Thursday, September 16, 2004
The Fall of the Media Empire
Everyone has heard the old saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Well, Rome didn't fall in a day, either. Centuries of discussion among scholars, laying waste to entire forests in pursuit of printed debate, still haven't pinpointed an exact date for Rome's last gasp. Perhaps the Roman Empire "fell" when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 AD, or it might have happened when the last Roman-born Emperor, Romulus Augustus, was kicked off the throne by the German warlord Odoacer in 476 AD. Maybe the fall of Rome began in 286 AD, when the Emperor Diocletian split the Empire into East and West. At no point, however, did citizens of the Empire wake up, look at their calendars, and say, "Ye gods; it's the Dark Ages!" People living through turning points of history have rarely been able to see them for what they were at the time. It has mostly taken a backward look to discover the historical significance of this or that occurrence. Until recently, only hindsight could tell us which events were the hinge points of history.
When historians look back on the year 2004, they will identify 9 September as one of those hinge points. This year will be identified as one marking the fall of the Mainstream Media Empire. Not only did the producers of CBS' venerable 60 Minutes allow Dan Rather to base an attack piece against President Bush on forged 1972 memos, but they ignored the concerns of the experts they hired to "vet" them. Emily Will, one of those experts, said, "I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter." She sent an email to producer Mary Mapes -- who refused to interview Bush's old roommate on the grounds that he was "pretty pro-Bush -- urging that the documents not be used. Oddly enough, the email probably looked more like it was written on a 1970's typewriter than the documents she had been checking. Other document examiners expressed doubts as to their authenticity. Yet CBS not only used them, they steadfastly refused to admit that anything was wrong with them for nearly a week. Even then, Dan Rather tried to deflect the growing controversy over the forgeries. "This is not about me," Rather said. "I recognize that those who didn't want the information out and tried to discredit the story are trying to make it about me, and I accept that." If it's a forged document (no one seems to have the courage to ask Rather), how can it be considered "information?" What kind of "news" story depends on false documentation?
Within hours of Dan Rather using the memos (described as "newly found" instead of the more accurate "newly created") in an effort to "prove" that President Bush disobeyed direct orders and needed his record "sugar coated," those documents were exposed as fraudulent by bloggers. Blogs like Powerlineblog.com and LittleGreenFootballs.com, following up a suggestion in a comment on FreeRepublic.com, began collecting evidence that the memos in question could not be authentic. Not only do they violate nearly every procedure and custom regarding military memos, but they couldn't possibly have been created using 1972 technology without a great deal of effort and expense. Moreover, writing and keeping such memos would never have occurred to Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian, and the officer whom he purportedly accused of putting pressure on him to smooth over the Bush record, Colonel Walter "Buck" Staudt, retired 18 months before the memo was supposedly written. Furthermore, the odds of precisely duplicating the page and line formatting of Microsoft Word using the 2002 version of the Times New Roman font dwarfs the chances of getting struck by lightning while simultaneously winning the lottery. Perhaps the best appraisal of the documents came from infamous forger-turned-forgery-expert Frank Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me If You Can." In an email to FOX News Channel's Neil Cavuto, Abagnale wrote, "If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been, 'Catch Me In Two Days.' "
Before the Internet became a major source of information exchange, the mere fact that CBS vetted the documents would have overwhelmed any question as to their authenticity, for months at least, if not years. In their zeal to smear President Bush with the election drawing near, 60 Minutes producers -- and perhaps Rather himself -- must have counted on that. The mainstream media had that kind of unquestioned power and authority for decades, and power does indeed corrupt. CBS executives are still stonewalling, perhaps thinking that a few people sitting at home typing on their computers in their pajamas (as Jonathan Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News referred to bloggers) aren't worth worrying about. There are probably people thinking it's a good idea to sit tight and weather Hurricane Ivan, too.
When the Founding Fathers of this country ensured freedom of the press, they never imagined that Big Media would set itself up as the gatekeeper of information -- deciding what news to report and how to slant it, using its power to influence the nation's voters. There is no way to forgive this breach of the public trust. We have depended on the press to inform us in a candid and unbiased way for so long that the habit's hard to break, even when they lose their impartiality and become obvious tools of the Democrats. Since the Vietnam War and Watergate, the so-called "mainstream" media has been little more than a doleful Greek chorus for the pessimistic Left. The Internet, however, represents the ultimate free market of ideas -- instead of days or weeks, new information is transmitted and vetted almost instantaneously, directly by the consumer. Sites that do their homework will only keep readers as long as they continue to do so, because of aggressive competition. A hundred years ago, most newspapers were small, independent publications. Competing for the public eye kept them honest -- good reporting increases readership. Within a decade, we'll be in the same situation with regard to Internet-based news. Whether you call it Rathergate, Memogate, or prefer to ignore it, this foray into partisan-driven fakery by CBS is the media equivalent of splitting the Roman Empire.
Only this time, there won't be a thousand years of darkness.
Posted at Thursday, September 16, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, September 13, 2004
While Kerry Went Rambo...
It's getting pretty tiresome listening to the Left bash President Bush and Dick Cheney for not serving in Vietnam, when Liberals have spent the last thirty years treating that war as one long atrocity. After a generation of spitting on the men who served honorably and even died to prevent Communism from sweeping across Southeast Asia, after robbing them of the public honor they deserved, now the Left is falling all over themselves to promote John Kerry, a man who admitted to participating in the very war crimes they have denounced America for committing... and the very man who crafted the undeserved popular image of Vietnam veterans. Why do Kerry and the Left attack President Bush for not going to Vietnam, if Vietnam was a "degrading and immoral" war, as John Kerry called it?
Impartial News Network, Boston MA -- Senator and highly-decorated fearless Vietnam war hero John F. Kerry rightly attacked President Bush today for his utter lack of Vietnam war experience. The main reason to vote for a President is that he served in Vietnam, as all Impartial News Network readers know.
"While I was in Vietnam for four long months, George Bush spent a mere six years flying jets back in the States. I violated the Hague and Geneva conventions and the laws of warfare -- I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All George Bush did was fly million-dollar jets around on some mission to protect the United States from attack by Soviet bombers coming from bases in Cuba or South America. While everyone in Vietnam was committing their war crimes on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command, as I told the Senate, Dick Cavett and Meet the Press in 1971, George Bush was not doing his part.
"Why wasn't George Bush in Vietnam when my fellow soldiers raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires with portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blew up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam? If he didn't commit the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed, then he doesn't have the experience necessary to be President, as I do. I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. George Bush did not. The fact that no Soviet bombers attacked the United States during the Vietnam war means that George Bush wasn't doing anything at all to protect this country. All the other members of the Air National Guard flying the same patrols, however, were performing vital duties neccessary to protect this country, duties from which they knew they might never return.
"I referred to Vietnam as a degrading and immoral war in my book, The New Soldier, but I was a hero because I participated in that war. George Bush was not in Vietnam, where anyone who wants to be President should have been burning villages and shooting civilians. There is no record of him commiting even a single atrocity during Vietnam. How can he be President? And now we suddenly find out -- as we repeatedly told the American public in 1994 and 2000 -- that George Bush may have skipped a few meetings near the very end of his time in the Air National Guard. Although he did make up the missed time to satisfy his obligations, and was granted an honorable discharge, the real fact is that we finally found something bad to say about George Bush."
John Kerry went to Vietnam while George Bush didn't, and that should be the sole basis upon which voters make their decision this November. For those who want to consider other issues, Impartial News Network would like you to keep in mind that Republicans want to destroy the forests, start wars, kill the homeless, give tax cuts to the rich, discriminate against minorities and women, put everyone in jail, invade everyone's privacy and get rid of Medicare and Social Security. They will force your grandmother to eat cat food. How can you vote for someone who will force poor old Grandma to eat cat food?
This has been an Impartial News report, brought to you by our new sponsor, the Heinz Corporation©.
Posted at Monday, September 13, 2004 by CavalierX
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Three years, and the pain of September 11th hasn't dulled one bit. A bright, clear, utterly normal September morning transformed in an instant. Thousands of people laughed and argued, ate and drank, went off to work as on thousands of other normal mornings... and were gone. No, not gone... that's too neat and tidy. They were murdered. The scenes from the World Trade Center were the worst for me. My grandparents worked there when the towers were new. I've looked at Manhattan, 105 floors below me. All I have to do is close my eyes, anytime, to see the people who were faced with death by fire, and chose death by falling... what a terrible choice to have to make. They will fall for the rest of my life. In a way, it will always be September the 11th.
President Bush swore that we would oppose not just al-Qaeda, but global terrorism itself, and the nations that harbor, succor and supply terrorist groups. That was a tall order, but no more so than determining that we would put an end to the Soviet Union, stop the advances of both the Nazis and the Japanese Empire, preserve the Union at all costs, or beat the mighty British Empire. The outcome of those oaths and dedications all appear foregone now, with the hindsight perspective history lends us... but Presidents Reagan, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Washington had neither assurance nor hope of success at the time. Nor do we. Once again, America is faced with the choice of succeeding or failing, and there is no in-between. Failure really isn't an option.
Three years, and where are we now? For a while we were all united. We swore that we would never forgive, never forget. But people deal with monumental events in different ways. For some, the pain of that day has faded. They were eager to return to the feeling of safety, false as it was, that they had on September 10th. The fact that we haven't been attacked at home in three years feeds into that false sense of security. Perhaps it was just a fluke, just a one-time occurrence. A lot of people seem to, or would like to, believe that. It would make things easier. But it's not the truth.
The enemy is still out there, though damaged and somewhat disorganised. Although three years have seen major successes in routing, arresting and killing the leadership of al-Qaeda, those are only the first battles of what was always seen as a decades-long struggle. Al-Qaeda, as their name implies, is only "the base." Al-Qaeda was meant to form a link between terrorist groups with various names, supporting different nominal causes in many countries. But al-Qaeda is just a name, and it's too easy to depersonalise the enemy that way. The enemies are the Islamic fundamentalists responsible for murdering innocent people around the world, and the countries that help them. Who bombed a Bali nightclub in October 2002? Islamic fundamentalists. Who bombed an Indonesian hotel in August 2003? Islamic fundamentalists. Who bombed a Kenya hotel in November 2003, synagogues in Tunisa and Turkey and a French oil tanker in Yemen? Islamic fundamentalists. Islamic terrorists bombed the train station in Madrid in March 2004. Islamic terrorists have been setting off bombs in Iraq almost daily, kidnapping and beheading people, coming in from Iran, Syria and who knows where else to try to make us abandon the Iraqi people. Islamic terrorists have been murdering blacks in the Darfur region of Sudan. Now Islamic terrorists have committed terrible acts in Russia. Terrorists holding hundreds of captives at a school in Beslan shot children in the back, raped young girls, and even repeatedly stabbed an 18-month-old baby during three days of horror. Because of Beslan, Vladimir Putin has sworn to fight terrorism, wherever it can be found, before they can strike again -- in essence, he has adopted the Bush Doctrine. Welcome to the fight, Mr. Putin, though we all wish it had been under different circumstances.
Most terrorists come from countries ruled by repressive totalitarian governments, where people have no hope for a better future. Hopelessness becomes frustration, frustration becomes hate, and hate becomes rage. Organised, funded terror groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah, Al-Aqsa and hundreds of others are experts at turning frustration into rage, then action. Democracy and freedom, on the other hand, give people hope, defusing frustration. Afghanistan and Iraq are becoming democracies with fair elections, rights for minorities and women, and economic freedom, despite the activities of terrorists that don't want to lose prime recruiting grounds. The governments of Pakistan and Libya no longer support terrorists or give them safe haven. Pakistan, in particular, has become a serious ally in the war on terror. One way or the other, Iran and Saudi Arabia are already moving towards democracy -- public pressure in both countries, as well as external pressure from ourselves and our allies, demand it. If they don't, the governments of both countries will face popular revolt in the coming decade. Funding for terrorist groups is being shut down, training camps are being destroyed, and members of terrorist cells at home and abroad are being arrested or killed. Slowly but surely, organised global terrorism will lose its grip... but only if we fight it.
We can talk about the pain of 9/11, but pain must become purpose. We have to renew our determination to continue as we have begun, until the job is truly finished. Despite all the ceremonies and candle-lighting, speeches and testimonials, the only fitting memorial to the victims of 9/11 and all the other terrorist attacks is to do our best to destroy terrorism at its root.
Posted at Saturday, September 11, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Abracadabra! Allakhazam! Herbert Hoover?
As far back as August of 2002, United Press International began "Hissing the H word at Bush," as UPI put it. Hillary Clinton said in April 2003 that Bush had "the most wrongheaded economic policies since Herbert Hoover." The New York Times proclaimed in July 2003 that President Bush "finds himself in danger of becoming the first president since Hoover to oversee a decline in the country's employment." MoveOn.org began running ads comparing Bush to Hoover in November 2003, before they compared him to Hitler instead. The Associate Press (AP) "reported" in February 2004 that President Bush had "the worst job-creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover." "Kerry Campaign Chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen awarded George Bush the 'Herbert Hoover Award' for presiding over the worst record on jobs of any president in American history" in March 2004. Washington Post pundits gleefully fuel "the fear that Bush will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to see jobs decline during his term." Every Democratic "strategist" interviewed for every media outlet inevitably compares President Bush to poor beleaguered Herbert Hoover, as do most so-called "news" stories. And now John Kerry, unimaginatively trying to come up with a new attack on President Bush, tells us that "George Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression to actually lose jobs."
Well, we've heard this before. And it's never been true. The Democrats used the same rhetoric against the first President Bush, for those who don't remember. US News and World Report called him "George Herbert (Hoover) Bush" in January 1992. In 1988, on the other hand, the Libertarian-leaning Mises Institute attacked Ronald Reagan's policies as "the most protectionist since Herbert Hoover's."
Poor Herbert Hoover. He just can't win. USA Today pointed out the excessive abuse of former President Hoover back in March of 2004, pointing out the fact that the Democrats have been digging into the same tired bag of tricks since 1948.
"They've dug up poor Mr. Hoover again and tried to turn him into the boogeyman of the campaign," said Tim Walch, director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. Both are in sight of Hoover's birthplace and the hill on which the 31st president is buried.
"It's really irrelevant to what's happening, and people can't get over it," said West Branch Mayor Mike Quinlan, a Democrat. "Hoover would have shown more class and never would have bashed a Democrat — but it's easy to do that."
Admirers defend the Hoover administration and point out that the former president became one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century with his efforts to stop world hunger.
Democrats have evoked the image of Hoover off and on since his defeat by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, the political victim of a stock-market crash and the Great Depression. But Walch said there hasn't been such a coordinated, partywide effort to link Hoover with a Republican candidate since Harry Truman's desperate campaign in 1948.
Walch noted another reason Democrats should be careful. Hoover was criticized for raising taxes on the wealthy and embracing a protectionist trade policy, both of which many Democrats support today.
The problem with comparing Bush and Hoover is that it makes no logical sense -- not that THAT will stop the Democrats (it's an election year, after all). For the moment, we'll ignore the fact that the private sector creates the majority of jobs in a functioning capitalistic society, not the government -- if the government is creating your jobs, you have a serious problem. The unemployment rate is down to 5.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report for August 2004. A look at the historical data shows the unemployment level has often been far higher than it is now, higher than the worst part of the recent recession, when it reached 6.4% in June 2003. During Herbert Hoover's administration, the unemployment rate rose to a high of 23.6%. What the Democrats won't tell you is that the Great Depression unemployment rate actually peaked at 24.9% in 1933... a year after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If they agreed that the 1933 job losses were due to the residual effects of Herbert Hoover's presidency, they would have to admit that the recession of 2000-2001 was actually due to Bill Clinton's administration. As it is, they're trying as hard as possible to ignore the jobs lost as a direct result of 9/11 -- which had devastating economic impacts -- and the discovery of the corporate scandals that went undetected all through the 1990's.
The Democrats are busy spinning the economy every which way but true, with the eager help of their friends in the media. Instead of reporting the total number of jobs created every month, the media focuses like a laser beam on major corporate jobs -- the Payroll Survey from the BLS. In July, for instance, the Payroll survey showed that only 32,000 jobs had been created by large, established corporations (a figure that has since been upgraded to 73,000). As National Review Online noted after checking with the BLS: "Real-estate agents, general contractors, and self-employed professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and financial planners just aren’t part of this number." The Household survey -- which records small businesses, startups and the self-employed -- showed that a startling total of 629,000 new jobs were actually created during that month. Where were the nightly news lead-off stories? Where were the headlines? (Where, for that matter, were the Bush campaign spokespeople, who should have been waving this figure like a flag during every interview and in paid ads?) As for the Democrat mantra that the jobs being created are low-paying, hard data from the August 2004 BLS report once again refutes the charge. "Average weekly earnings increased by 0.3 percent over the month to $533.03. Over the year, average hourly earnings increased by 2.3 percent, and average weekly earnings grew by 2.9 percent." Those pesky facts will get you every time.
With the GDP increasing for the last 11 quarters in a row, and while job creation has been positive every month since September 2003, all the Kerry campaign needs to sell their doom-and-gloom message is for no one to pay attention. Instead of "abracadabra" or "hocus-pocus," the Democratic stage magicians hope to misdirect you, distracting you with some flashpowder and the new magic words, "Herbert Hoover!"
Posted at Wednesday, September 08, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Democrat Desperation, Cutthroat Campaigning
To murder character is as truly a crime as to murder the body: the tongue of the slanderer is brother to the dagger of the assassin.
-- Tryon Edwards
The daggers and tongues are both unsheathed and ready for action, as the Democrats -- and their "mainstream" media mouthpieces -- are taking no prisoners this election year.
In a particularly malevolent editorial, Frank Rich of the New York Times writes, "Only in an election year ruled by fiction could a sissy who used Daddy's connections to escape Vietnam turn an actual war hero into a girlie-man." The vitriol continues: "Bush was fronted by a testosterone-heavy lineup led by a former mayor who did not dally to read a children's book on 9/11, a senator who served in the Hanoi Hilton rather than the 'champagne unit' of the Texas Air National Guard and a governor who can play the role of a warrior on screen more convincingly than can a former Andover cheerleader gallivanting on an aircraft carrier." Rich must have "forgotten" that Bush played Rugby, football, baseball and other sports, as his Yale transcript clearly shows. (Research, Frank!) He also (as do most Liberals) accuses FOX news of pimping for the Bush administration as well as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, with as much one-sided accuracy. According to Rich, Kerry is "a man's man." Frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of Democrats and Liberals casting aspersions on the National Guard, many of whom are currently serving so honorably in Afghanistan and Iraq, in their zeal to slander President Bush. And yes, the Air National Guard served in Vietnam, too.
Roger Cohen, also of the NY Times, wrings his hands over the European view that President Bush (in fact, the Republican party) seems "simplistic, even dangerous." His disdain for people who chant, "USA!, USA!, USA!" is palpable. "While the nations of Europe have quietly retired from history - at least the history of great national combats - and placed their faith in international institutions and laws," Cohen agonises, "the United States has entered upon another epic struggle that it sees as defining for the future of mankind." In a burst (well, continuing flow, actually) of self-regarding sophistication, he goes on to say, "Transformative upheaval is not the European thing these days: Been there, done that. So the Continent is worried." It's difficult to see how "international institutions and laws" did anything to protect hundreds of innocent men, women and children from a horrific attack on a Russian school by fanatical Muslim terrorists.
Trying desperately to push health care to the forefront of the election -- one of the two issues left, according to a recent Newsweek poll, in which Kerry still leads Bush -- a New York Times piece tells us "the office has become, for many, an echo chamber of angst." While drumming up fears about stress-related illness related to changing jobs too often, the piece touts Scandinavia's "centralised" health care system, otherwise known as socialised medicine. The article even warns that the expansion and growth of companies "might lead to poor health."
The Los Angeles Times castigates the President's plan to help more people take charge of their own lives. The traditional Democrat campaign of "Scaring the Vote" has begun. "If workers begin to view privatized Social Security accounts as the preferred vehicle for retirement savings, it might be easier to gradually scale back the traditional government-financed insurance pool, [unnamed Bush critics] said. If enough Americans open personal healthcare savings accounts, it might be easier for employers to scale back medical benefits and for government to reduce coverage under Medicare and Medicaid," the LA Times warns readers in a supposed news story. Haven't we heard the cry "the Republicans are going to steal your Social Security, Medicare and Welfare!" before?
In another "news" piece in the LA Times, an AP reporter actually tracked down some Vietnam veterans to praise John Kerry -- veterans from the other side of the war. "Kerry served in Vietnam and he was awarded the medal for his bravery," former Viet Cong soldier Duong Hoang Sinh said. "He deserves the medal." Of course, the reporter had to admit that "Sinh had never heard of Kerry." However, "[a]lthough Kerry may be worried about veterans' support in America, Sinh said he would vote any day for his former enemy over President Bush." Now that's a ringing endorsement.
These editorials and so-called "news" stories contain the "heart and soul," to borrow a phrase, of the Democratic party. One tactic is hurling vicious, unsubstantiated accusations at President Bush, hoping that some of the muck sticks. Another is openly begging Europe -- meaning France and Germany, mostly -- not to think too badly of us while this Bush guy is running the show (all the while insulting the countries that assisted us in Iraq as "a trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted." Now THAT'S diplomacy, Mr. Kerry!) Yet another is the usual campaign to scare people -- especially the elderly, the poor, and minorities -- into voting Democratic as a matter of survival. Is this the best answer they have -- to play on the fears of people, to scare them into voting for Kerry?
When did the Democrats become the reactionary party, and the Republicans the reformers? Yet that's what voters are faced with this year. President Bush is running his re-election campaign on a reform platform -- an unusual thing for an incumbent to do, to say the least. Bush's plans for a second term include reforming the tax code, Social Security, education, and health care (by creating health savings accounts). The Democrats under Kerry, as far as anyone can tell, plan to keep most things as they are, only throw more taxpayer money at them... and create huge new entitlements to increase cradle-to-grave government control over the individual. Kerry's planned repeal of tax cuts for everyone making over $200,000 a year would be disastrous for the economy, as those are the people who own the companies which create jobs for the rest of us. Moreover, the added tax revenue wouldn't come close to paying for any of his ambitious new entitlement programs. You can guess what that means.
One of Kerry's plans, for instance, amounts to offering tax breaks to companies that agree not to expand into the global market. (Protectionism, by any other name...) Bush's plan, on the other hand, is to create conditions that will make America the best place for companies to compete -- companies from around the world. As only 5.4% of eligible Americans are currently unemployed (according to the August 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics report), companies will have to compete to attract workers... typically by offering higher salaries and more benefits. Kerry plans to spend your money to bribe companies not to compete elsewhere; Bush's plan encourages companies from around the world to spend foreign money here in America. No wonder the only ways the Democrats can combat President Bush's re-election are through fear and character assassination.
Those whose only source of information is the "mainstream" media must have been quite surprised to see President Bush show up for his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention sans horns, tail and pitchfork (perhaps John Ashcroft was holding that for him). The Democrats and their puppets in the media are going to have to work overtime for the next two months to convince the voters that he just keeps them well hidden.
Posted at Sunday, September 05, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, September 02, 2004
When Johnny Came Marching Home Again
John Kerry's time in Vietnam should not be the central issue of the 2004 Presidential race, even though Kerry decided to tout it as his main -- perhaps only -- qualification for office. His running mate, John Edwards, told prospective voters, "If you have any questions about what John Kerry's made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him." Kerry's four months in Vietnam ended thirty-five years ago; a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Doesn't he have any more recent acquaintances who could vouch for his character? Personally, I'd like to hear more about the people he spent time with when he returned from Vietnam. Although Kerry would have us believe that the period between his Vietnam days and the present time -- or at least his election to the Senate -- was more or less an empty void, that's not the truth.
When Kerry returned home from Vietnam, his sister recruited him to fly protester (and advisor to Ted Kennedy) Adam Walinsky around to give speeches against the war. Kerry requested an early out from the Navy in order to run for Congress on an anti-war platform, and was transferred to the Naval Reserve six months early. An article in the Harvard Crimson at the time stated that he was against the war even before he went to Vietnam. "At Yale, Kerry was chairman of the Political Union and later, as Commencement speaker, urged the United States to withdraw from Vietnam and to scale down foreign military operations. And this was way back in 1966." Kerry was quoted as saying that the United Nations should have control over most of America's foreign military operations. "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations," he said. He was also quoted saying that he wanted "to almost eliminate CIA activity."
He didn't get the 1970 Democratic nomination for Congress. Instead, Kerry got more deeply involved in the anti-war movement. Kerry joined the VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) in June 1970, and quickly rose to become the group's national spokesman. He attended protest rallies all over the country, including the infamous Valley Forge rally (at which Jane Fonda spoke) and a staged "occupation" of Washington DC in April 1971, during which Kerry threw his medals, or his ribbons, or possibly someone else's medals or ribbons over the Capitol Building fence. (Even now, no one has been able to get a straight answer out of Kerry.) The VVAW marched through towns, passing out flyers saying:
A U.S. INFANTRY COMPANY JUST CAME THROUGH HERE!
If you had been Vietnamese---
We might have burned your house
We might have shot your dog
We might have shot you...
We might have raped your wife and daughter
We might have turned you over to your government for torture
We might have taken souvenirs from your property
We might have shot things up a bit...
We might have done all these things to you and your whole TOWN!
If it doesn’t bother you that American soldiers do these things every day to the Vietnamese simply because they are "Gooks," then picture YOURSELF as one of the silent VICTIMS.
Help us end the war before they turn your son into a butcher or a corpse.
Although Vietnam veterans and anyone who supports and honors our troops may feel slighted and even angered by Kerry's characterisation of them, his First Amendment rights protected all of this. He had the right to say anything he wanted to, lies or not. But this was not all that Kerry did.
Kerry and Jane Fonda were both in Detroit in January 1971 at the "Winter Soldier Investigation," financed by Fonda. They recorded testimony from supposed disgruntled Vietnam veterans about atrocities and war crimes... testimony that turns out to have been largely false. According to Mackubin Thomas Owens, Vietnam veteran and professor at the Naval War College, the Naval Investigative Service "discovered that some of the most grisly testimony was given by fake witnesses who had appropriated the names of real Vietnam veterans." Among others, Al Hubbard, Kerry's partner in the VVAW, was in fact lying about his rank and service in Vietnam. When John Kerry testified before the US Senate in April 1971, he was acting in his capacity as spokesman for the VVAW. Kerry accused all American soldiers of war crimes, and the United States government of full knowledge of them. Kerry claimed that atrocities were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Tapes of Kerry's speech were played over and over for American prisoners of war in Hanoi, as they were tortured to make them confess to war crimes they never committed -- the atrocities Kerry accused them of committing.
That's giving aid and comfort to the enemy, defined as treason in the Constitution (Article III, Section 3). The penalty for treason is defined in the United States Code of Law (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, Section 2381). "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."
Kerry also admitted to committing atrocities himself. On Meet The Press in April 1971, Kerry attempted to absolve himself of the responsibility for what he had done, accusing the government of the United States of forcing him to commit war crimes. Kerry did not mention whether he was alone when he performed the acts he confessed to:
I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50-caliber machine guns which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare. All of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down.
It sounds as though the only person Kerry can be certain was razing villages "in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan" was Kerry himself. Despite his confession on national television, Kerry was never brought before a court-martial. Note that a "free-fire zone" is not an order to "shoot anything that moves," but the discretion to fire first if a threat is perceived.
According to FBI surveillance reports, Kerry was present at a Kansas City VVAW meeting in November 1971, during which the members voted on a plan to assassinate several US Senators who supported the Vietnam War. Among the intended targets discussed were Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, John Tower of Texas and John Stennis of Mississippi. Although the idea was voted down, Kerry never reported the serious consideration of political assasination, as the law requires. Kerry resigned from the VVAW on the third day, after the vote was taken.
But Kerry's worst act occurred in June 1970. During Kerry's testimony before the Senate, he damned himself out of his own mouth. "I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government..." According to the Judicial Watch request for review of Kerry's awards filed on 18 August 2004, "[t]he Vietnamese Communists eagerly met Senator Kerry and benefited directly from the obvious propaganda victory." Kerry was still an officer in the Naval Reserve at the time of this meeting, and we were still at war with North Vietnam when Kerry took it upon himself to meet with the enemy leaders. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (Subchapter X, Section 904, Article 104) states:
Any person who--
(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or
(2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.
John Kerry has violated the Constitution and the United States Code of Law as well as the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions, all by his own admissions. What is he doing running for the office of President of the United States? What, in fact, is he doing a free man, and holding any office at all?
Is there a statute of limitations on treason?
Posted at Thursday, September 02, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, August 30, 2004
It's an election year, and America stands at a crossroads. At stake is the future of the country itself, and its place in the world. The Republican President, seeking re-election, is conducting a war that divides the country -- a war he never wanted and tried to avoid at first, though all the blame is laid at his doorstep. The Democratic party, split between pro- and anti-war elements but united in its hatred of the incumbent, even accuses him of stealing his first election. The Democratic challenger, a military man, is running on both his war record and his opposition to the war, trying to bring both halves of the party together. The people see the election as a referendum on the war itself, as well as on the commander-in-chief. The media excoriates the President on a daily basis, abusing their power to deliberately drive his public support down. Democrats accuse him of prolonging the war through his stubborn adherence to his policies and methods. Pundits, commentators and armchair generals denigrate his conduct of the war, while comparing his intelligence and facial features to an ape's... and not favorably. While trying to convince the nation he deserves re-election, the President struggles to preserve and re-unite it. The measures he has taken in order to do so have inflamed the opposition to new heights of vitriol, causing them to accuse him of attacking liberty itself. Despite all of this, President Lincoln prevails...
Yes, President Lincoln. Or did I mean the upcoming election? The election of 1864 was every bit as crucial to the future of America and the rest of the world as the one we face in 2004, and is eerily similar in so many respects. One main difference is that John Kerry's military experience was over thirty-five years ago, while George McClellan's war experience was only months old (plus, McClellan was a General who had commanded and organised entire armies, not a Lieutenant - the simile would be even more apt if Wesley Clark were running). Also, instead of liberating millions of enslaved Americans, President Bush has liberated fifty million Muslims from totalitarian dictatorships bent on terrorism against Americans. Yet the similarities outweigh the differences by an order of magnitude. 1864, a new documentary about to be released by X-Back Pictures (named for the anti-static coating on film), will expose and probe these similarities. Note for Michael Moore fans: this is a real documentary, not a two-hour MoveOn.org hate-Bush commercial. It'll be interesting to see how the critics receive it. I'm willing to bet it doesn't receive a standing ovation from the French, nor will it win the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
Like President Bush, Lincoln was accused by bitter Democrats of stealing his first election. The "Oxford Fraud" in Kansas helped split the Democrat vote between two Democratic nominees, allowing Lincoln to be elected with 180 electoral votes but only 40% of the popular vote. The newspapers of 1864 attacked the President viciously, the way the mainstream media does today. In one instance, the Chicago Times argued that the Lincoln administration "has been offered peace and Union, and has rejected the offer. It demands the wealth and lives of our people to prosecute a crusade against an institution whose rights are guaranteed by the law investing them with temporary power, and which they have sworn to defend and support." Lincoln was accused of disregarding civil liberties, and with more reason -- he suspended the writ of habeas corpus for the duration of the war. It must be noted that Section 9, Clause 2 of the US Constitution states, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Since the Constitution did not specify who had the power to do so, he assumed that power for himself -- and it was the assumption of that power, not the suspension of habeas corpus itself, which was found unconstitutional. However, the accusation was not brought against him until the war was over. (Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney declared the suspension unconstitutional, but Lincoln, Congress and the military ignored him. There was a war on, after all.) Today's Democrats see no problem in attacking the President in the middle of a war, for suspending habeas corpus only for suspected enemies, and with the consent of Congress and the Supreme Court. Remember that the PATRIOT Act passed 357-66 in the House and with only one "nay" vote in the Senate.
In 1864, the American people saw through the media-driven anti-Republican bias, and re-elected Lincoln with 212 electoral votes to 21, and 55% of the popular vote. Once again, the American people will have to choose between finishing the job that we've begun, or cutting our losses, running away from the problems, and forfeiting both international prestige and international power. We saw how running away affected us in every way possible for decades after Vietnam. We're still feeling the effects of our self-inflicted loss. What will the future hold for us if we elect to pull back, pull out of Iraq and commit to asking permission of the United Nations before defending ourselves from our enemies in the future? Even France, the "moral" compass the Left steers itself by, unilaterally invaded Cote d'Ivoire in 2002 to force the increasingly isolationist government to share power with a pro-France rebel faction. France is helping the unpopular government to crush other, anti-France factions, which have popular support and are calling for transparent elections. The only threat to France from the Ivory Coast was economic (and prestigious) in nature, yet neither the UN nor even the most arrogantly self-important Liberals in America have raised so much as a murmur against the blatantly imperialist aims of the French. Their ire, it seems, is reserved for the United States. What will become of us, should we subsume our national interests to the will of partisans who condemn the US for upholding its cease-fire agreement while allowing France to freely invade other countries just to maintain its influence?
If George McClellan had been elected President in 1864, the "two Americas" John Edwards speaks of would be very real today, though not in the way he imagines. One important difference: America's economic and military might would not have been so easily united and turned against Germany in the First World War. Today's world would look remarkably different if the United States had chosen the path to immediate, easy peace in 1864. How will tomorrow's world look if we do so in 2004?
Posted at Monday, August 30, 2004 by CavalierX
Saturday, August 28, 2004
The Magical World of Terrorists and Liberals
There really are two ways of looking at the world. To most of us, the world works in rational, linear, fairly predictable ways. Drop a hammer, for instance, and it will always fall, accelerating at thirty-two feet per second, every second. Science works. Reason works. We're capable of understanding the world, and using our understanding of it in small ways to advance ourselves. The world around us makes sense.
Then there are people who see the world through emotionalism, symbolism and magic. The world makes sense to them, too, but in a completely different way. They believe in Grand Gestures and symbolic attacks. They can't merely disagree with someone, that person must become a larger-than-life Enemy of All Humanity. Their emotions drive their thoughts and fears. Those who believe in a symbolic world don't see the universe as working along the same rational, linear lines as the rest of us. Liberals and terrorists both belong to this latter group of people.
Terrorists attack representative symbols of things they hate. Innocent people are symbolically representative of the larger group they want to hurt -- they're emotionally incapable of separating the individual from the group. To attack America or Israel, they kill random Americans or Israelis; to attack America's military, they attack the Pentagon or blow up a truck full of American soldiers; to attack America's economic might, they attack the World Trade Center and other financial buildings. Even the symbolic gesture of burning American flags is, by magic, supposed to be an attack on America itself. Rational people would strive to build a better economy or military to increase their position in the world. By making the Grand Gesture of killing themselves along with the symbol that represents their chosen enemy, terrorists ensure that their attack "means" something -- it's the magic that translates the attack on the symbol to the hated real thing. Because their world functions by magic instead of rationality, they believe that they can hurt America by hurting symbols or representatives OF America.
Most Liberals have the same magical, emotional worldview as terrorists. Liberals feel that magic, of a sort, actually works. Their speeches are full of metaphor and emotional overtones instead of fact and realism. Like terrorists, they are fond of the Grand Gesture and symbolic attacks. When you see them dancing wildly and chanting obscenities in the streets of New York City to protest the Republican convention all next week (ironically using their freedom of speech to protest other people's freedom of speech), understand that what they do makes sense in a magic-run emotion-driven universe. If they can out-shout the Republicans, they can "beat" them. If they can project their hate loudly enough, they can "win." That is why arguments with Liberals almost inevitably devolve into shouting matches. When they burn American flags, they're burning a symbol that represents America -- and in their minds, they are burning America itself. Their weird costumes, hate-spewing signs and slogans are all designed to symbolically attack the things they hate -- law, order, capitalism, common decency and morality, freedom (to disagree with them), American power, the rational world and George W. Bush -- the current symbol of all these things. It doesn't matter that their arguments are irrational and not based on all the available facts -- they feel right, and, magically, they can become right by the power of emotion. As for the giant puppet heads... okay, no one can explain the giant puppet heads.
Knowing that they can't possibly hurt any of these things only makes protesters redouble their efforts. Watch them carefully through the week and ask yourself whether they represent your way of thinking. Where terrorists kill themselves to seal the magical deal, as it were, Liberals merely get more outrageous and outlandish in their symbolic street theater -- wearing hateful, scary costumes, staging "die-ins," painting their faces and bodies, making criminal accusations without proof (or even evidence), running around naked and so on. The shock value of their appearance and actions, they feel, is sufficient to translate their attacks from the symbols of the things they hate to the real thing. Having felt better for making the Grand Gesture, they return to their comfortable world, bought and paid for and protected by the very things they profess to hate. Their main difference from the terrorists lies in this hypocrisy.
We survived the Cold War only because our enemy was generally as rational as we are. We could foresee the Soviet response to any action on our part because they thought the same way we do -- in rational, linear terms. Each move, like a chess game, led to a response from a set of rational responses. We're not so lucky this time. Terrorists are not really crazy, though they appear so to the rational thinker. Their belief in symbolic magic merely makes them seem insane to us. Liberals, likewise, view the world in an irrational way... they're only slightly less incomprehensible.
UPDATE: As expected, some protesters in New York City are acting like animals in their zeal to attack Americans exercising their right of free speech.
Posted at Saturday, August 28, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, August 27, 2004
New Jersey's New Drive-In
Posted at Friday, August 27, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Bring It On? Make It Stop!
In a startlingly bad piece of political theater, John Kerry sent his supporter Max Cleland to hand-deliver a letter to President Bush at his ranch in Texas. The 25 August 2004 letter contained a plea for the President to infringe upon the free speech rights of a group known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: 254 Vietnam veterans who have collectively questioned the circumstances under which Kerry earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star in only four months, without spending any time in the hospital. Many of the SBVT are decorated themselves. Because of their questions, however, John Kerry feels they must be silenced. What Kerry pretends not to know is that President Bush trying to direct their activities in any way would constitute the coordination with the group Kerry is accusing him of. It's a neat trap, and Bush is not falling for it.
So why a hand-delivered letter? Did Kerry forget the password to his email account? (Hint: try "ketchup") Couldn't he wait three days for the Post Office to deliver it? Perhaps Kerry never heard of Federal Express? No, nothing like that... Kerry callously used wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran Max Cleland, a man who lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam, as a photo-op delivery boy, just to stir up your emotions. What an incredibly low opinion Kerry seems to have of the American public. "Oh, that poor guy," you're supposed to say. "He has to deliver mail for Kerry because Bush is so mean. I'm voting for Kerry now!" (If this "thought" actually did cross your mind, please stop reading this now. Really.) And Cleland is allowing Kerry to use him, his disability and his Vietnam service just to score political points.
President Bush has praised Kerry's service many times, and denounced the activities of all 527 groups (so named for the section of the tax code which allows them). "All of them," Bush responded to a reporter's question about whether he specifically condemned the SBVT ad. "That means that ad, every other ad. Absolutely. I don't think we ought to have 527s." Kerry and the Democrats don't want anyone denouncing MoveOn.org and the Media Fund, however -- two of the 527 groups that have spend over a year and millions of dollars bashing President Bush in the most vicious ways possible, under cover of the First Amendment right of free speech. They demand that President Bush "order" SBVT to take their ads off the air -- an abridgement of their own right of free speech. According to a March 2004 press release from Kerry's web site, however, those two left-wing groups have been "assailing the president and serving as the Democrats' answer to Bush." The press release also declared that "when [Kerry's ad] buy is combined with those from the Media Fund and MoveOn, the Democratic message saturates the airwaves in some places." Collusion? Collaboration? Of course not!
Rather than answer the claims of the SBVT by signing form 180 to release all his military and medical records and possibly prove himself in the right, Kerry has sent platoons of lawyers to threaten TV stations running their ads and bookstores selling their book, Unfit for Command. He has operatives compiling "incriminating dossiers" on the Swift Boat Vets in preparation for a personal smear campaign. He sends the pathos-inspiring figure of Max Cleland to trundle up to Bush's door in a wheelchair -- followed by a fleet of camera-wielding media types -- to hand-deliver a letter asking that the President denounce this group of people exercising their right of free speech and this group alone. The letter was signed by Senators Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Ernest "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Tom Carper of Delaware and Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg, both of New Jersey. It should go without saying that they're all Democrats.
In response to Kerry's accusatory letter, a group of Republican veterans prepared a letter of their own for Senator Kerry:
Dear Senator Kerry,
We are pleased to welcome your campaign representatives to Texas today. We honor all our veterans, all whom have worn the uniform and served our country. We also honor the military and National Guard troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today. We are very proud of all of them and believe they deserve our full support.
That’s why so many veterans are troubled by your vote AGAINST funding for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, after you voted FOR sending them into battle. And that’s why we are so concerned about the comments you made AFTER you came home from Vietnam. You accused your fellow veterans of terrible atrocities – and, to this day, you have never apologized. Even last night, you claimed to be proud of your post-war condemnation of our actions.
We’re proud of our service in Vietnam. We served honorably in Vietnam and we were deeply hurt and offended by your comments when you came home.
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up. There is no double standard for our right to free speech. We all earned it.
You said in 1992 “we do not need to divide America over who served and how.” Yet you and your surrogates continue to criticize President Bush for his service as a fighter pilot in the National Guard.
We are veterans too – and proud to support President Bush. He’s been a strong leader, with a record of outstanding support for our veterans and for our troops in combat. He’s made sure that our troops in combat have the equipment and support they need to accomplish their mission.
He has increased the VA health care budget more than 40% since 2001 – in fact, during his four years in office, President Bush has increased veterans funding twice as much as the previous administration did in eight years ($22 billion over 4 years compared to $10 billion over 8.) And he’s praised the service of all who served our country, including your service in Vietnam.
We urge you to condemn the double standard that you and your campaign have enforced regarding a veteran’s right to openly express their feelings about your activities on return from Vietnam.
Texas State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Rep. Duke Cunningham [CA]
Rep. Duncan Hunter [CA]
Rep. Sam Johnson [TX]
Lt. General David Palmer
Robert O'Malley, Medal of Honor Recipient
James Fleming, Medal of Honor Recipient
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Castle (Ret.)
Senator Kerry may be forced to release his records soon enough. Judicial Watch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that investigates government corruption. Now they've turned their sights on the allegations made against Senator Kerry. On 18 August 2004, Judicial Watch filed a "Request for Investigation, Determination and Final Disposition of Awards Granted to Lieutenant (junior grade) John Forbes Kerry, USNR." The request makes special mention of Kerry's anti-war activities (including meeting with the leadership of the enemy during wartime, while still an officer in the Naval Reserve). The request concludes:
Serious, credible reports of dishonorable conduct; false official reports and statements; aiding the enemy; dereliction of duty; misuse and abuse of U.S. government equipment and property; war crimes; and multiple violations of U.S. Navy regulations and directives, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and U.S. Code by Lieutenant (jg) John Forbes Kerry, USNR (Senator Kerry) are now before you.
These reports are specific as to the nature of the wrongdoing, the timeframe and location. There are corroborating witnesses. These witnesses have made public statements detailing their specific knowledge of wrongdoing by Senator Kerry. The claims against Senator Kerry – both concerning his fraudulently obtained awards for valor and combat wounds, as well as his dishonorable and potentially illegal conduct as a commissioned officer of the Naval Reserve – are gravely serious matters that demand your immediate and direct action.
The truth will come out... one way or the other. When the SBVT came out with their book and their first TV ad, Kerry blamed the attacks on President Bush rather than answer them directly. He intoned, "Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on." The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have indeed brought it on, and not even a direct order from President Bush -- were it legal for him to do so -- can make it stop.
I only hope we can find time between now and election day to debate plans for the future instead of the past.
UPDATE: AlphaPatriot does a bang-up job of summarising the ties between Kerry's campaign, the DNC, and left-wing 527 groups.
Posted at Wednesday, August 25, 2004 by CavalierX