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January 24, 2008

SADDAM'S WMD CONFESSION REVEALED

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Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2007

 

CBS NEWS --
SADDAM BLUFFED AND DIED WHEN HIS BLUFF WAS CALLED

Writing in May of last year (THE FIVE IRAQI WAR LESSONS – www.jaygaskill.com/FiveLessons.htm ), I argued that:
Before the post-911 “Bush doctrine” was announced – governments that covertly sponsor or harbor terrorists are not diplomatically immune from US military intervention – the mischief makers of the world had grown accustomed to a softer, gentler America. 
 
Saddam himself miscalculated by actually promoting leaks of misinformation that his field commanders had fearsome WMD’s. He was evidently thinking — in his “king of my world” thug-logic — that he could bluff a wounded USA into “pursuing diplomatic options” forever while he bribed his way out of the UN sanctions. Meantime, Libya harbored an A-Bomb development program; Pakistan was covertly selling nuclear bomb technology; and Yemen thought that it could forever escape accountability for looking away while al Qaeda planned to bomb the US Cole.
[][][]
Today, January 24, 2008, CBS news revealed just how badly Saddam had miscalculated.  The dead thug’s translator was quoted an interview with 60 minutes Reporter Scott Pelly.
The Headline should be: 

SADDAM LIED AND THOUSANDS DIED

“Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen.”
….
Translator Piro: “He told [me that] he initially miscalculated... President Bush’s intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack …”
….
Saddam lied about having WMD’s.
“For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [bluffing] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq".

Saddam bragged privately to his translator about retaining the talent and infrastructure needed to restart his WMD program as soon as the sanctions were lifted.
“He wanted to pursue all of WMD…to reconstitute his entire WMD program.”
Mr. Piro’s interview will be broadcast on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan 27. 
So much for the writer’s strike.  You can’t make this stuff up.
JBG

A Sanity-Hysteria Convergence?

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The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
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My full article is posted at this link:
http://jaygaskill.com/SanityHysteriaConvergence.htm .

A Sanity-Hysteria convergence?

Since we do not have, as yet, any reliable quantitative data about the fluctuation of atmospheric water vapor, and we have - as yet - failed to explain why changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations appear to lag about 800 years behind ambient temperature changes[1], how can we persuasively rule out extra-atmosphere solar radiation as the largest single cause of the current warming trend?
We simply don’t know enough to attribute the climate change in the last fifty years to human industrial activity.  A brief correlation, however suggestive, falls short of demonstrating a causal link. 
On the political stage there is a temporary convergence between the global warming skeptics who see a national security advantage in pursuing alternate energy sources and the global warming evangelists.  The meaningful point of potential correspondence, however, is a touchy area: nuclear energy. Sane environmentalists, including Patrick Moore, an original founder of Greenpeace, are on board.[2] 
Moments like these, where sanity and hysteria combine to support reasonable public policy, are as rare as an honest politician…

 

[1] http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/299/5613/1728
[2] Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, now chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd, has advocated nuclear energy in a piece in The Washington Post. Go to at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401209.html .

January 17, 2008

POLITICAL THEATER PART THREE - ELEPHANTS AND MORE

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The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

The Human Conspiracy Blog
January 17, 2008

 

A print version of this piece is posted at --http://jaygaskill.com/PoliticalTheaterIII.htm .

 

THE POLITICAL THEATER, PART III

 

It seems clear beyond doubt that the republicans will have a brokered convention requiring several ballots and no small amount of horse trading before their nominee is selected.  Don’t believe the conventional wisdom.  This will probably be an advantage. The democrats will have nominated Hillary or Barak beforehand.  This gives the GOP an opportunity to size up the opposition and nominate accordingly.  The GOP convention will be great theater and – by then – the candidates and their aides decamp will be on their best behavior. 
Expect a record television audience. 
I don’t think it matters one whit which of the three presumed frontrunners – Rudy, Mitt or John – wins the republican nomination (or if Fred somehow gets it), provided that Hillary is nominated.  The visceral opposition to another Clinton presidency is so strong among the party faithful that all ranks will close around the nominee. 
And… if the GOP movers and shakers are particularly astute, Secretary Rice will be in the number two spot.
An Obama nomination is a wild card, one that would unite the democrats, turn out the base in droves, and – just possibly – carry the day.   That outcome depends on the durability of theme two (Hope’s Coloring Book, below).
There are three neuroses; and there are three elephants in the smoke filled room (they are the third rail policy conundrums).
THE CAMPAIGN NEUROSES
First, let’s review the three psychological themes, those dysfunctional mind-sets that tend to distort the merits:
1 -- The P C Train Wreck –
Why the democratic race is trapped in politically correct dogma.
It was inevitable that identity politics, based on the myth of ongoing victim-hood as a political force, would pit one core democratic constituency against another.  Mrs. Clinton is now trapped in the collision of her own PC dogma and raw ambition.  To win the nomination, she needs to “take that upstart Senator Obama down several pegs”, but avoid a blowback from Barak’s fellow black Americans. 
It remains tot be seen how much this sorry primary spectacle will tend to depress the democratic black vote in the general election.  But don’t believe the analysts who think that these two candidates have reached an actual truce.  The Clintons are prepared to win whatever the short term cost.  Expect a victorious Clinton to offer the number two spot to Barak. 
Expect the offer to be refused.
2 -- Hope’s Coloring Book -
How Barak is our projection screen.
Politics is just like one of those failed romances when the disenchanted lover is drawn to someone who appears by virtue of apparent contrast to have all of the virtues in which the Ex was so deficient.  It is human nature to project unreasonable hopes and expectations onto the unknown new lover or fresh candidate.  This is why, in almost every case, the initial favorable poll numbers for that charismatic fresh face tend to erode, once the actual positions and track record of the candidate are better known.  But the contrast effect is a powerful aphrodisiac.  That was how we got Jimmie Carter - that aw shucks peanut farmer - instead of the competent, but tainted “business as usual” Gerald Ford.
3 Character Envy –
Could Perfection be Romney’s Achilles’ Heel?
Don’t for a minute think that we voters are comfortable with someone who seems actually to be morally superior to the rest of us.  Yes, we are willing to tolerate some virtue in our presidents, but we find ourselves irritated, put off and, yes, a little afraid when confronted with really virtuous leaders. The problem has gotten worse in the post WW II culture as cynical members of the intelligentsia have worked overtime to tear down our popular heroes.  We profess (and actually entertain) admiration for leaders we can “actually look up to”.  But, in general, people detest judgmental moralists and fear moral examination (whether threatened or real). 
Did I suggest that we are consistent?  Recall the topic – we’re talking neurosis here.
Enter Mitt Romney, the virtuous Mormon with perfect hair, a perfect marriage and a perfect family. And – worse still -- he’s not a victim. Two things are happening, psychologically speaking:
  1. Many voters are operating in the “too good to be true” mode, looking for the inevitable disclosure of scandal or character defect.  These people are more comfortable with someone like “good ole President Bill”, a man for whom the whiff of scandal is part of the charm.
  2. Many of the others are just waiting to be lectured to or put down because of their own failings. In part this is fallout from the hectorings of the politically correct left and the ultra moralistic right.
I grew up around Idaho Mormons, some of whom are great friends.  They do not hector.  We who drink, smoke, swear and otherwise engage in disreputable conduct are simply treated with respectful affection; we are never lectured or condemned.  I wish our PC nanny’s could be so authentically tolerant. This is not an accident.  Every young adult Mormon does a two year missionary assignment, almost always out of the country.  Knocking on thousands of doors, getting thousands of rejections not only builds character, it builds functional tolerance.
Governor Romney is an arch capitalist (in my universe, this is not pejorative) in LDS clothing.  He has strong personal ethics – stronger, say, that William Jefferson Clinton. This is a problem?
THOSE ELEPHANTS
IN THE SMOKE FILLED ROOM
It is a truism that the really serious policy issues are rarely ventilated in a primary campaign.  The three elephants in the smoke filled room are the policy issues so big and so scary that no candidate in her right mind wants to supply more that a few sound bites – hoping to locate advisors and political support for the required heavy lifting or, failing that, to kick the can down the road for the next administration.
1. China
Why do we hear only vague, fog-ball solutions?
China is big -- really, really big.  Its authoritarian and repressive government holds more than a trillion dollars in US currency.  We owe them big time. They have the keys to Wall-Mart.  China’s growing industries are polluting the planet and we can’t seem to do a thing about it.  Their state run businesses have stolen and counterfeited our intellectual property, and we can’t seem to do a thing about it.  Increasingly the US economy is a Chinese hostage.  Some democracy optimists blithely assume that Chinese capitalism will inevitably mutate into liberal democracy.  Don’t count on it.  Even if it happens someday, don’t assume our hostage role will improve…
2. Islamic Jihad
What is the war we dare not name?
Norman Podhoritz, the former leftist intellectual, now a national security conservative (this is what is meant by “neocon”) has written a prescient book, “World War IV” in which he argues – very persuasively – that the cold War was WW III and that the jihad is the next world scale, highly lethal war.  Some on the left have called him “the most dangerous man in America”.  This is the same thing as saying that, in the 1930’s, Winston Churchill – that unbalanced alarmist who claimed that Hitler must be stopped – was the most dangerous man in Europe.
This makes Iraq into a single battle, much like Korea was.  This kind of truth is very difficult to state without invoking a blizzard of politically correct bromides and insults in response.  But the facts remain -- stubborn as facts tend to be. Embedded in the Pakistan government and in many other Middle Eastern states (overtly in Iran and Syria, covertly in Egypt and elsewhere) are the cohorts who share a common, malignant vision: A new radically fundamentalist pan-Islamic state must rise up in the region to right all the wrongs visited on Islam by the decadent West.  It must be nuclear armed in order to join the ranks of world superpowers.  To accomplish this, all the non-compliant regimes in the region – and the opponent regimes in the West, principally the US – must be destabilized and eventually overthrown (in the Middle East) or deterred and cowed (in the West).
Mr. Podhoritz is one of Mayor Giuliani’s advisors.  Senator McCain has been on the same page for years, and Governor Romney has adopted some of the same policy rhetoric, in his characteristically more muted tones.  Senator Clinton has rhetorically temporized to appease the extreme pacifist left in her party, but (in my opinion) has evidenced a basic understanding of the nature of the threat.
3. Outsourcing America -
This is the problem we don’t know how to fix -- or are afraid to try.
Both the republicans and the Clintons are committed to “free trade”.  The “rust belt” of abandoned factories, mostly in the Midwest, is just the tip of the iceberg called “outsourcing”.  Dirt cheap labor in the second and third world acts like a vacuum sucking any enterprise, manufacturing or business activity into areas and economies where they can be accomplished more cheaply.  Even the Chinese economy has begun to outsource some manufacturing functions.  Protectionist legislation – high export duties or outright import bans – inevitably lead to a trade war, rising prices because of rising costs.
Americans have been told that the lost jobs are being replaced with even better ones, as we move from a manufacturing to a “service” economy.  But that manifestly is not true for displaced manufacturing employees.  Even in high tech industries, skilled labor shortages are filled by importing workers from India and other countries with an underemployed intelligentsia.
There are policy solutions, but they are complex and difficult to accomplish.  Any politician who advances a program to “fix” outsourcing is met with an avalanche of skepticism and charges of “protectionism”. 
Much heavy lifting is required.  Consider just two elements of recovery – imagining, if you will, the scope and ferocity of the likely opposition:
(1)   A massive national commitment to generation four domestic nuclear energy production;
 
(2)   A huge ramp up in space and aerospace development. 
It will be easier by far to reform social security and to reign in entitlements…
There is more to come.  Stay tuned…. 

January 05, 2008

POLITICAL THEATER, PART TWO -- THE SURVIVOR GAME

 

As Published On

The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1  

The Bridge to Being Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog2

The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely given.]
Please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

 

THE POLITICAL THEATER, PART II

 

 

I spent some time watching Governor Huckabee on the stump in new Hampshire (via C Span).  He is extremely effective, smooth without being insincere and he is cogent. Now I get it.  Few presidential candidates have ever been as effective communicators as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.  Mike Huckabee is Bill Clinton without the character flaws.

 

Whether he survives “Super Tuesday” remains to be seen…

 

 

The Survivor Game

 

Here’s an insight I owe to my brother, Jack:

 

The campaigns are eerily like episodes of Survivor, the reality television genre where contestants scheme with each other to vote out promising candidates, less on merit than to head off a potential leadership threat.  If we could just disconnect ourselves from all those pesky “issues” the whole spectacle would be pure entertainment – filling the writers’ strike gap.

 

A more pressing issue is whether Hillary will survive:

As Kate Snow (ABC correspondent) reported yesterday: Hillary is speaking to supporters in a below freezing airplane hangar in Nashua, N.H

“Of all the people running for president, I've been the most vetted, the most investigated, and my goodness, the most innocent it turns out.”

I saw this clip on television and felt for a fleeting moment that I was seeing a campaign in the process of an uncontrolled nose dive.

 

Nixon 1973

 

“People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got.”

 

Indeed.

 

The voters are restless…

 

JBG

 

 

January 04, 2008

THE POLITICAL THEATER, Part One

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The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3
The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are
Copyright © 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article (except for personal use) is needed. [Permission for use in group discussions is almost always routinely

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2008

WAITING FOR THE PERFECT CANDIDATE

 

In July of last year, I made two “looking forward” observationS, NEITHER OF WHICH ANTICIPATED THAT YET ANOTHER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR (THIS ONE IS MIKE) WOULD SUDDENLY EMERGE AS A MAJOR FACTOR. 

 

In the first post, July 5,The Human Conspiracy Blog”.  I said that Hillary looked like she was sailing comfortably to the nomination.  As I wrote then:

 

Senator Hillary Clinton is succeeding against Barack Obama without having to go negative. This is the triumph of organization and yes, a bit of ruthlessness, over charisma and idealism.  The polls continue to show Mrs. Clinton's negatives as the highest of any candidate in the race from either party, always in the high 40's, always close to her equally strong positives.  This is why the mainline democrats, the ones who prefer winning to ideological purity, remain worried about her candidacy.

 

What I didn’t say was that in the event Mr. Obama looks like a real threat, Mrs. Clinton will CERTAINLY go negative.  This is a very risky move for any white female candidate facing a non-white male candidate.  Yes, I’m aware that Senator Obama has transcended race among a supermajority of white voters (which is strongly to his credit) but not among voters who see themselves as African Americans. 

 

I predict that Hillary’s negative attacks on Mr. Obama will increase in shrillness if, after swamping her in Iowa, he again outpolls her in New Hampshire next week. 

 

If her negative campaign succeeds in defeating the first non-white presidential candidate with a real chance of winning the general election a backlash against Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy in the general election would follow.  But that is a risk she will be willing to take, because she sees this race as her last best chance to win the office to which she is entitled.

 

In January, 2008, the primary races seem much more open for both parties than in July of last year.

 

On a separate note, I addressed the Iraq war factor in a posting on July 19. For the full piece, you can go to: http://www.jaygaskill.com/WhyMarch.htm 

 

I made the following points – not then knowing how fully the surge would succeed in cutting the ground out from under the democratic candidates who had linked firmly to the anti-war left:

 

Here is the game.  The democrats-in-charge have decided that their best option is to force the president, and by extension - his party, to own defeat in Iraq but for the democrats to be in the optimum position to rescue America from W’s mistakes and even to own victory should the defeatists have miscalculated.

 

Because of the president’s veto power and the danger of utter chaos surrounding any politically forced American stand down in Iraq, I believe that the democratic leaders (who are in close consultation with Senator Clinton, their front runner) want a symbolic demonstration here, but not (God forbid) actual consequences.

 

This is an unusual election year in that, by “Super Tuesday”, it is in almost every candidate’s interest to have successfully fudged on the Iraq Project’s ultimate prospects so that they can have it both ways as the exigencies of events and the campaigns dictate.

 

No US Senator running for president could rationally want any additional “war drama” in the US Senate between that date and the Democratic Party convention in Denver, August 25-28. [The GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul is September 1-4.]  This is because the next president will actually have to deal with Iraq and the larger jihad for four challenging years – 2009, 10, 11 and 2012.

 

 

As New Hampshire looms next week, I think it’s appropriate to review the upcoming primary schedule:
 

Super Tuesday is February 5th, less than a month away.

 

On that single day, caucuses in Colorado (9 Electoral College votes) & North Dakota (3 EV), and primary elections in eighteen other states will allocate party preferences among the candidates in states that control 266 Electoral College votes (recalling that 270 will be needed to elect).

 

Those Super Tuesday primaries and EC votes are as follows:

 

Alabama (9), Arkansas (6), California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Georgia (15), Illinois (21), Michigan (17), Missouri (11), New Jersey (15), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), Oklahoma (7), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), Rhode Island (4) and Utah (5)

 

On March 4th, Primaries in Massachusetts (12), Minnesota (10), Ohio (20), Pennsylvania (21), Texas (34) and Vermont (3) will take place.  The Electoral College total for that single day is 100.

 

[Readers are invited to check my math.]

 

So by the first Tuesday in March, the overall trend in what democrats hope (or fear) of the Hillary juggernaut will be evident or it will be  a wide open convention with Obama in the lead.  Party contests affecting the allocation of 370  Electoral College votes will have been allocated, most of them pro rata. 

contests affecting the allocation of 370  Electoral College votes

Unless, Senator Clinton has established herself as the first ballot pick - or as very close to that goal-  she will be perceived to be in deep, deep trouble.

 

JBG

 

Appendix I:
The Electoral College
Alabama  *  9
Alaska  *  3
Arizona  *  10
Arkansas  *  6
California  *  55
Colorado  *  9
Connecticut  *  7
Delaware  *  3
District Of Columbia  *  3
Florida  *  27
Georgia  *  15
Hawaii  *  4
Idaho  *  4
Illinois  *  21
Indiana  *  11
Iowa  *  7
Kansas  *  6
Kentucky  *  8
Louisiana  *  9
Maine  *  4
Maryland  *  10
Massachusetts  *  12
Michigan  *  17
Minnesota  *  10
Mississippi  *  6
Missouri  *  11
Montana  *  3
Nebraska  *  5
Nevada  *  5
New Hampshire  *  4
New Jersey  *  15
New Mexico  *  5
New York  *  31
North Carolina  *  15
North Dakota  *  3
Ohio  *  20
Oklahoma  *  7
Oregon  *  7
Pennsylvania  *  21
Rhode Island  *  4
South Carolina  *  8
South Dakota  *  3
Tennessee  *  11
Texas  *  34
Utah  *  5
Vermont  *  3
Virginia  *  13
Washington  *  11
West Virginia  *  5
Wisconsin  *  10
Wyoming  *  3

 

Appendix II:

 

Primaries & Caucuses

 

January 8: District of Columbia
January 14: Iowa (caucuses) – date under review
January 19: Nevada (caucuses)
January 22: New Hampshire (primary) - date under review, Wyoming (GOP caucuses)
January 29: South Carolina (Dem primary)

 

February 2: South Carolina (GOP primary) - date under review

 

February 5:

 

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado (caucuses), Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota (caucuses), Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah
 
February 9: Louisiana
February 10: Maine (Dem caucuses)
February 12: Maryland, Virginia - date under review
February 19: Wisconsin
February 26: Hawaii (Dem caucuses), Idaho (Dem caucuses)

 

 

March 2: Hawaii (GOP caucuses)

 

March 4:

 

Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont

 

March 11: Mississippi
March 21: Maine (GOP caucuses)
Alaska - date under review

 

May 6: Indiana
May 10: Wyoming (Dem caucuses)
May 13: Nebraska (primary), West Virginia
May 20: Kentucky
May 27: Idaho (primary), Washington

 

June 3: Montana, South Dakota

 

 


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