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No stone left unturned

Here, at last, is the truth that the US Government tried to suppress.

They did not want the world to know but, thanks to the painstaking forensic skill and integrity of the Fourth Estate, the skeleton is finally out of the closet!

“We stand by the authenticity of this document” – CBS

“…..the smoking gun” – Reuters

“…incontrovertible proof” – Guardian

“…a major setback for the Bush Whitehouse” – BBC

“What else are they trying to cover up?” – New York Times

Case closed.

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39 comments to No stone left unturned

  • Hank Scorpio

    It’s fairly clear to me that CBS hit bottom on this issue a long time ago and just continues to dig. In many ways this is a much, much bigger issue for American journalism than the Jayson Blair fiasco ever was. Here we are, in a time of war, in a presidential election year, and the media has exposed their bias by running with a story based around obviously, and ineptly, forged documents. Then, not only do they not retract their reporting and minimize the damage, but they cling to this flimsy story.

    I’m personally loving it, because this is ultimately going to destroy Rather’s reputation, hurt 60 Minutes (which is a program I very much enjoy, but their bias has begun to show in a big way for the past 4 years), and further discredit “big time” journalism.

    It’s really win win for the little guy and the blogosphere and one very big nail in the coffin of dinosaur media.

  • Just John

    Are you sure it’s legitimate? It looks like that was written on a modern-day whiteboard in Hove Station.

  • I think this quote sums it up best – “Man, those Samoans are a surly bunch.”

    Change a few minor details and the storyline from then is just as funny for now.

    (For those who are outside the US or are too young to remember – or who didn’t grow up with collections in the house – that is a Bloom County reference.)

  • R C Dean

    To the very considerable extent that the establishment media is an ally and facilitator of the cult of state, our enemies have taken a very big hit on this one.

    I can’t see a single downside to the brutal takedown of CBS and its allies by the blogosphere.

  • Steve in Houston

    The State wishes it had it as good as the media – self-appointed, accountable only to its similarly self-selected peers, lacking any motive for all but the most cursory of self-examination, and of course privileged access to movie stars, rock gods and sports heroes.

    Darn that Internet!

    BTW – Chelsea up 2-0 (PSG), Arsenal up 1-0 (PSV Eindhoven) at half-time.

  • toolkien

    Unfortunately it won’t be long when I’m having the billionth argument about the soft-left bias of the general media and all this will be forgotten. “What about Faux News?” they’ll blather (and not be wrong incidentally) and I’ll list ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, NY Times etc etc and they’ll deny they’re biased. “They’re not like Fox News!!!”, “They’re objective and they’re looking out for all of us!!!”. And the shallow alcove in my wall, bearing a striking resemblance to my forehead, will get a little deeper.

    The people’s need to be deluded far outways anything this one episode can undo. The stuanch anti-Bush won’t be moved an inch, the pro-Bush will feel a little more holier than thou for a week or two, and the middle will be swayed only slightly until the next set of pretty lights comes a’blinkin’.

  • David Crawford

    toolkien,

    I’m having a hard time trying to decide if your a typical libertarian-type defeatist, or a typical european-type defeatist.

    Will this episode turn millions and millions Americans against the left — both its candidates and its media appuratus? Well no, of course not. Will it turn a couple of hundred, or a couple thousand? Yes it will.

    A good portion of the right in America is made up of those formerly on the left. The change in political orientation usually happens over a series of episodes and incidents, until, one day, an incident happens, and the conversion has taken place.

    You make it sound as if each of those small episodes and incidents are unimportant as it doesn’t result in the mass conversions of millions and millions of people. Of course, history has shown those kinds of mass movements can have a few downsides (see “Naziism”, “Marxism”).

  • mike

    I’ll 2nd Mr Crawford’s sentiment toolkien – the numbers of those converting from left to right might be relatively small but at least the phenomenon is fairly common and well known. By contrast I’ve never heard of anyone converting from the right to the left.

  • *snort*
    That’s hilarious!
    What alarms me the most about this is that one of two things happened – either CBS didn’t care enough to check their sources, or they knew it was faked in thefirst place. Either way, not the best day in the history of journalism.

    I thought you’s be interested in this website:
    http://www.renegadetalkradio.com

    Very politial, social, in-your-face, no-holds-barred internet-only talk radio with no FCC regulation. I’d love it if you would check it out and let me know what you think!

  • Julian Taylor

    Ok, has anyone subjected this document to a real Fisking – i.e. have we embarked upon an analysis of whether or not that type of crayon existed in 1972, or not?

    By the way, can anyone please explain why it is Robert Fisk is entitled to his very own (in)continent on The Independent‘s site?

  • Hank Scorpio

    “By contrast I’ve never heard of anyone converting from the right to the left.”

    We’ve all heard the Churchill quote, so I’ll spare you guys the repetition. But in all, yeah, I think most people go conservative as a product of aging. I can remember in my younger days believing that stealing from the rich was a good idea. I can remember having a shred of sympathy for the Palestinians.

    What can I say? Older and wiser, I guess. That’s also why I have nothing but contempt for shrivelled up old hippies like a certain member of my extended family =P

  • RebeccaH

    I’ll say this for the CBS/forged documents flap. It sure has provided me with a lot of laughs.

  • Doug Collins

    Toolkien-

    I normally tend to see things like the CBS scandal in the same jaundiced way as you. However I am beginning to cautiously think it might be a little different this time because of a couple of recent incidents:

    -An associate of mine, who tends to be mildly conservative but hugely conventional in his thinking, volunteered the fact that “though in the past, he always had thought claims of media bias were very exaggerated, he was beginning to think that he had been mistaken.” This, from a man who – does – not – make – mistakes.

    -The young daughter of a friend, who I am almost certain normally inhabits a universe consisting of brittanyspearzoids and other childish concerns, startled me with a very knowing grin when I told her father about a parody of the repulsive animated paper clip character that Microsoft uses for the help function in Word. It had options such as “Do you want to use a font that didn’t exist in 1970?”, “Do you want to turn off superscripts?”, “Do you want to email Dan Rather?”. She obviously was up-to-date with the scandal because she caught on immediately.

    Both of these incidents gave this middle aged pessimist a very nice warm feeling.

  • Jacob

    “What can I say? Older and wiser, I guess.”

    Why are the young so much biased to the left ? Is it congenital ? Or is it aquired from the “shrivelled up old hippies ” – their parents and teachers ?

  • Pregant Chad

    Editors note: Comment deleted

  • Jonathan L

    Why are the young so much biased to the left ?

    Because left wing philosophy is so simplistic, it appeals to those without experience. Us cynical old gits spot the flaws at a hundred paces, but bright eyed youngsters who feel sympathy for those with less tend to just see the advertising. Also because Marxism is seen as rebellion, being left wing is sexy.

    When you consider the older folk who are lefty, there are two groups. Self helpers, those working for the state who rely on pillage for a living or unionised workers who need state help in their blackmail, or Closeted, those whose academic or journalistic careers keep them away from real life. Of course many of the enemy class fit in both groups.

  • John Ellis

    Why are the young so much biased to the left ?

    Because left wing philosophy is so simplistic, it appeals to those without experience. Us cynical old gits spot the flaws at a hundred paces, but bright eyed youngsters who feel sympathy for those with less tend to just see the advertising. Also because Marxism is seen as rebellion, being left wing is sexy.

    When you consider the older folk who are lefty, there are two groups. Self helpers, those working for the state who rely on pillage for a living or unionised workers who need state help in their blackmail, or Closeted, those whose academic or journalistic careers keep them away from real life. Of course many of the enemy class fit in both groups.”

    Jonathan, I work for a capitalist corporation (and live uncomfortably in the top tax band) and am in my mid-forties, but I am probably what you would consider a “lefty”. In other words, although liberal on social issues, I support a moderate degree of state taxation and tend more to the Independent (newspaper) view on GWB and Iraq than to the Fox News one, although both have many faults.

    When I was in my twenties I worked for the Civil Service (Federal Govt equivalent), but was an anarcho-libertarian wannabe that makes Mr Dean look middle-of-the-road.

    Maybe I just like subverting stereotypes, maybe I’m just perverse…(don’t go there :lol:)

    I guess all I am saying is – don’t generalise!

  • John Ellis

    Sorry, the first three paras of my post above were a quote, and should have been in italics….

  • A_t

    John, I agree.. Jonathan’s ‘analysis’ was simplistic; there are plenty people in the ‘real world’ who vote labour in the UK or Democrat in the US. If it was only academics & public service workers, the left-wing parties would lose every time, as although we have significant beaurocracies & academic establishments, commercial enterprises still employ far more people.

    It’s easy to take an ideology you’re opposed to & say “people only like it because they’re stupid or self-interested”, and doubtless makes you feel very good & clever, but it’s generally not very realistic.

  • toolkien

    I’m having a hard time trying to decide if your a typical libertarian-type defeatist, or a typical european-type defeatist.

    A good portion of the right in America is made up of those formerly on the left. The change in political orientation usually happens over a series of episodes and incidents, until, one day, an incident happens, and the conversion has taken place.

    I’ll 2nd Mr Crawford’s sentiment toolkien – the numbers of those converting from left to right might be relatively small but at least the phenomenon is fairly common and well known. By contrast I’ve never heard of anyone converting from the right to the left.

    Perhaps a clearer definition of the ‘right’ needs to be put forth. If you mean the run of the mill ‘right’ that supports Bush categorically (or nearly) then I don’t see the migration as a wonderful thing. The general right today is about where Kennedy was in the early sixties. I see the average ‘rightist’ today not as a rightist but a leftist. Where that puts the leftists of today’s definition much further left than before. Essentially I see the shift not to the right but to the left, or more correctly, from individualism to statism. I see very few truly anti-statists around – everyone has an agenda and the vast majority want the State to fix everyone else’s wagon. Most who profess liberty mean liberty for themselves and force used on others.

    Put another way, and being redundant with other comments I’ve made, but something has to explain how in ~100 years the majority has come to accept central control of money, interest, retirement, health etc etc (speaking for the US and the West in general). How we’ve come to live peacably with massive government debts, blithely accept our future enslavement and the certain commandeering of future labor and production. To my mind, the US has essentially ‘sovietized’ itself, and the process that led to it is just as much fault of the ‘right’ than the left.

    I’ll admit that I’m fairly fundemental in my view point, ending socialized education, children are the sole responsibility of parents, government needs to be reduced not just a little, but massively.

    I guess I can’t help but be a defeatist when the vast majority seem to need one form of superstition or another to get by in life, and nearly always those superstitions are the foundation of coercion in one form or another through the State.

    The Goldwaters on the right are gone. The right today consists of those who will lower taxes to appeal to an ignorant constituency only to turn on the borrowing spigot and ‘tax’ obliquely through monetary policies. We have a calcified system whereby the ‘right’ and ‘left’ are only marginally differentiable from each other, and the State grows and grows. I see a 1984-ish nightmare happening TODAY. And while there may be some agreement here amongst us, and some other blogs, the vast majority of the people I see everyday, I work with, associate with, conduct business with have chosen (or will choose) from column A or column B.

    No more 3 or 4 % of the total will be for third party candidates (and that mostly for Nader on the far left). So personally I don’t see a shift right but simply a redefinition of what right is, and a homogenous Center that is soft-left when the actual policies desired are examined. The right has become ‘compassionate conservatism’, it has become Big Government Conservatism, it has become not ending government transfer and subsidy but merely breaking the artificial seal that has prevented transfer from being made to traditional right conservative groups (e.g. faith based organizations).

    So I guess I see defeat in what other people are calling incrementally small victories. I see a subsuming of the right to the left-Center and those who have gone willingly have taken their semantic ‘right’ with them. It is this subsection who will trumpet CBS’ gaffe, while their ‘rivals’ in the left-Center will soon forget and the old war of words will erupt again – Fox News vs the rest. And in a few months, it will all blow over.

  • Toolkien has it: people tend to drift with age from being left-authoritarian to being right-authoritarian (cf Melanie Phillips); worse, many people drift from being left-liberal to being right-authoritarian… Libertarians would be extremely unwise to rely on demographic shifts to attract new support.

  • toolkien

    Toolkien has it: people tend to drift with age from being left-authoritarian to being right-authoritarian (cf Melanie Phillips); worse, many people drift from being left-liberal to being right-authoritarian… Libertarians would be extremely unwise to rely on demographic shifts to attract new support.

    I guess I see the drift, in either direction, in terms of youth who absorb what other people say and use that as a basis for whatever world view they have, and they ‘drift’ when they’ve accumulated first hand data of their own, usually through the process of expending effort to survive. Therefore the majority drift from the relatively soft-left of parenting based on want versus need (we have at least two generations of children who are objects instead of in times past when children were a natural consequence or manifestly needed to assist the homestead) and socialized education toward the ‘soft-right’ that still accepts Statism as the norm. It is a culture of dependency, collectivism and transfer.

    When the person is then ‘on their own’ and taste first hand the fruits of their own labor, they tend to want to preserve it from invasion to some degree. Depending on how insulted they are by the grab, they will fall into the left side of the left-Center or the ‘right’ side of the left-Center. The latter category will swoon from the attention to put ‘their hard earned money’ back into their own pockets only to have their true economic power eroded by other means. And they buy it because they still want a security net to be there, maybe slightly different than the one desired by strict social engineers of the left of the left-Center, but the end result is nearly the same. Both originate in the quasi-theocratic notion that the State creates more Good out of nothing at all.

    That, in a nutshell, is what makes the existing ‘right’ and the left nearly equal. And it this behemoth that I am fighting against, so small episodes such as this CBS affair, while exciting to some extent as a revealer of the left side of the left-Center in the media, doesn’t move me to think that this will, to any degree, strike a blow for libertarianism or create a drift from Statism to Individualism. It only fuels the ‘right’ side of the left-Center for a few weeks.

    It is little like a victory if the swaying mass in the center of the left-Center is moved to vote for Bush. Expansion of the Federal government and debt that we’ve suffered under Bush is not a victory in my book. It is the ultimate victory of Kennedy-esque Statism. The only debate now is will it be the Johnny or the Bobby variety.

  • What amazes me about this whole saga with Mr Liathar Rather is that he is totally unrepentant. His response on the CBS news the night after the story broke was frothing. He had a scratchy voice and proceeded to berate “politically motivated parties” and the blogosphere. It was one of the most pathetic pieces of anchoring I think I have ever seen. The man needs to be replaced…post haste.

  • Susan

    This may not make many conversions away from the media elitist establishment, but it’ll put the MSM on notice that they can no longer count on getting away with flagrant abuses. . .they’ll be forced to be more careful in the future.

  • Susan

    PS — Little Green Footballs is currently recieving in the neighborhood of 150,000 visits per day, mostly due to its index of forgery-related experiments and news items.

  • Hank Scorpio

    “He had a scratchy voice and proceeded to berate “politically motivated parties” and the blogosphere. It was one of the most pathetic pieces of anchoring I think I have ever seen.”

    The Daily Show summed it up nicely: “Dan Rather will not be fact checked!”

  • Tony Di Croce

    Brilliant analysys by toolkien.

    I believe that I read somewhere that Ayn Rand despised the right more than the left because they had given in… In her view the left was wrong, but at least they really believed in it… The right was worse because they knew (or at least used to know) about freedom, and yet gave up the morality of their position to the left.

    tanstafl@gmail.com

  • If I was a lowly psy-ops operator for Karl Rove I would have been tempted to set up CBS or the NYT just like this, its not exactly the Zinoviev letter, more a reverse Zinoviev letter.

    Whereas the probably false Zinoviev letter linked the incumbent Labour government vaguely with the Comintern’s dastardly plans, the CBS memo vaguely confuses the Kerry campaign’s planned smears in the public’s eyes as false.

    Both contained some truths – all the better to smear.

    Nice bit of black arts work. Or a crap piece of smearing if it did come from the Kerry camp.

  • limberwulf

    I tend to agree somewhat with Toolkein. The current “left” and “right” are not notably different in an authoritarian sense, only in a social sense. I find that the “drift” tends to be mostly in the social arena, largely because after youve been around the block a couple times “free love” and “free spirits” are proven to be shallow and dumb and have longterm negative effects.
    There are four things causing a maintenance or even an increase in the authoritarian attitude:
    1) Finding a need for structure. Structure is often a good thing, and people tend to discover that free thinking is nice, but it is a lot easier to survive as a part of society/a system. Mistake of a lot of young libertarian minds is that they are more anarchist than libertarian, and rather than hanging on to the aspects of that thought that make sense, they tend to give up completely.
    2) Laziness. People tend to see needs out there, but want others to handle it, because too much effort is required to do anything about it yourself. There is a “something for nothing” desire in human nature, and it can be quite difficult to overcome.
    3) Fear. People want that safety net. They have lost sight of the fact that freedom comes with 2 things, opportunity, and risk. You cannot have one without the other, but people let their fears overcome their desire for opportunity and freedom because they cower away from the risks. Even if that fear is for their families, it remains that fear is what drives the “safety net” votes.
    4) Ignorance. People often dont understand how monetary policy can be a far greater tax than what comes out of their check. They dont realize what safety regulations do to the bottom line of the economy, they dont realize that union lobbying for unrealistic wages actually makes the union workers worse off as a whole. The key to this is education. Much of the “right wing” action that is authoritarian would not be supported by the average “right wing” voter. They simply do not realize that the actions of their leaders are the reverse of the principles they hold. If they did, there would be an awful lot more third party votes for guys like Badnarik.

    OTOH, I also realize that we got where we are gradually, and I still can applaud small victories. Ive been reading a lot of Milton Freidman recently, and I find that he focusses a lot on the next step, because trying to reach an ideal overnight is not likely, and even if it happened the journey would be unpleasant. The cure may not be worse than the disease, but when you are talking of transforming an entire population, sometimes you have to take the scenic route. Discrediting the mainstream news is a wonderful thing, because people will find that they have to seek out their own news sources, not simply depend on the accuracy of the stuff they are spoonfed. This could lead them to alternate and informative media, such as the blogosphere. The effects of this may be far deeper than simply pitting left against right. My hope is that it will force the consumer to become informed by the actions of their own mind, not by being handed somethign from someone elses mind. This is the true victory in this, and I hold out hope that at least some will be changed for the better through it, even if most are not.
    hooray 😀

  • Dan

    “The document appears forged, but the information is true.” – AP

  • Oh for Christ’s sake. WHO CARES? Are you shockedshockedSHOCKED to hear that a left-leaning member of big media might possibly be full of excrement? Well, this’ll really shock you: Right-leaning members of big media are full of it too. Demonstrate to me that the Swift Boat Idiots and those who trumpeted their poison are squeaky clean. Then maybe I’ll listen to you kvetch about CBS and these “forgeries.”

    I don’t have to address the National Guard convention, so for those of you who have forgotten it or never knew it, I can tell you a truth: During the 60s, America’s National Guard was a haven for “Hell no, I won’t go” types. Back then, the Great American Military Machine needed meat for the grinder. Most boys 18 and over were conscripted, knowing full well they’d likely be sent to Viet Nam, where they’d encounter very good odds of their names ending up on that list of 58,000 on the black wall in Arlington National Cemetry. And wasn’t that a glorious war? So glorious that American boys were begging to get into the National Guard so they wouldn’t have to go. The vast majority COULD NOT get in without very, very special connections. Any American who lived through those years will admit this outright, unless they’re suffering from dementia or lying. Dubya’s daddy pulled strings for his spoiled little rich brat, who went on to prove himself incapable of mustering the balls to finish off his trivial Guard service. If you’re still convinced Dubya was a standup guy, Google for quotes–in context, please–from the woman who was secretary to the man who wrote these “forged” reports. Dubya is a whinging, cowardly failure, bred in the bone, apparently. Who gives a s**t about chapter and verse?

    One more thing: Except for what it says about his character–which is a great deal, and none of it good–what Dubya did or did not do in the 60s is not terribly relevant right now. Those of you outside the U.S. who adore him and expect the American military to save your cheap, lazy butts AGAIN, listen up. You’re damned expensive friends, and we can’t afford you. Right now the U.S. is throwing money we do not have at a problem we cannot solve. Dubya is only the latest in a shameful, millennia-long line of stupid politicians who have ruined their countries by getting them into stupid wars.

  • Who gives a s**t about chapter and verse?

    ‘None’ is the authentic voice of religious desperation. His argument is essentially ‘never mind the fact that the evidence to support my point of view is circling the drain, I believe what I believe. Credo, credo CREDO!’.

    All professional politicians are lying bastards who are surrounded by deluded supporters and GWB is no exception. However GWB’s side is not who got caught out this time, it was “none’s” side.

    When the Republicans statists screw up, we will cackle about that here on Samizdata.net but this time it was the Democrat statists who screwed the pooch and got caught doing it. hahahahaha.

  • All professional politicians are lying bastards who are surrounded by deluded supporters and GWB is no exception.

    We agree here, Perry. However:

    When the Republicans statists screw up, we will cackle about that here on Samizdata.net.

    Mmm, no. I didn’t follow closely, but do seem to recall that when the Swifties screwed up–which they most assuredly did–the cackling here was about how sleazy John Kerry is, what a man of action Dubya is, etc. I am very much afraid that the libertarian cause is riddled with American wingnuts who want to see the power of the state removed so that it can be returned to its divinely-mandated seat with the man of the family; and with Eurotypes who believe that the guy who snookers the most Americans into believing he’s “conservative” is the best one to save them from excesses they themselves can’t be bothered to contain.

  • One more comment, in the hope of making my viewpoint completely clear: That Dubya is a whinging, sniveling coward, hiding behind Rice and Cheney and whomever else his great grand daddy’s money can buy, is pretty much beside the point in this election. What IS to the point is that Dubya is that depressingly common type of fool who politically and economically bankrupts a country by trying to fight a ruinous and pointless war. I am referring specifically to Iraq here. I am no pacifist; there ARE bad guys out there who would like to destroy the West, and they very much need to be blasted to their 70 virgins.

    Say what you like about the stupidity of “democratically held” elections. Idiots like Dubya MUST be removed from office, and this is how we do it here.

  • Joe

    None-

    the ‘black wall’ is at 20th & constitution, not at Arlington Cemetary. The ‘Black wall’ at Arlington (beyond Memorial Bridge) has the names of Seabees who have passed on. It’s a wall which I hoped never to have my name on.

    Stop emotionalizing this, None. It is about geopolitics, not your feelings, and not the way you wish the world COULD be, but as it is. The Near East is a trainwreck which has to be divided and contained to protect us, the populations around it, and it’s own public.

    Kerry pried his way into the Naval Reserve with equally ‘noble’ intentions, by the way.

  • Actually, Joe, your suggestion that we use the divide and conquer strategy in the Middle East is the most coherent and best summation I’ve heard thus far as a reason for this war. Unfortunately, in practice and in this particular instance, it does not appear that dividiing and conquering is quite what is happening. Are you aware, for example, that “insurgents” (i.e., Iranians) are in control of large chunks of Iraq? Somebody screwed up badly, here, and once again I suggest that “somebody” is the Dubyas. (I use this plural term because Dubya himself clearly is incapable of coming up with any such grand strategy, however flawed. I don’t give a damn if the man has an IQ of 180. He’s an idiot.)

    I have to admit you’re quite right in stating that I get emotional at the thought of Western civilization being brought down by a combination of Medieval nihilism and -6th through 21st-century stupidity. Emotions have a quite legitimate function, though–are you aware of that? We can discuss if you like.

    Tell you what. I’ll stop emotionalizing if you’ll learn to use proper punctuation and capitalization. And by the way, your cavil about the location of the “black wall” doesn’t detract in the slightest from my main point. You did get the point, didn’t you?

  • You did get the point, didn’t you?

    That your favoured lying statist is better than the other lying statist? Yeah, I got that point just fine and Joe probably did too.

  • David Gillies

    Man oh man, you guys are behind the news cycle. Time difference I suppose.

    Anyway, the issue of whether or not these memos are forged is settled now. They are. The new question is a) whodunit? and b) whydunit?

    We can ignore ‘none’ – that sort of hysteria is unhelpful. The choice isn’t between a flawed, overly-statist George W. Bush and the genetically-engineered uber-libertarian offspring of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. It’s between Goerge Bush and John Kerry, unequivocally the worst candidate that the Dems have fielded since George McGovern. Every time you level a legitimate criticism against Bush, you have to stop and ask yourself in what way would any plausible alternative be better.

    I’m a reluctant Bush fan. The steel tariffs were dreadful, the NCLB legislation was ludicrous, but there’s one thing that this administration has undertaken that I believe a Kerry-led one would not: it has ordered US armed forces into situations whereby many tens of thousands of the enemy have died. Islamofascism is being defeated by the time-tested method of butchering Islamofascists in large numbers. It worked for Black Jack Pershing in the Phillipines, and it will work in the Middle East, if our hands are not tied by namby-pamby considerations. If John Kerry does not become President, in other words.

  • Terrible

    John, I agree.. Jonathan’s ‘analysis’ was simplistic; there are plenty people in the ‘real world’ who vote labour in the UK or Democrat in the US. If it was only academics & public service workers, the left-wing parties would lose every time, as although we have significant beaurocracies & academic establishments, commercial enterprises still employ far more people.

    I agree too!! I’m a construction worker in the extremely rural part of New England and I’d say that while the majority of the builders and farmers up in these parts aren’t quite what some would call “lefties” they’re very much unanimously opposed to bush and pretty much every single one of his policies. Up here we call this simple common sense. Until recently we sometimes called it intellegence too. (hehehe couldn’t resist that last!)