Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Hate Mail
by Lee

From some idiot Canadian.

Hey, JackAss!!

I know your type. You were the same weasel I used to beat up for lunch money at school. Come on up to Canada then, tough talker and lip off a few of us in a bar and find out just what happens. As a matter of fact, why don’t you come up here and I’ll personally hand you an ass-kicking your children will be hurting from - you want to make war buddy you got it, but this time you write the check, you cash it. Let’s go - what do you say? Nothing most likely.

Fucking Chicken Hawk cowards like you make me laugh and laugh - how come you’re not “liberating” the world with the rest of the army?.... better to hide behind your website and make wisecracks without doing any substantial research, get off your chair and get some fresh air instead of whacking off to nude pics of richard perle. Sooner or later you know you’re going to have to move out of mommy’s basement.

Idiots like you are why the world hates america, and don’t even try the “who cares?” attitude… remember who fed the bloated lot of you when the planes had to land sept. 11th?. Glass houses buddy, glass houses.

Oh. And by the way, the SINGLE BSE case in the summer was from a cow shipped from the USA on a farm run by a yokel from the USA - spin that one buddy.

P.S. Oh yeah one more thing “Lee” if that’s your real name… I’m sure your mummy calls you norbert.

Please post my message for all to see, as I’m sure you’ll be willing to show everyone how much balls you have to see if you can actually stand up for yourself.  Come on buddy, you lobbed the shit, now its time to take your lumps.

Normally the best way to guarantee I won’t respond to you is to dare me to post your email, but this one was so choice I figured, what the hell.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 03:56 PM in Reader Mail/Hate Mail  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The WMD Problem
by Lee

Regular readers will recall that a point I have made frequently on this blog is that hinging the entire Iraq war effort on WMDs was an imprudent thing to do, and has damaged our credibility for any future preemptive action.  This morning on NRO Jonah Goldberg makes the same argument.

I haven’t had a chance to read Frum and Perle’s “An End to Evil” but I have caught them talking about it a few times. One point that I’ve heard Perle make really sticks with me. The emphasis on WMDs was largely the result of lawyers at the State Dept. thinking that was the only “legal” reason we could go to war. Perle didn’t reference it directly, but remember the whole kerfuffle about Paul Wolfowitz’s interview with Sam Tanenhaus in which he divulged that the emphasis on WMD above all else was largely due to “bureaucratic” pressures from inside the US government. This, predictably, was distorted into proof that neocon ideologues were lying about the real reasons for the war. But that wasn’t what he was saying at all.

Anyway, my point is this: to the extent the post-Iraq failure to find WMDs is a disaster for the United States in terms of its credibility, its relationships with allies etc. one could argue that the fault lies in the fact that George W. Bush listened too much to Colin Powell and the State Department instead of the hawks, since it was the Wolfowitz crowd which wanted to emphasize freedom, democracy, stability and the war on terror. Now that no WMDs have been found that rhetoric seems self-serving when in fact those were co-equal priorities all along. If George Bush had talked before the war about bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq as eloquently as he did afterwards, he would be in a lot better shape politically and in the history books. Moreover, I bet he would have been a lot more honest. Bush is a moralist and I’m certain he had the liberation of Iraq and the war on terrorism in his mind as much as anything else.

That was certainly the case for most of the pro-war conservatives outside the administration. Scan through the pages of post 9/11 National Review, National Review Online, The Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard etc. Look at what Chris Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan and the “war bloggers” had to say about the war with Iraq. The WMD issue was certainly important, but it became critical only after the administration made it clear that they were going hinge their entire case on WMDs.

I don’t think the administration lied or deliberately exaggerated the WMD intelligence. I do think it deliberately exaggerated the WMD issue at the behest of the cookie pushers at State. And that’s why we’re in such a pickle now.

He’s exactly right.  As I said last night in the comments to this post, going to war is as much a political decision as a practical one.  We are lucky in that Bush is prepared to accept the political fallout for doing what is right.  Future presidents (i.e. another Clinton) might not have that resolve, and America will be a less-safe place because of it.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 01:09 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Santos L. Halper, Again
by Lee

Back in November I blogged on a Yorkshire terrier who got a credit card.  Well, once again, life imitates The Simpsons.

Every dog has its day, and Clifford’s time came this month when he got his first credit card in the mail.

The only problem: Clifford really is a dog.

The 21/2-year-old pug received a Chase Manhattan Bank Platinum Mastercard with a spending limit of $1,500.

Dogs.  They get platinum Mastercards, they sleep all day, and they can lick their balls.  Is that the life, or what>

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 11:56 AM in Deep Thoughts  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

British Education
by Lee

This is what happens when you grow up in a society where the government provides all of your services, you develop an expectation that you are somehow entitled to something for “free.” I pity these folks, I really do.  Note this guy:

I pay my own fees. I was in the forces for 10 years in the RAF. I left in 1994 and asked the MoD for a grant but they haven’t helped. They told me I should have resettled - if it wasn’t for my mother I would be on the streets by now.

Socialist Britain throwing people out in the streets?  Horrifying!  If he’d spent ten years in the mean, horrible USAF he’d qualify for the GI Bill, and he’d be doing keg stands at the Delta Tau Chi house right now.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 11:51 AM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Missed Opportunity
by Lee

Mars, it’s harder than you think.

As NASA scientists pored over striking new photos from Mars revealing finely layered formations of ancient bedrock, engineers labored on Tuesday to diagnose problems with two robotic rovers on opposite sides of the Red Planet.

Besides a serious malfunction that has idled the first rover, Spirit, since last Wednesday, mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said they are now contending with a power drain on Spirit’s newly arrived twin, Opportunity.

Mission manager Jim Erickson told reporters said the power loss appeared to be from one of the craft’s heating units that keeps turning itself on and running overnight without receiving commands from NASA to do so.

While engineers do not believe the faulty thermostat will overheat the vehicle, the long-term consequences of the glitch and whether it can be fixed are not yet known, Erickson said.

“I’d like to have a little more information on what we’re seeing from the vehicle before we make any judgments there,” he said.

I’m just glad I didn’t gloat when the Brits lost the Beagle.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 11:46 AM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Doin’ the Robot
by Lee

It’s Pope John Paul II: Electric Boogaloo.

In an unusual spectacle at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II presided over a performance of break-dancers who leaped, flipped and spun their bodies to beats from a tinny boom box.

The 83-year-old pontiff seemed to approve, waving his hand after each dancer completed a move, then applauding for the entire group. He watched the performance from a raised throne.

“For this creative hard work I bless you from my heart,” he said.

During Sunday’s show, one dancer—part of a Polish group that helps poor and marginalized youths—planted his head on the inlaid marble floor of the Vatican hall and spun to loud applause from his group and from Vatican officials.

Another performer flung his body around in a series of spins and handstands.

“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it,” John Paul said.

Seriously, can you imagine how totally uninterested the poor pope must have been in watching this crap?  And it just goes to show how behind the times Eastern Europe is.  Breakdancing is so 1983.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 11:34 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Crosstown Traffic
by Lee

Michael Moore posted yet another message about Bush going AWOL.  I’ll summarize it for you so you don’t have to bother reading it.  “Blah, blah, blah.  Bush went AWOL.  Blah blah blah.  Bush is a liar.  Blah blah blah. It’s a pro-Bush corporate media conspiracy.  Blah blah blah.” Everything he’s written there has been debunked both by me and others.  (See here and here.) But there is one point he raises that I want to address.

Thanks to my “humorous” introduction of Wesley Clark 10 days ago in New Hampshire—and the lughead way the no-sense-of-humor media has covered it—there were 15 million hits this weekend on my website. Everyone who visited the site got to read the truth about Bush not showing up for National Guard duty.

Moore has made similar claims about his traffic before.  He’s lying.  He’s not just exaggerating, he is lying his ass off.  By any objective standard there is simply no way that 15 million people hit his site recently.

Let’s take a look using a publicly-available tool to track web traffic.  This is Alexa, which is run by Amazon.com.  According to their michaelmoore.com page, Mike’s traffic rank (his rank out of all internet sites) is 12,559.  Pretty impressive, no?

For purposes of comparison, let’s look at Instapundit.com.  According to a story on Instapundit published in today’s Wired, the site “averages more than 100,000 visits each day - as many as a medium-size city daily or a cable news show.” Instapundit, the “world’s most-read blogger,” has an Alexa ranking is 7,969.  So, with Instapundit getting an average of 100,000 guests a day, that’s 3 million per month.  Mikey was getting 15 million hits a day over the weekend?  His Alexa traffic rank doesn’t seem to reflect this, putting him substantially below Instapundit.

How about another website, Andrew Sullivan?  AndrewSullivan.com has a traffic rank of 7,324, slightly higher than Instapundit, but substantially above Mikey.

One final example is Moorewatch with a traffic rank of 457,229.  We’re significantly lower than Michael Moore.  So, what does this tell us?  That if we go solely by Alexa, we see that websites with known traffic amounts fare substantially higher than Michael Moore, who makes grandiose claims about bajilllions of people logging in to read his site.

Sorry, Mikey.

Update: There’s more on this subject over at MOOREWATCH.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 02:12 AM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Go Wes Go!
by Lee

Wesley “War Criminal” Clark, after coming in tied for third in the New Hampshire primary, gave this speech to his supporters.

Four months later, we came into New Hampshire as one of the elite eight. Tonight, we leave New Hampshire as one of the final four.

In other words, he’s in the top half.  He managed to beat Al “Tawana Brawley” Sharpton, Dennis “Space-Based Mind Control Weapons” Kucinich, Joe “Mr. Personality” Lieberman, and Dick “Dropped Out of the Race Last Week” Gephardt.  Now that’s what I call momentum

That Michael Moore endorsement is just paying off in spades, isn’t it?

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 01:54 AM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Nation of Idiots
by Lee

If you’ve ever wondered why the Japanese are kicking our asses, it’s because their kids study math and physics and science, and our kids study the lies of Michael Moore.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 01:42 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Looking to November
by Lee

Is Bush vulnerable?  Andrew Sullivan nails it.

The huge turn-out in New Hampshire; the electability factor for Kerry; the passion of the Dean people: all this shows how thoroughly energized the Democrats are to win back the White House. Bush is in the Rove-Cheney cocoon right now. From the SOTU, it looks like he’s going to run on 9/11. Bad, backward-looking idea. His coalition is fracturing; his reach out to Hispanics seems to have hurt him more with the base than won him new votes; his spending has independents deeply concerned; Iraq is still a wild card; prescription drugs pandering hasn’t swayed any seniors; the religious right wants him to attack gay couples in the Constitution - which will lose him the center. More worrying: I’m not sure he even knows he’s in trouble.

I couldn’t agree more.  I still think the election is Bush’s to win or lose, no matter who the nominee is, but this is not going to be a slam-dunk for Bush by any means.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 12:58 AM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Secrets and Lies
by Lee

The only explosive found in Iraq is this bombshell from David Kay.

U.S. weapons inspectors in Iraq found new evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime quietly destroyed some stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons in the mid-1990s, former chief inspector David Kay said yesterday.

The discovery means that inspectors have not only failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but also have found exculpatory information—contemporaneous documents and confirmations from interviews with Iraqis—demonstrating that Saddam Hussein did make efforts to disarm well before President Bush began making the case for war.

The fact that Iraq disarmed at least partially before 1998 but did not turn over records to U.N. inspectors even when threatened with war has led Kay to conclude that Hussein was bluffing about his weapons capability to maintain an aura of power.

Kay, who will testify this morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview yesterday that inspectors recovered only partial records detailing the destruction of some of Iraq’s forbidden weapons. But he said that while the full truth may not be known for years, if ever, that ambiguity should not be used to delay an examination of why the allegations about Hussein’s weapons were wrong.

“If the weapons programs existed on the scale we anticipated,” Kay said, “we would have found something that leads to that conclusion. Instead, we found other evidence that points to something else.” Kay reiterated his view that 85 percent of the Iraq Survey Group’s job has been completed and that “the major pieces of the puzzle” have been covered.

“We will be digging up smaller pieces for the next 15 years, but we should not wait for every piece and not be able to begin to reconstruct what happened,” he said. Kay added that he is “afraid that ambiguity would be used as a delaying function by some people to delay trying to find out what went wrong.”

Kay’s revelation that Iraq had documented the destruction of its weapons is the most recent of several disclosures he has made, since his resignation Friday as special adviser to CIA Director George J. Tenet, that have put the White House on the defensive. Kay’s statements have also enlivened the Democratic presidential race and caused a wave of recriminations from the CIA and on Capitol Hill, where Democrats are demanding a probe to determine whether the administration or the intelligence services are to blame for what has turned out to be false accusations about Iraq’s weapons programs.

There are a few significant points to be made here.  First off, this completely justifies the invasion.  Saddam was ordered by the UNSC not only to disarm but to prove that he had done so.  By failing to offer proof Saddam subjected himself to the consequences.  Not only was he told to disarm, but Bush offered him a final get-out-of-jail-free card during his address to the nation shortly before the invasion, when Bush said that he and his sons should leave the country and go into exile.  Saddam wished to remain in power, and he needed the Arab world (and the Iraqi people) to think of him as being armed with these weapons.  So, he made his choice, and now he is going to be tried and executed for it.

Secondly, this once again underscores the massive failure on the part of western intelligence.  What went wrong, where nobody had any evidence that he was destroying these weapons?  In the run up to the war, nobody, not even the staunchest anti-war liberals, were saying that Saddam had disarmed.  Everyone thought he was armed, the disagreement was how much of a threat he was.  I mean, the liberals are claiming that we armed Saddam, but he doesn’t even have the weapons that we supposedly gave him.  So everyone, no matter what their position on the war, has been proven wrong, and there needs to be a huge investigation (with rolling heads) to discover why and how that occurred.

Thirdly, this is going to be a huge blow to the hawks.  While this is justification for the war, the anti-war gang is going to use this as proof (just as they are now doing with Libya) that war is not necessary for disarmament.  They’ll also point out every chance they get how wrong our intelligence reports were.  Imagine at some point in the future another country is developing WMD, Syria for example.  The president determines that military action is probably going to be required.  Immediately the political opposition, the anti-war folks, the America-haters, and the appeasers are all going to join forces in saying, “Well, the intel on Iraq was completely wrong, why should we trust you now?  And besides, Saddam disarmed, which proves that sanctions and diplomatic pressure are effective for disarmament.”

On this last point, I’m not saying I agree with that argument, only that it is what is going to be made.  Diplomatic pressure only works with a credible threat of force behind it.  But these pressures are going to make that credible threat of force less credible, and that is where the problem lies.

Posted by Lee on 01/28/04 at 12:15 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Quote of the Day
by Lee

On the New Hampshire primary:

I know why Dean is talking about jobs and health insurance. He’s going to need both in about a week.

-- Chip Griffin, National Review

Priceless.

Posted by Lee on 01/27/04 at 11:14 PM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

American Idol
by Lee

Since it seems that everyone always gets together and comments on American Idol in real-time, here’s a post specifically to do so.

Posted by Lee on 01/27/04 at 11:09 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Father’s Story
by Lee

A reader sends this in.  Reading a heartbreaking story like this really makes me think about my support for the Bush administration.

Bush Took My Job, Killed My Sons

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind. I lost my job this past year. When Clinton was president I was secure and prosperous, but in the last year, we had to close our operations. We simply could not compete with foreign labor. This foreign labor worked for low pay under very bad conditions. They worked very long shifts, and many even died on the job. This competition could hardly be called “fair.” I was forced out of the place where I had worked for 34 years. Not a single government program was there to help me. How can Bush call himself compassionate?”

Far worse, I lost two of my sons in Bush’s evil war in Iraq. They gave their lives for their country, and for what? So that Bush’s oil buddies can get rich.

My pain of losing my sons is indescribable. While it is trivial next to the loss of my sons, I regret to say that I also lost my home. I simply have nothing left. 

How can Bush call himself a Christian when he neglects people like me? I am a senior citizen with various medical problems. I’m not in a position where I can begin a new career. I was reduced to the point where I had to live in a hole in a ground, all because of President Bush. And when the authorities found me there, did they have any compassion for my misfortune and ailments? No, I was arrested.

Mr. Bush, I dare you to look me in the face and tell me you are a compassionate man! I dare you to look me in the face and tell me you are a Christian! If I had any money left, I would donate it to the Democrat Party. If Al Gore had been elected in 2000 I would still have a job, a home, and most importantly, my dear sons!

Regards,

Saddam Hussein

It really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Posted by Lee on 01/27/04 at 04:57 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Arming the Reds
by Lee

France, promoting world peace at every opportunity.

Chirac also spoke out strongly in favor of lifting a European embargo on arms sales to China—imposed after Beijing’s crackdown on democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

“This embargo no longer makes any sense,” he said at a news conference with Hu. “It will, I hope, be lifted in the months to come.”

Chirac is obviously taking the Bill Clinton approach to appeasing the ChiComs.

Posted by Lee on 01/27/04 at 04:57 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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