31 August 2004

Future Press


It’s happened again. This time, it’s the AP, which has published a story about a speech Governor Schwartzenegger hasn’t given yet.

What does it matter? It’s not like the writer would have listened anyway.

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30 August 2004

Arab League: Knowlege is anti-Arabic

[source, source]

The Municipality of Jerusalem, together with Intel and Compumat Computers, is embarking on a project to make Israel’s capital the world’s first WiFi accessible city, according to a Globes report. The organizers expect that within two years, users in most areas of the city will be able to surf the internet wirelessly. The WiFi connection will be free of charge throughout at least the first year.


the Arab League says the project to make Jerusalem wireless fidelity-enabled (WiFi) accessible threatens the Arab identity of the city.

So the Arab League view is that unmonitored information for the inhabitants destroys Arab identity? Interesting point of view.

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Defense is irrelevant


Nabil Masri, a resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, regrets nothing. Equipped with a false permit saying he had prostate cancer, Masri sought medical treatment in Israel. His intention was to conduct a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. He admits that had he succeeded, hundreds of Palestinian patents would no longer receive permits for medical treatment in Israel.

But remember kids, it would be Israel’s fault that those other patients didn’t get prompt medical attention.

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29 August 2004

Who says faking medals matters?


“In a sense, there’s nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought.”


“If you wind up being less than what you’re pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value and self-esteem and your sense of how others view you.”


“Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes…”


“When you are the chief of them all, it has to weigh even more heavily.”

John Kerry regarding claims that CNO Mike Boorda wore medals he didn’t earn.

Boorda ended up committing suicide. It turns out that the the accusations were false. It further turns out that Senator Kerry is falsely wearing the same decoration Boorda was properly wearing but accused of faking.

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Kerry Flipping Watch

[source, source, comment by pchuck]

John Kerry had just pumped up a huge crowd in downtown West Palm Beach, promising to make the state a battleground for his quest to oust President Bush, when a local television journalist posed the question that any candidate with Florida ambitions should expect:

What will you do about Cuba?


”I’m pretty tough on Castro, because I think he’s running one of the last vestiges of a Stalinist secret police government in the world,” Kerry told WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Michael Putney in an interview to be aired at 11:30 this morning.

Then, reaching back eight years to one of the more significant efforts to toughen sanctions on the communist island, Kerry volunteered: “And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.”


There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it.

Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form — and voted for it months earlier.

How much legislation did Senator Kerry for for before he voted against?

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28 August 2004

Sinking Ship watch

[source, source]

According to a Kerry campaign source, senior campaign advisers tasked two Washington-based campaign staffers to vet the recently published Unfit for Command.


The campaign source said that the book was not considered a “serious” problem for the campaign, because, “the media wouldn’t have the nerve to come at us with this kind of stuff,” says the source. “The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing, and that the convention inoculated us from these kinds of stories. The senior guys really think we don’t have a problem here.”

Sounds like more CYA to me. Note, though, that this cite is dated 10 Aug 2004, so it was out there before things really went wrong for Kerry vs. the Swift Boat Veterans.

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27 August 2004

Jimmy Carter's Christmas list


The world’s ten worst dictators

  1. Kim Jong Il, North Korea
  2. Than Shwe, Burma
  3. Hu Jintao, China
  4. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
  5. Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Entity
  6. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea
  7. Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan
  8. Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan
  9. Fidel Castro, Cuba
  10. King Mswati III, Swaziland
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26 August 2004

Sinking ships and CYA

[source, source]

“There were several conference calls and a couple of meetings. Everyone was screaming. I would consider it the low point of the campaign,” our source told us. “By taking the Vets on, John Kerry thinks he’s demonstrating bravery. But it’s a horrible mistake, politically.”

Kerry also battled with his lawyers all week, insisting they distribute threatening letters to bookstores. According to our source, the Kerry legal team thought this, too, would be a mistake with a big risk of backfire.

“Look, bookstores aren’t going to stop selling this book because John Kerry wants them to,” our source told us. “From what I understand, John Kerry made the lawyers send these letters out. Kerry ordered it personally! I mean, we just look desperate.”

The interesting bit is leaking this kind of thing. Either Senator Kerry is really in charge and screwing things up, or the staff is preparing to abandon ship and wants to lay the blame off on Kerry to save their own careers.

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It depends on what "attack" means

[source, http://www.command-post.org/2_archives/014731.htmlsource]

A mortar barrage slammed into a mosque filled Iraqis preparing to march on the embattled city of Najaf, killing 27 people and wounding 63 here Thursday hours before the nation’s top Shiite cleric was expected to arrive in area with a peace initiative.

What was that about not attacking mosques, that they’re holy places? Will the Arab street rise up in anger at the insurgents for killing innocents inside a mosque? Or has the cynicism of that ploy been show once again?

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The opening shots?

[source, source]

Supporters of Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have been fired upon in the town of Kufa and 20 people have been killed.

It is unclear who opened fire.

This is significant because the violence before has either been deniable (e.g., car bomb) or putatively against the Coalition. This will be hard to spin as other than violence between Shiite factions. However, if it ends up a civil war between Sistani and Sadr, I think we know who to bet on.

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25 August 2004

Tales from Fallujah

[source, source]

The first miracle that occurred in Falluja took the form of spiders that appeared in the city — each spider larger than this chair, or about the size of this chair. The American soldiers left, holding the legs of this spider, and I too, in one of the Friday sermons, held up a spider, with all its magnitude, in front of the satellite channels and in front of the world. This spider also had thin black hair. If this hair touches the human body, within a short period of time the body becomes black or blue, and then there is an explosion in the blood cells in the human body - and the person dies.

One can only wonder why the Sheik who made this statement didn’t turn black or blue and have his blood cells explode. Can’t they make up stories that are at least internally consistent?

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24 August 2004

Blame first, reason later


Darfur already has become a synonym for dithering by outside powers in the face of genocide. Soon it may also deliver another grim verdict on the ability of the Security Council to back up its own resolutions. Hamstrung by the unwillingness of veto-wielding members, such as China, to intervene, it delayed action for months, then watered down the language it finally adopted on July 30 to omit any direct sanction against the Sudanese regime. Days after that, an agreement between U.N. and Sudanese officials further weakened the pressure on Khartoum: Among other things, it converted a requirement that the government-sponsored Janjaweed militia be disarmed into a Sudanese promise to provide a list of those it admits to controlling.

One thing we can be sure of, this will the fault of the USA. Not the Khartoum regime, not the Janjaweed, not China, not France and certainly not the UN or the UN Security Council. Only the USA (or an American ally) can be blamed for any bad result.

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But they're funding my retirement account!

[source, source]

The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found in an October 2002 report that “consular officers in Saudi Arabia issued visas to most Saudi applicants without interviewing them, requiring them to complete their applications or providing supporting documentation.” Even before Visa Express started, 99 percent of all Saudi nationals were approved.

Following a public outcry, State shuttered Visa Express [for the Saudi Entity] in July 2002, and also canned consular chief Mary Ryan in the same week. Congress even came close to stripping the visa power from State — an amendment failed by a single vote in committee — but the diplomats’ department staved off those efforts by pledging reform. Lots of it.

State has made some progress, such as doubling the number of names on the watchlist and breathing more life into pre-9/11 programs to identify non-watchlisted individuals who should be barred from the U.S.

What State has neglected to do, however, is enforce the law in Saudi Arabia.

Because of a provision in the law known as 214(b), all applicants are presumed ineligible for a visa until they establish their eligibility. This is supposed to be a high bar to clear, and in most countries, it is. Just not for Saudis. That’s why nearly 90 percent who apply still get approved.

That rejection rate, 10%, is far lower than for other Arab nations. The Saudi Entity should be at the top of the watch list, not on the bypass list.

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23 August 2004

Laws are for the little people

[source, source]

In fact, according to a Kerry campaign volunteer, staff members and volunteers of the Kerry campaign in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles have been in almost constant contact with MoveOn.org staffers, including advanced viewing and reviews of MoveOn.org television commercials, online ads, and web content. As well, MoveOn.org staffers provided the Kerry campaign with opposition research within the past two months, as well as advance looks at speeches made by MoveOn.org speakers, including former Vice President Al Gore.

“We’re always running into those guys,” says a Kerry campaign volunteer in Washington, about MoveOn.org staffers. “We socialize with them, we see them at meetings, we can’t avoid it. And of course we talk about the campaign. In some cities, we get our volunteers from MoveOn. No one has ever raised an issue about it.”

Of course the Republicans can’t raise the issue of this flagrantly illegal activity, because that would be a dirty political trick (I mean, expecting the Democratic Party to obey election laws! Who ever heard of such a thing?). It is, of course, expected that the Democratic Party will protest even the weakest appearance of impropriety on the part of the Republicans because that’s keeping politics clean.

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We want to be occupied by the warmongers!

[source, source]

Ach, look, how the Americans have again suddenly become so dear and precious to the Germans when it hits them in the wallet. The announced withdrawal of large numbers of US troops stationed in Germany has unleashed consternation at the threatening loss of jobs and accusations that the Americans want to get themselves out of their “Nato responsibility.” Nanu? Since when is it a part of the responsibility of Nato and the US Army to maintain jobs in Germany? Just a year and a half ago the majority of Germans were certain the USA and its President represented a greater danger to world peace than Saddam Hussein, and the US armed forces were considered fearsome executors of the sinister US plans for world domination. Now, however, German politicians and union people, who marched at the very front of the peace demonstrations, are pouting and grimacing like children who feel they have been left in the lurch by Daddy because the number one warmonger wants to deny us the trusted presence of our uniformed American friends.

For Germany, it’s always about Germans. That’s so unilateral of them.

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Who's running the show, Hillary?

A truly excellent summary of the month of August (so far) for the Kerry campaign. At least they had one day that didn’t involved some kind of setback.

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21 August 2004

It was a message to the voters!

[source, source]

With polls showing attacks on Kerry’s war record reaching large numbers of voters and resonating with many independents and veterans, the Democratic National Committee defended Kerry with a new ad, featuring retired Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak — a Bush supporter in 2000. […]

Kerry hoped to focus on domestic matters but finds himself plotting a response to a veterans group that did not even exist a few months ago over an issue he thought had died. He has been forced to spend money and valuable time responding. Kerry talked with aides throughout the day about a strategy to put the issue of his Vietnam service and protests to rest.

Here’s a suggestion — stop talking about it! Even I am stunned at the delusional quality of this article. Kerry was surprised that after staging a week long convention about his Vietnam service that said service would be a campaign issue? As others have noted, the SwiftVets have been around since at least May and their strategy was obvious even then. John O’Neil has been attacking Kerry on this point since 1971. Even without that, did Kerry and his staff think that there was no longer any controversy about Vietnam? Did they not, perchance, notice the obsessive effort of Old Media to label any American conflict a “Vietnam”? Did Kerry think that was a term of approval? I’m beginning to sign on to the theory that future political historian will label this as the most inept modern presidential campaign, surpassing even Dukakis’.

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19 August 2004

What target? I don't see the target


And for that matter, I’d have taken a strong position in favor of file-sharing, with an appropriate slogan (“Keep your grubby laws off my computer!”). Instead of Orrin Hatch’s dumb INDUCE Act, I’d be supporting user-friendly legislation, short copyright times on motion pictures (10 years? Do I hear 5?), a ban on DVD encryption (or at least an end to DMCA penalties for cracking it) and all sorts of other consumer-friendly measures where digital media are concerned.

Now I support a lot of these measures (not actually the short copyrights) anyway. But here are the advantages for the Bushies:

  1. It’s cool. Right now, being pro-Bush isn’t cool in many sectors. If they’d started this move a couple of years ago, it would have helped a lot.
  1. It hurts an industry that hates them and gives a lot of money to the Democrats. And doing that is cost-free to the Republicans.
  1. Because it hurts that industry, it would make the anti-Bush stuff from stars and celebrities look self-serving, and let the Administration dismiss it all as the economic self-interest of rich people trying to hold down the little guy.
Why didn’t they do this? Beats me.

I have to concur that Republican support for Old Media and especially the music industry is quite odd. It’s exceptionally odd for a Republican White House that has shown no interest in schmoozing with the glitterati. Someone should call get NRO on the case to ask a senior staffer about this.

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The touch of evil

[source, source]

On Monday, during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush announced that he intends to modify the configuration of American forces in both South Korea and Europe. On Wednesday, Sen. Kerry, speaking before the same audience, sharply criticized the president’s decision.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week on August 1, however, Sen. Kerry responded to a question by host George Stephanopoulos on Iraq. Stephanopoulos asked Kerry whether, as president, he could “promise that American troops will be home by the end of your first term?” Kerry’s answer:

“I will have significant, enormous reduction in the level of troops. . . . I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps. There are great possibilities open to us. But this administration has very little imagination.”

It seems that President Bush is so evil that his support taints any policy beyond acceptability, even if it was a good policy before.

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The final dance

[source, source]

An Iraqi Cabinet minister said Thursday that Iraqi forces could begin an offensive against Muqtada al-Sadr within hours, despite the firebrand cleric’s acceptance of a peace proposal.

To prevent an imminent attack on his forces, who are holed up in the revered Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, al-Sadr must immediately disarm his Mahdi Army militia and hand over its weapons to the authorities, Minister of State Qassim Dawoud said.

The cleric must also sign a statement saying he will refrain from future violence and release all civilians and Iraqi security forces his militants have kidnapped. In addition, al-Sadr must hold a news conference to announce he is disbanding the Mahdi Army.

That’s hardcore. I wonder if this is really the end for Al-Sadr because the Iraqi Government will become despised if it backs down from this stance. If Al-Sadr accepts these terms, that’s effectively a complete surrender. It looks like this is finally going to get resolved, one way or another.

P.S. Astute readers may wonder why the Coalition can back down but not the Iraqi Government. This is because the Coalition conquered the entire country in a few weeks with historically unprecedented ease and low cost (in casualties) and because the Marines and 1st Cavalary have been killing Sadrites in job lot quantities. The Iraqi Government hasn’t achieved any remotely similar victory. If they get Al-Sadr then that will change, which is why this is such a test of that government.

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Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to oppose evil

[source, source]

Few Americans have made an issue of Vietnam’s harsh denial of political and religious liberty. One who has is Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, author of a bill linking growth in US aid to Vietnam to “substantial progress” in Vietnam’s human rights record. Smith’s bill, the Vietnam Human Rights Act, passed the House by an overwhelming 410-1 vote in 2001. But it never got a hearing or a vote in the Senate, where it was blocked by the then-chairman of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee — John Kerry.

Didn’t it used to be the Right that coddled dictators because they were cooperative dictators? Now it seems that I’m reading about Democratic Party support for oppressive regimes on a regular basis, except now it seems that these regimes are supported because they’re opposed to American foreign policy.

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We're not here to argue facts

[source, source]

The controversial idea that cosmic rays could be driving global warming by influencing cloud cover will get a boost at a conference next week. But some scientists dismiss the idea and are worried that it will detract from efforts to curb rising levels of greenhouse gases.

Yes, it’s the political results of climate theory that matters, not the ugly little facts.

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Love/Hate relationships

[source, source]

A campaign to sanctify the European Union through the beatification of its founding father, Robert Schuman, has run into stiff resistance from the Vatican and now appears likely to fail.

Isn’t the point of the EU to effective recreate the Holy Roman Empire except under the secular guidance of the French ruling class? Shouldn’t Schuman’s associate consider this effort an insult?

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Birds of a feather

[source, source]

Harkin first came to national attention in 1970 when, as a staff aide to the House Select Committee on United States Involvement in Southeast Asia, he accompanied a fact-finding mission to South Vietnam and worked with two radically leftist committee members to develop sensational charges regarding so-called “tiger cages” being used at the Con Son prison complex in South Vietnam. The alleged mistreatment of the pro-Marxist and terrorist prisoners in the “tiger cages” was effectively propagandized to undermine sympathy in the U.S. for the government of South Vietnam at a crucial point in that nation’s struggle against Communist aggression and subversion. Subsequent investigation revealed that the conditions at the prison, and the charges leveled by Harkin, were grossly exaggerated.

The infamous “tiger cage” incident was bolstered by photographs taken by Harkin during a half-hour “investigation” of prison conditions. He subsequently refused to turn the photographs over to the House committee on grounds that he had “a higher obligation to those 500 human beings who are jammed in those cages.” He then sold them to Life magazine for a reported $10,000. Harkin even granted an interview to the Daily World, official newspaper of the Communist Party, USA, in which he made additional charges regarding the prison situation in South Vietnam. The Red propaganda organ promptly put them to good use in its own campaign to enhance the Communist position in Southeast Asia by undermining the Saigon government.

No wonder he’s acting as a character witness for Senator Kerry.

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18 August 2004

Paying the piper

[source, source]

“There is no question the Bush administration is unpopular in France, as it is across Europe,” said the director of the French Center on the United States, Guillaume Parmentier.“Bush himself is deeply unpopular. He is perceived as being non-presidential; even his demeanor makes Europeans uneasy…”

…”On the streets of Paris, his candidacy is being welcomed with open arms.

“He [Senator John Kerry] is very much admired in France,” said a municipal office worker, Patrick Forestier, as he strolled with his lunch through the Latin Quarter. “It seems like he will be more sympathetic to Europe… .And of course anyone who is opposed to Bush will be popular with us.”

A shop worker on Boulevard St-Germain, Dominique Van Oudenhove, said Mr. Kerry seems the perfect antidote to four years of Mr. Bush.

“It is so important to have a president who knows Europe, whose spirit is open to its people and culture. Bush is so closed to the world.With Kerry there is a hope that we can start getting along with the United States again,” she said.

Mrs. Borde said the French see in Mr. Kerry the kind of leader they are more accustomed to.

“He is the closest thing that you will have to a French politician, with a certain diplomacy, a certain elegance,” she said.“He is more like a leader would be in Europe,” Mr. Parmentier said. Asked in what way, he laughed and replied: “Well, he doesn’t look Texan.”

Here is the fruit of the anti-Americanism that’s been running rampant in Europe. The American citizenry is increasing either uncaring or openly hostile to European opinion, to the extent that something like this might well serve as an advertisement in favor of President Bush.

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We're studying the dust cloud

Ariks describes the likely reaction of the EUlite to Iran nuking Israel:

The EU has set up a commission to inquire about the nuclear missle that has been fired upon occupied territories and Israel. The EU urges all the involved parties to show restraint and not to draw early conclusion until the source of the nuclear missile has been verifed. The EU strongly condems the continued cycle of violence. Early reports suggested that large parts of the Palestinian civilian population was not instructed and protected from the strike. Should these reports be true the EU condems Israel in all possible form for failing to protect the civilian population in the occupied territories.

I’m not so sure - that seems a bit wishy-washy for the EU. Why would they wait for verification before condeming Israel for it’s blatant disregard of the lives and property in the occupied territories?

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17 August 2004

I’ve seen this movie before...

Isn’t anyone else reminded of the spear and magic helmet by Senator John Kerry’s magic CIA hat?

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But it's a silent ‘e’!

Senator John Kerry’s campaign has claimed that Kerry was a vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The only problem is, that was Senator Bob Kerrey. Has the campaign simply given up on even the pretense of accuracy?

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12 August 2004

Satellite maintenance

I’m off for a long weekend. See you on Tuesday.

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11 August 2004

Maybe you should look outside the news room

[source, source]

Forget the fact that that we still can’t find a single American who voted for Al Gore in 2000 who is planning to vote for George Bush in 2004. (If you are that elusive figure, e-mail us and tell us who you are and why: politicalunit@abcnews.com).

Everyone, of course, mentions Ed Koch but apparently he’s not famous enough (or in NY City enough) except ABC News, apparently. I guess Koch isn’t around NY City enough or famous enough for them to notice him.

It’s definitely odd to read posts like that one, where the election is in the bag for Senator Kerry, and others where it’s a done deal for President Bush. I remember previous elections where there was debate about who was ahead, but I don’t remember both sides claiming “it’s all over but the voting” at the same time.

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Rangel - Democratic Party wars are OK


An unusual coalition of Congressional Black Caucus members and conservative Republicans, united by outrage over a surge of ethnic killing in Sudan, is beginning to see some success in its efforts to push the U.S. toward action.


olf, who visited Darfur with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), presented a graphic report that told of women and girls as young as 9 being raped by Janjaweed as they left their camps to gather food. Men who ventured out were shot dead.

The details of that report spurred Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), both black caucus members, to block the doors of the Sudanese Embassy until they were arrested last week. [emphasis added]

Would that be the same Charles Rangel who wanted to bring back the draft to prevent America from going to war? Why, yes it is. But now he’s for a foreign adventure, a war we don’t have to fight?

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Old Media bias watch


A now-disputed account of a North Vietnamese attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin led President Lyndon B. Johnson to escalate America’s involvement in Vietnam, a chain of events drawing comparisons on its 40th anniversary to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


A year after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, President Bush also received overwhelming support from Congress, in an October 2002 vote, to invade Iraq following now-discredited intelligence reports that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

So overwhelming support from Congress is the sole point on which the comparison is based? Because, of course, no WMD report used in the arguments for the invasion have been discredited. I’ll give the author a partial pass because she at least linked the war in Vietnam to LBJ instead of Nixon.

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Did Reverend Moon sell sea based missile launchers to North Korea?


Jane’s Defense Weekly is reporting this week that Kim Jong-Il, unstable North Korean dictator (I wrote about his kidnapping habit in the British Guardian) may be able to target California with sea-launched missiles. His know-how, the Reuters story relates [Reiteration added Aug. 3: I said his know-how, not actual launching platforms], comes from 12 ex-Soviet submarines that fell into his hands. They came with their original launch tubes and stabilizing gear intact. Where does Kim get those wonderful toys?

Funny story: According to U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency documents from 1994 (which you can browse here), they were furnished by Reverend Moon.

Robert Parry, the ace reporter who broke the Iran-Contra story, obtained these files through the Freedom of Information Act while writing his 2000 story, “Rev. Moon, North Korea and the Bushes,” about Moon’s gifts to the Communist regime.

This seems well documented, although

  • even the source admits that it’s not completely confirmed that the trading company involved was actually tied to Rev. Moon although the Japanese press and the American DIA think it was.
  • The weblog is linked to approvingly by Eschaton.
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Creating problems


A week ago, The New York Times ran a story about the Census Bureau discosing information about Arab Americans to the Department of Homeland Security. The story creates the impression that this was a serious violation of privacy rights by overzealous government officials.

The Census Bureau has provided specially tabulated population statistics on Arab-Americans to the Department of Homeland Security, including detailed information on how many people of Arab backgrounds live in certain ZIP codes. […]

Disturbing, right? Well, hold on a second. It turns out that there is an important piece of information that the Times is not telling you: All of the information disclosed has been publicly available from the Census Bureau’s own website for years. As this e-mail from the Census Bureau explains, the information had been released to the public already and was “merely packaged . . . in a more usable format” for Homeland Security. You can access the data yourself from this page.

As best I can tell, all the Census Bureau did was run a few queries from their own public website and then e-mail the information to the Department of Homeland Security.

I’ve long thought that the census was far too instrusive. It’s clear, however, that if there’s a problem it’s not with the DHS. But that wouldn’t be the kind of news that fit to print.

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We're still making it up!

[source, source]

The Kerry campaign first asserted that the Massachusetts senator never said that he was in Cambodia, only that he was near the country. But when presented with a copy of the Congressional Record and asked about Kerry’s letter in the Boston Herald, the campaign said it would come up with an explanation. After repeated phone calls, there was still no clarification.

I guess the “tell the truth” plan got shot down.

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10 August 2004

Does it get more in your face than that?

[source, source]

Iran’s move came during crisis talks in Paris this month with senior diplomats from Britain, France and Germany.

The “EU-3” were trying to convince Iranian officials to honour an earlier deal to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment programme, which is ostensibly designed to make fuel for nuclear power stations but could also be used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs. Iranian officials refused point-blank to comply, saying they had every right under international law to pursue “peaceful” nuclear technology.

They then stunned the Europeans by presenting a letter setting out their own demands.

Iran said the EU-3 should support Iran’s quest for “advanced (nuclear) technology, including those with dual use” - a reference to equipment that has both civilian and military applications.

The Europeans should “remove impediments” preventing Iran from having such technology, and stick to these commitments even if faced with “legal (or) political . . . limitations”, an allusion to American pressure or even future international sanctions against Iran.

More astonishingly, Iran said the EU-3 should agree to meet Iran’s requirements for conventional weapons and even “provide security assurances” against a nuclear attack on Iran.

I don’t know what’s distressing, that Iran would demand this kind of nuclear technology or that the mullahs thought the EUlite would provide it. So much for soft power.

P.S. Spoons notices this as well. I have to say, though, that it’s not the guts of Iran to try for nukes despite the opposition of France and Germany, but the guts to demand help.

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On the other side


It has become commonplace for Western wire services to publish pictures of masked mujahideen engaged in killing US and coalition soldiers, photographed in loving closeup: Yahoo! News Photos - Iraq.

What would have been the reaction in World War II, if American newspapers had run photographs of bravely posing Waffen SS stormtroopers firing their weapons at Allied soldiers, credited openly to German photographers?

But now, no one cares. No one even notices.

Oh, I’m sure our enemies notice and care.

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Know your friends

This site was sooooo persuasive that I almost switched teams.

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ChiComs thrown in the health care towel

[source, source]

China is debating how far and how fast to reform its medical and health-care system, once considered a pillar of socialist society that provided adequate health care to all at no cost. That clearly doesn’t work and the issue now appears to be privatization, commercialization and profit, though the government is not expected completely to bow out of what is considered a strategic sector of economy and society. [emphasis added]

The Chinese Communist Party has given up on free, universal health care - when will Democratic Party follow suit? Or are they happy to stay politically to the left of the ChiComs?

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Dissent silencing watch


Twice in 24 hours, an online book seller entry for Unfit For Command has been manipulated improperly to damage the book. The first was at Barnes&Noble where the title and blurb were changed. The next was at Amazon where a fake book review was posted.

Sounds either desperate or deranged to me. It’s so hard to tell these days.

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Those pesky facts

[source, source]

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the United States with real gross domestic product per person in 2003 of $34,960 (in 1999 dollars). This is well above every European country. The most productive European country, Norway, has a per capita GDP of just $30,882 (converted using purchasing power parity exchange rates). The major countries of Europe are even further behind: United Kingdom ($26,039), France ($25,578), Italy ($24,894) and Germany ($24,813).

In other words, Europeans produce no more per year than Americans did 20 years ago. And they are not catching up. According to the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, the productivity gap between the United States and Europe is actually widening. In the Euro area as a whole, workers were 86 percent as productive as American workers in 1995. In 2003, this fell to 84 percent.

As a consequence, living standards are much lower in Europe than most Americans imagine. This fact is highlighted in a new study by the Swedish think tank Timbro. For example, it notes that the average poor family here has 25 percent more living space than the average European. Looking at all American households, we have about twice as much space: 1,875 square feet here versus 976.5 square feet in Europe. On average, Europeans only live about as well as those in the poorest American state, Mississippi.

Are we reaching the stage, as we did with the USSR, where the economic failures of the competing model become so great that it becomes part of the general gestalt? Is that why the Left in general is so desperate this election?

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Old Media - sand trap for real news


Everything you ever wanted to know about this story [about Kerry in Cambodia] is in this Instapundit post, and this NOFP blog summary.

Mark my words. This story is never going to get any traction. Why? Because there’s no wiggle room for Kerry on this. The press loves to throw dirt at both candidates, because they enjoy the firefight afterwards. They’ll draw the line, however, at actually doing serious damage to Kerry.

In the Cambodia story, we have an unambiguous, repeated lie by Kerry about an issue central to his political life. There’s simply no “other side” to this story, and no way for him to weasel out of it.

So the press will simply do whatever they have to to bury it.

Sadly, this isn’t anything bold about this prediction.

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09 August 2004

Old Media shows its true nature

[source, source]

John Temple, editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, praised the meeting overall and said he was “inspired” by it — but noted in a column that the partisanship (evidenced by “cheering and whistling” during Kerry’s speech) was “something I had never experienced in a crowd of journalists.”

Helen Ubinas, another attendee, wrote in The Hartford (Conn.) Courant that she was “in the minority, as it were” who acted like “a professional, not a partisan” in responding to Kerry. There was snickering during Bush’s address and the crowd rose at the end, “but not for much longer than it took to head to the door.” Ubinas’ explanation: Kerry connects with the “advocacy side” of Unity journalists. But showing preference for one candidate, she added, “is the ultimate betrayal — to everyone.”

Akilah Johnson, a reporter at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Delray Beach, Fla., told USA Today, “It was a little awkward for me. I guess a lot of people were acting like citizens, not reporters.” Unity President Ernest Sotomayer pointed out that many Unity members, including those who were covering the event or planned to report on it later, did not cheer. Those who did, he said, are “people who vote, and they have a right to express themselves” when they’re not working.

But Seattle Times reporter Florangelea Davila told her paper, “It was so offensive and awful, and I hated it. It was clearly inappropriate. It was ridiculous.” Houston Chronicle Suburban Editor Pete McConnell said he was “embarrassed” by the crowd reactions to Bush and Kerry: “As a group we should have kept ourselves in check.”

Bob Steele, ethics expert at the Poynter Institute, called public outbursts favoring one candidate “unprofessional and unethical.”

Why can’t these journalists be this open about their bias all the time instead of only when they think no one is watching?

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We might want to do it too

[source, source]

The Arab League chief pledged support for Sudan’s government before an emergency meeting on the violence that has killed thousands in that country’s Darfur region, and Nigeria’s president offered to host peace talks to resolve what has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Well that’s that. We wouldn’t want to upset the Arab Street by interfering in the Arab League supported genocide in Darfur.

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Don't worry, he's got a secret plan...

[source, source]

Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry has staked much of his campaign on a proposal he hopes will convince voters that he can extricate the United States from Iraq more quickly and at less cost than President Bush.

But Kerry’s plan, which promises to effectively shift much of the Iraq war burden from America to its allies, so far is failing to receive the international support the proposal must have to succeed.


Many allied countries may welcome a new team in Washington after years of friction with the Bush administration. But foreign leaders are making it clear they don’t want to add enough of their own troops to allow U.S. forces to scale back to a minority share in Iraq, as Kerry has proposed.

What’s astonishing is that this is a surprise to anyone.

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Wall of Plame gets chipped


Newly-released court orders show U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan two weeks ago ordered Matt Cooper of Time magazine and Tim Russert of NBC to appear before a grand jury and tell whether they knew that White House sources provided the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media.


Cooper still refused to answer questions after Hogan’s July 20 order, and on Aug. 6 Hogan held him in contempt of court and ordered that he go to jail. Cooper has been released on bond pending his emergency appeal to a federal appeals court. Hogan has ordered that Time pay a $1,000 fine for each day Cooper does not appear before the grand jury.

Sources close to the investigation said they believe Russert was not held in contempt Aug. 6 because he agreed to answer the questions after Hogan’s July 20 ruling.

Both journalists had earlier tried to quash the subpoenas issued by Fitzgerald in May. But, citing a Supreme Court decision, Judge Hogan ruled that journalists have no privilege to protect anonymous sources when the state has a compelling interest to investigate or prosecute a crime.

Hogan wrote in his just-unsealed order that the information requested from Cooper and Russert is “very limited” and that “all available alternative means of obtaining the information have been exhausted.” He added that “the testimony sought is expected to constitute direct evidence of innocence or guilt.”

It’s been very indicative of Old Media’s view of themselves and the USA that, on a matter they themselves called one of strong national security concerns, they were unwilling to cooperate with investigating it. For this, among other reasons, I suspect that the facts won’t reflect badly on President Bush or it would have been leaked long ago.

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Silencing dissent watch


Yesterday, President Bush attempted to put some distance between his campaign and some over-zealous vietnam vets who are challenging John Kerry’s military service. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, “We have not and will not question Senator Kerry’s service in Vietnam,” and went on to say “The president is calling for an immediate cessation to all the unregulated soft money activity.” It sounds to me like the Bush campaign is trying to do the honorable thing here, but in reply Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton said, “We’re glad to have a discussion about campaign finance reform. But it’s disingenuous for the Bush campaign to hide behind this partisan group that’s trying to tear down John Kerry’s distinguished military service record. It’s a reminder of why this White House has lost credibility.”

I am so stunned at the chutzpah of the DNC claiming that

  • The White House should be making the SwiftVets “watch what they say
  • That presidential campaigns shouldn’t hide behind partisan groups
  • That Senator Kerry’s military service shouldn’t be questioned as President Bush’s was

that I don’t have any snarky comment.

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Cooperation works

[source, source]

The governor of Najaf cleared the way Monday for military operations around the Imam Ali Shrine, the most holy place in Shiite Islam, where fighters loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are holed up, said a commander for the U.S.-led multinational forces.


Al-Sadr has promised a fight to the death against the American-led forces by his Mehdi Army militia.

I’m sure our boys will be happy to accomodate your request.

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08 August 2004

Soft bigotry or siding with the enemies of civilization?

[source, source]

If I tell you that scores of Iraqi detainees have been killed and maimed this year in Abu Ghraib prison, you may not be surprised. But you’re probably guessing wrong about who hurt them. The moronic American guards who are now on trial for improperly humiliating some Iraqis caused no deaths or injuries: The many casualties in the prison were all inflicted by Iraq’s guerilla terrorists.

During this spring’s frenzy of reporting on the plight of detainees at Abu Ghraib, I was surprised that none of the stories mentioned what anyone who has spent time at the prison (as I have) knows is the central danger to the prisoners there. By far the gravest threats to the Iraqis in that facility are the mortars and rockets that guerillas regularly lob into the compound — knowing full well that the main victims of their indiscriminate assaults will be fellow Iraqis. One attack on April 21 of this year, for instance, killed 22 detainees and injured another 91

I would actually prefer to believe that this is because of the standard soft bigotry of Old Media where wogs aren’t moral agents. But I suspect that it’s really favoritism for the other side - wait for the “death squad” reports about the Iraqi government.

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Burning assets

[source, source]

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The al-Qaida suspect named by U.S. officials as the source of information that led to this week’s terrorist alerts was working undercover, Pakistani intelligence sources said Friday, putting an end to the sting operation and forcing Pakistan to hide the man in a secret location.

Under pressure to justify the alerts in three Northeastern cities, U.S. officials confirmed a report by The New York Times that the man, Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, was the source of the intelligence that led to the decision.

I’m sure that Old Media will complain about burning this asset and about any future attacks and about not warning people and about not providing enough information. If only there was a cure for Reality Dysfunction.

P.S. Some people feel a little more strongly on this matter.

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06 August 2004

Losing even his staunchest allies

[source, source]

More than 1,200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said. “Over 1,200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces,” it said in a statement, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been “secured.”

What tells that Al-Sadr has really lost is that there isn’t much reporting on his alledged casus belli for the rebellion. The excuse (attempted arrest of Sadrites or Al-Sadr himself) tends to be buried near the end of the article. That means he’s not carrying Old Media and if he doesn’t have them, he’s got nobody.

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It was an accident - I swear!

Instapundit has an original and interesting idea — are the problems with online news websites deliberate, in order to artificially inflate readership numbers? Personally I doubt it — that’s a level of cleverness and implementation skill that seems unlikely to be within reach of Old Media.

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We'd taunt you a second time except you're dead

[source, source]

Frustrated that Taliban fighters were making themselves scarce, cavalry commander Capt. Brian Peterson ordered his psychological operations detachment to find a way to get the enemy onto the battlefield.

Their solution: shame. The soldiers drove into the mountainous region of southern Afghanistan near Tarin Kowt, a known Taliban stronghold, and blared through Humvee-mounted loudspeakers a simple message.

“Take off your burqas,” Afghan interpreters shouted, referring to the head-to-toe powder blue shrouds Taliban leaders once forced all women in the country to wear. “Come out and fight us like men.”

No injuries for our boys, multiple dead for them. Works for me.

The funniest bit here is the reaction of some commentors about how this wasn’t “fair”. The only thing one can call “fair” in war is not committing war crimes. Our opponents in this war have never observed that.

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05 August 2004

All I'm saying is enforce the existing laws

It turns out that SUVs are banned in much of California

I discovered this secret ban after noticing the signs at both ends of my narrow Los Angeles-area street (a favorite cut-through route for drivers hoping to avoid tie-ups on bigger roads). The signs clearly prohibit vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

Most SUVs are in fact over 6,000 pounds. I don’t normally respect anti-SUV arguments, but I think this is in fact quite a good one. The article points out that SUV manufacturers and owners take full advantage of the benefits of being a heavy vehicle, so I agree that it’s completely reasonable that they should bear the burdens as well.

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04 August 2004

I still don't get it - you wanted to world to be looking at you like this?


Robbers disguised as Olympic security personnel and policemen duped Athens bank customers and staff into handing over £265,000.

Don’t try this at home kids - go to Greece.

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I ask again - why was hosting a good idea?


Thousands of hotel workers in the Greek capital Athens are staging a one-day strike calling for a big pay rise just days before the Olympic Games.

They say they are ready to take further action unless their salaries are doubled ahead of this month’s games.

Oh, that’ll help with the budget problems.

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But they lost the war! Oh wait, that doesn't work...


“Expulsion is the method which, in so far as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble,” declared British prime minister Winston Churchill. “A clean sweep will be made.”

This clean sweep, or the forced removal of millions of ethnic Germans from the liberated countries of eastern Europe in the immediate aftermath of war, was meant to spell the end of strife.

The creation of the state of Israel is often treated as a historically unique event with attendant ethnic cleansing. This requires ignoring not only the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arabia in the same place at the same time, but also the millions moved about like counters on a map in Europe. When the EUlite claim that it was wrong in Europe and offer repatriation to the expelled and their descendants, maybe they will be able to talk about the situation in the Middle East with some degree of moral stature.

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It's a good kind of pain


The cost of staging the Olympic Games is pushing Greece’s budget deficit well above European Union limits, according to the Greek deputy finance minister.

Petros Doukas said Greece’s budget deficit was “heading towards 4%, maybe a bit over”.

Beyond being amazed that the cost of the Olympic Games could have a noticeable effect on a national budget (doesn’t the USA make individual cities pay for it? Is LA richer than Greece?), one wonders why hosting the games is considered a good thing.

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03 August 2004

Wimps or symps?

The silencing of dissent apparently doesn’t cover trying to shut down the national convention of a major political party. On the other hand, a number of commentors point out that this could just be trash talk with no action behind it. I have to admit, though, I think it’s telling that the protestors can have, without irony, a poster claiming “Police state bad! Communism good!”.

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02 August 2004

Not such a good sign


Turkey’s truckers association said Monday it would stop delivering goods to U.S. forces in Iraq, in what appeared to be a direct response to insurgents’ brutal, videotaped killing of a Turkish hostage and an attempt to win freedom for two other captives.

Let’s hire some Iraqis to do it, then.

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One step at a time


Iraqi commandos freed a Lebanese hostage Sunday, a Lebanese Foreign Ministry source said

Definitely a step in the right direction.

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Can we get OJ in here to help?


Rwanda has regularly accused the French of aiding and abetting the Hutu extremists who killed 800,000 people.

Paris denies responsibility - although it has admitted supporting Rwanda’s former Hutu-led government.

The current Rwandan government, which took over after the genocide, argues that Paris knowingly armed the killers and provided an escape route after their defeat.

See, France armed and supported the government, which then handed over the weapons to the actual killers. Why, France is supporting them now as they hunt down the real killers.

Posted by orbital at 5:09 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Pot, kettle watch


A diplomatic row over Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon’s visit to Gibraltar has escalated, according to reports.


On Friday [Spanish Foreign Secretary Miguel Angel] Moratinos told a news conference it was “not easy to maintain normal relations with Great Britain” because of the Gibraltar issue.

Hoon should just say “we’ll give it back right after you return Al-Andalusia”.

Posted by orbital at 5:06 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL


No Illusions points out that the recent UN International Court of Justice decision against the Israeli Security Wall basically disallows any aggressive reaction to attacks by non-state actors. This has big implications for the USA, as the Caliphascists are almost entirely non-state actors (especially after we took down Afghanistan and Iraq). I hope this pans out. What could be better than, in the run up to the US Presidential election, the UN declares that the USA cannot effectively defend itself against the Caliphascists? Bring it on, UN-philes!

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Them? All they can do is vote, as if that matters

[source, source]

On Monday, April 26, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett unveiled plans for a national pilot of biometric testing, the technology used in ID cards, as part of a draft Bill to crack down on identity fraud. […]

As Blunkett came under severe attacks for not allowing enough debate over the ID cards introduction, British officials made it clear that if Muslim women do not want to reveal their faces in public, that would be respected, reported the Observer Sunday. “Instead of a photograph, there would be an exemption for certain people, who would only have to give fingerprint and iris-recognition data.

A source close to Blunkett was quoted by the Observer as saying, “We have had constructive discussions with the Muslim community and want to assure them we are sensitive to their points of view”.

But not sensitive to the views of non-Muslim communities, apparently, since they weren’t consulted.

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01 August 2004

It's not important who did what, only that it's Bush's fault


The Seattle Times reported on Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) rising star in the Democratic Party earlier this week, quoting his specific warnings to young people to be afraid, be very afraid:

He told the students that changes in military combat tours is “an unwritten, sneak draft.” And he said an official draft could be coming soon.

“Everybody in this room who is 17 years old should know that the likelihood of a draft in a second Bush administration is almost a certainty,” McDermott said.

Don’t you think this article ought to have included this slightly relevant fact?:

McDermott Co-Sponsors Legislation to Reinstate the Draft

Now the Democratic Party is beyond just making stuff up and has moved up to sponsoring legislation they can blame on Bush?

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Risk of democracy appears in Germany


The German government is under growing pressure to hold a referendum on the new European constitution after 30 of the country’s most eminent legal scholars declared that federal law could easily be changed to allow a vote.

Oh, what has Tony Blair wrought!

It’s also worth noting that the lede gets it wrong - it’s not federal law that needs to be changed:

Mr Schröder insists that Germany cannot do so because the country’s post-war constitution expressly forbids extra-parliamentary plebiscites, to make it harder for an extremist party to seize power.

The legal scholars have, however, undermined Mr Schröder’s claims. In a joint statement published last week, 34 professors, led by Hans Herbert von Arnim from the university of Speyer, declared: “A small addition to the text of the [German] constitution could enable the German people to vote in a referendum.” [emphasis added]

I suppose the British writer doesn’t understand the difference between a Constitution and federal law because there isn’t any in the UK. But you’d think a European wouldn’t be so parochial.

Germany’s ban on national referendums was designed to ensure that, unlike its Nazi predecessor, post-war Germany remained anchored in parliamentary democracy.

So it’s all about preventing a descent in to dictatorship? Not quite —

German politicians are still smarting from the disaster in 1996 when a regional referendum on whether to merge the city state of Berlin with the surrounding region of Brandenburg resulted in the proposal being rejected outright despite a vigorous pro campaign by the main political parties.


Reflecting the prevailing mood in the Berlin chancellery, Michael Muller, the deputy head of the Social Democrats’ parliamentary party, added: “Sometimes the electorate has to be protected from making the wrong decisions.”

And that’s fundamentally different from a dictatorship how?

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