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Wilson Money



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Looks like he has donated to Bush, too. Looks like he has interesting political giving habits!

A Reader Corrects Me



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This just in:

“Peter, I’ve actually seen quite a few McClintock TV spots recently (actually one spot run multiple times – the one that says it is sponsored by some Indian tribe).”

So McClintock does have a television presence after all–but only sort of. If the ad is sponsored by an Indian tribe, it’s an “independent expenditure,” that is, an ad that somebody other than the McClintock campaign produced and placed.

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Congrats



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To my college buddy, Andreas Benno Kollegger, for being one of the inventors of something I do not understand according to the US Patent Office.

Note: None of you should actually care about this, but he is an old friend of mine.

Web Briefing: December 25, 2014

California Surfing



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Channel-surfing, that is. Impressions after flipping around the television dial:

Bustamante: Going

Cruz has ads all over the place–but each is mediocre and insipid. In one obvious appeal to Hispanics, Cruz denounces Proposition 54, Ward Connerly’s Racial Privacy Initiative. Does Cruz manage a stirring, inspirational moment? Alas, no. While wearing granny glasses, he reads the text from a sheet of paper in the same tone of perplexed detachment that he might have employed if asking a waiter to explain a few items on a French menu.

Davis: Gone

Davis himself is nowhere to be seen, his campaign having apparently concluded that Davis loses votes every time people look upon him, but his ads attacking Arnold are even more widespread than Bustamante’s boosters. But the attacks in these attack ads are laughable. Arnold, we’re told, failed to vote in several recent elections. So what? So did half the registered voters in the state. Arnold, we’re told further, is now refusing to debate Davis. What’s to debate? Davis screwed up. Everybody already knows that.

When Davis ran ads attacking Dick Riordan, he was on to something–Davis managed, for example, to dig up an old tape in which Riordan, who was running as a pro-choice candidate, explained that he considered abortion a sin. The attack ad, in other words, made it clear that Riordan had performed a flip-flop on an issue that Riordan himself considered a matter of fundamental moral conviction. But against Arnold? Davis has nothing.

Schwarzenegger: Flawless

In all his ads, which are, again, everywhere, Arnold appears confident, relaxed, attractive, and well-spoken. In short, he looks like a winner. As I’ve made clear in this happy Corner, I have my doubts about whether Arnold knows how to wage good politics. But he sure knows how to make good television.

McClintock: Nowhere

Whereas Arnold is reportedly spending upwards of $2 million a week, McClintock has only raised something like $1.8 million for the entire campaign. What that means is that McClintock can’t afford television, and I have yet to come across a single ad on his behalf.

Incidentally, when I said yesterday that conservatives were now at liberty to vote for McClintock–with polls showing Schwarzenegger coasting to victory, I argued, there was no longer a chance that a vote for McClintock would help Bustamante– several readers emailed a warning: If enough voters switched from Der Arnold to Tom, Bustamante might win this thing yet. Strictly speaking, of course, that’s true. But this is California. Either a candidate is on television in this last week of the campaign or he has no hope. Tom McClintock isn’t on television.

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There Time Goes Again



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Just weeks after ripping Team Bush with the cover headline “Untruth and Consequences,” Time’s cover this week reads “Mission NOT Accomplished: How Bush Misjudged the Task of Fixing Iraq.” The story is introduced with this less-than-happy talk: “Ever since America’s decisive military victory, Iraq has been nothing but trouble. TIME reports on the errors and bad guesses, before and after the war, that got the Bush Administration into this spot.”

PS: Suffice it to say Time doesn’t say anything about whether Time misjudged the war at all….

Paris, Texas!



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Well, Rod, I don’t know about their high school band, but what a hell of a movie. Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski and a soundtrack by Ry Cooder – it doesn’t get a lot better than that…

Al-J Poll



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Corner readers save the day (again). Thanks to Kirby Wilbur and others, the numbers look a lot better for Dubya on the Al-Jazeera poll. I don’t hear any cheering from the Syrian Embassy, or from the U.N. for that matter.

One Cheer For Putin



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Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, but he seems to be setting the stage for Russia to reject the Kyoto global warming treaty, which will be a death blow for the treaty, which was already on life support. Without Russia’s ratification, the treaty will not go into effect.

Yesterday Putin even said that Russia might benefit from global warming, a heresy that you aren’t supposed to utter. “If it warms up a degree or two, its not terrible. It might even be good–we’d spend less money on fur coats and other warm things.”

Behind the scenes the Russians are demanding guarantees that they will collect the theoretical windfall that Kyoto seemingly promises them. Because the treaty uses 1990 as its baseline year, when the old Soviet Union had mich higher greenhouse gas emissions than today, Russia stands ready to sell emission credits in any kind of tradable emissions scheme. I’m betting the Europeans wll not want to make firm commitments to transfer billions of dollars to Russia just to satisfy their green lobbies.

Things Are Really Falling Apart



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Afghanistan unveils a new constitution. Man, what a catastrophe. Next thing you know they won’t be able to get digital cable. Of course, the headlines are all about failure, failure, failure.

Diversity On Parade



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This story almost sounds like it came out of The Onion … but it’s all too true. Seems that a high school band from Paris, Texas, came to Dallas last weekend to put on a “Salute to World War II” halftime show. The program included flags and national anthems of major combatants in the war … which meant that some students marched and waved the Nazi Germany standard, while the band played “Deutschland Uber Alles.” And all this happened on — wait for it — Rosh Hoshana. The ignoramus band director has apologized, and the Dallas ADL chief has said the matter is closed. But sheesh, can you imagine the stupidity that went into that programming decision? Did it occur to no one at that high school that it might not be a good idea to celebrate Nazi Germany in song and dance?

Polls



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Well, now you have it. The current poll by Al-Jazeera (all terror, all the time?) news, says that Dubya will lose next year by a substantial margin.

Good News Files



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Meet a good, young, ethusiastic, solid, focused, happy Catholic priest (who also happens to be a dear friend of mine) here, if you’re so inclined. (Note this was written for a Catholic publication, so there might be an “our Church” here or there.)

Brooks Shoves Back At Krugman



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After a brief book-tour hiatus, Bush-bashing columnist Paul Krugman is back in today’s New York Times. But op-ed colleague David Brooks provides a less-than-welcoming committee. Writes Don Luskin in today’s edition of the Krugman Truth Squad, “Right next to Krugman’s latest screed is a column by Brooks that is nothing less than a literary cruise missile aimed straight at Krugman’s heart.” Luskin says that Krugman started the Times shoving match, but notes that Brooks “shoves back hard.” Read all about it.

Coulter Versus Saudi Arabia



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A while back the New Republic zinged National Review for running ads for Ann Coulter’s book. I don’t want to get into all that, except I think it was certainly fair comment for a magazine like TNR to make. However, I do think it’s amusing that TNR runs a big juicy ad for Saudi Arabia in its current issue. Admittedly, there’s no indication of corporate endorsement of the Wahhabi State, they don’t say “The Editors of the New Republic Bring You Saudi Arabia” or anything like that. But, then again, whether you are a huge fan of Coulter’s or an implaccable critic, I think I’m on solid ground when I say, “Sirs, I know Ann Coulter. I’ve worked with Ann Coulter. And, my friends, Saudi Arabia is no Ann Coulter.” I mean the New Republic has time and again — rightly — denounced the Saudis for their anti-Semitism, their exportation of terror, their treatment of women, their undermining of democracy in the region, their duplicitous alliance with the United Sates, their role in fomenting al Qaeda etc. And while I find much to disagree with in Ann’s writings from time to time, even her alleged crimes fall far short of Saudi Arabia’s.

Or let me put it another way, when Coulter castrates people, it’s merely rhetorical.

The Leak “Scandal”



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I need to see more than what’s out there to think this is anything like the big deal the press and the Democrats are making it out to be. I’m all in favor of having the Justice Department investigate. I’m all in favor of firing whoever did the leaking, if he or she did as the reports suggest. But it sounds like the leaker is dropping in rank and importance as is the transgression. Wilson’s wife is a desk jockey and much of the Washington cocktail circuit knew that already.

It seems to me that the energy driving this is A) Obvious Democratic opportunism and scandal-hunger B) Media opportunism as this is the first Bush “scandal” that isn’t manufactured outside the White House (could someone explain what Bush did wrong on Enron again?) C) A burning desire to flesh out a fleshless storyline that the Bush White House clamps down on “dissenters” D) An even more burning desire to make Karl Rove into the Sid Blumenthal of this administration.

Which brings us to another issue: comparisons between this administration and the last. First of all, Rove is not Blumenthal for several reasons but the most important is that Rove’s got real power. Blumenthal was a Tolkieneque Wormtongue at best and more likely a slipper-carrier. On the larger front, I will be able to take only so much sermonizing from liberals over this scandal considering the fact that the last White House knowingly filed false criminal charges against inconvenient employees (the Travel Office), invented new privileges and abused old ones to stonewall at ever turn (Bush is commanding full cooperating), and generally accused critics of every form of bad faith imaginable.

So yes, by all means investigate what I predict will be a very minor story. But let’s not pretend the Republic is in danger.

The Wilson Saga: a Recap



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Everyone seems to accept that if the White House leaked the name and
occupation of Joe Wilson’s wife it was done to “smear” him. But how does
that information smear Wilson?

When I learned that his wife worked for the CIA, it caused me to think
better about him. In fact, one friend, a Democrat, cited his wife’s
occupation to me to suggest that Wilson was not as rabid a partisan as I
believed (and as I had alleged in NRO).

The alternative explanation that Wilson has suggested: That his wife’s
name was leaked to “intimidate” him. What does that mean? That the idea
was that some foreign agent might attempt to kill Mrs. Wilson?

Are reputable journalists really taking such an allegation seriously?

Mobutu Sese Seko Nr Digital



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The staggering reverberations of NR Digital continues to ripple through the culture. Like the dinosaurs of yore who were felled by a mighty asteroid, the ripples of NRD’s crash into the staid paper-product landscape continue to topple the antedeluvian institutions of old media! As reported in today’s Washington Times.

Okay actually, it’s just a nice piece, but that’s how I’m spinning it to the suits.

Transparency



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The whole squawk about a “special counsel” to investigate the supposed outing of Wilson’s wife was revealed as another hyper-partisan exercise last night in the Hardball segment I did with Chris Matthews and Leon Charney. Charney, an unrehabilitated Carterite, said that the American people are feeling very nervous about why we went into Iraq, and that an “independent counsel” (a la Walsh) could clear this up. He wanted an independent counsel (the law, thankfully, expired in 1999) to investigate Bush and the famous 16 words, not the possible crime in outing Plame. This is so pitifully transparent it’s taking Sen. Schumer to a new low. Which is a very difficult exercise, indeed.

Gray, Fade to Black



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The establishment in California is frantically trying to spin the latest poll numbers that show Gray Davis collapsing and Arnold surging, deploying all the usual poll-spinning tricks about sampling error, etc. But the reason why these numbers are likely correct arrived in the mail this week. Yesterday my car tax bill arrived. Last year’s tax was $180; this year’s: $425. That’s for a 1996 SUV, my only car in California. If you have two or three cars in your household as do most California households (California has more registered vehicles than licensed drivers), imagine the sticker shock people are getting this week. In many cases the tax boost for a household with late model cars is probably something like $1200. No wonder Gray’s chances are fading to black.

A similar thing happened with Proposition 13 in 1978. Polls showed the vote fairly close, until about three weeks before election day, when new property tax assessments (which had soared again) arrived in the mail. It was all over after that.

Separately, the Washington Post Style today profiles one of the second-tier candidates, Trek Thunder Kelly. Turns out that is his real name; his parents, he says, considered naming him Sirf Cimmaron or Chet Chisholm. I am not making this up, and I doubt he is. I know a drop-out hippie couple near where I hang out at the beach on the central coast who named their kids Zuma and Blaise-Elation. Guess they’re not old enough to run for governor.

Unholy Mother: The Face of Reform in Saudi Arabia



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If you are about to give birth in Saudi Arabia, you better head to the hospital with the responsible male. The Saudis have announced that women entering a hospital to give birth will be held prisoner until a man arrives on the scene.

From the Arab News:

In the event that a woman is admitted to a hospital’s emergency room and is not accompanied by a man, she is to be held at the hospital in specially designated rooms to prevent her escape.

The mother is to be placed under surveillance in the hospital until a man comes forward and takes responsibility for the well-being of mother and child.

If no one comes to claim responsibility for the woman, she is to be transferred to one of the Kingdom’s social service providers after the local police have been notified.


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