Saturday, June 11, 2005

Points to Ponder:

“It is an old lawyer’s tactic: when one has no case, attempt to caricature the opponent, obfuscate, and appeal to emotions rather than to reason.” [Dave Armstrong (circa June 02, 2005)]


Friday, June 10, 2005

If the readers of this weblog could please remember in their prayers today Michael J. Mentzer it would be greatly appreciated by your weblog host. He died four years ago today and was a mentor of sorts for your host in (i) navigating the complex field of exercise science in general and also (ii) in applying fruitfully many of the logical principles honed in that discipline to other subjects. Please also remember his brother Ray (who died two days after him) in your prayers as well.


Points to Ponder:
(On "Remembering and Forgetting")

When the much-celebrated architect Philip Johnson died this year at age ninety-eight the obituaries made little or no mention of his politics. In the days following, some commentators took note of this glaring omission. To be more precise, the omission was glaring only to those who remembered his politics. The worlds pertinent to supporting his celebrity status had long since decided to forget. Johnson was an enthusiastic backer of Hitler. In the 1930s he tried to organize a pro-Hitler fascist party in this country. He published a rave review of Mein Kampf, and he was part of the cheering crowds at the 1938 and 1939 Nuremberg rallies. He followed German troops invading Poland and watched the burning of Warsaw. “It was a stirring spectacle,” he wrote. Being rich and famous, some might infer, means never having to say you’re sorry. When on rare occasions his sordid past was mentioned, Johnson observed that he was also criticized for some of his artistic flirtations and would say with an impish smile that he had always been a “whore.” I am told his admirers found this charming. He was a whore, but he was their whore.

Others have been treated very differently. In 1986, Kurt Waldheim, former UN general secretary, was treated as a nonperson when it was discovered he had served in the Nazi SS. Charles Lindbergh, at one time perhaps the most admired man in America, was destroyed by his “America First” effort to keep the country out of World War II. After the war, Martin Heidegger was permanently denied an academic post for his collaboration with the Nazis. Ezra Pound was locked up for years in St. Elizabeths mental hospital in Washington for his wartime broadcasts on behalf of Mussolini. And of course the witless young Prince Harry was excoriated in headlines around the world a while back when he thought it clever to show up at a party dressed as a soldier of the Afrika Korps, complete with swastika. There is also the case of Herbert von Karajan who never apologized for his Nazi past yet continued, until his death in 1989, to be the honored conductor of orchestras in all the great halls of the world. And Leni Riefenstahl, the gifted filmmaker and Hitler propagandist, was honored at the 2004 Academy Awards for her lifetime achievements.

How does one explain the dramatically different treatment of people guilty of similar offenses? Columnist Ann Applebaum, who is also author of a remarkable book on Soviet oppression, Gulag (see FT, November 2003), writes: “In the end, I suspect the explanation is simple: People whose gifts lie in esoteric fields get a pass that others don’t. Or, to put it differently, if you use crude language and wear a swastika, you’re a pariah. But if you make up a complex, witty persona, use irony and jokes to brush off hard questions, and construct an elaborate philosophy to obfuscate your past, then you’re an elder statesman, a trendsetter, a provocateur and—most tantalizingly—an enigma.” That is no doubt a large part of it, although Pound was punished, as was Heidegger, albeit more mildly, and their gifts were undoubtedly “in esoteric fields.” But their punishment was in the immediate aftermath of “the last good war,” when the line between good and evil seemed less ambiguous.

The erratic course of forgetting and remembering, of absolving and punishing, can also be explained by reference to another tyranny and those who supported it. In our culture-commanding institutions today, including the leadership of the once influential old-line churches, there are thousands upon thousands who enthusiastically backed Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Castro, and others whose victims number in the many millions. After the fall of Saigon in April, 1975, hundreds of thousands of “boat people” fled to their death at sea, while hundreds of thousands of others were driven into reeducation camps, in many cases never to be heard from again. I had been a leader in the “peace movement”—the quotes are now necessary and maybe were then—and helped organize a protest against the brutality of the Hanoi regime. We asked 104 movement leaders to sign the protest and the split was almost exactly even. Those refusing to sign subscribed to the doctrine of “no criticism to the left.” No matter what they did, leftist regimes represented the historical dynamic of progress; they were the wave of the future and therefore above any criticism that might slow their course. It was a pity about the victims, but most of them probably deserved it, and, anyway, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

There are things not to be forgotten. At the height of Mao’s cultural revolution in which as many as thirty million died, the National Council of Churches published a booklet hailing China as an admirably “Christian” society. In 1981, 60 Minutes did an hour-long program on the National Council of Churches’ support for Marxist causes, and I spoke with Morley Safer about religious leaders who had become “apologists for oppression.” That was the end of some important friendships, or at least I thought they were friends.

I was then a much younger man, learning slowly and painfully what many had learned before. Allegiance to the left, however variously defined, was a religion, and dissent was punished by excommunication. There was for a long time no romance so blinding as that with the Soviet Union. Malcolm Muggeridge wrote witheringly about Lenin’s “useful idiots”—Western progressives on pilgrimage to the Soviet Union, from which they returned with glowing accounts of “the future that works.” There was also Whittaker Chambers’ Witness, Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago—all of them dismissed as right-wing propaganda. To be sure, there were those who had a change of mind, and even instances of something like public penance. In a famously lucid moment, the late Susan Sontag shocked a Town Hall audience by saying that the readers of Reader’s Digest had a better understanding of Communism than did readers of the New York Review of Books. Much earlier, William F. Buckley had launched National Review with the help of apostates from “the god that failed.” Yet up to the present the hard left, not so reduced in numbers and influence as some claim, is enraptured; not usually by Communism but by a Marxian analysis of oppression and imperialism joined to a more or less consistent anti-Americanism.

Yes, Philip Johnson should have apologized for his repugnant politics, and because he didn’t he should have paid the price of being denied the fame and wealth so uncritically bestowed. But it is almost too easy to excoriate, hunt down, and punish the remaining collaborators with Hitler. That was a long time ago, and they are very old now. Not so with the unrepentant apologists for oppression from the Old Left, the New Left, the Maoists, the cheerleaders for the Sandinistas, and those who make slight effort to disguise their hope for America’s defeat in the war on terror. In many instances they hold positions of influence on the commanding heights of culture. There may not be much that can be done about our circumstance. Nobody should want to revisit the experience of the House committee on un-American activities. And it is impossible to imagine something like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was set up after the end of apartheid, since with the great divide in our society and its politics there is no end in sight. We have to try to get along with one another as best we can, keeping our disagreements within the bounds of civility. But, as was not done in the case of Philip Johnson, we should remember. [Richard John Neuhaus: From First Things (circa March 2005)]

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Briefly on Comments Boxes Again:
(From Jonathan Prejean)

This note is one I received from Jonathan Prejean after he read what I wrote earlier in the week on this subject. His words will fittingly be in crimson coloured font.

[If] you wish to place an addendum on your entry, one reason for my decision was exactly that the quality discussion on email (which, naturally, provided motivation for me to blog about some subjects) far surpassed the interaction I was getting in comments. The process of thinking through a subject, as is customary when drafting more lengthy communications than idle responses in a comment box, tends to produce a higher quality of response. The rare exceptions of decent dialogue in comment boxes (most notably Pontifications) invariably require the commenters to spend far more time and thoughtful consideration in writing their comments (in part because a lot of smart people will chime in and rip you to shreds if you don't). But as I said, those discussions are comparatively rare, and they require far more effort on the part of the host and the commenters to keep that level up. Recognizing that I haven't the time to do so, I've elected a different approach, which appears to be proving equally fruitful (at least by the metric of quality email responses).

Yes, sites such as that of The Pontificator are rare indeed in that respect. And while there are certainly some laudable exceptions which could be mentioned, I believe my approach to these matters is correct as a rule -both for the reasons I specified in the previous post and what Jonathan notes above.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More on the Iraq War, the Syria Hypothesis, and the Duelfer Report:
(More "Tales From the Mailbag")

This is a continuation of the discussion from this thread. My interlocuter's words will be in black font (sources italicized) and my previous words will be in blue font. Any current sources I cite will be in darkblue font.

Hi Shawn,


Thanks for your letter, which gave me a lot to reflect and think upon.

No problem XXXXXX. Thankyou for an irenic discussion on these subjects which (by their very nature) often create more heat than light.

As far as the war subject goes, I have actually given a virtual command to a friend of mine who disagrees with me on the war subject to set forth a reasonable defense of that theory publicly. Thus far, he has not done it but (hopefully) he will do so after the recent postings to Rerum Novarum so that the appearance is not given that one cannot disagree on the war subject with the president and prime minister Blair and do so intelligently.

I am putting together something that I hope will do such a thing -though its interest is less in condemning the Iraq war as unjust, than in looking to the future to see what lessons we can carry from this entire affair. Hindsight *is* 20/20, which gives us a much greater ability to pinpoint our mistakes, in order to straighten them out for the future.

Please let me know when it is finished so I can read it.

But in the meantime, I noticed your post about WMDs on March 14 of this year, stating that you believe Saddam had munitions and that they were removed before we invaded.

Munitions or their components yes. Hussein has a track record of moving equipment before major conflicts -indeed before Gulf War I he flew his best planes to Iran for safe keeping.

Shawn, you're a smarter guy than I am. If you believed our government's pre-war intelligence on Iraq's WMDs,

I believed that the plethora of nations and the UN unanimously agreeing that he had WMD's was as good an argument that he had them that we were going to find. Though I did not take WMD's into consideration as a component for my stance on the war in early 2003, I did admittedly think that the world's cumulative intelligence on the matter was reliable. Nonetheless, by framing my arguments as I did, the existence or lack thereof of WMD's did nothing to affect my position. Others who took the same position for different reasons{1} have not been so fortunate.

you should believe our government's post-war *information* on WMDs - information which states that Saddam destroyed his WMD stockpiles in the early 90s.

I have heard a lot of conflicting stories about the Duelfer report and what it says. Here is one that you may find of interest from 2004. I also remind you of what Charles Duelfer himself recently said about the Syria hypothesis.

Here is the link to the "Comprehensive Revised Report with Addendums on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Thankyou. I had this link at one time but lost it.

through this report is difficult - it is hundreds of pages long, but it is also rewarding. I put together these snippets, which only give the broadest sense of the report:

*The report concludes and summarizes*

"It now appears clear that Saddam, despite internal reluctance... resolved to eliminate the existing stocks of WMD weapons during the course of the summer of 1991 in support of the prime objective of getting rid of sanctions."

*Chemical weapons*

"While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991."

*Biological weapons*

"ISG judges that in 1991 and 1992, Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of BW weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent."

*Nuclear weapons*

"Saddam Husayn ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program."

*WMD leftovers*

"There continue to be reports of WMD in Iraq. ISG has found that such reports are usually scams or misidentification of materials or activities."

*WMD transfers*

"Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place."

The White House agrees.

Let me know what you think of the report, Shawn. It also gives a great deal of information about Saddam's regime, Saddam's strategy, and Saddam's mental psychology. It is simply an amazing report. To really have an informed opinion on WMDs in Iraq, we need to go beyond mass media articles, blog entries, and our own reasoned conclusions. Reading this report is one step in the right direction.

I agree XXXXXX. I would interpret the passages you quote in light of the recent article noted above. Further still, the Addendum to the report is worth perusing since the position I have long held on the deployments to Syria is covered in that spot. See page five of the addendum. The conclusion of that page reads as follows:

"it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place."

As I noted to my sister in a recent email on the above sentence:

I would love to see their evidences to support this statement since Hussein had previously moved major military equipment before being involved in wars. (Recall his transfer of the best of his military aircraft to Iran before the start of Gulf War I as a proof of this.) Nonetheless, even if this assertion is correct, there are more than one way to move equipment: there is directly sanctioned movement (aka "official") and indirectly sanctioned movement (aka "unofficial). And again I quote from the article you supplied:

"However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."

Precisely. And as there are satellite photographs of large truck convoys crossing the Iraq-Syria border in late 2002-early 2003, there are a lot of unanswered questions here. So do not think this article "proves" anything. After all, history should be your teacher on these kinds of things. I draw your attention to this part of the above article circa 2 years ago:

Finding and getting rid of such weapons in Ukraine, Belarus,
Kazakhstan and South Africa took 18 to 30 months, even though those governments all actively cooperated with the U.N. It is fanciful that similar results could be achieved in Iraq in a few weeks.

Not finding the weapons in a fixed timeframe does not mean they never existed. British and Spanish governments have been looking for weapons caches of Basque and Irish terrorist groups for 35 years and have found little. But everyone knows those groups have arms.

On the other hand, the Philippine government still finds weapons caches left by the Japanese over half a century ago. [Excerpt from an Email Correespondence (circa April 30, 2005)]

All of this was noted in a Rerum Novarum thread posted in the months before the election. Furthermore, as I told my sister recently by email (the one excerpted above in fact), if one considers not only how small the Philippines is but how long ago WWII was, you cannot expect to make definitive statements on finding WMD's in a nation much larger than the Philippines and in far less of a time frame than the fifty odd years. The Philippines has not been completely divested of Japanese war munitions from WWII yet.

And with (i) modern technology making things even smaller today than they were back then, and (ii) the climate of Iraq being one of sand everywhere vs. the Philipine more tropical climate which is harder to bury stuff in, as well as (iii) the fact that we had nothing but cooperation in the Philippines since the end of WWII for years on end: all of these are factors worth considering.

And in the end, that is why I have not jumped on every latest report one way or the other on these issues.{2}

Duelfer's report is considered by many to be thorough and also comprehensive viz. what is in Iraq now. That does not mean though that it necessarily is accurate viz. what was in Iraq before the war: an area where there is no shortage of theories on the matter. And thus far, I see no reasons to reconsider the Syria hypothesis -whether it was "officially" or "unofficially" done.


{1} For example, those who were banking on a heavy WMD component to sustain their positions.

{2} The fact that I never set forth an argument for military intervention in Iraq based on WMD's notwithstanding of course.

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Christianity Today explains to its readers why Evangelicals should be pleased with the election of Rome's former Chief Inquisitor Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Points to Ponder:
(On Understanding So-Called "Progressivist Catholics")

There are times when my rare efforts to understand prominent progressives in the Church bear fruit, and I get where they are coming from. Too often I experience this --total, complete incomprehension. As in 'futile to even try.' We're not talking mere futility here--we're talking metaphysical futility. This is the 'one-legged-cat-trying-to-bury-turds-on-a-frozen-pond' kind of futility that makes you want to go to your happy place for awhile. [Dale Price (circa June 3, 2005)]


On the Comments Box Subject Revisited:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

It is customary for most bloggers to have a comments box feature at their weblog. However, there are some weblogs which have never had one including Rerum Novarum which is closing in on its third anniversary in a couple of months. There have on occasion been people who have written to your host asking why he does not have that feature and (usually) the quick reason given is the lack of time for policing such matters. That is not (of course) the only reason but generally speaking it is adequate to deal with the issue in short order.

For those who want that feature on their own sites, by all means use it as you see fit. Certainly the feature has certain advantages to it which could be noted. However, on occasion there are those who after a period of having that feature realize the problems that it can entail. One such person is Jonathan Prejean of The Crimson Catholic who recently disabled that feature at his site. It seems that The Crimson One has come to recognize what your host has long realized viz. the problems that can develop with utilizing comments boxes. Here are some of his recent words on the matter:

I've closed the comment boxes, because I don't have time to deal with the ravings of various nutbars who want to proselytize for their respective views on my board...There is absolutely no purpose in me talking to such people, any more than there is a purpose in me talking to believers in any other sort of untenable wackiness...

What Jonathan notes is indeed quite a risk with comments box methods of interacting with readers. Your host set forth his view on these matters as they pertained to Rerum Novarum very early on in the following words:

Unlike major media outlets the contents of this blog are not a result of intense focus group testing nor Zogby-like polling data mind you; Rerum Novarum does not function that way. (So those who wrote about adding comments boxes, nada as I do not have the time to police them and besides: most of those who inquired about the comments boxes are not the sorts I would long tolerate posting in comments boxes at my blog.) The reason I have the occasional "guest editorial" policy is to bridge the gap if you will in that regard. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 30, 2002)]

Now it may appear to some readers that this means The Crimson One would be necessarily withdrawing from interaction with those who read his weblog -much as that assertion has occasionally been leveled against Us. But in reality, there are many approaches to interacting with the views of others that do not require someone to have comments boxes at their own weblog. Your host revealed a number of them which he utilizes at various times about twenty odd months ago when the issue of personality profiles of contributers to St. Blog's was a subject making the rounds. Here is what was noted at that time after quoting the September 30, 2002 comments above about not having comments boxes (and preferring guest editorial formats):

While it is true that I got away from the Guest Editorial feature for some time, it was not of my own accord. That is completely a reader-driven feature though at times I have actually asked people if they minded something they said being blogged in the form of a Guest Editorial. (And if not I have posted their stuff in that format - usually with minimal if any editing involved.) However, Rerum Novarum is not limited solely to the Guest Editorial feature for interaction with others.

For I also blog and interact with emailers if (i) it is a subject I have not blogged on before (ii) it is a subject that interests me (iii) the emailer is polite and (iv) the emailer asks challenging questions. If the emailer is not polite, then their piece becomes fodder for potential fisking in accordance with my mood at the time.

I also interact with stuff on discussion lists, blogs, and the message boxes at other blogs and all of that is potentially bloggable as well. (And usually I email the link to the person so they can read and respond to it if they want to.) In short, I more than compensate for the lack of message boxes at Rerum Novarum...

...I get very little hate mail but those who respond are always very rude and virtually always finding creative ways to consign me to hell.

I would never tolerate people filling comments boxes at Rerum Novarum with that kind of drivel; indeed my tolerance for weblog trolls is never very high. (And it is lower in proportion to their relative rudeness and obtuseness.) But at the same time, I will gladly fisk them publicly.

So far from a soliloquy my weblog is actually very interactive with some of those who read it - even if my means of expressing this are unconventional. Like my Myers-Briggs profile says, I am not one for following conventions...

Since Rerum Novarum is a mixture of theological, political, social, news items, and basically whatever I want to muse on in those or other areas, there is no one area to focus on. I have countless other subjects that I do not blog on much - or never have blogged on - that I could just as easily blog on today or tomorrow and not in any way alter my weblog philosophy in the slightest. So essentially I am not sure that I can be put into a box there. (Much as I cannot with the manner by which I interact with readers and others who browse St. Blog's blog list without a message box format.) But then again, I am used to defying most forms of categorization so it does not bother me. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 24, 2003)]

So to summarize the various sources in brief, they are (in roughly the order utilized):

---Weblog writings of your host on subjects of interest to him at the time from other weblogs, other websites, from books he has read, or from current events.

---Emails from readers which your host decides to respond to and posts either in commentary form or dialogual form.

---Weblog writings of others which your host decides to comment on in commentary form or dialogual form.

---Interactions with others from discussion lists that your host is part of -which are then posted to the weblog (possibly with some refining of the material) into either commentary form or dialogual form.

---Interactions with others from comments boxes at other people's weblogs -which are then posted to the weblog (possibly with some refining of the material) into either commentary form or dialogual form.

---Material from others (friends, emailers, other bloggers) which is posted in guest editorial form.{1}

---Interactions with others from message boards which are then posted to the weblog (possibly with some refining of the material) into either commentary form or dialogual form.

Hopefully what is noted here achieves three purposes:

---Sufficing to show a number of ways of interaction with readers of a weblog without utilizing comments boxes at one's own weblog.

---Highlighting why We at Rerum Novarum take the position on this matter that We do.

---Presenting to bloggers such as Jonathan a number of ways to insure that their blogging endeavours can be suffused with input from others if they would like alternatives to the usage of comments boxes at their weblogs.


{1} Sometimes a subsequent commentary will be written by your host on the material that is posted in guest editorial format but usually what is done is a few brief comments either prior to and/or after the editorial. Unlike other sites which also utilize editorial forms of writing from others, your host prefers to post the work of others unedited and without attempts to "clarify" or to "balance" their words with the words of others. (The latter approaches are common to those who lack confidence in their positions; ergo, they have no place here at Rerum Novarum.)


Today is the fifth anniversary of one of your host's web writings. I was not inclined to say anything on the matter until it was brought to my attention that Apolonio Latar had taken the opportunity of this anniversary to say some words about the writing in question. I have commented privately on this matter to the audience to whom the above comments were originally circulated but at the moment do not want to say anything publicly about it except to thank Apolonio for his kind words.


"Return of the Stupid Party" Dept.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

It strongly appears in light of Judge Bridges' statements in the Chelan County case on the Washington States Governors Heist Race that the Republicans have goofed again.{1} Much as Kenneth Starr in handling the special prosecutor role in the late 1990's{2} and the current Administration's approach to the military intervention in Iraq{3}, once again the Republicans utilized a "ready, fire, aim" approach to what should have been a slam dunk issue. The purpose of this post is to deal in brief with what transpired and to point out some of the problems with what Judge Bridges ultimately decided. Indeed, this writer listened to His Honour's comments for an hour this morning and the ruling seems set in stone.{4} And while hardly the most significant problem involved, the custom of judicial precedent makes this ruling not look good for future legal challenges along these lines.

To start with, a key problem with Judge Bridges' ruling is that he sets the burden of proof to the point of absurdity if we believe what we are told about elections to begin with. After all, if (i) the judge basically says that the plaintiffs to prove that actual felon votes went for Gregoire as opposed to general assertions of voting errors and (ii) there is a claim that the elections are "secret" in Washington State. Surely the problems with this burden of proof are evident to the reader. If not, let us recap:

--There is an assertion made that the election results are "secret" as in no one can know who voted for who.

--Yet to establish voting errors sufficient to overturn an election, the Republicans are supposed to be able to prove that certain voters (i.e. felons) voted in proportionate numbers for certain candidates (i.e. Gregoire) to overturn the results.

The problem is, if the voting is really "secret", then there is no way the Republicans can meet the required burden of proof. However, if the standard is set whereby they are expected to prove certain parties voted a certain way, then the process cannot be as "secret" as many have long claimed. Since these opposing views cannot both be right, which is it???

Your host would at this time like to make a few appeals of his own to certain legal eagles who read this weblog{5} requesting a response to a query of his:

--If the Republicans in this case were to appeal to the state Supreme Court, can they modify elements of the case they present or are they stuck at the Supreme Court level with what they sought to prove at the lower court level???

The reason for this question is because if the Republicans are able to modify their presentation a bit in the appeal (should they make it), then this case still has potential flight. If however they cannot, the case will irevocably crash and burn like the Hindenburg.

The question for the legal experts essentially is if the Republicans have any additional latitude in their appeal or not. For in the opinion of this writer, the Republicans should have included the charge of fraud in their case -as that would have made it easier to get the election results thrown out.{6} They could not introduce that factor into their case in Chelan County District Court after the fact -as Judge Bridges correctly noted; ergo, the question this writer has is if they could do so in an appeal before the Washington State Supreme Court.

In closing, it must be noted that your host had a premonition that what happened today would happen some time ago. The premonition was based in large part on past patterns taken by Republicans in recent years in responding to crimes and fraud by Democrats -some of which was noted in this post. So chalk this up as a victory by the Evil Party -with a strong assist from the Stupid Party. For those who wonder why your host has long disavowed the Republicans,{7} it is situations such as this in large part. But enough on that subject for now.


{1} For example, the Republicans did not include in the many charges they raised the issue of election fraud. They left out the assertion that would have made achieving their intended purpose (a throwing out of the previous election results) much easier according to the election bylaws of Washington State. This fits a pattern for Republicans nationwide.

{2} Kenneth Starr should have focused on Filegate and Chinagate if any of the scandalous situations associated with President Clinto and his Administration were to be focused on. The former contained the exact same crimes that got Chuck Colson sent to prison in the 1970's (except magnified a thousandfold plus) and the latter contained outright treason. But no, Starr chose instead to focus on the weakest of the cases against President Clinton and the latter got off the hook from being removed from office as he should have been...for crimes a hell of a lot worse than anything Nixon did in Watergate.

If what Starr was to focus on was to be involved in the investigation, it should have been accompanied with the two situations noted above which were far more serious (and indisputably) impeachable offenses. Not only would there have been impeachment (which the readers are reminded did happen) but it would have been impossible for the Democrats to have voted against removal from office for Filegate and Chinagate -particularly the latter- and to have saved face in the process.

{3} It is no secret that the Bush Administration -while there were several solid reasons for military intervention in Iraq including what your host covered on this matter in February of 2003- chose some of the weaker and more controvertible points to place their primary emphasis on. Because of this, they opened themselves up to their opponents focusing on the weaker of the reasons which has detracted from the more substantive reasons for the military intervention.

{4} SoundPolitics discusses the situation a bit HERE.

{5} Referring in this case to either (i) The Secret One, (ii) some of the the gang at Southern Appeal, (iii) The Mighty Barrister, and (iv) Dale Price.

{6} But by doing that, the Republicans would not have been true to the label of "the stupid party"; ergo it could not be done.

{7} For nearly nine years and counting as of this writing.

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