Tuesday, December 14, 2004

bush friend

Bush of Arabia

A fascinating story in The Daily Star (of Lebanon) gives a glimpse of one of the great underreported stories . . . the popularity of George Bush in the Islamic Middle East.

According to the author, a self-described left-leaning English teacher in Damascus, his students were not only knowledgeable about the recent US presidential campaign, they were vociferously supportive of Bush.

Abandoning my lesson plan for the moment, but curious at this sudden display of interest in the election, I ventured: "Who do you want to win?" "Bush," said Rahaf, while a number of others nodded in solid agreement. I pressed them further for a few minutes, asking individual students why they liked Bush. The same ideas came up again and again: he is a strong leader, an honest man, and, most of all, a believer. Like the winning margin of American voters this year, these Middle Easterners related to Bush's sense of religious conviction and his confident steering of a nation and culture they admired.

This is an insight people like Timothy Garton Ash have been talking about for quite some time.

Back in March, Ash wrote in The Guardian that Europe has the most to fear from Muslim extremism because, essentially, they are non-believers while the Americans still retain the language and “imagination” of religion. “You need a religious imagination to respond to the music of other religions,” he wrote.

Bush has that imagination in spades as his critics frequently remind the world. But it seems, this is one “criticism” that seems to appeal rather than repell in the Islamic world.

Ash goes further to suggest that far from being agnostic, the Europeans are “evangelical secularists” who’s fundamental belief is that “all other forms of belief are symptoms of intellectual backwardness.”

This sort of chauvanism makes European nations particularly bad at assimilating their more devout immigrants. If to be European means you surrender your religious beliefs at the door, then few Muslims are going to even try to fit in.

The United States, on the other hand, is founded on the notion of religious freedom rather than enforced secularism. Religious fanaticism is a recurring theme in American history. Yet religious absolutism is an alien concept.

How does this difference in religous imagination manifest itself. A recent example might be headscarve issue in France. Their solution was simply to ban them. Makes sense to them. Perfectly rational. Ban religion from the public sphere and all the unpleasant issues disappear from view. I have not met a single Amerivan on the Left or Right who thinks this a reasonable solution. In fact, such an approach would never even be considered in America.

Although terrorists acting in the name of Allah murdered thousands of American civilians on 9/11 there have been no firebombed mosques in America. And although U.S. military forces have killed Arab civilians in the course of operations in the past two years, there have been no churches burning in cities with large Arab populations such as Dearborn and Detroit.

Says Ash:

America has a rare combination of religious imagination and an inclusive, civic identity. Europe has a fateful combination of secular imagination and exclusive, ethnic identities.”

It’s undeniable that the Muslim world is angry with the West. But who in the West is best able to deal with that anger, alleviate it and transform it into constructive energy . . . is it the United States or Europe?

My bet is on Bush and the United States.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Living in New York City

I feel sorry for my colleagues living in New York City. It’s absurdly expensive and increasingly homogenous. New York isn’t so much a collection of neighborhoods as it once was, but a collection of meticulously studied film sets where extras live out their dreary anonymous lives. You often see actual films being shot there but you’re not the star. You’re nobody.

Nonetheless, the cachet of New York is such that there is always a steady supply of newcomers who will do anything and pay any price to live here. And New York will not disappoint them. If you’re willing to pay, New York is willing to charge. The cost of living in New York City is 240 percent of the national average – nearly twice that of Boston and Washington, D.C.

The average sales price for an apartment in New York City is now more than $1 million. The median price is $655,000. That’s a lot of money. But what sort of value do you get for that? Here is the kitchen of an apartment currently for sale in the fabled Dakota on Central Park West for $4.7 million.


I don’t know about you, but if I were ever to accumulate the means to spend $4.7 million on my living accommodations I would be pretty disappointed if I couldn't fit a turkey into my kitchen. For that kind of money I would expect everything to be absolutely ideal in every possible way.

New York City makes you compromise even if you’re spending $4.7 million.

Another example. Check out this apartment in The Eldorado, also on CPW although a little too far north for my taste. This place costs even more . . . $4.75 million. But look at the floorplan. Two of the bedrooms appear to be in the water tower and you have to climb a spiral staircase through one of them to get to the other. This seems less than ideal.

In a normal real estate market this “apartment” would be a place you store roofing materials and elevator cable. If you were to buy it for living space you wouldn’t consider putting down more than $100,000 and that’s just because the view is truly spectacular.

One of the poor bastards I work with has two kids just like me and rents a cramped one bedroom apartment in Manhattan. He’d like to buy a place but he’s waiting for the prices to come down.

The more I think about this strategy the more foolhardy is sounds. I well remember the days when real estate was cheap in Manhattan. And you know what? It was cheap for a reason.

Fun City of the 1970s was a dismal, dangerous, and fetid Petri dish filled with the most virulent strains of Aquarian social decay metastasizing at a soul corroding rate.

Mayor Lindsay.

For whole generations of New Yorkers the mere mention of the name Lindsay sends a clammy chill up the spine as disturbing scenes of strikes, riots, sweat, grime and dented green and white Chrysler police sedans with pineapple sized roof sirens crawling crumbling urban jungles flicker up from the darker depths of memory.

Want to imagine what it would be live to in an affordable New York City? Rent a movie like “The French Connection” and “Midnight Cowboy” and take a good hard look and be grateful they didn’t film these two in Smellevision.™

Gritty. Filthy. Devoid of anything so frivolous as irony.
Chock Full ‘a Nuts, instead of Starbucks. Food City instead of Food Emporium. and evening at Bowlmor Lanes? Better bring a handgun.

Things weren’t “vintage” in affordable New York. They were old and broken and decrepit. Of course, as a kid I loved the faded glory of it all. But I’m glad I wasn't doomed to spend the final 20 years of my life in a place like that.

When I listen to my work friend talk about his appalling living conditions I now imagine a guy in Detroit around 1963 waiting, hoping, and praying that property values decline in Motown so he can step in and grab his piece of the rock.

Buddy, you don’t want to live in a city you can actually afford.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Friends of iraq

Here's a Worthy Tax Deduction

CLICK HERE to donate to the Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


It's the Stupidity, Stupid

There's a fine little debate going on at my friend Mark's blog, The Decembrist.

Feel free to join in a mix it up. But keep it clean and don't be stupid

The thread weaves its way through some interesting topics such as secret handshakes, spiteful bumper stickers, Social Security reform, and the nature of President Bush’s mandate.

My position is that winning a majority of the 120 million votes cast by a margin of 3.5 million constitutes a powerful mandate to realize the vision that Bush articulated during the campaign.

Mark’s position – and I’m taking a chance here by defining it for him – is that Bush articulated no vision whatsoever unless you count a series of vicious attacks on John Kerry as a vision.

In a narrow sense, yes, many voters made their decision based on superficial personal characteristics of the candidates themselves. But most of the electorate had made up their minds months and weeks before November. That makes me think that individual policy positions played less of a role in this election than did gut feelings about large issues such as war and peace, the role of government, the trajectory of our culture.

If that’s the case then Americans by a convincing majority ratified George Bush’s approach to the war on Islamofascism and rejected the approach that would have us treat Islamist terrorism as a criminal matter rather than an existential threat. Voters gave permission to the federal government to aggressively intervene in the private sphere to forestall another 9/11-magnitude attack and rejected the arguments of those who oppose the Patriot Act and a unilateral surrender of civil liberties. And, if exit polls are to be believed, voters are uncomfortable about treating homosexuality as an entirely ordinary rather than vaguely dysfunctional reproductive strategy.

This doesn’t mean the conclusions of the electorate on these issues are unassailably correct. It means that the political dialogue has moved in some distinct directions.

It means the Deaniacs carrying Bush=Hitler signs and shouting “No Blood for Oil” are wasting their breathe. It means Michael Moore claiming that the Patriot Act is merely the tip of the great fascist iceberg lurking in the path of the ship of state is talking to an empty auditorium. It means gay rights advocates are going to have to make their case in ways that are less polarizing, less threatening, and less condescending to people of good will who have valid philosophical reservations.

Ultimately, the election is not about individual policy decisions. It’s about granting one candidate or the other a certain amount of political capital. The voters gave George Bush a flush bank account on November 2 and he now has the prerogative to spend his political capital any way he chooses.

My hope is that he spends it boldly and wisely.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What Did Margaret Hassan Die For?

With any luck, the murder of Margaret Hassan may have finally assigned the Islamofascists to the category of “barbarians” in the minds of those all too eager to given them the benefit of the doubt.

In the south of Fallujah yesterday, US Marines found the armless, legless body of a blonde woman, her throat slashed and her entrails cut out. Benjamin Finnell, a hospital apprentice with the US Navy Corps, said that she had been dead for a while, but at that location for only a day or two. The woman was wearing a blue dress; her face had been disfigured. It was unclear if the remains were the body of the Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan, 59, or of Teresa Borcz, 54, a Pole abducted two weeks ago. Both were married to Iraqis and held Iraqi citizenship; both were kidnapped in Baghdad last month.

If it is true that the orgy of violence that buffets Iraq is the fault of the Americans, how then do you explain killing a woman who devoted her life to helping Iraqis in need, who became an Iraqi herself, and who vehemently opposed the war now being waged against her murderers? If murdering Hassan furthers the goals of the insurgents, what exactly are their goals?

"She came to help us and give us prosperity," said Hashim Hassan, a 41-year-old security guard at a surgery. "These terrorists are outsiders ruining Iraq's image. Iraqis would not destroy their own country."

Unemployed Yusuf Ali, 35, said attacking or kidnapping aid workers was a development that would only harm the nation.

"The enemies of Iraq are attacking power stations, oil pipelines and kidnapping foreigners and aid workers at a time when we need them most. Aid workers would be flowing into Falluja right now if they didn't fear decapitation," he said.

As Tariq Ramadan might ask, who gains from such barbarity?

A destabilized and weak Iraq might please the Theocracy in Iran. An anarchic Iraq would be one less worry for the totalitarians of the region such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Eygpt. And a nihilistic bloodfest seems to be the preferred mode of political expression for the Wahabbi wing of the Religion of Peace®.

And what do the perpetrators hope to gain? Power . . . of some sort. Even if it only the power to destroy. Even if it is only the power to take the life of a bound and blindfolded pacifist.

Should we (can we) negotiate with these people? Should we consider the conditions that have driven them to such actions? Or should we be more concerned about killing them as quickly and efficiently as possible?

Even the Arab world seems revolted by such a cowardly empty gesture:

Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news channel that was given the video and has aired the beheadings of several Western hostages, refused to broadcast what must rank as a new low even by the barbaric standards of Iraq’s insurgency: a woman executed during the holy festival of Ramadan.

Hopefully their disgust is broad and deep rather than circumstantial. Hopefully, the Muslim world will voice their revulsion and ostracize the minority who commit barbaric acts of cruelty in the name of Islam.

If not, we have enough Marines to kill each and every fascist jihadi. It will take time, and it will be ugly, but that is the direction we’re headed.

Or the Islamic world can reject the extremist cancer than infects it without the need for radical surgery performed by the English-speaking allies (with backup from Drs. Italy, Poland, and Vanatu).

That would be better for everyone involved. We can hope that the for once this fatalistic, self-defeating culture can defy expectations and behave like the wise civilization it claims to be.

That might just give some slight meaning to Hassan's death.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Prairie Bigot

According to The Volokh Conspiracy, Garrison Keillor, National Public Radio's sole correspondant in Red State America, made the following joke recently about how he is coping with the unfathomable victory of George Bush:

"I'm trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to Jews," Keillor smirked. "I feel if your citizenship is in the Nation of Israel -- like a Jew's is -- you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If Jews are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?"

That's the most virilently hateful thing I've heard muttered in public in a long, long time.

Oh, wait a minute. He didn't say "Jews." He said "born-again Christians." That changes everything. That's funny.

Is bigotry alive and well in America? Sadly, yes. And as always, some types of bigotry are more acceptable in polite company than others.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Wrong Move

I enjoy long, gloomy, mid-1970s German films as much as the next guy but I take exception to Wim Wenders’ embarrassing, pre-election, hand-wringing session on the Sabine Christiansen talk show on the German television channel ARD.

The director of dark art such as Alice in the Cities, The American Friend and The State of Things – as well as utterly forgettable big budget sell outs like Wings of Desire and The Million Dollar Hotel -- reveals himself to be as perceptive as Barbara Streisand when it comes to George Bush.

The Transatlantic Intelligencer reports that according to Wenders, America is turning into a fascist state under the boot heel of the Bush Administration.

“They (the Bush Administration) have made this country into an evil mixture [ein ganz böses Amalgam] of big business, petty bourgeoisie, and right-wing religion…. I still live there, but four more years of Bush I won’t live there, I won’t survive it. And the whole country won’t survive four more years of Bush. Before the end of these four years the country will implode like a giant balloon. . . .

. . . his (Bush’s) biggest triumph: his fanatic fundamentalist politics [sic.] has driven this free country to become also a fundamentalist totalitarian state....

Is anyone else troubled by how casually Europeans throw around words like “totalitarian” and “fascist”? I know they have far more experience with fascism than Americans do but it seems like they’ve learned nothing from the experience. In fact, saying the Americans are fascists conveniently devalues the entire concept of fascism and makes Europe’s Original Sin seem a bit more palatable for its heirs.

For that matter, claiming that Christianity and organized religion is “fundamentalism” also allows post-war Euros off the hook since that eliminates yet another of those pesky institutions with the moral authority to assign blame for human history’s most barbaric chapter.

The left doesn’t like all this talk about Good and Evil because they know they were once on the side of jackbooted evil but they can’t admit it because the greatest sin in the Progressive Canon is hypocrisy.

The thing about humanity, though, is that all of us are capable of evil. We have a choice and recognizing our mistakes is not hypocrisy . . . it’s penitence. And penitence requires humility, a resource in short supply in Europe -- particularly among cinemists.

Wenders should know more about the United States than most Europeans. He lives here after all. But he lives in one of the most parochial backwaters of the country (West Los Angeles) and seems to have absorbed a great deal of the local culture. But Wenders makes a mistake common among Europeans – he mistakes familiarity with insight.

Wenders has always been ambivalent about America. In his films it appears as a bleakly foreign land, an inscrutable vaguely malevolent force. “The Amis have even colonized our thoughts,” says one character in his film "Kings of the Road" after he can’t get an Elvis tune out of his head. It’s an intriguing place, but not one that Wenders really wants to know about. The flashing lights and strange colors are enough for him.

To gain a deeper insight into America, Wenders would have to venture into those places he would rather not understand. After all, it’s easier to say someone who is at ease with religion is a fundamentalist than it is to explore the reasons why that person feels such ease.

Maybe this deliberate ignorance is necessary.

I suspect those who are attracted to the group therapy aspects of leftist politics are afraid of getting too close to organized religion because they know they are inherently receptive to that sort of seduction. Look too closely and they’ll be sucked in. If you believe in nothing, you’ll believe in anything.

If Wenders held his nose long enough to comprehend the role religion played in American history and role it continues to play in contemporary culture and perhaps actually showed compassion for those he doesn’t understand rather than contempt, he might actually have the basis of a pretty good screenplay.

Too bad his career ended once he became popular. The opposite seems to be true of America.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Thank God W Won

Too polite to gloat? Or maybe you’re a closet Bush fan deep in the heart of Blue state America.

Paste this sticker on your Volvo and comrade dissidents will know who you are . . . but your Blue State fellow travelers will be none the wiser.

Buy one here.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

kerry stigmata

Democrats and Moral Values

It’s been a week of keening in the mainstream media about exits polls indicating that “Moral Values” was the top concern of voters this year – more than “Terrorism,” “Healthcare” or “The Economy.”

Obviously it was a surge of fundamentalism and bigotry that swept away the Kerry juggernaut.

Well, actually not. “Moral Values” was the top voter concern in 2000 and also 1996 according to exit polls reported by The Los Angeles Times. If it’s a surge it’s neither sudden nor unexpected.

Nonetheless, Values is the flavor of the day and cranks of all stripes are reacting to the “news.”

Jerry Falwell says he will revive his Moral Majority. This is like Chrysler reviving its K-car in response to increased auto sales. Falwell already played his role back in the 80s. We’re far beyond him now.

On the left you have folks like Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the secular National Council of Churches. Rev. Bob says, “You can't read the Old Testament without knowing God was concerned about the environment, war and peace, poverty. God doesn't want 45 million Americans without health care."

I do vaguely remember God discussing health insurance in his Third Letter to the Humana Regional Managers.

If this whole values discussion devolves into a shouting match about whether God supports estate tax exemptions and tighter CAFÉ standards it will certainly be entertaining . . . but hardly illuminating.

The fact is Republicans have a natural edge in the values debate not by design but by default. Democrats are unable or unwilling to talk about values. The best they can do is take existing policy positions throw a values tarp over them.

Thus, when John Kerry spoke about abortion during the debates he was forced into an intellectually untenable position. He said he believed life began at conception but that he couldn’t stop anyone from ending that life once conceived. He claimed his private beliefs were separate from his public positions although in the same breath he said his faith informed his positions on the economy, healthcare, and national security.

Strange how deeply held religious conviction is containable when it comes to a politically uncomfortable issue like abortion (or infanticide if you truly believe life begins at conception.)

Religion makes liberals feel creepy, which is odd since many of the icons of the progressive movement have been explicitly spiritual . . . Rev. Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Reinhold Niebuhr.

So rather than accept that religion is an important part of many people’s lives, most Democrats would rather ignore it or mock those who believe it.

My take is that people who are hostile to religion are 1) every bit as absolutist and intolerant as those who do believe in religion, and 2) they are simply too literal in their thinking.

It seems clear that many human beings, regardless of culture or ethnicity, have a strong desire to express themselves spiritually. This is not a rational or practical act. It is a passionate act. It is akin to artistic expression.

An agnostic scratching his head at a devout Christian is like a person looking at Da Vinci’s Last Supper and thinking “This is not the real last supper. It’s just a blurry drawing.” Yes, it is drawn. It is not the actual event. But that doesn’t make it less real. In fact, it’s more real because it was drawn by the hand of a person who never observed the event itself.

It’s odd that progressives are willing to grant validity to any number of dubious artistic expressions, yet are largely intolerant to spiritual expression, which is arguably more authentic than status quo art.

Perhaps all the worry on the left is due to understanding that the coalition that makes the Democrats a meaningful force in politics fractures along religious lines. African-Americans are among those who are most concerned about Moral Values. Yet the Democrats have nothing to offer them on those issues without alienating other parts of the coalition.

John Kerry campaigning from the pulpit of a church in an African-American community is a particularly jarring image not only because that sort of thing is crass, but because he seems so awkward and out of place. Blue state Democrats think that to compete on Values they need to out bible-thump the Republicans. But actually, all they have to do is relax and open their minds to alternative views on some sacred cow issues.

Moral Values is not about excluding others -- it's about recognizing human frailty and making do.

Listen to almost any country music song and you’ll find values and morality discussed frankly and inclusively.

There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney is a good example or Red Rag Top by Tim McGraw – these two songs hinge on the abortion issue, yet they are not about abortion. They are great songs because they’re not afraid to recognize a fact of life without rendering a verdict.

Play me a song or show me a movie that portrays someone wrestling with the dilemma of abortion and I’ll bet that it was produced in a Red state. For the establishment left, there's nothing to wrestle with. That issue is decided and no one dares to open that box without risking ostracism.

There are no pro-life Democrats in leadership positions. (UPDATE -- I am pleased to eat my words now that Harry Reid will be Senate Monority Leader) There are lots of pro-choice Republicans and the debate is lively in the GOP. In the DNC there seems to be no room for debating abortion.

The same seems increasingly true of gay marriage. That's unfortunate because the country needs to debate this and most of us are adult enough to do it maturely.

It’s been said that conservatives look for converts and liberals look for heretics. This week proved once again that when faced with choice between understanding the concerns of Red state voters, or digging in and not compromising, many Democrats find it easier to not surrender.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Ironic Quote of the Day

On his website, billionaire George Soros shares his wisdom the day after George Bush’s re-election:

Obviously, I am distressed at the outcome of the election. I hope, but don't trust, that the second Bush administration will have learned something from the mistakes of the first. What is at stake is our ability to recognize our own fallibility.

Hmmm . . . let’s run the numbers here.

One of these Georges just got 59 million votes and won the presidency of the United States. The other George just spent 24 million dollars on hate advertising and lost his money and his credibility as a serious political influence.

This is what’s called a “teachable moment” for one the Georges in question.

One of them, I hope, has learned something from his experience. Take your time. At stake is your ability to recognize your own fallibility.

John and Teresa

Hurray For John Kerry

By leading a vigorous campaign, attracting more Americans to the political process, expanding the debate on vital national issues, and gracefully conceding the election in the face of partisan pressure not to, John Kerry demonstrated that he is a true patriot and an extraordinary American. We should all be proud to count him as one of our own.

Thanks to Sen, Kerry, today we have an opportunity to resolve our nation's most vexing problem. Right now we can stop the cycle of partisan violence. I don't mean physical violence, but emotional and social violence. Our country has always be divided by opinion, but it should never be divided by culture, or outlook, or aspiration. We all lose when we hate our neighbors and dismiss their views as evil.

Divisiveness is a two way street. And this is the day to start to change that.

I volunteer to start.

I like John Kerry more than I was willing to admit. I think it's cool that he kitesurfs. I like his neckties a lot. I was looking forward to him browbeating Chirac in his native tongue. I think Teresa is wiser than she's portrayed in the media. I believe they are passionate about helping Americans less fortunate than themselves. And I think Jonathan Edwards is an extraorinarily beautiful man. (Sorry, I meant to say eloquent leader).

C'mon people, now. Smile on your brother. Everybody get together. Gotta love one another right now.

Accept of course for those barbarians who want to kill us regardless of party affiliation. Let's vaporize them, together

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

bush flag

I Project George W. Bush the Winner!

Not even close, thank God. All the lawyers can go home. But now I have no reason to check the web all day.

Monday, November 01, 2004


I'm Osama bin Laden and I Approve This Message

The indispensable New York Sun reports today that most of the mainstream media misinterpreted a key section of Osama bin Laden’s video endorsement of John Kerry.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), bin Laden is threatening individual states with retaliation should they give their Electoral College votes to President Bush.

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state") to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."
My initial reaction, since I live deep in the heart of a reliably Blue state, is that I can now vote for Bush without any fear of reprisal.

But targeting individual states for terrorist attack strikes me as a not very clever strategy to swing the election. After all, most people in the Blue states have already made up their minds to appease our enemies at all costs and the Red state voters are equally adamant about foiling those who would kill us with steak knives. Undecideds are likely to decide pretty quickly that Osama is campaigning for the Democrats and that they don’t want to be on the side of murderers.

But the real problem comes from executing this threat. If Bush is reelected by a slim majority, will jihadis from the swarthier parts of the globe descend on Idaho? Will the streets of Laramie run red with infidel blood? More importantly, do these guys really want to mess with gun owning religious fanatics who live in parched desert backwaters like Texas?

Hell, bring that on too!

Sunday, October 31, 2004



Don't worry. It's just a Democratic operative anticipating the inevitable.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

abu great

A Halloween Treat

I don't know about you, but I think this Halloween costume is abu GREAT!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Everything You Know Is Wrong

In the last days of a presidential campaign, the United States enters a wilderness of mirrors in which virtually all information reported in the media is wrong.

The opinion polls are inaccurate, the news is filled with unsubstantiated rumor, and voters relentlessly manipulated by national campaign organizations that exist for the sole purpose of manufacturing victory this week.

This is the moment the big fireworks come out. It’s a great time to relax and observe the swirl in all its chaotic splendor from a safe distance.

If you don’t stand back you could find yourself being driven mad by the sirens of punditry. To jump into the election confusion now is to imagine yourself as a judge in a vitally important beauty contest. Except that your task is not to determine which contestant is the most beautiful, but which one you think everyone else thinks is the most beautiful.

I’m satisfied to know that after years of unrelenting criticism, after mobilizing every possible form of opposition, after deploying all the talent, charm, fear, scorn, humiliation and hate, at their disposal, and after firing every doomsday device in their armamentarium at George W. Bush . . . the entrenched Left has failed to make a mark and the man still stands unbowed, unscathed, and unmoved.

Make no mistake. The last hours of the campaign will be a kaleidoscopic swirl of utter falsehoods. At the end of it Bush is very likely to emerge vindicated, legitimized, and with a mandate to pursue his policies with renewed vigor.

in that case there are three places I’d sure as hell not want to be next Wednesday – sitting in the morning staff meeting at MoveOn.org headquarters, presenting the President’s briefing in the Chambre de Situation at the Elysee Palace, and manning the barricades on the deserted streets of Falluja.


This Man Is President of the United States

911 attack

This Was All Our Own Fault

kerry and heinz kerry2

These Are Fighters for the Middle Class


This Made Us Less Safe

bush friend

This Is Misleading


This Is Utterly Impossible


This Is Patriotic

best friends

This Is Taken Completely Out of Context


This Did Not Occur


This Never Happened

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


George Bush For President

Funny how Kerry "supporters" rarely have anything positive to say about their candidate.

In support of my candidate I would say that Bush recognizes that we are at war with Islamofascism . . . a war that predates his administration but that was joined in earnest as of 9/11.

Bush's strategy is to defeat the most dangerous foot soldiers of Islamofascism in the short term with military force and in the long term alter the conditions that permit radicalism to flourish by introducing basic human freedoms to a region of the world that has languished in medieval conditions for generations.

You may disagree with that strategy or Bush's execution of it but that is the response the Bush Administration offers.

What strategy does Kerry offer? I don't know and you don't either.

But you can still think for yourself. What is the proper response to an intolerant, illiberal, misogynist political movement using religion as a guise and seeking advantage through the deliberate targeting of civilians?

Do you try to understand their concerns? Do you negotiate? Do you try to meet them half way?

Our Israeli allies have been engaged in this same war for decades, what can we learn from their experience? Does their continued existence depend on diplomacy or military force?

If you think that the Islamofascist threat is a bogeyman manufactured in Texas then by all means vote for Kerry.

If you think the threat is real, wouldn't you at least want to vote for a candidate who recognizes the true nature of the threat?

Your choice.

Monday, October 25, 2004

bush out


Election Madness

The shock of The New York Times' surprise endorsement of John Kerry continues to reverberate throughout the newspaper's Letters page.

Naomi Drew, a reader in Lawrenceville, New Jersey was moved to weeping when she learned of the Times' bold and surprising stand:

Your words, "we look back on the last four years with hearts nearly breaking."

My heart and the hearts of so many others have been broken each time we've heard of one more soldier dying in a senseless war, one more child left cruelly behind in the grip of poverty, one more assault on our precious environment.

But perhaps the greatest heartbreak is that in the minds of so Americans have been spun into a place beyond reason and the rancid foam of fear has clouded their clear sight. May the election of John Kerry restore us to sanity.
Unfortunately for Ms. Drew, bi-polar mania is a serious emotional disorder that cannot be treated by partisan politics. Indeed, hyper-partisanship is merely a symptom.

Drew articulates a common lament of the enlightened. If Bush is re-elected it's because common people have been frightened and manipulated. Of course, that the Democrats regularly compare Bush to Hitler and 9/11 to the Reichstag fire is merely a statement of fact . . . hardly a rancid cloud of fearfoam or whatever it is that's tormenting Naomi's private thoughts.

Sally G. McMillen of Davidson, NC agrees that the American people are our greatest hope, unless they vote for Bush, at which point they become a mind-numbed mass of morons. Sally conditions herself for the betrayal she knows is coming:

Today, the Bush Administration has created a disastrous situation on nearly every front -- political, diplomatic and economic -- and is doing everything possible to instill fear in our hearts and minds.
Of course, if Administration officials really wanted to instill fear all they would have to do is broadcast this, or this, or this. Interestingly, these things actually happened so a fair amount of fear might actually be warranted.

Am I the only one who reads things like this and hears someone ranting that Nazis and the Klan have undermined the Constitution by exploiting our fears? I believe the clinical term for this is "projection."

David DeGraf of Mount Rainer, Maryland praises the Times for speaking truth to choirboys and expresses some concern that bovine citizens will stumble into the voting booth and mistakenly cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice.

If only all Americans were as lucid (as the Times! --ed), John Kerry would have this election in the bag. If Mr. Bush manages to be re-elected, it will be a sad day for the nation, for it means that the public is far more ignorant and susceptible to manipulation than ever before.
And finally, Cecelia Martin Ford of the Naked City has had all she can stand with this democracy nonsense:

Those who vote for him (that would be President Bush - ed) in 2004 must take personal responsibility for our loss of basic civil liberties, the shame of Abu Ghraib and the bloodshed in Iraq.
Not sure how Ms Martin Ford managed to slip that letter to the editor past the storm troopers guarding her and millions of other patriotic dissenters but no doubt heads will roll (see above).

The thing I love most about BushHate is how the sheer density of it seems to distort everything within its gravitational pull. Democracy must be defended against deluded voters. Fear mongers are ubiquitous and deadly!

Those who suffer with the fever can no longer comprehend that tens of millions of fellow Americans actually like George Bush and support his agenda. They must be ignorant, manipulated, fearful, or sadistic prison guards. Maybe all four!

I'm also fascinated by the profound defeatism of the Left. Even in their delirious throes they are sober enough to be getting their excuses in order even before the final results are in. In fact, the blame for Kerry's defeat is intrinsic to their criticism of Bush. They hate Bush because he has made them what they are.

These aren't hate letters. They're cries for help!

Not to worry. Relief is on the way.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Spain surrenders

Spain Surrenders

The adolescent Socialist government in Spain is demonstrating its immaturity by barring U.S. troops from the military parade that marks Spain’s Fiesta Nacional commemorating the day Columbus first spotted land in the Americas.

American soldiers have marched in the parade since 2001 when the government under Aznar invited them as homage to those who died on 9/11. In their place, French troops have been invited to march through Madrid on October 12.

The International Herald Tribune reports on the undiplomatic reasoning of Spain’s new Defense Minister, Jose Bono,

Bono said on Cadena Cope radio that Oct. 12 "is not the national holiday of the United States, and no one is under any obligation to see the flag of another country in the parade, though it is a friend and an ally for sure."

"This is in no way an insult nor a sign of contempt toward the United States," the minister said, adding that Spain was "no longer subordinated and kneeling" before Washington.

Last time I checked, Columbus Day was a holiday in the U.S. And certainly nothing insulting about that “kneeling before Washington” line.

For a government borne of appeasement, you’d think the minister of defense would be a little more conciliatory toward the most powerful military force on earth.

He must surely know that if American troops really wanted to march through the capital of Spain they could do so at any time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

euro chirac2

The French Have Failed

Having failed to successfully negotiate, appease, and/or bribe the freedom fighters who kidnapped two French journalists months ago, the French government has fallen back on its greatest strength . . . denying reality and blaming others.

According to Le Monde, the Chirac government was involved in the “private” mission to win the release of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. This mission failed spectacularly over the weekend after promising the imminent release of the hostages. Chirac et al now say the mission was a dangerous freelance effort with no connection at all to the government which is calling on all the goodwill it’s earned in the Islamic world over the years to get its two citizens back. This effort has also failed.

The Last of the Famous International Playboys has a detailed description of the unfolding scandal.

The significance of these twin failures is that the French public doesn’t understand why their people were kidnapped in the first place. After all, France is allied with the Iraqi insurgents. The French are overtly sympathetic to the cause of Islamofascism and their suburbs are teeming with angry disaffected Muslim immigrants who rage at the injustice inflicted on their desolate and scorched homelands.

In keeping with tradition, the French have tried to identify and imitate the people who hate them. – See Johnny Halliday and Marshal Petain. In the case of the Islamic world, the French have tried every form of flattery to gain their favor.

They have failed on all counts and now their isolation and powerlessness is on display for even French voters to see. And they don’t like it.

France’s is a secretive culture. They have much to conceal and the public seems not to mind as long as nothing appears to go wrong. Example: The mysterious bomb planters on the TGV routes last year. They’ve never been arrested nor have they planted any more bombs. To the French, that’s a problem solves and best forgotten.

This one’s not going to be so easy.


We're All Pro-War Now

John Kerry’s debate performance seems to have revived his prospects and made the campaign for president a race once again.

How did he do it? What did he say on Thursday that was different from everything he had been saying to little effect up until then?

Kerry appeared to be taking a harder line than Bush. Kerry said he would win the war in Iraq, level Falluja, kill Osama bin Laden, negotiate unilaterally with North Korea, expand the military and strike preemptively whenever and wherever he chooses.

Now suddenly he’s more popular and I’m all for it.

I suspect that of the 35% or so or Americans who say they are concerned about the war, half of those are concerned that the war isn’t being prosecuted with enough vigor. There is no significant anti-war movement in the United States. We want to win,

Kerry’s caveats negate most of the aggressive stances he took on Thursday evening but just hearing him talk tough was enough for his image to improve.

The good thing about this is that now Kerry is applying pressure to Bush from the right where he is the most disappointing. Falluja should have been the Islamofascists' last stand and it should have been months ago. Similarly, Sadr’s Mahdi Army should have been defeated once, decisively, and driven out of Najaf months ago. Instead, they back came from dead and may do so again. Hopefully, Bush will take notice and unleash the Marines rather than hold them back.

Kerry thinks Osama bin Laden should be the focus of our military efforts. I disagree.

No one has seen bin Laden's face in three years. I doubt he has one anymore. In any case he’s inconsequential. Capturing or killing Osama won’t conclude this war any more than capturing Gavrilo Princip would have ended World War I. Osama was just the trigger man for a conflict that had been growing and festering since the late 1960s. You could even say that Bobby Kennedy, murdered by a Palestinian, was one of the first casualties of this war.

Kerry’s insistence that the war in Iraq is somehow unrelated to the 9/11 attacks is, of course, bizarre. It takes a conscious and determined effort to believe nothing would justify the shattering of the Saddam short of a copy of Mohammad Atta’s travel voucher signed by Saddam himself.

The question is not what justifies the overthrow of a brutal fascist dictatorship but rather what justifies the existence of failed states like Saddam’s Iraq, or Kim’s North Korea, or Assad's Syria? Are these states legitimate by some definition? Or do they exist because we allow them to exist?

I’d like to hear some candidate articulate that view. Unfortunately, I don’t think Kerry could even conceive of it.

Friday, October 01, 2004

bush debate2

Talk Is Cheap

I like George Bush. I like all his certainty and odd facial expressions. I like what little swagger I get to see. I like that he sees the world of constantly changing set of challenges in a timeless and unchanging human context. There are actions and approaches that elevate humanity and others that drag it back toward barbarity.

John Kerry was fairly forthright about what he believes are elevating responses to barbarity. More consensus, more dialogue, more deliberation. That’s certainly an easy way to deal with difficult issues. But dialogue only provides a forum for changing behavior. It doesn’t provide the incentive. That’s why focusing on treaties rather than the reasons nations enter into treaties is myopic.

It’s been said that Kerry would rather have a broad coalition doing nothing than a small band of allies taking action. I saw plenty of validation of that during last night’s debate.

The morning after criticism of Bush is that he looked annoyed and impatient. The DNC even collected a reel of grimaces. I love the grimaces. I feel the same frustration. I think the visible annoyance Bush had with Kerry’s absurd proposals to enlist the French to fight in Iraq or convene a summit meeting of Islamic nations or impose sanctions on someone is widely reflected around the country.

In words and in body language Bush expressed his profound impatience with inaction, equivocation, and nuance. Kerry looked authoritative but his words were elliptical . . . filled with buts and exceptions. That plays well with his supporters who generally don’t want to be prosecuting a war under any circumstances. To them, Kerry was convincing.

To the rest Bush is a man just like them who didn’t want war but had war thrust on him. And now he means to finish it. No plan for the peace? There never is. No exit strategy? You only need an exit strategy if you plan to lose. As Bush said, this is a fight we cannot afford to lose. If that offends the enlightened, then don’t vote for him.

Look at that face. I know what he’s thinking. Talk is cheap and looks are superficial. Let’s stop talking and get something done

Kerry at the NAACP

Is Kerry Learning Disabled?

I’m always fascinated by the popularly held conceit that Democrats are naturally smarter than Republicans.

This legend began in earnest during the Kennedy Administration partly in jealous response to rival Adlai Stevenson’s obvious intellectual edge over JFK who it turns out was a bit of a poser.

From then on every Democratic candidate for national office was portrayed as a fatbrain in comparison to his Republican counterpart. Hell, even Lyndon Johnson is a deep thinker according to DNC lore.

The myth continues mainly because it seems so important to democrats to promote it. Carter was an intellectual.

Mondale, smart.

Dukakis, brilliant technocrat.

Clinton, flat out genius.

Gore, uberbrain.

And now Kerry.

It literally goes without saying the Kerry is blindingly smart. But let me say the un-sayable. Kerry ain’t that bright.

He seems entirely devoid of emotional intelligence, that’s for sure. And I seriously doubt that is able to develop and articulate exceptional thoughts.

First of all, he hasn’t done anything notable in his 20 years in the Senate. Second, he is unable to capitalize on a deeply vulnerable rival candidate. And third, he went to Boston College Law School.

Let me explain that last bit. No offense to Boston College Law School. God knows they’d have never accepted me.

But Kerry applied to law school after Swiss boarding school, after Yale, after service in Vietnam, after the medals/decorations/whatever, after testifying before Congress, after running for Congress himself.

With a resume like that wouldn’t you think Harvard would accept him? Don’t you think a guy like Kerry would prefer to go to Harvard than BC? Don’t you think the only thing keeping him out of Harvard would be poor grades and an inability to gather and express coherent thoughts?

The Kerry campaign says he missed application deadlines for Harvard and Yale because his failed Congressional campaign ended in November. But applications are generally due in January. What was he doing between November and January that so occupied his time? The New York Times says he was building model boats:

In the aftermath of defeat, Mr. Kerry retreated, building model ships and planes and contemplating his options. He took some time off, then got a job as a New England regional coordinator for an arm of CARE, the relief organization.

"That was a sad thing," Father Drinan recalled. "Then he went to Boston College Law School after that. So we all said, 'Good, he's settled down.' "

The thing is, I can picture Kerry really enjoying building model ships and airplanes rather than actually thinking or reading.

I think Kerry is dumb. And I think he’d going to prove it tonight during the debate.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


Vote Early and Often

Swarmy DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe helpfully reminds us:

"National and local news organizations will be conducting online polls during and after the debate asking for readers' opinions. Look for online polls at these national news websites, and make sure to vote in every one of them:"

ABC News: http://redir.democrats.org/rdr/002UM00tPf0004S
CBS News: http://redir.democrats.org/rdr/002UM00tPf0004T
CNN: http://redir.democrats.org/rdr/002UM00tPf0004U
Fox News: http://redir.democrats.org/rdr/002UM00tPf0004V
MSNBC: http://redir.democrats.org/rdr/002UM00tPf0004W
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/

"And be sure to check the websites of your local newspapers and TV stations for online polls. It is crucial that you do this in the minutes immediately following the debate."

Hey, thanks Terry!

Kerry exasperated

The Legend of the Fast Finisher

Can Kerry come from behind a beat President Bush in November? That’s the last slim straw of hope many Democrats are clutching.

The New York Times reassures the enlightened with a front page story of how Kerry focused in the last weeks of his campaign against Bill Weld to keep his Senate seat.

. . . he and his supporters are counting on the reputation he cemented in that 1996 campaign and again in the Democratic primaries this year as a candidate who runs best from behind, a political Seabiscuit who pulls ahead after from his anxiety-producing slow starts.

I wouldn’t count on it.

First of all, Kerry came from behind in early polls to beat a Republican in liberal Massachusetts.

Second of all, '96 was a presidential election year and Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole in Massachusetts by 33 percentage points . . . one of the largest margins in any state in any presidential election in history.

Kerry’s margin of victory? Seven points

So Kerry was the incumbent Democrat in a Democratic state with a massive Democratic tide behind him and he still managed to win by only 7 points. That can’t be comforting news for professional Democrats.

The fact is, Kerry is not a “closer” as the Times would have you believe. He is a loser.

tony blair

Here's Why I Like Brits

" . . . [if you] take the first view, then when you see the terror brought to Iraq you say: there, we told you; look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.

But if you take the second view, you don't believe the terrorists are in Iraq to liberate it.

They're not protesting about the rights of women - what, the same people who stopped Afghan girls going to school, made women wear the Burka and beat them in the streets of Kabul, who now assassinate women just for daring to register to vote in Afghanistan's first ever democratic ballot, though four million have done so?

They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence.

They are in Iraq for the very reason we should be. They have chosen this battleground because they know success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents. They know that. That's why they are there.

That is why we should be there and whatever disagreements we have had, should unite in our determination to stand by the Iraqi people until the job is done."

Tony Blair

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I Due Simonas

The release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta is good news at last for the Italians. Yet some people still manage to find a cloud in all the sunshine.

But the kidnapping seemed to harden the position of many opponents of the war, who have said it stood as tangible proof that Mr. Berlusconi's policy creates greater dangers for Italy and Italians.

Francesco Rutelli, an opposition leader, said Tuesday that "we are all filled with joy" at the women's release. But he added, "We know full well that there are clear differences in our judgments of this war and the postwar, which unfortunately is creating more victims."

But wait a second. Aren’t the “insurgents” still holding two French journalists? Isn’t France’s policy on Iraq the polar opposite of Italy’s? What tangible proof is there that Chirac’s policy has eased the dangers for France and Frenchies?

Oh, I suppose you could say Italy rescued the two Simonas by paying a ransom so it doesn’t count.

But who among us doesn’t think France is attempting the same thing right now? Bribery is not only tolerated in French foreign policy, it’s encouraged. Why wouldn’t they want to give the Islamists lots of ransom money? Just put it on our tab, they’d say.

How come, with all the money changing hands and all the fraternal relationships France claims to have in the Islamic world, france can't seem to get it's people released from the "freedom fighters?"

What have the French gained so far by opposing the liberation of Iraq, opposing the stabilization of Iraq, opposing free elections in Iraq, and encouraging the fascists guerrillas? Kind words from their barbarian friends is about all:

Kidnappers of two French journalists sent an e-mail message to The Associated Press in Cairo, the news agency reported late Tuesday, praising France's "positive steps toward the Iraqi people," after a statement on Monday by the French foreign minister that an international conference on Iraq should include Iraqi political groups, including the "armed resistance," and should consider the withdrawal of American forces.

But the message did not mention two captives, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.

I truly hope the French hostages are released alive with their heads. But so far it doesn’t seem like appeasement has helped this time.


Quien Es Mas Macho?

My point exactly.

John Kerry tries to shore up support by appealing to his base constituency in the all important Asshole-American community.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

kerry football6

Quien Es Mas Macho?

During a rally in some obscure Red state backwater, John Kerry reacts forcefully to a heckler who confronts him with the dreaded sign of the W.

A young Chicano boy had to break up the nasty slap fight that ensued.

Even more than the flip-flip issue, the thing that seems to drive Kerry up the wall is any suspicion that he may be a dork.

Look how hard he tries to appear manly. He’s always posing for photos doing some ridiculous sport or another and he invariably looks like a fool.

Moreover, he’s always reminding the media that he is the boss. Here’s an example from The New York Times:

Instead of delegating authority to a single adviser, Mr. Kerry relies on different people for different advice. And, he made a point of saying in the interview, none of them have too much authority. "I am always in charge," he said.

What’s really bugging Kerry?

Is it that he feels that his masculinity is in question? Does he feel some shame about being so beholden to his wife’s fortunes? Is he insecure about not having any friends?

Whatever it is, he’s transmitting some strong self-doubting vibes. Yesterday’s Washington Post poll showed that with about a month to go before the election, more people dislike Kerry than like him.

This is absolutely remarkable for a presidential candidate. Even after years of vociferous BushHate™, lots more people like W than dislike him.

If it weren’t for his electability I’d say the Democrats made a fatal mistake in nominating John Kerry.

kerry beer1

Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

Have you had a beer with me yet?” Kerry replied. “I like to have fun as much as the next person and go out and hack around and have a good time.”

Look at the expression on that "regular guy's" face. Yeah, he's having a good time. He's soaking up the Kerry charisma at close range.

I bet he's thinking, "so this is what hacking around is all about."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

No Room for Debate

The New York Times Letters section is the closest the “paper of record” has to a comics page. It’s certainly as amusing and imaginary.

This morning Jonathan Margolis of Boston writes:

The dubious authenticity of the documents that CBS used in reporting on George W. Bush’s National Guard service should not obscure the truly important point in the affair: neither the White House nor the Bush campaign has challenged the essential accuracy of what the network reported, even after CBS issued its apology
Actually, the documents themselves would seem to challenge the essential accuracy of the report. In fact, as Margolis notes, the network itself has apologized for using crudely forged documents to support what, in the absence of manufactured evidence, is an untrue charge.

The rule of thumb here is that it is usually unnecessary to forge documents to support a true statement. Forgeries are most often associated with lies. I could be wrong but I don’t think there are a lot of people out there forging accurate documents to substantiate things that actually happened. I guess I could devote some time to reproducing Margolis’ letter to the Times but what would be the point?

Margolis concludes his missive by writing,

There is no more room for debate on this issue.
Yup, no actual evidence except fake documents and disregard from the White House. I’m convinced. Case closed.

Doesn’t this remind you a bit of that scene in Spinal Tap where, when recalling the death of their drummer, one of the band members says the police declared that this was one mystery that was better left unsolved.

Dan Rather’s reliance on primitively forged documents in his coverage of the 2004 presidential campaign has won over at least one fence-sitter. Says Arlene Williams of Sparks, Nevada:

The CBS memo story has made me more likely to choose Dan Rather for my news.
I suppose there’s something admirable about a person courageous enough to so flatly declare their ignorance in public.

I have to applaud Mr. Rather for sticking his neck out and not backing down until he knew the documents could not be authenticated.
Ms. Williams presumably is looking for a news outlet that will report first and authenticate later so it’s hard not to agree that Dan Rather is her kind of journalist.

Of course, if we could attach magnets to Edward R. Murrow’s cadaver and surround it with copper wire we could generate a fair amount of electrical current right about now.

And what would the Letters page be without a nod to the all powerful, master of both time and space who alone thwarts the inevitable victory of the forces of progress. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld of Los Angeles does the honor:

Karl Rove . . . should be asked some very deliberate questions about possible involvement in this setup.
And while you’re getting to the bottom of how Rove convinced Rather and CBS News to aggressively report a politically damaging story about George Bush and coordinating its attack with the Democrats, you might also ask him how he convinced the DNC to nominate a pompous Boston billionaire as their candidate for president.

But by all means, let’s end debate now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

bush cowboy

The Fortunate Son

The New York Times tries hard today to peddle the scandal of young George Bush the irresponsible fortunate son.

But they’ve been to this well so often and with so little success that now they’re slipping into self parody:

After the election, Mr. Bush returned to Houston, moving out of his small rented bungalow in Montgomery. He left the place a mess, with a broken light fixture and piles of debris, according to Mary Smith, whose husband was the bungalow's caretaker. Ms. Smith said her husband, who has since died, sent Mr. Bush a bill for professional cleaning but never heard back.

Good Lord! Is this the kind of man we want for President? Oh wait a second . . . he is President.

The BushHate™ crowd is surely being driven insane by all this. If Bush is an imbecile frat boy, why is he beating us? And not just beating us, but whipping us like a rented mule.

What they forget is that Bush as the prodigal son is central to the image of W: the ordinary man who rose to an extraordinary challenge. True or not, the legend of W is meant to be a reflection of the average American’s experience. Most voters spent their 20s acting like 20 year olds. If they had enough influence to avoid Vietnam, how many would not have used it?

Hypocrisy? No more than running a war hero as the candidate of a party of pacifists.

The Kerry campaign is trying almost as hard as the Times to tarnish Bush’s image along this vein. They’ve gone so far as to play “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival at campaign rallies.

The trouble is, this doesn’t tarnish Bush’s image . . . it reinforces it. It’s like these guys have never heard the lyrics of Amazing Grace. They are clueless once they’re out in Fly-Over Country.

Also, isn’t it a little risky for John Kerry campaign to be talking about fortunate sons? I think it’s the political equivalent of pouring gasoline on a concrete floor. Pretty harmless until someone says the words “Swiss boarding school.”

Then someone could get burned.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Kerry soccer

Kerry Hack Around Watch

Regular guy John Kerry spontaneously mixes it up with a cross-section of America's youth in the most natural of settings, a busy airport tarmac.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

CBS spokesman

Marian in Ratherland

A tightly coiled Dan Rather gave a breathtaking performance last night as he escorted 86-year-old Marian Carr Knox through the wilderness of mirrors that is Ratherworld like a Border Collie leading a particularly feeble sheep.

It was classic television.

The thrust of the “news story” is that while the memos saying young George Bush received special treatment in the National Guard are crudely forged and demonstrably false, they are nonetheless “accurate” in some cosmic sense.

Of course, if the story is accurate why is the only proof of it a set of forged documents and the memories of an elderly woman? That’s never explained and is clearly a pesky distraction to the investigative reporters at 60 Minutes.

But the more interesting story is the most obvious one.

It’s not whether or not a weekend reservist took a scheduled physical during a war thirty years ago. The explosive news is who used forged documents to damage a sitting president and influence the outcome of an election during a war that’s taking place right now?

The National Guard story is only interesting to people who already detest Bush. It’s just another screech in the BushHate™ echo chamber. To the rest of us the fascination is with the very public implosion of Dan Rather, CBS News, and the establishment news media.

It’s like watching Titanic but without the tedious Leonardo DiCaprio scenes. You know how it’s going to end but you still can’t take your eyes off the great ship twisting and contorting in its death throes.

The New York Times ends its coverage of the wreck today with a quote from Josh Howard, identified as the “producer” of “journalist” Dan Rather.

As of late yesterday morning, at least, Mr. Howard said that he still had the utmost confidence in the initial report. “Everything I’ve seen makes me completely confident in the documents, in the reporting, in the story, in what we’ve done,” he said.

Man, talk about whistling past the graveyard! I half expect a statement from CBS spokesman Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf saying there are no Americans in Baghdad.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Bush memo

Journalistic Integrity Watch

Here’s a notable item from the indispensable Power Line.

Do you notice anything odd about the memos regarding George Bush’s National Guard service that “60 Minutes” posted on their site yesterday?

They certainly seem pretty damming. They say Bush used influence of people “upstairs” to get him special treatment in the Guard back in the early 1970s

But for those of you alive and sentient back then, don’t the memos look a little unusual?

In the days before computers people wrote letters on a machine called a “typewriter.” IBM made one of the top of the line typewriting devices. It was called a “Selectric.” The Selectric could do amazing things in the analogue days. But one thing it couldn’t do was superscript.

Look at point number 2 in this memo where it says “Report to the 111st F.L.S. administrative officer . . .” That little "st" after 111 was not possible on an IBM Selectric, or any other typewriter of the era.

For that matter, I believe the default font of the Selectric was Courier not Times Roman which coincidentally is the default format for Microsoft Word which is fairly common today but rare in 1972.

I'm not one to traffic in conspiracy theories but these memos certainly look forgery-esque. But why would anyone do this? And in an election year no less!

Who among us doesn't want to see George Bush reelected by a commanding margin?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

kerry football3

Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

John Kerry hits the dirt after a high school football player yells "CHARLIE!! INCOMING!!!" loudly at the Democratic Presidential candidate.

kerry kitesurfing

Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

Sixty-year-old John Kerry demonstrating that unlike Mike Dukakis, he will never allow himself to be photographed looking like an utter fool.


Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

John Kerry connects with the common man by riding his $7,000 European racing bike around Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Do you get the feeling that Kerry really doesn't want to win this?

graceful kerry

Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

John Kerry trying hard not to soil his khakis or ruin his loafers while he hacks around some Godforsaken red state with a bunch of his closest friends.

kerry corndog

Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

Regular guy John Kerry seems unfamiliar with a corn dog.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

kerry football

John Kerry "Hack Around" Watch

“Have you had a beer with me yet?” Kerry protested when a local reporter once asked about his reputation for aloofness. “I like to have fun as much as the next person, and go out and hack around and have a good time.”

I’ll let the professional politicos figure out the real reason why John Kerry is losing to George Bush. My own opinion is entirely superficial. John Kerry is an asshole and nobody likes him.

Kerry is always at pains to show that he is just a regular guy . . . someone who likes to go out and “hack around.”

What exactly does “hack around” mean anyway?

Does he like to roam through backalleys in the small hours overturning trash cans? Does he relax by pitching pennies against a cement wall? What could he possibly mean? What sort of regular guy even uses the phrase “hack around?” It sounds like something a prep school dillitante might say to describe what “regular guys” do.

“I like to have fun as much as the next person,” is not the sort of thing a person who likes to have fun would actually say. It’s one of those sayings that cancels out its own meaning -- like the word “classy.”

Bush, on the other hand, is cool. He’s genuinely funny and he knows how to get other people to lose their own cool. Critics like to say that W was a drunken loser until he was 40 as if that was a slur.

Most people find that a refreshing change from all the obnoxious high school hall monitors who dreamt of being president since their earliest conscious moments even though everyone in class despised them.

John Kerry, like Al Gore and Richard Nixon, needs to be president. He is not complete without becoming president. His yearning is written all over him. He tries too hard.

People may not like some of Bush’s policies but the majority has always liked Bush the man.

People will never like Kerry.

And frankly, what’s more important anyway?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

kerry and heinz kerry

Who Among Us Doesn’t Like Teresa Heinz Kerry?

Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry is certainly more interesting and affable than John Heinz Kerry and I enjoy hearing her unscripted remarks because they remind you how important it is to be scripted in a closely contested political campaign.

This is especially true if your actual views on the issues of the day are so infantile and far outside of the mainstream that they would alienate millions of voters if they were not deliberately concealed.

The New York Times takes a certain illicit pleasure in reporting TTSFHK’s more indulgent ramblings, perhaps because to a Timesman they sound like world-weary wisdom.

Case in point: the Heinz Kerrys were exploring remote and exotic Missouri yesterday when TTSFHK blessed the bewildered crowd of natives with her thoughts on national security policy:

"You cannot solve problems by throwing stones," she said. "And you cannot solve problems by telling lies. And you cannot solve problems by wishing ill to other people. The only way you solve problems is by holding hands and talking about it. And that's what we want to do in this campaign."

Well, she’s at least right about the futility of rock throwing. That’s why we have bullets. But really, the only way to solve problems is by holding hands and talking? My seven year couldn't have said it better.

I’m sure Teresa is a nice person and all but she’s no deep thinker even after compensating for the preposterous accent

Click here, listen to all the words and watch closely to find out what happens in the real world when all the talking is through.