INCITE
Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

 
Catholic Muslims!
Written by: Brent Brophy

Terrorists are trying to sneak across our borders with the help of illegal immigrant smugglers. Why? It's what Jesus would do!

Goe, hopes the fiberglass altarboys are okay.


 
Not safe to fly!
Written by: Brent Brophy

People are attacking our planes with friggin laser beams but no word on possible shark involvement.

People are attacking Norwegian planes with axes. Maybe the Algerian was angry about a rumor that Norway might start cracking down on Muslims raping the mentally retarded... or maybe not. Either way, those socialist vikings obvioudly aren't understanding enough of cultural differences.

Goe, stealing stuff from drudge.


Monday, September 27, 2004

 
Not a Pirate
Written by: Brent Brophy

It's not International Talk Like A Pirate Day, but Wednesday looks to be interesting.

Goe, wonders what will tear on a jagged sky.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

 
Disingenuous
Written by: Beck

Once upon a time--I don't really remember when--I was listening to Dick Cheney make a speech, and he referred to John Kerry as, "Disingenuous." At the time, I recall thinking that word was particularly apt. Later, at the Republican National Convention, John McCain appealed to people's common sense, telling them they shouldn't be getting their opinions from disingenuous film makers. From the stands, Michael Moore waved to the crowd. The line drew such applause that McCain eventually had to quiet down the crowd before he could resume his speech.

Then, not too long ago, I was listening to the morning show on the local rock station--Walton and Johnson on 101.1 KLOL. Walton and Johnson aren't particularly remarkable; their routine is perhaps best described as "Redneck Republicans." They're not especially sophisticated, and I've seen them described as Limbaugh clones. It finally dawned on me that there was a recurring theme out there in the 2004 political dialogue when Walton (or was it Johnson?) declared that Kerry is a, "Disingenuous a-hole." Suffice it to say, Walton and Johnson, while they are articulate, are not in the habit of using five syllable words.

Most people, I'd imagine, are like me--they've heard the word plenty of times and have a pretty good idea of what it means. I basically had it pegged as somewhere between "dishonest," and "untrustworthy," with perhaps a dash of, "dissembling" mixed in for flavor. Having decided to pen a post on the disingenuousness of this season's Democratic candidate--and indeed, the entire Democratic campaign (don't want to leave out any disingenuous film makers), I thought first to dig up the actual dictionary definition. It turns out the word suits even better than I had at first imagined.

From Websters, we learn that disingenuous suggests "lacking in candor; also: giving a false appearance of simple frankness. Syn: CALCULATING." Ye ol' Oxford English Dictionary has a slightly different take on the matter, defining disingenuous as, "The opposite of ingenuous; lacking in frankness, insincere, morally fraudulent." Turning to a slightly different reference work, The Synonym Finder--my thesaurus of choice--has these suggestions for words similar in meaning: "insincere, uncandid, unfrank, mealy-mouthed; deceitful, dishonest, underhanded, crooked, tricky, double-tongued; false, false-hearted, double-dealing, two-faced, mendacious, lying, untruthful; artful, insidious, guileful, scheming, plotting, calculating, contriving, designing; cunning, crafty, sly, wily, foxy; shifty, slippery, smooth, slick."

It's the perfect word to describe John Kerry, his campaign, his cronies, and many of his supporters. Dan Rather false-hearted, double-dealing, and untruthful? Yes. Michael Moore mealy-mouthed, deceitful, crafty, and shifty? Absolutely. John Edwards two-faced (or two-America'd at least), artful, guileful, contriving, foxy, smooth, and slick? No doubt. John Kerry... disingenuous? Yes. Yes indeed.

George W. Bush has actually inspired an Anybody But Bush movement. The only other political candidate I've seen draw such opposition--even from within his own party--was in 1994 when I was living in Washington, DC, as Marion Barry decided to run for mayor after having served out the time for his crack cocaine conviction. People HATE Bush. The French haven't been this pissed off at America since we took the croissant and turned it into a croissandwich (apologies to Dennis Leary). But Bush is winning solidly at this point? Why? Because as much as Americans might be able to find reasons to disagree with Bush--whether their particular pet-issue is abortion rights, marriage rights, government spending, health care, or the war in Iraq--they still can't bring themselves to vote for a man so profoundly disingenuous as John Forbes Kerry.

To say nothing of the disingenuous people with whom he has surrounded himself and the disingenuous campaign he has run.


Friday, September 24, 2004

 
A Tale of Two Countries
Written by: Brent Brophy

Hurricane hits
"'They may be presumed dead,' said Toussaint Kongo-Doudou, a spokesman for the U.N. stabilization mission in Haiti, which put the number of missing at 1,251.
Deslorges said the number of bodies recovered had risen to 1,160 by Friday morning and nearly 300,000 people were homeless in Haiti's northwest province.
In the neighboring Dominican Republic, the death toll rose to 24 after rescue workers discovered five bodies crushed in a collapsed cave near the northern tourist town of Samana."


Guess which country suffers from corruption and United Nations assistance? If you guessed it's the country with the lower death toll, you'd be wrong. The United Nations kills because it coddles dictators, tyrants, and thieves. The United Nations is only in Haiti to maintain stability, which it does by preventing people from improving their lot in life.

Goe, feels sorry for the poor bastards.


 
Customer Sycophancy
Written by: Brent Brophy

I had some minor dealings recently with a large company which shall remain unnamed, but not unlinked, and the matter of customer service was brought up. I'm rarely happy with the level of customer service from companies I deal with. Usually it's fine if it's a store, but everyone else seems to take a business school approach. The business school approach being to redefine it so that you couldn't possible be bad at it and give yourself awards for "excellence". There are plenty of such awards that businesses with no concept of customer service give each other for good customer service. Governmental departments do this too, like the Office of Surface Mining, so they don't get their award confused with any customer service awards for dealing with non-surface mining.

The problem is that most people don't want customer service. Take Tweety... FOR EXAMPLE!

All I have to say to those Verizon motherfuckers is this: When I've been sitting on hold for over an hour, I don't want to hear "I can't help you." All I want to hear is "How hard would you like me to apply my tongue to your genital region? A light flicking movement, or hard thrusts?"


from here, at the very bottom.

Most companies believe that their customer service department is there to provide all of their customer service. They're wrong. Companies exist to make money off of goods and services. Goods are physical products, everything else is a service. Plumbers don't make pipes, but they'll fix them for you, so they provide a service. A service to their customers. Customer service. Plumbers understand that the service they provide to their customers is what they are getting paid for. Most small businesses have some grasp of this. Large companies don't.

Large companies seem to base their customer service plans on most of the company making products or providing services, while their customer service department is really just for logging complains. They're not there to help you, they're not there to solve problems, they're not there to provide a service. They're there to deflect criticism from everyone else at the company. Everyone else at the company, from the top managers to the janitors, then assumes that because there is a customer service department, everyone outside that department shouldn't have to deal with customers at all. People who are forced by their job to actually deal with customers are chosen by their 'customer service' skills of deflection and avoidance. Apologize, grovel, be obsequious, etc. Their customer interaction, like the 'customer service' people, is based on calming the angry customers before sending them away.

Whenever companies get complaints about their poor customer service, they tend to assume that it's because the 'customer service' department isn't being apologetic enough. They rarely question the quality of the services they provide to their customers, instead lecturing their employees on the importance of providing good customer service through tongue thrusting. Why?

Because most of the people complaining about bad customer service have had problems with bad customer service and are not happy about it. Providing decent customer service is hard, so companies prefer the easier path of paying people to get trampled on by those angry customers. If a plumber charged you a huge amount of money but did nothing useful, responding to your complains by letting you kick their dog, you'd probably feel better but still need someone to provide the original service. That desire to see someone else suffer, be it a dog or an outsourced customer service rep, clouds our judgment and makes us lose sight of the original goal. The goal of most customer service is not to make you feel better, but to provide a service, and no amount of groveling can substitute for that.

There are two industries in which the service is supposed to make you feel better or empowered, healthcare and prostitution. Everyone else is out of their field.

UPDATE: I like making updates. Plus, entertainment is an industry whose service usually involved people's mood.

It also occured to me that maybe the problem is much like 'Marketing Myopia' in that many people in a company don't understand what their function there is. The problem might go away if customers paid attention to what services they actually wanted from any given company. So pay attention!

Goe, wishes Tweety came back.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

 
Oh, baby, baby it's a wild world
Written by: Beck

Noted auditory terrorist Yusuf Islam, also known by the alias "Cat Stevens," was hauled off an airplane the other day when he turned up on a terrorist watch list. Evidently, performing light music, at long last, has become a punishable crime in the United States.

One odd thing: the plane had already taken off when his name set off a red flag, so the plane had to be diverted to Bangor, Maine. At that point, Stevens/Islam was offloaded, and the plane continued on its journey. What I'd like to know is, what good are watch lists if you only spot a suspect name after the plane is already in the air?!?

As for the reason Stevens/Islam is on a terrorist watch list:
Customs agents alerted the Transportation Security Administration, which then ordered the plane diverted to Bangor, Maine, and away from the northeast corridor of New York and Washington.

Islam, a British citizen, was held in Bangor before being taken Wednesday morning to Boston, where the Massachusetts Port Authority said he would be put aboard an afternoon flight to Washington. From there he will be sent back to London.

Officials said Islam was on the watch list because of alleged associations and financial support for Muslim charities

"The intelligence community has come into possession of additional information that further heightens our concerns of Yusuf Islam," Homeland Security spokesman Garrison Courtney told CNN. He would not describe the information further.

Another official said the department is "extremely confident in the information" which "without a doubt" is credible. Officials will not say which charities are involved.
Say it ain't so Moonshadow!


Sunday, September 19, 2004

 
The legality of warfare
Written by: Beck

This Thursday, pressed by reporters, Annan gave a straight answer to the straight question: was the US led war in Iraq illegal? His answer, unsurprisingly, was, "Yes."
The U.N. Charter allows nations to take military action with Security Council approval as an explicit enforcement action, such as during the Korean War and the 1991 Gulf War.

But in 2003, in the build-up to the Iraq war, the United States dropped an attempt to get a Security Council resolution approving the invasion when it became apparent it would not pass.

At the time, Annan had underlined the lack of legitimacy for a war without U.N. approval, saying: "If the United States and others were to go outside the Security Council and take unilateral action they would not be in conformity with the Charter."

On Wednesday, after being asked three times whether the lack of council approval for the war meant it was illegal, he said: "From our point of view and the U.N. Charter point of view it was illegal."
And you know what? To the extent that one believes in the legitimacy of the United Nations, Annan's answer was the correct one.

The question the people of the world should be asking themselves is not whether or not the Iraq war was legal with regard to the UN charter--the answer to that question is self evident. Rather, the people of the world should be asking themselves whether or not they want to accept definitions of right & wrong, legal & illegal, from the United Nations.

Less than a decade ago, I would have regarded anyone who did not think that the UN was ultimately a good & noble institution which should be supported and endorsed as a sadly clueless loon. While I recognized that the UN was fraught with imperfection--that corrupt dictators wielded as much power, if not more, than democracies; that intellectual relativism and economic socialism dominated the general mindset of the institution; that the bureaucratic nature of the beast had become bloated, slow, and often ineffectual. Nonetheless, I saw these as problems requiring reform, not cancers requiring surgical amputation.

The goal of the UN was to prevent another conflict like World Wars I & II from ever happening again. The UN as it exists today aims to a vast number of goals, and it achieves none of them. Furthermore, ask yourself, has the UN made a global war less likely? Did the UN do a thing to deflate the level of hostility during the Cold War? Has the UN done anything to defuse tension between Pakistan and India? Between China and Taiwan? Between North Korea and every other nation in missile range?

The United Nations is a failed institution. It had its chance, it failed. It's time to move on. To the extent that the world can benefit from a permanently standing international body to which every country of the world sends an ambassador, something worthwhile can take the UN's place. But the UN Charter does not stand for moral, logical, or beneficial "law making." I fully believe in the morality and necessity of launching war in Iraq. To the extent that others may disagree with me, I feel confident that their disagreement is over the nature and immediacy of the threat posed by Iraq. I've yet to see a serious disagreement over the US going to war =from a mainstream liberal based on an argument that has anything to do with the United Nations.

I suspect that, while many liberals regret the extent to which America has become alienated from Europe (for which most of the blame lies with Europe, mind you, and people who desperately didn't want to lose their incredibly lucrative oil-for-food swindle money), and regret that the United States was unable to procure a Security Council resolution (thanks again to European intransigence), they (anti-war Americans) recognize that any anti-war argument rooted in a pro-UN basis is doomed to failure.

You just can't take the United Nations seriously anymore. Mainstream politicians may fear to call for something so radical as the replacement of the UN with a more serious and less frivolous & impotent institution, preferring instead to simply call for that empty chimera "reform." I've not been on this earth all that long, but there's one thing I've gradually come to accept--elected governments are nearly incapable of reforming themselves. Unelected bureaucracies are entirely incapable of reforming themselves.

Illegal war indeed.

Update: Answerman chimes in from the comments:

I think there were 2 justifications for the war even under the UN Charter. First, the 1991 Gulf War was indisputably legal under Security Council resolutions, and the ceasefire that ended but did not fully legally resolve it was indisputably being violated by Saddam in March 2003. The war was therefore legally justified as a continuation of the 1991 war.

Second, the resolution unanimously approved by the Security Council in November 2002 permitted generally the use of force by member states to enforce it. It did not explicitly require a second resolution before such force could be used. Although the language was ambiguous, a strong argument can be made that the November 2002 resolution authorized, although not in explicit language, the March 2003 invasion.
Which just goes to strengthen Kofi Annan & crew's irrelevance.


 
German extremists?
Written by: Brent Brophy

German "extreme" parties make gains in recent elections.

This includes the Party of Democratic Socialism, famous for having people killed at the Berlin Wall, and the National Democratic Party, which is also socialist but took that out of their name to differentiate them from the National Socialist German Workers Party.

"Whoever votes for the extremists is teaching nobody a lesson," warned Georg Braun, head of another trade group, in the Berliner Zeitung. "He harms the image, and through that the economic growth of his home region for years."


If you don't give people a practical alternative to extremist parties, you're doing nobody any good. Germany has been horribly mismanaged into a nanny-state and the people responsible refuse to accept that they've totally screwed up their ecomony. Their blaming others is what fuels "extremist" parties who believe that they can solve the problems by destroying whomever the "moderate" government has made scapegoat.

Le Pen demonstrated the same thing in France during their last presidental election. Socialism has destroyed the economic structure of every country that has adopted it but goes unchallenged in Europe. With every major party endorsing a failed economic plan, people who want a real improvement are forced to gamble on an "extremist" party.

Goe, cause the 'free world' is a pretty damned small place.


Friday, September 17, 2004

 
France Sucks! (Part inifinity)
Written by: Brent Brophy

The Euroweenies army is starting to take shape.

Michelle Alliot-Marie, the French defence minister, said the force was designed for "post-conflict" duties in regions emerging from civil war such as Bosnia, Kosovo and Ivory Coast.


Post-conflict? The "Fearless Fighting French" plan on only showing up AFTER the shooting stops? What kind of motto's will they have?

Last in the field, First to surrender!

Always in the nick of late!

Keeping an eye on battlefield winners!

Defending Europe against resolved conflicts!

Goe, thinks listening to France is a big mistake.


 
Reserved Reserves
Written by: Brent Brophy

Democrats are accusing Bush of planning to call up more reserves just after the election.

So what? It'll be time to start calling up units to replace those already deployed. One of the few things close to scandalous about this is the short notification that the units are getting.

They're also our reserve units. Our spares, our backups, our rainy-day army. This, oddly, doesn't seem to bother much of anybody. While the Democrats may say it's unfair to reservists and their families, or that the fighting in Iraq is distracting us from finding bin Laden, I doubt that they really wanted to put those resources into fighting in Afghanistan. We're far more likely to find Osama there, but deploying more active duty units to Afghanistan is not anywhere to be found in Kerry's campaign platform.

Neither is doing anything about Arafat, Hezbollah, or Hamas. Those organizations will have to be delt with for us to win this war, but Kerry thinks actually trying to fight our enemies will distract us from the war (i.e. fighting our enemies). The only reasonable conclusion is that Kerry, or whomever he chose to be his national defense policy advisor, is a complete fucking moron. A less reasonable but probably more likely conclusion is that Kerry's advisors are hoping we lose the war, our cities are destroyed, and dissenters are dropped into industrial shredders.

But why are we fighting with our reserves? What will we do if it starts raining, if another front or two opens up in this war? What if we get drawn into new conflicts in Korea, Darfur, or Taiwan? I know that there are some simulations that show six fictional characters and a miniature giant space hamster can defeat the forces of evil, but what are we going to do in reality?

Goe, because mostly they come at night. Mostly.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

 
Tyranny of the majority
Written by: Beck

Our Republic was founded on the principle of federalism. Every civics student knows it--or at least knew it for as long as it took to get past the test--but few understand the true relevance of such a system.

The whole point of the federal form of government is to limit the power of the rulers furthest removed from the individual citizen. It is less hard to hold a city council accountable for their decisions than it is to hold accountable the county government. The same applies all the way up to the level of the national government. Gradual erosion of the power of more relatively local governments (across all branches) in favor of the broader, national government, proportionally decreases the freedom of the people thus ruled.

This is the issue tackled in a recent article by Ilana Mercer at the Mises Institute, in one of the best reasoned and most relevant issues I've lately seen from those wacky Austrians. Virtually all of the compact, intelligent article bears reading, so I shall excerpt at length.
James Madison was not a democrat. He denounced popular rule as "incompatible with personal security or the rights of property." Democracy, he observed, must be confined to a "small spot" (like Athens). Indeed, the Bush administration's deafening demagoguery notwithstanding, democratic majoritarianism is thoroughly un-American.

Madison and the other Founders attempted to forestall democracy by devising a republic, the hallmark of which was the preservation of individual liberty. To that end, they restricted the federal government to a handful of enumerated powers. Decentralization, devolution of authority, and the restrictions on government imposed by a Bill of Rights were to ensure that few issues were left to the adjudication of a national majority.

The essence of democracy, instantiated so perfectly in Bush's neoconservative administration, is Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "general will," a "national purpose" that ought to be implemented by an all-powerful state. Voltaire, a rather more clever Frenchman, said that Rousseau is as to the philosopher as the ape is to man. Still, that ape's idea animated the blood-drenched French and Russian revolutions. And sadly, it wafted over the Atlantic, took root in the republic's soil, and flourished like kudzu.

Over time, this foreign weed began to choke the Founder's Republic. As Felix Morley observed in Freedom and Federalism, earlier Americans were undeniably influenced by Rousseau, harboring a considerable admiration for the manner in which the common democratic will found expression in revolutionary France. The later infestation of Marxist ideas completed Rousseau's work.

Were America still a republic, liberty would be guaranteed regardless of whom is elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November: the shifty-eyed Ewok (Bush) or the Wizard of Oz Scarecrow (Kerry). In democratic America, however, either of these demiurges will enjoy almost unlimited power. Marriage, marijuana, Microsoft, you name it--there is hardly an aspect of life from which these meddlers are barred. All are subject to the whims of the national majority, or, rather, of its ostensible representatives.

It is these representatives who triumph in this or any election, certainly not that fictitious entity "The People." While it seems obvious that the minority in a democracy is openly thwarted, the question is, do the elected representatives at least carry out the will of the majority?

The answer is No. The People's representatives have carte blanche to do exactly as they please.
The article then goes on to discuss a recent study of democracy as practiced in Norway, which has demonstrated precisely the above principles: that vote casting & other pantomimed acts of self-rule bear little relation to the actual behavior of government, that freedom decreases as federalism decreases.

The only true way to combat this pernicious, creeping effect--already hideously visible in Europe, and gradually increasing its influence here at home in America--is to fight at every step, every turn, and every moment, the further and continued attempts of governments to usurp rights and centralize power. Voting and Democracy alone are insufficient safeguards.


 
Israel and Russia
Written by: Brent Brophy

This is a mixed bag. While the possibilities for putting heads on pikes is very high, the probability is very low. Israel has rewarded Arafat for his lifetime of terrorism with a personal fortune in the billions and is stil subjected to attacks.

On the other hand, with Russia as a patron power, Israel will not be as restricted by Euroweenies and our State Department ("If they're an ally of ours, they must be wrong!"). We may actually see real anti-terrorism strategies developed and effected, instead of lame speeches about how the terrorists win if we don't go on vacation.

The problem remains that neither Russia nor Israel has shown much inclination in the past decade to strike at terrorists more than an hours drive away from home. Both have developed excellent strategies that they've used in the past, but those strategies lie abandoned, hindered by a global press that prefers non-muslim body counts to muslim defeats. The United States has shown that it lacks the collective will to take the war seriously and not enough countries are willing to take up the slack. How high will the bodycount go before Putin or Bush stop practicing restraint and start fighting for victory?

Goe, ranting and raving all night long.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

 
In all fairness
Written by: Brent Brophy

Sudan strikes again.

The Sudanese Government has rejected a US-sponsored United Nations Security Council draft resolution, aimed at punishing the African nation over a conflict in its western Darfur region, saying the measure was unfair and lacked balance.


What the measure lacked was anything of consequence. It would not impose sanctions, or even actually recommend them, but is just an agreement that genocide is a bad thing. China, being a communist country, disagrees about the genocide. Sudan feels that being critized for government-sanctioned rape, pillaging, and ethnic cleansing is unfair, which may seem true if you believe in fairy tales and/or CBS news reports. Even the African Union, which supports most ethnic cleansing programs on the continent, believes that Sudan has gone too far.

Goe, feels sorry for that continent.


 
Be prepared!
Written by: Brent Brophy

It be comin' soon, Matey.

Goe, jumping the gun.


 
Iddy Biddy Song
Written by: Brent Brophy

Where, oh where, are the WMD?
Where, oh where, could they be?

Goe, with a song cut short.


Monday, September 13, 2004

 
Putin hires army of sycophants to fight terrorism!
Written by: Brent Brophy

Maybe he meant to hire a Sikh army instead. His changes to help fight terrorism aren't really going to help. The problem isn't a shortage of federal cronyism, but that a bunch of fucktard zealots want to kill Russians. The Russian army lacks the training, motivation, and flexibility to combat the seperatists and their terrorist friends, something not addressed by any of Putin's changes. Rather than try to make any of the Russian armies useful, Putin plans to make a new one, modelled on the Department of Homeland Security, which was modelled on the Russian Interior Ministry (which is completely unlike our Department of the Interior). Putin has put forth a lot of 'reforms' to fight terrorism and some threats to kill terrorists, but the Russians have no plan that actually involved going to where the terrorists are and killing them.

Goe, doubts that a bunch of yes-men will stop terrorists.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

 
Appeasement
Written by: Brent Brophy

We've spent decades kissing ass to keep the North Koreans from invading their southern neighbor. We've given them food, fuel, and practically anything else that they've asked for. The only demands we've made are that they don't attack anyone or build nuclear weapons. We knew that they were trying to build nuclear weapons, but knowing that we were being lied to never stopped the State Department from advocating appeasement. But what has all this appeasement gotten us?

Goe, thinks the State Department is full of traitors and idiots.


Saturday, September 11, 2004

 
The future depends on us
Written by: Beck

On this day, in ancient and largely forgotten history, a large and powerful nation--still young by the standards of its Western European antecedents--was delivered a devastating surprise attack from an enemy which the world had largely ignored before that day. Men without even a country to call their true home stole a handful of transportation machines (known as air planes, jets, or "Boeings" in the vernacular of the time) from their operators and plunged them into some of that young nation's most important buildings.

Two of those buildings, mighty centers of international commerce, symbols of the triumph of free people over enslaved, of the power of peaceful people engaged in commerce, of technology and engineering, indeed, symbols of the power and achievement of which free people are capable, fell in thousand foot columns of smoke and fire. Nearly three thousand people died in that attack and another against the headquarters of their military--the world's most powerful. Indeed, the strength, pride, and determination of that nation's free people was so great that one of the four planes never found its target. That plane's captors--trained in military tactics and combat--were overwhelmed by the might of civilians who were unwilling to die passively.

The spirit of those passengers upon that last plane served as inspiration for the rest of the nation. They demonstrated that human freedom is too great and important to cede to the hands of the forces of slavery, the cult of death. On that day, the free nation, attacked, wounded, bleeding, was united as never before in its brief history. From the most conservative, religious people to the most liberal elite (known in those strange days as "actors") came together to do everything they could to salve the wounds of the injured and succor the families of the dead.

As had happened once before on another fateful day (December 7), this nation--normally engaged in peaceful commerce and the pursuit of happiness, slow to action, slow to anger--rose up as an enraged giant, strode across the oceans, and sought to annihilate the death cultists who had so wounded her. Wherever the enemy sought to hide, the forces of freedom sought to hunt them down to the very last one.

But just one heartbeat later, the giant stumbled. It began to tear itself apart. Its people divided. They forgot why they had been so angry. Their immediate inconveniences began to impose upon their minds. A nation built on sacrifice and struggle against insurmountable odds no longer had the will to sacrifice or to struggle. Their enemy was crafty and hidden. He couldn't be pinned to any one nation, yet nations harbored him still. The only alternatives were to abandon the enemy entirely or to engage full on the nations who harbored him. While a relatively simple exercise in logic would seem to dictate to our learned and aged ears that nations harboring an enemy, regardless of how ephemeral, disorganized, or intangible that enemy may seem, were themselves enemies.

But the cultists of death, while they could never win a fight on open ground against the armed forces of freedom--those dedicated paladins who dealt death to the enemies of life--won victories elsewhere. Their insidious spell captivated the minds of many, especially in the old world (sometimes known collectively as "Europe"). Why risk lives on foreign soil? they asked. Why go to war with whole nations when only a handful of the enemy could be found on their soil? demanded the cynics. These were the people who, when asked to sacrifice and to struggle, peavishly yelled, "I shall not!" They were the ones who valued life not according to its proportion of freedom but according to the bill paid annually for the petrochemicals around which their lives revolved. Paradoxically, they justified their anti-freedom argument with such perverse slogans as, "No blood for oil." Try not to retch, dear readers, those times were not as enlightened as our own.

The internal struggle, then, could be defined thusly: on one side were people who, like their ancestors a mere two hundred years before, understood that it was not enough simply to declare your freedom, but rather, that it had to be defended and fought for at every turn, every corner, from the tallest buildings in the greatest cities to the smallest dwellings in the most distant and remote corners. The other side denied the threat represented by a cult which worshipped death and enslavement to a twisted and cruel ideology, and they refused to make any sacrifice--however small--so that the future could be secure and the freedom of their descendants assured.

Today, it doesn't require a scholar or savant to understand what was meant when freedom was first declared at the birth of that great nation. One does not declare freedom with eyes downcast. One does not declare independence with a mutter, with a whine, or with angry self-righteous braying. One declares the right to life and liberty proudly, head raised, eyes shining, confident and sure in the rightness of freedom, in the act of defiance represented by merely being alive. It is the declaration that I Shall Not Yield.

The concept was first and best said by one of that nation's founders and elder statesman. It was he who first penned the mighty words which today seem so obvious, yet which then were so revolutionary: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Fortunately for us all, the forces of freedom won out. Right?

********************************************************

Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere abounds with other tributes to 9/11. Some of them are just a simple picture or a single sentence. Others are long, moving tributes. They all bear reading. It might take a while to get through them all, but is that such a huge sacrifice to make? The more that people remember what happened on that fateful September day, the more staunchly the forces of freedom will be defended.

Blogs commemorating 9/11: Protein Wisdom, The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler X2, Ace of Spades, Captain's Quarters, The Castle Argghhh, The Dissident Frogman, In Search of Utopia, Aaron's Rantblog, Tacjammer, Wizbang, DGCI, Rachel Lucas, Serenity's Journal, Classical Values, Samizdata, Michelle Malkin, Allah, a_sdf, Who Tends The Fires, Small Dead Animals, My Pet Jawa, mASS BACKWARDS, Mr. Minority, Bloodletting, LaShawn Barber's Corner, Shades of Gray, Roger L. Simon, Tacoma Blaze, A Small Victory, Murdoc Online, In The Bullpen

Graphic/annimated Tributes: Exhibit 13, Attacked 9/11, American Experience

Other roundups: In The Bullpen: Where were you?, Blogs of War with a great roundup including major media and other online tributes, In Search of Utopia with a thorough listing of blog & other tributes (scroll to the end of David's post).


Friday, September 10, 2004

 
Talk about a milestone
Written by: Beck

Blogs for Bush now counts 1,000 blogs in its membership ranks.

Frankly, I find that astonishing. The B4B network is by far the world's largest blog consortium. Congrats to creator Matt Margolis. He's done more to direct pro-Bush traffic on the internet than pretty much any other person on Earth.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

 
Justified retaliation
Written by: Brent Brophy

Say what? Is there a thing Israel could do that the Palestinians wouldn't claim was justification for more terrorist attacks?

"Yes, we'll come try to murder you and your family as you sleep, but don't dare think about trying to stop us or we'll get angry!"

Goe, asking you to please stand for the National Sig.


Monday, September 06, 2004

 
In the time when I was born lived a man who sailed the seas
Written by: Beck

And he told us of his life in the land of submarines.

Two words, which many of you have been waiting your entire life to hear uttered together without even being conscious of it: naked sushi. Second paragraph.

Another anti-Kerry ad, this one from Club for Growth. Because, why not?

Finally, the only Frenchman Goemagog doesn't hate, The Dissident Frogman has a new entry in the red button gallery. Scroll down a couple pages 'til you get to the grey text with the red button. Click red button once. Click red button twice. You're on your way. Warning: one miniscule half-second long interval of nudity. You have been warned.

I'm going to be away from the keyboard for the better part of a week. So I guess it's a good thing there are (nominally) four other writers here. Ta-ta.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

 
Our Common Enemy.
Written by: Brent Brophy

France.

Our sent special, Natalie Nougayrede, tells the scenes of horror to which it assisted, brings back testimonys of families and details the lies distilled by the authorities of Moscow.


Okay, Google translator isn't the best in the world, but it seems pretty clear that they are accusing Moscow of lying.

The school accomodated more than one thousand of people the day of the re-entry, which makes incredible the official figure, provided Thursday, of 354 hostages.


The "official figure" was a guess, based on how many people reported having a relative inside. It was dropped the day before when a released hostage said there were between one thousand and fifteen hundred hostages. Apparently this was not noticed by France.

According to two photographers, the engagements started when a truck transporting three first-aid workers of the Russian ministry of the emergencies sought to approach the school.

Were these "first-aid workers" actually a team of the special forces giving an opinion for the attack?


Okay, why the scare quotes? The reason for the scare quotes is that the French reporter wants the frogs to believe that they were not really aid workers, and were not really there to remove bodies from outside the school. The french base this on... NOTHING.

To the same moment, Russian teams of bomb disposal experts proceeded to the destruction of the explosives placed in the school by the terrorist commando. These explosions seemed, just as easily, to be intended to complete to destroy the school, covering with rubble the indices which could have been used for the investigation, and making impossible any precise calculation of the remainders human carbonized remained inside.


Of course the bombs were being destroyed by the bomb squads to hide evidence. Nobody in their right mind would destroy a bomb because it was a FRICKIN' BOMB. No, France has to have a conspiracy.

France, as a nation, has shown itself to be eager to replace the Soviet Union as the bullying decision maker for much of Europe. The French, as a smelly collective, have embraced every genocidal dictator and now delude themselves into thinking that islamic terrorists fight for France. French, as a language, is so crappy that even the Google translator had difficulty making any sense of it.

Fuck France. The frogs must die.

UPDATE: Britain is protecting one fucktard from other fucktards, even as he encourages Iraqi's to repeat the Russian school incident in Britain. Why are they letting this guy stay?

"The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians," he said.


So when a bunch of people go into a SCHOOL, plant EXPLOSIVES, and shoot CHILDREN in the back, they're not targeting women or children. They're claiming that their religion forbids this even though they created a situation where it was inevitable. They may trick the New York Times (the frogs are probably helping the terrorists spin the story) into thinking that the terrorists are really just misunderstood, but do they really think God will be tricked by the pretense of plausible deniability? They don't even have plausible deniability because they deliberately went into the school, yet they pretend that there is some benefit of the doubt that should be accorded to them (there isn't), and they believe that God will fall for this trick as well. It's no wonder that these people live in the fucking stone age, they're trying to appease a diety that they think is a moron.

Goe, because the frogs support terrorists who shoot children in the back.


Saturday, September 04, 2004

 
Russian tragedy.
Written by: Brent Brophy

After the terrorists began killing hostages, the russian army moved in, followed quickly by political vultures.

"I suspect that Putin's immediate concern will have been to be seen to be strong rather than be seen to be negotiating," said Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest.


"And if that means sacrificing civilians caught up in the middle, I don't suspect that is the key issue as far as Putin is concerned," he said.


Putin wanted to negotiate, it was the terrorists who started the shooting (it would seem the hostages began running when a terrorist bomb went off accidentally, the terrorists then started shooting hostages prompting the russian army to move in to rescue the hostages, but information is very piecemeal). But hey, why NOT blame Putin.

"But we also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened,"


Not from Jane's, but the Dutch Foreign Minister, Bernard Bot (not a maker of jellybeans). The Dutch wouldn't want to ask the Chechen rebels why some of their suicide units were attacking schools, or ask Al Qaeda why they were assisting in such attacks. No, the Dutch will ask the Russians because the Russians aren't likely to blow up Dutch schools regardless of how stupid Bernard Bot is.

"It is unacceptable, incomprehensible, senseless," said U.N. Children's Fund Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "It is time to take stock, to take a long hard look at our world and how it is treating children. If we don't respect the sanctity of childhood, then we have nothing."


Our world is treating children okay. It's the fucktard terrorists who are blowing them up. Children wearing mock suicide bomber belts are acceptable in UN run refugee camps, something that doesn't bother anybody working at the Nobel Peace Prize winning U.N Children's Fund. The Islamic world is the one with the problem.

Goe, hasn't seen anything stupid from the French on this... yet.


Friday, September 03, 2004

 
Six months
Written by: Beck

INCITE is officially six months old today. In the imortal words of John McClain, Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!

Well, it was either that, or Doc Holliday's, "I have not yet begun to defile myself.."


Thursday, September 02, 2004

 
Finis
Written by: Beck

Finally. Both conventions are over. I, as you might predict if you take a look at how many pages I have written on the two conventions, am exhausted.

My overall scorecard: speakers overall: B -- some of the speakers were forgettable. The best speakers were front loaded into the first night, which wasn't even televised. Schwarzenegger was the only really memorable part of night 2, and Zell Miller was the only memorable part of night 3. Tonight wasn't anything special apart from Bush.

Bush's speech: A -- the speech ran long, but it didn't feel long, which is key. The disruptions from protesters were a net negative, but that wasn't Bush's fault. Also, he handled the disturbances very well. Furthermore, his delivery was excellent, and should serve to drive into people's mind that Bush isn't the poor speaker that he's often characterized as. His message was specific and unmistakable. He hit issues solidly, covered the whole spectrum, and presented a broad number of definite, concrete policy plans.

In other news, tomorrow, September 3, will be INCITE's 6 month blogiversary. When Answerman and I started this site, we envisioned it as a place where we could rant and vent our frustration with the modern political system. I never really imagined that I'd still be at it so thoroughly and ferociously six months after. Since then, we've added three more writers, and covered far more material than I'd ever imagined. I correspond with numerous other bloggers, and we've become a part of a much larger community than I'd even realized originally existed. Today we get hundreds of readers every day, and that's a really cool feeling. So to every one of our regular readers, to everyone who has linked us, and for all the positive feedback, thank you all.

Things are getting much busier for me. I've been sans job for the past four months, and have just secured myself a new position at a new company. I'm looking forward to it, but it's going to be a lot of work, and I'm going to be moving around the country a lot. I won't be able to consistently post with the regularity of the past, but I fully intend to continue giving INCITE as much effort and time as I can. So again, thank you for coming, reading, and sticking around.


 
RNC Final Day - Part X - President Bush edition continued
Written by: Beck

That last one was getting a bit long. If you're just tuning in now, the first part of Bush's speech is covered in the post below.

"Government must take the side of working families. We will change outdated labor laws to offer comp-time and flex-time. Our laws should never stand in the way of a more family-friendly work place."

New theme: creating an ownership society. Another good idea. If every American had a vested interest in stock and debt markets, impediments to economic growth would meet for more resistance, and from a far better educated society (from a financial standpoint).

Update: He just brought up his social security personal savings account plan from four years ago. Frankly, I thought that was the best of all his plans from four years ago, and it was one of the ones which never happened.

"No matter what your circumstance, no matter where you live, your school will be your path to the promise of America."

Update: He's going on about standardized testing in schools and the funding to make it possible. I'm really not kidding when I say that Kerry had about 3 concrete proposals for what he intended to do if elected, outside of lots and lots and lots of pontificating about leadership, war, leadership, terror, and war. Bush has lined out about 20 concrete policy proposals. This is what a convention speech is supposed to be like.

First "Challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations" line floated while I was typing that last bit. Because you knew it had to be coming. In Spanish: "We will leave no child behind." I know he speaks Spanish fluently, but unlike George P. Bush, W.'s accent is terrible. It reminds me of Peggy Hill of King of the Hill speaking Spanish.

Update: New proposal: "Fund early-prevention programs to catch children at risk of not graduating." Followed by expanding Pell grants, and other plans to help people start their careers with a college diploma.

"Enroll millions of poor children who are eligible, but not signed up for, government health programs." He makes a point that has been neglected by everyone--a lot of programs exist out there already to provide health benefits for those who cannot afford them. People simply are unaware of them, or don't take advantage of them.

Update: "My opponents policies are significantly different from ours." First mention of Senator Kerry.

"He opposes medical liability reform. Opposed doubling the child credit. Opposed lowering income taxes... To be fair, there are some things my opponent are for. He's proposed more than 2 trillion dollars in federal spending so far, and that's a lot even for a senator from Massachusetts." I guess Bush decided to have fun with the fact that he doesn't stand a chance of carrying Massachusetts anyway.

"He has proposed raising taxes, and that's a promise a politician usually keeps." Kerry, Bush argues, supports the politics of the past. Get ready to hear more about the "politics of the past" in days to come.

This lead to the "4 more years" chant finally. It's the first one. I'd expected 4 or 5 of those chants by this point. Thank god the audience is restraining themselves.

"I support welfare reform that supports family and requires work." Good for you Bush. "If we're going to make a commitment for society to support its weakest members, we must make a commitment to the unborn child." That's about the nicest possible way you could have phrased pro-life beliefs.

"Because religious charities provide a safety net of charity and compassion, our government must never discriminate against them." Followed by protection of marriage against "activist judges." It looks like he's getting all his social conservatism out in one big quick wodge, sandwiched in the middle of his speech.

"I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and strict enforcement of the letter of the law."

Update: He's attacking one of Kerry's claims now that he was the representative of conservative values. "If you condemned the Reagan presidency as 8 years of moral darkness..." And more of the like, followed by, "then you do not represent conservative values. He switched off the routine after using the catch line just four times. Very well written speech thus far (from a mechanical standpoint I mean. It moves around quickly, makes the points concisely, ropes in the audience, but doesn't have to halt every five seconds for an applause line).

Update: Now he's moving on to the War on Terror finally. Tripled funding of HLS and first responders. Transforming our military. Strengthening intelligence services. Staying on the offensive. Striking terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home. Working to advance liberty in the Mid East because prosperity will bring hope and peace. "And we will prevail."

Update: I think there must be protesters inside the arena. There were weird shouts. More shouts now. Whenever there are shouts, the audience breaks into "4 more years" to drown them out, and Bush keeps speaking over them.

Yep, protesters. The camera has shifted finally to what's going on. People just got fucking hauled out of the arena by security. Like sprinting.

He just enumerated all the accomplishments on the war in terror--al Qaeda associates detained and killed, military successes, attacks prevented, etc.

Update: "The toughest decisions was Iraq... We knew his history... We know that September 11th requires our country to think differently. We must and we will confront threats before it's too late."

More protesters making a scene now. The audience is drowning them out, but it's forcing Bush to halt. Demonstrators on the floor really making a mess of things. Yeah, that's democracy at work all right. What I want to know is how the fuck they got in in the first place. I mean, if demonstrators and protesters can get into the floor of the convention while Bush is speaking, how the fuck does the Secret Service plan to keep the president alive? How hard would it really be for someone who was willing to die to assassinate him?

About Saddam: "Do I forget September 11th and take the words of a mad man, or do I take action..." Perhaps one of the most potentially effective lines of the speech, completely splattered by the interruption of the infiltrated floor demonstrators. They would seem to have accomplished their mission.

Update: He's arguing that free societies in the middle east will give growth and hope, making futile the efforts of terrorists, born of frustration and resentment.

To the servicemen, "Because of you, women are no longer shot in a sports stadium. Because of you, people in Iraq no longer fear being executed and being left in mass graves. Because of you the world is more just and will be more peaceful. We owe you our thanks, and we owe you something more. We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory."

Update: Bush just quoted the, "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it," line. He's going on with more attacks on the waffling. I didn't actually think Bush would whip out that line, after all, other speakers at the RNC have already made plenty of it. Frankly, I think, that was a bit beneath Bush, as people who've read into the vote understand that Kerry, while trying to have the best of both worlds with a soundbite, meant something a little more sophisticated than what the quote sounded like on the surface.

Tony Blair, being thanked by Bush, just received a huge applause line.

"My opponents takes a different approach. My opponent calls our allies, 'A coalition of the coerced and the bribed.'" Then lists our allies, and the people that Kerry has thus implied are coerced or bribed, then, [paraphrasing] "These are people who deserve our thanks and support, not our scorn."

"I respect every soldier from every country who serves beside us. America is grateful, and America will not forget." For some reason that makes me think of France, who has forgotten.

Update: "I am proud that our country remains the hope of the oppressed and the greatest force for good on this earth." Money quote of the evening right there.

My hands are dying. My finger muscles are starting to seize up on me I think. It doesn't help that I'm one of those people whose typing style is like an all-out assault on the keyboard. A person listening to me type before actually described it as sounding like a hail storm hitting a tin roof. (Keep in mind that I live in Texas).

Moving on....

"Palestinians will get the message..." something about hope, followed by a comment about, "Our friend Israel." Israel is a very controversial subject, and a lot of politicians would have stayed away from it. I think it's smart to jump right out and embrace it. After all, if you support the nation, trying to act like you don't to be perceived in a better light by an anti-Israeli world media isn't going to make you a better person or more honest. Again, I tend to support principle over expediency.

Update: He just took a potshot at the press, likening the modern press to the anti-war press from just before World War II. I was too busy publishing the previous update to get the text, but it was funny. And thank god, he didn't feel the need to explain his joke--I fucking hate that.

Now Bush is roping together the history, from World War I forward, of the United States backing the growth of Democracy and the benefits it has yielded. I agree here. There are grounds on which you can oppose this "Go out and create Democracies across the world," form of geo-politics, but you can't argue against the great number of historical successes at that very policy (take Germany and Japan for example).

In other news, I wish Bush could pronounce, "kept." There's a 't' on the end there. It's not "kep."

"And tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me. In the last four years as we've grown to know each other, even if we don't agree, at least you know where I stand."

"You may have noticed I have a few flaws too. I even sometimes have to correct my English. I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it. You may have noticed I have a certain swagger, which in Texas, is called, 'Walking.'"

Very good. A little self-deprecation goes a long way, and he handled it very humorously. "One thing about the presidency, whatever shortcomings you may have, people are going to notice them, and whatever strengths you have, you're going to need them."

Update: One thing I just noticed, he hasn't had a single slip up, gaff, miscue, repeat, stumble, or other speaking mistake. You expect to hear one or two. His delivery has been well nigh perfect. Considering the man doing the speaking, that's pretty godamned impressive.

"Here buildings fell, here a nation rose," about people looking at the site of the World Trade Towers. Second best quote of the evening.

"Having come this far, our tested and confident nation can achieve anything."

"To everything we know there is a season." Yes, it's a bible quote, but every single person in America just thought to themselves, "turn, turn turn." He's going to get a hard time for that.

Update: And that's that. God bless us, everyone. My fingers are going to fall off now. He spoke for just over an hour, though it didn't feel like it at all.


 
RNC Final Day - Part IX - President Bush edition
Written by: Beck

Bush is taking the podium. Prepare for a swarm of updates. Hopefully I can type fast enough.

Update: The speech is expected to run 40-45 minutes.

"I am honored by your support, and I accept your nomination for President of the United States." It's official.

Update: Opening paragraph is about how 4 years ago, none of us could have seen what was coming. "We learned of passengers on a plane whose courage frightened their killers."

"We have seen a shaken economy rise to its feet." Good metaphor there.

"We have seen our soldiers... acts of valor that would make the men of Normandy proud."

"We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America, and nothing will hold us back," this after a lot about how we can see a better future.

In other news, Bush's delivery seems to be on. He's definitely at the top of his game.

"I am fortunate to have a superb Vice President." Smart move there--it'd be fatal to try to downplay the importance of Cheney just because of how unpopular he is.

Update: He's moved on to thanking Laura. Presumably we're in for some touchy-feely family stuff now.

Update: Describing his daughters, his voice half-way cracked when he described them as "intelligent." Coincidence I'm sure. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, right?

Update: Lots of applause lines, but they're not lasting too long, and Bush isn't getting held up in his delivery by them.

"A presidential election is a contest for the future. Tonight I will tell you where I stand, what I believe, and where I will lead the country in the next four years." Well, yeah, that's kind of why we're watching this.

"I believe that every student must learn and every school must teach."

Update: "I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor our seniors." This followed by prescription drug coverage.

"So we unleashed that energy [of our small businessmen, entrepreneurs, and farmers] with the greatest tax relief in a generation."

"The most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows weakness or uncertainty in this decade, the future will shift towards tragedy. This will not happen on my watch." Biggest applause line of the night.

Update: First use of "Compassionate Conservativism:" "I believe the country should provide people with opportunity to succeed, not tell them how to run their lives."

"The story of America is the story of expanding liberty." "Our nation's founding commitment is still our greatest commitment... to expand the frontiers of freedom."

Update: Bush argues that this time of demographic change (people working multiple jobs and careers in their lives, two-thirds of mothers working) provides an opportunity for positive benefits for everyone so long as people are left free to pursue their own choices & dreams. He further ammends that, however, to suggest that in this new economy, the government needs to provide a bigger safety net.

Security of a growing economy: "We compete in a global economy... more goods... more competition... America must be the best place in the world to do business." He will achieve that by reducing government spending, something I missed, and making the tax relief permenant.

"To create jobs, I will make the country less dependant on foreign sources of energy." This is a chimera, but that's an argument for another time. Also, the Democrats are more guilty of worshipping at that alter than Republicans by a WIDE margin.

"We must protect our small business owners from the epidemic of frivolous lawsuits."

Bush has already said more concrete plans for his administration in his first 15 minutes than Kerry did in his entire speech. Trust me, I wrote about 4 pages on Kerry's speech.

Now he's discussing revising the tax code. Making it simpler and more pro-growth. If he achieves that... it would be enormous. He wants to lead a charge for a reformed and simplified tax code. I don't think it's possible though. There are too many vested interests in each little nook, cranny, loop-hole, and special rule of the tax code, and they all have very good lobbyists.

He also wants to increase funding for community colleges and job training programs. He's starting to sound like a freaking Democrat.

Update: Opportunity is harder in some communities than others.

He has a plan to create "opportunity zones." Which involves tax relief, training, and incentives to create new business.

I just figured something out. Kerry accidentally gave the Republican speech, and Bush is giving the Democratic speech. Hell, Bush just took a pot shot at "big companies." Did someone slip some of Jeff Goldstein's little red pills into my beverage?

Now he's going on against personal health savings account. THIS is a very good idea. Any time you can provide the structure for personal savings driven not by government fiat but market fundamentals, you create a more efficient and pro-growth system.

Next promise: every community to have a health center.


 
RNC Final Day - Part VIII
Written by: Beck

David Brooks makes an interesting point: all the stars of the Republican party right now are pro-choice. The conservative wing of the party has shown lackluster performances all around at this convention. They may, of necessity, have to nominate someone who's pro-choice despite the fact that the Republican party is ultimately a pro-life party.

Such an event would be a major shift in the political landscape. For one thing, the Republican base would stay home in droves. In the case of Bush, he can only win by mobilizing his base. Karl Rove recognized that in 2000, and he recognizes it now. While many conservatives feel very strongly about the FMA, I think that at the highest level, they must recognize that it doesn't have a chance of succeeding. As such, it serves as a red herring whose purpose is to mobilize the base.

If a pro-choice Republican were to be the official nominee in 2008, the far right would stay home. They might even splinter off to jump on the remains of the Reform party or create some new third-party. However, a whole swath of moderate voters would swing to the Republicans. There are a lot of Americans who are basically Republican--they believe in personal responsibility, small government, and lower taxes. They just can't bring them to vote for a party which is so strongly social conservative on issues of religion, abortion, and homosexuality. These people represent a key constituency for Democrats, but they aren't by any means married to the Democratic party--not in the sense that many minorities regard themselves (re-read Al Sharpton's convention speech if you have any doubts about that).


 
RNC Final Day - Part VII - Governor Pataki edition
Written by: Beck

The last big speaker prior to Bush is taking the podium. He looks put upon that the crowd won't stop applauding.

Some good news: "Tonight, I'm going to be brief."

Evidently, after 9/11, 1000 people from Oregon went to New York to help the NY tourism industry rebound. Interesting way to appeal to a West Coast state. And Iowa sent 1,500 quilts. Yep. Quilts. Iowa must be a pretty exciting place to live. Pennsylvania did some nice things too. I wonder if his whole speech is going to be a matter of thanking people for their support after the tragedy of September.

"On that terrible day, everyone became New Yorkers, so what I've wanted to do since that day was to have a chance to thank you all in front of the world. Thank you."

He's moving on now.

"This is the most important election of our lifetime." Have you heard that before? He was at Yale at the same time as Kerry & Bush. And not it looks like he's going to tear into Kerry. "I want to help voters compare Bush's record of achievement with Senator Kerry's so that they can see the difference--that President Bush has a record of achievement."

Update: The catch line now is, "Bush said he'd do it... and he did." Health care, education, prescription drug benefits, etc. "He means what he says, he says what he means, and you can trust him."

"What can we say about Senator Kerry? For the war, then against the war. For it, but wouldn't fund it. Would fund it, but wasn't for it. For the Patriot Act, then he was against it."

"This is a candidate who has to Google his own name to find out where he stands." It's official--to google has become a mainstream verb.

"We're going to win one for the Gipper." Kind of random there.

"Our opponents, they're going to lose one with the flipper." And now the audience is chanting "flipper." What a weird world I live in.

Pataki is delivering a fine speech, but inasmuch as we're four days into the convention, he's not really saying anything that hasn't been said before by others.

Update: "We learned that in the hands of a monster, a box cutter is a weapon of mass destruction. Well Saddam Hussein was a monster, and we are better off now that he is gone."

Update: "Senator Kerry says we should go to war when we have to go to war, not when we want to go to war. Well Senator Kerry, those policemen and fire fighters who ran into the burning buildings on September 11th didn't want to run into those buildings, they did it because they were heroes in a war they didn't even know they were fighting." This followed by something else quote worthy that I wasn't fast enough in typing to catch. But you get the idea.

Update: Pataki ends on a nearly messianic note, likening Bush to the statue of liberty, someone guided to his position to lead us out of the darkness. It sounds odd with me simply describing it, but it sounded quite good as he said it. You'll just have to take my word for it I suppose.


 
RNC Final Day - Part VI
Written by: Beck

Tommy Franks being interviewed, asked about Kerry's Vietnam service, "About that, I don't have an opinion. I served in Vietnam, and I know what those guys went through. I haven't looked through the paper work, I wasn't there, and I don't pretend to know what went on... the thing that crossed my desk that I paid attention to was what happened in 1971."

One of my best friends was in the Marine Corp, and only left when a car wreck left him unable to continue serving. It's hard for people who haven't served to understand just how seriously these people take loyalty. It's unbelievably important to them, since the only thing that keeps a man willing to hold the line, risk his life, and take the necessary risks involved in being a soldier is the knowledge that 1) you can depend on the guy next to you, and more importantly, 2) the guy next to you is depending on you.

More Franks: "I respect the fact that Senator John Kerry served his country and went to Vietnam... But by the same token, I don't have less respect for a man I observed as a Commander-in-Chief of all forces during a terribly important part of our history."

Asked if the campaign asked him to do this, "Absolutely not, I volunteered. I think the campaign was a little shocked when I volunteered for this. I'm known as a pretty independent guy."

Mark Shields continues to try to draw Franks into a discussion of the Swift Boat Vets and the various controversies over Kerry's medal awards, and Franks continues to refuse to take the bait. Frankly (HA!) this guy is a class act. He absolutely will not say anything negative about Kerry beyond discussion of how people perceived Kerry's anti-war Senate testimony as disloyal to his fellow soldiers. He doesn't even mind that Kerry opposed the war. He is only bothered by the betrayal of his fellows with his accusations that he "witnessed" virtually every war crime in the book.

"I did not react well when I saw what the Senator did when he got back from Vietnam... While I can give the Senator credit for standing up against a war he didn't believe in... it's a right he had, that's what makes this a great country... what crosses over the line is when he begins to describe the conduct of people for whom he was responsible as a leader, that's the part that I react to."


 
RNC Final Day - Part V
Written by: Beck

Michael Williams, Texas Railroad Commissioner (a much more important job than the title suggests) is speaking now. His story is that he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, and that Bush befriended him and pretty much launched the guys career. Bush was actually his campaign manager. After he won the election thanks to Bush's support, it appears he became the highest ranking African-American official in Texas state government.

Williams now informs us that Bush can't dance, but that he knows how to swing a hammer. "George Bush believed in me a quarter of a century ago." That's one thing I don't think a lot of non-Texans realize. Bush's support of minorities is not some political put-on. He's a real believer in the importance of diversity, making him rather anomalous among high ranking Republicans. The women and minorities in his cabinet and on his staff ain't just window dressing. I think that also goes a long way to why Bush (the whole Bush family really) is so pro-immigration, to the vast consternation of conservatives.


 
RNC Final Day - Part IV
Written by: Beck

Some guy from the Pew center being interviewed, "Well, the polls are even, but polls taken before this convention were even more even." WTF? And you work for a company whose job is statistical analysis? You're fired dude.

Pew guy summarizing a number of other polls reaches the conclusion, and I'm abstracting here a bit, that pollsters have their heads up their collective sphincters.

Interesting factoid: 5% of people are truly undecided, a further 15% of people have made up their minds, but would be willing to change their decision.

David Brooks: "People are anxious about terrorism, and they want a president who will be really agressive in going after them, but they're afraid of a president who will go after terrorism recklessly."


 
RNC Final Day - Part III
Written by: Beck

Tommy Franks is out here. He needs to learn how not to trample over his own applause. "I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Democrat, but I believe in democracy and I believe in America." He asserts he's been an independent for the past 40 years, followed by giving his endorsement for Bush. I think this is a smart approach the Republicans have used for the past 4 days--they've put up a lot of people who are moderates, or unaffiliated (and even two Democrats). I think the point isn't that the Republicans are a moderate party, as they most certainly are not. Rather, I think their point is that Bush enjoys broad-based support because people recognize that the situation today is too important to leave the most important job in the country to someone who is fundamentally anti-war.

Franks floated the argument that we're safer today. Reason: "Because we have taken the fight to the terrorists."

"The question is, do we fight them over there, or do we fight them here? I choose to fight them over there." Logical mindset, esepcially for a military man. Because you can't be a successful military man if you have a defensive outlook rather than believing in taking the fight to the enemy.

"My and my wife are not willing to risk the future of our children on the goodwill of murderers. I learned a long time ago that hope, while terribly important, is not a strategy."

Character, consistency, courage, and leadership: the virtues America will be called upon in the next four years. The implied subtext, naturally, is that those are characteristics which Kerry is distinctly lacking (though Franks hasn't said a single thing, direct or otherwise, about Kerry).

Franks, after making a good argument for why we removed Hussein (brutal, dangerous, killed his own people, history of using WMD against neighbors and his own citizens) then floated the controversial assertion that Hussein had "ties to known terrorists like Abu Zarqawi." I'm sure we'll hear from the Dems and the press how the 9/11 Commission asserted there was no documented evidence of collaboration between Hussein and al-Qaeda, and once again, everyone will miss the point.

"I for one am proud that my country... has given 50 million people a chance. And we have not been in this fight alone. President Bush has built the largest coalition in the world." I'd like to see some statistics on that assertion.

Update: Franks is saying that Bush asked every one of his commanders if they had everything they needed, making sure every soldier would have the equipment to protect them from the WND that everyone thought Saddam had. Good story--why haven't we heard this before?

"Bush secured a larger increase in veterans funding in the past 4 years than Clinton did in the past 8." This serves as a reminder of why conventions can be so important, especially for Republicans. Much of the finer details of the story of what has been going on behind the scenes are largely and generally unknown outside of a few specific circles.

And that's that.


 
RNC Final Day - Part II
Written by: Beck

Mark Shields: "Zell Miller's speech made Pat Buchanan's 1992 speech look like Mr. Rogers."

George H. W. Bush, from an interview earlier today: "I had my shot. Now I just want to get out of the way and be a father." He repeated, "I had my shot," a couple times. It was sort of depressing.

General Kelly, former Commandant of the US Marine Corp, is speaking now.

Geez. He served in the military under 9 different presidents. Truman through George H. W. Bush. "I know a Commander-in-Chief when I see one."

"Not all are Democrats or Republicans, but we all are Americans." He just added that over 250 retired Admirals and Generals support the campaign to reelect Bush, and for a second, I was sure he was going to say something about the Swift Boat Vets (which would have been a disaster).


 
RNC Final Day - Part I
Written by: Beck

Karen Hughes, being interviewed by Jim Lehrer, responding to a comment by Kerry saying that for the past three days the Republicans have been attacking his patriotism, flies off the handle, "That is absolutely untrue. The president and everyone who has spoken so far has said we respect his record and his service in Vietnam and and no point has anyone said anything about his patriotism. On the contrary, it is Kerry who, through his surrogates, has attacked Bush and his service in the Texas Air National Guard. [paraphrased]"

Bush's speech, evidently, has been worked on since the third week in July.

In other news, I find it vastly amusing that INCITE got a visitor from a search engine using the search string, "michael moore overweight nader beach ball 300 pounds."


 
RNC Final Day - Part Naught
Written by: Beck

Would you believe I just woke up an hour ago? People who know me personally are invited to keep their comments to themselves.

The outlook for tonight is pretty mundane prior to Bush's speech. The only big name will be NY Governor Pataki. For some reason, I can't hear Pataki's name without thinking of the way David Letterman says it. Don't ask me why.

The official theme for tonight is "Building a Safer World and a More Hopeful America." Especially important will be Bush and others making the case that we are safer thanks to the 4 years of Bush. The task is especially difficult since, to an extent, the argument isn't necessarily that we were safer than we were when Bush took office (or since September 11th to look at it a different way), but rather, that we're safer than we would presently be had Gore been the president. Furthermore, he has to make the case that Bush policies on the War on Terror will continue to make us safer over the next 4 years than would be the case under a Kerry administration.

I myself think the "more safe" argument is something of a red herring. People understand now that we have to take the fight to the terrorists, but what they often don't understand is that the process, by definition, is going to stir up the hornet's nest. Before the US of A locked horns with Osama and his man brothers-in-arms, we could at least count on terrorists taking a somewhat laid back approach to their assaults on us. At the same time, we have to realize that those assaults would never stop. As such, things are going to naturally hurt for a while as we dismantle their ability to operate, eliminate their resources, and kill their "soldiers." A better (but less rhetorically stirring) argument would be that thanks to Afghanistan and Iraq, we are closer to relegating terrorism to the freakish corner of history it should be than we would be had we pursued things from a law enforcement standpoint.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

 
King Mswati III of Swaziland: I am not a crook dictator!
Written by: Beck

Outraged by a recent article calling him one of the world's ten worst dictators, this man:

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Has this to say:
"It is a typical example of a monkey who thinks it knows how domesticated animals such as goats live," said Prince Masitsela, a palace advisor and older brother to Mswati, in comments carried by the Times of Swaziland on Sunday.
Todd of Clowning Glory further reflects:
Hard to say which is more insulting: that Masitsela thinks of foreigners as monkeys or that he thinks of his own people as goats.

Of course, King Mswati suffers no such criticism in his own kingdom having recently banned publications critical of the monarchy, eliminated bail for those detained for demonstrating against his government, and imposed severe penalties for those who defame the king. Mswati achieved all of this by royal decree – no need to bother with meddlesome lawmakers.
Read the rest. Really. Because I hardly include any of the material in the post, and I only really blogged it so I'd have an excuse to post that picture of King Mswati.


 
RNC - Day 3 Part 9 - Dick Cheney edition
Written by: Beck

This should finally put to bed rumors that Cheney would step aside and let someone more popular accept the vice presidential job. Unless he suddenly has a heart attack in mid-speech, which you shouldn't rule out.

Of course, if that happens, everyone will, naturally, question the timing of it. And by everyone, I mean Joshua Micah Marshall.

"I'm sure glad Zell Miller's on our side." First sentence, and I couldn't agree more. Miller looked like he wanted to go out and kill him some krauts or something he was so enraged.

"I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States." And it's official.

Update: The "4 more years" chants are getting old. It's official. My prediction now is that Bush, during his speech tomorrow night, will have to wait at least a half-dozen times while the crowd annoyingly persists in chanting, "4 more years."

"People tell me Senator Edwards was picked for his good looks, his charm, and his great hair. I say, 'How do you think I got the job?'" He's used that line before. You'd think he would try to come up with more material. Of course, creativity may be difficult for cyborgs. Especially cyborgs with notoriously bad hearts. Speaking of which, why does he always seem to have a perpetual sneer? Did he have a stroke at some point in his life or something?

Update: "It is the spirit of this country that people can dream big dreams." Looks like we're in for more of the night's official "Land of Opportunity" theme.

Followed by touting the No Child Left Behind program, "The most significant education reform in 40 years."

"Opportunity also depends upon a thriving, vibrant economy." Yep.

"The Bush tax cuts are working," said after listing a number of positive economic indicators.

In other news, Cheney could really stand to work some emotion or pitch modulation into his voice. And there goes another 4 More Years chant. Not really for any reason either--it's not like he just said some huge applause line or something. In other other news, the 'v' key on my keyboard sticks ever since I spilled a glass of red wine on it. Just thought you might like to know.

Update: Cheney has spent the last 5 minutes going through a lengthy list of foreign policy accomplishments, concluding sedately, "And we are safer as a result." The biggest problem here is he doesn't sound especially excited about these facts himself. His voice never really changes.

This followed by thanking the troops, getting one of the bigger applause responses of the evening. "Moments come along in history where leaders must make fundamental decisions about how to confront a long-term challenge abroad..." He makes the point that we have to stick to our commitments to fight terrorism now, or we'll woefully lose the battle in the future.

No surprise--this is a transition to criticism of Kerry (along with the caveat that we honor Kerry for his service in Vietnam), "But there is also a record of three decades since, and the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes are the highest." "Time and again, Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on national security. He began his career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed only at the behest of the United Nations." Audience boos. The list Cheney is enumerating of Kerry's history of foreign policy bungles is much the same as the list Zell Miller enumerated. Thing is, when Miller listed it, it was with righteous fury. Cheney might as well be reading off his grocery list.

Update: "We face an enemy who seeks to use the deadliest of weapons against us, and we cannot wait for another attack. We must use all the tools at our disposal, and that includes the use of military force." For a second there--just one quick split second--I thought he was going to say something about using nukes.

Update: "On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats, but his liveliest disagreements have been with himself." Liveliest. Heh. That's a funny word. INCITE -- cutting edge analysis for the 21st century. "Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual." Now that was a good one-liner. Then he went and spoiled it by saying, "America sees two John Kerrys." The golden rule of humor: if you have to explain your jokes, your jokes aren't that good.

Cheney is getting a bit louder now, which suggests that perhaps he's wrapping things up. It's hard to tell though.

Update: "Bush has... a moral seriousness and calls Evil by its name." Good point: academics, relativists, and their liberal fellow travelers are very hesitant to ascribe the word "evil" to anything, and think it somehow reflects theological motivations. If you try to establish a worldview in which "good" and "evil" are just degrees, not absolutes, and are relative across cultures, you invite evil people to have their way with society. Only the honest and hard working wind up being condemned--for daring to believe they should benefit from the fruits of their labor. Evil and Good are moral absolutes, and though defining and delimiting them may not be the easiest task in the world, it remains a possible task. For instance, when "freedom fighters" behead civilians, they are engaging in evil, unforgivable and absolute, and anyone who argues otherwise is engaged in evil themselves.

The second to last sentence of Cheney's speech was silent as the sound went out on PBS. I don't think I missed anything.

Anyway, that's it for tonight's coverage. Be sure to tune in tomorrow as I cover, comment, and expound on the RNC's last night of speeches. INCITE -- watching the whole damned convention so that you don't have to. If someone would tape Scrubs for me, I'd really appreciate it.


 
RNC - Day 3 Part 8
Written by: Beck

Lynne Cheney is on stage now to introduce her husband.

Inasmuch as Lynne's job is to blow a lot of sunshine about Dick Cheney, I can't imagine that anything especially interesting or exciting will happen. I'm also pretty certain I'm going to wish that Miller's speech had ended the night rather than Cheney's (much like how I wish Schwarzenegger's speech had ended last night rather than Laura Bush's).


 
RNC - Day 3 Part 7 - Zell Miller edition
Written by: Beck

Here comes the RNC official keynote speech... and it's being given by a Democrat.

Oh how the mainstream Democrats hate this man.

The crowd's giving him a very strong reception. He's having a hard time getting started.

He's starting off talking about his family. Evidently he has 4 great-grand children. He also has one mother of an accent. "I believe that the next 4 years will determine the kind of world they will grow up in."

He asks which candidate will provide a safe world for his family to grow up in. "My family is more important than my party. There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future, and that man is George W. Bush."

You know, all this time, I figured there was a slim but non-negligible chance that Miller was going to revert to his Democratic roots and sabotage this whole thing. Looks like he's going to stick to the script.

Update: He's talking about Wendell Wilkie, who basically gave up the fight against FDR in 1940 by asserting that he would not make national security a partisan issue.

"Our nation is being torn apart and made weaker by a Democratic obsession with bringing down our commander in chief. What has happened to the party I have spent my life working in? I can remember when Democrats considered it our duty to defend our way of life."

The look on his face is kind of awe inspiring. The word "Rage" describes his face. "Nothing makes this Marine madder than calling marine troops 'occupiers' rather than 'liberators.'" This guy is so ferociously patriotic it blows the mind. He's a real WWII era hold over. He's a Democrat, yes, but he's an American--something which people like Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson, and John Forbes Kerry can't even comprehend. "It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press."

"It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest."

"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped in that flag who gives the protestor the freedom to burn that flag."

"No one should even think of being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home. But don't waste your breath telling that to my party today."

"No two have been more wrong [about foreign policy] than the two senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry."

He's now listing the weapons programs Kerry has voted against and the things they have accomplished--the B-1 bomber, the B-2 bomber, the A-10, the Apache, the F-15...

Update: Holy shit this guy is fucking furious. In pauses for breath, his lips keep working in rage and anger. I honestly believe that if John Kerry were to materialize before him right now, he'd kill him with his bear hands. "How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside." Now, Mr. Kerry, what exactly have you done in the 20 years you spent in the Senate? You neglected to mention that at your convention.

"Kerry wants Paris to decide when to defend ourselves." "Kerry who says he doesn't believe in outsourcing wants to outsource our national security." "Kerry wants to be leader of the free world. Free for how long?" I sure hope to god every single person in America is watching this.

Wow. This speech makes up for an entire night of boring mediocrity.

Update: It's people like Zell Miller about whom the phrase, "Open a can of whoopass," was coined.

Now Miller is praising Bush's family devotion and religious faith. "I'm glad that Bush is the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning." His praise for Bush is more devoted and worshipful than any Republican could ever get away with. I think the real key here is that, coming from a Democrat, this speech is something which one absolutely must take seriously. You have to give his words due consideration. Coming from just-another-Republican you could dismiss it as so much hot air, but in the case of Miller, you know that He. Means. It.


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