Thursday, June 23, 2005

Alan Caruba: The Global Warming Hoax

By Alan Caruba
National Anxiety Center
June 23, 2005

On June 13, USA Today declared, "The Debate's Over: Globe Is Warming." That's another headline you can ignore. The world has been warming ever since the last Ice Age, but it is not rapidly warming in ways that threaten our existence, nor warming in a way that requires the industrialized nations to drastically cut back on their use of energy to avoid the many scenarios of catastrophe the Greens have been peddling since the 1980s.

Global warming is a classic scare campaign initiated by the Greens after a previous effort in the 1970s to influence public policy by declaring a coming Ice Age failed to generate any response. What we are seeing now is yet another worldwide coordinated campaign by the Greens to rescue the global warming theory from the junk heap to which it should be consigned.

In early June, the National Resources Defense Council, one of the large Green organizations, declared that, "Global warming is fast becoming the number one environmental problem of our time." It has organized an Internet campaign led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Sen. John McCain, and other so-called environmental leaders to drum up the fears of people who know little of the real science of the Earth in order to force the US to implement the United Nations Kyoto protocol on "climate control." Anyone who thinks humans have any control over the Earth's climate is willfully ignoring the evidence that we have none.

The NRDC declared, "The world's leading scientists now agree that global warming is real and is happening right now. According to their forecasts, extreme changes in climate could produce a future in which erratic and chaotic weather, melting ice caps and rising sea levels usher in an era of drought, crop failure, famine, flood and mass extinctions." Scary, eh? One huge volcanic eruption could do this. As to the weather, it is the very definition of chaos and has been for billions of years.

The good news is that leading climatologists and meteorologists are actively debunking this nonsense. One of them, Dr. F. Fred Singer, president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, is in the forefront. He debunks a June 7 statement issued by several national academies of sciences just before Britain's Tony Blair arrived for talks with President Bush, saying, "The Statement simply regurgitates the contentious conclusions of the (UN) International Panel on Climate Change report of 2001, which has been disputed by credible scientists. The so-called scientific consensus is pure fiction."

Among the data he cites is the fact that, "Since 1940, there has been a 35-year-long cooling trend and not much warming in the past quarter-century, according to global data from weather satellites." Moreover, "an extrapolation of the satellite data gives at most a fraction of a degree rise for the 2lst century," adding that, "The IPCC further claims that the 20th century was the warmest in the past 100 years, but this myth is based on a seriously flawed publication. The IPCC also claims that sea levels will rise by up to nearly a meter by 2100; but every indication is that they will continue to rise inexorably and much less, as they have for nearly 20,000 years since the peak of the last Ice Age."

Bear in mind that the IPCC is a creation of the United Nations and we have all seen how corrupt that institution has become, failing to fulfill its mandate for a more peaceful world while seeking to become a world government that would destroy the sovereignty of the United States and all other nations.

Other scientists have joined Dr. Singer to dispute the global warming claims. Paul Knappenberger of the University of Virginia, says of the claims made by the science academies that, "What is missing is the scientific assessment of the potential threat. Without a threat assessment, a simple scientific finding on its own doesn't warrant any change of action, no matter how scientifically groundbreaking it might be." What passes for a threat assessment is simply the claim being made. Knappenberger noted, "The fact of the matter is that there does exist a growing body of scientific evidence that the climate changes in the coming decades will be modest and proceed at a rate that will lie somewhere near the low end of the IPCC projected temperature range."

Here's what you must keep in mind; the IPCC claims are based on what virtually every scientist knows to be seriously flawed computer models for its projections. In short, we are being asked to believe what computer engineers are telling us, not what credible climatologists and meteorologists are telling us. There isn't a computer model for the world's weather that can reliably predict the future by more than a week at best. This is why tracking the routes of hurricanes proves so difficult. This is why blizzards often turn out to be better or worse than initial projections.

Iain Murray, another scientist, laid into the statement of the national academies for having committed the sin of advocacy. "Climate alarmists in the scientific community now face a long retreat, while the victory of President Bush's position on the issue seems assured. Even the hopes of European intervention are dashed." The U.S. Senate unanimously rejected signing the Kyoto protocol many years ago. "Rational nations will not take action if the costs of the action outweigh the benefits," said Murray of the protocol's demand for energy caps on emissions while exempting nations like China and India, each with more than a billion people.

Meanwhile, in Congress we have people like Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, seeking to introduce legislation that would put "caps" on emissions of greenhouse gases and implementing what is essentially the Kyoto protocol that the Senate rejected long ago. The Department of Energy has estimated that a cap-and-trade program such as Bingaman proposes would cost $331 billion in lost GDP between 2010 and 2025. Other Senators like McCain and Lieberman have similar strategies. In my view, caps are idiotic.

There is no scientific consensus. There is only the manipulation of public opinion and the effort to influence public policy. There is no rapid global warming and no way that any limits on energy use could have any effect on it if it did exist. Global warming is a classic scare campaign and we may well be witnessing its last desperate gasps as more and more scientists step forward to debunk it.

Alan Caruba writes "Warning Signs," a weekly column posted at The National Anxiety Center.

Ann Coulter: Guantanamo Loses 5-Star Rating
Ann Coulter (archive)
June 22, 2005

If you still have any doubts about whether closing Guantanamo is the right thing to do, Jimmy Carter recently cleared that up by demanding that it be closed. With any luck, he'll try to effect another one of those daring "rescue" attempts. Here's a foolproof method for keeping America safe: Always do the exact 180-degree opposite of whatever Jimmy Carter says as quickly as possible. (Instead of Guantanamo, how about we close down the Carter Center?)

Sen. Dick Durbin says it is reminiscent of the "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime – Pol Pot or others." (He then offered the typical Democrat "if/then" non-apology: i.e., "if my remarks offended anyone," based on the rather remote possibility any sentient, English-speaking adult who didn't hate America could have heard them and not been offended.)

Amnesty International calls Guantanamo a "gulag." Sen. Teddy Kennedy says he cannot condone allegations of near-drowning "as a human being." And Sen. Patrick Leahy calls it "an international embarrassment," as opposed to himself, a "national embarrassment."

On the bright side, at least liberals have finally found a group of people in Cuba whom they think deserve to be rescued.
In the interests of helping my country, I have devised a compact set of torture guidelines for Guantanamo.

It's not torture if:

* The same acts performed on a live stage have been favorably reviewed by Frank Rich of the New York Times;
* Andrew Sullivan has ever solicited it from total strangers on the Internet;
* You can pay someone in New York to do it to you;
* Karen Finley ever got a federal grant to do it;
* It's comparable to the treatment U.S. troops received in basic training;
* It's no worse than the way airlines treat little girls in pigtails flying to see Grandma.

It turns out that the most unpleasant aspect of life at Guantanamo for the detainees came with the move out of the temporary "Camp X-Ray." Apparently, wanton homosexual sex among the inmates is more difficult in their newer, more commodious quarters. (Suspiciously, detainees retailing outlandish tales of abuse to the American Civil Liberties Union often include the claim that they were subjected to prolonged rectal exams.) Plus, I hear the views of the Caribbean aren't quite as good from their new suites.

Even the tales of "torture" being pawned off by the detainees on credulous American journalists are pretty lame.

The Washington Post reported that a detainee at Guantanamo says he was "threatened with sexual abuse." (Bonus "Not Torture" rule: If it is similar to the way interns were treated in the Clinton White House.)

"Sign or you will be tortured!"
"What's the torture?"
"We will merely threaten you with horrible things!"
"That's it?"
"Shut up and do as we say, or we'll issue empty, laughable threats guaranteed to amuse you. This is your last warning."

One detainee in Afghanistan told a hyperventilating reporter for Salon that he was forced to stand with his arms in the air for "hours." Doctor, I still have nightmares about the time I was forced to stand with my arms up in the air ...
Others claimed they were forced into uncomfortable, unnatural positions, sort of like the Democrats' position on abortion. Next, the interrogators will be threatening to slightly undercook the Lemon Chicken!

According to Time magazine, this is how the "gulag of our time" treats the inmates: "The best-behaved detainees are held in Camp 4, a medium-security, communal-living environment with as many as 10 beds in a room; prisoners can play soccer or volleyball outside up to nine hours a day, eat meals together and read Agatha Christie mysteries in Arabic."

So they're not exactly raping the detainees with dogs at Guantanamo. (I still think the gift shop T-shirts that said "My dad went to Guantanamo and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" goes too far.)

The only question is: Why do Democrats take such relish in slandering their country? If someone was constantly telling vicious lies about you, would you believe they supported and loved you?
"I love John Doe, and that's why I accuse him of committing serial rape and mass murder. Oh, he doesn't do that? Yes, but how dare you say I don't love John Doe!"

And now back to our regular programming on Air America ...

Ann Coulter is host of, a member group.

Peggy Noonan: Klein's Book on Hillary Doesn't Measure Up

Eine Kleine Biographie

We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
The Wall Street Journal

I have read the Hillary book by Ed Klein, which has been heavily dumped on by conservatives, and understandably. In terms of political impact it is not a takedown but a buildup. Dick Morris says its sensational charges will only "embolden" her. They will certainly tend to innoculate her against future and legitimate criticism and revelations. The book is poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work.

Here are some significant things about Mr. Klein's book: It comes from an establishment journalist who's had his professional ticket punched at the New York Times magazine and Newsweek. He has no conservative bona fides; he says he is and appears to be essentially apolitical. This is an anti-Hillary book by the MSM. It has been heavily promoted not by a conservative publication but by Vanity Fair magazine, which published a big fat juicy chapter in its famous "Deep Throat" issue. Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair's editor, is the author of an anti-Bush book, passionately opposed to Iraq, and no one's idea of a wing-nut. (Mr. Carter also bought serialization rights of Gail Sheehy's book on Hillary, which managed to be both accusatory and politically sympathetic.) Previous successful Hillary books were written by Barbara Olson, Joyce Milton, Dick Morris and me, righties all, and David Brock, who had not a philosophy but employers. The Klein book looks to be a big success in terms of sales (350,000 first printing). This suggests there is a big market for a Hillary biography.

Mr. Klein's problem is that he assumes the market is conservative and conservatives are stupid. They're not, actually. They want solid sourcing and new information that is true.


Here is something good about the book. Klein treats Hillary as if she were a man. Remember the stories that said Dan Quayle was a cocaine salesman? That George W. Bush was a coke-sniffing, girl-chasing lush? That John F. Kennedy was a coke-sniffing, girl-chasing cynic? That Lyndon B. Johnson had a roving eye and held meetings with aides as he sat on the toilet? This is hard-guy politics: Run for office and we'll throw everything we can that will stick and things that won't stick too. Mr. Klein's book is in this tradition. It treats Hillary as she has claimed she wants to be treated: not as a special case but like everyone else; not as a minority, not as a woman. Mr. Klein isn't scared by her sex.

Mr. Klein's central theme is not original. Hillary Rodham, committed left-wing operative and college radical, recognizes the raw talent and promise of the crude, yearning, cynical and attractive Bill Clinton. She marries him, and each receives something from the arrangement. She ties her wagon to a star and will rise to power with him; he receives ideological ballast, which he perceives as moral ballast, from a woman his equal in ambition and his superior in self-governance.

They rise. He compulsively chases women and is politically popular if unserious; she makes money, networks and burnishes their movement credentials. She knows of his philandering and looks the other way. They achieve the presidency and come in time to be seen as main-chancing Ivy League grifters.

He is a sentimental liberal who'll do what he has to do to maintain his viability in the system; she is his ideological soul, and somewhat zany in her assumption that the United States of America elected her as co-president and desires her to redesign its medical system. They both have a degree of genuine human charm. He was truly warm, at least for a while and at least until he got bored. She was genuinely funny, with a quick wit and an ability to listen.

In the presidency he floundered and she flailed. Then he moderated and she disappeared. Then he embarrassed the country, she joined or led the coverup, they were found out, and she emerged as a patient, loving wife who stood by her man. (For those who'd enjoy an excellent fictional gloss on their story, see Charles McCarry's "Lucky Bastard.")

This is, essentially, the story Mr. Klein tells. It has been told before and will be told again.
But he ignores the Rosetta stone of Hillary studies, the senior college thesis she wrote on leftist organizer Saul Alinsky and how to change the American political culture, which her alma mater, Wellesley College, obligingly continues to suppress on her request. There is little on the Rose law firm. There are canned and seemingly cut-and-paste cameos of Hillary aides who are shady and bad because they are Hillary aides.

There is a certain disconnect. Mr. Klein famously suggests again and again that Hillary is, was or will be homosexual. He dwells on this, it seems, to further bolster the charge that the Clinton marriage was from day one a political deal and not a serious and traditional emotional bond. But he also seems to suggest a serious romantic relationship with Vince Foster.


The real problem with Hillary biographies is that the picture they paint, if it is true, is difficult for a normal person to believe. No one could be that bad. No one who has risen so high in American politics could possibly be that bad. To believe is to go to a dark place.

And the charges seem so at odds--so utterly at odds--with the nice, smiling woman who calls abortion a tragedy and enjoys speaking of how much she prays. This is the problem all Hillary biographers have: It's too grim to believe. To believe that her story as presented by the books so far is true is to believe that she has clung to a premeditated plan for 40 years, that she is ruthless in the pursuit both of her own ambitions and of a deep and intractable leftist political agenda. And that she found her equal in a partner sufficiently hardhearted to stick with the plan, and the secrecy, and the weirdness. It's too over the top. It seems hard to believe, not because it isn't true but because it isn't likely, usual, expected. It isn't the kind of biography we are used to in our leaders. That is her great advantage.

What is needed is a big and serious book by respected reporters who can dig, think and type, and whose sourcing standards are high and unimpeachable. Will that happen? It would be big if it did. This book is not that book.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns, which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Michael J. New Reviews 'Their Lives'

[I'll happily promote any book that attempts to tell that truth about that treasonous, philandering rapist and his complicit, power-hungry's yet another one. For those who haven't read Christopher Hitchens excellent little screed No One Left To Lie To you should sprint to the bookstore of your choice and pick it's a beautiful and heartwarming scewering of those two miscreants. - jtf]

How the Clintons Ruined "Their Lives"

By Michael J. New June 22, 2005
Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine
By Candice E. Jackson
Reviewed by Michael J. New

Ever since the 1992 election, books about President Clinton have become a virtual cottage industry in conservative circles. With titles like High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Slick Willie, and Legacy, conservative writers have made the case for President Clinton’s impeachment, thoroughly researched his background, and critiqued his eight-year presidency. Indeed, many would conclude that there would be scarcely enough room on the shelf for another title about President Clinton. However, with the paperback version of President Clinton’s memoirs now in the bookstores, World Ahead Publishing has recently released a needed corrective: Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine by Candice E. Jackson. Billed as the stories that Bill Clinton left out of My Life, Jackson uncovers the trail of bribes, threats, and intimidation that Clinton's inner circled leveled at the women who got in their way.
While other authors have researched President Clinton’s scandals and marital indiscretions, Jackson offers the reader considerably more than another litany of allegations. Most coverage of scandals involving President Clinton has dealt with their political ramifications. However, Jackson looks beyond the politics to put a human face on the pattern of threats and intimidation Clinton and Clinton doled out.

Jackson secures interviews with both Kathleen Wiley and Juanita Broadrick and details how the lives of many of these women continue to be adversely affected by their involvement with President Clinton, even years after their story faded from the national spotlight. Furthermore, the fact that Jackson herself is a victim of sexual assault gives her some additional insights into the pain and trauma that many of these women suffered.

Indeed, Their Lives features chapters devoted to the often painful stories of President Clinton’s most well known accusers including Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Purdue, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky, and Juanita Broadrick. The fact that the reader gets to hear these seven stories in succession is very powerful and lends a great deal of insight into President Clinton’s boorish behavior.

Furthermore, nearly all of these women faced intimidation after they went public with their stories. Paula Jones, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, and Juanita Broadrrick all received unexpected IRS audits. Clinton supporters assembled an attack team to smear Kathleen Willey, a grief stricken widow, after the media covered her story. Both Willey and Gracen had to deal with stalkers. In fact, while jogging, Willey was threatened by a man who knew the names of her cat and her children. He instructed her to lie during her upcoming deposition in the Paula Jones case. Furthermore, almost none of the women profited financially from their short-lived fame. In fact, because of their legal fees, many of the women profiled in the book face financial struggles to this day.

Taken individually, some of these stories could appear to be very serious, but isolated, lapses in judgment. However, by presenting these stories in succession, Jackson clearly demonstrates what a reckless, promiscuous, ruthless, self-interested figure Bill Clinton really is. Indeed, if the general public had heard all the details of all of these scandals at the same time, it seems highly unlikely that President Clinton would have been elected in 1992, nor re-elected in 1996.

Jackson, however, does considerably more than just relate stories. At the end of every chapter, Jackson uses the experience of each woman to describe how a particular tenet of modern liberalism can either breed or remain tolerant of misogyny. Conservatives spilled considerable amounts of ink during the late 1990s sharply chastising feminist groups for their near dogmatic support of President Clinton. However, Jackson shows that support for Clinton was consistent with the liberal worldview of many of these groups.

For instance, Jackson argues that in modern liberalism, political goals justify any political means to achieve them. As such, liberal feminists supported President Clinton since he would help them achieve their political goals, including easy access to abortion. Similarly, Jackson argues that modern liberalism believes that the validity of the message is determined by the motives of the messenger. Consequently, claiming that Clinton’s accusers are motivated by money or ideology is enough to discredit them, regardless of the accuracy of their story. Jackson will not be so easily pigeonholed, as she describes herself as a libertarian feminist and admits she is intrigued by the idea of electing a woman president.

The stories that Jackson relates and her political commentary mesh nicely in the final chapter in the book, which deals with Hillary Rodham Clinton. This chapter is easily the most relevant to the current political scene due to Hillary Clinton’s status as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. However, Jackson counsels against electing Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton was a willing partner in her husband's attacks. She always defended her husband politically and never gave any of her husband’s accusers a shred of sympathy or credibility. Jackson concludes that Hillary Clinton’s preference for her own political career over the well being of her husband’s victims make her a poor choice for feminists, the Democratic Party, or the American people. The nation’s voters will not soon forget these harrowing tales of victimization – and the role Hillary played in enabling them all.

Michael J. New is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama.

Michelle Malkin: Debunking Another Gitmo Myth
Michelle Malkin (archive)
June 22, 2005

Newsweek. Amnesty International. Jimmy Carter. Dick Durbin. The Guantanamo Bay-bashing continues.

In a rant published Tuesday, the Minnesota Star Tribune actually castigated Durbin for "caving in" on his slanderous remarks comparing U.S. treatment of detainees at Gitmo to torture and genocide by Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot. The paper wrote that Durbin shouldn't have apologized and decried the entire operation as a "hellhole."

But it's not just unhinged liberals who keep piling on.

The "maverick" Sen. John McCain echoed one of the Left's most oft-cited and erroneous complaints about Gitmo on NBC's "Meet The Press" this weekend -- that detainees have been denied trials:
"The weight of evidence has got to be that we've got to adjudicate these people's cases, and . . . if it means releasing some of them, you'll have to release them. Look, even Adolf Eichmann got a trial." (Can we put a lid on the Nazi analogies already? Crikey. A Knight-Ridder reporter was too smitten to be bothered by his Eichmann-invoking hyperbole: "McCain is emerging as a voice of conscience and nuance on the stay-or-go Guantanamo issue." Nuance?)

GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham, another newly christened "maverick" who appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" last week, lodged similar allegations about the absence of trials for Gitmo detainees:
"We need a procedure and process that will allow us to determine who an enemy combatant is, interrogate them to make us safer in a humane way, and set up trials for the worst offenders and repatriate those who -- who don't meet the category of a -- of a threat. That, to me, would look good to the world. It would make us safer."

My friend, Judge Andrew Napolitano, made a similar assertion on Fox News's "O'Reilly Factor" last week: "The government is not giving them those trials."

And now, the facts:

Every single detainee currently being held at Guantanamo Bay has received a hearing before a military tribunal. Every one. As a result of those hearings, more than three dozen Gitmo detainees have been released. The hearings, called "Combatant Status Review Tribunals," are held before a board of officers, and permit the detainees to contest the facts on which their classification as "enemy combatants" is based.

Gitmo-bashers attack the Bush administration's failure to abide by the Geneva Conventions. But as legal analysts Lee Casey and Darin Bartram told me, "the status hearings are, in fact, fully comparable to the 'Article V' hearings required by the Geneva Conventions, in situations where those treaties apply, and are also fully consistent with the Supreme Court's 2004 decision in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case."

Treating foreign terrorists like American shoplifters -- with full access to civilian lawyers, classified intelligence, and all the attendant rights of a normal jury trial -- is a surefire recipe for another 9/11. That is why the Bush administration fought so hard to erect an alternative tribunal system -- long established in wartime -- in the first place.

The few critics who acknowledge the existence of the tribunals argue they aren't sufficient. They "provided due process in form, but not in substance," as Newsday put it. That view is shared by a Carter-appointed liberal judge, but an earlier decision by a Bush-appointed judge upheld the tribunals. In the end, courts will almost certainly affirm the legality of the Gitmo tribunals, which, as noted, were modeled after the due process standards described in the Hamdi decision.

That ruling, may I remind you, addressed the detention of a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant. As former Attorney General William Barr noted last week in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, "Obviously, if these procedures are sufficient for American citizens, they are more than enough for foreign detainees."

Do John McCain and the anti-Gitmo gang actually believe otherwise, or are they too clueless to realize the implications of their gulag-Pol Pot-Nazi-Eichmann-hellhole harangues?

Errata: Last week, I wrote that Barbara Walters "reportedly pronounced [an airplane encounter with a nursing mom] 'gross and disgusting.'" The quote came from The Calgary Sun, Ted Byfield, June 12, 2005, but Walters did not use those words as she frowned and complained she was "uncomfortable." My apology for the error. Walters also informs me that Elizabeth Hasselbeck has not completely given up nursing, and that Walters was "on a crowded shuttle," not first-class. All the more reason to cut the mom some slack.

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist and maintains her weblog at
©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on TerrorShould civil liberties always trump national security? In a time of war, Michelle Malkin insists, the survival of the nation must come first. In this provocative new book, Malkin 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. She also defends racial, ethnic, religious, and nationality profiling as effective defensive measures in today's War on Terror.

Christopher Hitchens: Conspiracy Theories

[I would have slapped this article up here just for the dissing of that awful piece of crap The Da Vinci Code...of course, I don't share the atheistic views of Mr. Hitchens but he is certainly an entertaining, informed and thoughtful writer...his consistent appearances on this blog need no further justification than that. - jtf]

Conspiracy Theories

If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you'll love the Downing Street Memo.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005, at 9:42 AM PT

A few weeks ago, at an airport in Europe, I saw Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code staring at me across the bookstore bins. I had seen it many times before and averted my gaze, but I was facing a long delay, and I suddenly thought: May as well get it over with.

Well, of course I knew it would be bad. I just didn't know that it would be that bad. Never mind for now the breathless and witless style, or the mashed-paper characters, or the lazy, puerile reliance on incredible coincidence to flog the lame plot along. What if it was all true? What if the Nazarene had had issue, in fleshly form, with an androgynous disciple? The Catholic Church would look foolish but, then, it already looks foolish enough on the basis of the official story. "Opus Dei," according to Brown, is a sinister cult organization. Excuse me, but I already knew this, so to speak, independently.

Over the past month, I have hardly been able to open my e-mail without a flood of similarly portentous tripe concerning the "Downing Street Memo(s)." This time, it is not the interior of a Templar Church but the style of a clerk in the British Foreign Office that furnishes "the key to all mythologies." A former CIA hand named Ray McGovern has challenged me to debate about the "smoking gun" contained in the Downing Street palimpsests, and I have agreed, in principle. Other correspondents have helpfully added other "smoking guns" as e-mail attachments. A man named Morgan Reynolds, a former chief economist at the Bush Labor Department and now an instructor at Texas A&M, has proof that the World Trade Center was laid low by a "controlled demolition" and not by the hijacked planes. This is a refreshing change from the Gore Vidal view that the Bush administration knowingly grounded all military aircraft in order to give the al-Qaida teams a clear shot. But perhaps both those theories are congruent: One wouldn't want to exclude any options if one were a Republican seeking to incinerate the downtown business HQ of capitalist globalization.

I am not one of those who uses the term "conspiracy theory" as an automatic sneer of dismissal. Conspiracies do occur. I spent a lot of my life at one point trying to show that William Casey of the Reagan-era CIA had made a private deal with the Iranian hostage-takers in 1979, inducing them to keep their prisoners until the Carter administration had been defeated, and I still firmly believe that something of the sort (which eventually culminated in the Iran-Contra underworld) was at least attempted. So do many senior members of both parties in Washington, with whom I am still in touch.

But the main Downing Street document does not introduce us to any hidden or arcane or occult knowledge. As Fred Kaplan wrote in Slate last week, it explains no mystery. As protagonist Jim Dixon observes in another context in Lucky Jim, it is remarkable for "its niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems." On a visit to Washington in the prelude to the Iraq war, some senior British officials formed the strong and correct impression that the Bush administration was bent upon an intervention. Their junior note-taker committed the literary and political solecism of saying that intelligence findings and "facts" were being "fixed" around this policy.

Well, if that doesn't prove it, I don't know what does. We apparently have an administration that can, on the word of a British clerk, "fix" not just findings but also "facts." Never mind for now that the English employ the word "fix" in a slightly different way—a better term might have been "organized."

We have been here before. In an interview with Sam Tanenhaus for Vanity Fair more than two years ago, Paul Wolfowitz allowed that, though there were many reasons to seek the removal of Saddam Hussein, the legal minimum basis for it was to be sought, inside the U.S. government bureaucracy and at the United Nations, in the unenforced resolutions concerning WMD. At the time, this mild observation was also hailed as a full confession of perfidy.

I am now forced to wonder: Who is there who does not know that the Bush administration decided after September 2001 to change the balance of power in the region and to enforce the Iraq Liberation Act, passed unanimously by the Senate in 1998, which made it overt American policy to change the government of Iraq? This was a fairly open conspiracy, and an open secret.

Given that everyone from Hans Blix to Jacques Chirac believed that Saddam was hiding weapons from inspectors, it made legal sense to advance this case under the banner of international law and to treat Saddam "as if" (and how else?) his strategy of concealment and deception were prima facie proof. The British attorney general—who has no jurisdiction in these 50 states—was worried that "regime change" alone would not be a sufficient legal basis. One appreciates his concern. But the existence of the Saddam regime was itself a defiance of all known international laws, and we had before us the consequences of previous failures to act, in Bosnia and Rwanda, where action would have been another word for "regime change."

Many in the British Foreign Office, like many in the American State Department and the CIA, felt more comfortable with the status quo as they knew it (which might explain the hapless references elsewhere in the memos to Iraq's "Sunni majority"). But theirs is only one opinion among many. How odd that the American left, when it is not busy swallowing the unpunctuated words of the CIA, follows this with another helping of wisdom from the most reactionary institution of the British state.

If such a "left" is not careful, it will end up consoling itself in futile bitterness and resentment in the way that the Old Right used to do: by brooding on the hellish manner in which FDR told the Japanese to "bring it on" at Pearl Harbor. (The anti-war right of today, led by Pat Buchanan, was raised and nurtured on this very fantasy, as were Gore Vidal and the other Charles Lindbergh fans.) I am in favor of taking such theories at face value, as a thought experiment, to see how they pan out. It is clear that Roosevelt hoped that the Japanese empire would make a mistake and furnish a pretext for war: The plain evidence of this hope is what keeps the conspiracy theory alive. I myself rather doubt that he would have wanted to start such a war with the loss of the Pacific Fleet, but still, he did think a confrontation was inevitable, as indeed it was. And William Casey may have seen the chance for a double coup: taking credit for the release of the Iranian hostages and discrediting Jimmy Carter into the bargain. But if it had all come out at the time, and been proven, would this change my attitude to Japanese imperialism or to Iranian hostage-taking theocracy? Certainly not. The demand would be to impeach those responsible in Washington and to form a national bipartisan alliance to fight even harder against our enemies, and in defense of our friends.

Full circle, then: The outrage about the nondisclosures in the Downing Street memos has led Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina to demand that we tell the al-Qaida forces in Iraq exactly when we intend to give up. Jones is the right-wing bigmouth who once wanted to rename French fries "freedom fries." He was a moral and political cretin when he did that and, not to my surprise, he has been unable to stop being a moral and political cretin since. He and his new friends are welcome to each other. They illustrate exactly how the credulous search for Da Vinci codes is the sign of feeble minds.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His most recent book is Thomas Jefferson: Author of America.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mark Landsbaum: Amnesty By Any Other Name
By Mark Landsbaum
June 21, 2005

The mainstream media is gleeful with the latest “bi-partisan” proposal to “solve” the illegal alien problem. But those who don’t stand to directly benefit – and that’s most Americans – should be more skeptical.

Amnesty legislation introduced by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts purports to “reform” immigration laws and equitably resolve the problem of a massive and continual illegal influx of aliens across U.S. borders.

But the reality is the McCain-Kennedy “reform” would reward lawbreakers for their illegal activity, while holding out a blatantly false promise of stemming future illegal immigration. In fact, it would likely spur further illegal immigration. Meanwhile, those who stand to profit are the lawbreakers and the businesses that hire them for paltry wages.

“This bill is a hoax we’ve seen before,” according to Mark Kirkorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO, agreed. “There might be a little more lipstick on this pig than there was before,” he said, “but it is most certainly the same old pig.”

The McCain-Kennedy bill is similar to the 1986 U.S. Immigration and Reform Act. The primary difference is the 1986 law granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who could prove they already had been in the country four years. The current proposal effectively would grant amnesty to those who pay a “fine” then wait six years for permanent legal status while working in the U.S. under a new classification of visa.

“The McCain-Kennedy proposal is a prospective amnesty, while the 1986 measure was a retrospective amnesty,” Kirkorian wrote recently in the National Review.

As history showed in the 1980s, granting amnesty to illegal aliens led to three results:

* About three million persons who previously illegally entered the country were not prosecuted or deported, but instead rewarded with legal resident status.

* A flood of forged documents were generated to “prove” illegals had been in the country the necessary three years.

* Millions more aliens were encouraged to illegally enter the country on the expectation that prosecution and deportation were unlikely, and some day another amnesty might be offered.
The promise of another amnesty in the McCain-Kennedy bill is that very anticipated reward for the millions who have flooded into the U.S. since 1986.

The backers of the McCain-Kennedy bill include the usual suspects on the Left, so-called “immigrants’ rights” groups, and the self-interested business community that stands to profit from cheap labor. However, McCain may have over estimated the bill’s appeal.

“What was McCain thinking?” CIS’s Kirkorian asked. “Either he imagines this is some kind of political plus for him – in which case he’s even less knowledgeable than I imagined – or he’s already decided he’s not going to run for president. The Republican base is outraged by amnesty. They are really fired up about it.”

The McCain-Kennedy bill makes overtures to “enforcement” of immigration laws, but it appears more likely to be another hollow promise.

In 1986, the Immigration and Reform Act provided for fines for employers hiring illegal aliens, but in practice has been utterly ineffective. Although about 11 million illegal aliens live in the U.S., in 2003 the federal government fined only 124 employers for hiring them

Similarly, while the McCain-Kennedy bill provides for computerized employment checks, it does not provide for using a highly successful pilot program currently operated by Homeland Security, but instead requires the Social Security Administration to create a new system from scratch, according to Kirkorian.

“They want to kick the can down the road,” Kirkorian said. “They see they have to pretend to be in favor of enforcement.”

Although backers of the McCain-Kennedy bill tout its law enforcement provisions, including a $2,000 fine that illegal aliens must pay to apply for the new work visas, the penalties are no more promising than the feckless 1986 legislation when it comes to stemming the illegal alien influx. The bottom line is that when prosecution and deportation are unlikely, and incentives such as the promise of amnesty are held out, the overwhelming incentive is to encourage continued lawbreaking.

Hoover Institution historian Victor Davis Hanson has observed the “illiberal aspects” of encouraging millions to break the law to immigrate to the U.S.:

The subtext always has been that those who support open borders are somehow more caring or ethical than their purportedly insensitive opponents who wish a return to measured and legal immigration. In fact, the opposite is true. More frequently it is an uncaring elite - made up of both Democrats and Republicans – that advocates not enforcing immigration laws. And it is past time for them to explain why it is moral or liberal, rather than merely convenient, to import millions outside the law to do the jobs we supposedly cannot.

As Hanson notes, illegal immigration results in billions of dollars sent to Mexico from illegals, draining capital from struggling immigrant communities inside the country. “Workers without high school diplomas who send back much of their wages often cannot pay for their own proper heath care, education, or housing here,” Hanson noted. The taxpayer is forced to foot this bill.

Moreover, employers who hire millions of young laborers from Mexico depress wages for poorer American workers, and immorally discriminate against millions of equally poor immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and Africa who properly wait years to come to the U.S.

“Time and time again,” agrees Rep. Tancredo, “history has shown us that amnesty actually increases illegal immigration.”

And as Kirkorian noted: “Even the French have figured all this out. Dominique de Villepin, France’s interior minister, was asked recently whether his country would stage another amnesty, as it did in 1981 and 1997. ‘It’s out of the question,’ he said. ‘Each time, it creates a chain reaction and wave of new arrivals.’”

The McCain-Kennedy legislation, despite its so-called bipartisan support, will have to compete with a rival bill being prepared by Arizona’s other Republican Senator, John Kyl, and John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. The Kyl-Cornyn legislation would authorize 10,000 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 new immigration inspectors over the next five years, while committing $500 million between 2006 and 2010 for specialized border security equipment, such as sensors, camera poles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. That compares to the meager McCain-Kennedy requirement of “development of various plans and reports,” advisory committees, and “partnership” efforts with Mexico to address border security.

Significantly, the Kyl-Cornyn bill also more closely resembles the guest worker concept advanced by President Bush. Their bill, which is expected to be introduced in July, requires illegal aliens to return to their home countries to begin steps for legal approval to participate in a guest worker program, while the McCain-Kennedy bill does not.

Anything is better than nothing – which is what the McCain-Kennedy bill provides.

Mark Landsbaum is a freelance writer, author and former award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter in Diamond Bar, California.

Nat Hentoff: Sudan's Atrocities in Darfur

The Washington Times
June 20, 2005

After surviving the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel went on to ask a question: "How could it be possible for them to burn people, children, and for the world to remain silent?" That question reverberated after the world, Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan allowed Rwanda's genocide. It is with us again as the genocide in Darfur relentlessly continues.

New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof, who keeps returning to Darfur, trying to make it impossible for the world to say that, alas, it didn't know what was happening there, wrote on June 7: "Refugees fleeing to Kalma from a village called Saleya described how nine boys were seized by the Janjaweed, stripped naked and tied up, their noses and ears cut off and their eyes gouged out. They were then shot dead and left near a public well. Nearby villagers got the message and fled." A letter writer to the Times, Frank Skraly, after reading other such reports from Darfur from Mr. Kristof, said: "Whether you lean left or right, stopping the killing in Darfur seems like a no-brainer. What political risk would there be in doing so? A leadership position on this issue would earn President Bush accolades from the holiest of the right, the crunchiest of the left and most everybody in between. So what are we waiting for?"

On the same day that letter appeared, a United Press International dispatch from Sudan's capital, Khartoum, might have explained why the president's concern with the atrocities in Darfur has become decidedly less intense. (For example, after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Darfur Accountability Act, establishing a no-fly zone over Darfur and freezing the assets here of officials involved in the genocide, aWhite House letter successfully stripped these sanctions from a supplemental appropriations bill.) The UPI story quoted Sudan's murderous President Omar Bashir as being pleased that there has been a "positive change" in the Bush administration's position on Darfur.

The same report also told of a meeting in Khartoum between Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail. The latter said that "the two agreed for a Sudanese government delegation to visit Washington soon to discuss bilateral relations in more detail in order to restore relations between the two countries." We are restoring relations with a government fully complicit, as Nicholas Kristof detailed in the June 5 New York Times, in "a systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them from 'Arab lands.' "

There have been many reports of Janjaweed gang rapes of women leaving camp to gather firewood for cooking. The raped women, then often ostracized for life in that culture, tell afterwards of the government's militiamen, the Janjaweed, saying during the rapes: "You are black people. We want to wipe you out." Moreover, this genocidal government with which we are restoring relations, Mr. Kristof notes, "has also imprisoned rape victims who became pregnant for adultery. Even those who simply seek medical help are harassed and humiliated." I partially understand why President Bush, clearly a man of decent instincts, is no longer publicly, passionately condemning the Khartoum government. Sudan's intelligence agents have been providing the CIA with valuable information on terrorists in Muslim countries. Moreover, they have actually gone after Al-Qaeda suspects and turned them over to us.

This alliance with mass murderers and rapists is the very definition of realpolitik, but at what price? Not only with regard to the world's definition of the United States, but also to our definition of ourselves? As Leonard Rubenstein of Physicians for Human Rights asks: "How many people will have to die before we do enough in Darfur?" Salih Booker, executive director of the Washington-based Africa Action, says: "The President of the U.S. has recognized that genocide is occurring, but apparently there are more pressing matters requiring his attention. We must ask, what could possibly be more pressing than genocide? Unless there is an immediate international intervention in Darfur, up to a million people may be dead by the end of this year."

Ah, but the International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into war crimes in Darfur. The ICC has collected thousands of documents and many witnesses, along with aerial photographs of destroyed homes and villages, but perhaps not photographs of the continuing gang rapes. The ICC also has a sealed list of 51 suspected war criminals. Among them are likely to be officials of the Sudanese government.

But the Khartoum government refuses to accept the ICC's jurisdiction and has declared it will not permit any citizen to testify before the court and it will never turn over any Sudanese for a foreign trial. Although alleged peace negotiations have now resumed between Khartoum and rebel forces in Darfur, Khartoum has broken every agreement it has made.

Congress has tried to act meaningfully. But only hundreds of thousands, even millions, of direct messages to the president and Congress from we, the people, can prevent this nation from again being an accomplice of genocide as we were under President Clinton in Rwanda. The voices of our clergy, of all denominations, should also resound.