Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The case of the phantom Leak!

Much has been made in the past week about the alleged leak of the identity of a supposed CIA operative. I am, of course, referring to the release of Former Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife's name. Wilson was the man who went to Africa to determine the validity of intelligence relating to Iraq's efforts to purchases Uranium. First, a bit on Wilson's background. He was an avid Clinton Supporter and fierce Bush critic. He was very outspoken against the war in Iraq and often criticized the president's foreign policy. This was the man who was sent to Africa to investigate Iraq's attempts to purchase Uranium.

The current manufactured scandal arose when Robert Novak posted an article on Wilson's Mission. In the article, Novak stated that the Vice President asked the CIA to investigate the claim that Iraq was seeking to purchase Uranium from Africa. In the Article, Novak stated that Wilson's wife, who worked for the CIA, was the individual who suggested sending Wilson to Africa. Novak gave Wilson's wife's name in the article.

This is how the scandal began. All of a sudden, Six journalist have said that they received a call from the White House "leaking" Wilson's wife's name. My question to those people is why did they not report on the story? Novak has forcefully stated that at no time did an Administration official contact him. He stated on Drudge that, "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction." This is an important part of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the whole "Uranium Gate"/"CIA Gate" story. The question that Novak seemed to be getting at the heart of was, how did a Democratic partisan receive such an important mission? How did a person who had no ties to the Administration receive this mission? The answer to the question was of course, Wilson's Wife who worked for the CIA. That was an important part of the story.

Now, to address Wilson's Wife. Many in the media have characterized her as an "Agent." The Major Media has been playing this story up as if America's "Top Spy" has been exposed. That is not accurate articulation of Mrs. Wilson's job at the CIA. Mrs. Wilson was an Intelligence analyst in area of WMD for the Agency, that is all. In fact, Novak was told "According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operator, and not in charge of undercover operatives"

This story seems to have been contrived by a former Clinton hack with the preconceived intention to discredit the Bush Administration. I suspect that this whole Flap occurred something like this: Novak asked a CIA official how Wilson was chosen for this mission. The CIA official responded by telling him that his wife, who worked for the CIA, suggested him. Novak did some digging, and found his wife's name.( not particularly a difficult task considering Wilson had it published on his web site.) Furthermore, it seems that many in the Beltway knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

Mrs. Wilson placed her undercover status (if in fact she had it) at risk when she assisted in choosing her husband for such a high profile mission. She became a legitimate part of the story once she suggested her husband for the mission. The Problem here is, those of Wilson's ilk do not what his credibility questioned because a large part of their case against President Bush is based on their perceived notion of a cover-up of Pre-war intelligence. Therefore, since a large portion of the Democrats' attacks against President Bush revolves around "Uranium Gate", Wilson's credibility is important to their case being that he is the source for the manufactured scandal. The fact that Wilson was chosen for the mission to Africa by his wife coupled with his fierce Anti-war statements placed his credentials in question and therefore his assessment that Iraq was not seeking to purchase Uranium from Africa was also in question. The Bush haters are trying to manufacture another scandal in order to preserve a previously manufactured scandal. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Liberal politics!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

John Hawkins over at Right Wing News scored a great interview with Milton Friedman

I found this part particularly interesting:

John Hawkins:"Let me ask you about this -- what do you say to people who claim that free trade will eventually lead to high unemployment in the US as large numbers of jobs move to cheaper labor markets overseas? "

Milton Friedman: "Well, they only consider half of the problem. If you move jobs overseas, it creates incomes and dollars overseas. What do the do they do with that dollar income? Sooner or later it will be used to purchase US goods and that produces jobs in the United States.
In fact, all of the progress that the US has made over the last couple of centuries has come from unemployment. It has come from figuring out how to produce more goods with fewer workers, thereby releasing labor to be more productive in other areas. It has never come about through permanent unemployment, but temporary unemployment, in the process of shifting people from one area to another.
When the United States was formed in 1776, it took 19 people on the farm to produce enough food for 20 people. So most of the people had to spend their time and efforts on growing food. Today, it's down to 1% or 2% to produce that food. Now just consider the vast amount of supposed unemployment that was produced by that. But there wasn't really any unemployment produced. What happened was that people who had formerly been tied up working in agriculture were freed by technological developments and improvements to do something else. That enabled us to have a better standard of living and a more extensive range of products.
The same thing is happening around the world. China has been growing very rapidly in recent years. That's because they shifted from a very inefficient method of agricultural production to something that comes close to the equivalent of private ownership of the land and agriculture. As a result, they've been able to produce a lot more with many fewer workers and that has released workers who have come into the cities and have been able to work in industry and other areas and China has been having a very rapid increase in income. "

Friedman makes a very important point. Much of the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton in the Early National period focused around each's vision for the country. Jefferson wanted for the fledging country to remain an agriculture based economy while Hamilton wanted the US economy to be more manufacturing based similar to England at that time. This debate over the future of America's economy grew to a fevered pitch in post Civil War America when industrialization really began to take off in the US. It was at this time parties such as the Grangers and later the Progressive Party were formed to "protect" or represent America's agriculture society. At first, the "Robber barons" or "Captains of Industry" were the champions of manufacturing, however, later, unions began taking up the causes important to industrialization. The most significant factor, however, in manufacturing's victory over agriculture was the increase in urbanization.

Today a very similar debate is being waged, but instead of manufacturing being pitted against the agriculture community, rather, manufacturing is being pitted against the Service industry. Now, before I receive E-mails saying that the country can not all work in restaurants, I feel compelled to define what the service industry entails. The service includes, Lawyers, accountants, engineers, civil servants, health care providers, and many other fields that require some level of post High School education.

According toThe Department of Health and Human Services : In 1995, 62 percent of high school graduates in this age group (25-29)had completed some college, and 28 percent had received at least a Bachelor’s degree.

This is an important fact when considering the future path of the US economy. Nobody seeks higher education only to work on an assembly line. They go to avoid such demanding labor and achieve more than their parents did(the American Dream.) Now, with more than half of high school graduates seeking higher education, the economy MUST transition to a different form to accommodate this up and coming demographic. This accommodation is represented by the gradual switch of the US economy from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy. This trend leads to US ownership and management, of corporations with US designers and engineers working in the US utilization foreign labor to produce the product.

Now, to tie this into what Mr. Friedman said, the unemployment rate now(even as low as it is, 6.1%, in a relative sense) is taking people from the manufacturing sector and moving them into the service sector. This is a logical move considering the increase in standard of living, referring to personal health, that accompanies such a move. Those who stand to lose the most from this transition are the labor unions of who's members make up a large portion of the Democrat Party.. So, this so called "jobless recovery" that many in the Democrat party are calling the current economic period is actually a transition period in the US economy, much like that experienced in the late 19th century, and Democrats are standing in the way of economic progress when they pander to their base and seek to prevent the current economic evolution!

Monday, September 15, 2003

I think somebody has been reading my blog! Well, maybe not, but I tried to make this very point some time ago ,all be it less effectively!

The gist is: "Six months before, the world had cheered as the statues of the dictator came crashing down. The Americans had seemed heroic. But now things were going very badly. The occupation was chaotic, the American soldiers were hated and they were facing threats from the surviving supporters of the dictator, whose whereabouts were uncertain.

Washington seemed unwilling to pay the enormous bill for reconstruction, and the president didn't appear to have any kind of workable plan to manage the transition to democracy. European allies, distrustful of the arrogant American outlook, were wary of co-operating. To many, it looked like the victory had been betrayed, since the American values of democracy, equality and well-being seemed unlikely ever to emerge. That's how it looked in Germany in November, 1945."

Read the rest of the story
along with my piece, to put the recent developments in Iraq into Historic perspective.

Friday, September 12, 2003

A message from President Bush regarding September 11.

Two years ago, more than 3,000 innocent people lost their lives when a calm September morning was shattered by terrorists driven by hatred and destruction.
On that day, and in its aftermath, we saw the greatness of America in the bravery of victims; in the heroism of first responders who laid down their lives to save others; in the compassion of people who stepped forward to help those they had never met; and in the generosity of millions of Americans who enriched our country with acts of service and kindness. Since that day, we have seen the greatness of America further demonstrated in the courage of our brave men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and around the world to advance freedom and prevent terrorist attacks on America.

As we remember September 11, 2001, we reaffirm the vows made in the earliest hours of our grief and anger. As liberty's home and defender, America will not tire, will not falter, and will not fail in fighting for the safety and security of the American people and a world free from terrorism. We will continue to bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to them. This Patriot Day, we hold steady to this task.
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2003, as Patriot Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services and candlelight vigils. I also call upon the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day. In addition, I call upon all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time to honor the innocent victims who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.

And here are some excerpts from the Solicitor General on September 11.
'We Shall Prevail'
Victory is the debt we owe to those who died two years ago.

Thursday, September 11, 2003 10:29 a.m. EDT
We gather today to remember and pay tribute with our hearts and our tears to the loved ones, friends, colleagues and fellow Americans who were savagely murdered on this date two years ago. .....
The audacity of the attack, the breathtaking scope of the damage inflicted, and the depth and intensity of the inhuman rage that propelled the attackers is simply incomprehensible to us. Each of us that day was in some way a victim of a level and quality of violence that most of us had never even imagined in our lives. And we each suffer today in different ways from those September 11 moments when the ground beneath us trembled and our lives forever changed......
Their suffering and deaths must fuel our dedication to stamp out this cancer, and, in doing so, save those we love, and those who come after us, from future September elevens and the pain, loneliness and helplessness we experienced on that day two years ago and have lived with every day since then.

We can never forget, but we can never even rest until that debt is paid, and September 11 can be remembered not as a beginning of a slide into chaos, but as the beginning of the end of blind, ruthless, random brutality, and the tears of orphaned children, the screams of hideously burned bodies, and the numbing grief that terrorism delivers.

We cannot give up until that goal is attained, whether it comes in our lifetime or not. If we do not persevere, we will be haunted for eternity by the memories of those who were taken from us on September 11. We cannot forget them or let them down.......

But we can succeed if we have the strength, resolution and the willingness to persevere.

The rest can be found at opinionjournal

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Two Years after the attacks of September 11, it is important to continue to pray for the those who were lost and those who are in the thick of the War started on that fateful day. We must reflect on our personal feelings of that tragedy and understand the nature of the fight we are currently engaged in.

In the Days following September 11th, the most important thing the Nation needed was defiance and steadfast resolve in the face of that horrible tragedy. Now, two years later, the nation needs patience and understanding of the significance of that infamous day.

What has been accomplished in these two short years is nothing short of remarkable. First, we have disrupted our primary attacker's base of operation, that being Afghanistan and the Taliban. We have transformed Afghanistan from a 3rd world haven of evil to a fledgling democracy, one that has far to travel in its overall journey to freedom and liberty but much less of one than it did just two years ago when it was a model of oppression and terror. Al Qaida no longer has a safe haven it can look to for safety and freedom from the prying eyes of those of whom they seek to destroy. They are now resigned to hiding in caves, no longer having the ability to operate in the open as they once did. Furthermore, the leadership of Al Qaida, and those who wish to follow them, have the ever present thought that one wrong move and they could find themselves in the cross hairs of a hellfire missile. Finally, those who wish to support Al Qaida, have the ever-present specter of the potential of ending up in jail and loosing all their worldly assets, but hey what do they need worldly possessions for anyway, they get those 72 virgins right?

Next, one of the charter members of the Axis of Evil is no more and that country is moving towards a government based on freedom and democracy. Make no mistake about it, Iraq and the former regime of Saddam Hussein, was Evil. This is shown in the countless mass graves uncovered, filled not by American bombs or UN sanctions, but by the brutality and oppressive actions of Saddam. In addition, some evidence of his WMD program has been released, but the true evidence, the smoking gun, is soon to come. Saddam was not a benevolent individual attacked by the US, but rather an evil dictator who, given the opportunity, would like nothing more than to see the US destroyed and because of which suffered the very fate he wished upon us.

Many myopic policy makers have questioned how the Iraq campaign fits into the war on Al Qaida, that question, in and of itself, is misguided. First off, let us remember what President Bush called for, A War on Terror. There were no limitations to just Al Qaida, but the qualifier "we will make no distinctions between those terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." The Secretary of State later defined the terror organizations in question as those with global reach. That being said, it is important to note that an Iraqi intelligence officer, Abid Al-Karim Muhamed Aswod, assigned to the Iraq embassy in Pakistan, was responsible for the coordination of activities between Iraq and Osama bin Laden. There were many meetings between the two organizations, and at best a loose agreement of ideas and goals between the two groups. Furthermore, certain groups, loyal if not connected to Al Qaida were found to be operating in Iraq prior to our attack. Finally, we must understand that this is a War on Terror, and Iraq, situated between the three largest supporters of Global Terror, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, is a beachhead in this new war and a vital strategic base of operations.

September 11 was not the opening volley in the current war we are engaged in, but the most costly and noticeable one that resigned this nation to action. We must not forget the first attack on the WTC, or the attack on the USS Cole, or the attack on the two American embassies and we certainly should heed the lessons of inaction in response to those past attacks and understand that weakness and inaction only emboldens our enemies and encourages them to carry out larger and larger attacks. We must understand that regimes and the enemies of freedom and democracy can not be vanquished overnight, nor can democracies and free nations based on Liberty and equality be built in a time period suitable to fit the 24 hour news cycle. We must understand the fight we joined on September 11th is the first Great War of the 21st century. Many in my generation have not lived through such a great endeavor and many that have lived through the great wars of the 20th century are lulled to sleep by the differing nature of World War Three. Make no mistake about it, we are involved in a great World War begun on September 11. The Nature of the fight has changed, but the stakes are just as high. We can not falter, we can not fail, and we can not relinquish the initiative. The fight has been joined, and victory is the only acceptable outcome, for if we fail, or if we disengage, the forces of evil and oppression will have won.

We must continue to roll, and defeat those who wish to destroy us and all we stand for. We may not wish this great task be placed upon our country, nor we may not want the sacrifices, both past and future, or the burdens we face in the coming battles, but divine providence has place us in the unique position as the one chosen to fight this battle, and like it or not, these are our tasks to perform. For if we deny our duties, many will suffer, many will die, and the forces of Evil will gain the initiative as a result of our lack of resolve.