Friday, October 8

(Hat tip to Ace of Spades:)
In an ideal world, no one ever has to make a tough decision. But unfortunately in the real world, sometimes tough problems have to be faced. Politicians hate to deal with really tough problems because by definition, whatever proposed solution you offer is guaranteed to anger roughly half the voters.

When the problem is merely financial--like the approaching insolvency of Social Security and Medicare--the usual political response is simply to ignore the problem, knowing it won't actually hit until someone else is in office. But when the problem is 100,000 fanatics who've repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to die to destroy us and our way of life, only an opportunist postpones hard decisions. A good leader steps up to the plate, makes the tough choices and puts up with the inevitable carping and second-guessing from critics.

Messrs. Kerry, Edwards, Jimmy Carter and most other Dems clearly believe that the problem of extremist-Muslim terror attacks on ordinary civilians can be solved by 'making nice'--by diplomacy, soothing talk, "understanding root causes", accepting that we bear much of the responsibility for their anger at us, and thinking in terms of "moral equivalence": 'They're just like us, and beheading someone to them is sort of like dropping someone off the "A-list" for party invitations.'

To many Americans, proposing "more talk" is a perfectly reasonable idea. It's particularly attractive to two classes of people: The first group is well-educated elitists--who recall that after WW2 the U.S. government both supported bad regimes and encouraged the overthrow of others in attempting to contain the spread of communism.

The "make nice" theory also appeals strongly to people who believe most of life's difficulties are due to a conspiracy against them by "the rich". Or more accurately, by *conservative* rich folks. A few wealthy people--Kerry, Edwards, all Hollywood stars, all network newspeople (except Fox, of course) aren't in on the plot. But anyone who's ever been involved with oil or defense, or who owns a business, is *definitely* part of the conspiracy.

The two groups just described probably account for 90 percent of Dem voters. In their view, anything Bush succeeds at in Iraq makes America *less* safe rather than more. Instead, the less America provokes Islamists, the better. And "provoking" them is doing anything they don't like.

The problem with this theory is that Islamic fanatics were blowing up U.S. property for, oh, 15 years or so *before* we invaded Iraq. And of course we hadn't invaded--hadn't even thought about doing so--when 19 of 'em flew two loaded jetliners into the World Trade Center.

But to the "make nice" Dems, facts don't count. Instead, what counts is that you *say* the right things, show that you *care* for the poor and oppressed of the world, and NEVER raise a hand in anger, no matter how lethally you've been attacked.

The scary thing is, something like 44% of U.S. voters actually believe this.

And sooner or later, they're gonna regain control of our government

Friday, October 1

Rathergate

From Cold Fury, on Rathergate:
If this conspiracy goes unpunished, if CBS is allowed to slink away and live to smear another day, then truth and justice will have become meaningless words.

'Fraid that's a done deal.

If the mainstream media are allowed to continue operating in this hopelessly corrupt, inept and fraudulent manner, then voters have no factual basis for decision making, and our republic becomes a construct of the media.

Yeah, that's pretty much what seems to have been happening, for years.

Why did CBS run with such *bad* forgeries?

Okay, no surprise that CBS would do *anything* to elect Kerry. But what I think has most objective folks astonished is that either *no one* at the network saw that the *obvious* forgery would never fool *everyone*; or that if anyone did warn the execs, they were ignored.

The facts require that we believe *either* that 1) no one at CBS was smart enough to realize that the superscript “th” was an obvious indicator of forgery; or 2) that CBS execs recognized that the memos were forgeries and ran with them anyway.

The second choice would suggest breathtaking arrogance and stupidity by CBS. While we’ve seen *many* examples of such behavior by CBS--and by Rather in particular--this seems rather unlikely. Moreover, if the network were to deliberately decide to run with a doc they knew was a forgery, why post a photocopy on its website--and thus make possible exactly the type of checking that unmasked the fraud?

What we’re left with is that none of the ‘normal’ explanations for what happened make sense. But since it did happen, there must be an explanation for the network's apparently irrational decision to do what it did.

Here’s my theory:

There’s a phenomenon in aircraft accidents in which the aircrew flies a perfectly sound airplane into the ground *even though accurate information about their situation–and impending doom if they don’t recognize and remedy it in time-–is right in front of them, in plain sight.*

In the antiseptic terms of accident investigation the cause of such accidents is “poor crew communication.” The reality is that the captain is typically a senior pilot who is known to have a bad temper and who freely unloads on any crewmember who crosses him, no matter how trivially. Thus when such a captain makes a wrong decision, no one wants to call down his anger by questioning
him, *even if they’re 99% sure he’s wrong.*

The WaPo reported that a CBS staffer raised the superscript question to 60 Minutes executive Josh Howard before the memo story aired. According to the Post, the 60 minutes people had a meeting about the issue, and it’s hard to believe Rather wouldn’t have been present. I would guess that Rather--the network’s senior on-air person--simply refused to believe the evidence, and no one had the authority or balls to overrule him.

In effect, they flew a perfectly sound company right into a mountain.

CBS and Rather's forged memos

I've been seeing a lot of comments on right-leaning blogs to the effect that "if only CBS had [done some very basic, Journalism-101 check], they would have realized the memos were forgeries (and bad ones at that) and would never have aired the story."

With all respect, I think this is false, and that people who feel it's true are missing a major point: The flaws in the forgeries were so obvious--even to a layman--that CBS had to have known (on some level, at least) what they were dealing with. They ran the story because they want to defeat Bush. At any cost