Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Bin Laden Tape and its Possible Effects on November 2nd

It appears that the 6 minute OBL tape was edited down from 18 minutes by Al-jazeera. It is unfortunate that we have not been made privy to the entire tape, as it seems that in the missing bits, Bin Laden whines about his situation, the democratic elections in Afghanistan, and other successes by the US and Coalition partners, and-- not to politicize the tape but -- generally makes the case that Bush is doing a better job than what Kerry credits him with.

But speaking of politicizing this tape, Bush's initial reaction to it was measured and appropriate. "Let me make this very clear," Bush said in Toledo, Ohio. "Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this."

Kerry's initial reaction was equally appropriate: "My reaction," said Kerry, "is that all of us in this country are completely united. Democrat, Republican--there's no such thing. There's just Americans, and we are united in hunting down and capturing or killing those who conducted behind that raid. We always knew it was Osama bin Laden."

But then he just couldn't help himself a minute latter by adding, "[and] I am prepared to wage a more effective war on terror than George Bush."

Tsk, tsk.

Now in today's (Sunday's) NY Post:

Officials said that in the 18-minute long tape — of which only six minutes were aired on the al-Jazeera Arab television network in the Middle East on Friday — bin Laden bemoans the recent democratic elections in Afghanistan and the lack of violence involved with it.

On the tape, bin Laden also says his terror organization has been hurt by the U.S. military's unrelenting manhunt for him and his cohorts on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

A portion of the left-out footage includes a tirade aimed at President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, claiming the war in Iraq is purely over oil.

The tape also sparked some concern that an attack aimed at disrupting Tuesday's election may be planned.
By Tuesday, when all of the this completely sinks in with the American people, I am predicting it will be curtains for Kerry. But we'll shall see.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Mr. Kerry, Open Up Those Unreleased Military Records

The Mainstream Media continues to avoid this topic, but we, at The Senescent Man Blog, remain perplexed as to why Kerry's military records remain sealed, why he refuses to release them to the press, and why the press is giving him a pass on the issue.

One of our favorite bloggers picked up on the fact that during the recent interview by Tom Brokaw on the NBC Nightly News, Kerry was asked if he knew that George W. Bush had a higher IQ than Kerry. In responding, Kerry revealed that it would be difficult for someone to make that comparison since his (Kerry's) records were "not public."

Excerpt from the actual interview is as follows:

Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he [Bush] has a higher IQ than you do.

Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from.
Now comes along this interesting (but I must add uncorroborated) accusation that Kerry is not allowing his record to be made public since he had been dishonorably discharged due to his having given aid and comfort to the enemy. Purportedly he was subsequently given amnesty through President Jimmy Carter's amnesty program which had been offered to all Vietnam era draft dodgers and such.

Let's put this issue to rest by opening up Kerry's record.

Mr. Kerry: Open up your military records. It appears that you can hide your records but you can't run on them.

Historian Paul Johnson on the Meaning of a Kerry Win

Picked up from Blogger Little Green Footballs the following quote from British historian Paul Johnson on the meaning of a Kerry victory on Tuesday:

All the elements of anarchy and unrest in the Middle East and Muslim Asia and Africa are clamoring and praying for a Kerry victory. The mullahs and the imams, the gunmen and their arms suppliers and paymasters, all those who stand to profit—politically, financially, and emotionally—from the total breakdown of order, the eclipse of democracy, and the defeat of the rule of law, want to see Bush replaced. His defeat on November 2 will be greeted, in Arab capitals, by shouts of triumph from fundamentalist mobs of exactly the kind that greeted the news that the Twin Towers had collapsed and their occupants been exterminated.

Kerry Just Doesn't Get It

Mark Steyn on the OBL video tape and more:

There are legitimate differences of opinion about the war, but they don't include Kerry's silly debater's points. On the one hand, the Tora borer drones that Bush "outsourced" the search for Osama bin Laden to the Afghans, though at the time he supported it ("It is the best way to protect our troops," he said in December 2001. "I think we have been doing this pretty effectively."). But, on the other, he claims he's going to outsource Iraq to the French and the Germans, though neither of them wants anything to do with it.

As for this Bush-failed-to-get-bin-Laden business, 2-1/2 years ago I declared that Osama was dead and he's never written to complain. There's no more evidence for his present existence than there is for the Loch Ness monster, which at least does us the courtesy of showing up as a indistinct gray blur on a photograph every now and again. Osama is lying low because he's in no condition to get up.

But, even if he weren't, that's a frivolous reductive way of looking at this war. He's not a general or head of state; he can't sign an instrument of surrender, and make all the unpleasantness go away. The enemy is an ideology that appeals to various loose groupings from the Balkans to Indonesia, as well as to entrepreneurial free-lancers like the shooter who killed two people at LAX on July 4, 2002. If Kerry's oft-repeated "outsourcing Osama" crack is genuinely felt, it shows he doesn't get this war. And, if it's just cheapo point scoring, it's pathetic.

Friday, October 29, 2004

U.S. Team Took At Least 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions Out of Al Qaqaa

As of 1 PM today, neither CNN nor MSNBC has made any mention of this blockbuster of a news story on the so-called stolen weapons. Only Fox News has it covered.

What's with these guys? Are they that bent on Kerry?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Kerry's Yiping at the Missing Munitions is Bogus - The Man Must be Desperate

From a superb post in yesterday's WSJ on the missing munitions from the Qaqaa depot near Baghdad.

In the late 1980s, Saddam Hussein's regime purchased large stocks of the explosives HMX, RDX and PETN from suppliers in China, Yugoslavia and--deep breath now--France. Ostensibly, these explosives have their civilian applications, such as mining and demolition. But because they are both chemically stable (they detonate only when properly fused) and highly explosive, they also have extensive military uses. They are common in conventional military ordnance, such as mines and artillery shells. They are uniquely well-suited for terrorist attacks; less than a pound of these explosives brought down Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. And they can be used as triggers to set off a nuclear chain reaction.

Following the first Gulf War, the International Atomic Energy Agency put the Qaqaa cache under seal, where it remained until U.N. inspectors were kicked out in 1998. Upon the inspectors' return in late 2002, some 35 tons of HMX were found to be missing; the Iraqis claimed some of it had been removed for civilian use.

That's the last we know of their whereabouts. According to a Times source, U.S. troops "went through the bunkers, but saw no items bearing the IAEA seal." NBC News, which was embedded with the 101st Airborne when it arrived at Al-Qaqaa on April 10, 2003--the day after the fall of Baghdad--also reports this week that back then it found no sign of the explosives either. Stands to reason: Of course Saddam would remove his precious HMX from its last known location before U.S. cruise missiles could find it.

So much, then, for Mr. Kerry's suggestion that Bush Administration negligence is to blame for the missing stockpile. The larger question is: Just what sort of story do we have here?

Read the possible outcomes here.

Predictions! Predictions!

OK, fellow pundits, let's have your educated guesses.

My prediction for the final count is Bush 52% Kerry 47%

Jonathan V. Last of the Weekly Standard is saying there will be 8% between the victor, Bush, and the loser, Kerry.

Check out what each staff writer on the Weekly Standard is predicting here.

Let's have it. What's your prediction?

Voters Beware: Voter Fraud Runs Rampant

Reprinted from "The Cowl" of Providence College by Leslie Nevola:

After the snafu that characterized the 2000 Presidential Election, one would think things have changed; that effective steps had been taken to curb voting "problems."

It seems that in 2004, America has abandoned hanging chads in favor of a new kind of permeating problem that equally hinders the voting process - voter fraud. There have already been cases of voter fraud reported in the states of Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New York, and Florida and not all of these cases are being investigated.

The occurrence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. should outrage upstanding citizens - especially on the eve of a pivotal election, which seems to have divided the country nearly in half, as was the case in 2000. Getting people to register to vote is all well and good, but what happens when someone decides not to play by the rules? The result could be a gross miscarriage of democracy.

In Oregon, according to CBS News, a political consulting firm called Sproul & Associates has been accused of allegedly destroying registration forms filed by Democratic voters from all over the state. This is illegal, of course, and is currently being investigated. According to the spokesman for the Nevada Secretary of State, an employee of the same consulting firm told Nevada reporters that he had personally witnessed his boss shredding up to 10 voter registration forms.

The Washington Times reports that in Colorado, people working voter-registration drives (like "Rock the Vote") allegedly submitted applications with forged signatures - the equivalent of creating aliases representing nonexistent people and then using those aliases to vote more than once.

Elsewhere in the state, citizens have applied to vote more than once, even up to 40 times. Complaints that residents were unable to register by the Oct. 4 deadline sparked the government to issue "provisional ballots" for those who still wished to vote.

The government has been warned that this may lead to further fraud, but citing the state's history of allowing emergency registration on Election Day, state elections official Drew Durham maintained, "These vehicles have always been here, so we're not doing something totally different."

Well Drew, maybe you ought to do something totally different.This brings us to the cases of New York and Florida. New York is not really an issue since, though it has many valuable electoral votes, there is hardly a question over which candidate the state will support. Florida, however, is one of the most volatile swing states in this 2004 election. Florida has 27 electoral votes-nearly as many as New York's 31. In this unpredictable state, voter fraud is committed rampantly, and there has yet to be an investigation.

According to the New York Daily News, "some 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both the city and Florida." According to the paper's own research, which gives you an idea of how easy it is to find this out, between 400 and 1,000 people have voted twice in at least one election. One man, 84 year old Norman Siegel, has voted twice in a total of seven elections, including the last four presidential races. A spokeswoman for Florida Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood remarked, "As far as I know, a cross-state registry has not been discussed." There is no way for states to check for voters already registered across state lines.

A friend of mine goes to college in North Carolina. She is a resident of Rhode Island. She registered to vote in N.C. with her R.I. driver's license. All she needed was a license-no other form of ID was required. Technically, if she had registered in R.I. and requested her absentee ballot in time, she could have voted in two states. Does this make any sense at all, considering the point of this type of voter fraud is to make one's vote count in more than one state (usually one is a swing state)? If this were legal, I would vote elsewhere, too, since my vote is not going to count for very much here in R.I., where there is little doubt as to which nominee the state will bestow its electoral votes. But in a democratic society, it is preposterous for this to be legal. It means unequal representation.

With voter registration becoming less and less difficult, along with the recent surge of "get out the vote" obsessions on the part of many political activists and Kerry-obsessed Hollywood-ites, voter fraud has become even easier to commit. Unfortunately, election officials themselves do not have the technology to prevent it, though it seems that investigative reporters do. A sweeping reform of the voter registration process must be enacted, right now, before it is too late. I do not want the wrong man to win on November 2nd because thousands of people broke the law and there was no way to stop them.

Disregard Zogby's Polling

I had been urging readers to keep careful attention to the Zogby polls, considering his accuracy in 1996 and 2000. Now, a report on The Horserace blog does a deep analysis of his and other polls. This is a must read. His convincing conclusion: Zogby's polls are biased. See his specific comment on Zogby below, but you must read the entire entry in Horserace

"[D. J.] Drummond seems to think that Zogby simply fell ass-backward into his present notoriety. Zogby predicted 1996 accurately and came close in 2000. However, his track record is generally lousy. Zogby has a devastating methodological problem -- his polls are not conducted randomly. He uses regional quotas. He is the only one of all these polls (that make any methodology known) that employs this technique. Furthermore, Zogby does not conform his data to industry standards. Rather, he uses -- among other sources -- his previous data. Neither of the standard-setters in the polling industry accept this practice. Zogby also weights his polls to strictly conform with the 2000 partisan turnout results -- a result that BC04 has spent tens of millions of dollars to change. Zogby, a supposedly independent pollster, also called the race for Kerry...IN THE SPRING! Zogby is also one of the chief practitioners of the internet poll, which is really quite unacceptable. Because I have (unfortunately) used Zogby here at this site, I will quote the very estimable Drummand at length (consider it part of my pennance): "All in all, Zogby’s habit of confusing his personal opinion with data-driven conclusions, his admitted practice of manipulating the respondent pool and his demographic weights, by standards not accepted anywhere else, along with mixing Internet polls with telephone interview results, forces me to reject his polls as unacceptable; they simply cannot be verified, and I strongly warn the reader that there is no established benchmark for the Zogby reports, even using previous Zogby polls, because he has changed his practices from his own history."

Is the Story on the Missing Weapons the NYT's October Surprise?

Roger L. Simon reports:

"...Bill Gertz of the Wash Times has a bombshell tonight, although I can't say it truly shocks me. Jayson Blair did me a favor. I don't trust the NYT anymore the way I did for fifty-some years of my life. Anyway, Gertz corroborates what we all know - the Times story of missing explosives was jerry-rigged propaganda concocted to make the president look bad and get Kerry elected. How could it have been otherwise? Obviously, the Times didn't do the slightest bit of research on the matter. They just rushed the story out. Otherwise they might have found out what Gertz did - that the explosives were "almost certainly" moved before the war (logical, isn't it?) and that Russian intelligence helped Saddam do it. This too is no surprise because anyone following the Iraq War story reasonably closely knows that the Russians were deeply enmeshed with the Iraqi mukhabarat at that time.

"What's even more embarrassing is that Times' story is further discredited by that other organ of the "extreme right" ABC News."

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Is Osama Bin Laden dead?

When is the last time you saw a video or heard an audio clip of OBL? Why would he pass up all of these chances to inspire his followers, including Al Zarqawi and his terrorists? Could a man with this ego pass up events like Madrid, Breslan, the occupation of an islamic state by the US, and the multiple attacks on US and coalition troops without saying a word? Why has the world not seen a video since before Tora Bora? Al Jazeera stands ready to broadcast any snippet of information at a moments notice.
Could the reason be because he was killed in Tora Bora? DOD Officials and high ranking officers certainly would have intelligence to this effect, but they would keep that knowledge classified. If George Bush were to allow this information to be released along with proof, he could win the election going away. But George Bush knows that making OBL a martyr would just inspire his followers, resulting in more terror acts across the world, and preventing that is more important than his re-election.
This kind of integrity stands in contrast to his opponent. Kerry attacks the president on Tora Bora, and on every other issue, regardless of whether his attacks will inspire our enemies. Kerry's attacks have resulted in more American and coalition deaths because our enemies are inspired by this discourse. It only confirms their own beliefs that their cause is just.
I for one hope that the president gets the opportunity to finish the job - we'll know next week.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Get ready for the lawyers

Well, the democratic strategists are better prepared this time. Although 2000 caught them off guard, they were still successfull in making a mockery of the election process, and with the backing of the mainstream media, they were completely successfull in raising doubts about the results throughout the world (never mind that all major media organizations completed their own "recounts" 6 months later and found that the November results were correct after all, no matter which method you select, or which set of rules you decide to follow).

Terry McAuliffe and his team are proud to tell Americans that they have 10,000 lawyers waiting to disrupt the process again, and they are much better prepared this time. They are convinced that the only way the results of this election can be believed are if John Kerry wins.

The democrats are still resorting to tactics that are questionable to any reasonable person - fear mongering among inner city and minority voters, protests against any types of checks and balances regarding voter identification, and allegations of influencing voting officials.

Have we seen the last of the days when you could vote and feel proud to be part of the system, or are we destined to feel that election day is just the start of a legal feeding frenzy?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Zogby Watch Continued

John Zogby today, Sunday, October 24:

"Another good single day of polling for President Bush. In today’s sample alone, he leads 50% to 43%—the first time we’ve seen either candidate hit 50%. Each candidate continues to tighten his own constituency, and Undecided voters are now at only 4%."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Getting Tired of the Mainstream Media? You're Not Alone

Diana West, writing for the Washington Times, has said what I've been thinking for some time about the mainstream media outlets:

"Are you incensed over Dan Rather's crude attempt to influence the presidential election with a sheaf of pathetic forgeries? Appalled by 'Nightline's' Ted Koppel for using dictatorship-vetted sources in communist Vietnam to contradict the testimonies of decorated American veterans? Outraged by ABC's head-office directive to its reporters to go easier on John Kerry than George W. Bush, and not 'reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable'? Don't get mad, vote Republican.

"The fact is, never before have mainstream media (MSM) organizations, and I mean the hunters and gatherers of news, not its cooks and consumers, sunk so deep in the tank for a Democratic ticket. The election is days away, but vital questions about Mr. Kerry remain not just unanswered in MSM outlets, but unasked. This is evidence of the efficiency with which the only-selectively adversarial media have embraced the role of Democratic star-maker, not newsmaker. "

Read her entire piece here.

"Stolen" Freedom of the Press

Filmaker and fellow blogger Roger L. Simon reviews the controversial, anti-Kerry documentary "Stolen Honor:"

"The filmmaking in 'Stolen Honor' is mediocre and employs shopworn techniques of documentary melodrama. Replete with portentous music and pretentious editing, it does not trust its audience to discover the truth for themselves, pounding it in over and over. This technique can work sometimes in a forty-five second commercial but in a film of forty-five minutes, it becomes tedious and actually undercuts the film's message - and this is particularly unfortunate because this documentary's message and content are devastating.

"The movie consists of interviews with now gray or graying men who were incarcerated and tortured in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. Their stories are juxtaposed with the testimony of John Kerry at the Winter Soldier hearings. Despite the quality of the filmmaking, and my poor viewing conditions, I was deeply disturbed while watching this. It is not a "filmic" experience in the traditional sense. While viewing this movie, I imagine most of my generation find themselves reviewing themselves and their actions at the time rather than the film..."

But what is especially interesting, as Simon also reports separately, is that in Saturday's WSJ On-line editorials page, something nasty is going on regarding this film. It appears that Sinclair Broadcasting is suppressing the film due to pressure from a number of Democratic Party partisans that took aim at Sinclair's investors and advertisers.

The Wall Street Journal opines, what if this had happened to CBS or the New York Times during the Watergate era?

How "True" a Sox Fan is Kerry?

Did John Kerry attend Game Six of the 1986 World Series, as he claims?

Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard says there is evidence that Kerry's told another fib.

"On October 25, 1986, the Boston Red Sox were facing off against the New York Mets in the sixth game of the World Series. With a three games to two lead over the Mets, the Sox had an opportunity, at long last, to bring a championship to a city which hadn't known victory since 1918. After blowing a two-run lead in the bottom of the 10th inning, first-baseman Bill Buckner let a ground-ball skip through his legs, and thus allowed the Mets Ray Knight to score the game's winning run. This infamous error was witnessed by none other than John Kerry, who on numerous occasions has claimed to have been seated at Shea Stadium that night, at a distance of no more than 30 yards from Buckner."

But, Football Fans For Truth have uncovered a conflict,...

"N.M. GOVERNOR DETAILS HIS STATE'S SUCCESS STORY Published on October 26, 1986 Author(s): Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff

"New Mexico's governor, who holds the highest elected post of any Hispanic nationwide, and the head of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination were given awards for political excellence last night by the Massachusetts Latino Democratic Committee.

"More than 250 people--including Gov. Dukakis, US Sen. John Kerry and an array of state Cabinet members--attended the banquet at the World Trade Center in South Boston honoring Gov. Toney Anaya and Alex Rodriguez."

Another Kerry exageration?

Friday, October 22, 2004

There's a Bear in the Wolf,...Er, Woods...Er,...Wolf in the Woods, that is

The Bush campaign has come out with a new and very effective ad reminiscent of the "Bear in the Woods" ad for Reagan in 1984.

ABC news said of the TV spot, "[The ad] shows a dense forest from above. Scurrying is heard as the camera plunges deeper into the woods and pans sunlight-speckled trees. Shadows move through the brush before animals are seen amid the forest. Then, the ad reveals the type of animal: a pack of wolves rest on a hill. As the commercial closes, the cunning and ruthless predators stir, crawling toward the camera."

A Bush advisor told ABC, "The ad was produced and tested months ago. Voter reaction was so powerful that we decided to hold the ad to the end of the campaign and make it ONE of the closing spots. It will run to the end."

To see the ad, click here.

Thanks to Powerline and several other blogs for the lead on this story.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

How 'Bout Those Red Sox!?!

These words from express my thoughts:

"I'm sure most of you out there in Red Sox Nation were overcome with glee and jumping up and down and pouring drinks on heads, but I was just ... happy. And relieved. I hate the concept of the Yankees, but I can't hate this team because of the people they have. And to beat such a great team, such a class team, with such a class manager and class shortstop and clutch lineup, on the hallowed ground, hitting four homers into the same stands Babe Ruth hit so many ... happy. That's what I was."

And for those who make analogies to John Kerry's campaign because he's from Massachusetts and roots for the Sox, even though he screws up the names of the key players, I say, no chance. The dramatic and historic come-from-behind-like-no-one-has-ever-done victory in the ALCS has absolutely NADA to do with Kerry. It's a victory for the common man, the man who believes in miracles, who remains eternally hopeful, and who is a believer in freedom, truth and the American way; in other words, a conservative, maybe even one who supports Bush for President, like me.

And now I will bask in my happiness.

Is it Really a "Dead Heat?"

Waking up to NPR, then watching The Today Show on NBC, as I do, almost every morning, one would come away with the idea that the presidential race is as tight as a duck's arse, and couldn’t get any tighter.

But in today’s US, it appears that President George W. Bush's percentages have been ranging approximately 4%, on average, ahead of Senator John Kerry's:

“[Ranging] from 45 to 52 percent while John Kerry's percentages range from 42 to 47 percent. In only one poll does Bush fall below 47 percent, which is Kerry's highest percentage.

“It seems highly likely that Bush emerged from the debates a little bit ahead. [Though the conventional wisdom is that Kerry ‘won all three debates!’ Oh yeah, sure!]. Some Kerry backers argue that voters who are still undecided are likely to end up voting against the incumbent. But it's also possible that many of these will just not vote. And in any case, Bush is bumping up against the magic number of 50 percent. The debates helped John Kerry but evidently not enough to put him ahead.”

Also, today’s Zogby tracking poll has Bush ahead by 1%: “President Bush and Democratic rival Senator John Kerry are locked in a statistical dead-heat with Bush ahead of Kerry (46%-45%), according to a new Reuters/Zogby daily tracking poll. The poll results are reminiscent of the presidential race in 2000 during this period. The telephone poll of 1212 likely voters was conducted from Monday through Wednesday (October 18-20, 2004). The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points.”

See Zogby’s comparative tracking to the 2000 election here.

How Nasty are the Presidential Campaigns of 2004?

How do the campaigns of 2004 compare with the shenanigans of campaigns past?

An excerpt from a recent piece in the WSJ:

"Early elections (of Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe) were usually sedate if far from unanimous affairs. John Quincy Adams' election in 1824 was a landmark because it accelerated the move toward choosing electors by popular vote. Out of 356,038 votes cast, Andrew Jackson emerged the clear leader with 153,544, Adams being 40,000 votes behind. Jackson also had the most electoral college votes, 99 to 84, with 78 for other candidates. But under the 12th Amendment, if no candidate got a majority of the college, the election went to the House, which picked the winner from the top three, voting by state. This put the choice effectively into the hands of Henry Clay, the all-powerful Speaker, who gave it to Adams, on the secret condition Adams made him secretary of state. Jackson denounced the election as 'a corrupt bargain,' and there was a growing feeling that future presidents must be chosen by the voters. Hence the re-run in 1828, in which Jackson again stood against Adams, was also of great significance since it was the first popular one in U.S. history.

"It inaugurated the habit of long campaigns, since Tennessee nominated Jackson for president as early as Spring 1825, more than three years before the vote. The 1828 election saw the first 'leak' and the first campaign posters. As Jackson was known as Old Hickory by his troops -- it was 'the hardest wood in creation' -- Old Hickory clubs were formed all over the county, Hickory Trees were planted in towns, and Hickory Poles erected in villages. (Campaign badges and waistcoats had already been introduced in 1824.)

"Adams' supporters retaliated by the campaign poster known as the Coffin Handbill, listing 18 murders Jackson was supposed to have committed. Those who claim the current election is the dirtiest know little about 1828. An English visitor, shown a school in New England (where Adams was paramount), put questions to the class, including 'Who killed Abel?' A child promptly replied 'General Jackson, Ma'am.' An Adams pamphlet accused Jackson of 'trafficking in human flesh,' another accused his wife of being a bigamist and adulterer. After seeing it, she took to her bed and died shortly after the election. To his dying day Jackson believed his political enemies had murdered her. On his side, pamphlets accused Adams of fornication, procuring American virgins for the Tsar while serving as ambassador in Russia, and being an alcoholic and sabbath-breaker. A White House inventory listing a billiard-table and a chess-set led to the accusation that Adams had introduced "gambling furniture." (His most curious presidential habit, of taking a daily swim in the Potomac stark naked, went unnoticed.)

"Jackson won the popular vote in this first razzmatazz election, 647,276 to 508,064, and the College by a clear majority. His inauguration was followed by a saturnalia in which thousands of his supporters invaded the White House and engaged in a drinking spree. The Spoils System (a new term) was inaugurated by the ejection of Adams' men from public offices, a process called The Massacre of the Innocents..."

Pretty staid compared with today, wouldn't you say? Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Kerry's Foreign Policy Advisor on Terrorist al Zarqawi

This is what Susan Rice, senior foreign policy adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign -- who is often mentioned as a possible National Security Adviser in a Kerry White House -- says about terrorist-barbarian Abu Musab al Zarqawi:

"Our position is that he [al Zarqawi] poses a major threat now in Iraq, a threat that frankly wasn't there before the U.S. invasion. But now we have got to go after him and capture him or kill him. Before the invasion, he was in non-Saddam controlled area, very minor, and didn't pose any imminent threat to the U.S., and was not in any way cooperating with al-Qaeda."

But according to Stephen F. Hayes, author of The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America, "She's right about two things: (1) that Zarqawi 'poses a major threat now in Iraq;' and (2) 'we have got to go after him and capture or kill him.'

"Everything else is wrong...

"[Among other examples, t]here is little doubt that Zarqawi and bin Laden have had disagreements, both about tactics and strategy. But there is also little doubt that Zarqawi has met with and received support from bin Laden and, contrary to Rice's assertion, [and] had actively cooperated with al Qaeda in the past."

Find out more by reading the rest of it here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

2000 Election Result: We were Gored

Final result of the 2000 election: America was Gored

Yes, whatever else happened in 2000, and whatever the long-term or short-term results, America was Gored in 2000, by the man himself, the one so many thought was so smart, but who turned out so dumb, Albert Arnold Gore, Junior.

Think about comments John F. Kerry made this weekend (loosequotes from memory):

"We are not going to allow what happened in 2000 to happen this year."
"We are not going to allow a million African-American voters to bedisenfranchised this year."

The implication is not that Kerry will win so big that such matters are trivial, but that, faced with a close election, Kerry will turn to the courts to right the wrongs the dastardly Republicans will obviously perpetrate on America. There is no waiting for the outcome. There is no reliance on poll watchers, or the overall integrity of the system. No, Kerry and his minions are assuming it will be close, and that the courts will decide the election (as they mistakenly believe they decided the last one).

And the national media barely bats an eye. It is understood that this will happen. It is accepted by them, and hence by Americans who will be like sheep watching a wolf lurking at the edges of the pasture. And whom do wehave to thank for this? When was the precedent set that should make this so calmly accepted today? It was set in 2000, by Al Gore and his campaign staff, who refused to believe they could possibly have lost in Florida, and so attempted to structure a four-county recall that would favor themselves, over an all-state recall that would definitively confirm the outcome. It was Al Gore who, feeling the sting of criticism for his unbalanced recall request, urged George W. Bush to join him in asking for an illegal recall (after the deadline for requesting a recall had passed). Al Gore wanted to win so badly he lost sight of precedents, and the effect on America then and forever, and tried to undermine Bush's razor think victory.

Had Gore looked toward earlier precedents, instead of believing he should be president simply because his daddy had raised him to be president, he would have looked to the 1960 election, when John F. Kennedy "won" a razor thin victory over Richard Nixon. It wasn't as close as in 2000, but a change of 7,500 votes in Illinois would have tipped that state to Nixon, and thus the election. On election day, there was documented fraud in massive proportions in the Chicago area, as the dead were temporarily resurrected to do their civic duty and vote en-mass for Kennedy. How many votes were fraudulently cast in Richard Daly's city? Accounts I have read say it was well over that 7,500 threshold. In fact, Nixon won Illinois, and the election. Nixon knew it too. On Wednesday morning, he considered what to do. A court challenge would probably prove the fraud, overturn the Illinois results, and make Nixon the winner. Nixon didn't think too long about it. He decided that America did not need the election results challenged in court. He did not want to be president badly enough to put America through that crisis (and we know how badly he wanted to be president). So he accepted the fraud, conceded to Kennedy, and the Daly machine stole an election.

So I ask, who was the more honorable man: the despised Nixon, or the"genius" Gore? Nixon's precedent stood through nine presidential election cycles (admittedly none close enough to be decided by a court challenge), until America was Gored in 2000. Gore made it easy for Kerry to go into this election assuming that a court action would be necessary, and planning for it.

Shame on you, Al Gore. How dare you put your own good ahead of what's good for America! You proved you were not fit to lead us. I don't want someone who puts himself first, and America second to be my president. And nowJohn F. Kerry is your ideological and political heir. We have truly been Gored.

You're Young, Female, Left-leaning and Voting for Bush...

The comments of Sarah Baxter, a life-long Labour voter in Britain and a registered Democrat in the United States from the Sunday Times of London (with thanks to Bloggers Ipse Dixit and Roger L. Simon):

"...I was standing next to the World Trade Center, gazing in horror at the torment above, when the towers collapsed. I was showered with pulverised masonry and the ashes of nearly 3,000 people. I decided fairly quickly that America was a beacon of freedom that needed defending against the anti-western, freedom-hating religious bigots and death cultists. I am determined my children will grow up in a world of increasing democracy where terrorists are captured, tyrants overthrown.

"When Bush said in last week’s debate: “We can be safe and secure if we go on the offence against terrorism and if we spread liberty around the world,” I felt he spoke with conviction. When Kerry said he was going to “hunt and kill” the terrorists, I heard a politician’s soundbite.

"Can it be that I am politically to the right of all those millionaire arts patrons? If so, I don’t accept that label. On foreign policy, Bush is the idealist and Kerry the conservative, afraid to disturb the status quo. I’ve never abandoned my belief in human rights and democracy..."

Read the entire text here.

Monday, October 18, 2004

News from the Wizards of Obvious

Al-Zarqawi group claims allegiance to bin Laden


Madrid Attacks May Have Targeted Election

and the wizards in the Media would have us believe these are all new conspiracies brought on by Bush's fanatical desire to increase terrorism around the globe through his intervention in Iraq.

Zogby Watch Continued

The latest Reuters/Zogby poll has Bush and Kerry in a 45% to 45% dead heat. Less than a week ago, Zogby had Bush ahead by 3%, within the margin of error, but at a more comfortable distance than 0%.

This dead heat report from Zogby occurs while others have polled Bush as high as 8% ahead of Kerry as recently as yesterday's CNN/USA Today poll. Zogby publishes Bush's more favorable numbers, when they occur, amidst a plethora of rationalizations. Therefore one discovers that one must hold one's nose when reading Zogby's analyses (he is unabashedly pro-Kerry). Nonetheless, Bush supporters need to continue to keep a close watch on Zogby's daily tracking numbers, as his accuracy is deadly and uncontested by his peers.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Way the 3rd Debate Sounded to Most People

David Brooks' spoof of the 3rd Debate from Saturday's NYT:

SCHIEFFER: And our first question goes to Senator Kerry. Sir, your spending plans will cost over a trillion dollars. Your combined tax plans will cost $500 billion. How are you going to balance the budget?

KERRY: Bob, I'm glad you asked me that question, but before I dodge it I'd like to thank you for moderating this debate, I'd like to thank Arizona State University for being such wonderful hosts and I'd like to thank Dick Cheney's daughter for being a lesbian - in case anybody didn't know.

Bob, as you know, this nation is on the brink of an apocalyptic catastrophe. Civilization as we know it is hanging on by a thread. Our culture has collapsed, our economy is in tatters, the human spirit is extinguished, children never laugh, God is dead, and families like Dick Cheney's are ashamed of their daughters, one of whom is a lesbian. All of this is because of George Bush.

Did you know that right here in Arizona the average share of the national debt on a per capita basis is rising faster than the inverse of the median lost wages ratio of the typical swing voter in Ohio, Missouri and Florida combined?

Bob, when I'm president, we're going to have a president as gloomy as this country should be. But the difference is that I have a plan to balance the budget. In fact I have seven plans. Seven and a half if you count the one I was working on in the limo, not even counting subclauses. When I'm president, our country is going to marry a really rich country, which will pay for everything. Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

BUSH: You need a plan. I know that. I'm president. I wake up every day looking for a plan...

Read the rest if it here.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Does Kerry Really Flip-Flop? You Decide

From David Frum in NRO:

"I am embarrassed to say that it has taken me until now to read the Boston Globe's excellent and careful campaign biography of Sen. Kerry. It is a book that should be of special interest to anyone who might be tempted to believe Sen. Kerry's self-description as a man who 'never wavers.'

"The Globe reporters catch Kerry in vacillation after vacillation. They remind us for example of the damning story of Kerry's sudden decision to give a speech denouncing affirmative action in 1992 just in time to position himself as a 'new Democrat' worthy of the vice presidential spot on a Clinton ticket - and then of his hasty and abject retreat when criticism erupted.

"Probably no story in the whole book is more telling, though, than Kerry's flip-floping on the first Gulf War.

"If ever a war passed 'the global test,' it was the first Gulf War. Yet Kerry denounced it at great length on the Senate floor. 'There is a rush to war here. [Because we think our military force can overwhelm Iraq], we are willing to act ... with more bravado than patience.'

"Then, as soon as the war was won, Kerry turned around and denounced President Bush for not driving all the way to Baghdad."

Read the whole thing here.

The Connection Between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein

From Leslie Nevola in the October 14, 2004 issue of The Cowl:

It is not difficult to decipher Senator John Kerry's current campaign tactics when it comes to discussing the Iraq War. Not very far into the debate last Thursday, he made these comments:

"'Smart' means not diverting your attention from the real War on Terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking if off to Iraq where the Sept. 11 Commission confirms there was no connection to Sept. 11 itself and Saddam Hussein.

"The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the War on Terror," Kerry continued, "Iraq was not even close to the center of the War on Terror before the president invaded it."

Problem is, Kerry is wrong. According to The Weekly Standard, reputable sources such as Newsweek, The New York Times, the 9-11 Commission Report that is so often cited by Kerry supporters, our very own U.S. Senate, and 60 Minutes, have reported multiple links between the terrorist group and the tyrannical dictator. But for some reason, these facts are not getting any press.

Abdul Rahman Yasin, a member of al Qaeda who mixed chemicals for the bomb used in the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, fled to Iraq, where he was aided by an Iraqi intelligence operative working undercover in the Iraqi Embassy in Amman, Jordan. Newsweek published an interview with Yasin's neighbors in Baghdad. These people told the magazine reporter that Yasin was working for the Iraqi gov-ernment and was living freely in Baghdad. Documents recently un-covered in postwar Iraq confirm that Yasin was given asylum there and was on the Iraqi government's payroll from that time in 1993 until just before the very first entrance of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq.

On June 25, 2004, The New York Times reported that internal Iraqi documents authenticated by U.S. intelligence confirm that a government official from the Sudan met with Uday Hussein and the director of Iraqi intelligence to "facilitate the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." The same report later stated that Iraqi Intelligence had been given "presidential approval" to meet with bin Laden, and that Hussein agreed to air sermons by an anti-Saudi cleric on Iraqi television.

Former President Bill Clinton himself declared the relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, stating in 1998 that "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Gov-ernment of Iraq."

The 9-11 Commission itself - usually used by Kerry and his followers as "proof" against the Bush Administration's actions in Iraq - reports a series of "friendly contacts" between al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence, and concludes its analysis with this damning statement: "Iraqi officials offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq."

The Senate Intelligence Committee's noteworthy bi-partisan review of pre-war intelligence also noted, on page 335: "A [CIA Counterterrorism Center] op-erational summary from April 13, 1999, notes four other intelligence reports mentioning Saddam Hussein's 'standing offer of safe haven to Osama bin Laden.'"

In the same report, the SIC testifies that from 1996 to 2003, Iraqi intelligence was focusing its terrorist activities on "western interests, particularly against the U.S. and Israel." In addition, "the CIA assessed... that throughout 2002 the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning attacks against U.S. interests."

And finally, information on the ties between al Qaeda and Hussein has come straight from the mouth of the son of bin Laden's mentor, Abdullah Azzam. He told Agence France Presse, in an interview on Aug. 29, 2004, that before the current war, al Qaeda worked very closely with Iraq. "Saddam Hussein's regime welcomed them [members of al Qaeda] with open arms and young al Qaeda members entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation."

One wonders where Kerry was when the Senate Committee, which was comprised of every single member of Congress, analyzed and wrote down this damning information in its com-prehensive report. And most of all, one wonders why these facts have not come out into the light in response to John Kerry's attacks on the Iraq War as "unjustified." Kerry even lied, point-blank, to the American public about the 9-11 Commission Report, but was never called on it.

It seems like one must really dig deep looking for these things if one wants to discover the truth. And now that you have the truth, I hope that you will think twice about who you are going to vote for in November.

So Now, Who is Going to Win the Presidential Election?

From Jonathan Last's recent newsletter:

"So who's going to win? I've heard every scenario imaginable in the last few days: Bush by a landslide; Kerry by a landslide; Bush loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College (or vice versa); they tie at 269; the election turns on a Supreme Court decision about Colorado--you name it, people are talking about it.

"In one sense, this is sort of exciting. Think about how often the outcome of the presidential election is a complete mystery just a few weeks out. This doesn't happen every day.

"I have my own pet theory, which is that whoever wins, it isn't going to be close. Here's why:

"While everyone is looking at previous presidential elections for models, it seems to me that the most recent set of elections--the Democratic primaries--are as good as any. The results in Iowa, New Hampshire, and elsewhere differed radically from pre-vote polling. In large part, this was because voter turnout was much, much high than expected. I see no reason not to believe that, for the general election, voter turnout is going to be similarly enormous for both parties (and independents).

"The greater the number of voters, the more meaningless pre-election polling is. That's because today's polls use sample-sizes based on normal turnout years. They simply aren't built to evaluate a super-high turnout election--look at what happened to the polls before the Iowa caucuses.

"The second part of this theory is that increased turnout magnifies the distance between the candidates. So while the election might look close with normal turnout, that spread will be much more visible to the naked eye with an extra several million votes thrown into the mix.

"And the final, non-statistical, factor in my theory is that I have difficulty that America could be evenly divided on such stark contrasts on the issue of war. The body politic probably has a marked preference for one view of the other.

"In truth, there may be one other factor in this--my own personal desire for a clear-cut winner. Whatever happens, I hope we don't have another disputed election. If we do, it's not the end of the world; this is why we have a Constitution. But still, all things being equal, I'd rather we have a clear-cut winner so that whoever is president can start his term looking forward, with a country behind him that is more-or-less united."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

And the Loser Is....Bob Schieffer

Yes that's right. CBS has done it again. Bob Schieffer's questions were "have you stopped beating your wife" type questions to Bush all night.

The unbiased quick surveys are saying a tie. The pro-Bush surveys are saying Bush, and the liberal media and Kerry-ites are saying a Kerry win.

Though I did not have the luxury of seeing the debate in full, in the first part of the debate, it seemed like Bush was on the run, answering with ad hominem "you're a liberal!" type responses. But picking up the feed during the night, it appears that Kerry came off as business-like, almost Dukakis-ish, while Bush came across as a real person and sincere.

Pollster Frank Luntz interviewed 23 undecideds last night. These undecideds concluded that Kerry, and not Bush, won the debate. But they split 17 to 5 in favor of Bush in terms of whom they now plan to vote for. "They still don't trust what John Kerry is saying," Luntz said, though they thought he said it well, according to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Kerry's Foreign Policy

From the Weekly Standard:

"YESTERDAY, German defense minister Peter Struck told interviewers from the Financial Times that Germany had not ruled out sending troops to Iraq. 'At present I rule out the deployment of German troops in Iraq. In general, however, there is no one who can predict developments in Iraq in such a way that he could make such a binding statement [about the future].' In the context of the interview, it was clear Struck was suggesting that Germany might reconsider its position on troops in Iraq if John Kerry was elected president.

"Well, there you have it. Just elect Senator Kerry and America's old allies--Germany and France--will return to the transatlantic fold, and all will be right with the world. Here's the problem: Struck's comments are malarkey." Follow the rest of it here.

The Plight of Pakistan

We watched a very telling and interesting DVD in Comparative Politics today. A woman who had lived in Pakistan (was born and raised there), and then moved to the US to study at Smith College and Stanford University (LMAO - talk about not fundamentalist :D), went back to Pakistan to uncover some of what is happening there politically. Specifically, she went to understand better the influence of a group called the MMA, which now occupies 15% or so of Parliament there. There are basically an offshoot of the former Taliban in Afghanistan, and many are former members of the Taliban’s army, as well as arms suppliers, etc. They say that they follow a very strict interpretation of the Koran, but they really just use Islam to justify whatever they feel like doing.

The narrator, Sharmeen, walked through the streets of areas in Northwest Pakistan, where the MMA for some reason has the most power, and has infiltrated the towns. She spoke to musicians who were banned from playing, since music in any form is illegal to members of the MMA (it is against Islam/a distraction from true worship of Allah). She walked through the street with a head-covering but no burqa, and saw lots of women wearing them, as well as advertising and billboards where women’s faces had been cut out or painted over with black paint. There is a rule under the MMA’s interpretation of Islam that no human figure can be depicted in print, photography, paintings, sculptures, etc. The narrator interviewed a billboard-painter who was now without much of a job. Something very interesting that he said was that the very people elected into office in Parliament who were members of the MMA and now prohibited him from painting humans in his signs had commissioned him to paint their own likenesses for advertising before the election! I thought that was very indicative of the corruption of the MMA and the fact that many of them believe what they do for reasons other than religious (i.e. personal power, etc.).

Though many are convinced that fundamental Islam is the only Islam. One of the most interesting parts was when the narrator entered a youth organization (reminiscent of the Hitler Jugend, or Hitler Youth, of 1930’s Germany, though without the racial stigma) and talked to one of the leaders. He almost jokingly, and definitely blatantly, told her that he agreed with the Taliban, that they were right and believed in Islam in its purest form, and that he wishes the Pakistani government were like they had been. He said he was sad that they had been overthrown in Afghanistan. She was curious about his specific views on women and what they are allowed and how they are portrayed. She showed him some Pakistani ads from more liberal areas of the country. One of them, he was literally shocked at. He was gaping. It was an ad featuring a model, dressed in the Western style, though not revealing in terms of skin. She wore a shirt that form-fitted her torso. Also, makeup. He asked the narrator if this woman was Pakistani. She said yes, since she was. He could not for the life of him believe that. He asked the narrator, “Would you rather be an object like this?” She didn’t answer, since she only wanted his opinion. He said it was totally wrong. He added this very interesting quote: “We want to give women the freedom to be mothers, sisters, daughters. We truly care for our women, which is why we believe what we believe.” (sic) This quote really got me, since it really makes no sense. Women are already mothers, daughters, and sisters. Are you saying that you, or men in general, give women their identities? It was very very enlightening to hear some of the propaganda spouted by the people in favor of the MMA taking over Parliament, and Pakistan. Somewhere else in the film, an MMA Senator that the narrator interviewed said that the sentiment against fundamentalist Islamic rules, especially for women, was American propaganda. Propaganda, as compared to what? The truth? Or more propaganda? It was amazing to see how much they used “Western” tactics even as they condemned them.

Later, the narrator went to a bigger city, in a more central area of Pakistan. Here, she didn’t cover her head, and there were lots of women wearing what she wore, and some even less conservatively dressed. She went to interview models at a fashion show, who were basically the Pakistani equivalent of models here in the US (besides the fact that they looked healthier, and they didn’t model bras, they modeled designer pants and shirts like normal people, lol). They talked about the MMA just as we would. One said that the difference between them and other women in more northwest parts of Pakistan was that she would feel right at home in a place like New York, whereas the other women would not.

Which reminds me of another shocker in this film. The narrator interviewed a woman in government, who supported the MMA! She wore a black burqa-like veil (it wasn’t a burqa, since she had a slit through which you could see her bare eyes). She spoke with her hands a lot. She said she did not think that the MMA persecuted or treated women unjustly. But then later she admitted that in Parliament, no one would listen to her because she was a woman, basically, and her opinion was automatically treated as less important and/or valid as a result.

There was lots more to this DVD and I wish everyone reading this could see it because it was really incredible. Made me want to learn more. But the above were a few of the “highlights.” Intriguing, no?

Zogby Cubed

The daily tracking poll by Zogby moves to dead even from Kerry slightly ahead.

"On the eve of the third and final presidential debate, PresidentGeorge W. Bush remains in a toss-up race with Senator John Kerryat 45% apiece, according to a new Reuters/Zogby daily trackingpoll. The telephone poll of 1232 likely voters was conducted fromSaturday through Monday (October 10- 12, 2004). The margin of erroris +/- 2.9 percentage points.

"Pollster John Zogby: 'The two candidates go into the third and finaldebate tied. TIED!!! There is no major sub-group movement to report, but the undecided voters give us the real key to what is happening behind the scenes. Today's three-day track reveals that only 11% of the undecidedvoters feel that President Bush deserves to be re-elected. That is the lowest figure yet. Two in five -- 40%-- feel it is time for someone new and 49% are undecided about his future.'."

Click the link below to read the full article:

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

SHANGHAI - What is a Boston Red Sox fan who is also a Bush fan to do tonight? Kerry is making a point of showing up for game one of the AL Championship Series. The not-so-subtle message -- I represent the poor Red Sox who have been jilted of their proper victory for too long. He's surrounded by his beloved liberal New Englanders, and he sits among the underdogs. The other not-so-subtle message: Bush represents the Yankees -- the rich team that has won too often, has stolen victory from the Sox, and wins even when they shouldn't.

I guess I'll continue to root for the home team -- my beloved Red Sox -- despite Kerry's obsequiousness towards them.

And as far as Bush is concerned: Go Yankees!

Monday, October 11, 2004

The View from Here - Part 6

HONG KONG - We're about to hop on a plane to Shanghai, the last city in this Asia trip. We're discovering that the only news we can get is from CNN, the BBC or Bloomberg. CNN has an unending flow of news favorable to Senator John Kerry, and unfavorable towards President Bush. More so with the BBC. It's unnerving.

Today there is a report in French, following the campaign of John Kerry. No equal time for Bush. Kerry is talked about in hushed and glowing terms. He's up early in the morning, 6 AM, while the French reporters, shown strewn all over the campaign bus half asleep, have difficulty keeping up with this dynamo. He rides to Cleveland. Makes a speech "in this town hit hard by the economy." He flies to Florida. Shakes hands. The French reporters interview a Kerry campaign worker. It's all very positive and hopeful -- for Kerry.

The report makes mention of today's Reuters/Zogby poll which has Kerry up by 3%. No mention of today's ABC/Washington Post Poll which has the President ahead of Kerry 51% to 45%.

They end the piece with a comment. "Oh, and [by the way,] John Kerry speaks French."

That's just what America needs right now. A President who is adored by our greatest ally in against terrorism -- France.

Kedwards Would Have Us Think the Economy is not Doing Well?

"The last jobs numbers to be reported before the Presidential election are in, and predictably John Kerry is spinning them as "disappointing." Well, if this is disappointment, most people would probably like to have four more years of it.

"The figure of 96,000 jobs created in September was below the expectations of many economists, but it remains a perfectly respectable showing; the jobless rate was steady at 5.4%, well below the long-term average, and below the 5.5% rate of November 1996 when Bill Clinton was hailing prosperity as he ran for re-election. The data were in line with strong economic growth over the last year: Since the Bush tax cuts kicked in, year-over-year growth has been 4.8%, the second quarter was recently revised upward to 3.3%, and the consensus among economists for the third quarter just ended is more than 4%."

More here (for WSJ Subscribers).

Charles Krauthammer: Terrorists Cast Bullets Against Bush

Charles Krauthammer from last Sunday's Dallas Morning News:

"Do the bad guys – the terrorists in their Afghan caves and Iraqi redoubts – want George Bush defeated in this election? Bush critics, among them the editors of The New York Times, have worked themselves into a lather over the suggestion that this might be so.

"A front-page 'analysis' in The Washington Post quoted several Republican variations of this theme – such as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage saying that the terrorists in Iraq 'are trying to influence the election against President Bush' – then noted that 'such accusations ... surfaced in the modern era during the McCarthy Communist hunts.'

"Intimations of McCarthyism constitute a serious charge. But the charge is not remotely serious. Of course the terrorists want Mr. Bush defeated. How can anyone pretend otherwise?"

Read the rest here.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The View from Here - V

HONG KONG - The big news in this region of the world is the re-election of conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard to a fourth consecutive term. This is significant to the United States because, though he won a fairly solid victory over his Labor Party opponent, Mark Latham, who had promised to pull Australia 's roughly 900 noncombat troops out of Iraq (sound a little familiar?), only a few days before the election, the race was pronounced "too close to call." During his campaign, Latham had blamed Howard for making Australia less safe in the war against terrorism.

In the end, Howard's win was called an easy victory. Howard's re-election can be seen as the first referendum for one of the leaders of three principal countries from among President Bush's "coalition of the willing" that invaded Iraq in March 2003. Could this be a good omen for Bush? See this from the Belmont Club Blog.

David Brooks on the Media Reporting of the Duelfer Report

From David Brooks in today's NYT:

"One thousand years from now, [Iraqi] schoolchildren would look back and marvel at the life of The Struggler, the great leader [Saddam Hussein] whose life was one of incessant strife, but who restored the greatness of the Arab nation.

"They would look back and see the man who lived by his saying: 'We will never lower our heads as long as we live, even if we have to destroy everybody.' [Thus,] Charles Duelfer opened his report on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction with those words....

"The fact that Saddam had no W.M.D. in 2001 has been amply reported, but it's been isolated from the more important and complicated fact of Saddam's nature and intent.

"But we know where things were headed. Sanctions would have been lifted. Saddam, rich, triumphant and unbalanced, would have reconstituted his W.M.D. Perhaps he would have joined a nuclear arms race with Iran. Perhaps he would have left it all to his pathological heir Qusay.

"We can argue about what would have been the best way to depose Saddam, but this report makes it crystal clear that this insatiable tyrant needed to be deposed. He was the menace, and, as the world dithered, he was winning his struggle. He was on the verge of greatness. We would all now be living in his nightmare."

Read all of it here.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Zogby Squared

Joel C. Rosenberg, in a very recent NRO , has underscored the concerns we've been expressing here and elsewhere about the accuracy of the Zogby polls in comparison with actual outcomes. That means the President's actual position going into tonight's second debate is more ominous than may meet the eye. Bush is going to need to really change the tone of the debate and focus on Kerry's poor Senate record, as well as his untenable and (yes, inconsistent) positions on Iraq.

Zogby Again

Zogby's even more recent tally on "the tightening" of the race:

"Election 2004 Reuters/Zogby Daily Tracking Poll: Presidential Race Narrows to Less Than One Percent – Bush 46%, Kerry 45%; Candidates Statistically Tied in Race for the White House; Debate May Cause Tie-Break, New Reuters/Zogby Poll Reveals.

"As the candidates prepare for the second presidential debate, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry are locked in a statistical dead heat (46%-45%), according to a new Reuters/Zogby daily tracking poll.

"The telephone poll of 1216 likely voters was conducted from Tuesday through Thursday (October 5-7,2004). The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points.

"Pollster John Zogby: 'Yesterday a major national newspaper ran a column suggesting that the debates are not important. Just look at these numbers and it is hard to draw that conclusion. In today’s figures Kerry is reaching 80% support among democrats, though he will still need more support. The president polls 89% of republicans but independents are almost evenly split (with Kerry barely leading, 44%-41%).'"

"Debate Round II" -- A Prelude

On tonight's debate, the latest from Jonathan Last:

"The suspicion is that John Kerry will make reference to the Duelfer report no fewer than seven times during the debate tonight. Kerry will likely try to use Duelfer as a hammer to beat home the theme that Bush is fundamentally dishonest and can't be trusted because he lies. (As opposed to Kerry, whom Bush insists can't be distrusted because he flip-flops.)

"I suspect that this tactic will be spectacularly effective. It shouldn't be. As Mickey Kaus notes today, 'If a man says he has a gun, acts like he has a gun, and convinces everyone around him he has a gun, and starts waving it around and behaving recklessly, the police are justified in shooting him (even if it turns out later he just had a black bar of soap). Similarly, according to the Duelfer report, Saddam seems to have intentionally convinced other countries, and his own generals, that he had WMDs. He also convinced much of the U.S. government. If we reacted accordingly and he turns out not to have had WMDs, whose fault is that?' It is not clear to me that George W. Bush has the wherewithal to mount this counterargument.

"But just because Kerry is likely to pursue a line of attack that's stupid, doesn't mean that Duelfer doesn't expose a real weakness in Bush. If Kerry were smarter (or more to the point, if Howard Dean hadn't bullied the Democrats into being the anti-war party), he would attack Bush not for being dishonest, but for being incompetent. If I were Kerry, I'd make the following argument:

"The Duelfer report exposes, once again, the scope of our intelligence failure. Under President Bush, our intelligence community didn't see 9/11 coming. Under President Bush, our intelligence community didn't understand the nature of the threat posed by Iraq's WMD program. Now, should we have invaded Iraq? Yes. But the danger isn't that his intelligence apparatus had a false positive. The danger is that this president is so incompetent that we are at great risk of a false negative. World affairs are not a court of law. We do not need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to protect our nation from known evildoers. But we do need to know where the threats really are so that we can deal with them, and, as 9/11, the Kay report, and now, the Duelfer report, demonstrate, this president is not on the ball enough to protect us from our enemies."

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Kerry was running to Bush's right on Iraq and terrorism, he'd be up 11 points right now."

Zogby Watch

Remember (September 20th Post) that we stressed the accuracy of the Zogby polling in 2000? His latest: Bush is still ahead by 2 % +/- 2.9 %. When you read Zogby you can tell that he can't hold back his pro Kerry bias, but right now the data says Bush, by a whisker. Keep an eye on this one.

And the Role of John Kerry Goes to,...

Checkout this bit on Galley Slaves Blog. John Edwards actually contemplates who might play him in a movie about the 2004 campaign. This is good, and if you're creative, you can add your suggestions. Bruce Willis as Bush? Cat Stevens as Bin Laden?

The View from Here – IV

BANGKOK – Here we are again listening to CNN Business International, and they cannot hold back their enmity towards George Bush, no matter how little they try. The news item: discussing the likely candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Kenyan environmentalist and a Russian anti-nuclear activist, they claim, is considered the most likely candidate. Hans Blix, (ugh!) Executive Chairman, UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, is in the running too, as is others of his ilk, and the CNN reporters had to admit, so was – with humble apologies – President George Bush! Ah, yes, but Mr. Bush is a 200 to 1 long shot. The CNN reporter derisively added “might as well be 10,000 to 1 – he can’t even spell peace prize.”

Now I’d say that is not very “fair and balanced.”

But when you chat with the common man here in the more Westernized areas of Asia, there is a strong desire to see a certain continuance of pressure against terrorism. I’m coming to the conclusion that it is the elitism of the global media, like CNN, and not the average Oriental, who opposes Bush.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Dot Org - Dot Com - What's the Difference?

Cheney meant not The former being a nonpartisan site run by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, and the latter being a website which diverted viewers to another site run by George Soros, the billionaire who makes no secret of his opposition to the Bush administration due to the sudden volume of hits it received during the debate. You can read more about the affect of Cheney's slip of the tongue during the debate here.

The View from Here - III

BATAM, INDONESIA - "'You cannot use tough talk during the course of a 90-minute debate in a presidential campaign to obscure a 30-year record in the United States Senate,' Cheney said [in his debate with John Edwards on Tuesday]. 'I'm saying specifically that I don't believe [Kerry] has the qualities we need in a commander in chief because I don't think, based on his record, that he would pursue the kind of aggressive policies that need to be pursued if we're going to defeat these terrorists.'." Read the rest of "Help Is On the Way" to get Freddie Barnes' full observations on how Cheney helped his ticket this week. And in the mean time, the United States Senate and the media drone on in reminding us that our estimation that Saddam had WMDs was incorrect. Now that's news! But David McGivergan reminds us, also, that Iraq was "Not a Diversion" either.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I don't test well....

With the partisans in an uproar over the precise and coded meanings of "global test" and the jokers quickly seizing an opportunity for pointed satire, it might be worth thinking a moment on the idea of a legitimate test. In purest form tests can tell us several kinds of things: 1) how much we know of a particular body of information (the spelling test), 2) how well we may have mastered skills (the arithmetic test), 3) what present conditions are (the litmus test). Before dismissing out of hand the idea of a global test, the present administration might begin applying the concept to the next two debates. Otherwise we might get two more lackluster performances which will result in a failing grade come November 2nd. The public wants to see that the President knows what he is talking about -- not just hear his assertions. It wants to know he has mastered more skills than calling the military up. And it wants to judge the present conditions in the world against some objective standard. These are the "global tests" for the American electorate, but without some more tangible evidence that this administration is on the right track, their votes could very well be multiple guess.

The VEEP Debate

Check out Media Tenor to track the debate ups and downs tonight. Also, to get Media Tenor's statistical review of the results of the first debate, check out this complete graphic PDF download.

The View from Here - Part 2

SINGAPORE - CNN is going absolutely bonkers hyping the up coming VP debate later today. But what was most revealing to me today was a comment from a Singaporan engineer who innocently asked me what I thought of the coming US election. Considering my own overt biases I was reluctant to say. But he volunteered that the election was a concern to him, and that change in America meant change to his country and to him, yet he could do nothing about it.

He said that he was concerned about terrorism, and, to my surprise, that a change in administration would mean a change in the way the war on terrorism will be fought. He was, of course, correct, and I was impressed. What do you know, a Bush supporter on the other side of the world. And I thought only Kerry supporters were on the other side of the world -- or should I say "out of this world."

In today's WSJ, Brendan Miniter discusses the meaning of the first debate and what the Kerry folks must be thinking now. "Last week John Kerry earned himself a nice little bounce and tightened the polls, partly by brilliantly playing the expectations game. Despite a 30-plus year reputation as a skilled debater, the hype surrounding Mr. Kerry was that he would be lucky not to be crushed in the first debate," he said.

In the mean time, CNN's TV news here is ripping Bush for not listening to Bremmer's cryptic comments on troup strength in Iraq during earlier periods in the war as the insurgency developed. I respect Bremmer, but it wasn't long ago that the liberal media was considerably critical of him. Now that they can parallel his remarks to Kerry's criticisms of Bush, wow, now the guy is a sage.

CNN, please, give it up. The tragedy is that after Bush wins in November, CNN will go on. I think there ought to be a price to pay. Something has got to be done about the image they portray of America in places like these.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The View from Here - Part 1

TAIPEI -- The only news you can get from many Asian and European countries is CNN. On the news this morning (Monday, October 4, 2004) there was much smugness and gloating over the seeming affect the so-called Bush debate loss has had on the American voters. CNN reported what was an 8 point gap is now a dead heat.

I think it is still too hard to tell what the true affect has been, but we'll see. Maybe these polls are an indication of an impending Bush defeat -- I doubt it.

Anyway, over the next couple of weeks, I'll be reporting on the "View from Here." How America looks in the eyes of some of our Asian friends (and are not so Asian friends from CNN) and other news sources here, in Asia.

I'd encourage your comments to get a US perspective on what seems to be from here.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

You will be assimilated. Resistence is futile.

Fans of the Star Trek franchise know of the Borg, the arch-enemy of Captains Picard and Janeway in their respective shows. The "Collective" of assimilated drones was forever hearing the voices of all the other drones as they went about their business like honeybees in a hive. All were linked together and constantly aware of each other through the actions of their implants and nanoprobes. When a drone was separated and the buzz of a billion voices in the background was silenced, it was nearly incapacitated and unable to complete its mission.

I wonder if, with this ability to blog and publish websites and email and IM (not to mention blab on the cell phone, text-message, go walkie-talkie), we've not joined the collective ourselves. I suppose its necessary and maybe even helpful for getting things done, but even though I've been at least partly assimilated, I'm still going to resist -- no matter how futile that may be. I like a little solitude without that constant buzz in my head and I don't want to get so connected I can't unplug.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Post Debate Observations - Part II

This may not mean the blog that it's written in, but immediately after last night's debate, all the networks took polls. Like all the other networks, ABC's poll had Kerry as the clear victor in the debate. Many, even in the conservative media (for example, Jay Nordlinger in NRO), came away feeling that Bush's performance last night was below par. But, interestingly, when the follow up question was asked in the ABC poll, who will you now vote for, the results were:

Bush 51%

Kerry 47%

Prior to the debate, the same audience polled:

Bush: 50%

Kerry 46%

My opinion is that we need to go through a little gestation period after this debate and not be so analytical about the details. But remember the first debate Bush had with Al Gore? Gore was quickly declared the victor by the media. A few days later, Bush started going up in the polls. The victor of the technical side of the debate ended up being the loser on the vote getting side of the debate.

My contention is that Bush has settled in the minds of most Americans that, despite his clumsiness:"

(a) He is a sincere man

(b) He is by no means polished

(c) He means well for America as it pertains to the war on Terror

(d) He is a gracious man, but impatient with Kerry's positions

(e) He is a decisive leader who is determined to win the war against the Terrorists

(f) He is a post September 11 person while his opponent is still living in the pre 9-11 world.

To underscore my point, I refer you to Fred Barnes' article in today's Standard, entitled "Not Enough." After which I say, 'nough said.

Post Debate Observations - Part I

Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard had this to say about the debate last night:

"Kerry looked presidential, didn't sound condescending, and appeared to have a grasp of small details. His problem was that some of these small details were flat wrong. For instance, he criticized the president for shutting down the NY subway during the convention--which never happened.

"That might have been a mental hiccup, but another one of his mistaken details was simply dishonest: Kerry criticized Bush's transformation of the FBI, pointing to the 1,000 hours of untranslated intelligence tapes and saying that the key clue for stopping the next 9/11 could be somewhere in this pile. Let's look at the facts: For one thing, Bush has transformed the FBI from being a law-enforcement agency to a counter-terrorism agency. No one with a serious grasp of what the FBI does could fail to see the magnitude of this sea-change. Where the FBI used to have 35 joint-terrorism task-forces before 9/11, it now has 100. In just three years, the FBI created and made operational the Terrorist Screening Center and Terrorist Threat Integration Centers. By the end of this year, there will be more than 50 FBI Legat offices overseas in terrorist hotspots like Yemen. On September 10, 2001, the FBI was primarily concerned with the mafia and the drug trade. It is now America's equivalent of MI-5.

"But back to those untranslated tapes. Since 9/11, the FBI has hired more than 700 new linguists "to translate intelligence and the Bureau has put in place a complex system to prioritize incoming intelligence. All al Qaeda intercepts are reviewed and translated within 24 hours. Either Kerry was self-consciously demagogueing the FBI, or he has no idea what's going on inside America's primary domestic counter-terrorism agency.

"As for Bush, he hammered the theme that his campaign believes is the key to the election: Kerry is a flip-flopper who doesn't know his own mind and can't be trusted to be commander-in-chief during wartime. We'll soon see if that line of attack has any resonance. If it does, then Bush will have done real damage to Kerry with his single-minded focus.

"The problem for Bush was that he looked a bit like the angry Al Gore from that 2000 debate. He sighed and made strange noises. He was tart and, at times, peevish. The message he seemed to be projecting was, Hey, I'm trying to protect the free world against nut-ball terrorists and you want me to debate this guy? Just go ahead and vote for me already.

"I'm not sure how that sort of confidence and superiority will play with the voting public--it's entirely possible that they like it. But by being so superior, Bush did save Kerry from himself. Next to the Bush we saw last night, Kerry didn't have to worry about looking like a condescending, know-it-all Lurch."

Stephen Schwartz on beheadings in Iraq

This is one reason why the war in Iraq is a necessary extension of the global war on terrorism:

"Faced with the series of beheadings and other grisly crimes committed in Iraq by the followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Westerners may wonder why this gang should call itself 'Monotheism and Jihad.' The group's Arabic name, Tawhid wa'al-Jihad, is often misleadingly translated "Unity and Jihad," which could lead English-speakers to suppose that Zarqawi and company are acting in the name of a united Iraqi nation, or of Arab unity, or of solidarity among jihadists or Muslims generally.

"But Tawhid does not mean 'unity,' much less 'unification;' it means 'uniqueness,' as in the uniqueness of God the Creator. To understand the theology behind this word is to appreciate the identity of the 'foreign fighters' around Zarqawi--himself born in Jordan--and the purpose of their kidnappings and beheadings.

"All Muslims, of course, are monotheists. Islam rejects the multiple gods and goddesses of the pagan religions, and proclaims the creation of the universe by a single God. But in the 18th century, Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of the Wahhabi sect, asserted that Muslims had fallen away from true monotheism back into pagan unbelief: worship of multiple gods, or polytheism. Wahhabism, now the state religion of Saudi Arabia, continues to assert that Islam as practiced in nearly the whole of the global Muslim community outside the Saudi kingdom is actually apostasy.

"The Arabic term for polytheism is shirk, or 'assigning partners to Allah.' According to the Wahhabi creed, in recent centuries only, the followers of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and their descendants have been true monotheists. All non-Wahhabis--whether nominally Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist--are steeped in shirk and deserve to be killed so that pure Wahhabi monotheism can reign supreme.

"In this twisted view, the majority of Iraqis are guilty of shirk. Up to 70 percent of Iraqis belong to the Shia sect of Islam, and as such follow the guidance of their imams and ayatollahs, wise theologians recognized for their study and insight. According to the Wahhabis, to follow a supreme cleric or marja like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, leader of the Iraqi Shias, is to place him on an equal level with God. Shias should therefore be killed as polytheists, their property confiscated, and their women dishonored.

"Wahhabis also hate Shias because they erect elaborate tombs for their martyrs and outstanding clerics and pray at these graves. Wahhabis believe that the very existence of graveyards and tombs is a kind of double polytheism, in which the person memorialized in the grave is elevated to equality with God, and the gravestone or tomb becomes an idol; to pray in cemeteries is, in Wahhabi eyes, to commit an abomination. Thus, once the Shias are killed, their holy sites must be torn down and their graveyards desecrated.

"For this reason, the beheadings carried out in the name of 'monotheism' in Iraq are aimed not only at terrorizing Westerners, but equally at intimidating Shias. . . .

Log on to on Saturday, October 2, to read rest.

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