Saturday, July 12, 2003

Did Ann Coulter write all of her latest book?

On Friday (11 July 2003), Ann Coulter was interviewed on CBN's 700 Club. That's the Pat Robertson outfit. We were struck by her unsteady performance and especially her failure to speak at lenghth about what "good" McCarthy had done. As a result, we wondered if Coulter had written all of her book, of if a substantial portion was ghost-written. In any event, we provide the complete transcript of the interview below:

Ann Coulter. Ann has written three best-selling books including her latest, Treason, Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. Ann, it's a pleasure to welcome you back to the 700 Club.  
Thank you, it's nice to be here.  
You have made a reputation writing provocative books and making provocative statements over the years, but wow, you've really tackled a big one here with your latest book defending Joe McCarthy. And just to refresh everyone's memory here, McCarthy was a Republican senator from the state of Wisconsin, who led the investigation of alleged un-American activities in government. He's been vilified ever since. So what prompted you to take up his cause?  
Um, because of the Orwellian behemoth nature of the myth. In fact, what you just said about him is not right. He was not on the House Un-American Activities Committee, it was a Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, investigating the federal government - after the Hiss case and the Rosenberg case - two Soviet spies working for the government, passing in the Rosenbergs' case atomic technology to our mortal enemy. Senator McCarthy thought it might we wise not to have security risks working in the code room of the Pentagon. He had nothing to do with the HUAC investigations, the Hollywood blacklisting, he never called private individuals before his committee. It's just a huge Orwellian fraud that the left has maintained for fifty years so that no one will notice that they sheltered, defended, traitors. Interviewer did not say McCarthy was on HUAC. (see row above)
Even one that conservatives buy into (obviously) now.  
Yes! It's quite a myth that has to be dismantled.  
You spend a lot of time in Treason talking about what you call "the myth of McCarthyism." You say whatever we think we know is basically a lie. What is the truth about McCarthy?  
Um, the truth is, well, what I just described. Um, he was investigating, um, loyalty risks in the federal government. Um, um, I suppose the other point about him is the big argument against McCarthy has always been that he was imagining some crazy Communist conspiracy to infiltrate the government. Um, and we now know on the basis of decrypted Soviet cables that if anything McCarthy underestimated the problem. There were hundreds of Soviet spies infiltrating the government, turning over secrets to the Soviet Union. Because of the Democratic Party's moral infirmity and incompetence, all of America lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation for the next fifty years. It's a shameful history. The Democratic Party did that to this country and they've hidden their collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis by making McCarthy the issue. They were screamed [sic] and were hysterical and described some fictional event: McCarthy holding the nation captive. Um. liberals were not cowering in their bedrooms, afraid of Joe McCarthy. They were having a ball. Um, they were caterwauling, screaming from the rooftop about this brute McCarthy. All elite establishmentarian opinion was against McCarthy, but Americans were with him. Note the lack of any detail about what McCarthy did.
You also say that liberals get upset when anyone questions their patriotism. But you say that liberals are not as patriotic as conservatives. That's a provocative statement right there, because I think of someone like George McGovern - who could be more liberal than him - but he was a decorated World War Two bomber pilot. How do you say that they're more, that they're less patriotic than conservatives.  
Well, two points. The first one is, that is the one thing we're not allowed to talk about in America. That is banned from free speech during the war on terrorism. There have been, you know, vast peace marches, anti-war protests, American flag burning, denunciations of the president - even from abroad. No one is intimidating those people. No one is trying to stop those people from speaking. But I say liberals and the Democratic Party just aren't as patriotic as the Republican Party and, wow, then, then people really get angry. Everyone's yelling and hysterical. They're the ones trying to intimidate me, from bringing this table [sic] up for discussion. The Democrats feel perfectly comfortable saying that Republicans aren't as good on civil rights, aren't as good on women's issues, are Fascist racist dogs, curs. But you may never say that the Democratic Party is not as patriotic as the Republican party. Meanwhile, this was a party that was a refuge for Soviet spies and traitors during the 50's, it loses wars, lost continents to Communism, our embassies are stormed, hostages taken. Throughout eight years of the Reagan administration they nay-sayed and caterwauled Ronald Reagan's every, every move in the Cold War. Ronald Reagan called the ball, the shot, and the pocket and he won the game. And liberals called their ball, their shot, and their pocket and they were completely wrong. And now in the war on terrorism we're getting the exact same nay-saying, and "Oh, we have to be nice to the enemy. They need our tender ministrations," and "Back down and don't upset the enemy." It's a strategy that has just been proved not very long ago not to work. So why are they hauling it out again? What is their goal?  
I just want to ask you, how do you think the liberals would handle - let's say Al Gore won the election - how do you think he would handle the war on terrorism?  
I think he would wrap himself in a warm blanket and hold a town hall meeting.  
(chuckles) All right. Let me ask you this, what do you think liberals want this country to be?  
Um, I don't think they really care about this country. I think they see themselves as part of an international elite. Why were they demanding we get approval from global organizations, from foreign countries, before acting in this country's national defense? I mean simply making that argument, "Oh no, we can't attack Iraq until we have the approval of the allies" - France and Germany. Um, I suppose you could call them allies. It's a theory that's never been tested. Um, but why were they stamping their feet and demanding that? It is one thing to make the argument that it's not in America's self-interest, national defense interest, to be invading Iraq, invading Afghanistan. I happen to think that's a tough argument to make, but that's at least a principled objection. To be saying we can't act when we think it's in America's self-defense because we haven't gotten approval from the Vichy government. That is just - automatically - outrageous.  
Ann, I don't have too much longer for this, but I wanted to get something that's not directly related to your book. I want to ask you a question about the Supreme Court. If and when an opening for a new justice occurs, do you think President Bush will have the courage to nominate a true conservative? Or have the Senate filibusters over the lower court nominees totally intimidated him?  
No. I think that is the one thing, one of a few things, you can absolutely count on President Bush for. Perhaps these will be famous last words, but I think he's learned from his father's appointment of Justice Souter. And I think that is not a mistake he's going to make.  
Ann Coulter's book is Treason. It's available at bookstores and through our website at Ann, thanks for being with us again on the 700 Club. We appreciate it.  
Thank you.  


Worse than the book:

The audio CD


Friday, July 11, 2003

What George Bush was taught as a child about our 1st president:

ALSO: Mark A. R. Kleiman has some good observations on the Niger story.


Hot stuff:

William Rivers Pitt (@ Liberal Slant) writes a blistering essay, Mr. Bush, You Are A Liar. Check it out.


On the road:

E. J. Dionne Jr. writes about Bush's bad week and how the administration is on the defensive - mainly about the Niger-yellowcake story. (He says, "The president's free ride is over.") We can't help but wonder if the administration is having a harder time with the PR because so many of them are traveling with the president. It's got to be harder to coordinate a response when everybody is scattered hither and yon. Therefore, we encourage Bush to travel overseas more often.


Why the DCI?

In a widely reported story about the Niger-yellowcake line in the State of the Union address, Condoleezza Rice is quoted as saying:
"The C.I.A. cleared the speech in its entirety.''   "If the C.I.A. - the director of Central Intelligence - had said, 'Take this out of the speech,' it would have been gone.'
But she could have just as easily said:
"The Vice President's office cleared the speech in its entirety.''   "If the Vice President's office - Dick Cheney - had said, 'Take this out of the speech,' it would have been gone.'
George Tenet, watch out. They're after you.


Connecting the dots: (well, more accurately, following the links)

Josh Marshall at TPM has a few words about conservatives like Ciifford May in the NRO, who, among other things, is attacking Joseph Wilson IV. (He's the former ambassador who was dispatched to check out the Niger-yellowcake story, found it to be without merit, reported it to the CIA, and wrote an OpEd about it in the New York Times last week.) May claims that Wilson is "a pro-Saudi, leftist partisan with an ax to grind" and notes that Wilson wrote an article this February in the Nation. That was news to us. We pretty much assumed that the "former ambassador" we were hearing about, and who eventually outed himself as J Wilson IV, was totally apolitical. Apparently not. Anyway, his essay in the Nation was pretty interesting. It's worth a read. Here are some excerpts: (emphasis added)
The upcoming military operation also has one objective, though different from the several offered by the Bush Administration. This war is not about weapons of mass destruction. The intrusive inspections are disrupting Saddam's programs, as even the Administration has acknowledged. Nor is it about terrorism. Virtually all agree war will spawn more terrorism, not less. It is not even about liberation of an oppressed people. Killing innocent Iraqi civilians in a full frontal assault is hardly the only or best way to liberate a people. The underlying objective of this war is the imposition of a Pax Americana on the region and installation of vassal regimes that will control restive populations.

The neoconservatives with a stranglehold on the foreign policy of the Republican Party, a party that traditionally eschewed foreign military adventures, want to go beyond expanding US global influence to force revolutionary change on the region. American pre-eminence in the Gulf is necessary but not sufficient for the hawks. Nothing short of conquest, occupation and imposition of handpicked leaders on a vanquished population will suffice. Iraq is the linchpin for this broader assault on the region. The new imperialists will not rest until governments that ape our worldview are implanted throughout the region, a breathtakingly ambitious undertaking, smacking of hubris in the extreme.


"Events, dear boy, events" [Harold Macmillan]


Thursday, July 10, 2003


Because of recent decisions about affirmative action and sodomy laws by judges appointed long ago, the editors at the National Review are ready to fault the Republicans for not being conservative enough, and ask, "Do conservatives need to declare independence from the GOP?"

OUR TAKE: The gay issue really frosts these guys.


CBS exclusive:

On the CBS Evening News, there was this story, which was identified as a CBS exclusive: (excerpts)
Bush Knew Iraq Info Was False

Senior administration officials tell CBS News the President’s mistaken claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa was included in his State of the Union address -- despite objections from the CIA.

CIA officials warned members of the President’s National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.

The White House officials responded that a paper issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” As long as the statement was attributed to British Intelligence, the White House officials argued, it would be factually accurate. The CIA officials dropped their objections and that’s how it was delivered.
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” Mr. Bush said.
The statement was technically correct, since it accurately reflected the British paper. But the bottom line is the White House knowingly included in a presidential address information its own CIA had explicitly warned might not be true.
Could be big, but only time will tell. At a minimum, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has some 'splainin' to do

UPDATE: This item has caught the attention of Atrios, DailyKOS, Calpundit, Drudge's front page, Busy, Busy, Busy, the History News Network guy, and Josh Marshall's TPM, just to name a few.

ADDENDUM: A further complication to the story, from the Washington Post:
CIA wanted British to drop uranium reference

In September 2002, the CIA tried unsuccessfully to persuade the British government to drop from an official intelligence paper a reference to Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Africa that President Bush included in his State of the Union address four months later, senior administration officials said Thursday.

The British government rejected the suggestion, saying it had separate intelligence that had not been made available to the United States.
So, the CIA told the British that their information on African yellowcake was bad. Similar intelligence the U.S. had (essentially derived from the Brits) didn't check out either. But Bush went ahead and used British info which, strictly speaking, hadn't been vetted by the CIA for the White House.

The responsibility keeps ping-ponging around. From the White House to the CIA to MI6 to Joe Wilson IV to the Office of the Vice President to the NSA to the speechwriters to "senior officials" to Italian intelligence to the Pentagon to Ahmed Chalabi to the INC to who knows ...

Very confusing.


Keep an eye on this one:

Miami Herald:
U.S. report on 9/11 to be 'explosive'

The report will show that top Bush administration officials were warned in the summer of 2001 that the al Qaeda terrorist network had plans to hijack aircraft and launch a ``spectacular attack.''
Joe Conason in Salon [premium]: (excerpts)
... U.S. and Italian officials were warned ... that Islamic terrorists might try to hijack an airliner and crash it into the [G8] summit location, with the hopes of killing Bush and others.     ...     And just before the summit opened [in 2001], the Times of London reported that the CIA station chief in Rome had warned Italian secret services of a possible "suicide attack" by al-Qaida.

Almost simultaneously, on July 26, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft abruptly stopped flying on commercial aircraft, reportedly due to a "threat assessment" by the FBI.


How to say it:

According to Webster's, the first entry for pronunciation of Niger is:
Nie-ger   (with a long I sound; click on the word to hear the .wav file)
Not that fancy-schmancy French-sounding Nee-jair (though it is listed 2nd as a pronunciation, Webster's does not provide an audio clip, which it tends to do if there are two equally common usages).


Wednesday, July 09, 2003

What a headline!

The Washington Post has this at the top of one of their reports:
Bush and Rumsfeld Defend Use of Prewar Intelligence on Iraq
Despite Use of False Information, Bush Says He is 'Absolutely Confident' in His Actions
Using false information? In the readers' minds, it may not be confined to foreign policy. Perhaps, one might speculate, false information is being used to determine tax policy. Or to build support for faith-based programs. Or to justify legislation like the PATRIOT act. The possibilities are endless.

But back to the original story. Here is the segment about Rumsfeld's comments to a congressional committee:
On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the United States did not go to war with Iraq because of new evidence of banned weapons but because it saw existing information on Iraqi arms programs in a new light after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit" of weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light -- through the prism of our experience on 9-11."
They saw 5, 10, and 15-year old evidence in a "new light".

Hey, Don! Better take another look at those old Enigma intercepts. There might still be U-boats patrolling off of New Jersey, torpedoes armed, ready to cripple our merchant fleet. Put on your special "prism" goggles, and everything becomes clear.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003

White House vindicated!   Bush told the truth!   CIA confirms!

Poor ol' Josh Marshall is fretting again. He wonders if White House claims are true - that there was intelligence (other than the forged Niger document) showing that Iraq had obtained, or was about to obtain, uranium from Africa. He writes:
This was always one of the most intriguing elements of the White House's defense. Because they seemed to be referring to intelligence so top-secret and rarefied that they couldn't even share it with the CIA or other members of the intelligence community. It was so top-secret that only the president's speech writers had sufficiently high security clearances to see it.
Well, we have uncovered the documents that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam was up to his eyeballs in deals for uranium with various African potentates. The CIA (after consultation with the Vice President's office) has declared these document genuine and proof that Saddam was restarting his atomic bomb project - as president Bush has asserted:
To: Saddam Hussein
Subject: Yellowcake

I am pleased to report that we can
deliver 50 tonnes of uranium oxide
to your centrifuge facility over
the next ten months. We shall
commence shipment beginning next

King Farouk
on my yacht somewhere in the Mediterranean
Mr. Hussein,

Yes, we have extensive uranium
ores that we would be happy to
sell to your country for your
industrial projects.

Patrice Lumumba
deep in Katanga province
President S. Hussein -

We don't know why you
want these heavy rocks,
but will willingly trade them
for short handled stabbing

Shaka Zulu

As per your request, we will be shipping
40 cubic cubits of U3O8 as soon as
our latest domestic engineering project
is completed.


Ramses II


Religion and politics:

From (2 Jul 2003) excerpts:
Playing The Bible Card To Raise Taxes In Alabama

Politicians have a penchant for calling on God when they want public support on controversial issues, but tend to ignore God when it comes to moral issues.

... Alabama Gov. Bob Riley is playing the Bible card in an effort to raise taxes in his state by a record $1.2 billion. "Jesus says one of our missions is to take care of the least among us," the governor told the Birmingham News after announcing his plan. "We've got to take care of the poor."

... Gov. Riley of Alabama is doing a disservice to his state and to the Christian community by using the Bible as a rationale for raising taxes.


Silly post #001:
Der Failen Huffenpuffer
     Ein smallisch huffenpuffer mit stacken-smoken und
dinger-lingen ben reachen ein steepish hill. Ach!
Das hill ben upstretchen mit reachen der clouden-
     Ist der huffenpuffer ben failen mit climben das
hill? Nein! Mitout strainen der huffenpuffer ist
reachen der top und starten der descenden. Himmel!
Mit breaknecken speeden und pellmellen und screamisch
rootentooten der huffenpuffer ist failen mit tooken
der curven und oberturnen! Der exploden ben awfulisch!

UPDATE: We have been queried by a number of people about this entry. It has no political message; there is not an anti-Bush screed hidden inside. It was just an opportunity to take a break from the generally depression news we've encountered.


Sunday, July 06, 2003

An anti-communist who really doesn't like Ann Coulter:

In Andrew Sullivan's critical review of Coulter's book Treason, we read this from iconoclast Ron Radosh:
One of the most reputable scholars who has studied the McCarthy era in great detail, Ron Radosh, is appalled at the damage Coulter has done to the work he and many others have painstakingly done over the years. "I am furious and upset about her book," he told me last week. "I am reading it - she uses my stuff, Harvey Klehr and John Haynes, Allen Weinstein etc. to distort what we actually say and to make ludicrous and historically incorrect arguments. You might recall my lengthy and negative review in The New Republic a few years ago of Herman's book on McCarthy; well, she is ten times worse than Herman. At least he tried to use bona fide historical methods of research and argument." Now Radosh has endured ostracism and abuse for insisting that many of McCarthy's victims were indeed Communist spies or agents. But he draws the line at Coulter's crude and inflammatory defense of McCarthy. "I think it is important that those who are considered critics of left/liberalism don't stop using our critical faculties when self-proclaimed conservatives start producing crap."


Did you know?

Sylvester Stallone, born 6 July 1946

George W. Bush, born 6 July 1946


A couple of thoughts:

In a New York Times Magazine essay about compromising Democrats and inflexible Republicans, James Traub writes:
... while George Bush may well be the most conservative president in American history, he is more popular than, say, his conciliatory father was for most of his presidency.

The Republicans used to be the party of the First Methodist Church, and the Democrats of the great unwashed. Now the Republicans are the hellions, and the Democrats are the ones you want to bring home to mother. The G.O.P. is making such inroads among younger voters for the same reason that Fox News is making inroads among younger viewers. We live in a culture that values brazen certainty and loud conviction, no matter how wrongheaded.
THE FIRST EXCERPT: Is it now commonly agreed that George W. Bush is "the most conservative president in American history"?   We think that's the case - at least among presidents since 1900 - but if it's becomming conventional wisdom that Bush is "the most conservative", isn't that likely to be a handicap politically? Especially if the economy continues to decline.

THE SECOND EXCERPT: Makes us think about Ann Coulter.


Big news:

That guy who we've been reading about, the one who was sent to check out the Iraq/Niger/uranium story, comes clean in a New York Times Op-Ed: (excerpts)
Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake — a form of lightly processed ore — by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office.

I agreed to make the trip.

... there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.

... I briefed the ambassador on my findings, which were consistent with her own. I also shared my conclusions with members of her staff. In early March, I arrived in Washington and promptly provided a detailed briefing to the C.I.A. I later shared my conclusions with the State Department African Affairs Bureau.

... there should be at least four documents in United States government archives confirming my mission. The documents should include the ambassador's report of my debriefing in Niamey, a separate report written by the embassy staff, a C.I.A. report summing up my trip, and a specific answer from the agency to the office of the vice president (this may have been delivered orally). While I have not seen any of these reports, I have spent enough time in government to know that this is standard operating procedure.

The vice president's office asked a serious question. I was asked to help formulate the answer. I did so, and I have every confidence that the answer I provided was circulated to the appropriate officials within our government.

America's foreign policy depends on the sanctity of its information. For this reason, questioning the selective use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq is neither idle sniping nor "revisionist history," as Mr. Bush has suggested. The act of war is the last option of a democracy, taken when there is a grave threat to our national security.



In a story about Republicans and legislation that would cap pain-and-suffering awards to $250,000 we read:
Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said he hoped there would be a full debate, because he was developing an alternative that would offer doctors tax credits to give them some relief from insurance premiums.

Mr. Durbin said his bill would also curb the insurance industry's exemption from antitrust laws — a move that a number of Democrats, including Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, argued would exert downward pressure on rates.
What's this about exemption from antitrust laws? Is this another industry that's sheltered from competition-encouraging regulation?


Tony Snow, constitutional scholar:

In the wake of a substantial Supreme Court decision that reexamined, and rejected, the validity of morals laws that do not have a compelling state interest, Tony Snow writes: (30 Jun 2003)
The United States Supreme Court, in the case of Lawrence v. Texas -- that's the sodomy case -- has discovered a compelling state interest -- that's court talk for an irresistible urge -- in overturning stupid laws.

This seems like a terrific idea, since so many laws fit the description. It also means the job of Supreme Court justice, previously reserved for scholars, nerds and presidential cronies, now crooks its finger toward the ambitious, the servile, the pandering... and those seeking mass adoration.

I'm tempted to begin campaigning right away for the next vacancy. If elected -- I mean, chosen by the toxic bog called the U.S. Senate -- I promise to set aside grim expositions of the commerce clause in favor of more toothsome prey.

I'll wipe out the tax code, just like that. Ditto for regulations regarding mattress tags. You won't have to worry about federal hotlines for telemarketers: we can extend the right of privacy to take care of them. Ditto for stoplight cameras, speed traps, parking zones with constantly changing rules.

Nobody understands the federal health care system: We'll order the feds to start over, and this time, to be consumer friendly: What could be a more compelling state interest than that?

Everybody will get a shot at American Idol, too, since the present selective system deprives the vast majority of their constitutional right to get ripped by Simon Cowell.

Man, this is fun! You don't have to persuade anybody of anything. No nasty arguments. No need to accommodate anybody; just a swipe of the pen and a wave of the arm and the whole world changes. Who needs legislatures? They're too slow.

Am I forgetting anything? Oh, yeah: I'll insist that the court be increased to, say, 500 people. After all, you need more than nine measly justices to clean up all of life's messes.