October 31, 2004

tweedy snobs

John Derbyshire:

THE ECONOMIST endorsing Kerry? Feu! Listen:

"Still, on social policy, Mr. Kerry has a clear advantage: unlike Mr Bush he is not in hock to the Christian right. That will make him a more tolerant, less divisive figure on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research."

So being in hock to the modern left makes you non-divisive? Looking the other way while arrogant leftist state judiciaries re-define marriage is not divisive?

The "Christian right" isn't some gang of desperadoes holed up in a cave in Idaho; we are a vast swathe of the U.S. public. How "tolerant" will John Kerry be towards *us*?

There is no cause to be surprised, though. THE ECONOMIST has more positions an American conservative will disagree with than otherwise: on immigration, capital punishment, same-sex marriage... practically any social issue, in fact. This is a bunch of tweedy snobs, remember, whose understanding of U.S. society has some quite large gaps

The spin we've been subjected to on who is "divisive" makes my head spin. One lefty judge declares gay marriage OK, despite all our history and the wishes of the majority, and instantly anyone who disagrees is "attacking our ancient constitutional rights."

And Kerry is not divisive? Electing a Commander in Chief in wartime who is loathed by most of our military (for good reason) is "not divisive?" Being "pro-life" is "divisive," but being "pro-choice" is somehow not? How goofy.

And how important is it to be "non-divisive" anyway, if that means accepting things that are stupid or wrong? I think non-divisive is used here like "non-partisan" is usually used: conservatives should compromise their principles and agree with Dems so they can be praised as "non-partisan."

Hey, I got a real crazy contrarian idea. Why don't you Democrats, for a change, support your country and your President in this time of difficulty and war? And we will praise YOU as "non-divisive," and "non-partisan." For a bonus, we'll even call you "unifiers." Won't that surprise everybody!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:59 PM

Traditions trashed...

Good sense by Joseph Perkins...

Richard Nixon would have captured the 1960 presidential election but for five states he lost by 5,000 votes or fewer – Missouri, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico and Hawaii.

Gerald Ford would have retained the presidency in 1976 but for two states he lost by no more than 5,600 votes – Ohio and Hawaii.

Though the 1960 and 1976 elections were close, though they turned on a few thousand votes in a handful of states, the outcomes were faithfully accepted by the American people, by Republicans and Democrats alike.

That's because neither Nixon or Ford demanded that the votes be recounted in the states in which they lost by narrow margins. And neither Nixon or Ford insisted they were denied election because of voting irregularities in some state or another.

Then there was the 2000 election. George W. Bush and Al Gore went to bed on election night uncertain whether they had won or lost...

.

.

Later, when all of Florida's voting precincts had reported their tallies, Bush had eeked out victory in the Sunshine State, pushing him over the top in the Electoral College.

But Gore refused to accept that he lost Florida, that he lost the presidency, by so small a margin. He refused to put the national interest before his own selfish interest.

He dispatched his lawyers to the Sunshine State to contest the election. And his lawyers used every legal maneuver in their arsenal to overturn Gore's defeat – challenging the manner in which Florida conducted its balloting, claiming that certain voter blocs were disenfranchised...

...And the nation is likely to remain bitterly divided following this year's presidential election. Because John Kerry is already gearing up to contest the outcome of the election even before voters go to the polls on Election Day.

In fact, lawyers for the Democrats already have filed some 35 lawsuits in some 17 states. And if Kerry goes down to defeat on Election Day, there almost certainly will be an avalanche of lawsuits claiming that the Democrat somehow was cheated out of the presidency....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:50 AM

Important reminder...

Our friend Brad writes:

Please remember that, because of the high turnout expected at the polls this year, Republicans will be voting on Tuesday, November 2nd, and Democrats will be voting on Wednesday, November 3rd.

Be sure to remind all your friends...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 AM

October 30, 2004

three-cushion cat-shot off the ceiling

Tormenting cats is no big deal, us neocon conspirators do it all the time. But we never even thought of ZERO GRAVITY!

I am just SO impressed...

(Go see it at the blog of that ol' cat flipper Dean Esmay)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:26 PM

Deceptive title...

I picked up at the library the book: Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World. Sneaky title, you might think it was a companion volume to Patrick O'Brian's books. But it's actually a coffee-table book about the Royal Navy in the Napoleanic wars, with a few snippets about O'Brian.

As history, it's pretty banal, but as a picture book of contemporary illustrations it is quite splendid, with much I hadn't seen before. However, as a Patrick O'Brian fan, that's not what I want. What I'd like to see are dozens of detailed illustrations of HMS Surprise, showing every nook and cranny in minute detail. And the Sophie, and the Ringle. I want to see Pulo Prabang! And Kutali.

Somehow I don't think it's going to happen...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 PM

Conspiracy theories...

Andrea quoted this bit, from a Salon writer:

...I have heard it argued that if the neocon cycle is short-circuited by a Kerry victory, then the neocons will simply go back underground to nurse their wounds and reemerge with a newer and even more attractive, subtle and utterly destructive plot in four years, and people will believe them because they weren't fully exposed...
The thing you have to realize about conspiracy theories is that they are comforting, they shield the theorist from painful reality. This poor girl is comforted by the thought that the whole problem is a handful of bagel-munching Fagins with Sharon-chips implanted in their noggins. She would be very upset if she were forced to confront the fact that it's Bush who has captured the neocons, not the other way around. And that they are just one of many tools he is making use of.

And she would be terrified if she were to were realize, though I doubt if she is capable of it, that Bush and his administration are themselves but tools being used to forward certain things that need to happen at this point in our history. There are a batch of reforms and changes that have to be made now, for us to move forward into whatever strange possibilities the new century offers. America, and really the whole world, is now like a snake that needs to shed its skin if it is to keep growing.

Even if Kerry was elected, even if he chopped the heads off of everyone labeled "neocon," the "neocon plot" will continue, with only a little delay. We've already seen this in the Clinton years. Remember NAFTA? Welfare Reform? Those were Republican schemes, and Clinton was powerless to stop them, and had to make them his own.

The long decades of Democrat and Leftish political dominance have created a vacuum in our public life, which is pulling the Republicans into power. If Bush fails to lead now, the pressure will just intensify until needed chores are done by someone else. But he won't fail, I think. This moment in history has created George Bush, summoned him forth from the vasty deep to do certain jobs.

As an example, liberal Democrats have for a long time attacked (in a thousand different undercutting, undermining sneering ways that are hard to confront) our armed forces. And with them the whole idea of "national defense," and the idea that we can use our power to make the world a better place, and to fight evil. And that our country is a force for good, and that our ideas are worth defending, and spreading to other places.

But what have they really done? Their nihilism has created a vacuum, a hunger in Americans for leaders who have the faith of earlier generations. A hunger for patriotism, and to honor the sacrifices of our soldiers. If Kerry is elected, that won't go away, and Democrats won't be able to escape its force. Think of the recent Dem Convention, with all those Lefties pretending to salute Old glory with tears in their eyes. Think of Kerry on the campaign trail, praising Reagan and pretending to be a man of faith. The "plot" is everywhere.

Poor cupcake imagines that if only the "plot" were exposed, it would be foiled. But there's nothing hidden, so nothing can be uncovered. Bush explains the plot in every speech. He says what he and the Republicans are going to do, and then...does it.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 PM

More on the California ballot-jungle...

I recently mentioned blogger Dave Franks' comments on the California Ballot Initiatives. Now Andrew Cory has done the same. He's a Democrat, but still has some good ideas, so take a look. You can find his posts here...


Posted by John Weidner at 3:59 PM

Who never sings but once...

SUGGESTED BY THE COVER OF A VOLUME OF KEATS'S POEMS

Wild little bird, who chose thee for a sign
To put upon the cover of this book?
Who heard thee singing in the distance dim,
The vague, far greenness of the enshrouding wood,
When the damp freshness of the morning earth
Was full of pungent sweetness and thy song?
Who followed over moss and twisted roots,
And pushed through the wet leaves of trailing vines
Where slanting sunbeams gleamed uncertainly,
While ever clearer came the dropping notes,
Until, at last, two widening trunks disclosed
Thee singing on a spray of branching beech,
Hidden, then seen; and always that same song
Of joyful sweetness, rapture incarnate,
Filled the hushed, rustling stillness of the wood?
We do not know what bird thou art. Perhaps
That fairy bird, fabled in island tale,
Who never sings but once, and then his song
Is of such fearful beauty that he dies
From sheer exuberance of melody.
For this they took thee, little bird, for this
They captured thee, tilting among the leaves,
And stamped thee for a symbol on this book.
For it contains a song surpassing thine,
Richer, more sweet, more poignant. And the poet
Who felt this burning beauty, and whose heart
Was full of loveliest things, sang all he knew
A little while, and then he died; too frail
To bear this untamed, passionate burst of song.

-- Amy Lowell

Posted by John Weidner at 9:58 AM

Ghirardelli bunker-buster....whooo ha!

Mrs P amused Charlene immensely with her proposed menus for Election Eve parties:

...As a Kerry presidency would be slippery and oily, eel stewed in it's own juices for the maincourse seems appropriate. Skate would work nicely too. Gull's eggs for an appetizer would be extravagant and reflect Mr. Kerry's own tastes. Should the salad be a composed one, just tossed with pansies and other edible flowers or a wedge of iceberg with french dressing?...
Considering what a conspicuous football tosser Mr Kerry is, possibly Gatoraide should be drunk? Or perhaps Perrier, the beverege of bicycle racers?
A Bush menu is much easier. Chilled Absolut straight up for starters. Smoked salmon on toast for an appetizer. A chopped salad. Beef Wellington with roasted root vegetables. And a chocolate bomb for dessert. Cigars and brandy even for the ladies...
After the landslide victory we Republicans can stop pretending to be nice folks and implement the New Order. Und zey vill OBEY! So, Baked Alaska for dessert? "Mr Moore, please come along quietly. Your transport to the North is waiting..." [You can ignore that, just teasin' our friends who are into conspiracy theories]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

October 28, 2004

vacant lots, a gyro stand, a park and spots between two houses

Current politics in a nutshell...

The Republican Party of Wisconsin checked the addresses of more than 300,000 people registered to vote in the city with a software program also used by the U.S. Postal Service.

Republicans found that 5,619 addresses may be non-existent and then visited a number of the addresses. They snapped photos showing vacant lots, a gyro stand, a park and spots between two houses where the address should have been...

So what's the Democrat response? Well, keep this in mind when you hear those moonbat charges that nasty fascistic Republicans are "destroying democracy:"
A spokesman for John Kerry sharply criticized the move by Republicans, saying it was merely to prevent people, most likely those who lean Democratic, to vote.

"This is part of a consistent effort on their part to try and call the legitimacy of the electoral system into question," said George Twigg, Kerry's Wisconsin campaign director.

"Time and again Democrats have been working to encourage more to participate and encourage high participation. Republicans continue to file these often wildly inaccurate challenges to attempt to disenfranchise people," Twigg said

The average gyro stand is home to at least a dozen Democrat voters. And they are being disenfranchised! Intimidated! Enslaved!
(thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:02 AM

October 27, 2004

Redistricting...

I mentioned Gerrymandering a few posts back, and AOG has some interesting thoughts. And Dave Sheridan mentions in a comment that Ted Costa (he of the recall that made Arnold our Gov.--thanks Ted!) hasn't given up his hopes of getting redistricting reform on the ballot.

I confess that the other thrilling events of these times had driven Mr Costa's effort right out of my head. And probably out of a lot of other people's, or else the measure would be on the ballot, and we'd be voting on it next week. And I think that's GOOD—people have a limited capacity for excitement and change, and with all the other brouhaha right now, voters would likely reject any plans that promised upheaval. Better to wait a bit. Costa's web site is Fair Districts Now.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 PM

If 9/11 didn't wake them up, nothing will...

John Hawkins does a great job of demolishing Andrew Sullivan's argument that putting Kerry in the White House would force the Democrats to get serious about national defense...

...Summing this all up: putting John Kerry in the White House isn't going to make liberals, other than the odd Christopher Hitchens type, get serious about national security. Remember that the Democrats had a credible candidate running for the nomination who was serious about national security. His name was Joe Lieberman and he got BURIED. What does that tell you, especially in the post-9/11 world we live in, folks? If 9/11 didn't wake the Ted Kennedys and Nancy Pelosis of the world up, what makes anyone think putting John Kerry in charge of Iraq will do the trick given that Kerry can just let Iraq nosedive into the pavement and blame Bush for it?...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM

Just to be fair....

There have been a LOT of photos passed around of Senator Kerry looking like a doofus, with footballs and soccer balls bouncing off his head, or riding his $6,000 bike wearing Spandex. So to be fair, here's one of President Bush in a moment of klutziness, (the only one I've encountered) dropping his dog, Barney....

President Bush dropping his dog

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

October 26, 2004

The coolest thing, politically, this year...

How do you like it? ONE WEEK before the election, the Administration says it will submit a big fat $70 billion bill for the War on Terror next year. That's the most gutsy thing since Babe Ruth pointed to the fence.

And breathtakingly honest. A major slap-in-the-face to the "Bush Lied" crowd.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

shuffle to the CEN-TER...

Andrea Harris just dealt with Jeff Jarvis's latest in a much wittier way than I ever could:

I once remarked that reading Jeff Jarvis’s blog is like staring at a train wreck full of naked old people: appalling, but you just keep peeking between your fingers...
Read her piece first. Then, if you want more details, here's my take:


Here's how Bush could have had a landslide
He's gonna.
: Or to put it another way: Here's how Bush could have had my vote -- and if he'd managed to get the vote of a lifelong Democrat, a Bill Clinton Democrat at that, then he could have gotten millions more unexpected votes and he would have run away with this election. But he's not. Why? Well, he coulda, shoulda....
Ooooh. Little Miss hard-to-get.
1. He should have called Iraq a one-year war (at least), not a one-week war.
"Our boys will be home by St Patrick's Day!" I remember Bush pledging that.
...He should have known that only when we had installed democracy in Iraq could we declare victory.
Bush didn't declare victory. This probably refers to that "Mission Accomplished" sign...but a mission is not a war. Oooops, I forgot. Mr Jarvis is in the "press." They don't know icky military things like that, even after bloggers tell them repeatedly. Besides, that story was too good to check.
He should have put in sufficient resources to do that while better securing the lives of Iraqis and our soldiers.
So eeeeasy, these wars. Clinton would have made it look simple. I bet Jarvis also subscribes to the criticism that we put too many resources into Iraq; that our military is "overstretched," a thin burned-out husk...
He should have managed our expectations and should not have declared victory.
Anybody can fight battles and kill terrorists. But a WORTHY war-leader concentrates on "managing expectations." You're right, Jarvis. Don't ever vote for someone who doesn't "manage expectations" well.

I wonder if he even knows the war is REAL? That it actually exists outside of what the press reports and the candidates debate? I once saw a cartoon, with this dad fixing a flat tire in the rain...and he's saying to his children inside the car, "This is real life! We CAN'T change the channel!"
...I supported getting rid of Saddam and bringing democracy to Iraq and the Middle East (in what was once known as the Tom Friedman doctrine). But like many others who supported this move, I'm disappointed, dismayed, distraught, distressed -- pick your dis -- at the administration's inability to win the peace.
You and Friedman are jerks-of-a-feather. "Are we there yet?" 18 months and we haven't "won the peace?" I bet they don't even stick with their wives for 18 months. Well, we ARE winning the peace. The slow hard way, even if the butterflies can't stick it.

Jarvis's other reason for not voting Bush is domestic:

2. He should have served the center.

Hey, if Bush can become an interventionist and nation-builder, it's not so damned far-fetched that he could have become a centrist, or at least played one on TV.
Ugly news, Jeff. Bush IS the center. The measures he advocates routinely poll 60 or 70%. America is a conservative country with a conservative President. And every election, a few million more Americans have that little lightbulb go on above their heads.
After his unvictory in the last election, he should have gone to the center in an effort to really win the next time.
So if it was an "unvictory," how'd he manage to pass 3 big tax cuts, Fast Track, NCLB, HSA's, Missile Defense? Plus use his executive authority to jettison Kyoto and ABM, limit Stem-Cell research, and implement Faith-Based Iniatives? You better pray you never see Bush after a "victory."
And after 9/11, he should have owned the center to make himself the president of all America in this time of need.
"Why can't he just go to the CEN-TER, where we liberal Democracts dwell at the CEN-TER of CENTRIST politics, just as it has always been, world without end, Amen."? I bet Jarvis still has a Che t-shirt tucked-away at the back of his underwear drawer. He doesn't know he's old gray Castro, stumblin' again.
He could have appointed someone respected instead of John Ashcroft.
Hate to break this, but there's a ton of us who respect John Ashcroft very much. But hey, we NEED the Jarvis vote--let's go back to Janet Reno.
And a little less talk about talking with God would have helped, too.
Oooooh. NOW we get to the nub. But Jeff, if YOU are the CEN-TER, why is former alter-boy saying that his "faith" will guide him when he gets to the White House? I mean, we both know he's lying, but WHY does he have to say that?

Could it be he's "moving to the center?"

Posted by John Weidner at 9:38 AM

October 25, 2004

No

I often have negative comments about the State Department, so I must, in fairness, report when I hear something good from them:

QUESTION: Did you hear that Castro fell?

MR. BOUCHER: We heard that Castro fell. There are, I think, various reports that he broke a leg, an arm, a foot, and other things, and I'd guess you'd have to check with the Cubans to find out what's broken about Mr. Castro. We, obviously, have expressed our views about what's broken in Cuba.

QUESTION: Do you wish him a speedy recovery?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

(Thanks to Pejman)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:01 PM

Never let anybody to say that you shed your blood in vain...

...It was, however, the words of Humaila Akrawy, an Iraqi citizen, that were perhaps the most poignant of the evening. Her sister was killed for working with Americans, her brother was killed by Saddam Hussein's secret police, and another sister was targeted by Uday Hussein and had to be smuggled out of the country.

She spoke of the Iraq's gratitude to America and the troops who helped to free the country and its people from the terrorism of Saddam Hussein. She said the troops are, indeed, winning the war, because if they weren't, the insurgents would ignore them.

"I can never tell you how grateful I am and how grateful my people are for your sacrifice. You left your homes … to fight for a people you have never known," Akrawy said. "When the sun sets over the deserts and mountains of Iraq, the good people of Iraq look at the West and are happy to know that the sun is rising to the people who rescued us from the darkness and evil of Saddam.

"Never think that your work in Iraq was wasted," she continued. "Never let anybody to say that you shed your blood in vain. You have given the people of Iraq, of Afghanistan, the chance to be free."[link]

There are always, of course, people who think that braving great dangers and difficulties to help make the world a better place, is only for saps and suckers.


Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 PM

I don't have a problem with this...except

This is an AP photo of the congregation at the Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. Who's preaching? Ted Kennedy. What's the sermon? Vote for Kerry. (Taken from PowerLine. Thanks)
churchgoers with Kerry signs

Now I happen to think that Christianity and Judaism are America's secret weapon. I think there is a one-to-one correspondence between the drastic decline of Old Europe and the drastic decline of European churches and belief in God. So if politics forces Ted to preach to Christian believers, my thought is that it will keep him a little more honest and and a little more American than would otherwise be the case.

BUT, shouldn't there be some frightful torments-of-Hell for those vile prating hypocrites who think the influence of the "Christian Right" is an unnatural cancer that threatens our way of life? But somehow "Christian Kerry-voters" aren't? If those ladies were holding Bush/Cheney signs, we would be hearing howls about the "Christian Taliban" destroying the "separation of church and state," and forcing women into back-alley abortions.

There is, of course, a difference that renders the situation perfectly logical. The difference is that neither Kennedy nor Kerry nor Clinton nor Carter nor their "Democrat" followers have the least morsel of interest in the views of church ladies. Those women, statistically, probably favor school vouchers and Faith-Based Initiatives, and oppose gay marriage and abortion. But their views will not influence the "Democrat" Party in any way. They are just plantation workers. They are suckers. They are being used.


Posted by John Weidner at 9:55 AM

October 24, 2004

We remember the fall.....of The Wall

The very interesting new blog Patum Piperium thinks Mr Kerry is stuck in the past, not just stuck before 9/11, but before 1991. Before the fall of the Soviet Union...

...I remember listening on the radio a year later. There was a report about a university in the former Soviet Union where students had just been told that literature would no longer be taught to them through the barbaric, distorting prism of Marxist-Leninist "theory". I remember the shout that went up from those students. It hit me like a blow, even through a car radio. It was deep and resonant and triumphant and heart-stopping. It sounded as if it expressed the pent-up longing of an entire people which, of course, it did.

I remember that Mr. Kerry and his friends told us none of that would ever happen. That if we tried we'd just rock the boat and end up in a nuclear holocaust. (Besides, who knew? Perhaps we were just as bad as the Soviets!) And now they're trying to tell us all that all over again. Except that this time our enemy is even more dangerous.

Don't despair. If Kerry starts getting to you in the next two weeks, just open a modern atlas and try to find Leningrad on a Russian map.

There's a sort of person, we see them often here in SF, who was not thrilled by the fall of Comunism. And the same people were mostly not thrilled by the fall of Saddam Hussein.

I could forgive them if they were, like, you know, Communists...or Ba'athists....But they aren't. They just think it's sort of tacky for all those ordinary little people to take matters in their own hands, without it being arranged by large international institutions. And anyway, it might help Bush!!! (Senior or Junior) Ugh!

Those Soviet students make me think of the many pieces I've quoted that were written by Iraqis. Writing about the astonishing joys of freedom. Bliss of things we take for granted, like a soldier now having comfortable boots. Try this one or this one. Lotsa people aren't thrilled by these. Don't want to know about it. I think their hearts are cold and dead.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:29 PM

A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is something the UN can live with...

UNITED NATIONS Oct 22, 2004 — The United Nations won't train judges or prosecutors for the Iraqi tribunal that will try members of Saddam Hussein's regime because it has no mandate and doesn't work with courts that can impose the death penalty, a U.N. associate spokesman said Friday.

"The Secretary-General (Kofi Annan) recently stated that United Nations officials should not be directly involved in lending assistance to any court or tribunal that is empowered to impose the death penalty," Stephane Dujarric said at a news conference.

"We have no specific mandate for this," he said. "In addition … we have serious doubts regarding the capability of the Iraqi Special Tribunal to meet the relevant international standards."...

Those are important standards! There's the Calmly Watching Genocide standard. The Wink at Nuclear Proliferation standard. The Israel Is To Blame For All Problems standard. The Palestinians Get a Pass On Mass Murder standard....

Most importantly, the NGO Comfortable Lifestyle standard always comes first.

The Iraqi courts are pariahs because they can impose the death penalty. So what did the UN call Saddam Hussein, who shoveled hundreds of thousands of people into mass graves? A Member.

(Thanks to Winds of Change)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:34 PM

Cranking up the outrage machine...

The new Battlegrounders page at NRO is worth following. This is from a good piece, You can't be a poll worker: You're a Republican, on Democrat vote fraud in Arkansas:

...This story has special resonance for me, since I am, regrettably, far too personally familiar with Judge Burr's m.o. Two years ago, I served as a pollwatcher in Ms. Burr's precinct, and asked Judge Burr why there was no separation between traditional ballots (cast by people who showed ID) and challenged ballots (cast by people who refused to show ID) as state law required. When the judge responded that she had decided not to follow state law, I raised a fuss and insisted that she call a county election commissioner. A Democratic election commissioner showed up in minutes and, to her credit, fixed the problem immediately by insisting that all challenged ballots be placed in a separate envelope.

But out of the corner of my eye, I saw an assistant whispering into a phone. Sure enough, the state Democratic party promptly sent over protesters, cranked up the outrage machine, and issued a press release decrying yet another instance of a Republican trying to intimidate voters — this despite the fact that I never spoke to a voter, but only insisted that the authentic and possibly inauthentic ballots remain separate. Democrats in the state legislature fixed the problem in the next legislative session by eliminating the ballot-challenging procedure in such cases, which guaranteed that in future elections any possibly fraudulent votes would be commingled with the good ones...

Fraud is the only option left for the dying Collectivist Party...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:31 PM

October 23, 2004

Through the ballot thicket...

If you are a Californian you might want to take a look at this post by Dale Franks, who has good advice on this year's California elections:

One of the interesting things about elections in California is the Ballot Initiative, a remnant of progressive Governor Hiram Johnson who implemented the initiative process at the beginning of the 20th century. This means that every election, all manner of wise and unwise things are floated about for presentation to the voters on the ballot.

For some reason, this year’s election is more full of such measures than most, and with the election less than two weeks away, I guess it’s time to actually look at them, and see what this year’s collection of political hacks and special interests are trying to shove down our throats...

We liked what one commenter said:
Thanks for the review!
As a Bay Area resident, I've often relied upon the San Francisco Chronicle for assessing ballot propositions; if they endorsed, I would likely vote against.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 PM

One man's mistake is another man's smart move...

A reader writes:

John
You're the war guy. How would you rate Iraq by historical precedent? Aren't there always screw-ups? Ever read A Bridge Too Far? As I recall they dropped a bunch of Polish paratroopers right on a Panzer unit. They were slaughtered. Then of course there is the Light Brigade, Picket's Charge, Battle of the Bulge, etc.

The idea that our Iraqi problems would be solved if we had had more troops in the beginning is now accepted as a fact. But when pressed this view doesn't hold up very well. Seal the borders? That would have taken a million troops and casualties would have been higher. Looting? The problem was not numbers, it was that soldiers aren't police. Reports that soldiers were standing on corners doing nothing are probably true. So we could have used 3 times a many standing on corners doing nothing?

The usual military solution to looting is: All looters will be shot. It's very effective.

But somehow gunning down Iraqis who probably rationalized that they were getting their stuff back from Saddam doesn't seem very sensitive. Even Kerry would agree with that.

By historical standards this has been a war with astonishingly few mistakes. And the "mistakes" criticized are mostly "whatever Bush does is wrong." I remember fisking some clank-brain who said we should have had a draft and sent 500,000 Americans to mingle with the Iraqis in the villages and make friends. That's stupid in a dozen ways--I won't insult you by enumerating them. But imagine the criticisms if our government actually did such a thing!! Yow!

The real issue is that things that are called "mistakes" are only mistakes in relation to a particular goal that they move us away from. If you assume we have a different goal, the same thing may not be a mistake.

And the critics won't say what their goal is! Or what they think America's goal should be. That's sneaky. Dishonest. For instance, a frequent subtext of criticisms is that we ought to aim for stability over democracy. But they won't say that out loud! So you can't pin them down on it. Consider the oft-heard statement that we should have kept the Iraqi Army intact. This is, implicitly, an argument in favor of turning Iraq over to a Sunni strongman so we could get out. The old army existed for that reason above all others, and keeping it alive would have strongly tended towards that result. [keeping the old army was also a very impractical idea; click here for the CPA's reasons...which the critics invariably ignore.]

Similarly, many critics seem to assume that bringing democracy to Arab countries is quixotic, if not impossible. But they won't say this openly. They imply it by criticizing instances where we let the Iraqis try things, and make mistakes, and have failures. If our goal is democracy, we should be letting some problems fester, with the hope that the Iraqi people will be motivated to act. We should be letting the Iraqis do some very stupid things, like looting their own schools and hospitals, so they learn that that's not what freedom is all about. We should NOT solve all their problems, or make them perfectly comfortable. But it is hard to argue with those "critics," because they won't reveal where they stand on the bigger question. Or even admit there IS a question.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:34 PM

Correct, sort of...

James Webb has a piece in OpinionJournal about the "Scots-Irish," one of the important groups of settlers that formed America, and their importance in American politics. But his tone and his facts seem a bit off, like someone looking down on his subject from a height.

The Scots-Irish are derived from a mass migration from Northern Ireland in the 1700s, when the Calvinist "Ulster Scots" decided they'd had enough of fighting Anglican England's battles against Irish Catholics.
Actually, the "Scotch-Irish," their common name in our history, are better described as North British borderers. Only a minority of them came from Ulster. The book to read is David Hackett Fischer's splendid Albion's Seed. And the bit about they'd had enough of fighting Anglican England's battles sounds like an attempt to impose the stupid Vietnam template (which really doesn't even fit the Vietnam War) on the Ulster protestants...who only migrated to America if they were younger sons who had no land. Otherwise they were as willing to fight Catholics as their American cousins were to fight Indians.

* Note comments section--Scott Chaffin thinks I may be wrong about Webb...

Webb also seems kind of tone-deaf when writing about George W Bush:

...Speaking in a quasirural dialect that his critics dismiss as affected, W. is telling his core voting groups that he is one of them. No matter that he is the product of many generations of wealth; that his grandfather was a New England senator; that his father moved the family's wealth South just like the hated Carpetbaggers after the Civil War; that he himself went North to Andover and Yale and Harvard when it came time for serious grooming. And as with the persona, so also with the key issues. The Bush campaign proceeds outward from a familiar mantra: strong leadership, success in war, neighbor helping neighbor, family values, and belief in God. Contrary to many analyses, these issues reach much farther than the oft-discussed Christian right. The president will not win re-election without carrying the votes of the Scots-Irish, along with those others who make up the "Jacksonian" political culture that has migrated toward the values of this ethnic group....
Webb, I suspect, picked up his "facts" from other Democrats in his literary circle. So. let's dissect this paragraph:

Speaking in a quasirural dialect that his critics dismiss as affected,
I love that "critics dismiss" formula. What's your opinion, Mr Webb? In fact, Bush talks like most people from his part of Texas.
W. is telling his core voting groups that he is one of them.
If you actually asked those core groups, they would tell you this is patently true.
No matter that he is the product of many generations of wealth; that his grandfather was a New England senator;
This is misleading. The Bushes have never had Rockefeller-type wealth, they've all needed to work. Prescott's father earned his money in Ohio. Prescott was successful on New York's Wall Street and was in middle-age before he entered politics.
that his father moved the family's wealth South just like the hated Carpetbaggers after the Civil War;
This is a deceptious sneer. Each generation of Bushes seems to move somewhere else. And George HW Bush moved to Odessa Texas to make money, not spend it. He didn't move the "family," or its wealth, just himself and his young bride...and not very much money. And Odessa (and its suburb Midland) was an oil-patch full of fortune hunters from all over the country. The "Carpetbagger" sneer is totally inapplicable.
that he himself went North to Andover and Yale and Harvard when it came time for serious grooming.
I went to college in Berkeley. Did that make me a long-haired peacenik? No, because you are where you grow up. Bush went off to school in New England, but he remained a Texan (including carrying a paper cup to class at Harvard to spit tobacco juice into) and always went back to Texas as soon a possible. And married a girl from...Midland.
And as with the persona, so also with the key issues. The Bush campaign proceeds outward from a familiar mantra: strong leadership, success in war, neighbor helping neighbor, family values, and belief in God. Contrary to many analyses, these issues reach much farther than the oft-discussed Christian right. The president will not win re-election without carrying the votes of the Scots-Irish, along with those others who make up the "Jacksonian" political culture that has migrated toward the values of this ethnic group
Correct, sort of. But tone-deaf. The Scotch-Irish culture IS the Jacksonian culture, and other American groups have migrated towards it.

Webb uses terms like "familiar mantra" as if he assumes that political campaigns normally fake common American values out of cynical calculation. He must be a Democrat. They love to imagine that Bush is a New England elitist just faking his Red-State values, because that is exactly what Kerry is doing right now--and looking like an elitist fool.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:00 AM

October 22, 2004

#167: Preparing for Defeat – Amazing Disgrace

P. Krugman
KRUGMAN TRUTH SQUAD

Paul Krugman's column Voting and Counting (10/22/04) would be better headlined Preparing for Defeat – Amazing Disgrace.

But what's of more interest is that the Democrats' party line with regard to the upcoming election is becoming clear. Last weekend, Eric Holder, the former Reno Justice Department deputy and currently head of the Democrat's "election task force", made a revealing comment to Chris Wallace on Fox News. He said, "If all those who want to vote are able to vote and if all of their votes are counted, John Kerry will be elected president." Today Paul Krugman said similarly, "If the election were held today and the votes were counted fairly, Senator John Kerry would probably win." In other words, if Kerry loses two weeks from now, it will be because the Republicans cheated somehow.

What does one say to this?

We think the Republicans need to get over their tendency to take the Democrats as worthy counterparties for a reasonable discussion of these issues. In fact, the Democrats are a bunch of jerks transitioning from permanent majority status to permanent minority status and are behaving badly. The return of civility will have to a wait a new generation of Democrats bred to be proper minorities. Remember the inanities of the Ev and Charlie Show (after Sen. Everett Dirksen and Rep. Charles Halleck) on which they would appear at weekly press briefings and joke about their political impotence as the Republican leadership in congress?

Can anyone imagine Daschle and Pelosi ever doing this? No way! The Democrats need new leadership that accurately reflects their new political role and status.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Krugman is pushing the "disenfranchisement of minority voters" line hard. It's pure BS; poor and black districts always have a higher percentage of spoiled ballots, no matter what the voting system. It's just an excuse-in-advance to not accept the results of the election. Actually, they have already admitted defeat. Admitted it by having Kerry run as a duck-huntin' God-fearin' gun-totin' cheese-steak-eatin' flag-salutin' terrorist-smashin' church-goin' reg'lar American guy....

As Hugh Hewitt said: "How do you ask a goose to be the last goose to die for a campaign stunt?  How do you ask a goose to die for a photo op?" 

Posted by John Weidner at 9:53 AM

October 21, 2004

UN: Not only worse than you imagine, it's worse than you can imagine...

Here's a strange tale about working with the UN, The jaded, seamy side of peace:

...Six years later, after stints in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda and Liberia, the three came to believe that not only is the U.N. unable to keep pace with its grand ideals in the new world order, it actually allowed two genocides. They cope by immersing themselves in their work, alcohol, faith and "emergency sex."

Thomson, who spent two years pulling bodies out of mass graves in Rwanda and the Bosnian town of Srebrenica — corpses of people who had sought safety with the U.N. — concludes: "If blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs."...

On the same subject, remember how the UN in Iraq didn't want protection from US forces? They are changing their mind.
...But without volunteers, the United Nations asked the U.S. command of the Multinational Force to supply protection, whether or not American soldiers were involved, diplomats said.

"We can't just treat them as undesirables," said one U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity...

... Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in London on Tuesday he had tried to raise a brigade but "we haven't done very well."

"And it's the same governments who are asking me to send in my civilian staff who are not going to give any troops to protect them," he said...

But Kofi, you can't expect soldiers to go into danger? (Reminds me of those police in Britain who wouldn't go into the house where the woman was being murdered...because it wasn't safe.) Hey, I've got an idea! Maybe these oh-so-multilateral type countries will send troops--if we provide Coalition soldiers to protect their soldiers? How's that for a solution!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 PM

70% solution acted on immediately and violently...

I get really bugged by the notion that the Iraq Campaign, or the Battle of Tora Bora, or anything, should have been conducted without mistakes. That's so stupid! Wars aren't like that. This is from a letter posted by Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit, by a marine, who puts it better than I can:

...That is why Armchair Generals are so annoying. They look at one thing in isolation with all the time in the world to think about it and say confidently “the answers obvious". But when you are out in the fight everything looks different. Nothing is ever seen in isolation. You never have enough time. You never know more than 1/10 what you need to know. There will always be blunders.

But the job has to get done anyway. And to get this kind of job done boldness is essential. A leader who never blunders, but who doesn’t take the fight to the enemy is worthless. A leader who sets about to win - win ugly if needs be - is priceless.

One thing the Marine Corps taught me is that a 70% solution acted on immediately and violently is better than a perfect solution acted on later. My experience has proven this true time and again...

...Most people and events are beyond your control. Most questions you don’t have time to answer. Most facts you will never know. But you have to press the attack anyway. No matter how ugly it gets, you keep going until you win.

Kerry doesn’t understand that. Everything he did during the Cold War and everything he says about this one states as much. He represents those who would never blunder, but who would not take the fight to the enemy...

A leader who sets about to win - win ugly if needs be - is priceless. That's exactly right. And it's often the fear of mistakes, of losses, that paralyzes the will to win.


Posted by John Weidner at 7:26 PM

October 20, 2004

Medieval finery...

A.M. Mora y Leon has an interesting piece in American Thinker, about women in Afghanistan:

European friends send me news photographs of women in Afghanistan voting for the first time, emphasizing they are wearing traditional blue burkas. And these photos supposedly prove that Afghanistan’s women at the polls are hardly “liberated,” as one put it, but remain living the same backward lives as they did under the Taliban. Somehow, the election turnout of women in burkas is supposed to be proof of America’s failure to improve anything in Afghanistan through elections. And in their conclusion, the election would change nothing, too.
 
But looking much more closely at the photos, I see many of signs of change. My first impression is the gorgeousness of the womens’ dress. I look at the sleeve-work. The ornate embroidery. The high quality of the fabrics. The perfect folding and draping and fitting, the delicacy of the caps.  A few years ago, these women were wearing rags. Now, instead of looking like mountain hillbillies, they look rather regal in medieval finery.  
 
Not all of the women in this line look rich and elegant, but quite a few do. It’s a hint of some wealth appearing in this dirt-poor war-ravaged country. Womens’ lives are improving and with it women are feeling freer to express themselves a bit, even if their masks remain...
(thanks to Jim Miller)
We should remember that the burkas were not invented by the Taliban, they are traditional in Afghanistan. The hunger of Europeans/Democrats to find evidence that nothing has been improved by US actions is very revealing of their state of mind. And totally stupid as far as US politics goes. Americans are a can-do crowd, and the Democrat's position as the party that's happy when problem-solving fails is not going to fly with voters.

We see this all the time with Kerryblogger types. Sullen silence when the news is good. Then when something goes wrong (Or even appears to, like the burkas mentioned above) they get a spring in their step and a gleam in their eye. "This is SOOOOOO BAD" they write. "I am SOOOOOO HEARTBROKEN that the America I love has descended into failure/folly/fascism/blindness/moral-bankruptcy...So I have to use my utmost eloquence to tell the world how loathsome this country is (when a Republican is in the White House)." Fflorrrpfh...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

October 19, 2004

Now this is exciting!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to do battle with Gerrymandering! Or so says Daniel Weintraub of the SacBee:

...But he also took a much more important step for the long run. He offered a full-throated endorsement for reforming the way legislators draw district lines, and taking that power out of the hands of elected officials. He says he will be challenging the Legislature to put a reform initiative on the ballot. He doesn't say when, but I hope he means next year, in a special election. It's silly to let legislators pick their voters, when it should be the other way around. If Schwarzenegger can change that, he will truly deserve the reformist governor credentials he seeks.
Republicans have been pushing reform and transformation in a great many areas, but I've long been wishing I could tap some shoulders and say, "Uh, guys, since you're taking the engine out of the car anyway, wouldn't this also be a good time to fix the Shibawichee?"

Well, I won't hold my breath, but an end to the gerrymander is high on my list of desirables...Of course it's hard to blame Republican assemblymen for not being eager to end this particular problem. In many states they've been crushed under the weight of Democrat redistrictings for a long long time. In the South, in places like Texas, we're talking a hundred years or so. Now that they are becoming the majority in more and more statehouses, it's time for some payback...
(Thanks to Armed Liberal)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 PM

Balagan!

One of the pleasures of blogging is following the lives of other bloggers. I've been following Rinat for almost three years, since she was Renata, a Brazilian girl thinking of moving to Israel. A long journey, with many a setback, many a humble job. Now she's a journalist, covering the Knesset! What fun. This is from a post about her work:

...There was this humble writer today, running from a place to another today, in a deep stress, ready to kill someone. I was covering the political factions and the committees when, on my way from the 5th floor to our desk, I hear a familiar voice saying me "shalom!". Guess who? Opposition and Labour leader, Shimon Peres, going down with his spokesperson. I smiled, of course... Replied, asked what's up... He remembers me due to the fact he's crazy about Brazil, hehehe. While we waited for the elevator, Justice Minister, Tommy Lapid, joined us. And suddenly I see myself in the same elevator with some of the most proeminent people of the country...

Despite the whole stress, I had a second to think about how I love my job, my country and my new life. Everything seems to suck sometimes, but I have fun. I definitely do.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 PM

Can't both be right...

Beldar tries to reason with the moderate Kerry supporters who don't favor appeasement in the War on Terror...

...If John Kerry keeps his promises to "fight for this country" — if he keeps his promise not to cut and run in Iraq, for instance — then he's going to seriously piss off, indeed to completely alienate, somewhere between a quarter and half of the people who've voted for him, and probably a much larger percentage of his intelligensia, fundraisers, and activists. If we're not out of Iraq come next July, there's going to be a boom market in "Dean '08" bumper stickers. Because just like you're working on the assumption that when elected, Kerry will indeed take the fight to the enemy, they're working on the assumption that when elected, Kerry's going to get us out of the "wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time." You and the moonbats can't both be right about what Kerry will do. Can we agree on that much, surely? Can we agree that the straddle that might succeed in getting Kerry into the White House can't last once he's there?...
. . . . . . . . . .

...And LBJ had a solidly Democratic Congress, and demonstrated, unparalleled skills in manipulating it, which a President Kerry certainly won't have. For John Kerry to fulfill your vision for his presidency — for him to run a "smarter, more effective" fight against the terrorists — he's not only going to have to fade the heat from the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic Party, he's going to have to line up and make effective use of Republican allies. He's going to have to be slicker than Bill Clinton ever dreamed of being, and he's going to have to dance not with them what brung him, but with them what his former dance partners (who'll be screaming "backstabber!") believe to be devils incarnate. He'll need more votes than just John McCain's — you know that, don't you?...
Somebody's fooling themselves. The moderate types are thinking they can get their man elected by using the Deaniacs, who will then fade away. The moonbats have something similar in mind, but with the roles reversed. They can't both be right. So what does history tell us? Girondists or Jacobins?

Posted by John Weidner at 12:50 PM

“moral darkness”

From the President's speech in New Jersey:

...The Senator who is skeptical of democracy in Iraq also spoke with sympathy for a communist dictator in Nicaragua in the 1980s, and criticized the democracy movement as “terrorism.” His misguided policies would have impeded the spread of freedom in Central America. The Senator who claims the world is more dangerous since America started fighting the war on terror is the same Senator who said that Ronald Reagan’s policies of peace through strength actually made America less safe. The same Senator who said the Reagan presidency was eight years of “moral darkness.”

In this campaign, Senator Kerry can run from his record, but he cannot hide...

It was just pathetic to hear Kerry praising Ronald Reagan in the debates. I can imagine the "activists" and "Progressives" rolling their eyes and saying, "He has to say those things to get the morons to vote for him." Same with the faux patriotism and flag waving at the convention. I'm right in the heart of some prime Kerry territory, and I can tell you, those guys would rather have gnomes and pink flamingos on their lawns, than an American flag on their house. They build a campaign of deception from the ground up, then tell me with a straight face that Bush shouldn't be President because he "lies."

Posted by John Weidner at 10:10 AM

Great tactics...

I loved this story of the Protest Warriors infiltrating a pro-Kerry rally at the Eiffel tower....

...Induhviduals came up to argue. One of our precepts had been not to lose your cool and pointlessly argue back, but to fish out a copy of a BBC article on the latest mass grave unearthed, and ask arguers (noncommittally) what they happened to think about that. On the reverse side of the sheet of paper, for French people, was the photocopy of a Le Monde article explaining that "it is almost impossible to find anyone in Iraq (outside of the fallen Ba'athist members) who supports the position" of the "peace camp". (Both had the merit not only of not being partisan litterature, but of coming from mainstream media sources that are traditionally anti-American — sorry, anti-Bush.) Rounding out the items on the photocopy was a picture taken from one of the mass graves, the point being to show the picture to someone while asking, in an Americans-Anonymous-wise fashion, "What do you think this person's wife/mother/son thinks of Bush's 'war for oil', the 'peace camp' position, and the slogan 'No more war'?"

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

October 18, 2004

Too too strange and funny...

You gotta read this post, Tragically Hip by Dawn Eden, who has a life full of hip accomplishments and juxtaposes them with her support for the President...the effect is wacky, but not illogical. Bush is a transformative President, like Lincoln and FDR. He and his party my party are changing things utterly. A new age is being born, and what's so hip about sitting on the sidelines and wishing things were like they used to be?

...Working for a nightclub, I shepherded legendary bluesman Lowell Fulson through the check-in process at the Gramercy Park Hotel, and I support the Bush administration's faith-based initiative. • By the way, I did not go upstairs with him, and he was a perfect gentleman, and I believe our president is right to support school vouchers. • I support my local independent music retailer, and I am pulling that voting-booth switch for George W. Bush on November 2. • I can order sushi in Japanese, and I believe George W. Bush has great insight and surrounds himself with capable advisers. • I got 700 verbal and 640 math on my SATs—before the scores were recentered—and I believe the president cares about the poor and the powerless. • I own every album ever released by Phil Ochs and am thanked in Michael Schumacher's biography of him, There But For Fortune, for research assistance, and I believe our troops are right to overwhelmingly want Bush over Kerry for their commander in chief. • I received my bachelor's degree in communications from New York University, where Neil Postman gave me an A-minus in Media Criticism, and I am thankful to have a pro-life president. • I hugged Timothy Leary, and I am voting for George W. Bush. • I take public transportation everywhere, and I believe the president is right to oppose the Kyoto Protocol. • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants came to my dorm to give me free passes to distribute for their show at Danceteria—they were opening for an upstate band called 10,000 Maniacs, and I believe the Democratic Party has lost its moral compass...
This is just a small part of her post....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 PM

Targeted yet lethal

Steyn, more great stuff, with an appreciation of John Howard...

...But Howard, for a man routinely described as having no charisma, manages to hit just the right tone. The French got all the attention in the days after September 11 with that Le Monde headline – "Nous sommes tous Americains" – but even at the time I preferred Howard's take: "There's no point in a situation like this being an 80 per cent ally."

You can take that one to the bank. The "we are all Americans" stuff turned out to be not quite as straightforward as at first glance, and masked a ton of nuance, evasion, sly Yank-bashing and traditional Gallic duplicitousness as ripe as an old camembert wrapped in Dominique de Villepin's poetry. Even when they were touting that headline, the French were never more than 34 per cent allies.

By comparison, that ABC radio interview three years ago where Howard did the 80 per cent riff is brimming with great material. I especially liked this bit: "I'm sure the Americans will behave in a targeted yet lethal fashion."

Lovely line. If this war really were made in Hollywood, that would be the poster tag: Targeted yet lethal. And it works better in Howard's blunt, commonsensical voice than it would in Blair's strangulated reading-the-lesson-at-Princess-Di's-memorial vowels or Bush's Euro-infuriating Texan drawl...

The reactionaries cling to the idea of France and Germany as "allies," partly because they just don't want to admit that that era, their era, is over.

But really, think about who you'd want to have with you in your foxhole, when the bullets are flying?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 PM

Can't be true...

This is impossible. Everyone knows that Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror:

[Fox News] BAGHDAD, Iraq — The militant group led by terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi , believed to be behind many deadly attacks in Iraq, has declared its allegiance to Usama bin Laden, citing the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam."

The declaration, which appeared Sunday on a Web site used as a clearinghouse for statements by militant groups, said al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group and Al Qaeda had been in communication eight months ago and "viewpoints were exchanged" before the dialogue was interrupted...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:56 AM

October 17, 2004

My immune system is in over-drive...

The best defense against post-modernism is having to deal with the quotidian concerns of everyday life...
by Annoying Old Guy
Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 PM

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on...

Afghan men using a donkey carry ballot boxes Afghan men using a donkey carry ballot boxes in the district of Parian about 95 miles northeast of Kabul October 8, 2004. Afghans went to the polls this Saturday in the country's first direct presidential election, which also will be a major test of the U.S.-led nation-building efforts since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban.[Reuters photo. Link to story]
I hasten to add that in a place as backwards and poor as Afghanistan, there's a high likelihood that things will go wrong. I know that—and if it does, you "Democrats" and Kerry-supporters are welcome to chide my naivete as you hug yourselves with joy. But that won't change the fact that you've missed the History Train. In recent decades democracy has been spreading by 1½ countries a year.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:22 PM

fight for the lifeboats, suckers...

It was only a few years ago that Afghanistan was an important example of oppression to the "feminist" crowd. Here's a good article on how they are NOT thrilled that Afghan women have been liberated from the Taliban:

HERE'S A CHUNK of President Bush's standard stump speech: "Think about what happened in Afghanistan. It wasn't all that long ago that the Taliban ran that country. Young girls couldn't even go to school. They were not only harboring terrorists, they had this dark ideology of hate. And people showed up in droves to vote. Freedom is powerful. People have gone from darkness to light because of liberty. The first voter in the Afghan presidential election was a 19-year-old woman."

And here's Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women: "In only three-and-a-half years, George W. Bush and the right-wing leadership in Congress have undermined and eroded more than four decades of advancements for women. . . . We are declaring a State of Emergency for women's rights and calling upon all of our allies and supporters to get involved in the election process to put an end to the relentless attacks on women."...

...The folks over at NOW seem even less enthusiastic about the progress in Afghanistan. The NOW "Issues" page headed "Women in Afghanistan" hasn't been updated for two-and-a-half years. And there is no mention of the Afghan election on the main pages of the NOW website. Calls requesting a statement went unreturned...

This is a subset of the more general lefty claim to be "anti-fascist." Until, of course, George W Bush started overthrowing actual fascist dictators.

But really, what a fun time to be alive. The hags at NOW betrayed their cause, sold out the advancement of women in favor of the their own advancement in Democrat politics. They are no more happy with Condaleeza Rice's success than the NAACP is. And now the Democrat Party is going down, and taking them with it. I LOVE it. So richly deserved. Fight for the lifeboats, you frauds. Elbow the weak aside...

And keep in mind, they sold-out for boodle, not principle. There's a ton of political pork at stake. Thousands of staff and advisor jobs to fill. Thousands of political appointments, plus committees and conferences and visiting-professorships and feminist-in-residence slots. They are on the political/bureaucratic/academic/literary/mainstream-church gravy train, because the horrible alternative is working for a living! With any luck a bunch of them will have to do just that. I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope....

Posted by John Weidner at 5:15 PM

"the assertion of universal truths against postmodern excuses"

Poking around in old posts, I came across this inspiring example of how Andrew Sullivan used to write:

...It's a victory over those who marched in the millions to stop this liberation, over the endless media cynics, over the hate-America crowd, and the armchair generals. It's a victory for the two countries in the world that have always made freedom possible and who have now brought it to another corner of the world made dark by terror. It's a victory for the extraordinary servicemen and women who performed this task with such skill, cool, courage and restraint. It's a victory for optimism over pessimism, the righting of past wrongs, the assertion of universal truths against postmodern excuses, and of political leadership over appeasement. Celebrate it. Don't let the whiners take this away from you or from the people of Iraq.
It's too bad Sullivan has turned into a whiner himself, but every word of that is still true.

And freedom is still worth fighting for, and is still the wave of the future. And the Iraqi elections will take place as scheduled, and will strongly affirm that the Iraqi people understand this. (And Sullivan will sneer and disparage them, unless Prime Minister Allawi comes out in favor of Gay Marriage. What a flake Sullivan is. Such a waste of talent.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:50 PM

"Neither foretold, cajoled, nor counted on..."

TURN OF THE MOON

Never forget who brings the rain
In swarthy goatskin bags from a far sea:
It is the Moon as she turns, repairing
Damages of long drought and sunstroke.
Never count upon rain, never foretell it,
For no power can bring rain
Except the Moon as she turns; and who can rule her?

She is prone to delay the necessary floods,
Lest such a gift become an obligation,
A month, or two, or three; then suddenly
Not relenting, but by way of whim
Will perhaps conjure from the cloudless west
A single rain-drop to surprise with hope
Each haggard upturned face.

Were the Moon a Sun, we could count upon her
To bring rain seasonably as she turned;
Yet no-one thinks to thank the regular Sun
For shining fierce in summer, mild in winter—
Why should the moon so drudge?

But if one night she brings us, as she turns,
Soft, steady, even, copious rain
That harms no leaf nor flower, but gently falls
Hour after hour, sinking to the tap roots,
And the sodden earth exhales at dawn
A long sigh scented with pure gratitude,
Such rain -- the first rain of our lives, it seems,
Neither foretold, cajoled, nor counted on --
Is woman giving as she loves.

--Robert Graves
I woke up in the middle of the night, and heard the first rain drops of the season...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:29 AM

"his entire life has been devoted to public service"

Brian compares the NYT endorsement of Kerry with their endorsements of Mondale and Dukakis. Surprise, surprise, they sound a lot alike. When you are endorsing yet another weak liberal Democrat, mostly because he's not the Republican, I guess you have to dredge up the same flabby arguments.

...Lawyer Mondale offers pragmatic skill at making the best of reality. Ideologue Reagan offers the same tenacity that has brought him out diplomatically empty-handed. Who is likely to do better in arms negotiations in the next term, Walter Mondale or the President who tickles the religious right by reviling the Soviet Union as an Evil Empire? ....

...Unless most economists are crazy, the country can't keep borrowing $200 billion a year. Everyone knows that spending cuts can't suffice. Everyone knows a tax increase is well-nigh inevitable. For all his feigned horror, Mr. Reagan knows it, too. The question is not whether there'll be a tax increase but whether the burden will be distributed fairly. On the evidence of his first term, Mr. Reagan will soak the poor, favor the rich and throw more money at the Pentagon...

(Thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

October 16, 2004

Eeeek...

take a look at this new ad from Club for Growth (the one listed as 'draft," with Kerry holding up both hands). it's very funny--apparently done by some Hollywood types...

(Thanks to PowerLine)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:28 PM

This'll spoil your appetite...

My son sent a link to this bouquet of limp seaweed, who are filled with "grief and shame" because evil America spoiled the happy realm of Iraq. Ugh. He writes:

I am now 110% convinced that these people have NO concept, WHAT-SO-EVER, of self-preservation. Only an AK-47 pointed at their heads and a bunch of men screaming Allah Akbar while cutting their heads off with a rusty kitchen knife will make them understand the world in which we live in.

Hope all is going well down in warm San Francisco.

Their website says: There are still some openings left for the Nonviolence Basic Training.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:07 PM

The last President to write his own speeches...

Calvin Coolidge on Progress:

The law of progress and civilization is not the law of the jungle. It is not an earthly law, it is a divine law. It does not mean survival of the fittest, it means sacrifice of the fittest. Any mother will give her life for her child. Men put women and children in lifeboats before they themselves will leave the sinking ship. John Hampden and Nathan Hale did not survive, nor did Lincoln, but Benedict Arnold did.
And from his Inaugural Address:
...The time is arriving when we can have further tax reduction, when, unless we wish to hamper the people in their right to earn a living, we must have tax reform. The method of raising revenue ought not to impede the transaction of business; it ought to encourage it. I am opposed to extremely high rates, because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong. We can not finance the country, we can not improve social conditions, through any system of injustice, even if we attempt to inflict it upon the rich. Those who suffer the most harm will be the poor. This country believes in prosperity. It is absurd to suppose that it is envious of those who are already prosperous. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful...

... These questions involve moral issues. We need not concern ourselves much about the rights of property if we will faithfully observe the rights of persons. Under our institutions their rights are supreme. It is not property but the right to hold property, both great and small, which our Constitution guarantees. All owners of property are charged with a service...

I don't, by the way, mean to imply that there's anything wrong with having speechwriters. Crafting good speeches can be a full-time job. But Silent Cal could write great ones on his own. He never flew in an airplane, or learned to drive a car, but he was the first President to give radio addresses. His voice was unpleasing in live speeches, but somehow sounded just right over the radio

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 PM

An over-there kind of guy...

General Tommy Franks:

...I know a commander in chief when I see one and there's only one on the ballot," Franks said. "After September 11th, we were blessed to have a commander in chief who said enough is enough.

"There are two options: to fight them (terrorists) over there or to fight them over here. I'm an over-there-kind-of-guy," he said.

In an interview before the rally, Franks said he doesn't foresee an endless cycle of violence in Iraq, and he thinks violence will diminish after the Nov. 2 election.

"I believe they (insurgents) are influenced by what they see in our media," he told The Associated Press. "They see if they blow something up it's front-page news ... (and) the presidential candidates will talk about it...

It's interesting to contrast John Kerry with Franks. Kerry boasted for years about having been in Cambodia (Until his campaign was forced to admit that it wasn't true. Kerry himself doesn't admit things). Tommy Franks not only fought in Cambodia, he lost a foot there! But you never hear him bragging like a barroom blowhard. Real men don't.

And he's right about the insurgents and the press. The Democrats, the press, the Ba'athists and the terrorists are tacitly allied. One of my ten reasons for liberating Iraq is that it forces the Islamists to fight. Iraq is too important for them to ignore. The thought of a free democratic nation right smack in the middle of the Arab world--they know that's the beginning of the end for them. They have to fight.

But just now it occurs to me that the same thing goes for the Democrats and the Old Media. They've been forced to come out of the shadows and openly fight against the Americans. The thought of freedom and capitalism taking root in such seemingly stony ground is unendurable to them. It would be the ultimate rebuke to their statist dream. They are being forced to fight on bad ground, openly undercutting their own country in time of war, and openly hoping for bad economic news...

Iraq......pure genius

Posted by John Weidner at 12:22 PM

Hockey puck...

Global Warming Bombshell In the scientific and political debate over global warming, the latest wrong piece may be the “hockey stick,” the famous plot (shown below), published by University of Massachusetts geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues. This plot purports to show that we are now experiencing the warmest climate in a millennium, and that the earth, after remaining cool for centuries during the medieval era, suddenly began to heat up about 100 years ago--just at the time that the burning of coal and oil led to an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide....

...But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records....

...This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called “Monte Carlo” analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics....(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

The problem is that Global Warming is both a scientific question and a secular religion, one of the many morphings of socialism. Just when the faith side is ready to tie down Capitalism and the US like Gulliver, and put the scientific elite in charge of things, the science side spoils the party by actually doing some science...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 AM

Even better than the B-52...

The Diplomad writes:

We've come across some very good news for millions and millions of people around the world, especially in Africa. It seems that researchers have made a tremendous break-through in developing a vaccine against malaria, historically perhaps the most debilitating and destructive disease to afflict mankind....

...What we find particularly interesting is that given the negative spin being put on "big pharmaceuticals" in the US election campaign and wherever else political correctness thrives, e.g., the UN, we note that this vaccine has been developed by Western capitalist pigs such as the huge drug multinational SmithKlineGlaxo with support from the ultimate capitalist pig, Bill Gates and his foundation. In addition, not mentioned in the articles we have seen is the ground-breaking and expensive research done on malaria and distributed freely to researchers all over the world by the ultimate tool of greedy imperialist capitalist pigs, the US military.

So it seems that just as the B-52 has liberated more people, especially women, than any NGO or UN pronouncement, greedy Western capitalists and their tool of oppression, i.e., the US military, will now save the lives of more men, women, and children than . . . well, let's just say that Bill Gates has improved and now saved the lives of more people in more countries than Mother Teresa and whomever that forgettable person is that just got the latest Nobel Peace Prize...

Actually, though I think Windows is a loathsome kludge, I'd say Bill Gates has done for more good for the world as a capitalist (by spreading a cheap and standardized OS to the far corners of the globe) than he will ever do as a philanthropist.

(Thanks to Orbital)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:17 AM

October 15, 2004

The enemy is within...

Americans who vote the Bush-Cheney ticket are using their fear-driven "lizard brains," .... said Arianna Huffington, named by Newsweek and People magazines as one of Washington D.C.'s most influential commentators.

NOW I UNDERSTAND! My Lizard Brain is controlling me!
...The reptilian part of the brain is an almond-sized area that generates fear, she said, quoting from her Wednesday column.
I can feel it inside my brain! Republican messages! Sounds kind of like Donald Rumsfeld would if he were the size of an almond
It clicks into survival mode of fight, flight or freeze with no time to think...
Thisss isss yoooor Rep Tile Brain spikeeenk. Yooo mus be verrry afraiiiid...I willl count to threee and snapp my fingerrrsss. You will awake. Yooo willl beee Re pub li kkkan.......
...She referred to the works of Dr. Daniel Siegel, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and author of an upcoming book on how the brain works...
A Harvard-trained psychiatrist! Wow! Sigmund Freud himself could hardly be a more scientific source.
... Huffington noted Vice President Dick Cheney made one point three times in the vice presidential debate: "The biggest threat to Americans is the possibility of terrorists smuggling in a nuclear or biological weapon into a city and threatening hundreds of thousands of Americans.".
Horrid man, inventing imaginary threats that could never happen in a million years...
... She said the Republicans have moved the question from "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?" to "Which candidate would you rather give you your blankie and bottle and keep the bogeyman away?"
Condaleeza, Condaleeza, security blanket of my dreams...
...The fear factor is the only explanation for why Bush doesn't have only about 5 percent in the polls, she said.
No other explanation could possibly be possible
...She called that 5 percent a "voting bloc made up of those hard-core fanatics who are as utterly blind to reality as he is."
I was blind, blind, blind, but NOW I SEE. 9/11 was faked! Just like the Moon landings.
... Ironically, she said Bush says his foreign policy, including the war in Iraq, are making Americans safer, but in reality it has made the world more dangerous than ever for Americans.
Don't say that! My Lizard Brain started beeping again...
..."We are governed by a group of out-and-out fanatics" ... One example was Bush's denial about jobs lost under his administration, she said. "They just ignore facts; there is a disconnect with reality."
The lines at the soup kitchens stretch for blocks. Ragged children beg for crusts of bread. Hobos warm their fingers over a can of Sterno. Heartbreaking misery is all around, yet somehow my Reptilian Brain is forcing me to start SINGING. dum de dum de dumdede dum...Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again! Sing it with me...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:14 PM

A crock..

Jeff Jarvis wants bloggers to support the 1st Amendment rights of the NYT, in regards to Judith Miller being held in contempt of court.

I think this is a crock. Reporters, by custom (not legal right) can conceal the identities of sources while investigating wrongdoing. But in this case, the press was helping commit the wrong. It was the press (and Joe Wilson) who trumpeted Plame's identity to the world, and then has the nerve to demand that the administration be brought to justice!

The purpose of protecting sources is so that they will talk to reporters and reveal things the public needs to know. But in this case it was the talking to reporters that was the bad deed. If reporters were actually interested in preventing wrong, they could have told us that an administration official was giving them the identity of a CIA agent--without revealing who the agent was. But what the press wanted was a scandal that would hurt the President. They weren't newsgathering, they were trying to influence politics. They don't deserve any protection.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:25 PM

This time, the lawyers are going to lose...

George Will, from an excellent column:

...Liberalism, having lost its ability to advance by persuasion, increasingly relies on litigation. In its flight from arenas of representation, liberalism has used the judiciary as its legislature. Hence the exultation of Ron Brown, then Democratic Party chairman, addressing an American Bar Association forum immediately after the 1992 election: "My friends, I'm here to tell you that the lawyers won."

The Democratic Party's love -- the word is too weak for the phenomenon -- for lawyers is expressed in countless courtesies, from blocking tort reform to the multiplication of laws and regulations that make it impossible to navigate life without a lawyer in tow. Not surprisingly, as of mid-September, lawyers were this year's leading political contributors, with 73 percent of their $132.4 million going to Democrats. In contrast, oil and gas interests, which Democrats demonize and Kerry reflexively deplored Wednesday evening, give 81 percent of their contributions to Republicans, but as of mid-September, their total to both parties was only $16.7 million...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

October 14, 2004

"our moment has come"

Here's a good essay, by a liberal New York Jewish woman who is going to vote for President Bush...

...My motive is simple: I believe the moral imperative of our time is to fully prosecute the War on Terror. As a Jew, I believe this sacred fight embodies the deepest Jewish values, so eloquently expressed by the ancient sage Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”...

--------

....And yet history has appointed the hour of our challenge, and however much we wish to turn back time, our moment has come. When the World Trade Center was attacked the first time in 1993, we chose to ignore the true seriousness of its implications. But on September 11th, 2001, with the Pentagon in flames, the World Trade Center collapsing, and a hijacked plane speeding towards Congress, we finally began our generation’s rendezvous with destiny.

“You can not escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today,” said President Lincoln at another decisive moment in our nation’s history. The War on Islamic Terror must be waged fully, humanely, and successfully. This monumental battle is both our burden and our privilege, for as Thomas Paine said when our country was born, “If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

On November 2nd, I will choose to honor my heritage as a Jew and as an American by voting for George Bush

This monumental battle is both our burden and our privilege...That's exactly right.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 PM

Irony...

Wizbang writes:

In a meeting today a colleague who is as liberal and anti-Bush as the day is long, made it crystal clear why the left wants Bush to acknowledge mistakes and why Bush refuses.

The subject of the conversation was a large project that has run over schedule for a variety of reasons. Most of the overruns occurred due to circumstances entirely outside our sphere of control or influence. We gathered to discuss the content of an upcoming meeting where the heads of various internal and external groups would be present. In the course of discussion the idea of starting the meeting by acknowledging our past mistakes and, in effect, taking the sword for the other groups actually responsible for the delays was broached.

My colleague immediately chimed in with, "Bullshit!"

He continued, "there's no way you can start a meeting by apologizing for your past action. It's a politically untenable position. You can address the issues, but you do NOT apologize or admit to mistakes. You can never get back the upper hand once you start like that. In effect you are saying 'here's all the things we did wrong' but you should give us another chance.' Who's going to buy that? They'll bury us at that point..."

At which point even he noticed the irony of his position...

What's particularly slimy about the constant drumbeat of demands that Bush "admit mistakes," is that it is a perversion of the language of personal relations. If you and I have a quarrel, and I say, "I think you should apologize," I am implying that an apology will end the matter. Forgive and forget.

Democrats use a similar tone of personal grievance: "I just don't un der stand why he can't just admit mistakes?" It's sort of like a cop arresting someone and saying: "I just don't understand why you won't admit a teensy little mistake, Tony? I'm your friend, and I'd just personally feel so much better about you if you'll just get these little admissions off your chest..."

Posted by John Weidner at 1:46 PM

Mistake, I think...maybe a big mistake

A classic blunder, in any sort of conflict, is to believe your own propaganda.

I think Democrats have just made exactly that mistake. The mentioning of Mary Cheney was obviously deliberate and planned. (Both candidates did it, and both are acquainted with openly gay Democrats who would have been more obvious examples to mention. Chrissy Gephardt for instance.)

The only political purpose this could serve is to turn-off the Republican base. This will only work IF the base is really the homophobic gay-bashing knuckle-dragging Christian Taliban the Dems claim it is.

So we have an experiment! If Democrat propaganda is true, the Republican base should become noticeably less enthusiastic about Bush and Cheney. I predict that this won't happen. I know people who spout that "Republicans are gay-bashers" line. They are impervious to any arguments that might upset their world-view. They have no interest in learning about Republicans from an actual Republican. Stupid.

But we shall see—the experiment is in progress!!!

By the way, I think they made another mistake. The group know as "parents" may be as disgusted as I, as a parent am. If anyone embarrasses or criticizes one of my children, I want to KILL them. I feel Lynne Cheney's anger vicariously. Also, the argument that Mary Cheney is a "public figure," and therefore "fair game" is lying bullshit. Most people don't even know who she is. If she were a public figure, there would be no point in "outing" her.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:05 AM

October 13, 2004

Stop a bad law...

Moira Breen requests assistance to help fight a very stupid change in the law. It would make all human remains found in the US, no matter how old, the property of the Indian tribes. This is absurd on the face of it; remains that are thousands of years old, like the 9,000 year-old Kennewick Man, can't seriously be considered to belong to any current tribe.

And of course the real kicker is that the tribes don't want us to discover that other groups came to America before them. Their position on the preferred-victim gravy-train would be imperiled if it were found that they had exterminated the "Native Americans!" Oooops. And they would get a lot less sympathy when they whine about badminton teams named "The Redskins." Also, this would embarrass lefty intellectuals, who partly base their anti-Americanism on the long-ago genocide against the Indians (while ignoring any genocides that aren't committed by Americans or Jews.)

WHAT YOU CAN DO. SB 2843 has the potential to cripple the field of physical anthropology and to limit studies on the peopling of the Americas. All Americans own the past and should share equally in what we can learn about our common human heritage. Please call and write your senator and house representatives now! Passage of this bill is eminent and could occur within a matter of days. Although the Society for American Archaeology represents itself as a supporter of scientific study, the leadership has gone on record in support of SB 2843, an antiscience measure. The only way to stop this bill is through a grass root movement. Call and write now before SB 2843 becomes law! Address information for Senators and Representatives and additional information on SB 2843 can be found here. Calls and faxes are most effective.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:13 PM

what wold we do without "Europeans"

From an article on mass graves being excavated in Iraq:

...Mr Kehoe investigated mass graves in the Balkans for five years but those burials mainly involved men of fighting age and the Iraqi finds were quite different, he said.

"I've been doing grave sites for a long time, but I've never seen anything like this, women and children executed for no apparent reason," he said.

Mr Kehoe said that work to uncover graves around Iraq, where about 300,000 people are thought to have been killed during Saddam Hussein's regime, was slow as experienced European investigators were not taking part.

The Europeans, he said, were staying away as the evidence might be used eventually to put Saddam Hussein to death...

For "Europeans," doing anything at all to prevent hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from being slaughtered would have been just too too tiresome, too tacky, and probably against "International Law." But saving Saddam's life...Ahh, there's a project "Europe" can get behind. What a splendid opportunity to show the world that morality, and fighting evil, are outdated concepts.

You can expect our domestic lefties to follow suit. The mass graves will continue to be ignored, while "bishops" will lead candle-light vigils to protest the execution of Saddam.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:09 PM

The appalling thing is, I've enjoyed their books in the past....

If you need a justification for US unilateralism, here it is...

These people are declinists. Britain, and Western Civilization are acceptable to them as long as they are in decline. They rather liked America right after 9/11, when they assumed we would now understand that we should be more humble and supine. As soon as we decided to fight back (and even worse, win) they returned to hating us. The same sort of people felt sympathy for Jews after WWII--until Israel won a smashing victory in 1967. Then the old anti-semitism rose to the surface.

Actually, I've never been able to read Dawkins, he's too much the "village atheist" for my taste.

(Thanks to Tim)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:22 AM

October 12, 2004

" And so now we have Dick Cheney..."

The worry in politics, as in love, is that the person you favor may just be pretending to be what you are looking for. Politicians especially, are always watching the polls and focus groups, and adjusting themselves accordingly. So finding a bit of confirming evidence that a politician is genuine is exciting

This piece from a New Yorker article on President Bush is a double zinger. We learn about the Cheneys as we watch them learn about George W Bush:

..."The now Vice-President declined the option, but did agree to head up the search committee,” Johnson said. “And then came back some months later and said that in fact he’d changed his mind and he would be willing to run—to be the President’s running mate.” Johnson said he had a hunch about what had changed: “Lynne Cheney told some mutual friends of ours that she and Dick decided that in fact they did want to join the Bush ticket, because they came to really like George and Laura, and the Vice-President came to realize that the President wanted to come up here to really make a difference. He was not going to try to play it safe. Not try to extend an easy, moderately successful four years into an easy, moderately successful eight years. He was going to try to come up here and make dramatic changes to the issues he thought needed to be addressed. And the Vice-President got very, very energized and excited about doing that. And so now we have Dick Cheney as Vice-President.”...(My emphasis)
"He was not going to try to play it safe..." Ha ha. Tell me about it. This country's been leaderless since Reagan left office. And now things are cooking again. What bliss it is to be alive in these very very days...Thank you God, for Bush and Cheney.
Vice-President Cheney at the AEI
Vice-President Cheney at the American Enterprise Institute's World Forum

(As for love, if you are curious, I did NOT have to wait wistfully for the 21st Century to come along. Charlene and I have been on the same wave-length since 1985...which feels like maybe three years ago.)


Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 PM

# 166: The watchdog is sleeping in front of the fireplace...

P. Krugman
KRUGMAN TRUTH SQUAD

Paul Krugman in Checking the Facts, In Advance (10/12/04) covers the waterfront of domestic issues he thinks likely to come up in the next and final presidential debate (Wednesday, October 13). It was an easy column for him to write. Think of it as the Mother of all re-cycle jobs. Since the Squad has already commented on these subjects before in response to Krugman's earlier columns, we will try our best to say something original. But to quote the president, it's going to be "hard work."

First, on health care, the Wall Street Journal [subscription link] had an editorial today that restated many of our previous points from a fresh perspective. This makes an excellent response to Krugman's claim that the Kerry proposal would do nothing to restrict patient choice:

"On its current path, Medicare alone is projected to gobble up perhaps 35% of all federal spending by 2030 (up from about 13% now). And our readers know that companies are finding it harder to afford health insurance for employees, due both to incredible but expensive innovations and especially a third-party payment system that discourages price competition.

It doesn't help that the politically easy course is to declare health care a "right" and promise everything. But the truth -- as long Canadian wait lists attest -- is that health care is a scarce good like any other and can't escape the laws of economics. As such it will be "rationed" one way or another. The only question is whether that is done through prices and individual choice, or through the brute political force of government."


On jobs and unemployment Krugman trots out the old talking points about Bush being the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a payroll decline and that the recent growth in employment is not enough to keep up with population. Once again he brings up the specter of a declining labor force participation rate because, he says, job seekers are discouraged and are dropping out of the labor market. Sorry, PK, but the participation rate is too squishy a term to say much of anything about discouraged workers. There are too many other factors involved. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics DOES track discouraged workers specifically in their household survey.

The unemployment rate including discouraged workers (blue line) and not including discouraged workers (red line) is shown in the following chart. X. The red line is the government’s official unemployment rate.

Chart, unemployment rates

The rate of discouragement is the difference between the red and blue lines and is shown by the yellow line near the bottom. Notice that while the percent of discouraged workers seems to rise and fall with the business cycle, the changes are very small (about a 10th of a percent) and little more than rounding errors. Clearly Krugman has no valid point here.
On deficits and fiscal responsibility Krugman continues to paint a bleak outlook and blames it on the Bush tax cuts and the Iraqi war. We went to the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the outlook through 2014 and put together the chart below.

chart, projected 'worst case" deficit and GDP

This chart shows the projected GDP and projected deficits for the next 10 fiscal years under what we have called "worst case" assumptions. These are based on selected CBO assumptions that 1) the Bush tax cuts are made permanent, 2) the Alternative Minimum Tax is modified so that it collects less revenue, 3) the real growth rate in GDP falls from the current 4% to only 2.5% during in the next 10 years and 4) that the current expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan continue at currents rates for the FULL 10 years (adding $270 billion to total spending). We put "worst case" in quotes because events can always make projections even worse, but we think these assumptions are pretty dire. In any case, under the circumstances the deficit shown in the chart is not all that scary. It stays a little over 3% of GDP over the entire period. If GDP were to continue growing at 4% we might even have a surplus at some point.
This probably explains why recent yields on the 10-year Treasury note are both low and lethargic. Recall that under the gospel of Rubinomics, the holy writ of fiscal conservatism before which born-again Democrats worship, the long bond is the all-seeing, all knowing arbiter of the economic health of the nation. “You can’t fool the bond market” is the Rubinomics watch word. Thus, if things were anywhere near as bad as Krugman has been claiming these yields should be skyrocketing and “barking” like a guard dog.

chart, yields on 10-year note

Instead the watchdog is sleeping in front of the fireplace and every time Krugman tries to rouse it with a scare story (e.g., the U.S. is headed toward banana republic-hood) the dog just yawns, rolls over and goes back to sleep. [See Squad Report # 36 for a fuller discussion of Rubinomics]
We rarely use the word "lying" in our reports, but Krugman is definitely distorting the facts for partisan purposes. Nothing new there, of course, but we thought it would be good to point it out once again.


[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 PM

America was at war, but we didn’t know it yet...

Thanks for a reminder by Citizen Smash:

FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY, a Navy destroyer was making a brief port call in Aden for the purpose of taking on fuel. As was common practice during such evolutions, a small barge pulled alongside to collect garbage.

Seconds later, the barge exploded. It ripped a 40-foot hole in the side of the USS Cole, flooding two engine compartments and nearly sending the ship to the bottom of the harbor. Seventeen sailors were killed, and 37 more were wounded.

America was at war, but we didn’t know it yet.......

Nah, nah, it was just a "nuisance." Something we should "learn to live with." (via Dean)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:48 PM

Medal of Honor around his neck....

From an article about the Swift Boat vets, gathering to make more commercials to run before the election...

... They come from Oshkosh, Wis., and Orlando, Fla., San Francisco and Virginia Beach. One is on crutches. Others, former prisoners of war, walk stiffly, a result of being bound and tortured. Some wear their medals. Two are in cowboy boots.

Snow-haired Bud Day, a 79-year-old former POW, stands at attention. He is wearing a brown leather flight jacket befitting an Air Force major, complemented by the Medal of Honor around his neck. Others have donned "Swift Boat" baseball caps...

...These Swiftees, at times jocular (breaking into "Row, row, row your boat") and at other times on the verge of tears, are angry and frustrated. Not only because they say Mr. Kerry has lied about his service and refuses to sign the form that releases his military records to the public, but because 30 years ago, the candidate threw away his medals and called his fellow servicemen murderers, rapists, baby killers and cowards...

Go for it you guys! No one deserves this retribution more than Kerry, and the whole anti-American-lefty crowd he is a part of, and who are now going down with him

In fact, this puts me in a mood to set aside, for just one moment, the conventions of political discourse which require us to treat both candidates as similar creatures, whose policies and records we debate in order to better decide which to prefer.

<unbuttoned>John Kerry sided with Communists against his own country. He helped them to victory, and by doing so contributed to the murder of millions of people. He should be burning in hell next to Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh and Stalin. </unbuttoned>

Now back to "moderate and evenhanded discourse."

Posted by John Weidner at 4:57 PM

October 11, 2004

More stuff slipping in low under the "Realist" radar....

From the Washington Post:

Drowned out by the bombings in Iraq, and the debate over whether the staging of elections there is an achievable goal or a mirage, the Bush administration's democracy initiative for the rest of the Middle East creeps quietly forward. In neo-realist Washington, it is usually dismissed -- when it is remembered at all -- in much the same way that, say, national elections in Afghanistan were once laughed off. The unpopularity of the Bush administration and the predictable resistance from the dictatorships of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are cited as proof that the region's hoped-for "transformation" is going nowhere.

And yet, the process started at the Sea Island summit of Group of Eight countries in June is gaining some traction -- sometimes to the surprise of the administration's own skeptics....[link]

There is no group so unreal as the "Realists," those rational beings who scoff at the power of ideas, much as Stalin scoffed at the Pope's lack of armored divisions. The article concludes:
...Such empowering grass-roots rhetoric has never before been heard in the Arab Middle East. If the United States fails in Iraq, it may well be snuffed out. But for now, for those who are listening, it offers reason for hope...
Even though the Old Media have paid little attention to the elections in Afghanistan, the word will seep out, by capillary action. It's the sort of thing Americans are attuned to hear, because it speaks to our deepest dreams. A half-century of relentless leftist propaganda have made little difference to most of us.

And the "Realists" and appeasers will be crushed in November....

Posted by John Weidner at 3:46 PM

Why on earth should anyone listen...to Andrew Sullivan

A reader sends:

In the same paragraph, Andrew Sullivan first says:
"The major objection to this [to Kerry], of course, is that Kerry simply cannot be trusted. He won't simply change tactics in the war; he'll change direction. His long record of appeasing America's enemies certainly suggests as much. And I don't blame anyone who thinks that's enough evidence and votes for Bush as a result.
And then:
"But it behooves fair-minded people also to listen to what Kerry has actually said in this campaign: that he won't relent against terrorism."
Why on earth should anyone listen to someone who can't be trusted?
Poor Sullivan's in knots again. I wish he would just say he supports Kerry because of gay marriage. But no, he has to cover up by trying to actually make a case for Kerry, and against Bush. (He was for him before he was against him.)

If Osama bin Laden was in favor of gay marriage, Sullivan would face an difficult choice: Whether to go the whole enchilada and wear a black-turban, or to fudge a bit with a white one.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:06 AM

Bush is too nuanced??

This is the funniest thing! Remember when Kerry complained that the Administration had 23 reasons to liberate Iraq? As if this was BAD? (Too nuanced? Too complex? Too many shades of gray? Who knows...)

Now this, from the Kerry campaign's web site: BREAKING NEWS!: CONDI ANNOUNCES 24TH IRAQ RATIONALE.

Well, here it is:

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: SADDAM’S “INSATIABLE APPETITE”: It's obviously a risk but I think to say that this was a greater risk now than before Saddam Hussein was out of power simply doesn't face the fact that Saddam Hussein had an insatiable appetite for weapons of mass destruction. He had an unflinching hatred for the United States. He had every reason to cooperate with our enemies. This was a gathering and growing threat and it was time to take care of it.” [Condi Rice, Fox News Sunday, October 10, 2004]
Well, she's absolutely right. We are in a WAR. Saddam was an avowed enemy, and a risk. Bush acted. Kerry would not have acted. Gore would not have acted. That's all you need to know.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 AM

October 10, 2004

Beep beep beep...

Here's a nice article on the high-tech biggies who are getting involved in space travel. There are more of them than I realized...

Since Anousheh Ansari was a little girl, she dreamed of exploring space. Then she became one of the most successful female IT entrepreneurs in history and decided to do something about it.

The Iranian-born electrical engineer made a fortune at the height of the Internet bubble, selling start-up Telecom Technologies to Sonus Networks for an estimated $440 million. In May, she joined the growing ranks of IT luminaries jumping into the space race, lending her name and undisclosed financial backing to the $10 million contest now known as the Ansari X Prize challenge...

Hopefully it will become so much the fad, that any silicon gazillionaire who lacks a credible rocket venture will feel like a failure and a laughingstock, and will be afraid to leave his house lest the other kids laugh at him. Or her.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 PM

The same thing's going to happen here...

...Howard will have to pay for this. What he has won through the electoral process will now have to be de-legitimised by other means. Prepare for corrosive spin-doctoring on an epic scale: the election victory was built on a lie (a spin automatically applied to all Howard victories). It was a triumph of fear over substance. A political victory for Howard but a moral defeat for Australia. Mark Latham won the campaign but lost the election. The public chose greed (mortgages) over conscience (Iraq, truth in government). The religious right will have dangerous influence in the Senate... [link] (Thanks to Tim Blair)
Get ready for it. My guess is that the margin will be so large that only the truly loony will complain about people being "disenfranchised." But there will be a thousand variations on: "the voters are morons."

And we will hear that the Republicans "are trying to create a one-party state." This is silly; even if the entire populace votes Republican, we still won't have "a one-party state." Other parties would still exist, and people would still have the option of voting for them.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:06 PM

No news here, just move along, folks.....

I like this series of three comments from Bill Quick's blog...

25 million people are allowed to vote in the only national election
in Afghanistan in the last 5000 years and the media ignores it.
Of course, the left is not really into elections are they?
Posted by Jake on October 9, 2004 08:50 PM


Oh, they'll cover the opposition's howls of "fraud."
That they identify with.
Posted by Toren on October 9, 2004 10:45 PM


Headline on first page of today's Ann Arbor News:

Boycott mars Afghan election
Jerks!
Posted by Dean Douthat on October 10, 2004 07:46 AM

Posted by John Weidner at 9:13 AM

October 9, 2004

"freedom is the Almighty God's gift..."

Afghan elections thank-you in Freemont, Calif.

A movie theater next to an Afghan restaurant in the "Little Kabul" area of Fremont, California, displays a sign thanking President Bush for the elections in Afghanistan (Thanks to PowerLine)


And President Bush remarked today, at a breakfast in St Louis:
...We're getting close to voting time here in this country. But who's counting the days? (Laughter.) There was voting time elsewhere in this world today. A marvelous thing is happening in Afghanistan. Freedom is powerful. Think about a society in which young girls couldn't go to school and their mothers were whipped in the public square. And today, they're holding a presidential election.

The first person to vote in the presidential election, three years after the Taliban ruled that country with such barbarism, was a 19-year-old woman, an Afghan refugee, who fled her homeland during the civil war. Here's what she said: "I cannot explain my feelings, just how happy I am. I would never have thought I would be able to vote in this election." She's voting in this election because the United States of America believes that freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world. And today is an appropriate day for Americans to remember and thank the men and women of our Armed Forces who liberated Afghanistan...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:12 PM

Beg for forgiveness....

from the New York Times: WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 - The Bush administration's handling this week of a report on Saddam Hussein's attempts to purchase weapons and buy influence has angered French officials and set back a year of American efforts to repair the rupture caused by the Iraq war, French and other European officials said Friday...
Why can't those blockheads in the administration get it? We're supposed to grovel to the French! Beg them to lend their vast stores of moral legitimacy to our puny and illegitimate efforts. Beg them to awe and intimidate our enemies with their puissant aircraft carrier!

Jphn Kerry would grovel. The NYT grovels reflexively. But here goes the administration, actually telling the truth! Quelle horreur! That's just not done!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

October 8, 2004

Media Meltdown, part XXVII...

It's truly amazing to watch, as the Democrat Party slumps into minority status, how foaming-at-the-mouth crazy the Old Media are getting, and how their mask of "objectivity" is more and more being discarded. Here's another egregious example, from Drudge:

An internal memo written by ABCNEWS Political Director Mark Halperin admonishes ABC staff: During coverage of Democrat Kerry and Republican Bush not to "reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable."

The controversial internal memo obtained by DRUDGE, captures Halperin stating how "Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win."

But Halperin claims that Bush is hoping to "win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions."

"The current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done," Halperin writes...

... Halperin states the responsibilities of the ABCNEWS staff have "become quite grave."...

The funy thing is that Republicans don't need to distort the Senator's record and positions. They are utterly damning unembellished.

(Thanks to Spoons)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:54 PM

If elected I promise...to have the world's best excuses....

Kerry speaks:
[link] Asked whether he'd send troops [to help in Sudan] , Kerry said the United States would "have to be in a position in Iraq and Afghanistan" to allow that to happen...
Kerry is the perfect Democrat—infinitely resourceful in finding reasons to do nothing.
...He said his options as president would be limited because President Bush has overextended U.S. forces.
Utter bullshit. I'll bet you dollars to donuts he didn't ask any of our troops in Iraq if they felt too "overextended" to save thousands of lives. (Of course he is opposed to the Administration's plans to reduce troops in EUROPE. Defending jobs in Germany is important! Defending the Fulda Gap is crucial.)
...."Our flexibility is less than it was," he said. "Our moral leadership is not what it ought to be."
Democrat moral leadership is certainly AWOL. And I infer that America can regain "moral leadership" by doing nothing—then Europeans will approve of us and look to us as leaders.
...Kerry recalled former President Clinton's regret about not doing more to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when at least 500,000 minority Tutsis and political moderates from the Hutu majority were killed
So how do you get "moral leadership" in Democrat Bizarro World? You get it by feeling sorry that you did nothing while half-a-million died. Clinton is a moral giant for taking on his shoulders so much pain. Bush, moral weakling that he is, won't accept the painful duty to do nothing.
..."I would try to provide all of the logistical support, all of the funding and leadership necessary to help the African Union to be able to step in if necessary and feasible."
IF it's necessary, IF it's feasible, THEN brave Kerry will help someone else to try to do something. Providing that that's not too militaristic for the Democrat base. Probably better to be safe, and do nothing.

We're so accustomed to Democrats that it's hard to notice how CRAZY all this is. Kerry is campaigning on his excuses for future presidential inaction! We're "overextended," "Our flexibility is less."

Well, golly, America better sit in the shade for a decade or two, just so we don't get sunstroke...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:49 AM

"The press has been curiously reluctant to report ..."

Here are some Paul Bremer opinions the press/Democrats are not going to be repeating: (Emphasis mine)

...It's no secret that during my time in Iraq I had tactical disagreements with others, including military commanders on the ground. Such disagreements among individuals of good will happen all the time, particularly in war and postwar situations...

....Our troops continue to work closely with Iraqis to isolate and destroy terrorist strongholds. And the United States is supporting Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in his determined effort to bring security and democracy to Iraq. Elections will be held in January and, though there will be challenges and hardships, progress is being made. For the task before us now, I believe we have enough troops in Iraq.

The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president's strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.

The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power. He understands that our enemies are not confined to Al Qaeda, and certainly not just to Osama bin Laden, who is probably trapped in his hide-out in Afghanistan. As the bipartisan 9/11 commission reported, there were contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime going back a decade. We will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror - wherever they are. Right now, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally, is a dangerous threat. He is in Iraq.

President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi's stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.

Our victory also depends on devoting the resources necessary to win this war. So last year, President Bush asked the American people to make available $87 billion for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military commanders and I strongly agreed on the importance of these funds, which is why we stood together before Congress to make the case for their approval. The overwhelming majority of Congress understood and provided the funds needed to fight the war and win the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were vital resources that Senator John Kerry voted to deny our troops.

Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein's brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism...

(thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:48 AM

October 7, 2004

Indeed...

I caught a little bit of Dick Morris talking to Sean Hannitty on the radio yesterday, and he said one interesting thing. He said that when he worked in the White House, there about 20 Democrat senators they studied closely, and spent a lot of time working with so they could get things passed in the Senate. Kerry wasn't one of them...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:17 AM

Republicans force soldiers to buy own socks...

You know those "shortage of body armor" complaints that Democrats have been repeating for the last year? Just more lies! Oak Leaf explains:

Yesterday in the debate, the Senator that “represents” the brave soldiers, of the 82nd Airborne Division (Hooah), stated as fact, “they sent 40,000 American troops into Iraq without the body armor they needed.” Unfortunately, as a soldier, I now must correct the Senator who wants to serve as my Commander in Chief.

One must first understand that in the Army, “equipment” is either individual equipment (personal property) or organizational equipment (unit property). Individual equipment would include such items as a uniform, while organizational equipment would include things like canteens, compasses, helmets and yes, body armor. It is interesting to note that, officers, unlike enlisted soldiers, have always had to purchase their own uniforms (individual equipment), right down to their socks and boots. Lets keep that a secret or Senator Edwards will make an advertisement stating that some soldiers in Iraq have to buy their own boots and socks! The advertisement would be factually correct, but would be as misleading as his body armor debate statement...

...It is true that approximately 40,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, did not have their own issued set of “interceptor body armor.” It is equally true that every soldier did not have their own issued compass. It is not true to infer, as Senator Edwards would, that 40,000 soldiers were on patrol without body armor and in need of a compass. Only a small percentage of soldiers are engaged in combat operations at any given time. Remember that this type of equipment is organizational equipment; it does not belong to the individual. A clerk typist, one of many jobs, working in a fortified defended structure has no need, nor any desire, to wear body armor. Because this is organizational equipment, body armor can be requested as needed from a supply point and then turned in when no longer needed. There was always enough body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan so two out of every three soldiers could be wearing issued body armor at any given time. In the very unlikely event that every soldier needed torso protection at the same time, 1990s manufactured “flak vests” were available for all other soldiers that were at less risk...

...Well, just who is buying body armor? Myself, for one. I have my own set, but not for reasons that Senator Edwards would want you to believe. Nor did my family have a bake sale to buy it. My own set is “tailored” for my body dimensions so I can function a little bit easier than the government issued version...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

October 6, 2004

I remember a 1970's bumper-sticker...

...that read: If you don't like cops, next time you're in trouble call a hippie! I remembered it when I read this, from Capt. Ed:

UNITED NATIONS - Two organizations representing more than 60,000 United Nations staff members urged Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday to pull all U.N. staff out of Iraq because of the "unprecedented" risk to their safety and security....

.... "Just one staff member is one staff member too many in Iraq," they said. "We ... appeal to your good judgment to ensure that no further staff members be sent to Iraq and that those already deployed be instructed to leave as soon as possible...

What a bunch of useless pukes. As are the fatuous Democrats who think our actions lack "legitimacy" because they are not "approved of" by their precious World Government United Nations.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:00 PM

More Republican dirty tricks!

This is shocking folks. Beyond shocking. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) has been trying to make citizens aware of a vile Republican plot to re-introduce the draft, so your sons can come home in body-bags, just like the glory days tragic time of Vietnam.

So devious and subtle are those conservative monsters, that not one shred of evidence exists for this plot. Fortunately Rangel has himself introduced a bill to re-start the military draft, in order to help voters understand what's going on.

And now, the ultimate dirty trick, the Republican leaders of Congress scheduled a vote on Rangel's bill! And it was defeated in the House, 402-2.

Dissent is being crushed like a cockroach. Obviously we are coming close to being a fascist state, when things like this can happen!

(Thanks to Baldilocks)


Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 PM

Motorists should exercise caution...

You should be careful around a student driver. Especially one like this, driving a car that weighs 19-tons, and has 8-wheels...

(thanks to Stryker Brigade News)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 PM

Just helping out the "political jihad" here...

[from NewsMax] Disgraced CBS newsman Dan Rather accused the White House on Saturday of trying to "smear" him after he used forged documents in a bid to discredit President Bush's National Guard record. Speaking at a media forum in New York City, Rather insisted, "I don't have a political agenda."

LOL. Pretty funny joke, Dan
"I'm an independent journalist," he claimed, in quotes picked up by the Washington Post.
Is that another way of saying "loose cannon?"
Rather pledged that he wouldn't give in to his critics, who he said were themselves guilty of "bias."
Most of your critics have open and perfectly proper biases. Unlike Old Media news anchors, we're not pretending we are just "reporting the news."
The embattled newsman denied reports that he would step down as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" anytime soon, vowing to "not to give up the fight" to clear his name.
Some of us remember Nixon talking like that...
"NBC Nightly News" anchorman Tom Brokaw, a fellow panelist, offered supportive words for his colleague and attacked Rather's critics on the Internet for waging "a kind of political jihad against Dan Rather and CBS News that is quite outrageous."
While Rather's long-time jihad against the Bush family is not outrageous??
"When it comes to fraudulence, forgeries and claims that cannot be supported, that's where you see an enormous harm being done to the country," he complained.
Oh good, so you are going to start calling the Democrats on fraudulent claims of an imminent military draft, millions of blacks "disenfranchised," or "secret plans" to hurt dairy farmers??
Brokaw singled out the Media Research Center's L. Brent Bozell, who the network newsman said was "doing as much damage as he can, and I choose that word carefully, to the credibility of the news divisions."
You damaged yourselves, you fraudulent clowns, Bozell is merely pointing it out. You sound just like Democrats complaining of "vicious attacks" and "Republican sliming" after we merely quote their own words and record.
Also on hand to defend Rather was "ABC World News Tonight" anchorman Peter Jennings, who explained why anchormen like his CBS colleague sometimes seemed to take the side of the enemy in their news coverage.
Well yes, you might explain a certain similarity to Al Jazeera...
"[It's] not a natural instinct for those of us in the establishment media to cheer the country on," Jennings said
You forgot to add, "Especially when a Republican is in the White House." I myself shall continue to cheer America on, and despise those who find that tacky and beneath them

Posted by John Weidner at 10:56 AM

Just roll the words around your tongue...

Jim Geraghty has a good piece on how the Democrats/news media who are insinuating wrong-doing by Vice-President Cheney ALL have to admit they have no evidence. (Newspapers usually put that little admission in about paragraph 26, while the phony charges go on the front-page.) No evidence of any impropriety, but that doesn't stop them for a second.

And OpinionJournal has a good debunking of the insinuations against the Halliburton Corporation, and its subsidiary KBR (the company that is actually involved with Iraq, both in supporting 211,000 personnel in Iraq and Kuwait, and getting iraq's oil flowing again). Did you know Halliburton is considering spinning off KBR, because it's profits are too low?

But who needs facts? I mean, you KNOW there's something there. Just roll the words around your tongue: Halliburton...Cheney...Corporation...OOIIIIILLLLLL...

I think "Democrat" has become a synonym for "liar."

Posted by John Weidner at 10:18 AM

October 4, 2004

We're back!

We were at Mojave Airport this morning, and watched SpaceShipOne win the X-PRIZE! It was Awesome! Much more thrilling than I had expected...

SpaceShipOne being put on its cart
Here's the spacecraft after the flight, being put on its cart...it's so light a couple of guys push down the tail, and the cart is rolled under it. The chap with the beard and the khaki pants, by the nose, is my brother-in-law, Bud McClure. He was photographing some tape (which has different colors that burn off at different temperatures) on the pink thermal protection system, which he designed (along with the environment control system, plus many other odd jobs like engine simulators and trajectory code.)

His mind is already on SpaceShipTwo, being built for Bransen's "Virgin Galactic"...

John weidner and Evelyn Weidner with pilot Brian Binnie
Here's me, and my mom, Evelyn Weidner. On the right is the pilot, Brian Binnie, and I've forgotten who the other guy is. But next to his chin you can see the colored tape, partly etched away by heat. Bud said the heat was just as he had calculated.

The three chase-planes
These are the three chase-planes, which worked at different altitudes...

The most exciting moment at Mojave we didn't get on film, (unless it's on our video, which I haven't had time to mess with). The mother ship, White Knight, carried the spacecraft to 49,000 feet. This took about an hour, and we would catch glimpses of it and a chase plane as they circled ever higher. At the end all we could see were two contrails, very high. Finally the moment came to detach SpaceShipOne. Two contrails split off to either side, and a new one appeared going straight up! Fast! In about a minute it went to what looked like 5-times the height gained in the previous hour. Shortly after that it was announced that the required altitude to win the prize had been exceeded, also breaking the height record set by the X-15 in 1963 (107.9 kilometers).

White Knight, with SpaceShipOne, taxiing out
Here's White Knight, the mother-ship, with SpaceShipOne attached beneath, taxiing past us. They look like the most improbable of contraptions, and one wonders why it doesn't all collapse, and if this is just a hoax. Then they just take off, like it's no big deal. And suddenly they look rather graceful. The cool clear high-desert morning was a pure delight for me, though my family seems to find the desert a sort of Purgatory to be escaped from...

Alas, my son the pilot is busy at college, and he had to miss this. One of the most delightful things was the informality of it all. SpaceShipOne was towed back to the hanger behind that white truck you see above. Nothing was gold-plated, nothing was bureaucratic or pompous. Nothing was NASA...(Or as Rutan says it, "Nay-say.")

One more....here's the cockpit...
Cockpit of SpaceShipOne

Posted by John Weidner at 4:44 PM

October 1, 2004

What the candidate believes...

Here's a very well made Kerry ad....

(thanks, katie)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:58 PM

Countdown

The Weidners will will be leaving tomorrow morning, and won't be back 'till Monday night. Hopefully after having witnessed the winning of the X-Prize! But technical problems or too much wind could mean nothing happens at all.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 PM

Summit

By the way. A "summit meeting" or "summit conference" is a meeting between heads of government. A high-profile meeting, presumably on an important and difficult topic. It is very different than the ordinary negotiations and discussions of governments, which are conducted by people of lower rank.

A summit meeting is not entered upon lightly, because the prestige and credibility of the leaders is being put on the line. If the big meeting is held without results, the leaders look incompetent and weak. (If one of the leaders is strong enough, he can wield a powerful weapon, by being willing to walk away from the table, as Reagan did to Gorbachev at Reykjavik.)

A summit meeting is usually held after negotiations have reached a point where agreement is a distinct possibility, and when both sides would like to come to agreement. The big leaders have the authority and freedom to horse-trade on various deal-breaking issues in a way that cautious underlings can't. And are powerfully motivated to do so, if only to justify the investment of their political capital.

A summit does not have any magic ability to solve otherwise intractable problems. To think so is similar to the way fluff-brains will say, "If only everyone would get together and talk, we could solve these problems." A summit is a very specialized tool, for use in rather unusual conditions.

Loose talk about having summits tends to be an evasion, a way to avoid grappling with problems.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:57 PM

So -- where's that attack you promised me?

Cori Dauber, writing on threats and warnings:

...But here's the thing: I have a friend who was an intelligence analyst, then taught intelligence for a number of years. One of the most important concepts he always impresses on any audience when he lectures about warning is that the very fact that intelligence analysts have warned policymakers changes the situation. It automatically raises the cost of the operation for the attacker, assuming policymakers take any steps at all.

So as soon as you warn, you increase the chance that the event you've warned about isn't going to happen. That means you've done your job successfully. But it also means, just as a fact of human nature, your credibility goes down.

You get called into the office of a very angry boss, standing there saying, do you have any idea how much money we just spent? not just that, do you have any idea how stupid we look in the press? So -- where's that attack you promised me?

The very success of the warning, decreases the credibility of the warning...

Waging war against terrorists requires patience. Endless grim cold-blooded patience. Free peoples are at a certain disadvantage, just because the rich variety of their lives works against focusing for a long time on one threat, even when nothing seems to be happening. Americans probably do better than some, because of the strong Jacksonian strain in our culture. Jacksonians have long memories. They were the indian fighters and the tunnel rats. They haven't forgotten Pearl Harbor, and the Bataan Death March. They won't forget 9/11 for a month of Sundays.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

Yum, liberal pabulum...

Orrin writes:

...Fourth, if part of John Kerry's task tonight was to seem more likable, and that was not achieved, he also had to reassure his own party that he isn't a complete disaster--and there he certainly succeeded, probably winning the debate in technical debating terms--and to try and clarify his muddled message. On that last he did not do himself much good, but it's hard to see how he could have. His message tonight was: "The war was a mistake because Saddam wasn't a threat but I voted for it because Saddam was a threat and though I disapprove of the war now, I'll prosecute it just as vigorously as the President who believes in it wholeheartedly." That just isn't a coherent position but it's one that he's trapped in after voting for the war.

Last, on a series of issues he came across as soft in exactly the ways that Republicans have been portraying him. The idea that our policies should pass a global test, that al Qaeda will attack us because of Iraq so we shouldn't have gone, that we should grant Kim Jong-il the bilateral talks he's seeking, that we should give Iran nuclear material and that we shouldn't develop the nuclear capacity to bust bunkers, even though Iran and North Korea are developing nukes, are all the kind of liberal pabulum that the GOP has been forcing back down Democrats throats for a quarter century now...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 AM

"It would destroy it."

A little more of what our soldiers and Marines think:

...Asked how Kerry's election would affect troop morale in the combat zone, Lance Cpl. Lawrence Romack told KWEL Midland, Texas, radio host Craig Anderson, "It would destroy it."...

... "We're pretty terrified of a John Kerry presidency," added Romack, who served with the 1st Marine Tank Battalion in Iraq.

The Iraq war vet said he fears that most of the news coverage is being skewed to make the mission look like a failure in order to give the Kerry campaign a boost.

"What they're trying to do is get Kerry into the White House, because they know he doesn't want us to stay [in Iraq]," he told Anderson.

Asked if Americans back home were getting an accurate picture of what's happening in the war, the Marine corporal said: "No, they're not. It's not even close. All the press wants to report is casualty counts. They don't want to report the progress we're making over there."

Romack noted that in the southern part of the country, Iraqis welcomed U.S. troops when they set up an immunization programs for children, opened schools and began distributing food.

"Almost immediately people were lining up to get their kids shots," he told Anderson. Contrary to reports that the general population was too afraid to help ferret out insurgents, Romack said, "We had Iraqis pointing out former Baath Party members for us to arrest."

When the KWEL host opened up the phone lines, a member of the 82nd Airborne who had returned from Iraq in March was first on the line.

He agreed with Cpl. Romack that media reports coming out of Iraq were often inaccurate – and sometimes even dangerous. "The news media – sometimes I felt like I had as much to fear from them as I did the Iraqis," he complained.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 AM

What I'd like to hear...

Deacon writes:

...Usually, candidates tend to reveal their true colors towards the end of a long debate. Tonight, Kerry did so at least three times. First, when asked to identify the most serious threat we face, he said it was nuclear proliferation, not terrorism. And he mentioned that he wrote a book about the subject, pre-9/11. This illustrates how, deep down, Kerry filters the war against terrorism through his lifelong "no nukes" leftist prism. Unfortunately, Bush didn't do much better in his response to the same question, broadening Kerry's answer to include all WMD in the hands of terrorists but not mentioning Islamofascism or Jihad. Kerry, who probably sensed his error, quickly endorsed Bush's view, with an assist from Jim Lehrer (who tossed Kerry more softballs than a batter practice pitcher at a church picnic).

But soon thereafter, Kerry committed a more acute version of the same error when he argued that we were sending "mixed messages" by developing new nuclear weapons of our own, while talking about how to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. This was leftist "moral equivalence" at its worse, but again the president didn't call him on it. Finally, let's not forget Kerry's insistence on passing the global test, and his claim that in order to regain the world's respect we have "a lot of earning back to do." If the debate had lasted another half hour, Kerry might have been speaking French. There, I've almost talked myself into thinking that Kerry didn't win...

The subtext of all of Kerry's criticisms is that we should be fighting less, taking less casualties. I'm so utterly sick of it, it's CRAZY.

I wish Bush would say, "NO. We DON'T want to seal the borders of Iraq. We WANT a fight. We want a hundred fights! Mothers and fathers of America, think of Beslan. Think of Ma'alot. Imagine those animals machine-gunning YOUR children! We SHOULD stretch our military to the utmost—THIS is the time of danger they EXIST for."

Of course, people who believe in national defense are already voting for Bush--it's not our votes he is trying to win. It's the mushy middle, who hope problems will just go away...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 AM