Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog

Sunday, August 29, 2004
Let me jump in on the Confederate Flag issue.

Since Tooley, Barber, and now Booker have placed their five-cents in on the issue.

I was living in Georgia when then-Gov. Roy Barnes, also known as "King Roy", implemented a series of deals with a number of both Democrats and Republicans to get the Georgia Flag changed.

I supported it then and I still supported that now.  That was mainly the only way to get that flag changed and thus place "closure" on the issue.  Now, some people will try to say that led to Barnes's eventual defeat to Sonny Perdue.  However, that was more due to the black vote and city vote (Atlanta's population is equal to the rest of the state) not coming out for Barnes than it did in the rural areas, where alot of people were galvanized by a Bush tour a week or two earlier.

Now Georgia Republicans, as inept as they are ass-backward, changed the flag again.  But even Perdue knew that the trying to change it back to the stars and bars would be a losing battle, since it would all but guarantee that he would be a four-term governor.  Now it looks even uglier than they claimed it to be then when Barnes initially changed it.

If you haven't figured out, I don't like the Confederate flag.  To be perfectly honest, wiping my dog's ass with it is the only possible option if I had to look at it twice.  Now, we've heard the heritage argument and the racism argument a million times before, so there's no need to go into detail about them, other than to make the obvious statement that racism was the southern heritage towards blacks, albeit not exclusively. 

However, this issue has been represented by two extremes.  We already know the "Heritage" advocates, but it isn't like we're going to roll up and die because the flag exists, as the NAACP would like to think if it isn't taken out of public view.  I'd rather not deal with whomever tries to drape myself around the flag, but I'm not going to have a sudden fit of anger or be intimidated every time I see it.

There are plenty of ways to remember your heritage than clinging onto defeatist symbols that symbolized hate and racism.  Neal Boortz, a talk radio show host with the number one radio show in Atlanta, put it best:  If it didn't symbol these things, then why didn't southerners stand up when they were being used by white supremacists and racists?  If what the people who argued that the Confederate flag doesn't symbolize racism is correct, then it's no one's fault but theirs that the flag has been identified this way.

I'll give you the answer why they didn't.  In fact, it's the same thing plaguing Islam today:  no one will step up and lead the charge to denounce their activities in the South itself, as Islamic "moderates" and others won't do in the Middle East now.  To do so would have risked them being alienated within their social circles and would have been intimidated by criminal groups whereever they went had they shown up.

Also, another tidbit:  when the whole flag thing was coming up in Georgia Boortz termed those fools trying to do any and everything to change the flag back when Barnes changed it as flaggots.  Ha.  I think that name is quite appropriate.

Posted at 07:10 am by Expertise
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Thursday, August 26, 2004
Olympic chiefs want Bush to pull ad.

This is absolute garbage:

The U.S. Olympic Committee has asked the campaign to re-elect President Bush to pull an ad that refers to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The ad has angered Olympic officials because they feel it hijacks the Olympic brand -- a registered trademark -- even though it does not display the Games logo.

The U.S. Olympic Committee had asked the Bush election "campaign to withdraw the advertisement they are running," International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies told reporters.

Since when did you ever have to get the USOC or the IOC's permission just to mention the Olympics?  This is utterly ridiculous.

Although Bush won't, he needs to tell them to get over themselves.  Bush created an ad that only mentions two countries that were entering the Olympics as free countries.  That's it that's all.

But it's real easy to tell what this is all about.  This is the internationalist Olympic officials trying to separate themselves from the Bush Administration at all costs.  They should be more concerned with these doping scandals than they are with the Bush ad.

UPDATE:  Bush told them to get lost.

According to ABC's Noted Now:

"We're on very firm legal ground to mention the Olympics, to make a factual point in a political advertisement," said BC'04 spokesman Scott Stanzel... when the olympics is over the campaign will take the ad down, as scheduled.
Wow.  Bush actually stood up to someone other than the terrorists?

Posted at 10:55 am by Expertise
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Bush Vets respond with a letter to Kerry.

Well, Kerry continues with his whining and bashing.  Today, he sent Cleland and Rassmann to the Bush Ranch in Texas to send him a letter calling for him to denounce the Swiftboat ads.

What....they couldn't use FedEx?

In the letter, Cleland and other Democratic veteran politicians called on Bush to "specifically condemn the recent attack ads and accompanying campaign which dishonor Senator John Kerry's combat record in the Vietnam War."  However, they specifically want to contrast the difference between the 527 ads and the Swiftboat ads, although they are no doubt the same:

Our outrage over these advertisements and tactics has nothing to do with the tax code or campaign finance reform efforts of this nation. Our pain from seeing these slanderous attacks stems from something much more fundamental, that if one veteran's record is called into question, the service of all American veterans is questioned. This administration must not tacitly comply with unfounded accusations which have suddenly appeared 35 years after the fact, and serve to denigrate the service of a true American patriot. The veterans serving today should never have to expect this kind of treatment, when the wars of their generation have passed into history. We brothers and sisters in arms expect our Commander in Chief to stand up and reject this assault upon John Kerry's honor, the honor of American veterans and that of the United States Navy.

Tough luck, Cleland.  Where were you when not only but the rest of the mainstream media were questioning Bush's National Guard Service?  I didn't see you opening your mouth then. 

In fact, just as soon as Charles Gibson checked John Kerry over the "ribbons" controversy, what was the first thing that came out of Kerry's mouth?  The very same thing he's done with this incident; he tried to say it was the Bush Administration that was bringing up the controversy through his subordinates (although I doubt Charles Gibson could be considered a Bush subordinate) and then he bashed Bush on his National Guard service. 

In fact, a Kerry campaign advisor bashed Bush's military service three times on Meet the Press, in which the Bush spokesman during that same segment noted.

Anyway, a number of veterans supporting the Bush campaign, mostly consisting of public officials, released their own letter: many veterans are troubled by your vote AGAINST funding for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, after you voted FOR sending them into battle. And that’s why we are so concerned about the comments you made AFTER you came home from Vietnam. You accused your fellow veterans of terrible atrocities – and, to this day, you have never apologized. Even last night, you claimed to be proud of your post-war condemnation of our actions.

We’re proud of our service in Vietnam. We served honorably in Vietnam and we were deeply hurt and offended by your comments when you came home.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up. There is no double standard for our right to free speech. We all earned it.
Precisely.  Kerry trying to silence what they have to say and not directly answering the charges is leaving a very big impression in the minds of all Americans. 

On Monday, the Washington Post called for Kerry to release all of his records:

Indeed, the Kerry campaign ought to arrange for the full release of all relevant records from the time. Mr. Kerry granted historian Douglas Brinkley exclusive use of his wartime journals and other writings; the campaign should seek to be freed from that agreement and to make all the material public. Though the ads are being underwritten by longtime Bush partisans, the Kerry campaign's claim of illegal coordination between the Swift boat group and the Bush campaign is unconvincing.
As far as I know, this is the first major newspaper to call for the Kerry campaign to do this.  Whether he will or not is doubtful.

Posted at 04:26 pm by Expertise
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Russian jets had hijackers?

It's possible:

If you didn't know, two Russian jets went down almost simultaneously today.

This came in over the AP:

The Russian news agency Interfax reported that a hijacking signal was activated on the second plane before it went missing. The signal came at 11:04 p.m. from the Tu-154 airliner, Interfax quoted the source in Russia's "power structures" as saying.
Of course, you can never really know what happened, as Russia is shrouded in secretcy.  In fact, it was my initial opinion that the Russian govt probably blew up the planes themselves - whether accidentally or on purpose.

And take notice that this Sunday Chechnya has their presidential elections.  Terrorists have been trying to pull a Madrid in order to influence that election, which is to replace the former president who was killed in a bombing.

Keep your eye on this one, folks.

Posted at 12:16 am by Expertise
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Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Media Matters and distort Purple Heart Qualifications.

Every once in a while I check out Media Matters for America, the brainchild created by David Brock to counter the "conservative media", as he calls it.  We can talk about how conservative it is and how misleading that label is later.

Anyway, Gabriel Wildau posted today that Mort Kondracke was wrong in regards to the requirements of a Purple Heart.  On Special Report with Brit Hume, Kondracke said this:

KONDRACKE: Now, there's questions about the third Purple Heart as well. Because in this exhaustive Washington Post analysis of that incident, this March 13, 1969, incident, where [then-Kerry crewmate Jim] Rassmann got knocked overboard. Part of the story is that the shrapnel that Kerry took in his buttocks was from a grenade that he -- that he threw himself. And therefore, that would not qualify for ...

CONNOLLY: But that's a ...

KONDRACKE: Just a minute. He also got -- he also had a contusion, didn't break the skin apparently. A contusion on his arm, and the Purple Heart was awarded for the two of them combined. Now, if it turns out that the -- that the shrapnel in his buttocks, which did bring blood, was self- inflicted, then he didn't deserve that Purple Heart.

To which, Wildau responded:

The truth is that Kondracke is ignorant of the relevant requirements for awarding a Purple Heart. Annenberg Public Policy Center's Political Fact Check pointed out that the buttock wound alone -- which Kerry sustained while blowing up a cache of rice that was a source of food for the Viet Cong -- would have qualified Kerry for a Purple Heart, even without the arm injury Kerry subsequently sustained in full-fledged combat later that day. A "friendly fire" injury can qualify for a Purple Heart "as long as the 'friendly' projectile or agent was released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment," according to the website of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. All agree that rice was being destroyed that day on the assumption that it otherwise might feed Viet Cong fighters."
Wildau is flat out wrong, and it's obvious that he nor either didn't read the Military Order or they purposely distorted it.  I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that Wildau was just repeating the charge made by FactCheck, but I'm not willing to give the same benefit to FactCheck themselves.

Here's what the Military Order website actually says:

b) Individuals wounded or killed as a result of "friendly fire" in the "heat of battle" will be awarded the Purple Heart as long as the "friendly" projectile or agent was released with the full intent of inflicting damage or destroying enemy troops or equipment.
This is not "friendly fire", as these were grenades set off by both Kerry and Rassmann themselves.  Friendly fire comes from other members of your unit, not from yourself.  Second, this passage explicitly states "heat of battle", meaning that you have to be engaged by enemy troops.  Now unless you are trying to assert the rice bin was attacking Kerry and Rassmann, then this does not constitute as the heat of battle.

The Military Order also states this:

(5) Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not qualify for award of the Purple Heart are as follows:

(a) Frostbite or trench foot injuries.

(b) Heat stroke.

(c) Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents.

(d) Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy.

(e) Battle fatigue.

(f) Disease not directly caused by enemy agents.

(g) Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action.

(h) Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence.

(i) Post traumatic stress disorders.

(j) Jump injuries not caused by enemy action.

Now check out (g) and (h).  (g) specifically states:  "Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action."  Those grenade explosions would constitute as an explosion that was not caused by any enemy action, unless, once again, the rice bin attacked Kerry and Rassmann.

Now having said that, it is possible that an argument could be made that this was "related to" enemy action, considering they did it for the express purpose for hurting the VietCong.  But then you have to decide whether a VietCong rice bin standing by itself bothering no one constitutes an enemy action.  *shrugs*

(h) is the killer.  "Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle, and not involving gross negligence."  Do I really need to go into detail about this one?  Does this not sum it up in regards to what actually happened with Kerry, if this account is indeed true?

Media Matters needs to correct their false allegation.  Of course, I know they won't.  But it's always good to hope they had some sort of integrity. 

Posted at 07:24 pm by Expertise
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Why Kerry vs. Swiftboats is important.

I was able to check out a glimpse of Booker's News today.  Responding to a commentary by Sowell, Molotov asked this:

Maybe it's because it happened when we were 1 year old, but why are the candidates and media talkin' about old crap? We care more about what they're gonna do now about the military, war on terrorism, etc.

Alot of people have asked the question, "Why are we talking about Vietnam again?" 

Well, actually we're talking about something that happened during Vietnam, but we aren't talking about Vietnam in and of itself.  I know that may sound confusing, but gimme a second to explain:

This is less about Vietnam than it is about a presidential candidate that boosted his image at the expense of thousands of veterans; some of which he served with.  And now that he is being checked on that, he's crying foul.  And it's quite interesting to see how he has reacted to it.  Kerry has taken criticism by Bush and the media, mainly for his flip flops, that ribbon controversy, and the like.  However, during a good amount of that time most weren't paying attention to Kerry like they are now.  Now there is more attention being placed on Kerry since the Democratic National Convention.

And how has he reacted?  Instead of facing these challenges head on, like he said he was going to do (i.e. the steering the boat into the attack thing), he has done nothing but run from the accusations.  He has used lawyers to try to intimidate television stations into pulling the ads from off the air, claiming they are lying while using faulty information themselves.  He has intimidated the publisher, Regency, calling for them to pull the book claiming it's all lies.  He's tried to paint this as a Bush attack, trying to say that the Bush campaign is bankrolling all of this.

I think Malkin put it best:

MALKIN: He hasn‘t been subjected to this kind of heat. And as Willie Brown is suggesting, if he can‘t stand the heat from his fellow veterans, do we really want to trust him to stand up to Islamic extremists?


This is the man who wants to be the next President of the United States at a time where we are at war with Islamic terrorists...but can't even handle the rigors of basic American politics.  As a phone call that was reported by Drudge suggests, John Kerry wasn't even prepared to have to defend himself on Vietnam despite his anti-war statements denouncing these people and the way he trashed some of his own commanding officers in his own biography.

It goes into the heart of this man's integrity; an integrity that has been questioned ever since he was nominated as the Democratic Presidential Nominee.  Most people have believed that John Kerry would say and do anything to get elected, and this incident serves as a big reason why.

That's why this issue is so important.

Posted at 05:49 pm by Expertise
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Monday, August 23, 2004
Glen Reynolds creates a parallel universe.

Reynolds over at Instapundit has created a great satirical column that seems like it would be a perfect fit for The Onion:

EAST HAMPTON, NY (IP) -- Democratic Presidential nomineee John Kerry laughs when told that most voters don't realize that he served in Vietnam, winning three purple hearts, a bronze star, and a silver star.

"Why should they? That's several wars ago," Kerry laughs. "Old stuff. I'd much rather people be talking about my detailed plan to rebuild Iraq, using an oil trust mechanism that would give the Iraqi people a stake in reconstruction. That's why I focused on that in my acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. What was I going to do, rehash events from 35 years ago?"

Kerry's friends say that, like other veterans, he's been known to tell a few tall tales about his service over beers with others who served, but that he seldom talks about his combat experience otherwise. "He's put that behind him," says his wife Teresa. "And he thinks it would be unbecoming to make a big deal about his service when others, like [Senator] John McCain or [former P.O.W.] Paul Galanti went through so much more."

"I would have invaded Iraq regardless of the WMD issue," Kerry observes. "Saddam Hussein was a threat, and a menace to his own people. And a free, democratic Iraq will be the first step toward addressing the 'root cause' of terrorism -- despotic Arab regimes that spew hatred to distract their people from their own tyranny. But as I said last year, the reconstruction needed more resources. That was why I voted for the $87 billion in reconstruction money, but urged the Bush Administration to ask for more, to do it right."

Kerry also takes a dim view of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore. "I think that his film 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was scurrilous and dangerous to the morale of our troops. That's why I asked that he be excluded from the Democratic Convention, despite Jimmy Carter's wishes. And that's why he wasn't seen there. In a time of war, we don't need guys like that. We can win this campaign based on our ideas, not propaganda films. That's also why I told Chris Matthews to 'stuff it' when he tried to make an issue out of President Bush's National Guard service."

Kerry's detailed plans for Iraq, and for carrying the war on terror to Al Qaeda and its backers elsewhere, seem to have left the Bush Administration floundering. Sources close to the Bush campaign say that some Bush operatives are considering an attack on Kerry's Vietnam record, but many are skeptical. "I don't think that'll work," says cyber-pundit Glenn Reynolds, who calls Kerry's Iraq plan promising. "Most voters have no idea Kerry was even in Vietnam. He never talks about it, so where's the traction? It's ancient history."

Others are even harsher. "They can't attack the message," says Matthew Yglesias of The American Prospect, a liberal publication. "So they're attacking the messenger. That's because they don't want to talk about Kerry's real accomplishments, the ones Kerry touted at the Convention, like his role in busting BCCI, the terrorists' money laundry. Kerry's talking about that, and his plans for Iraq, and they're talking about Vietnam? Who cares about that? Pathetic."

Ha.  I'm sure there are some Democrats out there right now that wish this was a real column.

Posted at 12:27 am by Expertise
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Bob Dole calls for Kerry to apologize.

Huge story today on Bob Dole on CNN tonight:

Dole told CNN's "Late Edition" that he warned Kerry months ago about going "too far" and that the Democrat may have himself to blame for the current situation, in which polls show him losing support among veterans.

"One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons," Dole said. "The next day he's standing there, `I want to be president because I'm a Vietnam veteran.' Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served. He wasn't the only one in Vietnam," said Dole, whose World War II wounds left him without the use of his right arm.

Dole added: "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they're all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you're out."

I'm telling ya, although the media is trying to trash and discredit this story as much as they can, it gets hotter and hotter as the days go by.  The Swifties are doing damage to John Kerry's campaign, and people are realizing that something is wrong with the rosy picture that John Kerry is trying to portray.

I knew this was coming, however I thought his downfall would come once they exposed his anti-war record and the accompanying support by Vietnam organizations to George Bush.  CBS's poll shows Bush and Kerry neck-and-neck, when they had Kerry up by 6 points after the convention (personally
I think Bush was ahead the whole time).  However, it does show that Kerry has taken quite a hit out there by the attention given to the Swiftboat Vets, whether negative or positive.  People have been able to hear their side of things and seen that Kerry has some explaining to do about his record.

Posted at 12:02 am by Expertise
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Sunday, August 22, 2004
John Kerry has been busted.

Quite an interesting article by Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post:

As they were heading back to the boat, Kerry and Rassmann decided to blow up a five-ton rice bin to deny food to the Vietcong. In an interview last week, Rassmann recalled that they climbed on top of the huge pile and dug a hole in the rice. On the count of three, they tossed their grenades into the hole and ran.

Evidently, Kerry did not run fast enough. "He got some frags and pieces of rice in his rear end," Rassmann said with a laugh. "It was more embarrassing than painful." At the time, the incident did not seem significant, and Kerry did not mention it to anyone when he got back on the boat. An unsigned "personnel casualty report," however, erroneously implies that Kerry suffered "shrapnel wounds in his left buttocks" later in the day, following the mine explosion incident, when he also received "contusions to his right forearm."

This should end all of the questions surrounding this incident, in which Kerry ended up getting a Purple Heart for.  These two simply did not get far enough before the grenade exploded.  And this was not a combat experience; it was a case of two men that ended up getting rice stuck up their asses for doing something that could be interpreted as stupid. 

And remember:  this is coming from Kerry's boy.  Rassmann claims Kerry saved his life in the Bronze Star incident.  Hence there can be no excuses about this being a Bush plot.

I wonder if the mainstream press will push this account?

Posted at 08:07 am by Expertise
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Friday, August 20, 2004
Kerry campaign intimidates SwiftVets book publisher

Drudge is reporting that John Kerry is calling for the publisher to withdraw the Swiftboat Vets book.

The Kerry campaign calls on a publisher to 'withdraw book' written by group of veterans, claiming veterans are lying about Kerry's service in Vietnam and operating as a front organization for Bush. Kerry campaign has told that the publisher of UNFIT FOR COMMAND is 'retailing a hoax'... 'No publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them,' Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton tells the online mag... Developing...

I tell ya; Kerry is getting very desperate.  With no bounce coming out of the DNC Convention, and he's now facing potentially a double-digit deficit after Labor Day, the last thing he needs is these guys making him look worse.  He's got to hold Bush off until the debates.  That's why he's resorting to these sort of tactics.  Of course, it isn't the first time he's done this.

Posted at 10:33 am by Expertise
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