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Thursday, August 31

Chad, I rest my case.

Just out of curiosity to see what Chad was so up in arms about earlier today, I went over to this Ralphie Blog site. Apparently, Chad, you're accusing the wrong people, on the wrong coast. But you were close. You got the hemisphere right.

Did you notice how bitter Ralphie is towards Chad? Hinting that Chad is a little Castro-esque?

The poor, sad case of Chad the Elder.

It's really remarkable how fast one can take leave from his sanity. And in this case, it's almost tragic. Chad the Elder, or Peeps to his friends, from the usually innebriated group of bloggers at Fraters Libertas, was in fine form on Saturday, when last we saw him at the Minnesota State Fair. He was in a good mood, and even despite a little nastiness about a cow milking incident at the fair which we won't go into here, we had a wonderful time with Chad and the rest of the Minnesota bloggers at Jasperwood Saturday night. In fact, when we left Minnesota, I thought relations were fine on all fronts.

Then yesterday, a very bizarre e-mail from Peeps arrived during the first hour of our show, something about an amber alert. Hugh and I just looked at each other puzzled, and replied back asking what Peeps was talking about. Then all sorts of irrational ugliness followed from Peeps, with no explanation whatsoever.

I actually went to the Fraters site today, something I rarely do when there's serious news, and this spittle-filled rant by a madman leads off the page, something about the alleged kidnapping of Ralphie, their little woobie of a mascot.

Kidnapping? Chad, what happened to you? What caused you to go Kosian on us, virtually overnight? I hope you get help, just say no, whatever it takes for you to regain your composure before too much time passes. I ask you to join me in praying for the return of Chad's right mind. Even an intoxicated Minnesota mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Wednesday, August 30.

How can we miss Jimmy Carter when he won't go away?

The former president, who has been a disgrace to foreign policy, domestic and economic policy ever since his failure of a four-year term in the late 70's, just can't seem to stay out of the news, and just can't seem to keep himself from backing the wrong horse every time.

You might recall that Carter granted an interview to German's leading magazine, Der Spiegel, in which he stated that he had no problem with German troops to be part of the international "peacekeeping" force used as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah, saying enough time had past so that historical facts can be ignored.

Today, we learn that former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, a man with plenty of terrorist ties, both former and current, has been granted a visa by our State Department to visit New York, and then down to Washington, D.C., where he is to give an address at Washington's National Cathedral. Who will be his host, his guide, his sherpa? James Earl Carter. How pathetic is it for a former president to host another former president, the latter from a weaker country that humiliated the leader of the much stronger country. And yet, Carter is acting as if they've been good friends all along, that there's no current controversy going on between the two nations today. Unbelievable.

Monday, August 28

Attention Porkbusters...

Hugh Hewitt had House of Representatives Majority Leader John Boehner on the show earlier this evening, and this next exchange will be of interest to all of you not real happy about the earmarking process.

08-28boehner.mp3

JB: ...But before we do any of that, I think that you'll see the House move to end the practice of earmarking. And I don't want to say end it, but require that there be disclosure, and a clear identification of every earmark in an appropriation bill, an authorization bill, or tax bill, with a name attached to it. We've talked about this...

HH: You've never earmarked anything.

JB: I've never earmarked anything in the 16 years that I've been there, and I believe that if you're going to earmark it, it ought to be easy to find, clearly disclosed, and then have a name on it. Now the threat of this all year has already reduced the number of earmarks in half. But I believe if you have to put your name on this, it will further drive down the number of earmarks. And if you look at the members who've gotten in trouble, some of the earmarks that have not passed the straight-face test, would never be there if someone had to put a name on it.

HH: Do you credit the blogosphere with some of the momentum here, the Porkbuster guys at Instapundit, Truth Laid Bear and the rest of them?

JB: They've certainly been helpful. But this is something that I've been talking about all year. It was part of an ethics and lobby reform bill. We've been in negotiations with the Senate. We're still going to try to get this bill finished. But before these appropriation bills, these conference reports come out, I want to make sure that the House does by rule what we hope to do for both bodies.

HH: And the Senate then...it would be up to the Senate to adopt a similar rule, but it not imposed on them.

JB: Correct.

If you want to read or hear more, you can read here, or listen here.

We here at Radioblogger.com are dedicated to serious issues, unlike some of our brethren at other websites in Minnesota, who seem to relish in udder foolishness. While the Fraters Libertas gang tries to go below the belt, we bring you the interviews that matter with the people that matter.

Fraters Libertas - Milking cows.

Radioblogger - Cutting Pork.

You decide.

Friday, August 25

What a difference a day makes.

After the great Minnesota hellstorm of 2006 yesterday, the weather cooperated quite nicely today, and the Minnesotans came out to the State Fair today in droves. In fact, it was such a nice day, Hugh spent the first hour outside on the porch of the AM1280 The Patriot house. He was joined in the first hour by Congressman Mark Kennedy, who is our guy to replace retiring Democrat Senator Mark Dayton. He was also joined by South Dakota Senator John Thune, another of our favorites.

Just a little inside baseball, for all you radio people out there. When you build a booth, and you put speakers on top, especially when the roof is made of metal, you might want to think about grounding the building, or putting some kind of insulation between the speakers and the roof. Every time we raised the volume enough so that the throng of Minnesotans could hear, this wonderful hum would come forth, which although would be music to the ears of most Tibetan monks, was rather annoying to everyone else.

John Thune is the real deal. He took on Senator Tim Johnson four years ago, and lost a heartbreaker in a race with some really funny voting practices by deceased people. He dusted himself off, took on Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, and cleaned his clock in 2004. He's a player in the GOP. He also sees the Kennedy V. Klobuchar race as a key pickup on the way to a filibuster-proof Republican majority.

Remember the sole listener in the poncho by the tree in the typhoon from last night? He was the real Minnesotan. All these people are transplants. Anybody can come out and brave overcast skies and 68 degree temperatures. I thought people were supposed to be hearty here.

What's wrong with this picture?

You're well over forty, you're wearing a pink shirt, you're wearing pink pig ears that proudly say you've visited the oink booth, and you're still eating something else equally as bad for you as you listen to conservative radio.

Another veteran of Hugh remotes, retired Marine colonel and current Congressman of the 2nd district of Minnesota, John Kline. He was with us in the Winter of 2001, when we first came to Minnesota and broadcast the show from an icehouse on Lake Minnetonka.

You know the drill of where to tell your kids to meet if you're ever in a public place and you get separated or lost? This would be Hugh's safe place. This is our 4th State Fair, and I believe it's our 15th day of either broadcasting, or guesting on some weekend innebriate programming to fill time between sponsor programming. I believe this is Hugh's 30th visit to the Fresh Fries booth. If we ever lose Hugh at the fair, this is the first place to double-back.

You'll also notice that Jay Larson, part-time promotions direction and full-time crematorialist, is right at Hugh's side for a change. Usually, when we come to these gigs, Jay is nowhere to be seen. He just gets us to the fair, and disappears to the Pronto Pup booth, and just drools. But when fries are in the offing, Jay becomes Hugh's best friend.

Later in the evening, the much anticipated trivia contest from Keegan's Pub, featuring virtually every Minnesota blogger not currently incarcerated, took place. I'd put some pictures up from there, but it was rather unremarkable. In fact, the Twins-White Sox game was on, and more people seemed interested in that than who was winning the trivia contest. I'm not going to say who won, but I think it's telling on a number of levels that Chad the Elder knew the name of the fella that Elton John married last December, and didn't recognize the most famous line from the Gettysburg Address. I'm not saying Terry Keegan, the proprietor of Keegan's Pub was bought off by the Fraters hooligans, but it does seem rather coincidental that one of the questions was asking which publican would be a guest on their show at the fair tomorrow, that person being Terry Keegan. You'd think such a blatant conflict of interest would only work in a state like New Jersey, but I guess the DFL still has its roots deep in the Gopher State if shenanigans like this happen so nakedly.

Anyway, Hugh and I will go to the fair one more time tomorrow so that Chad, or Peeps as his closest friends call him, and his little friends can gloat about their "win". I'm also told that Peeps has a little something up his sleeve for me tomorrow, something which I'm sure includes public humiliation in front all four listeners to his show, and in front of a bunch of fried food eating passers-by that won't have a clue what's going on.

Then there's the invitation-only soiree at Jasperwood Saturday night, which really ought to be a lot of fun. That's when everybody lets their hair down, discuss the issues of the day, solve all the world's problems, opine on all things cultural, consume an adult beverage or two, enjoy a cigar or two, and then have to explain everything in simpler language to Chad, who typically has a very confused look on his face.

We'll catch up on the Hewitt show podcasting when I get back to California.

Thursday, August 24

Minnesota State Fair and monsoon

After a very early call to get through security and on the plane for a 7AM flight from Southern California, Hugh and I embarked to the vast wilds of deep fried food, and flew to Minneapolis-St. Paul, home of the largest attended state fair in the country. The flight itself was very uneventful, until the co-pilot came on when we were still over half an hour out of the Twin Cities, and said there was weather ahead, and ordered not only the passengers, but the flight crew to sit down, strap in, shut up and hold on. Well, not quite like that, but you got the hint that it might get a little bumpy.

Actually, we saw rain hitting the engines while on final descent, but we didn't really realize the magnitude of what we were landing in until we dropped below the deck of clouds, and actually touched down. It wasn't just raining, it was a good old-fashioned Mid-West storm. It always fascinates me how they stop planes that heavy with as much water as was on that runway.

But stop it did, and not at the gate. It lined up tantalizingly close, but joined about five other recently-arriving planes out on the tarmac, about a hundred yards away from their respective gates, because not only was the rain coming down, there was an active thunderstorm over the airport, and apparently the people that steer the jetways onto the door of the planes don't like being electrocuted very much. It must be a union thing. After a fifteen minutes delay, the planes started moving again, and we all got off, all of them within five minutes of each other, making baggage claim rather interesting.

Naturally, the delay on the tarmac didn't translate to Jay Larson, the part-time fairkeeper of our Twin Cities affiliate, AM1280 The Patriot, from being on time. I called him before we got off the plane, and he was boasting that he's gone all eco on us, and was driving a E-85 Yukon from our friend Paul Ruben at White Bear Lake Superstore. Except he had one problem. He was out trying to find an E-85 station to fill it up. He'd had the car for about an hour, and he was already out of gas. So naturally, he made us wait an hour until he corned up.

After a quick lunch and check-in at the hotel, the weather cleared up enough to give us a false sense of security that we might broadcast the show without needing to tie ourselves down to a pipe in the ground or something like that. Jay and I got down to the fairgrounds first, and I do have to admit, the new booth the Patriot built looks stunning from the outside. It really does. I'd show you a picture of it, but the great Minnesota monsoon that dropped in to visit prevented that. Maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime, after starting the show with a visit from Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, and a visit an hour later from the great governor of the state, Tim Pawlenty, the wind picked up, and the sky literally turned as black as night. It was only 6:20PM Central time, and it wasn't just that the sun was going down, it was like someone put a dark blanket over it. And then the skies literally opened up, and it didn't stop raining for virtually the rest of the show. There were tornado watches, there were flash flood warnings, and we were in a house shell built around a single-wide trailer. You've heard drinking and driving don't mix? Neither to tornados and trailers. Bad things happen when you put those two together. Here is what we saw looking out our front window at the peak of the storm.

I told you, it wasn't nighttime yet, but it literally turned into night in minutes. Naturally, all of the sane listeners scattered, leaving the winner of the Diehard Listener award.

Looking out the window to the left.

Looking out to the right. The sky was really about that color. The Horticulture building across the street from us was the local shelter of choice for most of the fair attendees. There were two twelve-inch pipes that drained water off the roof, down the side of the building, and right-angled into the grass. It looked like someone left a fire hydrant open.

Hugh and his co-host of the day, James Lileks, made reference to our sole remaining listener at the fair at this point. He waived. We then told him it probably wasn't a real good idea to stand under a tree in a lightning storm with his arms raised. He left.

But not before some other idiot decided to go out in an official AM1280 The Patriot poncho and try and conduct a "man on the street" interview. I can't believe Hugh put me up to this. You know what's worse than standing by a tree in a lightning storm with your arms raised? Standing right next to him with a wireless microphone/lightning rod.

At this point, you can actually see the drops getting bigger. Hugh and James at this point are starting to look at me with the same horrified look, and behind the booth in the distance, I saw a flash that was followed less than a second later by the sound of thunder. You notice that Mr. Diehard listener is no longer there. In fact, Jay, the person taking the picture, is halfway laughing at me, and halfway sizing me up for how big a hole he'll need to dig at the cemetary he now is managing.

I was out there for maybe two minutes, and even with the poncho, I was soaked.

Jay Larson hard at work, selling the official Patriot merchandise to nobody. At one point, Jay held out a coffee mug through the window, far enough from the eave to actually catch rain, and filled it in 60 seconds. I don't know how accurate of a rain gauge that is, but from where I come from, that's a lot of water. We later heard from a senior fair official that the low spot of the fairgrounds were the Midway, where all the games and rides are, and several of the rides were underwater. This same official said in his 20-plus year career of working the fair, he'd never seen anything like this. It's got to be global warming, so George Bush had a bad day today. He lost 1/9th of the solar system, and he let global warming rain out the opening of the Minnesota State Fair.

By the way, notice the expert handiwork when it comes to the interior carpetlaying on the walls? That comes from John "Staple Gun" Hunt, our beloved General Manager of The Patriot. You give him a staple gun and an exacto knife, and he'll wall you some carpet. I think he learned from the Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz school of home improvement.


This was about 45 minutes later. As you can see, the rain was still coming down pretty good, but the sky lightened up, so the threat of a torado subsided, and a funny thing happened. People just went back to cruising around the fair. Interesting breed, these Minnesotans.

I guess I spoke too soon. Not everybody came back. The fair is open until 9PM, and every booth is required to be staffed from fair open until fair close. As we had wrapped up the show and were on our way out, what did we see? DFL Senatorial candidate Amy Klobuchar's booth, all tarped up for the night. This is why I think Congressman Mark Kennedy has to be the next Senator of Minnesota this November. If Amy Klobuchar, a do-nothing prosecutor trying to say she'll represent the state of Minnesota in Washington, D.C., wouldn't you expect her to at least represent herself at the fair?

Just in case some local Minnesota nutroots want to accuse me of manipulating the picture, here's one of the fair's most popular attractions, Fresh French Fries, around 8:25PM local time. Klobuchar's people mailed it in, so how should assume Ms. Klobuchar won't do the same if she were elected? Mark Kennedy for Senate. Help him out. He'll have a much better attendance record than Ms. Klobuchar.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 23

Mark Steyn crosses over.

Well, in radio terms, anyway. A long-time staple of the Hugh Hewitt Show, the columnist to the world has returned from a walkabout in Australia, with a little stopover in New York City, where he will make his North American radio debut, I think, hosting the Rush Limbaugh program today.

I have had the pleasure of listening to Mark be a guest virtually every week for almost four years. He's literally the best there is in the writing world. He's the best there is when it comes to being a guest on radio. I have no doubt that he will blow people away sitting behind the golden EIB microphone.

And he'll rejoin Hugh next Thursday to catch up on his travels. Break a lip, Mark.

Tuesday, August 22

CNN's Jack Cafferty still thinks all Italians belong to the mob.

We have come to understand what we get with Jack Cafferty every day on CNN's The Situation Room. Once an hour, he'll rant and rave about something in the news, he'll completely misrepresent the facts, and put such a stunning analysis on it, it leaves you laughing. Then he spends the rest of the hour rifling through e-mail responses, looking for the ones that back up what he's saying.

Yesterday, he was about 180 degrees from reality when analyzing the Connecticut Senate Race. He has shown for a long time that he doesn't have even the most basic understanding about the war on terror. In fact, never have we seen a television personality with such a broadly diverse lack of understanding and perception. The range of topics on which he's ill-informed seems endless. Here's today's edition of the Cafferty file, which to quote Lt. General Russell Honore, is a "Stuck On Stupid" sundae, with an ethnic slur cherry on top.

08-22cafferty.mp3

JC: The IRS is getting ready to hire private companies to collect taxes. The federal budget deficit is at record levels, and the government wants to pay outside debt collectors to do its job. It gets better. These private companies will get to keep almost a fourth of the tax money they collect. The IRS acknowledges it'll pay these outside companies more than it would cost to hire additional collection agents. And if this is the first you've heard about this program, well, it's because the government isn't exactly going out of its way to let us taxpayers know what it's doing. The IRS says they have money allocated to hire outside collection firms, but they don't think they could get money from Congress to hire more government workers. So if you owe Internal Revenue a few bucks in back taxes, don't be surprised if some leg-breaker named Vido shows up on your porch demanding money. Here's the question: Should the IRS hire private companies to collect federal income taxes? E-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@cnn.com, or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.

Wolf Blitzer: Jack, thank you. Jack Cafferty with some strong words, as I said.

Yeah, Wolf, strong words, but not the definition of strong that you probably intended. The strong in this case doesn't mean sharp, biting or opinionated. It means offensive, as is often descriptive of body odor. We'll get to Jack's overall disdain of the private sector in a minute, but I thought racial or ethnic slurs got you fired. Wait a minute, I forgot. That's only when conservatives use them. Jack gets asked to come back every single day.

Notwithstanding Cafferty's view of Italians, he seems to be a little off with his facts. The first claim he makes is that the IRS is doing this hiring process while we are at record levels on the federal budget deficit. Factually not true, and very easy to disprove. According to the Congressional Budget Office, from a report they released in early August of this year, which also made the news, the record was $413 billion in 2004. Last year was $318 billion. This year, the CBO reported that the deficit fell even below the White House's estimate of $296 billion, and in reality was expected to be $260 billion, or a paltry 2% of the GDP. So Cafferty either just lied to your face, or he doesn't really read the news, or he's too ignorant to understand that we're nowhere near record levels. And even after the economic slowdown caused by 9/11, even during increased military spending during wartime, even after the hurricane disasters in the Gulf last year, even with a Congress that still spends too much money on pork, the economy is so solid right now due to tax cuts, we're working our way to break even in the next few years, if the trends hold.

Why is it, in the Cafferty worldview, that government is supposed to always be able to do things better than the private sector? Yeah, it's the IRS' job to collect revenues. But is it too unrealistic to try to privatize it even one smidge, Jack? Is it physically impossible for the private sector to be able to do things more efficient than the government? Even though in the short term, the commissions to outsourcing might cost more than hiring more government employees, who's to say that the government employees are going to be motivated to be as efficient as the private sector? Who's to say that in the long-term, much more uncollected revenues will pour into the Treasury, further lowering the deficit and offsetting the outsourcing costs?

For a guy who also has a money show on Saturdays to be this ignorant about the benefits of privatization and competition into almost any federal program, even for CNN, you'd expect more.

8/24/06 - A different kind of Doomsday.

Yeah, I know, today is the day that the mushroom cloud was to be seen over Jerusalem, perpetrated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejead and his merry band of 12th imam believers. Thankfully, as of this writing, it didn't come to pass. But we here at the Hugh Hewitt Show can't relax for a minute, because in two days, we descend upon the Twin Cities to attend and broadcast from the Great American Get-Together known as the Minnesota State Fair.

After taking a hiatus last year, it will be great to see all of the food on a stick walking by with large people attached. This year, I'm told the new food on the stick will be tater tots, which of course are deep fried once already, baked into some sort of casserole, and then battered and deep fried once more, and then impaled on a stick. Sounds fatal, doesn't it? Well, that brings me to one my favorite people, our shurpa when it comes to all things Minnesota, Jay Larson.

Now a lot has changed since we last saw Jay at the fair. He used to work full time for our Twin Cities affiliate, AM1280 The Patriot. But Jay had a profession before radio, and it's a calling that apparently sees a spike in business this time of year, judging by the food that is consumed at the fair over the next couple of weeks. Jay is now in the cemetary management field. But to us commoners, he's a hole salesman. If you need to know where your final resting place will be, and you need a hole, Jay is definitely a hole specialist.

Now while Jay, or Jayhole as we like to call him, is embarking on his new old career, he still is moonlighting as the Patriot's special promotions director. So when we come to town, Jayhole's still the guy that will leave us stranded at the airport for an hour and a half, and get us lost three or four times from the airport to the hotel to the fair. So some things never change.

Now I've tried to get in touch with Jayhole today about the schedule for this week, because I'm afraid there was a mix-up, and he went to pick us up from the airport today. 19 TSA agents stationed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport were sent to the hospital today complaining of exposure to fumes. Link here. What I'm afraid happened was that while Jay was at the airport waiting for us on the wrong day, he left the lid open on the bucket of formaldehyde he keeps in the back of the mini-van. Since it's a nice day out, he keeps the windows rolled down, and the smell must have overwhelmed the poor agents.

Anyway, we'll be broadcasting live Thursday and Friday from the fair, then we have to deal with the local knuckleheads on Saturday, the Northern Alliance. But we do get to spend time at Jasperwood, so the trip won't be a complete loss. We'll photoblog some of the more unusual sightings as we go. Jay, remember, it's Thursday when we arrive, not today.

Monday, August 21

Mainstream media Monday - one case of stupidity, one case of denial.

First, from CNN's The Situation Room earlier today, here's expert analysis from Jack Cafferty, in regard to the Connecticut Senate race.

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JC: The race for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut has become a national story, and a bit of a joke. Here's why. Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic nomination to Ned Lamont, and announced he would stay in the race as an independent. Now, polls show Lieberman is ahead of the guy who just beat him - Lamont. The Republicans might as well not have a dog in this fight. They're candidate's a guy named Alan Schlesinger. That's not him. That's still Joe Lieberman. We've seen enough of Joe Lieberman. There we go. The Republican candidate is a guy named Alan Schlesinger. He's getting 4% in the polls. So what are the Republicans in Connecticut doing about all this? Well, they're in effect saying to hell with party loyalty. They're supporting Lieberman, the Democrat. You see, Lieberman's really more of a Republican than he ever was a Democrat. He thinks the war in Iraq is a great idea, he thinks George Bush is a swell guy. Bush even kissed Lieberman once. Lovely. You see, party loyalty only works when your party is not in danger of losing control of Congress. When that's the case, there's no such word as loyalty. So here's the question. What does it mean when Republicans are supporting the Democrat, Joe Lieberman, in the Connecticut Senate race?

What utter nonsense. What it means, Mr. Cafferty, is that Republicans by and large see the war on terror as the threat to Western civilization that it is, and that party loyalty is important only because the Republicans as a party, for the most part, get the war right.

Look, both parties are screw-ups in a lot of ways. There's lots of fault to find in both parties. But I'm a single-issue voter. If you don't get the war right, nothing else matters. Lieberman gets the war right, and he has the ability to win. Republicans are very wise to support him. Lamont doesn't get it regarding the war. Naturally, he's embraced by the nutroots. Jack Cafferty doesn't get it on the war. Naturally, he's embraced by CNN.

Take the Rhode Island Senate race for a minute. As a Republican, Lincoln Chafee doesn't deserve a dime from conservatives, even if it can be proven to me that he would be the 51st Republican Senator after the election in November. I am supportive of Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, because he seems to get the war right. If Chafee gets the nomination, unless his Democratic opponent supports the war, I'm writing that state off completely, party loyalty be damned.

Back to Lieberman. I can't find a single issue other than the war in which I agree with the Senator. It doesn't matter. I care about the Western way of life too much to throw away a vote to a puppet of the maniacal, anti-everything wing of the American left. I have voted Republican my whole adult life, but don't get me wrong. If my choice for President this Fall came down to either Joe Lieberman for the Democrats, or Pat Buchanan for the Republicans, I'd vote Democrat for the first time. I really would. If you don't understand the nature of the threat we face, you're not likely to understand much of anything else, so it really doesn't matter to me what party you're in.

Currently, the Republican Party is the only viable political party that is showing it is serious about fighting the war. The Democratic Party is the only political party that is trying to be viable by showing that it is serious about turning tail and running away from the threat the entire free world faces. It's an easy choice. But then again, how can we expect Jack Cafferty to recognize such an easy choice when he is so blinded by the failed ideology of liberalism that he can't recognize that there are people trying to kill us, and that we do have the ability to do something about it.

The next cut is from MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, often a favorite target here. Tonight, his first guest was Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Here's a little piece of their exchange that captured my attention.

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CM: Would you accept us hosting a debate for you on Hardball?

RS: I think it would be a very favorable forum for Mr. Casey to go on a show like Hardball. I mean, we know your background. And not to say you're not fair, Chris, but we know your background, and I think that...

CM: And how would that help Casey, my background?

RS: It would help Casey that you come from a Democratic background, and...

CM: Oh, okay. Well, I'm sure you're helping your cause here, but I'm very independent, as you notice the last 20 or so years.

RS: I'm justing saying...

CM: And if you want to talk to Bill Clinton about my independence, or anybody else in either party, I think you'd discover that I'm extremely independent these days.

RS: I'm just saying, the same thing with Tim Russert, who comes from a Democrat background, and I'm willing to go on those shows. They can be tough on me. I'm willing to do that.

CM: No one's tougher than he on everybody. And I'm almost as good.

RS: Almost.

CM: Well, thank you very much. You got me flustered, Senator Rick Santorum.

RS: Good.

CM: A guy I actually like, despite his whatever you call it, your background. You make it sound like your rap sheet.

So Chris is fiercely independent, and he's almost as tough on everyone as Tim Russert.

As for the toughness claim, we only have to look at last week, when the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh was Matthews' guest, with a completely fabricated story spun out of the conjecture of anonymous sources, accusing the Bush administration of ordering Israel to conduct the air campaign as a dry run for a future Iranian bombing mission. Did Matthews question Hersh's sources? His methods? Anybody else in the U.S. or Israeli military that might have the ability to confirm or deny the story? Nope. Matthews swallowed the Hersh story pretty much unchallenged. When Israeli and U.S. military officials both strongly denied any aspect of the Hersh story, was Matthews there to call Hersh back on the carpet and make him answer? Nope. So much for the toughness of Matthews.

Now the fun part. Matthews always does this when he's accused of being partisan. Like a lot of lefties, they hide behind Bill Clinton's sordid affair with Monica Lewinsky as the episode which they can criticize a major lefty politician, and hide behind the cloak of independence and fairness. Bill Clinton's actions in regard to Monica Lewinsky were reprehensible and unacceptable. So there, we criticized a Democrat. See how fair we are?

First of all, it's too easy. When you bring up Bill Clinton, and how famously you criticized him, what pops into your mind that he was critical about? Hillary's health care takeover fiasco? His Bosnia or Croatian missions? His tax policy? His foreign policy? Nope. What you think about is Monica Lewinsky, and Clinton dropping the First Drawers in the Oval Office. Let's see an example of Matthews criticizing Clinton's policy, not his behavior, and then we can establish his so-called independence.

In the meantime, let's take another look at his criticism of Bill Clinton. On July 26, 2001, Matthews wrote a letter to the editor of the Courier Times in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Here's a portion of what he wrote.

Why should a guy who gets to match wits with such a wild range of political personalities wear a grim face? I respect people with the guts to run for office. In fact, I respect anyone with the guts to speak his or her mind in the political arena.

I insist on one exception. I will not let a public figure lie to me.

I served in the Peace Corps in Africa. I was a presidential speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and respect the man immensely. I served as a senior aide to late Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. during the full six years of his historic battle with Ronald Reagan. I remain his reliable and proud defender and a warm friend of the O'Neill family. I have generally voted for Democratic candidates, including Bill Clinton.

But I am an American first. When a president of either party abuses his office and lies to the people who elected him for seven months, as Bill Clinton did in 1998, good people should be angry and good reporters should get out the truth.

Again, his criticism is about the Monica affair, not his policies. He admits he's a good Democrat, generally believes in the Democratic platform, and voted for Clinton twice, even though most political observers from both sides of the aisle knew of Clinton's many marital indiscretions. So his righteous indignation at Clinton is hollow at best, since he still voted for him twice. But I digress.

If you take Matthews at his word here, he's come out against Clinton because his moral character failure overwhelmed his political idealism. Okay. Fast forward to July 25th, 2006. Here's what Chris Matthews had to say to Don Imus about the current president, George W. Bush.

We elected a guy because he was a little cooler than the other guy, and I hope the next election isn't a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night, or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage, but it's who has the sense of strength that comes from having read books most of their life, tried to understand history.

So I guess the moral highground of marital fidelity goes out the window when Democrats are out of power for a while, eh, Chris? If one is fiercely independent, wouldn't one hold to one's values regardless of who is in power?

Or maybe, Chris, 9/11, and the fact that the country rallied behind the president's message that the war on terror was going to be prosecuted, and not handled as a criminal matter as the Democrats wished, caused you to discount the morality issue as being secondary to who runs things.

I would have to wonder, Chris, if it were possible for Bill Clinton to run again next time, and not Hillary, would you support him for office? Have you now come to the conclusion, just like the rest of the left-wing partisans of the 90's, that personal indiscretions, as long as you were right on the other important issues to the lefties, aren't quite as important? You certainly seemed to infer that when you were talking to Imus last month.

You can't have it both ways, Mr. Matthews. You can't be against infidelity in the presidency then, and use fidelity as a cheap rhetorical shot now. You can't recount most of your political career as being associated with hard left politicians, proudly proclaim that you've voted generally for the Democratic candidate, and then laugh at Rick Santorum because he dared to "out" you as a lefty on your own show. You are. Independence does not happen just because you say so. Actions are what declare independence, and so far, you haven't shown a whole lot of independence.

Friday, August 18

Chris Matthews compares George Bush and Dick Cheney to John and Patsy Ramsey

On the Imus In The Morning program, Matthews appeared for a thoroughly worthless segment. Seriously. There was virtually no there there in the interview, until this one little passage that caught my ear. Matthews and Imus were talking about having to spend time on the JonBenet Ramsey case.

08-18matthews-imus.mp3

CM: And I do have to admit that like everybody on the planet, I think, I thought that the dad did it, you know? And I still don't know about this case. But the father's always been kind of spooky and weird, and he never, he wouldn't answer any questions. He would never appear separately from his wife in any interrogations or any interviews. And why did he always insist in being there sitting with his wife? What was that all about when they asked him questions? Of course, Bush and Cheney pulled the same number, but...

Imus: (laughing)

CM: I prefer to that format as the Menendez Brothers.

Lovely. Again, no bias here. The one national news story that can't be blamed by the left on George Bush and/or Dick Cheney, so leave it to Chris Matthews to tie them into it anyway.

Thursday, August 17

The other side of Hollywood.

Much has been said in the blogosphere about Nicole Kidman full-page ad that ran in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, and also ran in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. But since we're talking about the Los Angeles Times, primarily, I don't think very many people actually had a chance to see the ad. Here it is, including all of the other 83 Hollywood types that co-signed with Ms. Kidman. It's refreshing to see that the entertainment community out here isn't quite as monolithically anti-war as it is portrayed to be. I applaud all of you for taking a stand.

 

Jimmy Carter, the gift that keeps on giving.

If you heard yesterday's show, you'll have heard guest host Jed Babbin spend two hours on the amazingly telling interview the, thank God, former one-term president granted Der Spiegel magazine. At times anti-Christian, at times borderline anti-Semitic, Carter actually sees no problem with putting Germans on the international peacekeeping force at the border between Israel and Lebanon. When pressed by Der Spiegel on his answer, considering world history, Carter actually said enough time has passed that historical facts should be ignored. That's right, ignored. World War II, the Nazis, the Holocaust, all of it should be ignored. The Israelis should just ignore it ever happened, especially when they're facing another existential threat from radical Islamo-facists.

Why should we take Carter seriously? We shouldn't. He's an old man now, he has no power, and he's a fool. He's one of the former leaders that has an amazing track record of taking exactly the wrong side of virtually every issue you throw at him. His presidency was a colossal failure, setting a bar low enough that even the Clinton administration can't measure up to it. So why take him seriously? Because the Democratic Party takes him seriously. To liberals, he's not just the crazy uncle in the attic. He's the heart and soul of the party as it stands today. You won't see one current national Democratic leader explain away, or try to soften, or better yet, disavow Carter's comments. They won't do it not just out of respect, but because Carter actually is stating what the Democratic Party by and large currently believes, and can get away with saying this stuff because he's not standing for an election anymore.

Today, another component of the Jimmy Carter presidency just sided with terrorism, and made it harder to fight a plank on the war on terror, and made it a lot harder to keep terror attacks from occurring on U.S. soil. How, you ask? Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, federal district judge in Detroit, Michigan, ruled this morning that the U.S. government's warrantless wiretapping program to listen into phone calls between suspected foreign terrorists and their agents in this country is unconstitutional, and must be stopped immediately. So if Johnny Jihad is overseas, and wants to plan another attack here, a la 9/11, if Judge Taylor's order stands, he can now call al Qaeda cells here without any further hesitation, because our national security personnel have to go to court first and get a warrant to listen to his phone call.

Judge Taylor, nominated by James Earl Carter in May of 1979, and confirmed in November of 1979, said this, in part of her 43 page statement:

"Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution."

Excuse me, but I'm public. My family is public. I know a whole lot of people that are public, and my interest is really clear in this matter. It also is vehemently opposed to Judge Taylor's view of the public interest. How is making us less safe by tying the hands of national security officials in the public interest? The only public interest this serves is the public of terrorists.

Thanks again, Mr. Carter, for proving once again that America can't afford to make a mistake in the next few elections, vote for a Democrat, and then think they can fix the problem one term later. Even one four-year Democratic presidency that's a complete failure can continue to have lasting effects on the country, especially when that presidency has a like-minded Democratic Senate to confirm judges like Anna Diggs Taylor.

Tuesday, August 15

Sy Hersh's story in the New Yorker is a complete work of fabrication...

...but since it's fiction that's critical of Bush, and even accuses his administration of conducting a sinister plot, Hersh's charges are not even questioned in the mainstream media. That's why talk radio and the blogs exist.

On the Hugh Hewitt Show today, guest host Jed Babbin raised the conspiracy raised by Hersh to two people who would know, one Israeli and one American, who both had no problem going on the record debunking Hersh's story, unlike the anonymous sourcing used by Sy Hersh.

First, Israeli Lt. Gen. Dan Harel.

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JB: One thing I need to ask you to comment on is a new story in the New Yorker magazine by Seymour Hersh. It basically says that the United States dictated the Israeli air war plan, and the overall war plan, insisting that you guys do certain things to test out theories, so that we could go and bomb Iran. Is there anything in this article that's true, that you know?

DH: This article is outrageous. It's complete nonsense as far as I know. Nothing of it was...got any connection with reality.

Again, a named source. Here's another one, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

08-15whitman.mp3

JB: You're never going to hear anything more about this work of arcane fiction by Seymour Hersh entitled Watching Lebanon in the New Yorker Magazine. Joining me right now is my good friend, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. Bryan, thanks for taking the time to join us. I hestitate to even bother you with something like this.

BW: Well, you know, and I'm always a little reluctant to take on a journalist. I work with a lot of hard-working, professional journalists every day in the Pentagon, but this story just doesn't make the cut.

JB: Well, let's talk about that just briefly. Now I've read this thing a couple of times, and I think I've counted the first 24 or so words are true, but after that, it kind of falls off a little bit. I understand that you have taken a more direct approach, and you've called or written something to the publisher of the New Yorker, raising some issues with them. What have you asked them to do?

BW: Well, this is not the first time that the New Yorker has carried Sy Hersh stories that are completely false. He has made any number of assertions recently that are...have no basis in fact, that are thinly sourced at best, and take on a conspiracy theory type of approach to what the United States government is doing.

JB: Well, yeah. I mean, it seems to me that what he does is he takes something that might even have a shred of truth, or at least the ring of truth, and he surrounds it with things that you can't possibly comment on. He's always trying to say well, this is the intelligence source, or the intelligence method. And nobody in their right mind is going to expect you guys to comment on that. I mean, it seems to me what he does is just pick on things, knowing full well that you guys can't respond.

BW: Well, it is a very formulaic approach, and he recognizes the fact that the United States government, the Defense Department, doesn't comment on intelligence, and it doesn't comment on operational issues. And he uses that knowledge in a very mischievous way, and then sources his stories with a Pentagon consultant, a Mid-East expert, a former intelligence official. There's not one single named source that will back up his assertions in this story. And then, he says, of course, well of course they won't, because it's intelligence.

JB: Well, and just for the record, Mr. Bryan Whitman, Pentagon spokesman, just for the record, just tell us, is there any truth in the idea that the United States dictated a war plan to Israel, and then forced the Israelis to follow it?

BW: It's just absolutely false. It is important for your listeners to know that the United States government does remain committed to a diplomatic solution to the problems with Iran. And that with respect to their nuclear weapons program, for example, the President, the State Department, are working with the international community to include the European Union, the IAEA, the United Nations, to put a halt to this dangerous problem. But the things that are raised in this story, it's hard to imagine that there's any news organization that would find that the standards for sourcing this story, and for verifying it, would hold up to any scrutiny. And you're right. I have raised it not only with the "fact checkers" at the New Yorker, but also with the publisher, as well as with the editor. And quite frankly, I've gotten no response from them when I've raised it, particularly in this last instance.

JB: Well, I'm not surprised. You know, some of this, though, it just doesn't even pass the giggle test. When this first came up yesterday, and Duane Patterson, our good producer found this, one of the things that struck me was just it didn't even pass the giggle factor, because they're saying, he's saying that we were trying to practice, or get the Israelis to practice in Lebanon what we would be doing against Iran, when 1) the same...even if we were going to do something with Iran, and I understand very well that the administration says we're never going to do that, or at least not considering it now. But even if we were, different aircraft would have to be used, different weapons would have to be used. The terrain you're flying over, the kinds of targets you would try and hit, I mean, anybody who knows the first bloody thing about air warfare would say it's just a non-sequitur.

BW: Well, and Jed, he makes some assertions in this story that the U.S. and Israel had discussed this prior to the July 12th incursion, that we had discussed plans to attack Hezbollah, that the two nations were looking for some opportunity...

JB: Excuse...

BW: ...to do so, and that this was somehow a...that the reponse would somehow be viewed as a test for a future move against Iran, all of which were denied across the government, whether it was at the National Security Council, the State Department, I did it, myself at the Pentagon. And these direct denials are given absolutely no weight in the story. They're mentioned in passing, and yet all the credibility is given to all these unnamed individuals that are not in a position of authority, that do not have direct knowledge of what the administration's policy is, and what is being worked through, and what the thinking is.

JB: There seems to be just a little ray of sunshine in this. I mean, when this first came up yesterday, I was predicting that oh, Heaven help us, here we go again, and it would be picked up in the Washington Post and the New York Times, and all the rest of that. What does it tell you? You're the pro in the Pentagon, in the government. What does it tell you when a story like this doesn't get picked up anywhere?

BW: Well, I mean, I think that's an interesting point, Jed. If you look at the reputable news organizations out there that have taken a look at this, and you know, there's kind of a saying, it's nice to have an exclusive, as long as it doesn't remain an exclusive forever.

JB: (laughing)

BW: There are...these type of stories remain exclusives forever, because they aren't verifiable, they are fiction, and when they're held up to any level of scrutiny, serious journalists that cover national security issues in the Defense Department realize that this is something that they should not pursue.

JB: Mr. Bryan Whitman, Pentagon spokesman, thank you very much for taking the time to join us, and explain what you really shouldn't even have to bother looking at. This whole thing, ladies and gentlemen, you're not going to hear about it anymore. If even the New York Times won't pick this thing up, if only Chris Matthews and Wolf Blitzer take a little shot at it, it's never going to make any headway. I'm throwing this thing, right now, in the trash.

Mr. Hersh, credibility is a wonderful thing. Too bad you aren't able to experience it.

Monday, August 14

New Yorker's Sy Hersh and Chris Matthews with a much different look at the world than most people I know.

If any of you missed Hardball this evening on MSNBC, and judging by the most recent Nielson ratings, most of you did, Chris Matthews did his best to leave no conspiracy unturned, as long as it makes the Bush administration look bad.

In the most recent New Yorker, Seymour Hersh, the man who is generally regarded as the one that broke the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, even though the U.S. military had disclosed most of the details several days earlier, is at it again, this time accusing the Bush administration of using Israel as a guinea pig in their recent bombing campaign of Hezbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon.

In Hersh's Watching Lebanon story, he cites unnamed intelligence and diplomatic sources, meaning another anti-Bush whisper campaign from the left's friends at the CIA and the State Department, as saying the Bush administration was the puppeteer, and Israel was the puppet in this recent military operation that went so badly. In essence, what happened over the last month is Bush's fault, according to Hersh's sources. What follows is the speculation of Hersh's sources, saying that this bombing campaign was just a prelude to a potential bombing campaign to come in Iran.

While the problem of what to do with Iran is concerning a lot of people, most conservatives you ask familiar with the White House don't believe the administration has much of a stomach left for severe action against Iran. Yet according to Hersh, the chance that the madness in Iraq, according to the worldview held by Hersh and many other elite lefties that occupy the mainstream media, could spread to Iran, was too much to not write about.

Part of the smoke that makes up Hersh's alleged fire accusation is the fact that earlier this year, U.S. Air Force officials met with Israeli counterparts to discuss bombing strategies regarding Iran's well-protected nuclear facilities. Uh, if there is a country that is on our naughty list, I would expect that the Pentagon would meet with any allies in the region to develop potential plans. It's called national defense, something the left is clearly without any understanding of.

Enter now, Chris Matthews. The fast-talking commentator that has been tipping his own bias increasingly into the anti-war fringe of the political left in this country, wasted no time. Sy Hersh was his guest. Here's a couple of passages that were the most stunning:

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CM: We're stuck with this President, for better or worse. He's our leader. Do you believe he wants to bomb Iran before he leaves?

SH: Absolutely. No, I should say this. I believe that he does not want to leave his office with Iran still posing a threat. I believe he sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat to his policies, the policies of Israel, the whole notion he has of making the Middle East, turning it into a democracy, which he still holds onto. I do believe that. And as part, one of the options...

CM: Does he...let me cut you off here, because we always conflate these issues. Does he see Iran as a regional threat to countries who are on our side to Israel, and some of the other Arab countries? Or does he see it as a strategic threat? Because this was the whole fight over Saddam Hussein. Of course he was a regional pain in the butt. Of course he was a problem to some, a tactical extent to Israel. He wasn't a strategic threat to Israel. But is Iran a strategic threat to the United States? Does he believe that?

SH: I don't know that he believes...

CM: How could they be a strategic threat to the United States?

SH: I don't know what he believes. He said today Hezbollah lost the war. I mean, I don't know.

CM: Yeah.

SH: Is the Moon made of green cheese? I don't know what he believes.

Okie dokie. Let's take it from the top, shall we?

We're stuck with this President. Nope, no bias here, none at all.

Do you believe he wants to bomb Iran before he leaves? Matthews asks this question as though asking if Cheney wants to go on another hunting trip before he leaves office. Does he want to bomb Iran before he leaves? Yes, Chris, it's that simple. It sounds like a lot of fun, why not?

Now to Hersh's answer. "I believe he sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat to his policies, the policies of Israel, the whole notion he has of making the Middle East, turning it into a democracy, which he still holds onto." Meaning Sy Hersh doesn't see a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat. Neither does Matthews. Not to us, and not even to Israel, the country Ahmadinejead has promised to wipe off the map.

Then Matthews jumps in and asks if Iran is a regional or strategic threat, comparing Ahmadinejead to Saddam. Then he throws his two cents in, saying Saddam was a pain in the butt, but wasn't a strategic threat, not even to Israel. I guess Matthews doesn't remember the scud missiles launched at Israel during the first Gulf War. And I don't remember Israel doing anything to warrant those attacks other than existing. I also wonder if Matthews feels that the suicide bombers that have wreaked so much death and destruction over the years in Israel, the ones whose families were paid by Saddam Hussein $25,000 each for their troubles, were considered a strategic threat to Israel.

Matthews doesn't just not believe a nuclear-armed Iran to be a threat, he cannot even fathom the thinking that goes on in the head of anyone that does.

One more cut.

08-14matthews-hersh2.mp3

CM: Do you believe the President says what he believes?

SH: Oh, yes. I believe he's...one of the things that...

CM: Do you think he's totally genuine in what he presents to the American people? He believes what he tells us?

SH: I think you really have to listen to what he says. And I think one of the problems...you know, one of the reasons this story came about is somebody on the inside said you know, these guys, here...they pushed the Israeli Air Force for the same reason you said in the intro. They wanted...it's sort of a demo for Iran. They wanted...there were reasons, you know, he's a terrorists, Nasrallah, he's got some missiles, and you want to beef up the Lebanese government. The real reality is it's a test case for Iran. He pushed them into it. It was a disaster. They ended up sending in ground troops, just like all the guys in the Pentagon would say. And yet, guys in the inside tell me, there's no learning curve there. These guys...

CM: You know what it brings into question? Here's an administration that for political or other moral reasons or historic reasons, maybe because his father was pro-Arab, it's the most pro...openly pro-Israeli administration in history in terms of the PR. And you have to ask yourself, has the loss of our power broking ability, brokering ability in that region, been a bigger loss for Israel than anything we could have done for them?

If Matthews has to ask whether Bush believes what he says, it's very obvious he doesn't. No matter what the President says, Matthews is proned to not believe him. And yet, when it comes to Mr. Hersh, who has taken credit for breaking a story that was already made public days before by the Pentagon, he hangs on every word as though it were the gospel truth. Hersh comes out with somebody on the inside, and Chris doesn't challenge him at all. No interruption about who this person is, what his biases may be, what axes he or she may have to grind, other than obviously being a Democrat bitter that they're out of power. Matthews gives the anonymous source a complete pass, when Hersh has given no reason to take his word at face value. Fair and balanced, right?

As for the disaster part, Hersh is right. The ground game of the Israelis was a disaster, but not because the Pentagon told them to, as Hersh speculates as fact in his article. It was a disaster because Israel has the ill fortune to face an existential threat with a complete unfit prime minister, a hard lefty, who has found himself in a position of leadership he is completely and thoroughly inept.

As for the Lebanon as a test case for the coming Iran campaign, I just don't believe Hersh. I think his sources knew Hersh would print anything if it makes Bush looks bad, and so they gave him fiction wrapped in conspiracy, and let Hersh go off to his computer. Either that, or Hersh himself made it up. I don't buy it. There's been too many cases in the last two years where disgruntled partisans stuck in American liberal version of Mecca and Medina, also known as the State Department and the CIA, have been prosecuting their own front in the war on terror, the one that goes to any extreme to cut the legs out from under George W. Bush. So I'm just not going to accept the whispers of any "insider" that Sy Hersh may know. If you are too much of a coward to not come forward and make your accusations public, then what you have to say is not worth listening to. As for Hersh, I'm sure that over the course of the next few days, he's going to get another round of 15 minutes of fame among his friends in the mainstream media. But I'm also confident that when his story gets fact-checked in the blogosphere, Hersh's credibility will erode even further.

Friday, August 11

Aggressively misinterpreted?

NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams, has taken exception with the criticism he's received about comparing our Navy SEALs, Special Forces, Army Rangers, and first responders with homicide bombers that strap explosive vests to themselves and go out and kill civilians. Here is what Brian said in response to his remarks on Hardball last night:

Comments I made during a live interview with Chris Matthews last night have been aggressively misunderstood in the hours since. Here was my point: people always say that our country will be at a disadvantage as long as the "other side" is willing to take their own life for the cause. I was making the point that if that's some kind of litmus test for bravery... or belief in the cause, we have those guys, too. People who fight for us, people who protect us -- know full well that the American cause is worth dying for -- as are our freedoms. People are dying for the U.S. side every day. Laying their lives on the line. And I give thanks for them every day. I was not at all equating the "other" cause with what Americans stand for. I was criticizing the view, expressed by some, that as long as we are fighting the "suicide bomber mentality" we can never get the upper hand, because, as this belief goes, "we aren't willing to give our lives the way they are." Of course we are. The difference is: the folks willing to die for OUR country do so in the act of protecting and defending it -- NOT killing civilians by detonating an explosive and killing innocent people.

I hope that clears it up.

First off, here's what caused the uproar in the first place:

08-10matthews-williams.mp3

CM: We had a Senator on, former Senator, John Edwards on who said that once these people in the East, in the Islamic world, get to know us personally, understand our character, our good character, as he said, they wouldn't hate us so much, they wouldn't want to commit suicide to hurt us. But here we have maybe 25, 24 people who've lived in London and England and the free world for all these years. They've become citizens, subjects of the crown. And yet after having gotten to know us, they want to kill themselves to hurt us. Isn't that an even deeper conundrum here than the chemicals being used in these attacks?

BW: And that, Chris, that last aspect, the willingness to take one's own life. I always tell people, you know, there are guys on our team like that, too. They're called Army Rangers and Navy SEALs and the Special Forces folks, and the first responders on 9/11 who went into those buildings, knowing, by the way, they weren't going to come out. So we have players like that on our team.

Note that Williams' clarification does not answer what Matthews was asking. Matthews twiced described these terrorists as people who want to commit suicide to hurt us, us being innocent civilians. Williams is now trying to split hairs and strip the killing civilians part away from the description of the terrorists long enough to equate the dying for the cause meme to our Special Forces teams.

But let's go to the aggressively misinterpreted complaint now.

If this was the first time in recent memory that Brian Williams had said something controversial that he had to walk back from, he'd have a valid point. But it's not, and he doesn't.

On March 21, 2003, MSNBC, like the other cable networks, went wall to wall covering the precision bombing of Baghdad by the United States and the coalition of the willing. Williams, on air at the time, said the following:

That vista on the lower-left looks like Dresden, it looks like some of the firebombing of Japanese cities during World War II.

Well obviously, Dresden, which killed thousands of civilians, was not even remotely similar to what happened in Baghdad at any point during the war, and especially not during the shock and awe phase. Williams had to walk back from that comment soon after. On April 2, 2003, almost two weeks later, Williams snuck in a revision of his prior remarks during the NBC Nightly News broadcast.

Civilians used to be intentional military targets. The fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo in World War II were meant to kill civilians and then terrorize survivors. Here we’ve seen the opposite happen. U.S. forces have more than once been the targets of civilian attacks and could be forced into killing coerced human shields despite all attempts to avoid it.

So was his first comment aggressively misinterpreted?

Jump forward to June 30, 2005. Again on the NBC Nightly News, Williams was speaking with Andrea Mitchell, and offered the plausible conclusion that our founding fathers could be considered terrorists, depending on your point of view. Here's the audio and transcript of exactly what he said:

08-11williams-fathers-terrorists.mp3

AM: Tonight, U.S. intelligence officials say that they will continue to study this, but they may never have definitive proof of what the role was of Iran's new president. Brian...

BW: And Andrea, what would it all matter if proven true? Someone brought up today the first several U.S. presidents were certainly revolutionaries, and might have been called terrorists at the time by the British crown, after all.

By the way, just a brief aside. You notice a tactic that Williams uses to either try to get away with a viewpoint that's going to get him in trouble, or to get out of trouble once he's said it? He cites arguments by anonymous people.

At the very beginning of his clarification of last night's flap, Williams says, "people always say that our country will be at a disadvantage." Which people, Brian? Can we name names? Or are these imaginery people? And in his founding father's line, he claims, "someone brought up today..." Who was that someone, Brian? Have you caught Dick Gephardt's imaginery friend disease?

The bottom line is that Williams works in a communications business. Communication is his job description. Even if, and this is a reach when you look at what Williams has actually said over the years, but even if you give Williams his argument this time, the one that he claims he was aggressively misinterpreted, doesn't that make him a bad communicator? And hasn't he shown a pattern of poor communication skills, if he's had to clarify multiple comments he's made that were inflammatory? Doesn't that make him unfit to sit in the anchor chair?

Thursday, August 10

National Mainstream Media Run Amok Day

Normally, on a good day, we in talk radio get to witness the meltdown of a member of the mainstream media. Today, lightning struck twice. Sean Hannity scored the interview of all interviews, when he got Mike Wallace, fresh from his visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejead, to answer questions in absolutely stunning ways. But later in the afternoon, Chris Matthews was interviewing NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, and Williams said something that I would think should make him give pause to the next invite he gets to embed with our troops.

First off, here's some of the key passages from Sean Hannity's interview of 88 year old Dan Rather impersonator, Mike Wallace, heard earlier today on the ABC Radio network:

08-10wallace1.mp3

MW: He (Ahmadinejead) is not trying to project an image. Look, it's very difficult. I know...I found it difficult to understand, but the more that I sat there, and the more time that I spent with the man, he is...I'm not suggesting...he despises, if you will...oh, he doesn't despise, but he doesn't like the United States. He doesn't like the United States for the reason that it's supporting the Zionist entity. He doesn't talk about Israel.

SH: So you don't think he's an anti-Semite?

MW: He himself, an anti-Semite, an anti-Jew...anti-Jew?

SH: Yes.

MW: No, I don't.

08-10wallace2.mp3

MW: I am with you 100% in what I perceived to be the individual that I was about to sit down and talk to. And he made his case, fairly rationally. It wasn't...it was a conversation. He did not propagandize and so forth. He...when I began to talk to him about America, about the United States, and oppression, he had his facts down solid about why he feels sorry, he says, for President Bush. Why? And then he starts in about the polls of President Bush, and how they're going down, and how he's going to leave office, and it's sad that he's going to leave office and leave behind a people who don't really approve of him. His approval ratings are what they are. And what is the standing of the United States in the world generally under President Bush. And it's...we weren't having an argument. I mean, we were having a discussion. And he was infinitely more rational than I had expected him to be.

08-10wallace3.mp3

SH: And would you deny, Mike, for example, if you ever sat down with Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin...

MW: (laughing)

SH: Oh, wait. Hang on.

MW: No, look, I couldn't agree with you more.

SH: Would they seem, perhaps, informed, smart, reasonable, even though they were evil?

MW: Well, it's a perfectly sensible question. As far as I am...Adolf Hitler? Good Lord. I mean, the man was such a hateful, hateful man.

SH: So is Ahmadinejead, Mike. Listen to his statements.

MW: What...running a Holocaust, which the Iranians have not done, as you know, running a Holocaust, doing that sort of thing, slaughtering six million Jews, that's not what this man is talking about doing.

08-10wallace4.mp3

SH: But Mike, but let me answer that. Mike, but his statements are such that he wants to go beyond that. His statements are annihilate, wipe off the Earth.

MW: No, no, no.

SH: The world.

MW: Hold it, hold it.

SH: Wipe off the map.

MW: Yes, he says wipe off the map, and of course I asked him over and over about that. He says in effect, hey, it's perfectly sensible to do...pardon me. It's perfectly sensible for them, and I'm not quoting directly, obviously, because I don't have the translation in front of me, to...for them to...it's perfectly sensible, if there is a Holocaust, and let's buy the fact that there was a Holocaust. Where did the Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances, take Israel, the Zionist entity, he called it, move it to Germany. Move it to Europe. That's where it happened.

SH: Do you agree with him?

MW: Move it to the United States.

SH: Do you think that's a legitimate argument?

MW: It's an argument. I'm not a commentator. You are.

08-10wallace5.mp3

SH: You think he's a better man than we think? Do you think he's a good man?

MW: I wouldn't call him a good man, no. I think that he's a more reasonable...he's self-assured. He is self-righteous. He is savvy. He has studied. Do you know what he does? He has a PhD in civil engineering. And...

SH: Well, he certainly won't let his people be free. There's not the freedom...

MW: What does that mean, free?

SH: Well, I would argue that women...

MW: Are you suggesting that he wasn't elected by his people?

SH: I don't believe that those elections are honest in any way. No, I do not.

MW: Well, all I can tell you is...

SH: I believe if there was an honest election, people would...

MW: Khamenei, who is the supreme leader, really, in Iran, if there's one man to whom this man, Ahma...you pronounce his name better than I do...that the president of Iran defers to, it is the man who they call the supreme leader, who is the ayatollah, the highest ayatollah. 27 years ago, I went to the holy city of Qum to talk to Khomenei, which is one of the reasons, I'm sure, that they decided that they were going to let me talk, or he was going to let me talk. I know that I am making him sound more human, more surely than I expected, and by all means, more human than you feel that he is. You feel that he's dead evil, and there's no doubt about it, and so forth. What you're telling me is that some of your best friends are Jews, is that it? That's not what I'm saying. He says, let the people who were responsible for the Holocaust, let the Zionists go there and establish their state.

08-10wallace-6.mp3

MW: I think that Khomenei...Khomenei was much more, how to say, hard-minded, much more the kind of man that you're describing that Ahma...

SH: Ahmadinejead.

MW: Ahmadinejead, correct, is. The...I ask you to bring not prejudice, not your own beliefs or prejudices. When you watch him, I'll be curious to see whether you think that there's anything reasonable about this man at all.

Now if that isn't enough to boil the blood, here's a little exchange between Chris Matthews and Brian Williams on Hardball, earlier this evening on MSNBC:

08-10matthews-williams.mp3

CM: We had a Senator on, former Senator, John Edwards on who said that once these people in the East, in the Islamic world, get to know us personally, understand our character, our good character, as he said, they wouldn't hate us so much, they wouldn't want to commit suicide to hurt us. But here we have maybe 25, 24 people who've lived in London and England and the free world for all these years. They've become citizens, subjects of the crown. And yet after having gotten to know us, they want to kill themselves to hurt us. Isn't that an even deeper conundrum here than the chemicals being used in these attacks?

BW: And that, Chris, that last aspect, the willingness to take one's own life. I always tell people, you know, there are guys on our team like that, too. They're called Army Rangers and Navy SEALs and the Special Forces folks, and the first responders on 9/11 who went into those buildings, knowing, by the way, they weren't going to come out. So we have players like that on our team.

I could rant and rave all night, but I won't. I'm tired. I'm hoping sincerely that as you read and listen to this when you wake up, either coming here first or having been referred by someone else in the blogosphere, you analyze what's wrong with the mainstream media in this country. This terror stuff really isn't that hard to get. It's not hard to be on the right side of this issue. And yet, seemingly functional members of the media don't have a clue of the enemy we face. Blog away on it, and send me links. Since Hugh's gone, I'll leave this up through the weekend, and it'll be like our own little Vox Bloguli. Generalissimo@hughhewitt.com.

Wednesday, August 9

The old Europe Senate

After most of a day of soaking in the reaction to Joe Lieberman's loss to Ned Lamont, you've got to wish you were a fly on the wall in the Senate offices in the upcoming weeks and months, especially on the Democratic side.

As expected, virtually all of the Democratic Senators have dropped their "good friend" from Connecticut like a bad habit. Makes you wonder how the next three months are going to play out. Can you imagine Ted Kennedy passing Joe Lieberman by in the hall and immediately looking down to see where his feet disappeared to? Or John Kerry riding up the elevator with Joe and just staring silently at the floor numbers?...or even waiting to make sure he catches the next one instead?

The Senate has now become a microcosm of old Europe, and in this example, Joe Lieberman has become Israel. I'm not talking about the Senate in an anti-Semitic way, mind you. I'm merely saying the public attitude of the Senate towards Lieberman is going to be polite, cordial, and generally supportive where necessary, so long as he is in office. But behind the scenes, just like in old Europe, many Senators are going to be grumbling amongst each other and wishing that Lieberman, like old Europe feels about Israel, would just go away.

Remember back in 1937? Poland then was what Israel is now, in essence. France figured Poland was expendible. It wasn't anything personal, but if we all just let Hitler have Poland, and if Poland would just keep quiet and cooperate, Germany would be appeased and everything would work out fine.

Today, what do we hear from the old Europe circles, and especially in the United Nations? Yes, Israel's a democracy, they should be able to defend themselves...but if only they would just go off to a corner and keep quiet... It's just like Poland was treated in the 30's.

The Senate is going to be much the same way. If a camera is nearby, Joe will get smiles from his colleagues, maybe a kind word or two. But off camera? He's a leper. Lieberman's future in the Democratic Party has been sacrificed on the anti-war alter of the nutroots. It's too bad, too.

I disagree with Lieberman on virtually everything when it comes to domestic and social policy. But I'm a single issue voter. If you don't get the war right, nothing else matters. And Joe, despite the intense insanity from most of his party, stood on principle, recognizing the evil that the West faces, and the need for us as a nation to confront it.

We had a seminar caller get through the show earlier tonight with Jed Babbin, and when cross-examined, freely admitted that even though he agreed with Lieberman at least 90% of the time, it didn't matter, because the big issue, the only issue that really, truly matters is the war. To the nutter fringe on the left, you better be anti-war, and literally nothing else matters in any campaign. Michael Moore threatened every politician on the left today saying essentially the same thing. If you're not right on the anti-war plank, there's no room for you in the Democratic Party.

So all this nonsense we heard from John Kerry in 2004, this 'war on terror is largely a law enforcement matter, and why can't we get on to real problems like universal health care,' it's all crap. To the new puppeteers of the Democrats, the nutroots, it's anti-war or bust.

Now take the news just breaking this evening that the Brits apparently foiled another terrorist plot to blow up airplanes from the U.K. to the U.S., the missing Egyptian students that the FBI continually reminds us to look out for, although not saying they're terror suspects, but they really, really, really want to find them soon, the fact that Iran is now actively fighting against Israelis in Lebanon, how can the Democrats be trusted with power at a time like this?

World events are demanding that we engage more in the war on terror, not cut and run away completely, the strategy the Democrats have adoped with apparently no tolerance for dissent.

While Republicans have largely done themselves no favors since the 2004 election, there really is no other choice this Fall, because while the GOP has gone a little soft here and there, the Democrats have literally done a 180 and run the other way from the most pressing issue of our time, which is the existential struggle the West has with radical Islamo-facists. This is a choice our country simply cannot afford to get wrong.

Aw, shucks. Bad timing.

First, we learn that 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace comes out of retirement so he can go to Iran and do his Dan Rather impersonation with Mahmoud Ahmadinejead. It's too bad the interview didn't take place a day later, when it's now been confirmed that Iranian Revolutionary Guard have been found, complete with identification, among dead Hezbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon.

Even if Wallace would have had that information at his disposal, any bets on whether he would have brought it up?

Tuesday, August 8

Heads we win, tails they lose.

With regard to the Lieberman/Lamont primary in Connecticut, to conservatives, there was good news no matter who ended up winning. If Lieberman would have pulled out the comeback, conservatives, especially in the blogosphere, could very well have written off the nutroots, which are the Kos kids, Jane Hamsher, et al, forever. As much as they threw at this race, they had to win to show they had any effectiveness at all. A Lieberman win after all their effort, and they're irrelevant.

If Lamont wins, sane Democrats all over the country instantly panic that the party has been taken captive by the nutter fringe. And it can't be a comfortable feeling going into the November election. Republicans now know who they are fighting this Fall, and it sure isn't other Republicans. It's a single-issue campaign, essentially nationwide...the war on terror. And no matter how you slice it, what this evening's result in Connecticut showed is one fact that cannot be denied. The Republicans, while certainly not perfect in how they are fighting the war on terror, they are fighting it. The Democrats are running away from the war. And in fact, they are so committed to not fighting the war on terror, the only people they seem willing to fight are people who aren't as anti-war as they are, especially in their own party.

So for the next three months, you're going to hear lots of spin from Democratic pundits, columnists, talking heads, etc., tell you that the Republican Party is falling apart. Don't believe a word of it. There is plenty of division within the GOP, but by and large, especially seeing what's going on in Lebanon right now, and with the specter of a confrontation coming soon with Iran and Syria, if you don't understand the big picture on the war, none of the little stuff matters. That's going to unify conservatives.

The Democrats have a real problem. They're going to have to go down one of two roads in the next three months. Either they are going to have their own civil war over how to handle the war issue, or they are going to have to cower to the nutroots and unify as the anti-war party. And if world events, especially in the Middle East, continue to escalate, there's not enough people in America to take this party seriously enough to entrust them with the reins of power.

Can you just see how the Senate Democrats are going to act towards Joe Lieberman over the next three months? He was their Veep candidate six years ago, and now he's a leper.

Stay tuned to Hugh's show Wednesday as Jed Babbin keeps one eye on the serious topics, the ones the Democrats have decided to run away from, and celebrates August 8th as the day the Democratic Party didn't just fall over the edge of the cliff, but executed a perfect swan dive off the ridge.

Monday, August 7

Daimler Chrysler may know a thing or two about cars...

And it may even know a bit about marketing, even though I'm getting real sick of that pompous windbag, Dr. Z., in all of their current commercials in the U.S. In fact, I drive a relatively new Chrysler, and I like the car. But if I see that balding German one more time going on a test drive with that schlub reporter who seems to have all the ability of an L.A. Times veteran, I'm going to drive into the barrier to test the airbags. But I digress.

After noodling around the 'net a bit after transcribing my arms off, I discovered on Free Republic a bit of billboard advertising in South Africa that made me sit up and take notice. Here's the billboard, captured from the current issue of Car and Driver magazine:

American nothing, huh? I wonder how many potential Chrysler buyers might see this and take their business to a car company that has more of an American something approach?

I wonder how Dr. Z would fare crashing this beer can on wheels into a barrier at 40 mph?

There's no way to pack me into one of those things, no matter what kind of mileage it gets. I had more room as a fetus.

 

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