in a White House news conference. "This will require the commitment of generations, but we're seeing much progress in our own time."

Bush cited the recent Afghan elections and the upcoming Iraqi national elections as two pieces of evidence of that progress. Despite the recent increase in violence in Iraq, the president vowed, the elections would proceed as scheduled.

He called the attacks led by insurgents in Iraq a "war against democracy itself." This translates to a war against the Iraqi people themselves, Bush said...."

New Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice Warmly Welcomed at U. S. State Department

Breaking News - 27 Jan 2005 8:30 am EST
By Jacqueline at pelicanpost.blogspot

Newly appointed and sworn in Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice was warmly welcomed to the State Department this morning by officials' handshakes at the entrance and an applauding crowd waiting for her inside.

Equally warm and enthusiastic, Secretary Rice took the time to thank them for their welcome and inform everyone that this is not her first time working at the State Department, for she worked there many years ago as an intern.

In her remarkable introduction of herself to her new staff, she gave an overview of the important role the State Department has played in much of twentieth century history and achievement and acknowledged those in the service of the State Department who "made the ultimate sacrifice" in doing so. For those presently working at the State Department, she made clear that she expected the Department staff under her tenure to be one of "diversity" and one that would reflect the wonderful diversity of the American people. She also clearly stated her intention of providing continuing education and training for State Department employees and of getting them everything they need to do their jobs all over the world.

Secretary Rice also set the tone for her State Department's mission---that of supporting the "President's bold new agenda" of spreading freedom and democracy. She told State Department employees, "you in turn will be committed, we will be committed in carrying out that agenda." In other words, theirs is a supportive mission that supports the Administration's agenda. After all they are a part of the Executive Branch of government. It is not and has never been the job of the State Department to run counter to Administration policy---which is set and led by the President of the United States.

Amid a sea of smiling faces and a crescendo of applause, the new Secretary of State then said, "Now, I'll go and see if I can find my office." Chances are better than good that she had plenty of more than willing help in doing so.

Having already been sworn in by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Secretary Rice will be sworn in a second time later today by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Doubly sworn and more than doubly able, this Secretary of State---who is thoroughly grounded in foreign policy and national security---is superbly suited for the job she has undertaken.

God speed, Madame Secretary! You have the appreciation and support of millions of Americans in the critically important tasks before you.

E-mail Jacqueline: pelicanpost (civil discourse only, no attachments)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Inaugural run-in for Reid aide

By Gepff Earle - 26 Jan 2005

"An aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was arrested on the West Front of the Capitol for disorderly conduct during President Bush’s inaugural address last week.

The aide, Nathan Ackerman, is a television producer on the Senate Democratic Communications Committee — an organization that was folded into Reid’s new communications “war room.”

About 20 minutes into Bush’s speech, Ackerman, 36, and another man held up a sheet that said “No War.” According to a Capitol Police report, Ackerman and another suspect “were blocking the view of the audience and they were engaged in a verbal dispute with members of the audience.” The report states that Capitol Police officers told Ackerman and the other suspect to relinquish the sign or be arrested but that “neither complied and both were placed under arrest....”

The other suspect had been standing on his chair and “continued to display the banner and argue with members of the audience” before the arrest, according to the report....

Ackerman, who previously worked for ABC News in Los Angeles, described himself as one of a number of Democrats like former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) who dared to speak out on controversial issues....

Ackerman, who was hired by former Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) two years ago, said he considered his activities to be those of a private individual, not a Senate employee....

Reid earned media attention around Washington when he created a communications “war room” to launch aggressive attacks on Republicans. “We will use every tool and innovative avenue available to us to get our message out,” he vowed in a November 2004 statement...."

Full Article

Jacqueline's Soapbox: This type of "war room" attitude and behavior is a perfect example of what is wrong in the U.S. Congress and why Congressional members of the two major parties are so deeply divided. Tom Daschle's and Harry Reid's "war rooms" follow the lead of the Clinton White House "war room" that was set up in the White House---even used the White House data base for partisan politics---by such Democrat activists as James Carville, George Stephanopoulis, and Paul Begala, who are all now at either CNN or ABC, as well as others in the Clinton administration and the DNC.

It was these very war rooms that, with their private investigators, were the genesis of the politics of personal destruction that has been so avidly waged against George W. Bush and his administration officials and appointments. What they can't win fairly, they attempt to win by dirty tricks and attempting to literally destroy their opponents, There is apparently little they won't stoop to do to win.

The unlawful behavior and attitude of Democrat Sen. Harry Reid's arrogant and childish aide in his disruption of President Bush's second Inauguration and the recent slashing, by the son of a Democrat U.S. House of Representatives member, of tires on a large fleet of Republican vans scheduled to take voters to the polls are evidence of the depths to which the Democrat Party has sunk. Further evidence was the large numbers of organized attacks on and intimidation of Republican Party offices and their employees all over the country during the 2004 presidential election. Those attacks were illegal acts and hate-based behavior.

The American people are not stupid. They have become enlightened as a result of Democrats no longer having a monopoly on the news media and what the public gets to hear. Democrat propagandizing, hate-speech and war room partisan politics and tactics are turning people off in droves, causing them to turn elsewhere for legitimate, unmanipulated news and to associate themselves with candidates who espouse their values, morals, and ethics and their desire for common courtesy and civil discourse.

Democrats' war room mentality, politics of personal destruction and obstructionism got Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) voted out of office in 2004---and contributed to George W. Bush getting and increase of more than 3,000,000 votes in 2004 and winning his second term as President of the United States.

Thanks, Democrats! We reject your politics of personal destruction, but we'll take all the votes you send us.

E-mail Jacqueline at: pelicanpost (civil discourse only, no attachments)

Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice


Congratulations to Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice who was confirmed by 85 of the 100 members of the United States Senate this morning. Secretary Rice endured trial by liberal fire, applied by some of the most crass and hard-left Democrat Senators in Congress, to be confirmed. Throughout it all, she maintained the dignity, decorum, and integrity which will serve her well in leading the State Department and its diplomatic corps in U.S. relations with all other nations. God speed, Madame Secretary. You have the prayers, best wishes and support of millions of Americans.

Positive Indicators

By Michael Novak - January 26, 2005, 7:48 a.m.
Election day in Iraq may surprise the press.

"I asked last July what would happen to partisan Democrats certain of electoral victory if they ended up losing on November 2 by three or four points. The press seemed to be taking for granted a Democratic victory, and was certainly longing for it.

In much the same way, the press seems to be taking for granted a downward spiral in Iraq, and even longing for it. Many reporters in Iraq, especially but not only from the Associated Press, report the news that cheers our enemy, and leave out the stories that give comfort to our own troops. That is a constant complaint of military bloggers and military in the field sending e-mails to friends....

Naturally, an election, all by itself, will not work miracles. But this one will give Iraq a national assembly elected by a powerful majority of all Iraqis. Since power comes from the consent of the governed, the Iraqi people will have accrued more consensual power than any other current Arab regime.

This expression of popular will in Iraq will henceforth constitute a powerful argument against any so-called insurgency...."

Iraqi ballots and bombs

By Tony Blankley - 26 Jan 2005 Five Stars, a must read

"It's a little odd that the most vehement support for President Bush's proposition that democracy is the best cure for terrorism came from the curling lips of Mr. Abu Musab Zarqawi .
The infidel-beheading terrorist butcher of Baghdad announced, in a post-Inaugural web-site broadcast (not to be confused with American network television's post-speech commentary and analysis) that "We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology. Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it. [Iraqi candidates] are demi-idols, and [voters] are infidels."

With such a hard-hitting critique of the president's speech, he might well be in line for a political analyst slot at CBS...."

The stakes are high

By Gary L. McDowell - 26 Jan 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"There is arguably no issue of greater importance to the future of the American republic than how the coming war over nominations to the federal judiciary will turn out. President Bush has upped the ante considerably and admirably by making clear his intention to appoint to the bench only those who will take the Constitution seriously and who understand that interpretation is not the same thing as making public policy. He seeks those who will be guided by the framers' original intentions rather than the moral mood of the moment.

As if to infuriate his critics all the more, the president has indicated that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia — originalists, both — are his kind of judges. The very thought of more Thomases and Scalias has left the liberal apologists for judicial activism sputtering with rage and plotting further filibusters in an attempt to undermine the president's constitutional power of appointment.

The stakes could not be higher...."

REAL immigration reform

EDITORIAL - 26 Jan 2005 *****Five Stars and a must read

"What's most remarkable about the top Senate Republican priorities for the new congressional session, announced Monday, is what was left out: not one mention of immigration reform. We're not talking about President Bush's doomed guest-worker bill. Even the agonizing energy bill made the list at No. 10. One would think that on an issue which unites Republican voters as much as immigration reform, that Republican senators would pay attention. We speak from firsthand experience. No one issue so enflames the passions of our readers, as evidenced by heated letters to the editor, than the country's backward immigration laws. Have Senate Republicans gone deaf?....

One congressman whose ire is certainly aroused is Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner , Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee...." (Link here for entire Editorial)

Senate Confirms Rice As Secretary of State

Breaking News by Barry Schweidap, AP Diplomatic Writer - Jan 26, 1:03 PM EST

"WASHINGTON (AP) - Condoleeza Rice won easy confirmation Wednesday to be President Bush's new secretary of state, despite strong dissent from a small group of Democrats who said she shares blame for mistakes and war deaths in Iraq.

The Senate voted 85 to 13 to confirm Rice, who succeeds Colin Powell as America's top diplomat and becomes the first black woman to hold the job.

Plans were made for her to be sworn in at the White House Wednesday night, take her place in the State Department Thursday morning and have a more elaborate swearing-in by Bush at the agency on Friday.

The Senate vote showed some of the partisanship that delayed Rice's confirmation vote by several days...."

Scalia Rips Activist Judges

Breaking News by Carl Limbacher and NewsMax Staff - Jan. 26, 2005 9:53 a.m. EST

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Tuesday that judges should look to historical practices when ruling on religious issues.

Speaking at the University of Michigan, Scalia criticized judges for using what he called "abstractions" to interpret religious issues when they should be looking to the text of the Constitution itself.

"The Constitution says what it says and does not say what it does not say," he said...."

Bush Huddles with CORE Chief

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005 11:04 p.m. EST

President Bush and his chief political advisor Karl Rove met with Congress of Racial Equality Chairman Roy Innis/ on Tuesday, as Senate Democrats spent the day bashing Bush's Secretary of State nominee, Dr. Condoleezza Rice.During the White House meeting, Innis told Bush and Rove, "You're liberating populations around the world - it's time to liberate blacks in America from one party tyranny" - according to CORE spokesman Niger Innis.

The comments drew "a very favorable response" from both the president and his top advisor, Innis said. The White House meeting came just days after CORE condemned as "racist" attacks by Democratic Senators on Dr. Rice.

Earlier in the day, the CORE chairman said he was "outraged" that Senate Democrats were delaying the would-be Secretary of State's confirmation. "Dr. Rice, in every respect, is fully qualified for this central position,” Roy Innis said. "Her qualifications far surpass the irrelevant reasoning of those who are trying to fracture her character, experience, and devotion...." (Click on first sentence for entire article)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hersh Predux - Sy's at it again, again

By Michael Ledeen, NRO Contributing Editor - January 25, 2005, 7:46 a.m.
*****Five Stars and a must read

"Last week I noted that Sy Hersh, the celebrated New Yorker writer who specializes in getting things backwards, had been warning the world that secret Pentagon teams, in tandem with secret Israeli units, had been unleashed on the Iranian countryside to identify and target nuclear facilities. I also confessed that I rarely read Hersh's stuff, because so much of what he has written has proven wrong, and I prefer not to cloud my mind with material likely to be padded with disinformation. It's the same principle I apply to the evening network news and the New York Times: I'm better off without them.

Had I read more of Hersh, and did I not suffer from an onslaught of senior moments, I might have remembered that Hersh had written the same story before....

Slightly more than three years ago (in the issue dated November 5, 2001), he wrote something for the New Yorker (lightheartedly labelled "FACT") called "Watching the Warheads." It's about Pakistan; and Hersh warns us that our hunt for Osama...."

http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200501250746.asp for entire article.

DEMOCRAT SENATORS ACCUSE CONDALEEZA RICE OF LYING, PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION


Sen.Ted Kennedy (D-MASS.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MN), Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) used their time in the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing today to disrespect, denigrate and accuse both National Security Advisor Dr. Condaleeza Rice, whose confirmation as Secretary of State is at issue, and President George W. Bush of providing false information or lying to the American people. They were joined in their unprofessional rhetoric by racist Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WVA), a former Ku Klux Klan member who used the despicible "n" word twice on national TV in 2001. These hard-left liberal Senators are using confirmation hearings to grandstand and propagandize against Bush Administration policy and the Irac War, attacking not only the nominee already approved by Senate Foreign Relations Committee 16-2 but also a sitting President and his National Security Advisor in time of war---which serves to undermine current prosecution of that war and our troops who are on the ground in Irac fighting to win it. They are abusing not only a superbly qualified nominee and the President who nominated her, they are abusing their power. Through their coordinated campaign to dishonor the President and Dr. Rice, they bring dishonor to themselves and to the U.S. Congress.

BREAKTHROUGHS

By RALPH PETERS

January 25, 2005 -- IN just two days, Iraq took two giant steps forward. The forces of freedom in Baghdad announced the earlier bust of the al Qaeda killer behind the wave of suicide bombings. And Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the No. 1 terrorist in Iraq, told the world what he thinks.
Under pressure, men and women reveal their true character. On the run and frantic, Zarqawi offered a perfect contrast to President Bush's inauguration speech supporting global freedom: Zarqawi announced that democracy is "an evil principle."

There you have the deepest fear of oppressors everywhere. Whether dictators or assassins, they dread the free choice of free people. Terrorists know they can't win elections. Nor will many people vote to impose religious law on themselves...."

....the leading terrorist in Iraq just told the common people what he thinks of them: He should decide their future, not their ballots.

Think that's going to play well with the masses? Does anyone except The New York Times believe that a Jordanian- born, Sunni Muslim terrorist is going to convince Iraq's majority Shi'a Arabs or the Kurds to throw up their hands, stay home on Election Day and hand him power?"
http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/ for entire op-ed piece.

Hillary Blames Bush for Abortions

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005 9:43 a.m. EST

There has been an increase in the number of abortions in eight states, and it's all President Bush's fault, says pro-abortion Senator Hillary Clinton.

Speaking at a pro-abortion rally in Washington attended by about 1,000 abortion advocates, while hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers marched to protest abortion, the wife of the president who vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion charged that President Bush has caused an increase in abortions because he is not fully funding family planning programs....

Clinton has claimed that during her husband's administration, "we saw the rate of abortion consistently fall...."

But the statistics she cited were based on numbers that Dr. Randy O'Bannon, director of education at the National Right to Life Committee, says come from a flawed study conducted by a researcher who used faulty data to survey the rise or fall of abortions during the Bush administration....

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/1/25/95122.shtml for entire article.

Jacqueline's Soapbox:

If there actually had been a reduction in abortions during Bill Clinton's administration, it would have been because he did such a thorough job of instructing the country's youth and women of childbearing years that "oral sex is not sex." Clinton policy on preventing abortion, perhaps? Or just covering his own debauching of the Oval Office by having a sexual relationship with a young female intern in his employ and then lying to the whole world about it?

The other crafty Clinton, better known as Hillary, was likely well aware of the fact that the study on which her assertions were based had been disproven---just as she was likely well aware of the fact that the false study was put out right before the 2004 presidential election in an attempt to defeat candidate Bush.

One would hope that her capacity to recollect would have improved since her forced appearance before a federal Grand Jury---when her husband was President---in which she had "no memory of" or did not "recall" in answer to some fifty or so questions put to her about her role in "Whitewater" and her Rose Law Firm billing records---all being investigated by Ken Starr, Independent Counsel.

Senator Clinton has a selective memory when it is personally or politically advantageous.

TRIBUTE OF LIES AT U.N.

By ANDREA PEYSER - January 25, 2005

"IT TOOK only 60 years. Sixty years after the world learned that bored Germans flung Jewish babies into the air for target practice at the Auschwitz death camp, our oily pals at the United Nations have officially acknowledged the Holocaust.

Enjoy it quickly, because if yesterday was any indication, the anti-American, anti-Semitic rats infesting the banks of the East River — a species alternately known as the "French," "Germans" and "Libyans," among others — will forget the lessons of Auschwitz, or just insist the camp didn't exist.

Only one man spoke the truth about anti-Semitism.... Marcello Pera, speaker of the Italian Senate, spoke up. "We have an obligation to admit that anti-Semitism is still with us," Pera said. "Today, it also feeds on such subtle and insidious distinctions as are often made between Israel and the Jewish state, Israel and its governments, Zionism and Semitism. Or, it crops up when the struggle for life led by the Israelis is labeled 'state terrorism.' "

Even Europe's Constitutional Treaty cannot make reference to the continent's Judeo-Christian roots, he railed...."

http://www.nypost.com/commentary/ for entire story about one surprising instance that highlights the United Nations' institutional prejudice against Israel and all things Jewish---a prejudice that is manifest in the UN's defacto, and in some cases overt, support of terrorism and terrorist states. If you take President George W. Bush's second Inaugural Address to mean exactly what he said, it's hard to reconcile United States' membership in and support for such a corrupt, anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist body. A body in which terrorist and terrorist exporting, anti-democracy states like Syria are allowed membership, in violation of requirements for membership in the UN Charter, and a seat on the Security Council. It simply does not square.
-Jacqueline, from the Soapbox
By AMIR TAHERI Five Stars and a must read

"January 25, 2005 -- 'BA'AD!" This is what one is likely to hear whenever talking to Iraqis these days. It's short for the phrase ba'ad al-intikhabat — "after the elections."

Weddings are being postponed until after Election Day, as are business contracts, poetry recitals, play openings, the start of the soccer season and, of course, the rebuilding of towns and villages wrecked by months of insurgency. Also on hold are big projects financed by the $18 billion U.S. aid package and the $6 billion-plus pledged by Europe, Japan and the Arab states.

Never have so many people pinned so much hope on a single day of voting.

The interim government's determination to hold the election is matched by the equally firm insurgent/terrorist resolve to disrupt the voting...."
http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/ for entire excellent article.

ABC'S COUNTERPOINT

Letter to the Editor of NY Post - January 25, 2005

"Ahead of Inauguration Day, ABC News posted a plea on its Web site for information on any serviceman being buried near the time President Bush would be making his speech ("Bush's 2nd Inaugural," Editorial, Jan. 21) ABC was successful, and Peter Jennings was able to mention such a memorial service as a supposed counterpoint to the president's speech.

We have a son serving in the Marine Corps infantry. We are intensely proud of him, but always worried as well.

If that terrible day should ever come, I can't think of a more profound way to underline the value of his commitment and his sacrifice than by the words of Bush's speech.

Would that everyone who mourns be able to look to an eternal value like human freedom as a reason for the death — which eventually overtakes all of us.

Nolan Nelson - Eugene, Oregon"

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/letters/39230.htm

Jacqueline's Soapbox:

See PelicanPost article on Jan. 24, 2005 about ABC and its rising star and chief mouthpiece George Stephanopoulis, with our commentary which discusses additional deliberate and aggressively planned liberal elite anti-Bush bias in ABC's so-called "news" reporting---news they create, arrange timely and coordinated release of, or otherwise spread to influence the public---a la Dan Rather and CBS. ABC is creating propaganda that is anti-Bush, anti-Bush policy and anti-Irac War and spoon feeding it to the American public under the guise of truthful and legitimate "news."

We need to hold ABC and Stephanopoulis accountable, just as we're holding CBS accountable---just as we should be holding all media accountable to be ethical and give us only accurate, documented, un-biased news. The same is true for the liberal elite print media such as the New York Times that has become an arm of the Democrat Party---for which the Times is paying through loss of credibility, reputation, readership and subscriptions. CNN and MSNBC are also suffering for their liberal, biased reporting, as their plummeting ratings verify. It's about time.

Much of the propagandizing leftist media have one objective in common that is manifest in their "news" exposure: their subversion of a sitting President, his Administration policy, his Defense Department, the Iraq War and troops in the field of battle--- by using made up or distorted "news" they often coordinate with the Democrat Party or Democrat members in Congress, both in content and timely release of that so-called "news."


These dishonest media hacks got their trip down the steep, slippery slope the hard way. They earned it. The American public whom they disrespected and played false just gave them a push.