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Kender brought this to my attention. It appears Obama will go to any lengths to raise a little cash – even going so far as coming up with the latest Nigerian Scam.

This diary (that probably appeared today on the Obama campaign site) almost sounds like those emails you get that will give you half of some fortune squirrelled away by a Nigerian chief or government official if you only agree to accept all the money and put it in a bank. Of course, they want “good faith” money from you because they are taking a chance sending the whole bundle and trusting that you will do what you say. The English is better but the appeal is the same – they want to steal your money.

Of course, they say they will donate it to the Obama campaign but we know they won’t do that – it’s illegal:

We are gathering up to 4,000 people together for a fund raising to support OBAMA 08. The funds raised will be sent to the OBAMA campaign office as our own way of showing support for OBAMA since we are not eligible to vote as we are Nigerians based in Nigeria and not in America.

Time: Saturday, June 28 at 4:00 PM
Duration: 4 hours
Host: Fola Daniel
Contact Phone: 234-8059522444
Abuja, VA 22003
View Map: Google Maps
Yahoo! Maps

Directions: From Abuja International airport, take airport taxi direct to the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Nigeria

Now Kender tells me the zip code number is in Annandale, VA. And I should add that it is perfectly legal for Americans in Nigeria to give to Obama.

But the tipoff that these donations will not be coming from Americans is at the top. The diarist says “... since we are not eligible to vote as we are Nigerians based in Nigeria and not in America. It wouldn’t matter, of course, if they were Nigerians based on the moon. Federal Election law prevents them from contributing to Obama’s campaign.

From the FEC site:

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

Any Nigerian who donates will violate the law. The owner of this diary is breaking the law by publishing this. Then again, perhaps we should consider the possibility that this is indeed another Nigerian email scam. If so, maybe the campaign isn’t quite as flush as we thought.

Seriously, I am not accusing Obama of illegal fundraising because this is a diary and I’m sure that once they discover the problem, they will remove it. Or let’s hope they will anyway.

By: Rick Moran at 5:42 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)


Face it, friends. Forget all the media hype you’ve heard about the superiority of Obama’s campaign. Forget everything you’ve heard about what geniuses these guys are. The fact is, these fellows are not very smart. And they have proved it by jumping on a McCain gaffe without realizing they were leaping into a pool of quicksand.

First, either of these men who tries to portray themselves as a “Man of the People” or “more in touch” with average Americans should be horsewhipped. Neither of these gents has a clue how most of us live and both probably hit their knees every night thanking God they don’t. It is a distressing fact here in the first quarter of the third century of the American experiment that running for federal office is a rich man’s game and has become so for both parties. They are all out of touch with the average American which is why both campaigns have thrown up smokescreens instead of dealing with the hard issues that threaten our future.

Obama’s surprisingly aggressive attack on John McCain’s inability to remember how many houses he owns without thinking of how McCain could turn that attack and have it redound in his favor shows Obama is more concerned with appearing to “fight back” than with formulating any logical plan on how to attack his opponent. The netroots and other Democrats have been screaming at him to get tough on McCain, to respond in kind to McCain’s digs at Obama’s celebrity and haughtiness.

Just this morning, James Carville writes that Obama “needs to get mad about something:”

And my last piece of advice to Obama and his team is to just get mad about something. Obama’s campaign seems so intent on branding him as a “cool and calm” leader.

Well, voters want to see a sense of urgency and outrage in their president: Outrage over our dependence on foreign oil; outrage over our increased cost of living, health care and education; outrage over declining incomes; outrage over an endless war and an idiotic foreign policy; and outrage over our country’s loss of prestige over the last 7½ years.

To put it bluntly, Obama needs to get outraged over something other than “attacks on his patriotism.”

Is Obama capable of getting mad? His attempts to counter McCain’s non-existent charges that he isn’t patriotic came off like whining rather than outrage. Indeed, if there is one thing the Obama campaign does extremely well it’s whine.

But in piling on about McCain’s house gaffe, hitting on the twin themes of elitism and McCain being “out of touch” along with the unspoken charge that McCain is forgetful because of his age, Obama has led with his chin. Barack Obama is the very last person in America who should bring up the subject of houses – and John McCain is going to remind Americans why that is so. His campaign released this statement:

Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people “cling” to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans? “The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.”

Taking the house attack and turning it 180 degrees on the Democrat, the McCain campaign has come out with a blistering attack ad that savages Obama over his relationship with convicted Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko and the still unanswered questions on how Rezko helped Obama move into a house he couldn’t afford at the time.

This isn’t the only “Glass House” offensive that Obama is trying. He also has released an ad attacking McCain’s associations – specifically with Ralph Reed who was involved in the Jack Abramhoff scandal.

Talk about leading with your chin, this is incredible. First, McCain’s ties to Reed are nebulous at best, damn near invisible unless you include money raised by Reed (and we won’t get into a fight over who is donating to each campaign now, will we?).

Beyond that, trying to attack McCain associates once again highlights Obama’s own problems with people he hangs around with. And for that, we have to look no further than Barack Obama’s long term association with Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.

Wright will no doubt make another appearance later in the campaign. I suspect the McCain strategists are holding Wright in reserve and will unleash an attack connecting Obama with his long time preacher and mentor when it will have maximum impact – sometime after the first and before the last debate.

In the meantime, the University of Illinois has done a great service to the McCain campaign by making an issue of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records in their refusal to release them. What might have been of minor interest to the anti-Obama internet and a story for a few days on the news nets has now piqued the interest of the national media and will be big news when (if?) they are released.

What is in those documents that could be damaging to Obama? No doubt they will show the candidate had a relationship with the former terrorist that was much more than the “just some professor who lives in my neighborhood” meme that Obama was trying to push on the press a few months ago in Philadelphia during the debate. And they could reveal some ideas that Obama has about how to reform education – ideas that could be so far out in left field that exposing them to the voters might make him look even more like an extremist.

But Obama, in raising the question of McCain’s associations, has only opened up the Pandora’s Box that leads to his own much more problematic friendships. And by doing so, the Obama campaign has proved that either they are so supremely arrogant that they think their candidate invincible or they are supremely stupid and don’t quite realize what they have done.

By: Rick Moran at 12:39 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)


Snowball contemplates her Veep choices

Regular readers will recall that rather than choose either Obama or McCain as my candidate, I turned instead to my pet cat Snowball as a creature I could fully get behind for president.

The wisdom of this choice becomes more and more evident as the campaign goes along. As the other candidates have sniped and snarked at one another, Snowball has stayed above the fray with that kind of quiet dignity that only cats can aspire. She has not said a word against either McCain or Obama despite the fact that both have given her plenty of ammunition. And where both mainstream candidates have given the most fodder for attack is in the way they have gone about choosing their running mate.

Have you ever seen such a parade of worthless nobodies being considered for the second highest office in the land? John Nance Garner once famously referred to the Vice Presidency as “a warm bucket of spit.” Well these fellows whose names are being bandied about for the second spot are so inept they missed the spitoon altogether. On the Democratic side you have that legend in his own mind Joe Biden, the invisible governor of Virginia Tim Kaine, and Birch Bayh’s kid from Indiana who might be chosen so that Hoosiers are fooled into thinking that Obama holds views in the mainstream of American politics and henceforth shall ever be loyal Democratic voters.

That last is pretty funny, actually. Rock ribbed Indianians aren’t fooled into buying a pig in a poke so why Obama thinks he can pull the wool over their eyes by choosing Birch’s kid only shows how elitist and ignorant he truly is.

As for McCain, well we’re still waiting for him to whittle his list down to a baker’s dozen. The guy has been all over the lot, floating non-entity after non-entity. For McCain, it doesn’t seem to matter who might be acceptable to the rest of the party as much as how big a splash he can make with his pals in the press.

Is it any wonder I’m sticking with Snowy?

In Snowball’s case, she has a problem with youth and inexperience, being all of 3 years old. But to her credit, she at first tried to reach beyond her species and attempted to unite the country by choosing a candidate that reflects the diversity in our nation.

Her first choice was untenable. Robert the Rabbit may have all the qualities necessary to be president but his pro-choice beliefs would make him unacceptable to the base. (Robert says as far as choice is concerned, he chooses to say “yes” whenever the opportunity arises.)

Marty the Mole presented even more difficulties. Marty’s penchant to dig a hole and hide at the first sign of danger mirrored exactly the national security plank of the Democrats. But since the whole purpose of Snowball’s candidacy is to offer a complete break from the past and be totally independent of either party, she reluctantly concluded that Robert might make an excellent MSHA Administrator instead.

In desperation, Snowy turned to one of her nemesis, hoping that such a move would unite the country behind her candidacy. Alas, Rocky Racoon had his heart set on being president and there were concerns among her advisors that Rocky would seek to undermine rather than help her efforts. Rocky’s own supporters made that abundantly clear by threatening to stay home on election day or soil their bedclothes on purpose just to teach us all a lesson. Needless to say, that didn’t play well with Snowball who, after enduring weeks of their threats and blather, told them all to go hang.

So in the end, Snowy turned to an old reliable – stalwart, true, but not very bright. Snowball’s choice was my other pet cat Aramis:

Aramas responds to questions about his intelligence.

At the unveiling, the press went bananas:

“Is it true you jumped on the counter and ate most of a $40 rib roast?“Tell us about the time you ran outside without permission and walloped on a poor defenseless bird.”“Is it true you have committed several acts of murder and mayhem against mice?

Aramas is nothing if not glib. He brushed aside charges of brutality and stupidity, falling back on the old standby “It is in my nature to do these things. I am a cat for God’s sake.” That didn’t convince the press who continued to harangue Aramis until I called “last question.”

Aramis may not be the brightest bulb in the room. But he is loyal and loving and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone or anything else.

If only Obama and McCain could be so lucky with their choices.

By: Rick Moran at 8:30 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)


Even though he was a Democrat, I’ve always liked Joe Lieberman.

He “got it” on many issues near to my heart; the trashing of our culture, the importance of Israel as an ally, our role in a dangerous world. Lieberman sees many things clearly – even though his is a huge union booster and an advocate of top down solutions to social problems.

Kicked out of the Democratic party for his apostasy on the Iraq War but still allowed to caucus with the Dems so that they could maintain their majority in the senate, Lieberman can see the writing on the wall as well as anyone. The fact is, the Democrats will almost certainly not need his vote to maintain a majority next year after the GOP loses at least 2 seats and perhaps as many as 6 in the senate. And Lieberman knows that there are several Democratic senators who covet his Homeland Security chairmanship as well as his seat on the Armed Services Committee.

This means that come 2009, the Democrats will publicly humiliate Lieberman, emasculating him by stripping him of his plum committee assignments while the liberal netroots who hate Lieberman almost as much as they hate Bush cheer them on.

Recognizing his position, it appears that Lieberman is about to throw his lot in with his good friend John McCain – if not as Vice President (many believe him to be McCain’s first choice but simply not possible under the circumstances) then as a major backer on the sidelines and possible cabinet member in a McCain Administration. Lieberman is scheduled to speak at the Republican convention:

Lieberman will deliver a speech when Republicans gather in St. Paul, Minn., to nominate McCain for president, a party official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The official requested anonymity because a formal announcement had yet to be made.

Asked during a visit to Georgia whether he would be speaking at the convention, Lieberman smiled and said: “it’s quite possible, but I’ll let them announce it.”

Lieberman, 66, caucuses with Senate Democrats, though has been a strong supporter of the Iraq war and is a staunch backer of McCain’s presidential bid, traveling often with the Arizona senator and campaigning on his behalf during the GOP primary in states like Florida that have large numbers of Jewish voters.

As he weighs potential running mates, McCain is believed to be seriously considering choosing Lieberman, whom he counts among his closest friends, for the GOP ticket. Lieberman’s convention speaking slot doesn’t indicate either way whether McCain ultimately will choose his friend for the No. 2 slot.

Do not expect Zell Miller like fireworks denouncing liberals. Lieberman just isn’t that sort of Democrat. He is a classic liberal in the mold of a Hubert Humphrey; an optimist whose deep religious faith informs his politics as much as any evangelical Christian. Would he consider joining the Republicans in 2009? He may. But there are many on the GOP side who don’t want him. He would be by far the most liberal Republican legislator in Washington and would therefore be an embarrassment at times. Therefore, it is likely that Lieberman will remain an “independent” but may caucus with the GOP for purposes of the leadership votes and other party line matters that come before the senate.

It goes without saying that the Democrats are going to be livid with Joe. But considering the invective hurled at him by his critics already, what more can they say to hurt him?

By: Rick Moran at 11:42 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)

Maggie's Farm linked with Friday morning...
The Rick Moran Show: Things to do in Denver when you’re dead

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show,, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight’s show will once again see Rich Baehr of The American Thinker in the second chair as we take a look at a significant surge by John McCain just prior to the Democratic Convention. We’ll also preview the convention and talk about the Vice Presidential sweepstakes.

The show will air from 7:00 – 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

The Chat Room will open around 15 minutes before the show opens,

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 6:41 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)


I am always trying to be helpful to our friends on the other side, giving them the benefit of my considerable experience and wisdom in matters both personal and political. For instance (and this is a freebee); never eat lobster at a restaurant where the beasts are in a tank swimming around and you get to pick your own dinner. My reasoning is elementary; thinking about the poor creature you’ve just selected for the culinary guillotine being lowered into a boiling pot of water, screaming silent screams of agony while its meat slowly cooks in its own fat will take away your appetite pronto.

Unless you casually mention those facts to your date in which case it will be her appetite that goes south and you get to eat the lobster anyway. Or watch her facial expressions – especially after you tell her the part about the crustacean cooking in its own fat – for some rippingly amusing efforts on her part to keep from upchucking the escargot.

And yes, it’s true. I ripped the legs off grasshoppers when I was a kid.

But as you can see, I grew up to be a normal, sadistic conservative, always taking pleasure in the discomfiture and discombobulation of my political foes. I hope I will be forgiven for this minor flaw in my character in my next life (where I devoutly hope I don’t come back as a lobster) because in the here and now, I revel in it.

Of late, I have been blessed in being allowed to positively wallow in lefty angst and hysteria. The Obama campaign and their defenders have finally reached the point of no return in their efforts to smear John McCain – no return to sanity or decency.

I still think McCain is going to get slaughtered. But there is little doubt it won’t be because of any superior tactics or moral high ground claimed by the Obama campaign. The Chicago politician has proved to the world that he can get down in the gutter and root around with the worst of them. And he’s doing it with the active encouragement of the liberal netroots who are so terrified of Obama being “swiftboated” by the right that they have determined that flinging feces at McCain like little monkeys in the zoo will prove to the voter their candidate’s ability to go beyond partisanship and enter the shining new world of the political assassin and hatchet man.

To wit, there are a couple of nutroot attacks that either prove a feeling of desperation because their candidate has been screwing up royally the last month or they are misdirecting their anger at Obama for being such a doltish wimp. Either way, the conspiracy theories about McCain’s appearance at Saddleback and the provenance of the “cross in the sand” story are revealing of a hysterical bunch of smear merchants who saw their man get clobbered at a forum on religion and are scared that once again, the Great Prize is slipping through their fingers as they seem to have latched on to another candidate with feet of clay.

First up is the pitiful, head shaking meme that moved through the leftosphere yesterday like an outbreak of dysentery at Woodstock VII; the notion that McCain “cheated” at the Saddleback forum because he was not in the “Cone of Silence” that moderator Rick Warren set up to so that McCain wouldn’t hear the questions he was asking Obama.

I have only seen brief clips of Saddleback because frankly, the idea of watching two men who want to be president of the United States try to outdo each other in proving how holy they are is not exactly my cup of tea. Both men’s position on abortion bother me. Both have decided to pander to Christians; McCain can’t win without them and Obama can blow McCain out if he wins enough of them. And those who base their vote on the difference between the two in such matters are one reason politics in America is so screwed up.

No matter. Moderator Rick Warren’s “Cone of Silence” remark was evidently misplaced. John McCain had better things to do than sit in a green room for an hour awaiting his turn to walk into the Coliseum and face the lions. He was, in fact, in his car on his way to the venue when Obama was on stage. This has elicited a communal “Aha!” from the left who believe McCain did so well because he was able to crib answers to Warren’s questions since he failed the Maxwell Smart test.

Apparently, some lefties actually believed there was a real “Cone of Silence” just like on Maxwell Smart. Others stated flat out that McCain “cheated:”

I must admit that listening to McCain answer Pastor Rick Warren’s questions so quickly and glibly Saturday night at the Saddleback Faith Forum made me wonder if he somehow knew them in advance. He was so confident, so concise. But I put the thought aside as unduly paranoid—that is until Sunday afternoon. I was routinely checking my favorite election website and the webmaster, Nate Silver, referred to a piece in Daily Kos about the whereabouts of John McCain for the first thirty minutes of Senator Obama’s interview with Rick Warren. Was he in a cone of silence? Apparently not.

Daily Kos blogger Furiousxxgeorge wrote at 3:27 pm Pacific time the following blog:

Pastor Warren, the host of last night’s forum was just on CNN. In an interview with Rick Sanchez the pastor admitted McCain was not even at the Church for the first half hour of the event. This admission comes as a surprise to those of us who watched the event and were told many times that McCain was at the Church and in isolation.CNN says they talked to McCain’s camp and they said no one in his camp was listening. The honor system, are you kidding me?I think it is pretty clear at this point McCain did indeed know the questions in advance.

Well I don’t know about you but that cinches it for me. A Daily Kos blogger named Furiousxxgeorge says McCain cheated and who am I to disagree with such a reliable, level headed, non partisan source?

Byron York shoots back. Unfortunately for the Kossak, he has some facts at his disposal:

A few points. First of all, it appears that some commentators believe there was an actual “Get Smart”-style “cone of silence” at Saddleback. There wasn’t. Pastor Rick Warren was making a little joke when he used that phrase. But he was assuring the crowd that McCain was not hearing any of the questioning of Barack Obama.

Next, McCain, like Obama, knew the first two questions that would be asked of him — the “three wisest people” question and the “greatest moral failure” questions. Both men knew exactly what was coming at the start of the appearance. This morning I talked to A. Larry Ross, who is the media representative for the Saddleback Church, and he told me that Warren “gave both candidates the first two questions because he didn’t want them to be nervous…so they would be at ease.” Ross says that in separate phone calls with the McCain and Obama, Warren also went through the four general categories of questions and said things like, “I’ll probably ask you a question on this, or on that,” but gave no specific wording.

In addition, according to Ross, Obama knew a third specific question that Warren would ask — the one about a “president’s emergency plan for adoption.” “[Warren] felt that since that was basically asking for a commitment, he felt that it was fair to tell them in advance that he was going to ask them that,” Ross told me. So Warren told Obama, and planned to tell McCain when McCain arrived at Saddleback, but wasn’t able to because of other distractions. So according to what Ross told me, Obama actually knew one more question in advance than did McCain.

Are you effing kidding me? Obama had some of the questions in advance and still stunk up the joint? I didn’t have to see the program to know that. It’s what the Obama camp told Andrea Mitchell of NBC:
MS. ANDREA MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, there was the crisp, immediate, forceful response by John McCain, clearly in a comfort zone because he was with his base. And Barack Obama, taking a risk in going there but seeing an opportunity. And a much more nuanced approach. The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that—what they’re putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.

Obama’s “nuance” was apparently to duck, bob, and weave like a middleweight while Warren tried to pin him down on issues like abortion. Claiming it was “above his paygrade” may have been clever sounding but failed utterly to convince anyone that he is the only sitting senator who voted against giving life saving treatment to babies born alive as the result of an abortion.

With a position like that, I’d duck the question too.

Be that as it may, it is apparent that Obama had not only questions in advance but an excellent idea of what the range of topics would be as well. It is equally apparent that Obama either didn’t prepare adequately enough or in order not to sound like the devil incarnate, he tried to mask his true beliefs with a lot of doubletalk. End result; a clear McCain win by all accounts (even, as I show above, the Obama campaign itself).

But this is just unacceptable in some lefty quarters. And the Obama campaign, whining as it has constantly throughout the primaries about this, that, or the other thing, is showing a decided lack of sportsmanship about the whole thing; you lost, Barry – deal with it.

But they can’t. And Edmund Wright at American Thinker puts things in a perspective that even a lefty should be able to understand:

Monday, he emerged as the political “child-man,” launching a tirade in New Mexico that was almost surreal in it’s tone. The performance made Harry Reid’s whiny “oil is making us sick” speech seem almost Rambo-esque. It is simply amazing when you think about it, but the Democrat nominee is trying to win the right to face the Russians, the Iranians, Bin Laden and a plethora of complicated and tough domestic issues by claiming the Republicans are too “mean” to be elected.

This is presidential politics by way of the elementary school classroom. If 12 year olds could vote, Obama would certainly win in a landslide. Anyone who thinks a clever campaign line is “the Republicans…they’re so mean…what are we going to do” is hardly up to the task that he is asking for.

I can see it now. “Putin…he’s so mean…what are we going to do? Abudinajhad…he’s so mean…what are we going to do….four dollar gas….it’s so mean….what are we going to do.” These are not issues that you can make go away with flowery speeches and loose editing by the NBC family of networks.

That could very well be why the new Quinnipiac Poll shows Americans prefer McCain to Obama by an astonishing 2-1 margin when it comes to dealing with our newfound Russia problem.

You would think that one embarrassing line of attack that proved to be utterly ridiculous would be enough for one day. But there must be something in the air or perhaps there was a full moon because, not content to show themselves incredibly sore losers, the left decided to attack McCain by the simple, inelegant smear of calling into question a key moment in his spiritual life.

I blogged briefly about this yesterday but that was before one of McCain’s fellow POW’s confirmed that yes indeed, John McCain told him a story about a North Vietnamese guard drawing a cross in the sand on Christmas day.

What makes this attack so riotously dumb is that there is absolutely no way to “prove” a negative – that short of a letter emerging where McCain is yucking it up about putting one over on the yokels regarding his cross in the sand story, there is no way any lefty critic is going to prove McCain did not experience the event as he tells it.

Now the left is fond of saying the right is “smearing” Obama when we call into question his meager record, his lack of experience, his associations with radicals whose views are so antithetical to the mainstream that questioning him about his past becomes just another part of the vetting process for president.

But, for instructional purposes, I would say to my lefty brethren, “This is the very definition of a smear: A charge made with no proof that attacks the candidate’s character and person.”

John Kerry was smeared by the Swift Boat vets who, in the end, had only their eyewitness testimony as proof that Kerry is a weasel (we knew that already but backing up their charges is something entirely different). This is proof of a sort that can be questioned. When you’re talking about charging someone who served his country with faking his wounds, I go by the old Carl Sagan adage about UFO’s: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The vets had 30 year old memories and a bone to pick with Lickspittle Kerry for his own smearing of the American military in Viet Nam. I leave it to the reader but in my mind, it may have raised questions about Kerry but it hardly constituted proof.

The left doesn’t even have this excuse in the case of McCain’s cross in the sand. There are no eyewitnesses with a different story they can point to. There is no documentation they can print. There is no proof of any sort whatsoever that what John McCain says about the incident isn’t the God’s honest truth.

What they have is the thinnest reed of coincidence involving a similar story related by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. But that hasn’t stopped our liberal friends. One example brought to you by the “In your face and like it” smear comes to us via TT Boy:

Now I don’t know if this really happened to John McCain or not. He may think it happened, I mean, c’mon he’s ninety-one and he sometimes mixes up his experiences from the Vietnam war with something that happened to him during the Spanish-American war. It happens.

The important thing is that the rubes parishioners at Rick Warren’s House of Tithing church cooed appreciatively because these are the kinds of stories that reinforce their faith much like sightings of the Virgin Mary in the gravy pan at Hometown Buffet. Take it from me ( a Catholic regardless of the restraining order), true faith is a powerful and mysterious thing that is as hard to find as, say, the clitoris. I mean there is a lot of groping and fumbling around and false starts until finally a voice whispers in your ear, “Yeah. That’s it…or at least close enough for government work”.

Stay classy, guy.

Incredibly, Andy Sullivan was roused to a fever pitch and actually posted numerous times (starting with this one) about “questions” regarding the story. Excitable Andy – always willing to accuse others of smearing Obama – can’t quite bring himself to make the psychic connection here and see himself denigrating and smearing a war hero. Two former POW’s have now come out and said McCain told them the story back when and Andy still beats the dead horse, hoping he can rouse the beast through sheer repetitive blows.

Perhaps Andy should take the baseball bat to his own noggin and knock some sense into himself. He is the laughingstock of the right at the moment and is only digging a deeper hole every time he mentions the incident. Perhaps Allah has the right slant to silence the left about this ridiculous charge:

Bob Owens googled around to see if he could corroborate McCain’s story and stumbled upon a similar incident involving former POW (and GOP senator) Jeremiah Denton. The dumbest part of all of this — aside from the fact that the nutroots is pushing it into the mainstream media, where it’ll redound to McCain’s advantage and dirty St. Barack’s hands by association — is that if he was going to make up stories to prove his devotion while in prison, surely he could do better than this. I remember some lefty (at TNR, I think) noting quite rightly after McCain’s Christmas ad came out that the specifics of it really are more a testament to his captor’s faith and humanity than to McCain’s. If Maverick wanted to dazzle believers with evidence of his own grace under pressure, he’s got material to work with. But then, this is a guy whose son was stationed in Iraq and yet who almost never mentions that fact on the trail even though it gives him moral cover in his push for a sustained troop presence. Anyway, rock on, nutroots.

To have this gift of two memes showing the left in all its glorious nuttiness and hysterical hand wringing about absolutely nothing puts a smile on this cowboy’s face. John McCain is more than likely to be thrashed by Obama come November. But as long as we have liberals to kick around and make sport of their fundamentally warped view of reality, I will not despair.

By: Rick Moran at 11:26 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)

Maggie's Farm linked with A few political links...

One of the things that makes close observers of politics so jaded and cynical is the fact that at one time or another, to one degree or another, every politician will lie.

Now everyone tells little white lies all the time. Some evolutionary biologists theorize that our ability to lie (usually to spare another’s feelings regarding their self image or self worth) assisted hominids in forming tight knit groups and therefore improved their survivability. Such behavior has been seen among chimpanzees – but in a more “political” way. A less dominant male who has mated with a female will seek to hide that fact from the Alpha male (as will the female). This is lying done to prevent a bad outcome – something with which any American politician is very familiar.

Most political lies are transparent. It’s almost as if a game is being played with the voter. The politician is saying “I am lying. You know I am lying. I know that you know I am lying. But let’s keep the fiction going because it sounds good anyway.” This kind of lying is common whenever a politician tries to convince us of their superior motives for supporting or voting on a particular bill. They are doing it “for the children” or “for seniors” or for some other selfless reason.

Just once I’d like to hear a politician get up and say “I am supporting this bill because the National Association of Widget Manufacturers donated $100,000 to my campaign and besides, it’s popular in my district and voting for it will make me a shoo in for re-election.”

It seems that the higher a politician rises, the bigger the lies. Take Barrack Obama, for example. Today’s headlines feature a real whoppers told by Obama over a not inconsequential matter. The only people who seem surprised at this turn of events are partisans on both sides who profess to be shocked – shocked I tell you – that politicians would lie about a position they took on a hot button issue or about an incident that they say has defined their character and informed their faith in God.

In Obama’s case, the lie is as bald faced as a politician can get. This is true of most Obama lies so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Rarely in recent political history has a candidate for president so consistently and shamelessly – so easily – lied about past positions he has taken on a myriad of issues. There have been occasions where he has lied about changing a position he held as recently as 24 hours previously.

Like any good liar, when challenged on the lie, the Obama camp bristles at the suggestion that the messiah could ever utter an untruth. The more blatant the lie, the louder the denunciation of those who have caught him in the fib. Only after a few days have passed and the hubbub dies down will some surrogate or campaign aide like David Axelrod go on TV and admit the truth. Since the lie is no longer a story, the “clarification” rarely receives any play.

There is nothing new in this. Obama is not the first candidate to try and obscure problematic positions on the issues. Nor is John McCain guiltless in trying to hide some of his more contrary stances on policy matters that would get him into trouble with one group or another. In Obama’s case, however, it is the naked cynicism of his lurch toward the center on many issues while claiming that his position has always been the same that causes many to roll their eyes and look in askance at the man’s integrity.

And in Obama’s case, it is not just lies told to cover up his liberal/radical views on policy. His blatant fibbing about his personal relationships with everyone from Rev. Wright, to William Ayers, to Tony Rezko have been shockingly direct, challenging the media to call him out for his lack of candor and outright lies told about his associates.

No one believes Obama when he says he never heard Wright utter his poison while sitting in church. No one believes Obama when he says that Ayers was “just a neighbor” rather than someone he had known for at least 15 years and worked with on a charitable board among other connections. And his characterization of Rezko as just one of thousands of donors to his campaign beggars belief when you consider that the now convicted political fixer is the man largely responsible for putting Barack Obama where he is now.

All of this plays as background to Obama’s latest problem with the truth; his position on the so-called “Born Alive” bill. He voted against the measure while serving in the Illinois senate -a bill that contained the exact same language as the federal legislation passed a few years ago.

Obama swore he opposed the bill because he said it “weakened Roe v. Wade” but he supported the basic idea of trying to save any baby born alive even if the result of an abortion procedure.

Now we learn that in fact, Obama’s explanation was less than candid. Here is what he told CBN interviewer David Brody after the Saddleback debate:

I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say – that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion.

That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade. By the way, we also had a bill, a law already in place in IL that insured life saving treatment was given to infants.

Obama’s strong denunciation of those who he claims were lying about his radical position on abortion was as tough as any that the campaign has given to critics who have caught him in previous lies:
So for people to suggest that I and the IL Medical Society, so IL doctors were somehow in favor of withholding life saving support from an infant born alive is ridiculous. It defies common sense and it defies imagination and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive and it’s an example of the kind of politics that we have to get beyond.

It’s one thing for people to disagree with me about the issue of choice, it’s another thing for people to out and out misrepresent my positions repeatedly, even after they know that they’re wrong. And that’s what’s been happening.

Who was doing the “misrepresenting?” The New York Post reports on a statement released by the campaign that lets loose with one whopper to hide another:
Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported “was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”

His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law.

There was nothing in the bill that would have undermined anything except Obama’s good standing with NOW and NARAL who opposed this bill and others like it not because it “undermined” abortion rights but because it would cause some physicians to think twice about performing a late term abortion. Obama, representing what is arguably the most liberal district in the state of Illinois, could hardly have supported anything that was opposed so strenuously by the leading liberal lights of the feminist movement.

So after saying for weeks that no, this was not the same bill passed at the federal level and that he opposed it because it would “undermine” abortion rights, the Obama camp was forced to admit to the lie while still trying to maintain the fiction that it would have kept women from getting an abortion – and by the way, it was unnecessary because Illinois already had laws protecting infants born alive. This too is a lie because Illinois has no such specific law and no prosecutor would ever take a doctor to trial for allowing a baby to die who, once removed from the womb during an abortion procedure, breathed on its own.

There is nothing wrong with a liberal politician pandering to special interest groups like NOW and NARAL. But trying to obscure that fact with a lie and then blasting those who have discovered your fib by, in turn, calling them liars is just one more example of Obama’s monumental problems with telling the truth about anything he stands for – something that could potentially cost him the election if the Republicans are effective at making that case.

Not to be outdone by the right, lefties have attacked John McCain over a story he has told many times about a guard during his captivity who helped inform his faith.

It is a touching story – whether it is true or not. One of the guards was less cruel to him than the others and even showed mercy by coming into his cell one night and loosening the ropes that bound him so tightly:

In the months that followed, I occasionally saw my Good Samaritan when I was moved from one part of the prison to another. He never allowed himself a glance in my direction, much less spoke to me, until one Christmas morning, when I was briefly allowed out of my cell to stand alone in the outdoors and look up at the clear, blue sky. As I was looking at the heavens, I became aware of him as he walked near me and then, for a moment, stood very close to me. He did not speak or smile or look at me. He just stared at the ground in front of us, and then, very casually, he used his foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We both stood looking at his work for a minute until he rubbed it out and walked away.

McCain claims that the experience helped him “to form my lasting appreciation for my own religious faith, and it took the faith of an enemy to reveal it to me.” But is it true? This Kossak believes not:
The version that he gives in his book “Character is Destiny,” is different than the dramatization from a primary campaign commercial he released in 2007, where the guard uses a stick to draw a cross.

We’ll get back to these different versions in a moment.

But, people are now questioning the truth of this entire story.


Because Alexander Solzhenitsyn had a very similar experience:

Indeed, Solzhenitsyn relates an eerily similar story:
As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly, he lifted his eyes and saw a skinny, old prisoner squat down next to him. The man said nothing. Instead, he drew a stick through the ground at Solzhenitsyn’s feet, tracing the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work.

As Solzhenitsyn stared at the sign of the Cross, his entire perspective changed. He knew that he was only one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet in that moment, he knew that there was something greater than the evil that he saw in the prison, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that the hope of all mankind was represented in that simple Cross. And through the power of the Cross, anything was possible.

Has this kind of thing never happened in the history of the world? Tom McGuire points out the obvious:
Uh huh. Because the sign of the cross is a pretty well-kept secret, so how could prison guards invoke it twice in one century? FWIW, the story appears in McCain’s 1999 “Faith Of My Fathers”, although I have no idea whether McCain told it earlier. Lexis mavens?

The Kossacks are on this search for the truth, so we know it will be kept classy.

Actually, the Solzhenitsyn story had another prisoner drawing the cross rather than a guard so that would be one extremely significant difference there. But McCain is a huge Solzhenitsyn fan and it would not be beyond imagining he would steal it and use it in his own narrative that reveals his religiosity.

Hilzoy sensibly warns us to look before leaping on this story:

I mention this because I think people should be very wary of leaping to conclusions about what it means that John McCain’s story of a guard who scraped a cross in the dirt on Christmas is (reportedly) similar to an anecdote from Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. It’s not a gesture so unusual that it could not have happened twice. Christianity is not unknown in Vietnam. To my mind, it means next to nothing that the details varied slightly from one version to the next: that happens all the time in normal life, especially forty years after the fact. The only odd thing is that McCain didn’t mention it in his first account of his captivity, which is quite detailed, and does bring up religion. But there are a whole lot of reasons why he might have omitted it other than its not being true.

The point being, we should look in askance at anything these two guys are telling us because as politicians, they were born to lie. And while some may see this attitude as cynical, the fact is it saves a lot of time and heartache if you pronounce a politician guilty of lying until he proves his innocence. And despite the fact that there are many politicians with a rough kind of integrity, they all lie about one thing or another. And separating the lies from the truth becomes harder the higher up they go.

By: Rick Moran at 10:53 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


One of the big reasons I love American politics is that nowhere else in the world can you find such a colorful cast of characters that pop up to add a little comedy to our otherwise deadly serious proceedings. Even the crooks are entertaining – if not personality wise then certainly in their marvelously inventive methods of purloining from the public purse.

Duke Cunningham may not have been much of a Congressman but he belongs in the Super Bowl of graft for his enormously inventive plans to enrich himself. “Dollar Bill” Jefferson gave a whole new meaning to the term “cold, hard cash.” Larry Craig’s straddles on more than just issues. And their friends in Congress can be even more entertaining and original in the ways they seek to separate the hard earned taxpayer coin from its owner.

Then there are the gadflies, the hangers on who wish to make an impact on our politics but only end up making idiots of themselves. Not surprisingly, I include myself in this group along with most (not all) bloggers, most columnists in major newspapers, most TV pundits, and anyone who writes for The Nation.

We are in “the boredom killing business,” as William Holden famously said in Paddy Cheyevsky’s brilliant and prescient take on TV news, the movie Network. And one of the best ways to alleviate ennui is to read books that purport to explain, analyze, or otherwise comment upon politics as it is currently practiced here in the United States.

Now the French, God bless ‘em, have a theory that you shouldn’t write about politics or history until at least 50 years have passed from the period you wish to study. Only after everyone is dead and their papers, diaries, letters, and post it notes are published can an author truly know and understand his subject.

This may be true. Then again, it might be a typical French excuse not to do any work. (Oh for God’s sake lighten up, I’m kidding you nitwits).

Be that as it may, today’s political authors immerse themselves in their subjects about as deeply as the puddle that forms after it rains in the utility room of my basement. Anything written by Sean Hannity must come with a piece of string so that the book can be tied to your desk lest it float away. The same goes for Ann Coulter and double for anything ever written about the Bush Administration by a liberal.

Then there are the books written to do a number on a candidate or political figure. There is nothing new about political hit pieces – Jefferson employed Philip Freneau to skewer Washington, Hamilton, and other federalists. The difference today is that they claim to be documented and “thoroughly researched.” Where Freneau would take great glee in airing all sorts of dirt on Alexander Hamilton (most of it untrue), political hatchet men today mask their attacks by hiding behind “scholarship.” Dolts who read these books are generally impressed because they contain hundreds of footnotes and feature a bibliography that rivals the Library of Congress.

But bad sourcing is still bad sourcing, even if you footnote it. And that appears to be the case with Jerome Corsi’s newst effort to insert himself into the presidential race with the publication of his book An Obama Nation.

Corsi’s career as an author is interesting. He’s written two books about a nuclear Iran that accuses politicians of actually paving the way for the mullahs to get the bomb. He’s written another book that tries to debunk peak oil. He wrote a book about border control with Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist whose main thesis is apparently that Bush is lax on border control because he wants to advance the idea of a North American Union with Canadians and Mexicans.

In short, Corsi is no ordinary Gadfly. He is a certifiable loon. He’s two shakes short of a martini. You cannot take anyone seriously who claims that US politicians are helping Iran get the bomb. Nor can you put any stock in anything written by a guy who thinks that any American president would give up American sovereignty just so he doesn’t have to pay any import duties on his Canadian bacon. It’s stupid. It’s cracked. It’s nutzo.

In a sane world. Jerome Corsi’s stuff might appear on the comic pages. Or placed next to the newest issue of Mad Magazine in the bookstore. But in today’s zany political culture, Corsi rates 100 guest appearances on talk shows and news programs. And apparently there are enough people out there who are either unaware or don’t care about his cockamamie views because Obama Nation will appear this week on the New York Times bestseller list at #1.

According to my old friend Pat Curley, Corsi is also a 9/11 truther who thinks that physicist Steve Jones is the bomb and Alex Jones worthy of an appearance on his show. In fact, the New York Times Caucus Blog informs us that the Obama project caused Corsi to delay his next big revelatory best seller; a book exposing the “lies” told by government in the 9/11 investigation.

Among the follow-up efforts to Jerome R. Corsi’s “Unfit for Command,” which inspired the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on Senator John Kerry in 2004, is “Obama Nation.” But the conservative commentator’s book about Senator Barack Obama appears to have distracted him from another project he was planning in January: exposing what he calls the government’s inadequate explanations about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

A YouTube video making the rounds, especially among Obama supporters, mocks Mr. Corsi for a Jan. 29 interview on Alex Jones’s radio show, a forum for those who take a deeply skeptical view of government claims about the attacks. (Mr. Corsi also frequently talks about the “North American Union” and other threats from globalization during his appearances).

The clip has Mr. Corsi discussing the findings of Steven Jones, physicist and hero of the “9/11 Truth” movement who claims to have evidence that the World Trade Center towers collapsed due to explosives inside the building, not just the planes hitting them, during the attacks.

Alex Jones is a popular radio host – especially with the tin foil hat crowd as well as that upstanding, all American, all White bunch at Stormfront, the neo Nazi site that gave a lot of luvin to Ron Paul recently. And Pat has also dug up the fact that Corsi apparently has no qualms about appearing anywhere at anytime to discuss his book – even if the radio show he agrees to appear on is geared toward the sub-60 IQ set:
Perhaps Corsi’s most telling appearance, however, has been on The Political Cesspool, an overtly racist, anti-Semitic radio show hosted by self-avowed white nationalist James Edwards. Corsi was interviewed on the Cesspool on July 20 and is scheduled to appear again this Sunday, August 17, joining a recent guest roster that has included Christian Identity pastor Pete Peters, Holocaust denier Mark Weber and former Klan boss David Duke.

Along with promoting Corsi’s appearances, Edwards is boasting on his website that the three-hour weekly show will join the Republic Broadcasting Network in September. This conspiracy-minded network, heard via satellite and the web, features talk about a sinister “New World Order” and wild theories about the causes of 9/11. Shows that air on the network include The Piper Report, named after host Michael Collins Piper, who has contributed to the holocaust denial magazine The Barnes Review, and Mark Dankof’s America, which has interviewed Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, a leading Holocaust denial group.

Nice company you’re keeping there, Jerry.

And nice company my fellow conservatives are keeping if you buy his book. There are oodles of things to criticize, denounce, make sport, and laugh at Barack Obama about without having to use anything from this screwball’s book. In fact, I would chastise folks like my good friend Jon Henke of The Next Right, the excellent Peter Wehner of Commentary, and numerous other conservatives and center/right bloggers and pundits who have actually taken the time to try and seriously discredit Corsi and denounce his inaccuracies and idiocies. The best possible thing to do about Jerome Corsi is point a finger and laugh at him. Laugh at his utter, hopeless stupidity at believing that there is a plot to form a North American Union. Giggle at his belief that the World Trade Centers were blown up by the government. Snicker at his notion that currently serving American politicians knowingly aided the Iranian mullahs in their efforts to get the bomb.

Why waste time and effort in a dedicated and well researched effort to critique someone who actually believes Obama is some kind of closet Muslim or at best, has “ties” to the Muslim religion he is not telling us about. This is especially wrongheaded considering that when the subject of Obama’s religion comes up, there is a ready made campaign killer all set to make a spectacular comeback this fall.

Jeremiah Wright as a tool to defeat Obama is a helluva lot more potent than any Islam worshipping Obama did as an 8 year old kid. All that bringing up the fake and foolish story that Obama is a Muslim does is distract from the public concentrating on Wright as Obama mentor and friend. In short, by trying to “prove” a baseless, ridiculous, nutty story about Obama’s radical Islamic past, those pushing this meme are only hurting their own cause.

I frankly don’t care how much of Obama Nation is true and how much is part of Corsi’s overactive imagination. I don’t care what his conclusions are nor do I care to know his views on Obama as a man or a politician. To my mind, a book on Obama written by Mickey Mouse would have more credibility.

At least Mickey isn’t responsible for what comes out of his mouth.


It’s been so long I almost forgot how fond the American left is of “blaming America first” for anything bad that happens in the world.

Bush sneezes in Beijing and it’s America’s fault a typhoon erupts in Bangladesh. We send a couple of hundred advisors to Georgia in order to help them re-organize and train their minuscule 26,000 man army while giving them advice and encouragement in building a democracy and, POOF! It’s our fault that Vladamir Putin chose to invade the sovereign territory of a tiny, nearly defenseless neighbor, burn villages, bomb cities, and generally cause a lot of mayhem.

The argument being advanced – that we pissed Putin off by aiding Georgia – is ludicrous. It presupposes that we should have turned our back on what by any stretch of the imagination is a friend in a part of the world where having countries friendly to the US is absolutely vital to our security and the security of the west. Of course we assisted Georgia in readying itself to resist Russian aggression. Of course we tried to help them in building a democracy. They’re an ally. We will also help the Ukraine fend off Russia as we will Poland and other formerly captive eastern bloc nations if they wish it. This is what the United States is supposed to do. And if it pisses Vladamir Putin off that nations formerly under Russia’s thumb do not wish to return to that arrangement, let him hang.

No doubt it is important to consider how Russia views our assistance to Georgia, the Ukraine, the Baltic states, and former Warsaw Pact countries. But there seems to be a nearly universal belief on the left that Russia’s feelings in the matter should be the overarching consideration and not our own interests nor the desires of these now independent states to remain free of Russian domination. By in effect, taking Russia’s side in this matter (or at the very least accepting their rationale), the left is telling the ex-captive nations to go hang rather than Putin.

I would hesitate to bring up Yalta given that a lot of revisionist history has been churned up about that fateful conference except even the revisionists recognize our miscalculation of Stalin’s intentions. Short of war, there was probably nothing we could have done to prevent the Red Army from dominating eastern Europe. But this time around, we do indeed have options that put the onus of conflict right smack in the Russian’s lap.

Our meager assistance to the formerly captive nations of the old Soviet Union do not threaten Russia in any way. We are not building million man armies or huge military bases with massive numbers of aircraft and material. We are not asking for permanent bases in the Black Sea. Our military assistance to those nations has been small and defensive in nature.

And the fear that these nations have of Russia that drives them to seek alliances with powerful friends should elicit the support and sympathy of the left, not condemnation for getting Vladamir Putin angry.

Assisting smaller nations with their wish to live an independent existence is an option we didn’t have at the end of World War II. Now that it’s there, we have rightly seized it and in perfect accordance with our tradition as a protector of democracies and our national interests which benefit by having friends in a vital part of the world, we are assisting nations who do not fear domination by us but do fear what a resurgent Russia might do to re-establish their hegemony.

Of course, all of this is as plain as the nose on your face – which is why the left is twisting itself into pretzels trying to ignore it. Our assistance to Georgia was “provocative,” we are told – as was sponsoring their membership into NATO. This despite the fact that we insisted that before Georgia was accepted as a NATO member, the status of both breakaway provinces must be resolved peacefully which is hardly “provocative” and more along the lines of “incredibly reasonable.” And how less than 1,000 military advisors and a few hundred civilian contractors is “provocative” to anyone except someone seeking to make excuses for Russian aggression is beyond me.

Ah but we are “encircling Russia” by offering NATO membership to Georgia and the Ukraine thus threatening them. The excuse of Russian encirclement was the Soviet’s rationale for enslaving Warsaw Pact countries back in the day so perhaps it is not entirely a surprise that this old canard would be pulled out of mothballs to justify the unjustifiable.

In order to accept that as an excuse, you must posit that NATO threatens to invade Russia someday or that the alliance would build forward bases in the Caucasus with massive amounts of men and material. NATO doctrine has always been defensive in nature; that is, the alliance’s reason for existence was to respond to Soviet aggression in western Europe, not start World War III. The “encirclement” excuse shows that the left believes NATO is an offensive threat to Russia, a preposterous notion that no one outside of the most anti-American of bigots could possibly think is true.

Given the paucity of support on the left for Georgia and, presumably the Ukraine in resisting Russian aggression, one can legitimately ask which allies we should be supporting? No doubt our support of Israel is “provocative.” Maybe we should pull the rug from under our friends in Tel Aviv. Have we asked China lately how they feel about us supporting the right of Taiwan to determine its own future? Sheesh! Talk about “provocative”...

In fact, using the rationale the left is using with Georgia, there are precious few friends outside of western Europe we should be assisting. If whether or not our assistance is “provocative” is the new benchmark for helping our allies, we will become very lonely very quickly. That’s because someone is always going to be mad at us no matter who we help. Syria was upset we were assisting Lebanon. Iran is mad we’re in Iraq. The Arab world is livid because we help Israel. Chavez is pissed at us because we’re helping Colombia. And on and on and on…

Building a foreign policy based on not pissing off your enemies (or friends for that matter) by subsuming your vital interests to theirs is wacky. But I suppose this is the Winnie the Pooh foreign policy we must come to expect when Obama takes office.

It’s not only in our actions that the left finds fault but also in our words. And it is here that the real cognitive dissonance takes hold and off we fly into La-La-Land for a lesson in “Why everything said about Georgia is warmongering and belligerent unless you act as if it is your fault the crisis ensued in the first place.”

Indeed, calling those who favor a strong, straight from the shoulder response to Russia “warmongers” without threatening war or even hinting at war shows just what kind of war the left would be willing to wage if it ever came to that. It is not “warmongering” to state the obvious – that the invasion of Georgia fundamentally alters the relationship between the US and Russia. It will not be “business as usual.” And telling the Russians that is not being provocative, or warmongering, or belligerent, it is simply stating a fact. Nor is it “warmongering” to strongly condemn, in no uncertain terms and without using weasel words the aggression perpetrated by the Russians on Georgia.

How standing up in the international arena for a friend being systematically taken apart by a hugely more powerful country and calling it “bullying” can be construed as McCain or Bush being “belligerent” is beyond belief. Words do matter, I would say to my friends on the left. And couching a response in diplomatic niceties and sentiments reflecting the idea that both sides are somehow at fault while Georgia is being ripped to shreds by an enemy 20 times its size is, to my mind, worse than cowardice.

Blatant aggression requires the use of language equally naked, stripped of its silly pretensions and delivered with the force of a Joe Frazier right hook. Diplomacy failed folks. The question of whether allowing the Russians respite from international pressure by using soothing, meaningless, soporific language instead of a roaring denunciation that makes Putin feel it and makes the autocrat cringe all the way back in Moscow is what was needed. And McCain delivered it while Obama didn’t. McCain’s instincts were correct. Obama’s were not.

It was Obama who, after an extraordinarily mild statement on Friday, August 8 which politely asked the Russians to please respect the territorial integrity of Georgia (while Russian tanks were already many miles beyond the border of South Ossetia and engaging Georgian troops on Georgian soil) eventually came around to McCain’s more assertive and indeed, courageous stance which condemned the Russians outright and called on pressure to be placed on Russia by the EU in addition to the United Nations.

Only later did Obama forthrightly condemn the Russians – after polls showed the voters instinctively approving McCain’s response over Obamas. That says a lot about both candidates, don’t ya think?

It is not a question of “fear.” This has always driven me up a wall when the left has accused those wishing to confront evil as being fearful. We confront Russia, al-Qaeda. and the rest of the world’s bad guys because it is the right thing to do. Armed with that knowledge and in the basic goodness of the US - if not always in practice – we can face the evil with a clear mind and stout heart – exactly the opposite of being fearful.

But for more political reasons than having anything to do with reality, the left insists on calling those who seek an aggressive war on terror or a tough stand against Russian belligerency as “fearful.” Perhaps for their own self image it makes them feel good to call those who think Russia is being beastly to the Georgians or those who advocate an aggressive war against al-Qaeda “fearful” – fearful of terrorism, fearful of Russia. That fear certainly isn’t present in the words spoken so far in this crisis by either Bush or McCain nor in any previous pronouncements on al-Qaeda can I glean any “fear” being spoken by either of those two.

Yes words matter – which is why in this case, the response of the left to Russian aggression and their unwarranted criticism of McCain and the Administration for speaking frankly, strongly, and realistically about this crisis shows how easily they wilt in the face of aggression. From the polls published so far, it appears the American people agree.

By: Rick Moran at 2:12 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)

CATEGORY: History, PJ Media

This piece originally appeared at Pajamas Media

This past Wednesday morning at 8:15 AM in Hiroshima, Japan, it was partly cloudy and 78 degrees with light winds. Visibility was about 10 miles. A bell softly rang in the immaculately kept Peace Memorial Park, remembering the moment in 1945 when the atomic age was born. The anniversary is marked in a similar manner every year with tens of thousands of people from all over the world joining in the solemn ceremony.

The dwindling number of survivors come forward each year and tell their tales of horror about that day. It’s almost as if they are re-living something that happened just recently, so vivid and emotional are the memories. Most of the survivors (many refer to them as “victims”) were young children in 1945. Many lost their parents in the blast. They say they come to bear witness so that there will be no more Hiroshimas.

Exactly 63 years earlier, weather conditions were eerily similar when Colonel Paul Tibbets, commander of the 509th Composite Group and pilot of a plane he named after his mother—the Enola Gay—flew over Hiroshima’s Aioi Bridge and began to bank his aircraft.

Just as Tibbets started his turn, the B-29 lurched violently as 10,000 pounds of American technical, industrial, and scientific ingenuity fell out of the bomb bay almost exactly on schedule (navigator Captain Theodore Van Kirk’s calculations of time over target was 15 seconds off). Little Boy, they called it, in an ironic juxtaposition to its massive bulk. It was a gun-type nuclear bomb—a crude, primitive, inefficient device by our standards. And for all the effort, money, time, and brainpower that went into designing it, Little Boy was simplicity incarnate.

A hollow bullet of highly enriched uranium 235 was placed at one end of a long tube with a larger mass of enriched uranium at the other end. The larger cylinder of nuclear material was barely “subcritical”—that is, needing just a bit more in order to start a chain reaction and cause an explosion.

When Little Boy hit 1900 feet above Hiroshima (it had drifted about 800 feet from the target), the uranium bullet fired down the barrel and impacted the cylinder perfectly. For two millionths of a second, the mass that used to be Little Boy became as hot as the sun. This heat so thoroughly eliminated humans directly below the blast, all that could be seen afterwards were shadow-like outlines of people on the concrete.

The blast—equivalent to about 13,000 tons of TNT —literally scoured out the center of the city and the resulting fires took care of most of the rest. About 70,000 people perished within hours of the blast with another 70,000 dying before the end of 1945.

Three days later—63 years ago today—history would repeat itself over the city of Nagasaki. This time, a plutonium bomb was used, increasing the efficiency of the device dramatically. Due to some topographical quirks (there were no large hills as in Hiroshima to focus the blast effect), the casualty rate was lower. Still, Fat Man managed to kill more than 40,000 that day and another 40,000 before that fateful year faded into history.

How could we have done it? Much of the world to this day asks the question, “Wasn’t there another, less cruel way to end the war?”

The decision to drop the bomb will always be controversial because the answer to that question is yes, there were other ways we could have ended the war with Japan. Some would almost certainly have cost more lives than were lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Army Air Force Commander of Strategic Forces in the Pacific Curtis LeMay believed if given six months and freedom to target whatever he wished, he could bring Japan to its knees by completely destroying its ability to feed itself. Victory assured—at the cost of several million starved Japanese.

The navy thought a blockade would do the trick. Starving the Japanese war machine of raw materials and the people of food they were importing from occupied China would have the Japanese government begging for peace in a matter of six months to a year. Again, visions of millions of dead from starvation came with the plan.

The army saw invasion as the only option. A landing on the southernmost main island of Kyushu followed up by an attack on the Kanto plain near Tokyo on the island of Honshu. Dubbed Operation Downfall, the plan called for the first phase to be carried out in October of 1945, with the main battle for Japan taking place in the spring of 1946. Casualty estimates have been hotly debated over the years, but it seems reasonable to assume that many hundreds of thousands of Americans would have been killed or wounded while, depending on how fiercely civilians resisted, perhaps several million Japanese would have died in the assault.

But there were other plans to end the war as well. Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph Bard sat in the meeting room where the Interim Committee was meeting on June 1, 1945 to decide on where the atomic bombs should be used and how. And from his vantage point, he did not agree with the main conclusions of the committee to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki without warning. Later that month, he wrote a memo to his boss, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, where he tried to make the case for not using the device.

Ever since I have been in touch with this program I have had a feeling that before the bomb is actually used against Japan that Japan should have some preliminary warning for say two or three days in advance of use. The position of the United States as a great humanitarian nation and the fair play attitude of our people generally is responsible in the main for this feeling.

During recent weeks I have also had the feeling very definitely that the Japanese government may be searching for some opportunity which they could use as a medium of surrender. Following the three-power conference emissaries from this country could contact representatives from Japan somewhere on the China Coast and make representations with regard to Russia’s position and at the same time give them some information regarding the proposed use of atomic power, together with whatever assurances the President might care to make with regard to the Emperor of Japan and the treatment of the Japanese nation following unconditional surrender. It seems quite possible to me that this presents the opportunity which the Japanese are looking for.

I don’t see that we have anything in particular to lose in following such a program. The stakes are so tremendous that it is my opinion very real consideration should be given to some plan of this kind. I do not believe under present circumstances existing that there is anyone in this country whose evaluation of the chances of the success of such a program is worth a great deal. The only way to find out is to try it out.

Was Japan ready to surrender in June? The cabinet had been wanting to give up at least since April. They had extended feelers to the Russians in hopes of using Stalin as a go-between in negotiations. But intercepts by our codebreakers released unredacted in 1995 clearly show that in addition to a demand to maintain the Emperor’s position, the Japanese would only settle for a “negotiated” peace with the army command structure still intact and no occupation. In short, an invitation to another war as soon as the Japanese recovered. Even that proved too much for many in the military who saw surrender as the ultimate disgrace according to bushido, their code of honor. When Stalin stalled the Japanese peace delegation, the military killed the tentative outreach completely.

Would warning the Japanese of the existence of the bomb have done any good? It may have. But the Interim Committee came to the conclusion that the Japanese were just as likely to move thousands of American prisoners of war to the target area. And a demonstration of what the bomb could do was out of the question. There was enough plutonium for two devices—the Trinity test “gadget” and Fat Man. After that, the supply was a question mark because of manufacturing problems at the Oak Ridge gaseous diffusion plant in Tennessee and Hanford reactor in Washington state.

Besides, after 82 days of the most brutal combat in any theater of the war, the battle for Okinawa was finally winding down. It is hard to grasp the wave of helplessness that descended on many in the civilian and military leadership as they watched the Japanese on Okinawa fight so fanatically and to the death. The prospect of invasion and continued combat throughout the Pacific was frightening. The gruesome toll of 100,000 Japanese soldiers dead and 50,000 American casualties weighed heavily on the Interim Committee in making their recommendations to President Truman.

Bard almost certainly discussed his memo with both Stimson and Truman. Stimson, an old world, old fashioned diplomat who said when disbanding the code breakers after World War I “Gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail,” was impressed by the arguments and even shared some of Bard’s sentiments but felt he had an obligation to abide by the Committee’s majority findings.

Truman, president for less than 3 months and in the dark about the Manhattan Project during his entire vice presidency, was being given advice from every corner on how to end the war. The decision to drop the bomb did not, he claims, initiate a great moral conflict within him. He accepted the recommendation of the Interim Committee and went off to Potsdam where the allies issued an ultimatum to Japan: surrender or suffer the consequences. The die was cast and the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was sealed.

With no good plan to end the war without massive death and suffering, an intransigent Japanese government insisting on fighting to the bitter end, mounting casualties in the Philippines and Okinawa, a war weary public, the prospects of transferring millions of men who had just survived the horrors of the European battlefields to the Pacific, and his own belief that using the bombs would end the war quickly, Truman gave the go ahead in a handwritten note on the back of a July 31, 1945 memo from Stimson regarding the statement to be released following the bombing.

“Reply to your suggestions approved. Release when ready but not before August 2.

In the end, there were probably many calculations that went into the decision by Truman to drop the bomb. Other considerations probably included the effect it might have on the Soviets. For many years, this reason was considered by several historians to be the primary concern of Truman when he gave the go-ahead to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While it no doubt was one factor in Truman’s decision, it appears now, thanks to publication of radio intercepts from the time, that the president’s primary focus was using a weapon he felt could end the war in days and not months.

Another factor was the advice given him by his good friend and confidante Jimmy Byrne, former senator from South Carolina. Byrne pointed out that spending $2 billion for a bomb that was never used, not to mention the chance that it could end the war and save lives, would anger the American people—especially those who lost loved ones because the bomb had not been tried. Some historians have pointed to this factor as an overriding one, but that almost certainly isn’t the case. Byrne’s political instincts were solid, but Truman would hardly have based his decision on what the voters would have thought after the war.

If all of this is went into deciding to use the bomb, why then does most of the rest of the world criticize us for using it?

The stories of survivors are harrowing—flames everywhere, people walking by whose flesh had been ripped off their bodies by heat and the blast, the inability to find loved ones. All the ghastliness of Dante’s Hell and a Gothic horror novel rolled into one. We pity them and ache for what they went through that horrible day.

But once—just once—I would like to hear the horror stories of the men and women of Pearl Harbor as counterpoint to the suffering of the Japanese and a reminder of who started the war and how they did it. I want to hear from those who can tell equally horrific tales of death and destruction. How Japanese aircraft strafed our men with machine gun fire while they were swimming for their lives through flaming oil spills, the result of a surprise attack against a nation with whom they were at peace. Or how the hundreds of men trapped in the USS Arizona slowly suffocated over 10 days as divers frantically tried to cut through the superstructure and rescue their comrades.

Perhaps we might even ask surviving POWs to bear witness to their ordeal in Japanese prison camps—surely as brutal, inhuman, and gruesome an atrocity as has ever been inflicted on enemy soldiers.

While we’re at it, I am sure there are thousands of witnesses who would want to testify about how the Japanese army raped its way across Asia. This little discussed aspect of the war is a non-event for the most part in Japanese histories. But the millions of women who suffered unspeakable mistreatment by the Japanese army deserve a hearing whenever the tragedy of Hiroshima is remembered.

Yes, no more Hiroshimas. But to take the atomic bombing of Japan totally out of context and use it to highlight one nation or one city’s suffering is morally offensive. The war with Japan, with its racial overtones on both sides as well as the undeniable cruelty and barbarity by the Japanese military, should have been ended the second it was possible to do so. Anything less makes the moral arguments surrounding the use of the atomic bomb an exercise in sophistry.

By: Rick Moran at 9:55 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)