February 06, 2004


Fascinating story buttressing the point some of us on the right make about Democrats and war--to wit, that politics will always trump their concern for victory, because the power of office trumps the serious responsibilities that go along with it.

The accusation comes from an unlikely source--Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Supreme Commander of NATO during the war in Kosovo and Democrat candidate for president. Clark has released papers from the war period, and he alleges in them that the Clinton administration wanted the war brought to an end by any means necessary by July 4, 1999, because Vice President Al Gore was to kick off his run for the presidency that day.

In refuting the allegation, Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger said the following:

"The White House was totally committed to victory in Kosovo, no matter how long it took or what it took," he said.

False, and demonstrably so. In saying "no matter...what it took," Berger says that the United States would have done more than bomb from 30,000 feet to win the war. But going into the war, President Clinton himself took ground troops off the table. He refused to insert Apache gunships. And does anyone seriously think that the US, given its nuclear arsenal, would really have done anything, "no matter...what it took" to win that regional war that had no bearing on US national security? If it had gone badly enough, would Clinton have nuked Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian troops?

Obviously not. Sandy Berger is either being grandiose or lying, not unusual behavior for a Clinton-era official. The Clinton administration didn't want a single pair of American boots on the ground, feeding the Islamist image of us as paper tiger that will run from any fight that bloodies our nose. The Clinton adminstration would have found some way to pull out rather than risk American troops, especially with an election looming. It would have abandoned the Kosovars to death at the hands of the Serbs, just like the boomer hippies abandoned South Vietnam to the ravages of the Communist North. And just like the current crop of Democrats will abandon the world to Islamist terrorism.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:28 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


So the little girl lost is dead. They found Carlie's body in some underbrush near a church. They have charged the mechanic, Joseph Smith, with her abduction and murder.

Smith has a rap sheet as long as Shaquille O'Neal's arms. A judge named Harry Rapkin had just freed him, though Smith had been in violation of his parole terms. Freed him because he believed the prisons are too full; freed him to kill a little girl. Thanks, judge. May you never get another night's peaceful sleep for this one. May guilt rack your conscience as long as walk this earth. May some of the lawyers who talk big about the issues of the day do something about judges that free madmen to kill little girls.

And may the murderer die, soon.

I know, there are already criminals' rights advocates and anti-death penalty advocates lining up to argue that Smith should be spared, given life in prison without parole, the usual claptrap. As usual, they argue for the rights of killers and ignore the rights of victims.

Liberals, anti-death penalty advocates, whoever you are, allow me to let you into my mind for a minute or two. I'm a conservative. I'm a Christian. Chances are, at least one of those two words is enough for you to start hating me.

Turn one ounce of your wrath on someone who deserves it for once, just once, instead of someone like me--just a guy trying to protect his family and make an honest living and worship his God. Just once.

Here's the deal. Here's why you and I are different. You see me as a threat to you. You don't like my faith. You don't like my politics. You don't like me, and you see me as a threat to you. But I'm no threat to you. Like most people like me, I want mostly to be left alone. I don't the government imposing on me too much, but I don't want it to impose on you too much either. It's a blunt instrument, government, best left in the drawer until you really need it. Murderers deserve that blunt instrument, in my humble opinion.

When I look at someone like you, I don't see a threat. I see values I believe are misplaced, and politics I disagree with, but I don't personalize all of that to the point that I hate you. I hate the man hiding behind you--the man that kills a little girl, the terrorist that brings buildings down and kills innocents by the thousands. He's hiding behind your advocacy. When you argue with me about war, he smiles. When you push for abolition of the death penalty, he smiles. And he bides his time. He's using you as a human shield. You won't realize it until it's your daughter, your son, your spouse that's getting their throat slit or their body vaporized by a maniac. And if 9-11 is any guide, you won't even realize it then.

That's the difference between you and me. For the most part, you hate me and people like me. To you, we are the threat. To me, you're not the threat, not by a long shot. But your values empower the man who is the threat. And he's standing behind you.

That threat isn't going away. While we argue about Saddam's weapons and programs, al Qaeda is getting ready again. They've just released a new tape that shows terrorists training for the Riyadh attack, the one that killed more Muslims than anything else last year. It's apparently a recruiting tape, and shows the faces of several of our leaders--George H. W. Bush whom Saddam tried to assassinate a few years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell and others--the idea being to use their images to recruit killers. You may hate Bush Sr. and Powell and people who agree with them. You have that in common with the terrorists. But the fact you always miss is that the terrorists hate you, too, and would kill you without a second's thought.

You'll hear about that tape in the next few days. For an invitation to murder, it's impressive. It has graphics and video transitions and several of the terrorists' faces are digitally blotted out to conceal their identities, even while they move through the shots. That probably means those operators are still out there somewhere, plotting to kill. You'll hear that all the graphics and so forth mean that the tape's producers must have access to sophisticated video production gear, that they must have a studio somewhere. I saw part of that tape on Fox tonight. It probably took a mid-grade PC or Mac and about $1,000 of software to produce, nothing more. Even the motion tracking necessary to blot out faces is common now, and a few hours mucking about is enough for most people to learn how to use it. That tape could have been edited anywhere--in someone's garage, in their spare bedroom, anywhere you can prop up a monitor and power up a system. And I'll go one further--the graphics software is likely pirated. What's my point? For all its threats, al Qaeda can still rage against us with a minimal effort and expense. It can recruit on the dime, anywhere the death cult reigns. Or anywhere it wants to reign.

Here's what I want to know. As things stand now, George W. Bush will lose his job in a few months. Of course, things could change in a nanosecond and they probably will a dozen times between now and November--we all thought Howard Dean would be halfway to the nomination by now instead of gearing up for a desperate last stand. But as things stand now, the anti-war party will take the White House.

What will you people do about al Qaeda? You have been dodging that question since 9-11, prattling on about police actions and "war is not the answer" and harping about unilateralism and cowboy politics and weapons of mass distraction and how the real issue is health care "Bush was AWOL" and "Bush LIED" and all that. If you win in November, you won't be able to dodge any longer. Your side will have the bully pulpit and the constitutional role to lead our foreign policy and war. You will have to deal with al Qaeda and the other related existential threats we face. What will you do?

I suspect you will keep on harping on the side issues. You'll make nice with France. You'll bow to the UN. You will not take al Qaeda or international terrorism seriously, because to you the bigger threat is and will always be the average American dude that runs this website and people like me, because you happen to disagree with my politics and beliefs. Not the terrorist, whose hatred you will hope to understand, and not the murderer, whose crimes you will blame on society. You will stalk me and demonize me. It's what you did before 9-11, and it's what you have done since. You will focus your ire on me.

And the man behind you will smile.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:11 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack


Terry MacAuliffe is clueless. Or he may be the worst liar in the world. I can't decide which, but it doesn't really matter. Either way, I hope the DNC keeps him forever--he's doing the GOP a world of good.

Consider the following. On CNN's Inside Edition the other day, MacAuliffe trumped up the Bush was AWOL v2.0 scheme again, quoting the retired General who made the original charge (but who has since recanted it), and went on to talk about Guard regulations in general.

MacAuliffe never served in the military. Not in the Guard. Not in the Reserves. Not at all. And it shows, everytime he opens his stupid mouth on the subject.

MacAuliffe, noting Bush's absence in 1972-73, said that the story that Bush made up the lost time later isn't true, because you can't make up lost or missed drill.

Not true. It wasn't true in the Vietnam era, and isn't true now. Anyone who knows anything about the Guard--or bothered to look up the regs or even speak with anyone who's ever been in any way acquainted with the Guard--knows that serving in the Guard/Reserve allows for lots of flexibility. It's a part-time job for most members, and those members have many obligations that sometimes take precedence over their Guard duty or will have schedule conflicts that force them to delay drill. They can request absences, even for extended periods of time, and get them on their word that they will make up the drill at some point. Happens all the time. It's part of being in the Guard/Reserves.

So...either MacAuliffe didn't bother to study up on this before shooting off his mouth, or he knew that what he was saying wasn't true but said it anyway. Either he's an idiot or a liar.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


You've got to read this piece over at Iraq the Model.

Note to the media--instead of fooling around with former Baathists like Salam Pax, you guys should hire Ali. The man can write.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2004


This blog has already written at some length on the true scandal of the Senate Judiciary Committee; namely, that unelected special interest figures and groups have for the past couple of years been calling the shots, and that the elected Dems on that committee have been doing their bidding. The planning and strategic thinking to block Bush court nominees was quite extensive, and all taking place away from the public eye.

The Dems have since successfully spun that scandal around to blowback on the Republican staffer who "hacked" the committee's computer system, and he has resigned. His career has been destroyed, though he didn't hack anything. The files he accessed were available to anyone who had a log on for that system. The Democrats knew of the problem, because the Republicans had told them about it. But because the Dems are pretty good at twisting the truth, the scandal that should have forced the Dems to distance themselves publicly from the special interest groups that had captured their members on the committee has instead destroyed a GOP staffer. Such is the nature of Washington, I guess--the perception of "hacking" became the reality of sacking.

But lost in all that is the issue of accountability. The Democrats have never had to answer for their actions, or been held accountable for them. They are, one should presume, still owned by their special interests. Those special interests provide the cash and apparently do all or most of the strategic thinking. The Democrats' role seems to be to accept money and follow orders, orders coming from unelected and therefore unaccountable officials working for various special interests.

With all that in mind, consider the much bigger scandal that should, but in all likelihood will not, provide further proof that the Democrats prefer to keep their inner workings as far from the public eye as possible.

In the wake of the 1996 Clinton campaign finance scandal, Democrats and some Republicans pushed for a massive reform of the campaign system. That effort finally bore fruit in 2002 with the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform law, signed by President Bush. It has been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. Among its effects, it severly muddies the campaign finance waters. Before CFR, the political parties received the bulk of political donations either through individuals, corporations or PACs. Now, the recipients and spenders of political donations have the ability to hide behind shell corporations and phony fronts, giving and taking money behind firewalls of secrecy.

What is the Sustainable World Corp.? If you've never heard of it, don't be surprised: The entity was just established on Dec. 10, incorporated in Texas. Seven days later, it gave $3.1 million to a Democratic group, Joint Victory Campaign 2004. The proceeds were divided between two political committees devoted to ousting President Bush this fall: a voter mobilization group called America Coming Together and another organization, the Media Fund, aimed at making sure the party's eventual nominee isn't crushed by an onslaught of advertising from the Bush campaign.

This new system featuring "527 groups" takes the old evil of "soft money" and pushes it futher from true electoral accountability.

As the report just filed by Joint Victory Campaign 2004 illustrates, even the required disclosure has its limits. Sustainable World Corp. lists only a post office box in Houston as its address. Directory assistance has no number for it. Searches of ordinary business databases come up empty. We tracked down Lewis Linn, the Houston accountant who is listed as its registered agent, and asked him about Sustainable World; he said he was bound by professional constraints to keep information about it confidential. Asked if he would check to see whether those behind Sustainable World would let him reveal their identity, Mr. Linn called back to say, "I've talked to my clients, and they wish to remain private."

To its credit, Joint Victory Campaign 2004 supplied, when we asked, the identity of the mystery giver: According to Democratic strategist Harold Ickes, it is Linda Pritzker, a Houston investor who is a member of the Chicago Hyatt hotel family. Ms. Pritzker gave another $900,000 to the group under her own name (listing Mr. Linn's office as her address). It's nice that Mr. Ickes answered. But a system that permits these kinds of huge donations to be made under a cloak of anonymity is deeply troubling.

Accountability is the key to a healthy democracy. In 2001 Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia floated "Bush KNEW" conspiracy theories and made anti-Semitic remarks. While that got her into serious trouble, her re-election campaign was only truly sunk when it was revealed that many Islamist-supporting individuals had donated to her campaigns over the years. Disclosure of her financial sources was key to removing her from Congress (she was replaced with another Democrat, so I'm not making an unneccessarily partisan comment here). These 527s threaten to destroy accountability, by allowing unlimited donations to groups and "corporations" that only exist in a post office box and on paper, only lasting long enough for one election and then disappearing like shadows in the night. If anyone thought CFR would level the playing field between the rich and the rest of us, the existence and operations of these 527s should disabuse them of that notion.

And in 2004, it's apparent that the Democrats will be using 527s and various other mechanisms they built into campaign finance reform to build up large cash reserves outside the party system but, more importantly, away from the public eye (Republicans may use them in the same way, though I haven't seen any evidence of it yet. If they do, it will be just as wrong). That's bad for democracy.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Can things in the Palestinian territories get any worse? Yes, they can. The Palestinian Authority is busily inculcating a new generation with the ideals of martyrdom, and a lust for death:

The Intifada Album is a "craze sweeping the school playgrounds of Nablus and taking the West Bank by storm." It consists of paper cards with various scenes from the three-plus years of violence. Young boys hurl stones. Keffiyeh-clad terrorists preen. Bodies of "martyrs" are carried aloft through the streets in funeral processions.

On the market just two months, 6 million cards have been sold, along with 35,000 albums, each with space for 229 pictures. "Virtually every teenager in Nablus and Ramallah can produce a wad of stickers from his pocket." One 15-year-old boy comments, "When I see these pictures I get very emotional. It makes me want to resist the occupation."

With such emotions brewing, the cards not surprisingly enjoy the blessing of Mahmoud Aloul, the Palestinian Authority's man in Nablus, who praises them for helping people "know the many sacrifices that others have given for this land on which their blessed blood was spilt."

And thus does the wretched PA spoil the childhood of its youth and prepare them for early death.

It's not just Islamism or even fascism that infects these people. It's a plain old Satanic lie, a death cult bent on spilling more and more blood for an ever narrowing purpose.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Last May, when the Bush was AWOL meme took on its second life (its first was during the 2000 election; it's on its third run now), I penned a little post about my own days in the US Air Force. I served from 1993 to 1997, mostly in Japan, and oddly enough I ended up serving a few months longer than my original enlistment demanded (just like President Bush). That's just the nature of the military--their view of your assignment at a given duty station usually outweighs your contractual obligation from enlisting. I signed on for four years, but because my four-year tour at Yokota still had a few months left on it when the enlistment ended I ended up serving four years and four months. It's the nature of the beast.

Anyway, the topic of that post was military paperwork. During Bush was AWOL v2.0, lots of people were shaking their heads over the state of Bush's National Guard paperwork, wagging their fingers that it must surely be a sign of a conspiracy. I say it's not, and unlike Bush's accusers, I have evidence. You know, facts. Those things so many of Bush's critics are utterly uninterested in examining with anything approaching honesty.

So, from the archives of the JYB, I present "Robbed by Military Paperwork."

Some people refuee to let go of the "Bush was AWOL" lie. Bill Hobbs is still on the case, and something he said about something Sparkey said conjured up a long lost bitter memory in my own head.

It's the issue of paperwork in the military. For all the things the military does really, really well--deposing dictators, popping terrorists with robot airplanes, moving heavily-armed floating cities into combat zones, and dropping very large amounts of ordnance on a target the size of my backyard from a zillion time zones away--it's not so good at lots of other things. It does paperwork particularly poorly, so poorly that the Air Force still owes me money, money I'll never see, nearly six years after I left active duty.

It all happened because the AF posted me temporarily at an Army base. It was for tech school, so it's not like it was an extraordinarily weird assignment. Lots of us "zoomies" were there, but for some reason the Air Force at Lackland AFB didn't get my paperwork to the Army types at Ft. Harrison during the entire 3 months I spent there. So the Army paid me. I had to walk a little over a mile in the pleasant Indiana summer at the end of each week to stand in a short line to get my pay, which came in cash because that was just how they chose to do it. I assumed all along that the Air Force was paying the Army who was paying me, but it wasn't. Once I got moved to Yokota, the Army decided to collect on the bill I'd run up with them, and they properly requested that the Air Force cover it. Which the Air Force did, and then turned to ME to get its money back.

I didn't know any of this Air Force-Army stuff was going on until I'd been in Japan about a month or two, and I got a paycheck that looked more like someone's idea of a joke. It was a bill for three months' salary. As an E-3 Airman First Class, three months' salary was a pretty steep hit to take, especially when I didn't actually owe it to anybody. It was just a paperwork problem between the Air Force and the Army.

So I went to the finance office and asked what was up, and after a search they told me the story I've told you--the Army paid me, billed the AF which paid them, which then turned around and billed me. I explained to them how asinine it would be to expect me to pay back my own salary for the AF's screw-up. And I explained it again at greater volume, and again with desperation in my voice.

They didn't buy it. It couldn't be their mistake, because the Air Force doesn't make mistakes. So I never got paid back, never recovered that three months' salary. I literally got down to my last 5 bucks on earth--couldn't even put gas in the tank of my car--before finally getting another paycheck that wasn't a bill.

So I can believe all the stories about lost and weird paperwork regarding Bush's National Guard record. It squares with everything I remember about the military. It's very, very good at what it's designed to do--win wars. But it's pretty bad at just about everything else. Especially paperwork.

I've yet to see a penny of those paychecks, and I expect that I never will.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


James Lileks, who attaches his name to his work, is brilliant today. Forget this blog--just go read his. And re-read it.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Pinging around the blogosphere today thanks to a Salon article is the notion that anonymous bloggers are, or have a greater tendency to be, strident and cowardly.

Well, I'm on the record about that one--I started up the whole meme against anonyblogging last May, when TomPaine.com's blog debuted. My opinion hasn't changed since then, which is that for some people anonyblogging makes sense, but for rock throwers and slanderers like Atrios, it's just pure and simple cowardice.

One of the great restraints on public discourse, or more precisely on its swift descent into the maelstrom of asininity, is the fact that most people still have to own up to their words. Anonyblogging tears away that restraint, allowing the unstable and distempered among us to just vent whatever they feel without consequence. The result is a set of bloggers, mostly but not entirely on the left, who just hurl insults and epithets without regard for truth. As a case in point, wingnut Atrios is running parodies of The Corner's DYKWIA series about liberal elites, mostly John Kerry ("DYKWIA" meaning "Do you know who I am?"). The Corner posts are pretty mild stuff--Kerry cutting in line shouting "Do you know who I am?" to assert his privileged station in life, that sort of thing. Atrios, the uber anonyblogger of the left, chose to fight fire with nukes. Here's one of his "parodies":

Dear Atrios,

I met George W. Bush back in 1972. I was getting my Ph.D. in clinical psychology and interning at a private drug rehab clinic for the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful in North Carolina. It was tucked away in the hills, away from the lime light and promised the utmost discretion. I had to sign a half-dozen forms swearing me to secrecy to get my internship.

In the late summer, this kid shows up, looking like shit, wild-eyed, thin as a rail. It was Bush, strung out on coke. When he first came, he was trembling with the shakes and almost hallucinating. (He wasn?t my patient, so I am not violating any therapeutic relationship by revealing this.) Current news reports indicate that he was supposed to be in Alabama, working on some political campaign. He wasn?t in Alabama, he was in North Carolina going through rehab. I heard his father was some sort of political big wig, but that was no surprise; every kid in there had rich parents. It went with the territory. So Bush didn?t attract much attention.

His father never showed up, but his mother came twice. She just tore him to pieces. Even though she was in his room, with the heavy door closed, everyone could hear her perfectly well, just ripping him up one side and down the other, how he was a worthless piece of shit and if he didn?t shape up he would be cast out of the family, penniless. She would go on and on for hours. She made everyone there feel so sorry for George.

The thing is, he did shape up while he was in rehab.

Needless to say, don?t release my name.

Now, he identified this as a parody, but how long do you think it will be before some reading comprehension challenged lefty takes that story or a variation of it and runs with it?

Here's one that is also a parody, but that he did not identify as such:

Dear Atrios,

I want to tell you a story from my youth. I was 16 years old, an illegal immigrant, and working as a maid for the Bush family in Texas. Several times George Bush told me that I had to have sex with him or I'd be arrested and deported. I became pregnant, and Bush drove me across the border and forced me to have an abortion. He said if I ever told anybody he'd kill me.



Atrios may think that's a parody or that it's somehow funny, but I think it crosses a line into slander. But never mind that.

Just think about what he thinks is appropriate in response to The Corner's very mild DYKWIA posts--accusing Bush of a) demanding sex from an employee and b) being a cokehead. Like I said, fighting fire with nukes. It's also probably noteworth that Atrios has deleted all the comments to that second post. A couple of days ago there were dozens of them, mostly building more slander on top of Atrios' slanderous parody. I left a comment that reminded all the fine liberals over there that accusing politicians of questionable sexual practices is probably territory they'd best avoid given their last White House occupant's habits...but now all that's gone. Why did Atrios delete the comments?

I humbly submit to the jury here that if Atrios were using his real name, he wouldn't go about slandering President Bush in order to make a lame point about The Corner's DYKWIA posts. But being anonymous, the restraints that would normally be in place are off. He thinks he can hide behind the pen name. All he ends up doing is exhibiting for the world what a juvenile, barely literate idiot he is, and how truly unfair and disproportionate he and his allies are when it comes to facing off against political opponents.

Too bad they can't direct some of that creative ire at, you know, actual threats. You can read Atrios and his ilk every day for a year, and maybe come across one post about the war that isn't somehow aimed at Bush or the GOP. And I believe that anonyblogging just feeds creeps like Atrios, and that's why I hardly ever read them. If they don't have the courage to put their names to their insults, they signal to me that they just don't have the spine to stand up for what they believe. And thus, I treat them like cowards.

So in the interests of fair play, I'll note that bloggers like Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall, while I may disagree with just about everything they write, at least have enough courage and conviction to attach their names to their work. I'll also note that they tend to be more civilized, and their commentary tends to be far sharper than anything the anonybloggers can muster. That goes for some righty bloggers too--there's a reason I don't link to Emperor Misha, for instance.

MORE: On the other hand, perhaps slander is just a disease primarily of the left in general. After all, John Kerry very much attached his name to his 1971 Vietnam vet smear--and to his 2004 National Guard smear. DNC Chair Terry MacAuliffe has been known to toss out a smear now and then. Tom and Linda Daschle tried to pin the 2001 anthrax attacks on right-wingers without a shred of evidence, and Bill Clinton tried to pin blame for Oklahoma City on Rush Limbaugh in 1995. So maybe it's not so much the anonymity, but the leftist politics, that tends to create smear artists. Or maybe smear artists tend to find a home in leftist politics, and some of those smear artists set up shop as anonymous bloggers while others run for president. What say you?

Posted by B. Preston at 09:47 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 04, 2004


While we're all in hand-wringing mode about the whole Iraq WMD deal, it's probably prudent to remember that for every intel failure we hear about, there may be as many or more successes that we never hear about, and never will. That's just the nature of intelligence. When you fail, it makes headlines--the bad guys succeed in attacking you, or you fail to find what your intel advertised was there. But when you succeed, you don't brag about it because you're still nursing the sources that helped you, and the bad guys don't complain to the press out of embarassment.

Here's a story about one major intel success from 1982, just to keep all this in perspective.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


John who-by-the-way-smeared-his-fellow-Vietnam-vets Kerry continues his anti-military smear campaign. Speaking to Fox about President Bush's National Guard service, he said:

"I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector [or] going into the National Guard," he told Sean Hannity. "Those are choices people make." (my emphasis)

I can't think of a clearer example of moral relativism than Kerry's statement here: Whether you chose to dodge the draft and run to Canada and save yourself or serve your country honorably in the National Guard, it's all good. You're still a good little patriot to him.

The main problem with that thinking, aside from its noxious amorality, is the fact that serving in the Guard can get you deployed to war, and therefore into harm's way where you can get killed serving your country. During the war, over 6000 Guardsmen deployed to Vietnam, where 101 of them were killed. Running off to avoid the draft may save your neck, but also probably imperils the person who ended up having to take your place. Someone may well die in your place. Serving in the Guard and draft dodging are just not on the same moral plane. In the case of young George W. Bush whom Kerry is directly smearing, they're doubly not the same thing. The well-connected Bush could probably have gotten any Guard job he wanted, but he put himself in danger becoming a fighter pilot, and served in that role with distinction. Elements of his unit did in fact deploy to Vietnam, though that deployment occurred before he joined. Once on the rolls, he had no guarantees that the remainder of his unit, including himself, would not get the call. By equating the Guard with draft dodgers, Kerry's smear extends beyond Bush to everyone who served in the National Guard during the Vietnam war. Kerry dishonors the very uniform he once wore with honor. And not for the first time.

In his 1971 Senate testimony, Kerry accused Vietnam veterans from the common grunt to field commanders of committing or knowing of and authorizing war crimes. He delivered that testimony in the context of the William Calley trial, the Army officer who orchestrated the massacre at My Lai. In that context, Kerry's testimony resonated as truth, even though it was anything but. The truth was that of the more than 3 million US troops who served in the South Asian theatre, only a little over 200 were ever prosecuted for war crimes. That is 200 too many war criminals in the ranks, but also a tiny fraction of the total number serving. Yet Kerry went out of his way to smear them all. I think it's possible that the Vietnam-era "baby killer" meme either started with or took on national signifance with the testimony of one former soldier, bedecked with his Silver and Bronze Star awards, denouncing everyone who ever fought in that war as a criminal on national television testifying before the United States Senate. That's a question I'm looking into.

One might suppose that since he's running for president, Kerry might distance himself from that 1971 testimony or pretend that it wasn't what it was--a gigantic smear. But his equalization of the Guard with draft dodging indicates that not only does he not intend to distance himself from that testimony, he sees no moral reason to. He still harbors contempt for the National Guard, about 28,000 of which are currently serving in Iraq.

John Kerry needs to educate himself on the role of the National Guard in American life. The Guard represents everything that is right about us. It is comprised of citizen soldiers who spend the bulk of their time working an honest day's work and raising their families, but when a crisis strikes the Guard swings into action. They are good people, the very epitome of the classic American "little guy" (or the appropriately PC female variant). But Kerry the populist smears them when he swings at Bush's military record. Kerry's smear of them by equating them with draft dodgers, which didn't happen in 1971 but in 2004, is unconscionable. He is unfit to keep his Senate seat, let alone become Commander in Chief.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:41 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack


George W. Bush ran for president as a “compassionate conservative,” by which conservatives assumed he meant to put a smiley face on a movement that sometimes comes across as a harsh you’re-all-alone view of the world. Most conservatives found the modifier more than a little irritating, since we believe our politics are ultimately more compassionate than the state-centered policies of the left, but we let it pass. To borrow from the old African proverb, conservatives would rather teach a man to fish so that he can provide for himself rather than do all the fishing for him and make him dependent on others. A self-sufficient citizen is a happier and more responsible citizen than one living on handouts. Believing "compassionate" modified "conservative"--and not the other way around--conservatives helped Bush win the presidency in 2000.

Three years into his first term, President Bush sometimes seems like he is two different presidents. The compassionate Bush signs bloated farm bills, proposes a sweeping “guest worker” program that looks like amnesty for illegal aliens by another name, signs a massive expansion of Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit in its entitlement, and increases the National Endowment for the Arts budget. Compassionate George has grown federal spending at about 27 percent per year, not all of it going to fund the war, and thus far he has found no way to actually pay for most of it.

But there is a solid conservative side to President Bush, too. When confronted with the specter of international terrorism, President Bush responded with patience and resolve while the naysayers of the left wondered “why do they hate us?” He led a coalition to disarm a Middle Eastern despot and attempted to turn back tyranny in that region. He has cut taxes, presided over an economic recovery, signed a ban on partial birth abortions and sought to incorporate faith-based organizations (21st Century-speak for “churches and synagogues”) into the fabric of charitable life. He has appointed true conservatives to the federal bench. He has quietly and effectively browbeaten the United Nations into cracking down on the international sex slave trade. In an era when manliness seems as antiquated as belief in phrenology, President Bush projects an image of conservative toughness, so much so that he has apparently frightened the American left and most of Europe into thinking he’s a kill-‘em-all-and-let-God-sort-‘em-out cowboy.

On paper the cohesion between compassionate George and conservative George should create an unbeatable political combination. The conservative George cracks terrorist dens and criminalizes infanticide; compassionate George throws money at the arts and makes sure the elderly can get their meds. What’s not to like? But in reality, compassionate conservative George seems to be an untenable persona as he heads toward the quest for re-election. Compassionate George spends the federal treasury like there’s no tomorrow; conservative George tries to rein in spending by cutting marginal social programs. According to most recent polls, a slim majority actually opposes both the war in Iraq and disapproves of President Bush on the job. Less than two months ago, he enjoyed a 60 percent approval rating and a majority backed the war. What gives?

On domestic issues other than tax policy and abortion, conservative George has been off the scene, and as the memory of 9-11 fades, domestic issues return to their usual prominence. But compassionate George—the free-spending side—depends on conservative George’s base, which is, of course, conservative (it’s also compassionate, but its compassion emphasizes freedom over equality of outcomes). As a rule, conservatives don’t mind spending money on national defense, law enforcement, the space program, serious infrastructure upgrades and the like, but they do not like spending on anything that even looks like an expansion of government entitlements. They will spend money on border enforcement, but do not want to make it easier or more attractive for people to get into the country or stay here illegally. While they may love the arts personally, they do not see funding the NEA, which was once known for funding photographs of a crucifix in a jar of urine, as important. In fact, most conservatives would not mind seeing the NEA zeroed out entirely, along with one or two cabinet-level boondoggles. These are conservative George’s people. Compassionate George has no constituency of his own.

Moderates may well like President Bush, the tough-on-terror lover of the arts. Swing voters, inclined to support whoever may be president in a time of war, are also open to unfounded charges that Bush lied the country into war. Liberals hate him, but they always have and nothing seems capable of changing that. But Bush’s problem probably is not with these groups. Conservatives, rightly or wrongly, are starting to see George W. Bush as neither compassionate nor conservative, but as merely another big spending politician out to buy votes. And they are thinking of leaving him.

The “guest worker” program, steel tariffs, and runaway spending have angered Bush’s conservative base. The failure to actually get conservative court appointees approved is a sore spot. That the Democrats running to replace him have all been beating variations on the theme that he has been a terrible president has not helped either. And that the spin coming from the failure to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has formed mainly as an American, rather then worldwide, intelligence failure, is surely no help as well. But for all these things, the president should have a strong answer. Everyone from the UN to the French to the Germans and Saddam himself believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We only now believe that he had no WMDs because we deposed him and are turning over every rock in Iraq to make sure. An old American enemy is in prison, his rape rooms destroyed, his mass graves dug up. Whatever his old ties to terrorists—Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas turned up in Baghdad, al Qaeda operated in northern Iraq—they are broken now. Al Qaeda itself has suffered an estimated 70 percent rollback, and can find no safe place to train new recruits. The US economy, in recession since 2000, has rebounded. Yet Bush’s approval rating still sinks.

To borrow both from Seinfeld and from Abe Lincoln, a George divided against itself cannot stand. To put it more precisely, a politician divided from his base cannot win. Compassionate George is killing conservative George by demoralizing his base. For a number of reasons—the war, tax policy, the federal bench—it would be a mistake for conservatives to abandon President Bush, but if compassionate George stays in control of the agenda much longer, it could cost conservative George this year’s presidential election.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Interlibrary loan systems are our friend. One interlibrary loan is very good--but two? Two interlibrary loans, speeding Kerry's agitprop tome toward separate splinter cells, all but insures victory.

Keep hope alive.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2004


It was in an envelope found in a mail room connected to the office of Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist. Will he blame the Democrats?

No. And he shouldn't.

But when then Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office received an envelope containing anthrax back in 2001, Daschle and his wife were quick to insinuate that Republicans or right-wingers were behind it. Many, many on the left wanted desperately to pin the attacks on right-wingers, despite the absence of even a single shred of evidence justifying such a charge (here's a Google search if you don't believe me). NPR went as far as to name the Traditional Values Coalition on the air as a suspected group. What NPR lacked was judgment, fairness and evidence.

As for the Daschles, well, like much of the left they just lack any sense that the threats we face are external. They prefer to bash the supposed enemy within instead of confronting the very real enemy without. Keep in mind Mrs. Daschle offered the following assessment of the threat to her husband not long after 9-11 (which obviously wasn't perpetrated by Republicans):

WOODRUFF: Is there something different about it this time? I mean, your husband has been in politics ever since you met him. Is there something different about the nature of what you're seeing in South Dakota?

L. DASCHLE: Oh, absolutely. We've never experienced anything like this. Now, I will say that following September 11th, and then with the anthrax attack, it surprised me that these partisan attacks would follow so shortly thereafter.

In fact, they occurred almost at the same time that Tom's office experienced the anthrax attack. And they are much more sharper. They're just much more dynamic. And we're seeing a lot more of these attacks.

And to blame the rising partisanship of the time on Republicans--when groups like Democrats.com were hawking "Bush knew" conspiracy books and the like--is especially rich. The fact was and remains that the Dems hugged the flag only as long as they had to after 9-11, then went right back to airing conspiracy theories and castigating Republicans as hateful and and Bush as Hitler and so forth as soon as they believed they could get away with it.

(thanks to Hanks)

Posted by B. Preston at 01:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Dean-o's at it again:

Dean received one of his biggest ovations after a heckler asked what he'd do to reduce the abortion rate. He suggested universal health care for children, sex education that isn't just abstinence-based, and finally, "We're going to tell all those white boys who run the Republican Party to stay out of our bedrooms."

What color is Howard Dean? Just askin'.

(via The Politburo)

Posted by B. Preston at 10:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Daniel Pipes argues that Israeli PM Ariel Sharon's swap with Hezbollah creates a more dangerous climate for Israel's survival:

In exchange for one rogue Israeli civilian, captured while possibly engaging in dubious transactions, plus the remains of three soldiers, Israel released 429 living terrorists and criminals, including 400 Palestinians, 23 Lebanese, five other Arabs, and one German, as well as 59 corpses.

It comes as little surprise to learn, in the description of the New York Times, that this exchange prompted "a day of national celebration" in Lebanon and a "somber" mood in Israel. Nor is it astonishing to hear the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, describe the present as "not a time of happiness."

Indeed. Hundreds of terrorists are back on the streets, and for what? A few collections of bones and one suspect Israeli. Sharon says he did it to bring solace to the families of the three dead Israeli soldiers (who were captured alive and murdered in captivity). Was it worth it? Pipes says Israel will pay a steep price:

Some or many of those 429 will again engage in terrorism against Israel, perhaps sparking a whole new campaign of violence. That is what happened once before: In 1985, Reuters explains, the Israeli government "swapped more than 1,100 Palestinians for three missing soldiers. Seven hundred Arabs were allowed to stay in the occupied territories and many later became leaders of the Palestinian uprising that erupted in 1987."

The lopsided deal signals Israel's enemies that they can extract huge benefits by taking even just one civilian Israeli hostage. Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch has collected many Palestinian statements drawing this conclusion. The military branch of Fatah "emphasized the necessity to follow in the footsteps of the act of Hezbollah, so that all prisoners and detainees will be released." A Hamas leader saw in this deal confirmation that terrorism "is capable of achievements to liberate the land and people." A newspaper hails Hezbollah for opening "a new door of hope for the families of the prisoners, after it was closed during the political solutions between the [Palestinian Authority] and Israel, which did not lead to any practical results."

Israel's reputation and standing undergo severe damage from this signal of demoralization and vulnerability. Listen to Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, on the exchange, seeing in it another proof "that the evil Zionist regime is defeatable by the strong wills and concrete faiths of the Mujahedeen of Islam."

The mullahs and murderers seem to have all read the swap the same way: Terrorism works. Capture one Israeli, free dozens or even hundreds of terrorists.

If Pipes is right, Israel's security fence will not matter. No barrier is perfect. There are already reports that Palestinians have been able to climb over it in some areas. If they think that by climbing over it and killing or capturing Israelis, they can help their "cause," the wall will slow them down but it won't stop them.

Pipes also believes that the Sharon swap hurts our own war efforts:

Hostage-taking looks like a more effective tactic than it did a week earlier. If it can win a signal victory for Islamists in Lebanon against Israel, their ideological counterparts are more likely to use it in Iraq against the American government, in Moscow against the Russian government, and in Kashmir against the Indian government. Each terrorist success, however local, has the potential to reverberate internationally.

The moral opprobrium of dealing with terrorists is eroded. If releasing hundreds of terrorists is acceptable for Israel, why not other countries, too?

Sharon's deal may go down in history as the decision that saved Arafat and destroyed Israel.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


JYB splinter cell #2 went into action over the weekend, meeting with a partial success and encountering a mystery:

Partial success... The copy of the book listed as "Not Charged" has mysteriously turned up missing. Even a veteran librarian came up empty after offering to assist.

"Not Charged" means it should be on the shelf. But it isn't. I demand an independent probe!

Posted by B. Preston at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Steve Verdon examines it, and finds it wanting.

Steve notes that Kerry was a nuclear freeze man. I'm not playing guilt by association here, just asking a question (though I expect people will assume I'm playing guilt by association and shout "McCarthyism!" anyway). During his Vietnam protests, Kerry suggested a multi-point course of action to get the US out of the war. The points he suggested amounted to giving the North Vietnamese everything they wanted, and getting nothing either for the South or for the US.

The nuclear freeze movement of the early 1980s was controlled for the most part by people on the take from the Soviets. Soviet funding and Soviet suggestions pretty much formed the backbone of that movement, which sought to persuade the US to freeze and eventually roll back its nuclear arsenal, unilaterally if need be. Kerry was a supporter of the nuclear freeze movement in the early 80s, and campaigned on that theme among others. He was very much an anti-SDI man when President Reagan suggested we build a missile defense. History shows that SDI was among the suggestions that tipped the balance of power and helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

So my question is, was John Kerry just a dupe for the bad guys during the early 70s and 80s? And for liberals and Democrats, is this really the kind of man you want leading you against Bush?

It seems to me he is wide open to all sorts of fairly interesting questions.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Virginia's partial birth abortion ban has been aborted by a federal judge:

U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams called the ban on what opponents call partial-birth abortion "impermissibly void for vagueness."

The judge blocked the law last July, the day it went into effect, calling it a "no-brain case." He also has challenged the use of the term "partial birth infanticide" by the law's backers, saying it was an attempt to alarm the public.

A "no-brain case?" That's an apt description of a partial birth abortion, which is a procedure that calls for the vaccuming of a baby's brain as its head emerges from the birth canal. Here's a no-brainer, judge--how about ruling based on the merits and not on your individual interpretation of semantics. "Partial birth infanticide" is about as close as one can get to accurately describing this ghastly prcedure without lapsing into even more graphic language.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 02, 2004


Paris Hilton is famous for....? She's not that pretty. She's got the brains of a stump. And she's got the morals of an alley cat (with all apologies to alley cats everywhere). Yet she's rich and famous, and vacuous and annoying.

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake cap an awful Super Bowl halftime by exposing an overly aged golden globe, then condescends to the nation by lying that it wasn't intentional. C'mon. We're not that stupid. MTV produced the show--what did people expect, Shakespeare? I think I watched MTV for about 5 minutes during my college years, concluded it was mothing more than juvenile bathroom humor, boring sex-laced videos and left-wing agitprop. Not interested.

Not that the blogosphere is much better, actually. Most of the bigger bloggers, the cool kids, are unreadable. Kevin Drum--who can read that guy without wondering what he's smoking and swearing off whatever it is immediately? Atrios--new meaning to the phrase "barely literate." Josh Marshall is a conspiracist looking for a conspiracy. The guy dresses up second-rate thinking in first-rate whispers, and quotes others at length to disquise the fact that he usually has no idea what he's talking about. Andrew Sullivan--his politics are centered on the zone from his navel to his knees.

There really isn't a point to this post. Just ranting. Pop culture is a toilet.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Should vote Sharpton tomorrow. C'mon. You know you want to.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


1996 was apparently a good year for Chinese infiltrators. They all but bought and paid for Clinton's reelection that year, and ended up acquiring access to technology to upgrade their country's missile technology (by getting ahold of the specs of our technology). And they had just about as much success with Senator John "Cash and" Kerry:

John Kerry needed cash, and soon. In July 1996 the Massachusetts senator was locked in a tough re-election fight, so he was more than happy to help when he heard that a generous potential contributor wanted to visit his Capitol Hill office. The donor was Johnny Chung, a glad-handing Taiwanese-American entrepreneur. Chung brought along some friends, including a Hong Kong businesswoman named Liu Chaoying. Told that Liu was interested in getting one of her companies listed on the U.S. Stock Exchange, Kerry's aides immediately faxed over a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The next day, Liu and Chung were ushered into a private briefing with a senior SEC official. Within weeks, Chung returned the favor: On Sept. 9 he threw Kerry a fund-raiser at a Beverly Hills hotel, raking in $10,000 for the senator's re-election campaign.

Liu turned out to be a Lieutenant Colonel in the Chinese army, and vice president of a Chinese government-owned aerospace firm. The donations were illegal, since they came from a souce outside the US and from non-citizens.

Of course, many Dems want to do away with the very meaning of citizenship, but that's a fight for another day.

Back to Kerry, he loves to spout populist nonsense about fighting some sort of dark Washington powers on behalf of the little guy, yet he's raised more special interest donations than any other senator. He's the insider's insider. He loves to pose as a strong-on-defense type, yet he voted against the Apache helicopter, the Bradley fighting vehicle and the M-1 tank--all weapons systems that proved critical in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also voted against the B2 stealth bomber, perhaps the most important strategic weapon in the US arsenal, especially for psychological and deterrence purposes. And he has voted on numerous occassions to gut our intel agencies or severly cut their budgets.

When he as the Democrat nominee rails against President Bush on defense or intel, Bush can hit him right between the eyes with his own lengthy and damning record as a senator.

Howard Dean may be the most rabid, and therefore least electable, of the major Democrat candidates, but Kerry's record is probably the most target-rich for the Republicans to exploit. It will be all too easy to paint him as a senator who has tried to have it both ways on all issues, and who ended up consistently making the wrong call when circumstances forced him to choose.

And with his connections to Johnny Chung and the Chinese attempt to buy the Democrats in 1996, Kerry may turn out to be corrupt, too. We'll see.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Dan Rather gets an award, and many in the media rejoice.

Brit Hume gets that same award, and many in the media threaten a walkout.

Kevin Holtsberry says it's all an example of media hypocrisy. And he's right.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Has the Episcopalean church fallen this far?

Heresy is better than schism, the Episcopal bishop of Virginia said yesterday in a speech that gently chided church conservatives for imperiling the unity of the country's largest diocese over the consecration of the denomination's first homosexual bishop last November. "If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy," said the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee to 500 Episcopalians meeting for the annual diocesan council at the Hyatt Regency in Reston. "For as a heretic, you are only guilty of a wrong opinion," Bishop Lee said, quoting Presbyterian scholar James McCord. "As a schismatic, you have torn and divided the body of Christ. Choose heresy every time."

Where to start with this? How incredibly condescending this is--to chide the segment of the church that has had its values assaulted, while letting the truly schismatic side off the hook.

It does seem to me that when a church is led by people urging heresy instead of adhering to principle, that church has ceased to have a spiritual purpose. It has become a social club or a political organization. Whatever it has become, it isn't a church.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack