The decision by 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate
Michael Badnarik to play a leading role in the Ohio presidential recount is causing a bubbling controversy within the Libertarian Party itself as many members ask why Badnarik embarked on a venture that will cost taxpayers money without changing the outcome of the election.
The national Libertarian Party played no role in the decision to seek a recount, which was made by Badnarik himself and his campaign staff.
Hopefully, this is a sign that the Libertarian Party will return somewhat to sanity in the next election cycle. Badnarik was not a bad candidate, but he was definitely not a mainstream candidate. I've been leery of the Ohio recount effort involving Badnarik since I first heard about it. It seems like an expensive way to get... well... nothing at all.
Once more, Gun Owners of America is pointing towards a candidate who knows the right place to stand on the gun issue. This race is for the Senate, and the Senate is a place where we sorely need friends.
The most critical congressional election in the country is the Senate
race in Oklahoma between former Rep. Tom Coburn, an obstetrician, and
Rep. Brad Carson, a liberal seeking the support of Oklahoma's strong
majority of Bush voters.
Coburn surprised many by winning handily in the GOP primary,
defeating several candidates including the former mayor of Oklahoma
Just like that recent primary victory, Coburn won his previous
successful campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives in spite
of the establishment.
Republicans (not to mention Democrats) are not thrilled with a
colleague who publicizes their penchant for pork. This is laid out
in his book, Breach of Trust, and was the subject of my Live Fire
radio interview with him in July. (That interview is available at
http://www.gunowners.org/radio.htm on the GOA website.)
Lobbyists are terrified of a politician who votes against corporate
welfare and insists on keeping government within the constitutional
bounds that the taxpayer can afford.
While a member of the House of Representatives, Coburn showed that he
could block bad legislation, even though the House rules make it
difficult to do so. In the Senate, the rules are favorable to
blocking bad bills -- one only has to be willing to be unpopular in
that Country Club of 100. Clearly, Coburn is willing to be voted
"most unpopular kid in the class."
With Tom Coburn in the U.S. Senate, gun control will be dead on
arrival. It would have been nice to have had him in the Senate
chambers when the campaign finance law that gags political speech
could have been blocked by a single Senator with the will to fight
Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund has been supporting Dr.
Coburn all year long. Many of you, also, have supported Coburn.
This is the time to double down.
Individuals such as gun owners are the only way Coburn will get the
funds he needs in the closing days of the campaign to match the media
advertising budget available to his opponent, a darling of the
Please give as much as you can (up to the legal limit of $2,000) to
get this pro-gun champion into the U.S. Senate.
Without a doubt this is one victory that we can say will make a
You can contribute by going to http://www.coburnforsenate.com and
clicking on donate at the top of the page. Or, print and mail
the Reply Memo below along with your check. There are only a few
weeks left before the election, however, so please act today.
Dr. Tom Coburn
Coburn for Senate Committee
P.O Box 977
Muskogee, OK 74402
From: Title/Name ________________________________________________
Phone # _________________________________________________________
___ Yes, I want to contribute to your campaign. Enclosed is my
check for ___$25, ___$50, ___$100, Other $________.
___ Please charge the above amount to my credit card: Visa,
MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Card Name & #__________________________________________________
___ Yes, I would like to volunteer. Please have the campaign
Paid for by Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund. Not
authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Gun Owners of
America Political Victory Fund is a Project of Gun Owners of America.
Once more the Gun Owners of America are alerting us to a pro-gun congresswoman under attack. The extended entry has details, but the short version is, they would like you to consider contributing to the re-election campaign of Carolyn Musgrave to help her counter some of the negative advertising $1-million-plus in that's being funded by a liberal group.
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave has more than lived up to expectations during
her first term in Congress. She worked with Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)
to found the Second Amendment Caucus in the U.S. House. It has a
membership that includes the most aggressive pro-gun members of the
Under Rep. Musgrave's leadership, the Caucus organized a presentation
by Dr. John Lott and Dr. Bob Cottrell to inform congressional offices
about the truth of the ban on semi-autos. It was very effective and
was very helpful for many of the staff who needed "ammunition" and
talking points in opposition to the ban.
Musgrave continued in the U.S. House what she often did in the
Colorado legislature -- she stood up to the leadership of her own
party. In Congress these confrontations have included resisting tax
increases and the further socializing of the American medical system.
Gun owners need to have Marilyn Musgrave back in Congress so that we
can go on the offensive here in Washington on the gun issue.
Musgrave is poised to lead this effort in 2005, but first she must
win her second term.
A liberal group has launched an ad campaign with an estimated budget
of well over $1,000,000 aimed at defeating Musgrave and replacing her
with a former state senator who supports gun control.
One of the ads shows an actress (who looks very much like Musgrave)
stealing a wristwatch from a corpse in a coffin. In another ad, the
Musgrave look-alike is shown stealing from a soldier's burning house
while he is fighting in Iraq. Outrageous, yes. But remember the
philosophy of Hitler's chief propagandist: tell a big enough lie
often enough and it will be believed.
Musgrave has graduated to the big leagues, and it costs plenty to
play in the majors. I am asking you to join with me in personally
contributing to the reelection campaign of this courageous champion
of the Second Amendment.
Her defeat would send a very loud and negative message to the
majority of wobbly members of Congress. Namely, it's O.K. to talk
pro-gun, but don't do anything about it or the liberal big money
groups will pile on and defeat you. And, don't do anything to ruffle
the feathers of the leadership of your own party.
We cannot allow that to happen. Please contribute online to
Musgrave's campaign right now at http://www.musgrave2004.com -- the
election is now just a few days away.
If you prefer, you can send a check by mailing the form below -- but
please, do it right away. Musgrave simply must be able to match the
huge flood of money that her opponents are dumping into her campaign.
To: Marilyn Musgrave
Marilyn Musgrave for Congress
5401 Stone Creek Circle, Suite 777
Loveland, CO 80538
From: Title/Name ________________________________________________
Phone # _________________________________________________________
___ Yes, I want to contribute to your campaign. Enclosed is my
check made out to "Marilyn Musgrave for Congress" in the amount
of: ___$25, ___$50, ___$100, Other $________.
___ Please charge the above amount to my credit card: Visa,
MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Card Name #__________________________________________________
___ Yes, I would like to volunteer. Please have the campaign
The Badnarik campaign is requesting that you email CNN and complain about their mention of Nader rather than Badnarik, despite Badnarik being on 48 state ballots to Nader's 35. Go ahead and give them a piece of your mind.
The third presidential debate
Once more, the Republican and Democratic candidates will face one another... while the Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Greens, and Naderites are left out in the cold. The Libertarians have filed a lawsuit trying to halt the debate or force their inclusion. They did not get an injunction,
I find it both amusing and sickening that in the lead-in speech involved a man from the "non-partisan" debate commission telling the audience, "This event is not about you. Do not cheer, do not laugh, do not try to participate in this event. Tonight is not for you. Do not applaud until Bob Schieffer tells you to."
On that note, let the debates begin.
First amusing comment from Kerry: "Return to the fiscal discipline of the 1990s". It seems that the Senator has forgotten the dot-com boom and subsequent bust. While that's not necessarily a problem with fiscal restraint in government, I would hardly cite the 1990s as a period of fiscal discipline! And, of course, with the Federal Reserve and its monetary policies so deeply embedded in the economy, the government bears some responsibility for the results. (And yes, folks, that's the government under Clinton that is responsible for the dot-boom and thus for the dot-bomb).
Fixing social security
Kerry deftly dodges the question of how to fix social security: he's going to ignore the problem. Bush followed up, though, and didn't let him get away with it. Privatizing social security isn't the best solution out there, but it's better than sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting.
Bush has a plan that involves a temporary worker ID card, and has come out against amnesty; he thinks that people should either legitimately cross the border or should be stopped. Kerry has something that sounds similar, and he promises that he will close the borders, but he doesn't have a plan for how he'll do that. Typical.
Kerry doesn't get it. He thinks that raising the minimum wage is a free money handout. He doesn't understand that it has economic costs associated with it.
My god. Kerry has just come out in favor of a law setting wages on the basis of gender. No details, but "the administration has stopped it".
Kerry has the balls to deny the "global test" line from his last debate. I don't think that'll fly with voters,
Assault weapons ban
Bush believes in background checks and in renewing the ban.
Kerry: "I am a hunter, I am a gun owner, I respect the 2nd Amendment..." "Terrorists can come into American and buy an assault weapon at a gun show without a background check". Kerry is strongly in favor of the ban. This isn't a surprise.
Kerry wants more affirmative action. The fact is, he's in favor of racial and gender preferences -- not equality. Equal rights for all, Senator. Equal rights. Oh, and as President, Kerry will personally end racism. Wow. That's one hell of a campaign promise.
The case has been filed, the orders have been served, and the hearing has been scheduled. On Tuesday, the Superior Court of Maricopa County will decide whether or not taxpayer money can be used to present campaign commercials for favored political parties and their candidates.
At issue is the exclusion of Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party?s presidential candidate, from a Wednesday event at Arizona State University in Tempe.
The Libertarian Party and their Presidential Candidate, Michael Badnarik, are trying a lawsuit to halt or force their inclusion in the third Presidential Debate on the grounds that the debate is being held on public facilities and supported by public money. A hearing in the case has been scheduled for 9am today (Tuesday, October 12th).
I don't know what results are likely (and to me, the reasoning for the case seems a stretch) but I'll be watching closely for any word on what the results are.
UPDATE: The Badnarik campaign has updated their blog with the preliminary results. They did not get an injunction, but will be able to pursue damages for exclusion. I imagine more information will be forthcoming once their lawyers can analyze the case in detail.
Just as the debate began, two third-party presidential candidates purposely crossed a police barricade and were arrested. Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik were protesting their exclusion from the debate.
But this is almost all the article has to say on the matter, and major news sites aren't saying anything about it at all - at CNN, an 11-year-old taking his parents' car for a 200-mile spin makes the top of the front page, but apparently third party presidential candidates being denied the right to participate in debates just isn't as important.
Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for President, plans to debate tonight... whether the candidates want him to or not.
In practice, this probably means he'll get arrested trying to get into the debate hall. The media is likely to ignore this. But Badnarik deserves to be in the debates.
That said, I've noted some of the things that interested me about this debate.
One interesting note from the debates: the announcer makes a big point of noting that the "final list of questions" has been "seen only by myself, and certainly not the candidates". Yet, other reports indicate that the candidates know all of the questions in advance. How can this be reconciled?
Simple. They took two questions from each person selected to be in the "town hall", one for the President Bush and one for Senator Kerry. The moderator then selected some of those questions. But the candidates saw the whole list and had time to prepare for it. They won't know the specific list -- but they'll know all of the possible questions that are on that list.
Honest reporting, or shameful deception? You decide.
So far, though, the funniest thing about the debates isn't political at all:
Looks like C-Span picked Microsoft servers for their web hosting and paid the price (albeit only for a few minutes). They should have picked Linux.
Terrorism and the War in Iraq
So far, early into the debate, Kerry has been on the attack, but his facts are typical soundbites -- I recognize a lot of them as being either wrong or more complicated than he's portraying. Bush hasn't done a great job responding to him, but is trying to stress that the right actions matter more than popularity. As predicted, the Darfur
Kerry's favorite soundbite: "Rushed to war without a plan to win the peace." Although Bush hasn't used it, there's a saying in military circles: "No battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy." And there's this small matter of Turkey not letting one of our divisions drive through their terroritory.
The Kerry Doctrine appears to be that if we stop developing nuclear "bunker busters", other nations will stop trying to develop nuclear weapons. Sorry -- in the words of President Bush, that's naive and stupid. For the US, the preeminent military and nuclear power in the world, an additional type of nuclear weapon is a grain of sand at the beach.
For Iran or North Korea, a single nuclear weapon is the power to destroy an American city. This is not the Cold War, where we can negotiate with a rational, if ideologically opposed, opponent, and possibly reach bilateral agreeements to reduce arms levels. Terrorists do not care if they die, so long as they die in jihad. Terrorists cannot be deterred, only destroyed.
Domestic Policy and Health Care
The first question was reimportation of drugs from Canada. Bush sort-of flubbed his answer. He referred to safety issues and FDA testing. That's a valid concern, but it's not the real issue.
The real issue is patents; companies develop their drugs for the US market and offer them, once developed, to other nations. The US patent system allows them to recoup their R&D costs here. Other nations have socialized health care with single-payer status, which gives them more bargaining power, and they can effectively threaten to revoke the patent protection from drugs they think are too expensive.
The result is that drugs are developed for the US market and the R&D costs recouped there. By the time the drugs receive FDA approval for human use, the length of time remaining for their patent is half, or even less, of what it would be otherwise. That means R&D costs need to be recouped in just a few years, before other companies can (legally) produce generic versions.
Other countries can bargain harder, and sales to other nations represent a marginal profit that discounts the R&D cost. So the companies can make a profit selling to other nations at any price over the cost of production. There's no room in that for R&D, so the US is left holding the bill for research and development.
What does this mean? If the US begins to re-import drugs into the US, companies will reduce their research spending on drugs, because they will be less able to recoup there profits. Yes, existing drugs would be cheaper, and new ones less expensive -- for those newer drugs that are developed at all. The risk is that many of them won't be.
The Libertarian answer would be free trade. In general, that's the right answer. But off the top of my head, I'm not sure it would solve this particular problem. And I don't have a pat answer for what would. But before you can solve the problem, you need to understand it.
Kerry's answer: he's fighting for the middle class. Kerry as champion of the little guy is laughable. He's also running on a campaign of tax increases while claiming he has a tax cut. Amusing.
Kerry is harping on Kyoto. This is the bill that got a 98-2 vote in the Senate.... that's a 98-2 against. Kyoto is dead, Senator. Let it lie, and stop trying to molest the corpse.
Unsurprisingly, since Kerry voted for it, he's spinning himself as for it, but against how Bush has implemented it. Bush says it's necessary to remove the barriers within the FBI for counterterrorism.
The fact is, the barriers in place before the Patriot Act went beyond the requirements of the law. They could have been relaxed reasonably without something as overbroad and hastily put together as the Patriot Act. Yes, we probably needed to relax the rules the FBI was operating under in terrorism cases, but we did not need to do so in the manner which the Patriot Act permits.
Kerry seems to be in favor of funding the exercise of "rights" for those otherwise too poor to afford them. He represents abortion as one of those rights. I think that's bullshit. It's a tough question, but whether the government should be funding abortions is a much easier one. We do not have positive rights to the work or property or others. That represents a fundamental difference in philosophy between the Democratic candidate and the fundamental principles of American law.
it's too bad they don't have an option for "HELL YES, IT'S ABOUT TIME!", so you'll have to settle for a calmer, more rational affirmative response.
Maybe you should consider wasting your vote
. So to speak.
Click the link above and show your support for the Libertarian candidate.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEER PETITIONERS ON ELECTION DAY
The Libertarian Party is calling for petition volunteers on election day in North Carolina and Alabama. Read the extended entry for more.
Tuesday, November 2, provides an incredible opportunity for petitioning
for two state parties that are undertaking petition drives to get or
retain ballot status. Those states are North Carolina and Alabama.
Here?s what?s up:
(1) North Carolina. The LPNC needs to get 10% of the vote for President
or Governor on November 2 in order to retain party ballot status in NC.
That isn?t likely to happen. On November 2, the LPNC can start
circulating its party petition to retain ballot status. About 60,000
valid signatures of registered voters in NC will be needed for the LPNC
to remain on the NC ballot through 2008. LPNC Executive Director Sean
Haugh has a goal: 25,000 signatures on Election Day. It will take a
lot of volunteers petitioning that day to hit that number, but it is
definitely possible and would complete one-third or more of the petition
drive in one day! What volunteers collect, paid petitioners don't have
to. This would be an incredible financial boost to the LP.
(2) Alabama. The LPAL needs 41,012 signatures to reclaim recognized
party status. A big volunteer petitioning turnout on Election Day would
put a big dent in that drive and potentially save thousands of dollars,
just as in NC.
What's great about petitioning on Election Day is that you're legally
entitled to petition at polling places (as long as you don't get too
close to the door) and everyone there is a registered voter.
I live in Virginia, so I'll be going to NC. This will be my third
Presidential Election Day petitioning in NC. I've already called the
Wake County, NC Board of Elections to find one of the biggest polling
places there: North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where I
pulled 1,179 signatures in 1996 and 712 in 2000. I'm hoping for great
weather and an afternoon rush of voters that will form a theater line
running out the door. If that occurs, quadruple digits again for the
day is not out of the question.
But even if you can't take the whole day off work to petition, please
take a few hours during the morning or evening rushes. Every valid
signature helps. In NC, if only 300 people got 200 valid signatures
each that day, the entire petition drive would be completed with nary a
penny spent! If 200 people did the same in AL, ditto.
If you can volunteer your time as a petitioner in NC or AL on Election
Day, Tuesday, November 2, please contact the Executive Director of that
state's LP so he can find you your own big polling place:
LPNC: Sean Haugh, 919-286-0152, email@example.com
LPAL: Mike Rster, 205-328-8683, firstname.lastname@example.org
In no small measure, what we will accomplish on Election Day in NC and
AL will keep the Libertarian Party America?s Premier Third Party. Thank
you for doing what you can to make that so.
LNC At-Large Representative
National Ballot Access Coordinator
Seems Bob Barr, ex-Republican Congressman, is voting badnarik. This is the same guy who took a position with the ACLU after leaving Congress, in order to defend the civil rights of Americans. The Republican party has proven that they talk a good fight on civil rights, but in these post-9-11 days, have a lot of trouble walking the walk.
Clayton Cramer points us to an interesting account of ultra-rich Democrats meeting in secret to influence the 2004 Presidential election. It should surprise no one that Soros was included in the meeting. There has been rampant speculation that Soros has been manipulating some of the "markets" (basically, ways to make bets on who will win the election) in order to keep Kerry appearing to do well (or at least, less poorly than he should be). So oil price manipulation by these people does not surprise me in the least.
Sure, there's a war in Iraq right now and the middle east is a bit riled. But Iraq has not been a major producer of oil since the first Gulf War. Go read Clayton's analysis. If you're not seeing red by the time you're done, you may as well go back to Europe.
Can we get some antitrust action on this? Surely this is a textbook case, and that damn law has to be good for something after failing to stop Microsoft. Free speech is one thing, deliberately destroying the economic to achieve your political aims is quite another.
No, it's not scary for the reason they want it to be scary. But it's still scary. Also sad. And a little funny. Mainly because they're actually serious.
It's close. No, no one really wanted to hear that. It looks like the final result will turn upon the Ohio result. I think Bush will take the victory there, and thus the overall victory, but it's not a sure thing. Kerry would have to take about 75% of the outstanding ballots in Ohio to win the state, and even accounting for fraud and lawsuits, that will not be easy. Worst case, though, we won't know until provisional ballots are counted, which starts in 11 days. It's also worth noting that if current indications are accurate, Bush will win the popular vote significantly (by several million votes).
In the Senate, the Republicans should gain at least 2 seats, possibly as many as 4. A Republican (Burr) will be taking over the John Edwards Senate seat, as well as the Tom Daschle seat (Thune). Alaska goes GOP with Murkowski keeping her seat. A vacant seat in Florida goes to the GOP as well (Martinez). The GOP picks up Louisiana's seat without a runoff (Vitter).
Colorado's vacant Senate seat goes Democratic (Salazar), which will disappoint some who hoped Coors could win that seat. The Illinois Senate seat goes to Obama, which is not a surprise: Keyes ran a bit of a wild-eyed campaign.
Dave Kopel has a pretty good analysis of the races that matter regarding the Second Amendment.
There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)
Beldar is reporting that Michael Moore is actually proud that Osama Bin Laden watched his movie. Scary.
It's election day. Go vote.
Yes, it's time to cast your vote and exercise your right to determine the course of the nation.
Beldar points us to this article from WorldNetDaily engaging in what I'll call "educated speculation" about Kerry's discharge status and some of the discrepencies that have been noted in his military record. The same topic is also addressed in this New York Sun article.
The reasoning is fairly straightforward, and if these authors are correct, Kerry's discharge was originally a very negative one: sufficiently negative that it cost him his medals and probably disqualified him from the bar (ie, from practicing as a lawyer).
As I understand it, a dishonorable discharge is on about the same level of severity as a felony conviction for a civilian, and usually accompanies such a verdict from a court martial. An other-than-honorable discharge does not have the court-martial but carries the same effective result (stripping of medals, etc).
Kerry clearly maanged to get his discharge upgraded to honorable later on, resulting in the documents he posted to his website. Yet he did something serious enough, in the judgement of his military superiors, to merit an almost-felony conviction. Meeting with the enemy in Paris and advocating for their cause at home would likely qualify.
And here's an interesting question that might explain Kerry's hostility towards firearms rights: an other-than-honorable discharge might well carry the same penalty towards firearms possession as a felony conviction. Had Kerry not obtained the upgrade of his discharge (and there are apparantly sections of the relevant laws governing the upgrade program written specifically for Kerry), would he be presently barred from possessing a firearm?
This election cycle has found me caught in a bind. Normally I have absolutely no qualms about supporting the Libertarian candidate. Even if there is no realistic chance of winning, a vote for the Libertarian Party is the best way that I have to signal my political preferences. But this time, I'm torn.
I voted via the Early Voting mechanism on Friday. I voted for Badnarik and for every Libertarian candidate on the ballot. Today, I found that the Badnarik campaign blog had posted a link and an excerpt from this article: Libertarians for Bush are Libertarians Against Liberty. And I have to wonder why Badnarik feels that attacking members of his own party who disagree with his position on Iraq (and, surely, that particular issue is going to be the most divisive element of the LP's platform this year) is going to help the party.
Frankly... I like the Libertarian Party, and I like Badnarik as a candidate. Except for the war. The thing that separates Libertarians from Anarchists is the simple belief that government is a necessary evil, because certain things cannot be done without the application of coercive force. Keeping the people safe from the military threat of other nations is one. And keeping the people safe from the terrorist thread of other individuals, sponsored secretly by foreign nations, is another... at least in a world of biological warfare and nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, having already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, we have a responsibility to those people: a responsibility to repair the damage we have done to their nation, whether the government of those nations justified the military action we took or not (and I firmly believe that the actions were justified). Even if Badnarik does not believe the actions were justified, we have already committed ourselves, and at a minimum we must stabilize the situation and assist them in creating a representative government that respect liberty. Abandoning the Iraqi people to tyranny or terrorist agent provocateurs is unacceptable.
Comparing Bush to Hitler is beyond the pale. It is literally crazy, evidence of paranoia. He's not a perfect President. He's unlikely to become one in a second term. He's made decisions that damage freedom. He's passed and advocated laws that I believe are unConstitutional. But in these things he is no worse than Presidents who have come before, and likely better than his Democratic opponent.
If Bush is Hitler, where are the gas chambers? Where are the relocation camps for American citizens, which we faced as recently as World War II? If we compare 9/11 to the Reichstagg fire, are we to believe that Bush instigated or even faked that attack? Are we to compare the liberation of Afghanistan, which even now is learning the results of their national election, with Hitler's invasion of Poland? Is the invasion of Iraq to remove a tyrannical dictator who personally starved and tortured his people supposed to be analogous to Hitler's invasion of France? Are the Iranian terrorists supposed to remind us of the French Resistance?
No, I say.
I believe in the Libertarian Party and I believe in the Libertarian Party's foreign policy principles. But I also believe that 9/11 was an act of war upon America, and responding to acts of war is one of the proper functions of a Libertarian government. I do not confer moral legitimacy to tyrants or terrorists. And I do not accept that this makes me a Nazi.
Some of you will have seen the pictures from Kerry's recent trip
goose hunting. If you haven't, Alphecca
will get you up to speed. And now that you understand the background... witness the compelling testimony of the Swift Geese Veterans For Truth!
New vietnam-era documents have come to light that imply Kerry may have been acting under instructions from the North Vietnamese government during his leadership of Vietnam Veterans Against The War. Kerry is known to have met with the (communist) North Vietnamese government and the (communist) Viet Cong representatives from South Vietnam in Paris at least once, possibly twice. The newly discovered documents were captured during the war and describe the antiwar movement, during the time Kerry was leading VVAW, as having received "guidance and assistance" from the communist government.
And when they talk about "assistance and guidance" they are talking about specifics: scheduled protests, civil disobedience, incitement to revolt, distribution of propaganda within the military. At least one of the antiwar groups is described as having "maintain[ed] relationship with [the communist North Vietnamese government]".
The way I see it, that's treason in time of war for anyone who knowingly coordinated with the North Vietnamese government or the Viet Cong. Kerry did both and has admitted to doing both.
The documents (first example, second example) have been authenticated by the archivist in charge. There's probably still room for verification, just to make sure we don't see a repeat of Rathergate, but we're starting from a better position; the documents have a clear chain of possession as part of the archive going back to the war era. In short, unlike Rathergate, they don't seem to have appeared from thin air.
More details are available from the vast right-wing conspiracy:
One of the big stories making its way around the blogosphere in the past few days is the allegation that Kerry lied about meeting with the UN Security Council during the buildup to the Iraq War.
I tend to think this is a case of much ado about
nothing very little, on about the same scale as Gore's "inventing the internet" line. That is, the criticism is technically accurate but doesn't make much difference. We all know politicians like to take credit for things, and anyone who's been paying attention this election cycle knows that Kerry is a little loose with the truth about his own accomplishments (at the very least).
"This president hasn't listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable," Mr. Kerry said of the Iraqi dictator.
The key to understanding this story is to look at which UN representatives responded, and to understand the composition of the Security Council. The Council is a rotating body, with 5 permanent members and 10 elected representatives from among the other member nations. The permanent members have a veto power.
The permanent members are:
- Russian Federation
- United Kingdom
- United States
But of the five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who were reached directly for comment, four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries' U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either.
The former ambassadors who said on the record they had never met Mr. Kerry included the representatives of Mexico, Colombia and Bulgaria. The ambassador of a fourth country gave a similar account on the condition that his country not be identified.
Notice who answered their inquiry? Mexico, Colombia, Bulgaria, and an unnamed fourth. None of those three are permanent members. Kerry could easily have been referring to a meeting with all the permanent members of the security council, and nothing in this story would contradict him. It's not what he claimed -- he claimed all -- but it's a fairly minor slip if in fact he met with all of the permanent members.
So who did Kerry meet with?
After conversations with ambassadors from five members of the Security Council in 2002 and calls to all the missions of the countries then on the panel, The Times was only able to confirm directly that Mr. Kerry had met with representatives of France, Singapore and Cameroon.
In addition, second-hand accounts have Mr. Kerry meeting with representatives of Britain.
If one of the permanent members said Kerry didn't meet with his nation's representatives, that would be news. But if Kerry met with the permanent members, this is just nitpicking. From this it's clear that Kerry met with at least one permanent member (France), probably two (the United Kingdom), and two non-permanent members. That's 4 meetings, and 4 non-meetings, and 7 nations that did not respond, including most likely all the remaining members of the security council. What makes it interesting is the Kerry campaign's response:
When reached for comment last week, an official with the Kerry campaign stood by the candidate's previous claims that he had met with the entire Security Council.
But after being told late yesterday of the results of The Times investigation, the Kerry campaign issued a statement that read in part, "It was a closed meeting and a private discussion."
A Kerry aide refused to identify who participated in the meeting.
The statement did not repeat Mr. Kerry's claims of a lengthy meeting with the entire 15-member Security Council, instead saying the candidate "met with a group of representatives of countries sitting on the Security Council."
That's a very non-specific denial, and the obvious rebuttal -- that Kerry had met with all the permanent members and some of the elected members -- isn't made. Refusing to name exactly who Kerry met with isn't very helpful either.
Overall, although I believe Kerry to be the greater evil in this campaign, I do not believe that this particular accusation is especially powerful in making that case.
Earlier in the campaign, a reference was made to Republican "digital brownshirts". As you may know, the "brownshirt" reference refers to Hitlerian tactics of voter intimidation to silence dissent by threat of violence. It's truly disgusting. But the real brownshirts in this election aren't voting for Bush.
Courtesy of Winds of Change comes this summary of recent intimidation tactics by Democrats. The Guardian, a left-wing UK newspaper, recently called for the assassination of President Bush (and then retracted the column here).
And keeping a Bush sign up in your lawn is becoming more and more difficult, perhaps even dangerous. Shots have been fired at Republican Party headquarters. The AFL-CIO (a prominent union) organized coordinated attacks on Republican Party offices. There have been break-ins in Cincinnati and Seattle, plus vandalism in Arizona.
I'm not going to vote for the Republicans as a result of this. I'm still voting for Badnarik and the Libertarian Party. But anyone considering support for the Democratic Party in this election, consider carefully whose company you are placing yourself in.
UPDATE: A Florida man has apparantly tried to run down Katherine Harris (the Republican congresswoman who played such a large role in the 2000 Florida vote counting). He said he was exercising his political expression.
UPDATE: Another incident at Republican Party HQ, this one in Cleveland.
The memorandum of understanding that sets out rules for the debates between Bush and Kerry is now accessible to the general public, and it's got some real shockers inside. Well, ok, I'm not shocked. But I am appalled.
The parties agree that they will not [...] (2) appear at any other debate or adversarial forum with any other presidential or vice presidential candidate[...]
In other words, they are engaged in collusion to prevent the third-party candidates from receiving any attention. And that's just wrong.
The parties agree that the Commission's Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria for 2004 General Election Debate Participation shall apply in determining the candidates to be invited to participate in these debates.
If one or more candidates from campaigns other than the two signatories is invited to participate persuant to those Selection Criteria, those candidates shall be included in the debates, if those candidates accept the terms of this agreement.
While that looks nice and fair, that's all predicated on the assumption that the "Commission's Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria" are fair. Despite the use of the word "Nonpartisan", however, those criteria are carefully constructed to exclude third parties. In this respect the debate commission's role is to act as the fall guy; it takes the heat for excluding third party candidates.
If you want to see what the third-party candidates have to say about this, you can watch the shadow debates. Badnarik was one of those participating, and he's pretty good; if you want real debates, the Badnarik campaign wants your help.
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