February 8, 2004
TIM BLAIR IS STANDING UP against racism.
TIM BLAIR IS STANDING UP against racism.
DEMONSTRATIONS and “sporadic clashes” at Tehran University.
TACITUS will be filing blog-reports from the mideast, and is requesting reader support.
THE SAMIZDATA FOLKS always seem to be celebrating something. And they seem to be pretty good at it, too.
FOLLOW THE MONEY:
BERN, Switzerland — The United States believes it has found at least $300 million Saddam Hussein hid in banks, yet doesn’t have enough evidence to get countries such as Syria and Switzerland to hand over the money, U.S. and European officials told The Associated Press.
The funds at stake could go to the Iraq insurgency or the country’s reconstruction — depending on who gets to them first. What troubles investigators more is that much of Saddam’s cash may already be gone.
Hmm. Where, I wonder?
EUGENE VOLOKH has an interesting commentary on what is — and isn’t — involved in “judicial independence.”
RICH GALEN has another report posted, this one from Fallujah. His reporting gets steadily better, as does his photography. I hope there’ll be a book one day.
MICHAEL TOTTEN says that supporters of the Administration’s war strategy should cheer up. He makes a good point.
MY EARLIER DIGITAL CAMERA POSTS (here and here) have led a lot of readers to suggest that I look at the Kodak Professional 14-megapixel SLR (very cool, but a bit pricey) or the Sony DSC-F828. Looks pretty cool (another 8 megapixel machine — review here), but I think I want my next digital camera to have interchangeable lenses. On the other hand, here’s a pretty cool gallery of pictures taken with the Nikon Coolpix 5700, predecessor to the Coolpix 8700 I mentioned earlier. [Link removed when he complained about bandwidth problems. Sorry!]
And, yes, I’m waffling. But the longer I wait, the better and cheaper stuff gets. Ain’t technology grand?
I DIDN’T SEE BUSH’S MEET THE PRESS APPEARANCE — the Insta-Daughter and I were watching SpongeBob (the episode where he invents colored Crabby Patties) and making invisible ink from a recipe in a book of kitchen science experiments. (I’m pretty sure that white vinegar works better than the balsamic kind).
But Michael Graham was unhappy with Bush’s performance: “For the first time, I’ve felt a twinge of fear myself about the November election.”
I’ve been saying that Bush is vulnerable for quite a while. On the other hand, Jonathan at Wired Opinion liveblogged it and doesn’t seem to think it was so bad, though he’s not awarding any Emmies, either. Neither do some of the other commenters at The Corner. (Scroll up from the Graham link). I’m a poor judge of this sort of thing, so my opinion probably wouldn’t add much anyway.
Meanwhile, whether or not Bush turned in a good performance during the actual broadcast, you can expect him to do badly in the post-broadcast media spin of his remarks. And that’s already underway. Consider this Associated Press report:
Bush, who pledged after the Sept. 11 attacks to get suspected mastermind Osama bin Laden “dead or alive,” said Sunday: “I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice.”
Now here’s what Bush actually said:
Russert: Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican
President Bush: Yes.
Russert: said he is absolutely convinced we will capture Osama bin Laden before the election.
President Bush: Well, I appreciate his optimism. I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice, may be the best way to put it. I know we are on the hunt, and Osama bin Laden is a cold blooded killer, and he represents the nature of the enemy that we face.
These are these are people that will kill on a moment’s notice, and they will kill innocent women and children. And he’s hiding, and we’re trying to find him.
There’s a I know there is a lot of focus on Iraq, and there should be, but we’ve got thousands of troops, agents, allies on the hunt, and we are doing a pretty good job of dismantling al Qaeda better than a pretty good job, a very good job. I keep saying in my speeches, two thirds of known al Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed, and that’s the truth.
Bush is rather clearly reining in Grassley’s optimism, not making a hapless admission of defeat as the AP treatment makes it sound. The same AP report goes on to spin David Kay’s report this way:
Bush said former chief weapons inspector David Kay, who has said that U.S. intelligence was “almost all wrong” about Saddam’s arms, said Saddam found the “capacity to produce weapons.”
As Justin Katz comments, that’s not what Kay said at all:
Kay is clearly saying that everybody was wrong about the extent of Iraq’s existing WMD stockpiles, not that anybody in particular was wrong about everything. One could perhaps suggest that the AP just let a little bit of a grammatical error slip in — which would be unforgivable enough for an international news wire to do — except that reporter Deb Riechmann used “U.S. intelligence” to represent a group that included such varied parties as David Kay himself, the French, and the Germans (and perhaps even Saddam Hussein).
Call me cynical, but I think we’ll see more of this sort of spinning as the election nears. As Katz observes:
This is precisely the reason that I find myself instinctively searching for original transcripts. Now, that would be a worthwhile service: a wire that provided the actual words that people use, in context.
Indeed it would.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joseph Hrutka emails: “I slept through it, but my girlfriend, a Lieberman democrat, thought he did really well. She said he answered the hard questions really well.” Interestingly, The Corner’s readers seem to like Bush’s performance better than The Corner’s pundits do, too.
MORE: Andrew Sullivan, who’s been fairly critical of Bush lately, thought he did well:
It’s his best self-defense yet. And I liked his modest way of putting it. In the campaign he can make the case more forcefully, but I’m relieved that on this central question, the White House has belatedly realized it has to make the case again, and explain, and defend itself. It has nothing to be ashamed of, and a huge amount to be proud of, in the battle against terror.
And we have yet to hear an actual plan from its critics, from whom we instead get lame cultural criticism.
MORE: David Adesnik wasn’t impressed with Bush’s performance in general, but makes this observation:
The change in the President’s body language was astonishing. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t show up in transcripts, the kind of thing that made me glad I actually got up so damn early on a Sunday morning in order to watch the interview.
When Bush started talking about democracy promotion and the universal desire for freedom, his words began to flow in a way they hadn’t before. And you couldn’t help thinking that the words were coming straight from his heart. With Reagan, you could dismiss it as acting. But with Bush, it’s hard not to believe he’s sincere.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Bush truly understands what kind of effort serious democracy promotion entails. It doesn’t mean that he will notice when the US begins to compromise its principles in countries that don’t make the headlines. But it gives me a certain confidence that he understands why the reconstruction of Iraq is vital to our long-run victory over the forces of terror. That is why Bush put himself on the line for the $87 billion reconstruction bill. That is why we still have 120,000 troops on the ground. While I can’t shake my suspicions that Bush (or Cheney or Rumsfeld) is getting ready to cut and run, the fact is that the President has shown a surprising willingness to stay and fight for what innumerable critics have long dismissed as a lost cause.
Interesting. Perhaps this is what the people who liked his appearance are commenting on.
MICKEY KAUS says that if Kerry keeps winning at his current rate, the nomination won’t be sewed up for over a month. (I’m not sure that linear extrapolation is appropriate here — isn’t there likely to be a tipping point? — but read it and decide for yourself.) He also points to this WP analysis of Kerry’s contradictory positions on war and defense, and observes: “there is a simpler principle that completely–without contradiction or complication–explains both Kerry votes, namely he did what he thought was the politically safest thing to do.”
What was it the original JFK said about physical versus political courage?
Meanwhile, Dave Winer says that Howard Dean is being snuffed by Big Media: “To Blitzer, Sawyer and Russert, to Viacom, GE, Time-Warner and Disney, Kerry seems safe, but Dean is dangerous, he routes around them, he goes direct. To accept his candidacy would be to accept the end of television-dominated politics.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon makes an interesting comparison.
TOM DASCHLE, on the war resolution, back in 2002:
Daschle, D-South Dakota, said the threat of Iraq’s weapons programs “may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored.”
“I believe we have an obligation to protect the United States by preventing him from getting these weapons and either using them himself or passing them or their components on to terrorists who share his destructive intent,” said Gephardt, who helped draft the measure.
So they didn’t think that Saddam was an “imminent” threat, but thought it was worth going to war to keep him from becoming one, eh? That’s just what Bush said.
So where’s the beef in the “Bush lied” argument?
(Hat tip to reader Daniel Aronstein).
NOT EVERYONE was shocked by the Janet Jackson Breast Incident: “New Yorker Tommy Vega had his nipples pierced several years ago but had them redone Friday so he could wear shields like Jackson’s. ‘I hate to admit I was influenced by her, but I love her and it looked really cute,’ said Vega, 23.”
UPDATE: Okay, add another one to the file of those inspired rather than moved to ire by Jackson’s exposure.
ANOTHER UPDATE: It just keeps getting better.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: And better.
I’M NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BLOG, but here’s a blog report from the Washington State caucuses.
Mr. Rumsfeld placed the blame for the war squarely on Saddam Hussein for his “deception and defiance,” and refusal to abandon his illegal weapons program, as Libya did recently.
“It was his choice,” Mr. Rumsfeld said in a speech here to an audience of 250 government ministers, lawmakers and national security experts from 30 countries, most of them in Europe. “If the Iraqi regime had taken the same steps Libya is now taking, there would have been no war.”
I think that’s a message for, er, some other interested parties. And so, in a different way, is this:
In this climate, many officials here expected a tempered, if not conciliatory speech on Saturday from Mr. Rumsfeld, who is still regarded by many Germans and French, in particular, as a villain for his dismissive remarks about “old Europe.” Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld, feisty and unyielding, appeared eager to put a potential adversary on the defensive as he laid out the administration’s rationale for the war in the absence of any illegal Iraqi weapons.
“Think about what was going on in Iraq a year ago with people being tortured, rape rooms, mass graves, gross corruption, a country that has used chemical weapons against its own people,” he said in response to a question, his voice rising, his hands chopping the air for emphasis.
He then turned the question back on the audience. “There were prominent people from representative countries in this room that opined that they really didn’t think it made a hell of a lot of difference who won,” he said, nearly shouting. “Shocking. Absolutely shocking.”
The European leaders that Rumsfeld was addressing are — quite literally in some cases — partners in mass murder. A few tart words from Rumsfeld is the least they deserve.
WELL, THIS SURE MAKES SOMEBODY LOOK BAD:
Some top Clinton administration officials wanted to end the Kosovo war abruptly in the summer of 1999, at almost any cost, because the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore was about to begin, former NATO commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark says in his official papers.
“There were those in the White House who said, ‘Hey, look, you gotta finish the bombing before the Fourth of July weekend. That’s the start of the next presidential campaign season, so stop it. It doesn’t matter what you do, just turn it off. You don’t have to win this thing, let it lie,’ ” Clark said in a January 2000 interview with NATO’s official historian, four months before leaving the post of supreme allied commander Europe.
Andrew Sullivan, defending Al Gore, doesn’t believe Clark. I’m not sure I do, either.
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Perhaps the ACLU will get involved.
BLOGADS seem to work. Despite its taking-in-each-others’-wash overtones, I bought blogads on TalkLeft and BillHobbs.com for my wife’s documentary, Six. The orders have poured in, and the ads, for a month and two weeks respectively, paid for themselves almost overnight. It’s not choking the local post office or anything, but it’s a pretty good response. Meanwhile, Political Wire reports that the Chandler for Congress blogad paid for itself in donations the first day. Maybe Henry’s onto something.
UPDATE: And here’s more evidence of the power of the blogosphere.
HERE’S A LONG REPORT ON THE TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY from SKBubba. He’s a Clark guy, and still thinks Clark can pull off a must-win in Tennessee, but he says Edwards is surging while Kerry is slipping. His judgment is that it’s closer than the polls indicate.
BLOGGAGE: John Hawkins has thoughts on how to make money from blogging. (Short answer — be Andrew Sullivan!) The Washington Post has an article on D.C. bloggers that mentions the success of the Ban the Ban smoking blog. And Philosoraptor has a response to Jack Balkin’s thoughts on blogs and civil discourse.
HERE’S THE Yahoo! directory of political weblogs: A lot of familiar names there, but quite a few that aren’t on my blogroll, too. So if you’re looking to branch out in your blog-reading, you might want to take a look.
THE GUARDIAN: Surging U.S. Economy Leads to Global Recovery:
The US economy strengthened considerably in December, leading the global economic recovery and leaving Europe and Japan behind, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said today. . . .
The upbeat assessment of the US economy from the OECD came just hours ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from the G7 group of leading industrialised countries, with the weakness of the dollar the prime subject of concern.
Global recovery would be a good thing.
IN RESPONSE to my post on the Nikon D70, below, a reader suggests the Nikon Coolpix 8700 instead. It does look, er, cool — and it does 640×480 30fps video with sound! (But in Quicktime). No interchangeable lenses, though. And another reader sends this link to an article saying that it’s not time to give up film yet. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that has kept me waffling.
UPDATE: Coolpix 8700 review here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Billy Rawl emails:
Thanks a lot! Your item about the Coolpix 8700 is likely to cost me $999.95 (plus tax). Since most of my pictures are inside shots, I’m going to have to purchase an external flash unit too.
InstaPundit — helping to speed the economic recovery since 2001!
JAMES LILEKS mentions Animotion’s Obsession video, but what he doesn’t tell you is that you can see it on the Web here. I love his description of lead singer Astrid (“who looked like a thermometer on which someone had glued two basketballs”). He also disses Yes, which would constitute an insult to Doug “InstaLawyer” Weinstein (cousin of Yes member Trevor Rabin and — weirdly — also a distant Kennedy cousin, which is some sort of bizarre world-bridging feat) except that I think Trevor was still playing with Cinema when Owner of a Lonely Heart was made.
But he likes The Romantics’ What I Like About You, which I love, so all is forgiven.
UPDATE: Numerous Yes fans have already emailed to say that, er, yes, Trevor Rabin is playing on Owner of a Lonely Heart. Er, James, you really don’t want to cross Doug. He’s the J. Noble Daggett of the 21st Century. But now here’s a musician who really isn’t getting the respect he thinks he deserves.
I DIDN’T GO TO SEE JOHN EDWARDS: I had a teleconference this afternoon and just wasn’t up for going downtown. But Doug “InstaLawyer” Weinstein was there and reports via cellphone that Edwards got an overflow crowd. He says they played Creedence’s “Travelin’ Band” and John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over the World,” which is worth a few cool points.
TONY BLAIR, BLOGGER? Why the hell not?
ROGER SIMON has thoughts on the Moscow subway bombing, and what it portends for America.
WINDS OF CHANGE has an Iran Briefing that collects a lot of news that you might otherwise miss. Heck, who am I kidding — you’d almost certainly miss this stuff otherwise.
JEFF JARVIS offers an interesting spin report regarding media coverage of the latest economic news. It’s quite interesting to see the different slants on the same data.
THIS REPORT IS INTERESTING:
New footage has been released purporting to show Saddam Hussein paying large sums of money to a terrorist group.
Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson says the footage is “incontrovertible proof” of the former Iraqi dictator’s links to international terrorism.
It appears to show the former Iraqi President plotting crimes and paying money to members of an international terrorist group.
Let’s see if this pans out.
A PACK NOT A HERD: Homeland Security remains a joke, but alert airline passengers noticed a felon sneaking on board a plane at LAX:
Airport cameras captured it all: On a busy morning at Los Angeles International Airport last month, a convicted felon wearing a sweatshirt, sunglasses and gloves strolled unnoticed past two security checkpoints in Terminal 5 and walked onto a jumbo jet without a ticket.
Kareem Thomas, a 19-year-old Decatur, Ga., resident on probation for burglary, was discovered hiding in an airplane restroom by passengers and was apprehended by police before takeoff.
(Emphasis added.) One of our faculty candidates was on that flight, and told us the story — I was surprised that it didn’t get any attention at the time. He said that a passenger noticed the guy walk right past the ticket-taker and onto the plane, and followed him to see him sneak into the rest room.
Your (rather large number of) tax dollars at work. Maybe we should have pushed harder on that Impeach Norm Mineta campaign. Because, so far, the people who are paying for their seats seem to be the main source of airline security, not the people we’re paying to protect us.
DAVID KASPAR REPORTS that Gerhard Schroeder is on the way out as party leader. Note the picture: Efforts to, um, elevate himself by attacking Bush and America do not seem to have worked.
CASH AND KERRY: Wonkette wonders why kitesurfing is so expensive.
INSPECTORS LIED: People died. Fortunately, not nearly as many as would have died had Saddam remained in power.
TOM MAGUIRE has lots of interesting posts. Just keep scrolling.
FREDERICK TURNER says there’s a new political realignment going on, but it’s not about Democrats and Republicans.
DSL’S OUT: Back on dialup. Dialup sucks.
THIS IS INTERESTING: You can donate to Presidential candidates, not just bloggers, via Amazon now. You can see how much each has raised, too. Bush is currently way behind Kerry, Clark, and Edwards. Here’s an easy “horserace” item for bored political journalists!
SOMEBODY JUST SENT ME this link to a post by Paul Boutin on the Wired piece he did about InstaPundit. But he’s awfully nice when he writes: “Glenn was great about editing the piece at least five times.”
The reason it took five times was that I’m a boring guy. At least, the original idea was to do a “tick-tock” piece where they tracked what I did for a day. I was dubious, but agreed to write down a day’s worth of doings. When they read it, they said, “you’re right — you are too boring to profile that way. . . .” Well, a collection of time-stamped items reading “Sat at computer. Posted to blog. Drank coffee. Taught a class. Sat at computer. Posted to blog. Drank coffee.” can only be so interesting.
Mmm. Coffee. Somebody asked me what it’s like to be called an “Internet rock star,” too. It’s just like being a real rock star, except for the absence of groupies, limousines, Gulfstream jets, and huge royalty checks. Otherwise, pretty much the same.
SO IS KERRY SAYING THAT TENNESSEE ISN’T PART OF THE UNITED STATES? That’s how his campaign comments on not visiting Tennessee are playing with some Tennessee Democrats. I’m guessing that this means his polls show Edwards far enough ahead that he’s written the state off. Or somebody just blew it.
I THINK IT’S A BIT EARLY, but here’s a prediction as to Kerry’s running mate,
I GUESS I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND PUBLIC RELATIONS, but here’s the latest email in response to today’s TechCentralStation column on nanotechnology, from Mark Modzelewski, a self-described “political damage control specialist” for the NanoBusiness Alliance:
The industry is not hiding from any real problems by ignoring your delusional fantasies and rantings, any more than one truly ignores a wino’s claims on skid row that bugs are crawling under his skin. The very really issues of nano-health and environmental issues as explored by “real” research in the Washington Post is a matter entirely unrelated to your nutty diatribes. It’s a matter the industry does take seriously and has been addressing for some time with research, discussion and taskforces. Because matters such of this are so grave and serious, we avoid mixing in the comic relief of the writings of Eric Drexler and yourself the subject.
I must say I pity the tax payers of Tennessee that pay your salary as well as your students who will enter the job market with a head full of rocks (or perhaps molecular manufactured nanorobots) after listening to you.
Keep up the weird fight. Lord knows I do get a laugh from it,
F. Mark Modzelewski, Executive Director
New York, NY
I’m glad he’s not doing damage-control for me. . . . But I find it odd that the NanoBusiness Alliance, or, for that matter, the nanotech industry in general, sees him as an appropriate public face, if its goal is to appear reasonable and trustworthy to the general public.
UPDATE: Aubrey Turner is as surprised by this approach as I am. And I really am. I barely knew Modzelewski before he started sending me these nasty emails (I don’t think we’ve ever met in person), and I’ve never encountered this sort of a reaction from anyone at any trade association before, going all the way back to my days at Dewey Ballantine when I dealt with a lot of them. As Turner suggests, the choice of vinegar over honey is an odd one.
I FORGOT TO MENTION my GlennReynolds.com posts this week, but I’ve got items on music, nanotechnology and outsourcing over at MSNBC.
JIM MOORE: “Mindblowing event happening in realtime now: DeanforAmerica has raised $438.000 by about 4:00 PM today–with another update coming momentarily. The rate of contributing is off the charts. This is DFA’s second largest single day of fundraising in the entire campaign–and may pass the single day record.. . . Giving is the sacrament that brings the Dean community together.”
HERE’S MORE ON NORTH KOREA: And it’s very disturbing.
IT SEEMS CLEAR that, in spite of the actual evidence, the antiwar line — parroted by the media — is that Bush lied to get us into war by claiming that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States.
Never mind that (1) He said the opposite; and (2) Most of those saying “he fooled us” both believed that Iraq had WMD and nonetheless opposed the war. The point is to hope that people miss that if it’s repeated often enough.
But for those interested the, you know, truth, here’s a link-rich post that ties it all together.
UPDATE: Belgravia Dispatch has more on this.
SOME FOLKS at the Converging Technologies Bar Association just invited me to their conference on nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. I wasn’t able to attend, but it looks interesting.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Now it’s Slashdot readers taking on the BBC for bias and inaccuracy.
MICKEY KAUS echoes my earlier Nixon point regarding the Bush Administration’s spending:
Remember that the silliest excesses of big government, including the double indexation of Social Security benefits, occurred not under a Democratic president but under Nixon.
Of course, it did get Nixon re-elected. . . .
THE AP IS RECYCLING THE “IMMINENT THREAT” LINE YET AGAIN:
CIA Boss: Iraq Not Called Imminent Threat
By KATHERINE PFLEGER WASHINGTON (AP) – In his first public defense of prewar intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts had never claimed Iraq was an imminent threat, the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.
I’ve mentioned this before, but let’s repeat USA Today’s excellent summary of this issue:
However, when Bush laid out the case for the war in his 2003 State of the Union address, he said the United States should not wait for an imminent threat.
“Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent,” Bush said. “Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein … is not an option.”
(Emphasis added.) I guess, as SpinSanity warned, a bogus quote is “hardening into fact.”
YOU MEAN THERE WAS ANOTHER POLITICAL BREAK-IN IN 1972? Go figure.
MARK STEYN WRITES that those of us who criticized the concept of a “war on terror” were, well, wrong:
We assumed “war on terror” was a polite evasion, the compassionate conservative’s preferred euphemism for what was really going on – a war against militant Islam, which, had you designated it as such, would have been harder to square with all those White House Ramadan photo-ops and the interminable presidential speeches about Islam being a “religion of peace.”
But here’s the interesting thing. Pace the historian, it seems you can wage war against a phenomenon. If the “war on terror” is aimed primarily at al-Qaida and those of similar ideological bent, it seems to have had the happy side-benefit of discombobulating various non-Islamic terrorists from Colombia to Sri Lanka.
This isn’t because these fellows are the administration’s priority right now, but rather because it’s amazing what a little light scrutiny of international wire transfers can do. . . .
He seems to be right.
BE VERY AFRAID: Tim Blair will be providing blog coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions.
I LINK TO AUSTIN BAY’S STUFF A LOT because I think he’s really smart. How smart is he? Well besides the recent columns on intelligence linked below, try reading this column from January 23, 2001 on “What’s Keeping Donald Rumsfeld Up Late At Night?” The answer — fear of intelligence failures:
During his Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked if he could name “one thing” that “kept him up at night” more than any other specific threat, terror, or trouble the Pentagon confronts.
Rumsfeld’s answer was “intelligence.”
Even if freighted with James Bond associations, as answers go, “intelligence” doesn’t have a lot of Hollywood impact. The tv squawk shows didn’t pick it up. If they noticed, Oprah and Geraldo yawned.
But Rumsfeld’s response fingered what is the major American foreign policy and defense weakness, even in this era of extraordinary American economic, political, and military strength. . . .
America’s “intelligence vulnerability” is intricate, detailed, and complex. The penalty for intelligence failure, however, is often cruelly simple. In the defense business what you don’t know will kill you. To draw an even finer bead, what you know but understand poorly, or what you know well but fail to use decisively, will also cost you in blood, money, and political capital.
Here’s a quick sketch of Rumsfeld’s worry. “Intelligence” isn’t simply data, it’s a dynamic process that includes: (1) creating and maintaining collection capabilities (with assets from human spies to spy satellites); (2) retrieving the info in a way that’s timely and secure; (3) assessing source reliability; (4) assimilating often contradictory information into a meaningful “pattern,” which means interpretation that is more art than science; and (5) convincing decision makers (whose minds may be less than open) to act on the assessments.
Read the whole thing.
ROGER SIMON is connecting more dots.
CHUCK SIMMINS REPORTS that President Bush recognized Chief Wiggles in a speech this morning.
UPDATE: More here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s the speech link, and here’s the key bit:
Our people in uniform understand the high calling they have answered because they see the nation and the lives they are changing. A guardsman from Utah named Paul Holton has described seeing an Iraqi girl crying and decided then and there to help that child and others like her. By enlisting aid through the Internet, Chief Warrant Officer Holton had arranged the shipment of more than 1,600 aid packages from overseas. Here’s how this man defines his own mission: “It is part of our heritage that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God, and it is not right that any man should be in bondage at any time, in any way.” Everyone one in this room can say amen to that.
WESLEY CLARK AND JOHN EDWARDS will both be in Knoxville tonight and tomorrow. I kind of doubt I’ll make it, as I just found out about this.
UPDATE: Doug “InstaLawyer” Weinstein is trying to get me to go to Edwards tomorrow night. Maybe I’ll see if I can do an interview. . . .
EVERYONE’S A CRITIC: Austin Bay looks at intelligence:
In a world where commercial jets become missiles aimed at Manhattan, where anthrax-laced letters threaten Senate offices, where the nerve gas required to kill 10,000 can hide in an oil drum, the intelligence analyst, that interpretive artist, has extraordinary responsibilities. So do the analyst’s political leaders, whether the leader is named Bill Clinton, or George Bush, or John Kerry, or Tony Blair.
Before Sept. 11, the Clinton administration and, for eight months, the Bush administration treated international terrorism as a sophisticated form of organized crime. That was a mistake, for though 21st century terror is like a criminal operation, it is also much more. The goals of theo-fascists like Osama bin Laden are imperial state power. Often, these imperial goals intersect with the less-grandiose but still dangerous aims of anti-American despots.
ANONYBLOGGING: Lots of people have written me on anonymous (and pseudonymous) blogging. I’ve already posted on the subject here and here. And my view hasn’t really changed: I don’t think there’s anything illegitimate about not blogging under your own name, but I think it raises questions that real-name blogging doesn’t. And I think that if you’re a blogger who slings personal insults at folks with names while remaining anonymous yourself, well, that’s pretty lame. But hey, it’s the Internet — you’re allowed to be lame. And the rest of us are allowed to think you’re lame. Plenty of anonymous bloggers manage to be civil, but it does seem that a disproportionate number of uncivil bloggers are anonymous.
For those who want to be anonymous, though, bear in mind that while superficial anonymity on the Internet is easy, it’s pretty superficial. Anyone who really wants to know who you are can probably find out. So while the usual degree of blog anonymity is probably enough to protect you from casual boss harassment, if you’ve got real reasons to keep your identity secret, well, don’t count on it.
WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED: “At least 160 of the 650 detainees acknowledged by the Pentagon being held at the United States military base at Guantanamo, Cuba — almost a quarter of the total — are from Saudi Arabia, a special UPI survey can reveal.”
TONGUE TIED suggests that the Southern Poverty Law Center is suffering from mission creep: “The Montgomery, Ala.-based SPLC made a name for itself chasing Klansmen and militias. Now, it focuses on serving diabetic prison inmates, 10 commandment-toting judges and writing movie reviews.”
UPDATE: Reader Robert Racansky points to this article from Harper’s on the SPLC, which seems to illustrate the need for better oversight over nonprofits. I used to be quite impressed with Morris Dees, but I still remember that when he and I were on the PBS Newshour right after the Oklahoma City bombing he seemed more interested in stoking his fundraising efforts than anything else.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Donald Sensing invokes Governor Le Petomaine.
I’M FEELING BETTER ABOUT BUSH’S SPACE PLANS: Rand Simberg reports that they’re using prizes to promote private efforts. More of that, please.
CARIBPUNDIT offers a roundup of Caribbean news.
MAARTEN SCHENK OFFERS the world’s shortest Fisking.
PHIL CARTER has a post on the Bush-desertion charges. So does MilBlog The Mudville Gazette, which references this post by an Air Force reservist blogger. And Bill Hobbs, who has been on this for a while, has a long post. And here’s one from SgtStryker.com, too.
UPDATE: Bryan Preston says that Kerry is smearing the whole National Guard.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Neal Boortz smells a double standard, and is taking no prisoners:
[T]he same people were trying to convince us in 1992 that Bill Clinton’s draft-dodging was no big deal. Surely the Democrats don’t think we’re that stupid. . . . What a bunch of lying, hypocritical phonies.
Expect more of this sort of thing.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A Guardsman writes: “Every time a Bush hater attacks his military service record, they are slandering my dead comrades, people who died in military aviation serving their country.”
I think that the Democrats are mistaken to take this tack.
WHERE CORPORATE SCANDALS COME FROM: An “us-versus-them mentality” that’s all the fault of those strutting, insensitive men, writes Shoshana Zuboff.
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll emails:
Geez, Shoshana Zuboff is a professor at Harvard Business School? And people wonder why the enrollment of men in colleges is down.
Yes. One cannot make sweeping negative generalizations about women, as doing so is proof of bigotry, and would create a hostile environment besides. Men, it seems, are fair game.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Some lengthy comments from a female reader in Silicon Valley. Click “More” to read them — they’re very much worth reading. There are also some trenchant comments from Anne Haight, an IT professional who also sees flaws in Zuboff’s analysis.
THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS says that outsourcing is good for the American economy.
ANNE APPLEBAUM WRITES ON NORTH KOREA’S CONCENTRATION CAMPS and why hardly anyone seems to care.
A RESPONSE to the widespread crushing of dissent in America? It’s called the Academic Bill of Rights. I don’t actually approve of this approach, which just takes the “hostile environment” stuff that the Left uses to silence its critics and turns it around.
It might, however, inspire many academics to become enthusiasts for free speech and academic freedom once again.
SALON has a rather critical article on anonymous bloggers like Atrios and MWO. (Is MWO a blog? I guess.)
I understand anonymous blogging — and pseudonymous blogging — and I don’t think that they’re necessarily illegitimate. But it’s certainly true that I tend to take stuff from named bloggers more seriously. With a sufficient track record, that can change, of course. It does seem, though, that anonymity often affects the tone of a blog. Posting under your real name probably does encourage a certain additional degree of civility, in most people at least.
IT’S FULL-BORE GAY MARRIAGE IN MASSACHUSETTS:
“The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal,” the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage wrote in the advisory opinion. A bill that would allow for civil unions, but falls short of marriage, makes for “unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples.”
The much-anticipated opinion sets the stage for next Wednesday’s constitutional convention, where the Legislature will consider an amendment that would legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Without the opinion, Senate President Robert Travaglini had said the vote would be delayed.
The soonest a constitutional amendment could end up on the ballot would be 2006, meaning that until then, the high court’s decision will be Massachusetts law no matter what is decided at the constitutional convention.
I’m fine with that. Obligatory horserace pundit point: It probably won’t help John Kerry to escape the Massachussetts Liberal label — though he did, in what he himself describes as “an act of courage,” vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, so presumably he’s just as fine with it as I am!
UPDATE: Here’s a link to the opinion letter.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Darren Kaplan thinks this is bad news for Kerry. Maybe yes, maybe no.
A CONFLICT OF INTEREST DOUBLE STANDARD? (“What about when the chief spokesman of the U.S. State Department is dating and marries CNN’s Chief International Correspondent? Where were the pundits and academics then?”) It does seem as if Maria Shriver is being treated differently than Amanpour was.
As Peter Morgan and I argued in The Appearance of Impropriety, such double standards are extremely common within the “ethics” establishment.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES IS UP! Don’t miss the many interesting posts from bloggers you may not have known about.
A 7-pound block of cyanide salt was discovered by U.S. troops in Baghdad at the end of January, officials confirmed to Fox News.
The potentially lethal compound was located in what was believed to be the safe house of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a poisons specialist described by some U.S. intelligence officials as having been a key link between deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the Al Qaeda terror network.
Cyanides salts are extremely toxic. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, exposure to even a small amount through contact or inhalation can cause immediate death.
Just how toxic, I believe, depends on which cyanide salt it is.
Meanwhile the Senate ricin is confirmed as just that, though the source appears to be domestic.
THE WOLFOWITZ DOMINO THEORY SEEMS TO BE WORKING:
DAMASCUS, Syria – More than half a million Syrians demanded political and economic reform in a petition to be handed to President Bashar Assad, a human rights group said Saturday.
Some 600,000 citizens, including intellectuals, lawyers and human rights activists, have already signed the document, the Committees for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria said.
As they say: faster, please.
THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW BLOG is defending the Bush Administration against charges of record deficits: “As a percentage of the gross domestic product — which many economists consider a better measure than simple dollar amounts — the currently projected deficit, at 4.2 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office or 4.5 percent according to the Bush administration, is equal to or smaller than those recorded in six years during the 1980s and 1990s.”
I’d still slash nondefense spending if it were up to me, but this is useful perspective.
BLACKLISTING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN? John Rosenberg points to news accounts that the University is threatening contractors who support the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. If true, these are deeply upsetting.
UPDATE: According to this report, the University of Michigan denies that this is going on.
JACK O’TOOLE: “Howard Dean appears to have spent approximately $207 for each vote he’s received to date.”
JIM PINKERTON ON THE FCC:
These points won’t satisfy the Repressive Right, but even the FRC and other right-tilting authoritarians ought to remember that its Republican/conservative friends won’t always be running Washington. Someday, maybe sooner than we know, it will be the Politically Correct Left that is reviewing all shows. And when the political/ideological wheel turns, the same state machinery that the FRC wants to use to wallop its foes will be used instead to wallop the FRC and its friends. As Ronald Reagan said many times, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away.”
Indeed it is.
THE BBC — one week after Hutton:
The pre-recorded interview came to an abrupt end when Mr Westwood removed his earpiece and walked out.
Mr Westwood complained to the BBC that the interview had been “edited misleadingly” and gave the impression he was trying to avoid answering difficult questions.
After investigating the complaint, the BBC admitted it had acted wrongly and issued an apology.
Progress? Let’s see.
Rep. Billy Tauzin’s decision to resign his congressional chairmanship to accept a highly lucrative position as lobbyist for the big drug companies–this just after he helped write the Medicare prescription drug bill–stinks so badly I think he just might be shamed into giving up the job.
Hmm. I’m shorting the Congressional-shame market myself, but you never know. . . .
PAKISTAN NUCLEAR NEWS: This is interesting:
The disgraced founder of Pakistan’s nuclear programme has informed investigators that he supplied rogue states with nuclear technology with the full knowledge of the country’s ruling military elite, including President Pervez Musharraf, a friend of the nuclear scientist was reported as saying yesterday.
Abdul Qadeer Khan has confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, senior officials said on Monday.
Many analysts and most Pakistanis suspect the government of seeking to pin the blame on Mr Khan for a potentially lucrative trade of which, they say, the country’s all-powerful army chiefs must have been aware.
According to an unnamed friend who spoke to the Associated Press, the nuclear scientist last week told government investigators: “What ever I did, it was in the knowledge of the bosses.”
On the one hand, he’s a disgrunted former employee. On the other hand, I suspect he’s telling the truth. . . .
GOOD GRIEF: I blinked, and now the Post is showing Clark ahead in Oklahoma, with Edwards just behind and Kerry trailing in third. I think Jarvis is right — the race will be open enough to keep the pundits happy for the next week.
UPDATE: John Ellis thinks that Edwards is the big winner in the all-important Media Primary tonight.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Looks like Ellis is right. And Jarvis, too! Kerry’s the big winner. Edwards has done very well — a win in South Carolina, a strong second in Missouri while everyone else is in the dust, and either first or (as it now appears) second in Oklahoma. Clark’s alive, but just barely. Dean can last another week — and if he wins, he’s back in the game. Otherwise it’s probably over for him.
In that vein, read this post by Clay Shirky on the Dean campaign.
KARL ROVE CALL YOUR OFFICE: Right after you read this advice from Virginia Postrel:
If Bush loses the election, it will be because he doesn’t talk to the American people often enough or in enough detail. Hiding in the White House and issuing the occasional cliche does not constitute making your case. He lets his opponents shape not just the high-level discussion but the shorthand ideas that filter down to the general public: Hence “Bush lied” has become conventional wisdom. Or take the immigration-reform program, which addresses a serious issue in a serious way. When the only person you sell the policy to is Vincente Fox, people naturally think you’re at best pandering to Latino voters–who, incidentally, have a much greater interest in citizenship than President Fox, who doesn’t want to lose constituents.
UPDATE: On the other hand, here’s a different view of Bush’s strategy.