"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Monday, April 30, 2007

Biden Doublespeak

Yesterday on Meet the Press Senator Joe Biden had some choice comments that deserve attention.
MR. RUSSERT: But make no mistake about it, the bill that you voted for authorized the president to go to war.

SEN. BIDEN: It allowed the president to go to war. It did not authorize him to go to it. You make it sound like it said, “Mr. President, go to war.” It said, “Mr. President, don’t go to war.” It said “go to the United Nations. Mr. President, don’t go to war, try to get a deal here. Mr. President, get the inspectors back in. Mr. President, tell us that that’s what you’re about to do. And, Mr. President, if all else fails, you have authority to use force.” That’s what it said.

These are interesting statements. He says to "go to the United Nations"...the same UN that unanimously issued Resolution 1441, threatening Iraq to disarm? Biden says "get the inspectors back in". The same inspectors that Saddam hadn't complied with? The same inspectors that President Clinton and others said Iraq had failed to comply with and had interfered with?

In fact, reviewing Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq shows nothing of the sort. It states nothing about inspectors, except to say "Whereas Iraq...attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities", and "Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council" and "Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660". This all seems to indicate the willingness to proceed with military efforts.

Furthermore, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002states the same. This resolution provided authorization as follows:
AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
This sounds pretty clear to me, and it should to Senator Biden to...after all, he voted for it.

Mr. Biden, in the early stages of his presidential bid, is doing his best to distance himself from his earlier statements and his vote.

Cross Posted at

Tenet's Tenuously Tall Tale

Today, George Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm, hits bookshelves throughout the country. Within the pages of the book, Tenet seeks to exonerate himself of any culpability to any intelligence failures in the lead-up to the Iraq war. As readers will recall, Tenet - appointed by President Clinton - is best known for his "Slam Dunk" statement, informing President Bush that intelligence about WMD in Iraq was “a slam dunk case!” Now, Tenet is claiming that he never said those words. Or, if he said them, he didn't mean them in this context. Yeah, something like that.

Unfortunately for Tenet, the memories of most of us is somewhat better, and the details of events is not so easily forgotten. Mr. Tenet seems to be forgetting that he has already confirmed that he said these words, and has already, seemingly, claimed responsibility for the error:
George J. Tenet, former director of central intelligence, said he regretted assuring President Bush in 2002 that he had ''slam dunk'' evidence that Iraq had unconventional weapons. ''Those were the two dumbest words I ever said,'' Mr. Tenet told 1,300 people at a Kutztown University forum Wednesday in Kutztown, Pa. The theory was a leading justification for the war in Iraq. Such weapons were not found.
While Mr. Tenet may wish he never said those words, his own statements indicate otherwise.

Yet, this is not the only inconsistency in his book. In order to further shift the blame, Tenet indicates that the decision to go to war with Iraq had already been made only hours after 9/11.
On the day after 9/11, he [Tenet] adds, he ran into Richard Perle, a leading neoconservative and the head of the Defense Policy Board, coming out of the White House. He says Mr. Perle turned to him and said: "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. They bear responsibility."

He confirmed this encounter on 60 minutes last night. Yet, according to Richard Perle, this conversation never happened. In fact, it couldn't have happened, because Perle was stranded in France on 9/12, and unable to return until 9/15!
Did Tenet perhaps merely get the date of this encounter wrong? Well, the quote Tenet ascribes to Perle hinges on the encounter taking place September 12: "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday."
Perle denies the encounter. The facts discredit the claim. If Tenet merely got the date wrong, it contradicts his quote. If he made up the encounter and manufactured the quote, it explains everything.

While President Bush has been charged with misleading us and making up his own facts, it would appear that these charges are somewhat misdirected. George Tenet clearly has difficulty with the truth.

Cross Posted at

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Quality of Life Court" coming to SF?

It's fairly well known that as mayor of New York, one means by which Rudy Giuliani fought crime was by addressing the small issues...squeegee men, public urination, etc... The theory was that by knocking out the small issues, it sent a message that crime would not be tolerated, no matter how big or small. In 1993 a special court was set-up in Manhattan that addressed such "quality of life" crimes as urinating in public, aggressive panhandling, and prostitution. The Midtown Community Court hears cases and typically issues some sort of community service in lieu of a fine.

Gavin Newsom has stated his plans to develop a similar court here in San Francisco, and I am all for it. Though San Francisco certainly has major problems with felony crimes--such as a rising homicide rate--the prevalence of petty crimes is quite high, too. Throughout the city you will see aggressive panhandlers, people drunk in public, urinating or defecating on the street, and performing other acts that make San Francisco a fairly disgusting place to live.
To continue, the defendants must plead guilty. If they decline, their case moves to the traditional downtown court. If they do plead guilty, they're most often assigned community service to repay the neighborhood for their offenses -- and social services to address underlying problems. Fines are never part of the sentence, but jail time can be.
By enrolling them in community service punishments in lieu of a fine, violators will be making the city a cleaner place. Furthermore, "taking ownership" in this way may make them less prone to committing such acts in the future.

I think Newsom is making a great decision by doing so, despite the criticism that he is getting. Now, if only he would start respecting immigration laws.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Newsom vows to ignore immigration laws

Yesterday Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, declared that he would continue to keep San Francisco a sanctuary for illegal aliens. This includes preventing any city employees from participating in immigration raids, saying "I will not allow any of my department heads or anyone associated with this city to cooperate in any way shape or form with these raids. We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it." Presumably, this includes city police, whose job it is to enforce the law. Yet, looking at his comment closer, he states that he will not allow any city employees to even cooperate with those who are conducting the raids.

It should be noted that ICE raids are frequently performed in order to catch those illegal immigrants who are already wanted for other charges. Perhaps Mayor Newsom isn't concerned with these other charges. The following represent only a fraction of the results of ICE raids over the past year:
In addition to these local raids, ICE has had great successes throughout the country. For example, this month in Willmar, Minnesota ICE agents arrested 49 illegal immigrants in a raid, 18 of which had criminal convictions for crimes including sexual misconduct on a minor, DUI, domestic abuse, assault, and drug possession. Similar raids nabbing criminal aliens with similar convictions have occurred in this month alone in places like Atlanta, Michigan, Raleigh, Pennsylvania, San Diego, and elsewhere.

ICE is clearly keeping the streets safer in these areas. If only Gavin Newsom would do his job and help to do the same here in San Francisco.

Cross Posted at

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sarkozy 2008

Well, I am officially endorsing Nicolas Sarkozy for US President in 2008. Of course, he is not eligible to be the US president, but I ask...why can't we find a candidate like he for the US? He's adamantly against high taxes, against promotion of the welfare state, against excessively open borders, and against a huge deficit. And unlike American politicians, his platform is not just lip-service; he acts on these ideals.