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April 6, 2004 | 11:10 PM ET

KENNEDY, POWELL, AND THE TERRORISTS

Earlier, I contrasted Ted Kennedy's opportunistic hope that Iraq would turn into "Bush's Vietnam" with John Kerry's more statesmanlike response.

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Apparently, I wasn't the only one to be notice Kennedy's remarks.  Colin Powell was unhappy:

In a rare foray into politics, Powell said Senator Ted Kennedy, an outspoken Bush opponent and supporter of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry, should be "more restrained and careful" when discussing Iraq and the war on terrorism. . . .
"I was in Haiti and didn't see the whole speech, but I must say that Senator Kennedy, I think, should be a little more restrained and careful in his comments because we are at war," Powell said in an interview on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast.
"Debate is appropriate, and that's the beauty of our open, democratic system, but I think this is also the time that we rally the nation behind the challenge that we face in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places in the world."

Pretty diplomatic, but then, Powell is a diplomat, and it wouldn't do to publicly call the senior Senator from Massachusetts an opportunist who's giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I guess.

But Kennedy is, as I suggested before, a major problem for the Democratic Party.  The perception that the Democratic Party is home to anti-American sixties leftovers, after all, is the Democrats' biggest weakness in national elections.

But Kennedy can count on at least some support.  Amir Taheri quotes a leader of the Hezbollah terrorist organization as saying:  "We may be unable to drive the Americans out of Iraq.  But we can drive George W. Bush out of the White House."

Sounds like he and Kennedy are reading from the same playbook.  If Kennedy -- and the Democrats -- don't want people to draw that conclusion, then maybe Kennedy should take the lead from his party's nominee, instead of his own worst instincts.

April 6, 2004 | 2:36 AM ET

KENNEDY VS. KERRY

In a recent speech at the Brookings Institution, Massachussetts Senator Ted Kennedy referred to Iraq as "George Bush's Vietnam."

Kennedy would like it to be -- but of course if Iraq were George Bush's Vietnam, it would be America's Vietnam, too.  Just like the last one.  That would be bad.

Kennedy doesn't seem to care:  What happens to America is second to the all-important task of beating George Bush.  Kennedy -- like all too many Democratic party stalwarts in Washington -- sees Republicans, not Islamist terrorists, as the real enemy.  That's a formula for disaster at home and abroad.

But although Kennedy is demonstrating why the Democratic Party hasn't been trusted on national security matters since I was in diapers, it's interesting to contrast Kennedy's opportunistic defeatism with the statement of the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, his fellow Massachussets Senator, John Kerry:

"United in sadness, we are also united in our resolve that these enemies will not prevail."

Democratic blogger Ed Cone is right to say that Kerry needs to come up with a specific position on Iraq if he's going to beat Bush.  But Kerry is already way ahead of Ted Kennedy.  That's a hopeful sign.

April 5, 2004 | 10:48 AM ET

IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA, IT'S JUST THE LAW

I've often thought that respect for the law in America underwent a fundamental change with the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit.  Originally passed under Nixon, and re-enacted with more teeth under Jimmy Carter, the 55-mile per hour speed limit turned something that had always been about the specific safety of particular roads into something that was about political posturing and special interests.  Americans disobeyed in droves, leading to the CB revolution, and the government slogan in favor of the speed limit, "It's not just a good idea -- It's the Law!" was parodied on bumperstickers reading, "It's not a good idea -- It's just the law!"

Insurance companies liked it, of course, because lower speed limits mean more speeders, which means more excuses to raise rates.  And state and local governments liked it because tickets mean revenue for them.  In fact, speeding tickets seem to be largely about revenue, not safety.  How else to explain stories like this one from Long Island:

The law requires everyone to follow the speed limit and other traffic regulations, but in Suffolk County, exceptions should be made for cops and their families, police union officials say.
Police Benevolent Association president Jeff Frayler said Thursday it has been union policy to discourage Suffolk police officers from issuing tickets to fellow officers, regardless of where they work.
"Police officers have discretion whenever they stop anyone, but they should particularly extend that courtesy in the case of other police officers and their families," Frayler said in a brief telephone interview Thursday. "It is a professional courtesy."
Frayler's comments echo views expressed in the spring union newsletter, in which treasurer Bill Mauck exhorts "you don't summons another cop" and says that when officers decline to cite each other, "the emotion you feel should be that of joy."

What's worse, the public officials of Suffolk County seem to agree -- one is quoted in the story as approving this policy.  As blogger Rand Simberg observes, this is an admission that speeding tickets are mostly about revenue.

Then there's Pennsylvania, where Governor Ed Rendell has similar issues:

The Philadelphia Daily News reported last week that state troopers have clocked the governor's state-owned Cadillac DeVille DHS traveling in excess of 100 mph on nine separate occasions since November.
One trooper even pursued the vehicle but broke off the chase when Rendell's driver identified himself as "Executive One" over the police radio, according to the news report.
Troopers never have ticketed the governor's car.

Not all jurisdictions are this brazen, of course -- in fact, few are, and some are exemplary on this question -- but if I were a citizen of Suffolk County I think I'd draw the conclusion that the laws were different for those who are "connected" than for the rest of us.  And there are a couple of lessons in that.

One is that the moral currency of the law is like any other currency -- if you try to increase the supply too much, it loses its value.  We've passed a lot of laws in recent decades, and respect for the law seems to have fallen off.  Coincidence?  I'm not so sure. 

Another lesson is that the sense that there's a different law for the connected than for the rest of us is even more dangerous.  It's dangerous two ways.  First, it's dangerous in the short term, as those who enjoy the benefits of professional courtesy speed way beyond the "normal" amount, and pose a risk to the rest of us.  The case of Congressman Bill Janklow, who ran a stop sign while speeding is an example.  Janklow got a lot of speeding tickets -- but not while he held office:

Rep. Bill Janklow has paid more speeding tickets than many people get in a lifetime: a dozen in a four-year period in the 1990s.
The former South Dakota governor's driving record drew closer attention Monday as authorities investigated a weekend crash in which a Cadillac driven by Janklow collided with a motorcycle, killing the rider. . . .
State court records show that Janklow got 12 speeding tickets in 11 South Dakota counties from 1990 to 1994 and paid more than $1,000 in fines. He often drove 15 mph to 20 mph faster than legal speed limits and once got caught going 90 mph in a 65-mph zone.
However, Janklow has not been ticketed for speeding since October 1994, just before he was elected to his third term as governor. He served as governor from 1979-1986 and 1995-2002 before being elected to the state's lone House seat last year.

Janklow's driving seems to have gone well beyond the ordinary kind of speeding favored by targets of revenue-based ticketing, which is why he's been sentenced to jail. 

But the second danger is more insidious:  the more that the insiders benefit from discretion, the more the outsiders will decide that it's OK for them to flout the law too, if they think they can get away with it.  And the more laws we pass, the more likely their enforcers are to exercise discretion about who to target, and who to ignore.

Legal scholar Grant Gilmore once wrote that "in Heaven there will be no law, and the lion will lie down with the lamb."  "In Hell," on the other hand, "there will be nothing but law -- and due process will be meticulously observed."  Which one are we closer to now?

THANKS TO LARRY LESSIG
I very much appreciate Larry Lessig's guest-blogging last week.  While he and I don't agree on everything -- or even everything about Intellectual Property law -- I think that he's a very smart guy whose opinions are always worth reading.  (Here's a law review article I wrote on intellectual property recently, in case you're interested in more detail.) 

You can visit Lessig's weblog here if you want to stay in touch with what he's writing.

April 1, 2004 | 9:04 PM ET

Continuing our series of entries from guest blogger Lawrence Lessig:

A lesson for U.S. courts

I'm grateful to Glenn for inviting me to guest blog for these few days.

Though we disagree about many things political, he has been an important voice of reason in the free culture debate.

The same cannot be said for our friends in D.C., however.  The day after a Canadian Federal Court ruled quite strongly that the Canadian version of the RIAA couldn't use the courts to spy on Internet users, Attorney General John Ashcroft has launched a new intellectual property task force -- not to ask the eminently sensible question of how best to balance the legitimate interests of copyright holders with the freedoms of new technologies, but instead to determine how best to increase prosecutions for copyright violations.

The Canadian decision is an extraordinary statement of balance and reason.  More interesting (and most foreign, unfortunately), the Court recognized a privacy interest in an IP address -- rejecting the argument that because an IP address is transmitted pubilcly, the person behind the IP transaction has no privacy interest.

Wise, and balanced: lessons we might learn down here.

Thanks again to Glenn, and back to your regularly scheduled show...

March 31, 2004 | 11:00 AM ET

Continuing our series of entries from guest blogger Lawrence Lessig:

Crazy copyright wars

If you want a clue about just how crazy the "copyright wars" have become, two events this week map the field fairly well.

Inside Washington, the subcommittee of the House of Representatives charged with policing intellectual property is considering a proposal to further criminalize peer-to-peer file-sharing.  Anyone who makes 2,500 copyrighted works "available" with "reckless disregard" for the risk of infringement commits a felony under this proposal.  Yet another felony your daughter can commit from the safety of her own bedroom.  (And does a blog not licensed under a Creative Commons license, with 2,500 posts and comments make the blog owner liable?  After all, those are 2,500 copyrighted works, posted openly and freely on the net, making it easy for others to "infringe" the copyright.)

Outside Washington, the first extensive economic study of the effect of peer-to-peer (p2p) file-sharing has begun to circulate.  Felix Oberholzer of the Harvard Business School and Koleman Strumpf of UNC Chapel Hill have completed an extensive empirical analysis of p2p sharing (pdf), by monitoring a massive quantity of data about what was being downloaded on p2p networks, and what effect that had on the sales of the albums being downloaded.  Their conclusion:  "Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero."  Or again, "even in the most pessimistic specification, five thousand downloads are needed to displace a single album sale."

This economic study confirms what many have suspected for a long time.  The effects of p2p sharing on the demand for a product are many.  Some are negative.  Free content can cannibalize proprietary content.  Some are positive.  Free content can spur demand for that, or related content -- as I'm discovering with my book, Free Culture, which is available for free on the Internet.

The relevant question for policymakers should be what, on balance, is the effect.  And if a new technology provides great new efficiencies for many new ways of distributing and selling content (as p2p sharing does), then the fact that it has no statistical effect on sales of legacy products should at least be relevant in the debate over whether we need to lock up more of our children.

This fact would be relevant in any rational debate.  But Washington, of course, is rarely the location of such debates.

March 30, 2004 | 11:18 AM ET

Continuing our series of entries from guest blogger Lawrence Lessig:

Amazon helps free culture

In the few days since Free Culture was published and released free online, I've received scores of e-mails from people across the world asking how I convinced my publisher, Penguin, to allow me to release the book for free.

No doubt the questions will increase now that Amazon is also offering the book for free.  How is it, most ask, a publisher would agree to give away what it wants to sell?  And now, how is it that a bookstore would give away what it wants to sell? (As Jack Valenti has said, "There is no business model ever struck off by the hand and grain of man that can compete with free.  It can't be done.")

The argument is simple.  We'll see if it is right.  The basic assumption is this: (a) ebooks are a poor substitute (just now) for printed books.  If that's true, then there are only two numbers you need to think about to decide whether giving a book away for free makes sense: (1) those who would have bought the book but won't because the book is now free, and (2) those who would never have seen the book had it not been available for free, but now because they see it, and given assumption (a), they buy it.

The only question a publisher needs to decide is whether (2) is greater than (1):  If there are more who will buy it because they see it because it is free and will now buy it because it is free, then making it free makes sense for the publisher.

It also makes sense for the spread of culture and knowledge.  For the single most important consequence of being able to make my book available for free is that the ideas in the book can spread broadly.  Many can't afford the book.  Many come from countries where it is not now, nor will it ever be, sold.  And so if we can find a way to both increase sales and spread the book more broadly than it could ever have been spread otherwise, then we should try.

That's the idea behind the Open Access Movement in scientific publishing.  Groups like the Public Library of Science are committed to finding a way to publish high-quality scientific research in a form that everyone, regardless of income or access to a library, can get access to.  No one knows whether this is possible.  But the key is to experiment: to see what works, and to see what works better.  Penguin, perhaps taking inspiration from the penguin that has come to symbolize the free software movement, is a powerful force for good in allowing this experiment to happen.

(This is a lesson that Baen has been teaching for a long time.)

March 29, 2004 | 10:26 AM ET

The free culture phenomemon

Larry Lessig, professor of law at Stanford and expert in intellectual property, has a new book out.  I highly recommend it, especially as he's making it available for free.  He'll be guest-blogging here for the next couple of days.

Intellectual property is likely to become, in many ways, the most important form of property in the 21st Century.  So pay attention to what Larry has to say:

On Thursday last week, my book, "Free Culture," went on sale in bookstores across the nation. At the same time, my publisher, Penguin Press, agreed to allow it to be released free online under a Creative Commons license.  That license gives anyone the right to use my copyrighted work for any noncommercial purpose, so long as they give me attribution in the process.  Thousands of copies of the book have been downloaded so far, and the book broke the 100 mark at Amazon within a day.

There is lots to think about in this experiment, but there's one part I hadn't expected. The freedom granted by that Creative Commons license included the right to make derivative works -- meaning works based upon the original work, so long as those derivative works are for noncommercial purposes as well.  Within a day, the Net had used that freedom and produced 9 different formats for Free Culture, from an HTML format to a format for Microsoft eBook readers. (I discuss these alternative formats in a post on my blog.)  That step was expected, though not as quickly.  But I never imagined what happened next.

On Friday, AKMA suggested on his blog that bloggers make an audio version of the book.  People would volunteer to record a chapter in mp3 format, and release them back to the web.  Within 24 hours of that post, 11 chapters had been claimed.  And the first I listened to, by Doug Kaye of ITConversations, was as good as anything I had ever heard on Books-on-tape.  Click here to listen to Chapter 1 -- Creators.

The lesson in this is one our tradition has taught, but we seem to have forgotten.  Copyright is important.  Some range of exclusive rights is key.  But just because one needs to reserve some rights, it doesn't follow that even a commercial venture need reserve all rights.  By exercising less control over the work whose copyright I hold, we have at least spread the work more broadly and quickly than it otherwise would have spread.  And we have assured that those who wouldn't otherwise be able to get access to the work -- because they couldn't afford to buy it, or because their library didn't buy it -- now can.  And finally, as I'll explain tomorrow, exercising less control should in fact sell more books.  Stay tuned.

March 25, 2004 | 10:39 PM ET

THE LUCK OF GEORGE W. BUSH

George W. Bush is a very lucky man.  His biggest luck is in the selection of his enemies.  This has been demonstrated repeatedly, but the latest example is with former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, who has lately been all over the airwaves promoting a book whose central theme is that Bush didn't take terrorism seriously.

Well, as I've said here before, there's plenty of room to criticize the Bush Administration for not taking terror seriously.  Unfortunately for Clarke, he's not the guy to do it.

Why?  Because Clarke's public criticisms contradict his own statements, both in a press briefing from 2002 -- before he had a book to sell -- and, for that matter, in the very book he's pumping today.

Back in 2002, Clarke was pretty high on Bush.  Here's some of what he said:

JIM ANGLE: So, just to finish up if we could then, so what you're saying is that there was no — one, there was no [Clinton] plan; two, there was no delay; and that actually the first changes since October of '98 were made in the spring months just after the [Bush] administration came into office?

CLARKE: You got it. That's right.

Then there's this:

JIM ANGLE: You're saying that the Bush administration did not stop anything that the Clinton administration was doing while it was making these decisions, and by the end of the summer had increased money for covert action five-fold. Is that correct?

CLARKE: All of that's correct.

This makes Clarke's current claims that the Bush Administration dropped the ball on terrorism kind of hard to maintain.  But wait, there's more -- Clarke's claims today don't even match the ones in his just-published book, as Time Magazine notes:

Perhaps Clarke's most explosive charge is that on Sept. 12, President Bush instructed him to look into the possibility that Iraq had a hand in the hijackings. Here's how Clarke recounted the meeting on 60 Minutes: "The President dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this'.....the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said, 'Iraq did this.'" After Clarke protested that "there's no connection," Bush came back to him and said "Iraq, Saddam — find out if there's a connection." Clarke says Bush made the point "in a very intimidating way." The next day, interviewed on PBS' The NewsHour, Clarke sexed up the story even more. "What happened was the President, with his finger in my face, saying, 'Iraq, a memo on Iraq and al-Qaeda, a memo on Iraq and the attacks.' Very vigorous, very intimidating." Several interviewers pushed Clarke on this point, asking whether it was all that surprising that the President would want him to investigate all possible perpetrators of the attacks. Clarke responded, "It would have been irresponsible for the president not to come to me and say, Dick, I don't want you to assume it was al-Qaeda. I'd like you to look at every possibility to see if maybe it was al-Qaeda with somebody else, in a very calm way, with all possibilities open. That's not what happened."
How does this square with the account of the same meeting provided in Clarke's book? In that version, Clarke finds the President wandering alone in the Situation Room on Sept. 12, "looking like he wanted something to do." Clarke writes that Bush "grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room" — an impetuous move, perhaps, but hardly the image that Clarke depicted on television, of the President dragging in unwitting staffers by their shirt-collars. The Bush in these pages sounds more ruminative than intimidating: "I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way." When Clarke responds by saying that "al-Qaeda did this," Bush says, "I know, I know, but see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred....." Again Clarke protests, after which Bush says "testily," "Look into Iraq, Saddam."
Nowhere do we see the President pointing fingers at or even sounding particularly "vigorous" toward Clarke and his deputies. Despite Clarke's contention that Bush wanted proof of Iraqi involvement at any cost, it's just as possible that Bush wanted Clark to find disculpatory evidence in order to discredit the idea peddled by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that Baghdad had a hand in 9/11. In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush rejected Wolfowitz's attempts to make Iraq the first front in the war on terror. And if the President of the United States spoke "testily" 24 hours after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, well, can you blame him?
Clarke's liberties with the text don't stop there.

There's much more, and you should read the whole thing.  Are there legitimate criticisms of the Bush Administration's approach to terror that can be made?  No doubt.  Is Clarke making them?  Nope.  If Bush political advisor Karl Rove were paying Clarke as part of a campaign to discredit the opposition, he could hardly do better.

And Clarke's self-discrediting comments go way back.  Here's what he said in a 1999 interview, when he was part of the Clinton Administration:

Assessing U.S. counterterrorism policy to date, Clarke said it's no accident that there have been so few terrorist attacks on American soil.
"The fact that we got seven out of the eight people from the [1993] World Trade Center [bombing], and we found them in five countries around the world and brought them back here, the fact we can demonstrate repeatedly that the slogan, 'There's nowhere to hide,' is more than a slogan, the fact that we don't forget, we're persistent -- we get them -- has deterred terrorism," he said.

We know now, of course, that Al Qaeda didn't find the limp U.S. response to terror nearly as impressive as Clarke made it sound.  Was he, despite his elevated stature, that ignorant of al Qaeda's views?  Or was he spinning to make his boss look good?  Either way, Clarke comes off badly.

Of course, it's not just Clarke who's busy discrediting Bush's opponents.  As Evan Coyne Maloney demonstrates in a new video, it's the opponents themselves who are working hard at that task.

When it comes to his opponents, Bush is a lucky man.  I wonder if his opponents realize just how lucky he is, or how much they're contributing to his success?

March 23, 2004 | 9:44 PM ET

Applying the lesson of 9/11

"9/11 COMMISSION FORCING BUSH TO ATTACK IRAN"

That's the headline on an e-mail from a reader, commenting on the chorus of voices at Tuesday's 9/11 commission inquiry wondering why Bush didn't take stronger action against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan sooner.  We know Iran is behind international terrorism, and wishes the United States ill, so why wait until after an attack?

Makes sense to me.  And if it was wrong not to attack Afghanistan before the intelligence community linked it to a major specific act of terrorism, then it was obviously right to attack Saddam before he could launch an attack on America.  Er, but isn't that what Bush has been saying all along?

Personally, I'm all for regime change in Iran, and Syria too -- and for that matter, in Saudi Arabia, the wellspring of violent Islamoterrorism worldwide.  I wonder, though, what all the people currently excoriating Bush for not invading Afghanistan soon enough would say if we sent troops across the border tomorrow toward Damascus or Tehran?

I also wonder what they would have said if Bush had invaded Afghanistan in February of 2001.  I think it would have been pretty controversial.  It probably wouldn't have prevented the 9/11 attacks -- which were already in motion at that point -- and if those attacks had happened anyway, I suspect Bush would have been blamed by many of the people criticizing him now, for "stirring up a hornet's nest" by taking precipitate action against Osama, and leading to the loss of thousands of American lives.  That seems rather unfair.

I'm willing to believe that the Bush Administration dropped some balls where terrorism is concerned. I'm certainly unimpressed by Administration claims that terrorist plans to crash airplanes into buildings were unforeseeable, when in fact quite a few people foresaw just such a thing.  And I think that quite a few people probably should have been fired -- though when you see the kind of books that canned Administration officials like Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke write, you can understand why Bush may have been reluctant to do so.  But let's be honest:  There wasn't the necessary degree of political support before 9/11 for any very decisive action, and many of today's critics would have been the first to criticize the Bush Administration had it done anything dramatic in early 2001.

The real question, of course, isn't what we should have done three years ago.  It's what we should be doing over the next three years.  Once the obligatory recriminations are over, I'd be interested in hearing some ideas on that subject.

March 23, 2004 | 11:00 AM ET

THE ONGOING ANTI-WAR MELTDOWN

I was out of the country over the weekend and -- quite deliberately -- paying no attention to the news.  That's a healthy thing, and I'm sure I should do it more often.  But one thing that I missed was the rather lame effort at nationwide anti-war protests.  Fortunately, others were paying attention.

Blogger Scott Koenig, an Iraq War veteran better known by his pseudonym of "LT Smash," attended the San Diego protests and filed a report, as well as an account of a speaker who called for U.S. defeat.  Here's an excerpt from her speech:

And the first thing is that we need to support the Resistance of Iraqis in Iraq. (applause) Right. These are people who are risking their lives to get the United States out of their country. And we have to see them as our allies. We have to see them as our main allies.

People sometimes hyperbolically call anti-war protesters treasonous.  There's nothing treasonous about opposing the war.  But calling for the other side to win, and regarding the enemy as an ally is, yes, treason.  (Koenig also managed to interview her.  Read the whole thing.)

James Lileks meanwhile, notes a photo of a protester who cheers the destruction of the World Trade Center and observes:

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a traitor.  He may be an idiot, a maroon, a 33rd degree moonbat, but he’s still a traitor. That is a man who celebrates the death of Americans (and others) and supports the people who killed them.  Oh, sure, he’s nuts. But he fits right in.  So what were all these people against, exactly?
A free press in Iraq.  Freedom to own a satellite dish.  Freedom to vote.  A new Constitution that might actually be worth the paper on which it’s printed.  Oil revenues going to the people instead of Saddam, or French oligopolies.  Freedom to leave the country.  Freedom to demonstrate against the people who made it possible for you to demonstrate.

"Traitor."  A word so strong we're reluctant to use it.  Even when it fits.  But for some people -- arguably a small minority of the anti-war crowd, but undoubtedly its public face, not least because those who disagree have been anemic about distancing themselves -- it's a word that fits.  They're not "anti-war."  They're just on the other side.

Benjamin Smith writes in The New Republic that it may be a problem for the Democrats:

Picking out anti-American whackos on the fringe of an anti-war protest is a cheap, unsporting form of journalism, and one I hadn't planned to indulge in. But Saturday, they weren't on the fringes--they were on the podium. Of course, the anti-war movement was, in its infancy, hijacked by the hard left. And on Saturday, despite the efforts of a more traditional left-wing group, United for Peace and Justice--they sympathize with Castro, but not Milosevic--to control the stage, the group leading off, and setting the tone, was Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER). ANSWER is a remnant of a totalitarian left that it's hard to believe still exists. The group's sympathies run to Kim Jong Il, and its website says the anti-war movement "must give its unconditional support to the Iraqi anti-colonial resistance."
All of which could be safely ignored if this was just another protest. But this was also a dress rehearsal for a moment that could affect the outcome of the election in November. "This is run-through for the convention, for us and for the cops," said David Lerner, a publicist working with United for Peace and Justice. Everyone expects the demonstrations at the Republican National Convention to be far bigger--organizers are touting them as the biggest since the Vietnam War. And few expect them to be as peaceful.

Siding with the terrorists, and with Kim Jong Il.  Call them Karl Rove's useful idiots.  I've been writing for over a year that the Democrats, and the left generally, need to distance themselves from a "peace" movement marked by its support for genocidal dictators and its enmity toward Amerca.  So far, it hasn't happened.  Will Kerry confront these folks in a "Sister Souljah moment?"  He'd better.

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