Dafydd: A Climate Pact Even I Can Applaud

This one caught me totally by surprise: China, India, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States (we led the effort) have just signed an international agreement, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, to “keep climate-changing chemicals out of the atmosphere, especially carbon from fossil fuels.” But rather than the Kyoto-Protocol method of setting target goals for emissions reductions that force de-industrialization among complying nations (of which there are actually very few among the Kyoto signers), this new pact aims to reduce emissions by jointly developing new pollutant-control technologies. (Power Line’s John Hinderaker, the only “SuperLawyer” currently blogging in the ‘sphere, is on the story.)

In a move to counter the Kyoto Protocol that requires mandatory cuts in so-called greenhouse gas emissions, [President Bush] is making the technology pitch as part of a partnership with five Asian and Pacific nations, including China and India. The idea is to get them to commit to cleaner energy production as a way to curtail air pollution that most scientists believe is causing the Earth to warm up.
The administration announced late Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with the five countries to create a new partnership to deploy cleaner technologies whenever possible to produce energy.

I’m one of the most rabid despisers of the global-warming mob (globaloney, that is) and their ham-fisted, Luddite attempt to force industrial Western societies back into the past, the pastoral, preindustrial golden age when everyone was treated with love and respect, and lions lay with lambs in arrangements other than prandial.
So why am I wildly approving of this new greenhouse-gas pact, agreement, whatever one calls it? Well, do the obvious…!

Continue reading “Dafydd: A Climate Pact Even I Can Applaud”

Was Menezes In Britain Illegally?

The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, the man shot in the London Tube after fleeing pursuing plainclothes police, took a strange turn this afternoon. The British Home Office released a statement that his visa had expired, and that the indefinite-leave stamp entered into it di not match that used on the date shown:

The student visa of Jean Charles de Menezes expired two years before he was shot by police, the Home Office says.
Officials said they wished to end speculation over his immigration status but added it was “not intended” to influence any investigations.
A passport stamp apparently giving him indefinite leave to remain “was not in use” on that date, added officials.

Home Office officials quickly noted that they did not intend to make a judgment on the validity of the lethal force used in his capture. However, it does shed some light on why Menezes may have fled police in the first place. It also raises some questions. Why would an electrician have stayed in London on a student visa, and why wouldn’t his employer have checked the visa to determine his eligibility to work? Who forged the stamp on his visa, and why?
These questions may all result in mundane answers. Until British investigators find those answers, though, the public should keep an open mind about the circumstances surrounding his death. At the very least, we now know Menezes had reason to flee into the Tube, even if those reasons may or may not have had any connection to al-Qaeda. (via USS Neverdock)

Roberts No Activist, Says Senate Dem

I don’t know which side will feel more relief with this development. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), one of the Gang of 14 and a highly-vulnerable red-state Democrat, says that John Roberts convinced him that he will not be an activist jurist after a personal interview earlier today:

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts gave assurances he wouldn’t be an activist if confirmed, a key Democrat who already was leaning toward supporting him said Thursday.
“I don’t see anything that’s going to be disturbing” in his record, Sen. Ben Nelson told reporters after a 30-minute meeting with
President Bush’s choice to succeed Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
Democrats have been pushing to review as many of Roberts’ writings as possible, hoping to gain a better understanding of his personal views and the extent to which he might seek to inject them into his judicial rulings.
“He said he would not be an activist judge,” Nelson said.

Nelson faces the fight of his life in Nebraska in 2006, a state that went for George Bush in a big way last year. He joined the Gang of 14 to keep from facing political disaster; another filibuster, and he knew he would join Tom Daschle on the dinner circuit. He cannot afford another round of obstructionism , and so he has some heavy motivation to take Roberts at his word.
On the other hand, with every endorsement that Roberts gets from across the aisle, the GOP hardliners will get more and more nervous about the appellate jurist with a small track record. By this point, no one really believes that Roberts will transform into the second coming of Souter, but another Anthony Kennedy doesn’t sound out of the question. While most Republicans want to see a quick and relatively controversy-free confirmation, some will prefer a floor fight of unprecedented proportions to clear the air once and for all — and to eliminate the judicial filibuster for good. Roberts’ confirmation should avoid that, unless the Democrats really get foolish and agree in sufficient numbers to Estradify Roberts.
Nelson’s preliminary endorsement makes that possibility much less likely. Which side suffers the most disappointment from that will be a toss-up.

Air America Dodges Responsibility

Brian at Radio Equalizer, who first broke the story on Air America’s grasping of funds meant for poor children and Alzheimers patients, now posts the official response from the liberal talk-radio network on the scandal:

“On MAY 24, 2004 the newly formed PIQUANT LLC acquired the principal assets of AIR AMERICA RADIO from the prior ownership entities. PIQUANT has owned and operated AIR AMERICA RADIO since that time. The company that had run AIR AMERICA RADIO till then no longer had anything to do with the network.
“PIQUANT had no involvement whatsoever with funds from GLORIA WISE BOYS &GIRLS CLUB. PIQUANT neither received nor expended any of the sums that are the subject of the City’s investigation of the CLUB.
“PIQUANT is not being investigated by the City, which is investigating a transaction that took place before PIQUANT existed.”

Unfortunately for Piquant, when they bought Air America, they bought its liabilities along with it. They may not have broken any laws themselves, unless they’ve managed to keep Evan Cohen hidden from view, which given his popularity even at AA seems highly unlikely. However, if Air America did take money from Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club illegally — by having its chief executive officer transfer specially-earmarked funds from a non-profit on which he sat as a board member — then Air America has to return that money.
Has it done so? One would presume that Piquant would have disclosed that in its statement if it did. Therefore, one can safely presume that Piquant hasn’t returned the funds.
How long does Air America intend on keeping money from poor kids and Alzheimers patients? And exactly how does that fit in with their liberal political positions? And while we’re asking, why did Air America start promoting Gloria Wise after getting this loan? I’m not an expert at FCC law, but that kind of undisclosed financial transaction sounds an awful lot like payola to me, as Michelle Malkin notes.
If Piquant thinks that it can wash its hands of the mess Evan Cohen left behind, they’re very much mistaken. As long as they hang onto that money and leave the poor kids in Brooklyn holding the bag, their leftist pap about taking care of the little guy will sound even more hollow than ever.
UPDATE: Hey, Al Franken’s alter ego noticed Captain’s Quarters! (Yes, this is a joke …)

Stop Me Before I Violate Godwin’s Law!

Dick Durbin disgraced himself and the Senate by comparing our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay with the deathcamps of Auschwitz and the killing fields of Pol Pot, and the resulting chorus of derision should have warned anyone else from following suit. Some people cannot learn from experience, however. Today’s violation of Godwin’s Law comes from the Washington Post, with Richard Cohen giving us the worst of theatrical reviews and political analogies in a single column:

I need to be very careful here, to say precisely what I mean and leave nothing to chance. I have just seen the play “Primo,” which is performed by a single actor, Antony Sher, with material taken from Primo Levi’s incomparable “If This Is a Man,” the book that made the obscure Italian chemist an international literary sensation. It is an account of his time spent in Auschwitz. I could not help but think of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.

Of course, Cohen writes, he would never compare American soldiers to Nazis. Never, never, never (emphasis mine):

One must never compare anything to the Holocaust. One must never invoke Nazism except in reference to the Nazis. One must isolate that era as a way of honoring the victims, keeping it pristine and removed from all other human experience because it was so uniquely awful. I know all this — and I believe it, too.
What’s more, I am not likening what happened at Auschwitz and the other camps to what’s happening or happened at Guantanamo and other places where America’s enemies — real or supposed — are kept. Our purpose is not to murder. We do not engage in slave labor. We are not evil, and our intent is to safeguard the innocent both here and abroad, not to kill them for whatever reason. I hope I have made myself clear.

Having made himself clear, he then goes on to do exactly what he says he won’t do — make an allegory between Primo and its explicit setting of Auschwitz and our detention facilities in Guantanamo and elsewhere. He decries the treatment of the character in this one-man play as an “inventory tag”, a mere number intended for nothing but destruction. Primo has to avert his eyes as his fellow inmates (“the recalcitrant and the brave”) get executed and tortured while he remains silent. He shames himself by following the Nazis’ commands while they torture him, either explicitly or implicitly in the slave labor and utter neglect and contempt with which they treat him.
I’d like to ask Cohen what part of this made him think of Guantanamo Bay and the detention of terrorists. After all, the Jews did nothing wrong, while the people held at Gitmo got captured in open combat with American forces, out of uniform. The Jews (and others, the many others) at Auschwitz and other deathcamps were rounded up because of their religion and ethnicity and sent to their torture and degradation without any hint of process. The detainees at Gitmo have all received military hearings to determine their status, and some have been released (and went on to rejoin the jihad, too).
So if their status has nothing in common, then what evokes Gitmo from this play? The inventory status? Perhaps Cohen would like to explain the difference between the common practice in American prisons of identifying inmates by number instead of name and whatever he imagines happens at Gitmo. Maybe that’s not it; maybe Cohen believes that our servicepeople have made the detainees watch while they execute and torture other terrorists held at the facility, heaping even more shame onto their heads.
Or maybe Cohen just decries the shame the terrorists must feel, having been captured by infidels and living under their control after attempting to kill as many of us as possible. Well, boo hoo for them. Cohen wants us to feel pity because we’ve shamed terrorists? He wants to stoke our outrage because their self-esteem has suffered?
Take a look at Ground Zero, Mr. Cohen, and think about 3,000 people who lost more than just their self-esteem. Take a drive past the Pentagon, where one of our officers on duty that day barely survived the plane crash that carried his ten-year-old son, who had been on his way to a Little League championship. Watch the tapes of the Madrid bombings, the London bombings, the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings, and the ongoing terrorist actions in Iraq intended on enslaving an entire nation under Islamofascist rule.
It’s hard to remember when I’ve read such an intellectually dishonest and patronizing column in a major publication. Cohen should be ashamed of himself instead of projecting his shame onto Islamist terrorists as a means to turn them into the victims of this war.

The Latest Roberts Hysteria

The Miami Herald adds fuel to the hysteria on the Left generated by the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The Herald reports that Roberts did significant background work for the Bush campaign in Florida during the recount melee — and predictably, the Left has jumped all over it:

U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported — as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation’s highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job.
Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas’ solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation ”lions” and ”800-pound gorillas,” which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida. …
”He’s one of the best brief writers in the country. Just like a good journalist or a novelist, he can write with clarity, concisely and can paint a picture with words,” said Cruz. Roberts, a constitutional-law expert in a top Washington law firm at the time, is now a federal appeals court judge in D.C. Roberts was a no-brainer for the recount effort: His win-loss record at the U.S. Supreme Court was one of the most impressive. And, like Cruz, he was a member of a tight-knit circle of former clerks for the court’s chief justice, William Rehnquist — a group jokingly referred to as “the cabal.”

So how has the port side of the blogosphere taken this news, seeing as how the recount effort remains one of their favorite myths of Democratic victimhood? Josh Marshall, in a failing attempt to remain rational, declares that it’s “[n]ot quite disqualifying, perhaps.” John at Americablog smells a payoff. So does Susie Madrak. Lambert at Corrente, meanwhile, suspects that Roberts played a key role in a conspiracy involving Rehnquist, or possibly Antonin Scalia for some weird reason, to corrupt the Court — and then accuses the Republicans of wanting to fight Florida 2000 all over again.
Kool-Aid spill, aisle 1!
Well, let’s see what Roberts actually did for the Republicans in Florida for the recount, according to the Miami Herald. He reviewed some of their legal briefs for their appellate arguments in federal court, and he may have helped write some of them. He took part in a moot court to practice the oral arguments. He gave advice to the Republicans, apparently on a pro bono basis although that isn’t certain from this reporting. He didn’t short his other clients by ignoring court dates; he left Florida to argue two Supreme Court cases in the middle of the effort, winning one and losing the other.
In short, he acted as an attorney on a case that comes along once in 128 years, a case in which any attorney would love to take part. He conducted himself well, did fine work, and represented his client ably in a background role. His client eventually won the case, and later, three recounts (including one captained by the Miami Herald) proved that his client won the election.
Oooh … I can understand why that might disqualify someone for the Supreme Court!
Give us all a break. This wasn’t some grand conspiracy but a court battle conducted in the open — one which the Democrats touched off in Florida, not the Republicans. Did the Left expect that the GOP would bring in Bob Dole to do their legal work, or find the best representation possible?
What a joke.
A word of advice for the port side of the blogosphere: try keeping your powder dry. If you get this cranked up over a “revelation” that Roberts actually did work for the GOP at one point in his career, then no one will take you seriously if at some point Bush nominates a real extremist to the bench.

Stupid Republican Tricks

The Illinois GOP has ignored one of the cardinal rules of politics, which advises people to stay out of the way when their opponents have begun to self-destruct. Instead of allowing the federal investigations into Mayor Richard Daley’s administration to continue as apolitically as possible, the Republicans may have transformed Daley from an albatross to a political martyr:

The Cook County Republican Party is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley, whose administration has been buffeted by scandal.
“The arrogance of Richard Daley is appalling,” said Gary Skoien, chairman of the county party. “We hope this reward will inspire someone with critical knowledge to come forward.” …
The reward follows last week’s announcement by federal prosecutors that they had charged two City Hall officials with rigging the city’s hiring system to get around a 1983 court order that bars officials from hiring employees for political reasons.

Up to this point, the investigation had uncovered some unsavory conduct that may eventually reach the mayor himself. If it had, it would have been viewed as a reasonably independent and credible case, hopefully resulting in an indictment if Mayor Daley truly broke the law. In Illinois, that could have put a lot of wind in the sails of the mostly moribund Republican party, which has so much trouble competing in the Land of Lincoln that it had to import Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama for the Senate.
Unfortunately, the GOP has decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once more by making this a political football. What possible good will it do the investigation for the Republicans to buy witnesses? Will it make the charges more credible, or simply allow the public to write off the entire effort as a smear campaign?
Does this really take so much effort to analyze? If so, it might explain why the Illinois GOP have had so much trouble in recent years.

Pincus Still Has Truth Issues

Walter Pincus extends his conflict of interest in covering Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame in today’s Washington Post, continuing his role as a purveyor of misinformation. He and Jim VandeHei write that Patrick Fitzgerald has widened his investigation, but still hasn’t come up with much:

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak probe has interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known, part of an effort to determine whether anyone broke laws during a White House effort two years ago to discredit allegations that President Bush used faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq war, according to several officials familiar with the case.
Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.
In doing so, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked not only about how CIA operative Valerie Plame’s name was leaked but also how the administration went about shifting responsibility from the White House to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, an assertion that was later disputed.

Casting a wider net might sound as though the investigation has caught fire, but when it includes bracing a stranger in the street who happened to converse with Robert Novak, it sounds more like desperation than a focused probe. Pincus makes this sound as though Fitzgerald might have decided to go fishing in order to justify the length and cost of this investigation, especially when it looks more likely that no crime actually took place. After all, Pincus himself notes that Fitzgerald declared that his investigation was almost complete when he tried to get Judith Miller on the stand, and that was months ago.
Pincus tries to add more to the issue of Plame’s role in sending her husband to Niger. Now the CIA supposedly claims that Plame did that three years earlier, but that she had nothing to do with the 2002 trip:

Using background conversations with at least three journalists and other means, Bush officials attacked Wilson’s credibility. They said that his 2002 trip to Niger was a boondoggle arranged by his wife, but CIA officials say that is incorrect. One reason for the confusion about Plame’s role is that she had arranged a trip for him to Niger three years earlier on an unrelated matter, CIA officials told The Washington Post.

If so, why didn’t the CIA mention that to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence? They deduced — through testimony and the revelation of a memorandum Plame wrote — that Plame had indeed pushed for Wilson to get the 2002 assignment, a finding that the CIA did not dispute at the time. It’s hard to dispute when the date on the memo makes the timing clear (emphases mine):

Some CPD officials could not recall how the office decided to contact the former ambassador, however, interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD employee, suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told Committee staff that the former ambassador’s wife “offered up his name” and a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from the former ambassador’s wife says, “my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.” This was just one day before CPD sent a cable DELETED requesting concurrence with CPD’s idea to send the former ambassador to Niger and requesting any additional information from the foreign government service on their uranium reports. The former ambassador’s wife told Committee staff that when CPD decided it would like to send the former ambassador to Niger, she approached her husband on behalf of the CIA and told him “there’s this crazy report” on a purported deal for Niger to sell uranium to Iraq.

Really. How hard was it to dispute the “new” information that Pincus and VandeHei got from their unnamed CIA contacts? Memos from Plame recommending Wilson’s involvement written in 2002 cannot have any application to the 1999 trip. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, but apparently it takes a non-journalist to understand linear time.
This isn’t the first time that Pincus has been used by the CIA to channel misinformation through the pages of the Washington Post. As the SSCI report makes clear, Wilson lied to Pincus (and Nicholas Kristof at the NY Times) when he leaked information about his trip to Niger:

The former ambassador also told Committee staff that he was the source of a Washington Post article (“CIA Did Not Share Doubt on Iraq Data; Bush Used Report of Uranium Bid,” June 12, 2003) which said, “among the Envoy’s conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because `the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.” Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the “dates were wrong and the names were wrong” when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports. The former ambassador said that he may have “misspoken” to the reporter when he said he concluded the documents were “forged.” He also said he may have become confused about his own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in March 2003 that the names and dates on the documents were not correct and may have thought he had seen the names himself. The former ambassador reiterated that he had been able to collect the names of the government officials which should have been on the documents.

Once again, Pincus and the Post have made themselves patsies for the CIA to spin their involvement in leaking false information to the press about a war which the rank-and-file opposed. At some point, the Post should consider giving this story to a reporter who has less of an interest in helping to spread more misinformation to cover that up.
UPDATE: Tom Maguire has even more headscratchers from Plame stories today. It appears that the media has really begun to unravel on this story.

A Lack Of Commitment

My new Daily Standard column is up today, titled “Exit Strategies”. It looks at the lack of commitment in evidence today in what used to be our most basic social model — marriage — and how that lack of commitment gets reflected in our politics.
This started as a post last week (“Sometimes And Whenever”) about the increasing popularity of vows that avoid lifetime commitments. We covered this topic on the Northern Alliance Radio Network last Saturday as well. We had a lot of fun trying to predict the next variation of marriage that would lower the commitment level even less than that of today. Some suggestions:
* One-year contracts with mutual renewable options (sports fans would love these)
* Pre-paid marriage cards — if things are going well, just put some more time on them
* Cell phone minutes — sort of like the pre-paid cards, only you get your weekend minutes for free. (Big penalties for roaming, however.)
If you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Independent? Really?

The AP reports on a Council on Foreign Relations analysis which takes George Bush to task for postwar planning. The report, which claims that the administration did not consider the extent of nation-building required after the “stunning” military victory over Saddam Hussein, had two interesting people in charge of the “independent” CFR project:

An independent panel headed by two former U.S. national security advisers said Wednesday that chaos in Iraq was due in part to inadequate postwar planning.
Planning for reconstruction should match the serious planning that goes into making war, said the panel headed by Samuel Berger and Brent Scowcroft. Berger was national security adviser to Democratic
President Clinton. Scowcroft held the same post under Republican Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush but has been critical of the current president’s Iraq and Mideast policies.

CFR hired Brent Scowcroft as a sop to the GOP, of course, but anyone who has followed Scowcroft’s pronouncements knows that he has bitterly opposed the Iraq War from the very start. Scowcroft still backs the thoroughly-discredited “stability” policy, where the US refrains from pushing democratization in favor of propping up dictators friendly (for the moment) to American interests. The rise of Islamist terrorism notwithstanding, he would far prefer that the thugocracies, kleptocracies, and mullahcracies remain in place, like bugs in amber, in the name of stability and continuity. Scowcroft and his predecessors and followers kept these kinds of governments in place in an extension of Cold War thinking that should have long since passed from the scene — especially after 9/11.
And Samuel Berger? Better known as Sandy Berger, this Clinton advisor last was seen walking out of the National Archive with highly-classified documents stuffed in his pants. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor last March, but his national-security clearance was suspended for three years. So how could Berger get any access to the material needed to conduct this analysis? Did he wear his special pants again?
The chances of this independent report saying anything meaningful approach zero. Neither person in charge of the CFR analysis could ever be considered “independent”, and one has zero credibility on issues of national security any longer. The AP doesn’t even bother to mention Berger’s current status as a convict without any security clearances. Perhaps they feel it’s not relevant to the story, but I suspect many readers would beg to differ. (hat tip: CQ reader Retired Military)