Assume the Position

Friday, August 27, 2004
 
BCRA: What's in a Name?

Results of the 2002 Congressional vote on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, aka Shays-Meehan, aka McCain-Feingold:

House Yes No NV
Rep 41 176 5
Dem 198 12 1
Ind 1 1  
TOTALS 240 189 6
 
Senate Yes No
Rep 11 38
Dem 48 2
Ind 1  
TOTALS 60 40

From this, it looks like bipartisan means giving the Democrats what they want. Here are the ratios (Inds and NVs excluded):

House Yes No
Rep 19% 81%
Dem 94% 6%
TOTALS 56% 44%
 
Senate Yes No
Rep 22% 78%
Dem 96% 4%
TOTALS 60% 40%

Since its passage, Senator McCain has been upset that the law operates as if had been rightly named the Democrats' Soft-Money Dreams Come True Act. Too bad he wouldn't listen to anyone beforehand.



Thursday, August 26, 2004
 
Why People Distrust the Media and Kerry - Example #21268

Senator Kerry speaks and ABC News distorts the record.

At a health care town hall meeting in Anoka, Minnesota, Senator John Kerry faced a direct question from a self-proclaimed Independent male voter who asked at 12:31pm EST, "The two things they say about you is that you waffle on the issues and that you lied about Vietnam. So, do you waffle on the issues and did you lie about Vietnam?"

A revved up Kerry addressed Vietnam first retorting, "All the guys who were with me on my boat absolutely document what I've said...you're now hearing about the lie. I am absolutely telling you the God's honest truth with regard to what happened over there."

My first thoughts upon reading that: I suppose Kerry wishes he could forget about Steve Gardner, who served as gunner on PCF 44 under Kerry's command and is one of the original members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Or maybe Kerry doesn't remember the definition of "all."

Second thoughts: Maybe someone at ABC News decided to elide some mitigating qualification in Kerry's definitive "All the guys…" sentence. If that's the case, they did a disservice to both Kerry and their viewers.

Which was it? The latter. A fuller Associated Press report appearing on the ABC News site reads:

Responding to a question at a forum, Kerry said, "All the guys who were with me on my boat, all the guys who were with me in the specific action where they could see it and do it, absolutely document what I said. And as you've seen in the last few days, you're now learning about the lie that's been put out there and how it's been put out there.'

Kerry pointed out that the Navy documented his actions 35 years ago, compared to the recollections of veterans decades later. "Those documents stand, and I am absolutely telling you the God's honest truth about what happened and what took place over there. And so are the other people who've laid it out correctly over the last couple days," he said.

It may well be that Gardner was not on Kerry's boat for the December 2, 1968 action for which Kerry received his first Purple Heart; and Kerry's other Purple Hearts, Bronze Star and Silver Star were awarded for actions during his command of PCF 94 according to the timeline on Kerry's campaign website. If that's the case, so long as the discussion is only about the merits of Kerry's medals, the elided qualification would exclude Gardner.

Still, even giving Kerry the benefit of the doubt above, he didn't give a fully truthful answer to the actual question, "…did you lie about Vietnam?" For example, when it comes to his multiple tellings of the Christmas Eve in Cambodia story, there seems to be nobody who can or will "absolutely document what [he] said" was the truth.



Sunday, August 22, 2004
 
"Mr. Kerry, You're No Max Cleland"

Michael Gersh looks at character as a prerequsite for high office.

It is ironic that our standards for candidates for high office include a requirement that the candidate have character, which is described by the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Ironic in the sense that most office holders strive to look like they have these traits, while few have more than half of them. In another definition of character, it is said that "character is what you do when nobody is looking," also ironic, since the politician's version of this one would be "character is never getting caught at what you gotta do to get elected." Even so, most politicians manage to appear to have their character intact, and many of them actually believe that the word honestly describes them. Most will make decisions that reflect good character, if only to help them garner enough votes at reelection time to avoid having to get actual jobs.

Then came Clinton…

Gersh gets a bit harsher describing Kerry's Vietnam service ("dishonorable") than I would—my distaste for Kerry really starts with his VVAW antics and proceeds through his Senate career and this campaign—but I do agree that Kerry's character is short a few pillars. As they say, read the rest.


UPDATE - August 26, 2004: Then again, Max Cleland (current) is no Max Cleland (prior to his one term in the US Senate), either. The pathetic spectacle in Crawford, Texas provides a good example of why Max Cleland was rejected by Georgia voters in 2002. His tenure in the Beltway seemed to have turned him into a toady for the worst of the liberal end of the Democrats, and now he willingly allows himself to be used over and over as a prop by the Kerry campaign.

John Hinderaker sums up the current Max Cleland thusly:

Cleland has become the ultimate Democrat--a professional victim, defined entirely by his triple-amputee status, who will do anything for the party hacks. Cleland served a term in the U.S. Senate; he apparently believed that his victim status entitled him to a Senate seat in perpetuity and without opposition, regardless of his votes, which consistently betrayed the views and interests of his constituents. As I say, the ultimate Democrat.



 
More Kerry Fudging Facts

This time it's "Sen. Kerry's Stem-Cell Fairy Tales," addressed by Eric Cohen in the Los Angeles Times op-ed section (via Jerry Scharf).

Democrats are eager to discuss the issue, and Kerry's campaign rhetoric seems to have three objectives: first, to convince the nation that Bush has "enacted a far-reaching ban on stem-cell research." Second, to encourage Americans, especially sick ones, to believe that cures for everything from AIDS to Alzheimer's are just around the corner. Finally, to make ethical opposition to embryo research seem not just misguided but irrational — like opposing the Earth's orbit around the sun.
All powerful claims; all false.

There is no ban on stem-cell research in America. When it comes to adult stem-cell research, Bush is a strong advocate, with the National Institutes of Health providing more than $180 million to researchers last year. When it comes to embryonic stem-cell research, there are no legal limits of any kind: New embryonic stem-cell institutes are springing up at major universities across the country; Californians will vote in November on a $3-billion bond initiative to fund embryo research; scientists at Harvard recently created 17 new embryonic stem-cell lines, and scientists in Chicago produced 50 more. To say repeatedly, as Kerry has, that Bush has "shut down" stem-cell research is absurd.

A great deal of embryonic stem-cell research is ineligible for public funding. A law, passed by Congress in 1996 and renewed annually, prohibits federal funding for research involving the destruction of human embryos. In 2001, Bush reviewed the NIH guidelines implementing the law and decided to authorize funding for research on existing embryonic stem-cell lines in which the human embryos in question had already been destroyed.

There are 22 lines currently eligible for federal funding, with more on the way. Nearly 500 shipments had been made to scientists, and the NIH spent $25 million on this kind of research last year.

Critics of Bush's policy complain that there are not enough usable cell lines and that the existing lines are not as good as newer ones. But their criticism fails to see the policy's larger aim: to promote basic research without creating a public incentive for further human embryo destruction and without forcing all citizens to pay for an activity that many believe is morally wrong. The president's policy neither bans all embryo research nor funds all embryo research. It offers a prudent middle course.

The second Kerry claim — that stem-cell inspired treatments for many dreaded diseases are imminent — is even more irresponsible. In June, the Washington Post published a story, quoting many leading scientists in the field, that said stem-cell research was unlikely to lead to a cure for Alzheimer's. When asked why Alzheimer's continues to be a favorite of stem-cell research advocates, NIH scientist Ron McKay replied: "People need a fairy tale." Shortly after the death of President Reagan, who suffered from the disease, Kerry devoted one of the Democrats' weekly radio addresses to this fairy tale, declaring that "stem-cell research has brought us closer to finding ways to treat Alzheimer's."

Stem-cell research — and perhaps embryonic stem-cell research alone — has the potential to produce a cure for or ameliorate certain terrible diseases, Parkinson's and juvenile diabetes being the most promising. But the outcomes of this research are currently wholly speculative. Cures are not, as Kerry repeatedly claims, "at our fingertips."

Are Eric Cohen's quotes of Kerry correct and in context? Yes.

Kerry's August 7, 2004 radio address (emphasis added):

Good morning, this is John Kerry.

Three years ago, the President enacted a far-reaching ban on stem cell research, shutting down some of the most promising work to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimers, Parkinsons, diabetes, AIDS and so many other life-threatening diseases.

[…]

At this very moment, some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are right at our fingertips, but because of the stem cell ban, they remain beyond our reach.

And Kerry's July 12, 2004 radio address (emphasis added):

Good morning, this is John Kerry.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to President Ronald Reagan.

[…]

[Nancy Reagan] told the world that Alzheimer’s had taken her own husband to a distant place, and then she stood up to help find a breakthrough that someday will spare other husbands, wives, children and parents from the same kind of heartache.

Millions share this hope, and it is because of their commitment that stem cell research has brought us closer to finding ways to treat Alzheimer’s and many other diseases.

Finally, the applicable provision first enacted in Public Law 104-208 (2.5 Mb text file), signed by President Clinton on September 30, 1996 and continued in every Health and Human Services appropriations bill since then:

SEC. 512. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for--

(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or

(2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.208(a)(2) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)).

(b) For purposes of this section, the term "human embryo or embryos" include any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 as of the date of the enactment of this Act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes.



 
Kerry Campaign Fudging Facts About 'Front Groups'

The Kerry campaign is trying to have it both ways, campaign spokesman David Wade calls the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth a "Republican front group for Bush" while the Kerry campaign vigorously denies that other 527s are acting as front groups for the Democrats and Kerry's campaign. In their denials, such as the following remarks by Kerry campaign spokeswoman Debra Deshong, they fudge with the facts:

(CNSNews.com) - The Bush campaign has suggested that Sen. John Kerry join President Bush in calling off the dogs -- those "shadowy" 527 groups that run ads for and against Bush and Kerry.

The liberal group MoveOn.org and the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are both 527s, named after a section of the tax code.

But on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign backed away from the suggestion. She said what MoveOn.org is doing is perfectly fine, while what the Swift Boat Veterans are doing is "dishonest" and "dishonorable."

Debra Deshong of the Kerry campaign told Fox News there's a difference between MoveOn.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: "MoveOn.org is an independent organization that existed well before the Kerry campaign," she said, whereas Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "is not an independent group."

[…]

Deshong condemned Bush for not telling Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to stop running their ad. (Swift Boats say it wouldn't matter what Bush said -- see related story)

"Again, we (the Kerry campaign) have nothing to do with these independent ads, like MoveOn.org. That is an independent organization that existed well before the Kerry campaign. They have every right to be running what they are under the campaign finance laws." According to Deshong, "This is about the Swift Boat Vets that are running dishonorable ads that Bush refuses to condemn."

Deshong is practicing misdirection. The MoveOn.org Voter Fund is the 527 responsible for many of the anti-Bush ads and it was created nine months after Kerry started his presidential campaign.

John Kerry for President, Inc. Statement of Organization filed with the FEC on 12 04 02 (December 4, 2002).

MoveOn.org Voter Fund - initial Political Organization Notice of 527 Status filed with the IRS lists the date established as 09/18/2003 (September 18, 2003) and was filed with the IRS on 09/19/2003.

It is true that MoveOn.org was founded in the late 90s, but that is beside the point because MoveOn.org is not a 527. Probably every page of the MoveOn.org site has the following at the bottom:

The MoveOn family of organizations consists of three entities. MoveOn.org, a 501(c)(4) organization, primarily focuses on education and advocacy on important national issues. MoveOn PAC, a federal PAC, primarily helps members elect candidates who reflect our values. And MoveOn.org Voter Fund, a 527 organization, primarily educates voters on the positions, records, views, and qualifications of candidates for public office.

It is the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, not MoveOn.org or the MoveOn PAC, that has received millions from George Soros and Peter B. Lewis to produce and run those ads.

With a campaign that confuses it's own candidate with a similarly named senator, they've got a record that probably gives Deshong enough plausible deniability to claim her remarks were a mistake based on confusion surrounding MoveOn.org's various entities rather than an outright lie. She should really get a briefing from Zack Exely, who was the director of special projects for the MoveOn PAC before becoming the Kerry campaign's director of online communications. No coordination there, now move along, nothing to see here.


UPDATE - August 23, 2004: Jay Caruso has a post on 527s linked to Kerry in which, among other things, he says Atrios is peddling the same misinformation as Debra Deshong.

On the other hand, Joanna, leaving the first comment on this post at Captain's Quarters, is wrong to call these Kerry remarks regarding timing a "fabrication" and "provable lie".

And here's nice fresh fabrication from last week when he was speaking to the firefighters. A proveable lie. In his speech to the firefighters, Kerry said that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president". Whatta crock. They held a press conference in MAY announcing the formation of the group.

KERRY [to firefighters]: Over the last week a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth. They're not telling the truth. They didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president. But here's what you really need to know about them. They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas... blah blah blah lie blah blah blah whopper blah blah blah prevarication blah blah blah fib blah blah blah ...

Posted by: Joanna at August 21, 2004 10:32 AM

Although SVBT was actually formed at the end of April, the month before the press conference Joanna mentions, Kerry had wrapped up the nomination by mid-March after his wins in Kansas and Illinois definitely put him over the 2,162 delegates required to secure the party's nomination. It's not really a stretch for Kerry to consider himself having won the nomination as of March.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, with victories in the March 13 Kansas caucuses and the March 16 Illinois primary, has won more than the 2,162 delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in July.

Kerry has defeated nine other Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination. Most have withdrawn from the race, but Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich and the Reverend Al Sharpton, who combined have received less than 5 percent of the vote in most states, officially remain in the campaign.

Neither Sharpton or Kucinich stood a chance of taking the nomination away from Kerry or starting a floor fight at the convention. (Sharpton had actually "conceded the presidential nomination to Sen. John Kerry on March 15, 2004, but said he would continue to campaign for his 'urban agenda,'" leaving himself officially a candidate.) Realistically, Kerry had won the nomination in March (at least enough to speak in those terms), even if some might argue that it wasn't official until formalized at the convention in July.

Additionally, it's fairly obvious that if Kerry hadn't won the nomination (or gotten tapped for the VP slot by a different candidate), SBVT probably wouldn't have been formed. Aside from some folks in Massachusetts, nobody else much cares about the junior senator from that state, as evidenced by the fact that he repeated his 'Christmas in Cambodia' story numerous times over 25 years, apparently without it ever being seriously challenged. The stakes just aren't as high for one of a hundred senators as they are for a president. Also, it's doubtful the Massachusetts voters elected him to the Senate because he commanded a swift boat for four months in Vietnam, but that is about the sole example of any leadership he's presented to the nation's voters.

So, some Vietnam veterans, who had served on swift boats and oppose the idea of Kerry sailing into the Oval Office on what they consider to be his false claims about Vietnam and his leadership of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, created a 527 organization to get their story out after Kerry had locked up the nomination in March.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - initial Political Organization Notice of 527 Status filed with the IRS lists the date established as 04/23/2004 (April 23, 2004) and was filed with the IRS on 04/30/2004.

Kerry's speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters:

Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth – and they're not telling the truth. They didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president.

But here's what you really need to know about them. They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They’re a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know—he wants them to do his dirty work.

My remarks above pertain to when the SVBT 527 was created. Kerry's, "this group isn't interested in the truth – they're not telling the truth," and the rest his comments are fair game, even if they are mostly opinion. In my opinion, many 527s (Democratic, Republican, left-wing, right-wing, moderate, and whatever else) invariably pass the 'duck test' for acting like a 'front group' for one campaign or another when a race gets down to the final few candidates—that's tough, live with it.



Original content copyright © 2002-2005 Lynxx Pherrett. All rights reserved.