Thursday, September 30, 2004

A few days ago a Columbus man was attacked outside a Toby Keith concert because he wore an Operation Iraqi Freedom T-shirt. The man was a soldier who was recovering after nearly losing a leg in Iraq. I already wrote about this. There are a couple of updates.

TechCentralStation has picked up the story.

The Attack on One Man That Was Bigger Than the Clash of Civilizations

Within every society, everywhere in the world, there exist individuals willing to use violence to get what they want. Saddam Hussein terrorized the Iraqi people to make himself rich and powerful. Foster Barton's attacker terrorized an American soldier to make himself feel good. They may not be linked by a common command-and-control structure or political ideology, but they are certainly linked by common, warped view of humanity. They share the belief that they are free, whenever they can get away with it, to make others the object of their violence. The current war against the network of dictators and terrorists, even more fundamental than a clash of civilizations, is a part of civilized society's ongoing stand against violence-for-personal-gain-and-fulfillment. The attack against Foster Barton was part of that same war.

In the meantime someone has been arrested for the attack.

Brent Cornwell, 28, of Blacklick, was arrested Tuesday night by Columbus police. He was charged with felonious assault Wednesday morning at a Delaware County Municipal Court video arraignment.

The Top 10 Kerry Flip-Flops still doesn't show on CBS's site. It might have been there for a while this morning and dropped off while I wasn't looking. Regardless, the bush list was there for at least 24 hours. As far as I can tell, the only way to see the Kerry list is to first go the the Bush list and click on the link.

But CBS does have a story about a new Bush guard document surfacing although it does not seem to add much.

The White House on Wednesday night produced a November 1974 document bearing Bush's signature from Cambridge, Mass., where he was attending Harvard Business School, saying he had decided not to continue as a member of the military reserve.

The document, signed a year after Bush left the Texas Air National Guard, said he was leaving the military because of "inadequate time to fulfill possible future commitments."

Like I said, CBS sounds more and more like the Iraqi Information Minister.
NBC did a story on the draft tonight, probably inspired by last night's CBS story. The big difference though is that NBC said it is bunk.

CBS ran their follow-up to last night's story on Bush's flip-flops. They do list ten Kerry flip-flops. One big difference - I only found it by clicking on a link at the end of the Bush story. It is not one of their headlines although the Bush list is still there.

They probably think that they are being fair and balanced. I don't. A couple of the Bush flip-flops are forced or just not there (the one on WMDs for example). They did this in order to come up with an equal ten for each candidate. The Bush list was given straight without comment. The Kerry list has a few explanations added on at the end.

Kerry complicated matters with his now infamous words, I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.

On Wednesday, he acknowledged that his explanation of his Iraq war votes was "one of those inarticulate moments."

I'm sure that the Daily Kos will think that CBS went too hard on Kerry.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

It seems that one source of emails about getting drafted is They have a handy button you can click to send warnings to all of your friends about the draft. They also have a PSA (Public Service Ad) in Quicktime format that they ask you to download so that your radio or TV station can play it daily until the election.

We all knew that RockTheVote was really partisan. The assumption is that 18-30 years olds are mainly Democrat so any effort to turn out the youth vote will help the Democrats.

Its just that they haven't been so blatant about their biases before. With both candidates denying that they want a draft the only reason this is surfacing is to tie in with the Dems dirty trick email campaign.

They are joined in this by a group called the alliance for Security.

The Alliance for Security aims to provoke thoughtful and penetrating conversation on national security issues including the possibility of a draft, the war against terrorism, our foreign policy, and the real consequences of war.

This sounds neutral enough but once you start looking at the opinions and cartoons they carry they are all very anti-Bush.

Funny thing - The Captains Quarters found an old proposal of Kerry's to institute mandatory service for high school graduates in exchange for college tuition.

As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service

The entry is gone from Kerry's web site but it is cached here.

Here's an interesting tidbit from the latest Pew poll.
The horse race among young people has seesawed dramatically since August, when Kerry held an 18-point lead (53%-35%). This month, Bush and Kerry each have held sizable leads among those younger than 30, underscoring the volatility of voters in this age group. In 2000, young voters backed Gore by a slight margin (48%-46%), according to VNS exit polls.

If this holds then the Democrat's register the youth strategy might be a disaster for them.

Here's more about their strategy from Talking Donkey.

On the front page of the Sunday NYT, Ford Fessenden reports on a Times study of registration numbers in the two most crucial battleground states, Ohio and Florida. And it confirms two things I've felt strongly about, but had little more than anecdotal evidence to support: (1) this is going to be a high-turnout election (which in itself is helpful to Democrats), and (2) Democrats are way, way ahead in the ground game.

TechCentralStation points out that the worst place for someone to hide out from a war is as a fighter pilot.

The old story on Bush's military service is that his father pulled strings to get him in. He had no aptitude to be a fighter pilot but his father pulled strings there, too. Bush deliberately chose a type of aircraft that was unlikely to be sent to Viet Nam. After a couple of years he stopped showing up altogether, disobeying a direct order to have a physical. At that point he should have been forced into joining the Army but his father pulled more strings so that he could drink his way through college.

The emerging story is that Bush got in easily - there was no waiting line for college graduates wanting to be pilots. He was an excellent pilot. He inquired about serving in Viet Nam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify. After a couple of years he requested permission to transfer to Alabama to help run a senate campaign. His superiors were over-run with pilots returning from Viet Nam and thought that this was fine. He later asked for early release in order to attend graduate school and was granted this. Again, they were overrun with pilots and were glad to get one off of the books. No strings were pulled and Bush's superiors were satisfied with his performance throughout.
According to USAToday, most Americans think that Dan Rather made an honest mistake and should not be fired.

The poll also found 55% of people think they can trust CBS News to report the news accurately; 41% said they can't. Asked about general media accuracy, 52% were positive, 47% negative.

More people think that they can trust CBS than trust the media in general? That's depressing.

During the invasion of Iraq, the Information Minister would come on TV nightly and tell the world how the US was losing the war. No one paid any attention because his pronouncements came straight from the government. There was no "information" there, only misinformation from the government.

Dan Rather and CBS News are in danger of becoming a weird negative version of the Iraqi Information Minister.

First there was the Texas Air Guard story which was based on forged documents and un-trustworthy witnesses. Next came the story on the draft. Now CBS's web site has Bush's Top Ten Flip-Flops. This reads like a press release from the Kerry campaign. In fact, the Kerry campaign was pushing the idea of Bush as a flip-flopper just last week (there is a quote in the Columbus Dispatch but you have to subscribe to read it). The left-wing Daily Kos has several entries calling Bush the "real" flip-flopper.

The list appears to have been written by the Kerry campaign. Many items on the list are unfair. Bush's views on nation-building were changed by 9/11. It was against his principals to levy steel tariffs but he was forced to drop them.

Other points are simply wrong. In 2000, gas prices went up because OPEC cut production and candidate Bush said that the President should "jawbone" OPEC to decrease prices. In 2004 prices are up because demand suddenly grew faster than projected. No "jawboning" can solve this.

Bush's statements about winning the war on terror are nitpicking.

They quote Bush before the Iraq war and immediately after as being confident that WMDs would be found. Later he admitted that they were not. This is not a flip-flop in the Kerry sense (changing a position for political advantage).

Bush was originally against establishing a 9/11 committee in 2004 for fear that it would be politicized. He changed his position due to pressure and was proved correct - the commission became a political circus.

Bush also signed campaign finance reform legislation that he opposed. Bending to political pressure is not flipping and one need look no further than the current election to see what a disaster the reform turned out to be.

The point on the 9/11 attacks is misleading and boarders on fraudulent. It reads:

In a press conference in September 2002, six months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush said, “you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror... they're both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.”

In September of 2004, Mr. Bush said: “We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11th." Though he added that “there's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties,” the statement seemingly belied earlier assertions that Saddam and al Qaeda were “equally bad.”

The Sept. 11 commission found there was no evidence Saddam was linked to the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

I don't see any change in position there. Neither do I see any assertion by the President that Saddam was involved with September 11. What is not mentioned is that the commission did find contacts between Saddam and al Qaeda.

CBS only included this to give the false impression that Bush had tried to tie Saddam to 9/11.

Same sex marriage represents a minor flip. In 2000 Bush was for letting the states decide. In 2004 he announced support for a constitutional amendment. Since this amendment is unlikely to pass this is a bit of political posturing - possibly the only real flip in the list.

Everyone has to adjust their positions from time to time, especially a President. Sometimes political pressures force a change. Other times events overtake preferences. I see one flip (steel tariffs) and one bit of pandering (same sex marriage). Neither is on a critical issue. Contrast that with Kerry's positions on Iraq.

Tomorrow CBS is supposed to examine Kerry's flip-flops. It will be interesting to see how fair this one is. I suspect that they padded the Bush list (by cribbing from the Kerry campaign) in order to have ten flip-flops for each candidate.

In the meantime I advise stocking up on salt and taking a few grains when digesting stories from CBS.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Dirty tricks. I've mentioned the email hoax that says Bush will revive the draft next Summer. It has been going around for a while but it was just revived and updated. I suspect Democrat dirty tricks.

As of tonight it went from an internet hoax to an official CBS hoax. More at RatherBiased.
Debate Prediction - Kerry's theme will be "George Bush has lost touch with reality." He first tried this line out last week. Now the Kerry rapid response team has posted this:


Evoking Gerald Ford’s 1976 comment, “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” George Bush said yesterday that the “Taliban is no longer in existence,” underscoring the point that he isn’t being straight with the American people about his wrong choices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Admittedly there are still some scattered Taliban in Afghanistan but they no longer rule the country and thousands were killed or captured. The rest are in hiding along the Pakistan/Afghanistan boarder.

Kerry's web site has a lot of quotes to back up their assurtion but some of the quotes are contradictory. Most say that they are along the Pakistan boarder but one claimes that they control 90% of Afghanistan. The Kerry campaign is having a few problems with reality here also.

Anyway, Kerry is going to stress this again and again - things are terrible and Bush doesn't even realize it. You heard it here first.

The British newspaper the Guardian has a long piece on the election. The Guardian in general and this piece in particular have a far left bias but there are a few insights in it.

First, there is the insularity of the people they talked with.
'I don't know anybody who supports the war. I don't know anybody who voted for Bush [in 2000], and I certainly don't know any one who's going to vote for him this time.'

Several of them compare Bush with Nazis.

Mailer then gleefully identified the speaker, speaking at his Nuremberg trial in 1946: Hermann Goering! In Jewish Manhattan, it doesn't get more visceral than this.

'I actually don't think,' he remarked, 'that Bush is pure evil, but he responded [to 9/11] in the worst way, [and has] surrounded himself with such vile people that in a way it doesn't matter.'

Then there is the attitude toward the midwest.

One of the puzzles of America's electoral map today is the degree to which people are voting against their interests. The poorest parts of America today are not to be found in Appalachia or the Deep South, but out in Kansas and the great plains, where ranchers struggle to feed their cattle and the nation's farmers stare every day into an abyss of bankruptcy and destitution. Yet it was precisely here, where life is hardest, that in 2000 the Republicans racked up 80 per cent of the vote. What is it about the Democrats, the party of the poor and the defenceless, that does not speak to these country voters? Well, for a start, it is the Democrats' association with East- and West-Coast values. In the words of a famous TV commercial, these liberals are a 'tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show'.

Right - the culture gap is real. The Left looks down on the rest of the country but they wonder why we don't trust them to lead us.

Here's a good one:
Ford watched Bush's response to the first hostilities on American soil since the war of independence with frank dismay.
Maybe Pearl Harbor dosn't count because it was a territory and the Civil War didn't involve outsiders (except for English blockade runners). I don't expect a British writer to know about Indian wars or Mexican American wars however there was a war in which America was invaded and our capital sacked and burned. I expect a London based writer to know about that since it was the War of 1812 and we were fighting the English.

So, a British novelist talks with a cross-section of America but only finds anti-Bush people to interview. What do they think of Kerry's chances?

Packer has just met the senator at the Democratic Convention and found him 'more thoughtful and less genial' than she expected of a man courting the African-American vote. He had seemed bored by the interview. We agreed that Clinton would never have been bored meeting the voters. Once again, there was no escaping the unspoken longing for a better candidate to take on Bush.

So can Kerry pull it off? To this simple question there is, as I write, no clear answer.

Monday, September 27, 2004

David Broder is supposed to be the gold standard for unbiased coverage. The Washington Post Writers Group describes his columns as "Balanced perspective on politics and government from one of the greatest journalists of our day."

Talking Points feels that a panel with Broder, two conservatives, and a liberal is unbalanced.

Which is why I am upset with Sunday's column, "The Media, Losing Their Way". In an apparent effort to be fair and balanced, opened with this:

In a year when war in Iraq, the threat of terrorism and looming problems with the federal budget and the nation's health care system cry out for serious debate, the news organizations on which people should be able to depend have been diverted into chasing sham events: a scurrilous and largely inaccurate attack on the Vietnam service of John Kerry and a forged document charging President Bush with disobeying an order for an Air National Guard

This bothers me on several levels. The SwiftVets made charges substantiated by official documentation and sworn affidavits. After two months of digging, the most that anyone has managed is a childish "my eyewitnesses count for more than your eyewitnesses." I know of no uncritical coverage in the mainsteam media (MSM). The story was not covered at all for the first month until Kerry decided to fight back. Dismissive comments like Broders are widespread.

The CBS story, on the other hand, was broken by the MSM and then picked up by campaign ads. It has been discredited and CBS had to apologies for it.

So why does Broder use the SwiftVets as scurrilous? He didn't add any such terms on the CBS forgeries.

Later he says:
The common feature -- and the disturbing fact -- is that none of these damaging failures would have occurred had senior journalists not been blind to the fact that the standards in their organizations were being fatally compromised
Again - where is the MSM coverage of the SwiftVets that he is complaining about? I would love to see it.

Time was when any outfit such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that came around peddling an ad with implausible charges would have run into a hard-nosed reporter whose first questions -- before he or she ran with the story -- would have been, "Who the hell are you guys? What's your angle? What's your proof?"

These guys are a large group of Swift Boat and other Viet Nam veterans. Their angle is that they have not forgiven Kerry for his 1971 anti-war protests. They have documented their charges extensively.

And for a final time, where is the coverage of the SwiftVets? Is he only talking about paid ads? Does he mean that some hard-nosed reporter should have gone out and investigated the charges? Tried to disprove them?

If Broder is surprised that this hasn't happened, so am I. The Washington Post found that some SwiftVets backers also have backed Republicans. This is not much of an inditement. Surely they didn't expect that the Kerry backers were funding the ads?

But in the two months since the ads started showing, not one person has been able to prove a substantial charge was false. Yes, "all of the enlisted men who served under Kerry who were on the same boat when the actions happened back him". And an officer who was in the same boat, an enlisted man who served under Kerry but not during the incidents, and several people who were yards away say otherwise. This is not proof.

There might be some proof in Kerry's official records. The ones he hasn't released. Why hasn't he released them.

But, let's look at it the other way. Surveys have shown that the press overwhelmingly wants Kerry to win. Any reporter who disproved and of the SwiftVets' claims would get a national byline. There must be dozens of reporters out there digging. Why haven't we seen anything?

Maybe because it is all true. Things start looking bad for Kerry and they quit digging. They don't want to see any more. After all, Viet Nam was a long time ago and the important thing is getting Kerry into office. Right?

So while David Broder talks about lowered news standards and the bad influence of internet "journalists", he is overlooking the real story. The press is biased.

CBS is biased. They found the story that they had spent five years searching for and they didn't check it because they needed it to be true. They needed to save us from Bush.

If Broder had spent an hour checking the SwiftVets' charges he would never have used the words "scurrilous and largely inaccurate". He doesn't because he already knows everything he needs to about Kerry (i.e. he isn't Bush). And Broder lumps together inconvenient charges against Kerry and outright forgeries as though the two were equally wrong. Broder's biases are showing.

At least Talking Points can rest easy, the panel had two liberals, after all.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

How about that - Bush volunteered for Viet Nam! Actually, he tried to but was rejected. Really. Newsweek covered this in February.

The standard rap against Bush is that he was ducking combat by joining the Guard. Actually, the Texas Air Guard had a program called Palace Alert that allowed pilots to volunteer for flight time in Vietnam. Three of Bush's fellow pilots—Udell, Woodfin and Fred Bradley—recalled to NEWSWEEK that Bush inquired with the base commander about signing up for Palace Alert. He was told no; he had too few flying hours at the time and his plane, the F-102, was by then deemed obsolete for air combat.
More details here.

"The Air Force, in their ultimate wisdom, assembled a group of 102's and took them to Southeast Asia. Bush volunteered to go. But he needed to have 500 [flight] hours, but he only had just over 300 hours so he wasn't eligible to go,” Morrisey recalls.

I don't know how many experts have told us that one big reason the Islamic fundamentalists hate us is because of the corrupt Arab governments.

During the Cold War, we didn't have a lot of choice. Given a pro-American corrupt dictatorship and an anti-American corrupt communist dictatorship, we supported the government that supported us back. (Most of us did, Kerry tended to support anti-American communist dictatorships like the ones in El Salvador or North Viet Nam).

In the case of Iraq, we had the opportunity to overthrow a particularly murderous, corrupt dictator. Unlike most dictatorships, we had been in a state of continuous hostilities against Iraq for more than a decade and Iraq had violated numerous UN resolutions. Given all that and Iraq's long-standing relationship with terrorists, this was a no-brainer.

But John Kerry says that it was the wrong war at the wrong time. He made it clear that he prefered the stability of Saddam's murderous rule.

America can do better than this.

Now for a break from politics and into junk science. A recent report says that fat kids cost schools money and test scores. The report says:
  • Schools with high percentages of students who did not regularly exercise or eat well had smaller gains in test scores than did other schools.
  • Children who do not get the recommended basic vitamins and minerals have lower test scores, are absent more, have difficulty concentrating and have less energy.
  • Physical activity programs are linked to increased concentration and improved math, reading, and writing test scores.
  • Students taking daily physical education classes missed fewer classes, had a more positive attitude to school and earned better grades.

You have to look closely to see the problem with the report. There are several hidden assumptions and without them, this report has nothing to do with obesity.

Obesity is a medical refering to a high percentage of body fat. While it is true that someone who eats too much and doesn't excersize enough will be obese, it is not true that everyone who is obese is inactive.

None of these finding actually address overweight people. Let's look closer:

-- Schools with high percentages of students who did not regularly exercise or eat well had smaller gains in test scores than did other schools.

This one is totally meaningless since it only addresses gains in test scores. Were the children in question spread evenly across the score range or were they already concentraited, possibly at the top (or bottom)? What sort of test score gains are we talking about?

-- Children who do not get the recommended basic vitamins and minerals have lower test scores, are absent more, have difficulty concentrating and have less energy.

This is talking about malnutrition, not obesity. Economics are not mentioned, either. Poor kids tend to eat poorly but their poor test scores are lined to poverty, not obesity.

-- Physical activity programs are linked to increased concentration and improved math, reading, and writing test scores.

Again, this has nothing to do with obesity. It could be argued that these classes either wake kids up or let them work off excess energy. It doesn't even address the kids' general lifestyle.

-- Students taking daily physical education classes missed fewer classes, had a more positive attitude to school and earned better grades.

Same as above.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The final word on fonts.

Jay Bryant asks who Kerry wants to lead Iraq? The answer seems to be Saddam. I hope someone asks this in next week's debate.

This column asks why Dan Rather doesn't act outraged? Instead of acting like the victim of a hoax he acts like a caught hoaxer. That may be a little harsh. Rather could be seen as a senior citizen who got taken by a con artist and who insists that everything is fine. Of course that doesn't explain the violations of CBS rules when they called the Kerry campaign.

Friday, September 24, 2004

What color is the sky in your world? After arguing that the CBS forgeries were real until they are blue in the face, the Daily Kos suddenly realized that they must be fake because they came from Karl Rove.

Their reasoning (all of which hinges on Burkett being a credible witness) - Burkett was telling people about Bush's files being cleaned of embarrasing details. This would be a federal crime so Rove had to discredit Burkett.

So Burkett was, indeed, given a poison pill of sorts. In March of 2004, soon after Burkett started appearing throughout the media telling his story, a woman by the name of "Lucy Ramirez" called him up to ask him to take documents she had discovered, but wanted no part of. A meet was arranged; the documents were handed to Burkett. The documents were ones that indeed matched the events in question precisely, and were very compelling; they were also a plant.

They were clearly forgeries, or so the operatives thought, to anyone who knew about the capabilities of typewriters in the early 1970s. Surely, if Burkett released those documents to the press, they would be discovered as fraudulent immediately, and Burkett would be made to look not only like an "unhinged" nutcase, but like a purveyor of forged documents as well.

So, after spending a week and a half trying to prove that the documents were real and could have been produced in the 1970s, the Kos now tells us that they were meant to be so bad that anyone who knew anything about typewriters would know that they were fakes.

Let me repeat that. Someone who, on Sept. 10, insisted that he was an expert on fonts and that the documents were genuine now says that the documents were badly forged so that they would immediately be recognized as fakes.

Better put on a neckbrace. You can get whiplash when you switch direction that fast.

Does he believe it? Maybe.

Now, here's the problem with what I've written, above.

None of it is true.

Or, to be infinitely more precise; it might be, or it might not be. It is speculation, not evidence.

All the dates, cited documents, media reports, and other facts as I have outlined them are indeed absolutely true, and Karl Rove has indeed performed very similar "ratfucking" operations before. And there does seem to be tentative but growing consensus that the "newly discovered" documents that are in Bush's files are, indeed, part of tampering and forgery efforts by someone connected to the Bush campaign. But I have simply pulled the rest, the backstory that ties it all together as relates to
the Killian memos, out of my ass.

Still, as I said at the beginning of this piece, proving things has proven to be a colossal waste of time. Nobody in the media, and certainly nobody on the Internet, gives a rat's ass about proving their theories. The moral for both bloggers and national television hosts is simply "if it sounds good, say it!"

So, even though I have absolutely no facts to back up my above assertion -- that this was indeed a classic Rovian tactic meant to neutralize Burkett himself, but one that
blew entirely out of control -- I certainly think this analysis is sound enough for the entire Internet, as well as all newspapers, television personalities, and other media to start running with this story.

After all, it fits the
facts as we know them, better than any other explanation currently being

The Democrats have been mad at Nader for nearly four years. They are sure that he cost them the election. Nader responds that his vote came from people who were upset with the choices given them and who would not have voted had he not been on the ballot. Regardless, that is how democracy works.

It is hard to believe but some really influential Democrats like Michael Moore wanted Gore to lose in order to force the Democrats to nominate a more liberal candidate. That's why Moore campaigned for Nader in 2000.

So, what's Kerry's Nader strategy? Keep him off the ballot. A hord of lawyers sprung up to challenge Nader in every state. They want to make sure that voters only have two options.

Is there any fallout from this? You bet. Nader doesn't like Bush one bit but now he is furious at Kerry. According to Newsweek, Nader had planned on campaigning in Bush's home state in order to make the President look bad.

Now that Kerry's people kept him off of the Texas ballot, Nader is going to campaign in swing states where he is most likely to hurt Kerry.

Allawi says that the Iraq war was justified and that things are getting better. Kerry implies that Allawi is Bush's puppet and is lying about the situation in Iraq.

Kerry was also sending a clear message to the resistance in Iraq. If Kerry wins in November he will not protect Allawi. If Kerry wins, Allawi is dead.

Nice candidate we've got there.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry lost his voice yesterday and had to cancel a speech in Columbus. Just one more piece of bad luck.

Before he lost his voice, Kerry lost his hold on reality and suggested that Bush has a secret plan to re-establish the draft. This has been an internet rumor for several months but it is unlikely. The only push to re-establish the draft has been from Democrats and Bush is against it for some of the same reason that the Democrats are for it. The reasoning is that it will be harder to go to war if rich people's kids might be drafted and sent out. Assuming that this is true, this would be a good reason for Bush to avoid holding a draft.

A better reason for keeping the current professional army is that we have better troops. When the soldiers volunteer they stay in longer allowing the military to give them better training. The top brass are against the draft because the quality of soldier would drop.

The Washington Post examines the Democrats' attempts to depict Bush as the real flip-flopper. This is a losing proposition for them for a couple of reasons. Kerry was first labeled a flip-flopper by his rival Democrats during the primary. There was something to it so Bush built on it. Kerry seldom gives a straight answer on an issue. More often it comes out as, "Actually I voted for it before I voted against it."

Back when Bush first started the flip-flop campaign, Kerry objected that Bush was too dumb or stubborn to change his mind. Now his campaign lists examples where Bush has changed his mind. It all averages out as a leader with strong convictions who will re-examine his policies when he needs to. This is the last thing the Democrats want to say about Bush.

Of course, all polititians change their minds on issues. Conviction meets reality and something has to give. The question is how easily will a polititian change his mind? Will he try to stay true to his campaign promises or does he have a different agenda? When Kerry gives the impression that he will say anything to get elected he loses support.

Jonathan Alter says that Kerry should have spent the Summer being negative. He thinks that Kerry and campaign advisor Bob Shrum went wrong by counting on anti-Bush sentient.

Shrum's grand plan wasn't complicated. He figured that with most voters believing the country is on the "wrong track," all that Kerry had to do was establish his credibility as a potential commander in chief and he would win—hence the "bio" convention. No need to respond directly to Bush ads sliming him for wanting to cut the same weapons systems that Bush's father cut. No need to explain how the Iraq war had been botched. No need to discredit Bush at all, because he was already thoroughly discredited.

Oh, well. The Shrum strategy was the product of short-term thinking (the assumption that Bush's unpopularity in the period of the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal would last until fall) and was reinforced by the sealed and often smug world of Democratic politics, where it was taken for granted that Bush was bad, bad, bad, and any reasonable person already knew why. Shrum correctly realized that a Michael Moore-style sledgehammer would do little to sway undecided voters who don't loathe Bush. But Shrum wrongly extrapolated from that point that Kerry had no need to indict Bush in easy-to-remember phrases that would stick. He once told me as much, and that name-calling wouldn't work in post-9/11 presidential politics.

But Alter is ignoring the 527s and their attack ads. They tried to chew up Bush all Summer and they had more money than Kerry did. It's just that none of the attacks really stuck.

This ties into what I have said about Kerry before, though. He didn't win the primaries because people wanted to see him as President. He won because the voters thought that other people would vote for him. Shrum's strategy was to parade Kerry's war hero qualifications and let anti-Bush sentiment take it from there. They've never offered up a vision. Even Kerry's new Iraq policy boils down to "It will be better because I will be in charge." That's not much reason to turn out a war president.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Decorated Soldier Reportedly Attacked At Concert. Why? Because he wore an Iraqi freedom T-shirt. Also I heard on the radio this morning that cars in my neighborhood with Bush stickers are being keyed.

We will see what happens to houses since I have a Bush sign in front of mine.
Monday was a bad day for the Kerry campaign. CBS admitted that the documents were bad and that they could not verify their story. Kerry's new Iraq policy was instantly countered with a quote from the candidate himself saying that anyone who thought that we were safer with Saddam in power is not fit to be President. Nightline speculated that Kerry cannot stay with an attack long enough for it to work. The polls show that Bush is way ahead in the electoral vote. States that were supposed to be a given for Kerry are now swing states forcing him to spread his campaign appearances across more of the country and spend money in markets that he thought he could ignore.

Then there was Leno. In his opening monologue he joked that no one has heard from Edwards. "You're supposed to wait until you are elected vice-president before you go into hiding at an undisclosed location." Leno's headline lead with "Geraldo says that Rather makes newsmen look bad."

Then on Tuesday, CBS admitted direct links between the source of their story and the Kerry campaign.

This makes future Democrat dirty tricks tougher. News organizations approached by people with new information will be scrutanized a little more. After all, who wants to be the next one caught?

It might also blunt the impact of Kitty Kelly's new book on the Bush family.

It's interesting how the Left is taking the who CBS scandal. Their response is"Rather isn't biased, he's just crazy."

The big problem here is that it wasn't Rather's story. Yes, he pushed to get it on the air and, yes, he defended it, but he didn't produce it. That was done by Mary Mapes who has been working on the story for five years. CBS even used this figure to defend the story.

What does this say about Mapes? She has been trying to dig up some dirt on Bush for a long time. The basic story - Bush enlisted in the Texas National Guard to avoid the draft; someone might have pulled strings to get him in; and he slacked off quite a bit in 1972 - has been known since 2000. Bush was elected anyway and re-surfacing the story does not seem to be hurting him.

That's why Mapes needed a new twist. In the new version, the Bush family pulled the strings, Bush disobeyed a direct order, and there was presure from above to "sugar-coat" Bush's record. This is what Mapes had been looking for. It was perfect. It was almost too good to be true.

In fact, it wasn't true and she must have suspected it on some level. She should have gotten the originals to a document expert and had him check all aspects of the documents. Instead she had experts check specific aspects of copies. She was doing just enough checking to cover herself if someone asked any questions but not enough to prove anything.

Maybe she knew that the documents were fake. Maybe she thought they were genuine. Either way, she needed them so she didn't do any real checking. If she had, she might have lost the story.

The higher ups at CBS might have been on the level. After all, she had a typewriter repair man who said that the documents might possibly be genuine and a handwriting expert had said that the copies he received might not be fake. Slate points out that:

Investigative reporters also expect their scoops to be attacked, especially if
the story's subject is powerful or shady, so they're emboldened rather than
discouraged by the first round of criticism. We must be getting close to the
marrow if they're screaming this loud
! they think. If the criticism comes from
the competition, they're particularly nasty, as Dan Rather was, when he fended
off questions about the documents' authenticity by saying that the rest of the
media should go after Bush's military record instead of ripping CBS News.

Still, they let this woman chase Bush for five years. This goes way beyond objective journalism and into vendetta. At some point you have to recognize this. If yu allow it to continue then you have an institutional bias.

Kerry (or some of his Clinton people) finally tried to pull all of his conflicting stances in Iraq together. Slate summarizes them.

Will it work? No. This is too long and nuanced to ever make it on the news. What made the news is that Kerry is now running against the war.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in
hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The
satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a
dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

As I said above, Kerry attacked Dean for saying exactly this and Bush is using the quote against him.

Back during the early primaries, voters expected Iraq to have settled down by now so they rejected Dean, the anti-war candidate, in favor of Kerry, the war hero. Kerry has danced all over the issue taking every side at some point. This is where the reputation as a flip-floper came from in the first place. It means that Iraq is the one issue he cannot attack Bush on.

So why did he do it? Did his staff think that Bush would forget Kerry's earlier statements? Were the new Clinton people unaware of them?

Are the Clinton people trying to sink Kerry so that Hillary will have a shot in 2008?

Does the Kerry campaign have so many new senior advisors that no one is properly vetting their new attacks?

Do we want this man to be President?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Last night's Daily Show had Pat Buchanan as guest. Buchanan was defending Bush and Jon Stewart was defending Kerry. Part way through Buchanan asked,

"What did Kerry mean when he said that he would have voted to go to war with Iraq even if he knew then what we know now?"

Stewart answered, "If I ever have Kerry on my show I'll ask him..."

Then he remembered that Kerry had been on his show and he hadn't asked him.

I think that it suddenly sunk in. Stewart had just called the Iraq war the biggest mistake in his lifetime. Kerry seemed to have said that he was for it. And Stewart had asked him if he got a nickel for every bottle of ketchup sold. That "fake news show" label just bit him.

In the meantime, Kerry is still hiding from real news shows. He has not talked directly with the press since the first SwiftVets ad showed around August 1.

So who is winning? During the Summer, Kerry was ahead in the electoral college. That changed in the last week. Some swing states like Ohio suddenly went strongly for Bush. Bush currenlty stands at 296 votes to Kerry's 238 with Maine (4 votes) a tie. Four of Bush's states are still in the "barely Bush" category although he could lose some of these and still have the 270 needed to win.

Kerry will probably be spending a lot of effort to get back the Cheesehead vote.
The final word is in. Killian's secretary says that she could not have typed the memos. She only had a basic mono-spaced Selectric.

These are not real, she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. They are not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him.

She said the typeface on the documents did not match either of the two typewriters that she used during her time at the Guard. She identified those machines as a mechanical Olympia, which was replaced by an IBM Selectric in the early 1970s.

She said that the culture of the time was that men didn't type office-related documents, and she expressed doubt that Lt. Col. Killian would have typed the memos. She said she would typically type his memos from his handwritten notes, which she would then destroy.

More lies from a Bush partisan? Nope. She hates Bush and speculates that the memos might have been recreated from memory (since Killian died 20 years ago, it must have been done by psychic John Edwards).

ABC News says that two people who examined the documents before the broadcast expressed warnings but that these were ignored.

Where does this leave us? What were the motivations at CBS? Without the documents much of the credibility of the story rested on the evolving statements of a major Kerry fund-raiser.

CBS could have re-edited the piece and taken out the documents but it would have lost a lot of its impact. They could have held the piece or pulled it completely. This story shouldn't have been urgent. CBS had been working on it for weeks, the events all happened 30+ years ago, and the election isn't for another month and a half. They could have waited.

Why didn't they?

Remember, Texans for Truth, a new 527 formed to attack Bush's military record, began running ads the day after the 60 Minutes piece and building on the 60 Minutes story. How much coordination is there between the two?

Is it possible that CBS executives didn't want to hurt Texan's for Truth by pulling or diluting the story?

Is CBS trying to influence a presidential election by knowingly including forged documents in an anti-Bush story?

So far CBS has refused to release the source of the documents. Protecting sources in a journalistic tradition but most journalists agree that all bets are off if your source gives you false information.

There are rumors that the documents came from (Click here to see how careful they are about the truth.)

CBS was supposed to release a new statement around noon. As of 1 pm I haven't seen anything. They have an updated story on their web site. It has all of the current accusations and rebuts them with what amounts to "I don't care if there's no proof, I just know it happened!"

There is talk about Congress holding hearings on the matter. They should.

Back when all news came from newspapers and even small cities had multiple papers, there was no pretense to neutral coverage. Papers had "their" candidate and promoted him shamelessly. This came with the rise of TV and the consolidation of papers. "There is no need to worry about slanted coverage," they told us. "We are only interested in truth and truth is non-partisan." If all bets are off and the networks are no longer paying lip service to fair coverage then someone needs to say so.

Speaking of CBS news, their web site has this opinion piece about why Democrats tend to lose.

The problem begins with the fact that majorities of the public tend to agree with Democrats on the issues. This isn't universally true, of course, but it's true with regard to more issues (perhaps many more issues) than not. On health care, the environment, investment, education, just about everything except national defense, majorities lean toward the Democratic position.

This sounds like a good thing. But in fact, it's an incredibly bad thing, because it leads Democrats to believe that they can win on the issues. So a Democratic presidential candidate's pollster goes out into the field and comes back with data proving that 54 of percent of the people are with us on this issue, and 61 percent of them are with us on that one, and so on. And so the pollster tells the candidate, "Just talk about the issues, and everything will be ducky."

He goes on to say that the nasty Republicans attack the Democrats' character and get people to vote against their best interests. He gives four examples of scurrilous lies about Kerry.

  • First, label him a flip-flopper. Establish him as unreliable. When dealing with someone who's been in the Senate for 20 years, casting thousands of roll-call votes on everything under God's sun, that's child's play.
  • Second, go after his war record in Vietnam. It's the one obvious resume advantage Kerry has (had?) over Bush. Erase it with a bunch of old and not credible charges. Turn Kerry's advantage into a wash.
  • Third, bring in Kerry's 1971 testimony. That should have the effect of planting the seed: Gee, if he spoke out against America then, can we be sure he'll defend America now?
  • Fourth and last, once the historical groundwork is established, bring it up to the present. Tie it into terrorism and Iraq. Kerry -- the flip-flopper, the war-story embellisher, the critic of American military aims -- can't be trusted.

Let's take a close look at these.

The first one, the one about flip-flopping first came up in the primaries. It wasn't minor senate votes that they were talking about either. It was war votes. Just look at the statements Kerry has made on Iraq in the last two years and tell me that he doesn't flip. Just look at statements made in the last six months and tell me if he is going to increase the troops in Iraq, decrease them, or leave them the same.

The second and third points show the problems with this year's abbreviated primary. Kerry ran on his Viet Nam record and and little else. Voters never heard about his anti-war record. But a lot of veterans never forgave Kerry for his protest days. I don't think for a second that they are Bush operatives. I think that they are exactly what they say, outraged vets. It should also be pointed out that many of their charges have been proven.

So can Kerry be trusted on terrorism?

As for the larger argument, I have seen it before. Democrats complain that people are voting against their best interests. If we would just vote the Democrats in then we would have universal health coverage, an end to global warming, and lollypops all around.

We did vote the Democrats in in 1992. We didn't get health coverage. We didn't even get lollypops.

Voters are skeptical of Democrats who promise too much. Either they will not deliver or, worse, they will deliver and make everything worse.

Voters are also more complex than the issues checklist makes them out to be. Congressmen vote hundreds of times in a term (except for Kerry who has missed most of his roll call votes). Only a handful affect the "issues". You have to choose someone you trust based on his character, not his laundry list of issues.

Then there are the issues themselves. Kerry is pushing jobs as an issue. Most candidates do. I have yet to hear a candidate run on an anti-jobs platform.

On other issues, all Democrats are pro-abortion (not pro-choice). It's an entrance requirement. Republicans are nominally anti-abortion although there are several pro-choice Republicans and there is no movement to outlaw abortion. The majority of Americans think that abortion should be legal but are very uncomfortable with it. Neither side really represents their views.

Gun control just came up again but few voters really believe that criminals armed with AK-47s are about to burst into their home. It is an issue but not a big one with most people.

You find this on most of the big issues. They might be big to the politician but they are not all that important to the average voter. They want someone they can trust, not someone who filled in the right check-boxes on a candidate position survey.
Mr. X tells what it is like to be a Republican in the heart of Manhattan.

I've had people walk away from me in midsentence at parties. One, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, moved to the opposite side of the room after we spoke but he kept stealing looks at me in a strange way throughout the evening - not just my observation, but confirmed by my wife.

Again, note the intolerance of the Left for the Right. Also the Hitler references.

This line of thinking knows no bounds. Case in point: One night, my wife and I went to hear Maurice Sendak and Tony Kushner discuss their collaborative book on the Holocaust at the 92nd Street Y. It was the typically erudite crowd you would expect at this kind of event. But when the topic came to a discussion of real evil and how to teach this to children, Mr. Kushner explained that, in his view, real evil did not just exist 60 years ago in the guise of Adolf Hitler.

"Dare I say it?" Mr. Kushner asked aloud with a conspiratorial smile,"[What about] George W. Bush?"
They're so busy hating Bush they don't even listen to themselves any longer.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

One of the charges about President Bush's stint in the Texas Air National Guard is that he or his family pulled strings to jump over a long waiting line to get in and, therefore sent someone else to die in Viet Nam in his place. Is any of this true?

Nope. It turns out that there was a waiting list to get into the Guard in general but being a pilot was more work than any of these people wanted to put in.

E.D. Hill: "One of the other claims is that President Bush, because of his
connections, was able to in essence jump ahead of hundreds of applicants. Now,
you were the head of the Texas Air National Guard at that time. Did a
significant number of people meet the requirements for the physical,
educational, and security needs to even apply for the specific position that
President Bush took?"

Lively: "No, well actually, I wasn't the head of the Air National Guard,
but I was the head of operations. I was director of operations, and I oversaw
and inspected all the units in Texas, flew with them, and the -- there was no
waiting list for this. See, this is often confused with another thing, which was
a waiting list to simply enlist in the Guard and do your service there rather
than the regular military, and there were lots of people on those waiting lists.
but those people weren't qualified to go to pilot training school. Now in the
course of reading all this stuff, I discovered that Lieutenant Bush took the Air
Force pilot and officer examinations while he was still at Yale finishing up, so
obviously he was looking for a place to be a pilot. And the personnel, some of
the distortion on this came out four years ago when this story first surfaced,
because some people had been in personnel in the Air National Guard including
lower ranking officers in my headquarters, gave improper information to the Los
Angeles Times who had come out with the original story, and a Times reporter
reported erroneous information, not his fault, but theirs."

Hill: So there was no waiting list, therefore there was no list that, you
know, people that he could have jumped in front of?"

Lively: "There was a long waiting list to just simply enlist in the Guard
as a basic airman, but to go in as an officer and go off to flying training. You
don't go to Air Force pilot training unless you really want to fly."

If anyone still thinks that the CBS memos are real, they should read this piece from the Washington Post. To summarize, numerous experts think that the documents could not have been generated on a 1970s typewriter, no other documents produced by Killian use proportional fonts, some of the facts are wrong, there are problems with abbreviations.

The documents are poor forgeries but they would have passed if the forger had thought to use a mono-spaced font or, better yet, had broken out an old Selectric.

It turns out that the terrorists have been holding off attacking us until they could get their hands on new semi-automatic weapons with scary features like bayonet mounts. At least that's what Kerry thinks.

"Today, George Bush made the job of terrorists easier and made the job of
America's law enforcement officers harder, and that's just plain wrong," Kerry
told an assembly of law officers in Washington.

This is the sort of thing that drives conservatives crazy. The SwiftVets were dismissed by the mainstream press as a bunch of partisan liars on little more evidence than that their original donor also donates to the Republicans. The SwiftVets charges have never been examined in detail by the mainstream press.

How does the Kerry campaign fight back? First they get Dan Rather to do a 60 Minutes attack on Bush based on forged documents and some statements of a major Kerry backer who contradicted years of sworn statements. Next they form a new 527 and raise $400,000 to start attacks on Bush based on the 60 Minutes piece.

What if the documents are forged?
It doesn't matter to me," Smith says plainly. The issue of Bush's service
is still valid.

So, on the one side, attacks on Kerry are dismissed out of hand and on the other side, attacks on Bush are carried forward even though the documentation is forged.

I'd hate to see what things would be like if we did have a liberal media.

The root cause here is Bush-bashing. The Left needs Kerry. If there's anything damaging in his past then their hopes of ending the evil Bush dynasty are gone so they don't want to know. They are holding their hands over their ears and going, "La, la, la." But they want something to be wrong with Bush so they believe everything they are told because they want him damaged.

At least competition has opened things up a bit. It's a major story when a major news outlet attacks the President on the basis of poorly forged records. It hurts all of the media so they are distancing themselves.

As the Bush campaign has pointed out, none of these accusations are new. The Democrats keep bringing them up again and again hoping that they will stick this time. I expect that the public has grown numb to this litany.

What do Kerry supporters say about this?
"I wish we could be talking about [exporting] jobs ... And health care," he
(Smith) says. "But you've got to play the game you're in."

But it is the Kerry people who keep bringing up Viet Nam. We should vote for Kerry because he served in Viet Nam and Bush didn't. Except we should ignore Kerry's anti-war activities when he returned because he was young and inexperienced. Except we should pay attention to what Bush did when he was young and inexperienced.

Why don't we focus on the issues? Like the Department of Wellness.

I can imagine the conversation at the Kerry headquarters.

"Our candidate just proposed a Department of Wellness."

"Oh great. Pull out some more Viet Nam pictures."

Monday, September 13, 2004

Is there a climate of fear among Bush supporters? Are Bush's supporters afraid of the anti-Bush crowd? I think so. I put up a Bush yard sign today but it worried me a bit. I'm not afraid of the Kerry supporters, it's the Bush haters who worry me.

And there are a lot of them. Even allowing that my neighborhood is changing from conservative stronghold to mixed, there are lots of really nasty signs.

When I picked up my yard sign they asked if I wanted a bumper sticker, also. I asked about one of the white ovals with "W94" on it. They went first. I think that this is because they are subtle and the least likely to provoke someone.

Some of the anti-Bush crowd is so dedicated to hate that they have become irrational. The local Saturday afternoon peace rally is down to the real hard-core protestors but some of them are really vile. Two signs stand out. One was "Heil to the Beast", the other implied that Carl Rove caused 9/11. Keep in mind that this protest was on the 3rd anniversary of September 11.

Glenn Reynolds thinks that Ralph Nader will do better than expected. After all, Kerry doesn't offer anything to the anti-war wing of the party. He's been all over the spectrum on his support of the war. If it looks like Bush will win anyway, a lot of Democrats will vote for Nader as a protest vote.

Of course, the Democrats fear Nader. They are convinced that Nader cost them the election in 2000. Nader insists that he didn't steal any votes from Gore, that the people who voted for him would have stayed home instead.

We will see. The Democrats are mounting a strong offensive to keep Nader off of the ballot. They want to limit the choices to Bush and their guy.

Maybe they need to consider a name change. "Democrats" doesn't see to fit any longer, does it.

So, are the memos real or are they fakes? Several web sites have shown how simple it is to perfectly reproduce one of the memos. Here's Slates rundown on the whole thing.

CBS still maintains that proportional type existed at the time therefore no further proof is needed. Some web sites have gotten a hold of samples from an IBM Selectric Composer and found that the results are close but not exact. Also, it takes a lot of work to center the heading and no one can explain the kerning.

There is a principal called Occam's Razor. Put simply, given a choice between a simple explanation and a complicated one, the simple one is the most likely.

Complicated version - an army officer who family members say didn't type used a complicated typewriter to produce a memo for personal files that his family says he didn't keep. While producing this memo that no one would read, he went to the trouble of changing "golf balls" in order to superscript the "th". He also chose, by coincidence, the same spacing and layout as the Microsoft Word defaults and he centered the heading at exactly the same place that Word does, even though centering with one of these typewriters is very difficult. And for reasons not given, he refers to an officer who had retired a year and a half earlier as pressuring him.

Simple version - they're fakes.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

What I said about the fonts not having to match exactly, even if both are based on the same font? Someone tried it on a Selectric Composer. They're close but not exact. If they aren't exact then this isn't the machine that produced the memos.

Could this sink the Kerry campaign? Yes and no.

If it is traced back to the Kerry campaign or the DNC then they can minimize the damage. They fire someone and issue a statement about it being a rogue operation. They could even say that the staffer was simply recreating documents that must have existed.

The real damage is threefold:

  1. With less than two months to the election, any time the Kerry campaign spends explaining itself is time lost from campaigning.
  2. The Kerry campaign has been countering the SwiftVets by saying that they lied. With a dirty trick on their own record the SwiftVets look pretty clean.
  3. With no message, the Democrats keep hoping to derail Bush by raising questions about his service record. This is the 4th or 5th time it has come up. It doesn't stick but they keep trying.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Are the memos fakes or not? All of the mainstream news admits the possibility. Even CBS has a story on it. The right-leaning blogs are popping the Champaign. The left-leaning blogs are, naturally, not convinced. Let's take a closer look at their defenses.

First, let'd get the Selectric out of the way. The Selectric only printed mono-spaced fonts so it doesn't matter what tricks were possible to get the raised "th" to print. The Selectric Composer could have done it but it was difficult to use. No one would willingly type memos on it and, since the memos had different dates, you cannot speculate that the regular typewriter was broken or other unusual events.

So what are we left with?

IBM offered proportional font typewriters as early as the 1948 under their "Executive" line.

It was possible to order these with "th" keys. This was a special order but not unusual.

The Executive might have offered a Times New Roman font. So far no one has come up with an example of this that I know of.

So it is possible but unlikely that Killian might have owned a typewriter capable of creating such a memo.

Let's look closer.

The typewriter linked above has three fonts: Bold, Secretarial, and Mid-Century. Bold looks a lot like Times Roman but it is impossible to say from the tiny sample shown how close they actually are.

I made a survey of some of the more prominent left-leaning blogs. The Daily KOS goes into the most detail. He addresses Little Green Footballs directly.

What he then discovered is that Times New Roman typeface is, when viewed on
a computer monitor, really, really similar to Times New Roman typeface. Or
rather, really really similar to a typeface that is similar to Times New Roman

Um, OK then.

You see, a "typeface" doesn't just consist of the shape of the letters.
It also is a set of rules about the size of the letters in different point
sizes, the width of those letters, and the spacing between them. These are
all designed in as part of the font, by the designer. Since Microsoft Word
was designed to include popular and very-long-used typefaces, it is hardly a
surprise that those typefaces, in Microsoft Word, would look similar to, er,
themselves, on a typewriter or other publishing device. That's the point
of typefaces; to have a uniform look across all publishing devices. To
look the same. You could use the same typeface in, for example,
OpenOffice, and if it's the same font, surprise-surprise, it will look the

KOS does not have a lot of experience with exacting word processing. I do so here are my observations.

It used to be that a font was the physical set of print slugs used or the mold that they came from. There were no "rules". Each letter printed according to the size of the slug.

When this was transferred to computers, programmers came up with ways of describing fonts so that they would look like the real thing. This includes enough information to reproduce the font no matter the medium. A font should come out looking about the same if you see it on a CRT or flatscreen display or printed on a 300x300 dpi (Dots Per Inch) laser printer or a 300x600 dpi ink jet printer or even a 180x160 dot matrix printer. The software that does this is known as the rendering agent.

Different rendering agents will produce different results. If you take the same text and font and print it with Notepad, Wordpad and MS Word, you will get different results because they go through different rendering agents. The lines will be slightly different lengths. This has caused problems for me when clients upgrade their print driver and complain that they letters they created no longer line up right.

It is an amazing stretch that the rendering agent for MS Word would line up so exactly with a typewriter. Remember, the Microsoft font is very similar to Times New Roman but it is not identical (this is so they can avoid paying royalties). IBM's bold font was created the same way. There is no reason for the two to have exactly identical spacing.

Add it all up and the odds of the memos being genuine are probably in the million to one range.

It would be different if CBS could produce the originals and let independent experts examine them. Laser and ink jet printers spray on their ink as tiny dots. Typewriters hit a solid slug against an inked ribbon or a piece of mylar covered with carbon. Typewriters leave an impression that can be felt. Computers do not.

Where did these documents come from anyway and why are they such poor copies?

Powerline has its own answers to the Daily KOS. He points out that the CBS document also has kerning (moving letters left or right tiny amounts to make words look better). Typewriters do not do this.

He also points out that Killian's wife and son think that the documents are forged and insist that he never kept personal files like these. (The far-left says that "they got to the widow and son.")

So, it is unlikely that the documents are what they say they are. What else do we know?

There are the above-mentioned denials by the widow and son. There are other documents written by Killian that praise Bush. In fact, there is no supporting written evidence.

Dan Rather has personally vouched for the documents. His reputation is on the line.

A Democratic pollster says that:

...If documents aired by CBS newsman Dan Rather Wednesday night turn out to be forged, as alleged by experts, the presidential race "is over."

"It would be the end of the race," Caddell told Fox News Live. "It would be the end of the race," he repeated.

Are things that dire? Even if the Kerry campaign gave the documents to Rather which is the rumor (the link is down after Drudge posted it), it is not enough to sink the Kerry campaign. There are still 50+ days to the election. Plenty of time for Kerry to sink on his own.

Can he do it?

NBC included questions about the documents' authenticity in their 6:30 pm broadcast. ABC News updated their web site faster.

A few days ago Susan Estrich, Dukakis's campaign manager promised lots of lies and dirty tricks. Maybe this is the first one to surface.

Or maybe it will be Texas National Guardsmen for Truth, who can explain exactly what George W. Bush was doing while John Kerry was putting his life on the line. So far, all W. can do is come up with dental records to prove that he met his obligations. Perhaps with money on the table, or investigators on their trail, we will learn just what kind of wild and crazy things the president was doing while Kerry was saving a man's life, facing enemy fire and serving his country.

Boy, that's pretty close, isn't it? She doesn't come right out and say that they are going to manufacture lies but she sure implies it. This could really backfire for the Democrats if it is proven.

Oliver North wrote an open letter to John Kerry. It's pretty strong.

As usual, you have it wrong. You don't have a beef with President George Bush about your war record. He's been exceedingly generous about your military service. Your complaint is with the 2.5 million of us who served honorably in a war that ended 29 years ago and which you, not the president, made the centerpiece of this campaign.


But that's not really the problem, either. The trouble you're having, John, isn't about your medals or coming home early or getting lost -- or even Richard Nixon. The issue is what you did to us when you came home, John.

When you got home, you co-founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War and wrote "The New Soldier," which denounced those of us who served -- and were still serving -- on the battlefields of a thankless war. Worst of all, John, you then accused me -- and all of us who served in Vietnam -- of committing terrible crimes and atrocities.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

60 Minutes produced some 1970s documents that reflect poorly on Bush's service. Are they fake? Some people think so. The memos are printed with proportional fonts. These are standard in word processors but were rare in typewriters in the early 1970s. I saw one of these typewriters used once and it was very difficult to get anything to print where you wanted it to. That's why mono-spaced typewriters were the norm.

Check the service documents available on Kerry's web site. All of them are mono-spaced.

Also, you had to have a special key for the raised "th". Few typewriters had this.

Little Green Footballs tried typing the document in MS Word using the Times New Roman font. The documents match. Look at the documents in the link. Notice that the last characters end at the same place between the two documents. This is significant since this will not happen if the fonts are even slightly different.

Also, Powerline has a sample of Killian's signature pasted beside the signature from one of the 60 Minutes documents. They are not very similar. The "K" is verry different and, in the verified signature it is the same height as the other letters. In the 60 Minutes document the "K" is huge. Also the "i" is very distinctive in the verified signature, almost like an inverted "V".

Then there is this analysis of the font by an expert. He's 90% sure that it is a fake.

For those out there too young to remember I will explain what a draft deferment was. When the draft was originally instated during the Civil War, it was easy to get out if you had money. By the 1960s, wealth alone didn't get you out. You had to prove to the Draft Board that there was some reason that they should not draft you. The most basic deferment was health-related. If you were not well enough to be an effective soldier then they didn't want you. Some people faked health problems. Howard Dean got off because of a bad back although this did not stop him from skiing during the same time.

Prior enlistment or service in a different branch also got you out. This included the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and the Peace Corps. George Bush, of course, enlisted in the National Guard. Being a member of the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) also counted because you were obligated to enlist as an officer when you graduated. Bill Clinton joined the ROTC for a short period for this reason but dropped out as soon as he realized that he would not be drafted.

The draft was for the Army and Marines only. If you knew that you were likely to be drafted you could enlist in the Air Force or Navy in order to get easier service. Kerry may have done this. He has been quoted as saying that his father had talked him out of joining the Air Force because it would take the joy out of flying. Instead, Kerry joined the Navy. (Since Kerry owns a very fast power boat his hitch didn't affect him the same way as his father.)

The final way out of the draft was if the Draft Board judged that you couldn't be spared. This could include parents, doctors, police, and defense workers. If also included college students with some provisions. The college deferment changed several times during the Viet Nam war. Originally the draft converted a wide spread of ages. It was assumed that a college student should be allowed to graduate. There was still time to draft him then and the Army would get the benefit of the college degree. That is why is was a deferment rather than an exemption.

In 1969, Nixon decided that it was unfair to have the question of the draft hanging over the heads of young men for years. During the period prior to that your status was checked every year. Nixon overhauled the draft so that it was a single annual lottery for 19-year-olds. If you had a deferment while you were 19 then you were safe.

The deferment for students had sent an unprecedented number of young men to college. By 1970, deferment status for most majors had been removed. You could still get a deferment if you were majoring in medicine or education. The liberal slant in today's schools got a big boost from people avoiding the draft.

All of these were perfectly legal ways of avoiding going to Viet Nam. They were also widely accepted. No one was looked upon as a coward for taking one of these exemptions and no one worried that someone else was being drafted to die in your place.

There was a money aspect to it. It was easier to get into college if you had money wither because you didn't have to qualify for scholarships or because many colleges automatically admit the children of graduates. If you didn't have the money, though, lots of scholarships were available as were student loans. If you were smart enough to get in then there were always ways that you could raise the money.

No one with a deferment was called a draft dodger. There were enough of those already.

A draft dodger was someone who was drafted but didn't show up. Some of these people went underground, adopting fake identities. Lots of them fled to Canada. Some were arrested and jailed. These are the people who were looked down on.

By the time Kerry enlisted, Viet Nam was already regarded as a "bad" war, something to be avoided if possible. People who took legal deferments were regarded as smart, not cowardly. People who enlisted (especially those who volunteered for Viet Nam) were looked upon as brave but, maybe a bit dumb.

For Kerry to make any statements in 2004 about the form of service that Bush chose in 1968 is to re-write history. And if you read his testimony from 1971, you wonder why anyone would volunteer.

Obviously most of the press wants to believe in Kerry so they don't even bother to investigate the SwiftVets' charges. They don't need to because they think they know the truth. Any denial from the Kerry campaign is enough. They don't like Bush so they fall all over themselves trying to find dirt on him. That's why we are hearing Bush's service record rehashed for the fourth time.

Years ago I saw a melodrama followed by some sketches. One of these had a man and woman off-stage. The man was cracking a whip onstage. Otherwise all we heard was their voices.

Man: The whip!
Woman: Not the whip!
Man: The whip!
Woman: Anything but the whip!
Man: Anything?
Woman: The whip!

This could be re-written for the presidential campaign:

Man: Bush!
Woman: No, not Bush!
Man: Bush!
Woman: Anybody But Bush!
Man: Kerry?
Woman: Bush!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

All the news sites have stories about Kerry's campaign shake-up. Reporters seem surprised by it. They shouldn't be. Kerry hasn't had a real test since January.

Back when he was campaigning for the Iowa caucuses, Kerry came up with a winning message. Dean was running as the candidate who hated Bush. Kerry ran as the candidate who could beat Bush. He combined his war experience, his brains, and his determination. His ads featured Viet Nam. His speeches boiled down to a two sentence soundbite, "Wouldn't you like to see me debate George Bush? Bring it on!"

Kerry had several things going for his at that point. He had come from behind so no one was focusing on him. All of the attacks had been directed at Dean. Even better, there was a general agreement between the candidates not to attack each other too hard. They wanted a strong challenger for Bush.

Primaries are always tricky. The voters are the hard-core members of the party. The candidate has to sell himself to them while remaining attractive to the more moderate general electorate.

This year was particularly difficult. The primary voters were not voting for the candidate they like, they were voting for someone who could beat Bush. Exit polls showed that very few of the people who selected Kerry actually liked him. They just voted for him because he was the strongest ABB (Anyone But Bush) candidate they could find.

Kerry won, not by convincing the voters that he would be a good president, but by convincing them that he could win the election. They didn't care what came next. They figured that it had to be better.

So now Kerry is running against Bush. He already has as much of the ABB vote as he will get. He's pushed his Viet Nam service too hard. He covered up his protest days and his Senate record. What's left?

The new Clinton people say to run on the economy. It worked for Bill. This is great strategy for a governor with a booming state economy behind him but a loser for a Senator who never introduced any jobs bills. Kerry is trying with his "We can do better" mantra but his heart isn't in it.

He really wants to attack Bush on Iraq. Dean or Clarke could have done this but Kerry has muddied the water too much. Not only has he made conflicting votes but he also admitted that he would have fought the same war except it would have been different, possibly a little more French.

Clinton was the Man From Hope who Understood Our Pain and would do for us what he did for Arkansas. Reagan promised to get government off our back and cut taxes.

Kerry will cut taxes (except for the rich), give health care to some of us, and talk to the French (in French). That's not much of a message.

Going negative will not help. You have to mix your own positives in with the negatives. Bush has a record behind him. Love him or hate him, you know where you stand. He can point to his achievements and say that Kerry will undo them.

Where does that leave Kerry? Surrounded by a half dozen new staffers plus all of the old ones, each with his own ideas about how the campaign should be run.

On top of that, he's hiding from t he press. His only appearance in the last month was on the Daily Show!

According to the Kerry campaign, retired Admiral Schachte changed his story about Kerry. Their proof is a government contract and a pair of $1,000 contributions that Schachte gave to Bush in 2000 and 2004.

So what are we to make of the upcoming 60 Minutes bit? Ben Barnes is going to be quoted as saying that he got Bush into the Guard in 1969. Barnes has raised more that $500,000 for the Kerry campaign, one of only 20 fund-raisers to manage this amount. Like Schachte, Barnes is a lobbyist who gets a lot of government contracts. Unlike Schachte, Barnes does not have 250+ Veit Nam veterans telling similar stories.

Also, Bush has released all of his service records. Kerry has not. Nor has he released his medical records or his wife's tax records.

Want to bet that Dan Rather glosses over Barnes' connections to the Kerry campaign as well as his shady past?

Maybe Kerry should add Rather to the campaign staff. He's done Democratic fundraisers before.

Bush has been polite about it and Kerry probably will never admit it, but we are not at war with terror, we are at war with militant Islam. There are no non-combatants in this war. Just look at the World Trade Center and the Russian school. There are no neutral countries. Just look at the French journalists taken hostage.

Our actions for the past several decades have given the impression that we are a hollow country with no resolve for a prolonged struggle. If Bush loses it will be seen as further proof. I doubt that the insurgents in Iraq think that Kerry has the guts for a protracted conflict. The message will be, if you poke the US, they will get stirred up for a while but nothing long-lasting will come of it. Then it will be safe to attack again.

That is what Vice President Cheney meant when he said that if America makes the wrong choice then the danger is that we will be hit again.

Edwards must know this but he wants to be president (some day) so he had to respond. Kerry has not given a response. Possibly he is out windsurfing again.

Ok, lots of people windsurf. Regular people. So why did Kerry get so much grief about it? Kennedy had his picture taken at the beach. He looked good - natural, relaxed. Nixon tried to do the same thing. He wore a suit and looked out of place.

This is Kerry. He thinks he's Kennedy but he's really Nixon. He's trying too hard. It doesn't look natural. It looks forced. He's over 60 but he keeps running around doing sports meant for the 16-30 crowd. The only people his age who do these things are the rich guys.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Funny thing - after the DNC Kerry got a zero bounce. At least one poll showed him down. The explanation was that there were no swing voters any longer. Going into the RNC, predictions were that Bush would also have a zero bounce.

Now Bush got a big bounce. Even more specific polls of likely voters give him a seven point lead. Mickey Kaus has some thoughts about the quality of the polls.

Regardless, something different happened after the RNC than happened after the DNC. Bush got swing voters. The Kerry campaign is trying to spin it as meaningless. After all, it is called a "bounce" because it goes back down.

Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn't. Often the challenger comes out of his convention (which is normally held first) with a lead over the incumbent. The incumbent gets a bounce of his own and things tighten up from there. Often, whoever is ahead on Labor Day stays ahead.

To confuse things even more, the incumbent's convention is usually held a little earlier and his bounce has usually died down by Labor Day.

Either way, the earlier you take a poll the less accurate it is. May and June polls show some really wild outcomes. In 1980, John Anderson looked at poll numbers that showed that 70% of the populous wanted a better candidate than Carter or Reagan. Figuring that he, as a liberal Republican, qualified, he entered the race. Ross Perot did the same thing in 1992.

In both cases, voters were looking for a "better" candidate and took an initial liking to the new face on the ticket. The problem with trying to be a "better" candidate is that it means different things to different people. I might want a candidate who is more fiscally conservative. You might want one who promises full English-style socialized medicine. One or both of us will be disappointed and settle for one of the regular candidates.

I think that this is what has happened with Kerry. He was chosen by people who don't like Bush but many of them now realize that they don't like Kerry, either. In fact, they prefer Bush.

As the election approaches, voters will be taking a close look at Kerry and deciding if they can live with him as president or not.

Kerry is hampered because he still hasn't come up with a reason for people to vite for him. He is still running as "not Bush". The Kerry Rapid Response site currently has this posted as the first listing:

“George W. Bush wishes he and I had the same position on Iraq but wishing
doesn’t make it so. I have said repeatedly that when it comes to Iraq, I
wouldn’t have done just one thing differently, I would have done almost
everything differently. George Bush’s wrongheaded, go-it-alone Iraq policy has
created a quagmire, costing us $200 billion and counting. As a result, George
Bush is shortchanging America on everything from education to health care to job
creation – making it more difficult to meet our needs here at home.”

Translation - I would have done everything just the same except better, trust me on this. The official campaign blog is just the same - Bush is bad, vote for me. This is not how to win an election. Bill Clinton ran on his record telling how he improved Arkansas and how he would do the same for the entire country. Reagan ran on tax cuts and getting the government off your back. Neither one ran negative campaign they ran on a vision for the future.

Bush, as the incumbent gets the luxury of being able to attack his opponent and run on a vision at the same time - vote for me, I'll keep you safe.

Kerry is at a loss on what to do about the SwiftVet ads. He should have ignored them. The SwiftVets are underfunded. Hardly anyone saw the ads. I didn't and I live in a swing state and was looking for them. I had to look them up on the Internet. This is self-selection. Just as the people who went to Fahrenheit 911, the people who look up the SwiftVets are ones who already are likely Bush voters. The only press that they got was very negative.

I suspect that they got under Kerry's skin. They scored a few hits. His campaign had to admit that he was not in Cambodia on Christmas and that he might have been hit by his own grenade. Even that never reached the mainstream news. Only likely Bush supporters knew it.

Then Kerry came out swinging. Suddenly it was a valid story. Most of it was still being suppressed by the mainsteam press but some got out. Kerry blames his staff but they were right. If Kerry has started swinging two weeks earlier then the story would have been even bigger.

Kerry's staff was also right about the press protecting them. Every story includes some line about "people who did not serve with Kerry." If the press was as unbiased as they represent themselves then 60 Minutes would have done an expose on Fahrenheit 911.

Kerry seems to be doing a lot of swinging. I'm not sure if he's hitting anything. Here is what he said a few minutes after the end of Bush's speech on Thursday night:

"I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who
refused to serve when they could have and who misled America into Iraq," Kerry
said at a late-night rally in Springfield, Ohio.

"The vice president even called me unfit for office last night," Kerry said. "I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of combat duty."

So, after months of letting surrogates attack Bush's and Cheney's record for him, Kerry is now doing it directly. This is probably a bad move. Most men served during WWII. Most have not served since then. Even if Kerry limits himself to the Viet Nam era, everyone from then either avoided service or knows someone who did. It was a dirty war. Kerry said so himself. Who can blame men for not wanting to go? If Kerry attacks Bush or Cheney too hard on this he will end up alienating a lot of voters.

Besides, does Cheney limited himself to talking about Kerry's time in the Senate. Bush and Cheney have been very careful to praise Kerry's war record. Is Kerry now claiming that no one but Viet Nam veterans are fit to question his term in the Senate?

Eric Alterman thinks that God must hate Florida, either because they let Bush with the election or because they voted for Jeb. Here I thought that God was Republican.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

A couple of days ago I wrote about the Kerry campaign's smear stories about retired Rear Admiral William Schachte. Schachte went public recently saying that he was there when Kerry won his first Purple Heart and that there was no return fire. A number of people including Schachte's commanding officer at the time said that he must have been there since he always went on these missions and it was a training mission for Kerry.

This is what the Kerry Rapid Response Team has to say about Schachte:

$40 Million Contract From the Bush Administration And a “Swift Shift In Stories.” “Four days ago, retired naval Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. Seconded accusations made by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seeking to discredit Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's record in Vietnam. But since then, Democrats have discovered that Schachte is also a long-standing supporter of President Bush and a lobbyist whose client FastShip Inc. Recently
won a $40 million grant from the federal government. According to a March 18 legal filing by Schachtes firm, Blank Rome, Schachte was one of the lobbyists working for FastShip on issues such as the effort to win funding for a new marine cargo terminal. On Feb. 2, Philadelphia-based FastShip announced that it would receive $40 million in federal funding for the project.” [Washington Post, 8/30/04]

Now, let's poke some holes in this.

First, the contract was awarded on February 2nd but Schachte didn't make a public statement until the end of August. That hardly qualifies as a "swift shift".

Second, they are implying that the $40 million grant is what made Schachte change his mind. The grant was given before the SwiftVets went public, a long time before their first ad. If the grant somehow pressured Schachte into changing his story then why didn't he change it months ago before the first SwitftVets press release?

Third, was the White House in any way involved with the grant? Were Democrats involved, too? The current house member from the Philadelphia area is Robert Brady, a Democrat. A lot of grants are given without any action from the White House or Congress. Why should we believe that this grant had any strings attached?

Forth, assuming that the grant was used to pressure Schachte into changing his story, how did the White House know to do this? Did one of the SwiftVets remember Schachte and tell Karl Rove to order someone else to hand out some grant money? Are we really to believe that the SwiftVets have that much influence in the government?

Fifth, if the SwiftVets have enough influence to affect a $40 million grant then why have they had so much trouble raising cash? The last I heard they only had raised around $1.5 million.

Sixth, is there anything improper about the grant or any reason to think that it would not have been given without Schachte's influence?

Seventh, was Schachte actually involved in the grant in any way? Does his name appear on any related papers? Was his time billed to the project?

Eighth, the grant was announced while Dean was still the front-runner. Was the Bush administration awarding grants

This is exactly the type of attack Michael Moore used in F911. You don't have to prove anything, you just have to show a vague connection. Given the theory of six degrees of separation in which you count everyone you know, everyone they know, and so on; by the time you get six levels out you have a relationship to everyone in the world.

In the world of retired military officers and lobbyists the number of links gets much shorter. All successful lobbyists get grants or influence legislation. That's what they do. That doesn't mean anything more.