Thursday, September 30, 2004

Mythology and Mythmaking (redux)

Okay, so blogger ate my posting. Anyway here it is again, an commentary from the Village Voice about the flaws in the "good ol' boy" cowboy image that Bush is trying to cultivate.
While American soldiers gave the Iraqi children candy during a celebration over the openning of a new sewage facility, the enemies of a free Iraq slaughtered them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

going upriver: another ingenious battering ram

going upriver: the long war of john kerry



a response to "putting the cat out"

yusuf islam never claimed that any civil rights were violated. he stated that he was "victim of an unjust and arbitrary system, hastily imposed, that serves only to belittle America's image as a defender of the civil liberties." i’m with yusuf on this one.

you would have wished he said: ". . .That such a bureaucratic incident occurred is to be expected." i don't think he believes this is a bureaucratic incident. our government needs to be prepared to provide--on a case-by-case basis—evidence as to why some may not be able to enter the u.s. this may be an inconvenience for our law enforcement, but the way this situation stands now, our government is behaving like the gestapo. this is from wikipedia:

"The role of the Gestapo was to investigate and combat "all tendencies dangerous to the State." It had the authority to investigate treason, espionage and sabotage cases, and cases of criminal attacks on the National-Sosialistic Party and on Germany.

The law had been changed in such a way that the Gestapo's actions were not restricted by judicial review. The Nazi jurist, Dr. Werner Best, stated, "As long as the [Gestapo]... carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally." The Gestapo was specifically exempted from being responsible to administrative courts, where citizens normally could sue the state to conform to laws."


unless he's lying, he states in his la times commentary, "It was only when an immigration official read out to me a legal reference number that he mentioned some implication with 'terrorism' — no further details necessary." so there actually was a reference to the "t" word from an agent of our government concerning his deportation.

you, me, and yusuf can all agree that his ordeal would not compare to the ordeals of all the hostages in iraq. but while you are comparing ordeals let's not forget the current ordeals of the relatives and loved ones of the 13,000 to 15,000 civilians killed by the military intervention in iraq. that's a lot of ordeals.

finally, islam’s thirty-some years of working for the welfare of children and his consistent message of peace is an indication that he is doing more than giving lip service. check this article out where it is reported that he pleads directly to the radicals of his religion: “As a member of the Muslim Council I request you, in the name of Allah, the Rahman, to release the British citizen, Ken Bigley for the good name of our religion and according to the sayings of Allah in the glorious Qur'an,”
CBS getting involved in the draft rumors. Apparently Drudge has linked to a few blogs regarding this story.

Putting the Cat Out

"I am a victim of an unjust and arbitrary system, hastily imposed, that serves only to belittle America's image as a defender of the civil liberties that so many dearly struggled and died for over the centuries," Islam writes.

If Mr. Stevens was talking about transportation security, then I would heartily agree with one thing: it is an unjust and arbitrary system. When Norm Mineta refused to allow the profiling of air passengers, he pretty well assured that not only will airport security be less effective, but it will also be a major pain in the rear for all of us. But that is not what Mr. Stevens was referring to. Instead, he was upset at being on a Homeland Security watch-list and ultimately deported from the U.S.

To clear up some facts about Mr. Steven’s ordeal:

First, no civil liberties were violated. None. The U.S. Constitution does not give foreigners a right to enter the U.S. I know of several people who have been unable to gain entrance visas (mostly student and work visas) back into the U.S. for unknown reasons, and each of those instances is more tragic than Mr. Stevens supposes his instance to be, because those others had spouses or loved ones already in the country or were trying to finish their education, etc. Still, the U.S. is perfectly within its rights to deny entrance to any foreigner coming into the country.

Second, despite Mr. Steven’s belief to the contrary, there have been no allegations levied by the U.S. against him to suggest that he is somehow connected with terrorism. He was not arrested or charged with any wrongdoing. He was simply on a watch-list. The U.S. was not entitled to make any allegations whatsoever in order to deport him.

Now, there are a couple of reasons why he may have been flagged. It may have been a spelling error. Or, it may have been that he donated money to front groups that fund organizations like Hamas. It really doesn't matter. It was not illegal, unethical or immoral to turn him away from our shores.

But it seems that Yusuf mainly wants to paint himself as a victim. In the first sentence of his official statement, Yusuf declares:

“First, I thank God for relieving me of my ordeal and delivering me home safe; also, thanks to all those who prayed for me and supported me through this whole dark episode, from eminent politicians, the press and religious leaders, to plain, everyday people.”

This statement comes in the same week that two American civilians in Iraq were beheaded followed by an Englishman. It seems that they would have a better claim to terms like “ordeal” or “dark episode.” I’m sorry to Yusuf if I cannot spare much sympathy for his dramatic deportation from the U.S.A., but that’s simply because it loses significance when compared to how infidels have been treated by radical Muslims.

He’s being a bit heavy-handed when he frets: “The most upsetting thing at this point was being separated from my daughter, Maymanah, not knowing how she was or when and where we might be united.” Really? Afraid she might be mistreated or executed, were ye?

And then he goes on to describe that his family was “relegated to watching the whole frightening episode on TV and surviving on scraps of information shown by the media.” Frightening? Surviving on scraps of information? Did his family suppose that the U.S. would lop of his head or toss him eternally into Guantanamo Bay? It was not as if he was some Palestinian summarily executed by some radical Palestinian terror gang on a Gaza street, or some gay Egyptian arrested at a party because of his sexual orientation, or some civilian beheaded by radical Islamists in Iraq or some hapless Sudanese refugee poisoned by Syrian gas. It’s not as if he spent any time at all in the prison of virtually any Islamic country.

He was simply deported.

Mr. Steven’s victim plea comes off as arrogant and misdirected. He seems completely oblivious as to why Homeland Security might have such a list in the first place. I don’t believe that Mr. Stevens is a terrorist, or even a threat to our national security. It may have even been possible to feel for him if he had simply gone quietly back without making any stink, or saying something like “I’m disappointed in how this situation was handled, but understand that the watch-list is meant to help provide some security for the American people. That such a bureaucratic incident occurred is to be expected.”

But no such statement came from is lips. Instead of looking where the real misery in the world is, he directs the attention on himself and willingly, nay, eagerly accepts the mantle of victim.
There’s an excellent scene in a John Ford western called Wagon Master where some settlers are the guests at an Indian camp. Two of settlers compromise the integrity of one of the Indian women. Before the tribe has a chance to enact their own punishment on the two white men (and very likely the rest of the wagon train) the wagon-master has the two men tied to a wagon wheel and mercilessly whips the snot out of them in front of the Indians.

Moderate Islam should take notes. It has been insufficient in dealing with the radical parts of their own religion. It’s not enough to condemn the 9/11 attacks or the Beslan slaughter, like Yusuf has done. That is merely lip service. Instead, if he’s upset that his donations to some Islamic charity may have resulted in his name on a watch list, then perhaps he should look towards the charity organization that he supports. The sad truth is that if only 1% of Islamic charity organizations secretly fund terror groups, the rest are tainted, especially if moderate Muslims come across as unable or unwilling to weed out the rotten eggs. The U.S. government (or any western government) is going to be ill equipped to know which organization is good and which is bad. However, someone like Yusuf, who has been inside the Islamic community for a third of a century could be more effective by scrutinizing the charity organizations he donates to and calling on them to be more transparent. If Yusuf could break himself away momentarily from playing the victim, perhaps he could spare some energy towards stopping the loons that have hijacked his religion and made a mockery of good will and righteousness. It’s not a question of just or unjust, but rather the law of the jungle that says that somebody is going to have to confront radical Islam. One would think that corrective action from peace-loving Muslims, like Mr. Stevens, is preferrable to some inevitably ham-fisted U.S. action.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Flip-flopper In Chief, or, George Goes All Wobbly

The Bush administration is talking about pulling out of Iraq next year, regardless of the outcome. Note that the article is not by Alterman or rather, but by Novak.
Troops stationed in Germany to pull out.

Scare Tactics!

Democrats unleash the Bush-will-start-the-draft talking point:

Web logger Betsy Newmark said that college students at the University of Arizona have been getting an e-mail that says: "There is pending legislation in the House and Senate, S 80 and HR 163, to reinstate mandatory draft for boys and girls (ages 18-26) starting June 15, 2005. This plan includes women in the draft, eliminates higher education as a shelter, and makes it difficult to cross into Canada.

"The Bush administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed now, while the public's attention is on the elections. The Bush administration plans to begin mandatory draft in the spring of 2005, just after the 2004 presidential election."

There are bills in the House and Senate calling for reinstitution of conscription. They have attracted a handful of sponsors and cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.

Message to Old Europe:

Do not underestimate the power of the wand.

Incidentally, Kerry said to NPR last week that Bush has shown a lack of imagination regarding how to deal with our reluctant allies and get them to help in alternate ways. One thing he suggested was to load Iraqis on a 747 and send them off to Europe to be trained. Well, I'm not sure what type of aircraft they are using, but it seems like we're already doing that according to the article:

"Berlin already trains Iraqi security forces outside Iraq and France has said it would do so."

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Tax cuts as a moral issue

Cutting income, estate, and dividend taxes while not cutting spending by the same amount, continuing to promise entitlements, and even expanding entitlements (prescription drug benefit) is morally wrong. Allowing continued and even increased spending means that we're passing on a tax hike to the next generation. Not to mention that it's taking money out of my pocket (in the form of the payroll tax) and putting it into rich people's pockets.

As of December 2003, I have paid in $13,090 into Social Security and $3,074 into Medicare. My employers have met that same amount. All that for a service that I will probably never see.

Call it putting lipstick on a pig, but if a president cannot fix a broken system with a surplus (or at least, closer to running in the black then the country is now) and with approval ratings over 80%, he's not politically courageous. He's simply pandering for votes with his tax cuts.

Lastly, about 1/3 of the national debt is held by foreigners. The deeper in debt we go, the more vulnerable we are to foriegn interests. China and Japan are the two largest foreign holders of U.S. Treasury bonds. If China decided to take their investments elsewhere, our economy could be hosed.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Some blogs blocked for troops

With little rhyme or reason. Coincidentally, my girlfriend works for Websense, the company providing the filtering service for the Air Force.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Nostalgia

It’s nice to see someone praising the score of Where Eagles Dare. I remember watching that credit sequence over and over, copied off a grainy squished channel 34 print. What a great movie. Probably the best from an Alistair McLean book. Guns of Navarone is a better novel, and an excellent film, but it lacks the catharsis of Clint Eastwood mowing down Nazis by the score. It also lacks hot Bavarian cleavage.

Where Eagles Dare has great atmosphere, and Richard Burton is at his coolest. Plenty of plots and counter plots and counter-counter plots.

Lileks is too harsh on American military music. Who can possibly dislike "Anchors Aweigh"? Sheesh! All that Victory at Sea stuff is great.

abuse of the patriot act

who, one day, will be among the ranks of terrorists?

"More than 150 local governments have passed resolutions opposing the law as an overly broad threat to constitutional rights."

soon, maybe some will disappear because they have purchased the majikat dvd.
american consumer-->cdnow-->cat stevens concert on dvd-->yusuf islam-->yufuf's small kindness charity-->hamas

PLEA FOR THE PATRIOT ACT

Note to Congress

Thursday, September 23, 2004

"They've got some WMD 'intent' in them there dunes!"

when bush got elected after the court's decision i just thought, "wow, at least the comedy will be good." but, unfortunately, i never thought it would be this funny. patriotic posters.
A curiously positive take on Afghanistan from the NY Times.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Revised Answers to Steve's Questions

First, perhaps you should say Republican friend, singular, as the other conservative members of this blog have been virtually silent.

Going after Hussein before getting bin Laden:

I’m not sure it was an either/or situation. Had we not gone into Iraq, would we now have bin Laden? I really don’t think you can put the rest of the war on hold until you capture a man that no one has seen for three years. Who knows when we’ll catch him. I’m not fully convinced that Osama’s not buried in the rocks somewhere.

I don’t see how you can make the argument that the war is best fought by doing one thing at a time, especially when the enemy is in many places at once doing several things at a time. The War on Terror is not just about Osama or al Qaeda, but a web of terror networks that spawn from a depraved midsection of the world.

Also, I apologize if I come across as an armchair general. That is certainly not my intention. My view is that I simply believe we should fight this war aggressively on multiple fronts, militarily, economically, and diplomatically. The overall strategy of going after states that support terror is one that I believe is sound. I try to refrain from “generalship” and leave the specifics up to the commanders. I also realize that even successful wars are a mess, so there is no point confusing victory with perfection.

Tax cuts:

To me, it is a moral issue. Money is property and belongs to the person that earned it. Government does not have a mandate (so far as I know) to redistribute wealth. However, government is responsible for national security and upholding constitutional freedoms. As such, taxes are necessary, but they should be as minimal, and they should cut evenly. I personally believe in a flat tax, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. As for now, the rich get the bigger part of the tax cut because they pay the most taxes. Who am I to say that a dollar for a millionaire is not more precious than a dollar for a pauper? Most hand-to-mouth people I know piss their money away as it is (including myself). I have religious feelings about sharing wealth, but that does not mean that I can impose those feelings on others? I am not currently in the income bracket to fully enjoy the tax cuts, but someday I plan to be. (When I get a chance, I’ll look at my tax records and get back to you on that). I have recently joined the investing class, and the dividend tax cuts (I wish they were eliminated altogether) will be welcome. At first, since my dividends are still small, those cuts will be small. However, since I plan on increasing my wealth, I look forward to having a fair and (if Bush can come through during a second term) simplified tax code to help me gain wealth. Once I gain wealth, it's my business about what I do with it.

Tax cuts on the economy:

Most economists that I read (except Paul Krugman) seem to agree that tax cuts and tax certainty (i.e. making the tax cuts permanent) encourage investment, which encourages economic growth, which will create business and jobs. It’s an immense topic and I don’t pretend to know half of it, but I’m learning, slowly but surely. I’m still trying to figure out how much the deficit plays into things. I do believe that part of the reason why a big nation like the U.S. has better unemployment figures than smaller European countries (or the rest of the world, for that matter) is that it taxes lighter and puts more emphasis on individual freedom. Also, the tax cuts are meant for long-term benefit and haven't all gone into effect yet, so it’s impossible to estimate its effects this quickly. However, I certainly think they've played a part in the recovery. I know you don't want to hear about numbers so much, but allow me this one: in 2001 the CSMonitor was posting massive layoffs on an almost daily basis. Since the tax cuts, that trend stopped and has turned around. Aside from a slow mid summer period, this year has posted some pretty steady job creations. Those numbers mean something. When there were 9 democrats running for office, the talking point was that Bush lost 3 million net jobs. Now, Kerry is forced to say it's under a million. Considering that you agreed that the job hemorraging at the beginning of Bush's term was not due to Bush, I'm not sure what your gripe is.

No Child Left Behind:

I don’t have children at the present time, but it does not take much revisionist history to realize that education has been problematic throughout civilization -especially universal education. In fact, such a thing was not feasible until the last two hundred years. I’m not sure what you expect, but to think that a single initiative by the federal government, which accounts for an average of less than 6% of funding for public schools, is going to turn around education is just not realistic. I don’t know how this plan will work out, but I’m willing to give it time. I think that if the federal government is going to give money to schools, then they should set criteria. The schools can always opt out of the funding if they believe they can do better without it. Ultimately, education reform is going to come about locally. I think vouchers are an interesting alternative that I would like to see tried.

Defense of Marriage:

I oppose any amendment to the Constitution, whether for gay marriage or foreigners wanting to run for President. I strongly support leaving the Constitution alone. However, I don’t mind settling the issue of gay marriage through the amendment process. Why? For a couple of reasons. I would rather have the states decide through the legislative branch what is legal and what is not. If unelected judges decide that marriage can constitutionally be same sex, then forty-nine states will have to recognize Massachusetts law. Again, I have no qualms about same sex marriage, but I think it should be decided by the states. At least a amendment has to get a 2/3 vote through congress and then pass through three fourths of the state. At that point, Massachusetts is still able to approve gay marriage, but no other states are obligated to uphold their law. At least, that is how I understand it. The second reason: despite the fact that a majority of Americans disagree with same sex marriage, I don’t see how there’s enough support to pass the amendment. Ultimately, I know some conservatives see gay marriage as a long term threat, but since I don't share that view so I hesitate to explain that position.

The PATRIOT Act:

I don't know all the ways that this act has been used effectively, but I noticed that during the 9/11 Comission hearings, people from both sides of the aisle testified that it was long overdue. Not only am I not a armchair general, I'm not an armchair lawyer or cop either. If people in law enforcement thinks it will help them fight terror, and I don't see significant violations in civil liberties, then I say go for it. I have no problem at all about tweeking the law before renewing - strengthening it in some areas and cutting other areas out.

Whether it is due to the war abroad or the PATRIOT Act at home, I have taken note that there has not been a major terror attack on this soil since 9/11. I attribute that to us and not to the terrorists. I'd like to see that trend continue.

Ultimately, for 2004, I'm a single issue voter. It's about the war. That my candidate supports tax cuts, the 2nd Amendment, overhauling social security, and supporting judges that take a strict interpretation of the Constitution is all gravy.

In short: 1) I feel safer when we are fighting the war aggressively and everywhere; I'm not an armchair general, I'm an armchair cheerleader; 2) tax cuts promote investment in the economy; 3) No Child Left Behind is not an end-all reform measure, but deserves time to work; 4) I believe that government should stay out of the bedroom, and the bedroom should stay out of government; and 4) the only thing regrettable about the PATRIOT act is its awful name.

Just Curious...

Since it seems to be getting shrill around these parts concerning Mythical WMDs, historical revisionism on elections (stolen or whatever) or when a world body criticizes the United States by voicing the opinions of the rest of the planet...
I would like to hear from our republican friends why it was so necessary to go after Hussein when we were after (and quite possibly close to capturing) Bin Laden? Erm... wouldn't it have been better to finish one job before starting on another? Maybe this has been addressed before... but I want to read it succinctly stated (hopefully minus a flow chart, diagrams and lots of quotes from other blogs/news services/ whatever)

Or better yet, how about taking a break from the armchair generalship (as I'm sure our republican friends are mighty military commanders in their wargames or wherever it is they work out these brilliant strategies) and please tell me how their candidate is going to help things back home.

Please explain to me how the economy has improved thanks to the tax cuts... or marked improvements that the "no child left behind" act has made in American education... or perhaps to keep a little bit closer to the flavor of the times of late - how the Patriot Act has kept America safe. To venture into the absurd - let's even look at what if's. Like the defense of marriage act... please explain to me how this would improve the lives of americans. Really, I want to know.

And now here's the tricky part.

Instead of just quoting from the blogosphere... how about telling me how such things have made you feel safer, or you child has been better educated, or your job position has been improved. Or your marriage is better off for nearly having been made a constitutionally protected instituion. How have the tax cut and that 300~600 dollars we got way back in the day has overall improved your life?

Seriously, I'd like to hear it. Granted, I may critique it, but for now, I just want to hear some of the positive things you feel that Bush has done here.

Kofi's Conscience

In the wake of Kofi’s recent comments claiming that the U.S. invasion was illegal, (I’m not sure how that squares with UN resolutions 1441, 1511 and 1546, but I digress) it is prudent to look at a more egregious crime against humanity.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

wow. thanks homeland security for keeping me safe from yusuf

i'm in a quandary. i have sought out and own works of art as well as writings by this man. like this:

Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss

The “Stolen” Election

Hopefully, Nov. 2nd will put a stake in the heart of this myth.
Bill Kristol goes over Kerry's Iraq strategy

Why WMDs are Still a Valid Reason for the Iraqi Invasion and Why Circumstantial Evidence is Enough

And a little bit about the state of our intelligence

I don’t think that the WMD argument proved false. Granted, the stockpiles haven’t been found & many believe won’t be found, but it was not necessarily the stockpiles that were a threat to the U.S. so much as Saddam’s ability to make WMDs and provide them to terrorists. And we know that he had dormant programs, and we still firmly believe that he intended to restart them. In fact, many on the left have been quick to acknowledge Saddam’s possession of chemical weapons whenever they could blame the U.S. for providing them, so I fail to see how they rationalize that he did not have them in 2003. What has been found to suggest that Saddam would not have been able to supply terrorists with WMD? In fact, after the USS Cole bombing, Iraqi intelligence seemed open to providing al Qaeda with help in procuring chemical weapons. That threat was too real to ignore. In a post 9/11 world, the burden of proof was with the dictator to convince us that he meant no harm. He failed by not upholding the provisions of 1441.

As for keeping Saddam in a box, the clock was ticking on that. It was only through U.S. military pressure that weapons inspectors were able to get back into Iraq - costly military pressure. Certainly France, who had routinely opposed inspections and previous UN resolutions throughout the decade before, knew that it would hurt the U.S. to keep a large force cramped in Qatar, indefinitely, while the inspection charade dragged on. The longer the inspections went, the more difficult it was going to be for us to use those forces to advance a solution. There were only two options: 1) Saddam could come clean; or 2) the clock would run out.

Since Bush’s job is to protect the U.S., he had to assume the worst regarding Saddam. Given the intelligence, given the trauma of 9/11 on our economy, culture and security, given Saddam’s aspirations, how could Bush justify not toppling Saddam? Since he had been blamed for not connecting the dots with 9/11, how on earth could he explain another catastrophe that might have been facilitated by Iraq? He was looking at a region that was breeding and supporting terrorism. We definitely know that Saddam and the Taliban supported terror. We know that Saudi Arabia supported terror. We know that Egypt supports terror. We know that Syria, Libya, and Iran all support terror. The “stability” of the Middle East produced 9/11. That status quo was unacceptable. So who to go after first? When a cheetah hunts, it goes after the weakest in the herd. In this case, after the Taliban, it was the country that we had been exchanging fire with on a routine basis for the past 12 years and had 17 UN resolutions against it, making it outside the community of nations. It was the country with a dictator that had a vested interest in keeping the Middle East oppressed and problematic for the West.

Obviously Iraq is not the only threat. There’s Iran and Saudi Arabia. Look at the map. As Iran continues its support of nuclear weapons, is it not better that the U.S. has it pinched between Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey? It looks like a nasty zit, ready to pop if need be.

Going back to stockpiles…that we haven’t accounted for what was once out there is very troubling. I’m probably the only person on the planet who doesn’t believe that our intelligence was an overwhelming failure, but I was still alarmed at how little we knew. I was surprised to learn that the CIA did not have agents operating in Iraq. Subsequently, I doubt we have agents in N. Korea (though I hope to God S. Korea does) or Iran. We obviously have a lot of work to do on our intelligence in order to fight this war, but that does not mean we have the luxury of putting it off. We don’t. We put it off for over a decade and instead of changing our intelligence to fit the new threat, we concentrated on budget cuts. I don’t think Clinton should be singled out as the only culprit for this – we were all asleep. It was the climate of the 90’s. But that period is over.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Kerry doesn't understand the war

from yahoo

Kerry said Monday, "Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to al-Qaida, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no because a commander in chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe."

Kerry ignores the pre-war debate about attacking a country before it was an imminent threat. He also fails to acknowledge the evidence that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda (I realize that others on this blog don’t believe any Iraq/al Qaeda links. Too bad that you don’t consider very real circumstantial evidence in such a link to be as credible as fake memos and ax grinding charges from Bill Burkett towards our president).

He said Bush's invasion of Iraq has created a crisis that could lead to unending war and raises questions about whether Bush's judgment is up to presidential standards. He offered his own four-point plan starting with pressing other nations for help.
_ Get more help from other nations.
_ Provide better training for Iraqi security forces.
_ Provide benefits to the Iraqi people.
_ Ensure that democratic elections can be held next year as promised.


? Wow! Kerry is sooo creative!

"By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war," Kerry said. "If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded."

I haven’t counted the reasons, myself, but I know there were more than one. And each one, including WMDs, holds up.

Kerry said Bush's two main rationales — weapons of mass destruction and a connection between al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks — have been proven false by weapons inspectors and the bipartisan commission investigating the attacks.

Again, the deliberate blurring of al Qaeda and 9/11. (Note: even a Saddam-9/11 link hasn’t been proven false. Kerry should know that.)

Conclusion: Not only is the Bush/Cheney ticket the only sane one on the ballot, but I believe Bush is the only elected official in DC that is as patient as the terrorists.

Operation Fortunate Son

aka Operation Unfortunate Strategy:

On August 11, for example, Bob Tuke, the Tennessee state chair of Veterans for Kerry, told a Nashville radio station that, soon, "We may also know why Bush failed to show up for his medical exam that caused him to lose his flight status."

Let me guess, the reason why the DNC is locked into this suicidal campaign is because they are building the foundation for their “October surprise”…. Bush missed his physical because of cocaine.

Watching the Kerry campaign is like watching a train wreck….

RATHER TO BREAK FORGERY STORY?

Say it ain't so. A month ago I would've assumed that Bush got special treatment in the guard, but since CBS had to resort to bogus documents and claims from Bush-hater, Bill Burkett, I'm starting to think that he fulfilled his obligations. Why on earth would Bush have to answer claims based on forged documents, especially when they blew up in the face of the messenger like some incompetent suicide bomber?

Friday, September 17, 2004

A good write-up on Bush's National Guard service. The best line:
"A guardsman who did less than he signed up for is coercing other guardsmen to do
more than they signed up for."


But, I don't think the swing voters give a damn about Bush's National Guard record, so I don't think it's going to hurt Bush.

The Burden Of Proof...

Do I think Bush lied about his service, ditched out on a medical exam, disobeyed a direct order and was treated preferentially?
As an unfounded belief, an article of faith?
Yes.
To me, it's par for the course for the scion of a corrupt brood of lying, self-serving usurpers who are desroying our political system and undermining the ideals of this country to return to the Gilded age of the late 19th century when the rich got everything and the rest of us had to work for them to do it.

AS an example, consider the tax cuts that were so touted.
I dunno bout you, but when I got a check for 300 dollars one year and in the following years have had to shell out upwards of $1500 a year in taxes, I'm not seeing any benefits.
And where's the improvement in the economy?
Not some bullshit listing of numbers showing an increase in jobs, but the atcual real jobs? Delta is shutting down operations here in Dallas - looking like a net loss of some 4000 jobs. American is picking up the terminal space, but that's only going to bring back some 1500-2000 jobs... still 2000 people out of work. This is an improving economy?

Getting back to the Draft thing, and my articles of faith...
No, I haven't read the Kitty Kelly book, but other documents/articles/books put out previously corroborate some of the other things she has (now famously) leaked.

So - off the soapbox for a minute - Dan Rather makes a good argument here.
If these are indeed fakes, then how come Bush himself refuses to pony up and say anything?
Can he stand up and directly contradict what the implication of these documents is?
Rather now admits that there is a strong possibility the documents themselves were forged (and nice to see how you on the right decide to attack him, instead of paying attention to the rest of the article) but goes on to say that the Secretary who dropped this bombshell corroborates the information contained therein.
So the papers are phony, but the idea presented is growing in credibility. And as Rather insisted - if these are fakes, come out and refute the implications.
This denial by implication is a smokescreen.
Especially now that we have a someone who while undermining the veracity of the papers, confirms the sentiment contained in them.
This situation is beginning to sound a lot like "kill the messenger" to me.

I guess I should be used to this since we have a presidency that is used to dealing in half truths and falsehoods...
Like the Imminent Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction being so much smoke, I guess I can't expect too much...
So let's see:
Lies: "I served my time in the National Guard"
Damn Lies: "Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction, and can use them, as well as meeting with Al-Qaeda"
And Statistics: 1022 dead American Troops in Iraq.

Answer the questions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

WMD used in Darfur

According to Die Welt. Note: Syrian involvement.
From the Corner on NRO: scroll down to the third photo and look out the window. And this site with some good poster/bookcover art.
A French leader with an American dream

Monday, September 13, 2004

You could've knocked me over with a feather. Chris Matthews actually looked back at the whole Cheney quote and corrected his interpretation. Next thing you know, Kerry/Edwards might remove it from their talking points.
The Democrats can't buy a break. They thought they had Bush on serving in the Air Force, but it turns out that he did. It is getting to the point that the only slime left is what is in Kitty Kelly's book.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Am I dreaming?

DNC TO LAUNCH FRESH ATTACK ON BUSH GUARD DUTY...

Never let 'em see you duped

The blogosphere swats three with one blow:

I know you are all probably weary of memos after the weekend's onslaught. But it would be remiss of me to not blog on what I’ve spent much of the weekend looking at. A few points:

First, Dan Rather decided to defend his story based on newly uncovered and questionable memos. I doubt the blogosphere will be content with his defense. No matter, this won't sink that stubborn ol' cuss.

Second, Terry McCauliffe, who has used multiple and inconsistent stratagems to defend Kerry's Cambodia claims ranging from backing Kerry’s claims to knowledge of any claims…IN THE SAME DAY!!! (see Hugh Hewitt- scroll to the bottom). His bottom line on Kerry’s service is that it doesn’t matter what happened three decades ago. But he wasted no time in asking where Bush was during the time and musing that perhaps the fake memos were a Karl Rove plant. Cute. To the DNC Karl Rove is the Evil Genius that is responsible for all of the Democrats’ woes. As for Vietnam relevancy: Kerry has built his tour of duty as his primary credential for the presidency, Bush has not.

Third, Kerry campaign attack poodle, John Edwards, called on Bush to explain the memos. Thus drawing the campaign into the mud. Bush’s National Guard duty is a legitimate target for questioning and I’m glad that Kerry is going after it. Full speed ahead!

A brief summary of the chatter:

Little Green Footballs and Powerline seem to have took the lead on the memos. Scroll around, there’s plenty.

Hugh Hewitt has some good round-ups.

Stephen Hayes, a good investigative journalist.

Byron York defends Bush’s service here and elsewhere.

Instapundit has this interesting comparison.

Media Matters provides the most comprehensive defense for CBS regarding the superscript and font type, etc.

Interesting that Media Matters hyperlinks Talking Points here, but scroll up and you’ll see that Talking Points backs off its defense.

And there’s Atrios.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Bush and Congress give terrorists new tools on the homefront, despite the urgings of law enforcement. Yes, potential terrorists probably could have smuggled assault weapons into the U.S. during the ban, but the idea is to make it as hard as possible for them to get their hands on them.

I had satisfied myself with restrictions on weapons with the assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill. Those were 2 pieces of legislation designed to limit the mass-killing ability of a bad guy, while allowing people with clean records to obtain handguns and hunting rifles. Plus, I gave up on any more restrictions when Newt Gingrich put off debate on guns for two weeks right after Columbine, as he did not want to pass hasty legislation. Apparently, the threshold for hasty legislation is somewhere between 13 and 2700 dead.

At least, when a few al Qaeda with AK-47's spray down dozens in a shopping mall or elementary school, we know whom to hold accountable for allowing them get ahold of the weapons.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Buzzflash lead today is funny:

Edwards Calls Cheney Remark 'Un-American.' Asks Bush to Apologize. You Got That Right. Cheney is Holding America Hostage to Terrorist Threats.

Come now, Edwards, stop whining and be a man about it. To date, I haven’t heard Bush or Cheney call any of their opponents ‘Un-American’ or question their patriotism, etc. And yet, they are shrilly accused of doing so or creating an atmosphere for such rhetoric, while both Kerry and Edwards engage in that type of rhetoric directly.

Take a look at the Cheney quote as presented by the AP:

“It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.”

Implying that a vote for Kerry would result in an attack. That would sink the rhetoric down to the same kind fear mongering rhetoric that Mat dislikes.

But take a look at the full quote from the transcript:

“We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.”

That’s something completely different. That’s questioning Kerry’s beliefs on the nature of the war – a legitimate difference based on Kerry’s own remarks. I wonder if the AP writer kept a straight face when misquoting Cheney.
Mickey Kaus on Kerry's Dept. of Wellness
France didn't oppose Iraqi freedom simply on moral grounds. It was in their financial interest to keep Iraqis oppressed.

Kerry and Foreign Policy

Kerry attempted to bamboozle MTV vote rockers in his first “serious” interview since the Swift Boat ad (Sorry, the second serious interview. I forgot about the Daily Show):

Yago: Your exit strategy for Iraq is based on the idea that if you're elected, you'll be able to bring our traditional allies back to the table to help our cause, but what if they say no to you?

Kerry: Well, I have a lot of tools available to me. This president has not done the statesmanship and has not shown the leadership to bring other countries to us. Their resistance to [helping in] Iraq is not only based on Iraq: It's based on the fact that the United States is now pursuing new nuclear weapons, even as we talk about other countries not having them. It's based on the fact that we walked away from the global warming treaty and we dissed 160 nations that worked 10 years to try to build a cooperative attitude. Only the U.S. said "no" and walked away. We haven't paid attention to North Korea, nuclear weapons there. We've ignored AIDS in Africa and elsewhere in the world. So we need to show global, moral, responsible leadership, and if we do that we're going to be far more inviting to other nations to come to our side. In addition, the president has done almost nothing to reduce the increasing clash of radical Islam with moderate Islam and the rest of the world's religions. We need to reach out to people and isolate the fundamentalist extremists and not have them isolate us. That's a big difference. I'll conduct a foreign policy that lives up to America's values, I'll conduct a war that makes America safer, and I will win friends and allies to our side.

One of the problems before 9/11 was that there was no clash between radical Islam and moderate Islam and the rest of the world’s religions. The radicals got away with murder, literally. Sadly, there still isn’t enough of a clash. It took that attack in Beslan for Russia to accept preemption. What’s it going to take for France or Germany? Kerry’s Kyoto malarkey is discussed here. His allegation that we’ve ignored AIDS in Africa is refuted here. His “we haven’t paid attention to North Korea” claim is discounted here.

And then there was the speech he gave in Cincinnati where he framed Iraq in terms of what it was costing us at home. To his credit, Kerry managed to explain how he could afford trillions of dollars in new domestic programs:

After-School Programs:
…$200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford after-school programs for our children…

Veteran Healthcare:
…$200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford health care for our veterans.

Cops:
…$200 billion dollars for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford to keep the 100,000 police officers we put on the streets during the 1990s.

Slush fund for Education, Heath Care and Job Creation:
…$200 billion that we're not investing in education and health care, job creation here at home…

An extra $200 billion leftover from the “go it alone” fee:
…$200 billion for going it alone in Iraq.

Unemployment or Job Creation:
And while we're spending that $200 billion in Iraq -- that's to this date; it will go on -- 8 million Americans are looking for work here in America.

Health Care Cost:
$200 billion in Iraq, while the costs of health care are going through the roof.

Medicare:
They're charging 17 percent more for Medicare while making America pay $200 billion for a go-it-alone policy in Iraq.

Deficit Reduction:
…we're spending $200 billion in Iraq while we're running up the biggest deficits in American history, the biggest deficits announced yesterday and the biggest debt.

Energy Independence:
...we're spending $200 billion there instead of investing in making America energy independent.

Homeland Security:
...we're spending $200 billion in Iraq, while we're told that we can't afford to do everything that we should be doing for homeland security.

For a total of $2.2 trillion!

Finally, Bill Kristol discusses Kerry's foreign policy shortcomings and his worst enemy, himself.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Captain Ed has the audacity to question Kerry's ability to lead this nation.

The Pentagon's New Map

This weekend on C-SPAN I saw the author of this piece lecture on the military’s new role in the world. It was informative and gave a taste of the kind of thinking that is going on in the Pentagon. The piece I linked to covers part of his lecture, though it was written prior to the Iraqi invasion so it doesn’t cover the current state of security in Iraq. If you get a chance to see it on C-SPAN, it will be worth your time.

On a related note: the Belmont Club has this post about our missile defense posture that was noteworthy.

The Kerry Dilemma – To Fight or Not to Fight

From Newseek: “John Kerry wanted to hit back. It had been a miserable August as he took incoming fire about his military service from a gang of hostile Vietnam vets. But no, campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and other staffers argued, the Swift Boat ads would blow over.”

James Carville says: Every attack must be responded to. (attributed by me)

From the NYT: “In an expansive conversation, Mr. Clinton, who is awaiting heart surgery, told Mr. Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam”

Whew! Thank God this fellow isn’t making decisions for a country during a time of change. His indecisiveness has turned his very campaign into a quagmire. We need a Fortinbras more than we need a Hamlet.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

saddam verse and a better homeland security

even though i think we could have effectively dealt with the iraqi regime in a less violent and brutal manner check out these limericks from saddam.

and talk about a better homeland security. read on.

Friday, September 03, 2004

TO THE GUTTERS!!!

"Is any alcoholic ever really cured?"

Somehow, after three years of Bush bashing, the anti-Bush crowd thinks they haven't been aggressive enough. Susan Estrich (whom I admire, by the way) thinks it's time to fight fire with fire. It promises to be another muddy 60 days.
What is Kerry thinking? Why does he insist on keeping Vietnam front and center of his campaign while refusing to confront the Swiftboat charges. I don't get it.

Final Night of the Convention

"Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking.'"

Bush did what he had to do and perhaps a little more. He was a little slow coming out of the gate, but by about 15 minutes into the speech he found a brisker rhythm and I don’t think the protestors did much to throw him off his track.

He outlined his domestic agenda but didn’t get too specific, being a convention speech and all. There were a few bold proposals, from malpractice reform and a health care buying plan for small businesses to social security reform and re-hauling the tax code. I think his “ownership society” rhetoric will resonate among voters. As someone who has recently been breaking into the investor class, I particularly like the idea of individual accounts. For people that criticize Bush for tapping into social security, they should welcome the “nest egg you can call your own and government can never take away.”

All in all, he did a good job focusing on the future and in describing his last term as part of that projection into the future. He effectively explained that many of our institutions and laws were designed for the last 50 years and the we need to change them to accommodate the present and future.

In contrast to the Yahoo article posted by Mat, I think Bush has got a winning argument about Kerry disrespecting our allies:

“In the midst of war, he has called America's allies, quote, a ‘coalition of the coerced and the bribed.’ That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others — allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician. I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.”

Everyone knows that the U.S. has most of the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. But regardless of how much support we’re given by these countries, support is support, and it is wise to appreciate and be thankful for that support instead of ridiculing it. That is, if you want support in the future. Surely, that is taught in Diplomacy 101.

And Bush showed himself to be humble and emotional, something Kerry has hitherto been unable to express. Unless your heart has been hardened against him, W. came across as sincere and humble; emotional but collected.

Convention Summary - I think the convention was definitely stronger than the one in Boston. Obviously, the GOP figures that the War on Terror is the issue of the day and that it’s a winner for them. I’m not sure what kind of bounce Bush will get in the polls, but I personally had about a 7- point bounce.

Believe the WORDS....

A portrait of the man leading us in these troubled times.

president bush and the complex facts

i'm happy to see this article so soon on the yahoo! news: "Bush Leaves Out Complex Facts in Speech." and here's something on factcheck.org about kerry's nuances concerning the body armor vote. click here.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

France and the U.S. cooperating?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Third Night of the Convention (aka: All You Can Eat)

I am stuffed like a tick! I haven’t had that much red meat in years! Zell Miller absolutely sassed his party. Sassed it! He beat on Kerry like a tap drum. And as passionate as he was – as much anger as he has towards his fellow Dems – he still didn’t scream and yell and look like a madman they way former Vice President Al Gore has been partial to doing this year. There will be some gristle left over for the Kerry camp to chew on and complain about, but that speech had to smart. Overall, that was the most damning condemnation of Kerry, yet. Zell took his senate record, which Kerry strategically ignored during his own convention leaving it wide-open and unprotected, and he flayed it to pieces. It wasn’t just a few stray votes that you can easily chalk up to the amendment process and nuance. He depicted a voting pattern.

Then came Cheney. He was far more collected and stoic than Miller, but still brutal towards Kerry while comparing the two candidates at the end of the speech. They painted Kerry, alright. By the end or the night that donkey had two thick coats on him before they set him out to wander.

Afterwards, Miller, still fired up, was on Chris Matthews. Matthews asked (and I paraphrase): “do you really think that Kerry and Kennedy want to defend this nation with spitballs (as he said in the speech)?” That was about the time that Miller went off on Chris, saying stuff like he knew he would ask that type of garbage, etc. Of course Matthews kept asking it and Miller responded with something like: “You know what metaphor is don’t you Chris?” Zell got a little carried away, but it was funny stuff. Even Matthews, with rating points in his eyes, liked it. He and panel were laughing about interview for a while afterwards.

So after three strong nights of speeches, which perhaps crescendoed tonight, I'm wondering how Bush will tie it all up in a neat little package for the voters tomorrow. Can he cap off a strong aggressive convention with his intimate theater in the round performance? Stay tuned.

A Call For Reason

From REASON Magazine

Second Night of the Convention

Another good convention night, speech-wise. If anyone thought that Arnold regretted his girlie man remark in California, well they now know different. The speech was simple, but effective. I particularly liked the parts about growing up in Austria and his immigrant story. Many have pointed out that this was the first convention to positively invoke the name of Nixon.

And what can you say about the Bush girls? Ouch. Lileks made a good observation:

"Next, the Twins. Painful. Turn-the-channel-painful. They have to stop dragging the kids out in these events before a candidate has a pregnant wife and the fetus has to appear via sonogram. Look! It’s giving us the thumbs up!"

But the hamster joke was funny. I’ll give Clinton credit on this score, after 8 years in office, I don’t think I heard his daughter give one speech.

Laura Bush didn’t say too much that was surprising. Her job was to simply be a classy lady. However, it was notable that despite the compassionate conservative theme, the war was once again front and center, even in her speech. I guess that pitch is the center poll in their big tent.
Swift Boats and Double Standards