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of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships
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under George W. Bush:
million in just two years
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...The problem seems to
me to be the definition of "free speech".
Liberals define it as anything they want to say
or do that opposes America. I say "speech" ends
where "action" begins. Once you pick up a gun
for the enemy, throw a rock at a cop during a
"peace" march, send money to a terrorist
organisation, or travel to Baghdad to block an
American JDAM with your ass, you have crossed the line from free speech to costly action.
Saying the War on Terror is all about al-Qaeda is like saying we should have fought the Japanese Naval Air Force after Pearl Harbor. Not the Japanese Navy, not the Japanese Army, not the Empire of Japan -- just the Naval Air Force....
Complaining about the "waste" when human embryos are destroyed instead of being used in medical experiments is a lot like going to a funeral and complaining about the waste of perfectly good meat....
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Saturday, October 09, 2004
Duelfer and the Demise of the UN
Since its inception in 1945, the core of the United Nations has been the UN Security Council (UNSC), the body responsible for carrying out the UN's promise to never again allow tyrants like Adolf Hitler to threaten the peace of the world. At the heart of the Council are its five permanent members, each of which gets an irrevocable veto on any proposal that comes up for a vote -- Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom and the USA. The idea that those five nations would cooperate with the ten elected members of the council to defuse any threats to world peace was the glue that held the Council, and the United Nations, together. Each had to trust that the others would act in the best interests of the world. The Council could decide to confront threats posed by rising tyrannies only by working together, and together would act to stop them. Like most fundamentally unworkable ideas, it's a very nice one; there's no doubt about that. In reality, very few nations will subsume their own interests to those of the entire world, if the two are incompatible. Now the trust the UNSC depended on has been shattered, the Council is broken, and the credibility of the United Nations itself is in ruins.
The Liberals who want to insist that President Bush "lied" about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction will no doubt wave a few paragraphs of Charles Duelfer’s thousand-page final report to the CIA as a victory flag. Any who do so are wrong, since all of the world's intelligence services -- not to mention almost every member of the US government -- warned us that he had them for over ten years. To claim that one man lied because he believed the years of accumulated evidence would be ridiculous. Our intelligence was compiled using the UN's own weapons inspection reports as a baseline; the UN was trusted to determine what Saddam had acquired, verify what he had destroyed, and report what he had not yet accounted for. The UN imposed sanctions on Iraq in order to force Saddam to comply with resolution after resolution demanding that he disarm, but he never did so. Duelfer's report shows that Saddam was only waiting for the sanctions to drop before his WMD programs went right back into operation. As the Washington Times summarised, "Saddam Hussein's goal through the 1990s and until the 2003 U.S. invasion was to end U.N. sanctions on Iraq, while working covertly to restore the country's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction."
Instead of enforcing those resolutions, the UN chose to create the Oil-For-Food (OFF) program, so that Saddam's intransigence would not bring undue hardship on his people. Unfortunately, that's about the only power sanctions actually have. In a democracy, the people would remove the leader who brought sanctions. In a dictatorship, that's simply not an option. The Duelfer report states that the OFF program actually allowed Saddam to remain in power, in addition to enriching him. "The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions." The members of the United Nations forced the Iraqi people to suffer for twelve years rather than face up to the responsibilities they assumed in 1945. Why would they do that?
The Duelfer report proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam Hussein had influenced the votes of three permanent members of the Security Council -- France, Russia and China. "One aspect of Saddam’s strategy of unhinging the UN’s sanctions against Iraq, centered on Saddam’s efforts to influence certain UNSC permanent members, such as Russia, France, and China and some nonpermanent (Syria, Ukraine) members to end UN sanctions. Under Saddam’s orders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) formulated and implemented a strategy aimed at these UNSC members and international public opinion with the purpose of ending UN sanctions and undermining its subsequent OFF program by diplomatic and economic means. At a minimum, Saddam wanted to divide the five permanent members and foment international public support of Iraq at the UN and throughout the world by a savvy public relations campaign and an extensive diplomatic effort." The three countries were promised lucrative oil deals giving them rights to rich oil fields in return for causing the sanctions to be removed. MSNBC reported, "In 1997, Russia’s LUKOIL signed contracts to develop Iraq’s West Qurna oil field. The same year, the China National Petroleum Corporation bought a 50 percent stake in the al-Ahdab oil field. (Both have been barred from developing those reserves by U.N. sanctions.) More recently, France’s TotalFinaElf has reportedly negotiated agreements to develop the much larger Majnoon field, but has not yet signed firm contracts to do so. Over the years, those deals complicated U.S. efforts to win support for tough action against Baghdad in the U.N. Security Council, where France, Russia and China are permanent members." Powerful and influential people in those countries and many more were bought with vouchers for profits on the sale of Iraqi oil. In France alone, individuals named were Charles Pascua, a former French Interior Minister, Patrick Maugein, whom the Iraqis considered a conduit to Chirac, and Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club. The oil voucher story is nothing new, having been broken by an independent Iraqi newspaper called al-Mada in January 2004, which I mentioned in February (Oil for Blood: Saddam Bought the Anti-War Movement).
Duelfer concluded that by 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." In 2000, the BBC described Russia, China and France as Saddam's "friends on the Security Council." University of Chicago professor Robert Pape told CNN in 2001, "U.S. policy toward Iraq doesn't have a long-term future due to international concerns over the sanctions from countries like Russia and France and from U.S. political concerns over rising gasoline prices." Now we know why the sanctions were falling apart. Even Benon Sevan, head of the OFF program, and a company associated with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son Kojo are named as voucher recipients. The UN's toothless internal investigation, though headed by Paul Volcker, is based on voluntary cooperation. It will never yield an answer we can trust.
Saddam had taken control of the OFF program through the provision that allowed him to choose which contractors supplied him with "allowed" materials. Duelfer reported that "the manipulation of UN OFF contracts emboldened Saddam to pursue his military reconstitution efforts starting in 1997 and peaking in 2001. These efforts covered conventional arms, dual-use goods acquisition, and some WMD-related programs." Saddam was taking kickbacks from the companies to which he awarded contracts, and pocketed over $11 billion between that and outright oil smuggling. However, one reason France, Russia and China had so much trouble getting the sanctions dropped despite their desperate lobbying was that the UN itself was making a 2.2% commission on every single transaction that took place under OFF. The United Nations made $1.2 billion from the continued misery of the Iraqi people, and saw no reason to kill the goose that was laying those golden eggs. But how could they ensure that the sanctions would remain in place?
The reports of weapons inspectors had a dual effect. On one hand, they assisted Saddam in his determination to convince the world that he retained stockpiles of illegal weapons, while keeping the hated sanctions in place on the other. According to Duelfer, Saddam feared an Iranian invasion, and saw his rumored WMD as the only deterrent. But why would the inspection reports contain such clear details about WMDs that Saddam no longer had? For instance, UNSCOM's 25 January 1999 report listed 19,180 liters of botulinum toxin produced, 10,820 liters used to fill shells, between 499 and 569 liters used in field trials, 118 liters wasted in handling, and between 7,665 and 7,735 liters reported as unilaterally destroyed. This either left 78 liters of this deadly substance missing, suggested the original amount produced was overstated by 62 liters, or something in between. Note that it only takes .09 micrograms -- less than a tenth of a millionth of a gram -- of botulinum to have a 50% chance of killing a 200 pound (90 kg) man. It was precisely this vague accounting that kept Iraq from acquiring the clean bill of health Saddam both desired and feared.
Is it possible that the UNMOVIC and UNSCOM weapons inspections reports were deliberately written in a vague way to keep the sanctions in force, so that the UN could continue to profit from them? That's a question that needs to be answered, but the UN cannot give us an answer we can trust. There was no chance, no matter how long we waited or how many diplomats we sent, that France, Russia or China would ever have allowed an invasion of Iraq. Their votes in the Security Council belonged to Saddam Hussein. The trust between members of the Council is broken. Who knows what other dictatorships have bought or would buy their votes, now that we know they're for sale? How can any vote ever be unquestioned again?
Posted at Saturday, October 09, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
A Pre-Failed Foreign Policy
Has anyone yet noticed that John Kerry's entire foreign policy platform seems to have collapsed before he even gets a chance to put it into operation? So far, every plan Kerry has advanced has been totally rejected by the foreign nations he expects to cooperate with him. Shouldn't this bother anyone who plans to vote for John Kerry? For that matter, shouldn't this news bother John Kerry? Yet he continues to repeat his pre-failed foreign policy dictums as though, once he's sitting in the Oval Office, all the foreign leaders currently telling him to get lost will begin asking what they can do to help. It's hard to understand that kind of hubris, and should be harder still to support it... especially while accusing President Bush of being arrogant towards the other countries he is actually working with.
Kerry's entire Iraq policy is centered on getting more of our "traditional allies" -- meaning France and Germany -- to send troops there. Although he and other Democrats daily label Iraq a mess, a quagmire, the "wrong war" and a mistake, Kerry has always blithely assumed that other countries were eager to send troops to take the place of American soldiers, so they could go home. The only reason they haven't, apparently, is that President Bush didn't say the secret word to make the duck drop down. The problem is that the nations Kerry is counting on to send troops have absolutely no intention of sending them under any circumstances. Kerry has said that his goal is to "replace most U.S. troops in Iraq with foreign forces within his first term." Yet according to the LA Times in August 2004, the "French and German governments have made [it] clear that sending troops is out of the question." Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, also ruled out a military deployment in Iraq. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say." Yet Kerry blindly continues to insist that he'll be able to gain their cooperation. During the first presidential debate with President Bush, he stated that he will "bring the allies back to the table." News flash: there is no table, Senator Kerry. The allies you want aren't coming. You've been stood up.
It's a sure bet that he won't be able to get any cooperation from the real allies we actually have in Iraq, after he stated that the US needed to join with other countries "not in some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted, but in a genuine coalition." As a result of this disrespect as well as Kerry's slight of Poland during the first presidential debate, Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski said, "It is unfortunate that a senator with 20-year experience doesn’t notice the Polish investment. It’s immoral." Kwasniewski added that he was "disappointed that our stance and the sacrifice of those soldiers are so marginalised," and opined that Kerry "thinks higher of a coalition that would include France and Germany together with the USA." Poland's premier Marek Belka said that Kerry "forgets that next to the American troops in Iraq are the British, the Australians, Poles, and also around 30 other countries that sent troops for stabilizing purposes, so it is surely a very broad coalition." Why do our true allies have to defend themselves against John Kerry?
In the same neighborhood, Iran is aggressively pursuing its nuclear program. Iran's leaders have openly declared their intention to join the "nuclear club," the name for the nations that have built nuclear weapons. "We want Iran to be recognized as a member of the nuclear club, that means Iran be recognized as a country having the nuclear fuel cycle, and enriching uranium. This is very difficult for the world to accept," said secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security Hassan Rohani in March 2004. Despite this, John Kerry seems to harbor a forlorn hope that they're just bluffing. Kerry's plan is to "offer Iran the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes," then wait and see whether they use it to build bombs. Unfortunately for John Kerry (but fortunately for nearly everyone else), Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected his plan. "We have the technology (to make nuclear fuel) and there is no need for us to beg from others." Does Kerry understand that his Master Plan for stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons by giving them the means to do so has already failed? This should be no surprise -- it's the exact same plan President Clinton used to stop North Korea from building nukes in 1994... a plan that failed almost immediately, as the North Koreans simply began enriching uranium instead of using plutonium for their weapons. Where there's a will, there's a way... which is why those with the clear intent to build illegal weapons must be stopped, not appeased.
Speaking of North Korea, Kerry's plan to augment the six-way multilateral talks with unilateral talks has also already drawn fire. The "direct bilateral talks" Kerry proposes would exclude the countries that have worked so hard to bring North Korea to the table, and with the most stake in North Korea's cooperation. China, in particular, did not respond well to Kerry's plan to appease Kim Jong Il by excluding them. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said the "entire international community" agreed that the six-nation approach was the best way to deal with North Korea's nuclear proliferation. So is John Kerry planning to go against the "entire international community" and deal with foreign nations in a unilateral fashion, after the Democrats have spent nearly two years (so far) complaining that President Bush went against the entire international community to deal with foreign nations in a unilateral fashion (a word that apparently means "with only 45 allies instead of 46")?
France, Germany, Russia and Iran have already rejected Kerry’s proposed Middle East foreign policies. His proposed North Korea policy has already been rejected by China. No one seems to be asking Kerry what "plan B" is, or whether he even has one. Maybe there's no need to do so... it seems clear from most of his campaign rhetoric that his fallback position is to go to the UN and call for summits. "I have a plan to have a summit with all of the allies," Kerry said in the first presidential debate with President Bush. While Kerry is meeting with diplomats, what does he think our enemies will be doing?
Perhaps they'll be busy holding summits of their own, like the "terror summit" held at Kuala Lumpur in 2000 to finalise the 9/11 attack plans. This time, however, probable members of the Saddam Fedayeen like Ahmed Hikmat Shakir won't be able to attend. Their boss is out of business.
UPDATE: Even Kerry's plan to import cheap drugs from Canada has failed. According to the Financial Times, 17 Oct 2004:
More than 30 Canadian internet pharmacies have decided not to accept bulk orders of prescription drugs from US states and municipalities.
The move delivers a potentially serious setback to US politicians, most notably Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, campaigning to give Americans easier access to cheap drugs from Canada.
Posted at Wednesday, October 06, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, October 04, 2004
Who Grades John Kerry's Global Test?
"No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."
- John Kerry, 30 September 2004
According to John Kerry, the United States has the "right" to launch a preemptive strike on an enemy, yet we "have to" do it in a way that meets international approval afterwards. That's not a right -- that's tentative permission pending a review board, with hell to pay if they conclude you made a wrong decision. Under those conditions, we would hardly be able to act at all, hamstrung by the need to please other countries, none of which would place our interests above their own. If we don't act to protect and even advance our own interests, no one else will, unless the action happens to be in their interest as well. No proposal or threat by the United States would ever be taken seriously again; fear of disapproval by "the world" would keep us on a tight leash. This is the stuff of which Liberal dreams are made, of course.
John Kerry specifically spoke of a "global test" that America needs to pass whenever we defend ourselves proactively. According to him, we have to prove that we acted "for legitimate reasons" in the estimation of "the world." Does he mean that every other country must always agree with our actions, or only certain countries -- and if so, which countries? Who, precisely, gets to grade this test? What if even one of those countries disagrees with us -- should we not act at all, even if America's leaders deem action necessary? Since when is "the world" anything like a single body of stern, yet wise and fair elders (as opposed to a squabbling group of selfish children)? Who are these wise elders we need to report to, and what gives them any right to judge us? America's actions are to be judged by the American people alone; our leaders are accountable to us before anyone else.
It seems that Kerry has held the same position his entire political career on one issue, after all. His statement about a global test is in lockstep with his 1970 declaration to the Harvard Crimson that he'd "like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations." Kerry's insistence that he only voted to give President Bush the authority to go to the United Nations to discuss Iraq, not to use military force against Iraq, is also in line with this idea that America must never deploy troops outside our borders without international approval. "The vote for authorization is interpreted by a lot of people as a vote to go to war," Kerry told the Washington Times in September 2004. "It wasn't a vote to go that day. It was a vote to go through the process of going to the U.N., building the allies and then making a judgment of whether we had to go." President Bush did, in fact, do all of this... even giving Saddam three months longer than the UN specified before imposing "serious consequences" for Iraq's non-compliance. The bill on which Kerry voted Yes in October 2002, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (Public Law 107-243), contains no provision that UN approval must be sought before using that force. It should be noted that the Authorization contained in a single document every one of the reasons the Bush administration has ever given for using military force against Iraq, which proves Kerry's claim that President Bush changed the rationale for war in Iraq after the fact to be a lie.
Kerry's position on international approval for US foreign policy decisions also explains why Kerry constantly pressed President Bush to give the UN more authority in Iraq, even after the UN abandoned the country when Sergio De Mello, the UN envoy to Iraq, was killed in a terrorist attack. Hans Von Sponeck, a former administrator for the UN oil-for-food program that had been hopelessly corrupted by Saddam, used the pullout as a demand for more UN power over Iraq. "Having lost the ability to improve the security situation for the time being, the US must now concede in the Security Council immediate responsibility on authority to the United Nations," Von Sponeck told Radio Netherlands in September 2003. In April 2004, Senator Kerry complained on 'Meet the Press' that President Bush "won’t transfer to the U.N. the real authority for determining how the government emerges, how we will do the reconstruction of Iraq."
"I'm an internationalist," John Kerry told the Harvard Crimson over thirty years ago, and certainly seems to have been faithful to that doctrine, if few others. That may be a qualification for Secretary-General of the United Nations, but not for President of the United States, to whom the welfare of the United States must always -- always -- come first.
Posted at Monday, October 04, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, October 01, 2004
Bush vs. Kerry: The Foreign Policy Debate
To put it simply, John Kerry won the 30 September debate with President Bush on style, but lost on substance. Kerry supporters are gushing about how "he looked so Presidential," as though posing for a White House photo op will strike fear into the hearts of terrorists around the globe. Maybe Kerry could audition for a spot ON The West Wing, but not IN it. Real life isn't a tv show; talking points don't keep the country safe. Despite the questions that were hopelessly biased against him, President Bush showed the same determination he has for nearly four years, although he was apparently annoyed when listening to Kerry's relentless negativity, vague assurances, fact-twisting, attacks on Bush's character and misrepresentations. If Bush seemed disgusted when Kerry lauded his own Vietnam war protest activities -- calling the war a hopeless quagmire being fought for illegal reasons and lies, the same as he is doing to Iraq today -- well, so was I. Just goes to show that Bush is human, too.
The first question moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS asked Kerry was, "Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?" Lehrer's first question to Bush, on the other hand, was, "Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?" The way the questions were worded allowed Kerry to begin on a positive note, while forcing Bush to begin on a negative note. Remember that Lehrer's idea of commentary on the Ronald Reagan tribute at the GOP convention was reciting the Liberal talking points against "Reaganomics" by way of rebuttal. His questions during the 2000 presidential debates were also left-leaning. Lehrer continued to toss challenging questions at John Kerry like "What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in these areas?" and "Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?" -- effectively setting Kerry up to pound his talking points. Stores like the Sports Authority had better take note -- they need to restock on softballs. Bush, on the other hand, continued to get questions like, "What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?" and "You have said there was a, quote, 'miscalculation,' of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation, and how did it happen?" Is it any wonder President Bush spent the entire debate on the defensive? He was debating two opponents -- Senator Kerry and Jim Lehrer!
What points Kerry did make reeked of September 10th Clintonian appeasement. His answer to North Korea's breaking of the 1994 agreement not to pursue nuclear weapons? He blamed it on Bush, although (to the best of my recollection) Bush was not the President in the mid-1990's, when the agreement was broken. After Bush's tough diplomatic work to bring more nations into multilateral talks with Kim Jong Il, Kerry now wants to hold bilateral talks with North Korea. Perhaps we can sign a new agreement, just like 1994. By the time we discover they've broken that too, Kerry will be safely out of office. President Bush had to waste his time correcting Kerry's facts on North Korea. "And by the way, the breach on the agreement was not through plutonium. The breach on the agreement is highly enriched uranium. That's what we caught him doing." Clinton's grand idea was to give North Korea nuclear fuel to test them, to see whether they used it for peaceful purposes, and it failed miserably -- they secretly built nukes. Now Kerry wants to make the same deal with Iran! Kerry wants to "provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes." News flash: by the time you know they've built the Bomb, it's already too late. It's not likely they'll enrich the uranium out in the open with a neon sign saying "Welcome To The Illegal Uranium Enrichment Project."
Again and again, Kerry rephrased his new position that Iraq is "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," and "a diversion," even though he has agreed many times that Saddam was a danger, and that the world is better off without him in power. Taking casualties is "wrong." Using Afghanis to hunt terrorists in Afghanistan is "wrong." Bush disarming Saddam was "wrong." Not subjecting Americans to an international court is "wrong." Everything is "going wrong." Yet Kerry still insists that he can get more foreign countries to send troops there to take the place of American soldiers. Bush did make a good point there, asking, "So what's the message going to be: 'Please join us in Iraq. We're a grand diversion. Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?'" Kerry had better be a lot more persuasive in French and German than he is in English, especially since France and Germany have said unequivocally that there is no chance of them doing so. "The French and German governments have made [it] clear that sending troops is out of the question," stated the LA Times in August 2004. This was more than a month ago, back when Kerry was certain that "he could substantially reduce the number of U.S. troops within the first six months of a Kerry administration." Kerry continues to insult and deride our true allies, the 46 countries that DID join us in Iraq, as "a trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted." Kerry claims that Bush could have gotten a "grand coalition" together if he'd been willing to "sit down with those leaders, say, 'What do you need, what do you need now, how much more will it take to get you to join us?'" Well, who's talking about putting together a "coalition of the bribed" now? When Kerry's not insulting them, he's trying to scare away our key allies, which would please the terrorists we're fighting no end. Kerry's own sister visited Australia to warn them that they're a target for terrorist attacks. She said the United States is "endangering the Australians now" by the liberation of Iraq.
Kerry's answer to all foreign policy problems is to get a pat on the head from other countries, but obviously not from the countries that helped us in Iraq. They're not a real enough coalition, not a grand enough alliance. Can you guess which countries (that sent no troops to Iraq) get to grade the "global test" Kerry said we must pass before defending ourselves? Kerry would ask for approval before preventing another country -- say, Iran -- from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, weapons that they could give terrorists to use against us. Which countries would he ask before launching a preemptive strike (which Kerry agreed that the President "always had the right" to use) to defend ourselves?
And what would he do if they say "non" again?
UPDATE: A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken the day after the debate seems to show that people agree with my assessment. Kerry won the debate, but Bush won the argument.
Expressed himself more clearly
Had a good understanding of the issues
Agreed with you more on the issues you care about
Was more believable
Was more likable
Demonstrated he is tough enough for the job
Posted at Friday, October 01, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Scare the Vote: The Democrat Campaign of Hate and Fear
The usual Democrat campaign to "Scare the Vote" is in full swing, and they're pushing it harder than ever. Unable to convince voters to elect John Kerry any other way, the entire Left has erupted in a frantic flurry of rhetoric designed to convince every single voter in America that George W. Bush wants to personally attack him or her in some way. Hate and fear are all the Democrats have to offer voters, it seems.
Scare the Elderly: "Republicans will steal your Social Security and your Medicare!" This is an old standby. Democrats want you to forget that it was they who voted to raise taxes on Social Security in 1993, with Al Gore casting the deciding vote. (Senator Kerry voted Yes on that bill, HR 2264.) President Bush's idea of protecting Social Security while allowing those still working to save money in accounts of their own choosing would rob Democrats of their main "scare the vote" issue as the "baby boomer" generation retires in the coming years. Why not allow people to choose how their money is saved?
Scare the Sick: "Republicans won't give you free health care!" There's no such thing as "free" anything -- someone has to pay for it, and someone has to run it. How customer-driven and efficient is any government-run agency? Democrats have been trying to push socialised medicine for ages, and never seem to notice that the national health care system is failing miserably in Canada and Great Britain. Recently, a woman in Wales who had been a long-time critic of declining medical standards died of an iron overdose because the doctor "found the instructions difficult to decipher and... had only read half of them." President Bush's idea is to allow small businesses -- the real job creators in this country -- to offer their employees health plans at the same rates large corporations get. As the number of unemployed continues to drop and small businesses continue to grow, competition for workers to fill available jobs will increase. Better health care plans will be yet another job incentive in a competitive environment, like higher wages. Speaking of jobs...
Scare the Unemployed: "Republicans won't give you good jobs!" Aren't those supposed to be earned by those who are qualified and capable? As companies -- small and large -- continue to expand, there will be fewer talented people available to fill the more complex jobs, leading to competition for the most qualified employees and an initiative among workers to train for better jobs. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, "70 percent of new startups already employ at least one person, 80 percent plan to hire at least one more employee in the next year, and 20 percent plan to add at least 19 new employees in the next few years." Overtaxing small business owners, as Kerry would do by raising taxes on those making over $200,000 a year, would hamper expansion and kill job creation. But it would keep a nice Democrat voter base handy, dependent on entitlements, ready to be scared during future elections.
Scare the Employed: "Republicans will send all the jobs overseas!" As for jobs being "sent overseas," foreign companies send just as many jobs here as we export. (I wonder whether foreign governments use that to scare their voters?) Bush's plan is to help displaced workers retrain for open jobs, instead of forcing companies to lose money -- and forcing taxpayers to subsidise failing companies -- by keeping jobs here that can be performed better or cheaper elsewhere. The old example of buggy whips is particularly apt -- what happened to buggy whip manufacturers when cars became popular? Did the government pay them to keep people employed making whips that no one bought, until they simply went bankrupt? No... buggy whips manufacturers moved or opened in places that had no cars, and other industries sprang up in their place here, employing the unemployed buggy-whip workers. We call that "capitalism" with side orders of "competition" and "progress."
Scare the Minorities: "Republicans won't count your votes!" That's a personal message from John Kerry, who claims that Republicans have a Secret Plan to throw away black votes. Perhaps they'll drop votes marked "Negro" behind the couch where they'll never be found. Oh, wait... we don't have a place for "race" on the ballots, do we? When Democrats claim that minority votes weren't counted in Florida in the 2000 election (without having yet produced a single shred of evidence), I just have to ask why the allegations were almost exclusively made in counties where Democrats ran the election boards (24 of the 25 counties with the highest ballot spoilage rates). Those rascally Republicans!
Scare the Immigrants: "Republicans will put you all in internment camps!" Scare the Women: "Republicans will force you to have babies!" Scare the Parents: "Republicans will send your children to die in wars!" While they're at it, Democrats also Scare the Kids: "Republicans will draft you!" John Kerry himself claims that Bush has, yes, a Secret Plan to reinstate the draft, despite the facts that few reputable commanders would actually want a military comprised of people who didn't want to serve, and only Democrats are sponsoring bills to start a draft, like Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC). An email hoax circulating around the internet since February 2004 has been fueling rumors that President Bush will reinstate the draft, but conveniently declines to mention the actual sponsors of the bills.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is even getting into the act with his attempt to Scare Everybody: "The Republicans will cause a nuclear war!" At the same time, Kennedy and other Democrats accuse Vice President Dick Cheney of scare tactics for claiming that if John Kerry is elected, America will suffer another terrorist attack. The so-called mainstream media reported Cheney's statement as, "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from Wednesday, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," with headlines like "Cheney says 'wrong choice' on Election Day would risk terrorist attack." This bit of misreporting sent Democrats into a paroxysm of vitriolic anger. House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example, immediately rushed out a press release to say, "It is completely inappropriate, and dangerous, for the Vice President to in effect threaten the American people, to be part of instilling fear into our country." The Democrats and their supporters in the "mainstream" media deliberately omitted the rest of Cheney's statement, which was a warning that the danger is "...we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us." (emphasis added) Since John Kerry has stated that he sees the war on terrorism as "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation," Cheney's remark was a simple and accurate statement of fact.
Does the Democrat fearmongering never end? Is no interest group safe? John Kerry can't even resist the temptation to Scare Dairy Farmers: "The Republicans will hurt milk production!" Kerry recently told Wisconsin voters that Bush has -- you guessed it! -- a Secret Plan to hurt milk producers after the election.
On the other hand, maybe he was actually trying to Scare the Cows.
UPDATE: It turns out that the only person running for President that ever planned to bring back the draft is... John Kerry! On their website, on a page no longer accessible but which can be found in the archives, the Kerry-Edwards team called for "a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service." Now that's scary.
Posted at Wednesday, September 29, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths 6: A Less Safe Post-Iraq
Among Liberal myths, one of the most oft-repeated is that attacking an enemy not only serves no useful purpose, but actually makes the enemy more dangerous. This sort of auto-defeatism is only believed by the most short-sighted or gullible in the post-9/11 world. An animal can hide and hope that danger will pass it by, but humans don't have that luxury. Doing so just puts the danger off for another day by allowing it to feed somewhere else... this time. Hiding allows the enemy to grow even stronger -- but most animals aren't known to make complex analyses of present cost vs. future benefits. Sometime in the distant past, our remote ancestors figured out that running from enemies only gives them power -- the power of fear, and the very real power of an enemy allowed to grow stronger, unchecked. They learned to work together to defeat their enemies. It's unfortunate that as we've progressed in so many ways, some of the most important lessons we ever learned as a species have largely been forgotten.
If we had not toppled Saddam Hussein, what would be happening right now? What would the future have been? It's not easy to create alternate futures with any degree of accuracy, but we can extrapolate from what we know. Leaving aside whether allowing the ongoing brutal repression of 25 million people practiced on a daily basis by Saddam's regime was right, there were many reasons why he was too dangerous to leave in power. Some facts were already known, and others have come into clearer focus since the Butcher of Baghdad fled his palaces to cower in a spider hole. The clearest fact of all is that if we had not acted, Iraq would have posed a terrible danger to us, much sooner than later.
When Afghanistan fell to the Coalition in December of 2001, al Qaeda and the Taliban did not stop to sign a formal surrender. They fled into the mountain country, into Pakistan, into Iran, even into Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fled to Baghdad for medical treatment. We knew that Saddam harbored Abu Abbas, who murdered American Leon Klinghoffer when his terrorists seized the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. Klinghoffer was shot, then dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Saddam also gave safe haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, the only person indicted for bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 who got away. Abu Nidal, head of the terrorist group that bears his name, was another "guest" of Saddam. He was likely murdered after refusing to train the al-Qaeda refugees from Afghanistan. The Czech government still insists that Mohammed Atta, who led the 9/11 hijackers, met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague. The only evidence to the contrary is that Atta's credit card and cellphone were used in the US during that time (and no one ever uses another's cellphone or credit card). Russian president Vladmir Putin warned President Bush that Saddam was planning to launch terrorist attacks against the US. If we had not removed Saddam Hussein from power, those attacks would very likely have been carried out -- there was certainly no terrorist shortage in Baghdad. Saddam had supported and would have continued to support global terror. Support doesn't necessarily mean planning or collaborating with the terrorists in attacks. Support means giving them safe haven, allowing them to train for missions (even supplying that training at places like Salman Pak, Saddam's terrorist school), and furnishing them with false identities and target information. It also means giving them money and material with which to carry out their missions -- in this case, possibly biological and chemical weapons.
France, Germany, Russia and China -- the four countries which had lucrative oil deals with Saddam's regime -- had been lobbying for years to get the sanctions dropped so they could get at Iraq's oil. Saddam's propaganda -- including deliberately allowing children to die from lack of medicine in poorly-furnished hospitals so he could claim the sanctions were to blame -- was eroding support for them. As Newsweek reported in April 2003, "The situation at Saddam General, recently renamed An Nasiriya General Hospital, is similar to hospitals throughout Iraq. They're short of everything after years of sanctions, in which the regime insisted it was unable to buy enough medicine and medical supplies -- even while stockpiling huge hoards of cash and building enormous palaces." Palaces were not all that Saddam built. David Kay and Charles Duelfer have both reported that Saddam's WMD programs were far from destroyed -- they were merely driven underground. Saddam was waiting until the UN sanctions were dropped before resuming his manufacture of biological and chemical weapons. It's doubtful he expected it to take twelve years. Instead of using the oil-for-food money to take care of his people, Saddam created a "clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses" where scientists could do advanced work on Brucella, Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, aflatoxin and botulinum. He could have been producing anthrax within a week, mustard gas in two months and sarin within two years. David Kay also discovered that Saddam had a renewed interest in reconstituting Iraq's centrifuge enrichment program in 2002. Parts that might have been hard to come by were buried or hidden -- like the centrifuge buried under a rosebush in a Baghdad backyard. According to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's book, Saddam sent Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, dubbed "Baghdad Bob" by the press during the Iraq war, to approach a Nigerian official in 1999 to discuss trade -- "an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium." Oddly enough, Wilson -- sent by the CIA to investigate the possibility that Saddam attempted to acquire uranium -- never mentioned this until he wrote his book. Had we not removed Saddam from power, he would have replenished his supplies of chemical and biological weapons within a year or two -- and even had nuclear weapons before long.
Elsewhere in the world, events would not have taken place as they did. Libya's Moammar Ghaddafi would not have given up his support of terrorism and his WMD programs -- which were much further advanced than our intelligence had predicted. Within a year or two, Libya would have been drawing near to completion of its nuclear research, while world attention was focused on Iran's nuclear capabilities. The Pakistani nuclear proliferation ring would not have been stopped, because it was only discovered when Ghaddafi gave up information about it. The total corruption of the UN's Oil-for-Food program would not have been uncovered, either. Although most of the so-called "mainstream" media has treated the story as though it were written on a McDonald's napkin in crayon, the fact is that Saddam was making huge profits from kickbacks on the oil-for-food program. He used the money he stole from his people to buy palaces and weapons, create and sustain hidden weapons programs, and suborn men and women of influence around the world. Benon Sevan -- head of the oil-for-food program, the man who was supposed to ensure the integrity of the program -- is named as one recipient of Saddam's oil vouchers. Kofi Annan's own son is implicated in the scheme. We never would have known the extent of the scandal and corruption in the United Nations if Iraq had not been freed of Saddam... because the story was broken by an independent newspaper operating as part of a free press in the new Iraq. So far, only FOX news has devoted any real time to reporting this story in the Western media.
Within a few years at most, the sanctions would have collapsed, and a vindicated Saddam, his hatred of the US as strong as ever, would have been free to act. The corruption in the UN would have gone unnoticed. France, Germany, Russia and China would have claimed their promised oil fields, and their sales of weaponry to Saddam would have increased, openly and legally. Add in arms sales from North Korea and other countries, including the nuclear material Saddam was so long denied. The Pakistan nuclear ring would have continued to supply rogue nations with the knowledge to build nuclear weapons. With Saddam's stockpiles of WMDs replenished and his ties to terrorists intact, the US and our allies would have been in grave danger. Libya, Iraq and Iran would all have created nuclear weapons by then, and a mid-east nuclear exchange would have been all but inevitable, with Iran and Iraq resuming hostilities (perhaps after destroying Israel). A nuke-armed Libya would be in control of North Africa, by threat if not force. Already shamed by giving Saddam an ultimatum and then backing down, we would have been unable to stop the escalating violence except by war against most of the Middle East... our threats of force would have been seen as laughable. Much of our resources would be tied up in fending off repeated terrorist attacks on our own soil -- terrorists trained and armed by both Iraq and Iran. More than likely, we would have become more isolationist, allowing dictators to control entire regions unchecked, so long as they left us alone. Which they would... for a while.
Of course, it's possible that this grim future would not have come to pass. It's possible that Saddam would have had a spontaneous change of heart and freely given up his weapons, his support of terrorism, and even his brutality towards his own people. He might have turned over details of the Pakistan nuclear ring and evidence of the UN's corruption. It's equally likely that he might have picked up a guitar and taken Jerry Garcia's place in the Grateful Dead, however. Bookmakers in Las Vegas wouldn't have given you odds for either, had you been foolish enough to bet.
Lucky for us, President Bush wasn't. If Saddam had come clean and given everything up, the war would not have taken place. The Pakistan nuclear knowledge market and Ghaddafi's WMD programs would still be in operation, however. Anyone who thinks that removing Saddam from power didn't make the entire world safer in the long run is refusing to look at the facts.
Exploding Liberal Myths 11: Home Spying Hogwash
Exploding Liberal Myths 10: The Plame Name Game
Exploding Liberal Myths 9: The Separation of Church and State
Exploding Liberal Myths 8: The Nazi Meme
Exploding Liberal Myths 7: Fidel Castro, Demigod?
Exploding Liberal Myths 5: The Moral United Nations
Exploding Liberal Myths 4: Runaway Global Warming
Exploding Liberal Myths 3: Outsourcing Woes
Exploding Liberal Myths 2: The Eeevil PATRIOT Act
Exploding Liberal Myths 1: Nigerian Uranium
Posted at Sunday, September 26, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Iraq, For Those Who Came In Late
When I was a kid, I loved Sunday mornings. I could hardly wait for the paper to come so I could get to the comics... especially The Phantom, the "Ghost Who Walks." Unlike most of the other comics in my Sunday paper, The Phantom (written by creator Lee Falk until his death in 1999, but inked at that time by Sy Barry) was well-drawn and had ongoing, interesting story arcs. Every once in a while, Falk would go back and explain the family background of his hero, the 21st Phantom. It gave the comic a sense of history and continuity that no other strip had. Each of those retrospectives was a copy of the very first Sunday strip, which showed the first-Phantom-to-be washing up on a 16th century Bengal beach and swearing on the skull of his father's murderer to fight piracy. Each started with a banner saying, For Those Who Came In Late. It was a great way to bring new readers into the ongoing story.
Most people don't pay attention to politics until they have to. For the last year, Democrats and Liberals have been tossing out lies about why we're in Iraq, hoping they stick, and those lies have been debunked over and over. At this point, many who hear John Kerry and his minions repeating the same lies are tempted to laugh it off, since we've "been there, done that." But those lies are not old news to those who have only just begun to pay attention to the campaign speeches. The lies Democrats tell about Iraq need to be exposed again... For Those Who Came In Late.
Lie #1: The Rush To War. There was no rush to war. There were twelve years and seventeen resolutions demanding that Saddam Hussein comply with the 1991 cease-fire agreement that he signed, which specified that he must completely disclose all his weapons programs and materials to the UN. He never did so. The UN Security Council unanimously issued resolution #1441 in November 2002, which gave Iraq one month as a "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations", or face "serious consequences." Saddam still did not do so. Rather than "rush to war," President Bush waited three more months for him to acquiesce, giving him further "last chances." At that point, walking away and not forcing Saddam to disarm by force would have destroyed the credibility of both the US and the UN, and Saddam would have won a major victory over both without a shot being fired. No statement or warning by the UN or the US would have ever had weight again.
Lie #2: Going It Alone. The only major countries that did not send troops or support the liberation of Iraq in other ways were France, Germany, Russia and China. It's no coincidence that three of those are the same countries that were trading illegal arms and other banned materials (like Roland missiles and Mirage helicopter parts from France) to Saddam Hussein in return for lucrative exploitation rights in the West Qurna (Russia), al-Ahdab (China), and Majnoon (France) oil fields, as well as other deals all four had made. Iraq was one of German industry's biggest customers, and Iraq owed Germany billions of dollars, which would probably never be collected if Saddam was forced from power. Their opposition to Saddam's removal was far less based on principle than capital. If we had to "go it alone" in Iraq with our paltry coalition of 46 nations, it was because our "traditional allies" failed us, not the other way around. I'm curious about whether Kerry has any plans to apologise to all the nations he's insulted by calling them "a trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted," just because France didn't join.
Lie #3: No Ties to al-Qaeda. There are two parts to this one. Iraq did have ties to al-Qaeda, but specific links to al-Qaeda alone was never one of the reasons Congress voted to remove Saddam from power, as laid out in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. One of those reasons was his long-time sponsorship of international terrorism, not just the one group. The fact that he openly awarded $25,000 (later reduced to $10,000) to the families of Hamas suicide bombers was proof of this. In fact, Russian President Vladmir Putin warned President Bush that Saddam was planning new terrorist attacks against the US after 9/11. As for al-Qaeda, the Washington Times noted, "The fall of Baghdad has produced new evidence to buttress the Bush administration's prewar contention that Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda had a long history of contacts," while NBC's Tom Brokaw had the audacity to "correct" Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi when he mentioned Saddam's ties to al-Qaeda. Kerry supporters often state that the 9/11 Commission said that Iraq had no links to al-Qaeda, but that's a misquote, if not a lie. The 9/11 Commission stated that Saddam might not have had direct, specific cooperation on 9/11, but that he did have ties to al-Qaeda. Commission Chairman Thomas Kean stated: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there." More links to terror, including al-Qaeda, can be found in a publication by the Hudson Institute called Saddam's Philanthropy of Terror.
Lie #4: No WMDs in Iraq. Every intelligence service on the planet agreed that Saddam had not fully disclosed his illegal weapons programs, or else UN resolution #1441 would not have been adopted unanimously. All Saddam had to do at any time, even after the UN's deadline had passed, was turn over all the requested materials and documents. David Kay's interim report to the CIA showed that Saddam had clandestine laboratories (including prison testing facilities), long-range unmanned aerial vehicles, hidden and dual-use manufacturing capabilities, and advanced work on anthrax, ricin, aflatoxin, and other biological weapons. None of this had been disclosed to the UN weapons inspectors. Saddam was poised to replenish his WMD stockpiles the minute UN sanctions were dropped, according to Charles Duelfer's final report. To put it more simply: Saddam had lemons, sugar, and a pitcher of cold water at a lemonade stand. Can anyone seriously doubt his intent to make lemonade? We know he still had unaccounted-for WMDs as late as October, 1998. So where are they now? Israel told us, CIA satellite photos confirmed, and David Kay's research revealed that much of Saddam's WMD materials were moved across the Syrian border right before the war in Iraq began. Perhaps being so patient was an error; perhaps we should have used force the day after the UN's final deadline lapsed.
Lie #5: Diversion from the War on Terror. Iraq is, in fact, an essential part of the War on Terror. At one point, even John Kerry agreed; on 7 September 2004 he stated that American soldiers who died in Iraq gave their lives "on behalf of their country, on behalf of freedom, the war on terror." Afghanistan and Iraq were essential components of a larger strategy than shooting a few killers and calling the war a success. Democrats base this attack on a false assertion that troops were pulled out of Afghanistan to fight in Iraq but not replaced. In reality, troop levels in Afghanistan were never affected by the fighting in Iraq; only the composition of the troops has changed. If anything, overall troop levels have increased. The only groups that switched focus from one country to the other were the Democrats and their enthusiasts in the "mainstream" media.
The War on Terror is not about one country, one group, or one person. Democrats don't want to admit that Pakistan has given up its terrorist support, becoming an ally in the war. They don't want to acknowledge that Libya has also given up terror support as well as its WMD programs, as a direct result of Saddam's removal. (Ghaddafi phoned Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi to say, "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.") Syria has begun to buckle under pressure to withdraw troops from occupied Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia is moving towards democratic reforms. If the mullahs that rule Iran stop working on a nuclear weapon, the Iranian people may get their chance to institute a democracy on their own. That's how the war will be won, not by pulling out of Iraq and leaving a lone fledgling democracy to be swallowed by its surrounding enemies.
If John Kerry and his cronies can again force the US to abandon its responsibilities by turning public opinion against the war, if we're forced to watch helplessly as innocents who trusted our promises are butchered again, then the Democrats will at last be justified in calling Iraq a second Vietnam.
Posted at Wednesday, September 22, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, September 19, 2004
20 Reasons to Vote for John Kerry
I'm beginning to feel sorry for most "supporters" of John Kerry. No matter how many times they're asked why anyone should vote for him, they never seem to have an answer except "he's not Bush." I'm not speaking of the far-far-looney Left, for whom that answer is enough; I'm referring to moderate Democrats who want to support Kerry out of party loyalty, but can't quite convince themselves of his suitability for office. Whatever a Kerry supporter's pet issue is, he or she never seems able to give a solid reason why Kerry would deal with it better than Bush would, and give details about precisely how. All they can do is complain about President Bush. Even those who support Kerry's plan for socialised medicine (the same system which is falling apart in Canada) can't explain how it would be paid for. Raising taxes on those making over $200,000 a year would generate less than $250 billion over ten years, which would only cover a portion of the estimated $1 trillion cost. (They also can't explain why Kerry the health-care crusader doesn't seem to have introduced any legislation concerning his best issue at any point during his 20-year Senate career.) In any case, Kerry supporters seem to need help. Well, help is on the way! If you're looking for a reason to actually support Kerry, instead of joining up with the anti-Bush, anti-military, anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-Israel, anti-America crowd typified by Michael Moore, the Hollywood Left, and sign-waving protesters in the streets, then here are twenty reasons for you to consider as your reason to vote for John Kerry.
20. Israel's security fence really is both a "legitimate act of self defense" and a "barrier to peace," and at the same time.
19. In fact, no matter what you believe about any issue, Kerry's on your side 50% of the time. Unfortunately, if there are three sides to an issue, he's only with you 33%.
18. Anyone who had the foresight to bring his own Super 8 movie camera to Vietnam to shoot campaign commercials for when he got back home is okay by you.
17. Kerry should be President because, as he said, he was born in the "west wing" of a hospital. This has nothing to do with all the other people ever born in the west wings of all the hospitals in the world, however.
16. You believe that Saddam was a threat with nuclear weapons. After all, John Kerry himself said, "If you don't believe ... Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn't vote for me." Of course, that would make the liberation of Iraq the right thing to do then, wouldn't it? Maybe you'd better skip this one.
15. He and John Edwards have "better hair." Aren't you glad Don King isn't running?
14. The company you work for doesn't pay enough taxes. If they did, they wouldn't have money in the budget to waste on you.
13. Europe wants him to be our President, which automatically means that you should, too... if you want to be popular when you visit your family in France, that is.
12. Kerry was in Vietnam for a few months 35 years ago, and he still remembers how to curse like a sailor!
11. Kim Jong Il prefers him, Iranian mullahs and other unnamed foreign leaders would certainly prefer him, and the CPUSA (US Communist Party) prefers him. You don't want them mad at you, do you?
10. He owns American-made SUVs... no, no, wait, his FAMILY does. Sorry.
9. He was in Vietnam for a few months 35 years ago -- did you know that? He was in Cambodia, too. The memory of his secret mission on Christmas Day 1968 was seared -- seared -- in him. Or maybe it was some other time, or some other place, or some other guy. But he has a hat to prove it... whatever it is.
8. John Kerry said that he believes we "need to build multilateral support for whatever course of action we ultimately would take." America should never act on its own, like other countries do.
7. He was the only Vietnam veteran to be honored by both America and the North Vietnamese for his activities during the Vietnam War.
6. The best way to deal with terrorism is to wait until they hit us again. "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response," Kerry said when he accepted the Democrat nomination.
5. After years of marrying rich women, shouldn't he finally have his own house?
4. Although he would raise your taxes, his speech explaining why would cure your insomnia.
3. You've probably already forgotten that he was in Vietnam for a few months 35 years ago.
2. As well as revealing at various times that he's Irish (but really Czech), Catholic (but really Jewish), and Liberal (but really Conservative), he will also be the second "black" President.
1. Ketchup packets with the presidential seal! How cool is that?
Posted at Sunday, September 19, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, September 16, 2004
The Fall of the Media Empire
Everyone has heard the old saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Well, Rome didn't fall in a day, either. Centuries of discussion among scholars, laying waste to entire forests in pursuit of printed debate, still haven't pinpointed an exact date for Rome's last gasp. Perhaps the Roman Empire "fell" when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 AD, or it might have happened when the last Roman-born Emperor, Romulus Augustus, was kicked off the throne by the German warlord Odoacer in 476 AD. Maybe the fall of Rome began in 286 AD, when the Emperor Diocletian split the Empire into East and West. At no point, however, did citizens of the Empire wake up, look at their calendars, and say, "Ye gods; it's the Dark Ages!" People living through turning points of history have rarely been able to see them for what they were at the time. It has mostly taken a backward look to discover the historical significance of this or that occurrence. Until recently, only hindsight could tell us which events were the hinge points of history.
When historians look back on the year 2004, they will identify 9 September as one of those hinge points. This year will be identified as one marking the fall of the Mainstream Media Empire. Not only did the producers of CBS' venerable 60 Minutes allow Dan Rather to base an attack piece against President Bush on forged 1972 memos, but they ignored the concerns of the experts they hired to "vet" them. Emily Will, one of those experts, said, "I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter." She sent an email to producer Mary Mapes -- who refused to interview Bush's old roommate on the grounds that he was "pretty pro-Bush -- urging that the documents not be used. Oddly enough, the email probably looked more like it was written on a 1970's typewriter than the documents she had been checking. Other document examiners expressed doubts as to their authenticity. Yet CBS not only used them, they steadfastly refused to admit that anything was wrong with them for nearly a week. Even then, Dan Rather tried to deflect the growing controversy over the forgeries. "This is not about me," Rather said. "I recognize that those who didn't want the information out and tried to discredit the story are trying to make it about me, and I accept that." If it's a forged document (no one seems to have the courage to ask Rather), how can it be considered "information?" What kind of "news" story depends on false documentation?
Within hours of Dan Rather using the memos (described as "newly found" instead of the more accurate "newly created") in an effort to "prove" that President Bush disobeyed direct orders and needed his record "sugar coated," those documents were exposed as fraudulent by bloggers. Blogs like Powerlineblog.com and LittleGreenFootballs.com, following up a suggestion in a comment on FreeRepublic.com, began collecting evidence that the memos in question could not be authentic. Not only do they violate nearly every procedure and custom regarding military memos, but they couldn't possibly have been created using 1972 technology without a great deal of effort and expense. Moreover, writing and keeping such memos would never have occurred to Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian, and the officer whom he purportedly accused of putting pressure on him to smooth over the Bush record, Colonel Walter "Buck" Staudt, retired 18 months before the memo was supposedly written. Furthermore, the odds of precisely duplicating the page and line formatting of Microsoft Word using the 2002 version of the Times New Roman font dwarfs the chances of getting struck by lightning while simultaneously winning the lottery. Perhaps the best appraisal of the documents came from infamous forger-turned-forgery-expert Frank Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me If You Can." In an email to FOX News Channel's Neil Cavuto, Abagnale wrote, "If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been, 'Catch Me In Two Days.' "
Before the Internet became a major source of information exchange, the mere fact that CBS vetted the documents would have overwhelmed any question as to their authenticity, for months at least, if not years. In their zeal to smear President Bush with the election drawing near, 60 Minutes producers -- and perhaps Rather himself -- must have counted on that. The mainstream media had that kind of unquestioned power and authority for decades, and power does indeed corrupt. CBS executives are still stonewalling, perhaps thinking that a few people sitting at home typing on their computers in their pajamas (as Jonathan Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News referred to bloggers) aren't worth worrying about. There are probably people thinking it's a good idea to sit tight and weather Hurricane Ivan, too.
When the Founding Fathers of this country ensured freedom of the press, they never imagined that Big Media would set itself up as the gatekeeper of information -- deciding what news to report and how to slant it, using its power to influence the nation's voters. There is no way to forgive this breach of the public trust. We have depended on the press to inform us in a candid and unbiased way for so long that the habit's hard to break, even when they lose their impartiality and become obvious tools of the Democrats. Since the Vietnam War and Watergate, the so-called "mainstream" media has been little more than a doleful Greek chorus for the pessimistic Left. The Internet, however, represents the ultimate free market of ideas -- instead of days or weeks, new information is transmitted and vetted almost instantaneously, directly by the consumer. Sites that do their homework will only keep readers as long as they continue to do so, because of aggressive competition. A hundred years ago, most newspapers were small, independent publications. Competing for the public eye kept them honest -- good reporting increases readership. Within a decade, we'll be in the same situation with regard to Internet-based news. Whether you call it Rathergate, Memogate, or prefer to ignore it, this foray into partisan-driven fakery by CBS is the media equivalent of splitting the Roman Empire.
Only this time, there won't be a thousand years of darkness.
Posted at Thursday, September 16, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, September 13, 2004
While Kerry Went Rambo...
It's getting pretty tiresome listening to the Left bash President Bush and Dick Cheney for not serving in Vietnam, when Liberals have spent the last thirty years treating that war as one long atrocity. After a generation of spitting on the men who served honorably and even died to prevent Communism from sweeping across Southeast Asia, after robbing them of the public honor they deserved, now the Left is falling all over themselves to promote John Kerry, a man who admitted to participating in the very war crimes they have denounced America for committing... and the very man who crafted the undeserved popular image of Vietnam veterans. Why do Kerry and the Left attack President Bush for not going to Vietnam, if Vietnam was a "degrading and immoral" war, as John Kerry called it?
Impartial News Network, Boston MA -- Senator and highly-decorated fearless Vietnam war hero John F. Kerry rightly attacked President Bush today for his utter lack of Vietnam war experience. The main reason to vote for a President is that he served in Vietnam, as all Impartial News Network readers know.
"While I was in Vietnam for four long months, George Bush spent a mere six years flying jets back in the States. I violated the Hague and Geneva conventions and the laws of warfare -- I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All George Bush did was fly million-dollar jets around on some mission to protect the United States from attack by Soviet bombers coming from bases in Cuba or South America. While everyone in Vietnam was committing their war crimes on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command, as I told the Senate, Dick Cavett and Meet the Press in 1971, George Bush was not doing his part.
"Why wasn't George Bush in Vietnam when my fellow soldiers raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires with portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blew up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam? If he didn't commit the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed, then he doesn't have the experience necessary to be President, as I do. I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. George Bush did not. The fact that no Soviet bombers attacked the United States during the Vietnam war means that George Bush wasn't doing anything at all to protect this country. All the other members of the Air National Guard flying the same patrols, however, were performing vital duties neccessary to protect this country, duties from which they knew they might never return.
"I referred to Vietnam as a degrading and immoral war in my book, The New Soldier, but I was a hero because I participated in that war. George Bush was not in Vietnam, where anyone who wants to be President should have been burning villages and shooting civilians. There is no record of him commiting even a single atrocity during Vietnam. How can he be President? And now we suddenly find out -- as we repeatedly told the American public in 1994 and 2000 -- that George Bush may have skipped a few meetings near the very end of his time in the Air National Guard. Although he did make up the missed time to satisfy his obligations, and was granted an honorable discharge, the real fact is that we finally found something bad to say about George Bush."
John Kerry went to Vietnam while George Bush didn't, and that should be the sole basis upon which voters make their decision this November. For those who want to consider other issues, Impartial News Network would like you to keep in mind that Republicans want to destroy the forests, start wars, kill the homeless, give tax cuts to the rich, discriminate against minorities and women, put everyone in jail, invade everyone's privacy and get rid of Medicare and Social Security. They will force your grandmother to eat cat food. How can you vote for someone who will force poor old Grandma to eat cat food?
This has been an Impartial News report, brought to you by our new sponsor, the Heinz Corporation©.
Posted at Monday, September 13, 2004 by CavalierX