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Friday, August 26, 2005

NYT Caught Changing Rice's Interview

Michael Moore could not have done a better job.

Further evidence the NYT and their anti-Bush MSM cannot lie like they used to, the RNC website provides Secretary Rice's actual quotes from her interview with the NYT where she stressed the obligations of the Palestinians to fully police their new Gaza territory. The NYT edited out many words from her answers to give the false impression that the administration was hard-lining the Israelis. Without the blogosphere, the NYT could pull this off without a challenge.

Here is the complete post from the RNC:

NY Times Distorts Secretary Rice's Words on IsraelFriday, August 26, 2005

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave an interview to the New York Times on August 17th in which she spoke at length about Israel, Gaza, and the Palestinians' responsibilities going forward. But the NY Times quoted her words out of context and framed in such a way that the result seemed very cold and unfriendly to Israel. The Times wrote:

"Everyone empathizes with what the Israelis are facing," Ms. Rice said in an interview. But she added, "It cannot be Gaza only."

Israel began the forcible eviction of thousands of Gaza settlers on Wednesday, and Ms. Rice called it "really quite a dramatic moment in the history of the Middle East." Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, she added, had shown himself to be "enormously courageous."What Secretary Rice actually said was quite different, and she put great emphasis on the Palestinians' responsibility to dismantle the terrorist organizations. The full transcript of her interview is available here.

The first part of the Times quote was lifted from Rice’s response to the Times’ question about how she could “assure that [Gaza] is not the last step for a good while?”

I know, in having talked to [Sharon and his government] and watched how hard and I think everybody empathizes with what every Israeli has to be feeling and with people uprooting from homes that they have been in for a generation and the difficulty and the pain that that causes.

And so I watched Prime Minister Sharon's address to the nation and it was really remarkable statesmanship.The quote, "It cannot be Gaza only," comes from an answer to an entirely different question, later in the interview:

...the question has been put repeatedly to the Israelis and to us that it cannot be Gaza only and everybody says no, it cannot be Gaza only. There is, after all, even a link to the West Bank and the four settlements that are going to be dismantled in the West Bank. Everybody, I believe, understands that what we're trying to do is to create momentum toward reenergizing the roadmap and through that momentum toward the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.
In other words, it's not the US telling Israel that it can't be Gaza only, it's others who are telling the US and Israel that, and she is responding that there were four settlements dismantled in the West Bank as well.

In the NY Times quote, Rice appears to be saying that the dismantling of Jewish communities in Gaza is "really quite a dramatic moment in the history of the Middle East."

Here is the actual quote, which notes the historic opportunity now facing the Palestinians, to build political and economic institutions that will change the entire region:

...it is also giving to the Palestinians an opportunity to breathe freely in Gaza, to live without the shadow of settlers and the Israeli army and to begin to build the institutions that are, I think, ultimately going to be the institutions for statehood, whether it is the security forces that are being reformed or the economic structures that I think will start to come into being, you know that Jim Wolfensohn has a significant plan for Gaza but it will be not just for Gaza, it really is for the creation of the basis for economic prosperity for Palestine. And so -- and you can associate, at the same time, with the joy of the Palestinian people that there's a chance that life will get better and so this is a really quite dramatic moment in the history of the Middle East.

But the worst part is that the NY Times missed the real story, a point that Secretary Rice kept coming back to throughout the interview – the responsibility of the Palestinians to now dismantle the terrorist organizations.

Here is what she said:

QUESTION: But if -- we were just talking about moving from disengagement to the roadmap, does it continue --

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. That's where I was going. That's exactly where I was going. This comes to the fact that you cannot simply let a terrorist organization sit forever, that you cannot -- that there is an obligation in the roadmap to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, not just coexist with it.

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY RICE: And so that is one of the most important next elements. I know that the Palestinians have been concerned and so are the Israelis, to have calm in this period of time. It has been a good thing that thus far the Palestinian factions have more or less respected that calm, but that isn't a substitute for the dismantling of the terrorist organizations, because as Abu Mazen himself has said, you can only have one authority and one gun.

QUESTION: Right.

SECRETARY RICE: So the answer to the question, what comes next, is that one of the obligations in the roadmap is that the Palestinian Authority should have unified security forces that are all under the authority of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, its elected leadership. There will be elections in January. But the Palestinian Authority is going to have to deal with the infrastructure of terrorism, that's one of its obligations.

QUESTION: So the -- is it still then the U.S. position that disarmament, dismantling are the next steps for Israel in the expected steps on the right --

SECRETARY RICE: No, I'm not talking about a sequencing here because the roadmap is assiduously not sequencing one step after another. It gives, in parallel, certain obligations to both sides. And the obligation of the Palestinians has to do with the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure and organizations and they're going to have to do it.

[NOTE: all emphasis added by RJC]

Thanks to Rick Richman, who blogged about this here.

Busted Rabbi

A rabbi in Westchester NY was busted while driving under the influence of marijuana and was found in possession of an ounce of pot. As part of his sentence he must submit to random drug testing and start a program on substance abuse for adults and children.

He allegedly had claimed that he had spilled water in the front seat and it had turned into pot. He also claimed he was listening to Jewish prayers on the radio but no one could recall the Dead davening in their San Francisco show of July 12th, 1982.

There is also a question whether he has taken steroids as he recently was able to read more of the Torah at services and had increased his yarmulke 3 sizes since January.

Gas Lines in Hawaii?

While I was very concerned over the hardships caused the Kelo plaintiffs in New London (and all other residents to be removed from their homes due to eminent domain takings nationwide), I felt some joy that people will now see in plain daylight the effect of government power. No, not corrupt government actions. Just the mundane decisions made by bureaucrats doing what they believe is for the public good. I think the publicity of such events serve a greater good as Americans finally realize there is a likelihood of such harm occuring whenever bureaucrats are ceded our rights by "living Constitution" advocates.

Now we see a new real life experiment in government intrusion into areas they have no place.

Flunking Econ 101, bureaucrats at the Hawaii PUC are capping the gasoline prices that can be charged by wholesalers in their state. Wholesalers can charge up to $2.16. Another 59 cents is added state taxes. Retailers can keep their 12 cent mark-up (actually that remains uncapped). So the gallon of gas will cost at least $2.85.

Anyone want to guess how much gas the wholesalers will be providing the islands? Does anyone recall the gas lines of the 70's?

And BTW, why don't they just cut the gas tax by say 50%?

Iraqi or Iranian?

Would you rather be a 17-year old who is dating a beautiful girl introduced to you by her father who has pre-paid for your education at an Ivy League school (with a likely job in his corporation upon graduating) or would you want to be a middle-aged, out of work husband of a shrew of a wife who is intent on wasting what little assets remain in the bank on jewelry?

Would you rather have an untold future loaded with potential or a future that looks bleak for years to come? Would you want to have an active stake in your future while admittedly facing an incredible workload now and for some years to come? Or would you rather be in a situation where no effort will result in anything but disaster?

I would prefer to be an Iraqi than an Iranian.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Kerry Foreign Policy In Inaction

Playing "What If" games are usually the realm of historians. But the NY Sun advises us that the foreign policy of John Kery, had he been elected, is currently on view for all to see. The negotiation with Europe playing a strong hand has been followed with Iran and North Korea. While no soldiers have died in either theater, there has been a cost.

It has emboldened the mullahs and allowed them to edge closer to a bomb. It also has sent the wrong message to other would-be nuclear states: You'll be rewarded for trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Actually punishing states that break commitments, as President Bush did with Iraq, sent the opposite message. After Saddam was overthrown, Libya's tyrant, Muammar Gadhafi, surrendered his secret nuclear program, fearing Saddam's fate. Fear of being deposed has now been eroded among rogue states as they watch America become tied down by the "multilateral" approach.

Would we be safer with a nuclear Iraq as well? I suppose some of you believe that he was as peaceful as the Michael Moore movie portrayed. However, we now have a world where tyrants as willing to torture or imprison their citizens as they are to use nuclear bombs on their enemies are nearing the capacity to go forward with their plans. Are us neo-cons jusr paranoid? Or is it coming time to act regarding Kim Il Jung in N. Korea and the mullahs in Iran?

Concludes the Sun:

We're living in a Kerry world vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea, and it's more dangerous than Iraq. While there is still much that needs to be done in Iraq, Saddam is no longer playing games about his nuclear intentions, and the Iraqi people are no longer being oppressed. The American people didn't vote for a President Kerry. They voted for a President Bush. So the logic is growing for President Bush to assert his policy approach in respect of the remaining two members of the axis. The Democrats have had their chance and it failed.

Everybody Must Get A's

While America's teachers are handing out A's to students for showing up (in my day that wouldn't get you a D- and I had to walk 3 miles to school through the snow without gloves), the NYT discusses an ACT report that shows:

"based on scores of the 2005 high school graduates who took the exam, some 1.2 million students in all, also found that fewer than one in four met the college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects tested: reading comprehension, English, math and science".

Now, Great Britain is following the US in giving everybody A's. While the students may feel great about themselves (and that is a help exactly why?), Joanne Jacobs explains:

Nearly all students pass their A-levels and the number of A scores has risen so high that universities can't sort out the applicants. Elite colleges are considering writing their own exams, and an increasing number of ambitious students are taking harder "world-class" exams, offered in some subjects, to prove their worth.

SUVs Are Not the Problem With Gas Prices

Alan Reynolds takes apart the NYT for its editorial supporting Norman Mineta (our forthright Transportation Secretary) proposal to regulate the production of SUVs, minvans and light trucks in order to "do something" to reduce our oil dependency. The bug-bear of the liberals is the SUV. Supposedly, if they are removed from our streets, the cost of gas would decline.

Writes Reynolds:

Since 58 percent of the oil we use is imported, while only 40 percent goes into cars, SUVs, vans and pickups, it follows that we would still be importing millions of barrels a day even if there were no passenger cars or trucks...When it came to Mineta's new regulations, the [NYT] editorial rightly noted these "are unlikely to make any serious dent in consumption."

The Left loves to tout the success of government regulation in curing some crisis. Per the NYT, government efficiency standards succeeded during the oil embargo 30 years ago. But points out Reynolds:

Fuel economy did not rise after 1975 because Washington took anything seriously or because American Motors was saved by getting the job done. CAFÉ standards did not begin until 1978, when they were toothless at 18 mpg. What really happened was that gas prices soared from 61 cents in 1976 to $1.38 in 1981 -- a level not seen again until late 2002.

In 1981, imported cars achieved 31.5 mpg, while domestic cars averaged 24.2 mpg; imported light trucks got 27.4 mpg, while domestic light trucks got by with 18.3 mpg. Average fuel economy of new vehicles did not jump from 19.9 mpg in 1978 to 24.6 mpg in 1981 because Big Brother could mandate what sort of vehicles we buy, but because sales of domestic cars collapsed by 40 percent from 1978 to 1981 (from 9.1 million to 5.4 million), while sales of fuel-frugal imports rose.

Simple economics: Prices are information. They advise us about the scarcity of goods. Prices also affect our purchasing decisions because our money is also scarce. In a free market, vendors must react quickly to consumers' wants in order to earn profits. When enough vendors and their producers eventually saturate a market due to consumer demand, the price goes down. That is because there is less scarcity.

Let the market decide what people want. With gas in the $3 vicinity, we will see better gas mileage in SUV's as time goes by. And that will happen without the government's help. Mr. Mineta, please work on the issue of our safety from terrorists please.

Reynolds concludes:

While campaigning for the presidency in 1980, Ronald Reagan once said, "Detroit doesn't need protection from Japan; it needs protection from Washington." I've always admired that line -- and not just because I wrote it.

Robertson's Comments

Marvin Olasky takes on Pat Robertson and critics who equate his suggestion to assassinate Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez as something indicative of the beliefs of Christianity or "the Christian right". Robertson, writes Olasky, was incorrect in his Biblical history as well as Christian canon:

Hugo Chavez is an evil tyrant, but so were many Roman emperors -- and Paul told Romans to "bless those who persecute you. ... Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all." Last time I looked, "assassin" was not on the general list of honorable callings. Wartime is different, but last time I looked, we weren't at war with Venezuela.

Olasky reminds us that:

Muslim clerics have done more than talk -- their fatwa followers have murdered intellectuals such as Faraj Foda, Hussein Muruwwa, Mahmoud Taha and Al-Sadeq Al-Nayhoum, and U.S. reporters have largely ignored that.

There is a reason that reporters play up the Robertson quote while showing amnesia towards the actual deaths by fatwa. There is the need, on the one hand, for the liberal press to criticize Christianity, an over-riding standard of Western thought, while denying that Islam is the common theology and identity of today's terrorists.

The Robertsons may lead large groups within the Christian community as ministers but their political message has not led their flock to commit murder. The Third Commandment states:

'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'

As a former liberal, I always held religious leaders to the highest standards of behavior. When a religious leader showed himself human by saying or doing something improper, I was the first to yell "Gotcha!". I now realize we are all fallible people who should strive for the Judeo-Christian epitome but be ready to atone for our inevitable failings. Mr. Robertson must recognize that his position will allow his enemies to hold his religion to task for his irresponsible comments. Christianity deserves better.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Frederick Douglass

As I mentioned below, I just returned from the Chesapeake Bay area. I was in St. Michaels where Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. I visited his birthplace. There is also a Harriet Tubman museum nearby.

For those excuse-makers, read Frederick Douglass' autobiography. You will learn about someone who grabbed life's opportunities and made history. Douglass, one of the Civil War era's most eloquent speakers and writers, was self-taught. Upon escaping, he located his wife and began a business in New England. His anti-slavery speeches helped to capture the ear of more abolitionists leading to the great Civil War. He never sat down and allowed self-pity to overtake what had to be done. His post-escape writings extol entrepreneurship which is the essence of The American Dream.

What a difference from the Jackson-Sharpton babblers.

The Fire Next Time

After the 4 hour ride back from my vacation in the the Chesapeake Bay area, I opened up my e-mail to this essay from Anonymous. After reading it, the first non-sports prose in 5 days, I am back on board. My only question to anyone who reads it, and it is worth the read, is what about the evil America has done? Think about the sniveling Moores and Sheehans while you read this.

The Fire Next Time

Imagine slitting someone’s throat. Putting your hands against their flesh pulsing with life, their eyes pleading for air inches away from your face, as you drag the razor blade against their wind pipe and hot blood gushes out against your fingers making you lose your grip on them as they fall to the floor and convulse in death. Horrible. Unimaginable, right? It makes you sick, right? Of course.

Picture, sitting in the cockpit of a plane as a pilot. You pick up the P.A. system and tell your passengers everything will be all right. You instruct them to listen to what to what you say .You hear your own lies come out of your mouth. You tell them they will be safe. Then you steer that plane toward the tallest building you see. You lay your hands on the throttle. Full speed, as you scream “Allah Akbar.” Your last moment alive sees the nose cone of the plane splitting glass and humans into vapor as fire engulfs you and slaughters thousands. Body parts rain down on a city. People jump to certain death, liquefying as they hit pavement. Insane, right?

Think about being at your desk, at work. Sometimes you just plain hate it, with the commute and all. But sometimes, in fact most times, you love it. It is pretty a good job, and you are good at it. It is just a normal day at work, and you wish that on such a wonderful fall day you could be with your wife and your kids. Because you love them. When you think of them, something in your chest aches. Not pain, exactly, and not something bad, just an ache, an ache of longing. The phone rings, and you turn to pick it up, and fire hits you. Crazy. You can feel your hair now. It is on fire. Crazy. But what hurts most of all is your chest,. That longing, for now you know you will never see them, your life, your world, your wife and kids again. Then you die, as your arms burn off, a scream never quite getting out of your mouth. Crazy, right? Inhuman, correct?

It all happened. You know it. At least you can say you know it, but you have forgotten about the reality of it. We do not see the pictures anymore; the news media has tucked them away, as they only serve the truth. Using our own grief and dread the media aids and abets our amnesiatic longing to make it all go away. We have allowed our selves to be lulled back to a gentle time and world before psychopaths determined on exterminating every single one of us attacked us without provocation.

But the psychopaths have not forgotten their absolute hate. They have a longer view - they can wait. Days, months, and years mean nothing in their delusional struggle in their god’s name. Hot rage will feed them through the drought of days between American blood spilled to quench their boundless hate. But next time the fire will be on a different scale. Lit by the reality that they could in fact murder us in great numbers, fed by a belief that they are engaged in a long term world struggle in god’s name, the fire has grown hotter over these years. The fire now glows like a hot untouchable core in their inhuman sole, lusting to get out. And next time they bare their sole to let the fire out, it will be worse. After slaughtering thousands they will not be satisfied with anything less than total carnage.

Do you doubt it? After the inhuman acts they have committed can you really doubt that they will use a nuclear bomb at their first chance? Perhaps, they will use a few nuclear bombs, hoping to land a knockout punch. Anyone who doubts that this is what they are planning does not really understand what happened on 9/11, or our enemy. Moreover, they do not believe in the one fundamental truth of our enemy- that they are evil.

Only evil would slit a flight attendants throat for doing her job. Only evil would command a plane of fellow humans into a skyscraper full of fellow humans. Evil - real tangible evil that has its own agenda, separate and apart from anything we are doing or ever have done, exists. It is not because of our policies in the Middle East or our support of Israel that they seek to murder every one of us. Such evil cannot be made “worse” or is not “ provoked” like the delusional news media or liberal/Democrats claim by our efforts in Iraqi. It is just the opposite; such evil must be dealt with head on, and destroyed. It must be cut out like a cancer before it infects the rest of the body of humanity. Like the cancer, it does not seek peaceful coexistence, but total and
complete domination of the being unto the death it so venerates over life. The time is now.

Whatever it takes, here, in Iraqi, in the world- we must do it now. We must purge the evil and plunge the hot fire of Islamic fascist insanity into the cool water of humanity. As in times past, when faced with a fanatical enemy, the blessed blood of the American fighting force can only put out the fire of hate. And so it is again, our young heroes are called to sacrifice their blood to extinguish the flame. Every precious life is well worth the fight against the blaze. The fire in the enemy soul grows hotter. We cannot let it get out again.

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