Friday, October 29, 2004

Here's a new standard

Megan McArdle has a lucid and thoughtful analysis behind her endorsement of Bush. I don't agree with her on some things, because I don't think any politician could be competitive if he agreed with me on everything. I think that entitlements, including corporate welfare, will lead to the destruction of this republic, plain and simple, but we've drunk that Kool-aid and I don't see any Ipecac in our near future. I also think that federal taxes should be limited to what's necessary for national defense, running the essential departments of the federal government, such as Congress, the Courts, and the same cabinet departments we had in 1800 and not much else. I consider intelligence part of Defense and the FBI. I would eliminate about 90% of the government and all the unfunded mandates to the states. But I also know that none of the things I'd do have the chance of a snowflake in a heatwave of ever being seriously discussed, let alone happening. So I accept politics as it has become and hope for incremental improvements.

However, war is something different. It's a matter that has huge impacts on every other part of our society, and we cannot go back to the business as usual of the Clinton era. The world is still dangerous, and we know now that the U.N. cannot be trusted to deal with that danger. If anything, as the only superpower, we must be a leader, in the world, even when the world doesn't want to follow. Sometimes I think we're the only adults left, and then I remember John Kerry, and I'm not so sure even that much is true.

In all of this depressing scenario, there are still some bright spots. This year mark another step in our return media freedom. Following on the rise of talk radio, blogs have become a powerful voice balancing the liberal drone from the established media. They will have to change and provide fair coverage or become irrelevant. Play it straight, guys, or the people will go around you.

I want to know what Jim Henson's Creature Shop has been up to.

Both Osama and "Azzam the American" look a lot like Muppets if you ask me. Of course, it could just be coincidence.

Seriously, bin Laden videos are often signals to terrorists to launch planned attacks. We'll probably know by Tuesday. In the meantime, I expect Michael Moore to claim the video as a Republican dirty trick. Just watched Jeff Birnbaum say he expected the end of the video would have George Bush saying "I approve of this message."

Let not your heart be troubled.

Neither let it be afraid. As Ann Althouse and one of her emailers explain, the military today would find a bunch of underqualified, unmotivated and bitchy draftees a nuisance, not a help. There will not be a draft again. We are past the days of throwing more cannon fodder at the enemy. Each one of our men and women is better trained and equipped than ever before. They are worth a whole lot of the draftees we sent to Vietnam. I think that the likes of Lyndie England and her boyfriend are not who we want in the military. I think that we should increase our forces, and not be forced to rely so heavily on the National Guard.

I never thought I was big or strong enough to be a soldier. I know I'm not now. But I admire these people tremendously. They've always been heroes to me, especially these days. I'm sure the military suffers from its share of screwups and sad-sacks, but they aren't the tip of the spear. One thing I don't think will get you ahead in the military is lack of ambition or aggression in a fight. Career military folks today are likely to have college and post-graduate degrees in all kinds of areas.

Oh, you mean those explosives.

The ones we hauled out and blew up!

How many more of these "surprise" stories being sprung by the media will blow up in their faces before they start making sure of their facts. I think that CBS has already blown its credibility on anything anti-Bush.

Imagine listening to this for the next four years

The Kerry Spot links to this quote from Kerry: [Italics added]
It's absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest that if I were president, he wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone. Because if he hadn't complied, we might have had to go to war. And we might have gone to war. But if we did, I'll tell you this, Tom. We'd have gone to war with allies in a way that the American people weren't carrying the burden. And the entire world would have understood why we were doing it.
After you parse all that, I have a 15 pages trust agreement you can take a crack at. But isn't he saying that what he calls "absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest," that he had been president on 9/11, Saddam might still have been in power.

There's more. Go read it at the link above. Brokaw must still be scratching his head.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Policy vacuum?

Jim Hoaglund discusses what we'll see if Kerry wins this election.

Good question.

James Klurfeld asks "how can this election be so close?" I've been asking the same question alot myself. My answer is that there are so many morons in the press like Mr. Klurfeld that the media has given Kerry the boost of a lot of people who have been brainwashed into thinking that the war in Iraq is going badly, that Bush wants to destroy civil rights, that the U.N. is a form of world democracy and that the U.S., not Saddam's Iraq, is a rogue state.

They don't call it oPRESSion for nothing.

Jim Rutenberg quotes Jay Rosen in an effort to scare people that blogs are a threat to free speech and "professionalism" in the press. Unbelievable.

Basically, it's a warning that we, the people, are too ignorant to understand the world and see through the lies and blandishments of politicians without the lies and blandishment of Journalism. It's an argument that we need the regulation of J-schools over our "free" press.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Comfort from the 9/11 Liberals

Meryl Yourish announces that she's voting for Bush and makes the most clear and succinct case that Kerry is unacceptable I've seen so far.

If one candidate, or his supporters, is trying to scare you

Best of the Web is excellent today. Taranto examines the reasons given by the eggheads at Slate against the test Clinton proposed.

Update: Jim Wooten, if you care to navigate through the AJC compulsory registration, describes an extreme case of this fearmongering. I'm getting frightened, not of Kerry becoming president, but that he, his party and the their supporters in the media and academia will justify anything to keep from losing power. Maybe it's because I grew up when the Dems held perpetual control of Congress, which waivered during the Reagan administration and then collapsed in 1994, and so I don't feel that the universe is coming apart when my side loses an election, but the bizarre behavior of the left in this campaign ought to make everybody want to deliver a stunning slap to bring them to their senses.

I don't believe anybody is capable of the perverseness and evil they attribute to Bush. I almost expect them to claim next, that he kills babies and eats them. I've seen family members who are otherwise intelligent and well-educated turned to conspiracy theorists by their Anti-Bush frenzy. This really is getting weird. I'm beginning to believe seriously in Hugh Hewitt's thesis that crushing the Democrats is essential. (Time only will tell if my life depends on it, but I think a lot of Muslim and Jewish lives in the Middle East could.)

Today, I got around to reading David Gelernter's piece in the Weekly Standard entitled The Greatness of George Bush. That title alone is enough to cause Lucifer-like wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left, but it's quite cogent, more so because of what he has accomplished in spite of the hysterical opposition.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Kerry Agonistes

Kerry seems to be heading for a decisive defeat. His rhetoric is becoming more shrill, even as stories proliferate about his intellectual shallowness and dishonesty. Fox News reported that he's been accused of plagiarizing. The real question now is how far he and his party will go to steal this election. The efforts of his flacks in the press have fallen flat, bringing discredit to them rather than helping him. His whole campaign is looking more and more tawdry in its efforts to find traction in these final days.

Victor Davis Hanson says it better than I can (except for his remark that Kerry has a "razor sharp memory").

I wish I could take satisfaction in the apparent victory in one week, but it reminds me of how effective sophistry still is. I daresay that a large fraction of Americans are sure of a number of things about George Bush that are just nonsense. How many of them really think that Iraq was incompetently fought? Or that Bush is really responsible for all the jobs lost when the 1990s bubble collapsed? Or even that the president has the power to fine tune the economy? If we weren't being so ill served by the news media, we'd understand that the only thing that has reliably spurred the economy is tax cuts because they function through the invisible hand of the marketplace and do so almost immediately. Do they really think that the president can dictate oil prices? Do they realize that living in a free and open society means that things are seldom in the control of anybody?

All the news that's fit to be discredited.

You'd think that the New York Times would know by now that U.N. bureaucrats don't make particularly credible sources. Funny how the Times and CBS were so anxious to lob bombshells at Bush that they didn't check with anybody, such as the Pentagon, before putting this malarky on the front page.

The Chicago Tribune has been laughed at all my life for its mistaken headline that Dewey beat Truman in 1948. The Times will be ridiculed far longer, and much more deservedly, for its hypocritical and partisan coverage of this election. I see it quoted more today for its blatant lack of honest reporting than for any real news. The real question is whether the sycophants in the media who take their direction from the Times in deciding what is news will become more resourceful and independent, knowing after this year that they may be following its lead out onto a limb.

Update: More evidence is coming in that this "stunner" is a stinker. The New York is reporting that we had requested the IAEA to destroy these weapons 9 years ago. So does all of Kerry's criticism apply to the Clinton administration and the U.N. too?

The mask drops

It's been pretty obvious this year that the mainstream media has abandoned any pretense of impartiality in politics, but this meltdown by Lawrence "Mad Dog" O'Donnell really takes the cake. So much for "ethical" journalism. I've only seen this kind of real personal rage once before when Marvin Kalb was on The Newshour with Bernard Goldberg when Goldberg's book, Bias came out. The liberals who dominate the news media have always had the attitude that they are the elite, the priesthood that divines the news and interprets it for us plebians, and now they're losing that status. You know they feel threatened when they act like this.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Is it my monitor,

or does Bill Clinton look wan and thin, like the ghost of Elections Past?

Two days after Halloween

It's almost here. I can feel it in the stretched nerves, the touchiness and the watchfulness.

James Lileks was feeling it on Hugh's show today, as was Roger Simon. Why should it bother us so much that the nation might lurch back into Clintonian foreign policy? Maybe it's the sense that Kerry's approach would be a disaster for the Iraqis, that our response to the murders of 9/11, returning liberation for malevolence, will be "twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools." Maybe it's the fear that our country has passed its peak and is headed into a slow decline, like that of the Romans, but much too soon. Maybe it's the sick feeling that we are too comfortable, too fat and happy to do what our parents barely hesitated to do at far greater sacrifice.

Whatever happens, this year has left me with a sickening feeling that an evil is taking hold at a deep level in the Home of the Brave, the evil of rich indolence, of Sundays watching football and complaining when our sitcoms are interrupted by a news flash.

Update: Even Scrappleface seems to have a feel of grim irony.

"It's melting! Melting!"

On Hugh Hewitt's show this afternoon he described the front page of the New York Times as a "donation in kind to the Kerry campaign." The missing explosives story is about a year and a half old, but what's that against a chance to smear Bush? Normal people would have asked when they went missing, and ask what the responsibility of the UN inspection regime was in the matter. The Times, however, has sold its soul for John Kerry.

What was once a national, even a worldwide, leading newspaper, is shrinking like the Wicked Witch of the West in the shower. It's becoming a parochial little paper for liberal New Yorkers, an oddity for the rest of us to wonder at. It's a has-been, still wealthy, but not offered any good parts these days. The cognoscenti read it with a corrective filter.

"It's melting! Melting"

On Hugh Hewitt's show this afternoon he described the front page of the New York Times as a "donation in kind to the Kerry campaign." What was once a national, even a worldwide, leading newspaper, is shrinking like the Wicked Witch of the West in the shower. It's becoming a parochial little paper for liberal New Yorkers, an oddity for the rest of us to wonder at. It's a has-been, still wealthy, but not offered any good parts these days. The cognoscenti read it with a corrective filter.

Genocide in Darfur. Women suffer most.

If Sudan wants to assure that the UN and EU won't interfere, it can always enact a death penalty.

The age of machine translation?

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You've got to admire the spirit of a pitch like that.

Fears of election-attack plot grow

No, it's not about the Democrats' after-the-vote legal strategy.

The Hydrogen Hummer

"Though Schwarzenegger arrived at the event in a low-pollution vehicle, he left in a gasoline-powered SUV that typically gets about 15 mpg. Officials said the hydrogen Hummer needs to refuel every 50 miles and there are only about a dozen fueling stations across the state."

Hydrogen is not an energy-dense fuel, as gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels are, which is why a tankful only goes 50 miles. The belief that CO2 is a pollutant, while an environmentalist fundraiser's dream, is also not something we are likely to solve soon or cheaply.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Why Bush?

Read the second comment to this post. We've been faced with this choice once before. Bush isn't Abraham Lincoln, but he understands what's at stake and he won't spend the next four years dithering with nuance and nuisance.

Me too.

Mark Steyn is sick of this election. "These are serious times and the senator is not a serious man."

Granted, but he is serious about winning the election. Not knowing what to do with the presidency once you win it has never been an obstacle before. Clinton came in like he thought being president was like being king. Bush didn't seem very sure of why he wanted to be President back in 2000, but 9/11 changed that. Kerry seems to be motivated more by matters of taste than any real convictions. He wants Bush out because he committed a terrible faux pas by going to war without the U.N.'s blessing. That just isn't done!
As for this Bush-failed-to-get-bin-Laden business, 2-1/2 years ago I declared that Osama was dead and he's never written to complain. There's no more evidence for his present existence than there is for the Loch Ness monster, which at least does us the courtesy of showing up as a indistinct gray blur on a photograph every now and again. Osama is lying low because he's in no condition to get up.

But, even if he weren't, that's a frivolous reductive way of looking at this war. He's not a general or head of state; he can't sign an instrument of surrender, and make all the unpleasantness go away. The enemy is an ideology that appeals to various loose groupings from the Balkans to Indonesia, as well as to entrepreneurial free-lancers like the shooter who killed two people at LAX on July 4, 2002. If Kerry's oft-repeated "outsourcing Osama" crack is genuinely felt, it shows he doesn't get this war. And, if it's just cheapo point scoring, it's pathetic.

His wife sneers at Laura Bush for not being a businesswoman, which is what she really meant with her crack about Laura never having had a job.

And, of course, how tacky is it for Cheney to have a lesbian daughter and still run with George W. Bush?

Pathetic indeed.

Too down and dirty?

William Schambra provides some historical perspective on vicious politics. Incivility is an American tradition. So is hypocrisy, like those who impose pc speech codes on campus describing Bush in terms that would be racist if he were any other color than white. To a certain extent, we have even tolerated some votin fraud. What is disquieting is the possibility that lawsuits rather than votes will determine future elections.