Friday, December 03, 2004

Christopher Carson: Saddam and Flight 800

By Christopher S. Carson
December 3, 2004

Even after the presidential election, America’s media solons and disgruntled former government officials—such as Richard Clarke—continue to get fawning coverage for every pronouncement on the basic harmlessness of Saddam’s Iraq. The thesis is clear: Saddam was a small-time monster, too weak and incompetent to harm a far-away America.

But wouldn’t it be revealing if our intelligence community actually had to answer some hard questions about Ramzi Yousef and the annihilation of TWA Flight 800—the second-greatest mass-murder in American history? The public would then hear of how Yousef worked for Saddam Hussein, and how Iraq's dictator was ultimately responsible for the murders of 230 Americans on that dark night, long before the devastation of 9/11.

On July 16, 1996, Saddam and his lackeys were gearing up for a big celebration the following day: Liberation Day, which was Iraq’s national holiday—the day the Baath Party took power exactly 35 years earlier. Saddam’s portraits around the Republic of Fear were spruced up and the anniversary date was splashed everywhere.

That same day in New York City, the terrorist Ramzi Yousef was also celebrating—in his jail cell. He had a gigantic crime unfolding. Like nearly every malignant narcissist brought to trial, Yousef insisted on representing himself. He fantasized that no lawyer was as intelligent and knowledgeable about American jurisprudence as he was.

The master terrorist mused that he alone knew how to get a mistrial, and he was going to get one the next day. A mistrial would force Judge Kevin Duffy to start all over, with a new jury. That could set the U.S. attorneys back months, and indeed a delay was what Yousef needed. He still had terrorists in the New York area working under him. He had a home country ready to receive him with open arms. Anything was possible, given time.

After all, Abdul Rahman Yasin, Yousef's co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, had flown in from Iraq only a few months before the blast to prepare and mix the chemicals for the giant bomb and had flown back to Baghdad. Saddam wasn’t upset with Yasin for killing only six people in the blast and failing to topple one tower onto the other. On the contrary, the Iraqi president gave Yasin a house and a stipend outside Baghdad: the prodigal son had returned, as a CBS 60 Minutes news crew revealed when it traveled to Baghdad in 2002 to interview him. Far from washing his hands of Yasin, Saddam had even pressured Jordan to release Yasin when Jordan had briefly detained the bomb-mixer.

So Ramzi Yousef knew that he had a place to go and friends in New York. Indeed, he even said as much. In an amazing admission to his fellow inmate, Gregory Scarpa Jr., on March 5, 1996, Yousef boasted that he had “four terrorists already here in the United States.”

In 1996, Scarpa was a mafia hoodlum looking at serious prison time for multiple murders committed as a “soldier” in the Colombo crime family. He was angling for a “downward departure” under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure before he went to sentencing. Yousef was his ticket to a time cut. Ratting out the arch-terrorist to the feds was the only way he could avoid spending his life in the Big House.

Amazingly, Yousef came to trust Scarpa, as journalist Peter Lance revealed in his recent book, Cover Up: What the Government Is Still Hiding About the War on Terror. Yousef wrongly figured that Scarpa, as a Mafioso, hated America’s government and society as much as he did. In a series of FBI “302” memos obtained by Lance and published in Cover Up, Scarpa’s FBI handler recorded an astounding series of admissions by the terror mastermind about his plans and his backing.

According to the March 5, 1996, FBI memo, “Yousef told Scarpa that if he wanted, Scarpa’s family could be sent to an unknown country, and people there would take care of his family, treat him like royalty with the red carpet treatment. … Yousef implied that another government was involved/assisting Yousef. Yousef told Scarpa that if he went to this country no one could touch him.”

What country was aiding Yousef’s four terrorists and was willing to put him and Scarpa up in style? The same country that harbored Yousef’s bomb-mixer Yasin and Abu Nidal and his gang, that gave a house to Abu Abbas of Achille Lauro infamy, that trained foreign terrorists on Boeing airliners at Salman Pak and gave rivers of money to al-Qaeda and its affiliates: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Yousef got to make a lot of calls from jail, even to his terrorist “uncle” Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), future chief operating officer of al-Qaeda. FBI Special Agent in charge, James Kallstrom, was initially happy about Yousef’s calls because his men would be able to listen in. He brought in Arabic translators for the listening sessions.

The problem was, Yousef chose to talk in the Baluch language to “uncle” KSM and others, as Peter Lance revealed, so Kallstrom came up empty. KSM was keeping Yousef’s spirits up, possibly talking about springing him, despite the high security of Yousef’s current detention, and if that didn’t work, a trade could be arranged. Terrorists had been traded before, even by "the Great Satan." The American president, Bill Clinton, was coasting to re-election in the fall. The Republicans had nominated the old-time insider Bob Dole to run against him, and Dick Morris’ focus groups were looking positive on the head-to-head lineups. The U.S. military barracks at the Khobar Towers had just been destroyed by terrorists, but the media weren’t up in arms insisting on a messy military response against, say, Iran. Tough talk about “bringing those responsible to justice” would probably suffice.

Awaiting trial in his New York cell, Yousef had plenty of time to reflect on the previous four years. What a run it had been since he left Saddam International Airport in September, 1992, proudly carrying a printed business card that read “International Terrorist.” Flying into JFK airport with fellow terrorist Ahmad Ajaj, Yousef was stopped at the immigration desk. But Ajaj was the sacrificial lamb that day: he became irate when questioned by INS agents, who searched his bags and found fake passports, bomb recipes, six bomb-making manuals, and how-to videotapes on advanced weaponry. He shouted that he was from “Sweden” of all places.

Yousef, on the other hand, had been calm and collected. Although his papers were not in order, the INS supervisor quickly waved him through, no doubt distracted by the scene Ajaj was making. Yousef, as planned, immediately dived into the New York/New Jersey world of Islamic extremism, hanging out with the murderer of Rabbi Meier Kahane and plotting with the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdul al-Rahman. The sheik and his followers, according to the FBI agents who had the mosque under surveillance, always called Yousef “Rashid the Iraqi.” (Yousef’s fellow traveler, Ahmad Ajaj, was arrested and charged with a visa violation, not with being a terrorist. He served six months in jail and was released. Incredibly, Judge Reena Raggi ordered the feds to return Ajaj’s bomb recipes to him.)

After Yousef’s team detonated the World Trade Center bomb in February 1993, the “Mozart of Terror,” as author Lance dubbed him, flew to Pakistan to see uncle KSM, another Baluch ethnic who was already planning “Operation Bojinka.” (Bojinka was an insanely ambitious plan to blow up 11 commercial airliners simultaneously over the Pacific Ocean, kill the pope and poison President Clinton in a cloud of chlorine gas. It was foiled in 1995 during the last stages of planning by a chance kitchen fire in a dingy Manila apartment.)

But back in 1993, while the North Tower of the Trade Center was still smoking, Yousef’s co-conspirator Ahmad Yasin “boogies to Baghdad,” in the immortal words of Clinton’s terror czar Richard Clarke. Co-conspirator Mohammed Salameh, age 26, was hoping to make it back to Saddam’s tender mercies as well, but was arrested as he showed up at the rental car office to collect his deposit on the van he rented to blow up with the bomb.

For his part, Salameh’s phone records reveal him to have been the messenger to Saddam. At his trial much later, it emerged that Salameh had been calling Iraq one or two times a day between June 10 and July 9, running up enormous cell phone charges that he was unable to pay. Salameh was Palestinian; it isn’t as if he had a sick Iraqi mother to console long-distance. But his uncle, Kadri Abu Bakr, had worked in Baghdad since 1986 for a Palestinian terrorist unit funded by Saddam.

So Yousef, aka Rashid the Iraqi, joined his uncle KSM to work up the Bojinka plan, with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s organization. Far from being devout Muslims, Yousef and KSM enjoyed the high life in Manila. They went to karaoke bars and strip clubs, dated dancers, and stayed in four-star hotels. They had plenty of cash: KSM took scuba diving lessons and once rented a helicopter just to fly it past the window of a girlfriend’s office in an attempt to impress her, as the L.A. Times reported in June 2002.

In 1995, it was time for a “wet test” of Bojinka. Yousef needed to be sure his bombs would work correctly, so he tested one on an actual airliner filled with people. He planted a tiny Casio-watch-timed bomb with Nitro “gun cotton” chemical on a Philippine Airlines flight to Japan. As Peter Lance reports, Yousef’s bomb, unlike the Semtex bomb that brought down Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was really only a trigger that was supposed to ignite the center wing tank of the Boeing, sending the plane down in flames.

Yousef put the Casio trigger too far away from the tank, however. The timer went off, killing a man and blowing a hole in the plane, but the Filipino captain heroically maneuvered to keep the jetliner stable enough to land safely. Watching the news of the crash-landing on CNN in a bar that day, Yousef figured he’d get it right the next time. He and KSM were now fixated on airliners.

But as Operation Bojinka was exposed by an observant Manila police officer responding to Yousef’s accidental kitchen fire, Yousef was arrested, while his uncle got away and wasn’t captured until March 2003.

So, as Yousef awaited trial in 1996, Bojinka’s failure was stinging Yousef’s ego. Talking to Gregory Scarpa in his cellblock at exercise time, Yousef was obsessing about airliners and blowing them up. He was calling KSM from jail and his uncle was working the problem. Yousef’s other cellmate, Abdul Hakin Murad, told Gregory Scarpa that KSM’s people were going to blow up a U.S. airliner, but that “Ramzi’s waiting to hear if Bojinka (Yousef’s new code name for Osama bin Laden) got the message.” Thirty-four days before the destruction of TWA Flight 800, Osama still needed to approve the attack first.

Eleven days later, Yousef had presumably been told by KSM that Osama had blessed the operation. Yousef was also feeling better about how his trial was going, and so wanted to hold the bombing in reserve. The latest FBI 302 memo had Scarpa reporting that Yousef “was not going to perform the operation for now because the trial is going well.”

But, as Peter Lance wrote, “three days after that, the mercurial Yousef told Scarpa that he thought the government want[ed] to sabotage his case.” Yousef told the court that he was going to have Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Garcia killed because he thought that Garcia had smirked at him, and Judge Kevin Duffy wasn’t amused. To make matters worse, Judge Duffy was looking as if he was going to let in the written confession of Abdul Murad, which talked about Yousef’s involvement in Operation Bojinka.

It was time to pull the trigger on America and Yousef, “Rashid the Iraqi,” was going to celebrate Saddam’s Liberation Day with a bang—and hopefully get his mistrial.

Saddam was celebrating too: as Dr. Laurie Mylroie recounted, this was the day that he gave “the most angry, vengeful speech of his entire life” against America, the Great Satan—no mean feat for the Great Uncle of terror.

At the time, Uncle KSM, in Doha, Qatar, was prepping the terrorist channels for the event. At noon Washington time on July 17, 1996, a fax came through at the London office of Al-Hayah, the most prestigious Arabic language newspaper. Purporting to be from the “Islamic Change Movement of Jihad,” which Dr. Laurie Mylroie describes as likely a “name given by Iraqi intelligence to threaten or claim credit for bombings,” it said:

“The mujahideen will give their harshest reply to the threats of the foolish U.S. President [Bill Clinton was again threatening Iraq over its noncompliance with UNSCOM]. Everybody will be surprised by the magnitude of the reply, the date and time of which will be determined by the mujahideen. The invaders must be prepared to leave [the Arabian peninsula], either dead or alive. Their time is at the morning-dawn. Is not the morning-dawn near?”

As the sun dawned on the Arabian peninsula, it was setting off New York harbor. At 8:31 p.m., more than 270 eyewitnesses saw streaks of light shooting toward TWA Flight 800. After a ghastly series of explosions, 230 innocent Americans careened into the Atlantic in a death plunge.

The next day, as terror expert Yossef Bodansky related, the Islamic Change Movement bragged in Beirut that it had “carried out [its] promise with the plane attack of yesterday.” In Qatar, KSM was delighted.

[I never miss a chance to plug Bodansky's writings...his last three are easily found and must reading for anyone who wants to really understand what is going on in the Middle East. Bodansky heads up the Congressional Task Force on Counterterrorism and Unconventional Warfare and his last three books are entitled "bin Laden: The Man Who Targeted America" (1999), "The High Cost of Peace" (2002), and "The Secret History of the Iraq War" (2004). - jtf]

Yousef showed up in court with his standby counsel and asked Judge Duffy for a mistrial, citing the “unfortunate confluence of circumstances” in the downing of the jetliner and its similarity to the Bojinka charges. Judge Duffy, a tough Irishman, was in no mood to do Yousef any favors. He polled the jury, first saying: “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Last night near Moriches Inlet out in Long Island, an airplane blew up. TWA Flight 800. … All we know is that there was an explosion and the airplane went down. It’s a tragedy, there is no two ways about it, but that had nothing to do with this case.” Motion denied.

Enormous credit has to be given to Jack Cashill, co-author of First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America, for his dogged detective work in uncovering the Clinton White House’s outrageous corruption of the official investigation that followed.

As everyone knows, the official government position to this day is that the center wing tank of the jumbo jet mysteriously self-ignited shortly after takeoff, without any human cause. But in addition to all the hard physical evidence of a terrorist bomb or missile strike recounted in his book, including Yousef’s favorite explosive residues, RDX, PETN and Nitro on multiple seat cushions pulled from the ocean floor, Cashill’s later comment about the attack occurring on Iraq’s Liberation Day is shattering in its impact: “Were Mecca to be bombed on the 4th of July, the disinterested observer would logically conclude that either the USA was responsible or that some provocateur did it to implicate the US.”

As Dr. Laurie Mylroie first established, Ramzi Yousef was Saddam’s man. Yousef, with the assistance of his New York cell, KSM and Osama bin Laden abroad, and indeed Saddam himself, wanted to salvage something from the foiled Bojinka plot. They conceived to destroy a U.S. airliner from New York to get Yousef a mistrial and time to get sprung, acquitted or traded back to Iraq. To celebrate the Great Uncle of terror finance, Saddam Hussein, they set the day for July 17, 1996: Iraq’s 35th Liberation Day.

As Mylroie described in her book A Study in Revenge, Yousef was Saddam’s man; he was was not Kuwaiti; he was Baluch, from a wild area next to Iraq, where Saddam used to mine people for his wet work. We do the victims’ families no justice by telling them their loved ones died in terror because of a mysterious self-igniting fuel tank. And we ignore the fact that Saddam was part of engineering a 9/11 trial run, terrorizing the American skies in order to achieve one diabolical objective, brutal and unwarranted mass-murder.

Christopher S. Carson, formerly of the American Enterprise Institute, is an attorney in private practice in Milwaukee.

More on the Marc Rich Pardon, Kerik to Head Homeland Security


From the Captain's Quarters Blog (Link provided below)
1 December 2004

ABC News reports tonight that oil shipping records show that the fugitive financier pardoned by Bill Clinton in the last hours of his presidency played a significant role in Saddam's fleecing of the UN Oil-For-Food program. Marc Rich, who received a pardon from Clinton despite being on the run and over the objections of the Department of Justice, provided a middleman for Hussein and major oil companies looking to keep their hands clean from scandal:

Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News.

And a U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts.

"Without that kind of middleman, the system would not work because the major oil companies did not want to deal with Iraq because there was a mandated kickback," said human rights investigator John Fawcett.

So when Bill Clinton allowed Marc Rich to go free -- coincidentally just after his wife, Denise Rich, donated $450,000 to Clinton's presidential-library fund -- he set loose one of the conduits that helped Saddam steal $21 billion from his own people and funnel it to his military and, probably, Islamist terrorists. Not only did he allow Rich to escape prosecution for his earlier crimes, he also eliminated any chance of trying him for any crime committed before the pardon was issued in January 2001. While the fortune Rich funneled to Saddam gets used to kill American servicemen and Iraqi civilians, Bill Clinton wanders around his presidential library, wrapped in the loving embrace of the American media.

However, I suspect this will make a huge dent on Hillary's chances for the presidency in 2008, especially if this administration manages to capture and try Rich for his part in UNSCAM. After this report, you can bet that they'll be issuing warrants for his arrest and extradition. (via Instapundit)

UPDATE: Deltanine reminds me that I wrote about Marc Rich's inclusion in the Duelfer Report on October 7th:

At the time of the pardon, many people puzzled over why Bill Clinton would pardon a man who fled the country and whose status as a fugitive had been under negotiation with the FBI just prior to Clinton's action. Instead of cutting a deal with Rich to get him back to the US to face charges, Clinton pulled the rug out from under the FBI. Without the leverage of the charges, Rich had no further motivation to cooperate with the DoJ on any outstanding investigations.

At the time, the presumption was that Rich's wife had donated enough money to buy the pardon. Now, however, the question may be whether Clinton knew about the corruption and feared that an aggressive Bush administration policy would uncover Rich's participation in undermining Iraqi sanctions while Rich raised funds for both his presidential library and Hillary's election. Or maybe the issue runs even deeper than that? Wednesday, December 1, 2004

From the Froggy Ruminations Blog (See Link Below)
3 December 2004

I am very encouraged by President Bush’s nomination of Bernard Kerik to lead the Department of Homeland Security. No matter what you think about Tom Ridge, the fact is he has presided over one of the biggest bureaucratic bungles in US history (which is a significant accomplishment so to speak). I never understood his qualifications for the job in the first place because he does not have a law enforcement background. He was a Vietnam Vet, the Governor of Pennsylvania, and reputed to be under consideration as a VP candidate in 2000.

Next on the chopping block ought to be Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas congressman who was appointed head of the DEA when he lost re-election. He now serves as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security which is simultaneously the most important arm of the Department and the most disorganized. It should come as no surprise that when you put politicians in charge of law enforcement agencies, you can expect them to be quickly run into the ground.

Kerik enters the DHS job with impeccable credentials and important real world experience. He is well known for his excellent stewardship of the NYPD during and after the 9/11 attacks. But it seems that his life experiences have culminated to make him uniquely qualified to hold this position. After serving in the US Army, Kerik got a job supervising security for the construction of a US military installation in Saudi Arabia. In 1984 he had returned to the States, and took a position as Corrections Officer in Passaic, NY where he was quickly promoted to Warden. In 1986 he took a 50% pay cut to fulfill his life’s ambition of becoming a NY Police Officer where he soon began to work undercover on narcotics investigations. By 1991, Kerik’s successes had garnered the attention of Mayor Giuliani who appointed him the NY Commissioner of Corrections. In August of 2000 after vastly improving conditions at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility, Kerik was named Chief of the NYPD where he served with the distinction. Following the invasion of Iraq, President Bush tapped him to go to Baghdad to design and implement the training program for the Iraqi Police. [Be sure to check out Kerik's extremly complelling auotbiography "The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice" can it find bargain priced at .]

I don’t know about you, but the contrast between these men could hardly be more profound. Kerik’s resume could scarcely be more complete, while the appointment of Ridge and Hutchinson seem deeply irresponsible in comparison. If I were still an ICE Agent or Federal Air Marshall I would pray for a quick confirmation followed by a broadly swung axe eliminating the dead wood and political hacks that populate the leadership of DHS. For 2 years ICE Agents have been looking for light at the end of the tunnel which they believed to be a speeding freight train, with any luck they can look forward to a ray of hope. Friday, December 3, 2004

Jim Litke: Helping Baseball Pull Its Head Out of the Sand

JIM LITKE, AP Sports Columnist
Thursday, December 2, 2004
From the San Fransisco Chronicle ( )

(12-02) 23:05 PST (AP) --

Baseball is about to be offered some much-needed help pulling its head out of the sand.

That might have been the farthest thing from Jason Giambi's mind when he strolled into a grand jury room in San Francisco during the early stages of the BALCO investigation. It hardly matters.

The flow of information from that federal probe is about to wash over baseball, the same way that evidence of drug abuse conveniently washed up on the doorstep of Olympic officials in time to thin the athletic herd headed for Athens.

Everybody says they're against juicing in baseball, too, but nobody does much about it. If this latest opportunity comes and goes without real change, the next time you feel the urge to point a finger, go stand in front of a mirror.

Fan polls show overwhelming support for a cleanup. But those fans who also vote with their feet show up at ballparks in record numbers. Commissioner Bud Selig and the players' union finally buckled on a testing program, but even dizzy former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams could beat the one baseball has in place.

And good luck to anybody who accepts the commish's latest promise to do better. It comes with a lifetime pass to the Amnesiacs Hall of Fame.

When asked about Giambi's leaked grand jury testimony, Selig touted the much-tougher program already in place in the minor leagues.

"We need to have that program at the major league level," he said. "This is just another manifestation of why we need that right away. My only reaction is we're going to leave no stone unturned until we have that policy in place by spring training 2005."

Right. And expect to see pigs handling the flyovers on opening day.

For 10 solid years, every time questions bubbled up about the role of performance-enhancers in supersizing of baseball, Selig & Co. bought themselves time by promising to study, monitor and test the players. Normally the commissioner and his loyal opposition over at union headquarters can't agree on whether the sun in shining. But when it comes to denying the game has a drug problem, they speak with the same forked tongue.

When home-run records fell from the sky so often that old-timers developed tics, Selig dispatched a fact-finding mission to the Caribbean to rummage through the factories where the baseballs were made.

When a bottle of androstenedione was eyeballed in Mark McGwire's locker, the proper authorities assured everyone the supplement was legal and allowed under the rules in place at the time. Then, just for good measure, Selig commissioned a team of Harvard scientists to study andro.

Two years later, he thanked the researchers for a "significant contribution to the science surrounding its use" and put the study in a drawer. Then he and union boss Donald Fehr agreed more research was needed. Only later, and with little fanfare, did andro slide onto the banned list.

When former stars Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti threw around estimates that more than 50 percent of their counterparts were on juice, the higher-ups advised everybody to calm down and consider the source.

And during a dress-rehearsal two years ago, when between 5 and 7 percent of the ballplayers anonymous tests came back positive, both Selig and the union had the chutzpah to describe it as a win-win situation.

Gene Orza, the No. 2 man at union headquarters, said those results proved the claims by Canseco and Caminiti were "wildly inflated." Ever the optimist, Selig chimed in, "Hopefully, this will, over time, allow us to completely eradicate the use of performance enhancement substances in baseball."

Know how many guys tested positive this past season, the first one in which players could be identified and punished?


At least that's the educated guess. Under the collective bargaining agreement, a first positive test results in treatment and a second in a suspension. No one was suspended and word never leaked out of any ballplayer being referred for treatment; draw your own conclusion.

Previous leaks to the media suggest that prosecutors feds can place Greg Anderson, the alleged BALCO bagman and Barry Bonds' personal trainer, at the scene of several questionable handoffs. BALCO founder Victor Conte is scheduled to tell some version of his story on ABC's "20/20" come Friday night. We may have to wait for trial to get the rest, but that's a matter of when, no longer if.

Giambi may have lied to fans, but he was smart enough, apparently, not to do it with the feds in the room. Still unclear is whether his employer, Yankees boss George Steinbrenner, or Selig can touch him -- or anybody else, for that matter, who answered the grand jury questions honestly.

And forget Selig's call to put some teeth in the current joke of a testing program by next spring. He can't rewrite the bargaining agreement in place through the end of the next season without the union's permission, and they'll likely be too busy pulling the wings off flies to take Selig's call before then.

Nothing changes in baseball until the customers demand it. Giambi's testimony is far from the first high-and-tight challenge to the integrity of the game, and it's even farther from the last.

Batter up.

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Marvin Olasky: The Most Inluential Philosopher Alive

Here is a link to an outstanding article by Marvin Olasky from ...He discusses the eye-poppingly appalling beliefs and teachings of Princeton's Dr. Pete Singer and the ramifications of his thinking. It is must reading.

Ann Coulter: It's Dr. Rice, Not Dr. Dre

by Ann Coulter
Posted Dec 2, 2004

In light of their reaction to the nomination of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of State, I gather liberals have gotten over their enthusiasm for multi-culturalist milestones. It's interesting that they dropped their celebrations of the "first woman!" "first black!" "first Asian!" designations at the precise moment that we are about to get our first black female secretary of State.

When Madeleine Albright was appointed the FIRST WOMAN secretary of state, the media were euphoric. (And if memory serves, Monica Lewinsky was the first Jewish female to occupy her various positions on the President's, uh, staff.) With Albright at the helm of the State Department, Osama bin Laden ran wild throughout the Middle East, the North Koreans began feverishly building nukes under her nose, and we staged a pre-emptive attack solely for purposes of regime change based on false information presented to the American people by Albright about a world leader who was not an imminent threat to the United States. Slobodan Milosevic wasn't even a latent, long-term, hypothetical threat.

But the girls in the mainstream media were too smitten with Albright's brooch collection and high heels to notice the shambles she was making of foreign policy.

The New York Times raved about Albright's brooches in an article titled, "A Diplomat Who Says 'Read My Pins.'" In the San Francisco Chronicle, Leah Garchik was amazed by Albright's "jewel-encrusted flag" pin--Albright's clever ruse to prove that Republicans did not have "dibs on patriotic jewelry." Perhaps Rice could impress American journalists if she talked more about her accessorizing.

People magazine quoted an aide gushing that Albright "stays in her heels all day." Albright herself told Harper's Bazaar, "I've kidded that the advantage of being a woman secretary of state is makeup." This was a great leap forward for feminism? At this point even Paris Hilton was rolling her eyes and saying, "Oh, come on now!"But Bush nominates a brilliant geopolitical thinker who happens to be black and female and all of a sudden she's Butterfly McQueen, who don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no Middle Eastern democracies.

Earlier this year, the flamboyant Richard Clarke claimed that when he briefed Rice in early 2001 about al-Qaeda, her "facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before." It's good to know that Clinton's chief terrorism "expert" believes himself to possess paranormal abilities such as ESP.Why couldn't Dick Clarke have used some of those mind-reading skills on Osama before al-Qaeda blew up the USS Cole in October 2000? Or after?
To the bitter end, the official position of the Clinton Administration was that it couldn't say for sure who was responsible for the Cole attack.

Apparently, liberals believe Rice compares unfavorably to Madeleine Albright, whose principal accomplishment before becoming secretary of State was managing to attain the age of 60 without realizing she was Jewish. That was raw competence.

I take that back: Albright also taught at Georgetown University. Of course, American universities make professors of people such as Eldridge Cleaver's wife. (Kathleen Cleaver is currently at Yale Law School; Susan Rosenberg, a participant in a Brinks car robbery, teaches at Hamilton College; former Weatherman Bill Ayers is a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and former Weatherman Bernardine Dohrn is the director of a legal clinic at Northwestern University.)

Or how about Clinton's first secretary of State, Warren Christopher, a lawyer whose dazzling foreign policy experience consisted of being President Carter's chief negotiator for the hostages in Iran? That's almost as impressive a résumé entry as "Chief Iceberg Lookout, the Titanic," "Senior Design Engineer, the Edsel," "Navigator, Exxon Valdez," or "Writer/Executive Producer, Alexander."

The closest black woman to Bill Clinton was his secretary, Betty Currie--whose principal function was penciling in "Monica" on Clinton's "To Do" list every morning. The closest black woman to most of the liberals accusing Rice of being incompetent is the maid they periodically accuse of stealing from the liquor cabinet.

George Bush chose a black woman to be his top adviser on national security. Now he wants her as his secretary of State. And when she becomes the first black female secretary of State, Rice will replace the first black secretary of State--both appointed by right-wing Republican George Bush. The entire Bush cabinet is starting to look like an Image Awards telecast minus the fisticuffs and gunplay.Democrats are terrified that black people might start to notice.

Say, there's a black woman standing next to President Bush . . . who is that?Never mind! It's probably somebody he's arresting!

It's extremely valuable for Democrats to be able to campaign in black neighborhoods while talking about the "white boys" running the Republican Party. When she was managing Al Gore's 2000 campaign, Donna Brazile said she was not going to "let the white boys win in this election." (If I had a nickel for every time I've confused Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Terry McAuliffe, Paul Begala and James Carville for the Jackson Five. . .)

Sure enough, Brazile was instrumental in not letting a couple of white boys--named Al and Joe--win the election. I guess that's liberals' idea of a "competent" black woman.

Ann Coulter is Legal Affairs Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS and author of Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Michelle Malkin: What Part of "Enforcement" Don't They Understand?
Michelle Malkin (archive)
December 1, 2004

The obtuseness of the open-borders lobby never ceases to amaze. Here we are, three years after the 9/11 hijackers easily exploited lax borders, and the OBL continues to argue that cracking down on illegal immigration and tightening terrorist-friendly loopholes are "anti-immigrant."

Banging. Head. Against. The. Wall.

How do you maintain sanity when wading through the emotional drivel that passes for the OBL's reasoning? Tip: Whenever they say "anti-immigrant," substitute "pro-enforcement." And shout it at the top of your lungs.

Political correctness is the handmaiden of terrorism. By smearing the overwhelming majority of Americans who support real borders as racists and xenophobes, the OBL obscures its deadly agenda: sabotaging our existing immigration laws and blocking any new efforts to punish those who abuse the system.

Flavia Jimenez of the National Council of La Raza illustrates perfectly this blustering open-borders tactic in a hysterical "action alert" this week titled: "STOP ANTI IMMIGRANT PROVISIONS FROM BECOMING PART OF THE INTELLIGENCE REFORM BILL." La Raza and their fellow travelers argue that tough enforcement measures "needlessly scapegoat all immigrants," are "extraneous" and "harsh," "would not have prevented the terrorist attacks and will not make us safer," and are "non-solutions that will only drive people further underground and cause panic among immigrant communities."

"Extraneous"? These same critics had no problem when a $1 billion illegal alien health care bailout for border hospitals was tacked on to the mammoth Medicare Prescription Drug bill.

"Non-solutions"? The 9/11 commission itself blamed "a lack of well-developed counterterrorism measures as part of border security, and an immigration system not able to deliver on its basic commitments, much less support counterterrorism."

"Anti-immigrant"? If you actually read the immigration enforcement provisions supported by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner and his fellow maverick House Republicans (side note: just once, I'd like to see the mainstream media call a Republican other than John McCain a "maverick"), you will see clearly and unequivocally that these vital measures are anti-terrorist. Anti-criminal. Anti-fraud. And above all, pro-enforcement.

Open-border activists not only oppose the most-publicized provision that would deny driver's licenses to illegal aliens, they also oppose provisions:

-- Adding at least 2,000 new border patrol agents, 800 new interior enforcement investigators, and 150 additional consular officials overseas.

-- Increasing illegal alien detention facility space by 2,500 beds.

-- Expanding the number of foreign airports with counterterrorist passenger prescreening programs.

-- Creating a uniform identity document rule for all aliens present in the United States.

-- Toughening criminal penalties for using or trading false identification documents.

-- Reducing bureaucratic delays that allow illegal aliens who obtained fraudulent visas to re-enter or remain in the country even after their visas have been revoked.

-- Creating an information- and intelligence-sharing system at the Department of Homeland Security to track terrorist travel tactics, patterns, trends and practices and disseminate the data to front-line personnel at ports of entry and immigration benefits offices.

-- Making it easier to deport terrorists and alien supporters of terrorism by curbing their avenues for appeal and delay.

-- Speeding up the development of a long-delayed entry-exit system to guard against terrorists slipping through the cracks.

-- Requiring asylum-seekers tied to guerrilla, militant or terrorist organizations, and who claim asylum without submitting corroborating evidence, to provide credible proof of their "persecution."

As usual, mainstream reporting on these specific immigration-related measures at issue has been skimpier than a Bratz doll's wardrobe. That's because so many national editors themselves subscribe to the open-borders gospel. Since 9/11, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post have published countless news items and editorials decrying immigration enforcement: sob stories about families caught evading deportation orders; foreign students complaining about new registration requirements violating their "privacy"; Latino activists outraged about border patrol agents doing their jobs; Middle Eastern tourists protesting visa screening measures; and illegal aliens clamoring for protection of their "rights."

Rep. Sensenbrenner and his GOP colleagues face not only the OBL on the left and in the media, but also at the highest echelons of the Bush administration. The mavericks need all the help they can get. Before it's too late, call the White House now and yell: It's the enforcement, stupid!

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and maintains her weblog at
©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Contact Michelle Malkin Read Malkin's biography

Just released from Michelle Malkin-

In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror

In a time of war, Michelle Malkin insists, the survival of the nation must come first. In this provocative new book, she explains why civil liberties are not sacrosanct. In Defense of Internment offers a ringing justification for the most reviled wartime policies in American history: the evacuation, relocation, and internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II. It also defends racial, ethnic, religious, and nationality profiling as effective defensive measures in today's War on Terror.

Thomas Sowell: Liberals Pushing For Higher Taxes

by Thomas Sowell
Posted Nov 29, 2004

When liberals in the media or in politics start being alarmed about the national debt, it means just one thing: They want higher taxes. The thought of reducing spending would never cross their minds.

As we are endlessly reminded, the federal government's debt has reached record levels during the Bush administration. That enables the liberal media to use their favorite word -- "crisis" -- and adds urgency to doing their favorite thing, raising taxes.

Since we have a larger population than ever and a larger national income than ever, it should hardly be surprising that we also have a larger national debt than ever. But what does it mean?

Donald Trump probably has a bigger debt than I do -- and less reason to worry about it. Debt means nothing unless you compare it to your income or wealth.

How does our national debt today compare to our national income? It is lower than it was a decade ago, during the Clinton administration, when liberals did not seem nearly as panicked as they seem today.

As a percentage of the national income, the national debt today is less than half of what it was in 1950 and about where it was in 1940 -- back in those "earlier and simpler times." If someone were to produce a political dictionary, "crisis" would be defined as a desire to pass a law and "national debt" would be defined as a desire to raise taxes. And the two in combination would mean a desire to discredit the existing administration.

If it seems that raising taxes is the only way to reduce the national debt, at least when so much spending is mandated by "entitlement" programs, that only shows the need for an economic dictionary. "Taxes" is one of those treacherous words with more than one meaning, enabling politicians to shift back and forth between meanings when they talk. Unless spending is reduced, then of course more tax revenues are necessary in order to reduce a deficit or bring down a debt.

But tax revenues and tax rates are two different things, even though the same word -- "taxes" -- is used to refer to both.What "tax cuts" cut is the tax rate. But tax revenues can rise, fall, or stay the same when tax rates are cut. Everything depends on what happens to income.

Tax revenues rose after the Kennedy tax cuts of the 1960s and the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s because incomes rose. Incomes are likewise rising during the Bush administration today.

If Congress can just reduce the rate of increase in spending, rising tax revenues can reduce the deficit and eventually eliminate it. But of course that will not give liberals an excuse to raise tax rates or even to denounce "tax cuts for the rich." There was a time when the purpose of taxes was to pay for the inevitable costs of government. To the political left, however, taxes have long been seen as a way to redistribute income and finance other social experiments based on liberal ideology.

Given that agenda, it is hardly surprising that some of the biggest spending liberals can go into hysterics over the national debt, especially when that debt exists under a conservative administration of the opposite party. This does not mean that nothing needs to be done about the national debt or about our tax system. A lot could be done about both -- but it would not be what liberals want done.

Promoting the growth of the national economy would be one of the fastest and best ways of reducing the national debt. We could, for example, stop letting little bands of self-righteous activists stifle the building of homes or businesses under "open space" laws or stop the drilling of oil off-shore, on-shore, or anywhere else.

As for taxes, we could stop taxing productivity and start taxing consumption. After all, productivity is what makes a society more prosperous. Someone who is adding to the total wealth of this country is not depriving you of anything. But someone who is consuming the nation's wealth, without contributing anything to it, is. Yet our tax system penalizes those who are producing wealth in order to subsidize those who are only consuming it. Tax reform is overdue, national debt or no national debt.

Dr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Mike Thompson: Post Office Treats Christmas Stamp Like Pornography

Post Office Treats Christmas Stamp Like Pornography; Sells It from 'Under the Counter'
by Mike Thompson
Posted Nov 30, 2004

Saturday after Thanksgiving is the traditional day to purchase stamps for my annual Christmas card mailing, a personal shopping routine I inaugurated over 40 years ago for reasons I don't remember. Maybe it's because I was born and have lived in subtropical Miami for so long, it is only when the temperature drops below 80 degrees (in late November) that I can manage even to think of the oncoming, première winter holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ.

So, shortly before noon on that most recent post-turkey day, I sauntered into a neighborhood "U.S. Postal Store," a jazzy boutique version of the U.S. Post Office created under the stylish, triangulating Clinton Administration, and headed for the stamps-only section. I quickly found a packed wall of display racks offering a panoply of first-class postage devoted to the various elements of the year-end holiday season, specifically:

1) Christmas, featuring colorful, contemporary designs of Santa Claus with an array of inanimate, secular Yule symbols

2) Kwanzaa, with not just one but two stamps promoting a totally fabricated "harvest holiday" for African-Americans, a self-congratulatory event cooked up by a 1960s Black Power California university professor who revered U.S. politics more than world history

3) Hanukkah, the ancient Jewish festival that marks the rededication of the temple wrested from the savage control of Syria's King Antiochus IV

4) Eid (Arabic for "festival"), a two-part, post-Ramadan feasting period for Muslims.

Beholding such philatelic diversity in a simple American post office truly is a multicultural moment that a few weeks earlier would have reduced John Kerry to tears of joy.

Something, however, was missing. "Where," I asked the attending postal clerk, "are the traditional Madonna & Child stamps?" (Postal authorities for years have issued both nonreligious and religious commemorative stamps for this holiday season, to satisfy equally those citizens who groove exclusively on office-partying and those who quaintly still revere the birth of Christ.)

"Those stamps," said the clerk with an odd, ecumenical smile, are here in this drawer, "under the counter." She slowly pulled open the discreet trove and withdrew samples of the Virgin Mary and her Baby Jesus for my fascination, as if they were products of an eccentric artist with copious red body hair who works at night, alone in the P.O. attic.

"Wait a minute," I demanded. "Why are the only Christmas stamps that actually depict the meaning of Christmas being hidden from your customers and treated like pornography, stashed under the counter?"She ignored my question, so I asked, eventually, another: "If you want to emphasize Kwanzaa stamps, that's OK with me. If you want to display Hanukkah stamps, that's also OK. But why would you be hiding Christian Christmas stamps while displaying Muslim stamps with bilingual Arabic and Roman script proclaiming 'EID,' whatever that is?"

"Well," declared the slightly omniscient postal clerk," 'E.I.D.'is the Arabic name for the way Muslims celebrate Christmas."To which I snapped: "Madam, the only way that Muslims in many parts of the world 'celebrate' Christmas is to kill a few Christians. What in Hell are you talking about?"As the civil servant continued to smile nonconfrontationally in silence, I asked for 160 Madonna & Child stamps, counted my change, and, on my way out the front door, also counted our nation's blessings that the U.S. Postal Service does not yet run America.

Mr. Thompson is the past chairman of the Florida Conservative Union.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Anne Hendershott: The Dismal State of Many Catholic Colleges


Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology at the University of San Diego, and author of the recently published The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books).

F or those who are committed to revitalizing Catholic higher education, the news about student culture at Catholic colleges and universities, as reported by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA earlier this year, was alarming. The Institute compared the results of a survey administered to incoming college freshman in 1997 with a survey given those same students as graduating seniors in 2001. The results? Catholic seniors at Catholic colleges showed sizeable increases in support for legalized abortion, premarital sex, and same-sex "marriage."

After four years at a Catholic college, Catholic student support for legalized abortion increased from 37.9 percent to 51.7 percent, for premarital sex from 27.5 percent to 48.0 percent, and for "gay marriage" from 52.4 percent to 69.5 percent. The increases are about the same for Catholic students at secular colleges. It would seem that if you want your child to absorb Catholic morality, there's not much point in sending him to a conventional Catholic college.

With the release of the data, liberal Catholic organizations attempted damage control. Others dismissed the findings outright. Monica Hellwig, President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, said, "The question is whether the task of higher education in our pluralistic, changing society is to lock students into rules — or to teach them critical thinking." For Hellwig and most liberal Catholic scholars, one is apparently not supposed to direct one's "critical thinking" against the reigning libertine bromides.

When professors at Catholic campuses attempt to teach from a Catholic perspective, they are often marginalized by their colleagues. Indeed, for those of us who have spent the past few decades toiling to reverse the secularization process that is occurring on our own Catholic campuses, the results are often discouraging.

The re-education of students in sexual morality begins as soon as students arrive on campus. On my own Catholic campus, during the first day of Freshman Orientation, first-year students are given "welcome packs" that contain pink "gay pride" triangles to display in their dormitory rooms. The triangles proclaim the students' room to be an "Open Zone" for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. During Orientation Week, orientation team leaders all display the pink triangles on their O-team folders and encourage freshman to display their triangles also. Similar pressure is applied to faculty members.

Indeed, the willingness to wear or display a pink triangle in support of the "gay community" has become a kind of litmus test on many Catholic college campuses. A few years ago there was an incident on my own campus in which a professor's reluctance to display his triangle raised a controversy that many believe contributed to the abrupt end of his teaching career. The popular part-time faculty member had taught at this University for several years. He had a strong presence in the classroom, with high standards and the highest student evaluations in his department, yet he was denied a contract to teach again. No explanation was given, but many of those familiar with the case believe that the reason was his unwillingness to display a pink triangle proclaiming his office an "Open Zone."
When asked to post the symbol in the office space he shared with other faculty members, he responded in writing that he would do so if requested, but that "if the space were mine, I would not post such a sign." His response was widely circulated on campus. The part that probably sealed his fate was his assertion that "a Catholic institution marginalizes itself with such vapid symbolism." One senior professor referred to him as a "homophobe" at a public meeting for even questioning the appropriateness of displaying the pink triangle. Inverted McCarthyism triumphed, and without a whisper from the ACLU.

The animosity toward Catholic teaching on sexual morality is especially strong among many theology and religious studies professors. They have a tremendous impact on student attitudes about homosexuality. Since the courses in theology and religious studies are most often required courses, such professors enjoy a captive audience. At one southern California Catholic campus, a professor of religious studies constructed a "condom tree" in his office so that students could take a condom as they received advice on degree requirements and course selection. While university administrators were successful in encouraging this faculty member to remove the condom tree, he has enjoyed the ability to teach a theology/religious studies course that was cross-listed in sociology under "Gay and Lesbian Voices." The anti-Catholic film Stop the Church was shown to the students in his class. Also Finding Common Ground: Using Adolescent and Children's Literature to Explore Issues Related to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Straight Identities is one of the choices to fulfill the "children's literature" requirement for future teachers enrolled in this Catholic university's School of Education.

Like same-sex "marriages" and premarital sex, abortion remains contested terrain on Catholic campuses — despite official Church teaching to the contrary. Some students have attempted to create a culture of life on Catholic campuses by forming "Students for Life" organizations, but must compete with other student organizations for scarce funding — and they often lose out in the funding race. Prolife campus speakers are often marginalized or ignored in favor of those who support a woman's "right to choose." A few years ago on my own Catholic campus, an internationally known public figure in the prolife movement, Fr. Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, addressed a nearly empty auditorium. There had been little publicity about the event; most students and faculty were unaware of Fr. Marx's impending visit. With the exception of a few prolife faculty and staff members, and a handful of courageous students, there were no administrators in attendance. By contrast, when the radical Angela Davis visited our campus last spring, she received accolades from administrators and professors alike. In contrast to the lack of attention paid to Fr. Marx, professors gave extra credit to students who attended Davis's lecture on radical politics and lesbian identity.

Following Angela Davis, to complete the trilogy of fashionable Leftism on our campus last spring, radical feminist Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza, author of In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins, and Howard Zinn, author of Marx in Soho, arrived on campus. After the "pro-choice" Schüssler-Fiorenza claimed that pathological patriarchy is destroying the Catholic Church, and Zinn condemned America, dinners were held in their honor and senior-level university administrators privileged the visiting celebrities with their presence.

Still, there is hope. On my own campus, some students have taken the lead in attempting to reinforce the school's Catholic identity. Students for Life is a club that is thriving, as is the Ave Maria Rosary Club (there is also an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and a Campus Crusade for Christ). Campus cultures at schools such as Thomas Aquinas, Campion, Ave Maria, Christendom, and Steubenville are committed to a strong Catholic identity. Other Catholic colleges and universities, such as Gonzaga, are attempting to revitalize their Catholic identities.

The Cardinal Newman Society is trying to help by serving as both a resource to Catholic campuses and as a "watchdog" organization. Recently the Society published a list of more than 40 Catholic campuses that presented the vulgar Vagina Monologues last academic year, a play that favorably presents the seduction of an underage girl by a lesbian. Providing people with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the offending Catholic college presidents, the Society asked concerned Catholics to contact these presidents and express their dismay.

Unlike the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Cardinal Newman Society was alarmed by the data disclosed in the UCLA survey. According to the Society's President, Patrick J. Reilly, "We would expect Catholic colleges to have a much stronger effect in bringing students closer to Catholic teachings, or at least not having them fall away." Not surprisingly, the Cardinal Newman Society has met with opposition from those concerned about "academic freedom" on Catholic campuses. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recently held a national conference at the University of San Diego (USD) on academic freedom on Catholic campuses and warned of the threats posed by Catholic constrictions on academic freedom. Representatives of Georgetown University's "gay and lesbian" student organization were featured in a panel at USD to caution about the threat that some Catholic colleges and universities pose to the "gay and lesbian community."

Undeterred by the AAUP, George Weigel responded to those who warn of threats to academic freedom on Catholic campuses: "I would simply ask: What about consumer fraud? If some Catholic colleges and universities have become venues in which Catholic students stop thinking and living like Catholics, something is desperately awry."

Others are beginning to ask the same questions. During "Visiting Day" on my own campus this past academic year, prospective students and their parents were greeted by a group calling itself Courageous Christians United. The group carried signs reading "USD Teaches Heresy and Homosexuality," "USD is Not a Catholic University," "Homosexuality is Not a Catholic Value," and "It's Great to be Gay at USD." Demonstrators advised prospective students and their parents that there are two "gay pride" organizations on campus, that the University regularly hosts pro-homosexual speakers on campus, and that there are "coming out" groups on campus.

The Catholic monthly newspaper San Diego News Notes interviewed a family who said that after speaking with the demonstrators they were having second thoughts about USD.

Sadly, for the Catholic parents of high school seniors who are inquiring into Catholic colleges, the decision about college seems to be getting more difficult.

Chuck Colson: The Prophesy of C.S. Lewis

Chuck Colson (archive)
November 29, 2004

C. S. Lewis was born on this date in 1898, and forty-one years after his death, one thing has become startlingly clear: This Oxford don was not only a keen apologist but also a true prophet for our postmodern age.

For example, Lewis’s 1947 book, Miracles, was penned before most Christians were aware of the emerging philosophy of naturalism. This is the belief that there is a naturalistic explanation for everything in the universe.

Naturalism undercuts any objective morality, opening the door to tyranny. In his book The Abolition of Man, Lewis warned that naturalism turns humans into objects to be controlled. It turns values into “mere natural phenomena”—which can be selected and inculcated into a passive population by powerful Conditioners. Lewis predicted a time when those who want to remold human nature “will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique.” Sounds like the biotech debate today, doesn’t it?

Why was Lewis so uncannily prophetic? At first glance he seems an unlikely candidate. He was not a theologian; he was an English professor. What was it that made him such a keen observer of cultural and intellectual trends?

The answer may be somewhat discomfiting to modern evangelicals: One reason is precisely that Lewis was not an evangelical. He was a professor in the academy, with a specialty in medieval literature, which gave him a mental framework shaped by the whole scope of intellectual history and Christian thought. As a result, he was liberated from the narrow confines of the religious views of the day—which meant he was able to analyze and critique them.

Lewis once wrote than any new book “has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages.” Because he himself was steeped in that “great body of Christian thought,” he quickly discerned trends that ran counter to it.

But how many of us are familiar with that same panorama of Christian ideas “down the ages”? How many of us know the work of more than a few contemporary writers? How, then, can we stand against the destructive intellectual trends multiplying in our own day?

The problem is not that modern evangelicals are less intelligent than Lewis. As Mark Noll explains in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, the problem is that our sharpest intellects have been channeled into biblical scholarship, exegesis, and hermeneutics. While that is a vital enterprise, we rarely give the same scholarly attention to history, literature, politics, philosophy, economics, or the arts. As a result, we are less aware of the culture than we should be, less equipped to defend a biblical worldview, and less capable of being a redemptive force in our postmodern society—less aware, as well, of the threats headed our way from cultural elites.

You and I need to follow Lewis’s lead. We must liberate ourselves from the prison of our own narrow perspective and immerse ourselves in Christian ideas “down the ages.” Only then can we critique our culture and trace the trends.

The best way to celebrate Lewis’s birthday is to be at our posts, as he liked to say—with renewed spirits and with probing and informed minds.

For further reading and information:

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001 version).
C. S. Lewis, Miracles (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001 version).
C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001 version).
Charles Colson, “ The Oxford Prophet ,” Christianity Today, 15 June 1998 .
Charles Colson, “ Cultural Prophecy: Lewis learned from the greats ,” Boundless, 25 August 1998 .
Charles Colson, “ C. S. Lewis: Prophet of the Twentieth Century ,” Wilberforce Forum.
James Tonkowich, M. Div., “ In Praise of Old Books ,” BreakPoint WorldView, March 2004.
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040412, “ Everything Old Is New Again: C. S. Lewis and the Argument from Reason .”
BreakPoint Commentary No. 031121, “ Three Died That Day: Reflections on November 22, 1963 .”
Dr. Armand Nicholi, The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life (Free Press, 2002).
Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans, 1994).
Mark A. Noll, “ The Evangelical Mind Today ,” First Things, October 2004.

Chuck Colson is founder and chairman of BreakPoint Online, a member group.
©2004 BreakPoint Online
Read Colson's biography

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Human Dignity in the Biotech Century
"If ever there was need and opportunity for Christians to shape culture, it is now," write Chuck Colson and Nigel M. de S. Cameron. They make the case that biotechnology is the next front in the battles over ethics and public policy, and Christians need to bring their influence to bear on the debates. These twelve essays alert readers to the ethical and legal challenges we face in the new genetics, involving embryo research, stem cell research, cloning, genetic engineering, gene therapy, pharmacogenomics, cybernetics, nanotechnology and abortion.
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Monday, November 29, 2004

Honest Ending the Incitement

November 29, 2004

The post-Arafat era has begun. Are things now moving in the right direction? A Nov. 19 New York Times editorial answered in the affirmative, hailing the Palestinian leadership for doing their part by 'resisting the urge' to deliver 'unnecessary anti-Israel speeches.'

But the problem of anti-Israel incitement extends far beyond formal speeches by Palestinian politicians. As CBS reported, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon now demands two key reforms before talks can begin:

One is the cessation of poisonous propaganda and continuing incitement in the Palestinian television and media. Second, a drastic change in the Palestinian educational system, ending incitement and demonization of Israel, the Israelis and the Jews.

'The venomous propaganda in the Palestinian media and education system is the root and foundation of the expansion of the suicide terrorism phenomenon,' said Sharon.
9/12/04: On official PA TV, Sheik Ibrahim Madhi calls Jews 'the brothers of apes and pigs' and predicts their mass murder [see video from MEMRI-TV]

Unfortunately, the typical news consumer has no idea what Sharon is talking about, since, as HonestReporting has continually indicated, the western media has largely turned a blind eye to the incitement against Israel and the U.S. that permeates Palestinian culture.

Palestinian cultural incitement is a prime focus of the HonestReporting documentary film Relentless, which was cited yesterday (Nov. 24) in the Wall Street Journal for 'chillingly show[ing] children on a Palestinian TV show expressing their desire to be suicide bombers, urged on by the host \ who blew herself up in Jerusalem.'

Here are some more recent examples of the material filling Palestinian living rooms and classrooms (courtesy Palestinian Media Watch):

Official PA newspapers: A graphic cartoon in Nov. 22's official PA daily, Al Hayat al Jadida, shows an American soldier raping an Iraqi woman, while the Arab world looks on with amusement, or assists.

This PA paper has continually spread outrageous lies among the Palestinian population, for example: Israel as the 'actual source' behind Palestinian and world Islamic terror, the IDF mutilating the bodies of Palestinians, and Israel handing out poison candies to Palestinian children.

A March, 2004 cartoon in Al Hayat (at left) showed Ariel Sharon eating Palestinian babies, and the paper recently portrayed Condoleeza Rice as an evil 'exterminator' of the Arab people.
œ Official PA TV: For years, official Palestinian TV has been filled with speakers and images that glamorize and promote suicide terror and violence, even to young children.

The latest: A children's TV program on the importance of trees features a talking chick who is asked how he'd respond if someone would cut down a tree in front of his house. The chick answers:

What I'll do to him? I'll fight him and make a big riot, I'll call the whole world and make a riot. I'll bring AK-47s [assault rifles] and the whole world, I'll commit a massacre in front of the house!
So while Israeli and western toddlers are watching Barney ('I love you, you love me'), Palestinian kids are told that massacres are the way to resolve conflict.

In addition, televised sermons by Palestinian clerics continue to encourage terrorist jihad against all Jews, and even music videos promote hatred against the Jewish people.
Official PA classrooms: The 2004 PA schoolbook for 6th graders urges the 11-year-olds to take an active part in military activity greatly increasing the chances of Palestinian child casualties.

And though the PA claims it has reformed its schoolbooks to remove such material, Itamar Marcus reports that even the new books 'include anti-Semitism, de-legitimize Israel's existence and incite to hatred and violence.' All of Israel is said
Map of Israel under Palestinian flag, from Hebron be an 'occupation,' and all of Israel's cities, regions and natural resources are presented as part of 'Palestine'. For example:

'Among the famous rocks of southern Palestine are the rocks of Beersheba and the Negev' and of 'Palestine's Water Sources... The most important is the Sea of Galilee.' [from Our Beautiful Language, grade 6, Part A, p. 64, National Education, sixth grade, p. 9-10]
The denial of Israel's very legitimacy is reinforced through dozens of textbooks and maps in which the entire land mass is called 'Palestine', and Israel does not exist within any borders.

* * *
The ongoing incitement in Palestinian media, and the education to violence and denial of Israel in Palestinian schools, is one of the darkest aspects of Yassir Arafat's legacy, undermining any potential progress toward long-term co-existence. But, for some reason, the media have been very reluctant to report the problem.

The Chicago Sun-Times was one of the only papers to buck the trend this week, recognizing in a staff editorial that
Palestinians should have taken care of this long ago, if they really want to someday live in peace with their neighbors. It is impossible to negotiate at a diplomatic level while broadcasting hatred toward your partner in peace. Sharon called his demand "a test of the Palestinian leadership." It is, and a fair one.

HonestReporting encourages subscribers to write a letter to your local paper or, better yet, an op-ed piece using the examples above to explain the background for Israel's renewed demand for the removal of inciting material from Palestinian media and classrooms.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

Shawn Macomber: The Open Borders Lobby vs. the People of Arizona

By Shawn Macomber
November 29, 2004

The democratic will of the people is being put to the test in Arizona by an imperial judiciary; local, national, and international politicians; and Mexican secessionist partisans. At issue: whether the state should apply the law and deny welfare benefits to those in the nation illegally.

On November 2, Arizonans passed Proposition 200 by a substantial 56-44 margin. The ballot initiative closely resembled California’s Proposition 187 of a decade ago both in sentiment and intent: Depriving the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship to those who have settled here illegally. Essentially this means putting some basic, common sense bulwarks in place to stem the tide of illegal immigration. The new law will require “proof of eligibility”—i.e. legal identification—when applying for welfare benefits and when registering to vote. It also requires state employees who discover a violation of federal immigration laws to report it to federal immigration authorities. It is important to note that Proposition 200 is not a change in the law, but simply a demand that the state government enforce both local and federal laws.

Supporting basic law and order might seem a modest proposal, but supporters of the initiative were immediately tarred as racist representatives of those inherently prejudiced “red states.”

“We Americans must look beyond the scare tactics employed by such campaigns to see the fundamentally un-American character of such organizations and leaders,” Yolanda Chávez Leyva, a Texas historian, wrote hysterically before the vote. “Voters must not give in to the fears and prejudice of such groups.”These “fundamentally un-American” phantom “groups” apparently include 56 percent of Arizonans in all racial, religious, and economic categories. Hispanic support for the measure was at 47 percent. Forty-two percent of Democrats voted “yea.” Catholics and American Indians were strongly on-board, as well. Since the vote is not aligned on race, party, or class, it would seem that anyone who disagrees with the position of Leyva and the Open Borders Lobby has apparently given into “fear and prejudice.”

This fact did not keep the state's political establishment from fighting it to the last. Republican Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl joined the entire Arizona congressional delegation, Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, the Chamber of Commerce, and virtually every media outlet in vociferously opposing the measure. “I understand the frustration most Arizonans feel with our unprotected border, but I don't think this is the right answer,” Arizona’s senior senator John McCain argued in one interview. “It could be very divisive.” In short, Arizona voters cannot trust any major politician, Democrat or Republican, to stop pandering long enough to help them, so they helped themselves.

The reason why Proposition 200 was successful across ethnic and party lines was because it appealed to people’s sense of fairness. The number of illegal immigrants in Arizona is approaching 500,000 with the annual cost of providing public benefits to them somewhere in excess of $1 billion, or approximately $700 a year per household. Ballot initiatives such as Proposition 200 would not be necessary if politicians like McCain and Napolitano did their jobs and secured the border in the first place. When politicians abandon law-abiding citizens to pay for a welfare state for law-breakers to court newly minted voters, it would seem the average voter, whatever his political stripe, has few other options.

Clearly the political establishment and the advocacy groups got the message. Elias Bermudez, executive director of one of these “immigrant advocacy groups, Centro de Ayuda, is counseling concerned immigrants (presumably illegal—otherwise why should they care?) to continue going about their business and not worry about those pesky voters. ”I tell them not to fear,” Bermudez told the Arizona Republic. “I tell them the courts will eventually strike down this law.”

The actions of the state and local government officials in the wake of the passage of Proposition 200 suggest the measure is not safe from judicial fiat. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has opted to read the initiative as applying to only some welfare programs and the Phoenix City Council is promising to use its resources to defend any employee accused of violating the new law. Secretary of State Jan Brewer has signaled her intention to allow Arizonans to continue registering to vote online despite voter support for Proposition 200 which requires proof of citizenship. Brewer also actually complained to the East Valley Tribune that Proposition 200 will decrease voter turnout (that is, fraudulent voter turnout).

Such vacillations and willful misreading of the initiative have forced the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to file suit on behalf of Arizona citizens to force the government to adopt a definition of “public benefits” consistent with federal law.

“Having failed to persuade the voters of Arizona to reject Proposition 200, the political leadership is attempting to implement the wishes of the voters in the most limited possible fashion,” a statement by FAIR on the suit states. “Having worked with local people and organizations to get the measure approved over the objections of the state’s political establishment, we intend to continue working cooperatively to ensure that Proposition 200 is implemented as the voters believed it would be.”

Meanwhile, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund is promising to seek a court injunction blocking Proposition 200 immediately.

Not coincidentally, the Mexican foreign ministry, so concerned with our interference in the affairs of Iraq these last two years, took a break from their ranting about imperial America to interfere in their northern neighbor’s affairs. “The Mexican government regrets that the proposition passed and expresses its complete opposition to the measure, as it discriminates against individuals based on their ethnic profile and limits their access to basic health and education services,” an angry statement from Mexico’s foreign ministry reads.

These are sad times, indeed, when U.S. and foreign politicians openly aid racial separatist groups to end-run American law and subvert the will of the American people.

Shawn Macomber is a staff writer at The American Spectator and a contributor to FrontPage Magazine. He also runs the website Return of the Primitive.

Matt Labash: Clintonmania

It never ends in Arkansas.

by Matt Labash
The Weekly Standard
12/06/2004, Volume 010, Issue 12

Little Rock, Arkansas- During the weeklong lead-up to the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center, I felt as though I was stuck in The College Nightmare. You know the one: Every professor you have is giving an exam concurrently, and you don't know which one to take. It just didn't seem fair. There were so many ways to celebrate President William Jefferson Clinton. How could I pass up any of them?

I wanted to take all my meals at Doe's Eat Place, Clinton's famous roadhouse-meets-steakhouse hangout, where the manager told me Clinton used to pop into the kitchen and snatch handfuls of fries right out of the fryer basket. But then, my hotel was next-door to his regular McDonald's, which boasted "The McRib is back!" in honor of the special week. Like millions of other Americans, I wanted to see Clinton's New Balance jogging shoes and the actual pair of shades he wore while blowing sax on Arsenio Hall, both of which are on display at the Old Statehouse. But then, the same actual sunglasses are purportedly on display at his new library. (Perhaps one pair was a stunt double.)

I couldn't shave myself in the morning if I missed "An Evening of Readings: The Poets of the Clinton Presidency." But if I went--hold on to your Maya Angelou--I might miss the lecture by White House Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier, who seemed to capture the spirit of the Clinton years when he said, "Dessert time is happy time."

And of course, Bill Clinton was our first black president. But how best to observe this? At the "Evening Reception Honoring the Diverse Legacy and Phenomenal Achievements of President Clinton," in which we also saluted "unsung heroes," anonymous little worker bees like Cicely Tyson and Quincy Jones? Or perhaps at the Clinton speech at Little Rock's Central High, where, as history buffs will note, in 1957, against the wishes of Governor Orval Faubus, an 11-year-old Bill Clinton led the Little Rock Nine to school in the country's definitive desegregation battle, shortly after he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation?

Standing in the shadow of such greatness is a humbling experience. Indeed, it was hard to measure up. I mean sure, you could participate in the kickoff 5K Presidential Fun Run, retracing the giant steps Clinton used to take when he'd pull on those silky jogging shorts. But all you'd get for your $25 entry fee was a T-shirt and a cup of Gatorade. Your run would never be as fun as Clinton's, since, as Gennifer Flowers once wrote, "Bill loved to jog in the morning, and it was an easy way to get out of the mansion without arousing suspicions. He would jog just over a mile to my place, spend a half hour or so making love to me, then have his driver drop him off a block or two from the mansion. . . . He would show up at home properly out of breath."

Hold up a second. Was that me? Did I just say Gennifer Flowers? What an embarrassing lapse--she wasn't part of the official program! The thing to realize about Clinton Week, as did the legions of celebrities and former administration types who descended on Little Rock hauling oxygen tanks and defibrillator paddles to help resuscitate the legacy of their hero, is that this wasn't some hollow exercise, but rather, a religious experience. It's why people sat in the torrential downpour of the Clinton Center's dedication day, enduring hours of speeches and U2's Bono letting loose with yet another harangue about forgiving Third World debt. Mentioning Flowers, or Monica Lewinsky, or impeachment, or the myriad other Clinton scandals that most readily defined his presidency was, to borrow a regionalism, a bit like farting in church.

There were, however, strange smells emanating from the back pews. There was the protester in front of the Convention Center, brandishing a plumbing pipe from which dangled a kneepad in tribute to Lewinsky. "I'm drawing thumbs up, as well as middle fingers," he told me. "Right now, they're running about even."

Then there was the hardy band from, who ran 30 strong, including their small children, and who took to the streets in black T-shirts that read "Judge Rightly isn't some guy's name." Their message, as told through chants and signs, was elegantly simple: "Clinton Raped Juanita," a reference to former campaign volunteer Juanita Broaddrick, who claimed in 1999 that Clinton had raped her back in the seventies. As onlookers flocked to the Peabody Hotel hoping to spy Oprah or Brad Pitt coming out of what was formerly the Excelsior (where Clinton allegedly invited Paula Jones to "kiss it"), the shadowgov-ers screamed, "Clinton is a rapist!" eliciting all sorts of confused responses, from "Clinton is not a racist!" to "Who's Juanita?"

Since the best way for Clintonites to remember Clinton fondly is to forget, amnesiac tendencies are hoped for and even counted on by those bringing us the Clinton Presidential Center. Exhibit designer Ralph Appelbaum says the guiding lights were old Clinton hands John Podesta and Bruce Lindsey, who had editorial approval of the exhibits, along with Clinton himself, whom Appelbaum calls "the curator in chief."

Sitting on manicured parkland that abuts the Arkansas River, the glass-and-steel eco-conscious building (it has solar panels and floors fashioned from renewable bamboo and recycled tires) has been given plaudits for its design. Locals, however, deride it as a "trailer on steroids" because of its boxy resemblance to a Conex container or garbage bin (at any moment, one expects an oversized sanitation truck to pull up, fork it with its prongs, and dump the contents over the grounds, which will eventually feature barbecue pits since, as the center's landscape designer says, Clinton "likes to talk over food").

Enter the building, an airy space bathed with the light of a modern art gallery, and your senses are overwhelmed by all the squawk-boxes and tickers pounding you with policy bullet points. This is how the Clintons have always kept score. Though Clinton prides himself on coming from a southern storytelling tradition, his library has the cold sterility of a campaign brochure. With all the competing statistical claims--Clinton moved 75 percent of welfare recipients into jobs, increased classroom Internet access 77 percent--the Center resembles a busy trading floor in Al Gore's dreams.

Even by the whitewashing standards of presidential libraries, Clinton's stands out. He comes across like a president on a job interview with historians. In thematic alcoves bedecked with self-serving slogans like "Putting People First" and "Expanding Our Shared Prosperity," no accomplishment is too minor to trumpet. (He "launched a quiet revolution in adult education" and helmed the first administration to recognize Ramadan!) Hillary's alcove is worse. It features just about every meaningless award she has ever won, right down to the coveted African Ambassadors' Spouses Association statuette.

Yet when the curators try to humanize things, the results are often just as strained. Featured contributions from celebrities and dignitaries make the place come off like a gift shop at a bad tourist trap (the world-leader nesting dolls, the ceramic Buddy the Labrador lawn ornament). Equally painful is the "A time to laugh--the Clintons' humor" video display, in which we learn what natural stitches the Clintons are from the earnest voiceover: "Laughter is good medicine. And President Clinton brought a lot of good humor to nearly every challenging day during his years in office."

Some days, of course, were more challenging than others. Like the day he was impeached, or the day he faced accusations that he'd had sex with a White House intern. Library officials claim, without laughing, that Clinton deals with this forthrightly, in a little sleight-of-hand alcove called "The Fight for Power," a propaganda nook that would do Kim Jong Il proud.

In a morality tale too tortured to replicate here, Clinton traces the trajectory of his impeachment trial all the way back to the Contract With America, and decries the "radicalism of the Republican agenda." Diabolical right-wingers wanted to abolish the New Deal and starve Medicare, and it became "common right-wing practice not just to attack Democrats' ideas, but also to question their motives, morals, and patriotism." And to attack sitting presidents for getting -------- from interns, and lying in civil suits--but all of that is left unsaid. In fact, Paula Jones isn't mentioned, and Lewinsky's name appears only once by my count.

In the Clinton library, Heaven's Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite warrants more mentions than Lewinsky (he at least gets a photo), and the entirety of the Clinton scandals is dispatched in about as much exhibit space as is enjoyed by the White House Easter Egg Roll. In a recent survey of historians, Clinton's moral-authority ranking placed him dead last among presidents, behind even Richard Nixon. But in Clinton's telling, impeachment sounds like a good break, since throughout the battle "his administration continued to enjoy high public approval ratings and to implement much of their agenda."

As I stood taking notes on the exhibit, I overheard some visitors unclear as to what the whole rigmarole was even about. When one daughter asked her father why Clinton was impeached, he replied, "I think it had something to do with Whitewater." Another man, who'd wanted to come to the Clinton library for his birthday, pointed out to me that roughly four-fifths of the exhibit seemed to be Clinton apportioning blame for his travails. Looking for Lewinsky, he said, "The only picture they have of her is right here." I pointed out that the photo of a woman in a jail jumpsuit and leg irons was actually Susan McDougal. "Oh," he said, "then I guess they don't have any."

But amateurs aren't the only ones who are confused. When I ran into former Clinton flack Mike McCurry, on his way into one of the scores of Clintonite parties, I asked him what he thought of the scandal alcove. He smiled, then in perhaps the only candid admission I heard from a Clintonite all week, he said, "What I wanted to know was what would my kids say? Would they really know what was going on? I did like the architecture."

After four days of choking on revisionist adulation, I was in need of a good palate-cleansing. So I sought to revisit some portions of the Clinton legacy that get short shrift in the library--the amusing all-too-human reminders that no matter how grandiosely the former president strives to recast his narrative as Shakespearean drama, the footnotes tend to read like Rabelaisian farce.

However many rotating exhibits the library hosts, none will ever be dedicated to Connie Hamzy, aka "Sweet, Sweet Connie," the rock'n'roll supergroupie who was immortalized in a Grand Funk Railroad song. Connie had the distinction of being the first of Clinton's many "bimbo eruptions" when, in 1992, she told Penthouse the tale of how Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, had approached her while she was lying beside a hotel pool, and said, "I want to get with you."

According to Connie, they couldn't find a hotel room, so instead they made do with a discreet corner for groping. Clinton denied the charges, and Newsweek reported that Hillary wanted to destroy Connie's credibility. Hamzy later passed a polygraph, preserving her reputation--such as it is.

The years haven't been kind to Connie. She's been arrested for public intoxication and for endangering a minor she allowed to drive her car. Today she survives on disability ("my nut money," she calls the compensation for her bipolar disorder) and earnings from a part-time job passing out strollers at the zoo. Her shoebox house in a bad neighborhood in Little Rock is a monument to cat-hair and bong smoke. When I arrive, she is finishing a photo-shoot with a photographer from Spin, who looks like he's just been through a war.

Apparently, Connie has spent the photo session on the sauce and the weed, and they've experienced all manner of creative differences. Plus, she tried to hit on him. "I told her I was gay," he says, as he hurriedly loads equipment into his car. "I've GOT to get out of here. Good luck." When I walk into her living room, Connie's still muttering about the photographer's arty pretentiousness. "Plus, he's a fag," she says.

Her house is a rock'n'roll museum, full of drumsticks and guitar picks that she earned the hard way. Connie has slept with most of the rockers in the photos, or at least their roadies. So we play a quick game of Who Have You Done? I point to a picture of Fleetwood Mac, a Clinton favorite.

"Did 'em all," she says. "Even the women?" I ask. "Close, but no cigar," she sighs. Connie's a hard woman, her voice is all sandpaper and cigarettes. And being a supergroupie, she tends toward the friendly side. I'm not in her house five minutes before she grabs my behind. When I ask how old she is, she responds, "How old do you think I am?," pulls up her sweater, and bares her breasts. (She's 49; her breasts might very well be younger.)

I've already mentioned that I'm married with kids, so it's too late to play the gay card. Instead, I take her to Zac's, her favorite watering hole, or at least the favorite one she's not been banned from, reasoning that there, she's less likely to get naked. She orders a meal, as well as some extra cornbread and cheesecake "for Thanksgiving."

My largesse has put her in a chatty mood, and the subject is Clinton, who she calls "the clown prince of presidents." "I was the first woman to ever say a word about the motherf--er," she says, with no small amount of pride. And she laughs out loud at Clinton's rain-plagued library-opening ceremony. "His damn karma f--ed it up," she says. She resents being portrayed as a liar and points out, for the 24th time, that she passed a polygraph administered by the American Spectator, a fine magazine she says, even if they don't have recipes. "Every magazine ought to have recipes."

Sure, Connie realizes, she's a woman who has slept with 24 men in the course of a single Allman Brothers concert. But Clinton? He has no propriety. "He was doin' it in the Oval Office!" she says. Of her original disclosure she insists, "I don't regret a thing. I'm willing to die for this issue." And Sweet Connie is a reminder that to many, the Clinton wars will never be over. "Hillary let that old man of hers call me a liar. If she runs for prez, I'm going to be out of the chute. I might be a slut and a whore. But I'm no liar."

From there, I was off to Hot Springs to see an old acquaintance, Parker Dozhier. Dozhier, you might recall, briefly gained infamy as the proprietor of Dozhier's Bait Shop on the Ouachita River. He was one of the Arkansas point men in the American Spectator's much ballyhooed "Arkansas Project" (which the Clinton library takes care to mention); his fortune-telling ex-girlfriend claimed he'd sought to influence the testimony of Whitewater witness David Hale, who found sanctuary at Parker's fishing camp when he was a government witness. The charges were investigated, and found not to have merit. Other than lending Hale an old beater and letting him escape the media/Clinton heat in a vacant lodge, Parker says the extent of his payments to Hale was "getting him a Coke out of the drink box at the shop. You can't bribe a witness with that."

As a fresh-from-college research assistant at the American Spectator in the mid-'90s, I never heard the term "Arkansas Project" until years after I left. But my colleagues and I were amused that so many thought it responsible for so much. The heavy breathers and conspiracy theorists in Arkansas and elsewhere that we typically peppered for "hot leads" were unlikely to find their car keys, let alone information to bring down the president.

But Parker was one of my favorites. A raconteur and Renaissance man, he bears resemblance to a handsomer Jack Elam (without the scary goggle eye), and has done just about everything a man can do. "Matt, it's like a damn explosion in a career-day class," he says. He's been a television reporter, and a trapper, and a columnist for a fur magazine (if you need to know how much wild mink pelts are going for, Parker's your man). He's done disability evaluations for "whiplash-willies and slip-and-falls," was a publicity man for casinos in Istanbul, and, oh yeah, he used to detonate bridges. So taking down a president was just "somethin' else to do."

Dozhier describes himself as "f--in' Forrest Gump." He always seems to find action, unless it finds him first. He's gotten drunk with Hemingway, and was serendipitously driving past Mt. St. Helens when it erupted. He slipped photos of the Little Rock Nine to Life magazine, back when he was a student at Central High. The David Hale charge had some irony, since most people don't know that it was Hale who used to be Dozhier's landlord many years ago. Likewise, Parker dated Gennifer Flowers (whom he calls "a straight shooter") long before Clinton did, when she was still a brunette. And he even knows Sweet Connie. They used to drink at the same bar, along with Vince Foster. He hasn't, however, known her intimately. "God awmighty," he says when I ask him. "They'd have to check you into the Mayo Clinic. She's probably got diseases they haven't even named yet."

When I tell him I saw Connie's breasts, he laughs uncontrollably. "Who hasn't?" he says. I'd asked Parker, for kicks, to go with me to the Clinton library. "Thanks, Matt," he said, "but I'd rather go to a hog-scalding." I spy a copy of Clinton's book, My Life, on his bookshelf, but Parker says he couldn't read it (though it mentions him). "It's not readable. The most disjointed sonofabitch I've ever seen. There's no policy in it, it's just wonk."

Though Parker was in the habit of dashing off white papers to American Spectator editors, which he estimates resulted in exactly one story, he still claims Whitewater stinks to high heaven--it wasn't just a failed land deal, but a successful plan to loot a savings and loan. He thinks special prosecutor Ken Starr could've put Clinton away if he hadn't lost his nerve, though he suspects there'd have been a "constitutional crisis," especially since Starr's star witnesses were convicted felons (David Hale) or dead ones (James McDougal).

The media portrayals of Parker as some backwoods hustler still pain him. "If I'm trying to coerce some lady into my web--and I'm still holding auditions," he says, "she'll punch me up on the Internet, and my God, I'm a caveman." But it's a legacy he's willing to bear, if it means that in whatever small way he contributed to Clinton's troubles. Of the library's revisionism, Parker says, "My God, man, he's the only elected president who's ever been impeached. They can't take that away from him. . . . He thinks he's Elvis. He's taken on this persona of a rock star. He's an entertainer. He's an actor. And I suppose, to be a really good actor, one almost has to be a sociopath, to believe the lies that are the lines."

FROM PARKER'S, I'm off to the elegant Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, on a mission with Dolly Kyle Browning. I have convinced her to take me to her 40th high school reunion, which is, by extension, Bill Clinton's 40th high school reunion, since they graduated together. They dated when they were kids, going to The Malco movie theater or hanging out at Cook's Ice Cream shop or going "to see the duck," as the kids used to say, referring to the drive up West Mountain where they would park and make out on a bluff that overlooked the city lights, which formed the shape of a duck.

But it is for her alleged two-decade-long, off-and-on, adulterous affair with Clinton that the former real-estate attorney from Dallas is most famous. She detailed it in her roman à clef Purposes of the Heart (published in 1997 by her husband, Doc, an athletic trainer who also sells "the finest ginger cookies in the history of the world" on the Internet). The book recounts her, or rather "Kelly's," affair with a libidinous and amoral southern governor named Cameron Coulter, who is saddled with a loveless marriage and a thick-ankled wife named Mallory Cheatham.

Dolly, a blonde with self-described "sea-mist green eyes," is brassy and sassy, witty and tough. (She carries an unregistered .38 in her purse, and keeps a finger on the trigger when she walks to her car.) Dolly dismisses the Flowers affair as a "12-year one-night-stand." By contrast, she and Clinton used to have real feelings for each other, she claims, though that ended after she got religion and also was threatened in no uncertain terms that if she talked, as Flowers had, she'd be ruined. She began writing her book as a "codependency journal" during her therapy for sex addiction, and took it public in response to what she considers Clinton's boorish behavior.

Pre-reunion, she spins me around their old town, a former gambling mecca, whose restorative hot baths (still a feature of bathhouse-row hotels) used to attract everyone from rheumatics to clap sufferers drawn by tourism literature that claimed, "Here tottering forms, but skin and bone, are rescued from the grave." Throughout our drive, she seems disappointed. "That used to be pretty," she'll say, or, pointing to new construction, "Look at that ugly monstrosity--somewhere along the way, someone without taste moved in and took over."

Dolly's Clinton roots run deep. Her sister, before marrying, dated both Roger Clinton and Jim McDougal. Her late daddy, she says, had a fling with Clinton's late mother, Virginia. "Welcome to Arkansas," she says. She drives me past Clinton's boyhood homes. One's now boarded up with fire damage, though Dolly says "the fence is new. It's plastic--Virginia loved plastic." The other sits across the street from an abandoned Bonanza Steakhouse cow, grazing in the parking lot of a drive-thru liquor store. Clinton's schools haven't fared much better. His high school has punched-out windows and anarchist graffiti. His grade school is the headquarters for a ramshackle church run by an Internet radio talkshow host/UFOlogist who tells me that he thinks the Clinton library "is a big trailer on stilts." "At least it's a double-wide," chimes in Dolly.

Dolly abruptly cuts off the tour so that she can shed her jeans and Fox News hat (Sean Hannity is on her speed-dial), and go back to the hotel to "get beautiful." I tell her she already looks better than most of her classmates that I've seen milling around the hotel bar. "I don't want to be winning by a nose," she says, "I want to be winning by a mile." I ask her if the nostalgia tour makes her wistful for her days with Clinton. After all, the no-tell motel they sometimes shared just out of college is two-tenths of a mile down the block. "I'm nostalgic for it like you are for typhoid fever after you finally get over it." Well, who then is she anxious to see? "Whoever I look better than," she says.

We expect Clinton to show at the reunion that night, but he doesn't, we're told, because of post-bypass-operation fatigue. "One more opportunity to be the big star," Dolly sighs. "He must've been really exhausted, or else Hillary stuck that nose-ring in him and dragged him back to New York." For Dolly and me, the reunion is a bit of a disaster. I try to fit in, and play it low key, slipping off to the bathroom to scribble notes every few minutes, making people wonder why the guy who's 25 years younger than everyone in the room has the weakest bladder. But then I tell people who I am and what I'm doing. The disclosure earns me a tail, a snappish woman who looks like she captained the school's Sumo wrestling team. A former reporter for the school paper, she warns everyone not to talk to me since I'm from a conservative magazine. (I demand that we dance and make up, an offer she curtly rebuffs.)

Dolly, while earning plenty of ogles and good wishes from male classmates, is, with several exceptions, either snubbed outright by the women or talked about behind her back. As he leaves, Phil Jamison, Hot Springs High's 1964 class president/tailback/track-sprinter ("now running interference for Clinton," as Dolly says), pats Dolly on the shoulder, and says condescendingly, "We don't mind at all that you came." "Why would you?" Dolly responds icily.

Over a post-mortem breakfast the next morning, Dolly waves off the Clinton homers who are her detractors. "They're such weenies. This is their whole world, and I'm rockin' it." Of Clinton, she says, "His whole program ever since he got into politics was to rewrite who he is. He wants to come across as a statesman, when in fact, he's the consummate politician. I don't think there's been very many better than he is. But it's unfortunate that he never developed character so that he didn't have to make up a legacy as told by the Clinton library--my sister calls it 'the adult bookstore.'"

At least, I suggest, maybe all the Clinton-centric divisiveness that plagued us throughout the nineties is over. Dolly looks at me like I'm drunk. "It's never over," she says. "The legacy is just starting to be rewritten. How could you say it's over when they just opened that LIE-berry?"

Matt Labash is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.
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