Thursday, September 30, 2004

Emily Litella's Favorite Interviewer

Chris Matthews had one of those moments last night interviewing a Democrat and Republican student at the University of Miami. The fact that the Republican (Wacholtz) was obviously much older should have been a clue, but it wasn't:

MATTHEWS: Do you want to see the draft come back?

WACHOLTZ: Absolutely not.

MATTHEWS: Do you want to see the draft come back?

KOSAR: Of course not.

MATTHEWS: Why did you say of course not?

KOSAR: Because who wants the draft?
(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Do you think it‘s fair that...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who wants to go fight in Iraq?

MATTHEWS: Do you think it‘s fair that people are—and you saw the movie “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

KOSAR: Yes, I did.

MATTHEWS: Did you see in that movie the effort to draft people, or to get people to join the Army based on economic circumstances, and to basically go after people who aren‘t at college, like you guys? They aren‘t at a great campus like this. They are hanging around shopping malls. So they go up to them and they see these kids and they recruit them based upon promises.

They get to be in music. They get to follow their career. Why do you kids get to avoid military combat? Why do you support a war you don‘t want to fight in?

WACHOLTZ: I was in the Marine Corps for six and a half years.

MATTHEWS: Good for you. You‘re covered.

(CROSSTALK)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: what about you?
By the way, touche.

The World Has Changed Forever: Post 9-29

Shock and awe!

At present, your Social Security benefits are yours only by grace of Congress: Congress could cut them if it wished. But if your privatized Social Security account were *yours*, then it would be yours not by grace of Congress but by right of property: courts would stand ready to defend it against any casual attempt to cut or confiscate it.

Of course, the good Professor isn't quite ready to fully admit to just what he's done:

The problem is that I cannot see any of these as a reason for George W. Bush to be in favor of Social Security privatization. (It does seem likely to me that (1) and (3) are Marty Feldstein's and Andrew Samwick's reasons for being strong advocates of privatization, and that (4) is Kent Smetters's reason for being a strong advocate of privatization. But their reasons aren't the administration's reasons, and hence whatever plan a second Bush administration might ultimately propose would be unlikely to be crafted to achieve goals (1), (3), or (4).

That's a Berkeley Defense Mechanism, and probably to be expected. And it ain't foolin' the usual suspects:

Christ on a bike! If you don't mind my saying so, Brad, these reasons range from "weak" to "mad".

.... This is insanity of a level which requires a very great degree of intelligence to achieve. In primitive societies in the Kalahari, they are aware that the duty of the young to support the old is a moral duty. This moral duty even made it into the Ten Commandments. It takes years of education to get someone to the point where they believe that it is "immoral" to believe that the old have a claim on the young for no better reason than that they gave birth to them and raised them.

So, it's true. There are no atheists in foxholes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

High Praise Indeed!

After reading these letters, it's easy to see why John Kerry is so weird. It rubbed off on him:

Yale's ethic of service to others, discussed in both "For Country" (May/June) and "Quarrels with Providence" (March 2001), was eloquently set as a challenge by Dean Georges May, whose welcoming speech to freshmen in 1968 focused on Andre Malraux's question, "Que m'importe ce qui n'importe qu'a moi?" [If it matters to no one but me, why should it matter to me?]

This challenges us spiritually, to transcend the ego or "smaller self," and materially, as we face unprecedented global environmental and sociopolitical problems that are largely of our own making. To not only survive but thrive, we must realize our greater selves and selflessly apply knowledge rigorously wrought -- or is that too Arminian for an institution rooted in Calvinism?

All the more reason to vote for Bush, he's largely immune to that kind of nonsense (though I do appreciate the plebian touch; translating from the French). I imagine he lives in Crawford, Texas, because it's about as far away from New Haven as he can be, and still qualify to be President.

However, the letter that actually bears on the substance of this election is this:

...I knew Kerry at Yale and was profoundly impressed with his intelligence, both extracurricular and academic. He was an eloquent public speaker; I partnered with him on the three-man team that defeated Harvard in the 75th annual Triangular Debate in 1966. He was also a brilliant essayist. As research assistant to political science chair Herbert Kaufman, I had occasion to read Kerry's senior comprehensive exam. Quite frankly, I was astonished by its intellectual maturity and its analytical rigor -- and I was not unfamiliar with what passed at Yale for academic excellence.

...."And was FDR, who took gentleman Cs at Harvard, truly less than highly intelligent?"
Kerry at Yale impressed me as having all of these qualities -- leadership, integrity, determination, and high intelligence -- the makings of the next great American president.

Bradford Snell '67,

Well, Bradford--may I call you Bradford? I feel I know you so well--I'm not unfamiliar with what (with the benefit of thirty years hindsight) is knee-slapping, roll around in convulsive, laugh til you cry, humiliation. In front of a Senate committee, no less:

AMERICAN GROUND TRANSPORT
A Proposal for Restructuring the Automobile, Truck, Bus & Rail Industries


What were you in 1974, about 28?

Part III presents a proposal designed to restore competition in the motor vehicle industry. In brief, it recommends reorganization of the automobile and truck industries into smaller, more competitive units. More specifically, it assumes the wisdom of the decentralized method of operations adopted by the automakers. Motor vehicle assembly, engine production, body stamping and dozens of other major automotive functions are currently undertaken in hundreds of physically distinct plants located throughout the country. This proposal would not interfere with this arrangement. It would, however, suggest a change in ownership: Each group of plants now separate in law as well. Reorganization along these general lines, it concludes, would allow for a greater degree of competition and technological flexibility at every level of motor vehicle production. In short, a competitively structured industry would be better able to anticipate and adapt to a changing world.

Too bad no one took your advice and created Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru, Kia, Isuzu, Mitsubishi....

Damn barriers to entry!

So, how do you think your advice about November's election will fare?

Next Op-ed: How To Authenticate Documents, by Dan Rather?

Those who can, do. Those who can't, are given space on the NY Times Op-ed page. Scheduled for the future:

How To Keep Your Man From Straying, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

How To Get That Special Job, by Omarosa

How To Make a Sincere Apology, by Paul Krugman

How To Win Friends and Influence Prosecutors, by Martha Stewart

How To Tan, Not Burn, With a Coppertone Tan, by John Kerry

Clang, Clang, Clang, Went the Conspiracy Nut

It seems The Fly Under the Bridge Academy is an expert on Kerry's debating techniques:

Many of Mr. Kerry's oldest friends express exasperation at his willingness to drift at times in his campaigns. His tendency to focus best in the crunch is a longtime habit, dating at least to his days as a champion debater at Yale, and one that cannot be explained as a result of mere procrastination or inattention.

"He was so incredibly overcommitted to activities, it was hard getting him together," said Bradford Snell, one of his debate partners in those days.

If it's the same Snell as:

The StreetCar Conspiracy - How General Motors Deliberately Destroyed Public Transit by Bradford Snell

Then Kerry is consorting with less than reputable characters:

Who shudda shot the author of "American Ground Transport"

What is it about these Bradford guys.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Is That Another Towel I See In The Ring?

When The Rabid who lead the Even More Rabid, are coming to terms with the inevitable:

What do we have to look forward to if George W. Bush is elected to a second term? One word: scandal.

A few errors of grade school arithmetic are assured:

...a phenomenon that shrewd political observer Kevin Phillips calls "the sixth-year itch." It's like a political SAT: What's the next year in the series 1958, 1974, 1986, 1998?
You don't have to be a math whiz to know that 2006 is the next stop.


Umm, Kevin, you're missing 1952, 1968, 1980, and 2000. Not to mention that you need a headline writer with a proper sense of chronology:

The Scandals Finally Break

isn't appropriate for a prediction.

So, Your New Pet Does Pre-emptive Concessions

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at this

I also want to pay tribute to my dog Togo, who died three years ago today, and whom I love very much. He was a beautiful red Finnish Spitz, and we named him after the famous Siberian Husky who ran farther than anyone in leading the team of sled dogs in the "serum drive" that brought medicine from Anchorage for the diptheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska. Unfortunately, another dog named Balto got all the credit.
-Bobby


And now he's been replaced with another pet whose bark is worse than his bite:

Let's face it: whatever happens in Thursday's debate, cable news will proclaim President Bush the winner.

Since comparatively few watch cable news, what difference will that make, Paul? Do you think Dan--The Man--Rather, will have been retired by Thursday? Methinks the economist doth protest too much:

But as Adam Clymer pointed out yesterday on the Op-Ed page of The Times, front-page coverage of the 2000 debates emphasized not what the candidates said but their "body language." After the debate, the lead stories said a lot about Mr. Gore's sighs, but nothing about Mr. Bush's lies. And even the fact-checking pieces "buried inside the newspaper" were, as Mr. Clymer delicately puts it, "constrained by an effort to balance one candidate's big mistakes" - that is, Mr. Bush's lies - "against the other's minor errors."

Big time?

Speaking of lies:

There's also North Korea, which Mr. Bush declared part of the "axis of evil," then ignored when its regime started building nuclear weapons. Recently, when a reporter asked Mr. Bush about reports that North Korea has half a dozen bombs, he simply shrugged.

Paul, you really ought to get in the habit of reading your own newspaper at least as well as Donald Luskin does:

According to the Times interview, after shrugging,

"He said he would continue diplomatic pressure -- using China to pressure the North and Europe to pressure Iran -- and gave no hint that his patience was limited or that at some point he might consider pre-emptive military action. "'I'm confident that over time this will work -- I certainly hope it does,' he said of the diplomatic approach."

It is an "error" (polite word for "lie") that Bush "simply shrugged."

Hey, my politeness policy is to call a spade a spade. When Paul Krugman says:

Last week, after Mr. Bush declared that Mr. Kerry "would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today," The Associated Press pointed out that this "twisted his rival's words" - and then quoted what John Kerry actually said.

And, those actual Kerry words were:

We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

We gotta go with; Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

That, and; Paul's throwing in the towel before the fight even begins, because even he realizes how hopeless the Democrat nominee is.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Dept. of; Don't Quit Your Day Job, Professor

A Berkeley Economist walks into a bar, and says:

Q: How does George W. Bush change a lightbulb?

A: John Kerry says that the light bulb needs to be changed. Flip-flopper. We do not need to change the lightbulb! We need to stay the course!

No, I'm not making this up. And, yes, he's a lot funnier when he isn't trying.

He's the Very Model of a Blue State Personality

Craig Newmark spots life:

Why do the delegates to the Republican convention have neater haircuts and less interesting clothes?

I ponder these questions when I drive past the home of one of my neighbors, a man with very strong opinions. I don't know the man, but I know about his opinions because he paints them on slabs of wood and nails the slabs up on tree trunks in his front yard. He is in favor of Supporting Our Troops. And vehemently opposed to a new addition that was built onto the 100-year-old public library, at least judging by one of his more interesting signs: "LIBRARY OFFICIALS EATING STEAK WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS."

Coming from a certain direction I drive by this man's yard, and a few times I've seen him sitting out there in a lawn chair, glaring at passersby as if to say: "What are you looking at? You want to start something?" He doesn't have a rifle across his knees, but I almost remember him that way. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but then again, a sign tacked onto one tree reads: "KILL THY ENEMY."

And then, sometimes on the same drive, I'll pull up at a traffic light beside a smiling, shaggy-headed soul at the wheel of a foreign-made car festooned with bumper stickers like: "Magic Happens." "Free Leonard Peltier." "I Brake for Animals." "War is Not the Answer."

At their essence, conservatives are on guard, bristling, armed with a righteous anger, prone to mockery of their enemies, sure of themselves, unwilling to criticize America, especially by comparing it to anyplace else. The attacks of Sept. 11 only confirmed their world view: We are constantly at risk.

Liberals are mannered, sensitive, armed with intellectual cynicism, self-critical, eager to learn from other cultures, wanting there to be no pain in the world. The attacks made them sad and angry, too, but their reflex was more pensive than vengeful.

imitating James Lileks' art:

The [NY Times] Magazine.

Let’s begin! A little humorous piece – not funny haha funny, but, you know, arch, which is very urbane.

Then there’s an essay on words, which is wonderful because you love words, and then a big serious piece about that horrible situation the administration isn’t doing anything about. You’ll read it later – skim the pull quotes for now.

Best of all are the ads, because you really wouldn’t want to wear any of that stuff but it’s fun to look at.

Remember back home in Iowa? Nothing like this on Sunday. The paper was thicker than usual, but that was mostly ads for toilet paper and underwear and lawn tractors, and there was that awful Parade magazine. Walter Scott’s Personality Parade. You remember that why, exactly? Because you read it every week, and you wondered who Walter Scott was. Something like Ed Sullivan or Walter Winchell. Fedora, heavy black phone, manual typewriter, friend to the stars but not above flicking a speck of dirt towards someone who’d truly earned it. Then there was a cartoon about a big dog – Howard Huge. Do they still print Parade? Probably. Probably find ten copies on the counter at Perkins after the Sunday lunch shift ends.

Dad used to let you order anything on Sunday morning at Perkins.

Perkins always dusted the French Toast with powdered sugar. Remember?

Freud...Sigmund Freud

"There used to be a time when aiding and abetting the enemy was a treasonous offense," Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said in an interview.

I doubt that your party's nominee is going to be Fonda that remark, Senator.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I Knew Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein Was No Friend of Mine. Senator, You've Got a Little in Common With Saddam Hussein.

In an Op-ed the headline writers missed a chance to title: The Bomb and I, Mahdi Obeidi (the author of "The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind) tells us:

...the West never understood the delusional nature of Saddam Hussein's mind. By 2002, when the United States and Britain were threatening war, he had lost touch with the reality of his diminished military might. By that time I had been promoted to director of projects for the country's entire military-industrial complex, and I witnessed firsthand the fantasy world in which he was living.

Speaking of living in a fantasy world, in his speech last week at New York University, John Kerry said

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

...the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions … from the beginning … in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

.... If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.
His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… by the President’s own weapons inspectors… Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.


Not exactly, John John. In addition to Gen'l Mike DeLong's new book (referenced in the post immediately preceding this one) where he says:

We’ve done calculations that you could probably bury 16 Eiffel Towers or Empire State Buildings and never find them in the desert. Just four months ago, they were digging for something out in the middle of the desert and they hit something. It was a MIG-25 Foxbat that the Iraqis buried in the sand. We never would have found this thing.Biological Weapons, you could put almost your whole program in a suitcase. You could probably put your whole chemical weapons industry inside a van. Yes, they did have it and right today they can’t find it. The people we’ve captured, like Dr. Germ and Chemical Ali, the murderer of the Kurds, aren’t talking.

Dr Obeidi says in his Op-ed:

... our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein's fingers. The sanctions and the lucrative oil-for-food program had served as powerful deterrents, but world events - like Iran's current efforts to step up its nuclear ambitions - might well have changed the situation.

Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jumpstart the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980's, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology. Had Saddam Hussein ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months if not years off our previous efforts.

And, since Kerry also said in his NYU speech:

The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

To have left Saddam in power in Iraq, and complacently rest assured he wouldn't one day share his knowledge about nukes with Al Qaeda--and pretty clearly, he shared his chemical weapons with them--would seem to be, "delusional [in] nature". And evidence of "the fantasy world in which [John Kerry is] living".


DeLong Trashes Kerry

The General...not the Professor, that is. Thanks to the Divine Mrs N for the tip to this article, from which:

Syria's President Bashir al-Asad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Western intelligence officials believe that President Asad is desperate to get the Iraqi scientists out of his country before their presence prompts America to target Syria as part of the war on terrorism.

In an interview with The Command Post General Michael DeLong bolsters the above:

I can state, unequivocally, there was WMD in Iraq before and during the war. You have multiple-source intelligence. Also, from other Arab leaders – as Tommy Franks says in his book – King Abdullah said Saddam has WMD. President Mubarek of Egypt said you have to be very careful going in, because Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Other leaders who have chosen not to be named said the same thing. We had technical intelligence that saw the same thing.

Two days before March 19, 2003, we saw quite a number of vehicles going into Syria. We could not go after them because we said we’d give Saddam 48 hours. A lot of (Iraqi) leaders went into Syria, and a lot of WMD went into Syria. We’ve gotten indications some went into Lebanon, and probably some went into Iran.

As bad as that makes the judgment of John Kerry, Howard Dean, Terry McAuliffe, James Carville, and the other usual suspects look, DeLong doesn't do them any good with this either:

TCP: Sen. Kerry has said more than once that President Bush let Osama bin Laden escape at Tora Bora. In your book, to say the least,you explain it much differently.

DeLong: Sen. Kerry didn’t know what happened. He’s no more better informed than the armchair generals who went after us (on TV.) And what was going on at the time, where bin Laden was in the Tora Bora caves, there was a tribal area that was full of civilians. You couldn’t go up there with soldiers of any force – especially us – because we would have been fighting them to get to bin Laden. Whether we would have gotten to him remains to be seen. This was a tribe on the border, and the only people who were accepted up there was the Pakistani army. You know how tough guarding a border is – with Texas and New Mexico and Arizona for example.

We didn’t kill any civilians unnecessarily up there. We know for a fact from our multiple intelligence sources that we wounded bin Laden. But yes, he did get away. If we had killed a number of civilians, our chances of getting elections in Afghanistan would have never happened. It was a diplomatic, not a political call. It was a call to get this country back together again. We knew the death or capture of bin Laden was important. But getting rid of al Qaeda and getting the country feeling good, feeling nationalistic, was important.

Meaning, John F Kerry is a blithering idiot. And it is sweet and poetic justice that the intellectual left, in the persons of Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, Max Sawicky, Kevin Drum et al, are stuck with Theresa's blushing beau.

Son of Motto Lotto

The contest without a winner cries for an encore, with today's NY Times :

a four-term senator with comparatively little management experience

moved slowly against a swift opponent

slow in taking action, bogged down in the very details

spent four weeks mulling the design of his campaign logo

most influenced by the last person who has his ear

"he's a thinker," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson

Unlike Mr. Bush... has little experience in managing any kind of large operation

a learning experience for him

sometimes leaving phone messages for his friends ...offering critiques of their performances

in an often wandering quest for data

repeatedly upended his staff... dismissing aides outright

threatened to run off the tracks

few people who call themselves his friends

focusing on his campaign's problems

the daily gallows humor at Kerry headquarters

none of them have too much authority

provided by people you don't know

little history with the man

a constant source of irritation

Mr. Kerry drifts off

apt to exhibit a blank face

affected the pottery industry

senses his candidacy is in peril

on the phone much more than other presidential candidates

waiting on a Nantucket beach for the wind to pick up so he could go kite-surfing

his cellphone is a negative for him

reduces the orderliness of the campaign

Kerry does not always take it

urging him to keep his speech short

"I've given up,"

" he doesn't listen sometimes."

Friday, September 24, 2004

And the Wreckage Was Vacuumed Up by the Alien Space Ship?

I certainly am out of my league trying to compete with this creationist. The highlights appear to be:

I've long thought that it was a live possibility that George W. Bush crashed a plane in the winter of 1972--and thereafter (very reasonably) did not want to get back in the cockpit.

and

But if there is "no way to tell," it is because Bush's files have been vacuumed--in which case that tells us something, no?

and

Fear that the TANG physical would reveal cocaine use. Yes, that's a theory. But are you saying that he couldn't even stop sniffing for the period needed to get a clean physical? Losing your flight status is such a loss of status among the fraternity of pilots...

And going from Deputy Asst' Treasury Sec'y to President of the Keepers Of Odd Knowledge Society, would compare how?

Economists Who Live In Glass Houses...

In the land of the self-unaware, there is attempted regicide:

The subtext of Mr. Bush's bombast is that because he can't bring himself to admit a mistake, he refuses to give up on his effort....

Which is a tactic on which the Princeton economist is something of an expert (selecting almost at random from his website):

A few people have asked me about that letter from Bush's former business associates, regarding the nature of his deal with the Texas Rangers syndicate. They assert something I didn't know: that he was granted a 12 percent share of the profits despite having put up only 2 percent of the money back in 1989, when the deal was initialized, rather than in 1998, when the franchise was sold. Assuming this is true - it would be nice to see the contract - does this make everything clean and above-board?

Actually, if anything it makes things worse. In fact, I suspect that the peculiarity of that contract, if it exists, is why we're only hearing about it now: had it been public knowledge at the time it would have raised a lot of questions.

Perish the thought! Someone can't bear to admit mistake...so he redoubles his effort by packing four more errors into one sentence:

1. Bush's contract was not only not "peculiar", it was SOP. He was the Managing General Partner of a limited partnership, that Bush had put together to buy the Texas Rangers. Unlike the limited partners, George W. Bush didn't have limited liability; that's why his share of the profits was larger than his investment. He was the one taking on risk beyond his investment.

2. The contract most certainly existed. He wouldn't have been allowed to purchase the team by the Commissioner of Baseball without it.

3. We weren't "just hearing about it now" (August 2002), for instance, in 1999:

Bush and [Edward, Rusty] Rose, it was agreed, would have joint power in running the franchise, with Rose behind the scenes and Bush serving as the ownership's public face. Bush's total investment eventually would reach $606,302. For putting the deal together and running the club, Bush would receive an additional 10 percent return when the team was sold.

4. It was public knowledge, and Bush won an election in Arlington, Texas to have a taxpayer funded baseball stadium built.

Now, let's get back to Professor Krugman's mistakes in today's column ("Let's Get Real", indeed):

Where is Mr. Bush taking us? As the reality of Iraq gets worse, his explanations of our goals get ever vaguer. ....

.... American policy shouldn't be dictated by Mr. Bush's infallibility complex; our first priority must be our own security. And in Iraq, that means setting realistic goals.

On "Meet The Press" back in April, Mr. Kerry wasn't as forthright about Iraq as he has now, at long last, become, but he did return several times to a point that shows that he is on the right track. "What is critical," he said, "is a stable Iraq." Not an Iraq in our image, but a country that isn't a "failed state" that poses a threat to American security.

Hmmm. Sounds suspiciously, unspecific, to me. Not to mention; "exactly what we're currently doing."

Too Clever By 99-44/100%, "Luci"

Not that there's a shortage of clues that the CBS memos are forged, but one error that hasn't received its due is in the "04 May 1972" order to Lt Bush to report for his annual physical. It cites, as authority; AFM 35-13 (thanks to Paul Lukasiak for the link).

I'll let a former ANG pilot explain why that isn't authority for such an order (which itself is non-regulation; Bush had until July 31 to take his physical):

30- series regulations are Personnel regulations. Additionally, Manuals, as in AFM, are instructional documents telling you how to process something.

For a Physical, the 160 series is what authorizes and directs medical exams.

What has happened here is that the forger thought he was being clever in using the AFM 35-13 manual reference because it was quoted in the Bush removal from flying status letter from NGB (the Greenlief letter). However, that manual would never be used to order a physical, which would require a regulation (AFR) and would be in the 160 series (AFR 160-1 and AFR 160-23).

Iow, Dan and Mary...you are pathetic amateurs to be taken in by such crude fabrications.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Satisfied Reader Since September 2004

Some Elementary Arithmetic for John Kerry and Max Cleland

Thanks to an excellent early warning system, I'm loaded for bear about this

In a speech at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, [Max] Cleland told students they might find themselves pressed into military service if Bush wins a second term.

“America will reinstate the military draft” if Bush is re-elected and continues the Iraq War, Cleland predicted, according to an account of his speech by the Colorado Springs Gazette.

"Pay attention ... to what you've got going on in Iraq. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Vietnam. I've seen this movie before. I know how it ends. It does not end pleasantly," he added. ....

Former Kerry rival Howard Dean, now traveling the country to drum up support for Kerry and raise money for Democratic candidates, said last week at Brown University in Providence, R.I.,

"I think that George Bush is certainly going to have a draft if he goes into a second term, and any young person that doesn't want to go to Iraq might think twice about voting for him."

Because it gives me another opportunity to ask questions that certain useful idiots refuse to answer:

Please place an "X" in front of your selection of the number of troops required in the Moomaw Military:

__ 1. Between 1.5 and 2.0 million
__ 2. Between 2.0 and 2.5 million
__ 3. Between 2.5 and 3.0 million
__ 4. Between 3.0 and 3.5 million
__ 5. More than we had in 1968

Second question: Place an "X" in front of the number of Americans between the ages 18-30:
__ 1. Fewer than 5 million
__ 2. Between 5 million and 15 million
__ 3. Between 15 and 30 million
__ 4. Between 30 and 45 million
__ 5. Over 45 million

[Hints for the perplexed: The draft was ended in 1973, along with the Vietnam war. At which time we downsized from the 3.5 million men and women in uniform at the peak of the fighting, to about 2.4 million by 1985. The implosion of the Soviet Union allowed George HW Bush to further reduce force levels to about 1.7 million by 1992. Bill Clinton further reduced it to about 1.4 million--which is where we are today]

[Hint for any of the usual suspects from SDJ: Question #2, try "5".]



Wednesday, September 22, 2004

So, Tell Us, John, What Was the Lesson We Should Have Learned

In A War Remembered (Boston Publishing Company/Boston, 1986) a first term Senator from Massachusetts contributed a five page essay. From which, I excerpt:

It seemed to me that you had a classic insurgency in Vietnam in which the Communists were exercising governmental functions within the villages like taxation and so forth, a situation where the chief's head would appear on a stake and then a couple of days later if other people hadn't come on board they would start disappearing. You had to turn the process around. You had to secure territory, build your own political infrastructure, engage in the psychological contest for the population.

Good advice, John. So, you'd advise W to do in Iraq, what is in those last two sentences? I presume that, because near the end of your piece, you seem to be quite firm:

I don't disagree with those who refer to Vietnam as a noble cause. I think it was very noble that we sought to help the South Vietnamese. ....

But things that are noble may not always be realistic or well designed or well implemented. It wasn't a war we were determined to win. That was what enraged me and so many others when we returned from Vietnam, that there was a terrible expense of human life that added up to nothing. That's what I was trying to say to people.

Of course, it didn't have to add up to nothing. In fact it didn't in April 1972, when--with Nixon's Vietnamization 80% implemented, and only about 100,00 Americans in country--North Vietnam launched an all out invasion of the South, with nearly 250,000 troops. The South Vietnamese army beat back that invasion (with the help of American air power), humiliating the legendary Gen'l Giap, who was relieved of his command by Hanoi.

It was such a debacle for the Communists they agreed to a peace treaty. After a little more bombing in December. But then a disturbing thing happened in Washington DC. Friends of yours, John, among them Teddy Kennedy gave you what you'd been crying for for years; the Case-Church legislation prohibited any more money being spent for the defense of South Vietnam.

And, when Richard Nixon had had to resign (again thanks to friends of yours), the Communists knew they could win. In 1975 a smaller North Vietnamese army invaded the South and quickly overran it. Two and a half years after the South had prevailed, thanks to you and your buddies, our victory of 1972 was reversed. And millions of people died as a consequence.

Today, you want to see the sequel.

Does NOW Have a Comment? Axis-of-Evil-Wise, I Mean.

From This Is London:

An Iranian woman, beaten every day by her husband, asked a court to tell him only to beat her once a week.

Maryam, the middle-age woman, said she did not want to divorce her husband because she loved him.

"Just tell him to beat me once a week ... Beating is part of his nature and he cannot stop it," Maryam told the court.

The Tehran court found the man guilty and banned him from beating the wife, the paper said.
"If I do not beat her, she will not be scared enough to obey me," the husband said.

This Flip-Flop Thing Has a Catchy Beat, and You Can Dance To It

Yesterday, the usually predictable proprietor of Semi-Daily Journal titled a post STUPIDITY IS NOT A PLAN

Which was for Donald Rumsfeld's:

"At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country."

Now, we seem to have had a change of heart:

But what if there is no such "more subtle and effective form of counter-insurgency strategy"? What if McCain and others convince themselves that there is no way to convince Sunni fundamentalists to turn to civil politics? Then what? McCain would say that the "then what" is to make sure everybody knows that *if* your city shelters the likes of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, then there is a good chance that your relatives will die and your neighborhoods turned into rubble when the Marines come through to get Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and company.

The people of Fallujah have, I believe, a much larger stake in figuring out how to get Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and company out of Fallujah than the U.S. Marines do.

Is the Professor bidding to become a daytime tv sex symbol himself?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When He Is Good, He Is Very Very Good...

But, when he is bad, he is...not blogging as a professional, but as a rabid partisan who wouldn't even fool Dan Rather into accepting fake documents from him. Today, however is one of those rare days when the economist in him can't be restrained. And under the LFUTB Politeness Policy, which is always enforced evenhandedly (unlike some I could mention), credit is given where credit is due:

Well, The Economists' Voice is now launched, with a small first issue. Now we get to begin the dynamic process of (a) finding a readership, (b) finding people who want to write, and (c) editing so that what appears on the website is *really* *good* and worth reading.

So, Bravo Zulus to the Captains of the swift boat they've just launched.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Don't Know Much About History

Nor, judging by this piece, does Sara Rimer care much about chronology either:

...a wider examination of [Geo. W. Bush's] life in 1972, based on dozens of interviews and other documents released by the White House over the years, yields a portrait of a young man like many other young men of privilege in that turbulent time - entitled, unanchored and safe from combat, bouncing from a National Guard slot made possible by his family's prominence to a political job arranged through his father.

Putting aside that there is absolutely evidence of his pilot slot being made possible by his family's prominence, and proceeding to further stupidities from the no doubt lovely Sara--there must be some reason she's writing for the Times:

Mr. Bush, while missing months of the Guard duty that allowed him to avoid Vietnam...

Regular readers know how absolutely stupid is the above. What allowed Bush to avoid Vietnam was Richard Nixon's phased withdrawal of American troops under his Vietnamization plan. Plain and simple. There were only about 60,000 Americans left in Vietnam in the summer of 1972.

In Houston, nearly five years out of Yale, Mr. Bush had been adrift, without a career or even a long-running job..... Acquaintances recall him tooling around town in his Triumph sports car, partying with a crowd of well-to-do singles.

Adrift? He was a military pilot for four years, which qualifies as a long-running job by the standards of a twenty-six year old. And I was tooling around my hometown (at nearly the same time) in a sports car, too. That's what single twenty-somethings do. Whether they're "well-to-do", or truck drivers as I was.

.... His entree to the Guard had come through Ben Barnes, then the lieutenant governor of Texas....

Again, this is simply not true. Bush got into flight school by passing an examination in 1968. The unit he signed on with needed pilots--there was a war on. Nobody interceded to get Bush into a unit that was understrength, and sending pilots in harm's way, at the time.

And, Ben Barnes was not lieutenant governor.

After basic training and a year at flight school in Georgia, he was assigned to Ellington Air Force Base outside Houston, where he flew F-102 fighter jets. In March 1970, with his father, himself a World War II Navy pilot, in Congress, the Texas Air National Guard issued a news release announcing that the young Mr. Bush "doesn't get his kicks from pot or hashish or speed," but from "the roaring afterburner of the F-102." As he wrote in his autobiography, "It was exciting the first time I flew, and it was exciting the last time." In a November 1970 evaluation, his squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, called him a "top-notch" pilot and a "natural leader."

Funny, someone was claiming that Bush was adrift without a career or even a long-running job, a few paragraphs earlier in the story.

By 1972, though, something had changed...

Do tell. Let's put on our thinking caps.

...the excitement seemed to have waned. Mr. Bush's flying buddy from Ellington, Dean Roome, said Mr. Bush may have been frustrated because the unit's growing role as a training school left young pilots fewer opportunities to log hours in the air. ....

Duh!

More recently the White House has said that he did not take the physical because Alabama units were not flying the F-102. But his second application to transfer to Alabama - after the rejected transfer in July - was filed in September 1972, at least two months after he had missed his physical.

Perhaps we need a thinking cap with a chin strap. His physical was due by July 31st. He didn't accomplish it, and was suspended from flying August 1. Then, his CO agrees to allow Bush to fulfill his duties with the 187th in Alabama. Which would indicate that Bush isn't on the outs with his CO. Not rocket science, Sara.

....By that time, still without an Alabama unit, he had not attended a required monthly drill for almost five months, according to records released by the White House. Under the law at the time, he could have been sent to Vietnam.

Which would have been the opposite direction the troops were going in September 1972.

....By the summer of 1973, Mr. Bush had decided to go to Harvard Business School.

I've never even applied to HBS, but I'm guessing one doesn't just decide in the summer before you enroll, "Hey, I think I'd like to get an MBA."

According to documents released by the White House, he wanted an early discharge from the Guard but did not have enough service points for 1972 and 1973, since he had missed months of training. Guardsmen were required to earn 48 points each fiscal year, or four points for each weekend drill every month.

Where does the NY Times get these imbeciles? You needed 50 points. And Bush got them by June 30th (using the rules USN&WR wants).

Although missed drills can be made up, regulations at the time said it had to be done within 30 days and in the same fiscal year. As the time for his early discharge neared, Mr. Bush was lacking enough points; according to records for July 1973, he attended drills on 18 days that month.

Which is fiscal 1974, and had nothing to do with his points for the prior year, which is supposedly where the controversy is.

....However the points added up, on Oct. 1, 1973, Mr. Bush was awarded an honorable discharge. By that time he was already at Harvard.

Just like hundreds of thousands of other young men who were getting on with their lives now that the war had ended. Kinda like George H.W. Bush was able to do in September 1945.

"Nothing Polite Can Be Said About Such Analysis"

This post's title is stolen from a Nobel prize winning economist's famous dismissal of a Senator's question to him during a committee hearing. I immediately thought of it when I saw this Slate piece. From which, I excerpt:

Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968. The move was well-chosen and well-timed. Only four Air National Guard squadrons were sent to Vietnam, and none was sent after Bush enlisted.

Yes, but what relevence does that have to Bush's timing in signing up? Wouldn't the events at the time of Bush's decision to become a fighter pilot be what counts, not what happened eventually (and with no input from the then Lt.)? Does Will Saletan even read the articles to which he links:

On 23 January 1968, the North Koreans seized the American spy ship, U.S.S. Pueblo. President Johnson ordered a limited reserve mobilization. Next, the communists' Tet offensive in South Vietnam in February 1968 stretched American military resources thinner. The President ordered another small mobilization. In response to the first presidential order, the ANG mobilized 9,343 personnel on 25 January 1968. Within 36 hours, approximately 95 percent of the Air Guardsmen had reported to their units. Those included eight tactical fighter groups, three tactical reconnaissance groups and three wing headquarters. ....

On 3 May, F-100s from the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Colorado) arrived at Phan Rang Air Base. By 1 June, all of the l20th's pilots were flying combat missions. In the meantime, the 174th (Iowa), 188th (New Mexico), and the 136th (New York) had all deployed to Vietnam with their F-100s. In addition, 85 percent of the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron -- on paper a regular Air Force unit -- were Air Guardsmen. The Air Guard units were quickly and effectively integrated into Air Force combat operations in Southeast Asia (SEA). Prior to their return home in April 1969, they flew 24,124 sortie and 38,614 combat hours.

The only conclusion that follows logically from Saletan's own source, is that Geo. W. Bush's decision would be, "well chosen and well-timed", only for a 1968 Yale grad who wanted to emulate Dick Bong.

Something that a certain young man (who is the inspiration for this blog) with a pilot's license in hand in 1966, didn't want to do.

CBS to NY Times: Dan's Career is 'Inoperative'?

Ron Ziegler, call your office:

After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a "60 Minutes'' report that raised new questions about President Bush's National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Mrs. Knox, You Have Such a Lovely Forger

Thanks to Betsy's Page for this story:

Mrs. Knox said that though the CBS documents weren't real, what is stated in the forgeries is. She talked and talked about how Killian was upset with Mr. Bush, how the rest of the pilots resented him for being a child of privilege, and said that Killian's son -- who disputes the validity of the CBS case against Mr. Bush -- "...has no way of knowing whether it's true or not." And she does? Not according to the members of the squadron I spoke to this morning.

Col. Bill Campenni (USAF, Ret.) wondered just how Mrs. Knox would have more knowledge than Killian's son. He told me that not only was young Killian the son of the squadron commander, he was a member of the squadron on duty with the rest of the guys. Mrs. Knox -- the squadron secretary -- only knew paper. Not people. Killian's son was in a very good position to know, and she wasn't.

Mrs. Knox said she remembered that Killian was upset because Mr. Bush didn't take his flight physical. And she transforms Killian's supposed frustration into a statement that the other pilots were resentful of Mr. Bush be cause of his attitude. That's flatly false according to both Campenni and Joe Glavin, another pilot who flew with Dubya. I asked Glavin if there was any such resentment of Bush. He said, "Absolutely not," and added that you'd have a really hard time finding anyone who would agree with that.

....Glavin says nobody should care what she said. "She had nothing to do with the unit. She didn't fly, she didn't hang out with us." According to Glavin, she was out of the mainstream of the squadron, in an office that the pilots only visited occasionally.

According to Bill Campenni, Knox is a "yellow dog" democrat, and her biases were noticeable even in 1972. Leave it to CBS to find the one yellow dog Dem in the 1972 Texas Air National Guard. Her statement is as valid as the CBS memos.

Willie Mays Busts Dan Rather

I was alerted to another problem with the bogus May 4, 1972 Jerry Killian memo, by a former pilot with the 111th FIS in Houston: May 14, 1972 was Mother's Day, and the group never drilled on Mother's Day week-end.

Here' how I confirmed the date

Sunday, May 14th IN THE NEWS:

In front a Mother's Day crowd of 35,000, Willie Mays, makes a triumphant return to New York with the Mets, hitting a game-winning home run against his old teammates. He scores in the 1st on Rusty Staub's grand slam and his solo in the 5th snaps a 4–4 tie. The final score is 5–4.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

She'll Do the Time, Not Having Done a Crime

The manliest girl in America has decided to get over it. Even though she'll probably win on Appeal some time next year, Martha Stewart apparently thinks her business career needs an end to the uncertainty immediately.

Those fortunate enough to live in the Seattle area, know from the Official Martha Stewart Correspondent of the David Boze Show, that Martha Stewart did not engage in illegal insider trading in the sale of approximately 4,000 shares of Imclone stock. Unlike that company's founder (and Martha friend) Sam Waksal.

Martha was convicted of lying to a federal investigator--and not while under oath--about the reasons she sold said stock while on a plane flying to Mexico in late December 2001. But at least one juror in her trial has made public statements indicating he thought she had been charged with insider trading--which she had not. That prejudicial information should not have been allowed to color her actual trial, which will likely result in Martha having her conviction overturned by the Court of Appeals.

Which makes her decision to simultaneously serve a five month sentence and continue to both proclaim her innocence, and pursue the formal appeal with former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, somewhat astounding. If I were a Swift Boat commander, that's the kind of person I want commanding the other boat beside me. And I think George W. Bush should also.

Therefore, I propose my Grand Unified Theory of the Election of 2004. President Bush should immediately Pardon Martha Stewart.

Further, he should refuse to attend any debates until the League of Women Voters (or whatever troublemakers are in charge of them) agrees to replace Bob Schieffer of CBS News as moderator of one debate, with Manly Girl Martha.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Turn Out the Lights, the Memo Party is Over

This link destroys any shred of hope for Memo diehards. It is devastatingly effective.

Remember the Five O'Clock Follies?

That was the nickname given to Saigon press briefings during the Vietnam War. It became famous because of lines like, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Well, no one then ever said anything as amazing as the headline for this NY Times article:

Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says

Field Marshall Von Krugman, Reporting for Duty

It's a sure sign that we're at full employment when a major newspaper can't find a real military expert to analyze the situation in Iraq. As silly as the battlefield advice from the Princeton economist was, this is my favorite:

If Senator John Kerry really has advisers telling him not to attack Mr. Bush on national security, he should dump them. When Dick Cheney is saying vote Bush or die, responding with speeches about jobs and health care doesn't cut it.

Bring it on! It works for me. My advice would be for Cheney to respond to any such Kerry attacks, with a breezy:

If John Kerry is such a big time military man, how come he enlisted in 1966, for six years, in the navy (two years before George W. Bush entered the Air National Guard) but didn't get his honorable discharge until 1978? Five years after the President received his On October 1, 1973.


I Say the Party With the Better Sense of Humor Should Win

And after reading to the end of this NY Times story, I'd say it's the Republicans:

The Democratic National Committee released an Internet video on Tuesday accusing Mr. Bush of being dishonest about his National Guard service. The Republican National Committee shot back a one-line statement: "The video the Democrats released today is as creative and accurate as the memos they gave CBS."

Oh No, It's Not, Professor

You're being far too modest. I'd say it's calibrated almost to a T for you.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Some Grade School Arithmetic for U.S. News (and its admirers)

[Update 9-14-04] LFUTB is nothing, if not educable. Under the guidance of a former Texas ANG pilot who flew with Lt George W. Bush, we undertook an alternative analysis of US News' claims. Using their own rules:

A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period.... [H]e failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.... Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration....

Fine, let's use the fiscal year July 1, 1972-June 30, 1973, rather than the May 28th anniversary of Lt Bush's entry into the ANG. He still accumulates enough points--50--for a "good year" toward retirement. Interested (and not easily bored) readers can verify for themselves here, that Bush earned 51 points. Where the USN&WR erred, is in saying:

he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year

Because that is wrong. There are fourteen different "types of duty" that Bush could have pulled, and they are worth different numbers of points. In the document linked to above, under the column "TD", you will find the code number "2" (for UTA duty, and a little math will show these are worth 2 points) and you will also see some code "1" under the same "TD" column (for "AFT" duty, which are only worth one point).

Contrary to Professor DeLong's "news magazine", it is not the number of days that count, but the number of points. Bush's first points are earned Oct 28-29, 1972--"two UTA" worth a total of 4 points. Two weeks later (and after the election) he acquires 2 more "UTA" points each of four days, on November 11, 12, 13, and 14, 1972. Six days in the two months, counting for twelve points.

Similarly, in January 1973 Bush is pulling 6 more "UTA" duty days worth another 12 points; he's almost half way home. Which no doubt accounts for no duty in February and March, probably because he is moving back to Houston and hasn't the time.

April 7-8, are two more UTAs for 4 points, and May sees him earning 2 more UTA "doubles" (for 4 pts) and 9 "AFT" single points. In two months he's earned 17 points.

[And now I pause to solve another supposed mystery, for those too slow to have already figured it out: Bush's May 1973 Fitness Report has him not being rated, because he was not "observed" on Ellington AFB during the rating period. Not literally true, but according to ANG regulations (I've been told) his commander must have seen him for 90 days or more to rate him. April 7 to May 26 is less than sixty days. So, no rating for the period between his anniversary dates (which is a different period than the fiscal year) Btw, the Vietnam War is now officially ended, and our POWs home.]

To this point Bush has accumulated 41 points. To keep score at home, one has to click and here, where it tells us that on May 29, 30, and 31st he earned 3 "AFT" single points. Another three singles on June 5,6, and 7, and his final 4 points for "UTA" doubles on June 23, and 24.

That's all she wrote folks. Read em and weep, if you're a Harvard economist with your reputation for analysis in shreds, that is. Under either scenario, Bush has the points.

And, for good measure, about to be private citizen and MBA candidate Geo. W. Bush, puts in 13 days in July 1973: 7 single point "AFT", and 6 "UTA" doubles, for a total of 19 points. He takes August off, and applies for an "early out" to further his education, on September 5, and is granted that--on the recommendation of Lt Col Jerry Killian!--on October 1, 1973.

Almost 5 years before John Kerry is mysteriously granted his honorable discharge after six (or eight, depending how one counts the puzzling records) in 1978. Would Professor DeLong care to e-mail me an explanation of that phenomenon, I'd be happy to print it here.


-----------------ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS--------------------------
I want to re-explain something else that a Harvard trained economist should have been able to grasp (at least by the second time he was told) about the somewhat puzzling 5 month gap (May-Oct, 1972) in Geo. W. Bush's ANG records.

Lt Bush first got permission, in May '72, to drill with the 9921st in Montgomery. Alabama, in a "Training Category G" status. With no pay. Service that wasn't disallowed by Denver until July 31st. Air Force Headquarters sent a copy of that rejection to Lt Bush c/o of the 9921st in Montgomery Alabama. Which would indicate he spent some time with that unit.

And that could explain John "Bill" Calhoun's persistent memories of seeing Bush on Dannelly AFB as early as May '72. I'm attempting to contact Mr. Calhoun to verify that, but a former pilot colleague of Geo. W. Bush's, with whom I am in regular contact, believes my theory is plausible.

After serving at Ellington in April, Lt Bush "cleared the base" in Houston in May 1972. There are no pay records for any service by Bush until that October, but there wouldn't be, because he wasn't drawing any pay.

Since the transfer was disallowed, he might not have been eligible to use any drills with the 9921st to accumulate points toward retirement, either. Hence, according to the records, it looks like he's simply missing. But that doesn't make sense, since several people he worked with on the Blount campaign remember talking about his ANG duty then with him.

Occam's Razor: Bush did pull duty in June and July with the 9921st, but didn't get credit for it because of AF regulations. When he found out, sometime in August, that he'd been wasting his time "drilling" with the 9921st, he first found a home with John Calhoun's 187th. Mailed the information to his Houston COs, September 5th, and they, in turn, authorized his service in Alabama anew in time for him to drill in October.

And that is a perfect fit with the official records. Keep in mind while studying those records that, U.S. NEWS is a "news magazine", in the same sense that Dan Rather is a reporter. A "drill" with the ANG Reserve is four hours not a full day. Thus, most week-ends earn the person 4 points toward a "good year". The records have Bush earning:

On Oct 28 and 29, 197............................ 4 points
On Nov 11, 12, 13, and 14, 1972............ 8 ppoints
On Jan 4,5, and 6, 1973.......................... 6 points
On Jan 8,9 and 10, ................................. 6 points

That's how Lt. Bush made up for the disallowed drills with the 9921st. By doing extra service with the 187th on Dannelly AFB. He needed 50 points by May 26, 1973, and he got 56 (with additional service in April and May, when his year ends).

It Doesn't Take an Econometrician to Understand Reductions in Force Levels After a War Ends

But it would be nice if those who are could. Especially when they've had it explained to them several times. And by people with first hand experience (as we'll shortly see) of the time.

Let's see, if American troops were downsized from 540,000 in Vietnam in 1968--the Year George W. Bush signed up to train as a fighter pilot, and John Kerry first saw action in the Brown Water Navy--to approximately 100,000 by the Spring of 1972, that would be something along the order of 80% of the "in country" force needing to find a home...and something to do, back in the U.S. Mightn't it be a little crowded at stateside air and naval bases?

Well, let's not speculate, let's let a veteran--"Lawrence"--of the period tell us as he told the usually suspect denizens of SDJ earlier this year (and not to their good advantage, alas) the way it was:

Starting in January 1970, fighter aircraft units started to deploy back to CONUS as part of Nixon's Vietnamization program. I know. I flew my F-4 all the way back from Da Nang to MCAS El Toro, CA. (Never saw so much blue water in all my life.) Some of my contemporaries flying F-4s at the time never made it into Vietnam basically due to a lack of need for their services.
By the time 1972 arrived, we active duty F-4 jocks were really scrounging for flight time. The operations funding that buys flight hours had really been cut back by the Nixon Administration. (Yes, flight hours have to be paid for and hours in fighter aircraft are very expensive. Don't ask how much. You don't want to know.) I heard similar whining about reduced flight hour funding from others on active duty as well from air guard pilots.

So it seems to me that by 1972, GWB's squadron of the Texas Air National Guard (TANG) squadron could have cared less whether he flew or not. More flight hours for others more deserving and in need. There was a surplus of Vietnam combat pilots recently released from active duty and who were trying to fly with the Guard in hopes of building up flight hours to get on with the airlines. (I had plenty of friends in that catagory.) And, as I noted before there was a reduction in the number of flight hours available because of reduced funding.

In the Land of the Self-Unaware, Brad DeLong is King

Apparently put on this earth for the sole purpose of seeing that I do not lack entertainment 24/7, it appears Professor DeLong has fallen behind on his Kerry Talking Points Memo reading: Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations

Do you suppose Kerry can get a refund on the latest ads:

"Operation Fortunate Son."

"George Bush has a clear pattern of lying about his military service,"

"From 1978 to the present day, George Bush has refused to tell voters the truth about his service. It's time for the President to come clean."

"Flyers distributed to Texas voters during Bush's failed Congressional race say 'he served in the U.S. Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard.' But according to Air Force officials, Air National Guardsmen are not counted as members of the active-duty Air Force."

Who Ya Gonna Believe, John Kerry or Yer Own Lyin Eyes

Thanks to Beldar for alerting us to the latest desperate attempt by the Kerry campaign to rescue their boy.

To quickly demolish the argument, we can use the Bushphobes at awolbush.com. Say, this one , with it heading:

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
147TH FIGHTER INTERCEPTOR GROUP
ELLINGTON AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS 77030

Though Dan Rather is the more amusing source, with this:

On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards....

Saturday, September 11, 2004

DUMBASSY with Oak Leaf Cluster

George H.W. Bush, to Dan Rather in 1988:

How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York?

I'm guessing that would sound pretty good to him about now.

It isn't often that the Academy gets to honor a veteran more than once in the same campaign. As noted, most people uttering the kind of humiliatingly ridiculous things required to merit a FLUBA DUMBASSY, immediately retreat into a privacy so complete they're not spotted for a year.

Not our one-time CBS AWOL (or was it 'deserter') wunderkind. No sirree, this guy's a trooper, racking up honors at a faster pace than Lt. John Kerry earned Purple Hearts in Vietnam (I hope he's not counting on a "threefer and you're out" exemption from combat).

Yes, it's another nomination. This time, in the category...Hey, hey, only one person at a time in these revolvvvving doooors...for last night's:

The questions raised by our report include:

--Did a wealthy Texas oilman-friend of the Bush family use his influence with the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives .. to get George W. Bush a coveted slot in the National Guard .. keeping him out of the draft and any probable service IN Vietnam?

--Did Lieutenant Bush refuse a direct order from his commanding officer?

--Was Lieutenant. Bush suspended for failure to perform up to standards?

--Did Lieutenant Bush ever take a physical he was required and ordered to take? If not, why not?

--And did Lieutenant Bush, in fact, complete his commitment to the Guard?

These questions grew out of new witnesses and new evidence -- including documents written by Lieutenant Bush's squadron commander. Today, on the internet and elsewhere, some people -- including many who are partisan political operatives -- concentrated not on the key questions the overall story raised but on the documents that were part of the support of the story.

Which is an almost textbook example of the fallacy of circular reasoning. Or, as Rush Limbaugh puts it, "It isn't the quality of the evidence that counts. It's the seriousness of the charges." Which is exactly what Rather is attempting; to make the charges themselves, the evidence.

But, it's a brave new world, Dan. In the New Media Age logic and evidence actually count for something. Wishful thinking and strongly emotional needs to believe, nothing.

The answer to the first four "questions" Rather is asking, is "no". And to the final one; yes, he did meet his obligations; that's why he got an honorable discharge on October 1, 1973. A discharge recommended by none other than Lt. Col. Jerry Killian on Sept. 6th of that year.

Bush didn't need any political help to get into the Guard because there were openings. The unit was 156 men understrength in mid 1968, as this Dallas Morning News article (courtesy of Beldar the Magnificent) made clear in 1999.

But, more importantly, Bush's goal wasn't to get into the National Guard at all. His goal was to become a fighter pilot. It just so happened that the Texas ANG was the best way to assure that would happen. He specifically signed up for a unit that flew F-102s. Which (Mr. Rather seems to unaware of) was a combat aircraft, and people qualified to fly it were qualified to engage in combat in Vietnam. Training for combat in 1968, at the peak of the hostilities for Americans in Vietnam, would be an astonishingly stupid way to insure oneself against getting sent to Vietnam.

Dan Rather, and similar intellects, are engaging in another textbook fallacy; post hoc, ergo propter hoc. They reason: Bush didn't go to Vietnam, thus it was because he deliberately got into a unit that couldn't be sent to Vietnam. Their syllogism would be:

Major Premise: Bush didn't go to Vietnam
Minor Premise: Bush served in the Air Nat'l Guard
Conclusion: Air Nat'l Guard Service was exempt from Vietnam

Which is not only invalid logic, but is factually incorrect. F-102s, flown by Texas ANG pilots were in Vietnam in 1968 (when Bush got into the ANG), as well as F-100s flown by ANG pilots. And. even if there weren't, there was no guarantee that the President couldn't order stateside units mobilized in the future (gee, has that ever happened?).

Further, Bush did volunteer to go to Vietnam. Twice, according the son of the man whose signature is forged unto three of the memos CBS is fraudulently representing as evidence.

The reason Bush didn't serve in Vietnam is that when he volunteered there were other pilots with more experience ahead of him (and his friend Fred Bradley who was also not accepted). That, and that by the time Bush did have some hours in the cockpit, Richard Nixon had been elected and changed the strategy to Vietnamization. Meaning we were withdrawing pilots from the war and bringing them home (to absorb scarce flying hours stateside, which is why Bush was eventually able to get an "early out" to attend Harvard Business School).

As for the charges that Bush refused a direct order from his CO, we have pretty convincing evidence to the contrary. Signed 12 days after the alleged disobedience, by the very same Jerry Killian who supposedly was disobeyed. It gives Bush an overall rating of "exceptionally fine".

Finally, in addition to the physical evidence demolishing the legitimacy of the memos, there is a whopper of a chronological blunder: Pilots were, by regulation, required to take an annual flight physical in their birth month. Which, for Bush is July. Not May, as the inept forger has Jerry Killian ordering Bush to do (i.e. ordering Bush to violate regulations).

So, Dan, I'd suggest you prepare two sets of acceptance remarks on the big night.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Dan, You Da Man...Big Time!

Recent events cry for the revival of a hoary tradition. The Fly Under the Bridge Academy (FLUBA) is pleased to announce a nominee...(drum roll)...for a FLUBA DUMBASSY AWARD.

This coveted award is not bestowed for mere garden variety hypocrisy, shameless lying, nor usenet quality logic. Only the truly nincompoop, no redeeming value whatsoever, brazen prevarification in the face of every scrap of evidence available, is honored.

Only something Brad DeLong would be honored to see as a comment in Semi-Daily Journal, qualifies. Nominees must have said something so horrid, so inane, that a normal person, upon realizing what he'd done, would refuse to come out of his house for a year, in embarrassment. Many have called, few are chosen.

Without further ado, in the category, Whistling While You Walk Past the Graveyard on the Sidewalks of New York, we honor...Dan Rather...for his tour de force today: "I believe...the documents are authentic."

Sure they are Dan. We believe you.

Which means we have to put aside:

1. Col. Killian's widow, who says her husband couldn't even type, and didn't take notes anyway. Who says her husband respected George W. Bush's aviator skills.

2. Col. Killian's son, who served with his father in the 111th FIS, and says the memos--described as from the Colonel's "personal files"--did not come from them. And says his father would never have been so stupid as to compose, and save, something that could only get him in trouble.

3. The physical evidence: telltale signs of word processing, wrong size paper, non-left alignment of Col. Killian's signature, phony P.O. Box and Zip Code, signatures forged so badly Inspector Clouseau would see them for that, non-standard abbreviations, and the complete absence of official orders corroborating the personal memos.

4. The chronological evidence: Regulations called for a pilot to have an annual physical in the month of his birthday, not two months prior.

Memos from May 4th and May 19th seemingly indicating that Col. Killian was somewhat miffed at Lt. Bush for moving to Alabama in a non-flying status. Yet, on the 26th of that same month, Col. Killian signs a concurrence to a glowing fitness report that praises Bush specifically for his enthusiastic participation in the group's activities. And also mentions his taking the Winton Blount Senate campaign job.

The August 1st memo's reference to ANG's Denver headquarters rejection of Bush's transfer to the 9921st as though it was history, while the actual document is stamped 31 July, 1972, and the Fax machine had yet to be invented.

All the above we ignore. Because, Dan, of who you are. Congratulations, and don't forget to have your tuxedo cleaned for the ceremony.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I'm a Wild and Crazy Kinda Jet Jock, That's Why

The Minute Man does to Nick Kristoff what Capt Esterhazy did to Jose Ferrer in I Accuse. Though at last sighting Kristoff hasn't yet been exiled to Devil's Island along with Jayson Blair. One thing that does seem to have escaped scrutiny though, is Bob Mintz's claim:

Young bachelors were kind of sparse. For that reason, I was looking for someone to haul around with.

Immediately raising the question, "How did you know, without ever meeting him, that he was a young bachelor?" His father wasn't that high profile in 1972, and Bush was originally serving with another unit--the 9921st--not Mintz's 187th. It was only after July 31st that Bush's service with the first unit was disallowed. Sometime in August Bush would have received his copy of that disallowal (sent to him care of the 9921st), and it wasn't until Sept. that he got accepted at Mintz's unit.

And not as a pilot. Just another desk guy for a few week-ends in the fall. There's no reason at all for Mintz to even have known who Bush was, much less to be looking for him.

Did Mintz work week-ends? He'd have had to to see Bush.

Boy, Am I Glad I'm Not Dan Rather Today

Tooopiddd! Have a gander at Col Killian's signature on this 1973 document recommending Bush's "early out" to attend Harvard Business School.

Then compare it to the initials on this supposed memo for the same man's files.

It's hard to read the J on the latter, but the tail to the upper right slopes differently than it does in the genuine, signed, approval for Bush's "early out". The Ks are another matter entirely. They simply were not written by the same person. You don't have to be a handwriting expert to see it.

It becomes even more hilariously inept when you look at the signature on this memo allegedly written on May 4, 1972.

Then there is the little matter of the discrepancy in content between Bush's fitness report, signed by both Major Wm. Harris and Lt. Col. Killian on May 26, 1972. Which is only 5 days after the memo of May 19th, in which Killian is being mildly put out by Bush's plans to move to Alabama. I can't resist typing some of the comments describing Lt. Bush in the fitness report:

Lt Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer. He eagerly participates in scheduled unit activities.....He makes a welcome addition to any group or team effort....Lt Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate. He is a good representative of the military and Air National Guard in the business world. His abilities and anticipated future assignments make him a valuable asset.

What a difference a few days make. And, Bush's overall rating was "exceptionally fine". So why would Killian be ordering Bush to take an annual physical in May when it normally wouldn't be due until July (the month of Bush's birth).

Also, I'm doubly glad I'm not Brad DeLong today . Nor any of his merry band of commenters, because the Killian memo of August 1, 1972 can't be legitimate. It says:

3. I recommended transfer of this officer to the 9921 st Air Reserve Squadron in May and forwarded his AF Form 1288 to 147th Ftr Intrcp Gp headquarters. The transfer was not allowed.

The forger can thank--among others, no doubt--Dave Niewert for this blunder. Contrary to what Niewert claimed on February 14th of this year, the transfer was not "promptly disallowed"--which would allow Killian to be talking of something that happened early enough for Bush to have done something about it. It was only disallowed on July 31st.

That's right, only the day before this bogus memo was supposedly written. Niewert (and the hapless DeLong) mistook the date of the request for transfer in May, for the date Denver headquarters disallowed it. Killian wouldn't have known about it on August 1st, and neither would George W. Bush (because they sent him a copy of the order at the 9921st in Alabama).

As Ethyl Merman once put it: "Oh, barrrruthher!".

Finally, it is truly an honor to have been linked to by The Minuteman on my first day as a member of the new media. But I'm positively delighted to have been first recognized by Craig Newmark's lovely, charming, and informed wife, Betsy.