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The End Is Nigh

Discovering we have a new Dutch friend. Plus: Abilene passes. Kerry unburdened. And more.

9.22.04

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DUTCH THREAT
November 2nd will be Judgment Day. Until then I will pray every day -- as a human being on this planet. On November 2nd, I will not vote -- because I am from the European part of the planet. And on November 3rd, I will be crying. Hopefully, it will be for relief. If not, I will be crying for every fellow creature.

Crying for countless more innocent human lives that will be lost, because they happen to be in the way of a war that was started for reasons proven mistaken. Crying for countless more American families suffering ill-health and poverty, because they happen to be in the way of pharmaceutical interests that will further turn health into a luxury good which they cannot afford. Crying for countless more animal and plant species worldwide that will be lost forever, because they happen to be in the way of corporate powers that still view fossil fuels as theirs to deplete, and remain blind to alternatives that provide any kind of future energy supply. Crying, because the world, and every living thing on it, deserve so much better.

Or is that the Great American Dream? Is it really the Great American Sleep? Is it so hard to see that the righteous rhetoric is there -- but the Real World is some place else? There are no WMD's in Iraq; Saddam had no working ties with Al Qaeda; violence, not democracy, is king in Afghanistan; abuse at Abu Ghraib happened under U.S. command; assault weapons on the street do not advance homeland security; tax cuts for top incomes are not creating jobs; the record U.S. deficit is growing and China's economy is merely warming up; four more years and you'll be on your own. Time to wake up; this is it.
-- Fransje de Waard (Mrs.)
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

ABILENE SLEUTHING
Re: George Neumayr's Working Kinko's:

Something very "fishy" has been going on at the Kinko's in Abilene, Texas.

The Washington Post reported today (09-21-04) that Emily Will had informed the Post that the document CBS asked her to authenticate bore a fax footer indicating a facsimile of the document had been transmitted from the Abilene Kinko's at 6:41 p.m. on Sept. 2 (actually, that's the time the fax would have been received by its recipient, which time would be different than the time "sent" if the corresponding fax machines were in different time zones).

But why would what CBS gave Emily Will to authenticate bear any fax information at all (unless CBS itself faxed it directly to Will from Abilene TX)? According to today's piece in USA Today, Bill Burkett claims he handed over all six memos to CBS in person -- not by fax. Extrapolating from USA Today's interviews with Burkett as reported today, Burkett handed over two (2) of the six (6) memos to Mary Mapes "and CBS reporter Mike Smith at a pizza restaurant a few miles from [his] ranch … which [two documents] Mapes said she planned to have analyzed for authenticity…." Burkett further informs USA Today. that "he passed the rest of the documents to [CBS reporter Mike] Smith around Sept. 5, at a drive-in restaurant near Baird [TX]."

If Burkett did not fax the documents to CBS, how did CBS and Emily Will, one of its document analysts, come into possession of a "copy" of a facsimile document transmitted from an Abilene TX Kinko's?

Possibilities:

1) Burkett, who tells USA Today that he had been given the "originals" of the alleged memos at a Houston livestock show by an unidentified male agent for one "Lucy Ramirez" (see id.) faxed at least one of them to someone on September 2nd, in addition to handing it over to CBS in person. (According to Burkett's tale as reported by USA Today, he destroyed the six originals after making copies of them at Kinko's, supposedly back in March 2004.) If this be the case, CBS did not give Will what Burkett had handed to CBS but, rather (no pun intended), either an electronic facsimile CBS had received directly from Abilene TX or a copy of an electronic facsimile someone else had received from Abilene TX and then passed on to CBS. The implication is that Burkett may have been faxing the memos to others-than-CBS on September 2nd. (Heavens knows how many faxes of those memos to how many recipients he may have made between March and September 9th.)

2) On being handed copies of two of the alleged memos in her face-to-face with Burkett, did Mary Mapes herself make a trip to Kinko's in Abilene and fax one or both documents. If so, to whom? Definitely not to the expert Emily Will who would have hopefully known the difference between her fax machine's header and footer and someone else's and who could've easily checked her own fax machine's log to determine if she herself received a facsimile transmission on the date and from the number appearing on the document she could not authenticate. To whom might Mapes have faxed the document?

3) Customer fax logs at Kinko's in Abilene would reveal the long-distance numbers to which facsimiles were transmitted. Has anyone sought out the number to which at least one of these memos was faxed on September 2nd and the owner of that number? Might it be CBS? Emily Will? The Kerry campaign? The DNC? USA Today?

4) Might Kinko's fax logs reveal other transmissions from customer Burkett on or around September 2nd or in March when Burkett made copies of the memos at the Abilene Kinkos (according to the USA Today report, id.)? I got a hunch there may be numbers in Kinko's customer fax logs that may match numbers associated with former Senator Max Cleland, the Howard Dean primary campaign, p'raps MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews on which Burkett appeared in February 2004 (according to USA Today, id.), and others who'd have an interest in Burkett's tale.
-- Harry B. Turner

BEAR NO BURDEN
Re: Jed Babbin's Iraq Escapes:

Mr. Babbin, as usual, has nailed it: John al-Kerry's most recently ( as of this writing) announced program for his Presidential handling of the Iraq business reduces to a none-too-nuanced strategy for losing it.

Mr. al-Kerry, though, is a clever rascal, for the same is true of his campaign for the Presidency. Since he is evidently not planning to win there, either, he can say anything he likes about anything without undue concern for having to execute once in the White House. Al-Kerry, accountable ? Pfui !

This is genius! Mr. al-Kerry, in his personal politics as in his geopolitics, would rather be loved than be right, would rather be admired than be feared, and would rather be popular than victorious

Paraphrasing the despicable but comic Bertrand Russell: of all the candidates' national security policies, that of Senator al-Kerry is the most odious; fortunately, he has the good sense not to put himself in a position to effect it.
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

Once the Democrat Party was the bastion of great issues such as freedom, democracy, liberty, and human rights; but no more. I can still remember the soul stirring words from the Inaugural Address a Democrat senator from Massachusetts who won the Presidency in a closely fought election.

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Somehow I cannot imagine those words coming from the Democrat candidate in this election.
-- James Rose
Sachse, Texas

CERTAINTY PRINCIPLE
Re: David Van Os's letter in Reader Mail's The Plain Truth:

The only way Mr. Van Os can be "100%" certain that his client, Mr. Burkett, didn't fabricate the documents is for Mr. Van Os to have been a party to their creation, or have created the documents himself.
-- Karl Baumgarten
Lincoln, Nebraska

DEMOCRAT MEDIA
Re: George Neumayr's The Noble Victim:

I usually find myself in total agreement with Mr. Neumayr when he opines about the vagaries of the Democrat Media. This time, I believe that his criticism of the Rather repulsive Rather predicament is a little short of the mark. Rather has always led with his bias, whether it was on the nightly news or on his "60 Minutes" pieces. He has always known that he is an extreme partisan who plays fast and loose with the truth as long as it will advance his liberal agenda. To tag this episode in his disgraceful career as "irresponsible" is tantamount to calling World War II a minor disagreement among nations. An aside to this disgusting display of arrogance on the part of Mr. Rather is the ready acceptance of this sordid piece of journalistic detritus by the Democratic Party. At this point in the history of the United States, anyone still believing in a fair and impartial public media functioning as a watchdog of freedom is probably sitting in a room somewhere playing gin rummy with the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

Seems this whole thing with Rather is actually a Texas-style feud. Bush, being a homeboy, has actually been attacked by the Good ol' boy network from his home turf. Burkett and his shifty lawyer are merely the attack dogs while smooth-talking Dan is one of the oily henchmen being "used" to spread gossip about our hero. Meanwhile back at the hideout, the real brain behind all this is in retreat since the cavalry (Bloggers) came to the rescue of the good guy (Bush) thus saving the ranch (election) from the unscrupulous thieves who want to steal it with whatever lies and dastardly deeds they can think up. Now all we need is to expose once and for all who the head villain is, so George can ride off into the sunset, with Laura at his side, to the glory of a second term. Pass the popcorn and hanky, please.
-- Pete Chagnon

…AND THE U.S. OUT OF THE U.N.
Re: Jed Babbin's The Emperor of East 46th Street:

That was a devastating summary of the U.N. The best verbal bloody nose I have read yet.
-- unsigned

Mr. Babbin's article nicely points out many of the weaknesses of the U.N. and correctly recognizes Mr. Annan's remarks as a challenge to our sovereignty. However, he doesn't take his argument to its logical conclusion, namely that we should withdraw from the U.N. It would be nice if we could actually debate soberly the merits of that particular choice, because it seems the one thing that even many on the right balk at.

In my opinion, the only reason we have for remaining within the U.N. is that were we to leave, we would have no further control over it and it would then be able to continue to provide cover for a variety of countries to act against our interest, all the while claiming to be acting under the authority of international law and representing the community of nations. We would do better to simply use our veto power to block any action against us while continuing to make it clear that U.N. is a useless organization. Unfortunately, not even the current administration sees it that way, and instead makes repeated efforts to encourage the U.N. to reform itself or justify our actions in terms of previously passed U.N. resolutions etc. This only serves to continue to give the U.N. a moral authority and meaning that it has otherwise long since lost.

Mr. Babbin also further proposes that we begin to organize a successor to the U.N., a league of democracies. With all respect, I find myself wondering why we should do this and why anyone thinks it would be much of an improvement on the U.N. One of the characteristics of democracies is that their governments change relatively frequently, albeit peacefully. Sometimes this means that their foreign policies also change; sometimes it doesn't. We have seen that in the post-March 11 Spanish elections. Should Senator Kerry get himself elected President, our foreign policy would change, too. Much though those of us on the right would dislike such an occurrence, we would have no choice but to respect our own political process. Consequently, even a league of democratic nations won't work. Should such an organization come into existence, it would either consist of all the democracies (including states like France, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Mexico and Spain), or it would consist only of those democratic nations that support our current policy. If it consisted of all of the world's democracies, those nations amongst them that currently oppose some or all of our current foreign policy would continue to do so. They would be no less obstructionist within Mr. Babbin's organization than they are within the U.N. Should such an organization consist only of our current allies in the war on terror, then we would have to accept the possibility that electoral changes in any of these countries (including our own) would wreck the organization or change its basic nature. So why even bother?

I wonder why it is that we always seem to have the need to create formal administrative organizations and bureaucracies to carry out basic tasks of foreign policy. This was the basic flaw in the League of Nations, it is the basic flaw in the U.N. and will continue to be the basic flaw in any similar organizations, unless they are to be genuine governments to which the nation states involved have surrendered their basic powers. And, we certainly aren't going to do that. Instead, we should recognize that the nation-state, properly constituted, is a sovereign entity and the prime actor in international politics. The tool through which a sovereign state pursues its foreign policy in concert with like-minded states is an alliance. Alliances are flexible and can be tailored to particular problems. On those occasions when we find ourselves without allies, then we either make up our mind to act on our own, that is if we think the objective is truly worthwhile, or change our policy. If we truly do value our sovereignty, we should be prepared to act like it. It is worth noting that all throughout the 19th century, when it was at the height of its power, Britain did just that, and most successfully.
-- Anthony Mirvish

WITHIN REASONER
Re: Enemy Central's Landing Dan:

Brilliant! Welcome back. I've missed you.
-- James Crystal

In listing the good CBS reporters, you missed one of the best, Harry
Reasoner. His departure started my dropping of "60 Minutes."
-- Evan L. Mayerle

SWEET REMINDER
Re: Joseph Baum's letter (under "Kofi of Late") in Reader Mail's Mr. Burkett's Lawyer:

Referring to Joseph Baum's letter (and others of the same type):

May I remind you that the United Nations is a 100% American idea and creation. It was force-fed on a skeptical world by the US of A, after WW II. So what? Wanna kill your baby now?
-- Nicolas Ziener
Grenoble, France

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