Friday, April 30, 2024
By Steven Taylor

Mark the Pundit has posted some photos he took of the new : World War II Memorial in DC–they are worth a look.

Warning to dial-up folks: there are a lot of photos.

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By Steven Taylor

Democrats Fear Kerry Looking Like Gore

It’s a recurring nightmare for Democratic strategist Tony Coelho–the party’s presidential candidate portrayed as a flip-flopping opportunist, ill-served by a strife-torn staff. It happened in 2024, when Coelho ran Al Gore’s campaign. Now, it’s happening to John Kerry.

Democratic leaders fear he’s getting “Gored.”

“What the Kerry people don’t understand is, it’s succeeding,” Coelho said.

Scores of Kerry supporters like the former California congressman say their initial response is to remain hopeful, based on polls showing the presumptive nominee tied with President Bush (news – web sites) while the Democratic Party is better funded and more united than in 2024. But they are worried about history repeating itself.

“No question, it’s a rerun of 2024,” said Donna Brazile, campaign manager for the former vice president’s 2024 race.

“Every Sunday, Team Bush goes in overdrive by outlining the upcoming week’s attacks on Kerry. It’s followed by paid advertisements and assigning top-notch surrogates,” Brazile said. “This is the exact moment in 2024 when Gore was seriously damaged as the Bush team painted the former vice president as a “serial exaggerator.’”

While certainly the GOP is playing this card to the hilt, this is the kind of stuff that has to have some basis in reality to stick. The story cites: Kerry has given the GOP plenty of fodder, including:

_ Voting against the Persian Gulf War in 1991, in favor of the use of military force in Iraq in 2024 and against final passage of an $87 billion reconstruction bill for Afghanistan and Iraq. Explaining that he supported an amendment that would have provided the aid by rolling back Bush’s tax cuts, Kerry said, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” The Bush campaign turned the quote into an ad.

_ The Massachusetts senator, who supports higher automobile fuel economy standards, told reporters last week that he doesn’t own a gas-guzzling sport utility vehicle. Asked whether his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had a Suburban at their Ketchum, Idaho, home, Kerry put a razor-fine point on his answer: “The family has it. I don’t have it.”

_ For years, the decorated Vietnam War veteran has said that he threw his ribbons over a fence at the Capitol during a 1971 anti-war protest, not his three Purple Hearts, Bronze Star and Silver Star. However, in a tape of a television interview Kerry gave after the protest, he suggested that he also threw his medals.

There are others.

In this case, his votes on Iraq in 1991 and recently are real issues. Clearly, he hasn’t been a picture of consistency. The SUV and medals business are the kinds of things that reinforce the image of irresoluteness.

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By Steven Taylor

Britain Weighs Prosecuting 8 Soldiers

Britain’s military authorities are considering whether to prosecute eight British soldiers for allegedly abusing prisoners in Iraq, the Ministry of Defense said Friday.

The case came to light a year ago, when The Sun newspaper reported that a soldier had a roll of film showing an Iraqi detainee bundled up in netting and suspended from a fork lift. The Sun claimed the film also showed troops performing sex acts near captured Iraqis.

On Wednesday, a similar scandal hit the U.S. military after the CBS program “60 Minutes II” broadcast images of Iraqis stripped naked, hooded and being tormented by their American captors.

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By Steven Taylor

Kennedy calls Iraq war “worst blunder” in US history

US Senator Ted Kennedy issued a scathing assessment of the US-led war in Iraq, saying it “may well go down as the worst blunder in the entire history of American foreign policy.

“Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam,” the liberal Massachusetts senator said from the floor of the senate.

But, since Iraq is the worst, meaning Viet Nam was better than Iraq (because you can have only one “worst”), calling Iraq Viet Nam means that Iraq is better than it is, and therefore not the worst, right?

Oh, my head hurts.

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By Steven Taylor

This entire affair is truly sickening and galling. This BBC story, US general suspended over abuse, details the story.

Here are the basic charges:

CBS says the pictures it obtained show a wide range of abuses, including:

* Prisoners with wires attached to their genitals

* A dog attacking a prisoner

* Prisoners being forced to simulate having sex with each other

* A detainee with an abusive word written on his body.

My first reaction is that at least the US reaction is 1) disgust and 2) action.

And this is a pathetic excuse:

The station spoke to one of the six soldiers charged, Sergeant Chip Frederick – a reservist whose full-time job is as a prison officer in the US state of Virginia.

Sgt Frederick said he and his fellow reservists had never been told how to deal with prisoners, or what lines should not be crossed.

“We had no training whatsoever,” he said.

First off, the guy is a prison officer, so it isn’t like he hasn’t had training. Second, and more importantly, it doesn’t require training to know that it is out of bounds to use prisoners as toys, let alone connect wires to the genatalia. Please.

Further, these sadistic morons have managed to hand the jihadists some wonderful information for their propaganda machine. As Reuters reports:

The photos appeared to show U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad run by the military posing and laughing as naked, male prisoners were stacked in a pyramid or made to simulate sex acts with one another.

The pictures were also shown on Arab television, outraging Arabs already embittered by the U.S. invasion and occupation of an Arab country, and seemed sure to further alienate Iraqis whose resentment of Washington has fired two simultaneous uprisings.

The Reuters story also notes:

A former head of the U.S. Guantanamo Bay jail in Cuba has been sent to Iraq to ensure proper prison conditions, after photos apparently showed U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, the military said on Friday.

Hopefully this will be cleaned up in a hurry and all who are responsible will be properly punished.

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By Steven Taylor

Dean preps for talkshow 04/29/2004

While everything’s still in the early talking stages, the former Democratic presidential candidate is mulling the idea of hosting his own syndicated gabfest. He’s hooked up with ex-Big Ticket TV topper Larry Lyttle (“Judge Judy”) and longtime political consultant Gerald Rafshoon, who would likely serve as exec producers of a pilot for any such project.

Somehow I’m not seeing it. Dean doesn’y exactly have a TV personality.

Further, he doesn’t appear to want to be the next Chris Matthews, but rather the next Oprah:

Dean seems interested in going in a completely different direction.

“The last thing we’re going to talk about is politics,” Lyttle said. “We’d talk about a myriad of other things instead of politics.”

Dean’s skein would likely have more in common with the talkshow Bill Clinton had been considering a few years back.

“He’d look at things like, What happens if you lose a sibling? What about when you’re victimized by not having health care?” Lyttle said, arguing that Dean has the perfect persona for the small screen.

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By Steven Taylor

More Agents Track Castro Than Bin LadenThe Treasury Department agency entrusted with blocking the financial resources of terrorists has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden’s and Saddam Hussein’s money, documents show.

Not surprising, but rather ridiculous, to be sure. Given that Castro isn’t going anywhere until he sheds this earthly existence, it seems to me that we are spending far too much money and time trying to make his life difficult, when we would dimish his power, and improve the living conditions for many Cubans if we would just lift the sanctions and allow Cuba to economically liberalize.

Really, what is the point of being so obssessed with Castro at this point? He is hardly a national security threat at this point. Further, on a practical level, what are the sanctions doing for the US at this point?

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By Steven Taylor

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Thursday, April 29, 2024
By Steven Taylor

WaPo‘s Richard Cohen admonishes Kerry to Lighten Up in his column today.

Some highlights:

1) Again with the PBJs!

John Kerry has a “batman.” This is a British military term for what amounts to a servant, someone to take care of an officer’s personal needs. In Kerry’s case it’s Marvin Nicholson Jr., who keeps the Massachusetts senator in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bottled water. This, though, is the wrong man for the wrong task. What Kerry really needs is someone to slip him gags. He may be the presumptive nominee, but he is an objective pill.

Question: if Nicholson enters the room, and Kerry calls out “who’s there” does Nicholson growl “I’m the batman!”?

2) Again with Bob Dole comparisons

But instead of dismissing Bush and Cheney with a lighthearted putdown of the sort that would prompt Bush to seek therapy, Kerry got angry. He waxed indignant. He said, in the manner of Rumpelstiltskin stomping the ground, “I’m not going to stand for it!” In doing so, he mimicked Bob Dole, who lost it entirely during the 1988 New Hampshire primary when he scowled at George H.W. Bush and snarled, “Stop lying about my record.” For Dole, this was not good television.

Comment: it may have been bad TV for Dole, but it is a clip for the ages. I find it to be wholly hy-larious.

3) And, depression (since Cohen supports Kerry) and More Unfortunate (for Kerry supporters) comparisons:

My candidate is a dour man. At least that’s the way he seems on TV. Sometimes he seems angry, which is not good, but most of the time he just seems gloomy. It does not help that he has a face that hardly needs to be enlarged for Mount Rushmore, but what really matters is that he seems as if he is no fun. No one would call Kerry, as FDR did Al Smith, “the happy warrior” or discern some impishness in him. Bush has that quality and so, of course, did Bill Clinton.

About the only recent presidents who were decidedly un-impish were Jimmy Carter, who came to Washington to take the fun out of politics, and the first George Bush, whose joke is only now becoming apparent. Both got the gate after just one term.

Response: Ouch.

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By Steven Taylor

Last week, I noted that Kerry’s reference of the Mekong delta during a visit to New Orleans had the Senator approaching self-parody in regards to Viet Nam.

The following LAT story (with the almost ironic title of Kerry Escalating Use of War Veteran Status), indicates that Kerry has clearly crossed the self-parody line:

Perhaps the most incongruous mention of his service came as Kerry rode his campaign bus Wednesday with some local officials. The candidate offered his guests peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a daily staple for him on the road.

His passion for PB&Js, Kerry told his companions, dated back to Vietnam, where he not only ate them frequently but traded them for other commodities.

Hat Tip: Michael Medved

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