Monday, May 28, 2012
Creators Syndicate ^ | May 29, 2012 | Thomas Sowell
Posted on Monday, May 28, 2012 1:22:18 PM by jazusamo
"Education" is a word that covers a lot of very different things, from vital, life-saving medical skills to frivolous courses to absolutely counterproductive courses that fill people with a sense of grievance and entitlement, without giving them either the skills to earn a living or a realistic understanding of the world required for a citizen in a free society.
The lack of realism among many highly educated people has been demonstrated in many ways.
When I saw signs in Yellowstone National Park warning visitors not to get too close to a buffalo, I realized that this was a warning that no illiterate farmer of a bygone century would have needed. No one would have had to tell him not to mess with a huge animal that literally weighs a ton, and can charge at you at 30 miles an hour.
No one would have had to tell that illiterate farmer's daughter not to stand by the side of a highway, trying to hitch a ride with strangers, as too many college girls have done, sometimes with results that ranged all the way up to their death.
The dangers that a lack of realism can bring to many educated people are completely overshadowed by the dangers to a whole society created by the unrealistic views of the world promoted in many educational institutions.
It was painful, for example, to see an internationally renowned scholar say that what low-income young people needed was "meaningful work." But this is a notion common among educated elites, regardless of how counterproductive its consequences may be for society at large, and for low-income youngsters especially.
What is "meaningful work"?
The underlying notion seems to be that it is work whose performance is satisfying or enjoyable in itself. But if that is the only kind of work that people should have to do, how is garbage to be collected, bed pans emptied in hospitals or jobs with life-threatening dangers to be performed?
Does anyone imagine that firemen enjoy going into burning homes and buildings to rescue people trapped by the flames? That soldiers going into combat think it is fun?
In the real world, many things are done simply because they have to be done, not because doing them brings immediate pleasure to those who do them. Some people take justifiable pride in working to take care of their families, whether or not the work itself is great.
Some of our more Utopian intellectuals lament that many people work "just for the money." They do not like a society where A produces what B wants, simply in order that B will produce what A wants, with money being an intermediary device facilitating such exchanges.
Some would apparently prefer a society where all-wise elites would decide what each of us "needs" or "deserves." The actual history of societies formed on that principle — histories often stained, or even drenched, in blood — is of little interest to those who mistake wishful thinking for idealism.
At the very least, many intellectuals do not want the poor or the young to have to take "menial" jobs. But people who are paying their own money, as distinguished from the taxpayers' money, for someone to do a job are unlikely to part with hard cash unless that job actually needs doing, whether or not that job is called "menial" by others.
People who lack the skills to take on more prestigious jobs can either remain idle and live as parasites on others or take the jobs for which they are currently qualified, and then move up the ladder as they acquire more experience. People who are flipping hamburgers at McDonald's on New Year's Day are seldom flipping hamburgers there when Christmas time comes.
Those relatively few statistics that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time show them moving massively from one income bracket to another over time, starting at the bottom and moving up as they acquire skills and experience.
Telling young people that some jobs are "menial" is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for "meaningful work" is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them.
Friday, May 25, 2012
PJTV tweets out that “Bill Whittle is very proud of this Afterburner. He thinks think it’s one of the best connections he’s ever made.” Indeed it is very good as he uses two competing airliner philosophies to explain why the Euro is going to crash and why there still might be hope for America to pull out of this mess:
I love this video as it takes the argument of the 99% vs 1% and switches it to the true class system in America, the producer class being held slave to the government class. And my favorite part is toward the end when EAG points out that the so-called 99% are filled with people from the government class, demanding more from the producer class.
(via EAG News)
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Townhall.com ^ | May 8, 2012 | John Hawkins
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2012 7:46:08 AM by Kaslin
There's a reason it took the country so long to pull out of the Great Depression under FDR, why Americans became acquainted with the Misery Index under Carter, and why we've had the weakest economic recovery from a recession in U.S. history under Obama. Liberal economic policies just don't work. In fact, the only time left-wingers have taken charge in the last 40 years without decimating the economy was during the Clinton years when Republicans in Congress balanced the budget and spent 6 years strong-arming Clinton to keep him from molesting the economy like one of his interns. This is no coincidence; it's a natural consequence of the errant liberal view of economics.
1) Keynesian stimulus doesn't work. As Walter Williams has pointed out, the whole idea of revving up the economy via a government stimulus is doomed from the start.
…Where does Congress get the resources for the spending? Well, there is no Tooth Fairy and there is no Santa Claus. So, the only way Congress can get one dollar to spend is to take that one dollar from Americans, borrow that one dollar from Americans, or inflate that one dollar from Americans.
So, it’s very much like the visual image of a swimming pool. A person notes there is a shallow end, so he takes the water out of the deep end and pours it in the shallow end, hoping to raise the height of the water in the pool — and you would call that person stupid.
2) You can't fund the whole country on the backs of the rich. Remember the Buffet Rule that liberals hyped endlessly for months? It turns out it would only raise 45 billion dollars over a decade. All of that money combined will amount to about 2 weeks’ worth of this year's Obama deficit. That hearkens back to the dirty little secret that liberals don't want the American people to find out. America already has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world and the most progressive tax code in the Western world. That means the rich are already almost tapped out and since they can afford high dollar accountants, tax shelters, and lobbyists and they can just move out of the country or stop working if that isn't enough, there's just not that much more revenue to be had from the wealthy.
3) Liberals incentivize failure. If I were willing to pay anyone and everyone $500 who would send me proof that they hit themselves in the face with a hammer hard enough to leave a bruise, YOU might not do it, but you could safely predict a 10,000% increase in the number of people hitting themselves in the face with a hammer over the next few months. So, if that's true, what are liberals incentivizing with food stamps, welfare, 99 weeks on unemployment insurance, and other giveaway programs? Only liberals would be surprised when they produce more failure by rewarding people for failing.
4) They create a hostile business environment. When Uday Hussein used to run Iraq's soccer team, players who performed poorly were slapped, spit on, and beaten with electric cables until the blood flowed. This is similar to how liberals treat American businesses. They demonize them, raise their taxes, bury them in new regulations, make it easier to sue them, and harass them with regulatory agencies at every turn. Then, they become puzzled as to why those same businesses aren't creating jobs or are looking to move more of their business overseas. You can't cut the sparrow's throat and fry it up for dinner and listen to it sing at the same time.
5) The business environment becomes unpredictable. Because liberals believe in routing as much of American life through the hands of government bureaucrats as humanly possible, businesses never know what to expect. They could lose profits via new taxes, have huge new expenses because of regulations, have projects shut down by the EPA, face huge lawsuits for spurious reasons, be crippled by labor union strikes, and on and on it goes. When businesses fear the unexpected, they tend to become cautious. They don't hire, they don't expand, and they horde cash to make sure they don't get wiped out by some arbitrary decision made by a government official who has never so much as run a lemonade stand in his life.
6) Liberals cause businesses to focus on government instead of the product. In Ayn Rand's classic Atlas Shrugged, Hank Rearden's company could outperform his competitors, but they were still able to hamstring him using their allies in government. That's the environment liberals encourage today and it's why we're spending increasingly larger sums on elections. For many businesses, lobbying and greasing palms in D.C. has become just as important as their performance. Chrysler, Solyndra, Bank of America, Citigroup, and (A.I.G.) among many, many others could tell you all about that.
7) Government is inherently slow, stupid, and inefficient. Saying that government doesn't do anything very well is like noting that it's easier to get a suntan at noon than at midnight. Yet, because liberals have a totalitarian impulse to control as many aspects as possible of their fellow citizens’ lives, they never stop working to transfer as much power as possible to Washington, D.C. Since there is absolutely nothing that the government can run better, cheaper, and more efficiently than the private sector, anything the government takes over from the market degrades in quality and increases in price. As Ann Coulter has noted,
If politicians and employers had guaranteed us “free” food 50 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the “food crisis” in America, and you’d be on the phone with your food care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries was covered under your plan.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 11:13:03 AM by Sen Jack S. Fogbound
This may have been around before but it is worth reading it again!
This tells the story, why Bush was so bad at the end of his term.
Some people aren't aware of all of this. Don't just skim over this, please read it slowly and let it sink in. If in doubt, check it out.
The day the democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3, 2007... the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.
The Democrat Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this: January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress. At the time:
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77 The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5% The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB GROWTH Remember the day...
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.
The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy? BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!
Unemployment... to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie - starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy.
And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie? OBAMA and the Democrat Congress So when someone tries to blame Bush.. REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!" Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democrat Party.
Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 & 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.
For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.
If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.
If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself. In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is "I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th." There is no way this will be widely publicized unless each of us sends it on!
Trayvon and Zimmerman: The Structure and Elements of a Disinformation Campaign (americanthinker.com)
By Scott Swett
"Trayvon," of course, is Trayvon Martin, the black 17-year-old who was killed two months ago in Florida. "Zimmerman" is George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot him. Referring to Martin by his first name and Zimmerman by his last is just one small tactic in the national media campaign to make Martin's death an enduring symbol of white racism.
The Trayvon campaign is accurately described as "disinformation" because deception is a fundamental part of its planning, strategy, and implementation. Leftist disinformation campaigns are common but not widely understood. This article is intended to make them easier to recognize, and to provide a framework for additional research and investigation. Whether or not George Zimmerman was justified in pulling the trigger is outside the scope of this analysis.
The Trayvon narrative can be summarized as follows: a black child was walking innocently through a gated community after buying some candy at a store, when a white racist stalked and murdered him for no reason but his color. The police, who are also racists, let the white man go free.
This narrative is similar to those used in previous racial disinformation campaigns:
- 1987 - White racists have raped a young black girl and left her in a trash bag.
- 1996 - White racists are burning down black churches across the South.
- 2005 - White racists at Duke University have raped a black woman.
Like the Trayvon narrative, the earlier narratives were untrue. However, they remain widely believed as a result of the massive media coverage used to bring them to national attention.
All the racial narratives have the same underlying theme: black people are constantly oppressed and endangered by white racism, which is a central feature of American life. This claim is constantly repeated by political agitators, making use of any event that becomes available.
(Actual statistics on violent crime tell a different story: blacks in America assault and murder whites at a far higher rate than the reverse, and the overwhelming majority of violent acts against blacks -- 93% -- are committed by other blacks. These facts are rarely mentioned by the media.)
Social science research offers some useful insights into how people typically make decisions:
- Reasoning is only a small part of forming opinions or judgments
- Judgments are often based on inadequate information
- Early and negative information has a disproportionally heavy impact
- Anecdotal, easy-to-remember information is also overly weighted
Therefore, disinformation campaigns use simple, powerful, negative, emotional arguments that tell a story. Since people resist changing their minds about emotionally loaded topics, the media campaign has to ramp up quickly, before the facts have a chance to catch up to the narrative.
The organizers probably evaluated several events before settling on one. Ideally, the "white oppressor" would not have been charged with a crime, highlighting the supposed inability of blacks to obtain justice from the legal system. The victim must be dead, not merely wounded, to be eligible for martyr status. Finally, the event should have taken place in the South, to allow sinister comparisons with the racial attacks committed there more than half a century ago.
Such criteria are not easy to meet. This problem may have led the organizers to select an event that clashes with the "white racism" theme in several important and hard-to-conceal ways. Those aspects would need to be suppressed as long as possible to give the narrative time to take hold.
Nearly three weeks elapsed between the shooting and the first national media coverage. The organizers would use this time to set up legal, research, and media teams. These teams would establish effective control over Martin's parents, organize his extended family members and friends, interview and recruit witnesses, try to conceal or sanitize Martin's online and school records, prepare media allies for the launch, and plan the content and timing of the campaign.
Mary Cutcher, whose original statement to police supported Zimmerman's version of the event, is a possible candidate for the "recruited witness" role, having delivered a steady stream of interviews in support of the narrative after the media launch. Also worth noting is that Martin's parents quit their jobs shortly after the launch to start new careers as full-time political activists.
The disinformation team includes those who work in apparently independent roles or behind the scenes, as well as public advocates. Little information is currently available about the behind-the-scenes players, but it is possible to make some useful inferences from their actions.
The most prominent public organizers, Al Sharpton and attorney Benjamin Crump, are veterans of previous "white racism" campaigns -- Sharpton first came to national attention a generation ago as the leading promoter of the Tawana Brawley hoax. During the Trayvon campaign, he has been given free rein by MSNBC to serve as a coordinator and demagogue while simultaneously "reporting" the event on the air -- a blatant conflict of interest. Sharpton was most likely hired by the leftist network to fill precisely this role -- as a prime-time mouthpiece for racial propaganda efforts. He would later threaten to call for civil disobedience if Zimmerman was not arrested.
Crump quickly established his law firm as the primary counsel for Martin's parents. He and partner Daryl Parks organized marches, contacted Sharpton and other "civil rights activists," and worked to bring federal officials into the case -- not a difficult task, given the radicalization of the Justice Department. From the beginning, Crump charged that race was the motive for the shooting, Martin was an innocent victim, and the local police were complicit in a cover-up.
Control the message
The narrative launched in mid-March with nearly simultaneous articles by black journalists at major leftist media outlets: Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic, Charles M. Blow at the New York Times, and Trymaine Lee at the Huffington Post. These were classics of advocacy journalism -- sensationalist propaganda with no attempt to be impartial, objective, or accurate. Al Sharpton repeated and amplified the reports on his daily TV show at MSNBC. The national media instantly adopted the story, devoting hour after hour to the narrative and its white racism theme, with little balance or analysis. The massive media support helped turn a local shooting into the most important story in America -- one that would dominate the news cycle for two weeks.
However, that story contained many false and misleading elements:
- Martin was presented as a young boy who could not have posed a physical threat to Zimmerman, by showing photos taken when Martin was around 12 years old.
- Martin was repeatedly described as a "model student."
- Little or no mention was made of the recent wave of burglaries in the area, making it seem that Zimmerman had no legitimate reason to suspect or follow Martin.
- Zimmerman was reported to outweigh Martin by 100 pounds. According to a friend, Zimmerman is 5'8" and weighs 170. Martin was about 6'2" and 160.
- Zimmerman was reported as having ignored an "official order" from a police dispatcher to stop following Martin. In fact, the operator merely said, "You don't need to do that" -- after which Zimmerman replied, "Okay" and apparently returned to his truck. Even if the operator had instructed Zimmerman to stop, Zimmerman was under no legal obligation to comply.
- The media emphasized that Martin had been killed in a "gated community," creating the false impression that the area was an upper-class white enclave, when the neighborhood is actually middle-class and split evenly between white and minority residents.
- Zimmerman was presented as an angry racist, with no mention of his tutoring of black children or his efforts to have white police officers disciplined for beating a black man.
- The media pretended that Zimmerman was white for several days and then coined the new term "white Hispanic" purely to prop up the organizers' argument that whites as a group were to blame for Martin's death. More than any other aspect of their coverage, this tactic shows the depth of the media's commitment to the disinformation campaign.
Inflame the public
The core of effective disinformation is a powerful appeal to emotion. In the Trayvon campaign, the key emotional element was the anguished screaming captured on a 911 call recording.
One report noted, "Until the chilling tapes of the 911 call were released -- in which screams of what sounds like a young boy and a gunshot can be heard -- it seemed to be 'just another garden variety killing.'" The media solemnly informed the public that the desperate-sounding screams came from Martin during his final moments, as he begged an implacable killer for his life.
This produced the intended effect: visceral anger and outrage. During the crucial first days after the media launch, Martin was unambiguously presented as the young, helpless victim of a brutal racial attack. News reports repeated over and over that Trayvon had merely gone to the store to get candy, all the while showing an endless stream of photos of Martin as a smiling little boy.
The media ignored or actively tried to undermine Zimmerman's claim that he had been attacked and beaten by Martin, and that he was the one screaming for help. Few reports mentioned the key statement by the Sanford police chief: "All the physical evidence and testimony we have independent of what Mr. Zimmerman provides corroborates [his] claim to self-defense."
Meanwhile, black and leftist politicians, organizers, and activists hit the streets, accusing Zimmerman of cold-blooded murder and calling for his immediate arrest or execution.
The overwrought speeches, rallies, marches, and demands are aspects of what Daniel Greenfield has called Grievance Theater. As Greenfield noted, "Grievance Theater isn't about race, it's not about slavery, police brutality or separate lunch counters. It's about power and money."
On March 27, it emerged that Trayvon Martin had been suspended from high school three times for possessing drugs and a marijuana pipe, for truancy, and for graffiti. During the most recent incident, he was caught with a bag full of women's jewelry and a "burglary tool." Martin's crude, misogynistic, and occasionally violent Twitter messages were also released. The topics under discussion included buying and smoking weed and Martin's apparent assault on a bus driver.
Martin's mother responded by saying, "They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation." This powerful one-sentence press release helped defuse the threat to Martin's carefully falsified image while also expanding the blame for his death beyond Zimmerman. Political amateurs rarely come up with such professionally crafted statements by themselves.
The same day, a poll showed that 73% of respondents believed that Zimmerman should be arrested. This probably represents the high-water mark for public acceptance of the narrative.
Defend the narrative
In late March, major TV networks broadcast a series of doctored audio and video recordings, presenting each as an important breaking news story that contradicted Zimmerman's account.
On March 22, CNN aired an "enhanced audio" of Zimmerman's phone conversation with the police and claimed he had committed a hate crime by using the obsolete racial slur "coons."
On March 27, NBC's Today show edited Zimmerman's phone conversation to make him appear racist. In NBC's version, Zimmerman said, "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." But Zimmerman was actually answering a question from the police dispatcher:
Zimmerman: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."
Dispatcher: "Okay. And this guy...is he white, black, or Hispanic?"
Zimmerman: "He looks black."
On March 28, ABC News aired a video of Zimmerman at the police station after receiving medical treatment. ABC reported that he appeared uninjured, and the network helped that perception along by covering his head with a graphic during most of the video. Other photos soon revealed lacerations and bleeding, but for several days the media reported that the lack of visible injuries had undercut Zimmerman's self-defense claim. A few days later, ABC trotted out a doctor who diagnosed Zimmerman's nose as not having been broken -- based solely on the police video.
The dishonest news reports helped the organizers in several ways: they bought time for the narrative to sink in, distracted attention from the evidence mounting against it, and kept the story in the spotlight. They also provided ammunition for Martin's defenders in the furious debate over the facts and meaning of the shooting that was raging in discussion forums, in blogs, and in the comments sections of online articles and videos. These conversations included information largely ignored by the media, such as the original police report; the Sanford city manager's statement; more recent photos of Martin, the reports that he had been involved in drugs, thug culture, and possibly theft; and the media's own distortion of the facts. Public opinion began to shift slowly away from the narrative as new evidence reached those capable of being persuaded.
By April, it was becoming clear that the person screaming on the 911 audio was Zimmerman, not Martin. The media quickly found "experts" to proclaim that computer analysis had failed to match the screams to Zimmerman's voice. These results were actually meaningless -- voice recognition software is not designed to compare words to screams. No analysis was done for Martin's voice, which would have been available in phone messages to his parents or friends.
Transfer the blame
A central goal of the Trayvon campaign is to focus the manufactured anger and outrage over Martin's death on the imagined racism of America's legal system, fueling a wave of political activism. To do this, the organizers must persuade the public that a chance encounter between two individuals proves the racism theme and has global implications. Objectively, this makes little sense: "A Hispanic man killed a black teenager in Florida, and no charges were filed. Racism is therefore rampant in America, and we must change the system." The fallacies don't matter. Disinformation campaigns are about emotional manipulation, not rational thinking.
President Obama weighed in on March 23, saying it was "absolutely imperative" for federal, state, and local authorities to investigate the shooting. He asked Americans to "do some soul-searching" and added, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." This matched the organizers' template perfectly. Obama had agreed that the shooting was of national importance, with society-wide implications; implicated racism as the motive; and identified personally with "Trayvon."
Martin's mother echoed Obama, telling Congressional Black Caucus members that her son was "also your son." She continued the blame-shifting tactic at a rally, saying, "I know I cannot bring my baby back. But I'm sure going to make changes so that does not happen to another family."
In early April, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, "Justice must be done for the victim. It's not just this individual case; it calls into question the delivery of justice in all situations like this." Pillay also called for "reparations for the victims concerned."
As the momentum of the story began to slow, the media focus shifted from the leaking narrative to related but more useful topics: the status of the legal case; the ongoing rallies and demands for "justice"; the extent of white racism in America; proposed legal changes; new white-on-black attacks; and, as always, the impure motives of those who resist the media's political agenda.
We can expect no apologies for all the dishonest reporting, or any serious media analysis of the disinformation campaign itself. Leftist activists are exempt from "investigative journalism."
Instead, the Trayvon campaign will be leveraged to support other objectives, such as:
- Promoting gun control
- Weakening self-defense laws
- Expanding hate crime and hate speech laws
- Supporting reparations and other forms of special treatment for blacks
- Energizing leftist political activism during an election year
- Justifying and encouraging black-on-white violence, civil unrest, and riots
If a show trial was part of the organizers' original game plan, it no longer fits their needs. A trial would further expose the narrative and reveal the "white racist" bogeyman as a soft-spoken Hispanic Democrat who tutors black children in his spare time. The organizers do not want the world to see George Zimmerman tearfully explaining on the witness stand that Martin knocked him down and was bashing his head on the curb, and that he screamed for help, but no one came -- a statement that would be supported by the evidence and by witnesses. It remains to be seen whether the organizers can prevent Zimmerman from telling his side of the story in court.
So where do we go from here? Many blacks (and some whites) are angry at the "racist white America" peddled by the organizers. Many whites (and some blacks) are angry at the dishonesty and anti-white racism of the disinformation campaign. The one certain outcome from all this is more racial division and animosity. No doubt that is what the organizers had in mind all along.
Scott Swett is the primary author of To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry and webmaster for SwiftVets.com and WinterSoldier.com. The veteran-led opposition to John Kerry in 2004 countered a longstanding leftist disinformation campaign that smeared American troops and veterans as "war criminals."