Thursday and Friday

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FYI, Thursday and Friday will be light blogging days for me as I’ll be very busy during the day. Most, if not all, of my posting will be done late in the evenings. Time permitting, I’ll check in to release any comments that are held up in moderation (newbies: please note that your comments will not immediately appear – they have to be approved by me first so do not submit your comment twice). I hope to be able to post one or two blog entries here and there during the day Thurs and Fri but it’s doubtful as I’ll be scarce. I’ll catch up on emails late Thurs and Fri evening as well.

In the meantime, please make sure to check out the ST reader blogs that I have listed right below the recent comments section on the left side column of this page. There, you’ll find what readers of this blog like to write about and you are sure to find many things while reading them that will make you smile and/or think :)

Signed,
Your humble blogstress, counting down the hours til Friday

(BTW, this is my second time posting this – not sure where the other post went!)

AM UPDATE 11:34 AM: Sneaking on here quickly while I have a minute: Sorry about the site access issues. I don’t know what’s going on but other sites like rightwingnuthouse.com (who has the same hosting service I do) was down today as well. I do know my hosting service changed some accounts over to a new server last night and things were working fine here til around 6 AM ET this morning (that’s when I got my last comment email notification). Hopefully things are resolved now. Sorry again for the access issues – fingers crossed that it doesn’t go down again.

Be back to blogging later tonight!

Tell me about you (BUMPED UP)

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(Bumped up so we can hear from those who either didn’t see this post the first time around or started visiting the ST blog afterwards. Newbies, please join in! First time commenters initally start out on moderation, so if you’ve never commented before, your post won’t immediately show up – and in some cases even after you are off moderation the post may be stuck in moderation til I get to releasing it. If you’ve already participated in this thread, but have additional comments or updates on what you last wrote here, please feel free to join in 😀 . Original posting was on 10/5/2005 – 9:21 a.m.)

——————-

Following in the footsteps of Patterico, who had a great idea at his blog last month by asking his readers and commenters to post information about themselves (like where they are from, what they do, their hobbies, favorite sports teams, etc etc) I’m asking the same of the readers and commenters here.

So tell me a bit more about you.   Not asking for deep personal info, just the general stuff.  This will be a great way not only for me to get to know you, but your fellow readers and commenters to, as well.  You already know who I am, so now it’s your turn.  C’mon now, don’t be shy! emoticon

Prepare to learn more about Saddam’s WMD intentions

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I blogged last week about several hours of audio tapes that the House Permanent Select Committee was studying which contained conversations with Saddam Hussein regarding weapons of mass destruction. Tonight, via ABCNews Nightline we’ll get to hear some of those recordings:

Feb. 15, 2006 — ABC News has obtained 12 hours of tape recordings of Saddam Hussein meeting with top aides during the 1990s, tapes apparently recorded in Baghdad’s version of the Oval Office.

ABC News obtained the tapes from Bill Tierney [ST adds: this Bill Tierney] a former member of a United Nations inspection team who translated them for the FBI. Tierney said the U.S. government is wrong to keep these tapes and others secret from the public. “Because of my experience being in the inspections and being in the military, I knew the significance of these tapes when I heard them,” says Tierney. U.S. officials have confirmed the tapes are authentic, and that they are among hundreds of hours of tapes Saddam recorded in his palace office.

One of the most dramatic moments in the 12 hours of recordings comes when Saddam predicts — during a meeting in the mid 1990s — a terrorist attack on the United States. “Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before August 2 and told the British as well … that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction.” Saddam goes on to say such attacks would be difficult to stop. “In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?” But he adds that Iraq would never do such a thing. “This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq.”

Also at the meeting was Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who said Iraq was being wrongly accused of terrorism. “Sir, the biological is very easy to make. It’s so simple that any biologist can make a bottle of germs and drop it into a water tower and kill 100,000. This is not done by a state. No need to accuse a state. An individual can do it.”

The tapes also reveal Iraq ‘s persistent efforts to hide information about weapons of mass destruction programs from U.N. inspectors well into the 1990s. In one pivotal tape-recorded meeting, which occurred in late April or May of 1995, Saddam and his senior aides discuss the fact that U.N. inspectors had uncovered evidence of Iraq’s biological weapons program—a program whose existence Iraq had previously denied.

At one point Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and the man who was in charge of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction efforts can be heard on the tapes, speaking openly about hiding information from the U.N.

“We did not reveal all that we have,” Kamel says in the meeting. “Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct.” Shortly after this meeting, in August 1995, Hussein Kamel defected to Jordan, and Iraq was forced to admit that it had concealed its biological weapons program. (Kamel returned to Iraq in February 1996 and was killed in a firefight with Iraqi security forces.)

It sounds like this tape promises to once again call into question the left’s persistent and insessant “BUSH LIED PEOPLE DIED!!!!!” rants.

The American Thinker also has a story up today that provides more insight into Iraq’s WMD programs:

Via Peter Glover’s website Wires from the bunker, we learn of an interview between Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a southern regional commander for Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen militia in the late 1980s and a personal friend of the dictator and Ryan Mauro of Worldthreats.com.

Only two weeks ago, General Sada, formerly Sadaam’s no 2 Air Force Commander, told the New York Sun that Sadaam’s WMD was moved to Syria just six weeks before the US-led invasion. Now Ali Ibrahim confirms this and explains the underlying strategy of Saddam:

I know Saddam’s weapons are in Syria due to certain military deals that were made going as far back as the late 1980’s that dealt with the event that either capitols were threatened with being overrun by an enemy nation. Not to mention I have discussed this in-depth with various contacts of mine who have confirmed what I already knew. At this point Saddam knew that the United States were eventually going to come for his weapons and the United States wasn’t going to just let this go like they did in the original Gulf War. He knew that he had lied for this many years and wanted to maintain legitimacy with the pan Arab nationalists. He also has wanted since he took power to embarrass the West and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. After Saddam denied he had such weapons why would he use them or leave them readily available to be found? That would only legitimize President Bush, who he has a personal grudge against. What we are witnessing now is many who opposed the war to begin with are rallying around Saddam saying we overthrew a sovereign leader based on a lie about WMD. This is exactly what Saddam wanted and predicted.

Moreover, Ali Ibrahim debunks other shibboleths of the left, including the allegation of no ties between al Qaeda terror and Saddam:

As far as Al-Qaeda is concerned this support was limited for a long time, mainly due to the fact that Al-Qaeda had the hopes of creating an Islamic empire while Saddam wanted a secular Arab nationalist empire. They only really came to terms in the mid-90’s due to the fact that both knew they shared the same short term enemy. Once they came to terms on this Saddam provided Al-Qaeda with intelligence support and whatever money or munitions they could provide. Saddam has had very long standing contacts in the black market as well as with Moscow and would provide whatever munitions he could through these contacts.

Read the whole thing.

Of course, none of this will stop the “BUSH LIED PEOPLE DIED!!!!!” chants coming from the usual suspects, but more and more information keeps coming out that backs up the President’s claims about the potential threat Saddam posed, and why we had to take him out. So many bloggers and others on the left in the opinion media keep misreporting what Charles Duelfer, who took David Kay’s place as leader of the Iraq Survey Group which was in charge of overseeing the search for WMD in post-Saddam Iraq, said about Saddam Hussein’s quest for WMDs. He didn’t rule out the possibility of them being moved to Syria – just said it couldn’t be confirmed one way or the other. Of course there were and are still piles of documents that neither Kay nor Duelfer sifted through. Stephen Hayes writes:

Estimates from people involved in the document exploitation project tell us the U.S. government has in its possession some 2 million “exploitable items.” Of that number, less than 3 percent–somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 items–have been fully exploited. The information that will be made public by the end of this week–28 captured al Qaeda documents and 12 hours of audiotape from Iraq–will provide a glimpse of a fraction of a fraction of the total collection.

Hayes cautions not to overhype nor dismiss the tapes because they don’t prove Saddam had WMD in Iraq at the time the war started. But this new information coming out from these tapes (from what I’ve read) show a serious intent to thwart UN weapons inspectors at every turn, a support for mass terror against America, and a willingness to create WMD as necessary.

Thank you, GWB, for making the decision you made to take out a sworn enemy of this country. In a post 9-11 world, it was the right thing to do. And thanks to the US military and our coalition partners, who’ve been a tremendous help in the fight against terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all over the world.

Read more commentary on this via Jeff Goldstein, Lorie Byrd at Polipundit, Suitably Flip, Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred, The Sundries Shack, Say Anything

Related Toldjah So posts:

Cheney accepts responsibility for shooting accident

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Via Fox News:

NEW YORK — Vice President Dick Cheney said he and he alone was responsible for a weekend hunting accident in which he shot Austin attorney Harry Whittington.

“Ultimately I’m the guy who pulled the trigger, that fired the round that hit Harry,” Cheney said in his first interview since the incident. “I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend, and that’s something I’ll never forget.

Cheney’s first public response following his accidental shooting of a man in the face comes more than 72 hours after it occurred. The interview will be broadcast on “Special Report With Brit Hume” at 6 p.m. EST.

Cheney’s radio silence following the Saturday shooting was met by bewilderment and anger in Washington. But on Wednesday, the vice president seemed to express deep remorse.

“The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out my mind,” Cheney said, somberly. “It was one of the worst days of my life.”

Cheney also filled in some of the blanks of what happened that Saturday evening in south Texas, details of which have been sketchy so far. Self-described hunting and gun experts have been weighing in to blame Cheney for not looking before he shot, blame Whittington for not announcing his presence, or both.

Earlier this week, White House spokesman Scott McClellan implied that Whittington did not follow hunting protocol. On Wednesday, the vice president made clear that he took all the blame.

“It was not Harry’s fault,” he said. “You cannot blame anybody else.”

Problems accessing Little Green Footballs?

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For the last couple of days I’ve had difficulty viewing the Little Green Footballs blog. Today I can’t pull up anything at all. I noticed a few other bloggers linking to recent posts by LGF so I’m wondering who else, if anyone, is having the access issues I’m having with it?

PM UPDATE: I’m able to access LGF here at home just fine. Speculation: Could be some new security program they are using due to the fanatical Islamists who are waging war on the Internet on sites that dare to republish the Mohammed cartoons – perhaps they’ve stepped up security at LGF and in turn my ISP is blocking access to the site during the day?? I dunno .

Media double standard on offending Muslims

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The bigwigs in the media both here at home and abroad have gone out of their ways to explain to us how, out of sensitivity to Muslims, they won’t publish the offending Mohammed cartoons. Yet they don’t seem to mind offending Muslims when it comes to displaying yet more photos/video from the Abu Ghraib scandal – horrible abuses that happened two years ago that surfaced early to the middle of last year in the press.

Keep in mind that the people involved in the abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib at that time are being punished accordingly – this story is not new news, outside of showing “new” photos of the same abuse we saw when this story first broke last year. So why the need to pile on? Hmmm.

Here’s a breakdown:

The Washington Post on the publishing of the Mohammed cartoons:

[ Editorial Page Editor Fred] Hiatt also could have chosen to run the cartoons depicting Muhammad. Downie oversees the news pages. And the wall of separation between editorial and news is high, very high.

But Hiatt said he would have made the same decision. “I would not have chosen to publish them, given that they were designed to provoke and did not, in my opinion, add much to any important debate. Should our calculation change once the story becomes big, because the cartoons are suddenly ‘newsworthy’? If it was essential to see them in order to understand the story, then maybe. But in this case, the dispute isn’t really about what the cartoons look like . . . it’s about the fact that he was depicted at all. The cartoons were easily explainable in words. Why reprint something you know will offend many of your readers?”

The Washington Post on the new Abu Ghraib photos/video today (note photo and video links in the middle right side of the page).

CNN on the publishing of the Mohammed cartoons:

CNN is not showing the negative caricatures of the likeness of the Prophet Mohammed because the network believes its role is to cover the events surrounding the publication of the cartoons while not unnecessarily adding fuel to the controversy itself.

CNN on the new Abu Ghraib photos/video today.

The NYT on the publishing of the Mohammed cartoons:

“On the one hand, we have abundant evidence that a significant number of people — some of them our readers — consider these cartoons deeply offensive and inflammatory” Mr. Keller wrote. “Indeed, to publish them after seeing the outrage and violence across the Islamic world could be perceived as a particularly deliberate insult” he said.

“On the other hand” he continued, “we feel we can quite adequately convey the nature of the cartoons by describing them.” I quite agree. I doubt that the descriptions of the cartoons in Times articles over the past four days have left many readers with any major questions about why the drawings could offend Muslims or why some people might find humor in them.

The NYT on the new Abu Ghraib photos today: Nothing yet. I’ll update when it happens. PM UPDATE I: The NYT joins the reporting on this story here.

Don’t let the media fool you when they talk about not wanting to ‘offend’ Muslims. They have no problems with it at all – at least not if it fans the flames of hatred against the US under the Bush administration.

(Hat tip: Tim Blair)

Others blogging about this: Stop The ACLU

PM UPDATE II: Antonia, you still don’t get it . It’s not about any mythical double standard on the part of ‘hateful blogbursters’ of wanting the media to censor Abu Ghraib photos while at the same time requesting they post the ‘offending’ Mohammed cartoons. It’s about the very real media double standard on not wanting to’ offend the sensibilities of Muslims’ – a rule they only seem to selectively follow, as this post has pointed out. Get a clue, woman.

Related Toldjah So posts:

NYT denounces US, Israel on handling of Hamas – but praises Putin

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Can you believe this?

On the wrong side lies the kind of deliberate destabilization that, according to a report by our Times colleague Steven Erlanger, Washington and Jerusalem are now discussing. That would involve a joint American-Israeli campaign to undermine a Hamas government by putting impossible demands on it, starving it of money and putting even greater restrictions on the Palestinians with an eye toward forcing new elections that might propel the defeated and discredited Fatah Party back to power.

Set aside the hypocrisy such a course would represent on the part of the two countries that have shouted the loudest about the need for Arab democracy, and consider the probable impact of such an approach on the Palestinians. They are already driven to distraction by fury, frustration and poverty. Is it really possible to expect that more punishment from the Israelis and the Americans, this time for not voting the way we wanted them to, would lead them to abandon Hamas?

In the long, sorry history of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, there is not a shred of evidence to support the notion that pushing the Palestinian population into more economic desperation would somehow cause them to moderate their political views. In fact, experience teaches the exact opposite.

Fatah lost last month’s election because its incompetence and corruption drove Palestinian voters into the arms of the more austere, social-services-oriented Hamas. If the new government fails to deliver because it puts continued terrorism over the well-being of the Palestinian people, it may indeed be booted out of office. But a Hamas that could explain continued Palestinian misery by a deliberate American-Israeli plan to reverse the democratic verdict of the polls would be likely to become only stronger.

Washington publicly asserts that no such plan is being discussed. A far wiser course for the United States to pursue would be to step back and desist from deliberately provoking the Palestinians, and give Hamas a chance to reconsider its own options. Some hints about its intentions may emerge from the way its leaders respond to overtures by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Last week, Mr. Putin indicated that he intended to invite them to Moscow for a visit.

Mr. Putin’s move was controversial in the West, and perhaps he should have provided more warning. But that would be a minor snub indeed if he prods Hamas toward renouncing terrorism, accepting Israel’s right to exist and reviving the peace process.

Oh sure, like that’s going to happen.

Is the NYT being willfully ignorant here or what? I can’t figure it out.

Related Toldjah So posts:

Fanatical Islamists wage war on the Internet over cartoons

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Michelle Malkin blogs today about her blog recently being hit by what she describes as a “large, foreign-based denial of service attack.” She goes on to write even more disturbing news about a concerted effort from Islamic hackers to hack into and take over websites that have published the offending cartoons, and also includes a sampling of the threatening emails she has received.

Consider it a must-read. It goes without saying that what’s happening here is disturbing and scary. The fanatics are trying to intimidate from the streets and on the web as well.

A couple of days ago here I had a really hard time accessing my admin controls for most of the day. Makes me wonder …..

As a sidenote, I wonder if Antonia ‘there’s hate behind the right wing offending cartoons blogburst’ Zerbisias will be reporting on this anytime soon?

(Cross-posted at California Conservative)

Related Toldjah So posts:

On selective ‘hate crime’ labelling

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Jeff Jacoby has an excellent piece in the Boston Globe regarding the terminology being used to describe the disturbing cases of the Baptists churches that have been burned in Alabama – in comparison with the terminology that has been used to describe other incidents of a similar nature in the past. He writes:

SUPPOSE THAT in 2005 unknown hoodlums had firebombed 10 gay bookstores and bars in San Francisco, reducing several of them to smoking rubble. It takes no effort to imagine the alarm that would have spread through the Bay Area’s gay community or the manhunt that would have been launched to find the attackers. The blasts would have been described everywhere as ”hate crimes,” editorial pages would have thundered with condemnation, and public officials would have vowed to crack down on crimes against gays with unprecedented severity.

[…]

In the past two weeks, 10 Baptist churches have been burned in rural Alabama. Five churches in Bibb County — Ashby Baptist, Rehobeth Baptist, Antioch Baptist, Old Union Baptist, and Pleasant Sabine — were torched between midnight and 3 a.m. on Feb. 3. Four days later, arsonists destroyed or badly damaged Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Greene County, Dancy First Baptist Church in Pickens County, and two churches in Sumter County, Galilee Baptist and Spring Valley Baptist. On Saturday, Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in northwest Alabama became the 10th house of worship to go up in flames.

Ten arson attacks against 10 churches — all of them Baptist, all in small Alabama towns, all in the space of eight days: If anything is a hate crime, obviously this is.

Or is it? ”We’re looking to make sure this is not a hate crime and that we do everything that we need to do,” FBI Special Agent Charles Regan told reporters in Birmingham. Make sure this is not a hate crime? If 10 Brooklyn synagogues went up in flames in a little over a week, wouldn’t investigators start from the assumption that the arson was motivated by hatred of Jews? If 10 Cuban-American shops and restaurants in Miami were deliberately burned to the ground, wouldn’t the obvious presumption be that anti-Cuban animus was involved?

Apparently Baptist churches are different.

He goes on to provide quotes from law ‘experts’ that indicate those folks don’t think these could be considered ‘hate crimes’. Jacoby finishes the piece and nails the misguided notions behind ‘hate crime’ laws:

In 1996, a spate of fires in the South was wildly and falsely trumpeted in the media as an eruption of racism. ”We are facing an epidemic of terror,” said Deval Patrick, the Clinton administration’s assistant attorney general for civil rights. But as it turned out, there was no racist conspiracy. More than a third of the arsonists arrested were black, and more than half the churches burned were white. So perhaps it is progress of a sort that, this time around, the media are keeping in check the urge to cry ”Racism!”

But real progress will come only when we abandon the whole misguided notion of ”hate crimes,” which deems certain crimes more deserving of outrage and punishment not because of what the criminal did, but because of the group to which the victim belonged. The burning of a church is a hateful act regardless of the congregants’ skin color. That some people bend over backward not to say so is a disgrace.

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: Betsy Newmark)

Congressional probe of NSA surveillance may not happen afterall

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The Washington Post is reporting this morning that the WH lobbying campaign has swayed a few key GOP lawmakers in Congress to the point where they are reconsidering whether not an Congressional probe is necessary:

Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.

The Senate intelligence committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a Democratic-sponsored motion to start an inquiry into the recently revealed program in which the National Security Agency eavesdrops on an undisclosed number of phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents without obtaining warrants from a secret court. Two committee Democrats said the panel — made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats — was clearly leaning in favor of the motion last week but now is closely divided and possibly inclined against it.

They attributed the shift to last week’s closed briefings given by top administration officials to the full House and Senate intelligence committees, and to private appeals to wavering GOP senators by officials, including Vice President Cheney. “It’s been a full-court press,” said a top Senate Republican aide who asked to speak only on background — as did several others for this story — because of the classified nature of the intelligence committees’ work.

Lawmakers cite senators such as Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) to illustrate the administration’s success in cooling congressional zeal for an investigation. On Dec. 20, she was among two Republicans and two Democrats who signed a letter expressing “our profound concern about recent revelations that the United States Government may have engaged in domestic electronic surveillance without appropriate legal authority.” The letter urged the Senate’s intelligence and judiciary committees to “jointly undertake an inquiry into the facts and law surrounding these allegations.”

In an interview yesterday, Snowe said, “I’m not sure it’s going to be essential or necessary” to conduct an inquiry “if we can address the legislative standpoint” that would provide oversight of the surveillance program. “We’re learning a lot and we’re going to learn more,” she said.

Maybe they’ve come to the conclusions that the ‘whistleblower(s)’ and ‘concerned’ Democrats like Jay Rockefeller in this case were doing little more than just blowing smoke? It should be noted that the more moderate Senators like Snowe generally stick to their middle-of-the-road guns and don’t give in to WH pressure, so this is a pretty significant change in attitude on the part of Snowe (and also Hagel).

Captain Ed speculates on other reasons:

Another reason for the ebbing of outrage by Congress, although unspoken and unreported by Babington, has to be the reaction of the American people. Having been informed that the administration authorized warrantless surveillance on international communications between people with ties to al-Qaeda and people in the US, the American electorate … yawned.

Yep. This poll is a strong indicator of that.

No doubt the usual suspects are blowing a gasket over this story this morning and will be fuming that their favorite moderates look like they are “caving.” Awww.

Read more commentary via AJ Strata

Related: The Media Lies blog examines whether or not the courts have found warrantless surveillance of US citizens is sometimes permissible (thanks to ST reader Fat Tone for the tip)

Prior Toldjah So posts on the NSA surveillance ‘scandal’: