- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

Kin cash in

Rep. Maxine Waters’ family members earned more than $1 million in the last eight years doing business with candidates, companies and causes she helped, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

Mrs. Waters’ daughter and son pocketed fees from campaigns endorsed by the congresswoman, while her husband worked for a bond-underwriting firm that received government business from her political allies, the newspaper said.

Mrs. Waters, an influential Democratic lawmaker since 1990, whose district includes parts of Los Angeles, would not answer detailed questions on the business dealings, insisting her family’s fortunes were kept apart from her political activities.

“They do their business, and I do mine,” said Mrs. Waters, 66. “We are not bad people.”

The Waters’ close financial ties are not expressly prohibited by state laws or congressional ethics rules, the Associated Press reports.

Rethinking liberalism

“There is much talk of post-election reorganization and rethinking among demoralized liberals, especially in matters of foreign policy,” Victor Davis Hanson writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“They could start by accepting that the demise of many of their cherished beliefs and institutions was not the fault of others. More often, the problems are fundamental flaws in their own thinking — such as the ends of good intentions justifying the means of expediency and untruth, and forced equality being a higher moral good than individual liberty and freedom.

“Whether we call such notions ‘political correctness’ or ‘progressivism,’ the practice of privileging race, class and gender over basic ethical considerations has earned the moralists of the Left not merely hypocrisy, but virtual incoherence,” Mr. Hanson said

“Democratic leaders are never going to be trusted in matters of foreign policy unless they can convince Americans that they once more believe in American exceptionalism and are the proper co-custodians of values such as freedom and individual liberty.

“If in the 1950s rightists were criticized as cynical Cold Warriors who never met a right-wing thug they wouldn’t support, as long as he mouthed a few anti-Soviet platitudes, then in the last two decades almost any thug from Latin America to the Middle East who professed concern for ‘the people’ — from Castro and the Noriega brothers to Yasser Arafat and the Iranian mullahs — was likely to earn a pass from the American and European cultural elite and media.

“To regain credibility, the Left must start to apply the same standard of moral outrage to a number of its favorite causes that it does to the United States government, the corporations and the Christian Right.”

India and Bush

“While Europe continues to hold its nose at the decisive triumph of George W. Bush, the Indian establishment is quietly savoring the outcome of the recent elections in America,” C. Raja Mohan writes from New Delhi.

“India and Europe, one might say, have traded places in the global arena. India, once nonaligned, used to be the first to throw stones at Washington on any issue during the Cold War; today, it sees America as a natural ally. Europe, on the other hand, now speaks the language of ‘nonalignment,’ and holds that nothing is ever right with U.S. foreign policy,” said Mr. Mohan, professor of South Asian studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and author of “Crossing the Rubicon: The Shaping of India’s New Foreign Policy.”

“There is a straightforward explanation for India’s enthusiasm for the Bush administration. New Delhi has transacted more political business with Washington in the past four years than in the previous four decades. After nearly half a century of estrangement, India and the U.S. rapidly drew closer during the first Bush term. Whether it is the commitment to the war against terrorism or the exploration of missile defense, Mr. Bush has found a partner in Delhi.

“India has no desire to lose the rare momentum in bilateral relations with the U.S. that it enjoys under President Bush. It had good reason to worry about John Kerry. Besides the traditional fear about the protectionist impulses of the Democrats, New Delhi was alarmed by the noises made by Mr. Kerry against off-shoring of American services to India. For the first time since its independence in 1947, India has begun to carve out a niche for itself in the global economy, and Mr. Kerry cast a malign shadow over this development by suggesting punitive actions against U.S. companies outsourcing in India.

“But most important for New Delhi is the strategic decision by the Bush administration to view India as an emerging global power and a potential partner in the management of the global order.”

Rumsfeld’s signature

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has pledged to sign each letter written to family members of service personnel killed in military action.

The military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that some family members of slain troops in Iraq and Afghanistan had criticized Mr. Rumsfeld for not personally signing the letters, instead using mechanical signatures.

“I wrote and approved the now more than 1,000 letters sent to family members and next of kin of each of the servicemen and women killed in military action,” Mr. Rumsfeld said in a statement to Stars and Stripes.

“While I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members, I have directed that in the future I sign each letter.”

Mr. Rumsfeld added that he was “deeply grateful for the many letters I have received from the families of those who have been killed in the service of our country, and I recognize and honor their personal loss.”

Rather’s ‘award’

CBS anchorman Dan Rather has received first prize for the most-biased comment of the year, the Media Research Center reports.

Mr. Rather, teasing a report on “The CBS Evening News” on March 31, the day four American civilians were killed and mutilated in Fallujah, Iraq, said: “What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy, it may be, for some, the only job they can find.”

Mr. Rather, who had a lot of competition for the award, was chosen by 43 media observers, including radio talk-show hosts, magazine editors, columnists and editorial writers. More about “The Best Notable Quotables of 2004: the 17th Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting” can be found at www.mediaresearch.org.

Legalizing pot

Nearly three-fourths of older Americans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, according to a poll done for the nation’s largest advocacy group for seniors.

More than half of those questioned said marijuana has medicinal benefits, while a larger majority agreed the drug is addictive, the Associated Press reports.

AARP, with 35 million members, says it has no political position on medicinal marijuana and that its local branches have not chosen sides in the scores of state ballot initiatives on the issue in recent elections.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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