« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 1, 2004

Der Spiegel: Bush Won Debate

I'm sure we will all peruse various analyses about last night's presidential debate to get a sense of how the two candidates were received, but I thought that both of them did well enough for partisans to claim victory, maybe giving Kerry an edge on debate style and Bush at least an edge on substance. In particular, I expected the European media to promote Kerry's performance, in part because (like their American counterparts) they prefer Kerry to Bush and in part because they prefer his debating style. Imagine my surprise when CQ reader KPowell referred me to the center-left magazine Der Spiegel, which claims that Bush won on points: Die teils scharfen Angriffe von Kerry lieen den amtierenden Prsidenten Bush weitgehend unbeeindruckt: Mit der Darstellung seiner Auenpolitik und des Irak-Konflikts konterte Bush die Attacken seines Herausforderers. Fr SPIEGEL ONLINE analysiert das Forschungsinstitut Medien Tenor die erste von drei TV-Debatten im...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

US, Iraq Attack Samarra Terrorists

The BBC reports that the US and Iraqi forces have moved into Samarra with brigade strength and coordinated jet and tank attacks on 2,000 fighters in the city has been a terrorist stronghold in answer to the ongoing kidnapings and attacks. They have killed 80 terrorists and retaken key positions in the city: The US military says it has killed more than 80 insurgents in a major offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra. US and Iraqi forces say they took control of government and police buildings in the restive city, in a raid that began just after midnight. The US claim that 80 insurgents had died came after local doctors said at least 20 civilians had been killed. The attack targeted 2,000 fighters who the US says have made Samarra a base for attacks across the country. This is the opening salvo in a larger plan to eliminate...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry would pay tribute to nK

One point Candidate Kerry has remained consistent on during last night's debate is his plan to open bilateral talks with nK. When asked how he would deal with what he perceived as the greatest threat to America, Kerry responded, "I'm going to immediately set out to have bilateral talks with North Korea." President Bush immediately rebutted this idea, explaining: Again, I can't tell you how big a mistake I think that is, to have bilateral talks with North Korea. It's precisely what Kim Jong Il wants. It will cause the six-party talks to evaporate. It will mean that China no longer is involved in convincing, along with us, for Kim Jong Il to get rid of his weapons. It's a big mistake to do that. We must have China's leverage on Kim Jong Il, besides ourselves. And if you enter bilateral talks, they'll be happy to walk away from the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Washington Papers Agree: Debate A Draw

It's not too often that one finds editorial agreement between the two DC papers, the Post and the Times, but both papers called last night's debate a draw. The Post gives its analysis in its unsigned editorial: The center of the debate was Iraq, though the candidates differed more on past actions than on future plans. Mr. Bush stoutly defended his decision to go to war and its results; Mr. Kerry forcefully criticized that decision and the war's management and offered himself as a more competent commander in chief. But Mr. Kerry had a more complicated position to defend, and it showed at times. He called the war a mistake and a diversion, but later said that American soldiers were not dying for a mistake. He implied that money being spent in Iraq could be better spent on prescription drugs for seniors, but insisted, "I'm not talking about leaving. I'm...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Don Hewitt: No Such Thing As Anti-War War Hero

Don Hewitt, the creator of the original 60 Minutes who recently got pushed out by CBS, spoke out in a South Dakota radio interview on Rathergate and the election: The creator of "60 Minutes," Don Hewitt, said Thursday he would not have done the story on President Bush's National Guard service that got CBS anchor Dan Rather in so much hot water. ... "I never would have done the story," said Hewitt, who retired in June as the show's executive producer after 36 years. "I would have been very wary injecting myself into a campaign. You've got to be very careful that you're not perceived as doing the job that one of the two candidates should be doing himself." Hewitt told the audience that the problem with running a gotcha story like that during an election is that it has to be perfect to be successful; one mistake, and "you're...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Lipscomb: Kerry Wrote After-Action Report For Bronze Star

Thomas Lipscomb writes a fascinating article about his clever piece of detective work which demonstrates that John Kerry wrote the after-action report that led to his Bronze Star for an engagement that almost all witnesses claim never involved enemy fire. Lipscomb uncovered a 35-year-old operations order which narrows down the source of the story Kerry denies inventing: A faded 35-year-old operations order recovered from the Naval Historical Center in Washington bears directly on the ongoing dispute between Sen. John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about who wrote the key after-action report that ended Kerry's service in Vietnam. The report appears in the official Navy records and is posted on Kerry's presidential campaign Web site. The report details Kerry's participation in a naval operation on the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969, in such glowing terms that he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Typekey Update!

I just heard back from Laura at Six Apart about the Typekey frustrations: You recently reported problems logging in with TypeKey on some weblogs and sites. Our technicians have made some changes on our servers. Their testing suggests that these changes have resolved the login problems. We would appreciate it if you could do some testing as well to see if you continue to experience the problems. If you do, please contact us again with the following information: 1) What exactly happens when you attempt to sign in with TypeKey to post a comment? 2) What browser and operating system are you using? Thank you. Laura Six Apart, Ltd I tried this earlier tonight and it appears to be working properly. Feel free to test on this post to check it out....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Italians Pay Million-Dollar Ransom For Islam Converts?

If the rumors are true and the Italians paid $1 million for the return of the "Two Simonas", they likely will ask for a refund now that the two women have started giving interviews after their return to Italy. The two women have turned into mouthpieces for the Islamofascists who terrorized them: Italy's adoration of the "two Simonas", the women aid workers abducted in Iraq, began to sour yesterday, as the extent of their sympathy for the Iraqi fight against the allied occupation became clear. Simona Pari, Simona Torretta and Lello Rienzi talk to the press In their first big interviews given since their release in return for a reported $1 million ransom on Tuesday, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both 29, gave their backing to insurgents opposing the allied forces. ... "If you ask me about terrorism, I'll tell you that there is terrorism and there is resistance. The...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 2, 2004

Another Perspective On Freed Hostages

CQ (and more famously Power Line) reader Dafydd ab Hugh posted an interesting take in our comments on the two Italian hostages who were released unharmed, only to proclaim their captors' cause on their return. He makes an interesting connection between the Two Simonas and the Japanese hostages that were released earlier this year. In case anyone misses it there, I'm posting them here: My wife was born and raised in Japan, and she at first was very upset about the Japanese "hostages" in Iraq. Sachi lives here in America (she's a US citizen), and she got on some Japanese bulletin boards, trying to find out what was going on. She was startled to find that nobody on those boards seemed particularly sympathetic; and that was when she found out that the Japanese had already by and large concluded that the "kidnapping" was in fact a set-up: the Japanese who...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

People Who Can't Think For Themselves Can't Tell Time, Either

The Washington Post has an unusual editorial in today's edition pointing out the efforts of DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe to hijack their Letters section for unpaid advertising. You have to read this to believe it, but apparently some of the mindless sheep he's driving can't tell time: WE RECEIVED THE following letter from a woman in Yonkers, N.Y.: "Dear editor: This debate made it clear: John Kerry is a leader we can trust to tell us the truth when it comes to our nation's security. George Bush has had his chance; I'm ready for a new direction." Cogent, succinct, personal -- everything we look for in a letter. So why are we writing about it here, instead of publishing it in the columns to the right? Unfortunately, the letter, perfect in every other way, arrived in our electronic in-box Thursday afternoon, four hours and 14 minutes before debate moderator Jim...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Does This Mean The Palestinians Passed The Global Test?

UN officials are investigating a video showing Palestinians loading suspicious, elongated objects into UN ambulances after Israel released the images and accused UN personnel of collaborating with the terrorists: UN officials said Saturday they are investigating a claim by the Israeli military that Palestinian terrorists transported a rocket in a vehicle with UN markings, but accused Israel of having made false allegations in the past. On Friday, the IDF released video footage taken from an unmanned aircraft, or drone, flying over the Jebalya refugee camp. The blurred black-and-white video showed three men walking toward the U.N. vehicle, including one who carried an elongated object. The army said the object was a rocket. Don't expect too much from this investigation, however. As the above indicates, the UN "investigator" assigned to the case has started out his probe by assuming the Israelis are a bunch of liars: "This won't be the first...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

NY Times Reruns The Golden Oldies

Tomorrow's New York Times runs a 10,000-word article about prewar intelligence on Iraq's nuclear program being called a "smoking gun", "persuasive", with predictions of "significant impact". I agree, although not on the Bush campaign, as Barry Ritholtz suggests. I believe it will have significant impact on the New York Times, because as Tom Maguire and CQ reader Michael K note, the Washington Post ran an article fourteen months ago that tells the exact same story. At issue is the national-security assessment of aluminum tubes sought by Saddam Hussein in 2000 from China. The administration determined that the type and size of the tubes indicated that they were to be used in a nuclear centrifuge. Now we know that was not the case, especially after the testimony and evidence of Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, but at the time the West had not been in Iraq for two years and had little information...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Quick Hits

It's been a long day, meeting with the Northern Alliance after our radio show. A few links before I fall asleep ... Hugh Hewitt is inviting people to a virtual symposium on John Kerry's proposed ban on bunker-busting nukes, as well as his idea about sending nuclear fuel to Iran to see what they do with it. Follow the links ... CQ reader Retired Military points out an interesting error on an absentee ballot in Michigan. Note which ticket the printing error affects. RM says he's confirmed that this only occurred in one county ... Fox News apologized for a lame gag item that got posted to its website earlier from reporter Carl Cameron with a number of faked Kerry quotes in it. I can't work up a great deal of outrage over this, since Fox acknowledged Cameron's fubar immediately, apologized, and pulled the article. However, the faked quotes in...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 3, 2004

One Down

US and Iraqi forces completed their liberation of Samarra from the control of terrorist forces, having seized all government and Muslim facilities and have embarked on door-to-door searches for weapons and stragglers, the AP reports: Iraqi security forces patrolled the streets, and U.S. troops went door to door searching for weapons and fighters Sunday after the military claimed success in wresting control of Samarra from Sunni insurgents in fierce fighting. ... U.S. commanders have praised the performance of Iraqi security forces in the offensive in Samarra, 60 miles northwest of Baghdad, calling the assault a successful first step in a major push to wrest key areas from insurgents before January elections. As the gunfire subsided, Samarra residents emerged from their homes on Sunday to survey the damage and bury the dead. At the main hospital, bodies in black plastic bags were loaded on a truck to be taken to the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Obeidi, Part III

Frequent CQ contributor Bandit points me to this Los Angeles Times article on Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, about whom I have written two posts. Obeidi ran the Iraqi nuclear-weapons program during the run-up to the first Gulf War, and afterwards managed to hide the core of his research -- and a prototype centrifuge for enriching uranium -- from UN weapons inspectors until the American invasion in early 2003. The Times gives a more personal view of Obeidi than the Scotsman article did and touches less on Saddam's desire to keep the nuclear-weapon development option open for his post-sanctions ambitions. Bob Drogin does report that Obeidi had more help than he first let on, and that more of his colleagues have evaded accounting than first thought: But it is far less clear what happened to most of the 500 other scientists U.S. officials considered to be at the core of Hussein's programs...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Dodgers Slam Giants To Win The West

As any Dodger fan will tell you, the final weekend of a pennant race in Los Angeles evokes thrills and chills -- thrills for the possibility of the Boys in Blue getting a playoff slot, and chills because inevitably we have to go through the hated San Francisco Giants to get there. When only one of the two rivals have a shot at the playoffs, the other always relishes the opportunity to send them home for an early vacation. But when they're fighting each other for that spot, the tension can be unbearable. This weekend, the Dodgers needed only to win one game against the Giants to clinch the division, and they lost the first one on Friday. I was prepared to write a celebratory post on Friday night -- stayed up late to do it -- but unfortunately, the Giants hung tough. Yesterday's game looked like it would bring...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

France, Russia, China Cheated Oil-For-Food: London Times

As further evidence rolls in about European complicity in the record-breaking corruption at Turtle Bay within the UN Oil-For-Food program, the notion of French cooperation against anything involving Saddam Hussein increasingly looks like utopian fantasy rather than rational options (via Instapundit): A LEAKED report has exposed the extent of alleged corruption in the United Nations’ oil-for-food scheme in Iraq, identifying up to 200 individuals and companies that made profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds from it. The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action. A senior UN official responsible for the scheme is identified as a major beneficiary. The report, marked “highly confidential”, also finds that the private office of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, profited from the cheap oil. Saddam’s regime awarded this...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Democratic Strategists Hiding Teresa Until Election?

The London Telegraph, reporting out of Miami, says that Democratic strategists have ordered Teresa Heinz Kerry to take a lower profile and only appear at small gatherings of the true believers until the election: Democratic election advisers have ordered Teresa Heinz Kerry to adopt a lower profile in the final stages of the campaign by her husband, Senator John Kerry, for the White House because they fear that she may be alienating voters. Mrs Heinz Kerry, who as the heiress to the Heinz fortune is one of the world's richest women, has been told to keep out of the spotlight because her outspoken and unpredictable manner is regarded as an electoral liability. ... Mr Kerry drafted veterans of the Clinton White House, including the former press secretary Joe Lockhart, into his team last month to reinvigorate his campaign. They warned that his wife appeared to be costing him votes and...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #29: The Enthusiasm Gap

It's Friday, so it must be time for another edition of the Captain's Caption Contest! Much has been made about the enthusiasm gap this week, in which 65% of Bush supporters say they enthusiastically back the President, while only 42% of Kerry voters enthusiastically back the Senator. Long-time CQ reader Thief noticed evidence of this enthusiasm gap even within John Kerry's staff: Thief will be guest-judging this week's entries, so make them good! 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 David Strom.) The contest will remain open until 8 PM CT Sunday, October 3rd, at which point the comments will be closed and Thief will pick the winners. Let the games begin! BUMP 10-3: Only a few hours left! ......

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Moqtada Al-Sadr, The John Kerry Of Iraq

If one figure in Iraq could be said to be comical, even in a dark way, it would have to be the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Caught between the idiocy of his generalship and the poor fighting quality of his militias, he has at least three times decimated his Mahdi Army supporters by initiating hostilities against the US forces in Iraq. In Najaf, he almost completely wiped them out, only surviving thanks to a belated rescue by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who wanted to save the Imam Ali mosque there from destruction. Now, for at least the third time as well, Sadr has decided to create a political party instead of an army, only this time it looks like he means it. Not because he doesn't want to fight, but mostly because he's realized that he's incapable of it: The Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has begun laying the groundwork to...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 4, 2004

Truthsquadding At The Washintgton Post On North Korea

The Washington Post editorial board does a little "truthsquadding" this morning in a staff editorial on North Korea. In the first presidential debate, John Kerry asserted that George Bush's Korean policy had resulted in the nuclear weapons Kim Jung-Il claims he now has, an unsupportable accusation, as the Post notes: Some truth-squadding is needed here: While the CIA concluded that North Korea may have built one or two nuclear weapons before Mr. Bush took office, and while U.S. intelligence agencies believe the fuel rods have been reprocessed into plutonium, there is no certainty that North Korea has built more nuclear weapons. To say so is to make the same sort of reach that Mr. Kerry faults Mr. Bush for making in his statements about Iraq's nuclear program. In other words, since the CIA concluded that the North Koreans had one or two nuclear weapons already as Bush took office, and...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

They Swear, It's A Relaxation Device

An Australian who redefined the notion of a quick airpport layover managed to shut down an airport when their mechanical paramour decided it still had a bit more life left after being thoughtlessly tossed aside: Hundreds of airline passengers suffered disruption to their travel plans when a major regional airport was shut down for an hour after a humming and vibrating adult sex toy was mistaken for a bomb. The vibrator was discovered at 9:15 am (2315 GMT Sunday) by a security officer who checked out a suspicious package inside a rubbish bin at the terminal cafeteria of Mackay Airport in the northeastern state of Queensland, a police spokeswoman said. The terminal was evacuated immediately while passengers who had just arrived from a flight, check-in staff, cafeteria employees and hire car personnel were all forced to leave. Of course, the first question one asks is why anyone would throw away...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Summit Time

If like me, you're getting tired of all the hyper spin and pseudo-surge news which has followed Thursday's debate, check out the latest by Mark Steyn, my all-time favorite writer (except for my parter Ed, of course). Steyn acknowledges Bush's weaknesses then humorously fisks Kerry's unoriginal policy prescription: Oh, and he'll call a summit. ''I have a plan to have a summit. . . . I'm going to hold that summit ... we can be successful in Iraq with a summit . . . the kind of statesman-like summits that pull people together ...'' Summit old, summit new, summit borrowed, summit blue, he's got summit for everyone. Summit-chanted evening, you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room. But, in John Kerry's world, there are no strangers, just EU deputy defense ministers who haven't yet contributed 10,000 troops because they haven't been invited to a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Abandons Virginia

In a jarring contrast to the triumphalism projected by Democrats after the debate last Thursday, the John Kerry campaign has abandoned Virginia to George Bush and will transfer the personnel to other states: Sen. John F. Kerry's top campaign officials in Virginia have been reassigned to work in other states, effectively conceding the commonwealth to President Bush even as the Democratic presidential nomineerides a wave of momentum nationally from his performance in last week's debate. Susan Swecker, the Kerry campaign's state director, and Jonathan Beeton, its press secretary, were scheduled to leave Virginia on Sunday night, Beeton said. Eighteen other campaign staff workers were sent to help elsewhere, leaving about 10 paid staffers in Virginia. Some of the Virginia staff will wind up here in Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin and Iowa, where Kerry is in danger of losing ground that Al Gore barely retained in 2000. Losing just one of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Iran to Kerry: Thanks but no thanks

According to the Times of India, Iran has rejected Kerry's offer of nuclear fuel in return for it's promise to be good and not make bombs: Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said it would be "irrational" for Iran to put its nuclear programme in jeopardy by relying on supplies from abroad. "We have the technology (to make nuclear fuel) and there is no need for us to beg from others," Asefi told a weekly news conference. Of course, the nuclear fuel was only Kerry's first offer. An astute reporter should ask whether he would be willing to lift the sanctions on Iran as part of his intended negotiations. (Yes, Mr. Kerry, there are already sanctions against Iran.)...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

More Wild Conspiracy Theories From John Kerry

John Kerry did the worst kind of pandering last night at the East Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Cleveland. Kerry told the predominantly black church that the GOP is actively suppressing the black vote in battleground states, a claim which he repeatedly makes and for which he gives absolutely no evidence: "In battleground states across the country, we're hearing stories of how people are trying to make it harder to file for additional time, or how they're making it harder to even register," Kerry told an enthusiastic congregation at East Mt. Zion Baptist Church. "We're not going to let that happen because the memories of 2000 are too strong. We're not going to allow 1 million African Americans to be disenfranchised." At a stop in Ohio earlier Sunday, Kerry told a voter concerned about ballots cast by military personnel overseas that Democrats are aware of voting problems and are concerned....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Blogiversary

Yesterday was the one-year blogiversary for Captain's Quarters, a milestone which I intended to mark last night after attending a Patriot Forum here in town with Hugh Hewitt, Jason Lewis, and the entire Northern Alliance gang. Instead, I did what I usually do -- blog on a breaking news item, and then fell asleep before I could do anything else. In the one year since I started CQ, I have made more friends and enjoyed more new experiences than I ever imagined this would create. Friends like Hugh, Scott and John from Power Line, the entire gang at Fraters Libertas, King from SCSU Scholars, Mitch Berg, David and Margaret from the Taxpayers League, and many others I don't have time this morning to name have helped push CQ to unplanned success. Some of the highlights from the past year: * Adding my partner, Whiskey * Joining the NARN * 29...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Do Kerry's Backers Account For His Iran Policy?

John Kerry and John Edwards Iran policy proposal has raised eyebrows around the world, offering to give the Iranian hardliners nuclear fuel in exchange for a promise to drop their enrichment program. Now WorldNet Daily reports that three top financial backers of the Kerry/Edwards ticket may account for the unusual notion of giving fissile materials to the largest backers of Islamofascist terror groups: Sen. John Kerry's call for providing Iran with the nuclear fuel it seeks, even while the regime is believed to be only months away from developing nuclear weapons, is being linked to his campaign contributions from backers of the mullah government in Tehran. During last Thursday's nationally televised debate between the Democratic presidential candidate and President Bush, Kerry insisted as president he would provide Tehran with the nuclear fuel it wants for a pledge to use it for peaceful purposes only. ... Among Kerry's top fund-raisers are...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CNS News: Documents Link Saddam To AQ, WMD, Other Terrorists

In a blockbuster article if their sources pan out, CNS News reported today that it has documents from the Saddam regime which not only document active operational links to al-Qaeda and other terrorists as late as 2000 but also contain directives to use WMD stocks to attack Americans: Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by CNSNews.com, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders. ... Among the organizations mentioned are those affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, two of the world's...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Polls For Sale -- Not Cheap?

The blog Political Musings notes an interesting sidebar to the Newsweek poll that showed some sample-juggling by their experts. CBS News reported in its Marketwatch feature section that the two presidential campaigns revved up their ad buys last week -- including an interesting purchase by the Kerry campaign that only gets mentioned at the end: The biggest online advertising buys for Bush were at these sites: KPTV Oregons12.tv.com, Parents.com, KNVA-TV.com, El Nuevo Herald.com and KPHO CBS 5 News.com. The biggest online ad buys for Kerry were at these sites: SFGate.com, Newsweek.com, Village Voice.com, Reuters.com and L.A. Weekly Media.com.[emph mine -- CE] Combined with the odd shift in sampling seen between their two most recent polls, the ad buy looks a bit suspicious ......

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Polygamy Rights Under Lawrence?

For those who argued that the Supreme Court decision striking down the stupid sodomy laws with Lawrence v. Texas would not lead to challenges for gay marriage and polygamy, Jonathan Turley's column today defending polygamist Tom Green should disabuse us of that illusion: Tom Green is an American polygamist. This month, he will appeal his conviction in Utah for that offense to the United States Supreme Court, in a case that could redefine the limits of marriage, privacy and religious freedom. If the court agrees to take the case, it would be forced to confront a 126-year-old decision allowing states to criminalize polygamy that few would find credible today, even as they reject the practice. And it could be forced to address glaring contradictions created in recent decisions of constitutional law. For polygamists, it is simply a matter of unequal treatment under the law. Turley launches into a defense of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

So Much For The Debate Bounce

I hope the Democrats enjoyed the weekend, because the debate bounce turned out to be a figment of Newsweek's imagination. The new Washington Post-ABC poll taken for the three days after the debate shows that Bush maintained his five point lead over Kerry, despite their usual underreport on Bush's support: President Bush continues to lead rival Sen. John F. Kerry among likely voters despite surging enthusiasm for Kerry among Democrats and new doubts about whether the president has a clear plan to deal with terrorism and the situation in Iraq, according to the Washington Post tracking poll. In the aftermath of last week's presidential debate, Bush currently leads Kerry 51 percent to 46 percent among those most likely to vote, according to polling conducted Friday through Sunday. Independent candidate Ralph Nader claims 1 percent of the hypothetical vote. ... Half of Kerry's voters now say they are "very enthusiastic" about...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 5, 2004

Caption Contest Winners!

All of the entries are in and Thief has judged them all -- and believe me, it wasn't easy! He had a heck of a time picking out the best captions for this exciting action photograph, which captures the essence of the John Kerry magic. You can feel the charisma jumping right off the screen, can't you? Not only has Thief supplied the winners, he's also given CQ a series of icons to go along with them. Great work, Thief! And here are the winners: Captains Award (Weapon of Mass Distraction): capitano: McCurry -- "What's the consensus?" #1 --"Draw" #2 -- "Draw" #3 -- "Huh? Oh, uh, half caf/half decaf, single sweetener, skim foam, with a dash of cinnamon. ... and a bearclaw." You Have The Conn #1 (Whats That Buzzing Sound?) radio: Fox News is now using new ultra-high speed (450 frames/per/second equivalent) digital cameras which permit us for...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Plus A Bit Of Extra Room For That Free Nuclear "Fuel" At The Top

The Iranians announced that they could hit targets all over Southwest Asia and even southern Europe with their new Shahab-3 rocket, the AP reports: Iran can launch a missile as far as 2,000 km (1,250 miles), a senior official was quoted as saying Tuesday, substantially increasing the announced range of the Islamic state's military capabilities. Such a missile would be capable of hitting Israel or parts of southeastern Europe. Iran says its missiles are for purely defensive purposes and would be used to counter a possible Israeli strike against its nuclear facilities. "Now we have the power to launch a missile with a 2,000 km range," IRNA quoted influential former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as saying. "Iran is determined to improve its military capabilities." The only way Iran could consider the Shahab-3 a defensive weapon is if they think the combat front exists at the borders of the old Ottoman...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

SCOTUS Rejects Catholic Charities Appeal

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal by Catholic Charities of a California law that requires them to supply contraception for its employees as part of its health insurance plan, the Los Angeles Times reports today: The contraception case asked the justices to reconsider what laws violate the "free exercise of religion" protected by the 1st Amendment. The lawyers for the Roman Catholic bishop of Sacramento faced an uphill fight because of a 1990 ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia. In that ruling, he said state laws could not be challenged on freedom of religion grounds if they applied equally to everyone and did not target a religion for unfair treatment. The California Legislature passed a women's rights measure that required employers to pay for "approved prescription contraceptive methods" as part of their health insurance plans. While the law excluded churches from the mandatory coverage, it did not exclude all groups...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry's Incoherence On Stem Cells Continues

Dragging out Michael J. Fox and a father with insulin syringes, John Kerry again misrepresented the current policy on stem-cell research in a stump appearance yesterday: John F. Kerry charged Monday that President Bush has "turned his back on science" in limiting embryonic stem cell research financed by the federal government. The Kerry campaign rolled out a television ad on the subject, saying that "millions of lives" are at stake, as the Democratic presidential nominee was joined by actor and activist Michael J. Fox at a town-hall-style meeting here. "It's time to lift the political barriers blocking the stem cell research that could treat or cure diseases like Parkinson's," the ad says. "I believe that science can bring hope to our families." Let's review this one more time: 1. There is no ban on stem-cell research of any kind. 2. There is no ban on embryonic stem-cell research of any...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Dodgers In Playoffs: Triple Play Of Good News

The sports wires carry a three-bagger of good news for the Los Angeles Dodgers on the eve of their first playoff game in years. The first comes from the Dodgers' front office itself, announcing that outfielder Milton Bradley will be allowed to play after serving a team-enforced suspension after Bradley threw a bottle into the stands: Bradley will return from his five-game suspension Tuesday against the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS, the Dodgers' official site reports. ... "We as an organization and he as an individual recognize the fact that he made a mistake. He paid for it," manager Jim Tracy said. "He served his sentence, and we're going to move forward." This comes as no surprise; the Dodgers got into the playoffs on Bradley's bat and his fire. Hopefully they can get him to channel that in more productive ways during the playoffs. The other two items...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Another Victory For The US-Iraqi Alliance

The anti-insurgency effort appears to be gaining momentum: More than 3,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops launched an operation in the southern approaches to Baghdad on Tuesday, seizing a suspected insurgent training camp and capturing more than 160 alleged rebels, the U.S. military command said. The force also took control of a bridge across the Euphrates River believed to be a favored corridor for insurgents moving into and out of key cities, including Baghdad and the Sunni rebel stronghold of Fallujah, a command release said. The operation involved the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as U.S. and Iraqi army troops and members of the Iraqi National Guard. The release did not report any casualties taken or inflicted. Other than the AP's insistence on calling the terrorist bands "rebels", the announcement gives more evidence that the Iraqi security forces have begun to have an impact on the situation on the ground....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Vice-Presidential Debate Tonight

I will be live-blogging tonight's VP debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards. I'd caution my friends on the starboard side of the blogosphere from getting too cocky about the event tonight; John Edwards' success as a plaintiff's attorney shows that he can think on his feet, and his popularity on the stump demonstrates his ability to project a warm and engaging persona. The latter talent will come in especially handy against Cheney, who is undoubtably better at grasping details and strategies but can come across as cold and rather cynical. I'll be using this post for the live blog, so link back here if you want. Keep checking back during the debate for updates, and I may also update the post with breaking news items regarding the debate during the day. UPDATE: Starting the debate at 8:01 ... 8:03 - First question to Cheney refers to statements by Rumsfeld...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

UN Inspectors Took Massive UNSCAM Bribes

The Wall Street Journal reports (through the London Telegraph) that Iraqi oil officials have accused a UN inspector responsible for enforcing the UN Oil-For-Food program of taking over 60,000 in bribes, equivalent to around $100K: Iraqi oil officials have accused a United Nations inspector of taking almost 60,000 in bribes from Saddam Hussein's regime as his henchmen and foreign business partners siphoned millions from the UN's oil-for-food programme, it was reported yesterday. An inquiry by officials in the State Oil Marketing Organisation - a body which, under Saddam, was a key player in schemes that allegedly diverted billions in oil revenues from the UN-run programme - accused an inspector contracted through the Dutch company Saybolt of falsifying documents in return for bribes, the Wall Street Journal reported. Saybolt was one of two Western companies hired by the UN to provide inspectors to help monitor the oil-for-food programme. A second company,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 6, 2004

VP Debate: The Aftermath

Vice President Dick Cheney trounced Senator John Edwards in the debate last night, a verdict delivered almost unanimously by the mainstream-media pundits as well as an ABC poll of questionably methodology taken in its aftermath: Dick Cheney prevailed in the vice presidential debate with help from a more Republican audience and more support from his ticket's side than John Edwards got from his. Among registered voters who watched the debate, 43 percent said Cheney won, 35 percent called Edwards the winner and 19 percent called it a tie. One factor is that more Republicans tuned in 38 percent of viewers were Republicans, 31 percent Democrats, the rest independents. One explanation for the oversample is that Republicans may have been more likely to tune in, especially after Bush's struggles last Thursday. At least this poll attempted a scientific method; CBS used only 178 so-called "undecided" voters found, ironically, by...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Acknowledges That France And Germany Won't Send Troops

In another John Kerry flip-flop, the Democratic nominee admitted that his ballyhooed plan for Iraq for getting a "true coalition" to send troops as replacements for Americans has no chance of succeeding (via Right On Red): Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry conceded yesterday that he probably will not be able to convince France and Germany to contribute troops to Iraq if he is elected president. The Massachusetts senator has made broadening the coalition trying to stabilize Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign, but at a town hall meeting yesterday, he said he knows other countries won't trade their soldiers' lives for those of U.S. troops. "Does that mean allies are going to trade their young for our young in body bags? I know they are not. I know that," he said. Asked about that statement later, Mr. Kerry said, "When I was referring to that, I was really talking...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Hey, I'm Funny And Dumb, Too!

I get a lot of spam on my blog account, most of which I simply delete because it's not worth the trouble to complain or unsubscribe (of which I'm suspicious, anyway). However, when someone is clueless enough to send out self-promotional material that contains a two-megabyte graphic announcement via my e-mail -- especially when I'm paying for bandwidth -- I find it not only incredibly annoying but awfully self-defeating as well, especially on the second message. When the spammer represents himself as a veteran expert in public relations, communications, and e-zines, the cluelessness almost approaches satire. So in an attempt to keep this consultant from sending me any more huge graphic attachments as well as possibly giving him a clue about Internet etiquette, I send the following message: A veteran PR firm would know better than to send a 2MB file on e-mail, especially a self-promoting one, twice. Please don't...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Sadr City Gets The Message

A few days after the lightning-quick recapture and liberation of Samarra from terrorist thugs, the residents of Sadr City have suddenly launched a cease-fire negotiation with the Iraqi government. Reports conflict about whether an agreement has actually been reached, but the Iraqi PM left no doubt as to who initiated the talks: The Iraqi government and followers of Muqtada al-Sadr were nearing agreement on a formula to end weeks of clashes between U.S. forces and the radical cleric's militia in the Sadr City district of the capital, representatives of both sides said Wednesday. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told reporters there was no cease-fire between the two sides but that a committee was being formed to discuss what he termed an "initiative" by the "people of Sadr City" to end the conflict. "There is a committee being formed to discuss the details and the timing," Allawi said. "Once the committee will...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

UN Prepares To Cut And Run Again

The organization whose approval John Kerry requires for global action in defense of our national security has been urged to run away yet again from Iraq due to the danger of confronting terrorists, the AP has just reported: Two organizations representing more than 60,000 United Nations staff members urged Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday to pull all U.N. staff out of Iraq because of the "unprecedented" risk to their safety and security. In a joint letter to Annan, the staff organizations cited a dramatic escalation in attacks in Iraq and said the United Nations regrettably "has become a direct target, one that is particularly prone to attacks by ruthless extremist terrorist factions." "Just one staff member is one staff member too many in Iraq," they said. "We ... appeal to your good judgment to ensure that no further staff members be sent to Iraq and that those already deployed be...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Hillary Under FBI Investigation (Update)

The Washington Post reports that Senator Hillary Clinton is under investigation by the FBI for campaign irregularities involving fundraising for her 2000 Senate bid and her husband's use of the Presidential pardon. If you didn't see it in the paper, it's buried at A11 of the Post: The Justice Department is trying to secure the cooperation of an indicted businessman as it pursues Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign for possible fundraising violations, according to interviews and documents. The FBI told a U.S. magistrate in Los Angeles two years ago that it has evidence Clinton's campaign deliberately understated its fundraising costs so it would have more money to spend on elections. Prosecutors contend that businessman Peter Paul made donations because he wanted a pardon from President Bill Clinton. ... Paul is a three-time convicted felon who hosted a Hollywood fundraising event for Mrs. Clinton in 2000. He alleges he...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Democratic, Union Thugs Attack Bush/Cheney HQ in Minnesota

While Al Gore wails about "digital brownshirts" who dare to write criticisms of the entrenched Left, the real variety of brownshirts have attacked Republican campaign offices across this country, shooting, stealing, and intimidating political volunteers in what certainly appears to be a coordinated effort to scare Republicans into silence. Michelle Malkin has compiled a list of attacks on GOP offices, including these: * Orlando, FL - 2 GOP volunteers injured by AFL-CIO protestors storming the building * Knoxville, TN - Gunmen shoot the windows out of Republican campaign office * Gainesville, FL - Democratic activist punches GOP volunteer in the face * Columbus, OH - A wounded soldier is assaulted by anti-war demonstrators The Democrats not only seem to be losing their minds, they appear to be doing it on purpose. The latest example occured in St. Paul yesterday, in an office where I've done some volunteer service, when AFL-CIO...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Duelfer Report: Saddam Bribed Jacques Chirac To Veto War

In yet another revelation that the French conspired to undermine US and global security, the Duelfer report from the Iraq Survey Group provides evidence that Saddam Hussein had bribed the French to not just sit out the war but to actively undermine any attempts to enforce the UNSC resolutions against Iraq: SADDAM HUSSEIN believed he could avoid the Iraq war with a bribery strategy targeting Jacques Chirac, the President of France, according to devastating documents released last night. Memos from Iraqi intelligence officials, recovered by American and British inspectors, show the dictator was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war. The Scotsman also reports what the American media is blaring to the exclusion of everything else in the ISG final report: Iraq had no stockpiles of WMD. Most mainstream outlets are playing down the finding...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Media Differences In Terrorist Reporting

The Canadian Press reported this evening on a bit of internecine Islamofascist infighting, which killed as many as 37 radicals as they gathered for a conference in Pakistan. 34 killed in explosions at gathering of Islamic radicals in Pakistan - Two bombs exploded at a gathering of Islamic radicals in the central Pakistan city of Multan early Thursday, killing at least 34 people and injuring dozens, police said. Other media outlets weighed in on this story, but their reporting told different stories. Here's AFP (France) on the explosions: At least 33 killed, 70 wounded in Pakistan bombings - At least 33 people were killed and dozens others wounded when two bombs ripped through a congregation of Sunni Muslims in Pakistan's central city of Multan, police said. AFP doesn't bother to mention the fact that the crowd were radical militants or to report on the feud between the Sunni and Shi'a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 7, 2004

Are Portland Liberals Racists?

At the end of a Washington Post puff piece on teenage Democrat volunteers in Oregon, Evelyn Nieves writes in an unsupported and frankly weird allegation that seems to contradict almost everything she had previously written. Nieves reports on grass-roots efforts to get out the vote called "vote-mobbing", which just means that volunteers approach shoppers at malls and try to engage them in marketing questions designed to drive voters to the Democrats and possibly expand the volunteer ranks. In Portland, as Nieves writes, this is hardly difficult: There's no question that Portland is Democratic territory. It put presidential candidate Al Gore over the top in Oregon in 2000, beating Bush by more than 100,000 votes in a state that Bush lost by half of 1 percent of the vote. Portland is full of tie-dyed, punked-out lefties, aging hippies and run-of-the-mill liberals, and they all seemed to converge Sunday afternoon at a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Surprise!, Saddam Said

The Los Angeles Times takes an interesting look at one aspect of the Duelfer report that paints Saddam Hussein in a different and far more Machiavellian light than first thought. Once Operation Iraqi Freedom was complete and the WMD had not been found, analysts presumed that military and scientific leadership had fooled Saddam into thinking Iraq had WMD to protect themselves from Saddam's wrath, or that Saddam had gone mad and refused to accept the weapons no longer existed. However, that's exactly the opposite of what the Iraq Survey Group found: Shortly before the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq last year, Saddam Hussein gathered his top generals together to share what came to them as astonishing news: The weapons that the United States was launching a war to remove did not exist. "There was plenty of surprise when Saddam said, 'Sorry guys, we don't have any' " weapons of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

When Government Runs Health Care, They Tell You When Your Child Should Die

The Manchester Guardian reports on a family's struggle against Britain's National Health Service to keep their daughter alive. The NHS has decided that Charlotte Wyatt, an eleven-month-old preemie, will never be able to recover from the complications of her birth and want to force a do-not-resuscitate order onto her parents: The parents of baby Charlotte Wyatt are expected to hear this afternoon whether a high court judge has supported their case for their daughter's right to life. Darren and Debbie Wyatt from Portsmouth tried to convince Mr Justice Hedley that their 11-month-old child has a right to life. They argued their daughter should be provided with every aspect of medical care available. Charlotte was born three months premature, weighing only 1lb and measuring five inches. She has already stopped breathing three times due to serious heart and lung problems; she is fed through a tube because she cannot suck from...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Florida Pulls Into Bush Column

Two polls released in the last 24 hours show Florida swinging solidly behind George Bush, dashing hopes among John Kerry supporters of creating yet another race-based smear of Republicans in the Sunshine State. The Mason-Dixon poll conducted Oct 4-5, after the first Bush-Kerry debate, shows Bush up, 48-44. However, when you look at the polling sample, you see some interesting data: Men 307 (49%)...Whites 491 (79%)...Democrats 279 (45%) Women 318 (51%)...Blacks 65 (10%)...Republicans 258 (41%) ..................Hispanic 65 (10%)..Independents 88 (14%) Forgive any formatting issues (it's hard to emulate tables), but you can see that the M-D poll give a four-point sampling edge to Democrats. On the other hand, it looks like both blacks and Hispanics may be underrepresented, and with its large Cuban community, the Hispanic vote has traditionally supported the GOP. Quinnipiac also reported results for Florida today, showing Bush up by 7 in the Sunshine State: President George...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

France: No Convictions Without Confessions

The French have responded to the CIA's release of the long list of officials bribed by Saddam Hussein through the UN Oil-For-Food program -- and it's a non-denial denial: France dismissed accusations made in an official US report that French businessmen and politicians received bribes from Saddam Hussein order to influence government policy on Iraq, with the foreign ministry describing them as "unverified." ... "It is important that we check very closely the truth behind these claims, because as far as we understand it the accusations ... are unverified either with the persons concerned or the authorities of the countries concerned," ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said. In other words, France will not accept the results of the report if it is not accompanied by either (a) an individual admission of guilt, and/or (b) an admission of guilt by the country -- France! That's a nice example of circular logic. By...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Edwards fails Constitutional test

Although many MSM pundits have declared John Edwards the winner of the domestic portion of last night's debate, both observers and VP Cheney missed a major blunder, especially considering that Edwards is an attorney. During his discussion of the gay marriage question, Edwards repeatedly stated, "No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage." Edwards went on to criticize for "using the Constitution as a political tool." I'd like to direct the trial attorney's attention to Article IV of the US Constitution, Section 1, also known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause. States are compelled by law to recognize marriages performed in other states. If any state performs a marriage between homosexuals, then all other states in the union will be bound to recognize it, regardless of that state's law. Apparently Edwards didn't just miss Senate sessions, he missed a lot of law...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

A massacre in the making?

According to an unsettling report by ABC News, elementary and high schools in six states have been warned to increase security based on information discovered by the US military in Baghdad. Brian Ross reports: A man described as an Iraqi insurgent involved in anti-coalition activities had downloaded school floor plans and safety and security information about elementary and high schools in the six states, according to officials. School officials in Fort Myers, Fla.; Salem, Ore.; Gray, Ga.; Birch Run, Mich.; two towns in New Jersey; and two towns in California have been told to increase security in light of the discovery. Officials in the New Jersey towns, Franklinville and Rumson, were notified by counterterrorism officials last month that their schools had been possibly singled out. The report does not indicate that an attack was in the works and does not disclose the nationality of the "insurgent" in possession of the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Osama Been Forgotten . . . or Obliterated?

I expect many of our readers have read at least part of Deterrence 1 and 2 at Eject!Eject!Eject! Bill Whittle's argument that the stick is far more reliable than the carrot is airtight. Since Ive been a realist since my college days, I found much to agree with while reading these posts, but the section that really made me think was Bills conclusion that OBL is dead. Some highlights: Osama made endless videotapes. Lecturing, preaching, instructing, firing an AK-47: all the things that make young jihadis feel funny in the pants. After 9/11, he wowed em in several tapes gloating and laughing over the attack and its aftermath. He was reliably heard on the radio during the final phase of Tora Bora, thennothing. Maybe he escaped. Its possible. Then came the videotape condemning the Israeli incursion into Ramallah and Jeninonly it didnt. The US corporate scandals? Silence. Anniversary of Holy...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

A Familiar Name Among The Bribed

Fox News's article on the ISG report ties more names to the widescale corruption at the UN which enabled Saddam to subvert the international sanctions John Kerry claims had him "trapped". Billions of dollars made their way illegally into Saddam's coffers, and some familiar names benefitted from the kickbacks: Suitcases full of cash, secret bank accounts, covert operatives, corrupt politicians on the take. A report detailing alleged illicit U.N. Oil-for-Food deals with the former Iraq government paints a portrait of Saddam Hussein as an international gangster -- not a nuclear terrorist. ... The report, delivered Wednesday by Charles Duelfer, who was charged to investigate the extent of Iraq's weapons programs, relies on internal Iraqi documents and extensive interviews with members of the former regime now imprisoned in Iraq. Although Saddam opposed the program at first, he quickly realized it could be exploited and did so with mendacious verve until the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Driving Miss First Mate

The First Mate and I will be off this weekend to South Bend, IN, to see the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take on the Stanford Cardinal at Knute's house. (The tickets are a Christmas gift from Vayapaso -- my mom.) It's our first trip ever to the hallowed stomping grounds of the Gipper, and I'll be taking along the digital camera while I'm there. I'll put up a couple of the best shots, and since this is October, I'm betting that the scenery will be gorgeous if the weather holds up. We'll be driving down to South Bend, a trip that Mapquest says will take a shade under eight hours if we can avoid gridlock in Chicago. Once we get there, we'll meet my godfather, Uncle Emilio, for a late dinner on Friday. (He lives in Southern California. We live in Minnesota. So it's only natural that we planned...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 8, 2004

Scotsman: Saddam Crazy Like A Fox

The Scotsman today publishes an analysis of Saddam Hussein's use of the Oil-For-Food program and the UN system to bolster his security and his ability to re-arm his military in the face of so-called "global" sanctions. Far from keeping Saddam in his box, as critics of the war claim, the Duelfer report from the Iraq Survey Group shows how the same nations from whom Kerry craves approval happily supported Saddam's regime: SADDAM Hussein believed that the United Nations system was so corrupt that it would protect his dictatorship from American aggression and allow him to complete quickly his quest for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Detail from the full Iraq Survey Group report - compiled from scores of former Iraqi officials and captured intelligence documents - shows that Saddam was intending to resume his WMD programme as soon as UN sanctions were dropped. His officials believed they could make WMD...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Calls Military Leadership Cowards, Lies About Shinseki Again

Hugh Hewitt is holding a virtual symposium on John Kerry's impromptu press conference yesterday, which Hugh has transcribed on his site. The entries have already begun arriving, and I thought I would toss my two cents in before the big trip to Notre Dame. Right from the outset, with the bald and obvious lie about General Eric Shinseki being fired and the Bush administration having a "chilling" effect on career line officers, Kerry reveals his lack of insight into the military and his propensity to believe (or at least spread) the wildest conspiracy theories. We've seen this before, with his insistence that Republicans are conspiring to steal votes from millions of black people, or that they did that in 2000. However, since Kerry is running to become Commander in Chief, this lie is especially egregious. Does he truly believe that career general officers in the US Armed Forces are so...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Do-It-Yourself Kerry Stump Speech

Okay, one last thing and then I really have to hit the road. Today's funniest site is Mr. Sun, who has a roll-your-own John Kerry stump speech that will have you in stitches. He also wrote a similarly funny one for George Bush. Check them both out. Because if we've lost our sense of humor, then the Kerrys will have certainly won ......

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 9, 2004

Good News for the Coalition

Australian PM John Howard scored a victory over Labor Party leader Mark Latham, ensuring that the coalition built by President Bush will remain intact. Latham ran on a Kerryesque platform, arguing the Iraq invasion was a distraction from the international fight against terrorism and promising to bring the troops home before Christmas. According to NROs John Sullivan, the election outcome would send a powerful message to the Islamic terrorists: A defeat for Howard on Saturday would be interpreted in most of the world as a defeat for the U.S. and a repudiation of Australia's involvement in Iraq. It would reinforce the impact of the Spanish election: Two leaders who backed Bush would have lost power. Above all, it would embolden the Islamist terrorists to think that their enemies were falling like ninepins and their cause succeeding which in turn would strengthen their appeal in the Islamic world. Certainly, the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Almost too accuarate to be true

I realize Im the last in the blogosphere to weigh in on the Halperin memo bombshell. I saw this last night but too wrapped up in the debate to consider Matt Drudges report. Heres the alleged memo in full: Halperin Memo Dated Friday October 8, 2004 It goes without saying that the stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns - and our responsibilities become quite grave I do not want to set off (sp?) and endless colloquy that none of us have time for today - nor do I want to stifle one. Please respond if you feel you can advance the discussion. The New York Times (Nagourney/Stevenson) and Howard Fineman on the web both make the same point today: the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done. Kerry distorts,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Debate #2: First impressions

I didn't stay up to post on the debate last night, and I haven't read any MSM commentary (yet), so here are my unvarnished impressions on the candidates' style and demeanor: Senator Kerry: The gloss noticeabley faded throughout the evening. He started out smooth, with controlled facial expressions and managed to look pensive. He seemed to nod a little during the presidents answers on national security, may have just been my TV screen. By the end of the debate, the smoothness became so false that Kerry resembled a cardboard cut-out, and he has no humor. None. Not even a hint. At several points, I noticed the Bush smirk on Kerrys face. This must be a bug in the Kerry Version 20.1 wherein the candidate randomly displays the demeanor of the president. Someone alert Terry McAuliffe! The worst part of the debate was when Kerry looked into the camera and made...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 10, 2004

Kerry's Love Affair with Carterism

Don't miss The Big Trunk's post on the latest New York Times Magazine love note to Kerry. The article lovingly reveals Kerry's plan to revive the Carter approach to foreign policy, especially that administration's failed approach to North Korea: He would begin, if sworn into office, by going immediately to the United Nations to deliver a speech recasting American foreign policy. Whereas Bush has branded North Korea ''evil'' and refuses to negotiate head on with its authoritarian regime, Kerry would open bilateral talks over its burgeoning nuclear program. We posted on the futility of this approach after the first debate. Kerry thinks he can woo the dictators and Islamic terrorists with summits and sanctions, a selfish fantasy that puts our lives at great risk....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Better to be feared than loved

Friday night, a questioner asked the president, What is your plan to repair relations with other countries given the current situation? Friday night, a questioner asked the president, What is your plan to repair relations with other countries given the current situation? Frankly, I was afraid the president would bite on this one and answer with an optimistic answer about how he was going to work on this. I underestimated him. Bush responded: No, I appreciate that. I listen, I we've got a great country. I love our values. And I recognize I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country. I remember when Ronald Reagan was the president; he stood on principle. Somebody called that stubborn. He stood on principle standing up to the Soviet Union, and we won that conflict. Yet at the same time, he was very...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Supreme Threat

From CQ reader Kate Nguyen: "I believe that a woman's right to choose is a constitutional right," Mr. Kerry said in May. "I will not appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who will undo that right." This litmus test really means Mr. Kerry wants justices who embrace the two unstated premises of Roe vs. Wade: The Supreme Court can act as a national legislature that can never be vetoed, and when it does it must advance the liberal agenda. Elect Mr. Kerry and that liberal agenda will keep advancing not only for the next four years, and not only when it can muster a narrow majority on a divided court, but for as long as the justices Mr. Kerry appoints serve out their lifelong terms. To me this is very scary. Not just on "Roe vs. Wade" but what a "liberal" Supreme Court will do to our society on many...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

I'm Back ...

... but I just walked in. As predicted, I had no access to the Internet, and thanks to the activities this weekend, not much access to the news, either. It was so bad that I called my mom (Vayapaso) late Friday night and had her read the debate analyses from the other Northern Alliance blogs to see how it went. I just read Whiskey's excellent analysis and her blog entries, and I see CQ readers didn't miss a beat while I took my first vacation from the blog. I have 166 e-mails to scan -- sorry, but replies will be almost impossible -- before even approaching blogability. I'll write something about the wonderful visit to Notre Dame and the interminable drives getting there and back later on. Great to be back in the saddle again!...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Onward To Victory, And Back

While her loyal sons are marching, Onward to victory! As I wrote earlier, we just returned from our first trip to the University of Notre Dame, home of the Fighting Irish, the greatest and most stories college football program. I have been a fan of the Fighting Irish since I was a young lad, but I have never had the opportunity to even visit the campus, let alone see the football team play in person, anywhere. Thanks to a generous Christmas gift from Vayapaso, that changed this weekend ... but not until we had to drive eleven hours to get out there. We originally planned to fly, but that plan didn't work out. Since it was only 500 miles (499.7, according to Mapquest), I thought we could drive it in about eight hours. That plan held up really nicely -- up to the outskirts of Chicago, on Friday about...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 11, 2004

UNSCAM Money In Democrat Coffers?

Newsweek reports in its new issue that one of the redacted names from the Duelfer ISG report is Oscar Wyatt, a Houston oilman and Democratic donor (via Friends of Saddam): Law-enforcement sources say Americans who participated in alleged oil-for-food scams also may face further investigation. The CIA deleted from Duelfer's report names of Saddam's U.S. oil-for-food favorites. But an uncensored copy of the Duelfer report obtained by NEWSWEEK indicates Houston oil mogul Oscar Wyatt got oil allocations from Saddam which could have earned him and Coastal Corp.a company he founded and ran until 2000profits of more than $22 million. Wyatt and wife Lynn are major donors to political causes: since 1989 they have given nearly $700,000 in contributions, of which more than $500,000 went to Democrats. Wyatt told NEWSWEEK that his company did buy oil from Saddam but that he never did so personally, and that his company's dealings all...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

More Scarf Stupidity

The London Telegraph reports that a German initiative banning headscarves for Muslim teachers has backfired in Baden Wuerttemberg, where a federal judge ruled the ban must also apply to Roman Catholic nuns who teach: Nuns who teach in state schools in the Black Forest region of Germany are to be banned from wearing their habits in the classroom in line with a judgment on Muslim headscarves, a federal court has ruled. The federal administrative court decreed that it would be unjust if a law passed this year in the southern state of Baden Wrttemberg prohibiting Muslim women teachers from wearing headscarves did not also apply to Christian symbols. "There can be no exception. Any form of religiously motivated clothing in certain regions is not in question," said the written ruling from the court in Leipzig, eastern Germany. I wrote earlier this year, regarding the broader French ban, that such laws...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Sadr City Begins Disarming

While I was disconnected this weekend, Moqtada al-Sadr finally cut a disarmament deal for the insurgents of Sadr City, agreeing to trade weapons for cash and allowing the Iraqi National Guard to take over the Baghdad slum area. Disarmament started today, with Shi'ite leadership in the area encouraging their followers to abide by the terms of capitulation: "I've given up my weapons, I'm with the interim government now," said Ahmed Hashem after handing over 22 rocket-propelled grenades. "We want peace and I won't fight the Americans." The U.S.-backed government aims to retake control of rebel-held areas throughout Iraq by political or military means ahead of national assembly elections due in January. Mehdi Army fighters led by Moqtada al-Sadr began handing in weapons at the start of a five-day period in which they have agreed to disarm in the flashpoint Sadr City district. It's going slowly, and understandably so; Sadr had...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

NYT Magazine Reveals Kerry As An Empty Suit

Much has already been written regarding yesterday's New York Times Magazine lengthy article profiling John Kerry, especially his contention that terrorism can be considered a "nuisance" equal to prostitution, a blunder of enormous magnitude. What may be lost in the analysis of that stupidity is the vacuousness that Matt Bai's article reveals about the Massachusetts Senatoru, and that of his party as well: While Bush and much of the country seemed remade by the historic events of 9/11, Democrats in Washington were slow to understand that the attacks had to change them in some way too. What adjustments they made were, at first, defensive. Spooked by Bush's surging popularity and the nation's suddenly ascendant mood of patriotism, Democrats stifled their instinctive concerns over civil liberties; and whatever their previous misgivings about intervention, many Congressional Democrats, a year after the terrorist attacks, voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Pet Emergency

Sorry for the lack of updates so far this weekend, but our kitten became very sick yesterday. We had to spend the afternoon at the vet and stayed up all night taking his temperature and feeding him water. His temperature went up again, so we had to go to the Pet Hospital early this morning. We're home again now, and the kitten is doing much better after all his treatments. UPDATE: The kitty's fever is back up again, and the vet wants us to bring him back in. UPDATE: The vet gave our kitty another fever-reducing injection and a bag of fluids, and he's been improving steadily over the last 15 hours. No more fever, and he cleaned up his food dish this morning. Looks like he's finally on the mend! Thank you to everyone who expressed concern....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Vatican Lets Bygones Be Bygones

Despite its strident opposition to the war in Iraq, the Vatican now supports US efforts to build a democracy in the Muslim nation. The Telegraph reports: In a trenchant interview in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, Cardinal Sodano said that as the crisis in Iraq deepened, the time had come to forget past differences over the decision to invade. His comments appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign to galvanise military and financial support for a democratic Iraq among critics of the war such as France and Germany. Both countries have refused to contribute troops to Iraq, while American and British occupation forces remain in the country. A subsequent front page editorial in Avvenire, an influential Roman Catholic magazine which boasts Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's own vicar, as a board member, calls for "tens of thousands of Nato troops" to be sent to Iraq to assist the interim...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry and Jackson Tell Black Voters to Ignore Values

Once again taking the campaign to church, candidate Kerry and help-mate Jesse Jackson tell black voters to just ignore the gay marriage issue. According to the Washington Times: Mr. Kerry attended Mass at a Catholic church in North Miami, and then spoke during services at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Miami , as he and several black Democratic leaders tried to rally black voters. "How many of you someone from your family married somebody of the same sex?" Mr. Jackson asked of the congregation of about 500. After nobody raised a hand, he asked, "Then how did that get in the middle of the agenda?" "If your issues are cancer and Medicare and education and jobs and Social Security and decent housing, then how did someone else put their agenda in the front of the line?" he asked. Following him a few minutes later, Mr. Kerry urged his...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #30 - The Global Test Position Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another edition of the Captain's Caption Contest! In the first presidential debate, John Kerry told us that any action taken by the United States had to have the ability to pass a "global test", although he neglected to mention that the proctors would all be bribed to give us failing grades. When asked to demonstrate one possible method of performing a global test, Kerry happily demonstrated the preferred position for America among the nations whose approval Kerry craves: Kelly, who runs one of my longtime favorite blogs The Patriette, will guest-judge this week. As always, put your best caption entries in the comments section -- NO e-mail, please! (E-mailed entries will be forced to sit at a table with Dick Cheney and be shredded into little John Edwards government-experience-sized pieces.) The contest will remain open until 8 PM CT Sunday, October 10th,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem Undergoes Renovation

NZ Bear announces new features in the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem, and references CQ to help explain the additions: Over the past few weeks, I've been doing quite a bit of work behind the scenes to improve the Ecosystem and add new functionality. There's still more to be done, but today I'm unveiling some of the new features. ... - History statistics for the blog's rank and total unique inbound links presented in a line graph. Check out Power Line, Captain's Quarters, INDC Journal, Hugh Hewitt or Allah's detail pages for good examples. - An expandable tree menu showing the blog's ten most-linked-to posts and who linked to them - An expandable tree menu showing the links which the blog has received from other blogs, sorted in descending order of the source-blog's Ecosystem rank (for easy identification of 'big links' from top bloggers). The Bear has done tremendous work in...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

The entries are in -- over 200 of them -- the deadline has passed -- the judge has made her decision -- and all of the possible ass jokes have been exhausted. At least, I think they've been exhausted. However, just in case this one got missed, I would describe this week's picture as evidence that Democrats conflated the ass which serves as the party mascot, and the one carries the party banner in this election: You all did a tremendous job with your entries this week. I'm not sure, but I know we approached the CQ record with this edition! Kelly from The Patriette had a tough time judging the terrific captions you submitted. You could say she was flying by the seat of her pants ... Here are the winners! Captain's Award (The Kerry Counter-Terrorism Plan Explained, or The Democrat Duck & Cover) - John F: My fellow...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

By The Company He Chooses

Last week, Spain showed up the US by refusing to allow them to participate in a march in their national holiday parade, replacing the American troops with the French. The Socialist government wanted to demonstrate that Spain was "no longer subordinated and kneeling" before Washington. Now word comes that Spain has invited more than just the French to replace the US: The Spanish government has sparked a fierce row by inviting a soldier who fought with Hitler's Wehrmacht to share the podium at the national day military parade today with a republican veteran of the Spanish Civil War. The defence minister, Jose Bono, who was once caught on microphone calling Tony Blair a "complete dickhead", said the presence of the former member of the Spanish Blue Division, recruited to fight for the Nazis in the Second World War, was part of the reconciliation process between the two opposing sides in...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 12, 2004

US Steps Up The Pressure On The Sunni Triangle

Joint Iraqi-American operations in Ramadi resulted in raids on several mosques to flush out terrorists, signaling an end to unilateral American respect for Muslim places of worship when used as military staging grounds: Iraqi forces backed by U.S. soldiers and Marines raided mosques Tuesday in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi and detained a prominent cleric following fierce clashes that hospital officials said killed at least four people. U.S. aircraft also rocketed a mosque northwest of Ramadi on Monday after insurgents opened fire from there on U.S. Marines, the command said. The seven mosques targeted in Ramadi are suspected of supporting insurgents through a range of activities, including harboring terrorists, storing illegal weapons caches, promoting violence and encouraging insurgent recruitment, the U.S. command said. Sheikh Abdul-Aleim Saadi, the provincial leader of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, was detained at Mohammed Aref Mosque, his relatives and followers said. US command has...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Norwegians Try Interfering With US Election

In an odd move, a coalition of leftist politicians and artists from Norway placed an ad in today's Washington Post urging Bush to apologize to the Iraqis for ... liberating them? The Norwegian group "www.tellhim.no" said it used about $50,000 in donations from 4,000 people to fund the advertisement in the Washington Post to tell Bush that 80 percent of people in NATO-member Norway opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq. ... It urged a shift in U.S. foreign policy to allow greater U.N. involvement in Iraq, an apology to the Iraqi people for the war and compensation for victims. That understates the incoherence of the advertisement itself. One could chalk this up to a language difference, but Norwegians speak excellent English. Any incoherence in this statement, therefore, derives from the idiocy of the writers: Mr. President we urge you to change your foreign olicy. To pursue a flawed and...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Globe Spins The Australian Election

The Boston Globe spins this morning with the help of the Associated Press, describing John Howard's landslide Australian election as a referendum on economics while noting Howard's insistence on seeing the joint Iraq mission to its conclusion: Australian troops will stay in Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard declared yesterday, as the stock market in Sydney hit a record high following the conservative leader's election to a historic fourth term. At his first news conference since Saturday's election increased the parliament majority of his center-right coalition, Howard said his priorities were guarding the nation's security, working with allies to fight terrorism, and maintaining the booming economy. The victory was a resounding vote of confidence in the government's handling of Australia's economy, which has low inflation, unemployment, and interest rates, a budget surplus, and low government debt. While I'm certain the economy played a role in Australia's election, the notion that Iraq...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Zogby Bounce

For what it's worth -- and with Zogby, not much -- George Bush moved back into a tie with John Kerry in the Zogby tracking poll, 45-45, after having trailed Kerry since the first debate: Bush gained three points on the Massachusetts senator to move into a 45-45 percent dead heat in the latest three-day tracking poll of the White House campaign. The focus of the tight race now turns to Wednesday's pivotal final debate in Tempe, Arizona, with both candidates hoping to take advantage of their last chance to court a national television audience of likely voters. "A close race got closer," pollster John Zogby said. "I am not expecting anyone to pull away in this one -- at least not yet." I remain highly suspicious of both Zogby's methods and results. Reuters reports one of the reasons; the new Zogby poll shows Bush with just a 35% job-approval...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Democrats Run Away From Kerry, Liberalism

In the clearest indicator yet that John Kerry has serious trouble on his hands, the Los Angeles Times reports that Democratic candidates for Senate this year have decided to run to their right, and away from John Kerry: The Democratic candidate in Alaska supports President Bush's call to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The Democrat running in South Carolina supports Bush's call for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, and the Democratic candidate in Oklahoma is in favor of repealing the District of Columbia's tough gun control law. ... Some of the Democratic candidates have sought to distance themselves from the party's presidential nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts. "The main reason you're hearing Democratic candidates talk like Republicans is that most of the highly competitive Senate races this year are taking place on GOP turf," said Andrew Taylor, a political scientist at...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Iranians Preparing To Infiltrate Iraqi Electoral Process

The Washington Times reports this morning that the Iranian mullahcracy has made plans to infiltrate Iraq during Ramadan, spreading their Qumian brand of Shi'ite radicalism and disrupting elections in the south: A top Iranian dissident living in Paris says up to 800 clerics and theology students from Iran are in the process of infiltrating cities in neighboring Iraq in time for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins Friday. Ayatollah Jalal Ganje'i, a prominent critic of the Iranian regime, said in an interview with The Washington Times that the influx is part of continuing efforts by Tehran's power brokers to exploit the crisis in Iraq in order to set up a sister fundamentalist Islamic republic. The religious leaders, dispatched by the Islamic Propaganda Organization, plan to use the holy month to propagate militant Islamic views, he said, with the goal of strengthening Iraqi political groups whose philosophy and aims...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Mini-Kerry Of Minnesota

Today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune reviews the flip-flopping going on in one of our Congressional races, pitting popular Rep. Mark Kennedy against political neophyte Patty Wetterling. Wetterling has built a name for herself from her tireless work on behalf of missing children after the tragic disappearance and loss of her son, Jacob. However, the Democratic strategy to run her against Kennedy appears to be floundering as their candidate can't decide which policies she supports or opposes, even on basic-values questions such as abortion: U.S. House DFL candidate Patty Wetterling confirmed Monday that she unreservedly favors abortion rights and supported the war in Afghanistan, two issues that may play a decisive role in her Sixth District race against Republican incumbent Mark Kennedy. ... Wetterling retreated from previous statements that she and others made that she opposed second-trimester and late-term abortions. "I did have concerns about late-term and second-trimester," she said Monday. "I always...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Minnesota Senator Meltdown?

The bizarre behavior of the senior Senator from Minnesota continues and deepens this afternoon, as CBS News reports that Mark Dayton has closed his office for security reasons. CBS also reports that government sources are baffled by his reasoning, as no specific intelligence exists which would lead them to believe he's been targeted (hat tip: CQ reader Laura): Sen. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he is closing his Washington office because of a classified intelligence report that made him fear for the safety of his staff. Dayton, D-Minn., said the office will be closed while Congress is in recess through Election Day, with his staff working out of his Minnesota office and in Senate space off Capitol Hill. "I take this step out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise be visiting my Senate office in...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

EuroLefties Continue Meddling In US Elections

I guess it wasn't enough to have the Norwegians interfering with the upcoming presidential election by publishing incoherent rants in the Washington Post. Now we have the Manchester Guardian getting into the act, publishing a primer on how to launder foreign campaign contributions and cold-call American voters to convert their votes into European proxies: Certainly, the actions of the US impact on our lives in overwhelming ways; British political life may now be at least as heavily influenced by White House policy as by the choices of UK voters. And yet, though the US Declaration of Independence speaks of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind", you don't, of course, have a vote. You can't even donate money to the campaigns: foreign contributions are outlawed. And you're unlikely to have the chance to do any campaigning on the ground. All you can do is wait and watch: you're powerless....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

I'm Not Running Away, Just Walking Briskly

Earlier today, I wrote about the way Democratic candidates for Senate appear to be running to the right -- and away from John Kerry. This tendency belies a desperation among Democrats that the poor performance of the top of their ticket may well destroy any chance of the secondary candidates to win. CQ reader Gary S. notes an example of this from last Sunday's Meet the Press, which had both Colorado Senate candidates talking with Tim Russert. Gary notes this exchange between Ken Salazar, the Democratic candidate, and Russert: MR. RUSSERT: You say that you wouldn't use the same words that John Kerry used. John Kerry's been to Colorado five times during his campaign, and you've never appeared with him. Are you running away from John Kerry? MR. SALAZAR: I'm not running away from John Kerry. John Kerry is a person who has done a lot for this country, who...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Server Issues ...

... seem to be popping up tonight. If you're getting slow loads or hiccups, be patient. I'm sure the problems will be fixed shortly....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 13, 2004

Insurgency Cracking In Iraq

In a sign that the joint Iraqi-American initiative to pursue the terrorists of the Sunni Triangle has paid off, the insurgency appears to be turning in on itself. The Washington Post reports that a deadly rift has been created between foreign terrorists and the native Ba'athist remnants in Fallujah and elsewhere which promises to help bring a swift end to their campaign: Local insurgents in the city of Fallujah are turning against the foreign fighters who have been their allies in the rebellion that has held the U.S. military at bay in parts of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, according to Fallujah residents, insurgent leaders and Iraqi and U.S. officials. Relations are deteriorating as local fighters negotiate to avoid a U.S.-led military offensive against Fallujah, while foreign fighters press to attack Americans and their Iraqi supporters. The disputes have spilled over into harsh words and sporadic violence, with Fallujans killing at...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Evidence Of Saddam's Genocide Mounts From Unlikely Sources

The case for removing Saddam Hussein from power has been made clearer by a media organization known for its overwhelming bias. Fox News? NewsMax? No -- Al-Jazeera: Hoping to unearth crucial evidence that could help in convicting deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, investigators said nine trenches in a dry riverbed at the Hatra site in northern Iraq contained at least 300 bodies, and possibly thousands. Those buried included children still clutching toys [emph mine - CE]. "It is my personal opinion that this is a killing field," said Greg Kehoe, a US lawyer appointed by the White House to work with the Iraqi Special Tribunal. "Someone used this field on significant occasions over time to take bodies up there and to take people up there and execute them". "I have been doing grave sites for a long time, but I have never seen anything like this, women and children executed...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Job Losses Started Under Bill Clinton

Much has been made of the job losses that have occurred during the George Bush administration, even though most of that talk ignores the single greatest foreign attack on American soil and its tremendous economic impact. However, frequent CQ contributor Bandit has done a bit more research into recent job-loss history and finds that the rosy picture painted about the Clinton years by the Kerry campaign and his media allies is more cartoon than realism: First major signs that all was not well surfaced in May 2000. This is the month the biggest recorded decline in jobs in eight years - 116,000 jobs disappeared [see private-sector jobs -- CE]. What made this number even more alarming is that the cutbacks were widespread affecting all sectors: 29,000 jobs in construction, 71,000 in wholesale and retail, 17,000 in manufacturing, and 11,000 in transportation. ... The unions were sensing not all was well...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Questions About Kerry's Discharge Make The Mainstream Media

For weeks, speculation has swirled on e-mail regarding the discharge granted to John Kerry. Some have speculated that Kerry received a dishonorable discharge that only was reversed under Bill Clinton. As these charges have been largely unaccompanied by objective evidence, I've passed on mentioning them here at CQ. I know that the Swiftvets and their supporters such as River Rat and Bandit have been researching the issue more carefully, and that if anything reportable arose , we''d hear it soon enough, if an enterprising reporter or two didn't. Now the ever-enterprising Thomas Lipscomb has pieced together some interesting information regarding Kerry's discharge and reported them in today's New York Sun (subscription only). I've received a slew of e-mails from my regular readers on this article, and it looks very interesting indeed: An official Navy document on Senator Kerry's campaign Web site listed as Mr. Kerry's "Honorable Discharge from the Reserves"...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The World's First Live-Audience Gang Live-Blog!

Tonight, the Northern Alliance makes history as we welcome our local bloggers to watch the last Presidential debate with us tonight at the Minneapolis Downtown Hilton. The event has been set up by AM 1280 The Patriot and is being sponsored by the Hilton and Wade Financial. We'll have free snacks, a cash bar, and wireless networking available, and several of the Northern Alliance will be on hand to live-blog and to hang out with our friends. Your friendly Captain will certainly be on hand, and check out the other NARN blogs to see who else will be there....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Blix Believed Pre-War WMD Assessment "Understated" Threat

The Scotsman reports today that UN weapons inspector Hans Blix told British officials that the dossier compiled by Anglo-American intelligence services actually understated Saddam's capacity to produce chemical and biological weapons (hat tip: Secure Liberty): Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix believed the Governments controversial Iraq weapons dossier actually understated the case against Saddam Hussein, according to documents released today by the Foreign Office. The papers released by the FO show that British officials at the United Nations in New York showed a draft of the dossier to Dr Blix in September 2002, two weeks before the final version was published. A note from one official, Adam Bye, said that Dr Blix had liked the section on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as he believed that it did not exaggerate the facts. According to the note, Dr Blix said that the dossier even risked understating Iraqs ability to produce...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Final Presidential Debate: Live-Blog!

For those who want to link to my live-blogging, I'll be working off of this post. I just got done speaking to The Patriot's operations manager, who tells me that we are expecting 650 people for our event at the downtown Hilton! ... 7:35 - We are at least at 300 people so far and climbing! We are all pretty amazed that the response has been so enthusiastic. We have a 5' projection screen at the front of the room tuned to Fox News. A Kerry supporter in a bow tie tried handing out literature in the room, but The Patriot shut that down pretty quick ... 7:58 - Rocket Man just fired up the crowd here, preparing them to cheer and yell during the debate. Should be lively! 8:05 - First question is on national security. Kerry talks about the COPS program. Kerry will hunt them down and kill...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 14, 2004

The Check's In The Mail

Donor nations for the rebuilding of Iraq met this week in Tokyo, after having stiffed the new interim Iraqi government last year from the $13.6 billion that they pledged for the stabilization effort. This conference led to much fewer pledges, but may have shaken loose the money promised in the first conference: The meeting of 57 donor nations and international organizations is a follow-up to a conference a year ago in Madrid, where the international community vowed to contribute tens of billions of dollars to rebuild wartorn Iraq. Iraq's delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, expressed strong frustration with the slow pace of funding, arguing that many parts of the country are safe enough for projects to go forward and warning that delays could ruin Iraq's chances of a sustainable recovery. Thursday's final, closed-door session focused on how two trust funds operated by the United Nations and the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Look For The Union Label, And Disinfect Accordingly

The rank-and-file of Swedish labor will not be pleased to learn where their dues money went in Trollhattan, in every sense of the word: Union leaders in the Swedish industrial town of Trollhattan, which is threatened by huge job losses, have quit after allegations they used membership dues to buy liquor, porn and sex toys, the union says. An internal audit by Sweden's second-largest union, Metall, unearthed expense abuses by branch 112 in Trollhattan, where about 6,000 workers at a Saab car factory fear they might be hit by European job cutbacks by Saab owner General Motors. As if that wasn't bad enough, listen to the description of the malfeasance reported by a former union branch employee about the disposition of the items in question: A former cashier at the branch told public radio Ekot of drinking bouts and sex shop sprees during official visits to Denmark and Belgium, using...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Final Thoughts On The Debate

The early spin is in, folks, and the MSM has decided to crown John Kerry the winner of the third debate -- a conclusion they must have reached before air time, because the grim and stumbling performance that Kerry gave was easily the worst of the three debates thus far. CNN attempted to ensure that spin by having paid Kerry advisor and paid CNN consultant Paul Begala give his commentary on the night's events. (So much for the non-partisan, objective Old Media.) Ironically, in an election where the Democrat has fallen behind with women, Kerry's post-debate troubles will be on two talking points about women: Mary Cheney and his answer to Bob Schieffer's "strong women" question. Lynne Cheney came out swinging after the second time the Kerry/Edwards ticket has used her lesbian daughter as a debate prop: Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Vice President Cheney, accused John F. Kerry on...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Maybe Rassmann Plagiarized Kerry's Mom

CQ reader John Gault notes that the valediction that John Kerry's mother gave him, according to his answer at the debate, has a ring of familiarity to it. Band of Brothers member Jim Rassmann, while campaigning for Kerry in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, said this from the stump last month: After serving with John Kerry, a veteran says Kerry is better suited to serve in the White House. Jim Rassman was in Eau Claire on Tuesday to campaign for Kerry. Rassman says Kerry saved his life when he pulled him out of a river during a battle in Vietnam. Rassman says he voted for Bush in 2000, but says he doesn't plan to back the President this time around. "There are three character traits John has that George Bush does not have and they are integrity, integrity, integrity [emph mine - CE]. I trust John Kerry implicitly. I don't trust a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Senator Rabbit Gets Help From A Byrd

Senator Mark Dayton continued to defend his singular decision to shut his DC office down and evacuate the Capitol, even though no specific threat exists and no other Senate offices will close. CNN reports that Dayton claims his staff would have been little more than "human shields" had he kept his offices open: Sen. Mark Dayton Wednesday defended his decision to close his Capitol Hill office until after the November 2 election, saying it would have been "immoral" to leave his staff members as "human shields" facing a possible terrorist attack while he returned home to Minnesota. "I can't predict the future. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that the safety and lives of my staff are my responsibility," Dayton told CNN's "Wolf Blitzer Reports." "And I'm not going to leave them there exposed to risks that I'm not there to take myself." ... Elaborating...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Democrats Intend On Crying Wolf November 2nd

Just when I thought I'd seen and heard everything in this election cycle -- a major party candidate trucking in urban legends, party chairman engaging in transparent smear campaigns, and broadcast networks publishing fraudulent stories to unseat a sitting president -- the Democrats manage to create one more surprise. Drudge has a document from the Kerry/Edwards campaign that not only lowers the bar on political discourse but threatens to undermine the democratic processes themselves, all just to grab power (scan here): The Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee are advising election operatives to declare voter intimidation -- even if none exists, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal. A 66-page mobilization plan to be issued by the Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee states: "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike.'" Here's what else the strategy plan for the Colorado race asks campaign staffers...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Marines Begin Push Into Fallujah?

The AP reports that some sources indicate the US Marines have begun the long-anticipated push into Fallujah after negotiations broke down earlier in the day: U.S. Marines launched air and ground attacks Thursday on the insurgent bastion Fallujah after city representatives suspended peace talks with the government over Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's demand to hand over terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Late Thursday, residents of the city, 40 miles west of Baghdad, reported shuddering American bombardments using planes and armored vehicles in what they said was the most intensive shelling since U.S. forces began weeks of "precision strikes" aimed at al-Zarqawi's network. Earlier, attempts to reach a peaceful conclusion to the Fallujah problem broke down, as city leaders balked at turning over Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, an ironclad demand of both the US and the interim Iraqi government. The religious council that headed the Fallujah side of the negotiations claimed the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Saddam Funded Terrorists

The Scotsman, doing yeoman work on the Duelfer report on the Iraq Survey Group investigation, reports that recently uncovered documents reveal a series of payments to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is a PLO splinter group that has spent most of the time since Oslo setting off car bombs to derail the peace processes, such as they are: The PFLP, whose history of terrorism dates back to the "black September" hijackings of 1970, was personally vetted by Saddam to receive oil vouchers worth 40 million. The deal has been uncovered by US investigators, trawling millions of pages of documents showing a network of diplomats bribed by Saddams regimes, and political parties who qualified for backhanded payments from Baghdad. The Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which is still working its way through 20,000 boxes of documents from Saddams Baath party discovered only recently, found a list of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 15, 2004

Iranians Taking Control Of Palestinian Terror

In a report that underscores the urgency of stopping Iran's nuclear-weapons program, the London Telegraph reveals that Palestinian terror groups have increasingly fallen under the influence or direct control of Teheran: Iran has taken control of many Palestinian terrorist cells from Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, giving them funds and orders to attack Israeli targets, and even rewarding successful missions with "bonuses", according to a senior Israeli security source. For many years, Iran has given money and ideological support to radical Palestinian groups, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad, responsible for most of the Israeli deaths in the past four years of the Palestinian uprising. But Israel believes that much of the Fatah-affiliated armed faction, calling itself the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, has now come under Iran's sway, especially in the West Bank. Even Yasser Arafat has complained about Iranian interference. The Telegraph reports that Arafat called Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Terrorist: Canada Unfair

So much for the rough, tough terrorist facade ... The Boston Globe reports that a captured terrorist complains that the Canadians tricked him into going to the US, where he's been held since 2002 after admitting to attempting to kill US citizens abroad: Mohammed Jabarah, identified as a member of Al Qaeda by police in Singapore, Canada, and the United States, was arrested in Oman in March 2002 and deported to Canada. After four days of interrogation by agents of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Jabarah was transferred to the United States in April 2002 and is still in custody. Alan Borovoy, general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, has written to Public Security Minister Anne McLellan to urge an investigation into whether Jabarah had been misled by the intelligence service. ... Jabarah's father, Mansour, told the Canadian news program his son was convinced that the intelligence service had...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Reuters: Bush Up By Four After Debate

In what will be a shock to the pundits who thought that Kerry won Wednesday's debate, the new Reuters/Zogby (ha!) poll shows that Bush picked up three points since then, extending his lead to four points over Kerry: Bush led Kerry 48-44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, which included one night of polling done after Wednesday's debate in Tempe, Arizona. Bush led Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, by only one point, 46-45 percent, the previous day. An improvement in Bush's showing among undecideds and a strong response from his base Republican supporters helped fuel the president's rise. The difference between the two daily tracking polls is that now we start to see the effects of the debate, as one-third of the survey was taken the day afterward. Far from hurting Bush, the debate seems to have swung more independents and younger voters to the Republicans, while Kerry now...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Can Scratch This Foreign Leader

I guess we can scratch Japan from the list of countries to which John Kerry may have referred when speaking about how foreign leaders preferred him to George Bush: The comments come a day after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made remarks that appeared to suggest he would prefer to see Bush win the Nov. 2 U.S. presidential election. "I think there would be trouble if it's not President Bush," Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe told a radio program, Kyodo news agency reported. "For instance, Mr. Kerry wants to handle the North Korean issue bilaterally, which is out of the question. We're now in the era of multilateralism," Takebe was quoted as saying, referring to six-way talks involving North and South Korea, Japan, the United States, China and Russia over the North's nuclear ambitions. Bush has ruled out bilateral talks with reclusive communist Pyongyang, but Kerry has said this...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

ABC Can't Do A Hit Piece Any Better Than CBS

Pity the mainstream media, which apparently fell asleep for the last four years and have woken to discover a brand new world. This time it's ABC's turn for embarassment, as their attempted attack on the Swiftvets has foundered on the shoals of a thousand fact-checkers -- and the calm determination of John O'Neill: Nightline traveled to Vietnam and found a number of witnesses who have never been heard from before, and who have no particular ax to grind for or against Kerry. Only one of them, in fact, even knew who Kerry is. The witnesses, all Vietnamese, are still living in the same villages where the fighting took place more than 35 years ago. A Nightline producer visited them and recorded their accounts of that day. The accounts were subsequently translated by a team of ABC News translators. ... The Vietnamese government initially rejected Nightline's request to visit the village,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #31: The October Surprise Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another edition of the Captain's Caption Contest! It's also October, so everyone's watching out for the various October Surprises. Last time out, the Democrats pulled out an ancient DUI from George Bush's past that almost won them the White House. Bush calmly handled the crisis four years ago, talking about his past experiences with alcohol abuse and how his faith helped turn his life around. Kerry, on the other hand, looks a bit skittish: This week's guest judges will be David & Margaret from Our House, which they have not yet learned, because David keeps complaining I never read his blog. Nonsense -- go check it out! It's a great blend of national and local politics, as well as a wonderful photoblog from one of may favorite blogging couples. I read it all the time. (Dammit, David, I really do!) As always,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Three Out Of Four Military Families Choose Bush

A new Annenberg survey reveals that active-duty military members and their families prefer George Bush over John Kerry despite the Kerry/Edwards accusations of back-door drafts and poor administration of military resources, by a 3-1 margin: When asked who they would trust as commander in chief, people in military service and their families chose President Bush over Sen. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, by almost a 3-to-1 margin. Bush, who served in the Texas Air National Guard, was more trusted by 69 percent while 24 percent said they trusted Kerry more, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey released Friday. ... A majority in the military sample, 64 percent, said the country is on the right track. Among Americans generally, 55 percent said the country is headed in the wrong direction. The National Annenberg Election Survey found that seven in 10, 69 percent, had a favorable view of Bush. Only...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part I

The First Mate and I have a friend who has served in Special Forces for over 30 years. The FM has known "Mike" since before he enlisted, and I've been fortunate and honored enough to be a friend to him and his family for over 10 years. "Mike" has served his country in many conflicts, starting with Viet Nam right up to the current conflict in Iraq. I posted a letter from Mike in April, when he worked as a security contractor in Iraq and just after the butchering of four of his colleagues in Fallujah. Mike has returned from his service in Iraq in the last few weeks and has spent some time catching up with his family. He wrote a moving series of letters to his sons, explaining our involvement in terms his young children could understand. For security reasons, I have removed any references which could identify...

Continue reading "Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part I" »

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

WaPo Shows Widespread Disapproval Of Kerry's Mary Cheney Reference

As part of their daily tracking poll, the Washington Post added a question about John Kerry's controversial reference to Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney's daughter, in a question about homosexuality. The Post reports that likely voters overwhelmingly disapproved, even the morning after the debate, before the controversey broke out to the mainstream press: An overwhelming majority of voters believe it was wrong for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry to have mentioned in Wednesday's presidential debate that Vice President Cheney's daughter was a lesbian, according to the latest Washington Post tracking survey. Nearly two in three likely voters -- 64 percent -- said Kerry's comment was "inappropriate," including more than four in 10 of his own supporters and half of all swing voters. A third -- 33 percent -- thought the remark was appropriate. Even more inappropriate was the comment by John Edwards' wife, who said she felt that the Cheneys were...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 16, 2004

Al-Qaeda Focusing On Pakistan

Analysts have determined that al-Qaeda has shifted its focus from American targets to Pakistan instead, trying to destabilize what it sees as the weak link in the coalition to stomp out Islamofascist terror: Diplomats and other analysts believe al Qaeda cells are using Pakistan as a key battleground in its broader war against the United States and are exploiting long-standing enmity between Sunni and Shi'ite extremists to further this aim. They say the government's failure to crack down on groups it has used for years as tools of policy in the divided Kashmir region and in Afghanistan has played into al Qaeda's hands. ... In the past month, Pakistan has been rocked by a fresh wave of bombings of majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite Muslim gatherings that have killed nearly 80 people. It has also seen its ties with its closest ally China tested by the kidnapping of two Chinese...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Le Muse, C'est Moi

The French president, Jacques Chirac, has a museum showcasing all of the gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries, an odd form of official showiness that usually is associated with dictators and other narcissists. Having his own museum seems like a perfect reflection of the man who has decided to make himself and France the center of anti-American global expression. Unfortunately for Chirac, his museum also perfectly reflects French economics: A state-funded museum built to display gifts showered on President Jacques Chirac by foreign dignitaries has gone almost three times over budget and is steadily losing money as admission figures slump. Inspectors from the regional audit office in the Corrze, south-western France, found that the museum, opened in 2000, cost almost 5 million to build and lost more than 400,000 in a single year. Most Western heads of state wait until their retirement to open their libraries; countries usually wait...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Saddam's Lawyer Met With Osama In Baghdad: MEMRI

The Arab news translation service MEMRI reports in a breaking-news crawl that Osama bin Laden met with Saddam's Italian attorney in the al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad in 1998: Saddam's Italian attorney Giovanni de Stafano told a London-based daily that a meeting was held between himself and Osama bin Laden at the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad in 1998. (al-Sharq al-Awsat) Big hat tip to Kevin McCullough. I have yet to find an English-language link to al-Sharq, even though it's based in London, nor have I seen this break anywhere else in the English-language media. Needless to say, if this report pans out, it puts a completely new light on our efforts to depose Saddam -- not so much for those of us who understand the strategic necessity of removing Saddam, but for those who can only think tactically. More to come ......

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part II

This is Part II in a continuing series by my friend "Mike", a Navy SEAL who spent most of the last couple of years in Iraq as both an active-duty participant and a private contractor. "Mike" explains the war in Iraq to his young sons, and has graciously allowed me to share his letters with you. "Mike" will appear on the Northern Alliance Radio Network today to discuss his experiences and the situation in Iraq. The show starts at noon CT. IRAQ PICTURE LETTER TO MY SON PART 2. THE EVIL RULER OF IRAQ Do you know the name of the bad man who ruled Iraq until last year? The US Army just captured him on December 13, 2003, and he is going on trial in a few weeks. Thats right, his name is Saddam Hussein. He put his face on all of the paper money in Iraq which they...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Zogby Daily Tracking Poll Still Has Bush Ahead By Four

After yesterday's interesting Zogby poll results showing a post-debate Bush bounce, I was curious as to whether that would prove anomalous, a one-day polling outlier from a pollster known for such results. So far, however, their polling shows Bush maintaining his four-point lead over Kerry, demonstrating that the final debate damaged Kerry despite the pundit spin afterwards: Three days after the final presidential debate, President Bush retains his four-point lead over Senator John Kerry, according to a new Reuters/Zogby daily tracking poll. The telephone poll of 1211 likely voters was conducted from Wednesday through Friday (October 13-15, 2004). The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points. Pollster John Zogby: Bush led by 4 today [Oct. 15th] -- the first full day sample after the debate. Kerry gets 81% of support among Democrats while Bush gets 14%, but Bush gets 92% among Republican to Kerry's 5%-- and, of course, the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Dayton Response "Ridiculous", "Paranoid": DC Politicians

The fallout of Mark Dayton's decision to close his offices in Washington DC due to unspecified threats continues, generating ridicule from both sides of the aisle and embarassment for Minnesotans. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that local DC reaction fluctuated from fury to concern over Dayton's psychological fitness: The surprising response by the freshman senator from Minnesota to the latest in a series of warnings prompted ridicule and a flurry of angry reactions yesterday. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said Dayton's decision was "ill-informed." Minnesota's senior senator, Norm Coleman (R), called Dayton reckless. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) compared him to the boy who cried wolf. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle whispered "paranoid." ... Dayton's reaction to the extreme possibility was ridiculous, D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said. "It's not based on any credible information that's come in. Nobody knows why he is doing what he...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 17, 2004

Words Have Meaning And Impact

In a reminder of Rush Limbaugh's famous rejoinder that words have meaning, the BBC reports that UN commanders on the ground blame John Kerry's stump speech professing support for Haitian strongman Jean-Bertrand Aristide for the continuing violence from Aristide supporters: The commander of the UN peacekeepers in Haiti has linked a recent upsurge in violence there to comments made by the US presidential candidate, John Kerry. Earlier this year Mr Kerry said that as president he would have sent American troops to protect Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted from power in February. ... Eight months ago the Bush administration withdrew all support for Mr Aristide and made it clear he should leave Haiti. John Kerry called that "short-sighted" and said he would have sent troops to protect Mr Aristide, who was an elected leader. Now General Heleno, says those comments have offered hope to Aristide's supporters that should Mr Kerry...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Finds Priests Who Don't Read The Catechism

In an article intended on highlighting John Kerry's attempts to present himself as an average, ordinary guy, the Associated Press inadvertently shows how Kerry's rank manages to get him preferential treatment by some in the Church whose teachings he defies. After talking about how Kerry presented himself as a humble member of the proletariat by donning brown corduroys and a mustard-yellow jacket, Mary Dalrymple reports that a Catholic priest used Mass to endorse Kerry's run for the presidency: Some Catholic Democratic officials arranged a private mass for the Massachusetts senator in Chillicothe, Ohio. Kerry called it a way to "stop the hurly-burly, get away from the wildness" and "have this moment of tranquility." Father Lawrence Hummer, nevertheless, gave the moment an election-year flavor by criticizing church officials who condemn Catholic politicians who speak out for abortion rights, calling on them to use patient persistence and bring them into the fold....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Movie Review: Therese

The First Mate and I went out to church this afternoon and followed Mass with a screening of the new movie Threse, the biopic of the Catholic saint nicknamed "The Little Flower". The FM had looked forward to the movie opening in our area as Threse is the saint which she admires the most -- an unassuming young girl whose saintliness expressed itself in the many small acts of faith she did. I'd like to say lots of nice things about this film, whose heart definitely is in the right place. The filmmakers treat their subject quite respectfully -- in fact, too much so, to the extent that the film fails to work. Threse lost her mother when she was very little, and as a result wound up being doted upon by her entire family. She became a bit spoiled, as youngest children often are, and a bit willful. At...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part III

This is Part III in a continuing series by my friend "Mike", a Navy SEAL who spent most of the last couple of years in Iraq as both an active-duty participant and a private contractor. "Mike" explains the war in Iraq to his young sons, and has graciously allowed me to share his letters with you. IRAQ PICTURE LETTER TO MY SON PART 3. WHY WE INVADED IRAQ & WHY WE ARE STILL HERE In Part 2 we learned about how Saddam Hussein was an evil and crazy ruler of the Iraqi people and that he had bad intentions for the world and especially Israel. However, Israel is quite capable of defending itself. We also learned how cruel he was to his own people. However that doesnt explain why President Bush sent us into Iraq when he did. One reason is because we believed that Saddam Hussein helped the terrorists...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 18, 2004

Guardian's Clark County Project Gets Reactions

Earlier this week, I wrote about the efforts of the Manchester Guardian to influence our election by starting a letter-writing campaign from Brits to American voters in Clark County, Ohio. Apparently, their project attracted quite a bit of attention, even getting my blog noticed in a follow-up article. Now the Guardian has started receiving feedback from Americans of all political stripes regarding their intention to corrupt our electoral process, and a lot of it ain't pretty. Most of the e-mail they've received opposing their project has been rather obscene, or at least those e-mails they chose to share with their readers: Wading River, NY: Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... KEEP YOUR F****N' LIMEY HANDS...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

WaPo: Kerry Misleading Seniors On Social Security

Howard Kurtz, the media watchdog at the Washington Post, notes that John Kerry's new campaign ad and push at the stump to paint George Bush as a one-man wrecking crew for Social Security intentionally misleads voters on two separate tracks. After giving a transcript of the new television ad by the Kerry/Edwards campaign, Kurtz notes that the supposed "quotes" used by Kerry have never been attributed to Bush through any reliable sourcing: "Im going to come out strong after my swearing in," Bush said, "with . . . privatizing of Social Security." ... The "admission" by the president comes not from a public statement but from a New York Times Magazine article yesterday in which the president is quoted as making the privatization comment to a "confidential" Republican luncheon. No source for the comment is cited ... Interesting timing, no? The New York Times magazine runs an article on some...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

More Evidence Of The Obvious

The Washington Post reports that investigators into the Madrid bombings this year have uncovered new evidence that the Islamic terrorists that attacked the Spanish transportation system specifically intended to warp the election three days later: Seven months after bombs exploded aboard morning commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people, the precise motives of the attackers remain unclear. But new evidence, including wiretap transcripts, has lent support to a theory that the strike was carefully timed to take place three days before a national election in hopes of influencing Spanish voters to reject a government that sent troops to Iraq. ... Newly disclosed wiretaps of an alleged organizer of the bombings expressing glee that "the dog Aznar" had been put out of office have prompted some analysts here to conclude that the perpetrators sought to try to bring about specific reactions through the attacks. Obviously, it's good to be precise and...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Californians Go Crazy Over Mentally Ill

Californians have put a new ballot initiative in front of voters this November asking for a new tax "on the rich" to fund increased spending on the mentally ill. Datelined out of San Francisco, which should surprise no one in California, the proponents of this new tax want to continue expanding the Golden State's welfare system: As pressures increase on California's mental health system, its workers and advocates say they are forced to do more with a supply of money that seems to shrink each year. "The number of people who need services is growing. The cost of the services is growing. The revenue source is not growing," said Patricia Ryan, executive director of the California Mental Health Directors Association. Note that the AP reports that the money "seems" to shrink every year. That's an important qualification for a ballot initiative. Had the money actually shrunk, the AP and the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Captain's Quarters Endorses George Bush For President

This may be as much of a surprise as John Kerry winning endorsements from mainstream newspapers, but Captain's Quarters is endorsing George Bush for President. (Do you think this will make headlines around the blogosphere? Neither do I.) With two weeks left to go before the election, however, I think it's important to get past the normally reactive posture that blogs have and to communicate clearly why I think Bush should be re-elected, as well as why I think Kerry should be turned away. I covered some of this material earlier, and in greater detail, but it bears repeating now. George Bush is the first president in a generation to truly understand the nature of terrorism and the effort it will take to defeat it. In this election, he's the only candidate who strategizes to win, rather than reduce it to so-called "nuisance" levels. He had the vision to understand...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Early Voting In Florida Results In Early Griping

Florida introduced early voting in this election in order to ensure that as many voters as possible have a chance to participate. Predictably, the first fruits of that effort have been to generate early complaints about the ballots: With memories of 2000 and the state's bitter fight over ballots still fresh, Floridians began casting votes Monday and within an hour problems cropped up. In Palm Beach County, the center of the madness during the recount four years ago, a Democratic state legislator said she wasn't given a complete absentee ballot when she asked to opt for paper instead of the electronic touch-screen machines. And in Orange County, the touch-screen system briefly crashed, paralyzing voting in Orlando and its immediate suburbs. ... State Rep. Shelley Vana was not so happy. She said the paper absentee ballot she was given at a Palm Beach County site was missing one of its two...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

More Questions About Mainstream Broadsheets' Integrity?

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into fraudulent reporting of circulation numbers at newspapers owned by publicly-traded companies, the Washington Times reported last week: The Securities and Exchange Commission has started an investigation into newspaper circulation reporting after several publications acknowledged exaggerating their sales. In the past two months, the commission has requested circulation documents from at least six major publishers, including The Washington Post Co., Gannett Co. Inc. and the New York Times Co., according to a report the New York Times published yesterday. ... The investigation was triggered by a series of circulation scandals that has left the $55 billion-a-year newspaper industry stained. Since June, four newspapers have admitted to reporting faulty sales figures to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent agency that audits circulation data for newspapers and magazines. The Chicago Sun-Times disclosed that it inflated circulation by as much as 10 percent...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Democrats, NAACP Get Crack Squad Out For Voter-Registration Efforts

In a story that will redefine the term "crack troops", a volunteer for Democrats and the NAACP tried to pay registration-gatherers in illegal drugs: Defiance Deputies along with Toledo Police Department detectives conducted a search warrant of a residence on Woodland in Toledo, believed to be the home of the woman who hired Staton to solicit voter registration. Officers confiscated drug paraphernalia along with voter registration forms from the home. The occupant of the home, Georgianne Pitts, age 41, advised law enforcement, along with Ohio B.C.I.&I., that she had been recruited by Thaddeus J. Jackson, II, of Cleveland, to obtain voter registrations. Pitts admitted to paying Staton crack cocaine for the registrations in lieu of money. A business card provided by Pitts indicated that Jackson is the Assistant NVF Ohio Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund. Predictably, instead of going out and getting valid registrations, the addict instead filled...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Guantanamo Spanish For Revolving Door?

Thanks to our so-called friends and allies, the US military has been playing a bit of catch-and-release with the terrorists originally captured in Afghanistan. International pressure and domestic legal action have caused the Bush administration to be cautious about indefinite detention -- perhaps a bit too cautious, CNN now reports: t least seven former prisoners of the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been involved in terrorist acts, despite gaining their freedom by signing pledges to renounce violence, according to the Pentagon. At least two are believed to have died in fighting in Afghanistan, and a third was recaptured during a raid of a suspected training camp in Afghanistan, Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico, a Pentagon spokesman, said last week. Others are at large. ... The small number returning to the fight demonstrates the delicate balance the United States must strike between minimizing the appearance of holding people unjustly and...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Now The WaPo Uses Mary Cheney For Its Own Purposes

Despite its own reporting on the debacle of John Kerry's debate reference to Mary Cheney, the Washington Post apparently missed the entire point of the outrage. In an essay for tomorrow's edition, Hank Steuver uses Dick Cheney's daughter to push his own political agenda: Mary Cheney: Somewhere out there she exists, the actual Mary Cheney, child of the nondisclosed location, the one who's the luh-luh-lesbian. She's become this eternal and complicated mystery for people who are gay, and without ever really knowing her or hearing from her, they've spent four years writing poems, articles and protest songs about her. They've implored her with open letters in forums she may or may not ever read. They've waved signs with her name, started Web sites and put her on a milk carton as though she were a missing child. Oh, Mary Cheney, speak to us. Then, after last week's final presidential debate,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 19, 2004

Tommy Franks Fires Back

I wondered how long it would take Tommy Franks to respond to repeated accusations from John Kerry that American military commanders allowed Osama bin Laden to escape from their grasp at Tora Bora by "outsourcing" the war on terror, an egregiously false accusation which the SSCI report shows to be a lie. Today, Franks fires back at Kerry from the pages of the New York Times in a scathing essay that underscores Kerry's cluelessness on military matters: First, take Mr. Kerry's contention that we "had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden" and that "we had him surrounded." We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001. Some intelligence sources said he was; others indicated he was in Pakistan at the time; still others suggested he was in Kashmir. Tora Bora was teeming with Taliban and Qaeda operatives, many of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

So Much For The Truce!

The cease-fire that Spain bought with Islamists with their capitulation after the Madrid bombings appears to have been an illusion, as predicted. Spain announced that it captured seven terrorists plotting to bonb their High Court, according to Reuters: Police arrested seven suspected Islamic militants in raids across Spain on Monday to foil a planned bomb attack on the High Court, judicial sources said. The arrests came seven months after train bombs killed 191 people in Madrid. The seven suspects, including four Algerians and one Moroccan, were arrested in the southern region of Andalusia, the Mediterranean city of Valencia and Madrid. Further arrests could be made in the coming hours as part of the operation against a radical and violent Muslim network, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Perhaps the Spanish electorate will understand now that appeasing terrorists only leads to more terrorism, a lesson that Europeans learned the hard...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

The votes are in, and the judges have rendered their decision -- and they had another tough time with their decision! David and Margaret from Our House may have been intimidated by the enthusiasm of the CQ crowd, just as Senator Kerry appears intimidated by this gang of toughs: Here are the winners! Captain's Award (Who's Your Dummy?) - Inkling: Madame Tussaud's 2005 exhibition, History's Greatest Losers, was a hit with many American tour groups. You Have The Conn #1 (The Family Reunion) - Twoff: Despite John Kerry's resemblance to his beloved "Lurch", "Thing" came to the inescapable conclusion that Kerry would in fact take away the Addams family's tax cuts. You Have The Conn #2 (Give Him The Sedagive!) - skatz51: The angry villagers finally surround the Frankenstein monster. You Have The Conn #3 (Who's Your Dummy, Redux) - Eric Akawie: The life-size ventriloquist's dummy was a huge hit...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Flip-Flop On Picket Lines

John Kerry told the nation in June that "I don't cross picket lines. I never have," in explanation of why he left Boston Mayor Thomas Menino twisting in the wind at the Mayor's Conference. Now the Boston Globe reports that Kerry crossed two picket lines in Florida yesterday, police picket lines at that, in order to make a campaign appearance in Orlando: Last summer, John F. Kerry refused to cross a police picket line and address the US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston. Last night he rode in a motorcade that crossed two Florida police picket lines en route to a get-out-the-vote rally in vote-rich Orlando. Aides said the demonstration, staged by members of the Orlando Police Department represented by Fraternal Order of Police Local 25, was sprung on the campaign without prior notice in an effort to embarrass the city's Democratic mayor, Buddy Dyer. Local media describe the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Bush Doubles 2000 Support Among Blacks: Poll

The Associated Press reports that George Bush has doubled the support he received in 2000 from the African-American community, although he still trails John Kerry by a wide margin in this almost exclusive Democratic voting bloc: President Bush has doubled his support among blacks in four years and Sen. John Kerry's backing among the key Democratic voting bloc is down slightly from the support Al Gore won in 2000, according to a poll released Tuesday. ... The poll found Kerry receiving as much or more support than Gore among those age 18 to 25, those with less than a high school diploma and those making $60,000 or less. But Kerry had 49 percent support from black Christian conservatives, down from the 69 percent Gore enjoyed in 2000. Bush was at 36 percent among the group this year, more than tripling the 11 percent he got four years ago. Republican officials...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Let He To Whom Kerry Would Give Nuclear Fuel Cast The First Stone

Ron Wright sent me this insight into the Iranian mullahcracy -- the one to which John Kerry and John Edwards want to give nuclear fuel to see what they do with it. In a case where a 15-year-old boy impregnated his 13-year-old sister, the mullahs have upheld a 150-lash sentence for the boy, but have confirmed a sentence for the girl of death by stoning: Almost two months after having hanged a 16 years-old girl, the ruling Iranian ayatollahs are to commit another human crime by condemning another young girl to stoning. According to Iranian and foreign press, Zhila Izadi, a 13 years old girl from the north-western city of Marivan had been condemned to death by stoning after being found that she had been pregnant from her 15 years-old brother. ... While Zhila as been sentenced to stoning, her brother, jailed in Tehran, is to receive only 150 lashes,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Bush Crosses 50% In ABC Poll

The Bush campaign got more good news this afternoon from the ABC News trackng poll taken over the weekend, which shows George Bush leading John Kerry by 5 points and Bush over the 50% mark for the first time: Support for President Bush has crept above the critical 50-percent mark for the first time in two weeks, but one group new voters could be John Kerry's wildcard. Fifty-one percent of likely voters support Bush, 46 percent support Kerry and 1 percent prefer Ralph Nader in the latest ABC News tracking poll, based on interviews Saturday through Monday. That's a slight lead for the president after a 48 percent to 48 percent dead heat the second half of last week. The increase in Bush's support comes from weekend polling as well, which usually favors Democrats. The internals of this poll also augur well for Bush: * Only 12% of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

What If Bush Followed Kerry's Example In The Debates?

CQ reader Jeff Dennis has been thinking about John Kerry's response to the question about homosexuality, in which Kerry managed to bury his campaign in controversy by using Dick Cheney's daughter as a rhetorical prop. Jeff thinks about how Bush might have handled a similar question in a compassionate-conservative manner, and he came up with this hilarious dialogue: Q: Mr. President, in your last campaign you were heard over an open microphone describing a New York Times reporter as a "major league as***le." To understand how you came to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe being an as***le is a choice? A: I just don't know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It's important that we do that. I think if you were to...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Battlegrounders

For political junkies who haven't already become addicted to National Review Online, go check out their new Battlegrounders blog, which offers a state-by-state analysis of the presidential race. A bonus: the guys at Powerline are reporting from Minnesota....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Heavy workload + Visit from parents = Light posting

We've had a huge event going on at work for the last two weeks, thus the minimal posting by yours truly. While the event is set to end on Friday, my parents will be visiting this weekend so I have to do the requisite cleaning and organizing (i.e. cramming things in closets). I should be back to regular blogging by Monday night!...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Ashley's Story

The new Bush campaign ad is worth viewing, which you can do here. Unlike the ever-reliable attack ads, Kerry is never mentioned and the message is quite positive. If any campaign ad can reach the so-called "security moms," this is probably it....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Senator Lightweight Explains His Cluelessness

A number of bloggers commented before the debates on how invisible John Edwards had been on the campaign trail. After his appearance in New Hampshire today, perhaps his supporters would prefer a return to milk carton for the man his hometown newspaper nicknamed "Senator Gone". Edwards tried to chide Bush for turning Iraq into a haven for terrorists, buying into the Michael Moore vision of prewar Iraq as a kite-flying paradise: Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards on Tuesday accused President Bush of failing the United States and the world in Iraq, citing unsecured nuclear weapons abroad and unprotected ports at home as further evidence of the president's "incompetence." "He's created something that didn't exist before the war in Iraq he's created a haven for terrorists," Edwards said. I hate to break it to Senator Edwards -- maybe the Senate Intelligence Committee covered it during one of his many...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part IV

This is Part IV in a continuing series by my friend "Mike", a Navy SEAL who spent most of the last couple of years in Iraq as both an active-duty participant and a private contractor. "Mike" explains the war in Iraq to his young sons, and has graciously allowed me to share his letters with you. NOTE: Some images may be disturbing! IRAQ PICTURE LETTER TO MY SON PART 4. DADDYS WORK IN IRAQ In the last section we learned about the Captured Enemy Ammunition (CEA) mission that Daddy helps with. All of the planned detonations, which is when we blow things up, are closely supervised by former military explosives experts called EOD technicians. EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Explosive ordnance is another way of saying ammunition. The EOD techs try to blow something up almost every day so that we can get rid of the dangerous ammunition as...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Jimmy, The Military Genius

It's been a long time since I've been exposed to the miltary genius of our 39th President -- so long that I've forgotten how idiotic one can be and still be elected to the White House. Fortunately, we have Hardball to allow us to bask in the undimmed genius of Jimmy Carter. Yesterday, Carter managed to write off the Revolutionary War as a mistake, and that was his opener for his interview with Chris Matthews: MATTHEWS: Let me ask you the question aboutthis is going to cause some trouble with peoplebut as an historian now and studying the Revolutionary War as it was fought out in the South in those last years of the War, insurgency against a powerful British force, do you see any parallels between the fighting that we did on our side and the fighting that is going on in Iraq today? CARTER: Well, one parallel is...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 20, 2004

The Afghan Success Story

Today's New York Times analyzes the impact of the successful Afghanistan elections which appear to affirm Hamid Karzai's leadership and demonstrate that the Afghanis enthusiastically support the ideas of freedom and representative government. Typically, the Times gives short shrift to the American efforts that allowed Afghanistan to shake off one of the most oppressive regimes in recent memory, but the point gets made anyway: The success of the Oct. 9 election, experts and officials said, stemmed from three things: an aggressive American-led security and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan in 2004, pressure on neighboring Pakistan to rein in Taliban remnants, and most important, a passionate desire among average Afghans to choose the country's leader through a peaceful, democratic election. Whether all three factors can be sustained, especially as the country looks ahead to far more complex parliamentary elections in the spring, is an open question. ... A sea change in Bush...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Is Kerry Supported By Kosovo Terrorists?

The Australian blog House of Wheels believes it has discovered fundraising links between the John Kerry campaign and the Kosovo Liberation Army, an organization that the Department of Homeland Security appears to label as a terrorist organization. Leigh from HoW links to a heavily-footnoted essay by Andy Wilcoxson at a website defending Slobodan Milosevic, not exactly a source that fills me with a sense of confidence about the material. However, some of the connections Leigh makes appear to point to sloppiness among Kerry's campaign staff, at the least: The leader of the KLA is a man named Hashim Thaci. Thaci, who goes under the nom de guerre "Snake," attended the Democratic Partys convention in Boston earlier this year. Upon returning from the convention, Thaci told the Albanian-Language KosovaLive agency, "It was a very successful visit at the Democratic Convention, where the PDK [Thachi's political party] had been invited as a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Iranian Ayatollah Cuts Ties With Sadr, Says Insurrection "Incorrect"

In an odd twist, the BBC reports that Moqtada al-Sadr's mentor, Iranian Grand Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, has denounced Sadr for fighting US troops and has essentially fired Sadr as his representative in Najaf: A senior religious leader in Iran has severed ties with radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr for encouraging his followers to fight US troops. Grand Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, one of the top authorities in Shia Islam, said Mr Sadr was no longer his representative in the holy city of Najaf. A spokesman said that Mr Sadr's actions no longer reflected the ideas of the Grand Ayatollah's teachings. But he praised a scheme to disarm Shia militias in Baghdad's Sadr City slum. Haeri went on to blame US and British troops for damage done to shrines in Najaf, but scolded Sadr for mounting armed attacks in the first place. Haeri leads the Shi's from Qom, known for its...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Guardian Criticizes Me For Criticizing Spain

It's not often that an American blogger finds himself mentioned in the foreign press, but yesterday the Guardian's (UK) blogger Simon Jeffery took me to task for criticizing Spain. In my post yesterday, I noted that Spain had captured seven Islamist terrorists planning a major operation in Andalusia, demonstrating that their precipitous withdrawal from Iraq did nothing to improve their security. Appeasement should have been discredited six decades ago, I argued, and Jeffery decided that them's fightin' words, by golly: Taking the temperature of the more right wing blogs, you cannot help but wonder if they were rather the US was fighting its war on terror against France or Spain. The foiling this week of a suspected bomb plot in Madrid led to another round of anti-Spanish outbursts. "Perhaps the Spanish electorate will understand now that appeasing terrorists only leads to more terrorism, a lesson that Europeans learned the hard...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Pakistan Bags Another One

Pakistani officials confirm that a major al-Qaeda operative was captured in Peshawar a few days ago, Agence France-Presse reports today: Pakistani security forces arrested an Egyptian Al-Qaeda operative in the northwestern city of Peshawar bordering Afghanistan, a security official said. The official identified the man as Abdul Rehman and said he was on the most wanted list of the US Central Intleligence Agency. "He is an important Al-Qaeda operative who had been hiding in Pakistan," the official who could not be identified told AFP on Wednesday. The Pakistanis continue to roll up major AQ players in their country, which indicates that the new democratic movement in Afghanistan ill suits them for continued operations. Reuters describes Rehman as a "communications expert" but not a senior man. However, they report that the Pakistanis also captured a more senior AQ leader, Saleh Nauman, ten days ago while he tried to flee Pakistan. The...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Billionaire Widow Sniffs: "Laura Bush Never Had A Real Job"

With less than two weeks to go before the election, one would presume that the Democrats would like to keep their candidates and their spouses on message as much as possible. After seeing what happened with the Mary Cheney debacle, one would also expect that the professionals would be coaching the Kerrys and Edwardses to talk about themselves rather than their opponents' families. Apparently, Teresa Heinz Kerry didn't get the memo, and the results are sadly predictable [emphasis mine]: Q: You'd be different from Laura Bush? A: Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things. And I'm older, and my validation...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry: America Not Worth Dying For?

John Kerry may try to stay on message on the campaign trail, but his past can still catch up with him, even through no fault of his own. Today, the Washington Post tried to bolster his standing as a diplomat and global thinker, and wound up torpedoing him yet again as a man who values world opinion over American security: Kerry's belief in working with allies runs so deep that he has maintained that the loss of American life can be better justified if it occurs in the course of a mission with international support. In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he said, "If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no."...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

UN Finally Allows US The Privelege Of Protecting It

After over a year of avoiding the US military for their security needs in Iraq, the UN has given up and decided that the Americans can provide their mission with protection: The United Nations no longer objects to American soldiers to guard its staff in Iraq after the search for separate contingents from around the world failed, diplomats and U.N. sources said on Wednesday. ... U.N. officials originally distanced themselves from American troops when traveling outside of Baghdad, believing their staff would become more of a target of the sporadic and growing violence in the country. But without volunteers, the United Nations asked the U.S. command of the Multinational Force to supply protection, whether or not American soldiers were involved, diplomats said. Let's hear how well Kofi Annan gets assistance from the beloved international security organiztion he runs: Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in London on Tuesday he had tried to...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

When Democrats Get Desperate

So much for the Democrats being the defenders of the First Amendment. In the last couple of days, we've seen the Kerry campaign sue a broadcaster to keep embarassing material and testimony from America's bravest Vietnam veterans from airing on television, and locally, we have people defacing yard signs and committing vandalism against people who express support for George Bush. Here are a few images of Democratic support of free speech ... Our friend Laura sends over this update on the Minnesota vandalism that the local press has decided to ignore: The first one was on County Road 24. Installed October 19th, destroyed October 19th. The last 2 are front and back view of same sign. After being installed on September 18th the sign was replaced or repaired 3 times before a frame and reinforcement was built by the property owner (Upsher Smith Laboratories on 23rd Ave in Plymouth). When...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 21, 2004

AQ Targets Chinese In New Focus On Musharraf

In a sign that the Pakistanis have done significant damage to its network, al-Qaeda operations now primarily target the Pervez Musharraf regime, seen as a cornerstone to the American-led war on terror. The kidnapping of two Chinese industrial experts aims to drive a wedge between Musharraf and his oldest ally: Al-Qaeda linked militants involved in the fatal Chinese hostage crisis targeted Chinese in Pakistan to sabotage president Pervez Musharraf's economic agenda and avenge their comrades' deaths, analysts said. They said the abduction on October 8 of two Chinese engineers working on a dam in the wild tribal region of South Waziristan was a pressure tactic to secure the release of Al-Qaeda militants detained in army operations in the region which hugs the Afghan frontier. ... Since March Pakistani forces, sweeping Al-Qaeda and allied fighters from the rugged frontier district, have killed 246 foreign and local militants, a regional army commander...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Guardian's Clark County Project Backfires

The London Telegraph reports on the efforts of its Labourite rival to influence American voters in Clark County, Ohio -- and it's clear that the results will not please the Manchester broadsheet or its constituents. David Rennie reports from Springfield that getting letters from foreigners presuming to instruct Americans on their best interests has created a groundswell of support ... for George Bush: The first letters to be made public all urged Clark County voters to reject Mr Bush. As he watched the reaction of friends and neighbours, Mr Harkins was delighted. He is the chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, and his neighbours' reaction was outrage. "It's hysterical," laughed Mr Harkins, showing off sheaves of incensed e-mails and notes from local voters. The Republicans' delight compares with the gloom among local Democrats, who fear that "foreign interference" is hurting Mr Kerry. Of course, the tone of the letters...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Take A Shot At Fisking Nick!

You've seen all of the Northern Alliance gang do it -- me, Mitch, King, the guys at Powerline -- and hell, the Fraters Libertas gang seems to live for it. Now you can join in the fun, too! Mitch Berg has started the first Fisk Nick Coleman contest at Shot In The Dark, giving his readers an opportunity to take their own shots at the man Minnesotans love to hate hate to read. How do you enter? It's easy: 1. Read Nick Coleman's latest column* (I haven't read it yet, but I'll wager it has something to do with the plight of the working stiff, the evil greed of Republicans, or how Nick Knows Stuff You Don't) 2. Pick one sentence or paragraph you feel desperately needs fisking 3. Leave your best fisking of that passage in a comment on Mitch's post. That's it, but get your entries in as...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Democratic Candidate's Son Caught Stealing Signs

In a comment to the post I wrote last night regarding the serial defacement of Bush/Cheney signs in Minnesota, CQ reader Smacky linked to an interesting story from Hawaii, where the same phenomenon has cropped up. In this case, political signs have disappeared, primarily those for Republican candidates -- and the culprit turned out to be the son of a Democrat running for office: This election season, thousands of dollars worth of political signs have been stolen, defaced or otherwise trashed at an alarming rate from people's homes and private property. ... But recently, on Primary Election day in late September, an amazing thing happened. One of the "criminals" was caught in the act -- and caught on film. Most interestingly, the culprit, Mike Golojuch Jr., is a frequent letter writer and spokesperson for his version of civil rights and free speech. He was caught stealing the signs of Rep....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Another Priest's Perspective

A couple of days ago, I wrote about Father Lawrence Hummer of Chillicothe, Ohio, and his sellout to John Kerry during and after Mass. Instead of supporting two millenia of Catholic teachings, Hummer served up a big, wet kiss and a heapin' helping of moral relativity, excusing Kerry's stand on abortion because of his pacificist posture. I wrote that "Father Hummer, instead of taking this as an opportunity to teach a wayward Catholic and return him to the path of his faith, instead chose the moment to pander to his sins in order to further his own political goals." Shortly afterward, I received this e-mail from Father Gregory Lockwood, a Catholic priest in Cincinatti who still labors under the impression that Catholic priests should lead and instruct the faithful on the Catechism rather than from personal politics. Fr. Lockwood, a veteran of the Navy and regular CQ reader, has this...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Mighty Voter Fraud From Florida ACORNs Grow

The so-called nonpartisan voters assistance group, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), has generated suspicion for some time in conservative circles as a front-line player in leftist efforts to skew the vote. Now a former employee has filed charges against ACORN alleging that the organization deliberately set out to disrupt the Florida vote by illegally registering Democrats and suppressing Republican registrations: Mac Stuart, of Opa-locka, has accused the organization, known as ACORN, of illegally copying voter registration applications and selling them to labor union groups, allowing people to sign petitions who were not registered voters and suppressing Republican voter registration applications. ... Stuart, who was assistant director of voter registration for the group, was fired in early August after being accused of trying to cash a paycheck that wasn't his. In the lawsuit, he claims he was fired only days after voicing his concerns about ACORN practices at...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Polling Madness Continues

It's Thursday, which means that the normal slew of mid-week polling results have begun to come in. That may be all that's normal, however, as each poll seems to point in wildly different directions. For instance, we have the AP-Ipsos poll which shows Kerry edging ahead of Bush: President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are locked in a tie for the popular vote, according to an Associated Press poll, while a chunk of voters vacillate between their desire for change and their doubts about the alternative. ... The result is deadlock. In the survey of 976 likely voters, Democrats Kerry and Sen. John Edwards had 49 percent, compared to 46 percent for Republicans Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. That's within the margin of error for the poll conducted Oct. 18-20. While several bloggers on the port side of the blogosphere trumpet these results, a couple of red flags appear...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

More Madness: Mason-Dixon Shows Bush Tied Or Ahead In Blue States

Now that I've warned you all about carefully vetting poll results, I'm going to through more of them at you. Mason-Dixon released its most recent polling data in those battleground states that went for Gore in 2000, and the news looks bad for John Kerry. Bush either tied Kerry or went ahead in all of the states they polled. I included the ratio of Dems/GOP MD used in each state: PA - Kerry, 46-45 (49/44) MI - Kerry, 47-46 (38/36) OR - Kerry, 47-46 (41/37) WI - Tie, 45-45 (35/35) IA - Bush, 49-43 (37/40) This polling took place over the weekend, Oct 15-18, a time that usually favors Democrats. Mason-Dixon sampled 625 voters in each state and normalized by county and demographics, as they usually do. I think that MD may have undersampled the GOP in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and maybe overpolled them slightly in Iowa. Interestingly, in all...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Still More Madness: Gallup Has Bush Up By Six In Wisconsin

And now even more polling fun -- Gallup has George Bush leading John Kerry in the key blue state of Wisconsin by six points, 51-45, when matched head-to-head. When Nader is added into the mix, Bush extends his lead to eight points, 51-43. This polling took place between Oct 16-19, somewhat closer in than the Mason-Dixon polling and less of a weekend poll as well. The demographics demonstrate a strong Bush surge with our neighbors to the East (head-to-head): * Bush leads among men by 13 points and even edges Kerry among women, 48-47 * Bush leads in the 18-34 age bracket by seven, 52-45 (in the three-way, he leads by 10, 51-41) and 35-54 by 14. Kerry holds a five-point edge among seniors. * Kerry leads substantially in Milwaukee (62-36), and edges Bush in the south by a single point (49-48), but everywhere else Bush leads by a wide...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Mekong Delta Blues!

I'm proud to be the first to release the new John Kerry campaign theme song, "Mekong Delta Blues", written and performed by the Sons Of The Blogosphere, a local group in the Twin Cities. You can download the file at this link and have a listen for yourselves. The Sons have kindly provided the lyrics to this soon-to-be classic: I hear that swiftboat comin', it's comin' 'round the bend, I ain't had my head above the railing since I don't know when I'm stuck in the Mekong Delta, and time keeps draggin' on But that Purple Heart collection is gonna get me home When I was first elected, my daddy told me son, You gotta raise their taxes, and take away their guns Life ain't easy in the Senate, when you're from the ruling class And never take a firm position, it'll only bite you in the -- I had...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 22, 2004

Nick Coleman: Democrats Bored With John Kerry

I don't want to step on Mitch Berg's toes here, so I won't deliver a full-out fisking of Nick Coleman's column today. However, Coleman's description of the John Kerry rally yesterday in Minneapolis sounds so odd that it bears a closer look. Coleman's subject matter for his column is an oddball named "Mr. Fun" who apparently shows up at serious events to provide some comic relief, but his efforts went for naught at the Kerry rally: I saw him walking past the police department bomb-squad truck outside the Dome, humming "Hail to the Chief." The bomb squad is not usually a spot that makes me laugh, but Mr. Fun was wearing white gloves and glitter on his face and a porkpie hat that said, naturally, "Mr. Fun." He was also wearing a shaggy red-and-black bumblebee shirt, sporting a green cape and carrying a white flag. I hadn't seen anybody dressed...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry On Guns: You Just Stand There Looking Cute

John Kerry did a little image repair yesterday, using Ohio geese as sacrificial lambs in order to create an image of a robust outdoorsman and hunter that conflicts with his 20-year Senate record of supporting gun control. Unfortunately for Kerry, the pool reporters for his overt show of testosterone were not allowed to watch him actually pull the trigger: John F. Kerry brought his campaign to a duck blind in far eastern Ohio on Thursday morning, and while he managed to clip one unfortunate goose, he was really aiming for undecided voters in this battleground state. ... Clearly concerned about his low rating from the National Rifle Association -- he got an F on the NRA's last report card, and it is running ads in key states against him -- Kerry often makes a point during his stump speech of announcing that he owns guns. Thursday morning, he happily emerged...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Iraqi Elections "On Track": UN

In a body blow to the hysterics and Chicken Littles in American politics, the top UN electoral expert in Baghdad told the Associated Press that Iraqi elections were "on track" and that there is no necessity for large-scale observation missions to establish their credibility: Preparations for the crucial January election are "on track" and the absence of international observers due to the country's tenuous security should not detract from the vote's credibility, the top U.N. electoral expert here said. ... "International observation is important only in that it's symbolic," Carlos Valenzuela told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. "I don't think that the process will be less credible without observers, absolutely not. They are not the essence. They are not essential. They are not important. If they can come, fine, of course." Valenzuela was responding to a complaint from Iraqi officials that the UN was shirking its duties to...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Northern Alliance Guest Hosts The Hugh Hewitt Show Tonight!

The Northern Alliance Radio Network again hijacks the Hugh Hewitt radio show, starting from 5 pm CT. The Generalissimo will be on hand to shepherd us through, as long as we promise not to break all of the studio furniture. We think we may have some breaking news in the first hour, so be sure to tune us in right away. I plan on live-blogging the show, so keep checking back! 5:15 - Just finished the first segment, did a bit of poll review and took a call. We're coming up on a breaking campaign-finance story that you'll want to hear ... 5:19 - I keep getting e-mails about THK carrying beer at an event. Can someone tell me why this is such a problem? Has no one ever carried a couple of beers around for friends? ... 5:22 - A representative from the national College Republicans alleges connections between...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Republicans Push Norm Coleman For Leadership Post

A group of Republican Senators have sent a letter to their colleagues urging them to support Minnesota's GOP Senator Norm Coleman for the chair of their Senatorial Committee, an important leadership post: A group of Republican senators wrote to colleagues Friday urging them to support Sen. Norm Coleman in his bid to become chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, cites Coleman's fund-raising and political abilities as reasons he should be chairman. Republican senators will vote Nov. 17 to choose either Coleman, R-Minn., or Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. ... The letter was signed by seven senators: former Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Larry Craig of Idaho, Jim Talent of Missouri and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. Coleman gets their support because of his fundraising ability as well as his leadership...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 23, 2004

Screamfest On Scarborough Show

Lorie from Polipundit e-mailed me last night, unfortunately after I'd passed out from exhaustion after guest-hosting the Hugh Hewitt show, that Lawrence O'Donnell had a complete meltdown during the Joe Scarborough show on MS-NBC when Swiftvet leader John O'Neill appeared on the show. She wrote that the debacle was twice as embarassing as the Chris Matthews/Michelle Malkin debacle. (Michelle weighs in on O'Donnell here.) The Daily Recycler has a video excerpt that you have to see to believe. MS-NBC does not yet have the transcript up, mainly because it's difficult to retype "liar" 50 or more times. I'm not exaggerating. And I disagree that Lawrence O'Donnell had a "meltdown" at all. When you watch the video, O'Donnell seemed very much in control of himself -- he wasn't rolling his eyes or foaming at the mouth. He stared grimly into the camera and every time O'Neill opened his mouth, O'Donnell started...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Power Line's Hindrocket Honored In Rocket Competition

My friend and Northern Alliance colleage John "Hindrocket" Hinderaker received a singular honor from a competitor at the prestigious G. Harry Stine Memorial Launch this year. Team Vatsaas has named their entry the Hindrocket, and even modeled the entry from John's icon on the website. Team Vatsaas engineers predict that the 54" rocket will go a half-mile on launch. Our justifiably proud friend writes on today's Power Line post: We are truly honored to have this high-performance rocket named after us. It's another indication, I think, of how far the blogosphere has come. I'll bet no one enters a rocket named after Dan Rather in the the G. Harry Stine competition. As the event is going on this weekend, we expect to see photos of the Hindrocket's launching and flight on Rick's site, and we'll pass them on when Rick posts them. We can't wait to see the pictures, but...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Time: Bush Pulls Ahead, Up By 5

Time Magazine, which had the presidential race a dead heat a week ago, now says that George Bush is pulling away from John Kerry with a 5-point lead: President Bush has opened a 5 point lead against Senator John Kerry, according the latest TIME poll. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 51% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 46% would vote for Senator John Kerry, and 2% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to the TIME poll conducted by telephone from Oct. 19 21. Among all registered voters surveyed, Bush leads Kerry 50% to 43%. Last weeks TIME poll found 48% of likely voters would vote for Bush, 47% would vote for Kerry, and 3% would vote for Nader. That poll was conducted Oct. 14-15 and included 865 likely voters. The internals on this poll look just as bad. Kerry lost...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Powell refuses to pay tribute to nK

Secretary Powell bluntly rejected nK's demand for tribute by the US, which it insists must be paid before multilateral talks recommence. The AP reports: In a statement apparently timed for Powell's visit, a spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman indicated the North would agree to a new round of nuclear discussions only if the United States dropped its "hostile policy" and consented to a "reward" for a nuclear freeze the North is proposing. Secretary Powells response to the typical nK blackmail was firm and entirely lacking in nuance. Powell said any proposals from North Korea should be discussed as part of the negotiating process established more than a year ago that involves both Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. "This is a six-party discussion, not a U.S.-North Korea discussion or an exchange of U.S. and North Korean talking points," Powell told reporters during his flight to Tokyo,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Tri-State Women Object To John Kerry

My friend and New York talk-show host Kevin McCullough had an interesting segment on his show yesterday in which he invited his female listeners to weigh in on John Kerry. The calls wound up taking all three hours of Kevin's show, and none of them found anything complimentary about the Democratic candidate for president: I asked them simply to relay to me in their own words what they felt about the two candidates. Which one relates to them more? Who they admire more? The words they used to describe the candidates said it all. Describing Kerry and/or Ms. Kerry: "Unapproachable..." "Arrogant..." "...acts like He is better than everone else..." "Was voting for him up until what he did with Mary Cheney..." "Can't relate to me..." "Insulting to mothers, schoolteachers, and librarians...who do they think they are..." ... Describing Bush: "Loves his wife...I'm not married, may not ever be, but that...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Campaign ads, wolves, and bears, oh my!

The new Bush campaign ad is excellent. Other blogs have compared it to President Reagan's famous bear ad, which powerfully expressed the theme of his 1984 campaign. I think the Bush ad is just as good, perhaps even better. You can watch both thanks at the Daily Recycler and decide for yourself....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #32: Keeping Your Eye On The Ball Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! It's down to the wire now, folks -- only ten days of campaigning left in what seems to have been the Most Interminable Presidential Campaign Ever. Now's no time to waver! The candidates must be at their best, their sharpest, keeping their eyes on the ball .... D'oh! This week's guest judge is The Elder from Fraters Libertas, whose sense of fun amidst all this seriousness has been one of my primary inspirations for these weekly contests. The Elder and I will both be part of the guest-hosting Northern Alliance group filling in for Hugh Hewitt tonight! Make sure you tune in as we do our normal gig -- wrecking the studio, live-blogging, and causing mayhem on national radio. As always, make sure you put your entries in our comments section -- NO e-mailed entries, please! E-mailed entries...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 24, 2004

It's Like The Regular Climate -- Wait 5 Minutes...

I got an interesting e-mail yesterday from CQ reader Chris S, who works with Project Deliver The Vote, a Houston PAC dedicated to grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts for Republicans nationwide. Chris wrote: Hello Captain, I have been a *big* fan of your site ever since I got into the blogosphere. I know you live in Minnesota, and I was wondering if you could give me any advice. Im a member of Project Deliver the Vote PAC, an offshoot of the Houston Young Republicans. We have a team of 80 volunteers coming to the Minneapolis / St. Paul area next weekend (Thur Sun) to help swing the state in our favor! We are divided into several teams covering various counties. Whats the political climate like up there (other than the race being very close)? What should we expect? That's a question that I and my fellow Northern Alliance colleagues have been...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

John Kerry, Cong Hunter?

At rare moments, candidates on the campaign trail make statements that defy rational thought, where the only possible reaction one can have is to wonder, slackjawed, what the candidate was thinking when he spoke. John Kerry gave us one of those priceless moments yesterday, when he assured the American people that he would go after the terrorists -- exactly as he went after the Viet Cong! Democratic presidential nominee and Vietnam War veteran John Kerry tried to burnish his national security credentials on Saturday by vowing to hunt down terrorists with the same energy he used to pursue the Viet Cong. ... "With the same energy ... I put into going after the Viet Cong and trying to win for our country, I pledge to you I will hunt down and capture or kill the terrorists before they harm us," Kerry said. "And we will wage a war on terror...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

FBI Disputes CIA's Election-Terror Conclusion

Earlier this week, the CIA expressed its doubts that terrorists planned any kind of operation against the US to impact our elections, a conclusion heralded by the Left as an indictment against the administration for employing "scare tactics". However, the AP reports today that the FBI has drawn the opposite conclusion based on a large number of interviews and ongoing investigations: FBI investigators have made new arrests and developed leads that reinforce concerns that terrorists plan to strike around the presidential election, officials said Saturday, even though the CIA has discredited a person who told its agents of such a plot involving al-Qaida. A senior FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some of the leads were culled from interviews with thousands of individuals that agents have conducted in the Muslim community. The official would not be more specific, but said the FBI continues to have misgivings about possible...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Afghanistan Elects Its First President - Karzai

Afghanistan has its first popularly-elected leader as Hamid Karzai has been declared the winner and his main rival conceded defeat. Yunus Qanuni told his countrymen that he accepted Karzai's election, allowing for an orderly transition to a representative government for the long-oppressed Afghanis: The main rival of President Hamid Karzai has conceded defeat in Afghanistan's presidential election with less than six per cent of the vote left to be counted. Yunus Qanuni said he would accept Mr Karzai's victory despite an investigation into allegations of electoral fraud in the poll on Oct 9. Mr Karzai required more than half the vote to win the election and had polled 55.3 per cent of support after 94.4 per cent of the more than eight million ballots had been counted. Qanuni finished a distant second to Karzai's 55% as multiple candidates ran for president, so the concession actually came rather late. It does...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part V

This is Part V in a continuing series by my friend "Mike", a Navy SEAL who spent most of the last couple of years in Iraq as both an active-duty participant and a private contractor. "Mike" explains the war in Iraq to his young sons, and has graciously allowed me to share his letters with you. IRAQ PICTURE LETTER TO MY SON PART 5. THE COALITION OF MANY NATIONS Some people say that our country is fighting this war and helping Iraq by ourselves. This is far from the truth. Our President has done an excellent job of leading many other brave countries in helping Iraq. You may have heard the term coalition troops. Well coalition simply means partnership. Daddy has worked very closely with many partners in our coalition and most of them are very motivated to stamp out terrorism and fight for freedom. Some of them from Eastern...

Continue reading "Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children, Part V" »

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Blue Hawaii Swinging Red?

The AP reports on a recent poll in Hawaii, usually a slam-dunk blue state, which shows Bush edging ahead of Kerry among likely voters: The poll of 600 likely voters, conducted October 13-18 for the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, gave Bush 43.3 percent and Kerry 42.6 percent, with 12 percent saying they were still undecided. The poll had a margin of error of four percentage points. Hawaii has only four of the 270 electoral votes, awarded state-by-state, needed to win the election. But with a closely fought election battle, even small states have found that their votes could be decisive. Even more, losing Hawaii could be a bellwether of an Electoral College landslide. Al Gore won Hawaii by a whopping 19 points in 2000, and now two different polls show Bush edging ahead of Kerry this past week. While Hawaii doesn't command a lot of electoral-college impact, its votes equal New...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Telegraph: Kosovo Vote Shows UN Leadership Failure

For those who prefer to leave issues of global leadership up to the United Nations, the London Telegraph reports that five years of UN governance in Kosovo has left the disputed province more deeply divided and hostile than ever, and no closer to a resolution: Early results from the weekend's general election showed that five years of UN rule had only deepened ethnic divisions as Kosovo's voters signalled their despair with the Balkan province's administrators. Barely more than half of Kosovo's 1.4 million voters went to the ballot box. While the province's majority ethnic Albanians were struck by apathy, its 130,000-strong Serb minority was seized by anger and completely boycotted the poll. Only a handful of Serbs voted, following calls from Vojislav Kostunica, the Serbian Prime Minister, and the Serbian Orthodox Church to stay away. Mr Kostunica described the election as a "failure". American politicians, notably John Kerry, have repeatedly...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Language Is Highest French Priority

For an example of why the French have made themselves irrelevant in the modern world, the London Telegraph reports on what the French see as their highest national priority -- forcing everyone in Europe to speak French: A campaign to make French the official language of European law has been launched in an attempt to show the world that France will not bow to the ascendancy of English without a fight. ... Teaching unions and politicians have reacted with indignation to a report calling for English to be obligatory in the school curriculum, while one of President Jacques Chirac's objections to Peter Mandelson as an EU commissioner was that his French was not up to scratch. The foreign ministry has called for a spirited campaign for the language in Brussels while the Acadmie Franaise, which campaigns relentlessly for pure French, says defence of the language should be "the major national...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Lied About UN Meeting

John Kerry recently asserted that he would handle foreign relations much more effectively than George Bush and used as an example a meeting he claimed to have held with representatives from every country on the entire UN Security Council before voting to authorize the use of force against Iraq in 2002. The meeting, which Kerry claimed lasted "hours", also offered Kerry an out for his supporting vote for the war among his base. However, the Washington Times' Joel Mowbray reports in tomorrow's edition that the meeting never took place: U.N. ambassadors from several nations are disputing assertions by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry that he met for hours with all members of the U.N. Security Council just a week before voting in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq. An investigation by The Washington Times reveals that while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 25, 2004

Caption Contest Winners!

The Elder has finished an extensive review of the huge number of entries we had in the Captain's Caption Contest, and he's selected the winners. It took him quite a while, allowing all of the great selections to bounce around his head so he could pick the cream of the crop. I'd bet The Elder may have had an expression on his face like this: On second thought, I doubt that The Elder looked much like this. For one thing, his Botox specialist does a much better job than John Kerry's ... Here are the winners! Captain's Award (Flights Of Fancy, Part XXXVII) - Stephen Macklin: I learned how to do this while I was playing on the 1978 U.S. World Cup Team. We could have made the finals that year but I had to take time off to train for the marathon. You Have The Conn #1 (Sex Education,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

MoveOn, Left Wing Now Treat Robertson As Unimpeachable

The Los Angeles Times notes that MoveOn has a new television ad coming out today that uses Pat Robertson's ridiculous statement that George Bush thought there would be zero US casualties in an invasion of Iraq: Narrator: "On the eve of war with Iraq, the Rev. Pat Robertson said he warned the president to prepare the American people for casualties. He said George Bush told him, 'Oh no, we're not going to have any casualties.' No casualties? This is the same president who said: 'Mission accomplished in Iraq millions of new jobs lower healthcare costs.' Now this president wants four more years?" Oh, please. Since when did the Left start treating Pat Robertson as a holy Oracle? Robertson is a TV preacher who regularly says the nuttiest things, such as that God told him Bush would get re-elected. At first, Robertson said that God told him it would...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Redstate Explains Why Kerry Story Matters

Quite a bit of the blogosphere has reacted with a shrug to the Washington Times article this morning about John Kerry's UNSC Fantasy Camp. The general reaction thus far is, So what? We all know that Kerry lies. Another verified instance of this seems to appeal less to the hardened political junkies than it should. The blog that helped break the story, Redstate.org, explains why this matters to America: After a public lifetime of anti-Americanism and fecklessness, Kerry knows that he needs drive home the five points listed above in order to convince the American people of his fitness to represent and lead our nation abroad. How to square this with that? How to explain the big lie? How to dismiss the appropriation of -- and believe us, the insult to -- these nations with whom Kerry will purportedly work and ally? How to pretend that this is the act...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Chrenkoff: The Iraq That Goes Unnoticed

Arthur Chrenkoff has a great column in today's OpinionJournal (also on his blog) that he e-mailed to me this morning regarding the progress in Iraq. When you read his column, you won't recognize the Iraq he describes if your information has come strictly from the mainstream media: There are two Iraqs. The one we more often get to see and read about is a dangerous place, full of exploding cars, kidnapped foreigners and deadly ambushes. The reconstruction is proceeding at a snail's pace, frustration boils over and tensions - political, ethnic, religious - crackle in the air like static electricity before a storm. The other Iraq is a once prosperous and promising country of twenty-four million people, slowly recovering from physical and moral devastation of totalitarian rule. It's a country whose people are slowly beginning to stand on their own feet, grasp the opportunities undreamed of only two years ago,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Down The Stretch

CQ reader Alex N. wrote me last night with a passionate plea: Despite the fact that I will be defending my PhD dissertation in the next 2 weeks, I will volunteer for the Bush/Cheney campaign in the days before the election. That's why I'm still at work at midnight on a Sunday. I have never been active in any political campaign before, but this one is just too important to lose. I think - barring a terrorist attack, an October surprise, and massive election fraud - this election and its aftermath will be decided by whoever wins the voter turnout battle. That's why I'm going to be volunteering in the 72 hours before the election. As the Captain of this ship, you have the ability to influence your loyal crew. I certainly respect your opinion a lot. So, to get to the point: I was wondering if you could write...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

380 Tons Of Explosives Missing -- But When?

The New York Times has created a storm of controversy with its lengthy and detailed reporting of 380 tons of high explosives that disappeared from the Al-Qaqaa munitions bunker in Iraq (also CNN): The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations. The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year. However, that last statement isn't quite accurate. The Administration acknowledged that it disappeared...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Just A Little Too Convenient

Egypt claims that the mastermind of the Taba bombing inadvertently killed himself in the attack's biggest blast, the AP reports tonight: A Palestinian refugee plotted the coordinated bombings targeting Israeli tourists at resorts in the Sinai and accidentally killed himself while carrying out the deadliest blast, Egyptian authorities said Monday. Discounting the theory of al-Qaida involvement, an Interior Ministry statement said Ayad Said Saleh was motivated by the deteriorating situation in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, which his relatives fled in 1967, and carried out the attack with the help of local residents. But security officials speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press they believed the Oct. 7 attacks on the Taba Hilton and two beach camps packed with Israelis may have been carried out with help from Islamic groups based outside Egypt, though not necessarily Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida group. It certainly makes Egypt's investigation easier if they...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CNN/Gallup: Bush Up By Eight In Florida

In what looks like an outlier from an otherwise fairly reliable polling group, Gallup and CNN report that George Bush has opened an eight-point lead over John Kerry in Florida and moved past the 50-point mark: President Bush outpolled Democratic challenger John Kerry by 8 points among likely Florida voters surveyed in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, but other polls indicated a tighter race. In the CNN poll, Bush had 51 percent and Kerry 43 percent among likely voters interviewed. The result was similar among registered voters: 51 percent for Bush and 42 percent for Kerry. Independent candidate Ralph Nader drew the support of 1 percent of respondents in both categories. ... The results were consistent with the last poll Gallup conducted in Florida, which found in late September that 52 percent of respondents chose Bush and 43 percent Kerry. Yet it was notably different from three recent statewide...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

NY Times Keeps Running With Discredited Story

Despite the NBC News report that told America that its own reporters verified the HMX and RDX had been removed from the Al-Qaqaa bunker in Iraq before American soldiers ever got there, the New York Times continues to push its discredited "gotcha" on its front page: The White House sought on Monday to explain the disappearance of 380 tons of high explosives in Iraq that American forces were supposed to secure, as Senator John Kerry seized on the missing cache as "one of the great blunders of Iraq" and said President Bush's "incredible incompetence" had put American troops at risk. ... Yet even as Mr. Bush pressed his case, his aides tried to explain why American forces had ignored a series of warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency about the vulnerability of the huge stockpile of high explosives, which was first reported on Monday by CBS and The New...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 26, 2004

Kerry Campaign Keeps Running With Discredited Story

One can understand the reluctance of the New York Times to backpedal on what it thought was a sure-fire takedown of George Bush, eight days before the election, even though their reporters and editors wound up only doing a half-ass job of research. (They undoubtedly did not plan on having NBC make them look like idiots.) It's difficult to understand, however, why the Kerry campaign and especially Joe Lockhart continue to push such an egregious and thoroughly demonstrable lie, as CNN reports in its update to the Al Qaqaa debacle: NBC News reported that on April 10, 2003, its crew was embedded with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division when troops arrived at the Al Qaqaa storage facility south of Baghdad. While the troops found large stockpiles of conventional explosives, they did not find HMX or RDX, the types of powerful explosives that reportedly went missing, according to NBC. The...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Gray Lady, Caught In Amber

Like most paleolithic creatures whose fossilized remains come to the light of day, the New York Times' integrity gets put on display in its own editorial page today as the Gray Lady pontificates about the Theft That Never Was: James Glanz, William J. Broad and David E. Sanger reported in The Times yesterday that some 380 tons of the kinds of powerful explosives used to destroy airplanes, demolish buildings, make missile warheads and trigger nuclear weapons have disappeared from one of the many places in Iraq that the United States failed to secure. The United Nations inspectors disdained by the Bush administration had managed to monitor the explosives for years. But they vanished soon after the United States took over the job. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was so bent on proving his theory of lightning warfare that he ignored the generals who said an understaffed and underarmed invasion force could...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Viet Cong Approved Of Kerry's Hunting Methods

Thomas Lipscomb reports for the New York Sun on the discovery of Viet Cong documents that show the VC had its eye on the young John Kerry, and not because he was second to no man in hunting them down. The documents, first archived in 1971, show that the Communists at the least followed Kerry's antiwar activities with approval and encouragement: The communist regime in Hanoi monitored closely and looked favorably upon the activities of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War during the period Senator Kerry served most actively as the group's spokesman and a member of its executive committee, two captured Viet Cong documents suggest. The documents - one dubbed a "circular" and the other a "directive" - were captured in 1971 and are part of a trove of material from the war currently stored at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University at Lubbock. Originally organized by Douglas...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Black Rock Dodges A Bullet This Time

In a story rich with irony, the Los Angeles Times reported last night -- before NBC made the Al-Qaqaa story moot -- that CBS had the story first but couldn't nail it down before the New York Times published it: CBS News' "60 Minutes" landed a major story last week: the disappearance in Iraq of a large cache of explosives supposed to be under guard by the U.S. military. But the network nevertheless found itself in the journalistically awkward position of playing catch-up when it wasn't able to get the piece on the air as soon as its reporting partner, the New York Times, which made the report its lead story Monday. Breaking the story would have been a welcome coup for CBS News as it seeks to emerge from the cloud cast by its use of unverified documents in reporting on President Bush's 1970s military service. Unnoticed in all...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Did Kerry Plagiarize Parts Of "The New War"?

The New York Sun reports in its second blockbuster of the day that John Kerry plagiarized at least 11 passages in his 1997 book, The New War that he has used as a campaign reference for his presidential bid, as well as in other campaign materials: An academic researcher has found 11 passages in Senator Kerry's published writings that appear to have been taken from other works without attribution, though experts disagree about whether the copying should be considered plagiarism. Six of the passages come from Mr. Kerry's 1997 book, "The New War: The Web of Crime That Threatens America's National Security." All bear some similarity to news accounts that preceded publication of the book. The Sun's Josh Gerstein lists several suspicious passages from both Kerry's 1997 book and the Kerry/Edwards campaign book, "Our Plan for America: Stronger at Home and Respected in the World," which presumably was written at...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Massachusetts Legislator, Democrat, Catholic: Vote Bush

In an interesting opinion piece for today's New Hampshire Union-Leader, Massachusetts legislator Brian Golden (D) endorses George Bush for President. Golden explains that he simply cannot support Kerry as a practicing Catholic: The Democrats offer Sen. John Kerry, a professed Catholic. You may have heard that Kerrys own Democratic colleagues, by some creative measure, call him the most Catholic senator. Thats like calling Tony Soprano a devout Catholic because he shows up at Mass most Sundays and throws some bills in the collection plate. Catholics know better. For 20 years, on matters most fundamental to Catholics, Kerry has been consistently wrong. Kerry was one of only 14 senators to vote against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. This year, he opposed the federal marriage amendment, which would give the American people a voice in the definition of marriage, rather than leave it to the whims of activist judges like those...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Insurgents Hauling 380 Tons Of Explosives Not Exactly A Covert Act

Unfortunately for the New York Times, no one gave a thought about the logistics of the notion that small bands of insurgents made off with 380 tons of explosives under the noses of the Coalition with no one noticing. CQ reader and retired Army Reserve Captain Ian Dodgson got paid to think about logistics, and he did some "cocktail-napkin" math that escaped the geniuses at the Paper of Record: We're familiar with the NY Times story and the IAEA accusations that the "missing" explosives were looted from the Al-Qaqaa military base due to US negligence in securing the facility. If I were a guerilla "looter" and I was planning such an operation from a military standpoint, here's what the task would require: Assumptions: -Each "looter" could haul comfortably about 25 pounds per trip to a truck. (of course after 12 hours that would require superhuman endurance) -I'd allow 5 minutes...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Agenda

The Kerry Spot connects the dots and concludes that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradeis conveniently-timed memo was motivated by job security concerns. The Kerry Spot notes ElBaradei has held his position since 1997 and his tenure will expire in 2005. When the US government opposed his bid for a third term under the premise that heads of international organizations should not serve more than two terms, ElBaradei penned his 1 Oct 2004 memo pressing Iraq to account for nuclear-related materials once supervised by the IAEA. Guess what happens next! Then, in a memo that appears to be dated Oct. 10, the Iraqis respond that the explosives are missing and it just happens to show up on the front page of the New York Times eight days before Election Day. An article that quotes a European diplomat as saying Dr. ElBaradei is "extremely concerned" about the potentially "devastating consequences" of the vanished...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Cheney Nails Kerry's Armchair Generalship

All day long, I wondered when the Bush campaign would come out swinging, if not to defend themselves against the spurious charges that the IAEA threw at them with an assist from the New York Times, then to speak out on behalf of the 101st Airborne, whose reputation got trashed in John Kerry's zeal to attack George Bush. Tonight Dick Cheney reminded us yet again why Bush picked him for the Vice Presidency in his pointed response to Kerry's hysterical rantings: Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday rejected John Kerry's criticism of the loss of hundreds of tons of explosives in Iraq, saying the toppling Saddam Hussein took thousands of times of that amount of potentially dangerous material out of the former dictator's hands. "If our troops had not gone into Iraq as John Kerry apparently thinks they should not have, that is 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CBS Reported Suspicious Powder At Al Qaqaa In April 2003

Alert CQ reader Samuel Silver sent me this article from the archives of CBS News -- the same organization that helped prepped NYTrogate with the New York Times -- which shows that the Third Infantry Division had reached Al Qaqaa and discovered thousands of vials of a mysterious powdered explosive by April 3, 2003 (coincidentally, my birthday): U.S. troops found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site south of Baghdad. But a senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the materials were believed to be explosives. Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the materials were found Friday at the Latifiyah industrial complex just south of Baghdad. ... The facility is part of a larger complex known as the Latifiyah Explosives and Ammunition Plant al Qa Qaa [emph...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 27, 2004

Surprise! Media Treated Bush Worse Than Kerry In The Stretch

Editor and Publisher reports that an independent study of the media shows that George Bush got more than twice the negative coverage than John Kerry did in October, and that only one in seven stories reported about Bush cast him in a positive light: A new study for the non-partisan Project for Excellence in Journalism suggests that in the first two weeks of October, during the period of the presidential debates, George W. Bush received much more unfavorable media coverage than Sen. John Kerry. In the overall sample (which included four newspapers, two cable news networks and the four leading broadcast networks), more than half of all Bush stories were negative in tone, during this period. One-quarter of all Kerry stories were negative, according to the study. ... In the final accounting, 59% of stories that were mainly about Bush told a mainly negative story, while 25% of Kerry stories...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

NY Times Asks The Wrong Commander

The New York Times busily attempts to shore up its sagging reputation by tracking down the commander of the 101st Airborne unit that arrived at the Al Qaqaa weapons bunker in April 2003. Col. Joseph Anderson tells Jim Dwyer and David Sanger that his troops did not inspect the bunkers at Al Qaqaa, but that's no longer the issue: White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell. But the unit's commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the site and had merely stopped there overnight. The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he did...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Another Attack On GOP Offices

In yet another attack on a GOP office, classy Democrats sprayed vulgarities on a large campaign sign in front of the Hollister, CA headquarters and have stolen Bush/Cheney signs throughout San Benito County (hat tip: Drudge): Sometime between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16 unknown suspects vandalized a large Bush/Cheney campaign sign posted in the 700 block of McCray Street, spraying vulgarities denouncing the president, according to a Hollister police report. Volunteers found the sign on Saturday, Oct. 16 and immediately took it down, said Jeannie Glass, San Benito County Republican Party volunteer. Including several obscenities splashed across Bush and Cheneys name, at the bottom the vandals sprayed the F word followed by the words Texas and Florida. To combine that word with Florida and Texas, someone understood the past election and where Bush is from, which is what made it interesting, Glass said. It wasnt just kids. As Michelle Malkin...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Happy (Belated) Blogiversary To The Commissar!

I missed this when it occurred, but it's never too late to sa yHappy Blogiversary ... or at least I hope not! The Commissar at Politburo Diktat celebrated his first blogiversary, or as he put it, the October Revolution. The Commissar has been a great friend to me in blogging, and has developed the Politburo Diktat into not only one of the best satirical political blogs but also one of the best for flat-out analysis. Both of us started at the same time, and we both have had tremendous success, and he's sent a lot of encouragement (and readers) my way. All of the proletariat salutes you, Commissar!...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Florida Unions, Attorneys Argue Minorities Are More Incompetent

People need to understand the difference between disenfranchisement and incompetence in terms of voting and registration. Disenfranchisement results from direct government action in denying valid voters the right to cast their ballots. Incompetence is a potential voter who isn't bright or thorough enough to fill out a ballot or registration card correctly. Florida unions and attorneys were disappointed yesterday to find this out in federal court, where they offered the odd and specious argument that minorities are more incompetent than others: Florida election officials will not be required to process incomplete voter registration forms for the presidential election, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King said the three prospective voters for whom the lawsuit was filed did not have the legal standing to pursue the case, which was backed by the AFL-CIO. ... Attorneys with the Washington-based Advancement Project said the plaintiffs would appeal by Friday....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Iran Sees John Kerry As Monty Hall

According to Reuters, the Iranian mullahcracy not-so-secretly looks forward to a John Kerry presidency, thanks in part to Kerry's "Let's Make A Deal" rhetoric in regards to Iran's nuclear ambitions: Iranian officials like to portray U.S. presidential elections as a choice between bad and worse but there is little doubt they would prefer Democratic challenger John Kerry to win next week. Since President Bush took office the Islamic state has been dubbed an "axis of evil" member, seen U.S. forces mass on its borders in Iraq and Afghanistan and faced concerted U.S. accusations that it has a covert atomic arms program. In other words, Bush's foreign policy regarding Iran is firmly rooted in reality. Iran has long been the strongest support for Islamofascist terror groups, directly funding Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank/Gaza Strip territories. It had links to al-Qaeda, although no one is sure...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Big Apple Takes Two Bites Out Of CQ

It's great to have friends, and two good friends in the New York media world gave Captain's Quarters prominent mention today. The New York Sun and the New York Post, both of which have published my work in the past, reference posts I wrote yesterday regarding two separate subjects. John Podhoretz writes in today's Post about the late hit that the New York Times and CBS attempted to deliver on George Bush, a transparent and terribly clumsy way of trying to get John Kerry elected. Podhoretz actually expresses sympathy for the instinct to look deeper into the Al Qaqaa story but disdainfully critiques both the research done on it and the decision to publish at this time: It's hard to fault the Times for pursuing the story aggressively. In an official document sent to a U.N. agency two weeks ago, the Iraqi interim government said the explosives had disappeared during...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

FBI Investigating Bin Laden Sighting In Pakistan

CQ reader Bill W, who works homeland security in the private sector, sent me this article from the South Asia Tribune that reports that the FBI is investigating sightings of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, near the borders with India and China: Fugitive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been spotted in the Tibet-Laddakh region, close to the North-Eastern tip of Pakistan, bordering India and China, Indian and US officials believe. A high-ranking official of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) flew from Islamabad on Sunday to meet top Indian officials here in Delhi after reports of Bin Ladens presence in the region. According to sources, following the meeting between Indian security bosses and the FBI, the New Delhi Government has put its security forces in the North Western region, specially the Kashmir Valley, on 'red alert.' Sources in New Delhi suspect that bin Laden may have made...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Coming Later Tonight: Interview With "MIke"

Over the past two weeks, I posted a five-part series of letters from my friend "Mike", a Navy SEAL and private contractor who served in both capacities in Iraq, to his young sons. I spoke at length with Mike during two interviews (one of which was on our Northern Alliance radio show), and Mike gave a fascinating look into his experiences in Iraq and what they taught him about the war on terror and Iraq's liberation. Mike spent the better part of two years there, and here's an example of what's coming up: For the last year, I was a contractor in Iraq, and my role was to be a shooter or security guy, along with being a primary medic. I frequently would be the only medic for about a hundred people, most of which were Iraqis who were injured or severely sick. Our project was captured enemy ammunition. Our...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

A Voice From The Front, Part I

A good friend of mine has served in the Navy as a SEAL, both active-duty and reserves, since the Vietnam War. Mike most recently spent the better part of the past three years in Iraq before, during, and after the war. After serving as an active-duty SEAL handling Arabian Gulf interdiction missions, he took a leave of absence to work as a civilian security contractor inside Iraq, including some of the toughest areas in the Sunni Triangle, such as Fallujah and Tikrit. As a private contractor, Mike spent most of his time securing and destroying captured enemy ordinance at ammunition supply points like Al Qaqaa, which has found itself the center of attention during this presidential election. However, Mike worked on sensitive missions during his time in the Gulf, and for the safety of his family has asked that he not be identified by name. I interviewed Mike twice, once...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 28, 2004

A Voice From The Front, Part II

The second part of the interviews with "Mike". Q. Obviously, the Iraqis got this ammunition hand over fist before our invasion, and as you said, a good portion of it wasnt deployable by the Iraqi military. Was any of this disappearing into terrorist hands before the war? A. Of course! Theres the terrorist side of it; the Wahhabi Muslim terrorists, who see their role in life as to blow up unbelievers that they think are attacking Islam, specifically Israel. The end state for Muslim terrorists is to get the Jews out of Israel, and anyone supporting Israel has got to go along with them. But money is what it was all about in Iraq. There was a minister for everything. There was a land mine minister, an RPG minister, a free-rocket-over-ground minister; for every type of explosive ordinance that exists, there was some minister for it. And he made money...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

A Voice From The Front, Part III

The final part of the interviews with "Mike". Q. How much play is our upcoming presidential election getting in Iraq? A. Its huge. Its critical. The left-wing media has been spewing a lot of crap about how the Iraqis want us out of there as soon as possible. We all want to get out of there as soon as possible which is going to be several years from now. Anyone who wants to be realistic about the whole situation knows that its not going to happen in a few months, its going to happen in a few years. At the point where Iraq is finally on its feet and rebuilt, able to keep terrorists out and any other despot that might want to take control of the government, then well leave. But right now, whats really happening is that the Iraqis who want to provide a better life for...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

The Incredible Shrinking HMX/RDX

ABC News reported late last night that the amount of high-tech explosives at Al Qaqaa has been wildly exaggerated by Iraqi officials, the New York Times, and CBS. Rather than the 380 tons of explosives which cannot be located, new documents put the amount stashed at Al Qaqaa at around 3 tons instead (via Instapundit): The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing presumably stolen due to a lack of security was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility. But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over 3 tons of RDX was stored at the facility a considerable discrepancy from...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Putin, you've got some 'splainin' to do

According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the U.S. invasion: John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad. "The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units." You get two guesses where the Russians shipped the goods. According to Mr. Shaw: Most of Saddam's most powerful arms were systematically separated from other arms like mortars, bombs and rockets, and sent to...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Did 'Starving Soviets' Back The Moving Van Up To Al Qaqaa?

The Financial Times follows up on the remark made yesterday by John Shaw, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, suggesting that the Russians took the heavy tonnage of high-tech explosives out of Al Qaqaa and transported them to Syria: The controversy over Iraqs missing explosives intensified on Wednesday as the Bush administration rejected charges of incompetence and a senior Pentagon official claimed the munitions may have been removed by Russians before the US-led invasion. ... But in a further development, John Shaw, a deputy under-secretary of defence, suggested that Russian units had transported the explosives out of the country. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Shaw said: For nearly nine months my office has been aware of an elaborate scheme set up by Saddam Hussein to finance and disguise his weapons purchases through his international suppliers, principally the Russians and French. That network included. . . employing various Russian units...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

You don't say

AP actually titled a story "Mideast May Again Become Major U.S. Issue." Obviosly, we haven't been concerned at all about what goes on there. That's why Iraq has been the primary campaign issue. AP hastily inserts a Kerry campaign promise: "We'll do a better job of protecting the state of Israel." And a word from an "expert": Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was former President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said in an Associated Press interview that "any administration will have to come to terms with the fact the absence of progress on the Israel-Palestinian peace front contributes to intensified conflict and hostility." Does the label "President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser" sound ironic to you too? I was so distracted I missed what he actually said, so I had to go back and read it again. I think he used too many words for "I don't have a clue." And finally,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Abortion No Longer A Liability For The GOP?

The Washington Post runs a fascinating report today, analyzing its daily tracking poll on one of the issue points -- the appointment of Supreme Court justices. In a revelation that challenges the conventional wisdom of gender politics, th Post reports that a narrow plurality puts more trust in George Bush to appoint SCOTUS justices than John Kerry: The survey found that 49 percent of all likely voters surveyed said they had more confidence in the president to choose future Supreme Court justices while 42 percent favor Kerry -- preferences that were sharply shaped by party identification. Three in four Democrats -- 76 percent -- believe Kerry would do a better job filling future vacancies while 89 percent of Republicans chose Bush. Political independents split equally between the two candidates. ... The gender gap on Supreme Court appointments is smaller for women but larger for men than it is on the...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Terror tape authenticated

According to the Drudge Report, the Al Qaeda video tape obtained by ABC in Pakistan has been authenticated by the CIA and FBI. Drudge reports: ABCNEWS obtained the tape from a source in Waziristan, Pakistan over the weekend. The network has withheld airing it, initially citing concerns over its authenticity. One senior federal official alleged ABCNEWS is now holding back from broadcasting any portion of the video out of fear it will be seen as a political move by the network during election week. One ABC source, who demanded anonymity, said Thursday morning, the network was struggling to find a correct journalistic "balance." "This is not something you just throw out there while people are voting," the ABC source explained. A second ABC source told DRUDGE Thursday morning: "ABCNEWS has shared this tape with both the CIA and the FBI as part of our reporting process. ABC News is committed...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry: Iraq Is Equivalent To Bay Of Pigs

If you could imagine the most foolish analogy anyone could use in terms of our efforts in Iraq, you couldn't possibly beat the one John Kerry chose at a rally in Toledo, Ohio today. Kerry used his idol John Kennedy as an example of how Bush supposedly can't admit mistakes, and equated Iraq to the disastrous betrayal at the Bay of Pigs: Kerry recalled how President John Kennedy took the blame for the bungled Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba in 1961. "Can you imagine President Kennedy ... standing up and telling the American people he couldn't think of a single mistake that he had made? When the Bay of Pigs went sour, John Kennedy had the courage to look America in the eye and say to America 'I take responsibility, it is my fault."' Challenging Bush, Kerry said: "Mr. President, it is long since time for you to start...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

NY Times Still Gets Al Qaqaa Wrong

Our local ABC affiliate ran a videotape purporting to show the existence of HMX, RDX, and PETN at the Al Qaqaa storage facility, and the New York Times ran a new story heralding this videotape as the confirmation it desperately needs to rescue its credibility: A videotape made by a television crew with American troops when they opened bunkers at a sprawling Iraqi munitions complex south of Baghdad shows a huge supply of explosives still there nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, apparently including some sealed earlier by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The tape, broadcast on Wednesday night by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, appeared to confirm a warning given earlier this month to the agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the site after the invasion of...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 29, 2004

NEA Gave Over A Million To Kerry, Faces IRS Audit

The National Education Association has been busy this election cycle, the Washington Times reports. The teachers union has spent over a million dollars in direct support for John Kerry and $2.78 million supporting Democrats overall, prompting the IRS to investigate its tax-exempt status: The National Education Association (NEA) pumped more than $1 million into 67 mailings for the Kerry-Edwards presidential ticket and against President Bush in the past four months, Federal Election Commission reports show. Twenty-one NEA mailings in behalf of the Kerry campaign, produced by an Arlington firm whose clients include the Democratic Party, went out to hundreds of thousands of public school employees across the country this month at a cost of $468,333. The union paid for all the mailings from its general operating budget, not its political action committee, the reports show. Now that presents two problems. First, using the same production firm as the DNC indicates...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Admits He Lied About His Records

CQ reader Brent Busch noticed that John Kerry made an interesting admission last night on NBC Nightly News in an interview with Tom Brokaw. Despite having claimed for months that he had released all of his military records, Kerry admitted last night that he'd lied about it (emphasis mine): Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do. Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from. As Brent points out, that hardly squares with Kerry's rhetoric earlier on military records. Ever since Kerry and the Democrats launched a full-scale attack on George Bush's military experience and his discharge from the National Guard, calls have come for Kerry to sign a Form 180 to completely release his own records....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Post Gets The Weapons Story Context Correct

The Washington Post injects some context and not a little sanity into the hyperventilation coming from the Kerry campaign and the left on Al Qaqaa. In fact, Bradley Graham and Thomas Ricks point out what I posted last Tuesday about the amount of explosives in question, and the fact that HMX and RDX pose little increased risk over the other explosives left over in Iraq: U.S. military commanders estimated last fall that Iraqi military sites contained 650,000 to 1 million tons of explosives, artillery shells, aviation bombs and other ammunition. The Bush administration cited official figures this week showing about 400,000 tons destroyed or in the process of being eliminated. That leaves the whereabouts of more than 250,000 tons unknown. Against that background, this week's assertions by Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign about the few hundred tons said to have vanished from Iraq's Qaqaa facility have struck some defense experts...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Guardian Reviews Impact Of Blogs

I missed this a couple of days ago when it first appeared, but Simon Jeffery wrote a balanced look at blogs earlier this week at the Guardian (UK). Simon was kind enough to mention me and CQ after we traded e-mail last week -- and after we both took shots at each other on our blogs. Simon turns out to be a rather nice guy and an interesting correspondent, and his article presents a fair introduction to those who may not be very familiar with the blogosphere. Simon has this to say about my analysis of blogging: Edward Morrissey, who runs the pro-Bush Captain's Quarters - by no means the largest - is now logging 840,000 visits a month (up from 30,000 in January) to his daily Democrat-bashing. Recent entries include the latest theft or defacement of a Bush campaign sign and the lyrics of a satirical song about John...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

IAEA Seals In ABC Report Don't Match Missing Explosives

Alert CQ reader Boaz B. noticed a detail in the ABC video that apparently has escaped the notice of their reporters and editors. According to the shot shown here, the IAEA seal on the cache found by the soldiers and filmed by the embedded crew did not match the inventory for HMX and RDX stored at Al Qaqaa: If you review the pictures on the KSTP web site that has the ABC video everyone is using you can see a very clear picture of a seal with its number (#144322). The PDF document of the UN inspections available show the numbers of the seals and none of them have that number. Therefore, it is clear that the bunkers that ABC videoed were not the ones that held the HMX the UN inspected. Here's a picture of the relevant page of the PDF, which I don't have a link to at...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Pentagon Destroyed Ammunition And Kerry's Credibility

CNN is showing a Pentagon briefing with an Army officer who is describing how the explosives at Al Qaqaa were destroyed in June 2003 after having captured it in April 2003. I'll have more as the story breaks. UPDATE: Does the Pentagon's press conference answer the questions? Some of them, I think. First, Kerry was all wrong when he said that the Al Qaqaa site and its weapons were abandoned by the Army. By 13 April, the Army had loaded up 250 tons of explosive ordinance, including plastic explosive which could have been the RDX. The major said that the materials hauled off included crates and barrels such as those shown in the ABC video. However, ABC reported that the video was shot on 18 April, meaning that the weapons it showed were left behind, if the dates are correct. At any rate, no one ignored warnings about Al Qaqaa,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Blog Notes, E-Day Minus 4

I'll be hospiblogging again today as the First Mate has to undergo a minor surgical procedure. I've finally managed to get my first cup of coffee down, a Starbucks blend of Mexican Whoopee or some such. (Since when did coffee come with such pedigrees?) I'll be hijacking wireless connections during the morning as I can. With four days left to the election, I wanted to let everyone know what plans I have for Election Day. I will be at work on the day job, but afterwards I will join the Northern Alliance to provide live updates on AM 1280 The Patriot in the Twin Cities, starting at 8 pm CT. We'll be cutting in on Hugh Hewitt's live, marathon Election Night broadcast at the commercial breaks, updating our listeners on election news in the Upper Midwest. We'll stay live until the presidential race has been determined or 3 am, one...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

John Kerry Gets Desperate

I can't find any other explanation for John Kerry's primal-scream campaigning in Orlando this afternoon except for desperation as the election blessedly winds down to its final hours. Reuters reports that Kerry went "off script" and told America that anyone not voting for him must be unconscious: Kerry also blasted Bush on the economy, taxes, jobs and health care, saying the Republican incumbent had "walked away from the basic bargain" that Americans who worked hard should have the chance to get ahead and chosen his powerful friends over the middle class. "Wake up America, wake up. ... You have a choice," he said. "This election is a choice between four more years of tax giveaways for millionaires along with a higher tax burden on the middle class." Somehow I think that telling people they're asleep is not the best way to make them like you....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Harkin Embarasses Iowa

Senator Tom Harkin took on an additional role this afternoon when he appeared on behalf of John Kerry in Vinton, IA. According to the Cedar Valley Times, Harkin imparted a message from A Higher Authority when he spoke to a huge crowd of Iowa Democrats (via Drudge): Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says John Kerry has been gaining in the polls every day since Oct. 21, and George Bush has been going down every day. "That's how God wants it to be," Harkin told a group of about 25 people at the Benton County Headquarters in Vinton on Thursday afternoon. Harkin was touring the state to stump for Kerry and Democratic legislative candidates. He appeared in Benton County on behalf of Mt. Auburn Mayor Dawn Pettengill, who is running against incumbent Republican Dell Hanson for the Iowa House District 39 seat. God's newest employee either needs a bit more training, or...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Osama Weighs In

Just in time for the election's final stretch, Al Jazeera aired a new Osama bin Laden videotaped statement warning Americans that we will face more "Manhattans" unless we abandon Israel and bug out of Southwest Asia: Osama bin Laden, addressing the American public four days ahead of presidential elections, said in a video aired Friday that the United States can avoid another Sept. 11 attack if it stops threatening the security of Muslims. Reading a statement, the al Qaeda leader refrained from threats of new attacks and instead appealed to Americans. "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands," bin Laden said, referring to the president and his Democratic opponent. "Each state that does not mess with our security, has naturally guaranteed its own security." Admitting for the first time that he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks, bin...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Scripps Howard Presents Ludicrous Analysis Of OBL Tape's Effect

Lisa Hoffman at Scripps Howard News Service attempts to write a balanced view of the effects that the new Osama bin Laden missive will have on our upcoming election. Reprinted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune for tomorrow's paper, Hoffman's analysis emphasizes that Islamic terrorists feel that George Bush has been "good for business", and winds up in left field: In fact, critics of the war in Iraq and other U.S. foreign policies say, the Bush tenure has actually been a boon for bin Laden. Those bent on global Islamic holy war see the U.S. president as the personification of arrogance and imperialism - a tailor-made poster boy for recruiting jihadis across the globe. Just because they vilify him doesn't mean they want him evicted from the White House. "If you ask them if they are better off now than they were four years ago, (Islamic extremists) would say the past...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Flip-Flops Within The Same Speech On OBL

CNN reports that John Kerry waited all of about 15 nanoseconds to use the new Osama bin Laden videotape to boost his political fortunes, even after he claimed that all Americans were united in their determination to defeat terrorism: Reacting to a new videotape of Osama bin Laden tossed into the closing days of a hard-fought presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry renewed his claim that President Bush allowed the terrorist mastermind to escape in fall 2001. In a satellite interview with Milwaukee TV station WISN, Kerry said, "I regret that when George Bush had the opportunity in Afghanistan at Tora Bora, he didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden." "He outsourced the job to Afghan warlords. I would never have done that. I think it was an enormous mistake, and we're paying the price for that today," he said. This came after he...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 30, 2004

Kaplan Becomes What He Debunks

Fred Kaplan at Slate is always an interesting read, a partisan who still is interested in the truth. Both sides of Kaplan are displayed in his latest article, a devastating critique of the Johns Hopkins study published by the New York Times that asserted that the American invasion of Iraq caused 100,000 "extra" deaths. The Hopkins study sampled 33 neighborhoods in Iraq and interviews around a thousand families to determine how many Iraqis died in the fourteen months leading up to the war, and how many died after the invasion, and from what causes. The difference between the two sets of deaths (pre- and post-invasion), extrapolated for the entire country, was given as the extra deaths caused by the US invasion. This has heavy political implications, as part of the American rationale relied on estimates by te UN and human-rights organizations that the Saddam regime killed thousands of Iraqis every...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Brooks: Kerry Continues His Tone-Deafness On OBL

Betsy's Page directs readers to the latest David Brooks column in today's New York Times, where Brooks takes John Kerry to task for playing politics with the new Osama bin Laden videotaped message. Brooks reaches the same conclusion that I did last night after reading Kerry's response during a radio interview a few hours after the OBL tape aired on Al-Jazeera and American news outlets: Kerry did say that we are all united in the fight against bin Laden, but he just couldn't help himself. His first instinct was to get political. On Milwaukee television, he used the video as an occasion to attack the president: "He didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down Osama bin Laden. He outsourced the job." Kerry continued with a little riff from his stump speech, "I am absolutely confident I have the ability to make America safer." Even in this shocking moment,...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Don't Be Fooled By His Measured Tone

Wretchard at the Belmont Club posted a provocative analysis of the Osama bin Laden tape yesterday, linked today at Power Line, which considers the measured tone and reasonableness of OBL a signal to the US of surrender: It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out....

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Time out!

The Belmont Club characterizes the latest from OBL as a peace offering to the American electorate: It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out. OBLs appearance in the video provides some corroboration for Wretchards analysis. Hes no longer sporting the camouflage look and has put...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Minnesota Democrats Get Desperate -- And Disgusting

A group of Democrats in Minnesota have launched a new television ad now showing on our local ABC affiliate that uses an old Osama bin Laden tape to attack George Bush. The group, Georgethemenace.org, explains itself thusly: A few weeks ago, with the Swift Boat nonsense all over the news (and that which pretends to be news), several South Minneapolis neighbors got together and said, "Hey, why can't we do that?"except on the other side. So, gathered around a patio table with coffee and muffins, we formed a 527 group called georgethemenace.org, then produced a 30-second spot, which we hope to start airing soon. We've already had coverage in the local and national press. Our intent is to scrounge enough money to actually get the thing on TV a few times and make enough noise toperhapshelp tip the election in our favor. Okay -- so putting words in Osama's mouth...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Jihad And Fashion Were Always Her Passion

With Yasser Arafat in Paris being examined by a team of doctors looking to identify his mystery illness, the London Telegraph focuses on his younger wife and her sacrifices for the Palestinian cause. It turns out that Suha Arafat has done her part for the intifada at fashion-show runways and expensive shops: If anything was guaranteed to annoy the Palestinians, it was a comment made by Yasser Arafat's wife after the birth of their daughter, Zahwa. As Suha Arafat proudly showed off the Palestinian leader's only child at the 1,100-a-night hospital in Paris in July 1995, she declared: "Our child was conceived in Gaza, but sanitary conditions there are terrible. I don't want to be a hero and risk my baby." ... The spendthrift image of Mrs Arafat was further enhanced when French authorities launched an investigation into claims that $11.4 million (6.22 million) had been transferred from Switzerland to...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Final Mason-Dixon Battleground Polls Hint At Bush Win

In what should be the final iteration of the Mason-Dixon polls that have been remarkably stable over the course of this election cycle, George Bush has a significant edge over John Kerry and appears headed to a victory on Tuesday. With a margin of error at 4%, the battleground states stack up like this: Florida - Bush, 49-45 (27 EV) Arkansas - Bush, 51-43 (6 EV) Colorado - Bush, 50-43 (9 EV) Ohio - Bush, 48-46 (20 EV) Iowa - Bush, 49-44 (7 EV) Michigan - Kerry, 47-45 (17 EV) Missouri - Bush, 49-44 (11 EV) New Hampshire - Kerry, 47-46 (4 EV) Nevada - Bush, 50-44 (5 EV) West Virginia - Bush, 51-43 (5 EV) Oregon - Kerry, 50-44 (7 EV) Pennsylvania - Kerry, 48-46 (21 EV) Wisconsin - Kerry, 48-46 (10 EV) Minnesota - Bush, 48-47 (10 EV) New Mexico - Bush, 49-45 (5 EV) What does this...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

October 31, 2004

Osama Not So Cocky After All?

The New York Post reports that Osama's videotape last Friday may have been more than just an attempt to swing the American elections. The full tape, of which Al-Jazeera played only a small part, turns out to be an al-Qaeda State of the Gang speech, and Osama isn't very pleased with its present condition (hat tip: NZ Bear): Osama bin Laden's newest tape may have thrust him to the forefront of the presidential election, but what was not seen was the cave-dwelling terror lord talking about the setbacks al Qaeda has faced in recent months. Officials said that in the 18-minute long tape of which only six minutes were aired on the al-Jazeera Arab television network in the Middle East on Friday bin Laden bemoans the recent democratic elections in Afghanistan and the lack of violence involved with it. On the tape, bin Laden also says his terror...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Desperation In Kerry Campaign Leads To Anti-Israel Pandering

The desperation has broken through, loud and clear, from the John Kerry campaign this weekend, underscoring what appears to be a series of favorable battleground-state results for George Bush. First John Kerry scolded America on Friday to "wake up". Now his stepson has decided to accuse Bush of illegal drug use in the final hours of the campaign (via Radio Blogger): John Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz, 31, displayed his mother Teresa's famous lack of rhetorical restraint at a recent campaign event with a group of Wharton students. Philadelphia magazine reports: "Heinz accused Kerry's opponents - 'our enemies' - of making the race dirty. 'We didn't start out with negative ads calling George Bush a cokehead,' he said, before adding, 'I'll do it now.' Asked later about it, Heinz said, 'I have no evidence. He never sold me anything.'" In a moment that may portend a Kerry Administration attitude towards Israel...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry's Profession Of Faith "Morally And Intellectually Incoherent"

In a book review of The American Catholic Voter: 200 Years of Political Impact, Philadelphia Inquirer editor Frank Wilson dissects John Kerry's repeated assertions of belief in Catholicism and his insistence that it informs his public life. In his analysis, Wilson correctly spotlights the hypocrisy and betrayal at the heart of Kerry's rhetoric: In July, in an article in the Washington Post, Kerry was quoted as saying, "I oppose abortion... . I believe life does begin at conception." But, he added, "I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist." That's morally and intellectually incoherent. "Every time you cast a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," Marlin says, "you're voting to impose your beliefs on somebody else. If you vote for higher taxes, you're voting to impose them." He has a point. The Catholic...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CQ Flashback: Kerry's Analysis Paralysis (7/14/04)

The proverb, "Too many cooks spoil the broth" comes to mind while reading the Washington Post article on the Kerry campaign's policy structure. While intending on casting a broad net to display inclusiveness, the nominee instead teeters on the edge of an unmanageable mess: From a tightknit group of experienced advisers, John F. Kerry's presidential campaign has grown exponentially in recent months to include a cast literally of thousands, making it difficult to manage an increasingly unwieldy policy apparatus. The campaign now includes 37 separate domestic policy councils and 27 foreign policy groups, each with scores of members. The justice policy task force alone includes 195 members. The environmental group is roughly the same size, as is the agriculture and rural development council. Kerry counts more than 200 economists as his advisers. In contrast, President Bush's campaign policy shop is a no-frills affair. Policy director Tim Adams directs about a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CQ Flashback: Kerry's Dukakis Moment? (6/23/04)

The Kerry campaign will scramble this afternoon with this AP report that one of their critical support groups has hired convicted felons -- in some cases, sex offenders -- to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives: A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states. America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison. ... Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with the Kerry campaign federal law forbids...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Pew Poll: Bush Holds Slight Edge Over Kerry

It's down to the final polling reports before Election Day. Yesterday, Mason-Dixon published its final battleground-state results showing Bush ahead in most, some by significant margins. Zogby came out early this morning, trumpeted by the ever-vigilant Truck in one of the comment threads, showing the exact opposite -- but Zogby has earned its reputation as one of the least reliable pollsters in the business. Now Pew Research, which enjoys a somewhat better reputation than Zogby, has issued its presumably last look at the election, and finds George Bush holding onto a three-point lead over John Kerry among likely voters in its largest polling sample of the season: President George W. Bush holds a slight edge over Senator John Kerry in the final days of Campaign 2004. The Pew Research Center's final pre-election poll of 1,925 likely voters, conducted Oct. 27-30, finds Bush with a three-point edge (48% to 45% for...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Final 48 Hours -- CQ Essays Redux

I will be reviewing my archives on John Kerry and reposting my favorite essays on the upcoming election. Instead of simply advancing the date, I will repost them as new in order to restart discussions on these topics. Keep checking back over the next few days. The headers on the reprints will say "CQ Flashback" as part of the title. I will, of course, continue to post new thoughts on developments as they arise. Note: Some links may no longer be valid. I'm copying these posts in their entirety from my blogging software and am not checking their validity. Also, this is a great way to blog while handling Halloween door duty! UPDATE AND BUMP: Speaking of Halloween door duty, the Little Admiral made a cameo appearance aboard ship tonight! Her Aunt Cindy bought her this cute outfit for her birthday earlier this year, and I managed to get a...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CBS Also Shows Bush Up By Three

The latest CBS poll mirrors that of the Pew result mentioned below -- George Bush is maintaining a three-point lead over John Kerry as the presidential race winds up: In a CBS News/New York Times poll out Sunday, President Bush has the support of 49 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for John Kerry. Forty-nine percent of likely voters think Mr. Bush will win, to 33 percent who bet on Kerry. More voters see the president as strong, a man in tune with their priorities, someone who says what he thinks. Fifty-five percent approve of the president's handling of the war on terrorism. The new result shows a two-point gain for Bush and a one-point gain for Kerry as the undecideds finally start making up their minds. CBS notes that the percentage of undecided has dropped below 10% now. For those who have already decided -- and voted --...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CQ Flashback: Kerry Obstructed POW/MIA Investigation -- Village Voice (5/22/04)

John Kerry released new advertisements this month designed to shore up his credentials on foreign policy and veterans' affairs. Among the statements made in the advertisements made in his support promoted Kerry's efforts in investigating the POW/MIA issue, along with John McCain, whose partnership Kerry's ads also promote. As Kerry says on his campaign blog: John Kerry and Senator John McCain chaired the country's most thorough investigation into the fate of POW/MIAs in Southeast Asia. Kerry has personally pressed Vietnamese officials to cooperate in ongoing efforts to get answers for families. And he also sponsored POW/MIA Recognition Day. Kerry's Senate committee pressed for unparalleled declassification of documents, increased excavation work in Vietnam, and gathering of testimony from 144 witnesses. According to the Boston Globe, "the effort produced real answers for the some 120 families who had lived for decades without knowing whether a loved one was still alive in Southeast...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

CQ Flashback: A Great Example Of The Left's Hypocrisy On Race (5/15/04)

The Left tosses another double standard at the Republicans today in an op-ed piece in today's Los Angeles Times. Lawrence Weschler, author and academic, writes a smirking, breathless piece on the audacity of George Bush to include pictures of black people on his website. Oh, the scandal! Of course, the lack of minorities in John Kerry's inner circle never quite comes up: Quick. Before they take it down. Go to your computer, log on to http://www.georgewbush.com the official Bush/Cheney '04 reelection website. ... Nice big picture of Bush merrily shooting the breeze with two black teenage girls. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find a quadrant labeled Compassion Photos, with the invitation, "Click here for the Compassion Photo Album." Do so. And let's see, what have we got? First one up: short-sleeved Bush, holding a black kid in his arms, a bleacher full of black...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

NBC Covering Up Kerry's Admission On Records

Alert CQ reader Gracias Deo noticed that NBC has edited the transcript of the interview Tom Brokaw did with John Kerry three days ago. As I reported then, Brokaw's questioning of Kerry about his IQ caused the Senator to bristle (emphasis mine): Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do. Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from. However, in the transcript for the interview based on tonight's Dateline segment for the interview, the answer has been edited to remove Kerry's admission: Brokaw: "Someone has analyzed the president's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do." Kerry: "That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it." What...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Cheney Zings Kerry For Polling On Osama Tape

I first saw the report on Drudge that the Democrats took a poll to see how the Osama bin Laden tape played with the American electorate immediately after it aired. I thought at the time, "I'm not going to link to this ... even the Democrats aren't that foolish." Apparently I must stand corrected, as the Kerry campaign admitted their party conducted the poll, only after Dick Cheney slammed Kerry for not knowing what to do without sticking his finger in the air: "The thing that I find amazing about it is that John Kerry's first response was to go conduct a poll," Cheney told supporters in Fort Dodge, Iowa. "He went into the field ... to find out what he should say about this tape of Osama bin Laden." "It's as though he doesn't know what he believes until he has to go and check the polls, his finger...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Final Gallup Poll A Muddle

Gallup announced the results of its final presidential poll, but its odd report and jumble of state results make it easily the most bizarre and forgettable poll of the bunch. Even its attempt to call the race looks transparently laughable: Bush gets 49% and Kerry gets 47% among likely voters in the poll, which was conducted Friday-Sunday. Three percent offered no opinion. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points, meaning Bush does not have a clear lead. Ralph Nader failed to break the 1% threshold, as all other candidates as a group drew a single percentage point of support. The poll used a sample of 2,014 national adults a larger sample than past polls, which reduces the margin of error. In addition, in this final poll, Gallup used a statistical model to allocate undecided voters to the candidates. Using that model, the race is in...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »

Kerry Flip-Flops On Foreign Leader Endorsements

After maintaining that he had met with several foreign leaders who told him that they want him elected, John Kerry's campaign suddenly has shifted positions on overseas endoresements: An adviser to US presidential challenger John Kerryhas criticised Australian Prime Minister John Howard over "inappropriate" public comments wishing for President George W. Bush to be reelected. Australians had complained when Bush and his aides publicly commented on Australian politics and had told Bush to steer clear of US politics, adviser Kurt Campbell told The Sydney Morning Herald. "I would remind Australians that the same applies at home. Such comments about our politics are a little inappropriate," he said, reacting to Howard's comment last month about Bush, saying: "I hope he wins." It's a far cry from Kerry's strategy in March, when he told everyone that foreign leaders had told him how important it was for him to win the election. He...

« September 2004 | November 2004 »