Saturday, June 30, 2007


Barroid inches closer to Hank Aaron with HR 750 last night. As God often does, where sin abounds so there is grace even more:

Barry Bonds is going to have a harder time enjoying his home runs if the Giants keep losing close games.


Friday, June 29, 2007

A Good Day All Around

So the bill that wouldn't die finally did, with a silver bullet and a wooden stake through the heart. The added-bonus(es)?

There's this:

"The real victory today for conservatives is that now all the presidential candidates on our side are free to run against Bush — they've just robbed the Dems' of their most potent weapon."

And this:

The only good news is that the past political fortnight showed that the Republican base, when enthusiastic, can have a dramatically positive effect on Republican politicians. If the base demands victory in Iraq as loudly as it demanded defeat for this immigration bill, the Republicans in congress will once again listen.

And of course, the best for last:

"Fifteen Dems (plus Sanders) vote against cloture, making it somewhat difficult for Sen. Reid to achieve what seemed to be his unadvertised dream: A failed bill he could blame on the Republicans."

Harry Reid has got to be the most impotent Congressional leader in recent memory.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Even-handed Iraq

For a balanced report on the current state of Iraq, this in USA Today is a wonderful start.

Hat tip to Rich Lowry at the Corner. The Harry-Reid-snark is an added bonus...

Empty Suit, Republican Style

John Edwards is, to my mind, the emptiest of suits going. George Voinovich gives him a run for his money however and today may have put him over the top.

I caught the tail end of this and was amazed that a member of the Senior house would comport himself thus. Then again, as K-Lo points out, he cried over the Bolton nomination but only after--much like in the current situation--finding himself woefully under-prepared to accomplish anything.

Is this really the best Ohio can do?

The Bill that wouldn't die...

just might.

Friday, June 22, 2007

When getting blasted isn't

I particularly enjoyed this analysis of Colin Powell's supposed blasting of "Bush's War."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Slaughterhouse '07

With any luck, that's what we can call Baquba soon. From Michael Yon in Iraq:

Our guys are tough. The enemy in Baqubah is as good as any in Iraq, and better than most. That’s saying a lot. But our guys have been systematically trapping them, and have foiled some big traps set for our guys. I don’t want to say much more about that, but our guys are seriously outsmarting them. Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Setting the Tone

In any competitive setting the aggressor sets the tone. John Podhoretz today notes that that simple rule applies in war as well:

No matter how you slice it, the reason there could be no deal with the Palestinians then or now is that the Palestinians with whom you have to negotiate are utterly uninterested in improving the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. They have an ideological and geopolitical aim, which is the destruction of Israel and (in the case of Hamas) the extension of Iranian power to the Mediterranean.

The sad truth is that you can have peace processes all you like, but if one side is committed to war, then it's war.

While it speaks of an entirely different situation, Michael Yon's latest offering about the now-ongoing offensive against Al Qaeda makes a similar point:

Smart politics leaves more people standing with their heads, and so discretion has to be seen as vital to the war effort. Reports claiming that no political progress is happening here because the Iraqi parliament seems stalled are tantamount to claiming that when the US Senate bogs down the stop lights don’t work on Main Street USA. At the same time, no one is interested in going for the broomstick once they’ve seen the man behind the curtain, so smart politicians don’t let that happen, especially when the stakes are this high.

Al Qaeda was never at this table and no one is planning to set a place for them now. They are mass murderers anywhere they can be: Bali, Kandahar, London, Madrid, New York and now, Iraq. This enemy is smart, resourceful and tough, and our early missteps created perfect conditions for the spread of their disease in Iraq.

Political solutions only work with people interested in a resolution where all parties can move forward. Al Qaeda is more interested in an outcome where they dominate through anachronistic anarchy. Our philosophies are so fundamentally different that fighting is inevitable. They want to go backwards and are willing to kill us to do so. We are unwilling to go backwards, and so they started killing us. Finally, we started killing back, but only seriously so after they rammed jets into our buildings, by which they hoped to cause the same chaos and collapse in America (where they failed) that they are fomenting in Iraq (where they are succeeding).

The doctor has made a decision: Al Qaeda must be excised. That means a large scale attack, and what appears to be the most widespread combat operations since the end of the ground war are now unfolding. A small part of that larger battle will be the Battle for Baquba. For those involved, it will be a very large battle, but in context, it will be only one of numerous similar battles now unfolding. Just as this sentence was written, we began dropping bombs south of Baghdad and our troops are in contact.

Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers—real snipers—have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them. No secrets are spilling here.

Our jets will drop bombs and we will use rockets. Helicopters will cover us, and medevac our wounded and killed. By the time you read this, our artillery will be firing, and our tanks moving in. And Humvees. And Strykers. And other vehicles. Our people will capture key terrain and cutoff escape routes. The idea this time is not to chase al Qaeda out, but to trap and kill them head-on, or in ambushes, or while they sleep. When they are wounded, they will be unable to go to hospitals without being captured, and so their wounds will fester and they will die painfully sometimes. It will be horrible for al Qaeda. Horror and terrorism is what they sow, and tonight they will reap their harvest. They will get no rest. They can only fight and die, or run and try to get away. Nobody is asking for surrender, but if they surrender, they will be taken.

We will go in on foot and fight from house to house if needed. We will shoot rockets into their hiding spaces, and our snipers will shoot them in their heads and chests. This is where all that talk of cancer and big ideas of what should be or could be done will smash head on against the searing reality of combat.

I strongly suggest reading the entire dispatch. It is clear and concise if not comprehensive in it's understanding of the problem and the knowledge that rides piggyback with it, namely how to deal with the situations we let fester for over two years.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, like Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon will not be negotiated with. They refuse and they do not relent. Podhoretz is correct; they have but one aim for and about which they are unashamed.

They can't and won't broker peace, they will either win or lose. From the American perspective, they must be defeated.

Does America still have a will to finish what we began even though it may look nothing like what was ostensibly promised us 4 years ago? I certainly hope so because the alternatives are not acceptable in my opinion and for a multitude of reasons.

That we can win this fight I am certain. Like Yon and others though I am not so convinced as to whether or not we will.


You know you're living a charmed life when you make a huge error at work, something that potentially will cost several thousands of dollars only to find your client made the even-larger error that saves your bacon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

When you want to Win

This is the kind of thing you do. And keep doing, and don't stop doing...

Israel's Master Plan

Hamas has taken control of the Gaza strip and to escape what will assuredly become a pit of despair and anguish, Palestinians are Israel.

What better way for Israel to realize it's ultimate goal of wiping out the Palestinians than allowing Hamas to do it's dirty work and welcoming the refugees? Quite the bit of strategery!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nails it

What Joe Lieberman saw in Iraq puts the lie to disingenuous criticisms of his former fellows in the Democrat party.


In Baghdad, however, discussions with the talented Americans responsible for leading this fight are more balanced, more hopeful and, above all, more strategic in their focus--fixated not just on the headline or loss of the day, but on the larger stakes in this struggle, beginning with who our enemies are in Iraq. The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.

Some of my colleagues in Washington claim we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while disengaging from the sectarian violence there. Not so, say our commanders in Baghdad, who point out that the crux of al Qaeda's strategy is to spark Iraqi civil war.


Facts on the ground also compel us to recognize that Iran is doing everything in its power to drive us out of Iraq, including providing substantive support, training and sophisticated explosive devices to insurgents who are murdering American soldiers. Iran has initiated a deadly military confrontation with us, from bases in Iran, which we ignore at our peril, and at the peril of our allies throughout the Middle East.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally.

That is why--as terrible as the continuing human cost of fighting this war in Iraq is--the human cost of losing it would be even greater.


When I returned to Anbar on this trip, however, the security environment had undergone a dramatic reversal. Attacks on U.S. troops there have dropped from an average of 30 to 35 a day a few months ago to less than one a day now, according to Col. John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, headquartered in Ramadi. Whereas six months ago only half of Ramadi's 23 tribes were cooperating with the coalition, all have now been persuaded to join an anti-al Qaeda alliance. One of Ramadi's leading sheikhs told me: "A rifle pointed at an American soldier is a rifle pointed at an Iraqi."

The recent U.S. experience in Anbar also rebuts the bromide that the new security plan is doomed to fail because there is no "military" solution for Iraq. In fact, no one believes there is a purely "military" solution for Iraq. But the presence of U.S. forces is critical not just to ensuring basic security, but to a much broader spectrum of diplomatic, political and economic missions--which are being carried out today in Iraq under Gen. Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy.

In Anbar, for example, the U.S. military has been essential to the formation and survival of the tribal alliance against al Qaeda, simultaneously holding together an otherwise fractious group of Sunni Arab leaders through deft diplomacy, while establishing a political bridge between them and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. "This is a continuous effort," Col. Charlton said. "We meet with the sheikhs every single day and at every single level."

In Baghdad, U.S. forces have cut in half the number of Iraqi deaths from sectarian violence since the surge began in February. They have also been making critical improvements in governance, basic services and commercial activity at the grassroots level.

On Haifa Street, for instance, where there was bloody fighting not so long ago, the 2nd "Black Jack" Brigade of our First Cavalry Division, under the command of a typically impressive American colonel, Bryan Roberts, has not only retaken the neighborhood from insurgents, but is working with the local population to revamp the electrical grid and sewer system, renovate schools and clinics, and create an "economic safe zone" where businesses can reopen. Indeed, of the brigade's five "lines of operations," only one is strictly military. That Iraq reality makes pure fiction of the argument heard in Washington that the surge will fail because it is only "military."

How Harry Reid still gets away with his nonsense about "no military solution" when it is clear that the sure is anything but just a "military solution" continues to amaze and infuriate.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Woke up one day and suddenly Iran was running the Middle East

Or so it seems. Charles Krauthammer explained last night:

This is the beginning of the Palestinian civil war. Round one happened this week, and it's over. Hamas has won in Gaza, it will take it over. And it is the worst elements.
As one high administration official said the other day, these are the extreme elements of the extremists. And this is essentially the first Palestinian independent territory — Israel is out of Gaza — and it will now become a terrorist state.

And it will also be, this is extremely important, a client of Iran. Hamas is supplied and financed by Iran. Iran has now a constellation of allies and clients in that region, the way the Soviets had around the world. It's got Hamas now in Gaza, it's got Hezbollah in Lebanon, it's got Sadr in Iraq. And it has a country, Syria, as its only Arab ally in that region. . . .

[I]t's an Iranian client crescent, and it is the beginning of a general Iranian, Islamist revolutionary infiltration of the Arabs. Which is why Egypt is afraid, because Gaza has a border with Egypt, and why it's the beginning of a great struggle between Persian, non-Arab, Shiite and radical Iran with all of these Arabs.

A couple of notes...first off, if the United States operated in a similar fashion we'd be savaged for blatant, unabashed 'empire building'. Secondly, like they refused to do about the Soviet version of empire 30 and 40 years ago, many can't bring themselves to make similarly disparaging remarks about Iran's blatant efforts at establishing hegemony in this most crucial region of the world.

On the bright side should Hamas attack Israel from Gaza, Israel will be well within it's rights to crush them as any formerly "terrorist" act will now be a sanctioned act of war by the acting Government.

Having Cake and Eating Too!!

First the WSJ on the Boston Globe on Hamas' Palestinian blitzkrieg:

The Boston Globe editorial board looks at the Gaza civil war, and finds it's the fault of the Jews:

The people of Gaza are the true victims of the civil war most of all because the fighting is destroying their future. With the military wing of Hamas poised to seize complete control of Gaza in what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rightly called a "coup attempt," Gaza's residents stand to lose whatever hope remained of achieving independence and a decent life in a viable Palestinian state.

The Hamas campaign to eradicate Fatah from Gaza is certainly not the sole cause of Gazans' misery. They long suffered from Israel's suffocating occupation, and then from Ariel Sharon's foolishly unilateral withdrawal in 2005, a move that allowed Hamas to bid for power with the misleading claim that its rockets and suicide bombings had driven Israeli soldiers and settlers out of Gaza.

According to the Globe, Israel is to blame both for its "occupation" and for having ended it--the latter of which "allowed Hamas to bid for power." But "the people of Gaza" are innocent victims. It somehow escapes the Globe's notice that Hamas came to power because Palestinians voted for it. The Globe denies that Palestinians are responsible for their own actions, and thereby dehumanizes them under a pretense of compassion.

Good'd be hardpressed to find a good fiction writer that could come up with a storyline that ridiculous. In an effort to try though, we get this:

"A leading Democratic lawmaker lashed out at the former leaders of Germany and France, calling former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a 'political prostitute,' " the Associated Press reports from Washington:

"I am so glad that the era of Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder in Germany is now gone," [California's Rep. Tom] Lantos said to applause.

He said when the United States asked Schroeder to support its decision to go to war in Iraq "he told us where to go."

"I referred to him as a political prostitute, now that he's taking big checks from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. But the sex workers in my district objected, so I will no longer use that phrase," Lantos said. . . .

Lantos said Chirac "should go down to the Normandy beaches. He should see those endless rows of white marble crosses and stars of David representing young Americans who gave their lives for the freedom of France."

He said under the successors of Schroeder and Chirac, Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France, relations with the United States "will take a very positive turn"

A few years ago Donald Rumsfeld was disparaging "old Europe" while Lantos's fellow Democrats were accusing the Bush administration of alienating America's allies, most notably Germany and France. It looks as though Rumsfeld was right, and the allies have come around, to the extent that they are capable of doing so. Once again, reports of the Bush administration's failure were greatly exaggerated.

It makes my head hurt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Dogs are Smarter (Or, Better Puppies through Modern Science)

This snippet caught my attention over at the Corner awhile back. Penned by outspoken and well-known dog-lover Jonah Goldberg it pointed directly over to this larger piece here.

The first two 'graphs tell the story. I've written before about how much money a puppy's love is worth. Well, the price tag has gone up. Perhaps I can commiserate with Jonah across the ether. We read of Cosmo-the-Wonderdog that he's been the beneficiary of multiple puppy-surgeries:

Cosmo the Wonderdog recently had ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery on one of his back knees. Last summer he had the same surgery on his other hind leg. When he was a one-year-old he had surgery on a front leg because of an unrelated joint problem. Plus, there have been the usual accidents and mishaps normally associated with active canines.

I read that for the first time two days after Cassie came up lame one night after another round of sisterly rough-housing. The day after reading it we got the initial assessment from the Vet who was pretty sure indeed that we were talking about at least a partially torn ACL.

Multiple phone calls, X-rays and visits later the diagnosis became definitive. One last visit for pre-op blood work over the weekend left only yesterday's D-Day to look forward to.

Tonight we brought her home and she lays with me as I write in the office, unsure exactly what she wants to do and all too-keenly aware that things are not-at-all right. Brave puppy that she is, the only crying has come more as a warning of the impending need to use the doggy restroom than in feeling sorry for herself.

All of which breaks dad's heart no end. She deserves better than more hardship, however fleeting--8 weeks of post-operative care isn't the end of the world for a dog likely to live a dozen or so years.

So we'll muddle through a month of virtual inactivity and another month of a gradual return to normalcy and wait for the new & improved puppy on the other side.

It's all over Now!

Can the White House be far behind?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Turnabout is Fair Play

Tony Snow turns the tables for a moment on the morons, er...I mean members of the WH Press Corps (Hat tip to NRO's Media Blog):

Q But doesn't the indefinite holding of this many prisoners under these circumstances really undercut the President's arguments in favor of democracy worldwide, as he just spoke about in his speech —

MR. SNOW: How does it do that?

Q That's what I'm asking you.

MR. SNOW: No, the question doesn't make sense to me. How does that happen?
Q By not having due process for every —

MR. SNOW: Are you saying that detaining people who are plucked off the battlefields is an assault on democracy? Are you kidding me? You're talking about the people who were responsible for supporting the Taliban, somehow detaining them is an assault on democracy?

Q And not charging them —

Q Yes. You're getting quite a bit of criticism internationally, as well as domestically on the issue of holding people indefinitely without charge. Are you denying that's the case?

MR. SNOW: No, many have been held, but many also are now being processed through the system. What I just thought was peculiar is that you have people who waged active warfare against democracy and you think detaining them somehow is an assault on democracy.

Can't disagree More

It's just not possible. I fight this when I see it online in it's most virulent form--as debate killer--and it deserves push-back even when presented in this form:

Don't say you support war unless you've walked in a combat veteran's shoes, one who has maimed and killed soldiers and civilians in war.

The foot soldier has the dirty, gory job of the actual fighting to secure a city or battleground. If he is lucky and survives, he lives with horrific memories.

He knows how it feels to drive a knife into another to kill, to pull the trigger and watch someone die, to throw a hand grenade into a trench to blow bodies to bits.

A disabled vet knows how it feels to have a bullet rip through his arm, feel the fragments of an exploding grenade tear through his body, and feel the fiery blast of a 90mm mortar round throw him into the air, tearing away his seared flesh.

I know how it feels to undergo five major surgeries, to spend a year in a hospital recovering with a 90 percent disability and the effects 50 years later, and the memories of what I had to do in the Korean War.

With all due respect to Mr. Dailey--and it is a considerable amount that he is due--the constitution guarantees I and anyone else who wishes to, the right to support in good faith a war effort with which we agree.

In fact citizens have the right to and the constitutional duty even to oversee the US Armed Forces, ultimately sending them to war when it is believed appropriate. Neither I, nor I'd bet Mr. Dailey himself, would want to live in the society we'd have if only Generals could make those decisions.

If an anti-war protester has the constitutional right to command the US Armed Forces as Bill Clinton did, I have the right having never fired a shot in my life, to support a war effort I believe right, important and necessary.

Monday, June 11, 2007

'You are a Vague, Translucent shade'

That's gonna leave a mark.

Am I living in the 80's?

Do we still subsidize corn growers out the wazoo? Or did I fall asleep and wake up twenty-years later to find there just isn't enough corn to go around?:

A recent study conducted by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University (which receives funding from grocery manufacturers and livestock producers) reported that U.S. ethanol production could consume more than half of U.S. corn, wheat and coarse grains by 2012, driving up food prices and causing shortages. The study estimates that booming ethanol production has already raised U.S. food prices by $47 per person annually. In Mexico, protests have already erupted over the high price of corn tortillas, a staple food in the local diet.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Your Wish is my Command

Sim wanted a new chart. So here it is. Straight out of company filings.

Hat tip to rrapier at R Squared Energy Blog. It's a slightly different presentation but makes entirely the same point.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Peas in a Pod


Mindless, Part Deux

The Bill is Dead!

Long live the bill!

Well, not really. I didn't write about this at all because, frankly, it was difficult enough just keeping up. Others did the heavy lifting and after sifting through what was known it seemed pretty clear that this was a giant pile of garbage that was being stuffed down our throats.

For the first time in a while I can honestly say that Congressional Republicans did the right thing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Christopher Hitchens: A better Christian than I

I spent part of the day today getting caught up on the "Great God Debate," between noted atheist Christopher Hitchens and Pastor-theologian Mark Roberts. I've made it through two-thirds and found the most compelling moment, at least so far, at the very end of hour 2.

Christopher Hitchens in a response seems to intuit something that, sadly, takes many Christians years and sometimes lifetimes to understand about the nature of God and our relationship to Him. It's a point I only understood fully after a 2 1/2 year story of frustration, heartache and struggle.

How wonderful to find such an intelligent man with such a great understanding. Maybe Hitch is a Christian and just doesn't know it?

The comment: I say it’s childish to blame God for things going wrong. It’s idiotic. If there was such a person, I’d have more respect for His majesty than to say He owes me an explanation. You know, if there’s a God, why have I got cancer? What a silly question.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Who is Jason Miller?

Based on how many bad liberal cliches he included in just the first 'graph, you'd say he's probably a first-year poli-sci major at a large State University. You might be right but you might be wrong. According to this, he's a working stiff with an enlightened conscience.

And he has the chutzpah to write about mendacious punditry. I wonder, does he read his own stuff?

Stickin' it to the Man is just too easy these days!

What is irony?

This. And how...

Monday, June 04, 2007

I hate Blogging...again!

Different day, same sentiment.

I'm tired of writing for nobody. I already know what I think and since I'm apparently the only one who bothers to stop by, I'm wondering again what exactly the point is.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

More Fear-mongering

The FBI disrupts a plot today aimed at JFK Airport in NYC.

'Support' means Support

Michael Kinsley squawks about the recently concluded showdown between President Bush and Congress over funding for Iraq. It would hold more water if he could make it in a vacuum that forgets the changing calculus of a post-9/11 world. At least the close would have a bit more zing to it.

Ramesh Ponnuru zings right back with this at the Corner this morning: Michael Kinsley complains that hawks have put doves in a no-win bind. If congressmen try to use unconstitutional means to end the war, the hawks say they can't do it. And if they try to use constitutional means, then the hawks make. . . arguments against that course of action. How sinister! It's almost as though war supporters support the war.

When is a Presidential Candidate an Idiot?

When an idiot is running for President. Or, when his name is John Edwards. Much like Hugo did earlier in the week, Edwards proves his lack-of economic sense with these comments from Thursday:

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says a wave of mergers in the oil industry should be investigated by the Justice Department to see what impact they have had on soaring gasoline prices.

During a planned campaign stop Thursday in Silicon Valley, Edwards planned to berate the oil industry for "anticompetitive actions" and outline an energy plan he says would reduce oil imports "and get us on a path to be virtually petroleum-free within a generation."

"Vertically integrated companies like Exxon Mobil own every step of the production process - from extraction to refining to sale at the pump, enabling them to foreclose competition," says an outline of Edward's energy plan provided to The Associated Press by his campaign.

Nincompoop...Oil companies margins haven't changed much at all over the years. If anything, they've shrunk some. Yet apparently oil companies are just setting prices arbitrarily with no regard for the market.

Yeah, right.

I didn't think much of Edwards in the '04 campaign--he came across as too much of a slick-talking empty suit and his but one uneventful term in the Senate did nothing to dispel the sense that he didn't know enough to handle the job. Stupid stunts like this one only underscore that same sense three years later.

Perhaps Bob Shrum is on to something...

Friday, June 01, 2007

That's Unfortunate

Mark Tapscott pegs Senator Kyl as the latest in the long line of Senators who've held up good legislation in Congress:

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZ, has conceded that he is the senator behind the secret hold on the proposed Open Government Reform Act of 2007, which would provide much-needed improvements in the federal Freedom of Information Act.

AP reports that Kyl explains his decision to place the secret hold on the bill as a result of "uncharacteristically strong" objections from the Justice Department. Kyl will maintain his hold until supporters of the FOIA reform bill, which includes its primary architect, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, and opponents can work out their differences.

Memo to Sen. Kyl: Some differences are irreconciliable, such as the difference between those like Cornyn who believe transparency in government is the first essential for democratic accountability, and those in government like the career attorneys at the Justice Department who ALWAYS find a reason to oppose increased transparency.

This gulf cannot be bridged without completely gutting the FOIA reform of whatever substance it retains after three years of negotiation and concessions by its proponents in a vain effort to create a bill that is sufficiently non-threatening to government interests.

Moreover, Sen. Kyl, you have been in Congress more than long enough to know the original FOIA - approved by Congress in 1966 after a decade-long struggle - already has such rigorous exceptions to protect national security considerations that no honest, reasonably alert bureaucrat in the Pentagon or anywhere else in the government can't keep just about any document behind closed doors. Even President Bush has conceded that the government classifies far too many documents.

What is really aggravating here, Sen. Kyl, is that you profess to be a conservative, a believer in limited government and individual liberty, but here you are taking up the cause of Big Government's first line of defense.

Of all people in Congress who ought to be first to proclaim that the public has an inherent right to see how the public's business is being conducted, one would think it would be a conservative from a western state where people remember Barry Goldwater.

Come on, Sen. Kyl, remember what Patrick "Give me liberty or give me death" Henry said: "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."

And if that doesn't do it, maybe these words will: "Disclosure of government information is particularly important today because government is becoming involved in more and more aspects of every citizen's personal and business life, and so access to information about how government is exercising its trust becomes increasingly important."

And this from the same author as the preceeding paragraph: "The legislation was initially opposed by a number of agencies and departments, but following the hearings and issuance of the carefully prepared report -- which clarifies legislative intent -- much of the opposition seems to have subsided. There still remains some opposition on the part of a few Government administrators who resist any change in the routine of government.

"They are familiar with the inadequacies of the present law, and over the years have learned how to take advantage of its vague phrases. Some possibly believe they hold a vested interest in the machinery of their agencies and bureaus and there is resentment to any attempt to oversee their activities either by the public, the congress or appointed Department heads.

"But our democratic society is not based upon the vested interests of Government employees. It is based upon the participation of the public who must have full access to the facts of Government to select intelligently their representatives to serve in Congress and in the White House."

Who said that? Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, when he was a co-sponsor in 1966 of the original FOIA. You should read his floor speech on behalf of greater openenss [sic] in government with the original FOIA. Everything he said then applies with even greater force and urgency today.

So why are you now carrying Big Government's water?

Ouch. It's sad to see but if true, deserved.

I like Senator Kyl. He's been stalwart on the War and for the most part, a solid fiscal conservative. And besides, I went to college with his daughter.

Now of course that has nothing to do with anything but I love to drop it in now and again.

Back on point, I don't really get this. Senator Kyl is normally--while perhaps not vocal about it--practically speaking solidly small-government and so Tapscott's closing question leaves one to wonder.

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