Who am I?
Christian. Skeptic. Ponderer. Sold on Western Civilization. Background in engineering and software. Rational, but not rationalist.
Informs my values.
Posts On This Page:
- · Al QaQaa Weapons Update
- · Voter Intimidation vs. Voter Fraud
- · Kerry's meeting(s) with UN members untrue
- · If you haven't seen kerryoniraq.com...
- · Saddam's Iraq--the final analysis
- · Bush's IQ higher than Kerry's
- · Scrutinizing ACLU's Patriot Act Ad
- · Scrutinizing the Air Traffic Controllers' PAC Ad
- · Britain's Guardian's Influence-the-Vote Backfiring
- · Bravo, Claudia Rosett!
- · Senator Say-Anything's Final Sprint
- · Scrutinizing CNN's flu question
- · I'm stunned...
- · Gotta see this one...
- · Kerry's reference to Cheney's daughter
- · Scrutinizing Nightline's Kerry Silver Star Story
- · Random Kerry Flip-Flop
- · If the charges themselves make the story...
- · Bush won final debate
- · Good news from Iraq
- · Flip-Flop-Of-The-Day
- · The economy Bush inherited
- · Security in Iraq
- · Read Roger L. Simon
- · Iraq's Oil-for-food scandal
- · Tonight's Bush-Kerry debate
- · Today's good read: Paul Bremer's NY Times Piece
- · Coming Soon...
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Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Al QaQaa Weapons Update
As more information comes to light, mabye it's time to re-visit the entire Al QaQaa issue. The Pentagon just had a press conference with Major Austin Pearson, describing his ordnance-removal activities. Though the picture is still unclear, more light is shed hour by hour.
Here's what the press conference revealed & reiterated.
- The explosives in question constituted 1/1000th of what was identified and being destroyed in Iraq.
- Contrary to what the Times implies, military commanders were tracking these sites and issuing orders to have the material destroyed. Maj. Pearson's April 13 mission was perhaps the first of any number of such missions.
- There's no evidence that the Times made an effort to track down commanders like Major Pearson, or otherwise determine if the explosives were properly disposed.
- The described mission's purpose was to protect the troops at the site. Hence, the site was being occupied. (If there are no enemy forces in the area, which there weren't at the time, one wouldn't necessarily use the word "guard," as in "we guarded it from nobody.")
- Satellite photos show Saddam's activity before the arrival of US forces, with trucks on the site. This could explain what Pearson described as "exposed" munitions.
- No sign of IAEA seals on this mission.
- It's not clear if this first mission was to even break open locked bunkers. Other bunkers had dirt piled against the door to impede access.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Voter Intimidation vs. Voter Fraud
Monday, October 25, 2004
Kerry's meeting(s) with UN members untrue
...while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period to at least a few members of the panel, no such meeting, as described by Mr. Kerry on a number of occasions over the past year, ever occurred.
At the second presidential debate earlier this month, Mr. Kerry said he was more attuned to international concerns on Iraq than President Bush, citing his meeting with the entire Security Council.
"This president hasn't listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable," Mr. Kerry said of the Iraqi dictator.
Kerry at the third debate:
Can I say, if I could just say a word about a woman that you didn't ask about, but my mom passed away a couple years ago, just before I was deciding to run. And she was in the hospital, and I went in to talk to her and tell her what I was thinking of doing.
And she looked at me from her hospital bed and she just looked at me and she said, "Remember: integrity, integrity, integrity. "Those are the three words that she left me with.
How does this make us "respected in the world?"
Sunday, October 24, 2004
If you haven't seen kerryoniraq.com...
You really need to see these videos. John Kerry in his own words. Part I is the longest, but most informative. http://www.kerryoniraq.com/
Hardball's Chris Matthews has a statement criticizing one part. His criticism is that they cut Kerry off at "Yeah" when asked if he's the antiwar candidate. Matthews records Kerry's entire answer, but it doesn't come close to salvaging Kerry's position.
Saddam's Iraq--the final analysis
Clear as a bell, from Instapundit.
Bush's IQ higher than Kerry's
From The New York Times, of all sources. (And Doonesbury propagating a hoax?! Say it isn't so!)
To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.
Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said.
Many Americans still believe a report that began circulating on the Internet three years ago, and was quoted in "Doonesbury," that Mr. Bush's I.Q. was 91, the lowest of any modern American president. But that report from the non-existent Lovenstein Institute turned out to be a hoax.
Update (6/7/2005): Boston Globe: "His 4-year average [at Yale] on par with Bush's."
Friday, October 22, 2004
Scrutinizing ACLU's Patriot Act Ad
Here's the ad's text (punctuation my own, since narration changes with each phrase):
So the government can search your house? My house...our house...without notifying us. Treating us all like suspects. It's part of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act. They want to make the whole thing permanent, with no debate, no review. Questioning parts of the Patriot Act isn't liberal or conservative, left or right. It's American. American. We can change the Patriot Act so we can be safe, safe and free, free. Safe and free.
www.aclu.org/patriotact ("Because freedom can't protect itself." Paid for by the ACLU Foundation.)
But here's what the Constitution's Fourth Amendment says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So the government has always had the power to search your house without notifying you. And the ACLU's attack on the Patriot Act is indistinguishable from an attack on the fourth amendment. Is this the most cogent, concise case they can put forward? Apparently so, leading me to believe they don't have a case.
Scrutinizing the Air Traffic Controllers' PAC Ad
The Air Traffic Controllers' PAC has an ad out that's down on Bush. In terms of content, there's nothing really startling. Their accusation is that he hasn't hired any new ATC's. (Is this true? I'm not taking time to verify it.) It's no surprise whose side they're on.
- They're the ones Reagan fired wholesale for conducting an illegal strike.
- They're union--always pro-Democratic.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Britain's Guardian's Influence-the-Vote Backfiring
The British Guardian paper launched a letter-writing campaign to influence the US election. The London Telegraph reports that this effort is backfiring.
My response would be: "you didn't have your heads screwed on straight in the 1930's, and you don't have your heads screwed on straight today."
Maybe North Korea or Iran will launch a letter-writing campaign next election.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Bravo, Claudia Rosett!
Senator Say-Anything's Final Sprint
An excellent Op-Ed on Kerry's unscrupulous final campaign sprint at the New York Times. (Subscription req'd.) Will the unscrupulous prevail?
[Kerry's] blunderbuss approach suggests a candidate devoid of perspective, driven by unattractive and naked ambition.
Why is he doing this? First, because in the insular Democratic world, George Bush is presumed to be guilty of everything, so the more vicious you can be about him, the better everybody feels.
But there is a deeper assumption, which has marred Democratic politics for years. Some Democrats have been unable to face the reality that people have been voting for Republicans because they agree with them. So these Democrats have invented the comforting theory that they've been losing because they are too virtuous for the country.
According to this theory, Republicans - or usually some omniscient, omnipotent and malevolent strategists, like Lee Atwater or Karl Rove - have been tricking the American people into voting against their true interests. This year, many Democrats decided, we'll be vicious in return.
The truth, however, is that voters are not idiots. They are capable of independent thought. If you attack your opponent wildly, ruthlessly, they will come to their own conclusions.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Scrutinizing CNN's flu question
CNN just put a question on the screen, asking us to call in and comment...
Do you believe the Bush administration that there is no flu crisis?
They're not asking if there's a flu medicine crisis. Whether or not there's a flu crisis has to do with how many people are actually contracting the illness.
Is this just a poorly worded question, or something else? A chance to bash the Bush admin?
My "hometown paper," the Chicago Tribune, is endorsing George W. Bush for President. (Subscription req'd.)
I'm stunned, rubbing my eyes, knocked back on my butt. Am I really reading this? Do my eyes deceive me? Did someone hack into their website?
This is the paper I typically call(ed) "the unregulated arm of the local Democratic Party." (The paper that pried into our Republican candidate Ryan's divorce records and sunk his candidacy with tawdry allegations.)
I wonder how it will affect this blue state? Standing apart from the Dems? The next four weeks should be very interesting (though I can't get my hopes up too high).
Bravo, Trib! For seeing the great issue of the day, for piercing the rhetoric and hysteria, and for thinking clearly and rationally!
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Gotta see this one...
Got a high enough speed internet connection?
Here's how Michael Moore might have done his crockumentary had he been in the Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth: http://www.fellowship911.com. View this short film via the link at the right.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Kerry's reference to Cheney's daughter
There's a lot of brouhaha over Kerry's words about Cheney's daughter at the last debate.
SCHIEFFER: Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.
Is any family-member comment out-of-bounds? Perhaps. In its context, it was in pretty poor taste to bring it up.
But it's the underlying message that repulses me: I know Cheney's daughter better than her dad does.
That's the real cheap-shot. The Cheneys have a right to be upset.
Scrutinizing Nightline's Kerry Silver Star Story
ABC News' Nightline segment (Oct 14, 2004) attempts to debunk the Swiftboat Veterans account of Kerry's silver star. To do so, they go to the same spot the battle was fought and interview villagers. And the villagers verify Kerry's version.
This story seems like junk journalism. Here's why.
First, and most fundamentally, as John O'Neill alluded to, Vietnam is run by a dictatorial communist party: "Freedom House considers Vietnam to be a not free [sic] country." This casts very serious doubt on all villagers' testimony. ABC ignores this fact. In fact, they seem to cast the government as benign: "it did not want to somehow influence the U.S. presidential election." If communist, dictatorial North Korea endorses Kerry, perhaps Vietnam does as well.
But just for the sake of argument, lets say the people are free to speak. And lets say they found the right village. The story still doesn't answer these questions:
- How do we know they're not confusing different battles? As ABC reports, "the area was a hotbed of guerrilla activity" and Viet Cong "reinforcements had been dispatched from provincial headquarters specifically to target the Swift boats." So it's likely that wasn't the only battle there. ABC should have found an after-action report from the same location or area, but for a different battle on a different date (even year), and see how well they distinguished the two. (Assuming they weren't leading their witnesses.)
- Was each witness interviewed independently and specifically? Each should have been asked to describe what specifically transpired, with diagrams, names of comrades, etc. (How many Swift boats were involved? How did they get away? How long did they stay away? Where was this "rest and supply area"?) How well would those various accounts corroborate? We're vaguely led to believe this happened. ABC should release all such diagrams and word-for-word testimony (but I doubt any exists).
- The stories they do tell don't seem to corroborate very well. That doesn't mean it couldn't have happened, but the further the stories diverge, the more doubt is cast.
- Why do the various Kerry biographies disagree? Nightline neither showed those quotes, nor do they interview the authors of those books.
Random Kerry Flip-Flop
From Kerry's Acceptance Speech at the DNC...
I defended this country as a young man...
In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
If the charges themselves make the story...
But if the charges themselves constitute a story, what about the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth's charges?
Bush won final debate
BrideOfScrutinator (my much-less-political-though-I'd-like-to-think-somewhat-positively-influenced-by-me wife) says she thinks Bush won hands-down. I said, "Really? You're not just saying that to make me feel good, are you?" "No. He did great."
I have to admit that Senator Do-Nothing-Say-Anything is a smooth operator--smooth with half-truths (at best) and demagoguery.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Good news from Iraq
Instapundit highlights good news from Iraq, from the Washington Post: Insurgent Alliance Is Fraying In Fallujah.
I was recently speaking with someone who's impression of Iraq was a "mess." One thing he cited was "thousands" of foreign fighters pouring into Iraq, far faster than we could deal with them. I doubted that foreigners could effectively hide there without Iraqis harboring them, so if we can convince Iraqis to work against them, we've effectively solved that problem.
If we could round up these foreign fighters, consider the victory that would be in the war on terror. (If the people piloting the suicide car-bombs over there aren't terrorists, what are they?)
One question I need to scrutinize eventually: what's really the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan?
John Kerry and John Edwards know that we're stronger when we create good-paying jobs here, not ship them overseas.
The Kerry-Edwards plan will reduce prescription drug prices by allowing the re-importation of safe prescription drugs from Canada...
Won't importing prescription drugs from Canada ship all those jobs out of this country?
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
The economy Bush inherited
How much control does a President have over the economy? Though he has some influence, I don't think it's clear. Assuming a president has some influence, consider this picture...
This picture is worth a thousand words. The big bump is the Nasdaq rise and fall. As the Nasdaq falls in March, 2000, the S&P levels off and starts to fall.
President Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, had eight years to prevent the Nasdaq crash. But he didn't.
March, 2000, was during Clinton's administration.
Note that 9/11 did have an effect on the economy.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Security in Iraq
I don't want to brush off the concerns for security in Iraq, but I think they lack perspective.
Why do we in the US feel our security situation is so much better?
- A mind-boggling number of person-hours ("man-hours") have been invested in our criminal justice system: policing, investigating, prosecuting, defending, judging, and the prisons. A huge effort spent catching and dealing with criminals, to get (presumably) the right people off the streets.
- According to the Dept of Justice, nearly 1/2% of the US population is in prison. We feel (relatively) secure because a lot of nasty people are in prison.
Iraq has a lot of catching up to do, a lot of hard work, and there are no short-cuts.
Read Roger L. Simon
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Iraq's Oil-for-food scandal
I'm surprised at how little (if anything) people know about Iraq's oil-for-food scandal.
Here's Fox News' report. Explore the Stories and Background sidebars.
Here's the GAO's report. Just read the highlights page if you're short on time.
Tonight's Bush-Kerry debate
Kerry's words on his vote against the $87 billion (for our troops in Iraq) are in dire need of scrutiny...
...here's what I'll say about the $87 billion...Now, I voted the way I voted because I saw that he had the policy wrong and I wanted accountability. I didn't want to give a slush fund to Halliburton.
Perhaps, but is he really on record as claiming that at the time?
But here's the doozie...
I also thought the wealthiest people in America ought to pay for it, ladies and gentlemen. He wants your kids to pay for it. I wanted us to pay for it, since we're at war. I don't think that's a bad decision.
But where the money comes from and where it goes are two completely separate issues. (Was there a "put my tax money toward our troops" line on the 2002 Tax Form?) So he denies our troops needed equipment because the wealthiest people in America aren't directly footing the bill? By denying our soldiers their resources, it seems like Kerry "wants your kids to pay for it," with their lives.
Kerry's "make the wealthy pay for it" mantra isn't the weapon he hopes it is.
(And, for the record, I've never made Kerry's "wealthiest people in America" cut--$200,000 or more a year.)
Friday, October 08, 2004
Today's good read: Paul Bremer's NY Times Piece
- "...though there will be challenges and hardships [in Iraq], progress is being made. For the task before us now, I believe we have enough troops in Iraq."
- "The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president's strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism..."
- "The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power."
- "President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right."