Afghanistan: News That Is Nowhere To Be Found In The Legacy Media

And it’s news you should have. Begin here, and go on to Part II.

From Part I: “The Taliban’s eagerness to embrace ignorance will doom them eventually, but how many of us will they kill first? They are a relic of the beasts in our nature.”

An Old Question Is Once Again Current: What, Exactly, Is “Swiftboating”??

That’s easy to answer: “swiftboating” is defined not by what it is, but by the politics of the person using the term.

Those who opposed the election of John Kerry say that “swiftboating” is the revelation by a group of private citizens of information that warns the public about the character of a bad man. Those who supported Kerry would say it is the smear tactics of a bunch of liars who libel a man in order to defeat him politically.

Both groups would probably agree on this: “swiftboating” is not done by a political party or campaign committee, but by a private group of individuals who manage to get funding to put their message in the media. It’s the work of an ad hoc organization.

Democrats generally deplore “swiftboating,” and it is now much, much harder to do as a direct consequence of the McCain-Feingold federal legislation (see PenPo Number 23; if you need a copy, send a message to The Eagle Wing Palace). Republicans don’t usually have much to say about the issue, but they may opine that the Swift Boat Vets for Truth did not influence the election.

Now, however, we have the brother of the Chairman of the Democratic Party running a committee that is doing what can only be called “swiftboating.”

What is really going on here? Is this a serious attempt to discredit McCain? Or is it just an angry poke in the eye delivered by someone who believes he got poked in the eye four years ago?

It’s interesting, because it represents a shift in tactics: it does not deal with the perceived weaker partner on the GOP ticket, Gov. Palin. Do the Big Boys feel their investigation of her background, and the media attempt to denigrate her, are now threatening to snap back in their faces? If that is the case, it could be because of the internet. The exposure of efforts to dig up dirt on Palin, along with devastating analyses of Palin’s ABC interview ( such as this one), are posted for the world to see. Only a few years ago, negative publicity like that was much more limited in scope.

The neo-swiftboat video demonizing McCain is also notable because it is obviously the work of top Democrats alarmed by the fumbling, stumbling Obama team. A ripple of panic has passed across the Democratic party, and the “swiftboat” video can be taken as a signal from the insiders that they don’t appreciate the Original Amateur Hour look of the campaign.

A commentator on a website remarks perceptively

…McCain/Palin will win by getting out the vote and allowing the Dems to implode. The Democrats have lost the ability to connect beyond their core base of urban elites, there are no Obama Republicans to woo. ….

Right. So the top Democrats are reacting by going back to basics. This new video is an attempt to redirect the Obama campaign. (Another example here.) They know that accusing McCain of being “Bush III” is weak; the GOP candidate will have to be revealed as the monster he is, unstable and therefore dangerous. That will scare the disgruntled feminists back into the fold, closing the Hillary schism. The immediate goal is not to reach out to the middle, but to restore Democratic solidarity.

McCain tried to reconnect to the GOP core when he anointed Palin, and obviously the Democrats think he succeeded. Because McCain is seen as one jump ahead of Obama on party unity, Dean is telling Obama to stop whining ambiguously about change and start a war chant. Both sides know they must get all their traditional allies formed up into solid phalanxes, but the Democrats, lagging behind because of Hillary, are frantic.

The election will be a thunderous head-on collision between left and right. This is not just a political campaign; it’s a culture war.

This Is A Big One, But Most Voters Won’t Ever Hear About It

The Penguin Post sat on this story, giving it time to unfold. Follow all the links and read carefully, paying particular attention to the lawyerly language of candidate Obama as he denies wrongdoing.


The electorate won’t get much information on this from the major media (only one of the above links takes you to a newspaper). If it were otherwise, this single event could destroy the Democrat’s hope of ever becoming president.

News That Isn’t…

…because it is not pro-Obama.

…because this is about the silencing of Obama’s critics.

…because here’s a former Hillary supporter, a famous guy, who’s jumped ship.

None of these stories will get much coverage. It’s called “tokenism.”

A Fantasy

Gov. Palin has become a high-value target in the culture war. She has accordingly been asked what, exactly, the job of the vice president of the USA is. What a shame that she did not have the presence of mind to ram that question down the throat of her interrogator/judge with these words:

You know the constitution does not define the specifics, but simply makes the VP the president of the Senate, and next in line for the presidency. You also know, I’m sure, that no legislation specifies the precise authority or responsibilities of the VP beyond what’s in the constitution, though by act of Congress I shall be a member of the National Security Council. In fact the VP’s job is always defined by the then president.

So — obviously I’ll get my marching orders from President McCain.

Now let me say a word about your question before we move on. You know I can’t read a book or interview a political scientist to find out exactly what my job will be. But your question assumes that would be possible, and that I should be able to recite a list of my coming responsibilities. I can’t do that. Nobody could. Look — let’s not have any more questions that depend on false hidden assumptions, all right?

It would be delightful to see a media Brahmin choke on his own trap, turn purple, and have to call for a pause in the interview. But alas, it was not to be…. And doubtless never will be, for that rewarding scene would only wind up on the cutting room floor.

Some Links

Brits throw hissy-fit over science education

“I’m not evolved!”


Research budgets

The record spender


Photography tomorrow



Glaciers melting

Some sense, some nonsense


A distant sun and planet

First such photo


The latest scare

It’s preliminary


Mars: no magnetic field

Stay home, Earthlings!


Planning to vote?

How and why


Alice in Wonderland site

“We’re all mad here!”

Just Deserts

Here’s a brief video that should be viewed at the end of a frustrating day — or at the end of a boring newsletter. Instant relief guaranteed.