Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sandy Berger pleads guilty

That Berger ever served as National Security Advisor is a reflection of Bill Clinton's judgment. (And you should take that both ways it was intended).

Peggy Noonan swings and misses

I like Peggy Noonan. She is smart and thoughtful and she writes well. But every so often she will hit a really sour note. It no longer surprises me as it once did. Her article on Hillary Clinton is a good example. Like everyone, Noonan is a product of and influenced by her environment. Just about every time she misses, living in Manhattan surrounded by the left seems to play a part.

Her analysis of Hillary's chances in 2008 sounds exactly like what you would expect from someone from Manhattan who once worked for CBS and still sees politics in the same light as she did in the 80s and 90s. It is as if the internet, e-mail, bloggers, and 527s never happened. Noonan tells us that Hillary will run, the MSM will love her and voters will have no memory of her role in the corruption and criminality of her years in Little Rock and the White House.

Perhaps in another time long ago.

Union Hypocrisy

John Carlisle has a good piece in the American Spectator on how unions have looted their members pensions. Now they tell us that they are opposed to changing Social Security because they worry about the risk to their members.

The biggest risk union members face to their financial security is from union officials.

More Malkin

Michelle has more on the fake memo used by Democrats and the MSM to discredit the GOP.

The refusal of ABC and the Post to simply tell the truth points out how far along the path of intellectual and moral bankruptcy they are.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The blind asking the blind

Michelle Malkin points out a lot of the ways that Howard Kurtz fails to question his friends in the ABC/Wash Post fake memo story.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Would Football Benefit from March Madness?

I heard a couple of sports talk radio hosts waxing enthusiastically over the interest so many people have for the NCAA basketball tournament. They noted how people are filling out brackets and watching games who normally don't pay any attention to college basketball. They asserted that college football ought to have a playoff so that the same attention and excitement would be generated.

WRONG! Regardless of the merits of a college football playoff, they are way off on this. The excitement of the first week of March Madness comes in large part from knowing that some of the big teams are going to be upset by a small school. With 32 first round games (Thursday and Friday) and another 16 second round games on the weekend, upsets are certain. In contrast, any college football playoff would be limited to only 4 or 8 of the biggest name schools. The whole dynamic would be different.

Another point to remember -- because of the basketball tournament in March, no one cares what happens in November, December and January. This year, Wake Forest and Illinois started the year as two of the top teams in the nation. Only hard core fans know who won that game or even care. It simply didn't matter. In football, a game between two of the top ten teams is watched by fans all over the country no matter what time of the season it occurs (see Florida-Tennessee or FSU-Miami over the last dozen years). Why? Because it matters tremendously.

Roy Kramer was right when he said the beauty of college football is that every game matters. That is not true of basketball. Over 100,000 turn out to watch the Vols play every football game. Only 15 to 20,000 show up for hoops. Perhaps hoops needs the extra excitement of the tournament to generate interest. And for anyone who wants to point out that the Vol football team is annually among the best and Vol hoopsters are not, note that traditional basketball powers Kentucky and Indiana always play football (quite poorly) in front of two to three times as many as see them play hoops.

An Award for Stupid Journalists

Tim Worstall announces the Economic Idiot Award (hat tip to Econopundit). He awards it to the journalist who said that the oil refinery explosion would cause an increase in the price of crude oil. As Worstall points out, a reduction in the demand for oil from refineries should influence prices lower.

Horowitz on his

Horowitz' interview by the Washington Times is here. Everyone not familiar with Frontpagemag and Horowitz should check it out.

Media Bias isn't the problem

Media partisanship is a much bigger problem than bias is. Beltway Buzz at NRO has a short post which reflects partisanship at the NY Times. The Times reports that conservatives are using Terri Schiavo for fund-raising purposes. However, the fund-raising being done was to support her, not the organizations. Meanwhile, there were liberal groups using the Schiavo issue to raise funds which went unreported by the Times.

This isn't a case of media bias. This is a deliberate, purposeful effort to slant the news.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

March Madness this weekend

Four great games. Too bad that CBS can't do a better job getting color analysts.

Billy Packer and Greg Gumbel have tried to say a number of times that the all the poor play by the Big 10 this year (11 teams playing full seasons of about 30 games each) is not indicative of the quality of the league. Instead, since Michigan State pulled off two upsets this weekend, that means the Big 10 was a great conference this year.

At times like this one, one is reminded of the axiom that thinking is hard which is why so few people try it.

(Note -- Wisconsin didn't do anything special. They simply won two more games than expected because the tougher seeds were upset by someone else. The Badgers never beat a team seeded better than a 10.)

AP says Baghdad better under Saddam

It is possible that the AP isn't hopelessly biased and partisan. This might just be an indication of stupidity and incompetence.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

They call this "journalism"?

The March cover of Harper's magazine has a picture of 7 marines. The feature article noted on the cover is "AWOL in America: When Desertion is the Only Option." The article is about soldiers in the army who desert. The problem? The pictured marines were never AWOL. And now people seeing the cover think they were.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Peggy Noonan asks why so many seem committed to death

A reader asks that I mention this column yesterday by Peggy Noonan in which she expresses puzzlement at the intensity with which some people desire that Terri die:
why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavo's death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee calls Republicans "brain dead." Michael Schiavo, the husband, calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "a slithering snake."

Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death.

What does Terri Schiavo's life symbolize to them? What does the idea that she might continue to live suggest to them?

I think that Ms. Noonan's quote from the Democratic Underground sums up the answer to the questions she asks. Most of the people trying to save Terri are Christians. And liberal Democrats believe that Christians and Republicans are evil fascists. Killing Terri is all about "kicking the sh-- out of the fascists."

Understanding your opponent ...

would seem to be the first and most basic thing that anyone would do upon entering a contest. This would certainly be the case in a political system such as ours. David Frum had a post earlier this week which sheds light on the current electoral difficulties of the Democrats. He notes that none of the liberal law professors who consider themselves experts on the Supreme Court have bothered to read Mark Levin's best-seller, Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America. Frum writes:
Why are these academic experts on the Supreme Court so uninterested in a book that is likely to have a large impact on public opinion about the courts – and incidentally the next nomination to the highest court of them all? People are busy of course, and nobody can read everything, but still …. I’m reminded of something that John Podhoretz said many years ago: The great advantage that conservatives have over liberals is that we are bilingual. We can speak our language and we also know theirs. They however even now still don’t know ours and cannot be bothered to learn.

To repeat, liberals can't be bothered to learn what conservatives are all about. Why? I would guess that once they start from a belief that conservatives are evil, they think they know all they need to know.

I have read a large number of columns by a large number of Democratic politicians, pollsters, consultants and liberal commentators since the 1994 electoral earthquake. Not one has ever come close to identifying the reality facing their party. They don't get it because they don't try.

The Old Media Game

Thomas Lifson has a good column on the media:
It seemed so long ago that the old media and their liberal cohorts were able to mount successful campaigns manipulating the public into support for dubious propositions: Bill Clinton’s veto of a GOP budget as a “Republican shutdown” of the government; the public “demanding” Campaign Finance Reform, or Linda Tripp as demon.

The formula was simple: provide a carefully selected mix of data, hammer away on themes making the conservatives look mean, extreme, stupid, corrupt or narrow-minded; take polls with questions designed to elicit majorities favoring the liberal solution, and then wield the polls as irrefutable evidence of the need to let the people have their way. Intimidate wobbly conservative office-holders. Snatch victory and pound-home the manufactured memes of conservative depravity with casual press references well into the future.

The rise of the alternative media was supposed to change all that. see the example of the Swift Vets. Except that in the Schiavo case, the old media game seems to have worked again.
Most Americans do not realize that MRI and PET scans have not been used to determine the actual state of Terri’s brain, and that there is significant medical disagreement about the degree of her brain damage and mental and sensory impairment. Most Americans do not know about the affidavit from a nurse indicating Michael Schiavo seems to have wanted his wife dead. Most assume that Terri is brain dead. Many assume she is being “kept alive” by heroic medical intervention. Few realize Michael Schiavo started another family with a “common law” wife and children, making his guardianship of Terri morally suspect.

He does a good job explaining why this case is different and all are good points. I, however, want to raise a different one -- the MSM is far more powerful when it is not election season.

More Democratic election violations

In the heavily Democratic city of Milwaukee, election officials ignored the state election laws designed to help stop vote fraud. As a result, a lot of wards had more votes than voters. More on the story here.

Remember that this is the same place where 5 men from families of prominent Dem politicians slashed the tires of GOP GOTV vans the night before the election. In 2000, students from liberal groups admitted to voting early and often at a variety of precincts in Milwaukee and Madison. And earlier this fall, county election registrars in Madison were caught registering known illegal aliens.

Kerry "won" Wisconsin by only 11,000 votes.

Which party opposes tax relief for the poor?

"God has a lot of trust in me"

Which major Democratic politician said that?

Why should suicide be most painful?

Let's assume that Terri really would have wanted to die rather than live as she does. Let's assume that she wants her life to end. Would she have chosen this incredibly painful agonizing way to go?

We have testimony from a woman who was diagnosed in a vegetative state and starved (just like Terri). She says that it was agony.

So even if we assume she wants to die, why does it have to be this way?

Please don't throw me in that briar patch

Peter Brown has a good column in the Orlando Sentinel. He correctly points out that liberal political insiders may think (hope) that Hillary has positioned herself in the middle, but no one in any of the red states that she will have to win in 2008 has paid the slightest bit of attention. He also notes the foolishness of liberals who think that the problem the Democrats have had in elections is due to an inability to communicate their message rather than the message itself.

Some clueless liberals such as Eleanor Clift think that conservatives fear Hillary. Right -- about as much as B'rer Rabbit feared that briar patch.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Davidson loses. Then Vandy. Bad night.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Davidson-Maryland; refs tie it up at halftime

It's now tied at the half. Wildcats were up by 16 points until the refs remembered that the NIT committee wants Maryland to win (bigger school means higher TV ratings plus bigger attendance thus much more cash). It's hard enough for a school like Davidson to have to play every NIT game on the road while Maryland always gets to play at home. But when the refs intervene when the favorite gets behind, it borders on impossible.

We'll see what happens in the 2d half. I think the refs just showed us what to expect. If we can outplay the Terps by 20, we might squeak it out at the end.

ABC -- liars, incompetents or both?

Michelle Malkin has the story.

Another fake memo to embarrass the GOP?

Power Line has this from yesterday and an update today. Lots of reasons to suspect it is a fake. Wash Post and ABC can't give us any proof that it is genuine.

UN admits more Oil for Food lies

Only fools and the insane look to the UN to solve problems anymore. This is the latest perfidy to emerge from the belly of this corrupt monster.

Iraqi Terrorists' best weapon -- US Media

Glenn Reynolds has a post on this column by Austin Bay. Bottom line -- we have been winning the war from the beginning. The "insurgents" were weak and had little capability to do lasting damage. Their only hope was winning over the MSM to the belief that they were winning.

Fortunately for the US and the Iraqi people, the MSM is no longer strong enough to defeat the US military and American patriots.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How do you know a Democrat is lying?

What happens when a liberal economist from Yale teams up with an advisor for John Kerry to produce a study which is reported upon by the Washington Post? From experience, we know better than to trust the MSM, the Democratic Party and Ivy League ideologues. Donald Luskin provides more reasons why.

Silly arguments

A number of commentators (see e.g. this) are making the claim that the Schiavo case legislation by Congress in the last couple days will have all kinds of lasting repercussions. Supposedly, it ends forever any GOP effort to cut the size of government. It ends forever any argument in support of federalism or states rights. It gives the Democrats a precedent to use against Republicans in the future.

Silly, silly and sillier.

First, people are always too ready to assign momentous consequences to matters which are simply momentary. This is one such case. Second, Democrats have never needed any excuse for supporting any governmental action they want. They don't need this to push what they want in the future.

As for the argument that future GOP efforts to cut government or devolve authority to the states are somehow foreclosed now, how? Because Democrats will call us hypocrites? Oh my! Can I bear the shame and the pain? These are politicians we are talking about. When has fear of being labeled inconsistent ever mattered before?

Besides, this is no different from any other matter involving competing values or principles. Life is precious. Federalism is a desirable goal. In this case, they clashed. Which should be upheld in the present case? Federalism has been damn near trampled to death by liberals for 75 years. Republican forebearance on grounds of states rights wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference.

But a woman was being killed for specious reasons and the Republicans felt the need to do whatever they could. They stood for the principle of life. If that conflicts with the principle of federalism such that federalism is harmed one more time (I think that makes the total somewhere around 4,765,892 times, but I lost count), I think the choice was the right one.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Academia -- another major headache for the Democrats

Fred Siegel has an excellent piece in the New York Observer titled Radical Professors: The New Brain Trust?. The whole thing is valuable, but this was right on:
In 1989, when Eastern Europeans were reclaiming the ideals of human rights and political freedom, students and faculty on the Stanford campus were marching with 1988 Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson shouting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Culture’s got to go." Up the road, Berkeley—a city, dominated by the university, which conducts its own foreign policy—announced it was adopting Jena in Communist East Germany as a sister city, this just a few months before the Berlin Wall fell.

But then again, academia has been getting it wrong over and over again. Criminologists, as a group, were convinced that crime couldn’t be cut; sociologists were sure that welfare reform couldn’t work because it didn’t go to the root causes of poverty; and Sovietologists were certain that the USSR of the 1980’s had matured into a successful, even pluralistic society. As for radical Islam, the consensus view of the Middle Eastern Studies Association was that the danger to America came from a "terror industry" which conjured imagined threats in order to justify American aggression.

But even as academia’s batting average has declined, its claim to superior knowledge has expanded.
If the Democratic Party comes to be dominated by angry ill-informed activists who believe that George Bush is more evil than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, it will have a bleak future. It’s time for Democrats, if only out of their own self-interest, to start paying attention to the tragic decline of our college and universities. If they don’t, the party’s future will be in the hands of the acadeaniacs.

It is too late. The party is already dominated by angry ill-informed wackos who believe that Bush is more evil than Saddam, Osama or Adolf.

What liberal media?

One where Republican voters are unwelcome to work.

Ranting Profs exposes the Times, again

Cori Dauber on the latest slant from the Democrat's favorite newsletter of talking points.

Democrats -- party of the rich

Michael Barone has a column at Real Clear Politics which describes a trend that has been developing for years -- the idle rich vote Democrat.

Pat Sajak points out slanted journalism

Sajak adds a few more straws to the camel's back. The poor camel's back is not only broken, but he lies smothered in a mountain of straw.

Democratic credibility problems

Ralph Reiland has a good column on Democrats and their credibility problems. He has a good quote from another writer:
"We talk about Southern culture, blue-collar culture, NASCAR culture -- which overlaps, in complicated ways, with evangelical culture. Certainly one tenet they all share is this: When somebody punches you in the gut, you don't smile, stride halfway between his point and yours, and say that maybe the guy has a point.

He also points out that another reason Demcocrats lost the white male vote by a spread of over 25 points is due to stupid big government bureaucrats that threaten jail and massive fines for moving a jar of tadpoles or demand reductions in speed limits in order to reduce bug deaths on windshields.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Given his blatant financial and emotional conflicts of interest, why hasn't Michael Schiavo been removed as guardian? Given those and this, hasn't he provided plenty of evidence that he is unfit for the job?

The Embarrassing LA Times

Patterico, an attorney who works as a prosecutor, has several good entries at Oh, That Liberal Media. He also has his own blog Patterico's Pontifications. With Starving to Death is a Walk in the Park, this, and We Report, The LA Times Distorts, And You Decide, he demonstrates, once again, that anyone who relies on the MSM for accurate information is woefully ignorant, ill-informed, and a fool.

Wildcats win again!

Davidson advances in the NIT. Next, on the road againt Maryland Wed. night.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Deconstructing the NY Times

Cori Dauber is a journalism professor at North Carolina. Her blog, Ranting Profs is devoted to a look at the way journalism is practiced at MSM institutions like NY Times and Washington Post. Although not politically partisan, her review of the coverage of the war in Iraq has resulted in a lot of critical posts. On a daily basis, the Times embarrasses itself. You should check her out regularly.

Today, she points out, once again, how bad the Times "covers" the war.

Democrats' Catch 22

Will Collier at Vodkapundit nails it.

Swift Vet Interview -- a lesson in media partisanship

Swift Vet John O'Neil gives this interview on his education on media bias and partisanship.
TAE: At the Swift Boat veterans' May 4 press conference you had an open letter calling Kerry unfit to be Commander in Chief. It was signed by virtually all of John Kerry's commanders in Vietnam. Yet the story fell flat. The media ignored it. How did your group react to the media blackout?

O'NEILL: We were shocked. We couldn't believe it. I haven't been involved in politics or media relations, and I thought the job of the media was primarily to report the facts. It was obvious to me that many hundreds of his former comrades coming forward to say that he lied about his record in Vietnam and that he was unfit to be President would be important information for Americans. I only then became aware of the bias of the media.

TAE: How do you explain the media's response?

O'NEILL: The establishment media was very pro-Kerry. They were opposed to any story that was critical of Kerry, and I believe that they were captured by their own bias. We met with one reporter around that time. We told a story to him relating to Kerry's service. He acknowledged it was true and terribly important. And he told us he would not print it because it would help George Bush. That's when we began to realize we had a real problem on our hands.

He also said this:
Our analysis after the press conference was that the three major networks, the New York Times, and the Washington Post would under no circumstances carry a story like ours, no matter how well documented.

Of course, history proved that their analysis was absolutely correct. More:
TAE: Before the first ad came out, who picked up the story?

O'NEILL: The only people willing to publicizing the story very early were Sean Hannity, the Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, several Web sources, and finally C-SPAN (which aired the press conference). Other people who contributed to the story later in a significant way were the Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh. Another very important person was Laura Ingraham, who went through the allegations point by point and permitted rebuttal, and there was none. That made it apparent that there was a large-scale media cover up in progress.

A large-scale media cover up indeed. If there was such a thing as an honest journalist, they'd be deeply embarassed. Later on:
TAE: Were you surprised when Senator Kerry focused so much on his Vietnam record at the Democratic Convention in late July? How do you account for this when he clearly knew you were out there?

O'NEILL: I think he thought that he had good control over the mainline media, that they were sympathetic, that they would kill the story. And I think he was very confident that was the case with the New York Times and the three major networks and CNN, and that he could intimidate the portions of the media not already friendly to him. And so he thought the story would never come out. That had been his experience over and over again in Massachusetts.

And, for the difference between the media now and when he debated Kerry in 1971:
in 1971, while the media would spin facts on occasion and spin them very favorably to Kerry and his group, they wouldn't actually suppress the news.

What's happened now is the mainline media, by which I mean the three major networks, and the New York Times, suppress news stories. It's one thing to provide opinion, even in the news section. It's another to suppress facts that are adverse to your views. That is really a brave new world that did not exist in the 1970s.

TAE: Does your experience suggest the major media have lost their gatekeeper role?

O'NEILL: Yes, without question. Major networks tried to blacklist us and to hide the story from the public. In doing so they seemed to follow the directions of the Kerry campaign. As long as the campaign ignored us, they ignored us. When the Kerry campaign went on the attack, the big media attacked us.

Financial games by Mary Frances Berry?

Mary Frances Berry, the extreme left-wing activist who was finally replaced as chair of the Civil Rights Commission, left it a total financial disaster.

I predict that the audit will find corruption. And Berry and her liberal friends will cry racism.

It's not bias. It's Partisan Lying!

Lying news media (oops, that's redundant) continue to spread the lie of 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed by the war. Oh, That Liberal Media has a run down.

Friday, March 18, 2005

But Will They Shoot?

Herbert E. Meyer gives us a useful perspective on the thought process of the generals in a dictatorship besieged by demonstrators demanding freedom. Meyer also explains how US influences in culture and communication work together to foster the thirst for freedom.

March Madness

It shouldn't be a surprise that Alabama and LSU got upset yesterday. SEC basketball has become similar to SEC football -- incredible athletes who play like they are poorly coached. Because recruiting is the lifeblood of college sports, the SEC schools put a tremendous emphasis on recruiting ability when hiring coaches. And the SEC generally is the most athletic conference in the nation. But smart, heads-up, fundamentally sound play is incredibly rare from SEC teams in either football or basketball. Major college basketball programs have a head coach and 4 assistants to handle recruiting and coach around 15 players. Perhaps they should hire at least one coach who can teach teamwork and fundamentals.

This past season I was amazed at how often one particular team squandered last minute opportunities. Needing a basket to tie or win with 15 seconds left in the game, they'd call timeout. After the timeout the "play" they would run looked exactly like something you would see in a pickup game at the rec center. One player would dribble around trying to create a shot for himself while the other four stood and watched. Eventually the clock would run down and he would have to throw up a prayer with 2 defenders in his face. Hard to believe that is the best coaching you can get for well over a million bucks a year.

A case too far

Thomas Lifson, who does a great job at The American Thinker has another good article on all the different ways that our activist judicial system is facing a perfect storm. He repeats the same point that I posted on earlier which was made by George Nuemayr -- why should the public feel bound by the law when judges do not? Ultimately, this is the most critical point that judges should contemplate when they are inclined to "legislate their own personal policy preferences" (as Justice Scalia describes it).

I wish Lifson had spent more time outlining the extent to which federal judges have taken control of a large number of state and local political functions. He does mention the Kansas City desegregation case which I think may be the most egregious case of judicial overreach since Roe v. Wade. Using the ever expandable argument that jurisdiction implies the judicial power to craft whatever remedies are deemed necessary, the judge completely overhauled the education system. He mandated the construction of new schools and got involved in designing a Taj Mahal high school complete with swimming pool. Since his orders required a great deal of new funding, he ordered that local taxes be increased. No one should be surprised that, on appeal, federal judges decided that the Constitution permits a federal judge to impose local taxes and run local school systems.

This was the culmination of a very long series of cases under which federal judges have taken control of elections, jails, prisons, and school systems all over the country. I think most Americans would be shocked at how far they have gone.

Of course, don't hold your breath waiting for the MSM to tell you.

Read Every Word

Right Now! Ann Coulter nails it. She hits it out of the park. She has a thunderous slam dunk. It's an ace. When it comes to silly feminist blather about women police officers, she folds, spindles and mutilates. She shoots, she scores!! GOOOOOAAALLL!

Just read it.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

NIT wins

Happy that both of my schools, Davidson and Vanderbilt, won last night. And both were on the road.

Democrats' Foundation of Faith -- GOP is Evil

Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of the liberal New Republic, has this column which argues that liberalism is dying. I mentioned it the other day. It is as close to an honest examination of some of the problems facing Democrats today as you are likely to see. Unfortunately, he can't help but affirm Krauthammer's axiom:
Liberals... have not yet conducted an honest internal conversation that assumes from the start that the very nature of the country has changed since the great New Deal reckoning. Surely there are some matters on which the regulatory state can relax. Doubtless also there are others that can revert to the states. Still, liberals know that the right's ideologically framed--but class-motivated--retreat of the government from the economy must be resisted. There will simply be too many victims left on the side of the road.

Got that? Liberals are in denial about the way America has changed, but those lying conservatives have a secret desire to victimize poor people.

This reminds me of a post-mortem written by Joe Klein after the 2002 election, Can the Democrats Be Revived? He noted that the Democrats suffered because they were too dependent on liberal special interests. This would have been a good start toward an understanding of what ails them. Unfortunately, he followed it by writing:
This is not to say that the Republicans' special interests are any more noble; they are, in fact, spectacularly vile.

They just can't help it. The belief in the inherent evil of Republicans is their religion. They could no more abandon it and remain Democrats than a Baptist could abandon belief in the divinity of Christ and remain a Baptist.

"That's criminal!"

NRO has this column on Terri Schiavo. It turns out that she has never been properly diagnosed.
Terri’s diagnosis was arrived at without the benefit of testing that most neurologists would consider standard for diagnosing PVS. One such test is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). MRI is widely used today, even for ailments as simple as knee injuries — but Terri has never had one. Michael has repeatedly refused to consent to one. The neurologists I have spoken to have reacted with shock upon learning this fact. One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.

In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.

There was a moment of dead silence.

“That’s criminal,” he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: “How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman’s life and death and there’s been no MRI or PET?” He drew a reasonable conclusion: “These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don’t want the information.”

Why Democrats Oppose Bush

Bush economics advisor, Greg Mankiw, recently left to join the faculty at Harvard. He has this sensible article on social security in The New Republic.

"We bearly have any morals to value"

This witty comment was made in a thread at AnklebitingPundits that is a must-read.

Growing Investor Class Influences Party ID

Ramesh Ponnuru has a good column.

The fraud that is campaign finance reform

This piece by Ryan Sager, Buying Reform is a must read. From Real Clear Politics.

Will Ebbers Verdict Hurt Hillary?

A jury has rejected Bernie Ebber's effort to distance himself from rampant fraud with the claim that he didn't know what his subordinates were doing. Does the jury's verdict indicate a general attitude among Americans that they will not stand for leaders who claim to be responsible for everything good that happens while pleading ignorance whenever corruption is revealed?

During the 90s, her eager cheerleaders in the news media earned their "D" monograms with the megaphone by refusing to hold her responsible for an appalling number of scandals. By 2008, the changing information structure will make that impossible. I expect her to base her campaign on the claim she was co-president with Bill. Will she get away with claiming credit without responsibility? The Ebbers verdict makes it less likely.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

As Dishonest as You'll Find

This piece by Democrat Ken Mellman is a great example of the kind of dishonesty so prevalent on the left today. They have been lying so long that you have to wonder if they are even capable of crafting an honest argument.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More on the Dying Democratic Party

In my last post, I commented on the role the MSM is playing in giving life support to the Democratic corpse. Democrats obviously see the situation differently. Some, like John Kerry, point to Ohio and contend that a party only 60,000 votes from winning the presidency is in fine shape. Others contend that Kerry was the problem. With a decent candidate, victory would have belonged to the donkey in 2004.

That's a mighty big pie in that sky. First, Kerry was chosen in the primaries specifically because he was deemed most electable. Looking at the sorry collection of contenders, he probably was. If he wasn't, that just adds another example to the long list establishing that Democrats have remarkably poor judgment. Second, George Bush is such a bad campaigner that his lack of political skill is considered one of his strengths as president. Third, the MSM pulled out all the stops in campaigning actively and relentlessly on behalf of Kerry. There isn't any more they can do. And as the alternative news network of talk radio, 527s, blogs, candidate and party web sites and informal e-mail networks continues to provide more and more voters with information which contradicts the spin from the MSM, that influence will diminish every year.

Finally, the advantage Democrats gain from vote fraud is likely to diminish as well. Keith Olbermann and the other inhabitants from the wacky nether regions of the left have done Republicans a great favor with their endless ranting about stolen elections. Coupled with the mountain of evidence over the last 3 election cycles that implicates Democrats in all kinds of election fraud, they have set the stage and helped make the case for voting reform especially strong. This will really hurt the Democrats.

So, the idea that the 2004 election results aren't that bad is pretty hollow. In fact, those results continued to confirm a trend of Republican gains at all levels of government. If the Democrats aren't in big trouble, why are the governors of New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota and California all Republicans? Why did it take vote fraud for the Democrats to grab the governor's mansion in a liberal state like Washington. Demographic trends show the red states getting stronger with every census. Even most of the blue states got less blue in the last election. Democrats are a collection of disparate special interests whose only unifying idea is that they passionately hate the GOP because they believe the GOP is evil. How is that going to forge a new majority party? What great cause are they going to build with -- gay marriage?

Michael Barone says the Democrats are out of gas. Martin Peretz says liberalism is dying. Both articles should be read. They contain a lot of sound points. But there are other very telling reasons why the Democrats are in really serious trouble.

(I'm going to split this post here. Go down to the next one. I'm going to timestamp it earlier to keep it underneath.)

Even More on Dying Democrats

It should be obvious that you can't beat something with nothing. And even more obvious that the intense hatred that Democrats feel for Republicans is not enough to win the undecided center-- perhaps because the basis of the hatred is false.

Which leads to the ultimate reason why the Democratic Party is dying -- you cannot build a growing vibrant party on a tissue of lies. Both in terms of strategy and tactics, lying has become standard operating procedure for the liberal left and the Democratic Party. I suppose I should offer a qualifier here; not all the Democrats are liars -- some of them are simply unhinged from reality. Anyone listening to some of the comments by Al Gore about brown shirts and storm troopers could easily decide that he has gone insane. Since so many other liberals seem to be comfortable comparing Bush to Hitler and Republicans to Nazis, I guess we need to keep the insanity option open. Maybe they aren't lying. They're simply whacked out of their minds. In any event, I shouldn't have to point out that insanity and paranoia are rarely productive tools for building a political majority.

When Michael Moore becomes the best source of your facts, you have a problem. Of course, Moore arrived on the 2004 campaign scene long after the Democrats had made lies a staple of political discourse. Slandering Republicans has been Democratic Political Strategy 101 for many years. Kerry's claim in the last election that Bush was the worst economic president since the depression was simply a retread of Bill Clinton's bogus claim that the economy in 1992 was the worst in 50 years. This type of falsehood ran throughout Kerry's campaign. Whether the topic was Iraq, Kerry's war record, his anti-war record, his Senate record, the status of his records or even his ownership of an SUV, Kerry and the Democrats never gave an honest answer. They scared college kids with the bogus claim that Bush wanted to re-start the draft. They scared seniors with the standard lie that Republicans wanted to slash social security benefits. They embraced all the lies that Moore used to fill his movie. If you strip all the falsehoods from Kerry's campaign, there just isn't much left.

An even better indicator of the depths of dishonesty to which Democrats have fallen can be seen in their bizarre claims with respect to two issues: WMDs in Iraq and the social security crisis. In both instances, we have a long history of Democrats in the Clinton Administration and in Congress who told us repeatedly that Saddam had WMDs and that social security was headed for a crisis. Despite this well-documented record, we have heard many of the same people tell us more recently that the claim that Saddam had WMDs was a lie and that social security is just fine. One almost has to wonder if such a personality disorder is contagious.

Finally, the basic factual claims which the various Democratic special interests make about our society (and which form the backbone of their party) are simply false. As Ben Stein pointed out in his recent book racial discrimination is simply not the problem that the NAACP and liberals say it is. The claim that Republicans engage in wholesale efforts to harass and intimidate black voters is a vicious slander of the worst kind. The feminist claim that women are paid a fraction of what men make for the same work is false, and has been for at least a quarter of a century (see Ben Wattenberg's The Good News Is the Bad News Is Wrong. Environmental claims that the environment got worse under Bush are simply false. And as Bjorn Lomborg demonstrated in the Skeptical Environmentalist, the entire standard litany of the environmental left is false.

Remember liberals' claim that the homeless numbered over 3 million (Phil Collins claimed the US had 10 million homeless on the video of his big hit, Another Day in Paradise)? A deliberate lie manufactured by homeless advocate, Mitch Snyder.

Hunger advocates peddle the ridiculous claim that 20% of our kids go to bed hungry. Advocates of socialized medicine claim that every person who isn't covered by a health insurance policy receives no health care at all. Ward Churchill is a good example of the kind of honesty we expect from universities riddled with political correctness. In sum, regardless of which Democratic special interest group you look at, it will have a pet cause which is buttressed by statistics and studies which are distorted, exaggerated or outright fraudulent.

With the stonewall of the news media turning into a Maginot Line, more and more people are getting the real facts on these false claims. How can this do anything but hurt the Democrats?

And we haven't even gotten to their ultimate Achilles heel -- foreign policy. But patriotism and the lack thereof will have to wait until tonight. I have to run.

Democrats and MSM -- drowning together

We continue to read post-mortems of the 2004 election written by liberals trying to figure out what it all means for the future. None that I have read seem to understand the situation. In simplest terms, the Democratic Party, as we presently know it, is dying. It would already be a corpse, if not for the increasingly frantic efforts of the MSM to keep it on life support. Of course, the more the news media tries to prop up the party, the more it hastens its own demise. They are like two drowning men grabbing desperately at each other for help, but merely making it less likely that either will survive.

With each passing day, the MSM loses more of its credibility because of the political partisanship of its news coverage. It loses even more as the shoddiness of its product is exposed by fact-checking bloggers. Millions of Americans no longer bother to get their news from it and the number continues to grow. Changes in information technology present significant enough challenges to the viability of old media. They simply cannot hope to survive if they continue to bleed credibility with foolish partisanship while pretending to be unbiased. The attachment to liberalism and the Democratic Party is helping to kill the MSM.

The Democrats are in even worse shape. In 1976, the Republican Party died in the train wreck of Watergate. It was already a weak, sick old man and the shock of Nixon's scandal was too much to survive. The party of Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush died. There was no public support any more for a party which agreed with the Democrats on domestic policy goals while simply carping about the price tag.

Ronald Reagan gave birth to a new GOP. Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and George W. Bush nurtured and developed the new party. Intellectuals provided a wealth of vibrant ideas and policy proposals. They were aided a great deal by Democrats who seemed intent on driving their party off a cliff. Now, a quarter of a century later, we can see that the Republicans look almost nothing like the party of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

The Democrats, however, look very much like the party which elected Jimmy Carter in 1976 -- only more so. Even Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of the liberal New Republic magazine has written that liberalism is dying from a lack of intellectual fresh air. [The Peretz piece deserves a separate post as does the impending death of the current Democratic Party.]

How is the MSM hurting the Democrats? I previously had a post on how the MSM helps mediocre liberal politicians rise to leadership positions while toughening up Republicans (see Soft Democrats). More importantly, liberal partisanship in the news media distorts reality for Democratic voters and politicians. As I wrote in my first post, Democrats end up believing their own spin. Isn't it amazing how many liberal pundits and politicians still believe that the economy was in terrible shape in 2004? It is hard to make sound strategic and tactical decisions when you don't have accurate information. For example, in the last week of the campaign, John Kerry focused his whole campaign around the ridiculous Al-Qaqaa story that the NY Times was flogging relentlessly. A stupid decision which was influenced by the partisan bias of the Times' reporting.

Wait just a minute, I can hear the reader thinking, doesn't the liberal bias of the MSM help Democrats get more votes on election day? What about Newsweek's Evan Thomas and his estimate that the MSM's efforts to defeat Bush would be worth 15 percentage points in helping Kerry? My answer -- yes, the MSM boosts the Democrats' share of the vote. The problem is, not enough.

Liberal economist, Ray Fair at Yale, has an econometric model that has been reasonably accurate in predicting presidential elections based on the relative state of the economy. In 2004, the economy was so strong that his model predicted that President Bush (as the incumbent in a strong economy) would get 58% of the vote -- a landslide. On election day, Bush only got 51% of the vote. I think it is fair to say that the baldly partisan coverage of the MSM managed to convince a lot of voters that the economy was bad and cost Bush around 7% of the vote. So yes, the MSM delivers a lot of votes for Democrats and has for a long time.

The problem for Democrats is that, even with this tremendous boost, they can't win. And the MSM's ability to deliver votes in the future will decline as their credibility and ratings continue to tank. Imagine a truly non-partisan news media. Without the artificial boost the MSM has provided in the past, the Democrats' share of the vote would be revealed to be in the 45% range (or lower) and declining. They would be forced to ask themselves the kind of tough questions Republicans had to address in 1976. Significant change would likely follow. But the MSM's partisan boost is masking the need to change. Instead, Democrats keep thinking that they aren't in trouble and don't need to change.

What we will likely see for the next decade is an MSM whose influence slowly erodes along with a Democratic Party which continues on the path to the bottom. The MSM will keep providing just enough life support to prop up the corpse and keep liberals from having to face the truth. The Democrats won't change until they have no choice. The MSM is ultimately hurting them because they can't produce enough votes to win, only enough to put off the day of reckoning.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Drilling in ANWR

Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, has this piece on the tremendous innovations in technology which have minimized any potential adverse effect on the environment from oil exploration in Alaska.

One of these days ...

... the Republicans will finally figure it out.

The GOP is much like the boxer in the old cartoon who gets the crap beat out of him by the referee before the fight as the ref demonstrates everything that is prohibited by the rules. Republicans act like they still haven't figured out where they keep getting all those bruises. After all, the Democrats haven't laid a glove on them! (Hint -- the MSM "ref" ain't non-partisan. In fact, he has a huge wad bet on the fight and his money's not on you.)

The cluelessness is especially bewildering because we know that the Bush White House has clearly identified the MSM as a partisan enemy. Journalism professor Jay Rosen at Pressthink has been expressing outrage for a while over the way that the White House stiff arms the press and over Bush's candid admission that he sees the press as a special interest which doesn't represent the American people. If Bush realizes that the press isn't his friend, who does he think is out there presenting his message to the people every day?

Republicans don't seem to realize that the news media's partisanship and bias hurts them the most in non-election years. During election campaigns, GOP candidates are running ads and GOP supporters are actively engaged in getting out the message. The power of the MSM to influence voters is blunted by the cacophony of voices competing in the public square. But when there are no campaigns, the MSM is the only voice in the square. (Or used to be. With the rise of the alternative news network, the MSM is not the only voice, simply the dominant one.) Note also, that the more subtle bias present in the "news" is far more persuasive than the blatant hit pieces the MSM produces during elections. The news media's slanted presentation of "stories" on Iraq and the economy in 1993 and early 1994 did far more to hurt George Bush's re-election bid than the more one-sided propaganda put out as the campaign heated up.

So when will they finally get smart enough to figure out that the campaign never ends --especially after they saw how Clinton taught the Democrats? Didn't the success of the response to HillaryCare teach anyone anything?

Lori Byrd wants to know why the GOP hasn't made a point of publicizing the egregious behavior of the Democrats in slandering and filibustering Bush's judicial nominees. She wishes someone would start a 527 to publicize the issue. She's absolutely right. But we shouldn't limit it to this issue.

Let's face it. The MSM isn't going to tell our side of the story. We have to pay to get our message on the television. That means 527s. Talk radio, blogs, internet sites, and e-mail networks all help, but if you want to influence someone whose only source for political news comes courtesy of Matt and Katie in the morning, you have to buy ad time. And you have to work hard to rally and coordinate the efforts of your friends in the alternative news network. Because many of them are still simply reactive to the agenda presented by the MSM.

The right needs to create a structure to mobilize on a regular basis to get the message out. Start fundraising right now. Form 527s. Treat each key issue like it is a political campaign. If we want tax cuts made permanent, social security reformed with personal accounts, judges confirmed, drilling in Alaska commenced, and other assorted legislative efforts to succeed, it isn't enough to win an election. We have to win the PR battles, as well.

And remember, the ref ain't our friend.

By the way, thanks to Betsy for pointing out Lorie's post.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

NY Times says Iraq had WMDs

Newsmax has the story.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Who would cut disability benefits?

Polipundit has the story. Guess which party?

Weather Forecast

Strange forecast today. Snow showers with a high of 61. Say what?

UPDATE-- temperatures ended up in the 70s Sat afternoon. Thursday evening the National Weather Service put out snow advisory warnings that were scrolling across the bottom of the page on the Weather Channel about the snowstorm coming late Friday evening and early Sat morning.

Friday, March 11, 2005

I wouldn't invest my money with him

Just heard an investment manager on CNBC say that Bush's social security reform proposal was dead along with his entire domestic agenda. He based this on reports he'd read in the NY Times and the Washington Post.

Of course anyone reading the "reporting" in those newspapers over the last year would have concluded that Kerry would be president now after winning in a landslide.

Love these cartoons

MSM -- missing all the big stories

Bret Stephens, an editorial writer for the WSJ has a column outlining how journalists have consistently missed the big stories:
The cliche is that journalism is the first draft of history. Yet a historian searching for clues about the origins of many of the great stories of recent decades – the collapse of the Soviet empire; the rise of Osama bin Laden; the declining US crime rate; the economic eclipse of Japan and Germany – would find most contemporary journalism useless.

He goes on to describe how they completely missed the real story of what was going on with Arafat and Israel:
Take Western coverage of Israelis and Palestinians during the past dozen years. During the years of the peace process, a succession of journalists trooped through the region, reporting a handful of stories: the expansion of Israeli settlements; the chemistry between Yasser Arafat and the Israeli prime minister, and their relationship with Bill Clinton; the exact percentage of land offered by Israel at various stages of negotiation; the conflict between moderates and extremists on both sides.

These were true stories, in the sense that they were (for the most part) factually accurate and reflected the realities of the peace process. But the peace process was not the only relevant reality of the time. Arafat and his lieutenants continued to call for Israel's destruction in speeches to Arab audiences. Palestinian Authority maps of the region, posted in schools and public buildings, had nothing named Israel on them. Billions in foreign aid were pumped into the PA, but there was little to show for it in terms of a better economy.

Arafat's political opponents were sacked, arrested, tortured or simply shot by masked men in the street.

All this was public knowledge throughout the '90s. But because the information sat so awkwardly with the central premises of the peace process – namely, that Arafat was committed to peace and that the Palestinian problem was foreign occupation, not domestic tyranny – it tended to be dismissed as so much trivia. So the PA is corrupt; what else is new? So Arafat makes incendiary speeches? Rhetoric for the masses. Few people could recognise then that Arafat wasn't the key to peace but the principal obstacle to it. Today that's conventional wisdom.

A similar dynamic took place once the intifada began and the media meta-narrative switched from peace process to cycle of violence. Here, supposedly, Israelis and Palestinians engaged in acts of tit-for-tat killing; whenever a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up in a Jerusalem cafe, one could be sure to learn that his brother had been killed by the Israeli army. Yet while the cycle-of-violence hypothesis was highly convenient for reporters reluctant to pin the blame on one side, it was also falsifiable – and false. When the Israelis invaded the West Bank and killed the top ranks of Hamas, the incidence of terrorism didn't rise. It peaked.

It is, of course, impossible to anticipate events, in Harold Macmillan's sense of the word. But none of the examples listed here belong in that category. Norman Podhoretz predicted the peace process would lead to war. Charles Wolf saw the hollowness of Japan Inc. Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union. And George W. Bush understood, and said, that a free Iraq would serve as a beacon of liberty for the oppressed Arab world.

Bret is too nice to say that they missed all this because they lack any diversity in their ideology and they see their role as actively promoting their point of view. They didn't run these stories because the information conficted with what they wanted to believe.

Jay Rosen -- what comes around, goes around

Jay Rosen is a journalism professor at NYU. Yesterday he had a long post in his blog discussing how the press should react to what he calls efforts by the Bush White House De-Certifying the Press. He quotes the responses of a variety of different journalists on his previous posts complaining of the way this White House has refused to be very responsive to the press corps. Bush and his staff have candidly said that this press corps does not represent the people. Rosen and his friends are outraged.

What was truly amazing to me while reading all the various posts is how steadfast all the journalists are in their refusal to make any effort to look at the issue from the president's perspective. They refuse to even consider the idea that the news media might be biased against Bush (much less the evidence that they are a partisan special interest group purposefully working to defeat him and willing to engage in massive distrortions, lies and fraud to do so).

Jay and his friends would do well to consider the opinion of the nation's premier political journalist, Michael Barone. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his bio, he is a graduate of Harvard and Yale Law School, a former Democratic political activist, and a former member of the Washington Post editorial board for 8 years. He has been a journalist for almost 25 years.

Given his experience working to elect Democrats and his quarter-century as a journalist, you might think that Jay would take even a moment to wonder if perhaps there might be a little truth in what Barone had to say about the press in the last election. Barone wrote:
It was a bad election for Old Media. More than in any other election in the last half-century, Old Media -- The New York Times and CBS News, joined often but not always by The Washington Post, other major newspapers, ABC News and NBC News -- was an active protagonist in this election, working hard to prevent the re-election of George W. Bush and doing what it could for John Kerry. The problem for Old Media is that it no longer has the kind of monopoly control over political news that it enjoyed a quarter-century ago. And its efforts to help John Kerry proved counterproductive.

The left liberalism that is the political faith of practically all the personnel of Old Media is now being challenged by the various political faiths of New Media. Old Media no longer controls the agenda.

But it tries. At two crucial points in the campaign, Old Media used leaks from dubious sources to run stories intended to hurt the Bush campaign.

Memo to future Democratic nominees: You can no longer rely on Old Media to hush up stories that hurt your cause. Your friends in Old Media don't have a monopoly any more.

Jay, the president is treating the press precisely the way that any sane person would treat people who are trying to destroy him. Because of the new media, he doesn't have to use you any more to communicate with the people. If the press doesn't like it, perhaps they should stop trying to destroy him.

527s and Personal Account Statements

NRO has an article on the possible format of personal account statements for Social Security. I'd like to see President Bush create a hypothetical account and use as an example a black 45 year-old worker who went to work at low wages at age 18, experienced average wage growth ever since, and had the maximum percentage of his SS tax contributions invested in the same fund choices available to federal workers.

How much would his balance be today? What would it be at projected retirement? How does that amount of accumulated net worth compare to the average black worker today?

I suspect the answers would be real eye-openers. The president needs to take this directly to black voters. Perhaps an enlightened 527 organization might like to run a few ads. A few well-spent dollars here could enhance the chances of reform as well as shift a few votes in future elections.

The Democrats' OODA loop

As noted in the previous post, Chantrell's last paragraph had a reference to OODA loops or decision cycles as envisioned by military strategist, Colonel John Boyd. He links to a comment at the website for Defense and the National Interest. From that comment:

Boyd built his theory of conflict around the moral - mental - physical aspects of an organism's decision cycle—what he called the Observation - Orientation - Decision - Action Loop. Boyd showed that an OODA Loop (the decision cycle of an individual or any collection of individuals) is an open, far-from-equilibrium process. This is a crucial finding: students of chaos theory, systems control theory, or the theory of evolution will immediately recognize the implications of such a construction: the OODA Loop is capable of expansion and growth, but it is also inherently unpredictable and its pathway can lead also to chaos, because it incorporates positive as well as negative feedback control loops. OODA loops are enormously powerful, but with that power comes real danger.

The most dangerous form of positive feedback comes from the most powerful part of the OODA Loop—the Orientation activity. Orientation and the ability to change one's Orientation give the OODA Loop both its power and its vulnerability.

Observations feed into Orientation, but they are also shaped and filtered by the lens of Orientation. The idea of an "objective" observation existing independent of the observer is a myth still held by many hidebound defense analysts, sociologists, and economists but is now rejected by most anthropologists, biologists and physical scientists.

Observations feed into the organism's Orientation activity. Boyd showed how Orientation exhibits a shaping pressure on what is seen and on the interpretation of what is seen. Decisions and actions flow out of this two-way interplay of Observation and Orientation. He showed why the most dangerous internal state of an OODA loop occurs when the Orientation process becomes so powerful that it force fits the organism's observations into fitting a preconceived template, even when those observations threaten the relevance of that template.

In essence, like the communist ideologue, the organism sees what it wants to see, interprets events the way it wants to interpret events, and sees no reason to change. It makes decisions and actions accordingly. When this happens, the loop has turned inside itself. It loses its capacity to adapt to changing external circumstances, and in effect, the open far-from-equilibrium system becomes an incestuously amplifying closed system—and echo chamber amplifying its own echoes: Any tendency toward self-correction breaks down, because Observations of the results of its Actions are fed through the same non-adaptive template, over and over again. The organism becomes increasingly disconnected from reality.

The power of Boyd's intellectual achievement is that he showed why the inevitable result of such an inwardly focused OODA Loop is a build up of internal confusion and disorder (entropy). He showed why, when such loops are put under menacing pressure, the confusion and disorder naturally expands into panic and chaos, which in turn can generate overload, paralysis, and even collapse. Boyd's entire strategy of conflict centered on the idea of inducing his opponent's OODA loop to turn inside itself.

But you don't need conflict to close an OODA loop. A closed OODA loop, with the attendant build up of entropy, can be also be the result of a self-inflicted wound, as was the case in the old Soviet Union.

In the following posts, I intend to look at why the future is so bleak for Democrats. A central point is that they are seriously divorced from reality. The framework of an OODA analysis targets their "orientation" as the reason why. This is why I wrote previously that Krauthammer's axiom is critical to an understanding of our politics. Democrats do think that Republicans are evil. That belief serves as the foundation for everything they do. Blinded by hatred and unable to accurately observe reality, their orientation results in decisions and actions which are ineffective and often counterproductive.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Soft Democrats

American Thinker had an intereting article by Christopher Chantrell last week. Although his topic is Social Security, I want to focus on two thoughts which are contained in his last paragraph:
Democrats are genuinely shocked by President Bush’s strategic boldness. They understand tactics, like saying “I have a plan” in presidential debates, or mau-mauing presidents of Harvard. But they are overwhelmed by President Bush’s calculated risks in war, tax cuts, deficits, judges, and now Social Security reform. Coddled and softened by their tenured jobs and guaranteed pensions, they are frightened by people with the fortitude to create a vision, formulate a strategy, and sustain it to completion through inevitable dangers and setbacks. In strategic terms, as understood by the late John Boyd, this means that Republicans can usually get inside the Democrats’ OODA loop, fighitng them in terms and with strategies and tactics they cannot comprehend, much less vounter, and beat them like a drum.

The first thing that caught my eye was his statement about Democrats living in a soft, coddled world. This reminded me of Michael Barone's book, Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for America's Future. I'm intrigued by Chantrell's implied assertion that Bush specifically (and Republicans generally) are more successful in politics today because they come from "hard" America and the Democrats come from "soft" America. I think that there may be a little merit to his point, especially as it relates to the Democrats.

Something that must be particularly distressing to a loyal Democrat surveying the political landscape in 2005 is the complete absence of a quality leader in the party. Democrats may moan about Kerry's weak effort in the last campaign, but it is likely that any of the other contenders would have been even worse. The leadership in Congress is worse than a joke. And the party seems intent on putting its hopes for 2008 on the most polarizing and most corrupt politician since Nixon.

Why do the Democrats have such a weak collection of leaders? Back in the late 90s, one of the contributors to the old Washington Weekly web site wrote that the bias and partisanship of the MSM did provide one advantage for Republican politicians. They had to learn very early to think carefully before speaking. They were battle-tested, early and often. Democrats, in contrast, can say and do a lot of stupid things with confidence that the press will cover for them. Mediocre (and worse) politicians can win a lot of elections in blue states and rise to positions of leadership in Congress without ever being battle-tested.

The second point on OODA loops will be dealt with in the next post.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Journalist recklessly slanders bloggers as reckless

Bill Hobbs had this op-ed from the Baltimore Sun by journalism professor, Christopher Hanson. It would be hard to find something more replete with stereotyping, distortion, and outright fabrication.

The Eason Jordan affair was driven by the work of about a dozen influential bloggers, none of whom even remotely resembles the ridiculous caricature portrayed by this fool. Not a single one of these bloggers "want to have big-league journalistic impact but to avoid ethical standards they apply so vigorously to mainstream reporters."

A quality journalist would have identified who he was talking about. A quality journalist would have tried to interview some of the bloggers or at least some people familiar with their work. I'm sure that Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, or the Power Line guys would have been happy to respond to any inquiries he would have directed to them. A quality journalist would have told the truth about all of Eason Jordan's statements and the statements from Barney Frank and Senator Dodd expressing their shock over those made at Davos. A quality journalist would have refrained from lumping all bloggers into a single category. A quality journalist would have refrained from gratuitous libel.

Too bad that Professor Hanson wasn't able to reach the standard of quality journalism (or even hack journalism). I wonder if he can teach any better than he writes.

Do 20% of our kids go to bed hungry?

This is a second example of liberal slander.

The folks at Second Harvest put out ads periodically which make this claim about hunger. I've seen such ads on the internet and heard them on the radio. "One in five children go to bed hungry. The sooner you believe it, the sooner we can do something about it."

I'm glad the Second Harvest folks do what they do. But I can't understand why they put out such garbage in their ads. And I really can't understand how someone could believe any of it.

As in my prior example on school funding, stop and think about all the people in the community who are implicitly slandered by this ad -- ministers, priests, rabbis, deacons, elders, social workers, politicians, journalists, university professors, advocacy groups, etc. -- actually, anyone with a conscience. If 20% of the kids in this community were really suffering from hunger, I can assure you that every minister in every church that I ever belonged to would have made solving such a problem his mission in life. It would be the topic of every sermon. We would see church committees organizing food drives so fast that we'd likely get whiplash. Since some of them are actually involved as volunteers for Second Harvest and some of our tithes go to support the organization, I would have to assume that they would know.

I can only assume that they put out such ads because they work. What kind of person could possibly believe them? How distorted must their view of reality be? How long have they lived on the other side of such a bizarre looking glass?

Slander -- the staple of liberal discourse

Imagine an election campaign in which the Democrats refrained from slander as their basic strategy. You can't do it, can you? Of course, it isn't just election campaigns. It is a fact of daily life. Let me share a couple of local examples.

In a sunday school class a couple of years ago at our Presbyterian church, we used a book edited by a local minister which focused on several dozen societal problems such as poverty, homelessness, crime, mental illness, education, hunger, etc. Each topic was covered in a short chapter written by someone involved in a local advocacy group.

In the chapter on discrimination, the author focused on the "inequity" (a word he used often) of our local schools. He listed five schools in the inner city which all received grades of "F" from the State Board of Education pursuant to new accountability standards. The grades are determined by performance on standardized tests. He then listed five schools from the western part of the county which is generally the most affluent section. They all had "A" grades. To him, the disparity in grades clearly proved racial discrimination in the school system.

When we discussed the chapter in class, I asked how the difference in grades proved discrimination. Several liberals immediately said that everyone knows that the schools in the rich part of the county get more money. I stopped them to make sure that their charge was accurately understood -- "you are saying that the school board spends more money on the schools out west and less money on the predominately minority schools in the city?" Of course, they answered.

Stop for a moment and consider what would also have to be true for this to be a fact. This was the 21st century. The elected black members on the school board would have to acquiesce (as would all the other members -- are they assuming that all white school board members are racist?). All the education professionals serving in administrative roles (black and white) and all the teachers in the affected schools would have to be silent. Note, members of the teachers unions are among the most loyal groups supporting the Democratic Party. The NAACP, Urban League and other assorted liberal advocacy groups would have to remain silent. The local newspaper, TV news and radio news organizations would have to stonewall the story. All the professors in the College of Education at the University of Tennessee (as well as the other professors at UT and pre-dominately black Knoxville College) would have to be silent. Are they all racist, too? Not to mention all the politicians in city and county government. What about all the activists in the local Democratic Party (assuming that these liberals automatically believe that the GOP is racist)? The list of people who are implicitly slandered by this charge just goes on and on and on.

I decided to contact the school board to ask if they had a breakdown on spending for the affected schools. There was, in fact, a general pattern of disparate spending in the schools. The inner city schools had the highest spending for instruction per student in the county. The schools in the affluent western portion of the county had the lowest. Inner city students received TWICE as much instructional money as those students in the schools in the most affluent areas.

This was about what I expected. The question is why the liberals in the class were so ready to slander so many people in the community, many of whom are fellow liberals.

What kind of skewed view of the world is required for people to assume so readily sinister behavior in people all around them? How removed from reality do you have to be?

Do bad schools cause bankruptcy?

Megan McArdle at has a very good piece on the debate about the bankruptcy reform bill currently before Congress. I highly recommend the whole thing, but want to focus particularly on one claim made by left-winger Josh Marshall and his allies about our schools:
The story of bankruptcy today is the story of modern America. As tough as it is for many to accept, Americans are not in a frenzy of overconsumption. The research of Professor Warren and others has revealed that we actually spend less on non-necessities, thanks to falling prices for clothing, restaurant dining, and other purchases. Americans today have less disposable income than they had a generation ago, as more of our income is spent on housing, health care, and transportation.

Americans spend more money on their homes than a generation ago because house-shopping for families is as much about the school district as it is about the home itself. Our failure to provide equal access to quality schools has produced a bidding war between middle class families for homes in good school districts, which in turn results in working families buying more expensive houses than their incomes would have allowed a generation ago. In turn, as families move away from cities in search for better school districts, they end up spending more on their car and gasoline.

They also blame rising health care costs as well.

Megan later notes that much of the "research" Warren relies on is garbage, but she has no love for the credit card companies, either. Neither do I, so I don't have a position on the bankruptcy proposal.

By the way did you notice how, to these liberals, everyone (not just the bankrupt) is a victim of the system. And the schools in the city are bad because of "our" failure to provide sufficient quality. Marshall uses "our" to mean society as a whole, but he would be far more accurate if he meant his liberal friends.

In places like Washington DC, the school board spends over $15,000 per student per year. The problem isn't lack of funding. In Philadelphia, similar spending produces a system where only 1 out of 3 students actually graduates. And only 1 out of 3 of them can read at a level higher than functional illiteracy. (Note -- these numbers are from memory. When I get a chance, I'll try to google the study where I read them a couple years ago.)

All this leads to a topic which deserves its own post -- why liberals are so quick make (and to believe) the most horrible slanders about other people.

Wal-Mart benefits the poor

(Via Instapundit) Virginia Postrel has a long quote from a NY Times article which actually has some praise for Wal-Mart and debunks some of its critics. The bottom line:
The conventional criticism of Wal-Mart is that it's an insatiable capitalist juggernaut, reaping private benefit at the expense of the public good. The view retains some currency, I suspect, because many of Wal-Mart's critics haven't really shopped there.

The funny thing is that, for quite a while, this view has had the situation almost exactly backward. Instead of producing private benefit at public expense, Wal-Mart has been producing public benefit at private expense. And the equation is likely to become ever more lopsided.

I regularly shop for grocieries at Wal-Mart, Target and a couple nearby grocery stores. Because I generally tend to remember prices, I am fascinated by the stores which often make a big deal of a sale with slashed prices on some items when the lower prices are still higher than Wal-Mart's. It is also interesting to see the way that our Target grocery chooses to compete with the Wal-Mart located in the same strip mall. Target will match prices on a lot of items, but isn't even close on others. Target also works hard in the produce and deli areas to make the store extremely appealing visually. There are a lot of shoppers in my area who shop Target, but refuse to go in a Wal-Mart. But since Target does seem to lower prices on certain items to Wal-Mart levels, they obviously think that there are a lot of shoppers who feel otherwise.

I would love to see the psychological studies or theories that all these grocery stores rely upon for price competition decisions. Do most shoppers remember milk and egg prices while ignoring detergent and toilet paper, etc.?

Can you say chutzpah?

Newsmax has this story on Hillary. She claimed that women in government reduce the extent of corruption.

I'd love to see a breakdown of how much her net worth increased during her stay in the White House. Someone once wrote that the Clintons' personal possessions fit into half of one moving van when they moved in in 1993 and required something like 16 vans when they left. And of course, their bank account balances had lots more digits, too.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Iraq checkpoint priorities

Cori Dauber at Ranting Profs makes a very good point about those who are criticizing US military policy on checkpoints in Iraq:
the real heart of the matter is that the troops have clearly been told to act as if any vehicle that fails to slow down after a certain number of warnings is hostile. That's where they place presumption: the risk of letting through a suicide bomber is greater than the risk of fatally shooting civilians.

And that's what's really upsetting the critics. They want presumption placed the other way. They want the troops to act as if the risk of shooting civilians, fatally or not, is a greater risk than letting through a suicide bomber or a drive-by shooter.

The dispute is absolutely that simple.

Presumption is all about what risk you believe is greater. (In the American criminal justice system, we've decided that the risk of locking up an innocent man is greater than the risk of freeing a guilty one, for example.) The military has decided which risk matters more, and the critics aren't happy with that choice.

You can be sure, by the way, that if the military flipped and put presumption the other way, the press would be all over them for that choice, too.

Why "liberal" is a dirty word

David Horowitz is a red-diaper baby, a former left-wing, Marxist radical. He lived in Berkeley, edited the radical magazine "Ramparts", protested the war in Vietnam, supported the Black Panthers and advocated revolution in America. After seeing the communists kill more than 2 million innocents after the US left Vietnam, he wondered why none of his friends on the left seemed to care about it. This started a long political migration toward support of freedom, democracy and free markets.

In this diary post, he discusses an interview the NY Times did with three lefties. The first question posed asked why "liberal" had become a dirty word? David answers:
Here's the reason liberal has become a dirty word. Because Communists, fellow-travelers, pro-terrorists, terrorist sympathizers have hijacked the word liberal and because organs like the New York Times have abetted them, using "liberal" to describe anti-American radicals and even totalitarian radicals like Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Michael Moore, the organizers of the anti-Iraq and pro-Saddam "peace" movement, and Katrina vanden Heuvel and the Nation.

The nation's last truly liberal leader, a pro-Vietnam war Democrat named Hubert Humphrey, had his presidential chances destroyed by the pro-Communist Tom Hayden and the Yippes nearly forty years ago. Hayden, who even today is working to defeat America in Iraq is invariably referred to by institutions like the Times as a liberal. Wrong. I am a liberal -- a believer in free markets and free individuals, a supporter of intellectual diversity on college campuses against the opposition of the ACLU, the AAUP, the Nation, and the progressive left generally (with one exception known to me).

When the cultural arbiters like the Times stop referring to totalitarians and anti-American radicals as liberals, the good name of liberalism will start the long road back to being a good name. Peter Beinart has made a stab at beginning this process. But if he continues to be cowed by the likes of Katrina vanden Heuvel, he's not going to get very far.

Credibility problems at the Boston Globe?

Who'd a thunk it? Chris Lynch has details.

Support a Social Security Lockbox!

Donald Luskin makes a great point. Personal social security accounts would be a real "lockbox". In fact, they would be the only viable way to lock away social security revenues for future use, unavailable for Congress to spend.

Is this any way to run a party?

In NRO, Jim Geraghty's TKS has an excerpt of Tim Russert's interview with Senators Durbin and McConnell on Meet the Press. Although he doesn't comment on this aspect of Durbin's remarks, I couldn't help notice:
RUSSERT: But if you had voted against authorizing the president to invade Iraq, would we be seeing some of the changes in democracy we're seeing in the Middle East?

SEN. DURBIN: I would have liked to have seen us go into Iraq under the right situation where the president described the situation accurately. Weapons of mass destruction didn't exist. Nuclear program didn't exist. Any connection with the 9/11 terrorism didn't exist. All of these things were said and those of us on the Intelligence Committee knew that they were, at best, exaggerations. I don't think you should mislead the American people, whether you're doing it intentionally or by accident, and in this case they were misled.

First, we now know that some WMDs did exist and that a wide scale program to develop a variety of WMDs, including nuclear ones, also existed. See here. We also know that there were connections between the Iraqis and Al Quaeda. Second, I find it amazing that Durbin is claiming that he knew that the president was misleading the American people at the time.

I sure don't remember Durbin telling us that during the debate. I do remember a lot of Democrats expressing fear that Saddam would use WMDs against our troops. If what he says is true, he is confessing to extreme irresponsibilty on his part. And of course, he's lying about what we found.

Do the Democrats really think that this kind of lying and irresponsible behavior is any way to win back the trust of a majority of voters?

Dan Rather -- liar from the start

Philip Chalk has the story on Dan Rather, serial liar from his days in Dallas. He took credit for the scoop on JFK having died when the info was actually obtained by his boss. Then he knowingly lied to the world when he reported that Dallas schoolchildren had cheered when they heard that the president had been shot. This supposedly demonstrated how filled with hate Dallas was. As Rather well knew, the children only cheered when they were told they could go home early. They weren't told the reason why.

I was a 2d grader in New Jersey that day. We were also sent home early that day and we were told why. I remember two kids skipping down the sidewalk that led through the playground happily chanting "Kendy got shocked in the head, we get to go home." They had no idea who "Kendy" was, or that he was shot, not "shocked." They were just pleased to go home early.

I also remember how upset my parents were. I didn't quite understand why. I knew that they were Republicans and this JFK guy was a Democrat. My parents explained that our country was far more important than differences in political party affiliation (in addition to explaining how horrible it was for his family).

NY Times and Wash Post compete

Patrick Hynes has a piece for The American Spectator on the deporable coverage on Social Security reform from the Times and the WaPo. Not surprisingly, truth and honesty in their coverage are in short supply.

Assuming that either paper has an honest person working there (I know it's a stretch, but let's be charitable), imagine how embarassing it must be.

What liberal media?

David Frum has a good diary entry today (3/7) exposing more hypocrisy in the Washington Post. He closes:
It's a free country, there's a First Amendment, and if the Washington Post Style section chooses to be anti-Christian and pro-gay, that's their right--and maybe even, given the demographics of the Washington area, a sound marketing decision. But since those are the paper's choices, is it really too much to ask that the paper and papers like it quit saying, "Who, us?" whenever anybody outside the paper points them out?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Liar or Fool? Corrupt or Incompetent?

Here is another example of how bad journalism is today. Beldar tears into the foolish liar who put out this fawning piece of crap on Dan Rather.

Hugh Hewitt and Beldar on FEC regulation of the internet

It's not gonna happen. A law professor, Hugh writes:
I have been teaching the First Amendment for a decade, and it isn't going to happen because it would be patently and obviously unconstitutional to classify the content of a political blog --which is essentially a cyber-newspaper-- as within the purview of the FEC.

Beldar even more closely reflects my feelings:
I'm emphatically not an expert on campaign finance laws, but I do know my way, in a general sense, around First Amendment precedent. [S]peaking just as one crusty old trial lawyer who also happens to write a blog with his bemused observations and occasional rants about politics, I'm damned sure not going to change my blogging style, nor start running disclaimers every time I blog about a political issue or a politician/candidate.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Fighting Dirty for the Black Vote

Mona Charen has a good piece on the concerns expressed by Donna Brazile, Gore's campaign manager, that the GOP is making in-roads with the black voters that are so critical to Democratic hopes for victory. Anything less than 85-90% of the vote, means certain defeat. Charen writes:
The Democrats' answer to this lopsided equation has been to stoke racial animosity and distrust wherever possible. The more that African-Americans can be made to feel targeted, victimized and despised, the easier it is for Democrats to pose as their friends and champions. We have thus witnessed countless episodes over the past decade and a half when liberals have invented racist incidents.

Brazile herself contributed to this myth-making when she declared that the results of the 2000 election in Florida represented "a systematic disenfranchisement of people of color and poor people," adding that "in disproportionately black areas, people faced dogs, guns, and were required to have three forms of ID."

This is pure fiction. So were Democrats' claims that George W. Bush somehow condoned the dragging murder of James Byrd in Texas, or that Judge Charles Pickering was soft on the KKK, or that black churches in the South were targets of a racist arson conspiracy.

The problem with this kind of slander is that truth eventually wins out. As more and more blacks realize that their "leaders" have been lying to them, the percentage voting Republican will increase.

Because of this and other reasons I'll examine in future posts, the Democratic Party is in much worse shape than they imagine.

Air Strike on Syria?

Publius Pundit has an extensive roundup of news on Syria. Scroll down about halfway through today's post where he has the following:

The United States, through its Al-Hurra TV network, has said that the Pentagon favors an airstrike to topple Assad and free Lebanon.

He quotes this:

The Pentagon is now convinced that air strikes on Syria have become necessary to overthrow the Assad regime, liberate Lebanon and stop support of insurgents waging a guerrilla war against American forces in Iraq as well as Palestinian militants against Israel, the U.S.-sponsored Al Hurra TV network says.
“Political action to deal with the problem of Syria’s presence in Lebanon and its support of terrorism against Israel and Iraq is no longer deemed effective,” Al Hurra quoted American intelligence sources as saying, according to slain ex-Premier Hariri’s Al Mustaqbal newspaper on Friday.

“Diplomacy as a means to deal with countries supporting terrorism is over and out. The situation is now open to all eventualities as far as Syria is concerned,” the sources were quoted as saying by the Arabic-language Al Hurra.

“Resolving problems with Syria now requires changing the Syrian regime or mounting air attacks similar to those staged against Afghanistan and Sudan in August 1998 to wipe out terrorist centers once and for all,” the U.S. intelligence sources were quoted as saying.

“The U.S. central command for Iraq and Afghanistan is closely following the situation in Lebanon and Syria and senior Pentagon officials are now convinced that hitting terrorist targets in Syria is necessary,” Al Hurra said.

“The elimination of Syrian-supported terrorism groups is now deemed ’strategically vital’ for stability in the Middle east, particularly Iraq, which is unattainable at present under the current Syrian regime,” the station said.

He goes on to say:

A hit on Syria would work and force them into a situation of complete withdrawal from Lebanon. Assad would likely crumble very quickly given his already shaky grip on the country, especially if he loses the billions his secret services collect from Lebanon every year.

Hindrocket's take on FEC

I'm happy that Hindrocket of Power Line has a similar take to mine on the unlikely propect that the FEC could regulate blogs.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Jonah harpoons the Times

NRO's Jonah Goldberg raises the question of whatever happened to the al-Qaqaa munitions story that the NY Times and the rest of the MSM blitzed President Bush with in the last week of the election campaign. The story, dishonest to the core, was incredibly important right before the election.

After the election, however, the Times hasn't run a single story on it.

Apparently if it can't help win the Times an election, it isn't news any more.