Hugh Hewitt Interviews Condoleezza Rice

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to Hugh Hewitt’s excellent interview with Dr. Condoleezza Rice on his show last night, Hugh thoughtfully has provided the transcript. I highly recommend reading it all the way through. It’s short but informative. For me, here’s the money quote:

Dr. Rice: Yes, well we have had to rebuild the intelligence capabilities of the United States. They went through a very difficult period of time after the collapse of the Soviet Union where a number of people were not foresightful enough to see that we were going to continue to need really strong intelligence services, even if the Soviet Union had been defeated. There were important cuts in the infrastructure of the Central Intelligence Agency in their activities that they are still trying to rebuild.

As I’ve said before, national security policy is the central issue of this campaign. Do we want to return to the 1990s, when the philosophy was that we were “at the end of history” and could afford to chop out funding for intelligence and defense to fund more social engineering, and terrorism was merely a reactive law-enforcement problem? Or do we stick with policies that prevent attacks by enhancing our intelligence capabilities and forcing our enemies to fight us on their turf instead of ours?

Dean Flacks For The Party

Howard Dean, who built his doomed Presidential campaign on being a firebrand outsider to the Democratic establishment, went out on the road to make sure no one took him too seriously:

In his first public appearance since dropping out of the presidential race last week, Howard Dean thanked his supporters Thursday night and urged them to stay with the Democratic Party and “not to be tempted by independent or third-party candidates.” … [H]e urged his supporters to back the eventual Democratic nominee and described his plans to continue influencing the race from the outside.

Go inside while I go outside? It almost sounds like a covert operation; perhaps Dean is cooking up something for the convention? If anyone still cared about Dean, it might make an interesting story.
How does this message go down with the True Believers? Overall, they accept reality at the official Dean blog, but they’re not happy about it, and some still talk of leaving the party altogether:
Ithacamom:But I’m with Patricia C. above. This whole experience has given me such a disgust for the party I’ve faithfully supported for 20 years. After the March 2 primary, I fulled planned on switching to Independent. As I suspicioned, Howard made the personal appeal to stay in the party. I’m really going to have to think about that, Guv. Even for you, I’m really going to have to think about it.
Darrell in Iowa: I voted for McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinto and Gore…… BUT I WILL NOT vote for Kerry!!!
ellen in orlando: Kerry’s position on gay marriage is clearly not progressive. How can Howard ask us to support Kerry? How will he make Kerry run as a progressive when Kerry is clearly not a progressive?
Dean may have been correct late last year when he said that his base may not pay attention to any endorsement he would give if his run failed.

Eggs Benedict

John Kerry storms around the country with a populist message of righteous anger at those companies who incorporate offshore in order to take advantage of legal tax shelters. Continuing his theme of irrelevant patriotic qualifications, he’s called the CEOs of such corporations “Benedict Arnolds”, after the Revolutionary War general who tried to give West Point to the British. Yesterday, the Washington Post and MS-NBC reported that some of Kerry’s biggest donors were the CEOs of such companies, leaving the candidate with some egg on his face:

Executives and employees at such companies have contributed more than $140,000 to Kerry’s presidential campaign, a review of his donor records show. Additionally, two of Kerry’s biggest fundraisers, who together have raised more than $400,000 for the candidate, are top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world’s best-known offshore tax havens, federal records show. Kerry has raised nearly $30 million overall for his White House run. …
[Kerry] sought to clarify his position: “What I’ve said is not that people don’t have the right to go overseas and form a company if they want to avoid the tax. I don’t believe the American taxpayer ought to be giving them a benefit. That’s what I object to. I don’t object to global commerce. I don’t object to companies deciding they want to compete somewhere else.”

Anyone else notice that Kerry has had to do a lot of “clarification” on the campaign trail the past few weeks?
Here’s a list of the Little Benedicts that are part of the Kerry team:
* David Roux, co-founder of Seagate Technology, which the State Dept. has listed as a tax-flight Cayman Islands corporation: Raised $250,000.
* Stephen J. Luczo, CEO of Seagate: Donated $4,000 (maximum allowed) for presidential campaign, $2000 for campaign legal defense fund
* Thomas F. Steyer, partner at Hellman and Friedman LLC, an investment firm that put an insurance company in Bermuda and in an SEC filing explicitly stated it was for tax-shelter reasons: Raised $200,000.
Steyer and Roux also raised an additional $100,000 each in “bundled” contributions, which means they went out and flacked for individual contributions and bundled them back to the campaign.
How does the Kerry campaign respond to the appearance of hypocrisy on the Benedict Arnold issue? Not terribly well; in fact, their spokesperson manages to only make the situation worse:

When asked for the definition of a “Benedict Arnold” company or CEO, Stephanie Cutter, Kerry’s spokeswoman, said: “Companies that take advantage of tax loopholes to set up bank accounts or move jobs abroad simply to avoid taxes.” She pointed to a list compiled by Citizen Works, a tax-exempt nonprofit group that monitors corporate influence, as a source of the companies that fit the candidate’s definition.
According to federal election records, Kerry has received $119,285 from donors employed at what Citizen Works described as the “25 Fortune 500 Corporations With the Most Offshore Tax-Haven Subsidiaries.” The list does not include nearly all of the companies that shave their tax bill by moving jobs and operations overseas, so Kerry has actually raised substantially more from firms qualifying as “Benedict Arnolds.”

Once again, Kerry wants you to believe that he’s fighting the “special interests” while stuffing their money in his pockets. He’s practically writing new Bush campaign commercials all on his own each week. Every time he opens his mouth, Kerry puts a new angle on his hypocrisy on display.

Kerry Flips and Flops In One Day

This has to be a record — I don’t think that even Howard Dean reversed himself this quickly. Here’s John Kerry during tonight’s debate:

Democrats debating each other Thursday night accused President Bush of proposing a constitutional amendment against gay marriage to distract voters from more important issues such as the economy.
“He’s trying to divide America,” said Sen. John Kerry . “This is a president who always tries to create a cultural war and seek the lowest common denominator of American politics because he can’t come to America and talk about jobs, he can’t talk to America about health care because he doesn’t have a plan.”

Here’s John Kerry yesterday in an interview with the Boston Globe:

In his most explicit remarks on the subject yet, Kerry told the Globe that he would support a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would prohibit gay marrriage so long as, while outlawing gay marriage, it also ensured that same-sex couples have access to all legal rights that married couples receive.

Now one can argue that there is a difference between backing a federal Constitutional amendment and one at a state level, but that’s not what Kerry argued during the debate. Instead, he accused Bush of opposing gay marriage as a way to “create a cultural war” to distract Americans … while he opposes it too, but for altruistic reasons, one supposes. After all, it’s all about motivation.
Kerry should base his entire campaign in this fashion. He can argue that he’ll take exactly the same actions as Bush, but he just won’t be eeeeeevillll. He might have a better shot at winning in November.

“You Only Lose People You Thought Were Friends”

That doesn’t mitigate the pain of finding out that the friend you thought you had values his/her politics more than they do you. They value their undisturbed environment of outrage and victimization than they do your love and support. And that hurts.

When I was younger (I’m almost 41 now), I liked debating politics with friends, as we didn’t take ourselves very seriously, or politics, for that matter. We argued politics like others argued baseball or football. Only later on, when I started to discover that people had difficulty separating politics and personal affection, did I become more circumspect about my politics and my values. The experience of silencing myself directly led to this blog, as I found that I could not remain completely silent, especially after war was thrust upon us after 9/11. While I found other ways to express myself, I rarely did so amongst anyone except my closest and longest friends for fear of rejection. Sometimes I wondered if I sold my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances a bit short in doing so; I had a couple of experiences of being rejected for my politics, but it wasn’t widespread and didn’t involve really close friends.
After reading Michele’s experience today at A Small Victory, I feel like I may have been right all along:

Chris – and many others – can’t understand how I can be a one issue voter, yet they want me to not vote for Bush based on one issue.

But if you know me, and consider yourself my friend, and appreciate me as a person, and you still vote for George W. Bush this coming November, then let me tell you something right now: Don’t ever let me know that you did. Because I will never speak to you again.

Further down, he says, on the same subject:

then I am sorry, but I do not ever want to see your face or hear your voice in my presence. It’s a done deal.
My apologies if that offends anyone, but guess what? If that’s you, you’ve been offending me for a long, long time. And I’m just a little bit angry about what you would allow to be done to me, and to our country.

Chris and Michelle went back 15 years. Chris had been to Michele’s house and had been invited to her wedding. But Chris is gay, and he intends on being a single-issue voter in November and expects his friends to do the same. If not, then Chris wants Michele and anyone else to take a hike and never darken his door again.
Besides the notion that abrupt personal rejection is supposed to convince people of your exquisite judgment in politics, the self-destructiveness of such people makes a disinterested observer wonder what true value there ever was in having a relationship with them. But that doesn’t mitigate the pain of finding out that the friend you thought you had values his/her politics more than they do you. They value their undisturbed environment of outrage and victimization than they do your love and support. And that hurts.
For my part — and Michele’s, as she makes clear — I have friends who are my political opposites. I have a link to one, Haddayr, who writes beautifully about her life and her point of view but who couldn’t provide a clearer contrast to my politics if either one of us tried, but even though we don’t agree, we still respect each other. Unfortunately, I suspect I may have a few who might do the same thing Chris did to Michele … and so I express myself here instead.
A question for you: Under these circumstances, is it possible to have a true and honest debate about important issues? Because I’m wondering if this means that we are so caught up in making politics a zero-sum game that we forget that we all still need to live with each other at the end of that game. Do we only lose those who we thought were friends?

Stern and Limbaugh, Together Again For The First Time

Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh — not exactly the Bobbsey Twins of radio — have both blasted what they see as government infringement on free speech on their shows today. First, Stern said this:

“They are so afraid of me and what this show represents … I could blow my stack, but … ,” Stern said, trailing off. “A caller used the N word, and I hung up on him.”
“Janet Jackson is now forgotten and I’m on the front page of every newspaper,” said Stern.

The only thing surprising about Stern’s reaction is how mild it appears to be. He’s known for loudly proclaiming his victimization whenever he’s disciplined for on-air stunts. His autobiographical movie, Private Parts, is about almost nothing else (and is rather funny, in its own way). Surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh supports Howard Stern and complains that the government intrudes too far into talk radio (all in caps, via Drudge):


Rush, of course, is being ludicrous. The FCC does not and cannot ‘censor’ anyone, nor do they fine people for political speech — only for indecency. Bill Clinton (and, I suppose, Terry McAuliffe) had control of the White House for eight years, and as I recall, Rush Limbaugh did all right during that time. Also, the White House does not control the FCC, although the President nominates the commissioners. The FCC receives its funding and its authority from Congress, who can also revoke or modify that authority at any time.
My response to both is: cry me a river. Both men have made fortunes exploiting public resources and then complain when they’re held responsible for their use. Neither of them has a “right” to the airwaves. If they don’t want to abide by the regulations controlling the use of this public resource, then let them publish their speech using private resources instead.

Broadcast Channels, Government Monopolies, and Responsibility

After updating my original post on Howard Stern’s suspension from Clear Channel stations this morning about a dozen times and staying abreast of the feedback from Jeff Jarvis’ diatribe from yesterday, I want to restate my entire perspective on broadcast responsibilities, just to eliminate some gaps caused by what I thought were basic assumptions regarding their nature.
In 1934, after commercial radio expanded rapidly as a medium, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act which created the FCC to control commercial broadcast stations. Control was necessary because up to then, radio stations could step on each others’ signals, creating an environment where the most watts won. Instead, Congress gave the FCC the authority to require commercial broadcast licenses, which were government-granted local monopolies on the broadcast frequency and protection from any potential interference from nearby frequencies. In return for the monopoly and its enforcement from the FCC, private-enterprise broadcasters agreed to air material in the public interest and abide by guidelines for decency. The result is that people cannot just build a transmitter and begin broadcasting commercial TV signals on their own; they must rely on licensed stations and broadcasters for their local TV service.
Desipte what some are claiming, entertainment producers that distribute exclusively over cable and satellite systems are not broadcasters. Their signals are sent to satellites at much higher frequencies that require a line-of-sight transmission method, rather than a widespread broadcast method. Usually they’re encrypted as well, although not always; C-band satellite owners can tune in the downlink of unencrypted channels, if they’ve spent the $2000 for the equipment. Cable and subscription satellite distributors don’t have a practical limit on channels they can carry, and uplink frequencies are so narrow that there is no need to grant and enforce monopolies on them, either. This means that anyone who wants to invest the necessary capital can create or purchase entertainment, lease satellite transponder space, and sell their product to the distributors, regardless of where their signal originates, because it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s ability to do the same.
That’s why the FCC regulates content for decency and why they fine those individuals and broadcasters who use their government-protected monopoly to broadcast indecent material. (Lest anyone think that this is a Bush Administration innovation, Clear Channel and Infinity were fined $1.7M in 1995 for indecent broadcasts because of Stern, and the President’s last name wasn’t Bush when that happened.) They don’t hold subscription-only channels to the same standard because:
1. The customer pays for the service and should be aware of the content;
2. The distribution is such that the content must be watched through means other than broadcasting;
3. The subscription channels do not force other potential content providers out of the market.
For Jeff Jarvis and others to argue that enforcing rules and oversight that Congress clearly entrusted to the FCC means the end of free speech is hysterical demagoguery. These rules have been enforced on broadcasts for decades, and even if the threshold of indecency has receded, clearly they still exist, and even more clearly Stern and CBS’s Super Bowl show violated them. Nor does FCC enforcement preclude free speech. The FCC has not said that Stern isn’t allowed to be on the air, which would be a true free-speech issue; they are holding Stern and the broadcasters responsible for his exercise of speech, which is completely valid. Stern can’t slander or libel people either. There are limits to free speech under certain circumstances, and speech over government-protected monopolies is one of those circumstances.
Clear Channel suspended Stern for violating their internal broadcast standards, which of course leaves them open to charges of hypocrisy. Anyone who’s heard Stern for ten minutes knows what kind of show he has. However, it’s still their right to select their on-air talent — they are under no obligation to air Stern’s show if they don’t want to. It can be argued, with some merit, that renewed Congressional outrage and FCC enforcement over recent incidents of indecency drove their decision, but all that means is that Clear Channel is making a business decision about profitability. As Joe Carter said in his post, Clear Channel would probably be promoting Stern as a radio pioneer if they thought the cost of the fines would be outweighed by a commensurate increase in ad revenue.
Even if, as I suspect, Clear Channel wants Stern out regardless of the money just because they find him embarassing, it’s still a business decision and not a First Amendment martyrdom. Howard Stern can still talk all he wants and say whatever he wants, but if he wants to get paid to do so, he’ll need to convince people that he’s worth all the hassle. Subscription radio may be a better market for Stern’s repertoire, because it falls into the same categories as cable and satellite TV and doesn’t require FCC oversight. He could also start a web site and produce live-streaming audio and sell to advertisers directly, thus becoming both an entertainer and a distributor, keep all the money, and say whatever crosses his mind. No one is silencing Howard Stern; Clear Channel is merely exercising control over their own distribution system.
Free speech only requires a speaker, after all, and is not a guarantee of an audience. Howard Stern does not have a right to Clear Channel’s distribution, nor does Clear Channel or CBS have a right to their broadcast frequencies except as granted by the FCC under their rules and regulations. If they choose to operate through government licenses, they need to abide by those rules and regulations. If not, there are plenty of other options in the marketplace. Let’s not confuse free speech with freedom from consequences, or Howard Stern with Jesus Christ.

Blast From The Past

Just when you thought it was safe to go to Orange County, he’s back:

Now, eight years out of office and with a stint as a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host under his belt, the 70-year-old [Robert] Dornan attempts a return to the political stage by seeking the GOP nomination in next week’s primary for the 46th Congressional District, which stretches from Palos Verdes Estates to Newport Beach.
His opponent: veteran incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), a former friend whose views on defense, the economy and social issues are very similar to his own.

B-1 Bob, as he once insisted on calling himself during his nine terms in the House, spent 18 years as an embarassment to Orange County Republicans. Dornan’s schtick was wearing mortally thin when Loretta Sanchez challenged him in 1994. While it’s true that his district had morphed demographically over the years, Dornan still could have won his district had it not been for Proposition 187, which would have denied government services such as education and vaccinations to undocumented workers and which energized the Latino community to come to the polls, and Dornan’s personality.
The thin margin of loss in the race drove Dornan to take his challenge to the House floor, demanding that Sanchez be denied a seat and a special election be called due to what Dornan saw as election fraud. And his son Marc, who alleges that Republicans turned their back on his father, may be right; Republicans had taken control of the House for the first time in decades and could have stuck to a party-line vote and refused to seat Sanchez.
However, as someone who was on the periphery of Orange County politics at the time, I can assure you that B-1 Bob had burned most of his bridges with the Republicans, dancing arrogantly to his own tune and missing few opportunities to embarass their leadership. My father and I used to argue about Dornan at every election, but not because Dad liked him — he just thought there was no alternative. I argued that the Republican establishment should have been grooming a more serious candidate, i.e., one who didn’t assault other Congressmen on the House floor and who didn’t sneeringly deride other Republicans, in order to provide that alternative. No one liked the guy when he won election — his arrogance and high-handedness were well known and experienced often within the party. Losing to a first-time amateur like Sanchez didn’t make Republicans any more fond of him. There’s no denying that Republicans deserved to lose that seat by holding their noses and enabling Dornan to stay in office.
And now B-1 Bob wants back in, taking on another Republican instead of running against Sanchez, and he wonders why Republicans dislike him. Dornan learned nothing from his years in Congress or his years in exile, it seems.
Correction: Dornan lost in 1996, not 1994, as was his Presidential run, although I could have sworn he ran the first time in 1988. Thanks to Simon for the correction and the background (see comments).

Probably Not Eligible For Early Release

The Telegraph has an exclusive interview with a female Palestinian terrorist, a wanna-be suicide bomber who got caught by Israeli security forces before she detonated her explosives. To say she’s not remorseful is an understatement:

“Yes, I will do it again if I can,” said Obeida Khalil, 27. “When I put the suicide explosives belt on I felt very happy, very content. I was angry when they caught me because I was not able to be a martyr. I wanted to be the first female martyr and to kill as many Israeli soldiers as possible. I chose the bus station because my brother blew himself up there.”

Khalil claimed that she became a suicide bomber to avenge the death of her fiance, who was killed by an Israeli helicopter attack earlier. However, it’s not as though his death put that thought into her head, as she says in the very next breath:

“Four days before our wedding, he went up on the roof and he was shot dead by an Israeli helicopter. If we had been married, then I would have had children. I would have done other things for the jihad besides being a martyr. But before he died we had discussed being martyrs by blowing ourselves up together. With the help of God, we said, maybe both of us would do it and then we would be together forever.”

And what about children? Does she have any qualms about killing children in her quest to die in a bombing attack on civilians?

Although Khalil wanted to blow up soldiers in her planned attack in Tel Aviv she said it was legitimate to kill Jewish children because one day they would serve in the Israeli army. “The children of the first intifada [1987-1993] are the soldiers killing innocent Palestinian children now.”

So by the same logic, one would suppose that she would condone the massive slaughter of Palestinian children as they grow up to be suicide bombers. Fortunately for her — and this is a point that anti-Israeli protesters always miss — Israelis don’t think the same way.
Despite her protestations, she didn’t set out to kill Israelis because her fiance was killed. Khalil is driven by hate and is egged on by a Palestinian Authority that cares not one whit for true negotiation. Khalil is serving a 5-year sentence since the bomb did not go off, a curious but common sentencing problem that rewards incompetence with enough time to allow the would-be murderers another chance to kill. Expect her to rejoin the effort to destroy Israel shortly after her release.
Top to bottom, the Palestinian end goal remains the same: to push the Israelis into the Mediterranean or to dance on their dead bodies in the streets of Tel Aviv. The US and EU should support the Israeli defense wall and quit negotiating on behalf of a people who represent only the nexus of bomb-throwers. I can’t believe that anyone in the West thinks that granting sovereignty to Yasser Arafat and his gang of terrorists will make anything more secure. Let the Palestinians be cut off from Israel and think about where their leadership has taken them for a while. Perhaps that exercise will produce more rational strategic goals and a new generation of leaders to espouse them. The result could hardly be worse than what we have now.