June 18 2004
MORE ON THE MEDIA SPIN: Andrew
Sullivan has the quote from Democratic Vice-Chairman
Lee Hamilton that I was looking for earlier this morning.
It basically destroys the media's attempt to discredit the
must say I have trouble understanding the flack over this.
The Vice President is saying, I think, that there were
connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government.
We don't disagree with that. What we have said is what
the governor just said, we don't have any evidence of
a cooperative, or a corroborative relationship between
Saddam Hussein's government and these al Qaeda operatives
with regard to the attacks on the United States. So it
seems to me the sharp differences that the press has drawn,
the media has drawn, are not that apparent to me.
the New York Times going to apologize? J.
McIntyre 10:46 am
DISTORTIONS ARE OUTRAGEOUS: The press is having
a field day trying to spin the story that the 9/11
Commission has conclusively contradicted the W White
House on whether there were ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
Yesterday The New York Times began their lead
editorial titled The
hard to imagine how the commission investigating the 2001
terrorist attacks could have put it more clearly yesterday:
there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and
Al Qaeda, between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11.
President Bush should apologize to the American people,
who were led to believe something different.
problem is the 9/11 Commission never said there were no
links between Iraq and Al Qaeda and President Bush never
said that Saddam Hussien was involved with 9/11. The panel's
chairman, Thomas H. Kean , said just
yesterday, "Were there contacts between al Qaeda
and Iraq? Yes."
made it very clear following his Cabinet meeting he
was not backing off one bit:
Mr. President, why does the administration continue
to insist that Saddam had a relationship with al Qaeda,
when even you have denied any connection between Saddam
and September 11th. And now the September 11th Commission
says that there was no collaborative relationship at all.
BUSH: The reason I keep insisting that there was
a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because
there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. This
administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated
between Saddam and al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous
contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
Hume's Special Report exposed the Associated Press line
of questioning and their conclusion:
AP leads off its story on a new 9/11-commission report
by saying the document -- "bluntly contradict[s] the Bush
administration" by claiming to have no credible evidence
linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11th terrorist
In fact, the Bush administration has never said that such
evidence exists. President Bush denied a connection to
9/11 as recently as last September, saying -- "we've had
no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September
went on to say, -- "there's no question that Saddam Hussein
had Al Qaeda ties" -- an assertion that the commission's
report actually supports.
Mirengoff, over at Powerline does an excellent job of deconstructing
similar type spin from the Washington Post's Walter
Pincus and Dana Milbank.
According to the two Washington Post men, the commission
found that "the contacts that took place between Iraq
and al Qaeda officials never led to actual cooperation."
The two then say that the commission's report thus "challenges
one of the Bush administration's main justifications for
the war in Iraq" that "there were extensive ties between
Hussein's government and bin Laden's terrorist network."
claims by Pincus and Milbank are false. First, the commission
didn't find that the contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda
never led to cooperation. Rather, as Democratic commission
member Lee Hamilton is quoted as saying later in the story,
the commission was only saying "we don't have any evidence
of a cooperative relationship between Saddam's government
and al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on
the United States." In other words, the commission is
limiting its finding to the issue of cooperation (or lack
thereof) with respect to attacks on the United States
(although the report also says there "appears" not to
have been "a collaborative relationship"). Moreover, the
commission is saying only that it has no credible evidence
of Iraqi cooperation in al Qaeda's attacks on the U.S,
not (as Pincus and Milbank would have it) that such cooperation
didn't occur. No wonder Lee Hamilton insisted that this
finding is no big deal.
the commission's finding does not challenge the administration's
claim that there were extensive ties between al Qaeda
and Iraq. The commission found that there were contacts
between the two entities, but did not focus on the extent
of those contacts, only on their nature, i.e. whether
they involved Iraq collaborating with al Qaeda, particularly
with respect to attacks against the US
Pincus and Milbank never show that the link between al
Qaeda and Iraq was a major justification for the war,
and I do not recall the Bush administration presenting
it as such. The authors patch together statements by Bush
and Cheney (some before the war, some after) discussing
the connection, but that is not the same thing as presenting
it as a "main justification," on par (in the author's
latest telling) with WMD. The mainstream media's line
on the nature of the Bush administration's justification[s]
for the war seems to depend on which justification[s]
can be depicted as the most vulnerable at any given time.
Capital Report Vice President Cheney really unloaded
on the duplicity of the New York Times and the press
But obviously first the news of the week is the 9-11
Commission report. And as you know, the report found,
quote, "No credible evidence that al-Qaida collaborated
with Iraq or Saddam Hussein. Do you disagree with its
CHENEY: I disagree with the way their findings
have been portrayed. This has been enormous confusion
over the Iraq-al-Qaida connection, Gloria. First of all,
on the question of whether or not there was any kind of
a relationship, there clearly was a relationship. It's
been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming. It goes
back to the early '90s.......There's a separate question.
The separate question is: Was Iraq involved with al-Qaida
in the attack on 9/11?
Was Iraq involved?
We don't know. You know, what the commission says
is that they can't find any evidence of that. We had one
report which is a famous report on the Czech intelligence
service and we've never been able to confirm or to knock
Well, let me just get to the bottom line here...
But it's very important that people understand these
two differences. What The New York Times did today was
outrageous. They do a lot of outrageous things but the
headline, "Panel Find No Qaida-Iraq Tie". The
press wants to run out and say there's a fundamental split
here now between what the president said and what the
commission said. Jim Thompson is a member of the commission
who's since been on the air. I saw him with my own eyes.
And there's no conflict. What they were addressing was
whether or not they were involved in 9/11. And there they
found no evidence to support that proposition. They did
not address the broader question of a relationship between
Iraq and al-Qaida in other areas, in other ways.
is exactly right and what the press is doing, led by The
Times is truly outrageous. Their collective hostility
to President Bush, his foreign policy of preemption and
the War in Iraq has caused them to lose all judgment when
it comes to their ability to honestly report the facts.
J. McIntyre 6:46 am Link
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June 17 2004
KERRY'S VEEP-O-RAMA CONTINUES:
rises, Vilsack takes
a tumble. Richardson says he's
out. And Zogby threw a curve the day before yesterday
by publicizing the results of his recent
polling for a Kerry-Dean ticket.
far, the Hotline reports that 69 different people have been
mentioned as a possible VP selection for Kerry.
there seems to be a general consensus building that John
Edwards is the guy. He's a
man of the people and of the
elite. David Paul Kuhn wrote
on Tuesday that a Kerry-Edwards ticket is already a
done deal but nobody wants to say it out loud.
Charlie Cook, quoted in the Hotline, reminds everyone that,
"the last time a journalist predicted a vice president
was David Broder predicting Spiro Agnew in 1968. It would
be a huge mistake to try and predict it. We are always wrong."
In other words, nobody has any idea who it's going to be.
COUNT: Speaking of Charlie Cook, yesterday he posted
college scorecard." As of today he has it Kerry
228, Bush 211, with 99 EC votes listed as toss ups (FL,
IA, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, OH, WI).
I would probably move Florida into the "lean Bush"
column and Minnesota into the "lean Kerry" column
which results in a ........ 238-238 tie. Go figure.
FROM THE LEFT - PART ONE: You can't make this
- In a rare public rebuke, Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.,
has blasted prelates for threatening to withhold communion
from fellow Catholic John F. Kerry because of his position
on abortion rights.
all, Kennedy told Boston magazine, "this Pope gave
communion to General Pinochet," the Chilean dictator
accused of thousands of murders.
sharp condemnation is a departure for Kennedy, who was
largely absent from the public debate over the priest-sex
scandal in the Boston archdiocese.
senator, a key supporter of Kerry's presidential bid,
made the comment in an interview with veteran political
writer David Nyhan that will appear in the July edition
of the magazine, on newsstands June 29.
to think the "my guy should get communion because he's
better than Pinochet" isn't the sort of sound byte
Kerry flacks were looking for.
FROM THE LEFT - PART TWO: I sincerely hope this
Right is afraid. And when they are afraid, they bring
out the big artillery.
seriously, what's a harsher attack than calling someone
smell fear and desperation.
calling someone a Nazi signals fear and desperation, then
you'd have to say many on the left are (and have been for
going on four years now) the most frightened and desperate
people on the planet. - T. Bevan 8:26 am
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June 16 2004
CBS NEWS & THE CLELAND URBAN MYTH:
Evening News did a small profile on Teresa Heinz Kerry
yesterday and in it they continued to perpetuate the urban
myth about why Senator Max Cleland lost his Georgia Senate
seat in 2002.
discussing why Senator Kerry's wife changed her party affiliation
was very upset at the way the party dealt with Max Cleland
of Georgia," she says. Cleland is the Democratic senator
who lost re-election in a bitter campaign when Republicans
attacked his patriotism. In 1968, Cleland lost his right
arm and both legs in Vietnam.
according to CBS News Cleland is the Democratic Senator
who lost his Senate seat "when Republicans attacked
his patriotism." Now this of course has become
a favorite rallying cry for Democrats and they are entitled
to spin and manipulate events in any way they want.
if CBS News wants to be considered a legitimate news organization
and not a propaganda arm of the Democrat Party then you
would think they would want to try and stay pretty close
to the truth.
isn't one of those subjective stories where the bias against
Republicans is more a product of spin, exaggeration or distortion
- this is just an outright falsehood. The editors at CBS
are well aware that just because some Democrats think Republicans
attacked Cleland's patriotism doesn't make it a fact.
CBS News or Democrats to produce one shred of evidence where
the Chambliss campaign, the Republican Party questioned
Max Cleland's patriotism. I'm not talking about some man
on the street interview where CBS hunted around Georgia
for two days and eventually found a few people who attacked
Cleland's patriotism. I'm talking about real evidence that
the Chambliss campaign, Republican officials, or their surrogates
attacked Cleland's patriotism. Of course CBS won't be able
to come up with any evidence because it didn't happen.
did happen and what the Democrats and CBS are referring
to is an ad by Chambliss that attacked Cleland for not supporting
the Homeland Security bill, and ad which included pictures
of Cleland, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. On October
11, 2002 the AP's
Jeffrey McMurray posted this story:
Max Cleland is angrily defending himself against a rival's
television ad that shows pictures of Saddam Hussein and
Osama bin Laden and implies the Democratic incumbent is
soft on homeland security.
ad, sponsored by Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss' Senate
campaign, doesn't directly compare Cleland and the rogue
leaders but alleges the senator isn't telling the truth
when he claims to support some of President Bush's efforts
in the war against terrorism. It began airing Friday in
the Atlanta market.
ad's primary focus is Cleland's position on legislation
creating a homeland security department Bush is seeking.
Although Cleland supports one version of that bill, he
says he won't support the president's preference without
an amendment guaranteeing labor rights for federal workers.
put my picture up there with Saddam Hussein and Osama
bin Laden and insinuate I'm not fighting hard enough for
national security, I just find that this is an incredible
low in Georgia politics," Cleland said.
ad claims Cleland voted against Bush's preferred department
11 times, most in procedural votes as the legislation
moved through the committee process. In a statement from
his campaign, Chambliss said he appreciates the war record
of Cleland - who lost both legs and an arm in a Vietnam
grenade blast - but urged him to follow the president's
lead on homeland security.
deserve to know - all Americans deserve to know - why
Max Cleland is more concerned with protecting federal
bureaucracy, rules and regulations than creating a department
that can respond effectively to future threats of terrorism,"
the ad in question harsh, below the belt, over the top?
Personally, I don't think it was. The way I remember the
commercial at the time and in going back and reading stories
about the ad today, it seems to me like the normal type
of hard hitting ad you see all the time in the closing weeks
of a campaign. Now I don't have a problem with the Democrats
complaining and describing the ad as a misrepresentation
of Cleland's record or a "low blow," that's fine.
I think they are wrong, but that is at least debatable and
reasonable people can have a difference of opinion. What
isn't debatable is whether the ad attacked Cleland's patriotism.
"how dare you attack my patriotism" is a clever
dodge the Democrats regularly resort to when their policies
regarding national security and defense come under attack.
Senator Kerry and the Democrats have been using this tactic
for months now in an attempt to deflect attention from Kerry's
vulnerability on defense and security issues.
Democrats would be better advised to debate and argue the
policies in question rather than cop out and attack Republicans
for impugning people's patriotism. The
American people aren't stupid and they see this is a tacit
admission by the Democrats that they can't debate national
security issues on the merits of their own policies.
really happened in Georgia in 2002 was the Democrats had
a Senate seat they regarded as relatively safe. In the wake
of Chambliss' upset victory and the aftermath of an abysmal
election nationally, somebody or something had to take the
blame. It was too disturbing to acknowledge that the White
House had rolled the Democrats on the Homeland Security
bill or to accept the fact that Chambliss ran a much better
campaign in the final month of the election, or maybe the
people of Georgia agree more with President Bush and Saxby
Chambliss than they agree with Max Cleland and Tom Daschle.
So with the facts an irritating nuisance, the urban myth
was created that the reason Max Cleland lost his senate
seat was because the Republicans despicably attacked his
saw the same sort of behavior after the Democrats lost Florida
in 2000. The idea that they lost the Presidency by such
a small margin was just too much to handle mentally and
emotionally. Instead of looking in the mirror and asking,
"why did we even let this election get this close when
we have all of this peace and prosperity?" Democrats
decided that somebody else had to take the blame.
we get a whole host of urban myths about how evil republicans
suppressed the black vote, even though there is no evidence
to support that ever happened. They also say had the Supreme
Court just let them count all the ballots properly they
would have won Florida, even though the extensive post-election
study by the nation's news organizations determined George
W. Bush still would have won.
myths and conspiracy theories are great tools to excite
your base but they don't help win over the voter in the
middle who is looking for the party or candidate who is
going to deal with the nation's many challenges in a straightforward,
I said earlier, Democrats are entitled to say whatever they
want, true or untrue, in their attempt to win over the public.
CBS News, on the other hand, should not report Democratic
allegations as fact that are either outright falsehoods
or at best charges that are subject to vastly different
interpretations by reasonable people.
public is well aware of the spin and distortion the mainstream
media use against Republicans, and the continued ascent
of FOX News is a direct result. CBS News needs to wake up
and start reporting the news more honestly or they will
continue to lose market share, viewers and legitimacy as
an independent objective news organization. J.
McIntyre 8:26 am Link
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June 15 2004
FATHER GREELEY'S REAL PROBLEM: Thanks to
all who took time to write emails to Father Greeley regarding
column last week. At last count I've been copied on
more than 70 emails (about five or six in favor of Greeley,
btw) but so far I haven't seen anything posted to the
letters page at the Chicago Sun-Times.
my part as well, submitting a rebuttal to Greeley's column
yesterday to Steve Huntley, editor of the Sun Times editorial
page. We'll have to wait and see whether it gets published
way, we will format and publish my piece later this week,
but I did want to take a moment to share some of the details
of my research from yesterday.
it turns out, this wasn't the first time Father Greeley
equated someone with Hitler. Back in 1992 Greeley twice
attacked Ross Perot as a Hitlerian fascist using the same
disingenous 'he-isn't-but-he-is' formulation:
Sun-Times,May 31, 1992: The name of the Perot
danger is facism...Take away the anti-Semitism of Adolf
Hitler and Benito Mussolini and the Marxist ideology of
Fidel Castro, and Ross Perot fits the model of the facist
dictator perfectly - complete with plans for long television
harangues once he takes office.
Sun-Times, June 14, 1992: "Does that
sound like a description of the late, lamented Ross Perot
campaign? In fact, it is a description of the Nazi party's
campaigns in Germany in the early 1930s taken from Alan
Bullock's book, Hitler and Stalin.
be fair to Mr. Perot, he does not believe in violence
or terrorism - only intimidation through private espionage.
Nor is he by any wild stretch of the imagination a rabidly
racist anti-Semite. Nevertheless, even though he quit
the race, Perot's strong appeal to a third of the American
people proves that the fascist temptation is alive and
well in America.
who's the other person Father Greeley deemed worthy of comparing
to Hitler? You probably won't believe it: Saddam Hussein.
right, back in early 1999 Father Greeley wrote an op-ed
defending Bill Clinton's decision to bomb Iraq after Hussein
expelled UN weapons inspectors.
absolutely lit into the Pope, European intellectuals and
American leftists for condemning the the bombing and he
justified the use of force again Hussein by citing - catch
your breath here, folks - the threat of weapons of mass
Pope is a European intellectual. So are most of his staff.
The Vatican paper is a European newspaper. Most European
intellectuals don't like America. Nor do most European journalists.
such a moderate newspaper as the Irish Times uses the
model of the American Goliath beating up on the Iraqi
David. The United States is a bully. Iraq is a brave country
resisting the American bully.
this David is preparing not slingshots but chemical, nuclear,
and biological weapons seems to escape the European intelligentsia.
Their resentment of the enormous power of the United States
blinds them to the danger that Saddam Hussein represents
to his neighbors and to the world. The reports of the
U.N. inspection team about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction
are airily dismissed as American propaganda.
has stood up to the United States and that makes him a
kind of folk hero to the Europeans. They can also dismiss
his atrocities against his own people as American propaganda.
fact, Saddam differs from Adolf Hitler only in the degree
of his evil. If he once develops deliverable weapons of
mass destruction, Tel Aviv would disappear overnight.
So, too, might Kuwait, Istanbul and Tehran. Not quite
the size of the Holocaust perhaps, but the same general
idea: Kill Jews and anyone else that gets in your way,
but especially Jews.
wouldn't do that, the Europeans say. That's what they
said about Hitler, too.
remember that in last
week's diatribe Father Greeley derided Bush administration
officials who cited the WMD threat in Iraq as "practitioners
of the Big Lie."
a bit more. Though Greeley was opposed to the first Gulf
War, throughout much of the 1990's he was an outspoken advocate
for the use of military force - for humanitarian purposes
in the Balkans. Greeley wrote a number of columns castigating
President Clinton for not intervening militarily and admonishing
the Pope and others for remaining silent in the face of
June 1999 Greeley penned a column praising the US-led air
campaign in Kosovo - conducted without the approval of the
UN and resulting in an estimated 500 to 1,500 civilian casualties
- as morally just and he berated those who opposed the war
as being driven by selfish partisanship and a hatred of
American media -- reporters and commentators, though in
this case not editorial writers -- were hoping against
hope for the defeat of NATO, the United States and Bill
Clinton, partly because it would have been a great story,
partly because they hate Clinton. Hence they are reluctant
to admit that the end of the war and liberation of Kosovo
is a victory and quite probably an epoch-making victory.
great was their falsification of the war that they had
almost succeeded in turning the people against it before
it ended in victory.
of experts -- former generals, former admirals, military
experts and historians, former diplomats and a wide variety
of talking heads were trotted out to explain to the public
that the air war wouldn't work and it would be necessary
to commit ground troops. They were wrong but few of them
have admitted it. One general even said it shouldn't have
was also argued that even if the air war did work it was
immoral because so many civilians had been killed in Serbia
and because NATO had hit the Chinese Embassy. The impression
was created that the NATO planners were careless and incompetent
bunglers. Every civilian casualty is a tragedy, but if
one enters a war to prevent genocide, mistakes will be
made. Indeed, it is remarkable there were so few civilian
the trouble, you see, isn't that Father Greeley doesn't
get it. He does. Deep down Father Greeley's problem isn't
that we used military force resulting in the liberation
of 25 million Iraqis, or even that we did so based on the
assumption that Saddam Hussein had WMD's. Father Greeley's
problem, it seems, is much more simple than that: the party
affiliation of the person currently occupying the White
MEANS TROUBLE: The interesting tidbit in this
article isn't that Jack Ryan called-and-raised Barack
Obama's offer on the number of debates between the two candidates
for U.S. Senate but rather Ryan's response to questions
about his sealed divorce files:
said that no matter what is released, there will be "no
problems for the campaign. Would there be something that
might be embarrassing to me? Maybe.
that's not the criteria by which I'm judging the release
of those documents."
do you suppose a pack of bloodthirsty reporters will respond
to the idea that "maybe" there is "something
that might be embarrassing" in the details of Ryan's
What is Robert Mugabe's government going to do with $240
million worth of arms from China?
Teeter, former pollster and strategist for Bush 41.
- T. Bevan 9:26 am Link
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June 14 2004
IS THE CENTER SOFT OR HARD?: You may have noticed
that this month we're featuring Michael Barone's new book,
"Hard America, Soft America, Competition vs. Coddling
and the Battle for the Nation's Future" (Buy a
And by the way, we'll also be featuring an interesting question
and answer with Michael Barone later this week.
reason I bring all of this up is because Pete
DuPont references Barone's book today in his Wall Street
Journal column. DuPont finishes with an interesting
polls are notoriously inaccurate predictors of fall voting,
and Reagan's middle-class voters are in the end unlikely
to support Mr. Kerry. But still, Mr. Kerry is soft and
doing better than expected. Maybe the American people
are just sending the president a message that his hard
policies aren't working well enough. But perhaps America
will decide to turn soft. A return to the economic and
social policies of the 1960s would be a terrible mistake--Reagan
was right that liberty is more important than equality--but
perhaps that is what the American people are considering.
is something I've been wondering about for some time now.
years ago George W. Bush sold America on the idea of "compassionate
conservativism." It was an ideology that sought to
infuse some of the "Hard" policies inherent in
conservativism (free market competition, etc) into some
of the "Softer" areas of domestic policy without
coming off as too radical or Draconian.
of an 'in your face' revolutionary conservatism like the
With America', Bush chose to peddle a "Softer"-edged
conservatism that advocated things like school choice and
standards testing for public education and reforming Social
Security to include a small percentage of private investment
accounts. Even Bush's signature issue, tax relief, wasn't
viewed as a particularly "Hard" policy at the
time given the huge surpluses we faced.
looking back on Bush's first term you see that aside from
his accomplishments of cutting taxes (which are significant)
his record on domestic policy is far "Softer"
than many would have anticipated. Bush signed an education
bill that was gutted of a provision to include vouchers,
slapped protectionist tariffs on steel, engineered passage
of a massive new Medicare entitlement program virtually
devoid of free-market reforms, and endorsed what amounts
to an amnesty program for illegal immigrants.
time around, however, things are much different. Instead
of discussing the marginal hardening or softening of domestic
policy we are involved in a big debate over how "Hard"
or "Soft" our foreign policy should be.
we're nearing a referendum on whether Bush's robust approach
to battling terrorists and his aggressive promotion of democracy
around the world as an important component of U.S. national
security is worth all of the mess that inevitably comes
along with it, including the sacrifice of U.S. servicemen
and the employing of some tough
new tactics against our enemies.
other words, this year Bush has put "compassionate
conservatism" more or less on the shelf. Instead, he's
trying to sell the public on the importance of continuing
to pursue a "Hard" foreign policy, and John Kerry
is countering this by offering a "Softer", more
world community-centric foreign policy similar to that of
the Clinton administration.
Democrats are unified behind Kerry's "Softer"
approach to foreign policy. Most Republicans believe in
the choices and actions of President Bush and want to see
his "Harder" policies continue.
question of the moment is what that small slice of voters
in the middle want, especially those residing in a few key
swing states. It looks as if Bush is betting the political
center in America is, at its core, more "Hard"
than "Soft." We'll see whether he's correct. -
T. Bevan 9:26 am Link
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