Thursday, September 16, 2004

40 Questions for John Kerry

For Original document, click here

August 26, 2004, 8:33 a.m.Media-Ready Crib SheetTwenty questions for John Kerry.
By Peter Kirsanow

Senator Kerry has been pretty successfully avoiding the media, but sometime between now and November 2 he'll have to sit down for a far-ranging interview on a program other than The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Thus far, most Kerry interviews have been less-than-penetrating (one recent poll even indicates that nearly a third of the electorate knows very little about John Kerry) and certainly not hostile (in comparison, see, among other things, President Bush's press conference of last spring). Bill Clinton was subjected to far-greater scrutiny by this time in the 1992 election cycle. Kerry's legendary policy flip-flops as well as his campaign's shifting stories related to the current controversy compel questioning at least as tough as that directed at Kerry's critics.
Here are only a few of the questions Kerry hasn't adequately addressed. They don't even have anything to do with swift boats. There are no "gotcha" questions. They're posed in a respectful manner. In fact, many are softballs. After all, few interviewers would wish to alienate Kerry and foreclose the possibility of follow-up interviews. With that in mind, here goes:
1. The Bush campaign maintains that you spent 20 years in the Senate with no signature legislative achievements. What do you consider to be the five most important pieces of legislation that you've authored?
a. What's the most important piece of legislation regarding intelligence you've authored?
b. What's the most important piece of antiterrorism legislation you've authored?
c. What's the most important piece of health-care legislation you've authored?
d. What's the most important piece of education legislation you've authored?
2. You'd agree that on paper, Dick Cheney's experience and qualifications dwarf those of your running mate. Why would John Edwards make a better president during the war on terror than Dick Cheney?
a. It's been widely reported that John McCain was your first choice as running mate. If true, why did you prefer Senator McCain to Senator Edwards?
3. Earlier this year you told Tim Russert that you'd release all of your military records, yet you've failed to do so and you refuse to release your Vietnam journal. Why shouldn't the public infer that the contents of these documents would undermine your credibility or otherwise damage your candidacy?
a. When will you release the documents?
4. You've stated that you believe that life begins at conception yet you voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions. At precisely what point is a life worth protecting?
a. Is there any limitation on abortion (waiting periods, parental notification) for which you'd vote? If so, what?
5. You've promised to repeal much of the Bush tax cut and while in the Senate you voted to raise taxes an average of five times per year. If current economic trends remain largely unchanged during a Kerry presidency, would you seek additional tax increases?
a. How would you raise taxes and what are the highest marginal tax rates that you'd support?
6. You opposed the 1991 Gulf War even though Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, had invaded another country, and France and Germany had supported the war. In the current conflict no WMDs have been found, France and Germany oppose the action, and Saddam hadn't invaded another country. Yet you recently stated that knowing what you know now, you'd nonetheless authorize the use of force — even though you voted against funding it. Could you please reconcile these positions?
7. You acknowledge meeting with representatives of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong in Paris in 1970. Afterward you urged Congress to accept the North Vietnamese proposals. Please explain how this wasn't a violation of the Logan Act and, if you were still in the Naval Reserves at that time, how it wasn't a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibiting unauthorized communications with the enemy.
8. In several speeches before black audiences you've stated that a million African Americans were disenfranchised and had their votes stolen in the 2000 presidential election. There are no official or media investigations that support that statement. What evidence do you have to support the statement and if you believe a million blacks had their votes stolen, why haven't you called for criminal prosecutions and congressional investigations?
9. Do you dispute the National Journal's assessment that you're the nation's most liberal senator? If you do, which senators do you consider to be more liberal and why?
10. Why did you propose cutting the intelligence budget by $6 billion in 1994?
11. As president, would you nominate anyone to be either an attorney general, FBI director, or CIA director who had been a leader and chief spokesman for a group that had discussed and voted upon a plan to assassinate U.S. senators (even if the proposed nominee had opposed such plan)?
12. You have consistently stated that you "never, never" attended the November 1971 Kansas City meeting of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate six pro-military U.S. senators was discussed. Several newspapers reported that when confronted with FBI surveillance reports, your campaign "all but conceded" that you were in attendance , but claimed that this was a mere "footnote in history."
a. Were you there?
b. Did you discuss the assassination of U.S. senators? What did you say?
c. Did you vote upon such a plan? How did you vote? Were any similar plans discussed by your group at any time? What were they?
d. If the plan was voted down, what steps did you take to insure that supporters of the plan didn't carry it out anyway?
e. Especially considering that this took place in an era of political assassinations and assassination attempts (Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., George Wallace, etc.), did you report the discussion to any law-enforcement authorities? If not, why not?
f. When did you resign from the organization?
g. Do you dispute reports that you continued as a spokesman for the organization for more than a year after the Kansas City meeting?
h. If this was a mere footnote in history why have you repeatedly and vehemently denied you were there?
i. Did your campaign, as alleged in several newspaper accounts, attempt to get a witness to change his story about your attendance?
13. You have criticized the Patriot Act. What portions would you repeal or amend and why? What evidence do you have of any abuses of the Patriot Act?
14. As president, what would you do about Iran's emerging nuclear capability?
15. During your eight-year tenure on the Senate Intelligence Committee you missed more than thee fourths of all public meetings. It's also been reported that you have skipped or delayed receiving intelligence briefings during the campaign. Why should the public believe that you're serious about this issue?
16. What do you think is appropriate punishment for guards (and their superiors) found guilty of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib? Do you believe they should be stripped of command and receive dishonorable discharges and prison time?
17. On May 6, 2001, on Meet the Press, you stated that you had committed "the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers" in violation of the Geneva Convention. Specifically, you said you burned villages and "used 50-calibre machine guns, which [you] were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people."
a. Who ordered you to use 50-caliber machine guns on people?
b. How many people did you shoot with the 50s and how many of them were killed or wounded?
c. When and where did these shootings occur?
d. What other atrocities did you commit and when?
e. Which village(s) did you burn down and when?
f. Were any of your crewmembers present during the commission of any of these atrocities?
g. Did you order them to participate in the atrocities? Did they follow your orders?
h. Why were there no reports of these atrocities? Did you order your crew not to report them?
i. Are any of these incidents described in your Vietnam journal? If not, why not?
j. Did you observe thousands of (or any) other troops committing atrocities? When, where and what kind? Did you report them? If not, why not?
k. In light of your admitted atrocities, if Abu Ghraib guards found guilty of abuse should receive prison time and be stripped of command, why do you believe you should be considered for commander-in-chief?
18. Who among the justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court would be a model for your nominees to the federal bench? Why?
19. In a speech before Drake University Law School you characterized U.S. allies in the war in Iraq as "some trumped-up so-called Coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted,..." Do you maintain that Great Britain has been bribed, coerced, bought, or extorted? What about Italy? Japan? Poland? Please specifically identify those members of the Coalition that have been either bribed, coerced, bought, and extorted and the officials who were bribed or bought.
20. You told George Stephanopoulos that you had a plan to get out of Iraq but refused to provide details. Would you consent to having your secret plan privately evaluated by an independent, bi-partisan panel of military experts who could report the plan's merits to the electorate without divulging the details?
a. Would you also consent to privately revealing to an independent panel the names of the foreign leaders who secretly support you so that the panel can confirm your story to the electorate?
b. Ditto regarding the leaders whom you say have secretly told Senators Biden and Levin that you must win?
Obviously, there are a lot more questions — Social Security, health care, etc. Certainly there are tougher questions and those more artfully crafted. This is just a start. Feel free to add your own. TV-newsmagazine producers are welcome to use any of the above.
— Peter Kirsanow is...not holding his breath.

Part 2:

September 15, 2004, 6:23 a.m.Where No Reporter Has Gone Before...Twenty more questions for any Kerry interviewer.
By Peter Kirsanow
Here's a second set of questions the media should pose to John Kerry (for the first, click here). The same premises apply as in the first set: only policy-related questions; nothing to do with the Swifties (who've since posed their own set of questions); no "gotcha" questions; several softballs; and, all posed in a respectful manner:
1. You've repeatedly demanded Donald Rumsfeld's resignation over Abu Ghraib prison abuse. In light of such demand, please respond to the following:
a. Given your confession that you committed atrocities in Vietnam, including burning villages and using 50-caliber machine guns on people, shouldn't you, then, withdraw from presidential consideration?
b. If your answer is "no," please explain why a secretary of Defense should be held to a higher standard than an aspiring president who personally committed atrocities objectively more horrific than the abuses for which you hold Rumsfeld accountable.
2. You now state that Iraq was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time," yet just a few weeks ago you stated that knowing what you know now you'd still authorize the war. Why would you still vote for a war that is wrong?
a. If the war was wrong, do you maintain Saddam should still be in power? If not, how would you remove him?
b. Which of the following is your primary objection to the Iraq war:
(1) that it shouldn't have been fought?(2) that it was in the wrong location?(3) that the timing was bad?
c. If your answer's either (2) or (3) above, where should the war have been fought and when?
3. During your eight-year tenure on the Senate Intelligence Committee, you missed more than three-fourths of its public meetings. You refuse to release your attendance reports for the committee's closed classified briefings. Why shouldn't voters infer that disclosure of these attendance reports would reveal that you neglected to attend numerous classified briefings?
a. If you did miss any classified briefings, what duties were you tending to that were more important than attending the briefings?
4. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the president lied about the reasons for going into Iraq. Presumably, this means that the intelligence data didn't support the reasons given by the president. You had the same intelligence data on Iraq as the president, yet you voted to authorize the war. Why, then, did you knowingly vote for a lie?
a. By doing so, didn't you also lie to the American people?
b. If so, will you, therefore, urge your supporters to stop running ads declaring that "Bush Lied"?
c. If you maintain that you didn't lie, is it because you neglected to read the intelligence reports prior to the vote?
5. Assuming your definition of a lie is the same as Webster's, i.e., a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive, please specifically identify which of the following statements in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address are lies:
a. Saddam aids and protects terrorists;
b. Saddam has used weapons of mass destruction;
c. Saddam deceived weapons inspectors;
d. Saddam sought uranium from Africa;
e. Saddam has pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
6. What do you consider to be your most important accomplishment as lt. governor to Michael Dukakis?
7. You've criticized the president for acting "unilaterally." As president, would you have gone into Afghanistan without France's approval?
a. Would you have gone into Afghanistan without the approval of France, Germany, and Russia?
b. Please describe your criteria for going to war.
8. You've stated you would appoint only pro-choice judges to the federal bench. Would you agree that, even if it's not your intent, such a litmus test could disproportionately disqualify Catholic nominees?
a. What would you do to ensure that your abortion litmus test wouldn't have a disparate impact against Catholics?
9. Do you think there's waste in the federal government? If so, could you kindly identify ten wasteful government programs that you'd eliminate and why?
10. What do you consider to be your most important accomplishment during your nearly 20 years as a senator?
11. You once entertained supporting charter schools but backed off after teachers' unions objected. You were once critical of affirmative action but backed off after some civil-rights organizations protested. In June you stated you might appoint some pro-life judges but backed off the next day after abortion-rights groups expressed alarm. Could you please take this opportunity to assure voters that you'll be able to handle North Korea, al Qaeda, and Iran more successfully than you're able to handle the NEA, NARAL, and other interest groups?
12. Newsweek Editor Evan Thomas has stated that the media wants you to win and that the media's help is worth 15 points in the polls. Do you agree or disagree with Thomas's statement?
a. If you disagree, is it because you maintain that the media doesn't want you to win or because the advantage is other than 15 points?
13. During a Labor Day rally in West Virginia one of the principal speakers, in your presence, called President Bush and Vice President Cheney draft dodgers. Do you agree that Bush and Cheney are draft dodgers? If not, why didn't you correct your supporter?
14. You maintain that public schools aren't adequately funded. The D.C. public schools spend approximately $13,000 per pupil — one of the highest levels in the nation — yet its students' academic performance is among the worst in the nation. Could you please explain why you oppose parental choice in education?
a. Given that pursuant to court order the Kansas City public schools spent one billion dollars with no discernable improvement in academic performance, what is your definition of "adequately funded"?
15. In your convention speech, you stated that every terrorist attack would be met with an immediate response and you've also stated that you would emphasize a law-enforcement approach to the fight against terrorism. This is identical to the pre-9/11 U.S. approach to terrorism. Could you please explain how a pre-9/11 approach to terrorism will prevent another 9/11?
a. Please describe the lessons you've learned from 9/11.
16. You've repeatedly criticized President Bush for "rushing to war." Since you've conceded that knowing what you know now you'd still authorize the war, precisely when would you have begun the Iraq war?
17. You also criticize the president for going to war "without having a plan to win the peace." You've stated that "winning the peace" would require more troops — but you voted against the $87 Billion bill to fund the troops who are already there. Could you please explain how you would've deployed more troops had your vote against funding prevailed?
a. "Knowing what you know now," would you have voted in favor of the $87 billion in funding?
b. In other words, do you now regret voting against the funding bill after voting for it?
18. During the Democratic primary debate in Greenville, South Carolina, in January, you claimed that the administration had exaggerated the terror threat.
a. Who exaggerated the threat? When? Please supply specific examples of the exaggerations.
b. If the threat has been exaggerated, does this mean that as president you'd reduce intelligence funding and defense spending in proportion to the "actual" threat? If not, why would you overspend?
19. The guards at Abu Ghraib prison forced prisoners to, among other things, disrobe and wear women's underwear in order to humiliate and demoralize them. Former American POWs claim that their North Vietnamese captors forced them to listen to your 1971 Senate testimony recounting alleged U.S. war crimes in order to humiliate and demoralize them. Could you please distinguish your actions from those of the Abu Ghraib guards?
a. If you assert that the difference between your actions and those of the Abu Ghraib prison guards was that you didn't intend your testimony to humiliate and demoralize American POWs, do you at least concede that your actions were reckless and irresponsible?
20. It was well known by the time of your 1971 Senate testimony that North Vietnam used statements by Jane Fonda and other antiwar protesters as propaganda. At the time of your testimony did you consider that it was highly likely that the statements of a naval lieutenant alleging war crimes would also be used?
Journalists are still welcome to use any of the above. You'll have several opportunities in the next two months. Indeed, it would be journalistic malpractice if Kerry weren't at least asked, at a forum likely to be seen by a large segment of the electorate, why, in light of his admitted war atrocities, he should be commander-in-chief.
— Peter Kirsanow is...still not holding his breath.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Why Should He?


That paragon of journalistic virtue and unquestioned impartiality, Dan Rather has said to the President of the United States, "Answer the questions, Mr. President!". My question to him is, why should he? Rather has been not only drinking but gulping the koolaid for the Kerry campaign. If it hurts Bush, push it. If it hurts Kerry, suppress it.

Dan Rather and the CBS 60 Minutes staff have, in the opinion of most reasonably intelligent viewers, totally destroyed the mantle of objectivity and journalistic honesty which they inherited from the giants of the past. Edward R Murrow must be rolling in his grave so fast that the seismographs are registering it. Only someone with an agenda to push would not only refuse to admit error but refuse to even consider the possibility of error.

Mr. Rather's response that the documents might be true is laughable. If he is going to present himself as a responsible journalist, he has to have some confidence in his sources beyond "they could be true". The same thing could be said about any forged document. It could be true. Not bloody likely in this case. If you look at the huge preponderance of evidence coming in that the documents are fake, he should be saying that although they thought they were real, they should be additionally vetted.

He increases the heat of the fire, however, when he parrots the Kerry surrogates and says that it doesn't matter if the documents are true but that Mr. Bush has to answer them anyway. I could create fake documents saying that Dan Rather was committing some crime. Although the documents are fake, should the police arrest Dan Rather and require that he defend the charges or would it be better to find out if the charges are correct before the arrest? In other words, Why Should He?

My response.....Rest in Peace CBS reputation. It is now gone for good!

Friday, September 10, 2004



Russia. The name conjures up many images. In the recent past it brought to mind the vast array of the armies of the Soviet Union and all of it's nuclear forces that were aimed at us.

Before that, it was either a backward Eurasian communist country or a Tsarist fiefdom ruled by the descendants of Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great.

Now, what I think of is a country that has a terrorist problem that may be even worse than ours. I grieve strongly for the families in Beslan. There is something horrible to most civilized humans about the concept of murdering children. I hope that there is a special place in Hell reserved for these people. The idea that some soul missing, mindless, "Islamic" fundamentalist loser would target children specifically is chilling and should be eye opening.

In Russia, the president, Vladimir Putin, does not seem to understand yet what is actually going on. He seems to say to the terrorist that he will not negotiate. He will stand firm. All well and good but he is missing a or perhaps the most important step.

When George Bush attempted to get support in his War On Terror (A.K.A. WWIV) he got little help from Russia and some other European nations. To some small extent, I understand why they were loath to lose all the income from weapon sales and so forth but thinking short term is not always the best idea.

It should be clear to everybody by now that the enemies of this country are the same enemies that the entire civilized world has to fight. Maybe they will join the U.S., Great Britain and the other allies in this global struggle. It is a long term fight and the sooner Russia and the other Western countries log on to the battle the sooner we can make serious progress.

This war is to the death of one of the combatants. Western Civilization or Radical Islam. President Bush has done a good job so far but without the rest of the western world joining, we are simply stomping out small flare-ups in a forest fire. It has to be done, but it would be nice to have a little more help! Mr. Putin needs to understand that the world has to stand together or we will surly not stand at all.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Politics Today


I watched in dismay the Democratic convention. The idea that these people could take control of my country was frightening. When Senator Kerry Reported for Duty, I almost couldn't believe it. He has somehow convinced himself (but luckily not all of us) that the only requirements for becoming the President of the United States is to have served in Vietnam, gotten medals and not be George Bush.

After the convention, he got a negative bounce. The pundits of the liberal media all immediately jumped up and defended him and the conventional explanation was that there were so very few undecided voters that a bounce was not possible. They didn't mention that a negative bounce implies losing support. We weren't supposed to notice that.

The Republican convention was, to this obviously unbiased reporter, extremely well done. The speeches indicated the differences within the party's big tent. The Zell Miller speech was possibly the best I have heard in a long time. Zell was angry. Arnold was happy to be an American. Rudy was happy to be in New York and a lot of the others just seemed happy.

President Bush gave his speech and against the gentleman's agreement that has long existed, Senator Kerry spoke the same night. The result? An 11 point bounce for George W Bush. I guess all of the undecided voters decided at the same time? Wait...There aren't any undecided voters. It must have been the Kerry voters that decided to change sides. Wait.... Yeah, maybe. Who knows where the bounce came from--I'm just glad to see it.

I just know that the difference in the tone of the conventions were reflected by the polls. Happy people are a lot better to watch than pople that are working so hard at not saying what they want to say. You could tell that most of the Democrats wanted to shout something along the lines of "Bush is Satan". What will happen in the future is yet to be seen. I think that it will be a large win for the President but I guess we will have to wait until November to see. I hope so!