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Sunday September 12, 2004

Great stuff over at Powerline:

I don't know how the forged document scandal will ultimately play out. I don't know whether CBS will be forced to acknowledge that the documents are fakes, or whether Dan Rather will resign in disgrace. But I do know this: everyone who cares already knows that the "Killian memos" are low-quality forgeries.

Very few Americans are news junkies. Most people will probably never know about the CBS scandal, or will never have enough information to form a judgment about it. For that matter, most don't care. But within the news business, and inside the relatively small slice of the American population where sophisticated consumers of the news dwell, everyone knows, already, that Dan Rather and CBS News tried to influence the November election by telling lies and publishing forged documents. CBS has been disgraced among its peers.

The fact that CBS was willing to barter away what remained of its reputation in exchange for an opportunity to help the John Kerry campaign requires us to re-examine our assumptions about the mainstream media, just as the emergence of the suicide bomber required us to re-examine certain assumptions about security. We never thought that a vast, powerful broadcast network would destroy its own reputation for political gain. Now we know that it can happen.


The Game: Rams v.s. Arizona
The Time: 12: 00 p.m. (Central)
The Line: Rams by 10
UPDATE: The Score: Rams 17 Arizona 10

Saturday September 11, 2004

It just makes you wonder if the fine folks at AP know what the heck is going on. For two days now, there's this been this ongoing controversy about the validity of the CBS documents. As of this time (early Saturday afternoon) the camps are roughly divided thusly: CBS and The Boston Globe believe the documents are legit. The rest of the free world believes that the docs are bogus. The reasons as to why they are fradulent are many and growing, meanwhile, even the sources that the Globe uses to vouch for the provenence of the documents have flipped--feeling they have been misled and misquoted. So what does the AP do? They are still focused on the content of the documents and getting reactions from veterans on the content. Here'a a sample:

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - Frank Jones says he's angry about newly revealed memos that indicate President Bush got preferential treatment in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam war, but he's not surprised by favoritism in the Guard.

Jones, a Republican from Troy, N.Y., served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971 before doing 16 years in the Guard himself. As the presidential election nears, Jones says controversy over both candidates' military records and the mounting death toll in Iraq are important issues.

"I'm really in neither camp at this point," he said. "However, I do see a direct correlation to Vietnam. The body count is really starting to get to me."

Some current and retired members of the National Guard and other military services say the newly revealed Bush documents do not bother them, while others say they are troubling.

The documents, which became fodder for Democratic critics last week, indicate Bush was suspended from flying with his Texas Air National Guard unit because he missed a medical exam and that he missed six months of training. Questions have been raised about the documents' authenticity.

See that last sentence? Those were the only words in the 674 word article about reation from veterans to the content of the fraudulent documents. Do you think the AP reporter notified any of the veterans who gave quotes that there were questions about these documents? Really?

More MSM meltdown. The Boston Globe, since they were equally duped, is scrambling just as vociferously as CBS to find someone who will verify the authenticity of the documents in question. Check out this info:

Philip D. Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe yesterday that after further study, he now believes the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.

But, heavens-to-betsey, it appears that the Globe misquoted Bouffard and he is not happy. This is what Mr. Bouffard told INDC Journal:

"What the Boston Globe did now sort of pisses me off, because now I have people calling me and e-mailing me, and calling me names, saying that I changed my mind. I did not change my mind at all!"

"I would appreciate it if you could do whatever it takes to clear this up, through your internet site, or whatever."

"What I said to them was, I got new information about possible Selectric fonts and (Air Force) documents that indicated a Selectric machine could have been available, and I needed to do more analysis and consider it."

"But the more information we get and the more my colleagues look at this, we're more convinced that there are significant differences between the type of the (IBM) Composer that was available and the questionable document."

"More things were looked into; more things about IBM options. Even if you bought special (superscripting) keys, it's not right. There are all kinds of things that say that this is not a typewriter."

These quotes seem to belie the Globe Headline, Authenticity backed on Bush documents. But, hey what do I know. I'm not a big time fancy-pants reporter with editors and such. I'm just a poor blogger sitting in my living room in my pajamas.

Double Standard? Of course there's a double standard:

Unfortunately for CBS, Dan Rather's hairdresser sucks up so much of the budget that there was nothing left for any fact-checking, so the ''60 Minutes'' crew rushed on air with a damning National Guard memo conveniently called ''CYA'' that Bush's commanding officer had written to himself 32 years ago. ''This was too hot not to push,'' one producer told the American Spectator. Hundreds of living Swiftvets who've signed affidavits and are prepared to testify on camera -- that's way too cold to push; we'd want to fact-check that one thoroughly, till, say, midway through John Kerry's second term. But a handful of memos by one dead guy slipped to us by a Kerry campaign operative -- that meets ''basic standards'' and we gotta get it out there right away.

...Killian is no longer around to confirm his extraordinary Magic Typewriter, but his son denied the stuff was written by his dad, and his widow said her late husband never typed. So, on the one hand, we have hundreds of living veterans with chapter and verse on Kerry's fantasy Christmas in Cambodia, and, on the other hand, we have a guy who's been dead 20 years but is still capable of operating Windows XP. It took the savvy chappies at the Powerline Web site and Charles Johnson of ''Little Green Footballs'' about 20 minutes to spot the eerily 2004 look of the 1972 memo, and various Internet wallahs spent the rest of the day tracking down the country's leading typewriter identification experts.

Or, as Powerline puts it, Two scenarios, two answers :

Scenario 1 -- The Swiftvets put out an ad that questions whether John Kerry told the truth about his service during the Vietnam war. The charges go unaddressed for days. When they are finally addressed, the main argument is that the Bush campaign is behind the ads. Thus the charges remain largely unanswered.

Scenario 2 -- CBS airs a story that questions whether George W. Bush told the truth about his service during the Vietnam war. In less than 24 hours, the main elements of the story (the things that made it different from past tellings) are pretty much discredited.

Question -- How do we explain the difference betweeen these scenarios?

Answer 1 -- The Swiftvet story is based on reliable evidence; the CBS story isn't.

Answer 2 -- The Democrats rely on an increasingly incompetent MSM; the Republicans don't, and are the beneficiaries of the efforts of conservative bloggers and their readers.

Friday September 10, 2004

Dan Rather engaging in journalistic Hari-Kari. Jim Geraghty at The Kerry Spot says BAD MOVE, CBS:

This was a weak defense. It clearly picked one or two areas where CBS thought they could muddy the waters, and ignored the other points. Nothing about kerning. Nothing about the paper size. Nothing about the stationary. Nothing about the widow or the son. Nothing about proportional spacing. Nothing about the difference in tone and writing style from other memos by this author. Nothing about the anachronistic language.

Prior to the Rather defense, Powerline offered this:

This would appear to signal the end of Rather's career. If the documents are ultimately accepted as forgeries, which seems inevitable to us, he can't survive. My guess: Rather knows that he will be retiring soon in any event, so as his last public contribution, he is doing whatever he can to elect John Kerry.

I was explaining to a friend just yesterday that hurricanes are actually beneficial in that they help distribute warm equatorial air northward to the poles. While it would probably be good to suppress some of the more dangerous storms that threaten to effect dense population centers, to do so would be extremely difficult. To diminish a fully formed raging storm over small timescales (less than one day) would take significant amounts of energy and would be unfeasable. Since there is considerable uncertainty in the forecast storm track, in order to adequately protect populations, nearly all storms would have to be diminished in their incipient stages. Furthermore, to dampen or eliminate a significant portion of storms wouldn't be advisable because excess heat would build up in the equatorial regions which could negatively effect the Earth's overall heat budget. All the preceeding assumes that it could be done. Even if we could, it is doubtful that we should. Nonetheless, this guy is giving it a shot:

Peter Cordani has been working on his hurricane-fighting plan for years. He's trying to lease a Boeing 747 tanker plane -- and then fly it to the edge of the hurricane, to dump thousands of pounds of an absorbent material into the storm. His company makes the material. Cordani figures he could knock Ivan down a notch or two on the hurricane scale.

Uglier and nastier by the day. Now comes Gary Aldrich:

Somewhere, perhaps in the basement of FBI Headquarters, located at 9th and Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C., are 14 cartons worth of investigative reports involving Mr. Kerry’s activities when he returned from Vietnam. Remarkably, there are records of Mr. Kerry’s attendance at an antiwar, anti-American rally where the assassination of U.S. senators who supported the war was openly discussed as a viable political tactic.

The entire issue of what the FBI knows about Kerry and when they knew it is being totally ignored. But not for long. As the existence and contents of federal records become more and more a part of this presidential campaign, it is inevitable that we will finally get around to talking about Kerry’s FBI files and what’s in them. The FBI records on John Kerry go far beyond your usual FBI background investigation – the FBI was trying to determine if John Kerry should do hard time for conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government through violent means - among other possible charges.

Stay tuned...

NEW YORK, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Later today, CBS News will address on the air and in detail the issues surrounding the documents broadcast in the 60 MINUTES report on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. At this time, however, CBS News states with absolute certainty that the ability to produce the "th" superscript mentioned in reports about the documents did exist on typewriters as early as 1968, and in fact is in President Bush's official military records released by the White House. This and other issues surrounding the authenticity of the documents and more on this developing story will be reported on tonight on THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH DAN RATHER.

Genesis' Broken Capusle Holds Good Science.

This sounds overly optimistic to me, but then, Mansoor Ijaz is a lot smarter than I am.

Islamist terrorism's global scourge has been unable to launch anything more than verbal tirades at America. And while the jihadists have won successes in lesser form — the train bombings in Spain that unseated a government, hostage-taking dramas in Iraq that forced minor players from the global antiterror team, and Iran's successful effort to sow divisiveness in the West about its nuclear ambitions while harboring much of al Qaeda's senior leadership — the fact remains that they have not been able to execute a spectacular strike in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Osama bin Laden's global vision — of jihadists crawling from the cracks in every enemy state to strike out at infidels with weapons of mass destruction — is drowning in a swamp of confusion among senior jihadists debating who to attack next, how to do it, and for whose benefit. In short, global jihad has turned on itself, and is being destroyed from within — one botched and more wretched attack at a time.

While the structure of Al Qaeda and their associated jihadists is probably fairly well fragmented at this time, it really just takes a few yahoos with some nasty germs to create total havoc. I'd say we have been fairly lucky (not skill, luck--or perhaps Providence) that we've not been hit more severely since 9/11. But Ijaz's thesis is that the islamists are now turning on each other because they have no morality and no code and that now is the time for decent people everywhere to turn on them and defeat them. Hey, why are you reading my synopsis--go read the whole thing.

WILLFUL IGNORANCE! How else can you explain the fact that CNN continues to run this story (which was posted Friday, September 10 at 7:52 EDT) about the newly revealed Bush ANG documents without at least mentioning that there are some serious questions as to the authenticity of those documents. The Boston Globe is no better. Here's a sample quote from the CNN piece(emphases added):

courtesty of

A [completely fraudulent] memo dated May 19, 1972, five days after Bush was supposed to have completed his physical, summarizes a telephone discussion with Bush about how he "can get out of coming to drill from now through November." It [i.e. the completely fraudulent memo] says Bush was "told he could do ET for three months or transfer." ET referred to equivalent training, a procedure for meeting training requirements without attending regularly scheduled drills. The same [completely fraudulent] memo says "we talked about him getting his flight physical situation fixed" and quotes Bush as saying he would "do that in Alabama if he stays in a flight status." It [i.e. the completely fraudulent memo] also says, "I advised him of our investment in him and his commitment."

Again, these emphases and slight editorial comments were added by me, but you would think that CNN would at least let readers know that there are, how shall we say it...lingering questions. These questions have not only been raised in the blogosphere, they were also reported in the print media and quickly spread to the Main Stream Media. You might think the story is hard to find. But I think an intrepid CNN or Boston Globe reporter could get an inkling of a sniff of a hint of a trail if they happened to look here or here or here or here or here or here or here. Heck, by now even CBS News has admitted that there at least questions as to the veracity of the documents (really that's too kind--they were forged):

Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software. Lines, a document expert and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, pointed to a superscript — a smaller, raised "th" in "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" — as evidence indicating forgery. Microsoft Word automatically inserts superscripts in the same style as the two on the memos obtained by CBS, she said.

"I'm virtually certain these were computer generated," Lines said after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software.

Remarkably, CBS stil stands by its story:

"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking," the statement read.

"In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," the statement continued. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned."

I think Glenn Reynolds is right. The biggest loser in this election cycle won't be the Republicans or the Democrats. It will be the media elites who didn't recognize the fundamental change that the internet has made in the way many people receive and disseminate the news. The old media are not longer the gatekeepers. They are not longer looked upon with reverence. Their blatant bias is laughable, especially when it so completely clouds their judgement. More and more people are noticing and the mainstream media is hemorrhaging credibility as a result. It's hard to see clearly when you have an "I hate Bush" sticker plastered across your face. In fact, some of the traditional media outlets have begun sourcing internet blogs in their stories, such as this one from the Chicago Sun-Times:

The morning after the "60 Minutes II" airing, the Internet was buzzing with claims that the documents were forged. Powerlineblog first aired speculation that there was persuasive evidence from the typefaces and spacing that the documents supposedly prepared in the age of typewriters in the early 1970s showed the unmistakable characteristics of computer printing. Another blogger, Bill Ardolino at INDC Journal, who had read Powerline, said, "I decided to find a top typeface expert and ran his analysis on my Web site."

The folks at Belmont Club offer this:

None of this is to argue that the mainstream media is always wrong or that the blogosphere will always be right. Blogs, including this one, are often wrong. But there is no reason why bloggers should ipso facto be dismissed as amateur analysts when compared to the Mainstream Media (MSM). The traditional news model is collapsing. It suffers from two defects. The "news object" can no longer be given sealed attributes in newspaper backrooms. The days when the press was the news object foundry are dying. Second, the news industry is suffering from its lack of analytic cells, which are standard equipment in intellgence shops. Editors do some analysis but their focus is diluted by their attention to style and the craft of writing. The blogosphere and other actors, now connected over the Internet, are filling in for the missing analytic function. And although the news networks still generate, via their reporters, the bulk of primary news, they generate a pitiful amount of competent analysis. Put another way, the classic media outlet generates data and entertainment but they don't generate much information. Because of this, the MSM will stumble into these pitfalls time and again. The Andrew Gilligan and Jayson Blair fiascos were indicators that something was really wrong, but no one was listening then. Maybe there is no point to listening now.

And this from John Podhoretz at the New York Post:

THE populist revolu tion against the so- called mainstream media continues. Yesterday, the citizen journalists who produce blogs on the Internet — and their engaged readers — engaged in the wholesale exposure of what appears to be a presidential-year dirty trick against George W. Bush. What the bloggers and their audiences did was call into profound question the authenticity of four documents proudly trumpeted by CBS News in a much-heralded investigative report on Wednesday night's edition of "60 Minutes" about the president's National Guard service in the early 1970s.

And now there are indications that the documents came from the Kerry campaign:

More than six weeks ago, an opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee received documents purportedly written by President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard squadron commander, the late Col. Jerry Killian.

The oppo researcher claimed the source was "a retired military officer." According to a DNC staffer, the documents were seen by both senior staff members at the DNC, as well as the Kerry campaign.

"More than a couple people heard about the papers," says the DNC staffer. "I've heard that they ended up with the Kerry campaign, for them to decide to how to proceed, and presumably they were handed over to 60 Minutes, which used them the other night. But I know this much. When there was discussion here, there were doubts raised about their authenticity."

Thursday September 9, 2004

Sometimes it's good to have a little perspective. Thus, a view of the candidates from the opposition (from ABC's The Note:


Born (with a silver spoon in his mouth) to patrician New England family in New Haven on July 6, 1946.
Prep school cheerleader.
Young and irresponsible — and vaguely so.
"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."
AWOL, physical-dodging, hard-partying bogus flyboy.
Failed businessman with continuing young and irresponsible behavior (a.k.a.: the Kitty Kelley years).
Powerless, faux-bipartisan governor of Texas.
Over-promising, vague, McCain-savaging presidential candidate.
Supreme-Court-manipulating, illegitimate president-elect.
Right-wing, war-mongering, environment-destroying, special-interest-controlled, daddy-revenge-seeking, stem-cell-research-crushing, vacation-taking, tax-cutting, neo-con puppet POTUS.


Privileged, French boy with ambiguous cultural heritage.
Preternaturally ambitious prepster.
Medal-seeking, exploit-filming, fabricating, wimpy-yet-overly-aggressive Swift Boat exploiter.
Medal-throwing, Fonda-consorting, Genghis-Khan-citing anti-war radical.
Money-marrying, rich-man's-sports-loving pretty boy.
District-shopping, Dukakis-hugging, hyper-ambitious pol.
Uber-liberal, do-nothing, anti-military, tax-raising senator.
Howard-Dean-aping, flip-flopping, Iraq-war-bobbing, Gore-like presidential candidate.

If you watched Ben Barnes on 60 Minutes last night, you might want to read Beldar, who is considerably less than impressed:

I'm repeating myself . I didn't intend to write about this again, so soon. But while I don't have the exact quote — and didn't have my videotape running, unfortunately, and missed the first few minutes of the segment — Dan Rather told a whopper on "60 Minutes II" tonight when he said (quoting from memory) that "Ben Barnes hasn't told this story before tonight."

Dan, as the WaPo noted last week , as part of the breathless buildup to your new exposé — Ben Barnes told this same story, and actually gave an affidavit and/or deposition testimony pretty much to the same effect, in 1999. His spin now is more colorful, but his facts haven't changed.

Barnes thinks he did a favor to get young Dubya into the Texas Air National Guard. He didn't say in 1999 — and he again didn't say tonight — that anyone from the Bush family asked him to do so. Nor has it been established that without Barnes' unsought intercession, Dubya wouldn't have gotten into the same spot in which he ended up. And the unit for which Dubya signed up had pilots flying in combat over Southeast Asia at that moment. Even stateside Guard service flying an F-102 was dangerous duty — certainly at least as dangerous, and similarly honorable, as serving as a junior officer aboard a guilded missile friggate.

You should really read Beldar every day.

In an ominously titled piece, Memos Show Bush Suspended From Flying, AP writer Pete Yost basically confirms what the Bush campaign has been saying (i.e. that he skipped a flight physical which was required to maintain flying status) and treats it like it's new news with an added dimension:

The White House released memos Wednesday night saying that George W. Bush was suspended from flying fighter jets for failing to meet standards of the Texas Air National Guard.

The Vietnam-era memos add new dimensions to the bare-bones explanation of Bush's aides over the years that he was suspended simply because he decided to skip his annual physical exam. The exam was scheduled during a year in which Bush left Texas, where he had been flying fighter jets, to work on a U.S. Senate campaign in Alabama.

"On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination ... as ordered," states an Aug. 1, 1972, memo by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian.

The clear implication is that there are new revelations and that Bush was not suspended simply because he decided to skip his annual physical exam. However, the memo cited actually supports that characterization. Failure to perform to standards is a USAF term of art which can pertain to any number things, but in this case the particular standard is mentioned--the requirement to meet an annual physical examination. Byron York outlines Bush's entire ANG service and explains:

...That brings the story to May 1972 — the time that has been the focus of so many news reports — when Bush “deserted” (according to anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore) or went “AWOL” (according to Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee).

Bush asked for permission to go to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign. His superior officers said OK. Requests like that weren’t unusual, says retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971.

“In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots,” Campenni says. “The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In ’72 or ’73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem.”

UPDATE: There are some that think these new documents may be forgeries:

The "Memo To File" of August 18, 1973 also used specialized typesetting characters not used on typewriters. These include the superscript "th" in 187th, and consistent ’ (right single quote) used instead of a typewriter's generic ' (apostrophe). These are the sorts of things that typesetters did manually until the advent of smart correction in things like Microsoft Word.

I would think that if an anti-Bush type of person went to all the trouble to produce forged documents, then at least they would be more damning.

UPDATE II: It seems that this story is spreading across the internet faster than a bogus AP quote. Check out Little Green Footballs and this from RatherBiased:

During last night's 60 Minutes program on President George W. Bush's Air National Guard service, the CBS News touted a number of documents which seemingly indicate that the future president failed to meet his service obligations.

That may well be the case but it is becoming increasingly evident that 60 Minutes , and the Dan Rather, the reporter behind the story, may have been relying on forged documents to prove their case.

Several indicators point to this conclusion including the fact that the four memoranda, which Rather said were written during the early 1970s by Bush's commanding officer Lt. Colonel Jerry Killian, are printed in a proportionally spaced type style similar to the common computer font Times New Roman. But such computer technology had not even been invented when the documents were allegedly written.

UPDATE III: And from the blogosphere, it spreads to the print media. Perhaps the good folks at CBS have let their ideology cloud their judgement. The same can be said for the The Today Show which will have Kitty Kelly on tomorrow--but that's a different thread. Here's the latest from The Weekly Standard:

DOCUMENTS CITED Wednesday by 60 Minutes in a widely-publicized expose of George W. Bush's National Guard Service are very likely forgeries, according to several experts on document authenticity and typography. The documents--four memos from Killian to himself or his files written in 1972 and 1973--appear to indicate that Bush refused or ignored orders to have a physical exam required to continue flying. CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported the segment and sourced the documents this way: "60 Minutes has obtained a number of documents we are told were taken from Col. Killian's personal file," he said. The 60 Minutes story served as the basis for follow-up news reports for dozens of news organizations across the country. The memos were almost immediately questioned in the blog world, with blog Power Line leading the charge.

It took bloggers a few hours time to notice some peculiarities with these documents. With the resources of CBS you would think that they could vet these things a little more closely. Of course, when you have an "I hate Bush" bumper sticker over your eyes, it's difficult to see.

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch has filed an additional complaint to the Secretary of the Navy regarding John Kerry's medals:

The supplemental filing, available by clicking here , provides the Secretary of the Navy with additional analysis of Senator Kerry’s publicly available Navy record concerning his award of the Silver Star, in light of Secretary of the Navy (“SECNAV”) Instruction 1650.1G (“Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual”). Orders and citations posted on Senator Kerry’s Internet site reflect citations for the Silver Star being “awarded” to Senator Kerry under the authority of both Vice Admiral Zumwalt (Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam) and Admiral Hyland (Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet). Section 113.3 of SECNAVINST 1650.1G directs that only the Secretary of the Navy can, in the name of the President, award the Silver Star.

UPDATE: From Stars and Stripes:

The Navy has not decided whether it will investigate John Kerry’s war record after receiving a request to do so by a public interest group, a Navy spokesman said Tuesday....Navy Cmdr. Conrad Chun of the Navy Office of Information said the Navy “has not decided what it will do with the request,” but that the inspector general would review it.

Although the Republicans spoke strongly of border security at the convention, Terence Jeffrey is unconvinced. I, too, remain skeptical. The platform sounds good enough:

“We must strengthen our Border Patrol to stop illegal crossings, and we will equip the Border Patrol with the tools, technologies, structures and sufficient force necessary to secure the border.”

However, I fear that they're just words on paper. President Bush has not shown that he is very serious about this problem considering that earlier this year he proposed an amnesty plan for illegals (that was a "guest worker" program --ed.) Yeah, right.

Hi, I'm Ben ShapiroMuch is made of Bush's gaffes. Word on the street is that he is inarticulate at times. Hey, so am I and I don't speak in public every day. But not much has been made of Kerry's verbal challenges. Luckily, Ben Shapiro is on the case. Yes, it's entirely irrevelant, but it's pretty funny:

After President Bush's terrific speech at the Republican National Convention, John F. Kerry decided he wasn't the type to take a piece of political shrapnel in the rear without fighting back. And so he rose to his feet, took a hit of botox and stepped to the microphone. "I have five words for Americans," he boomed imperiously. "This is your wake up call!"

Except that this was six words. Or, as columnist Mark Steyn put it, "It's all very nuanced, according to whether you hyphenate the 'wake-up.' Maybe he should have said, 'I have four words plus a common hyphenated expression for Americans.' I'd suggest the rewrite to him personally, but I don't want him to stare huffily at me and drone, 'How dare you attack my patriotism.'"

Perhaps it's time for these folks to do a rethink: the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror".

The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo - implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there. In August, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow describes as a terrorist. Coming from both political parties, the ACPC members represent the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views are indeed those of the US administration.

It started with misleading quote by the AP. Then picked up by the LA Times and the NY Times. Then it spread like wildfire. What was it? The quote by Dick Cheney in which he purportedly claims that if Kerry is elected, the U.S. is more likely to suffer a terrorist attack. Patterico has the skinny:

But there is a difference between saying, on the one hand: "John Kerry will respond to terrorist attacks in an inappropriate fashion, which will eventually lead to more terrorism," and saying, on the other hand: "If you elect John Kerry, we are going to get hit with another terrorist attack." The former charge is standard campaign rhetoric. The latter charge, which implies an immediate and direct causation between a Kerry presidency and an act of terror, is one that many Americans would see as needlessly controversial and inflammatory.

By snipping the quote where they did, and declaring that Cheney made the latter, more controversial accusation, the folks at the AP deprived their readers of the ability to interpret Cheney's quote for themselves. Unless they happen to have heard the entire quote in context, as I did, AP readers will have no idea that Cheney appeared to be making a different, less inflammatory, and more defensible point.

The good folks at TimesWatch are also on the case .

It seems as though we may be close to capturing Bin Laden. This from ABC on September 4:

The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

...Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaida fugitives would be nabbed.

"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place."

Bin Laden and his top associate, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding some place along the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Officials have divulged no solid intelligence about bin Laden's precise whereabouts, and it's not clear if they have any.

Not sure if they're related, but now, five days later, comes this:

Pakistani jets pounded a suspected training camp for foreign militants in a tribal area near the border with Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 50 people, officials said.

The military said the camp was located near Dila Khula, a South Waziristan village about 15 miles northeast of the region's main town, Wana. "There were confirmed reports of training activity being conducted by foreign elements including Uzbeks, Chechens and a few Arabs," the military said in a statement. "These trained terrorists were indulging in sabotage and terrorist acts in the country."

Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan told the private ARY television channel that 50 people were killed and most were foreigners. He said the camp was totally destroyed and all the people there were believed killed.

Of course, if we get Bin Laden now some will only question the timing.

Wednesday September 8, 2004

OK. Here we go. The MSM is now again resurrecting the Bush National Guard stories. Willingly. Gladly. Vigorously. I say Bully! For all I know, the following opinion by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times may even be true:

The sheer volume of missing documents, and missing recollections, strongly suggests to me that Mr. Bush blew off his Guard obligations. It's not fair to say Mr. Bush deserted. My sense is that he (like some others at the time) neglected his National Guard obligations, did the bare minimum to avoid serious trouble and was finally let off by commanders who considered him a headache but felt it wasn't worth the hassle to punish him.

I don't know for sure and neither do you. Nor does Mr. Kristof. Nor do we know if all the SwiftVets allegations are true. But some of them are. Do the current charges against the President deserve to be looked at? Sure. Do the allegations against Kerry deserve to be looked at? Yes. But the charges against Senator Kerry surely are not being investigated by the media with the same degree of, shall we say, zest. Some may say that these events are long ago and far away. Yes, they are. But, one candidate made the long ago and far away the centerpiece of his campaign. One candidate made the distant past his primary qualification to be Commander-in-Chief. One candidate made 35 years ago relevant to today. Perhaps it would be beneficial if that candidate would go before the media (no, Jon Stewart doesn't count) and answer some questions about that history. As Hugh Hewittsays:

"The weakness of Kerrry as a candidate is obvious from the fact that it has now been 38 days since Kerry sat down on camera with a major figure from American journalism for an in-depth interview that would be certain to bring up Kerry's whoppers about his Vietnam service. Kerry's still in the box he built from himself of fables of CIA men and hats and gun-running to Cambodia."

The latest round of Bush National Guard stories have come about because the Pentagon has released additional documents. Meanwhile, Kerry has not released all of his military records. Tom Maguire offers this comment:

The President is running on his record of leadership and his vision for a safer, more propserous America. We are only having this discussion about new documents because the President has signed the Form 180 authorizing the release of all of his records. The President is not running on a service record he has nonetheless fully disclosed; John Kerry is running on a service record he has not fully disclosed. If we are going to compare the two candidates' records, we need full disclosure from both sides.

Monday September 6, 2004

Dig those Viking Kitties.

Neal Boortz and others have critized Muslim groups for not strongly denouncing the many terrorist activities committed by members of their faith. Well, I found this petition, issued May 13, 2004, on the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) website:

The “Not in the Name of Islam” petition states: “We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent. No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam. We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of a tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Sounds good, huh? That's what we wanted to hear. Apparently, the terms repudiate and dissociate mean something different to the Muslim community than they do to me. Here's a portion of a news release issued August 27, 2004, on the same CAIR website:

We are joining in solidarity with the imprisoned Palestinians and their families. AMJ is issuing a national call for MOSQUES AND ALL FAITH COMMUNITIES to devote their weekly sermons to raising awareness of the dire humanitarian plight of Palestinian men and women in Israeli prisons. We are also declaring Monday, August 30th a "Fast for Freedom" Day. All food cost for that day should go to charities that support the Palestinians in their struggle in the face of the Israeli military occupation.

No new news here, but it bears repeating:

Because of a lack of space in that and other detention centers, immigration officials have released thousands of non-Mexican migrants — 23,222 of the 57,633 detained this year — on their own recognizance after obtaining a promise to appear before an immigration judge. More than 70 percent fail to show up for their court dates, agency officials have confirmed.

Ortiz, who fears terrorists can mingle with economic migrants, has demanded the government halt these releases but he acknowledged it will add ''billions " to the detention budget. He said the camp contained undocumented migrants from Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, India, Panama and Sri Lanka.

Clearly, we're not completely serious about the WoT unless and until we get better control of our borders. Bush has been seriously lacking in this regard and Kerry would do well to remind voters of this.

To steal a term from Joe Klein, the diversity warriors have "empretzeled" themselves on the issue:

The black alumni of Harvard are unhappy with the university's affirmative action program. It helps blacks—but the wrong ones. The New York Times says that there are 520 black Harvard undergraduates (8% of the total), but "the majority of them—perhaps as many as two-thirds— [are] West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples." That leaves "only about a third of the students…from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves."

...It will take all the mental agility that a Harvard education can provide to argue that studying next to immigrants or biracial kids diminishes diversity, while reducing their numbers to admit more students descended from slaves enhances it. The obvious solution would be to expand the latter group, not at the expense of the former, but at the expense of the other 92% of the Harvard student body: whites, Asians, Hispanics, Alsatians.

Howie Kurts writes about Michael Moore's excellent adventures covering the Republican convention for USA Today, and then expands the theme:

But the paper merely succumbed to a trend in which political operatives, moonlighting hacks, unemployed pols and pseudo-celebrities have become interchangeable in the profession formerly known as journalism.

Yes, objective reporting is an artifact of a bygone era. At least Moore didn't make things up. This from the WaPo ombudsman:

"Cheney Calls Kerry Unfit," read the big, front-page headline over a story in Thursday's Post about attacks on the Democratic challenger at the Republican convention in speeches by Vice President Cheney and Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia.

The problem is that Cheney never used the word "unfit." Yet the headline can be seen as reinforcing the Swift boat challengers' attack.

...You could draw that conclusion from listening to what Cheney did say. But that, in my view and those of some readers, was a poor choice of words and headline. The headline went beyond what Cheney said and then spread the characterization across the front page.

John Lott, Jr. lays out the case for anti-gun media bias:

People are very surprised to learn that survey data show that guns are used defensively by private citizens in the U.S. from 1.5 to 3.4 million times a year, at least three times more frequently than guns are used to commit crimes. A question I hear repeatedly is: "If defensive gun use occurs so often, why haven't I ever heard of even one story?"

...During 2001, the New York Times published 104 gun crime news articles - ranging from a short blurb about a bar fight to a front-page story on a school shooting - for a total of 50,745 words. In comparison, its single story about a gun used in self-defense amounted to all of 163 words. USA Today printed 5,660 words on crimes committed with guns, and not a single word on defensive gun use. The least lopsided coverage was provided by the Washington Post, with 46,884 words on crimes committed with guns and 953 words on defensive stories - again, not exactly a balanced treatment.

...Data I have collected show that accidental shooters overwhelmingly are adults with long histories of arrests for violent crimes, alcoholism, suspended or revoked driver's licenses and involvement in car crashes. Meanwhile, the annual number of accidental gun deaths involving children under ten - most of these being cases where someone older shoots the child - is consistently a single digit number. It is a kind of media archetype story to report on "naturally curious" children shooting themselves or other children - though in the five years from 1997 to 2001 the entire United States averaged only ten cases a year where a child under ten accidentally shot himself or another child. In contrast, in 2001 bicycles were much more likely to result in accidental deaths than guns. Fully 93 children under the age of ten drowned accidentally in bathtubs. Thirty-six children under five drowned in buckets in 1998. Yet few reporters crusade against buckets or bathtubs.

Wonder why the American diving team didn't win any medals in the Athens Olympics for the first time in 92 years? Overlawyerd has the answer:

"After a golden age in the seventies -- a decadent, late-Roman last hurrah -- the American pool has suffered a gradual decline: thanks, for the most part, to concerns about safety and liability, diving boards have been removed and deep ends undeepened. At municipal pools across the country, the once-ubiquitous one-metre springboard has become an endangered species; and the three-metre high dive -- the T. rex of the community pool -- is now virtually extinct. ... Ron O’Brien, U.S.A. Diving’s national technical director, and the former coach of Greg Louganis, said last week, 'You can't put your finger on any one thing, but having so many diving boards taken out around the country has had a serious impact on our sport, no question about it.'"