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According to reports, President Barack Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, where he will order members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days. Just how laughable is Obama’s latest stunt to try to maintain his “fiscal responsibility” credentials? This graphic from Heritage’s John Fleming  might help:

Harvard University economics professor Greg Mankiw’s comments:

To put those numbers in perspective, imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had to be cut? By $3 over the course of the year–approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.”

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

There Is Still Hope For America

Change is definitely happening

Check out our review of last week’s key polls to see “What They Told Us.”

Scott Rasmussen has recently had several columns published in the Wall Street Journal addressing how President Obama is losing independent voters , health care reform, the President's approval ratings, and how Obama won the White House by campaigning like Ronald Reagan. If you'd like Scott Rasmussen to speak at your meeting, retreat, or conference, contact Premiere Speakers Bureau. You can also learn about Scott's favorite place on earth or his time working with hockey legend Gordie Howe.

Where's the Media on Obama's Lies
Chairman Butler's statement, "Recently at a 'town hall' campaign rally, sorry, I meant 'meeting', President Obama made a very startling statement concerning his position on a 'single-payer healthcare system', i.e. government-run healthcare or also known as socialized medicine."
President Obama at rally: "I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter because frankly we historically have had a employer-based system in this country."
The president claims to have never said he supports government-run healthcare, yet that is exactly what he said in 2007.
President Obama in 2007: "My commitment is to make sure that we've got universal health care for all Americans by the end of my first term as president.  I would hope that we can set up a system that allows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort, but I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately.  There's going to be potentially some transition process.  I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out."
It gets even worse folks, back in 2003 he gave his support emphatically.
President Obama in 2003: "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care plan."

It doesn't get any easier than that. If this was George W. Bush it would be front page headline news. I've been warning people for years about the negative impact of the lies of media elitists and that they don't have to do anything to promote them, sometimes their lack of coverage on an issue is just as harmful as their coverage. LPB

Obama's New Friend... Another Communist Dictator

(AP) Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, hands President Barack Obama the book titled "The Open...
Full Image


Obama Can Make 'Peace' With These People
Iran's Prison Sentence for American Journalist

Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation, charging her with spying for the United States.

The Fargo, North Dakota native had been living in Iran for six years and had worked as a freelance reporter for several news organizations including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.

The journalist's Iranian-born father, Reza Saberi, told NPR that his daughter was convicted Wednesday, two days after she appeared before an Iranian court in an unusually swift one-day closed-door trial. The court waited until Saturday to announce its decision to the lawyers, he said.

Saberi's father is in Iran but was not allowed into the courtroom to see his daughter, who he described as "quite depressed." He said she denied the incriminating statements she made when she realized she had been tricked but "apparently in the case they didn't consider her denial."

PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama tax pledge up in smoke
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - One of President Barack Obama's campaign pledges on taxes went up in puffs of smoke Wednesday.

The largest increase in tobacco taxes took effect despite Obama's promise not to raise taxes of any kind on families earning under $250,000 or individuals under $200,000.

This is one tax that disproportionately affects the poor, who are more likely to smoke than the rich.

To be sure, Obama's tax promises in last year's campaign were most often made in the context of income taxes. Not always.

"I can make a firm pledge," he said in Dover, N.H., on Sept. 12. "Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."

He repeatedly vowed "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime."

Now in office, Obama, who stopped smoking but has admitted he slips now and then, signed a law raising the tobacco tax nearly 62 cents on a pack of cigarettes, to $1.01. Other tobacco products saw similarly steep increases.

The extra money will be used to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children. That represents a step toward achieving another promise, to make sure all kids are covered.

Obama said in the campaign that Americans could have both—a broad boost in affordable health insurance for the nation without raising taxes on anyone but the rich.

His detailed campaign plan stated that his proposed improvement in health insurance and health technology "is more than covered" by raising taxes on the wealthy alone. It was not based on raising the tobacco tax.

The White House contends Obama's campaign pledge left room for measures such as the one financing children's health insurance.

"The president's position throughout the campaign was that he would not raise income or payroll taxes on families making less than $250,000, and that's a promise he has kept," said White House spokesman Reid H. Cherlin. "In this case, he supported a public health measure that will extend health coverage to 4 million children who are currently uninsured."

In some instances during the campaign, Obama was plainly talking about income, payroll and investment taxes, even if he did not say so.

Other times, his point appeared to be that heavier taxation of any sort on average Americans is the wrong prescription in tough times.

"Listen now," he said in his widely watched nomination acceptance speech, "I will cut taxes—cut taxes—for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class."

An unequivocal "any tax" pledge also was heard in the vice presidential debate, another prominent forum.

"No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised," Joe Biden said, "whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax."

The Democratic campaign used such statements to counter Republican assertions that Obama would raise taxes in a multitude of direct and indirect ways, recalled Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I think a reasonable person would have concluded that Senator Obama had made a 'no new taxes' pledge to every couple or family making less than $250,000," she said.

Jamieson noted GOP ads that claimed Obama would raise taxes on electricity and home heating oil. "They rebutted both with the $250,000 claim," she said of the Obama campaign, "so they did extend the rebuttal beyond income and payroll."

Government and private research has found that smoking rates are higher among people of low income.

A Gallup survey of 75,000 people last year fleshed out that conclusion. It found that 34 percent of respondents earning $6,000 to $12,000 were smokers, and the smoking rate consistently declined among people of higher income. Only 13 percent of people earning $90,000 or more were smokers.

Federal or state governments often turn for extra tax dollars to the one in five Americans who smoke, and many states already hit tobacco users this year. So did the tobacco companies, which raised the price on many brands by more than 70 cents a pack.

The latest increase in the federal tax is by far the largest since its introduction in 1951, when it was 8 cents a pack. It's gone up six times since, each time by no more than a dime, until now.

Apart from the tax haul, public health advocates argue that squeezing smokers will help some to quit and persuade young people not to start.

But it was a debate the country didn't have in a presidential campaign that swore off higher taxation.

Obama Wants to Control the Banks

There's a reason he refuses to accept repayment of TARP money.

I must be naive. I really thought the administration would welcome the return of bank bailout money. Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn't much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street's black hole. So why no cheering as the cash comes back?

My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. Keeping them TARP-stuffed is the key to control. And for this intensely political president, mere influence is not enough. The White House wants to tell 'em what to do. Control. Direct. Command.

It is not for nothing that rage has been turned on those wicked financiers. The banks are at the core of the administration's thrust: By managing the money, government can steer the whole economy even more firmly down the left fork in the road.

If the banks are forced to keep TARP cash -- which was often forced on them in the first place -- the Obama team can work its will on the financial system to unprecedented degree. That's what's happening right now.

Here's a true story first reported by my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano (with the names and some details obscured to prevent retaliation). Under the Bush team a prominent and profitable bank, under threat of a damaging public audit, was forced to accept less than $1 billion of TARP money. The government insisted on buying a new class of preferred stock which gave it a tiny, minority position. The money flowed to the bank. Arguably, back then, the Bush administration was acting for purely economic reasons. It wanted to recapitalize the banks to halt a financial panic.

Fast forward to today, and that same bank is begging to give the money back. The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He's been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with "adverse" consequences if its chairman persists. That's politics talking, not economics.

Think about it: If Rick Wagoner can be fired and compact cars can be mandated, why can't a bank with a vault full of TARP money be told where to lend? And since politics drives this administration, why can't special loans and terms be offered to favored constituents, favored industries, or even favored regions? Our prosperity has never been based on the political allocation of credit -- until now.

Which brings me to the Pay for Performance Act, just passed by the House. This is an outstanding example of class warfare. I'm an Englishman. We invented class warfare, and I know it when I see it. This legislation allows the administration to dictate pay for anyone working in any company that takes a dime of TARP money. This is a whip with which to thrash the unpopular bankers, a tool to advance the Obama administration's goal of controlling the financial system.

After 35 years in America, I never thought I would see this. I still can't quite believe we will sit by as this crisis is used to hand control of our economy over to government. But here we are, on the brink. Clearly, I have been naive.

Obama's Attack Machine

By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL... Opinion Journal

The thing about fear is that you can see it. For an insight as to what the left today fears most, witness its attempted political assassination of Eric Cantor.

[Potomac Watch] NBC

Eric Cantor.

The 45-year-old Virginia congressman came to Washington in 2001, and by last year had been unanimously elected Republican Whip, under Minority Leader John Boehner. In recent months, Mr. Cantor has helped unify the GOP against much of President Barack Obama's agenda, in particular his blowout $787 billion stimulus, and yesterday, his blowout $3.6 trillion budget.

He's also one of the GOP's up-and-coming talents. Along with Wisconsin's Paul Ryan, or California's Kevin McCarthy, he represents a new guard, one that's sworn off earmarks and brought the conversation back to fiscal responsibility and economic opportunity. They've focused on party outreach, and are popular with younger voters and independents. They are big fund-raisers, part of a drive to recruit and elect more reformers. And they are on the rise.

All of which threatens the left. Democrats know their current dominance in Washington is in no small part due to public disillusionment with the GOP. They are also aware that their current tax-and-spend governance is creating plenty of opportunities for that opposition to remake itself. Thus the furious campaign -- waged by every blog, pundit, union, 527, and even the White House -- to kneecap Republicans who might help lead a makeover. Mr. Cantor is the top target.

This kicked off after the GOP's unanimous vote against the stimulus, which Democrats saw as an opening to brand Mr. Cantor as the public face of partisan opposition to the "bipartisan" president. The Virginian has in fact publicly reached out to the White House, and has been deeply involved in producing alternatives to administration policies. But never let the facts get in the way of a good smear.

Within days of the vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was up with radio ads targeting 28 Republicans who'd voted no. Mr. Cantor was the only member of the House GOP leadership to get hit. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the big union, and Americans United for Change, the pro-Obama group, launched their own ads against 18 members, again singling out Mr. Cantor. The groups also ran a national TV spot sporting a picture of the whip with text that read "just saying no" -- which earned Mr. Cantor a new liberal nickname: Dr. No.

Mr. Obama joined in at his Fiscal Responsibility Summit. As the TV cameras rolled, he deliberately turned to the whip to say: "I'm going to keep on talking to Eric Cantor. Some day, sooner or later, he's going to say 'Boy, Obama had a good idea.'"

The Rush Limbaugh flap inspired a new AFSCME and American United for Change ad, accompanied by a statement that when Rush says jump, "Eric Cantor and other Republicans say 'how high.'" At nearly the precise moment Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made Sunday news by claiming Mr. Limbaugh was rooting for Obama "failure," George Stephanopoulos (who, take note, has daily calls with Mr. Emanuel) demanded on his own show that Mr. Cantor tell him if this was indeed the GOP strategy. David Plouffe, the president's campaign wizard, followed up with an anti-Limbaugh screed for the Washington Post, zeroing in on that "new Republican quarterback Eric Cantor, who says "the GOP's strategy will be to 'Just Say No.'"

And then there's the echo chamber. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is so obsessed with Mr. Cantor, he can barely find time to be indignant about anything else. Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, Think Progress and other leading liberal blogs are today all-anti-Cantor-all-the-time.

But the real ugly was unleashed a few weeks ago, when the goon squad set on Mr. Cantor's wife. An outfit called Working Families Win began running robocalls in five districts noting that Diana Cantor was a "top executive" at a bank that had received bailout funds -- the clear implication being that Mr. Cantor's vote for said bailout hinged on this fact. "In the middle of the AIG scandal, our congressman [fill in the blank] voted to make Virginia Republican, Eric Cantor, the conservative leader in Congress," it droned (incoherently and incorrectly), before demanding voters oppose the "Cantor Family Bank bailout."

At least when Chuck Schumer ran ads targeting Republicans for voting for a "bailout" that his own party brought to the floor -- and passed -- he kept his attacks on the members. And the last anyone looked, the AIG intervention was being overseen by the Obama administration, not the House minority whip. This may set a new political low, not the least because Mrs. Cantor in fact works at a subsidiary of the bank in question. Not to mention that Mr. Cantor led the initial GOP revolt against the "bailout."

The Virginian has a new, high-profile job, and that means taking some knocks. Mr. Cantor is also where he is for a reason, and has so far weathered the onslaught. But the coordinated takedown attempt is yet more proof that the Obama-led Democrats aren't nearly as interested in changing the "tone" as they are in holding on to power.

 By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON - Consumer confidence zoomed to a seven-month high as lower gasoline prices made people feel a lot better about the current economic climate and their own financial standing.
The RBC Cash Index, based on the results of the international polling firm Ipsos, showed confidence rebounding to 93.7 in early September.

That marked an improvement from August, when consumer confidence sank to a three-month low of 74.8. At that time, the toll of soaring energy prices was blamed for weighing on consumers' psyches. The recent drop in energy prices, however, provided people with some relief and propelled confidence to its best reading since February.

"The drop in pump prices is very visible to consumers and seems to have a huge impact," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America's Investment Strategies Group. "Consumers seem to view gasoline prices as a barometer to their overall well being."

After surging past $3 a gallon in many areas, gasoline prices are now hovering around $2.62 a gallon nationwide, the Energy Department says.

Economists believe that price relief figured prominently in the upswing in consumers' feelings about current economic conditions. This measure shot up to 118.8 in early September. That was up sharply from 92.1 in August and was the highest reading on record. Ipsos started the confidence index in 2002.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Iraq war gave birth to a new generation of Islamic radicals and the terrorist threat has grown since the September 11 attacks, according to a U.S. intelligence report cited in The New York Times on Saturday.

A National Intelligence Estimate completed in April says Islamic radicalism has mushroomed worldwide and cites the Iraq war as a reason for the spread of jihad ideology, the newspaper reported.

"The estimate concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of Qaeda operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of 'self-generating' cells inspired by al Qaeda's leadership but without any direct connection to Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants," the newspaper said.

The Times cited more than a dozen U.S. government officials and outside experts with knowledge of the classified document.

It is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by U.S. intelligence agencies since the war began in March 2003 and represents a consensus view of the 16 U.S. spy services.

"According to reports, this intelligence document should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush's phony argument about the Iraq war," Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts said.

"... The fact that we need a new direction in Iraq to really win the war on terror and make Americans safer could not be clearer or more urgent -- yet this administration stubbornly clings to a failed 'stay-the-course' strategy."

Some of the estimate's conclusions confirm predictions in a January 2003 National Intelligence Council report that said a war in Iraq might increase support for political Islam worldwide, according to the newspaper.

Here's what I'm wondering, what does the NIC and Ted Kennedy have to say about free speech, women's right's, the Pope or any other of a multitude of things that have incensed 'political Islam worldwide' and caused them to riot in the streets directly affirming the notion that those things have also led to the 'creation of more terrorists'?

Here's another salient question, how, exactly, does the NIC know that those newly created terrorists they claim were spawned by the Iraq war didn't already exist, but they have now realized that they have to come forward because they are now in fact losing in the War on Terror... we are no longer in the 90's, Clinton is not president, and they can not hide in the shadows and wait for America to simply retreat so they can regroup to attack again?

In New Letter, Clinton's Lawyers Demand ABC Yank Film

On Friday evening, Bill Clinton's lawyers sent a new letter to ABC chief Bob Iger demanding that ABC yank "The Path to 9/11." We've obtained a copy of the letter, and it reads in part: "As a nation, we need to be focused on preventing another attack, not fictionalizing the last one for television ratings. `The Path to 9/11' not only tarnishes the work of the 9/11 Commission, but also cheapens the fith anniversary of what was a very painful moment in history for all Americans. We expect that you will make the responsible decision to not air this film." Full text of the letter after the jump.

The full text:

Dear Bob,

Despite press reports that ABC/Disney has made changes in the content and marketing of "The Path to 9/11," we remailn concerned about the false impression that airing the show will leave on the public. Labelng the show as "fiction" does not meet your responsibility to the victims of the September 11th attacks, their families, the hard work of the 9/11 Commission, or to the American people as a whole.

At a moment when we should be debating how to make the nation safer by implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, "The Path to 9/11" calls into question the accuracy of the Commission's report and whether fabricated scenes are, in fact, an accurate portrayal of history. Indeed, the millions spent on the production of this fictional drama would have been better spent informing the public about the Commission's actual findings and the many recommendations that have yet to be acted upon. Unlike this film, that would have been a tremendous service to the public.

Although our request for an advance copy of the film has been repeatedly denied, it is all too clear that our objections to "The Path to 9/11" are valid and corroborated by those familiar with the film and intimately involved in its production.

-- Your corporate partner, Scholastic, has disassociated itself from this proect.

-- 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, who served as co-executive producer on "The Path to 9/11," has stated that he raised concerns about the accuracy of several scenes in the film and that his concerns were not addressed during production.

-- Harvey Keitel, who plays the star role of FBI agent John O'Neill, told reporters yesterday that while the screenplay was presented to him as a fair treatment of historical events, he is upset that several scenes were simply invented for dramatic purposes.

-- Numerous Members of Congress, several 9/11 Commissioners and prominent historians have spoken out against this movie.

-- Indeed, according to press reports, the fact that you are still editing the film two days before it is scheduled to air is an admission that it is irreparably flawed.

As a nation, we need to be focused on preventing another attack, not fictionalizing the last one for television ratings. "The Path to 9/11" not only tarnishes the work of the 9/11 Commission, but also cheapens the fith anniversary of what was a very painful moment in history for all Americans. We expect that you will make the responsible decision to not air this film.


Bruce R. Lindsey
Chief Executive Officer
William J. Clinton Foundation

Douglas J. Band
Counselor to President Clinton
Office of William Jefferson Clinton

The New York Times Gets Defensive Over The Plame Game

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 — An enduring mystery of the C.I.A. leak case has been solved in recent days, but with a new twist: Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, knew the identity of the leaker from his very first day in the special counsel’s chair, but kept the inquiry open for nearly two more years before indicting I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, on obstruction charges.

Now, the question of whether Mr. Fitzgerald properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion in continuing to pursue possible wrongdoing in the case has become the subject of rich debate on editorial pages and in legal and political circles.

Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, first told the authorities in October 2003 that he had been the primary source for the July 14, 2003, column by Robert D. Novak that identified Valerie Wilson as a C.I.A. operative and set off the leak investigation.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s decision to prolong the inquiry once he took over as special prosecutor in December 2003 had significant political and legal consequences. The inquiry seriously embarrassed and distracted the Bush White House for nearly two years and resulted in five felony charges against Mr. Libby, even as Mr. Fitzgerald decided not to charge Mr. Armitage or anyone else with crimes related to the leak itself.

The Washington Post Joins The Chorus Of Liberal Media Outlets Upset Because They Were Willingly Duped Over Plame

End of an Affair
It turns out that the person who exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame was not out to punish her husband.

WE'RE RELUCTANT to return to the subject of former CIA employee Valerie Plame because of our oft-stated belief that far too much attention and debate in Washington has been devoted to her story and that of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, over the past three years. But all those who have opined on this affair ought to take note of the not-so-surprising disclosure that the primary source of the newspaper column in which Ms. Plame's cover as an agent was purportedly blown in 2003 was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage.

The editorial ended slamming Wilson: Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

So The Media Focuses Again On Destroying Karl Rove... Since He's Not Guilty In The Plame Affair

Rove’s Word Is No Longer G.O.P. Gospel 

WASHINGTON, NYTimes— Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, is struggling to steer the Republican Party to victory this fall at a time when he appears to have the least political authority since he came to Washington, party officials said.

Mr. Rove remains a dominant adviser to President Bush, administration officials say. But outside the White House, as President Bush's popularity has waned, and as questions have arisen among Republicans about the White House's political acumen, the party's candidates are going their own way in this difficult election season far more than they have in any other campaign Mr. Rove has overseen.

Some are disregarding Mr. Rove's advice, despite his reputation as the nation's premier strategist. They are criticizing Mr. Bush or his policies. They are avoiding public events with the president and Mr. Rove.

All three pieces are excerpted, click the headline links to read the original and entire articles

Carter's Revenge: Times Trumpets Decision Striking Down Terrorist Surveillance

If not quite from the grave, the decision by one of Jimmy Carter's judicial appointees, striking down the NSA terrorist surveillance program, was an unwelcome blast from past. Call it Carter's Revenge. Malaise Redux. The spirit of Desert One lives.

That this was a political decision more than a legal one is evidenced by the intemperate language of the opinion itself: "There are no hereditary kings in America," harumphed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit, in a case filed by the ACLU. [An exception to Taylor's no-hereditary-kings rule: the Sulzberger dynasty that is . . . the New York Times. Hat tip to NB poster Jack Bauer. See details in comments below.]

In its editorial this morning, Ruling for the Law, the NY Times predictably applauded the decision, calling it "good news," lauding it as "careful" and "thoroughly grounded." Engaging in some intemperate language of its own, the Times claims that Judge Taylor "has reasserted the rule of law over a lawless administration."

We can be thankful that such a decision wasn't in effect over the last several months here or in the UK, else we might not be talking about a 'foiled' Islamist plot to blow up multiple airliners over the Atlantic.

Note: the National Review demolishes the ludicrous reasoning behind Taylor's decision.

(AP) METULLA, Israel — Israeli soldiers returning from the war in Lebanon say the army was slow to rescue wounded comrades and suffered from a lack of supplies so dire that they had to drink water from the canteens of dead Hezbollah guerrillas.

"We fought for nothing. We cleared houses that will be reoccupied in no time," said Ilia Marshak, a 22-year-old infantryman who spent a week in Lebanon.

Marshak said his unit was hindered by a lack of information, poor training and untested equipment. In one instance, Israeli troops occupying two houses inadvertently fired at each other because of poor communication between their commanders.

"We almost killed each other," he said. "We shot like blind people. ... We shot sheep and goats."

In a nation mythologized for decisive military victories over Arab foes, the stalemate after a 34-day war in Lebanon has surprised many.

Click headline link to read rest of article

Wes Vernon, NewsMax.com
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002

WASHINGTON – The United States is not as prepared "as it should be” if America has to fight Iraq, North Korea and China all at once. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Clinton administration did know about the North Korean nuclear buildup, despite its protestations to the contrary.

"We are not as ready as we should be,” Frank Gaffney, president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, said at a briefing under the auspices of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR).

At the same gathering, Adam Mersereau, an attorney and Marine veteran, said the current military had been undermined by three factors:

  • The weakening of the "warlike ethos” whereby training standards have been compromised to accommodate more women in the military.

  • The zero-tolerance mentality. Commanders have been so severely punished for military accidents that many of them "are backing off” from necessary training.

  • The military is too small. In the 1990s, "the military was slashed to the bone.”

    "We don’t have the numbers,” said Gaffney, who served as a high official in the Reagan administration’s Defense Department, at the time of a military buildup that helped win the Cold War. The Clinton slashing of military strength, he opined, "is particularly egregious in terms of ships. That is where we most likely would demonstrate presence and begin projecting power in distant places around the world.”

    The U.S. is "on a fast track to a 260-ship fleet,” Gaffney observed, "and that’s simply not enough to maintain the kind of global presence that we really need to have in peacetime to deter wars.”

    Horrible Scenario

    Mersereau had posited a situation where, while the U.S. is fighting Iraq to head off Saddam Hussein’s intent to use chemical and biological warfare against Americans, North Korea attacks South Korea and China decides it’s time for the long-awaited showdown over Taiwan.

    "Even one nuclear bomb in the hands of Kim Jong-il is one too many,” Gaffney told the briefing. He noted irony in the fact that former President Jimmy Carter was instrumental in negotiating that 1994 nuclear agreement, and that just days after Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, North Korea admitted it had not lived up to its word.

    Word of Dishonor

    When the Clinton administration announced the agreement in 1994, more than one person pointed out at the time that the assumption that the militantly Stalinist regime would abide by its terms was based on little more than blind faith.

    In a statement issued Friday, David A. Keene, co-chairman of Americans for Missile Defense, declared, "The North Koreans’ persistent eschewing of weapons inspectors undoubtedly raised red flags,” but left-wingers in Congress and the Clinton administration "believed for years that they offered protection.”

    Now they admit they have been secretly building a massive arms production program. Given their decades-long record of deceit, added Keene, "is anyone surprised that they couldn’t be trusted?”

    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Wendy Sherman, one of her assistants in the Clinton State Department, are now saying they did not know that the North Koreans were lying. They simply assumed the Stalinist nation was abiding by its word, despite experiences with communists, ignoring the fact that it was Lenin, the father of 20th-century communism, who once said treaties were "like pie crusts,” to be broken.

    Albright's Not So Bright

    Also on Friday, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh produced a speech by House Majority Whip Tom DeLay showing that as far back as 1998, intelligence sources were contradicting Albright’s assertion at the time that the North Koreans were not in violation of the Carter-negotiated treaty.

    Way back in 1998, DeLay had called for the suspension of the $4 billion to $6 billion agreement to build two light-water nuclear reactors and to provide other assistance to North Korea until the president certifies that the North Korean government has agreed to cease its efforts to build these weapons and the means to divert them.

    Limbaugh commented that Wendy Sherman had "made a buffoon of herself” by insisting the Clinton administration had no reason to believe North Korea was breaking its word, despite warnings from "Defense Intelligence Agency people, CIA people,” as DeLay was reporting in 1998.

    "They’re all circling the wagons to protect Clinton,” Limbaugh told his listeners.

    And now, North Korea boldly admits it has a nuclear weapons program just as the U.S. is preparing to go to war with Iraq, whose madman dictator prepares nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to attack the free world.

    Amplifying on his statement about the need to maintain military strength to deter wars and keep the peace, Frank Gaffney told the CMR briefing: "I am as anxious as anyone to avoid having to fight anyone if it can be avoided. I simply believe that the alternative to fighting, appeasement, is a formula for making things worse.

    "If we can deter people from picking a fight with us or trying to exploit [a situation where we are distracted], that is very much to be preferred over having to fight them simultaneously.”

    During the Nazi buildup in Europe in the late 1930s, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned that if you fail to confront an aggressor from the vantage point of strength, you may ultimately have to confront an even stronger enemy from the vantage point of relative weakness.

    Security analysts believe that is a lesson of history the Clinton administration ignored, as is clear from its refusal to face the North Korean nuclear buildup despite warnings from its own intelligence sources.

    As a NewsMax book has documented, this very attitude is Clinton’s "Bitter Legacy.”


    by Robert Novak: Townhall.com: Within two days last week, House Majority Leader John Boehner changed from sunny optimism about prospects for passing an immigration bill this summer to a bleak, negative outlook. The reason was that Boehner got the word from House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

    Boehner on Tuesday was upbeat in addressing a breakfast forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which supports a guest worker program. He indicated he would resolve differences between the restrictive House bill and the much more liberal Senate bill by the Fourth of July.

    But at a closed luncheon Wednesday at Charlie Palmer's restaurant, attended by financial contributors to House Republicans, Boehner declared that the immigration bill was all but dead. That change followed Boehner's conversation late Tuesday with Hastert, who made clear he did not want to pursue the issue that splits the Republican Party.

    Senate rejects pullout of U.S. troops 
    By: Liz Sidoti, Associated Press

    Republicans defended the Iraq war as a key part of the global fight against terrorism. Democrats assailed President Bush's war policies and called for a new direction in the conflict.
    Republicans defended the Iraq war as a key part of the global fight against terrorism. Democrats assailed President Bush's war policies and called for a new direction in the conflict.

    WASHINGTON -- Congress plunged into divisive election-year debate on the Iraq war Thursday as the U.S. military death toll reached 2,500. The Senate soundly rejected a call to withdraw combat troops by year's end, and House Republicans laid the groundwork for their own vote.

    In a move Democrats criticized as gamesmanship, Senate Republicans brought up the withdrawal measure and quickly dispatched it -- for now -- on a 93-6 vote.

    The proposal would have allowed "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.

    Across Capitol Hill in a daylong House debate, Republicans defended the Iraq war as a key part of the global fight against terrorism while Democrats assailed President Bush's war policies and called for a new direction in the conflict.

    "When our freedom is challenged, Americans do not run," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in remarks laden with references to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    "This is a war that is a grotesque mistake," countered House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She called for a fresh strategy -- "one that will make us safer, strengthen our military, and restore our reputation in the world."

    House Republicans moved toward a vote on a nonbinding resolution Friday morning to reject any timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces.

    Democrats, for their part, seized on reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants, as part of a national reconciliation plan, to pardon insurgents who had attacked U.S. troops. In both the House and Senate, Democrats urged Republicans and the president to denounce the plan.

    Congress roared into debate on the three-year conflict four months before midterm elections that will decide the control of both the House and Senate -- and as Bush was trying to rebuild waning public support for the conflict.

    Click headline link for the full story.

    The Chicks can't hide their disgust at the lack of support they received from other country performers. "A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do," says Robison.

    "A lot of pandering started going on, and you'd see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism."

    "The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

    By Juliet Eilperin
    Washington Post

    Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) expects to run for president in 2008 if the contest for the Republican nomination still seems wide open late next year, he said yesterday.

    In remarks that were critical of both parties' recent performance, Gingrich told a luncheon group of scholars and reporters at the Brookings Institution that he will make a decision in the fall of 2007 about running.

    "If at that point there's still a vacuum . . . then we'll probably do something," Gingrich said, adding that his policy pronouncements have more weight if he is seen as a potential presidential candidate. "If you're interested in defining the idea context and the political context for the next generation of Americans, which I am, the most effective way to do that is to be seen as potentially available."

    Immigrant rallies fail to shift views on illegal aliens

    By Stephen Dinan

    Monday's immigrant boycott didn't do much to shift the public debate on immigration in either direction, according to a new survey that polled before and after the walkouts.
        Before the marches, according to the Rasmussen Reports poll, 67 percent wanted an enforcement-first approach to immigration, and that number dropped a statistically insignificant one percentage point in the poll taken after the marches. Meanwhile, support for allowing illegal aliens a path to citizenship remained steady at 53 percent before and after.
        "Nationwide rallies, protests, and boycotts on Monday had little if any impact on public opinion," the pollsters said. "To the degree that there was any movement, it was not what the organizers intended."
        Hundreds of thousands of people -- mostly Hispanic immigrants -- left their jobs, boycotted "gringo" businesses and joined marches in major U.S. cities Monday, protesting a House immigration enforcement bill and calling for legalization of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the country.
        The Rasmussen poll showed the protesters' favorability rating rose from 24 percent to 29 percent, but support for pro-enforcement congressional candidates also rose when compared to support for pro-guest-worker candidates.
        Meanwhile, another new poll shows more people support last year's House bill that boosted border and interior enforcement against illegal aliens than support the current Senate proposal to allow most illegal aliens a path to citizenship.
        Stacked head to head, the House bill received 56 percent support while the Senate bill received 28 percent support in the Zogby America survey, sponsored by the Center for Immigration Studies. Another 12 percent wanted to go further than either bill in enforcing the law, calling for mass deportations and roundups.
        CIS supports stricter immigration limits, but Steven Camarota, the group's research director, said it tried to use questions with neutral wording to describe the House and Senate proposals. The poll also found Americans want to reduce the overall level of immigration, both legal and illegal.
        When told the current rate is 1.5 million per year across both categories, just 2 percent thought that was too low, another 26 percent said it was "just right," and 66 percent said that was too much immigration.
        Mr. Camarota said that when voters were told the pending Senate bill increases immigration, support for it drops.
        "When you do that you tend to find support for it isn't that strong -- partly because they want less, not more immigration," he said.
        The Senate bill that seems to have the most support would take steps to increase border enforcement, though not as much as the House bill, and would create a path to citizenship for most of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens. The bill would also create a new foreign-worker program that would allow hundreds of thousands of workers in each year.
        Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who supports a guest-worker program, said most polls now show support for the Senate's type of approach.
        "I watch the public opinion very closely and I believe that in the last month to six weeks general public opinion has shifted quite a lot from the kind of initial knee-jerk crackdown, send them all home, to a thoughtful, more pragmatic, 'Gosh, we have to do something about the 12 million already here,' " she said.
        She said both polls created a false choice by voters, telling them to choose between enforcement and a new guest-worker program that would increase immigration and legalize those already here. She said all sides agree more enforcement is needed, and that the guest-worker programs do include more immigration enforcement.
        As for the Rasmussen poll, she said the fact that the latest rallies didn't move opinion is good news. Many of those who want a guest-worker program feared the rallies would backfire -- something some polls suggested had happened after the first set of marches last month.
        For example, a Quinnipiac University poll taken in Florida found that twice as many voters, 38 percent, said the first round of demonstrations made them less sympathetic to the protesters' cause, while 17 percent said they were more sympathetic after the demonstrations.

    For Lewis Libby, a Day Late, an Apology Short at the New York Times


    Yesterday, Times Watch wondered when the New York Times would correct its front-page story from last Friday suggesting the White House and Lewis Libby had willfully misled reporters on an intelligence finding on Saddam Hussein’s quest for uranium, a story based on bad information released by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s office had to correct its court filing on Tuesday.

    On Thursday morning, the Times files an Editors’ Note on the matter, and runs an article that refutes the thrust of its front-page story -- but on Page A17.

    Here’s the correction in full, including the paper’s lame explanation for why it took the Times until today to correct, when the Washington Post, for instance, had the correction story on Wednesday.

    “A front-page article in some copies on Sunday reported that a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney said he had been authorized to disclose to a reporter that one of the key judgments in a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate was that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure uranium.' The assertion about the aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., was based on a court filing last Wednesday by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor overseeing the indictment of Mr. Libby in the C.I.A. leak case.

    "Yesterday, Mr. Fitzgerald filed a letter with the court correcting his original filing to say Mr. Libby had been authorized to disclose ‘some of the key judgments of the N.I.E., and that the N.I.E. stated that Iraq was vigorously trying to procure uranium.’ This revised account of his filing undercut a basis of the Times article -- that Mr. Libby testified that he had been told to overstate the significance of the intelligence about uranium.

    "Although Mr. Fitzgerald formally filed his corrective yesterday, accounts of it were provided to some news organizations on Tuesday night, and were the basis for news articles yesterday. The Times did not publish one, as other organizations did, because a telephone message and an e-mail message about the court filing went unnoticed at the newspaper. An article on the filing appears today, on Page A17.”

    That’s where David Johnston’s brief follow-up appears.

    Apparently no one at the Times reads “The Corner” at National Review Online (big surprise there), given that reporter Byron York posted Fitzgerald’s correction there 7:00 pm Tuesday night.

    Here's the letter I wrote to the local paper with links added:

     Somebody Needs To Apologize, But It's Not The President

    "He jeopardized the life of a CIA operative and the contacts she made while working for this country to collect material for national security."

    That’s not stretching the truth... that's taking a leap of faith!

    The editorial board of the Journal also fallaciously claims the President declassified, "documents to further his own political agenda."

    What political agenda, exactly, would that be?

    Although, the abhorrent editorial produced by the Journal was definitely intended to further the liberal Democrat mantra that ‘Bush Lied’. Facts? They don’t need no stinking facts!

    Joe Wilson was reprimanded by the Senate Select Committee for his many 'inaccuracies' including that he lied about the fact that his wife set up the trip he was never officially authorized to take and Wilson's op-ed even disputed what he wrote IN HIS OWN BOOK!

    Libby wasn’t 'authorized' to ‘leak’ anything ‘classified’. He was given permission to release to the press details of a National Intelligence Estimate report that was verified to not contain information detrimental to national security and was declassified by the President.

    I challenge the Journal editorial board to produce in their paper proof that a) Valerie Plame was a ‘covert CIA operative’ at the time of the ‘leak’ or b) that ‘the now-famous leak was providing reporters with information about a covert CIA operative’ or c) that it was ‘an effort to discredit her husband’s public criticisms about the war in Iraq.’

    Those assertions are false.

    Libby was told to reveal information contained in the declassified NIE report and prosecutor Fitzgerald has even altered his report. Libby is not indicted for 'leaking' a name, but for conflicting testimony. And the people who wrote the law concerning 'covert' agents said Plame hadn't held that status in over five years.

    When the liberal media gets all ‘high and mighty’, they should at least be accurate.

    And here's an excerpt from the Byron York article exposing the lies of the liberal media:

    Libby: Cheney Never Told Me To Discuss Valerie Plame Wilson 
    A new court filing lays out the defense.

    A new court filing by CIA leak defendant Lewis Libby suggests that Libby has testified that Vice President Dick Cheney never told him to reveal the identity of CIA employee Valerie Wilson. The filing also suggests that Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff, testified that neither President Bush nor anyone else told him to discuss Valerie Wilson, either.

    The filing, released shortly before midnight Wednesday night, contains a footnote which says, "Consistent with his grand jury testimony, Mr. Libby does not contend that he was instructed to make any disclosures concerning Ms. Wilson by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, or anyone else."

    Tom DeLay says he wants to make way for another Republican in FOX News exclusive

    Alpine Meadows records most snow in 35 years

    Medicare education sought for blacks

    By Brian DeBose

    Black doctors and advocates for senior citizens spoke loudly to black Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday urging them to put politics aside and work harder to enroll seniors in the Medicare prescription drug plan.
        "We find ourselves in a difficult position because we didn't support the president's Medicare drug plan in its current form, but among those who have had the most difficulty enrolling in the plan are African- Americans," said Delegate Donna M.C. Christensen, Virgin Islands Democrat, and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus' Health Braintrust.
        She said black lawmakers are obligated to redouble their efforts to educate seniors in their districts about the plan and get them enrolled before the May 15 deadline.
        President Bush is also worried about seniors not signing up. Yesterday in New York, the president admitted the early going had been confusing, but he urged retirees to give the program a second look.
        "People need to take a look," Mr. Bush said. "One of the reasons I have come is to ask people who are eligible for Medicare just to explore the options. It's a good deal."

    By Dick Morris
    Bill and Hillary Clinton are the first couple to appear simultaneously and independently on the national political stage. They are using their special circumstances as a convenient shield for one another, fulfilling, at once, Hillary's dream of no accountability and Bill's of being able to take both sides of an issue.

    Did Hillary know that Bill was pardoning the FALN terrorists to help her win Puerto Rican votes in New York? Oh, she was opposed to the pardon.

    Did Hillary find out that Bill was granting pardons to felons and drug dealers who had hired her brothers for six-figure fees to lobby her husband for pardons right under her nose? No way. In fact she was "saddened" at her brothers' involvement.

    And we all know that Hillary was "gasping for breath" when she first learned the truth about Monica Lewinsky.

    WASHINGTON — Nearly a week after sparking a political firestorm, the United Arab Emirates-owned management company bidding to take over operations of 21 U.S. ports offered to delay part of its $6.8 billion deal.

    That gives the administration a little more breathing room to convince Congress why the deal is not a threat to national security.

    "Our interest is to see that Congress is fully briefed," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday. "We believe that the more information they have, the more supportive Congress will be."

    While some lawmakers praised the delay, others said it is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, designed to smooth over the fact that the administration was blindsided by the huge amount of harsh criticism it has taken over the business transaction.

    "This promise isn't worth the paper on which it is written. It is a smokescreen that changes none of the underlying facts. This merger has already been approved by the Bush administration. It is scheduled to close in less than a week, and once it does, Dubai Ports World will own operations at U.S. ports and can assume control of them at anytime without any ability for our government to stop it. Nothing that the company or the administration has announced changes that fact," said Sen. Robert Menendez, the Democrat from New Jersey who is co-sponsoring legislation to block the sale of operations at U.S. ports to companies owned by foreign governments.

    John Stossel says the teachers unions are mad at him. Why?
    Teachers unions are mad at me. The New York State United Teachers demands I apologize for my "gutter level" journalism, "an irresponsible assault on public school students and teachers." This is because I hosted an ABC News TV special titled "Stupid in America," which pointed out:

    -- American fourth graders do well on international tests, but by high school, Americans have fallen behind kids in most other countries.

    -- The constant refrain that "public schools need more money" is nonsense. Many countries that spend significantly less on education do better than we do. School spending in America (adjusted for inflation) has more than tripled over the past 30 years, but national test scores are flat. The average per-pupil cost today is an astonishing $10,000 per student -- $200,000 per classroom! Think about how many teachers you could hire, and how much better you could do with that amount of money.

    -- Most American parents give their kids' schools an A or B grade, but that's only because, without market competition, they don't know what they might have had. The educators who conduct the international tests say that most of the countries that do best are those that give school managers autonomy, and give parents and students the right to choose their schools. Competition forces private and public schools to improve.

    -- There is little K-12 education competition in America because public schools are a government monopoly. Monopolies rarely innovate, and union-dominated monopolies, burdened with contracts filled with a hundred pages of suffocating rules, are worse. The head of New York City's schools told me that the union's rules "reward mediocrity."

    All that angered the unions. But when they criticize my "bias and ignorance," I don't hear them refute the points listed above. They don't refute them because they can't. It's just a fact that rules that insist an energetic, hard-working teacher who makes learning fun must be paid exactly the same as a lazy, incompetent teacher are rules that promote mediocrity.

    Stossel goes on to speak directly to the unions:

    I'm sorry that union teachers are mad at me. But when it comes to the union-dominated monopoly, the facts are inescapable. Many kids are miserable in bad schools. If they are not rich enough to move, or to pay for private school, they are trapped.

    It doesn't have to be that way. We know what works: choice. That's what's brought Americans better computers, phones, movies, music, supermarkets -- most everything we have. Schoolchildren deserve the joyous benefits of market competition too.

    Unions say, "education of the children is too important to be left to the vagaries of the market." The opposite is true. Education is too important to be left to the calcified union/government monopoly.

    WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Vice President Cheney's former top aide asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss his indictment because the special prosecutor in the case lacked authority to bring the charges.

    In a court filing, lawyers for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said the indictment violates the Constitution because Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was not appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate.

    The defense attorneys also said Fitzgerald's appointment violates federal law because he was not supervised by the attorney general or approved by Congress.

    "Those constitutional and statutory provisions have been violated in this case," Libby's lawyers wrote.

    Click here to read the motion for dismissal.

    Texas GOPers Rally for DeLay's Re-Election
    HOUSTON  — U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay was likened to Stonewall Jackson, Lyndon Baines Johnson and a courageous World War I officer Thursday as members of the Texas Republican congressional delegation joined the former House majority leader to endorse his re-election.

    The unusual display of GOP solidarity was remarkable for DeLay, who is aggressively campaigning for re-election to the seat he has held comfortably for 22 years.

    DeLay hugged his wife, Christine, as he thanked the group.

    "The Democrats are picking a fight with the wrong delegation," he told a small crowd.

    Dubai Ports World is exactly the kind of bridge the US needs to the Muslim world.

    In the battle of hearts and minds that defines America's struggle to combat terrorism, the emotional eruption from US politicians in the past week over the proposed takeover of six key American ports by a Dubai company is a big step backward for US national security. It is a uniquely un-American reaction that assumes the worst of an important Arab ally, pronounces its guilt, and seeks to paint its companies as enemies without one shred of evidence.

    But According to the Media and Democrats, Republicans Are Racist??

    Cardin's cash edge over Mfume draws ire of black Democrats 

    By Jon Ward
    February 2, 2006

    ANNAPOLIS -- Black Democratic lawmakers yesterday attributed Kweisi Mfume's paltry war chest to their party leaders' efforts to ensure that Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin wins the Democratic nomination for Senate.
        "The Democratic Party ... [has] tried to orchestrate Ben's success from the outset. Them boys got together and said, 'Ben's the one,' " said Delegate Nathaniel T. Oaks, a black Baltimore Democrat who has endorsed Mr. Mfume.
        "It's a problem because of the message that it sends to individuals who may be interested in the future in holding elected office, especially African-American young people," said Senate Majority Leader Nathaniel J. McFadden, a black Baltimore Democrat and a Mfume supporter. 

    Pa. GOP Leaders Endorse Former Steeler
    Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann, center, introduces Christine Olson, left, to Rev. John Wallace, right, before the Lincoln Day dinner in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, Feb. 10, 2006. Pennsylvania's Republican Party leaders endorsed former Pittsburgh Steelers star Swann for governor on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006, virtually guaranteeing that he will be the GOP standard-bearer against Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell this fall. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    Associated Press Writer


    Pennsylvania's Republican Party leaders endorsed former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann for governor Saturday, virtually guaranteeing that he will be the candidate to face Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell this fall.

    "I haven't cried this much since I was inducted into the Hall of Fame," Swann told the applauding crowd as he wiped tears from his eyes.

    Swann, 53, was unopposed for the endorsement, which came in a unanimous voice vote during a meeting of the 300-plus-member Republican State Committee at a downtown hotel.

    Swann is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black governor. Though he has revealed little about his political philosophy, he has said the Democratic Party has "taken the African-American vote for granted."

    G-8 nations cite threat of energy costs / Michael Mainville
    Finance ministers from the world's wealthiest nations yesterday singled out soaring energy costs as the greatest threat to global economic growth this year. (World)

    Iran Ends Cooperation With U.N., Continues Talks With Moscow

    Sunday, February 05, 2006

    TEHRAN, Iran — Iran ended all voluntary cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Sunday but said it was open to a proposal to enrich Iranian uranium in Russia, softening its earlier response to being reported to the Security Council over fears it wants to produce nuclear arms.

    Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran had implemented the president's orders to resume uranium enrichment and bar snap inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency of its nuclear facilities — voluntary measures it allowed in recent years in a gesture to build trust.

    "We ended all the voluntary cooperation we have been extending to the IAEA in the past two-and-a-half to three years, on the basis of the president's order," Mottaki said. "We do not have any obligation toward the additional protocol [anymore]."

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the move Saturday in response to the U.N. agency's decision to refer Iran to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, however, said Iran was open to negotiations on Moscow's proposal that Iran shift its plan for large-scale enrichment of uranium to Russian territory. The plan is intended to allay world suspicions that Iran might use the process to develop a nuclear bomb.

    More than a week after the story was exposed as a hoax, Sen. Ted Kennedy has yet to apologize for touting false claims from a University of Massachusetts student who said officials from the Department of Homeland Security visited his home and repeatedly interrogated him after he tried to obtain a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "Little Red Book."

    In mid-December, the unidentified student instigated the hoax by describing the phony grilling to reporters for the New Bedford Standard-Times. The story appeared on Dec. 17, the day after the New York Times reported that the Bush administration was monitoring the phone calls of U.S. residents suspected of communicating with terrorists abroad.

    In a Dec. 22 op-ed piece for the Boston Globe, however, Kennedy conflated the Times report along with the U. Mass student's bogus allegation to blast the Bush administration for what he insisted was an illegal invasion of privacy.

    "Just this past week," Kennedy wrote, "there were public reports that a college student in Massachusetts had two government agents show up at his house because he had gone to the library and asked for the official Chinese version of Mao Tse-tung's Communist Manifesto. Following his professor's instructions to use original source material, this young man discovered that he, too, was on the government's watch list."

    "Incredibly," the top Democrat fumed, "we are now in an era where reading a controversial book may be evidence of a link to terrorists." He demanded "a thorough and independent investigation of these activities."

    However, on Dec. 24 the Times-Standard reported:

    "The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for 'The Little Red Book' by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story."

    The revelation left Sen. Kennedy uncharacteristically silent.

    Asked if he shouldn't have verified the incendiary account before citing it in print, Kennedy spokeswoman Laura Capps insisted to the Boston Globe: "Even if the assertion was a hoax, it did not detract from Kennedy's broader point that the Bush administration has gone too far in engaging in surveillance."

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of information to the media about a domestic eavesdropping program run by the National Security Agency, senior Justice Department officials confirmed Friday.

    Transcript: McConnell, Schumer

    Rumsfeld Offers Optimistic View of Iraq

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday the American public should be optimistic about the situation in Iraq, and not judge progress based on the death toll or media reports alone.

    "To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks," Rumsfeld said in remarks at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He said Iraqis are more upbeat about their country because it is on an improved political path and on the road to democracy.

    Actually, it was not a good question. A better question would have borrowed from Christopher Hitchens. Ramsey Clark told the BBC that the Dujail slaughter was defensible because war with Iran was raging: "He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt." Isn't the BBC a reliable media organ? Didn't other media outlets (maybe even NBC) capture the reality of Dujail? Back to the transcript:

    Couric: "Meanwhile, for lawyers that's for sure, you've been called, 'the war criminal's best friend, the Devil's advocate, traitor, Saddam's chief apologist.' You represented Slobodan Milosevic, another hated man who was responsible for great cruelties against humanity. Does it bother you that you are associated with these individuals?"

    [Clark: "Well I'll tell you I as I said I've been lucky. I remember Dr. King saying one time, 'Never hate because hate will destroy your soul. You won't be able to judge fairly.' If you reduce yourself..."

    After terrorists attacked U.S. troops in Mogadishu, Somalia 12 years ago, anti-Iraq war Democrat, Rep. John Murtha urged then-President Clinton to begin a complete pullout of U.S. troops from the region.

    Clinton took the advice and ordered the withdrawal - a decision that Osama bin Laden would later credit with emboldening his terrorist fighters and encouraging him to mount further attacks against the U.S.

    Washington, Nov 17 - Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist.-Texas) released the following statement in response to U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a House Democrat, who called for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq today.

    A 29-year Air Force veteran, Johnson spent nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam.

    “Pulling our troops out of Iraq now is unconscionable and irresponsible.

    “We’ve got to support our troops to the hilt and see this mission through.

    “I bet Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is high-fiving his buddies and praising Allah after hearing these news reports. Immediate withdrawal- and the conflict sparked by this debate - is just what al-Zarqawi wants.

    “I was just in Iraq and our troops told me that they are motivated to spread democracy. They’re fighting for freedom and they mean business.

    “We need to get the job done in support of freedom and to eliminate Al-Qaeda terrorists around the world.

    “In case people have forgotten, this is the same thing that happened in Vietnam. Peaceniks and people in Congress – and America - started saying bad things about what was going on over there. Let me tell you what it did for troop morale. It’s a real downer.

    “I just pray our troops and their families can block this noise out and know that I will fight like mad to make sure our troops have everything they need - for as long as they need - to win the global war on terrorism.”

    The top two Republicans in Congress want the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate who leaked to the press that the U.S. runs secret prisons overseas.
        Also yesterday, a U.S. official told reporters that the CIA had taken the first step toward a criminal investigation of the leak of classified information.
        House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee noted that the leak, which said the CIA-run prisons are used to interrogate terror suspects, could threaten national security.
        "If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," they wrote in a letter to the committee chairmen. 

    Jordan calls for jihad on terrorism / Suleiman al-Khalidi
    King Abdullah II called for a global fight against terrorism yesterday as Jordan acknowledged for the first time that al Qaeda in Iraq used foreign suicide bombers to attack Amman hotels, killing 57.
    Senate GOP eyes Corzine seat to maintain majority /The Democrats' gubernatorial victory in New Jersey last week gave Republicans what some say they wanted most -- another open Senate seat that could help the party maintain its majority hold on the chamber in the elections next year.

    Steele decries black critics as racists / S.A. Miller
    Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele said black Democratic leaders who call racially tinged attacks on him fair game because he is a conservative Republican have exposed themselves as racists and cast shame upon the state.

    2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is blasting former top White House aide Lewis Libby for allegedly lying to investigators, saying his decision to leak CIA employee Valerie Plame's name to the press was "simply reprehensible."

    "Taking such action for political purposes is simply reprehensible and should never be tolerated," Clinton complains in a statement posted to her web site.

    The former first lady, who had her own truth-telling problems in the Travelgate scandal, said Libby's attempts to "interfere with the investigation" by deceiving investigators "raises serious national security concerns."

    "This administration owes our CIA agents around the world a promise that their identities will never be jeopardized," she railed. "And it owes the American people direct answers and responsible action."

    In 2000, then-Independent Counsel Robert Ray issued his final report on the Travelgate probe, where he concluded: "The overwhelming evidence establishes that Mrs. Clinton played a role in the decision to fire the [travel office] employees and thus her statement to the contrary under oath to this office is factually false."

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Democratic leader said Sunday that presidential adviser Karl Rove should resign because of his role in exposing an undercover CIA officer, and a veteran Republican senator said President Bush needs "new blood" in his White House.

    Pall on White House
    Vice president's chief of staff's indictment impacts confidence, energizes Dems.

    Vice President Dick Cheney said he accepted his top aide's decision "with deep regret."

    "In our system of government, an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity," Cheney said, adding that he would not comment on the charges or the ongoing probe.

    'Party trumps race' for Steele foes / S.A. Miller
    Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.


    Joe Wilson's 'Secret' Wife
    As we noted yesterday, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby does not allege that Valerie Plame, the long-suffering wife of Bush-hating egomaniac Joe Wilson, was a covert CIA agent. It does, however, claim that Plame's "employment status was classified" and that before July 14, 2003, when her name appeared in a column by Robert Novak, her "affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community."

    We guess that depends what you mean by "common." It seems that at least two journalists knew that Plame worked for the CIA long before the kerfuffle that bears her name was a gleam in the eye of Angry Leftists. From the New York Sun, July 6, 2005:

    Among the letters submitted by [Time's Matt] Cooper [to the judge considering whether to compel his testimony] was one from a former Time White House correspondent, Hugh Sidey. "In this case it seems to me the protection of a source transcends the other considerations,which do not seem to threaten national security," he wrote.

    Mr. Sidey said in an interview that the identity of the CIA operative, Ms. Plame, was widely known--well before Mr. Cooper talked to his sources. "You know this game as well as I do," Mr. Sidey said. "That name was knocking around in the sub rosa world we live in for a long time."

    And this is an exchange between host Alan Murray and guest Andrea Mitchell on CNBC's now-defunct "Capital Report," Oct. 3, 2003 (transcript not available publicly online):

    Murray: Do we have any idea how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?

    Mitchell: It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. So a number of us began to pick up on that. But frankly I wasn't aware of her actual role at the CIA and the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it.

    In fact, Novak did not report that she was covert; Fitzgerald did not allege it; and the factual assertions Joe Wilson makes in his own book, if accurate, prove that she was not. It's further evidence that this "scandal" is about nothing, and that Libby's indictment--even if he turns out to be guilty--is a tragedy.

    The Prophet Motive
    By some accounts last week was a bad one for President Bush. But it was a very good week for us, at least when it comes to political prognostication. First, of course, came the withdrawal of Harriet Miers's Supreme Court nomination on Thursday, fulfilling our prediction 20 days earlier on PBS's "The Journal Editorial Report" that she would not be confirmed. (A hat tip to Dan Henninger, who on the same program got even more specific: "President withdraws her, proposes someone else, galvanizes the party.")

    Then on Friday came the anticlimactic finale of the Valerie Plame kerfuffle, the indictment (PDF) of Vice President Cheney's now former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of obstruction of justice, false statements and perjury. Our prediction on this, from the July 15 episode of the same PBS program, is worth quoting at length:

    Paul Gigot: What kind of legal jeopardy is Karl Rove in, based on what we know now?

    Taranto: On a scale of one to 10, Paul, I would say roughly a zero. Look, the allegation is that Rove violated something called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. This is a 1982 law that's meant to shield the identities of covert CIA agents. In order to be a covert CIA agent under this law, you have to be stationed overseas or to have been stationed overseas sometime in the past five years. Joe Wilson in his book acknowledges that his wife's last overseas assignment was in 1997, six years before this so-called leak took place. There's no crime here.

    Gigot: It also is true that you must have disclosed the CIA agent's identity maliciously and as part of your normal official government function.

    Taranto: You have to have learned it through your government functions, and you have to have disclosed it knowing that the government was taking affirmative measures to conceal it. Now Robert Novak, who first reported this, said later that he had asked the CIA if it was OK to disclose this name. He said the CIA said we'd rather not, but made only--and these are his words--"a very weak objection." So it doesn't sound like the government was taking affirmative measures.

    Gigot: Of course, we do have that independent counsel, the Special Counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed a couple of years ago, looking into this. Do we know what it is precisely he's looking at? Could he be looking at anything more than whether that law was violated? Something like perjury or lying under oath?

    Taranto: Well, as Martha Stewart can attest, sometimes just being involved in a criminal investigation can get you into trouble if you do the wrong thing. So yes, there may be conceivably indictments based on something that arose out of the investigation, even if there is no underlying crime.

    And that is exactly what happened. The Libby indictment does not allege that Valerie Plame was a covert agent. Nor is Libby charged with conspiracy, as some Angry Left moonbats had been expecting. Libby's alleged crimes all occurred after the investigation began. The charges against him are serious, but no one should lose sight of the bigger picture: The special prosecutor has apparently found no evidence that anyone was guilty of anything two years ago, back when Joe Wilson was calling for Karl Rove to be "frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." As we've been arguing for two years, this was an investigation about nothing. Call it the "Seinfeld" scandal.

    Husband Is Conspicuous in Leak Case
    Wilson's Credibility Debated as Charges In Probe Considered

    To his backers, Joseph C. Wilson IV is a brave whistle-blower wronged by the Bush administration. To his critics, he is a partisan who spouts unreliable information.

    But nobody disputes this: Possessed of a flamboyant style and a love for the camera lens, Wilson helped propel the unmasking of his wife's identity as a CIA operative into a sprawling, two-year legal probe that climaxes this week with the possible indictment of key White House officials. He also turned an arcane matter involving the Intelligence Identities Protection Act into a proxy fight over the administration's credibility and its case for war in Iraq.

    Also beyond dispute is the fact that the little-known diplomat took maximum advantage of his 15 minutes of fame. Wilson has been a fixture on the network and cable news circuit for two years -- from "Meet the Press" to "Imus in the Morning" to "The Daily Show." He traveled west and lunched with the likes of Norman Lear and Warren Beatty.

    Later, Wilson became prominent in the antiwar movement. In June 2005, he participated in a mock congressional hearing held by Democrats criticizing the war in Iraq. "We are having this discussion today because we failed to have it three years ago when we went to war," he said at the time. The next month, he joined Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a news conference on the two-year anniversary of the unmasking of Plame.

    Wilson has also armed his critics by misstating some aspects of the Niger affair. For example, Wilson told The Washington Post anonymouslyin June 2003 that he had concluded that the intelligence about the Niger uranium was based on forged documents because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong." The Senate intelligence committee, which examined pre-Iraq war intelligence, reported that Wilson "had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports." Wilson had to admit he had misspoken.

    Wilson has maintained that Plame was merely "a conduit," telling CNN last year that "her supervisors asked her to contact me."

    But the Senate committee found that "interviews and documents provided to the committee indicate that his wife . . . suggested his name for the trip." The committee also noted a memorandum from Plame saying Wilson "has good relations" with Niger officials who "could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." In addition, notes on a State Department document surmised that Plame "had the idea to dispatch him" to Niger.

    Wilson also mistakenly assumed that his report would get more widespread notice in the administration than it apparently did. He wrote that he believed "a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president" had probably taken place, perhaps orally.

    But this apparently never occurred. Former CIA director George J. Tenet has said that "we did not brief it to the president, vice president or other senior administration officials." Instead his report, without identifying Wilson as the source, was sent in a routine intelligence paper that had wide circulation in the White House and the rest of the intelligence community but had little impact because it supported other, earlier refutations of the Niger intelligence.

    Wilson also had charged that his report on Niger clearly debunked the claim about Iraqi uranium purchases. He told NBC in 2004: "This government knew that there was nothing to these allegations." But the Senate committee said his findings were ambiguous. Tenet said Wilson's report "did not resolve" the matter.

    On another item of dispute -- whether Vice President Cheney's office inspired the Wilson trip to Niger -- Wilson had said the CIA told him he was being sent to Niger so they could "provide a response to the vice president's office," which wanted more information on the report that Iraq was seeking uranium there. Tenet said the CIA's counterproliferation experts sent Wilson "on their own initiative."

    Freeh raps Clinton, defends FBI probes / Audrey Hudson
    Former FBI Director Louis Freeh yesterday said he had "better things to do" than investigate President Clinton, who he says brought disgrace to the office and mishandled the U.S. response to terrorism. (Nation/Politics)

    Hillary follows red carpet to Hollywood / Stephanie Mansfield
    Trolling for campaign dollars for a politician is never easy, but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, looking to raise funds for her 2006 state re-election bid, raked in big bucks over the weekend in California. She did it with a nonstop fundr (Nation/Politics)

    Mugabe calls Bush, Blair 'terrorists' / Philip Pullella
    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday railed against President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, calling them "international terrorists" bent on world domination like Adolf Hitler. (World)
    'No tears for Saddam' in Iraq / Sharon Behn
    Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose older brother was executed by Saddam Hussein, said yesterday there would be no tears for the former dictator when his trial begins tomorrow. (World)

    Ex-FBI Chief On Clinton's Scandals
    Louis Freeh Talks About Terrible Relationship With Clinton
    Freeh thought Clinton disgraced the presidency; Clinton felt Freeh was out to get him, and that Freeh was an insufferable Boy Scout.

    As FBI director, Freeh operated strictly by the book and annoyed the president in his first week on the job when he returned his White House pass after learning the president was under investigation for Whitewater.

    “The implications of a White House pass would mean I could go in and out of the building any time I wanted without really being recorded as a visitor,” explains Freeh, adding “I wanted all my visits to be official. When I sent the pass back with a note, I had no idea it would antagonize the president. I found out years later that it did.”

    We were told that relations between the two men had deteriorated so badly, that former Chief of Staff John Podesta says Clinton always referred to the FBI director as ‘Effing’ Freeh.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two conservative Supreme Court candidates withdrew from consideration but that had nothing to do with President George W. Bush's decision to nominate White House lawyer Harriet Miers, the Bush administration said on Wednesday.

    The Movie: Ronnie Earle, on a Mission from God
    The Texas DA is inspired by the Bible to prosecute Tom DeLay.

    A new film featuring Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle as he pursued the investigation that led to the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay portrays Earle less as a partisan figure than as a messianic leader on a mission to rid American politics of the "evil" influence of money.

    A copy of the still-unfinished film, entitled The Big Buy, was obtained by National Review Online Friday.

    On several occasions in the film, Earle engages in monologues on what he believes is the sinister effect of money in politics. "The root of the evil of the corporate and large-monied interest domination of politics is money," Earle says as he takes the filmmakers on a nighttime drive around Austin. "This is in the Bible. This isn't rocket science. The root of all evil truly is money, especially in politics. People talk about how money is the mother's milk of politics. Well, it's the devil's brew. And what we've got to do, we've got to turn off the tap."

    A confusing array of new and recent studies reveals that scientists know very little about how much sunlight is absorbed by Earth versus how much the planet reflects, how all this alters temperatures, and why any of it changes from one decade to the next.
    Thing is, nobody knows what caused the apparent shift. Could be changes in cloud cover, they say, or maybe reduced effects of volcanic activity, or a reduction in pollutants.

    The bottom line, according to a group of experts not involved in any of these studies: Scientists don't know much about how sunlight interacts with our planet, and until they understand it, they can't accurately predict any possible effects of human activity on climate change.

    Amazingly, one of the best techniques for measuring Earth's albedo is to watch the Moon, which acts like a giant mirror. Sunlight that reflects of Earth in turn reflects off the Moon and can be measured from here. The phenomenon, called earthshine, was first noted by Leonardo da Vinci.

    To properly study albedo, scientists want to put a craft about 1 million miles out in space at a point were it would orbit the Sun while constantly monitoring Earth.

    The satellite, called Deep Space Climate Observatory, was once scheduled for launch from a space shuttle in 2000 but has never gotten off the ground. Two other Earth-orbiting satellites that would study the albedo have been built but don't have launch dates. And recent budget shifts at NASA and other agencies have meant some data that's available is not being analyzed, Charlson and his colleagues contend.

    While some scientists contend the global climate may not be warming or that there is no clear human contribution, most leading experts agree change is underway.

    Charlson says scientists understand to within 10 percent the impact of human activity on the production of greenhouse gases, things like carbon dioxide and methane that act like blanket to trap heat and, in theory, contribute to global warming. Yet their grasp of the human impact on albedo could be off by as much as 100 percent, he fears.

    BERLIN(AP) Conservative challenger Angela Merkel won the most votes in German elections Sunday, according to official results, but fell short of a clear mandate to govern as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder staged a dramatic comeback and proclaimed that he should head the next government.



    Liberals think they somehow own the 'right to free speech' and everyone else; especially conservatives, should be allowed to speak. Ann Coulter has been assaulted on stage at least twice in recent months, Bill Kristol has also been attacked and now Pat Buchanan can be added to the list. Liberals are the ones who care....yeah right?! Here's a video feed of the Buchanan attack.

    Loan Bull
    More tortured logic from Paul Krugman on Social Security personal accounts.

    Michael Crichton debunks 'global warming' in his new novel "State of Fear" and is reviewed by George Will.


    Bill Clinton whines about his lies.

    "If the share of the black vote that goes to the Democrats ever falls to 70 percent, it may be virtually impossible for the Democrats to win the White House or Congress, because they have long ago lost the white male vote and their support among other groups is eroding. Against that background, it is possible to understand their desperate efforts to keep blacks paranoid, not only about Republicans but about American society in general."

    "The facts do not support the case he makes" for political bias, Mitchell said of Tomlinson. Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of the public does not perceive bias in public broadcasting, she said." She must be referring to a Democrat slanted poll because every other poll proves her statement to be false. 
    Then the truth came through: PBS prexy defends fairness
    "But she reiterated a point she and others have made recently about polls showing that the majority of PBS viewers perceive public broadcasting as unbiased." Do you see it? A poll of PBS viewers see no bias. Well that answers that!

    The former Vermont governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate recently referred to the GOP as "pretty much a white, Christian party" and declared that a lot of Republicans have "never made an honest living in their lives."
    And in a related article

    Restore free speech to preachers 

    "This restriction is not part of the U.S. Constitution. It's a tax law enacted through a legislative maneuver more than 50 years ago by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to silence his political enemies. And incredibly, it's been used to restrict the First Amendment rights of America's preachers, priests, rabbis and clerics. At a time when Americans rely on the wisdom and judgment of their religious leaders more than ever before, this restriction is morally indefensible -- and it's bad public policy.

    Under current federal law, religious leaders risk putting the tax-exempt status of their houses of worship at risk if they endorse political candidates from their pulpits. The good news is that there's a solution to this injustice. It's called House Resolution 235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act. This vital legislation would return the First Amendment protection of free speech back to America's pulpits."

    The lefties are furiously linking to this column by Norman Ornstein of AEI, trying to demonstrate the radical nature of the operation contemplated by Dr. Frist and the Republicans to restore the 214-year tradition of voting up-or-down on judicial nominees who have majority support.
    Here's how it would work in this case: Majority Leader Frist raises a parliamentary "point of order" that enough time has transpired debating the nomination of Justice Owen and that further debate would be "dilatory." The chairman (usually whatever junior Republican Senator is rotating in the duty of sitting in the chair, but possibly Vice President Cheney, in his constitutional role as President of the Senate) upholds the point of order.
    The Democrats appeal the ruling of the Chair. Republicans move to "table" the appeal. If 51 Republicans vote to table, a precedent is set for voting on judicial nominees. An up-or-down vote is then held on Justice Owen, and after a full debate on other nominees, a vote is taken on whether to confirm each of them, as well. The precedent applies to all nominees in the future, regardless of what party controls the White House and the Senate, unless a Senate majority changes it again.
    This method of setting precedents by parliamentary procedure and majority vote is not new: it has been invoked by Senator Robert Byrd four times — in 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1987,
    as detailed in a Senate Republican Policy Committee policy paper.
    Republicans are the ones who in the past have opposed "erasing" the real filibuster tradition on legislation. Democrats (including nine Democrats now sanctimoniously advocating the filibuster of President Bush's nominees) have favored it. And if you think that a President Hillary Clinton and a Democrat-controlled Senate would hesitate for one second to do away with the legislative filibuster if it suited their purposes — irrespective of whether Republicans in 2005 did or did not clarify the precedent of voting on judges — think again.

    "As he later says, "I can't say we won the cultural war, and it's more likely we lost it."
        The evidence? He says it was all over the tube, in prime time, at last year's Republican National Convention, which featured California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York Gov. George E. Pataki and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, all social liberals.
        "They are indifferent to those moral issues because they see them — and correctly — as no longer popular, no longer the majority positions that they used to be," he says. "They say, 'Let's put those off the table and focus on the issues where we still have a majority — strong national defense and cutting taxes.' "

    "The contents of the boxes handed over by Parton are believed to be damaging to the secretary-general because, as sources told FOX News, they describe inconsistencies in the story Kofi Annan told investigators about a conflict of interest involving his son Kojo Annan, and Cotecna, the Swiss company that employed Kojo Annan and which won one of the most lucrative Oil-for-Food contracts."

    CNN tanking as Fox News surges
    Double-digit declines reported for Larry King, Wolf Blitzer
    "According to Nielsen Media Research, CNN's ratings fell by 21 percent last month in primetime, and 16 percent overall, reports Variety."

    U.K. Passes Terrorism Bill

    Copyright 2016 Lee P Butler. All Rights Reserved.