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October 31, 2004

A Bizarro election year

My wife and I were walking through New York City the other night, discussing the upcoming election, when the absurdity of the whole thing sort of hit us at once. Here we are, the two of us, voting for different candidates. In both cases, we're voting for a candidate we don't particularly like, while becoming more and more convinced that the other guy will win. Ohio looks blue and Hawaii looks red. Bizarro world. This is not your run-of-the-mill election year.

So does this mean I'm predicting a Kerry win? I think that's too strong. It's more accurate to say that I'm expecting a Kerry win. Maybe it's just an effort not to get my hopes up, but I'm putting my money where my mouth is. Last week I bought 100 contracts on "President Kerry" through TradeSports (before their price starting declining, dammit!) Anyway, I apologize to my friends on the Right to whom this seems treacherous. But see, this way I am guaranteed to have cause for celebration on Tuesday night. Either Bush gets reelected, or I make a tidy pile of cash! Why not?

I cannot call this race! On the one hand, the polls look ominously like 2000. On the other hand, the political landscape looks more like 1972. On the third hand, the candidates themselves are more reminiscent of 1988. Who the hell knows?

To me the race still looks like a toss-up. I caution my fellow conservatives not to get cocky, but I see no reason for the Kerry team to be overconfident either. I do hope, like many others, that no matter who wins, it won't be close. The worst possible outcome of this election for me would be another four years of recriminations, lawyering, and charges of electoral theft.

Either way, I will be right here on Election Night, enjoying the fun and drinking heavily. I hope you will join me.

October 30, 2004

Walter Cronkite, moonbat

I predicted this on my website just last night, not that you'd have to be Nostrodamus to see it coming, of course.

I just didn't realize it would be so soon, and I sure didn't realize it'd be Walter Cronkite. God, the Left must be apoplectic about this. OBL is poised to do for Kerry what Ralph Nader did to Gore.


Former CBSNEWS anchorman Walter Cronkite believes Bush adviser Karl Rove is possibly behind the new Bin Laden tape.

Cronkite made the startling comments late Friday during an interview on CNN.

Somewhat smiling, Cronkite said he is "inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing."


Karl Rove really is the ultimate bogeyman in the religion of the Left. He's the perfect excuse for all of their failures, misfortunes and shortcomings. It doesn't even matter that none of their paranoid Rovian fantasies have come true. Here we are, three days before the election, and Zarqawi has not been captured, OBL is alive and well, and the terror alert level hasn't even been increased. No matter. It never stops them from believing in the next evil Rovian ploy. This is the kind of separation from reality and logic that defines the distinction between a coherent, rational political philosophy and a religion -- the Church of the Barking Moonbats.

Heh

Does anyone else find it ironic that Microsoft's web site currently features a picture of an Imperial stormtrooper? Yeah, I realize it's an Xbox add, but they might want to rethink that one.

October 29, 2004

Add to the growing list of Kerry endorsements...

Osama bin Laden.


The Arab television station Al-Jazeera is broadcasting a new tape from Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
...
Bin Laden is speaking from a lectern and he talks about threats to the United States and he says that President Bush will not protect the American people

UPDATE: I was initially unsure how this would impact the election. Granted, it brings the focus back to terrorism, but it also invites John Kerry to spew some bullshit about how he would have had OBL's head on a pike by now, because he wouldn't have "outsourced" the job (outsourcing is apparently only a good idea in Iraq.)

But from what I've managed to glean of OBL's "speech" so far, it's essentially a litany of ABB talking points. With minor modifications, it could easily have been written by Michael Moore. Or Terry McAuliffe. Or Atrios. Or Kos.

So my next question is: How long before the moonbats start screaming that it's all part of a sinister plot by Karl Rove?

If at first you don't succeed...

Is CBS even trying to appear unbiased anymore?


...CBS, which had planned to break the explosives story on "60 Minutes" on Sunday -- 36 hours before the election -- said it now plans to run a story on the show charging that U.S. troops were sent to Iraq without proper body armor because of Bush's tax cuts, a charge often leveled by Kerry.

Arafat death pool?

I'm a bit surprised that TradeSports doesn't have one.

I guess I should get an account there. I think the Bush Ohio contracts are probably undervalued, but the spread is fairly small.

Early voters breaking for Kerry?

I really had to scour the media to find some good polling news for Kerry, but I finally found some here, although it was pretty far down in the story:


Bush garnered 49 percent against Kerry's 46 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll of 1,268 registered Florida voters conducted October 22-26.
...
Of the 16 percent of Florida voters who cast their ballots early, Kerry led Bush 56-39 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

We all knew that turnout would determine this election, but that's a variable that's notoriously difficult to measure in polls. These early voting surveys, crude though they may be, represent our first, imperfect measure of voter turnout. If this is accurate, it could spell trouble for Bush, but who knows?

I'm not really sure I know how to interpret it. Does this mean that 16% of the 1,268 people they sampled had already voted? If so, that means they only have data for about 200 people. This looks great for Kerry, but I've seen other early voting data elsewhere that shows Bush with a 15% lead. Who knows? I think this "early voting" data must be as unreliable as hell.

October 28, 2004

Let's See Kerry Explain THIS...

8_23_102804_al_qaqaa_450.jpg

A "Reality-Based" news story on Iraqi explosives

By now, everyone has already seen this Washington Times piece alleging that Russian special forces moved some of Saddam's weapons stockpiles out of country just prior to the war, so I won't belabor the point. I will, however, make a few observations.

Now I know many will scoff at this story, because it's from the WT. I realize the WT doesn't carry the same cachet as, say, "unnamed sources" quoted by an anonymous blogger such as Atrios.

But no matter, this is a "Reality-Based" blog, so I will point out that the story's source is indeed named: he is deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security John Shaw.

No neo-con shill, Mr. Shaw, as this account will attest.

Being "Reality-Based" and all, I don't find this story especially shocking. I wouldn't have expected Saddam to leave his coolest boom-toys in the most well known weapons site in all of Iraq for coalition troops to find. Even the Russian angle is scarcely surprising to regular followers of such things.

In fact, I doubt anyone would be paying much attention to this story at all, if the New York Times and the Kerry campaign hadn't prematurely ejaculated all over the "MISSING RDX!!!!!!!" non-story earlier this week.

But they did. Maybe now they'll learn not to be so trigger-happy.

October 27, 2004

Arafat

According to the American media today, I was prepared to believe he had a gallstone. According to Haaretz, however, it may be much more serious.


Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's health has deteriorated and he is in critical condition, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday night. The sources went on to say that a team of doctors in his Ramallah headquarters were fighting for his life. According to some reports, the PA chairman regained consciousness, though he was suffering from hallucinations.

Fellowship 9/11

Ever wonder what "Lord of the Rings" would have been like if Michael Moore had directed it? Of course you have.

It's "Reality-Based."

Al Qa Qaa reality

Yes, it's true, ladies and gentlemen! I've decided to join Atrios in the "Reality-Based" community.

The precipitating event is the continuance of this non-story involving missing RDX stockpiles at al Qa Qaa. It seems the New York Times ruined CBS's nice little "October Surprise" piece (why is it, by the way, that the Democrats are always so paranoid about Republican October Surprises, when it's their side that has elevated the tactic to an art form?)

Breaking the story early allowed ample time for its substance to be analyzed and addressed well before the elections on November 3. Unfortunately for CBS and others, the story was stillborn, despite the best efforts of Josh Marshall and others to keep it alive (I have this mental image of Josh Marshall pounding furiously on the story's lifeless chest, just like in that old TV show "Emergency", while shouting, "Breathe, dammit, breathe!" through clenched teeth.)

The problem is, there is little more than the fervent wishes of Kerry partisans to suggest that the vanishing stockpile was in any way a function of American negligence. The RDX was not found by either the 101st Airborne or the Third Infantry Division when they arrived on the scene.

In fact, according to NBC's Jim Miklaszewski (via Josh Marshall himself, emphasis mine):


Then in March, shortly before the war began, the I.A.E.A. conducted another inspection and found that the HMX stockpile was still intact and still under seal. But inspectors were unable to inspect the RDX stockpile and could not verify that the RDX was still at the compound.

In short, there's no reason to believe the RDX stockpiles were still at the facility when the war began.

And why would they be? Saddam certainly had ample opportunity to move his munitions during the fourteen-month "rush" to war. Why wouldn't he? Why in God's name would we expect Saddam, in the midst of planning for a post-war insurgency campaign, to leave huge stockpiles of powerful explosives in the one place he could be sure we would inspect?

Far more likely that the RDX disappeared before the 3ID ever got there. If anything, this "story" undercuts those critics who scoff at the notion that Saddam hid his weapons prior to hostilities. None of this has stopped the Kerry campaign from pouncing on this issue, however, but the facts just don't seem to support them on this one. Still, if you're prepared to believe that a contaminated batch of British flu vaccine is Bush's fault, I guess some missing RDX in Iraq is not that much of a stretch.

Lileks deconstructs Sully

Holy hell, when he's on, he's on!

When Andrew Sullivan announced his surprise (yeah, right) endorsement of John Kerry, I reacted with a yawn, and promptly set about the business of ignoring it.

James Lileks did no such thing. Today's bleat contains a brilliant fisking of Sully's piece which should be required reading for anyone considering following Andy's lead. Here's one of my favorite bits, responding to Sullivan's rationale of keeping the country united:


Keeping the country united? Good luck. Imagine FDR running a war with a press composed of cynical snickerers who derided the president as a rich old cripple who thought the best way to defeat Tojo was a war in North Africa and preached defeat every day through the hard slog of the Pacific theater. Imagine running a war with an entertainment industry that declined to make a single movie about the conflict - why, imagine a "Casablanca" where Rick and Sam argue about whether America started it all because they didn't support the League of Nations. Imagine a popular radio drama running through the early 40s about a smart, charismatic, oh-so-intellectual Republican president whose bourbon baritone mocked FDR's patrician whine, a leader who took no guff from Stalin OR Hitler! Lux Soap brings you, The West Wing of the White House! Imagine Thomas Dewey's wife in 1944 callling the WW2 a war for oil; imagine former vice presidents insisting that FDR had played on our fears after Pearl Harbor. Imagine all that.

FDR won the 1944 election 25,602,504 votes to Dewey's 22,006,285. And this was almost two million votes less than he got in 1940. Did he fail to unify the country, if half the voters wanted someone else? Or is that just how we always are, more or less?


But please, please, just read the whole thing.

E&P Stunner!!!

You might want to sit down for this one, folks.

Editor & Publisher is out today with a story that says (brace yourselves. Are you ready?) John Kerry receives more favorable treatment in the media than President Bush.


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 coverage from some media than Sen. John Kerry.

In the limited sample (which included four newspapers, two cable news programs and seven shows on 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.


Are you okay? Yes, I know this must be a shock. Can I get you some smelling salts? It's okay, I also reacted with stunned disbelief when I first read it. It's okay if you need to take a few minutes to process this. I understand. Come back later when you're not trembling so much.

October 26, 2004

Yet more anti-Bush thuggery

I know this is getting repetitive, but add this one to the list.


A political frenzy spurred by the upcoming presidential election that has commanded nationwide attention has made its way to San Benito County, with the destruction and theft of Republican presidential campaign signs.

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 Cheney's name, at the bottom the vandals sprayed the "F" word followed by the words Texas and Florida.

Bush on civil unions

Apparently he supports them.

Okay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to hear him say it, but it's further evidence that we now inhabit a Bizarro world.

If nothing else, it proves that a president need not always toe the line of his party's platform. Good for him.

Curiouser and curiouser

Earlier, I concluded that Sunday's polling data for the Rasmussen tracking poll must have constituted a sharp Kerry spike. Well, today's tracking poll has the race exactly tied at 47.8% each. Given that Sunday's Kerry spike and Saturday's Kerry lead were both factored into the three-day average, I have to conclude that Monday's raw numbers represent an even bigger Bush spike.

Of course that doesn't make much sense on the face of it. That is, of course, the reason for using the moving average in the first place -- to smooth out this kind of noise. I still predict that's exactly what it is, however -- noise. It was an anomalous weekend, and I think it'll be a couple of days before we really know where we stand with Rasmussen.

Polling madness

Second only to Lawrence O'Donnell's meltdown, the biggest subject in my e-mail this week has been Kerry's unexpected Rasmussens' tracking poll. I haven't written about this yet because I'm still not quite sure what to say about it.

I suppose I'm skeptical. It's not because I'm in denial, folks. I've said all along that Kerry can still win this thing, and he may indeed be pulling ahead in the polls. But this one still strikes me as bizarre.

The Rasmussen tracking poll has been quite steady for months. It never exhibited the wild and unrealistic oscillations that other polls displayed. But how does one explain this? Remember that these numbers reflect three-day moving averages. Rasmussen claims that Kerry held a slight lead in all three polling days that went into the most recent sample (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), yet the trendline has been smooth, and Kerry didn't pull into the lead until yesterday.

How does one make that work? I've been testing different scenarios with my calculator, and it's not easy. These results can be obtained if you assume that Kerry had a razor-thin lead in both Friday and Saturday's sample, but took off hugely in Sunday's. But why would this be the case? I don't really see any news that could be driving it. I'm more likely to view Sunday's results as a statistical anomaly, particularly since Zogby's tracking poll remains smooth, and even shows Bush expanding his lead.

I will say this about Rasmussen. Maybe it's just my imagination, but it seems to me that Bush always fares worse on Mondays than on other days. I don't know why that should be, but perhaps Republicans, since they are more likely to work for a living, are more protective of their weekend time, and less likely to answer pollsters' questions. Perhaps this is even more of a factor during the World Series?

Ah, who the hell knows. When Rasmussen releases his new numbers at noon, it will perhaps shed some light on the subject. Meanwhile, Zogby's new numbers are out, and they show Bush maintaining his 3-point lead. Zogby is now more Bush-friendly than Rasmussen! It's like a Bizarro world. It's hard to know what the hell is going on at this point.

The Left unhinged

I wasn't sure what was up when I started getting pelted with e-mails asking me if I'd seen Lawrence O'Donnell absolutely lose his shit with John O'Neill on MSNBC. I hadn't. Upon hearing the audio, however, it sounds like a classic! You can (and should!) listen to the audio clips here and here. Michelle Malking provides us with a good account of the "incident," and James Taranto's partial transcript is informative.


It's one of the many lies that the book advances. To me the most interesting lie, John O'Neill, that I would submit to you that you should answer, is, you make a lying claim that John Kerry's antiwar activity prolonged the amount of time that prisoners of war were held in Vietnam. . . . That's a lie, John O'Neill! Keep lying, it's all you do! . . . Lies! . . . Which is not in John O'Neill's book, 'cause it's a lie! . . . That's a lie! It's another lie! That's a lie! Absolute lie! You lie in that book endlessly! . . . You lie about documents endlessly! . . . You're just lying about it! And you lied about Thurlow's Bronze Star! You lied about it as long as you could until the New York Times found the wording of what was on the citation that you as a lying writer refused to put in your pack of lies! . . . Disgusting, lying book! . . . You have no standards, John O'Neill, as an author, and you know it! It's a pack of lies! You are unfit to publish! . . . He just lied to you! He spews out this filth! Point to his name on the report, you liar! Point to his name, you liar! . . . You just spew lies! . . .


I just hate the lies of John O'Neill. I hate lies. It's not
an argument; they're proven lies. . . . O'Neill's a liar, he's been a liar for 35 years about this, and he's found other liars [unintelligible]. . . . They lied! . . . They're lying somewhere! . . . Lies! Just tell me the initials, you liar! Creepy liar! . . . You are a liar who makes things up! . . . You want the lies! That's how you make your living, on lies!



Well. I mean, what is there to say, really?

It takes a lot to get me to feel sorry for Pat Buchanan, but O'Donnell somehow managed.

The apology thread

Damn. Before I even found the time to comment on the missing explosive cache, the entire story has been turned upside down.

On the bright side, I guess I won't have to issue any apologies or retractions. Some of my colleagues weren't so lucky, however. Here's a sampling.


KOS: The fact that the site was not protected is in itself criminally negligent.

ATRIOS: God, can these bastards take responsibility for anything?

OLIVER WILLIS: The willful incompetence is worthy of a high crime.

BRILLIANT AT BREAKFAST: The Bush/Cheney neocon death cult allowed 380 tons of explosives to disappear into the chaos that is occupied Iraq.

JOHN KERRY: This is one of the greatest blunders of this administration. And the incredible incompetence of this President and this administration have put our troops at risk and our country at greater risk than we ought to be.


Gosh, I wonder when the apologies and retractions will start rolling in??

UPDATE: Jill didn't like my Drudge link (see comments below), so I'll provide this one from CNN. Hey, I realize it's not, you know, Josh Marshall, but I guess it'll have to do. ;-)

October 25, 2004

Northeastern provincialism

Living in the New York City area during this election season has finally clarified what bugs me most about living in the Northeast: it's the provincialism.

I know that probably sounds nonsensically ironic coming from someone who spent most of his life in the Carolinas, but here's the deal. It's not so much the provincialism that troubles me, so much as the complete lack of self-awareness that accompanies it.

A religious fundamentalist living in the South or the Midwest, for example, may be rigid and close-minded, but chances are he doesn't pretend to be otherwise. Not so among the Northeastern provincials. They fancy themselves tolerant and open-minded, when the fact is that many of them reject anyone who doesn't think exactly as they do. The religious fundie strikes me as more honest than the Manhattan liberal, quick to disparage provincialism in red-state America, while oblivious to its pervasiveness here.

I can't tell you the number of times when people in New York or Hoboken have simply assumed that I'm supporting Kerry, merely because... well, because I live here, I suppose. Because I happen to be talking with them at that instant, and they can't fathom the possibility that there could be actually Bush-supporters living in their midst and moving in their circles.

Here's an anecdote to help illustrate my point. A Hoboken schoolteacher approached my wife a few days ago, and told her of a recent conference she'd had with one of her student's parents. The teacher was aghast with horror that the girl's father had shown up wearing a Bush/Cheney button (mind you, Kerry/Edwards buttons are very nearly regulation attire in Hudson County these days).

"It just goes to show you what kind of people they are," the teacher said. "It's really colored the way I view the entire family -- even the girl, although I know it's not her fault." The girl in question is in the first grade! Now granted, my wife is a Kerry supporter, but this woman didn't know that. It was an assumption, based (I believe) on a narrow-minded form of soft bigotry. This is but one example of the kind of thing we experience every day.

I suppose I shouldn't be insulted when these people assume I'm a Kerry man. I take it for evidence that they don't view me as either


  1. evil, or
  2. stupid,

which to their minds, are the only conceivable reasons anyone would vote for Bush. Think I'm exaggerating? You'd be amazed at some of the pronouncements I've heard coming from otherwise intelligent people regarding this election:

  • "If Bush wins this election, we may never have another one."
  • "Bush has declared war on women, and if he gets re-elected, we'll probably all have to wear burqas."
  • "A second Bush term will complete our transition to a fascist country."

Please, people. You don't have to like the guy, but this kind of hysteria is unbecoming. I know you consider this an important election, but these breathless assertions that the fate of Christendom hangs in the balance is simply crap.

So when I classify this attitude as provincialism, I'm not being hypocritical. Rather, as a Southerner, I know provincialism when I see it. Many conservative members of my own family do exactly the same thing. They act as if homosexuals, people who have had abortions, or people who occasionally smoke marijuana, for example, are some kind of aliens or something. They are absolutely convinced that they've never even interacted with such people, because it's inconceivable that such people would exist amongst their friends and their family.

I try to tell them to wake up. I try to convince them that these people are, in fact, all around them. They work with them, go to school with them, and go to church with them, whether they realize it or not. They are real people, just like you and me, and the sooner you learn and accept that, the better off you'll be. Your horizons will expand.

And I have the same advice for Northeastern provincials. Wake up, people. We Bush supporters are all around you. We are not some fringe, extremist group, but, by any measure, half the goddamn country. Even in Hudson County, even in Manhattan, we are all around you: we are your friends, your neighbors and your co-workers. We may not admit it, given the current climate, and we may in fact deny it. But we are here, and we're not aliens. We are not all stupid, and we are not all evil. Many of us are quite educated, and highly informed. Even (dare I say it?) "enlightened."

Take your blinders off. It's time to expand your horizons, and shed that "big city" provincialism.

It'll be good for you.

Hawaii?!

Can Hawaii really be the latest battleground state? Color me skeptical, but that's what the latest polls seem to indicate. It could be a long election night indeed here on the East coast, if we have to wait for the Hawaii returns to be counted.

Still, my gut tells me that either


  1. Kerry will win Hawaii easily, or
  2. if Bush is polling that well in Hawaii, the election will have been decided well before the polls close in Honolulu.

Eww!

I mean, "a carrot-nut cream-cheese-topped" muffin? Gross.


A young Manhattan woman split open her breakfast muffin -- only to find what seemed to be a condom baked inside.

Theresa VanHorn, a 29-year-old writer at MTV Networks, said she was eating a carrot-nut cream-cheese-topped muffin from her office building's bodega on West 50th Street when she found a piece of latex baked into the crumbly delicacy.

October 23, 2004

October surprise?

I'm looking at the calendar, and we're quickly running out of October already! Isn't it time for the administration to begin defrosting OBL or whatever?

October 22, 2004

More anti-Republican thuggery

Add another one to the list.


Cincinnati's headquarters for the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign was broken into overnight.

Money and a sign were taken from the office, on Seventh Street near Court Street. The thieves got in by breaking out a window.

The office was also ransacked, officials said. It also houses other Republican organizations.

No one had been arrested.

Mallard Filmore

All right, I'll confess that I hardly ever think this damn duck is actually funny, but he does sort of have a point today.

Spain still a target

Gee, I guess bending over for these guys and giving them what they want doesn't work.


A Muslim militant schemed to punish Spain with the "biggest blow of its history" a half-ton suicide truck bombing of the National Court aimed at killing judges investigating Islamic terror, including the Madrid train attacks, said a police intelligence report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
...
The plot suggests Spain remains a target for Muslim militants even though the new Socialist government withdrew Spain's troops from Iraq after taking office in April.

France and Germany, please take note.

Gunning for redneck votes

Remember Howard Dean's much-derided voting strategy of "guns, God and gays?" John Kerry didn't get the memo. The past two weeks have seen him pander shamelessly on all three fronts, but none so shamelessly as this.

But I've got a question. Does anybody actually think it's going to work? Can you imagine any self-respecting, gun-toting redneck watching this cheesy photo op and saying, "God Dawg, that French-lookin' feller shore can hunt! I b'lieve I'm gone vote for that sumbitch!"

Sorry, but it ain't gonna happen. I grew up with these people, and they're a lot harder to fool than that, at least when it comes to subjects like hunting. I graduated from a high school that was so rural it was in the middle of a cow pasture. Many students began the school day exhausted, because they'd already been out deer hunting since 4 AM that morning. Pre-school bell conversations often finished with, "I blew a hole in that sumbitch this big!" (around a mouthful of Red Man tobacco, holding hands very far apart.) These people are the real deal, and I can tell you they don't take kindly to Kerry-esque affectations. This ridiculous hunting stunt would never pass the Bubba smell test. Cameras were forbidden when Kerry actually fired his gun, and the senator let someone else carry the goose he supposedly bagged, because he was still "too giddy over the Red Sox."

NRA spokesman Chris Cox had what I believe to be the best line of the day: "Spending an hour in a goose blind doesn't make up for 20 years of voting against hunters."

No, if this stupid stunt has any effect at all, I predict it will be to alienate the anti-gun, animal rights wing of his base.

October 21, 2004

Bubba for Secretary General?

Well, it'd be an improvement, I guess.


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has set his sights on becoming U.N. secretary-general. A Clinton insider and a senior U.N. source have told United Press International the 56-year-old former president would like to be named leader of the world body when Kofi Annan's term ends early in 2006.

This idea had occurred to me before. Clinton is still quite young, and he very intensely wants to remain politically active, and not just as an "elder statesman" or a consultant. I think he wants a real job, and Secretary General is the only one that's (at least arguably) not a step down in terms of prestige.

He'd better start taking French lessons, though. Last I heard, France had a standing policy of vetoing any SecGen nominee who wasn't a francophone. But who knows, for their beloved WJC, they might be willing to make an exception.

Who's minding the store?

John Edwards wants to know:


Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards accused the Bush administration on Thursday of ignoring problems ranging from scarce flu vaccine to the war in Iraq while officials campaign in battleground states and asked, "Who's minding the store?"

I suppose it would be impolitic to ask who's representing North Carolina's interests in the U.S. Senate.

MSM meets the Iraqi bloggers

Regular readers know that I have been a champion of Iraqi bloggers for some time. For the first time in history, thanks to the internet, we're able to get real-time, first-person accounts from different points of view, by eyewitnesses who are actually in country. Like many, I was skeptical of Iraqi bloggers when I first began reading them. I mean, how the hell do we know who these people are, anyway? After a time, however, I noticed how some of them would regularly scoop the MSM, and break stories sometimes days before the major newspapers. At this point, there are several of them whom I consider to be more reliable than our own corporate media.

Today's Wall Street Journal has a piece on Iraqi bloggers, which I'd encourage everyone to read. I also have links to some of my favorite Iraq blogs on this site.

October 20, 2004

Stick to the script, dammit!!

My wife's cousin worked for the John Edwards campaign. When we saw him in July at his brother's wedding, he was already out of a job, and expressing his frustration (shared by many in the Kerry and Edwards campaigns) at John Kerry's seeming inability to stick to a script.

Three months later, Slate magazine seems to have caught up with the story, exposing Kerry's habit of over-delivering each sound bite to the point of senselessness. Says Chris Suellentrop: "Kerry couldn't read a Dick and Jane book to schoolchildren without transforming its sentences into complex run-ons worthy of David Foster Wallace."

Suellentrop has collected an impressive catalog of Kerry-isms. They're a hoot! A lot funnier than, for example, "nucular."


Kerry's Script: Most of all, I will always level with the American people.

Actual Kerry: Most of all, my fellow Americans, I pledge to you that I will always level with the American people, because it's only by leveling and telling the truth that you build the legitimacy and gain the consent of the people who ultimately we are accountable to. I will level with the American people.

Kerry's Script: I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this health care plan, and we will pass it.

Actual Kerry: I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don't care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it's gonna work for Americans and help make our country stronger. And we will pass this bill. I'll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I'll tell you why we'll pass it, because it's different from anything we've ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you.

Kerry's Script: These worries are real, and they're happening all across America.

Actual Kerry: These worries are real. They're not made up. These stories aren't something that's part of a Democrat plan or a Republican plan. These are American stories. These are the stories of American citizens. And it's not just individual citizens who are feeling the pressure of health care costs. It's businesses across America. It's CEOs all across America. This is an American problem.

Kerry's Script: That's wrong, and we have to change it.

Actual Kerry: Well, that's wrong, my friends. We shouldn't be just hoping and praying. We need leadership that acts and responds and leads and makes things happen.

Kerry's Script: That's wrong, and we have to change it.

Actual Kerry: Well, that's wrong. We had a chance to change it in the Congress of the United States. They chose otherwise. And I'll talk about that in a minute.

Kerry's Script: It's wrong to make it illegal for Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies for lower prices.

Actual Kerry: But not satisfied to hold onto the drug company's profit there, they went further. Medicare belongs to you. Medicare is paid by the taxpayer. Medicare is a taxpayer-funded program to keep seniors out of poverty. And we want to lower the cost to seniors, right? It's common sense. But when given the opportunity to do that, this president made it illegal for Medicare to do what the VA does, which is go out and bulk purchase drugs so we could lower the taxpayers' bill and lower the cost to seniors. It is wrong to make it illegal to lower the cost of tax and lower the cost to seniors.

Kerry's Script: And if there was any doubt before, his response to the shortage of flu vaccines put it to rest.

Actual Now, if you had any doubts at all about anything that I've just said to you, anybody who's listening can go to johnkerry.com or you can go to other independent sources and you can track down the truth of what I've just said. But if you had any doubts about it at all, his response to the shortage of the flu vaccine ought to put them all to rest.

Kerry's Script: I believe we need a fresh start on health care in America. I believe we need a President who will fight for the great middle class and those struggling to join it. And with your help, I will be that kind of President.

Actual Kerry: I believe so deeply--and as I go around, Bob and Bill and I were talking about this coming over here from other places--that the hope that we're seeing in the eyes of our fellow Americans, folks like you who have come here today who know what's at stake in this race. This isn't about Democrat and Republican or ideology. This is about solving problems, real problems that make our country strong and help build community and take care of other human beings. I believe we need a fresh start on health care in America. I believe we need a President who's going to fight for the great middle class and those who really are struggling, even below minimum wage now. And they won't even raise it. With your help, ladies and gentlemen, I intend to be that kind of President who stands up and fights for the people who need the help.

Kerry's Script: Families will be able to choose from dozens of different private insurance plans.

Actual Kerry: Now George Bush is trying to scare America. And he's running around telling everybody--I saw this ad the other night. I said, "What is that about? That's not my plan. That may be some 20 years ago they pulled out of the old thing." But here's what they do, they are trying to tell you that there is some big government deal. Ladies and gentlemen, we choose. I happen to choose Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I could choose Kaiser. I could choose Pilgrim. I could choose Phelan. I could choose any number of different choices. That's what we get. And we look through all the different choices and make our choice. You ought to have that same choice. The government doesn't tell what you to do. The government doesn't run it. It gives you the choice.

Kerry's Script: Ladies and Gentlemen, here's the Bush Health Care Plan: Don't get a flu shot, don't import less-expensive drugs, don't negotiate for lower prices, and most of all, don't get sick.

Actual Kerry: So, Ladies and Gentlemen, if you had doubts about it at all, here's the Bush Health Care Plan: Don't get a flu shot, don't import less-expensive drugs from Canada, don't negotiate for lower prices on prescription drugs. And don't get sick. Just pray, stand up and hope, wait--whatever. We are all left wondering and hoping. That's it.

Jesus, can't anyone shut her up?

What the hell "real job" did Her Heinz-ness ever have? Managing her trust fund? Fucking senators?


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 ó I mean, since she's been grown up.

Ms. Heinz had forgotten that Laura Bush has been both a schoolteacher and a librarian. Yes, as a "grown-up." She has since apologized.

The politics of NASCAR

As most of y'all know, I'm originally from North Carolina. North Carolina is four things:


  • Tobacco
  • Furniture
  • College basketball
  • NASCAR

Well maybe in this post-New South era, you could replace "tobacco" with "banking," but whatever. Anyway, does anyone remember Howard Dean's abortive flirtation with the NASCAR crowd? Heh, I'd link to the main site ("www.teamdeanracing.com"), but it seems to be defunct. Something tells me the domain could be had for a song, in case anyone's interested.

Via Instapundit, I found this Radioblogger post about NASCAR and political endorsements. My God, how did Howard Dean ever expect to make inroads in this terrain?

NASCAR luminaries who have endorsed the president include...


...former Cup champion, NASCAR legend and Fox Sports broadcaster Darrell Waltrip, Michael Waltrip, Geoffrey Bodine, Brendan Gaughan, Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Joe Nemechek, Kyle Petty, Ken Schrader, Brian Vickers, and Rusty Wallace.

Many of the top owners in the sport are also on board. They include Jack Roush, Teresa Earnhardt, Richard Childress, Robert Yates, and J.D. and Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

A commendable list of quality people that recognize what a majority of Americans recognize: George Bush is the right guy for the next four years, and John Kerry is wrong, has always been wrong, and has a greak likelihood of being wrong in the future.
...
Nine of the ten top drivers in the chase to the championship this season have come out and endorsed the President. Nine out of ten.


The author then goes on to express his "outrage" that Jeff Gordon hasn't lined up as well. Mind you, there's no indication that Gordon endorsed Kerry, but the whole thing just goes to show you... well, it shows you why www.teamdeanracing.com/ gives you a "HTTP 404 - File not found" error.

Wouldn't you love one of these?

Now if they only made them for cell phones....


Altman's key-chain fob was a TV-B-Gone, a new universal remote that turns off almost any television. The device, which looks like an automobile remote, has just one button. When activated, it spends over a minute flashing out 209 different codes to turn off televisions, the most popular brands first.

Turn off those annoying TVs in bars, restaurants or airports! Imagine the power!!

More poll madness (sorry, K!)

My Democratic friends are excited by Kerry's narrow electoral majority on electoral-vote.com.

Kerry: 291      Bush: 247


Actually, this map looks very similar to a prediction I had made long ago, with the exception of Florida. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ohio is more at risk for the Republicans than Florida this year.

The Democrats shouldn't get too carried away, however. Take away Kerry's razor-thin majority in Florida, and Bush wins narrowly.

But it's even worse than that. This map reflects new battleground state results from John Zogby, whose numbers have consistently favored Kerry throughout the campaign. Normally when a fresh batch of Zogby data is added, this map looks like a smurf bled all over it. Today, however, it looks much the same as it did yesterday. Why? Because the most recent polling cycle has given Bush his best Zogby showing yet.

I also have high regard for Fox News polling. No, really! Stop laughing. Fox has actually been nearly as tough on Bush as Zogby has, yet today they're showing Bush with a five-point lead nationwide, as well as in the all-important Ohio.

It ain't over yet, and either candidate could still win this one. Anybody who tells you otherwise is dreaming. But if you force me to bet, my money's still on Bush, as it has been all along.

October 19, 2004

Here come the big guns

I'd heard rumors that the GOP was waiting until this week to launch a massive, "shock and awe" ad campaign. Via PoliPundit, I saw a sneak preview today.

I'm a heartless bastard, but I teared up. Yeah, I know I'm being manipulated, but damn...

Check it out here.

Bush doubles support among blacks

If you're a Kerry guy, you've got to hate to see this. Granted, there's no danger of Bush bagging Charlie Rangel's endorsement, but if John Kerry is to win this, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition is for African-Americans to turn out to vote for him in near "Al Gore" proportions. It doesn't look like that's going to happen.


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 Democratic presidential nominee holds a nearly 4-to-1 margin over Bush in the poll by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington-based research group that focuses on issues concerning blacks.

Bush got low marks for his handling of the war in Iraq and his overall job performance. The Republican incumbent did gain more support than in 2000 from those age 50 and older and those who consider themselves Christian conservatives.

That helped the president narrow the still sizable gap with Kerry among blacks, who preferred the four-term Massachusetts senator over Bush, 69 percent to 18 percent. The group's poll before the 2000 election found Gore with a 74 percent to 9 percent lead over Bush.


This could also help shed some light on John Kerry's egregious gay baiting in the last presidential debate. The Democrats are clearly aware that they have a problem with a crucially important part of their base on the issue.

The FY04 budget

Like many other conservatives, my biggest disappointment with Bush's presidency has been his fiscal policy -- spending money like a besotted Popeye on a three-day shore leave bender -- or so the thinking goes.

According to Larry Kudlow, however, things might not be quite as grim as generally believed. Now mind you, I don't think Dubya is ever going to be the Ludwig von Mises poster boy or anything, but take a look for yourself.


The latest budget numbers closing out fiscal year 2004 show slower spending growth, stronger tax receipts, and a $413 billion deficit that came in about $100 billion less than the Office of Management and Budget predicted at the start of the year and $64 billion lower than the Congressional Budget Office estimate.

Overall, according the Treasury Department, tax receipts increased 5.5 percent in fiscal year 2004 compared to a 3.8 percent decline in fiscal year 2003. Income-tax withholdings gained 2.5 percent versus a loss of 2.2 percent in the prior year. Corporate tax collections exploded 43.7 percent on the shoulders of near-record corporate profits.
...
Overall budget outlays increased 6.2 percent in the recent fiscal year, which is less than last yearís 7.3 percent. Excluding spending for defense and homeland security, as well as entitlements for healthcare and Social Security, domestic discretionary federal spending increased by a very moderate 3.4 percent in fiscal year 2004. If you remove net interest, then the budget increase was only 3 percent -- just a bit higher than the inflation rate.

As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit came in at 3.5 percent. Thatís the same fraction of national income as last year. This deficit share of GDP is also lower than Europeís and only about one-third of Japan's. This is more than acceptable. In the early 1980s the deficit share of the economy was over 6 percent, but that didnít stop the Reagan boom, which followed large-scale tax cuts and deregulation measures.

This gives "Rock the Vote" a whole new meaning

Gee, I wonder which party Chad is with?


Voter fraud case traced to Defiance County registrations volunteer

124 registrations falsified, allegedly for crack cocaineMary Poppins. Jeffrey Dahmer. Janet Jackson. Chad Staton.

Defiance County elections officials were confident the first three hadn't moved to their small community. But the fourth one lived there, and - in exchange for crack cocaine - tried to falsely submit the first three names and more than 100 others onto the county's voter registration rolls, police said.

Now Mr. Staton, 22, of Defiance, faces a felony charge of false registration in a case that has quickly gained national attention as part of a hotly contested presidential battle that's attracted a flurry of new voter registrations across the country - and a flurry of complaints of voter registration fraud.

Defiance County Sheriff David Westrick said that Mr. Staton was working on behalf of a Toledo woman, Georgianne Pitts, to register new voters. She, in turn, was working on behalf of the NAACP National Voter Fund, which was formed by the NAACP in 2000 to register new voters.

October 18, 2004

Soccer president?

And to think I gave him a hard time about his football photo ops.

Please, Senator, go back to football....

Morons for Kerry

After much Democratic hand-wringing about a low felon turnout, now they have to worry that the Florida Supreme Court is going to suppress the "moron" vote:


But a group of labor unions sued over the ballot law, saying that it unconstitutionally disenfranchised voters who may not know their polling place.

The Democrats must be so proud.

The sex conspiracy, part whatever...

A week ago I questioned whether sexual frustration might be a root cause of liberal activism. This ABC News poll is one more piece of data:



  • Of those involved in a committed relationship, who is very satisfied with their relationship?
    Republicans -- 87 percent; Democrats -- 76 percent

  • Who is very satisfied with their sex life?
    Republicans -- 56 percent; Democrats -- 47 percent

  • The poll analysis also reveals who has worn something sexy to enhance their sex life:
    Republicans -- 72 percent; Democrats -- 62 percent

  • When asked whether they had ever faked an orgasm, more Democrats (33 percent) than Republicans (26 percent) said they had.

The Clinton conspiracy, part whatever

I'm still inclined to believe the Clintons do not want Kerry to be elected. WaPo reports Bill Clinton will have an extremely low profile in the campaign to elect John Kerry, citing his slower-than-expected recovery from heart bypass surgery six weeks ago. Now maybe I'm just paranoid, but my father underwent this operation more than 20 years ago, when it was considerably less advanced than it is today, and he returned to a full work schedule well before this.

Proof? No. But ya gotta wonder!

October 17, 2004

You might want to sit down for this

Okay, brace yourself. This might be a little tough to swallow. Today's New York Times has endorsed John Kerry for president.

Yes, I know this is a stunner. Can I get you a glass of water? You look a little wan.

I have to confess, I haven't read the entire piece. I might get around to fisking it a little later. Right now, however, I am still just too shell-shocked....

October 15, 2004

New "Swift Vets for LIES" ad

I just watched the new ad from the Swift Boat Vets for LIES. In a way, I think it's the most powerful one yet. It makes no wild or sensational allegations against Kerry's service or record. Instead, the camera simply pans slowly and steadily across the solemn faces of the vets, several rows deep, for 60 seconds, while a voiceover describes these men, their records, their achievements, and their purpose.

Now we all know that John O'Neill is a lying sleazeball.

We all know that O'Neill is a highly partisan Bush hack.

We all know that some of the Swift Vets for LIES have reported being "misled" into participating, or having their names used without their consent.

But what is the Kerry camp's explanation for this latest ad?

Are they all liars? All of these men?

Are they all rabidly anti-Kerry hyper-partisan Republicans?

Have they all been duped into taking part in this?

Are they cardboard cutouts?

Have they been Photoshopped in?

Is it trick photography?

Democrats can slander O'Neill all they want to. They can focus on anecdotal accounts of some vets' claims that they were misled by the group. But at the end of the day, many more Swift Boat veterans stand against Kerry than for him, and this spot drives that point home like a nail.

October 14, 2004

The Mary Cheney business

I really wasn't going to comment on this issue, but it doesn't seem to be going away. When John Edwards brought up the topic during his debate with the vice president, I gave him the benefit of a doubt. It seemed smooth and natural, and somewhat appropriate, given he was engaged in a dialog with Cheney himself.

But after hearing Kerry force it artlessly into last night's debate, I realized I was listening to a Democratic talking point. Did you hear how ill-at-ease Kerry was when he mentioned it? How awkwardly he rushed through and over the word "lesbian," as if embarrassed? As if to say, "God, I can't believe I'm actually doing this?"

It's no coincidence that both candidates brought it up in two separate debates. Kerry does not ad-lib. This smells to me like a calculated, cynical attempt to drive a wedge between Bush-Cheney and socially conservative swing voters in states like Ohio.

As much as the Kerry crowd would like to attribute such opinions to right-wing kookery, I must point out that my liberal Democratic wife reacted to the comment with disgust. Democrat Mickey Kaus didn't seem to like it much either. Nor did the editors of the Washington Post, or these undecided voters profiled in the >New York Times.

Scrappleface, however, has the best take on it:


Kerry Sorry for Remark About Cheney's Lesbian Child

(2004-10-14) -- John Forbes Kerry, father of two heterosexual daughters, today apologized for referring to the sexual preference of Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter during last night's final presidential debate.

"There's nothing wrong with being one of God's homosexual children," said Mr. Kerry, an openly-heterosexual veteran of foreign war who is also a U.S. Senator, "And far be it from me to pry into the private life of Mr. Cheney's lesbian child, who is gay and a homosexual. People can't choose whom they will love, and so I should not have mentioned that his daughter is a lesbian person, and not a heterosexual, but in fact a gay homosexual woman who is a lesbian with the last name Cheney."

Curious

Instapundit points us to an interesting post on Kerry's campaign blog:


just a FYI that I am deaf here and can read lips okay..

at the end of debate where Kerry and Bush shook hands.. Bush was asking Kerry, Can I talk to you later tonight? Kerry said sure then Bush said where would you be? I missed what Kerry said.


Wanna bet that the Kerry's response was "Ewige Blumenkraft!"?

Man bites dog

Hey, I just noticed something. Did we really get through an entire debate last night without Vietnam being mentioned? Even once? Even obliquely?

Fairly accurate

I think Protein Wisdom sums it up nicely.


John Kerry: "Whatever you need, it's yours. Need a job? You got it. Need a higher living wage? Done. Need cheap, universal healthcare? I'm your man. Need a better education? Have at it, paid in full. Relying on social security for your retirement? I'll put it in a lock box. Tax relief? I can give you that, too. Want to lose your virginity to a teenage Mexicali hooker and a donkey? I'll print coupons. And the best part is, every single one of my plans comes with free cole slaw and a plate of homestyle biscuits!" George Bush: "Anybody who believes this guy can deliver on even one percent of his promises deserves four years of John F'n Kerry. God bless, and good night."

October 13, 2004

No Doubt About It

Bush clearly won this one. And two moments were memorable.

I disagree with Barry, I do think there was a knockout blow in this debate. And this was it:

BUSH: In 1990, there was a vast coalition put together to run Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The international community, the international world said this is the right thing to do, but when it came time to authorize the use of force on the Senate floor, my opponent voted against the use of force.

Apparently you can't pass any test under his vision of the world.

Kerry seemed to have all the fire knocked out of him after that, and just limped through the rest of the debate.

The other moment was the big mistake of the three debates:

KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.

While one could make a weak argument that Cheney's daughter had some remote relevance to the VP debate, there was no reason to bring her up tonight. Except to make certain that everyone watching would know that Cheney's daughter is a lesbian. She has not made herself a part of the campaign, and it was uncalled for. I think this one will come back to bite Kerry.

One final thought

I bet Kerry's now wishing that he had settled for only one debate after all.

Thank God it's over

My initial impression is that Bush finally won one, although it was hardly a knockout. But I'm tired, bored, and drunk, and I probably need to sleep on it before I can put together any coherent thoughts. See y'all tomorrow.

Get home safely, Val.

Thanks again, George!

First of all, for mentioning that John McCain has endorsed you! Kerry asked for that one. Sorry.

Second, for putting lie to this "divided America" crap. To listen to Kerry, there was no such thing as partisan bitterness until Bush came to town. What a load of crap.

John Kerry was 'moved'...

...when Bush gave his speech to Congress in the aftermath of 9/11...

...until he realized Bush meant it.

Christ, now Kerry's name-dropping John McCain. Twice. Hey senator, are there any Democrats you're proud of?

Kerry lied

Sorry, I usually don't like to resort to the l-word, but gun rights are important to me, and there's a lot of misunderstanding out there. Automatic AK-47's were banned in 1987, and they will not become legal again now that the recent "assault weapons" ban has expired.

Moreover, I don't see how he can claim to support the Second Amendment at the same time he's supporting a gun ban. The NRA, by the way, has given the senator an "F" rating for supporting gun rights.

Thank you, Dubya

Finally, you've rubbed Kerry's nose in the "global test" business. It was nearly your last chance to do so. My favorite point was pointing out that in 1991, when Kerry had a chance to support a large, nearly unanimous (except for Jordan) U.N.-approved coalition, he failed to do so.

Litmus test II

Kerry didn't quite own up, but he says he won't appoint a judge who will overturn any right, be it the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, or Roe v. Wade. So not only does he see abortion as a constitutional right, but he's elevated it to the level of the Bill of Rights.

I may be pro-choice, but this knee-jerk genuflection before a 30-year-old Supreme Court decision of dubious judicial reasoning is a bit ridiculous.

The Cynical Nation trivia quesion

Just to make sure you're paying attention!

What company provides John Kerry's health insurance?

Bob Schieffer

Kerry's gonna owe him big for that "minimum wage" question. Jesus....

No knock-down punches so far

But if I'm the Bush team, I'm taking home Kerry's comment that allowing young Social Security investors to own a portion of their own accounts is a "recipe for disaster."

I've noticed...

...that I'm not using nearly as much profanity as I did during the VP debate. The bottom line is that Kerry simply doesn't piss me off nearly as much as John Edwards does. I simply find him to be a tiresome, pompous bore... but one with "a plan," of course.

Kerry's answer on SS...

...leaves a lot to be desired, however. We'll defer the problem to some future date, then assemble some "experts" and "fix it."

I think I like Bob Schieffer

He's asking Kerry a great question on Social Security. He promises no cut in benefits and no increase in taxes. How do you reconcile that?

All right, I'll admit...

... that Kerry sounds better than Bush. But look what he's doing: talking about Ronald Reagan, quoting the Bible, and discussing Dick Cheney's daughter. What's wrong with this picture?

Is anybody not bored yet?

I may have to bag this when the beer runs out.

Kerry as liberal?

There's obviously a strategy afoot to paint Kerry as a northeastern liberal (the old Dukakis playbook.) Bush says Kerry's outside of the mainstream. Risky. Besides, I maintain that if you average all of Kerry's position on a given issue, he's fairly mainstream.

Bush's jokes...

...are falling a bit flat. Maybe he should try that "Need some wood?" line again?

BTW, I'm using my new Toshiba laptop, which I like a lot, except that some of the keys sometimes get sticky. Sorry if I have a hard time keeping up.

Did Bush just say...

...every "bean" counts?

BTW, Kerry says he won't allow Roe v. Wade to be overturned. The question is, how could he stop it? A litmus test for future SCOTUS appointees would help, of course, but be no guarantee. Most presidential candidates usually reject the notion of a litmus test, however. Someone should pose the question to Kerry directly.

Kerry could win the election RIGHT NOW!

He could come out during this very question, leave TeRAYsa and express his undying love for John Edwards.

Gay marriage

This is not a red-meat issue for me, and I disagree with both candidates. I guess it's important to a lot of people, though. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

The VP debate was much more entertaining

Can I really last through 90 minutes of this?

Kerry can't promise to stop outsourcing

Why the hell not?

By the way...

Bernie Williams just grounded out to first.

"I have a plan"

Is anybody in America not sick of hearing that?

This debate may well come down to whether Americans prefer a "plan" or a "comprehensive strategy."

These guys...

Hey, who remembers that movie They Live? If we had those cool glasses, I wonder which of these guys would look like a creepy skeleton head? Probably both, I guess.

Kerry gets an opening on health care

How some English company fucking up a batch of vaccine underscores Bush's "failure" on health care is a bit beyond me, however.

Hey!!!

People just "tittered!" In the audience! I heard 'em. That's against the rules.

Deja vu all over again

Is this a rerun? Outsourcing Tora Bora again?

Kerry on terrorists

He wants to hunt them down and kill them. He forgot to say "smoke 'em out."

Val

BTW, a shout-out to my gal Val, who's there in person with her kiddlies while I'm back here in Hoboken, drunkblogging.

Yay, Val!!! (Are you sitting next to Michael J. Fox? Funny, he was a Republican on that show.)

Whoa!!

Dude, they're, like, dressed alike!

(I'll bet they just want to die....)

T minus 5 minutes...

And the tension is so thick you can almost... sense it... or something.

Illinois senate race

It's beginning to look like Obama might pull this one out in a a squeaker!


Obama has the support of 69 percent of Illinois voters, and Keyes has 24 percent, according to a poll...

Sigh. The Republicans were always going to lose this seat, but couldn't they have at least gone down with some dignity? I know what happened. It was one of those games of diversity one-upmanship: okay, we'll see your black guy, and raise you a lesbian daughter! The problem is, Republicans always lose that game. When will they learn?

Third debate

I'll be drunkblogging (TM Stephen) tonight's debate. CRB, feel free to weigh in as you see fit.

October 12, 2004

USS Cole, four years later

Today is the fourth anniversary of this "nuisance," to use Kerry's term. Thanks to Smash for the reminder.

Is Bruce gettin' any?

Celebrities lecturing audiences with their stoopid political yammering has long been a pet peeve of mine. My wife, a Democrat, shares my opinion, so this has always been a bi-partisan bone of contention, at least until it was co-opted by Laura Ingraham.

We all have our theories as to why entertainers feel compelled to burden us with this crap -- guilt, publicity, even (ha ha!) sincerity, but I have one friend who has a very unique hypothesis. He thinks it stems from sexual frustration.

He may be right. Sheryl Crow, remember, was very shrill and vocal when the Iraqi war began. Now that she's getting boned by Lance Armstrong, she's off the radar map.

I'm not totally convinced, but it merits further research. Any bloggers out there want to uncover the truth behind the Boss's sex life? Or Michael Stipe's? Bonnie Raitt's?

Anyone? Bueller? Wonkette?

P2P wins one in SCOTUS!

Forgive me for geeking out here for a moment, but the Supreme Court has just refused to hear an appeal by the Recoding Industry Association of America. Basically, the RIAA wanted to coerce ISP's into handing over lists of internet users who were suspecting of downloading copyrighted material over P2P networks, without having to bother with filing a pesky lawsuit or any such bothersome inconvenience.

Verizon, the ISP in this case, and a U.S. Appeals court, told the RIAA to go to hell. So now, apparently, has SCOTUS. It may be only a small step toward reforming onerous digital copyright laws, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

I think I'll celebrate tonight, with


  • beer,
  • a cigar,
  • and downloading some Springsteen tunes.

Actually, I've already got most of the Boss's music, but he's really starting to piss me off lately.

U.N. fears spread of non-existent WMDs

Yeah, I know Saddam didn't have a nuclear weapons program. Still, some people are very concerned that certain mythical components of Iraq's imaginary nuclear program might fall into the wrong hands.

How does this make any sense? I guess the materiel in question was considered "dual use." But golly gee, the weapons inspectors were just "certain" that Saddam wasn't using them for anything mean or nasty. But if they were to fall into the hands of someone less scrupulous and well-meaning than Saddam, all bets are off.

More burglary and vandalism

This is what, the fourth, fifth such incident in recent weeks? Let's take a moment to imagine an alternate reality in which these crimes were targeted against Democratic campaign offices. Let's try to imagine what the media coverage of that would look like. Not pretty, is it? Wonder what the headline would be on the NYT editorial? Do you think the term "brownshirts" would prominently appear?

Yeah, me too.


Bush's campaign office in Spokane burglarized, vandalized

Offices that house President Bush's re-election campaign in Spokane were broken into and vandalized last night, the latest in a string of crimes at Republican offices across the country

I think the pattern is worth cataloging. If I'm missing any, let me know.

And speaking of the New York Times, I usually do read their Op-Ed page, but I must have missed the editorial where they condemned this epidemic of political violence and harassment in the strongest possible terms. Must have been while I was out of town. If someone could provide me with a link, I'd be obliged.

October 11, 2004

Rudy

I don't usually do this, but this piece, by America's mayor, is worth reproducing in its entirety.


"For some time, and including when I spoke at the Republican Convention, I've wondered exactly what John Kerry's approach would be to terrorism and I've wondered whether he had the conviction, the determination, and the focus, and the correct worldview to conduct a successful war against terrorism. And his quotations in the New York Times yesterday make it clear that he lacks that kind of committed view of the world. In fact, his comments are kind of extraordinary, particularly since he thinks we used to before September 11 live in a relatively safe world. He says we have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance.

"I'm wondering exactly when Senator Kerry thought they were just a nuisance. Maybe when they attacked the USS Cole? Or when they attacked the World Trade Center in 1993? Or when they slaughtered the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972? Or killed Leon Klinghoffer by throwing him overboard? Or the innumerable number of terrorist acts that they committed in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s, leading up to September 11?

"This is so different from the President's view and my own, which is in those days, when we were fooling ourselves about the danger of terrorism, we were actually in the greatest danger. When you don't confront correctly and view realistically the danger that you face, that's when you're at the greatest risk. When you at least realize the danger and you begin to confront it, then you begin to become safer. And for him to say that in the good old days -- I'm assuming he means the 90s and the 80s and the 70s -- they were just a nuisance, this really begins to explain a lot of his inconsistent positions on how to deal with it because he's not defining it correctly.

"As a former law enforcement person, he says 'I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it.' This is not illegal gambling; this isn't prostitution. Having been a former law enforcement person for a lot longer than John Kerry ever was, I don't understand his confusion. Even when he says 'organized crime to a level where it isn't not on the rise,' it was not the goal of the Justice Department to just reduce organized crime. It was the goal of the Justice Department to eliminate organized crime. Was there some acceptable level of organized crime: two families, instead of five, or they can control one union but not the other?

The idea that you can have an acceptable level of terrorism is frightening. How do you explain that to the people who are beheaded or the innocent people that are killed, that we're going to tolerate a certain acceptable [level] of terrorism, and that acceptable level will exist and then we'll stop thinking about it? This is an extraordinary statement. I think it is not a statement that in any way is ancillary. I think this is the core of John Kerry's thinking. This does create some consistency in his thinking.

"It is consistent with his views on Vietnam: that we should have left and abandoned Vietnam. It is consistent with his view of Nicaragua and the Sandinistas. It is consistent with his view of opposing Ronald Reagan at every step of the way in the arms buildup that was necessary to destroy communism. It is consistent with his view of not supporting the Persian Gulf War, which was another extraordinary step. Whatever John Kerry's global test is, the Persian Gulf War certainly would pass anyone's global test. If it were up to John Kerry, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power, but he'd still be controlling Kuwait.

"Finally, what he did after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, where I guess at that point terrorism was still just a nuisance. He must have thought that because that's why he proposed seriously reducing our intelligence budget, when you would think someone who was really sensitive to the problem of terrorism would have done just the opposite. I think that rather than being some aberrational comment, it is the core of the John Kerry philosophy: that terrorism is no different than domestic law enforcement problems, and that the best we're ever going to be able to do is reduce it, so why not follow the more European approach of compromising with it the way Europeans did in the 70s and the 80s and the 90s?

"This is so totally different than what I think was the major advance that President Bush made -- significant advance that he made in the Bush Doctrine on September 20, 2001, when he said we're going to face up to terrorism and we're going to do everything we can to defeat it, completely. There's no reason why we have to tolerate global terrorism, just like there's no reason to tolerate organized crime.

"So I think this is a seminal issue, this is one that explains or ties together a lot of things that we've talked about. Even this notion that the Kerry campaign was so upset that the Vice President and others were saying that he doesn't understand the threat of terrorism; that he thinks it's just a law enforcement action. It turns out the Vice President was right. He does and maybe this is a difference, maybe this is an honest difference that we really should debate straight out. He thinks that the threat is not as great as at least the President does, and I do, and the Vice President does."

UPDATE: Link fixed (thanks, PE).

Political news down under

All right, I knew that John Howard's surprising landslide victory had gone underreported in the U.S. media, but did anyone else know that Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett has won a seat in parliament?

Red state ruminations

These are the "red" states -- sprawling landscapes of strip malls and chain restaurants, where it's all but impossible to find an authentic, 24-hour Senegalese bistro, much less one with a decent organic egg-white omelet. Their denizens can be maddeningly provincial, preferring bowling to Pilates, and laughably believing that Folger's crystals are an acceptable substitute for a Kona-Sumatra blend iced decaf vanilla soy latte. And... (get this!) many of them actually go to church.

I spent most of my life in red states, until I moved to New York City in 2000. These days, needless to say, I am spending this very divisive and bitter electoral season surrounded by big-city liberals. The weekend I just spent in Omaha, however, was the perfect antidote. With the election three weeks away, all my conversations with the locals inevitably turned to politics, and for a change, I wasn't in the minority as a Bush supporter. And on no subject did I find myself more in agreement with them than on the War.

Although red-staters may not be viewed as sophisticates East of the Hudson, they truly comprehend the nature of the conflict in which we are now engaged. They heard Bush's speech on September 20, 2001, and they understood immediately what was at stake, and what was being asked of them. They understood that this war was a much broader undertaking than simply corralling a few specific individuals who were directly tied to 9/11 and arresting them. They understood this is a war between civilization and anti-civilization, which could easily endure for a generation or longer. Moreover, they knew they would, as always, shoulder a disproportionate burden in terms of the sacrifices of their young men and women in the armed forces.

And yet, they signed on. Their resolution is as unshakable today as it was three years ago. They give me hope, and encouragement. They do not waver. They do not falter. And why? Let's face it, these people are not afraid of Omaha being attacked. They're afraid of New York being hit again. They recognize that an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. Paradoxically, shamefully, the resolve of many of us here at Ground Zero began to dissipate virtually as soon as the smoke began to clear.

I have become a curious sort of hybrid over the past few years. I'm not sure I truly belong in Omaha any more than I belong in New York City. And I confess, that I too, at times, find some of the cramped world-views of red state America too confining.

But at times like these, I thank God for the red states. They are truly the solid backbone of our country, and we need them now more than ever.

October 10, 2004

STOP IT!!!

Stop posting spam for ED prescriptions on my site! For the love of God, how the hell many hard-on pills do you actually believe you're going to sell by posting in the comments section of a two-month old post on an obscure political weblog?!

What'd I miss? What'd I miss?

It seems I missed an eventful weekend. I woke in Omaha this morning, opened the paper, and found the news mostly good. I guess Bush performed better in the second debate, and from the sound of things, it was much more entertaining than the first. I guess Kerry's probably wishing he'd settled for a single debate after all.

And in other election news, John Howard has won a historic fourth term as Australia's prime minister. YAY!! The Aussies were not bowed by the threat from our enemies, nor were they swayed by the meddling of Diana Kerry. Way to go.

It was also reassuring to see that the elections in Afghanistan were marred more by crummy ink and good ol' American style incompetence than by guns or bombs. Very reassuring.

All of this was welcome news, helping to balance the hangover from the Cornhusker's historic, humiliating defeat at the hands of Texas Tech last night.

Omaha was nice, but it's good to be back. Thanks to CRB for the excellent job he did in my absence. I should leave town more often.

October 09, 2004

What Paul Bremer REALLY Said

From his NY Times Op-Ed:

In recent days, attention has been focused on some remarks I've made about Iraq. The coverage of these remarks has elicited far more heat than light, so I believe it's important to put my remarks in the correct context.

In my speeches, I have said that the United States paid a price for not stopping the looting in Iraq in the immediate aftermath of major combat operations and that we did not have enough troops on the ground to accomplish that task. The press and critics of the war have seized on these remarks in an effort to undermine President Bush's Iraq policy.

This effort won't succeed. Let me explain why.

It's no secret that during my time in Iraq I had tactical disagreements with others, including military commanders on the ground. Such disagreements among individuals of good will happen all the time, particularly in war and postwar situations. I believe it would have been helpful to have had more troops early on to stop the looting that did so much damage to Iraq's already decrepit infrastructure. The military commanders believed we had enough American troops in Iraq and that having a larger American military presence would have been counterproductive because it would have alienated Iraqis. That was a reasonable point of view, and it may have been right. The truth is that we'll never know.

But during the 14 months I was in Iraq, the administration, the military and I all agreed that the coalition's top priority was a broad, sustained effort to train Iraqis to take more responsibility for their own security. This effort, financed in large measure by the emergency supplemental budget approved by Congress last year, continues today. In the end, Iraq's security must depend on Iraqis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A year and a half ago, President Bush asked me to come to the Oval Office to discuss my going to Iraq to head the coalition authority. He asked me bluntly, "Why would you want to leave private life and take on such a difficult, dangerous and probably thankless job?" Without hesitation, I answered, "Because I believe in your vision for Iraq and would be honored to help you make it a reality." Today America and the coalition are making steady progress toward that vision.


Well said, Mr. Bremer.

Debate #2 - Impressions

The President did much better than last time. He appeared poised and genuine and in command. Kerry is the better debater, this forum plays to his skills. But the President was his equal tonight.

No defining moment, no knockout punches. Both sides made their points. Overall, I'd score this one a tie, which is as good as a win for the President.

Reality Check #3

KERRY: Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind about Iraq.


Huh? Say again?

October 08, 2004

Reality Check #2

VARNER: Senator Kerry, would you be willing to look directly into the camera and, using simple and unequivocal language, give the American people your solemn pledge not to sign any legislation that will increase the tax burden on families earning less than $200,000 a year during your first term?

KERRY: Absolutely. Yes. Right into the camera. Yes. I am not going to raise taxes.


Sorry, but I don't believe that one either.

Reality Check #1

KERRY: John Edwards and I support tort reform. We both believe that, as lawyers - I'm a lawyer, too.


Does anyone REALLY believe that Kerry and Edwards, two lawyers, support meaningful tort reform?

Not me.

Jib-Jab's latest

It's not quite the classic "This Land" was, but it's definitely worth a look. We could all use a laugh, I think.

Kerry's Tora Bora two-step

There's no doubt that John Kerry has now "found his voice," and to some extent, it seems to be effective. The problem is that his "voice" often stands in sharp contrast to his political track record.

The "Bush outsourced Tora Bora" canard is now a staple in the Kedwards debates and stump speeches. The substance of the charge was discussed here and elsewhere, but Rich Lowry does an excellent job of illustrating that this is just another (particularly egregious) Kerry flip-flop.


At the time, Kerry was all for it. He told an interviewer in late 2001 that the United States could avoid making Afghanistan into another Vietnam, "as long as we make smart decisions, and we don't go in and repeat what the British or the Russians tried to do. And I don't think we will; I think we're on a different footing." In mid-December 2001, right in the middle of the battle of Tora Bora, he supported the administration's strategy: "I think we have been smart. I think the administration leadership has done it well, and we are right on track." Kerry only cautioned against using too much force: "I am not for a prolonged bombing campaign," he said.
...
At the time, Kerry even weighed in sympathetically on the battle of Tora Bora. On Jan. 20, 2002, Kerry said on CNN: "I do think some people have asked some questions about how that particular component of the mission sort of played out. But the fact is that it is a difficult place. He is elusive. I think they are doing the maximum amount right now possible to try to track him down."

Kerry now says there's no way he would have missed the opportunity the United States had at Tora Bora. What he said three years ago argues otherwise. This controversy is only more evidence that what the senator will never miss is an opportunity to be opportunistic.


Yep.

Bush wired?

It's not the first I've seen of this theory, but now Salon has picked it up. It does beg the question, however, if Bush were wired, why didn't it work any better than it did?

One possible scenario:


[Andy Card to Karl Rove]: "Karl! What's wrong with the microphone? Why can't you get it to work?"

[Rove, accidentally speaking into microphone]: "No doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. It's - and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is."

"Choke" on this, Jackass!

We've learned that Bush calls Jacques Chirac "Jackass." I'm beginning to think that's charitable.

Tonight's debate

I'm flying to Omaha tonight to visit some friends (not Warren Buffett), so there will be no liveblogging, alas. That's too bad, because I found it quite therapeutic the last time. Perhaps CRB can hold the fort here until I get back on Sunday.

There will be much focus on Bush's performance tonight, but I'm not sure it really matters much. The polling internals suggest to me that Kerry's recent surge is more a function of his own strong performance than Bush's lackluster one. The most likely scenario for a turnaround may well be a major gaffe by Kerry.

Meanwhile, John al-Zogbi has released a fresh batch of polling data, giving electoral-vote.com the first Kerry EC victory map we've seen in many weeks.

We got us a horse race, y'all! Isn't this fun?

I guess we shouldn't be surprised...

...by this:


Sen. John Kerry's campaign has put together an elaborate nationwide plan to mobilize tens of thousands of lawyers on Election Day, enough to staff every county in every battleground state. In addition, five legal "SWAT teams" are in place to fly anywhere a recount is warranted.

Democratic lawyers already are filing lawsuits across the country ó including ones in Ohio, Michigan and Florida last week ó over election policies they believe will disenfranchise voters on Nov. 2.


The election's still more than 3 weeks away, and they're suing already.

October 07, 2004

No draft

It's the death of another Democratic talking point/scare tactic. The House has voted down a bill to reinstate the draft by a margin of 402 to 2. Wow. I don't remember such a bipartisan, lopsided rejection of an idea since... well, since the Kyoto Treaty.

"Acheson and de Gaulle," Part whatever

One of my earliest blog entries expressed skepticism at the Acheson-de Gaulle anecdote, then reference by Zbigniew Brzezinski:


At the end of the briefing, Acheson said to de Gaulle, "I would now like to show you the evidence, the photographs that we have of Soviet missiles armed with nuclear weapons." The French president responded, "I do not wish to see the photographs. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me. Please tell him that France stands with America."

Needless to say, I responded in predictable, eye-rolling fashion when John Kerry reprised it during the debate with Bush. Eric Fetterman, however, has dug deeper:

I[t] was one of John Kerry's most effective moments at last week's presidential debate -- in fact, it's been a Democratic staple throughout the debate over the war in Iraq, used by people like Joe Biden and Zbigniew Brzezinski as a telling example from history that holds President Bush up to ridicule. But is it true? Not quite. And the full version scores against Kerry.

Here's how Kerry told it last Thursday:

"We can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with [French President Charles] DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell them about the missiles in Cuba, he said, 'Here, let me show you the photos.' And DeGaulle waved them off and said, 'No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me.' " In comparison, asked Kerry, "How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way?"

Problem is, that's not what DeGaulle did.

In the fall of 1962, when CIA reconnaisance planes had discovered evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, President John Kennedy decided to take unilateral, pre-emptive action: He decreed a naval blockade of Cuba, with ships given orders to confront and board any vessel trying to enter Fidel Castro's territorial waters.

JFK then sent Dean Acheson -- who'd been Harry Truman's secretary of state, not his own-- to Paris to show the French leader the evidence. DeGaulle's first question: "Are you here to consult me, or to inform me?"

Acheson's reply: "To inform." Meaning that Kennedy was prepared to take action, whether or not DeGaulle approved. (And Acheson says in his autobiography that DeGaulle would have opposed such action had he been asked his opinion.)


Heh, as a sideline, I note the Cynical Nation post directly above the original de Gaulle post is the one in which I officially pronounce the Kerry campaign dead. Oops.

Comprehensive Iraqi WMD report

Well, I've downloaded the report (you can too, here), but it's going to take me a while to sift through all 200 MB of it. From reading the MSM headlines, one might conclude the official report is 1,000 pages of "He didn't have any!" (think Jack Nicholson's "novel" from The Shining.) Something tells me the full story may be considerably more "nuanced" than that, however.

I think by this point, most people have concluded that Iraq probably did not possess large stockpiles of WMD at the time of the war, so there's not a lot of "news" here, in that sense. But even in the "key findings" summary, there is worrisome information that poses a challenge to the "sanctions were working" crowd. First, the report makes abundantly clear that Saddam had by no means abandoned his obsession with WMD, and had no shortage of revenue, thanks to the "oil for food" program. Moreover, the sanctions regime had been gradually unraveling, due both to a steady erosion of international will and the fact that many prominent players in the U.N. program were on the take.


By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.

The report makes clear that the only genuine obstacle to Saddam's WMD quest had all but ceased to exist. It seems to me that the timing of the war was very close to optimal.

October 06, 2004

I MUST have one of these!!

It's a credit card-sized "shotgun." Yes, you read that right. Granted, it doesn't pack a lot of firepower, but since it's technically a muzzle-loaded device, it's exempt from federal firearms laws.

<Austin Powers>Yeah baby, YEAH!</Austin Powers>


Kerry ad lies about Halliburton

Did you know that Democrats can lie too, boys and girls? That's right, even the Kerry campaign. Here's a piece from factcheck.org detailing a truthless Kerry ad alleging that Dick Cheney racked up huge illicit profits via Halliburton contracts. The problem is none of it's true.

You may have to be patient with their server, though. They seem a bit overworked today. It's probably because Cheney mentioned them last night in the debate, even though he got the TLD wrong, calling it "factcheck.com" (another damnable Cheney LIE!!). Meanwhile, I'll post the summary below.

(Hat tip, Allah)


A Kerry ad implies Cheney has a financial interest in Halliburton and is profiting from the company's contracts in Iraq. The fact is, Cheney doesn't gain a penny from Halliburton's contracts, and almost certainly won't lose even if Halliburton goes bankrupt.

The ad claims Cheney got $2 million from Halliburton "as vice president," which is false. Actually, nearly $1.6 million of that was paid before Cheney took office. More importantly, all of it was earned before he was a candidate, when he was the company's chief executive.

Bush's lead continues to narrow...

...at least according to Rasmussen's tracking poll. Power Line charitably refers to it as a "single point" lead. But it's not. It's a 0.3% lead. In other words, no lead at all. Worse, it's in keeping with a clear trend that began after the first presidential debate. I wonder whether Bush will be able to arrest the slide in the next debate.

What the hell was he thinking?

It now seems abundantly clear that Cheney and Edwards had met on several occasions prior to last night's debate, notwithstanding Cheney's statement to the contrary. Although I found his assertion last night unlikely, I accepted it anyway, for two reasons: one, Edwards didn't contradict him, and two, such a statement is easily fact-checked these days, even by amateur bloggers.

This kind of thing drives me nuts! Edwards' record in the senate is abysmal by any measure; there was no need to resort to that kind of hyperbole. Now, however, the spotlight will effectively be shifted from Edwards' record to "Cheney's lie." It was completely unnecessary, since I believe Cheney handled Edwards effectively during the debate. Once again, my party shows an uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Nice going, Dick.

VP debate wrap-up

Two polls are already out, showing Edwards winning last night's debate by margins of 41% to 28% and 67% to 33%, respectively. In other words, Edwards beat Cheney by a bigger margin than Kerry beat Bush.

Obviously, I went to bed thinking that Cheney hammered Edwards on both substance and delivery. Cognitive dissonance? No, these poll numbers are merely further evidence of what I've maintained all along -- these debates are about image and likeability, nothing else. Cheney is just not an appealing character, no matter what he's saying.

Still, it was satisfying for me to watch someone stand up to the Kerry-Edwards spin machine forcefully and effectively -- in other words, to say what Bush should have said. Too bad this task fell to the vice president. And too bad the vice presidential debate ultimately won't matter.

October 05, 2004

More Rove tactics

He gets around, doesn't he?


Protestors Ransack Bush/Cheney Headquarters In Orlando

A group of protestors stormed and then ransacked a Bush-Cheney headquarters building in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, according to Local 6 News.

Local 6 News reported that several people from the group of 100 Orlando protestors face possible assault charges after the group forced their way inside the Republican headquarters office.

Initial assessment:

Cheney beat his ass like a red-headed step-child.

Oh, God!!

Edwards is talking about the goddamn mill again.

"bright light of America... now flickering..."

Give me a fuckin' break....

God damn, the balls on this guy!!

A friggin' malpractice lawyer, bitchin' about medical costs. Un. Fucking. Believable.

Well...

... here goes the "bounce" Kerry received after Thursday night's debate.

Does anyone else wonder...

...how Edwards managed to win all those cases? Were the jurors just stupid? I can see through his trasnparent shyster tactics like Saran Wrap.

Edwards: "Here's what I would do..."

I'm glad Edwards wants to kill terrorists. Really.

But how does Kerry feel about Edwards' first-person pledges? What happened to the "John Kerry and I" formulation?

So as vice president, you're going to kill all these terrorists?

Funny. I thought your job was to go to funerals.

Boring...

Remember 3 years ago when political commentators couldn't get arrested talking about foreign policy? These days, once you start talking about domestic policy, people wanna doze...

Why this hair-splitting...

on the issue of gay rights? This is exactly the kind of issue where I could potentially side with Kerry/Edwards over Bush/Cheney. But why does Edwards insist on opposing gay marriage while supporting gay rights?

Everyone hears that, right?

Edwards has just promised more tax cuts for people earning less than $200,000. That kind of weakens the case for all these self-styled "fiscal conservatives" who claim to be Kerry backers, doesn't it?

Is Cheney gonna do it?

Is he gonna tell Edwards to go fuck himself?

I hope so. I am sick of that smug, blow-dried looking little twerp.

Kerry and Edwards...

...are "against outsourcing jobs."

What does that mean, exactly, in terms of policy?

Edwards on the defense

Did you notice how Edwards didn't even TRY to defend his record? He just started whining about the MLK holiday and Nelson Mandela.

Yeah baby, YEAH!!!!

Dick Cheney, keepin' it real!!

As a resident of North Carolina when Edwards was actually elected, I can testify that he was known as "Senator Gone" long before he was even tapped for VP.

The Isreali-Palestinian conflict

Oh, this should be good....

I give Cheney credit

Because I'm a healthy 37-year-old, and I'm on the verge of having a heart attack sitting through this bullshit!

Edwards as bad cop

I managed to site through the entire 90 minutes of the Bush-Kerry debate without by blood pressure elevating a single point. But THIS LAWYER asshole is royally PISSING me OFF!!

Is this good or bad for the Kerry team? I lived in North Carolina when Edwards was elected, and I know why Edwards' popularity has waned in later years. I think Kerry earned points last week because he was calm, reserved, and "senatorial," if not "presidential." Will Edwards' pit-bull style attacks backfire?

Edwards, shut up!

It is not your turn to talk!

God damn, why is he pissin' me off so much more than Kerry!?!

Edwards is really starting to piss me off!!

The U.N. isn't in Iraq because they ran out of Iraq as soon as the first bomb went off, not because Bush wouldn't let them in!!

The Kerry-Edwards "plan" for Iraq

Does it sound to y'all like Edwards just promised to double the number of troops?

Vietnam

God damn, I thought we'd at least get through the vice-presidential debate without hearing about that godforsaken south Asian country.

Edwards defining Kerry...

He's telling us we saw a man who was resolute and committed.

That's true. Too bad it was all an act, belied by a paper trail a mile long.

Am I the only one...

...who's sick of hearing about how there's "no coalition."!??

Is it just me?!?

Edwards is pissin' me off a hell of a lot more than Kerry did!

"Global test," again...

Now the mod's giving Edwards another shot to spin it. Jesus Christ.

Eastern Afghanistan?

How in the hell do Kerry and Edwards seem to know exactly where OBL is?!?

"Global test"

How is Edwards working this into the debate? It sounds awfully forced and out of context, but the "global test" remark is obviously coming back to haunt them.

Makeup

Why can't they put makeup on Cheney's head? It looks impossibly large.

"Wrong war at the wrong time"

Does that mean if Kerry were president, Saddam would still in power?

(What do you expect, a straight answer?)

Crimminy, why can't even Kerry and Edwards keep Saddam and OBL apart? They keep getting their names confused. It kinda weakens their case against the Bushies, IMO.

Edwards

He talks funny. Christ, I'm from North Carolina too. Do I sound like that??

Cheney II

He's great at this, of course, but he's still doing that thing where he looks down at the floor instead of at the camera. Arrgghh!

Cheney

Huh-huh... huh-huh.... he's bald.

Liveblogging the VP debate

<sound check>
Dick Cheney: "It's hard work. We knew it was going to be hard work, and it's hard. But we're working hard. It's hard work, but we're working hard to do it."
</sound check>

Test... test.. okay, all systems go!

Another Rove tactic, no doubt

My only question is, was Karl the gunman, or was he at the wheel?


An unknown suspect fired several shots into the Bearden office of the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign Tuesday morning.
...
According to Knoxville Police Department officers on the scene Tuesday, it is believed that the two separate shots were fired from a car sometime between 6:30 am and 7:15 am. One shot shattered the glass in the front door and the other cracked the glass in another of the front doors.

More Proof of WMD, Iraq - al Qaeda Ties?

I'd like to see some more confirmation, but this article and its underlying documents sure seem to show that Saddam Hussein was indeed a valid target in the War on Terror.

Saddam Hussein had ties to the principal leaders even before they had joined together as al Qaeda, going back to Somalia in 1993:

The first of the 42 pages of Iraqi documents is dated Jan. 18, 1993, approximately two years after American troops defeated Saddam's army in the first Persian Gulf War. The memo includes Saddam's directive that "the party should move to hunt the Americans who are on Arabian land, especially in Somalia, by using Arabian elements ..."

...

An 11-page Iraqi memo, dated Jan. 25, 1993, lists Palestinian, Sudanese and Asian terrorist organizations and the relationships Iraq had with each of them. Of particular importance, Tefft said, are the relationships Iraq had already developed or was in the process of developing with groups and individuals affiliated with al Qaeda, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri. The U.S. currently is offering rewards of up to $25 million for each man's capture.

The documents describe Al-Jehad wa'l Tajdeed as "a secret Palestinian organization" founded after the first Persian Gulf War that "believes in armed struggle against U.S. and western interests." The leaders of the group, according to the Iraqi memo, were stationed in Jordan in 1993, and when one of those leaders visited Iraq in November 1992, he "showed the readiness of his organization to execute operations against U.S. interests at any time." (See More Saddam Connections to al Qaeda)

Tefft believes the Tajdeed group likely included al-Zarqawi, whom Teft described as "our current terrorist nemesis" in Iraq, "a Palestinian on a Jordanian passport who was with al Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan prior to this period (1993)."

Tajdeed, which means Islamic Renewal, currently "has a website that posts Zarqawi's speeches, messages, claims of assassinations and beheading videos," Tefft told CNSNews.com. "The apparent linkages are too close to be accidental" and might "be one of the first operational contacts between an al Qaeda group and Iraq," he added.

Tefft said the documents, all of which the Iraqi Intelligence Service labeled "Top secret, personal and urgent" show several links between Saddam's government and terror groups dedicated not only to targeting America but also U.S. allies like Egypt and Israel.

The same 11-page memo refers to the "re-opening of the relationship" with Al-Jehad al-Islamy, which is described as "the most violent in Egypt," responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The documents go on to describe a Dec. 14, 1990 meeting between Iraqi intelligence officials and a representative of Al-Jehad al-Islamy, that ended in an agreement "to move against [the] Egyptian regime by doing martyr operations on conditions that we should secure the finance, training and equipments." (See More Saddam Connections to al Qaeda)

Al-Zawahiri was one of the leaders of Jehad al-Islamy, which is also known as the Egyptian Islamic Group, and participated in the assassination of Sadat, Tefft said. "Iraq's contact with the Egyptian Islamic Group is another operational contact between Iraq and al Qaeda," he added.

The article also describes Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, active as recently as 2000:

They detail the Iraqi regime's purchase of five kilograms of mustard gas on Aug. 21, 2000 and three vials of malignant pustule, another term for anthrax, on Sept. 6, 2000. The purchase order for the mustard gas includes gas masks, filters and rubber gloves. The order for the anthrax includes sterilization and decontamination equipment. (See Saddam's Possession of Mustard Gas)

The documents show that Iraqi intelligence received the mustard gas and anthrax from "Saddam's company," which Tefft said was probably a reference to Saddam General Establishment, "a complex of factories involved with, amongst other things, precision optics, missile, and artillery fabrication."

"Sa'ad's general company" is listed on the Iraqi documents as the supplier of the sterilization and decontamination equipment that accompanied the anthrax vials. Tefft believes this is a reference to the Salah Al-Din State Establishment, also involved in missile construction. (See Saddam's Possession of Anthrax)

The Jaber Ibn Hayan General Company is listed as the supplier of the safety equipment that accompanied the mustard gas order. Tefft described the company as "a 'turn-key' project built by Romania, designed to produce protective CW (conventional warfare) and BW (biological warfare) equipment (gas masks and protective clothing)."

"Iraq had an ongoing biological warfare project continuing through the period when the UNSCOM inspections ended," the senior government official and source of the documents said. "This should cause us to redouble our efforts to find the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs."

If true, this would suggest that the invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein was not a rush to war, if anything it should have been done years before.

The U.N. and Hamas

All right, so now Hamas in on the payroll of a U.N. "relief" agency. Worse, the agency's director doesn't seem to have a problem with that, despite a recently released Israeli video showing Palestinian terrorists using a U.N. ambulance to transport missiles.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not. Is anyone? This is the same organization that lectures the U.S. about "unilateral" action while sitting in abject paralysis in the face of the horrific genocide in Darfur. The same organization that helped enrich Saddam Hussein and his nightmarish security forces in a scandal that reached all the way to the son of the U.N. Secretary General.

Please, tell me again why we need the support of this crowd? Explain again why we must give them input, if not an outright veto, in our decisions to use military force? The usual excuses begin something like this: "the U.N. isn't perfect, obviously, but...."

No, it's certainly not. But "imperfect" doesn't even begin to describe it. Their record on global security has been an unbroken string of incompetence, corruption, and a disgusting tolerance of dictators and despots who hold in contempt the very democratic ideals the U.N. ostensibly holds dear.

I'd love to see Bush beat Kerry over the head with this non-stop for the next four weeks. First, of course, he'd have to actually fight back in the next debate.

The VP debate

I had originally hoped to liveblog tonight's debate. That may still happen, but this website was behaving so badly yesterday, that liveblogging would be all but impossible unless Cynical Nation has completely recovered.

In either case, I suppose I'll watch it, although I expect no fireworks. Cheney is a skilled debater, but looks down too much, if I remember 2000 correctly. We'll see.

October 04, 2004

Rasmussen weighs in

Today's tracking poll represents the first full polling period after the debate, and it doesn't appear that much has changed. Rasmussen's numbers have, in fact, been quite stable for many weeks. They never reflected a huge, soaring bounce after the GOP convention, and they don't currently paint the kind of disastrous plunge for the president that others do. There's lots of polling data out there, and much of it seems to be telling conflicting stories, so make of it what you will.

October 03, 2004

A Democratic senate?

It's beginning to look like a real possibility, but it's not at all clear that Tom Daschle would be majority leader.

October 02, 2004

Buoyed by his debate performance...

...Kerry practices negotiating with world leaders.

(For the love of God, can't someone on his campaign keep him away from fricken footballs?)

Kerry forces re-energized

I just got back from Union Square, which was crawling with Kerry supporters, as usual. They were out in force, registering new voters and attempting to win new converts. It seems that setting up camp in Union Square is "preaching to the choir" in a sense, but whatever.

The difference today was that the Kerry crowd seemed more animated and upbeat than usual, clearly buoyed by the recent presidential debate.

"Do you support John Kerry?" one tow-headed college boy's pitch began. "Have you heard how well we're doing against Bush?"

"Well no, not really."

Many of them clearly now believe the election is in the bag. If the first full polling period after Thursday's debate fail to bear that out, many of them will be left scratching their heads in bewilderment. Certainly the guy I spoke with today seemed unable to comprehend that a sentient being could have watched the debate, yet continue to support Bush.

It's like this, folks. The president is a poor speaker. He's an even worse debater. We all knew that even before last week. Yet we also believe that he fully understands the nature of the current conflict. We do not believe Kerry does. We fear that he inhabits a naive and idealistic world in which summits, treaties, U.N. resolutions, and multilateral discussions with the French can defeat a committed enemy who respects none of these.

Simply put, we're still not convinced that Kerry "gets it." His ludicrous comment about FDR attacking Mexico after Pearl Harbor, regardless of how artfully delivered, does nothing but reinforce our view. Sorry. Your guy won on style, hands down, but the substance is still very much lacking. Perhaps someday you'll understand.

Perhaps on November 3.

October 01, 2004

Your "buts" are showing, senator

I'm not the only one who noticed Kerry's "but"s last night. James Taranto has a nice collection.


  • "I'll never give a veto to any country over our security. But . . ."

  • "I believe in being strong and resolute and determined. And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are. But . . ."

  • "We have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am. And I will succeed for those troops, now that we're there. We have to succeed. We can't leave a failed Iraq. But . . ."

  • "I believe that we have to win this. The president and I have always agreed on that. And from the beginning, I did vote to give the authority, because I thought Saddam Hussein was a threat, and I did accept that intelligence. But . . ."

  • "I have nothing but respect for the British, Tony Blair, and for what they've been willing to do. But . . ."

  • "What I want to do is change the dynamics on the ground. And you have to do that by beginning to not back off of the Fallujahs and other places, and send the wrong message to the terrorists. You have to close the borders. You've got to show you're serious in that regard. But . . ."

  • "I couldn't agree more that the Iraqis want to be free and that they could be free. But . . ."

  • "No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But . . ."

  • "I've never wavered in my life. I know exactly what we need to do in Iraq, and my position has been consistent: Saddam Hussein is a threat. He needed to be disarmed. We needed to go to the U.N. The president needed the authority to use force in order to be able to get him to do something, because he never did it without the threat of force. But . . ."

  • He may have a point after all

    I'll confess that I went to bed last night thinking Hugh Hewitt was delusional for proclaiming a big Bush win. A day later, however, and he almost has me convinced.

    These debates inevitably reduce to a single, defining moment -- "You're no Jack Kennedy," or "There you go again," and the remaining details are quickly forgotten. Last night's defining moment is rapidly shaping up to be Kerry's "global test" for pre-emptive military action:


    you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test....


    Zell Miller's assertion that "Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending" was met with hoots of derision from the punditry, but Kerry's remarks from last night would seem to bear Miller out. This gaffe plays precisely into the kind of image that Kerry has worked months to overcome. Did it doom Kerry's chances? No. Did it hurt him? I think the answer is yes, and more seriously than most viewers recognized at first.

    On a related note, Lt. Smash is really pissed off at Kerry's charge that Bush screwed up in Afghanistan.


    What would [Kerry] have done differently in Afghanistan?

    Presumably, he would have used American military forces, instead of "outsourcing" the effort to local warlords. But what forces where available in theater at the time? The first large contingent of conventional forces in Afghanistan, a brigade of 1,000 US Marines, arrived at an airstrip near Kandahar on November 25, 2001. That city, which had been the last stronghold of Taliban leader Omar, didn't fall to anti-Taliban forces until December 7.

    The only other US forces in Afghanistan at the time were Special Forces, and CIA paramilitaries. Their job was to help organize the various militias into a coherent force capable of defeating the Taliban, and to call in Coalition air strikes as required. It was this combination of Special Forces and local militia that had already driven the Taliban from the strategic city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the airbase at Bagram, and the capital Kabul.

    The only US military on the ground at Tora Bora was a contingent of about two dozen Special Forces who were airlifted in to the area on December 2. Their mission was to coordinate the ground attack and to "laze" targets for US bombers. There is no way that these men could have taken Tora Bora without assistance -- And the Marines in Kandahar already had their hands full. In any event, Tora Bora was completely overrun by December 12 -- but not before the al Qaeda leadership escaped to Pakistan.

    Let's make one thing clear: outside of this "outsourcing" plan, there would have been no significant military action in Afghanistan prior to November 25 -- but by the time those first Marines arrived, the Taliban had already been largely defeated. "Outsourcing" the war in Afghanistan was not Bush's idea. It was the Pentagon and the CIA that came up with this plan. But President Bush did approve it, and it worked.

    The only military alternative to this plan would have been a massive invasion of Afghanistan with several heavy divisions. Of course, these divisions would have had to get to Afghanistan by coming ashore in Pakistan and driving through the ungoverned (and largely hostile) Tribal Areas, where the Pakistani army wouldn't even go. In any event, it would have taken several more months for these forces to arrive in theater -- plenty of time for the terrorists to dig in and prepare for the fight.

    Does anyone see any problems with this plan? It seems to me that the Russians tried this approach a while back, and the British before them. Both got their asses handed to them. Nevertheless, I'm sure that the Pentagon presented this option to Bush, with all of the caveats above. In my judgement, Bush was right to reject this plan, and go instead with the "outsourcing" approach.

    Presented with the same options, would Kerry have made the right decision? Judging from his remarks last night, I'd have to say "no."

    But if we don't elect him, we'll never have to find out.

    Get 'em now, for Christmas gifts

    You don't see a deal like this one every day.

    Bad news for Bush

    No, not the debate. Kerry has more royal blood, according to Burke's Peerage.

    Were minds changed by the debate?

    Mine was. Now I'm not so sure I'll watch the other two.

    Has anyone noticed that the big, post-debate buzzword is "substantive?"

    There seems to be a consensus that Kerry won on points and style. No surprise there. What does surprise me is how surprised people were by Bush's uneven, halting performance. I think it's been a while since 2000, and people forget. Lots of my friends maintain Bush did better four years ago, but I'm not so sure.