"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Five Years Later - II



When I returned to work in lower Manhattan after 9/11, I was initially reluctant to take photographs of the devastation. Eventually, I did bring a digital video camera (I did not yet own a digital still camera) and took a few photos.

Photo #1 above shows the burned-out #5 World Trade Center before it was demolished. My office building was the one on the right side in the picture. My firm has since moved uptown.



Photo #2 is a closer view of #5 WTC. In the right foreground is the tower of St. Paul's Chapel (1766), where George Washington worshipped when New York was capital of the U.S. and where George W. Bush recently attended a service on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. According to the church's website, "for nine months after the attacks on the World Trade Center, it was the center of a relief ministry for ground-zero’s workers. Thousands of volunteers and hundreds of rescue workers passed through St. Paul’s, and the chapel became known around the world as 'the little chapel that stood.'” After 9/11, the iron fence surrounding the chapel became covered with missing-person signs, messages of support, flags, etc. The materials remained on the fence for a considerable period of time before they were finally taken down and archived.



Photo #3 is a close-up view of #5 WTC.



Photo #4 was taken from my firm's cafeteria. For months until we moved uptown, we had a bird's-eye view of the cleanup and recovery efforts. The pile of rubble between the two buildings to the right was #7 WTC. It is the only building that has been rebuilt.



Photo #5 is the same view at night. The work went on 24 hours per day, seven days a week.



Photo #6 shows the World Financial Center impaled by steel from the World Trade Center.



The barrel-vaulted structure in Photo #7 is the Winter Garden, a dining and shopping complex at the World Financial Center. Amazingly, the Winter Garden has been completely restored, and palm trees once again stand under its glass roof. To the left, of course, are the walls of the WTC.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Years Later

This blog has been inactive for about a year and a half, largely because I was enmeshed in selling our house in Brooklyn, N. Y., relocating to New Jersey, and getting settled in our new hometown and home.

Then, yesterday, I received the following email:

Dear Contributor to the September 11 Digital Archive:

On the Fifth Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we at the Archive encourage you to visit again and record your subsequent reflections on the experience and meaning of those events. The Archive is particularly interested in receiving five-year retrospective stories of the attacks, which can be posted at <http://911digitalarchive.org/stories/add.html> or recorded by calling (347) 284-6533.

My response follows:

Soon after 9/11/01, I contributed my story to the 9/11 Digital Archive <See September 11, 2004 post>. At that time, I wrote that "someone had written a message in the concrete dust on a burned-out car at ground zero: 'THIS WON'T STOP NY'".

Five years later, I'm glad to see that the attacks didn't stop New York. It's true that reconstruction at ground zero is not where many would like it to be, but there are bright spots: The 7 WTC building has been rebuilt, mass transit is running, and New York City's economy is booming.

On a personal note, my family has moved from Brooklyn, N.Y. to the New Jersey suburbs. My wife continues to work near ground zero, while my firm has moved uptown near Grand Central. We still feel very much in the crosshairs of terrorists.

I am saddened by the partisan bickering regarding the war on Islamofascism. After witnessing the attacks, not only did I know instantly that Osama bin Laden was responsible and that we would have to invade Afghanistan, but I very soon realized that in a post-9/11 world, there was no way that the status quo with Iraq could be allowed to continue. I recall talking with others who felt the same way.

Predictably, both the sense of unity felt within the country and the "goodwill" from other countries was short-lived. They would have evaporated regardless of the actions taken by the executive branch because, unfortunately, that is the nature of unity and goodwill in these circumstances.

I am also saddened that so many appear to have allowed 9/11 to disappear from their consciousness. It is not healthy to dwell on past trauma, but it is beneficial to take heed of history and be vigilant. It does a disservice to the memory of those murdered if we shirk our responsibility to remain on the offensive. A civilization that is ambivalent about its own survival will not survive long in the face of an existential threat.

Perhaps the hundreds of thousands who were present in downtown Manhattan that day have an "advantage", if you can call it that. Being an eyewitness to an atrocity sears your memory in a way that television and other mass media cannot. For better or worse, I will never forget, and my anger has not waned in five years—I expect it never will. When I hear stories of young men and women who were spurred to join the armed forces because of the attacks, I utterly understand that impulse, and I often wish I were a younger man. I feel my only direct, non-monetary contribution—one day of carting water and other supplies to recovery workers in September 2001—was insufficient.

In our new hometown there is a memorial at the train station, engraved with the names of local residents who lost their lives in the attack. I have seen others in surrounding towns. They remind me of the many similar markers one sees across the country, commemorating those fallen at the Somme, Normandy, Chosin, and Khe Sanh. There is, of course, one important difference: Those lost on 9/11 were not soldiers on a battlefield. They were defenseless. They never expected, when they said goodbye to their loved ones that morning, that they would be slaughtered in the first battle of a long war.

Terrorists are not noble, they are not "freedom fighters," and their actions are never justified. They are depraved, immoral, and inhuman. During the marking of the fifth anniversary, there was much talk of "hope". It is my hope that the civilized world maintains the will to eradicate the Islamofascists' threat to humanity. Appeasement, an attractive but dangerous illusion, will only lead to tragedy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Why Seville?

Why did I choose "Seville" as the surname of my nom de cyber? Here is an explanation. Not necessarily the true explanation, but a plausible one.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A New Paradigm For Fighting Terrorism

All hail Amy Nell of Concordia College for "thinking outside the box"! James Taranto of Opinionjournal.com reports that at a Nobel Peace Prize Forum to be held at Augsburg College, she will lead a session on fighting terrorism in a completely innovative way. The title of her session begins with these three words: "Fighting Terrorism With..." And what does the esteemed Ms. Nell advise us to use? Nuclear Weapons? Smart Bombs? Intelligence Gathering and Law Enforcement? Propaganda? Diplomacy? The Spread of Democracy? No.

For the answer, click here and scroll all the way to the bottom to "SS31".

The description reads like self-parody. Yes, folks, Ms. Nell wants to fight terrorism with "empathy". She also believes that the "recipe for a healthy nation" may be found in the November 2004 videotape released by Osama bin Laden in an pathetic attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election. You may recall this as the tape that the Associated Press described thusly:

In what appeared to be conciliatory language, bin Laden said he wanted to explain why he ordered the suicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon so Americans would know how to act to prevent another attack.

Apparently, Ms. Nell believes the AP's characterization and agrees that bin Laden now has our best interests at heart. And, hey, she has a point. After all, who better to advise us "how to act to prevent another attack" than OBL? Perhaps we should hire him as an anti-terrorism consultant.

Here's an analogy. Let's say you own a restaurant in Brooklyn. A wiseguy comes around and breaks your kneecap. Later, he returns and explains to you why he broke your kneecap so you would know how to act to prevent another attack, i.e., you must give him $500 every week. It seems that Ms. Nell would advise you to fork over the cash rather than call the cops and have the thug arrested.

Of course, this isn't a perfect analogy. The U.S. is not a helpless restaurant owner up against the mob--it has the most fearsome military the world has ever known. And bin Laden does not just want protection money. He wants the destruction of the West and the spread of his brand of totalitarianism across the globe.

It's a good thing that Amy Nell is only a photographer for Concordia's student newspaper, and not in a position of power. Someday though, she and her ilk, brainwashed in the left-leaning ivory towers of academia, may be in such positions, and God help us when that day comes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Reuters - Up To No Good, Again"

That was the message, from a friend, that accompanied the following clipping from the infamously, outrageously biased Reuters news service (emphasis mine):

Rice to Outline Foreign Policy Goals at Confirmation Hearing
By Saul Hudson
Reuters
Tuesday, January 18, 2005; 5:46 AM

Condoleezza Rice will likely hew to a hard-line U.S. foreign policy Tuesday when she outlines goals for the president's second term at her confirmation hearing as the first black woman nominated to be secretary of state.

Rice was President Bush's national security adviser for the four years of his tumultuous first term, which was marked by the Sept. 11 attacks, two wars and arguably the worst rift with Europe since World War II.

And now Bush wants the 50-year-old former Stanford university provost to replace Colin Powell, who was admired around the world and often perceived as a lonesome dove in an administration dominated by unilateralist hawks.

Here are a few random thoughts:
  • "Hard-line" is an interesting way to describe a liberal (in the classical sense) foreign policy dedicated to bringing democracy to the most undemocratic, dysfunctional region of the world.
  • I suppose the first term could be described as "tumultuous", what with 9/11 and the wars that it made necessary and all, but why is the U.S.'s "rift" with Europe never described as Europe's rift with us? After decades and billions spent to ensure the security of Europe, why shouldn't the U.S. expect more than sneers and back-stabbing?
  • Colin Powell is admired around the world? I'm sure there are some corners of the globe where people speak ill of the man. He is certainly admired in Bush-hating circles, because his State Department frequently worked at cross purposes to the efforts of the White House.
  • The "unilateralist" charge is a canard. And even if it weren't, why is unilateralism assumed to be a bad thing and multilateralism a good thing? As explained by more than one conservative pundit, the Axis powers of World War II acted multilaterally.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Great White Whale

As numerous bloggers and pundits have observed, the leadership at CBS mistakenly believes that the Independent Review Panel's report on the Memogate scandal exonerates the network of the charge of political bias. Asked to identify the number-one "villian" in the scandal, Dick Thornburgh identified "haste". It is asserted that CBS, due to competitive pressures, rushed the story to air.

But Mary Mapes had been working on the story for five years. By all appearances, George Bush was Moby-Dick to Mary Mapes's Captain Ahab, and the story was her harpoon.

The panel's report contains the following e-mail from Mike Smith, a freelance reported who worked with Mapes on the Texas Air National Guard memo story. As the report explains, "In apparent anticipation that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett might be reluctant to show them the documents, Smith e-mailed a detailed proposal to Mapes on Tuesday, August 31, regarding putting Lieutenant Colonel Burkett in touch with an agent for a book deal, and Smith indicated that he would try to work something out with his publishing friends" (emphasis mine):

Today I am going to send the following hypothetical scenario to a reliable, trustable editor friend of mine . . .
What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election but we needed to get an ASAP book deal to help get us the information? What kinds of turnaround payment schedules are possible, keeping in mind the book probably could not make it out until after the election . . . . What I am asking is in this best case hypothetical scenario, can we get a decent sized advance payment, and get it turned around quickly.

Then they will respond with some possible scenarios of what they could do. When we get to Burkett’s house I will have at least some scenarios to show Burkett about what could happen if he played ball with the documents. If he shows us what we want, then I can call my friend and tell him the real details and start the process.


Mapes's response was, "that looks good, hypothetically speaking of course."

This lays the cards on the table. Smith and Mapes were well aware that their story could damage the president. (I believe they far overestimated its traction with the electorate, however. George W. Bush never claimed to be a military hero, and most people simply don't care about his National Guard service.) Here we have a proposal to induce Burkett, through potential monetary gain, to produce documents that could (in Smith's and Mapes's minds) "possibly change the momentum of an election."

The agenda is clear. But the panel supposedly could not conclude that there was political bias in the reporting.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Rationale Canard

As reported by Kathryn Lopez on National Review Online, "The search for WMDs in Iraq is over. Which was announced last night on a local NYC ABC news broadcast as: 'The reason for the invasion of Iraq came up empty.'”

The MSM desperately cling to the canard that there was but one rationale offered for the invasion of Iraq. They cling to it because they believe it supports their biased view that the war was illegitimate.

As I explained in a post from February 5, 2004, President Bush made a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on September 12, 2002 that laid out many reasons for confronting Iraq. They were all valid and true, and they continue to be so:

-"Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation."
-"Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights."
-"Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments."
-"Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American President."
-"The Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge."
-"The regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents."
-"Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger."
-"Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause."
-"He's fired ballistic missiles at Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel."
-"With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow."

One must ask oneself, then, when a member of the MSM declares that the purported existence of WMD was the only rationale offered: Is this person biased or incompetent?

It has to be one or the other. Or both.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Queen of the Space Unicorns

According to the Independent Review Panel's report on the CBS Memogate scandal, Dan Rather "informed the Panel that he still believes the content of the documents is true because 'the facts are right on the money,' and that no one had provided persuasive evidence that the documents were not authentic."*

For the moment, let's leave aside this risible claim and refrain from pondering the credulity and self-delusion necessary to believe that 1970s-era typewriters could produce documents identical to those produced by the default settings of modern word processing programs. That just boggles the mind. The important thing to consider is this: No one has provided persuasive evidence that the documents are authentic. I wonder if Dan ever considered that.

*Highlighting the absurdity of Rather's "prove the negative" position, Jonah Goldberg points out that no one has provided persuasive evidence that Dan Rather is not "Queen of the Space Unicorns."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"I See Dead People"

I love that Howard Dean is still under the impression that he has a political career. In his letter to the DNC, throwing his hat into the ring as a candidate for the party's chairmanship, he wrote:
That word--values--has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when the political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.

You're familiar with the right-wing fringe, aren't you? It's the majority of Americans that voted for George W. Bush.

Dean reminds me of Malcolm Crowe. That's the character played by Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. He's a dead man that walks among the living, because he doesn't realize he's now part of the spirit world, and he stubbornly refuses to go to the "other side".

Where's Haley Joel Osment when you need him?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The New Year's First Example...

...of snarky media bias. In today's New York Times Magazine, Deborah Soloman interviews Jeanne Phillips, the chairwoman of the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee:

Q: I hear one of the balls will be reserved for troops who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A: Yes, the Commander-in-Chief Ball. That is new. It will be about 2,000 servicemen and their guests. And that should be a really fun event for them.

Q: As an alternative way of honoring them, did you or the president ever discuss canceling the nine balls and using the $40 million inaugural budget to purchase better equipment for the troops?

A: I think we felt like we would have a traditional set of events and we would focus on honoring the people who are serving our country right now -- not just the people in the armed forces, but also the community volunteers, the firemen, the policemen, the teachers, the people who serve at, you know, the -- well, it's called the StewPot in Dallas, people who work with the homeless.

Q: How do any of them benefit from the inaugural balls?

A: I'm not sure that they do benefit from them.

Q: Then how, exactly, are you honoring them?

A: Honoring service is what our theme is about.
Then Ms. Soloman returns to softball questions about whether the president likes to dance, and what he likes to eat.

I think we can forgive Ms. Phillips for being a bit flummoxed. She may have thought that Ms. Soloman was using "benefit" in the monetary sense. But can Ms. Soloman really be so obtuse as to not understand the concept of holding an event in someone's honor? Perhaps there is no honor among Times journalists.

I would have loved to see Ms. Phillips respond to the second question thusly: "As an alternative to your paper's current journalistic methods, have your editors discussed hiring reporters who write stories about things that actually happened, and keeping editorial content off the news pages?"

Happy(?) New Year

It was a somewhat somber New Year's, with the news from Asia about the rising death toll from the tsunami.

While Fox News concentrated on that U.N. guy who dissed the developed world as "stingy", and the subsequent one-upmanship of Western countries' pledges of aid, CNN did a much better job of telling the story of the human side of the catastrophe. The channel's "Survivor Stories" were heartbreaking, and told us more than Fox's incessant video of crashing waves and air drops of food.

On a couple of occasions, I have heard reporters comparing the damage and carnage to that caused by an atomic bomb. It is a good analogy.

A nuke propagates a shock wave that travels through the air over several miles, and whose force flattens almost anything in its path. It kills secondarily through fires and radiation.

A seabed earthquake, with a force many times greater than the largest nuke, also propagates a shock wave, although it travels through a very different medium--water. Therefore, the shock wave moves more slowly than a nukes', but it travels much farther; due to a tsunami's long wavelength, it does not lose much energy as it travels across the ocean. Because of ocean depths, the undersea earthquake's shock wave does no damage until it reaches landfall. Then, it expends its remaining energy, running over the land and causing nuke-like destruction. What it lacks in speed it makes up in mass; a large wave traveling 15 MPH can knock a house down as easily as a wind does blowing at 150 MPH. It kills through drowning and by blunt force. A tsunami may only reach a mile inland, however, because humanity clusters near the shore and in low-lying areas, and because the shock wave is dispersed over a wide geographic area, the potential for massive fatalities is great, as we have seen.

The New York Times ran a story about scientists who, after the earthquake, became aware of the scale of the tsunami and its potential for widespread destruction. They feverishly tried to warn the countries in danger, but they were stymied by this simple fact: they didn't have the phone numbers. There will undoubtedly be finger-pointing and hand-wringing about the failure of the "global community" to institute a simple call tree.

The unfortunate fact is that many people ignore warnings. Sirens sounded in Hilo, Hawaii before the 1960 Chilean tsunami, and many people stayed put, while others evacuated and returned too soon, after the first wave. The third was the largest. Sixty-one people died.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Hearts and Minds

This is a bit dated, but I just became aware of this letter (hat tip to my Blogspot colleagues Omar, Ali, and Mohammed at Iraq The Model, who by the way reportedly met President Bush the other day). Your browser may not be able to display the Arabic characters, and you may not even be able to read Arabic anyway, so here's a translation of portions of the letter:

In the name of God,

Sir, President George W. Bush, President of the United
States of America.

On behalf of the families of the victims of the mass graves, on behalf of the martyrs of “Halabja” and “Anfal” and on behalf of all the Iraqis that you liberated from dictatorship and oppression; we have prayed for you and now we want to send you our congratulations on being reelected as a president of the United States.

Mr. President, we’d love to congratulate you and the people of the United States on the beginning of a new phase of democracy, freedom and prosperity and we wish you and the American people the best, as they have led the liberation of Iraq and sacrificed their sons and daughters for the freedom of the Iraqis; the historical achievement that the United States has accomplished together with the other liberating countries. The United States and the coalition, among all other nations were the ones who recognized the suffering of the Iraqi people and saved them from a regime that was more lethal and more destructive than any weapons of mass destruction. A regime that murdered, slaughtered and enslaved Iraqis for long, dark decades, denied them their freedom and their right to live a decent life until God inspired you and helped you to rescue us, liberate our country and put us on the road of freedom and democracy.

Mr. President, we--the Iraqis--are on your side and we’ll keep supporting and blessing your efforts in eradicating terrorism inside and outside Iraq and all those who carried weapons against the liberating coalition forces and the new Iraqi police, hunting down the criminals who murder innocent civilians, whether Iraqi or American civilians...

We’re also determined to establish a strategic, permanent relationship with our friends; the government and people of the United States to whom we hold the utmost feelings of gratitude, love and friendship for what they have given us and what they’re still offering. We will be united on the road of freedom and peace and we will always be supportive to all the efforts of America in bringing peace to the region.

In the end, we ask God to guide you and bless all your efforts to do the best for humanity as a whole. All the glory to the American and Iraqi martyrs. Long live America, long live Iraq, free and allied nations.

The letter so far has been signed by over a thousand Iraqis from all walks of life.

Now, let's go back to April of this year, when Michael Moore wrote:
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow--and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

...There is a lot of talk amongst Bush's opponents that we should turn this war over to the United Nations. Why should the other countries of this world, countries who tried to talk us out of this folly, now have to clean up our mess? I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe--just maybe--God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.

Until then, enjoy the "pacification" of Falluja, the "containment" of Sadr City, and the next Tet Offensive--oops, I mean, "terrorist attack by a small group of Baathist loyalists" (Hahaha! I love writing those words, Baathist loyalists, it makes me sound so Peter Jennings!)--followed by a "news conference" where we will be told that we must "stay the course" because we are "winning the hearts and minds of the people."
Consider the following:
  • Moore seems quite gleeful in his belief the U.S. will be defeated in Iraq.
  • In equating the insurgents with the Minutemen of the American Revolution, Moore is insulting both the Iraqis and the Minutemen. He is making the outrageous assertion that the average Iraqi supports the murder of U.S. servicemen and Iraqi citizens, and the beheading of charity workers and reconstruction contractors. And he defiles the memory of brave American militiamen whose honor would never have permitted them to deliberately target innocents.
  • Moore is opposed to the idea of other countries "clean[ing] up our mess." Well, there are some of us who believe that our effort in Iraq constitutes cleaning up the mess of others. Like the UN, whose corrupt Oil-For-Food program enabled Saddam to negate the intended effects of sanctions. Like Russia, France, and Germany, who were Saddam's primary sources of arms.
  • He suggests that we may only be forgiven by "God and the Iraqi people" when "enough blood has been let" from the "children" [servicemen] of "the majority of Americans" who "supported this war." This is repugnant. It is also nonsensical. What about the parents who did not support the war? Will the blood of their children not be counted in the volumes required for forgiveness? It is also condescending. Moore consistently refers to servicemen as "children". Except when he's accusing them of war crimes.
  • Moore uses ironic quotes when he refers to the "'pacification' of Falluja." Since the time that this brilliant, insightful, and prescient analysis was written, Falluja has in fact been pacified. No quotes.

A Lowdown Dirty Shame

Bernie Kerik has withdrawn as the president's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Pickup Trucks. He has the infamous "nanny problem" that was so prevalent with President Clinton's nominees.

Isn't it strange that if there's a problem with the immigration status of your babysitter, you are deemed unfit to serve as a member of the president's cabinet, and yet if you commit perjury in a lawsuit accusing you of sexual harrassment, you are deemed fit to serve as president?

I Didn't Mean To Be A Nitpicker...

We received a lice alert from the Kitten's school today. The part of the message that really stood out was the following:

"Because lice are so difficult to get rid of, we heartily recommend the services of professional nitpickers. [Jane Doe] is a long-time favorite of [the school's] parents. Her phone numbers are..."

Who knew there were professional nitpickers? I certainly didn't. I'll have to remember that when I'm having a lousy day at work: "Well," I will say to myself, "I could be pulling sticky egg casings of pediculus humanus capitis out of a squirming child's hair."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"Iraq Had Nothing To Do With Terrorism"

We've heard this line--along with its variant, "the war in Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror"--spoken by many who opposed the Iraq invasion. It is a lie.

Let's look at just one way in which it is a lie.

Jed Babbin, a former deputy undersecretary of defense in George H.W. Bush's administration, has written the following:

Among the documents the Israelis found [in their 2002 incursion into Arafat's Ramallah compound] were copies of checks paid through the Palestinian Authority to the families of the terrorist bombers. Typical, in the words of the Israeli [Defense Forces] report, is a check for $25,000, drawn on the Palestinian Investment Bank, payable to, "Khaldiya Isma'il Abd al-Aziz al-Hurani, the mother of Hamas terrorist Fuad Isma'il Ahmad al-Hurani, who carried out a suicide attack on 9 March 2002 in the Moment cafe in Jerusalem. 11 Israelis were killed and 16 wounded in the attack."

Recall that Saddam Hussein publicized his giving checks for $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers. This is a completely uncontroversial fact; he admitted it. And yet, some persist in asserting that Saddam had nothing to do with terror.

There are, of course, many other ways in which his regime was a sponsor of terrorism. For instance, the training camp at Salman Pak, however, I will save that for another day.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Let's Take A Moment...

...now that the press's orgy of grief over the demise of the great statesman Yasser Arafat has died down, to remember just a few of his victims. These are the eleven Israelis who were slaughtered by the PLO at the 1972 Munich Olympics:
  • David Berger (28), Weightlifter
  • Ze'ev Friedman (28), Weightlifter
  • Joseph Gottfreund (40), Wrestling Referee
  • Eliezer Halfin (24), Wrestler
  • Joseph Romano (32), Weightlifter
  • Andrei Schpitzer (27), Fencing Referee
  • Amitsur Shapira (40), Athletics Coach
  • Kahat Shor (53), Shooting Coach
  • Mark Slavin (18), Wrestler
  • Yaakov Springer (50), Weightlifting Coach
  • Moshe Weinberg (33), Wrestling Referee
In June of this year, Arafat offered to temporarily cease murdering civilians in Israel during the Athens games, saying, "I announce our commitment to a truce during the Olympic game period." It is unclear whether this commitment extended to those Israeli citizens competing in the games, however, in any event, none were killed during this Olympiad.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Parenting, Democratic Style

"I was indoctrinated in the Democratic Party at an early age, so it was hard for me to think of George [W.] Bush as a human being."

--Alexandra Pelosi, filmmaker and daughter of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, speaking of the subject of her 2002 documentary Journeys With George, a sympathetic portrayal of the president.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bush Voters: Dumb, Ignorant, Unteachable

It has been entertaining to see, in the aftermath of President Bush's victory, liberals become even more hysterical than usual.

Here's Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times:

...[T]his White House's frontier is not a place of infinite progress and expansion, stretching society's boundaries. It doesn't battle primitivism; it courts primitivism...

W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches.

...They don't call to our better angels; they summon our nasty devils.

As usual, Dowd reveals herself to be an unserious person, a dilettante columnist. She lacks the persuasive powers of reason, and her breezy pieces offer little in the way of reporting, evidence, or rational argument. She tosses off claims of transgressions by the administration, such as "confusing church and state" and "replacing science with religion". What on Earth is she talking about? She doesn't explain.

I have had people make the anti-Bush church-and-state argument to me, and they always fail to make any coherent point, other than that Bush is religious. They'll mutter something about faith-based programs, to which I reply, "Yeah, my [gentile] son attends pre-school at the local synagogue. That's a faith-based program. So what? Wouldn't you say it's a bit of a stretch to say that nice Jewish ladies watching my son for a few hours each week is just a hair's-breadth away from the abuses of the Taliban?"

The bit about "replacing science with religion" is probably a swipe at the president's stem-cell research policy. Bush put certain limitations on federal funds used for stem-cell research. In the Dowd Fever Swamp, this becomes something much more pernicious. By her standards, I suppose my occasional reluctance to tip Starbucks personnel "replaces patronage with exploitation."

And here's her colleague on the Times' editorial page, Bob Herbert:

I think a case could be made that ignorance played at least as big a role in the election's outcome as values. A recent survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that nearly 70 percent of President Bush's supporters believe the U.S. has come up with "clear evidence" that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda. A third of the president's supporters believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. And more than a third believe that a substantial majority of world opinion supported the U.S.-led invasion.

This is scary. How do you make a rational political pitch to people who have put that part of their brain on hold? No wonder Bush won.

The survey, and an accompanying report, showed that there's a fair amount of cluelessness in the ranks of the values crowd.

This has been a favored meme in liberal circles since the election: voters in red states are simply "dumb", "ignorant", "unteachable". There are a few problems with Herbert's arguments, though. Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda? Well, actually, there was a relationship. Weapons of mass destruction? Well, actually, they were found in Iraq. Shells with mustard gas. Nuclear triggers. Just not in "large stockpiles"--the favorite qualifier used by the mainstream media so they could continue to give the impression that the war was based on "lies".

World opinion? Well, actually, I think you could forgive the American people for believing a majority of the world supported the invasion, given that the coalition includes Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Singapore, New Zealand, Mongolia, Tonga, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania, Albania, Armenia, Latvia, Macedonia, Estonia, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, and El Salvador.

I would argue that it's Dowd, Herbert, and their ilk who are "cocoon[ing] in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality." Or unreality.


Monday, November 08, 2004

The Republican Ghetto

E.J. Dionne, writing in the Washington Post (italics mine):
Even Democrats have talked about their party's being confined to an "enclave." Enclave? Blue America includes the entire Northeast, all of the West Coast but for Alaska and much of the upper Midwest. If John Kerry had switched a point and a half in the popular vote and roughly 70,000 votes in Ohio, we'd be talking about the Republican "enclave." Rove's strategy has largely confined the GOP to the South and the Mountain West, rural America and the outer suburbs.

Look at the electoral map below, showing red counties for Bush and blue counties for Kerry, nationwide. Chortle heartily at Dionne's cluelessness, while marveling that he is an influential columnist at a prestigious newspaper.

"Oh, no," says the GOP, like Brer Rabbit, "please don't confine me to the briar patch of the South, and the Mountain West, and rural America, and the outer suburbs, and much of the Northeast, and much of the West Coast including Alaska, and much of the upper Midwest, and..."




Sunday, November 07, 2004

Too Bad He's Not Still PM

Hope has triumphed, and with it the confidence of the American people in the values and principles on which our shared civilization on both sides of the Atlantic is based. George W. Bush decided to respond to totalitarian terrorist attacks with a return to basic principles. He could have chosen appeasement. He could have opted for mere rhetoric. He decided not to do so. He decided to oppose brutality with steadfast conviction. Now a wide majority of his people has backed this policy...

Many took for granted that Mr. Bush would be defeated. They were wrong. The mistake committed by those who create caricatures is that they believe that normal people are going to substitute reality with caricature. The American people have decided that the best option is to offer a new mandate to Mr. Bush... He has managed to consolidate a natural conservative majority in his country.

George W. Bush has not only had to face the enemies of democracy but also stand up to a front of rejection made up of various different groups, a veritable negative coalition whose only unifying principle was to ensure that he was defeated...

This is the lesson that we can all learn: Attempts to create division can be opposed with a policy based on principles. And this policy can be a triumphant one.

--Jose Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, writing in today's Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Dem-Bots

My brother Photoshopped this poster, which I reproduce here for no other reason than that it tickles the hell out of me.


The Happiest Funeral Ever

It's weird being in New York City the last couple of days--a bit like attending a funeral for someone you didn't know, after having been told you've won the lottery. Kerry's true believers are extremely morose, and I have to restrain myself from gloating.

For an instructive article on how clueless they are, look here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bush Is Re-Elected

Fox has called Ohio for Bush. It's over.

Following Australia, the United States deals a rebuke to barbaric terrorists, the corrupt U.N., and cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

It would have been a horrendous show of weakness to turn out the incumbent during wartime in favor of a challenger who, among other absurd positions, favors giving Geneva Convention protections to those who wear no uniforms, fight for no particular state, and deliberately attack civilians. Instead of gleaning actionable intelligence from captured terrorists, under a President Kerry we would get only a "name", because detainees do not have a "rank" or "serial number" to give.

Furthermore, Kerry favored pandering to the "Chicken Little" civil liberty fetishists by replacing the USA Patriot Act with a weaker law. This would have been disastrous.

Viva Bush!

Looking Good

What a surprise. Kerry gets Penn. It looks like Bush is going to get Fla. It all comes down to Ohio, as we all knew it would. And Bush is leading there...

Voting Behind Enemy Lines

We went to the polls at 8:00 AM, and it was jammed. Matters were not helped by the celebrity in our midst: Chuck Schumer. We decided to abort, and Chuck was right behind us as Samantha, Kitten, Pugsley, and I exited the school into a phalanx of news cameras. We watched him make his statement ("I love my job"), took the kids home, went to our parent-teacher conference (Kitten is a well-adjusted, delightful genius), and went back to the polling place at 9:00. Waited about 45 minutes to cast our ballots.

Buttons abounded, reflecting the wonderful diversity of opinion in our neighborhood: "Kerry/Edwards", "Bush Lied", "Re-Defeat Bush", etc., etc. The ostentatious display of political buttons in the polling place is distasteful, and while it may not be illegal, it violates the spirit of the law, in my opinion.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

All Liberals' Eve




Park Slope, Brooklyn is an oasis of progressive values in an otherwise staunchly conservative New York City. Liberal politics infuses everything here, so that one sees, for instance, a trick-or-treater costumed as the Frankenstein monster, carrying a sign saying, "Frankenstein no like war". In the Halloween parade, one could see Dick Cheney as the Grim Reaper, and any number of folks wearing W-with-a-slash-through-it buttons. And in front of one house on my block, there is a jack-o-lantern carved with the words "Bush R.I.P."

I fantasized that next year I would march in the parade as "Park Slope's Only Republican", wearing a business suit and carrying a Bible and a briefcase stuffed with cash. The thing is, the folks here wouldn't get it (that I was goofing on them and their prejudices). I would probably get howls of appreciative laughter.

Friday, October 29, 2004

More From Osama

In addition, the infidel George Bush is outsourcing America's future with tax cuts to the wealthy. Where are the 1.6 million jobs? The infidel Bush is the first infidel since the infidel Herbert Hoover to lose jobs! Awake from your slumber, America! The infidel John Kerry has a plan. You can do better, Insha'Allah!

Let me tell you, I spoke to the infidel Christopher Reeve a week ago, and if the infidel John Kerry is elected President, Insha'Allah, the infidel Christopher Reeve will walk again!

Are you infidels aware that the infidel John Kerry killed infidels in a war of imperialist infidel aggression in Southeast Asia?

The infidel Mary Cheney is a lesbian.
Humor brought to you by INDC Journal.

Sen. Harkin: God and Osama In Agreement On Kerry

The Cedar Valley Daily Times reports from Iowa that "Sen. Tom Harkin says John Kerry has been gaining in the polls every day since Oct. 21, and George Bush has been going down every day. 'That's how God wants it to be,' Harkin told a group of about 25 people at the Benton County Headquarters in Vinton on Thursday afternoon."

What Would You Expect From Someone Named "Jihad"?

More from the AP:

Al-Jazeera broadcast about seven minutes of the tape. The station's spokesman, Jihad Ali Ballout, said they aired what was "newsworthy and relevant" and refused to describe the unaired portions, including whether they included any threats.

Thanks a lot for your help, Jihad.

Another Positive Consequence Of OBL's Confession

As suggested by an anonymous reader of NRO's "The Corner", "perhaps Reuters will stop referring to Al Qaeda as the group the Bush administration 'claims' is responsible for 9/11."

UPDATE: In a story dated October 31, 2004, Reuters published the following stunning finding: "[Al Qaeda] carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington."

Osama Says He's Sorry; Offers Advice On Homeland Security

You have got to be frigging kidding me. This is the way the Associated Press reports on the OBL videotape:
In what appeared to be conciliatory language, bin Laden said he wanted to explain why he ordered the suicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon so Americans would know how to act to prevent another attack.

Osama Lives...

...and appears on television, spouting Kerry talking points and Michael Moore-style propaganda! This is incredible. The race is over. Bush has won re-election.

Bin Laden has committed the greatest blunder since...well, since Saddam assured his destruction by refusing to capitulate, which was one of the worst miscalculations in human history.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Confirming Prejudices

I watched Alexandra Pelosi's primary-campaign documentary Diary of a Political Tourist on HBO the other night. After an up-close (literally, she puts the camera in peoples' faces) look at the Dems who ran for the nomination, my impressions are:

Kerry--a stiff prevaricator
Gephardt--a decent man
Lieberman--a happy warrior
Graham--a complete loon
Edwards--a preening fop
Dean--a cocky jerk

In short, it didn't change my opinions of any of them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

John Kerry, Meet John Kerry

William Kristol has uncovered a fascinating quote from John Kerry.

On November 16, 2001, Kerry was interviewed by John McLaughlin.

McLaughlin: "What do we have to worry about [in Afghanistan]?"

Kerry: "I have no doubt, I've never had any doubt--and I've said this publicly--about our ability to be successful in Afghanistan. We are and we will be. The larger issue, John, is what happens afterwards. How do we now turn attention ultimately to Saddam Hussein? How do we deal with the larger Muslim world? What is our foreign policy going to be to drain the swamp of terrorism on a global basis?"

As he has more positions than the Kama Sutra, one wonders: if Kerry later had answered his own questions, what would he have said?

Kerry: How do we now turn attention ultimately to Saddam Hussein?

Kerry: We don't. The sanctions are working. The UN Oil-for-Food program will ensure that the Iraqi people won't suffer. Military action in Iraq would be a distraction from the war on terror. There are no terrorists there. Osama bin Laden is our only enemy.

Kerry: How do we deal with the larger Muslim world?

Kerry: Don't try to reform it. They're not ready for democracy. The idea that free elections could be held in, say, Afghanistan is not realistic.

Kerry: What is our foreign policy going to be to drain the swamp of terrorism on a global basis?

Kerry: We should build alliances. Also, we could hold a summit. Any actions we take must meet a global test. Combating terrorism is a law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation. Military action would only be justified if the U.S. were attacked again.

Al Qaqaa Story Is Ca-Ca

The New York Times reports that "Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency had warned American officials before the war began that nearly 380 tons of high explosives were hidden at the stockpile called Al Qaqaa."

The IAEA had visited the site nine times, and had tagged the material, whose existence was well documented and known to the U.S. And yet, the Times makes it appear that the IAEA made a desperate attempt to "warn" U.S. officials, and its warning went unheeded.

Furthermore, the paper's use of the word "hidden" makes it appear that the IAEA was aware that the material was not in plain sight, which would support the Times' and Kerry's assertion that our troops missed finding and securing it. But it doesn't make sense that the IAEA would tag hidden material, and if it was hidden after the IAEA left, how would it know?

TimesWatch points out that an April 2003 report from none other than CBS News strongly indicates that the 3rd Infantry Division thoroughly searched the Al Qaqaa site and did not find any HMX or RDX high explosives. This preceded the 101st Airborne's visit to the site a week later, on which NBC News has recently reported, saying that the 101st did not find any explosives, either.

If they weren't there when Baghdad fell, then Saddam must have moved them prior to the invasion. This is the "Occam's razor" explanation. One has to make too many unreasonable assumptions to conclude that insurgents carted off the stuff with 30 or 40 heavy trucks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Journo "Terror"

From The Drudge Report:

News of missing explosives in Iraq -- first reported in April 2003 -- was being resurrected for a 60 MINUTES election eve broadcast designed to knock the Bush administration into a crisis mode.

Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 MINUTES, said in a statement that "our plan was to run the story on October 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold..."

The story instead debuted in the NYT. The paper slugged the story about missing explosives from April 2003 as "exclusive."

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

Thus, this story is (i) not news, because it had previously been reported in April 2003; and (ii) not indicative of Bush administration "incompetence" because, after all, how can the administration be blamed for explosives that went missing before the invasion?

The story was being worked on feverishly by the discredited liberal news organizations CBS News and The New York Times in order to damage Bush at the last moment, however, the effort fell flat.

Kerry has taken this deflated ball and attempted to run with it, featuring the missing explosives story prominently today in his final major speech before the election. It's only the latest example of the sort of reprehensible conduct that demonstrates Kerry's unfitness to be president.

This episode brings to mind the Madrid train bombings. In this case, however, liberal journalists with a spurious story were attempting, through non-violent but mendacious means, to do what the terrorists in Spain accomplished with their bombs: influence an election.

Monday, October 25, 2004

They Still Just Don't Get It

President Clinton has joined Senator Kerry on the stump. Today, Kerry said of Clinton, "He helped bring our security and the security of the world to the level it ought to be."

Does Kerry actually believe that our security was at "the level it ought to be" on 9/11?

For his part, Clinton intoned, "...If one candidate's appealing to your fears, and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to...hope."

The Democrats have been saying that Bush is trying to "scare" the electorate with talk of terrorism. This implies that the Dems believe we are safer than Bush lets on. But Kerry has said that we are less safe. So...which is it?

I would argue that Bush is appealing, realistically, to our hopes. Hopes for a more peaceful, more stable, more democratic world. One that would make terrorism less likely to incubate and propagate, threatening the lives of innocents, and our way of life.

Secret Service, Are You Listening?

On Saturday, The Guardian, London's leftist rag, published the following. It was the final paragraph of a TV column called "Screen Burn":

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?


The paper later removed the offending column from its web site, replacing it with this lame apology:

The final sentence of a column in The Guide on Saturday caused offence to some readers. The Guardian associates itself with the following statement from the writer.

"Charlie Brooker apologises for any offence caused by his comments relating to President Bush in his TV column, Screen Burn. The views expressed in this column are not those of the Guardian. Although flippant and tasteless, his closing comments were intended as an ironic joke, not as a call to action - an intention he believed regular readers of his humorous column would understand. He deplores violence of any kind."


  • The "apology" refers only to "the final sentence of [the] column". The Guardian knows that no one in its readership would be offended by the reference to the Bush administration as a time of "idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed".
  • Here's my definition of "unwarranted bloodshed": the African embassy bombings, the USS Cole, 9/11, 3/11, etc., etc.
  • Charlie Brooker "deplores violence of any kind"? Really? Would that include violence in the act of self defense? Violence in the process of liberating an enslaved people?
  • Aren't even "ironic" jokes supposed to be somewhat amusing?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

"Sucking Democracy Dry"



A hat tip to Power Line for posting this headline and artwork from the web site of the Village Voice.

The title of Rick Perlstein's article is "The End of Democracy". Subtle. As is the artwork.

The former head of the Arizona Republican Party and Christian Coalition, Nathan Sproul, in an operation paid for by the Republican National Committee, has set up "voter outreach" efforts that register Democrats, then allegedly shred their registration forms.
So charges Mr. Perlstein, without citing a shred of evidence to back up his implication that the Bush campaign was complicit in the alleged destruction of Democrats' forms.

(To be sure, there are myriad sleazy tactics pursued by both Democrats and Republicans at the state, county, and local levels. I was a victim of just such a voter scam. There is a man in my neighborhood who has been registering voters for years. I know I should have heeded that old dictum, Don't submit your voter registration to any guy in the subway who uses an old ironing board as a table. But I gave my form to this character, and when I showed up to vote they said I wasn't registered. It was only later that I found out the subway registrar is a Democrat, and he likely threw my form in the trash.)

To his credit, Perlstein writes, "George Bush is not a fascist. He really isn't." But then he goes on to say, "And thank goodness for small favors. For what if he were? The people who run Democratic campaigns might dismiss his suspension of constitutional provisions as yet another boring old 'process story,' not fit to upset the voters with."

Oh, sure. The same people who decry putting wiretaps on terrorists as an assault on our civil liberties would "dismiss [the] suspension of constitutional provisions" by a "fascist" government?

He goes on, quoting an anonymous divinity student he refers to, bizarrely, as "Deep Faith":
A coup? Deep Faith is convinced some might even welcome it. "It makes me wonder, if something really bad happened, and the Bush administration was able to have a coup and be in permanent charge," he tells me, sinking into his living-room couch, scaring the hell out of me, "who among my folk would seriously protest, if they could get a slice of the pie? 'We could go in there and reverse all this judicial precedent we don't like!'"

That Kingdom of God they keep talking about, he reminds us, the hunger for which is now the fuel of the Republican engine, "is not a democracy."
The "Kingdom of God" is the "fuel of the Republican engine"? And the Bush administration is desperately trying to introduce democracy in the Middle East while planning to eliminate it at home by "hav[ing] a coup"? None of this makes the slightest amount of sense. I don't even know what "sucking democracy dry" is supposed to mean, other than providing a slogan for a lurid picture.

The only thing to be said is that Perlstein and the cullies who believe this sort of tripe are deeply unserious people. And easily frightened. "Deep Faith" mentions his absurd fear of a Bush "coup", and Perlstein claims his source is "scaring the hell out of me." One wonders how such a fraidy-cat would have fared in Saddam's Iraq, where Baathist goons could come to your home, drag you away in the middle of the night, and cut off your hand (if you were lucky), if they felt you had crossed the regime.

Monday, October 18, 2004

"This Little Injury"

Hat tip to James Taranto for linking to this Associated Press story about an amputee paratrooper:

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - George Perez...21, lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq more than a year ago, but despite the phantom pains that haunt him, he says he is determined to prove to the Army that he is no less of a man - and no less of a soldier.

"I'm not ready to get out yet,'' he says. "I'm not going to let this little injury stop me from what I want to do.''

Perez is one of at least four amputees from the 82nd Airborne Division to re-enlist. With a new carbon-fiber prosthetic leg, Perez intends to show a medical board he can run an eight-minute mile, jump out of airplanes and pass all the other paratrooper tests that will allow him to go with his regiment to Afghanistan next year.

...Doctors initially tried to save part of Perez's foot. But an infection crept up his leg, and Perez agreed to allow the amputation below the knee joint.

"I was going to stay in no matter what,'' he recalls telling the surgeons. "Do whatever would get me back fastest.''

Today, Perez looks every bit the part of paratrooper - tall, in ripped-ab shape and serious-looking. His uniform is sharply creased, his maroon beret sits at an exact angle above one eye and the black leather boot on his good leg gleams with a mirror shine. The only thing that sets him apart at a glance is the white running shoe on his prosthetic leg.

Perez has to go before another medical fitness board to determine whether he will be allowed to jump again. He also must pass the fitness test for his age - run two miles in just under 16 minutes and do at least 42 push-ups and 53 sit-ups in two-minute stretches.

...[H]is dream is to attend the grueling Ranger school at Fort Benning, Ga., a serious challenge to even the most able-bodied soldier.

"I got a lot of things to do,'' he said. "I want to do as much as I can, as much as they'll let me.''


The Eminent Senator From Massachusetts

As the campaign winds down, I, like many people, am still trying to get a handle on the Kerry Doctrine. On the Kedwards web site, I found a May 2004 LA Times article, excerpted below, that sheds some light:

If an attack with a weapon of mass destruction ever seems imminent, [Kerry] said, "As commander in chief, I will do whatever is necessary to stop it."

In a conference call with reporters before the speech, Kerry foreign policy advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said those remarks were not meant to embrace Bush's doctrine of launching preemptive attacks against states the U.S. views as a threat.

Berger, who was President Clinton's national security advisor, said there was "a profound difference between elevating preemption to a defining strategic doctrine," as Bush has, and "recognizing that no president is going to stand by, if he sees an immediate threat to the United States, and not take action."

Some questions come to mind:

  • When would a President Kerry deem a WMD attack imminent?
  • When was 9/11 imminent?
  • Why should we listen to the former national security advisor who presided over a feckless anti-terrorism strategy that led directly to 9/11?
  • When Berger states that "no president is going to stand by, if he sees an imminent threat to the United States...", isn't he saying that that is the default, no-brainer, you-should-be-impeached-if-you-don't-take-action position?
  • Then why should Kerry brag about holding such a position?
  • Wasn't this more or less the 9/10 policy of the U.S.?
  • Wouldn't the post-9/11 Kerry Doctrine, applied to Afghanistan before 9/11, have precluded a preemptive attack on Al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors, because we had no evidence of an imminent threat?
  • Isn't Kerry essentially saying that he's willing to repeat the mistake of 9/11 unless terrorists telegraph their intentions?
  • Isn't "elevating preemption to a defining strategic doctrine" the only rational response to 9/11?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Tax Breaks For The Rich

Around tax time this year, taxpayers George W. Bush and John F. Kerry released their 1040s. Or, to be more specific, George and Laura Bush released their return (they filed jointly) and John Kerry released his (he filed individually, as a "kept man").

The Bushes' taxable income was $822,126 and their taxes were $227,490; the effective tax rate was therefore 27.7%.

The senator's taxable income was $395,000, and he paid $90,575 in taxes; the effective tax rate was 22.9%.


Now, with Tuh-RAY-zuh's limited release of information from her filings (hat tip to Stephen Moore), we know that jointly the Kerrys' income was $5.5 million, and they paid $704,227 in taxes; the effective tax rate was 12.8%.

As Moore points out, "John Kerry has consistently opposed a flat tax, because he says it would be a tax break for the rich. But the truth is with a 19% flat tax, some rich people with lavish tax shelters, like John Kerry, would pay more taxes."

By the way, Kerry and his wife own five homes worth a total of approximately $29 million. The President and the First Lady own one home with a value of about $1.5 million.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Battle of the Plans

The number of times each candidate uttered the word "plan" during last night's debate:

Bush - 11
Kerry - 19

Alas, Kerry said, "I have a plan..." only twice.

Kerry Finds God

The number of times each candidate mentioned God during the final debate last night:

Bush- 2
Kerry - 7

The Joke That Wasn't

Everyone at work today seemed to think that Kerry's joke about "marrying up" went over well. I thought it was hideous. At least two pundits agree.

Here's David Frum:
Kerry made the gaffe of a lifetime in his answer to Bob Schieffer’s last question. “Well I guess all three of us are lucky men who married up. [And some would say maybe me more so than others.]” The second those words passed his lips, his face flushed and his face twisted into a self-horrified grimace.
And here's Jonah Goldberg:
Kerry made fun of himself once too, but he chose poorly. Reminding voters of his grating billionaire wife is not wise politics, which is probably why he switched to talking about his mom.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Final Debate

Bush had the edge in this one.

The worst misstep from Kerry was at the end. The attempt at self-deprecation, his reference to "marrying up", was painful. Most people are familiar with Bush's use of that phrase to praise the humble librarian that he wed. Kerry's use of the phrase to make a lame joke about his marrying an ultra-wealthy widow makes for an unfavorable comparison.

Illustrious Alumnus

I received an email from my college notifying me of a "Band Night" in Greenwich Village; several musicians who are alumni were to perform. I checked out the website of one of the performers, someone called Adam Ezra.

One of his recent works is a song entitled "Dynamite". Adam explains what motivated this work (my comments in brackets and italics):

In recent years I have become increasingly disturbed by much of what is happening as result of conflicting ideologies in the Middle East. [Increasingly disturbed? I should hope so; he wrote this after 9/11.] As a westerner it is easy to write off a suicide bomber as an evil person. [So easy...and unfair!] The destruction of innocent life is a horrible thing, yet [yet!] it is my contention that in order to commit a horrific act one must usually be experiencing horrific conditions in their [sic] day to day life. [Could these conditions be the result of the depraved, autocratic governments in the Middle East?]

It bothers me that through the news-media we often only see the perspective of our allies. [He ought to ask his cable provider for Al Jazeera in order to see the "perspective" of our enemies. Or he could check out MEMRI.] While not excusing the actions of Palestinian Fundamentalists and Al Qaeda members [!], for me it is important to make an effort to see the world from their perspective. [OK, here's their "perspective": All infidels must be converted to Islam or killed. Jews must be driven into the sea. Office workers must be incinerated. Truck drivers must be beheaded. Children must be shot in the back.] I believe it is only through these attempts to understand and perhaps even empathize that we can begin to heal many of the cultural catechisms that inspire many to feel desperate enough to commit acts of murder. [You see, it is the "cultural catechisms" that are at fault.]

"Dynamite" is a song from the voice of one such person. From my limited knowledge [I'll say!] of Arab religion and family culture I have attempted to describe a scenario in which, if I were a young Palestinian, I too could be manipulated into thinking that martyrdom was a step forward on the road to salvation.

Sorry for the heavy subject matter. I promise to write about a cheerful song next month!

Thus, our left-leaning institutions of higher education have manipulated yet another young person into thinking that moral equivalence is a step forward on the road to enlightenment.

Imagine, for a moment, a recent college graduate during World War II writing the following: "It is easy to write off a Nazi as an evil person. It bothers me that through the news-media we often only see the perspective of the Allies. While not excusing the actions of Germany and Japan, for me it is important to make an effort to see the world from the perspective of the Axis powers."

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Eminent Senator From North Carolina

"I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country."
--Sen. John Edwards in 2002, on CNN's Late Edition.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The VP Debate

This is out of order, but I want to return to the first vice presidential debate. I was going to post something that day, but then I read David Frum's post in his NRO blog, and I thought, what's the point? He enunciated exactly my impressions, much better than I could have.

I couldn't understand why so many conservative pundits gave so much credit to Edwards in this debate. Cheney creamed him. My dad put it well; he said, "He cleaned Edwards' clock!!!"

My response my father was, "He did indeed clean Edwards' clock. [Edwards] came off as callow, a lightweight. He kept returning to his talking points; I know, Bush does that too, but Edwards' were often lies ('the administration has said there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11' or 'there was no connection between Iraq and al Qaeda'). The first they never, ever claimed (and you know that because Edwards did not cite a quote) and the second is backed up by so much evidence it's tantamount to saying 'O.J. was innocent'".

Anyway, Frum's post heading was "Manslaughter". Here are some excerpts:

OK just caught debate rerun on CNN. What can one say about John Edwards's performance? ...With his repeated and worshipful descriptions of John Kerry--not to mention Edwards's moist good looks--you have to say that he would fill the role of First Lady much better than Teresa Heinz is likely to do. It would all have been very impressive--if Cheney's scalpel had not so swiftly and mercilessly sliced Edwards's living liver out of his body, impaled it quivering on a stick, and paraded it before Edwards' soulful eyes before the poor man expired.

The line about John Kerry's weakness in the face of Howard Dean landed with the force of a hammer blow. Cheney was reminding voters of the crucial fact of the Democratic campaign: Kerry's dangerous combination of opportunism and fearfulness...[T]he war proved tougher than Kerry expected, Howard Dean came along to pander to the pacifist fringe of the Democratic party--and Kerry panicked. He switched sides on the war. Then he won the nomination, saw the national polls, and switched sides again.

...Gwen Ifill in her question on flip-flopping suggested that Kerry's deep indecisiveness on the question of war or peace was no more serious than the Bush administration's internal debate over whether Homeland Security was best overseen by a secretary or an assistant to the president! Yes it's true: The Bush administration has sometimes changed its mind about how to fight this war. Kerry can't make up his mind whether to fight it--or even whether there's a war on or not.

Edwards's public manner is corny at best, smarmy at worst. In this debate, he was at his worst, perhaps nowhere more so than in that incredibly impertinent remark about the vice president's daughter. And did John Edwards really mean to say that the bright light of America is flickering because families have sons or daughters serving in the military overseas?

No wonder that by the end, Cheney seemed to be looking at Edwards with the compassionate regret of a trusted family vet appraising a puppy that just has not got the strength to survive.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Director Makes "Argument" Before Supreme Court Justice

In the latest issue of The Onion, in the "AV Club" back pages, there is an interview with movie writer/director David O. Russell that is worthy of the front of the paper, which is an irony-laden satire-fest.

Russell, the director of the best-forgotten Spanking The Monkey, a "comedy" about incest (eiuw), and the quite-good Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings, proves himself to be an idiotarian of the first degree.

He says, "I spent my 20s basically doing stuff like...[s]tanding in parking lots, organizing for different causes. We had a lot of fun, too. You canvass and raise money in neighborhoods. We'd get in the town council's face about slums and confront these old guys and make them change."

OK, so we've established that he was an earnest lefty in his college and post-college days.

He then relates a story about "confront[ing] Antonin Scalia in Amherst":



I was given some honorary degree a couple of years ago, and I heard that he was there talking. He was having some meeting with the conservatives on campus. I said, "I gotta go to that." I was supposed to give a talk at 3 o'clock, but at 2:30, I knew I couldn't stay for the whole thing. So I went into this room. People would nod knowingly when I went in. They'd give you the secret nod...So there are only 20 people, and Antonin Scalia is, like, right there. He's talking about the Constitution and all the things that he thinks should be done to it, why they're the bosses of the Constitution. I felt terrible that I had to interrupt him, because I'd rather do it formally, but I knew that I had to go do my talk.

Then I had the idea that the medium was the message, that it had a poetic meaning, so I could do it with a clear conscience. The interruption would be the message. So I stood up and said, "I have to interrupt you." He said, "At least have the decency to let me finish." I said, "No, see, but you didn't let the election finish. That's how I feel about that. I want to know how you could not let the election finish. It doesn't feel good that I'm not letting you finish your talk right now, does it?" They all stood there and looked at each other awkwardly. I said, "Well, I have to go. I'm giving a talk because I'm getting an honorary degree tomorrow." That was truly the coup de grace. I think they all thought I was just some homeless riff-raff from town..."

Isn't this just priceless? I assumed this guy was in his early 30s, and I was shocked to discover that he is 46 years old. Forty-six. And he speaks like some ignorant, petulant, vain, self-centered, self-righteous, self-aggrandizing college kid. "I was given some honorary degree...Antonin Scalia is, like, right there...He's talking about...why they're the bosses of the Constitution."

And when Mr. Russell teaches the Supreme Court justice his brilliantly devised lesson, which equates the boorish behavior of a spoiled Hollywood brat to the reasoned, principled action of the judicial branch of the government, he delivers the "coup de grace": He sniffs, "I have to go...I'm getting an honorary degree tomorrow."

That showed 'im!

Pathetic.

Making Flippy-Floppy

Hap tip to the alert anonymous reader of National Review Online's "The Corner" who noticed these amazing statements made by Sen. Notbush during the second debate last night (italics mine).

Statement #1: "Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was a threat. Believed it in 1998 when Clinton was president. I wanted to give Clinton the power to use force if necessary."

Statement #2: "I don't think you can just rely on U.N. sanctions, Randee. But you're absolutely correct, [Iran] is a threat, it's a huge threat. And what's interesting is, it's a threat that has grown while the president has been preoccupied with Iraq, where there wasn't a threat."

This is one of the many ways in which Kerry has disqualified himself for the presidency.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

FOX NEWS - GET OFF THE AIR!

I saw this on a bumper sticker plastered in my neighborhood subway station. Charming isn't it? Whatever happened to the First Amendment? It's amusing to see the left get in a snit when their monopoly on the mainstream media is threatened.

Songs and Artists That Inspired Idiocy

David Letterman the other night had as his musical guests the band Pearl Jam. They were promoting a new CD titled Songs and Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11. They performed Bob Dylan's "Masters of War", a vitriolic song from 1963 about the military-industrial complex.

As I was listening to the song, I thought, Isn't it interesting that Eddie Vedder neglected to protest Bill Clinton's conducting "five air campaigns against Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, and Sudan — often without congressional or United Nations sanction" (to quote Victor Davis Hanson)? Two of those countries didn't even constitute a threat to U.S. security.

After 9/11/01, we counterattacked the state that harbored our enemies and was complicit in the murder of thousands, and then attacked a second rogue state, putting an end, finally, to the Gulf War of 1991 and the seemingly endless patrolling of no-fly zones and the feckless weapons inspection process and the corrupt U.N. Oil-For-Food program. But it is only those two wars that Vedder and his ilk see fit to protest. It seems the only wars worth protesting are those made necessary by attacks and dire threats from our enemies, provided of course that the administration conducting the wars is a Republican one.

If you go to CDNow.com, you can read Michael Moore's comments on the songs and artists that "inspired" his propaganda. Here are my favorite Mooreisms (my comments are in italics):

  • "I once drove a thousand miles, from Flint, Mich. to Quebec City, to see Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in concert."

According to Mapquest.com, it is 734 miles from Flint to Quebec City. Perhaps Moore got lost.

  • "That we would have a president now using God in this manner to defeat those whom he sees as godless makes this song ["With God on Our Side"] all the more relevant..."

Bush is using God to defeat our enemies? I mean, I knew he and God were tight, but...wow. Go God! Seriously, though, this is an all-too-common example of a lefty feeling free to just make up stuff and put words in Bush's mouth. But as far as I'm concerned, people who incinerate office workers, behead contractors, and shoot children in the back can fairly be described as "godless", so if Bush ever did say such a thing, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

  • "This version [by Pearl Jam] of the Dylan classic ["Masters of War"] is so brutal, so piercing, you find yourself glancing around to see if anyone is going to arrest you just for listening to it."

Ahhh, gimme a break! Only a lefty with a feverish imagination could come up with such an overwrought statement.

  • "...the abuse and censorship that [the Dixie Chicks] had to sustain and overcome -- did much to get me through this past year."

Well, well, Mr. Schadenfreude, taking pleasure in other's misfortune, are we?

  • "I would love to play ["Fortunate Son"] at full blast outside the White House some night. And don't think I won't!"

Ooohh. Bush is really scared. Now, this might actually get Moore arrested.

  • "If I were a rock star, I would be Steve Earle!"

Moore is already an obese lefty, so the only remaining things he has to do to become just like Steve Earle are: learn to play the guitar, become addicted to heroin, and go to prison. I sincerely hope he attains his dream.


Friday, October 01, 2004

Regarding Dan Rather

I received a response to my Rathergate.com email, part of a mass mail campaign to get Dan Rather fired (see my 9/23 post). I like the way they referred to CBS' "lack of judgment". The subject line read "Regarding Dan Rather":

Dear Viewer,

Thanks for your recent letter about the controversy surrounding CBS News, and their reporting on President Bush's National Guard service.

It is a difficult situation for us at here at Local 8 News. We have been a CBS affiliate for more than 50 years, and we are proud of that affiliation. But, while we are affiliated with CBS, we are not owned by them... We do not have any say in CBS News policy or story selection, nor do they have any say in our local news decisions.

Our President & General Manager has called our contacts at CBS to express our concern about the handling of the story. In addition, Local 8 News has reported both the charges that the documents Mr. Rather used are forged, and CBS News' response to the charges...

As you know, CBS News now admits that they cannot prove the documents are accurate, and they have apologized for their lack of judgment. For the record, here are the statements issued by CBS News President Andrew Heyward, and anchor Dan Rather yesterday:

[...blah...blah...blah...]

In the meantime, Local 8 News will continue to report on both sides of the controversy on radio, TV and web until it is resolved, and we will pass your concerns on to CBS. Thanks again for writing and letting us know how you feel.

Fred D'Ambrosi
News Director
KFMB Stations
7677 Engineer Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858-495-7510


Debate Club

There are many conservatives fretting today about the president's performance in the first debate last night (or "debates"; everyone I talk to seems to be using the plural).

It doesn't really matter that Bush lost on style points or that he missed opportunities to counterattack. The bottom line is that Kerry's positions on Iraq are incoherent and irreconcilable.

The debate was a big topic of conversation at work today, and my co-workers felt there were no surprises--the candidates simply presented the views that should be familiar to anyone who follows the news. I suppose it was instructive for anyone who up until now has been too busy living his life to really learn the candidates' positions on national security (I say this without disdain; I'm not one of those people who derides others for their lack of curiosity about politics).

Speaking of political conversations in the workplace, a reader contributes this (I have changed names and places to protect the guilty):

OK - now you can tell it's the final weeks of the campaign. The abuse of the sole conservative at [my office] has begun. I go into a (notoriously liberal) colleague's office to ask a completely innocuous, work-related question, and I get attacked, not by him (which was a surprise) but by another one of our (also notoriously liberal but otherwise really nice guy) colleagues, who just then walked into the office.

The second (notoriously liberal and otherwise really nice guy) colleague, named Olaf, starts ranting and raving about what an idiot Bush was last night because he kept spouting off "propagandist bullshit" and "stupid one-liners." Then he says, "It just shows how STUPID the American people are that they are going to re-elect this idiot."

I replied,"That's a heck of a statement, Olaf." Then he flipped out. "I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT ALL ALONG THAT JOE MAN-ON-THE -STREET IS AN IDIOT AND WILL RE-ELECT THAT BUSH BECAUSE OF HIS STUPID SLOGANS!" Olaf, who admits he has only lived in two places, Ann Arbor and Berkeley, got even more angry when I said that he needed to get out in the US more and meet these "idiots" that he says continue to vote for Bush.

He repeated his "I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT..." statement, to which I replied, "Well, sometimes when you're consistent, you can be flat out wrong." That didn't seem to make him settle down at all. Olaf is the same guy who jumped all over me when the Iraq war started, about how an "illegitimate" President Bush was "sending our boys off to get slaughtered" in Iraq.

I can't wait for this election to be over.

I hear ya. By the way, "That didn't seem to make him settle down at all"--priceless.

Sen. Notbush's proposals don't add up or make any sense. The problem is, as the reader's colleague demonstrates, there are plenty of people, some of them smart, who don't really understand that. Stupid slogans and one-liners? I would argue that's Kerry's forte. For example, he says he's going to bring in more allies, but Germany says not one German soldier will set foot in Iraq, and France says it will not change its policies even if Kerry is elected.

(Of course, I have a theory that they would indeed change their policies, just because they are spiteful, cheese-eating, surrender monkeys.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Excuses, Excuses

"I don't fall down. That son-of-a-bitch ran into me." --Sen. John Notbush, explaining that the cause of a fall he had while snowboarding in Ketchum, Idaho on March 18, 2004 was that he was knocked over by one of the Secret Service men assigned to protect him.

"It just was a very inarticulate way of saying something, and I had one of those inarticulate moments late in the evening when I was dead tired in the primaries and I didn't say something very clearly." --Sen. Notbush, this morning defending his "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it" gaffe, which was made during a midday appearance after the Democratic primaries had ended.


Monday, September 27, 2004

He Paid His Debt To Society

While we're at it, why don't we go ahead and free Mumia as well?

Taliban Fighter Who Was Freed From Guantánamo Prison Is Killed
By AMY WALDMAN
The New York Times
Sept. 27, 2004

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 26 - A senior Taliban commander who had been released from the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was killed Saturday in Uruzgan Province, Afghan officials reported Sunday.

The commander, Maulavi Ghaffar, had spent eight months in the Guantánamo prison, said the Interior Minister, Ali Jalali. He had been captured after fighting for the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, Mr. Jalali said.

After his release over a year ago he was appointed the Taliban's regional commander in Uruzgan and Helmand Provinces, said Jan Mohammad Khan, the governor of Uruzgan Province. The governor said Mr. Ghaffar had carried out attacks against American Special Forces soldiers and an attack on a district chief in Helmand in which three Afghan soldiers were killed.

The governor said officials had learned Friday that Mr. Ghaffar planned to attack the police in Chachani district, and instead the Afghan forces killed him and two of his men.

Officials in Afghanistan and the United States have indicated in the past that at least five Afghan detainees released from Guantánamo had returned to Afghanistan and again become Taliban commanders or fighters.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Who Said It?

After France and Russia watered down a UN resolution on Iraq, an American politician had this to say:

We know we can't count on the French. We know we can't count on the Russians. We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States, and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it's in our national interest.

So who said it? Sen. John F. Kerry, in 1997, on CNN's Crossfire.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Dan Rather Must Go

If you go to the web site Rathergate.com, there is a screen where you can compose an email and have it sent to 200 CBS affiliates across the country. Here's what I wrote:
Dear Station Manager,

Dan Rather must go.

Why should you care about the opinion of someone who is not a viewer in your local area? Because this opinion is widespread and deeply felt. Because there are many viewers in your area who feel this way but may not bother to contact you. Because there are many of us who gave up on CBS News years ago when the bias became too blatant for us to endure. Because the network news programs are losing touch with middle America. They reflect the insular, elitist attitude endemic to the media aristocracy in my home, New York City, rather than the values of fair play so important to the rest of the country.

Please help turn around CBS News by insisting that the powers at Black Rock fire Dan Rather.

Thank you.

Wheat From The Chaff

Kitty Kelley, a "journalist" about as reputable as Dan Rather, has written a new book about the Bush family. Reviews indicate that it's filled with her typical crap, but Andrew Ferguson pointed out this interesting anecdote:
Though he's disdained Yale since his graduation in 1968, George W. Bush agreed to host a 35th class reunion.

One classmate, Petra Leilani Akwai, had undergone a sex change since graduation, and partygoers waited to see the reaction of Bush--understood by all correct-thinking liberals to be a crude and backward boor.

Akwai greeted the president in the receiving line.

"You might remember me as Peter when we left Yale," she said.

"And now you've come back as yourself," Bush said.
How charming, disarming, kind, and--yes--compassionate. I doubt I could have said it as elegantly as did the supposedly tongue-tied president.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Idiotarian Watch

I watched Dennis Miller's show tonight, and there were a couple of howlers worth mentioning.

Idiotarian #1--Hill Harper, an actor, graduate of Harvard Law, and Barack Obama supporter--pointed to the depressed dollar as evidence that the prestige of the U.S. is at an all-time low. Now, I work downstairs from the largest trading floor in New York, and I can tell you that currency traders do not base their actions on Abu Ghraib or George W. Bush's speaking truth to power at the U.N. They look at interest rates, monetary policy, the balance of trade, and other economic factors. As an economist, Hill Harper makes a very good actor/lawyer.

Idiotarian #2 was one of the two authors of The Yes Men, a book that describes the writers' madcap adventures of fraudulently representing themselves to various parties as spokesmen for the World Trade Organization. This genius, an opponent of "globalization", explained to Dennis that before 1980 all was hunky-dory in the world because, see, Keynesian economics prevailed. He made this pronouncement in a grand, didactic manner. The kicker was, he pronounced it kee-NEZ-ee-an instead of CANES-ee-an. John Maynard Kee-NEZ is rolling in his grave.

Idiotarian #3, his partner in crime, averred that he did not want to see all corporations go the way of the dodo bird; he just wants them to "serve people" rather than their own interests. Apparently, he has never heard of Adam Smith*, The Wealth of Nations, or the "invisible hand" of capitalism.
By pursuing his own interest [the individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.--Adam Smith, 1776

*Hint to idiotarians: It's pronounced "Uh-DAM Smythe".

Rather Finished

I must say, the denouement of the CBS Guard memo controversy was rather unsatisfying. Gunga Dan couldn't bring himself to admit that the memos were forged. He was just unable to "vouch for them journalistically".

The Chicago Tribune quoted him saying, "Do I think they're forged? No. But it's not good enough to use the documents on the air if we can't vouch for them, and we can't vouch for them."

The only logical explanation for such stunning cluelessness is this: Dan has never used Microsoft Word. He must be like his colleague Andy Rooney, a Luddite who thinks it's very quirky and "old school" to use a typewriter. (As Jonah Goldberg has said, Dan is like a dinosaur after the meteorite fell, wondering why it's so cloudy and what happened to all the tasty shoots and leaves.) The only other explanation for his clinging to the story is that he was, and is, blinded by partisanship. But that can't be it! He's the guy who upholds the "CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism".

Dan will probably hang on until retirement, but what little credibility he had is in the toilet. Dan's producer, Mary Mapes, however, is going down. Her little ethical lapse of putting Bill Burkett in touch with Kerry aide Joe Lockhart will lead to her downfall. According to an unimpeachable source, CBS News' own web site, "Mapes, 48, was described by colleagues on Tuesday as a dogged and talented journalist who made no secret of her liberal political beliefs." Oh...now I understand Dan's statement. He's saying that CBS carries on its tradition "without fear" of making its liberal bias known and "without favoritism" toward conservatives and Republicans.

Referring to the Burkett/Lockhart matter, CBS spokewoman Kelli Edwards said, "It is obviously against CBS News standards and those of every other reputable news organization to be associated with any political agenda."

Indeed.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Master Forger

From the Washington Post:

"The CBS documents [purporting to show preferential treatment given to Bush] include several phrases that crop up in Web logs signed by Burkett, including 'run interference,' and references to a pilot's 'billet.' Former Air National Guard officers have pointed out that 'billet' is an Army expression, not an Air Force one."

Burkett was in the Army National Guard.

Will CBS identify him as the source? Will he be prosecuted? Will a definitive connection between Burkett and the Kerry campaign be revealed? Will heads roll at CBS?

Stay tuned.

Burkett Rant

Here are selections from Bill Burkett's March 19, 2003 rant that appeared, at the start of the Iraq war, on the "progressive" fever swamp web site onlinejournal.com. He appears to belong to a sub-group of the personality type known as "conspiracy theorist". This sub-group is exemplified by illness (real or imagined), medical treatment "denied", and a perception of victimization by the "powers that be".

As you read this, remember that Burkett is almost certainly the primary source and the document forger for CBS's 60 Minutes story on Bush's National Guard service, and that Dan Rather and his producer had been working with their source for five years before breaking the "story". All it takes to determine that Burkett is a moonbat is to spend five minutes reading this drivel (italics are mine):


In January of 1998 and what seems like a full lifetime ago, I was stricken by a deadly case of meningoencephalitis. I was returning from a short duty trip to Panama as a team chief to inspect the hand over of Ft. Clayton to the Panamanians. I had been 'loaned' from the senior staff and state planning officer of the Texas National Guard to the Department of the Army for a series of these special projects after angering George W. Bush by refusing to falsify readiness information and reports; confronting a fraudulent funding scheme which kept 'ghost' soldiers on the books for additional funding, and refusing to alter official personnel records [of George W. Bush].

George W. Bush and his lieutenants were mad. They ordered that I not be accessed to emergency medical care services, healthcare benefits I earned by my official duty; and I was withheld from medical care for 154 days before I was withdrawn from Texas responsibility by the Department of the Army, by order of the White House.

I was a pawn then caught in a struggle for right and wrong, but also caught within a political struggle between a man who would do anything to be 'king' of America...

...Without a single bit of help, contact and in spite of threats against my life and that of my family, I have had to relearn to walk and to live. My daily pain is far worse than anything I could have previously imagined. I suffer from extreme constant headaches, body pain and even my hair hurts...

As I said, a UN vote would not stop GW Bush from attacking Iraq. Nor will anything else. And weapons of mass destruction will be discovered in great quantities...

The human death toll will publicly not be mentioned, yet in truth, it will far exceed 120,000...

Iraq will be stripped by the vanquishers; the major corporations, who will then control not only the assets, but the cash flow. Their names will be Mobil, Exxon [sic], Halliburton and the likes [sic]...

Our homeland warnings will again revert to 'fusia' [sic] a color only associated with confusion, and cosmetic image.

...Now I feel sickness that today another massive group of people, held worthless by this anointed king, will be trampled upon like grapes. But their blood will not be rendered into wine. It will be spilled into the sands of this desert or another, or on the streets of Washington, or in the halls of the US Congress, or in the courts.

We must now revert to the history of Europe to discern what to do. We must study the nemesis of France and how Napoleon was felled before understanding the damage a tyrant does to a nation and society. We must examine the ruthless and dictatorial rise of yet another of the three small men—one whose name is not spoken out of fear of reprisal, but his name was Adolf...

...We must be vigilant. We must be credible...
If you are so inclined, you may read the entire lunatic rant here.