Saturday, July 28, 2007

But, Everyone Thought Saddam Had Nuclear Weapons

Bush loyalist continue to insist that despite not finding any nuclear weapons in Iraq, that absolutely everyone who had adequate knowledge to have an informed opinion had concluded that Iraq had nuclear weapons. The argument is that we can’t blame Bush for being wrong; everyone else was wrong also.

“Why did Clinton three times cite the nuclear danger of Iraq in his December 1998 speech?” a fellow group member on a discussion site to which I belong asked in a recent exchange. “The Clinton and Bush Administration had exactly the same basic intelligence estimate regarding Iraq.” Statements from Al Gore, Sandy Berger, Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, John Kerry, and numerous others will be quoted to justify Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq.

But what the Bush loyalists choose to ignore is the time factor. At one point in time, the Clinton Administration did conclude Saddam probably was reconstituting his weapons program. They did believe he was a threat. And, I think Bush was correct to apply pressure on Saddam, forcing him to allow the IAEC inspectors back in the country. But then, Bush ignored what they found. But by the time Bush led us to war, the inspectors had been back in the country and the IAEC testified they could find no trace of nuclear weapons.

By the time Bush decided to go to war, there was ample reason to believe Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. The important issue facing us now, is how to get out of Iraq, not how we got in. Nevertheless, the truth should be told, from time to time, simply so it is not forgotten. And maybe, by acknowledging our mistakes we will be less likely to repeat them. If told that an event occurred a certain way often enough, then overtime it is easy to forget what really happened.

In the March 7, 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council on the progress of the inspection effort in Iraq, Agency Director General Mohamed of The International Atomic Energy Commission stated that the IAEA had conducted a total of 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites, including 21 that have not been inspected before. These inspections were not only visual inspections but analysis of sediment and air and soil samples. In addition to the sites, 75 facilities such as military bases and storage facilities had been inspected. They also interviewed scientist and technicians with knowledge of nuclear development. The IAEA director stated that Iraq had been forthcoming in its cooperation.

He said that as of that date “there is no indication of resumed nuclear activities” and that “ there is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990”. Also. “no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment.”
And finally, “no indication to date that Iraq imported magnets for use in centrifuge enrichment program.”

Don’t accept it when a Bush apologist says, “Everyone thought Saddam had Nuclear Weapons”. For the full transcript of the March 7th IAEC report, see the following link:

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Dads Pay Support for Other Men's Kids

DNA tests expose inconsistency in Tennessee courts

Five years ago, James Ridley was running scared, facing possible jail time after falling seriously behind on his child-support payments.

Ridley, left blind in one eye and permanently brain damaged after a brutal carjacking in 1995, owed $11,635 in support. The Nashville native said the court's solution, garnishing $104 from his weekly wages, left him nearly broke.

But there was something Ridley didn't know: The 9-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl he struggled to support were not his biological children. That bombshell would remain a secret until 2006, when DNA tests recommended by his lawyer revealed Ridley hadn't fathered either child by his former girlfriend. For the rest of the above story:

You would think that if a DNA test proves a man is not the father of a child that he should not be required to pay child support, but that is not the case. Thousands of men in Tennessee and maybe hundreds of thousands across America are paying child support for children that are not theirs. This is an outrageous injustice and should be corrected.

In Tennessee Rep. Stacy Campfield, (R-Knoxville) introduced a bill in the state legislature that would correct this injustice but unfortunately the bill did not become law.

“If a person was improperly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, upon discovering irrefutable proof of innocence, the punishment should be set aside and the true criminal pursed,” says Campfield. “It is unjust and inconsistent logic to hold someone accountable for a crime he did not commit just to satisfy the victim’s need for justice. The same logic should apply in child support cases.”

For Campfield’s full essay on the issue: (does not open in new window, hit "go back" button to return)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Democrats Get Bitchy!

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and his wife, Jeri, arrive at the Bloomberg News party after the White House Correspondents' Dinner April 29, 2006, in Washington. (Joshua Roberts/ Getty Images)
Democratic Party operative Susan Estrich accuses former Sen. Fred Thompson of being a cradle-robber:
“The reaction I hear from every woman I know, those who have gotten sick to their stomachs over seeing middle-aged men cavorting with girls barely beyond their teen years, is a giant ‘yuck’.”
Jeri Kehn Thompson is forty years old, a native of Hastinngs Nebraska, and a graduate of Indiana's DePauw University. She has worked as a political media consultant at the Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, and Hand law firm in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was employed by the Senate Republican Conference and the Republican National Committee. Fred and Jeri were married on June 29, 2002 at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Naperville Illinois. In October 2003 Jeri gave birth to their first child. A second child was born to them in November 2006

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Live Earth: An Ice Cream Pig Out to Raise Obesity Awareness

Here is an interesting take on the Live Earth Event from fellow blogger Jimmy Smith.
I have little doubt that global warming is real and that human activity is the primary cause, and maybe the enhanced public awareness justifies the energy gluttony. However, there is something offensive about being lectured to by those self-indulgent egotistical pop stars like Madonna. Rod

"One single Live Earth performer, Madonna, created more carbon emissions getting to the concert in her private jet than I would create in 120 years. And just one of the 8 Live Earth Concerts used as much electricity (with it's corresponding carbon emissions) as my house would use in 3 years."
Live Earth: An Ice Cream Pig Out to Raise Obesity Awareness

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The Missing Republican Urban Policy

Writing in today’s Washington Post, columnist David Broder says the Democratic Presidential race had developed a “different and welcome dynamic-a sharp competition among the leading candidates to become champions of the urban America.”
(Urban America's Moment It is welcome news that the Democrats are placing a renewed focus on urban issues and the deafening silence from Republicans on urban policy is disappointing.

Jack Kemp seems to be the last Republican who had an Urban policy. To give Bush credit, however, his American Dream Homeownership Initiative (ADDI) has increased homeownership among all Americans including the urban poor. And, his Faith Based initiative has leveraged federal funding to help the poor by allowing religious based organizations to access federal dollars. Both of these programs have had positive results. Otherwise, however, the Bush administration and Republicans in general have been silent on the issues of black poverty and urban problems.

Unfortunately the Democratic “champions of urban America” are offering all the wrong solutions. Republican neglect of the issue may be preferable to the Democratic “solutions”. Their solutions center around raising the minimum wage, expanding the earned-income tax credit, new subsidies for housing, easier access to college and job training, and universal health-care. I would like to see the Republicans join the debate so the full range of solutions are presented rather than the issue be restricted to a Welfare-state expansion bidding war.

These are the elements I would like to see in a Republican Urban policy.
1. Keep doing right the things that have worked:
· Homeownership expansion: The ADDI program has worked. The massive mortgage defaults we are seeing in housing is not among those new homeowners who received the ADDI down payment assistance, instead it is occurring among those with sub-prime loans. To qualify for the ADDI program, participants had to qualify for a good mortgage, so the program actually kept people from turning to sub-prime lenders. Expansion of homeownership builds individual wealth and strengthens families and communities. We should seek new ways to increase homeownership among the poor.

· Faith based initiative: It is a wise use of federal fund to fund those who have a passion for helping the poor.

2. Expand Welfare Reform-Stop the retreat. In the early 90’s Presidential candidate Bill Clinton vowed to "end welfare as we know it". Pushed along by the Republican Contract with America, which called for toughening the criteria for receiving welfare, the Republican Congress passed and President Clinton approved the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. Critics made dire predictions about the consequences of welfare reform. But, those dire predictions did no prove correct and Welfare Reform was a tremendous success. The New Republic concluded, "A broad consensus now holds that welfare reform was certainly not a disaster--and that it may, in fact, have worked much as its designers had hoped." Overall welfare rolls were cut by over 50% and in some states they were cut almost 90%! Former welfare recipient found work. Since then however, we have retreated on Welfare Reform. A Republican position should be a proposal for a Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act II which would revitalize the program and continue the progress. In the short-term, Welfare Reform is more expensive than subsidizing poverty, but it is worth the investment.

3. Expand and continue the HOPE VI program. Launched in 1992, the HOPE VI program was a drastic change in public housing policy and one of the most ambitious urban redevelopment efforts in the nation's history. It replaced distressed public housing projects occupied exclusively by poor families, with redesigned mixed-income housing and provided housing vouchers to enable some of the original residents to rent apartments in the private market. The program was mismanaged in some communities, but were it worked, it worked well. One of the results was a net decrease in the amount of public housing and a destruction of federally created ghettos of poor people. It is bad social policy to put all poor people in big developments were there are no other examples of what life can be. Public housing creates a culture of poverty. HOPE VI corrects that and should be expanded. (

4. Support marriage and stigmatize single motherhood. This would have to be a multifaceted program and would have to be approached with delicacy and compassion, but strengthening the black family and marriage should be public policy. The 2000 U.S. Census shows only 44.9% of black householders live with a spouse, compared to 80.6% of whites. Single motherhood must be addressed as a leading cause of black poverty.

5. Continue support for No Child Left Behind. The program may need to be renamed and redesigned, but the goal should be the same. Easier access to college and job training are going to help very little in a community where most black boys drop out of school and those who graduate may not be able to read but have a worthless high school diploma. Accountability, Charter schools, incentive pay for teachers who teach in the worse schools, single-gender schools, and other innovations needs to be part of the solution. The educational establishment is an obstacle to school reform. Those who owe their election to the education establishment special interest group are not going to advocate meaningful reform in this critical area.

5. Think outside the box. Advocate bold new solutions. One bold solution, proposed by Sociologist Charles Murray, would provide a grant of up to $10,000 per year for life for everyone over the age of 21. Admittedly, initially this would be an expensive program, but by replacing other forms of public assistance and with a modification of tax policy, it probably is not more expensive than current social policy spending and it has the promise of changing private behavior and values. Single men who father a child would be subject to having their grant taken to pay child support. ( I understand a serious candidate may not wish to advocate something as radical and as specific as the Murray plan, but should offer a promise of a bold new initiatives

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