Thursday, June 30, 2005

Chinook Down

It looks like the Chinook crash in Afghanistan has resulted in the loss of life to some of our bravest. We know about the heroism of the Navy SEALs aboard the craft, but I can also tell you that these Chinook pilots are amazing. Over time you will hear more stories of their efforts in unimaginable weather and terrain during this war.

Like me, you will not believe the tales of hours behind the stick in zero visibility or of pilots flying with most of their bird gone, or of guys going back in to pick up our special operators even when ordered not to do so. The tales are true, and there are no braver men around than the guys who fly these Chinooks.

On Deficits

Just as under Reagan, whenever we see a strong economy, tame inflation and low interest rates, the Left has to attack somewhere, so they go after deficits.

Under Reagan, we added $1.4 trillion to the federal debt. But when Reagan took office the market value of all American assets was $16 trillion. When Reagan left office the market value had doubled to $33 trillion. If you could take on $1 in debt to increase your assets by $12, I would hope you would hop on the opportunity.

Now that we are seeing an economy similar in strength to that seen under Reagan, expect the comments on the deficit to increase in the N&O.

Sue Myrick for Gov.

You heard it here first. Sue Myrick for Gov. vs. Beverly Purdue.

Busting a West Point Grad

John in Carolina catches a West Point grad lying, and busts the NYT for running the lie.

Left Spins Afghanistan as a Quagmire Too

I have frequently complimented Jay Price of the N&O for his excellent reporting from Afghanistan. He used multiple sources and left the Kabul hotels to find out what was really going on in the country. His conclusion was that the Taliban has been fatally weakened and Afghanistan is slowly building a viable nation.

So why can't the NYT find a reporter as good as Price, or a better question yet, why would the N&O run a front page article from the NYT about Afghanistan that is so poorly written?

The piece today leads with "Downed copter adds to fear of Taliban gains" and adds that "Afghans say they are feeling uneasy about the future." Did the reporter use any polls (which show Afghans are hopeful about the future and want the coalition forces to stay)? No. And what sources did she rely on? First, an individual from a Human Rights Commission, then a law student, then a professor at Kabul University's School of Islamic Studies.

Guaranteed she sat around the Kabul hotels and rounded up the usual suspects who will make anti-U.S. comments when needed to spin a story.

Afghanistan is not a perfect place and never will be. It is a better place since we went in, and it no longer serves as a terrorist breeding ground. Those who use terror to oppose the new govt. and the coalition forces are limited in number and are being eradicated or marginalized every day.

It is a shame the N&O would run a front-page story with the sole purpose of spreading the "Blame America First" creed of the Left.

Uses of Your Taxpayer Money

I was not living in N.C. when state legislators and our Democratic Gov. decided to use our money to build a boondogle called the Global TransPark, but it would not have taken much brainpower to figure out it would be a tremendous waste.

Even with the N&O reporting a new tenant for GTP, the facility still gets $1.6 million in taxpayer money annually and owes the state $29 million. Big govt. at its worst.

Economic Reporting Bias

And speaking of the strong economy, whenever an economic report comes out that indicates weakness, the N&O runs it either on D1, or in some cases it makes A1. But the 3.8% GDP growth story gets pushed to the inside of the business section. Can't buck the Liberal talking points that the economy is weak.

Military Recruiting

The N&O will carry every story, however spun up, of the military missing recruiting targets, but I had to hear from Mike Williams that the Army met its recruiting goals in June, recruiting for the other services appears to be on track and reenlistment in Iraq is off the charts. Mike also makes the relevant point about the correlation between recruiting difficulty and the strong economy.

So the Army met its recruiting goal for June How very sad for the MSM, which so wants to blame the recent falloff in recruiting on the Bush administration and its “mismanagement” of the war on terror. Maybe so, but then again, maybe not. Captain Ed has some other suggestions:

The Army has been the only branch of the service to miss its overall goal, or more accurately find itself in danger of missing its annual goal. The other branches of the service
appear to be meeting their goals, and all branches have met or exceeded their re-enlistment objectives. Re-enlistment appears especially popular among those who serve in Iraq.

Interestingly, Eric Schmitt brings up a diagnosis that has not yet been raised in regards to this issue. The last time the Army faced a recruitment goal failure was six years ago, when the hot economy made it difficult to attract new recruits. So why doesn't that get much mention now? After all, our economy has grown tremendously over the past three years, and now sports an impressive 3.8% growth rate for the first quarter of 2005. In fact, the Federal Reserve
might announce a ninth straight interest-rate hike today to temper the growth.

It doesn't appear that the Army's missed goal is the crisis of confidence that the media has ginned up. Military recruitment gets affected by a number of factors, and deployment is an important but not exclusive issue for potential volunteers. Market competition also plays a role, as the Times reminds us, and right now the market is as tough as it has been since that last recruitment shortfall. Before the Chicken Littles of the media and the Left start screeching about falling skies, perhaps they should take a look at the big picture.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Teach Your Kids Before Someone Else Does

Michelle Malkin keeps us updated on attempts to turn little kids into peaceniks in NY (again, glad we moved out of there before the kids started school). In a related story, we travelled through Oakland for a day on the way to Tahoe last week, and were touring the Jack London square with my wife's friend (a teacher).

She pointed out the peace monument to our kids, so I asked where the war monument was. I figured that after defeating British oppression, ending slavery, defeating the Nazis and the Japanese and then winning the Cold War and freeing millions etc., maybe they could put something up even in Jerry Brown's Oakland.

Teach your kids, or someone else will.

Military Reaction to Bush Speech

Rantingprofs makes a good point about the muted military crowd reaction to the Bush speech. Bush is respected, and even revered, by most members of the military, and you can see the spirited reaction of the troops every time he appears with them.

Last night, however, guys told me that the audience was told not to interrupt the speech with the type of applause you see at the State of the Union. In addition, the beginning was awkward as the crowd was brought to attention when Bush walked in, which meant no clapping. I thought it would have worked better to let them cheer if they so chose at least at the beginning of the speech.

Barack and Lincoln

HT to Mike Williams for the forward of a Peggy Noonan article - and I echo his question asking why the N&O does not carry Noonan but does carry the tired old Molly Ivins:

This week comes the previously careful Sen. Barack Obama, flapping his wings in Time magazine and explaining that he's a lot like Abraham Lincoln, only sort of better. "In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat--in all this he reminded me not just of my own struggles."

Oh. So that's what Lincoln's for. Actually Lincoln's life is a lot like Mr. Obama's. Lincoln came from a lean-to in the backwoods. His mother died when he was 9. The Lincolns had no money, no standing. Lincoln educated himself, reading law on his own, working as a field hand, a store clerk and a raft hand on the Mississippi. He also split some rails. He entered politics, knew more defeat than victory, and went on to lead the nation through its greatest trauma, the Civil War, and past its greatest sin, slavery.

Barack Obama, the son of two University of Hawaii students, went to Columbia and Harvard Law after attending a private academy that taught the children of the Hawaiian royal family. He made his name in politics as an aggressive Chicago vote hustler in Bill Clinton's first campaign for the presidency.

You see the similarities.

Taking Down Maxine

Read this blog, not only because this guy is in Iraq and knows what is going on, but also because it sounds like he will run for Maxine Waters' seat in California when he returns.

Price vs. Delay

Tom Delay took overseas trips that were paid for by nonprofits with backing from lobbying interests. The N&O ran articles 9 consectutive days on the subject, including front page coverage.

We now learn that Dem. Congressman David Price from N.C. did the same thing. The N&O calls it a "loophole" and buries the article on 5B. And I seriously doubt that they will run anything tomorrow.

No bias there.

Katie Couric Boosts Terrorist Morale

Katie Couric gives the terrorists in Iraq a boost by describing Iraq as "unraveling" and admiring how "these very powerful, very tenacious insurgents to have control of the situation."

Our troops thank you Katie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

N&O Biased Polling

The most disturbing item on the N&O front page today is the information to help coordinate anti-Bush protesters. These kinds of events are routinely listed inside the paper along with other community events and meetings, so why show these particular protests on the front page?
Nearly as disturbing is the N&O "poll" that uses some standard poll spin techniques to rig the results. First, they compare poll results from Jan. '04 with June '05. Given that we captured Saddam in Dec. of '03, one would expect that views about progress in Iraq would be positive in Jan. '04, so they pick a high and low point to try to prove a false trend.

Second, they use some pretty lousy questions. For example: All in all, do you think the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over or not? What does "all in all" mean? What is the "situation in Iraq?" Does anyone go to war over a "situation?" Do they mean: Given the removal of Saddam Hussein, the assurance that Iraq will not be able to distribute WMD to terrorist groups and the stunning elections in Iraq in which 8 million people voted, do you think the invasion of Iraq was worth it?

Rantingprofs also digs into the recent WaPo poll spin.

Your Taxpayer Money

I can't believe the N&O, a paper generally devoted to the modern liberal belief in more taxes and bigger government, would run a front page article outlining grants given to nonprofits by the city of Raleigh.

While these taxpayer grants fit into the N&O scheme, they let slip that one grant will "let the agency (a group that serves homeless and low-income families) pay for staff to seek other grants."

So our taxes are going to an organization that can't raise money, and giving them that money will allow them to raise money. And the circle stops where?

Now if this group is tremendously efficient (doubtful), and if the city is better off outsourcing this task vs. building a bigger city bureaucracy (likely), then the grant makes at least some sense. But giving people taxpayer money just to pay staffers is ridiculous.

Vintage Bush

I liked the President's speech tonight and also enjoyed seeing some familiar faces in the crowd at Ft. Bragg. One of the guys I worked with the last time I was down there was able to slide in for a handshake and some TV face time, so I am sure he will catch some ribbing tomorrow.

High Points:

Explaining how the terrorists have failed: Our press highlights coalition failures (even if they have to spin stories into "failure"), but they rarely explain how the terrorists have failed in all of their goals. Bush did a nice job in pointing that out.

New Steps: He was a little vague about how we were conducting more combined ops and using coalition transition teams (probably coalition support teams with a different spin), but he got the point across that we are conducting fewer unilateral ops. Which ties in with his most important point...

End Game: We will stand down when the Iraqis stand up. Will we know to the day when that transition will occur? No, but we know we are getting closer every day. We know they have achieved sovereignty, held a vote, built up an Army and security forces, and we know they are heading toward a Constitution and then another vote. Bush had to nail this one, not because it will quiet the "quagmire" critics who give aid and comfort to the enemy, but because his comments will reassure the American people.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Brad Kasal

Blackfive has more details on Marine hero Brad Kasal. Why does the MSM run a special on every whiner who does not want to serve, but fails to mention this guy?

I Missed the N&O

Just returning from vacation, so I missed the N&O follies, but John in Carolina provides a good piece on errors and bias while I was gone.

Marine Corps Mom

HT to Chaotic Synaptic Activity for a Marine Corps Mom blog carrying a good letter from a recently returned CPT in the Corps. If you would like to support the troops and don't know how, send me a note.

Who Is Biased?

The Media Research Center carries a funny piece of "we're not liberal, are you liberal?" with NPR and Newsweek reps speaking.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson again does a nice job of explaining the recent thrashing on the left regarding the war on terrorism. I liked the following excerpt, or read it all here.

When Western liberals today talk of a mythical period in the days after 9/11 of "unity" and "European solidarity" what they really remember is a Golden Age of Victimhood, or about four weeks before the strikes against the Taliban commenced. Then for a precious moment at last the United States was a real victim, apparently weak and vulnerable, and suffering cosmic justice from a suddenly empowered other. Oh, to return to the days before Iraq and Afghanistan, when we were hurt, introspective, and pitied, and had not yet "lashed out."

If one examines the infomercials of a bin Laden or Zawahiri, or the terrorist communiqués sent to the Westernized media, they are almost all rehashes of the Michael Moore Left, from "Bush lied" to "Halliburton" to "genocide" and "Gulag." This now famous "Unholy Alliance" of radical anti-Americans and reactionary jihadists is really a two-way street: Islamists mimic the old leftist critique of the United States, and the Western Left hopes that they in turn can at least tone down their rhetoric about knocking walls over gays or sending all women into burka seclusion — at least long enough to pose as something like disposed Palestinians minus the Hamas bombs laced with feces, rat poison, and nails.


HT to the John Locke boys for the heads up on an example of pork in N.C., and on at least one brave legislator willing to challenge the taxpayer burden.

Rail Cost Overruns

I lived in NY and have spent plenty of time in D.C., so I appreciate the value of a good rail system. But such a system only makes sense if the majority of commuters are working in a tight geographic area. Rail makes no sense in the Raleigh-Durham area, and the cost overruns we will see if this boondogle continues are previewed in D.C. here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Dick Durbin

Hugh Hewitt has a good roundup of the Dick Durbin comments comparing our soldiers at Gitmo to Nazis.

Statement From Walter Jones

I don't like the idea of a conservative congressman getting a lot of press for statements about Iraq that may damage out efforts there. But the press has taken the comments from Walter Jones and warped them so that we no longer know what Jones said. So here is the official statement from his office:

In recent days there has been considerable press coverage on my position on America’s presence in Iraq. Despite what some media accounts have said, I want to make it crystal clear that I am NOT in favor of any immediate withdrawal nor do I support setting an end date at which time all troops must be out of Iraq.

What I do support is a public discussion of our goals and the future of our military involvement in that country. The non-binding resolution I am co-sponsoring will do no more than call on the President to set a plan and a date to begin reducing the number of troops we have in Iraq. It does not in any way, shape or form set a date certain for withdrawal. This approach should give the President the flexibility he needs to reduce our presence in a way that protects U.S. troops and allows Iraqis to pick up the fight. No one is talking about “cutting and running.”

In my opinion, this is the appropriate action to take for our troops, for our national security and for the Iraqi people. America faces many other threats that can easily escalate into conflicts that require military action. Iraq's neighbor, Iran, is a constant nuclear threat. A madman ruling North Korea has openly admitted to having nuclear weapons. Communist China is sucking up American jobs, using its booming economy to rapidly expand its military, and threatening Taiwan and other Asian allies. Even at home, every week 16,000 illegal aliens stream over our weakly guarded Mexican border, and any one of them could be a terrorist. With this in mind, we need a plan to begin a gradual reduction of our presence in Iraq so that our military, which is the most potent fighting force in the world, is ready to address these other threats.

No one is prouder of our military men and women in Iraq, or more grateful for their service and sacrifice, than I. They deposed one of the most ruthless tyrants in human history. They have trained, and continue to train, thousands of Iraqis in the skills necessary to defend their country against insurgents. They allowed Iraqis to freely cast their ballots in the country’s first democratic election in decades. And because of them, Iraq is on track to establish a new Constitution in October of this year, and to elect a permanent government in December.

As Brigadier General Donald Alston, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said last week: “ . . . this insurgency is not going to be settled . . . through military options or military operations. It's going to be settled in the political process." With that political process now reaching its maturity, and with the number of trained Iraqi security forces increasing daily, it is perfectly reasonable for the American military presence in Iraq to, at some point, begin to decrease.

Conservatives across the spectrum from Robert Novak to Patrick Buchanan to the godfather of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley, have come to a similar conclusion. In fact, on May 6th Buckley wrote: “The day has to come, and the advent of that day has to be heralded, when we say that our part of the job is done as well as it can be done... It is an Iraqi responsibility to move on to wherever Iraq intends to go."

Clearly, we are giving Iraqis every reasonable chance for a democracy, but at some time in the near future, the ultimate fate of Iraq will, and should, rest in the hands of the Iraqis. We will continue to support them in their efforts, but we cannot forever be depended upon as the primary defense force in Iraq, nor can we compromise the ability of our armed forces to adequately respond to the other emerging threats that endanger America.

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress

Deserter Returns Home

Good access out here, and an e-mail from Mike Williams caught my eye. I tend to feel the same way he does about the return of Jenkins, and also was disturbed by the N&O coverage of the event:

You’ve probably heard the story of Charles Robert Jenkins. He was an Army sergeant who defected to North Korea in 1965. He recently surrendered to US military authorities in Japan and was court-martialed. His sentence was a dishonorable discharge and a brief stint in the stockade.

Today he is on the front page of the N&O. He is, you see, from Rich Square, NC, about 80 miles northeast of Raleigh as the crow flies. The write up is primarily a sympathy piece – Jenkins hasn’t seen his ailing 91 year-old mother since before he deserted, and now he’s back in NC for a week-long reunion, accompanied by his Japanese wife and two daughters.

In passing, the N&O does advise us that Jenkins “appeared in [North Korean] propaganda films and played an American in at least one movie.”

But far from the front page, N&O columnist Dennis Rogers has his own thoughts about Jenkins. Dennis is an Army vet who served with Jenkins on the DMZ in Korea. Here’s Dennis:

On May 22, 1967, North Korean commandos slipped across the DMZ you once guarded and threw grenades into a 2nd Infantry Division barracks. Two GIs were killed and 17 were wounded.

Three months later, they struck again, killing one and wounding 12. The next year, 17 Americans died and 54 were wounded in North Korean commando ambushes. The killing would go on for 10 years.

Did you [Jenkins] ever think about those guys from your old outfit who were killed and wonder whether the help you gave your North Korean hosts may have contributed to their deaths?

I can tell you we wondered about it. And I still do.

Dennis concludes:

Then put your traitorous butt on the next thing smokin' out of town. When you turned your back on the soldiers who trusted you with their lives and the country you swore to protect, you forfeited your right to ever live among us again.

Some will say you've paid for your sins. They will say that spending 40 years in North Korea is worse than 40 years in an American prison.

We can only hope.

Amen. As for the N&O, it shows its usual sensitivity to the NC military community by putting a sympathetic rendering of a deserter/defector’s story front and center on Page 1.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


No blogging for 2 weeks. Heading to a reunion with some friends who served on the East-West German border in the late 80s. Should come back with some good tales.

If you see any blatant bias in the N&O when I am gone, shoot me an e-mail at scott_c_pierce at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I Guess I Have Been Tortured Too

I am one of those who has been through SERE school and other special operations training where people were not very nice to us. So add me to the list of those who view the descriptions of the interrogation methods used on the "20th Hijacker" as something far less than torture. Did the guy really complain about having his personal space violated by a female guard? Some guys pay good money for that privilege.

Some details on the interrogation methods and other thoughts here.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tax Cuts and Increased Revenue

The Laffer Curve lives on. Stephen Moore outlines in today's WSJ how the Bush tax cuts have not only caused an increase in government tax revenue, but have also boosted state coffers to the tune of $50 billion due to the economic expansion caused by the tax cuts.

Yes, we saw this same story after the Reagan tax cuts, and yes, we also saw a Congress who could not control their spending ways and who created deficits. But the deficits were not caused by the tax cuts as often charged by Liberal pseudo-economists quoted in the N&O.

Another Bad Headline

Front page headline in the N&O: Iraqi forces shaky in combat. Now that is some groundbreaking information.

In 1991 it took us 100 hours to decimate the Iraqi armed forces. In 2003 it took just over a month to take them out and also occupy the country. So given the history of the Iraqi military ethic and fighting prowess, wouldn't you expect the Iraqi forces to be "shaky" in combat. All the training in the world will not solve that problem soon.

That said (and the article mentions this briefly), we are finding that if we can select the soldiers and train them with our special ops guys, we can form excellent and disciplined units that have already had an impact in many places.

So instead of finding a few disgruntled U.S. soldiers for quotes, why not do some reporting (in this case the article is from the famously "non-partisan" NY Times) and explain what great things the special ops guys are doing?

When Reporters Become Editorialists

On the front page of the N&O today we see an article that could have been penned by the state leaders of the Democratic Party.

First, the "reporters" decide to assign awards to several N.C. legislators. Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player: Democrats. Most Improved and Missing in Action: Republicans.

Second, the "reporters" dance to the Dem. talking points by focusing on the "conservative" Dems who "recently broke with party leadership on some key issues." Why this focus? Because N.C. is becoming more conservative and Republican. In order to hold seats in some conservative areas, the Dems must market their candidates as "conservative."

I admire their ability to arrange votes on some issues (minimum wage, death penalty moratorium) solely to provide the "conservatives" a chance to "buck party leadership." But I do not admire the regional paper of record, the "Old Reliable" N&O, leading the marketing effort for the Dems.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Basnight Boondogle

The boys at the John Locke Foundation, especially reporter Don Carrington, did a great job of investigating a boondogle engineered by Democrat Marc Basnight. If you ever want to answer the big-govt. Liberal question, "Name one wasteful program you would like to eliminate," read on.

Just the Facts Sir

The N&O runs an AP piece today that serves as a weak summary of the day's events in Iraq. Besides the expected headline that focuses on the terrorists before the U.S. gains, I found two other intesting points.

First, the article reports that "a car bomb exploded outside a shop selling falafel sandwiches and ice cream, a popular hangout for Shiite youngsters," and that 10 people died in the explosion. Every time I read an AP/N&O article about the Israelis killing a terrorist leader, the article always notes how many women or children may have been killed in the attack. So why when terrorists in Iraq blow up innocent civilians and kids does the reporter fail to mention the number of kids killed?

Second, why does the headline call these evildoers "insurgents?" When you blow up kids at an ice cream parlor you are a terrorist, not an insurgent. Anyone who can not make that distinction has lost their moral compass and does not deserve to write or edit for any paper seeking relevance.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The MSM and a Communist Spy

Ben Stein explains how out of touch the MSM is. (Hat Tip

What We Want to Hear

From Scrappleface via the Mudville Gazette, this is what we want to hear at the next military press briefing.

Newspaper Subscriptions

The folks at Media Slander ask how much more newspaper subscriptions will decline when the MSM tries to sell their slant on the news to returning veterans from the War on Terrorism. I think their point is relevant, especially in comparison to the military-media press relationship in WWII.

The stellar job the press did in covering WWII elevated not only the status of the press but also of the military in the eyes of Americans. As a result, both institutions were rated highly by.

Both institutions botched Vietnam, but the military has been able to recover (through a lot of soul-searching and hard work) and regain their status in the eyes of the public. The MSM has never recovered from their mistakes in Vietnam, and they have continued their "blame America first" mentality with their reporting about the recent battles.

It will not only be returning vets who shun the MSM going forward.


The Word Unheard links to several debunkers of the latest WaPo poll, and I will add another note on these polls.

We have seen several polls that show, for example, a 45% approval rating for Bush, but only a 40% approval rating for the way he is handling the terrorists in Iraq. Liberal pundits trumpet the 40% number and claim widespread disapproval of our entry into Iraq. But they are missing those who disapprove of our handling in Iraq because they think we are not being aggressive enough. They like Bush, they support going into Iraq, and they want us to ignore the naysayers at home and go out and win the thing.

N&O Selective Quotation

John in North Carolina calls the N&O to task for selective reporting on the issue of racism.

Friday, June 10, 2005

More on School Choice

We mentioned the school choice movement in Raleigh and Cary before. If you want to ensure that parents, rather than school administrators, get to choose whether their kids attend year-round school or not, click here, or contact:
Cynthia Matson
Assignment By Choice, Inc.
1381 Kildaire Farm Road #295
Cary, NC 27511

PBS Funding

I am always amazed when I see the MSM, who should be the champions of a free press and virulently against govt. intrusion in the media, rally around the idea of more govt. involvement in the media in the form of the PBS.

The N&O runs a lengthy article today headlined: House panel approves big cuts to PBS funding. How about this as a header: Press freedom increased through reduced government role.

It is hard to believe that the MSM would be defending PBS if it had a balanced or conservative political leaning.

Trashing Helms

Jesse Helms will release his memoir in Sept., but the N&O is on the offensive already. The N&O uses not the editorial pages (though some Helms-hating pablum from Steve Ford is sure to come soon) but the front page to "report" on the proofs of the book they have seen.

Now "reporting" on Helms' career is as major task. The writer would have to cover Helms' role in strengthening the U.S. military and challenging the Soviets during the Cold War and eventually winning that mammoth struggle.

The thorough writer would delve into the role Helms has played in preserving U.S. autonomy and sovereignty by fighting against the growing influence of institutions like the U.N., the I.C.C. and the World Court.

The writer might even venture how much the power of our federal government would have increased in domestic matters if Helms had not worked to keep the growth of govt. in check.

But the "reporter" focuses his attention almost exclusively on the race issue. He is not satisfied to report on the issue by telling us what Helms says in his book. Instead, he attempts to contradict Helms' explanation for his actions, votes and quotes on issues related to race.

Now maybe the writer knows better than Helms himself why Helms voted against elevating Martin Luther King to the status of Washington and Lincoln by giving him a federal holiday. But as a reader I would rather read what Helms has to say about his reasoning than rely on a reporter/editorialist.

The whole piece falls into the new mantra for the Liberals - Republicans are white racist religious zealots. At least Howard Dean had the courage to reveal the marketing strategy the party has adopted. But I don't think the N&O needs to be a part of the strategy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Real News in Iraq

We have heard plenty from the doomsayers in the MSM about the situation in Iraq. Let's here from a guy who is there, Major K.

FBI Agents Betrayed

I asked a friend and former excellent military officer with a background in the law enforcement arena what he thought of the Deep Throat revelations. I think he hits on one point missed by most columnists when he considers the participation of FBI agents and how they must feel at their betrayal by Felt.

I guess the first reaction of most Americans was to applaud this guy and his actions, and I was no exception. Then, I started to think, why would a law enforcement officer feel it was necessary to go to the media? Did Felt have some sort of affection for the young reporter and want to make the reporter look good, or did Felt figure the Nixon Administration was permeated with corruption? Whatever his true reasons were, they were unjustifiable from my point of view. It should be noted Felt was a registered Democrat during those years.

I have several avenues open to me to ensure that a crime is addressed by the courts and the people, none of which include passing info to a reporter. Sure, Felt would have encountered resistance from L. Patrick Gray, but he still could have ensured the information was passed to the Department of Justice, or even a Congressional Committee. If Felt thought that answering Woodward's questions was "doing his duty", then I suppose he had no idea what his duty was. Sometimes in civilian branches of the government, individuals reach the lofty perch of executive management so fast they have no recollection of the short time they actually spent working in the trenches. In the FBI, knowledge of how the investigative process (and "due process")works is merely vital.

One other thing that occurred to me, and wasn't mentioned anywhere in news reports as far as I saw or heard, was that the guidance that Felt gave Woodward was fully based on reports generated by FBI agents out on the street conducting interviews. There was no other way he could have come by the information. If the agents conducting investigations that were later passed to Woodward were advised of such, I'm sure they would feel cheated and deceived, even just for Felt claiming credit as some kind of super-sleuth.

I have no doubt that Felt even had agents checking for Woodward's signal for a meeting (the flower pot on the balcony) without their knowledge.

Talking Points

If you don't believe the MSM gets on the same talking points and creates news, read here how their coverage of the "Downing Street Memo" was very well coordinated and always spun to damage the president as much as possible.

Not a Bad Deal

We held here that despite the complaining from the right, the filibuster deal was not bad for conservatives because if offered more options going forward and pinned the Dems down.

Now this from the WaPo:

Liberals Rethinking Senate Filibuster Deal
Wednesday, June 8, 2005; Page A04

Democrats generally cheered, and Republicans groused, when a bipartisan group of senators crafted a compromise on judicial nominations last month. But with the Senate now confirming several conservative nominees whom Democrats had blocked for years, some liberals are questioning the wisdom of the deal and fretting about what comes next.

Always good to keep them fretting.

School Choice

To solve part of the Wake County school overcrowding problem, the school board is considering changing some traditional calendar schools to year-round schools. Every time they try to do this parents complain, but there seems to be an easy solution.

Give parents a choice! Convert some schools to year-round and then give parents the option of attending the year-round or the traditional school in their area. But school board members such as Amy White believe that they know better than the parents what is best for the kids and the families, so they want to mandate who has to attend the new year-round schools. Guaranteed failure.

More Taxes

Credit to the N&O for naming the party trying to raise N.C. taxes in today's 1A article. Money quote comes from Dem Paul Luebke, "The economy just doesn't allow us to take off those taxes." No Paul. The rise in govt. spending under the Dem. Gov. and the Dem. legislature is the reason you face a deficit. But at least the N&O tells us Luebke is a Dem.

Party On

Kudos to the N&O for digging into overseas trips taken by N.C. lawmakers. But in the story today, no mention is made of the party affiliation of either the N.C. Transpo Secretary or the head of the DMV (both of whom took trips to London and are refusing to release records about those trips).

At the very least let us know who appointed these guys (wasn't it Mike Easley, Democrat?). If there is a pattern of abuse by one party in our state govt., don't you think it is the obligation of the N&O to reveal the name of the guilty party?

We Hope to See Mike Regan Again

Mike Regan is a member of the Raleigh City Council, and the N&O announced today that he will not run for a 2nd term. We will miss him.

Regan is one of those honest guys who ran on certain ideas and perfectly represented those ideas once he entered office. He was not bought off by powerful interests. He did not cower at the heckling by the Liberal writers at the N&O. He did not let the groups who feed on taxpayer money intimidate him.

We hope to see Mike Regan again in elected office.

The Edwards Cheering Section

Last week we learned that John Edwards spoke to a group of Liberals, then John Edwards is putting his name on a picture book, and now from the N&O cheering section we understand that John Edwards is moving back to N.C! Oh the feeling of relief.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Intel in the Counterinsurgency

Cori Dauber at Rantingprofs asks some good questions about an Op-Ed piece from the NYT on the subject of intelligence in a counterinsurgency, and she also supplies some good answers to her own questions.

I think the intelligence needs of insurgents are far less than for the counterinsurgents, and the intelligence needs of terrorists are even less than for insurgents (as Cori points out, as long as you know where your target is departing from, the suicide bomber just needs some patience). The primary reason is that terrorists do not need to pick a specific target (unit or person) when attacking U.S. troops or Iraqi policemen or security forces or Iraqi civilians. If you don't need a specific target, then the issue becomes one of technical expertise (in making, concealing, transporting and detonating the explosives) rather than intelligence. While there have been some targeted acts in Iraq, the overwhelming majority of violence has been against random targets.

The counterterrorists/counterinsurgents, on the other hand, must act with great precision (the degree of precision is much higher for U.S. forces due to our free press and political opposition than it is for other countries). We avoid using random violence or rounding up people without cause, so our target identification intelligence must be far superior to that of the terrorist.

So is our intelligence good enough relative to the terrorists to win?

I have a lot of gripes with our intelligence system, and I grimace whenever I hear someone say that the whole outcome rests on intelligence (because it usually means we will create more intelligence staff at the higher levels of command), but I am still convinced that the results so far in Iraq show that we will win.

The best indicator of victory is the progression of the "insurgency" from a focus on attacks on U.S. forces to attacks on Iraqi security forces and police and finally into the "terrorism" phase where the majority of attacks are on Iraqi civilians. If the terrorists had that great of an intel system they would not have to resort to bombing women and children in markets, so clearly they are feeling some pressure.

There is a tendency among analysts of the Iraqi conflict (and I think the author of the piece Cori comments on falls into this class) to grant great wisdom and organization to the terrorists simply because we don't fully understand their composition or goals. We know there are foreign fighters mixed with Iraqis. We know some terrorists only want the U.S. to withdraw, others want to kill Americans wherever they can and will continue to seek destruction even if we left, and others who are acting only out of youthful bravado or for pay. We know there are many groups committing violent acts, and we know some of these groups are communicating. But there is a lot we don't know. We must be careful not to allow those things we don't know to drive us into a shell by overestimating the intelligence capabilities of the terrorists.

One last point about intelligence. We have learned a tough lesson in Iraq about the difference between conventional and unconventional soldiers and units, and we probably should have learned the same lesson in Vietnam. Our conventional units are superb at fighting conventional wars, but their intel apparatus is stacked at the top of the pyramid. The higher commanders get the intel and command the lower units to act.

In an unconventional unit, the intel personnel are pushed as far down as possible, which allows the leader on the ground to act immediately rather than waiting for orders (or at least that is how we try to do it).

So what happens when we fight a conventional war and win, but then try to transition to an unconventional war with our conventional guys still not only in place but also in charge? More on that question later.

Logic and the Death Penalty

Steve Ford and the editorialists at the N&O are about 5 years late in tagging onto one of the most inane arguments about the death penalty, and in the same editorial today they fall for an even older political trick.

Ford claims that we should put a moratorium on the death penalty (a measure under consideration by the N.C. legislature) because we might execute someone who we later find out is innocent.

Well using that logic, we should ban the death penalty, not impose a moratorium. We will never be 100% sure that every person who is executed was guilty. It is important to have safeguards in place and an effective appeal process, but if you want to eliminate the death penalty just come out and say it rather than hiding behind a moratorium. And I challenge anyone to provide evidence of somone who has been executed in the U.S. in the last 20 years and later been found to be innocent.

The N&O also tries to allow the Dems who run the state General Assembly to pull an old political trick. In this deception the Dems introduce a bill proposing a moratorium, thereby pleasing the liberals who support such a move. But then the party leadership, realizing that the moratorium will be unpopular with most voters, claims they "don't have the votes" to pass the bill.

Now in N.C. both houses are controlled by Dems. They can pass what they want, and they rolled a number of Dems easily on issues like the lottery. So if they really wanted this moratorium to pass it is a done deal, but the N&O provides the political cover to allow them to have it both ways.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

The N&O has been pushing for an increase in the minimum wage recently, but when they run an article on teenagers who work during the summer (Life 1A today), they make no mention of the connection between teen jobs and the minimum wage.

For the editors of the N&O not steeped in economics, the connection is that as the minimum wage goes up, the availability of jobs at the lower end of the wage scale goes down. Liberals tend to ignore teens in this argument as they want to focus our attention on the single mother of 4 who works, but the small businesses who hire teens, and who give them the valuable work experience that pays off later, watch their costs closely.

The owner may be able to hire 5 teens for the summer at $5.15 an hour, but at $7 an hour the owner may decide the extra hand is not worth the cost and may only hire 4. Then of course the N&O would run an article decrying high teen unemployment, but again never link the effect with the cause of a mandated higher wage.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Soldier Heroism

Mudville Gazette relates a story of Marine heroism, and it made me start to think of some of the soldiers I met in 2004 during a short tour (of admittedly soft duty) in the Middle East. I found a note I had e-mailed back to friends and family here, and I reprint it below:

I appreciate the care packages and heartfelt notes that some of you have sent. I take them down to the R+R building and use the opportunity to ask some soldiers how things are going in Iraq. You can learn more from a few minutes talking to a private or specialist than you can reading hours worth of official reports, and I would like to relate one story.

The soldier I spoke with was pulling security at an Iraqi police station when the station came under attack. I had read some reports about the attack, and knew that the fighting had been pretty heavy. This soldier was on the roof of the station, and while he did not offer the information up until I pushed him, he has been nominated for the Silver Star for his actions that day. (Even with medal inflation, you still need to do something special for the Silver Star).

He was very humble about his heroism, and as he told the story it became clear that he was more concerned with the details of the mission and the technical aspects than he was about what had happened to him personally. (In short, he did not seem like the type of character who would put himself in for Purple Hearts due to minor wounds in order to leave the theater. He also did not seem like the type who would throw his medals, or ribbons, or someone else's medals, or ribbons, away).

I wanted to check if the items in the care packages you have been sending met the needs of the troops in Iraq, so I asked him what else they could use. He misunderstood my question as his mind was still on his duty and that day on the roof of the police station. He paused for a while and then said, "We had what we needed, but we could have used some more ammo, and it would have been nice to have a 240" (he was referring to an M240 machine gun).

He did not make that comment gleefully or with any sense of bloodthirst. In a few short months he had been transformed from your average young American into a soldier who was focused on his duty. He reminded me of the soldiers described in Rick Atkinson's new book "Army at Dawn." The book relates our landings in North Africa in 1942, and Atkinson illustrates the transformation of those soldiers from inexperienced boys to the men who would lead us all the way to Germany. I shook his hand and wished him luck.

As you have seen from the prison abuse pictures, not all of our soldiers are like this guy, but most are, and they are doing great work.

Thanks for those of you supporting them. Please distribute this to anyone having doubts as to whether we will get the job done over here.

Thanks - Scott

Blackfive also has a story of heroism worth the read.

Washington State

Michelle Malkin blogs the judicial decision regarding the Washington state gov. race. Seems to be headed to the state Supreme Court after defeat for GOP arguments. Could there be a silver lining in the decision for the Dems? Rossi clearly got screwed, most voters think so as well, and they may be willing to take it out on Maria Cantwell if Rossi decides to run against her for the Senate seat in 2006.

Hatchet Job on GOP

The N&O ran part of a WaPo article today with the following headline from the "reporting," not the editorial section: Ethics Issues plague GOP.

Where is the evidence in the article to support the headline? Some ambiguous comments by unnamed "Republican strategists" and details about the Democrats using Memorial Day to attack Republicans.

The N&O only carried part of the WaPo article. In the full article the WaPo actually is able to find two sources who they quote by name. The first is Conn. Republican Chris Shays, who has moved out of the mainstream of the party and has openly differed with Tom Delay for some time. The second is a former campaign strategist for John McCain. Are those really the "Republican strategists" used to support the article?

The N&O article mentions the investigations into the ties between Tom Delay and Jack Abramhoff and the improper filing of travel documents. But nowhere do they mention that recent reports show numerous Dems also tied to Abramhoff and deficient in their trip reports as well.

The article also states: In North Carolina, Democrats are attacking Rep. Charles Taylor, one of the wealthiest House members, who battled legal and ethical questions in past campaigns. If you are going to write an article and specifically mention a Rep. who is not a household name, you should include some details about "legal and ethical questions." Did Taylor's Dem. opponent bring up these questions? Were they ever investigated? Was he convicted or censured for any wrongdoing? The WaPo article has too much of a "when did you stop beating your wife" quality to it.

Finally, in a point less about bias than about good reporting, how could the WaPo reporter look as far forward as 2012 without noting that the current red states will gain 8-12 congressional seats after the 2010 census, so the battle will be even more uphill for the Dems to take the House in 2012?

Credit Where Due

In an exception to the dismal reporting in the N&O, Jay Price continues to portray an accurate and upbeat picture of the situation in Afghanistan. As long as the editors do not screw with the story by spinning the headline, we would like to see more of Price. Price is also trying to blog from Afghanistan, and you can see it here.

Check here for Chrenkoff's most recent post on the good news from Afghanistan.

D-Day Tribute

John Mathews from here in NC pays a nice tribute to those who participated in D-Day. And here is a story about a glider making preparations for D-Day.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Linda Foley in Hiding

It has been 23 days since Linda Foley claimed that U.S. forces targeted and murdered journalists. She is in hiding, but Media Slander is calling her out.

Ford Found Wanting

My major beef with the N&O is the bias in their news "reporting." But on occasion we must turn the guns onto Steve Ford, who runs the editorial pages. Besides having to skip over 3 editorials a day written in part by Ford, N&O readers must also endure a separate Ford piece, complete with picture, periodically.

Today's gem recycled the old arguments of the anti-Bush gang against our involvement in Iraq:

Yet, with his supposed WMD arsenal having been shown to be nothing more than a bogeyman that vanished when the lights were flipped on, Saddam scarcely was in position actually to put a hurting on us or our friends. So much for President Bush's main justification for launching a preemptive war.

No mention by Ford that previous administrations and many of Ford's beloved Democratic lawmakers had warned of the WMD threat, or that the overwhelming majority of foreign intel and UN estimates concluded that Saddam had WMD of varying lethality. It was only Bush who erred.

...the war we're now fighting against the Iraqi insurgency...

I did not protest too loudly when the N&O adopted the word insurgency just after major combat operations ended in Iraq. But now that the main tactic of the "insurgency" is to blow up innocent Iraqi citizens every day, they are terrorists and not insurgents. Ford should know better.

The United Nations was brought into play, but apparently just as a fig leaf.

If this was true, then we would have taken the first resolution and acted. But we spent months working (against the French and Russian ministers, some of whom were still profiting from oil-for-food kickbacks) to try to pass the second resolution, so clearly the involvement of the UN was no "fig leaf." And if anyone made the U.N. irrelevant in the argument, it was the U.N. itself and not the U.S.

The most aggravating thing about Ford's piece is when he uses a family friend and WWII veteran to exhibit despair over the lives lost in Iraq. Ford wonders whether we can achieve our goals in Iraq if the costs (in lives) get too high.

But remember that at the beginning of WWII we had no idea we would lose as many people as we did, and if we had presented the numbers of eventual dead to the American people prior to entering the war, I think they would have reacted with horror and ended our involvement. Read Rick Atkinson's "An Army at Dawn" to get a sense of how naive we were when our troops landed in North Africa as to the misery and death they would endure.

Ford's article concludes with: We'll honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day no matter what, but how much sweeter to honor them in victory.

Two comments for you Mr. Ford (and you can reach him at

First, we will honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day no matter what. Period. End of sentence.

Second, the only way we will lose in Iraq is if you and your Bush-loathing friends in the media and in government succeed in convincing your readers that what we are doing in Iraq is not worthwhile.

Indra Yooyi Story Lives

Even if none of the MSM will track the Indra Yooyi story, Powerline will keep it alive, and provides links to bloggers who won't give up.

Irony In Politics

How ironic would it be if the 3 leaders who protested the loudest against the liberation of Iraq (Saddam, Chirac and Schroeder) were out of office before the 3 who most firmly supported the coalition (Bush, Blair and Howard)?

More Political Courage

In another example of political courage in NC, state Rep. Paul Stam gets the nod.

The N&O reported on Friday that the N.C. Golden Leaf Foundation (a boondogle set up to distribute a portion of the N.C. tobacco settlement money) may start to give incentives to chosen businesses.

This idea rests on two premises. First, instead of distributing the tobacco settlement money to the citizens of N.C., it is a better idea to form a politically-influenced organization to hand out what is left over after the friends of John Edwards have taken their cut. Second, those who run the N.C. Golden Leaf Foundation are wiser than the marketplace and therefore able to foresee which businesses should get taxpayer aid.

Paul Stam sees through the charade and recommends Golden Leaf stick to "broadly accessible projects." Stam understands, however, that is not as much fun as "going to ribbon-cuttings and pretending to be the saviour of some small town."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

N&O Headlines Strike Again

The Nation & World section of the N&O today leads with: Mistreatment of Quran detailed. The subheader reads: A report explains five incidents, including the spraying of urine on a Muslim holy book.

Given the findings of the investigation, the truthful headline would have read: Respect for the Quran upheld at Gitmo. And the header could have filled in the story with: Limited instances found of Quran abuse.

Is the press really that steamed about Newsweek's embarrassment that they will do anything to cover their tracks?

Are the headline writers at the N&O really so warped that they would refer to "spraying of urine" in a subheader without noting that it was inadvertent (as the article explains)?

Why has the N&O failed to report the details of how the Quran is normally handled at Gitmo and left the job to an opinion piece by Krauthammer? (Proper handling of the Quran means using two hands and wearing gloves when touching it.)

Has even one of the hundreds of reports on terrorist bombings of innocent civilians in Iraq mentioned damage done to the Quran by those bombings?

If you told me that from 2001 until now the only cases of "abuse" of the Quran at Gitmo would be those few being breathlessly spun by the MSM, I would consider that a victory for U.S. military procedures. But for those with a mindset that the U.S. is to blame for the ills of the world, or for those who are trying to score political points, then headline writing becomes an art rather than an attempt to convey the truth.

Follow-up: I wrote this, but then I read Cori Dauber's analysis of the coverage of the Quran story, and she does a much better and more thorough job of looking into the details. Read her here. If that does not get you fired up, go to Media Slander.

Blog Influence

Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt for linking that sets an example of how the news is getting through the MSM filter. This one is about trouble for Robert Byrd in 2006.

Pictures of W in Azerbaijan

Go to Publis Pundit to see the latest from Azerbaijan, and check out the picture!

Media and the Military

Hat tip to Mike Williams for forwarding info on the latest Gallup Poll. Seems the press keeps digging a bigger hole the more they spin the truth about Iraq, Gitmo, Afghanistan... Military "approval rating" = 74%. Media = 28%.

Minimum Wage

The John Locke Foundation again produces great analysis of why increasing the minimum wage is bad economics and will not help those at the lower end of the wage scale. This is a timely release here as Dems tried to use the issue to score some political points this week in NC.

Why the Delay?

Gone for a few days, so maybe I missed it, but why hasn't the N&O, after those 9 consecutive days of Tom Delay stories, run an article about Dem involvement reported here in the WaPo.

Political Bravery

We tend to focus on political bravery at the national level, but here at the local level we have a few elected representatives who are willing to take on the established interests and speak the truth. Mike Regan and Mike Joyce are consistent voices of reason, but I also have to note Joe Bryan, the chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

The board increased county school funding by $12.3 million this year. The immediate response by the school board was to outline all of the programs they would have to end as a result of the "cuts." Bryan rightly points out that rather than look at their own bureacratic waste or innefficient and costly busing policies, the school board is "using scare tactics on the public." Bryan will undoubtedly face many screaming parents ignorant of the facts, and he will be pressured by the biggest base of the Democrats, the teachers unions, so let's hope he stands firm.

The Edwards Cheering Section

No blogging for a few days as I just returned from the WSOP No-Limit Tourney in Las Vegas. Please don't ask, but my pocket queens lost to a set of 9s.

Returned to not one but two fawning articles about John Edwards in the N&O. Now if John Edwards does something noteworthy I am all for the N&O reporting it. But one article was about Edwards speaking to some liberal groups, and another was some free advertising for a book of photos someone is putting together for Edwards to be realeased in the fall of 2006. I am on the edge of my seat.

The N&O has been a shameless cheerleader for Edwards for years, so I don't have high hopes that their overt support will change soon.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

With Press Help, Dems Angle for Military Vote

Cori Dauber points out another example of a suspicious headline regarding a military issue. We pointed out a different story last week in the N&O that did the bidding of the DCCC and supported the Dems using Memorial Day to attack Republicans. So what is going on here?

In both cases, Dems are trying to claim credit for legislation that extends benefits to members of the reserve component or retirees. Now maybe these Democrats are really concerned about these issues, but the with the press going out of its way to highlight Dem proposals, after having ignored the Republican bills that have supported the military, I suspect some political motive.

What I don't understand is how the Dems win here. Do they really think that they can gain points with members, or former members, of the military by outflanking the Republicans as being the party that supports the military more? Maybe they can peel a few votes off, but I can't believe this strategy will really work and will really justify the press effort it entails. Tell me if I am missing something.

Where Is Our N&O Public Editor?

Hat tip to purveyor of the blogosphere Mike Williams for the details on the departure of the NYT public editor Dan Okrent. On his way out, Okrent blasted one of the NYT columnists, Paul Krugman. For those who don't know Krugman, at one time he was highly thought of in the economics community (I remember studying his book at Wharton in the early 90s), but he has become a senseless leftist partisan hack.

I wonder whether these revelations from Okrent will force even the leftist partisan hacks at the NY Times to pull Krugman's column. I also wonder where the public editor at the N&O, Ted Vaden, stands on the issue - you can e-mail him at Surely the paper can come up with some decent liberal columns instead of relying on Krugman and the tired and sad Molly Ivins.

The Party of Corruption Protected

The N&O reports today that the State Board of Elections has reduced the fine for taking illegal campaign contributions against Meg Scott Phipps from $100,000 to $50,000.

You may wonder who Meg Scott Phipps is, and the paper apparently assumes everyone knows, so it fails to mention that she was a Democrat from a prominent Democratic family.

You may wonder why the article would mention that the State Board of Elections voted 3-2 to reduce the fine, but then fail to mention that the State Board has 3 Dems and 2 Republicans. Wonder how they voted?

But at least the paper of record for the Triangle region is willing to dig hard enough into the story to come up with this reason for the fine reduction, from Phipps' attorney no less, "This whole matter has been debilitating to the Phipps family."

Phipps, the Democrat, is now serving a 4-year federal prison sentence for corruption.