Thursday, September 30, 2004

Firm, Assertive Nonsense

The unusual format disconcerted both candidates, but I think Kerry reacted more quickly than the President. Kerry's rebuttals were sharper than his answers, and the format denied Bush an automatic right to respond. He visibly champed at the bit several times.

Lehrer tried to put the "L" word in Kerry's mouth and Kerry was weak in objecting. Clearly he does want people to think Bush lied, whether or not he uses "that word you used".

Bush was also clearly flabbergasted by the bilge that Kerry offered as a foriegn policy:
Iraq, horrible because we didn't have the patience to let the UN slam a door in our face till the hinges fell off.
Iran, horrible because we won't resume direct relations so we can break them off.
Korea, horrible because we won't hold sham talks while doing a backroom deal behind the backs of the Chinese.
Iraq was a bloody mistake that others will line up to join, if we send a salesman with the courage to denounce his own brand.
Terrorists must be pursued wherever they are found, unless it's Iraq, because they're only there until we leave.
The postwar plan in Iraq has failed because we're only halfway through the democracy project and still haven't finished. It must be scrapped for a totally new policy TBA.
The Iraqi War Resolution got Kerry's vote by fraud, he was misled to assume that his advice and consent were in fact executive orders.
Two more divisions must be raised and sent nowhere so that our overstretched military in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bosnia will average out on paper.
Pre-emptive war is an American right, so long as it's OK'd by the same people who denounce it as illegal. But that doesn't mean they get a veto over our foriegn policy.

Kerry did not actually say anything as stupid as the $87 billion quote, or roam around the stage, so he may halt his slide assuming he doesn't repudiate himself, which is sorta like betting on black all evening.

But he's provided the Bush team with plenty of fodder for advertising, where Bush has a clear advantage in terms of talent and financing.

I could follow the arguments, so I give it to Bush. I'm not sure how an undecided would rate it.

More decisively, the Dodgers advance over the Giants. I remain confident of a repeat of 1988: Dodgers in October, a Bush in November.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Carter Shrieks Out About Florida

Former President Carter has an op-ed in the today.Washington Post

Carter's lies can be divided into three parts.
First, he asserts that certain procedures are required of "transparent, honest and fair" elections.
Second, he claims that pro-Republican bias explains the failure to adopt these procedures.
Third, he accuses the GOP of concrete acts by which the election will be rigged for a Bush victory.

Carter asserts:
• A nonpartisan electoral commission or a trusted and nonpartisan official who will be responsible for organizing and conducting the electoral process before, during and after the actual voting takes place. Although rarely perfect in their objectivity, such top administrators are at least subject to public scrutiny and responsible for the integrity of their decisions. Florida voting officials have proved to be highly partisan, brazenly violating a basic need for an unbiased and universally trusted authority to manage all elements of the electoral process.

• Uniformity in voting procedures, so that all citizens, regardless of their social or financial status, have equal assurance that their votes are cast in the same way and will be tabulated with equal accuracy. Modern technology is already in use that makes electronic voting possible, with accurate and almost immediate tabulation and with paper ballot printouts so all voters can have confidence in the integrity of the process. There is no reason these proven techniques, used overseas and in some U.S. states, could not be used in Florida.


The metricious use of the vague phrase "Florida election officials" masks the meaningful separation of powers present in Florida and many other states. Carter is basically complaining that the Florida state constitution gives oversight of elections to county officials and to a Secretary of State appointed by the Governor.
There were widespread complaints of the bias of county election boards in 2000, but the counties of the deepest controversy were supervised by Democrats.
The division of authority between state and county officials makes uniformity of equipment highly unlikely. This comes about because the citizens of Florida have chosen to place local control of election methods above uniformity of practice.

These arguments are at least grounded in reality and merely reflect differing priorities between the citizens of Florida and former President Carter. However he quickly plunges down the rabbit hole.
Four years ago, the top election official, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee. The same strong bias has become evident in her successor, Glenda Hood, who was a highly partisan elector for George W. Bush in 2000.


Jimmy Carter is a former Governor of Georgia and former President of the United States; he knows damn well the difference between serving as co-chair of a state campaign committee and serving as an elector.
As the Florida Dept of State website states, "the Secretary of State is head of the Department of State and is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The Secretary serves as the State's Chief Election Officer and is second in line to succession to the Office of the Governor."
Carter apparently expects a Florida Governor to choose either a lukewarm member of his own party or an experienced and well-known member of the opposition party to occupy the #3 spot in Florida politics.

Carter makes further lame and self-incriminating accusations of dirty tricks:

Several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities in 2000, and a fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.


The world's foremost election monitor demands that voter-eligibility rules be ignored as "technicalities", and blindly engages in racial profiling.
As a felon is someone who has been convicted in a court proceeding, describing someone as an "alleged felon" is declaring your own lazy refusal to do your homework.

The top election official has also played a leading role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's name be included on absentee ballots even before the state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue.


Rock bottom. Qualifying third-party candidates isn't evidence of a lack of partisan bias, but rather a confirmation of bias against the opposition party! Mr. Carter, does Ralph Nader possess a right to appear on the ballot independent of Republican/Democrat horse-trading, or is that merely a privilege to be granted when convenient to bipartisan interests?

Carter suggests, "[w]ith reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida." If maximum scrutiny on the process means minimum scrutiny on Carter, we could only benefit.

Friday, September 24, 2004

French Minister Channels Kerry Campaign

From the Financial Times:

The findings could also help dispel growing concerns in Europe about the relocation of jobs to other countries. The issue of "delocalisation" has sparked particularly heated controversy in France and, to a lesser extent, Germany.

Earlier this month Nicolas Sarkozy, the French finance minister, suggested the east European countries that recently joined the EU should be forced to raise their corporate tax levels to create a level playing field or face cuts in their EU structural funds.


Good thing they joined the EU. Imagine what demands would be made of them if they were outside the family!
Remember this passage from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged?

...Mr. Mowen followed, looking up at him, pleading with something up in space: "I've got rights, haven't I? I was born here. I expected the old companies to be here when I grew up. I expected to run the plant like my father did. A man is part of his community, he's got a right to count on it, hasn't he?...Why are they all running to Colorado?" he asked. "What have they got down there that we haven't got?"

The young man grinned. "Maybe it's something you've got that they haven't got."

"What?" The young man did not answer. "I don't see it. It's a backward, primitive, unenlightened place. They don't even have a modern government. It's the worst government in any state. The laziest. It does nothing--outside of keeping law courts and a police department. It doesn't do anything for the people. It doesn't help anybody. I don't see why all our best companies want to run there."

The young man glanced down at him, but did not answer.


Eerie.

Monday, September 20, 2004

9/20 Americans, Unite!

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground -- passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight. (Applause.)

We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion. We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers -- in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union -- and it is strong. (Applause.)

Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. (Applause.)

I thank the Congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing "God Bless America." And you did more than sing; you acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military.

Speaker Hastert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service to our country. (Applause.)

And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America.

Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of Pakistanis; more than 130 Israelis; more than 250 citizens of India; men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan; and hundreds of British citizens. America has no truer friend than Great Britain. (Applause.) Once again, we are joined together in a great cause -- so honored the British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity of purpose with America. Thank you for coming, friend. (Applause.)

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.

This group and its leader -- a person named Osama bin Laden -- are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda's vision for the world.

Afghanistan's people have been brutalized -- many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan -- after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid -- but we condemn the Taliban regime. (Applause.) It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.

And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. (Applause.) Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. (Applause.) Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. (Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. (Applause.)

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. (Applause.)

Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security. These efforts must be coordinated at the highest level. So tonight I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me -- the Office of Homeland Security.

And tonight I also announce a distinguished American to lead this effort, to strengthen American security: a military veteran, an effective governor, a true patriot, a trusted friend -- Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge. (Applause.) He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and respond to any attacks that may come.

These measures are essential. But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows. (Applause.)

Many will be involved in this effort, from FBI agents to intelligence operatives to the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks, and all have our prayers. And tonight, a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I've called the Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud. (Applause.)

This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

We ask every nation to join us. We will ask, and we will need, the help of police forces, intelligence services, and banking systems around the world. The United States is grateful that many nations and many international organizations have already responded -- with sympathy and with support. Nations from Latin America, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, to the Islamic world. Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all.

The civilized world is rallying to America's side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what -- we're not going to allow it. (Applause.)

Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith. (Applause.)

I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions. Those who want to give can go to a central source of information, libertyunites.org, to find the names of groups providing direct help in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it.

I ask for your patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter security; and for your patience in what will be a long struggle.

I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today. (Applause.)

And, finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform, and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow, and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead.

Tonight I thank my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will do. And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their representatives, for what you have already done and for what we will do together.

Tonight, we face new and sudden national challenges. We will come together to improve air safety, to dramatically expand the number of air marshals on domestic flights, and take new measures to prevent hijacking. We will come together to promote stability and keep our airlines flying, with direct assistance during this emergency. (Applause.)

We will come together to give law enforcement the additional tools it needs to track down terror here at home. (Applause.) We will come together to strengthen our intelligence capabilities to know the plans of terrorists before they act, and find them before they strike. (Applause.)

We will come together to take active steps that strengthen America's economy, and put our people back to work.

Tonight we welcome two leaders who embody the extraordinary spirit of all New Yorkers: Governor George Pataki, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. (Applause.) As a symbol of America's resolve, my administration will work with Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild New York City. (Applause.)

After all that has just passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them -- it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world. (Applause.)

Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. (Applause.)

It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. (Applause.)

I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.

The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. (Applause.)

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice -- assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America.

Thank you. (Applause.)

CBS Still Can't Fess Up

This is pathetic.

CBS can't write 1100 words on Rathergate without trying to smear the President. It's like watching a drowning man try and throw mud.

In case you relied solely on CBS for your news: George W. Bush was not in court today. The Pentagon was, for allegedly failing to empty its filing cabinets to the press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

When the White House "claimed" to have released all records they were entirely correct. They have no further records in their custody.

Oh and Mr. Rather: So long as "Mr. Bush" is President of the United States, he should be referred to as "President Bush". Y'know, the same title you gave Saddam every second of your butt-kissing interview.

Run Away! Run Away!

Robert Novak's latest column is another example of dubious rumor and gossip; but at least he doesn't confuse his column with hard news.

Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.

This prospective policy is based on Iraq's national elections in late January, but not predicated on ending the insurgency or reaching a national political settlement. Getting out of Iraq would end the neoconservative dream of building democracy in the Arab world. The United States would be content having saved the world from Saddam Hussein's quest for weapons of mass destruction.

...Whether Bush or Kerry is elected, the president or president-elect will have to sit down immediately with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The military will tell the election winner there are insufficient U.S. forces in Iraq to wage effective war. That leaves three realistic options: Increase overall U.S. military strength to reinforce Iraq, stay with the present strength to continue the war, or get out.

Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush's decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials. An informed guess might have Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz as defense secretary and Stephen Hadley as national security adviser. According to my sources, all would opt for a withdrawal.

Getting out now would not end expensive U.S. reconstruction of Iraq, and certainly would not stop the fighting. Without U.S. troops, the civil war cited as the worst-case outcome by the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate would be a reality. It would then take a resolute president to stand aside while Iraqis battle it out.

The end product would be an imperfect Iraq, probably dominated by Shia Muslims seeking revenge over long oppression by the Sunni-controlled Baathist Party. The Kurds would remain in their current semi-autonomous state. Iraq would not be divided, reassuring neighboring countries -- especially Turkey -- that are apprehensive about ethnically divided nations.

This messy new Iraq is viewed by Bush officials as vastly preferable to Saddam's police state, threatening its neighbors and the West. In private, some officials believe the mistake was not in toppling Saddam but in staying there for nation building after the dictator was deposed.

Abandonment of building democracy in Iraq would be a terrible blow to the neoconservative dream. The Bush administration's drift from that idea is shown in restrained reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin's seizure of power. While Bush officials would prefer a democratic Russia, they appreciate that Putin is determined to prevent his country from disintegrating as the Soviet Union did before it. A fragmented Russia, prey to terrorists, is not in the U.S. interest.


The problem with this hot scoop is that we've been hearing it for two years. It's only newsworthy if supposed stalwarts have now switched sides, and since Novak won't name his sources, there's no way to be sure.
From the substance, I'd say its the same old chappelle with its roots in the State Dept. exaggerating its influence.

For one thing, there's no indication that Secys. Powell and Rumsfeld would both leave office; or that if they did, Dr. Rice would move from NSA to Secy. of State. The experience of the first term would suggest she wouldn't; she has many positive qualities but diplomatic tact isn't one of them, and the role of the Secy. of State in this Administration has been to soothe allies rubbed raw by Bush's insistence on morality in foriegn policy.

For another, nobody competent in military affairs would presume to put words in the mouths of the JCS two months in advance.

And finally, Russia is not in danger of breaking up and Putin's demands for centralization of authority are more about convenience than necessity; and US recognition of our impotence to directly alter this reorganization is not an abandonment of the democratic ideal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Rather IDs Burkett as Source?

From the current issue of the New York Observer:

Mr. Rather said that he and his longtime CBS producer, Mary Mapes, had investigated the story for nearly five years, finally convincing a source to give them the National Guard documents. He did not reveal the name of the source, but Mr. Rather said he was a man who had been reluctant to come forth with them because he’d been harassed by political operatives. "Whether one believes it or not, this person believed that he and his family had been harassed and even threatened," he said. "We were not able to confirm that, but his fear was that what had already been threats, intimidation, if he gave up the documents, could get worse—maybe a lot worse."


From today's New York Times:

In a book published this year, "Bush's War for Re-election" by James Moore, Mr. Burkett is quoted as reporting having received numerous death threats, including telephone messages and a bullet with his name on it that he says he found in his mailbox. More recently, he told people that his son's car had been burned.


Burkett lives 21 miles from the Kinko's from which the memos were faxed.

If he's not the source, there must be another person in the area who feels threatened by "political operatives" and is in touch with the media.

The preponderance of the evidence says it's Burkett. Mr. Rather, if you know otherwise, speak out now--for his sake.

Nix to CBS Hearings

I regularly enjoyed listening to Hugh Hewitt's show, but not lately, when he endorses full-blown Congressional hearings to punish CBS for trying to hijack an election.

If what CBS did was criminal, we have the courts. If what they did was contrary to regulations, we have regulatory agencies. If what they did was not contrary to any law, why the hell should they dance attendance to a bunch of outraged Congressmen?

Make no mistake, I think CBS is a pack of rabid jackasses. They continue to lie--I'll rip apart their statement in a later post. They deserve all the ridicule and outrage they've been getting--and that includes angry letters from members of Congress.

But when a Congressional committee is free to compel law-abiding Americans to appear--under penalty of imprisonment--and stand mute before them--under penalty of imprisonment--while they are abused by citizens who happen to have the job of Representative, then the principles of the dignity of citizens and the limited power of the State are abused and degraded.

If such treatment is condoned for a pack of lying incompetent journalists, how long before conservatives suffer it? Remember that we're supposedly inherently racist and bigoted. And we're out for political office; surely racists in political office is a bigger problem than forged memos?

That could come sooner than Prof. Hewitt would like to think. If the hearings are held, Democrats would have an opportunity to subpoena their own witnesses. Hugh Hewitt, for example, makes use of federally licensed airwaves to solicit campaign contributions across state lines. That might be legal, but is it American?

Do we want even a day of that crap?
Then why demand it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The New Agenda: Promoting Defeat

"It's Worse Than You Think" proclaims Newsweek.

It's the same old defeatmongering whine that we've heard for the past year: a few anecdotes of violence; the same old anonymous quotes of despair from US officials; the same proclamations that we've achieved nothing, and have nothing to look forward to; the deadlines we have met are meaningless and the deadlines to come are unachievable. And even if we did meet our political goals it would offend somebody.

It's not only that U.S. casualty figures keep climbing. American counterinsurgency experts are noticing some disturbing trends in those statistics. The Defense Department counted 87 attacks per day on U.S. forces in August—the worst monthly average since Bush's flight-suited visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. And the number of gunshot casualties apparently took a huge jump in August. Until then, explosive devices and shrapnel were the primary cause of combat injuries, typical of a "phase two" insurgency, where sudden ambushes are the rule. (Phase one is the recruitment phase, with most actions confined to sabotage. That's how things started in Iraq.) Bullet wounds would mean the insurgents are standing and fighting—a step up to phase three.

Standing, fighting, and being mowed down by 25mm slugs.

As Disraeli said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Why do authors Scott Johnson and Babak Dehghanpisheh profess wonder at the "apparent" rise in gunshot wounds in August 2004? Were they unaware of the Al-Sadr standoff in Najaf? We spent a week or so strafing and bombing the Mehdi Army into retreat; their sniping and shelling make up big part of that strange increase in August attacks.

Newsflash to Newsweek: In war, shooting the hell out of our enemies is progress.

This story should be noted, because by a strange coincidence Senator Kerry's new message is a verbatim ripoff.

George W. Bush keeps saying that things are getting better even when we all know that's just not true. The fact is, no matter what he says, all of us can see for ourselves what's happening in Iraq we can see it on the front pages and on the nightly news. But why would we expect George Bush to level with us about Iraq? He never has.

So I'll be straight with you: things are getting worse. More than a thousand Americans have been killed. Instability is rising. Violence is spreading. Extremism is growing. There are now havens for terrorists that weren't there before. And the Pentagon has even admitted that entire regions of Iraq are now controlled by insurgents and terrorists. The situation is serious and we need a president who will set a new direction and be straight with the American people.


President Bush spoke to a group of the National Guard. Senator Kerry speaks there Thursday, but he just couldn't wait two days to retaliate against the President's mean-spirited, partisan optimism. Instead of dividing this country, President Kerry would unite us in a deep sense of malaise--and from there the country could only go up.

I'll bet real money that Senator Kerry does not expand on this defeatism in front of the same audience on Tuesday. We need a new President who will be straight with the American people--but first he's got to be elected...

Just Asking

Sep 14, 2:36 PM EDT

Kerry Asks FEC for Recount Advice

See, he's writing this book called How To Lose An Election, and this is for the appendices...

Monday, September 13, 2004

Absolutely, Mr. Kerry! Positively, Mr. Gore!

Senator Kerry breaks the surface to launch another torpedo into his sinking campaign, via TIME magazine:

TIME
If I could get back to politics—
KERRY
I don't talk politics.


Wowsa.

Somebody needs to explain to Senator Kerry that he can persuade 60% of American voters that Bush is incompetent...but if most of them stay home because they're equally disillusioned with Kerry, Bush's 40% will be enough to win reelection.

Wait. I'm wrong. Somebody needed to explain that...because it's already too late.

The real question for Senator Kerry: can Gore's lecture circuit support a team act?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Postmodern Journalism Implodes

"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking," the statement read.

"In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," the statement continued. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned."

So says CBS.

This statement, issued Friday, has already been shot into pieces. It is notable that this postmodern pap is issued by professional journalists. For decades, the cult of the text has largely belonged to bad historians.

The postmodern concept of the text has a limited use. For example, it is worth considering that of all the Founding Fathers, only James Madison preserved and published the correspondence between himself and his wife during the Constitutional Convention. Was this because only Madison wrote his wife during the conference? Or did other spouses correspond, but deny history their letters because their own prejudices deemed such letters irrelevant?

However, if you go so far as to pretend that James Madison merely imagined he was married to Dolly Madison and that he imagined he was at a Constitutional convention, and spend years asking why this construct should be so widely shared as to become a national origin-myth...then you have jumped off the deep end.

This scenario is ridiculous only because the Consititutional Covention is fairly close to our own time. Any student of medieval history knows of countless examples of such rubbish, imposed on developing historians for their serious consideration.

And now we have Dan Rather, pathetically arguing that the text is the key, the story that exists as a real concept independently of any physical data or experience. The story, that Bush cheated his way into and out of the National Guard, lives on. Any denial of its vitality is merely a subjective disagreement based on the ignorant notions that an objective reality of 1973 ever existed, and that our minds in 2004 can imagine and communicate that objective reality free of our subjective 2004 desires.

Modern American journalism fell into this pit some time ago, as the last of the WWII editors and original network news vice-presidents passed on.
Even twenty years ago, a claim to have a story from an "unimpeachable source" would have been ridiculed as blasphemy. Nobody mortal is unimpeachable.
Nor would any serious news organization have offered anonymous expert analysis as proof.
Nor would it have defended a story as "consistent with" a consensus of witnesses, nor touted a "preponderance of evidence", lest it retain a 'preponderance' of its reputation.

But that was modern journalism. Postmodern journalism has liberated itself from delusions of objectivity and accuracy. Postmoderns accept that they are biased and inaccurate. But so are their critics! To postmoderns, the only possible integrity is a consistent application of bias. Consistent, coherent, loyal subjectivity is their goal.

Sadly I doubt the MSM will abandon the postmodern freedom to snafu. The 60 Minutes memo debacle has simpler lessons: never try to totally 'scoop' the competition; and never attempt to document gossip.

If 60 Minutes had collaborated with Nightline to have the story air on both programs on successive nights, ABCNews would not now be eagerly deploying reporters to flay CBSNews.

If 60 Minutes simply stated that Killian had felt pressured by Bush, and offered nothing but coworkers with office scuttlebutt, they would have made their point without running afoul of dozens of experts in the centenarian science of typeface analysis.

"Moderate your greed" and "KISS" are easier pills to swallow than a total revolution against the use of anonymous sources, consensus of biased witnesses, and "preponderance" of evidence.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I Find Another Killian Memo

MEMO TO TOP SECRET CAREER-BUSTING DOSSIER

1 April 1973

TO: ME
FROM: ME
SUBJECT: CYA 2.0

Dear DiaXXXXX

1. Standt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. Hodges continues to claim he walked into a door.

2. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job. Called Dallas for expert opinion, but Landry is completely unsympathetic.

3. Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Standt is pushing to sugar coat it. Regardless I will not eat message and will push for burning it as best means of disposal.

4. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 18xx187xxx #187 in Alabama. I will not rate. Nielsen can come get notebooks at reception desk.

5. Austin is not happy today either. Brenda learned that Trevor and Haley have been seeing each other behind her back. Tomorrow: Myleen confronts Betsy.

6. Harris took call from Grp today. I'll backdate but won't rate. Harris agrees.

7. I can do backdating without rating, it's no problem.

8. But it would be wrong!

9. Standt you bastard I told you not to read my stuff

10. Mrs: Buy bread and quart of milk not gallon we don't use whole gallon in time

(signed) Lt. Col. (illegible)

I attest that the above signature is valid and authentic dated this day April 1 1973 (signed) I. M. Phuni, Notary Public (stamp)

The Editor Responds

Not directly to my letter of course. Here's the editorial for Sept. 9 2004.

America forced to face the music in Iraq
Our View:
Reaching the 1,000 mark forces the issue of what we're still doing there.
1,005 and counting.
The symbolic 1,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq is a milestone surpassed Tuesday. But more than that, it should serve as a wakeup call that it is past time for a realistic exit strategy to end the carnage.
The vast majority of those deaths--more than 800-- are the result of an insurgency that has continued long after Americans brought down Saddam Hussein and 16 months after President Bush declared an end to major combat.
What once seemed like a remote, almost bloodless war now hits home daily as reports of U.S. casualties roll in.
American troops who were welcomed when they liberated Iraq from a brutal dictator have become an unwelcome occupying force. With no clear enemy to fight, U.S. troops patrol the streets--targets on their backs.
Suicide bombers and snipers kill a few more U.S. soldiers each day, and yet the United States has no clear way out, or even a time frame for bringing our troops home.
The quagmire in Iraq has taken a significant toll on the American psyche. U.S. troops are stretched thin throughout the world, and a large share of available reservists and members of the National Guard have been called up for service in Iraq.
That manpower drain could leave America vulnerable to another terrorist attack. There are simply not enough resources available to guard strategic targets--airports, military bases, nuclear facilities and chemical plants.
The U.S. military is so short-staffed that private security guards are being hired to guard military installations.
Local police and fire departments, the first responders in case of a terrorist attack, have been depleted, because so many of their personnel have been called to service in Iraq.
It's not as simple as having the United States pull out of Iraq and bring all its troops home. The sacrifice made by those who have died in the war would be in vain if a viable democratic society were not given the chance to succeed.
Nor does America have to go it alone, its past arrogance notwithstanding. It is time to go, hat in hand, to the United Nations. What's needed is an international peacekeeping force, with troops from many nations, including the Arab world, securing peace in Iraq.
Through such an arrangement, the United States could bring most of its troops home. The sooner, the better.


Such cringing, whining ignorance has a name and a face and a slot on the ballot this November.
For the rest of us, who don't feel our psyche has been strained...
who listened to the President explain the Interim government...
who know that peacekeepers bring peace by refusing to fight...
who will never stand like peons before the UN Secretary General...
there is President Bush.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A Letter to the Editor

To the Editor of the San Bernardino Sun:
Those of us who use the Internet as a regular news source were well aware that the US media was anticipating the 1000th US casualty in Iraq.
On Sept. 8 2004 you led with that story. You even had your cover graphic at hand, a page full of little khaki helmets on top of inverted M-16s.
I did notice that the lengthy article lacked the names of the servicemen who died in Iraq over the holiday were not given.
Was this because you had to go to press before this information was available, lest your paper be 'scooped' on the 1k death toll story?
Or was it because treating those 1003 Americans as individuals is not only irrelevant, but contrary, to your purpose?
Please cancel my subscription to your paper.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

See? He DID Write One

Sen. Kerry was recently given a semi-auto shotgun which he toted for the cameras. Matt Drudge has learnt that Kerry tried to prevent such dastardly transactions...

Kerry co-sponsored S. 1431 last year (“The Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003) which would have banned a "semiautomatic shotgun that has a pistol grip.”

Opponents of the bill successfully argued how nearly all guns have "pistol grips," inluding millions of Browning Auto-5 shotguns produced since 1903.

...Photos show Kerry's hand resting on the "pistol grip," as loosely defined in the bill. [Section SEC. 2; (H) (ii) and (b)(42): "The term 'pistol grip' means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip."]


Damnum Absque Injuria has more on the Drudge story, including some interesting retractions by Matt Drudge.

UPDATE: The pathetic response by the Kerry campaign.

The facts are clear. John Kerry opposes banning this gun and always will. John Kerry was proud to receive this union-made gun at the United Mine Workers Labor Day picnic in Racine, West Virginia.


They can't say he always had opposed banning it, because they can't.
The claim that the Senator promoting banning that gun included chapter and verse, SB 1431 from 2003. Kerry's campaign makes no response to it whatsoever.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Showing Some Ankle

From this week's Newsweek:

Cahill insists that the [Kerry] campaign went through a similar ebb in March, when it took a big hit in the polls as it concentrated on fund-raising. (At the time, the campaign was saved by the downward spiral in Iraq.)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Unfit for Any Duty

Sen. Kerry is degrading into the worst form of political sludge I have seen since Lyndon Larouche.

Since when is questioning somebody's committment to defend America, the same as questioning their patriotism? Kind of hard on conscientious objectors, isn't it? Will Kerry have the Quakers squat in Leavenworth for the duration of the War on Terror, like they had to in WWI?

"I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq (news - web sites)," he said.


Get that, President Clinton? You can shut the hell up about John Kerry.
By Kerry's standard, if you didn't volunteer for the military, you can't talk about him.
Kerry apparently fell asleep reading Starship Troopers, and woke up thinking he was somewhere other than the USA.
I did attempt to enlist, once in 1992 and again in 2001, and was turned away for medical reasons. So if M'lud is so gracious as to permit me to proceed...

I'm sure Senator Kerry wants to keep America safe.
And I'm sure the Cubs want to play in the 2004 World Series.
But they're not competent to fulfill their desire.
And neither is Senator Kerry.

"We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention," Kerry said. "The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty."


Unfortunately, he is the Vice-President, and has been for four years. And before that he was a damn good Secretary of Defense. So his desk duty has a solid record of achievement.

Senator Kerry, whatever he did on a gun deck, has shown a solid yellow streak in Washington.

Urging America to welcome communism in Asia and accept the inevitable repression of South Vietnamese was an act of cowardice.
Resting on his medals to push the myth of the American Hun was an act of cowardice.
Proposing a unilateral pullout from Iraq by June 2005 was an act of cowardice.

And then the cherry on top, the final proof that these Senators are unfit to influence American foriegn policy, let alone direct it:

John F. Kerry administration would propose to Iran that the Islamic state be allowed to keep its nuclear power plants in exchange for giving up the right to retain the nuclear fuel that could be used for bomb-making, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards said in an interview yesterday.

Edwards said that if Iran failed to take what he called a "great bargain," it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear power initiative.

...Iranian experts have long speculated that some sort of "grand bargain" that would cover the nuclear programs, a lifting of sanctions and renewed relations with the United States would help solve the impasse between the two countries. But campaign aides later said Edwards was not suggesting an agreement that covered more than the nuclear programs. In the December speech, Kerry criticized Bush for failing to "conduct a realistic, nonconfrontational policy with Iran."

..."At the end of the day [Bush officials] can argue all they want about their policies," Edwards said. "But the test is: Have they worked? And Iran is further along in developing a nuclear weapon than they were when George Bush came into office."


Because, since the mid-1990s, those European allies have been glad to profit by selling Iran nuclear parts. Just as they will accept any opportunity to profit whenever American scruples bar our businesses from promoting evil.
But they've only brought it further along...President Kerry would put them into the end zone.

When Madeleine Albright offered North Korea danegeld for nonproliferation, she broke with fifty years of justified hostility. She broke the axiom that you do not trade with an enemy before securing a peace treaty. And we, and our South Korean and Japanese allies, got burnt by North Korean treachery.

But at least she was innovative. There was no obvious example of a similar failure.

Senator Kerry has no such excuse. Rather than deny Iran the capability and ignore their intent, he will grant them the capability and trust their intentions are good--without demanding they renounce Hamas, without demanding they stop sending agents from Nigeria to Bosnia to recruit jihad, without demanding they surrender the Afghani terrorist refugees in Iranian 'custody'.

Offering to guarantee the nuclear capability of the Axis of Evil is an act of cowardice.

John Kerry is already promising to strengthen our enemies.
Perhaps some reporter will ask Kerry how supporting a nuclear Iran is compatible with a committment to defend America.

If you can find a political journalist who enlisted, that is.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Such is My Bias

That I find nothing on this list that could be rationally countered...

If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government, then you are a Republican.
If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican.
If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does, then you are a Republican.
If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children, then you are a Republican.
If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope for democracy, then you are a Republican.
And, ladies and gentlemen, if you believe that we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism, then you are a Republican.
Now, there's another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people and faith in the U.S. economy.


And then comes Sen. Zell Miller.

Tomorrow we'll hear from the President himself. So far this is the best GOP covention I've seen in 20 years.