Saturday, September 04, 2004

Are these the people we want protecting freedom of speech

A lot of libertarians and lefties are fond of denouncing the Patriot Act as an infringement of our freedoms, but the protesters in NYC wanted to stop the Republicans from getting their message out. Their behavior hardly exemplifies people with a strong commitment to the First Amendment.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Flip-flop with a limp

John Kerry:
I know you heard during the last week while Here is my answer: I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they had chance, and I will not have it questioned by those who misled this nation into war in Iraq.
Oookay. So what are you going to do about it? As Michael Barone said, that is what you say to your butler, not to the American people.

He's ducking the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth by claiming that they're a front for the Bush campaign and charging a smear, but he hasn't done anything to answer them, and Bush has distanced himself from any criticism of Kerry's military service. Kerry would like us all to be as accommodating as the press and take his word for it, but when the Republicans have so lavishly praised all who serve in the military, you have to be pretty well brainwashed to believe that they're as devious and evil as this. In fact, you'd have to believe two incompatible ideas: that the Republicans are so stupid as to resort to a blatant smear and that they're so smart and shrewd as to do it through a front group. Then you have to be naive enough not to ask why he doesn't have a press conference and answer questions, release his records, and where's the evidence. Then you have to hope to high heaven that your audience didn't hear Zell Miller's speech or see any of those Swift Boat Vets ads.
And most of all, you have to hope they haven't got cable access and watch Fox News Channel which beat all three broadcast networks the three nights of the convention.

Give 'em hell, Zell!

I missed Zell Miller's speech, but I just listened to it on C-Span. I loved it, of course. It's so powerful that it should be replayed in Bush's ads. It put Rudy Giuliani's into second place.

He said a couple of things I especially liked:

"Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most? . . . Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator."

It used to be said that politics stop at the water's edge. Today the Democrats have tossed that principle aside. As it was during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Democrats are in favor of one-way bipartisanship; they think it's mandated when they want Republicans to join them, but never when it would make them sacrifice their own political ends. Zell Miller is the exception, a statesman when it counts.

[I]t it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.

But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution.
John Kerry's response is "You're attacking my patriotism!" I guess I'd say, "If the shoe fits, Senator Kerry!"
This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?

U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?
Kerry has just had another mine go off under his boat. It's taking water fast, but he's not admitting it. How can he? He doesn't have anything to answer that speech, except more mush.

Quick. Who said this?

[T]he same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

Answer here.

A Republican year?

Mickey Kaus:
If Bush now pulls ahead in the polls Dems may substitute a clear-eyed panic for their previous media-fed belief that this is necessarily a close race--abandoning as well all the bogus comforting spin ("Wrong track" internals will save us! Hispanics will save us! 527s will save us! Cheney's unpopularity will save us! Joe Lockhart will save us! etc.).
And Bush has pulled ahead in the polls.

The Big Mac attack

Bill Clinton is facing bypass surgery. I had a triple bypas two years ago. It's not fun. One common complication is called "pump head" collogquially. It's minor damage to the brain from tiny clots that develop when blood goes through a heart-lung machine, which is basically a pump. Blood cells get damaged, and there may be some reactions to foreign materials in the equipment through which the blood passes.

I noticed that since my surgery, I can't type as well, and I often make errors where my fingers type something different from what I intend. It's a minor thing, but it's definitely there. So I wish Mr. Clinton well. He's lucky his health care plan didn't pass, and we still have the best health care system on earth.

We are all parents and grandparents

Sofia Sideshow ties Zell Miller's speech to the terrorism in Russia.

Attacking his patriotism

Kerry has been asking for this. If he had released his records and answered the charges by the SBVFT earlier, he would have been less vulnerable to it. This isn't going to go away until he does something besides blaming it all on Bush. It sure bears out what Richard Wirthlin told Hugh Hewitt, "John Kerry's salute will prove to be the greatest strategic error of his campaign."

Do they get it now?

One must wonder whether this horror will change some minds in Moscow about supporting us in the War on Terrorism. They certainly don't seem to be taking the Spanish approach. Of course, if the Spanish atrocities had involved hostages, it might has been different.

On further reflection, and though I doubt that anybody like the man in this photo knows I exist, but I can only imagine the pain of having a child injured like this. All your hopes and love and fears are bundled up in your children. There is nothing that can justify the people who did this. No matter how much freedom you've been denied or how many atrocities have been done to you, taking children hostage is beyond the pale. It will not help your cause to dehumanize yourself like these people did. They deserve worse than death. Our hearts and prayers should go out to these children and their families. Love for our children is one thing we have in common with everybody in the world. We can all feel the sick sorrow these people must feel and nobody deserves to go throw this. May God bless and comfort them.

How to deal with Darfur

Glenn Reynolds is calling for unilateral action to stop the genocide in Darfur. I agree. It's obvious that the U.N. won't do anything until it's far too late, but Glenn's suggestion that we offer "special forces trainers and some weapons to organize the victims in Darfur . . .," is not what I would do. I think we need to use some JDAM sanctions, to let the government of Sudan know that this is its responsibility, and if it doesn't do something on its own, it will suffer the same fate as Milosevic or the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. I don't think we want to foment a civil war, if we can help it.

Who does Kerry sound like?

Ever since I've heard Kerry's speeches, even his sound bites, I've been trying to think who that stentorian sing-song style reminded me of. I finally hit it this morning when a program called Rivals came on the Discovery-Times channel. He sounds uncannily like General MacArthur, complete with all the hauteur, arrogance and artificiality! MacArthur was a hero to my parents, but his showboating and arrogance are legendary, as is his bullheadedness and insubordination.

The Republicans' Convention Bounce

Time reports that Bush has opened a double digit lead! (Via Instapundit) The Convention was extremely successful. I don't know how to analyze exactly what made it so, but there are a number of explanations: the contrast with the glum Demovention, the childish and violent behavior from demonstrators intent on disrupting the convention (which the Republicans played very cleverly by respecting their right to protest), the telling attacks on Kerry, especially by Rudy Giuliani and Zell Miller, or just the reminder that we're in a war and we've got a president who has gone on offense instead of waiting for the next attack while we investigate and try to arrest those involved in the last one.

Cheney's speech reads better than hearing it. He isn't a rousing speaker, but he is steady, cogent, experienced and wise. I wish he could let out some of that spirit he unleashed only too briefly on Pat Leahy. Bush's speech was partly too much like a State of the Union, but I suppose he had to set out his political goals in the next term. But he soared, and became a great communicator, when he got personal about the decisions he's had to face, his humility and his love and respect for our men and women in uniform and their families, and the promise and hope of America. Fred Thompson's presentation leading up to the speech did all the praising of his care and compassion very effectively, but Bush demonstrated that care and respect with the lines I found very true and very American:
And I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers � to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong.
I've been feeling the need for some time for the president to address why Iraq is so important to the main strategy in this war. The Democrats and the msm have painted it as a diversion from the War on Terror and a failure. Last night the president layed it out:
I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances � heart by heart, and nation by nation � America will be more secure and the world more peaceful.. . .

This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America � and tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward � grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.
This was what I've been yearning to hear him say. It was Reaganesque, a call to respond to vicious hatred not just with retribution, but with the power of freedom to strike at the roots of that hatred and at the despair of people who have been told to blame their misery on us.

By overthrowing Saddam, we freed 25 million people. There is much still to be done, and a lot of it has to be done by them, not us. They must learn that we can't just hand them a democracy. They have to demand their rights as human beings and be willing to fight for them against the terrorists and thugs in their midst, even against men who claim to be holy but urge Muslims to kill other Muslims. They need to learn that religion without freedom is as meaningless and destructive as freedom without self-discipline.

While the Democrats brood and snarl over the past, the President is looking forward with a clarity that John Kerry and his party don't have and haven't understood for years. Kerry responded with the same old drivel about attacking "my patriotism and even my fitness to serve as commander in chief." His patriotism wasn't the issue. His commitment to defending this country was, and that necessarily goes to his fitness to serve as commander in chief.
His whining only hurts his own argument when we remember what he and his party have been saying about George W. Bush for the past year leading up to this moment, and when he follows it up with the scurrilous charge, "I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could've and who misled America into Iraq." Bush has just served for four years with great distinction and Cheney has served this country and accepted far greater responsibilities than Kerry has ever had to. There are more ways to serve your country than serving in the infantry or driving a Swift boat. This insinuation that if you didn't see combat, you didn't serve your country is a slap in the face of every person in uniform, whether they work in the National Guard or in the Pentagon or as cooks, mechanics or the other millions of support roles. They also serve who only stand and wait.

Kerry is a loser, and his spiteful petty arguments ring hollower every day. His negativity and promises only work if you believe (1) that all the news is really bad and (2) that he really knows what to do about it, which his flipflopping shows he doesn't. His economic ideas are those of Jimmy Carter, and all the promises and claims he makes won't change the fact that they are failures. Bush's economic policies are those of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. Tax cuts work. They produce greater wealth for everybody. Kerry's nostrums are the voodoo economics of the thirties.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Note the top photo

The new face of the left? After Zell Miller's speech, it seems to epitomize the mood the Democrats leftward.

Zell Miller, buzz saw

I just heard Chris Matthews' interview with Miller last night after Miller's galvanizing speech to the Republicans and the nation. Matthews tried to insinuate that Miller was disingenuous that he took cheap shots, but Miller was ready for him and I thought Matthews looked like a petty carper. I used to like him, but his opposition to the war in Iraq, and possibly his transition to reporter/analyst, has made him unbearable to watch. Maybe, since his interview with Zell was via a closed circuit and not in person, he couldn't shout him into silence. I'll remember that if I'm ever invited to appear on Hardball.

Hugh Hewitt is interviewing Lawrence O'Donnell, who is another BDL. It seems to be an occupation-related affliction of journalists, along with the delusion that their opinions are the only reality.

* BDL: "Brain Damage" Liberal - one who suffers political and social homonymous hemianopia. The right side of the field of vision on most issues is missing.

Why Conservatives don't demonstrate.

Remember, during the 2000 Florida recount crisis, the incident where some Republicans started to protest the recounting of ballots in Palm Beach or Broward County and were made to leave the room? David Brooks commented about the strangeness of protestors in tasseled loafers. Traditionally, conservatives don't picket, demonstrate or protest. They may attend Support the Troops rallies, but they don't normally expect to change society by marching. They prefer debates and political organizing.

Ever since the success of the Civil Rights movement, which publicized the injustice of Jim Crow in the South, people on the left seem to think there is something legally binding to painting signs and marching in the streets. They don't seem to realize that the purpose of demonstrating is just that, to demonstrate their grievances, as the followers of Ghandi and Martin Luther King did. Those watching and seeing the violent and hate-filled reaction from the authorities were moved by the unfairness to compassion and support for reform.

What would the result have been if MLK, Ghandi or their followers had been filmed throwing rocks at the police or trying to kick a police officer to death? Is anybody really convinced by terrorist actions that their cause is just? I don't think so. That's why civil disobedience must be kept civil. You can't persuade anybody if your cause doesn't appeal to people's sense of fairness.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hugh Hewitt

He's having a ball at the GOP convention, plus he's kicking butts and taking names on C-Span's Washinton Journal and the lethargic O'Franken Factor. Al Franken is a professional dweeb, who only looks intelligent in comparison with that Big Fat Stupid White Man.

Good News

The Deseret Morning News one of Salt Lake City's two daily newspapers has been running reports from their own reporter from the Republican Convention. What a blast of fresh air! None of the jaded, condescending drivel we get typically from the news services and the Big City newspapers. It sounds like an exciting place to be.

It also makes the demonstrators sound like a bunch of jerks, which is what most of them are. When did we begin to assume that just because you come out and carry signs and get publicity the rest of society is obligated to accede to your demands?

I wrote to the reporter and complimented him on reports that didn't make the convention sound like a plot against humanity. He thanked me because he'd mostly gotten a lot of complaints from New Yorkers. I try to do that once in a while. Them them what I like as well as what I don't. This reporter is not reporting to New York City, he's reporting to Utah. I was taught that writers are supposed to consider their audience, which is assumed to be someone other than the Pulitzer Prize committee. This country deserves to hear the news straight and with some respect for how the non-journalists among us see the world.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Convention

McCain saluted Bush, but gave a kind of mushy speech. I think that this is not a time for preaching love and kindness for people who have lost all semblance of fairness and respect for the freedoms we all have.

Giuliani came on stronger, and nailed Kerry as a non-leader. He detailed the history of our responses to terrorism and made the point powerfully that we cannot afford to remain on defense, or to make treaties with the enemy, but to go on the offense.

The most moving part was the three speeches by the survivors of three heroes who died on 9/11. The evocation of 9/11 was very effective. It should be the slogan for this election: Remember 9/11. Reelect Bush/Cheney.

Hugh Hewitt notes, "The Bush campaign hasn't been tested yet, but there are signs of much more sophistication when it comes to the bloggers."

I'd be surprised if the campaign didn't recognize the influence blogging has had on this campaign already. Along with talk radio, it's the only medium where people can get a both sides of the issues. The old media have become arrogant and stubborn, continually telling us not to pay attention to those men behind those ads. For all of its pretensions at being hip, the Democrat Party is all about protecting its turf, not facing the future. It's still essentially the New Deal appeal, but we're running out of people who remember the great Depression.

Who's the smearer?

Here's a suggestion for the SBVFT' next ad:

Clip of Kerry accusing the Republicans of smearing him.

Voiceover: Kerry says his fellow veterans are smearing him. It's been thirty years, since he said: Clip of Kerry's testimony to the Senate, about Americans routinely beheading people, cutting off ears, killing women and children.

He smeared his fellow servicemen and women and cost them the respect and honor due them when they came home. In an effort to put the dissension and pain of Vietnam behind us, Vietnam Vets let it go. But now Mr. Kerry wants to lead this country and he cites his few months on a Swift Boat in Vietnam as his primary qualification.

So when he accuses us of smearing him, he's just going back to his old ways of making reckless and slanderous accusations for his own political gain.

Kerry standards

What was wrong with being a Navy Lieutenant in Vietnam? According to John Kerry violence and war and gross insensitivity. Read the whole thing. It's devasting.

Kerry had all the self-dramatization and absurdity of the young. Oh, the humanity!

This begs the question that General Sherman answered long ago.
You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.
War is hell. You can't make it compatible with the delicate sensibilities of a Boston preppie. It's about tearing people's bodies apart, turning their heads and limbs to bloody mush, before they do it to you. It's about understanding that it's an ugly nasty job, but it has to be done and you only make it worse by trying to soften it.

Sherman knew the horror of the battles where thousands of soldiers were slaughtered and maimed, and he knew the pretensions of gentility of the Southern populace. He wanted the cost of war to be brought home to them, to destroy their illusions of the glory and gallantry of war. That's why he undertook his march through Georgia.

By refusing to pursue the enemy outside of South Vietnam, LBJ made that war unwinnable. I'm sure there were a lot of our troops who wondered what the point was in fighting for ground that was immediately abandoned afterwards, and why the enemy could melt back into the populace, use children and women to kill Americans, transport weapons from the North through Cambodia with impunity, and why Russia and China could provide weapons to the North Vietnamese without Haiphong harbor being mined, or Hanoi bombed.

War is hard, dangerous and nasty, but it is the price we pay to do away with things like slavery, Fascism, Communism, warmongering and terrorism. Diplomacy and appeasement have been tried, but they don't always work. In fact, they often just prolong the misery and raise the ultimate costs.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Nobody gets a honeymoon

Ann Althouse offers a stream of consciousness (if that's the correct word) of the press coverage of Kerry. I think that we could be in for another mess like Bill Clinton, where the press covered for him until he got elected and then turned on him.

Aaron Burr, villain or victim?

I've come late to an interest in history. I've just watched Richard Dreyfuss' special on the The History Channel about the lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. It's strongly sympathetic to Burr, featuring a number of historians who seem to think he has been unfairly treated in history, because of the antagonistic writings of Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson about him. It would certainly be difficult to defend one's reputation against men of that stature, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being manipulated by this program.

It seems that three major events are hard for Burr's defenders to answer. First, his lack of honor when as candidate for Vice-president with Jefferson, he went along with Federalist efforts to take the election from Jefferson. I find that difficult to square with honesty and honor, even though I'm not that much of a Jefferson admirer.

Second, the way the duel with Hamilton was presented, it seems quite apparent to me that Hamilton was not interested in really harming Burr physically, so much as discharging the demands of honor, as it was considered at that time, while Burr took the opportunity to kill Hamilton. Hamilton definitely had insulted him, but his antipathy suggests that his experience with Burr had impressed him that Burr was an opportunist without any sense of patriotism or principle.

Third, Burr had apparently been willing to join some fools who proposed secession by New England.

It may seem unfair that history has treated Burr as a villain, but it hasn't been all that friendly to Hamilton either, at least in our current academic climate. Hamilton seems damned both as a proponent of strong central government and as a greedy financier and businessman. The thing that strikes me most about Burr is that he seemed to have no patriotism, as thus doesn't really belong to the Founding Fathers, compared with Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and Hamilton. The only reason anybody remembers him now is for his role in the death of Hamilton. Had he not killed Hamilton, I'm not sure anybody but historians would recognize his name.

Demonstrators demonstrate media bias

Protestors demonstrate against the SBVFT What? No Michael Moore?

Of course, this, unlike the controversial ads and charges against Kerry, gets immediate press coverage.