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Sunday September 28, 2003

(Cardinal tastes like chicken)
The Game: Rams vs. Arizona
The Time: Noon Central.

Thursday September 25, 2003

Here is some evidence of the "seething hatred of Bush" that I alluded to in my comments on Monday:

First but not foremost, Bush's detractors despise him viscerally, as a man. Where working-class populists see him as a smug, effeminate frat boy who wouldn't recognize a hard day's work if it kicked him in his self-satisfied ass, intellectuals see a simian-faced idiot unqualified to mow his own lawn, much less lead the free world. Another group, which includes me, is more patronizing than spiteful. I feel sorry for the dude; he looks so pathetic, so out of his depth, out there under the klieg lights, squinting, searching for nouns and verbs, looking like he's been snatched from his bed and beamed in, and is still half asleep, not sure where he is.

... Bush bashers hate Bush for his personal hypocrisy--the draft-dodger who went AWOL during Vietnam yet sent other young men to die in Afghanistan and Iraq, the philandering cocaine addict who dares to call gays immoral--as well as for his attacks on peace and prosperity. But even that doesn't explain why we hate him so much.

Bush is guilty of a single irredeemable act so heinous and anti-American that Nixon's corruption and Reagan's intellectual inferiority pale by comparison. No matter what he does, Democrats and Republicans who love their country more than their party will never forgive him for it.

Bush stole the presidency.

... most Americans now consider Bush to be no more legitimate than Saddam Hussein, who also came to power in a coup d'état.

And that's why we hate him.

Wednesday September 24, 2003

Did you hear about this School Shooting? My guess is no. But the real question is: why not? A couple of years ago, this would have made the "top of the hour news" and been a headliner on every news broadcast. It got me to thinking (ouch!).

No seriously, I did a quick google search for "Church Fires" and and found incidents here, here, here, here and here. Remember a few years ago when church fires were all the rage? Why didn't these make the cut. They all occurred in the past few months. Oh, I get it. The press has moved on. Don't you see how it's really all just perceptions fueled by media coverage.

Shark bites anyone? I remember last summer (or was it the one before that) when the beaches were teeming with sharks (and reporters). Sometimes they couldn't wait for the "top of the hour news" and had to cut in with a "Special Bulletin" (I listen to a lot of radio). Haven't heard much of them lately, huh? Well, I did a quick search and found some here, here, here and here.

Just something to think about when you hear the next hysteria from the media

Tuesday September 23, 2003

Maybe some day when I grow up I'll be as smart as Jimmy Breslin. Then maybe I'll understand his article in Newsday: They Lied and Many Soldiers Died. He quotes the alleged "lies" spoken by Bush, Cheney and Rice:

On Oct. 14, 2002, Bush said, "This is a man [Saddam] that we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, on Sept. 26, 2002, "Yes, there is a linkage between al-Qaida and Iraq."

Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said on Sept. 25, 2002, "There have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of al-Qaida going back for actually quite a long time."

They knew exactly what they were saying and what it would do. It was using a Big Lie in an age of screens and faxes. What did you think it was, a government telling you the truth? Why should they do that?

At summer's end, suspicions rose. It was time to change the lie before it became a liability. How do you do that? By using the ultimate con: telling the truth.

Here's the "big shocker" as Breslin quotes what these three are saying now:

Here in the world of professional lying is how you use the truth to defuse a lie when it becomes dangerous to keep: Suddenly, Donald Rumsfeld on Sept. 16 announced, "I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks."

That same day, Condoleezza Rice jumped up and chirped, "And we have never claimed that Saddam Hussein had either ... direction or control of 9/11. What we've said is that this was someone who supported terrorists, helped train them."

And then the next day, George Bush said, "There's no question that Saddam Hussein has al-Qaida ties. We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11 attacks."

So the three now say that they never said that Hussein was involved in the World Trade Center attack. Look up what we said. We never said it.

Breslin's point is that of course the Bushies lied to us by saying (although not with any actual words, apparently) that there was a direct link between Iraq and 9/11. See those first set of quotes, there it is in plain...oops. Like I said, I'm not as smart as Jimmy Breslin.

But I can use the internet to find relevant quotes. Here is a portion of President Bush's address to the nation on October 7, 2002, prior to his request for authorization from Congress to use military force:

And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups. Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

These are not just some off-hand remarks. This was an address where President Bush laid his cards on the table to convince the public and Congress that military action may be needed. This seems pretty consistent with present day quotes. I didn't see any "lies" there. But wait, there's more:

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing, in fact, they would be eager, to use biological or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.

My reading of this (and again, I'm not a smart as Jimmy Breslin) is that in the post 9/11 world, we can't wait until we are attacked. We must act proactively. And that is just what we've done. Bush does not explicitly say (or even imply) that Iraq was behind 9/11. The only tie between Iraq and 9/11 is that after we were attacked and thousands killed, our thinking changed. We can no longer afford to give time and advantage to enemies of the U.S. while we wait for them to attack us.

Sorry to prattle on, but that Jimmy Breslin just gets my goat.

Monday September 22, 2003


Much has been made over the past several weeks regarding the apparent "disconnect", with regards to operations in Iraq, between what we're being fed by the major media and other reports directly from the field. If you've done much web surfing (especially the blogs) you've surely seen this trend. Every minor and major incident in Iraq is at the top of hourly news roundups on the radio, yet almost universall unmentioned, are the good things that are happening in Iraq. In mid-September, a group of seven members of Congress went to Iraq to see for themselves. Here is an excerpt from an Atlanta Journal Constitution editorial by Jim Marshall (D-GA):

But there will be more Blumbergs killed in action, many more. So it is worth doing only if we have a reasonable chance of success. And we do, but I'm afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with "the rest of the story," the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy. (emphasis added)

During the conventional part of this conflict, embedded journalists reported the good, the bad and the ugly. Where are the embeds now that we are in the difficult part of the war, now that fair and balanced reporting is critically important to our chances of success? At the height of the conventional conflict, Fox News alone had 27 journalists embedded with U.S. troops (out of a total of 774 from all Western media). Today there are only 27 embedded journalists from all media combined...

Zogby International recently released the results of an August poll showing hope and progress. My own unscientific surveys told me the same thing. With virtually no exceptions, hundreds of Iraqis enthusiastically waved back at me as I sat in the open door of a helicopter traveling between Babylon and Baghdad. And I received a similar reception as I worked my way alone, shaking hands through a large crowd of refinery workers just to see their reaction.

UPDATE: More on the trip to Iraq is here.

To coin a phrase...Bully! He gets it. He's a Democrat. He's a member of the House Armed Services Committee. This is not something that you hear much out of the Democrat leadership these days--perhaps it's just not fashionable. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve... Doesn't the constant whining and carping by those on the left (yes, I'm thinking Teddy Kennedy, and most of the presidential wannabes) also weaken our national resolve. I believe that many Democrats (no, not the rank and file, just many of the politicians) don't want Iraq to be success. Well, not too much of a success. And not President Bush's success. There's such a seething hatred for President Bush that it clouds their judgement. They perform all sorts of olympiad quality mental gymnastics in order to opine: "Bush lied", "it's all about oil", "the war plans were drawn up when Dubbya was governor". %*#&, this is a war, and it' s one that most people agree we should win. It's not that all Democrats lack principals, it's just that: 1) the most vocal generally do and 2) many think that they need to be in opposition in order to appeal to their base. It does the heart good to see a lone Democrat wandering off the reservation from time to time.

But I digress... More on media bias from Chief Wiggles who blogs directly from Baghdad:

During the course of my daily activities I often take time to glance through the headlines of the so-called news being reported by our own media back in the states. The constant barrage of negative news the media chooses to report on bothers me, depicting quite a different view of what is transpiring over here.

I am forced to ponder the value of a news-media that only reports a distorted view of events based on what they determine will sell papers and magazines or news that supports their own biased political attitudes. What is the value of news that doesn't tell the true story, but only a one-sided biased interpretation predetermined before the news events even occur. Why should the political bias or personal agenda of the news agency be so intertwined with the facts of the event, so as to purposely influence the attitudes of the reader?

Also, read Michael Barone's take:

The media also have the wrong standard for what is news. It is news when there is a fatal accident at Disneyland and not news when there is not. But Iraq is not Disneyland. In a country that is occupied after decades of a brutal dictatorship, good news is news. Yet with only a few exceptions--see Michael Gordon's story in the New York Times on the 101st Airborne in northern Iraq--the good news is not being told. More than 6,000 Iraqi civil affairs units--local governments--have been set up. Hospitals have been reopened. A court system has been set up. Mistakes, inevitable in a chaotic world, are being corrected: A Baathist leader put in charge in Najaf was soon removed.

Reports from soldiers on the ground, circulating widely on the Internet but seldom if ever appearing in old media, indicate that the large majority of Iraqis are friendly and helpful and glad that American troops are there. Those may be anecdotes; data come from a poll conducted in August by American Enterprise in four major cities, including one in the so-called Sunni triangle. No one should dwell on the precise percentages, which are subject to error, but by wide margins the results show that Iraqis are optimistic about the future and unfavorably disposed to Osama bin Laden, the Iranian mullahs, and, especially, the Baathist remnants. We cannot be sure exactly how Iraqis' minds are changing. But the evidence suggests they are receptive to representative democracy and hostile to Palestinians and other Arabs who supported their oppressor.

Picking up on David Horowitz's campaign against the leftist monopoly in colleges and universities, Vox Day has a modest proposal:

What is needed is a federal Academic Fairness Doctrine, which would require every institution of higher learning in the country to establish ideological quotas for their faculties. Or perhaps I should say, ideological affirmative action. Each professor would check off one of eight boxes, Socialist, Green, Democrat, Republican, Constitutional, Libertarian, Other (Left) or Other (Right), and a college with a faculty that was not equitably balanced between the parties of left and right would suffer the loss of its federal funding.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin makes a very strong case in defense of Mel Gibson.

Ve hafe vays ov makink you tok:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11 attacks, has told American interrogators that he first discussed the plot with Osama bin Laden in 1996 and that the original plan called for hijacking five commercial jets on each US coast before it was modified several times, according to interrogation reports.

Mohammed also divulged that, in its final stages, the hijacking plan called for as many as 22 terrorists and four planes in a first wave, followed by a second wave of suicide hijackings that were to be aided possibly by al-Qaeda allies in South-East Asia, according to the reports.

Over time, bin Laden scrapped various parts of the September 11 plan, including attacks on both coasts and hijacking or bombing some planes in East Asia, Mohammed is quoted as saying in reports that shed new light on the origins and evolution of the plot of September 11, 2001.