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Saturday, Oct 30, 2004
Another Bush-hater law prof
John sends this Wash Post article by idiot leftist law prof Cass Sunstein and David Schkade:
Appellate judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush show more conservative voting patterns than do judges appointed by any president in the past 80 years. As a result, the average vote of a federal judge has been growing much more conservative.
Their first example involves liberals who voted against free speech rights in political campaigns. His analysis starts in 1976 because before that date, nearly all judges favored free speech rights in political campaigns. Around 1976, restricting free speech during political campaigns became a liberal cause. Sunstein and Schkade found that Republican judges were more likely to uphold campaign free speech rights after 1976.

So how does this imply that the federal judges have been growing more conservative? It looks like just the opposite to me.

There seems to be no limit to the extent that leftist law profs like Sunstein will lie to promote their political candidates.

Friday, Oct 29, 2004
Stupid arguments for Kerry
Law prof. Lessig says:
The New Yorker’s November 1 editorial on the upcoming election is by far the most thorough and compelling explanation I’ve seen of why we should vote for John Kerry.
The editorial begins:
This Presidential campaign has been as ugly and as bitter as any in American memory. The ugliness has flowed mostly in one direction, ...
This is crazy. Nasty, unfair, personal attacks against Bush have outnumbered attacks on Kerry by at least 10 to 1, no matter how you want to measure them.

The New Yorker magazine then goes on to recite the usual leftist lies about how Bush stole the 2000 election, about why we went to war in Iraq, and about how Bush has governed.

Nobody likes Kerry. Kerry's support depends entirely on lies and idiotic arguments from Bush-haters. These Bush-haters have taken control of the news media, academia, Hollywood, unions, the welfare class, and a few other groups, and they have deluged the world with anti-American propaganda.

A Kerry win will not be a mandate for the Kerry plan because there is no Kerry plan. It will only mean that a President can be run out of office by a leftist elite spreading idiotic lies.

I am not sure whether anyone is really stupid enough to think that Bush is responsible for most of the campaign ugliness, but it doesn't matter.

I ask a Kerry supporter to give me his best pro-Kerry argument, and he says, "Bush lies, and he's stupid". No, Bush does not lie, and he is not stupid. He has done a fine job as president, and has exceeded expectations in almost every way. But applying that standard, Kerry and the Bush-haters do lie, and they do say a lot of stupid things.

I'll be voting for Pres. Bush. And I believe that he is going to win big next week. I just don't think the public is really stupid enough to believe the Kerry campaign.

My prediction is not based on any personal knowledge. I live in a county full of dope-smoking morons, and they will surely vote overwhelmingly for Kerry. Nader might even compete with Bush for 2nd place. But I don't believe that people in Ohio and Florida are that stupid.

Bogus tech scorecard
John writes:
On the eve of the election, libertarian technology journalist Declan McCullagh publishes a scorecard rating members of Congress on how "tech-friendly" they are.

If you look at the positions he chose to "score" as "tech-friendly" (12 House votes and 10 Senate votes over the period 1998-2004), you can see how completely absurd this scorecard is.

I like McCullagh's blog, Politech, but John's right that some of those issues aren't really tech friendly. For example, expanding the H-1B visa program was good for tech employers, but bad for tech employees.

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2004
More nonsense on Bush v Gore
I continue to be amazed at how Democratic partisans misrepresent the 2000 presidential election legal dispute. The Republicans have done a lousy job of defending themselves.

The Slate legal columnist writes a lot of nonsense on the subject, including this myth:

In 1831 and 1832 the Supreme Court decided two cases involving the Cherokee Indians, ultimately upholding the rights of the Cherokee nation over the State of Georgia. President Andrew Jackson wanted the Cherokee land, however, and when he heard of the Supreme Court's ruling he is said to have replied, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."
This is nonsense. Jackson never said that quote. The Cherokees were not party to the 1832 case, and the US Supreme Court ruled against the Cherokees in the 1831 case:
If it be true that the Cherokee nation have rights, this is not the tribunal in which those rights are to be asserted. If it be true that wrongs have been inflicted, and that still greater are to be apprehended, this is not the tribunal which can redress the past or prevent the future.
This Wash Post column argues that judicial intervention in the 2000 presidential election was unnecessary and undesirable:
It's no accident that the statutory scheme puts the decision squarely in the hands of elected officials, state and federal. Choosing the president is a political, not a legal matter, and voters who disagree with the choice should be able to hold those who make it to account.

Even if you think (as I do not) that the Florida Supreme Court was acting in a partisan manner, the court should have stopped that behavior without deciding the winner. All it had to do was vacate the lower court's decision, set out the proper legal rule, and send the case back to the state court.

That is exactly what the US Supreme Court did! Its first (unanimous) ruling said:
Specifically, we are unclear as to the extent to which the Florida Supreme Court saw the Florida Constitution as circumscribing the legislature’s authority under Art. II, §1, cl. 2. We are also unclear as to the consideration the Florida Supreme Court accorded to 3 U. S. C. §5. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is therefore vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
And the majority opinion in the final ruling said:
None are more conscious of the vital limits on judicial authority than are the members of this Court, and none stand more in admiration of the Constitution’s design to leave the selection of the President to the people, through their legislatures, and to the political sphere. When contending parties invoke the process of the courts, however, it becomes our unsought responsibility to resolve the federal and constitutional issues the judicial system has been forced to confront.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

But it is not what the Florida supreme court did. It refused to acknowledge the US Supreme Court, refused to accept the factfinding of the lower courts, refused to remand its case to lower courts, refused to let the election officials do their jobs, and decided that a 4-3 majority on its own court could rewrite all the election rules and do its own goofy recount.

The biases of Slate.com are plain to see on this page, where the Slate staff and contributors vote 45-4 to support Kerry over Bush! No doubt the biases are similar at the NY Times, Wash Post, PBS, and NPR. NPR's Terry Gross just had a interview complaining about Bush v Gore. She would never interview anyone defending the decision.

I just saw David Boies interviewed on the PBS Charlie Rose show. He admitted that Bush would have won the Florida vote under the recount that Gore was proposing, according to a news reporters analysis, but that the Republicans must have thought that Gore would have won, because they contested Gore's proposals so vigorously!

There were many recount proposals under discussion -- recounting undervotes, overvotes, or all votes; recounting in 4 counties, all counties, or some other subset; several different ways of counting hanging chads; whether to assume that some counties had satisfactorily recounted ballots; what to do with certain ballots with minor irregularities; etc. We know now that Bush would have won under 80% to 90% of these scenarios, but not all the scenarios. Bush did not want to take an unnecessary chance on losing, even if that chance was only 10%. Furthermore, it is now clear that the vote counting procedure could have been manipulated to favor Gore, and there would be none of the pre-election checks and balances for insuring a fair count. Bush had good reason for believing that the recount was going to be rigged against him.

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2004
David Boies lies about Bush v Gore
David Boies writes in a NY Times op-ed this:
The 2000 election left many voters feeling disenfranchised, frustrated millions more and tarnished the image of American democracy at home and abroad. The United States Supreme Court's decision to intervene (for the first time in history) in a presidential election, ordering Florida election officials to stop counting votes and effectively determining the winner, troubled legal scholars and average citizens alike.
The USSC did not order Florida election officials to stop counting votes. It ordered the Florida supreme court to stop counting votes.

Boies goes on to say:

If anyone took Bush v. Gore seriously as legal precedent, uniform voting machines in each state would be constitutionally required.
No, it is not clear that any of the judges even thinks that having uniform voting machines is a good idea, much less constitutionally required.

It is not clear that a court-ordered non-statutory recount could ever be a good idea either. Maybe if there were massive fraud, interference from an act of God or terrorism, or some unforeseeable circumstances. But if there is such a court-ordered recount, then it would have to respect basic fairness concerns. In the case of the proposed Florida recount, it would have been a whole lot less fair than the count it would be replacing, and that is why the US Supreme Court was nearly unanimous in rejecting it.

Left-wing book banners
When left-wing scientists attack Pres. Bush, they often start out by complain about the Bush administration's refusal to censor a Bible-inspired book about the Grand Canyon. The Clinton administration had banned the book in the national parks. The NY Times reports:
Brad Wallis, executive director of the Grand Canyon Association, the nonprofit group that runs the stores, said the association did not market the book as science. The association decided to stock it, he said, because it is a professionally produced presentation of "a divergent viewpoint." In the main store, the only one large enough to have separate sections for different kinds of books, "the book was placed in the inspiration section, and we never moved," Mr. Wallis said. "It was never in the science section." ...

Some have argued that because the store offers books about the culture and legends of the Navajo and Hopi tribes it is appropriate for it to sell books on the legends of creationists as well.

Real scientists do not go around banning books. The fact that they want to allow Navajo legends just proves that they are just on an anti-Christian rampage.

John writes that this NY Times story has more confusion about whether GWB is really an evangelical or not. Meanwhile, Kerry has gone berserk quoting the Bible.

Monday, Oct 25, 2004
John Kerry's wants to continue past failures
On Nov. 3, everyone will be complaining about what a pathetic campaign that John Kerry ran. Today's news says:
"With the same energy ... I put into going after the Viet Cong and trying to win for our country, I pledge to you I will hunt down and capture or kill the terrorists before they harm us," Kerry said.
That is what I am worried about! Kerry devoted most of his energies to opposing the Vietnam War, and we lost the war. He might similarly help us lose the war on terrorism.
Justice Breyer admits bias against Pres. Bush
Sup. Ct. Justice This Wash Post AP story says:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer said he is not sure he was being truly impartial when the high court was asked to settle the disputed 2000 presidential vote in Florida.
Breyer also made the rare admission that he and some of his colleagues base some of their decisions on predictions of factual consequences from amicus briefs!
Breyer also said many jurists, himself included, take into account contemporary matters raised by the public, citing briefs from organizations defending affirmative action.

"Do I read the newspapers and try to see which way the political wind is blowing?" he said. "No. But we do decide through briefs that are submitted. . . . They are people trying to tell us of the impact of our decisions in their bit of the world."

Breyer is an idiot and an embarrassment to the Court. He is trying to say that if he got an amicus brief in Bush v Gore saying that the country would be better off under Gore, then that would be a good reason to throw the election to Gore.

I don't know whether there were any amicus briefs in Bush v Gore, but a desire to put Gore in office is the only explanation for Breyer's peculiar opinion in that case.

George writes:

Breyer is just saying that for issues like affirmative action, he needs to read amicus briefs to learn the consequences. Abolishing affirmative action would have a lot of ramifications. How else are the judges going to figure out what is good for the country?
Judges are not supposed to be figuring out what is good for the country. Facts should be only be presented at the trial, where witnesses can be sworn in, cross-examined, and rebutted. Appellate courts are only supposed to be determining whether the trial court acted correctly, and not collecting new and unsworn evidence.

Affirmative action (in particular) exists largely because of some myths that are promoted by some people in influential positions. For Breyer to twist the law to yield to those myths is irresponsible, and an abuse of power.

Saturday, Oct 23, 2004
Vaccine liability crisis
Joe sends this email rumor about how a flu vaccine liability crisis was caused (in part) by a frivolous lawsuit from John Edwards!

The rumor is debunked on Snopes and About.com. These sites say it is an email hoax. They also note that Chiron is a US company (based in Oakland Calif). It is hard to see how it would be escaping liability by using a UK plant to make the vaccine.

But I am still wondering:

  • why 4 out of the 6 flu vaccine makers stayed out of the USA market?
  • why the USA is the only country with a flu shot shortage?
  • why the vaccine makers are currently lobbying for special liability protection under the VICP, if there is no vaccine liability problem?
  • whether Edwards ever represented vaccine patients with bogus claims?

    Apparently we don't really have a free market in flu shots, or the other 5 makers would be making a killing by selling their doses on the open market, and flu shots would be readily available to anyone who wants to pay a few extra bucks.

    John sends this article explaining some of the technological problems in flu vaccine production.

  • Friday, Oct 22, 2004
    Commie advertiser blacklist
    I am too to remember the 1950s, but can someone please explain this CNN attack on a conservative group:
    Calls for advertiser or network boycotts are nothing new, dating as far back as the 1940s and 1950s when McCarthy-era activists successfully blacklisted advertisers deemed to have communist leanings.
    There were commies making movies in Hollywood, but who were the commie advertisers?

    I think that the CNN/Money reporter is mixed up. There were advertisers who were afraid to sponsor commies, but they didn't want their products associated with evil anti-American causes. There was no need to organize a boycott of commie products, because no one would want to buy commie products anyway.

    Is Bush stupid?
    Many liberals say that they are voting for Kerry because Pres. Bush is stupid. This is an odd reason, because liberals usually claim that they don't believe in IQ. But if you are going to vote that way, then get the facts. This site points out that both Bush and Kerry are on the record as having taken military IQ tests. The scores are not directly comparable, but it does appear that Bush scored slightly better than Kerry on those tests. Bush also did slightly better on SAT scores, according to this site.

    Some people say that you can tell that Bush is stupid by just listening to him. He certainly stumbles on his words more than Kerry. But I actually think that Bush communicates better than Kerry. When I listen to Bush, I usually understand whatever point he is making and where he stands on the issue. Kerry is a double-talker who just babbles contradictory nonsense. Even his supporters don't know what he is talking about. For proof, just ask a Kerry supporter where he stands on the Iraq War. You will get a gibberish answer.

    Kerry's babbling
    John sends this parody of Kerry, describing what he might have said at the debate if he had no time limit.

    Bob writes:

    I thought that the Mary Cheney issue was boring and wasn't going to get a lot of press. Oops. I just watched last night's SNL. If you judge by SNL, the Mary Cheney issue is the big one. They hammered Kerry and Mary Beth Cahill relentlessly. They beat up Bush, but it seemed trite and pro forma. I don't know how likely SNL viewers are to vote or how much they are influenced by SNL, but this isn't good for Kerry. One of the best lines occurred in a parody of the debates. Here is the dialog:
    Lehrer: Senator you have repeatedly criticized the President's conduct of the war in Iraq and have said that you have a plan. What is it?

    Kerry: Jim, I think that if you were to ask Mary Cheney, Vice President Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, I'm sure she would tell you 1 that she is being who she is and 2, that we went into Iraq the wrong way. You see, unlike this President, before invading Iraq, I would have made certain that we had a true international coalition on board. Not just Britain, but our other European allies as well as allies from Asia and the Middle East including Iraq itself. Just imagine how much easier this would have been if Saddam Hussein had joined us."

    Cruel, but fair.

    Thursday, Oct 21, 2004
    The evil of Dred Scott
    Slate's Lithwick spreads a lot of false Bush-hater propaganda in opposition to potential Court appointments, and then wonders why others are commenting on how the election my influence the courts.

    Among her usual idiotic comments is this:

    Dred Scott actually represented something quite the opposite of judicial activism. That case was a good example of "originalist" interpretation or "strict construction." And as Timothy Noah observed, the only other explanation for the Dred Scott reference was that it was code for: "Bad decisions must be overturned, and Roe v Wade is going down!"
    No. If she'd read The Supremacists, she'd learn that Dred Scott was the first major supremacist court decision, and was the model for the foolishness of the Warren Court. Bush attacked Dred Scott because it is a famous Supremacist decision, because everyone disagrees with it, and because he was taking a stand against such supremacist decisions.

    Bush could have attacked Roe v Wade, but then people would assume that he was attacking it because of a personal opposition to abortion. Judicial supremacy was what he wanted to attack.

    I agree with Bush. It is foolish to have a litmus on one particular decision when there are 100s of cases with the same mistaken logic.

    Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004
    Public does not want leftist judges
    This may explain why Kerry and Edwards avoid discussing court appointments:
    A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found 53 percent of those surveyed believe President Bush would do a better job handling Supreme Court nominations while 37 percent favored Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry.
    Leftists are scared about losing their majority on the Supreme Court, but they don't want to spell it out for the voters. The voters don't really want judicial supremacists.
    Phony gene counts
    Scientists supposedly completed the map of the entire human genome in 2001. The day before the big White House publicity stunt, a Clinton aide asked the two rival factions for some hard facts to announce, such as the number of genes. Realizing that they'd look ridiculous if they claimed to have sequenced all the human genes but couldn't tell us how many there were, they cooked up an official count by averaging some blue-sky estimates in last-minute emails.

    Now, they have a new story:

    The new estimate is 20,000 to 25,000 genes, a drop from the 30,000 to 40,000 the same group of scientists published in 2001.

    By comparison, the tiny roundworm C. elegans, a favorite research subject, has around 19,500 genes. A small flowering plant in the mustard family, Arabidopsis, has about 27,000.

    Bob writes:
    In 2001 a rough draft of the genome was announced. It could "look ridiculous" to not to know the exact count of genes given a rough draft of the sequence only to those ignorant of biology.
    Kerry's dishonorable discharge
    The New York Sun reports various pieces of circumstantial evidence that Kerry received a dishonorable discharge from the Navy. It is hard to see any other explanation for the evidence.

    It now appears that Bush's military service was more exemplary than Kerry's.

    Volokh has some discussion about whether the 14A of the US Constitution makes Kerry ineligible to be President.

    Bob writes:

    I wonder what you expected. Cheney said it would be a cake walk. If you thought it would be worse than it is, I congratulate you on figuring out what Cheney's word is worth. Here are some opinions of military officers on the topic.

    Lt. General Bernard Trainor who was Bush's envoy to the Middle East said "anybody that tries to put a good face on this situation-- that they're desperate-- I think that they're just whistling in the dark"

    General Anthony Zinni, former CENTCOM commander said “There has been poor strategic thinking in this,”

    Lt. General William Odom, former head of the NSA said " Well, the president set forth there war aims as I remember. One was to get rid of WMD there, the second was to overthrow the Saddam regime and third was to create a constitutional democracy which is pro-America. The first two, can be considered either irrelevant or accomplished and the last one is the issue. And there's not going to be a constitutional regime that's pro-American anytime soon, I don't think in several decades."

    If you think Lehrer is a Bush hater, remember that he is a former Marine officer.

    If you can find any quotes saying that the Iraq War has gone worse than expected, send them.

    Zinni also says Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time, and that his plan was to use twice as many troops.

    In the Trainor quote, the word "desperate" refers to the Iraqi resistance.

    The aim of installing a pro-America constitutional democracy in Iraq is indeed an extremely ambitious one. If you can show me that Cheney ever said that achieving that aim would be a cake walk, then I'll agree that he was overselling the war.

    Bob writes:

    The goal of the Iraq war was to protect America from WMD produced by Iraq and delivered to terrorists. All other goals are subordinate to that goal. Iraq remains and will remain capable of producing WMD regardless of any action short of annihilation. Only by having an acceptable government in Iraq can the goal of the war be achieved. If Cheney was talking about something else, he is a more deceptive than I thought.
    As far as I know, Iraq has not delivered any WMD to terrorists. I don't have the Cheney quote, so I don't know what he was talking about.

    Chris sends this web site with assorted questions and theories about Bush's service. Among other theories, it claims that the forged CBS/Killian memos are actually authentic, but we've been tricked into believing that they are fake by evil genius Karl Rove!

    Bob writes:

    Terrorists had not attacked the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Capitol with passenger jets before 11 Sep 01. Unless an acceptable government is in power in Iraq we will not be safe from WMD made there.

    Apparently Cheney never did say that the war in Iraq was going to be a cakewalk. Attribution of the cakewalk remark to Cheney is a left wing shibolith. Russert said it in an interview with Cheney. A cakewalk remark was made by By Ken Adelman in the Wash Post. Here is something that Cheney did say on Meet the Press, 16 Mar 03:

    MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

    VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

    The remarkable thing about the interview is the lack of attention given to the issue of insurgency.

    There is finally cause to believe that the insurgency is being contained and rolled back and things may have finally turned around in Iraq. Kerry has taken positions which will prevent him from succeeding in Iraq regardless of our prospects there.

    Iraq War much better than expected
    Another Bush-hater argument that makes no sense to me is the claim that he has lousy military tactics. Kerry and his supporters complain that bin Laden got away at Tora Bora, that insurgents were underestimated, that we used too many or too few soldiers, that we declared victory too soon, etc. (The Tora Bora myth rebutted here here.)

    None of this makes any sense. The Iraq War has been extremely successful. Casualties are far below what most people expected. The US has been extremely open about letting reporters know exactly what is going on at every step, and yet the after-the-fact second-guessing has been minimal.

    Polls show that the armed forces will vote 3 to 1 in favor of Bush over Kerry. Bush's military tactics must be pretty good for him to get such overwhelming support. If the commander-in-chief had really botched the war, then the officers and soldiers would want to replace him.

    Kerry seems to be getting desperate, as he has backed off the war criticism, and jumped on loony urban legends about the military draft, social security, and flu vaccines.

    2004 election will not be close
    It is annoying to hear so many people misstate basic facts about the history of the Electoral College. Eg, people say that Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and lost the election, and that was the first time since the 1800s.

    Winning the popular vote means winning a majority. Gore did not win the popular vote, as a majority of the voters voted against Gore in 2000. Presidents won the popular votes only in 1952, 56, 64, 72, 76, 80, 84, 88. Clinton never won the popular vote.

    Gore did win a plurality of the popular vote in 2000 and lost, but Nixon did the same in 1960.

    To measure how close an election was, I believe the best way is to look at how many votes a loser needed to have won in order to change the outcome. The closest elections in my lifetime were 2000, 1976, 1960, and 1968. (Data from this article.)

    Gore could have won in 2000 with about 500 more votes in Florida.

    Ford would have won in 1976 with about 18k more votes in Ohio and Hawaii.

    Nixon would have won in 1960 with about 60k more votes in Illinois and Texas.

    Humphrey would have won in 1968 with about 106k more votes in New Jersey, Missouri, and New Hampshire, assuming Democratic control of the House.

    In spite of all the media claims about how close this election is going to be, there is very little chance that it will be as close as any of those 4 elections.

    Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004
    Evolutionist Bush-hater
    Here is another example of an intellectual Bush-hater. Richard Dawkins is a brilliant British evolutionist, and he wrote this letter to try to persuade Ohio citizens to vote against Pres. Bush. He compares Bush's invasion of Iraq to a citizen who uses a gun to defend his home from intruders! A Brit named Tony Martin actually got a 10-year jail sentence about 5 years ago for using a shotgun in his home for self-defense. Here is a discussion in another British paper.

    It is hard to explain how people could be so smart about some things, and yet say such idiotic things about Pres. Bush. I've heard rants from homeless people that make more sense than Dawkins' letter. He sounds like a complete moron.

    Monday, Oct 18, 2004
    The global warming hockey stick
    John sends this amazing account by a Berkeley Physics prof about the discovery of some systematic errors in the global warming hockey stick chart that supposed shows that global temperaturely are ramping up sharply. He also tells about how the respected science journal Nature has suppressed his criticisms.

    Chris sends Brad LeLong's blog with a contrary view. Hmmmm. It appears that there are some errors on both sides. I guess we'll have to wait for more analysis.

    Pat Buchanan endorses Bush
    Pat Buchanan savagely attacks Pres. Bush, and then says:
    Yet, in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing.

    The only compelling argument for endorsing Kerry is to punish Bush for Iraq. But why should Kerry be rewarded? He voted to hand Bush a blank check for war. Though he calls Iraq a “colossal” error, “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he has said he would—even had he known Saddam had no role in 9/11 and no WMD—vote the same way today. This is the Richard Perle position.

    Assuredly, a president who plunged us into an unnecessary and ruinous war must be held accountable. And if Bush loses, Iraq will have been his undoing. But a vote for Kerry is more than just a vote to punish Bush. It is a vote to punish America.

    Most of what he says is correct. The arguments against Bush do not translate into arguments for Kerry.

    Friday, Oct 15, 2004
    Justice Thomas thinks for himself
    John sends this Wash Post article which makes the argument that Clarence Thomas is the Supreme Court Justice who is most willing to reconsider previous rulings that are plainly wrong.

    Here is a list of 35 cases in which "Justice Thomas wrote a lone concurring or dissenting opinion that calls for overruling or revisiting established constitutional precedent."

    Most of the other justices are judicial supremacists who believe that the Court makes the law, and that Court precedents are more important than the text of the Constitution.

    The Wash Post article tries to portray Thomas as some sort of radical, but actually 30 out of the 35 cases on the list are concurrences. Furthermore, the criticism is contrary to the usual (ignorant) criticism of Thomas -- that he doesn't think for himself. He clearly thinks for himself, and is the most original thinker on the Court.

    I don't think that listing lone opinions is a good measure of hostility to stare decisis. In many cases, Thomas objects to nonbinding dicta in previous opinions. Correcting dicta is not really overturning precedent. Also, it was the 4 leftists on the Court who just voted to reconsder a precedent from only about 15 years ago regarding whether a 17-year-old murderer can be executed. Their willingness to overturn precedent is much worse because they are doing it for political reasons, as opposed to Thomas, who just wants to more faithfully adhere to the text of the law. Other recent examples of liberals overturning precedent including barring the death penalty for low-IQ murderers, and finding a constitutional right to homosexual anal sodomy.

    Bush-haters for Bush
    John sends this column by a Bush-hater who will be voting for Bush. Better yet, read Pat Buchanan's new book. There are indeed a lot of reasons for disliking GW Bush, but John Kerry is worse on every single issue.

    Thursday, Oct 14, 2004
    Kerry appeals to morons
    I have come to the conclusion that Kerry appeals entirely to morons. There is not one pro-Kerry argument being made by the Kerry-Edwards campaign that makes a lick of sense.

    Take, for example, stem-cell research. The Kerry campaign repeatedly and dishonestly misrepresents what Bush has done, and spouts unrealistic promises. (See this Bush campaign rebuttal.) Kerry said, in the 2nd debate:

    Chris Reeve is a friend of mine. Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again. ... And I believe if we have the option, which scientists tell us we do, of curing Parkinson's, curing diabetes, curing, you know, some kind of a, you know, paraplegic or quadriplegic or, you know, a spinal cord injury, anything, that's the nature of the human spirit.
    A couple of days later, Reeve dropped dead, and Edwards followed up with this:
    If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.
    The Kerry family is sitting on a billion dollars, and is overseeing a foundation that looks for worthy causes for spending the money. Private research on cloning and stem-cells is completely legal and unrestricted. If stem-cell research is really going to cure all those diseases, then Kerry could fund the research, gain ownership of the patents, save millions of lives, make billions of dollars, and become a real hero. He would probably even be elected president in 2008, as he would then have a real accomplishment that he could point to.

    But that won't happen. There is so much money going into stem-cell research already, that Kerry would have trouble finding ways to spend the money. And there is no research on the horizon that would make Reeve walk again. They as might as well be talking about research to raise Reeve from the dead.

    Bob writes:

    I agree that anyone Kerry appeals to is a moron. That does not mean that anyone who votes for Kerry is a moron. I know someone who is manifestly not a moron who claimed that he "never votes for a politician", he "always votes against them". When challenged, he admitted that he voted for Reagan. While, I don't agree with my friend's statement, my votes for both of the Bushs were actually votes against their opponents. In the case of G.H.W. Bush, I have concluded that my vote for him and against Clinton was an error. If Clinton had been defeated in 1992 I doubt that Republicans would have won a majority in the Congress, or that welfare reform would have been enacted. There are indeed, plenty of reasons to be opposed to George W. Bush, but I can not imagine voting for an unrepentant supporter of the Sandinistas and the nuclear freeze movement who promises to give us more of the same. I will vote against Kerry this time and hope that it is not an error. A one term Kerry Presidency would be good for the Republican party and devastating to the Democrat party. A one term Bush Presidency might encourage Republicans to snap out of it.
    Debate gay-baiting from Kerry and Edwards
    The Kerry-Edwards gay-baiting attacks on Cheney's daughter are weird. Both Kerry and Edwards insisted on declaring that she is a lesbian, and tried to score political points. Kausfiles says:
    When I criticized John Edwards for gratuitously mentioning Dick Cheney's gay daughter, I got lots of email suggesting that Edwards was simply being nice. Sorry, that won't fly after Kerry bizarrely, needlessly and explicitly raised the subject again ("I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, ....") There must be some Machiavellian strategy behind the Democratic urge to keep bringing this up--most likely it's a poll-tested attempt to cost Bush and Cheney the votes of demographic groups (like Reagan Dems, or fundamentalists) who are hostile to homosexuality or gay culture or who just don't want to have to think about it. Or maybe Kerry was just trying to throw Bush off stride.
    Whatever the reason, it was creepy and offensive. Where did Kerry find the focus groups who were turned on by such a slimy personal attack?

    Mrs. John Edwards has joined the gay-baiting:

    In an interview Thursday with ABC Radio, Elizabeth Edwards said of Mrs. Cheney: "She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs. ... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."
    Note the odd choice of words. Mrs. Edwards is suggesting that it is shameful to have a lesbian daughter. Furthermore, her reference to Mary Cheney's sexual "preference" is in contrast to Kerry's debate position that Mary Cheney was born with an innate homosexual orientation. There is no scientific support for Kerry's opinion, and most scientists have the belief that homosexuality is determined after birth and is not innate. I think that the Kerry Edwards team has a lot of explaining to do.

    Some commentators are saying that John Edwards' debate gay-baiting was okay because Dick Cheney did not object to it during the debate. I think that it is more likely that Cheney's pointed refusal to comment was simply an attempt to politely ignore an offensive remark, and to keep his daughter out of the debate.

    Marti writes:

    Here's what John Kerry really meant: It's all about the purity of one's bloodline! People are born with homosexual tendencies. It is genetic. Your daughter is a lesbian. My daughters, of couse, are not.
    Bob says that Bush's campaign tactics are much worse, because in the 2000 S. Carolina primary it has been alleged that Bush supporters spread rumors about McCain's wife and adopted child.

    First, I cannot find any credible source that shows that Bush or the Bush campaign had anything to do with spreading those rumors. The closest I can find is this rant from Molly Ivins in The Nation. She hints that Karl Rove had something to do with it, but she uses the passive voice and does not directly accuse Rove or Bush.

    Second, I don't know how to evaluate a claim about spreading rumors. But in the case of Kerry and Edwards, I saw them launch their personal gay-baiting attacks myself on national TV, so I can safely conclude that Kerry and Edwards are despicable characters.

    Bob also questions whether most scientists doubt that homosexuality is determined at birth. There have been a number of studies that have attempted to show that homosexuality is genetic. They have failed to find any genes linked to homosexuality. A quick search brought sites that claim that there have been studies on identical twins reared apart. Apparently they looked at homosexuals and found that about 50% of their identical twins were also homosexual. That's high, but it is not 100%. I'm no expert on this subject, and I am just posting what I believe to be conventional wisdom. I'll post more evidence if I run across it.

    Monday, Oct 11, 2004
    Abortion code words
    Slate columnist and Bush-hater T. Noah says:
    In the Oct. 8 debate, President Bush baffled some people by saying he wouldn't appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who would condone the Dred Scott decision. ... it was an invisible high-five to the Christian right. "Google Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade," various readers instructed me, and damned if they weren't on to something. To the Christian right, "Dred Scott" turns out to be a code word for "Roe v. Wade." Even while stating as plain as day that he would apply "no litmus test," Bush was semaphoring to hard-core abortion opponents that he would indeed apply one crucial litmus test: He would never, ever, appoint a Supreme Court justice who condoned Roe.
    Dred Scott and Roe v Wade are indeed the Supreme Courts two most famous (and infamous) supremacist decisions. Hardly anyone is willing to defend the supremacist reasoning behind these decisions, and Bush is to be praised for only wanting to appoint "strict constructionists" who will interpret the Constitution instead of trying to make their own law.

    It appears that Bush does not have an abortion litmus test for judicial appointments, because he appointed several pro-abortion judges to the Texas supreme court. But I certainly hope that he really does have an anti-supremacist litmus test.

    Bob writes:

    Besides being incoherent, Bush was completely wrong about the Dred Scott decision in the debate. Bush says:
    BUSH: Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.

    That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.

    Article IV, sec 2 of the Constitution says:
    No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.
    The reasoning and scope of Dred Scott are indeed supremacist personal opinion. The result Bush complained about in the debate is not a personal opinion, it is the text of the Constitution.
    That clause might have been used to return Dred Scott to his master in the South. But the Supreme Court went way beyond that. It ruled that the Constitution allows slavery in the territories, even tho Congress had banned it there, because of a 5A property right. Under the Court's reasoning, it would have been unconstitutional for a Southern state to abolish slavery, because that would deprive the owners of their property rights. That is what Bush was talking about.
    Kerry and Bush-haters
    John Kerry says in the debate that we need stem cell research so that Christopher Reeve can walk again -- and 2 days later he is dead. Please, Kerry, don't do any research for me!

    It was bad enough under Clinton having a First Lady who really wanted to use her maiden name; if Kerry wins, we'll have a First Lady who would rather use some other man's name! Apparently she values her first husband's billion dollar fortune higher than the USA presidency.

    I just tuned into an SF KGO Bush-hater saying that Kerry won the second debate because Bush refused to admit to specific errors! Actually, I thought that Bush gave a good answer. He admitted to a couple of bad appointments, but politely refused to mention Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill by name. And he stood by the decision to invade Iraq, which is, of course, what the Bush-haters want him to admit was wrong. The question was an obnoxious one, like "When did you stop beating your wife?".

    Some people say that we used too many troops in the Iraq War, and some say too few. Some say that we waited too long, and some say we didn't wait long enough. I am sure that Bush did make some mistakes, and perhaps historians will be able to figure it out 10 or 20 years from now.

    Deborah Tannen says:

    If women react to Mr. Bush's made-no-mistake tactic the way they react to it when it is used by men in their lives, a majority may well be more angered than reassured. That's because it drives many women nuts when men won't say they made a mistake and apologize if they do something wrong.
    Let's hope that the voters are not so idiotic.

    Sunday, Oct 10, 2004
    Tom Sell refuses to plea bargain
    John sends this St. Louis story about Tom Sell. He has been imprisoned for 7 years without trial, and I believe that he is probably innocent, and certainly not deserving of 7 years in prison.
    NY Times reporter may goto jail
    The NY Times has self-serving editorial in defense of making one of its reporters goto jail instead of obeying the law. It was the NY Times that created a phony issue by publishing false accusations by Joseph C. Wilson against GW Bush. When the truth started to leak out, it was the NY Times that wanted a criminal investigation of the leakers. Now it turns out that it is the NY Times that is breaking the law. I hope that their reporter serves a jail sentence.

    Saturday, Oct 09, 2004
    Moslems don't just kill infidels
    Bob sends this article about Mohammedan attitudes about whom they should kill and not kill.
    Clarence Thomas
    John sends this Wash. Post profile of Justice Clarence Thomas. I cannot even figure out the headline:
    Enigmatic on the Bench, Influential in the Halls
    Image as an Uncompromising Jurist Belies His Engaging Demeanor as a Mentor
    The article doesn't really justify the headline, except perhaps for this:
    What's clear is that Thomas's judicial profile has become sharper with each passing year. He has grown more defiant, less compromising -- content to reside outside the court's power center. His tenure on the court has been marked by strongly worded dissents and concurrences that prod and provoke, but that leave him on the margins of influence. And yet inside his chambers, and across the nation, he has become an effective spokesman for his ideas, displaying through personal interactions the kind of empathy not often evident in his court writings.
    Thomas is not enigmatic at all. He has a coherent legal philosophy, and his court opinions are among the best written and logically explained of any coming from the Supreme Court. Some may call it "uncompromising", but I'd call it "principled". But either way, why would it be surprising that he does favors for his friends and enjoys conversations? I don't get it.

    Friday, Oct 08, 2004
    Kerry thinks ERA passed
    John Kerry said, in the last debate:
    Will women's rights be protected? Will we have equal pay for women, which is going backwards? Will a woman's right to choose be protected?

    These are constitutional rights, and I want to make sure we have judges who interpret the Constitution of the United States according to the law.

    Since when does the Constitution ever require equal pay for women? The ERA never passed.
    Joe McCarthy in Salem Museum
    Ken Jennings won another Jeopardy episode with this:
    Category: Famous Names. A: The last thing visitors see in the exhibit area of the Salem Witch Museum is a huge photo of this politician. Q: Who is Joe McCarthy?
    Sure enough, the Salem Museum says:
    Finally, a large picture of Senator Joseph McCarthy and Joseph Welsh asks visitors to consider the phenomenon of witch hunting. The formula for a witch hunt - fear + trigger = scapegoat, is written across the photo: Contemporary examples of witch hunts - the Japanese American internment after Pearl Harbor, the McCarthy hearings on Communism and the persecution of the gay community at the start of the AIDS epidemic - bring the lessons of stereotyping and prejudice full circle.
    It explains:
    The parallels between the Salem witch trials and more modern examples of "witch hunting" like the McCarthy hearings of the 1950's, are remarkable.
    Just what are those parallels? A desire to expose evil influences on our society? No, the museum says that witches must be good people because their beliefs predate Christianity:
    It is widely understood that witchcraft is a pantheistic religion that includes reverence for nature, belief in the rights of others and pride in one's own spirituality. Practitioners of witchcraft focus on the good and positive in life and in the spirit and entirely reject any connection with the devil. Their beliefs go back to ancient times, long before the advent of Christianity; therefore no ties exist between them and the Christian embodiment of evil. Witchcraft has been confused in the popular mind with pointy black hats, green faces and broomsticks. This is a misrepresentation that witches are anxious to dispel.
    And commies, Japanese illegal aliens, and AIDS carriers practicing unsafe sex also have a reverence for nature? This stuff is just too nutty.

    Thursday, Oct 07, 2004
    Rush has no medical privacy
    A court upheld the seizure of Rush Limbaugh's medical records:
    Andrew Schlafly, general counsel for the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, said the ruling could have far-reaching effects on how patients choose a physician and what medical information a patient might share.

    "We've done surveys that show patients already withhold information from their doctors, and this is going to make that much worse," Schlafly said. "Patients are going to engage in doctor shopping to find a doctor who will protect their confidences ... It's the end of privacy in medical records."

    Reporters defy courts
    John sends this AP story:
    Fitzgerald also has issued subpoenas to reporters from NBC, Time magazine and The Washington Post. Some have agreed to provide limited testimony after their sources — notably Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is Vice President Cheney's chief of staff — released them from their promise of confidentiality.

    Miller and Bill Keller, the Times' executive editor, said they would not agree to provide testimony even under those circumstances.

    Novak never has said whether he has been subpoenaed.

    I see no excuse for the press refusing the subpoenas. What are they trying to cover-up? Honest news reporters want to publish news, not cover it up. Perhaps they are covering up their complicity in spreading lies about Bush.

    Tuesday, Oct 05, 2004
    Pat Buchanan's book
    I just got a review copy of Pat Buchanan's book, Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency.

    I expected a strong attack on GW Bush. Buchanan ran against Bush 41, and abandoned the Republican Party to run as a Reform Party candidate for President.

    He presents some useful history that ought to be more widely known. On many issues, such as the courts, he is exactly correct.

    If Buchanan is right, then the Bush's handling of the Iraq War is profoundly mistaken. 10 years from now, it may be apparent that the war was a great mistake that caused many problems. Nevertheless, it hard to imagine anyone liking the book and then voting for John Kerry. No matter how misguided Bush may be, Kerry is many times more misguided.

    I'll have more on the book later.

    Iraq insurgency
    Bob sends this article as proof that the US military did not expect the Iraq insurgency:
    "We had a hope the Iraqis would rise up and become part of the solution," said former Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. military's Central Command until his retirement last August. "We just didn't know (about the insurgency)."
    The article also says:
    As he noted in his book, Franks initially projected that troop strength in Iraq might have to rise to 250,000 for the U.S. to meet all of its objectives, but it never got higher than 150,000.

    "The wild card in this was the expectation for much greater international involvement," he said in the interview. ...

    Though an insurgency was feared, there was no assumption it would happen, he said.

    So Franks feared an insurgency, but expected that we'd have a lot more troops and avoid it. Glad to hear that he thinks positive.

    Obviously the military considered dozens of scenarios. I am sure that no one is too surprised by anything that has happened. No one expects generals to be perfect predictors of the future.

    Bob writes:

    We have no more than 150,000 troops to send. That is why Shinseki's estimate was unwelcome. Interesting that Franks agreed with Shinseki, kept his mouth shut and carried on.

    Excellent selective quoting. He also said "We just didn't know (about the insurgency)."

    Both Franks and Bremer say that the administration assertions that troop strengths were adequate according to military commanders were false.

    I ignored the parenthetical comment, because Franks didn't say it. Someone was putting words in his mouth. A more accurate quote would have been: "We just didn't know (whether Iraqis would rise up and become part of the solution)."

    The NY Times article says that Kerry is joining criticism that says we didn't have enough ground troops in Iraq. So now he wants more troops for the wrong war at the wrong time? Where was Kerry last year? It appears that Kerry will join in with any criticism of Bush, no matter how contradictory it is to his other positions.

    The article quotes Bremer as saying that we have enough troops in Iraq now, and as saying last year that we had enough ground troops for the invasion.

    Monday, Oct 04, 2004
    Bush goes nucular
    Bob writes:
    I have a new, improved take on why the elite hate W. Bush does not care about elite opinion and goes out of his way to express it. Bush has a decidedly anti-intellectual leaning. As some say, he has gone nucular. When his alma mater, Yale, insulted his father when he won the Presidency with protracted debate on whether to bestow the traditional honorary degree, W wrote off Yale without a second thought. It took years of lobbying by one of his close friends and his daughter's decision to attend Yale to end the estrangement. Bush political positions and giveaways are carefully crafted to win votes, with no regard whatsoever to elite opinion. The elite are filled with fear and loathing toward powerful politicians who are indifferent or hostile to their values and opinions.
    More judicial supremacism
    Phyllis writes:
    As per my recent 2 columns, it appears that (1) we could have enhanced the chapter on Judges Impose Taxes to include the School Funding litigation, and (2) we could have had a chapter on Judges Steal Property Rights because the bad decision 54 years ago was under the Warren Court, too.

    There is no end to The Supremacists and the wrongness of the Warren Court. At the time, I thought the major problem was its pro-Commie decisions.

    Yes. Judicial supremacy is the root of the evil of the courts.

    John writes:

    The 50-year-old decision of Berman v. Parker (1954), which watered down the 5th Amendment's requirement of "public use" to include the broader "public purpose" (later watered down even further to include "public benefit"), was decided unanimously by the Warren Court with an opinion by William O. Douglas.

    A new development may well test whether conservatives are truly committed to a stricter reading of the 5th Amendment as proposed by this week's column.

    Just last week, major league baseball approved moving the last-place Montreal baseball team to Washington, D.C., which has been without a team for 33 years. The move is conditioned upon construction of a brand new stadium to be 100% publicly financed at a cost of $440 million.

    It turns out that the site that has been selected for the new stadium is currently (and for the past 30 years or so has been) one of the main gay nightclub districts of D.C.

    By day, the area consists of dingy warehouses and seedy apartments. Late at night, it becomes alive with lights, traffic, and thousands of partiers.

    The stadium would totally displace about two dozen gay businesses that would be unlikely to relocate successfully. As the column points out, business owners receive nothing when their leased property is bought out from under them by eminent domain.

    To add to the irony, the area in question is barely a mile from the property whose condemnation 50 years ago was upheld in Berman v. Parker.

    The gay partiers will not be compensated either.

    Saturday, Oct 02, 2004
    Single-sex schools
    Andy writes:
    I had missed this remarkable proposal. Note that courts would probably strike it down under an expansive view of the Equal Protection Clause for gender (see VMI case).

    The drop-off in performance by many girls and a few boys is dramatic in a co-ed teenaged classroom, as I have observed firsthand and nearly any (objective) teacher would agree.

    John writes:
    These are correctly described as "single-sex" schools and/or classrooms, not "same-sex." Note that the officials quoted in this story only use the correct term "single-sex," but the NYT reporter insists on using "same-sex" throughout the story.

    This is similar to the way the liberal media constantly use the ambiguous word "immigrant" (which is never used in legal procedings or by government officials) instead of the precise, accurate, correct and official term "alien."

    Liza writes:
    This was covered in an Education Reporter Brief several months ago and will be further discussed in the forthcoming Oct. issue. Lots of spublic chool systems are acting on the new freedom to have single-sex classes or schools.

    Yes, I remember noticing John's point when the story first ran. It seemed like loaded language intended to somehow link single-sex education with the entirely unrelated concept of same-sex marriage.