Friday, May 28, 2004


I could write a term paper on Gore's speech. It's full of illuminating things that liberals pretend not to believe when faced with voters. With a political career in the rearview mirror, Albert Gore Jr. is now free to tell us how the world (or the unelected judiciary) would do a much better job running America.
He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

Gore would be President right now if the Democrats in the Senate had the integrity to remove Clinton from office. By pretending what Clinton did was a-okay, Gore couldn't free himself from the stink of that administration. You can debate the merits of Bush's policy, but his policy was for the defense of his country. Clinton’s mistakes were for his own self-indulgence.

If Gore had been paying attention he would have understood that Bush's invasion of Iraq was in respect to 17 United Nations resolutions. That the United Nations likes to pass hollow resolutions with no teeth is not the fault of a President.

Do the opinions of our allies count when it can be shown that they had illegal oil agreements with the country in question?

What in the world does he mean by the “role of Congress and the courts”? Congress voted for the war. The courts continue to legislate from the bench. What changed?

The Jefferson quote is beyond me. People in this country have supported the war from the beginning. It’s scary to think that a guy who was this close to being President would defend his country only if other nations are okay with the idea.
To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

1. Containment was a disaster as foreign policy. Do you build a wall around the fire ant nest or do you give them Amdro to feed the queen? Containment allowed nation after nation to fall to communism. Millions died the same kinds of deaths that were witnessed in Nazi Germany. Vietnam was the ultimate failed example of containment.

2. International Law is not world opinion. The United States was already in a state of war with Iraq because they broke the cease fire agreement signed in 1991. Just because the Clinton/Gore administration chose to ignore Saddam didn’t mean that the cease-fire agreement was null and void.

The United Nations is a great thing for dictators running slave states, but I don’t know how America benefits. And that’s just it. A guy who was one liberal judge away from being President should ask himself if he is an American or a citizen of the world. The United States is the protector of freedom. Any freedom that exists in the world has a friend in the United States.

To take the oath of office to become President a person must pledge to uphold the laws of the land. Too many Democrats want to uphold the laws of other lands. They’re jealous that much of the world has been moving toward a form of central planning that their college professors told them was the most “efficient” way to serve mankind. Since they cannot convince the people in their own country to sacrifice freedom for central planning, they’ll make arguments to tie our hands to international agreements that have nothing to do with our Constitution.

The prison abuse in Iraq didn’t happen because of Rumsfeld or some other bureaucrat. It went on because human beings can’t always be trusted to have power over other human beings. That should be remembered when we decide to give up our freedom to another un-elected government official who promises to “help.” It should also be remembered when the media or an ex-Vice President pretends some country is a sovereign nation when they don’t have a constitution protecting the rights of their citizens. The boot isn't sovereignty unless we allow it to be.

Let's not forget that there would be no international law if the United States wasn't always stepping in and saving the Europeans from themselves. When the United States has a problem it has to be Marshall Will Kane saving the town from Frank Miller all by itself. "Miller was no threat" can be heard all around the world. But the town council (911 commission) will convene the moment another Frank Miller does harm. "Why wasn't this Frank Miller stopped?"

Gore isn't some Michael Moore character trying to sell books or a movie. He doesn't have the personality or humor for that. Gore is an example of a Democrat who doesn't have to temper his views in order to get elected. The Gore approach isn't designed to make us safer as a nation, but to acclimatize us to the bathwater of Internationalism.

France proved that a dictator only has to court one key ally to discredit a United States action to protect itself. Why are French special interests treated as world opinion when American interests are treated as unilateral?

Is John Kerry sending out all the crackpots to shore up for far-left vote against Nader? Or do Democrats want to make us some appendage of Western Europe?

This is becoming a really key question in this election and the media doesn’t want to address it.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

KERRY + McCain = Media Lovefest

The media cannot contain their passion for getting John Kerry elected. Despite numerous denials that he would accept the job of Vice President, John McCain is being used in a new CBS poll to test Kerry's popularity.
McCain has continued to face questions about joining his fellow Vietnam veteran Kerry on a ticket, despite having insisted that he is not interested in doing so. America’s voters, meanwhile, do have interest in such a bi-partisan slate: a hypothetical Kerry/McCain pairing holds a 14-point advantage over President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, nearly double the 8-point lead Kerry has alone over Bush.

The logical next question in this poll should have been what Bush's poll numbers would be against Kerry if he ditched Cheney for John McCain. Why don't we do a poll and see the popularity of a Bush/Liberman ticket? It's no surprise that the only hypothetical scenario involves something that makes the dour Kerry seem electable courtesy of the dynamic McCain.

Will the voters go and ruin all of the media's hopes for John Kerry?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Kerry's War Record (David Limbaugh - Courtesy of E Head)
. . . a surprising number of those who served with Kerry in Vietnam have organized a group, "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," to speak out against the man and his military record. They are not, contrary to Democratic propaganda, being funded by Republican operatives or the Bush campaign.

The group is committed to correcting the record about Kerry's Vietnam experience and his defamatory statements against his fellow soldiers. Seventeen of the 23 officers on the swift boats with Kerry are either part of or supportive of the group's mission.

The group held a press conference at the National Press Club on May 4 to announce its goal of exposing the real John Kerry. The mainstream media were all but silent on the matter, but C-Span cameras were there.

When the Associated Press (AP) was called on its refusal to cover the story, it released a statement saying it didn't believe it was newsworthy because it contributed nothing to the dialogue between veterans and John Kerry. (Note to AP: This isn't about some New Age touchy-feely dialogue; it's about John Kerry's record.)

The press seems quite interested to tear into Bush's National Guard record. Why aren't they so ready to find the truth about Kerry?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


We saw Ben Affleck playing at the Palms and we also watched some of the World Series of Poker action on Day 1. If you like a long story with some drama you can read my narriative over at The Nuts.

I didn't get to hear the President's speech on Monday Night. I didn't read a newspaper or even watch CNN outside of the airplane. I wonder what I missed.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


We'll be around for the World Series of Poker Final Event -- a coincidence really. We booked the trip before the schedule for the WS was posted. The Satelites for cheap entry into the tourney end today so I guess we won't be playing. . . but someday.

See You next week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


Emory University researchers measured brain activity in the striatum — the part of the brain associated with reward processing and pleasure — in two groups of volunteers. One group had to work to receive money while playing a simple computer game; the other group was rewarded without having to earn it.

The brains of those who had to work for their money were more stimulated.

He said that other studies have shown “there’s substantial evidence that people who win the lottery are not happier a year after they win the lottery. It’s also fairly clear from the psychological literature that people get a great deal of satisfaction out of the work they do.”

I had this discussion back in 1996 with co-workers and we were evenly divided. It began with a lady who wanted everyone to chip in a x number of dollars to play the lottery collectively. I said that I would chip in but that I was against the theory of the lottery because money that you don't earn is a burden not a blessing. Since I was sure we wouldn't win I would chip in for the camaraderie.

You can imagine how that got the discussion going. I was surprised that almost an even number of people agreed with me, although I think the majority still wanted to win the lottery. My theory was life is a struggle and it's overcoming obstacles that allow us to grow as human beings. The lottery artificially removes many of the struggles that life brings and winning stunts growth. In fact, many of the struggles we encounter are related to but specifically making a living. Once a human no longer has to make a living those other struggles are also lost.

On the other hand, people who earn millions through their own savvy and hard work can enjoy the money all that much more because it is attached to the struggle of life that they were able to overcome. The lottery robs people of the reward of the struggle.

The lady who wanted to play the lottery wouldn't take my money. She said my money would be bad karma since I didn't think we'd win. As far as life being a struggle she said the only thing she wanted to struggle for what multiple or-----.

That retort was quoted for years.
Politically, the discovery of sarin, and, separately, of mustard gas, would seem to bolster the President, though our esteemed press corps has already begun its spinning.

An MSNBC report yesterday, noted by Glenn Reynolds, implied that the discovery does not vindicate the Bush administration because it doesn't prove "that Saddam was secretly producing weapons of mass destruction after the Gulf War." The Washington Post embeds the news of the sarin discovery in the subtitle of a front-page story today, headlined "Iraqi Council's Leader Is Slain." The New York Times also notes the sarin discovery within a report on this piece of bad news, and does the Post one better with the note that "Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reacted cautiously to the discovery, saying more extensive tests were necessary" and directions to find more details on page A11.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter to the press how dangerous Iraq was until Kerry wins the election.

The link I posted last time to review my Blog was bogus. Please try this new link.

Review Junto Boys

Friday, May 14, 2004

Democrats calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation invoke the principle of ministerial responsibility: a Cabinet secretary must take ultimate responsibility for what happens on his watch. Interesting idea. Where was it in 1993 when the attorney general of the United States ordered the attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, which ended in the deaths of 76 people?

Janet Reno went to Capitol Hill and said, "It was my decision, and I take responsibility." This was met with approving swoons and applause. Was she made to resign? No. And remember: This was over an action that did not just happen on her watch but that she ordered -- an action that resulted in the deaths of, among others, more than 20 children.

Given the fact that when they were in power Democrats had little use for the notion of ministerial responsibility, their sudden discovery of it over Abu Ghraib suggests that this has little to do with principle.

Loop it on a loudspeaker outside of the Capitol Building.

Thursday, May 13, 2004


The New York Times is becoming some sort of 5th column for terrorists. Today, they examine the interrogations given to Al Qaeda detainees. It's one thing to criticize members of the military that degrade low-level Iraqi prisoners, but this article explains and criticizes the techniques the CIA and strategies against the real bad guys.
The Central Intelligence Agency has used coercive interrogation methods against a select group of high-level leaders and operatives of Al Qaeda that have produced growing concerns inside the agency about abuses, according to current and former counterterrorism officials.

In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technique known as "water boarding," in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.

So far, the agency has refused to grant any independent observer or human rights group access to the high-level detainees, who have been held in strict secrecy. Their whereabouts are such closely guarded secrets that one official said he had been told that Mr. Bush had informed the C.I.A. that he did not want to know where they were.

Notice the aside that Bush has set-up deniability.
Counterrorism officials say detainees have also been sent to third countries, where they are convinced that they might be executed, or tricked into believing they were being sent to such places. Some have been hooded, roughed up, soaked with water and deprived of food, light and medications.

Many authorities contend that torture and coercive treatment is as likely to provide information that is unreliable as information that is helpful.

What authorities think the tactics won't work? If the information is incorrect, won't the prisoners face harsher tactics?
Concerns are mounting among C.I.A. officers about the potential consequences of their actions. "Some people involved in this have been concerned for quite a while that eventually there would be a new president, or the mood in the country would change, and they would be held accountable," one intelligence source said. "Now that's happening faster than anybody expected."

The Times is warning the CIA that John Kerry is ready to gut their effectiveness again and for good reason.

Way down here near the end of the article after the criticism we get the information about how these tactics have been successful.
The C.I.A. high-level interrogation program seemed to show early results with the capture of Abu Zubaida in April 2002. Mr. Zubaida was a close associate of Mr. bin Laden's and had run Al Qaeda's recruiting, in which young men were brought from other countries to training camps in Afghanistan.

Under such intensive questioning, Mr. Zubaida provided useful information identifying Jose Padilla, a low-level Qaeda convert who was arrested in May 2002 in connection with an effort to build a dirty bomb. Mr. Zubaida also helped identify Mr. Mohammed as a crucial figure in the 9/11 plot, counterterrorism officials said.

A few other detainees have been identified by the Bush administration, like Ramzi bin al-Shibh, another 9/11 plotter and Walid Ba'Attash, who helped plan the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998 and the attack on the Navy destroyer Cole in October 2000.

Now back to the criticism.
Some officials have suggested that some of the high-level detainees may be tried in military tribunals or officially turned over to other countries, but counterterrorism officials have complained about the Bush administration's failure to have an "endgame" for these detainees. One official said they could also be imprisoned indefinitely at a new long-term prison being built at Guantánamo.

What's funny is that any time the government doesn't share their plan with the media it gets written as no plan at all. When the administration shares the plan, the media gets "authorities" to describe how it won't work.

I don't know what this article accomplished other than alerting future detainees to our tactics and scaring CIA operatives into being nice to bad guys for fear of their jobs. Do writers at the New York Times think this was a service to the American people?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Here's the article that Tricia linked in the comments.
In 1994, 10 Belgian peacekeepers were horribly mutilated alive (castrated, their Achilles tendons slashed, etc.) in Rwanda. The full extent of the barbarity wasn’t disclosed for a long time for fear of reprisals. Just a month ago, television news networks agonized about how much they should show of the butchery of Americans in Fallujah. They opted for very, very little.

Within 48 hours of the 9/11 attacks, the major news networks and leading newspapers were settling on a policy to stop showing images of victims leaping to their death from the World Trade Center. NBC ran one clip of a man plunging to his death, and then admitted it was a mistake. An NBC News V.P. told The New York Times, “Once it was on, we decided not to use it again. It’s stunning photography, I understand that, but we felt the image was disturbing.”

In fact, post-9/11 coverage illuminates an interesting cultural cleavage in the media. When shocking images might stir Americans to favor war, the Serious Journalists show great restraint. When those images have the opposite effect, the Ted Koppels let it fly.

There is a serious character flaw to always be highlighting your country's mistakes while hiding the barbarism of the enemy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Ever since he graduated from high school, Nick Berg lived a life of adventure. He took college classes at Cornell, Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oklahoma. He helped set up electronics equipment at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000. He even made several trips to Third World Countries — at one point teaching villagers in Ghana how make bricks.

The reaction
An apparent videotape of Berg's beheading was aired on a Web site known to have ties with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. The tape also included threats against Bush and Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

In Washington, word of the beheading reached the Senate as the Armed Services Committee was holding a hearing into the abuse of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison.

"Senators ... are in a virtual state of shock about the beheading," said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., recalling earlier concerns that the prisoner abuse could lead to retaliation against Americans.

The media made a big splash with those Iraqi prisoner pictures and then warned of retaliation. They seemed to know that retaliation was going to be the result of their showing their photos, so it would follow that they bear at least a modicum of the responsibility for the beheading. Only, I have yet to read or hear any media introspection.

At some point you have to cease being a "newsman" and be a concerned "American" who is looking after your fellow citizens. The justification for all their "objective" reporting is that Americans deserve to know the truth. Do Americans deserve to die for their ratings?

UPDATE: More of the Nick Berg Story.

Monday, May 10, 2004


Less than two weeks ago Democrats were convinced that they nominated the wrong candidate. Now everything seems to have gone bad for Bush.

Oil Prices are climbing.

Novak says that interest rates will rise before the election.

and, of course, Bush gets blamed for some unruly prison guards.

The 9-11 Commission -- The thing that was supposed to ruin Bush last month left the radar screen the moment Condi Rice testified.

Still, Zogby has John Kerry winning the election. We haven't even had a debate yet.

The 24 hours news cycle is hilarious. The election is so far away that the outrage over the photos will soften. People aren't even angry about 9-11 anymore. People have short attention spans. The news media yaks and yaks about something for a weekend or two and it pretty much loses its significance.

Q: What was the most important factor in the 2000 election?

A: The Gore Team announcement the weekend before the election about Bush being arrested for drunk driving in the 1970s. Bush had a good 3-4 point lead before that weekend and it pretty much disappeared with the arrest news.

Current events spike the polls, but over time the numbers settle back into their default position. If you can time a spike right before the election, and before the numbers settle back to normal, it might be a winning formula.

This election will be won in the 4th quarter by the political operatives that have the best game plan.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Picasso Oil Fetches Auction Record of $104 Million

Pablo Picasso's "Boy with the Pipe" became the most expensive painting ever sold at auction on Wednesday when it fetched $104,168,000 at Sotheby's in New York.
The previous auction record was held by van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" which sold for $82.5 million in 1990.

I'm surprised a Picasso (especially an early one) would sell for so much. Whereas Van Gogh painted for just a few years and had few pieces, Picasso was so prolific that they can create entire shows around his World War II output alone. Supply and Demand would suggest that a single Van Gogh piece is worth more than a single Picasso piece. What would Picasso's "The Old Guitarist" fetch on the open market? It's more famous and a part of the storied blue period.

Or what would "Guernica" bring?

One of the advantages of selling a masterpiece is that most masterpieces aren't for sale. If all of Picasso's work went up for sale at once, we'd probably get a better idea of what the pieces are really worth.

I read once tht Billy Wilder collected art in the 50s and 60s and made several million dollars when he sold the works in the 1990s. In fact, he made more from the sale of his art collection than all of his movies combined.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

University of Iowa is so thoughtful

I was wondering if Trish remembered these debates when she attended Iowa.
Adhering to a policy instituted 10 years ago, but not always followed, the UI athletics department recently canceled a baseball game with Bradley University of Peoria, Ill., because of the school's mascot.

The game was originally scheduled to be played today, but the athletics department canceled the nonconference game in February, recognizing that Bradley's nickname - the Braves - falls under the university's policy to not schedule nonconference games with teams that have American Indian mascots.

According to the policy, "In recognition of the UI policy on human rights, the university bans from its athletics facilities any mascot that depicts or represents Native Americans."

What nonsense. UI policy on Human Rights? What human right are we talking about? My Indian blood says that it's a tribute.
Kelsey Grammer is an admitted conservative.

Saturday, May 01, 2004


The world opposition to the invasion of Iraq was largely one of loot. France, Russia and others had a pretty good racket going. The evidence coming in these last few months doesn't look good for their objectivity. National Review puts it in context.
The basic assumption underlying Oil-for-Food was absurd: Saddam was trusted to use the proceeds of selling Iraqi oil to benefit his people. It appears, unsurprisingly enough, that Saddam instead provided oil at bargain prices to favored clients, who kicked back a portion of their profits from arbitraging it on the open market to Baghdad, while he purchased foreign goods of dubious humanitarian utility (such as Mercedes-Benz touring sedans) at inflated prices from happy suppliers.

In January, a Baghdad newspaper, Al-Mada, published a provisional list of roughly 270 entities and individuals in 50 countries who allegedly participated in this racket, and Claudia Rosett has performed sterling service in further investigating the fiasco for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and National Review Online. The list of those identified should raise some eyebrows. They include no fewer than 46 Russians (including "the director of the Russian President's office") and eleven Frenchmen (for instance, former interior minister Charles Pasqua), plus George Galloway, the radical British MP and unyielding anti-war propagandist. And let us not forget the PLO and the Russian Communist party, among many others named as beneficiaries of Baathist largesse.

It's not a long piece and worth reading in full.