Thursday, September 30, 2004

More Fake Documents at CBS - Update

The New York Post has a good editorial on CBS' latest anti-Bush smear on the possible reinstatement of the draft - DAN DOES IT AGAIN.

The editorial lays out the evidence against the likelihood of reinstatement (most importantly, the military doesn't want it) and points out that the only ones pushing for it are Democrats (primarily Congressman Charlie Rangel from NY). Why run such a story?
Could it be because charges of a secret plan to reinstate the draft just happen to be a key talking point of the Kerry-Edwards campaign?

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean charged that "George Bush is certainly going to have a draft if he goes into a second term."

And ex-Sen. Max Cleland, who has campaigned by John Kerry's side, also said flatly that "America will reinstate the draft" if President Bush is re-elected.

Meanwhile, Kerry himself suggested it is "possible" that Bush will back a draft.

But, again, there isn't the faintest hint of evidence to support such claims.

So, if there is any legitimate story here, it is that Kerry & Co. are blowing smoke.

Instead, Dan Rather runs with what amounts to an unpaid ad for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

Is he a moron, incapable of learning anything from the forged-memo fiasco?

Or just a Democratic shill?
My vote is for the later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Missile Defense

Three Items

Item 1

A graphic from the Washington Post on missile defense technologies.

Items 2 and 3

Why we need a missile defense system:

From the Washington Post

North Korea said Monday that it will not resume talks on its nuclear weapons program until the Bush administration ends its "hostile policy" against Pyongyang and South Korea publishes complete details of its secret efforts to produce nuclear-weapons-grade fuel.
From the Washington Post

Defying recent requests from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, the Iranian government said Tuesday it had begun a new round of nuclear experiments, intensifying concerns of U.N. weapons inspectors and the U.S. government that the Islamic republic has plans to develop nuclear weapons.
With respect to Missle defense; "Faster, please."

More Fake Documents at CBS

You'd have thought Dan Rather had learned his lesson from his last phony document story (for details of Rathergate and the forged Killian documents, see here ). With his reputation in tatters and CBS News' ratings plummeting, maybe Rather figures he has nothing left to lose. Maybe Dan is going out, all guns blazing, in an attempt to put Kerry over the top.

Ratherbiased (mirror here - the site is currently down) has a posting on another anti-Bush story, reported on-air by Richard Schlesinger, based on disproved documents.
The details from Ratherbiased:

For months now, left-leaning interest groups have been trying to scare America's young people into believing that the Bush Administration is eager to bring back the draft if President Bush is reelected. For the most part, this story has been spread by word-of-mouth and through the internet--rumors in other words. Up until this month, CBS News has shown no interest in a story that has basically no basis in fact.

That changed last week after Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was asked about the rumors. He seemed to give them little credence, but refused to outright disown them, saying only "Is it possible? I can't tell you."

As Ratherbiased sums up CBS' coverage:

In a story that was a textbook example of slipshod reporting, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger used debunked internet hoax emails and an unlabeled interest group member to scare elderly “Evening” viewers into believing that the U.S. government is poised to resume the draft.
In this case, the story doesn't even have the (very) thin patina of credibility of claiming to have been based on photocopies of original memos. Instead, its based on an e-mail chain letter. The e-mail cited by CBS has been checked and discredited by the non-partisan FactCheck.org run by the Annenberg Center. Their take:

...the message abounds with misinformation and half-truths. And some experts say conscription is the last thing the military wants or needs, despite being stretched thin in Iraq.

We can't say whether this one is deliberate misinformation or just sloppy reporting, but it sure is generating a lot of needless anxiety. It amounts to another "lying e-mail" of the kind we've warned about before (check the links to "related articles" at the end of this one.)
(emphasis added)

Beverly Cocco, the recipient of the e-mail, was identified by CBS as a Philadelphia crossing guard worried about her own two sons being drafted when interviewed by Schlesinger. What CBS failed to mention is that Ms. Cocco is also

"a chapter president of an advocacy group called People Against the Draft (PAD) which, in addition to opposing any federal conscription, seeks to establish a "peaceful, rational foreign policy" by bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq."
Little Green Footballs, who's original post on the subject is here is now reporting that CBS has amended the transcript to cover-up this lack of attribution. Ratherbiased had pointed out that it was unlikely that the lack of attribution was a mistake:

In this case, however, laziness was not to blame. The fact that CBS showed the very same contact page listing Cocco as one of PAD's leaders during its report proves, at the very least, that producer Linda Karas knew of Cocco's connections with the group. This is not the first time that CBS has knowingly put liberal activists on the air without disclosing their political backgrounds. Covering the "Million Mom March" in 2000, Dan Rather and his colleagues twice featured march organizer Donna Dees-Thomases, a former aide to two Democratic senators, sister of Hillary Clinton's top political adviser, and former publicist for Dan Rather without ever once mentioning her background. Three years later, RatherBiased.com caught CBS News doing it again with a number of women on the subject of prescription drugs. We even managed to get the network to admit it had done wrong. The Cocco and Bill Burkett incidents show that Dan Rather and his associates have not learned from their mistakes.
Finally, the two pieces of legislation cited in the hoax e-mail:
...bills, S-89 and HR-163 do not have a single majority Republican member as a sponsor or co-sponsor. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and has 14 co-sponsors, all of them liberal Democrats. The Senate bill has no co-sponsors--a sure sign of its unpopularity--and was introduced by Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.)
(via Ratherbiased)

Additional Commentary

Powerline - Old dog, old tricks

Captain's Quarters with Kerry's "disappeared" plan for mandatory national service after high school

Hugh Hewitt - "CBS is being exposed as a serial killer of the truth"

INDC Journal - CBS's Latest?

Instapundit - "CBS: Desperately in need of pajamas"

Rathergate - Index of Posts

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Kerry Giving Up on Swing Voters? Part 2

Blogs for Bush has details on the Kerry Campaign's decision not to run ads in Missouri: Kerry Concedes Missouri :

Kerry spent $5.8 million in the state, and the Democratic National Committee flushed $1.7 million before Labor Day.

Ouch.

You can read the full story here. Interesting but useless fact: There has only been one presidential election in the past 100 years in which Missouri didn't side with the winner - Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

Kerry's decision to pull ads in a number of battleground states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri, was first mentioned last week (and discussed here: Kerry Giving Up on Swing Voters?)

Real Clear Politic's roundup of state polls has Bush up by 6-7% in MO (11 electoral votes), up by 6-11% in AZ (10 electoral votes), up by 8% in LA (8 electoral votes) and up by 3-7% in AR (6 electoral votes): 36 electoral votes in total.

Presumably, Kerry will continue to battle in the four other battleground states where Bush leads by at least 5%: Ohio (26 electoral votes), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9) and Nevada (5) (50 electoral votes in total).

This analysis would be consistent with the current electoral college projection at Rasmussen Reports, which calls the first four for Bush and the last four as toss-ups.

The Florida Myth

Today's Wall Street Journal carries a piece on Democratic efforts to use the myth of black disenfranchisement in Florida in 2000 to turn out voters: The Florida Myth:
In case you were lucky enough to miss it, here's a recent fund-raising letter from New Jersey Democratic Senator Jon Corzine:

"Voter suppression and intimidation . . . in Florida again!? The GOP used voter intimidation and outright fraud to hand Florida to George W. Bush in 2000, and if we don't stop them, they'll do it again."

Yes, the political urban legend that black voters in Florida were harassed and intimidated on Election Day four years ago is making a comeback.
Was there any organized attempt to keep black voters away from the polls back in 2000? Presupposing there was such an attempt, it would require that the conspirators knew that the race in Florida would be tight enough (Bush's majority was less than 1000 votes) for such an effort to be material and that Florida would be decisive in the overall election.

While you might concede the later, the former is unlikely; New Mexico, Wisconsin and Oregon were all extremely close contests as well - if there was a plot in Florida, wouldn't there be plots in those states as well? (For more on the 2000 election results, see Dave Leip's excellent Atlas of US Presidential Elections)

Fortunately, we don't need to rely on supposition:
In June 2001, following a six-month investigation that included subpoenas of Florida state officials from Governor Jeb Bush on down, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report that found no evidence of voter intimidation, no evidence of voter harassment, and no evidence of intentional or systematic disenfranchisement of black voters.

Headed by a fiercely partisan Democrat, Mary Frances Berry, the Commission was very critical of Florida election officials (many of whom were Democrats). For example, "Potential voters confronted inexperienced poll workers, antiquated machinery, inaccessible polling locations, and other barriers to being able to exercise their right to vote." But the report found no basis for the contention that officials conspired to disenfranchise voters. "Moreover," it said, "even if it was foreseeable that certain actions by officials led to voter disenfranchisement, this alone does not mean that intentional discrimination occurred," let alone racial discrimination.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division conducted a separate investigation of these charges and also came up empty. In a May 2002 letter to Democratic Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, who at the time headed the Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd wrote, "The Civil Rights Division found no credible evidence in our investigations that Floridians were intentionally denied their right to vote during the November 2000 election."
And yet, the Democrats are gearing up for legal challenges. The Journal piece cites recent opinion pieces in the NY Times tarring recent anti-voter fraud investigations as Republican efforts at voter intimidation (a similar story in the Washington Post is discussed here: The Politics of Election Fraud).

Darkening the picture further, ex-President Carter has chimed in:
Jimmy Carter, who has made a second career monitoring elections in world trouble spots, yesterday accused Florida Republicans of "brazenly" resisting efforts to clean up "fraudulent and biased electoral practices" that so marred the 2000 election in their state.
Among the elections Carter has monitored was Hugo Chavez's recent miraculous victory in Venezuela, so he knows a thing or two when he says "basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida".

"Gold Johnny, Pure Gold!"

It may not involve Ovaltine, but Kenny Banya would surely approve. AP reports
Kerry Learning to Wield Humor As Weapon. Like a weapon? Like the trusty M-16 rifle that saved his life in Vietnam? I wouldn't go that far. Some examples of Kerry's razor wit:

Kerry said the occupation of Iraq is riddled with problems, "yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way." Kerry paused for affect before asking sarcastically, "How can he possibly be serious?"
I have no idea John - I'm laughing too hard to think.

"You're going to hear all this talk, `Oh, we've turned the corner, we're doing better, blah, blah,'" he said, running on the phrase as his Wisconsin audience erupted in laughter. "You know, blah and blah and blah."
That third "blah" had me rolling! Actually, for some reason "blah blah blah" is all I seem to hear when Kerry speaks - kind of like the adults in those old Charlie Brown specials - must be something wrong with my TV. And finally;

Kerry isn't just using the lingo of the younger generation. He's thrown in a couple of old-fashioned folksy phrases, too. "Heavens to Betsy," he said earlier this month when remarking on Republicans' failure to reinstate the assault weapons ban.
Too funny. The only thing that could have topped the hilarity of a "Heaven's to Betsy" would have been a "sufferin succotash!"

Killer John, Killer.

First Botox, now "Tan in a Can"

The Drudge Report on Kerry's healthy orange glow.

(via the indespensible Kerry Spot)

More from:

Blogs for Bush

A round-up of Oompa-LoompaGate from HughHewitt.com How else is John Kerry like a pumpkin?
Blooms and grows in July.
Turns Orange in September.
Carved up in October.
Thrown out in November.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Kerry Makes like Pedro

“What can I say — just tip my hat and call the President my daddy,” Kerry said. “I can’t find a way to beat him at this point. ... he's that good. He's that hot right now — at least against me. I wish he would disappear and not come back.”

Not quite, but close. Wizbang! goes back a little further with a No mas! No mas! reference in its post on John Kerry's call for an end to the advertising war.

Hey, they're both from Boston.

More on this from:

Blogs for Bush
Captain's Quarters

...and CNN apparently is a news channel

No bias here, CNN is just a little uncertain about the results of their own poll: "Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll" (via The Corner)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Connecting the Dots: Iraq-Syria-Iran

Two related stories that add up. Newsmax reports that during an interview with Steve Malzberg on WABC Radio, Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong (USMC Ret.), the No. 2 at CENTCOM under Gen. Tommy Franks, revealed that U.S. military intelligence had determined that weapons of mass destruction were being smuggled out of the country as the U.S. prepared to invade (via Wizbang!):
"Two days before the war, on March 17 [2003], we saw through multiple intelligence channels - both human intelligence and technical intelligence - large caravans of people and things, including some of the top 55 [most wanted] Iraqis, going to Syria,"
General DeLong also stated that Iraq had also buried some material, which was relatively easy due to the small size of the components involved:
"In order to transport their biological weapons, they could take their entire experimental weapons system in one or two suitcases - pretty easy to hide," he told Malzberg.

As for Saddam's chemical weapons cache, his deputies could have fit them into "a van - probably one van or two vans and either bury it or drive it across one of the borders,"
Put that together with this story from The Telegraph (via Captain's Quarters):
Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Western intelligence officials believe that President Asad is desperate to get the Iraqi scientists out of his country before their presence prompts America to target Syria as part of the war on terrorism.
There's more:
American intelligence officials are concerned that Syria is secretly working on a number of WMD programmes.

They have also uncovered evidence that Damascus has acquired a number of gas centrifuges - probably from North Korea - that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.
And, as for Iran and its WMD programs, The Telegraph notes:
The Iranians, who possess one of the world's largest oil reserves, insist that their nuclear programme is aimed solely at developing nuclear energy. Last week relations between Teheran and the IAEA deteriorated further after the Iranians reneged on a commitment to suspend their nuclear programme.

In a move that will raise suspicions in Washington that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb, Teheran announced that it was to press ahead with plans to enrich 37 tons of uranium into the gas needed to turn the radioactive element into nuclear fuel. Nuclear experts estimate that when the process is complete the Iranians will have enough enriched uranium for five nuclear bombs.

The IAEA responded by passing a resolution setting a November 25 deadline for Iran to clear up suspicions over its nuclear activities or risk having the issue referred to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. The resolution also demanded that Iran halt all activities related to uranium enrichment, a part of the nuclear fuel cycle that can be used for both energy and weapons purposes.

In a further gesture of defiance, Ali Shamkhani, the Iranian defence minister, announced that the Iranian army has taken delivery of a new "strategic missile".

The missile, unnamed for security reasons, was successfully tested last week, Shamkhani was quoted as saying by state television. It was unclear if the weapon in question was the Shahab-3 medium-range missile, acquired by the Revolutionary Guards in July last year. An improved version was successfully tested in August.

The Shahab-3 is based on a North Korean design and is thought to be capable of carrying a one-ton warhead at least 800 miles, which puts Israel well within its range.
Iraqi scientists, are smuggled into Syria and work on that country's nuclear program with the help of North Korean centrifuges. Syria then tries to pass them on to Iran, which is enriching uranium and upgrading its North Korean missle forces.

Sobering news that should answer any doubts about an "axis of evil" or about the need for preemptive war. As Thomas P.M. Barnett pointed out in The Pentagon's New Map, new times call for new rules. This ain't the Cold War and the concept of nuclear deterrence or mutually assured destruction won't work when your enemy wants to die.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Undermining Australia

What does the Kerry campaign think of Australian Prime Minister Howard's support of the U.S. in Iraq?

"We are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels."
warns Kerry's sister. See Charles Krauthammer's dissection of her comments here.

Just another shining example of Senator Kerry's anything-but-nuanced disregard for our allies (at least the ones that actually act like allies; "allies" that oppose us, like France and Germany get a free pass)?

Maybe not.

Ms. Kerry is ostensibly in Australia in her role as head of Americans Overseas for Kerry, the arm of the Kerry campaign seeking votes from Americans abroad, but with an election coming up in Australia on October 9th, and Prime Minister Howard in a close race, one might impugn other motives as well.

An electoral defeat of a second American ally (following the March defeat of Prime Minister Aznar in Spain) and the pull-out of Australian troops, as promised by Labor Party candidate Mark Latham, would reflect badly on the President's Iraq strategy and could help Kerry in the polls. Ms. Kerry's comments on the 18th of this month were quickly followed by her brother's renewed attack on the President's policies in Iraq. In a speech at NYU on the 20th, Kerry remarked that:
Nearly 90 percent of the troops - and nearly 90 percent of the casualties - are American. Despite the President's claims, this is not a grand coalition.
The loss of Australia, while a blow to American efforts in Iraq, would certainly help Mr. Kerry.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Kerry's Friends the French (and Germans)

Why is Kerry obsessed with pleasing France and Germany? "Who knows?" to paraphrase Tom Donnelly in Allies Uber Alles in The Weekly Standard:
Or perhaps we should consider a psychological explanation. Kerry is obsessed with European approval--it is "the only way to succeed!"--in ways that defy logic.
Its certainly not because of their military prowess as pointed out by both Donnelly:

Western Europeans, the British always excepted, have a hard time projecting and sustaining military force to the eastern end of their own continent, let alone the Middle East. The plucky Poles have contributed a larger force to the mission in Iraq, and kept it there longer, than the Germans could have.

The second possibility is that Kerry really doesn't know any better. Though he's the son of a professional foreign service officer and is renowned for his appreciation of the "nuances" and "complexities" of international politics, he hasn't exactly been a frequent presence at Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, as committee chairman Sen. Richard Lugar recently observed. Maybe Kerry lost track back in the 1980s, when the western Europeans were really on the front lines and the Bundeswehr was better prepared for combat.


and fellow Weekly Standard contributor Gary Schmitt (in Kerry's Phony Foreign Allies):
If Kerry indeed knows anything about Europe, he knows there isn't the smallest chance that these countries will provide troops, not even to their friend John Kerry. Anyone familiar with the state of German forces knows that Germany cannot and will not send troops to Iraq. The Germans are already hard pressed to keep a few thousand troops in Afghanistan. They are not going to deploy significant new numbers to Iraq even if they wanted to--which they emphatically don't.

As for Paris, well, French president Jacques Chirac made it quite clear on Monday, while in New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, that Kerry's possible victory in November would have no impact on France's decision to stay out of Iraq: "French policy with regard to Iraq has not changed and will not change." ("La politique francaise a l'egard de l'Irak n'a pas change et ne changera pas.")
If Kerry is saying that France will send troops to Iraq if he becomes President, does that mean he's calling Chirac a liar? Given his penchant for insulting our allies, both those countries with troops currently in Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi, that would be par for the course.

Supporting Evidence - Purple Hearts and the Texas Air National Guard

Captain's Quarters has two posts that, for me at least, shed some light on the events of 30 years ago that have received so much coverage in the run-up to the election.

The first post, here, raises questions about whether John Kerry was in Safwan, Iraq on March 3rd 1991 for the signing of the cease-fire accord, as he stated in a 2001 interview that was recently replayed on The O'Reilly Factor. It appears that Kerry wasn't there for the signing, but did visit Safwan later that month.

Is this damning? No, but it does show a tendency in Kerry to embellish his record, particularly to make a point. Kerry cited his presence at the signing in order to lend more credibility to his positions on Iraq. This is the same trait we saw in his "seared..seared in my memory" speech on the Senate floor about his supposed Christmas Eve in Cambodia. In both these cases, Kerry lied about being somewhere to make political points.

The second post, here, cites the testimony of 75 year-old retired Texas Air National Guard Colonel Ed Morrisey Jr. on whether or not George W. Bush received preferential treatment (full story here):
"Bush was selected and he turned out just fine,'' he said.

According to Morrisey, after Bush began working as a fighter pilot, he became regarded as one of the best pilots there. Unit commander Col. Maurice Udell considered Bush to be one of his top five pilots, Morrisey said.
Col. Morrisey's best quote:
"The only people that got preferential treatment was when Jimmy Carter pardoned those guys that went to Canada."
Will this clear this up to everyone's satisfaction? No, but it is telling that all of Bush's comrades and superiors in the TANG who have come forward have nothing but good things to say about him while so many of those who served with Kerry oppose him.

The Left can talk about Republican money behind the Swiftvets and talk-up the "fake but accurate" angle in the Rathergate mess, but facts are facts and they're all lining up on the President's side.

Update

Powerline picks up the story with an additional link to the website of the Tennessee station that interviewed Morrisey:
One of the criticisms leveled at the President is that he sought guard service to keep him from serving in Vietnam. Morrisey says, "not so."

"The Air Force, in their ultimate wisdom, assembled a group of 102's and took them to Southeast Asia. Bush volunteered to go. But he needed to have 500 [flight] hours, but he only had just over 300 hours so he wasn't eligible to go,” Morrisey recalls.

Despite that, Lieutenant Bush stayed busy. "He flew in active air defense missions, training missions. Day, night, regardless of inclement weather," Morrisey says.
As Powerline points out, the facts that have come out about President Bush's Air National Guard service paint a consistent picture, one of "a dedicated, patriotic pilot". Senator Kerry can not say the same about his service.

Update 2

More on this from Blogs for Bush.

Even Brinkley's Making Fun of Him

The Washington Post, quotes the following from the new introduction to the paperback version of Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty:

"A group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, aided by Republican money, formed to challenge Kerry on everything from whether he deserved his first Purple Heart to whether he committed treason when he testified about atrocities in front of J. William Fulbright's Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971. But it was too late. The reality of Kerry's 'Band of Brothers' on the campaign trail . . . had already seared itself on the American imagination." (emphasis added)
Et tu Douglas? (via The Corner)

Update

Even more from Brinkley from Kathryn Jean Lopez in The Corner.

After quoting Brinkley from a NY Times interview saying "Every American now knows that there's something really screwy about George Bush and the National Guard, and they know that John Kerry was not the war hero we thought he was.", Ms. Lopez asks: "If there was a myth, didn't Doug Brinkley write it?"

Stongmen and Banana Republics

Wednesday night on Scarborough Country (transcript here, scroll down to the end), Bill Maher pined for the good old days:
You know what? Iraq down the road might be a better place without Saddam Hussein. The world, and especially America, would be better with Saddam Hussein. That’s right, with him.

During the Cold War, you know, by not toppling so many dictators, by supporting so many dictators, we never had to make that argument. We never said, the world would be a better place without Marcos in the Philippines or Mobutu in Zaire or any number of dictators we supported, including Saddam Hussein. We just said, you know what, the world is a tough place, and we have to sometimes support bad people to be a bulwark against even worse people.
How is it that the Left, which prides itself as being smarter and more nuanced than those red-meat conservatives can be so consistently wrong about international politics.

During the Cold War, America did support thugs like Marcos and Maher is right about the reason. Those thugs, our thugs, were the front line in the American strategy of containment. The communists; the Soviets, the Chinese and their thugs, were even worse, and from Harry on (with some lapses under Carter), the Truman Doctrine said we would resist their advance.

During this whole time the Left protested this policy unceasingly, whether in Vietnam, Angola, Nicaragua, or where have you. The U.S. was supporting dictators and squashing the right to self determination of millions.

But something happened around 1991 that Maher apparently hasn't heard of. The Cold War ended, we won. With democratization and capitalism sweeping the globe, America's need to support dictators disappeared. You'd think the Left would welcome this development, but once again they're behind the curve of history.

After the President's SOTU address in which he coined the "axis of evil", and during the long run-up to the war in Iraq, the Left complained that Bush was unfairly singling out Iraq. "What about Iran?" they asked, "What about North Korea? Shouldn't we be treating them all the same?" The Left's juvenile refrain that we weren't "playing fair" belied their own claims to "nuance". Iraq wasn't Iran and Iran wasn't North Korea and the Bush administration correctly took different approaches to each.

Now, Maher argues that we needed Saddam as a bulwark against even worse people. Who would Saddam defied America from, and more importantly, why would he do it? Saddam survived the first Gulf War, cheated his way around sanctions, shot at our planes and tried to assassinate a former President. Does Maher think he retains a warm spot in his heart for America?

Where would a still regnant, post-sanction Saddam's interest lie? With the country that tried to remove him from power or with the jihadist terrorists that want to strike that country? Maher argues that if Saddam was still in power;
We would not have the world hating us. We would not have the entire Arab world out for jihad because we have invaded the heart of the Muslim world.
Maher is just plain wrong. September 11th preceded the invasion of Iraq and the jihadists hated us long before that.

al Qaeda and its ilk are not an enemy nation. They control no territory of their own. They need the cooperation or at least, indifference, of a host country to provide safe havens and training camps. As horrific as the mass terror of 9/11 was, it would be many times worse if they ever obtain WMDs. Countries like Iraq, under Saddam, are the ones who have the ability or potential to supply those weapons. As things stand now, there is no one worse than Saddam who we need protection from.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

No Closer

Jim Geraghty, the man behind The Kerry Spot, has a good piece in the September 27th issue of National Review (not available on line - you do subscribe, don't you?) debunking Kerry's comeback myth.
Kerry partisans hold up his 1996 reelection race against Gov. William Weld as
the truest test of his campaign mettle. But a key fact has been lost in
the hype: Kerry probably never trailed in the race.
Weld was ahead in only a single poll, up 46 percent to 38 percent in a Boston Herald survey on August 12th. Every other poll showed Kerry with a small lead or in a statistical tie. Kerry ended up winning by 3% while Clinton took the state by 30%. The press played up the "comeback" angle vs the "Clinton coat tails" angle and this has been a staple of Kerry's resume since.

Lots of good discussion of other Kerry races as well, including some background on the "dog hunters" who are mentioned in this MSNBC article. Worth reading.

He Even Flip Flops on Sports

"Diehard" Redsox fan (his favorite player is Manny Ortez) and perennial flip-flopper John Kerry has done it again. Blogs for Bush reports that Kerry shamelessly jumped on the Yankee bandwagon at a fundraiser in New York:
At the fundraiser, Kerry reflected on his reborn self. He praised the triple victories of the Jets, Giants and Yankees and said: "I came here to bask in your glory, came here to grab onto that winning streak."
Beyond pathetic.

Evidence of CBS-DNC Collusion on Memogate? NO - See Update

Some pretty damning evidence of exactly that from the GOP via The Kerry Spot on National Review Online:
9 HOURS BEFORE THE CBS REPORT: "Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe said, 'George W. Bush's cover story on his National Guard service is rapidly unraveling. ... George W. Bush needs to answer why he regularly misled the American people about his time in the Guard and who applied political pressure on his behalf to have his performance reviews 'sugarcoated.'"
As Jim Geraghty points out, the use of "sugarcoat" by McCauliffe in a press conference the morning before the same word appeared in one of the forged Killian documents aired by CBS would lead one to believe that the DNC knew their contents before they were released.
"Sugarcoated." What an interesting word. McAuliffe could have said that Bush's performance reviews were covered up, spun, masked, smoothed over, soft-pedaled, glossed over, prettified, veiled, whitewashed, hushed up, concealed, varnished, suppressed, or distorted. But he just happened to pick a word that appeared in the memos that were supposedly unveiled to the world hours later.
There's a lot more to be discovered here.

UPDATE

The Kerry Spot is now reporting that they were wrong. The "sugarcoated" reference was made after the CBS piece aired. Instapundit notes how quickly Jim Geraghty corrected and apologized for his mistake.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Kerry Giving Up on Swing Voters?

A few nights ago, John Batchelor commented that Kerry's recent comments on Haliburton and Iraq seemed to be aimed at reinforcing his base rather than attracting swing voters. Now Captain's Quarters picks up on an AP story that Kerry is canceling ad buys in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri. Ads had been scheduled to start running October 5th, but "...campaign advisers concluded Kerry isn't doing well enough in the states to justify the cost."

Neither Kerry nor Bush have a chance to win by just appealing to their hard-core base, but it seems that recent polls have panicked the Kerry campaign. Kerry's signal virtue in the eyes of the Democratic electorate is that he is "electable", i.e., that his Viet Nam service made him more palatable than the rest of the field, particularly Howard Dean.

With momentum shifting to the President and the myth of "electability" crumbling in the wake of the Swiftvet ads, Kerry faces the possibility of his support imploding. The less electable he looks the more the "anyone but Bush" crowd will resign itself to a loss and the lower Kerry's poll numbers will go. At this point, it looks like the Kerry Campaign is trying to shore up that base to avoid a blow-out.

Update

Blogs For Bush has more on this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

CBS and The DNC a Timeline

Word that CBS had arranged a phone call between Kerry Campaign spokesman Joe Lockhart and Bill Burkett has fueled speculation of collusion between CBS and the DNC, resulting in the latter's "Fortunate Son" ad campaign (discussed in some detail here).

Balloon Juice provides a timeline (via Instapundit).

Monday, September 20, 2004

CBS Admits a "Mistake"

After 12 days of stonewalling, CBS finally admitted that it could not authenticate the Killian documents, but did not go so far as to admit that they were forgeries. See CBS: Bush Memo Story A 'Mistake'.

Dan Rather offered plenty of excuses in his apology, claiming to have been "misled" on the provenance of the documents by his source, but failing to mention the lapses in journalistic procedure at CBS. Among these lapses is the glaring fact that, despite claiming otherwise, CBS could not find a single forensic document expert who would vouch for the authenticity of the memos.

As had been speculated for many days, discredited Bush-basher Bill Burkett was a source for the documents (see here for the transcript of his interview with Rather). Burkett will not reveal his source, if there is one, but speculation remains that former Georgia Senator (and current Kerry surrogate) Max Cleland was the intermediary between Burkett and CBS.

I don't think that this does much to restore credibility in CBS. The facts had been available to CBS the entire time, but rather than address them, they tried to brazen their way through. When that didn't work, they took a flier on their second line "fake but accurate" defense. When that failed, they sold out obvious crack-pot Burkett, but still refused to admit that, in their desire to take down President Bush, they had ignored their own rules and pushed crude forgeries into the spotlight.

This "we were misled" whine is not going to work either.

Further Commentary

Comments on the CBS statement from Powerline before and after the release. Their assessment:
So Rather and 60 Minutes stay resolutely behind the curve. The significant part
of the statement--"I no longer have...confidence in these documents"--could and
should have been said on September 9. They still can't bring themselves to admit
what everyone knows, that the documents are fakes.

From Captain's Quarters: "...not nearly good enough"

From Wizbang!:
Dan Rather just introduced Mr. Burkett as a "former member of the Texas Air National Guard" with "a history of medical problems." Burkett was in the ARMY National Guard, as widely reported everywhere else besides CBS, and not the AIR National Guard, where President Bush served.
Powerline on the connections between CBS Producer Mary Mapes, Bill Burkett and Kerry campaign figures Max Cleland and Joe Lockhart. CBS and the Kerry campaign seem mighty cozy. Hugh Hewitt thinks its surprising as well, while Jim Geraghty at The Kerry Spot parses the USA Today story on these connections:

So what's going on here? Okay, according to what's being pieced together,
Burkett wanted to play Kerry campaign strategist, and to get the bigwigs at the
Kerry campaign to use his memos that he, apparently, thought would be
convincing. Mapes (presuming this female producer Lockhart is talking about is
Mapes) wanted the memos. Burkett offers to trade the memos for an introduction
to the Kerry campaign. Mapes calls the Kerry camp and eventually reaches
Lockhart. Lockhart agrees to the favor, since when a "60 Minutes" producer asks
you for a favor, you do it. (Building good relations with the press and all
that.) Lockhart talks with Burkett...

...and are these two men being
honest about what was and what wasn't discussed?
Geraghty believes the timing of the DNC's "Fortunate Son" campaign, which was announced on September 9th, the day after the CBS report on which it was based aired, indicates collusion between CBS and the DNC.

More on this at Captain's Quarters and Wizbang!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Politics of Election Fraud

An initiative by U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft targeting bogus registrations and other election crimes is catching flack from Democrats who think "It may well be aimed at trying to keep people away from the polls." (via the Washington Post).

The probes are aimed at discrepancies in registration:
... in recent months, elections officials in swing states have reported
thousands of problematic registrations, including addresses that do not exist,
duplicate names, the names of deceased voters and names that appear to be copied out of a phone book by the same person. Republicans have pointed to such
registrations as evidence of possible widespread election fraud.
Although experts cited in the Post story acknowledge that false registrations are a persistent problem, the correlation with voter fraud is anecdotal.

I don't think that most fair-minded people on either side of the political fence would disagree that an accurate voter roll is a goal worth seeking, especially given the tightness of some recent elections. Calling efforts to achieve this "chilling" or "intimidation" is political demagogy. If a discrepancy exists in a voter's registration, it is not unreasonable to expect a call or visit to confirm information - no credit card company would do less and we should not expect or countenance our government doing less. Democrats would be better served, and would better serve their country, if they would spend more time explaining these facts to their constituencies and less time crying "disenfranchisement".

The CBS Hoax - A Side by Side Comparison

The Washington Post provides a side by side comparison of CBS' Killian documents and officially released Killian memos from the same time periods. The differences are numerous and damning.

Did CBS perform a similar eyeball check before running the story? If not, then they're guilty of gross negligence. If so, then they're guilty of trying to affect the election. (via Powerline and Instapundit )

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Fall-out from the CBS Hoax

Dan Rather's ratings are plunging reports Drudge:
CBS executives on both coasts have become concerned in recent days that Dan Rather's EVENING NEWS broadcast has plunged in the ratings since the anchor presented questionable documents about Bush's National Guard service.

NIELSEN numbers released this week show Rather fading and trailing his rivals in every Top 10 city, other than San Francisco, with audience margins in some cities running more than 6 to 1 against CBS!
A positive reaction in San Francisco was to be expected, but Mr. Rather seems to have taken a rather large hit in that other liberal bastion, New York:
And in the nation's top market, New York, Rather finished not only behind NBC NIGHTLY NEWS and ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT -- but also pulled less audience than reruns of the SIMPSONS, WILL & GRACE and KING OF QUEENS.

Rather finished dead last in New York during the 6:30 pm timeslot among all broadcast channels tracked by NIELSEN on Tuesday.

Developing...
Do you think some of that Republican spirit from the convention rubbed-off? Maybe there's hope for my city yet!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Waiting for CBS

3:45 EDT and still no release of the promised memo. That makes it almost four hours late. General consensus, which I agree with, seems to be that CBS will fall back to a "the documents may be forgeries, but the sentiment is true" defense, pinning their hopes on statements from Lt. Colonel Killian's former secretary (previously discussed here). For more on this, see The Kerry Spot, Captain's Quarters, Instapundit, Wizbang! here and here and Just One Minute.

Is this what CBS will be reduced to? It's not even a defense! CBS did not speak to Killian's secretary before they aired the report so they could not have relied on her testimony. Furthermore, two of the people they did speak to, Killian's widow and son (who served in the Texas Air National Guard with his father), had told CBS that the documents did not reflect his assessment of then-lieutenant Bush.

CBS would not have aired the story without the documents. What would they have said? "We believe this long-deceased TANG officer disapproved of the special treatment President Bush received." What more could they have said "We don't really have anything to back-up this belief, in fact his family disputes our belief. So do documents assessing Bush that we know Killian wrote. You'll just have to take our word on it."

If this is the standard to apply, what does CBS think of the Swiftvets story, which is backed up by sworn affidavits from over 250 living veterans? How does CBS ignore that?

CBS did rely on the documents and it is almost certain that they are forgeries. CBS has demonstrated a blatant disregard for the truth in there efforts to bash President Bush and they can't talk their way out of it.

Election 2004 - Why is Kerry Losing?

Because Nobody Likes Him explains Dick Morris in the NY Post. Polls show that the majority of his "supporters" are voting for him out of dislike of President Bush rather than any intrinsic qualities they see in Kerry. And that spells trouble:
All Bush has to do is to persuade a few Kerry voters to stop disliking him, and he can get their votes. There is no residual affection for the Democrat to get in the way of their switching to the president.
Morris also doesn't see the upcoming debates helping Kerry:
The polls already have shown how Kerry's own voters break almost evenly on the issues, with half supporting the war in Iraq and half opposing it, and almost equal numbers saying we must stay the course as say we should bring the troops home.

So Kerry can't use issues to hold his own in the debates: Whatever he says will antagonize some of his base.
Finally, polls also show terrorism and security regaining traction with voters as the most important issue of the campaign. If that trend continues, Kerry will not win.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Media Bias - CBS - More than a Hoax?

ABC News is reporting that CBS ignored concerns from two of its own document experts in its decision to air the Killian story:
Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.

"I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter," she said.

Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.

"I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story," Will said.

But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity.

"I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply," Will told ABC News.

A second document examiner hired by CBS News, Linda James of Plano, Texas, also told ABC News she had concerns about the documents and could not authenticate them. She said she expressed her concerns to CBS before the 60 Minutes II broadcast.

"I did not authenticate anything and I don't want it to be misunderstood that I did," James said. "And that's why I have come forth to talk about it because I don't want anybody to think I did authenticate these documents."

So CBS' "authentication" rest solely on the testimony of a third document expert Marcel Matley. But, according to the Washington Post, Mr. Matley did not do so:
"There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals.
Mr. Matley merely examined the signature on two of the memos (the others were initialed).

What do these new revelations mean? At best they show reckless disregard on the part of Dan Rather and those at CBS who approved the airing of the story, re-confirming the bias that so many of us see in the MSM. At worst? Well, its big. Glen Reynolds at Instapundit:
I have to say, I've spent years criticizing the media and this still makes my jaw drop.
Captain's Quarters takes a harsh, but I think fair, line:
This goes far beyond journalistic malpractice and could go as far as libel (or slander). Dan Rather and CBS knowingly broadcast a story they knew to be based on documents that could not be authenticated and were most likely forgeries, advice they received from their own experts.

Instead of attempting to verify the documents with the family, CBS ran to broadcast the material, knowing that it would smear a candidate for President.
I've been saying for months that I thought that the MSM was doing everything it could to slant the news in Kerry's favor; with the reporting on the War on Terror, and the reporting on the 9/11 Commission Report and the reporting on the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame kerfuffle, but this blows all of those out of the water.

Here, we may have a case of one of the country's leading news organizations knowingly airing fraudulent documents in an effort to sway the election. If this is true, if CBS aired this story solely because Dan Rather (to quote Fox Mulder) wanted to believe that it was true, then we've truly witnessed a watershed event.

Where do we go from there?

Media Bias - 5th Update on the CBS Hoax

Is this the Last Nail in the Coffin of CBS? Powerline links to a story in the Dallas Morning News (full story here - registration required) (via Hugh Hewitt) quoting Lt. Colonel Killian's secretary as saying “These are not real,”.

It's damning, but so is much of what has come out about these documents and CBS still stands by them. Until the true source of these forgeries breaks down and starts screaming "It was me! I did it! I typed these up last week!" I think CBS rides it out.

Update 10:00 PM

Wizbang! agrees with Powerline that this should end the debate on authenticity, but I'm still not convinced. The MSM always has the fallback position that the memos, even if not authentic, expressed Killian's true feelings.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Worth Listening To : John Batchelor on WABC Radio

John Batchelor, who's on the air in New York on WABC Radio (available on the net here)weeknights from 10pm to 1am, has one of the most compelling (and disturbing) talk radio shows on the air. While people like me are reading about fonts and kerning, he's discussing nuclear weapons programs in North Korea and Iran. One of his comments (to crudely paraphrase): "Don't imagine that we can live with a nuclear Iran like we did with the Soviet Union. Don't think about a nuclear Soviet Union at the UN in the 50's looking for trade, think of the young Joseph Stalin with the bomb."

A very somber and very serious program. One that will keep you awake at night.

Media Bias - 4th Update on the CBS Hoax

A round-up of the latest material from the blogosphere:

Jim Geraghty brilliantly fisks Dan Rather's Friday night defense in The Kerry Spot on National Review Online. Of particular note, his dissection of the conversation between Rather and CBS' handwriting expert Marcel Matley:
Poor Matley. Oddly, instead of asking Matley to explain in greater detail why he thinks the documents are genuine - to address the criticism head-on - Rather asks him whether he is surprised that some people question the validity of the documents. And Matley is lamenting that his work for CBS in this could do potential damage to him professionally. This exchange is almost a non sequitur.
Best of the Web also has an analysis of Mr. Rather's assertion that analysis by anyone outside of CBS is fruitless "Because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced and the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned, and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with, which were also photocopies.":

But a document produced on a typewriter in 1973 and degraded for 30 years does not end up looking exactly like a Microsoft Word document created in 2004.

From Wizbang:

Then Dan Rather said that we know the documents are real because well-- Bush sucked.
Defeatjohnjohn.com has tons of good stuff:

A rebuttal of this PC Magazine article on the possibility of the Killian memos being typed on an IBM Selectric.

More than you could possibly want to know about kerning, and while we're at it superscripts.

These guys are offering a reward, currently at $37,900 to anyone who can recreate the CBS Killian memos on 1970's era equipment.

Powerline, which widely broke the forgery story, chimes in with a comparison of the treatments of the Bush ANG and Swiftvets stories. No bias here. They also post links here to two devastating animations (one from Little Green Footballs, one from Trevor Dewey at Image Shack ) demonstrating how two of the CBS documents appear to have been created with Microsoft Word.

Much more out there.

America at War - The State of the Jihad

Mansoor Ijaz has a piece on Jihad and Islam on National Review Online:
Osama bin Laden's global vision — of jihadists crawling from the cracks in every enemy state to strike out at infidels with weapons of mass destruction — is drowning in a swamp of confusion among senior jihadists debating who to attack next, how to do it, and for whose benefit. In short, global jihad has turned on itself, and is being destroyed from within — one botched and more wretched attack at a time.
Mr. Ijaz sees the tide turning against Islamofascism and urges Muslims to take a stand:
The terrorists have turned on themselves because they have no morality and no code. Let's now finish the job and rise up against them en masse with ideas that reflect human values, not just Islamic values: to mobilize the Muslim masses against their own extremist creed for the good of humanity.
Hopefully, with the horrific events of Beslan in front of them, they will.

Election 2004 - Kerry on Iraq

Both the Washington Post in an editorial and Mort Kondracke in commentary at Real Clear Politics are asking Senator Kerry where he stands on Iraq:

The agonizing difficulties in Iraq give rise to two legitimate questions: Was the war a mistake, and what is to be done now?.
the Post asks.


The second is the more vital, but both are important subjects for the campaign. President Bush has unambiguous answers. He believes the war was right and necessary, and he maintains that his plan of training Iraqi forces while facilitating elections will help Iraq move toward stability and democracy. Both positions are subject to challenge, and we will be returning to them in future editorials. But it isn't clear where Sen. John F. Kerry stands on either point.
Kondracke puts it in simpler terms:
OK, Mr. Kerry, what would you do?
Senator Kerry recently added a new chapter to his history of flip-flops on the war in Iraq. Back in August, Senator Kerry said that "knowing then what he knew now" he still would have voted to give the President authorization to go to war. After this comment drew the ire of fellow Democrats, including representative Nancy Pelosi, who "after calling the war "a grotesque mistake," said she couldn't understand why Kerry still says he would have voted for the Iraq resolution.." (as reported in the Washington Post, Kerry again reversed his position, saying that it was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" (as reported in the NY Times.

While, with the benefit of hindsight, Senator Kerry says he would have done "everything" differently, he still offers remarkably few details. The crux of his plan seems to be the idea that US troops will be replaced by French and German forces following the grand reconciliation that will occur once he's elected President. Given these countries' stated opposition to involvement in Iraq and their own limited military capabilities, even a flip-flop of Kerryesque dimensions by Chirac and Schroeder won't make Kerry's plan workable. As the Post points out:

But allies are not going to shoulder this burden; they are falling short even in Afghanistan, a war they supported from the start.
For better or for worse, the burden falls on us.

Senator Kerry has not articulated a meaningful strategy for Iraq. As Mr. Kondracke puts it:
What's missing from Kerry's speeches is any declaration that "we've got to win this war" or "we'll stay 'til we prevail." Americans may be dubious about whether the Iraq war was "worth it" - but they certainly don't want to lose it. That's why they trust Bush more than Kerry.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

9/11 Remembered

Rod Dreher reprints an e-mail he sent to friends that morning:

Subject: Unbelievable
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:09 AM

I'm not going to tie up the phone lines long, but I wanted to tell you that we're okay. My dad phoned this morning to say, "The World Trade Center is on fire. Go look out your front door." You can see them clearly across the harbor from our front door.

"Oh my God! Julie come see!" I said.

I ran down to grab my reporter's bag, knowing I'd have to go over to the fire. At that point, we didn't know what caused the fire. Then, while downstairs, I heard a tremendous explosion and screams.

I ran out to the street. "A plane just hit the second tower!" a man screamed.

I knew the subways would be out, so I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to the scene. There was a steady stream of people sobbing, coming out of downtown over the bridge boardwalk. I interviewed several of them. They told absolutely horrifying stories of seeing people jump out of windows from high floors, their ties and coats flailing as they plunged to their deaths. One woman's knees were bleeding from having been pushed down by the terrified crowd.

"The Pentagon has been bombed!" a man screamed.

I made it to the last pillar of the Brooklyn Bridge before going into downtown. I ran into a colleague of mine. She said, "We better not go over there. Those towers are going to blow up."

One minute later, the south tower fell in on itself. I nearly fainted. It ... well, I can't describe it now. I'm too shaken. Everybody on the bridge screamed. Some collapsed in tears. A woman started to vomit. My knees went weak, and a huge plume of soot and smoke barrelled toward us. I decided to turn around and go home.

A stout black woman, covered with sweat, screamed to no one in particular, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess! It ain't over people!"

An F-16 fighter flew overhead. The cloud of soot reached us, and it was like being in a volcanic eruption. Everybody had to breathe through their shirts. Cell phones didn't work. I rushed home to see Julie. When I opened the door, she was sobbing and shaking.

Now I'm learning that the second tower has collapsed, and the Pentagon has been bombed. The sky outside is black with soot and smoke.

There is no World Trade Center anymore. I can't believe we're seeing this.

It's war, you know.
It captures a lot of the confusion and grief of that morning. I was walking North after escaping from the PATH station underneath the WTC that morning. I saw the fighter planes overhead as I neared the Brooklyn Bridge and thanked God that they were there. I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon on a car radio outside a Jewish funeral home on the Lower East Side. I saw both Towers collapse, first the South from St. James Place and then the North from Houston Street as I cut towards the Hudson.

We must never forget and we must never forgive. The images from that day are hard to watch, but we must. We can't forget what happened to us that crisp Fall morning in 2001 and we must never forget who did that to us. Not just the 19 hijackers on the planes, or their controllers at Al Qaeda, but the whole sick culture that created them in the first place. The sickness that continues to rule Iran, that seeks to rule in Gaza and the West Bank, that thrives in the shadows in Sausdi Arabia. The sickness that used to hold sway in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some on the Left say that the attacks of three years ago are a criminal matter, to be dealt with by warrants and arrests. They're wrong. It's a war.

Media Bias - MSM Coverage of the CBS Hoax

Jay Ambrose, director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers, in a guest editorial in The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News ( Get-Bush time at the networks? - via Real Clear Politics) smells bias at CBS (over the Killian documents) and NBC (over next week's three-day Kitty Kelly gab-fest on Today).

His conclusion:

I've been in the news business for 38 years and love it and think it mostly honorable and know that any generalization about the "media" will only apply to some news organizations, not all, and not to everyone within any of those organizations. I do think some major news outlets do make judgments that look suspiciously biased at times.

I've been writing about two of them.
Ambrose also points out the role of the blogosphere in uncovering the apparent hoax at CBS:


Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the people who first started catching onto something wrong weren't professional journalists. They were Internet bloggers. If curious citizens can come up with these questions, why wouldn't the experienced hands at a major news organization like CBS do a better job? They had to have known, after all, that their story could have an impact on a Presidential election.
Good question.

Meanwhile, at The Washington Post, Rather Defends CBS Over Memos on Bush:

"Until someone shows me definitive proof that they are not, I don't see any reason to carry on a conversation with the professional rumor mill," the CBS anchor said. "My colleagues and I at '60 Minutes' made great efforts to authenticate these documents and to corroborate the story as best we could. . . . I think the public is smart enough to see from whom some of this criticism is coming and draw judgments about what the motivations are."

If Mr. Rather is telling the truth about the "great efforts" CBS took to authenticate the documents "as best they could", then it appears that they were grossly incompetent since they were picked apart by the "professional rumor mill" in about five minutes. Also note the components of Mr. Rather's defense:

1. Anyone who questions me is politically motivated, and
2. Anyone who listens to those questioning me is an idiot.

I guess when you don't have too many facts to support you, this is what you have to rely on. CBS did trot out their document expert, Marcel Matley who said that a "60 Minutes" executive had asked him not to give interviews. If CBS were confident about the authenticity of the Killian documents wouldn't they want their expert out there talking to everyone? From this perspective, it looks like they have something to hide. According to the WaPost article, Matley concluded the documents were authenticate "after comparing Killian's signature on the memos to other undisputed documents".

Unfortunately, much of the criticism stems from the characteristics of the font the documents were written in, not from the signatures, therefore, Mr. Matley's authentication doesn't answer the questions being raised. Additionally, since CBS has admitted they don't have originals, it appears unclear how Mr. Matley can rule out the possibility that someone photocopied a signature from an authentic document and pasted it into the fake.

People at CBS uninvolved with the story are also a little nervous about Rather's stonewalling:

Some CBS employees, who asked not to be identified while questioning their bosses' actions, expressed concern that the network had issued only a terse statement Thursday, when the authenticity of the documents was first questioned and until yesterday had refused to name any of the experts it had consulted or provide an on-the-record spokesman. One staff member, who has examined the documents but did not work on the "60 Minutes" piece, saw potential problems with them: "There's a lot of sentiment that we should do an internal investigation."

If these documents are conclusively proven forgeries, Rather's insistence that no further investigation was needed is going to look suspicious.

ABC News is carrying a similar story, CBS Stands by Memos on Bush Guard Service, that provides additional details:
CBS can state "with absolute certainty" that the disputed memos could have been produced on typewriters available in the early 1970s when the memos are purported to have been written, the network said. Rather said the typeface and style of the memos were available on typewriters since well before the 1970s.
This has been contradicted by multiple expert sources in the blogosphere and in the MSM, as the story goes on to note:
Several of the document examiners said one clue that the documents may be forgeries was the presence of superscripts in this case, a raised, smaller "th" in two references to Guard units.

Rather said typewriters were available in the early 1970s which were capable of printing superscripts. CBS pointed to other Texas Air National Guard documents released by the White House that include an example of a raised "th" superscript.

That superscript, however, is in a different typeface than the one used for the CBS memos. Document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines of Paradise Valley, Ariz., who examined the documents for the AP, said she was "virtually certain" they were generated by computer.

Lines said that meant she could testify in court that, beyond a reasonable doubt, her opinion was that the memos were written on a computer.
Rather's assertion would carry a little more weight if they actually did reproduce the memo using 1970's equipment. Surely an organization the size of CBS could manage this if it were possible. But again, even if they did dig up some advanced composing system from 1972 that could manage this, would someone who, by his widow's testimony, could not type, use it? CBS has a much bigger problem than fonts on its hands.

Media Bias - 3rd Update on the CBS Hoax

It's looking worse and worse for CBS.

From Instapundit

ABC reports that:
Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".
Additionally, an erroneous ABC report has started a meme that right-wing bloggers were behind the forgeries (not that anyone on the Left has admitted they were forgeries). ABC negligently failed to recognize that the original blog post on Free Republic (here - scroll down to post 47) that uncovered the font discrepancies was tagged with a PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) time stamp and therefore erroneously concluded that the post had been made before the report aired on Sixty Minutes II. Patterico has the story on this here including how ABC's correction has been ignored by the MSM.

From The Corner on NRO:

Byron York, who looked at some of the non-font inconsistencies in the documents in an earlier story on NRO (found here) posts here on Rather's defense of the documents tonight, noting that CBS does not have the originals. This obviously calls into question both the degree of certainty with which CBS's forensic experts can opine and the degree of care CBS employed in vetting the story before they ran it.

From The Kerry Spot on NRO:

Jim Geraghty has the Rather transcript and plenty of commentary (scroll down)
This was a weak defense. It clearly picked one or two areas where CBS thought they could muddy the waters, and ignored the other points.

Nothing about kerning. Nothing about the paper size. Nothing about the stationary. Nothing about the widow or the son. Nothing about proportional spacing. Nothing about the difference in tone and writing style from other memos by this author. Nothing about the anachronistic language.

Finally for tonight, from INDC Journal:

An update of an earlier story with more information on fonts, proportional spacing, kerning and other esoteric typesetting lore. The bottom line from INDC Journal: its still very unlikely that the documents were produced on anything available in the early 1970's.
Even if it the documents were producible on some advanced typewriter/typesetting system, would a fighter pilot who's widow says he couldn't type have bothered to use such a device for memos to himself? If he did want to write something along these lines (which both his widow and son deny) wouldn't he have done so long hand or, at best, on a simple typewriter?

While all of the font evidence is important in establishing that these documents are likely forgeries, it's important not to get lost in these details. This isn't just an argument over kerning - there's testimony from family members, anachronistic details, etc. that also point to the likelihood of forgery. Taken in total the evidence is pretty damning.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Media Bias - 2nd Update on the CBS Hoax

Powerline thinks that Dan Rather is trying to go out with a bang after he personally guaranteed the authenticity of the Killian documents:
A half hour ago, Dan Rather went on CNN and said that he knows the Jerry Killian documents to be authentic, and knows that they are not forgeries. Therefore, he said, there will be no retraction, no correction, and -- apparently -- no investigation...

This would appear to signal the end of Rather's career. If the documents are ultimately accepted as forgeries, which seems inevitable to us, he can't survive. My guess: Rather knows that he will be retiring soon in any event, so as his last public contribution, he is doing whatever he can to elect John Kerry.
Given the acrimony of this campaign, the rabid hatred of Bush and the double standard evidenced by the treatment of this story as compared to the Swiftvets story (think about this: CBS rushed to get an anti-Bush story on the air, a story on an issue peripheral at best to Bush's campaign, and one based on documents supposedly from a dead man - documents that were picked apart within minutes of their release. Contrast this with the coverage of the Swiftvets story, wherein over 200 individuals came forward with sworn affidavits on an issue that was central to the Kerry campaign)I'm absolutely convinced that the mainstream has abandoned any semblance of impartiality and is actively working to get John Kerry elected (see here and here and here ).

What I'm not so convinced about is whether the exposure of these documents as forgeries will hurt Dan Rather with his base or with his network: Powerline quotes a CBS press release that says no further investigation is planned.

Elsewhere, the CBS News website has a story on the controversy that, while generally toeing the company line (and repeating the charges) also raises questions on the forgeries:
Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software. Lines, a document expert and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, pointed to a superscript - a smaller, raised "th" in "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" - as evidence indicating forgery.

Microsoft Word automatically inserts superscripts in the same style as the two on the memos obtained by 60 Minutes, she said.

"I'm virtually certain these were computer generated," Lines said to the Associated Press after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software.
(via The Corner)

With all the focus on fonts, superscripts and proportional spacing, Byron York takes a look at What the Bush Guard Papers Actually Say. One damning point:
On May 2, 1973, one of George W. Bush's superior officers in the Texas National Guard wrote an evaluation of him that would later become famous. By that date, Bush had long since gone to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign, and Lt. Col. William D. Harris wrote that "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report. A civilian occupation made it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Alabama. He cleared this base on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non-flying status with the 187 Tac Recon Gp., Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama." Harris marked "Not Observed" in the boxes in which he was directed to grade Bush's performance.

What was less noticed about the report is that another Texas Air National Guard officer, Lt. Colonel Jerry B. Killian, wrote, "I concur with the comments of the reporting official" just below Harris' account. The document - with Killian's signature - was among a thick stack of papers from Bush's Air National Guard years released in February by the White House.

Now Killian himself is in the news. On Wednesday, CBS News released four previously undisclosed documents which it said were written by Killian, who died in 1984. One of them, dated August 18, 1973, refers to Killian's reluctance to evaluate Bush's performance. Suggesting that top Texas Air National Guard officers were putting pressure on him to "sugar coat" Bush's performance rating, Killian wrote, "Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate."

But as the first document suggests, months before, Killian - and Harris - had quite decisively declined to rate Bush's performance. If Killian was under pressure to "sugar coat" Bush's performance, he had certainly not yielded to it. Nor had anyone else "sugar coated" the Bush evaluation.
By the date the documents claim that Killian was under pressure to write a positive review, he had already issued a review saying that he was not able to rate Bush. With this contradictory assessment already in the records, what good would a "sugar-coated" review do?

Media Bias - Update on the CBS Hoax

Powerline is working overtime on this with a new post here on the mainstream media trying to catch up with the story as ABC reports that both Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's widow and son are disputing the authenticity of the documents.

As I type this, I'm listening to the replay of Brit Hume's show on Fox and they're laying out the font argument.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Media Bias - CBS Caught in Hoax?

Multiple sources are reporting that the Killian documents behind the Bush National Guard story that appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes II last night (and which was repeated in many papers this morning) are forgeries.

Powerline has been all over this with (as of this 8:40 pm) twelve updates of its original post. The forgery charges are primarily based on the fact that the documents in question appear to have been created using Microsoft Word; based on the font use, the use of proportional spacing, the use of superscripts, etc., that were either unavailable (the superscripts) or rare (the proportional spacing) on typewriters in the 1970's. Powerline also reports that one of the superiors cited as pressuring Killian in August of 1973 had retired in 1972.

Powerline also links to a few other sources:

The Heroes from the Past blog which has dug up an unrelated government memo from the same time period. The difference from the Killian documents is striking.

Little Green footballs recreates one of the Killian documents exactly in Microsoft Word - and they didn't even have to change any of the defaults.

INDC Journal ran the documents by an expert forensic document examiner who noted that the documents appear to be in a font (Times New Roman, the Microsoft default) that wasn't available on typewriters.

Outside of Powerline, Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard also ran the documents by some experts. Their conclusions: "I'm a Kerry supporter myself, but I won't let that cloud my objective judgment: I'm 99% sure that these documents were not produced in the early 1970s."

If these documents are proved to be forgeries, then CBS, and the mainstream media as a whole, takes a huge hit to what's left of their credibility. Think about this: CBS rushed to get an anti-Bush story on the air, a story on an issue peripheral at best to Bush's campaign, and one based on documents supposedly from a dead man - documents that were picked apart within minutes of their release. Contrast this with the coverage of the Swiftvets story, wherein over 200 individuals came forward with sworn affidavits on an issue that was central to the Kerry campaign.

Whatever it takes.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

America at War - Down the Rabbit-Hole

In his commentary at Real Clear Politics, Mort Kondracke comments on President Bush's acceptance speech (more on this below) and Senator Kerry's midnight response. He also hilights the key issue of the election:
Is this a wartime election in which America's whole future hangs in the balance, or an ordinary contest over taxes, jobs and health insurance? President Bush probably wins the first. Democrat John Kerry wants the second.

Bush and other key speakers at the Republican convention last week cast the election in historic, even epic, terms. Kerry's first response was about domestic policy and personal pique.

The outcome of the election depends, at least partly, on whether a majority of voters think the whole world changed on Sept. 11, 2001, or whether life and politics can go on more or less as usual.
Did the world change on September 11th? Running out of the WTC that morning, I didn't know what was going on. I only knew that the police officer in the concourse had screamed at the crowd of us riding up the long escalators from the PATH station to get out of the building. I only knew that the air was filled with an acrid stench that I thought came from a track fire.

When I got outside, I saw the crowd across the street staring up, transfixed. I saw flames and smoke billowing from the North Tower. I saw the bits of scorched paper floating down and heard glass and heavier items hitting the ground. At that moment, I thought a fire had broken out and thought what a tragedy this could be for those trapped above the flames. As I walked away, trying to make my way through the crowds, the South Tower exploded. I didn't know it was a plane, but I did know that it wasn't an accident. All I could think of besides the tens of thousands I thought would perish was "everything's f***ed, everything".

What was "everything"? Everything was the entire comfortable world I had been living in; the comfortable world in which you could confidently vote for Clinton because Reagan had won the Cold War and Bush I had won the Gulf War; the comfortable world at the end of history; the comfortable world of the "New World Order"; the comfortable world of internet riches; the comfortable world of looking forward to the "Tastings" column in the Weekend section of each Friday's Wall Street Journal and the latest twist on the vast government conspiracy at the heart of the X-Files. The comfortable world I expected to raise my daughter in.

All of that disappeared for me when the South Tower exploded that bright Fall day.

As much as I want it back, as much as I wish that September 11th never happened, as much as I might try to convince myself that the attack that morning was a one shot deal and that Islamic terrorism doesn't pose an ongoing threat, as much as I try to tell myself that its no different from Palestinian terrorism, or IRA terrorism or any of the sepratist terrorisms that Europe has dealt with for years, as much as I assure myself that we've done enough in Afghanistan and Iraq and that we can get back to normal, as much as I want all of this, I know its not true.

The world did change that day, that morning.

I'm not alone in thinking this. In the opening paragraph of Power, Terror, Peace and War, Walter Russell Mead writes:
Late in the Summer of 2001, I saw the movie Pearl Harbor. Odd duck that I am, it was neither the forgettable love story nor the spectacular special effects that made the deepest impression on me. Rather, I thought about how hideous it must have felt to watch the Pandora's Box of war open and know that the future had suddenly taken a terrible turn.
In the Weekly Standard, William Kristol wrote about The 9/10 Democrats:
Last Thursday, CNN's Larry King asked John Kerry whether he would want former President Bill Clinton to campaign on his behalf. Kerry said yes. "What American would not trade the economy we had in the 1990s, the fact that we were not at war and young Americans were not deployed?"

Kerry's answer is revealing. We were, in fact, at war. The Clinton administration, with the exception of a few cruise missiles, had simply chosen not to fight back.
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell had asked "Are we Truly at War?" and answered:
I believe there are two very distinct groups of Americans now: the Sept. 10 Americans, who are in denial, and the Sept. 11 Americans....I am a Sept. 11 American. I know the world has changed and that Americans must defend America. Everything else we do, everything else we believe, pales in comparison to that duty.
Does everyone believe this? No, in fact, fewer do so now than in the weeks and months following that fateful day. In July, Charles Krauthammer lamented that some were losing the sense of September 11th being a turning point:
We have come a long way in three years. The idea that Sept. 11 was a historic turning point, a wake-up call to a war declared by our enemies but ignored by us, has begun to fade.

In The Matrix, Joe Pantoliano's character, Cypher, betrays his comrades in order to be plugged back into the fantasy world the machines have created:
You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?
[Takes a bite of steak]
Ignorance is bliss.
Why does he do this?
I'm tired, Trinity. Tired of this war, tired of fighting... I'm tired of the ship, being cold, eating the same goddamn goop everyday...
A lot of us are tired, a lot of us wish we had a Morpheus to offer us the blue pill:
You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
John Kerry is offering voters the hope of a blue pill. Vote for him, elect him and you'll be back in the good old Clinton days; everything will be back to normal. But saying we're not at war, saying everything is back to normal doesn't make it so.

Everything changed on September 11th and there's no going back. I'm voting for Bush. I'm taking the red pill. I want to see this rabbit-hole to the end.