September 30, 2004

Pretty much a draw...

Stephen Green, liveblogging the debate:

7:45pm. Here's what we have so far. Kerry is an impressive attack machine. Bush impressively refuses to budge. If I had to guess, the question most viewers will ask is, "In time of war, do I want the debate team captain, or the guy he can't move?"
I saw part of the debate. Kerry was more impressive than I expected, but suffered from the basic incoherence of his positions. Bush was not at his best, and was frustrating to listen to because I kept thinking of clever, cutting things he ought to say. (Whoreson caitiff knave, you dare to breath the word Kyoto! You stand accurs'd, your own vote hath condemned thee utterly!) But I'm not the target of these debaters. And the playing field wasn't level, because it was all about debating what Bush has done and said, never what Kerry has done. Of course, he's never done anything, but still, it was unfair.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 PM

Monday-morning quarterbacking...

a reader writes:

Andrew Sullivan's "Maybe I need to be clearer" blog today entitled "The War", is a perfect illustration of why John Kerry is in a jam over Iraq. Andrew's at least twice as smart as Kerry, yet even he can't get beyond plain-old monday-morning quarterbacking. Bush made mistakes? Big deal! When it comes to what we should be doing now in Iraq, it's exactly what we are doing. Hold elections, train more troops and get on with reconstruction. Nobody's buying the "woulda, coulda, shouldas" or the "get the French and Germans to help us" bull. I don't see Kerry's way out of this morass. Guess we'll soon find out if he has one.
I'm an old-fashioned conservative Original Sin kind of guy, so I believe that individuals are fallible, institutions are fallible to some multiple of their individuals, and governments the same with bells on. So I'm not much impressed with "vote for me because the other guy made mistakes" arguments...There are always mistakes.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:18 PM

We whack at another Urban Legend...

Robert Novak has an article about urban myths being peddled by Kerry. One of them is that Gen. Shinseki was fired for asking for more troops for Iraq:

...Kerry picked up the story April 13 during a campaign event in Providence, R.I., declaring: "Gen. Shinseki said very clearly: We need 200,000 troops. And what happened to him? He was forced into early retirement." Kerry reiterated this last week at a Columbus, Ohio, press conference: "Gen. Shinseki told this country how many troops we'd need. The president retired him early for telling the truth."

 That is not true, and even Bush critics in the Pentagon know it. The truth is that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanding control of the Army, collided with Shinseki on issues unrelated to Iraq. In March 2002, Rumsfeld announced that Shinseki's term as chief of staff would end as scheduled in June 2003 without extension -- an unprecedented action that made the general a lame duck. It was after that, not before it, on Feb. 25, 2003, that Shinseki told a Senate committee the U.S. would need "several hundred thousand" soldiers (not precisely 200,000) for Iraq occupation duty...

My recollection (correct me if I'm wrong) is that Shinseki had a whole iraq plan. And what's being done now by Bush critics is to take one single item of the plan, one that seems good in hindsight, and say, <saddened> "Why, Oh why, didn't we follow the sage advice of this wise wise man?" </saddened>
Ignoring, of course, the other 97% of the plan, which would have left us FUBAR.

I could show you MY plan for invading Iraq and I'm sure you could find something in it to criticize the administration for not doing. What would that mean? NOTHING! Any plan has probably gets something right.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:42 PM

“My summer vacation with a bloodthirsty tyrant,”

Joel Mowbray has a great piece on how Jimmy Carter is happy to "ceritfy" the elections of thugs and dictators, but condemns Florida, which is ruled by something much worse: Republicans.

...In a stomach-turning first-person essay on his trip to Cuba in May 2002 that reads like a “My summer vacation with a bloodthirsty tyrant,” Jimmy Carter writes, “President Castro and I had a friendly chat about growing peanuts” on the way to the hotel, and then later “[t]hat evening President Castro and I had a general discussion of issues and then enjoyed an ornate banquet.” 

With prose that might make even Castro’s PR flacks blush, Carter lavishes praise on Cuba’s “superb systems of health care and universal education,” “a remarkable medical school,” and the “amazing musical and dance performances” of “mentally retarded and physically handicapped children.”  Then, this doozy: that the “fundamental right [of civil liberties enjoyed by Americans to change laws] is also guaranteed to Cubans.”

What Carter neglected to mention was that while he was staying at a hotel off-limits to ordinary Cubans, Castro was probably busy killing a political enemy or jailing innocent citizens...

By the way, constitutionally, our elections are regulated by elected leaders, such as state legislatures, which pass the election laws, and the "secretary of state," who is elected or confirmed by the legislature.

Therefore, when people like Carter imply that there is something fishy about Florida's elections because they are under the control of "highly partisan" officials, like Florida secretary of state Katherine Harris, they are talking nonsense. Un-American nonsense. (And of course they never find anything odd about Democrat election officials, such as when Al Gore asked for recounts only in those counties controlled by Dems.)

To repeat, elected officials and legislatures control elections. And if the people are so lost to decency and sanity as to elect Republicans, tough! Get used to it.

What was fishy was having the Florida Supreme Court trying to run an election. The US Supreme court was correct to put a stop to it.

* Update: Also, did you notice the line in Mobray's article: “amazing musical and dance performances” of “mentally retarded and physically handicapped children.”? Communists (and terrorists) study our Lefties, folks, and feed them whatever pap they want. It used to be "model" collective farms, or watching "workers" give a performance. Or having one female astronaut, who makes one flight, and then goes on permanent tour.

Remember Valentina Tereshkova? First woman in space? That must count as the most successful propaganda stunt in history. One factory girl, with less than a year's training, flies in a totally automated spacecraft, and the whole world suddenly believes that the Soviet Union is a paradise of equal rights! And SF writers fell into line, putting female Russian space-commanders into stories. And nobody asked about the other three factory gals who trained with Tereshkova, and then vanished from view once she made her one flight. (I will be charitable, and assume they were just sent back to the tractor factory.) We should have had bloggers back then...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:13 AM

September 29, 2004

"Don't bite at their bait"

A little bit of the wisdom of W. By Linda Chavez:

George W. Bush once gave me some good advice -- which I never got the opportunity to use -- now I'd like to return the favor. Back when he picked me to be Secretary of Labor in 2001, the then president-elect sat me down in the Texas governor's mansion for a little heart-to-heart talk. "You know they're going to come after you in the Senate confirmation hearings," he said, fully aware that organized labor and other left-leaning groups vociferously opposed my nomination. "I know you can take care of yourself. You could probably come right back at them, and you might be tempted to do that," he added with a smile. "But here's my advice -- and you can take it or leave it: Don't get bogged down in winning the argument. Don't bite at their bait. I'm not telling you what to do," he said, leaning forward in his chair, "but it's what I'd do in your position."...
And that's exactly what Bush does, and it works very well. The absurd lying attacks on his Air National Guard service have been going on since he ran for governor of Texas. Has he whined or complained once? No. Have the attacks worked? No. (Of course he's in a better position than poor Kerry, who has the disadvantage that the attacks on him are largely true.)

I admire intensely the discipline of Bush and his team. I can't imagine being slandered, and just ignoring it.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:18 PM

Liberals are mannered, sensitive.....giant night-flying leeches

Jonah Goldberg quoted this, from a novelist, at The Corner:

At their essence, conservatives are on guard, bristling, armed with a righteous anger, prone to mockery of their enemies, sure of themselves, unwilling to criticize America, especially by comparing it to anyplace else. The attacks of Sept. 11 only confirmed their world view: We are constantly at risk.

Liberals are mannered, sensitive, armed with intellectual cynicism, self-critical, eager to learn from other cultures, wanting there to be no pain in the world. The attacks made them sad and angry, too, but their reflex was more pensive than vengeful.

Pensive. Oh, we so pensive. We no want pain in the world—we shouldn't have inflicted pain on poor Ba'athists. Poor poor Uday and Qusay. We should learn from their culture. We know America bad, so we is "self-critical." But though America is bad, attacks on her made us "sad and angry." Sad we can't focus on important things, like bike paths. Angry at nasty flags.

Armed with "righteous anger," I will try not to barf. But "mockery of our enemies?" It's a duty, when faced with such asininity.

Jonah also quoted this, from the NYT: Experts caution that the race is highly fluid, but Mr. Bush, for now at least, is surging ahead... Fluid? So what, um, exactly, happened to that election we used to hear about, where everyone in this 50-50 nation was committed, and there were few undecided voters?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 PM

Oh Peaches...

I'm borrowing this quote from John Ellis' blog, 'cause it's just too funny not to:

Correspondent SK emails in with a winner:

Dear Mr. Ellis,

Our local paper carries today a story of Lech Walesa visiting the Bay Area. It ends with a lovely bit --- I render for your personal enjoyment. "Peaches Torassa, 50, who teaches second-graders in San Pablo, remembered hearing of Walesa during the 1970's.

'He put his life on the line,' said Torassa .... 'To me it's like meeting Fidel Castro.'"

It really made my morning oatmeal.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 PM

Reagan was right....

Study: Emission of smog ingredients from trees is increasing rapidly... (thanks to BroJudd)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:29 PM

Eenie Meenie, chili beanie...the spirits are about to speak!

I just heard a clip on the radio, of Senator Kerry talking to Diane Sawyer, who asked, "was the war in Iraq worth it?" Kerry answers...

We should not have gone to war, knowing the information we have today...
Unbelievable. The Kerry standard is precognition!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:51 AM

Democrat Spam...

Betsy Newmark has links and debunking of the widespread e-mails claiming the draft is coming back...Something that's not even remotely close to true.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 AM

They line up before dawn...

[from CSM] HOUSTON – Every Friday and Saturday, they line up before dawn: people from around the country who, despite recent news reports, still want to work in Iraq.

The beheadings haven't swayed them, they say, as they wait to find out what openings are available with Houston-based KBR, the subsidiary of Halliburton, which won a $4.5 billion government contract to provide support to the US military.

There are spots for cooks, carpenters, truck drivers, even entertainment specialists - and plenty more open up every day as those who thought they could make it come home.

While last week's beheadings of two American contract workers sent shock waves through communities from Hillsdale, Mich., to Marietta, Ga., remarkably it didn't shorten the lines at recruiting fairs...

One of the things that is most disgusting about this time in politics is the smearing of the Halliburton Corporation. O'my'God, it's connected with War, Oil and Dick Cheney--it's EVIL. What lying crap, When the same company was doing the same kinds of things for Clinton in Bosnia, Al Gore gave them one of his "Excellence in Government" awards. Now they are the Forces of Darkness. How I hate that kind of brainless reflexive LeftThink. STUPID. Of course, if you don't have any positive message, stupid talk is all you can do.

Thank you, men and women of Kellogg, Brown and Root! Thank you for doing the hard and dangerous stuff while people not fit to clean your boots sit home in comfort and sneer and call you "war profiteers."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

September 28, 2004

Yet voters came out in the hundreds of thousands...

You have to read this one, by David Brooks:

Conditions were horrible when Salvadorans went to the polls on March 28, 1982. The country was in the midst of a civil war that would take 75,000 lives. An insurgent army controlled about a third of the nation's territory. Just before election day, the insurgents stepped up their terror campaign. They attacked the National Palace, staged highway assaults that cut the nation in two and blew up schools that were to be polling places.

Yet voters came out in the hundreds of thousands. In some towns, they had to duck beneath sniper fire to get to the polls. In San Salvador, a bomb went off near a line of people waiting outside a polling station. The people scattered, then the line reformed. "This nation may be falling apart," one voter told The Christian Science Monitor, "but by voting we may help to hold it together."...

No one can be sure what will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan, but us warmongers and Republicans have one huge advantage...we are the good guys, and our system works! And the Realist/Postmodernist appeasing Democrats have a huge disadvantage—they are on the wrong side of history. They are reactionaries defending tyranny and inaction, and their system doesn't work. They, like their terrorist allies, may win a skirmish or two, but they will be flattened in the long run.

To quote Brooks again:

On the other hand, over the past 30-odd years, democracy has spread at the rate of one and a half nations per year. It has spread among violence-racked nations and to 18 that are desperately poor. And it has spread not only because it inspires, but also because it works.
You can't outrun the History Train....

(thanks to OJ)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 PM

Thank you, thank you, Governor Bush...

And your crew, for smacking down that insufferable fraud, Jimmy Carter.

Florida officials yesterday accused former President Jimmy Carter of a politically motivated effort to undermine voter confidence after the Democrat said in a newspaper column that the state is "likely" to repeat the voting problems that plagued the 2000 presidential election.  State officials also said the former president made no attempt to get up-to-date information before writing a critical opinion piece and never tried to contact the governor's office or that of Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood.

 "This is a shockingly partisan opinion piece, and it's unfortunate that a person such as the former president is being used by the Democratic Party for low-level political rhetoric," said Jacob DiPietre, press secretary for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.  "It's clear that [Mr. Carter] doesn't have his facts straight. The governor believes that it's ironic that someone who has spent so much time and so much energy encouraging faith in the elections of Third World countries would go to such lengthy, partisan extremes to undermine voter confidence in his own country," Mr. DiPietre said...

...Alia Faraj, a spokesman for the Florida secretary of state, who oversees elections in the state, said Mr. Carter's column appeared to be based on out-of-date information about the state's progress in reforming its voting system.     "Former President Carter has been a statesman," Miss Faraj said, "but in this case, he did not reach out to the secretary of state to have a conversation with her and doesn't recognize all the reforms that we do have in place and have had in place since the 2000 election." ....

...The former president, who runs the Carter Center, which monitors international elections, said "some basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida."

    But Rep. Katherine Harris, the secretary of state during the 2000 fight, said that Mr. Carter "appears radically misinformed" about Florida's election reforms since then, "or he is seeking to plant the seeds of illegitimacy for any election a Democrat does not win."

    "Either way, Mr. Carter, who once pledged that he would never lie to us, should avoid spreading the lies of others," the Republican lawmaker said....

My guess is that "planting the seeds of illegitimacy" is exactly what he's doing. It's not going to work very well when the Republicans win in a landslide...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:40 PM

Chap. 11: Journalist, Captured: Care, Feeding and Hoodwinking Of

Here's a transcript of an interview by Tim Russert with General Abizaid. Russert pushes the Party Line hard, but the General isn't having it...

MR. RUSSERT:  A Turkish journalist was captured and then released, and I read very carefully some of her comments and I'd like to share them with you, General.

She said that, "People appeared eager to help anyone they thought was part of the resistance."  She said, "I saw that around Mosul," which is up north, "Everybody is the resistance.  They use the small kids to bring them water and no one treated them like children.  They'd be with the men who are talking about cutting heads and the kids would be standing guard like little men.  So you became afraid of the children too."

"Everyone is the resistance."  Can you win a war in which the populace is aiding the insurgency?

GEN. ABIZAID:  You know, Tim, every now and then in Washington, we need to take a deep breath and we need to look at what's happening in the region as opposed to the reports of one or two journalists that happen to think that everybody in Iraq is in the resistance.  If everybody in Iraq was in the resistance, Prime Minister Allawi would not be trying to lead his nation forward to a better future.  If everybody in Iraq happened to be part of the resistance, they wouldn't be volunteering for the armed forces.  We've got over 100,000 people that are trained and equipped now.  That number is going up higher.  There is more people that are coming forward to fight for the future of Iraq than are fighting against it....

Have you ever noticed that, for every terrorist/communist/guerilla/revolutionary/liberation-from-capitalism-people's-front group, no matter how many innocents they slaughter, there is ALWAYS some journalist to discover that the "militants" are austere, self-sacrificing, almost saintly...and glowing with warm vital folk-virtues that contrast sharply with cold unfeeling Western civilization? And they are always supported by the simple folk? (Remember Fire in the Lake? Gag.)

It doesn't matter what group—Lenin, Stalin, Tito, Mao, Che, Palestinians, Shining Path, Khmer Rouge—some damn dimwit journalist ALWAYS tells us how much more noble they are than us capitalist slobs. Now it's Ba'athist thuggizoids in Mosul! "The Re-zis-tance." What crap. Why not go the whole MichaelMoore, and call them "Minutemen?"

I bet there's a Handbook for Revolutionaries, printed in Zurich in 1912, and still being passed from hand to hand. And Chapter 11 is especially tattered, because that's the one titled: Journalist, Captured: Care, Feeding and Hoodwinking Of.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:42 PM

Wild blue yonder...

By the way, the Weidners will be heading down to Mojave this weekend to watch, if all goes well, the second launch of SpaceShipOne. We have a ticket courtesy of my brother-in-law, who is an engineer at Scaled Composites, (and already, I gather, doodling plans for SpaceShipTwo!)

I hope to blog some good pix...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:47 AM

"on board"

Jack Risko, the Dinocrat, has the dope on Paul Pillar. Worth reading:

...Paul Pillar has a career interest and preference for negotiations as the way to solve conflicts. From his earliest book, he focused on situations where the outcome was not victory. Time and again, he has said that military solutions are not solutions. With regard to Iraq, whether it goes well or poorly, it goes poorly – if terrorism is the question. Clearly Mr. Pillar is not on board with George Bush’s fundamental premises in the Global War on Terror, so it should be no surprise that he is having secret meetings around the country criticizing US policy. Why does this fellow have a job at the CIA?...
Why? Because much of the CIA seems to be "on board' the postmodernist choo-choo, and have no more liking for American fighting for freedom and Western values than Chirac or Kerry do. Terrorism is something we should "live with," and 9/11 was a "tragedy," (mostly for upsetting the status quo, and causing the knuckle-dragging commoners to vote for Republican fascist insects...)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:27 AM

Conference agenda: 1. America admits defeat; 2. France cackles with delight...

You might note this article in the IHT, just in case you were still thinking France might help us in Iraq. Or anywhere. Or is our "ally."

...France said Monday that it would take part in a proposed international conference on Iraq only if the agenda included a possible U.S. troop withdrawal, thus complicating the planning for a meeting that has drawn mixed reactions.

Paris also wants representatives of Iraq's insurgent groups to be invited to a conference in October or November, a call that would seem difficult for the Bush administration to accept...

I guess we will have to keep playing out this French farce until my generation dies off. Much as the residuum of the British Empire seemed vital to my parent's generation. What's actually vital are the improving ties we have with countries that have a future. Such as the way the administration is pushing for stronger ties with India.

(Thanks to PowerLine, which was tipped-off by Steven den longer blogging, but still seen in the neighborhood)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

September 27, 2004

Just mentionin'

I just wanted to mention--I'm not AR-GUING with anybody, just mentioning— that I was reading about viruses/worms/Trojan horses/crapware/adware/spyware—and, Mac user that I am, I realized I have only a vague understanding of what those things are. I mean, I know in theory what they are, but I've never encountered any of them in life...

Here's a very interesting essay by John Gruber on why that is. The author makes an analogy with the "broken-window" theory of crime control, where zero tolerance of all sorts of disorder is a powerful deterrent to crime...

...My answer to question posed earlier — why are Windows users besieged with security exploits, while Mac users suffer none? — is that Windows is like a bad neighborhood, strewn with litter, mysterious odors, panhandlers, and untold dozens of petty annoyances. Many Windows users are simply resigned to the fact that their computers contain software that is not under their control. And if they’ll tolerate an annoying application that badgers them with pop-up ads, well, why not a spyware virus that logs every key you type, then sends them back to the creator? (That’s a real virus, by the way, Korgo, which hit Windows at the end of May and is spreading quickly.)...

...The Mac is like a good neighborhood, where the streets are clean and the crime rate low. You don’t need bars on your windows in a good neighborhood; you don’t need anti-virus software on the Mac...

...Arguing that it’s technically possible that the Mac could suffer just as many security exploits as Windows is like arguing that a good neighborhood could suddenly find itself strewn with garbage and plagued by vandalism and serious crime. Possible, yes, but not likely. The security disparity between the Mac and Windows isn’t so much about technical possibilities as it is about what people will tolerate.

And Mac users don’t tolerate shit.

Well, that's true. Particularly, as Gruber points out, we have zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. Someone points out a theoretical OS-X vulnerability, and it's NEWS! And the complaining starts. "This was pointed out two days ago! When is the Apple Security Update coming out? What's the matter with those guys!"

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 PM

"the only certainty is that nothing is certain"

From a good article by John Zvesper, on how the world ignored the President's UN speech:

...However, there was also (at best) a tepid response to Bush among the representatives of liberal democratic regimes, and this needs further explanation. What most offended these sophisticated UN delegates was Bush’s rejection of their postmodern pieties, their unwavering faith in the dogmas of pragmatism and moral and cultural relativism. Bush justified his call for the expansion of liberty by asserting that "the dignity of every human life" is "honored by the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, protection of private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance." Many of these traditional liberal principles have become suspect in pragmatic, "progressive" circles.

But especially grating to the postmodern mentality that dominates sophisticated minds in liberal democracies is Bush’s claim that "we know with certainty" that "the desire for freedom resides in every human heart," and that therefore the "bright line between justice and injustice—between right and wrong—is the same in every age, and every culture, and every nation." Recognition of such self-evident truths is completely inadmissible in the postmodern faith, in which the only certainty is that nothing is certain...

What Bush is promoting is the "culture of life." And the "culture of death," which we see displayed here, can be discerned by certain signs. God is mislaid, and there is little desire to sacrifice for future generations, for one's country, or to help distant strangers. Economies stagnate, birthrates go down, old people become burdensome, abortion is cherished, and euthanasia is attractive. Objective truth, and right and wrong, are considered outdated concepts. And invariably, the reaction to George W Bush is to break out in hives....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 PM

a couple of good things....

1. There's a story about a National Guard unit being sent to Iraq without any weapons. Be prepared to hear that the heartless Bush Administration is sending our troops naked into battle. Be prepared to refute this:

...The 98th Division (Training) is a training unit and because of its mission is not authorized its own organic weapons. They do not need them to complete their mission statement. This “authorization” was completed decades ago by planners. When they need weapons , another unit will issue them weapons that they will then be responsible for. When they leave Iraq, they will then return the weapons to that unit.
2. Powerline has re-posted an account, by a rabbi they know, of a meeting with President Bush. Good stuff.

3. Powerline also has a powerful comparison of an AP piece by Jennifer Lovens, a hit piece on the "Clear Skies" legislation, compared with an article written by her husband, Roger Ballentine, who is listed on John Kerry's website as one of Kerry's most important supporters on environmental issues. Guess what, they are very similar. They both call it the so-called "Clear Skies" legislation.

When you hear those desperate lies about how the Bush Administration is pillaging the environment, consider the source....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:20 AM

September 26, 2004

I don't have to draw you a map....

Shannon Love has performed a valuable service in this post.

She linked to this map, of population density in Iraq, which I here present in compressed form:

Iraq population density
And then she created another map, here, of all 58 U.S. combat fatalities for the month of September to date, by provinces of Iraq. Again, here's my compressed version (If you can't read the legend, green is zero deaths, yellow is 2-5, and red 20+):

Iraq, deaths per province
She writes:

Of course, other months would have slightly different maps. During Al-Sadar's uprising the province of Al Najaf would have been red for example. But the overall pattern is clear. The "insurgency" is geographically concentrated. Most of Iraq sees little or no violence directed against the Coalition. For example, a minimum of 29 of the fatalities occured within a 50 kilometer radius of a point halfway between Falujah and Baghdad.
I think Random Jottings readers are mentally acute enough that I don't have to point out the obvious. Remember these maps, when liars tell you that Iraq is sliding into hopeless anarchy, that "the Shi'ites have risen against us," that we are in a quagamire....the usual stuff.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 PM

" there is no objective truth -- neither side is right or wrong."

Ace of Spades points out this 2002 article, which gives us an interesting window into the minds of the people who bring you the news....

...After Dan Rather left, I spent some time with his producer, discussing her viewpoints of what was currently happening in Israel. After seeing the tone of her news segment, I was concerned. I began to question her about accuracy in reporting.

Her answer was even more shocking than what I had already observed. "The thing is," she told me, "it is impossible to be objective in this situation. The fact is that there is no objective truth -- neither side is right or wrong."

"Wait a minute," I asked her. "When a Palestinian straps on a belt of dynamite lined with nails and walks into a pizza shop, blowing up innocent people, that wouldn't be objectively wrong?"

"Of course I would think that is wrong," she answered me. "But the Palestinians believe this is a legitimate form of warfare. And they would say the Israelis are doing the same to them by killing innocent civilians when they retaliate militarily. Who am I to say what is right or wrong? Who am I to say that the Palestinians are wrong in their beliefs?"

"But don't you think there's a difference between a person blowing himself up in a restaurant, and a military that responds by searching for and killing terrorists. Granted that innocent civilians are killed in both circumstances -- but in one situation the innocents are targeted, and in the other situation they are regrettably caught in the line of fire?"

"Well, that's a very Western way of looking at things. You see I'm Christian and American. I see things the way you do as an Israeli -- we have the same moral framework. But the Arabs view things differently, and who's to say that we're right and they're wrong?"....

You should read the article. One interesting thing is that this unnamed producer, who confidently opines here about the Palestinians, is totally ignorant of what's going on. The author is trying to explain to her what the Temple Mount is, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Golden Dome, and the Western Wall. Amazin'. Probably learned in college those clever and slippery Post-Modern ways to say it's OK to kill Jews, and hasn't had to rev-up her brain cells since....

Posted by John Weidner at 5:13 PM

"We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily"

The Daschle v Thune blog posted this tasty morsel of hypocrisy:

In 1998 when Bill Clinton was President:
"Look, we have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so? … This is the key question. And the answer is, we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."

— Tom Daschle Senate Democratic Leader talking about Iraq with a Democrat President.

In 2003 when George W. Bush was President:
"I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."

— Tom Daschle Senate Democratic Leader talking about Iraq with a Republican President.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:22 PM


Apparently Phillip Roth is coming out with an alternate history novel, The Plot Against America, where the Isolationist Charles Lindbergh runs for President in 1940, and keeps us out of WWII.

Orrin Judd begs us not to accept the popular caricature of Lindbergh as a Nazi-type racist. This is from a book review by Orrin of the biography Lindbergh, by A. Scott Berg:

...None of this excuses Lindbergh's ill considered language about Jews.  But it does raise the question of why he is the one who is dogged by the reputation of being an anti-Semite and a Nazi.  When you think of FDR, your first thought is not: "He was an anti-Japanese, anti-Black racist".  But he actually wielded power and helped to oppress these peoples.  Lindbergh never had a chance to violate anyone's civil rights, but his entire life seems to indicate that he would not have been capable of these actions.  (For a long time he prayed for the soul of the Japanese pilot that he shot down.)  It is completely unfair that this reputation will always follow him.

Moreover, his reasons for being an isolationist turned out to be prophetic.  He foresaw a brutally destructive war that would leave Europe in ruins and at the mercy of the Soviet Union.  He feared that having become involved in the war, America would be mired in Europe for generations.  After fifty years of Cold War and crippling military expenditures, who will argue that he was wrong?

Topping it all off, as soon as the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he endorsed our entry into the war and sought to join up.  A bitterly vindictive FDR made sure that he could not return to active duty, but Lindbergh found ways around this and eventually flew fighter and bomber missions in the South Pacific, in addition to helping with aircraft design, devising ingenious ways of conserving fuel in flight, serving as a human guinea pig in high altitude flight experiments, and many other unheralded contributions to the war effort...

I don't know much about Roth's book yet, but a plot where a Republican is elected President, and America immediately turns into a Nazi-like state? Hmmmmmmm. Haven't I heard something like that lately? Probably not, it would be strange if more than one person came up with that idea. A strange coincidence....

Oh vell, ven mein President iss re-elected unanimously, zen vee vill no longer tolerate zeese insults!

* Update: It occurs to me that I may have this wrong. I assumed this was just another iteration of the half-witted Bush-is-Hitler cackle we hear so much of. But if it's a book about an appeaser elected (improbably) President, who keeps America on the sidelines while crazed fanatics slaughter helpless people and the world slides into savagery, well, kinda sounds like a devastating portrait of Kerry and the Dems.

I somehow doubt that that's what's intended. Being a writer or artist means, above all, that you have to conform. I don't think Mr Roth would be allowed to deviate so far from the official line....

Posted by John Weidner at 1:38 PM

"Leopard never changes his spots!"

If you wonder how our troops in Iraq feel about "Senator" Kerry's encouragement of terrorists, and disparagement of our work in Iraq, here's a Marine's father's post by Grim at Mudville Gazette:

Da Grunt [his son] called on Wed night (Thur morning 0200) and was waiting on a C-130 to fly him and the boys to Kuwait! He's out of it and in one piece.

And we'd best be keeping him and his compadres away from John Kerry for awhile! They are not real fond of him right now considering he threw them under the bus and they spent their last week fighting like hell because, and I quote, "The a**hole has let these %^&$* believe they can win and we're paying the price! Half of everything we worked so hard to do has gone to s**t!". I don't believe Kerry will get the Marine vote! If the new guys survive his rhetoric. Everyone over there will sure feel better when November comes! BTW, there was a huge absentee vote before the new guys went over. Enough politics but I thought y'all should know what the real story about the "quagmire" is and who is getting our boys killed again. Leopard never changes his spots! (In case you didn't notice, I'm really pissed at the crap spewed out this week and so is my son who had to pay a price for it!)....

The Democrats really deserve to lose. And yes I know there are many solid patriotic Americans who are Dems. Long my they prosper. But the heart of the party is rotten. And Kerry isn't real, he's just a sort of psychic projection of the "Democrat Base." If all the "Progressives" and "activists" were to magically disappear, Kerry would collapse and turn to mist and blow away, like Saruman...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 AM

September 25, 2004

Yom Kippur, 5765

"the Lord, the Lord God Is Gracious and Compassionate, Patient, Abounding in Kindness and Faithfulness, Assuring Love for a Thousand Generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and granting pardon."

Exodus: 34:6-7

On Yom Kippur, Jews around the world gather to mark the holiest day of the year, the Sabbath of Sabbaths. Jewish tradition teaches that on this day, we receive God's mercy through acts of atonement, prayer, and charity. During this season of prayer and intense reflection, may you find comfort in God's promise, which has never been broken and which is renewed in our time.

Our trust in God gives all Americans great purpose. As we are called to acts of compassion and mercy, we come closer to God and serve a cause greater than ourselves. May you trust God's faithfulness to all people, and may you be blessed with a good and happy New Year.


(thanks to O Judd)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:31 PM

a few paces into the jungle...

Our friend Dave often jogs me out of my rut by posting strange things. This post, quoting David Niewert on how Republicans are morphing into some sort of Gatoraide fascism, is particularly interesting. But I'm afraid I have little future as an intrepid explorer hacking through jungles....The first paragraph was all I could manage. Here are some thoughts... [Not just pot-shots for fun, this does tie in with some other things I've been writing about]

[O]ne only needs review the current state of affairs to recognize that the "conservative movement" -- especially as embodied by the Bush administration -- has wandered far astray from its original values. Just how "conservative" is it, after all, to run up record budget deficits? To make the nation bleed jobs? To invade another nation under false pretenses? To run roughshod over states' rights? To impose a radical unilateralist approach to foreign policy? To undermine privacy rights and the constitutional balance of power? To quanitifably worsen the environment, while ignoring the realities of global warming? To grotesquely mishandle the defense of our national borders?
Mr Niewert seems to have absorbed some DNC talking points, labeled them "conservative original values," and is now complaining that we are fascists for not following them!

"To run up record budget deficits?" Conservatives have often supported budget deficits, especially in wartime. Reagan used them to splendid effect, to both revive our economy and bring the Soviet Union to its knees. And those paid off so handsomely that the debt that was incurred during the Reagan years is now a trifle compared to our much-enlarged economy. Also, the current deficit is only "record-breaking" in absolute numbers of dollars; it's historically unexceptional as a percentage of the GDP. That's a deceptious argument, typically Niewertian, and calls into doubt his whole project. If making your point requires telling tricky lies, why should we pay attention?

"To make the nation bleed jobs?" That's untrue, just more Democrat-campaign BS. We always lose jobs in recessions, but the recession is now long over and our economy is growing strongly, including employment. But even if it's TRUE, what "conservative principal" is involved? Guaranteed employment? Protectionism? Those are conservative ideas? Gimme a break. Conservatives have generally supported Free Markets, and guess what—sometimes that means economic pain, and loss of jobs.

"To invade another nation under false pretenses?" That's Kerry's argument. Most American conservatives disagree with him. I disagree with him. And the legalistic "International Law" pettifoggery that underlies the argument has never been a conservative principle. Nor has the type of thinking that usually accompanies such arguments: Saddam should be treated with respect, America should be treated with suspicion and doubt. That's exactly how America-hating "anti-war" activists think. That's how Jimmy Carter thinks. Never conservatives.

"To run roughshod over states' rights?" That one has some validity; most conservatives are more federalist than the administration. Though it doesn't make them "cupcake-fascists" any more than any of his arguments. Liberal Democrats have been long-been strongly anti-States Rights, so why aren't they "fascists?" Why isn't that worrisome?

"To impose a radical unilateralist approach to foreign policy?" So, now Jaques and Kofi are conservatives? American conservatives have traditionally been unilateralists. We hated the UN from the git-go. And there's nothing particularly radical about unilateralism, (or about preemption) at a time when rogue nations can build nuclear bombs. (I'll bet Niewert doesn't even want to know about all that Iraqi Uranium recently transported to Oak Ridge.)

"To undermine privacy rights and the constitutional balance of power?" Now the ACLU is conservative? We've reduced privacy during every war, and current items are trifling compared to past wars. Conservatives accept trade-offs in these things, we are not absolutists. It's the "theorist" types, such as socialists and libertarians, who can't flex when circumstances warrant.

"To quanitifably worsen the environment, while ignoring the realities of global warming?" Now Al Gore is conservative? If Niewert actually knew what he was talking about, or cared, he would know that conservatives have been arguing against global-warming pseudo-science for decades, and against the anti-capitalist agenda that pushes it. And he would know that the administration has a good environmental record, (except in the minds of collectivists.) If Niewert actually bothered to check with some conservatives, he would discover that we care about the environment as much as the general run of Americans do, though we strongly reject the anti-human-being and nature-as-pseudo-religion arguments of environmental extremists.

"To grotesquely mishandle the defense of our national borders?" One can argue the merits of the current border policy, but it would NOT be a clear question of conservative values, which are conflicted here. Many conservatives treasure our openness to immigrants and visitors, others would like to bar the doors. But more importantly, a more vigorous defense of our borders would certainly involve reducing privacy and freedom, increasing government spending, and increasing the power of Federal bureaucracies. And Niewert thinks were are trending fascist because we are NOT doing these things? That's cuckoo.

Anyway, that's what I think of the first paragraph. Neiwert has obviously decided on his thesis, then gone looking for any argument that might support it. I'd feel foolish to have wasted this amount of time on it were it not that this is a very good example of what I've been talking about in my writings on the 70-Year Cycle in American politics. When the two parties exchange majority/minority status, many who didn't see it coming are left shell-shocked and bewildered and bitter. The world they grew up with is suddenly gone. They embrace cranky theories. Many Republicans talked just like Niewert in the 1930's, though in their case they thought FDR and the Dems were communists. And Lincoln seemed equally menacing and dangerous to many, (and, to push the argument back another 70 years, so did the Founding Fathers.)

Also, some of the things complained about are actually the Republicans now assuming positions that have always belonged to the majority party in our country. For instance, from the 1860's to the 1930's, the Democrats were the party of limited government and States-Rights, and they were the deficit valetudinarians! Seems hard to believe, but it's true. Then, during the 1930's, the Republicans took over those roles, and held them until recently, while Dems embraced active government. Now we are flipping positions again. It seems monstrous if you don't understand what's happening.

Another point that should be made. There is not, and never was, any such thing as "fascism." It is a mythical beast. Those "fascist" regimes famous in history were actually just socialism tricked out in a few scraps of conservative and nationalist and militarist rhetoric. Both types of socialism have found it hugely useful to pretend to be protecting the world against the other type. Neither have anything to do with principled conservatism.

The funny thing is, when he's not riding his hobbyhorse Mr Niewert is a lucid and compelling writer. I remember a previous essay he wrote, where he discussed delightfully the near impossibility of defining the term fascism. He explained how philosophers and scholars have spent entire careers trying to pin it down, without success. Guess why, folks.....

Posted by John Weidner at 1:55 PM

September 24, 2004

"just a smattering of applause"

A reader writes:

I'm watching Kerry live, giving a major terrorism address. Can't they at least put him in front of a large enthusiastic audience? He's getting just a smattering of applause. I thought it was easy to round up a political crowd. This is embarrassing!
I think they need to announce ahead of time what position Mr Kerry will be taking. Then the 20% or 30% of his "supporters" who agree with that stance can turn out enthusiastically. And the others can hope for next week.

I'm guessing that the current version is "the real Kerry," to the extent that that concept has any meaning. Someone pointed out that the one time in Kerry's life when he spoke clearly and without "nuance," the one time that no one had any trouble figuring out what his position was...was when he was attacking his own country and slandering his fellow vets, and helping Commies to enslave and murder millions of people.

The current spate of ugly lying attacks on Iraq and Prime Minister Allawi smell like the real stuff to me.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 PM

"But first to arms, to armor...."


First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string
With feathery sorcery; muzzle the note
With hurting love; the music that they wrote
Bewitch, bewilder. Qualify to sing
Threadwise. Devise no salt, no hempen thing
For the dear instrument to bear. Devote
The bows to silks and honey. Be remote
A while from malice and from murdering.
But first to arms, to armor. Carry hate
In front of you and harmony behind.
Be deaf to music and to beauty blind.
Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late
For having first to civilize a space
Wherein to play your violin wiith grace.

-- Gwendolyn Brooks 1949
(Thanks to Jason Van Steenwyk)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:50 PM

Notable and quotable...

“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.”

John Kerry, on CNN’s Crossfire, in 1997.

(Quote lifted from Polipundit)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:11 PM

Well, duh....

When political leaders sound the sirens of defeatism in the face of terrorism, it only encourages more violence. -- interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of Iraq
And when a major-party presidential candidate smacks his lips happily because two Americans were beheaded, and hints that he migh cut-and-run, guess what sort of little lightbulb is going to appear over the head of a certain Al Qaeda leader in Iraq......"Hmmm, I wonder what beheading four Americans would achieve??? or 8, or 16..."
Posted by John Weidner at 11:31 AM

Tokyo Rose

Ralph Peters writes:

IMAGINE if, in the presidential election of 1944, the candidate opposing FDR had insisted that we were losing the Second World War and that, if elected, he would begin to withdraw American troops from Europe and the Pacific.

We would have called it treason. And we would have been right.

In WWII, broadcasts from Tokyo Rose in Japan and from Axis Sally in Germany warned our troops that their lives were being squandered in vain, that they were dying for big business and "the Jew" Roosevelt.

Today, we have a presidential candidate, the conscienceless Sen. John Kerry, doing the work of the enemy propagandists of yesteryear.

Is there nothing Kerry won't say to win the election? Is there no position he won't change? Doesn't he care anything for the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq?

And if he does care about our soldiers and Marines, why is he broadcasting remarks that insist — against all hard evidence — that the terrorists are winning?....

Along the same line, imagine if, during the Second World War, President Roosevelt had met with General DeGaulle, and Republican leaders in Dewey's campaign had sneered at DeGaulle as a "puppet?" While claiming that Roosevelt was turning away "allies?" And at the very moment when Free French troops were fighting with Allied forces?

That's the situation we have right now. Conscienceless is exactly the word for Kerry and his campaign. Also unpatriotic.

And speaking as a Republican, my party supports our country in wartime, even when Dems are running our wars. (For example, recall a recent time period called THE TWENTIETH CENTURY!) And I feel pretty bitter that "Democrats" now don't seem to feel any obligation to return the favor. SCOUNDRELS!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:05 AM

September 23, 2004

My apologies, Mr Prime Minister...

...On behalf of my countrymen, who can sometimes be insular and unsophistcated, with no idea how to treat a foreign guest....

From The Corner:

My favorite part of the day was in the Rose Garden when the reporters kept asking Bush about how horribly things were going and Bush finally said (paraphrasing here) "because I ask him and talk to him," referring to Allawi, "and I believe him," he said looking right at the reporter. It was great. Similarly, another reporter asked Bush another question about how the conditions in Iraq, he was flustered and said "why don't you ask him" referring again to Allawi, "you have the Prime Minister of Iraq here, why ask me?" Again, great point. You could see that the reporters didn't care a bit about what Allawi had to say about what his firsthand impression of Iraq was, they just wanted to hammer Bush over and over. I don't think they succeeded. It was pretty obvious they were desperate to ignore Allawi and the positive message he was bringing.
The mainstream press is just pathetic..."desperate to ignore Allawi..." that sums it up.

Desperate to ignore a whole bunch of things....

Posted by John Weidner at 2:39 PM

"So I know that this is nonsense..."

I recommend this NRO piece by Cathy Seipp. I can personally attest to its accuracy...

...What's really frightening, the conventional wisdom goes, is the crudely intolerant agenda of Christian fundamentalists. But unlike most of the media (and Hollywood) elite, I grew up surrounded by Christian fundamentalists. So I know that this is nonsense...
Utterly dead-on true. I come from the same place...
...It's hard to remember now how lily white great stretches of southern California used to be, but they really were in those days, and by white I mean really white. My dark-eyed, brunette mother often said she felt surrounded by the Burghers of Munich. Visitors would occasionally feel free to look at her and inquire: "So are you Spanish or Portuguese or what?"

Not that I was exactly a Tragic Mulatto, but we never quite fit in. We were liberal, upper-middle-class (in attitude, not income) Jews, from Canada, surrounded by people descended from Okies from Muskogee. My mother volunteered for the George McGovern campaign in 1972 and I helped stuff envelopes.

What I only realized after I grew up and moved away was how decent and tolerant these boring, suburban neighbors were...

True true true. I was there. I grew up a Baptist in Orange County (famous for the John Birch Society.) It was really "Red State America" back then, you just can't imagine if you don't know it. A large part of the population had migrated from the heartland. And it amazes me now to recall how many of them worked tirelessly to help us kids grow up right— as teachers, Sunday School teachers, scout leaders, or just neighbors. I may be an "urban sophisticate" now, but I have a very good understanding of how they think in places like Oklahoma or Texas. And I would prefer Okies over the smug prissy do-gooders of Berkeley any day. They are better human beings.

So it just burns me up to hear Lefty lack-wits proclaim that Christian fundamentalists are a danger. I know better. And I'm doubly annoyed because I know that they would not be interested in any evidence I can provide. Just like Dan Rather doesn't want to hear anyone say that the President was a top-notch fighter pilot. Their ears and hearts are closed.

Likewise, I fume when I'm told that Republicans are really just a bunch of fascists plotting to establish our tyranny. Or that Rush Limbaugh is an intolerant hypocrite. I know better. Personally. Charlene and I hob-nob with Republicans. We hear the gossip. We've talked to people who've talked to Bush or Cheney.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:37 PM

"Are we there yet?...Are we there yet?"

Thomas Sowell writes:

...Has the war in Iraq gone according to plan? No! But name any war that did...

....Mistakes in war are not new. What is new is a widespread lack of realism about war, especially among people who have never been in the military, who are like the proverbial little kid on a trip who keeps asking: "Are we there yet?"...

If you delve under the surface layers of history, you will discover that all wars resemble blundering about in the dark. And almost always the enemy looks more formidable than he is, because we don't know about his problems...

A good battle to contemplate now is Guadalcanal. If this were September 1942, the sort of people who support Senator Kerry would be pointing out that the Guadalcanal Campaign is utter folly and disaster, and we should cut our losses and retreat. It would look that way. Our Marines are penned-up in a few square miles, on the defensive, ill-supplied, hungry, glad to dine on captured Japanese rice. Our naval forces are being defeated repeatedly in savage night-battles, giving us the immortal name, "Ironbottom Sound." Japanese warships can bombard our forces with impunity. At night.

Someone might say it was the wrong battle at the wrong place and time. And he would be totally wrong. The Japanese rule at night, but during the daytime the situation is reversed. We hold little Henderson Field, the only airstrip in the area. An unsinkable aircraft carrier. We are sometimes reduced to an handful of battered planes flown by exhausted pilots, but as long as they are there, we dominate the whole area by day. Japanese ships have to retreat before sunrise.

And most importantly, Japanese bombers and fighters have to fly from Rabaul or Kavieng, hundreds of miles away. They are operating at extreme range, where even slight damage probably means that a plane and crew will be lost. But our planes can be shot-up repeatedly with planes and pilots surviving to fight again. The Japs are at this time superior to us in the air, but we have forced them to fight at an extreme disadvantage, in a campaign that is steadily whittling away their air forces.

(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:19 AM

Letter from Iraq....

This post by Hugh Hewitt includes a great letter from an Army Captain in Iraq...

...But my favorite story to tell you is the one that Natalie shared. She told us about a convoy that was traveling in Baghdad yesterday and it was hit by an IED. Unfortunately, one of the vehicles was so close to the seat of the explosion that it injured two of the soldiers in the vehicle. A Mercedes who had passed the convoy, saw the explosion in his rear view mirror and turned around to double back. When he got there, he got out of his car to help. The soldiers, all pulling security now as the medic tried to tend to the wounded, pointed their weapons at him, unsure of his intentions. The Iraqi man put up his hands and said in broken English, "I'm here to help!" He pointed to his cell phone in his hand. "Please tell me who I should call for help." The soldiers lowered their weapons and gave him the number to call. In the meantime, another vehicle came up behind the convoy. An Iraqi man ran over to the exploded vehicle where the soldier lay on the ground. With his hands raised as well, he told them, "I am a doctor, please let me help." With tears in her eyes, Natalie told us that he probably saved that soldier's life....
If you drift around the Internet, and the blogs, you encounter a lot of communications from our good people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funny thing, they all seem to say that the Dems and Big Media are lying to us. I guess our troops are all delusional.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:36 AM

Sic semper terroristas...

Omar writes:

A group of Iraqi citizens in Al Karkh/ Khidr Al Yas arrested 6 Syrian terrorists after placing a land mine at the gate of Bab Al Mu’a dam bridge from Al Karkh side.

According to New Sabah newspaper, after a road side bomb exploded missing an American convoy that was patrolling in the area, a group of citizens who happened to be there noticed a bunch of young men who looked foreigners (turned out to be Syrians) that were gathering near the place and that looked suspicious. The citizens found their atittude very suspicious and they were not from the area, so they jumped on them and kicked them until some of them started to bleed and then turned them on to the American forces. Eyewitnesses said that the citizens were shouting “Terrorists. You are targeting our children and families. You are killing our youths”

This incident that took place near Haifa street comes after many attacks that terrorist Arabs were accused of carrying against American forces and Iraqi police stations...

Kofi Anan would probably say that they were violating "International Law."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

September 21, 2004

"Don't bounce it. They'll boo ya!"

You have to watch this movie clip, Nine Innings, about the President throwing the first pitch, in a Series game at Yankee Stadium after 9/11. It's an extract, I think, from an HBO documentary titled Nine Innings from Ground Zero, that tells the story of the 2001 World Series in New York.

Cops galore, fans being searched, going through metal detectors...guys with automatic weapons, bomb dogs in the locker room. Secret Service men dressing as umpires...

And the President of the United States shows up in the locker room...

Derek Jeter: "...and I asked him if he was gonna be throwing the first pitch from the mound or the base of the mound."

Bush: "I thought I'd throw from the base of the mound."

Jeter: "I wouldn't do that, Mr President. You better throw it from the mound, or you're gonna get booed. This is Yankee Stadium..."

Bush: "...And he's walking out and he looks over his shoulder and says, 'Don't bounce it. They'll boo ya!' All of a sudden the pressure mounted...I'm sittin there, feeling fairly relaxed, and all of a sudden, the great Derek Jeter says 'Don't bounce it.'"

I love this stuff. And just think about it...This is the President of the United States of America, and guys on a baseball team know instinctively they can tease him. Kinda makes the Leftizoids who say he's a theocratic fascist monster look pretty stupid.

(Thanks to Mike)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:47 PM

I want that list!

From Senator Kerry's recent speech: one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded...
Who'd have thought it? 23!

Strange, I thought the Dem Party Line was that the only rationale for liberating Iraq was WMD's?

And come to think of it, haven't I encountered a lot of Lefty-bloggers who write, "I've never had anyone give me any good solid reason why we should invade Iraq." I always send them my list of Ten Reasons, but strange to tell, they never seem to give me any reaction to them...only silence.

I guess I'm too minimalist. If I could come up with a list of 23, now that would be impressive. But I think that's beyond my powers. Does anybody have the list of 23? Is it published? I would be very interested. I want that list! But I predict it will turn out to be as elusive as Dan Rather's unimpeachable sources...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:34 PM

"I have a little list"

RatherBiased has posted a little list of apologies they don't expect to hear...

More than likely, any CBS "apology" is going to be very tempered and llikely reiterate previous network statements that "no one has challenged the content of our report." This is flatly false. A number of people have criticized CBS's reporting including the White House, President Bush's father, the Killian family, Ben Barnes's daughter Amy Barnes Stites, as well as several of Bush's former associates including Col. Walter Staudt, Col. Bobby Hodges, as well as Bush's roommate Dean Roome. These people were deliberately ignored (Killians, Staudt, Roome, Stites, Bush) or lied to (Hodges).

We hope, but are not expecting, that the network will also apologize for the following:

  1. Failing to use the best document experts it could find,
  2. Hiring a signature expert to look at a copied document when he himself said earlier that doing such a thing was foolish,
  3. Ignoring and lying about the testimony of those it did hire,
  4. Failing to interview Marian Knox as well as the others listed above,
  5. Not interviewing anyone directly connected with Lt. Col Killian,
  6. Not informing viewers that Staudt had retired a year-and-a-half before the time he was supposedly trying to help "sugarcoat" Bush's record,
  7. Failing to inform viewers that not a single verified document signed by Killian or his fellow officers during the time period used the typographical techniques used in the CBS Memos,
  8. Not mentioning Ben Barnes's partisan background enough,
  9. Not disclosing the 30-year friendship of the two Texas Democrats Barnes and Rather,
  10. Failing to even know who producer Mary Mapes's document source was before the broadcast,
  11. Dishonestly impugning the motives of critics,
  12. Using its news broadcasts to defend a bad report instead of examining how it could be wrong,
  13. Never once featuring a single document expert on the air who doubted CBS's claims,
  14. Putting total non-experts on the air to spin the preferred "authentic" line even though CBS would not allow them to see its documents,
  15. Not mentioning that Killian never kept notes and hated to type,
  16. Failing to provide the public with copies of the documents as close as possible to the ones CBS obtained,
  17. Not finding out if the office in which Killian worked even had a typewriter capable of duplicating most of the complex formatting used in the CBS documents (it did not),
  18. Using the testimony of a vehemently anti-Bush author to prove its case and simply referring to him as an author who "wrote two books on the subject,"
  19. Failing to inform viewers that its document source was someone who hated George Bush,
  20. Not telling viewers that one of its key (if not the key) sources was a man known to be mentally unstable and one who has lodged false accusations against Bush for years
Possibly I would add:
21. Failing to inform viewers that the news anchor was someone who hated George Bush.
22. Not telling viewers that one of its key (if not the key) sources was a political party known to be mentally unstable and one that has lodged false accusations against Bush for years.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

"This is my last day. I’m going out with a bang."

This is from a great story, about a Marine and some Blackwater contractors in a tough spot during the fighting in Najaf last April:

...The noontime battle stretched into the afternoon. Young figured he’d die.

“I thought, 'This is my last day. I’m going out with a bang.’ If I had to die it would be defending my country,” Young said Friday.

“I just felt like we were losing ground, and I thought, 'If I’m going to die, I’m not going down without a fight.’ I knew we were seriously outnumbered. They were coming at us with pretty much everything they had. We were seriously struggling to keep our ground.”

The insurgents had machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and a sniper shooting out the window of a local hospital.

Young saw a red flash, then blood spurting 5 or 6 feet out of the jaw and neck of a contractor. He reached into the quarter-sized bullet hole in the man’s jaw and pinched his carotid artery closed, then dragged the man across the roof to where his medical kit lay sprawled open.

Midway across the roof, Young heard a loud smack. Pain danced across his face, chased by adrenaline, and he forgot about it. After a medic packed the man’s wounds with a substance that clots blood, Young strapped the man to his back and carried him downstairs. In all, the Marine left the roof five times: twice to transport wounded comrades, three times for ammunition.

When a group of U.S. Army military police officers joined the fight, Young used his experience as a weapons instructor to talk them through it. Conserve your ammo. Slow and steady before you squeeze. Adjust your sites for range and distance. Take breaks so your gun barrel doesn’t melt...

When you vote, think about how Democrat leaders can see lots of nuances and "shades of gray" while they decide whether they support American forces this week...

(thanks to Mudville Gazette)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 AM

September 20, 2004

My picture didn't come out, but what the heck...

Deroy Murdoch and Ramesh PonnuruCharlene and I had a good time tonight drinking beer at a gathering of National Review readers. Ramesh Ponnuru is visiting at the Hoover Institute for a week, and invited readers to join him. That's Deroy Murdoch standing next to him on the left. Ramesh said he was surprised to get over 50 people, here in trendy liberal SF...

I mentioned to Ramesh that I thought this was terribly funny:

The Economist's "Lexington" column snipes at National Review this week, describing NR as a magazine from which a Republican will learn only that "abortion is a bad thing yet again." There is a lot that could be said about that comment, but I think the key thing to say to Adrian Wooldridge, the Economist's Washington editor, is this: I'm sorry my review of your book hurt your feelings, and I promise to write a rave of your next one if it's any good.
"if it's any good." He told us about some sort of literary feud he's having with two Economist writers. Sounds like so much fun...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 PM

"trained in print and transfused with ink"

This post by Jeff Jarvis caused me to think a few thoughts...

...First, I am still a journalist, trained in print and transfused with ink. I hate to see colleagues act so deaf and dumb and I hate to see this business torn down from within, by the mendacious (Jayson Blair), the pompous (Howell Raines) or the clueless (Rather).
They are not the disease, they are a symptom...
Second, this story still has its roots in the mud of this campaign: ceaseless personal attacks made under the cloak of character as an issue.
Character IS the issue. If for no other reason than that without character you can't trust what someone says about the issues. Remember Clinton, the "New Democrat?" What were his campaign promises worth? Nothing, precisely because of lack of character.
If everything Michael Moore and Dan Rather said about Bush’s service and everything the Swifties said about John Kerry’s service were true, I wouldn’t give a rat’s rump. What a shock: Politicians treat the truth like taffy! Politicians use influence! Stop the presses! That’s news!
Rubbish. There is no moral equivalence here, though you Dems would like to have it so. If hundreds of Bush's TexANG contemporaries spontaneously arose to denounce him as a phony, THAT would perhaps be equivalent. If both sides were just slinging similar mud, Mary Mapes would not have hunted for five years without finding a single credible witness to Bush's supposed derelictions
We have urgent issues facing us in this election, issues that desperately need debate. I’d hoped Big Media would spur conversation about them — instead of going for the obvious, painting us as a nation divided (when we’re really just a nation deciding) and joining in the mud-slinging from both fringes. So much for media utopianism.
What you mean is you want Bush's policies to be debated and questioned. You wish we were a "nation deciding." Actually, we've gone BEYOND the specific issues to the larger issue: which party are we going to trust with the nation's future? And what is emerging, helped by the flying mud, is that Democrats have become a facade of lies, a pastiche of "moderation and normalcy" covering up a Michael-Moore reality. Kerry is a perfect symbol and example of this...
As a blogger, I’d also hoped that “we the people online” would have pressed Big Media to do better and would have turned our considerable fact-checking power on the coverage of and the candidates’ stands on issues that matter for our future, not our past. But we’ve been too busy arguing over Michael Moore, Swifties and Rather. Oh, well, we are human.
I too would like to see some big issues debated. Starting with the way, during a terrible global war, a certain party voted in the Senate to authorize a military campaign, and then dishonorably turned around and did all they could to undermine and discourage our soldiers in the field, and to encourage our enemies by hints of withdrawal, and by hints that they would find life easier if only they would help unseat Bush with more terrorist murders.
Jarvis ought to at least mention that it's VERY DIFFICULT to engage in debate when one candidate is so evasive that even his own supporters can't say what he stands for...

I just hope that bloggers aren’t seduced by the scoop and the gotcha as Big Media has been. As a reporter, I well understand the joy of the hunt, the thrill of the kill. But in this campaign, in print and online, the scoops haven’t been the real story. The real story is still out there.
Channeling Dan Rather...
I am proud of bloggers for fact-checking Big Media’s ass and improving news. I’m also proud that not all bloggers have been in lockstep on Rathergate; they have debated every point of forensic typography. That’s good. Debate is how we get to the truth. Debate is how we run a democracy.
Well, fine. But the memos debate was not exactly a debate, what with one side digging up facts and presenting them with logic, (and correcting errors immediately) and the other side throwing up a smoke-screen of obfuscation and doubt. Which is precisely the same thing that happens when we try to debate with Dan Rather, or try to debate with Democrats about the issues. It's all the same debate, which is why obsessing over superscripts is not a distraction from the issues.

Jeff said: “we the people online” should have pressed Big Media to do better.' Well, we have been. For instance, a frequent blogger theme is that Big Media should be pressing Kerry to release medical/service/tax records as Bush has. Of course pressing Big Media doesn't accomplish much, since they don't listen unless caught red-handed with something ghastly...

(Inspired by Bill Quick and his commenters...)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:10 AM

September 19, 2004

"But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day."

Shannon Love said some interesting things:

...I think Kerry got blindsided by the Swiftvets because he doesn’t really know what happened. He was there, but he remembers with such advantages that it never occurred to him that others that were there as well would have anything but glowing memories of his service. Nobody ever seems to have questioned his “Christmas in Cambodia” story and he retold it so many times I think he honestly believes it himself. The same holds true for his anti-war activities. He remembers the adoration he received from the Leftist intelligentsia but not the fury and hatred he engendered in the majority of veterans.

Bush and Kerry are like two opposing generals. Bush has a realistic understanding of the disposition of his own troops but Kerry does not. Kerry cannot predict the consequences of an enemy movement because he doesn’t know where his own forces are. Kerry ignored the Swiftvets because he never understood that he was in anyway vulnerable to attacks on his wartime service. The attack fell upon a weak point he did not even imagine existed. Worse, it was a weak point he believed was a strong point.

Bush’s business and personal failures in the mid-80’s forced upon him a self-reexamination rare in people involved in politics. I think it knocked the arrogance out him and let him look at himself in a ruthlessly honest fashion. He understands himself and this in turn gives him a good idea of how others see him as well. That’s a tremendous advantage for a politician...

I think it's a bit of a general advantage for Republicans. Getting constant brutal criticism from the Rathers of the world keeps us in fighting trim. And even me, a run of the mill conservative, is constantly answering criticism, though mostly from the imaginary critics in my head. (Boneheaded liberals who just won't understand, even when I explain over and over again. A few decades of that and I was ready to be a blogger...)

Just to clarify a point, the "failures' of Bush's two oil companies had little to do with poor business decisions. They found, and pumped, a lot of oil. But world oil prices crashed in the mid-eighties, and almost all of Texas was suddenly "failing."

Posted by John Weidner at 4:49 PM

Substance and slant...

Via Tim Blair, Reuters is upset that a Canadian newspaper chain has been altering its stories:

...The global managing editor for Reuters, David Schlesinger, called such changes unacceptable. He said CanWest had crossed a line from editing for style to editing the substance and slant of news from the Middle East.

"If they want to put their own judgment into it, they're free to do that, but then they shouldn't say that it's by a Reuters reporter," said Schlesinger.

As an example, Schlesinger cited a recent Reuters story, in which the original copy read: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank."

In the National Post version of the story, printed Tuesday, it became: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel." [emphasis mine]

Of course they are terrorists, and should be called terrorists. The eagerness of lefty news organizations to put into action their anti-semitism and their hatred of our western capitalist civilization by covering up for these vile murdering animals is one of the biggest scandals of our times.

Our government is trying to freeze the assets of terror-supporting organizations. We should put Reuters at the top of the list.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:43 AM

Ping Pong Matrix

This video of a ping-pong match is worth watching. Just in case you are feeling stuck-in-a-rut, and...well, just try it.

(Thanks to The Corner)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

September 18, 2004

Just one more item for the "Bush lied" crowd...

Possible Saddam-Al Qaeda Link Seen in U.N. Oil-for-Food Program

...Investigations have shown that the former Iraqi dictator grafted and smuggled more than $10 billion from the program that for seven years prior to Saddam's overthrow was meant to bring humanitarian aid to ordinary Iraqis. And the Sept. 11 Commission has shown a tracery of contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda (search) that continued after billions of Oil-for-Food dollars began pouring into Saddam's coffers and Usama bin Laden (search) declared his infamous war on the U.S.

Now, buried in some of the United Nation's own confidential documents, clues can be seen that underscore the possibility of just such a Saddam-Al Qaeda link — clues leading to a locked door in this Swiss lakeside resort...

Next to that door, a festive sign spells out in gold letters under a green flag that this is the office of MIGA, the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber (search). Registered here 20 years ago as a society to promote business between the Gulf States and Asia, Europe and Africa, MIGA is a company that the United Nations and the U.S. government says has served as a hub of Al Qaeda finance: A terrorist chamber of commerce...

The story shows a global tangle of terrorist evil, with Saddam probably contributing handsomely. Good thing we took him out. Good thing the appeasers weren't in power, and won't be for a long time.

(thanks to BroJudd)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 PM

Return with us to the days of yesteryear...

Things change slowly over the years, and we adjust gradually and hardly notice. But then we hit our shins on something from the past, and are stunned at how different it is. Like encountering, if you are my age, a rotary telephone. Or the old High School yearbook.

Take a look at this page. It has one of the forged Bush memos and a real, typed one. The forgeries are old news, (though the comparison would be devastating if the issue were still in doubt) but take a time-travel back to the days of the typewriter! Wow! Notice the wavy lines in Bush's section. I think I remember funky machines doing that. It was hard (for a mediocre typist like me) to get those machines to do what I wanted. But they could do some things computers can't--like filling out forms.

Col Killian's section is done with a better typewriter. Maybe typed by that Mrs Knox, on the Olympia. For you younger readers, back then typing was done by women, and coloneling was done by men...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:06 PM

This is not a Fisking...

...I just felt like injecting a few interlinear wisecracks into what is actually a fairly good article.

Bush Re-Election Bid Goes Against Grain By RON FOURNIER, (AP) — President Bush is embracing troublesome topics that should be hurting him and fighting for states that should be tilting away from him in a campaign that has focused so far on character over issues.

In the Bush view of things, Iraq is a political asset, voters won't punish him for an ailing economy and the race is a referendum on Democratic Sen. John Kerry — all opposites of what experts had predicted.

This is what happens when a disciplined, focused incumbent faces a challenger who, thus far, is neither — and when voters start making gut-level choices based on notions of leadership and character rather than preferences on policy.
If Bush is embracing Iraq and our strong economy, those are ISSUES. He's talking about policy.
For Kerry to prevail, issues need to matter more. Or voters need to think better of Kerry's character and less of the president's.
Well, make up your mind.

The race is close, with Bush leading or pressing Kerry in several Democratic bastions, including Wisconsin and perhaps even New York, and solidifying his advantage in GOP-leaning states such as Missouri. In Florida, where the disputed 2000 election was decided, private polling gives Bush a slight lead.
In fact, you are saying the race ISN'T so very close...
The deaths of more than 1,000 U.S. troops might tempt an incumbent president to retreat from an unpopular war, but Bush seeks political gain from it. Even on its bloodiest days, he holds up the conflict as an example of his steely leadership and a willingness to make tough choices, while accusing his rival of wavering.
Sounds accurate. But the Iraq Campaign is an ISSUE. Voters think about these things, though you don't seem to have noticed.
In a speech here to members of the National Guard, the president sought to deflect questions about his Vietnam-era service by turning the subject to what he said were Kerry's equivocations on Iraq.
That irritating "sought to deflect" formula is always applied to Republicans. In fact, he's just sticking to his issues and ignoring the barking dogs. Shows he has character.
"What's critical is that the president of the United States speak clearly and consistently at this time of great threat in our world, and not change positions because of expediency or pressure," Bush said Tuesday.

He's playing to undecided voters who tell pollsters they're wary about Iraq and the economy but still hold Bush in relatively high esteem on character traits such as strength, decisiveness and leadership.

It is a major part of Bush's re-election strategy to convince voters that the world is too dangerous to change leadership in the White House, even if the status quo is imperfect.

The loss of nearly 1 million jobs during his tenure is a problem for Bush, particularly in Midwest battlegrounds such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. But, with a flurry of excuses and statistics, he has fought Kerry to a tie on the question of who is best suited to create jobs, polls show.
Maybe because we are actually creating a lot of new jobs...
"When you're out rounding up the vote, remind people that our economy has been through a lot," he told supporters in Colorado on Tuesday. "We've been through a recession. We had corporate scandals" and the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

Bush loads his speeches with one-sided data on the economy, including his take on the 5.4 percent unemployment rate: "That's lower than the average rate of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s," he said.
It's not "his take," it's a simple fact. And most economic figures are great right now. I suppose you could call it "one-sided" to mention such things, but you could also call it "telling the truth."
The number of Americans without health insurance has risen during Bush's presidency, reaching nearly 45 million in 2003. Medicare costs are rising sharply. Yet the Republican put Kerry on the defense this week with a hard-hitting ad asserting that the Democratic plan would leave "big government in charge. Not you. Not your doctor."
Issues again...
After months of catering to his party's right wing, Bush has dusted off his "compassionate conservative" agenda. The Democrats say the GOP doesn't care about regular people. So Bush's stump speech includes a pitch to voters squeezed by the fast-moving new economy.
He's been saying this stuff all along. Actually we Republicans do care about regular fact most of us ARE regular people. But I don't suppose you will take the word of a plutocrat oppressor like me...
"I understand the world we live in today is a changing world," Bush said this week in Holland, Mich. "Think about what happened in the workplace. Years ago our fathers and grandfathers worked for one job, one company; they had one pension plan, one health care plan. Today people change careers and change jobs often. And the most startling change of all is that women now work not only in the house but outside the house."

Bush campaign polling shows the line plays well with suburban women, as does his assertion that Kerry's health care plan would amount to a government takeover.

Kerry has polls and focus groups of his own, and they suggest he can't win without undermining Bush's credibility. While aides acknowledge that it's late in the game to be defining a well-known incumbent, Kerry's reshuffled staff is casting every issue in the context of character.
Wait a minute! You started out saying, "For Kerry to prevail, issues need to matter more."
Bush wasn't just wrong about waging war in Iraq, he was misleading. He hasn't just lost jobs, he hasn't been straight about it.

"His is the excuse presidency," Kerry said Wednesday as he tried to make the economy a character issue. "Never wrong, never responsible, never to blame."
The economy is a "character issue?" If you say so. I think you are trying to evade the fact that Kerry and the Dems have neither character nor compelling issues, and Bush toasts them no matter how they frame things.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:15 PM

But nothing went as planned

Just thinking about Rathergate a bit...

By the way, Orin Kerr recently chided bloggers of the Rive Droit for the frivolity of obsessing on forged memos when there are earth-shaking issues now in the balance But in fact, there's not a lot we can do about the big issues right now. This election is this year's battlefield in the War. But the troops are already on the march, and it's too late to haggle over the plans, or give harangues about duty and country.

It's like an old-time war, like the Battle of Borodino as viewed by Tolstoy. Once the armies have been committed, there's nothing much for the general to do. The columns disappear into clouds of smoke and dust, and the onlooker might as well enjoy a pipe and a glass of brandy. Maybe have a game of checkers.

Anyway, those memos. Remember, they were sent by CBS to the White House, which then passed them on to the rest of the press without comment. (The President has released all his military records, so that's what should happen if new documents surface.) But were they just passed on without examination? Not likely.

Another blogger has suggested something like the following [sorry, lost the link. Here it is]: that CBS sent the memos to the WH assuming they would elicit a confession, or a stammered denial that would look like guilt. That's the 60 Minutes schtick, isn't it? Confront the wretched wrongdoer with the carefully-groomed evidence, and his shuffling and confusion pretty much confirms the story right there. And if there's no denial, then Rather points out that that must be taken as evidence of guilt.

But nothing went as planned....

But nothing went as planned. CBS is so sunk in Lefty delusion that probably they just assumed any tale they were telling must be true. Or at least indisputable. But when we talk about experts examining documents, remember the biggest expert of all is in the Oval Office. George W Bush was there! Unlike sneering reporters from Manhattan, he actually knows what the hell he's talking about! He knows what really happened. And Karl Rove is sure to have all the (true) details in his head. They would have seen in an instant that the memo was fishy. Within an hour the FBI document examiners would have confirmed this.

What then? These guys are way too honest and smart to forge documents. But if, like Bugs Bunny, they are handed a stick of dynamite with a hissing fuze, well... they won't at all mind handing it right back, and munching a carrot while Porky Dan goes Ka-Boom! So the memos are passed on to the ProNewsMedia, thereby ensuring that CBS can't just wave them about, like Senator McCarthy, and not let them be examined....


NOBODY deserves it as much as that pompous bully Dan Rather.

Another thought. While the vigorous pursuit of Rathergate is being done partly to help the Republican campaign, it's also about a LOT of people who have been angry and frustrated for a LONG time. Sort of like the Swift Boat Vets. People sneer that the Swifties are part of the Republican apparatus. But they aren't. (Which should be obvious just from the fact that they started with only $200k. A Republican scheme would have had $20 million.) They tapped a deep lode of bitter resentment, and probably would have done much the same if Kerry had been the Republican candidate.

And the delicious paradox is that the resentment has been building up pressure for so long precisely because the Rather types have, until recently, controlled the news media, and marginalized anyone who dissented from their liberal orthodoxy. Remember that old woman in Tale of Two Cities, knitting a sweater with the names of them what's gonna get the chop? Ha ha. Well, vets and Republicans have been grinding their teeth in frustration for decades. Kerry and Rather won't be guillotined, but if they were I for one wouldn't shed any tears.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:23 PM

Word Note: "MSM"

Word Note logoAndrea writes:

The swollen corpse of the ProNewsMedia (just for contrarian purposes I refuse to use the cute term “MSM,” for “Mainstream Media,” that everyone else has been using) is still twitching as its proteins break down and its nerves fire off random electrical charges – or whatever it is that makes corpses twitch....
She's right, MSM has become a cliché, and at Internet speed.

I've long tried to avoid all the cutesy abbreviations, like IMHO and BTW and SWMBO...MSM now goes on the list.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 AM

It's hard to be "classy" in this degraded age...

Kaus points to this item in the 9/17 ABC Note:

The best example of how degrading it can be to be a political reporter: USA Today 's classy Susan Page forced to write up the Gallup poll/joke "showing" the president with a mythical 13-point lead for the front page of her paper — thus suggesting Gallup's 2000 track record of wild swings might be replicated this cycle.

(Question it gives rise to: What's the real margin? A. 5-6 points, with Bush holding small- to medium-sized (surmountable) leads in most of the important battlegrounds.)

I tend to agree that the Gallup Poll is an outlier.

But one is "degraded" by having to report a Bush lead? Oh baby, that's rich. She's degraded by contact with nasty Republicans? If that's the case, Miss Classy, I hope Bush wins 50, and is close in the District of Columbia. 'Cause then you will really feel "degraded." Something like being dragged behind a chariot while the crowd throws rotten vegetables.

Degraded. Egad.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

September 17, 2004


Don't miss Krauthamer's latest, on how Kerry has taken so many contradictory positions on Iraq that he has nowhere left to go.

...That was April 2004. Of course, shortly after Sept. 11, Kerry was saying the opposite. "I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally," he said in December 2001. "This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. . . . Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue [with], for instance, Saddam Hussein."...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 PM

Yet another exciting episode of "It's OK to lie to show Bush lied."

Even for someone who is already aware that Bush served honorably and well in the Air Guard, it's pleasing to see another filthy lie go down in flames. A lot of those mentioned by the Bush-haters are conveniently dead, but General Staudt, of forged memos fame, is very much alive, thank you.

Retired Col. Walter Staudt, who was brigadier general of Bush's unit in Texas, interviewed Bush for the Guard position and retired in March 1972. He was mentioned in one of the memos allegedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian as having pressured Killian to assist Bush, though Bush supposedly was not meeting Guard standards.

"I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to," Staudt told ABC News in his first interview since the documents were made public.

The memo stated that "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat" a review of Bush's performance.

Staudt said he decided to come forward because he saw erroneous reports on television. CBS News first reported on the memos, which have come under scrutiny by document experts who question whether they are authentic. Killian, the purported author of the documents, died in 1984.

Staudt insisted Bush did not use connections to avoid being sent to Vietnam. "He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them."

'Highly Qualified'
During his time in charge of the unit, Staudt decided whether to accept those who applied for pilot training. He recalled Bush as a standout candidate. "He was highly qualified," he said. "He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given."

Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody." [Thanks to Bill Hobbs]

So, um, how many years did Mary Mapes work on this story? Five, wasn't it? But never talked to Staudt? And that secretary who would have typed memos for Col. Killian was also unknown 'till the last minute? Uh huh.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:16 PM

At least one evil deed is not going unpunished...

I keep laughing and laughing whenever I think of this post from PowerLine. About how the attempts of the DNCBS to smear the President have resulted in millions of people who were hardly aware that he flew jet fighters, seeing things like this on the news:

George W Bush in the Texas Air National Guard

Guess what? They like him! Especially women...they think he's cute.

Bush never made a big fuss over his military service, because men don't do that. Kerry's preening is the mark of a phony. And after listening to the MSM and the appeasers attack Bush, many people probably imagine that his duty consisted of polishing a brass cannon on alternate Leap Years. But now those same smears are also letting people know Bush flew an F-102. And plenty of people will understand what that means, and respect him for it. (And a lot of people in the press and academia will soon be telling us that the voters are morons, for re-electing Bush. You may feel confident that they are NOT the kind of people who appreciate what goes into flying a high-performance jet, and don't want to know.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:39 PM

September 16, 2004

Good point...

Andrew C. McCarthy writes at The Corner:

... Interesting how the worm turns. In the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the MSM -- with CBS front and center -- argued that it didn't matter what the officials involved SAID about what instructions, if any, had been given by the White House, the Pentagon, or the theater commanders. It didn't matter that those officials SAID they gave directions that torture and the kind of degrading treatment that went on at Abu Ghraib were prohibited. What mattered, the media insisted, was strictly the WRITTEN PAPER RECORD: gleaned from internal discussion memos, even though they were written by subordinates not policy makers, and even though there was no evidence that those memos were ever implemented as policy.

Now, CBS has recklessly built a story on a shoddy paper record that has, predictably, collapsed. Its reaction? The WRITTEN PAPER RECORD is nigh irrelevant and the only thing that matters is what is being SAID -- the orally related memory of an 86-year-old woman who was not a decision-maker in the matters at issue and that has been contradicted by multiple sources who were arguably closer to the decision-maker in question...


Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 PM

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown...


I who am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.

I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?

How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Maenads the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

-- James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915).

Posted by John Weidner at 4:14 PM

"…I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

Take a look at this article by George Neumayr. It's about Dan Rather, but it fits perfectly the "It's OK to lie to show Bush lied" mentality we see so much of:

On The O'Reilly Factor not so long ago, Dan Rather spoke in defense of public figures who make stuff up. He called Bill Clinton an "honest man" even as he acknowledged Clinton's whoppers. "Who among us have not lied about somebody?" asked Rather. "I think at the core he's an honest person…I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

You can be an honest person and lie about any number of things. This elastic philosophy of honesty must account for Rather's view of himself as a witness to "core truth" while peddling a forgery against the President. Rather sees a "core truth" wrapped in a forgery inside his CBS reporting, and he is outraged that his critics won't admit it. He is in effect saying: Didn't this forgery at least place me in the vicinity of truth? He lashes out at "people who for their own partisan, political agendas can't deny the core truth of this story…and want to change the subject and make the story about me rather than have the story be about the unanswered questions about President Bush's military service."

The audacity here is surreal, though typical of the post-1960s ends-justify-the-means moral arrogance Rather imbibed as a Watergate reporter....

Falsehoods are justified if they contain a "core truth." How very Nixonian these Dems have become. Nixon, by the way, had a "core truth" that justified, in his mind, a lot of falsehoods. He wasn't just power-hungry. He was pursuing, with Kissinger, elaborate schemes for world peace and stability. Now the old Watergater Dan Rather has become "the new Nixon."

I think a lot of Kerry supporters are guided by a "core truth" that it's the "normal" order of things that the Democrats are the majority party, always "helping" the little guy through big-government programs, and justified in all things by the Civil Rights Movement. And that the Truman Doctrine is forever. Both these verities are now being discarded by events, and that's enough to turn any and all Democrat lies into "truths."

(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:09 AM

September 15, 2004

This makes my head spin...

Appearing on Don Imus' radio show this morning, John Kerry said that there were no circumstances under which we should have gone to war in Iraq -- but he still would have voted for the war.
IMUS: Do you think there are any circumstances we should have gone to war in Iraq, any?

KERRY: “Not under the current circumstances, no. There are none that I see. I voted based on weapons of mass destruction. The President distorted that, and I’ve said that. I mean, look, I can't be clearer. But I think it was the right vote based on what Saddam Hussein had done, and I think it was the right thing to do to hold him accountable. I've said a hundred times, there was a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. The president chose the wrong way. Can't be more direct than that.

Imus has the definitive last word on this: "I asked him a number of questions about Iraq and I can't tell you what he said."
Tell me this is a parody...It's gotta be a parody. Surely it's something by Scrappleface that has accidently slipped into the mainstream...

(Thanks to BroJudd)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:30 PM

Microsoft announces an addition to their product line...

I love this...A new product from Microsoft, MS FORGER!

...Output machine selection - Select from a variety of emulators for everything from manual typewriters, IBM Selectrics, early model word processors such as Wang and many others.

Font selection - Once you have selected the machine type, font selection is limited to only those fonts actually available for that machine. No longer will you make stupid mistakes like selecting Times New Roman for memorandum that were suppose to be typed on a IBM Selectric....

...Copy machine emulation - Before you print out your document you can have it automatically appear to have been run through a copy or fax machine multiple times. Lettering will look aged and blurred with random specks according to our specialized algorithm.

Go take a look...(Thanks to Dean)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:08 PM

"In descendency"

Brendan Miniter has a good article in NRO, on how the Republicans have become the majority party. (He should have read Random Jottings, I've already explained it. )

The Democratic Party is in descendancy. It's not just that John Kerry's campaign is sinking like a stone, or that George W. Bush is turning out to be a resilient politician. The Democratic leadership is in electoral denial, failing to grasp a profound shift among American voters and therefore on the cusp not of winning back control of one of the branches of government, but of handing control over to Republicans for a generation or more...
"In descendency." I like the term.
....Republicans have been in the White House for 16 of the past 24 years, held a Senate majority for 14 of those years and controlled the House for the past 10 years. GOP candidates aren't winning elections by luck. The Democrats had their "Great Society" and stayed in power by handing out welfare checks. It took a long time, but Republicans discovered something more valuable to hand out, a form of personal liberty that allows individuals to create real wealth. On self-interested grounds alone, health savings accounts and private Social Security accounts are an electoral inevitability.

After 9/11, a vigorous national defense that included a string of liberation wars was inevitable too. In the sweep of history, liberty trumps command and control. And despite the pounding President Bush took in the polls before the Democratic Convention, there's little evidence that Americans are growing disillusioned with the ideas on the right...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:14 AM

"up all night at the Kinkos in Columbus, Indiana"

Lexington Green, on Rathergate:

...I very much HOPE that we are seeing something more like 1989, the disintegration of the Soviet Empire. The Left in this country only sustained itself after the 1960s due to anti-democratic coups, like hijacking the Federal Courts or staffing the federal bureaucracy with like-minded people, and by imposing an ideological monopoly by means of the media and the academic community and the think tanks and foundations. This monopoly was and is enforced by harassment and job discrimination and public vilification. But this system only works if it is leak proof. If people can only think in the categories you give them, then they cannot rebel. For example if you live in a world composed of two categories, "moderates" and "right wing extremists" life is easy for the so-called moderates, a/k/a the Left. But maintaining this mental hegemony is a constant struggle.

That is why the lefty establishment freaks at even a small dissenting voice -- a single blade of grass coming through the cement like Buckley's National Review got intense attention and animosity. But most people don't read intellectual journals. What Buckley did for the people who follow these things in the Sixties, Rush and Fox and now the Net have done for millions of ordinary people. Now, we see increasingly desperate measures by the MSM to retain control. It is one thing to try to ignore Rush and Fox, pretend they are yappers and you are the "real" media. After all Rush and Fox are essentially peer competitors, doing more or less what you do.

But the Net is a monster of a different order. It is no longer dueling dinosaurs. It is now an old, tired, arrogant dinosaur against swarms of small, hungry, highly-motivated rats. The MSM has in the last few years increasingly abandoned any pretense of objectivity as they try to counteract the opposition while pretending to be the only legitimate voice. Even fifteen years ago, they would have gotten away with shit like these forged documents. The people disagreeing would be staying up all night at the Kinkos in Columbus, Indiana, sending a mimeographed newsletter to the handful of other right wing cranks they knew. ...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:05 AM

September 14, 2004

Dead ringer...

I hope this catches on as a classroom exercise:

I teach High School Graphic Arts and today we were talking about the study of fonts and how that might apply to every day life. One student brought up the story about the forged memos and the class had a pretty heated discussion over it.

In our discussion, the student sat down at the computer and using Word...copied from a PDF of the memos that we printed. In about 5 minutes...he came up with something that was nearly an exact match to the PDF documents. He then took it to the photocopier and copied it...copied the copy and then copied that copy. He may have made 4 or 5 generations...

The final photocopy was a dead ringer for the PDF files downloaded from the CBS website. When we cut the signature off of the PDF documents and trimmed the ones we created via the photocopier to size...even I could not tell the difference. Even when we put them on a light table on top of each other...the spacing, kerning, margins, centering were identical...

I wonder if there is anyone who still believes in the CBS mystery docs? Maybe Josh Marshall...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:33 PM

Democrats in pajamas...

Betsy Newmark imagines what it might be like if President Bush acted like Dan Rather:

Imagine this press conference:
GW Bush: "We found WMD in Iraq. All of our critics have been completely discredited"

Media: Can we see them?

GW - No. you'll just have to take my word for it. We have experts to prove their authenticity.

Media: Can we talk to the experts? Can we interview the people who found the weapons?

Gw: NO. And the mere fact that you are asking these questions proves that you are partisan rumor mongers. End of story. Case closed

Yeah, tell 'em to go jump in the lake, they're just a bunch of Democrats in pajamas without any checks and balances...

Actually the fact that Republicans can't get away with stuff like that is a strength, not a weakness.

On the same general subject, I caught a good remark by Rush this morning: "The news media is the only business with consumers, where the consumer is always wrong."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:14 PM

If I babble fast enough you won't notice what I'm saying...

Found on Best of the Web:

On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Kerry adviser Madeleine Albright gave Tim Russert this explanation of the North Korean situation:
Russert: But didn't North Korea develop a nuclear bomb on Bill Clinton's watch?

Albright: No, what they were doing, as it turns out, they were cheating. And the reason that you have arms control agreements is you don't make them with your friends, you make them with your enemies. And it's the process that is required to hold countries accountable. The worst part that has happened under the agreed framework, there was these fuel rods, and the nuclear program was frozen. Those fuel rods have now been reprocessed, as far as we know, and North Korea has a capability, which at one time might have been two potential nuclear weapons, up to six to eight now, we're not really clear. But in this period of time when there has not enough action been taken, I think that the threat from North Korea has increased.

The sort of tongue-tied idiocy that comes from defending the indefensible.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:02 PM

these other points have also been revealed as forgeries...

Tim Noah writes:

...Which brings us to a larger point. The documents were entirely consistent with everything that's already been established about President Bush's National Guard service. We know strings were pulled on his behalf to get in. We know that, for whatever reason, he wouldn't take a required physical. We know that Bush agitated for a transfer to Alabama, and that for a period of six months there exists no evidence that he ever showed up. None of this makes Bush a bad person—except insofar as he feels free to question, or permits others on his campaign to question, the manhood and patriotism of his opponent, John Kerry. 60 Minutes may have inadvertently framed the president, but in doing so it framed an already guilty man...
Wrong-O Jack.

All of them have been shown to be false, by bloggers. Every rotten one of them, including that Bush "questioned" Kerry's "manhood and patriotism." (Random Jottings is happy to question them, but I'm not part of the campaign.)

It's pathetic. The Democrats are building an edifice of lies. Intentionally! Here's what a CBS news producer said to the Prowler:

...This CBS New producer went on to explain that the questions 60 Minutes folk were asking were specific enough that people would have been able to fabricate the memorandums to meet the exact specifications the investigative journalists were looking for. "People were asking questions of sources like, 'Have you ever seen or heard of a memo that suspended Bush for failing to appear for a physical?' and 'Have you heard about or know of someone who has any documentation from back in the 1970s that shows there was pressure to get Bush into the National Guard?' It was like they were placing an order for a ready-made product. That is the biggest problem I have with this. It's all too neat and perfect for what we needed. Without these exact pieces of paper, we don't have a story. Dan has as much as admitted that. Everyone knows it. We were at a standstill on this story until these memos showed up."...
This is crazy desperation. Crazy. The Dems are going nuts because they can't handle becoming the minority party. And they can't handle that because their whole worldview is based on it being just assumed that they are a real party with a program, with ideas, with ideals. None of those things will withstand scrutiny, and deep inside they know it.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:50 AM

September 13, 2004

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness...

Ali writes;

...I don’t want to predict anything here but I want to say that if America decided to get out of Iraq before the job is finished, that will be not only disastrous but will be (in my opinion) the worst thing America ever did. Freeing Iraq (again in my opinion) was the best thing America ever did. It gave oppressed people everywhere a hope and a belief that the mightiest power on earth, the symbols of freedom is on their side and that it will help them in one way or another to get their freedom. Their misery has stopped looking eternal. Retreating now will prove some people’s theory that America is an imperialistic power that only care for its interests, and although there’s nothing wrong with caring about one’s own interests, most Iraqis and millions of oppressed people in Darfur, Iran, Syria...etc. like to think more than that of America. Keeping the course will turn this thought into a firm belief.

We understand perfectly that sacrificing lives and hard earned money for the sake of others (although there IS a personal interest here but it maybe not so clear) is a very difficult thing to do, and we know that it’s too much to ask, but tens of Millions of oppressed people around the world with brutal sadistic regimes laying their heave boots on their chests preventing them from even breathing freely, not to mention speaking out or doing something about it, all these people have no one else but you, Americans, to turn to. You are our/their only hope.

Be of good cheer, Ali. That's what America is all about. The Kerryites have forgotten, but that forgetfulness is why they are going to lose the election. They are like the man who buried his Talent, rather than putting it to work. They want to "preserve" America, by not attempting anything. But it is precisely in attempting great tasks that we are most ourselves, and re-learn our strengths.

[A Talent, by the way, was a unit of weight in the ancient Mediterranean, but was usually applied to money, in varying ways. A Talent was a LOT of money. In the Bible, traditionally 3,000 Shekels. When Jesus told the Parable of the Talents, he was, I suspect, making a bit of a joke. Giving your servant 10 talents might be equivalent to giving him a million dollars today.]

Posted by John Weidner at 11:15 AM

to trounce a few countries...

There's an interesting piece in Asia Times, Why Americans love George W Bush , by Spengler.

In particular, this line:

...Once attacked, Americans want to fight back. George W Bush may have attacked the wrong country (which I do not believe), and he may have mistaken the US mission after the initial fighting was over (which I do believe), but Americans are quite willing to forgive him. They understand that it is hard to track down and destroy a shadowy enemy, and do not mind much if the United States has to trounce a few countries before finding the right ones...
That's what the cackling hens who say we attacked the wrong country don't get. (Not that they would have supported our country if it had attacked anybody else.)

They think America has shot its wad, and will now sink into the exhausted introspection they prefer, for at least another decade. They think the Iraq Campaign has now made the world safe for the tyrants they dote on. Think again, turkeys. America is just getting warmed up. We may not need further large-scale invasions. Or then again maybe we will. In which case we will just do it.

It's the vile anti-American screwball Left that's getting tired. Don't put away the giant puppets yet, guys. Freedom's still on the march, and it's up to you to stop it.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 AM

September 12, 2004

Waterspout...too cool

waterspout off the coast of malaysia

An HH-60H Seahawk assigned to the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Four (HS-4) hovers near a vessel in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaysia on Sunday as a waterspout forms nearby. The squadron is assigned to Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) and currently is embarked aboard the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis.

Photographer's Mate Airman Richard R. Waite / U.S. Navy
From Army Times, September 8, 2004

Posted by John Weidner at 9:30 PM

The real docs

It's interesting to look at the documents by Colonel Killian that are NOT obvious forgeries...Byron York writes;

...But according to the documents released by the White House, just seven days later, on May 26, 1972, Killian signed on to a glowing report of Bush's performance. "Lt. Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer," the report, written by Harris, said. "He eagerly participates in scheduled unit activities." The evaluation even took approving note of the fact that, "Lt. Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate." Below Harris's signature, there was the statement, "I concur with the comments and ratings of the reporting official," signed by Killian.

And a year before that, on May 27, 1971, Killian concurred with yet another evaluation that said, "Lt. Bush is an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot...[He] possesses sound judgment and is mature beyond his age and experience level.... He continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further."...

As york points out, even if the CBS documents are not forgeries, there's a lot of evidence that directly contradicts them.

Also, the "intercepts" mentioned are probably of Russian bombers flying out of Cuba, something that his wing did routinely. If WWIII had started, Lt Bush would have been on the front lines in the first hours.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:54 PM

Rathergate dreams...

GETTING CAUGHT UP [Jonah Goldberg] I don't like to exaggerate, but the forgery story is the greatest story since Noah got all those animals on a boat. [link]
Yeah. You know, people used to be Watergate junkies, back in 1973. They had to have the morning papers, to savor every new bit of evidence that came out.

Rathergate has much the same flavor. The steady drip drip drip of new evidence emerging. The stonewalling, the non-denial denials, the retreats to new holding points. CBS hasn't started retreating yet, but they will, they will...

The big similarity is the gathering suspicion that they wouldn't put so much energy and credibility into a such a dubious cover-up, unless something BIG was at stake. The mind whirls...did McAuliffe forget to wear gloves? Were the "experts" who authenticated the docs for CBS maybe actually Mr Rather's pancreas, spleen, and intestines? ("Gut feelings," if you didn't get it)

And it's all happening in Internet Time! "Steady drip drip drip" means something new every half-hour. Our new Nixon could be taking that last helicopter ride in a week or two. Wild.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:44 PM

September 11, 2004

Don't forget...

fireman at the WTC

Lots of people want you to forget. The message is insinuated in a thousand subtle ways, by those too dishonest to say what plainly they mean. Kerry and the Democrats want you to forget. Dan Rather and the mainstream media want you to forget. Pat Buchannon and the Libertarian Party and Ralph Nader want you to forget.

Don't forget

They won't say it plain, instead they say we should be flexible, should watch the budget, should focus on "first responders," should consult with "allies" before doing anything, should not overextend ourselvs, should not "overstretch" our fragile military, should conserve our strength for later...

Don't forget.

They make blandly dutiful references to fighting the War on Terror, but their cheeks only glow when they criticize our troops or the administration. Talk of liberating 50 million, or breaking the pattern of despotism and ignorance in the ME, and their eyes glaze over. But Abu Ghraib, ahhh...they savored that like wine.

Don't forget.

[link to photos]

Posted by John Weidner at 12:51 PM

Gnawing old plots...

Pejman noted this great comment on Dan Rather in a post by WizBang:

Why do I have this image of Saruman up in the tower surrounded by his ruined kingdom, perhaps with bloggers hanging out below smoking some Long-Bottom leaf and laughing.
Posted by: Steve Cormier
Rather as fits, it fits.
....You have become a fool, Saruman, and yet pitiable. You might yet have turned away from folly and evil, and have been of service. But you chose to stay, and gnaw the ends of your old plots. Stay then! but I warn you, you will not easily come out again...
-- Gandalf, in The Two Towers, page 241.
The free people of the world are at war with a deadly danger, but Dan Rather and the "Eastern Liberal Establishment," as we Nixon-Era Republicans used to call it, gnaw old plots obsessively, and refuse to see that the world has changed utterly.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:00 AM

raising the bar...

I love this title, for a NY Post story: RATHER FORGES AHEAD

Note the Dan Rather says there's no "definitive evidence" that the memos are forgeries. His evidentiary standards for criticizing CBS seem higher than those for smearing Republicans...

And PowerLine writes about a Fox interview with someone from CBS who had worked with 60 Minutes:

...The CBS guy, Jonathan Klein, was infuriating. He kept reciting 60 Minutes' supposedly stellar record, and sneered at bloggers as a bunch of guys sitting around the living room in their pajamas who lack the wonderful "checks and balances" in place at 60 Minutes. Consequently, he never addressed any substantive questions. Moreover, he actually defended the show's policy of not interviewing anyone believed to be a Republican or a Bush supporter in the "investigation" process leading up to the broadcast of the story. He explained that the refusal to speak to anyone suspected of Republicanism was a sign of careful journalism--this way, there was no danger that bias could enter into the story. Unbelievable...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:33 AM

September 10, 2004

"the most media savvy of them all"

Hugh Hewitt writes:

..."Young people have led the exodus from Kerry to Bush. Since Aug. 1, Kerry's support among voters ages 18 to 29 has dropped from 63 percent to 49 percent while Bush's share of the young vote has increased to 46 percent -- a 28-point turnaround in five weeks."

This last finding strikes me as astonishing. Michael Barone had given a talk I attended last week where he argued that going into the convention, this was the one very soft spot in the polls for the president.  And now Kerry has hemorrhaged and Bush has surged in just this age cohort.  My guess why?  This generation of voter is easily the most media savvy of them all, and very attuned to the inauthentic parading before them.  They spit the word "poser" or its newest version with the frequency of bullets from an AC-130H Spectre.  And this group took a look at Kerry and his magic hat and his "seared, seared" fantasies and said no. Bush, on the other hand, is nothing if not authentic.  I don't think Kerry has the time and certainly lacks the ability to rebrand himself in seven weeks... 

I can't begin to describe the satisfaction I feel, knowing that neither President Bush, nor Vice-President Cheney, is ever likely to "rebrand" or "re-package" themselves. What you see is what you get, and what you got last time.

Bush now is very similar to the Bush who first ran for Governor of Texas. And I can't think of any big alterations from the Dick Cheney who was Ford's Chief of Staff, and Bush 41's SecDef. No consultant will ever change their image by having them wear "soft earth-toned clothing" like Al Gore.

And I have a small feeling of pride because I never believed all the yakkety-yack about how Bush would surely chose a different VP for 2004, someone "more attractive" than Cheney. It was never going to happen, not only because Bush never plays cutesy games like that, but also because Karl called me and asked how the base felt about the VP. And I said, "Charlene and I adore him, and his family." And he said, "Then the rest of them probably do too."

I added that we wouldn't mind if the GWOT were pursued more aggressively, and he said, "Second term John, second term..."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 PM

"lying like a politician"

Ace has a good post on Dan Rather's ridiculous "defense." I especially liked this:

...PS: When I say it was just about the most dishonest thing I've ever seen, I mean that-- and I include politicians' lies in that mix.

What made this defense so outrageous is that it utilized all the usual petty dishonesties of political deception-- refusing to even acknowledge the questions you can't answer, dwellling on those few you can, deliberately conflating distinct terms to confuse an ill-informed audience, etc.

He was lying like a politician-- a very noxious one.

And yet he's "the media" -- the one we're supposed to trust. The disinterested, neutral, ojbective fair-and-balanced down-the-middle no-nonsense hard news man.

He's a liar. And not a particularly convincing one.

Ironically enough, he reminded me of Nixon tonight-- Nixon, just before the final "V" finger wave.

But what really made my day was a cognomen in this post:"Joshua Micah Hezekiah Bucephalus Boutros-Boutros Marshall"

Posted by John Weidner at 5:37 PM

Oh bliss, for former woes, a thousandfold repaid...

animated GIF of forged TANG documents
Animated GIF thanks to Jeremy Chrysler. As you doubtless know, it shows the "1973" doccument superimposed with one whipped-up yesterday using MS Word and the MS TrueType font Times New Roman. And, for contrast, here are a couple of items from


For the record, CBS News stands by the thoroughness and accuracy of the 60 MINUTES report this Wednesday on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking. In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content. Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned. We have complete confidence in our reporting and will continue to pursue the story.[link]

And what does the big buffoon himself say???
RATHER: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?
QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...
RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier....
Yeah, keep denying it. You know the "story is true," because you have the innate truth-sense of you superior beings of the press. Mere facts are unimportant compared to the gut-knowledge of the Great Man of TV. Ha. The longer you twist in the wind, the longer I get to enjoy this.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:29 PM

What bliss...

I'm really enjoying the forgery scandal. I've heard so many stories over the years of bullying and falsehoods and bias from Dan Rather and 60-Minutes. How richly that pompous phony deserves to be humbled.

Of course this whole attack on Bush is actually plain stupid, if you just look at the timeline. It's like the difference between a soldier slacking-off in 1943, and doing the same in 1947! If they had an accusation that Bush missed duty in 1968, when he joined, that would at least be the germ of a story. But everybody was easing off after 1972. We were out of the war then.

I hear that the poor Dems are trying to float the story that the forgeries were political dirty tricks created by Karl Rove. No way. Rove would have used a typewriter, at the very least. He's about my age, and remembers typewriters perfectly well. It's got to be someone young. Young and stupid. Hmmm, we may have the beginnings of a profile...

Flag Burner lights cig on flag

* Update: here's a link to an animated GIF that superimposes an MS Word version over the purported 1970's memo. Lovely, lovely, just lovely...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:49 AM

September 9, 2004

Honoring the dead...

Susanna Cornett writes:

Thinking of the war dead

The NYT has photos and brief information about the majority of the US military personnel who have died in the Iraq war. While it's apparent that the point of the exercise for them is to highlight that we've topped 1000 dead, I think we should use it for a chance to honor and appreciate these men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the US. When you can, take the time to look at as many photos as you can, read about each one, send prayers for their families, and thanks to their memories. I think what they were doing was a necessary and important task. I wish it could have been done without death. I'm grateful they were willing to do the hard work that wicked and inhumane people made necessary.

Let's just all assume that the NYT is a patriotic institution and intends to inspire us to rededicate our efforts to completing what these brave people have so well begun.

Thank you New York Times. There's not a lot I can do to help our efforts, but I will certainly give all possible support to President Bush and Vice-President Cheney and the administration as they fight this global war against terrorist madmen. And I'm grateful they and our troops are willing to do the hard work that feckless appeasement has made necessary....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:13 PM

Our goal is...

Captain Ed has an interesting post on how al Sadr's rebellion is running out of steam. I've heard some silly talk about how Al Sadr has "won" and is in a stronger position than ever. That's just Democrat wishful-thinking...

...As I wrote when Sadr backed down and left the mosque, he most certainly lost prestige in that negotiation. Sistani successfully asserted native philosophical control over Shi'ite Iraq, as opposed to Qumian (Iran's Shi'ite philosophical strain) radicalism. In a more practical sense, of course, rebels who continually sue for peace and give up territory -- especially holy ground like the Imam Ali shrine -- do not lead many men in the future.

Even more practically, Sadr's loss of status has led to a more measurable loss of cash flow. While controlling large mosques, Sadr had at his disposal the offerings given to the clerics by the faithful. At the Imam Ali shrine, this was a major source of income for Sadr and his militia, as believers make pilgrimages on a regular basis and usually leave large donations of cash, gold, and jewelry as their tithe.

Nor is that the only source of income for Shi'ite clerics. The mosques collect "taxes" from their regular attendees, which again go directly to the cleric. Sadr used to benefit from this cash source as well, but that has now dried up. His former mentor, Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri in Iran, now demands that the more radical Shi'a that paid Sadr these taxes instead pay his representatives, which not only hits Sadr's pocketbook but also underscores his Iranian ties.

Sadr does have his power base in Baghdad's Sadr City still left, but the Americans have been targeting that area in order to disarm it while his Mahdi army is demoralized and running low on funds....

We and the Iraqis are sticking to the task of destroying Al Sadr's gang without making them martyrs.

And we are sticking to the task of encouraging the Iraqis to take control of their future. Many of the hesitations in our fighting in Najaf were requested by Allawi and the interim government. That's good. And it's something that elitist top-down-management types seem incapable of grasping.

Our goal is not to solve Iraq's problems, our goal is to get the Iraqis to grow up and start solving their own problems. That's the metric that we should be measured by.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:47 AM

September 8, 2004

This is rare...

Someone in the news media actually ASKED THE SOLDIERS what they think about deaths in Iraq having hit 1,000! (And it's Agence France-Presse of all the odd things.)

Surprise, surprise, they don't see things the way Democrat politicians and pundits would like us to think they do....

BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) Sep 07, 2004
The deaths of 1,000 American troops in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein has only strengthened US resolve to restore security to the strife-torn country, soldiers said.

Dismissing parallels with the 1961-75 war in Vietnam, officers lashed out at the media for playing the grim-reaper over the mounting casualty toll and failing to appreciate the sacrifices made by each soldier.

"It sucks. The newspapers glorify it. Everyday, reporting the numbers going up and up, trying to push a point," said Captain Gregory Wingard, 39, at the 1st Infantry Division's Camp Warhorse near Baquba, north of Baghdad.

"Sad as it is for those 1,000 families and their friends, they're nothing to the number of Iraqis that get killed trying to defend their own families," he added, smoking a cigar with friends under the stars....

..."Every single soldier knows the risk. You do the best you can with your day and don't think about it. If I was to get killed tomorrow by an IED, I would not regret coming over here," said Captain Michael Adams, 37, from Oregon.

"Six months ago people were afraid of their own shadow. Now I've seen kids playing in the park, farmers are out working. Now they can have a chance at rebuilding their country," he added.

"Obviously when you loose people, its a tragic time. But you don't loose morale. It strengthens your resolve," said Specialist Robert Bybee, 21, deployed in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit....[link]

(Thanks to Arthur Chrenkoff)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

"These were the first, tentative space vehicles"

If you are interested in space, a new article by Rand Simberg is a must-read...

As Tom Wolfe chronicled in The Right Stuff, while Lyndon Johnson was declaring that our nation wouldn’t go to bed by the light of a communist Moon, and while the German refugees from Hitler’s rocket program were in Alabama developing the vehicles that would eventually take us to the Moon, there were rocket planes flying in the Mojave Desert, released from B-52 bombers. They sundered the skies, probing the upper reaches of the atmosphere and even temporarily leaving it. These were the first, tentative space vehicles, and had they not been interrupted by the urgency of beating the Soviets to the Moon, their successors might have continued. They might have flown higher, and faster, and faster yet, until at last they flew fast enough to defy the gravity of the Earth and reach orbit.

That might have been another road to space, a path not taken—one that might have provided a more incremental, affordable, and reliable approach, instead of one in which we put small capsules on unreliable and expensive munitions, and hoped for the best....

Here's a little more from the essay:

....Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, as an employee of a major government aerospace contractor, I participated in and managed several studies relating to future launch systems. These so-called “space transportation architecture” studies evaluated and compared alternative conceptual launch systems.....

....As we looked at all the combinations of architectures and models, we discovered something interesting. While some vehicle design concepts were clearly better than others, they were all extremely expensive per-flight for the low-activity scenarios, and they were all much less expensive for the high-activity scenarios. Using the space shuttle as a reference, we developed a notional architecture that had sufficient facilities and vehicles for a hundred shuttle flights per year. (That sounds ridiculous today, since there have never been more than nine shuttle flights in a single year, but in fact the shuttle was originally intended to fly once a week.) Surprisingly, the per-flight costs that we estimated were much lower than the actual shuttle costs at the time. The same was true of other launch concepts we studied. The cost per-flight or cost per-pound varied dramatically—in some cases by a factor of ten....

The subject of space seems to accumulate more myths than any other. I've long suspected that many people are unconsciously frightened by the utterly limitless vastness that confronts us. And so we cling to concepts that assume that space travel will always be rare, expensive, and under the control of cautious bureaucracies...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:03 AM

Things you've taken for granted all your life...

[Washington Post] ...Yet strategists from both sides said the effectiveness of anti-Kerry ads speaks to another ominous development for Kerry last month: the large numbers of voters who said they still do not know what he stands for and whether they can trust him to do a better job on the twin threats of Iraq and terrorism...
You know that stuff we've been hearing, about how there are hardly any undecided voters? I'm guessing that a lot of the people who claim to have "decided" to vote for Kerry had really decided to vote for a generic gray-haired Democrat statesman, which they've just assumed Kerry is.

And a lot of people have been assuming that, not matter how flaky the "activists" and protesters are, that the Democrat party was still run by grown-ups. As they get to know Kerry, (and his staff, which has grown to encompass much of the Party) a LOT of assumptions will crumble. We see it happening right now in the polls.

It takes a lot of time for most people to accept that the things they have assumed true all their lives are no longer true. Especially with the Democrat Party, which devotes much of its energy to concealment and disguise. The two parties look very similar on the TV screen. There are flags and balloons, mentions of God and country, and lots of sober, dignified white men in suits and ties...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

September 7, 2004

The Jews are the canary, as always....

Natalie Solent writes:

The Jews are the canary, as always. Once it became acceptable to a broad section of Islam (and to Western apologists for terrorism) to select Jewish children as targets it was only a matter of time before non-Jewish children would also be selected. Children are the most convenient terrorist target as they are physically easy to control or kill, and because people will concede more to save them. The only thing that stops a Beslan happening every week is the shreds of morality that remain even in the minds of terrorists. Once the taboo was breached for Israeli victims it was breached for everyone.

I am surprised that there has been little mention outside the Israeli press of the massacre at the school in Maalot...

Go read the horrifying details...or just guess.

We're all familiar with the crowd that supports the "Palestinians," and Yasser Arafat, no matter how vicious the murders they commit. They've taught the terrorists that murder pays. Now the same tactics are being turned on the rest of the world. If you want to know who to blame for Beslan, (and the future Beslans that are going to happen, without a doubt) a good place to start is the anti-Semitism that permeates the Left.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 PM

crazed with war hysteria...

Andrew Morton suggested I fisk this latest, by Paul Krugman. But it's so far out in loon territory, that there's no point. Anyone addled enough to fall for it isn't going to hear anything I say. Krugman now claims the War on Terror is a cynical plot to by Bush to whip up hysteria so we won't notice Bush's failures.

...Yet the Bush administration, like the Argentine junta, derived enormous political benefit from the impulse of a nation at war to rally around its leader.

Another president might have refrained from exploiting that surge of support for partisan gain; Mr. Bush didn't.

And his administration has sought to perpetuate the war psychology that makes such exploitation possible.

Step by step, the fight against Al Qaeda became a universal "war on terror," then a confrontation with the "axis of evil," then a war against all evil everywhere...

There's no sense arguing, anyone who disagrees with Krug is crazed with war hysteria.

The only thing to say is Beslan. Just look at the pictures of the children, gunned down by the hundreds. Think of mothers forced to choose one of their children to save, and not the others....

And then think about bloated lefty cynics like Krugman sneering at the possibility of evil, and the possibility that we might really be at war. Sneering at ordinary Americans and assuming them incapable of rational thought. Sneering at our patriotism, our steadfastness in time of trouble, and our support for our President.

Sorry Kruggie, ordinary Americans are capable of thinking and deciding. And they are deciding to reject appeasers like you. You are doing your best to undermine America during war time, and you are going to suffer for it. You hunger for power, and you are never going to get it. By the time the Democrats come back into office, you will be 100 years old, and forgotten.

(And they will be a new generation of Democrats, who have earned the right to hold office by utterly rejecting the corrosive anti-Americanism and quasi-socialism that you champion.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:48 PM

" That’s right Anchor Man. It is often forgotten that the Constitution has...."

The Happy Carpenter laughs ruefully at lefty complaints that FoxNews is "conservative," and falling asleep, dreams of a real conservative TV station:

3…, 2…, 1…


ANCHOR MAN: (white guy, about 50 years old, wearing a blue suit, white shirt, red tie, American flag lapel pin) Good evening America, and welcome to another edition of THE TRUTH.

ANCHOR WOMAN: (white chick, gorgeous, about 35 years old, pink suit with blue silk shirt, blonde brunette or redhead, take you pick) Our top story tonight, another liberal judge appointed by President Clinton is responsible for the slaying of a family, this time in Fresno, California.

CUT TO PICTURE OF CRAZY-LOOKING BLACK MAN (you remember Willie Horton, don’t you?)

ANCHOR WOMAN: This man, Donald Smith, was released by Judge Makesitupashegoes on a Miranda technicality. After Mr. Smith’s release, Smith got high on crack cocaine, bought an illegal gun off the streets of Fresno, and murdered the Thornton family of 1234 Maple Drive. Smith was apprehended by police at the scene.

“Oh, darn it!” Gulp, fight back tears. “We caught this guy before! This didn’t have to happen! What’s the point of being a cop if Judge Makesitupashegoes is just going to let the perp’s out to steal and kill again?” Patrol officer bangs fist on hood of patrol car.
ANCHOR WOMAN: Just what we need, Anchor Man: more convicted child molesters running loose on the streets. I wonder what will be next for His Honor Makesitupashegoes.

ANCHOR MAN: That’s not just a rhetorical question, Anchor Woman. Here’s a special report from our Washington Analyst Steven Donegood.

CUT TO DONEGOOD (a young, fit, clean-cut, vaguely Latino looking man in a blue suit, with an American flag lapel pin) STANDING IN FRONT OF THE US ARCHIVES BUILDING:
That’s right Anchor Man. It is often forgotten that the Constitution has checks and balances built-in for Congress to instill some sanity into the bench.

Article 2 section 4 spells it out: impeachment. If two-thirds of the senate votes aye, then any judge can be removed from office. To quote Founding Father and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story,

“Departure from the text of the Constitution as originally understood would permit unelected and unaccountable, life-tenured federal judges to impose their personal values on the rest of us, and would ultimately result in judicial tyranny.”

Posted by John Weidner at 8:14 AM

September 6, 2004

Unreported news...

Here are excerpts from an Arab News article by Amir Taheri:

For the past month or so, while the media have been obsessed with the activities of Moqtada Al-Sadr and his fighters in Najaf, much of the really important news about Iraq has gone largely unreported...

..."The most important is that post-liberation Iraq, defying great odds, has succeeded in carrying out its political reform agenda on schedule. A governing council was set up at the time promised. It, in turn, created a provisional government right on schedule. Next, municipal elections were held in almost all parts of the country. Then followed the drafting of a new democratic and pluralist constitution. Then came the formal end of the occupation and the appointing of a new interim government.

"Earlier this month, the political reconstruction program reached a new high point with the convening of the National Congress.

"Bringing together some 1,300 men and women representing all ethnic, religious, linguistic, and political groups, the congress was the first genuinely pluralistic assembly of Iraqis at that level.

"The congress performed its duty by creating a 100-member Parliament with wide powers of oversight and control over the interim government. A close examination of the composition of this new interim Parliament shows that it is the most representative political body ever to take charge of Iraq's destiny.

"The formation of the interim Parliament, which will be at the heart of the nation's politics during the next 15 months or so, is a major step toward creating the institutions of democracy.

"The Parliament's tasks include the holding of elections for a constituent assembly, the supervision of a referendum on that constitution, and general elections to pick a new government; all that before the end of next year.

"The events mentioned above, and largely ignored by the media, indicate a remarkably rapid progress toward democratization in Iraq. And, yet, at every step we had countless doomsayers who predicted that this or that step would not be taken because of 'security problems.'"....

This sort of thing HAS NEVER HAPPENED in an Arab country! This is the news, not the violence and confusion.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 PM


Take a look at this post. Someone wrote to the Ombudsman of the NYT, asking why the Times, which covered the Bush/AWOL foolishness like fleas on a dog, refuses to investigate allegations about Kerry's service, even after the Kerry campaign has admitted to falsehoods.

Here's the response:

Dear (name removed),

I raised your concern with senior editors at The Times who explained that the staff is working hard on this issue, and when there's anything reliable to say, as opposed to rumors and suspicions, they intend to report it fully.

Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

So lame. How these people deserve to lose the next 10 or 20 elections...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:25 PM

Cool new hairstyles, as seen in the Forum...

My son e-mailed me a question, which I made a stab at answering. Maybe others know more about this?

I was doing a little research online with a question about Roman hair styles that's been bugging me. In all Hollywood movies concerning Rome that I've seen no matter what period of Rome that they were trying to portray, the hair styles of the important men were ALWAYS the same. It always seemed to be cut short right above the eyebrows, there apeared to be NO originality among the Roman leaders.

I did some checking online, and lo and behold, statues of Roman Emporers, who could be separated by over two hundred years, along with people protrayed in those pictures made out of tiles, ALL had VERY similar hair styles, almost identical to eachother. I have seen no statues of completly bald men, nor statues with hair parted on one side, or excessivly long hair. Can you think of any reason why this might be so?

Good question. The ancient world does not seem to have had frequent changes in style like we do, either in clothes, hair or beards. But I have no idea why. Emperors probably wanted to look like Augustus Caesar, to help them feel legitimate. Probably they would have been shown with hair even if bald--portraits and statues were part of propaganda and image-building. But I think mainly the style just didn't change.

And keep in mind that there were no photos. Portraits in any era tend to make people look much like a certain ideal that is in the minds of artists. In portraits from around 1660 everyone looks like Louis XIV, or his paramours! Or if you look at illustrations from the Civil War era, the men all have small delicate feet.

Actually even in photos people tend to have a "look" common to their era. Try looking at some magazines from the past. Say a Life Magazine from the 1950' will be amazed at how faces and postures and body-shapes seem to have a certain similarity...

It's funny about Hollywood. Most movies set in other eras make some attempt to really reflect their period. But never movies about ancient Rome, or so it seems to me. They just copy from other movies. Actors seem to have all soaked up a certain way of being "Roman," (probably deriving from the way Shakespeare's Roman plays are acted, but those guys are just copying each other too.) So we get the same diction and style over and over again. I hate it! I can't stand to watch it for even a few minutes.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:47 PM

Sinking ship deserts rat...

TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian-based cleric who had been the former spiritual guide of radical anti-U.S. Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has distanced himself from his former pupil's actions, his Web site said Sunday.

Grand Ayatollah Kazem al-Hosseini al-Haeri, who lives in the holy Iranian city of Qom, said al-Sadr, whose loyalists have engaged in deadly clashes with U.S. forces in Iraq ... is no longer his representative in that war-torn country...[link]

Good news, but to be expected.

I've heard it said the Al Sadr has come out a "winner" from the recent uprising. That's silly; he's never offered anything to the Iraqis but thuggish violence. Now that it's become clear that he and his hoodlums are not going to be in charge of things, he's a nobody.

We, and the Iraqis, are very lucky to have leaders who don't fall apart when things get tough. Seriously now, can you even imagine a Democrat administration calmly staying the course during last April's uprisings?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:31 AM

September 5, 2004

When we achieve the "controlled, monolithic society," a certain economist will be counting snowflakes on the North Slope...

Mr Kerry has been complaining (yet again) that Republicans are "attacking his patriotism."

If we were attacking his patriotism, I guess we would say that he hates America. That he hates our freedom and diversity. That he wants turn America into a tyranny.

Did any Republicans say that about Kerry? No, but Paul Krugman said it about Republicans:

...But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity...
I don't suppose any of you Kerry supporters out there are going to explain why it's OK to attack our patriotism, but not Mr Kerry's? Hmm?


It is because

In Mr Kerry's case

It's actually believable...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 PM

“Correct me if I'm wrong” means “I'm right, please don't contradict me.”

Pejman recommended this funny article on translation difficulties within the European "Union:"

...Hence the guide's warning that when a Briton says “I hear what you say”, the foreign listener may understand: “He accepts my point of view.” In fact, the British speaker means: “I disagree and I do not want to discuss it any further.” Similarly the phrase “with the greatest respect” when used by an Englishman is recognisable to a compatriot as an icy put-down, correctly translated by the guide as meaning “I think you are wrong, or a fool.”

The guide also points out helpfully that when a Briton says “by the way/incidentally”, he is usually understood by foreigners as meaning “this is not very important”, whereas in fact he means, “The primary purpose of our discussion is...” On the other hand, the phrase “I'll bear it in mind” means “I'll do nothing about it”; while “Correct me if I'm wrong” means “I'm right, please don't contradict me.”...

Also, “je serai clair” means “I will be rude”...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:58 PM

If you've got a better idea, let's hear it....

Steyn writes;

...What happened in one Russian schoolhouse is an abomination that has to be defeated, not merely regretted. But the only guys with any kind of plan are the Bush administration. Last Thursday, the President committed himself yet again to wholesale reform of the Muslim world. This is a dysfunctional region that exports its toxins, to Beslan, Bali and beyond, and is wealthy enough to be able to continue doing so.

You can't turn Saudi Arabia and Yemen into New Hampshire or Sweden (according to taste), but if you could transform them into Singapore or Papua New Guinea or Belize or just about anything else you'd be making an immense improvement. It's a long shot, but, unlike Putin's plan to bomb them Islamists into submission or Chirac's reflexive inclination to buy them off, Bush is at least tackling the "root cause".

If you've got a better idea, let's hear it. Right now, his is the only plan on the table....

The anti-Bush crowd's plan is; "We have no plan. But our ability to sneer at yours is second-to-none." (Thanks to WizBang)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:54 PM

"casual, breezy denial of Jewish humanity..."

Roger Simon recommended a post called My Road to Damascus, by Benjamin Kerstein. It's about growing up in a totally left-wing environment, and gradually beginning to question it, a emancipation started by encounters with a shocking level of anti-semitism. It's worth reading.

...This, I felt, was what had stung so bitterly in the eyes of my friends who had attended Nader's rally. The casual, breezy denial of Jewish humanity: Jews were being murdered, and for it Jews--the very dead themselves--were being blamed. We were, it seemed to me, being condemned for our own murder, and thus, by extension, being asked to consent to our own murder; and this, it seemed clear to me, was to declare that we were sub-human by condemning our failure to be super-human. It was, by any definition, an act of dehumanization, a dehumanization of us as Jews, and thus, by definition, anti-semitism.

Barely a few weeks after the Nader rally, these thoughts were crystallized by an argument I had with a black liberal minister at Boston University. In the course of his Sunday sermon, broadcast on the local NPR affiliate, he had notated a list of the world's evils: poverty, no health care, etc., in which he gave pride of place to Israel's targeted assassination policy, which, he informed me in stentorian tones, as if intoning divine truths, was "barbaric". Nowhere and at no point did he mention suicide bombings, or his opinion as to their barbarism. I must confess, the thing came to me with a shocking clarity, all the more so for its horrendous implications; here was this good liberal preacher, who no doubt considered himself congenitally immune to all the ills of the human soul he condemned in those he saw as his moral inferiors, and yet Jewish lives simply did not matter to him. Or, to put it even more precisely, the lives of other human beings did not matter to him, because they were Jews. I simply had no other name for such an attitude than anti-semitism...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 PM

Urban legends...

I was pleased to see Glenn Reynolds prominently debunking the Bush 41 supermarket scanner story. It's one of those lies that has turned into an urban legend, and keeps popping up again and again.

Another one that lives on, is the notion that former President Gerald Ford is clumsy. That one was started by LBJ, and the press delightedly picked it up and ran. Actually Ford was quite an athlete, and seriously considered a career in pro football. I've heard various versions of "strong man is really clumsy." It's sometimes said about body-builders, or it's said that they really aren't very strong. Silly, and probably stems from a certain jealousy.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:32 PM

"I'm sorry. What team?"

Mac Frazier posted a comment here, I'm putting it in because it's funny:

At the end, though, you said something that threw a switch in my head:
America has always been an isolationist nation, not very concerned with the opinions of other countries.
The accepted "wisdom" these days, I believe, is that America historically has always swung back and forth between isolationism and interventionism. ....But we've never really seen ourselves as team captains, and historically the American people have never really put much value in The Team. Our former team mates are only just beginning to catch on to that, though, and for some it is a very slow learning process.

As you said, America has always been an isolationist nation. It just appeared otherwise at certain times, and so part of the world is confused about our behavior this time around.

Germany: Hey! What about the team?
USA: Huh?
Germany: You're missing the chance to heal the team!
USA: And...who are you?
Germany: I'm your best bud! You know...we sort of stood together against that bully back in the late 20th century...
USA:, yeah. I sorta remember there being someone lying on the ground there. Was that you?
Germany: Yeah! We were great together! So here's what I'm thinking—me and some of the other players have talked it over, and we're willing to come back on board if you let someone else be captain this time.
USA: Uh...captain of what?
Germany: The team!
USA: I'm sorry. What team?
Germany: You know...
USA: Look, kid, I'm trying to do something important here. If you want to come along, you're certainly welcome. You can even bring your pea-shooter and your slingshot, if you like. But if you're not coming along, please get out of the way. This isn't a game, you know.

Actually, I don't actually think "isolationist" is the word to describe us. Or that we are not team players.

I think it's sort of like in the Old West. If somebody is organizing a posse, or a bucket-brigade, or a defense against redskins, the fellows don't palaver, they just jump in and help. It's expected. And if some mollycoddle wants to organize a conference first, and discuss seniority of command, or the moral basis of preemptive action...Americans will ignore him and just get on with the job. And such ad hoc teams usually do the job just fine. Hang 'em high!

Posted by John Weidner at 3:14 PM

" We are not Israel....We will not wage the war against terrorists on our own soil..."

The War on Terror is often portrayed as "warmongering Republicans who think force is the answer to everything," vs "sensitive nuanced Democrats who support diplomacy and negotiations." Pure bullshit. A truer picture is "Democrats who want to let the situation slide until we are forced to slaughter millions."

Bill Quick, writing after Beslan:

...Something like this happens in Kansas City, and we'll show the Islamofascists our civilized side.

Maybe John Kerry would. Till he was impeached.

Look, I am trying to make a valid point here. America will not tolerate this sort of atrocity. If this sort of thing becomes even somewhat common in our country, it will be the mothers of America, not the daddies, who demand the destruction of the threat, and they won't much care who has to die in order for that threat to be destroyed.

"It doesn't have to be that way?"

Wishful flapdoodle. The only way it won't happen is if we defeat terror now, in its own lands. That is the warning, and that is the truth. The rest of the truth is that we will not wage the war against terrorists on our own soil. Not like this. We'll destroy Islam forever before we do that.

We are not Israel. Our enemies would do well to remember it.

UPDATE: Soccer mom speaks: Here is a mother of four's point of view on the subject of Islamofascist baby butchers.

You think she would want the "civilized response" to an attack like the al-Qaeda-Chechen monstrosity here in the United States?

It is the Democrats who are the warmongers. It is the peaceniks who are endangering the peace of the world.

I'm a passionate supporter of the Administration's efforts to bring democracy and freedom to the Middle East. And to simultaneously pursue terrorists and countries that support them with massive force and violence.

Why? 'cause I'm a nice guy. I really like the Iraqis I've "met" on the Internet. But if it came to a choice between a having a Beslan happen here in my town, or killing a million Muslims.... goodbye towel-heads.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

Small signs...

NYT, JERUSALEM, Sept. 4 - Palestinians began a voter registration drive on Saturday, a first step toward long overdue elections and a response to domestic and international pressure for more democracy, openness and accountability.

But the only scheduled voting is for 38 municipal councils, which will begin in December and extend in three stages for a year. The vote will be a test of strength between militant groups and the Palestinian Authority, led by Yasir Arafat, ahead of an Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip next year..

It's too soon to know if this is really a sign of hope, but it's the sort of thing that doesn't come from inviting terrorists to the White House...and likely is a result of America throwing it's prestige and power into a push for democracy in the ME.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 AM

September 4, 2004

"they’ve never thought about it"...strange

This seems bizarre to me..

Bad and bored: Britain is sick and tired, there is no religion, no culture and no patriotism — and not even leisure can lighten our burden (Theodore Dalrymple, 9/04/04, The Spectator)

...It has fallen to our create a population that is bored equally by work and leisure. (That, of course, is why ‘leisure management’ has become both an academic subject and a career.) When I meet patients who tell me that they are fed up with their work because it is so boring, and they wish they could stop working altogether, I ask them what they would like to do instead. The question comes like an unexpected thunderclap, or a flash of lightning in a darkened landscape: they’ve never thought about it, and when they do they are completely unable to answer. They realise for the first time that it is not so much work that bores them as existence.... [quote lifted from Orrin Judd]

I tend to think of the trendy lefty enclaves of the two coasts, including SF where we live, as sharing many of the pathologies that afflict Europe. But I don't recall encountering anything like this.

Perhaps I don't mix in the right circles, or perhaps Mr Dalrymple has got it wrong. But this just seems so DIFFERENT. There are Americans who have nothing but their work, and Americans who are bored with their work...but the two groups don't overlap. A large percentage of Americans say they are satisfied with their jobs, and those who aren't usually fill their non-work lives with activities that they wish they could pursue full-time. And everyone else is wishing they could fly to Mars. Or so it seems to me.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:12 PM

Word Note: Democrat talking points...

Word Note logoWhen you criticize Kerry's war service, (or Max Cleland's vote against Homeland Security) that's "attacking his patriotism."

Now there's a new trope. If you criticize Kerry's senate record, that's "Hatred."

Here's an example in an editorial in the Manchester Union Leader:

...After Cheney and Miller criticized Sen. Kerry’s voting record, which the Massachusetts senator found so embarrassing that he barely referenced it during his own convention speech, his running-mate, Sen. John Edwards, said in response: “There was a lot of hate coming from that podium tonight.”...
What there actually was was scorn and harsh criticism. You might even go so far as to say the critics "hated" Kerry's mushy record on defense and anti-communism. But Edwards is trying to leave the impression that this is personal hatred of the sort which should lead us to ignore the criticisms, to dismiss them as the products of blind enmity, not logic.

What's missing is any Dem saying: "The critics are wrong, because of reasons A, B, and C." All they can do is claim "hatred." This is particularly noticeable in the case of Zell Miller, because when Miller gave Clinton's keynote , the same sort of people thought he was their fair-haired boy! A "Southern statesman!" Amazin' how much a guy's personality can change in four years.

Now Ken Layne writes:

I grew up in the South, surrounded by sons of bitches like Zell Miller -- bitter old nigger-haters who couldn't possibly understand why they weren't right about anything -- and this dixiecrat piece of shit is probably the best advertisement for the Bush Administration's Compassionate Conservatism we've ever seen...
I predict this will be useful as a perfect example of a circular argument. Miller helps those racist Republicans, so he's obviously a "nigger-hater." And how do we know the Republicans are racists? It's obvious--they are embracing "nigger-haters" like Miller.

But seriously folks, what Ken is saying is hate speech. (And I'm not endorsing the idea that there should be special laws against hate speech.) But that's what it is. Miller's the guy who removed the Confederate Battle Flag from the Georgia State flag! Until this week nobody seriously considered him to be a racist. He is known for one racist-sounding remark, but that was in a bitter political contest, 40 years ago. For which he has expressed his regret.

For the Dems to use this tactic is a sign of their about five different ways.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:00 AM

September 3, 2004

good take on the speech...

I recommend this post, by Alan Sullivan. The full text of Bush's speech, with Alan's interlinear comments. As often, his ideas are similar to mine, but different enough to be very stimulating.

WORD NOTES: I think "fisking" is the wrong word. A fisking is an utter trampling and destruction, not mild disagreement.

"Moms" should not be used in formal speech. YES! Nor "kids." Bush should have said mothers.

"Smarmy." Some writers I've liked have used it to mean an extreme oily over-friendliness, truly sick-making. Lately I've seen it used to just mean something a bit tacky or flowery. It doesn't seem to be in my dictionary. I'm not sure.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:29 PM

various things...

Every time I see any of those heartrending scenes of the school children murdered by terrorist animals in Russia, I think of Senator Kerry puffing himself up and declaring that "IF attacked, we will retaliate." What a useless idiot he is. Sit and wait for attacks...brilliant.

How he makes me appreciate the President. I only wish Bush could move faster, and be more aggressive...but he's trying to walk with scores of ankle-biters clinging like giant lampreys to his legs. (Who then have the nerve to criticize him for not doing such-and-such.) I'm predicting we will shed a bunch of them in November, and then the War can be pushed harder. Somewhere I read him quoted as saying, when told there might be 60 countries supporting terrorists, "We'll pick 'em off one at a time." Yeah!

But we are making progress. Here's a bit of the good stuff...a notorious Talib has been killed by our Special Forces in Afghanistan! Way to go, guys! Scalps!

IT'S ONE WAR. Just. One. War. Israelis, Russians, Iraqis, Nepalese, even the French...we're all in it together.

Terrorists turned to grease spot in Yemen.
More of this please....
Captain Ed quotes former Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher, who was participating at a blog conference:
...I used to be a Democrat. I was raised a liberal Democrat in Democratic New York, Upper West Side parents ... [laughter and crosstalk] One of the reasons I left the Democratic Party was that strong-on-defense, Scoop Jackson-Zell Miller wing of the Democrat Party shriveled up and went away. We had people apologizing for America around the world. This is what I'm afraid has taken over the Democratic Party, represented in Fahrenheit-9/11 and those who [defend] it. And I'm proud not to be a Democrat any more, because that proud-to-be-pro-democracy, pro-defense wing of the Democratic Party is gone. They've become Republicans. It's too bad. They've left reality, and I think that that movie and the people who watch it represent that narrow wing of America...
I think the Bush quote earlier in this post was from The Bushes: Portrait of a Dynasty, by Schweizer. It's a fascinating book, and I recommend it. One of the aspects that interested me about the family is their ability to network, which seems to be genetic. They know, or have in their card files and Christmas card lists, people by the tens of thousands.

W has inherited this in full. He apparently knew personally over a thousand people in his Yale class. (The number of people I knew in college was probably a couple dozen...) There are lots of stories of his ability to connect with people quickly, and grasp their essence and relate to it. And then to remember them, and call on them later. Of course this sort of intelligence is invisible to our "intelligentsia."

Posted by John Weidner at 10:08 PM

"we have a calling from beyond the stars..."

From the President's speech:

...To everything we know there is a season, a time for sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding. And now we have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America.

Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America. And tonight in this place that dream is renewed. Now we go forward, grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.

I think that gets it exactly right.

I thought when I heard that of some lines by Henry Vaughn that stick in my head:

My soul there is a country, far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry, all skillful in the wars...
* Also, I just encountered an article about Bush's speechwriter, Michael Gerson, and discovered he shares with Charlene and I a love of the Chinese mystery novels of Robert van Gulick!

Posted by John Weidner at 3:41 PM

September 2, 2004

Mixing with the right-wing nut-jobs...

Charlene and I had a rare night out without the kids, hobnobbing with the other 98 Republicans in San Francisco, and watching the President's speech. That's her in front wearing blue.

We watch Bush's Convention speech

We were both a touch underwhelmed by the overly broad range of domestic programs, helping community colleges and such, but other than that it was GREAT! Splendid! What a guy. We love him more than ever. He was right on schedule with things he has promised! ...Social Security reform, tax reform, HSA's... the ownership society that will give us more control, and bureaucrats less. (Obviously the thin end of the wedge for fascist tyranny.)

Good jokes, some at his own expense. Loved the mention of the NYT editorial in 1946 about the failed hopeless occupation of Germany. "Maybe the same guy is still writing editorials today."

And Pataki was excellent too. Quite moving. And funny: "This is a candidate who has to Google his own name to find out where he stands."

Posted by John Weidner at 9:47 PM

While at the White House...

If you keep your eyes open for accounts of the President (and his whole clan) you will often encounter stories like this. And not just from Republicans. Which is part of why the arguments of the Bush-haters are so intellectually flabby. They have to ignore so much of what's going on....

While at the White House, I spoke with several media types that have coordinated with both current and the previous Clinton administrations. I had a long conversation with a media guy who had also worked with the Clintons during their eight years. He was young, aggressive, Democratic, and did some work for the current administration. He said, at first, he was unrelenting in his disdain for Bush...that he was a "loyal" Democrat. But, after working with Bush on and off, for the past 4 years, he absolutely "loved" the President and that working with the Clintons was "hell"...they were both demanding, rude, arrogant, paranoid people, who were late for everything. He said that President Bush was a "good, decent man, who respects everyone he works with".

Another thing. This event could have been pure positive PR heaven for the President, given the nature of the organization and the people it represents. But he insisted on it remaining private with no cameras, media, wasn't even on his daily agenda. He offered himself extensively to the people involved who wished to meet him and talk with him. He continually told the Secret Service to "stand back", so we could have close access to him.

This young Democrat said that if it would have been the Clintons, they would have exploited the event, had the media all over it, refused to pose for pictures, etc., and then been a couple of hours late anyway. And, he went on to tell me, everyone who worked with President Bush on a daily basis pretty much felt the same way as he.

This was quoted at Betsy Newmark's blog, go there for more...

It is actually kind of gratifying when I hear that Bush is the worst President ever, and similar stuff. Because it tracks closely with my theorizing about the 70-Year Cycle. The things being said about Bush now are amazingly similar to what was said about FDR in the 30's, and about Lincoln in the 1860's. They were all three seen as stupid and unqualified, yet at the same time as Machiavellian schemers who were stealing the republic from those less clever.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

some of this does sound familiar...

You know you're living in 2004 when...

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. When you go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
7. When you make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
13. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.
14. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
15. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
17. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
18. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
19. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

I've several times seen my son talking on the phone with a friend...who is standing on the sidewalk right outside our house...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 AM

September 1, 2004

a cook on the Union Pacific Railroad...

From Vice-President Dick Cheney's speech, a bit I liked

...On this night, as we celebrate the opportunities that America offers, I am filled with gratitude to a nation that has been good to me, and I remember the people who set me on my way in life. My grandfather noted that the day I was born was also the birthday of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And so he told my parents they should send President Roosevelt an announcement of my birth. Now my grandfather didn't have a chance to go to high school. For many years he worked as a cook on the Union Pacific Railroad, and he and my grandmother lived in a railroad car. But the modesty of his circumstances didn't stop him from thinking that President Roosevelt should know about my arrival. My grandfather believed deeply in the promise of America, and had the highest hopes for his family. And I don't think it would surprise him much that a grandchild of his stands before you tonight as Vice President of the United States....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 PM

The jobs never existed...

An economist friend wrote this, and I'm putting it in as a guest-post...

A note on Payrolls

The BLS has just finished a study (link to PDF) of the differences between the payroll survey (CES) of employment and the household survey (CPS). Chart 1 below shows the results in brief. The blue (top) line is the household survey with the population controls smoothed so that their impact is spread throughout the year instead of hitting in one shot in January. This answers a major complaint by Alan Greenspan.

The yellow line is the blue line adjusted for so that jobs are defined in the household survey to be the same as in the payroll survey (this has to do with excluding agricultural workers, the self-employed, those holding two jobs, etc.). The red line is just the payroll survey as it currently exists. Note that the yellow line now agrees with the red line prior to 1998 and after 2002. The gap yet to be explained is the bulge in payroll employment over adjusted household in the 1998-2002 period.

employment chart one

My contention is that this bulge in payroll jobs probably never occurred in the first place and hence those jobs were not "lost" in any meaningful sense. As the BLS notes on pages 18-22 in attached study the reference periods in the two surveys are substantially different. The household survey is limited a one week each month whereas the payroll survey uses full pay periods for its reference and these are typically two weeks or a month. The point made by the BLS is that a worker who quit one job and took another within the same pay period could be counted twice. The BLS never pursues this reasoning but notes that the double counting problem in the payroll survey is potentially significant most likely to occur during economic expansions.

I don't think this is quite right. It may take more than a mere expansion. It may take a "red hot" labor market. As shown in the chart below bulge in payrolls (CES) over household (CPS) employment is associated with unemployment rates below 5 percent.

Employment chart two

This is bad news for the Bush administration. No one will ever believe that those payroll jobs did not exist. The Democrats have won that argument and Bush will be the "first president since Herbert Hoover to jobs decline during his administration." Furthermore, the labor market is unlikely to get "red hot" anytime soon. This means that reported payroll expansion will get no boost from a renewed bulge in payrolls over household employment growth. Instead, payrolls will have to proceed at the same pace as adjusted household employment. In other words, the red and yellow lines in Chart 1 will continue to stay together.

I hope I am wrong.

* My guess is that the Democrats have pushed so many "worst economy since Herbert Hoover" lies that no one will believe them even if they are telling the truth for once. And most Americans don't even know who Hoover was...--JW

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 PM

We can't win the war on roaches either...

From an editorial in the NY Daily News;

...Anyone with any sense knew perfectly well what President Bush meant when he remarked that the war on terror is not a war that is going to be won. He meant, obviously, that this epically historic clash of cultures and values will surely continue all the rest of our lives and beyond and will not be conventionally concluded with, for example, a surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.

Which is true. We can obliterate the Islamofascist gangsters left and right. We can render them ineffective and we can drive them into holes. But there will always be more of them, somewhere, for a long time to come. Mankind is not soon going to "win" the war on rats and roaches, either.

Thus, it was a sensible and levelheaded thing for Bush to say, a rational acknowledgment of the way things are in the real world. Ah, but here comes the Kerry-Edwards campaign, scenting anything akin to blood and pouncing on such a weak-willed commander-in-chief as this who can't even fight a good war. Mere days ago, they were blistering Bush as some crazed, out-of-control, swaggering macho cowboy, waging bloody battle with insufficient "sensitivity." Now, suddenly, he's a twinkie, devoid of the warrior's hard resolve to take the enemy down to defeat...

I heard a clip of the President's remarks. In context, he obviously wasn't being defeatist, or changing his tune. Just being thoughtful about the difficulties of the war. It's pretty pathetic for the Dems to try to make a big deal about this, though I suppose they don't have much positive to talk about right about now.

Mainly this makes me think again that Bush is absolutely right not to admit mistakes. If you read accounts by people who know him, as I often do, you know that the President regrets his mistakes just like we all do. But any mention of them would just be blood in the water to starveling Democrats.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:45 PM

"Then I am a Republican."

I caught a bit of Rush Limbaugh today, and he said something that really struck me. He said that the news media and the Dems are complaining that Republicans are hiding the ugly fascist truth of who we really are, by featuring moderates at our convention. He pointed out that the speeches of Guilliani, McCain and Schwarzenegger, were unabashedly and unashamedly conservative! And it's true! Republicans are using this moment in the limelight to show ourselves as 100% conservative. (Of course each of those guys hold some positions that are not generally considered conservative. But none of that was being used to "hide" anything.)

I heard some of Arnold's speech today, and really had to laugh at this...

...everything about America seemed so big to me, so open, so possible.

I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire. 

The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left. 

But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military. 


Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, I said, "What party is he?" 

My friend said, "He's a Republican." 

I said, "Then I am a Republican."....

Posted by John Weidner at 12:23 PM

Patiently untangling lies...

William Campenni, a retired colonel in the United States Air Force/Air National Guard, explains why the sneering questions about Bush's Air Guard service on Kerry's web site don't actually add up to anything. It's the sort of explanation only a person familiar with how things worked at the time can provide. (Whereas anyone can twist "not observed" to look like "not present." Dems should be ashamed of this stuff.)

...First, pay records document Mr. Bush's appearances on base, as verified by Col. Lloyd and Mr. Bush's point credit statement. So why would these other reports be at variance? They are not. Regulations require that an Officer Efficiency Report (OER, now an OES) be completed annually by their reporting official, or whenever there is a change of reporting official of 90 days or more. They evaluate performance. They don't document attendance. "Not Observed" is an Air Force term of art, meaning "I didn't have this guy for more than 90 days, so I can't evaluate him." If you were there 73 days, the reporting official would have to check "not observed," even if he had lunch with you daily. With this criterion, Alabama officials would not report on you, and with six months away in the middle of the year, probably neither would the Houston officials. Sadly, the corroborating officials are now deceased...
One thing I wonder is whether the Bush campaign pondered whether to provide this kind of info months ago, and then decided it was better to be "misunderestimated?" If so, it was a master-stroke, and the current floundering of the Dems is richly deserved.
...We who served in the Guard in that era are proud of our service. Even with obsolescent equipment and condescending attitudes from the regular forces, we were ready to go. Many a guardsman volunteered for Vietnam, but were turned down for often petty reasons, or offered pointless assignments far from the war zone. As verified by at least three witnesses, George Bush was one of those Vietnam volunteers.

    A final comment: With a single phone call, Mr. Bush could round up a flight of wingmen to follow him around as his "Band of Brothers." Choosing not to exploit his squadron mates is indicative of his character and class. Poet and wartime pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote in "Night Flight" that "Like his love, a man keeps his courage dark."

    John Kerry should read it in the original French.

"Character and class" is right. But mostly, Bush is a regular guy. Americans don't make a big deal about their military service. I've only once in my life met someone who bragged about fighting in Vietnam. He turned out to be a flake and a pathological liar.

(thanks to Besty Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 AM