Sunday, October 31, 2004

Why Not Kerry

Saint Augustine speaks in his Confessions of his eagerness to meet and hear the Manichean hero Faustus who had a great reputation for eloquence. Upon finally hearing him explain the Manichean philosophy, however, Augustine was disappointed, not in Faustus' agility with the language, but rather in his ideas. He writes:

"[Faustus' ideas] seemed to me no better merely because [they] were expressed better, nor true because eloquent....[People] thought him wise simply because they liked his speaking....[Yet] a thing was not bound to be true because uttered eloquently, nor false because the utterance of the lips is ill-arranged....plain or beautiful language may clothe wisdom or folly indifferently."

These words come to mind as we reflect upon the political campaign which is heading for its denouement this Tuesday. John Kerry has said much these last twelve months and much of it he has delivered with great oratorical flourish and skill. President Bush, on the other hand, will never be considered to be the second coming of Demosthenes. Even so, eloquence has nothing to do with either truth or wisdom, and we shouldn't be blinded to the import and truth of one's words by the raiment in which they are attired.

To assess whether Senator Kerry has the "Right Stuff" to be president one needs to attend not merely to what he says or how seductively he says it, but rather to what he has accomplished in his public life.

In the early seventies the young John Kerry played a significant role in getting the United States to abandon the South Vietnamese to the armies of Ho Chi Minh resulting in the slaughter or imprisonment of tens of thousands of people who had placed their hope and trust in the U.S. to defend them. John Kerry's efforts to end our involvement in the war included defaming the American military and indirectly making life worse for the P.O.W.s being held in North Vietnam. For his contribution to an eventual N.V.A. victory he has had his photograph placed on a wall of honor in a North Vietnamese war museum.

We may argue about the quality of his judgment, or whether his behavior was actually treasonous or not. But what seems to be beyond dispute is that the North Vietnamese saw him as an ally, or, in Lenin's terms, at the least a "useful idiot", in their struggle against the United States.

Moreover, Mr. Kerry saw that war as a colossal mistake, a tragic blunder, and his prescription was to pull out immediately. Today we're engaged in another war which Senator Kerry regards as a colossal mistake and a tragic blunder. He says that as president he will nevertheless prosecute it until we win, but what in his record gives us reason to believe he's being truthful? If he was right about Vietnam he has no reason to treat Iraq any differently, and if he now thinks he was wrong about Vietnam he has never said so. If personal history is a reliable guide, a President Kerry will pull our troops out of Iraq as soon as he can, and the Iraqi people will be at the mercy of the brutal thugs who circle like hyenas waiting for the opportunity to destroy the Iraqi experiment in freedom and all who have put their trust in America to see that experiment through.

In the eighties Mr. Kerry was elected to the Senate where he compiled a record noteworthy only for it's un-noteworthiness. After twenty years of service he has no significant legislation to his credit, he has served in no real leadership capacity, he amassed a voting record that has placed him among the most left-wing members of the Senate, and his attendance at committee meetings has been abysmal. He voted consistently to raise taxes, diminish the military, and weaken our intelligence gathering capabilities. There is nothing in his tenure in Congress which exhibits the grain of presidential timber, which is doubtless why his acceptance speech at the convention last July doted so lovingly on his Vietnam service and hardly at all on his Senate career.

Since the convention he has spent the campaign blaming George Bush for everything from vaccine shortages to alleged missing explosives in Iraq, as if Bush worked in the lab that produced the vaccine and was himself standing guard at al Qaqaa. His campaign has been marked by charges and allegations which have either a very tenuous hold on, or are completely divorced from, reality. He has faulted "this president" for a terrible economy despite the fact that unemployment is lower now than it was during the Clinton years. He has faulted "this president" for invading Iraq without the blessing of the French, even though the French had been bought by Saddam and nobody could have persuaded them to join the coalition that was about to derail their oil-for-food gravy train. He faulted this president for botching the post-war in Iraq even though the Iraqi economy is strengthening almost daily, Iraqis are on track to hold the first democratic elections in their history in a few months, and 25 million of them are free of state terror for the first time in generations. Moreover, the insurgency in Iraq is in its death throes as the Iraqi military and police gain in competence and numbers and assume the delicate task of killing the Islamo-terrorists without antagonizing the Muslim citizenry.

Mr. Kerry's attempts during the campaign to appear pious and "manly" seem contrived and spurious. He has made it a point to attend church services every Sunday the last few months, but this is in stark contrast to the pattern he has established throughout his adult life. His goose-hunting foray was made risible by his purchase of the required license when he asked a clerk if he could "get me a hunting license here."

He repeatedly gives the impression of being willing to say or do anything in order to squeeze an extra vote or two out of his audience. His eagerness to castigate the President over the al Qaqaa story without knowing whether the reports were true or not is but the latest example of a reckless opportunism that goes back at least to his military days.

The Senator has manufactured crises where no crisis exists. He has accused this administration of blocking stem cell research, of planning to suppress the minority vote, of planning to deprive the elderly of social security, of planning to reinstate the draft, but none of these allegations is even remotely true, or even plausible. Similarly untrue are claims he has made for himself such as the claim to have met with the members of the Security Council for in-depth discussions prior to the invasion of Iraq, a claim flatly denied by the relevant U.N. representatives.

John Kerry himself promises us that he has a "plan" for every ill besetting our polity, but either his plan looks very similar to what the President is already doing, as in his plan for Iraq, or the numbers in his plan don't add up, as in his plan to rollback the Bush tax cut and to use that revenue to pay for all the programs he has promised. Or, most often, the plan goes unarticulated and remains a mystery.

Mr. Kerry can lay claim to only a single qualification for the presidency, if it even be a qualification: He is an eloquent and persuasive speaker. But as Augustine pointed out over 1600 years ago, eloquence has nothing to do with truth. Nor does it have anything much to do with leadership. Like pumice stone which gives the appearance of possessing weight, but which, upon hefting, one is surprised to find so airy, John Kerry's rhetorical graces mask an inner lightness that is totally inadequate for the stresses and tests which lie ahead of our nation.

In these times we need a president who has demonstrated both leadership and character. George Bush is not perfect, but he possesses those two particular virtues in abundance. John Kerry, by contrast, is a "hollow man" who has never evinced either. He offers no compelling reason to elect him and numerous reasons to blanch at the thought of a Kerry presidency. Viewpoint urges its readers not to base their votes on Tuesday upon superficial eloquence but rather upon each man's character and the capacity each has demonstrated to lead us in the continuing war against Islamo-fascist terrorism.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

It's The Final Countdown

Belmont Club has two excellent posts up. The first is an analysis of the recently released UBL tape. Wretchard at Belmont Club observes:

It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.

The American answer to Osama's proposal will be given on Election Day. One response is to agree that the United States of America will henceforth act like Sweden, which is on track to become majority Islamic sometime after the middle of this century. The electorate best knows which candidate will serve this end; which candidate most promises to be European-like in attitude and they can choose that path with both eyes open. The electorate can strike that bargain and Osama may keep his word.

The other course is to reject Osama's terms utterly; to recognize the pleading in his outwardly belligerent manner and reply that his fugitive existence; the loss of his sanctuaries; the annihilation of his men are but the merest foretaste of what is yet to come: to say that to enemies such as he, the initials 'US' will always mean Unconditional Surrender.

In the second post Wretchard teams up with Chester for an analysis of the order of battle shaping up in Fallujah. It looks like there will be an assault sometime next week, probably soon after the polls close, and it doesn't look good for the insurgents. There's good stuff to be found on the military situation in Fallujah at both of these links.

Imposing Our Views Upon Others

A friend recommends this article in Commonweal for readers interested in John Kerry's position on abortion (at least as of today). The article is actually a critique of Mario Cuomo's 1984 Notre Dame speech on the subject which has taken on the authority of holy writ for many Democratic politicians, most notably John Kerry.

The article is authored by Ken Woodward, long time religion editor at Newsweek, and is an excellent analysis of the Cuomo/Kerry argument that one can be personally opposed to abortion, that one can accept the Catholic teaching that abortion is a ghastly crime against human life, and still strive heroically to do everything one can to prevent this offense from being restricted or ended.

There is a link to a reply by Cuomo to Woodward's essay at the end of the piece. In Viewpoint's opinion Cuomo's response, though articulate and tart, falls short of being a satisfactory defense of his position. We'll leave it to the interested reader to pursue the arguments for him or herself, but the general theme of the Cuomo/Kerry apologia is the oft-heard claim that no one has the right to impose his/her morality on another person. This concern, however, being founded on several errors, is quite misplaced.

We'll mention only in passing Woodward's point that it's difficult to name legislation which does not impose somebody's morality upon the rest of society. Everything from desegregation to affirmative action to welfare regulations to environmental regulations to laws prohibiting gambling, prostitution, public lewdness, drug use, capital punishment, bribery, and so on all presuppose moral values that might not be shared by many of those who are subject to the pertinent laws.

Beyond this objection, however, there are a couple of other difficulties with this concern about saddling others with one's moral values or one's religious views. First, it is a concern, oddly enough, that only theists can logically express. If an atheist were to object to a theist that he should not impose his beliefs on others the appropriate reply would be to ask "Why not?"

If the atheist is correct in believing that we live in a world without God then a man has a "right" to try to do whatever he wishes. In a world without God might makes right, so anything one is able to do one has a "right" to do. If the atheist objects to this, he might be asked what it is, exactly, upon which he bases his conviction that I have no right to impose my values. Is it the law? But if I can change the law then that objection fails. Is it that a right to impose one's will upon others robs the other of his worth and dignity as a human being? But in a world without God human worth and dignity are arbitrary and chimerical. They have no real existence in the first place, and even if they did, why would it be wrong to deprive someone of them?

The fact is that the only constraint upon anyone's "right" to do whatever he is able to do is God's proscription, but for the atheist that limit does not exist and for the secularist it is illicit to invoke it. In a Godless universe, or in the naked public square, we are all morally autonomous, free to do whatever we have the power to accomplish.

A second problem with the affirmation that it's improper to seek to impose our beliefs upon others is that the claim itself is a moral assertion. The person who makes it believes that it is wrong to engage in the particular behavior he is condemning. But the problem with this is that he is himself seeking to impose upon others his moral conviction that it is unjust to impose one's moral convictions upon others. In other words, he's violating his own principle in the very act of voicing it. He is attempting to inflict this particular moral principle on the rest of us.

The truth of the matter is that few people who argue that it transgresses some moral standard to impose one's beliefs upon others really believe it deep down. What they believe is that it's wrong to have others foist convictions and values with which they disagree upon them. They have no trouble burdening others with their own values, and that's why Cuomo and Kerry sound so insincere on the question of abortion. They claim to believe that abortion is a sin, but they are prepared to fight tooth and nail to perpetuate it. It is not, mind, that they promise to adopt a stance of political neutrality on the issue. It is that they promise to do everything in their power to see that neither legislatures nor courts nor any expression of the popular will diminishes a woman's right to kill her unborn child.

Surely this is an odd position to take. They certainly wouldn't suffer similar psychological dissonance over slavery. They would hardly say that they believe slavery is an offense against God and man, but since many people disagree with them about this, they promise as President to only appoint pro-slavery justices to the Supreme Court. If such reasoning is unthinkable with respect to the issue of slavery, why is it not equally unthinkable with respect to abortion?

When someone says they don't want to impose their values on others, they're really just trying to walk on both sides of the political street simultaneously. They are tacitly acknowledging that they're really not committed to at least one of the values they claim to hold. If Cuomo and Kerry really believed the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion they would scarcely oppose efforts to end it, much less would they actively fight to keep it legal.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Stories and Non-stories

ABC has in its possession a videotape made by an English-speaking terrorist who threatens an impending attack on the U.S. which will make 9/11 seem insignificant by comparison. ABC has, as of this writing, chosen not to run the tape giving as their reason that it's too close to November 2nd, and that releasing this horrifying threat might have a disruptive effect on the election.

We may interpret this to mean that since the threats will probably drive voters to push the Republican lever on Tuesday, ABC deems it imprudent to show it. If the tape had somehow made Bush look bad, if it was a tape, say, of new abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, does anyone think that ABC's scruples would cut the same way? To see the salient parts of the tape and some analysis of it go here.

Meanwhile, the MSM is full of reports about missing explosives from al Qaqaa. It's hard to understand what relevance this story, which has been known for a year and a half, has for the election. There is no reason to believe that the explosives were looted under the noses of American troops since the logistics involved would be daunting, but even if they were, how on earth would George Bush be culpable? Senator Kerry is trying to wring every drop of campaign advantage he can out of this story, but he's stretching so far he risks incurring a political hernia.

Indeed, if there's any political lesson in the whole al Qaqaa matter it is that Senator Kerry is willing to defame both our troops and the President without having any proof or even strong evidence that his charges are true. This shows a recklessness and indifference to truth that reflects poorly on a man who would be president. It also calls into question (again) his credibility on everything else he has said during this campaign.

The left seems to think that real news should not be reported but non-news should be hyped for a week. It seems disingenuous, but perhaps that's part of the job description for being a member of the MSM or of the Democratic party.

Dick Cheney's Former Company

The news brings word that Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, is being investigated by the F.B.I. Apparently, Dick Cheney's former company, which is Halliburton, may have been awarded contracts improperly. Cheney himself is not under investigation, but it is his former company and he used to be an executive at H-A-L-L-I-B-U-R-T-O-N so he may be implicated.

Halliburton, with which Vice-President Cheney used to be very closely associated, and probably still is, may have overcharged taxpayers for fuel and services in Iraq. There is a suspicion that the Bush administration of which Dick Cheney is Vice-president, of all things, showed favoritism to Dick Cheney's former company, HALLIBURTON!!!

The connection between Dick Cheney and HALLIBURTON is well-known in Washington circles. Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman who may or may not be indebted to Dick Cheney for her job, said the company is cooperating with various investigations, but she dismissed the latest revelation, somewhat naively, as election politics.

Liz Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney who is a former executive at HALLIBURTON, said today on the Glenn Beck radio show that when her father resigned from Halliburton, his former company, he was given eight million dollars in options and other reimbursements (allegations that these were compensation for anticipated favoritism have not yet been proven. Yet.).

Ms Cheney confirmed Beck's report that her father gave the entire sum to charity. The news of this astounding gift will doubtless be soon displayed all over the MSM so that everyone will know what sort of man Mr. Cheney is. Or not.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's All In the Nuance

John Kerry promises that he would fight a smarter, more effective war in Iraq, but he's having enough trouble simply bringing his vaunted intelligence to bear in the current political struggle. He seems to blurt out whatever strikes him as useful at the moment, which almost always proves embarrassing to him later. He has claimed, for instance, that Bush had banned stem cell research, that he (Kerry) had met with representatives of the U.N. Security Council about the pending invasion of Iraq, that Bush bungled the supervision of explosives in al QaQaa, all of which claims have turned out to be erroneous.

Senator Kerry is undeterred, however, by the fact that he seems so inept at getting the facts right. He staggers from one canard to the next, blithely indifferent to the tenuous relationship any of his yarns have with reality and completely unmindful of what his mendacity tells us about his character.

Today he delivered this piece of historical buffoonery from the stump in Toledo:

"When the Bay of Pigs went sour, John Kennedy had the courage to look America in the eye and say, `I take responsibility, it's my fault," Kerry said, referring to the bungled invasion of Cuba in 1961. "John Kennedy knew how to take responsibility for the mistakes he made and Mr. President, it's long since time for you to start taking responsibility for the mistakes you made."

Let's see. Deposing Saddam, liberating 25 million people from oppression, and resolutely taking the first early steps to establishing democracy in the heart of the Arab world is, in the mind of the Senator, analogous to a president (John Kennedy) getting cold feet prior to the Cuba invasion and sending thousands of Cuban guerrillas to a pointless death because Kennedy decided at the last minute to withhold the air cover they had been promised.

Not only is the Senator's comparison of the Bay of Pigs with Iraq about as perverse as it can be, Mr. Kerry insists upon serving up this sublime specimen of asininity while the votes of the Cuban-American community in Florida, from whose ranks those dead were drawn, hang in the balance. Moreover, he implicitly reminds them that it was the Democratic president that Kerry models himself after whose dithering was responsible for their slaughter.

This may all seem very smart to the liberals who pride themselves on being so much more intelligent than the rest of us. It may even be an example of the Senator's much celebrated nuanced thinking. But, frankly, we don't see how what the Senator said today can be considered anything other than just stupid.

Kerry's Plan For The Draft

No Left Turns has this interesting piece of analysis about the prospects of a draft being reinstated in the next four years, not by a Bush administration, mind you, but by John Kerry:

One of our readers, Vernon Dozier, has offered a comment that deserves to be moved front and center:

Hasn't anyone considered that Kerry would need a draft a lot more than Bush? Bush is very popular among current military personnel (he stands to get 75% to 80% of the military vote), and the various branches are currently meeting recruitment goals. In contrast, Kerry is reviled by about 95% of those who served directly with him because he pissed all over them with false accusations of atrocities merely to promote his own political ambitions. Who the hell would volunteer to serve under such a commander in chief?

In fact, this is very much in line with what I learned today from talking with a student who has friends in the armed forces. It is no secret that the men and women of the military find Kerry despicable, and apparently there are many who say that if he is elected they will not reenlist. Assuming he would be unable to make up for these losses with French and German soldiers, it is at least as reasonable to suppose that Kerry would reinstate the draft as it is to suggest that the president might.

Pass the word. Kerry has a secret "plan" to reinstate the draft. Here it is: Get himself elected as Commander-in-Chief and be so unpopular with the troops that the only way to maintain a viable military at all is to dragoon people into its service.

This theory has the advantage of being much more plausible than the feverish ravings that have been going around left-wing weblogs about George Bush's "secret plan" to restart the selective service.

The Little People

National Geographic has a story about the discovery of a new kind of human, smaller in stature even than modern pygmies, which inhabited the island of Flores in Indonesia until as recently as 13,000 years ago.

These diminutive hominids have been designated a new species, Homo floresienses but the article does not mention the rationale for placing them in a separate taxon from modern humans. The fact that they were very small, about three feet tall, is not in itself sufficient reason for making them a separate species. Great Danes and Chihuahuas are at least as disparate in size as Homo sapiens and H. floresienses, but these dogs are both members of the same species. Usually, biologists consider two groups to be different species if members of the groups cannot produce fertile offspring, and we have no way of knowing at this stage whether H. sapiens and H. floresienses were interfertile.

At any rate, it's interesting that there have been myths and legends for centuries about tiny people having inhabited the islands in the region, but no hard evidence of it has ever been found until now. It causes one to wonder if the Irish legends of leprechauns and other ancient stories of elves might not have had some basis in pre-historical fact. Might these tiny three foot high humans have been at one time much more widespread rather than confined to just the Indonesian archipelago?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

How Much Time Do We Have?

A friend passes along an article by Paul Roberts in the current issue of Mother Jones which addresses what is perhaps the most urgent problem of our time, Islamic terrorism notwithstanding. Roberts sounds the tocsin alerting us to the impending oil crunch and warns that it may be closer than had previously been anticipated.

There are things not to like about Roberts' piece, but his larger message is one we can't afford to ignore. Here are a couple of excerpts:

The most alarming symptoms of an energy system on the verge of collapse are found in the oil markets. Today, even as global demand for oil, led by the economic boom in Asia, is rising far faster than anticipated, our ability to pump more oil is falling. Despite assurances from oil's two biggest players - the House of Bush and the House of Saud - that supplies are plentiful ... it's now clear that even the Saudis lack the physical capacity to bring enough oil to desperate consumers. As a result, oil markets are now so tight that even a minor disturbance - accelerated fighting in Iraq, another bomb in Riyadh, more unrest in Venezuela or Nigeria - could send prices soaring and crash the global economy into a recession.

Nor is it any longer a matter of simply drilling new wells or laying new pipe. Oil is finite, and eventually, global production must peak, much as happened to domestic supplies in the early 1970s. When it does, oil prices will leap, perhaps as high as $100 per barrel - a disaster if we don't have a cost-effective alternative fuel or technology in place. When the peak is coming is impossible to predict with precision. Estimates range from the ultra-optimistic, which foresee a peak no sooner than 2035, to the pessimistic, which hold that the peak may have already occurred.

Our current energy infrastructure - the pipelines and refineries, the power plants and grids, the gasoline stations, and, of course, the cars, trucks, planes, and ships - is a massive, sprawling asset that took more than a century to build and is worth some $1 trillion. Replacing that hydrocarbon monster with "clean" technologies and fuels before our current energy problems escalate into catastrophes will likely be the most complex and expensive challenge this country has ever faced.

If oil prices continue to rise there will not be a single aspect of our lives which will not be negatively affected. Even the best scenario only gives us thirty years to switch to some other energy source and to adopt measures for depleting the oil we have less rapidly. It's time to get serious.

The Essential Singer

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has put together a collection of quotes from Peter Singer which give the reader a good sense of why he has become the most controversial philosopher in the United States, if not the world. Carter cautions that the quotes are not placed in context and thus may be misleading, but with that caveat in mind here are a few of the dozen or so he lists:

On the Sanctity of Human Life:

I do not deny that if one accepts abortion on the grounds provided in Chapter 6, the case for killing other human beings, in certain circumstances, is strong. As I shall try to show in this chapter, however, this is not something to be regarded with horror, and the use of the Nazi analogy is utterly misleading. On the contrary, once we abandon those doctrines about the sanctity of human life that...collapse as soon as they are questioned, it is the refusal to accept killing that, in some cases, is horrific.

On The Acceptability of Killing Newborn Infants:

In Chapter 4 we saw that the fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings. This conclusion is not limited to infants who, because of irreversible intellectual disabilities, will never be rational, self-conscious beings. We saw in our discussion of abortion that the potential of a fetus to become a rational, self-conscious being cannot count against killing it at a stage when it lacks these characteristics - not, that is, unless we are also prepared to count the value of rational self-conscious life as a reason against contraception and celibacy. No infant - disabled or not - has as strong a claim to life as beings capable of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time.

How Buying a New TV is Like Selling a Homeless Kid's Kidney:

In the end, what is the ethical distinction between a Brazilian who sells a homeless child to organ peddlers and an American who already has a TV and upgrades to a better one - knowing that the money could be donated to an organization that would use it to save the lives of kids in need?

Why Killing Babies and Animals is Morally Equivalent:

The preference, in normal cases, for saving a human life over the life of an animal when a choice has to be made is a preference based on the characteristics that normal humans being have and not on the mere fact that they are members of our own species. This is why when we consider members of our own species who lack the characteristics of normal human beings we can no longer say that their lives are always to be preferred to those of other animals. In general, though, the question of when it is wrong to kill (painlessly) an animal is one to which we need give no precise answer. As long as we remember that we should give the same respect to the lives of animals as we give to the lives of those human beings at a similar mental level we shall not go far wrong.

There are more like these at the site. The reader might also check out our own critique of Singer's ethics with special attention to his lack of a basis for making any ethical pronouncements of any sort. It's titled Animals and Humanism.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

All the News That Fits

Senator Kerry continues to add more whoppers to his already impressive repertoire. In addition to his prevarications about secret Bush plans to reinstate the draft, suppress the black vote, and take away social security, to name just a few of his recent flights of fancy, he has added two new fictional claims. He insists now that prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom he met with the members of the U.N. Security Council and held in-depth discussions with them on the crisis, a claim that the representatives of the relevant nations have flatly denied, and he is also currently resurrecting a bit of phony news from the spring of 2003 and presenting it not only as if it is a recent development but also as if it were true.

In fact, it's neither. The allegation he's making is that 380 tons of high explosives were looted from a storage facility in Iraq and that this shows the incompetence of George Bush as Commander in Chief. Actually what it shows is the desperation of the left in general and Kerry in particular to find anything with which they can bamboozle the ignorant to get them to vote for the Democrats.

The fact is that when our troops first arrived at the facility on their march to Baghdad in May 2003 the munitions had already been removed (See Kerry Spot for the details). These explosives, which had been identified by the I.A.E.A. and sealed prior to the invasion, were not there when we arrived. Saddam had probably trucked it to Syria before the outbreak of hostilities. How this reflects on the competency of the president is something Senator Kerry has not yet explained.

Kerry, of course, wants the voters to think that the looting occured after the facility was under our control, but there's no evidence to support this and lots of evidence against. There's also a huge logistical problem involved in trying to move that much material under the noses of the American military. Captain's Quarters has the math involved in undertaking such a heist.

A worse aspect of this is not just that Kerry continues to fault our troops and the President for the missing ordinance, but that the New York Times dusts this story off right before the election in order to discredit Bush.

That's dishonest enough, but there's even worse. CBS, the network that aired Dan Rather's fatuous forgeries a few weeks ago in an attempt to make Bush look like he'd disobeyed orders while serving in the National Guard, was planning to run the story on the missing explosives on October 31st so that the Republicans wouldn't have time to respond to it.

If anyone has demonstrated incompetence in these last months it has been John Kerry and his allies in the liberal media who have shown that they are utterly incapable of telling the truth. They keep trying, like Wile E. Coyote, to destroy the road runner, only to have their stupid lies repeatedly blow up in their faces.

Why anyone trusts either the paper of Jayson Blair, the network of Dan Rather, or the candidate these media outlets endorse to provide them with the truth is perhaps a question only a psychiatrist can answer.

Pacifying Iraq

The Strategy Page offers some fine insight into American/Iraqi strategy for dealing with the insurgency in general and for Fallujah in particular. A few excerpts:

During the April, 2003 invasion, Saddam's enforcers began to flee back to the Sunni Arab homeland, north and west of Baghdad. Those that didn't flee at the sight of advancing American troops, soon left when they realized that the Shia Arabs and Kurds were now hunting down enforcers. By the end of 2003, nearly all of Saddam's thugs were back in places like Fallujah. There, tribal chiefs, long on Saddam's payroll, soon found themselves in the company of many heavily armed Saddam supporters. Guess who started calling the shots? The Baath Party had a plan for what to do if the country were overrun and occupied by an enemy (most likely Iran, but the United States was a possibility as well.) Baath had money, and people who knew how to do terror.

Baath Party operators had been working with criminal gangs, running criminal operations (officially sanctioned, or on the side) and terrorizing the population for decades. The Baath people also knew they had an edge over the Americans, as Baath could, and had, done whatever they wanted to get their way. The Americans, for all their nifty weapons and gadgets, had to operate according to rules of conduct. American troops could not kidnap people to get their children or siblings to carry out attacks. The Americans could not summarily execute anyone who failed in a mission, or refused to do what was asked.

But the Baath Party plan didn't work exactly as expected. The Americans were aggressively recruiting and training new Iraqi security forces. This had to be done from scratch, since no one but Saddam loyalists worked security while Saddam was in power, and all those people were Sunni Arabs whose loyalty was now questionable. But the new government, and coalition police and security experts, persevered. Trying to work out deals with the tribal chiefs didn't work, mainly because Baath and al Qaeda threatened to kill any chief that made peace with the government.

So the government began to shut down the "little Fallujahs" around Baghdad. This was good practice for the Iraqi troops and police. The Iraqis would need all the practice they could get before taking on Fallujah, for that's where those who escaped the Iraqi dragnet, in places like Samarra and many other smaller towns, run to. While the Iraqi and American units flush the thugs out, Fallujah itself is being hit with smart bombs and raids in the suburbs by ground troops.

Sometime before the end of the year, Fallujah will fall, and the Baath Party enforcers, and the al Qaeda terrorists will have to scatter. That will make the bad guys more vulnerable, and less effective. That, of course, is the objective.

The wild card in this prediction, of course, is how much patience the American people have to see this task through to the end. We'll know the answer to that on November 3rd.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Reply To a Friend

A friend writes to voice his displeasure (see Feedback) over Viewpoint's tendency to highlight left-wing depravity and to associate it on occasion with the Kerry campaign. His concern was with our post titled How Low Can You Go. Our reply follows:

You say you don't understand my logic. That makes us even. You say I'm focussing on extremists on the fringe that nobody listens to, and you think it's unfair to associate them with Kerry. I don't know why. First of all, I'm not sure they are on the fringe. The original column implicitly encouraging the assassination of George Bush was in The Guardian which is a mainstream leftist paper in England, and the website which carried those awful "endorsements" of The Guardian's sentiments gets a heck of a lot more traffic than mine does. It's a fairly mainstream site on the left.

You ask why I don't write about the KKK or the skinheads, etc. and connect them with George Bush. I'll tell you what. You give me a site where the wing nuts on the right talk about assassinating Kerry and use the sort of hateful language against him that these people used, and I'll be more than happy to run it. Show me a site where there are haters on the right urging people to vote for Bush, and I'll certainly write about it.

I'm as sickened by the behavior of the KKK and skinheads as you are, but to compare these people to the ones I quoted in the Viewpoint post is to compare apples and oranges. The skinheads are absolutely irrelevant to this election. The sickos on the right really are out on the fringe and are politically isolated. In fact they are scarcely political at all. To the extent that any of them are involved politically they are a negligible voice.

The thugs on the left are not. They are politically active and they are not at all irrelevant. They are trying hard to dehumanize the President, but you can't dehumanize a man without it resulting in some lunatic feeling justified in actually trying to carry out an assassination. Their coarseness is creating a climate in which people feel it's okay to joke about killing someone. It's a short step from that mindset to actually trying it.

I'm surprised you don't join me in pointing out the outrage of this instead of criticizing me for identifying these people with Kerry. Nor do I think that that identification is at all unfair, anymore than it would be unfair to wonder what it is about Bush that attracts neo-nazis to his side, if, in fact, such were the case. If David Duke and the Klan were out endorsing and campaigning for Bush, I'd be appalled. Kerry has attracted endorsements from some of the worst tyrants and killers (Arafat, Kim Jong Il, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, et al) around. It's completely fair to wonder why. It's also completely fair to point out that many of the people he attracts on the domestic side are in some ways just as despicable. I'm sorry you have such a problem with that.

Sounds of Silence

Is it that we haven't been paying very close attention or have the panegyrists of cultural diversity actually grown quiet over the last couple of years? It wouldn't be surprising if the celebrants of multiculturalism are feeling a little embarrassed by reports like this one from the Washington Times and have decided that maybe now is not a good time to be claiming that all cultures are "equally valid" and worth celebrating.

The article is about two young Nigerian women who have been sentenced to death by stoning for having sex. If you guessed that Nigeria must be a Muslim country then you are factually correct even if you are not politically correct. Under the rules established by the PC thought police we should never assume that some inhumane practice implies a provenience among any particular ethnic or religious group unless those groups are white Republican and/or Christian.

Nevertheless, Nigeria is indeed under Sharia Law and this article gives us a vivid idea of what a blessing it would be to reside in a land where Islamic ideas of justice and compassion prevail. Here's the gist of it:

A court in northern Nigeria has sentenced two women to death by stoning for allegedly committing outside wedlock is considered adultery if one of the partners is or has ever been married. If neither partner was ever married, then sex outside wedlock is condemned as "fornication," punishable by whipping.

Apparently these girls are appealing their sentences because they are, through no choice of their own, unmarried, and according to the mercies of Islamic law they should only be whipped for their crime, not stoned.

Perhaps someone reading this might think that Viewpoint is being a little harsh on Muslims. Perhaps Nigeria is an extreme example and maybe it is the case that the vast majority of Muslims find such laws archaic and distasteful. Such a hypothesis, however, would be mistaken.

Sharia is evidently the dream of even "moderate" Muslims. It is their vision for the entire world. It is the Muslim hope that one day all people will be subject to the glories of Sharia. Those who resist will, of course, be eliminated. In support of this admittedly uncomfortable assessment we offer as warrant, courtesy of Belmont Club, a resolution from the Communique of the Thirtieth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul last June. Item #62 of the Communique states:

The Conference expressed deep concern over repeated and erroneous attempts to associate Islam with human rights violations, and over the use of television, the radio and the press to propagate such misconceptions. It called for an end to the unjustified campaigns of some non-governmental organizations against a number of Member States, which demand the abolition of Sharia laws and penalties in the name of human rights protection. It affirmed the right of States to uphold their religious, social and cultural idiosyncrasies, which are legacies that help enrich common universal concepts of human rights. It urged that the universality of human rights must not be used as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of States and flout their national sovereignty. The Conference also condemned the decision of the European Union to denounce stoning as a penalty and what it calls inhumane punishments meted out by some Member States in compliance with Islamic Sharia.

This statement lends little encouragement to those who would like to believe that Sharia is outside the Islamic mainstream.

The moral and cultural relativists in the West who were so voluble a decade ago have had very little to say of late, as the cruelties and horrors of the Islamic way of life have become more familiar to the average American. It's hard to blame them for shutting up, though, because it must be difficult to credibly assert that all cultures are equally "good" or "valid" when their listeners have evidence like the above story in their hands. The whole project of multiculturalism, of "celebrating the world's diversity," is discredited by the manifest savagery of stoning girls to death for sexual indiscretion, while, it needs to be mentioned, almost never punishing the male. Moreover, the accounts which reach our ears of this sort of barbarism are doubtless merely the tip of the Islamic iceberg.

What is there to celebrate in a culture which thinks that it is good, right, and just to stone to death an 18 year old unmarried girl who had a sexual relationship after her former husband had abandoned her? So far from celebrating such evil we should be deploring it, condemning it, and subjecting it to the ridicule it deserves. So far from mouthing platitudes about how our way of life and our values are no better or worse than those of other people around the world we should be holding in derision those who actually believe such nonsense.

Only an addlepated liberal would deny that there are indeed some ways of life, some values, some religious convictions which are superior to others. A religious ethic which values mercy, compassion, dignity, and life as well as righteousness and justice, towers over one which values only a perverse form of "righteousness" to the exclusion of the other virtues like a sequoia over crabgrass.

To be sure, there is much in American culture to regret and to repudiate, but anyone who really believes, after all we've learned in the last ten years about the Islamic Arab and African world, that our way of life, our highest values, and our religious assumptions are not vastly superior to those of much of the rest of the world needs to spend some quality time with a de-programmer.

"Integrity, Integrity, Integrity"

Investigative journalist Joel Mowbray reminds us that Senator Kerry has made his honesty a centerpiece of his campaign, calling truthfulness "the fundamental test of leadership." He closed the final debate with President Bush by recounting what his mother told him from her hospital bed, "Remember: integrity, integrity, integrity." In an interview published in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Mr. Kerry was asked what he would want people to remember about his presidency. He responded, "That it always told the truth to the American people."

So, when he told us in that last debate that he "went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable." We assumed there was at least a chance he was telling the truth.

When he said while speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in December 2003, that he understood the "real readiness" of the United Nations to "take this seriously" because he met "with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein," we had no particular reason to doubt him.

Trouble is, it never happened. Kerry just made it up. Mowbray has checked out the story and reveals how much of an impact Mr. Kerry's mother's dying admonition made on him in today's Washington Times.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

How Low Can You Go

If anyone is inclined to spelunk the sewers of left-wing depravity you might, if your stomach can handle it, try a trip to a site called Metafilter which offers a thread of responses to the recent Guardian column by a man named Charlie Brooker which wistfully wonders where Lee Harvey Oswald and other assassins are now that they are "needed". Some samples of their thought:

I'm sure many people, world-wide, have wondered why no one's assassinated the moron yet.

These days, there are a large number of people, myself among them, who are emotionally inclined to think positively of a Bush assassination.

Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat.

It's a humorous column, in short, and if you can't ask for someone deeply unpopular to be assassinated for a punchline, then I weep for humanity.

All his assassination would mean is that I wouldn't have to wait another 30 or so years to piss on his grave.

These are the sort of folks John Kerry attracts. Nice people.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Nine Objections To Christianity

David Wayne at JollyBlogger invites his readers to submit their ten most frequently encountered objections to Christianity. It's an interesting challenge. I can only come up with nine off the top of my head, so if Viewpoint readers, Christians or non-Christians, want to weigh in on this topic feel free to do so via our Feedback Forum.

Here are the nine objections which I've encountered most frequently from non-Christians and which they tend to feel most strongly about. They are also, incidentally, perhaps among the most challenging for a Christian apologist:

1)The difficulty of reconciling suffering with an all powerful, benevolent deity is perhaps the most formidable impediment to belief in God and hence in accepting Christian faith.

2) Christianity, by restricting eternal life only to Christians, is incompatible with a God who allegedly loves all people, and is offensive to those whose deceased loved ones may have been very pious and moral but not Christian. Moreover, it is a belief that few Christians even hold themselves.

3) Christianity is based upon the authority of the New Testament which is historically questionable.

4) Christianity is contingent upon miracles, or at least one miracle, the Resurrection, but belief in miracles is philosophically problematic.

5) Similar to #1, the doctrine of eternal punishment is incompatible with any notion of a just God. Eternal punishment for one's sin, no matter how egregious, is by definition disproportionate to the offense and is therefore unjust.

6) Christians try to impose their morality on others and that, many say, is offensive.

7) Many Reformed Christians hold to a view of predestination that is impossible to reconcile with the notion of human accountability and also with the concept of a just and benevolent God.

8) The Christian creation story is scientifically unsound and the doctrine of original sin is literally incredible.

9) Christianity derives from ancient pagan myths of dying saviors and virgin births. The similarities between these myths and Christianity make it unlikely that Christianity is independent of them.

It might be worthwhile to attempt to tackle some of these objections, if a humble layman might have the impertinence to undertake such a daunting task, in future posts. In fact, Viewpoint has already addressed some of them in past essays. Objection #1, for instance, is discussed here and here, and objection #3 is considered here. If anyone else wishes to take a shot at some of these, either pro or con, please feel welcome.

What the World Needs Now...

More peace, love, and humanistic sentiments from the leftists at The Guardian:

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Let's all sing together: "What the world needs now is love, sweet love. Not just for some, but for everyone...." Even the depraved souls in the editorial offices of The Guardian.

Dems Behaving Badly

Here's video of Lawrence O'Donnell's meltdown on MSNBC's Scarborough Country with Pat Buchanan filling in. Note: If you click on this link you will witness a man lose his sanity right before your eyes. O'Donnell is transmogrified from a calm, reasonable, articulate journalist into a raging, abusive lunatic. It's fun to watch.

If you do visit the site you might think, at first, that you're watching an advertisement for Prozac; or, you might think it's a role-play in a Rhetoric 101 class on how to win a debate when you have no case; or, you might conclude that you're simply watching a liberal just doing what comes naturally. Perhaps it's all of these.

Speaking of Dems behaving badly, the Democratic strategy for election day is crystallizing in the early voting in Florida and in Arizona the thuggery proceeds apace.

A Kerry supporter of our acquaintance, left with nothing much to say when confronted with these reports, rejoined that she's sure that Republicans are employing the same sorts of ugly, fascistic tactics. While we're prepared to entertain that as a logical possibility, of course, we felt the need to point out to her that the only way one can be "sure" of that is to cite examples of it happening. Perhaps it is the case that, somewhere, to some degree, some Republican is acting somewhat like a Democrat, but she couldn't point to an example, and we haven't come across any yet. Perhaps our readers are aware of some.

In any event, Lawrence O'Donnell should be fired after this pathetic performance.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Hip Hop Debate

Evangelical Outpost directs us to the site of the Hip Hop debate between John Kerry and George Bush. The two contenders meet in an alley and engage in a valiant struggle witnessed only by their closest associates. Don't miss it. It's an historic, an epic, battle between the two men.

VDH on Kerry's Chances

Victor David Hanson offers up a sterling analysis of why John Kerry, despite so many advantages, still seems to lag behind Bush in the polls. Indeed, Hanson all but predicts that Kerry will continue to trail and will lose the election:

There is a good chance that no matter what Kerry says or does in the final two weeks of this election - barring some major catastrophe in Iraq, a presidential gaffe, or massive voting irregularity - he will lose. And he may well take much of the Democrats' remaining control of government down with him. After all, Putin wants Bush, while Arafat prefers Kerry - and that is all we need to know.

Beyond this, Hanson offers six reasons why he believes Kerry will fail to close the gap by election day. It makes for very interesting reading, but whether he's correct or not won't be known for another twelve days.

Wolves and Nuisances

Here's the site for the new Bush ad which is supposed to start running in battleground states today. It's entitled "Wolves".

Wolves are an apt metaphor for the terrorist enemy we're facing around the world. Much better than, say, prostitutes and gamblers and other "nuisances".

It is odd that Senator Kerry would describe the attack on the U.S.S. Cole that took nineteen lives, and the first attack on the World Trade Towers, as mere nuisances. It's very unlikely that the families of the victims think that these horrendous attacks were only nuisances.

Et Tu, John Kerry

Charles Krauthammer advances a startling hypothesis about John Kerry's strategy for regaining the affection of our European allies. Krauthammer argues that either Kerry is just blowing smoke or he's serious about trying to woo the French et al back to our side. If he's serious, which Krauthammer thinks he is, there really is only one way he could persuade them to get on board with us in Iraq and elsewhere:

Think about it: What do the Europeans and the Arab states endlessly rail about in the Middle East? What (outside of Iraq) is the area of most friction with U.S. policy? What single issue most isolates America from the overwhelming majority of countries at the United Nations? The answer is obvious: Israel.

In what currency, therefore, would we pay the rest of the world in exchange for their support in places such as Iraq? The answer is obvious: giving in to them on Israel.

If Krauthammer is correct, this would be the nadir of American history. Unfortunately, it doesn't require much of a stretch of imagination to believe Kerry capable of such a sellout. He demanded it in Vietnam and got it and he has called for it in Iraq as well.

And if he abandons Israel, what logic would prevent him from also abandoning Taiwan or South Korea?

Isn't it about time that the media starts insisting that Kerry reveal to the voters what's contained in those two or three dozen "plans" he claims to have for when he accedes to the presidency?

You can read the reasoning behind Krauthammer's allegations at the site linked above.

There's Something About Mary

The New York Observer has a very funny parody of John Kerry and his reference to Mary Cheney's sexual orientation, which reference he declares with an air of wounded innocence, was made with the purest motives and the deepest respect and admiration for his, the young lady. He had no idea his totally sincere remarks would be so misconstrued. He certainly had no intention whatsoever of trying to embarrass anyone. Here's the Observer's rendition of what Kerry wanted to say:

"We're all God's children. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. Which is a lesbian. All of us need to feel comfortable being who we are, even if someone happens to be a lesbian, which is what Dick Cheney's daughter is. Even if a young woman prefers to have sex with other women, like Dick Cheney's daughter does, she should feel comfortable. Being a lesbian. This really underscores the problem with the American health care system. It's not working for the American family. And it's gotten worse under President Bush over the course of the last years. Especially if you're a lesbian, like Dick Cheney's daughter. Let's say you're a lesbian, like Dick Cheney's daughter, and you need to see a doctor because your partner-let's say she's a bull-dyke-say one of her cats bit you. So you're a lesbian with a cat bite-I'm sure at some point in her life, Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, was bitten by another lesbian's cat-maybe they were having a sort of lesbian party, talking about how awful men are, how they want to castrate all men, and one of the bull dyke's cats got overstimulated and lunged at Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, and so Dick Cheney's daughter, being a lesbian with a cat bite, needs to see a doctor. So she and her bull dyke hop in their Subaru, they've got the Melissa Etheridge playing, or those Indigo Girls, as they drive to the doctor, but then they find out that under George Bush's health-care plan, a lesbian like Dick Cheney's daughter will have a hard time being reimbursed, so then you have an angry lesbian on your hands, a steaming mad dyke, not even a cup of chamomile tea is going to calm this lesbian down. Now I respect chamomile tea-I was raised a Catholic, I grew up a Catholic, I was an altar boy, and we probably had some of those pissed-off lesbian types coming to church, though I don't know if Dick Cheney's daughter, the lesbian, goes to church, if she puts on a really nice flannel shirt and goes to church, or if instead she takes part in lesbian, or pagan, rituals-orgies, I guess some people call them-but I'm sure that when she went to the next lesbian ritual, after the cat bite, Dick Cheney's daughter told the other lesbians about the cat bite and how she couldn't get reimbursed by the insurance company-not that she could see their faces, because from what I understand, at these lesbian rituals they all wear hoods of some sort, and there's usually a mandolin or something, music playing, because lesbians like to dance with each other ... and some of them probably look very much like men, now I don't know if Dick Cheney's daughter is one of those mannish type of lesbians, or if she is more the feminine type who enjoys sex with a mannish woman, but as a very gay lesbian, I'm sure Dick Cheney's daughter was wearing the latest lesbian fashions, though presumably she'd have a bandage on the cat bite, a bandage which her bull-dyke lover probably put on, so you've got a room full of very angry lesbians in hoods, a few of them playing the mandolin, or flutes, now my faith affects everything I do and choose, there's a great passage in the Bible that says, 'What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds?' Faith without works is dead. And I think everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith. Now I'm not saying that Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, burned a Bible at this ritual-it's possible another of the lesbians, who are friends and probably sex partners of Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, burned the Bible, it was probably dark and hard to tell which of the very angry lesbians tossed the Good Book into the flames. But the first and most important thing is to start creating jobs in America. The jobs the President is creating pay $9,000 less than the jobs we're losing. And this is the first President in 72 years to preside over an economy in America that has lost jobs-1.6 million jobs. Take 5 percent of that, and you've got 80,000 lesbians out of work, very angry lesbians, could be on the brink of a riot, spurred on by Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, 'cause by now that cat bite is very likely infected. But let me just say to America, I am not proposing a government-run program. That's not what I have-I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Senators and Congressman have a wide choice. Americans ought to have it, too. Ask yourselves: Do we really want to live in a country of angry lesbians with untreated puncture wounds, right down the street from you? I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you no."

Okay, Senators Edwards and Kerry, we get the message. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the tip.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

What the Democrats Have Wrought

Once upon a time there was a man who gazed across a ravine toward the people who lived on the other side and decided he wanted to build a bridge so that he could bring people on both sides together. He announced his intention to undertake this unprecedented attempt at unity, and everyone watched as he set out to do just that. But there were people on the other side who didn't want to be joined with those across the divide, so every time the man laid a new span in the bridge these people pulled it down and tore away part of their side of the chasm making it virtually impossible to reach them.

Then, when the bridge building project finally seemed hopeless, when the gulf between the two sides seemed wider than ever, the saboteurs stood at the edge and taunted the bridge builder with his own promises. You told us, they scoffed, that you would be a uniter not a divider, but we're more divided now than ever. So much for your deceptions and empty promises.

This, of course, is pretty much what has occurred over the last two years in Washington, D.C. When George Bush came to office he tried to build bridges to the other side. He invited Senator Kennedy to write his No Child Left Behind legislation. He brought the Senator to the White House to honor his brother, John F. Kennedy. He tried to bring people together so that the nation would benefit from a government whose parties were able to transcend their differences and do what was best for the American people. He sought to restore civility and mutual respect to our political discourse, but it was not to be.

Senator Kennedy thanked the president for his courtesies by accusing him of the most nefarious crime imaginable, sacrificing young men's lives in the Midlle-East just to enrich his friends in the oil industry. Then other Democrats jumped on the president, blocking the President's nominations to the Federal judiciary, libelling the reputations of good, honest, and highly qualified men and women purely out of partisan self-interest. They frequently and loudly proclaimed that Bush was a liar, that he betrayed the country, that he knew about the 9/11 plot beforehand, that he was another Hitler, that he was a war criminal, a gang leader, that he was a stupid, incompetent, brain dead, buffoon.

The scurrilousness of the accusations grew increasingly worse. No insult was too nasty, too base, too hysterical for the Democrats to employ. They weren't shy about telling whomever was paying attention how much they hated him. Their meanness grew in intensity as Michael Moore released the grossly dishonest Fahrenheit 9/11, and the Democrats found themselves swooning over the man who once called the passengers aboard the hijacked airliners that crashed into the Trade Towers cowardly white people because they didn't overwhelm their attackers like Black passengers would have.

Meanwhile, as the stomping of the president continued, the left encouraged efforts to undermine two thousand years of settled tradition concerning marriage. Anyone who wanted to keep the institution of marriage as it had been for two millenia was branded a hateful homophobe. Those who opposed tinkering with an already fragile, but vitally important institution, were said to be "divisive". President Bush was labelled "an ignorant man", a "divisive figure", because he believes the only way to guarantee the survival of that tradition is to shelter it in the constitution.

The left was relentless also in it's attempts to undermine the morale of our troops in Iraq and greeted every setback with an unseemly satisfaction. They were quick to declare both our efforts there and Bush's leadership in those efforts an unqualified failure. His opponents reflexively distort the situation in that theater in order to make Bush look incompetent. They ridicule his claim that Saddam was trying to build WMDs even though virtually all of them believed themselves that Saddam possessed these arms, and despite the finding of the Duelfer Report that Saddam had a strategy for ending sanctions and restarting his WMD program.

Then came the election campaign and the hysteria and acidulousness of the left were ratcheted up several notches. The MSM suppressed reports on the economy and on the war that would favor Bush and hurt Kerry and gleefully ran any story they could find that made Bush look weak, confused, or malicious. NBC's The Today Show gave Kitty Kelly three days to promote her veridically-challenged smear of the Bush family, but refused the Swift Boat vets even a single interview. CBS went so far as to run a story that made Bush look like he had refused orders during his National Guard service based upon documents that turned out to be an obvious fraud. The political news director at ABC put out a memo which essentially instructs his staff to slant their coverage toward Kerry. Chris Matthews at MSNBC plays Hardball with Bush supporters and throws Batting Practice to the Kerry folks.

The MSM grills Bush with tough questions every chance they get, distorting his record whenever they can, criticizing and blaming him for everything from 9/11 to the shortage of flu vaccine, but they never ask Kerry anything that might reveal his flaws. Never has he been asked why he won't release his records from his Vietnam service, for example, nor has he ever been asked what there is in his twenty year Senate career that he thinks qualifies him to be president, or what there is in that record that gives the voters grounds for thinking he can provide the leadership he assures us he will provide.

Now the President is being accused of having a secret plan to cut social security benefits to retirees in a patently cruel attempt to play on the insecurities and fears of the elderly and to drive a wedge between them and George Bush.

Desperate to solidify their African-American base, the Democrats have resurrected the old canard that Bush has another secret plan to disenfranchise Black voters. Remember Florida in 2000, they ask, when hundreds, maybe thousands of black votes were disallowed? They never mention that there were even more white votes which were rejected, and the reason they were was because the voters were ineligible, many of them being felons. Nevertheless, televison ads are appearing which show footage from the 1960s of Blacks being knocked down by fire hoses with the clear implication that this is the sort of thing African-Americans can expect in a second Bush term.

Hoping to discredit the president among those anxious for the promise of stem cell research to cure some human afflictions, they completely misrepresent the president's position on stem cells, making him appear either cruel or stupid or both, and they misrepresent as well the potential for success that stem cells hold. Senator Edwards has even promised that if John Kerry is elected, parapalegics and quadrapalegics will get up out of their wheelchairs and walk, perhaps the most despicable political promise ever made anywhere by anyone in the history of American politics.

On top of this have come allegations of yet another secret Bush plan, this one to reinstate the draft, preying upon the fears of millions of young people and their parents. In fact, the only people trying to reinstate the draft are Democrats in both the House and the Senate. The bills to resume a draft were introduced by Democrats, and only Democrats voted in favor of them. The most likely party to reinstate the draft is, in fact, the Democratic party, since it is only Democrats who are making the case for one.

Following close upon these calumnies are news stories about voter fraud in heavily Democratic districts and threats to litigate the election results, tying them up in courts, perhaps indefinitely, if Kerry doesn't win.

Having done all this and more, having sundered every bond of good will and decency, the Democrats now stand before the nation and have the insolence to blame George Bush for having divided us. They taunt him with his own promise to be a uniter not a divider, and deride him for having failed to achieve that which they themselves have made impossible.

Through this entire storm of invective neither Bush nor any of his team have answered in kind. He has kept his word about trying to change the tone of discourse in Washington despite the disgusting viciousness of his political opponents' slanders and utter lack of moral restraint. There is an ugliness and depravity in the rhetoric and tactics of the political left which is symptomatic of a sickness of the soul. There's been nothing remotely comparable to it on the Republican side of this campaign. President Bush has kept faith with his promise. He did what he could do. His honor and dignity are intact and that of the Democrats is in tatters.

They may win the White House, but it will be a Pyhrric victory if they do. They've done more in this election to destroy the public's faith in our political system than Nixon ever did with the Watergate scandal. They have injected so much poison into the process that, should they win in November, our political discourse and the public's trust may not recover for a generation, if ever.

This matters not at all to the left. Like a cocaine addict who will do or say anything, no matter how degrading or self-destructive, in order to satisfy her addiction to the narcotic, the Democrats are prepared to do whatever it takes, even if it means destroying the careers and reputations of anyone who stands in their way, in order to sate their lust for the narcotic of political power. It would be a travesty of calamitous proportions if the majority of voters in this country chose to reward this sordid record by putting these people in the White House.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Dead Or Alive?

Gregory Djerejian at The Belgravia Dispatch joins the growing number of analysts who are concluding that Osama's body lies moldering on some Afghanistan mountainside. After an examination of the evidence, Djerejian sums it up with this:

Folks, bottom line: we have to go all the way back to December 26th 2001 to see a video of UBL that really seems to get close to passing a smell test evidencing that's he actually, you know, alive (and he didn't look too smashing in it either).

Now, does anyone seriously believe that UBL wouldn't, if he were alive, be doing his very damnedest to release a tape, soonest, rubbing Bush's nose in it for not having caught him--dead or alive? Just as a little pre-election present, say, maybe to give the opposition a little assist in hyping the disingenous Tora Bora meme? Doubtless, he would, no? Unless, of course, he's dead. Which, I'm beginning to feel pretty comfortable concluding, may well be the happy reality as we sit here today.

Thanks to Instapundit for the tip.

See How They Love One Another

Evangelical Outpost directs us to a Christian lady by the name of Jane Stillwater who interprets Jesus' injunction to love one another in a most peculiar fashion. The gracious Ms Stillwater writes the following at her blog:

"Praise the Lord and pass the information!" Did you know that in the undecided states, only 26 electoral votes are up for grabs - while the red states supposedly have a lock on 228 votes.

Are we going to let George Bush get away with that? Having almost half of our nation living in heathen darkness, believing un-holy lies and practicing baby-killing? That's just plain un-Christian!

Don't send me to some swing state to persuade undecided voters. Send me to Alabama! Send me to Texas! They need me more. Their eternal souls are in danger. Being a God-fearing Christian, it's the least that I can do.

Undecided voters aren't causing our economy to crash, aren't putting us in mortal danger from terrorists, aren't responsible for the deadly typhoid plague in Iraq, aren't sponsoring genocide in Darfur, aren't threatening our children's future, aren't trampling on our flag and Constitution and aren't spitting on the teachings of our Lord Jesus. The red state voters are.

Send me to Georgia! Send me to Idaho, Wyoming, the Dakotas and Utah! I'll preach fire and brimstone to those heathens. "In the future, if you want to become patriotic Christians, you gotta start honoring Jesus, stop voting for those White House pagans and their drive-by-shooting foreign policies that are endangering our safety - and jail George Bush for his attacks on our freedom, our liberty, our safety and our Constitution!"

Red state heathens, it's time to step up to the rail and come to Jesus!

What would Jesus do? Does "Thou shalt not kill" sound familiar? And how about "Love thy neighbor" too.

Jesus was the ultimate Brave Man. Definitely braver than you and me. Always remember that Our Lord was brave enough to face down a terrible, painful and lonely death rather than deny his principles and resort to violence and/or dirty tricks. Did you see Jesus in the court of Pilate begging for his life? Did you hear Him wetting His pants and crying, "Oh spare me! Spare me! Kill somebody else!" Or did you see Special Forces op Jesus in his camo toga out murdering civilians in the Roman Green Zone? If He had done that, He would not have been the Son of God. He would have been just one more faceless "Bring it on!" demagogue in an endless historical parade of bullies, pimps and thugs. And we today would be worshiping some pantheon of gangster punks instead of Him.

If the red states elect George Bush this year, they also need to think about this: Who will they elect in 2008? Another demagogue just like him? And then another and another -- until finally one of them just calls an end to the election charade altogether. That's just plain SINFUL.

And if Americans are clambering for demagogues NOW, how will they act when there is no more oil? Will we then just descend into barbariosity altogether? Our great-grandparents managed to live good Christian lives without oil - and without killing babies for it either! America, we need to make some serious choices here. What would Jesus do?

Need more fire and brimstone to persuade you? Here it is! "Vote for that lying baby-killer George Bush again, red state guys, and you will surely go to Hell!" Vote for Kerry-Edwards and you may POSSIBLY stand a chance of redemption.

Whoever hid Ms Stillwater's meds please return them to her this instant.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Ashley's Story

Here's a link to a new pro-Bush ad called Ashley's Story. It's a powerful piece. You might send it to some undecided voter if you know any such people.

One thought that impressed itself upon me as I watched it was how different it is in tone from so much of the Democratic stuff out there. The Kerry ads, or at least many of them, are trying to scare the bejabbers out of old folks, African-Americans, and young men with complete fabrications about social security, vote suppression, and the draft.

This ad doesn't resort to calumny or lies, it just shows George Bush as the kind of man one hopes our president would be. Watch the ad and try to imagine John Kerry doing this.

Thanks to Power Line for the tip.

The Terrorists' Candidate

Vladimir Putin notes that the terrorists have a definite preference as to who they want to see elected in November:

"I consider the activities of terrorists in Iraq are not as much aimed at coalition forces but more personally against President Bush," Putin said at a news conference after a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

"International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term," he said. "If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power."

Pretty scary, especially when we reflect that this would make absolutely no difference to most of those who plan to vote for Mr. Kerry in November.

Senator Kerry's Record

George Bush claims that Senator Kerry, in twenty years of service to the taxpayers of Massachusetts and the nation, has authored only five bills which became law. Kerry testily replies that he has fifty six laws to his credit. Fact has done the heavy lifting and lets us know what's what.

Evidently, when Bush said Kerry passed five bills, he was counting only those measures Kerry authored which passed the Senate, the House, were signed by the president, and became law. That's technically accurate, but it omits six other pieces of Kerry legislation that have become law.

Kerry's twenty years in the Senate have, therefore, yielded the following legislative accomplishments:

A grant to fund small businesses run by women, a bill to name a federal building in Massachussetts after a WWII hero, a measure to limit the accidental taking of dolphins during commercial fishing operations, another to promote better understanding of coastal resources, and a bill to grant a visa and admission to the U.S. to one Kil Joon Yu Callahan.

The Bush campaign omitted mention of two other bills authored by Kerry which passed the Senate and later became law in a slightly different form approved by the House, under the same titles and mostly same substance. (This occurs when House and Senate versions differ so slightly that one house adopts the other's version rather than go to the trouble of a House-Senate conference to work out a compromise.) These were a bill to award Jackie Robinson a Congressional gold medal (posthumously), and another to increase research grants for small businesses.

Finally, there four "joint resolutions" that are not technically "bills" but which have the same force when passed by both houses and are signed into law by the president. All four created national events.

A resolution to make the week of Oct. 22 - Oct. 28, 1989 "World Population Awareness Week"; a resolution to renew "World Population Awareness Week" for 1991; a resolution to make Nov. 13, 1992 "Vietnam Veterans Memorial 10th Anniversary Day"; and a resolution to make Sept. 18, 1992 "National POW/MIA Recognition Day."

Even giving Kerry credit for eleven measures which became law rather than the five the president referred to his record amounts to a fraction more than one half piece of legislation per year served. The mediocrity of the accomplishment is matched only by the mediocrity of the laws themselves. It's little wonder that the Senator chose not to mention this lackluster narrative in his nomination acceptance speech.

Visit the Fact link above to see how Mr. Kerry arrived at the number fifty six. It reveals something dismaying about Senator Kerry's standard for legislative accomplishment. It's also a bit of a hoot.

What is there in the above tabulation that might lead anyone to believe that Senator Kerry has the qualifications to lead the United States through the difficult struggles that lie ahead? The times call for a leader, one who has demonstrated that he has what it takes to accomplish something significant. Viewpoint doesn't find much in the Kerry record in which to take comfort. In fact, it finds nothing in which to take comfort.

In Memorium: Jacques Derrida

Christianity Today's Books and Culture Corner has a eulogy to Jacques Derrida written by James Smith, associate professor of philosophy at Calvin College.

Smith seems to tell us more about himself than he does about Derrida, but there is one paragraph which reveals something important of the personal qualities of the man:

When I last saw Derrida, I was presenting a paper at the American Academy of Religion - a fairly blistering critique of his notion of hope, and Derrida was in the audience. We didn't have a chance to discuss the paper because he had to hurry off to a book-signing (he was such a rock star). While I stand by the critique, I'm disappointed we didn't have that conversation, and more disappointed by the asymmetry of my brashness and Derrida's graciousness. For what I always found most disarming about this intellectual giant was his personal humility-a kenotic humility that could put his Christian critics to shame. I've been plagued by a nagging sense that Derrida was somewhat hurt by the critique, and I had been hoping that Derrida: Live Theory could be a sign to him of my profound debts and respect.

Reading this paragraph makes one want to read more of Derrida, even if only out of admiration for one who can be so exalted by the academic establishment and yet so humble. There is something deeply attractive about the confluence of those two qualities.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Senator's God-Talk

Jonah Goldberg has a good fix on Kerry's religious talk. The excerpts begin with a quote from Senator Kerry:

"I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people," Kerry explained repeatedly, usually prompted by the abortion issue. "I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith."

What I [Goldberg] object to is this: While Kerry says he's opposed to "legislating" his faith on abortion, he insists that he's in favor of legislating his faith elsewhere. He said more than once Wednesday night, and plenty of times on the stump, that faith must be backed up by deeds. His religious faith, he says, is "why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith."

So, let me get this straight. Fighting for the environment, equality, and education - in the name of God - is righteously doing the Lord's work, but abortion must be kept legal because otherwise we'd be legislating religion?

It seems to me that you shouldn't pick and choose at all. You shouldn't infringe on, say, the property rights of citizens out of religious convictions about a clean environment and then conveniently fall back on the argument that it would be outrageous to invoke religion when it comes to abortion. Either your faith informs your views or it doesn't.

I say you shouldn't pick and choose, but I understand that sometimes you have to - but in completely the opposite way John Kerry picks and chooses. Kerry invokes God's guidance on the little stuff, the easy stuff, the boilerplate. He turns his back to God on the big issue, abortion (and, with a wink, gay marriage).

It seems to me this is exactly backwards. God doesn't have a position on the minimum wage or Superfund, so politicians shouldn't feel the need to consult Him about that stuff. It's only on the grave fundamental questions in politics that God should speak to one's conscience. Thomas More didn't put his life on the line about how Henry VIII handled crop rotation.

And that's what I find a little galling about all of Kerry's God talk. Beyond the naked pandering of it, it's morally and religiously empty. He may talk about deeds backing up faith, but where his faith is unambiguous he wants no part of it. When it comes to the tough issues, what he really seems to want is grace on the cheap. It's as More said: "If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable."

Kerry has had much to say about matters of faith lately, but he seems distinctly uncomfortable when he has to do so, and never goes deeper than vague references to the "Almighty". He gives the impression of a man just going through the motions because he knows it's expected of him. Doubtless he'd much rather be talking about something else and wouldn't be speaking of religious matters at all if there weren't votes out there to be mined.

Speaking of Senator Kerry and religion, a PowerLine reader asks: "Why is it that when President Bush goes to church it is to worship and when Senator Kerry goes to church it is to campaign? The Democrats are the ones hollering constantly about separation of church and state and they are the only ones on the national ticket attending church to campaign."

Yes, and they do it with great panache. John Kerry has probably been in church more in the last six weeks than he has in the last six months, at least if his church attendance is anything like his Senate attendance. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other Democrats regularly use churches as political platforms. As Power Line notes: Is it legal? No. And a Republican who did it would be in trouble. Or, rather, the church where he campaigned would be.

Church/State separation Democrat style means that Democrats can use churches to preach politics, but Republicans can only use them for worship.

Pat Buchanan Is Coming Home, Sort of

Pat Buchanan makes news with his endorsement for president. He is scathing in his condemnation of the Iraq war and of the neo-conservatives surrounding Bush, but he is completely contemptuous of John Kerry. Some excerpts:

... in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing.

The only compelling argument for endorsing Kerry is to punish Bush for Iraq. But why should Kerry be rewarded? He voted to hand Bush a blank check for war. Though he calls Iraq a "colossal" error, "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time," he has said he would - even had he known Saddam had no role in 9/11 and no WMD - vote the same way today. This is the Richard Perle position.

Assuredly, a president who plunged us into an unnecessary and ruinous war must be held accountable. And if Bush loses, Iraq will have been his undoing. But a vote for Kerry is more than just a vote to punish Bush. It is a vote to punish America.

There is a final reason I support George W. Bush. A presidential election is a Hatfield-McCoy thing, a tribal affair. No matter the quarrels inside the family, when the shooting starts, you come home to your own. When the Redcoats approached New Orleans to sunder the Union and Jackson was stacking cotton bales and calling for help from any quarter, the pirate Lafitte wrote to the governor of Louisiana to ask permission to fight alongside his old countrymen. "The Black Sheep wants to come home," Lafitte pleaded.

It's time to come home.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. It really is an outstanding precis of the conservative case against the Bush administration and even more against John Kerry.

If the Democrats lose it'll be largely because no one has a reason to vote for John Kerry. He's a perfect denotation of the term "empty suit". The majority of voters who pull the lever for Kerry wish only to vote against George Bush. Pat Buchanan is the most prominent example of this phenomenon on the other side of the ballot that we've seen emerge thus far.

Pollster Hankey Pankey

For people interested in such things this site gives an interesting graphical analysis of poll results over the last two months. The author, Steven den Beste, concludes that the only explanation for the pattern of results is a deliberate attempt to manipulate the election in Kerry's favor. He also believes the attempt has failed.

Thanks to Belmont Club for the tip.

Is UBL Dead?

Froggy Ruminations, a blog written by a former navy SEAL, offers this line of reasoning for believing that Usama bin Laden is currently composting in the Afghanistan mountains:

Usama bin Laden is Dead

You hadn't heard? Well, I'm not breaking news, President Bush knows damn well that UBL has been dead for quite some time. But why would Bush keep it to himself? If he were to disclose his knowledge that UBL is dead he would blow John Kerry's doors off in the election, and yet he remains silent. Why?

Maybe you're wondering how I know he's dead. Perhaps one of my SEAL buddies let me in on the secret? NO. I know because a publicity whore and grandstanding scumbag like UBL could not possibly resist the multitude of opportunites to inspire his cult members. His number 1, Zwahiri, has appeared on video or audio broadcasts every few months since 9/11. UBL has not been heard from since Tora Bora despite developments in the GWOT in Afghanistan and Iraq that make it unthinkable for him to have remained silent. Not to mention successful attacks in Bali, Madrid, Turkey, and Jakarta to name a few that remain unremarked upon by UBL. The invasion and occupation of an Islamic state by the US and not a word. Elections held for the first time in Afghan history, and he had nothing to say about it in the lead up.

AQ tried once early on to air a tape that never mentioned key developments in the Afghan campaign and was quickly discredited as an attempt to put one over on his followers by airing a previous recording. Zwahiri decided that it was better to just pretend that UBL was alive because there was no plausible martyr story to tell. UBL went out running for his life like a coward. He is dead. His remains are turds shat by scavenging animals in the mountains of Afghanistan blown by the wind and stomped on by US troops.

By why not make it public? After all, this is the one thing that could ensure the President's re-election. Have you noticed how coy DOD officials and high ranking officers are when the question is posed? They know. They certainly have intelligence to this effect. Of course, the President could have instructed subordinates to start saying that intel indicates UBL is dead. This would have put pressure on him to prove otherwise by issuing a statement which he is clearly unable to make. This process could have started 6 months ago, and if UBL did not answer, it would in effect prove the case. But it didn't happen. Why not?

Because the President knows that making UBL a martyr would serve to further inspire his minions, and he realizes that preventing this from happening is more important than his re-election. Instead, UBL remains forever silent even as his recruits yearn to hear his voice. Eventually these cultists will realize themselves that UBL went out like a punk, not a martyr and that the AQ head shed has been lying to them for years. That realization combined with US combat boots knocking their teeth down their throats will go a long way to beating this cult into submission. But it is important to recognize that the President's committment to killing terrorists supercedes his committment to his own re-election. I'm sure he hopes that the American people will come to this conclusion on their own and vote for him anyway, but it is quite a risk to take in the ultimate ME situation.

This kind of integrity and commitment stands in sharp contrast to his opponent. Kerry has proved to be a Blue Falcon (sic), a traitor, a louse, a shameless opportunist, and a lazy bureaucrat who pads his resume. Kerry is a smart guy too, and he realizes what is going on. But it hasn't stopped him from trying to bait the President into abandoning a critical propaganda victory in the GWOT by incessantly peddling his Tora Bora "outsourcing" charge in all three debates. He knows that the President will not respond to this charge so he is free to make it. Just like the Cheney lesbian scheme, this is a coordinated hatchet job, but this is on an issue that Kerry knows the President must choose to either defend the SOF troops that got the job done or remain silent. To his personal credit he never took the bait, but to his professional detriment he must let an unanswered charge linger. Do you have that kind of discipline? Especially in crunchtime? I don't know if I do, and I'll be happy to never have to find out.

President Bush, meanwhile, has just continued to keep the pressure on the terrorists, get us out of a recession, protect the homeland, and generally put the country's interests ahead of his own. He deserves your vote.

Viewpoint offers a second to the motion.