Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Debate - Round I

First impressions on the debate:

1. Kerry was a better speaker tonight.

2. Kerry stated that he would do a better job but failed to substantiate on ANY point. His major claim seemed to be "I have better credibility" and "I would do it better" [I just can't tell you how.]

3. The President didn't take advantage of several openings:
- Kerry's cheap, cheap shot on bin Laden in Tora Bora and how we "outsourced" it to Afghan warlords. twice. beneath contempt and should have been taken to task on it
- second cheapest shot: I was on line at the airport and two reservists said to me "we need you". completely unverifiable just like his foreign leaders prefer him comment
- Kerry criticized a current program to research bunker-busting nuclear bombs - yet ANOTHER weapons system he doesn't like
- Taken Kerry to task on exactly who else he would have brought in an alliance to do Iraq 'the right way' - "we could asked them what they wanted"
- Kerry took a swipe with "backdoor draft" but then said he would add two more active-duty divisions. How?
- Kerry mentioned his four point plan on his website - which is the same as what we are currently doing

4. Bush scored well in:
- defending multilateral talks in Korea and how we are engaging the Far East in North Korea
- very persuasive in getting across why the message to soldiers, allies and enemies must be consistent and clear
- responding to Kerry's accusation that we were anti-international by citing why for instance he refused to join the International Criminal Court -- he should have linked it strongly to how Kerry's support for the ICC and his "I won't cede any right to use force" are totally inconsistent.

Overall, a draw, though polls will give Kerry a win on style. Bush could have won this one going away (and crushed Kerry for good) if he hammered on Kerry's mistakes. What the President needs to do is enumerate Kerry's mistakes and take him to task on them. I think we'll see a more proactive and aggressive Bush in the next two rounds.

The Kerry partisans will be happy but in the end his performance I believe will be insufficient to sway many voters. Kerry, when he is on, is a very good speaker. However, he's been savaged [rightly] on having nothing behind the words. He was exactly that tonight. He'll get the win on style but it won't mean many votes.

As a markets guy I am closely watching price action on, a betting site that I cited in a post earlier today. At the moment it has Bush's odds of winning the election at 65/66, a bit lower than 68/69 earlier this afternoon which points to a perceived narrow Kerry win tonight. Why is this a very good indicator of performance? People are voting with their money and markets adjust almost instantaneously. Kerry spinmeisters will be screaming KO -- but that's not how the money is voting.

CBS's lack of integrity

CBS recently ran a piece on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather on the "fears" some people have that the US will re-institute the military draft if Bush is re-elected. Note the following facts: (1) the House of Representatives has a bill pending to reinstate the draft, but that legislation has no chance of passing because the only sponsors are 14 of the most liberal Reps; (2) Bush has repeatedly said he will not reinstate the draft (Kerry has also said he will not reinstate the draft); (3) the emails circulating about a reinstatement of the draft under Bush are a complete hoax because there is no chance of a draft reinstatement.

CBS dedicated one of about six or seven news story-segments to this hoax and the baseless worries of some anti-draft activists. That is, it based 14% of its 30-minute news program on a story with a false premise. So basically, CBS did a story about a hoax as if it was real and treated people suckered by the hoax as parties with valid viewpoints, like treating the anti-flouride nutsacks as credible sources on tooth decay. CBS comes out worse here. Two words: media bias.

The main interviewee was Beverly Cocco, who CBS characterized as a Republican one-issue undecided voter, although she has ties to the group People Against the Draft, a fact CBS did not show in its broadcast. Her "Republican" background is also questionable. On the link in the title, the Mudville Gazette says everything necessary to defend the full volunteer army:

Speaking only for myself, an American serving in uniform in Iraq, there's little I fear more than having the determined, confident, and competent young sons and daughters of our nation that I see here daily replaced by some group of conscripts torn kicking and screaming from their mother's skirts and forced to become something that only faintly resembles the effective members of our armed forces that are currently far from home and risking all for a cause they believe in.

All the best to our troops, sailors, airmen and marines.

Bush 68.5% likely to win second term

According to this betting site the market is 68.1% - 69.0% that President Bush will win re-election. For non-bettors, 68.1/69.0 is a 'two-way' market where traders are willing to buy and sell the likelihood that W will win. For instance, if you believe Bush will win you can buy at 69.0. (The best way to think about this is you are betting that there is more than a 69% chance that he will win) You can profit if the President wins (where the contract will settle at 100) or you can take profit earlier. Let's say W smokes JFK in the debate tonight, the price tomorrow could be 75-76. You could sell at 75 and take profit. There is a small commission charged.

If you believe in generally efficient markets where traders are all trying to maximize gains and the market overall has all the available information these markets can tell you alot. For instance 70% chance to win is pretty strong.

Other major markets:
Bush wins in Iowa 60/63
Bush wins in Florida 66.5/68
Daschle to win 60/61
Barack Obama to win 95/99
Osama caught by 12/31/04 18/20

I recall that a group headed by Admiral Poindexter proposed a government sanctioned betting operation that I thought had merit but was met with disbelief and outrage. Part of the thinking (which probably needed to be perfected) was that those who knew of terrorist attacks would try to monetize that knowledge and the government would get a 'tip-off' and be able to try and track the ip addresses.

[Several anti-idiotarian blogs had adverts from the site which drew my notice. I took a brief look at this site. It looks legit. This is not an advertisement nor an encouragement to bet here or anywhere else. Before you make any bets I would advise reading everything very carefully and remember, the markets are generally very efficient so there is not likely to be a free lunch. Though I must say Bush winning CA priced at 8.9/10.3 seems off-market.]

Media bias and the Patriot Act

If you read the stories in the mainstream press today about how a US District Judge ruled that a provision of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional (for instance, here, here, or here, know that you are reading a LIE. No part of the Patriot Act was actually struck down. Why? Because the provision in question is 18 years old, thereby predating the Patriot Act by 15 years.

Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy (link above) explains the media foul-up:

As I noted in my post below, a recent decision of the Southern District of New York struck down part of a 1986 law known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. How does the press report the decision? No mention of the 1986 law, of course. Instead, the press is reporting that the court struck down a major part of the Patriot Act, in a blow to the Bush Administration's overzealous response to terrorism. As I trace the history of the statute, this is quite inaccurate: the basic law was implemented in 1986, almost 20 years ago. To be fair, the Patriot Act did amend some language in this section; just not in a relevant way. As best I can tell, the court's decision does not rely on or even address anything in the Patriot Act. (See page 14-22 of the Court's opinion for the details of the statute's history.)

And for further reading, here is Kerr's original post on the decision. It is clear from reading his post (I'll try to read some of the opinion later) that the judge rejected an interpretation of the statute that would have rendered the provision constitutional -- a result the Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected by stating that if an Act of Congress can be interpreted in a constitutional manner, it should be given that interpretation by a court.

The judge seems to have rejected the constitutional interpretation based on the fact that the mere threat of FBI investigation for national security purposes (embodied in an FBI letter to the target of a given search) is intimidating. This is typical nonsense from judges in the Southern District of New York (of which Judge Marrero is one). In the real world, police and law enforcement have to be intimidating on some level, otherwise they would never command respect (two words: British Bobbies).

See the Kerr posts for details and insight; Prof. Kerr is a Fourth Amendment specialist so he knows whereof he writes.

UPDATE: Here is Andy McCarthy's take, slightly different from Kerr's reaction.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Stability in Iraq - excellent analysis

This is one of the best analyses I've seen of the situation in Iraq. Shannon Love shows graphically how the 'insurgency' in Iraq is limited to a handful of the 18 provinces. A picture is worth a thousand words.

hat-tip: QandO

Beyond Redemption

Nicholas Kristof's op-ed piece in today's NY Times highlights the execrable practice of sentencing a woman to be gang-raped in a village in Pakistan.

This is an abomination. Indefensible [I think] even by the most ardent apologists of moral equivalence in the Ivy League and California. The important lesson reinforced here is that there are systems of belief extant today that are fundamentally incompatible with Western values of equality and justice. Kristof dances around the issue only mentioning 'conservative Muslim society' once and complaining generally about 'gender inequality in the third world'. The truth is where fundamentalist militant Islam flourishes correlates perfectly with where these depradations occur. [This is not to say that it doesn't occur anywhere else.] As long as the West stands for freedom, justice and equality we will be viewed as the enemy to be destroyed because our existence threatens their way of life.

Kristof ends with:
We in the West could help chip away at that oppression, with health and literacy programs and by simply speaking out against it, just as we once stood up against slavery and totalitarianism. But instead of standing beside fighters like Ms. Mukhtaran, we're still sitting on the fence.

On the contrary, unlike most of old Europe, the United States is doing a lot more than speaking out against it. We strike a blow for Ms. Mukhtaran every time we battle against terrorists in Iraq, in Afghanistan and anywhere else. We know the enemy, we have the strength, we just need the conviction to win this war.

Answer this, Sen. Kerry

Stephen Hayes has been doing some of the best investigative reporting on the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Today, he poses some questions for Sen. Kerry on the eve of tomorrow's first presidential debate.

The sky isn't falling...part II

Blogger Dale Franks at the QandO blog responds to yesterday's post in The National Piggy Bank II.

I think I sounded more inquisitorial than I intended. While we do share some common ground (e.g., fiscally relatively conservative) we do have some significant differences which can be summed as follows:

1. Franks believes that the Bush tax cuts aren't stimulative and are costing the government money. First, the middle class are likely spending the extra income nearly dollar for dollar and the higher brackets are spending some and saving/investing some. Second, the supply side effect of the cuts in government revenue may take time to manifest and I am not convinced that nominal rates are low enough that 'supply-side' effects are negligible. (Note, reside in a usuriously taxed municipality in a high tax state)

2. The twin deficits are important BUT the levels are more or less within historical ranges and the ability of the United States to withstand sizable deficits is greater than indicated.

3. The idea that foreign capital could suddenly 'leave the party'

In response to The National Piggy Bank II stating that the government has the right to print money that doesn't mean Weimar monetization, it means that the government can grow/allow to grow the money supply over time which reduces the value of the deficit/debt.

With regard to the potential currency fluctuations scaring international investors there is significant currency risk. Which is why there is a huge, liquid market where investors can HEDGE their currency risk. And many do. Some choose not to. If the People's Bank of China wants the to hold US Treasuries but is afraid that the dollar will plummet against, say the JPY, they can either sell dollars forward against the JPY or buy a put option on USD/JPY. (They don't need to worry about the USD/RMB rate because they've pegged it at 8.28)

So, foreign investors will adjust their US holdings over time but barring unforeseen cataclysmic events it is extremely unlikely that movements in and out of US markets will occur in an uncontrolled fashion. (Looking at holdings of US Treasuries (which ARE universally recognized as riskless in default terms) foreigners held 15%ish of outstanding in the early 90s which grew to low 20%s in the late 90s boom and are hovering around 20% today.)

The Iran problem

Caroline Glick lives in the future shadow of the Iranian nuclear umbrella -- she's in Israel. And she therefore doubts, with good reason, the strategic arms negotiation approach of the esteemed Henry Sokolski, who penned a Pentagon-funded report (PDF alert!) on restraining Iran. Here is an excerpt from Glick's critique:

Disturbingly, while Sokolski accuses officials presently working on the Iran issue of being "in denial" about the inevitability of Iran acquiring nuclear capabilities, he himself is in denial about the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose. Sokolski enumerates three dangers that he views as likely to emanate from a nuclear Iran.

First, he says that Iranian nuclearization will act as a catalyst for neighboring countries to attempt to gain nuclear capabilities, citing Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Algeria and Turkey as likely candidates for adopting such a policy.

Second, the report argues that nuclear capabilities will embolden Iran to take action to reduce world oil shipments by attacking tankers in the Straits of Hormuz or Saudi and Iraqi oil installations and pipelines, leading to a dramatic increase in oil prices.

Finally, a nuclear armed Iran would feel free to increase its support for terror strikes against the US and its allies. Such strikes would lead to a diminishment of US influence in the Middle East and throughout the world.

In truth, all of the threats that Sokolski's report argues will arise if Iran becomes nuclear capable already exist. Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Algeria are all already seeking to gain nuclear capabilities, as the report itself acknowledges. As well, Iran has been linked to much of the terrorism against oil-related targets in Saudi Arabia over the past year-and-a-half, and to most of the sabotage attacks against Iraqi oil installations since the US-led invasion . . . Furthermore, Iran today is the world's primary sponsor of terrorism. Its links to al-Qaida have been copiously documented. Its primary sponsorship of Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah is also unquestionable.

Yet, while labeling already existing threats emanating from Iran as future ones, Sokolski ignores the main new threat that would exist were Iran to become equipped with nuclear bombs – the use of those bombs to destroy Israel or its neighbors and rivals in the Persian Gulf, or the transfer of nuclear weapons to a terrorist group deployed as Iran's proxy.

Inmates 1, asylum 0 = CIA version

As I noted here and here, the CIA has been nearly mutinous against the Bush Administration. No, not George Tenet or the Operations Division, but the analytical arm of the CIA has continually attempted to undermine the Bush Administration's policies on Iraq while concurrently seeking to cover its collective rear-end after all the mistakes it has made in the past 5-10 years. This is petty politicking at its worst.

Much of the CIA's distaste for Bush may stem from his negative reaction to the infamous 8-6-01 Presidential Daily Briefing about al-Qaeda. That PDB showed Bush that the CIA work was shoddy and outdated but had a reassuring indication -- although the PDB said al-Qaeda had cells in the US, the FBI had 70 field investigations ongoing; a seemingly reassuring note. The PDB was based in large part on media reports (nice to see our spies read the daily fishwrap) and its information was primarily from 1997 and 1998. See here for the report text and here for a photo of the declassified portion on Findlaw. The most revealing information was that "A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks." As of 8-6-01, that statement begged the question: what have we learned in the past 3 years? And that question is essentially what Bush asked Tenet -- why is the information in this PDB old, outdated, not updated and so preposterously general that it is of no value?

If that alone did not tip the scales of the CIA against Bush, the continual failures of the CIA viz. Iraq, and Bush's refusal to follow CIA analysis, may have done so. (Yes, I'm assuming that the CIA would have been neutral towards Bush when he became president, an assumption that is generous to the CIA's motivations). As the WSJ notes (link above to Opinion Journal free reprint):

In a public lecture last year at Johns Hopkins University, [senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar] sought to downplay Saddam Hussein's connections to terrorism. And his corner of the CIA has long claimed that the "secular" Baathists in Iraq would never do business with the fundamentalist al Qaeda. Tell that to Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the Baathists now cooperating in Fallujah.

And a further excerpt from the WSJ piece is notable because analyst-side officials in the CIA are now actively working for the election of John Kerry, albeit anonymously:

[The CIA's] latest improvised explosive political device blew up yesterday on the front page of the New York Times, in a story proclaiming that the agency had warned back in January 2003 of a possible insurgency in Iraq. This highly selective leak (more on that below) was conveniently timed for two days before the first Presidential debate.

This follows Joe Wilson, whose CIA-employee wife nominated the anti-Bush partisan to assess intelligence on Iraq. Then there's the book by "Anonymous," a current CIA employee who has been appearing everywhere to trash U.S. policy, with the approval of agency higher-ups. And now we have one Paul R. Pillar, who has broken his own cover as the author of a classified National Intelligence Estimate this summer outlining pessimistic possibilities for the future of Iraq.

* * *

None of this is surprising in the case of Mr. Pillar, who is also trying to protect his own lousy track record in misjudging the terrorist threat. Around September 11, he had the misfortune to write a book that rejected the "war" metaphor for counterterrorism, comparing it instead to "the effort by public health authorities to control communicable diseases.

With an intelligence agency like this, it's almost miraculous that the US won the Cold War.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Beware the Gang of Four

Radio host Dennis Prager on how "The Gang of Four -- trial lawyers, handpicked jurors, fortune-seeking litigants and like-minded judges (themselves often former trial lawyers) -- have created an environment of mistrust that blankets our society." A great example of this here in the NY metropolitan area is the bane of soccer moms -- snow days. In the suburbs of NY if there is likely to be even a bit of snow the schools will shut down. The reason is school systems are deathly afraid of the liability should they FAIL to declare a snow day and children in school buses and/or automobiles get into a snow-related accident and sue for negligence. As a result for a dusting of snow, children miss a day of school.

Institute for Justice takes a step forward

The Institute for Justice has some good news about a case it is fighting against Connecticut. In Connecticut, the city government of New London wants to condemn private homes and sell the land to businesses to obtain a larger tax revenue from the commericial use. But the US Constitution and the Constitution of every state allows eminent domain (condemnation power) for public use, not a preferred private use.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Wayne County couldn't seize private land and convert it to a technology business park. The Wayne County ruling overturned the Michigan Supreme Court's 1981 landmark Poletown case in which the Michigan Supreme Court allowed GM to obtain the acreage to build a factory through the city's condemnation of private lands. The Connecticut case relied upon Poletown.

Here is the IJ press release:

September 28, 2004

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Review
Of New London Eminent Domain Abuse Case

Washington, D.C.-Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of Kelo v. City of New London and decide whether the Constitution allows the government to use eminent domain to take one person's home or small business so a bigger business can make more money off that land and pay more taxes as a result.

"We and the New London homeowners are thrilled that the Court has taken up this case and we are confident that it will find, as we have argued all along, that New London violated the U.S. Constitution when it tried to take these homes," said Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice.

Dana Berliner, an Institute for Justice senior attorney, explained, "If jobs and taxes can be a justification for taking someone's home or business, then no property in America is safe because anyone's home can create more jobs if it is replaced by a business and any small business can generate greater taxes if replaced by a bigger one. We have to restore the meaning of public use to what everyone once understood the term to mean--something the public would own and use, such as a road. Economic development is not a public use."

* * *

In the last few years, the tide has shifted against the abuse of eminent domain. With decisions from Illinois, South Carolina and Arizona, courts have finally begun to restore constitutional protections to home and business owners. The decision of the Michigan Supreme Court in July, reversing its previous Poletown decision, which had allowed the condemnation of an entire neighborhood for a GM plant shows, just how far courts have come.

Susette Kelo, one of the New London homeowners, said, "It is going to mean everything in the world if the U.S. Supreme Court saves my home. I'm so happy for myself and my elderly neighbors who just want to stay in their homes."

"Cities and developers will say that the sky is falling and that development can't happen without taking other people's property by force," concluded Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice. "That's ridiculous. Development happens all over the country, every day, with land purchased voluntarily. That's the way our nation was built, and that's what our Constitution requires."

Notables for today

First, be sure to read your Tuesdaily does of Mark Steyn in the Telegraph. For some reason, Steyn's website isn't working right but this link should do the trick.

Second, I received an email from Fuzebox Media Group regarding the new, and honest, movie about Ronald Reagan. Here's the first paragraph of the email:

. . . a new documentary film, In The Face Of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed, [is] an intriguing look at Reagan's victory over Communism within the context of mankind's continual fight against evil, including the current war against Islamic Fascism. The film is based on Peter Schweizer's acclaimed best-seller Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism.

Information on the movie is here. I plan to see it when it's released in early October.

The sky isn't falling...on the economy

In the next six weeks there will be quite a few accusations and declarations about the 'parlous' state of the economy particularly from the left side of aisle. Blogger Dale Franks (whose politics I am NOT familiar with) sounds the alarm on the twin deficits (budget and current account) here. (click title) Unfortunately, his critique, while jocular and easy to read, is misapplied and off the mark.

Franks' contends that the US economy is on the 'left side' of the Laffer curve where tax cuts lose their effectiveness at stimulating the economy and hence lose money for the government. He punctuates his assertion with a clever story about how lower taxes lead to increased earnings which might induce us to seek more leisure and work less. There are two significant issues with his analysis. First, the stimulative effects of lower taxes require time to manifest. Like inflation expectations, the downstream effects of lower taxes on corporations and individuals alike do not occur overnight. If corporates and consumers believe that tax rates will stay low permanently rather than temporarily it will affect how they make investment and consumption decisions. Second, assuming that the American workforce does not immediately cut back on hours offsetting the effect of lower taxes more discretionary income is added to the pocket of the taxpayer which is either spent or saved. This is borne out by the average hourly work week which has remained steady.

Franks argues that once you are on the left side of the Laffer Curve tax cuts have to be paid for with reduced spending or tax hikes. However he offers no supporting evidence to his assertion of where we are on the Laffer Curve. In any case at this point in the recovery it would be singularly inappropriate to significantly cut spending or hike taxes. Franks offers yet another cautionary tale of citizens maxing out their credit cards and compares the US to an overleveraged consumer writ large. As compelling as that comparison tries to be there are some very important differences between how individuals and firms and a sovereign nation like the United States can and should manage their financial affairs. Whereas for individuals and firms the right answer during challenging times may well be austerity, the same is not true for the US government. First the US government has an unimpeachable sovereign rating, second, the government has the right to print money, and finally, the government has the ability and the obligation to be the ultimate economic countervailing force.

Franks then proceeds to warn that unreliable foreign capital is allowing us to live profligately. However, if at some stage the plug were to be pulled and foreigners repatriate their funds in short order we could be in real trouble--if, for example, the Vietnamese were suddenly unwilling to trade their dong for US. (cute) What Franks fails to recognize is the reality of the global financial marketplace. US government securities are considered riskless assets and these assets form a significant part of many investment portfolios. Countries like China aren't propping up the dollar to protect their economy, they are holding dollars because they want dollar investments for safety and duration. Also, the dollar is still the world's reserve currency, despite the euro, with key commodities still priced in the US unit. This phenonmenon also adds buoyancy to US assets.

It is certainly true that if the budget deficit were to continue to increase rapidly and require significant new borrowing that the allure of US government securities will suffer. However, since default is not a realistic outcome what the US then needs to draw investment are higher rates. As a percentage of GDP the budget deficit is within levels seen from the 1970s through the early 90s. At the moment foreign entities hold approximately 20% of all outstanding US securities--once again within the ranges of the past 25 years. The interest on the debt as a percentage of total expenditure stands at 14%, also well within recent ranges.

Fiscal and monetary policy is appropriately accommodative at this time at this point in the recovery with security expenditure (internal and external) historically high. We should continue to monitor our fiscal condition carefully but there is no reason to panic.

(Data above taken from publicly available US Treasury and Bureau of Labor Statisics sources)

The Democrats' voter fraud

The Democrats hope for a close election and want to use the pretense of that close result to try to sue their way into the presidency. The tactic is obvious and, with compliant judges, nearly worked in 2000. In St. Louis, the local Democrats found a token plaintiff for a fake lack-of-ballot-access claim and a useful idiot judge extended voting hours from the 7 pm cutoff until 10 pm (this is in addition to the improperly granted court orders allowing non-registered persons to vote, dead voters casting ballots and felons trying to vote -- the full extent of Democratic vote fraud in St. Louis in 2000 is examined in great detail here). In Chicago, the usual legion of dead voted because people used false names to vote. In Florida, the Democrats tried to steal the election result by negating military ballots, use of spurious standards of "voter intent", etc. -- although the result in favor of Bush in every single recount, despite many voters in the panhandle of the state (pro-Republican) staying home after the networks called the result a hour early (the western panhandle is central time, not eastern).

Thus, the Democrats ridiculous claim of 1,000,000 African-Americans disenfranchised by voting fraud in 2000 is one of those preposterous lies that both serves as the basis of the Democrats' get-out-the-vote campaign and is repeated so often that the credulous and colossally lazy mainstream media doesn't even deign to do the two minutes' of research necessary to eviscerate the claim. One debunking is by US Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow here. Kirsanow correctly notes that: (a) in a "spoiled ballot" allegation, you cannot tell whose ballot is spoiled (not counted due to improper vote casting -- double vote in a race, other mistakes, etc.) because the ballots do not have the name, gender or race of the voter on them; (b) "Spoiled ballots do not equal stolen votes." This is because spoiled ballots are THE VOTER'S own fault. If you cannot follow the instructions, punch a hole, fill in the circle or flip the switch, your vote won't count. And if you're that incompetent, it shouldn't.

My favorite story of the post-2000 election is the one about the fourth grade class in Louisiana: the teacher copied the "butterfly ballot" of W. Palm Beach County, Florida that Democrats claimed confused voters into casting their votes for Buchanan instead of Gore, based upon the layout of the names. The teacher told her students to "cast their vote" for Gore by filling in the circle next to his name. Of her 25 students, 24 properly cast the vote; the one who didn't said he would never vote for Gore so he filled in Bush. None of the fourth-graders were confused between Gore and Buchanan. Once that story hit the news, that mini-furore died down.

Another debunking of the Florida myth is in the link in the title of this post. Here is an excerpt from that Opinion Journal editorial:

In Florida, as in many other states, the manner in which elections are conducted, including all of the essentials of the voting process, is determined at the county level. Which leaves the "stolen election" crowd with these inconvenient facts: In 24 of the 25 Florida counties with the highest ballot spoilage rate, the county supervisor was a Democrat. In the 25th county, the supervisor was an Independent. And as for the "felon purge list," the Miami Herald found that whites were twice as likely to be incorrectly placed on the list as blacks.

The real spectacle here is that some Democrats are only too willing to exploit the painful history of black voter disenfranchisement for some short-term partisan advantage. And it just might backfire. Democrats played up the Florida fiasco in the 2002 midterm elections, repeatedly telling blacks that their votes hadn't been counted in 2000. Rather than being riled up, many black voters believed what they were told and stayed home.

Yes, the Democrats' actions are disgraceful. More disgraceful is Jimmy Carter, the worst President since Harding, gallivanting from network camera to radio microphone to declare Florida's voting mechanisms incompatible with international standards. Leave aside his cheerful endorsement of the Hugo Chavez election "victory" in Venezuela that was almost certainly stolen through fraud and ACTUAL voter intimidation. This year Carter claims that Florida's voting system is improper because there is no uniformity in voting procedures (as if non-uniform procedures that allow people to vote are not better than uniform procedures that include the dictator's henchmen watching you cast the ballot; see, e.g., Iraq 2002, Nicaragua 1985, etc.) and therefore the Carter Center cannot even verify the elections like (supposedly) did in Venezuela. But Florida chose its system legislatively years ago when the Democrats controlled the legislature and the Constitution confers the power of deciding the time, place and manner of elections upon the state legislatures themselves. Carter's implication that Florida's constitutionally established system is inferior to Venezuela's corrupt "uniformity" is just another false parallel by the Democrats, whose actions in relation to voter fraud and election law are beneath contempt.

I agree: Baseball awards

Other than Johnson over Clemens (it takes more than just "edging" the competition for the Cy Young Award when you're on a cruddy team -- instead, Johnson needed incredible numbers a la Steve Carlton in 1972 when he won the pitching Triple Crown [most wins, best ERA, most strikeouts] for a 59-win team), Ken Rosenthal makes good picks for his baseball awards. I agree that Santana > Schilling should not be close.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Today's sign of the Apocalypse

It takes some real chutzpah, after you left your five-month old daughter in your hot car for four hours, which resulted in her death from heatstroke, to stand up in front of a press conference with your attorney and tell the press and the world that you "hope that the auto industry or the car seat manufacturers will have some kind of alarm or bell so [parents] won't forget their kid in a car." But that's what John Dunton did in California after the Orange County DA declined to press charges against him.

This whole thing is a farce: the man commits numerous crimes (from child endangerment to involuntary manslaughter) and won't be punished, his wife forgives him (how can you FORGIVE something like that) and the idiot himself thinks that it's not his fault that he left his own flesh-and-blood to roast in a hot car. Is there no shame? No feeling of responsibility? No value of human life? Don't tell me some rubbish about how he's going to punish himself with the memory of his child, that's garbage. If that concept had any legitimacy, the father would NOT HAVE LEFT THE BABY BEHIND. The man should be incarcerated; divorced and shamed.


30 questions about Kerry's service

Courtesy QandO for this link -- 30 questions and relatively bias-free answers on Kerry's service by Bruce Kesler, a man with no love lost for Kerry.

Good News From Iraq

Despite Colin Powell's worries, there are numerous reasons to be pleased with the situation in Iraq. Arthur Chrenkoff writes about them in Opinion Journal today (link in title).

Stupid headline of the day

Here's the stupid headline of the day from Yahoo! News and the AP: "Next President Will Pick Scores of Judges." No s--t! Pres. Bush has picked numerous judges already when he hasn't been stymied by the unconstitutional filibuster of the Democrats.

Also noted in that article, many Supreme Court Justices are old! Next revelation: black is darker than white.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Multilateralism's harvest

David Brooks on the UN's "triumph" in Sudan -- how going the internationalist route is ultimately futile, ineffective and functionally immoral. Here is your excerpt:

Every time there is an ongoing atrocity, we watch the world community go through the same series of stages: (1) shock and concern (2) gathering resolve (3) fruitless negotiation (4) pathetic inaction (5) shame and humiliation (6) steadfast vows to never let this happen again.

The "never again" always comes. But still, we have all agreed, this sad cycle is better than having some impromptu coalition of nations actually go in "unilaterally" and do something. That would lack legitimacy! Strain alliances! Menace international law! Threaten the multilateral ideal!

It's a pity about the poor dead people in Darfur. Their numbers are still rising, at 6,000 to 10,000 a month.

Saddam's nuclear program and Syria

Read the Daily Telegraph article linked in the title of this post to learn about how Iraqi nuclear scientists were developing a nuclear weapons program, fled to Syria (with baby Assad's full welcome) when the US attacked Iraq and how Syria has entered negotiations with Iran to move the Iraqis there for safe haven.

Then read this piece in the NY Times by Saddam's former nuclear program head. He noted that although Saddam mothballed the program because he didn't want to kill the Golden Goose of Oil-for-Food kickbacks, the scientists still had their knowledge and the danger to the US and the world would be from those scientists relocating to other countries.

Thus, Captain Ed notes, correctly, that:

We are seeing that exact dynamic in Syria's attempts to transfer these scientists to [Iran] -- the Southwest Asian nation believed to be closest to developing their own nuclear weaponry and possessing the missile technology to deliver it anywhere in the region.

Che Guevara: Commie murderer

HT to Andrew Stuttaford of National Review for this article. A necessary reminder that the fact of Che Guevara's life is he was a murderer, Communist, and the founder of the Cuban gulags. Keep that in mind if you see the movie version of The Motorcycle Diaries that exalt the myth of Guevara as a freedom fighter.

Here is an excerpt:

Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a free-thinker and a rebel.
Hopefully the truth will soon get in the way of the myth of Guevara's life.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Mark Steyn with your Sunday Breakfast

Mark Steyn rips Kerry for his unending pettiness. Kerry is not only attacking Bush, but America's allies like Britain, Australia, and now Iraq. Here's Steyn's reaction to Kerry's ridiculous comments from last Thursday:

What a small, graceless man Kerry is. The nature of adversarial politics in a democratic society makes George W. Bush his opponent. But it was entirely Kerry's choice to expand the field, to put himself on the other side of Allawi and the Iraqi people. Given his frequent boasts that he knows how to reach out to America's allies, it's remarkable how often he feels the need to insult them: Britain, Australia, and now free Iraq. But, because this pampered cipher has floundered for 18 months to find any rationale for his candidacy other than his indestructible belief in his own indispensability, Kerry finds himself a month before the election with no platform to run on other than American defeat. He has decided to co-opt the jihadist death-cult, the Baathist dead-enders, the suicide bombers and other misfits and run as the candidate of American failure. This would be shameful if he weren't so laughably inept at it.

That's about right.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Prologue to Rathergate

Mona Charen has a good, short piece (click title) on how Rather and Kerry have done a hatchet job on Vietnam veterans. She relates how the Rather-led 1988 CBS special "The Wall Within" smeared Vietnam vets viciously using interviews--including one with a 16 year old Navy SEAL who claimed to HAVE burned a village for propaganda purposes--that turned out to be wretched canards (a 16 year old Navy SEAL!!!?!). CBS stonewalled and got away with it. The folks at Free Republic, Power Line and LGF made sure he didn't this time.

hat-tip: Neal Boortz

John Kerry's flip-flops documented

John Hawkins details John Kerry's flip-flops on Iraq through the years. And he does it with the most devastating evidence he can cull -- Kerry's own words.

As I said here (and other places), Kerry is the new Jimmy Carter; and the US cannot afford four more years of Carterian decline.

What to do with Iran

Stephen Green, the Vodkapundit, has an interesting screed on Iran that makes many of the same points as (although earlier and separate from) Michael Ledeen's column in NRO today.

Here's the crux of the Vodkapundit's argument:

Beyond the government itself . . . there's little wrong with Iran in need of fixing. Prior to the Khomeini Revolution, Iran was a mostly-functional member of the Semi-Decent Nations of the World. It can be again.

* * *
Yet, Iran, our seemingly easiest problem, remains our most intractable. [snip] Iran is ripe for revolution. And, as we learned last year in Fallujah, Iran is already waging war against us (directly and by proxy) in Iraq. So what, exactly, is Bush waiting for – an Iranian-sponsored 9/11-style attack on us in Iraq? We've had those already.

Iran doesn't need fixing. It just needs a good shove. And since Iran is already pushing us, why isn't Bush pushing back?
* * *

In fact, Bush has done worse than nothing. By failing to stand up against Iran's mullahs in Fallujah, he has actively discouraged Iranians from standing up against their hated government.

Green is essentially correct. Bush has repeatedly called for freedom in Iran, but never acted in concert with that call. He has fiddled with constructive engagement while Iranian influences in Iraq get stronger or more entrenched. Bush is semi-paralyzed to a degree that prevents him from acting on his instincts to cause the overthrow of Iran's theocracy, and not just because of troop commitments to Iraq.

There are two key reasons underlying Bush's semi-paralysis. First, the dishonorable Democrats and their amen-chorus in the media have accentuated the negatives in Iraq whilst completely overlooking the positives (go to Chrenkoff's site and look at his "Best of" links for good, and underreported, news from Iraq). Kerry is the biggest disgrace of the bunch because he has a mini-bully pulpit as a presidential candidate and uses it to undermine the US efforts in Iraq. Thus, between media carping and Kerry's rubbish, Bush has to concentrate on his re-election to a degree that ensures that he will not be able to take bold action before Election Day.

Second, the Bush Administration made an historic mistake when it took office (and again after 9-11-01) by failing to purge the State Department, CIA and Defense Department of Clintonist and Bush-41 realpolitikers who valued the stability of tyrannous regimes in the Middle East that hate America quietly over the broader thinkers like Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith who can recognize the virtues of a progressive instability that would lead to democratic change. The State Department, Defense Department and CIA rank-and-file has ACTIVELY worked against Bush for 3.5 years in ways that are anything from disgraceful to treasonous. Once again, a problem that cannot change until after Election Day and until Bush is able to institute reforms in the civil service.

There are other reasons, of course, that Bush has not done to Iran what he did to Iraq. Green touches on some of them and does not discuss others. Hopefully much more will change with a Bush re-election; as Mark Steyn noted, the alternative does not bear thinking about.

Come down from the ledge?

The Monk's favorite bird this week is the Oriole. A small flitting featherhead that is slightly larger than the average sparrow and found on the east coast of the US. Most notable incarnation = a baseball team in Baltimore (of all places) that hits RedSux pitching like it's BP.

Yesterday the O's beat the RedSux to split a four-game series and help restore the 4.5 game lead the Yanks had after Sunday. Now the RedSux can't get into a loss-column tie with the Yanks by sweeping this weekend. Hopefully, the Wongdoer's equilibrium is somewhat restored now.

Then again, the RedSux pitchers this weekend are their Nos. 1A, 3 and 1 starters: Pedro, Wakefield (Yankee-killer alert) and Schilling against Moooooooooooooosina, Vazquez and _____ respectively. Yick. If the Yanks don't sweep, this will be the first time since 1999 that the RedSux win the season series; if the Yanks do sweep, they clinch the division. It's all fun and games until The Monk throws stuff at his TV.

Friday's breakfast reading

Some key items to read with your morning coffee.

First, the Wall Street Journal explains how petty John Kerry is, and how that pettiness is proportional to his ignorance, as Iraqi PM Allawi set the record straight yesterday in his speech to Congress.

Second, CNN is reporting that Bush has leads in state-by-state polling worth 301 electoral votes -- 23 more than the 278 he would get just by winning the same states he won in 2000 and 31 more than he needs to for winning reelection. [HT: Cap'n Ed]

Third, Mark Steyn cuts Kerry to shreds for his British audience in The Spectator. Always worth a read.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry without grace

Kerry, in his desperation to revive his campaign, brusquely dismissed statements made by Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi on Capitol Hill: "I think the prime minister is, obviously, contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country. The prime minister and the president are here, obviously, to put their best face on the policy."

Kerry is, naturally, out of context. What Allawi said was:
"Foreign terrorists are still pouring in, and they're trying to inflict damage on Iraq to undermine Iraq and to undermine the process, democratic process in Iraq, and, indeed, this is their last stand," "So they are putting a very severe fight on Iraq. We are winning. We will continue to win. We are going to prevail."

In front of Congress Allawi was forthright, optimistic (with examples) and graciously thanked the United States. Read it here. He also issued a warning that Kerry would do well to heed:

We Iraqis are aware how international this effort truly is. But our opponents, the terrorists, also understand all too well that this is an international effort. And that's why they have targeted members of the coalition. I know the pain this causes. I know it is difficult but the coalition must stand firm. When governments negotiate with terrorists, everyone in the free world suffers. When political leaders sound the siren of defeatism in the face of terrorism, it only encourage more violence. [emphasis added.] Working together, we will defeat the killers, and we will do this by refusing to bargain about our most fundamental principles.

That's my girl

The Monkette2B says it all, from her email to me:

Have you seen where Kerry suddenly knows more about what is going on in Iraq than the Iraqi Governing Council? What a horse's ass.

Ah, 'tis a wise man who obtaineth the hand of a wiser woman.

Backing In

The Yankees hit a putrid 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position against Toronto last night narrowing their lead over Boston to 3.5. Down a run the Yanks failed to deliver with the bases loaded and one out in the 7th, wasted a Matsui leadoff double in the eighth with Tony Clark looking like Aaron Boone vs. Braden Looper, and the top of the order went down in the 9th w/o a fight. Meanwhile the Crimson Pantyhose had ANOTHER stirring comeback against Baltimore.

The Enemy are going into the playoffs with excellent momentum believing once again they are the AMAZING TEAM OF DESTINY.

Someone cheer me up.

Kerry -- a national security risk

Andy McCarthy has a new column up on NRO. It's eminently sensible and well-done. Have you read it yet? Why not? Get going.

Government in the bedroom

In response to the relatively minimal threat of AIDS/HIV transmittal through unprotected heterosexual sex (studies indicate only a 1/300 to 1/500 chance that the woman will get AIDS from an infected male through regular unprotected coitus), the authors of the article cited above have drafted a model statute that would criminalize random sexual encounters where a condom was not used. Here are the elements of their proposed crime of "reckless sexual conduct":

A new crime of “reckless sexual conduct” should target unprotected first encounters. To convict, prosecutors would need to show beyond a reasonable doubt (i) a first-time sexual encounter between the defendant and the victim; and (ii) no use of a condom. The defendant would then have the opportunity to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim consented to the unprotected sex.

In other words, the authors are trying to legislate sexual behavior through the criminal code and would allow any first-time sexual encounter (sans condom) to become a potential crime. This is a heinous use of governmental power -- a 1984 for the bedroom.

John Kerry, terrorist ally

Check out Captain's Quarters for a letter from an army captain who is in Iraq. The letter was forwarded to Captain Ed by the captain's dad. Here is the salient point:

When Senator Kerry said that, if elected, he would pull us out of here in four years, the insurgent leadership had a rousing round of celebratory automatic weapons fire . . . they know that a massive upswing in violence with resulting casualties will make President Bush look really bad and increase the Senator's chances of election.

John Kerry, continuing to give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Jayson Blair, liar

Check out this quote from Jayson Blair on Instapundit.

Blair's book must not have sold well.

Victor Hansen: who needs the UN?

This is pretty much as dead-on as you can get.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

What speech were they listening to?

The NYTimes staff editorial blasted President Bush's speech to the United Nations as a "lead balloon" and accused him of wasting a "golden opportunity" to ask for help in Iraq. According to the NYT the President was "inexplicably defiant" and "scolded" the United Nations. It paints a vivid picture. Unfortunately one deeply tinted (tainted?) by the pervasive bias of the New York Times.

Read the full text of the speech here

The President drew a parallel between the Declaration of Independence and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights making a case for freedom and dignity compared with terror and oppression. He reminded the UN of ten years of Saddam's defiance: "...the Security Council promised serious consequences for his defiance. And the commitments we make must have meaning (emphasis added)"

He spoke of the US contribution to the war on AIDS and poverty and highlighted the genocide in Darfur. He congratulated Iraq for rejoining the community of nations and emphasized that "the UN and its member nations must respond to Prime Minister Allawi's request and do more to help build an Iraq that is secure, democratic, federal and free."

Finally, the President affirmed that the proper response to difficulty was not to retreat but to prevail. "And today I assure every friend of Afghanistan and Iraq and every enemy of liberty, we will stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq until their hopes of freedom and security are fulfilled."

That's an invitation for any true friend of liberty to step forward. If the French, the Germans and similar fellow travelers need to be begged to do the right thing or refuse to do the right thing of simply of pique what kind of allies will they be?

Kerry is so very . . . Kerry

This is a don't miss column from Mark Steyn. From the 9-13 issue of National Review (his Happy Warrior column is republished on his website about 7-10 days after the issue date by contractual arrangement with NR), Steyn's evaluation of Kerry the candidate, the man, the archetype.

And this excerpt is top-notch:

. . . Groucho Marx once observed that an audience will laugh at an actress playing an old lady pretending to fall downstairs, but, for a professional comic to laugh, it has to be a real old lady. That’s how I feel about the Kerry campaign. For the professional political analyst, watching Mondale or Dukakis or Howard Dean stuck in the part of the guy who falls downstairs is never very satisfying: they’re average, unexceptional fellows whom circumstances have conspired to transform into walking disasters. But Senator Kerry was made for the role, a vain thin-skinned droning blueblood with an indestructible sense of his own status but none at all of his own ridiculousness. If Karl Rove had labored for a decade to produce a walking parody of the contemporary Democratic Party’s remoteness, condescension, sense of entitlement, public evasiveness and tortured relationship with military matters, he couldn’t have improved on John F Kerry.

And this excerpt definitely rings true:

. . . Americans do not begrudge a man making great wealth or inheriting it. But there is something vaguely icky about living the high life off the money of your wife’s first husband, especially when you give off the air that the good things that flow therefrom – the private jets, the luxury vacations homes, the $8,000 bicycle – are essential to your sense of yourself. Bush is rich but no-one would have a home in Crawford, Texas unless it really was his home: you don’t go there for haute cuisine or the jet set. If you prefer a less partisan comparison, take Governor Dean, a Park Avenue blueblood who found love, happiness and fulfillment in a materially modest life in Vermont. But Kerry’s expensive tastes seem central to his identity. And his preferred formulation for detaching his policy positions from his lifestyle is especially feeble: “That’s not my SUV, that’s the family’s SUV” – as if Teresa’s his Halliburton and he just happens to be enjoying some windfall profits, which, come to think of it, seems pretty much the case.

It's classic Steyn.

Kerry and the PRG

Look at Jim Geraghty's Kerry Spot entry on Kerry's meeting with reps of the PRG (Vietnamese Commies) in 1970 (the WaPost article he quotes says 1971 but Captain Ed has the correction in his post that links the article).

The real issue is that Kerry violated US law by meeting with the PRG. His actions did not skirt the "'borderline' of what was permissible under U.S. law" as his campaign claimed; instead they broke this law (18 USC 953), which has been on the books since 1948:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who,
without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly
commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any
foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to
influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of
any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or
controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of
the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than three years, or both.

That "intercourse with any foreign government" etc. with intent to "influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States" is exactly what Kerry engaged in when he met with the VC and PRG in 1970.

In other words, his actions were traitorous.

Dan Rather, hack

Tim Graham gives some insight on Dan Rather's more recent partisanship -- fawning interviews with Democrats, sycophantic treatment of the Clintons, softball questions to Kerry, Edwards, etc.

Arafat must go

The latest outrage by the Palestinians -- a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Luckily the preliminary report indicates only one other person died, a small mercy.

Israel should have annexed Judea and Samaria after the 1967 war, just as it later annexed Golan.

The Swift Vets' New Ad

Check it out. The Swifties back up the ad with Chapter 7 from Unfit for Command, which is viewable on their website.

HT to Captain Ed, who has additional details about Kerry's activities in meeting with the Vietnamese Commies in Paris in 1970.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Claudia Rosett: How Kofi helped Saddam starve Iraqis

When is Claudia Rosett up for her Pulitzer? The link above is her latest expose (which includes information from the piece she co-wrote for Fox News). Rosett has been carrying the reportorial load on this story, a story of UN corruption, political failure, ineptitude and colluding with dictators that deserves much more press than it has received. The Oil for Food scandal is just another mark against the UN on a slate that is far from clean.

And be sure to read Robert Conquest's eulogy of Nikolai Getman, who portrayed the depradations in the Gulag system that Saddam's idol, Josef Stalin, created. See here for a funny anecdote about Conquest.

Powerline 2, CBS 0

Check out these two transcripts: John Hindraker kicking Jon Klein of CBS News six ways til Sunday and Scott Johnson of Powerline cutting CBS a new one on NPR over the Rathergate episode.

For additional perusal, Bryan Curtis runs down Rather's history as a nutter in this Slate article.

Kerry = Carter III

Yes, I've been banging this drum for months and maybe Kerry's appeasement at all costs speech yesterday should support more of a Kerry = McGovern line, but the fact is that Kerry's preposterous declarations show that the spirit of Jimmy Carter is alive and well in the Democratic party.

Kerry said that he would not have removed Saddam from power. Therefore, Kerry would never have been able to ensure that Iraq would comply with the 16 existing resolutions against it at the time of the US invasion in 2003 (all of which were violated). Why? Because Saddam was the root of the problem in Iraq, thus Kerry wanted no solution. Saying that Iraq is worse without Saddam is the functional equivalent of Carter's laudatory words for such luminaries as Brezhnev, Ceausescu, Ortega, Castro, Chavez and Kim Jong-Il.

Moreover, Kerry claims that Iraq was not a terrorist magnet before the war, now it is. There are two responses to this: (1) Zarqawi fled to Iraq from Afghanistan (and gained Saddam's succor) after the Taliban was overthrown, combine that with Iraq's housing of Abu Nidal and its $25k rewards for Palestinian suicide bombers and Kerry's claim is completely rubbished; (2) Iraq as a terrorist magnet is a GOOD THING because the more who go there openly (or in identifiable clumps, even if they try to remain secret), the fewer we need to worry about in the rest of the world and the more convenient they are for killing. Kerry does not understand that the point of finding terrorists in Iraq is to kill them. Period.

Finally, this UN fetishism and "Iraq is the world's responsibility" is rank idiocy. After the past three years of French perfidy, UN dawdling, Oil-for-Food scandal, Syria and Libya on the UN Human Rights Commission, Darfur, and vacillation in the face of the Iranian nuclear weapons program, the notion that the UN can or will do ANYTHING of substance or utility that is morally good and operationally difficult is pure fantasy, and anyone who believes it has lost his/her grip on reality.

Dangerous, Irresponsible, Inconsistent ... liberal

John Kerry unveiled his true colors yesterday with a 47 minute diatribe against President Bush at NYU. Desperate to gain traction in a race where he appears to be losing on nearly all fronts Kerry grasped at the Deaniac mantle and came out squarely against the war. His prescription: repair alliances, train Iraqi security forces, improve reconstruction and ensure elections. Points 2-4 are ALREADY being done today as efficiently as possible. Point 1 is the ancient liberal shibboleth of 'bring it to the UN'. According to Kerry, "The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: we must make Iraq the world's responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden."

And then the kicker: If all that happened, Mr. Kerry said, "we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer, and realistically aim to bring our troops home within the next four years."

Dump it at the UN's door and then bug out. Wasn't this what made Dean unelectable?

Here's David Brooks' fisk-ing

CBS -- tool of the Democrats

It's official, CBS is a tool of partisan Democrat nutters. CBS revealed that its "unimpeachable" source was none other than Bill Burkett -- the Democratic hit man who has made it his life's work to defeat the President. Thus, the false memos are no less a hatchet job than the revelation of Bush's drunk driving arrest three days before the 2000 election by a Maine Democrat who had sat on that information for seven months.

The proof? CBS' unquestioning acceptance of the SIX fake memos from Burkett (of which they only used FOUR, remember) after PERSISTENT HOUNDING by Mary Mapes, Rather's producer for the memogate story. See this USA Today interview with Burkett to obtain a good feel for his pathological behavior.

As White House spokesman Scott McClellan noted:

Bill Burkett, who CBS now says is their source, in fact is not an unimpeachable source as was previously claimed. Bill Burkett is a source who has been discredited, and so this raises a lot of questions. There were media reports about Mr. Burkett having senior level contacts with the Kerry campaign. That raises questions. What were those contacts and what was discussed with Bill Burkett? Who was the original source of these documents and who was responsible for forging these documents?

Here's the proof of the senior level contacts with the Kerry Campaign McClellan mentioned. [Hat-tip].

But as the Media Research Center notes, CBS isn't asking those questions. Instead, its apology really smacks of the second-grader apology -- I'm sorry only because I got caught. That's why Andrew Heyward doesn't admit the memos were forged, he only admits that CBS cannot verify their authenticity. Nor does it admit that the whole story was wrong, it just says the memos should not have been used. But the only probative proof is that Bush was a qualified pilot who did NOT get preferential treatment in joining the Texas Air National Guard.

Footnote: Captain Ed analyzes the USA Today report on Burkett.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Who is the source?

Jeff Goldstein, who has been one of the bloggers out in front on the Rathergate memo fiasco, adds some interesting conjecture to the mix. Who was the source and why did CBS think it was reliable?

One of the main targets of source speculation is Democratic operative Bill Burkett, but he's a known nutter too partisan and previously unreliable to be the sole source for something of this magnitude. Thus, Goldstein surmises that Ben Barnes, the former Texas House Speaker who claimed he pulled the strings to get Bush into the National Guard (a story uncovered as a lie by his own daughter) is the source who tipped CBS to the documents and that Burkett is the forger. Check out his whole post (ignore the weird stuff, Jeff seems a little self-indulgent in strange ways) and his links.

Meanwhile, the NYT reports that CBS claims it was misled.

CBS's verdict

CBS factcheckers have reached a decision on whether the infamous memos are legit. Click the link.

John Kerry's latest outrage

The Kerry campaign is dishonest, dishonorable and intellectually diseased. The latest outrage: sending KERRY's SISTER to Australia to tell Australians that "'Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels,' she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq."

This is a heinous and blatant attempt to meddle in the INTERNAL POLITICS of an ally. The Kerry campaign, and Diane Kerry are completely reprehensible.

Moreover, is this how the Kerry clan builds coalitions? Denouncing the US actions, denouncing the actions of AN ALLY THAT IS A CORNERSTONE OF THE US LED COALITIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS, and openly trying to influence the pending election in a fully operational democracy is morally disgraceful and politically heinous (Aussie PM John Howard must call an election this year, his opponent is Australia's version of Jose Zapatero -- a socialistic appeaser).

Thankfully, John Howard is both resolute and clear-headed. Here is his latest proclamation:

Howard said he would not hesitate to launch a pre-emptive strike on a terrorist base overseas if it was necessary, repeating a threat made two years ago after the Bali bombings killed 202 people including 88 Australians.

"I've said that if there were no alternative other than to do something ourselves to prevent an attack on Australia from a terrorist group, I would do it," Howard told national radio.

Of course, Latham responded that Aussies would be upset if a neighbor launched unilateral strikes in Australia -- a statement that encapsulates the intellectually vapid and morally brainless mindset of the Left. Why? BECAUSE AUSTRALIA DOES NOT HARBOR AND SUCCOR TERRORIST GROUPS.

Aussies have the choice between Australia's Churchill and its Jimmy Carter. Hopefully, they won't f--k up.

Hat-tips: Captain Ed twice.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Yankees-RedSawx, what did we learn?

After shouting myself hoarse in anger Friday, and missing yesterday's game because my local FOX channel didn't cover the game. So I was able to watch, sweat through (5+ innings) and then enjoy today's whupping, especially because that SOB Pedro was the victim (I expect he'll come back to his normal self Friday night).

But the real question is what have the Yanks and RedSawx learned in their 16 games to date?

Regardless of what Gammons chirped about in late July, it is clear that in the nine games since the Yanks' two April debacles, the Yanks have been the superior team head-to-head. They've won 6 of the 9 and TWO of the losses were because Rivera honked (something the RedSux cannot count on in the postseason -- Rivera's postseason numbers against the redfooties = 2-0, 12.1 IP, 10H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 4/4 SV). Note also that the RedStiffs have a 9-7 series lead, but the Yanks have honked 4 games they should have won, the Sawx have only honked one that should've been a gimme.

Moreover, since the RedSux first win at the Stadium (11-2 debacle against Contreras), they've topped 3 runs only twice in 8 games -- once was Saturday when they got 3 runs in the ninth, which they entered trailing 14-1, the other time was a 13-inning game. Aggregate score in those 8, 49-22 Yanks. Last year, Boston won 5 of the 10 games at the Stadium, scored 8, 9, 10, 10 and 11 runs in those wins, and outscored the Yanks in the Bronx. If the RedSkunx go off next weekend, all bets are off.

Other lessons: (1) The RedSawx should not start Derek Lowe over Bronson Arroyo against the Yanks. Lowe is 2-3, 9.28, 34 H and 13 BB in 21.1 IP against the Yanks this year; Arroyo has an ugly 5.25 ERA against the Yanks, but only 3.00 at the Stadium and the RedSkanx have won both his starts in the Bronx. Lowe also gives Boston added depth in the 'pen after losing Scott Williamson. But the only way Arroyo starts in the Bronx in the postseason (assuming he's the #4 starter) is if the Sux need Pedro and Schilling 2x each to win the ALDS or they overtake the Yanks and he's the Game 4 starter in the ALCS (assuming both teams get there).

(2) The Yanks had a definite plan against Pedro -- look fastball early and whack it. Arod took a first-ball fastball for a single, Sheff for a homer and Jeter for a bomb (the only real no-doubter of the three the Yanks whacked against Pedro). Expect lots of curves from Pedro on Friday.

(3) Lieber is two for two in high-quality starts against the Blosox at the Stadium this year. I don't know why, he seems the type of pitcher who would have trouble against the Sawx's righties (soft-pitch bangers) but I guess he does well against their lefties, who tend to like four-seam fastballs on the outside corner. The real whacky trivia is that of the Yanks' three pitchers who qualify for the ERA title (one IP per each game the team has played), Lieber has the best ERA. Yeah, you predicted that entering the season.

(4) Mooooooooooose has intensity and velocity, two things that were missing a month ago. More importantly, he has kept his quality stuff through pitches 75-105, something he failed to do between 6-8 weeks ago (go look at the boxscore from the game he lost to the Tigers at home -- great for five innings, crud for two).

The upshot? If either team loses in the ALDS, the upshot is irrelevant.

The real fake but accurate

This just about hits the nail on the head, pardon the phrase.

Perfidious France -- the Niger Connection

The Daily Telegraph reports that the fake reports that Iraq sought to purchase uranium from Niger were a French setup.

The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France.

* * *
Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France was trying to "set up" Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.

Note that MI6 had a second source for that information and stands by its report AND the 16 words of infamy from the President's 2003 State of the Union address were based on the British intelligence belief.

Is there any question that the French are enemies of the US? Not if you're sane.

Under the radar -- Liberals hate everyone else

Here are a few things of note in the press and blogs today.

First, Opinion Journal republishes an editorial from this week's WSJ about how Democratic officials in various states are challenging Nader's attempts to be listed on the ballot in the 2004 Presidential Election with spurious arguments and baseless claims. Note that it recently took a Florida Supreme Court decision to uphold Nader's ballot access in Florida. (Courtesy Drudge).

Second, CBS is brooking no dissent in its affiliates. Last week a radio anchor at KIRO got the sack for saying Rather should either be fired or forced to resign over his use of the forged memos to slander President Bush. Just like most other media organizations, CBS is more than willing to hide behind the First Amendment to protect its fraudulent sources and journalistic malfeasance, but, unlike Andy Rooney and Bob Schieffer, its low-level talent is not allowed to express opinions that contradict the BIG EYE.

Hat-tip = the Instapundit.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Report from the Ground in Iraq - MUST READ

The mainstream media is aggressively reporting that an NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) delivered to the White House in July painted a bleak picture of internal events in Iraq. Hit the link above for a report by a USMC Major on the ground in Baghdad. Excerpts:

"Let’s lay out some background, first about the “National Intelligence Estimate.” The most glaring issue with its relevance is the fact that it was delivered to the White House in July. That means that the information that was used to derive the intelligence was gathered in the Spring – in the immediate aftermath of the April battle for Fallujah, and other events. The report doesn’t cover what has happened in July or August, let alone September."

The officer goes on to relate how in the meantime the Mahdi Army has been effectively emasculated in Najaf and Samarra was retaken with nary a shot. He cautions:

"The momentum is moving in our favor, and all Americans need to know that, so please, please, pass this on to those who care and will pass it on to others. It is very demoralizing for us here in uniform to read & hear such negativity in our press. It is fodder for our enemies to use against us and against the vast majority of Iraqis who want their new government to succeed. It causes the American public to start thinking about the acceptability of “cutting our losses” and pulling out, which would be devastating for Iraq for generations to come, and Muslim militants would claim a huge victory, causing us to have to continue to fight them elsewhere (remember, in war “Away” games are always preferable to “Home” games). Reports like that also cause Iraqis begin to fear that we will pull out before we finish the job, and thus less willing to openly support their interim government and US/Coalition activities." (Emphasis mine.)

Remind anyone of a certain presidential candidate and the VAVW??

hat-tip Captain's Quarters

Set and match: bloggers beat CBS and ABC provides proof

Whatever else The Monk ever says about ABC News stable of liberals (Peter Jennings, Carole Simpson, George Stephanopoulos), it has done a great job taking the lead in tracking down the FACTS in Memogate, both the facts underlying the memo forging and the inquiry into whether the false memoranda are nonetheless "essentially true." The verdict is in: the memos are false, their essence is false and ABC has the proof through Pres. Bush's own former commanding officer has refuted both the political-connection story AND the unfitness-for-duty story.

Instead, Col. (Ret.) Walter Staudt said Bush was highly qualified and passed all scrutiny and tests.

GAME OVER. Now it's time for Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and Andrew Heyward to get the sack. Period.

Hat-tip: Bill Hobbs who refutes other points by the bushlied crowd. Captain Ed picked up on this.

Steinbrenner and the Hall

Buster Olney, former Yankees beatwriter for the NY Times, author of a new book on the Yankees teams of 1996-01 (which is critical of Steinbrenner) and now ESPN correspondent makes the case for voting George Steinbrenner as the fifth baseball owner in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Two comments to the Wongdoer: Yankees, Kerry

First, Bill Rhoden is a nutter. Doesn't it say in revelations " . . . and the red footwear shall not relish its triumph for the heavens shall fall and the ground tear asunder and the seas shall flood and Four Horsemen shall come to claim the land for the apocalypse. . . "? I'm not Christian, but I recall that something to that effect would occur. Moreover, Rhoden is just ridiculous. The Cubs are much more sympathetic than the RedSawx because their fans are not a group of ignorant dopes from the country's most racist city (a reason in itself that Rhoden should revel in Boston's misery). Moreover, the Yankees exemplify much of what is RIGHT about baseball: an owner who CARES ABOUT WINNING (unlike the reprehensible Carl Pohlad, MLB's richest owner), a manager who exudes class, an organization that usually takes care of its players and former players in the greater Yankee family (see: Dent, Bucky; John, Tommy; Mattingly, Don; Randolph, Willie; Jackson, Reggie) and an overall professionalism from the players. The RedSawx can claim none of this -- they whiffed on an ARod trade over a mere $12 mil over 6 years, they bird-poo'd on Clemens and Garciaparra after they left, their best pitcher is a headhunting, trashtalking whack job, their best player was a serial lollygagger (Manny), its former players are scattered to the winds, etc.

Now that NY is supposedly close (Kerry by 6-8), I wonder if you'll see the liberal dope wearing his Bosux cap during next weekend's games in Fenway.

Second, yes John Kerry does look like a horse but his daughters are worse. Oh, and that Gallup poll may actually be BETTER than its spin because Bush's 55-42 lead is among LIKELY VOTERS a subset of registered voters (52-44 Bush lead) and the likely voter numbers are considered more accurate than registered voter results.

20 million Yankee fans say Pfah

William Rhoden, in his regular article in the NYTimes sports section, opined on how lovely it would be for the Red Sox to win the World Series.

"The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has been a wonderful story, but I am beginning to feel like my daughter, who says that if I choose "Jack and the Beanstalk" one more time for a bedtime story, she will burn the book. Frankly, I'm ready for a new Red Sox-Yankees story line.

We've written Red Sox futility. The Curse of the Bambino. Red Sox tripping over themselves. We've written every variation of the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon. The only thing we have not written is "Red Sox win World Series.''

Any baseball fan with a heart - except for Yankees and Cubs fans - would like to see Boston win the World Series."

Hey Bill, bit of a sweeping, accusatory statement, no? Have you considered writing for the Boston Globe??

By the way, Wile E. Coyote never caught the Road Runner.

Dan Rather is funny

At least he is in the comics linked to in the title.

Kerry looks like a horse???

"Sen. Kerry is like Seabiscuit: He runs better from behind," says Donna Brazile, who was Gore's campaign manager. But she acknowledges that "backbenchers" in the Democratic Party "have begun pushing the panic button."

Brazile was responding to a just released Gallup poll showing Bush increasing his lead over Kerry to 55-42%, 52-44 among likely voters. (Another poll (Pew) has them in a dead heat I'll leave poll veracity to the Monk who knows 'em better)

Leads from behind is more like it.

About the Bush economy . . .

The Federal Reserve said yesterday that the US household wealth reached an all-time high in the second quarter of 2004. The open question is how this relates to the actual number of households -- i.e., is the average household doing better than ever or is just the aggregate (which is the number listed in the Fed report) at a record? The full report is here in PDF format.

Hat-tip: Outside the Beltway.

Dots connected: Oil-for-Food --> Saddam --> Al-Qaeda

As I've noted before here, here here, and here, Claudia Rosett has been investigating how Saddam used money he skimmed from the UN Oil-for-Food program (designed to help him FEED HIS PEOPLE) to finance terrorists throughout the world, including direct links to al-Qaeda. The mainstream media has barely touched on this, but Rosett has done Pulitzer-quality (and not Walter Duranty's Pulitzer) work on investigating and uncovering Saddam's connections to al-Qaeda, the uses of the money and the bribes accepted by UN officials in exchange for letting Saddam do as he pleased. The link in the title is her piece (with George Russell of FOX News) on and will be the first in a series.

Hat-tip: Captain Ed.

No more flops?

Charles Krauthammer says that if the election was held today, Kerry would lose because he has nothing else to say about the central issue in the campaign -- the Iraq situation. Why? Because Kerry has done all the flopping he can on this issue.

The Monk thinks Krauthammer may be underestimating Kerry's ability to find new flops to flip towards. Nonetheless, any time Kerry says in an interview or debate, after rambling in the wilderness for five minutes, that he "cannot be any clearer" about his position, trust him, he cannot.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Andrew Sullivan on Rathergate

Andrew Sullivan calls for the heads of Dan Rather and Andy Heyward. This is worth quoting in full both because Sullivan is accurate AND because Sullivan does not support the President's re-election:

RATHER AND HEYWARD MUST GO: I have to say that the risible statement given by CBS News last night finally did it for me. Who do these people think they are? They have failed to find a single expert who will back the authenticity of the memos; their own experts say they warned CBS not to go with the story; Killian's secretary thinks they're fakes ... and yet Rather and Heyward say they stand by their story and will continue to investigate the provenance and dubiousness of the forgeries! This beggars belief. How do I put this to Rather: it doesn't matter if the underlying story is true. All that matters is that CBS's evidence is fake. Get it? End of story. For what it's worth: I believe Bush got into the Guard because of his dad's connections. I believe he probably didn't perform his duties adequately in his final two years. When I first read the CBS story, I thought the docs were "devastating." I'm not backing this president for re-election. But all that is completely beside the frigging point. Journalists are supposed to provide accurate evidence for their claims. CBS didn't. And its response to the critics is to stonewall and try and change the subject. The correct response - the one they'd teach you in kindergarten journalism class - is immediately to check the authenticity of the documents as best you can, and if the doubts persist, to apologize immediately and yank the story. Can you imagine what CBS News would do if a government official found to be peddling fake documents refused to acknowledge it? And kept repeating his story nonetheless? They'd be all over it. But, you see, they are above politicians. They are above criticism. And they are stratospheres above bloggers who caught them red-handed.

That sounds about right. As does Sullivan's later quote about Kitty Kelley: "I think of her as a slightly less reliable National Enquirer. Which puts her one step above CBS News."

Reprehensible ad -- El Pais

Check out the link in the title. It takes you to Barcepundit's website -- a Barcelona, Spain blogger who despises his country's Socialist-appeaser government. The ad is from El Pais (The Nation), one of the largest daily newspapers in Spain and a mouthpiece for the Socialists. It has two pictures of the Battery Park area of Manhattan: one taken on early morning September 11, 2001, the other taken on September 12, 2001. The first picture has the Twin Towers and the lower Manhattan skyline. The second has the lower Manhattan skyline without the Twin Towers.

The tagline translates to "You can do alot in one day."


I'm not going to Spain until Aznar is back in power.

John Kerry, wrong, wrong, wrong again

Daniel McKivergan pounds the drum I've been beating for months: Kerry's ineffable ability to be consistently wrong on the major security and defense issues that have arisen during his time in the Senate. Most disturbing is this excerpt from McKivergan's article:

Kerry sponsored the Comprehensive Nuclear Freeze and Arms Reduction Act of 1985, saying, "It is time that we accept the idea that the Soviet Union is not going to bargain with the United States from a position in which we have grabbed the upper hand through the development of some new technology."

WOW. That statement is amazing for its stupidity and its appeasement. Kerry wanted the US to bargain from a position of weakness, not strength! Grovel, beg, bootlick, appease, but don't develop new technologies that will force your enemy's concessions. And of course, Kerry was proven dead wrong when Reagan forced Gorbachev to sign the INF treaty without giving up SDI. And the Soviet fear of SDI forced the Soviets to overspend on defense, neglect the rest of their economy, and ultimately helped the USSR fail.

In another development, Kerry's press lackey Stephanie Cutler made this amazingly asinine statement: "There was no terrorism in Iraq before we went to war. There is now terrorism there now." As Stephen Hayes shows, only the Kerry campaign seems to believe that, the Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee (which Kerry sits on in the 24% of the time he deigns to do so), the CIA, and the 9-11 Commission all disagree.

CBS retreating...

...and hoping it doesn't turn into Dunkirk.

Here is a interesting piece from NY Daily News columnist Zev Chafets on Rathergate. Some interesting background on Rather and skewers Princeton, the Ivy League attitude of the mainstream media and their utter failure to rally to Rathers's aid.

Agenda-setting no more

The Wall Street Journal (link is to Opinion Journal = free) today salutes the death of the liberal media monopoly and its ability to set the nation's political agenda. As CBS retreats somewhat, the WSJ notes that the liberal media's ability to set an agenda and steer the course of public debate is now checked by the ability of bloggers to investigate its claims and the strength of new media outlets (talk radio, FOX News) that do not fit within the liberal media aegis. No longer is dissent only found in the WSJ editorial pages, National Review, Weekly Standard and Commentary; instead, it is widely available and at the fingertips of anyone with a computer.

What the WSJ does not say is what The Monk will claim: the new dissenting voices, and their relative strength, has made the mainstream liberal media MORE strident and open in its partisanship.


(1) CNN's transformation into the Clinton News Network in the 1990s as Rush Limbaugh rose to become the #1 radio talk show in the country.

(2) ABC News' handing the reins of its flagship Sunday TV news show This Week from the nonpartisan and studiously professional David Brinkley to liberals Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts and then to George Stephanopoulos who "Prior to joining ABCNEWS, Stephanopoulos served in the Clinton administration as the senior advisor to the president for policy and strategy. He was a key strategist in both Clinton presidential campaigns and was involved in the development of virtually all major policy initiatives during Clinton's first term in office." (see here for the quote's source).

(3) The NY Times' attempts at agenda-setting by continually pumping the story of Augusta National Country Club's exclusion of women from its memberships.

(4) The LA Times' hit pieces against Arnold Schwarzenegger on the eve of the California recall/gubernatorial election.

(5) The media's coverage blasting the Supreme Court after its correct decision in Bush v. Gore (and the media's evasive reporting of the fact that SEVEN justices found a constitutional violation, the 5-4 split was on the remedy).

(6) The media's coverage of Enron, until it became obvious that Bush had nothing to do with Enron's collapse or the conditions that caused it.

(7) The feeding frenzy over Joe Wilson's yellowcake claims (70+ stories) -- compare that to the silence when those claims were ultimately debunked (3 stories, none on the major networks).

This is just a short list. But the fact remains that the media has become more shrill in support of its liberal agenda even as its influence wanes (or perhaps that influence wanes because the liberalism has been exposed by Limbaugh and others).

Johnny Ramone, R.I.P.

Another of the original Ramones died yesterday. Johnny Ramone (ne John Cummings) died in his sleep after ultimately losing a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Two years ago Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin) died of an OD. In 2001, Joey Ramone (Jeff Hyman) died of lymphatic cancer.

The Ramones are one of rock's great bands. They never reached the commercial success of the Rolling Stones, Beatles or even The Police, but they influenced a generation of hard-rock and punk rock bands and left a stamp on rock that few bands can rival. I saw them in concert once when I was in college: 70 minutes, nearly 30 songs and thrash, thrash, thrash -- great stuff. I also wrote most of my college papers to Ramones Mania and Ramones Greatest Hits vol. 2 -- two compendiums of Ramones songs. That hard-driving rock in the background energized my thoughts.

Rest in Peace, Johnny.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


I want to thank the readership for putting up with my pinch-hitting while the Monk was on holiday. I, for one, am thrilled that the Monk is back. My journalistic credentials pale beside those of the Monk's but I can attest that despite CBS' assertions that bloggers are buffoons in pajamas that even trying to keep The Key Monk modestly but responsibly updated requires substantial effort. Monk, thanks for the shot.

And to our friends, L'Shanah Tova Tikateyvu, wishing you peace, health and prosperity.

Today's sign of the apocalypse - Marion Barry redux

Marion Barry is back in politics in Washington D.C. Yes, the same fellow who was caught smoking crack on videotape by the FBI, whose peccadilloes are legendary and grasp on reality, hmm, tenuous.

Journalistic Ethics and CBS

The Allahpundit reported that CBS is sticking to its guns on Rathergate -- Dan Rather's baseless expose of Bush's alleged failure to follow orders whilst in the National Guard, which rested upon documents that the blogosphere has conclusively shown were forged.

This is reprehensible. Journalism 101 dictates that when you screw up, you issue a correction. Every newspaper, magazine and network knows this. That's why you see "Homer Nods" on Opinion, the NYTimes' Corrections on page 2, the Guardian's Corrections on its edit pages, etc.

Instead, CBS has stuck to its guns even as its story unravels. Thus, the story becomes CBS's failure of integrity. And that story is being picked up not only in the blogosphere (see here, here, here , here and here) but is all over the mainstream press. From the WaPo to the LA Times to the Dallas Morning News to CBS's competitors at ABC News, the mainstream media is reporting on the real issue -- CBS's failures to heed the experts it referred the documents to for forgery analysis who said that the documents were not legitimate in favor of questionable investigative tactics (one person who vouched for the legitimacy of the documents was read portions over the phone and did not see them, CBS never obtained originals, just photocopies, etc.) that supported CBS's agenda to overthrow the President.

The forgeries were so bad that expert ex-forger Frank Abagnale (the subject of the movie [and his autobiography] Catch Me if You Can) said he'd have been caught in two days if his were of similar quality (and considering that Abagnale is one of the preeminent experts in forged documents and runs a consulting business on how to prevent and detect forgeries, it's a wonder CBS didn't contact him immediately).

CBS's reaction has two aspects: (1) the documents are not the only proof of Bush's political influences that allowed him to be in the National Guard and of his questionable conduct (the first concept is unproven and vehemently denied by the Bush family, the second is based solely on the documents with no credible additional evidence) and (2) the gist of the story is true. Neither CBS defense withstands any scrutiny.

First, the only "proof" of Bush political chits that were called in to get the President in the National Guard is the shifting testimony of Ben Barnes a former political opponent of the first President Bush who is now a main fundraiser for the Democrats and Kerry, whose own daughter claims he lied by saying he helped Pres. Bush get in the Guard, and whose story changed so much the NY Times declined to run with it months ago. As noted time and again, the Bush family denies any political string-pulling.

Second, and more devastating, Lt. Col. Killian, the man who supposedly said Bush had failed to follow orders and typed the now infamous CYA memo had agreed with GLOWING reviews of Bush's service. So, quite simply, the gist is not true.

False gist, failure to heed strong evidence that indicates the story your organization is about to run is false -- that's libelous (in writing) and slanderous (when spoken). CBS committed a fraud and deserves every bad consequence.