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Saturday, April 29, 2006

McCain Says "Clean Government" More Important Than First Amendment

Did you catch Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, on the Imus Show responding to criticism from Talk Radio's Michael Graham? Here's the key quote:

"He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform....I know that money corrupts....I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government."

Is there any remaining doubt that McCain thinks your core rights are less important than his idea of "clean government"?

I will NEVER vote for this guy for anything ... except the title "retired Arizona senator."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

If You Wonder About Hollywood and Flight 93, Check This Out From Hot Air

Michelle Malkin has the rest of the story of Hollywood and Flight 93 and it's all right here on Hot Air.


You think the folks back home love those earmarks, right? Guess again, Bunko Boy! And Girl! New NBC survey puts ending earmarks on top public's priorities! Porkbusters has the details. Read'em and weep!

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Is There Something in Mississippi's Water? Cochran Earmarks $500 Million for Defense Contractor

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-MS, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which makes him one of most powerful men in Congress. Maybe that's why Cochran thinks it's no problem to just ladle out a cool $500 million to help a major defense contractor with a big facility back home.

The Washington Examiner editorial page has some thoughts on the issue, including a suggestion that it's time to retire the senior senator from Mississippi.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Finally! Senate GOP Leadership Shows Some Teeth on Earmarks, Back Bush Veto; UPDATE: Frist Fizzles

Kathryn Lopezat NRO's The Corner reports that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, have collected signatures of 34 senators pledging to support a presidential veto on that emergency supplemental spending bill.

Now, it's up to Bush to make good on his words because there is little reason to think the full Senate will be able to resist such a juicy package of spending goodies, especially since Bush has yet to actually veto anything during his two terms in the White House.

UPDATE: Frist Vows Veto Help, Votes For RR to Nowhere????

Is this more proof that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist cannot be trusted, that he truly is just another two-faced Washington politico who ought to be tossed out of public office? Truth Laid Bear has the details here of who voted for and against the Coburn amendment to remove Sen. Trent Lott's $700 million "Railroad to Nowhere" earmark from the Senate's emergency spending bill.

Guess who voted for the Coburn amendment? Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV.

Surgery Went Well Yesterday, But There Was One Unexpected Result - I'm Still a Temporary Left-Winger

Everything was fine yesterday. Sinai Hospital in Baltimore seems to run quite efficiently and I received great care, especially from nurses Joy Williams, Keith Jackson and Margret Hernandez. Also from my anesthesiologist, a lovely petite mother of two, who explained everything she was doing in much-appreciated professional detail and with good humor to boot.

Dr. Emery Kim, my orthopaedic surgeon, good naturedly put up with my barrage of pre-op questions about how relaxed he was, whether he'd gotten a good night's rest, had he read the tendon operation How-To Book, etc. etc.

He also made sure Claudia, my sweet wife, and Marcus, my exceptionally smart and handsome son, got a full post-op update. Ginny, my gorgeous and immensely talented daughter, would have been there as well but for her finals preparation at the University of Mary Washington.

Despite being a bit groggy and in some pain, I was home by 10:00 p.m. last night, thanks to the insurance company bureaucrats who declared the operation an out-patient procedure. I thought doctors were supposed to make such decisions?

Anyway, there was one unexpected wrinkle in the event because I am typing this post with only my left hand, there being a rather large, cumbersome and stiff brace/wrap preventing movement of my right arm. Looks like I will have this thing for a week, then get the hinged brace I mistakenly thought I would have immediately after the operation.

But I am not complaining. To the contrary, I praise the Lord for all the blessings I received yesterday, including the skill and committment of Dr. Kim and the great help of the folks at Sinai noted above.

Now comes the hard part --- recovery!

Also, thanks to fellow bloggers who offered kind words, good wishes and the blessing of prayer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Here's a Bunch of Hot Air You Don't Want to Miss!

Michelle Malkin and a host of co-conspirators from around the Blogosphere have taken the next important step in the evolution of the information revolution. Go here for the details. This is big news, friends and neighbors!

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Heritage's Utt, Riedl Say Senate Should Kill "Railroad to Nowhere" and the "Emergency" Bill It Rode Into Town

It is highly doubtful that there is anybody else in Washington who knows as much about how Congress wastes money through earmarks and other forms of pork barrel spending as do Dr. Ron Utt and Brian Riedl of The Heritage Foundation.

In the duo's latest study of a congressional porkfest, Utt and Riedl take a look at the emergency appropriation bill being considered this week by the Senate and conclude that senators and President Bush should just say no to the whole mess. It would be the first veto of his presidency should the second Bush Chief Executive were to summon the political wisdom and guts to do it.

About the $700 million "Railroad to Nowhere" earmark secured by Mississippi's two GOP senators - Trent Lott and Thad Cochran - Utt and Riedl offer this observation:

"Under the circumstances, it is not clear what purpose the $700 million sought from federal taxpayers would serve. Would it compensate CSX for its valuable right of way, the property it will be giving up, and the nearly $300 million that it spent to repair the line following Hurricane Katrina?

"Would part of the proposed funding go to construct the new light rail system, or would that be part of a future federal earmark? Whatever they intend, Mississippi’s senators owe their colleagues and American taxpayers a detailed explanation of how this extraordinary sum of money - it would be the largest earmark in American history, according to a report by the Christian Science Monitor - would be spent."

Overall, senators have added as much as $25 billion to the emergency appropriation bill that is supposed to provide only funding for the military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and hurricane recovery on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Go here for the full report from Utt and Riedl.

UPDATE: Bush Gets on bandwagon

President Bush announced his opposition yesterday to the Lott "Railroad to Nowhere," but notably did not explicitly vow to veto the bill containing the controversial earmark:

"The Administration strongly objects to the $700 million included in the Senate bill to relocate the privately owned rail line that runs along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The CSX Corporation, using its own resources, has already repaired damage to the line, and trains are now running. Relocating the tracks would represent a substantial investment beyond pre-disaster conditions and would improperly require U.S. taxpayers to pay for private sector infrastructure."

It's good to see the White House weigh in on the right side, but it ought not be forgotten that this is nothing more than words unless Bush is willing to veto the measure.

Texas Rainmaker Has Everything You Need to Know About Gas Prices

Yes, $3.00 a gallon for gasoline is a pain in the keyster, but having government drag energy industry executives in front of cameras and congressional committees so the politicos can look like they are "doing something" is simply ludicrous.

Jason Smith at Texas Rainmaker has the explanation for why it's all smoke and mirrors when Congress, the White House and the mainstream media get together for a little demagoguery about gas prices.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Coburn Offers Citizen's Earmark Tool Kit; Specter Gets Earmark for Client of Aide's Son

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, has added another arrow in his quiver to combat earmarks, a tool kit to help citizens get to the truth about all those tax-paid goodies being hailed by senators and congressmen.

The Earmark Took Kit can be found here on the majority staff web site of Coburn's Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security.

The tool kit includes explanations of how Congress appropriates tax dollars, how earmarks are concealed in obtuse legislative language and reports, definitions of earmarks, links to Coburn's committee hearings, links to news stories on earmarks and other issues related to federal spending abuses and much else.

There is also a wonderful quote from Thomas Jefferson:

"It will be a source of eternal scramble among the members who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest."

Speaking of getting the most and being the meanest, there is also this news in USA Today about how Sen. Arlen Specter, R-PA, used his position and influence to secure a $200,000 earmark for the client of one of his top aide's son.

Specter is among the most powerful GOP Members of the Senate, serving as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. As a member of the latter panel, he chairs a subcommittee that oversees the budgets of the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.

Those three federal departments are among the most wasteful in the federal government and annually spend billions of tax dollars on research studies, federal building construction, maintenance and leases, and assorted entitlement and aid programs for a variety of special interests.

In short, Specter is in a position to dole out billions of tax dollars to friends, cronies, lobbyists and anybody else with an interest in government funding.

To his credit, however, Specter has more recently begun to respond to public outrage on the earmarks issues. Last year, for example, he stopped allowing subcommittee members to insert earmarks in legislation coming before the panel.

That action was not entirely a response to public pressure, though, because Specter was involved in a dispute with the House over funding issues for the Labor and Health and Human Services departments.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tendon Surgery is Set for Next Tuesday; Check Out Examiner Editorial Series on Immigration Issues

Regular readers may be wondering why I've not posted this week. There are two reasons. First, it's only week two at The Washington Examiner and, while I am beginning to get into the daily rythmm of the place, I am still very much in the process of defining the parameters of my work.

Another way of putting it is that I've been busier than the proverbial one-arm wall paper hanger. Or running around like a chicken with its head chopped off. Or something along those lines. People who have never worked in a newsroom simply can't appreciate the adrenalin rush that is a regular feature of worklife there.

Second, while doing all of what is entailed in number one, I've also had to make some medical appointments in connection with the torn tendon in my right elbow. The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon next week at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

That's the same hospital where I had an emergency double bypass in 2000. My surgeon, Dr. Sequeira, literally saved my life that day, so that hospital has a special meaning for me. This time, though, they are just going to be screwing my tendon back to the bone. That's literally how they do it.

Anyway, the preparations for the elbow work have been, uh, challenging, thanks to Washington traffic and the usual medical bureaucracy, so that necessity has consumed time that would otherwise have been devoted to posting here.

All prayers will be appreciated. I get to wear a hinged cast for six weeks or so after the surgery and there will be physical therapy to follow. My goal is to be back to full use and riding that gorgeous dark blue metallic Kawasaki Concours with the lovely Claudia by mid-summer.

In the meantime, check out the five-part editorial series on immigration issues I wrote this week for the Examiner. Day one is here. Day two is here. Day three is here. Day four is here. Day five is .... you'll have to come back to the Examiner.com web site in the morning. It's a doozy of an editorial, I promise. Title is: "Mexico's Hidden Agenda."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Not About the Bunny

Jason Smith explains why here at Texas Rainmaker.

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's a "Completely Torn Tendon"

At least that's what the orthopedic doc said earlier today. He's sending me to a specialist Monday for an evaluation of what to do next. Surgery appears likely. Guess I get to be a "left-winger" a while longer. :-(

Great First Week at The Examiner

Despite the injured right elbow and all that entails, it's been a great first week as Editorial Page Editor at The Washington Examiner.

The newsroom, which is just a block down the street from The Washington Post in downtown Washington, D.C., is full of sharp, energetic and creative people.

Patrick Gavin, our Associate Editorial Page Editor is on vacation, so Barbara Hollingsworth, our local opinion editor, has been doing double duty in answering my many questions, while banging out some great edits on immigration marches, Virginia budget travails and Montgomery County Public Schools curious explanation for giving credit to students joining those marches.

My email here is mtapscott@dcexaminer.com. Posting has been extremely light this week and likely will be so for a few weeks, but don't take me off your blogrolls or daily reading lists.

Next week, all five days will see lead editorials on the immigration debate, plus some hot op-eds, and all of it will be linked here. I hope you won't be bashful about letting me know your thoughts in response next week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blogger of the Year - Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey

Well-deserved. This guy is what the Blog Revolution is all about.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Here's My New Email

Having trouble finding me? My new email address at The Washington Examiner isn't yet up but you can reach me at: Mark.Tapscott@gmail.com or mark@marktapscott.com.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Extreme Pain is .... Extremely Painful!

It was my last day before starting the new job at The Washington Examiner. Had a great time at Discovery Hour and during the worship service at church. First ride on the new Kawasaki Concours. Crisp spring day, me and the bike agree right from the start. Just a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Then it happened. I stopped at my usual mid-point on the ride to drink a coke, collect my thoughts about the new bike and enjoy the day. The Concours is a bigger, more powerful sport/tourer, compared to the 600S Bandit I've been riding for a couple of years.

I go to put the Concours up on its centerstand and, being unaccustomed to its weight, I get out of rythm in the effort. The Concours is coming down while my right arm is trying to wrench the bike up on the centerstand. Bad move. Very bad move.

Pow! Pow! Pow! Followed by extreme pain and the realization that something completely unexpected just ruined a perfect day. Claudia and Ted Grainger, a neighbor who also rides, grab a trailor and come collect me and the Concours. It goes home. I go to the emergency room.

Turns out the doc on ER duty is a biker, too, (owns an old Norton, a new Triumph and some classic Hondas), so he immediately understands the motion I describe. Takes a look at the x-rays and says he can't be sure without an MRI but it looks like one or two tendons connecting my right bicep to the bone have been pulled loose.

No wonder it hurts so bad!!! The Doc and a nurse sling my arm in fiberglass and send me off with instructions to see my orthopedic doc ASAP.

A fitful night of sleep and I get up br9ght and early, dress with great difficulty and head to downtown D.C. and day one at the Examiner. Everybody is concerned, helpful and understanding. And perhaps wondering why a 55-year-old guy was fiddling with a motorcycle, but that's another story.

Got in to see the orthopedic specialist today and he thinks maybe neither of the tendons are fully severed, but he won't know for sure until he sees an MRI. That can't be done for a day or two (thanks to the insurance bureaucrats), so no definite conclusions yet.

In the meantime, I'm learning to bang out editorials with one hand. Happens to be my left arm. Does that make me a temporary Leftie?

Friday, April 07, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog Block for Friday, April 7, 2006

This week's edition is coming together this morning at Tapscott Behind the Wheel. Check it out here.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Help an Iraqi Blogger Come Here for Journalism M.A.

I am helping this brave man and I hope you will, too. Go here for the details from Jeff Jarvis. Need even more info? Check out this piece in The Wall Street Journal.

PORKBUSTERS IMPACT: Fewer Earmarks Being Sought; Coburn Establishes New Web Site

Truth Laid Bear has some great sources on Capitol Hill, one of whom provided the Bear with some very interesting and encouraging data indicating a decline in the number of earmarks being sought by Members of Congress.

Go here for the numbers.

In related news, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, has established a new web site to partner with taxpayers in exposing and eliminating wasteful federal spending. The site is for the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security, that Coburn chairs.

"Transparency and accountability in federal spending have been lacking because Congress for too long has not given due diligence to its Constitutional duty of oversight. Federal agencies and programs often receive automatic budget increases year after year without anyone ever asking whether those agencies and programs have accomplished their goals or if they are even necessary," Coburn said in a news release announcing the new site.

"As the appetite for spending grows in Congress, the debt our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay back grows as well. In a time of unprecedented fiscal challenges, lawmakers must stop thinking about the next election and start thinking about the next generation of Americans," he added.

The new oversight website will feature the findings, reports and documentation from oversight hearings and investigations. The site also will feature a "taxpayer whistleblower" link, where citizens can anonymously submit tips on wasteful government spending programs.

Go here for the new site.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Aerial View of Lott's $700 Million Railroad to Nowhere

Check it out.

Time for Less of Lott in Congress?

Sen. Trent Lott, R-MS, says he's "damn tired" of hearing from critics like Porkbusters. Some might interpret the former Senate Majority Leader's weariness to a steadily worsening case of the "Out of Touch Politician" virus that is widespread in the nation's capitol.

What's your view on this emerging question of the day? See the poll in the adjacent column and cast your vote today. There are three options:

* Yes, he's lost touch with taxpayers.
* No, he knows how to deliver the pork for the folks back home
* Maybe he just hasn't thought this Porkbusters thing through yet.

Me? I'm just your humble survey thinker-upper and blogging ink-stained wretch of the newsroom!

UPDATE: Lott Poll is Up

I don't know why but the poll didn't appear for several hours while I was up in Baltimore for the launch of the new Baltimore Examiner, but it is fixed now, so be sure and vote. This is an opportunity to send a message, people!

Lott Says He's "Damn Tired" of Porkbusters, Defends His Railroad to Nowhere

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, the Republican from Mississippi, has had it to here with Porkbusters and other critics of pork barrel spending like Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, who think the federal government has better things to do with $700 million of the taxpayers money than tear up a just-repaired coastal rail line and replace it with a new highway. Apparently the plan is that a new rail line would be built just north of the existing one.

Said Lott when asked by an AP reporter about criticism of the project he has long championed and which was just funded in a Senate Appropriations Committee bill to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as additional Hurricane Katrina relief:

"I'll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I'm getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina. We in Mississippi have not asked for more than we deserve. We've been very reasonable."

Nearly $300 million worth of repairs to the line were just completed in January, financed by CSX Railroad and its insurance company. No word yet on how CSX or its insurance company feel about the plan favored by Lott and his fellow Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran to tear up the tracks and replace them with a highway to serve the heavily populated coastal region.

Cochran is the Appropriations Committee Chairman.

Coburn thinks the project is a perfect example of the sort of wasteful spending that has poisoned the national political process. He told AP:

"It is ludicrous for the Senate to spend $700 million to destroy and relocate a rail line that is in perfect working order, particularly when it recently underwent a ... repair."

Citizens Against Government Waste's Tom Schatz is no more impressed than Coburn, telling AP:

"For $700 million, the Congress could certainly do a lot more to help people that are still without homes. It's certainly unclear what this has to do with an emergency. It sounds like a wish list from the senators from Mississippi."

CAGW just released the latest version of its annual Pig Book.

It was Lott who last week used a legislative technicality to kill a Coburn amendment to another spending bill that would have required the Office of Management and Budget in the White House to establish a comprehensive public database of all government grants, including extensive information about the recipients and the purposes of each grant.

Go here for the full AP story.

UPDATE: A Lott-Less Congress?

Be sure to check out the poll - Is it Time for Less Lott in Congress? - in the right-hand column. You get three options. This is a great opportunity to send an important Porkbusters message to a powerful Member of Congress.

UPDATE II: Is Lott's $700 Million Just a Downpayment?

Turns out Sen. Lott's efforts to move the CSX railroad in coastal Mississippi has been generating some serious discussion and study for months now. In fact, according to this blog post from last year, an analysis done for the Mississippi government estimated the cost of Lott's project could be as high as $2.9 billion:

"The cost of moving the railroad, as estimated by the consulting firm of DMJM Harris of New Orleans, hired by Wayne Brown and MDOT, would be between $1.9 Billion and $2.9 Billion. That amount of money could rebuild every school, every bridge and most of the infrastructure on the entire Coast," reported Sandra Alawine at MS Gulf Coast.

Go here for the full MS Gulf Coast post.

UPDATE III: Lotsa CSX dough to Lott

I'm sure it's mere coincidence but Andy Roth at Club for Growth did some preliminary digging around in federal campaign contributions and found $25,000 worth of CSX-related contributions to Lott.

"There’s a lot of dirt under this rock. More to come ... " Andy concludes in what looks like his first post in this vein.

The Week Names Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey "Blogger of the Year"

My good friend Ed Morrissey received due recognition last night here in the nation's capital by being named Blogger of the Year by The Week magazine. He succeeds the Powerline crew who received the same award last year.

I say "due recognition" because Ed accomplished what no other blogger has - he disclosed information that was kept out of the Canadian media by court order and in the process brought down the Liberal government.

But that's far from all Ed has done to deserve recognition. His posts on every major issue on the public policy agenda are articulate, factual and often devastatingly well-argued. Believe me, you don't want to take this guy on unless you have an absolutely air-tight, prima facie case. And even then my betting money would be on the Captain.

Other finalists for the annual award were John Avarosis, Michelle Malkin, Brendan Loy and Arrianna Huffington.

Congratulations, Ed, the award is well-deserved. It was my honor and pleasure to be invited to attend the awards dinner and to join the assembled notables from the MSM, the Blogosphere and the Washington political scene in applauding you.

Editor & Publisher has more details here.

Jarvis on the One-Sided Conversation

Lots and lots of solid analysis here.

Will the MSM Get This History Lesson?

Amy Ridenour administers a devastating left-right-left combination to the glass jaw of Baldemar Velasquez, head of the AFL-CIO's Farm Labor Organizing Committee, who told Time magazine that the cause of illegal aliens in this country has become a civil rights issue.

He also claimed Mexicans - not Americans - named Los Angeles, San Antonio and San Francisco and that "the whole West was part of Mexico" before 170 years ago.

Velasquez is not merely wrong, but totally wrong. Ridenour lays him out with the truth about the Europeans who in fact did name those cities and about which European nation owned the Western portion of the continental U.S. in the years before Mexico even existed and during the years between the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 and the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

As somebody famous has said, advocates for illegal aliens in this country are free to make whatever arguments they choose, but they are not free to choose - or invent - their facts.

Go here for Amy's full post. And let's see if any MSM outlet does what Time did not, which was report the facts now provided by Amy on her excellent blog.

NOTE TO AMY: I haven't forgotten our dialogue on Rep. Mike Pence's shield law proposal. I've just been a little preoccupied on the job front recently. You will be interested to know, however, that the proposal received only tepid applause from the assembled MSM crowd when Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CN, lauded the bill last night during a speech before The Week magazine's third annual awards banquet.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Miniter: Open FBIS to Bloggers, Public

Did you know the U.S. intelligence community translates the vast majority of the world's broadcasts and print news from virtually every language into English every day? It's done by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service. There is nothing else like it anywhere else in the world.

Unfortunately, FBIS is classified and thus available only to select people in the federal government, even though what is translated has already been either broadcast or printed for the rest of the world to hear and read. The result is the rest of the world knows far more than the American people are allowed to know from our government about world events.

Richard Miniter, author of Disinformation: The 22 Media Myths that Undermine the War on Terror, was recently interviewed by Pajamas Media's Roger L. Simon and propsed that FBIS be made available to bloggers and the general public.

"If you allow any American to tap that database and to comment on it and to analyze that, suddenly breaking news from Pakistan in Urdu or Tamil and we would have a much larger realm of analysis," Miniter told Simon.

"It would put the policy makers and the press much more in the vise, but so what, let them suffer," he added.

It's a fascinating interview and a great proposal for using greater transparency to help focus the full power and resources of the U.S. on winning the War on Terror and the general gaining a far more comprehensive and useful knowledge of world events on a daily basis.

Go here for the full Miniter interview.

HT: Aaron Welty

Online News Readership is Booming (Surprise! Surprise!)

Readers are going to daily newspapers' online sites in steadily increasing numbers, up 21 percent just in the past year, according to a new study by the National Association of Newspapers. Page views were up 43 percent for the same period.

Go here for more details from the NAN study.

And go here for an AP story in USA Today on the study and a major daily newspaper executive's confession that newsroom online developers are the people are likely the ones who will "save our bacon."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Congressman Calls for Hearing on Possible Foreign Links to 95 OKC Bombing

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, R-CA., has asked for a congressional hearing on the evidence indicating foreign involvement in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 169 people.

His request is contained in this March 30 memo from the congressman to Rep. Henry Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee:


TO: Chairman Henry Hyde

FROM: Dana Rohrabacher

DATE: March 30, 2006

RE: Oklahoma City Bombing Hearing

After a twelve-month personal inquiry into the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, I have concluded that there is ample evidence to justify an investigative hearing into this historic crime.

The title of the proposed hearing: Was There a Foreign Connection to the Okalahoma City Bombing?

The official position today, defended by the FBI and Justice Department, is that the OKC bombing, which left 168 persons dead, was planned and executed solely by two disgruntled veterans, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, with the limited involvement of Michael Fortier.

After my inquiry, I have concluded that others were involved and that information about the bombing is being kept from the public and from the Congress. The jurisdiction of my Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations extends only to the possible international and foreign involvement in the crime.

Even within that framework there is ample evidence to justify an investigative hearing. There are two major targets of inquiry which indicate a foreign connection to the OKC bombing. First, Terry Nichols and, to some degree, Timothy McVeigh appear to have had contact with Arab, Muslim, or Middle Eastern terrorist elements prior to and during the implementation of the bomb plot.

Second, just as significant, there is evidence of a personal relationship between Timothy McVeigh and Andreas Carl Strassmeier, a German national who was promoting violent insurrection to white supremacists at their nearby stronghold called Elohim City.

I have concluded that it is highly likely that the Arab connection and or the Strassmeier connection played a significant role in the planning and execution of the murderous bombing of the OKC federal building.

In both possible scenarios, the official investigation fell short and further investigation has been discouraged ever since.

I propose a one day or two day hearing. Subpoenaing documents and witnesses (Louis Freeh, Janet Reno and Morris Dees) would be immensely helpful. Certainly, the travel expenses for some witnesses will be necessary.

The proposed hearing will present testimony and other evidence about the possible Arab and or Strassmeier connection to the bombing.

List of Possible Witnesses:
* ________________________, owner of the motel where Timothy McVeigh stayed the night before the bombing.
* ________________________, witness who saw second person in truck with Timothy McVeigh.
* ________________________, Secret Service agent who wrote a report indicating the existence of tape from a surveillance camera picking up two suspects leaving the truck before it exploded.
* Laurie Milroy, the investigator who has documented Terry Nichols' rendezvous with Al Qaeda terrorist leader Ramsey Yousef.
* Danny Colson, retired Oklahoma City FBI chief who was taken off the investigation and replaced, now says limits placed on the investigation protected Strassmeier. Calls for new investigation.
* Steven Jones, McVeigh's attorney. Suspects an Arab and Strassmeier connection. Knows more people were involved.
* Carol Howe, former paid undercover ATF informant. Warned of Strassmeier at the time. Has testified of a McVeigh/Strassmeier connection.
* Mark Harmon, Indiana State University studies on terrorism.
* Louis Freeh, former FBI director, to tell us about Strassmeier.
* Governor Keating, Former Oklahoma governor. Totally supports establishment version of OKC bombing.
* Janet Reno, Former U.S. Attorney General, defend her investigation.
* Morris Dees, Director and Cofounder of Southern Poverty Law Center, has information on Strassmeier.

The bombing of the OKC federal building was the greatest slaughter of innocent Americans until 9/11. It is possible there was an Al Qaeda connection. It is possible there was a Strassmeier connection.

There is ample reason to disbelieve the official version of this horrific crime. It is up to us to begin setting the record straight.

Who Said This?

"The problem is that they still think the internet is something the powerful use to affect the rest of us. Wrong. It's what the rest of us use to affect the powerful."

Click on the headline above and then read the whole post that is linked.

The quote above is closely related to this one from Hugh Hewitt, spoken during a luncheon here at The Heritage Foundation:

"Everything has changed, it used to be the brand made the byline. Now the bylines make the brand. Your people have got to be out there if you want to have influence."


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lyn Nofziger Laid to Rest

Lyn Nofziger's funeral services were held yesterday and St. Mary's Epicopal Church in Arlington was standing room only for the memorial gathering.

I don't know the seating capacity of St. Mary's main chapel but it was jammed as the service began and the ushers were setting out additional chairs to accommodate the over-flow crowd.

It was a moving, wonderful service planned by Lyn himself during his final days. He selected the hymns, including "In the Garden" and "It is Well With my Soul," he selected the scripture reading, Psalm 91, and he insisted that the message of the service focus on the Good News of the Gospel. The love of Christ shone brightly in the service, just as Lyn wanted.

Lyn was always a man of his word and of the word who loved great literature and stirring political speeches who could quote by memory long passages of the classics.

In the later years of his life, he became a well-grounded man of the Word as well. I suspect there were more than a few in the audience who were perhaps a little surprised to learn that Lyn was such a man of faith. He knew Bombay Gin would only carry a person so far.

There were, of course, formal eulogies, the most moving being delivered by former Attorney General Ed Meese, who spoke as a true friend and admirer. Ed Rollins spoke graciously and with good humor of Lyn's loyalty and pugnaciousness.

My biases here are obvious, but I must say the most moving part of the service for me was my sweet sister's words during the informal eulogies. Cindy spent many years working for and with Lyn during the Citizens for the Republic days, during the 1980 presidential campaign and on into the first term in the White House.

But even after Lyn left the Reagan administration, Cindy remained among Lyn's most devoted friends throughout the rest of his life and grew even closer to him and his wife Bonnie as the years went by.

She spoke so well and calmly of her first job interview with Lyn, how he taught her so many things about being successful in politics while retaining one's integrity and honor and, most importantly, how he remained a loyal, loving and steadfast friend and advisor.

Cindy is a tremendously accomplished woman who has overcome more difficulties and pain than most know during her life. There have been many moments over the years when she has made me immensely proud, but none so much as yesterday when she spoke with such heartfelt affection, dignity and admiration for a man she and so many more of us loved so much.

Sis, you spoke well and truly and best of all for those of us who were neither rich nor famous but who gladly followed President Reagan and his friend "Lynwood" through it all.

Until we meet again Lyn, farewell.