Carol Platt Liebau: July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Totally Unforgivable

Today, during the roundtable on Fox News Sunday, it was reported that Bill Frist had done something totally unforgivable in the course of changing his position on stem cell research. No, it wasn't necessarily the position change itself -- certainly, on such a difficult and delicate matter, every senator and congressman must vote his/her conscience.

The problem? Frist reported his switch to The New York Times before he even bothered to contact the President.

He got this story out of it. Hope it was enough for all the respect he's lost. The way he maneuvered this one justifies anyone in wondering whether, in returning to his original stance on the matter, Frist was doing it all for the press.

If so, perhaps he's forgotten that the press already has a Republican horse in the 2008 race . . . by the name of John McCain.

Ivory Tower Ignorance

In last Monday's edition of The New York Times, Stanford Professor David Kennedy bemoaned the "fact" that "the United States today has a military force that is extraordinarily lean and lethal, even while it is increasingly separated from the civil society on whose behalf it fights." Even belatedly, this ridiculous piece cannot pass without comment.

First, note Kennedy's insulting assertion that "today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits . .." [emphasis added]. How does he know? I'd be willing to bet that, from his comfortable ivory tower, he's intimately acquainted with very few ordinary soldiers -- who tend predominantly to be male, conservative, rural, white, southern and churchgoing. Not someone one tends to run into often on the shady, trendy streets of Palo Alto.

How does he know that they're "mercenaries" (his word, not mine)? Is he in academia just for the money? Well, like some of today's soldiers, he certainly wouldn't do it if he weren't being paid. But doubtless that's not the only reason he chose academics over other professional options -- and the same goes for the soldiers (in fact, if I wanted to be insulting, I might even suggest that one of academia's attractions for Kennedy might have been its safety, physical comfort, and relatively light work load . . . just another contrast with the priorities of many soldiers).

Second, if Kennedy genuinely worries that "our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education" -- well, he can start advocating for the return of ROTC to places like, say, Stanford and Harvard. Permitting undergraduates at elite universities to participate in military training -- without stigma -- would be a big step toward recruiting a military drawn from "all ranks of . . . privilege or education," Professor Kennedy.

Finally, Kennedy's "solution" to the problem is profoundly incoherent. If his concern is that the American people are letting such an "important function grow so far removed from popular participation and accountability" -- then the only solution would be a required term of military service, a la Israel. But even Kennedy implicitly concedes that this is unnecessary and impractical in an age of military technology, so he comes up with another solution.

Drumroll, please: Kennedy's cure-all? A "universal duty to service - perhaps in the form of a lottery, or of compulsory national service with military duty as one option among several . . ."

So either (1) We would replace an all-volunteer army ("mercenary", in Kennedy's words) with a conscripted one; or (2) Institute a type of universal Americorps.

Professor Kennedy should be thanked for setting forth so clearly the liberal approach to problem solving. Either advocate the totalitarian approach of forcing unwilling participants into the military (a not-so-great recipe for an effective fighting force, by the way), or settle for the alternative: Expensive, irrelevant inefficiency. Not even a Stanford intellectual can invent an explanation of how the non-military forms of national service that people like him would choose (such as, perhaps, picking up trash in national parks?) will solve Kennedy's alleged fraying of the long-time "link between service and a full place in society."

(In my book, by the way, soldiers certainly have certainly a full place in society -- and a much better feel for the mainstream than university professors.)

What a bubblehead. Professor Kennedy should be hiding his head in shame.

Onward and Upward, Governator

Daniel Weintraub is just about the most trusted and respected Sacramento reporter in California -- for good reason. Here's Exhibit 1.

Weintraub is spot on in his analysis that the governor should resist all calls to cancel the November special election. It would be a stunning admission of defeat on measures that the governor hasn't even campaigned on -- and would be interpreted by his political enemies both as a concession of failure and of weakness. It would demoralize his allies and envigorate his enemies.

None of that would be in character for the Governator.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Conservative Enough for You?

Check this out. Judge Roberts sounds pretty conservative to me, even if Ann Coulter has, so far, been unconvinced.

Of course, releasing documents over the August recess will allow these sort of hit press pieces to flourish . . ..

At any rate, I stand by my original judgments -- both on Judge Roberts himself, and Ann Coulter.

Shouldn't Take An Op/Ed . . .

This should have long been obvious. Titled "Our prisons are fertile grounds for cultivating suicide bombers," the piece is just common sense, insofar as it lays out the ways that prison offers the "near occasion" for conversion to the most unwholesome brand of Islamic faith. It would be interesting to know how many American convicts emerge from prison as newly-converted Muslims -- but don't hold your breath waiting for a study that may well never appear.

Earth to any elected official wanting to incarcerate terrorists, say, in American prison rather than at Guantanamo Bay. This is one of the many reasons it's a bad idea.

More on University Bias

Read this. It's unbelievable. The linked column reports on the contemptuous terms employed by those critiquing a study that suggested -- based on statistical evidence -- that Christians, conservatives and women in higher education often teach at less prestigious institutions than their scholarly qualifications would suggest.

Please don't wait for the perpetually aggrieved feminists referenecd in the post above to take on this cause. And certainly don't hold your breath -- you'd only turn blue and die.

Outrage is a very selective phenomenon on the left . . . but its disdain for any competing point of view is, sadly, ubiquitous.

Disgraceful Pandering

Here's more from the invaluable Heather McDonald about the gender pandering that's Harvard's newest disgrace.

My suggestion? If a "gender task force" is really going to happen, let's make it balanced. How about appointing Mary Ann Glendon? Or Ruth Wisse?

No chance. They'd ruin the feminist pathetic agenda-driven tea party.

Some of Us Are Over High School

In today's Washington Post, there is one of the silliest pieces of wannabe analysis that I have ever read.

After describing the impressive athletic prowess of the Bush White House staff (except for the President, of course, who "isn't such an exceptional athlete"), the author asks,

Could all of this have something to do with the Democrats' current losing streak? Absolutely.

The American people seem to regard the jocks with awe, just like when they were in high school.

Yes, that's the reason. None of us have ever moved on past high school. Explains everything.

It sounds like the author has never heard of the expression "Mens sana in corpore sano." But then again, despite his pretensions to nerdom, he probably never took Latin in high school -- and clearly, he hasn't learned much since.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Blogging Will Be Light Today

I'm out of town for the day.

But check out this excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal.

And there are plenty of other wonderful blogs to read -- Hugh Hewitt (of course!), Captain's Quarters, Conservative Philosopher and LaShawn Barber.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Frightening and Ugly UK Precedent

In a decision remniscent of the grisly Groningren Protocols, the high court of the UK has ruled that terminally ill patients can be deprived of food and water -- even against their will.

How ironic -- and how sad -- that a society that will do so much, so bravely to save those injured by terrorist attack is simultaneously so willing to hasten the deaths of the most vulnerable living among them.

The anti-Hillary?

Here is a piece worth reading about Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia -- supposedly a moderate, Bill-Clinton-like Democrat. As the piece points out, the truth is at odds with the fable that Warner's trying to sell.

But don't underestimate the hunger in (elite) Democratic ranks for ABH (Anybody but Hillary). Last night, at dinner with an educated, upscale, pretty far left liberal Democratic couple, I was surprised to hear them dismiss Hillary Clinton out of hand as "too divisive" to win. They're looking for someone else -- and I don't believe they're alone.

The conflict, in my view, will come between liberal Democrats like this couple (who are savvy and realistic) and the true believers that Howard Dean seems intent on bringing into the party. As long as Hillary doesn't alienate the latter by moving too far to the center, they're hers for the taking (as long as enough red meat rhetoric is tossed their way).

But even in the unlikely event that someone like Warner wins the nomination over Hillary Clinton, the Move.On-type moonbats are the gift that keeps on giving. After all, even a "moderate" President Warner would be counting the Michael Moore brigades as part of his coalition. Is that something that Swing State America really wants to see?

Just another tease

Helen Thomas
Shamelessly playing upon our emotions

Left-wing "journalist" Helen Thomas (insert your own joke here) has threatened to inflict severe bodily harm on herself if Dick Cheney runs for President.

Of course, in all seriousness, no one wants any physical misfortune to come to Ms. Thomas -- retirement (or prolonged silence) is really all that any normal person would hope for. But please, Helen, don't play with our emotions this way.

I fear her threat is just one in a long, long line of disappointments . . . like the cruel, cruel teases from Hollywood establishment types who had threatened to leave the country upon a Bush victory, but who, sadly, reneged.

The Real Story from Iraq

Michael Fumento, thank you for your courage, and for telling it like it is.

Gloat Free Zone

It would, of course, be unsporting to be pleased by the news that ratings for Air America are in the cellar.

Good competition is always healthy for talk radio -- keeps everyone sharp. But we cannot lie: There is a sliver of satisfaction in having predicted this outcome in a column way back in April of '04.

American Spectator piece

Here is a piece I authored, setting forth my view that John Roberts' extensive experience "inside the beltway" may immunize him from many of the pressures that have resulted in too many Republican-appointed justices moving left over the years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Real Party of Leaks

Here is a piece listing examples of some of the most egregious Democratic mishandling of classified information over the years -- and frankly, many of them make the brouhaha over Karl Rove look like child's play.

For more on the same topic, check out my column from a couple of weeks ago. It's titled "A Lingering Whiff of Democratic Opportunism: Democratic Outrage with Rove Doesn't Pass the Smell Test."

Maybe It's Just Part of the Plan

Mark Levin expresses some concern at reports that President Bush didn't even interview outspoken conservatives like Judges Luttig, Jones and Brown for the O'Connor seat. He's not sure it portends good things for the future.

I respect Levin -- and look forward to reading his book Men in Black. But I think his worries may be premature.

To my mind, it's quite likely that President Bush's plan all along was to replace Justice O'Connor -- who, as a "swing vote", was likely to be the more difficult slot to fill -- with a "low key" conservative (i.e. someone who would move the Court to the right, but wouldn't elicit the kind of bloody fight that a Luttig, Jones or Brown would).

That doesn't at all mean that he won't fill the staunchly conservative seat of Chief Justice Rehnquist with someone more outspokenly conservative than Judge John Roberts.

Laughing at the Left

That's the title of a wonderful piece in the most recent City Journal (publication of the Manhattan Institute). It's well worth reading.

A Creative Way to Encourage English-speaking?

This is a quirky little piece about the frustration being experienced by those who don't read English -- and are therefore forced to wait for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to be translated into a bevy of other languages.

It's going to take a year or so for the Spanish translation to appear . . . could this be a plot to encourage wide-spread English-speaking? ;)

In any case, it will be worth the wait. JK Rowling has earned every penny she's made on these incredibly creative, exciting and wholesome children's books. I've read a few of them (installments 1-3), and it's like being transported to another world. I remember that feeling when I read "Little Women" as a young girl -- and it's easy to see why young fans are lining up for the books. How I wish I could have met Louisa May Alcott!

Retired? Or just truth-impaired?

Here, an interesting piece about Valerie Plame's donation to anti-Bush PAC America Coming Together. Even more interesting -- she listed her occupation as "retired", and "N/A" as her employer.

What's with supposedly "undercover" agents drawing attention to themselves with political donations? Was Valerie Plame "retired"? Or was she just "embroidering" the truth, in the fine style of husband Joe Wilson?

Liking Roberts more & more

Maybe The New York Times thought this piece would damage John Roberts -- insfoar as it shows him to be someone who indulged in the occasionally humorous (snarky, even) written remark as he worked for Reagan's attorney general William French Smith.

No such luck. If anything, this piece actually humanizes someone who, 'til now, has been presented as a paragon. It makes me like him more and more.

Also, it's worth noting that these sorts of remarks float through every law review in America, I think (they certainly floated around during my days at The Harvard Law Review). More than anything, they're a way for people who are somewhat nerdly to begin with -- and then working long hours on top of it -- to let off a little steam and have a laugh. No malice intended.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

When Left is Center

So the DLC -- flagship organization of "moderate" Democrats -- has tapped Hillary Clinton for a leadership post.

Perpetually conflicted (see disclosure at end of linked piece) LA Times reporter Ron Brownstein claims:

The appointment solidified the identification of Clinton — once considered a champion of the party's left — with the centrist movement that helped propel her husband to the White House in 1992.

Well, perhaps the wish is father to the thought, Mr. Brownstein . . .

But here's another way of thinking about it: Perhaps the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left over the past several years that a woman who once tried to nationalize one-seventh of the U.S. economy (via health care "reform") is now considered a "moderate."

And so much for her policy acumen: She still sounds pretty favorable toward the single-payer approach that has been deemed not only a failure -- but also a conducive to intolerable inequality -- up in Canada.

A Little Press Projection?

Howard Kurtz writes about the "Democratic dilemma" in deciding whether to oppose Roberts, noting that one of the questions confronting the Democrats is "If by some turn of events the Democrats managed to block Roberts, how likely is it that Bush would name someone more conservative?" (incidentally, also part of the calculus set forth yesterday in my weekly column).

But Kurtz also quotes an interesting point from Oxblog:

Now why has the media decided to give John Roberts the kid glove treatment? It's not because he went to Harvard College and Harvard Law. After all, Bush has degrees from Harvard and Yale. What matters a lot more is that Roberts graduated summa cum laude and was the managing editor of law review. He's not just an Ivy Leaguer -- he's the kind of Ivy Leaguer that journalists and pundits wish their children could be. In other words, Roberts is supposedly the kind of Ivy Leaguer who thinks in a way that fellow Ivy Leaguers readily understand and heartily praise -- whereas Bush doesn't.

As I say, the point is interesting -- but it's wrong. The distinction between the way the press treats Bush and the way it treats Roberts has nothing to do with gradations of academic merit -- summas and managing editorships. It has to do with conservatism . . . the fact that Bush is an outspoken conservative, whereas Roberts has been a very diffident one -- so diffident, in fact, that no one can find any written expression of his views.

This happy state of affairs allows the press to project its own (more liberal) views onto the nominee, and glorify the Ivy League pedigree without having to endure irritatingly "retrograde" views. And if you don't believe me, watch to see how many times the term "pragmatic" is used in conjunction with Judge Roberts' name (see, for example, here and here and here and even here).

If you're still not convinced, just imagine the reception that today's Democrats and press would offer Justice Antonin Scalia (Georgetown University valedictorian & summa cum laude; Harvard Law School, editor of The Harvard Law Review, magna cum laude, Sheldon Fellow).

Republicans Stuck in the Past?

According to Deborah Orin, polling suggests that Americans believe John Roberts should be confirmed whatever his views on abortion -- but that they would like to know what his views are.

Although it's clearly unethical for a judge to pre-judge issues that may come before him, as usual, the American people's view is a sensible one. After all, John Roberts may have a lot more to do with what will happen to abortion in the United States than even the president will . . . yet abortion can be a central part of a presidential campaign but not a Supreme Court hearing. And Republicans seem happy with that system -- sometimes I wonder if they are stuck somewhere in the mid-70's or '80's, when admitting to a more pro-life view on abortion spelled political trouble. Interesting world.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Good News

It's heartening to see that some unions are more interested in trying to help their members than in simply electing Democrats to office.

The split within the AFL-CIO is good news for workers, bad news for Democrats. And very bad news for the arrogant old union order.

Federalist Silliness

Here, in a breathless report, The Washington Post puts forth its most dynamic "scoop" on John Roberts -- he is listed as a member of the "steering committee" in the Federalist Society's 1997-98 handbook! So there!

This is a profoundly silly topic. The Democratic obsession with The Federalist Society is just one more manifestation of the paranoia that seems to be affecting the party at its core.

Here is the statement of The Federalist Society's purpose. And here is the core of that statement:

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.

Ooooh. Pretty controversial, huh? S-c-a-r-y ('specially the way that last part of the quote echoes Chief Justice John Marshall).

I knew some of the leaders of the Society -- Gene Meyer and Leonard Leo -- from back in my days in Washington. The group isn't some dark, secretive brotherhood featuring odd initiation rituals and requiring loyalty oaths. It was founded to offer non-lefties an organization through which they could learn, meet, gather and network, especially on law school campuses, where for a long time there was almost complete left-wing hegemony.

Its counterpart on the left is the American Constitutional Society -- and if participation in the Federalist Society disqualifies one for the Supreme Court, then take a good look at the list on the linked page . . . because none of these people should ever be expecting (or should have ever expected) any consideration as a potential Supreme Court nominee. That means you -- Mario Cuomo, Laurence Tribe, Abnber Mikva (former D.C. Circuit judge and White House Counsel), Patricia Wald (former D.C. Circuit judge) . . . the list goes on.

In any case, being a member of the Federalist Society (and/or participating in some of its activities) says very little about someone's ideology -- because liberals as well as conservatives are offered the opportunity to take part in vigorous (but courteous) debates (note the contrast -- one doesn't, I believe, see many conservatives invited to interact in any way with the National Lawyers' Guild).

And like many organizations, it's eager to associate itself with people of influence -- which may explain how Judge Roberts came to be listed in its directory without having knowingly become a member.

Supreme Court Strategery

Check out my weekly column here. Its point? It would be a strategic mistake for liberals (or the small group of disgruntled conservatives) to attempt to derail the Roberts nomination.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Dick Durbin -- One-Time Pro-Lifer

This morning, on Meet the Press, Tim Russert noted as he interviewed Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL):

It's interesting, because in your own political past, when you were a congressman in the House of Representatives in 1983, you believed that Roe vs. Wade was incorrectly decided. You filled out a questionnaire calling for a constitutional limit to ban all abortions. You wrote a constitute [sic] saying that "The right to an abortion is not guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution."

Of course, this will make life very interesting if Dick Durbin tries to characterize any postulated pro-life views of John Roberts as "out of the mainstream" -- because when Durbin was pro-life, that view was less mainstream than it is today.

In any case, anyone who slanders American soldiers the way Dick Durbin did has no business even pretending to know anything about "mainstream thought" in America.

She's Not A Moderate!

Today, the LA Times contributes another piece of journalistic schadenfreude with a piece about the "GOP's woes" in seeking to unseat Dianne Feinstein, whom -- of course -- the piece describes as a moderate.

Just FYI, don't fall for the spin. I helped Rep. Tom Campbell with opposition research in 2000 in his US Senate race against Feinstein. She's tough to beat -- not because she's a moderate, but because she's good at portraying herself as one (with the press' help). And let's face it -- compared with Barbara Boxer, almost anyone seems moderate in comparison . . . or at least intelligent and judicious.

Just for the record: Feinstein gets a

Lifetime rating of 18% from Citizens Against Government Waste (meaning she's classified as "hostile" to taxpayers)

Lifetime score of 11 from the American Conservative Union.

By comparison, Boxer earned a 10 from the former, and a 2 from the latter. In other words, there's not that much difference -- policy-wise -- between them.

It's Not About Being "Offended"

Tom Tancredo writes today in The Denver Post (HT: Real Clear Politics. Not surprisingly, he tries to reframe his controversial remarks from last week -- when he stated that an appropriate American response to an Islamofascist nuclear attack would be to bomb Mecca.

As James Lileks has noted, "Bombing Mecca to revenge the acts of maniacs is like nuking the Vatican to protest the pedophilia scandal in Boston." And the threat only assists the Islamofascist effort to portray our war on terror as a holy war against Islam (in the mode of the Crusades).

In his piece today, Tancredo writes the following:

But should we take any option or target off the table, regardless of the circumstances? Absolutely not, particularly if the mere discussion of an option or target may dissuade a fundamentalist Muslim extremist from strapping on a bomb-filled backpack, or if it might encourage "moderate" Muslims to do a better job cracking down on extremism in their ranks.

And as I stated earlier this week, it is difficult to find any way to deter madmen who embrace death for themselves, and are completely unconcerned about inflicting it on the innocent.

But contrary to the premise of Tancredo's statement above, the "mere discussion" of nuking Mecca is less likely to deter a fundamentalist Muslim than it is to convince others -- who might remain otherwise suspicious about Islamofascist propaganda -- that it's important to destroy a country like America . . . whose own elected officials are willing to threaten their religion's most sacred and holy sites.

America is a country that embraces peaceful religion of all kinds. But that history and fact is lost in the controversy when someone like Tom Tancredo speaks with such recklessness.

Contrary to what he says, it's not about whether his remarks "offend" anyone. It's about whether they're strategically smart -- and whether they're right.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Please Call Harvard

Left-wing law professor Cass Sunstein is calling for "A Diversity of Minds, Not of Biology" on the bench. Wonder if he's willing to make the same plea to the University of Chicago, Harvard -- and the academy generally. Ha. Liberals only want "diversity" of thought where they don't exercise unquestioned hegemony . . . so the academy is out.

Friday, July 22, 2005

CWLA - LA Event This Sunday

The California Women's Leadership Assembly has kindly invited me to speak at an event this Sunday.

I understand that response has been great, and it should be a fun occasion. If you're interested in attending, click on the link above (and yes, men are welcome, too!).

What's the Contradiction?

The Washington Post runs a breathless piece today on Jane Roberts, wife of Judge John Roberts.

Most notable about the piece is its incredulity . . . can this woman really be a pro-lifer? And a feminist? All at the same time?

Well, of course she's a feminist AND pro-life. What else would a real feminist be?

Look at all these poll results -- particularly among women. Apparently, Mrs. Roberts is far more mainstream than the people who seem so surprised by her views.

And anyone who is truly a feminist would -- of course -- care about the health risks to women that many doctors believe accompany abortion generally and the the "morning after" pill. There may well be psychiatric risks to women, as well.

As a quote on the Physicians for Life website puts it,

Abortion liberates men, not women.

Well said. Oh, and this:

"'Feminists for Life' is not an oxymorom, it's a redundancy. The reduplicative nature of the phrase is evident in the basic tenets of feminism: that every human being deserves the opportunity to develop into the best she or he is capable of; and that each individual be respected, however minimal or great their development may be..." Dr. Maureen Jones-Ryan, 1990

Couldn't it be that Mrs. Roberts understands more about what it means to be truly a "feminist" than all those harpies who are always speaking "for" women?

Nice Try on the Fry, Dems

Here is a piece explaining why the 12-year-old-girl-with-the-french-fry case decided by John Roberts demonstrates that he is just the kind of Justice that America needs.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Barbara Boxer, Shame of California

Sen. Barbara Boxer
Scourge of Thinking Women Everywhere

Radioblogger has some absolutely priceless transcripts of the inimitable Barbara Boxer, Shame of California, Barbra Streisand of the Senate (i.e. shrill, whiny and supremely ill-informed).

It's not anything you want to read around mealtime, because the effects could be unpleasant, but don't miss it. To make a (painfully) long statement short, Senator Boxer is upset because President Bush didn't cave in to identity politics and nominate a woman to the Supreme Court.

My favorite ill-conceived, ill-delivered sentence of this typically rambling mediocrity of a Boxer statement (masterfully described by Radioblogger as a "paragraph in search of a thought") is:

And I have to...I could tell you right here now, that being a woman in the Senate, and we are now up to fourteen, when I go out, and especially in the years when I was one of four or six or whatever the number, I can't remember exactly, the young girls that would come around to me, who would just say, you know, I want to do what you do.

Senator Boxer, I could live to be a thousand, and I would never want to "do what you do." Do what Senator Kyl or Senator Brownback or Senator Roberts or Senator Bond or Senator Talent do? If I were in the Senate, certainly. Do what you do? Never. Ever. Ever.

It's a good thing that I don't buy into the whole group-think thing, because if I did, Senator Boxer would make me embarassed to be a woman.

A Face of Courage and Conviction

Australian Prime Minister John Howard
It's somehow fitting that his middle name is "Winston"

I promised this morning (before inadvertantly deleting) that I would post John Howard's splendid defense of freedom of and of American, British and Australian policy in the face of terrorism. Here it is (HT:Rush Limbaugh):

On the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq that the first point of reference is, once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use a vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats. And no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq. And can I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq. Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people, by implication, suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy, not just in Iraq, but Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan? When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq, a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations, when Al-Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now, I don't know the mind of the terrorist. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts are, and the objective facts are as I've cited, the objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq.

And, indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life; this is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse, through a perverted ideology, of people and their murder.

The Left - Wrong Again (and Always, Really)

Parts of the left side of the blogosphere have been nearly hysterical with glee, charging that Judge John Roberts was named in the Iran-Contra report.

Again, wrong . . . wrong . . . wrong. The individual named therein is John B. Roberts II -- a totally different guy.

Oh, and by the way, he's not a member of the Federalist Society, either, as some left-wing groups have charged (not that there's anything wrong with that . . . it's an excellent group).

Let's get it right, please. (Well, a girl can dream, can't she?)

Dems Wrong to Equate the Advocate with the Cause

It's been interesting to read the liberals' frenzied efforts to attribute the views John Roberts expressed as an advocate to him, personally (for example, see here -- PFAW's overwrought vaporings on "reproductive freedom").

And it's ironic, given these groups' claims to care for the oppressed, unpopular, marginalized and dispossessed. Because, after all, if every lawyer has to worry that the views he expresses on behalf of unpopular causes or clients are going to be attributed to him, it will make it much more difficult for the oppressed, unpopular, marginalized and dispossessed to find lawyers to represent them.

Surely the leftist groups wouldn't want to risk endangering the representation of those for whom they "care" so much -- all just to stop an honest and qualified judge with whom they disagree . . . Would they?

Dems' New Line of Attack?

Read this piece in today's LA Times. One line gives away what I believe may be a key Dems line of attack against Judge Roberts:

Several Democrats complained that Roberts had served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for only two years, and therefore had a limited judicial record. As a result, they were considering requesting copies of material he wrote when he served as deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush.

Of course, The White House, quite rightly, would refuse to hand over such documents. They are confidential, because a practice of handing them over to partisans would prevent those working for the Justice Department from offering straightforward assessment of cases -- knowing that their words could be twisted and used against them in the future (see, e.g., this PFAW report for the kind of sloppy lies that would only be increased were confidential documents to be made available).

The problem is that Senate Republicans let the Democrats get away with this trick in the case of Miguel Estrada, who eventually withdrew his nomination, even though all seven former solicitors general noted that the Dems' tactic was unprecedented and inappropriate.

This time, of course, the Dems will be under more scrutiny. Seth Waxman and Walter Dellinger, both former solicitors general who argued for the confidentiality of documents in the Estrada case, have already supported Roberts, in his nomination to the D.C. Circuit. So the Dems may have a problem this time, at least.

Standing in Solidarity with Britain

Our thoughts and prayers remain with all the brave citizens of the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mrs. Justice Roberts?

This might be relevant if Mrs. Roberts were the nominee to the Supreme Court. But she isn't.

Look on the bright side, Kim Gandy. At least they call themselves "FEMINISTS for Life."

Ann - Please, Please, Please Don't!

I have always enjoyed hearing from and reading Ann Coulter. She is smart, she's beautiful, and she is certainly funny.

But she is making a big, gigantic, horrendous mistake in attacking John Roberts for being insufficiently conservative. And she should stop it -- now.

Conservatives in America have to let go of David Souter. He was a mistake . . . and a big one. But not every candidate is Souter -- and not every candidate has to be an outspoken, feisty, peppery conservative (as much as I appreciate them) like Judge Luttig or Judge Jones in order to be a wonderful pick for the Court.

Unlike Souter, Roberts has worked with a lot of solid conservative Republicans (like Hugh Hewitt) in conservative administrations -- and in private practice (a friend from law school, a virtual "Scalia mini-me," has worked with him at Hogan & Hartson). With regard to his conservative bona fides, we're not relying on the word of one man (like John Sunnunu). We're relying on the assurances of people who have known Roberts since he graduated from law school -- and before. One cannot be a clerk to Justice Rehnquist, an assistant to Reagan's attorney general, a member of the Reagan White House Counsel's office, a principal deputy solicitor general in the first Bush Administration, a D.C. Circuit judge, and have worked with some rock-ribbed conservatives at Hogan & Hartson -- all to high praise from very conservative people -- and still be a stealth liberal.

Souter, in contrast, served his whole career away from DC -- as Warren Rudman's assistant attorney general, as state attorney general, and then as a judge. No one "inside the beltway" knew him. And that was the point. In contrast, everyone inside the beltway knows Roberts -- and no one who's worked with him has anything but the highest accolades, both on personal and jurisprudential topics. That counts for a lot, in my book.

Moreover, as a strategic matter, it's a real mistake to attack Roberts from the right. What's the point -- to force the Administration to hand out conservative red meat, which may satisfy Ann Coulter, but at the same time hands Kennedy/Leahy/Durbin more targets to hone in on?

And even if Roberts were a mistake (and I don't believe he is) -- what's Ann's end game? To force Bush to withdraw the nomination? If that happened, theoretically, does she think the President's hand would be strengthened in a confirmation fight for a "real" (in her view) conservative? Not likely.

Finally, Ann faults Judge Roberts for having "gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That’s just unnatural."

And I understand where's she's coming from. Outspoken people are sometimes suspicious of prudent ones -- believe me. But his discretion doesn't make Roberts a sneak, and his civility doesn't make him a wimp. More than anything, it's unfortunate that those who have performed brilliantly, worked hard, and been kind to others -- without flamboyance -- are somehow deemed suspect.

A right wing attack on Roberts can do nothing but marginalize conservatives and create trouble for themselves, for the Bush Administration, for the conservative cause generally, and for a good and decent man. I do hope Ann Coulter will think twice, and stop the attack. There are so many better uses for her prodigious talents.

Bad News for Democrats

Here is a prime example of the kind of pressure that red-state Democrats will face as they consider Judge Roberts. The linked column urges Ken Salazar, in so many words, to oppose Roberts.

That's a tough call for someone like Salazar, who pretended to oppose Democrats' practice of filibustering judicial nominees before being elected, then fell right into line for the Democrats upon arriving on Capitol Hill.

And it's one more indication of how brilliant the Roberts pick was -- not only in jurisprudential but also strategic terms. Roberts splits the Democrats between (marginally) reasonable, quasi-moderate types (including those up for reelection in red states next year) and the hard core left -- like Schumer, Kennedy and Leahy, who can snipe at any nominee from the relative safety of a blue state perch.

I guess it would sound heartless to mention that it will be fun to watch Salazar and others like him squirm . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Supremely Qualified!

Check out Yep -- everyone from Gore lawyer David Boies to The Rev. Lou Sheldon of The Traditional Values Coalition like Judge Roberts.

Read it and weep, Schumer/Leahy/Kennedy/Durbin. They may try to take Roberts on, but don't forget that he's answered a lot of tough questions in his career from much smarter people (i.e. nine Supreme Court justices). Sitting before the Dems on the Judiciary Committee later this summer, Judge Roberts may find himself engaged in a battle of wits with a bunch unarmed people.

(And don't forget that Senators Leahy, Biden, Kohl, Feingold, Feinstein and Edwards -- Democrats all -- voted favorably on Judge Roberts' D.C. Circuit nomination when it was before them in the Judiciary Committee).

All This, and Kind, too!

Check out this piece again from The Harvard Crimson (it's linked in the post below, too). As the Crimson puts it, "Classmates from both law school and college remember Roberts as a hard working, earnest, kind, and brilliant person."

A former colleague from The Harvard Law Review (which, believe me, can be an incredibly contentious place) characterized Roberts as "honest, forthright, decent, and fair person who was always there on time, always did his job, and was kind to everyone."

High praise.

To me, it sounds like Schumer, Leahy and Kennedy aren't even fit to sit in the same room with him.

A Smart (and Fabulous!) Pick

Judge John Roberts

He's the man!
Former managing editors of
The Harvard Law Review, Unite!

I've always been a partisan of John Roberts' (I noted on air at KABC the night of Justice O'Connors' retirement that he'd be my top pick) -- for one silly reason and a good one.

The silly one? Judge Roberts, like me, is a former managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.

More importantly, he is a first rate lawyer, a conservative, and, by all accounts, a fine person of integrity.

What does the pick signify?

(1) President Bush wanted a true conservative and a real intellect -- someone of stature who will make his tenure on the Court count. This nomination will, in fact, move the court to the right (vs. O'Connor).

(2) President Bush doesn't want a big, controversial fight (as he would have gotten with Judge Luttig, Judge Jones and some of the others). Roberts is a long-time Washingtonian, with many friends and many ties in D.C. -- on both sides of the aisle. He is well known, and well-liked -- and would be the most difficult of all potential nominees to filibuster or trash. He is certainly the most un-Borkable judge on the shortlist.

(3) President Bush doesn't bow to the dictates of "political correctness" -- to pick a woman, or to pick a Latino, or to pick anyone but the person he thinks would be best for the job. Kudos to him for breaking the cycle some would put in place of there being a "woman's seat" or some such silliness.

Happy, happy day!


The Best Woman for the Job

Judge Edith Jones
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

A Woman of Intellect and Principle

What Passes for Argument at the Post-Intelligencer

Although all eyes are now focused on the pending Supreme Court nomination, I promised to follow up if I heard from shoddy opinion "journalist" Joel Connelly.

Here's what passes for debate at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Desperate justifications, grasping at straws, and stupid name-calling. Why don't you have the character to admit that a nasty scanal has brown out on your side of the fence?
Were this the Clinton administration, you'd have been demanding indictments and resignations and impeachments.

Nice effort to defend his argument on the merits, huh? How pathetic.


Just spoke to a very highly placed source in Washington, D.C., who admitted frankly that s/he "didn't know enough not to be able to tell you anything."

But if the President turns out to be taking a "stealth candidate" route, how disappointing. As one wag of my acquaintance quipped, "Can't the son at least make different mistakes than the father?"

Hugh Hewitt reports that he has now heard that the other Edith (my favorite female jurist, along with Janice Rogers Brown!) -- that's Edith Jones -- is in contention. We should be so lucky. She's been willing to stand up and be counted as a conservative -- enduring the slings and arrows that come with the admission -- for years now.

The President should do it. We've got a senate majority, a willingness to beat the nuclear option if necessary, Republican senators running for president and dying to prove their bona fides.

If not now, when? If not Jones, than whom? (Well -- Luttig Roberts McConnell would be OK, too).

Thought for the President for the day: Why go with Edith Clement and risk repeating one of your father's mistakes, when you can go with Edith Jones -- and fix one? (Jones was the runner-up to Souter).

More thoughts on Judge Clement

Here is a very sketchy profile of Judge Clement.

And it should be noted that over at Confirm Them, the potential of Clement's being nominated is not being greeted with unalloyed joy by conservatives -- who don't know her and fear she could be another distressing "stealth" candidate like Souter.

Someone at Confirm Them writes that she has been "keeping her nose clean" in hopes of getting this nomination. And the Washington Post notes that she "has not attracted attention for her judicial opinions . ..." And Slate weighs in: "She hasn't written anything notable off the bench (or at least nothing that's come to light yet), and most of her judicial decisions have been in relatively routine and uncontroversial cases." She is a member of the Federalist Society, however.

Her whole record shrieks of caution in terms of expressing her views. To me, this means one of two things: (1) She is a Souter II, who understands what it takes to get on the Supreme Court in a political era dominated by Republicans; or (2) that she is a real conservative who is biding her time, and doesn't want to be deemed "too controversial" to get nominated (learning, perhaps, from the experience of her Fifth Circuit colleague Edith Jones). The latter would be great.

Trying to decipher her views from her judicial opinions is difficult. Here's one where she was willing to knock down an excessive jury award to a plaintiff. Good, as far as it goes. Not too revealing, though.

If she's the nominee, I'll stand by her. I would note, in passing, that it's a shame that "diversity politics" dictates that a woman must hold the seat -- even though it's tough to argue that she's been chosen for her intellect and qualifications alone over a stellar field including Luttig, Roberts, McConnell and a host of others.

Justice Clement?

No -- not Paul Clement, the new U.S Solicitor General. I'm talking about Edith Brown Clement of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We won't know until we know . . . and President Bush has, in the past, made some bold choices (in this case, that would mean Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit, known to be more feisty and outspoken than Judge Clement).

Notably, speculation has narrowed to an all-woman field. On the beam, or an effort to throw everyone off the track?

Toe Much Information?

There seems to be a controversy over the women's championship lacrosse team wearing flip-flops to The White House.

At risk of seeming like a curmudgeon, I do wonder what would have been so terrible about putting on some more appropriate shoes. But I do note for the record -- with pleasure and, alas, some surprise -- that all the young women seem to be wearing skirts. It's a start . . .

Au Revoir et Bonne Chance!

Tee hee hee.

But one (theoretical) question about the headline: Does calling yourself a "patriot" actually make you one?

Please Apologize, Rep. Tancredo

This is an incredible story -- first brought to prominence by Hugh Hewitt. Rep. Tancredo, although speaking hypothetically, threatened Islam's holiest sites in a scenario postulating America's response to nuclear attacks on our cities.

Rep. Tancredo surely is aware of the first rule of political communications -- resist responding to hypotheticals . . .

That being said, it's easy (for us) to understand his motives. He was, in the context of a radio interview, trying to craft a deterrent to people who are willing, even eager, to die -- and who place no value whatsoever on innocent human life. The fact is that it's practically impossible to threaten crazies like that. They don't care if we blow up any Middle Eastern city. From their perspective, it puts the terrorists on the fast track to Paradise, and who cares about the rest?

Even so, threatening Islam's holy sites -- even hypothetically -- simply isn't right. It's like responding to a wacked out Christian militia by blowing up the National Cathedral (worse, even, given that the National Cathedral isn't really a Christian "holy site"). And it ignores the religious commitments of our Mulim allies, like the Turks -- and denigrates the (far too few) brave Muslims who are speaking out against the Islamofascists.

Second, threatening Islam's holy sites isn't even smart. It provides a propaganda victory for terrorist recruitment throughout the Middle East -- allowing the evildoers to argue that America is, indeed, in a war with Islam . . . when nothing could be further from the truth. And it offers the terrorists a tantalizing vision of what they've hoped for and are working for as we speak -- a holy war pitting the Muslim world against the West.

Please clarify, Rep. Tancredo. Please apologize.

Dan Walters, An Honest Journalist

Joel Connelly (the buffoon at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which doesn't sound very principled, anyway) should take note. This is good journalism.

Walters speaks truth to power personified -- the California education establishment.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Too Much Time on My Hands?

Not really -- I have a lot of stuff to do.

But I ran across one of the most ignorant columns that I think I've ever seen in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It's titled "Wilson Vindicated But Badly Bruised," and it's written by a person named Joel Connelly.

Here's the text of the letter that I sent to Connelly, cc'ing a couple of editors (Ken Bunting, Seattle P-I Executive Editor and Mark Trahant, Editorial Page Editor), as well. To make it easy for them, I even along the links.

Dear Mr. Connelly:

Your assertions (in your column), claiming vindication for Joe Wilson and a "hatchet job" by the White House are factually incorrect and fundamentally uninformed.

Please familiarize yourself with the facts:

(1)Washington Post, 7/10/04 -- quote:

"Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address."

(2) Practically everyone in the media -- even The New York Times -- has regretfully concluded that, chances are, Rove committed no crime. ("The law requires that the official knowingly identify an officer serving in a covert position. The person who has been briefed on the matter said Mr. Rove neither knew Ms. Wilson's name nor that she was a covert officer.")

Yet you start your column with the whole "frog-marching" fantasy (juxtaposing it with Wilson's "vindication"), which -- taken together -- is deeply misleading and, frankly, at odds with reality.

(3) You write about the "locker-room quality of efforts to discredit Wilson" and go on to charge that

"Rove mentioned Plame's CIA affiliation to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper in an interview done on "double super-secret background." (The wording evokes a famous phrase -- "double super-secret probation" -- from the movie "Animal House.")"

In fact, as Matt Cooper told Howard Kurtz, HE is the one who invoked the "Animal House" language -- not Rove. (Drudge Report for transcript). But the context certainly suggests that the phrase was from The White House, not the press.

With respect, this is shoddy opinion journalism -- facts that don't conform to our preconceived political biases cannot simply be ignored. I believe the Seattle Post-Intelligencer can (and should) do better.

Carol Platt Liebau - San Marino, CA >

Think I'll get a response? Don't hold your breath -- you might turn blue and die. But sometimes, someone is SO outrageous that you just have to have your say.

Waiting for Durbin's Apology

The email used by Democratic disgrace Dick Durbin to justify his horrific slander of America's soldiers -- comparing them to Communists, Nazis and the Khmer Rouge -- has not been verified upon investigation.

But the MSM is doubtless too busy "reporting" on Nadagate to notice.

Liberals, Read It and Weep

Mark Levin has Valerie Plame's number.

A Whiff of Hypocrisy

Here's my weekly column -- an excerpt is below:

For many Democrats, professing an overwhelming concern for CIA secrecy is like a lot of Republicans shrieking in fury that someone didn’t obtain all the government benefits for which he was eligible. It could be true, but it doesn’t exactly comport with long-standing perceptions of the party’s priorities.

After all, it was in President Clinton’s Pentagon that Morton Halperin was chosen to serve as assistant secretary dealing with democracy and human rights. That’s the same Morton Halperin who openly championed Philip Agee, the man who “outed” CIA agents all over world (and whose nefarious activities prompted the drafting of the law at the center of the Rove controversy). It was then-Representative Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) who admitted that he violated his oath of secrecy as a House Intelligence Committee member to reveal information about allegations of CIA involvement in the murder of a Guatemalan revolutionary (according to this Newsmax piece quoting a 1997 House Intelligence Committee Report, none of the allegations turned out to be true). And it was Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) who resigned as vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after leaking classified information to a reporter.

Of course not all Democrats would behave this way -- and of course some Dems are honestly concerned with the well-being of the agency. But perceptions matter . . . and it's fair to say that Dems have never come across as being the first friends of CIA secrecy.

So for liberals to be up in arms about Rove not mentioning the name of a woman who wasn't a covert operative of the CIA -- well, shall we just say that it appears to be little more than the crassest political opportunism?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Too "Taxing" for the Minds at AFP?

Check out this AFP story. Titled "Surging Tax Take Brings US Deficit Down Faster," it details good economic news for all of us.

But there was a paragraph I found fascinating: "'We got to this point largely because of the president's pro-growth policies, especially his tax policies,' [OMB Director Josh Bolton] told reporters, calling on Congress to make the tax cuts -- which largely favoured the rich -- permanent." (emphasis added)

Today, by sheer coincidence, this time-honored but true little allegory arrived in my mailbox, courtesy of a dear friend. Perhaps it's a way of explaining our tax system in a way that even the minds at the AFP can understand:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh $7.
The eighth $12.
The ninth $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share,
then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being "paid" to eat their meal.

So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings)
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings)
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings)
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings)
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings)
The tenth now paid $49 instead $59 (16% savings)

Each of the six was better off than before and the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. "But he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!" "That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

Do you get it now, AFP?

Specter's Looking for a Swinger

What is this? Senator Arlen Specter tells Brit Hume this morning that he wants another swing-vote justice on the court.

Well, thanks for sharing. Specter seems determined to make me regret having supported him -- see here and here -- for Judiciary Committee chairman. Here's hoping he doesn't forget that no committee chairmanship is written in stone.

Here's the fact: Anyone who's advocating a "swing vote" on the Court must be doing so for political, rather than legal reasons. From a legal perspective, predictability is always better than unpredictability -- and many of those searching for a "moderate" would not be doing so, of course, if the alternative were a liberal, rather than a conservative.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Shouldn't Take a Rocket Scientist . . .

to figure this out. Bad news for "intellectuals" everywhere -- having a high IQ doesn't make you any happier than people without one.

Even though smarts won't make you happy, finding God just might. People who believe in God are happier than those who don't. Oh, and they're healthier, too.

It wouldn't kill you to say a prayer -- far from it . . .

No Dutch Treat

Here is a piece worth reading about the Netherlands, a society that is now reeling, having tolerated -- even encouraged -- the rise of Islamofascism.

Frankly, the piece is worth a read because it seems to me to be an object lesson in what happens to a country that acts on every liberal pipe dream. And the piece doesn't even mention the recent adoption of the Groningren Protocols -- which, as I argued here, has the potential for truly horrifying abuse.

A Credit to the "Right" Bloggers

Here is a piece in the Washington Post Magazine, in which conservative blogger Betsy Newmark (of the wonderful Betsy's Page) does all of us proud.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Proud to be an American

Proud to know that men like Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer are Americans, too. Take a moment to read the linked piece, and watch the video.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Wilson's Admission

"My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity," he said. - Joseph Wilson

It's all here.

Keeping his boots on

Chief Justice Rehnquist isn't about to retire. Well, good for him.

And it's good for conservatives, too. It eliminates the two-fer option that Democrats would love to see . . . one moderate for O'Connor, one conservative for Rehnquist. This way, Bush almost certainly will acknowledge the necessity of hewing to his campaign promise to nominate justices in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas.

Can Chief Justice Rehnqust be unaware of this? Probably not, in my view.

Update: It seems that Doug Kmiec's analysis is gratifyingly similar to mine.


Maybe if we say it slowly, liberals and scandalmongers everwhere will finally understand. Read this. Karl Rove didn't "disclose" anyone's identity. A reporter told him about Valerie Plame, and he alluded to that knowledge to warn Matt Cooper from going too far out on a limb on behalf of proven liar Joe Wilson. (NB: Matt Cooper is married to '92 Clinton campaign consultant Mandy Grunwald, which helps explain why Rove's two-minute conversation, containing a warning to Cooper, turned into a hit piece on whether the Bush people were trying to "smear" Joe Wilson).

Hate to break it to you, people. You're not going to see a Rove indictment (the NY Times even unwillingly concedes that he's not a target of the investigation), and he's going to continue to work his magic from The White House.

Even so, the Times report itself is a perfect example of biased, agenda journalis. Right after noting that, "[Rove's lawyer] has previously said prosecutors have advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target in the case, which means he is not likely to be charged with a crime."

Even so, the Times can't help itself and continues on:

The conversation between Mr. Novak and Mr. Rove seemed almost certain to intensify the question about whether one of Mr. Bush's closest political advisers played a role in what appeared to be an effort to undermine Mr. Wilson's credibility after he challenged the veracity of a key point in Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, saying Saddam Hussein had sought nuclear fuel in Africa.

Well, perhaps the wish is father to the thought . . . but why should the inquiry be intensified? After all, it's clear to almost everyone that Rove hasn't committed any crime.

And then, more whiplash. The story goes on: "The law requires that the official knowingly identify an officer serving in a covert position. The person who has been briefed on the matter said Mr. Rove neither knew Ms. Wilson's name nor that she was a covert officer.

So he hasn't done anything wrong but the questions are intensifying . . .?

And then this beaut: "The case has also threatened to become a distraction as Mr. Bush struggles to keep his second-term agenda on track and as he prepares for one of the most pivotal battles of his presidency, over the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice."

Hate to break it to you . . . but no normal person is actually caring about this inside-the-beltway silliness. Nice try, though -- and good to know that you don't let the facts stand in the way of pursuing your agenda.

Perhaps the Times people should get back to a little real reporting, and a little less wishful "analysis." They could take the Washington Times as a model -- their reporters actually used a little shoe leather and spoke with one of Plame's former supervisors, who stated that everyone had known about her employment by the CIA.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Raining on the Liberal Parade

Sorry, Chuck Schumer and Joe Wilson. One of the men who drafted the law at issue in the Karl Rove kerfuffle says it certainly doesn't apply to Karl Rove.

Guess you'll have to go back to ignoring (or lying about) the war on terror. But have a nice day.

How Lovely

We're delighted that journalists are finally acknowledging this threat, which is what this program was designed to combat. But thanks to our liberal friends, it is no more.

Wonder if any of the complainers have an idea of their own?

Unintended Consequences

One more thing.

If I were Hillary Clinton -- or a party depending on her candidacy to restore its fortunes -- I'm not so sure I'd be thrilled about the new Democratic hysteria about the security of classified information. If even half the alleged antics of Hillary's husband are true, he's a walking security threat all on his own.

Not the kind of baggage that an ambitious gal from Illinois -- I mean Arkansas -- no, that's New York -- (or her party!) actually needs.

Always best to be mindful of the law of unintended consequences.

"Growing" on the Job?

So Joe Wilson, liar and Vanity Fair plaything, is going to join Chuck Schumer for a press conference later today.

Apparently, they are going to demand that Karl Rove's security clearance be withdrawn until the conclusion of the Valerie Plame affair.

How, by the way, does Senator Schumer feel about the security clearance of Pat Leahy, who actually had to step down from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1987 for leaking classified information (and is credibly believed to have leaked in other instances)?

And does Schumer have any comments on Sandy "Docs in Sox" Berger's plea bargain?

Given the variance between Wilson's many statements and reality, no decent reporter should have any trouble coming up with a few questions for him . . . but don't hold your breath.

By the way, I'm really touched by this new-found concern by liberals and MSM about the security of classified information. I'm just puzzled by it, especially given their cavalier attitudes in the past, and the fact that this alleged "leak" -- unlike the others cited above -- has had NO adverse impact on U.S. security.

Perhaps the liberals and the press are just "growing" during their tenure in Washington.

A Question for the Liberals (and the MSM)

Who do you hate more -- the London bombers or Karl Rove?

WH Pressies, Please Call Your Office

"At the threshold, the agent whose identity has been revealed must truly be "covert" for there to be a violation of the Act. To the average observer, much less to the professional intelligence operative, Plame was not given the "deep cover" reqired of a covert agent. She worked at a desk job at CIA headquarters, where she could be seen traveling to and from, and active at, Langley. She had been residing in Washington -- not stationed abroad, for a number of years. As discussed below, the CIA failed to take even teh usual steps to prevent publication of her name.

Moreover, the government may have 'publicly acknowledged or revealed'her intelligence relationship prior to the publication of NOvak's July 14, 2003 column . .."
[citations omitted].

No, this isn't a document filed by Karl Rove's lawyers. It's an amici curiae (friends of the court) brief filed on behalf of 36 radio, television and news organizations -- and written by Victoria Toensing (who was intstrumental in the drafting of the law at issue during her tenure at the Justice Department). (HT to Hugh Hewitt for linking to the brief).

The baying hounds of the press, foaming at the mouth in the White House press room, might want to check with their credentialling organizations, so that everyone can get their stories straight about how serious a "crime" the as-yet unproven allegations against Karl Rove are.

And they need to take a chill pill and read this. Enjoy these hazy, crazy days of summer, press boys and girls, because they won't last forever.

Sad but True

Cliff Kincaid is dead right. There are some things you will never read in today's MSM, even if they are true.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A(nother) Reminder

Here, from Human Events, is my recent piece on the London bombings -- it's called "A Terrible (But Necessary) Reminder."

What We're Up Against II

The man who practically beheaded filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam, turned in court to his victim's mother and said:

"I don't feel your pain. I have to admit that I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because you're a non-believer."

He also announced that: "I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do the same, exactly the same."

Read it here. That's what we're up against. Compared to these guys, your garden variety gang-banger seems like Santa Claus.

Lest You Forget . . .

This is the enemy we are fighting. The kind of people who would blow up little children as they're gathered to receive candy and toys from U.S. soldiers.

Here We Go Again

Liberals are busy trying to spread the word that Karl Rove "outed" Valerie Plame, heedless of any evidence that suggests he might, in fact, have simply been repeating other information offered by another journalist.

That's because libs never seem to let the facts get in the way of a rush to judgment. You know the continuous battle cry of the left -- that there was "no connection" between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

As linked below from Sunday, Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard has provided invaluable evidence to the contrary, and today, Claudia Rosett devotes her formidable writing skills to the task, as well.

Don't expect the left ever to accept the truth -- just as it refuses to acknowledge tht Joe Wilson is, in fact, a liar.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Is the Plot Thickening?

As John Podhoretz theorizes at The Corner, what if Judith Miller is, in fact, the target of Fitzgerald's investigation?

The theory would jibe with the fact that Rove released all his sources back in 12/03 . . . so if Miller's source were the same as Cooper's, she'd be outta jail free.

Update: According to the Corner again, Cliff Kincaid from Accuracy in Media first presented that theory last night.

Here's the Real Scandal

Check out Byron York's piece. It's a primer on how the press works. Note how self-dramatizing, self-congratulatory -- and how agenda driven -- Matthew Cooper (Profile in Courage) is. After HE called Karl Rove on welfare reform, they had a two-minute conversation about wmd, during which Rove warned Cooper against going out on a limb about Wilson's assertions (and indeed, the information did turn out to be wrong).

What did Rove get for his trouble? A story that wrongly implied that he had sought out reporters to wage "war" on liar Joseph Wilson.

What's more, apparently Rove "released" everyone from any confidentiality pledge in December of 2003. Cooper just created a dramatic, last minute story because it would sound better.

It seems that expecting journalists to be guardians of the truth is like depending on all lawyers to be the guardians of justice. Again, the real scandal in Washington is proven to be -- not what's illegal -- but how routine "business" is conducted . . . in this case, by the press.

Update: Check the comment below posted by angry lefty Jesse, who writes "Iraq really WAS trying to get uranium from Niger? No, it wasn't. Bush was the liar, not Wilson."

Hate to ruin your day, Jess -- but check out this 7/10/04 piece from The Washington Post, outlining the bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report that dispositively demonstrates that Wilson was a liar.

Money quote: "According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998." But thanks anyway for playing, Jesse.

For Shame

I'm not going to waste a lot of space here parsing the Valerie Plame issue, because it strikes me as small potatoes -- despite liberal wishes and efforts to the contrary.

Of course, as Howard Kurtz points out, lefty websites and the Dems are in full battle cry mode, joined, obviously, by the press. Their motives are -- needless to say -- less than pure; they include (1) getting Rove out of The White House; (2) scoring political points; and (3) attempting to whitewash the facts that have emerged about the case -- namely, that Joseph Wilson is a liar, and that his wife was indeed the person who was responsible for sending him to Africa (before he returned to lie about what he had found there).

After standing by a perjuring President Clinton to this day, if the liberals and the Democratic Party want to spend their time attacking Karl Rove, that's their business. It's also more evidence of just how deeply unserious they are about the war that's being waged, even in the streets of London, as this continues.

One word of warning to them: It's far from clear that Karl Rove broke any laws. With apologies to the libs for raining on their garden party, it might be useful actually to check the relevant statute.

There are three relevant sections to the law. The first two require that the perpetrator had access to classified information -- something Rove wouldn't have had, since at the time of the leak, he was a political person without that kind of security clearance.


Sections A & B require that Rove had to tell Cooper about a covert agent "knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States."

It's far from clear either that Valerie Plame was a covert agent or that the US was, indeed, taking such affirmative measures -- Joe Wilson obviously didn't think so. As John Pohoretz points out, Wilson had his own wife's name posted at his web site . . . hardly the sign of someone trying to stay privately undercover.

Section C requires the disclosure to have been part of a pattern, and the perpetrator had "reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States . .. "

Clearly not relevant here.

And even Newsweek notes that there's nothing in Rove's communication to suggest that he knew she was a covert agent or that he even knew her name. (I guess he could have checked Wilson's web site . ..)

The press loves this story because it puts them front and center. Some anti-administration peripheral erstwhile national-security "nobodies" love it, too, since it allows them to be outraged! outraged! and to pretend that their jobs are far more glamorous and dangerous than is, in fact, the case.

But one thing is clear: To the extent that liberals and the press have glorified whistle-blowers, well, as always, it appears that it's a "good thing" only when it's being used against conservatives or Republicans. Karl Rove was a whistle blower of the first order -- trying to prevent a batch of lies that really could damage our national security from being circulated by a publicity-seeking has-been who procured a trip to Niger on the government dime thanks to his wife. That's a scandal, too, but who has eyes to see it when they can try to bleed the President, instead?

Maybe this kind of judgment explains a lot about the Democrats' recent electoral fortunes.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Look Inside the Beltway . . .

Here is a piece referencing the unreliability of Supreme Court justices, at least by ideological measures. But a key paragraph struck me, as it reflects a view I have long held:

Former Republican officials also complain that justices from outside Washington get swept up in the city's social scene and soon expect invitations to embassy parties and opera balls. With court-assigned drivers transporting them to elite functions, they can find themselves drifting to mirror more liberal, urban elite opinion, some say.

There is something to the inside Beltway-outside Beltway distinction, although it's not necessarily the fact of having a driver and being transported to "elite functions" (and "embassy parties" aren't all that elite, BTW, it's the private dinner parties at the home of Washington "cave dwellers" that actually matter to people). It's the susceptibility of a given justice to moral vanity, to being wooed by elite law professors and elite media to believe that s/he has the responsibility to outline a "moral vision" for the country (or some such nonsense), rather than having been placed on the Court to -- simply -- interpret the Constitution.

Obviously, someone from inside the beltway can be wooed this way. But it's much more difficult, perhaps because they've been "around" enough to see how the game is played. Don't believe me? Look at the most reliable conservative justices . . . Thomas and Scalia. Both came from the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. O'Connor came from Arizona, Kennedy came from California (sorry, everyone!), and Souter came from New Hampshire.

It's a very heady experience suddenly to be the focus of attention in the nation's capital, especially if one hasn't seen how the game is played enough to be a bit wary of it. And being suddenly transplanted deprives new justices of the network they've relied on, potentially making them far too dependent on other justices for guidance and support (see the mention in the linked story to Justice Souter's "friendship" with Justice Brennan? The wily old justice wooed both Souter and O'Connor, who was often wounded by Scalia's sharply worded disagreement with her opinions).

The same calculus isn't even relevant to liberals -- because they have numerous incentives to stay to the left (in other words, Justice Breyer has NO outside pressure whatsoever to transform into a conservative). This doesn't mean, of course, that every conservative judge from outside the beltway would automatically go wiggly. I know Edith Jones a bit, and believe that she has the strength of character to stand firm. (In contrast to Justice Kennedy, who -- accordingly to very reliable sources -- was always far too concerned about what the opinion page of The New York Times said about him.)

But all things being equal, the safest choice would seem to come from within the Beltway (actually, or functionally -- as in the Fourth Circuit sitting in Alexandria . . . Judge Luttig's court).

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Iraq / Al Qaeda Axis

Stephen Hayes attempts to set the record straight in The Weekly Standard.

Here's an interesting excerpt:

Indeed, more than two years after the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted, there is much we do not know about the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. We do know, however, that there was one. We know about this relationship not from Bush administration assertions but from internal Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) documents recovered in Iraq after the war--documents that have been authenticated by a U.S. intelligence community long hostile to the very idea that any such relationship exists.

We know from these IIS documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to Osama bin Laden's request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

Read more here.
John Leo is a fan of the Fifth Circuit's Judge Edith Jones. Me too -- I interviewed with her before accepting a clerkship with Judge David Sentelle of the DC Circuit.

How great it would be to have a justice who understands that there are supposed to be some limits to the judicial power in America.

A Question for the Democrats

Nomination hearings for the Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents have been both intrusive and ugly in recent years. Remember the searching for Robert Bork's video rental records? (George Stephanopoulos, December 20, 1998: "As a Democrat, I will say the Democrats should rue the day when they made one simple act: the day they subpoenaed Robert Bork's videos."). And no one can forget the outrageous combing through every detail of Clarence Thomas' personal life, in the hope that some charge, however outrageous, could be levelled against him.

Liberals decry the renewal of the Patriot Act because of the Act's supposed invasions of privacy.

So here's a question for liberals: In investigating President Bush's Supreme Court nominees, will you pledge NOT to use any of the information that you protest the federal government obtaining under the Patriot Act? (That would encompass book store purchases, library records and video rentals, for a start).

Because, after all, shouldn't distinguished jurists have the same "right to privacy" that liberals claim for those suspected of Islamofascist terrorism?

Supreme Silliness

The MSM salivates over the prospect of an internecine fight within the Republican Party -- exhibit A, this piece in today's Los Angeles Times, and the piece assumes the widely-discussed probability that Chief Justice Rehnquist will resign this week.

Don't get me wrong . . . IF Attorney General Gonzales is as "moderate" as he's generally portrayed, I hope he won't be one of President Bush's nominees. President Bush DID promise to nominate justices in the mold of Thomas and Scalia, and if (IF) Gonzales isn't, then it is a violation of a campaign promise (and a clearly articulated platform upon which the President was elected twice).

That being said, if he nominates Gonzales, I'll support him. As Hugh Hewitt points out, the President knows him well -- and I do trust the President's judgment. Moreover, there's no use in sending a Justice Gonzales to the Supreme Court in a mood of bitter resentment toward conservatives.

And I think the protests by conservative groups has served the President well by portraying him as willing to rebuke his allies, as well as his adversaries.

But any conservative who cares about the composition of the Court -- and its jurisprudence's effects on American culture -- must hope that the President will resist the calls to send up one moderate, one conservative for one moderate, one conservative. That

(1) Sends the message that Republicans feel obligated to maintain "ideological balance" on the Court, as the term is defined by Democrats AND

(2) That the President is afraid of the Democratic threats regarding the nomination of a new Justice AND

(3) Deprives the President of the chance to return the Supreme Court to its proper constitutional role.

Finally, as I noted a couple of days ago, there is no strategic value to be gained by sending up a "balanced pair" UNLESS the Dems promise to accept both of them (and that promise had better be iron-clad -- just think how quickly the "Gang of 14" pledges are being tossed overboard). Without such a promise, the Dems will be in a perfect position to claim moderation -- for supporting the moderate -- even as they rip the conservative to bits.