February 15, 2004
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT on American campuses. It’s like the Second Coming of Joe McCarthy!
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT on American campuses. It’s like the Second Coming of Joe McCarthy!
WHY DEMOCRATS are buying blogads. This gap won’t last.
JEFF JARVIS thinks we need a male anti-defamation league.
PHOTOGRAPHYBLOG has lots of stuff from the Photo Marketing Association. Loads of new cameras coming out.
JESSICA HARBOUR: “you know you are 21st-century white trash when you cross state lines with fireworks tucked into the trunk of your Volvo.”
DANIEL DREZNER has an outsourcing update that’s worth reading.
JOE CONASON CONTAINS MULTITUDES: And Mickey Kaus is pointing it out.
JEFF JARVIS WRITES:
The reason Howard Dean (with Al Gore) lost is that they ran a negative campaign. But the problem wasn’t that they were negative about other candidates. It was that they were negative about America.
He’s got links and evidence. But I think that the real reason Gore lost in 2000 was incompetence, and I’ve got some pretty strong evidence, too:
A tale from Ned Ray McWherter’s 2000 experience, told to a reporter last week, will illustrate.
He had made a 10-day trip through the state, mostly in East Tennessee, as a Gore surrogate campaigner and returned, as instructed, to give a report to the campaign’s national headquarters in Nashville.
His travels, McWherter says, left him with a sense that things were going badly for Gore in his home state.
He had a plan, involving some personal campaigning by Gore, for turning things around.
“I sat there for about an hour in the headquarters, wanting to make a report to the people running the campaign. They sent somebody out and said they were busy.
“They put me off another hour or two and, well, my old butt got tired, and I got up and left. They were so busy they wouldn’t even talk to me and I was going to tell them they were about to get the hell beat out of them in East Tennessee,” he said.
“I left word with Johnny Hayes. He said he couldn’t get in to see them, either,” McWherter said. “They had other places to worry about, I guess.”
Ned Ray McWherter, a former Governor and State House Speaker, is probably the shrewdest politician Tennessee has ever produced. And he couldn’t even get a meeting?
If Gore had listened, he might have won Tennessee. If he’d won Tennessee, he’d have won the election, and Florida would be a footnote.
No wonder he’s so angry now. But really, I think, he’s angry at himself.
UPDATE: Elsewhere in the article quoted above, McWherter seems hot on a Kerry/Edwards ticket. But apparently the Kerry campaign isn’t so hot on Edwards:
Kerry is also said to be unconvinced that Edwards is experienced enough to step in as a wartime president should something happen to him. National security credentials are the most important assets that the Democratic presidential front-runner would use to choose a running mate, these aides said.
This is actually the most positive thing I’ve read about Kerry — since it’s an acknowledgement that we’re actually at war now, pace Al Gore — but it makes me wonder: What Democrat fills that bill?
What Kerry needs is to make a ballsy choice of someone with military experience, someone who may not be a traditional Democrat but who’s known as a fighter, who can appeal to swing voters, and who’ll give the Democrats instant credibility.
Note to Karl Rove: Make sure you’ve mended every single fence with John McCain. . . .
STATES, like the Federal government, generally have Freedom of Information Acts. State officials, however, aren’t very good about complying with the law sometimes:
After insisting that the volunteer give his name, Desjarlais used the Internet to identify the volunteer, find his cell phone number and call him after work hours.
In an interview after the audit, Desjarlais denied that he threatened or tried to intimidate the volunteer, who is a reporter with SNN-Channel 6 in Sarasota.
Desjarlais defended his actions, saying that the volunteer raised suspicion when he declined to explain who he was. Officials across the state had similar misgivings about volunteers who came into their offices.
They cited a number of arbitrary reasons for their suspicions, including the volunteers’ hair length, casual dress and, in one case, “the look in his eyes.”
Mary Kay Cariseo, executive director of the Florida Association of Counties, said people need to understand that making a public records request can be threatening to public officials.
“You’re not looking at e-mails to do something good,” she said. “You’re trying to find something. You’re trying to dig something up when we’re trying to be good public servants and run our governments.”
“Our governments.” That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? (Via Fried Man).
FORCE-FEEDING at the Post?
Well, not just the Post.
ED CONE wonders where the Dean money went. Apparently, Joe Trippi doesn’t know.
INTERESTING SURVEY OF ANTI-AMERICANISM as a cultural force, in the Financial Times. The whole thing is a must-read, and indicates how little of the phenomenon is really policy-driven. Here’s a good excerpt:
Europe’s problem, as Bruckner sees it, is not that it has drifted too far to the left – for the left-right concept is one that he considers “totally discredited”. Nor is Europe’s problem simply anti-Americanism.
“Anti-Americanism can only be very ambivalent,” he says, “where American culture sets the tone. The French are voting for America – in the market place – all the time.” Rather, Bruckner says, “our great problem as Europeans is that we want to exit from history. Sometime after 1989, we developed the belief that barbarism could be refuted intellectually.” Here, he makes clear, he is speaking primarily of France and Germany, not the UK.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Some interesting further commentary here.
THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE military blog has a roundup of military bloggers’ reactions to the “Bush AWOL” story. Meanwhile reader Amy Denham notes that now that the initial case has collapsed with the appearance of records and eyewitnesses, “The argument is no longer ‘did he serve,’ but ‘how well did he serve?’” Since nothing short of seppuku would satisfy the critics, we know the answer to that one.
And one of my colleagues who was a Marine in Vietnam (and who is quite unimpressed with Kerry) observed that he’s never before seen such open enthusiasm for military service among liberal academics of his generation. He thinks that they see support for Kerry, and slagging of Bush, on these issues as providing some sort of absolution for their own behavior in that era. I think that’s right.
UPDATE: Reader John Schedler emails: “Put my down as another Marine veteran of Vietnam (A 1/26) who agrees completely.”
I WISH THAT THIS were a bigger surprise:
Investigators have discovered that the nuclear weapons designs obtained by Libya through a Pakistani smuggling network originated in China, exposing yet another link in a chain of proliferation that stretched across the Middle East and Asia, according to government officials and arms experts.
The bomb designs and other papers turned over by Libya have yielded dramatic evidence of China’s long-suspected role in transferring nuclear know-how to Pakistan in the early 1980s, they said. The Chinese designs were later resold to Libya by a Pakistani-led trading network that is now the focus of an expanding international probe, added the officials and experts, who are based in the United States and Europe.
This also suggests that the Chinese are, well, dumb as rocks. Arming an unstable nation with whom one shares a border with nuclear weapons just seems awfully stupid to me. (See also Russia and Iran). I suspect that corruption played a role in that decision: probably Saudi money that bribed Chinese officials to give nuclear secrets to Pakistan that wound up in the hands of Libya. And where else?
The good news is that the end of Saddam’s reign seems to have destabilized a lot of these connections, and brought a lot of information out.
UPDATE: Jim Dunnigan has a lot more interesting background and commentary here.
READER ED CLARK complains that I’m running blogads for Democratic candidates. Well, I actually have a lot of Democratic readers, you know, and these guys obviously seem to think it’s worth it to reach them. (It certainly worked well for the Chandler campaign.) And I have nothing against Democrats per se, despite my unhappiness with the direction the Democratic Party is heading these days. But I’ll be more than happy to run ads for Republicans, whenever they’re ready to buy some. At the moment, the Democrats just seem to be ahead of the curve here. But I suspect that won’t last.
AL GORE SAYS TERRORISM ISN’T A THREAT: Jeff Jarvis says that Al Gore is revealing himself as unfit for politics and governance, yet again.
I was once pretty high on Gore — I worked in his 1988 campaign — but he’s been a complete disappointment. And now he’s not just a guy who lost an election. He’s a become a loser, and that transformation has been entirely his own work.
And those of us who were relieved on September 11 that Al Gore wasn’t the President are reminded, yet again, just why we were relieved. He’s too small a man for a job that big.
ADRIANA CRONIN OF SAMIZDATA stars in a charming Valentine to the blogosphere. The 21st Century needs more women like her: lovely, libertarian, and well-armed.
UPDATE: Reader Kerry DuPont emails: “Hmmmm, I guess that I should’ve posted that I got my husband a HK P7 for V-day. ‘Course he’s not as ‘pretty’ as Adriana….”
I should hope not. But he’s obviously a very lucky man.
THE NATION DOESN’T WANT RALPH NADER TO RUN. Nick Gillespie provides a translation.
The comment from Shannon Love is worth reading, too.
ROMANCE AND THE INTERNET: This is what it has come to.
THE CATO INSTITUTE is calling for an end to federal nanotechnology subsidies.
THE DELIGHTFUL MICHELE CATALANO is profiled at NormBlog.
ROGER SIMON has thoughts on Michael Moore’s labor relations philosophy, inspired by a not-very-flattering piece on Moore from The New Yorker.
SHELL OFFERS VALENTINE’S DAY ADVICE for both men and women.
AN ATKINS-DIETER’S NIGHTMARE: Looks yummy to me, though.
STEPHEN GREEN has some thoughts on Kerry, political scandal, and taking the high road.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, along the not-so-high road, the Kerry story is getting front-page treatment in the New York Daily News and Post. Nothing really new here: Kerry denies everything. Intern’s father does too, but calls him a sleazeball — though it’s not clear on what grounds.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Mickey Kaus disagrees with John Ellis about whether Big Media coverage is justified.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Tim Blair notes the New York Times’ scrupulous respect for balance and privacy where President Bush is concerned.
MORE: A guy from CNN emailed to say that they were working hard on the Kerry story. So I guess we can expect to hear more. That’s certainly what this story promises.
DUKE DIVERSITY UPDATE:
Robert Munger, chairman of the political science department, said he was impressed by Duke’s intellectual diversity, which he called “relatively healthy” compared to other universities.
Still, Munger recalled a recent meeting in which he heard a fellow department chairman say it was Duke’s job to confront conservative students with their hypocrisies and that they didn’t need to say much to liberal students because they already understood the world.
“There was no big protest [at the meeting], and that was wrong,” Munger said.
Munger said the history department’s political makeup surprised him, however.
“Thirty-five Democrats and no Republicans? If you flip a coin 35 times, and it ends up heads every time, that’s not a fair coin,” he said.
The people who say, ‘I don’t think ideology is appropriate in hiring would have to look at the process that provides such a skewed outcome,” he said. . . .
Intended to depoliticize universities, the bill, in part, calls for taking steps to promote intellectual diversity whether through faculty hiring or the selection of campus speakers.
What’s next: Goals and timetables?
UPDATE: John Rosenberg has a lengthy posts with many links, and quotes from Stanley Fish. Meanwhile Duke philosophy chair Robert Brandon responds to his critics. I’m not sure this response helps him all that much, but you can read it and make up your own mind.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Carey Gage has read Brandon’s response, and discusses its flaws at length. (“In other words, being exposed to Professor Brandon’s politics is an opportunity to discard your stupid political beliefs in favor of the more intelligent ones advocated by … Professor Brandon! How could conservatives have been so blind? “).
A VERY PRETTY PICTURE from Melissa Schwartz.
BROADCAST POLITICS: Jay Rosen has an essay on Joe Trippi and the Dean campaign.
DEREK LOWE is all over Gregg Easterbrook.
MOST BLOGGERS didn’t bother to comment on Alex Beam’s piece conflating the Dean campaign with the blogosphere.
But Tim Blair did. “Apparently in BeamWorld, Dean’s use of the internet as a campaigning device means that all bloggers were part of the Dean campaign, because — the logic is inescapable — those bloggers are on the internet too!”
OVER AT REASON’S BLOG, Tim Cavanaugh has the Kerry news ‘n’ links roundup.
SEATTLE — James Ujaama, a Seattle-raised Muslim convert who pleaded guilty last year to aiding the Taliban, was sentenced Friday to two years in prison. With credit for time served, he’ll be free this summer.
The story says he’s provided unusually extensive cooperation.
DONALD SENSING HAS advice to bloggers on how to get other bloggers to link. My advice, echoing what Eugene Volokh has said, is to sell the post, not the blog. I frequently get emails from people saying “I started a new blog,” but when I follow the link the new blog has only one or two posts, one of which is “well, here’s my new blog.” I’m much more likely to link to a post that has something relevant to what I’m already writing about, or that has something new that I should be writing about.
HUGH HEWITT HAS SOME COMMENTS FOR PETER BEINART on scandals and media double standards:
The New Republic’s Peter Beinart and I mixed it up today, when after dancing around the fact that he and the staff at TNR had been discussing the Kerry allegations he chastised me for bringing up the DrudgeReport’s allegations on air without any evidence for their veracity. Trap sprung. I asked Peter for the evidence supporting the allegations that Bush was a “deserter” or “AWOL”, allegations that he and the TNR staff have been rolling about in for days. The only “evidence” he could cite was General Turnipseed’s alleged charge.
Understand that Turnipseed has never alleged that Bush was AWOL or a deserter. Never. Four years ago he said he doesn’t recall seeing him. On Tuesday he stated that Bush could well have been on the base, but that he just didn’t see him.
In other words, there is no evidence whatsoever to support Terry McAuliffe’s slanderous charge that was repeated in Congress yesterday by a Democratic congressman and by countless pundits including the increasingly repugnant Begala, and widely read websites of the left like Joshua Marshall’s.
But while Beinart and his colleagues of the left have no problem covering the Bush story and shifting coverage from the lack of evidence for the charges leveled at Bush to their dissatisfaction with the completeness of the Bush denials, they are feigning shock that a report from Matt Drudge on alleged Kerry infidelity should be mentioned outside their newsrooms.
The timing of the new allegations is wonderful especially because it throws such a defining light on the bias of the Washington media –ever ready to carry the water of the Democrats and dismayed that they might be obliged to cover some nasty business about the front-runner from the left.
I am, as I’ve said before, underwhelmed by the Kerry scandal. But I’m even more underwhelmed by the National Guard flap. It’s quite obvious that there’s a double standard here, and Hugh is right to chastise them for it.
Scroll down or click here for more.
UPDATE: Then there’s this comment from reader Don Williams:
Given their constant rush to put out breaking news, I was surprised that the TV networks haven’t let out a peep re Drudge’s report of a Kerry affair with an intern.
Then it occurred to me that if Kerry’s “electability” is questioned –if the Kerry bubble pops –then Howard Dean is the last man standing. Given how the TV networks torpedoed the Dean campaign with roughly 473 misleading broadcasts of his “Iowa Scream” (with the cheering crowd edited out) can anyone doubt what a Dean FCC would do to the networks?
Isn’t Edwards still standing?
ANOTHER UPDATE: TNR has responded to Hewitt on its campaign blog. “This isn’t an example of ideological bias. It’s actually the opposite. It’s the press trying to be scrupulously unbiased.”
Yet another reason why all media operations should have blogs.
Then there’s this cartoon, taking a somewhat different perspective.
MORE: Bo Cowgill comments on the TNR response.
STILL MORE: Here’s another response to the TNR post. (“So how can you argue that the AWOL story should be covered because it was being discussed by a major Democratic candidate, but NOT cover the Kerry adultery story even though it was being shopped around by the exact same person?”)
RYAN ANDERSON, the National Guardsman charged with Al Qaeda ties, is a Muslim convert. What’s interesting is that before he converted, Anderson also used to be interested in militia groups, and used to post on the misc.activism.militia Usenet group. I’ve noted the danger of links between extremist right-wing groups and radical Muslim extremists before, and though this sort of crossover might seem odd, I think that many of these guys are driven more by generalized anger toward society than by a coherent ideology. And, of course, there’s the unifying thread of antisemitism to make the transition easier.
JEEZ, I just looked at the traffic for yesterday and it was a hair over 220,000 pageviews. The only time it’s done better was at the beginning of the Iraq war. Though traffic has been up in general lately, the extra 75 – 100,000 pageviews were obviously because of Kerry. The difference is that the war was getting a lot of Big Media attention, and Kerry isn’t. That probably means something, though I’m not sure quite what.
JAMES LILEKS RESPONDS to my earlier comments on Kerry.
A SOLDIER IN IRAQ is grateful for support from the home front.
The Globe, which has been at the forefront of the media pushing this story, now reveals that the entire series of accusations had no basis in reality and in fact should never have been legitimized by the press in the first place. . . .
Listening to Hugh Hewitt’s show yesterday, Peter Beinart of The New Republic vehemently accused Hugh of irresponsible journalism by mentioning the Drudge Report story about Kerry’s alleged infidelity without having done any responsible verification of the sources, in effect making Kerry publicly prove his innocence without having any evidence of his guilt. However, TNR and every other media outlet has done the exact same thing to George Bush despite the normal presumption of innocence and the extraordinary presumption of satisfactory and complete service that an Honorary Discharge presents.
Yeah. And if this infidelity story were about Bush, with the woman in question out of the country, they’d be running with it in a big way already.
UPDATE: Here’s another officer who remembers Bush from the National Guard days:
A retired Alabama Air National Guard officer said Friday that he remembers George W. Bush showing up for duty in Alabama in 1972, reading safety magazines and flight manuals in an office as he performed his weekend obligations.
“I saw him each drill period,” retired Lt. Col. John “Bill” Calhoun said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Daytona Beach, Fla., where he is preparing to watch this weekend’s big NASCAR race.
Nice that they’re finally starting to do interviews like this, now that the story’s been out and circulating for weeks. Reader Harvard Fong weighs in with this comment on the media’s double standard:
Where was all this confirmation process for Bush? And I don’t mean W.
Recall the alleged infidelity flap back in ’92 of GHW Bush, with an aide who was so conveniently dead. I recall it well because that’s when I changed my voter reg from D to L.
So where was the careful vetting of the allegations of infidelity then?
ANOTHER UPDATE: The unravelling continues as other witnesses come forward.
U.S. SOLDIERS: Winning Iranian hearts and minds. No, really, that’s what it says.
MY SO-FAR RATHER UNDERWHELMED TAKE on the Kerry scandal is now up over at GlennReynolds.com. Excerpt: “I have to say that, to me, how Kerry would do on the war is a lot more important than what (er, or who) he’s doing in the sack.”
AMERICANS AND PAKISTANI NUKE CODES: This is interesting, and more important than Senatorial sex scandals. I wonder if it’s true?
LANNY DAVIS IS DEFENDING KERRY: Reaction: “Davis tipped the scale for me – if Davis is telling your story, you have something to hide. ”
UPDATE: [Item removed, at the suggestion of a thoughtful reader who was right. You can find this stuff on Google easily enough, but I don't think I want to link to it.]
WELL, THIS didn’t take long. . . .
CATHY SEIPP: “Blogging is essentially an unregulated, free-agent activity, and that can drive people who prefer rules and regulations and decision-by-committee crazy.”
I did, in fact, get in trouble for “reading ahead.”
IT JUST GETS MORE COMPLICATED: So instead of encouraging Novak to print Valerie Plame’s name, or at least telling him that it was no big deal, government officials told him that he shouldn’t do so because it might endanger national security? Go figure: That’s what this article from The American Prospect suggests. You could parse this several ways, but I’m pretty sure that all of them make Novak look bad.
More reason to subpoena him — though on these facts it’s entirely possible that he’d take the Fifth.
UPDATE: Reader Chad Bloch observes:
The Prospect story is interesting. But the author repeats one of the errors many in the media had made during the previous height of the story. He inserted the following:
“(President Bush had cited the Niger evidence in his 2003 State of the Union address.)”
I am sure you are already aware that President made no mention of Niger in the SOTU and the African uranium claim was a product of British Intelligence which still stands by it (although they have not released any further details or sources for the information).
THE CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE NANOTECHNOLOGY has a post on nano-weaponry.
IT’S LIKE DRUDGE FOR TENNESSEE! Well, sort of.
HERE’S A LINK TO THE FULL (TRANSLATED) TEXT of the Zarqawi memo.
DRUDGE is reporting a Kerry intern-infidelity bombshell will sink his campaign. Is there anything to it? Beats me. Stay tuned. My one fearless prediction: “JFK” jokes will abound.
UPDATE: Josh Claybourn suspects Chris Lehane’s hand in this. If so, isn’t Kerry sure to get the nomination?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Steve MacLaughlin is following reactions to this story, and reports that:
The Dean Blog has been on fire with comments and the John Kerry Blog has comments full of back-and-forth between Kerry and Dean supporters. The John Edwards Blog has comments that read like kids on Christmas morning.
Big Media, so far, seem to be holding back on this one. Of course, it’s only been a couple of hours.
MORE: Yep, looks like a Lehane operation.
STILL MORE: Kaus has posted now.
And now Wes Clark is endorsing Kerry? That seems rather, um, odd, though Capt. Ed thinks he knows why.
MORE STILL: When this post went up, there was nothing but Drudge’s cover page. But this later Drudge post makes it sound as if the woman worked at AP.
AND MUCH, MUCH LATER: May, 2009 to be exact. Reader Bill Jones emails me with a litany of complaints about partisanship, and claims that I fanned this scandal. Seems to me my treatment here was suitably skeptical, with notes that it seemed to be coming from the Dean Campaign. (And nothing I do is more than a drop in the bucket compared to a headline on Drudge). The scandal, which never amounted to much, ultimately collapsed, of course — but viewing it in retrospect, past the memory of how the press covered for Edwards in 2008, makes me doubt that much digging got done.
And it’s hard not to chuckle at this irony: “The John Edwards Blog has comments that read like kids on Christmas morning.”
IN THE MAIL: Got a copy of Rick Atkinson’s soon-to-be-released book In the Company of Soldiers : A Chronicle of Combat. Looks pretty good overall. The striking thing, to me, is just how surprised the U.S. military was by the swiftness of Saddam’s collapse. Even well into the three week war, the brass and the commanders on the scene expected a lot more resistance than they got.
They got so little, apparently, because Saddam never expected an actual invasion, and was thus caught flat-footed. It’s funny, because at the time it seemed to me that we had completely lost any advantage of surprise — but by not living up (down?) to Arab beliefs that Americans were too casualty-averse to actually go to war, we apparently fooled Saddam completely. Of course, he fooled us, too, by looking more formidable than he was. This just shows how hard it is to be certain of anything where war and diplomacy are concerned. And so does this:
When a wave of calls went out to the private telephone numbers of selected officials inside Iraq, asking them to turn against Mr. Hussein and avoid war, the Arabic speakers making the calls were so fluent that the recipients did not believe the calls were from Americans.
Instead, the Iraqis believed the calls were part of a “loyalty test” mounted by Mr. Hussein’s secret services, the officials said during questioning. Afraid of arrest, incarceration, torture and even death, they refused to cooperate.
But as a result, the officers limited their calls or stopped using those telephones altogether, hampering their ability to communicate in the critical days before war.
A brilliant psychological-warfare success — for entirely unforeseen reasons!
WINDS OF CHANGE has a lengthy and link-filled war news roundup, with all sorts of developments you won’t easily find on your own.
THOSE JOHN KERRY / JANE FONDA PHOTOS aren’t likely to be such a big issue now that this Bush / Fonda image is circulating on the Internet.
Meanwhile, John Scalzi says he’s found the real Fonda photo scandal.
UPDATE: Some people think that this Kerry/Fonda image is damaging, but I kind of like it.
ANOTHER UPDATE: But how’s Bush going to explain this away?
ANGRY MOBS doing violence to property — it’s just more crushing of dissent at Colorado University. Is it appropriate for a “Director of Diversity” to be involved in such activities?
HERE’S MORE on China’s effort to silence North Korean dissidents, mentioned below:
China has hunted down and arrested a North Korean defector who revealed the first documentary evidence of Pyongyang’s chemical and biological experiments on political prisoners, said his supporters yesterday.
Kang Byong-sop, 59, was seized on the Chinese-Laotian border with his wife and youngest son, aged 25, last month after escaping from North Korea with proof that the Stalinist regime is killing political prisoners by experimenting on them with biological and chemical weapons. . . .
Mr Kim believes it was no coincidence that the senior border official was present. He is convinced that the Chinese authorities, alerted to the potential value of their prey, had been offered “a considerable financial inducement” to find Mr Kang.
“Mr Kang is easy to identify,” Mr Kim said. “He has to walk bent almost double after interrogation in North Korea. On one occasion his back was broken and on another he was dropped on his head, snapping his neck.”
The Chinese seem awfully eager to keep this quiet. Is it because the North Koreans are bribing them, as this story suggests? Or is there more to it than that?
“A LAWLESS GLOBAL COURT:” The International Criminal Court gets a negative review.
OKAY, MAYBE I’M WRONG: Maybe outsourcing won’t be such a big election issue after all:
By the way, the Kerry family business, H.J. Heinz Co. of Pittsburgh, operates 22 factories in the United States and 57 in foreign countries. I don’t think that Kerry should shut down The Heinz 57, but he might drop the rhetoric and talk about trade responsibly.
I can hear it now: “57 varieties of outsourcing!” I don’t think it would be smart for Kerry to raise this issue in the general election.
UPDATE: A bunch of people think that the quote above is unfair to Kerry. Here’s an excerpt from one email, from reader Eric Hoffstein:
First, I agree with the main contention of Glassman’s article–that free trade is generally positive. However, I think that the above comment is misleading and inaccurate (I have done some research on this issue). The Heinz company is hardly the “Kerry family business.” Kerry’s current (and 2nd) wife is the heir of Penn. senator John Heinz. That is, she only inherited part of Heinz interest in the Heinz family trust, which, while it does have some holdings in Heinz, is not related or a subsidiary or partner of Heinz Co. Kerry’s wife is not on the board of Heinz nor does she currently hold any position with the company. Therefore, while Kerry’s wife has what could be perhaps considered an indirect relationship with Heinz, she has no control or influence over their business decisions–presumably Kerry, as the second husband, has even less.
Further, to Heinz’s credit, they are widely considered to be an”employee friendly” employer and have instituted a sort of code of good conduct to apply to all their employees, including foreign ones. They do have foreign plants but they are not “outsourced” plants–companies in the food biz have to localize their production to some extent, especially where some fruits and vegetables are concerned.
True enough (though compare the treatment of Cheney’s equally indirect Halliburton ties), and I didn’t read the quote above — and didn’t intend my response to it — as an on-the-merits slam of Kerry, but rather as an indicator of how the issue might be spun in an election.
I also should note that I consider Heinz Ketchup to be one of the very best American products in existence, head and shoulders over its American competition. Hunt’s ain’t bad, and Libby and Del Monte can hold their head up, but none of ‘em can hold a candle to Heinz. I think it’s swell that they’re making it, and selling it, in lots of countries. It’s a great product — and a terrific source of healthy lycopene!
JOHN LEO REPORTS that universities are starting to experiment with free speech on campus. I think this is an excellent trend, and should be encouraged.
After watching the absolutely disgraceful performance by reporters at yesterday’s White House press briefing, it looks as if we’ve now fully entered a vortex of insanity.
I didn’t see it, but that doesn’t surprise me. Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
CSPAN has the video archive of the event. You really have to see it to believe it. I’ve never seen the White House Press Corps so puerile.
John Stewart made a comment on the Daily Show that evening that to really makes the point. “That’s great that you have questions for the President and all, but you all are like 8 wars behind the rest of us.”
Indeed. Phil Carter, on the other hand, who is more level-headed than many of the Bush critics, is still unsatisfied. I respect Phil, but I wonder (1) why this issue didn’t get any traction during the closely contested previous election, when Bush’s opponent had access, licit or otherwise, to all the military personnel records; and (2) what the press would have said if the Bush campaign had made similar charges about Al Gore in that election. It also seems to me that Bush’s honorable discharge ought to settle this, absent pretty strong evidence of some reason to think that discharge was bogus. (It’s like complaining that although someone got an “A” in the course, he didn’t study hard enough.) Yet the burden of proof seems, somehow, to have shifted from the accusers to the White House. Again, I think that’s not how it would play out if this were Democratic Administration.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Neville Crenshaw emails:
I listened to the press briefing you referenced and was just apalled by the feeding-frenzy arguments thrown out by the press to the Presidents’ press secretary. It seemed that all of them were demanding that the White House produce corroborating documents and actual witnesses to the substituted reserve meetings in Alabama.
I have much the same problem. After I was discharged from the Marine Corps n 1970 I joined the U.S. Army Reserve and became a drill instructor in the 80th ivision cadre stationed at the Lieber Reserve Center in Alexandria, Virginia. A small group of us drill instructors formed a traveling instructional unit which visited other reserve units in Virginia and Maryland giving refresher courses on weapons and small unit tactics. Additionally, whenever another unit was scheduled for its annual weapons qualification, we would accompany them to Ft. Holabird, Maryland, or Ft. A.P. Hill in Virginia and “run” their ranges to ensure proper safety and qualification certification. In my three years in the Army Reserve I attended weekend drills at my own unit on the first and last weekends of my tour and maybe one other somewhere in between. I spent two weeks each summer working with complete strangers in my own unit and doubt that any individual in any of the other reserve units remembers me at all. The only proof I have of my service in the Reserves is the Discharge certificate and a DD-214 that I obtained from the National Records Center. I only remember one name of a fellow drill instructor and have not the slightest clue where he is today. Based upon my own history I think the questions regarding Bush’s attendance could be raised against a much larger group of Reserve veterans than the President. Perhaps all the “hooraah” arises from the fact that none of the idiots asking the question ever served in the military, whether active and/or reserves, and have not the slightest clue of what actually goes on in military units.
Well, you certainly can’t say that about Phil Carter, but I’ve noticed that the military bloggers generally seem quite unimpressed with this as an issue.
RAND SIMBERG RESPONDS to Josh Marshall, Alex Roland and other critics of Bush’s space policy. Simberg is, of course, himself a critic of Bush’s space policy. He’s just a more knowledgeable one. (“Space policy is largely being discussed in a knowledge vacuum, and not on the basis of its intrinsic features, but rather, on who supports it.”)
STUPID PEOPLE: Prof. Robert Brandon, chair of the Philosophy Department at Duke, defended his department’s lack of intellectual diversity by quoting John Stuart Mill to the effect that conservatives are disproportionately stupid, and hence naturally underrepresented in academia.
Eugene Volokh points out that Brandon was misrepresenting Mill. Volokh: “If some liberal professors (who are probably pretty far from 1860s Liberals) want to express their contempt for conservatives (who are probably pretty far from 1860s Conservatives), then it seems to me that they shouldn’t call on John Stuart Mill to support their prejudices.” Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Prof. Jim Lindgren, law professor at Northwestern University and director of the Demography of Diversity Project, is doing empirical research on conservatives and liberals in academia, and has some thoughts. They’re kind of long, so click “more” to read them. It’ll be worth your time.
OLIVER KAMM says he hoped for a Gore victory in 2000 — on foreign policy grounds. Now he feels differently: “How wrong could I have been? . . . Al Gore confirmed his unfitness for public office with a speech whose standards of tawdriness and mendacity will remain unsurpassed till the stars burn out and the heavens implode.”
UPDATE: Charles Austin is also unimpressed: “This level of detachment from reality is not easily achieved.”
FURTHER COMMENTS on the Bush National Guard matter from Air Force reservist Baldilocks. Excerpt: “Why am I not surprised to find out that the ‘mainstream media’ cannot manage to dig up one of their number who is/was a Guardsman/Reservist?” Don’t get her mad at you, guys. . . .
WESLEY CLARK AND CHIEF WIGGLES: Well, it is something of a contrast.
COLIN POWELL DELIVERS A WELL-EARNED VERBAL FISKING:
But Reps. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., Robert Melendez, D-N.J., Rep. Robert I Wexler, D-Fla., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, challenged Powell about the administration’s case, suggesting it may have been misleading from the outset.
“Truth is the first casualty of war,” Ackerman said. “I would contend truth was murdered before a shot was fired.”
“We went into this war under false premises,” Melendez said.
Wexler told Powell he considered him to be “the credible voice in the administration.”
“When you reached the conclusion that Iraq represented a clear and present danger to the United States, that meant a lot to me,” Wexler said. “But the facts suggest there was a part of the story that was not true.”
Powell fielded the assertions calmly, defending the president’s judgment and his own.
But when Brown contrasted Powell’s military experience to Bush’s record with the National Guard, saying the president “may have been AWOL” from duty, Powell exploded.
“First of all, Mr. Brown, I won’t dignify your comments about the president because you don’t know what you are talking about,” Powell snapped.
“I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Secretary,” Brown replied.
“You made reference to the president,” Powell shot back.
Brown then repeated his understanding that Bush may have been AWOL from guard duty.
“Mr. Brown, let’s not go there,” Powell retorted. “Let’s not go there in this hearing. If you want to have a political fight on this matter, that is very controversial, and I think it is being dealt with by the White House, fine, but let’s not go there.”
Powell then went on to defend the Bush administration’s assertions on Iraq’s pre-war weaponry. “We didn’t make it up,” Powell said. “It was information that reflected the views of analysts in all the various agencies.”
(Via Timothy Perry). I agree with Perry that this “have you no decency?” moment should have gotten more attention.
UPDATE: Donald Sensing reports: “I just saw the video of this episode on cable news, and it was very evident that Powell was one step away from rolling his sleeves up and inviting Brown to step outside.”
TOM SMITH COMMENTS on stereotyping in academia. The degree of prejudice he’s responding to is so high that I think we need
quotas goals and timetables to overcome it. We obviously can’t rely on the good faith of those involved.
DR. BOB ARNOT HAS LEFT NBC:
In his letter to Mr. Shapiro, he wondered why the network wasn’t reporting stories of progress in Iraq, a frequently heard complaint of the Bush administration. “As you know, I have regularly pitched most of these stories contained in the note to Nightly, Today and directly to you,” he wrote. “Every single story has been rejected.” . . .
A number of high-ranking military officials contacted by NYTV complimented Dr. Arnot’s superior reporting skills, especially in light of what they perceived as the chronically negative war reporting on TV in the United States. Larry DiRita, the Pentagon spokesman for Donald Rumsfeld, said that Dr. Arnot captured Iraq as he experienced it when he visited there himself. “It was complex and nuanced and uneven then, and you had to get around to see it that way—and he does,” Mr. DiRita said. “I think his coverage provided an aspect of daily Iraqi life that is being missed by a heck of a lot of coverage.”
Maj. Clark Taylor e-mailed NYTV from Baghdad to state that Dr. Arnot “highlighted what is really happening over here …. He generally reported positive things because, generally, that is what is happening. Of course there are occasional bad things … and he reported those as well. The fact was, he reported what he saw—which generally was positive.”
The network’s excuse is that it was cutting back on coverage. This just serves to underscore blogosphere complaints about the lousy job Big Media outfits are doing.
“WE WERE LIEUTENANTS TOGETHER:” A letter to the editor from one of Bush’s squadron mates, in his defense. It’s long and detailed — read the whole thing.
THE MURDER OF BILL GATES: Nothing So Strange is a “mock documentary” looking at the 1999 assassination of Bill Gates and the conspiracy theories, etc., that grew up in its wake. I haven’t seen the film, but the website has video clips and lots of information. It looks pretty good.
ROGER SIMON: “These days I learn more from Allahpundit, where I found this link, than I ever do from Meet the Press.”
ANOTHER ECONOMIC REPORT from the Joint Economic Committee. Looks like good news.
I’M ALL FOR ASSIMILATION, but I think the French ban on headscarves is a dumb idea. (The bigger news, I suspect, is the lopsided margin by which it passed.) Bjorn Staerk reports that the same thing is under consideration in Norway. I think that this is a cosmetic measure that is likely to do little good, and a nontrivial amount of harm.
“MYSTERY SURROUNDS WOULD-BE DEFECTOR:”
Norbert Vollertsen, a leading activist in the underground railway that brings out hundreds of North Koreans each year through China, said the would-be defector, Ri Chae-woo, had worked in the Chiha-ri Chemical Corporation in Anbyon, south of the port city of Wonsan.
He had a large volume of evidence of human experiments that have helped develop North Korea’s chemical/biological weapons program from a secret clinic dug into the mountains, Dr Vollertsen said, adding the aim was to bring this material before the United States Congress.
The North Korean expert, who had crossed into China in June with his wife and two teenage children, was arrested by Chinese police while trying to enter the Australian consulate-general in Guangzhou about 5pm on Friday.
He hasn’t been heard from since. Where’s Amnesty International on this?
UPDATE: But wait, there’s another one:
A North Korean man who fled with evidence that prisoners are used to test chemical weapons has been detained by China, a human rights worker said.
Kang Byong-sop, 58, was stopped last month in Yunnan province while trying to cross into Laos, Kim Sang-hun said.
Mr Kim called on the UK to stop China handing Mr Kang to North Korea, where he faced possible torture or death.
The Chinese seem awfully anxious to cover this up. I wonder why that would be? Could they have been outsourcing their own chem-bio weapons work to North Korea?
THERE’S A DEMOCRATS FOR BUSH blog, with an amusing slogan: “because no one ever asked for a piece of elephant.”
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE and Kerry’s economic plan: an interesting observation.
SOME MINNESOTA WOMEN have a support the troops project that may interest the blogosphere.
KATHY KINSLEY is hosting this week’s Carnival of the Vanities. Don’t miss it!
HERE’S MORE on Germany’s brain drain. When your system is set up to reward mediocrity over achievement, that’s what you get.
PERRY DE HAVILLAND offers an international human rights proposal that might actually work. At least, it has a better shot at doing so than the current approach.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Black Law Students Association at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Once again, it’s the Southern Region Chapter of the Year. I was their adviser some years ago, and I’m still proud of them.
JACOB LEVY has an important observation regarding the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment:
The amendment proponents make a great deal out of judicial overreach and democratic authority. But this amendment would forbid the democratic supermajority of a state from amending its state constitution to say: “Civil marriage shall be open to same-sex couples.” Or, rather, it would forbid that section of the state constitution from being given force. State courts would be required to read that section of their state constitutions as being legally null.
Those pushing the FMA are, in fact, afraid of democracy — trying to lock in their eroding position on gay marriage against future democratic change. I think they’re right, in a tactical sense, to do that. My students, not especially left-leaning as law students go, are largely untroubled by the idea of gay marriage. I think that’s a generational shift, and I think it’s what the FMA advocates are really worried about.
HMM. Maybe these stories of European support for Palestinian terrorism as a diplomatic move against America (“Schroeder claims that the EU funds Palestinian organisations, well aware that much of the funding ends up in the hands of terrorists. While Schroeder says that the EU does not exactly intend to wage war on Israel, it hopes that a deepening conflict in the region will highlight America’s inability to mediate a satisfactory peace deal – and that Europe will then be able to ride to the rescue.”) have finally started to generate some blowback.
At least, we’re suddenly seeing stories like this:
French prosecutors have launched a money-laundering probe into suspected million dollar transfers to accounts held by the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
I wonder how much of this is because of increased leverage — and intelligence — now that Saddam is in custody and, reportedly, talking. There’s more in this story:
In a parallel development, investigators from the European Union anti-fraud office (OLAF), who are looking into allegations that the PA diverted money from European donors into terror activity, have concluded that documents the IDF seized during Operation Protective Shield are authentic.
As the first story notes, this is the fruit of Ilka Schroeder’s very public effort to get the EU to account for this money — though I suspect that fears that the United States will reveal details of Saddam’s financial dealings are playing a role, too.
RALPH LUKER is critical of Duke University’s lack of diversity, and wonders why the Administration isn’t doing something.
WHY I’M WORRIED ABOUT THE NANOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY: My TechCentralStation column is up.
WESLEY CLARK is dropping out of the race.
The presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry on Tuesday dumped a firm it hired to make automated phone calls to Wisconsin voters – after it learned the calls were routed through Canada.
The action came quickly, following criticism earlier in the day that the Kerry calling effort was exporting American jobs.
You gotta give ‘em credit — they’ve got a fast OODA loop. I wonder if they read blogs?
ANDREA HARRIS: “I have a question on this WMD thing. So, apparently we are now concluding that Hussein did not, in fact, have a huge stash of nuclear weapons aimed at New York and Washington DC. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? It means that the thing the administration wanted to prevent was, in fact, prevented.”
You’d think. Meanwhile Tim Blair writes:
The anti-war crowd obsesses over WMD because it is the one issue they’ve got even partly right, having been proved massively wrong on likely casualties, humanitarian disasters, a united Islamic response, Saddam’s capture – and, indeed, on WMD, subsequently discovered in Libya as a direct result of the war in Iraq. They don’t mention that very often, do they? Anyway, the WMD argument is boring. Here’s a fun challenge for the anti-warriors: instead of complaining about Saddam’s removal, let’s hear your arguments in favour of leaving him in power. Go on; defend the monster.
Before the peaceniks reply, they might consider the opinion of Iraqi hospital worker Ali, posted at the web site http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com and directed at opponents of the war: “F*** YOU ALL. GWB MADE THE RIGHT DECISION AND AMERICA DID THE RIGHT THING AND WE ARE FREEEEEEEEEE!” Sounds kind of happy about it, doesn’t he?
Obviously suffering from “false consciousness.”