Friday, July 30, 2004

The Daily Show carried Al Sharpton's "40 acres and a mule" speech. So did Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. One of Quinn's guests insisted that this is in the Constitution. For those who aren't sure, here is the Amendment.

Article XIII.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Not there. Maybe she was thinking of the 15th Amendment.

Article XV.

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Still not there. She called it the 16th Amendement. Let's check that one.

Article XVI.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Somehow, I don't think that this is what she meant. You can find all of the Amendments here. The Constitution itself is here. Read it for yourself.
I only saw a bit of Kerry's speech but, from the little I saw, I'm betting that he had a recent botox treatment. His face never moved above the eyes.

I heard him call on Bush to raise the tone of the campaign... then he implied that Bush and his Attorney General ignore the Constitution. He made a lot of similar implications. At this rate, mudslinging would be an improvement.

The Daily Show did a film on Kerry's principal qualification - he's not Bush. At least one media outlet admitted it.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

A little more about the Electoral College.

Back during the Constitutional Convention, there was the worry that the large states like Virginia would dominate the country. At the same time, there was the objection that states with a large population should have more say than sparsely populated states. From this came the great compromise, our modern Congress.

The idea of a Congress with two houses came from England where they have the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Lords inherit their seats, the Commons are elected.

In our version, the House of Representatives is elected and is similar to the Commons. The Senate was originally selected by the state legislators and corresponded to the Lords. Every state gets two senators regardless of its population. The number of members a state gets in the House depends on population with every state getting at least one representative.

The states get votes in the Electoral College equal to the total number of members they have in Congress (the number of House members plus two). This gives smaller states a proportionally larger voice in selecting a president. Bush won the election even though he lost the popular vote because he carried most of the small states.

Originally the state legislators selected who would go to the Electoral College. During the 19th century, the Constitution was changed to allow for direct election of both the President and Senators.

Slavery didn't enter into this at all. The abolisionist movement was barely started when the Constitution was written.

What confuses people is that Congress eventually reached an uneasy balance. By counting their slave populations, the southern states had enough members in the House to stop any serious anti-slavery legislation. The Missouri compromise preserved that balance.

None of this was enough to stop the election of an abolisionist in 1860. The newly-formed Republican party was mainly made up of abolisionists and its candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was a moderate who planned on isolating the South by only admitting free states until they had a clear majority in Congress.

So, the Electoral College had nothing to do with preserving slavery and it did not keep an abolistionist from being elected. The 2000 election was not tainted by racism or slavery and Bush won according to the rules in place at the time (and still in place).

Michael Moore presents an interesting challenge to the Kerry campaign. Among certain circles he is a superstar. He gets on Nightline and the Tonight Show. His movie has brought in $100+ million. Among the faithful, he is stoking the flames.

The problem is that he is not reading from the same prayerbook. He is still advocating troop withdrawal from Iraq. A lot of points from his movie have been disproven but he keeps saying them. He says things like "The conservatives get up everymoring and think 'who can I screw today'".

So how should the Kerry people handle him? They seated him in the Presidential box next to the Carters on Monday implying that they support him. This gave the GOP an opening. They have released eight, soon to be ten, press releases quoting Moore and showing him next to Carter.

Does this mean that Kerry agrees with Moore? Will he spend time trying to disown his most popular supporter? General Clark tried that and tanked.

Moore may turn out to be Kerry's version of Pat Buchanan.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Al Sharpton told a tall tail from the speaker's podium. He said that freed slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule (which they never got). The Emancipation Proclamation never made this promise.

Snopes Urban Legends site has the real story:
In January 1865, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, setting aside a coastal strip of land from Charleston, South Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, for the exclusive use of freed slaves. Each freed-slave family was to receive a 40-acre chunk of this holding, and Sherman later provided that the army could assist them with the loan of mules.

Sherman had no mandate or authority to give away this land, and in the fall of 1865 President Andrew Johnson returned the property to its former owners. Congress was never involved in any of this.

One would like for a former presidential candidate and keynote speaker to get his facts straight.

The New York Times slipped in their own bogus slavery reference. In an article about how the Democrats are aiming for the swing voters, they said:

We are stuck with a federal election system designed by people who did not want to leave the future of slavery to majority rule, and the modern technology of polling allows candidates to pinpoint the swing voters in the swing states - star pupils in the Electoral College.

This is a recurring explanation for the Electoral College - that it had something to do with slavery. This gets it reversed. The Electoral College gives small states a slightly larger voice than more populous states. In the 1780s, the most populous states were in the South, especially Virginia. Except for Massachusetts, the New England states were tiny and sparsely populated. They worried about the larger, slavery-friendly states dominating them. The compromise was congress with its two houses and the Electoral College.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the South was were the money was. It took the Industrial Revolution and expansion of manufacturing jobs before people had a reason to stay in New England. The Northwest Territory also expanded the free states and changed the equation.

You would expect the nation's newspaper of record to be more careful about this. Of course, liberals have been harping about the Electoral College since Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election. Had the election gone the other way they would be praising the current system for saving us from the agony of a nation-wide recount.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Nightline had Michael Moore on tonight (Tuesday). Ted Kopel asked Moore about Iraq. Moore replied that we needed to "internationalize" Iraq and bring our troops home. Kopel pointed out that Kerry has suggested sending in more troops instead of bringing them home. Moore replied, "Well, he's only a politician."

Kopel pointed out that the French might invite Kerry to dinner but they are not sending in replacement troops. Neither is Germany.

Moore replied that we need to bring our troops home, let Iraq fail, and "live with our shame." He insisted that there is no way that we can create a democracy at the point of a gun.

Funny thing, I thought that he had been to Germany - one of the countries where we created a democracy at the point of a gun. We did the same in Japan.

Moore gave the example of France having freed us from England in 1776. Somehow he missed that we freed France by force in 1945.

Reports have Kerry rewriting speeches to tone down the bush-bashing. This is the public persona being presented. The reality is shown by where Moore spent the opening night. He was seated in the Presidential box next to Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter.

As long as I am taking shots at Moore, here's one from F911. As the voiceover says that Gore actually won the election, there is a quick shot of a newspaper article with the headline "Gore wins recount" from the Bloomington Pantagraph. The thing is that this was a mocked-up paper. The real "article" was actually a letter to the editor printed under the editorial cartoon. See Moorewatch for details.
A few thoughts on the Democratic convention...

Hillary promised that Kerry would solve the current health care crisis. This would be the same "crisis" that she was going to solve in 1993.

I heard a lot of talk about 9/11. I really think that the Democrats want to go back to how we were in 9/12 - victims. They don't like the fact that we picked ourselves up and fought back. They want us to be helpless victims, depending on the rest of the world for aid and security.

George Soros, the financial backer of and other anti-Bush organizations, has complained about how Bush squandered the expressions of friendship that the rest of the world gave us after 9/11. I think that he mistakes the sympathy that you give to a rival who is down with any real affection. Once we had invaded Afghanistan and disprupted Al Qaida we went back to being rivals.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Kerry's brain trust is having some problems. First Joseph Wilson, one of his security advisors, is named as a liar. Now another advisor, Sandy Berger, had to resign after it came out that he removed highly secret documents from the National Archives. These documents related to his handling of the millennium bombing plot.

Was there something incriminating about Berger's notes? It is hard to believe that he could accidentally stuff top secret documents in his pants.

Wilson's Kerry connection didn't get much press but Berger's connection is the headline for the story.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Back from vacation for one day.

Moorewatch noticed that Michael Moore seems to be violating election law. Moore's web site has an election pledge:


Take the pledge to do the following four things:

1. I Will Register 10 People to Vote This Summer.

2. I Will Spend One Weekend In October In a Swing State.

3. I Will Adopt 5 Nonvoters I Know and Take Them to the Polls.

4. I Will Take-Off Work or School on Election Day and Volunteer to Get Out the Vote.

The important one here is #3 which reads in full:

3. I Will Adopt 5 Nonvoters I Know and Take Them to the Polls.

You know who they are. Your slacker friends who have given up on the whole rotten group of politicians who run this country. Or they're the people you know who have had their lives made full of hardships thanks to the policies set by those very politicians. They too, have given up. And who can blame them? Why should they waste two minutes on voting?

Of course, that is just what those in power want them thinking. The more of us who give up, the more the rich and powerful can run amok over our lives. And there is perhaps no election in our lifetime more important than this one.

Pick five of the people you know who probably aren't going to vote. Acknowledge their despair and cynicism. Don't try to talk them out of it. But gently give them pieces of information over the next few months.

And then make a plan for Election Day. Take them out to vote and out to lunch (you pick up the tab!). Or have a party that night for those who voted that day.

Or get more creative. Offer a six-pack to anyone in the office who votes (make sure you're not working in cubicles full of Republicans!). Promise to have sex with a nonvoter - whatever it takes!

This is a sticky point. It runs across laws against buying votes in at least some places. A few years ago the Limited was investigated for giving the afternoon off to anyone from the main office who wanted to vote. There was a ballot issue that affected a mall that Limited-founder Les Wexner has a stake in.

I think that eventually they found for the Limited because the offer was made to all employees without qualification on how they voted.

Moore is just skirting this point by telling supporters to limit their offer to places where Republicans will not hear it. Who knows how many people will miss this fine distinction and only make their offers to people voting for Kerry?

I haven't been watchng the news the last few days so I don't know how much play the yellowcake stories got. There was a little coverage Thursday and I suspect that this was the extent of it.

This is rather important. When the Democrats say that Bush lied, they get a lot more coverage.

Here is the other side.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

One last post before I go on vacation.

Kerry is promising tax breaks for everything imaginable, even Internet access. He is going to pay for this by rolling back the Bush tax breaks on the wealthy. He defines "wealthy" as anyone making $200,000 per year or more.

I don't know where he got this figure. I suspect that he pulled a large number out of thin air. It is more than most people make, but is it what we think of when someone says "wealthy"? Unless you could the value of their home, someone making $200,000 might not even be a millionare.

Kerry's wife is wealthy by any standards you can think of. She is worth a half billion dollars. Assuming that our entry level person can bank every cent he makes, it would take him five years to be worth a million dollars. At that rate, it would take 2,500 years before you were worth as much as Teresa. If you had started when Caesar was alive, you would still would not be there.

There just aren't enough multi-millionares to pay for everything so the definition of wealth gets stretched.

A few years ago Democrats were pushing the idea that anyone in the top 10% must be rich. After all, they said, how could you not be rich when you were making more than 90% of the population. Sometimes this was stretched to the top 20% with the same reasoning.

At this point, the Democrats are talking about people making $80,000 - $100,000 total household income. To put this in perspective, the average salary for teachers in Ohio is $45,000 so two teachers would have a household income that put them among the wealthy.

Funny thing, you don't see many teachers rubbing shoulders with Paris Hilton in Palm Beach. Teachers are usually portrayed as being underpaid.

Kerry also talkes a lot about balancing the budget. The recovering economy will help with this no matter which way the election goes but somehow Kerry will have to raise enough money to balance the budget and pay for his tax breaks. My bet is that his $200,000 limit will slide and he will start raising taxes on that two-teacher household.

The Left has started taking a close look at Fahrenheit 9/11. I don't agree with much of what these people think but they have interesting points about F911. Robert Jensen thinks that it's a conservative movie that ends with an endorsement of one of the central lies of the United States.

But it is a serious mistake to believe that these wars can be explained by focusing so exclusively on the Bush administration and ignoring clear trends in U.S. foreign and military policy. In short, these wars are not a sharp departure from the past but instead should be seen as an intensification of longstanding policies, affected by the confluence of this particular administration's ideology and the opportunities created by the events of 9/11.

It is highly unlikely that policymakers would go to war for a single pipeline, but even if that were plausible it is clear that both Democrats and Republicans alike have been mixed up in that particular scheme.

It is certainly true that the Bush family and its cronies have a relationship with Saudi Arabia that has led officials to overlook Saudi human-rights abuses and the support that many Saudis give to movements such as al Qaeda. That is true of the Bushes, just as it was of the Clinton administration and, in fact, every post-World War II president. Ever since FDR cut a deal with the House of Saud giving U.S. support in exchange for cooperation on the flow of oil and oil profits, U.S. administrations have been playing ball with the Saudis. The relationship is sometimes tense but has continued through ups and downs, with both sides getting at least part of what they need from the other. Concentrating on Bush family business connections ignores that history and encourages viewers to see the problem as specific to Bush. Would a Gore administration have treated the Saudis differently after 9/11? There's no reason to think so, and Moore offers no evidence or argument why it would have.

But that's only part of the story of U.S. policy in the Middle East, in which the Saudis play a role but are not the only players. The United States cuts deals with other governments in the region that are willing to support the U.S. aim of control over those energy resources. The Saudis are crucial in that system, but not alone. Egypt, Jordan and the other Gulf emirates have played a role, as did Iran under the Shah. As does, crucially, Israel. But there is no mention of Israel in the film. To raise questions about U.S. policy in the Middle East without addressing the role of Israel as a U.S. proxy is, to say the least, a significant omission. It's unclear whether Moore actually backs Israeli crimes and U.S. support for them, or simply doesn't understand the issue. also raises the question of Israel.

Huh? Here are some questions for Moore: If Bush is so “in the pocket” of Saudi Arabia, why is he Ariel Sharon’s strongest backer? Why, when he had Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah down at the Texas ranch a few years ago, did he flip off the Saudi’s peace plan? And most important, why did he invade Iraq—since Saudi Arabia was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Why did he launch his Iraqi adventure over Saudi objections, with many of his advisers chortling that Saudi Arabia would be “next”? Why did he stock his administration with militant neocon crusaders who see Saudi Arabia as the main enemy? Why, Michael?

And more for Moore. Yes, Bush 41 and his advisers—the Carlyle Group-linked James Baker, et al.—were (and are) connected to Saudi Arabia. Did Moore notice that Baker, along with Brent Scowcroft, and other former advisers to Bush 41 (including Colin Powell) were against the Iraq adventure? And that there were reports that Bush 41 himself thought it was a stupid idea? I can’t believe that Moore can be so stupid. So I can only conclude that he produced this movie the way he did on purpose. Then I read that he didn’t bother inviting Ralph Nader to the Washington, D.C., premiere of the film, and (according to The Washington Post ), Nader called Moore “fat.” Well. Moore is fatheaded.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Kyoto Protocols are meant to slow (slightly) the speed of Global Warming. What does this mean to the average person? The English are about to find out.

Alistair Darling's enthusiasm for building roads and airport runways is to be curbed by new measures forcing the transport secretary to take into account Britain's international commitment to tackling climate change.


His attitude towards aviation has been condemned by the royal commission on environmental pollution, which said plans for new runways showed "little sign of having recognized" the atmospheric havoc wreaked by aircraft.

His new commitment to Kyoto targets will renew pressure on the government to consider an extra tax on airline tickets to slow the popularity of lowcost flights.

The Kyoto Protocols mean real cuts in people's standards of living. Just about every activity uses energy of some kind and most of that creates carbon dioxide. In order to meet the goals, the world will have to scale back to pre-1990 levels of everything. And that's just the first step.

Is any of this needed? Is Global Warming real?

Not according to this.

Whatever the experts say about the howling gales, thunder and lightning we've had over the past two days, of one thing we can be certain. Someone, somewhere - and there is every chance it will be a politician or an environmentalist - will blame the weather on global warming.

But they will be 100 per cent wrong. Global warming - at least the modern nightmare version - is a myth. I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy makers are not.

What about all of those "concerned scientists? It turns out that there are large groups of scientists on the other side too.

Let me quote from a petition produced by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which has been signed by over 18,000 scientists who are totally opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, which committed the world's leading industrial nations to cut their production of greenhouse gasses from fossil fuels.

They say: 'Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in minor greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide are in error and do not conform to experimental knowledge.'

Even the scientists responsible for the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) claims have been discredited and have backed off of the "hockey stick" chart that proved Global Warming.

"The IPCC claims that human activities are responsible for nearly all the earth's recorded warming during the past two centuries," said NCPA Adjunct Scholar David Legates, the report's author and director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware. "Yet the primary assessment they use as support appears to be more junk science than solid evidence."

At issue is what is commonly referred to as the "hockey stick" -- a widely circulated image that depicts a 700-year period where temperatures remained relatively constant followed by the last 100-plus years where temperatures have shot upwards. The "hockey stick," created by researchers Michael Mann of the University of Virginia and Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, is used by the IPCC and environmental activists as proof of human-induced global warming.


-- Mann published a retraction in the June 2004 issue of Geophysical Research, in which he admits underestimating the temperature variations indicated by the proxy data by more than one-third since 1400, which accounts for why he missed the Little Ice Age. Strangely, Mann still argues this considerable error doesn't impact his conclusions.

Even if global warming was real, what would life be like? It turns out it would be a lot like your back yard.

In one of the clearest demonstrations yet of how a warmer world can affect our ecosystem, scientists have discovered that the heat of towns and cities keeps the leaves on trees for an extra two weeks a year. Spring in the urban jungle arrives seven days earlier on average than in the surrounding countryside and autumn is delayed by up to eight days, a research team at Boston university has found.

Hardly the end of the world.
At a fund-raiser last week, Whoopi Goldberg came on stage drunk, called Edwards "kid" and made a number of jokes about President Bush and HER bush. All of this was too much for Kerry. At the end of the show he corrected her. Edwards is not a kid. As for the rest of it, he said that it was "an extraordinary evening" and "every performer ... [had] conveyed to [them] the heart and soul of our country."

There are lots of ways to take this. I like this one.

It is one thing to attack President Bush based on ideas, but Kerry – being void of any – simply engages in ipse dixit. The problem with that position is it accuses, but never supports such accusations with facts – nor does it offer viable alternatives.

In fact this sums up the whole anti-Bush campaign. If you think that the war was wrong then how do you think that we should have handled Iraq? Containment was killing tens of thousands of Iraqies a year and the oil-for-food bribes were causing France and Germany to push to lift the sanctions. The only other alternative would be to lift the sanctions, welcome Sadam back into the community of nations, and hope that he didn't re-arm. (Ha, he was already trying even if he hadn't accumulated and stockpiles.)

The 9/11 Committee says that Joe Wilson is a lier. This is bad news for Kerry. It seems that Wilson endorsed Kerry last Winter and Wilson was one of Kerry's foreign policy experts. Currently, Wilson's name has been removed from Kerry's web site.

Dan Darling read the entire report and found lots of red meat.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Bush the Underdog

A year ago it was predicted that Bush would have an overwhelming advantage in money and number of ads shown. It hasn't worked out that way according to USATODAY.

The Kerry campaign's ads were shown 72,908 times, 3.1% more than the Bush-Cheney campaign's 70,688 showings.

Political groups' ads were shown 56,627 times. All but 513 were ads by liberal, anti-Bush groups such as MoveOn PAC and The Media Fund. The others were by conservative groups.

Taken together, about 129,000 Kerry or anti-Bush ads were aired, 82% more than the Bush-Cheney total.

Last year, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV caused a huge stir. According to Wilson, references in Bush's State of the Union Address about Iraq trying to buy yellowcake were outright lies. He further went on to say that the Bush administration had tried to get him by revealing that his wife worked for the CIA. There were calls for Bush's impeachment for lying and for the arrest of Robert Novak, the columnist who first printed that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.

Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

Wilson also insisted that his wife had nothing to do with his appointent to investigate the yellowcake story.

The report states that a CIA official told the Senate committee that Plame "offered up" Wilson's name for the Niger trip, then on Feb. 12, 2002, sent a memo to a deputy chief in the CIA's Directorate of Operations saying her husband "has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity."

The Washington Post was fooled by Wilson.

The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong."

"Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports," the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have "misspoken" to reporters. The documents -- purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq -- were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.

All quotes from the Washington Post.

Friday, July 09, 2004

John Edwards made a substantial fortune as a trial lawyer. As this article relates, he specialized in babies with cerebral palsy whom he claimed would have been spared the affliction if only the doctors had immediately performed caesarian sections.

As a result of such lawsuits, there are now more than four times as many caesarian sections as there were in 1970. But curiously, there has been no change in the rate of babies born with cerebral palsy. As the New York Times reported: "Studies indicate that in most cases, the disorder is caused by fetal brain injury long before labor begins." All those Caesareans have, however, increased the mother's risk of death, hemorrhage, infection, pulmonary embolism and Mendelson's syndrome.

This is an example of everything that is wrong in the legal profession today.

Modern medicine has gotten so good that we like to think that nothing can go wrong as long as everyone does their job properly. If something bad does happen, someone should pay.

Even if no one was to blame, I should still get something in recompense for something bad happening to me.

There are a lot of problems in pregnancy. The human body represents a series of compromises. In order to walk upright and have our large brains, we are born less developed than other mammals. Other things can happen, also. This is normal but we don't like to admit it.

Enter the trial lawyers. They will sue on questionable grounds in exchange for 1/3 of anything you get. We used to call these lawyers "ambulance chasers". The insurance companies figure this as a cost of doing business and pass the costs on to the doctors.

All too often, doctors find that insurance payments are their biggest expense, sometimes taking half of their gross earnings.

This has a ripple effect. The article I quoted from points out that C-sections are up and they carry extra risk for the mother.

One of the biggest scandals in modern medicine in the number of unneeded tests. Sometimes these are done to help the hospitals and clinics pay for the fancy new equipment, but all too often they are done to prevent any question of malpractice.

Thank the trial lawyers for that.

Remember this when you see liberals gushing about Edwards being the future of the Democrats.
From John Kerry's web site:
And we’ll do a better job of holding down medical malpractice costs. No one should ever prevent patients who have been harmed from seeking justice. But we need a national system in place that will weed out the irresponsible lawsuits without taking away patient's rights. Lawsuits that have no basis in facts have no place in our courts. And when I’m President, they’ll be gone.

John Edwards made millions as a trial lawyer. Guess what he specialized in?

Kerry's TV ads say that he will save billions in health care costs by cutting overhead. The ads refer you to his web site. There is not much information there - no details. Here is what I could find:

The annual cost of health care in America is $1.6 trillion. About 25 percent is spent on non-medical items, principally paperwork such as billing and record-keeping. No other industry is so inefficient. This expensive drain on the system can be cut in half with modern technology. Kerry's program will offer a "technology bonus" as an incentive to health care providers and insurers to update their procedures and switch to electronic records.

That's it. Modern technology is the answer. Wow! Why didn't anyone think of that before?

What this will mean in real life is a whole new set of regulations that have to be followed. Everyone will need to buy new equipment in order to comply and health care costs will go up. That is how it always works.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I predicted on Tuesday that Kerry choosing Edwards would be a pretty short news cycle. Sure enough, by today there is little coverage except by political analysts (including here). Gore got a lot more press in 2000 when he made a surprise nomination. That was also when Gore's numbers finally approached Bush's. I expect that Kerry will get a bump in this week's polls but will decline again next week.

That's because he did what everyone was expecting. You don't get credit for doing what is expected of you.

Kerry seems focused on the debates as when he will win the election. During the early primaries he beat Dean with, "Don't you want to see me debating George Bush? Bring it on." That and his status as a Viet Nam veteran were the sum of his campaign.

Now, Kerry and the entire Democratic establishment are looking forward to Edwards nailing Cheney in a vice-presidential debate.

As far as a comparison with Cheney, there quite frankly is none. No amount of scowling or shifty-eyed sneering is going to dig Cheney out of the PR hole that will be the Vice Presidential debate.

Edwards has made a very successful career out of eating folks like Dick Cheney for lunch in courtrooms all across America. He'll know exactly how to wield Halliburton like a stiletto. I give Cheney 30 minutes before he drops his first F-bomb. I can't wait.

Arianna Huffington

Remember, Gore was supposed to do the same to Bush in 2000. Bush, the D-student could not hope to compete with Gore the policy wonk. When Bush held his own the Democrats complained about lower expectations. Expectations for Bush were so low that all he had to do was walk onto stage without tripping and he did better than expected.

The Democrats are doing it to themselves again. Kerry is selling himself to the faithful on how he and Edwards will rip up Bush and Cheney.

It won't happen.

First, Bush and Cheney are seasoned campaigners. They know how to debate.

Second, the presidential debates are not real debates. They are joint press conferences. Edwards cannot pull Halliburton out of thin air and use it. He has to wait for an opening. This is not a trial where the attorney controls the questions. For the candidates it is closer to being on the witness stand. The debates they had last Fall will not help much. The rules have changed. Back then the unspoken agreement was that the candidates would not attack each other, they would promote themselves while attacking Bush. Things get different when the person you are attacking is sharing the stage with you and attacking back. Just ask Dean.

Finally, the Democrats have raised the bar too high. Again. In order to win they will have to win big and they will have to do it without seeming mean. Carter and Mondale couldn't do it with Reagan, Gore couldn't do it with Bush.

One last observation - Edwards' based his campaign on "two Americas". He will have to drop this pretty quick while he shares the stage with Kerry. Even more than Bush, Kerry embodies the privledged rich.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

George Bush is targeted for election defeat by bin Laden and his Saudi allies.

Here's how the reasoning works...

First, it is an established fact that bin Laden was behind several terrorist attacks on the US including Sept. 11 in which nearly 3,000 people were killed.

Bin Laden is from a wealthy Saudi family and maintains contact with them (1). The bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family have significant financial ties to influential people in the US. Many of these are through a private investment company called the Carlyle Group. They received $1.4 billion in Saudi money in the 1990s. That buys a lot of love (2).

The official religion of Saudi Arabia is Wahabism. This is a fundimentalist version of Moslem that is noted for its intolerance of non-believers. The spiritual embodiment of Wahabism was the Taliban which controlled Afghanistan and provided shelter and support to bin Laden.

Then came President George Bush. Unlike President Clinton who limited his responses to occasional missile attacks, Bush invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban, and established a fledgling democracy. Bush also overthrew Iraq which acted as a buffer state for Saudi Arabia.

So the Saudis don't have any reason to like Bush. Who do they turn to? How about their buddies in the Carlyle Group? They don't have any reason to like Bush either. Early in his tenure he dropped the Crusader artillery system that a Carlyle subsidiary was building.

Enter billionaire George Soros. Soros who is known as a humanitarian for promoting democracy is currently trying to elect a candidate who values stability over democracy (3). Quite a switch. Soros has, in fact, said that he will spend whatever it takes to put Bush out of office and has provided millions in funding for

despite his humanitarian gestures, Soros is a money man first and the Saudis represent a lot of money.

While has run a lot of ads, the biggest buzz came from yet another Carlyle benificiary, Michael Moore (4). Not only has Moore's movie gotten a lot of publicity, but had special parties to promote it.

Ok, I don't really believe this. There are more Republican investors in the Carlyle Group than Democrat and both George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush have had ties to the Carlyle Group at some point.

Never the less, I can make a strong a case tying Michael Moore to Osama bin Laden using much of the same evidence that he used to connect Bush with bin Laden. As with F911, my statements can withstand a fact-checker. If I pushed a little harder I could probably even convince myself.

(1) Michael Moore on Charlie Rose, 7/6/4
(2) Michael Moore - F911
(3) Press releases from Kerry for President
(4) Carlyle owns the Lowes chain of theaters which is the main chain showing F911

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Kerry has named Edwards as his running mate. This is probably good news for Bush. Kerry was counting on his announcement getting him lots of press, possibly from the announcement through to the convention. He even postponed the announcement a few weeks so that he would not have to compete with the release of Clinton's book.

The problem is that Edwards was the most likely pick. Everyone expected it and Edwards is already a known quantity after his primary run. That means that it will be old news by tomorrow.

I doubt that Edwards will add much to the Kerry ticket. He didn't do very well in the primaries. He only hung on as long as he did because he didn't spend any time campaigning in the early northern primaries. He was hoping to do well enough in the delegate-rich South to make up for skipping the early races. By the time he really faced off against Kerry, Kerry had so much momentum that Edwards failed to win but his home state.

Edwards did strike a chord with the voters. Many liked him better but felt that Kerry's experience made him more electable. Now, having him as the number two person on the ticket may remind Democrats of what they could have had. Also, Edwards was running against a bad economy. After several months of economic expansion his message might not play as well as it did last Winter.

This does help the Kerry campaign a little - he can now send Edwards to make personal appearances.

Rather than going over any more of Michael Moore's deceits, I will just link to this site. Currently it is up to 59 deceits although the number fluctuates according to documentation received.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Last week I quoted a couple of arch-liberals saying that we should ignore terrorism because, with the exception of September 11, terrorists kill fewer people annually than lightning.

This was the official response to terrorism prior to September 11 - some efforts were made to reduce it but it did not drive foreign policy. Now it is the primary factor in the Bush administration foreign policy. Is this an over-reaction?


First of all, the risks posed by lightning are well understood and people take basic precautions such as going indoors during thunderstorms.

More important, lightning is a constant. Terrorism is not. The severity of terrorism depends on a range of factors. A big factor is how many people the terrorists can kill with the means at their disposal.

The interim Staff Report from the September 11th commission said that al Qaeda originally meant to hijack ten planes hitting both coasts. This was scaled back because they did not think that they could carry off such a large operation. If they could have they would have killed many more than the 3,000 people they did murder.

Also, the report confirmed that al Qaeda is very interested in dirty bombs, biological and chemical weapons, and nuclear devices. Given the means, they would prefer to kill millions rather than thousands.

Let me repeat that - the only thing keeping terrorists from killing millions of Americans is that they do not currently have the means and they are trying to acquire them.

If we do not keep actively disrupting their activities then they will eventually manage to do something much, much worse than September 11th.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Here is an interesting take on Europe's (and the American Left's) approach to fighting terrorism.

Today the war is everywhere. And yet the European Union and the states which comprise it, have denied that war’s reality, right up to the terrorist attack in Madrid of March 11, 2004. If there is a danger as Europe proclaims urbi et orbi, that danger can only come from America and Israel. What should one understand? For can anyone seriously maintain that it is the American and Israeli forces that threaten us in Europe? No, what must be understood is that American and Israeli policies of resistance to jihadist terror provoke reprisals against a Europe that has long ago ceased to defend itself. So that peace can prevail throughout the world, those two countries, America and Israel, need only adopt the European strategy of constant surrender, based on the denial of aggression. How simple it all is.

The Left thinks that we overreacted to September 11. I've quoted Ed Koch's column before but it bears repeating:

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."

Moore is not alone in this sentiment. Internationally syndicated columnist Gwynne Dyer wrote a column on the second anniversary of the attack:

And that's it. In two years, a total of 348 people have died in seven countries in attacks that could be loosely linked with al-Qaida or its many affiliates and emulators -- far fewer than have been killed by bolts of lightning in the same period. Global terrorism is a highly overrated threat.

Even during the conflict with Afghanistan, groups such as "Not in Our Name". protested that September 11 should be treated as a civil crime instead of an act of war (they never did explain how the NYPD was supposed to arrest someone who had been given asylum by a foreign goverment).

To these people, the US was at fault. We should have changed our ways, forced Israel to make peace with the Palistinians and everything would be fine.

Never mind that, to the Islamic fanatics, Israel's very existence is an afront. Consider this current story about the truce that bin Laden proposed with Europe.

The new statement said attacks would continue until the United States freed Muslim prisoners, ended its war on Islam and until "all Muslim land, including Jerusalem and Kashmir, is cleansed of the stain of Jews, Americans and Hindus".

There are no reasonable compromises that we can make. Bin Laden and company do not want to co-exist with anyone else.

The anti-war people don't get this. Their assumptions start with America being to blame for everything but we are in a conflict with a foe who does not care if Bush or Kerry wins the election. September 11 began during the Clinton admistration when a Palestinian settlement seemed likely.

Thursday, July 01, 2004 has a critical look at F911's ties between Bush, oil, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.

To summarize, the $1.4 billion that the Bush family is supposed to have gotten from the Saudis was through the Carlyle Group. What Moore does not tell you is that, 1) 90% of the money came from contracts that had ended before George W. Bush was a member, 2) Several members of the Clinton and Carter administrations are also in the Carlyle Group, 3) Bush cancelled a major defense system produced by a Carlyle Group subsidiary.

The pipeline that Uncocal wanted to build in Afghanistan was a CLinton-era project that was dead before Bush came to office.
More ways to lie in a "truthful" documentary...

Assume a deep, dark motive to everything.
From F911:
In early 2004, in a speech during the New Hampshire primary, I called George W. Bush a deserter for his time in the Texas National Guard. In response, the White House released his military records in the hopes of disproving the charge. What Bush didn't know is that I already had a copy of his military records - uncensored - obtained in the year 2000. And there is one glaring difference between the records released in 2000 and those he released in 2004. (image of "records," black marks) A name had been blacked out. In 1972, two airmen were suspended for failing to take their medical examination. One was George W. Bush. And the other was James R. Bath. In 2000 the documents show both names. But in 2004 Bush and White House had Bath's name blacked out. Why didn't Bush want the press and public to see Bath's name on his military records? Perhaps he was worried that the American people would find out that at one time James R. Bath was the Texas money manager for the bin Ladens.

... or it could be that federal law only allows Bush to release his own medical records, not that of James R. Bath.

Say something that, while factually true, conveys a falsehood.

NARRATOR: Even though we were nowhere near the White House, for some reason the Secret Service had shown up to ask us what we were doing standing across the street from the Saudi embassy.

MICHAEL MOORE: We're not here to cause any trouble or anything. Uh, ya know, is that...

OFFICER: That's fine. Just wanted to get some information on what was going on.

MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah yeah yeah, I didn't realize the Secret Service guards foreign embassies.

The Secret Service does indeed guard foreign embassies. Moore's statement that he didn't realize this gives the impression that he has stumbled onto something unusual.

Mention something that will not happen and then act as if it will.

NARRATOR: With the war not going as planned, and the military in need of many more troops, where would they find the new recruits?

REPORTER: Military experts say three times the 120,000 US troops now deployed would be needed to pacify and rebuild the country.

NARRATOR: They would find them all across America in the places that had been destroyed by the economy. Places where one of the only jobs available was to join the Army. Places like my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Bush is not going to send 240,000 more troops to Iraq. Kerry is not going to send 240,000 more troops to Iraq. Nader would withdraw all of the troops already there. So why even bring it up if there is no way that it will happen? To scare you, of course.

Additional F911 quotes from Red Line Rants, pt 1.

Cut a statement so as to change the meaning completely.

Taken from the Stockholm Spectator.

But for the moment, allow me to address the film’s final scene, a montage of clips “demonstrating” that “Bush lied” about Iraq’s supposed connection to 9-11; that the American people—a trusting, if simple, group—were buncoed into connecting “secular Saddam” to the zealots of Al-Qaeda. Let’s be clear about this, for it bears repeating: the administration has repeatedly and forcefully connected Iraq and Al-Qaeda—and, as recent evidence has shown, for good reason. What the administration has not done—contrary to popular belief—is publicly link Iraq to the attacks of September 11.

But, you protest, I saw Condoleezza Rice in Fahrenheit 9-11 tell a reporter that, “indeed,” there was a relationship!


“Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11.”


Pretty damning stuff, isn’t it? But that was the truncated, Michael Moore version. Now for the full, unexpurgated quote:

“Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York.”

Well that’s a different quote, Mike. So why the editing?
From F911:
DICK CLARKE: But what they did was slow and small. They put only 11,000 troops into Afghanistan -- there are more police here in Manhattan, more police here in Manhattan than there are US troops in Afghanistan. Basically the President botched the response to 9/11. He should have gone right after bin Laden. The US Special Forces didn't get into the area where bin Laden was for two months.

NARRATOR: Two months? A mass murderer who attacked the United States was given a two month head start? Who in their right mind would do that? (video of Bush)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Anybody say "nice shot?"

RANDOM PERSON: Nice shot. Hell of a shot.

NARRATOR: Or was the war in Afghanistan really about something else?

How do you lie (or at least present distortions) in a documentary that has been screened by a bank of fact-checkers? Easy! You just show a clip of someone else making a false or misleading statement. You are in the clear - it was the other guy who said it.

In this case, Moore uses a quote from Dick Clarke showing that Bush didn't react properly to 9/11. From there, Moore postulates that the whole invasion of Afghanistan must not have been about bin Laden at all.

Let's examine Clarke's statement that the response was slow and small. From the way that this is presented, it sounds like Bush should have jumped on a horse and personally rode off to Afghanistan on September 12, leading a massive army bent on capturing bin Laden.

The thing is, as of September 12, we didn't know for sure who the attackers were. Clarke's intuition told him that it was bin Laden (so did mine for that matter) but you don't invade a foreign country based on a security advisor's hunch (the invasion of Iraq had a lot more evidence behind it and it was still opposed).

While Clarke was convinced that bin Laden was the culprit, much of the rest of the world was unsure. Many on the far Left thought that it was their own who had done it. Michael Moore was convinced that 9/11 was an election protest that got out of hand.

So, the FBI had to investigate. They had to come up with a list of likely passengers, then they had to find out the real identity of the ones using stolen passports.

At the same time, we had to give the Taliban a last chance to turn bin Laden over and we had to get international permission to act. Finally, we had to get permission from Pakistan to establish military bases to run an operation from and we had to make local contacts in the Northern Alliance.

This only took four weeks.

So there we were with an air war and ground allies, fighting in Afghanistan. The experts pointed out that the Soviets had failed to take Afghanistan and that we were likely to fail, also.

Four weeks later (eight weeks after 9/11) we had conquered Afghanistan.

If, on September 10, you had asked military experts how long it would take the United States to conquer Afghanistan, their answers would have ranged between a year to never.

Why didn't we just send in the special forces? A small group could not have fought its way in and back out. Any group large enough to do this would end up being an invasion and having to overthrow the Taliban anyway.

How large should the force sent to Afghanistan have been? There are huge tradeoffs. The larger the force, the longer it takes to assemble them, transport them, and supply them. Should be have held off for another month or two in order to have a force large enough to satisfy Dick Clarke? No. The harshness of the Afghan winter meant that we either invaded with a small light force or we waited until Spring.

Could things have been handled better? Yes. We possibly missed bin Laden at Tora Bora and we might have caught if we had not allowed the Afghans to lead the attack.

Does any of this prove that the invasion of Afghanistan was really about an oil line?


Transcript of F911 from Red Line Rants.