Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I almost forgot - didn't the Saudis fund al-Qaeda? Not according to the staff report of the 9/11 panel. This is the same report that found no links between Iraq and 9/11.

9-11 Commission states there is no evidence of Saudi government funding of Al-Qaeda
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington DC has issued the following statement concerning the published findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

The 9-11 Commission confirmed today that it has found no evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia funded Al-Qaeda. The 9-11 Commission also confirmed that it has found no evidence that the 9-11 hijackers received funding from Saudi citizens Omar Al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan, or from Princess Haifa Al-Faisal, wife of Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan.


What does Ed Koch, former mayor of New York think of Moore and his movie?

A year after 9/11, I was part of a panel discussion on BBC-TV’s “Question Time” show which aired live in the United Kingdom. A portion of my commentary at that time follows:

“One of the panelists was Michael Moore, writer and director of the award-winning documentary “Roger & Me.” During the warm-up before the studio audience, Moore said something along the lines of “I don’t know why we are making so much of an act of terror. It is three times more likely that you will be struck by lightening than die from an act of terror.” I was aghast and responded, “I think what you have said is outrageous, particularly when we are today commemorating the deaths of 3,000 people resulting from an act of terror.” I mention this exchange because it was not televised, occurring as it did before the show went live. It shows where he was coming from long before he produced “Fahrenheit 9/11.”


....

We currently are fighting the battle against a minority of fundamentalist Islamists whose objective is to destroy Western civilization. They are willing to use every act of terrorism from suicide bombers to hacking off heads to destroy and terrorize us into surrender. And Michael Moore weakens us before that enemy. How should we respond? With scorn, catcalls, the Bronx cheer and the truth.


....

Newsday reported some of Moore’s misstatements as follows: “At the start of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ filmmaker Michael Moore shows a clip of CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin saying that if ballots had been recounted in Florida after the 2000 presidential vote, ‘under every scenario Gore won the election.’

“What Moore doesn't show is that a six-month study in 2001 by news organizations including The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN found just the opposite. Even if the Supreme Court had not stopped a statewide recount, or if a more limited recount of four heavily Democratic counties had taken place, Bush still would have won Florida and the election


There's more. Read the whole article.
From F911 (emphasis added):
NARRATOR: A report like that might make some men jump, but as in days passed, George W. just went fishing. As the minutes went by, George Bush continued to sit in the classroom. Was he thinking, 'I've been hanging out with the wrong crowd. Which one of them screwed me? (cut to video of Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein in 1983) Was it the man my daddy's friends delivered a lot of weapons to? (cut to picture of "Taliban Leaders") Was it that group of religious fundamentalists who visited my state when I was governor? (cut to picture of the President and Saudi Royal Prince) Or was it the Saudis? Damn, it was them. I think I'd better blame it on this guy (video of Saddam Hussein smoking a cigar, dancing).'

It was the Saudis? Why not blame the Egyptians? Mohammed Atta was born in Egypt and carried a passport from the United Arab Emirates. Other hijackers also had UAE passports.

Atta lived in Germany from 1993 to 1999. He was recruited for al-Qaeda while living there as were other hijackers. Why not blame the Germans?

This is a retorical question. Moore is convinced that Saudi oil connections with the Bush family is responsible for everything. It only confuses his point to admit so many other factors.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Last night's news - "And It’s Only June… Bush and Kerry camps spar over whose Hitler images are more offensive"

So, how often have the anti-Bush people compared Bush to Hitler? Numerous. A consistent image during the anti-war protests had Bush made over to look like Hitler.

It can be argued that these are fringe folks. What about the mainstream?

The money behind Moveon.org and other anti-Bush groups is George Soros. He has this to say:

America, under Bush, is a danger to the world,” Soros said. Then he smiled: And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is.”

Soros believes a “supremacist ideology” guides this White House. He hears echoes in its rhetoric of his childhood in occupied Hungary. “When I hear Bush say, ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ it reminds me of the Germans.” It conjures up memories, he said, of Nazi slogans on the walls, Der Feind Hort mit (“The enemy is listening”): “My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me,” he said in a soft Hungarian accent.


One of the ads displayed on Moveon.org's web site last winter was a Bush/Hitler image. They removed it after Republicans protested.

Then there is Al Gore.

In an hour-long address punctuated by polite laughter and applause, Gore also accused the Bush administration of working closely "with a network of 'rapid response' digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors for 'undermining support for our troops."'


"Brown shirts" was an early term for Nazi. Gore is apparently saying that bloggers for Bush are Nazis.

Then there was the judge who said that Bush reminded him of Mussolini and Hitler.

None of this is new. Jonah Goldberg wrote a column in Sept., 2003 about how acceptable it has become to compare Bush and Hitler.

What does the anti-Bush side have to say? This is from Bush Watch:

Christine: This morning we've posted a link to the new Bush ad on our headlines page. The ad links images of Kerry with images of Hitler, and the Dems are angry. An AFP story says:

"Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer issued a statement calling the images "remarkably insensitive" and "hateful," and adding, "The use of Adolph Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong." 'They are trying to convey a comparison between Senator Kerry and the Democrats and Hitler," Singer told AFP, demanding that the Bush camp immediately pull the ads and issue an apology. 'The fact that George Bush thinks it's appropriate to use images of Adolph Hitler in his campaign raises serious questions about his fitness to spend another four years in the White House," the spokesman said. But Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt denied any intention to draw a direct line between Kerry and the head of the Third Reich and said the German's image came from attack ads run on the Democrat's behalf by the group MoveOn.org. Some months ago MoveOn.org quickly withdrew a spot linking Bush and Hitler, and the Kerry campaign said it had nothing to do with it. But Holt said the incident was proof that the Democrats had "taken political rhetoric to a new low.'"

Who's right?

Jerry: The point is there are two men running for the presidency: John Kerry and George Bush. George Bush has an ad linking John Kerry with Adolph Hitler. Thus, George Bush is responsible for introducing a comparison between Hitler and the candidates into the campaign, no matter where the footage came from. The trap is to get John Kerry to respond in kind. If so, the waters will be muddied in the minds of the voters, and the sometimes apt comparison between the predilictions of the Bush administration and previous fascist administrations throughout the world and throughout history will be negated. Remember, Bush, not Kerry, said a dictatorship in the U.S. would be fine if he were the dictator. Actually, the ad is very slick propaganda, worthy of hours of study by film students, particularly those interested in editing. Its intentions demonstrate how low the Bush campaign is willing to stoop, and this is early in the campaign. It's a despeaate attempt to shift the campaign dialogue away from Iraq, 9/11 lies, cooking the books on the economy and anti-terrorism, torture, spy leaks, and Bush's sinking poll numbers, to name but a few topics more worthy of our consideration. --06.26.04


Let's see if I understand this logic... Bush introduced Hitler into the election by showing an anti-Bush ad. And somehow this anti-Bush ad links Kerry and Hitler.

Do these people listen to themselves?
Kerry is running a campaign ad that says he will reduce health care costs by reducing the overhead of paperwork. His web site is supposed to have the details. I couldn't find them.

What I did find was a proposal to give tax breaks to everyone to help pay for insurance. He also wants to let people sign on for the Congressional insurance plan.

This is all well and good, but Kerry is offering tax cuts to people near the poverty level. Funny thing, people at that income level don't pay much in taxes.

Kerry's plan for creating new jobs? More tax cuts. He will also cut the deficit in half. Where's the money going to come from for all of this? He already pledged that the tax rollbacks on the wealthiest Americans will go for homeland security.

Speaking of homeland security, this nugget is buried in his security proposal:

Expanding Americorps to Make Homeland Security a Core Mission. Since 9/11, applications to Americorps have increased by 50 percent and applications to Teach for America have tripled. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration promised to double Americorps and then stood by as Congressional Republicans cut it in half. John Kerry believes that Americorps should be doubled and its mission expanded to include homeland security. Americorps members could be trained to help in emergency medical response, community planning, and other homeland security activities.

So Americorps is going to become an EMS corp? Young people earning college tuition are going to perform community planning?

Notice that homeland security means cleaning up after the terrorists kill people. This is echoed in this point:

Enlisting the National Guard in Homeland Security. Homeland security should be a central mission of the National Guard. Guard members should be trained to serve as personnel in the event of an attack, helping evacuate or quarantine people, assisting in medical units; and helping communities set up and execute plans.

Kerry is going to stop going after terrorists overseas, he will stop threatening countries that sponsor terrorism, and he will repeal the Patriot Act.

Since he is not planning to do much to stop new terrorist activities he at least makes sure that we can pick up the pieces after we are repeatedly struck.

Thanks John.

Michael Moore says that liberals don't try to stop you from seeing things that they disagree with. His followers do not agree. They launched a massive DDoS attack against MooreWatch this afternoon.

As I have said before, I suspect that the "DoS" attack was simply Mikey's server getting bogged down trying to keep up with all the hits. After all, his site offers to stream a commercial for his movie and streaming video sucks up bandwidth.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Bill Clinton says that Republicans have to have someone to hate and, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they turned on him. This elevates Clinton, it makes Republicans look petty, and it implies that the whole thing was just a psychotic episode on the Republicans' part.

Of course it isn't true but that's why he's called "Slick Willie".

Let's acknowledge that there was some irrational hatred of Clinton by some on the far right. This includes people who think that Clinton was involved in any murder plots. All of this came from a fairly small group, not mainstream Republicans.

The Republican mainstream had their own reasons to hate Clinton, or at least to dislike him a lot. His whole dismissal of their hatred is an example. He made a lot of gratuitous slams at Republicans.

During the 1980s, the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats was not great. There were conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. This changed during the 1980s. The South used to be solidly Democrat and solidly conservative. During the Reagan years, the Republicans made deep inroads into the South which is now considered a Republican stronghold.

All of this has polerized the two parties. The first sign of this was the nomination of Robert Bork for Supreme Court. Bork was possibly the best qualified nominee of his generation. The Democrats worried that he would force his views on the rest of the court by sheer intellect. Specifically, they worried that he would cause Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Bork was turned down for the court in a highly polarized fight.

More fights came after. The one over Clarence Thomas was especially bitter.

So when Clinton took office, the battle lines were already drawn.

Clinton defeated a sitting president. He wasn't very gracious about it either. The theme of his inauguration was "Taking Back America". As Rush Limbaugh pointed out you would think that they were celebrating Bastile Day.

In a final bit a pique, Clinton had the new batch of Democrat Representatives swear that they would not cooperate with the Republicans.

Clinton began his term with some polerizing legislation. He raised taxes (specifically on gas) and he passed some gun limits. In the process, he made a point of running roughshod over the Republicans.

No wonder the Republicans hated him.

As for Whitewater - the allegations were that, as governor, he manipulated the process to try to minimize his losses in a failed investment. He fought the special prosecutor every step of the way. When Nixon claimed executive privledge, he documented why and what was being withheld. This made it possible to fight. Clinton withheld more documents and refused to document why.

Billing records appeared in the most secure part of the White House. Friends of Clinton preferred to go to jail rather than tell what they knew under oath.

Something shady was going on and we still don't know what.

One final thing - the Right Wing attack machine. It is true that there are people on the Right who do not like Clinton. Are they part of a vast machine?

David Brock has written a new book called The Republican Noise Machine: How It Corrupts Our Democracy. David Horowitz who is named as a principal in the book takes a close look at the way he is characterized. Brock does not come out well.

Neither does Clinton as long as he sticks to this story.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Sex Offenders for Kerry.

A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons -- some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary -- to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states.

When the Left attacks its own. Arch-liberal Eric Alterman has a piece savaging Ralph Nader. In it he links to a piece from Front Page Magazine, a Conservative news site.

Two things here - first, Nader has always been a loose cannon. The Left ignored this for decades because they loved him. Now that he threatens their goal of unseating Bush at any cost they suddenly notice what a jerk he really is.

Second, Nader is right. There is no candidate for the anti-war crowd. Kerry is promising to send more troops while turning control (blame?) over to NATO. This is not what the Deaniacs want to hear. Kerry may have the most liberal voting record but he is running as a moderate. There are going to be a lot of people who want to cast a protest vote and if Nader is on the ballot he will get them.

Remember a few months ago the Democrats were saying that Bush and the Republicans are anti-democracy because of the California recall? Now it is the Democrats' turn. They are trying to keep Nader off of the ballot at any cost.

BTW, Nader uses felons, also:

Democrats Dorothy Schultz and Betty Elizabeth Hughes alleged that some of the people who circulated petitions for Nader didn't meet residency requirements and other qualifications.

Three of the petition circulators are prohibited from gathering signatures because they are convicted felons, the lawsuit said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

What does Stephen F. Hayes author of The Connection: How al-Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America think about the 9/11 Cimmission's staff report?

It was poorly worded, self-contradictory and vague. It seemed to reach conclusions not warranted by the evidence. And it added to the confusion on an already difficult issue. The staff statements felt like the cursory treatment given to an issue by an individual – or group of people – wanting to put the Iraq-al Qaeda issue to bed, rather than explore it in a serious way. Even the commissioners are running away from their own staff statements.


Everywhere Michael Moore looks, people are out to get him. Now his movie is rated "R". Horrors, 15 and 16 year olds will have to get an adult to take them. You would think that these kids never get into R-rated movies.

His web site is under attack.

Some very sophisticated individuals have been hacking into and shutting down our Web site, he said. It is an hourly fight to keep it up. We are going to find out who is doing this and we are going to pursue a criminal prosecution.


Of course, it is entirely possible that his web site couldn't keep up with the extra demand caused by all of the publicity. This is known as the Slash Dot Effect because it happens to sites mentioned on SlashDot. Of course, the hacker story gets more press.

Then there is Moore's threat to sue anyone who says anything bad about him. Slate has a lot to say about that.

All of this keeps Moore's name in the news and assures that his feature-length political ad will have the biggest opening of any documentary ever.

So why does Moore still sound like he is a victim?

A manned private spacecraft entered space for the first time on Monday. It only cost $21 million to build both the craft and the plane that carries it to 60,000 feet. Granted, it does not accomplish anything to make sub-orbital flights in such a small craft. Still, this is important.

To date, all space flight has been run by governments - either the US, Russia, or, as of a few months ago, China. These flights are amazingly expensive. They are also surprisingly dangerous - 40% of the Space Shuttle fleet has crashed.

Think of how fast air flight advanced. For space flight, however, we are using crafts designed in the 1970s and built in the 1980s. Why? Because of politics.

By coincidence, Bush's panel made its recommendations on the future of NASA last week. Their plan includes privatizing future low Earth orbit flights. The launch of SpaceShipOne shows that this can be done. It also shows that space craft can look cool.

So why was Jon Stuart making fun of it on the Daily Show?

Everyone else has linked to Slate's Unfairenheit 9/11.
Here's my link.



To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

A prominent federal judge has told a conference of liberal lawyers that President Bush’s rise to power was similar to the accession of dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler.

Maybe he's been talking to George Soros.

You would think that a judge would have better judgement than this. His reasoning:

“In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States…somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power.That is what the Supreme Court did in Bush versus Gore. It put somebody in power,” said Guido Calabresi, a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits in Manhattan.

Did the Supreme Court "put Bush in power"? Bush won the election according to the Constitution. Lots of people (all sore-loser Democrats) would like to have seen the courts find some way to waive the Constitution and inaugurate the winner of the popular vote. That would have been "putting someone in power".

A lot of Democrats were convinced that they could overthrow the election if they just kept recounting the ballots long enough using different standards until they got the result they wanted. Again, that would have been "putting Gore in power".

I wonder what this judge's rulings are like if he advocates ignoring the Constitution?


Monday, June 21, 2004

Kerry (remember him?) has said that promoting democracy will not be a priority under his administration. What does that mean for the world? The New York Times has an example.

John Kerry's view? As he told Oppenheimer, the Varela Project "has gotten a lot of people in trouble . . . and it brought down the hammer in a way that I think wound up being counterproductive."

Imagine if you are a Cuban political prisoner rotting in a jail, and you learn that the leader of the oldest democratic party in the world thinks you're being counterproductive. Kerry's comment is a harpoon directed at the morale of Cuba's dissidents.

Imagine sitting in Castro's secret police headquarters and reading that statement. The lesson you draw is that crackdowns work. Throw some dissidents in jail, and the man who might be president of the United States will blame the democrats for being provocative.


This is actually consistent with critisism of Bush. What ever you think about our invasion of Iraq, one goal was always to make it a better place. That shouldn't be hard. Between Sadam and sanctions, tens of thousands were dying each year.

Kerry, Dean, and the rest of the anti-war group think that this was swell. Who cares how many people die or live under a dictator as long as none no Americans die.

They won't say this but no other interpretation is possible.
I'm probably spending too much time blogging about Michael Moore but this one is too good to pass up.

Moore Film Title Angers Author Bradbury


Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel "Fahrenheit 451" without permission and wants the new documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" to be renamed.

"He didn't ask my permission," Bradbury, 83, told The Associated Press on Friday. "That's not his novel, that's not his title, so he shouldn't have done it."

Saturday, June 19, 2004

USA Today's review of Fahrenheit 9/11 says:

Despite all the hype and Moore's undeniable comedic talents, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a profoundly disturbing movie that struck me as far closer to heavy-handed propaganda than to art. Does anyone seriously believe, as Moore suggests, that the United States invaded Afghanistan primarily to pave the way for a natural-gas pipeline? Or that the war in Iraq was a single-minded effort to win new contracting business for Halliburton?

A single sentence captures the filmmaker's cheap-shot style. Describing George W. Bush's trip to Florida on Sept. 10, 2001, Moore gleefully declares in his voice-over, "He went to bed that night in a bed made with fine French linens." The way Moore presents this tiny detail conveys the impression that stalwart Democratic presidents such as Bill Clinton slept only on the cheapest sheets available from Wal-Mart. Maybe Moore and his fans can call this hitherto unreported Bush scandal "Linen-closet-gate."


There's lots more.

There are lots of ads by shadow parties attacking Bush. Here's a great one attacking the Democrats.

Andrew Sullivant points to Bush's spending record and asks why conservatives still support him?

The answer is that we knew what we were getting in 2000. Bush originally ran as a "compasionate conservative". Based on his record in Texas, this meant either "conservative on some things, moderate on others" if you were kind or "big-spender Republican" if you were blunt.

During the Reagan administration a frequent critisism of Republicans was that they were cruel and heartless. They cut the social safety net. Bush's version of being a conservative was that he would expand the safety net and defense. The result - no cuts anywhere.

Bush should get more credit for this from the left. As with Nixon, Bush is a lot more liberal in many areas than he is given credit for. Like Nixon, the Left is blinded by a war and refuses to acknowledge anything else that Bush has done.

The Right has two choices. They can support Bush or they can sit on their hands and hope that Kerry will win and prove so disasterous that he will re-invigorate the Right.

This happened to the Democrats in 2000. After eight years of Clinton triangulation, the Left wanted one of their own. Gore made a few speeches about class warfare but never really endeared himself to them. That's why Nader got so many votes. That's why Dean got off to an early lead by claiming to be from the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party".

I keep reading about how the far Right is disenchanted with Bush but I don't think that it is as bad as with Gore. As I said above, the Right always knew that Bush was not a fiscal conservative but he has a lot of other qualities that conservatives like.

Plus the alternative would not be a centrist Democrat, it would be the one with the highest liberal voting score in the Senate.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The San Fransisco Chronicle repeats the line about Bush lying as justification for the war.

In other words, one of the arguments used to justify the invasion of Iraq is fiction. In the months before the war, the White House nursed public misconceptions that Osama bin Laden and Hussein were in league. President Bush exploited this misconception -- by continually linking Iraq and Sept. 11 in speeches -- to help built support for the war.

Who is exploiting misconceptions now? Bush said that we could not allow a rogue state like Iraq to provide weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda. He did not say that this had happened yet. He did not even say that Iraq had already re-armed. He said that we had to overthrow Saddam before any of this could happen.

How should people react to Fahrenheit 911? Ignore it. Moorewatch points out that any attempts to stifle the movie will only help Moore. Look at what Fox's lawsuit did for Al Franken's book.

If you do see it, remember that Moore lies a lot. Don't trust anything you see. Selective editing can do wonders. To see how this works, watch Babylon 5 episode 74, The Illusion of Truth. (It helps if you have seen all 73 episodes leading up to this). A news crew films what seems like a sympathetic documentary then edits it to totally distort things.

Weird Al has some interviews like this, also. At one point he seems to get Emenem (a homophobe) to say that he is in love with Weird Al.

I had an insight about the Geneva Conventions - my generation grew up laughing at them.

Really.

I am thinking of the TV show Hogan's Heroes. It was about a bunch of American and British POWs who would sneak out of the POW camp they were in and sabotage the Germans. The usual complaints about the show are that it trivialize the Nazis.

While this is true, think about the premise of the show. As Senator Biden pointed out, the Geneva Conventions are supposed to be a reciprocal agreement between nations on how prisoners of war will be treated. Part of the agreement is that the prisoners will not make trouble. If a prisoner is caught outside the camp, out of uniform, blowing up munitions, he would be shot. In fact, if an operation like Hogan's Heroes actually existed and had been uncovered then probably every POW would be executed immediately. No government would take a chance like that so Hogan's Heroes never existed (even assuming they could have found a Commandant Klink).

So we grew up laughing at a show that violated the Geneva Convention.

In reality, Germany was not always careful about following the rules. During the Battle of the Buldge, prisoners were shot so that Germans didn't have to detail soldiers to guard prisoners.

The Japanese never signed the Convention and ignored it completely. I read an account of an American pilot who was captured. The Japanese government wanted to show the people that Americans were not to be feared so they put this pilot in a cage on a city street where passers by could poke him with a stick. They starved him, also. The accompanying picture looked like a concentration camp victim.

A Viet Nam POW spoke to my high school in the early 1970s. He was a helicopter pilot who was shot down. After he was captured he was transported to the POW camp by truck. This consisted of tying him to a barrel of gasoline in an open truck for three days. They didn't untie him during air raids. He was left exposed in the hope that he would be killed by his own side.

In the current conflict, no soldiers are taken prisoner. Civilians are captured and sometimes killed on-camera.

None of this excuses Americans torturing others but it puts it into perspective.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida

That's what the headline reads. What they actually said was

We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States. Whether Bin Ladin and his organization had roles in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and the thwarted Manila plot to blow up a dozen U.S. commercial aircraft in 1995 remains a matter of substantial uncertainty.

The same paragraph says

Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded.

That's a little different from the standard line that Bin Ladin hated Iraq so much that he would never cooperate with secular Iraq. A similar example of Bin Laden's willingness to work with traditional enemies is here:

In light of the historical animosity between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the confirmation of the Hezbollah role in the attack led many to conclude that Bin Ladin’s Sunni-populated organization would not have been involved. Later intelligence, however, showed far greater potential for collaboration between Hezbollah and al Qaeda than many had previously thought. A few years before the attack, Bin Ladin’s representatives and Iranian officials had discussed putting aside Shia-Sunni divisions to cooperate against the common enemy. A small group of al Qaeda operatives subsequently traveled to Iran and Hezbollah camps in Lebanon for training in explosives, intelligence and security.

So, we went to war with Iraq out of fear that they would provide al Qaeda with WMDs. Since then all of the pundits have insisted that such cooperation would never have happened - that Bin Laden hated Sadam more than he hated us. Now it comes out that Bin Laden was interested but Iraq never followed up on it.

So, why isn't that a headline?

The press hates Bush so they slant their coverage.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

More on Moore

I had some thoughts about Michael Moore's contention that individual expression flourishes under communism. Here is an interesting bit from Groklaw about freedom of expression in the USSR.


"State-sponsored censorship developed during the pre-1917 tsarist period, and subsequently found its full elaboration in the Soviet Union. Samizdat was a response to the attempt by the Russian government to control access to all publications and publication outlets. Samizdat referred to the practice of 'self-publishing' by dissident thinkers in a variety of areas, including political thinkers, academics and scholars, scientists, and literary and artistic figures in the Soviet Union. . . . "The punishment for producing samizdat or even possessing such self-published literature could be harsh, resulting in prison sentences or worse. To prevent unauthorized publishing, state control of the printing apparatus was so meticulous, that over long holiday weekends, for example, publishing offices containing typewriters and other forms of copying technologies were literally locked and their doors were sealed. The particular keystrokes of all typewriters were registered with the authorities so that illegally typed works might be traced to those responsible
.

Obviously, under communist Russia, Mike Moore would be locked up and possibly executed for his works.

And that would be censorship.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Interesting quote from Michael Moore (found on MooreWatch)

Distinguish between capitalism and greed. Is it safe to assume that on some level, you think capitalism is okay?

No, not really. I think our economic system is unfair and unjust and it’s not democratic and it has to change. When I say that last line in the film, "One evil empire down, one to go,” our system is the one that’s got to go. Now, don’t ask me what to replace it with because I donĂ‚’t know. I wish somebody would invent a system that takes the best things of capitalism and socialism and puts them together. The things from capitalism that encourage individuality and creativity and ingenuity, and those things from socialism that say no one shall be left behind. Why canĂ‚’t we have that? Why do they have to be at odds?


Ok, a multi-millionaire hates capitalism? He thinks that Communism encourages individual creativity?
In the late 19th century the deep thinkers came up with new ideas on how society should be organized. The two most popular were communism and national socialism (facism). In early writings, Hitler himself made similar worries about leaving people behind. During the 1920s and 1930, all intellectuals believed that one of these systems would be the future. No educated person thought that capitalism with its unseemly reliance on individual greed would survive. Just read some of the fiction from the 1930s. It wasn't even argued that the intelligensia would take over. It was simply assumed. Jack London, for example, slips this into some of his works.

Instead of being the future both systems crashed and burned, taking millions with them. What happened?

Both communism and facism were too big of a concept. This is not how people naturally arrainge themselves. It had to be forced on them. This required the creation of an all powerful central government. Since the government was more important than the individual, individual rights ceased to be a concern. Anyone who inconvienced the government could be imprisoned or executed.

Also, the great motivating factor in capitalism is individual greed. For socialism and communism the motivation was love of the state. It turns out that this is not much of a motivator.

One of the purerest communists societies ever founded was the original Plymouth colony (the Pilgrims). They shared all of their food, debts, profits, everything. After three years they gave up and allowed families to keep a portion of their own harvest. Suddenly women and children who had always claimed that they were too busy were working in the fields along the men.

As for individual creativity - name any great art to come out of the USSR. A friend was majoring in Russian in the 1980s. He studied for a few months in Russia. He said that the whole country looked unfinished. Wires were exposed. Ceilings were never installed.

Look at clothing or cars from the USSR. They were awful. Wendy's had a parody of this in the 1980s.

Friday, June 11, 2004

A couple of days ago I posted a link to a story on MSNBC abou what Reagan did to black. One of their complaints was that he invaded a black nation. This would be Grenada which Reagan invaded a few days after it was siezed by Marxists.

Was this a bad thing? The author of the article certainly thinks so.

How is Grenada doing today?

Grenada relies on tourism as its main source of foreign exchange, especially since the construction of an international airport in 1985. Strong performances in construction and manufacturing, together with the development of an offshore financial industry, have also contributed to growth in national output.

Contrast that with Haiti which Clinton invaded.

I just did a Google news search on Haiti and picked a story at random from a list of disasters. I did the same with Grenada. Besides stories on Reagan, the stories listed were about Grenada's soccer team coming to Columbus to play. That's only two miles from my house.

Anyway, for a country that was crushed by Reagan, Grenada is doing pretty well, far better than one 'helped' by Clinton.
A Dominican factory that makes Levi's jeans in a Haitian free-trade zone plans to close and lay off 700 Haitian employees, citing labour disruptions.

The decision is a blow to Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, where most people are jobless and the political situation has become more fragile since the February rebellion that ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president.
A woman frm the DNC came to my door today. She told me that they were going to turn Bush ot of the White House and elect Kerry. I told her that they would have to do it without my help and that she should go away.

She seemed shocked.

Two possibilities. Polls show that Bush and Kerry are running pretty close but every image in the media seems to be of a Bush-hater. This happened with Reagan. His numbers in polls were never as high as they were in actual elections. Possibly the same thing is happening with Bush. People will vote for him in the privacy of the voting booth but they will not say so to a Kerry supporter.

The other possibility is that the woman was given a targeted list of likely Kerry supporters and I was on it for some reason. My wife gets mass mailings from Hillary Clinton. Maybe a catalogue we bought from sold their mailing list to the DNC.

If the second one is true then the DNC is not making good use of their money. If the first one is true then the DNC is in trouble ths November.

I should mention that last week I got a photo of Bush in the mail along with a request for money. Probably the Republicans bought my name from Reason Magazine. They are doing a much better job of locating potential voters.

Back in the 1980s I had several friends who assumed that everyone shared their political views. As a result they were handing out buttons with slogans like, "Friends don't let friends vote Republican" and "Lobotomize Republicans, it's not just a good idea, it's the law."

I had forgotten just how pervasivly the culture hated Reagan. It's hard to think of a single positive portrail of him in any media during his presidency. This is true in general with presidents but it was especially true of Reagan.

Funny thing about Bush-41. I was not watching SNL at that time so I wondered why the morning DJs always did such strange impressions of G.H.W.Bush. I eventually realized that they were doing impressions of Dana Carvy doing Bush. Just as no one thinks of Patten without thinking of George C. Scott's movie, no one thought of Bush-41 without thinking of Carvey.

I think that this was when Bush lost the election. He was so disconnected from the public that their image of him was actualy a comedy bit.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Reagan and Race.

MSNBC has a column on things that Reagan did to black people.

After taking office in 1981, Reagan began a sustained attack on the government’s civil rights apparatus, opened an assault on affirmative action and social welfare programs, embraced the white racist leaders of then-apartheid South Africa and waged war on a tiny, black Caribbean nation.

"Ronald Reagan, it is fair to say, was really an anathema to the entire civil rights community and the civil rights agenda,” Ronald W. Walters, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, told BET.com just a few hours after Reagan died, at age 93, on Saturday.


Is this an accurate account and is it justified?

The question of America's proper relationship with its black citizens has been going on since 1619. Among many people it is an act of faith that there must be set-asides and quotas to rectify the sins of past generations. Reagan along with anyone with Libertarian leanings did not believe in this.

Further in the article they give a list of specific charges. Many are moral indignation over preceived slights (Began his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., near the site where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964.) but in the middle of them is this:
Appointed people like Clarence Thomas, who later became a horrible Supreme Court Justice, to the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Why is Clarence Thomas a horrible justice? Because he is against racial preferences (plus he is generally conservative which put him at odds with most black leaders). The most common complaint about Thomas is that he is where he is because of racial preferences so he should be willing to give others the same advantage.

Think about that. How would you react if, for the rest of your career, people said that you could never have gotten where you are without special help?

I assume that Clarence Thomas is proud of his accomplishments but over and over his critics say that he does not deserve them, that he should be grateful for being where he dosen't belong, and that he should pass this favor on to others.

What if there were no racial preferences? What if Thomas had completed in a level playing field? Could he have made it anyway? He probably thinks so but we will never know.

If I was Thomas I would hate racial preferences with a passion. Preferences are never good no matter who they help.

And that is why Reagan and conservatives in general hate them. They turn individual responsibility into group victimhood.

Another of the points against Reagan:
Doubted the integrity of civil rights leaders, saying, “Sometimes I wonder if they really mean what they say, because some of those leaders are doing very well leading organizations based on keeping alive the feeling that they're victims of prejudice."

Just because Reagan said it does not meant that it is not true.

School choice is an interesting outgrowth of the Reagan administration. To many liberals, school choice either means "white flight" or "religious indoctranation." They see this as being anti-black and against the constitution.

Private schools are well established in the US. Church-run schools are also doing well and are not necessarily meant as religious indoctrination. When liberals complain about church-run schools they are thinking of Baptist-run ones but the Catholic church is still the major force in religeous education. Interestingly, 60% of the attendies are not Catholic (at least in Central Ohio). They are just kids whose parents think that they will get a better education there than in public school.

This has always been an option for the rich. Even liberals sound conservative when talking about their own kids.

'No, I think it’s important and the first five years she went to public school, then we moved to New York and we went to see the local public school and we walked through a metal detector and we said, “We’re not putting our child through a metal detector.” We’ll continue our fight to see to it that our society is such that you don’t have to have a metal detector at the entrance to schools. But our daughter is not the one to be sacrificed to make things better. And so she went to a school two blocks away. She just went to the nearest other school.’

‘Is that a bad thing?’ he asks rhetorically of his decision, ‘I don’t know. Every parent wants to do what’s best for their child. Whatever I can afford, I’m going to get my kid the best education I can get.’

‘I’m not a liberal. When you come from the working class and you do well enough whereby you can provide a little bit better for your family, get a decent roof over their head and send them to a good school, that’s considered a good thing. If,’ he emphasises, ‘you’re from the working class. What’s bad about it is if you get to do that and then shut the door behind you so nobody else can do that.’

Michael Moore

The rich can do this out of their own pockets. What about the rest of America? They are supposed to fill the public schools. They may not learn math but they will benefit from the diversity. It also makes sure that the rich and powerful will stay that way. They will be the only ones with good educations.

School vouchers and charter schools give people a chance find the school that best fits their child. Most public schools are geared to the average, plodding student. Smart kids tend to get lost in the system or, worse, they are penalized. God help them if they have a problem such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). As the father of such a student, I am speaking from personal experience here.

But who uses charter schools and vouchers the most? Blacks!

What a surprise. Many black parents want the sae opertunity for their kids that Michael Moore wants for his. Moore is a multi-millionare so he can afford a Catholic school in Manhatten. Poor black families cannot so this without government assistance.

Critics of vouchers abnd charter schools often cite studies showing that these schools do no better than public education. These studies are intellectually and morally backrupt since they do not make any allowances for the socio-economic background of the children. For example, many charter schools specialize in helping students how have behavioural or learning problems yet their test scores are lumped in with other alternative schools and compared with public schools.

School vouchers and charter schools are beginning to drive a wedge between black leaders and blacks in general. Like the rest of America, blacks want to do right for their children.

Without Reagan this would not be possible.
A few more thoughts about Reagan.

In the 1970s Democrats ruled the south. The Republican party didn't stand for much - Nixon was to the right of Clinton. The march of communism had slowed but still progressed, especially in South America.

The country was in a funk. Inflation was a problem from Nixon through Carter. Nixon tried a wage/price freeze. Ford tried WIN buttons (Whip Inflation Now). Carter didn't try much of anything. Neither Ford who came from Congress nor Carter who had no idea how Congress worked could accomplish anything.

Tax rates were outrageous. The progressive rates meant that you could never keep up with inflation. If the inflation rate was 12% (it was under Carter), you likely got 5%-6% wage increases but this pushed you into a new tax rate so you only saw 4%-5% of he increase (which was less than inflation anyway).

They came up with a new word for the economy - stagflation which meant a stagnant economy with high inflation.

Then came Reagan. Somehow he got his tax cuts through Congress. Between that and a painful recession, inflation dropped below 5% and never climbed back. By 1984 the economy was roaring. No one has mentioned stagflation since.

Reagan realigned the country. In the 1970s most people were registered as Democrats. Now most are independents who vote Republican. The South is now a Republican stronghold. Communism is nearly gone.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I grew up in the 1960s and came of age in the 1970s. The biggest message I got from the counter-culture of the 60s was that the government tended to mess things up and that the federal government messed up more than the states which mess up more than local government.

When Reagan said these same things in 1976 I was sold. I remember watching the 1976 Republicn convention. When they introduced Reagan, a few minutes were set aside for cheering. Instead of following the script, the convention cheered for 20 minutes or more. I wished that the convention would dump Ford and go with a real candidate.

Of course, they had to nominate Ford and he lost to Carter. Four years later Reagan got his chance. Our polling place was jammed. We had to wait an hour to vote and when we got to the head of the line, they had lost my wife's name. She had to get the notice of where to vote which proved that she was registered, then she stood in line for a second hour. She did this because we felt that Reagan needed our vote.

It is strange hearing Kerry say good things about Reagan. I am sure that he hated Reagan at the time. All Democrats did. They painted Reagan with the same brush they use on Bush - stupid, a tool of interest groups. They were sure that his Attorney General was plotting to abolish civil rights. He was caracturized on TV and in the movies as a likeable dunce, blowing up the world without even realizing it.

Even today, the Democratic message boards are blaming Reagan for AIDS. activists were certain at the time that a cure for AIDS would be simple and only required a little more money. Even today the best that we can do is extend the time that it takes for HIV to turn into AIDS. The only way to avoid AIDS is safe sex. We knew that under Reagan.

The Reagan administration was not perfect and it made several mistakes during his second term but it was still the best administration in my lifetime.

When Reagan took office inflation was running at 12% and higher. Economists said that it could never get below 9% - it was built into the economy. I don't think that it has hit 6% since then and has been in the 1% to 2% range since.

This affects everyone. When inflation is running at 12% your savings are worthless but you cannot afford to buy anything. My second house cost twice what my first one did but the payments are only 50% higher because of the difference in interest rates.

In 1980 communism was still expanding. Now if has virtually vanished.

Under Jimmy Carter, the armed services tried to rescue the hostages in Iran but mechanical failure stopped them. Reagan revitalized the armed services. Many of the weapons systems in use today were started under his administration.

The world is a better place because of the Reagan presidency

Friday, June 04, 2004

What does Kerry do for fun?

He rides around in a speed boat that gets .68 MPG. That's 2/3 mile per gallon.

No wonder Nader was sceptical about Kerry's commitment to ending dependance on oil.
Did al-Qaida trainee warn FBI before 9/11?

More than a year before 9/11, a Pakistani-British man told the FBI an incredible tale: that he had been trained by bin Laden’s followers to hijack airplanes and was now in America to carry out an attack. The FBI questioned him for weeks, but then let him go home, and never followed up. Now, the former al-Qaida insider is talking.

Note that this happened in 2000 while Clinton was still "shaking the trees".


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It turns out that the Michael Moore Watch was under a denial of service (DOS) attack last week.

I doubt that I will see The Day After Tomorrow. I dislike message movies. They seem contrived. If I disagree with the message I want to argue with the movie. If I agree then I still feel used.


However, Wired has an interesting take on it.



By the film's end, Emmerich has taken his look-on-the-bright-side theme to its ultimate conclusion, showing us that the super-storms are a kind of planetary sneeze -- a necessary reaction to a bit of pollution. Forget human suffering and cataclysmic change, Emmerich tells us. Global climate shifts are a pretty good thing in the long run.

By dodging the deeper questions of nature, science and humanity that were within his grasp, Emmerich has created an incredible special effect: a feel-good movie about the end of our world.


Maybe I will go after all.

Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) on The Day After: "This movie makes Shrek II seem realistic."

Or maybe not.

Speaking of message movies, Tech Central Station points out that the mainstream media is catching onto Supersize Me.

When it comes to criticism, Morgan Spurlock, director of "Super Size Me," can dish it out, but he sure can't take it. Ask him a tough question, and he turns to blubber.


Suddenly, journalists are beginning to catch on to the fact that his documentary, which has received fawning reviews, is actually a repulsive and dishonest piece of puerile entertainment -- vomit and rectal exams tarted up with sociology and politics.


Or maybe the sponsors got to them.

Film documentary “Super Size Me,” a critical look at the health impact of a fast-food only diet, has been downsized at MTV, which has refused to air advertisements for the film, its distributors said Wednesday.

An MTV spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment. MTV and VH1 are owned by media giant Viacom Inc , which depends on advertising for a major portion of revenues
.

Gore's speech about Bush was covered pretty well but they went from the text. Apparantly his delivery went a bit far. Check out this photo

Maureen Dowd's comment:

John Kerry's advisers were surprised and annoyed to hear that Mr. Gore hollered so much, he made Howard Dean look like George Pataki. They don't want voters to be reminded of the wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party.

And I am pretty sure that she voted for Gore.

Take a close look at Kerry's official web site


The banner just says John Kerry President.

He almost postponed accepting the nomintation for a month but he already accepted the office?


Folks in a different reality



They talk about Bush the Beheader and fearing Diebold (a company that makes voting machines) more than Al Qaeda.


Which brings me to Eric Alterman.



"you can also find the Pew survey which we’ve not discussed much either, but I think is pretty consistent with "What Liberal Media" if you are not an idiot."

The survey shows that liberals outnumber conservatives by a good margin in the news media as opposed to the general population where conservatives outnumber liberals. It also shows that self-described moderates are more in line with viewpoints that the population in general identifies as liberal. This means that a lot of "moderates" only think of themselves as moderate because they share a profession with Eric Alterman.

So how is that consistent with "What Liberal Media"?

More on Eric Alterman's strange to have a grasp of reality.

In New York at least, Al Franken is creaming rush in the Arbitron ratings, and that’s being done, as everybody keeps pointing out, with a semipro operation surrounding him. Imagine what Al and Air America will do to Rush once they know what they are doing?

So, how badly is Rush getting creamed in New York?

It seems that WLIB which broadcasts Air America in New York got a 3.4 rating while WABC-AM got 3.2. THis was for the 10 am to 3 pm block which includes the three hours that Rush and Franken go head to head. That is around 6% higher audience.

Keep in mind that Rush has been on the air for 15+ years and this was Air America's first month; the ratings were for a five hour block of which Rush and Franken were only three hours; and Air America got the biggest launch possible for any radio station with stories on all of the national news shows, a full Nightline show, and spots on everything from the Daily Show to local radio. All of that publicity and they are in a dead heat in one of the more liberal markets in the country. That's creaming Rush?

I wonder what their ratings are now that the novelty has worn off? I bet that they are less than half what they were at launch.




More on Kerry's delayed acceptance of the nomination:


The senator chuckled at the criticism.

"Once again, the Republicans don't know history, and they don't know facts," he said. "The truth is that it used to be that the convention, after nomination, traveled to the home or the state of the nominee to inform them they've been nominated. Woodrow Wilson was at his house in Princeton, N.J.; Harry Truman was in Independence," Mo., he said. "They're trying to make an issue out of something that they're surprised by, because . . . they're very upset someone might have a way of neutralizing their advantage."


But... it turns out that Truman did accept the nomination at the convention and that Wilson was at Sea Girt, NJ, not Princeston.


Here is my take on it:

The candidates get to spend $75 million in public funds between the convention and the election. They can spend primary funds prior to the convention. Since Kerry passed on matching funds, he can raise and spend money right up until he becomes the candidate. At that point he is bound to the $75 million.

That gives Bush an advantage in spending.

This advantage is negated by the fact that most of the money spent to elect Kerry will be spent by shadow campaigns.

The idea of the candidate not being present goes back to the days when the convention actually chose the candidate. This is now done by the primaries with the convention being nothing but a free campaign ad for the party. Even now the candidate is supposed to be off-site waiting for the vote. The high point is supposed to be candidate accepting the nomination.

Unless Kerry proposed to boycott the convention and give up free air time, he would have had to stand before the convention and tell the world, "Thank you for this nomination. I will think about it."

The dumb thing is that no one forced the Dems to hold their convention so early. They knew all about campaign finance law.

Kerry admitted that he will accept the nomination at the convention so the whole thing did nothing but leave a bad taste in people's mouths.

On the other hand, considering how he sinks in the polls whenever he gets coverage, he might be better off avoiding the convention.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A few weeks ago Richard Clarke made headlines telling that just after Sept. 11, Bush took him aside and asked him to look into links with Iraq. Clarke was agast that Bush would ask this question. It was clearly Al Qaeda. Bush ordered him to look into it anyway.

From Clarke's account, it is doubtful if Clarke bothered to look into anything. He was an expert on Al Qaeda, not Iraq. He derided Condi Rice as not even knowing who Al Qaeda was prior to Bush's inaguration but one wonders if Clarke knew anything about Iraq.

I say all of this because a new book is out showing long-standing links between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Yesterday I posted about Kerry's foreign policy proposals
. I was not the only one to notice. Mickey Klaus refers to this as a Kissinger moment.