April 30, 2004

Seventeen Ugly Americans

Hopefully none of us suffer the misconception that every American serviceman is scrupulously honorable, but the fact that something this involved could occur under the command of a US Army Brigadier General is apallingly shameful. This is a reason why the phrase "thanks to all who serve" must instead be revised to "thanks to all who serve with honor."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:46 PM | What do you think? [3]

Daily Demonization

Take it away Chris:
daybyday04-30-2004.gif

Posted by jk at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

Good News

Spirit of America is doing pretty well on raising $100,000 to get Iraqi TV stations on the air. They've raised $1.5 million, thanks mostly to bloggers and Wall Street Journal readers.

Here's the first load of gear shipping out:
Knapp_Hake_TV.jpg

We have received $1,532,931 in donations in the last two weeks. Contributions from 7,438 donors have been made to every request and every area of Spirit of America's operations. I can't begin to describe the effects this generosity will have on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan - both in helping the people of those countries and in supporting the hard work of those serving there.

As encouraging as the last 14 days have been, I believe we are just at the beginning of seeing homefront support for America's efforts in Iraq. We're fortunate to receive emails, letters and handwritten notes from our donors that thank us for finally getting the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. Since 9/11 many have felt helpless. That no longer need be the case.

You can find more on what's happened and what next at: www.spiritofamerica.net/blog. As promised, we have an accounting there of how the money was spent on the first phase of the Marines TV request.


Good work everybody!

Posted by jk at 09:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 29, 2004

Quote of the Week

From Hall of Famer Mark Steyn in Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

And do Americans want to hand over responsibility for Iraq to someone who won't even take responsibility for the car in his driveway?

The whole article is, of course, great. Hat-tip Hugh Hewitt.

Posted by jk at 10:41 AM | What do you think? [1]

Tech Comeback

Cover those shorts on Starbucks! The WSJ news page says Tech Jobs Start to Come Back In U.S. After Three-Year Slump (paid-site only, sorry)

For the first time in several years, more workers are being hired than are being fired. Executives, recruiters and job applicants say the pace of hiring has picked up significantly this year. Companies are again raising salaries. Job applicants tell of competing offers. Even those still out of work say they sense improved prospects.

National Semiconductor Corp., of Santa Clara, Calif., is adding shifts at chip factories in Maine and Texas to meet surging demand. EMC Corp., a Hopkinton, Mass., maker of data-storage devices, added more than 300 engineering and sales jobs in the first quarter, about half of them in the U.S. Software giant Microsoft Corp. says it is on track with previously announced plans to add 5,000 employees in the fiscal year ending June 30, including 3,500 in the U.S.

"It's just infinitely more activity," says Mike Hanna, a San Rafael, Calif., recruiter for salespeople, primarily for software companies. Since the start of the year, Mr. Hanna, who typically works by himself, has hired two recruiters to handle the increased workload. Software executives "are more optimistic about where the business is going," he says.

I have surely seen it, hiring last summer through today -- there is much less hunger in the candidates. I am from the Larry Kudlow school of optimism but I am completely convinced that this recovery is for real. 4.2% GDP growth today, good earnings reports, jobless claims down -- sorry Senator Kerry, it's a bummer about that recovery thing.

Posted by jk at 08:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 28, 2004

Valor, Honor and Respect

If I may be serious: you will not read anything more moving than this. Take some time and read the whole thing in a quiet place. Taking Chance Home, "Marine Lieutenant Colonel Strobl's account of escorting the remains of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps. It's a long and beautifully written and it deserves to be read in it's entirety. It's about Valor, Honor and Respect."

Semper Fi, Colonel Strobl. Thanks to all who serve.

Posted by jk at 02:35 PM | What do you think? [3]

Happy Saddam's Birthday

Yahoo/AP points out that Iraqis Not Celebrating Saddam's Birthday

While Saddam was in power, the government organized festivals throughout Iraq on his birthday.

And NPR said there used to be hours of pro-Saddam programming on TV. Man, you'd think even the insurgents would be grateful...

Posted by jk at 02:05 PM | What do you think? [0]

... and you lose some

Specter Survives Primary Challenge (washingtonpost.com)

Specter, 74, the Senate's eighth most senior Republican, narrowly defeated conservative Rep. Pat Toomey. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Specter had 517,819 votes, or 51 percent, to Toomey's 502,028 votes, or 49 percent, the Associated Press reported early today.

That was close, kids. Without the President's support, he would have gone down -- I hope Karl Rove knows what he's doing.
PA friend and great blogger AlexC at pstupidonymous sez:
Which means, come November 2nd, I may actually vote for Joe Hoeffel.
Because with a Democrat, I know what I'll be getting.
And Specter wont be on the judiciary committee if he's home.
(no no no, not sour grapes... call it realpolitick)

I wish I could, with any conviction, try to talk you out of it. You've hit the nail on the head -- Specter as head of the Judiciary Committee is a nightmare I don't want to live.

Posted by jk at 08:34 AM | What do you think? [2]

April 27, 2004

Let's talk sports

Senator Kerry is having a rough go, and I hate to kick a guy when he's down. Joseph Epstein pens a nice paean to Wrigley Field and the wonders of baseball in this week's Weekly Standard: Take Me Out to the Ballgame. One paragraph hit a nerve:

But the greatest advantage of all in Wrigley Field is that it does not have a scoreboard on which televised images are shown. This means that one doesn't have to endure the sound of trumpets drawing one's attention to an immense television screen where a race of M&Ms is underway. Nor is any but organ music played at Wrigley Field, and this, happily, only intermittently, which gives one a chance to talk to friends between innings. Unlike NBA games, where no time without entertainment is allowed--bring on the dancing girls, clowns, small blimps--at Wrigley Field one feels the sweet slow leisure of a summer afternoon, given over to the fine but trivial pursuit of watching men do superbly what as a boy one did merely enthusiastically.

I have loved hockey since I was young, and Denver was not a "hockey town" by any stretch. I am happy to have a world-class NHL team, and I loved to watch them win the Stanley Cup twice (1996 and 2001).

But my deep, dark secret is that I hate to go to the games at the Pepsi Center (affectionately, "the Can"). It is non-stop crap. Am I the only one who wants to watch hockey? The whistle blows, we'd better play some Led Zeppelin song. There truly isn't one second that you can discuss the game with your companions.

I know, this qualifies me for instant membership in the grouchy old man club. But I'll take the TV or a minor league or college game.

Go AVS! I'll be watching on TV.

Posted by jk at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [3]

Republican Attack Machine Recruits Dem Candidates

The "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" has given way to the "Republican Attack Machine." We are told that all of Senator Kerry's problems are really just manifestations of the RAM. Yet I seem to see many attacks coming from the other side of the aisle.

In WSJ OpinionJournal's Political Diary, Holman Jenkins, Jr. says that Democrat candidates in Red states are distancing themselves from the party's nominee:

But one who apparently doesn't feel a need for what Mr. McAuliffe is selling is Inez Tenenbaum, running as a Democrat to fill Fritz Holling's soon-to-be vacated South Carolina senate seat. Her hometown paper, Columbia's "The State," observed yesterday her campaign is "going to great lengths to distance itself from John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee."

The survival instincts of politicians are finely honed and sometimes a more reliable evidence of the political state of play than even the polls. Ms. Tenenbaum isn't the only one keeping Mr. Kerry at arm's length. Democratic Senate hopeful Chris John in Louisiana and Oklahoma's Brad Carson have embraced the constitutional marriage amendment rejected by Mr. Kerry, and both take pleasure in separating themselves from him on gun issues. Alaska Democratic Senate candidate Tony Knowles has pronounced the Democratic standard bearer "just wrong" on Alaskan oil drilling.

It's too early to say whether red state Democrats have decided Mr. Kerry is poison, but a lot of political calculations are being re-run in light of evidence that Iraq troubles have not shifted sizeable numbers of voters from the Bush camp to the Kerry camp. A new Pew poll out this morning shows a 5-point jump in Mr. Bush's approval rating just in the month of April. And Mr. Kerry's latest stab at changing the subject to Mr. Bush's National Guard service is not likely to prove particularly productive. Mr. Bush's lackluster record was the subject of a full media bonfire two months ago and he should be immunized by now. Meanwhile, thanks to late-surfacing video from the 1970s, many voters are learning for the first time about the faux nature of Mr. Kerry's gesture of throwing his Vietnam medals away in protest against the war. And it's the fauxness of the gesture that's killing him.

Posted by jk at 11:37 AM | What do you think? [3]

Terrible, Terrible Candidate

No, John Podhoretz is probably not going to pull the D lever, whomever wins the nomination. But he concludes his New York Post Online Edition: postopinion piece by saying "Guys, you should have gone with John Edwards."

The problem is that the conventional wisdom hasn't taken a proper accounting of John Kerry. Here's the truth that Democrats don't want to admit and that Republicans are fearful of speaking openly because they don't want to jinx things:

Kerry is a terrible, terrible, terrible candidate.

It's not so much the policies he proposes, although they don't add up to all that much. The problem is Kerry himself. He no sooner opens his mouth than he sticks first one foot and then the other right in there.

Posted by jk at 09:26 AM | What do you think? [3]

April 26, 2004

Blogger's Bash

This looks fun. Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash May 28 at the Press Club, Downtown Denver. Holler if you want to carpool! Or if you live in Philly and you need a place to stay...
Posted by jk at 03:04 PM | What do you think? [4]

Where Are The Liberals?

Virginia Postrel wonders where the liberals are at the LA Times Book Festival. She says they're underrepresented:

The problem isn't that conservatives or libertarians are missing (though they mostly are) but that liberals--the non-socialist, non-Marxist people who make up the mainstream of the Democratic Party and, for that matter, American journalism--are so dramatically underrepresented. While you can find exceptions, the LAT Book Festival, like the LAT Book Review, represents the world according to David Horowitz, in which there are no liberals, only the left and a few token anti-leftists for "balance."

I think she's on to something. The "center" has gone so far left among the illuminati these days. I know many will disagree but I don't think that has happened to the right -- we have our kooks and some movements with which I disagree -- but I don't see the right "falling off the planet."

Posted by jk at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

oh. They were "Ribbons"

Instapundit links to a transcript of a John Kerry Interview on Good Morning America (the transcript is on Drudge). I think a lot of the talk about Senator Kerry's medals is silly, but his reaction and his response are more interesting:

KERRY: [...] this is a controversy that the republicans are pushing , the republicans have spent $60 million in the last few weeks trying to attack me. and this comes from a president and a republican party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the national guard. i'm not going to stand for it.

GIBSON: senator, i was there 33 years ago and i saw you throw medals over the fence and we didn't find out until later -

KERRY: no, you didn't see me throw th. charlie, charlie, you are wrong. that's not what happened. i threw my ribbons across. all you have to do -

GIBSON: someone else's medals, correct in?

KERRY: after -- excuse me. excuse me, charlie. after the ceremony was over, i had a bronze star and a purple heart given to me, one purple heart by a veteran in the v.a. in new york and the bronze star by an older veteran of world war ii in massachusetts. i threw them over because they asked me to. i never --

GIBSON: let me come back to the thing just said which is the military --

KERRY: this is a phony -- charlie, this is a phony controversy.

GIBSON: the military makes no distinction between ribbons and medals but you are the one who made the distinction. in 1984 --

KERRY: no . we made no distinction back then, charlie. we made no distinction.

GIBSON: senator, i don't want -- i just want to ask the question. in 1984 when you were running for the senate, that was the first time that you called someone in from labor because they were upset that you had thrown ribbons away.

KERRY: no.

GIBSON: you called them and you made the distinction and said i didn't throw my medals away. i just threw the ribbons away. you made the distinction.

KERRY: i was asked specifically in greater detail about what took place. i answered the question truthfully. which is consistent with what happened in 1971. i mean, charlie, go back and get the file footage. there are were millions of people watching. i took my ribbons off my chest just as other veterans did. this is a phony controversy. this is being pushed yesterday by karen hughes of the white house on fox.


UPDATE: The Captain at Captain's Quarters Blog smells despair at the NYTimes and ABC about the Democratic candidate's prospects -- a very good overview of the imbroglio.

UPDATE II: I am always tough on ABC and "Good Morning America." I must admit that they have been tough on a Democrat. Check out abcnews.com.

Posted by jk at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [2]

April 23, 2004

RIP Pat Tillman

Great men walk this Earth, kids. Never forget it. Sadly, a great American has been Killed in Afghanistan

Tillman played four seasons with the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals (news) before enlisting in the Army in May 2002. The safety turned down a three-year, $3.6 million deal from Arizona.

He made the decision after returning from his honeymoon with his wife, Marie.
Tillman's brother, Kevin, a former minor league baseball prospect in the Cleveland Indians (news)' organization, also joined the Rangers and served in the Middle East. They committed to three-year stints in the Army.

Tillman's agent, Frank Bauer, has called him a deep and clear thinker who has never valued material things.

In 2001, Tillman turned down a $9 million, five-year offer sheet from the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams (news) out of loyalty to the Cardinals, and by joining the Army, he passed on millions more from the team.

I don't mean that every one of our brave men and women in uniform are not heroes -- they are.

Thanks to Mr. Tillman and condolences to his family. He made this a brighter world. Requiescat In Pace.

UPDATE: The WSJ has reposted Peggy Noonan's "Privileged to Serve" which ran July 12, 2002.

Posted by jk at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

Senator Kerry on Meet The Press

Hugh Hewitt does a nice send up called "International Man of Apology"

The whole piece is good, but this paragraph caught my eye as Hewitt describes how Kerry is getting away with incomplete or non-answers:

KERRY HAS three things going for him. First, the press, like Tim Russert, isn't listening very closely to the absurdities like "literally, formally rejoining the community of nations." Second, his speaking style is so overwhelmingly self-important and so stultifying oppressive that most folks hit the off-switch when his lips begin to move, thus tuning out comments that would outrage them if they registered on the ears. And third, the "Bush Lied!" crazies wouldn't care if Kerry simply declared the dissolution of American sovereignty and a merger with Canada.

Posted by jk at 09:11 AM | What do you think? [0]

Perspective

Alex at Pstupidonymous has an interesting post from an email he received. I don't know about all the figures' accuracy, but it does give an interesting perspective on Iraq:

FDR led us into World War II. Germany never attacked us: Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.

Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.

John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.

Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us.


Posted by jk at 08:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 22, 2004

Dear Andrew

I object to your assertion that the New Mexico Republican Central Committee is the voice of the GOP. Yes, that remark is beyond the pale, but I went to school in Central New Mexico – it’s gorgeous, but not a trend-setting capital.

I am a proud Republican and I believe in a big tent. I personally am for gay marriage and am tired of the folks at NRO, et all, who want the party to be officially anti-gay.

But brother Andrew, I am also a bit fatigued with your constant invocation of a religious right bogeyman under ever Republican bed.

The uber-blogger replies:

they tell the president what to say on social issues and he says them. not an iota of divergence. when he takes them on, i'll believe you,
andrew

UPDATE: A new post addresses my complaint:
A few of you have written to argue that my citation of a New Mexico Republican suggesting "assassination" for a county clerk who issued marriage licenses to gay couples should not be regarded as the norm for the Republican party. But I have yet to read a conservative denunciation of this. Just as I have yet to see this president do anything to distance himself from the hatred coming from some parts of his own party. Why should it always be up to gay people to point this out? Are there no straight people prepared to stand up against this kind of thing in the G.O.P.?

Not to be flippant but the Berkeley Square Blog officially repudiates the suggestion of "assassination" of the Sandoval County Clerk for her issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

My complaint stands. It is not up to the President to vouchsafe for ever comment made by every small party group.

Posted by jk at 12:05 PM | What do you think? [1]

Spanish Soldiers

The blog FreeWill has a great post on the Spanish soldiers who have been ordered home. I did not think about how badly they must feel.

As expected, Spanish soldiers, like soldiers all over the free world, hate socialist cowardice.

The official line from officers at the Spanish base in Diwaniyah was that they were simply carrying out orders coming from Madrid and that they were in no position to express any emotion or opinion on the matter.

Read the whole post, my callout does not grab the theme. I stand with the people of Spain, not necessarily with their government.

Posted by jk at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [0]

Keep that ketchup pouring

Johngalt was threatening a Heinz boycott based on THK's philanthropical directions.

My buddies at GOPUSA (another impartial media source) say Heinz Shuns Kerry, Supports Bush, GOP

WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- Although likely Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's wife is an heiress to H. J. Heinz Co., members of the company's board of directors as well as the company's political action committee are supporting President George W. Bush and the Republican Party.

The Fortune 500 ketchup king has contributed $5,000 through its PAC to the Bush reelection campaign and nearly $60,000 to other Republicans candidates.

This is three times as much money as donated to Democratic candidates.

For the record, I am not much of a boycotter. Free trade dictates that we look the other way sometimes to participate in the glories of commerce. It's a valid tool, but I think it is frequently overused.

Posted by jk at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [3]

The Power of Janet's Breast

WSJ.com - U.S. Home

Viacom's profit surged 60% on strong growth in revenue at its cable and TV operations. Advertising revenue increased 21%.

TWO nipples, and I think the stock would split. (Man, this blog is getting raunchy...)

Posted by jk at 09:12 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 21, 2004

NRA TV

The worst law passed in the USA in my lifetime? I'll go for McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. We have to defend every misogynist rapper or prurient purveyor of radio violence and sleaze, but we sit idly by when the US Congress takes our real First Amendment protection away.

Glenn Reynolds pens a nice piece on TechCentralStation: Bypassing - or Becoming - the Media?

The NRA has been shut out of its traditional media role, so why not buy a network, or at least start a web-TV station?

What lets the NRA go into this business is technology -- setting up a nationwide TV network via the Web is a lot cheaper than relying on broadcasting or even cable, and with the growing penetration of high-speed internet services, NRA News may reach as many people as some cable channels. (In this, NRA is following in the footsteps of pioneers like Evan Coyne Maloney.) And given that it's easy to enter the media, and that the law treats media organizations more favorably than non-media organizations, we're likely to see a lot more people following the NRA's lead.

In law, we talk about exceptions swallowing the rule. I suspect that's what's happening here, as a "media exception" encourages all sorts of people to become the media, instead of criticizing them. That seems like a good thing to me, though I suspect not everyone will agree.

It's a good thing, Glenn. Anything that gets around this scourge is a good thing. I've defended the current Supreme Court against liberal and conservative attacks, but I am astonished that they did not strike down this clear impingement on our freedoms.

And yes, I welcome liberal groups' doing the same.

Posted by jk at 02:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Maybe I shoulda checked the box

I NEVER give $3 to campaigns on taxes -- what an anachronism that seems these days, plus being against everything I stand for. But, "hasty-hasty" as Ed Norton used to say -- knowing that some is going to Ralph Nader, I might reconsider and file an amended return.

Nader is a nutjob of the first order but financing a permanent boil on the butt of the Democratic party seems a good investment. Yahoo news points out:

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites) raised about $600,000 in the two months since he announced his candidacy, enough money to qualify for federal matching funds and well ahead of the fund-raising pace he set four years ago, his campaign announced Wednesday.

In papers filed with Federal Election Commission (news - web sites), Nader said roughly 60 percent of that amount had been donated over the Internet.
To receive matching funds, a candidate must raise at least $5,000 in 20 states in donations of $250 or less. Nader has collected more than $5,000 from 23 different states. About 91 percent of his donations have been under $100.

Working in Boulder, I see Nader and Kucinich bumper stickers but so far, none for Senator Kerry. Maybe I should send Nader a check!

Posted by jk at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

ABC's Big Scoop

The UNISCAM has been in the Wall Street Journal and all over the blogosphere. It's funny to me that ABC News gets a "big scoop" for broadcasting things that everybody who reads Berkeley Square Blog knows already.

I have been beating up (deservedly!) on Andrew Sullivan of late, here's his entire post on it, and why I keep reading him even when he exasperates me:

ABC News gets a big scoop on the U.N. oil-for-food corruption scandal. I wish I could say I'm shocked. In fact, I'm shocked that more hasn't come out yet. Saddam had a lot of people on the take in the West and the U.N. But this story is about more than a simple U.N. scandal. What it shows is what the alternatives to war against Saddam actually were: a slowly disintegrating regime, becoming ever-more Islamist in tone as it tried to cling to power; sanctions that were in effect starving kids, destroying Iraqi civil society and enriching corrupt U.N. officials and Saddam's family; and the potential of those sanctions being lifted at some point, leading to a resurgence of WMD development. We were so right to intervene. The alternatives were far, far worse.

Exactly.

Posted by jk at 08:59 AM | What do you think? [8]

Spirit of America

Email from Spiritofamerica.net below -- I knew those Wall Street Journal types would make short order of a measly $100K:

Here are the results. Overwhelming. Incredible. In the last five days we have received $764,408 from 4,088 donors. Most of these funds are earmarked for the request made by the Marines for equipment needed to establish Iraqi-owned television stations in Al Anbar Province Iraq (described here: www.spiritofamerica.net/req_12/request.html). Our initial goal for this request was $100,000. The Marines are as stunned as I am. I'll remove the expletives of joyful surprise and forward some of their comments to you next week. They are also developing ideas for the expansion of this initiative. More on that soon.

These folks do great stuff, keep the $$ coming!

UPDATE: The WSJ Ed Page takes a victory lap:

As to the project exceeding its funding goals, Mr. Hake says this ensures that the rebuilding and upgrading of community TV stations in Iraq can be extended. He has no intention of letting Spirit of America become "big and stupid." Any additional funds will be used as in all the group's projects up to now -- to respond to requests initiated by U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan for help with small, nonmilitary, civil reconstruction projects.

Posted by jk at 08:25 AM | What do you think? [4]

April 20, 2004

Poll watch

I don't want to obsess over poll numbers, so what I'll do is post them whenever they look good for the GOP and ignore them when they don't. (Kidding, sort of...)

The new WaPo qualifies: Poll Shows New Gains for Bush (washingtonpost.com)

President Bush holds significant advantages over John F. Kerry in public perceptions of who is better equipped to deal with Iraq and the war on terrorism, and he has reduced the advantages his Democratic challenger held last month on many domestic issues, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll.


The poll also found that Iraq and the war on terrorism have surged in importance, and ranked with the economy and jobs as top voting issues. Despite signs of concern among Americans about the violence in Iraq, the poll showed Bush's approval ratings holding steady and Kerry's slipping on a variety of issues and attributes.


By 49 percent to 44 percent, Bush was viewed as better able to deal with the country's biggest problems. Five weeks ago, those numbers were reversed. By comfortable margins, voters saw Bush as stronger than Kerry on key national security issues.


On the economy, Bush has erased Kerry's 12-point edge and is tied with the senator from Massachusetts on who can better deal with the country's economic problems.

What, me sanguine? There's a long time until November but Senator Kerry seems to have many exploitable weaknesses -- and he is not a charisma machine. (The last point was made here by one of our commenters who will likely vote for him.) A little hubris maybe, not a lot...

Posted by jk at 08:32 AM | What do you think? [9]

April 19, 2004

President Black Bush takes on U.N.

This excerpt from Comedy Central's "Chappelle's Show" is even better in the video version. Maybe it'll be on their website soon. In the meantime, here's the transcript:

President Black Bush (In the Rose Garden) "U.N., you got a problem with that, know what you should do? You should sanction me. Sanction me with your army. OH! WAIT A MINUTE! YOU DON'T HAVE AN ARMY! I guess that means you need to shut the (bleep) up! That's what I'd do if I didn't have no army, I would shut the (bleep) up. (With his mouth inches from the microphones, speaking one word into each of them) Shut - the - (bleep) - UP! That's right!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 06:30 PM | What do you think? [1]

Back-Stabbing Surrender Monkeys

I haven't wanted, or needed, to interrupt you since your return JK (welcome back!) but here's a topic that MUST be raised. (And if there's no discussion on it then I'll be convinced of the apathy of our audience.)

Remember the pre-war U.N. negotiations aimed at holding Saddam accountable to U.N. resolutions? Of course you do, since anti-administration voices continue to cite the failure to assemble a "legitimate" international coalition, and the "lies" that Bush and Powell told the U.N. and the world about Iraqi WMD. Well, here is (some of) the REST of the story.

Kenneth Timmerman reports (this entire interview is a very interesting read) in his new book 'The French Betrayal of America,' that France's Chirac personally assured the President that if and when it came time for military action, France "would be with" us in the U.N. and in Iraq, even going to the trouble of sending a top French General to CENTCOM in Tampa to coordinate France's role in the coalition. The problem is that Chirac never had any intention of following through.

NRO: Did Chirac actually lie to President Bush before the Iraq war?

Timmerman: Yes, and this is why the president and Secretary of State Powell were so taken aback when foreign minister Dominique de Villepin pulled the rug out from under United Nations negotiations on January 20, 2003, by announcing, apparently out of the blue, that France would never ever agree to using force against Saddam Hussein.

Bush tried to hold France accountable for this stab in the back by denying France any chance at U.S. taxpayer financed rebuilding contracts. The carping was loud and shameless. No wonder France would prefer Kerry over Bush - they need someone NEW to lie to, and Kerry has the added bonus of being unlikely to hold France accountable at ALL for their treachery.

ADDITIONALLY- In my original post I neglected to mention the REASON for Chirac's lie. Namely, that the economic existence of France's corrupt, second-hand socialist government was at stake.

NRO: How close was the relationship between Saddam and Chirac?

Timmerman: Like lips and teeth.

NRO: You say in your new book that the Iraq war was, in fact, all about oil.

Timmerman: The war in Iraq was indeed a war for oil — waged by the French, not the United States. The Chirac government was desperate to maintain its exclusive — and outrageously exploitative — oil contracts with Saddam's regime, which would have earned the French an estimated $100 billion during the first seven years of operations, according to experts I interviewed for my book.

NRO: What are French motivations when dealing with these regimes — purely economic?

Timmerman: Contracts are certainly very important. Americans need to remember that France is not a free-market economy, as we still are (despite the efforts of Hillary Rodham Clinton to nationalize the U.S. health-care industry!). When French businessmen go abroad, they often travel in delegations led by the prime minister, or the foreign minister, or some other top official. The French government gets involved not just in opening doors, but in negotiating contracts. Often, these contracts have involved substantial kickbacks to French political parties. Even today, French companies can declare as an expense on their income-tax declaration the bribes and commissions they pay to foreign agents. This was banned in the United States in the 1970s under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This is one of the reasons the French like to do business with dictators. In a free and fair market, their companies can't always compete.

"Blood for oil." "Corporate welfare." "Close ties between the President and 'Big Oil.'" These are the very accusations the ABB crowd makes against America's president, yet they ignore actual proof of those very things in the government of France that they hold so dear. Does everybody still want America to be more like Europe?

Posted by JohnGalt at 06:09 PM | What do you think? [8]

Lileks TKOs Sullivan

In the Internet Heavyweight category, James Lileks destroys Andrew Sullivan’s (admittedly weak) idea of a $1/gallon gas tax. Sullivan thinks it's a necessary sacrifice to pay for the war, Lileks sez:

That's a thousand dollars out of my pocket, and if you think that would go directly to the war or the deficit, you've never seen the face of a Senator who sees bounteous budget numbers for the coming fiscal year.

Stop the fight! It's getting too ugly out there!

Posted by jk at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [4]

Headline of the week

So says Andrew Sullivan -- who am I to argue? Misys gives Pecker head job - FinanceAsia.com

After 14 years inside Misys in Europe, Rudi Pecker has been elevated to the financial technology company's Singapore office, to become head of Asia Pacific sales. In this role, Pecker will head all Misys' strategic and commercial activities in the region, aiming to grow the business and enter into long term relationships. Pecker's breadth of experience, with over 20 years in the financial services industry, will enable him to rise to the challenges of growing the business in Asia, a region fertile for expansion.

I'm sorry, I HAD to post that. I couldn't help it!

Posted by jk at 09:57 AM | What do you think? [1]

About that Fraudulent Coalition

Maybe it's just me. But when Spain was bravely fighting alongside the US under the Aznar government, they were described as [members of] a fraudulent coalition by Senator Kerry and [one of] a bunch of countries you could buy on eBay by Maureen Dowd.

Now that they are pulling out, NPR breathlessly intones that the US role just got harder with the loss of 1300 troops from our brave Spanish Allies.

I'm very disappointed at the loss of a coalition member and, as blogged on these pages, disappointed that Jose Maria Aznar lost the election.

But I feel our liberal friends in the media are trying to have it both ways, the loss cannot exceed the contribution.

Posted by jk at 08:29 AM | What do you think? [10]

Buy Planet Earth

The job you save might be your own!

When the protectionists, be they on the Right or Left, start flinging their uneconomic rhetoric, they really can get people fired up. And a host of bad laws ensue. Depressing news from the WSJ:

Amid this election year's outsourcing clamor, politicians in at least 33 states are busy trying to pass "Buy American" laws. Apart from forcing taxpayers to pay more for services, the laws have another large problem: They violate the U.S. Constitution.

That's the finding of a new study out today from the National Foundation for American Policy, a Virginia think tank. Two lawyers examined more than 100 anti-outsourcing bills before Congress and state legislatures and concluded that the laws are dubious on both constitutional grounds and under America's international trade agreements.
Bad economics, bad law. Don't do it, people!

Posted by jk at 06:30 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 18, 2004

Some funny pix

...are to be found at hollihan.net -- Kerry Mockery Senator Voldemort, Democratic Party -- the other white, male meat, positions subject to change without notice. And one, lonely anti-W graphic at the bottom of the page for equal time.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Posted by jk at 01:02 PM | What do you think? [1]

Send Some Extra Money

To Spirirt of America to help them drive Al-Jazeera to this:

daybyday04-18-2004.gif

Great stuff! Day by Day is always available on the Berkeley Square Blogroll.

Posted by jk at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 16, 2004

Where are those Three million?

For my Democrat friends who have trouble telling President Bush's 5.7% unemployment depression from President Hoover's, here's an interesting story.

Marketplace, Public Radio International's "business news for those who think profit and commerce are evil" surprised me by pointing out the following incongruity :
After reminding viewers that three million manufacturing jobs have been lost, even Marketplace wondered where these workers are. It seems that hiring managers cannot find them.

From New York: More than forty-percent of the manufacturers the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia surveyed said they had trouble filling open positions, for lack of qualified applicants. More than half said the skill gap had grown since five years ago.

In an interview, it was made clear that "qualified" referred to basic literacy and numeracy. There are jobs for those who can read and add. That is not the impression I get from listening to Senator Kerry...

Posted by jk at 12:11 PM | What do you think? [3]

Senator Kerry in Action

PJ O'Rourke gets the link for today's demonization of Democratic Nominee John Kerry. Writing in the Weekly Standard, PJ gives his first impressions of the Senator in his notes:

From my journal: "Gets there & never talks to Comelec girls. Boy is ball-less. Joe and I finally push forward & tell Kerry it was us (1 Dem. & 1 Rep.) that called for him (we also heard, Comelec girls wanted Observers called). That it was Joe & me seemed to make a big difference to Kerry. Who still did f---all."

Senator Kerry in his first term, is sent on a bipartisan commission to oversee the Filipino elections. A group of young workers points out fraud and is intimidated with violence. Senator Kerry is called to help and does "f----all." Not exactly 'Profiles in Courage.' PJ wrote in his Rolling Stone article:
Why he was reluctant, I can't tell you. I can tell you what any red-blooded representative of the U.S. Government should have done. He should have shouted, "If you're frightened for your safety, I'll take you to the American embassy, and damn the man who tries to stop me." But all Kerry did was walk around like a male model in a concerned and thoughtful pose.

Posted by jk at 10:20 AM | What do you think? [1]

Curiouser...

With apologies to Mr. Carroll, this Air America story is just amazing. Is this getting any attention in the major press? The blogosphere is having a field day. Neil Boortz discusses their suing to get back on the air. Neil says "DOESN'T THIS ALL SOUND JUST A BIT FAMILIAR?"

Hold on just a minute. Back to Air America. Doesn't this sound a bit familiar somehow? Walk through the sequence. Here we have a left wing effort that apparently fails in the private market place. Do you fall back, regroup, tweak your product, improve your business practices and give it another shot? Why no! You're a liberal You do what liberals have been doing for decades when their initiatives fail in the marketplace. You go to court! Of course! You go to court to see if you can get a judge to do for you what you weren't able to do for yourself in the free marketplace. Liberals have a long and very rich history of resorting to implementing their agenda through court action. It looks like they're sticking to the same playbook here.

Posted by jk at 09:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

Coalition of the Can-Do

I almost blogged about this yesterday, but the blog had a big day and folks needed to get their taxes out.

Dan Henninger pens a nice salute and call to arms for Spirit of America's plan to resuscitate TV stations to compete in Iraq with Al-Frank--I mean al-Jazeera:

The First Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Army in Iraq want to equip and upgrade seven defunct, Iraqi-owned TV stations in Al Anbar province -- west of Baghdad -- so that average Iraqis have better televised information than the propaganda they get from the notorious Al-Jazeera. If Jim Hake can raise $100,000, his Spirit of America will buy the equipment in the U.S., ship it to the Marines in Iraq and get Iraqi-run TV on the air before the June 30 handover.

Spirit of America: donate!

Posted by jk at 09:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 15, 2004

Soros's Check Bounced?

The Chicago Tribune reports Liberal radio stations silenced:

After just two weeks of broadcasting, Air America Radio, the fledgling liberal talk-radio network featuring Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo, was pulled off the air this morning in Chicago and Los Angeles, the network's second- and third-largest markets, in a dispute over payments for airtime.

I've no problem wishing them ill will, but I thought the one thing they did have was huge backing. What a wierd story.

Posted by jk at 01:17 PM | What do you think? [3]

Buy a gun day

You can look at the coercion-through-taxation of April 15th if you must. Or, you can help Aaron's Rantblog celebrate "Buy a Gun Day" and celebrate your 2nd Amendment rights.

Hat-tip: Instapundit UPDATE: I think they are suffering from an Instalanche, try the link again later if it blows up.
Posted by jk at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

bin-Laden Cracks

Osama bin-Laden has seen the greatest terror attack in world history precipate the opposite of the result he wants, namely America's abandonment of its values both here and abroad. He now attempts to shift his tactics from terror to diplomacy. He appears to concede that only the threat of future attacks has any promise of averting his impending defeat. There are other explanations for his tactical shift away from ruthless murder attacks without warning, including the distinct possibility that his ability to commit them has been virtually eliminated, but despite having a completely bankrupt philosophy he is not an idiot. (That description is most appropriate for the presumptive Democrat nominee for president.)

The 9/11 "Let's get Bush" Commission is looking in all the wrong places for the "cause" of 9/11 and any lessons that may be applied to preventing future attacks of such a nature. Since they appear to have little interest in the Clinton era DOJ's machinations to comply with the anti-objective "procedural safeguards" of our modern justice system, what hope is there that the LGB Commission will recognize the actual root-cause of 9/11: Historical American appeasement of the Arab Nationalism of Arab Fascist Regimes in their quest to kill or displace every Jew in Israel? None. That's why we have to recognize it on our own.

In OBL's "peace" offering he claims that his murderous attacks are justified in every instance. "They say that we kill for the sake of killing, but reality shows that they lie," the speaker said. Russians, he said, were only killed after attacking Afghanistan in the 1980s and Chechnya, Europeans after invading Iraq and Afghanistan and the Americans in New York after "supporting the Jews in Palestine and their invasion of the Arabian Peninsula." "Stop spilling our blood so we can stop spilling your blood," the message added. The message said that American policy ignores the "real problem," which is "the occupation of all of Palestine."

This tortured logic relies on the relativistic belief that the U.N. mandated post-war (WWII) immigration of ethnic Jews to their ancestral homeland constituted an "invasion" and that their peaceful and prosperous life there constitutes "occupation" and that the extent of this occupation entails "all of Palestine." By accomodating these distortions of history and reality, American presidents since Eisenhower have been laying the groundwork for Islamism and the 9/11 attacks. George W. Bush is the first President to actively say the Islamists have no right to attack us and no right to life if they do. To completely address the problem he must also say that Israelis have the same right to life and prosperity that Americans do, and we support their vigorous self-defense of their small part of the desert formerly known as Palestine.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

I complain about OUR Bias

Just back from the UK and ROI, with pretty-much universal hatred of our President. I know there are some reasons, but one must remember that the Beeb is their major news source:

Andrew Sullivan points out a blogpost on normblog: "Greg Dyke and Tony Blair"

Last July, even before David Kelly committed suicide, as Alastair Campbell continued to bombard the BBC with complaints about its war coverage and alleged anti-Government bias, Dyke snapped. In rage and frustration with his former friend Blair, he told other friends that he wanted to put a substantial part of his own private fortune into helping the formation of a new Labour Party that would end Blair's run as leader.
In a state of considerable anger, described by one witness as "a rant", Dyke, editorial chief of the most powerful and trusted news organisation in the world, gave vent to his fury.
He told friends he had had enough of Campbell's bullying of BBC news, that Blair was almost certainly behind these attacks, and that he was personally prepared actively to help engineer the removal of Blair by promoting a new political party to which he would donate three million pounds of his own private fortune.
Makes you almost respect Rather/Jennings/Brokaw oligarchy..
Posted by jk at 09:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

Missed the Press Conference

But I hope it matched this review by Fred Barnes:

WATCHING PRESIDENT BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE Tuesday night, you could see why he drives the press crazy. No matter what they asked, his answer was invariably the same: We're staying the course in Iraq. It's important to gaining freedom for Iraqis and winning the war on terror.

Not only that, he began the session with reporters by gobbling up 17 minutes of time they consider theirs. He devoted it to an opening statement--it was actually a speech--in which he said basically one thing: We're not flinching in Iraq. He was heroically on message, relentlessly repetitive, but effective in his own way.

Washington hates this type of public performance, which is characteristic of Bush. The press, the political community, the inside-the-Beltway lifers--they prefer a rich display of details, a bit of nuance, and some wit. Reporters, particularly, are soft on presidents who seem to like them or at least pretend to--or who pander to them.

Bush, of course, gives them none of that. He's not aiming to please the Washington crowd--the political elite. His audience is outside the Beltway--the mass--and he does surprisingly well in appealing to it. How does he do it? By being plain spoken and amiable and down to earth. By sounding more like Midland, Texas, than like Georgetown or Chevy Chase. By honing in on a single message and not giving reporters much else to write about. Bush tried Tuesday night to dictate the lead of stories.

Andrew Sullivan was initially positive but his readers (surprise!) have painted a different view. I'll see if I can PVR it off of CSPAN -- any reviews from the Berkeley Square Blog Peanut Gallery?

Posted by jk at 09:24 AM | What do you think? [4]

April 13, 2004

Pre-911 Warnings Ignored by Gov't, and by JFK

I haven't "demonized" Kerry in a while, mostly because it got boring. It still is. Here I'll let former FAA officials do it for me.

Former FAA security officials say the Massachusetts senator had the power to prevent at least the Boston hijackings and save the World Trade Center and thousands of lives, yet he failed to take effective action after they gave him a prophetic warning that his state's main airport was vulnerable to multiple hijackings.

"With the concept of jihad, do you think it would be difficult for a determined terrorist to get on a plane and destroy himself and all other passengers?" he warned. "Think what the result would be of a coordinated attack which took down several domestic flights on the same day. With our current screening, this is more than possible. It is almost likely." The toll from such an attack would be economic, as well as human, he predicted with chilling accuracy.

Sullivan followed up by having the undercover videotape hand-delivered to Kerry's office.

More than 11 weeks later, Kerry finally replied to his well-informed and anxious constituent. "I have forwarded your tape to the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General [DOT OIG]," he said in a brief July 24, 2001, letter, a copy of which I've obtained.

Yet Sullivan had made it clear in his letter that going to his old agency was a dead end. He and other agents had complained about security lapses for years and got nowhere. "The DOT OIG has become an ineffective overseer of the FAA," he told Kerry. Sullivan suggested he show the tape to peers on committees with FAA oversight. He even volunteered to testify before them.

But he never heard from Kerry again.

This story has been buried in the mainstream press, but imagine the attention it would get if, instead of the DOT OIG, Kerry had forwarded it to the White House. Imagine the different story our "war hero" could spin then!

But more to the point, why isn't the 9/11 Commission looking into this? This is closer to a warning than any of the jaw-flapping we've heard out of the dog-and-pony show.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

Treason

It's not just the name of Ann Coulter's book, it's a crime. And this crime is being committed by "Americans" who oppose President Bush's foreign policy. A nutjob named Rebecca, of the UCSD chapter of the International Socialist Organization, is on tape saying, "And the first thing is that we need to support the Resistance of Iraqis in Iraq. (applause) Right. These are people who are risking their lives to get the United States out of their country. And we have to see them as our allies. We have to see them as our main allies. Now this sympathy with terrorists who want to kill Americans and destroy our civilization is not widespread, at least in its unvarnished form, but it does affect the overall public outlook on completing the job of rooting out terrorists and their sympathizers.

While the Bush administration has apparently decided that prosecuting these criminals would have more negative than positive consequences (an indictment of our 'justice' system in itself) an effective rebuttal of treasonous free speech can have a powerful effect in defense of freedom. Citizen Smash, an Iraq War vet and the same blogger who taped Rebecca's criminal remarks, organized a counter-protest on April 3rd at a San Diego naval base. His account of the day's events illustrates the power of standing up in the face of these people and saying, "You're wrong."

1350 – We’ve suffered through bad music and a “live from death row” rant by cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, and now it’s finally time for Red to speak.

He starts out by cursing us, again, as “----ING FASCISTS,” and denounces the same police officers to whom he whined about us as “JACKBOOTED NAZI STORMTROOPERS.” Then he goes on to express pity for the military, who after all are only “BUSH’S PAWNS,” who have no other choice but to join the military because they have been “ECONOMICALLY OPPRESSED BY BUSH’S CORPORATE FASCIST CRONIES!”

I respond by grabbing the megaphone and shouting back, ”SO NOW YOU’RE SAYING WE’RE STUPID AND POOR? HEY, THANKS A LOT!”

This only spins him up more. “AND THEY MAKE THE COLORED PEOPLE DO ALL THE FIGHTING FOR THEM!”

“HEY, I WAS IN IRAQ, AND I’M A MIDDLE-CLASS WHITE MAN! YOU TELLIN’ ME I DIDN’T HAVE TO GO?”

At this point, Red really starts losing it. He's spouting his Marxist revolutionary propaganda with such fervor that we can see the spittle flying out of his mouth even from back in the cheap seats.

We respond with a little chant of our own:

“FREEDOM ISN’T FREE! PEACE THROUGH VICTORY!”

Now Red has gone completely over the edge. He’s calling for “REVOLUTION NOW,” and starts frantically waving his red flag. “WE’RE NOT GOING TO STOP UNTIL THE RED FLAG FLIES OVER THE WHITE HOUSE!”

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:15 AM | What do you think? [0]

Iraqi Sovereignty "Deadline"

Recent highly publicized lawlessness in certain Iraqi cities has added to the consternation over whether Iraq is "ready" to take over the governance of their own country. The same folks who criticize the President for attempting "nation building" in Iraq seem to oppose taking the steps to prepare U.S. withdrawal. Even respected and well meaning voices like GE's Jack Welch suggest that "perhaps a deadline change will [make sense] too."

But as Welch points out, political "deadlines" are a different animal than those in business. "In the corporate world, inside a company, most people are pulling for the same outcome. You set a deadline, and everyone heads for it. In politics, when you set a deadline, you can be pretty sure that close to half the people are pulling in the other direction. In fact, missing it often furthers their cause."

But the June 30 date for transfer of governing authority to Iraq is not a deadline, it is a milestone, just as the dates for establishing a representative governing council and an interim constitution were milestones. Those events occurred approximately, not precisely, on schedule. They were not perfect but they were progressive accomplishments nonetheless.

Iraq should be handed the reins while we remain at their side as a calm, reassuring, experienced friend. We should not expect a fully functioning democracy to snap into action overnight on that date, rather it will be the first day behind the wheel for the Iraqis with their new "self-government learner's permit."

Posted by JohnGalt at 09:01 AM | What do you think? [2]

April 11, 2004

"George Bush's Vietnam"

This is how the "distinguished" Senator Edward Kennedy has described the war with Islamic fascists in Iraq. I'm certain he would have characterized action in Afghanistan (Asskickedistan) the same way had that action been further removed from the horror of 9/11 and closer to the presidential campaign season, as the occupation of Iraq now is.

The Berkeley Square Blog has a new friend in Phoenix who has offered "more about the comparison to Vietnam on another post as I served in that war during the TET of 1969 with the 1st Cav." (I look forward to his input in the comments below.) In '69 I was still watching Captain Kangaroo and marveling at the grainy black-and-white TV images of Armstrong and Aldrin's historic moonwalk. I do remember nightly news broadcasts showing combat in Vietnam but my lack of a pre-war reference, outspoken opinion from my parents, or intellectual capability beyond the level of a six-year-old made it seem normal to me. It was a horrific realization when I finally came to understand, decades later, that there was a war on and there were people in this country who didn't support our troops, their mission, our government, or even our capitalist way of life.

My dad has told me stories about life during "the big one," WWII. There was a tremendous effort on the "home front" to support the war effort. Robert A. Heinlein wrote (in 'Time Enough for Love') about popular sentiment during WWI that any able-bodied young man who didn't volunteer for military service felt shame. What a difference two-decades makes. Going to the aid of a free nation invaded by a totalitarian neighbor (that was backed by a worldwide collectivist ideology) was opposed by post-modern intellectuals with Marxist ideals. Whether their treasonous acts had any effect on the outcome of the war, it is undisputable that they caused great psychological harm to our veterans.

The most visible champion of the communist sympathy crowd was Jane Fonda. Another prominent leader among them, John F. Kerry, is now campaigning to be President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces he did so much psychological damage to. This is particularly significant because we are once again engaged in military occupation to liberate a peace-loving population from the tyranny of a merciless worldwide collectivist ideology - Islamic fascism. The Marxists, welfare-staters, anti-capitalists, environmentalists, and anti-globalists in this country, collectively known as modern liberals and effectively represented by the modern Democrat party have a philosophical opposition to such a liberation on several fronts. I won't get into the specifics now but they aren't just anti-Bush, they are anti-Iraqi liberty. They aren't so much anti-war as they are anti-victory. How insane would it be to put their leader in charge of the nation and the armed forces? Thoroughly.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:41 AM | What do you think? [0]

Hello from Scotland!


I am enjoying my first visit to Scotland. I am literally across the street from Edinburgh Castle, blogging from a Starbucks. (Grande, breve cap, extra–dry at my side – I LOVE globalism!!)

I think I have distilled – over the last week – the four points which define the differences between the US and Europe:

1) The UN and ICC: The US, with its muscular military is comfortable exercising its will and protecting her national interests and sovereignty. The EU nations are more content to pursue diplomatic resources to try and solve problems. (Advantage: US)

2) Agricultural Subsidies. All nations seem content to discard comparative advantage and the wealth generated by the free movement of capital to protect their domestic farmers.(No advantage, both fail)

3) GM Crops. Again, as science producers, the US is more comfortable with the benefits of Genetically-modified crops. The EU hurts itself by disallowing these higher-yielding goods – and penalizes African farmers by banning their import. (Advantage: US)

4) Ice in Beverages, I got two ice cubes in my Diet Coke on he flight from Dublin to Edinburgh, Riza none. The proprietor of our B&B turned from Fred Rodgers to Basil Fawlty when I asked for ice. I could hear him thinking as I left “Bloody Americans – they come to our FREEEZING country and what do they want? Ice cubes!!

Ugly American signing out, see you on Wednesday!.

Posted by jk at 08:39 AM | What do you think? [3]

April 10, 2004

New Comments on an Old Post

A JK posting from June of last year has drawn some new comments, apparently from search engine hits on its title "Baghdad Internet Cafe." After our contemporary discussion on the subject, a September comment by "Mik" discusses the technical and informational marvels of the information superhighway. Two months later, "Jason" from Hornet Wireless Technologies posted an offer of technical assistance. (Apparently he believed our blog to be a product of individuals in Iraq.)

And finally, "Les" commented yesterday: "Regardless of how many insurgents we kill or capture the future of Iraq will only be determined when the Iraqi people make a stand. Sooner or later they will have to make a stand against the rebels or be enslaved by them. To all of the Iraqui people I say stand and be counted in order to be free or cower under your beds and become a slave to your fears forever." Good ol' Les fits right in around here, doesn't he! I dropped him a note - hopefully he'll chime in on other occasions in the future.

Posted by JohnGalt at 06:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

Rice TKOs Ben-Veniste

I had to go back to the transcript on this, because I have heard multiple talking-heads misrepresent this exchange. Shamelessly partisan Democrat and Clinton defense counsel for the case of defense secrets given to China, Richard Ben-Veniste botched his 10-minutes of fame while interviewing National Security Advisor Condoleeza "Brown Sugar" Rice Thursday. (Here's the strip.)

Ben-Veniste asked Rice two questions and then snidely interrupted her after she answered only one of them. But she held him accountable, and he seemed to have forgotten the other question he asked!

BEN-VENISTE. Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the Aug. 6 P.D.B. warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that P.D.B.

RICE. I believe the title was Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States. Now, the P.D.B. -

BEN-VENISTE. Thank you.

RICE. No, Mr. Ben-Veniste -

BEN-VENISTE. I will get into the -

RICE. I would like to finish my point here.

BEN-VENISTE. I didn't know there was a point.

RICE. Given that - you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.

BEN-VENISTE. I asked you what the title was.

RICE. You said did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

It seems that the pressure of attempted entrapment of the world's smartest woman in 10 minutes or less was just too much for Dick to bear.

Posted by JohnGalt at 04:52 PM | What do you think? [2]

"Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States"

My first reaction to such a statement, even prior to 9/11, would be 'duh.' Partisans have selected the document with this title, a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) from August 6, 2001 as their strongest evidence that the Bush administration could have prevented the 9/11 attack had they not 'needed it as a pretext for their preconceived unilateral invasion to get revenge on Saddam.' They are attempting to "prove" that 'Bush lied, people died.'

So far we only have the word of unnamed sources for what is in the document, but in another stunning act of transparency by this, 'the most secretive administration in U.S. history,' the White House will declassify the briefing and release it to the public sometime today. We'll see then just how far the administration had to go to ignore the "clear evidence" that 9/11 was in the works. In the meantime, let's look at what the unnamed sources have said.

"...there were various reports that Osama bin Laden had wanted to strike inside the United States as early as 1997 and continuing into the spring of 2001."

"...a series of bullet items that brought Bush through a history of mostly uncorroborated intelligence that cited al-Qaida's interest in hijacking planes to win the release of Islamic extremists who had been arrested in 1998 and 1999..."

"The document also included FBI analytical judgments that some al-Qaida activities were consistent with preparation for airline hijackings or other types of attacks..."

"And the final bullet told the president of a recent intelligence report indicating al-Qaida operatives were trying to get inside the United States to carry out an attack with explosives."

What combination of these reports was supposed to spur the President into action to prevent 9/11? Nothing here suggests anything other than Palestinian-style terror bombings or classic airliner hostage missions to pressure nations holding terroists in prison to release them. And what would he possibly have done, 24-7 fighter patrols over all major American cities? Shut down civil aviation? Racial profiling (gasp!) to keep 18-40 year old middle-eastern males off our airliners, trains and buses? Please.

Whatever the PDB actually says, you can be sure the "Bush knew" howls of the ABB crowd will only intensify with its release. When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When they aren't, pound the table instead.

UPDATE: The PDB has just been released. The bombshell: Clinton "provoked" 9/11! (Isn't this what the multculturalists tell us?) The document, declassified Saturday, said that after President Clinton launched missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, "bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington." (Before you write... No, I'm not serious. Clinton didn't cause 9/11 any more than an attractive woman causes her own rape.)

There's another point allegedly in this PDB that deserves mention. "The second-to-last bullet told the president that there were numerous - at least 70 - terror-related investigations under way by the FBI in 2001 involving matters or people on U.S. soil." But none of these investigations uncovered the 9/11 plot, despite at least "two uncorroborated reports suggesting terrorists might use airplanes, including one that suggested al Qaida operatives were considering flying a plane into a U.S. embassy." And yet the Patriot Act, conceived to lower barriers to effective intelligence operations by FBI and CIA, is demonized by those same ABBers who say the government doesn't do enough to protect us. Hypocrisy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 04:02 PM | What do you think? [1]

April 09, 2004

Spanish Anti-Terror

We are seeing a remarkable increase in the number of non-Americans taken hostage in Iraq lately. Apparently impressed by the chronological connection between terror attacks on Spanish civilians and the subsequent election of a pacifist prime minister, desperate islamofascist thugs in Iraq are expanding on the "bloody nose" strategy.

By kidnapping civilian aid workers from Japan, Israel and South Korea, as well as Canada, Britain and Italy (who, after all, "love life") the islamic gangsters hope to accomplish what they haven't been able to do otherwise - defeat the international will of freedom and democracy that threatens to put them out of business in Iraq permanently. We should all recognize that the feckless appeasement of death-lovers by Spanish pols has contributed to this strategy. We should also understand that it is the desperate strategy of a defeated enemy who knows he has no other hope for victory.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 05, 2004

Scary, Scary John Kerry

Happy Monday everyone! Today's JFK Daily "Demonization" comes not from the right, but from the left. This column is by the author of a forthcoming book 'Left Out, How Liberals Helped the Bush Administration.' (My answer to that question is they inhale air and exhale every anti-individual ideology under the sun except theology, but we'll have that discussion once the book's actually released.) Mr. Frank writes in the Palestine Chronicle, "Finally a reason to get excited, as we now have before us an electable candidate worthy of taking on George W. Bush and his coterie of neoconservatives next November. Well, at least that's what the scared liberals out there would have us believe. But John Kerry is neither electable nor exciting."

He proceeds to call the "good" Senator every name in the book: Zionist sympathizer, corporate neoliberal, proclaimed War Criminal, sees "eye to eye" with Bush, non-environmentalist, anti-Kyoto Protocol, pro-"chainsaw Forest Plan," Fast Track legislation supporter, Afghanistan bomber, Columbian drug fumigator, bad liar, Patriot Act supporter, Patriot Act II supporter, Homeland Security bill lovin', Tax Cut for the wealthy permittin', Senate vote missin', energy market manipulatin', medically negligent, fuel waster. Man, how did this monster win the Dem nomination?

Frank concludes, "And as Kerry continuously fails to challenge the US's global Empire or its domestic fractures back home, he will continue to fail the American people -- not to mention the rest of the world."

In other words, by not being anti-American enough, JFK continues to fail the American people (and the rest of the [socialist] world). As far as I'm concerned Kerry is plenty anti-American enough to pose a grave danger to the American people. More grave, in fact, than if Dean or Kucinich or even this wack-job Frank were the nominee, since Kerry cloaks his anti-Americanism in pro-America spin rhetoric. At least it is clear what principles these other men hold dear. The only thing Kerry knows about principles is that you can find one [principal] in every public school.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 04, 2004

Off to Ireland

Talk amongst youselves...I'll try to post a little as the spirit moves me.

For travel news and pictures, keep an eye on my wife's blog, tat ergo sum.

Posted by jk at 01:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 02, 2004

Truce? What Truce?

When Spain narrowly and foolishly replaced the somewhat principled leadership of Jose Maria Aznar with the irrational promises of the 43 year-old socialist twit who aims to outlaw "criminal machismo" (no, I'm not making this up) the al Qaeda opportunists siezed the opportunity to claim it was the 3/11 bombing (that they claimed responsiblity for) that swayed the voters. They dressed up their evil campaign in diplomatic clothing with promise of a truce with Spain as reward for their pledge to yank all 1800 of the Spanish waterboys out of the coalition force in Iraq. "And we repeat this to all the brigades present in European lands: Stop all operations." the al Qaeda puppet ordered. "Whose turn is it next? Will it be Japan or America, or Italy, Britain or al-Saloul or Australia?"

Apparently the next turn really belongs to... Spain. Again!

Police found a bomb Friday under the tracks of Spain's bullet train line between Madrid and Seville, the interior minister said... The national news agency Efe quoted police sources as saying preliminary analysis suggested the explosives might be a Spanish brand called Goma 2 Eco, the same used in the March 11 terrorist bombings in Madrid.

So much for al Qaeda's plans to locate their first embassy in Madrid.

Posted by JohnGalt at 05:06 PM | What do you think? [2]

Jobs Figures

The Tyco mistrial brought me down.

But today was a good day based on the job numbers. Holman Jenkins points out in today’s Political Diary:

...There's been a net decline of 3 million jobs, but this isn't the Great Depression and unemployment is not 30%. In fact, at 5.7%, it's exactly where it was when Bill Clinton was gearing up his 1996 re-election campaign. What's more, with today's news, the economy is adding jobs again -- 308,000 in March. Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, the unemployment rate nudged up a tiny bit nonetheless. That's a measure of one problem President Hoover didn't have -- a remarkable and continuing increase in the share of the population that wants to work. At the height of the 1920s boom, 49% of the working-age population was engaged in the labor force. Today it's 66%.

Rising productivity, rising employment, low interest-rates, good profits, low inflation -- all pretty good news for an incumbent in a leap year I'd say.

Lastly, Andrew Sullivan adds an unexpected twist to the job figures, linking to this:

Washington, D.C. -- Economic analysts were abuzz Monday following the release of February's Labor Department figures, which showed the unemployment rate for hot young women in the U.S. holding steady at zero percent for the 302nd month in a row.

"What these figures say is that if you're looking for work in America right now, you'll have no problem finding it - as long as you're a totally smokin' hot young chick, that is," senior U.S. economist Cary Leahey said in a television interview Sunday. "From small businesses to major corporations, companies across the board are hiring cute young hotties for positions every bit as quickly as they always have."

Posted by jk at 03:52 PM | What do you think? [0]

Justice?

Martha Stewart gets fitted for an orange jumpsuit for lying about a crime she wasn't charged for -- that probably shouldn't be a crime and didn't hurt anybody.

These fraudsters from Tyco bilk their own shareholders out of millions and walk

NEW YORK - A judge declared a mistrial in the grand-larceny case against two former Tyco executives Friday after nearly six months of testimony and 11 days of deliberations, citing intense outside pressure placed on one of the jurors.

This is a sad day in America, children. A sad day.

Posted by jk at 03:34 PM | What do you think? [5]

Hitch on Fallujah

A mind-numbingly excellent article from Christopher Hitchens graces the WSJ Ed page today (and it's on the free site).

Hitch takes the "Dantesque" scenes in Fallujah, not as a sign of why Iraqi liberation was ill-advised, but rather as a look at how the whole nation would have been without intervention. It is a powerful piece, and I recommend the whole thing. I give you the end as a taste:

I hope I do not misrepresent my opponents, but their general view seems to be that Iraq was an elective target; a country that would not otherwise have been troubling our sleep. This ahistorical opinion makes it appear that Saddam Hussein was a new enemy, somehow chosen by shady elements within the Bush administration, instead of one of the longest-standing foes with which the United States, and indeed the international community, was faced. So, what about the "bad news" from Iraq? There was always going to be bad news from there. Credit belongs to those who accepted--can we really decently say pre-empted?--this long-term responsibility. Fallujah is a reminder, not just of what Saddamism looks like, or of what the future might look like if we fail, but of what the future held before the Coalition took a hand.

Posted by jk at 02:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

JFK "Taxpayer Friendliness" Grade: 'F'

I've been saving this for the Friday edition of the JFK Daily "Demonization." The National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a lobbying group aimed at reducing taxes, has a web feature called the "Rates Congress Database." Since "demonizing" JFK has become a daily cause celeb for me I naturally asked for the rating of the "good" Senator Kerry.

The result? in 2002 his taxpayer friendliness grade was 'F'. His score was 18 percent, resulting in a rank of 72. Only 28 Senators were less friendly to the cause of lower taxes.

This is not just his current grade either. Kerry's grade has been 'F' in every year except 1996 when his 'D' grade placed him better than a whopping 37 Senators! Since 1992 his score has been as low as 7 percent. (It's frightening that in that year, 2001, there were still 18 Senators with a lower score!)

There are some other interesting nuggets in this report. For example, the three years after Newt Gingrich's 'Contract with America' were the only time from 1992 to 2002 that the Senate's overall score exceeded 50 percent, and then only barely at 57, 52 and 53. Additionally, there are those who claim that "Republicans are just as bad as Democrats, they only differ in what they spend the taxpayers' money on, not how much." This distortion relies on, among other things, classifying tax cuts as "spending," and is refuted by the average scores by party. Over the ten year period, the closest the Donkeys got to the Elephants was half as good, 30 to 61 in 1992, but the typical ratio is Republicans 3 to 4 times better than Dems. In 2001 it was 80 R and 14 D, and 1999 results were 74 R and 9 D. The Republican score never dropped below 61 percent.

There is a reason for secular, limited government, free-market individuals to support the Republican party despite its haphazard philosophy and mixed messages - self-defense!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:31 AM | What do you think? [2]

April 01, 2004

Paging Mr. Schumpeter!

I have to brag about one of my weekly columns, even though their regularity has gone the way of the dodo bird. I wrote a homage to Joseph Schumpeter last July, using Kodak as an example of "gales of creative destruction."

Today, Kodak has lost its place among the DJIA pantheon. The WSJ reports:

The industrial average is adding insurance company American International Group Inc., drug-maker Pfizer Inc. and telephone-service provider Verizon Communications Inc. They replace AT&T Corp., Eastman Kodak Co. and International Paper Co.

Posted by jk at 12:59 PM | What do you think? [0]

When W Lost It

When Karen Hughes left, of course. I saw her hawking her book somewhere and, yes, she is the solid, clear voice that this administration has missed. WSJ Political Diary (you really should sign up) tells it like it is:

Like a beam of light cutting through sludge, Karen Hughes has hit the airwaves, in part to flog her newly published book, "Ten Minutes from Normal" -- about the journey that brought her to the White House, and the pull of family obligation that impelled her to go back to Texas seven months after the Sept.11 terror assault. The part dedicated to book-flogging was remarkably small. In one interview after another, including a lengthy one on "Charlie Rose," the president's counselor batted back charges and criticisms of George Bush and his decision to wage war in Iraq, and she did it with unyielding command, shrinking from nothing. To listen to her was to grasp the loss George Bush sustained when she decided to go back home to Texas. Things haven't been the same since, in the department of White House communication.

Karen Hughes herself may not be quite the same person she was before she left -- at least, it's difficult to recall any other public moment like those we saw last night. Confronted with queries about Richard Clarke's accusations -- particularly about George Bush's alleged efforts lay blame for Sept.11 on Iraq -- she pointed out, in a no-nonsense tone, that Mr. Clarke hadn't been in on the post-Sept.11th Oval Office meetings. She had.

Every question of that kind tossed at her, she answered in kind -- with detail devastating to Mr. Bush's opponents. There are no spaces between clauses, no hesitations of any kind. This kind of focus and delivery doesn't come merely from a past in the TV business. Wherever it comes from, it is likely to do the Bush campaign -- which Ms. Hughes joins officially this summer -- a world of good. It doesn't hurt that her straightforward story about her decision to return to her family -- because you don't get a second chance at bringing your child up -- is irresistibly told. So is the memory she shares, in interviews, about the draft of the statement Ari Fleischer prepared for the president in the hours just after the terrorists struck. The first sentence, about America having been made a victim of a terrible attack, stopped her cold. Americans are not victims, she told him. She wouldn't have that word.

This is the sort of public voice the Bush campaign could use now -- one that reminds Americans of Sept. 11, and the defiance of the president who stood won their hearts, standing on that pile of rubble that was the World Trade Center.


More bad news for Senator Kerry...

Posted by jk at 12:37 PM | What do you think? [0]

Butchy Cataldo

I'll do the heavy lifting today, Johngalt. I will be overseas next week and looking to you to keep the Blog up and Senator Kerry's numbers down.

I turn to Libertarian icon Larry Elder for his disquisition "Sen. Kerry -- The Likeability Gap"

The people who know Kerry best consider Kerry aloof, imperious and condescending. Even worse, Kerry can't seem to retain their names. At a 1996 Massachusetts political affair, a Democratic Massachusetts State legislator said to his friends, "Watch this.”He walked up to Kerry and said, "Hi, Senator --Representative Butchy Cataldo." At this, Kerry smiled, slapped his back and exclaimed, "Butchy, so good to see you again!”One problem -- the guy, the state rep -- was not Butchy Cataldo. In fact, Butchy Cataldo ran and lost to this Kerry-greeting legislator whose name is Bill Reinstein, a man bearing no resemblance to the tall, dark-haired Cataldo.

It's a good column. If you want more, check out Hugh Hewitt's "Doesn't He Remind You of Someone...?"

Posted by jk at 09:48 AM | What do you think? [0]
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