POPES, PRESIDENTS & INFALLIBILITY

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BEFORE THE 2000 ELECTION, I MADE A SERIOUS MISTAKE. I told a number of people that I would be basically satisfied with either Al Gore or George W. Bush as president. I thought that Al Gore had a lot of the micromanagement tendencies that Jimmy Carter had and that his enthusiasm for addressing the big policy challenges of the day might be undone by his management weaknesses. On the other hand, I thought that Bush was a centrist, and while…

SCHWARZENEGGER’S OWN TRUE LIES?

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IN WASHINGTON POST LETTERS TODAY, PAUL S. FORBES of Fairfax, Virginia compellingly argues that Arnold Schwarzenegger painted a false picture of his youth in Austria. I happen to like Arnold, mostly — but why the lies about this? The letter reads: Washington Post Fuzzy Facts, the Cost of War and Chasing al Qaeda Thursday, September 9, 2004; Page A26 In his speech to the Republican National Convention, Arnold Schwarzenegger said of his boyhood in Austria, “I saw tanks in the…

AMERICA WILL BE ATTACKED IF KERRY ELECTED

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. . .SO SAYETH DICK CHENEY. Remember when America was last punished? On September 13, 2001, in a public discussion between television evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, both agreed that “God gave us what we deserve.” The Washington Post‘s John F. Harris wrote: Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday’s terrorist attacks because…

AMERICA: ON RUSSIA’S SIDE OR CHECHNYA’S?

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THE TRAGIC END TO THE SCHOOL HOSTAGE CRISIS in Beslan, a village in the North Ossetia region of Russia, was 9/11 in slow motion for many Russians. Chechen terrorists were allegedly aided by Uzkeks and Arabs in this assault — and now many Russians are asking whether the costs of keeping Chechnya within Russia are worth it. Russian President Vladimir Putin is lashing out furiously at what he sees as Western sympathizers with the Chechen cause, and seems to be…

GHORBANIFAR THE FABRICATOR

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FUGOP HAS POSTED AN INTERESTING 1987 ARTICLE ABOUT GHORBANIFAR’S early encounters with Reagan’s CIA Director, Bill Casey. The shadowy figure and friend of Michael Ledeen’s now involved in the FBI’s Pentagon/Israel spy investigation was dubbed “a fabricator” way back. As I read more about Ghorbanifar, I feel an impulse just to scratch out his name and see how Chalabi’s name fits these stories. Pretty close match. — Steve Clemons

LARIAM AND U.S. SPECIAL FORCES: PENTAGON DRUG PROBLEM?

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REMEMBER THE COURT-MARTIALED ARMY RESERVIST WHO REFUSED to take the military’s anthrax vaccine? It looks like the Pentagon may have more drug controversies on the way after a special report released tonight by UPI and CNN on the anti-malaria drug Lariam. According to the report: Six Special Forces soldiers who took their lives are all believed to have taken the drug, according to the UPI-CNN investigation. . . Those deaths then raise concerns about the tens of thousands of soldiers…

MICHAEL LEDEEN, ISRAEL & IRAN — 17 YEARS AGO

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MICHAEL LEDEEN WROTE A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF HIS ROLE in the Iran arms-for-hostages scandal in the Washington Post 17 years ago. I have posted the article here. In a back-to-the-future passage, Ledeen writes: The May (1985) discussions in Israel were with people ranging from high-level governmental officials to recent immigrants from Iran. The topic was improving our mutual understanding of Iran; the subject of American hostages in Lebanon was not discussed. Two main points emerged from virtually every one of…

WHAT IS IT WITH THE <em>NEW YORK TIMES </em>AND MICHAEL LEDEEN?

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“THEY HAVE NO CASE,” SAID MICHAEL LEDEEN, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a friend of Mr. Franklin. “If they have a case, why hasn’t anybody been arrested or indicted?’” (New York Times, 6 September 2004, Ledeen comments on Pentagon/Israel spy case) “Over the years, endless accusations have been made against him (Richard Perle),” said Michael A. Ledeen, a friend since the 1970’s and colleague of Mr. Perle’s at the American Enterprise Institute. “All have proven false,…

THE POWER AND POLITICS OF BLOGS

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HENRY FARRELL AND DANIEL DREZNER have posted their paper, “The Power and Politics of Blogs,” online. This was one of the two papers that I mentioned in my post yesterday about the excellent forum on politics and blogs at the American Political Science Association. Farrell warns the lay reader that this paper is packed with political science jargon but told me this morning that a popularized version would soon appear in a major unnamed DC-based, glossy magazine. They may even…

ALEXANDER HAMILTON AND THE U.S. DEBT PROBLEM

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ALEXANDER HAMILTON ARGUED PASSIONATELY about the importance of public credit but always partnered with fiscal responsibility. Today, Daniel Gross, a former colleague of mine at the New America Foundation, writes in the New York Times: From the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2003, the economy added $1.317 trillion in gross domestic product and $4.2 trillion in debt. That means that each new dollar of economic output was accompanied by $3.19 in new debt. So now, for the first…