Friday, September 29, 2006


Crackpots dancing

In the months leading up to the 1936 elections, Franklin Roosevelt and his Democratic allies in Congrss enacted new spending programs to create an artificial inflationary spurt in the economy. FDR was re-elected in a landslide; however, his left-wing economic plan pushed the U.S. into a painful recession in 1937-38. In his masterwork, The Roosevelt Myth, John T. Flynn dubbed the machinations of Roosevelt and his cronies as "the dance of the crackpots."

We're now witnessing a new dance of the crackpots. Many of the Democrats who're currently running for congress have been offering increasingly silly and outdated proposals to scrap President Bush's tax cuts and enact policies to "stimulate demand." These ideas are basically warmed-over Keynesian claptrap that FDR's crackpots offered up sixty-five years ago. Unlike the present-day Keynesians in the Democratic Party, Roosevelt's crackpots had the excuse that most of their schemes had yet to be proven false.

In order to ensure continued economic growth, the government must focus its fiscal policy on removing barriers to investment. That's precisely what President Bush did when he offered a bold measure to reduce taxation. Bush's plan to eliminate the double-taxation of corporate dividends and his slashing of marginal tax rates was a good start. (GDP has grown at an annual rate of 4 percent since the Bush tax cuts were enacted in 2003.) However, accelerating depreciation schedules and slashing marginal tax rates on capital gains would help even more.

In this age of rapid globalization, the United States is now competing against dynamic economies beyond Europe and Japan (see India, China, etc.). Thus, financial and human capital must be redirected to match the products and services being offered by emerging market economies. This redirection will happen more rapidly if President Bush and Republicans ignore the new dance of the crackpots happening in the current Democratic congressional field and push hard for additional supply-side stimulus in the economy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Fact: Bush's tax policy benefits us all

In a letter published in the Nashville City Paper, Melba Isom makes the following assertion:

"The [Bush] tax cuts have not made life better for those of us who ... work a minimum of 8 hours each day."

Oh, really? Let's take a look at what's transpired since President Bush slashed high marginal tax rates on investment in 2003 ...

5.5 million new jobs have been created over the past three years, and the current unemployment rate of 4.7 percent is near the threshold at which economists consider the economy to be at "full employment."

Long-term job growth has moved to an all-time high of 145 million in the Labor Department's household survey and 136 million in nonfarm payrolls.

Nonfarm productivity has increased an average 2.5 percent annually for the past three years, and GDP growth has averaged 4 percent over the same period.

Tax receipts are growing at 14 percent for the second straight year, the biggest gain in a quarter of a century. (Marginal tax rates were lowered and tax receipts are growing. Looks like voodoo economics works very well, thank you.)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has moved steadily toward a new all-time high. Given that more than half of all U.S. households own individual stocks or mutual funds, this is good news even for those with modest incomes. Indeed, 35 million U.S. households now own stock mutual funds through employer retirement plans.

Speaking at Camp David last month, President Bush had this to say about the U.S. economy:

"The foundation of our economy is solid, and it’s strong. Because of the tax cuts we passed, American workers and families and small businesses are keeping more of the money they earn. And they’re using that money to drive this economy forward."

When it comes to assessing the current state of the U.S. economy, President Bush is right ... and Melba Isom is wrong.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Do we really care what the World Economic Forum thinks?

According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, The United States has dropped to sixth from first in the World Economic Forum's annual ranking of global economic competitiveness. The WEF citec the United States' budget deficit as a primary concern in the 2006 ranking.

I can't help but think back to 1991-92 when the Japanese were lecturing President George H.W. Bush to reduce the deficit if the U.S. wished to rejoin MITI Japan at the top of the economic heap. At the time, observers were predicting that the Japanese would soon race past the Americans to claim title to the world's strongest economy. Instead, a painful recession took hold in Japan -- a recession that lasted more than ten years. Constant harping about a manageable budget deficit will get you nowhere (the Japanese can attest to that).

I couldn't help but notice that the WSJ also featured a short article in which European Union economic chiefs released tepid growth forecasts and admitted that unemployment is likely to worsen across the continent. Add to this the fact that West European nations are finding it increasingly difficult to fund their generous welfare states, and the U.S. starts to look pretty good.

American workers remain the most productive and resourceful in the world, and the U.S. economy is more flexible than any system the Europeans can conjure up.

Again, do we really care what the World Economic Forum thinks?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Quote of the day

To his supporters Noam Chomsky is a brave and outspoken champion of the oppressed against a corrupt and criminal political class. But to his opponents he is a self-important ranter whose one-sided vision of politics is chosen for its ability to shine a spotlight on himself. And it is surely undeniable that his habit of excusing or passing over the faults of America's enemies, in order to pin all crime on his native country, suggests that he has invested more in his posture of accusation than he has invested in the truth.

-- Roger Scruton, Wall Street Journal

Monday, September 25, 2006


Bush-bashers need follow-up questions

The hipster doofi who make up the Americana Music movement graced the city of Nashville with their collective presence over the weekend.  The Tennessean reports on the Americana award-givin' confab, and our morning daily mentions the left-wing, Bush-bashin' politics these folks have been - and continue to - espouse.  Now I'm all for free speech; but when a guitar-strummin' nitwit tears into President Bush, he or she needs to be asked a few follow-up questions.

Folkie singers have long criticized the Iraq War as an "illegal" conflict. If given the opportunity, I'd like to ask these folks the following question: If the United States attacks a regime (Iraq) that has abrogated the terms of a cease-fire agreement (which Saddam Hussein's regime did repeatedly from 1991-2003) how is that "illegal?" I'm sure a deafening silence would follow.

Any bespeckled warbler who chooses to criticize the President's economic policies should be asked to define "marginal tax rate." Better still, he or she should be asked to explain the laws of supply and demand in detail. Following what would no doubt be several minutes of unlearned stammering, I'd ask: "Since you've no grasp of basic economics, why should I take into consideration anything you have to say about the current state of the U.S. economy?" (I'd pay good money to spend a half-hour explaining how the economy works to Americana troubadour Steve Earl, who's on record as stating that his views are Communistic.)

It seems like every person with a recording contract wishes to share his political beliefs with the world. They're certainly entitled to their opinions, and they have the same right to free expression that all Americans enjoy. However, they should not be insulated from tough follow-up questions when they enter the public arena. If they were forced to explain their views beyond emotionalist rants, I'm quite certain that most celebrity political commentary would end.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Hollywood Harold Ford, Jr.

The Tennessee GOP checks in:

The September 25th issue of Newsweek announced Hollywood’s choice for the U.S. Senate – and it’s Congressman Harold Ford. The liberal Memphis Congressman was the second largest House recipient of Hollywood cash this election cycle, only behind the Congressman who actually has Hollywood in his Congressional District.

At the same time, the Corker for Senate campaign announced that Bob Corker has received financial contributions from Tennessee voters in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bob Corker has raised 93% of his campaign funds from inside the state of Tennessee, while Congressman Ford has raised a paltry 32% in state.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The folly of "reimporting" drugs

In a recent Washington Post poll, two-thirds of those participating stated that drug "reimportation" from Canada should be legal. Such thinking reveals the depth of economic ignorance in this country. The "reimportation" schemes being bandied about in Congress and in various think tanks are an affront to the laws of supply and demand. Thus, they are destined to fail.

Canadian consumers pay lower prices for prescription drugs because Canada's government-run health care system employs price controls. When they introduce drugs into the Canadian market, U.S. drug companies can charge just enough to cover manufacturing costs. Most of the burden of paying for research, development, and distribution falls on American consumers.

Those people who think that they're doing an end-around on the drug companies by running to Canada for prescriptions are only deluding themselves. Every American consumer who has purchased prescription drugs has already helped to subsidize those low prices.

If a scheme is implemented whereby Canadian drugs are reintroduced into the United States at cheaper prices, pharmaceutical companies will have no choice but to begin withholding drugs from the Canadian market. American consumers may have a blissful few months in which they enjoy the spoils of Canadian socialism. However, those cheap prices won't last very long as drug companies restrict the shipment of drugs northward until Canada allows prices to rise to more sensible levels.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


John Tanner should **** or vacate the head

An old saying suggests that a person should be willing to put his or her money where his or her mouth is. When it comes to elected officials, this catchphrase rings especially true.

U.S. Representative John Tanner, who fancies himself a fiscal conservative without peer in congress, has spent the past five years or so harping on the size of the national debt. (Tanner's also taken to complaining about the amount of U.S. debt held by foreign entities, which suggests that 1992-style anti-Asia economic hysteria still has legs in certain political circles.)

A few months back, Tanner recruited U.S. Rep. - and wannabe U.S. Senator - Harold Ford, Jr., aka Junior, to take part in his debt crusade, and he has submitted op-eds to newspapers across the state in which he predicts doomsday if the national debt continues to grow. Conspicuously absent from Representative Tanner's little rants are any concrete solutions to reduce the national debt. He simply takes issue with the "fiscal irresponsibility" of the Bush Administration, and he proposes grandiose schemes to eliminate "waste, fraud, abuse."

Complaining about the size of the national debt has apparently become John Tanner's political raison d'être. Folks who visit his congressional Web site will not only find eight or ten links dealing with the debt issue (including an impressive tutorial on T-bills and the like), but a chart indicating each citizen's "share" of the national debt is prominently displayed as well. Tanner's thoughts on how to reduce the national debt, however, are rather skimpy. This is typical Tanner-speak:

Congress and the President must make a commitment to bringing the federal budget back into balance. This last happened in the mid 1990s, when the federal government balanced its budget and even began paying down its debt.

The temporary elimination of the deficit - and the "paying down" of debt - during the 1990s occurred because the Pentagon's military capability was slashed by 40 percent. Without this deep cut in military spending, John Tanner would not be able to crow about the Clinton Administration's supposed "fiscal responsibility." Furthermore, when the war on terror began in earnest in 2001, the military found itself severely lacking in both materiel and manpower. (Deficit hawks in the Democratic Party, John Tanner included, seem unwilling to discuss this particular aspect of the supposed Clinton Boom.)

That being said, Representative John Tanner was once presented with an unprecedented opportunity to tame the federal budget ... and he quickly punted. In 1994, U.S. Representatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and Bob Zeliff (R-NH) proposed a special session of congress during which every federal expenditure would be scrutinized on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The ten-day special session would have been restricted to spending cuts and no federal program would have been off limits. John Tanner publicly supported the "A to Z" bill, but he would not sign a discharge petition to send the legislation to the House floor for a vote. Tanner caved when Democratic Speaker Tom Foley - who'd soon find himself out of a job - demanded from on high that the A to Z plan should be sh**-canned.

"Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it," Mark Twain once quipped. John Tanner likes to complain about the national debt, yet he's not prepared to offer one substantive idea to reduce said debt. Like a good Democrat, Tanner steadfastly refuses to lay a single federal program - in whole or in part - on the chopping block lest he offend the unions who bankroll his and his comrade's campaigns.

Put your money where your mouth is, Representative Tanner. We're waiting ...

Monday, September 18, 2006


Left-wing paranoia

The left's paranoia seemingly knows no bounds.  According to a growing gaggle of left-wing hairheads, academics, and public officials, the Bush/Cheney cabal stole the 2004 election by employing various shady schemes in the state of Ohio.  The hairhead set's Bible, Rolling Stone, recently published a lengthy essay on the "stolen" election; and the current RS features a follow-up letter from one Jim Johnson, who's convinced that the GOP's still subverting democracy in Ohio.  To wit:

I have been following your articles on the Ohio election.  As a resident of Ohio, and a registered Democrat, imagine my surprise when I received a letter from the Republican National Committee asking me to fill out their GOP census document.  What is really troubling is that the letter contained a registration number and voting district code.  I have voted for Democrats for as long as I can remember.  I can only wonder what "snafu" caused me to be identified as a Republican.

Far from being the victim of a "snafu," Mr. Johnson's name and address were bought by the RNC at some point. Instead of looking behind grassy knolls for GOP operatives, he should simply make a mental note of the magazines to which he subscribes, or the items he's bought online or through the mail. It probably wouldn't take him long to figure out how the RNC got 'hold of his mailing address.

I've been receiving RNC fundraising letters in the mail for some 15 years. Each letter always includes "voter codes" and such so that the person from whom the RNC is begging money will be impressed by the Republican Party's fundraising apparatti. These numbers may or may not be related somehow to one's voter information (this information is readily available from county election commissions), but they are in no way meant to somehow spy on, subvert, or otherwise torment voters -- be they Republicans or Democrats.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


John Kerry: Whiz kid

Fox News is reporting that Philadelphia has now joined a growing list of U.S. cities by banning smoking in bars and restaurants. This means that you can no longer enjoy a post-meal puff after downing a cheesesteak at Geno's or Pat's.

Speaking of Philly cheesesteaks, do you remember when then-presidential candidate Senator John Kerry visited Pat's in order to bond with common folk? Kerry made an ass of himself (what a shock), and told him so some three years a go (man, time flies):

In 1992, the establishment media had a field day castigating President George H.W. Bush when he admitted that he'd never laid eyes on a supermarket check-out scanner. Common sense dictated that Bush - who'd served as vice-president and president for 12 years at that point - couldn't hit the local Bi-Rite on a whim. Nevertheless, we were told that the president was "hopelessly out of touch."

Fast forward to 2003. Millionaire Senator John Kerry is doing his level best to convince Americans that he's the consummate Everyman. So far, he's not having much luck. It's well known that Kerry, whose mannerisms and tastes are more befitting an effete Frenchman, had his worldview permanently shaped while cloistered in a Swiss finishing school. His refinement at the hands of the Swiss now threatens to doom his presidential campaign (if it really ever had a chance to start with).

During a recent visit to Philadelphia, Kerry visited the legendary Pat's Steaks and ordered cheesesteak -- with Swiss cheese. Kerry's faux pas was akin to someone visiting Nathan's on Coney Island and ordering a tofu dog. If Kerry's Swiss cheese gaffe wasn't bad enough, he asked that he not be photographed while eating. As the Washington Post reported, "Shutters clicked anyway, and Kerry was caught nibbling daintily at his sandwich." (At least he wasn't dumb enough to order a Perrier for washin'-down purposes.)

Anyone who's come within five miles of Philly's famous cheesesteak stands knows that Swiss cheese is not an option when ordering. Ask a small sample of Pat's customers to describe someone who makes such an error, and "out of touch" will probably trip off someone's lips. Is this a trivial point? Perhaps, but so was the endless harping over the first President Bush's supermarket epiphany.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Debunking the "Left Behind" myth(s)

There are quite a few preachers who've made names for themselves - and several pennies for their churches - by scaring folks with visions of "beasts," battles, and 'round-the-corner apocolyptic Last Days. According to Rev. Fr. Angelo Artemas, a Greek Orthodox theologian, these folks are full of crap. He's right ...

The Book of Revelation has been mistranslated, misused and misinterpreted since the 2nd century. It was written by John, the beloved disciple and theologian, on Patmos at the end of the 1st century (roughly 90 A.D.) as a response to the turmoil, pain and suffering experienced by early Christians. Thousands of Christians were being martyred because of their faith, and many suffered the consequences of high infant mortality and low life expectancy.

The Roman Emperors of the first three centuries were responsible for millions of deaths. The Beasts of the Book of Revelation refer to Nero (54-68 A.D.), Vespasian (69-79 A.D.), and Domitian (80-96 A.D.). The number 666 was specifically a cryptic reference to the Emperor Nero.

According to biblical numerology, 6 represents evil, 7 represents perfection (seven days in a week), and 8 represents holiness (Sunday, the Day of the Lord, is the first and eighth day). The tripling of numbers represents their eternal/infinite nature; thus Nero is eternally evil while Christ is eternally holy. The numbers and symbols in the Book of Revelation are not secret references to today's leaders, economic or environmental conditions, but refer to first century conditions. Attempts to make direct associations are misdirected.


The most evil man in America

In an online interview with the UK Independent, Princeton Professor Peter Singer was asked this question: “Would you kill a disabled baby?” He responded, “Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman’s right to have an abortion.”

Prompted by the efforts to save Terri Schiavo, Singer wrote last year, “By 2040, it may be that only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct.”

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a “hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalist” who believes that every human life is sacred.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Questions for the ACLU

I received a fundraising letter from the American Civil Liberties Union today. According to the letter, the Bush Administration's war against Islamic terrorism is nothing but a neo-fascist plot to destroy the Constitution. After several paragraphs of such claptrap, and several pleas to send money, the ACLU describes itself as a "nonpartisan" organization. (Yes, I almost choked as well.)

The ACLU can fancy itself as a nonpartisan protector of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights all it wants. One needn't possess a PhD in political science, however, to notice that the ACLU is quite selective in terms of the Constitutional battles it chooses to wage. I, for one, have a few questions for them. To wit:

In his seminal legal study Takings, Richard Epstein explores the government's 60-year assault on private property rights. Indeed, Dr. Epstein has spent much of his career detailing how the Takings Clause and the Commerce Clause have been deliberately misinterpreted in order to justify the expanding welfare state in the United States. As he points out, there exists not one single document to suggest that any Founding Father was a champion of income redistribution and/or transfer payments. When will the ACLU speak out against confiscatory taxes and the redistributionist welfare state?

The ACLU has taken a public stand in favor of affirmative action and racial preferences. Where in the Constitution is equality of outcome favored above and beyond equality of opportunity?

As a document, the Bill of Rights is the single greatest enshrinement of personal freedoms known to man. The philosophical origins of the Second Amendment are found in the writings of thinkers from Blackstone to Locke; in the English common law; and in the English Declaration of the Rights of 1689. There is a growing body of scholarly commentary which indicates that the "right to keep and bear arms" is - as the Amendment's text suggests - a personal right. When will the ACLU champion an individual's right to bear arms?

Our nation's universities are becoming Orwellian places in which any statements that challenge the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy are systematically condemned and suppressed. "Speech codes" are the norm, and conservative thinkers are often shouted down or denied the right to be heard at all. Will the ACLU take steps to ensure that First Amendment rights are enjoyed uniformly on our nation's college campuses?

The ACLU's crusades against public displays of the Ten Commandments have been quite eventful; however, the ACLU has yet to explain how such displays support an "establishment of religion." Does the ACLU honestly believe that the Founding Fathers envisioned an absolute removal of religious thought and expression from the public square?

There are indeed legitimate questions to be asked about the Bush Administration's proposals for fighting domestic and international terrorism. However, until the ACLU is prepared to wage a non-ideological and factual defense of Constitutional freedoms, I'm not so sure that its pronouncements condemning the Bush Administration deserve serious consideration.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Bob Corker represents

Bob Corker spoke to yesterday. Corker talked about September 11th, criticisms that the Bush Administration has not helped first responders, Harold Ford, Jr.'s attempts to run as a Republican, and the issues he sees as most important in this 2006 election season.

You can listen to's conversation with Corker here or download the interview via iTunes.

Monday, September 11, 2006


How to wage war

According to the American Conservative's James Pinkerton, this is how we should be dealing with our enemies:

Be ruthless. We might consider, for example, the Effectiveness Lesson in the Book of Samuel. God said to Saul: "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." But while Saul mostly followed the Lord's commandment, he spared a few folks and critters. God was outraged at this insufficient ruthlessness. As future-king Samuel explained to soon-to-be-ex-king Saul, "Thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel." So Samuel had to mop up, completing the earth-scorching. Now that's Effectiveness.

Similarly, when the Romans wanted to be rid of troublesome Carthage once and for all, they flattened the city and plowed the leveled ground with salt. Carthago was truly delenda, and it hasn't been heard from since. More recently, when white Americans and Australians wanted to Manifest their Destiny over their respective continents, they mostly massacred the aboriginal peoples, occasionally deigning to miscegenate with them. The Chinese are using equally Effective tactics in Tibet today.

In geopolitics, possession-by-domination is nine-tenths of the law; demography is political destiny. In the meantime, after 213 years of attempted subjugation, the Russians are still Ineffective in Chechnya. Vladimir Putin might be asking himself, WWSD? -- What Would Stalin Do? And the answer to that question might well be: total wipeout, by any WMD necessary. Note to other countries dealing with uppity populations: it's genocide, but it's been proven Effective.


Saturday, September 09, 2006


No connection?

There are a great many folks who spit through gritted teeth their belief that there were absolutely no links between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda. As we approach the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, they should chew on this:

According to Laurie Mylroie, who served an adviser on Iraq early in the Clinton Administration, President Clinton's decision to hit Baghdad with cruise missiles on June 26, 1993, was made in part because he believed Iraq had been involved in the first World Trade Center bombing four months earlier. Indeed, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a former Iraqi intelligence officer, was among those arrested following the al-Qaeda-sponsored attack.

"He said publicly that the U.S. strike on Iraqi intelligence headquarters was retaliation for Saddam's attempt to kill President [George H.W.] Bush," Mylroie told WABC Radio's Steve Malzberg. "[But] he also meant it for the Trade Center bombing. Clinton believed that the attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters would deter Saddam from all future strikes against the United States. It was hopelessly naive."

Mylroie said that Martin Indyk, White House National Security Council Advisor on the Middle East, had revealed Clinton's true motivation for the June 1993 missile attacks during a private conversation in December 1994. "Indyk believed that the strike on Iraqi intelligence headquarters had stopped Saddam," she recalled. Mylroie said the suspicion that Iraq was involved in the 1993 attack was widely believed in federal law enforcement circles. "Particularly New York FBI, then headed by Jim Fox, believed that Iraq was behind that bomb," she told Malzberg.

Based on information provided by Iraqi defectors, U.S. intelligence suspected for many months prior to 9/11 that the Salman Pak military camp, located near Baghdad, was being used to train foreign terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda.

Here's what the New York Times said about the camp six weeks after 9/11:

"New information does suggest that [Saddam] Hussein was actively training terrorists to attack American interests throughout the 1990s. One example is the testimony of Sabah Khodada, a captain in the Iraqi army who emigrated to the United States in May after working for eight years at what he described as a terrorist training camp at a bend in the Tigris River just southeast of Baghdad."

According to the Times, Khodada described the camp as "a highly secret installation" where "non-Iraqi Arabs from Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia" received training in "assassinations, kidnapping, hijacking of airplanes, hijacking of buses, hijacking of trains, and all other kinds of operations related to terrorism." In comments unmentioned by the Times but covered by PBS's Frontline, Khodada said that when he saw the WTC fall he thought to himself, "This was done by graduates of Salman Pak."

Here's how National Public Radio characterized Iraq's link to the 9/11 attacks in a report the same month:

"The case against Iraq is based on three things. First, Mohammed Atta, believed to be the key organizer of the September 11 attacks, met earlier this year with an Iraqi agent in Prague. Second, Iraq's stockpiled anthrax as a biological weapon. And third, recent allegations that there's a camp in Iraq where foreign terrorists are trained. The allegation about the terrorist training camp comes through a recent Iraqi defector. According to this story, the camp is located near the town of Salman Pak, southeast of Baghdad, and it contains a Boeing jetliner that could be used to train hijackers how to seize a plane."

Charles Deulfer, former Deputy Head, U.N. Special Commission for Iraq, told NPR, "There were lots of places in Iraq where training of non-Iraqis, or things, which by our lexicon would be considered terrorism, was taking place. That's why Iraq is on the terrorist list. Having a large aircraft, a 707, in a peninsula, completely visible from the air or from satellite, with no airline runways nearby, that's not there by accident."

Last year, NBC's Tim Russert stated on a broadcast of Meet the Press that "no one" believes in an Iraq-9/11 link. However, interviewing Vice President Dick Cheney in December 2001, Russert cited the then-recent comments of former CIA Director James Woolsey:

"We know that at Salman Pak, on the southern edge of Baghdad, five different eyewitnesses - three Iraqi defectors and two American U.N. Inspectors - have said - and now there are aerial photographs to show it - a Boeing 707 that was used for training of hijackers, including non-Iraqi hijackers trained very secretly to take over airplanes with knives."

Russert then displayed satellite imagery of Salman Pak for his audience, saying, "And we have photographs. As you can see that little white speck – and there it is, the plane on the ground in Iraq used to train non-Iraqi hijackers." Then the NBC newsman asked the Vice President, "Do you still believe there's no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?"

In late October 2001, New York Times columnist William Safire detailed the extensive ties between Osama bin Laden, his henchmen and Saddam's intelligence service leading up to 9/11:

"Faruq Hijazi, in 1994 Saddam's secret service director and now his ambassador to Turkey, has had a series of meetings with bin Laden. These began in Sudan, arranged by Hassan al-Tourabi, the Sudanese Muslim leader, and continued in Afghanistan. The conspiracy was furthered in Baghdad in 1998 between bin Laden's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Saddam's vice president, Taha Yasin Ramadan."

"To strengthen Saddam's position in the Arab world during his 1998 crisis with the U.N., bin Laden established the 'World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and the Crusaders.' The Muslim-in-name Iraqi dictator reciprocated by promising secure refuge in Iraq for bin Laden and his key lieutenants if they were forced to flee Afghanistan.

"Bin Laden sent a delegation of his top al-Qaeda terrorists to Baghdad on April 25, 1998, to attend the grand celebration that week of Saddam's birthday. It was then that Saddam's bloody-minded son Uday agreed to receive several hundred al-Qaeda recruits for terrorist training in techniques unavailable in Afghanistan.

"That Baghdad birthday party, according to an unpublished spying report, celebrated something else: Uday Hussein's agreement with bin Laden's men to formally establish a joint force consisting of some of al-Qaeda's fiercest 'Afghan Arab' fighters and the covert combatants in Iraqi intelligence unit 999."

Not only have William Safire's earlier claims been corroborated by information uncovered by U.S. forces in Iraq, in May 2003, Manhattan U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ruled that Iraq played a material role in the 9/11 attacks in a case brought against Baghdad by families of two World Trade Center victims.

'Nough said ...

Friday, September 08, 2006


The rub 'gainst Junior

The Nashville Scene's Liz Garrigan scores a rhetorical homerun with this'n, mainly 'cause she knows that the only appropriate way to refer to Harold Ford, Jr., is to call him "Junior":

Let’s start with experience. We’ll give Jr. this: he knows Washington, D.C., as well as anyone. Hell, he makes Al Gore look positively homegrown. This is a guy who grew up going to an elite school in D.C.—St. Albans School for Boys—while his father was in Congress. (Stray fact: day tuition this year at St. Albans is over $26,000 a year, and over $37,000 for boarders.) After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he went on to law school at the University of Michigan. So far so good.

The preppie kid of a congressman — nothing wrong with that. But when his dad of the same name retired from Congress in 1996, which coincided with Ford Jr.’s graduation from law school, the son was quite literally handed a congressional seat, and the dynasty lived on. He’d had no notable life experience to that point—and most of us don’t at that age.

But Ford has been in Congress ever since. It’s been his career. To put it plainly, he’s never had real employment. Imagine never having gone to a job interview, never shopped health insurance, never floated a check on a crappy salary to cover rent, never negotiated a pay raise or dealt with a prickly boss. It’s a significant void, never having existed outside of the political realm.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Williamson County: TN's new Blue?

I've been a bit under the weather; thus, posts may - may - be a tad sporadic for the next few days.

Something crossed my desk recently that I neglected to discuss in a timely fashion. Last week's Nashville Scene ran a feature on one Mary Parker, a Democrat who hopes to replace Republican Jim Bryson in the State Senate.

Bryson's District 23 seat is perhaps the safest GOP seat in the State Senate. Thus, Ms. Parker's campaign is nothing short of a Quixotic adventure. Try telling that to Mike Williams ...

Mr. Williams, a Democrat who represented a portion of Williamson County in the State House a few years back, is giddily awaiting Parker's inevitable besting of her Republican opponent, Jack Johnson. According to the Scene, Williams is of the opinion that "Williamson County residents are less beholden to the GOP than [Republican Party] leaders claim."

When Williams was first elected to the State House, some 15 years ago, Williamson County was just beginning to absorb voters who were fleeing Nashville's increasing property taxes and crime. Young Urban Professionals were also just beginning to build dream homes in Williamson County as well. Unfortunately for Democrats like Mike Williams, conservative as they may've claimed to be, newcomers were card-carrying, yard sign-displayin' members of the GOP.

I say all this to implore those persons who agree with Mike Williams' ridiculous assertion that there "are more independents than Republicans [in Williamson County]" to cogitate upon this fact (courtesy of the Scene):

Of the 40 countywide partisan officers—judges, county commissioners and so forth—all but two are Republicans. Those two, incidentally, aren't Democrats either. They ran and won as independents.

Mary Parker is toast ... you read it here first.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Racism, Memphis-style

According to Shelby County Democratic Party honcho William Larsha, only black people can represent black people in Congress. At a recent meeting of black "leaders" in Memphis, Larsha uncorked this gem:

"The [9th Congressional District] seat is one that decent white people created so African-Americans and whites could send an African-American to Congress."

First of all, the 9th District is drawn in such a way to ensure that a major metropolitan area of Tennessee, i.e., the city and suburbs of Memphis, has one-man-one-vote representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Again, this includes the area in and around Memphis, which happens to be about 60 percent black. To suggest that the district has been drawn as a racial gerrymander is just plain preposterous.

That being said, the real issue here is the fact that a large number folks in Memphis have now embarked on what in reality is a racist crusade to defeat the white candidate, State Senator Steve Cohen, who won last month's 9th District Democratic primary. William Larsha and other Democrats in Memphis have recruited Jake Ford, U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr.'s (aka Junior) sibling, to run as an independent in November. You see, as Larsha told the Associated Press, the seat "belongs to an African-American." Oh, my ...

If given the opportunity, I'd like to ask the members of the anti-Cohen cabal to explain why insisting that Memphis' U.S. Representative must be black is not inherently racist. I'd also like to ask them why the same does not hold true in reverse; that is, why should Junior be elected to the U.S. Senate given that the majority of voters in Tennessee are white?

Since Tennessee has never had a black U.S. Senator, doesn't it stand to reason that Bill Frist's seat "belongs" to a white person? Start expressing that opinion and see how long it takes for you to be tagged as a racist. You won't have to wait very long.

Saturday, September 02, 2006



Howard Meek is Nashville's most prolific writer of letters to the editor. I've butted heads with Mr. Meek dozens of times over the years, each time taking him to task for his overly enthusiastic parroting of Democratic Party talking points ... and his misguided allegiance to statist economic theories.

Meek ain't as prolific as he once was; and his recent scribblings have been quite disjointed, to say the least. I tried to pen a response to his latest missive, but I couldn't help but feel that I was pettily picking on someone who - to be blunt - didn't know what in the fudge he was talkin' about.

With all that said, I'm going to give Mr. Meek a pass this time. I do, however, want to ask him a simple question (the same question the City Paper's editors perched atop his latest letter):

How in the **** did we get so mixed up?!

To the editor:

Whether we’re talking about immigration, terrorism or the Iraq war, it seems to me we’re a little mixed up. Why aren’t we focused on those who are really responsible for these problems? Like Mexico, Muslims and the Iraqi people! Isn’t that where all these problems started and must be addressed?

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