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|Needless Commentary from Small-Town America|
The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thursday, October 07, 2004
"Saddam Possessed WMD, Had Extensive Terror Ties"
Has this been in the New York Times yet?
A special report at CNS, Oct. 4:
Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by CNSNews.com, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.
One of the Iraqi memos contains an order from Saddam for his intelligence service to support terrorist attacks against Americans in Somalia. The memo was written nine months before U.S. Army Rangers were ambushed in Mogadishu by forces loyal to a warlord with alleged ties to al Qaeda.
Other memos provide a list of terrorist groups with whom Iraq had relationships and considered available for terror operations against the United States....
Times Watch reports, Sep. 29, on how the New York Times has covered current events concerning the military careers of George W. Bush and John Kerry:
.... Throughout the presidential campaign, the paper faithfully pursued Democratic charges that Bush failed to fulfill his National Guard obligations during the Vietnam War, forwarding unsubstantiated Democratic allegations without questioning the source or motivation behind the charges and without characterizing their merit. When Democratic Party boss Terry McAuliffe accused Bush on the February 1 This Week with George Stephanopoulos of being "AWOL" from the National Guard during Vietnam, the partisan origins of the story didn't stop the Times from eagerly pursuing the charge.
Yet when it came to Vietnam-era controversies involving Kerry, the combat boot was on the other foot. When Kerry's purported strong point (Vietnam) came under surprising fire over the summer by a group of veterans who served with Kerry, the Times at first ignored, then dismissed as partisan and "unsubstantiated" the allegations from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The barest hint of Republican ties by the group gave the Times an excuse to ignore the substance of the charges from the 200-plus veterans. Instead, the Times scoured for links between the Swift Boat vets and the Republican Party, even publishing a chart alleging "ties" between the Swift Boat vets and the G.O.P....
There's no double standard at work. The Times is merely fulfilling its responsibilities as a key player in the Mainstream Media Branch of the Democratic Establishment: to help the candidate of the Democratic Party and to hurt (or, at the least, to not help) the opponent of the candidate of the Democratic Party.
No double standard at all: like CBS, they're just doing their job.
"Toleration is a Two-Way Street"
An interesting essay by David Foster at Claremont, Sep. 8 (quoted ellipsis in original):
After 9/11, some American Muslims searched their souls and publicly reflected that they had been too careless in their speech. Apparently it had never crossed their minds that constant fiery condemnations of godless, immoral America might prompt some to wish the destruction of so great an evil. But if American Muslims seem sobered, in parts of the western world others are actually emboldened. In England, for example, the radical Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed recently defended the terrorists who murdered more than 300 women and children in a school in Beslan, Russia, and argued that a similar hostage-taking in Britain would be justified. The same Sheikh organizes a gathering every September 11 to celebrate the "magnificent 19" hijackers. He has even issued a fatwa justifying the assassination of Prime Minister Tony Blair and is reportedly working for the day when "Our Muslim brothers from abroad will come… and conquer here and then we will live under Islam in dignity."
Such talk used to be called sedition, and the good Sheikh's brazenness is breathtaking and very troubling. Perhaps even more troubling is the flaccid response to it. British authorities, we are told, are reduced to "mouse-trapping" men like Bakri with "immigration violations in hopes of making a deportation case stick." The United States has adopted tougher measures, but even here powerful currents press in the other direction. Our ideas of religious freedom, due process, freedom of the press, and the legitimacy of dissent, among other things, all work to protect speech, especially when it is made in the name of religion. Add multiculturalism, with its almost absolute love of diversity, and it begins to seem that nothing can be done about the Sheikh Bakris in our midst.
But in the face of a resolute and audacious enemy doing its utmost to destroy the West, "mouse-trapping" may be a fatal half-measure. Nor can we afford to hide behind habitual standards of free speech in the hope that bad things won't happen. Fortunately, the great western arguments for religious toleration suggest a more muscular response. For while defending religious freedom those arguments also show us how to protect it from those who would use freedom in order to destroy it. They worked in the seventeenth century when Catholics and Protestants sought converts by the sword. There is no reason why they can't work now when the West faces a similar threat....
In the past lovers of liberty in the West had to listen carefully to what various Christian sects were saying about religion and politics. That is still important. But in the modern world, most Christian churches have reconciled themselves with toleration and contort themselves to be ecumenical, and it is what some Islamic clerics are saying that most demands our vigilance. That, at least, is what toleration requires. The real question is not so much whether Muslims in the West are willing to accept and teach the duties of toleration — if the wider society expects it, they will probably comply — but whether the West itself still understands and has the will to defend its own principles.
Mary Mapes: Compare & Contrast
Somebody Is Going to Have to 'Splain This to Me
Maybe I'm wrong, but some people are trying to say that the polls indicate Bush & Kerry are neck and neck. Even steven. Too close to call. Whatever. Just like they were in late Spring and early Summer, no?
But lookee here:
President Bush is rapidly tying up the Catholic vote, according to two polls that show him gaining support among this traditionally Democratic group.
The first poll, released last Monday by the Barna Group, an evangelical Christian polling firm, showed Mr. Bush, a Methodist, edging out his Catholic Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, 53 percent to 39 percent.
Pollster George Barna termed the switch "seismic," considering that a similar survey taken by his firm in May showed the president trailing the Massachusetts senator by 43 percent to 48 percent.
"Many of the Catholics now behind Mr. Bush have traditionally voted Democratic, but have chosen a different course this time around," he said.
His poll represents a 19-point shift in preference in just four months among Roman Catholics, who make up 23 percent of the nation's electorate. Conducted Sept. 11 to 24 among 898 registered voters, it had a margin of error of 3 percent.
A second poll, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, was not as dramatic, but it does show the president building an edge of 49 percent to 39 percent against Mr. Kerry among white Catholics. This poll, conducted Sept. 22 to 26 among 948 registered voters, had a margin of error of 3.5 percent....
Add to the mix another seismic shift: Bush has been closing the Gender Gap (though I don't have the references handy).
Let's see now. The Catholic vote went for Gore in 2000 (Kyrie eleison) and Catholics polled for Kerry a few months ago. But Catholics now poll for Bush. And the Gender Gap is narrowing, if not quite disappearing. (And don't forget the "battleground" states that are already being abandoned by the Kerry campaign as losses, nor the "blue" states that are being hotly contested by the Bush campaign.)
So, tell me, somebody: how can the race be so close? What group(s) have shifted seismically towards Kerry to offset the shift towards Bush in two very large voting blocs?
Do the too-close-to-call polls use too small a sample to be representative? Or are they just smoke & mirrors?
I think the general, high-level polls of a few thousand, or fewer, individuals nationwide are safely to be ignored into oblivion. The statewide polls are the ones to watch but do they weight appropriately for gender and religion? And how much self-selection is involved?
See also Faith and politics.
P.S. See Dust in the Light.
I can't say that I watched much of either of the two debates. Apparently, I was way off the mark about how Kerry might do. (Of course, there are still two presidential debates left.)
Why might that be? Well, I based my thinking on two observations: Kerry seems usually to be rather awkward when he tries to speak extemporaneously and he gets easily confusticated when he encounters a question about a subject he'd rather not discuss.
Heck, even Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer can throw him into a tizzy with an unwelcome question.
So, why did he do so well last Thursday? What's the difference, specifically, when Gibson or Sawyer brings up in an interview a subject he'd rather not discuss and when it comes up in a debate. I think it's this: when Kerry appears on the morning broadcast TV shows, he knows he's walking into an unofficial, informal branch office of his own campaign, so he's shocked to get thrown a question he doesn't want to have to catch. Not so at a debate: he can get psyched up for dealing with difficult subjects, even if it's only to keep a smooth demeanor and pretend to answer the question.
I think the biggest difference drawn between the two men last Thursday is this. When he feels he needs to be, John Kerry is a good actor: he remembers his lines and delivers them well. And George Bush isn't any kind of actor. Ever.
Re: Out Of It
Slowly getting better.
I'm really going through the Advil Cold & Sinus and Robitussin Cough Suppressant & Expectorant.
I had been thinking about getting something ready to blog this morning, but I was overtaken yesterday evening by a two-hour nap before I went to bed for the night. :-)
Thanks, Faithful Reader, for writing to sympathize. I'm not the only one under the weather........
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|Needless Commentary from Small-Town America|
|The View from the Core, and all original material, © 2002-2004 E. L. Core. All rights reserved.|
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