The Echo Chamber
Friday, November 08, 2002
  9:30 PM

Any Violation is Serious, and Don't Call me Shirley

Does anyone else think that the United States and the U.N. Security Council have two completely different interpretations of what was agreed to today?

The United States interpretation

"He must submit to any and all methods to verify his compliance. His cooperation must be prompt and unconditional or he will face the severest consequences," the president said.

A senior administration official, briefing reporters at the White House, said: "The president left no doubt what those consequences would be: A military operation to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction and to change the regime."

...While the United States made some concessions to wary allies, the resolution meets the White House's key demands for tougher U.N. weapons inspections and the flexibility to take military action against Iraq if inspectors say Baghdad isn't complying...But Bush said he would not be handcuffed by the resolution, which he said addresses the concerns of allies "without jeopardizing our freedom of action."

A senior administration official, talking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States would be obliged to participate in a debate over violations but that does not limit Bush's right to act without the U.N. if he chooses to do so.

U.N. Security Council interpretation
China, France, and Russia issued a joint statement saying the resolution excludes any automatic use of force. The three countries said the Security Council must decide what to do if Iraq fails to meet the U.N. demands.
The International Herald Tribune thinks they've got it figured out:
The new measure still leaves the United States free to attack Iraq without a formal second UN resolution authorizing the use of force. But it requires the Security Council to assess any serious violation that could lead to war.
How can the U.S. be free to attack and also be bound to the assessment of the Security Council? And what violations would the U.S. consider serious?
In a speech to the Security Council after the vote, Negroponte, the chief U.S. envoy to the U.N., said "to the government of Iraq, our message is simple: non-compliance no longer is an option." Every act of Iraqi non-compliance, he added, "will be a serious matter, because it would tell us that Iraq has no intention of disarming."
The resolution excludes automatic use of force (according to the U.N. Security Council), but the United States is free to act without another resolution but is first obligated to debate the seriousness of violations...but all violations are serious.

Of course the Council knew of these conflicting interpretations and passed the resolution anyway. The only reason the Council passed the resolution was fear of the loss of U.N. prestige if the U.S. acted without them. The Council reasons that if Iraq cooperates, the conflicting interpretations won't matter.

But the conflict will come to a head quickly. Iraq has seven days to communicate acceptance of the resolution. Iraq will likely communicate some form of acceptance, but will then start dictating conditions. This in the eyes of the U.S. will constitute a serious violation. So will we just start bombing or will we argue the definition of "serious" with the U.N. Security Council? 


Thursday, November 07, 2002
  10:40 AM

Terry McAuliffe Death Watch

Yesterday morning on FoxNews Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe comes on bragging that 52% of Americans are waking up to a Democratic governor.

While what he said is probably technically true, this man is living in fantasy land. The election was a historic victory for the Republicans. The smarter strategy for McAuliffe would have been to admit to defeat and begin analyzing what went wrong for the Dems.

Instead, McAuliffe's spun the truth, and then went negative:

"The president got what he asked for (Tuesday) and now he will have to produce... No more blame game. No more nonsense about a dysfunctional Senate. This is his sputtering economy. He must take responsibility for it."
Echos of that terrible Nixon concession speech: "they won't have the Democrats to kick around anymore."

It apparently doesn't matter that the Republican Congress hasn't even been sworn in yet. McAuliffe is already salivating at the thought of a deepening recession or a military quagmire that he can blame on the GOP.

Since McAuliffe's sole job was to get out the Democratic vote, I wouldn't be talking about "production" or "blame" or "dysfunction" or "sputtering" or "taking responsibility" if I were him. 


  12:26 AM

Obviously the conservative blogosphere is just giddy about last night’s election. Everyone is offering their reasons why it happened. I believe that the GOP victory was brought about by the following factors, in this order:
  1. After September 11 the U.S. wants security and wants to give Bush additional power to pursue that goal. While the economy is not great, middle class America knows that it can tighten its belt and survive – IF we don’t get attacked with a weapon of mass destruction.

    The flip side of this security coin is rarely talked about in polite company, but it’s equally true. We are still angry about the attack. America wants to see more dead terrorists. We think a more powerful Bush can deliver this.

  2. Bush’s conduct since 9-11 has been exemplary. Some have said 9-11 made him a better President. I think Bush’s character was less the result of 9-11 than highlighted by 9-11. But beyond character, Bush’s political instincts have been remarkable. He has confounded such experts as Dick Morris. And his popularity is so resilient that he was able to campaign heavily for his party and not suffer a significant loss in his approval rating.

  3. The fact that the Democratic party is still heavily Clintonian has hurt it deeply in the Bush era. When Bush promised to restore character to the White House, the Democrats laughed. No one is laughing today. When Bush shows up at a rally, he fires up his base, convinces swing voters, and even gains some grudging respect from confirmed Dems. When Clinton shows up, he reminds the swing voters of his shameful administration and fires up the Republican base.

  4. The shameful Wellstone memorial rally had a backlash not only in Minnesota, but nationwide. That event would not have happened but for Clinton’s influence over the past ten years. Defenders of the rally said that with Wellstone, it was simply not possible to separate the personal from the political. After 9-11, the country no longer accepts such shallow amoral partisanship.

    I remember a Clinton interview during his second term where the interviewer asked whether questions about his character bothered him. In his reply Clinton did not take issue with the characterization of his private character, but argued that his positions on public policy demonstrated his character. What utter drivel. Character and dignity are separate, apart, and beyond politics.

  5. Democratic loyalists mistakenly projected their own anger over the 2000 election onto voters. The Republicans made a similar misstep with the Clinton scandals. Bush avoided repeating that mistake when he played down the scandal of Clinton's departure.

  6. The least important factor is the explanation I’m hearing most often on the news channels: That the Democrats lacked the courage of their convictions, that if they had only taken an ideological stand on the issues of the day the outcome would have been different.

    Please, please, please let the Democrats believe this. Let them move to the left and send Hillary out to meet Bush in 2004. It will be Reagan v. Mondale all over again.

    The truth is that the Democrats were right to attempt to hide their ideology from the American people. When America is united, liberalism fades. It takes a country with deep racial, ethnic, and class divisions for liberalism to truly thrive.

 


Wednesday, November 06, 2002
  9:09 AM

I'll give my two-cents on last night's election after I finish celebrating.

For now, enjoy "Dancing Bush." 


Tuesday, November 05, 2002
  10:42 AM

Fevered Rants got the Louisiana franchise for BlogTheVote2002USA. Go check him out.

As for me, here is how I’m voting:

U. S. Senator:

Suzanne Haik Terrell

This Republican has the best chance of getting into a runoff with Landrieu.

U. S. Representative, 4th Congressional District
"Jim" McCrery

Republican incumbent

And now to wade through the constitutional amendments:

CA No. 1 (Act 1231-2001), Changes to Legislative Session

AGAINST

I fear change. Seriously, I don't know what difference this change would make strategically. Therefore, I'm voting against it.

CA No. 2 (Act 88-2002), Ind. & joint income tax schedule

AGAINST

Would increase state income tax in exchange for eliminating sales taxes. Another effort to “stick it to the man.”

CA No. 3 (Act 1236-2001), Procedure for the Legis.to adj.appropriatio

FOR

Allows reduction of spending in areas of the budget that have been "protected" from cuts.

CA No. 4 (Act 166-2002), Removal of public employees from employment

FOR

Requires the termination of state or local public employees convicted of a felony.

CA No. 5 (Act 89-2002), St.Bd. of Commerce to contract ad valorem tax

FOR

Allows property tax exemptions for up to 10 years for developers of retirement
communities.

CA No. 6 (Act 1234-2001), Budget estimate to fund law enforce.& fire

FOR

Pay raise for law enforcement and firefighters.

CA No. 7 (Act 87-2002), Homestead exemption assessment level

FOR

A 1998 amendment gave special property tax breaks for home owners age 65 or older, but it required the seniors to reapply annually. The proposed change would eliminate the annual filing requirement.

CA No. 8 (Act 1235-2001), Higher education to invest in stock up to 5

AGAINST

Would allow public colleges and universities to invest up to 50% of their endowment or other permanent funds in the stock market. I’m all for allowing me to invest part of my social security in the stock market. But this would allow some unknown bureaucrat to invest in certain stocks. This would be ripe for corruption.

CA No. 9 (Act 1232-2001), Permit investment in stock Med. Trust Fund

AGAINST

Would allow the state to invest up to 35% of the medicare trust fund
in the stock market. Again, this is just asking for corruption.

CA No. 10 (Act 1233-2001), Programs to assist farmers

AGAINST

Sets up a fund for groundwater conservation. There certainly room for disagreement with me on this. This would not actually raise taxes but could be a slippery slope to an expensive government program.

CA No. 11 (Act 86-2002), Exemption from ad valorem on drilling rigs

AGAINST

Offshore drilling rigs tax break. Written so specifically that it sounds like it was tailored to benefit one oil driller with enough pull to get it put on the ballot.

CA No. 12 (Act 1230-2001), Qualifications of Coroner, Livingston Paris

NOT VOTING

Its not possible for me to care less whether the Coroner in Livingston Parish is an M.D. or not.
 


  9:53 AM

Another One Bites The Sand

Yesterday we received the news that a car-load of terrorists was blown up in Yemen. Among the dead was a top associate of Usama bin Laden, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi. This guy is thought to have been a mastermind behind the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. I wonder why Clinton didn't think to do this?

So, for al-Qaeda, is it safer to hijack an airplane or ride in a car?

The remaining question is who did this and how. The most reliable reports seem to be that the C.I.A. did this via a predator drone. But there is some talk that a helicopter was seen in the area. And Scott Koenig points to a report in the Arab media that quotes "Gulf intelligence sources" that state the attack was carried out by Navy F/A-18 Hornets from the USS Abraham Lincoln.

I would think that at least in the short term, westerners that remain in Yemen are highly vulnerable. Al-Qaeda is known to have a substantial presence in Yemen’s capital San`a. These guys are going to be looking for revenge within easy reach.

Looks like its going to be a closed casket. 


Monday, November 04, 2002
  10:42 AM

Drew over at Sky Blog is blogging again after a short break. Make sure to pay him a visit. 


Sunday, November 03, 2002
  7:53 AM

To Be a Liberal it Helps to Believe That...
  1. The AIDS virus is spread by a lack of funding.
  2. Global temperatures are affected more by a suburban soccer mom driving an SUV than by documented, cyclical variations in the brightness and intensity of the sun.
  3. Guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein.
  4. Businesses create oppression and government creates prosperity.
  5. Self-esteem is more important than doing anything to earn it.
  6. There was no art before federal funding.
  7. The NRA is a bad organization because it stands up for certain parts of the Constitution, but the ACLU is a good organization because it stands up for certain parts of the Constitution.
  8. Taxes are too low but ATM fees are too high.
  9. Standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas are not.
  10. ANY change in the weather is proof of global warming.
  11. National wealth is determine by what we consume, not by what we produce.
  12. The only wars in which America should become involved are those in which our national security is not at risk.
  13. Perjury and obstruction of justice are impeachable if a Republican president commits them but a harmless, private matter if a Democrat president commits them.
  14. America can have a strong military without spending money on it.
  15. The way to improve public school is to give more money and power to the very people who have misused that power and money to destroy the public schools.
  16. Hunters and fishermen do not care about the environment but pasty-faced activists that rarely venture out-of-doors do.
  17. A bureaucrat living in Washington, D.C. can make better decisions about how to spend the money that you earn than you can.
  18. Being a movie or television star qualifies you to speak out on public policy.
  19. Hillary Clinton is a wonderful example for young women of feminine independence even though she has never accomplished anything worthwhile without riding on the coattails of her unfaithful husband.
  20. A handful of religious whackos living in rural Texas are more of a threat to public safety than Islamic terrorists who wish to plant bombs in major American cities.
  21. Passing new laws are a much better way to curb crime than enforcing the existing ones.
  22. Tax cut are for people who don’t actually pay income taxes.
  23. That the "separation of church and state" disqualifies religious people from public life - unless they're Democrats.
  24. It was scary when congress joined together to sing "God Bless America," but the Wellstone memorial was a moving tribute.
  25. The nation should have sought closure five minutes after Clinton’s "Monica" confession, but should still be seething with anger over the 2000 Presidential election.
  26. You should sign your actual name (not "Seymore Butts") to the "Not in My Name" petition.
  27. The oppression of women, minorities, and homosexuals is rampant in the United States, and rare in the Islamic world.
  28. September 11 was the result of centuries of Western imperialist meddling.
  29. The existence of the Palestinian intifada makes it difficult to define terrorism.
  30. That "might doesn't make right," but further than that, "might makes you wrong."
--courtesy Nealz Nuze (after some additions, subtractions and editing)
 


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