In an amazing turn of events, Washington gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire lashed out at her fellow party members in North Carolina, calling a revote wasteful and counterproductive:
“This ain’t golf. No mulligans allowed here, folks,” said Gregoire’s spokesman, Morton Brilliant. “It’s irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don’t like losing this one.”
Of course, I’m writing with tongue firmly in cheek. Gregoire made these comments in response to GOP candidate Dino Rossi’s request for a revote after a series of irregularities in ballot handling, especially in King County, switched an original 230-vote GOP victory to a 130-vote loss.
In North Carolina, the margin of GOP victory in the agricultural commissioner race was about half of the disputed ballots lost in a predominantly Republican county. In Washington, the disputed votes come up to at least five times the new margin of victory. Yet in North Carolina, Democrats break the rules to order new statewide elections while in Washington a revote is considered a waste of taxpayer money.
It’s not likely that Rossi will get his revote; it requires approval from the Democratic-controlled legislature. Perhaps the two incidents will finally put paid to the meme that Democrats are defenders of the “count every vote” concept, however.
The New York Sun has published an opinion piece I rewrote about the Vatican’s conclusion-jumping regarding the Sri Lankan refusal to admit Israeli aid workers this week. As you may recall, the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, accused Israelis of being “too often preoccupied with making war” because of their supposed refusal to help the Sri Lankans. Not only was it sloppy journalism — the truth had been long discovered by bloggers — but the conclusions reached by L’Osservatore Romano smacked of knee-jerk anti-Semitism.
You may need a subscription to read this — I automatically get logged into mine by my browser — but if you don’t already subscribe, you should consider it. The Sun supports bloggers in a very real and literal way and has excellent reporting and writing. Plus, it has one of the richest interfaces for a newspaper I’ve seen.
UPDATE: You’re not going to believe this, but the independent Catholic wire service that apparently first translated L’Osservatore Romano now claims they screwed it up:
Vatican, Dec. 30 (CWNews.com) – The following is a corrected version of a story that appeared on CWNews.com earlier this week, in which a crucial error in translation caused a serious misinterpretation of the news. CWNews apologizes for the error.
Vatican, Dec. 28 (CWNews.com) – The Vatican newspaper has denounced a decision by Sri Lanka to reject emergency aid offered by the Israeli government. Sri Lanka declined the Israeli aid because it would have been furnished by a military team.
Nice. Apparently, Catholics have lots of problem checking sources. No word from the Jerusalem Post on their translation or any retraction.
Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton accompanied Joe Lieberman on his fact-finding trip to Iraq, after Dayton petulantly demanded that someone take him there. Dayton managed to sound a bit more coherent on this trip, echoing Lieberman’s call to stay the course on the scheduled January elections. However, he still took the opportunity to demand a schedule for our withdrawal:
Wrapping up a trip to Iraq, Sen. Mark Dayton said he’s convinced the United States must take efforts to quicken Iraq’s self-sufficiency.
“That process needs to be accelerated,” Dayton, D-Minn., told reporters in a conference call from Israel Wednesday, after spending the day in Iraq meeting with U.S. troops and U.N. and Iraqi officials.
“We’ve been there for 18 months now … We’ve got to start to define the remaining amount of time necessary for our forces to be there before they can leave with a victory secured.”
Once again, Dayton displays his utter incomprehension of our efforts in Iraq. The point of our mission isn’t to set up an exit date and then get done as much as we can before then; it’s to establish a functioning, democratic, federal government and establish a stable security force to keep it safe. Instead of focusing on making sure we succeed at that mission, Brave Sir Dayton worries that we won’t run away fast enough.
Nor was that the only demonstration of Brave Sir Dayton’s incoherence. After jumping on the uparmoring hype earlier this month, Dayton finally had the chance to actually ask real servicemen about their equipment — and then refused to believe them:
Dayton, who sharply criticized the Bush administration for not providing U.S. troops with enough armored vehicles, said troops he spoke with in Iraq said they are getting the equipment they need.
“But I think we got an incomplete picture of that,” he added.
What? Does he think that the soldiers and Marines lied to him? Maybe he has a grand conspiracy in mind that involves every serviceman in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, and Karl Rove, all working together to make Dayton look like a paranoid idiot. The only flaw in this theory is that Dayton does that so well all by himself.
In the aftermath of the Mosul bombing last week, the Washington Post reported comments made by former DIA analyst Jeffrey White that the next phase could be a full frontal assault on an American military base. At the time, I wrote that such an attack would be so blindingly stupid that American military planners should welcome it. I also wrote that Iraqi terrorists were lunatics, not idiots, and that the Saddam remnants knw better than to take on American forces in open battle.
Apparently I overestimated the intelligence of the enemy:
United States troops and warplanes killed at least 25 insurgents who used car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades to try to overrun an American combat outpost in Mosul on Wednesday afternoon, the American military said. It was the fiercest fighting the restive northern city has seen in weeks. …
The attack began about 3:45 p.m., when insurgents armed with a car bomb tried to blow down the concrete barriers of the combat outpost, which is manned by a small force of soldiers. An armored military vehicle then sped to the outpost.
The armored vehicle “found itself pretty much in the middle” of a improvised car and roadside bombs that had been set up to attack any American vehicles coming to the aid of the outpost, said Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, a military spokesman in Mosul, using military acronyms for improvised roadside bombs and car bombs. The armored vehicle, he said, fired its .50-caliber machine gun to explode or disable the bombs, and proceeded to the outpost.
There, the American troops were attacked by a coordinated force of about 50 insurgents who fired rocket-propelled grenades and semiautomatic weapons.
So far, it sounds like a well-planned attack. The enemy put the Americans into a booby-trapped corner and pressed their attack with coordination and skill. It sounds like the worst fears of the Washington Post came true.
And then …
At that point, two F-18 and two F-14 military jets swooped down on strafing runs and also fired Maverick missiles, wiping out much of the insurgent force. “That’s when the close-air support came in and did a job on them,” Colonel Hastings said.
So much for the big fear of a frontal assault.
That’s why a frontal attack on American forces makes no sense whatsoever. One would suppose that insurgents fighting an asymmetrical war would understand that issue and, in fact, have that provide the overriding reason for fighting asymmetrically in the first place. The sudden change to frontal assaults either demonstrate a degradation in insurgent leadership or a desperation to try every last option to drive the Americans out. It could also be a combination of both, especially after the heavy losses suffered by terrorist forces in Fallujah.
The stupidity and desperation of Zarqawi’s terrorists show that the upcoming elections have them rattled and the American military has them on the run. A few more assaults like this and even their sympathizers in the Sunni Triangle will understand their cluelessness.
Senator Joe Lieberman told the American media today that Iraqi elections must go forward as scheduled, negating a push for delay that had started to gather some momentum among the mainstream punditry:
Sen. Joe Lieberman, traveling in the Middle East Wednesday, said there is strong support in Iraq for the Jan. 30 election, and postponing it would only be a victory for the insurgents.
In a telephone call from Tel Aviv, Israel, the Connecticut Democrat said conditions in Iraq, including an increase in trained Iraqi security forces, have improved since his last visit in July. And he said the escalating violence aimed at intimidating Iraqis to postpone the election or not vote is not working in most of the country.
Lieberman could have won the last presidential election if the Democrats had been smart enough to nominate him. Instead, they ran their worst candidate since Michael Dukakis and wound up getting shut out of the White House and pushed into full retreat in both houses of Congress. Lieberman has what John Kerry lacks: serious understanding of the Islamofascist threat and their desperation to derail our efforts at building a representative democracy in the Middle East.
Lieberman’s report that most of Iraq wants elections to move forward may help get the truth out to American voters. Coming from a Democrat, that information will carry more weight with editorial boards around the country. Hopefully, Lieberman’s efforts will stiffen the Democrats’ spine as well.
Mahmoud Abbas apparently tried to reach Reaganesque levels of rhetoric this afternoon while campaigning through West Bank towns for the presidential election. He stopped in Tulkarem and Qalqiliya and told crowds gathered there that Israel had to tear down the wall in order to get peace:
Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made a campaign run Wednesday through West Bank towns living in the shadow of Israel’s separation barrier, urging Israel to tear down the huge structure that he said would never help peace. …
“I say to our neighbors … no fence will bring peace or bring you security,” Abbas told a rally at a Tulkarem stadium just 500 yards from the barrier. …
Later, Abbas traveled to the nearby town of Qalqiliya, which is almost entirely cut off by the barrier. Abbas toured the wall and addressed a crowd of several hundred supporters.
“We hope the Israelis will take the wall down,” he said. “If the Israelis want to reach a fair and just peace, they will take down the wall.”
Abbas aims his rhetoric in the wrong direction. If he wants the wall to come down, the Palestinians need to stop blowing up buses and pizzerias in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Israelis may have put the wall up, but the Palestinians built it — in fact, they literally built it, supplying the cement for it out of supplies intended on assisting Palestinians rebuild their towns. They also figuratively built in on the corpses of the women and children they’ve murdered in their bloodsoaked orgy of revenge they call an intifada.
Perhaps Abbas intended to evoke Ronald Reagan standing outside the Berlin Wall, perhaps not — but Abbas misses the point if he did. The East Germans and Russians built the Berlin Wall to keep its subjugated population from fleeing into the West and freedom. Israel built its wall to keep the barbarians from slaughtering the already-free citizens of Southwest Asia’s only other functioning democracy. A call from the barbarians to tear down the Israeli’s only effective defensive structure as a trade for “peace” should result in gales of laughter on the other side, and a continuation of its construction.
One last note: the AP sets a new low for bias in its reporting. Take a read of this passage, emphasis mine:
“The Palestinian people have accepted the election laws and will therefore accept its results, even if Abu Mazen gets only a small majority in the polls,” said analyst Ali Jerbawi, referring to Abbas by his nickname.
It’s a nickname in the same sense that Night Stalker was Richard Ramirez’ nickname. Abu Mazen is Mahmoud Abbas’ nom de guerre, the identity he used when directing terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. For the AP to glibly overlook this and pass of the use of Abbas’ terrorist handle — a use which calls his status as negotiating partner into question — shows a contempt for AP’s readership and a desire to cover up the less savory aspects of Abbas’ past.
Last week, Arthur Chrenkoff took a look at Saddam Hussein’s legal team, a collection of ambulance chasers from around the globe who regualarly work to shield enemies of Western civilization. One attorney formerly represented Nazi stooge Klaus Barbie and bragged of a personal friendship with the genocidal Cambodian Pol Pot; another represents that bastion of human rights, the Palestinian Authority. At the time, both Arthur and I noted the sad exclusion of Ramsey Clark, who openly begged for an invitation.
Apparently Clark’s supplications found an audience, as the BBC informs us:
Mr Clark – who held office in the 1960s under President Lyndon Johnson – said his principal concern was protecting the rights of the former Iraqi leader. …
Left-wing activist Mr Clark described the special tribunal established to try members of the former regime as a creation of the US military occupation.
He said it had no authority in law as a criminal court.
Clark tried to get onto Slobodan Milosevic’s legal team as well, and had visited with Uncle Saddy just prior to the March 2003 invasion that toppled Hussein from power. This new employment gives Clark the opportunity to continue his career as an apologist and mouthpiece for every murderous tyrant and genocidal maniac with whom he can make contact. Clark stands on the side of murderers and tyrants, and mostly it appears he does so for the notoriety he receives from it.
In the end, these two despicable wretches probably deserve each other. Happy hunting, Mr. Clark.
At the end of the election, the recount discovered anomalies in the ballot totals — leading to a large number of uncounted votes for the statewide office. As a result, Democrats have pushed to dump the election altogether and order a new special election to settle the matter.
Washington? We wish. Try North Carolina instead:
Following nearly two months of court fights and wrangling over lost votes, the North Carolina Board of Elections on Wednesday ordered a new statewide election for the closely contested race for agriculture commissioner.
Republican Steve Troxler leads Democratic incumbent Britt Cobb by 2,287 votes in final results from the Nov. 2 election. However, that figure was left in doubt by the discovery that an electronic voting machine error in Carteret County eliminated 4,438 votes that were cast early.
Democrats challenged the election, on reasonable grounds, it appears to me. The error came from the machine and not any fault or fraud of election workers, but losing more votes than the margin of victory is significant. However, the Democrats would have to have won those votes by a 3-1 margin in order to win the overall election, and since the county votes Republican, it makes for long odds.
The Republicans suggested that the revote remain just within the county where the votes were lost in order to avoid inconveniencing the entire state. An earlier order by the board requested this solution, but a judge threw it out. The three Democrats on the five-member panel argued that the law required a complete state revote. However, the Democrats didn’t seem nearly as interested in sticking with the letter of the law when ordering the new election:
An order for a new election normally requires four votes, but board chairman Larry Leake and his fellow Democrats decided they weren’t ordering a new election, only amending their earlier order, which required only a simple majority. Troxler characterized the move as a partisan trick.
So now North Carolina has to stage a statewide special election for this one race at a significant cost to the taxpayers. The turnout for such an election is estimated to be about 10% of the votes cast in the November election, making the resulting winner less than credible regardless of who it will be.
At least, though, that process will give a fair opportunity to both candidates. Too bad Washington Democrats don’t see fit to give Washingtonians the same opportunity in their governor’s race, which had a much smaller margin on all three vote counts and was plagued by incompetence, especially in heavily Democratic King County. The Democrats only appear interested in fairness when it benefits themselves, not the voters.
After the foolish comment made by UN undersecretary Jan Egelend about Western “stinginess” towards disaster relief, we wondered exactly to whom Egeland could refer. After all, Americans give more private donations in both time and money than any other nation. More specifically, we asked ourselves exactly how much the Europeans pitched into the relief effort through official government channels. Thanks to Reuters Foundation AlertNet, those figures are now available to us (via Instapundit):
Australia: $26M, plus five military transports and 50 specialists
Belgium: One military transport to deliver UNICEF aid
Britain: 370K (pounds), $100K, plus $481K of materials to Sri Lanka
Denmark: 45 tonnes of supplies, $1.82M
EU: “Ready to release” 30M Euro, 3M Euro already released.
France: 100K Euros ($140,000)
Finland: 500K Euro.
Germany: 2M Euro.
Greece: 17 doctors and staff.
Italy: 2 helicopters and crew.
Netherlands: 2M Euros.
Spain: 1M Euros pledged, 19 volunteers
Sweden: Two communications specialists and some tents and radios.
Now put that against our initial pledge of $35 million, plus 12 US Navy vessels and 5,000 sailors to support rescue and humanitarian aid, and tell me who’s being stingy. Americans donating through Amazon have collected almost eight times what the French have sent, apart from our official government contribution. Only Australia comes close to our efforts — no surprise if you know any Australians, a brave and noble people.
Egeland used his moment of fame to besmirch those who have always responded to catastrophes around the world with our time, money, and prayers. He would have done better to look closer to home. I notice Norway, Egeland’s home country, is conspicuously absent from this list, and France might as well be.
UPDATE: As Gaius Livius prompts me in the comments, let’s not forget Japan, who’s also ponied up $30M.
Hugh Hewitt writes a companion piece to his new book in today’s Weekly Standard column, explaining why the mainstream media has suffered body blows to its credibility and how they opened the door to the inevitable reaction:
The new recruits to big journalism and their mentors did not work overtime to assure that, in the elevation of tolerance of ideological minorities, there would remain representation of majoritarian points of view. In fact, majoritarian points of view became suspect, and the focus of pervasive hostile reporting and analysis. Crusading journalists seemed to be an ideological pack. By the time the new millennium arrived, legacy media was populated at its elite levels by as homogeneous a group of reporters / producers / commentators as could ever have been assembled from the newsrooms of the old Hearst operation. Big Media had hired itself into a rut–a self-replicating echo chamber of left and further-left scribblers and talkers and self-reinforcing head nodders who were overwhelmingly anti-Republican, anti-Christian, anti-military, anti-wealth, anti-business, and even anti-middle class. These new journalists had no tolerance for majoritarian points of view, and the gap between the producers of the news and the consumers of the news widened until the credibility gap between the two made Lyndon Johnson’s look modest by comparison.
As we see in Nick Coleman’s rant this morning in the Star Tribune, it isn’t just the hiring rut that caused the blog reaction. It’s the arrogance that leads people like Coleman to believe that they can simply lie and threaten people into silence. It’s the movable feast of media ethics that create debacles like the National Guard forgeries at CBS, which came from an already-discredited source that CBS management knew wouldn’t withstand scrutiny — and the hubris that allowed Dan Rather to “personally vouch” for their authenticity in order to quiet the criticism.
If it were simply bias, the blogosphere would remain a hobby for a few lonely souls who disagreed with the culture and cult of leftism. It goes far deeper than that, and the media knows it. Otherwise, we’d already have seen the report from CBS’ “independent” investigation into its election-season fraud, and Nick Coleman would be struggling to find work in the freebie, alternative-news tabloids. It’s an overt hostility to an entire political philosophy and contempt for the intellect of the consumers that keep the MSM ever on the edge of catastrophe.
Read all of Hugh’s thoughts on the subject, and don’t forget to order his new book on the blogosphere, Blog.