June 22, 2006

MORE WMD Findings Revealed (Adding to Richard Miniter’s October 2005 List)

NOTE: This post has been carried forward from Wednesday evening and, barring major news on the Kelo holdouts from New London, CT, will stay at or near the top for the rest of the day.

See the final paras of this post for my theory as to why this info about WMDs has been held.
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(HT to Porkopolis for the e-mail wakeup)

It was carried by Fox News tonight and is reported by CNS News:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) announced Wednesday the finding of over 500 munitions or weapons of mass destruction, specifically “sarin- and mustard-filled projectiles,” in Iraq.

Reading from unclassified portions of a document developed by the U.S. intelligence community, Santorum said, “Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.”

According to Santorum, “That means in addition to the 500, there are filled and unfilled munitions still believed to exist within the country.”

Kathryn Lopez at National Review’s Corner roughly bullet-pointed the Fox broadcast:

– Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.

– Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.

– Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have implications for Coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside Iraq cannot be ruled out.

– The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectiles.

– The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.

– It has been reported in open press that insurgents and Iraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.

The Fox News story is up, as is a piece at Conservative Voice.

BizzyBlog readers know that the above builds on what has been known for many months (and traced to media sources) that previously proved that WMDs had already been found in Iraq (“The ‘No WMD’ Lie [with LINKED Proof]‘). That post was based on Richard Miniter’s book, “Disinformation,” but went further and traced each item he claimed to an actual media report.

Now, apparently, a LOT more have been revealed.

I also finally have a theory why the Administration has been so quiet in the face of the “no WMD” criticism. As I was reading what Santorum and Hoekstra revealed, one of my first thoughts was “Does this give the bad guys clues as to where other unlocated WMDs might be?” That would seem to be a pretty good reason to keep the lips sealed, and even to put up with years of “There were no WMD” abuse from The Left as the Bush Administration has.

Which of course has to lead to these questions:

  • Were there any clues, even subtle ones, as to where other WMDs might be in what Santorum and Hoekstra revealed? I sure hope not.
  • Or is the military justifiably confident enough about the weakness of the terrorist insurgency that the fear I just described is no longer relevant? I heartily hope so.

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Other blog coverage: Captain Ed, Ace, Patterico, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air (with video at an update), Protein Wisdom, Sister Toldjah, and more than I could hope to list.
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UPDATE: Initial reaction from the left side of the aisle is, uh, less than mature (which is why I’m not linking) –

  • Atrios: “Despite my reputation for seething blogospheric rage, I’m actually rarely that angry, but little Ricky lying about what’s going on in Iraq, putting his party and his re-election above country while s**tting all over the soldiers that are in harm’s way really pisses me off. What a f***ing wanker.”
  • A Democratic Underground commenter: “Karl Rove is back in full form spreading bullsh** for the elections. Now that he won’t be indicted, this piece of sh** and his minions, like Santorum, are out there peddling this sad bullshit as the 2006 midterm elections approach. This is sad. But what we should see now is an UNEQUIVOCAL, STRONG REBUTTAL FROM DEMOCRATS, at unison, calling them on their bullsh**.”

UPDATE 2: There’s no media bias (/sarcasm) — Here’s headline for the AP story at this link: “Republican lawmakers say munitions may prove Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.” Does anyone remember Santorum or Hoekstra using the word “may”?

UPDATE 3: Think Progress reports that “A Defense Department official told (Fox News’s Jim) Angle flatly that the munitions hyped by Santorum and Hoekstra are “not the WMDs for which this country went to war.”

Oh, this is rich — So now there are WMDs you DO go to war over and WMDs you DON’T go to war over? That’s news to everyone who has followed this issue from the very beginning.

The attempt to claim that “these WMDs don’t count” is horse manure, and gets back to the fundamental point of the dishonest “Bush Lied” claim that has been in place since we went into Iraq three years ago, and was mentioned again and again by Democrat lawmakers in Congress just today.

The Left has claimed all along that there were NO WMDs. There has never been a distinction between war-actionable WMDs and non-war-actionable WMDs. The claim was NONE, zero, nada. That claim has been demonstrated to be utterly false. Miniter’s work in October traced to media sources in November has proven that. Santorum and Hoekstra have just provided more.

UPDATE 4: Here’s the relevant DOD response text from the Fox report:

Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

“This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991,” the official said, adding the munitions “are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war.”

The official said the findings did raise questions about the years of weapons inspections that had not resulted in locating the fairly sizeable stash of chemical weapons. And he noted that it may say something about Hussein’s intent and desire. The report does suggest that some of the weapons were likely put on the black market and may have been used outside Iraq.

He also said that the Defense Department statement shortly after the March 2003 invasion saying that “we had all known weapons facilities secured,” has proven itself to be untrue.

“It turned out the whole country was an ammo dump,” he said, adding that on more than one occasion, a conventional weapons site has been uncovered and chemical weapons have been discovered mixed within them.

Hoekstra and Santorum lamented that Americans were given the impression after a 16-month search conducted by the Iraq Survey Group that the evidence of continuing research and development of weapons of mass destruction was insignificant. But the National Ground Intelligence Center took up where the ISG left off when it completed its report in November 2004, and in the process of collecting intelligence for the purpose of force protection for soldiers and sailors still on the ground in Iraq, has shown that the weapons inspections were incomplete, they and others have said.

Geez, apart from whether the Santorum/Hoekstra-discussed weapons were “old WMDs” or “new WMDs,” and apart from the Miniter-documented and media-supported items I’ve noted for the past eight months, the last bolded item in the excerpt sort of blows away (pun intended) the “no WMD” argument all by itself.

How did ThinkProgress miss that? (/sarcasm)

UPDATE 5: Excerpts from Hugh Hewitt interview with Santorum yesterday (all spoken by Santorum) would appear to belie the supposedly “useless” nature of the weapons involved:

….. I’ll quote again from the summary, not the classified report, “despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist beyond the 500 that they have recovered.”

….. All I can tell you is there have been published reports on blog sites about this report…and the published reports say that 75% of these 500 or so weapons were in fact filled and usable, and very dangerous for the…if got to improper hands.

….. It’s my impression that this is a very dangerous situation in Iraq, with the number of chemical weapons still believed to exist out there, and the threat that they might in fact get into the wrong hands. So Saddam, it is clear, from this report, had lots of chemical weapons around, and that people got their hands on them. So this is exactly what we were concerned about, that Saddam in fact had large stockpiles of chemical weapons, and would in fact…those chemical weapons could in fact get into the hands of people who would like to do harm to America.

….. think most people would look at this as a serious threat, and most people would look at this as saying that anybody who would claim that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction prior to the second Gulf War would not be taking a fair look at this situation as it is.

….. So we hastily called a press conference, of which…normally, I would think if you’re announcing the finding of weapons of mass destruction, you’d get more than four or five reporters, but that’s all we could seem to drum up.

….. what I think the Duellfer report was pretty clear about was that he had weapons programs in place, but that the sanctions were in fact effective in stopping him from producing more.

Here’s a final point for the pre-war “Inspections Not War” crowd — in an earlier Hewitt interview with Christopher Hitchens, Hitchens made this excellent point about the pre-war inspections attempt — “The whole process was completely ridiculous. The inspectors were not being allowed to inspect. It wasn’t Bush who was stopping them, it was the ministry of deception run by Saddam and his sons, as we know.” He goes on to tell us why, in very convincing fashion.

The iPod as a Baseball Prep Tool

Filed under: Marvels — Tom @ 1:46 pm

Next thing you know, baseball pitchers will want to sneak their iPods to the mound to replace the sandpaper they aren’t allowed to use to scuff the ball:

Video iPods Help Rockies Prepare for Game

Three hours before a start against Florida, Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings sits in front of his locker, puts on his headphones and stares at his video iPod.

He isn’t watching the latest Coldplay video or catching up on an episode of “Alias” as a way to relax before the game.

Jennings is doing some last-minute cramming: The Rockies’ video staff has downloaded every Marlins hitter into his iPod, and Jennings is figuring out how to pitch to them. He watches frames of himself delivering the pitch, followed by the result of the play. Everything else is weeded out.

“It’s a good way to refresh yourself on how you got guys out,” Jennings said. “It’s an amazing concept.”

The Rockies have taken the iPod beyond entertainment. And the idea has caught on – teams such as Florida and Seattle have called the Rockies to explore their innovative use of the iPod.
“It wasn’t like we invented the wheel,” said Rockies assistant video coordinator Brian Jones, who came up with the idea after the video iPod was released last November. “We’re using Apple’s technology as best we can. We figured if you can watch music videos by rock ‘n’ roll and by country, why can’t you watch at-bats by San Francisco and pitches by Jason Schmidt?”

This is just another cool example of a technology extension no one could ever have imagined. Neat.

Don Boudreaux Rips the Foundations from The Supremes’ Kelo Ruling

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:35 am

On Deadline Day for the two remaining Kelo holdouts in New London, it seems timely to get back to basics as to why the Supreme Court’s ruling a year ago was so terribly wrong.

In a column for the ages, at Investors Business Daily (backup link here), one that is so good that excerpting is very difficult, Donald Boudreaux does just that, and from the perspective of those Dead White Men who started it all — yeah, our Founding Fathers.

It gets down to the most important intellectual breakthrough our Founders achieved and enshrined — exactly where our fundamental rights come from (bolds are mine):

“Progressive” thinkers everywhere will soon celebrate the first anniversary of Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court case that finally made the jurisprudence of property rights “progressive.”

….. The “progressive” sees the importance of this ruling in its clever reading of the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause, which says: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Courts have long read the “public use” phrase to prevent government from taking private property except for a “public use” (such as building a street or a sewer line).

In Kelo, the court rejected this interpretation as quaint, explaining that “public use” really means “public purpose.” And the court refuses to question the city fathers who assert that demolishing middle-class homes and replacing them with spiffy office complexes is a worthy public purpose.

….. If the Constitution required courts to defer to legislatures’ property seizures, why did the framers bother to put the “public use” restriction into the Constitution? Any legislature that forcibly transfers property from one private owner to another can too easily fabricate a story of some social benefit that just might emerge from such transfers.

“Progressives” reject this founding-era skepticism of government. To them, early Americans’ embrace of self-responsibility, private markets and freedom revealed an unfortunate blindness to the fact that government is our friend and servant.

Indeed, today’s “progressive” attitude toward government goes beyond believing it to be our boon companion. Truly “progressive” thinkers regard the state as the font of all our blessings, the very source of society.

As declared recently by University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, “Private property depends on property rights, which do not exist without government and law.”

….. This “progressive” thesis is a wholesale and dangerous rejection of the Lockean principles cherished by our founders. John Locke understood that each of us holds rights naturally — among them life, liberty and property — and the state’s sole justification is to protect them. Governments no more create rights by protecting them than doctors create bodies by medicating them.

Yet the “progressive” mind is so eager to validate state control of our lives that it leaps mindlessly from the proposition that government can play a role in protecting our rights to the ludicrous notion that the state gives us our rights. After this leap, it’s a short step to the conclusion that rights are conditional upon the whim of the state — that rights aren’t really rights at all, but privileges we enjoy only by government’s grace.

Of course, this idea isn’t actually progressive. It’s regressive in the extreme. It reflects Plato’s insistence that ordinary people, many of whom are “natural slaves,” are best ruled by “philosopher kings” possessing near-dictatorial powers. Not to worry, though: Plato assured us these kings would be wise, selfless and good.

More than 2,000 years later, Locke, James Madison and other modern thinkers exposed this notion as wrongheaded and dangerous. Their works laid the foundation for our understanding that people whose individual freedoms are sturdily guarded by genuine, inviolable rights — including rights to property — are the most productive, prosperous and truly progressive. The court regrettably rejected this understanding.

Properly understood, the Kelo ruling is a fundamental repudiation of the basic foundations of our government, from the Declaration of Independence (“all men ….. are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights”) on forward. This is why I have held that the proper venue for reversing it is at the federal level. Regardless of the noble efforts in many states, nothing short of a total repudiation of Kelo by Congress, or a reversal of the decision by the Supreme Court, will truly bury this egregious miscarriage of jurisprudence.

Kelo New London Update: Former CT Bar President Peter Costas Is Up to His Old Deceptive Tricks

In November of last year, former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas wrote a letter to the New London Day (link is to a site that reproduced the letter in full) defending New London’s eminent domain actions up to that point.

Scott Bullock at The Institute for Justice blasted it out of the water (excerpted at this BizzyBlog post; included in full at a comment at the same post where former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas’s November letter can be found).

Former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas was at it again Wednesday, this time in The Hartford Courant. The arguments made there did not differ too much from his November Day letter, except that there’s a repeat of the tyrants’ relatively recent meme that IJ has somehow utilized its clever public-relations prowess to distort the true situation. (I had no idea that pro bono lawyers could be such masters at manipulating public opinion. — /sarcasm.)

Bullock’s response in November essentially still works, and I encourage you to read it.

But I want to mention something that former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas “overlooked” in BOTH of his letters, and that Scott Bullock didn’t respond to.

Former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas wrote Wednesday:

If the public had been well informed by the media, it is not likely that there would have been such an outcry and that the plaintiffs would have become folk heroes resisting eviction from their homes in which they had allegedly resided for many years.

(Aside: The “allegedly resided” claim is an irrelevant howler, and former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas knows it. One fact that has been lost in all of the emphasis on Susette Kelo and Mike Cristofaro is that The Fifth Amendment’s meaning doesn’t change because the property in question is rental property vs. owner-occupied.)

You may be surprised that I agree with former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas that the press has done a lousy job covering the Kelo-New London controversy — but not in the direction he imagines.

Somehow, in all of the years of covering the Kelo story, the press has barely mentioned this terribly inconvenient fact: The high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club has been allowed to keep its Fort Trumbull property, which is located RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the property of the Cristofaro family, one of the two remaining holdouts who is targeted for eviction if they do not settle (see inside the red rectangle on the map):

KeloSituationIDCred

(Note: The Google Earth map is dated, as most of the properties in the area have been razed, but the placement of the remaining properties is accurate.)

Let’s remind readers who may be new to the controversy, and former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas, who “somehow” overlooked it, why the high-powered, politically connected Italian Dramatic Club was exempted from eminent domain (about 1/3 of the way down the linked page):

A notable exception to the NLDC’s plan to clear-cut the neighborhood is the Italian Dramatic Club, a politically connected “social club” of Connecticut’s political establishment, which is located in the very same neighborhood as all the homes targeted for destruction. Among the Italian Dramatic Club’s patrons was former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, who helped direct much of the State funding for the NLDC’s work in New London and who resigned in June 2004 amid an ethics scandal. The club was informed in September 2000 that it could remain in the neighborhood. The un-elected NLDC decision to preserve the politically powerful Italian Dramatic Club while demanding that New Londoners move out led Fort Trumbull homeowner Matt Dery to quip that the NLDC’s actions in his neighborhood have been both shameful and shameless.

What is also shameful and shameless is the press’s failure during all these years to pound on the blatant cronyism and favoritism the city and the NLDC gave the high-powered, poltically-connected Italian Dramatic Club, while at the same time it took (“exercised eminent domainn on”) the property of the Cristofaro family next door. I’ve been told that the bitter joke in New London is that the Italian Dramatic Club can stay, but the Italians have to go.

What is further shameful and shameless is that former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas, given a 750-word opportunity to enlighten readers about the truth in New London, managed to continue the convenient silence surrounding the cronyism and favoritism given the high-powered, poltically-connected Italian Dramatic Club.

The situation with the high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club is so little known, even locally, that a commenter at a previous post said this, in part:

I live in Groton right across the river and worked at Pfizer last year when this thing was being protested right outside my workplace — and I never heard of the Italian Dramatic Club! Unbelievable. But this place has got some seriously dirty politics, especially where construction and development are concerned. ….. This place is nuts.

I would suggest to former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas that if the locals, and the nation, knew about the situation in New London with the high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club, there would be absolutely no support for what City Council and the New London Development Corporation have done or plan to do, and that the hostility to The Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, which is already near a full boil, would be exponentially greater.

Former Connecticut Bar Association President Peter Costas obviously checked his credentials and legal knowledge at the door when he penned both of his incredibly deceptive letters, whose sole purposes appeared to be to mislead less-than-formed readers, and to insult and demean people whose only “crime” is insisting that the Constitution means what it says, not what a council majority overcome with hubris and five disgraceful Supreme Court justices say it does.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (062206)

Free Links:

  • This info came out a while ago, but it will be news to most readers anyway. There is a big gap between the oldtime Big Three auto companies and their Japanese competitors:

    Overall, however, Ford’s improvement was relatively flat this year, but Harbour expects further improvements as the company rolls out its new manufacturing system. Ford averaged 23.2 hour per vehicle and GM averaged 28.41 hours per vehicle while DaimlerChrysler averaged 30.05. Nissan, the most efficient Japanese manufacturer, averaged 18.22 hours per vehicle, while Honda averaged 20.26 hours per vehicle and Toyota averaged 21.75 hours per vehicle.

    “General Motors made the most progress of any company in the 2000 report, as years of standardizing and implementing common systems finally hit home,” Harbour said. “What has been happening is quiet progress on all fronts, to the point that GM has transformed many of its facilities and processes into some of the best in North America,” Harbour added.

    The improvements described need to come faster at The Big Three. Not only is there a gap in hours, but each Big Three hour costs more than each Japanese company hour, primarily because of the differences between how the groups deal with pension and healthcare costs.

  • 2,000 High-Tech Jobs Coming to upstate New York:

    AMD and New York state discuss plans for $3.5 billion factory

    ALBANY, N.Y. – State leaders and semiconductor-maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. are in discussions to build a $3.5 billion chip-manufacturing plant that could bring 2,000 permanent jobs to Upstate New York, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said yesterday.

    AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is considering two locations for the plant: One in a technology park about 25 miles north of Albany, and the other on an 800-acre site that the state bought 25 years ago in the central New York town of Marcy.

    “They have narrowed their search to New York,” Silver said. “These are the two sites.”

    Although it’s good news, the article goes on to note the massive tax subsidies that are involved. Nevertheless, it’s probably a shot in the arm to an upstate New York economy that is in such dire shape that Democrat Eliot Spitzer is talking about lowering taxes (I didn’t say I could prove he means it).

  • Cincinnati’s population loss and the growth of the outer counties misses a very important element. The population as a whole of Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located, has fallen by even more than the city’s population has.Here’s proof (000s omitted; city first, county second):

    July 1, 2000; 331; 844
    July 1, 2001; 327; 839
    July 1, 2002; 322; 830
    July 1, 2003; 318; 822
    July 1, 2004; 314; 814
    July 1, 2005; 309; 807

    The city’s population has dropped by 22,000, but the county’s population as a whole has plummeted by 37,000, meaning that the county population outside the city is down 15,000. People are leaving the city AND the county — something the Enquirer in the stories linked above did not report.

Requires Paid Subscription:

  • Investment News reports that:

    The New York Attorney General’s Office is looking into a number of cases across the state where unions might be endorsing retirement products, but not disclosing the information to members.

    In recent days, Attorney General Eliot L Spitzer’s office has received many calls from advisers and industry insiders about similar instances occurring across the state, said Darren Dopp, a spokesman for Mr. Spitzer’s office.

    Recently, Mr. Spitzer’s office reached a settlement with the New York State United Teachers after Mr. Spitzer’s office completed an investigation that determined the union’s Member Benefits unit was receiving undisclosed payouts as much as $3 million per year and was not disclosing this information to members.

    The union agreed to craft a series of reforms and will pay $100,000 to the state to cover costs of the investigation.

    As noted last week (“Eliot Spitzer Rolls Over for the NY State Teachers’ Union”), I see no evidence that the $3 mil a year was paid back by United Teachers. I’m therefore not at all convinced that the $100,000 fine was a deterrent, or that the other fessing up that appears to be coming from other unions will put an end to the practice. This almost looks like amnesty-lite leniency in return for organized labor’s support. If I’m wrong, tell me.

Positivity: The Power Of Prayer and Anna Fraley

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

In Georgetown, KY, prayer and a whole community pulling together have helped pull off a remarkable recovery for Anna Fraley:

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