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Elections, Shmelections


As I mentioned in Friday’s G-File, and my latest
syndicated , Arabs have a funny way of talking about democracy. They use the language of elections and representation even though they don’t have actual democracy, in part because even in these tyrannical states democracy is recognized as the only legitimate source of political authority. Here’s another good example. In a recent interview with the Washington Post Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas matter-of-factly claimed that he’d been elected:

I said that the armed intifada is useless and we should stop it. For that, the Palestinians elected me prime minister and for that Arafat nominated me to be prime minister. And I accepted, according to my ideas.

Did I miss the election night coverage or something?

Supreme Court & Global Law


Ruth Bader Ginsburg, auditioning for the ICC?


Cranky Dean?


Also in the Washington Post about Howard Dean: He may just be a liberal West Wing dream. See this:

A first cousin to crankiness is New England flintiness, and this Howard Dean has. As with Jed Bartlet, the president from New Hampshire on NBC’s “The West Wing,” Dean’s flintiness may derive from his sheer cognitive processing power and an impatience with those who aren’t as quick. “He is extremely intelligent,” says Joyce Davis, a Manhattan dermatologist who was Dean’s lab partner in medical school. “I noticed that about him right away.”

Web Briefing: October 1, 2014

The Time/Newsweek Curse


Howard Kurtz on the Dean juggernaut:

It’s the dream of every insurgent candidate to confound the experts, catch fire at the right moment, wow the world by winning the New Hampshire primary and making the cover of Time and Newsweek.

If memory serves, the last insurgent candidate to ‘catch fire’ and make the covers of Time and Newsweek in the same week was Steve Forbes back in 1996, with images of the candidate tearing up tax forms. So before Dean fans get too excited about a guy who is “hot and getting hotter,” they’d be wise to keep the Forbes experience in mind.

I do love Dean’s honesty though:

“We’ve caught fire and, frankly, not with anything we’ve done that’s so brilliant.” Couldn’t agree more.


Americans Vs. Saudi Arabia--& State Department


In the current, August 11, issue of NRODT, Bill McGurn writes: “For nearly two decades, the House of Saud has unblinkingly abetted and protected Saudi men who kidnap American children to Saudi Arabia and keep them there against their will. And the monarchy doesn’t limit its reach to children. Many an American woman has discovered — the hard way — that Saudi Arabia is the only place in the world where an adult American female accused of no crime cannot leave without the written permission of the ranking male in her life, usually a husband but sometimes a father.”

Pat Roush, as NRO readers are well aware, is tragically familiar with the Saudi ways. She cc:s NRO on her most recent letter to the State Department on behalf of her daughters, both stuck, indefinitely in Saudi Arabia.

July 22, 2003

Maura Harty
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs
Department of State
Washington, D.C.

Dear Ms. Harty:

It was interesting to meet with you in Washington, D.C. at the Government Reform Committee hearing room prior to the July 9, 2003 hearing, “Internationnal Child Abduction: The Absence of Rights for American Citizens in Saudi Arabia.”As you know, I had expressed many concerns about your nomination to the position of assistant secretary of State for consular affairs but I had sincerely hoped that once you entered that office, you would genuinely work for the return of not only my daughters but of America’s children taken abroad.

Prior to your confirmation last year you had woed members of Congress and the press as “an agent of change” after your predecessor, Mary Ryan was fired mostly because her extreme case of “clientitis” towards the Saudis. As we know, she refused to shut down the Visa Express program even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred.

It was brought to my attention prior to the Government Reform hearings last year after subpoenaed documents from the Department of State were made public, that Mary Ryan, even though she had refused to help bring my daughters home, continually wrote memos containing derogatory statements about me and attached them to my file. I know you and Ms. Ryan worked very closely for many years and I had hoped that you would somehow, have a different attitude.

When you introduced yourself to me prior to the hearing, I politely asked if you would be willing to open a dialog with the Saudi government concerning my American citizen daughters who have been held in Saudi Arabia for almost twenty years to come home to America. Instead of agreeing to work with me on this and offering me and my family a closure to this tragedy, you reiterated the Saudi position that was taken last year after they abused my daughters and forced them to disavow their country and mother in a hotel room in London.

Adel Jubeir had asked for the cooperation of the State Department in this Stalinist show trial after I had gone to Mr. Burton and the intense pressure of the hearings had caused a great light to be shone on the collaboration between the U.S. State Department, the Saudi government and the PR firms that the Saudis hire.

The Department of State knew the girls were going to be taken out of Saudi Arabia and flown to England – their first time ever out of Saudi Arabia since they were kidnapped from me as little girls. Yet no one informed me that my daughters would be in England and they just happened to be “on vacation” in London during the same weekend a Congressional delegation was in Saudi Arabia to ask the Saudi princes for their release.

You told me in that hearing room that my daughters do not want to come home to America or see their mother. You repeated the Saudi position – that of Prince Bandar, Prince Saud bin Faisal and Adel Jubeir – that they could speak freely in that Saudi controlled, PR controlled “hothouse” in a London hotel. What you should have said was, “Ms. Roush, I will do everything I can to bring your daughters and their children to America to see you in the U.S. I am truly sorry for all the pain and suffering you and your family have had to endure all these years.” If you were really an “agent of change” you would have taken that opportunity to really make a difference. Instead you took the Saudi line and refused to sit down with me and work out the details of an amicable arrangement to bring my daughters home.

I have no knowledge of the whereabouts of my daughters. I have no knowledge of any details about their lives. I don’t know how many children they have or who married them. I have no pictures of them – none for almost twenty years. What changes have occurred since you took office? None. And your statement only shows that you don’t intend to change.

What kind of power over peoples’ lives do you possess, Ms. Harty? Is there no way to hold you responsible for your obligation to fulfill your responsibilities to the American people? It made me quite uneasy at the hearing when you portrayed yourself as a “public servant for twenty-three years.”

At the hearing you stated, “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about these cases.” When Mr. Burton asked you about my case you replied, “There are few things I would like more than to see that happen. I have raised it on several trips to Saudi Arabia and will continue to raise it.”

Is it not a bit hypocritical to have one conversation with me prior to the hearing and then to answer Mr. Burton’s question with another totally opposite point of view? I truly wonder how you cope with yourself at night when the lights are off and how when your earthly life is ended and you stand face to face with the Most High, what fate will await you.

You and the Saudis have an excellent opportunity now to bring my family home to America. If my daughters truly don’t want to stay here or be with their American family, then they can get on a plane and go back to Saudi Arabia. We don’t hold people in this country against their will. Ask Sarah Saga. Tell your Saudi friends that bringing my daughters home would bring them more goodwill with the American people than any PR stunt they pay millions for.

Very truly yours,
Patricia Roush

My Daughter Wears Combat Boots


Dole-Clinton Cbs Debates Yanked


Catholics Need Not Apply


To be honest, I thought the “anti-Catholic” charge against Schumer et al was overblown. But I’ve been re-thinking that, in part after reading Peter Beinart’s angry denunciation of the Republicans making the accusation. Beinart writes, “A three-year-old could see the logical fallacy here.” He continues, “Democrats dislike Pryor’s views on abortion and gay rights–they don’t care whether he came to those views through Catholicism, Judaism, or by reading Edmund Burke. As it happens, almost half the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who voted against Pryor’s nomination are themselves Catholic.”

Well, I must be 2 1/2 years old, because I think there’s merit to the logic. Imagine if the Agriculture Committee announced that no nominee for a senior position in the Dept of Agriculture could get the job if he holds “very, very deeply held views” against the mixing of milk and meat or on the eating of pork. Now this prohibition could be based in totally secular rationales. But it would still result in barring anyone who’s kosher from getting the job. In short, no Jews (or Muslims) need apply. And this is what Schumer is in effect saying because he does not believe that someone with such “deeply, deeply held views” could enforce a law he does not agree with in his private life.

Now, someone might say in defense of the policy, “Well, not all Jews are Kosher.” And that would be true. But it’s also true that the test would bar devout and observant Jews. In other words, it would prevent sincere adherents of their faith from serving in public office. That’s a particular no-no in the United States of America.

But you can take religion out of it. What if we amend the Constitution on gay marriage? Will this mean that gay, particularly ones with “deeply, deeply held views,” need not apply? My guess is that a conservative who said gays cannot serve in public office because they cannot separate their private lives from the professional duties would get in quite a bit of trouble (just look at the screeching over boy scouts). The relevant question is whether Pryor or anybody else can do the job, not whether they dislike the job they might have to do.

Re: Mommy’s a Basketball Star


I went for a brisk walk today….

“Human Scum and Bloodsucker”


North Korea’s description of State Department undersecretary John Bolton, who NK has refused to talk with.

Mea Culpa


Apologies for linking to a National Journal poll that required a fee subscription on Sat morning.

Liberal Tolerance Alert


Like many liberal media outlets which are NOT funded by taxpayers, PBS is especially enamored of programming about the plight of minorities, including Hispanics. (One series was titled “Chicano!”) That doesn’t mean they have to like them in real life. In his search through a local newspaper (the Arlington Journal), MRC guru Brent Baker found that WETA, Washington’s largest and most prestigious public TV station, is quite unhappy with local officials for building a pavilion for day laborers right next door to its headquarters in the “Shirlington” neighborhood.

WETA’s Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Percy Rockefeller (the wife of Sen. Jay Rockefeller) made an almost unprecedented appearance at a meeting of the all-Democrat County Board, and delivered a “stinging” rebuke: “You’ve been wonderful to work with — until recently,” Mrs. Rockefeller said. She predicted a “pretty hostile environment” for WETA employees who could be accosted by day laborers while walking from one building to another. Putting the day-laborer building in the planned location will also “inconvenience high-profile guests” who arrive to be interviewed on the “NewsHour,” which is produced from WETA’s studios, Mrs. Rockefeller said.

Will we see any nasty-grams from LULAC or La Raza on the stereotypes circulating in Mrs. Rockefeller’s head?

David, Is There Something You’Re Not Sharing?


I was happy although not entirely surprised David Brooks was picked to write for the New York Times’ op/ed page. A lot of liberals I know loved his book, even though they somehow failed to recognize themselves in his portrait of Bobos. And he’s written for the Times frequently and appears on PBS enough for them to be comfortable that he won’t drool.

But is there something Brooks needs to share? Dan Drezner makes this interesting observation:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: From David Brooks’ essay on the tendency to self-segregate in the latest Atlantic Monthly (not yet online):
What we are looking at here is human nature. People want to be around others who are roughly like themselves. That’s called community. It probably would be psychologically difficult for most Brown professors to share an office with someone who was pro-life, a member of the National Rifle Association, or an evangelical Christian. It’s likely that hiring committees would subtly — even unconsciously — screen out any such people they encountered. Republicans and evangelical Christians have sensed that they are not welcome at places like Brown, so they don’t even consider working there. In fact, any registered Republican who contemplates a career in academia these days is both a hero and a fool. (emphasis added)

Dan wonders if Brooks will feel the need to telecommute to his new job. I’m not worried about that. I am worried that if Brooks becomes too interesting (read: infuriating to lefties) he won’t be able to stick around very long. For a while the writer John Tierney, who wrote for the New York Times metro section, was far and away that paper’s best columnist and among a handful of the best newspaper writers in the country (and most Times readers outside New York had no idea who he was). He skewered the false pieties of Manhattan liberals and did it without being shrill or nasty (he’s best known for a Times magazine piece he wrote called “Recycling… Is Garbage“). He’s also a terrific researcher and reporter and a beautiful writer. Then a couple of years ago Tierney was sent (exiled?) to the Washington bureau to do more reporting. And with the exception of a few pieces, he’s lacked the punch that made him such a joy. Has he been put on a shorter leash?

Urgent, Please


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Blueberry Burger


I can’t see Stuttaford approving of this.

Italy’s Prime Minister, a German


Berlesconi tries to make up for his Nazi comment.

Mommy’s a Basketball Star


Three months after giving birth to triplets, a WNBA player returns to the court.

He’s Funny


Mark Steyn on Bob Hope.

The Union Label


In case you had any doubts, the AFL-CIO will work to defeat Bush, whomever they support in ‘04; this, from a story about Gephardt courting them:

Sweeney said no matter what happens on the question of endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primaries, labor will be united next year against Bush. “I don’t believe there will be any major splintering of unions,” he said. “I think we’re going to do our damnedest to have a solid labor movement and a solid political program all across the country.”

Hays On Marriage


Charlotte Hays has a thoughtful piece on BeliefNet on gay marriage and the Vatican.


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