Welcome to the restored Captain’s Quarters archives

Not long ago, I wanted to access my archive here to find some work I had done years ago on a topic at Hot Air. When I attempted to access the site’s archives — already tricky since the domain has redirected to Hot Air for almost a dozen years — I kept getting yanked off the site. It turns out that some old code in the CSS calls out a now-defunct domain, Blogrolling.com, and the domain registrar’s site takes viewers to a sales pitch.

This just reminded me that I have been remiss for years at tending the old site. I used Movable Type back in the day, which has all but gone defunct itself, and I haven’t used it almost since the day I joined Hot Air. It took me a while just to recall my login, and then to refamiliarize myself with the interface. I tried to cull out the blogrolling.com scripts from the CSS, but apparently I can’t find every instance of it. Until I did, the old blog site would remain inaccessible.

Instead of trying to fix the old site, I decided instead to export the content to a less-encumbered WordPress blog. That export process ran smoothly enough (thanks, Movable Type c.2007!) and it was rather simple to import it into a new WordPress blog. Thanks to my friends at Hosting Matters, it was even simpler to set up that new site.

As you can see, my days as a blog designer are long gone. The site is functional and at least not too unpleasant on the eyes. I’ll be tweaking it here and there to fix things, and the theme might change too as I look for a better fit. However, at least the archives are once again accessible for anyone looking for my old work. And the domain no longer needs to redirect to Hot Air, so now captainsquartersblog.com will point directly to here.

Hope you all enjoy this as much as I do!

CQ Flashback: Why I Support George Bush (3/1/04)

Mark asked me a direct question yesterday in response to my post about the laughably transparent Iranian attempt to influence the election Friday:

And what do you have against Kerry? Or has Bush really fought to improve your way of life?

I wrote later that his question was valid, and rather than point to a collection of earlier posts on various incidents, I think it would be more honest for me to put together a comprehensive argument for my position on this election. I will address this in two parts, just as Mark asked: why I oppose John Kerry, and why I support George Bush.
Primarily, I don’t trust John Kerry, and I never have. He’s spent most of his Senate career carrying Ted Kennedy’s water and regularly competes with Kennedy for the most liberal voting record — a contest he won last year, according to the National Journal. He rarely writes legislation, preferring to follow rather than to lead. He’s been mostly a non-entity for the past 19 years.
His sudden aspiration for the Presidency hasn’t brought out any coherent philosophy of governing, either, except to continually state over and over that he would be the Anti-Bush. For example, he’s continually carped over and over that Bush “lied” to him when Kerry voted for military action in Iraq, and derided Bush’s attempts to gather UN support for an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein (which he spent five months negotiating before finally giving up on France and Russia). However, as soon as Haiti popped up, Kerry derides Bush for taking five days to get a UN resolution creating the multinational force that Kerry insisted Bush should have waited for in Iraq!

Kerry (D-Mass.) said he would have sent troops to Haiti even without international support to quell the revolt against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “President Kerry would never have allowed that to get where it is,” Kerry said, though he added he’s not “a big Aristide fan.” (via Tim Blair)

This is part of a pattern of equivocations by a completely reactive Kerry, who keeps playing both sides of every argument. He voted against action to expel Iraq in 1991 and later claimed he supported it in concept but felt the timing wasn’t right. In 2002 he voted for military action, and spent all of the latter half of 2003 claiming he opposed the war. He has made a great deal out of his support for the troops in Iraq and his determination to keep America secure, but was one of only 14 Senators to vote against the spending appropriation to keep the troops supplied.
During the campaign, he has repeatedly thundered about his staunch opposition to “special interests”, famously saying in Iowa that he was coming, they were going, and don’t let the door hit them on the way out. But Kerry’s own record demonstrates his hypocrisy, as he has gone way out of his way to use his influence to benefit his contributors. In one instance, he personally wrote 28 letters on behalf of a company that made several thousand dollars in illegal contributions to his 1996 re-election campaign. In another, he used his influence on the SEC to arrange a meeting for a contributor’s friend — who turned out to be a Chinese spy. Kerry’s raged about Benedict Arnold CEOs who move their corporations offshore for tax shelters and send jobs overseas, but then has received more than half a million dollars from the same CEOs he excoriates. That’s not counting his wife’s fortune, which relies on a company that locates most of their manufacturing facilities overseas.
In short, Kerry is Clinton without the charm. He doesn’t just attempt to triangulate his opponents — he triangulates himself. Someone who twists himself into these kinds of pretzels isn’t the kind of man who will stand up to the challenges that face this country. Not to say that he’s a coward, but that he won’t lead; instead, he’ll take polls and follow the political winds of the moment, which is what leaders without vision do.
Which brings me to why I support George Bush. He’s not the most accomplished politician, and in 2000 I was a McCain supporter. I’ve been a Republican for most of my life, except a short period when I registered Libertarian. My social philosophy doesn’t match up well with Bush; I’m a laissez-faire man for both economics and social issues. I think that the government which governs and spends least governs best, and we got precious little of that philosophy so far in the Bush Administration. However, on the most pressing issue not of this time, not of the past couple of years, but over the past three decades, Bush grasps the issue completely: the rise of Islamofascistic terror and its targeting of America and Americans.
Starting in 1979 with the sacking of our embassy in Teheran, Islamofascism has pressed its attack against the “Great Satan” in a number of ways — and successive American administrations have retreated in the face of it, both Republican and Democrat. Starting with Carter’s paralysis in the face of a clear act of war, proceeding through our retreat from Beirut, negotiating for hostages in Lebanon, the shameful bug-out in Somalia, and our complete failure to respond in any meaningful way to the attacks on our African embassies and the USS Cole, American Presidents have continually communicated that we were less interested in protecting our assets than in covering our ass. For instance, shortly after taking office, Clinton discovered an Iraqi plot to assassinate former President G.H.W. Bush. That is an act of war, and Saddam only held power due to a cease-fire that he already was continually violating. Instead of taking decisive action, Clinton followed his polls and tossed a few missiles at Baghdad, solving and resolving absolutely nothing. The lesson we taught our enemies — and that is what they are — was that we would not risk anything to protect ourselves and our interests, that we were paper tigers who would not risk open war in case an American got hurt.
After 9/11, the rest of the country realized we were at war, but I don’t think it’s really settled in that we’ve been at war for 25 years against Islamist terror. But George Bush got it. He understood that we weren’t dealing with a law-enforcement problem. Serious people wanted to kill Americans by the thousands, by the millions if possible, and they were being funded and sheltered by hostile governments. Bush also understood that in order to beat those dictatorships and kleptocracies, America would have to create a new reality on the ground in Islamofascism’s breeding ground. That’s why Phase I was Afghanistan — to specifically go after al-Qaeda — but Phase II had to be Iraq. A good portion of our military in the area was already pinned down there, enforcing a sanctions regime that had already become riddled with holes, and provided yet another example of American and UN vacillation in the face of provocation.
The Democrats, with the notable and honorable exceptions of Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt, fail to understand the lessons of the last 25 years, and in John Kerry’s words, continue to see terrorism as a law-enforcement issue. Ironically, even the one law-enforcement approach all of them supported, the Patriot Act (which passed in the Senate 95-1, with Kerry and Edwards voting yes), they have spent the last year vilifying when even Joe Biden, Ed Koch, and Dianne Feinstein called such criticism unwarranted. The problem with using a law-enforcement model is that law enforcement takes place after a crime has been committed. We arrested a dozen or so people after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 even though we had intelligence that other governments and terror networks were involved, got our convictions, and stuck them in prison. How effective was that? Take a look at the New York skyline and see for yourself.
Finally, instead of campaigning on issues and his record, Kerry has missed no chance to make this campaign personal. He started by explaining his law-and-order philosophy as “John Ashcroft won’t be the Attorney General” and explicitly equating Bush’s Guard service with draft dodging and implying it was morally inferior to it, egged on by his party’s national chairman. Every time his voting record in the Senate comes up for discussion, he hides behind Max Cleland and cries about attacks on his patriotism. He throws his fine service record around on the campaign trail but insists that discussing his politics on his return — which he played out on a national stage — is nothing but “dirty politics”.
George Bush has his flaws, no doubt; everyone does, including (and especially) me. John Kerry has his virtues. But when it comes to securing the United States and creating a better world, I’m going to vote with the man who liberated 50 million people in the Middle East and got Moammar Gaddafi to knuckle under. I’m going to vote for the man who finally resolved the 12-year quagmire of Iraq and the multibillion-dollar drain it represented on our military. I’m going to vote for the man who woke up on 9/11 and saw the danger that our country and the Western world faces, and who has remained consistent in his determination to fight and beat that danger regardless of the polls and the calls for appeasement from weak and corrupt allies.
That’s my answer, Mark. You may not agree, and that’s why we have elections. But you asked me an honest question, and you deserved an honest answer. Thank you for reading, and thank you for asking.

CQ Flashback: Champion Against Special Interests? (2/4/04)

The AP reports an “exclusive” on an apparent conflict of interest involving Senator John Kerry from four years ago, when he blocked legislation and later received cash from a beneficiary of his action:

A Senate colleague was trying to close a loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the nation’s most expensive construction project. John Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation. Over the next two years, the insurer, American International Group, paid Kerry’s way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns.

The colleague was John McCain and the project involved was the Big Dig, a highway project often cited as an example of cost overruns and government inefficiency. McCain wanted some government funding of the Big Dig stopped in order to put an end to American Insurance Group’s overbilling on the project, which eventually totalled over $125 million, as well as create legislation to prohibit the abuse from occuring again. Instead, Kerry convinced McCain to hold hearings instead, and the legislation was never submitted. As a result, AIG continued to collect government funds, and Kerry collected thousands of dollars in contributions from AIG and its management.
Is this Kerry’s idea of fighting special interests?

A few months later in December 2001, several AIG executives gave maximum $1,000 donations to Kerry’s Senate campaign on the same day. The donations totaled $9,700 and were followed by several thousand dollars more over the next two years.
The next spring, AIG donated $10,000 to a new tax-exempt group Kerry formed, the Citizen Soldier Fund, to lay groundwork for his presidential campaign. Later in 2002, AIG gave two more donations of $10,000 each to the same group, making it one of the largest corporate donors to Kerry’s group.
The insurer wasn’t the only company connected to the Big Dig to donate to Kerry’s new group. Two construction companies on the project — Modern Continental Group and Jay Cashman Construction — each donated $25,000, IRS records show.

The Big Dig sounds exactly like what you need when Kerry starts talking about how he fights special interests when election records show that he’s taken more special-interest money that anyone in the Senate in the past 15 years. As this boondoggle’s history shows, Kerry’s contributors get their money’s worth.

CQ Flashback: Voting In Bizarro World (1/26/04)

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry’s inconsistencies seem to be catching up to him on the stump, if not quite yet in the polls. Facing a challenge from Howard Dean on his votes in 1991 against military action in Kuwait and in 2002 to authorize military action in Iraq, Kerry has come up with a novel explanation — his votes meant the exact opposite of what they were:

Kerry said Sunday that he supported the Iraq resolution 15 months ago because he believed President Bush would use force only as a “last resort.”
“The vote I cast was not a vote to go to war immediately,” he said. …
Although Kerry said he “believed we ought to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait,” uppermost on his mind in 1991, he said, was public ambivalence about sending U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf. “I said we ought to draw a line in the sand, [I] couldn’t have been more clear. But we had a very divided nation,” he said. “That was actually a vote to go at that time, and I thought we ought to take a couple more months to build the support of the nation.” …

To recap: Kerry voted against military action in 1991 because he believed we should have used military force, and he voted for it in 2002 because he thought we should wait.
And Democrats wonder why we don’t trust them with national-security and defense issues …
Why doesn’t he just tell the truth — that he was against military action in 1991 but favored it in 2002? Because those positions aren’t popular with the Democratic base. Instead of running on his convictions, he’s running on his focus groups. Of course, Bill Clinton got elected and governed that way, but Clinton didn’t have a long Senate record full of inconsistencies like this, either. Expect more Orwellian doublespeak from Kerry in the months ahead.

CQ Flashback: Kerry Calls GOP Racists, Promotes Urban Legends (9/11/04)

John Kerry told the Congressional Black Caucus that the Republicans want to suppress the black vote in November, repeating the canard that a million black votes went uncounted in 2000:

“We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election,” the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus. “We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we’re hearing those things again in this election.”
Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.
“What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country,” Kerry said. “Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts.”

The fact that Kerry has hired “thousands” of lawyers to do anything about the election should tell you exactly what a Kerry presidency would look like: a sellout to the trial-lawyer lobby, where lawyers go to court to create Kerry’s brand of radical legislation that Congress would never approve. Even worse than Kerry’s threat to follow Al Gore’s precedent of attempting to sue his way to the Oval Office, though, is Kerry’s despicable use of the race card and his painting of the GOP as racist. As a member of the GOP, I take that accusation personally, as I believe it was meant.
The Civil Rights Commission reported that African-American voters in Florida were more likely to have spoiled ballots or be denied a vote than other voters, but never quantified the number of voters. It claimed that 14.4% of African-American voters could not successfully vote in the 2000 general election. The total number of African-Americans in Florida for 2000 was 2.3 million. If half were adults, that would make a potential electorate of 1.15 million. Registration rates for African-Americans in 2000 were about 75%, one of the highest rates for all ethnic groups. Voter turnout for this group in 2000 was 61% of this 75%, or about 526,000 votes. If 14.4% of these voters were unsuccessful, that represents just under 76,000 votes — nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but a far, far cry from one million votes.
But let’s take a look at where these voters were disenfranchised, according to the USCCR. As the nation painfully learned in the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle in Florida, the counties control the ballot preparation and voting procedures in the Sunshine State. In the executive summary of the report, the commission specifically mentions Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties — all controlled by the same party: Democrats. In fact, 24 of the 25 counties that had the highest ballot-spoilage rates were run by Democrats, not Republicans.
The only state-level function specifically pointed out by the commission was the felon purge list, which has only been confirmed to have kept three eligible voters from casting ballots on Election Day in 2000. In fact, as USCCR member Peter Kirsanow put it in his minority report:

Whites were actually twice as likely as blacks to be erroneously placed on the list. In fact, an exhaustive study by the Miami Herald concluded that “the biggest problem with the felon list was not that it prevented eligible voters from casting ballots, but that it ended up allowing ineligible voters to cast a ballot.”* According to the Palm Beach Post, more than 6,500 ineligible felons voted.

Put simply, the “million black voters disenfranchised in Florida” meme is a fraud, an easily debunked one at that if anyone looks at the Census Bureau reports for Florida in 2000. Kerry has decided to cast his lot with the conspiracy theorists and the race-baiters. His use of a hoary urban legend does not speak well of his intelligence, his ethics, or his judgement. Kerry should be ashamed of himself.

CQ Flashback: Kerry Flip-Flops On Life (7/5/04)

Despite having a more consistent record on abortion than any other issue in his career, John Kerry yesterday tried to have it both ways again, flip-flopping on the definition of human life. Kerry tried to pander to Catholics and strict Christians but instead raised far more questions than he answered:

But even as he tried to avoid making news Sunday, Kerry broke new ground in an interview that ran in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald. A Catholic who supports abortion rights and has taken heat from some in the church hierarchy for his stance, Kerry told the paper, “I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.”
Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said that although Kerry has often said abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” and that his religion shapes that view, she could not recall him ever publicly discussing when life begins.
“I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist,” he continued in the interview. “We have separation of church and state in the United States of America.” The comments came on the final day of a three-state Midwest swing, during which Kerry has repeatedly sought to dispel stereotypes that could play negatively among voters there.

Not only does this completely belie every vote Kerry has ever taken on the subject of abortion, including his support of the late-term abortion procedure sometimes called partial-birth abortion, but it demonstrates the intellectual and philosophical bankruptcy of the Democratic nominee. It is true that Catholics and a large segment of Christians overall believe that life begins at conception, which is why these groups oppose all abortion altogether. Other people believe that life begins at “viability”, the moving target of when a baby can survive outside the mother’s womb. Others still believe that life cannot be defined until birth itself and separation from the mother.
These beliefs and definitions lead to one purpose: to define life so as to protect it. After all, only the lunatic fringe wouldn’t try to defend innocent life, once established. Catholics wish to protect life from conception forward, and others seek to protect it from their definition of its inception. John Kerry, in his remarks to the Iowa newspaper, comes up with a completely different raison d’etre — he seeks to define life so as to protect his political career. Kerry now admits he practices hypocrisy on a scale so monstrous, it boggles the mind.
If life begins at conception, why then does John Kerry not only agree to allow abortion, but campaigns on its behalf? Does he care so little for human life and the souls of the unborn that he cheerfully sells them out for political gain? John Kerry was one of only 14 Senators who voted to continue the practice of partial-birth abortions, which take a fetus past the point of viability into the birth canal and kills it by sucking out its brain. How does that match up with a belief in life at conception?
No. Unlike those who define life differently, and who therefore have a consistent philosophical argument to support abortion, Kerry’s actions do not equate with these professed beliefs. Either Kerry has trotted out a new lie in order to shore up his Catholic support, or he has opened the window into his heartless, calculating political soul. Not only that, but even those who support abortion must be scratching their heads, wondering if Candidate Kerry will toss them under a bus with as much alacrity as he has his principles.
And that really gets us to the crux of this statement. Kerry not only has voted to support abortion, he openly campaigned for it, up to the point that he found himself running for national office. Now he says he personally opposes abortion but felt as though he could not impose his “beliefs” on others. If true, Kerry also never felt the need to argue for his beliefs, to try to convince others of the truth of his own beliefs. Many others, including George Bush and a whole Party of politicians, have managed to stand up for what they believe is right and still be successful. What other beliefs will Kerry find as easy to sell out for political expediency?

CQ Flashback: Looking Backward On Security (5/28/04)

John Kerry talks about strengthening security and fighting terrorists, saying earlier this week that those who plan to attack us should understand that he would hunt them down and kill them, if he became president. However, The New York Times reports today that the foreign policy/national security team he has assembled for his campaign represents a flashback to eight years of the so-called “law-enforcement approach” that culminated in the 9/11 attack:

Seated in leather swivel chairs in the glass-walled conference room at Senator John Kerry’s Washington campaign headquarters two Fridays ago was a veritable reunion of President Bill Clinton’s national security team: Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, William J. Perry and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili. Richard C. Holbrooke joined his former colleagues via conference call from Tokyo. …
Besides the Clintonites and Mr. Biden, those in the loop or on its fringe include former Senator Gary Hart, who ran for president largely on a foreign policy platform in 1984 and 1988; Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; and James P. Rubin, Ms. Albright’s former aide, who just moved from London to join Mr. Kerry’s staff and is traveling with him this week.
These deans of the Democratic foreign policy establishment have been corralled into a coordinated chorus of television appearances in recent days to speak in Mr. Kerry’s stead about President Bush’s prosecution of the war in Iraq.

The Times focuses on the involvement of Senator Joe Biden, a crank of the first order who uses his glasses to make him look professorial while on television, and uses the speeches of British politicians to make him sound intelligent. Biden’s involvement indicates that Kerry would be likely to tap the Delaware senator for an important post, probably Secretary of Defense. John McCain has been mentioned (and mentioned and mentioned and mentioned) for this post in a Kerry administration, but I don’t see John McCain mentioned as a member of this brain trust. All indications are that Kerry will bring in the crew from the last administration for his national-security team.
What does that mean for American foreign policy? Take a look back over the past decade, where the US sent a consistent message of cluelessness and lack of resolve. First and foremost, our response to numerous terrorist provocations showed that we refused to take them seriously, starting with the initial World Trade Center attack in 1993. A string of terrorist attacks on US assets followed during the Clinton administration — Khobar Towers, which killed 19; the African embassy bombings, which killed over 200 people, mostly native Muslims; and finally the October 2000 USS Cole attack, which killed 17 sailors and to which this team never bothered to respond. (Laughably, the 9/11 Commission blamed the Bush administration for this lack of response, even though it took office more than three months after the attack.)
The cumulative response for these declarations of war were a series of arrests and four missile strikes, two in Afghanistan and two in North Africa to take out a pharmaceutical factory that supposedly produced chemical-weapons precursors. No strategic plan was ever implemented to kill those who had declared war on the US; the only plan was a tepid tit-for-tat response to individual attacks.
Nor did the Clinton team impress anyone with its foreign policy achievements. While the twelve-year Iraq quagmire started with the first President Bush’s refusal to march on Baghdad while the road was open, the Clinton team ignored provocation after provocation, again demonstrating a lack of American will. Iraq regularly fixed targeting radar on our fighters enforcing the no-fly zone and on several occasions fired missiles at them, which not only violated the cease-fire agreements but on its own constituted an act of war. Saddam sent a team of Iraqis to assassinate former President Bush during Clinton’s first term by Clinton’s own admission, another act of war, and what response did we give? We dropped a few bombs on Baghdad, which did nothing to free the Iraqi people from Saddam’s grip and only demonstrated (again) that we had no stomach to respond to acts of war. Clinton pushed for, and got, a Congressional act that made regime change our national policy, and promptly did nothing about it. The only other action he ever took against Iraq was another few nights of bombing suspected WMD sites in Baghdad when Saddam kicked out the weapons inspectors in 1998, again a violation of the cease-fire agreement as well as a dozen UNSC resolutions.
What did this team actually do? They allowed Jimmy Carter to eat their lunch on North Korea, for one, which gave Kim Jong-Il enough time to actually develop a handful of nukes when they could have stopped him in 1994. The Clinton team also managed to involve us in the centuries-old civil war in the Balkans by dropping bombs on Yugoslavia, despite the lack of any American interest in the conflict, and without the UN approval that they scream about regarding Iraq. They talk about the supposed “quagmire” of Iraq while ignoring the upcoming ten-year anniversary of our continued involvement in the Balkans, where we remain to this day without any idea how to remove ourselves, and where people continue to kill each other over ethnic and religious differences.
Of course, Slobodan Milosevic engaged in genocidal “ethnic cleansing” — but so did the Rwandans, and we didn’t lift a finger to stop that, and a whole lot more Rwandans were being slaughtered than Bosnians or Kosovars. For that matter, so did Saddam Hussein. He put at least 300,000 Iraqis, mostly Shi’a, in mass graves, used chemical weapons to kill and terrify the Kurds, and drained the marshes of the Euphrates in order to wipe out the Marsh Arabs. Why didn’t these people deserve protection like the Europeans in the Balkans? Don’t “brown” people deserve protection from genocide, as long as that’s the excuse we’re using in the Balkans?
Kerry promises a forward-looking foreign policy, but he’s signed up with the people who demonstrate nothing except the fecklessness of the past. This is one reunion show that we don’t need in prime time.

CQ Flashback: A Distinction Without A Difference

John Kerry continued his attempt to differentiate himself from George Bush on Iraq policy yesterday in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, following Dick Cheney’s widely-criticized political speech last week at the same venue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Kerry continues to expound on “international cooperation” without explaining how that differs from what the US is doing now:

Sen. John F. Kerry challenged President Bush on Friday to engage in personal diplomacy to try to repair relationships with other influential nations and gain their support for an international mission in Iraq.
During a 30-minute address at Westminster College here, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee pledged to support his rival’s policy in Iraq if Bush pursued that effort. … He urged the president to form a political coalition with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and other nations to endorse the effort to stabilize Iraq and back the plan for an interim Iraqi government proposed by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

In other words, Kerry wants a new United Nations Security Council resolution, but he now takes care not to mention the UN. After all, a “political coalition” between the US, UK, France, Russia, and China comprises all of the veto-holding members of the UNSC. Kerry’s campaign must realize now that the electorate won’t buy any more rhetoric about coughing up control to the war on terror to the UN or even the UNSC, given the elaborate scam into which the UN Oil-For-Food program dissolved. And the primary beneficiaries of the OFF Program happened to be French, Russian, and Chinese to a smaller extent.
On the question of international participation, though, the Coalition comprises more than 30 nations already, although not the three that Kerry likes best:

The Bush campaign dismissed the speech as a rehash of steps the administration was already taking, arguing that many U.N. and NATO members were already involved in the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.
“Sen. Kerry has constantly disparaged the coalition of over 30 nations that are making the contribution and sharing the sacrifice in Iraq,” said Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt. “The president is constantly in communication with those nations, so Kerry’s criticism has no basis in fact.”

Kerry says, repeatedly, that he will use “personal diplomacy” in order to bring the Recalcitrant Three into a new, broader coalition that will “end the sense of American occupation” in Iraq. However, he does not address exactly what he will give up in order to buy their participation; France and Russia in particular are not suddenly going to send troops to Iraq just because Kerry has a lucky face. Both countries made billions off of Saddam’s monopoly grip on oil production in Iraq before the war, both legitimately and illegitimately. The Iraqis have not shown an inclination to do preferential business with Saddam’s enablers of their oppression, post-liberation. Since their commercial interests in Iraq have been seriously curtailed, they don’t have much to gain by risking the ire of the electorate that they have deliberately kept against Iraq’s liberation, to the extent in France that people were openly rooting for Saddam to win.
Kerry’s proposal, such as it is, means one of two things. Either Kerry intends on forcing the new Iraqi government to honor contractual agreements that existed under the Saddam regime with France and Russia, thus undermining their sovereignty while forcing them to do business with the same people who cheerfully called for their continuing oppression, or he simply wants meaningless statements of support in order to claim France, Russia, and China for partners in Iraq. Either way, will this change the number of American troops in Iraq? No, since none of these countries will send significant numbers of troops either way. What it will do will be to remove Anglo-American control on the effort and instead turn Iraq into the Balkans all over again, where we have been for nine years with no end in sight.
Kerry may have dialed down the political rhetoric at Westminster, but he continues to keep substance even lower. Twenty years ago, Walter Mondale tormented Gary Hart (and everyone else) by asking him, “Where’s the beef?” every time the Senator tried to get by on mere platitudes. It seems that question has only become more applicable to this Democratic campaign.

CQ Flashback: Senator Flip-Flop Lectures Bush On Values? (7/10/04)

I guess it didn’t take me too long to find my post for the day — in today’s New York Times, Jodi Wilgoren and Richard Stevenson report on the “full-throated battle” between the major party nominees after Thursday evening’s Democratic fundraiser:

A day after a $7.5 million Democratic fund-raiser in New York at which an array of stars harshly ridiculed President Bush, the Bush campaign criticized Senator John Kerry for what it called a “star-studded hate fest.” Mr. Bush’s campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, demanded that the Kerry campaign release a videotape of the event at Radio City Music Hall, which featured performers including Chevy Chase, Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Lange.
Although Mr. Kerry had told the crowd at the New York fund-raiser that “every single performer” on the bill had “conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country,” his campaign on Friday sought to distance Mr. Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, from the anti-Bush jokes, lyrics and statements of some of the entertainers.
But it declined to release a videotape of the performance at which Ms. Goldberg, a bottle of wine in hand, made an extended sexual pun out of the president’s surname.

In other words, Kerry and Edwards laughed at the jokes before they frowned at them. Even Howard Dean had the good sense to state at a similar event for his campaign his dissatisfaction with the tone of the evening, and to do so immediately. Events like this fundraiser actually do quite a bit of public good; they separate Hollywood fools from their money and puts in the hands of working people, like ad agencies and so on. Even better, these public displays demonstrate just how out of touch, tacky, and downright gross Hollywood celebrities have become and dilutes their political impact.
Their refusal to make the performances available on videotape is also telling. They know that outside of the true believers gathered in New York for that hatefest, the material would tend to disgust the centrists they desperately need. All of this played well enough in 2000, when many people thought choosing a president to be somewhat irrelevant to their daily lives. In 2004, that’s changed. People have become serious while Hollywood wants to convince people it’s still just one big party.

Mary Beth Cahill, Mr. Kerry’s campaign manager, said that the candidates “do not approve of some of the remarks” but that “the performers had a perfect right to say what they said.”

Thank you for the complete non-sequitur. No one disputes they have a right to say what they did; what people question is their judgment. Why is it that every time the Left is critized for what they say, they wrap themselves in the First Amendment, as if it gave them some protection from the folly of their lips and pens? Whoopi had the right to stand up and compare Bush’s name to female genitalia. We have the right to call her a bloody idiot for wasting time on such puerile and obvious “jokes”, and to question the character and bearing of Kerry and Edwards for countenancing it at an official event for their Party.

Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards in turn intensified their own attacks on Mr. Bush, saying that his “values” on issues like Iraq, how much vacation time he takes and the Justice Department’s prosecution of Kenneth L. Lay, Enron’s former chairman and a former top Bush fund-raiser, showed him to be out of step with the American people.

Oho, this is just too rich. The two Senators who have missed the most votes over the past two years — Kerry has missed 90% of the votes in the Senate during that period — are critizing Bush for taking four weeks’ vacation? Working vacations, at that, as Presidents are on the job 24×7? This has to be a Karl Rove plant, right? Bush has initiated more legislation (through proxies) in three years than Kerry has in his entire 19-year Senate career. As far as Lay’s prosecution goes, it demonstrates that Bush will prosecute anyone who breaks the law, instead of issuing pardons for big-time contributors like Marc Rich. Too bad the Democrats don’t have that kind of track record.
If Kerry and Edwards want to take Bush on over values … well, you know the three words we’re thinking.

CQ Flashback: Kerry Still Sacrificing The Freedom Of The Vietnamese (8/25/04)

John Kerry has taken to pleading for a return to debate on current issues and more relevant qualifications for the presidency in a bid to bury the debate on his Viet Nam record, which at one time was all Kerry would discuss on the stump. Speaking in New York, Kerry told a crowd that all the Bush campaign had was fear, while he wanted to talk about how he could outperform Bush in areas such as foreign policy.
So let’s talk foreign policy, as practiced right here at home, by Senator Kerry.
Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bradley Clanton of the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, in Jackson, MS and Washington, DC. Brad represents several Vietnamese-Americans who came to the US as refugees of the Communists in their native land. Some of his clients have names that students of the era would recognize, such as Bui Diem, former ambassador to the US from the Saigon government. This group of Vietnamese refugees filed a lawsuit against the University of Massachussetts (Boston) and the William Joiner Center, one of its research centers, due to irregularities in its awarding of fellowships for researching the Vietnamese disapora.
Their case — and I stress it has not been concluded — is that the Joiner Center failed to follow the protocols outlined in its research grant when selecting candidates for the Rockefeller Foundation fellowships offered for the grant. Among other actions, the Joiner Center allegedly failed to publish notices of the grant’s availability until just before the deadline for applications expired, failed to advertise in any of the required scholarly journals which targeted the American Vietnamese community, and in general made it almost impossible for the scholars of that community to know about the paying jobs in time. The effect of this failure is to keep Vietnamese who emigrated to the US as adults in the Diaspora from taking part in the program, as younger members of academia already had some access to the grant information up front.
Why? Because the Joiner Center and UMass already had scholars in mind to study the forced migration of the South Vietnamese people. And half of those scholars came from the People’s Republic of Viet Nam — the same Communists who tortured and massacred the refugees into fleeing Viet Nam in the first place, after the fall of Saigon. (The other two fellows are an American-born, 25-year-old person of Vietnamese ancestry and a Caucasian listed in the complaint as “under 40”.)
This is akin to hiring Khmer Rouge officials to study the Cambodian killing fields. It’s intellectually indefensible, on several grounds. First off, the “scholars” that one gets from a totalitarian government are hardly free thinkers; the Vietnamese would not approve researchers who weren’t prepared to toe the Party line. Furthermore, if any of them suddenly got a bad case of truthtelling, their families would certainly suffer the consequences, and in Viet Nam, that means the re-education camps that killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past 30 years. The biggest problem is that the current government in Hanoi has a great deal of interest in ensuring that any such research points away from their atrocities in the final product. They would only approve those researchers who understand that need, which renders the entire exercise unreliable.
So Vietnamese-Americans over 40 got passed over by UMass-Boston and the Joiner Center on behalf of two Vietnamese Communists with an axe to grind. They started protesting the university’s management of the research grant in June 2000 and throughout the summer and fall, finally filing suit on several grounds on October 27, 2000. When the protest hit the local press, it provoked a negative reaction in Boston. The controversy made Joiner Center management uncomfortable, and they decide they need political cover from as high up as they can get it.
This is where Senator John Kerry makes his appearance in this case.
Kerry wrote a letter to Kevin Bowen, director of the Joiner Center, dated September 27, 2000, in order to praise both his research and his selection of scholars for fellowships. This is the final paragraph in Kerry’s letter to Bowen supporting the hiring of Communist nationals from Viet Nam over hiring Americans who escaped and survived the persecution of the government which these two ‘scholars’ represent:

I commend and extend my welcome and congratulations to the initial group of fellows selected. Choosing two established and accomplished scholars from Vietnam and two emerging scholars from the United States assures a diversity of views and combines fresh perspectives with time-tested observation. It is essential and critical that a project of this magnitude regarding a phenomenon as sweeping as the Vietnamese diaspora consider candidates from all countries, political backgrounds and cultural orientations to achieve free and unencumbered inquiry. Only through such a free and thorough inquiry and a generous sharing of findings will the cause of the Vietnamese people be advanced.

It may be impossible to find more fatuous thinking in such a short paragraph anywhere else. Before dissecting Kerry’s intellectual failings, let’s be clear about his intent. He made it clear that he understood that half of the fellowships went to Communist nationals in a study that purported to research a refugee catastrophe their government initiated. Implicit in this letter is Kerry’s contention that any dissent erupting from this choice would be invalid. This letter is no mere boiler-plate salutation for a constituent; Kerry knew the situation and gave his blessing to Bowen’s handling of it.
Now, looking at the actual reasoning behind this letter, one can safely state that John Kerry has no concept of totalitarianism; the intervening years between 1971 and 2000 taught him nothing. He presumes that Communist ‘scholars’ have academic freedom. Kerry lauds the diversity of views they bring to the research but fails to recognize the lock-step mentality of a single-party system, and one that caused the deaths of as many as 750,000 of its men, women, and children in concentration camps or on the run from its oppression. He repeats the same tired moral relativism he did in his radical days of 1971 when he presumes that the diversity of “political backgrounds and cultural orientations” will ensure that truth results from the inquiry, even though by 2000 the world understood that totalitarian regimes and truth coexist on rare and usually coincidental occasions.
Kerry’s reasoning reveals much more about his philosophy, and this isn’t just the radical youth that Kerry uses to excuse his activities at the end of the war. This letter was written less than four years ago. Kerry defended Communist nationals in the Senate in 1971, and 29 years later continued to do so (not to mention defending Bowen’s outsourcing of jobs to a country known for its sweatshops). This uncomprehending naivete does not befit the office of President even in times of peace and prosperity, and recalls the more ludicrous exploits of the Carter presidency. In a time of war against Islamofascist aggression, such unseriousness will get us killed.