Sunday, September 26, 2004

Kerry "Sr. Advisor" Tad Devine, in talking about the three battleground states of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota says, "Now, we'll have to throw a lot at them to win, particularly Iowa and Wisconsin, but that's fine. The president is going to have to devote a lot of resources to compete for them. I'd prefer we play on our turf."

He'd prefer to play on his own turf? As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a maroon." I'm sure Bush would be happy to play on Democratic turf exclusively. Do you think that could be arranged?

It's looking more and more like Bush might even be able to lose Florida or Ohio and still prevail. And of course, the chances of losing either have grown considerably smaller over the last couple of months.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I have added a motto, "usefully paranoid", bestowed by Mickey Kaus (unfortunately his blog doesn't seem to have perma-links). It's perfect.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hugh Hewitt is wrong when he makes this observation:

John Kerry ought not to have been hurt by the Rathergate scandal. There is no evidence that any Kerry operative arranged for the forgeries to surface or helped persuade Rather et al to run with the doctored docs.

But the scandal has indeed hurt him, badly, and not just as some talking heads suggested by denying him even the possibility of traction with the electorate at a moment when his campaign is foundering.

The forged docs have hurt Rather and CBS because he and it ought to have seen through them. They shouldn't have been fooled because they were so obviously inauthentic.

The problem here is that John Kerry and John Edwards have, for months, been trying to tie President Bush to the SBVFT with no basis in facts. They've been trying this entire time to characterize the ads as a "Republican smear machine" orchestrated by Bush and Rove.

Now we have an obvious dirty trick which was FAR beyond the pale, brought to us by Dan Rather and CBS (with known Democratic leanings), trumpeted by DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, even to the extent of a commercial based on the forgeries. Not only that, but CBS is actually standing behind the obvious forgeries, and refusing to name the source.

By the (lack of) standards advocated by John Kerry earlier this year, there is so much evidence that these originated from his campaign that it practically amounts to a video tape of Kerry himself typing them up and then handing them to Rather.

Kerry is being hurt by the CBS forgeries scandal because he is being judged as he wanted Bush to be judged.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Bandit (via ) finds a smoking gun oped written by Bill Burkett on AUG 25:

George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied.

I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you". I know that you not only lied to the American people in 1994, but have lied consistently since then. Mr. Bush, not every serviceman except you is incompetent. When you failed to show up as ordered for duty, they simply recorded the truth. And the truth was, they didn't think you were especially important enough to jeopardize their own careers to cover for your absence by fraudulently counting you as present in any piece of documentation when you clearly were not present.

Now Mr. Bush, we have finally confirmed the truth concerning your failure to complete your minimum satisfactory drill participation in 1972 and 1973. Yes, you did receive an honorable discharge, and, for whatever reason, someone in Texas did cover your "six" on that one. And someone in June of 1997 also tried to cover your "six" by making sure that the counseling statements and other files, which explained the reason you were grounded, did not survive a records scrub.

It sounds like Burkett had "reassembled" the exact forgeries that CBS and USA Today ran with just weeks later, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pew Research is blatantly and obviously spinning it's poll in an attempt to favor John Kerry.

The news that Pew's poll had the race as a virtual "dead heat" was widely reported today, for example at Yahoo News:

The first of two national polls by Pew, done Sept. 8-10, reflected the president's post-convention bounce. Bush was ahead of Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) 52-40 among registered voters and by an even wider margin, 54-39, among likely voters, a narrower group.

By the second poll, done Sept. 11-14, the Bush lead had evaporated. In that poll, Bush and Kerry were knotted at 46 percent among registered voters. Among likely voters, Bush was at 47 percent and Kerry at 46 percent.

Pew's contention is that within a space of 3 days, with the 9/11 ceremonies going on, Rathergate erupting, and Kerry talking in favor of gun control, Bush lost 12 points to registered voters, and 14 points with likely voters??? Are they nuts?

Every poll has the potential to be an "outlier", or a poll which through random bad luck has an unrepresentative sample. The larger the sample, the more these things even out. The smaller the sample, the more volatility. Obviously, larger samples are more reliable than smaller samples.

With this Pew poll, I guess you could ask the question as to whether it was the 1st sample that had such a problem or whether it was the 2nd. Another, perhaps more reasonable thought struck me though - what if they were each unrepresentative? The first biased toward Bush, the 2nd toward Kerry.

If these errors were roughly equal, this would result in a "true" picture over a SIX day poll, of a 6 point Bush lead among registered voters, and a 8 point lead among likely voters. Quite a difference from a "dead heat", don't you agree?

Now's the really interesting part - I got to thinking, why would Pew do 2 three day polls one right after the other? Why didn't they combine them to make a larger, more reliable sample? It's not like they are trying to do a "rolling poll" like Rassmusen does. So what made them do this? Is this what they always do?

The answer is a resounding NO! As these pages at shows, Pew has been doing Presidential polls pretty much monthly from at least February of this year. And each of these polls has been over a period of at least 6 days.

Here is the relevant information from August's poll:

Results for the August 2004 New Interest Index survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a nationwide sample of 1,512 adults, 18 years of age or older, during the period August 5-10, 2004.

Strangely enough, in August they didn't see the need to split the 6 day poll into two "waves" like they did this month.

In July, the same story:

Results for the July 2004 Foreign Policy and Party Images survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a nationwide sample of 2,009 adults, 18 years of age or older, during the period July 8-18, 2004.

No "waves" in July either.

The same story holds for the June poll, the May poll, and the March poll (They seem to have skipped polling in April.)

These polls were all consistent:

They have been a month or more apart
They have been taken over a period of at least 6 days.
None of them talked about "waves".

The only Pew poll this year that deviates from this pattern (other than this month's, of course) was in February. This seems to be the first month that they began doing polls between Bush and Kerry (which makes sense). What is really interesting here, though, is that they conducted two polls during the month. They were EACH taken over 6 days, and they were seperated in time by about two weeks. So how were they reported? They were combined!

So given this established history, and the increased variability inherent in smaller sample sizes, why would Pew suddenly decide to commission two polls right in a row, with half the time and sample size (notice that the "2nd wave" poll of 9/11-14 has a mere 725 registered voters compared to August's 1166 and July's 1568, and June's 1426) of all the other polls this year?

The answer - they didn't. They commissioned their regular monthly 6 day poll, but saw their chance to manipulate the reporting of the data to show an incredible (both meanings intended) boost to Kerry's support.

After Dan Rather and CBS, the AP's "boos" fiasco, etc., I'm not even surprised anymore.

UPDATE: I noticed that the 725 figure for the recent "3 day" Pew poll was actually likely voters. They had 1002 registered voters, with an additional 970 for the 9/8-10 period.

They interviewed 2494 adults this month (all six days), 1512 last month, 2009 in July, and 1806 in June. I don't know if this increase is due to more calls this month, or if they simply had an abnormally high response rate.

UPDATE 2: Welcome to Musil and Kausfile readers.

Via a David Hoberg thread on polls comes this page at Pew. It certainly raises certain problems with the contention that there were two polls instead of one. For instance in the header is this gem:


and this:

SEPTEMBER 8 - 13, 2004 TOTAL N=2003; RV N=1580

Note that it says survey in the singular, not plural.

And finally, the true results of the September poll, which they were so determined to avoid reporting (sorry for the formatting, or lack thereof):


Bush/Lean Bush Kerry/Lean Kerry Nader/Lean Nader/
Only Only Don't
Total Strongly Mod. DK Total Strongly Mod. DK Nader Know
September, 2004 49 33 15 1 43 22 20 1 1 7=100

In other words, there was a 49 to 43 Bush lead for September's Pew Survey.
I noted earlier that Gary Killian's son had supposedly claimed on Hannity and Colmes that he had been contacted by CBS BEFORE the story aired, and that he had not only stated that he didn't believe the memos to be genuine, but that he had also given them additional people to contact for further information. Well, I finally negotiated through's website to find a transcript, and that is exactly what he said:

HANNITY: Your father liked George Bush. Your step mom even went as far as to say that he thought he was an excellent aviator, an excellent person, happy to have served with him, and have him serve under him. Is that true?

KILLIAN: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Yes. And now, you told this to a CBS producer for this piece prior to the "60 Minutes" piece airing. Is that correct, sir?

KILLIAN: That's right, Sean. In fact, even gave her other names of folks that he flew with, including his primary instructor and a fellow that he flew with and actually roomed with.

In fact, Sean, as you know, I sent you an e-mail to that effect.

HANNITY: Yes, and "60 Minutes" excluded both you and your step mom, told them specifically about what your father had said to both of you about George W. Bush, the good words you had to say that you relayed to "60 Minutes" about what your father had said about him.

KILLIAN: That's true.

HANNITY: They ignored what you said, correct?

KILLIAN: That's true. And apparently, they ignored testimony from other officers within the unit that knew him and flew with him.

HANNITY: Now, this is — this is an amazing development here, because CBS issued a statement and what they said tonight, they interviewed people familiar with you and your father and had worked with them, and that supported their documents, Gary.

But they interviewed you and your mother, and both of you told them the documents were likely not to have been written by your father and that clearly they ignored that and they ignored what your father directly told both of you about him.

KILLIAN: That's a fact.

HANNITY: That is an amazing development here. Now, what about these other people that you also advised "60 Minutes" that they could — they could go to? They had favorable accounts about your father's service — about George Bush's service?

KILLIAN: The people I spoke to at "60 Minutes?"

HANNITY: Yes, sir.

KILLIAN: OK. I spoke to a Mary Maddox (ph), who works out of their Dallas office.

HANNITY: But in other words, you recommended other people that would have confirmed your father's account, which was George Bush served honorably?

KILLIAN: That's correct.

HANNITY: And they ignored those — they ignored those accounts, as well?

KILLIAN: That's right. I named a couple of other officers specifically. Maurice Eudell, who was Bush's primary instructor and there to basically watch over him as he progressed as a pilot, as well as a — a Major Dean Rome (ph), who was somebody that often flew with Lieutenant Bush. And in fact, they shared an apartment together.

HANNITY: Has Dan Rather called you since this time? Has anybody tried to get corroboration from you since this time?


HANNITY: And what about your mother or your sister?

KILLIAN: Well, I think they were all contacted by "60 Minutes" prior to the release of the documents. I don't believe that anybody has been contacted or re-contacted since.

HANNITY: Did you see this — Dan Rather's piece tonight?


HANNITY: All right. But you.

KILLIAN: Sorry to say.

HANNITY: All right, but you've read it here.

Do you think that this was an effort by "60 Minutes" and CBS - now, based on your firsthand knowledge of speaking with this producer, do you think this was an effort that they were trying to engage in to use your father's name to smear George W. Bush?

KILLIAN: Sean, I'd rather just give it the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't do their homework.

HANNITY: Seems that if they didn't include your statement or your mother's statements — your step mom's statements.


HANNITY: . and they purposely ignored the people that you knew that would corroborate your father's good feelings for George W. Bush, seems like they were setting up the president, to me.


HANNITY: I'm guessing here.

KILLIAN: I guess you can draw that conclusion. I'd rather be generous and say that somebody didn't do their homework.

UPDATE: Minuteman came up with a one-liner I wish I had thought of: CBS must have considered Gary Killian, Udell, etc. "authentic but inaccurate".

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Newsweek "buries the lead"

From this Newsweek article, we learn that CBS's source for the Bush forgeries was none other than discredited crank Bill Burkett. For some reason they bury the news in the middle of the article, but the relevant portion states:

A principal source for CBS's story was Bill Burkett, a disgruntled former Guard officer who lives in Baird, Texas, who says he was present at Guard headquarters in Austin in 1997, when a top aide to the then Governor Bush ordered records sanitized to protect the Boss.

This is the same Bill Burkett who has been pushing this story for years. Now he "suddenly" remembers about these "personal memos" from Killian that he's had laying around the house for 30 years, and CBS actually buys it???

Here is a little insight into the mind of Bill Burkett:

The Israeli intelligence network Mossad dispatched two agents to Washington to hand over evidence of the threat of 9-11, and even gave a timeline within the week of 9-11. Instead of saying, "We Blew it, America, and it won't happen again," we have again chosen denial and excuse.

"The sun got in my eyes" is an old little league excuse. It seems on par with our official reaction from the President and all of the executive agencies and the Congress.

Only one Democrat chose to step forward and openly place blame, which was deserved, squarely on the shoulders of high-paid professionals who were armed with every advantage other nations would die for. She was castigated and called every named. She is now ostracized from her own party as well as the party of the President. Where were her defenders? More important, where were the defenders of the Constitution and this nation?

And who was this "noble Democrat" willing to "tell the truth" about Bush? The only candidate I can think of is Cynthia McKinney.

And here, from the Boston Globe no less, is the story of Burkett's earlier complete discrediting:

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett, who has been pressing his charges in the national news media this week, says he even heard one high-ranking officer issue a 1997 order to sanitize the Bush file, and later saw another officer poring over the records and discovered that some had been discarded.

But a key witness to some of the events described by Burkett has told the Globe that the central elements of his story are false.


Conn says he never saw anyone combing through the Bush file or discarding records.

"I have no recall of that," Conn said. "I have no recall of that whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada."


Burkett says he told Conn, over dinner that same night, what he had overheard. But Conn says that, although Burkett told him he worried that the Bush record would be sanitized, he never mentioned overhearing the conversation between Allbaugh and General Daniel James III.


Burkett said that he overheard the conversation, conducted over James's speaker phone, while standing outside the open door of James's office, and that he was so troubled he told Conn about it that evening.

But Conn, now a civilian government employee working with the US Army in Germany, said Burkett never told him of the conversation. And Allbaugh, a Washington consultant and lobbyist, said, "I would never be so stupid as do something like that."

Allbaugh said he discussed Bush's file with Guard officials but only because Bush wanted to review it, and had never seen it.


Conn contradicts most of Burkett's rendition. He said that he remembers introducing Burkett to Scribner at the museum but that Scribner never said he was going over the Bush file. "If he had said he was going through George W. Bush's records I would have dropped my teeth. Wow," Conn said. "I would definitely have remembered that. I don't recall that at all."

Burkett also says that, before the encounter with Scribner, he was standing with a group of Guard officers, and heard a ranking officer order Scribner to review the Bush file and remove any documents that might be embarrassing to the then-governor.

But Scribner told the Globe yesterday that no such thing occurred. "It didn't happen. I wasn't even there," Scribner said.

Burkett has, in the past, raised his allegations about the Bush records as part of his personal struggle with the Guard over medical benefits.
When I was a child in the 70's, one of the first movies I can recall seeing was "Serpico". That movie was a dramatisation of a real person and event, one brave cop who exposed the corruption inside the NYPD of the 1960's. Dirty cops was a popular theme of the time (indeed, this theme continues to this day), and one of the big issues was about how the vast majority of even the honest cops would refuse to "rat" out the dishonest ones. They even had a term for it, "the blue wall of silence".

These movies usually followed the Serpico storyline: the protagonist was the one cop honest enough to tell the truth - ON THE RECORD - about the bad apples in the police force.

So my question is, when will the news media's Serpico emerge? I don't think that Bernie Goldberg qualifies, though I appreciate what he did.

When will Powerline's anonymous source about the AP's "booing" fiasco come forward publically to accuse Scott Lindlaw of his misdeeds?

When will someone like the Daily Telegraph's Toby Harnden actually name names regarding the blatant bias shown by some mysterious "American magazine journalist of serious accomplishment and impeccable liberal credentials."

Or is it too much to ask of the NYT' John Burns' otherwise excellent piece on Big Media corruption to NAME THE REPORTER here:

In one case, a correspondent actually went to the Internet Center at the Al-Rashid Hotel and printed out copies of his and other people's stories -- mine included -- specifically in order to be able to show the difference between himself and the others. He wanted to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state. He was with a major American newspaper. . . .

Look at the fear that these reporters labor under if they should break the "newsman's wall of silence":

I work as a freelancer for a major national publication, and was talking to my editor as we were closing a piece last week. It was Thursday, and the reports were coming out of Pakistan that we might have Ayman al-Zawahiri surrounded. I passed this news on to the editor, who was crestfallen: "Oh, no. I don't want anything good to happen for Bush before the election," was the reaction (P.S., this editor does not edit foreign or political stories).

It was a sickening moment. This is a man responsible for thousands of American deaths. So while I have no desire to see Bush re-elected, and I disagree with our attack on Iraq, to hope for our failure in capturing one of the deadliest people in the world is a moral blindspot.

This was followed up with:

A word of thanks for leaving my name out of that post.

Realized after I sent the email that if my name were posted it might easily make its way back to the editor. I'm barely making enough money at the journalism thing as it is... the last thing I need is to be blacklisted.

Isn't there any reporter who has the integrity to come forward, and name names? A reporters' very JOB is to report the truth as best they are able. Serpico was willing to risk his life to tell the truth. And what are they risking? In that last case, just a job that barely pays the bills.

Yet the "Newsman's Wall of Silence" stands undisturbed.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Everybody and their cousin has been having fun blowing gaping holes into CBS's credibility with regard to the fake memos that, incredibly, CBS still stands behind. I thought it might be interesting to take a different tack, and instead post the current status of CBS's attempted affirmative defense of the fakes.

1. Chain of custody.

CBS - We won't address this, you'll just have to trust us.

Yeah, right.

2. Authentication

CBS - We had several experts authenticate the memos in a variety of ways. However, the only one that we will identify is Marcel Matley. He assures us that they are genuine.

Unfortunately for CBS, Matley himself only says that he can "authenticate" ONE of the four memos. This is because his only expertise is in handwriting analysis, and only one memo bears a signature. Unfortunately for Matley, he is on record as saying that a photocopy cannot be used to authenticate a signature. A copy can only be used to make a determination "that the unseen original is false."

Why can they not identify the other experts that they claim to have consulted? Why do they have to rely on the - misreported - statements of "Phillip Broussard" (real name Dr. Bouffard) as (intentionally?) misquoted by the Boston Globe?

I have to say that I don't believe that CBS consulted anyone other than Matley, who by his own words was in no position to authenticate anything.

In addition, a handwriting analyst consulted by the Washington Times has stated that "my limited opinion [is] that Killian did not sign those documents". Remember, according to CBS's own expert, a copy can only be used to determine that a signature is a forgery.

CBS - We also consulted several people close to Killian who verified that these memos were in fact written by Killian. We won't say how many, but we will release the names of two of them: Major General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the time, and Robert Strong.

However, General Hodges has since made public statements not only repudiating what CBS says he said, but states that from what he has seen in the last couple of days he believes the memos to be forgeries. Let me emphasize this - one of CBS's "authenticators" instead believes them to be forgeries.

And all Strong seemed to have gone on record to say was that the fake memos seemed to reflect "the man that I remember Jerry Killian being." Not exactly a ringing endorsement of authenticity. To add insult to injury, the NYT is reporting that Strong now says, "I'm skeptical that Killian was working on that".

Also, although Rather hasn't mentioned it, other individuals that were contacted by CBS have come forward of their own accord. Unsurprisingly, they also contest the memos' accuracy - AND THEY SAID THE SAME TO CBS prior to the piece running.

Finally, yet another person familiar with Killian has come forward to also say that the memos did not appear authentic to him:

The personnel chief in Killian's unit at the time also said he believes the documents are fake.

"They looked to me like forgeries," Rufus Martin said. "I don't think Killian would do that, and I knew him for 17 years."

Why didn't CBS mention that they had uncovered people who had reservations about the memos' accuracy when the 60 Minutes piece ran? Why did they pretend that there was no question on that count? Hell, why do they STILL pretend that there is no real question?

CBS - We have also consulted an anti-Bush writer, Jim Moore, who assures us that these memos must be genuine.

Desperate much? Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel - this is amateur hour. For a snapshot into Moore's thought process, I especially liked his contention here:

...except for a lone Associated Press story that appeared in the back pages of the pro-GOP news section of the New York Times...

To quote Instapundit, "heh". I think that the "pro-GOP news section" of the NYT got eliminated in a cost-cutting measure before I was born.

To sum up, to date CBS hasn't offered a single item to support their contention of the document's validity that has been able to withstand even cursory inspection.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I remember just a few days ago the thought being mentioned that Democrats were essentially giving up on Kerry's candidacy and trying to get him to simply limit the damage.


I wonder how many seats in the Senate and House the Republicans will pick up now.
People have noted that the left's silence on the matter of these forgeries is deafening. However, Sullivan links to a thread on Daily Kos which does attempt to answer some of the charges, though it falls woefully short.

First off, they completely ignore the voluminous problems with the believability of the content and/or it's format (a small sampling of these problems is listed here), and instead concentrate soley on the typography. These criticisms (or should they be termed "defenses"?) fall into three broad categories:

1. They maintain that the font is not Times New Roman. The experts which I have seen quoted have stated that they cannot determine exactly which font is being used, but that it APPEARS to be Times New Roman. Interesting that the true experts cannot make a final determination from what they have available, yet the "experts" on this thread claim that they can.

2. Typewriters did exist at the time which could have produced the documents in question. I have no expertise in this area, but I'll defer to the numerous acknowledged experts who have gone on the record with statements to the contrary.

3. They point to an indisputably valid Bush document of the time perios which they state has a superscripted TH. However, the document in question, posted at Kos here, or in a format in which you can examine it better at page three here, simply does not have a superscript.

A superscript is defined as:

1. [n] a character or symbol set or printed or written above and immediately to one side of another character
2. [adj] (printing) written or printed above and to one side of another character

This document simply does not have a superscript, and you would think that one of the "experts" at Kos would know this. It does certainly look to be a special character added to perform the same function. However the top of the "th" is roughly level with the top of the "111 "which preceeds it, and the bottom of the "th" is barely above the bottom of the "111".

Contrast this with the actual example of a superscript on the forged documents here. It is not only ABOVE and to the side but it is roughly half the height of the preceeding numbers, in this case "187".

Therefore, even if there was a typewriter in use at the TANG of the period which had a special character for the "th", it did not produce superscripts, and it most definitely did not produce the fake documents in question.
The news that CBS is refusing to launch an investigation into the forgeries that they launched two days ago shocks me almost as much as the fact of the forgeries themselves. Are they dinosaurs or ostriches?
Is it just me, or, given the revelations from the Spectator, does the giving of the forgeries to CBS and the Boston Globe have Kerry's infamous hitman John Sasso's fingerprints all over it?

If you don't know about Sasso, here is the Boston Globe's own take on him less than a week ago.

The general election campaign is underway, and John F. Kerry has figured out how to blunt Republican charges that he cannot be trusted, that he will say or do anything to win. He's reportedly going to lean more heavily for advice on one of the least trustworthy Democratic strategists to come out of Boston.

If Karl Rove and company can turn Kerry's distinguished military service and principled opposition to the Vietnam War into big negatives, imagine what they will do with the high-minded political tactics employed by John Sasso.

No doubt, this thought has not occurred to party insiders in Massachusetts. They have been toasting Sasso as a political genius for so long that they might have overlooked how his idea of good, clean fun will play in the heartland, where so many of those battleground states are to be found. It won't. His is exactly the wrong voice to be whispering in Kerry's ear now that America is back from the beach and paying attention to presidential politics.


The problem with soliciting contributions to end the "smug and arrogant tactics of misinformation" that Sasso's letter rightly attributes to Republicans is that it only works when the purveyor holds the moral high ground. That would not be Sasso, he of the attack video that torpedoed the presidential campaign of Democratic Senator Joseph R. Biden of Delaware in 1987, he of the audiotape that ridiculed the physical disabilities of the wife of Edward King, Michael Dukakis's gubernatorial primary opponent in 1982.
I wonder if anyone has asked Tom Oliphant about the big pile of dung that the "objective" Boston Globe stepped into and the "standards of evidence" that they seem to have completely ignored.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I will return to Kaplan's hit piece, but it will be another day or so....
Josh Marshall notes approvingly Kevin Drum's statement:

This story [the infamous CBS memos] is a perfect demonstration of the difference between the Swift Boat controversy and the National Guard controversy. Both are tales from long ago and both are related to Vietnam, but the documentary evidence in the two cases is like night and day. In the Swift Boat case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence indicates that Kerry's accusers are lying. Conversely, in the National Guard case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence provides additional confirmation that the charges against Bush are true.

Of course, the "documentary evidence" he refers to regarding Bush's service are obvious forgeries. And then let us further consider that Kerry, unlike Bush, is refusing to release all the documents pertaining to his military service.

You would think that an honest person would wonder what Kerry was hiding. They might acknowledge that Kerry has had to backtrack continuously on various aspects of his story. They might take note that Kerry has refused to be interviewed for over a month - amazingly enough, since just about the time of the first Swiftboat ads. But then again, I'm not talking about honest people, am I?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Professor Bainbridge links to the increasingly tendentious Fred Kaplan's piece accusing Zell Miller of lying during the RNC.

Not counting his rather pathetic insult regarding Miller's intelligence, which I'll get to later, Kaplan's first (and presumably most important/damning) charge is:

Still, it is worth setting the record straight. The main falsehood, we have gone over before (click here for the details), but it keeps getting repeated, so here we go again: It is the claim that John Kerry, during his 20 years in the Senate, voted to kill the M-1 tank, the Apache helicopter; the F-14, F-16, and F-18 jet fighters; and just about every other weapon system that has kept our nation free and strong.

Here, one more time, is the truth of the matter: Kerry did not vote to kill these weapons, in part because none of these weapons ever came up for a vote, either on the Senate floor or in any of Kerry's committees.

However, if you read Miller's speech, he never claimed that Kerry voted against any of those programs. He stated, again, and again, and again, that Kerry OPPOSED them, not that he voted against them:

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War (news - web sites). The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against.

Do you see a single claim that Kerry voted against any of these weapons systems? No, because it didn't happen. Uh, Fred, let's talk about lies and distortions... In truth, there is ample proof that Kerry DID in fact oppose all those weapons sytems. Professor Bainbridge was kind enough to dig through the records to establish the facts as far as the B-2 bomber. Powerline has a 1984 Kerry press release which establishes his opposition to many more. They don't seem completely conviced of it's veracity, but the RNC has it as well. He opposed and wanted to cancel the MX missile system, the B-1 bomber, Star Wars, the Sparrow missile, the F-15, the F-14a, the F-14d, etc. etc. etc. JUST AS MILLER STATED.

Miller DOES go on to immediately after his recitation of the weapons programs that Kerry has opposed to accuse him of 20 years of poor votes. Does this work to create the wrong impression? Sure, though mildly. If you oppose a program, then what difference does that make if you don't get a chance to vote against it? You are still against it, aren't you? And if you vote FOR a program that you are against, what does that indicate? Either way, Kerry is in the wrong. In the one case, he just never had the opportunity to vote against these programs but would have done so. If the other case, he voted against his beliefs. Where is Kaplan's beef?

In any event, this is all just politics. NORMAL politics. How many people have falsely claimed that Kerry "volunteered for combat"? How many have disingenously claimed that Kerry "volunteered for dangerous swift boat duty" - while failing to note that when Kerry requested swiftboat duty they were patrolling the coast instead of the rivers, and it was then not particularly hazardous? When will Kaplan call attention to THESE "lies, damn lies" and "distortions"? Don't hold your breath. They are normal, everyday politics.

Here is the section where Kaplan is clearly lying himself:

This myth took hold last February in a press release put out by the RNC. Those who bothered to look up the fine-print footnotes discovered that they referred to votes on two defense appropriations bills, one in 1990, the other in 1995. Kerry voted against both bills, as did 15 other senators, including five Republicans. The RNC took those bills, cherry-picked some of the weapons systems contained therein, and implied that Kerry voted against those weapons.

However, if you will compare the weapons systems that Miller mentioned with those on Kerry's own 1984 press release, you will find almost all of them there - with Kerry trumpeting his opposition to them. Miller (and the RNC) are "lying" when they rely on Kerry's own press releases??? There are only two systems which Miller listed which aren't listed on Kerry's own press release - the B-2 and the trident missile. Professor Bainbridge has done yeoman's work proving that Kerry did in fact not only oppose the B-2 but actually at least one time VOTED AGAINST IT:

I did, however, find on Nexis a July 20, 2000 Cox News Service report that Kerry opposed SDI, voted to cancel 2 B-2 bombers and opposed authorizing the first Persian Gulf War.

Does anyone truly doubt that Kerry also opposed the trident?

I'll get into the rest of Kaplan's piece in a later post.

UPDATE: I just noticed that Kaplan was setting up an embarassingly obvious strawman. He put words into Millers mouth that obviously never crossed it - Kaplan DOESN'T EVEN GET THE WEAPONS SYSTEMS RIGHT. Miller didn't say a single word about the M-1 or the F-16 or the F-18.

UPDATE2: Here is proof from his hometown paper, the Boston Globe, that Kerry opposed the trident in addition to the other systems that I have been talking about:

These weapons became conversation topics at American dinner tables during the Iraq war, but candidate Kerry in 1984 said he would have voted to cancel many of them -- the B-1 bomber, B-2 stealth bomber, AH-64 Apache helicopter, Patriot missile, the F-15, F-14A and F-14D jets, the AV-8B Harrier jet, the Aegis air-defense cruiser, and the Trident missile system.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I've seen a couple of blogs (American Thinker and Just One Minute) recently mention the fact that Kerry has refused to release his medical records, even though he has had to undergo treatment for cancer in the recent past. Instapundit also linked to an article in the WaPo which stated that Kerry had lied about his medical history to the Boston Globe at one point.

So let's make a list of the things that Presidential candidates have traditionally released that Kerry refuses to do:

1. Medical records
2. Tax returns (including his wife's, that is)
3. Military records

He has also refused to release his attendence records for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and refused to allow access to his "war journal" while apparently lying about the reason for doig so (at least according to his biographer).

Does anyone else remember the hue and cry about Reagan's health? Or more recently, how about Cheney's? And he was only running for VP!

How about the ruccus raised about Geraldine Ferrarro's husband not releasing HIS tax records?

And it seems like it was only months ago that Bush was being hounded in the press about not releasing all of his military records.

Remember the grief Bob Packwood took for not releasing his diaries? I seem to remember he was taken to court over it (and he may have even lost, though my memory on that is fuzzy).

So why is John Kerry getting a free pass from all this and more?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I was reading Captain's Quarters Blog this morning, and a passage he quotes from a Michael Kranish Boston Globe column made alarm bells start ringing in my head:

Kerry had been wounded three times and received three Purple Hearts. Asked about the severity of the wounds, Kerry said that one of them cost him about two days of service, and that the other two did not interrupt his duty. "Walking wounded," as Kerry put it. A shrapnel wound in his left arm gave Kerry pain for years. Kerry declined a request from the Globe to sign a waiver authorizing the release of military documents that are covered under the Privacy Act and that might shed more light on the extent of the treatment Kerry needed as a result of the wounds.

What were the wounds for which he was awarded his Purple Hearts again?

#1 A tiny scratch on his arm that was treated with a band-aid. (He hasn't released the paperwork on this one, and it was likely accidentally self-inflicted (and in the absence of enemy fire)).
#2 Shrapnel in his left thigh.
#3 Accidentally self-inflicted rice wounds to his rear end, and a "(minor) contusion" to his arm.

So when did this "shrapnel wound" which gave Kerry "pain for years" occur? Did the band-aid wound supposedly cause him such long-lasting pain, or is this the mysterious "(minor)" bruise from March 13th?

Update: The link provided for Purple Heart #3 (on the bottom of pg 3) specifies that the "(minor)" contusion was on his RIGHT arm. So he is either refering to the band-aid wound or he forgot which arm had supposedly given him pain for so long.

Monday, August 16, 2004

One thing that I've noticed about David Alston's DNC speech is that he sure does seem to appropriate other people's memories and/or words. It has already been noted how his description of Kerry "standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos" was remarkably similar to language used in David Brinkley's book. Unfortunately, Brinkley was describing Alston's commander on Jan 29, 1969, not Kerry:

"And the VC took advantage of it; suddenly there was a booming explosion that literally lifted PCF-94 off the water. Peck was standing in the pilothouse doorway with an M-16 at the ready to start strafing the jungle."

And now I've noticed another, perhaps more blatent rip-off. Later in his DNC speech Alston descibes another memory of Kerry:

"And when the shooting stopped, he was always there too, with a caring hand on my shoulder asking, "Gunner, are you OK?" I was only 21, running on fear and adrenaline."

But let's look at what another of Kerry's "band of brothers" has spoken about. Fred Short, who was ironically Alston's replacement is quoted on Kerry's own site as saying:

"His concern for us was overwhelming," says Fred Short, a PCF-94 gunner's mate who would get the shakes when the adrenaline of battle wore off. "He would come around then and put his hand on your shoulder and ask if you're all right," says Short, 56, of North Little Rock "I never had another officer do that."

While I could certainly imagine Kerry showing concern for his crewmembers in similar (or even nearly exact) ways, I don't find it very plausible that they would find such similar ways to describe it without plagerism or coaching. Either one of them stole the words of the other, or they are both reading from the same playbook.

Alston has already been established - BY THE KERRY CAMPAIGN - as not being on PCF-94 on Feb 28th, when the incidents for which Kerry was awarded his Silver Star occurred, in spite of Alston's statements indicating that WAS there. If he is lying about being there....

Sunday, August 15, 2004

More research from the same site. Rassmann apparently claimed to USA Today that he was on Kerry's boat for "almost a month" prior to his fall into the water:

"The level of danger was extremely high," says Jim Rassmann, the Army Special Forces officer who rode PCF-94 for nearly a month before Kerry saved his life during a ferocious river battle. The noisy boats "had no place to hide. People could hear them coming a half-mile away."

Imagining this story to be true, it brings up an interesting question. If, in addition to his crew there were Green Berets (and other infantry types as well?) on his boat in the month prior to March 13th, then it REALLY calls into question Kerry's decision to abandon his post on Feb 28th to go haring off after a single Vietnamese. Why didn't Rassmann (or one of his possible compatriots) do this instead?

There is another interesting nugget in this article as well. Some commenters on some of the posts on Captains Quaters Blog regarding the Alston question have wondered if it was possible that Kerry was aboard PCF 94 prior to taking command on January 30 1969. If he was, this might have offered a benign explination for some of the statements made by Alston which seem to be contradicted by all the other available facts. However, this article puts that possibility to rest:

Tedd Peck, who skippered PCF-94 before being wounded and giving way to Kerry, says he "had a dislike for the man as soon as I met him. He was not a genuine type of guy." Peck, 60, never went on a mission with Kerry;
Let's visit another Kerry in Viet Nam controversy - the many inconsistencies regarding the Rassmann voyage on March 13th 1969. I've found some more documentation (shamelessly stealing research listed here but mostly missing links, having footnotes instead), and it brings good news and bad news for the Kerry camp.

First, the good news. It gives some support to the contention that Rassmann was on Kerry's boat rather than PCF 3. It also gives support the contention that Kerry's boat was hit by a mine.

The bad news for Kerry is that it still manages to undercut Rassmann's story. This is from Kerry's own mouth, inserted into the Congressional record:

There was the time we were carrying special forces up a river and a mine exploded under our boat sending it 2 feet into the air. We were receiving incoming rocket and small arms fire and Tommy [Belodeau] was returning fire with his M-60 machine gun when it literally broke apart in his hands. He was left holding the pieces unable to fire back while one of the Green Berets walked along the edge of the boat to get Tommy another M-60. As he was doing so, the boat made a high speed turn to starboard and the Green Beret kept going--straight into the river. The entire time while the boat went back to get the Green Beret, Tommy was without a machine gun or a weapon of any kind, but all the time he was hurling the greatest single string of Lowell-Chelmsford curses ever heard at the Viet Cong. He literally had swear words with tracers on them!

Rassmann, of course, insists that he was knocked off the boat when it hit the mine. This is quite a detailed memory of how Rassmann ended up in the water, so you would think that would give it more credence. But then, we're talking about John Kerry, who somehow claimed to vividly remember being in Cambodia in Christmas, though his proxies now admit that this story is meritless.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Another of Kerry's "Band of Brothers" has accuracy problems. Here from April 29 2004 on Fox:

Painful memories of three North Vietnamese ambushes became a matter of joyous pride for Fred Short as he was reunited with the Navy patrol boat commander who he said saved the whole crew by charging into the teeth of the enemy attack.

It had been 34 years to the day since Short of North Little Rock last saw that lieutenant: current Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry (search).

Their warm embrace Monday in front of a gathering of more than 150 Democrats was the climax of Kerry's campaign swing through the home state of former President Clinton.


Short recalled the third of three ambushes on their group of boats on March 4, 1969, when his twin 50-caliber machine guns couldn't tilt low enough to shoot a Viet Cong soldier lying in a ditch, aiming a rocket launcher at their boat.

"We were in a small canal and normally we would have tried to exit, but Mr. Kerry ordered us to charge," Short said. "While I shot high, he and Tommy Bellodeau charged under me, right at the guy, and we routed them. That's why Mr. Kerry won the Silver Star."

Short said the crew avoided any casualties, even though 800 of 900 American troops caught in that zone died that day. He said it was a few weeks later, April 28, 1969, that he finished his tour and last saluted Kerry.

First, I have no idea what Short is talking about by saying "800 of 900 American troops...died that day". That is, of course, utter nonsense.

Second, just a quibble. He got the day of the Silver Star engagement wrong, though that is quite understandable this many years later.

Third, and not understandable at all, Short thinks that he saluted Kerry when he finished his tour on April 28th 1969. However, as reported on Kerry's own election site, Kerry was long gone by that time, already transfered back to the states in "early April". He reported for duty in New York on April 11th.
Very interesting post at Captain's Quarters blog regarding one of Kerry's "Band of Brothers", David Alston. There are many questions about whether he was in fact a "crewmate" of Kerry's like he and Kerry claim (though there is no doubt that he "served" with Kerry, just as many of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did).

While it may turn out that Alston did make up part of Kerry's crew at some point, there is no question that Alston lied about the only specific detail he offers about Kerry's reactions in battle. In his DNC speech he says (emphasis added):

But Lieutenant Kerry was known for taking the fight straight to the enemy. I can still see him now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos.

Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle.

The only problem is that Alston wasn't there when Kerry pulled this stunt. This is describing the action for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. The reason that Alston wasn't there isn't clear, he may have still been recuperating from his January 29th injury as speculated in the CQ post, but it is clear that he was not on the boat. As noted by none other than David Brinkley, "In addition to Kerry's Silver Star PCF-94's performance on February 28 also earned Bronze Stars for Tommy Belodeau and Mike Medeiros and Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V Devices for Del Sandusky, Fred Short, and Gene Thorson." Swift boats had a crew of 6 (as Alston noted)- the officer and 5 enlisted men. How many people were given medals? Six - and Alson isn't one of them. Here you see all six crewmen after the award ceremony:

Alston is, obviously, not there. If he was wounded on January 29th, and still not back on the boat by Feb 28th, when was he Kerry's crewman? Kerry was gone by the middle of March.

Even if Alston was miraculously back on Kerry's boat just after this action, the most - the MOST - time he could have served under Kerry was a mere 13 days. Does his DNC speech sound like he's describing 13 days?

Update: Another instance of Alston lying about being on Kerry's boat that day, and in a much less circumspect manner:

"Alston recalled: "I know when John Kerry told Del to beach that damn boat,
this was a brand-new ball game. We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie."

Update 2: The report of Alston's injury had been put on the web here, on page 6. My shortened version:

"29 Jan 69 As forward gunner aboard PCF 94... Alston received shrapnel wounds in his head, when PCF came under intense hostile rocket and A/W fire. Condition good, prognosis good. ... Mother not officially notified.... Serviceman treated by corpsman and medevaced to 29th Evac Hospital"

Update 3: The Kerry campaign has admitted that Alston was NOT on the boat on Feb 28th 1969:

Whatever the exact dates, Hurley confirmed that Alston was not on board PCF-94 on February 28, 1969, the day Kerry earned a Silver Star for an engagement in which he beached his Swift Boat and chased down and killed a Viet Cong guerilla armed with a rocket launcher.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In addition, I'd be interested to know who was consulted regarding Kerry's Bronze Star. Obviously Rassmann was, and I'd guess Kerry was as well. I've just noted one problem with Rassmann's account (Kerry's arm wound). There is another inconsistency as well, which may be more important.

In a CNN interview, Larry Thurlow contends that Kerry initially left the scene of the mine explosion, only to come back later when it was clear that there was no more danger:

WOODRUFF: You're basically saying he fled when there

THURLOW: I am saying he fled the area on the explosion under the 3-boat

Rassmann pretty much calls Thurlow a liar, and states in part:

JIM RASSMANN, KERRY SUPPORTER: Well, first, I was not part of John Kerry's
command. I was a Special Forces officer who happened to be on his boat at that

Mr. Thurlow's recollection of what occurred is not accurate. We had the
boat hit the mine to our left. And John immediately had his driver, Del Sandusky
(ph), turn to the left and head towards it.

And it was at that time that our gunner on the bow got his gun knocked out and he started screaming for another weapon. I ran another weapon up to me, and we hit something or something hit us. There was an explosion, and I was blown off the boat to the right.

WOODRUFF: And you ended up in the water how? RASSMANN: I was blown into the water, and I had boats coming up behind me. So, I went to the bottom of the river.

However, if you look at Kerry's Bronze Star citation, what it states is that:

"When Lieutenant (jg) Kerry discovered he had a man overboard, he returned
upriver to assist

So this seems to back up Thurlow, and not Rassmann. Kerry left the scene, and then had to come back to pick up Rassmann. To be fair, the rest of the citation is much more consistent with Rassman's version. However, this brings me back to my original question. How much was this looked into at the time. Was the citation made up soley of Rassmann's and Kerry's recollections, or were other people involved also questioned?

Q and O is looking at's account of the SVFT vs Kerry and finding it lacking in a number of respects. I thought that I would note another fact that they seem to have overlooked.

There were two seperate incidences, which seems to be agreed on by both sides. The wound in the buttocks seems to be clearly not eligible for the award, despite all of Factcheck's strivings. Q and O does an admirable job demonstrating this.

Given that this wound does not merit a Purple Heart, it does bring up questions about why it was mentioned at all. Especially as it was phrased in an exceedingly misleading manner, though it is possible to read it as Factcheck does if you wish to give Kerry the benefit of every scrap of doubt . It is much more natural to read it as incorrectly attributing both wounds to being recieved in the same incident.

This leaves the arm wound as possibly meriting such an award. Kerry says he "smashed" his arm when he was thrown "violently" into a bulkhead. Rassmann states that it was "bleeding". It even states that his arm was bleeding in his related Bronze Star citation, of which I understand Rassmann was the originator. However, as Factcheck points out, that is inconsistent with the description of the wound as a "contusion". In addition, there is another document which Factcheck seems to have missed. It is actually on John Kerry's website. The relevent portion is on the bottom of page 3. This offers additional information about the arm wound. Not only does it confirm that Kerry only suffered a contusion to his arm, but it states that the contusion was "minor". So Kerry apparently received a Purple Heart for a "minor" bruise on his arm.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

To add to the latest Kerry bruhaha (and this one might actually make it past the media gatekeepers), I found the following relating to his supposed Christmas mission to Cambodia:

Sen. John Kerry made his first forays into Cambodia during the Vietnam War
as a Navy lieutenant on clandestine missions to deliver weapons to anticommunist
When he returned last week, the mission was official, but dicey
nonetheless. At the request of the United Nations, Kerry is trying to broker a
compromise on how to try leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime, whose late
1970s reign of terror claimed the lives of some 1.7 million Cambodians.

And here is another from the Boston Globe:

To top it off, Kerry said, he had gone several miles inside Cambodia, which
theoretically was off limits, prompting Kerry to send a sarcastic message to his
superiors that he was writing from the Navy's "most inland" unit.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I've been following the Berger (and Wilson) fiasco with considerable interest, naturally.  I agree with most commentators that his actions are almost inexplicable.  This has led some people to decide that the most likely reason is stupidity and/or incompetence.  This certainly has significant attraction for me.  What's that aphorism, something along the lines of "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity"?  My first default when something like this occurs is that the person involved just had a brain fart.  However, I can't agree in this case.

It seems the most notable person to espouse this theory (other than Bill Clinton, I suppose) is Virginia Postrel.  She gives odd credence to a report put out by the NYT.  The problem I have with the whole idea that this was simple stupidity is threefold:

1.  Berger has been out of government for several years, so the idea that he was still so used to handling top secret documents that he was just careless with them is simply not plausible.

2.  Even accepting the doubtful proposition that the NYT story is right about Berger simply putting the notes in his pockets, rather than putting them down his pants and even in his socks as reported by other news outlets, he has admitted that he had a briefcase with him.  If you "knowingly" take such notes with you, and you have a briefcase with you, why would you put them in your pockets rather than in your briefcase?  Using Occam's Razor myself, I can only reason that he intentionally put them on his person to avoid the theft from being discovered should his briefcase be searched.  In other words, he knowingly violated the law.

3.  I'm not sure if Ms. Postrel was the one who mentioned the case of Mr. Deutch, the former CIA director, to bolster the idea that people who handle sensitive documents on a daily basis become careless with them.  If she didn't, someone else has.  However, to my mind this actually hurts the Berger as bumbler theory.  The fact is that Mr. Deutch required one of Bill Clinton's infamous pardons to escape a possible criminal conviction.  He also had his top secret clearance revoked.  I'm sure that Berger is well aware of his former associate's humiliation.

4.  I know I said 'three-fold', but I just remembered another reason to be doubtful.  It is also being reported that this didn't just happen the one time.  Having documents which Berger was handling disappear not just once, but twice or more, doesn't suggest innocent "mistakes" either.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Back from hiatus with another disagreement with Den Beste.  Somehow he brings the blogger out of me.  I generally agree with his post about gay marriage and the debate between Sullivan and Lowry, but there is one critical area that I think his arguement falls down.  He writes:
"[Sullivan's] analogy to the apartheid laws doesn't survive close scrutiny. Take, for instance, the laws about miscegenation to which he referred, which forbade interracial marriages. Under those laws, Bob Blonde-and-Blue could legally marry Suzie Snow-White, but Clyde Coal-Black could not legally marry Suzie Snow-White. In objective terms, therefore, the law was discriminatory.

But that is not the case for the law Rich supports. Under that law, Gary Gay-and-Proud would be forbidden to marry Quincy Queer. Harry Hetero would also be forbidden to marry Quincy Queer. However, both Gary and Harry would be permitted to marry Flora Feminine. Objectively, the law treats Gary and Harry equally.

It is true that Gary doesn't have any interest in marrying Flora, and Harry isn't even slightly interested in Quincy. It is true that subjectively the law is unequal, because it forbids Gary from marrying the man he loves, while permitting Harry to marry the woman he loves.

But that's exactly the Anatole France argument: the law forbids both the wealthy and paupers from sleeping under bridges. That law, too, is objectively equal because it applies identically to all. It is irrelevant that only paupers wish to sleep under bridges, and that the law only thwarts paupers."
The problem here is that the law does NOT treat Gary and Flora equally.  Flora can marry Harry or Quincy, but Gary cannot marry either of them.
Let's go further and add another hypothetical character, Linda Lesbian.  Gary can marry Linda, whle Flora cannot. 
I have to strongly disagree with Ben Beste in his assertion that this is unlike the "seperate but equal" standard of years past.  Only people of a Race A could drink from fountain A, while only those of Race B could drink from fountian B.  Likewise, Flora can only marry males while Gary can only marry females. 
Objectively, I don't see any difference between the two.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Eugene Volokh is wondering why some people say "Jewish people" instead of "Jew", and believe that just saying "Jew" is somehow rude. He doesn't understand it.

I think that I might. When I was writing my last post in response to something he wrote, I actually found myself vaguely uneasy about using the term. I stopped and actually thought about it for a few seconds, and then went ahead and used it. I just didn't see any reason not to. The question lingered at the fringes of my thoughts for a couple of days, and the answer (and I believe it is the right one) finally came to me.

The reason is that there isn't a derogatory term in wide use for Jews. "Kike" just isn't used much at all. I think the first, and possibly only, time I've ever heard it was in the movie 'Porkies'. And what else is there? Contrast that with other groups who can be called "nigger", "coon", "spic", "fag", etc., etc., etc. There are probably other unpalatable terms for Jews (Hebe? I may have heard that somewhere.), but likewise none are widespread. If you hear someone who is anti-Semetic talk, it seems that they will almost always say Jews, as in, "The greedy Jews are running the country, etc." From my admittedly limited experience, they just generally don't use another term. And if that's the term that bigots use, then ordinary people will unconciously assume that it is a "bad word", and try to find an alternative.

PS I did think of the words "Zionist" and/or "Israeli" as derogatory terms, but they aren't really the same.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Steven den Beste has a post on the left's seeming amnesia of the circumstances surrounding the demise of the USSR. I have to comment on this, because this encompasses two unusual occurrances in one: I (more or less) disagree with SDB, and I am going to defend the lefties. While I do believe that SDB's criticism is correct in regards to some, I don't believe that it is fair to the majority of them.

He doesn't seem to have thought of another, more logical explanation: they have run up against the indisputable fact that their belief in the USSR's capabilities during the 70's and 80's was FAR off the mark. They have looked at what the facts REALLY were ... and are basing their (current) statements on those. That they are purposefully ignoring how wrong they were in the past is perhaps dishonest, but it's also very human.

An intellectually honest lefty would put it something like this: "Well, we were obviously wrong about the USSR. However, now that the true state of affairs has emerged, it is clear that the Soviets were on their last legs, and so all we needed to do was sit tight and they would have collapsed under their own weight eventually anyway. While trying to keep up with Reagan's arms build-up may have hastened this collapse to some extent, it would have happened regardless."

The thing is, I don't disagree with that analysis. However, I believe that without Reagan, the USSR would have lumbered on for quite a bit longer than it did, perhaps to this very day.

Let's also not forget that the collapse as it DID occur was absolutely amazing in that it was almost without violence. Who knows how badly the end of the USSR COULD have been without Reagan? The fact that he FORCED them to try to compete with us, and essentially rubbed their noses in the fact that they couldn't do so played a huge part in how meekly the Soviets marched off into the dustbin of history. They weren't left with any illusions. There simply weren't any significant factions who still believed that they could win ANY scenario. Reagan's build-up forced this knowledge on them.

PS And of course, all the tanks, airplanes, etc. were a big disincentive to some last ditch attempt at winning by a "hot" war.
It's been awhile, sorry. I've just never been able to get into the habit of signing on and writing something everyday. There have been many things that I have felt like writing about over the last month, but I just never got around to it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The AP reports on a, frankly, laughable new 'report' from the "International Institute of Strategic Studies". The IISS reportedly is "considered the most important security think tank outside the United States". Scary.

Before I unload on the report, let me note with disgusted resignation the disconnect between the estimates given and the title of the AP piece. The ISS pegs the current number of al Qaida at 18,000. The arrived at that figure by estimating an original number of at least 20,000, and subtracting an estimated 2000 being killed or captured over the last 2-3 years of the War on Terror. So they are saying that al Qaida has been cut by at least 10%. So what does the AP title the piece? Why 'Report: al-Qaida Ranks Swelling Worldwide' of course. Only a journalist could categorize a 10% reduction as a "swelling".

More later....

Friday, May 14, 2004

Don Luskin is continuing to fact check Krugman. He just nailed him on a non-correction correction regarding some claims he made regarding the world's oil supply.

Even if he had made the noted correction in an appropriate manner, it still would have been woefully lacking. Why? Because it doesn't address the fundemental dishonesty of Krugman's original statement. He chose his formulation, "no major oil field have been found", with care to support his contention of dwindling oil supplies. However, even if those new fields in Kazikstan didn't exist, he would still not have a leg to stand on. In typical Krugman fashion, instead of changing his position (or just finding something else to write about) he instead finds a way to try to twist the facts to support his Bush bash de jure.

Why talk about discoveries of "major oil fields" at all? Who cares? Why not talk about the relevant figure (and thus the usual measure used when discussing the issue) of proven oil reserves, or estimates of total recoverable oil? Could it be because if he used this data he wouldn't have had a column left? Instead of falling, oil reserves increase just about every year, and have done so for the last 100+ years. As one of Luskin's readers earlier noted, Saudi Arabia alone has recently revised it's estimate of recoverable petroleum from 261 billion to 1.2 TRILLION! (Though I have to say that a significant degree of caution is in order regarding the 1.2 trillion figure.)

In 2002, after consuming ~ 1.5 billion barrels of domestic oil, US proven reserves INCREASED from 22,446 million barrels to 22,677 million barrels. While we "only" discovered 300 million barrels of oil in new fields, expanding existing fields added over a billion barrels. This is the typical reason reserves increase, not from "major new fields", but from new discoveries of oil in existing fields, and more efficient methods of extracting it.

Finally, all those who claim the Mad Max world of no fuel is on it's way have always conveniently ignored the non-conventional sources of oil that are excluded from reserve estimates because of the (currently) prohibitive costs of extraction. If prices rose sufficiently due to supposed scarcity of current oil reserves, the Venezuelan Orozco belt of "heavy oil" estimated at roughly 1.2 trillion barrels would be much more attractive. The estimated 2 trillion barrels of oil - in the US alone - locked up in shale deposits would also become profitable to mine.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Eugene Volokh has some typically insightful comments regarding a student at UNLV who is being accused of anti-Semitism:

It seems to me perfectly proper to condemn ethnic groups -- Jews or not -- for being too focused on their ethnicity, and even for discriminating (albeit in perfectly legal ways) in their social and romantic decisions. Of course, if Chomintra condemns only Jews for that but thinks that it's just fine when other groups do that, that seems an anti-Semitic double standard; and if his point was that "you're a sad, pathetic, weak organism" if being Jewish "determine[s] how you shape your life," but you're just fine if being Irish or Hispanic shapes your life, that too suggests hostility to Jews. But absent such evidence, this seems to be a slam against perceived excessive focus on one's ethnic identity, not an expression of hatred or hostility to Jews as such. In fact, Chomintra equally condemns (though rather less politely than I would have preferred) people who think that Jews are "anything less or anything more than anyone else" (emphasis mine) -- more consistent with "people shouldn't care about ethnic identity" than "Jews are evil."

One can of course disagree with Chomintra on the merits, and conclude that it's right for people to be focused on their ethnic identity (or in the case of some but not all Jews who focus a great deal on their Jewishness, on their religious identity).

However, he didn't discuss one possibility that jumped out at me: that the comments in question arose out of being dumped by his (previous) girlfriend - who is Jewish. In addition, it seems that the reason that he was dumped (or at least the reason that he believes he was dumped) was that he was not Jewish.

Some of the quotes that lead me to this belief:

The comments ... were published by Chomintra ... about a former girlfriend.

He also criticized a Jewish student for "not wanting Jews to associate or date non-Jews," and for "blindly celebrating being Jewish." . . .

It seems to me that this is the likely sequence of events:

1. He was dating a Jewish girl.
2. She broke up with him.
3. He believed (rightly or wrongly) that this was due to his not being Jewish.
4. He also believed that a friend of hers had talked her into the break-up, also on the grounds of his not being Jewish.
5. Rather understandably angry and upset, he lashed out on his "web log".
6. After calming down, he deleted the angry tirade.

If this is what really happened, then this would indicate a couple of things.

1. Make it unlikely (though not impossible) that he is truly anti-Semitic. Dating a Jew would strongly suggest that you do not hate them.
2. If anything, he is the victim of discrimination. Again, this would make his evident anger more understandable.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Have you ever wondered why that stupid Nigerian scam has kept going on for so long? It was so obviously a scam that it's impossible that anyone would ever buy into it, right? At least anyone with any intelligence and/or money. Maybe not:

A former Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researcher and Harvard University professor is scheduled to be arraigned today in Roxbury District Court on charges of bilking coworkers, students, and friends out of $600,000 they invested in a bogus Internet research company he claimed to have started in China to fight SARS, Boston police said.


When he was arrested, Xu told police he was investing the money in a Nigerian business venture in which he expected a $50 million return.

"I tried to tell him he had been scammed," said Detective Steve Blair, speaking at a press conference last night at Boston police headquarters. "His plan all along was this Nigerian investment."

Incredible. I wonder how many more Nigerian conmen will be encouraged to continue the scam, and for how many more years by this score.

Ben Franklin called Harvard students of his day "great blockheads". Obviously, at least one of the Harvard professors of today fits that bill.
Via Pejmanesque:

The Guardian reports:

[S]cientists ... are confident that people will soon be able to replace lost teeth by growing new ones.
Instead of false teeth, a small ball of cells capable of growing into a new tooth will be implanted where the missing one used to be.

The procedure needs only a local anaesthetic and the new tooth should be fully formed within a few months of the cells being implanted.

Monday, May 03, 2004

On The Corner, Peter Robinson made the following rather alarming claim:

It's one matter to be vaguely aware that the Chinese economy is expanding. It's another to come across a statistic such as this: With just over fifth of the world's population, China last year consumed 55 percent of the world's total output of concrete.

Luckily, the actual figure (and circumstances) seem to be quite different. In this article in the Chicago Tribune it states that "by one account" China consumed 40% of the world's concrete in 2003. By the way it was written it leads me to believe that this estimate was the largest found. Still a huge amount, but considerably less than 55%.

In addition to the uncertainty as to how much concrete China is actually consuming, the article also goes on to consider the possibility that all this concrete may be due to a "bubble" economy, in which unneeded buildings are being thrown up with abandon, only to sit empty and abandoned:

Government officials estimate 1 million construction workers are on the job in Beijing, spread across thousands of projects. Condominiums, office blocks, luxury hotels, shopping malls: All are going up in the frenzied rush of a giddy economic boom, fueling fears that this is the most indulgent, overly optimistic speculative fever since the U.S. dot-com debacle or the great real estate crash of Japan.

Beijing already has one new ghost town, a redeveloped street of shopping malls that stands empty and unwanted just south of Tiananmen Square.

And to bolster the possibility that this is at least partially the result of a huge property bubble that could collapse like a dotcom stock:

China ordered its banks to restrict real estate industry lending that totaled US$222 billion at the end of April in a move to reduce loan risk, avoid fraud and cool an overheated property market.

The People's Bank of China, in a statement on its Web site, said banks will be prohibited from making loans to developers for land purchases and from lending more than 70 percent of the value of property projects.

It also said loans for luxury villas and expensive apartments, which are in oversupply, will be curtailed.

The order is part of a government crackdown on property-related lending after former Premier Zhu Rongji warned last October that an expanding property bubble threatens the nation's economy and financial industry.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

The post on Real Clear Politics that first alerted me to the Kerry Cayman Islands tax scheme (I need to come up with something shorter and catchier. Caymangate? Ugh.) mentioned Kerry's "Benedict Arnold" theme and it's possible relevance. If you look at what Kerry and his campaign have said, it is clear that Kerry is, by his own definition, a "Benedict Arnold", or a traitor to America.

He first started with a rather broad standard, and a mini-scandal arose about the fact that by Kerry's statement many of his close supporters could be considered "Benedict Arnolds" (let me hasten to add that as far as I'm aware, they are all legitimate businesses with legitimate oversea operations). The definition was therefore 'clarified' to be more restrictive. As reported by MSNBC:

When asked for the definition of a "Benedict Arnold" company or CEO, Stephanie Cutter, Kerry's spokeswoman, said: "Companies that take advantage of tax loopholes to set up bank accounts or move jobs abroad simply to avoid taxes."

So, to reiterate - Kerry and his campaign have stated that those who "take advantage of tax loopholes to set up bank accounts ... abroad simply to avoid taxes" are "Benedict Arnolds", or traitors.

Now let's consider what he told the Boston Globe just last year. When asked about why he got into his Cayman Island fiasco, he told them:

Kerry said he wanted to protect some of the money at tax time, and, on advice of some of his fund-raisers, jumped into the commodities investment.

"I thought it was a way to try to minimize tax consequences," he said.

So Kerry set up business(es) and (presumably) bank accounts overseas simply in an effort to avoid taxes. A traitor, by his own definition.

It sort of gives the phrase "the politics of personal destruction" a whole new meaning, doesn't it? While he has been fatuously accusing Bush, Cheney and a "right wing smear campaign" of questioning his patriotism, the only person who has truly questioned Kerry's patriotism is Kerry himself.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Yet more related to the Kerry tax avoidance scheme. As reported in the Guardian, a statement which, if the press does it's job, should come back to bite him in the rear end:

Kerry has promised to lead an 'international coalition' against tax havens, claiming that $5 trillion of US assets have been moved offshore, beyond the legitimate reach of America's tax authorities. He says he will 'provide middle-class payroll tax relief to get money in the pockets of workers who will spend it, not more tax giveaways for those at the top to stimulate the economy in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda'.

The Senator's interest in banking secrecy and tax havens goes back a long way. In Washington, he is better known as a 'prosecutor' than a legislator, having personally authored fewer than a dozen bills since his election in 1984.

Incredible. Yes, the Senator's interest in bank secrecy and tax havens (and the Cayman Islands) does go back a long way, doesn't it?
Instapundit has an item about Joe Wilson's book, and the additional details about his tea sipping junket to Niger. While I don't believe that Wilson has given this information out in public, the general details have been out for quite awhile. For example in this post from July 2003:

So, according to three different officials who had access to Wilson's debriefings, he DID uncover evidence regarding Saddam seeking to purchase uranium. This evidence SUPPORTED Bush's statement. Yet, somehow, the only truly relevant information that Wilson uncovered missed being included in his article. I wonder how that happened.

To make matters even worse, when Wilson was informed that his lie of ommission had been uncovered and exposed, what was his response? In an interview by Time:

Wilson dismissed the suggestion, included in CIA Director George Tenet's own mea culpa last week, that this validates what the President claimed in this State of the Union address: "That then translates into an Iraqi effort to import a significant quantity of uranium as the President alleged? These guys really need to get serious."

Of course, no Administration source has made the claim that his report was the only basis for the claim. In fact, they readily acknowledge that his report in and of itself was 'weak' and 'inconclusive'. What they DO say, a charge that is completely supported (in stark contrast to, say, Wilson's), is that his investigation in fact buttressed the claim Bush made in the SOTU, and did nothing to dimish it.

What IS new is not only the identity of who was possibly looking to buy uranium, but his position. Up until now I had understood it to be a businessman. That is how he was described by George Tenet. To now learn that it was an Iraqi minister that was the contact is astonishing.

That the minister in question later became famous as "Bagdad Bob" is irrelevant. He was doing Saddam's bidding when he was lying to CNN & Co., and he was doing Saddam's bidding in Niger.

Where is Wilson's Mea Culpa? Never forthcoming, of course. The man has no shame.

BTW, is anyone else unsurprised that he released his book, imaginatively titled "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies That Led to War and Exposed My Wife's CIA Identity", before the investigation into the matter of his wife's "outing" has concluded?

From my limited knowledge of him, Joe Wilson has never been one to wait for facts (or, for that matter, to bother with inconveniently contrary ones) before spouting off. These are just the latest examples.
The way the promisory note was written up would explain not only why Kerry lost so much money by early termination, and give a much better estimate of his actual loss.

This puts the lie (again) to his statements to the effect that there were no "real" transactions for him to report to the Senate. This also (again) puts the lie to his statements that this was a total loss for his "initial" investment.

Again, it's been awhile since my Finance days, so some of my terminology will probably not be very precise and may sound strange to someone more conversant in the field. With that said, the promisory note was written in something like the format of a zero coupon bond. The amount given as the "Principal" was not the amount loaned to Kerry, but the amount due at maturity - it was the amount loaned PLUS two years interest.

This explains why Kerry lost his shirt by early termination - the provision governing this option in the contract states that:

"The borrower shall have the right to prepay at any time before maturity the principal of this note" (emphasis added)

So Kerry was on the hook for two years of interest no matter when he repaid the loan. From this if you assume that Kerry was truthful (shaky assumption, on this topic at least) about when he terminated the agreement, he paid 24 months interest on a loan of roughly 4 months duration. Four months of interest on 200,000 at 9% is about $6000. This would make Kerry's loss roughly $32,500.

Bonus questions:

1. Why take out a loan with, essentially, that same amount of cash as collateral? Why not just use your cash? (It's not like Kerry was trying to build his credit).
2. Given that Kerry says that he didn't declare his loss, I would say that it is highly likely that he didn't declare the interest expense of $6000 either (remember that this transaction was done via the shell of Gin Vest (or Ginvest) so as a business expense both were I would imagine deductible. He could have reduced his loss by around 10,000 in the form of tax savings if he had taken these deductions. Was there more reason to hide this than is indicated by what information is currently available?