Monday, June 27, 2005

BTK Plea (Part 2)

It comes as no surprise to me at all that Dennis Rader is currently peading guilty to 10 counts of murder, as I indicated in the original post on this. I suspect that Dennis Rader will be a very willing and helpful prisoner in many future investigations, as Ted Bundy was.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


We now have a second “Downing Street Memo” (original) that is certain to stir up the calls from the left side of the Democrat party to investigate and impeach. With respect to this second memo, I think it holds even less value than the first, which is to say not much at all. I think that journalist/blogger Marc Cooper has it about right. Essentially the new memo says that if war with Iraq was going to take place that politicians had to build a case that their citizens could support and that getting an UNSCR towards that end would be helpful. That sounds about right to me, it sounds like what happened. With every attack post-war highlighting the lack of WMD, both memos accept Iraqi WMD as a given. This is not the greatest evidence of lies.

This story, it occurs to me, has a relationship with another story that got the American left into as big a huff. There is a second story here tat is not being pursued. It is the story of the act of leaking itself. We have two memos which each contain the following:

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents. (Emphasis added by London Times)

A genuine need to know? Extremely sensitive? No further copies? Sounds a lot like the British version of Top Secret. Sounds like a crime might have been committed. Sounds like there are some parallels to the Valerie Plame affair.

So why isn’t the right harping on the leaker? The left would insist that the reason is that, while unwilling to admit it, the Republicans know that Bush lied. I’m not so certain the right “knows” that, but I’m pretty sure that they don’t care, especially not after 5 years of vicious attacks on a President they support. I suspect in the end it is that hindsight is 20/20 and this case will go about as successfully as Plame did. However, if I were a Republican itching for a fight, I think this would be a pretty good one to jump into.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

EU Weakened

There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal today on the current state of the euro (subscription required) and the EU. The article ends with the following nugget from Banc of America Capital Management’s chief market strategist Joseph Quinlan.

The French and Dutch no votes "reinforce the view that Europe is a dithering dysfunctional family, unwilling and unable to make tough economic and political decisions," he said. "Europe is now more divided than united, weaker than stronger, and more inward than outward looking. Its stature as a global force in both diplomatic and economic senses is now in question."

I had the great opportunity to be working in Europe for almost 6 months about a year and a half ahead of the 1999 conversion to the euro. It was easily one of the most popular topics of dinner conversation among many of the Europeans with whom I was working. Of course, Clinton and Lewinsky and in their opinions (mostly correctly) that our fascination with the story was an endless source of amusement.

With respect to the euro, the concern I most often expressed was that introducing the euro before writing and ratifying the constitution was a classic example of putting the cart before the horse. While some shared my concern and agreed that the order was very dangerous, most insisted that everything would work out in the end and all would be well. Unfortunately for the Europeans, they are now suffering the delayed results of their earlier decisions.

Things may well work out in the end, but I’m not holding my breath for that. In fact, I’m even more convinced than ever that the EU will ultimately prove to be a rather dismal failure. First the UK established that you could be sorta-in sorta-out of the EU, several EU nations are now having economic problems because of the euro, and key proponents of the EU are not ratifying the EU constitution. Mr. Quinlan is right, Europe is certainly acting like a dysfunctional family these days and looks perfectly happy to continue this trend.

The Patriot Act

President Bush is stumping today for the renewal of The Patriot Act and for making it permanent. The sound bite that I have been hearing all day on radio news is:

"My message to Congress is clear: Terrorist threats against us will not expire at the end of the year and neither should the protections of the Patriot Act," Bush told more than 100 law enforcement officers.

The Bush machine really spun out a wonderful line there. Terrorism is not like eggs or milk, who would have guessed. However, rhetorical wit aside, how does that argue for making the law permanent?

As long as there is a legitimately constituted group of terrorists looking to take us on here and abroad The Patriot Act will safely pass through Congress whenever its renewal will be needed. I suspect that this condition will exist for at least another generation and maybe two. I also think that renewing this law and reminding the American public of what we are doing and how we are going about it every few years is a good thing. I would even think it is something that Congressmen in Washington would like to be seen on TV talking about. Every few years maybe a hearing or two, examine the issue, tweak things around the edges and then in a great demonstration of patriotism, reauthorize The Patriot Act.

I think Bush is acting foolishly, or more accurately those making politics on this issue. If this is President Bush insisting and not listening to his advisors, then Congress needs to get smart. No law like this should just be made “permanent” and hustled off to the shelves, its not good for anyone, inside or out of Washington.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Doctor Howard

Conventional wisdom among many Democrats during the past election cycle was that Republicans were never serious about having wanted, and I mean REALLY WANTED, to have been able to run against Howard Dean. This DailyKOS post spells out why the right was wrong to underestimate Doctor Howard way back in 1/2004 back when it was a sure-thing that Dean was getting the nomination.

After reading this Marc Cooper post I can only wonder how long the Democrats who ardently did and still do support the former governor think he would have lasted as the Democratic nominee had he been able to avoid campaign meltdown until after the conventions.

The right is just as likely to be wrong about the strength of the left’s candidates as the left is of the right’s. However, the Democrats are now paying a price for not believing that the Republicans were being honest when they were salivating over the prospect of a Democrat ticket in 2004 that was headlined by Howard Dean.

Marc is right; the left is going to cut its losses with Dean sooner or later, likely sooner. The question is whether Dean’s supporters and detractors on the left will realize that there is a combination of both substance and style that is causing the second Dean implosion. It isn’t all style.