September 30, 2004
Rally in New Jersey for the President!
Where? VFW Post 6255 Cedar Grove, NJ
When? 1pm ~ October 16, 2004
The theme of the rally day is focused around the number one election year issue ~
Our National Security and the war on terrorism. We welcome all people in the
tri-state NYC area to come and show their support for President Bush because of
our need to protect our homeland! Let’s SWING New Jersey and its 15 electoral votes
to our President!
Special Guests Include: Steve Malzberg – MC and Guest Speaker WABC Radio Host / FoxNEWS Political Analyst / 2004 NYC PBA Man Of The Year Debra Burlingame – 9/11 Families For A Safe And Strong America, Michael Illions – Executive Director of the Pro-Wrestling Republican Coalition Mike Barry – Port Authority Officer – worked to help get the WTC American Flag brought into the Olympic Stadium in Utah. Bill Thompson – New Jersey Christian Coalition (Marine Vietnam Veteran) Time and Location 1pm ~ October 16, 2004 VFW Post 6255 - 970 Pompton Ave Cedar Grove, NJ For additional information about this rally or to set up an interview, please contact the Security Moms 4 Bush NJ State Captain Linda: email@example.com Phone: 973-655-8967 This is privately funded and not affiliated with the VFW
Also note: Due to space limitations at the VFW building the rally is "invite only." If you wish to attend please send Linda an email so she can keep a head count.
This rally is being organized by a lady I met at the GOPUSA Issues and Action Conference a few weeks ago. Linda is a woman of amazing energy and dedication to the cause of reelecting President George W Bush and in helping the conservative cause in general. If there is any way you can make it to this rally please do so! Unfortunately I will not be able to attend due to distance (I live in the Washington DC area). As you can read the speaker list is impressive. Michael Illions, besides his affiliation with the Pro-Wresling Republican Coalition, was also Conference Chairman at the GOPUSA event mentioned earlier. While I do not have personal knowledge of the others, I'm sure you will find them excellent speakers. If you are a blogger, it would be appreciated if you could post a link on your own site to this post. If you've ever thought about holding your own event, contact Linda or Security Moms 4 Bush directly.
Unfortunately, Bret Schundler, former mayor of Jersey City, will not be able to attend, as was first reported.
Update II - Oct 4
* Doug Forrester, who ran against Bob Torricelli for U.S. Senate in New Jersey in 2002, will be a featured speaker at the rally!
* Performer Chris Coleman will sing God Bless American
* Singer Trade Martin is scheduled also
* The Boy Scouts will provide an Honor Guard
September 28, 2004
Hitch on Kerry's $200 billion
In an earlier post I objected to one of John Kerry's reasons for opposing our war in Iraq; that the $200 billion we will spend in Iraq would be better spent at home.
Of course, that was on a day when Kerry did oppose the war. His opinion may have changed by the time you read this.
Christopher Hitchens, a committed leftist who supports the war in Iraq, wrote these words about this objection almost two months ago;
There is something absolutely charmless and self-regarding about this pitch, and I wish I could hear a senior Democrat disowning it. It is no better, in point of its domestic tone and appeal, than the rumor of the welfare mother stopping her Cadillac to get vodka on food stamps. In point of its international implications, it also suggests the most vulgar form of isolationism, not to say insularity.
The further implication is that this is a zero-sum game, and that a dollar spent in Iraq is a dollar not spent on domestic needs. In other words, that this hospital or school in New Jersey or Montana would now be fully funded if it wasn't for a crowd of Arab and Kurdish panhandlers. Could anything be more short-sighted than that? Have we not learned that failed states turn into rogue states, and then export their rage and misery? Would we not prosper ourselves—if the question has to be stated in this way—if the Iraqi economy recuperated to the point where it could become a serious trading partner?
This common-sense or self-interested objection doesn't exhaust the argument. A few years ago, many of the same liberals and leftists were quoting improbable if not impossible numbers of dead Iraqi children, murdered by the international sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein. Even at its most propagandistic, this contained an important moral point: Iraqi civilians were suffering for the sins of their dictatorship (and from the lavish corruption of the U.N. supervision of the "oil-for-food" program). OK, then, we'll remove the regime and lift the sanctions. Happy now? Not at all! It turns out that 1) the Saddam regime was only a threat invented by neo-cons and that 2) we don't owe the Iraqi people a thing. Also, we could use the money ourselves.
Here here. Turns out that all the concern for Iraqi children being starved by the sanctions were just crocodile tears.
John Kerry's foreign policy is now apparently to be held hostage not just by France and the UN, but by the domestic spending demands of the AARP and NEA.
As Hitch says, we can perfectly well afford to educate our children and impliment any needed reforms in our health care system and spend the necessary money in Iraq.
And, as I've said in an earlier post, those who use this monetary line of argument are at best short sighted.
But the worst part is that the liberals, who tell us what kind and compassionate people they are, are perfectly willing to abandon the Iraqis, and all for a few more dollars of domestic spending.
No there will Not be a Draft
Recently we have seen a new scare tactic by the left: the claim that the Bush Administration has a secret plan to impose an old-style draft on the American people against their will.
There's even an email going around the Internet warning people of an impending draft. Like most such hoaxes, it contains a mix of truth and fiction. It's conclusion, however, is false. Check out the link to the email so you'll be informed.
Bottom line: Relax, folks, there will be no draft.
Why, then, is there even talk of one?
First, our military is argueably understaffed. It is certainly stretched thin. We did not expect to have to keep a large number of troops in Iraq for so long, and we will obviously need to keep them there for some years to come. We had hoped for more support from allies, and did not expect others to cut and run as they have. Reserve troops have served longer than usual. We have had to pull troops from South Korea (which may be a good thing anyway) and send them to Iraq.
Second, over the years some conservatives have called for some type of mandatory "national service". William F Buckley Jr proposed just this some years ago in his magazine National Review. However, all of the service plans that I have seen envision people being given a choice between military service and something else, usually along the lines of Americorps.
And, as I have written before, there are those who see everything through the prism of Vietnam. We had an unfair draft them, ergo we will have one now. They yearn for the glory days of that era when massive protests could bring down a president, or at least force him to abandon a reelection campaign.
Sober observers know that a draft is politically impossible. The administration doesn't want it. Congress is against it. The military is against it. The public opposes it. The media would savage any serious attempt to impose one. If one were somehow magically passed, massive disobedience would be the rule.
Why, then, is there such talk of the Bush Administration (controlled, you know, by those evil neocons) having a secret plan to impose a draft?
One, some on the left are cynically using this as a scare tactic. They know how unpopular a draft would be and see this as a "wedge" issue to garner middle-class votes. Democrat Charlie Rangel, for example has a bill before congress to start up a draft. But his purpose, other than simple grandstanding, is to stir up opposition to the war in Iraq.
It is also tempting to believe the worst about one's political enemies. The neoconservatives are wrong, no they are evil, so they must want to evil things to us. They started an unjust war, ergo they will impose a draft on us. Some on the right fell into this trap during the Clinton years. It was tempting to believe every bad thing about the man.
Some may genuinely believe that a draft is necessary if we are to continue our current level of commitments around the world. But if they supported those commitments, they would be in favor of a draft, not against it. And if they opposed those commitments, one would hope they would stick to the subject of those commitments.
Fox News has been running a story today on their TV channel about the bogus email linked to above. Nothing on their website yet. I'm glad to see this is getting some attention, as apparently a lot of people have been led to believe that the Bush Administration has a secret plan to reinstate the draft. This needs to get wide attention, as it is a scare tactic that the left is using and they need to be called on it.
September 27, 2004
Where is the GOP as a Party?
She made some obvious points, but we as a party do tend to ignore them, so they are well worth pondering.
There are three groups, she said, that the GOP tends to ignore:
There are also three issues that we have trouble dealing with:
- The Environment
- Health Insurance (often mischaracterized as "health care")
- Social Security
Republicans have simply lost on environmental issues. It's not that we don't have any ideas, rather that we tend to downplay them and are poor at communicating them when we try.
We are making headway on Health Insurance, but the Democrats are demagogueing this issue to death and we need to find a way to get ahead of them.
I would argue that we are the ones now in the lead in the debate on Social Security. All of the ideas are coming from conservatives, with the liberals reduced to scare tactics. As long as we keep pushing for partial privization, we will be fine. The new "investor class" doesn't have faith in Social Security anyway, and it is becoming an important voting bloc. It would be a mistake to propose total privatization, as that is not politically viable and will only give the Democrats material for TV commercials.
Kerri Houston then went on to say that the Democrat's biggest problem in this election was that they have no strategic clarity. John Kerry has no idea why he wants to be president, or even where he stands on the issues. She said that Kerry was in the process of imploding and will continue to go downhill.
If Republicans stay focused and on-message we will win.
I agree with her assessment on everything but Social Security. John Kerry and Joe Lockhart's behavior during the recent visit of Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allwai confirms this analysis.
This having been said, the biggest danger to right now for Republicans is complacency. We can still loose this election. Stay focused, stay on-message, and stay determined.
September 24, 2004
John Kerry has apparently decided that all is such gloom and doom in Iraq that we are already defeated. His remarks yesterday during the visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi went way beyond what is acceptable during even the most heated of political campaigns.
Allawi, of course, has been in the United States to discuss the situation in his country with the president and other officials. Yesterday he gave a speech to a joint session of Congress in which he thanked our country for saving Iraq from more years of Saddam's tyrannical rule.
How did John Kerry repay Allawi?
"The prime minister and [Mr. Bush] are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story," Mr. Kerry said.It's hard to think of a better way to undercut the new government of Iraq than by making statements such as these.
"The United States and the Iraqis have retreated from whole areas of Iraq. There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone."
If John Kerry or anyone else want to criticize our methods in Iraq, then fine, do so. If you want to say that we're losing, fine. If you even want to say that we should not have invaded in the first place that's fine too. All of these are within the boundaries of political discourse. But it is reprehensible to say them at the very moment that Allawi is in the United States to thank us for freeing his country.
The implications of Kerry's fixation on Vietnam are becoming more apparent by the day. At least when Nixon withdrew our troops he did so under the guise of "Peace with Honor." He declared victory and pulled out the troops. Nixon then relied on congress to support South Vietnam through arms shipments (that the congress did not do this is another matter).
Kerry, however, would apparently withdraw our troops regardless of the consequences for Iraq. He would leave Allawi and other faithful and good Iraqis to the wolves.
In Kerry's World, everything always goes back to Vietnam. Like so many others with Vietnamitis, all American wars are replays of Vietnam.
Why would he do such a thing? One reason is apparently because we need to save Medicare here at home:
"$200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford health care for our veterans...We're spending $200 billion in Iraq while the costs of health care have gone through the roof and we're told we don't have the resources to make health care affordable and available for all Americans. They're charging 17 percent more for Medicare while making America pay $200 billion for a go-it-alone policy in Iraq. That's the wrong choice; that's the wrong direction; and that's the wrong leadership for America."That's right, folks; domestic spending uber alles.
No I'm not saying that we shouldn't make Medicare spending part of our political discussions. But to reduce great questions of foreign policy, of war and peace, of the future of the Middle East and whether millions will live under liberty or tyranny, to make all of these decisions on the basis of a few domestic spending bills, is at best extremely shallow, at worst simply greedy.
I've written about this more on my other blog here. The point is, are we going to elect someone president who makes foreign policy decisions on the basis of domestic spending priorities? Who undercuts the leaders of countries that we liberated (watch out, Mr. Karzai, You could be next)? Not if this blogger has anything to do with it.
Kerry advisor calls the Iraqi PM a "puppet":
Senior Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart suggested Mr. Allawi was merely reciting talking points supplied by the president.Does Kerry realize that if he wins he will need to work with Allawi? Or does he just intend to declare defeat and pull our troops out, leaving the Iraqi's who trusted us to the wolves?
"The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips," he said after the Allawi-Bush press conference.
For that matter, he's going to have to work with all of the countries that have troops in Iraq, countries such as the UK, Australia, Poland, Japan, and South Korea. You know, the ones he called part of a "fraudulent coalition"?
Bush calls Kerry to the mat
"This brave man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America, and Senator Kerry held a press conference to question Prime Minister Allawi's credibility," Mr. Bush told an audience in Janesville, Wis.Words well spoken.
"You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility," he added. "The message ought to be to the Iraqi people: We support you."
Roger Simon compares Allawi and Kerry
Kerry would thus do well to consider exactly who it is that he criticizes. Allawi is a true Iraqi patriot, but some people are going to start to question if John Kerry is an American patriot.
1. Awad Allawi - a man who was once left for dead (1978) in his Surrey home after having been bludgeoned with an ax by one of Saddam's henchman who thought he had killed him. Allawi then spent a year in a hospital. He is still said to walk with a limp and is now the object of, one would imagine, daily assassination attempts.2. John Kerry - a man who left the Vietnam War after 4 1/2 months after having been "seriously wounded" - a description that now even his biographer finds dubious.
Well, John, do you or do you not think that the war in Iraq is illegal?
When asked, Kerry did as he always does; he waffled. Bill Kristol, writing in the Weekly Standard, reports thus
Kerry was asked about Kofi Annan's description of the war in Iraq as an "illegal" invasion. Kerry answered: "I don't know what the law, the legalities are that he's referring to. I don't know." So the U.S. government is accused of breaking international law, and Kerry chooses not to defend his country against the charge, or to label it ridiculous or offensive. He is agnostic.Actually, "waffle" is probably not the best term to use. "Unintelligible" describes it much better.
Then Kerry continued: "Well, let me say this to all of you: That underscores what I am saying. If the leader of the United Nations is at odds with the legality, and we're not working at getting over that hurdle and bringing people to the table, as I said in my speech yesterday, it's imperative to be able to build international cooperation." It's our fault that the U.N. is doing almost nothing to help in Iraq. After all, according to Kerry, "Kofi Annan offered the help of the United Nations months ago. This president chose to go the other way."
Oh I know, the liberal sophisticates will sneer that Kerry is "nuanced" and that the issue is so "complicated", and that the issue is just so "simplistic"...blah blah blah.
The issue may be complicated but the answers are quite simple. They are hard answers, but simple ones. And the answer is that yes, the war was legal, yes, what we are doing is right, and no, it is simply not acceptable to behave as Kerry and Lockhart have been behaving these past few days. And if they keep it up, they are going to be severely punished in the polls this November.
September 21, 2004
Kerry's Great Coalition
John Kerry tells us that he wishes that President Bush had been able to secure a larger coalition before invading Iraq. No, he says that we shouldn't have invaded without a larger coalition. Wait, he says that we shouldn't have invaded at all unless we had more specific UN sanction.... Ok I give up.
But for all of Kerry's flip flops, he has been somewhat consistent in that he that he wishes that we had this grand coalition that included many many nations, including France and Germany. If this is the case, he has an awfully odd strategy for getting them to join any coalition he might wish to build. Thanks for Captain's Quarters blog, we have this article from the Weekend Australian:
JOHN Kerry's campaign has warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists. Diana Kerry, younger sister of the Democrat presidential candidate, told The Weekend Australian that the Bali bombing and the recent attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta clearly showed the danger to Australians had increased.
"Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels," she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.
Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms Kerry said: "The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta -- I would have to say that."
John Kerry has said that he would have built a bigger coalition before going to war with Iraq. If Diane Kerry's views reflect those of her brother, then apparently joining this coalition would make you a bigger target for terrorism. Why in the world would anyone want to join in a venture that made them more vulnerable? According to Kerry's own logic, the smart move would be to say out of the coalition that he says he wants to build.
Then, of course, there's the fact that he and other Democrats criticize the existing coalition as "fraudulent." I bet that makes the existing members feel good. How would you like it if you took a risk, often at odds with public opinion, to support the U.S. and then the next guy running for office demeans your efforts? At the very least, all of this reveals very poor judgment. At worst, a complete misunderstanding of how international diplomacy is conducted.
Further, as Captain Ed points out, is Diana Kerry not interfering with the upcoming elections in Australia? Does she now realize that anything she says is going to be in the press, and statements along the lines of the one above are bound to hurt John Howard, the conservative incumbent?
Update - And she can't even get her facts straight
Check out this article by Katherine Mangu-Ward in The Weekly Standard:
Alert readers, including Amanda Sokolski on this magazine's website, quickly picked up on errors in Ms. Kerry's timeline. The Bali bombing took place long before Australia got mixed up with those nasty Americans and their "wanton disregard for international law." And the September 9 attack on the Australian embassy was perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda's Southeast Asia franchise, which has considered Australia a target since well before the Iraq war. Evidently, the details of this timeline were blurry for Ms. Kerry, who has been .busy shuttling around the globe on her brother's behalf for the last several months.
September 20, 2004
Good News in Iraq and Afghanistan
If you're not reading Chrenkoff you're not fully informed.
Hop over to his blog to read the latest in his series; "Good News from Afghanistan, Part 4" and "Good News from Iraq, Part 10". Yes you read that right; parts 4 and 10.
FYI, some of these "Good News" series have been published in Opinion Journal, which is the on-line site of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
UN "Oil for Food Scandal" Fraud
Fox News had a special presentation on the UN "Oil for Food" scandal Sunday night. If you missed it you'll want to read up on it. However, I have to warn you, it will set your teeth on edge.
The scam is too complicated for me to go into here, as I simply do not have the time to spell it all out. Other bloggers have written extensively on it so I urge you to make use of the links on this page.
When Senator John McCain said at the Republican National Convention that the "status quo" with regards to the sanctions placed against Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War were falling apart, he wasn't kidding. The "Oil for Food" scandal is just one more example of how that was so. As he said, the sanctions were falling apart, and don't let anyone tell you differently.
As a result of my post I received a new paper from the Heritage Foundation on the scandal. It was just published today so contains the most up-to-date information available.
The paper centers on whether the commission headed by Paul Volker to investigate the scandal will do its job properlyUnfortunately, the answer seems to be no, according the the study by the Heritage Foundation.
The commission, or Independent Inquiry Committee into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program,” as it is officially called, is headed by Paul Volker, onetime Federal Reserve Chairman.
Money quote from the Heritage Foundation Report:
The Volcker Commission’s refusal to share documentation with congressional investigators demonstrates not only breathtaking arrogance but also complete disrespect for Congress and the American public that helps fund the Commission through the United Nations. If it is to be treated seriously and respected as something other than an elaborate but costly whitewash exercise, the Commission will need to implement major changes, both in its operations and in its approach. Above all, transparency and accountability will be needed if the Independent Commission is to avoid becoming yet another example of mutual back scratching at the U.N.
September 19, 2004
Two Big Differences
Grover Norquist spoke about the two big differences between the two parties at the GOPUSA conference.
Norquist is usually known for his stand on tax issues, so while we got some handouts on that, his comments centered on ideological differences between conservatives and liberals and the effect that has on intraparty problems and issues.
Difference Number One
This centers on the libertarianism that has become so much a part of the conservative agenda. Many of those on the right "just want to be left alone"; they don't want to force their ideas on other people. For example, gun owners don't insist that everyone else own a gun, they (we) just want to own ours in peace. SUV drivers don't care what anyone else owns, they just don't want the government raising CAFE standards too much.
Me - It will be objected that the Pro-Life and Evangelical Christian lobbies want to impose their views on others. "A woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body" and "keep your religion out of the government" are two standard rallying cries you'll hear (They're too trite to rate the label "argument"). As to the former, there 's more than one body involved, and you don't have the right to kill it. To the latter, no one (well, no serious person) is trying to make Christianity the official religion of the country. But to say that a Christmas display is "imposing religion", or that a public official can't use his or her religion as a guide to public policy is lunacy. If you can't use religion as a guide to decision making, it has no value.
Difference Number Two
The Democratic party today consists of a number of interest groups who are all in competition with each other. No such situation exists within the GOP.
For example, environmentalists and labor leaders are often at odds with each other. The former want a pristine environment regardless of the economic impact, and the latter are concerned with jobs. Remember the Spotted Owl controversy of the late '80s? Conservatives watched with amusement as liberal interest groups went at each other.
No such direct conflict exists on the right. This is not to say that there is ideological uniformity on the right (nor should there be). For example, it is possible to be pro-gun yet "pro-choice", and thus be at odds with pro-life conservatives. But this is incidental, not inherent, in the two positions. There is no inherent reason why fiscal conservatives should find themselves in conflict with religious conservatives, to choose another example.
The reason for this is that the Democrats have become the "takings" party. Their groups want to "take something", or "regulate something". They want law after law after law after law. If they cannot continue to pass these laws, or keep tax rates high, they will wither on the vine. They depend on continued, activist change. Conservative groups face no such challenge, for they just want to be left alone.
The result of these differences is that the liberal coalition is high maintenance, while the conservative one is low maintenance. Norquist's theory (as I understood it) was that this will make the interest groups of Democratic party much harder to manage. The party bosses already have a hard time satisfying the various coalitions, keeping them from each other's throats will become ever more difficult.
Me - What we have seen over the past twenty or so years is a trend towards ever more stringent enforcement of ideological orthodoxy among the Democrats, while the GOP is truly the "big tent" party. I plan on writing more extensively on this subject in the future, so check back.
Back to Taxes
It would be impossible to write an article about Grover Norquist without discussing taxes. That would be like writing an article about CBS without mentioning the forged documents Dan Rather unwittingly tried to foist on us.
Norquist's organization is Americans for Tax Reform. On their agenda is enactment of a flat tax and elimination of the IRS. Social Security and Medicare should be totally privatized. The Federal government should be cut in half.
Now, these things are not going to happen. No how, no way.
So it is tempting to write him off as a utopian dreamer. This, however, would be an error.
For the real value and purpose of people like Grover Norquist is that they change the terms of the debate. It is now "acceptable" to talk about flattening out tax rates, whereas thirty years ago this would have gotten you booed off the stage. Reagan was the first to reduce the top income tax rate from it's absurd level of 90% (I believe). That was the start, now the objective is to keep making it flatter and flatter.
For example, Steve Forbes famously ran for president as a single issue candiate on just this issue. I do not believe that he would have been able to do so without the prior efforts of people like Grover Norquist.
If you'd like a philosophical label, you can use the Hegel's dialectical formula of history: Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis
What do I think?
I am personally in support of a flat tax, although I recognize that political realities are such that it will not occur, at least not in our time.
The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Before we could really get started at the conference we needed to receive our manuals. What better than The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?
Author Mark Smith was there to discuss his book and sign copies. If you're looking for quick and concise arguments to tear liberals apart, this book is it. It consists of twenty-eight short chapters, each on a topic such as abortion or gun-control. Smith goes through the standard liberal arguments , presenting each, appropriately enough, as a "Liberal Lunacy". Here's one on gun control that I'm sure you've heard:
The Second Amendment confers no individual right to own guns but merely allows states to keep a militia, which today is taken care of by the National Guard.Or this one:
The Jews stole the land of Israel from the Palestinians.How about this to set your teeth on edge:
We haven't found any WMDs, so Saddam didn't have anygrrr.
Hey, I warned you.
In a few quick paragraphs he demolishes each argument. At the end of each chapter they are presented in bullet point form as "VRWC Talking Points" (which reminds me of another story a White House reporter from Talon News told us that is positively unreal. I'll reveal that one in a future post.) Interspersed are useful quotes and "Hard Facts on _____"
Perhaps most useful of all, Smith uses arguments that are designed to make your opponent think. In other words, while it may be emotionally satisfying to simply bombard liberals with facts and logic until the cower in fear, this probably doesn't change many minds. As such, there are many "Conversations Stoppers" in the book designed to give your liberal opponent pause, such as:
If the U.S. wanted to use military might to conquer and steal oil, it would have been a lot cheaper to seize Mexican or Venezuelan oil fields.Hmm. Makes you think, right?
Even if you don't agree with 100% of conservative causes, you may still find the book useful for it's quick and concise summary of the arguments needed to defend the ones you do believe in.
The GOPUSA Issues and Action Conference
As readers will immediately note, I've made a few changes to the blog by adding a few new logos and links. You might even say I've been shamed into not having a Bush logo or any specific RNC links before now. It's the least that I can do in the short run, and it's not as if I've ever hid my partisanship.
The conference was a blast and I am very happy that I went. I encourage all of you to attend next year and plan on promoting it as the time draws near.
I met people from all around the country; Florida, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, and even Washington DC (yes there are Republicans in the district) are just a few that stand out. Some were office-holders(state senate, school board), some held positions in their local GOP organization; the rest of us simply ordinary Americans who are involved in one way or the other in getting our president re-elected.
We exchanged ideas on campaigning, and I heard many great stories. I pity the liberals in New Jersey, for one activist lady I met from that state is giving them fits, and challenging their historic dominance, with her organizational talents. I had an intellectually stimulating discussion with another person on one of my favorite topics, anti-communism. This exchange of ideas and experiences I believe benefited us all.
I even got to meet the G-Man himself! I've listened to him since the first week he was on radio, so it was something I was looking forward to. He gave a great talk at the awards banquet our last evening, and moderated one of the discussion panels earlier (more about which later). It was an honor and a pleasure.
The agenda was divided into two parts, Issues and Action. On day one we discussed the issues that confront our nation, and on the second day we heard action-oriented strategies on how to be an activist. I took a ton of notes, and over the next few weeks will be posting what the conference speakers said, and my thoughts and comments on their presentations.
Regular readers and fellow bloggers will not be surprised that that the "alternative media" in general, and the Blogosphere in particular, were mentioned quite often by the conference speakers. Thus another effect of the conference (and my personal efforts) was to make even more people aware of what bloggers are doing. I encourage new readers of this page to take a look at each of the links to other sites that I've posted at top right.
I've posted several summaries of the panels and speakers. Here are links to all of them:
September 15, 2004
Off to the GOP Issues and Action Conference
My apologies for the light, ok, almost non-existant blogging this week. After last weeks vacation I thought I'd have more time this week. How wrong I was.
This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I'm off to the GOP Issues and Action Conference in Washington DC. Besides the normal pressures of work other things have intervened to keep me from doing much blogging.
The conference promises to be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it quite a bit. Speakers include G Gordon Liddy, L Brent Bozell, Grover Norquist, and Paul Weyrich. There are a variety of receptions and policy discussison groups planned. I'll take plenty of notes and there will be a full report on this site next week, I promise!
September 13, 2004
A Cold Warrior
Ever wonder about the title of this blog? Or about the political journey of it's author? Wonder no more.
Bloggers in the News
Check out this story in the Washington Times about bloggers. The theme of the story is that it's awfully hard to make any money as a blogger. Yep, it's truely a labor of love.
My understanding is that the "blogging craze" took off onlyf six months or so ago. The latest numbers I have seen are that there are over two million bloggers in the U.S. alone. The question is, how many of us can keep this up over the long haul? My guess is that there will be a sort of shake out over the next few years, and only the most dedicated will still be around. Of course., this prediction is as good as the money you paid to see it.
September 11, 2004
Photo courtesy of The Middle Ground
Like when Kennedy was shot, those who were alive on September 11 2001 will always remember what they were doing that fateful day. I was then working for Worldcom/UUNet in the sales department. As fate would have it, I was scheduled to move to another pod that morning. I was in the middle of unplugging my computer and boxing my stuff when word spread that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. As with most people, I thought what a tragedy it was, but it must have been a freak accident, sort of when fifty years ago a plane hit the Empire State Building. I went to the TV room only briefly, then continued my move. Then came the news that the second plane hit.
Although it was obvious that the crashes were deliberate and thus acts of terrorism, the enormity of what was happening seemed too much to believe. I went back to one of the the now crowded TV rooms and watched for most of the next hour. Wanting to get my move completed before the news developed further, I hurried about to get my computer connected in it's new location.
The next time I went back to the TV room the I immediately noticed a difference in the people there. Instead of talk, there was absolute silence. Everyone was just staring at the TV with looks of shock on their faces. They looked hurt, almost visibly pained. I looked at the TV and saw a big cloud of dust covering lower Manahattan. I asked what had happened and someone responded that the buildings had collapsed.
At this point, some people started to file out and head for home on their own. Shortly thereafter the official word came down that it was ok to leave. An exodus started, with everyone heading out. Like everyone else, my eyes were on the sky for the entire drive home.
It was only the beginning.
The Strategic Offensive II
W Thomas Smith has an excellant article posted on NRO in which he interviews a Navy SEAL, Lt. Commander Mark Divine.
Currently, Divine is working on a report for the U.S. Special Operations Command regarding the development of a Marine Corps special-operations unit attached to SEAL Team One, which he has been observing in Iraq. When asked about ongoing U.S. military efforts in that country, he says, "We have established a beachhead in what is Islamist-fascist territory. We're in their breeding ground and we've upset the plans of the Islamic fascists who during the years of the Clinton administration believed they could force our presence out of the Middle East."
President Bush's opponents, however, continue to rail against the war in Iraq. They contend that the three-year-old response to 9/11 in Afghanistan has been sidetracked by an unrelated adventure in Iraq. "Not so," says Divine, who believes such views are shortsighted. "Look, we are fighting terrorists — in the shadows — which is where we want to fight, and we are fighting them all over the world, not just in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but in places no one is even aware of. This is a global war where the major victory is in a thousand minor victories."
The Lt Commander is outlining the principle of the Strategic Offensive, which I discussed in a post last month.
"Shortsighted" is being too nice, however. It takes a very small mind to believe that the reason that we shouldn't be in Iraq is because we should have spent the money on health care or education here at home. Note that I am not saying that these are not important issues that should not be debated. Perhaps we do need to spend more money here at home, although I rather think that lask of money is not the cause of our problems. But to use it as a reason, no excuse, for not going into Iraq is small thinking indeed.
That al Qaeda Connection
LtC Divine sees clearly what so many on the left are (deliberately?) blind to
"There are enormous numbers of foreign fighters in Iraq right now. Whether some of those fighters were there before September 11, 2001, or as a call to arms later, will be argued by both [Democrats and Republicans] until they are blue in the face. What I can tell you is that there is tremendous evidence to suggest there were terrorist training camps in Iraq before 9/11."
President Bush's opponents, however, continue to rail against the war in Iraq. They contend that the three-year-old response to 9/11 in Afghanistan has been sidetracked by an unrelated adventure in Iraq. "Not so," says Divine, who believes such views are shortsighted. "Look, we are fighting terrorists — in the shadows — which is where we want to fight, and we are fighting them all over the world, not just in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but in places no one is even aware of. This is a global war where the major victory is in a thousand minor victories."
Amen. "Short sighted" about sums up the liberal/left response to Bush' strategic offensive. And anyone who says that there was no connection between terrorism and Iraq prior to 9/11 simply doesn't know what they're talking about.
September 10, 2004
New Joint Blog
Blogging maniac that I am, I have accepted an invitation by Mark from Colorado, who graciously extended an invitation to me to participate in his new joint blog; Warm 'n Fuzzy Conserva-Puppies. In addition to posts by Mark and yours truely, you'll meet world-class bloggers Jamie and Larry. Bookmark it and make it a part of your reading.
Not to worry, I'll post here as often as I always have. The new site is an addition, not a replacement.
That Useless UN
The third, and last part of Bill Gertz' book "Treachery" is excerpted in today's Washington Times.
In today's piece Gertz shows how the UN utterly failed to prevent dangerous nations from developing nuclear-weapons programs:
Three times, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency missed the covert nuclear-arms programs of rogue regimes, allowing those states to build deadly weapons capability under the guise of generating nuclear power.
Disclosures of the nuclear progress of North Korea, Libya and Iran came in rapid succession, within the space of about a year. If the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not detect these programs, one must wonder what purpose the U.N. branch serves.
And to think that there are those in this country who would have us entrust our national security to such an organization. They would be perfectly happy with Hans Blix still in charge of inspections in Iraq. This, the same man who was utterly fooled by Saddam in the 1980's and who admitted as much after the Gulf War.
The Gertz article makes for painful, though necessary, reading. To show how effective he is, the French ambassador to the US felt compelled to write a letter to the editor showing his displeasure with Wednesday's piece.
While outright withdrawal from the UN is not realistic, we should work towards forming an alternate organization of "like minded nations" that can handle international crisis such as that unfolding in the Sudan. The UN is institutionally incapable of working to resolve issues regarding rogue states. We need a change.
September 9, 2004
Larry Korb on Bill O'Reilly last night
Last night I was watching Bill O'Reilly and witnessed the most amazing exchange between him and Larry Korb, a former assistant Secretary of Defense from 1981 to 1985.
Korb told O'Reilly that "If Bush had served in Vietnam he would have understood that we would not have been greeted as liberators."
Really. I'm not making this up.
To his credit, Bill O'Reilly challenged this amazing assertion. The exchange hasn't been posted on the Fox website yet but I wrote it down immediately after I heard it, so I'm pretty close.
O''Reilly pretty much said what I would have said, but gentler: "Uh, Mr Korb, you do realize thet there are many distinguished Vietnam vets who also did not foresee the extent of the insurgency?" He mentioned several Fox news military analysists, such as retired Lt Gen Thomas McInerney and Maj Gen Paul Vallely (both of whom, it should be noted, at least got the invasion of Iraq right. When so many other "experts", such as Gen Clark, were predicting long conventional battles, they saw the regular Iraqi army and even the Republican Guard units would fall quickly).
Korb hemmed and hawed and then pretty much just repeated his earlier charge.
Korb, like so many others, has Vietnamitis. All new American wars must be viewed through the lens of Vietnam. Vietnam is the only war in all of history that matters. All wars must therefore be turned into Vietnam as quickly as possible, and all analysis must begin and end with Vietnam.
While service in Vietnam is to be resected, the idea that serving there gives one special insight into what would happen in Iraq is ridiculous and illogical. As I have demonstrated in an earlier post, there is absolutely no correlation between having military or even combat experience and performance as president.
Treachery part II - Libya
Part II of Bill Gertz' book "treachery" is excerpted in today's Washington Times.
Today's extracts concern Libya's alleged desire to renounce it's WMD programs in return for a lifting of sanctions. Gertz reveals that even as Libya was engaged in discussions with British and American negotiators over the proposed disarmament, they continued to procure nuclear enrichment technology. The supplier of the material was none other than one of our "allies", Pakistan.
It was not until October 4, 2003, when the US Navy intercepted one of the ships carrying nuclear bomb parts bound for Libya, that the true extent of the treachery became known. As Gertz tells it
Caught in the act, Libya was forced to publicly reveal it had worked secretly to build nuclear as well as chemical weapons.
Gadhafi, concerned about his legacy and an economy hit hard by sanctions, made a startling announcement two months later, in December 2003. The dictator said Libya would abandon its nuclear and chemical arms programs, limit the range of its missiles and comply with numerous international weapons treaties.
Libya ultimately admitted it had spent some $500 million since the late 1990s in developing nuclear weapons.
Gadhafi's announcement was widely hailed as a victory in the effort to stem the flow of nuclear-weapons technology to rogue states.
Feith, the U.S. undersecretary of defense, was more cautious. But he acknowledged that Libya's pledge to disarm could be an important step.
Feith suggested that Gadhafi adopted this approach after the sobering U.S.-led ousters of the Taliban from Afghanistan and Saddam from Iraq.
"At that point, Gadhafi, having tried for years to get off the 'bad list' [of rogue states] by means short of opening up, decided that he had to open up," Feith said. "Now, what does one infer from that? I suppose it seems as if he came to the conclusion that it was too risky being coy, it was too risky trying these lesser means to get off the bad list.
"And it became more urgent for him to get off the bad list when he saw the fate of the Taliban regime and the Saddam Hussein regime."
You'll want to read the whole thing, but I think the point is obvious.
Liberals and Clinton apologists have gone on may talk shows and said that Libya's disarmament had nothing to do with anything the Bush administration may have done, and certainly was not related to our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh no, they say, it was the result of years of "quiet diplomacy". The Libyans were simply persuaded by the reasoned and logical arguments of patient diplomats.
Gadhafi was playing these diplomats for fools the entire time. And they were sucking it up, falling for his promises and sweet talk. As Gertz makes clear, Gadhafi had no intention of giving up his WMD the entire time. He could see that Saddam was able to thumb his nose at the UN and get away with it. Maybe Iraq did not have the stockpiles of WMD that we thought they did (or maybe they did and it's been hidden or moved to Syria, the jury's still out) but Gadhafi, like the rest of the world, certainly thought that he did. His reasoning was simple; if Saddam can get away with it, and he's under much more scrutiny than I am, so can I. And this is precisely what he tried to do.
Gadhafi's epiphany came when we invaded Iraq; here was a president who meant business. I might lose my country if they turn their attention towards me next.
Libya is much more vulnerable to invasion than was either Afghanistan or Iraq. It has a smaller population, smaller military, the geography is flat desert which is impossible to defend, and it's long coastline means that we can invade directly from the sea without anyone's permission. You can be sure that Gadhafi was acutely aware of these military realities. He was counting on getting himself an ace-in-the-hole; WMD. When he was discovered, the game was up.
The unfortunate effect of the insurgency in Iraq is that it has prevented us from turning our attention to other state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran and Syria. If the Bush administration is to be criticized for anything, it is for not recognizing the possibility of an insurgency and countering it sooner. It is all very easy to say this now, for even war critics largely missed this too. It is a missed opportunity that we have not been aggressive enough in turning our military attention towards these other threats. Let's hope and work to see that Bush is elected again so that we might be able to do so. It's clear that John Kerry has no stomach for the confrontations that are needed to resolve these problem countries. Had he been in office these past four years, Libya would be much farther along in it's WMD programs.
September 8, 2004
The French Connection
We've known for some time that France has tried to subvert our efforts in Iraq. France never liked the original "sanctions regime" of the 1990s, and proposed several times that they be weakened. After our invasion we found recently manufactured French missiles. We know that many French officials were deeply involved in what has become known as the Oil for Food Scandal.
However, the situation may have been far worse than we knew,
First off, Bill Gertz, defense and national security reporter for the Washington Times, has published a new book titled "Treachery". Today the first of three excerpts was published in the Times. Key sections:
New intelligence revealing how long France continued to supply and arm Saddam Hussein's regime infuriated U.S. officials as the nation prepared for military action against Iraq.
France's corrupt dealings with Saddam flourished throughout the 1990s, despite the strict arms embargo against Iraq imposed by the United Nations after the Persian Gulf war.
By 2000, France had become Iraq's largest supplier of military and dual-use equipment, according to a senior member of Congress who declined to be identified.
Saddam developed networks for illegal supplies to get around the U.N. arms embargo and achieve a military buildup in the years before U.S. forces launched a second assault on Iraq.
Just days before U.S. and coalition forces launched their military campaign against Iraq, more evidence of French treachery emerged.
In mid-March 2003, U.S. intelligence and defense officials confirmed that exporters in France had conspired with China to provide Iraq with chemicals used in making solid fuel for long-range missiles. The sanctions-busting operation occurred in August 2002, the U.S. National Security Agency discovered through electronic intercepts.
In May, Army intelligence found a stack of blank French passports in an Iraqi ministry, confirming what U.S. intelligence already had determined: The French had helped Iraqi war criminals escape from coalition forces — and therefore justice.
Then, there were French-made trucks and radios and the deadly grenade launchers, known as RPGs, with French-made night sights. Saddam loyalists used them to kill American soldiers long after the toppling of the dictator's regime.
Read the whole thing.
Second, a story has appeared in several places which says that France is the source of the forged documents used as one source by the US and UK to say that Iraq was buying uranium from Niger.
Now, as it turns out Iraq was most likely trying to buy uranium from Niger, and ambassador Joe Wilson was exposed as having, er, "botched" his mission to Niger. British Intelligence to this day stands by their claim, saying that they have have another source which confirmed the transaction. But for a time Bush caught a lot of flack from the Democrats who tried to claim that he had lied during his January 2003 State of the Union speech when he mentioned that British Intelligence had reported the transaction. Unfortunately this bogus claim is still repeated by those on the left who refuse to listen to the facts. Read this article at the Belgravia Dispatch for the best summation I can find.
Anyway, the story (courtesy of Jane at Armies of Liberation) as reported in the British Telegraph is that Italian Intelligence says that it was the French who forged the documents, and that they did so specifically to try and embarrass the US and UK. If true, then they did succeed in that it created quite a row.
The Telegraph reports that Italian diplomats told the paper that France did this specifically because "Their aim was to make the allies look ridiculous in order to undermine their case for war."
Why would they need to undermine the case for war?
According to an account given to The Sunday Telegraph, France was driven by "a cold desire to protect their privileged, dominant trading relationship with Saddam, which in the case of war would have been at risk."
Again, read the whole thing.
The Globe story on Bush's Guard Duty
First, thank you, dear readers, for being patient while I was on vacation. I'm rested and ready to go again! Many posts to come.
The Boston Globe reports this morning that President Bush did not fulfill his National Guard obligations
...Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service -- first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School -- Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.
He didn't meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show. The 1973 document has been overlooked in news media accounts. The 1968 document has received scant notice.
Some will no doubt use this to make the case that we in the Bush camp are hypocrites for criticizing Kerry's war record.
But for arguments sake, if the Globe story is true, does this make us look like hypocrites?
John Kerry has used his service record as his primary qualification for president. George Bush has not used his service record as a reason for us to elect or reelect him. Kerry therefore stands or falls on the basis of that record, which we have every right to examine since he made it an issue. It may count as a strike against Bush if the Globe story holds up, but no one can legitimately use it as the reason for voting against him.
Further, Kerry has refused to release his entire service record. The president, on the other hand, has signed the form 180 authorizing the release of his entire record.
September 1, 2004
Night Two at the RNC
When the list of speakers was first announced some time ago, there was much dissatisfaction on the right. The prime-time speakers were all moderates, with the most conservative being a Democrat, Zell Miller.
I, too, was concerned by this. I also remembered Pat Buchanan's fire-breathing speech in 1992 that received so much criticism. The lesson of that convention is that you need in setting the tone of the speeches. Buchanan came across then as radio talk-show host Michael Savage comes across today; angry, not hopeful. Anger is fine for editorials, not for prime-time speeches. The real audience is not the delegates, it is the millions of Americans sitting at home, many of whom are undecided.
Arnold knocked them dead last night. Of all the speeches he may have converted more undecideds than anyone. Laura Bush was heartfelt and direct. She is the perfect person to speak to the average family in America. The daughters...well they need new speechwriters.
It should be apparently by now to all that the GOP is now the "big tent" party. The Democrats enforce ideological rigidity, and woe be it to anyone to deviates from the official orthodoxy. Newt Gingrich discussed this in a book of his, when he wrote about the differences between the two parties in the House. Although this somewhat-new "diversity" in the party may be occasionally annoying to conservatives like me, I believe that in the end it will help us maintain and even increase our election chances at all levels.