« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 1, 2004

Final Thoughts From Day 2

HOTEL PENN, 12:16 AM -- It doesn't take much imagination to know on what subject tongues will wag tonight and tomorrow, and it won't be an analysis of Arnold's speech. Instead, talking heads will focus on the performance of the Bush twins, introducing their mother's keynote speech for Day Two at the RNC. Inevitably, the girls will be compared to John Kerry's children and stepson, and just as surely they will suffer in the comparison ... and it's unfair. True, I would have held them back a bit from treating the introduction as a wedding toast, which was one criticism I heard (sotto voce) in the Garden on the way out. But that would mean having them put on an act, which would have seemed a lot more phony. The one quality that strikes people most about the Bushes is their genuine nature, in that they don't pretend to be...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Salon Takes A Few Cheap Shots

Mark Follman at Salon.com writes a review of the credentialed RNC bloggers for the Wednesday edition, and he doesn't much like what he's reading (registration or ad torture required). Follman points out that we bloggers set our expectations high and argues that we've failed to even try to meet them: The bloggers, in brief interviews with the Journal, promised some big things themselves. After a good bit of hemming and hawing about their counterparts' failure to turn out any meaningful coverage at the Democratic get-together in Boston, the cutting-edge RNC crew pledged to zero in on the important issues in New York. "Readers rightly criticized the number of 'hey, look at me' posts from DNC bloggers," remarked Kevin Aylward, a technology consultant who authors the Wizbang! blog. "I'm aware much of the audience isn't interested in what I had for dinner and what my hotel room is like." "Being there...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Ron Fournier: Democrats In Disarray

Ron Fournier, AP's premier political analyst, catches a whiff of desperation at Campaign Kerry as his numbers continue to erode and the Republicans stage a better convention than they had considered possible. Fournier reports that John Kerry has been bombarded with criticism and advice, much of it contradictory and all of it pointing to rising panic within the Democratic Party: Anxiously watching President Bush's convention, Democratic leaders are urging John Kerry to step up his attack on the Republican incumbent before eroding approval ratings become a serious political problem. The candidate and his beleaguered staff are being flooded with advice, much of it contradictory. Some party officials want Kerry to criticize the president for sitting out the Vietnam War in the Texas Air National Guard. Others say that would draw unwanted attention to accusations about Kerry's combat experience. Democrats have seen Bush erase the gains that their nominee made at...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Shales: I Like Redneck Parties?

Having read Tom Shales' review of the Republican convention thus far, I'm not sure whether to be encouraged or irritated. Shales obviously thinks that the GOP has managed to out-stage the Democrats in putting on "rubber-stamp" conventions, as if we have had any other kind in the last five decades. Shales even notes success in impressing the media. However, he takes several opportunities to sneer down his cheaters at Republicans as a bunch of hicks: People don't commonly associate adjectives like "cool" and "hip" with the Republican Party, but the first broadcast television coverage of this year's convention, from Madison Square Garden in New York last night, revealed the GOP to be more media-hip and glitzy than the Democrats were earlier this summer. ... The message of the Tuesday Night Follies was that Democrats are wimps and Republicans are symbolically still down in Texas fending off the invading army that's...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Dropping By The New York Sun

After making my sale to the New York Sun a week or so ago -- my first outright sale as a writer -- the editor with whom I worked encouraged me to drop by their offices while I was in New York for the convention. I had a couple of hours this morning (which is why I had no posts earlier) and stopped by their offices on Chambers. I suppose I had an image in my mind of a newsroom; an open area with simple desks piled high with papers, people scurrying around in order to stay on top of the news, phones ringing off the hook, and an editor in the office riding herd on it all. I realize that's a movie cliche, but in this case, it also happened to be the truth. After initially being greeted by Mark Tumin, he introduced me to a few other people...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Senator Alan Simpson: Shy Kerry No Leader

Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson came by Bloggers Corner just a few minutes ago and spoke to the group about liberal Republicanism, the electoral college, the current campaign and its tone, and John Kerry's Senate career. As you might imagine from his press conferences during his tenure in Congress, Senator Simpson spoke directly and even bluntly in responding to our questions. My audio of the interview turned out poorly as Sean Hannity's show insists on blaring out their program over speakers pointed directly at our area, but I can rebuild the important parts. In response to questions regarding the Electoral College, Simpson strongly defended the current structure and explained that any attempt to eliminate it would never pass muster with enough states. Too many smaller states would lose their impact on presidential contests, and as Simpson said, no one would ever see a campaign outside of New York, Chicago, and...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Terry McAuliffe: Kerry In Cambodia -- Twice

In a brief visit to Bloggers Corner, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe told the bloggers that John Kerry was in Cambodia -- twice -- and took fire, while taking the opportunity to get in a dig at George Bush: Q: Does it bother you that the Democrats have nominated a candidate that told a fable about spending Christmas in Cambodia on the floor of the United States Senate? A: John Kerry went to Cambodia twice. He was over in Viet Nam and at one point, as you know, he took some CIA operatives into Cambodia, and he did a lot more than George Bush ever did for his country. George Bush never got to Viet Nam. Q: Mr. McAuliffe, do you have any proof -- A: You said only one question. You're chewing up their time [gesturing to camera crew]. Power Line has the video. Go check it out. And note...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Lunch With Senator Norm Coleman

One of the many distractions that all convention attendees must juggle are the continuous invitations to outside events, which sometimes conflict with convention business. Certainly this is true for the delegates, and it's widely known that if a delegate plays his cards right, he need never pay for a meal. This also applies to the candidates, who must coordinate a flood of invitations by being readily accessible to constituents and supporters on one hand without getting tied down to such a full schedule that it interferes with their ability to network at the convention itself with media, delegates, donors, and so on. I received an invitation to a typical outside event, a lunch given on behalf of Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. Coleman serves as co-chair of the convention, which means that he has certain nominal duties to which he must attend here at the Garden. On this occasion, Coleman was...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Deep Cover Iraqi Spy Arrested

Federal agents have arrested a Des Plaines, Illinois man as a deep-cover Iraqi spy living undercover in the US for eleven years, awaiting orders from his IIS handler that apparently never came: After the arrest of Sami Khoshaba Latchin, 57, prosecutors said he became a naturalized citizen after making false statements to immigration officials in 1999 and planned to "lay low" until contacted by his Iraqi handler. Latchin entered a not guilty plea at a hearing Monday. According to a federal indictment returned July 21 and unsealed Monday, Latchin worked for the Iraqi Intelligence Service, known as the Mukhabbarat, the foreign intelligence arm of the Iraqi government. The indictment said that in addition to failing to disclose his ties to Iraqi intelligence, Latchin, a Baath party member, lied about overseas trips he made in 1994, 1996 and 1997. Latchin, who was born in Dohuk, Iraq, and has lived in the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Convention Blogging (Via Remote)

Being in Bloggers Corner has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Not only am I in the center of a historic event at a historic location, but the RNC gave us tremendous opportunities by locating us at the entrance of the radio center -- which has been key to our access to some amazing people, including the famous and the yet-to-be famous as well. Some I haven't mentioned simply because I had no opportunity to do anything in-depth with them. For example, today I asked Tim Russert of NBC to stop by and take a few questions from the bloggers as he waited to get on Sean Hannity's radio program. Russert stopped over to say hello and exchange a few pleasantries with us, but he didn't have time to do much more than encourage us with a "Blog on!" Sam Donaldson did much the same thing...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

9/1 Keynote Speaker: Zell Miller

10:02 Wild applause; I don't think he expected that. He makes his support for Bush personal. "My family is more important than my party." Great moment. 10:05 Great story about Wendell Wilkie, especially the epitaph. "Where are such statesmen today?" He's on fire. 10:07 Wow, he's tossing bombs at Terry McAuliffe and John Kerry tonight, and his rhetoric has the passion of all his anger. This is powerful stuff, and it sounds like it's built up over a long period of time... 10:08 "It is the soldier, and not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of speech." A series of such linkages are very effective. 10:10 "No pair has been wrong more often over a longer period of time than the two Senators from Massachussetts -- Ted Kennedy and John Kerry." Let me tell you this -- right now, the Democrats are wishing that the networks had carried...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

9/1 Keynote Speaker: Dick Cheney

10:20 Lynne Cheney gives the introduction for the Vice President, Dick Cheney. She comes across as sharp, blunt, and likeable. She seems tougher than Laura Bush. In an imperfect comparison, she reminds me stylistically of Katherine Hepburn, while Laura reminds me more of Audrey Hepburn. 10:23 Good reception for the VP, who seems a little amused by it ... 10:25 That was Sarah Janisczak [sp] from Minnesota on screen ... 10:26 And that was Col. Joe Repya from Eagan, MN, who I will feature in an interview later on tonight .. 10:30 Dick Cheney has a much more mellow speaking style than Miller, obviously. After a great, self-deprecating riff on John Edwards get s a laugh, he follows that up with a good policy speech, this time targeting Edwards a bit more bitingly with tort reform... 10:31 Another disturbance on the floor? I'll try to get some information tomorrow ......

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Hindrocket And Captain Ed Make News Back Home

I mentioned a few days ago that both John and I were interviewed by the hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, for a story about Bloggers Corner from a local perspective. Sharon Schmickle turns in a fair and balanced look at the intersection of blogging and big-league politics: It was one thing to watch the cool and sassy Bush twins in television's lights, cracking scripted jokes and teasing their parents about their days of being "young and irresponsible." It was another to see 22-year-old Jenna and Barbara through Captain Ed's analytical filter: "The Bush twins are -- as they said in their speech -- young, irrepressible, and a little immature. Personally, I found their humor a little charming, if overdone. I noticed (former New York Mayor) Rudy Giuliani laughing his butt off at the Sex And The City joke." ... Here's Hinderaker's summary of his first day: "This has been one...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Day 3 Final Thoughts

I don't have a lot to add to what I've already written, but I do have a few thoughts about the tandem of firebrand Zell Miller and the more stoic surgery of Dick Cheney. I've read some who think that the pairing was deliberate -- that the RNC knew how Zell would go after the Democrats and John Kerry, and that the contrast between Miller (who isn't running for anything) and Cheney would emphasize Cheney's reasonableness. It's the kind of counterpoint that could take the edge off of Cheney's unwarranted image as a warmonger. Well, maybe. As Deacon at Power Line says, it may well be that the Republicans attempted to play good cop/bad cop. Unfortunately, if they did, they may have done too good a job, as both men made excellent points in their speeches that their wildly divergent styles will obscure. Miller was especially effective when talking about...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 2, 2004

Transcript of Zell Miller Vs. Chris Matthews

MS-NBC has posted the transcript of Zell Miller's appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, during which many of you wrote or commented last night that Zell took the wood to Matthews in a most satisfying way. After reading the transcript, I have to say you were right, and I think that maybe the appearance on Hardball may be even more effective that his appearance at the convention. Miller made it clear that he was not about to allow Matthews to throw strawmen at him as Matthews does with lesser-prepared guests. The turning point occurred early on, as far as I read: MILLER: But I think his record is atrocious. MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, when Democrats come out, as they often do, liberal Democrats, and attack conservatives, and say they want to starve little kids, they want to get rid of education, they want to kill the old people......

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Instapundit On C-SPAN

I'm sitting in a restaurant watching a soundless C-SPAN broadcast across the room and noticing that Glenn Reynolds is being interviewed by telephone about the impact blogs have had on the political process this year. Fortunately, the TV had closed-captioning turned on, although I think the guy sitting right by it is under the impression that we are "having a moment". Glenn addressed media bias and mentioned Newsweek's contention that most of the news media want to see Kerry elected, and that gives him a 15-point boost. That may have been true in past electoral cycles, but I think blogs have erased much of that advantage (which may have been Glenn's point, since I missed a bit of the first part of his call). I'm sure Glenn will have more, so head over to his site for an update....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Symptoms Of Unseriousness

The BBC brings us an update on the lack of seriousness shown about worldwide terrorism in Bali, as a convicted conspirator in the bombing that killed hundreds in a nightclub has been allowed out for a latte break: Convicted Bali bomber Ali Imron has been allowed on an outing to a Starbucks coffee shop in Jakarta. Reporters spotted him laughing and joking with Brigadier-General Gorries Mere, one of the officers investigating the Bali attacks. A police spokesman said the excursion was part of an ongoing effort to investigate cases of terrorism. Did al-Qaeda decide to target baristas in Bali? Does he have some insight into what coffee blend Osama finds irresistable, in order to set up a trap for him at the game tables? Stories like this make Michael Dukakis' prison-release policies look like a Georgia chain gang by comparison. The man has been sentenced to life in prison, which...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

USA Today Confirms My Matthews Diagnosis

CQ commenter FredRum points us to a USA Today article on the talking-head coverage of the Republican convention that not only supports my earlier diagnosis of Chris Matthews' self-infatuation but asserts that narcissism has spread across the entire television punditry like an epidemic. Media analyst Robert Bianco has a simple solution: As President Bush's acceptance speech tonight closes the Republican convention and sends us full speed into the final electoral push, would it be too much to ask one tiny favor of TV's anchors, analysts and pundits? In the name of all that's holy, shut up. Sometime over the past few years, interview shows morphed from the intent to draw information from guests that would inform and entertain viewers to a pitched duel between the interviewer and the subject/victim, a duel to the rhetorical death in front of a nationwide arena of rapidly diminishing numbers of fans. Chris Matthews did...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Meet The Minnesota Delegation: Kimani Jefferson

I had an opportunity to meet with a member of the Minnesota delegation to the Republican convention last night, Kimani Jefferson, who represents the Anoka area. Kimani spoke for a few minutes with me regarding his transformation from a moderate Democrat to a 9/11 convert to the new national-security-based conservatism, and his enthusiasm for George Bush in 2004. Kimani is a former military officer who served aboard USS LaSalle, based in Italy, after graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1998. CQ: You've gone through this entire [delegate selection] process, which takes quite a bit of effort. What's your motivation for doing that? KJ: My daughter, more than anything else. My daughter is four, and I have another child on the way, November 12th. And I want the Constitution to mean something when she grows up. CQ: What are your big issues here at the convention? KJ: My big issue,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Really New Media

While we at Bloggers Corner have been congratulating ourselves on being the New Media here at the convention, this morning I got an opportunity to meet the really new media. Two young journalists for the New York Daily News took a break at Bloggers Corner this morning: Kibuchi Banfield, 17 years old, and Marie Ponsot, 11 years old. The Daily News credentialed them to do some free-lance reporting from the convention, and their work appeared in today's edition (second item): We think if the state is offering the services, it should be responsible for getting residents enrolled. She was talking like people are totally independent from the federal government. Plus, schools are busy enough trying to meet testing standards without doing extra work. Maybe older teens can help younger kids get health insurance through a community service project. But an uninsured child under the age of 5 can't be responsible...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CQ Interviews Congressman Steve Pearce, NM

While Bloggers Corner stayed relatively quiet this morning, a few people have come by to take advantage of the open chairs here. One of them was Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico's 2nd District, who took a few minutes to speak with me today. CQ: Good morning, Congressman. Which district do you represent? SP: New Mexico's 2nd District, the southern district of New Mexico, about 70,000 square miles. It takes about nine hours to drive across it. CQ: What do you think about the chances of Bush taking New Mexico this time around? SP: Chances are very good. Last time we lost by 366 votes, but there was an unprecedented snowstorm on Election Day, and the snowstorm occurred only on the eastern side of the state, where the Republicans are. On the western side of the state, where it's 25% Republican, they didn't have any snow. We lost 10,000 votes...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Blog Notes

Just to let you know what my schedule looks like today, I may be appearing on Dennis Prager's show in the next few minutes. We tentatively arranged something yesterday but have yet to firm it up. We'll also be meeting with J.C. Watts in the next few minutes, which should be very interesting indeed. I want to ask him his opinion on the Alan Keyes debacle, which has set tongues to wagging around here, although mostly off the record. Stay tuned ... UPDATE: Both John Hinderaker and I will be on Dennis Prager's show at 2:15....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Blog Conference: J. C. Watts

Former Congressman and Republican activist J. C. Watts visited with a few of us at Bloggers Corner. After his appearance on Hardball along with Zell Miller last night, we anticipated speaking to him about the exchange between Miller and host Chris Matthews, which we eventually discussed. However, Watts spoke at length on a number of issues, especially Republican outreach to black communities. In fact, the interview went into such depth that I think a transcript may run too long. I'll recap and quote where appropriate. We started off discussing GOPAC, the Republican political-action committee dedicated to promoting grassroots growth for the GOP. Watts currently serves as its chairman, and he talked about how the 1994 Republican victory in capturing the House may have made the GOP too "fat and sassy" about its majority. He talked about the need to get away from the idea that Republicans (or anyone) can just...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

No Enthusiasm? How To Miss A Story

I met Chris Suellentrop as we both came through security checkpoints together on Monday and were both held up by colleagues having difficulty with the metal detectors. That's how I know Chris actually attended the Republican convention; he's a nice guy and chatted us up for a few minutes while we waited. Because if I had to rely on his reporting to confirm his attendance, I'd have to assume him to be a no-show. In Slate today, Chris writes about a lack of enthusiasm among Republican delegates that has managed to escape my notice: One of the most striking things about watching the Republican National Convention from inside Madison Square Garden has been the lack of enthusiasm among the delegates on the floor. When they formally, and unanimously, nominated George W. Bush as their party's presidential nominee Wednesday at the conclusion of the roll call of the states, the delegates...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Just Got Back From The Garden

If you're wondering why you haven't heard from me, it's because I just walked back to the hotel from Madison Square Garden. For some reason -- I suspect for security considerations -- no unsecured wireless networks were available from my seat at the Garden, and I wasn't about to head back to a television in Bloggers Corner for the President's speech. I'm getting a bite to eat and then I'll review my voice notes and post my thoughts on the main events tonight....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

9/2: The Opening Acts -- Masters Of Adjustment

As I stated earlier, I was prevented from live blogging by the sudden lack of an unsecured wireless network in the Garden. Instead, I relied on a digital voice recorder and my fresh memories of the speeches that the Republicans presented as a run-up to George Bush's acceptance speech. After a few preliminaries, we discovered the first, and rather poorly-kept, secret of the evening: former General Tommy Franks had been added to the program. Franks had publicly endorsed Bush for re-election on Tuesday, an unexpected development first reported by the RNC bloggers. That interview seemed like a warm-up to the speech, as many of the same themes that came through in our talk wound up in his speech. I anticipated that Franks would be popular with the crowd, but he was even more successful than I'd have guessed. Franks speaks excellently and offered little in smooth words; he sounded like...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

9/2 Keynote Speakers: Gov. George Pataki

Governor George Pataki opened for President Bush, a spot in the lineup guaranteed him by his position as the highest-ranking Republican in the state of New York. Once again, as on Tuesday night, the Republicans may have been better off by eschewing tradition in this convention and swapping Pataki for Giuliani's Monday-night speech. That arrangement would have allowed one of the weakest speakers in their lineup to play leadoff, where expectations would have been lower, while also putting one of the best speakers in prime time with President Bush, giving a spirited defense of the war on terror. Not that Pataki was bad -- but I would describe his performance, and his voice especially, as weak. At times, at least in the Garden, he was almost inaudible, even though the crowd gave him all their attention. He did manage to mix it up and even became inspiring on occasion, but...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 3, 2004

9/2 Acceptance Speech: George W. Bush

As anyone could tell you, this speech carried tremendous expectations for George Bush, and not just because of its national exposure. For one thing, the external expectations of surviving the convention put the onus on the Bush adminstration to ensure security and to eliminate the possibility of having visited another tragedy on New York City. Also, since Bush has a reputation as both a dunderhead and an atrocious public speaker, he needed a flawless delivery and a tone-perfect speech. I think he succeeded admirably on all counts. Not that he's free from all criticism, of course. Most noticeable was the running time of the speech. We had been led to believe that it would be about 45 minutes, about the same run time as his appearance two weeks ago in Saint Paul. Instead, he spoke for almost an hour and a half, and at a couple of points during the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

9/2 Convention Finale: Sideshow Bobs

My analysis would not be complete -- and I'm dangerously low on sleep, so I want to get to 'complete' soon -- without mentioning the disturbances during the evening in the Garden. Three different protestors managed to get by the extraordinarily tight security at the Garden. One man wound up getting arrested before George Bush even spoke, and found himself rapidly escorted from the auditorium. He exposed an undershirt, I believe, with an anti-Bush slogan and started shouting, but it didn't take long (a few seconds) before he got taken out the door. The second and third incidents occurred when Bush spoke to the audience, although if you were watching on TV, you may have missed both. If you recall two times when spontaneous chants of "Four More Years" erupted when it didn't appear that Bush had paused for an applause break, that's when the protests took place. The first...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Big Apple Does It All

Just as when I arrived in New York, I wound up overcoming a couple of obstacles getting back out. When I woke up this morning ,I had overslept by over two hours, and I barely had time to get showered and packed so I could catch a cab to JFK. For those who don't know, taking a cab from midtown Manhattan to JFK (in Queens) isn't a quick journey; there's a good reason it's price-fixed at $45. I just got home and haven't even yet unpacked anything but the computer, but I wanted to write about my experience in New York before I take a nap. My last visit to New York was in 1974 when I was eleven years old -- in fact, I think I turned 11 while I was there, or just before. I recall almost nothing about that trip, or at least I didn't before I...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

So Much For The Non-Bounce Election

Thanks to Power Line and Instapundit for linking to this new Time Magazine poll taken during the final three days of the convention. Among likely voters, George Bush has opened up a double-digit lead against John Kerry with 60 days left to go to the election: For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. What happened to the bounceless conventions this year? Supposedly this year's election featured an electorate so firmly divided that no one could get a bounce from a convention, and the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Blog Conference: Ari Fleischer, Part II

Earlier this week, I posted part of a blog conference we conducted with former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. Fleischer gave us quite a bit of his time, and when I posted it, I had not yet transcribed the rest of the interview. Originally I had intended to simply update the post, but after listening to the recording, I found Fleischer's remarks in the rest of the interview so interesting that I figured it would be a shame to bury them in the archives. Q: What effect do think the 527s have had on this election? A: I think it's almost made a mockery of campaign finance reform. We were warned this was going to happen. The parties are more accountable to the people. These organizations aren't accountable ... People should have seen this coming. Q: Were you surprised that the Swiftboat ads were effective given their lack of...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Minnesota Delegate: Colonel Joe Repya

One of the most fascinating parts of going to a convention has to be the people you meet. I met some very memorable men and women at the RNC in New York, but perhaps no one more memorable or admirable as a man who lives almost around the corner from me in Eagan. Lt. Colonel Joe Repya has served his country in five decades of military action, starting as an infantry officer in Viet Nam. Joe became politically active last year as war grew near in Iraq, when he distributed "Liberate Iraq" yard signs around the Twin Cities in response to signs opposing the war effort sent out by groups like International ANSWER. Joe did more than send out signs -- he also requested a return to active duty, and has traveled to Iraq and met with troops there, working with them to ensure the success of America's mission. In...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 4, 2004

AP Turns Cheers Into Boos, And Now Everybody Knows Their Name

My Northern Alliance colleague and fellow RNC blogger Hindrocket from Power Line notes a horrendous example of media bias that should shock anyone who reads the news. The Associated Press, one of the primary resources of the mainstream news media, deliberately reported false news regarding Republican reaction to Bill Clinton's emergency bypass operation to make GOP supporters and George Bush look petty and mean-spirited: WEST ALLIS, Wis. - President Bush (news - web sites) on Friday wished Bill Clinton (news - web sites) "best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery." "He's is in our thoughts and prayers," Bush said at a campaign rally. Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them. Bush offered his wishes while campaigning one day after accepting the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in New York. Clinton was hospitalized in New York after complaining of mild...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Winning The Ratings War, And Why

In a sign that the Republican base may be more fired up than the Bush-haters on the left, Nielsen Media Research reported that the RNC garnered 3 million more viewers than the Democratic Party's convention in July -- and that viewership at Fox far outstripped the three traditional broadcast networks: Nearly 28 million Americans -- more than a quarter of them watching cable's Fox News Channel alone -- tuned in to see Bush accept his nomination for a second term at the climax of the Republican National Convention on Thursday, according to Nielsen Media Research. Bush's national TV audience topped Kerry's speech at the Democratic convention in July by just over 3 million viewers, among those watching Big Three commercial networks ABC, CBS and NBC and the three leading cable news outlets -- Fox, CNN and MSNBC. The Republican meeting as a whole also drew bigger audiences than the Democrats,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

BBC: Winning Friends And Influencing People

Justin Webb, the BBC's Washington correspondent, files an odd and cranky report from his time in New York at the Republican National Convention. Webb starts off his time wondering why Republicans decided to host their convention among hostile and rude New Yorkers, and his upturned nose catches even more rain as he continues along: What can the Republicans make of this place? When you talk to them they are polite in a glassy-eyed kind of way. But it is an odd paradox that the Republicans chose to show their solidarity with people who regard them with contempt at best. Most New Yorkers are Democrats but, more importantly, most New Yorkers are cross and busy. I stood on a Manhattan corner this week as the president passed. The police hemmed us in, batons drawn. The helicopters buzzed overhead and the sirens blared. Now on most corners of most cities in the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Northern Alliance Back At The State Fair!

The Northern Alliance gang comes back to the Minnesota State Fair again today from noon to 3 pm, and this time we have some heavy-hitting guests! No, I'm not talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers, although that would be pretty darned good, too. I'm talking about Senator Norm Coleman and Congressman Mark Kennedy, two Minnesota politicians who have bright futures with the Republican party. You can catch us on the Internet stream at this link, but make sure you enable pop-up windows or the stream won't work. If you can make it to the Fair, be sure to hang around after the show. The Northern Alliance will have a blogger's party after the show (starting at 3:30) at the Beer Gardens. Like our Keegan's appearances, this is a non-partisan bloggers' event; we just want to hang with Upper Midwestern bloggers regardless of affiliation. If you come to the booth between...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kevin McCullough Defends Bloggers Corner

One of the people with whom I had a chance to spend some time was Kevin McCullough, a radio talk-show host in New York as well as a columnist for WorldNetDaily and a blogger to boot. Kevin invited me on his show and I had a great time talking blogs for a quick segment. Kevin wanted me back later, but unfortunately pressing schedules for both of us made that impossible. However, Kevin spent a lot of time at Bloggers Corner and we had some great conversations regarding media and the dawn of the blogosphere's political influence. In yesterday's WND column, Kevin reviews the media response at the RNC and has especially harsh words for Salon and Mark Follman's superficial and transparently self-serving flagellation of the RNC bloggers: On Tuesday, Mark Follman of leftist news website Salon.com released an op-ed that raged of "Internet traffic envy." Follman, obviously put off by...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Newsweek Poll Mirrors Time Poll

In a body blow to the Kerry campaign, the AP reports that Newsweek will shortly announce the results of their polling from the end of the week, and that they have the same results as the Time poll released yesterday -- Bush up by 11 points over Kerry: Newsweek, Sept. 2-3, 1,008 RV, MoE +/-3 (Results from late July Newsweek poll in parentheses) Three-way race: George W. Bush-Dick Cheney 52 percent (42) John Kerry-John Edwards, 41 percent (49) Ralph Nader-Peter Camejo, 3 percent (3) Unsure, 4 percent (6) Two-way race: George W. Bush, 54 percent (44) John Kerry, 43 percent (52) Unsure, 3 percent (4) Since their last poll in July, Newsweek finds that a nineteen-point swing has occurred in the presidential race. Kerry had led by eight points in the two-way race and seven in the three-way race. Now Kerry trails by eleven in both models, a tremendous erosion...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Zell Was Right About Democrats

CQ reader Bill Shrumm points out an article in today's Boston Herald which emphasizes the point Zell Miller made regarding his extreme dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party -- their repeated hijacking of national-security and homeland defense issues for partisan political advantage. Ann Donlan reports on the Massachussetts' state troopers union push to endorse George Bush in the upcoming election and the thinly-veiled threats coming from state Democrats as a result: The state troopers' union is seriously considering an endorsement of President Bush, a vote that would be an embarrassment for Sen. John F. Kerry and a risky move for the union, according to government and law enforcement sources. "It would be embarrassing for the senator that the state police in his own state aren't supporting him," said one law enforcement source. ... The SPAM union, which represents about 2,000 troopers and sergeants, endorsed Republican Gov. Mitt Romney when he ran...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

More To Ben Barnes Than Meets The (CBS) Eye

60 Minutes plans on running an "expose'" on Sunday night regarding George Bush's assignment to the Texas Air National Guard. Ben Barnes, former Lieutenant Governor of Texas, will tell CBS audiences that he arranged for Bush's assignment, expecting that the Bush family would be grateful for the assistance even though no one asked him for his help. CBS also will tie in the fact that Bush had a drinking problem at the time, although Bush himself admitted that years ago. But McQ at QandO (an invaluable neolibertarian blog) wondered about who Ben Barnes is and whether he has any connections to John Kerry. Certainly the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have been tarred with the contributions of Bob Perry, who gave them $200,000 in contributions. That led to all sorts of Rube Goldberg charting at the New York Times, trying to tie Republican policymakers to the Swiftvets. It began to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bad News From CQ's Technical Dept.

My (brand-new) laptop seems to have taken a flying dumpola tonight. It stopped in its tracks and now won't power up. Unfortunately, it had all the keys to my e-mail, which I'm now going to have to retrieve via the Web interface. It may be a while before it gets fixed. I don't expect it to impact my output -- I have a desktop computer that works just fine -- but the laptop certainly was more convenient. My e-mail response in the next few days will be limited, as you might imagine. Be patient and I'll try to get back to everyone....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Red-Letter Day At The Fair

We had a real treat today at the AM 1280 The Patriot booth today, or I should say, a whole series of treats. The Northern Alliance had a couple of terrific guests and afterwards got together with some great bloggers from the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers, or MOB. (That's a perfect nickname, by the way ...) Our first guest today was Senator Norm Coleman, who not only kept us well-informed about the election and his duties in Congress, but thoroughly captivated the large crowd that gathered in front of our booth. Senator Coleman talked at length about what's at stake in this election and reminded us that we need to stay active in order to get Minnesota to end its 32-year losing streak. He also revealed that he wants to add a blog to his website in order to facilitate communication with his constituents. Hey, Senator Coleman -- if you're...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Osama bin Tracked?

Matthew Pennington at the AP reports that a State Department counterterrorism official says that the US is closer than ever to catching Osama bin Laden and his top deputies: "If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network. Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaida operatives Black said, "Yes, I would say this." Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaida fugitives would be nabbed. "What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

A Happy Anniversary?

Some British Muslims apparently will mark the upcoming third anniversary of 9/11 in their own unique way -- by holding a convention celebrating the murder of 3,000 "infidels", according to this MEMRI report: Al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri, a Syrian residing in London, told the paper by phone that the convention would feature Al-Qa'ida "surprises," with the screening of a never-before-shown video. He said that the convention will focus on "the anniversary of the division of the world into two great camps the camp of faith and the camp of unbelief," and would take place September 11, 2004 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Bakri added: "On this day, we will talk about the ramifications of these [9/11] operations for Afghanistan and Iraq We want the world to remember this operation that lifted the head of the [Muslim] nation." Bakri called 9/11 "a cry of Jihad against unbelief and...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 5, 2004

Fournier: Bush Nears Electoral College Target

In a dramatic reversal highlighting the rapid decline of the John Kerry campaign, the AP's political analyst Ron Fournier reports that George Bush has firmed up at least 237 Electoral College votes at this point in the election: The race is spread over 19 states, with the fiercest competition in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, according to state polls and interviews with strategists in both parties. Two months before Election Day, the president has 20 states firmly in his column and eight leaning his way, for a total of 237 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win the White House. The Democratic challenger has 11 states plus the District of Columbia in hand, with five states leaning his way. That puts Kerry at 211 electoral votes. Normally, this kind of pre-election tallying would be of little note, except that these results have reversed themselves over the past...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

King Of Clubs Joins Saddam

Reuters reports that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam's #2 on the military side and long suspected of leading the terrorist insurgency in Iraq, has been captured by Iraqi forces in Tikrit: The most-wanted Saddam Hussein aide in Iraq, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, was captured in the town of Tikrit on Sunday, Iraq's defense ministry said. The ministry said Ibrahim was captured by members of Iraq's national guard backed by U.S. forces. Tikrit was Saddam's hometown and one of the powerbases of his regime. ... The U.S. military has said Ibrahim was directly involved in organizing and funding attacks on U.S. forces since the fall of Saddam. There was a $10 million bounty on his head, and in a deck of cards issued to U.S. troops to help them identify fugitives, Ibrahim was the King of Clubs. ... Ibrahim was Saddam's number two in the Revolutionary Command Council, and held a senior post...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Now Conventions Have Bounces: Democrats

The New York Times takes a look at the Bush momentum coming out of the Republican convention as George Bush goes stumping across Ohio to firm up his support. John Kerry attacked Bush for raising the price of Medicare even though the benefits have been widely expanded, suggesting that Halliburton should pay for the increases without explaining why. And in the meantime, the Kerry campaign suddenly shifted positions on convention bounces, trying to pass off Bush's sudden upsurge as a passing phenomenon: Fortified by new polls showing him with a clear lead over Senator John Kerry, President Bush talked of economic renewal and tried to blunt Democratic attacks on his economic record as both he and Mr. Kerry campaigned Saturday across northeastern Ohio. "In order to make sure this economy grows, we've got to make sure we keep your taxes low," Mr. Bush said in Kirtland, Ohio, lampooning Mr. Kerry,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Northern Alliance On The Air Again!

We'll be doing our fourth and final State Fair show today, from noon to 3 pm CT -- in other words, just a couple of minutes! Check us out on our Internet stream if you're not in the local area. We'll be talking homeland security, the election, and other great subjects....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

How Newsday Lied To Me

Last week, Leslie Seifert from Newsday contacted me to request my permission to excerpt my convention blogging in order to give their readers a taste of our coverage. I had anticipated that a few media outlets would want to do this, so the request did not especially surprise me. I wrote back and asked them to send me the excerpt they planned to use, and they selected this: One of the challenges we faced yesterday was the lack of beverages available at the Garden . . . I assumed that we would have all of the concession stands open, but they seem to be closed . . . Stepping into the breach to soothe dry throats is Political Grounds, which describes itself as "America's Politically-Incorrect Coffee." They've set up a booth giving away free bottled water and very good cups of coffee to anyone who wants to stop by their...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Calls McCain A Liar

John Kerry's campaign has now responded to the speakers at the Republican National Conventionby calling them all liars and distorters. Apparently no one is safe from Kerry's poisoned pen, including his first choice for running mate, John McCain. The author of this piece doesn't bother to list opposing arguments or any supporting evidence that the plethora of statements -- their website lists a whopping 143 of them -- are false, misleading, or half-truths, as the title labels them. In fact, they don't even distinguish which is which. McCain comes under fire for these four statements: Bush Has Done A Good Job With Our Allies. 10. Senator John McCain: My friends in the Democratic Party and I'm fortunate to call many of them my friends assure us they share the conviction that winning the war against terrorism is our government's most important obligation. I don't doubt their sincerity. They emphasize that...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 6, 2004

Understanding Slowly Dawns

For years, the US has been explaining that the threat posed by Islamofascist terror was not limited to al-Qaeda or the Taliban, nor bounded by Afghanistan's borders. Our enemy has broad support, fights on many fronts, and has a pan-Islamic goal of eliminating Western civilization and its influence, starting in Southwest Asia but certainly not stopping there. And, we have insisted, one of the main fronts of this new world war has been Israel. This last lesson has taken the longest to sink in, given the Left's infatuation with the Palestinian cause. They march and holler on behalf of the Palestinians who suffer under occupation, without ever explaining the context of two major wars being launched against Israel through their territory preceding that occupation. And the Left continues to laud Yasser Arafat as a statesman, despite his long track record of terrorism, including the murder of Israeli athletes in Munich...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

At Least He Has Experience With Meltdowns

John Kerry has shaken up his campaign staff after a disastrous August which in two polls has seen him suffer a nineteen-point turnaround, in a year where the electorate supposedly only can shift three or four points overall. However, his new addition to the campaign may raise more eyebrows than confidence in his ability to turn the Kerry campaign around: Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, under pressure to bring new focus to his campaign, added a veteran political strategist to his travelling campaign entourage, rounding out changes to his senior staff. Democratic National Committee General Election Manager John Sasso will become the senior campaign staffer aboard the Kerry campaign plane, a key role in the final weeks leading up to the election. Sasso's rsum includes a stint managing the failed 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. In a campaign that already reminds too many people of the Dukakis disaster --...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Advisor: Print Press Deliberately Targets Swiftvets

Today's Boston Globe runs a lengthy article about John Kerry's decision to feature his Viet Nam service as the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Patrick Healy's report uncovers several interesting nuggets from his in-depth research into this ultimately disastrous strategic choice, but none quite so interesting as this assertion by David McKean, a Kerry advisor: Yet in meetings with Kerry, McKean and other advisers say, they told the Democrat that he had an extraordinary story of heroism to tell Americans. Campaign advisers say they felt sure of two things: Past Vietnam critics like John O'Neill, now a leader of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, would probably resurface, but Kerry and his allies could neutralize the criticism as they had done before. The attacks on Kerry by the swift boat group, however, have stunned many in the camp and left Kerry frustrated that the media have not dismissed the charges...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

More Doublespeak On Iraq

John Kerry, in an appearance today in Pennsylvania, continued to vacillate on his approach to Iraq as supporters forced him to answer questions on the issue at an appearance on Canonsburg. Kerry flipped back to his earlier, fully anti-war position of the primary campaign and eschewed his assertion last month that he would have gone to war against Saddam regardless of the WMD question: Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Monday called the invasion of Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" and said his goal was to withdraw U.S. troops in his first White House term. Under pressure from some Democrats to change the subject from national security -- regarded by many as President Bush's strongest issue -- Kerry tried to focus exclusively on the economy and other domestic topics at a neighborhood meeting but supporters raised Iraq. The Massachusetts senator, who has said...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Gallup, USA Today Show Bush Up Seven Points

In another poll confirming Bush's breakout this week, USA Today shows George Bush leading John Kerry outside the margin of error for the first time in the campaign: President Bush widened his lead over John Kerry after a combative Republican National Convention deepened questions about the Democratic candidate's leadership, especially on terrorism. As the campaign enters its last eight weeks, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows Bush at 52%, Kerry at 45% and independent candidate Ralph Nader at 1% among likely voters. Before the convention, Bush led Kerry by 2 percentage points. Just as with the more dramatic Time and Newsweek polls, the real story shows in the poll's internals. Terrorism has moved back to the top of the list of concerns for voters this fall, and Bush has extended his lead over Kerry on that issue by ten full points, to a gap of 27: But...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Where Not To Buy A Laptop

I mentioned earlier that my laptop crumbled under the strain of my Republican convention blogging; it started malfunctioning on Saturday evening, which (fortunately) happened after the convention, but still presents me with an incredible inconvenience. Since I just bought the computer on July 29th, I presumed that CompUSA would try to do their best to make this right. Unfortunately, that presumption was incorrect. I took the Toshiba S126 laptop back to the CompUSA outlet in Bloomington, MN, where I was told that despite the six-week-old status of the laptop, my only option was to send it back to the manufacturer, despite my having purchased a three-year maintenance agreement from CompUSA. I told the CompUSA clerk that I needed my laptop for my business, which requires me to be mobile, and that being without my laptop would create tremendous difficulties for me. I inquired whether CompUSA could just provide me with...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Further Analysis Of Kerry's Medals

CQ readers Bandit and Tom "River Rat" Mortenson have completed an extensive analysis of John Kerry's medals during his tour in Viet Nam. Bandit and Mortenson did in-depth research into the qualifications of each award type and the circumstances at each engagement described by Kerry and the other men present at each one. They conclude that all of the medals Kerry received, with the exception of his second Purple Heart, have some taint due to misreporting by Kerry himself. For instance, they deconstruct the first Purple Heart, which we all covered earlier at Captain's Quarters: Action: December 2, 1968 while patrolling in a small foam-filled boat, known as a Boston Whaler or "skimmer" that floats silently on a river without its engines running, with three other men in the darkness of early morning. The mission, apparently, was a training patrol in an area that was known for contraband trafficking. Upon...

Continue reading "Further Analysis Of Kerry's Medals" »

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Saddam Trial To Begin 'Within Weeks'

Reuters reported yesterday, to almost no fanfare, that the Iraqi judiciary announced that Saddam Hussein will stand trial within "weeks", after the Iraqi government urged them to expedite the process: Iraq's toppled leader Saddam Hussein and his top aides will go on trial within weeks, Iraqi Minister of State Kasim Daoud says. Daoud told a news conference in Kuwait City on Sunday after talks with top officials that "Saddam Hussein and his band will stand trials within a period of weeks." Asked if the United States will play any role in the trials, he said: "We have barred the Iraqi government from playing a role, how can we allow a foreign faction to have a role in Saddam Hussein's trial? No...Saddam Hussein will be tried by the Iraqi judiciary and it will issue its just sentence against him." I missed this report yesterday. In fact, in reviewing the news feeds...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 7, 2004

John Kerry, Campaign Comedian

John Kerry has a huge problem with connecting on a personal level to his audiences. It doesn't come naturally with the Boston Brahmin, and every time he tries to make a special effort, it appears forced and unnatural. Yesterday, in West Virginia, his attempt to joke around with the audience turned downright creepy: In West Virginia, Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, gave Kerry a rifle as a gift. Kerry, a self-described gun-owner and hunter, quipped: "I thank you for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me." I know that John Kerry doesn't want to assassinate George Bush, but doesn't he think about what he's saying before opening his mouth? Given the level of Bush-hatred and irrationality among the Democrats at the fringe, joking about bringing guns to a debate seems particularly irresponsible this electoral cycle. If assassination jokes are what...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Are We Encouraging Chechen Terrorists?

Vladimir Putin, obviously angry from the massacre in Beslan that left hundreds of children dead at the hands of militant Islamists, lashed out at both the European Union and at the US for refusing to take the Chechen insurgents seriously as terrorists rather than freedom fighters. Regarding American policy, Putin charged that the US encourages the ongoing rebellion by maintaining diplomatic ties to the insurgents: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that mid-level officials in the U.S. government were undermining his country's war on terrorism by supporting Chechen separatists, whom he compared to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. ... But Putin said each time Russia complained to the Bush administration about meetings held between U.S. officials and Chechen separatist representatives, the U.S. response has been "we'll get back to you" or "we reserve the right to talk with anyone we want." Putin blamed what he called a "Cold War...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

John Kerry Erases History

Two days ago, I wrote that John Kerry called John McCain (and just about everyone else at the Republican Convention) a liar, based on a press release at his website. A number of you wrote to tell me that the page had disappeared from Kerry's website, but it had mysteriously reappeared by the time I checked on it. Well, it has disappeared once more, as the Kerry campaign tries to keep its candidate from infuriating the one man who has tempered the criticism from the right in this electoral cycle. McCain, who constantly refers to his friendship with Kerry, might take the gloves off if Kerry impugns his character as he did with the Viet Nam veterans who have campaigned against Kerry. The campaign made a smart move taking down that list, especially since they never bothered to factually refute even one of the 143 statements they listed as lies,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CompUSA Makes Good, After Minimal Arm-Twisting

Ah, the power of persuasion ... After talking with a manager at the local CompUSA outlet, I convinced them that swapping out my six-week-old lemon of a laptop for a brand-new one would be considered proper customer service, rather than making me wait three weeks while Toshiba searched for the correct parts on the faulty model I brought back. I just picked up the replacement and am testing it out during my lunch break. So far, so good! Looks like I'm back in business. They even gave me my old hard drive, so my data is still intact. The maintenance agreement even starts fresh. All in all, a satisfactory resolution, and one we could have easily reached yesterday had a manager been on duty....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bush: Kerry Just A Mouthpiece (Updated - Flip/Flop Alert!)

George Bush continued to hammer John Kerry's lack of consistency on the Iraq war, and noticed that Kerry yesterday didn't just change his position -- again -- but stole one from other Democrats: President Bush said Tuesday that rival John Kerry appropriated the anti-war position of one-time presidential candidate Howard Dean in Kerry's latest criticism of the president on the war in Iraq. On Monday, Kerry described the Iraq war as "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Kerry "woke up yesterday morning with yet another new position, and this one's not even his own; it is that of his one-time rival, Howard Dean," Bush told thousands of supporters at a rally in the Kansas City suburbs. Bush said Kerry "even used the same words Howard Dean did back when he supposedly disagreed with him ... Senator Kerry flip-flops. We were right to make America safer...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Silence Of The Lions As The Lambs Weep

One of the most striking actions of the past few days has been the almost-total silence of the American media on the horrific massacre in Beslan, where over 350 people died, mostly children. Mainstream news media outlets have covered this story only in the most superficial manner; they gave much higher prominence, for instance, to the hurricanes in Florida, which killed 17 and did billions of dollars in damage. The biggest outlets that arguably could commit the most resources to the story have instead glossed over the atrocities committed by the Islamist terrorists, preferring to present the nuances of Russian politics rather than a true picture of the animalistic nature of the Beslan mass murderers. For instance, in today's coverage -- mere days after the slaughter of the children in Beslan -- the New York Times prefers to review the anger of the victims' families and its potential political impact...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Two Kerry/Edwards Campaigns For Two Americas?

For months, the Kerry campaign has made the claim (stolen from Howard Dean, naturally) that John Kerry will stand up to lobbyists and special interests and fight for the common folk. This claim, as I noted back in January, is patently ridiculous. Even back then, Kerry had taken over $640,000 in special-interest money throughout his career, including $225,000 for his presidential campaign just to that point. That didn't keep Kerry from assimilating John Edwards' rhetoric on lobbyists and special interests. On their website, Edwards uses his Two Americas theme to rail against lobbyists and their corrupting influence: We still have two governments in America: one for the insiders, the lobbyists, and the special interests, and then whatever is leftover is for you. But in the America you and I build together, we will have one government that works for younot those insiders, not those lobbyists, not those special interests but...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 8, 2004

Kitty Kelley Strikes Out At Newsweek, Time

Muckraking author Kitty Kelley, whose hack jobs on the British royal family, Elvis, and Sinatra have been widely panned, turns her guns loose on her next conservative target, George Bush. Kelley's upcoming book, The Family, reportedly contains salacious revelations about cocaine use by W at Camp David which come from his ex-sister-in-law Sharon, who has long been at odds with the Bush family. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports on the media storm gathering for the book's release: Kitty Kelley's volume on the Bush family won't be published until next week, but the White House communications director yesterday dismissed the book as "garbage" and a Republican National Committee spokeswoman said journalists should treat it as "fiction." With the author booked for numerous television interviews -- including three straight mornings on NBC's "Today," starting Monday -- "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty" is certain to generate media attention...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Canada To Allow Shari'a?

Fox reports that Canada's obsession with political correctness may wind up endorsing Shari'a law for the nation's Muslim residents: Two parties in a Canadian civil dispute, like a divorce, can opt to use a religious leader as a mediator, and the mediator's decision is binding. Canadian native tribes, Christians and Jews use this system. ... But some Canadian Muslim women fear that Muslim law, or Sharia, will be imposed on them in these civil mediations. Critics say Sharia has been used, or abused, to discriminate against women. And some Canadian Muslim women say they will be badgered into accepting decisions from conservative imams acting as mediators. "They will be oppressed in a sense because they'll be coerced into feeling they need to follow this process of binding arbitration, implementing Sharia. Otherwise they're deemed as blasphemous and labeled by the community and then where else is she to go?" said Iman...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Guardian Rants Incoherently On Terror

Talk about missing all the important lessons! The Guardian's Richard Norton-Taylor continues the benighted direction of the London Guardian with this incoherent, self-contradictory rant about how the West is losing the terror war because we aren't paying attention to poverty and illiteracy. And guess who the biggest obstacle to peace is, according to Norton-Taylor: It is hard not to conclude that one of the greatest obstacles to the kind of better world Blair says he wants - one with less cause for terrorism, even if terrorists will always be around - is the Bush administration, and notably the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. They have consistently dismissed British interests and embarrassed a prime minister who has attached himself so closely to the president with such little reward. ... We have just witnessed the latest manifestation of the so-called war on terror in the Caucasus. Further east, across the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Greyhawk Flies To Serve His Country -- And You Can Help

Readers of this blog are familiar with the terrific milblog Mudville Gazette, run by Greyhawk, an active-duty member of our armed forces. Greyhawk founded the Milblog ring and together with his fellow milbloggers provides the blogosphere with the true perspective of the fighting man and woman. Greyhawk has received new orders and needs a bit of help to keep his excellent blog going. He'll be doing some fundraising to purchase the equipment needed to continue running Mudville Gazette while on his new assignment. He's also running Blogads and some extra traffic will help him with his sales (I second that!). Make sure you drop by and help Greyhawk keep one of the blogosphere's great resources up and running....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Hill: Bush Fulfilled Obligations Each Year In TANG

The Kerry campaign and the mainstream media have played up George Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, claiming for months that Bush went AWOL while transferring to Alabama after the Air Force started phasing out the F-102 he flew for years. The Hill, a DC newspaper targeted at the political elite in the nation's capitol and hardly a bastion of conservative thought (although Byron York writes for National Review), has analyzed the new data released by Bush earlier this year, and their analysis shows a much different picture than that painted by Kerry or the media: The future president joined the Guard in May 1968. Almost immediately, he began an extended period of training. Six weeks of basic training. Fifty-three weeks of flight training. Twenty-one weeks of fighter-interceptor training. That was 80 weeks to begin with, and there were other training periods thrown in as well. It was full-time work....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

For Small Businesses, Kerry's Help Has Never Been On The Way

CQ reader Mike Maerten noticed this analysis from the Small Business Survival Committee over at Townhall.com regarding John Kerry's voting record on small-business issues over the past 10 years. Bear in mind my earlier analysis of National Journal's ratings of John Kerry during the Clinton Administration, where his votes skewed more conservative when Bill Clinton occupied the White House than when Republicans held executive power. Even during this more conservative period, John Kerry's voting record displays a remarkable hostility to small businesses: Of the 101 votes in the U.S. Senate that SBSC has rated since the 103rd Congress Senator Kerrys record is unsettling. He has voted on the side of small business a mere 13 times out of the 101 votes that SBSC rated during the past decade giving him a weak 13 percent rating on key small business issues. Senator Kerry voted against small business 94...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bush-Hitler Comparison Endorsed By Minnesota Democrats

The Bush-Hitler comparisons just keep on coming from the Democrats, who not only have no sense of history but also a tin ear when it comes to attracting centrist voters. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the state's Democratic Party franchise, offered bumper stickers to its faithful at their headquarters with the Nazi theme at the forefront: A small stack of bumper stickers at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party caught the eye of a Minnesota Republican Party official who had stopped by to deliver a letter. "Bush/Cheney -- Most hated world leaders since Hitler," proclaimed the stickers, which also carried the name of a Web site, www.changetheregime.us, according to the Associated Press. The Democrats denied culpability, but the Republican National Committee issued a statement from Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.) saying, "Someone needs to tell John Kerry that this is not the way we do things in the American heartland." After John Glenn's invocation...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Now It's Completely Unsourced

Kitty Kelley's only source for her blockbuster allegation of drug use by George W. Bush at Camp David during his father's administration strenuously denied telling Kelley any such thing, according to Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post. Not only does Sharon Bush, W's ex-sister-in-law, deny alleging the drug use but also categorically states that the accusation is false: Sharon Bush, who is divorced from the president's brother Neil, said in a statement: "I categorically deny that I ever told Kitty Kelley that George W. Bush used cocaine at Camp David or that I ever saw him use cocaine at Camp David. When Kitty Kelley raised drug use at Camp David, I responded by saying something along the lines of, 'Who would say such a thing?' "Although there have been tensions between me and various members of the Bush family, I cannot allow this falsehood to go unchallenged." Further, Sharon Bush...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 9, 2004

Sadr Loses Momentum, Cash After Najaf

Part-time rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the 21st century reincarnation of Enver Pasha in his military skills, has seen his position erode considerably since his ejection from Najaf and the Imam Ali shrine. The AP's Hamza Hendawi reports that Sadr's once-rabid militia has lost its zeal and the loss of senior members undermines their ability to rebuild: The erosion of some of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's status showed recently when his supporters gathered outside his office here. They chanted a prayer for their leader but showed none of the zeal that marked similar rituals just weeks ago. ... [T]he mood among al-Sadr's followers has become somber. Gone is the swagger of the men loathed and feared by many people here for bringing death and destruction to one of Islam's holiest cities. ... Some al-Sadr aides believe joining the mainstream would transform a charismatic movement into just another political party and cost...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Shrinks The Map

John Kerry's campaign has shrunk the electoral map despite promising for months to come out of the conventions fighting in every area of the country. Their new ad strategy only includes 14 states, possibly adding in another seven next month, according to the AP's political reporters Ron Fournier and Liz Sidoti: After months of pledging to contest President Bush in every region of the country, Sen. John Kerry and Democrats are limiting television advertising to 14 battleground states as the fall campaign opens. The shift bumps GOP-leaning Missouri, Colorado, Arizona and several Southern states off the political playing field at least for now and gives Bush reason to consider moving money from some of those states to others that historically trend Democratic. Of course, Kerry's allies in 527s may choose to run ads in the other states, but it's revealing that the campaign has given up on more...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Islamists Attempt To Throw More Elections

Islamic terrorists have apparently attacked the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia this morning, killing eight people and again injecting themselves into two election cycles: At least eight people have been killed and about 100 injured in a massive blast outside the Australian embassy in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. Jakarta's police chief said a suicide car bomb may have caused the blast, and linked it to bomb expert Azahari Husin. ... Police chief General Da'i Bachtiar said police believed the explosion was caused by a car bomb, similar to those used to attack the Marriott Hotel last year and the Bali nightclubs in 2002. Mr Bachtiar said it bore the hallmark of militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which is widely blamed for both bombings. The BBC's report notes that not only does this bombing attack one of America's staunch allies in the war on terror but also comes on the eve...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Lullaby For A Kyoto Supporter

Much has been made by George Bush's political opponents about his rejection of the Kyoto accord, limiting the US in greenhouse-gas production, even though the Senate rejected the treaty unanimously during Clinton's term. John Kerry claims it to be one of the primary reasons his favorite country, France, refused to support the US when it came to toppling Saddam Hussein. It's instructive, then, to see how France's Jacques Chirac demonstrates his personal support for global-warming activism in his daily routine. Is France really committed to implementing controls on the unecessary emissions of greenhouse gases? Perhaps the French people are, but Chirac's support only extends to the limits of his beauty sleep: The most direct route from Paris to Moscow by aircraft is to fly due east. Unless you are President Chirac, that is. The French premier likes his sleep so much that, en route to a Black Sea summit with...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Who Forged Bush Records?

CBS News and 60 Minutes claims that it has documents from George Bush's TANG service that prove undue influence had been used to get Bush his excellent ratings. As one of the exhibits, CBS produced this internal memo, dated but unsigned and with no letterhead, stating: "Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job. Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama either." As Power Line notes and Free Republic first saw, something is terribly amiss with this memo. Take a look at "187th". The suffix is represented in superscript, which in 1973 could only be accomplished with a typesetting device -- which in 1973 would have cost thousands of dollars, making it extremely...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Point In Three Years

The Labor Department delivered more good news on the economic front today, announcing that the level of new unemployment claims fell last week to 319,000 -- the lowest level since December 2001: For the week ending Sept. 4, new applications for unemployment insurance dropped by a seasonally adjusted 44,000 from the previous week to 319,000, the lowest level since July 3, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The decline of 44,000 was the largest decrease since the week ending Dec. 8, 2001. ... The latest snapshot of the layoffs climate was better than analysts were expecting. They were forecasting a smaller drop of around 17,000 for last week. "We're getting there. When you look at the underlying trend, the jobs picture is improving," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research Corp. Bill Clinton's advice to Kerry to focus on the economy looks more and more like a losing proposition. The economy...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Killian's Son Suspicious Of CBS Documents

The son of the officer who supposedly wrote memos in 1972 and 1973 describing political pressure to make George Bush look good in the TANG says that he has suspicions about the authenticity of the documents: The authenticity of newly unearthed memos stating that George W. Bush failed to meet standards of the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War was questioned Thursday by the son of the late officer who reportedly wrote the memos. ... Gary Killian, who served in the Guard with his father and retired as a captain in 1991, said one of the memos, signed by his father, appeared legitimate. But he doubted his father would have written another, unsigned memo which said there was pressure to "sugar coat" Bush's performance review. "It just wouldn't happen," he said. "The only thing that can happen when you keep secret files like that are bad things. ......

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

All Hail Power Line -- Thank God We're On The Same Side!

Just wanted to give a shout out to my good friends at Power Line, who have been all over the TANG forgeries sent out by CBS news. Keep checking back on this post as they continue to update it with breaking news on this story. Edward R. Murrow still lives; he just took up residence at Power Line after leaving the Tiffany Network in disgust. I just took a peek and saw that their post, The Sixty-First Minute, has over 270 Trackback pings. That has to be some kind of a record, doesn't it?...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

"Overwhelmed"

Stephen Hayes writes in a column just made public at the Weekly Standard that a group of independent document experts express serious doubts about the authenticity of the memos CBS used as proof of their allegations against the President. Hayes notes that one of the experts is a self-described Kerry supporter who nonetheless says he is "99% sure" that the memos were created well after their dating: DOCUMENTS CITED Wednesday by 60 Minutes in a widely-publicized expose of George W. Bush's National Guard Service are very likely forgeries, according to several experts on document authenticity and typography. The documents--four memos from Killian to himself or his files written in 1972 and 1973--appear to indicate that Bush refused or ignored orders to have a physical exam required to continue flying. CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported the segment and sourced the documents this way: "60 Minutes has obtained a number of...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

More Disastrous Polling Results For Kerry At ABC/WaPo

ABC News and the Washington Post have released the results of their latest polling in the presidential race, and they confirm that John Kerry has headed downhill faster than a runaway eighteen-wheeler burning through its brakes. Kerry, who had led by two points after his convention, now trails by nine among likely voters, 52-43, for an eleven-point freefall. But even more significant than the overall vote result are the underlying polling, which shows how complete Kerry's collapse has been. For instance, 84% of Bush supporters claim to support the President rather than just casting an anti-Kerry vote. Bush's numbers on that question have been remarkably consistent for the past six months. So, too, have Kerry's -- but that should give him no comfort. Only 41% of Kerry's votes are a positive affirmation of his candidacy, while more than half, 55%, plan to vote against Bush rather than for Kerry. And...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners, Finally!

Rule #1: Don't have a Caption Contest that finishes on a travel day. Rule #2: Have e-mail backed up before laptop crashes, taking with it the list of winners. Rule #3 ... well, I'm sure if I look around, I can find Rule #3. Anyway, thanks to Bear's e-mail getting rediscovered on my replacement laptop and the patience of all those who entered, I finally have an opportunity to present you with the winners! Since everyone's probably forgotten the picture from two weeks ago, here's a reminder -- a strangely unsettling reminder: Here are the winners! Captain's Award (Watch Your Back 'Cause They'll Turn on You) - Retired Military: John Kerry on Nov 3rd "Theresa, does this mean I won't get to ride on Air Force One?" "Shut up, John. And oh yeah, I filed for divorce, Mr. War Hero." You Have The Conn #1 (In Touch With Joe Average)...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

More Indications That CBS Documents Are Fraudulent

As the documents from CBS get wider dissemination and the questions mount about the typefaces and fonts used, other eyes have noticed other discrepancies. A CQ reader who spent decades in the Air National Guard but who prefers to remain anonymous notices the following problems with the memo purportedly ordering Lt. Bush to submit for a medical exam: 1. The format used in this letter, dated 04 May 1972, which was allegedly prepared/published 16 months prior to Lieutenant Bushs request for discharge, is completely wrong, as the letter is formatted in a manner that was not used by the Air Force until the very late 1980s/early 1990s. 2. The terminology MEMORANDUM FOR was never used in the 1970s. 3. The abbreviations in this letter are incorrectly formatted, in that a period is used after military rank (1st Lt.). According to the Air Force style manual, periods are not used in...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Mainstream Media Notices The Fraud At CBS

Any hope that the mainstream media would protect its own and ignore the obvious forgeries coming from CBS dies on the pages of tomorrow's Washington Post. Michael Dobbs and Mike Allen report that several news agencies hired documents experts who concluded that the documents were likely faked: After doubts about the documents began circulating on the Internet yesterday morning, The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned. William Flynn, a forensic document specialist with 35 years of experience in police crime labs and private practice, said the CBS documents raise suspicions because of their use of proportional spacing techniques. Documents generated by the kind of typewriters that were widely used in 1972 space letters...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Is Dan Rather Really Shell-Shocked?

Drudge reports that CBS has launched an internal investigation into the faked documents that 60 Minutes used to attempt a smear job on George Bush: CBS NEWS executives have launched an internal investigation into whether its premiere news program 60 MINUTES aired fabricated documents relating to Bush's National Guard service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. ... The source, who asked not to be named, described CBSNEWS anchor and 60 MINUTES correspondent Dan Rather as being privately "shell-shocked" by the increasingly likelihood that the documents in question were fraudulent. If true, CBS News still has not updated its web site to inform its readers that the documents may be unreliable. If The Dan was truly "shell-shocked", wouldn't he want to pull the story off the Tiffany Network's web site in order to keep a false story from spreading any further? Failing that, he could at least insist that some mention be...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 10, 2004

From Here To Oblivion

John Kerry had enough problems over the last five weeks trying to keep his head above water after suffering an almost unprecedented meltdown in the polls. CBS' embarassment over the forged documents wouldn't have been anything but an albatross around their already-sinking necks anyway, but the Prowler may have added the millstone that takes them to the bottom. Published shortly after midnight and inaccessible at the moment, The American Spectator column claims that the forged documents came directly from the Kerry campaign: More than six weeks ago, an opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee received documents purportedly written by President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard squadron commander, the late Col. Jerry Killian. The oppo researcher claimed the source was "a retired military officer." According to a DNC staffer, the documents were seen by both senior staff members at the DNC, as well as the Kerry campaign....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Is The Chicago Tribune Cleansing Its Archives Of The CBS Scam?

NOTE: This post has been substantially updated -- see below. The blog Threshold -55 does some crack investigative work on the Chicago Tribune, which appears to be attempting to "disappear" the Killian-memo story from its archives. Beth and Terry explain how the ChiTrib (whose parent, I believe, also owns the LA Times) keys its archives to allow for searches and how that has been manipulated here: A Threshold -55 examination of the Chicago Tribune website reveals that the newspaper appears to have quietly removed all references to a September 10th front page article that called into question President Bush's military service during Vietnam. The article, "Questions Raised About Bush Guard Service" has been completely replaced with a new article titled, "Bush Piloted Guard Trainers Before He Quit". The new one tries to paint the President as a poor flyer who frequently required multiple approaches to land his jet. The removed...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Taking Penal Privatization A Bit Too Far?

The head of the US Interests Section in Havana has decided to build a replica of a Cuban jail in his back yard as a publicity event to highlight the human-rights abuses of Fidel Castro, apparently sparing no expense for authenticity: The chief U.S. diplomat in Havana built a model of a Cuban prison cell in his backyard to draw attention to the island's human rights record, drawing fierce criticism from the speaker of Cuba's parliament. James Cason, head of the U.S. Interests Section here, presented the structure, a model of what he said is a typical solitary holding cell in a Cuban prison, during a small diplomatic reception at his home Wednesday night. ... A little over six feet high and three feet wide, the holding cell of wood and metal features a drain on the floor for a toilet, a plastic bowl of food, a sheet for a...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The AP: Self-Contradictory Stories Are Our Specialty (UPDATE)

Matt Kelley writes a story that I first noticed from Threshold -55 (see below) that attempts to cast aspersions on the flight skills of George Bush while also moving the forgery story forward, which provides a textbook case of burying the lede: George W. Bush began flying a two-seat training jet more frequently and twice required multiple attempts to land a one-seat fighter in the weeks just before he quit flying for the Texas Air National Guard in 1972, his pilot logs show. The logs show Bush flew nine times in T-33 trainers in February and March 1972, including eight times in one week and four of those only as a co-pilot. Bush, then a first lieutenant, flew in T-33s only twice in the previous six months and three times in the year ending July 31, 1971. The records also show Bush required two passes to land an F-102A fighter...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CNN: Dan Rather Provided The Authentication

Power Line notes a rare Dan Rather appearance on CNN, where Rather personally vouched for the authenticity of the Killian memos despite all evidence of their fraudulent nature. He also told CNN viewers that there is no need for any investigation, apparently believing that his own personal credibility can make up for the fact that errors in both content and typography unequivocally demonstrate them to be fakes. No transcript is available as of yet, although hopefully CNN will provide one soon. However, it moves the question from "how did CBS allow such obvious and poor forgeries to form the heart of their story" to "how long has Dan Rather been able to bypass any editorial control at CBS"? Because Rather, it would seem from this new statement, forced the story on the air without doing any journalistic work to verify the facts, something that even bloggers routinely do before writing....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Rather's Source Says Documents Are A Fraud

Via Instapundit, the CBS meltdown continues. Just hours after Dan Rather told the nation that he personally vouched for the authenticity of the Killian memos due to the preponderance of supporting evidence surrounding them, the "preponderance" told ABC News that he thinks the documents are forged: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt." Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud". So now we find out that not only did CBS fail to show the documents to the one...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 11, 2004

Washington Times: Killian Memo Signatures Forged

Rowan Scarborough at the Washington Times reports this morning that the signatures on the memos CBS produced to bolster its claim of preferential treatment for George Bush during his National Guard duty are forged: Eugene P. Hussey, a certified forensic document examiner in Washington state, said yesterday there is another flaw in the CBS memos. Mr. Hussey studied the known signatures of Col. Killian on Air Force documents, and two signatures on documents dated 1972 and 1973 that aired on "60 Minutes" Wednesday night. "It is my limited opinion that Killian did not sign those documents," Mr. Hussey told The Washington Times. He said he uses the phrase "limited opinion" because he does not have the original documents. He, like other experts interviewed by the press, relied on copies of originals first obtained by CBS. Dan Rather had earlier tried to pre-empt any debate about the documents by producing the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Remembering 9/11

Each generation shares a "Where were you then" moment, an event so awful that its memory sears itself into the collective psyche and the circumstances surrounding one's first awareness of it can be instantly recalled. For my grandparents, that event was Pearl Harbor, and for my parents it was the assassination of John Kennedy. My generation had two within four years of each other -- the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan and the accidental destruction of the space shuttle Challenger. And yet none of these really quite compares to the impact that 9/11 had on Americans. Perhaps only Pearl Harbor is analogous, but still not quite the same. For the first time in almost 200 years, Americans had suffered massive casualties in an attack on our homeland, something we thought we could defend with our massive Navy and Air Force. But it wasn't just the attack or the deaths; it...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

60 Minutes Trolling For Left-Wing Political Groups

CBS has not yet learned its lesson from the Killian forgery debacle, according to CQ reader Retired Military. RM saw the following notice in the Killeen Daily Herald's on-line user forums, which is the newspaper for the community near Fort Hood. Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson are scouting for 60 Minutes producers, who want to hear any stories they can find that cast the military in a bad light: Dear Military Families, We received the email below from Leslie Cockburn, a producer for CBS's 60 Minutes. She is looking into the lack of supplies, equipment, maintenance of vehicles/equipment, etc. in Iraq. If you are interested in contacting her, her email is LCCockburn@aol.com and her phone number in Washington DC is 202 342 9488. In Peace and Solidarity, Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson, for Military Families Speak Out www.mfso.org www.bringthemhomenow.org According to this post, Cockburn's objective approach to CBS News investigations...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CBS Voted Against Ben Barnes Before They Voted For Him

Dan Rather interviewed former Texas legislator and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes in order to establish that Barnes used undue influence to get George Bush into the Texas Air National Guard. Rather didn't mention the fact that Barnes has been a major contributor to the Democrats and to the Kerry campaign; over the past five years, he has generated almost a half-million dollars for the DNC and John Kerry, as I reported earlier. Rather treated Barnes as a reluctant witness instead of the partisan he is. However, CBS News did not always treat Barnes with such kid gloves. New Jersey blogger Just Dan notes that as late as June, CBS looked at Barnes more critically as a potential beneficiary of a John Kerry victory: The Kerry campaign has begun tracking major fundraisers using a Trustee Leader Board, CBS News has learned. While keeping tabs on fundraisers is nothing new, the twist...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caption Contest #26: The Buck Stops Here Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another edition of the Captain's Caption Contest! Since I've managed to mess up the timing of the last couple of Caption Contests, I've decided to give John Kerry a rest for this week and take the shots myself. (Besides, his week's going so bad that I don't think we could possibly provide captions that adequately describes the meltdown!) Here's my picture from our hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which accompanied this article on my RNC blogging: In order to pre-empt an entire series of attacks from one of our regular contributors (and to help promote his book again), this week's guest judge will be Steve Filippini. Steve wrote a hilarious book about his experiences as a technician for alarm companies, so get yourself a copy and check it out! As always, put your best caption entries in the comments section -- NO...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Support Pam Wolf And Laugh At Captain Ed's Golf Game

Self-imposed humiliation seems to be a theme for this weekend at Captain's Quarters -- I made myself the focus of your derision in the Caption Contest; Dan Rather swears that documents from 1972 and 1973 with computerized typesetting and talking about pressure coming from retired generals are authentic; and last I looked, John Kerry is still running for president. Instead of fighting the trend, I'm upping the ante by playing golf on Sunday at a fundraiser for Pam Wolf, the Republican candidate for Minnesota State House in District 51B. For a minimal entry fee -- $30 covers everything, including a small donation for Pam's campaign -- you can play nine holes, get a sleeve of golf balls, have a great lunch, and watch the most hilarious activity you've ever seen: Captain Ed playing golf. We're on the Brightwood Hills Golf Course between 1 - 4 PM Sunday, and you can...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry: GOP Racists, Looking To Suppress Black Votes

John Kerry told the Congressional Black Caucus that the Republicans want to suppress the black vote in November, repeating the canard that a million black votes went uncounted in 2000: "We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus. "We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election." Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day. "What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

NoKo "Anniversary" Mushroom Cloud Spotted By China

Two days ago, spotters in Beijing reported a large mushroom cloud in an area of North Korea where the Kim Jong-Il regime stations missiles, the Associated Press reports: A large explosion rocked the northern part of North Korea, sending a huge mushroom cloud into the air on an important anniversary of the communist regime, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Sunday. Citing an unidentified source in Beijing, Yonhap said the explosion happened on Thursday in Yanggang province near the border with China. The damage and crater left by the explosion in Kim Hyong Jik county was big enough to be noticed by a satellite, the source said. "We understand that a mushroom-shaped cloud about 2.2 miles to 2.5 miles in diameter was monitored during the explosion," Yonhap quoted an unidentified diplomatic source in Seoul as saying. The timing of the explosion would indicate that it was no accident. The regime...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 12, 2004

Rather's Band Of Bloggers

Allah has a picture up that expresses Dan Rather's isolation after the document-forgery debacle that he brought on himself and CBS. Thank Allah for Photoshop and his delicious sense of humor, and while you're at it, give up a Spasebo to The Commissar, who made the image clickable. UPDATE: Yeah, my Russian is almost non-existent. That's why I originally said "goodbye" rather than "thank you" to the Commissar. I fixed it now....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Nader Getting Nuttier

Frustration rarely brings out the best in people. Many times, the stress causes people to get more extreme and lose context for their issues. That's about the only charitable explanation I can make for Ralph Nader's remarks yesterday in remembrance of 9/11, in which he not only asserted that the US has no enemies but that terrorism is overrated: Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader told supporters Saturday that a far larger number of Americans die each year from poverty, hunger, pollution, dangerous jobs or poor access to high-quality health care than terrorism. "Who weeps for these people?" Nader asked before remarking that it would take a press release from al-Qaida to get Democrats and Republicans to pay attention to the nation's social ills. Nader met with about 175 supporters in a Philadelphia church as many Americans observed the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Despite those attacks, Nader...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

LA Times: Democrats In Disarray

The Los Angeles Times is the latest mainstream news media source to write about the breakdown of direction in the John Kerry campaign. Matea Gold and Mark Barabak report that panic is rising among Democrats in their candidate's inability to stay on message and the split among his senior advisors that has created a strategy of vacillation: Even as he fights to regain momentum in the presidential race, Sen. John F. Kerry faces a debate among advisors over the tone and content of his message, according to insiders and other Democrats familiar with the campaign's discussions. ... Advisors to Kerry dismiss suggestions their internal debates have hamstrung the campaign, calling them "routine discussions." They maintain that the "fundamentals" of the White House race remain in their favor, arguing that Bush's lukewarm approval ratings and the nation's slow economic recovery create an environment in which Kerry can quickly gain ground. The...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

WaPo Tries Rehabilitating Teresa Heinz Kerry

Evelyn Nieves tries her best to rebuild the reputation of Teresa Heinz Kerry in today's Washington Post, offering laughable defenses for her erratic behavior during the campaign. While reading her article, you can almost feel the breeze coming from Nieves's spin: Teresa Heinz Kerry was talking, and so the entire room at the St. Moritz restaurant was dead silent, the back rows leaning forward as if the floor itself were tilted. This held for nearly an hour, the whole time Heinz Kerry spoke. Her voice was so soft that pity the person who coughed. People would turn to the offending noisemaker with faces that said "shush -- or leave." Nieves uses this speech on health-care proposals to paint a picture of an audience enraptured by Teresa's "wonkish" speech. However, a much better explanation is that Heinz Kerry is a poor public speaker, a quality that has not gone unnoticed before,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caught In The Act Of Not Being AWOL!

The Decatur Daily (Alabama) published an interview this morning with former Air Force Sgt. James Copeland, who insists that he saw George W. Bush doing his required drills at Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Montgomery, AL during the period CBS and Democrats claim he was AWOL: Copeland, who lives in Hartselle, retired from the Air Force on Jan. 31, 1980. He was the disbursement accounting supervisor, a full-time position, for Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Montgomery from Oct. 28, 1971, to Oct. 27, 1975. His office was less than 100 yards from the hangar where Bush performed drills. Rumors say Bush went AWOL while assisting Winton "Red" Blount in an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate focus on 1972 and 1973. Copeland, 65, remembers meeting Bush on two occasions. He does not remember the precise dates. On one occasion, Copeland said, Bush and Lt. Col. John "Bill" Calhoun came...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Russia Moves Towards US After Terrorist Attacks

Russia, reeling from a flurry of terrorist attacks that have left hundreds dead, signalled today that it intends to pursue closer ties to the US rather than Europe based on anti-terrorism priorities, according to Reuters: Russia will revamp its security forces and seek international cooperation to hunt militants in the wake of a school siege which killed more than 300 people nine days ago, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday. ... He added that the United States was best placed to understand Russia's situation because it had also been the target of major attacks, and he said he had discussed the issue with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld twice this week. "In this sense it seems easier to find grounds for an understanding with the United States than with some European states," Ivanov said. France and the Netherlands angered Russia by asking for an explanation of what had happened at the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

When You Start Losing R.W. Apple ...

The New York Times runs an amazingly balanced analysis from the notoriously partisan R. W. Apple, who usually only comes second to Robert Fisk in blogosphere disdain for his slanted pieces. Today, however, even Apple can't work his magic for John Kerry in a look at how badly the Democrat has stumbled in Ohio, where according to Apple, all indicators point to a great opportunity for Kerry: Everything seemed to be in place for a powerful run by Senator John Kerry in Ohio in the stretch drive after Labor Day. Al Gore lost the state by 175,000 votes in 2000, despite having pulled all his advertising early in October. Ohio has shed 250,000 jobs since George W. Bush became president. Rocked by scandals and an unpopular tax increase, the statehouse Republicans, from Gov. Bob Taft down the line, have been in unaccustomed disarray for weeks. At the end of last...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 13, 2004

New Smear, Same As The Old Smear, Only Lamer

Matt Drudge reports that the Democrats have prepared a new smear on George Bush regarding his National Guard service that is not only pathetic and laughable, but also reveals the incredible ignorance of the military of Bush's opponents: Faster than a CBS eye can blink, dogged Dems are set to take to the airwaves anew hoping to keep questions about President Bush's National Guard duty in play, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. Candidate Kerry apparently has rejected former President Clinton's advice not to get further locked in a 2004 Vietnam quagmire. "George W. Bush's campaign literature claimed that he 'served in the U.S. Air Force.' The only problem? He didn't," slams a new DNC press release set for distribution. ... "George Bush has a clear pattern of lying about his military service," DNC Communications Director Jano Cabrera blasts in the new release. "From 1978 to the present day, George Bush...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Shooting Par For Pam

Yesterday I had the pleasure to spend the afternoon with the terrific folks behind Pam Wolf's run for the Minnesota state House in District 51B, playing golf at her fundraiser. Despite my golf handicap -- which is my complete lack of talent for the game -- I even managed to make par. (On one hole.) Pam, I found out, is not just a schoolteacher but also a golf instructor. I asked her for a few tips and she said, "Vote Republican." Great advice, especially this year! You couldn't ask for a nicer day to play golf or a nicer group of people to walk a course. Pam's campaign manager, Brian, was my partner for the tournament, and fortunately both of us had the same attitude towards winning. Afterwards, everyone had hamburgers and hotdogs, and chatted about Pam's district, the issues involved, the seeming disappearance of her opponent (Connie Bernardi), and...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Democrat 527 Paints Kerry As "Metro"?

As I've been reading the on-line newspapers, especially the New York Times, I've been seeing an ad campaign for something called Retro vs Metro. The ads feature a bad picture of George Bush with the label Retro, and a smiling John Kerry with the label Metro. The first impression this ad gives is that Kerry has co-opted yet another part of Howard Dean's campaign and declared himself a 'metrosexual', or at least a Democratic 527 has done that for him. Another ad laughably asks, "Smarter bombs or smarter kids?", apparently unaware that the two are not mutually exclusive. I looked more into the website and discovered Retrovsmetro.org, a smug, self-congratulatory site that scorns religious expression unless it's superficial, and advances the most bigoted impressions of rural and suburban America as anything you're likely to read anywhere. Here's what the creators have to say about Retro America: On the Retro side...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Typography Questions About Silver Star Citations

Now that the entire blogosphere has had a crash course on typography and word processing, CQ reader Jeff C. spotted something interesting at the John Kerry campaign web site. Kerry's campaign has made available two of the three separate citations for the single Silver Star for his engagement of 28 February 1969, the Hyland and Lehman citations (the Zumwalt citation is not provided). Take a look at the first citation in the scan, which is the older Hyland citation. Two odd observations jump out at me. First, the entire citation is typed in italics, which strikes me as strange, for military use. The second oddity, though, is the fact that this document is also typed in a proportional font with fairly obvious kerning. For a demonstration of how that differs from a standard typewriter product, simply look at the Lehman citation on the second page of the PDF, which uses...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Putin Moves To Consolidate Power In Russia

In a move that has been widely anticipated, Russian President Vladimir Putin made sweeping changes to the Russian electoral system, citing the massacre in Beslan to excuse the emergency action: The Kremlin leader, speaking in the wake of the hostage crisis in Beslan, told top officials he wanted a new election law to limit the number of political parties and to have full control over nominating regional leaders. ... The president later issued a decree giving the government two weeks to draft proposals to deal with emergencies and a month to prepare "appropriate measures on foreseeing and preventing terrorism in any form." In acting to limit the number of political parties and to force all seats in the Duma to be elected directly from their lists, Putin hopes to contain any radical elements from blocking his legislative programs and causing any disruption in his executive power. It also will have...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

US Finally Pushes IAEA To The UN On Iranian Nukes

After two years of allowing the EU-3 to vacillate on Iranian defiance of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the US has decided to push the Internation Atomic Energy Agency to take Iranian violations to the UN Security Council, where serious economic and military sanctions could result: Buoyed by growing European support, the United States lobbied the U.N. atomic watchdog agency Monday to send Iran before the U.N. Security Council for refusing to freeze work that can produce nuclear weapons. A European diplomat said Washington had revised a resolution originally drafted by France, Germany and Britain, adding an Oct. 31 deadline and toughening language meant to force Iran to dispel all suspicions it is trying to make nuclear arms in violation of treaty commitments. The draft, summarized by the diplomat for The Associated Press, demands "complete, immediate and unrestricted access" to all sites and information requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Dan Rather: Lower-Case 'L' Means We Win

Ratherbiased.com has an instant transcript of Dan Rather's latest evasion of the charges that he used forgeries in a crude attempt to smear George Bush. After noting, finally, that not all of the critics of the documents are "political partisans", Rather latches onto a very arcane defense in order to establish their authenticity: Rather: Richard katz, a software designer found other indications in the documents. He noticed the lower case l is used in documents instead of the actual numeral one. That would be difficult to reproduce on the computer today. If you were doing this a week ago or a month ago on a normal laser jet printer, it wouldn't work. The font wouldn't be available to you. Really? I could also note that the Selectric had a number 1 as well as the lower-case l, unlike some other typewriters of the time. If you think that authenticates the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Silver Star Spot Report Surfaces

The spot report for John Kerry's Silver Star action has resurfaced at Bandit's Hideout, and it affirms the story told by the Swiftvets while contradicting the later two versions of his citation. Bandit, who has done yeoman work on Kerry's Viet Nam narrative, has posted scans of the two-page document from Newscentral.tv. Fox News reports that this spot-action report was written by Kerry himself, ironically, since it supports the Swiftvet version of events for the engagement. I've transcribed the relevant portion here: ...While troops conducted sweep, PCF 94 and 23 movefauimkiver [sic] towards area from which Army advisor reported gunshots. PCF 43 remained at original ambush site to provide support for troops. PCF 94 and 23 proceeded to VQ 984831 and then turned to return to PCF 43 location. At VQ 984830 a B-40 rocket exploded in water close aboard PCF 94 blowing out window frame. Both units received heavy...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Badgers For Bush

USA Today reports that Wisconsin has started to tip towards George Bush, who has opened an eight-point lead in a state Al Gore carried by a hair in 2000, according to a new USAT/CNN/Gallup poll: President Bush has widened his lead over Democrat John Kerry in the battleground state of Wisconsin, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows. ... The newest poll should hearten Republicans. President Bush holds a lead of 8 percentage points among likely voters and a lead of 4 points among the larger group of registered voters. The week before the Republican National Convention in New York City, Bush held a 3-percentage point lead over his challenger Kerry. Now, that lead has ballooned to 8 points. His edge is within the poll's margin of error. But the momentum in the state in Bush's direction and the fact he has gotten over the 50% threshold is troubling to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Washington Post: CBS Is Toast

Michael Dobbs and Howard Kurtz continue the Washington Post's tough look at the Killian forgeries promoted by CBS and Dan Rather as "authentic", even as late as today, as both their typography and their content clearly show them to be fraudulent. Now their expert witness has recanted his support, leaving Rather twisting in the wind: The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves. "There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals. That makes two "experts" cited by CBS and Rather who have backpedaled furiously in the face...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Garbo Speaks! The Generalissimo Blogs!

Hey, our favorite radio producer has finally decided to hang a shingle for himself in the blogosphere. Make way for Duane's new blog, Radioblogger, which is off to an auspicious start. Duane advises to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," but in Duane's case, that's poor advice. I've blogrolled him and you'll want to check him out on a regular basis. UPDATE: Don't forget about our other favorite radio guy, too. UPDATE II: Fixed the link to Chumley's site, now that he has gone pro with his hosting ......

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 14, 2004

Pinch Decries Debate Tone While Going Hyperbolic

The New York Times' publisher, Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, whined to a Kansas State University audience about the tone of public debate yesterday, saying that news organizations attempting to provide objective coverage face unprecedented cynicism: The publisher of The New York Times complained Monday about what he called a cheapening of the public debate but said he thinks news organizations can improve the situation. Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., speaking at Kansas State University, said newspapers and broadcast stations that try to give unbiased information face increased skepticism and even cynicism from the public. Cynicism? You don't say! Sulzberger mentions the Jayson Blair scandal, in which a favored reporter took advantage of a lack of leadership in the newsroom to file a string of fictional reports despite numerous indications of his fraudulent behavior. But Pinch must be suffering from massive self-delusion if he thinks that Jayson Blair is the root of the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Going After The Senility Vote

The Washington Post takes a look at a little-discussed phenomenon and explores the ethical and Constitutional implications of the senile voter. Shankar Vendantam uses some disturbing anecdotal evidence to make the point that, in a population skewing older, more voters may simply be incapable of casting a ballot and are vulnerable to manipulation: Florida neurologist Marc Swerdloff was taken aback when one of his patients with advanced dementia voted in the 2000 presidential election. The man thought it was 1942 and Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. The patient's wife revealed that she had escorted her husband into the booth. "I said 'Did he pick?' and she said 'No, I picked for him,' " Swerdloff said. "I felt bad. She essentially voted twice" in the Florida election, which gave George W. Bush a 537-vote victory and the White House. Vedantam indulges in some poor structural composition; the patient's wife didn't cause...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Whiskey Alert!

For all you Whiskey fans out there, I've just heard from my globetrotting partner in crime here at Captain's Quarters. She's established herself in a new, undisclosed location and getting caught up with her Internet connection. We should hear from her as early as this weekend ... and believe me, no one will be happier than me!...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

IAEA Dithers

After the US finally started talking tough about Iran's nuclear research and development and the EU stiffened its own backbone this past week, the focus shifted to the International Atomic Energy Agency for completion of its investigation and inspection of Iranian nuclear efforts. The West seems to agree in principle to a deadline of October 31 for Iranian compliance with its non-proliferation responsibilities. The IAEA, on the other hand, argues that deadlines are meaningless altogether, revealing the uselessness of the agency and its head, Mohammed ElBaradei, in combating proliferation and its connections to terrorism: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Tuesday that he cannot guarantee his probe of Iran's suspect nuclear activities will be complete by November, the deadline sought by the United States and its European allies. Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also repeated that his investigation has not definitely established...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Another Clintonista Comes Aboard Hair France

The John Kerry campaign announced another addition to its advisory staff -- Mike McCurry, the former Clinton press secretary whose tenure preceded Joe Lockhart's, another recent addition. In a petty cruelty, Kerry's increasingly overshadowed and overmatched communications director Stephanie Cutter made the announcement: Sen. John Kerry on Tuesday added Bill Clinton's former press secretary, Mike McCurry, to his campaign, picking up yet another adviser who worked for the two-time Democratic presidential winner. McCurry will travel with Kerry as a non-paid senior adviser for the final weeks of the campaign. One senior Kerry aide said McCurry will help keep the candidate's comments focused on his daily message. Another said his role will be to make sure the traveling press corps knows what Kerry is doing and why. Either way, the hiring is an acknowledgment that Kerry and his team have failed to communicate a concise, persuasive argument. McCurry starts Wednesday. It...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

ABC: CBS Ignored Experts It Hired On Documents

ABC Evening News continues to chase down its competitor, CBS, on the Killian forgeries. Tonight, they broadcast an expose that alleges that CBS ignored the advice of several document experts who tried to warn them that the Killian memos were faked: ABC's Brian Ross interviewed the two experts who CBS hired to validate the National Guard documents and reports they ignored concerns they raised prior to the CBS News broadcast. "I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply," Emily Will told Ross. "I did not authenticate anything and I don't want it to be misunderstood that I did," Linda James told Ross. Ross reports 2 experts told ABC News today that even the most advanced typewriter available in 1972 could not have produced the documents. Up to now, we assumed that CBS ran with the forgeries not out of malice as much as avarice and ignorance....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Die Welt: Syria Used Chemical Weapons In Darfur

Channel News Asia reports that tomorrow's edition of the German paper Die Welt will publish allegations that Syria used chemical weapons in Darfur: Syria tested chemical weapons on civilians in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region in June and killed dozens of people. The German daily Die Welt newspaper, in an advance release of its Wednesday edition, citing unnamed western security sources, said that injuries apparently caused by chemical arms were found on the bodies of the victims. ... Die Welt said the sources had indicated that the weapons tests were undertaken following a military exercise between Syria and Sudan. Syrian officers were reported to have met in May with Sudanese military leaders in a Khartoum suburb to discuss the possibility of improving cooperation between their armies. According to Die Welt, the Syrians had suggested close cooperation on developing chemical weapons, and it was proposed that the arms be tested on...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 15, 2004

CBS Reporter: We Have The Burden Of Proof

Drudge links to a Sioux City (IA) Journal interview with Bob Schieffer, host of the CBS show Face the Nation and their longtime Washington correspondent. Schieffer distances himself from both Rather and his network by acknowledging that CBS has to either prove the memos are genuine or withdraw their story: CBS News' Bob Schieffer said Tuesday he hopes the network does more reporting to definitively prove the authenticity of memos 60 Minutes II received about President Bush's service in the Air National Guard. "I think we have to find some way to show our viewers they are not forgeries," Schieffer, CBS' chief Washington correspondent and host of the network's "Face the Nation," said at a news conference in Sioux City. "I don't know how we're going to do that without violating the confidentiality of sources." I believe this is the first attributed source within the Tiffany Network to acknowledge on...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Viet Nam Vet: Kerry Pressured Me To Lie In 1971

Fox News picks up on a story that was first uncovered by Bandit and River Rat last month. Steve Pitkin, a Viet Nam veteran who testified to wartime atrocities in John Kerry's Winter Soldier investigation, now claims in a sworn affadavit that Kerry and other WS leaders pressured him to lie about war crimes in order to further their cause: Steven Pitkin, an Army combat veteran, told FOX News that Kerry coached him and others to say they had witnessed war crimes, even after Pitkin told Kerry that he had not. "Before they started the camera, they told me, 'We need you to speak about the atrocities that happened over there.' The whole company line that I initially came out and said, I was coached to say that over and over again," Pitkin said. Pitkin's new statements present a problem for Kerry, if true. Kerry has recently tried blowing off...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bush's Lambeau Leap?

Jam VanderHei looks to an incident in Green Bay last month, which I noted at the time, to explain Kerry's sudden erosion in Wisconsin and elsewhere. VanderHei explores the underlying issues of Kerry's phoniness on the campaign trail, revealed in his error-filled invocations of sports references, and how the Bush campaign has taken advantage of it with voters: At a campaign event last month, the Democratic presidential nominee called it Lambert Field -- a slip of the tongue carried on television, in papers throughout the state and on ESPN's Web site. That's akin to calling the Yankees the Yankers or the Chicago Bulls the Bells. This is a place where Packers jackets often outnumber sports coats in church and thousands of fans wear a big chunk of yellow foam cheese atop their head with the pride of a new parent. President Bush's warning to terrorists is apropos to the passions...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kedwards Campaign Shrieks ... Again

The Kerry/Edwards campaign has a bad case of Vietnamitis -- no matter what the issue or the debate, they find a way to throw in Vietnam as their rebuttal, usually in a hysterical shriek that could serve as a parody in and of itself. The latest example of these non-sequitur responses came from Dick Cheney's speech yesterday, in which he reminded people of the many positions John Kerry has taken on the Iraq war: Vice President Dick Cheney turned Sen. John Kerry's own words against him Tuesday while criticizing the Democrat for calling the war in Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." In an echo of a charge President Bush leveled at Kerry last week, Cheney contended that Kerry's position was held early in the primary campaign by Democratic presidential rival Howard Dean. "Sen. Kerry said, and I quote, 'Those who doubted whether Iraq...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

NY Post Verifies Silver Star After-Action Report

Deborah Orin -- one of this blog's favorite columnists -- verifies the after-action report from John Kerry's Silver Star action which I reviewed earlier this week: A newly surfaced document from John Kerry's Navy record says he shot a lone, wounded enemy who was running away in the incident that led to his Silver Star, his highest military decoration. Members of the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth say the report vindicates their claim that Kerry didn't show the kind of valor that merits a Silver Star. The after-action report was obtained from the Navy archives by syndicated TV commentator Mark Hyman of "The Point." A Navy official confirmed its authenticity. This report came from Bandit's review of previously overlooked documents at the Naval Archives, which the intrepid CQ contributor is still reviewing. Expect more revelations if Bandit's track record holds up, and hopefully I can help get the word...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CBS Lays An Egg

Fox News reported that CBS would be making a statement today at noon ET regarding the forgery fiasco that Dan Rather brought upon the Tiffany Network. If this is their response to the demands for accountability coming from new media and old, then CBS has more problems than just Dan Rather. CBS continues to insist that the memos are genuine, laughably both relying on and disputing the same statement by the octogenarian former secretary of Jerry Killian to authenticate the documents: CBS News continued to defend the legitimacy of its recent story about President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard, even as two experts it hired to examine records CBS used told ABC they could not vouch for their veracity. Meanwhile, a former secretary in the guard said Tuesday she believed the documents in question were fake, although they accurately reflected the thoughts of one of Mr....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Promised CBS Update At 5 PM EDT

UPDATE, 6:15 ET: UPDATE, 6:30 ET: UPDATE, 6:40 ET: Okay, CBS didn't release this on their own website, but Drudge got it instead, from CBS News division President Andrew Heyward: We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing. As Instapundit and Kerryspot have both noted, Heyward not only misspelled "corroborated" (and they sat on this for six-and-a-half hours?), but they pronounce the memos "accurate" and not "authentic". The message: We presented America with fraudulent materials, for which Dan Rather personally vouched. Having spent the past four days desperately seeking anyone to back us up, we've now given...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

So, this time I put myself as the big victim of the Caption Contest, and I learned a little something about CQ's readers. You guys are brutal. No wonder I like you! Now that Steve has returned from his two days in training for his job, he's ready to pick the winners of last week's contest. Just to remind everyone of the sex machine at the heart of this effort, here's the picture you all pilloried: Here are the winners! Captain's Award (Good News/Bad News Dept.) - Warren Meyer: To: Cialis customer support I am writing because of the warning on your site. It has been well over 4 hours since I took your product and I still cannot stand up without embarassment... You Have The Conn #1 (Perfect Timing) - Dan The Man: Okay, that looks good. Now all I need is Rather's email address. BBWHWAAAAHWHAAAA! You Have The...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Trolling For Kooks At Kinko's

Michael Dobbs continues his excellent work on Rathergate for the Washington Post, breaking the news that the Killian memos came from a Kinko's in Abilene -- just a half-hour drive from an old and disturbed nemesis of George Bush, Bill Burkett: Documents allegedly written by a deceased officer that raised questions about President Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Tex., according to another former Guard officer who was shown the records by the network. ... There is only one Kinko's in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents. Robert Strong, who was one of three people interviewed by "60 minutes," said he was shown...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Marie Antoinette Of The 21st Century

The Post recently did a spin piece on Teresa Heinz Kerry, arguing that the Kerry campaign unfairly kept her under wraps. Unfortunately for both Kerrys, it turns out that the Post was incorrect: Teresa Heinz Kerry, encouraging volunteers as they busily packed supplies Wednesday for hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, said she was concerned the effort was too focused on sending clothes instead of essentials like water and electric generators. "Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids," said Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. "Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes." At least this isn't "Shove it" or "Asses of Evil", but it's just as foolish. Who tells people that have just gone through a hurricane that clothing isn't important? Maybe Teresa likes running around naked, but for people who have lost...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 16, 2004

Kerry's Economic Plan

John Kerry penned his economic plan for the pages of the Wall Street Journal, which made it available through Opinionjournal.com this morning (free registration required). The plan focuses on a series of targeted tax credits intended to bolster his standing among specific demographics, while promising class war on the top 2% of American earners -- who already pay over half of all revenues from income tax. Kerry starts out by trying to convince his readers that the economic expansion currently under way, fueled by the Bush tax cuts, is the worst in 50 years by focusing on job growth. However, the expansion itself as measured by GDP (the normal measurement) actually is the best in 20 years, almost outstripping the Reagan expansion in 1984. Even job growth, a lagging indicator, has improved remarkably this year, although buffeted by a summer of skyrocketing energy prices. One reason that Kerry can claim...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Embodies Change!

The AP's Nedra Pickler writes an unintentionally hilarious analysis of the Kerry campaign bi-weekly attempt to recast itself, this time in what Pickler and the campaign says is a new direction ... Bush Lies: Kerry has less than seven weeks to take over the lead in the presidential race. Democrats hope a major shift will come from the debates, but his strategy in the meantime is based less on building himself up than on tearing down the president. Bush has enjoyed a lead of about 5 or 6 percentage points in national polls since the Republican National Convention, which portrayed Kerry as a vacillating opportunist. Democrats remained largely positive during their convention five weeks earlier, but now are trying to make the case that Bush has not been honest in his life and his leadership. "It's time we had a president who tells the American people the truth," Kerry said...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Could New York Really Be In Play?

Yesterday's news that Bush edged ahead of Kerry in New Jersey, a Democratic stronghold, shocked election observers (via Kerry Spot). However, today's Albany (NY) Times-Union notes an even more ominous turn for Kerry's campaign: Republican President George Bush has gained significantly on challenger John Kerry in Democrat-dominated New York, according to two statewide polls released Wednesday. Bush trails Kerry 47-41 among registered voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. An Aug. 13 poll showed Bush at 35 percent to Kerry's 53. A Marist College poll of registered voters found Kerry leading Bush 48-40 -- a far cry from an April poll that put Kerry ahead 13 points. Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by a 5-3 advantage. That would translate to 62-38 on a party-line vote. Apparently, the Republican convention and the Kerry meltdown in August has put the Empire State back in play, as Bush has wooed Democrats to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Slow Loading

Sorry for the slow load times. Blogrolling appears to have some problems responding. Please be patient ... UPDATE: Disabled all blogrolls for now. They'll be back soon, I promise, I'm about to appear on Hugh Hewitt -- tune in!...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

AP: Gallup Shows Bush Up By 14

Via the Ace of Spades, the AP reports -- buried so far in another story that you need an exhumation order to find it -- that Gallup will announce tomorrow that Bush now leads Kerry nationally by 14 points: A new poll from the Pew Research Center said the "bounce" that seemed to propel Bush to a lead just after the Republican convention had disappeared. But he was ahead by double digits in another survey. The Pew poll found the race at 46-46 among registered voters, and 47-46 Bush among likely voters. A Gallup poll being released Friday has Bush up 54-40 in a three-way matchup, with Ralph Nader at 3 percent. We'll see what Gallup's methodology is tomorrow so we can determine how seriously to take this latest result. Having a pollster with Gallup's stature come out with a fourteen-point gap in mid-September has to rock the Democrats, who...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Rewrote History In 1971 Testimony

CQ reader Cwiregrass e-mailed me with an intriguing perspective on John Kerry's Senate testimony in 1971. While we all know that Kerry testified that American soldiers and their command routinely participated in atrocities, accusing the US of "murdering" 200,000 Vietnamese every year, what we missed was an early example of Kerry's penchant for rewriting history. In another foreshadowing of Kerry's campaign style, anti-war activist Kerry transferred a sentiment from Great Society Democrat Lyndon Johnson to centrist Republican Richard Nixon. John Kerry testified to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U. S. Senate on April 22, 1971 accusing U. S troops of Vietnam of war "crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command," The entire official transcript of this hearing is available on C-Span. In addition to this infamous unsubstantiated war-crime statement, with great certainty Kerry also testified that Republican President...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Are The Taiwanese Running A Spy Ring In US?

The possibility that the Taiwanese may have an espionage system in the United States has increased, as a career officer in the State Department faces up to five years in prison for illegal travel and contact in Taiwan: A former top-level State Department official illegally took a secret, unauthorized trip to Taiwan last year and met with Taiwanese intelligence officers, according to a criminal complaint. Donald W. Keyser, a 30-year veteran at the State Department, was charged Wednesday with deliberately concealing from his superiors that he took a four-day trip to Taiwan last September. Federal law requires an individual with Keyser's security clearances to report all foreign travel. Keyser would not have been permitted to travel to Taiwan on official business because the United States and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations, according to court papers. ... FBI agents monitoring Keyser's activity in recent months found that he frequently...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Burkett: I 'Reassembled' Bush Guard Files

Bill Burkett, the man suspected to be the source of the forged Killian memos, wrote a scathing editorial piece for Online Journal as an open letter to George Bush, explicitly calling him a "liar" several times. More to the point of the recent controversy, Burkett made a startling assertion in the body of this op-ed piece: George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied. I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you". I know that you not only lied to the American people in 1994, but have lied consistently since then. Mr. Bush, not every serviceman except you is incompetent. When you failed to show up as ordered for duty, they simply recorded the truth. And the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 17, 2004

Gallup Poll: Bush Up 13 Among Likely Voters

The AP report from yesterday was only one point off. USA Today reports that a new Gallup poll taken in the aftermath of Rathergate has Bush leading among registered voters by eight points and among likely voters by thirteen: President Bush has surged to a 13-point lead over Sen. John Kerry among likely voters, a new Gallup Poll shows. The 55%-42% match-up is the first statistically significant edge either candidate has held this year. Among registered voters, Bush is ahead 52%-44%. The boost Bush received from the Republican convention has increased rather than dissipated, reshaping a race that for months has been nearly tied. Kerry is facing warnings from Democrats that his campaign is seriously off-track. Gallup finds a statistically significant lead in both categories, which I believe is the first poll to show that so far this year for either candidate. Note that other polls that showed a drift...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

NYT Corrections Reveal Burkett Lawyer's Oddball Views

The New York Times runs a series of corrections on its Rathergate coverage in today's edition that makes a reader wonder what exactly they got right. They blow a quote and can't fact-check George Herbert Walker Bush's resume, even though the guy turned out to hold a fairly significant job later on. (See: White House, 1989-1993.) But what I find interesting is the quote they blew. David Van Os represents Bill Burkett and also is running for the Texas Supreme Court. Here's what Van Os has to say about forgery: Mr. Van Os posed a hypothetical chain of events in which someone - not Mr. Burkett, he said - reconstructed documents that the preparer believed existed in 1972 or 1973. Mr. Van Os then asked "what difference would even that make" to the "factual reality of where was George W. Bush at the times in question and what was he...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Saddam-AQ Link Through UNSCAM?

Claudia Rosett, who has dedicated the past year of her life to the UN Oil-For-Food scandal, has uncovered some interesting financial connections between Saddam Hussein and known al-Qaeda associates through Saddam's business contracts. Rosett and George Russell report for Fox News that documents uncovered by the Iraq war and the UNSCAM investigations show deliberate overpayments to companies run by AQ operatives: Now, buried in some of the United Nations own confidential documents, clues can be seen that underscore the possibility of just such a Saddam-Al Qaeda link clues leading to a locked door in this Swiss lakeside resort. Next to that door, a festive sign spells out in gold letters under a green flag that this is the office of MIGA, the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber. Registered here 20 years ago as a society to promote business between the Gulf States and Asia, Europe and Africa, MIGA...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Duelfer Report: Saddam Intended To Reconstitute WMD Programs

The New York Times reports today on the final summation of American arms inspector Charles Duelfer, who concludes that Saddam Hussein had no significant stocks of WMD but had every intention of producing them as soon as UN sanctions were weakened or removed: A new report on Iraq's illicit weapons program is expected to conclude that Saddam Hussein's government had a clear intent to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons if United Nations sanctions were lifted, government officials said Thursday. But, like earlier reports, it finds no evidence that Iraq had begun any large-scale program for weapons production by the time of the American invasion last year, the officials said. The most specific evidence of an illicit weapons program, the officials said, has been uncovered in clandestine labs operated by the Iraqi Intelligence Service, which could have produced small quantities of lethal chemical and biological agents, though probably for use...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Hospiblogging, Part XXVII

The First Mate has another procedure to endure today, a rather routine event in the CQ household these days. I've pirated a wireless connection and working on a few blog details while keeping an eye on the e-mail. I have a great story to tell you about the First Mate. One of our running arguments, as is the case with so many other couples, is about the climate of the house. My wife has a very narrow degree of comfort, as it turns out, which can be a problem in Minnesota. She gets cold when the indoor temperature falls below 72, and warm when it rises above 74 -- about which I tease her unmercifully. For my part, as long as frost isn't forming on the bannister and the plumbing doesn't sweat with condensation, I'm happy. This morning, she told me it was too cold in the house, so I...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Houston Chronicle: Burkett A Well-Known Crank

In an article sure to raise blood pressure among CBS and Viacom executives, the Houston Chronicle reports that Bill Burkett -- the main suspect in the forgery scam that CBS propogated -- has a long history of false accusations against George Bush: Bill Burkett, who has emerged as a possible CBS source for disputed memos about President Bush's Guard service, has a long history of making charges against Bush and the Texas National Guard. But Burkett's allegations have changed over the years, and have been dismissed as baseless by former Guard colleagues, state legislators and others. Even Burkett has admitted some of his allegations are false. If that last sentence isn't bad enough, Michael Hedges provides the background on those charges which Burkett has yet to acknowledge as false: In an article Burkett wrote for the Internet last year he compared Bush to Hitler and Napoleon as one of "the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry/Edwards Supporters Assault 3-Year-Old Girl (UPDATE: Scam??)

NOTE: This post has a significant update - scroll to bottom ... I knew that the campaign was getting nasty, but a group of Kerry/Edwards supporters hit a new low today when they grabbed a Bush sign from a three-year-old girl and tore it up in front of her. You can see her reaction here, as well as the glee and hatred on the faces of her assailants: The AP caption is the only reporting so far on the incident: Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father after having her Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards made a brief stop at the airport as he concluded his two-day bus tour to locations in West Virginia and Ohio. Bandit sent this over to me, rightfully disgusted about anyone who...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Boston Globe: Where Editorials Too Stupid For The NYT Go To Die

Rarely if ever have I read an editorial which managed to pack more intellectual dishonesty and partisan spin as the one that the Boston Globe runs in today's edition. The Globe attempts to take the position that everyone should drop the talk about what happened thirty years ago, but then betrays its own position as an anatgonist in that particular catfight. Each paragraph is chock-filled with Terry McAuliffe spin and ignorance in equal measure: UNLESS THE documents used by "60 Minutes" in a broadcast on President Bush's National Guard service were fabricated by a campaign operative, they are part of a story relating to the news judgment at CBS and have little to do with presidential politics. Well, it wouldn't, except that the Kerry campaign, McAuliffe, Tom Harkin, Tom Daschle, and a slew of Democrats rushed to jump onto the story and demand "answers" to the allegations that arose from...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

At The Front: No Doom And Gloom Here

Longtime CQ reader Bob Stakel forwards me a message from his neice's husband, a Major in the Marine Corps who cannot understand why the American media keeps painting such a gloomy picture of their work. I've copied it, unedited, for CQ readers: A thought from Iraq Doom & Gloom about Iraqs future.I dont see it from where Im sitting. [For those of you who havent gotten my Thoughts before, Im a Major in the USMC on the Multi-National Corps staff in Baghdad. The analysts and pundits who dont see what I see on a daily basis, in my opinion, have very little credibility to talk about the situation especially if they have yet to set foot in Iraq. Everything Americans believe about Iraq is simply perception filtered through ones latent prejudices until you are face-to-face with reality. If you havent seen, or dont remember, the John Wayne movie,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

ABC News Drives New Nail In CBS' Coffin

ABC News finally located retired National Guard colonel Walter Staudt and interviewed him this afternoon. Andrew Heyward will wish that Dan Rather and the CBS News crew had taken the time to do the same before running with the Killian forgeries: The man cited in media reports as having allegedly pressured others in the Texas Air National Guard to help George W. Bush is speaking out, telling ABC News in an exclusive interview that he never sought special treatment for Bush. Retired Col. Walter Staudt, who was brigadier general of Bush's unit in Texas, interviewed Bush for the Guard position and retired in March 1972. He was mentioned in one of the memos allegedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian as having pressured Killian to assist Bush, though Bush supposedly was not meeting Guard standards. "I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to," Staudt told...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Cleland-Burkett-Kerry Campaign Connection?

Michael Dobbs pushes the Rathergate story even farther forward in tomorrow's Washington Post, in the first indication that the Kerry campaign may have been explicitly involved in the Killian forgeries: The former Texas National Guard officer suspected of providing CBS News with possibly forged records on President Bush's military service called on Democratic activists to wage "war" against Republican "dirty tricks" in a series of Internet postings in which he also used phrases similar to several employed in the disputed documents. ... In e-mail messages to a Yahoo discussion group for Texas Democrats over the past few months, Burkett laid out a rationale for using what he termed "down and dirty" tactics against Bush. He said he had passed his ideas to the Democratic National Committee but that the DNC seemed "afraid to do what I suggest." In another message, dated Sept. 4, Burkett hinted he might have had advance...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CBS Confirms Bush Lead Over Kerry

CBS must hate to report this, but their latest poll confirms the earlier Gallup polling that George Bush has opened a significant lead over John Kerry, 50-41: The contest between President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry looks much as it did in a CBS News Poll conducted last week, after the Republican convention. Bushs post-convention bounce remains intact, if even slightly larger in this poll; Bush now leads Kerry 50 percent to 41 percent among registered voters, giving the President a 9-point margin. In the so-called battleground states, Bush's lead balloons to an astronomical fourteen points as John Kerry can't even break the 40 level: Voters in 18 battleground states favor Bush over Kerry by 53 percent to 39 percent. "Battleground" in this case may start looking like Sherman's march to the sea. What did CBS find out about Kerry's meltdown? One reason is that Bush has...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 18, 2004

Another Burkett-Kerry Connection?

As Dan Rather might put it, a strong preponderance of evidence points to Bill Burkett as the culprit behind the forgeries that CBS used to smear George Bush. His lawyer, David Van Os, turns out to be a powerful man in the Texas Democratic Party, as Power Line shows us this morning. Here's a partial list of Van Os' accomplishments from his resume: * Travis County Democratic Precinct Chairman * Travis County Democratic Party Chairman * Bexar County Democratic Precinct Chairman Another interesting item on Van Os' CV is the final entry, where he notes his assistance in Palm Beach County, Florida, in Democratic efforts for the recounts in the 2000 Presidential election. No doubt that Van Os is well-known for his 30-year party-building work, and as he has now run for the Texas Supreme Court twice (including his current campaign), he has built a strong level of support within...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kristof Gets It Wrong

Nicholas Kristof purports to take an objective look at the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims in an op-ed for today's New York Times, but instead mostly just mouths the Kerry campaign's obfuscations instead. Kristof starts by taking aim at the easiest target for Kerry's counterclaims -- his supposed volunteerism for hazardous duty, a claim contradicted by Kerry's own words in a 1996 interview: Did Mr. Kerry volunteer for dangerous duty? Not as much as his campaign would like you to believe. The Kerry Web site declares, "As he was graduating from Yale, John Kerry volunteered to serve in Vietnam - because, as he later said, 'It was the right thing to do.' " In fact, as Mr. Kerry was about to graduate from Yale, he was inquiring about getting an educational deferment to study in Europe. When that got nowhere, he volunteered for the Navy, which was much less...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Today's New York Post notes that CBS News staffers seem to be a liitle predisposed towards Democrats. In reviewing the political contributions made by Tiffany Network news division employees, the overwhelming majority of funds went to the Democrats: WITH Dan Rather and CBS under fire for broadcasting what seem to be fake National Guard documents in a story slamming President George W. Bush, PoliticalMoneyLine.com probed the political contributions made by CBS News staffers. Turns out that Rather's minions are overwhelmingly Democratic. CBS News-ers have donated $17,050 to federal candidates and political action committees since 1982. Of that amount, $10,800 was for Democrats and the DNC; $3,500 went to Lenora Fulani's wacky New Alliance Party; and only $2,750 went to the GOP. The biggest individual recipient was Fulani, who received $3,500 from a CBS News staffer back in the 1980s. The second highest was Sen. Hillary Clinton, who took in $2,250...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

In John Kerry's (Fictional) Naval Tradition

David Strom from the Taxpayers League has his own blog along with his wife Margaret, Our House, which combines the best of political analysis and personal reflections, along with a good deal of garden photo-blogging. Taxpayers League sponsors our Internet stream, of course, and also has its own radio show on the stream three hours before ours. Today, David has a bit of fun with John Kerry, finding a parallel to Kerry in literature -- and the character is even a famous Navy commander! I kid you not. Just don't forget your steel ball bearings ......

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caption Contest #27: Final Sprint Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! The contest has been a long-running feaure on CQ now, but not as long-running as this presidential campaign has been. Of course, some people got off to a quicker start than others. Here's one who looks like he missed the starter's gun and has some distance to make up: Guest judging the contest this week will be Gerry from Daly Thoughts, a terrific blog. As always, put your best caption entries in the comments section -- NO e-mail, please! (E-mailed entries will be scanned the Abilene Kinko's, faxed to CBS News, and used to slander Harold Stassen.) The contest will remain open until 6 PM Sunday, September 19th, at which point the comments will be closed and Gerry will pick the winners. Let the games begin! BUMP 9/18: Hey, don't forget to tune us in on the Northern...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

France Behind Forged Niger Documentation

The Italian spy who passed on forged documents to American and British intelligence services has confirmed that he did so on orders and under the pay of France, the London Telegraph reports in tomorrow's edition: The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France. ... His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq. Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Will Tim Robbins And Susan Sarandon Condemn This?

A chill wind blows through America, threatening freedom of speech and the independence of the media. Is John Ashcroft to blame? No ... this time it appears CBS has decided to crack down on the criticism coming from its affiliates who have been less than pleased with the level of journalistic integrity at 60 Minutes and with Dan Rather's performance. The AP reports that a radio talk-show host has been fired for his outspoken criticism of The Dan: A radio talk-show host said Saturday he has been fired for criticizing CBS newsman Dan Rather's handling of challenges to the authenticity of memos about President Bush's National Guard service. "On the talk show that I host, or hosted, I said I felt Rather should either retire or be forced out over this," said Brian Maloney, whose weekly "The Brian Maloney Show" aired for three years on KIRO-AM Radio, a CBS affiliate...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Road Less Graveled

(A down home message for Dan Rather in the colorful Texas idiom he so loves, from a CQ reader in the Lone Star State. UPDATE: Thanks to Leaddog, I'll note that this appeared in American Thinker, a great blog, which Russ forgot to mention ...) Yall know what we all been thinkin out here in Texas, Dan, since you started all this foolishness? We think yall been pissin down our necks an tellin us its rain for so long that you boys done got to believin it yourselves. Heck, we think maybe you been back East so long you got yourself thinkin us folks out here couldnt hit sand if we fell off our horses; couldnt hit water if we fell outta the boat. Danged if you aint been treatin us like you think we got squirrels swimmin in our gene pools or sumthin. You need to remind yourself that...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

"I Gave It To Them"

Bill Burkett made an admission even further than that of his op-ed piece on August 25th, when he stated that he had "reassembled" the files he claimed were destroyed in 1997. The AP reports that four days before that publication, Burkett sent an e-mail to his Yahoo group that describes his contact with the Democratic campaign: The retired Guard official, Bill Burkett, said in an Aug. 21 e-mail to a list of Texas Democrats that after getting through "seven layers of bureaucratic kids" in the Democrat's campaign, he talked with former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland about information that would counter criticism of Kerry's Vietnam War service. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the e-mail Saturday. "I asked if they wanted to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it, not spending any money. (Cleland) said counterattack. So I gave them the information to do it with," Burkett wrote....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Democrats: Kerry Dragging Anchor On House Races

The Washington Post reports that Democrats are increasingly frustrated with the performance of John Kerry, and now expect to fall far short of their goal of recapturing the House in November: Democrats' hopes of regaining the House majority this fall -- never bright at best -- appear increasingly dim, in part because of Sen. John F. Kerry's lackluster campaign performance over the past six weeks, numerous analysts say. In late July, as upbeat Democrats held their convention in Boston, party leaders said they had capable, well-financed House candidates poised in several states to exploit a nationwide trend that seemed just around the corner. "Democrats can win the House back if this breeze, this movement for a change, continues," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Since then, however, Republicans conducted a sharp-edged convention in New York, Kerry was slow to respond to attacks on...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 19, 2004

Swing-State Polling: Bush Holds Onto 2000 States

The Philadelphia Inquirer reviews the latest polling from the battleground states and determines that George Bush leads in all of the red states from 2000, making Kerry's chances at winning almost non-existent (via the revamped QandO): President Bush has pulled ahead of John Kerry in six closely contested swing states that he carried in 2000, shifting the electoral landscape rightward and making it more difficult for challenger Kerry to win the White House, according to a new poll conducted by MSNBC and Knight Ridder, The Inquirer's parent company. Bush leads in six of the seven battleground states that he won four years ago and that were considered among the most competitive this year. He leads Kerry in Arizona by 50 percent to 39 percent; in Missouri 48-41; in Nevada 50-45; in New Hampshire 49-40; in Ohio 49-42; and in West Virginia 45-44. A seventh swing state from the Bush column,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Is CBS Setting Up Mapes As The Scapegoat?

As the preponderance of evidence in the Killian forgeries turns into a tsunami that threatens to overwhelm CBS news, the Washington Post reports on the string of events that led to the publication of the forgeries. It looks like the hunt is on for the scapegoat. In fact, one of the people that CBS attempts to hold responsible demonstrates their desperation: In the early-morning hours of Sept. 8, Dan Rather was preparing to fly to Washington for a crucial interview in the Old Executive Office Building, but torrential rain kept him in New York. White House communications director Dan Bartlett had agreed to talk to "60 Minutes," but only on condition that the CBS program provide copies of what were being billed as newly unearthed memos indicating that President Bush had received preferential treatment in the National Guard. The papers were hand-delivered at 7:45 a.m. CBS correspondent John Roberts, filling...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Whiskey Who?

Hey ya'll, I'm home! What, you don't remember me? Captain Ed's long-lost partner who's been wandering throughout Asia for the last few months . . . I guess you forgot about me. Oh well. I'm back and now blogging from somewhere in Texas. No, it's not the Abilene Kinkos! (OK, it could be the Abilene Kinkos, but I'm not at liberty to say.) I have a daunting list of move-in tasks to finish this week but plan to get back to regular blogging ASAP. Today's agenda: a Lowes-inspired project to make more room in the kitchen via multiple wire thingies. I have a pot of coffee, my trusty tool kit, and a borrowed drill which I'll admit I have never used. Hmm . . . this is going to be interesting!...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Rather Contacted Burkett, Offered Solidarity: Newsweek

In an intriguing detail to the Killian forgeries, Newsweek reports today that Dan Rather called Bill Burkett offering his continued support the day after CBS ran the discredited story on George Bush's TANG service: Three days before the broadcast, Burkett e-mailed a friend that there was "a real heavy situation regarding Bush's records" about to break. "He was having a lot of fun with this," said the friend, Dennis Adams. Burkett told a visitor that after the story ran, Rather phoned him and expressed his and the network's "full support." Newsweek's source is the friend, of course, and that's based on the oddball testimony of Burkett himself. Burkett's mention of the conversation preceded his outing as a suspect in the forgeries, however, and at least confirms that Burkett sees himself as a primary source for the CBS story. Burkett claims now that someone has killed his dog since he became...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Egypt Legitimizes Hamas

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal paid a surprise visit to Egypt and was received by the Egyptian chief of intelligence today, the AP reports: Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who's kept a low profile since last month's twin suicide bombing in southern Israel, made a surprise visit to Egypt on Sunday, holding talks with Egypt's intelligence chief about an anticipated Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Mashaal has remained largely out of sight since Israel threatened to target Palestinian militant leaders after the Aug. 31 suicide bombings in Beersheba, Israel, that killed 16 Israelis. Hamas claimed responsibility on Sept. 2, the last day Mashaal appeared in public. Egypt has been trying without success for more than a year to arrange a dialogue among Palestinian factions to explore calling a ceasefire in attacks against Israel alongside the planned Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. But Mohammed Nazal, a Syria-based Hamas official accompanying Mashaal, denied the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Campaign Attempts To Destabilize Australian Partnership

In a move that should shock both American and Australian voters, John Kerry's campaign has sent Kerry's sister Diana down under to tell Australians that their American alliance makes them less safe: John Kerry's campaign has warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists. Diana Kerry, younger sister of the Democrat presidential candidate, told The Weekend Australian that the Bali bombing and the recent attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta clearly showed the danger to Australians had increased. "Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels," she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq. Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms Kerry said: "The most...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 20, 2004

Howard Endorses Pre-Emption Despite Kerry's Meddling

Australian Prime Minister John Howard answered the Kerry campaign's meddling in their election by proclaiming a policy of pre-emption, promising overseas strikes on terrorist bases before threats turn into attacks on Australians at home or abroad: Prime Minister John Howard unveiled a plan for "flying squads" of police to stop terrorist attacks in the region, stressing he would not hesitate to order a pre-emptive strike overseas if needed to protect Australia. The idea was condemned as "clumsy foreign policy" by opposition leader Mark Latham, who said it would make Australia less safe, rather than more safe. Howard sounded much like his American ally, George Bush, in declaring that "We will not wait for a terrorist threat to eventuate before we take action." He promised close cooperation with Australia's neighbors but made clear that Australia determines her own national-security policy. He proposed the equivalent of $70 million US to establish "flying...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Imagine John Kerry As Mr. Smith, If He Bothered To Show Up

I missed this piece from Carlos Watson at CNN about the possibility of a resurgence by John Kerry in September. Originally posted on Friday, Watson tries to pump some air back in the flagging Kerry campaign with this Inside Edge entry, mostly by giving readers a series of laughable assertions and drawing conclusions so wide of the mark that you wonder what election Watson has been following: Two weeks ago, Kerry appeared to be politically moribund and any kind of resurgence was beginning to seem unlikely. But the media loves a good fight and has begun to shine a more critical light on the new campaign frontrunner: President Bush. Oh, yes, the media has completely left George Bush alone for the past nine months. No one has shone a "critical light" on the GOP incumbent, except for all of that screaming at him about his National Guard service, the economy,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Slogan Drives The Policy

The Los Angeles Times reveals that the Kerry campaign has yet another theme for their campaign, after trying out several along the way, and that the new slogan helps to clarify Kerry's policy positions. Unfortunately, it may be too little, too late: After months of struggling to find a theme to capture the essence of his candidacy, Sen. John F. Kerry has settled on one: The election, he says, boils down to a decision between four more years of "wrong choices" or a "new direction." Since Labor Day, the Democratic presidential nominee has stuck to that theme relentlessly, using it to shape arguments on Iraq, the economy and nearly all other topics he broaches. One problem Kerry has is that his vacillations make it appear that he could provide a whole range of choices on any topic, rather than pick the one in which he believes. On any given day,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

NYT: CBS To Admit The Obvious

According to the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg, CBS management has finally taken the ball away from CBS News and is prepared to admit that the Killian memos were forgeries. They also appear prepared to burn Bill Burkett as their source: The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents' origins. CBS News has already begun intensive reporting on where they came from, and people at the network said it was now possible that officials would open an internal inquiry into how it moved forward with the report. Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air. Had CBS News been more interested in reporting the news than creating it, they could have saved themselves long days of agony and...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CQ, Power Line In New York Post

Today's New York Post publishes an op-ed piece written by Power Line's John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson as well as myself on the unanswered questions surrounding John Kerry's Viet Nam narrative. In fact, the Post split the article into two sections -- the data we provided turned out to be so detailed, the Post's editors gave us extra room to fit it all in. Let me tell you, this represents a personal-best moment for me. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with two of my colleagues and friends from the Northern Alliance, but the experience of working with the supportive and professional editors at the Post made this one of the most pleasant writing experiences of my career. And after working with the great staff at the New York Sun, I can cheerfully tell you that if these gentlemen are any indication, New Yorkers get a bum...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CBS Apology Is Not Nearly Good Enough

In two separate statements, CBS and Dan Rather apologized for using documents that they failed to authenticate in their George Bush-TANG investigation: CBS News said Monday it cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service and that airing the story was a "mistake" that CBS regretted. ... In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source." CBS still cannot bring itself to use the word "forgeries," preferring to stick to the less-egregious assertion that they should have worked harder to authenticate the documents before going to air. They now acknowledge that their "unimpeachable" source was lunatic-fringe ranter...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Volcker Commission Hardly Independent

In response to the mounting evidence that the UN Oil-For-Food Program wound up enriching everyone except the Iraqi people it was meant to feed, the UN reluctantly (and only after much arm-twisting) formed a commision to investigate the corruption that gave Saddam Hussein billions of loose cash. The UN put former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker at the head of the commission and after much debate, the Security Council gave Volcker a mandate which demanded cooperation from all member states. The Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardiner and James Phillips, however, remain skeptical of the Volcker Commission's independence and viability, and for good reason. The pair give the first look at the staffing that belies the commission's "independence, while noting that its authority for investigation appears nonexistent: So far, few details have emerged regarding the Commissions modus operandi, its staff, or its overall effectiveness. The Commissions operations are shrouded in secrecy, with...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

There He Goes Again

John Kerry has done it again -- flip-flopping on the Iraq war and deposing Saddam Hussein. Flip: Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry said Monday he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he been in the White House, and he accused President Bush of "stubborn incompetence," dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment. Bush said Kerry was flip-flopping. "Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell," he added. "But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure." Bush hit back from a campaign rally in New Hampshire, interpreting Kerry's comment to mean the Democrat believes U.S. security would be better with Saddam still in power. "He's saying he prefers the stability of...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

Did anyone know that John Kerry is an exercise fanatic? He's a runner. He runs for the Presidency, he runs away from his Senate record, he runs away from his anti-war activities, he runs in circles on policy ... no wonder the man is a lean, mean, (non)fighting machine! Gerry from Daly Thoughts guest-judged your entries in this week's Captain's Caption Contest, and boy, did he ever have a tough job -- 195 entries came in, almost a CQ record! After much thought and a few bribes, Gerry has the winners: Captain's Award (The Perfect Record) - Swede: And here comes the challenger now, Bob, with a record of no wins, no losses, and one hundred and thirty-seven no decisions. You Have The Conn #1 (It Explains His Senate Election) - Kenny: That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry's New York Lead Only Five Points

As I reported last Thursday, polling shows a sea change occuring in New York, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by an almost 2-1 advantage. Rassmussen reports that John Kerry's lead in one of the most reliable blue states has dwindled to five points, just outside the margin of error: John Kerry's lead in New York is down to single digits. The Empire State, among the bluest of the Blue States from Election 2000, is still in the Kerry column for our Electoral College projections, but the raw numbers are stunning. Confirming findings found in other recent polls, Rasmussen Reports shows John Kerry leading George Bush by merely five percentage points, 49% to 44%. Four years ago, Al Gore defeated Bush to carry New York by a 25 point margin. Our last New York survey found Kerry up by 19 points. Rassmussen has the race even closer than the Quinnipiac or Marist...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CBS Coordinated Smear With Kerry Advisor

The news gets worse by the hour for John Kerry as his new campaign advisor, Joe Lockhart, admitted that CBS asked him to contact Bill Burkett regarding the National Guard story: At the behest of CBS, an adviser to John Kerry said he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service shortly before disputed documents were released. ... Lockhart said [CBS producer Mary] Mapes asked him the weekend before the story broke to call Burkett. "She basically said there's a guy who is being helpful on the story who wants to talk to you," Lockhart said, adding that it was common knowledge that CBS was working on a story raising questions about Bush's Guard service. Mapes told him there were some records "that might move the story forward. She didn't tell me what they said." First, let's consider the obvious. We now have CBS...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry's Alston Source Made Clear

Frequent CQ contributor Bandit has uncovered a box of papers at the Naval Archives regarding John Kerry's service during Viet Nam and has started the painstaking task of scanning and analyzing each new document. One new document answers one of the questions that arose during our Alston investigation, which was where Kerry came up with his story about the 29 January engagement in which Alston was seriously wounded. Kerry and Alston had passed himself off as the commander during that battle even though Tedd Peck had commanded PCF-94 on that day and had also been seriously wounded in that battle, one in which Kerry never took part. Here's what Kerry told a South Carolina veteran's group in May 2002 about his purported service with Alston (who was present and had spoken earlier on the same topic) according to The New Republic: "He [Alston] sat up in a turret above my...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 21, 2004

This Is What CBS Considers An "Unimpeachable" Source?

USA Today conducted a remarkable interview with the CBS source for the Killiam forgeries, longtime Bush-hater Bill Burkett, which must be read to be disbelieved. Burkett convulses, Burkett claims he's a patsy, Burkett admits to lying to everyone, and in the same breath says he's still talking to "save his name", which by any standard is a ship that's long since sailed. Burkett agreed to go on the record with USA Today after being outed by CBS as its source, and offered a fantastic explanation of the Killian memos' origin: Burkett's emotions varied widely in the interviews. One session ended when Burkett suffered a violent seizure and collapsed in his chair. Earlier, he said he was coming forward now to explain what he had done and why to try to salvage his reputation. In the past week, Burkett was named by many news reports as the probable source of the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry's New Iraq Plan The Same As Bush's: WaPo

John Kerry got a lot of press yesterday for a new policy speech on Iraq which supposedly clarified his myriad positions on the war. Robin Wright reports that the speech was part of a new Democratic effort to push Iraq to the forefront of Kerry's campaign, but as Wright points out, the only thing different between Kerry's plan and Bush's operational strategy already in place is Kerry's faith in those elusive "foreign leaders": John F. Kerry's four-point plan for Iraq proposes ambitious solutions to accelerate the military transition, refocus reconstruction and ensure that democracy takes root, all while lessening the burden on the United States by bringing in greater foreign aid and support. ... The premise in all four points is that Kerry will be able to mobilize an international community that has been alienated by President Bush's strategy of preemptive strikes and by U.S. defiance of close allies and...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Another Asian Intelligence Service Cozies Up To A Kerry Campaign

In what looks to be a case of deja vu, a South Korean consular official has been sent home for getting involved in John Kerry's presidential campaign, raising questions of foreign influence on Kerry's campaign and on the election in general: A South Korean man who met with John Kerry's fund-raisers to discuss creating a new political group for Korean-Americans was an intelligence agent for his country, raising concerns among some U.S. officials that either he or his government may have tried to influence this fall's election. South Korean officials and U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Chung Byung-Man, a consular officer in Los Angeles, actually worked for South Korea's National Intelligence Service. How deeply involved in Kerry's fundraising was Chung? And how did Chung get involved in Kerry's campaign to begin with? American electoral law forbids foreigners from donating money to American candidates, and one would presume that...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Inside the Edwards Echo Chamber

As his editorial in the USA Today confirms, John Edwards has been listening to his own voice for so long nothing else penetrates his expensively-coiffed noggin. After the mandatory salute to the US armed forces and a mini-tirade about President Bushs alleged lies about Iraq, Edwards (channeling John Kerry) proposes a to-do list for the current administration. The problem for Kedwards is they have no original proposals and can only offer a leftist spin on what the president has already accomplished. John Kerry and I believe that there needs to be an urgent effort right now to increase international support to decrease the burden on our troops. Maybe we should ask our allies like Britain, Poland, and South Korea! Wait, they are already in Iraq with us. How about Italy, Ukraine and the Netherlands? Oops, already there. Edwards probably trusts Kerry to garner additional support by calling our allies the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

A bit rusty

Obviously I've been away from blogging for too long. I accidentally posted the same entry twice, one without a title. I deleted the superfluous entry but it's still there. I'm confounded. Please bear with me as I get reacquainted with Movabletype....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Newsday Columnist Calls For Rather's Resignation

Newsday became the second mainstream media outlet to run an columnist's call for Dan Rather to step down. James Pinkerton tells his readers in today's edition that under any set of journalistic guidelines and precedent, Rather has to go: By any fair reckoning, Rather should resign. As a big shot at CBS News-in addition to being anchorman-in-chief, he has been the managing editor of the CBS Evening News since March 1981-he deserves to be held to the same standard as Howell Raines, the executive editor of The New York Times, who was forced to resign last year in the wake of a news-fabrication scandal. Some might argue that Rather was just a duped news reader, that he was simply following orders. In which case, following the precedent established in the 1998 "Tailwind" scandal-in which CNN's Peter Arnett was forced to quit after he read phony copy about Americans using poison...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 22, 2004

WaPo Swings And Misses On Swiftvets

The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth released their latest ad against John Kerry's candidacy, and it's as devastating as any they've produced thus far in the campaign. The Swiftvets also make the seventh chapter of their book, Unfit for Command, available online for free as an explanation of the commercial's charges. Here's the money graf from the chapter: Loyal Americans think twice about violating the legal provision against negotiating with foreign powers (18 U.S.C. section 953) and the Constitutional prohibition against giving support to our nation's enemies during wartime (Article III, Section 3). Anti-Communists do not openly support proposals that amount to an American surrender to Communist enemies, plus a demand to pay war reparations. ... There must have been contact between Kerry or his representatives and the representatives of the Vietnamese Communists. Which Communists assisted Kerry in arranging his meeting with Madame Binh, and why? Kerry has long argued...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

DoD Targets World's Oldest Profession

According to the AP, the DoD has taken some new measures to deter US troops from seeking the services of prostitutes while stationed abroad. Of course, the article is written by the AP whose journalist (Pauline Jelinek) lacks a working vocabulary of military terms and customs, so its somewhat hard to understand precisely what is in the works. U.S. troops stationed overseas could face a court martial for patronizing prostitutes under a new regulation drafted by the Pentagon. The move is part of a Defense Department effort to lessen the possibility that troops will contribute to human trafficking in areas near their overseas bases by seeking the services of women forced into prostitution. In recent years, "women and girls are being forced into prostitution for a clientele consisting largely of military services members, government contractors and international peacekeepers" in places like South Korea (news - web sites) and the Balkans,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Spiritual Leader Of Zarqawi's Group Killed

The AP reports that American airstrikes in Baghdad killed Sheik Abu Anas al-Shami, described as the spiritual leader of the terrorist group headed by Abu Masab al-Zarqawi: The spiritual leader of a major militant group in Iraq, Tawhid and Jihad, has been killed in a U.S. airstrike and his Jordanian family is preparing a wake, a newspaper and Islamic clerics said Wednesday. The spiritual leader of a major militant group in Iraq (news - web sites), Tawhid and Jihad, has been killed in a U.S. airstrike and his Jordanian family is preparing a wake, a newspaper and Islamic clerics said Wednesday. Either the US and Iraqi forces got incredibly lucky and just happened to hit the car in which an insurgent leader traveled, or their intelligence operations are improving dramatically. I suspect it's the latter and not the former. As the US continues to build up native Iraqi security forces,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kristof Can't Be Serious

Nicholas Kristof comes back for Round 2 against the Swiftvets, this time disguised as a "stop the mud" plea to both sides in the election. Unfortunately for Kristof, his latest offering is almost as fact-challenged as his last, and the equivalencies he draws between the two campaigns are at best obscure and at worst deliberately ridiculous: True, Democrats have also engaged in below-the-belt attacks. Some of "Fahrenheit 9/11," the Michael Moore film, was the liberal equivalent of the anti-Kerry smears. Its innuendos implying that Mr. Bush arranged the war in Afghanistan so backers could profit from an oil pipeline were appalling. But I, along with some others, immediately complained about "Fahrenheit 9/11." Aside from John McCain, where are the sensible conservatives? Why don't they denounce the Swift Boat Veterans' attacks? And why doesn't President Bush condemn those attacks, showing the kind of integrity that Mr. Dukakis showed? That's really the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CQ Blog Updates

A random collection of updates that don't rise to the level of separate posts ... First, I'd like to announce that I've been added to the distinguished list of contributors to Jewish World Review. This website features some of the best punditry in the world, all collected in one spot for your easy review. My initial entry can be found here, published under my own name. CQ readers will recognize it as the post which the New York Sun reprinted last month. It's my honor and pleasure to be included among such luminaries as Dennis Prager, George Will, Mona Charen, Deborah Saunders -- check the site out for yourself to see the all-star lineup they have. Speaking of the Sun, I'm working on a special assignment for their opinion section. I'm holding back the finished product until it's published, but it has to do with stem-cell research and the Kerry...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

More Messages From The Front, And A Call For More

One of the more loyal readers of CQ, LoveMyMarine, sends me two e-mails today regarding her husband, who is currently deployed to Iraq. The first e-mail is her response to my post on the death of Sheik al-Sharmi, the "spiritual" leader of Zarqawi's murderous thugs, and the second is a message from her husband. Both messages underscore the frustration our fighting men and women feel at the relentlessly negative coverage of our efforts in Iraq. I'm redacting names and select passages to keep identifications confidential. Thank you for today's post. I get so frustrated when I hear the continual slamming of the Intel community in the press; it's a popular pasttime, and it's not like they can fight back to defend themselves. I would have to say, yes, not only is the intel getting better, but so is the focus. As you know, Gen Natonski has taken over at the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

New Swift Boat Vet Ad

In case you've missed it, the new Swift Boat Vet ad can be viewed here. Hat tip: Powerline. The ad thrashes Kerry for meeting with representatives of the North Vietnamese government in 1970 in Paris, while on his honeymoon! Illegal negotiations with a foreign power during the honemoon trip? Looks like anti-American activities have always been his first priority....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Faux Candidate

Don't miss Hugh Hewitt's latest World Net Daily column. Hugh wonders, "Is there anything real about this guy at all? Or is it just John Kerry 5.0?" I agree with Hugh on Kerry's inauthenticity, but I think he's analyzing an older version of the product; with this week's rapid position changes, we must be looking at the 70.1 model....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

A vote for war isn't a vote for war

John Kerry once again demonstrates his decisive nature. Responding to accusations that his vote authorize the invasion of Iraq and his recent position that it was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" are inconsistent, Kerry explains: "The vote for authorization is interpreted by a lot of people as a vote to go to war," Mr. Kerry said. "It wasn't a vote to go that day. It was a vote to go through the process of going to the U.N., building the allies and then making a judgment of whether we had to go...." Welcome to John Kerry version 70.2!...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Urban Legends Come Alive In Kerryland

John Kerry has spent all year running the Rona Barrett Presidential Campaign, whose slogan seems to be No Rumor Too Petty For Us. First he talked about the Bush adminstration being "the most lying, corrupt" people in his memory. Next he fueled the fire on Bush's National Guard service. In this month alone, he's pushed the discredited memes about stem-cell research bans and the disenfranchisement of one million African-Americans in Florida. Today he ups the ante, again in Florida, where he told supporters that a second Bush administration would result in a renewed military draft (via Power Line): Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, citing the war in Iraq and other trouble spots in the world, raised the possibility Wednesday that a military draft could be reinstated if voters re-elect President Bush. Kerry said he would not bring back the draft and questioned how fairly it was administered in the past....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Retreats

The AP reports this afternoon that the Kerry campaign has canceled planned ad buys in four states previously considered to be up for grabs: Bowing to political realities, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has canceled plans to begin broadcasting television commercials in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and the perennial battleground of Missouri. ... Ads were scheduled to begin airing Oct. 5 in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri as part of a $5 million investment through Nov. 2, but campaign advisers concluded Kerry isn't doing well enough in the states to justify the cost. The campaign, which has reserved commercial time in 20 states through Election Day, notified television stations in the four states that Kerry would not follow through on his plans for the first week of October. Plans are still in place to air ads starting the second week of October, campaign officials said, but those will likely be tabled,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

NY Times Still Promoting Story Based On Forgeries

CQ reader Dave B. gets a biweekly e-mail from the New York Times with the top 10 list of the most popular articles from the past fortnight. In the e-mail he received today for Sept. 8-22, Dave was amazed to find this collection of links submitted for his perusal: In case you missed any of these stories, below are the Top 10 Most Read Articles on NYTimes.com over the last two weeks (as of 11 a.m. ET, Sept. 22). ... 1. Portrait of George Bush in '72: Unanchored in Turbulent Time By SARA RIMER, Published Sept. 20 2. Falling Bodies, a 9/11 Image Etched in Pain By KEVIN FLYNN and JIM DWYER, Published Sept. 10 3. Documents Suggest Special Treatment for Bush in Guard By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE and RALPH BLUMENTHAL, Published Sept. 9 How clueless is this? Does the New York Times editorial board make it a habit to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Scare tactics

Looks like the Kerry campaign finally found a tactic they can all agree on: scare the hell out of college kids and their fretting parents with the draft hoax. An article posted tonight on MSNBC reveals that the draft talk wasn't just a negligent offhand statement by Kerry (see Ed's post below) but a talking point for the entire campaign. In a speech at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Cleland told students they might find themselves pressed into military service if Bush wins a second term. America will reinstate the military draft if Bush is re-elected and continues the Iraq War, Cleland predicted, according to an account of his speech by the Colorado Springs Gazette. "Pay attention ... to what you've got going on in Iraq. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Vietnam. I've seen this movie before. I know how it ends. It does not end pleasantly," he added. And...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Ayatollah Is Not Pleased

The road to Iraqi elections may or may not have hit a snag this evening, as the New York Times reports that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has expressed deep reservations about the new Iraqi electoral system but has given no specific demands or requests for changes: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the nation's most powerful Shiite leader, is growing increasingly concerned that nationwide elections could be delayed, his aides said, and has even threatened to withdraw his support for the elections unless changes are made to increase the representation of Shiites, according to one Iraqi source close to him. ... According to people with knowledge of the talks, Ayatollah Sistani is concerned that the nascent democratic process here is falling under the control of a handful of the largest political parties, which cooperated with the American occupation and are comprised largely of exiles. In particular, these sources say, Ayatollah Sistani...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 23, 2004

WaPo: Bush Flip Flops too!

Anxious to make the case that George Bush can also be accused of flip-flopping on the issues, the Washington Post unintentionally provides a contrast between a president who changes his mind and a candidate blowing in the wind: The flip-flopper, Democrats say, is President Bush. Over the past four years, he abandoned positions on issues such as how to regulate air pollution or whether states should be allowed to sanction same-sex marriage. He changed his mind about the merits of creating the Homeland Security Department, and made a major exception to his stance on free trade by agreeing to tariffs on steel. After resisting, the president yielded to pressure in supporting an independent commission to study policy failures preceding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Bush did the same with questions about whether he would allow his national security adviser to testify, or whether he would answer commissioners' questions for only...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Foreign Leaders Not For Kerry?

Today's Hindustan Times reports that although the Indian political establishment remains diplomatic silence on the subject, they would far prefer an extended George Bush presidency rather than John Kerry (hat tip - Jim W): He may not be the most popular US President among educated Indians but there's no doubt that the Indian foreign policy establishment cutting across party lines would prefer to see George W. Bush re-elected as President of the United States. ... The Indian position is a complex one and hinges on several assumptions. One: Bush appears to be genuinely interested in India. Shortly after he was elected, he made a sincere effort to get to know the country and its leaders. He has also spoken admiringly of India's pool of skilled professionals. In contrast, about the only time Kerry has mentioned India during his campaign has been in the context of outsourcing. There is...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Carter Advocates Cut And Run

For those of us who remember the Jimmy Carter presidency, this story will come as no shock; it merely reminds us where we've heard the (latest) John Kerry war policies before. Speaking at a town-hall meeting on Tuesday and reinforcing his remarks on Wednesday, Carter called for an early withdrawal of American troops in Iraq in order to reduce the insurgency: Former President Carter said Tuesday that violence in Iraq could be greatly reduced if the U.S. government set a date to withdraw its troops. "The main thing that sustains violence there is the apparent long term presence of U.S. troops," he said. ... Carter said he would like to see troops withdraw as early as next year if Iraqis show they can establish self-government. Once again, we have Jimmy Carter advocating American withdrawal in the face of the enemy. During his administration, that happened in both our Cold War...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Front Lines: Kerry's Withdrawal Date Puts Us At Risk

As part of our new feature (which will use the Heroes category for archiving, CQ received this e-mail yesterday from Bruce, which actually appeared first in our comments section. Bruce received this timely message from his son, an Army Captain in Iraq who is working to train Iraqi security forces so they can stand on their own. Given the recent targeting of enlistment and training facilities by terrorists, Bruce's son might be sympathetic to Kerry's insistence on telling the world we're leaving. Not so (bolded portions are my emphasis): I also wonder if Senator Kerry realizes that he is partially responsible for the recent upswing in violence. This, by the way, is not speculation... this is straight from one of my interpreter's mouth. When Senator Kerry said that, if elected, he would pull us out of here in four years, the insurgent leadership had a rousing round of celebratory automatic...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Allawi: Iraq Is Ready For Democracy

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi spoke to a joint session of Congress this morning, telling the gathered representatives that Iraq could hold free elections in 15 of 18 provinces and thanking them for freeing Iraq from the grip of a murderous thug: Offering a simple, ``Thank you America,'' Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi declared Thursday that his country is moving successfully past the war that ousted Saddam Hussein and vowed that elections will take place next year as scheduled. ``Elections will occur in Iraq on time in January because Iraqis want elections on time,'' Allawi told a joint meeting of Congress, an appearance that President Bush's advisers hoped would ease American voters' doubts about the troubled campaign in Iraq. Allawi told lawmakers that the Iraqi insurgency intended on disrupting elections, but that they were small in number and their efforts had not and would not resonate with the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Front Lines: Afghan Perspective On American Election

I received this e-mail today in response to my earlier post from the Army Captain in Iraq. This reader is an Army officer in Kandahar and offers his perspective on the earlier message and its implications in Afghanistan. Captain Ed, Just read your blog post from the Army Captain in Iraq, regarding the insurgent's reaction to Kerry's announcement that he would pull out of Iraq. I am also an Army Captain, and was recently involved in a similar discussion while visiting with some Afghan military/business leaders near Kandahar. They asked us "who was going to win the American election" and we told them that the latest indicators were favorable to a Bush re-election. Their response was very positive, and they expressed deep concern for their country if Kerry were to win. "The Afghan people are praying every day that George Bush is re-elected", they said. There is a real fear...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bush Gets NATO To Train Iraqis In Baghdad

In a coup that will act to deaden John Kerry's latest Iraq broadsides, like calling the visiting Prime Minister of Iraq a liar, George Bush won agreement from NATO to supply training for new Iraqi security forces in Baghdad: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreed Wednesday to expand the training of Iraqi security force officers at a facility outside Baghdad in preparation for planned elections in January. The compromise agreement, overcoming resistance from Germany and France, will expand NATO's training mission in Iraq from about 50 officers to as many as 300 personnel, the alliance said. The accord, announced at NATO headquarters in Brussels, was reached after weeks of debate and opposition from members who have opposed the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. ... France, Germany, Belgium and Spain have said they would not contribute personnel to the training program. Among those countries, Spain had a 1,300-member troop contingent...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

40,000 is the magic number

This afternoon, CQ reader Jay Caruso wrote, "Regarding Kerry's scare tactic of saying Bush will bring back the draft, it strikes me as being rather unusual considering Kerry is the one who has been promising to increase active duty troops by 40,000. How does he expect to do that?" My apologies to Jay because I responded that Kerry had demonstrated his favorite flip-flop in favor of a cut, run, and stick your head in the sand policy as favored by Howard Dean, et al. Perhaps not. It seems like 40,000 just became the magic number for the Democrats. Richard Holbrooke, Clinton's ambassador to the UN, just told O'Reilly that at least 40,000 more troops are needed in Iraq and that "means a call-up." Where are the Democrats getting this number? It's not based on a military analysis or facts on the ground at all. Instead, the campaign chose a number...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Teresa Plays Count The Conspiracies

Matt Drudge links to an article tonight from the Phoenix Business Journal that reveals just how disconnected from reality the Kerry campaign has become. Teresa Heinz Kerry spoke today at a million-dollar fundraiser and managed to keep up with every conspiracy theory that Democrats have been throwing from the stump: In regard to the hunt for terror leader Osama Bin Laden, Heinz Kerry said she could see the al-Qaida chief being caught before the November election. "I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next month," said Heinz Kerry, alluding to a possible capture by United States and allied forces before election day. Conspiracy Theory #1: Bush Already Has Osama But Is Just Waiting For Election Eve To Announce It -- This hoary chestnut has been trotted out for spins around the political block by such Democratic luminaries as Madeline Albright and Howard Dean. It presumes that George Bush...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Didn't We Just Laugh CBS Off The Air For Using Burkett?

I've received a number of e-mails from CQ readers pointing me towards this story in tomorrow's San Jose Mercury News, a reputable if small central California paper, in which disgraced news source Bill Burkett claims that senior Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart repeatedly asked for the Killian memos: During a single phone conversation with Lockhart, Burkett said he suggested a "couple of concepts on what I thought (Kerry) had to do" to beat Bush. In return, he said, Lockhart tried to "convince me as to why I should give them the documents." Bill at INDC Journal was the first to look into this story, as far as I can tell. I think he takes a pragmatic view -- he wants to watch as the media shreds this previously "unimpeachable" source in order to save Lockhart's (and Kerry's) hide. Bill, as always, plays it smart by not buying into the story. Let's...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CNN: Bush Can Claim Over 300 Electoral Votes

CNN's polling shows that George Bush has a grip on 301 Electoral College votes based on state-by-state polling, with John Kerry fading in the Midwest and his chances of unseating the incumbent fading fast: President Bush this week reached a symbolic milestone, overtaking Democratic challenger John Kerry in New Hampshire and Iowa to claim more than 300 electoral votes in CNN's weekly Electoral College scorecard. If the election were held today, Bush would receive 301 electoral votes to Kerry's 237, according to a CNN survey based on state polling as well as interviews with campaign aides and independent analysts. ... Bush currently leads in 33 states, including the country's entire southern rim (except California) and the mountain and plains regions. Kerry leads in the District of Columbia and the remaining 17 states, including all of the West Coast and most of the Northeast. The two candidates continue to battle for...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 24, 2004

AP Poll Shows Bush Lead At 7

The AP released the results of its AP/Ipsos poll and they match up with most other polling this month, to John Kerry's chagrin. George Bush has a seven-point lead, 52-45, over John Kerry in a three-way race: President Bush solidified his advantage among men during the last month and holds his highest ratings since January on job performance, the economy and Iraq, according to an Associated Press poll. ... Since the Republican convention, Bush's job approval is up, 54 percent among likely voters, and just over half of them approve of his handling of the economy and Iraq. His approval in all three areas is as high as it's been all year in the polling conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Lest the AP impress us too much with its objectivity, it inserts this questionable statement in the third paragraph: "We took a lead after our convention and the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bush Visits Outbound Guard Soldiers

Dana Milbank writes with uncharacteristic objectivity about a surprise visit by George Bush to outbound National Guard troops during a refueling stop in Bangor yesterday: President Bush, after a campaign appearance in Bangor, held his plane on the tarmac when he heard an MD-11 carrying 292 Army reservists and National Guard members was about to refuel here. For the troops, grimly heading toward an 18-to-24-month assignment in Iraq, it was a welcome lift. For Bush, who has been accusing his Democratic presidential opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry, of demoralizing the troops in Iraq by criticizing the war effort, it was a chance to demonstrate his devotion to the troops. "May God bless you all," the commander in chief said over the plane's public address system. "May God keep you safe." As he worked his way up and down the plane's aisles, posing for photographs, signing autographs and shaking hands, the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Ban? What Ban?

Today's New York Sun publishes an original column by Edward Morrissey -- okay, me -- regarding the myth of the stem-cell research ban that John Kerry perpetuates in his website and on the stump: In the wake of Ron Reagan's appearance at the Democratic Convention, Senator Kerry has tried to make stem-cell research a featured policy difference between Mr. Kerry and President Bush. His campaign Web site talks about "ideologically-driven restrictions" from the Bush administration and promises to lift the "ban on stem cell research." In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece outlining his economic plan, Mr. Kerry writes that he will restore America's competitive edge by working to "end the ban on stem-cell research." In fact, it may be the most consistent policy stance of the entire Kerry campaign. The only problem for Mr. Kerry is that the ban doesn't exist - and he knows it. In my...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Was Kerry In Iraq In 1991 For Cease-Fire Accord?

Frequent CQ contributor Bandit watched the O'Reilly Factor last night on Fox News, which replayed a 2001 interview with Senator John Kerry. Bandit reports that during that interview three years ago, Kerry stated that he went to Iraq on March 3rd during the signing of the cease-fire agreement that ended the first Gulf War: "I mean, I was in Safwan. I went there when the signing of the armistice took place at the end of the war." That would have been a pretty remarkable trip, if Bandit reports this correctly; at the moment, Fox News does not have a transcript available. Both Bandit and I recall that Iraq was still considered a war zone, an unlikely (but not necessarily impossible) place to find a US Senator, especially one who would have had no official capacity during the ceremony, and even more especially, one who had voted against the authorization to...

Continue reading "Was Kerry In Iraq In 1991 For Cease-Fire Accord?" »

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Uh, Gee, Thanks Guys

Earlier today, the man who swore George Bush into the Texas Air National Guard spoke out on behalf of his former trainee, and a number of you thought you'd had a case of deja vu: Ed Morrisey Jr. has his opinion about rumors President Bush received preferential treatment when he was allowed into the Texas Air National Guard in the late 1960s. The Blount Countian also has firsthand knowledge. The 75-year-old Jackson Hills resident is a retired colonel with Texas Air National Guard. He swore Lt. George W. Bush into the service in May 1968. ... Morrisey said the commander he worked for at the unit in Texas was sent there to rebuild the image of the unit. There were only two to four pilot training slots given to them per year, he said. Individuals questioned by an evaluation board and then chosen by the commander had to be the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

"Banning Bibles" Irresponsible And Stupid, And Outnumbered

Republicans sent insipid and stupidly hyperbolic mailings to voters in West Virginia and Arkansas warning about liberals who want to legalize gay marriage and ban the Bible, the RNC admitted today: The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush. The mailings include images of the Bible labeled "banned" and of a gay marriage proposal labeled "allowed." A mailing to Arkansas residents warns: "This will be Arkansas if you don't vote." A similar mailing was sent to West Virginians. A liberal religious group, the Interfaith Alliance, circulated a copy of the Arkansas mailing to reporters yesterday to publicize it. "What they are doing is despicable,'' said Don Parker, a spokesman for the alliance. "They are playing on people's fears and emotions." ......

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

A Moment Of Truth, Indeed

At last, a moment of clarity from the French government! Agence France-Presse reports that French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier has called the IAEA's November 25 deadline for Iranian compliance "a moment of truth": French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Iran's controversial nuclear program could be referred to the UN Security Council if the world is not reassured about its nuclear ambitions. "We are waiting clearly from Iran gestures and decisions that will reassure us," Barnier said in a lunch with French media on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "Since there is a trust problem, dates have been set," he said, referring to a November 25 deadline for Iran to clear up suspicions over its activities or risk having the issue referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions -- something the United States has sought. ... "It will be a moment of truth," Barnier said, referring to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 25, 2004

Putin Talks A Good Game

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to critics who claim that electoral changes he has forced through herald a return to totalitarian political life in the former Soviet Union. Putin replied that there is no going back to the old days: President Vladimir Putin vowed yesterday that Russia would remain on the path to democracy. "There will be no turnabout in the country's life," said Mr Putin, who has come under intense international criticism for strengthening his political control after a wave of terrorist attacks. "Russia made its choice 10 years ago for a democratic, free market, socially oriented state." Putin may say all the right things about democracy, but his actions are troubling. Russia's 89 regional governors had prevously been elected directly by the people, but under Putin's changes, now are appointed by the Kremlin. It reduces the governors from real leaders to apparatchiks for the executive, a move which...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Iraq Hid Nuclear Program Intending On Rebuilding It

In the final report from the Iraq Survey Group, a team of American weapons inspectors in Iraq concluded that Saddam Hussein had no WMD stockpiles at the time of the US invasion that led to Iraq's liberation, but that Saddam fully intended to produce them as soon as economic and military sanctions were lifted. Now an Iraqi nuclear scientist has written a book detailing exactly how Saddam protected his nuclear-weapons secrets and making clear that he had every hope of controlling the Middle East with them (hat tip: Cranial Cavity): AN IRAQI scientist-turned-author says the most significant pieces of his countrys dormant nuclear programme were buried under a lotus tree in his backyard, untouched for more than a decade before the US-led invasion in 2003. But their existence, Dr Mahdi Obeidi writes in a new book, is evidence that the international community should remain vigilant as other countries try to...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Iran Distributes "Strategic" Missile To Its Troops

Iran announced earlier today that it had successfully tested a new "strategic" missile and has distributed it to its armed forces in the field, according to the AP: Iran said Saturday it successfully tested a "strategic missile" and delivered it to its armed forces, state-run radio reported. The report did not say whether the missile was the previously announced new version of the Shahab-3 rocket, which already was capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in the Middle East, or was a new missile. Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani declined to give details about the missile for "security reasons," but said Iran was "ready to confront all regional and extra-regional threats," the report said. Strategic missiles usually refer to longer-range weapons, as opposed to tactical missiles which would be used in battle conditions. The estimated range for the new missiles, according to Israeli analysts, is around 1,200 miles -- 50%...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Book Notes

Recently, I have been added to a book distribution list from HarperCollins, for which I am grateful. I've received two books thus far from the program and I wish I could be wildly complimentary about them both -- but unfortunately, neither one appears worthwhile. The first, Joe Scarborough's Rome Wasn't Burnt In A Day, is part memoir and part a Quixotic challenge to an entrenched bureaucracy in which Republicans and Democrats alike demonstrate the old maxim that power corrupts. Scarborough communicates a bitter disappointment that the Republican revolution has morphed into the same kind of pork-barrel troughsucking against which his freshman Congressional class won election in 1994. Unfortunately, Scarborough's book gets sunk by the condescension and hostility that literally seeps from almost every paragraph. His important points wind up playing second fiddle to an immature impulse to indulge in childish namecalling and score-settling. Not only that, but Scarborough simply gets...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #28: Pajamaheddin Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! In honor of all the pajamaheddin who took part in the pantsing of Dan Rather and CBS, we'll put a picture of a blogosphere wanna-be puzzling over that incredibly difficult Blogspot interface: This week's guest judge will be my good friend and Northern Alliance colleague, Mitch Berg from Shot In The Dark. As always, put your best caption entries in the comments section -- NO e-mail, please! (E-mailed entries will be scanned at the Abilene Kinko's, faxed to CBS News, and used to slander King Banaian.) The contest will remain open until 6 PM CT Sunday, September 26th, at which point the comments will be closed and Mitch will pick the winners. Let the games begin! BUMP 9/25: The Dan appreciates your entries, and encourages you to listen to the Northern Alliance Radio Network from noon - 3...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Telegraph: Syria To Send Iraqi Scientists To Teheran

Answering in part the question of the disposition of Saddam's WMD efforts, the London Telegraph reports tonight that Syria is negotiating with Iran to send Iraqi nuclear-weapons scientists to Teheran in order to keep from being the next target of the American war on terror: Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein. ... A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Saddam's now defunct Special Security Organisation and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president's brother-in-law. The Iraqis, who brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear programme, were given new...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 26, 2004

Obeidi, Part II

The New York Times publishes today a follow-up of an article on Saddam's nuclear program that appeared in The Scotsman yesterday, which I noted here. The Times allows Dr. Mahdi Obeidi to speak for himself, which he already has done in a book, The Bomb In My Garden. Dr. Obeidi's article has a little bit for everyone on all sides of the Iraqi debate: What was really going in Iraq before the American invasion last year? Iraq's nuclear weapons program was on the threshold of success before the 1991 invasion of Kuwait - there is no doubt in my mind that we could have produced dozens of nuclear weapons within a few years - but was stopped in its tracks by United Nations weapons inspectors after the Persian Gulf war and was never restarted. During the 1990's, the inspectors discovered all of the laboratories, machines and materials we had used...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Slow Day

Feeling a bit under the weather today -- sorry for the low output. I have a couple of things to post tonight still. I hope everyone (else) had a great weekend!...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Tyrolean Tiff

Evidently, the Italians feel the same way I do about German ambitions for a permanent UN Security Council seat. Germans expressed surprise that Italian FM Franco Frattini objected yesterday to the German initiative: Germany and Italy locked horns yesterday after the government of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, opposed Berlin's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, accused Germany, supposedly one of the country's closest allies, of trying to divide Europe with its request for a seat by putting its national interests first. "I will not accept competition based around national interests. That risks dividing Europe," he told the Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica. Of course, that is one good point -- why does Germany deserve a veto on the UNSC when Italy doesn't? Joschka Fischer told Italy that they should also campaign for a permanent seat...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 27, 2004

LA Times: Oregon In Play

Today's Los Angeles Times makes a startling admimssion that Oregon, one of the more liberal states and part of the West Coast block that normally is reliably "blue", is up for grabs this year -- even while misreporting the latest polling results: Democrats have not lost a presidential election in Oregon since Ronald Reagan's landslide reelection two decades ago. And it would seem relatively safe territory for Sen. John F. Kerry: Anti-Iraq war sentiment runs strong here, and the state has had the nation's highest unemployment rate for parts of President Bush's term. Yet the double-digit lead Kerry rode in polls here earlier this summer has narrowed sharply, reflecting his general slide in national polls but also the unease many Oregonians express about Kerry's credentials as a commander in chief. Now, just a month after Kerry drew 40,000 to a boisterous waterfront rally in Portland, Oregon's seven electoral votes are...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Israel Points The Finger

Israel has apparently decided that a forward strategy against terrorism has to include not only the West Bank and Gaza Strip but those nations who harbor and shelter them. Sound familiar? Israel gave notice to the closest such nation this morning, warning Syria that its friends will get them more trouble in the future: Israel accused Syria on Monday of "directing terrorism" and warned it could face pre-emptive strikes against militants on its territory, but stopped short of saying it killed a Hamas leader in Damascus. Syria had accused Israel of terrorism following the Palestinian militant's death in a car bombing on Sunday, three weeks after Hamas killed 16 Israelis in bombings Israel blamed on Hamas exiles in Damascus. Targeting and killing the individual leaders of organizations that have sworn to destroy Israel and that set off bombs in pizzerias is not terrorism -- it's war, and Syria may need...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Holy Wars

It's bad enough that the world is in the midst of the Third Jihad against the West, fought by lunatic-fringe Muslims against what they see as a Judeo-Christian conspiracy to keep them poor and ignorant. (They should really look into the various kleptocracies and mullahcracies that supposedly lead them instead.) But now we have the spectacle of internecine Christian riots at one of Christendom's holiest sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, reflecting shame and immaturity on all involved: Greek Orthodox and Franciscan priests got into a fist fight Monday at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Christianity's holiest shrine, after arguing over whether a door in the basilica should be closed during a procession. Dozens of people, including several Israeli police officers, were slightly hurt in the brawl at the shrine, built over the spot where tradition says Jesus was crucified and buried. Four priests were detained, police spokesman...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

ABC's Hack Job On Blogs

A number of bloggers took the New York Times Magazine to task for a slanted and superficial look at bloggers in yesterday's edition, or in a strange surrender by Billmon of the Whiskey Bar in yesterday's LA Times. ABC provides much the same slant in a Kate Snow piece from yesterday about political bloggers that treats the Daily Kos with a lot more respect than Power Line: That same day, Sen. John Kerry saluted as he walked onto a stage in West Palm Beach, Fla. The gesture drew immediate ridicule online. Someone calling himself "Hindrocket" posted a photo of the salute on a blog and wrote a warning to Kerry: "Every time Kerry brings up Vietnam, he opens himself to further body blows by the Swift Boat Vets." Someone named Hindrocket? John Hinderaker identifies himself by name on his blog (although not on his posts), which should have made identification...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Palestinian Free Speech Commitment

The Palestinians showed their commitment to free speech and the renouncement of terror today in Gaza, where an armed gang kidnapped an Israeli CNN producer, beat his employees, and stole their equipment just a few minutes ago: Four armed Palestinians kidnapped an Israeli citizen on Monday evening in Gaza City. The Israeli, Riad Abu Ali, works as an assistant producer for the American CNN television news network. ... According to initial reports, the armed men tracked Abu Ali's car as he departed CNN's production offices in Gaza City. When he reached the city's Rimal neighborhood, the armed men stopped the car and grabbed Abu Ali. "We had no indication that this was going to happen," said CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman Monday evening in a live broadcast. "This is something I've never experienced... These men were not very communicative. They asked which was of us was Riad and that was it."...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Bush Up By Eight: Gallup

In its most recent polling, a CNN/Gallup survey shows George Bush maintaining an eight-point lead over John Kerry among likely voters -- and in an unusual twist, his lead increases to thirteen points among registered voters: The survey of likely voters showed 52 percent would vote for Bush and 44 percent for Kerry. A similar poll conducted from Sept. 13-15 showed Bush with 55 percent compared to Kerry at 42 percent. However, among registered voters Bush's lead widened to 13 percent with 54 percent supporting the president and 41 percent backing Kerry. It was up from the earlier poll in mid-September that had 52 percent of registered voters behind Bush and 44 percent in favor of Kerry. It exactly reverses its last polling numbers, exchanging the 8- and 13-point leads between the two measures. Bush's momentum keeps pushing along, and although the previous Gallup poll appeared to be more of...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Diana Kerry: The New Billy Carter, Or Worse?

Katherine Mangu-Ward at the Weekly Standard takes notice of Diana Kerry, who last week attempted to sow a rift in the wartime alliance between Australia and the US. Mangu-Ward at first notes that several presidents have had their embarassments with siblings, most notably Billy Carter and his lobbying for Libya and his penchant for beer. However, she quickly decides that this sibling may be different -- and more destructive: The Weekend Australian's Roy Eccleston, who broke the story, added: "Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms. Kerry said: 'The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta--I would have to say that.'" She also mentioned the October 2002 bombing of two Bali nightclubs, in which many of the victims were young Australians. Alert readers, including Amanda Sokolski on this magazine's website, quickly picked...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

September 27th: I've spent the last four days among the rebels now, trying to make sense of their right-wing patois. It appears that their next mission will target John Kerry for what they call, in their partisan-operative manner, the truth-squad treatment. I'd report this in more detail, but one of their unbalanced and un-fact-checked third-stringers put my picture up on his site. My life might actually be in danger. Geraldo Rivera is a wimp. Courage ... Mitch Berg from Shot In The Dark has chosen this week's Captain's Caption Contest winners, and he was impressed with this edition's entries. He even threw in a word I've never seen before -- "Fuchicapesta"? I think it means that you guys rock .... Captain's Award (Strawberries And The Key) - Blogaddict: Pursuant to my memo dated 09/07/04 regarding same issue: It appears some of us have still not gotten the message. Allow me...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Ban? What Ban?

This piece ran originally in the New York Sun last Friday for their weekend edition; I wrote it specifically for the Sun, but wanted to wait until their next edition to post it here. In the wake of Ron Reagans appearance at the Democratic Convention, John Kerry has tried to make stem-cell research a featured policy difference between Kerry and George Bush. His campaign website talks about ideologically-driven restrictions from the Bush administration and promises to lift the ban on stem cell research. In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial outlining his economic plan, Kerry writes that he will restore Americas competitive edge by working to end the ban on stem-cell research. In fact, it may be the most consistent policy stance of the entire Kerry campaign. The only problem for Kerry is that the ban doesnt exist and he knows it. Stem cells are undifferentiated tissue cells that...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Black-Market Plutonium Dealers Arrested In Kyrgyzstan

Another set of black-market dealers of nuclear material have been arrested in Kyrgyzstan -- this time dealing in plutonium: Authorities in Kyrgyzstan say they have arrested two men who were trying to sell a large quantity of plutonium on the black market. The men were detained last week near the capital, Bishkek, but the news was not immediately released. ... The national security service in the remote mountainous republic says it arrested two Kyrgyz citizens and confiscated 60 small containers containing plutonium-239. There is no information on exactly what quantity of plutonium was in the containers. Kyrgyz security agents tracked the men who were attempting to sell the plutonium and arrested them while posing as buyers. The origin of the material is unknown. Security officials say it is not used in Kyrgyzstan, so they think it may have come from one of the neighbouring republics or from Russia. Earlier this...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 28, 2004

Vote for Kerry, he's tall!

Gearing up for Thursday's debate, Senator Kerry tries out several themes, some old and some new, for the Wisconsin voters. According to the AP: Speaking at a town hall style meeting here, not far from the hideaway resort where he is preparing for the debate, Kerry ridiculed Bush for saying in a television interview that he had no regrets over his "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard an aircraft carrier and would do it again. "Since he said that, over 900 have given their lives for the country. The mission was not accomplished when he said it," Kerry said. "He didn't know it and didn't understand it. It's not accomplished today. And he's still trying to hide from the American people what needs to be done in order to be successful in Iraq," Kerry added. Bush didn't actually say "mission accomplished" at the time, but spoke beneath a huge banner on...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Dana Milbank Needs A Life

... and apparetly, so do several White House correspondents, if what Milbank writes is true. Milbank, seldom known to pass up a chance at a cheap shot at the administration, takes an especially petty one this morning not at Bush but at Ayad Allawi, claiming that White House correspondents now spend their time searching for the Iraqi PM's speechwriter: It's a political whodunit: Since Ayad Allawi delivered his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, foreign policy devotees have been searching for the ghostwriter of the speech, which sounded curiously familiar to American ears. The White House denies that anybody in the administration did it. Several of the usual suspects outside the administration, including former White House officials Karen Hughes, Dan Senor and David Frum, have also denied culpability. Oooh -- they "denied culpability"? It's a cover-up!! Milbank then goes through an interminable series of quotations from both...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

CNN not convinced by its own poll results

The latest CNN/Gallup poll shows President Bush leading among likely voters John Kerry at 52% to 44%, well beyond the 4% margin of error. Even better, 53% of registered voters prefer the president while only 42% intend to vote for Kerry. CNN plays hide the poll results and sneaks this gem into the middle of the article: The poll also showed Bush's job approval rating at 54 percent -- the highest since January -- and it found increased public approval for the president's handling of the economy, terrorism, the situation in Iraq and foreign affairs. Despite this evidence, CNN is just not convinced that more Americans support President Bush and titles its article: "Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll." Apparently? If CNN can't trust its own poll results, whose can it trust? And for that matter, who can trust CNN?...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry to Bush: "Stop it!"

According to the AFP, candidate Kerry is sick and tired of campaign ads, or at least those directed at him: Kerry said the avalanche of negative television spots and attacks being shown on US screens was scaring off voters. "Americans need a real conversation over our future," Kerry said in a speech at a school in Spring Green, Wisconsin. "What they don't need is all these trumped up advertisements, they just make people curl up and walk away," added the Massachusetts senator. "I'm calling them 'misleadisments,'" Kerry said of the adverts. "It's all scare tactics ... because (Bush) has no record to run on." Whatever happened to "bring it on?" After crying for the Republicans to quit being mean, Kerry explained how his numerous positions on Iraq are not inconsistent: "I've been right on Iraq all along," said Kerry. "I said yes, we ought to hold him (Saddam Hussein) accountable,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The New Old Hometown

Julian Sanchez laments the loss of freedom in his hometown of New York City and the transformation of Manhattan into, in Sanchez' words, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Disney corporation. Sanchez writes a strong defense of the libertarian philosophy and why he thinks New York needs a little more of it applied to its current government: With the approval of [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg who is quoted in the Times story as telling participants in a community meeting, "I wouldn't want a porn shop in my neighborhood and you shouldn't have one in yours" building inspectors have singled out adult businesses for special attention, issuing a barrage of citations for such picayune violations as improper lighting on exit signs, cigarette butts on shop floors, or insufficient soap in bathrooms. The city's inexhaustible cache of micromanagerial regulations all but insures that each business can be found guilty of something,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Ooops -- Our Bad

After seventeen years of on-and-off intifadah, the Palestinians have slowly come to the realization that bombing civilians in pizzarias may not be the most effective way to generate sympathy for their cause: When Abu Fahdi joined a Palestinian militant group and took up arms against Israel, he thought he was serving his people. Now he believes he did them only harm. "We achieved nothing in all this time, and we lost so much," said the baby-faced 29-year-old, who, because of his status as a fugitive, insisted on being identified by a nickname meaning "father of Fahdi." "People hate us for that and wish we were dead." Well, boo hoo, but when people shoot indiscriminately at civilian vehicles as Abu Fahdi confesses and blow up civilians on buses and in shops, they don't attract love from anyone except the Che Guevara fans of mass murder (of which there are far too...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Feed A Cold, Starve A Blogger

I seem to be one of the fortunate souls that catch the flu at the beginning of the season. I spent the past two days in bed, only to wake up today feeling even sicker than before. After an abortive attempt to get into the office this morning, I'm back in bed again with daytime television. (Have you watched this stuff lately? It's egregious; I just watched an operatic diaper commercial. I'm not kidding.) You would think that the time would allow for more and better blogging, but the opposite is true. It's hard to concentrate on reading through the news properly in order to form coherent opinions about it. (As much as I'm ever coherent, anyway.) Yesterday I wound up watching pieces of X-Men 2 three different times, thanks to HBO's lack of imagination in its programming and a couple of naps I took. Actually, X2 was better than...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Tries To Milk Dairy Farmers

Seldom has a presidential campaign seen such bald-faced pandering as John Kerry demonstrated yesterday in Spring Green, Wisconsin. With a polling deficit nearing double digits in a state Al Gore carried last election, Kerry tried stemming the bleeding by sucking up to Wisconsin's dairy farmers. Long a supporter of the Northeastern Dairy Compact that put the screws to Midwestern producers, Kerry told the Spring Green farmers that he now has seen the light: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told voters in America's Dairyland on Monday that President Bush had a secret plan that would hurt milk producers after the election. ... In the 1990s, Kerry supported the Northeast Dairy Compact, a regional pricing program that propped up prices for Northeastern dairy farmers over objections from their Midwestern counterparts. "We've had a difference between the Midwest and the Northeast," Kerry said. "I'm going to be very upfront with you about it....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Air America: Another 527?

Al Franken is taking his show on the road throughout battleground states in the upcoming election. The AP reports that Franken will be doing live remotes throughout the Midwest in the same time frame as the presidential debates: Al Franken is taking his radio show on the campaign trail. "The Al Franken Show" will broadcast live across the country starting Thursday and ending Oct. 9, making stops in eight cities including swing state battlegrounds Minneapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and Miami. "It serves a lot of purposes," Franken told The Associated Press Tuesday. "The main one is to drive me into the ground before the elections." Of course, the way that Air America is going, it may be the farewell tour more than a campaign support tour. It seems somewhat odd that (a) Franken's tour coincides with the debates, (b) his destinations mostly occur in battleground states, and (c) the AP sees...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Pew: Kerry Falling Away, Bush Up Eight

The new Pew Research poll shows that George Bush is maintaining his strong lead over John Kerry, as the Democrat can barely muster the baseline 40% that his party affiliation should provide: President Bush's lead over Democratic nominee John Kerry increased to eight points in a Pew Research Center poll released on Tuesday, compared to a slight three-point lead in a poll conducted last week. The telephone survey of registered voters showed 48 percent would vote for Bush and 40 percent for Kerry. A similar poll conducted from Sept. 17 to Sept. 21 showed Bush with 45 percent and Kerry with 42 percent. Kerry continues to fall behind while Bush gains, extending his lead over Kerry by five points over the past week. The internal data of the Pew poll shows more softness in Bush's support than other pollsters have found, but the news could hardly be worse for Kerry:...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

A Grant Of Nobility

Jim Geraghty of the essential Kerry Spot notes tonight that the Washington Times has recognized a number of bloggers in its Saturday edition as "nobles" in their Nobles and Knaves running featurette: A few honorary mentions are in order: Jim Geraghty of Kerry Spot (nationalreview.com); Ed Morrissey of Captainsquartersblog.com; Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com; the writers of Powerlineblog.com and Littlegreenfootballs.com; the writers and editors of Realclearpolitics.com; and the ever-vigilant freerepublic.com. For their dogged pursuit of the truth in line with the honored tradition of American journalism, the bloggers are the Nobles of the week. CQ sends its thanks to the editors of the Washington Times, and congratulations to the other bloggers honored along with us....

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 29, 2004

Nick Coleman, Off His Meds

A number of high-profile members of the Fourth Estate have gotten mighty testy about the blogosphere lately, writing poisoned-pen columns about how we have the audacity to write criticisms of professional journalists who write criticisms of everyone else. It was just a matter of time before the third-rate hacks took up the same mission, and as Nick Coleman shows us in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, that time is now. Nick starts off his factless tirade by sniffing about an odd characterization of Democrats: This just in: I am a very wealthy man, born into privilege and power, and a stooge of the Democratic Party. Oh. That reminds me, Smithers: Bring me the heads of some Republicans, would you? Also, set out the good silver. Fritz is coming over to give me my marching orders. Dad-ums would be so proud, wouldn't he, Muffy? Nothing in the opening paragraph is true, but bloggers...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Lasers As Terror Weapons?

Michelle Malkin points her readers to this odd Washington Times story about a pilot whose retina was burned by in-flight exposure to a laser: A pilot flying a Delta Air Lines jet was injured by a laser that illuminated the cockpit of the aircraft as it approached Salt Lake City International Airport last week, U.S. officials said. The plane's two pilots reported that the Boeing 737 had been five miles from the airport when they saw a laser beam inside the cockpit, said officials familiar with government reports of the Sept. 22 incident. The flight, which originated in Dallas, landed without further incident at about 9:30 p.m. local time. The pilot will apparently return to flight status in a week or so as the damage was not permanent, and with three flight officers on the plane, it would not have disabled the aircraft anyway. However, a spokesman for the pilot's...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

South Dakota Isn't Kerry's Fault

The AP features an analysis of John Kerry's down-ticket effect, but the main case presented has little to do with Kerry and his candidacy: Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle hugged President Bush from one end of South Dakota to the other this summer. In his own campaign commercials. The brief embrace might seem an odd claim on re-election for the man Republicans depict as obstructionist-in-chief for the president's congressional agenda. But Daschle is one of several candidates with a common political problem as Democrats nurse fragile hopes of gaining Senate control this fall. From the South to South Dakota and Alaska, they are running in areas where Bush is popular and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry not so much. Democrats in the South and West have a big problem with Kerry at the top of the ticket. Right now he's barely able to hold his base, commonly considered 40%...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Kerry/Edwards Draft, or Dodging History

The Democrats have had a fine time this month spreading urban legends about the prospect of a reintroduction of the military draft during a second Bush term. Not only have they and their associates started a shadowy e-mail campaign, but several of their party leaders accused Republicans of hiding a "secret plan" to restart the draft, despite the numerous denials from the GOP -- and the fact that the only people to actually propose a new draft are two Democrats, Charles Rangel and Fritz Hollings. CBS helped out, again, by again treating rumors as fact and basing an entire news segment on the hoax. But lost in the shuffle until now is John Kerry's proposal to require service for high-school graduation, found by Swimming Through The Spin. Brian found the original web page archived, as somehow this proposal has been mysteriously deleted from the John Kerry website. Since the Democrats...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Italy Sold Out -- UPDATE: Maybe?

I have tremendous respect for the Italy's solidarity with the US on the war on terror and the Iraqi front; they have bled and died with us, despite whatever John Kerry says about their character. That's why the news that they paid a million-dollar ransom to Islamofascists for the release of two hostages disappoints so bitterly: A senior Italian politician says he believes a ransom of $1m or more was paid for the release of two female Italian aid workers kidnapped in Iraq. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said no money had been paid but MP Gustavo Selva described the denial as purely "official". ... Gustavo Selva is head of the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee and a member of the National Alliance, one of the parties in the governing coalition. "The young women's life was the most important thing," he told French radio on Wednesday. "In principle, one should...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Typekey Update, Among Other Things

A number of you have written to me to let me know about a problem with the Typekey registration. I sent a message to Six Apart describing the problem - I had it too - and they sent me a reply within a couple of hours: Hi Edward, Several other sites have reported similar problems and our echnicians are taking a look at what's going on. I've forwarded your information to the technicians and asked them to look at your site too. Thanks for getting in contact. Laura Six Apart, Ltd It looks like the problem is on their end, and hopefully they'll get it resolved soon. Keep trying! Both Whiskey and I seem to have the same bug, even though we're thousands of miles apart. Clever timing, eh? She tells me she'll be back to blogging when she feels better. I managed to go into the office for half...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

He Died Of Exhaustion

MIT has determined that all six billion people descended from a single ancestor who lived just 3500 years ago, according to the London Telegraph: Everyone in the world is descended from a single person who lived around 3,500 years ago, according to a new study. Scientists have worked out the most recent common ancestor of all six billion people alive today probably dwelt in eastern Asia around 1,415BC. ... Using a computer model, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attempted to trace back the most recent common ancestor using estimated patterns of migration throughout history. They calculated that the ancestor's location in eastern Asia allowed his or her descendants to spread to Europe, Asia, remote Pacific Islands and the Americas. Going back a few thousand years more, the researchers found a time when a large fraction of people in the world were the common ancestors of everybody alive today...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

If They Can't Figure Out A Butterfly Ballot ...

San Franciso will try a new form of voting that reformers have touted for years as a replacement for traditional, majority-based elections that America has used almost exclusively up to now. The New York Times reports that Frisco residents will use instant-runoff voting for its County Board of Supervisors, allowing voters to rank their choices in order to eliminate the need for a second run-off election: The cooperation is in response to a new election system, instant-runoff voting. The system, which voters approved in 2002 and is having its first run, is viewed by critics of winner-take-all elections as the start of a long-overdue overhaul of the way Americans choose elected officials. Under this system, voters can choose three candidates for each office, ranking them in order of preference. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the first-choice votes, the lowest-placing finishers are eliminated, and the second and,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Missouri Conceded?

How bad is it for John Kerry in those states that had been identified as "battleground"? So bad that even R. W. Apple notices that Kerry has made himself scarce in Missouri, a state previously considered ripe for plucking from Bush's 2000 victory list: Is Missouri a swing state that has already swung? So it seems to many people here on the eve of the first presidential debate. John Kerry has not visited the state in nearly three weeks and may not be back, local Democrats say, until the second debate, scheduled for Oct. 8 at Washington University in St. Louis. This is no accident of scheduling. ... Early on, the Kerry campaign poured advertising dollars into the state. From March 4 to June 20, St. Louis and Kansas City ranked among the nation's top 10 cities in terms of television spending by the two sides, according to the Wisconsin...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

September 30, 2004

Tina Brown Gets Impatient For "The Closer" To Show Up

Former magazine publisher Tina Brown writes in her Washington Post column today that Democrats have tired of hearing what a great closer John Kerry is, and wants the closing to start now rather than later: With all the mythology about Kerry's gift of coming from behind, New Yorkers are watching and hoping like fundamentalists awaiting the rapture. "What will it be like?" they ask one another. A mysterious subtle transformation of will that suffuses Kerry with winner's luck? A defining moment when he soothes his wounded honor with a shaft of killing wit that at last unmasks Bush? If so, could it please happen in prime time tonight? (Maybe, just in case, Kerry should wear cowboy boots to reduce the president still further to the size of Dr. Ruth.) Among the big-donor crowd, the good-closer cliche has worn out its welcome. They have had it with reading in the New...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Did CBS Commit A Crime?

Attorney and Pace University law instructor Matt Hayes writes an opinion piece today for Fox asserting that Bill Burkett and CBS broke Texas and federal laws in their publication of the Killian fakes: In Texas, the state in which Burkett concedes the false National Guard memos originated, it is a felony to make or present two or more documents with knowledge of their falsity and with intent that they be taken as a genuine governmental record. Under the U.S. Code, use of an interstate telephone wire, such as the one used to transmit an image of the forged documents from Texas to CBS headquarters, triggers federal jurisdiction. ... CBS has cause for concern, too. The documents were not just forged; they were obviously forged to the generation over age 40, which has used both a typewriter and a computer to write; CBS did not have to be misled about the...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Crawford Newspaper Doesn't Like Criticism Of Its Editorial Policy

Yesterday's "big" news was that the local weekly in Crawford, TX -- Bush's home town -- endorsed John Kerry in a half-page editorial. This made national headlines around the country in places like the Boston Globe and Chicago Sun-Times; not bad for a paper with a circulation of 425! The implication was clear: even Bush's neighbors aren't supporting his re-election. Too bad most of them will miss this follow-up of local Crawford reaction to the Lone Star Iconoclast's endorsement: But the rack that once held the Lone Star Iconoclast Crawford's weekly newspaper now is empty, thanks to a blistering indictment in Tuesday's paper of Bush's presidential record and a call to elect Democrat John Kerry in November. For a town drenched in Bush, the editorial is practically political heresy. "Not only is he the president of the United States, he's my neighbor, he's my customer," Coffee Station owner...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Quick Links

Just trying to fit in a few last items that caught my eye today ... Bill at INDC Journal interviews Richard Schlesinger of CBS News about the draft story. It's interesting and timely, and a great example of why Bill is one of the leading bloggers today ... Hugh Hewitt has his new column up at the Weekly Standard. Make sure you read it before the debate, and check to see if the Great Pumpkin makes an appearance. (I'd say not: According to Linus in Peanuts, the Great Pumpkin only appears in the most sincere pumpkin patches, a description that hardly applies to John Flipflopflip Kerry.) ... Saint Paul at Fraters Libertas continues to fact-check Nick Coleman's ass, as the phrase goes, and hits pay dirt ... Patterico tries dry humor, and some people find it a bit too dry to realize he's joking -- but it sounds like a...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Back To Targeting Children

Islamic terrorists in Iraq set off coordinated attacks today, killing dozens and wounding over 130 people. Children comprised the vast majority of the deaths, mostly from a three-bomb attack on a neighborhood celebration of a rebuilt sewage system: Three bombs exploded at a neighborhood celebration Thursday in western Baghdad, killing 35 children and seven adults, officials said. Hours earlier, a suicide car bomb killed a U.S. soldier and two Iraqis on the capital's outskirts. The bombs in Baghdad's al-Amel neighborhood caused the largest death toll of children in any insurgent attack since the conflict in Iraq began 17 months ago. The children, who were still on school vacation, said they had been drawn to the scene by American soldiers handing out candy. The blasts at least two of which an Iraqi official said were suicide car bombs went off in swift succession about 1 p.m., killing 42 people...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Kerry Campaign Throws A Tantrum

Ron Fournier reports that aides to John Kerry had an "angry exchange" with the Debate Commission about the placement of timer lights on the lecterns for tonight's presidential debate: Democratic candidate John Kerry's campaign demanded Thursday that the lights signaling when a speaker's time has expired during debates with President Bush be removed from the lecterns because they are distracting, but the commission hosting the debates refused. An angry exchange between representatives of the Kerry campaign and the Commission on Presidential Debates took place just hours before the candidates were to meet at the University of Miami for the first of three debates, The Associated Press learned. Kerry's team threatened to remove the lights when they visit the debate site with Kerry later in the day. "We'll bring a screwdriver," said a Kerry aide familiar with what several people called an angry exchange. The commission did not return a call...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

What Good Are Debates?

As I prepare to live blog tonight's debate from my den (instead of at Our House, where the rest of the Northern Alliance are free from my germs), it's worth revisiting my previously-expressed opinion on the usefulness of these gladitorial spectacles that we stage three or four times every election cycle. Unfortunately, I got caught agreeing with Teresa Heinz Kerry -- always a dangerous position: I completely agree with Teresa Heinz Kerry: Heinz Kerry said debates have become about scoring a punch with quick soundbites. "It's just silly," she said. "I think those debates are really unproductive and they made it hard for all of them to (get their message across)." In fact, I would call them exceedingly silly, made so by live audiences who ooh, aah, gasp, titter, and applaud the most banal and trite comebacks. These debates embody the vacuity of modern hight-tech media sound bite-ism. The formats...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

Liveblog: Debate #1

7:30 - I started watching C-SPAN, but the inane questions being asked on all sides drove me to AMC to watch a bit of Escape From New York. It seemed like the intelligent choice ... 7:39 - Michelle Malkin -- thanks for your link and your kind comments! 7:47 - Back to C-SPAN, just in time to see Donna Shalala introduce Lauren Williams (according to Shalala), but C-SPAN says it's Janet Brown. Teresa Heinz Kerry gets introduced ahead of Laura Bush, and she's chewing something as she walks up ... 7:51 - Jim Lehrer tells the audience to sit on their hands and shut up for 90 minutes, and now he says, "Don't make me pull this car over, kids!!" Oh, great, now the wives are the Hall Monitors. Yes, I can see this is "serious business", as Lehrer puts it ... 7:54 - If they don't want audience reaction,...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »

The Chinese Rebuttal To John Kerry

John Kerry tried to put George Bush on the defensive in tonight's debate by faulting Bush's refusal to use bilateral talks to disarm North Korea. Bush insisted that the US needed global leverage, and shortly afterwards, the BBC provided Bush with some support for his position: The US and China have said they were confident North Korea will return to six-party talks to end the stand-off over Pyongyang's nuclear programmes. US State Secretary Colin Powell said after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing the format was "what we should be concentrating on". Mr Li described the talks as the "only feasible and correct option". After excoriating Bush for not working hard enough to build a larger coalition to handle Iraq, Kerry reversed course and accused Bush of too much multilateralism on North Korea. Kerry said he'd hold concurrent multilateral and bilateral talks -- which Bush rightly pointed out would...

« August 2004 | October 2004 »