Sunday, October 30, 2005
“Scooter” Libby has been indicted for lying about what he knew and when he knew it.
Yet the prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald has not answered the central question: was a crime committed by saying to a reporter that Valerie Plame – Joe Wilson’s husband – worked for the CIA and was instrumental in having him sent to Niger?
Fitzgerald claims to be prosecuting Libby, in part, because Libby lied about who told him and when he found out about the Plame/Wilson connection. He claims that those lies inhibited his investigation.
But since he now knows the truth about who told what to whom, and who knew, and what the law is regarding disclosure of this information to the public, why is there no indictment on the fundamental case?
When did Fitzgerald find out that Libby lied about what he knew and when? Who actually outed Plame? Is outing Plame a crime?
After two years of investigations, millions of dollars spent, and an indictment that does not address the primary issues, I am coming to the conclusion that for all the great press Fitzgerald has gotten; as an investigator he is either incompetent or he decided that after all this effort he had to indict somebody so he served up the Libby indictment.
UPDATE: For the Libby Indictment click HERE.
For Fitzgerald's statement click HERE.
Bottom line, according to the Special Counsel, Libby lied to the FBI and in his Grand Jury testimony about what he knew and what he told reporters. A number of the counts are based on the word of Libby vs. the reporters.
The underlying question not addressed in the indictment, because he has not been charged with this crime, is whether what Libby did was criminal. There is an inference that Libby committed a crime before he alledgedly perjured himself, but there is no indictment for anything but his testimony.
Why not? In my opinion, the Special Counsel accepted the job of determining if a crime has been committed (past tense), not whether he can get a witness to commit a crime after he begins his investigation.
Failure to do so ...to resolve this issue, is a dereliction of his duty to the American people.
UPDATE 2: The Wall Street Journal chimes in:
Mr. Fitzgerald would not comment yesterday on whether he had evidence for the perjury, obstruction of justice and false statement counts beyond the testimonies of Mr. Libby and three journalists. Instead, he noted that a criminal investigation into a "national security matter" of this sort hinged on "very fine distinctions," and that any attempt to obscure exactly who told what to whom and when was a serious matter.
Let us stipulate that impeding a criminal investigation is indeed a serious matter; no one should feel he can lie to a grand jury or to federal investigators. But there is a question to be asked about the end to which the accused allegedly lied. The indictment itself contains no motive. And Mr. Libby is not alleged to have been the source for Robert Novak's July 14, 2003 column, in which Valerie Plame's employment with the CIA was revealed.
Rather, according to the indictment, Mr. Libby did a little digging, found out who Joe Wilson's wife was, and apparently told Judith Miller of the New York Times, who never wrote it up, and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, who put it into print after Mr. Novak's column had run. What's more, he allegedly did not talk to Tim Russert of NBC about it, although he claimed that he had. Mr. Libby then didn't tell a grand jury and the FBI the truth about what he told those reporters, the indictment claims.
If this is a conspiracy to silence administration critics, it was more daft than deft. The indictment itself contains no evidence of a conspiracy, and Mr. Libby has not been accused of trying to cover up some high crime or misdemeanor by the Bush administration. The indictment amounts to an allegation that one official lied about what he knew about an underlying "crime" that wasn't committed. And we still don't know who did tell Mr. Novak -- presumably, it was the soon-to-be-infamous "Official A" from paragraph 21 of the indictment, although we don't know whether Official A was Mr. Novak's primary source or merely a corroborating one.
To the extent that the facts alleged in the indictment can be relied upon, the story goes something like this. Sometime in May 2003, or slightly before, Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the New York Times, was informed of Joe Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy yellowcake there. Mr. Kristof wrote a column, and Mr. Libby began to ask around, to determine why a Democratic partisan had been sent on such a sensitive mission in the run-up to the Iraq war. He allegedly learned in the course of his inquiries that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.
Mr. Fitzgerald alleges that Mr. Libby informed Judith Miller of the New York Times about Mr. Wilson's wife in June, but she never wrote it up. In the meantime, Mr. Wilson went public with his own account of his mission and its outcome, without reference to his wife's employment or possible involvement in his trip.
Mr. Libby also spoke to Mr. Cooper of Time about it, who did write it up, but only after Mr. Novak's column had run. In this same time period, he had a conversation with Mr. Russert, which may or may not have covered Mr. Wilson and his wife, depending on whom you believe.
So, we are left with this. Did Mr. Libby offer the truth about Mr. Wilson to Mr. Cooper "without qualifications," as Mr. Fitzgerald alleges, or did he merely confirm what Mr. Cooper had heard elsewhere? Did he, or did he not, discuss Mr. Wilson with Tim Russert at all?
On this much we can agree with Mr. Fitzgerald: These are "very fine distinctions" indeed, especially as they pertain to discussions that occurred two years ago, and whose importance only became clear well after the fact, when investigators came knocking. In a statement yesterday, Mr. Libby's counsel zeroed in on this point when he said "We are quite distressed the Special Counsel has now sought to pursue alleged inconsistencies in Mr. Libby's recollection and those of others' and to charge such inconsistencies as false statements." He added that they "will defend vigorously against these charges."
On the answers to these questions hang a possible 30-year jail term and $1.25 million in fines for a Bush administration official who was merely attempting to expose the truth about Mr. Wilson, a critic of the administration who was lying to the press about the nature of his involvement in the Niger mission and about the nature of the intelligence that it produced. In other words, Mr. Libby was defending administration policy against political attack, not committing a crime.
Mr. Fitzgerald has been dogged in pursuing his investigation, and he gave every appearance of being a reasonable and tough prosecutor in laying out the charges yesterday. But he has thrust himself into what was, at bottom, a policy dispute between an elected administration and critics of the president's approach to the war on terror, who included parts of the permanent bureaucracy of the State Department and CIA. Unless Mr. Fitzgerald can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Libby was lying, and doing so for some nefarious purpose, this indictment looks like a case of criminalizing politics.
I sent a letter to the Pilot politely asking why their readers are so misinformed. I doubt if I’ll get a reply, or even a follow up story – something I suggested – but hope spring eternal as they say.
For those who have short memories, Glenn Beck provides a summary of those who warned about Saddam’s WMD programs. Here is a link to a list of people who warned about Saddam’s WMDs before George Bush was elected President and before 9/11 brought home the dangers of WMDs getting in the hands of fanatics.
They include: Kerry, Clinton, Albright, Berger, Levin, Pelosi, Gore, Kennedy, Byrd, Rockefeller and Graham. All of the Left. And all believed Saddam has WMDs and all before the war in Iraq.
UPDATE: Since we are now facing another nuclear threat in the form of Iran, this analysis by Wretchard at the Belmont Club is worth reading.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
I refer to to the very smart Jeff...read the whole thing.
You'll see when you read her post.
Here is a comment from Little Green Footballs.
And from Patterico.
And Tim Blair
October 28th, 1944
WASHINGTON (Routers) As this bloody and futile war enters its fourth year, the casualties continue to rise, and while it's hard to know how many American soldiers have been lost, due to a secretive Roosevelt administration, many analysts think that the number of deaths in brutal battle is now approaching a quarter of a million, with many more millions of civilian casualties in Europe and Asia. Even ignoring all of the innocent loss of life, the loss of American soldiers alone is now almost equivalent to that of the entire population of a medium-sized American city.
This mark is being reached amid growing doubts among the American public about the seemingly endless European and Pacific conflicts, hastily and, some say, thoughtlessly launched in December 1941 to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor by radical Japanese Shintoists.
Here in the nation's capital, many urged the U.S. Senate to observe a moment of silence in honor of the fallen 250,000.
Read the whole thing...
Thursday, October 27, 2005
The first objection is true but irrelevant. During WW2 we attacked Italy while Italy did not attack us. It was, however, part of the problem, and we dealt with it.
The Volker report tells even the self deluded that the second proposition was totally false. Our “allies” were hip deep in helping Saddam escape the sanctions against Iraq.
Belmont club has some insightful commentary:The fundamental argument against international military action is the supposition that effective alternatives exist to containing rogue states and tyrants. But what if it does not? The Volcker Report essentially describes the history of the decade-long diplomatic battle to proscribe the movements of Saddam Hussein following the Gulf War. It is an account of the unmitigated defeat of the "international community" at the hands of Saddam; not only a defeat but a rout and a surrender. And although the surrender had already taken place, the world was told categorically by the capitulators themselves that they were fighting and winning the good fight against the forces of lawlessness. The problem with September 11 was not that it happened, but that it happened where it could not be ignored; this fact was the virtual third aircraft that crashed into Manhattan that day, striking somewhere in the vicinity of Turtle Bay.
Opting Out of Reality
They were anything but.
Holland was neutral in WW1 and the Kaiser fled there after the war to live in exile.
WW2 visited Holland – and my family – in a big way. We went to the countryside to escape starvation. We ducked bombs and bullets. We hid our bicycle tires to keep them from the Germans. And we hid my mother’s ancestry to avoid the gas chambers.
Our experience in WW2 taught us this thing: there is no escape from history. As Trotsky said, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
It is 150 years since American has a real war in their country, and that war was primarily fought in the South. For almost all Americans, war and man-made destruction is unreal; something that happens on the TV newscasts … to other people.
That is why 9/11 is now something that is rarely remembered as part of our history. For a majority of Americans, it does not fit into any narrative of history. It is a one-off; an artifact of Osama bin Laden. It is totally unconnected with Islam as it is practiced in many parts of the world, divorced from the suicide bombers in Israel, ridiculed as an excuse for the war on terror or the conflict in the Middle East.
And if the war in Iraq is not related in any way to 9/11 the only thing that makes sense is that the war is for oil, for Halliburton, for … Evil Bushhitler.
Of course this is not universally accepted. Some people do have a sense of history, a realistic overview of the challenge we face. And an awful sense of the tragedy in the clash of civilizations. A clash that includes Osama and Saddam, but that is much bigger than either of these people. It is also bigger than George Bush.
That is why this essay by Peggy Noonan “A Separate Peace” is so relevant; so disturbing and such a wake up call to those who believe, with a childlike trust that everything will be all right.
That is what my family believed before the Anschluss. That is when history became real and war became interested in us.
THE QUAGMIRE THE NY TIMES SUPPORTS
While Iraq is moving toward democracy and increasing its ability to govern itself without the despotism that is a feature of virtually all of the Middle East, Kosovo is still a ward of outside powers. And the NY Times wants to continue that with no end in sight.
Says the Captain:
Kosovo should embarrass everyone who participated in its separation from Serbia. No doubt that the Milosevic reign of terror caused great hardship for the Kosovars, but its severance from Serbia created an expectation of independence from the start. The UN and NATO should have realized that before they interceded in what had been a civil war along ethnic and religious lines, and prepared a long-term strategy rather than a repeat of the Korean War.
Now the Times wants this quagmire to continue without any resolution until the Kosovars prove themselves worthy of liberation and freedom. Not only is that a recipe for perpetual occupation, it might be one of the most elitist sentiments ever issued by a supposed voice for liberal thought. Human beings qualify for liberty and freedom on the basis of their humanity, not their politics, at least until they can individually show that they cannot handle it. Condemning the entire region to essentially martial law on the basis of their ethnicity betrays the same kind of arrogance that led to Kosovo's mindless occupation in the first place.
Gilliard is black and so is Steele. Gilliard is a Leftist and Steele is running as a Republican.
Question: Can blacks be racists?
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
(2005-10-25) -- Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean urged party members to "restrain their joy" during nationwide celebrations of the 2,000th American fatality of the Iraq war, "out of respect for the untold thousands who have been killed by our troops."
"These American military dead are not just names on a list," Mr. Dean said. "Behind many of those names we can feel the loss of the grieving families of Arab freedom fighters who mourn their dearly-departed insurgents."
In an email to Democrat party members, Mr. Dean suggested that local celebrations of the grim milestone include "a moment of non-sectarian silence before the champagne corks start popping."
At the end of his note, the DNC chief added, "P.S. -- I hope the 2000 celebration helps us all to look forward eagerly to 2008."
Shelby Steele, Black and White Racism
I now have hope because I have seen the glimmer of a real opening for honest discussion of issues of race, racism and responsibility.
Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institution has written a groundbreaking article in the Wall Street Journal .
Referring to the theme of racism in the aftermath of Katrina he makes this telling observation:
Therefore, it was only a matter of time before the images of deep black poverty that emerged in Katrina's aftermath were covered over in a narrative of racism: If Katrina's victims had not been black, the response to their suffering would have been faster. It did not matter that a general lack of preparedness, combined with a stunning level of governmental incompetence and confusion, made for an unforgivably slow response to Katrina's victims. What mattered was the invocation of the great white shame. And here, in white racism, was a shame of truly epic proportions -- the shame of white supremacy that for centuries so squeezed the world with violence and oppression that white privilege was made a natural law. Once white racism -- long witnessed by blacks and acknowledged since the '60s by whites -- was in play, the subject was changed from black weakness to white evil. Now accountability for the poverty that shamed blacks could be once again assigned to whites. If this was tiresome for many whites, it was a restoration of dignity for many blacks.
In other words, white racism was invoked to give black poverty an acceptable cover.
In the '60s -- the first instance of open mutual witness between blacks and whites in American history -- a balance of power was struck between the races. The broad white acknowledgment of racism meant that whites would be responsible both for overcoming their racism and for ending black poverty because, after all, their racism had so obviously caused that poverty. For whites to suggest that blacks might be in some way responsible for their own poverty would be to relinquish this responsibility and, thus, to return to racism. So, from its start in the '60s, this balance of power (offering redemption to whites and justice to blacks) involved a skewed distribution of responsibility: Whites, and not blacks, would be responsible for achieving racial equality in America, for overcoming the shames of both races -- black inferiority and white racism. And the very idea of black responsibility would be stigmatized as racism in whites and Uncle Tomism in blacks.
President Johnson's famous Howard University speech, which launched the Great Society in 1965, outlined this balance of power by explicitly spelling out white responsibility without a single reference to black responsibility. In the 40 years since that speech no American president has dared correct this oversight.
The problem here is obvious: The black shame of inferiority (the result of oppression, not genetics) cannot be overcome with anything less than a heroic assumption of responsibility on the part of black Americans. In fact, true equality -- an actual parity of wealth and ability between the races -- is now largely a black responsibility. This may not be fair, but historical fairness -- of the sort that resolves history's injustices -- is an idealism that now plagues black America by making black responsibility seem an injustice.
And yet, despite the fact that greater responsibility is the only transforming power that can take blacks to true equality, this is an idea that deeply threatens the 40-year balance of power between the races. Bill Cosby's recent demand that poor blacks hold up "their end of the bargain" and do a better job of raising their children was explosive because it threatened this balance. Mr. Cosby not only implied that black responsibility was the great transforming power; he also implied that there was a limit to what white responsibility could do. He said, in effect, that white responsibility cannot overcome black inferiority. This is a truth so obvious as to be mundane. Yet whites won't say it in the interest of their redemption and blacks won't say it in the interest of historical justice. It is left to hurricanes to make such statements.
But it is the shame of blacks that becomes most transparent when black responsibility is given its rightful ascendancy. When this happens blacks themselves cannot look at New Orleans without acknowledging what Bill Cosby acknowledged in a different context, that poor blacks have not held up their end of the bargain. Responsibility always comes with the risk of great shame, the shame of failing to meet the responsibility one has assumed. A great problem in black American life is that we have too often avoided responsibility in order to avoid shame. This is understandable given the unforgiving pas de deux of mutual witness between blacks and whites in which each race prepares a face for the other and seizes on the other's weaknesses with ravenous delight. And four centuries of persecution have indeed left us with weaknesses, and even a degree of human brokenness, that is shaming. Nevertheless, it is only an illusion to think that we can mute the sting of shame by charging whites with responsibility for us. This is a formula for running into the shame you run from.
And our open acknowledgment of our underdevelopment will clearly give whites a power of witness over us. It will mean that whites can hold us accountable for overcoming inferiority as we hold them accountable for overcoming racism.
Let the dialog begin.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Rewriting History - The Media Shove the Past Down the Memory Hole.
The fact that this is not true does not appear to hamper their efforts to rewrite history.
The reality is found in a story by Robert Kagan in Today’s Washington Post (page A21)..
There is a big problem with this simple narrative. It is that the Times, along with The Post and other news organizations, ran many alarming stories about Iraq's weapons programs before the election of George W. Bush. A quick search through the Times archives before 2001 produces such headlines as "Iraq Has Network of Outside Help on Arms, Experts Say"(November 1998), "U.S. Says Iraq Aided Production of Chemical Weapons in Sudan"(August 1998), "Iraq Suspected of Secret Germ War Effort" (February 2000), "Signs of Iraqi Arms Buildup Bedevil U.S. Administration" (February 2000), "Flight Tests Show Iraq Has Resumed a Missile Program" (July 2000). (A somewhat shorter list can be compiled from The Post's archives, including a September 1998 headline: "Iraqi Work Toward A-Bomb Reported.") The Times stories were written by Barbara Crossette, Tim Weiner and Steven Lee Myers; Miller shared a byline on one. ...
From 1998 through 2000, the Times editorial page warned that "without further outside intervention, Iraq should be able to rebuild weapons and missile plants within a year" and that "future military attacks may be required to diminish the arsenal again." Otherwise, Iraq could "restore its ability to deliver biological and chemical weapons against potential targets in the Middle East." "The world," it said, "cannot leave Mr. Hussein free to manufacture horrific germs and nerve gases and use them to terrorize neighboring countries." ...
Another Times editorial warned that containment of Hussein was eroding. "The Security Council is wobbly, with Russia and France eager to ease inspections and sanctions." Any approach "that depends on Security Council unity is destined to be weak."
In times past the MSM could have gotten away with fooling people in this way. Who had the time and resources to go through old issues of yellowed newspapers? Thanks to the magic of computer science and the vast data bases available to the average citizen, it’s getting harder and harder to shove the past down the memory hole.
That doesn’t mean they won’t keep trying.
Hat tip to Captain’s Quarters.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Funny, I did not read about this in the Virginian Pilot.
UPDATE: It turns out that the original report may have been incorrect. Here is a follow up from the AP (not necessarily a font of either accuracy or wisdom). With the MSM in crisis mode regarding credibility, I don't know whether to believe the original story or the follow-up. We report; you decide.:
BAGHDAD, Iraq The U-S military is denying a newspaper report that the bodies of four American contractors killed in Iraq were set on fire by a mob.The military says all four were in their vehicles with bullet wounds and one of them was burned from a vehicle fire. It says another one was injured but later died of his wounds.
The Virginian Pilot has covered neither the original story nor the correction.
IF YOUR MOTHER SAYS SHE LOVES YOU, CHECK IT OUT.
What made the explosion at the University of Oklahoma suspicious were the method, place and prior actions of Mr. Hinrichs.
First, the method: a bomb. Other than suicide bombers, bombs are rarely – if ever - the means chosen by people who wish to commit suicide. I have searched Google for previous suicides by bomb and, except for the Hinrichs suicide, suicide bombers all seem to be Jihads of one type or another.
Second, the place: near a packed football stadium. Suicides are generally committed in private. People setting off bombs near crowds raise suspicion that there was a motive other than simply suicide.
Third: the student had inquired about buying ammonium nitrate a few days prior to the explosion. Ammonium nitrate was the primary ingredient in the bomb created by Timothy McVeigh when he blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
The authorities seem to have dismissed these questions by insisting that the Hinrichs suicide was simply that of a depressed student who ended it all. Despite these assurances, we are told that the next football game at the University of Oklahoma will be accompanied by increased security. If Hinrichs had shot himself in his room, would the University have increased security at football games?
But back to our story. Chittum and Hagan quoted several bloggers about their continuing skepticism of the official explanation. The bloggers responded by claiming that the Wall Street Journal reporters had asked leading questions and took their comments out of context.
Three bloggers responded: Michelle Malkin, Jason Smith and John Hinderaker. Following the controversy, I e-mailed Ryan Chittum with a copy of the essay on my web site.
He graciously responded by stating that “I would dispute those characterizations, especially the ones made about me and Joe on those Web sites."
Gratified by his reply, I asked him: “ Just which characterizations are you disputing ... and why? Were you misquoted or taken out of context?
If you have a case to make to bloggers, why not use me as a third party intermediary? “
He responded: “I really appreciate the offer, but I'm going to have to decline. I'm confident my reputation and the Journal's will survive the mischaracterizations, and I don't want to get involved in any silly pissing match. I think most people on their own intuitively follow the old journalism axiom: Consider your source. There's always a minority who just believe what they want to believe, and that's fine.
Speaking of sources --on the newspaper being like talking to the 20th guy in telephone--I spoke directly with multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, some of whom I could not name because of the sensitivity of their positions. We have rules against hearsay here and we guard our credibility jealously and are serious about getting stories right.
We, of course, get things wrong sometimes, but when we do we try to quickly correct them. “
What can we learn from this?
First, we learn that the MSM is beginning to take the blogosphere seriously – as part of the opinion shaping medium.
Second, they seem to hold bloggers in contempt.
Third, they still believe they have the superior position regarding believability. They have not internalized the damage that has been done to their credibility by Jason Blair, Dan Rather, exploding fuel tanks, and their ever more obvious political bias. In an example of unintended consequences, the MSM’s adversarial attitude in its attacks on authority figures has ricocheted. If it is OK to question the truthfulness of the President, what makes it not OK to question the truthfulness or thoroughness of the press?
Therefore, when Chittum asks me to believe that his explanation of the suicide-by-bomb is correct; he is asking me to take two things on faith. First, that he is telling the whole truth about his unnamed sources and, second, that his sources had indisputable proof that Hinrichs only meant to end his own life. These assurances, in the absence of public proof, are not good enough, especially since the University is increasing security at football games. Are they afraid of another depressed student taking his own life via bomb, or do they see the possibility that Hinrichs may not be a simple suicide.
We report, you decide.
His assurances about his credibility and getting it right are no longer good enough. Remember the old saying by Emerson: “The louder he spoke of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons?”
The blogosphere can be as egregiously wrong as the MSM, but it has an advantage that the print and broadcast media does not have: we can link to original sources. We can append corrections to our original stories, not bury them in the corrections section. In other words, the blogosphere is transparent in a way that the MSM is not and – in the case of the “dead tree media” is technologically incapable of ever becoming.
I predict that Ryan Chittum will someday have his own blog. Until then, I believe in the old newsman’s bromide: “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
UPDATE: While this story has disappeared from the media's radar screens, they having concluded that the bomb explosion was a suicide, Jason Smith informs us that Hinrichs lived in a university-owned property popular with Islamic students because it is adjacent to the local mosque. This does not prove anything; nothing to see here ... move along. In fact if you make anothing of this you are probably a conspiracy theorists and bigot. I got it, Ryan.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
we are going to exterminate white people because that in my estimation is the only conclusion I have come to. We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem. Now I don’t care whether you clap or not, but I’m saying to you that we need to solve this problem because they are going to kill us. And I will leave on that. So we just have to just set up our own system and stop playing and get very serious and not be diverted from coming up with a solution to the problem and the problem on the planet is white people.
Dr. Kambon teaches at N.C. State University.
Friday, October 21, 2005
If you have not heard DePaul university invited Ward Churchill (who called the people who died in the world Trade Center on 9/11 "Little Eichmans")
The university then excluded the College Republicans from attending the meeting.
DePaul is a Liberal university.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
The Farrakhans In Government
An excerpt from Farrakhan’s “million Man March” speech 10 years ago.: “In the background is the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial, each one of these monuments is 19 feet high. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, and 16 and three make 19 again. What is so deep about this number 19? … When you have a nine, you have a womb that is pregnant. And you have a one standing by the nine. It means there’s something secret that has to be unfolded."
I’m willing to understand that a generation of black men that have been taught by black racists and white Liberal racists to hate whitey will respond to a combination of self-help and hatred that is the stock-in-trade of this tribe.
But when someone who sat at the right hand of Colin Powell gives a speech that is even more troubling than the stupidity uttered by Farrakhan, there is every reason to begin wondering what kind of people are a little too close to the levers of power in Washington.
Case in point is Lawrence Wilkerson; until recently chief of staff of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He made a remarkable speech to the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank. What was remarkable about the speech is that it articulated the attitude and belief system of the Washington establishment which consists of the bureaucracy, the press, the lobbyists and the denizens of the think-tanks.
In his own personal Farrakhan moment he said that the government of the United States was hijacked by the inhabitants of the “Oval Office.”
Think about that for a moment.
What would your reaction be if the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs complained that the civilian leadership was hijacking the military’s decision making power to wage war. If he said that he would, and should, be immediately dismissed. Then an investigation begun to determine if there are a bunch of Colonels planning a military coup.
But here we have a member of the permanent bureaucracy criticizing the top elected civilian leadership of the country of actually plotting to implement their ideas for the direction of government policy.
Here is his complaint: What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense ... on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
So you’ve got this collegiality there between the Secretary of Defense and the Vice President. And then you’ve got a President who is not versed in international relations. And not too much interested in them either.
And so it’s not too difficult to make decisions in this, what I call Oval Office cabal...
There is a President Bush that Mr. Wilkerson admires: … watching probably one of the finest Presidents we’ve ever had, that’s how I feel about George H. W. Bush, exercise one of the greatest adeptnesses at foreign policy I’ve ever seen.
So many things happened in George H. W. Bush’s 4 years that I think when historians write about it with dispassion 25, 30 years from now, they’re going to give that man enormous credit for knowing how to make the process work…
George H.W. Bush:the man who made “the process work.”
There are probably not many things that history will say about Bush 41, the one-term Bush. I doubt that it will place tremendous emphasis on his foreign policy in view of the mess he left in the Middle East; a mess that we are now fighting a costly war to repair.
Am I being unduly harsh on this Wonder Bread member of the foreign policy establishment? You have a chance to read his speech and decide for yourself. I doubt if it will major play in the MSM because it lays bare so many of the pathologies of the Washington establishment.
But since it appears to represent high level bureaucratic beliefs, it does explain to some extent the reasons why George Bush finds himself embattled. He now has a war not just with Islamofascists, but with the permanent establishment who see an opportunity, like jackals circling a wounded lion, to take a nip.
I don’t know who will win this fight, but I am firmly on Bush’s side. I want to be able to vote for my leaders. I will not be ruled by the people who believe they are superior to our elected officials. Those people are not amusing; they are a danger to a free people.
DID YOU READ ABOUT THE MARCH AGAINST TERRORISM IN IRAQ?
HERE is a very good article about the MMS's "neutrality" between terrorism and civilization.
They Shoot Schoolteachers, Don't They?
To The Washington Post they were simply “gunmen.” The New York Times non-judgmentally called them “armed men.”
The elite media fastidiously avoid such harsh words as "terrorist" – even to describe those who, last week, rounded up five Iraqi teachers from outside their school, dragged them into a classroom, lined them up against a wall and shot them to death.
Read the whole thing
What kind of money could Barbra and Martin and Tim and Susan and Gwenneth and George and Steven and Viggo and Linda and Harvey and Brad and Angelina and Ben and all the rest – how much could they really put together, if they actually believed what they say – not to mention the cash available to the Malodorous Michigan Manatee of Mendacity? What kind of check could they write? $500 million would be less than 10% of every outspoken celebrities' combined wealth. That money could take every poor person in LA county and put them into much nicer apartments than the one I live in. They could, at a stroke, shame the President, the Congress, and the evil NeoCon warmongers by putting every displaced person in New Orleans in a Marriott for a year. They claim this is the kind of better human they have evolved into.
Why don’t they do it?
They don’t do it because that Tribe worships the golden statue of themselves, that’s why. A church-going pharmacist in Des Moines would be ashamed of herself for giving only 10% of her modest salary. But Sean Penn can take himself, an entourage and a personal photographer – that’s three or four people in a four-person boat – and show us all how incredibly big and down-home he is by sailing off a few feet to rescue people, before the boat sinks from the incompetence of failing to put in the drainage plug. He wore a very nice white flak vest, instead of the passé orange life preserver, because getting shot at is a lot more macho looking, if a million or so times less likely, than drowning because you went out into the water with a lead vest rather than a life vest. It’s a scene in the trailer that runs incessantly in their heads: In a world run by evil corporations, a rebel who plays by his own rules starts a deadly game of cat and mouse with an all-powerful conspiracy in this searing portrait of extraordinary courage in a life under siege, starring…me!
I was actually ready to publicly commend the guy, until I heard about the personal photographer. If he wanted to help people – and that’s all – he could have paid for that boat, and a few hundred others, manned them with reasonably competent recreational boaters, and sent out a flotilla. But no. It’s not about having people saved. It’s about something else entirely. It’s about having people saved by Sean Penn. That’s when I realized that whether it’s the Murderous Regime in Iraq, or the Murderous Regime in Iran, or the Murderous Storm in Louisiana…ultimately, it’s all about Sean Penn. Peace Be Upon Him.
But thank God we have people like him, and the rest of that vain, useless, smug, self-centered, incompetent, insecure and thoroughly broken Tribe to point out the error of our ways.
I hate those sons of bitches with all of my heart. And the fact that so much of our society has come to worship these shallow, egomaniacal dolts says a lot about where we are, and none of it is good.
A bit of background is necessary in order to get the full significance of the news. According to the Shiite faith, the 12th imam (the authoritative successors to the Prophet Mohammed) disappeared from this earth, and at the end of mortal time he will reappear, to usher in the Kingdom of Allah. The Iranian Shiites believe that the imam is hiding at the bottom of a well in Ifahan, known as the Jamkaran well, around which a magnificent mosque has been constructed. Okay? Now you can understand the story:
In a formal cabinet meeting chaired by Iran's new president’s first deputy, the ministers printed and ratified an agreement with the Shiites' 12th Imam. In his opening remarks, Parviz Davoudi, Ahmadinejad' first deputy suggested that the cabinet ministers should sign an agreement with 12th Imam, the same way they
signed a pact with the new president. The ministers collectively agreed and so there is now an agreement between the two! The ministers then questioned how the 12th hidden Imam will sign the agreement!
The solution was resolved when the government's cabinet ministers agreed to ask Saffar Harandi, Minister of Culture
and Islamic Guidance how president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad planned to take the letter to the holy Imam. Next Thursday night, Saffar Harandi dropped the signed agreement to the Jamkaran well, a spot that Moslem religious groups believe is where the Shiite 12th Imam is hidden. This well is also the resting place for
tons of letters and requests from Muslim pilgrims.
A short while after the cabinet ministers' collective agreement, the government spent 70 billion rials to feed the needy pilgrims of Jamkaran Mosque. At the Transportation Minister's suggestion, this money would be spent to reconstruct the roads leading to Jamkaran and to allocate large amount of money for other similar projects. There was strong criticism on this from all fronts and even Ahmadinejad seemed very offended. He said that this government was not in power to build roads and that it should be thankful to 12th Imam's blessing for being in power.
We are talking about some of the highest-ranking officials in the Islamic republic. So far as I know, this is not political satire, it’s reportage. And the point is obvious, isn’t it? We are not dealing with people like us (although a couple of the more hyper columnists at, say, the New York Times might well suspect that there are lots of evangelicals who secretly aspire to this sort of behavior). The Iranian people are suffering enormously at the hands of this regime, whose president "was not in power to build roads" and owes its legitimacy to a vanished religious figure at the bottom of a well in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Demonstrating once again the Bigotry of Low Expectations in the MSM.
After the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was captured, the destruction, desecration and systematic looting of Jewish sites began and continued. 57 ancient synagogues (the oldest dated to the 13th century), libraries and centers of religious study were ransacked and 12 were totally and deliberately destroyed.
More Fireworks on Able Danger
Form more click Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, UPI, Captain’s Quarters, Curt Weldon’s Speech via Political teen.
For a summary of Able Danger, go HERE.
The latest article by Johan Goldberg at NR Online quotes Lakoff:
Lakoff's first brush with publicity came in 2001 from his ill-considered analysis of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
"Towers are symbols of phallic power," he wrote, "and their collapse reinforces the idea of loss of power." Then Lakoff's metaphor-analysis machine surely started to smoke. "The planes," he continued "penetrating the towers with a plume of heat, and the Pentagon, a vaginal image from the air, penetrated by the plane as missile."
I know what you're thinking, because I'm thinking it, too: This is the perfect guy to advise the Democrats in the post-Clinton era!
This is the genius behind the Dems now referring to themselves as “Merlot Democrats.”
Thank you Lord. The Republicans can bicker all they want with the Conservatives; if this is the guidance behind the Left, the Right has no worries.
Say what you want about Joan Rivers, but she finally had had enough. After more racist comments by Howe, she answered back:
"Wait!" ... "Just stop right now. Black does not offend me. How dare you? How dare you say that? 'Black offends me!' You know nothing about me. How dare you."
Their exchanges culminated with Rivers shrieking: "Don't you dare call me a racist. I'm sorry. How dare you."
Howe was forced to retract his statments about Rivers and left the studio in a snit. A lesson for all of us.
For the entire article from the UK Telegraph, click on the headline.
(Thanks to Drudge)
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour Wants to have Saddam’s baby.
He came into court walking, escorted by two guards who were in bulletproof vests. He was wearing a gray suit and a white shirt. His hair is black, as it's always been, his beard was black with significant gray.
No longer the bright and bouncing boy of her dreams, he still radiates that virility that claimed her heart:
Saddam Hussein is definitely being, if not outright defiant, just basically saying that he does not recognize this court."
Alas, it may not be. According to CNN “She described the visibly frail former Iraqi president's arrival in court as he attempted to launch into a defiant speech even before proceedings were under way.”
Where are the lips she longed to kiss, the heaving chest, the bulging biceps, throbbing … oh, sorry; I forgot myself as I was swept away by her dreams, now so far out of reach. All on account of the Smirking Chimp who took her dreamboat away from her.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, BOMBS AND ISLAM
Ryan Chittum and Joe Hagan wrote this story for the Wall Street Journal on the suicide of Joel Henry Hinrichs at the University of Oklahoma. Few people sucide by bomb, fewer do it near a packed football stadium and very few do it after first attempting to buy ammonium nitrate – the active ingredient in the Oklahoma City bombing carried out by one Mr. McVey.
But this story is not really about the bomb or the bomber. It’s really a stick to beat the internet about being full of conspiracy theories.
What’s wonderful about the internet is that some of the people quoted in the sorey are bloggers who can tell us what they really said.
Jason Smith had this reaction:
Now if they could only learn to quote accurately, that would even be better. The interview came off as them trying to excuse their own lack of coverage of an obvious public interest and newsworthy event. The questions I was asked were mostly leading and mostly geared towards helping them prove their theory that those of us following this story are casting wild speculations at best and outright lies at worse.
Michelle Malkin has this:
Last week, I received a media inquiry from Wall Street Journal media reporter Joe Hagan. He wanted to talk about blogs and the University of Oklahoma bomber story. Although I was dismayed to learn the only coverage of the incident from
the august WSJ would be a story about the coverage, rather than an original investigative report, I thought it would be better than nothing.
I was wrong: Nothing would have been better.
Several times, Hagan asked leading questions about the blogosphere's "conspiracy theories" regarding Joel Hinrichs. Several times, I stated clearly that I did not subscribe to any conspiracy theories--and that most of the blogs covering the story didn't either. I explained that unlike the MSM, most of the
blogs I have linked to were simply trying to find out the truth about the strange incident--and that meant keeping open the possibility that Hinrichs meant to commit murder and that he may have been swayed by extremist Islamic views.
I spoke with Chittum (an OU graduate, as it turns out) by phone this morning. He blamed inclusion of the word "apparent" on his editors and maintained that the reports were unequivocally false--according to his sources, whom he would not name. I asked Chittum whether it would have been more accurate to write "None of these claims are true, according to Journal sources." He said it was not necessary to add such a qualifier because he believed his sources.
It’s mind boggling. The MSM still asks us to take their pronouncements on faith. “We can’t reveal our sources.”
We don’t live in that world any more Gunga Dan.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
What sets humans apart from the animals is not just our ability to know reality, but our even more striking ability to NOT know it--to create patently erroneous systems of thought that we then inhabit, and which actually compromise our survival prospects. No lion ever entertained the idea that it might be healthier to live on grasses rather than flesh. Penguins don’t decide to live near the equator, where it isn’t so cold. Only human beings can hold ideas that are completely illogical and self-defeating. In fact, there is no doubt whatsoever that the majority of beliefs human beings have held about the world down through history have been false, often ridiculously so. For example, just consider medicine. Until the early 20th century, the average visit to a doctor was likely to leave one in worse shape, not better. But useless or harmful treatments helped people cope with otherwise intolerable anxiety, and were obviously psychologically preferable to the truth: that no one knew why you were sick or how to cure you.
So there is something about human beings that makes them uniquely susceptible to bad ideas. Therefore, it would appear to be axiomatic that there must be something about bad ideas that is paradoxically adaptive. But adaptive to what? Clearly, they are adaptive to internal reality, to the emotional needs and anxieties of the person who holds them. These leftists don't really want Bush to be Hitler. They NEED him to be. Desperately. As uncomfortable as it is, it is far preferable to being left alone their own internal infantile anxieties, with nowhere to project them.
The current post examines culture and history. It's a great read and end thus (but read the whole thing): Never make a God of Your Irreligion.
But most importantly, radical secularism fails as a religion because it has no God, only demons: George Bush, Christian fundamentalists, Israel, tax cuts for the rich, stolen election, Halliburton, Fox News, Abu Ghraib, Karl Rove, corporate profits, disparities in wealth, strict constructionists, parental notification, talk radio, guns, and so many more. On the other hand, the sort of classical liberalism to which I ascribe--now embodied in the modern American conservative movement--recognizes that politics must aim at something that is not politics, something higher, not lower. The alienation of the world can be healed, but not in the flat and horizontal line of secular history, or in the endlessly recurring cycle of primitive fusion with nature, but in the ascending, evolutionary spiral.
The secular world is a value-free flatland of nihilism and urgent nonsense, whereas the vertical world accessed by authentic spirituality is a world of hierarchical values to which we are perpetually drawn, like an attractor at the end of history. It is here where the frontier of psychohistorical evolution lies, for so long as there are free individuals endowed by their Creator with an orientation toward that transtemporal Word that pulls us into its vortex of Truth and Beauty, there will always be frontiers.
An American “Debacle”?
More unjustified negativity on the war in Iraq.
In a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed entitled “American Debacle” Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national-security adviser to President Carter, begins with:
Some 60 years ago Arnold Toynbee concluded, in his monumental “Study of History,” that the ultimate cause of imperial collapse was “suicidal statecraft.” Sadly for George W. Bush's place in history and — much more important — ominously for America's future, that adroit phrase increasingly seems applicable to the policies pursued by the United States since the cataclysm of 9/11.
Brzezinski soon adds, “In a very real sense, during the last four years the Bush team has dangerously undercut America's seemingly secure perch on top of the global totem pole by transforming a manageable, though serious, challenge largely of regional origin into an international debacle.”
What are we to make of all this, when a former national-security adviser writes that the war that began when Middle Eastern terrorists struck at the heart of the continental United States in New York and Washington — something that neither the Nazis, Japanese militarists, nor Soviets ever accomplished — was merely a “challenge largely of regional origin”?
Some “region” — downtown Manhattan and the nerve center of the American military.
Aside from the unintended irony that the classical historian Arnold Toynbee himself was not always “adroit,” but wrong in most of his determinist conclusions, and that such criticism comes from a high official of an administration that witnessed on its watch the Iranian-hostage debacle, the disastrous rescue mission, the tragicomic odyssey of the terminally ill shah, the first and last Western Olympic boycott, oil hikes even higher in real dollars than the present spikes, Communist infiltration into Central America, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Cambodian holocaust, a gloomy acceptance that perpetual parity with the Soviet Union was the hope of the day, the realism that cemented our ties with corrupt autocracies in the Middle East (Orwellian sales of F-15 warplanes to the Saudis minus their extras), and the hard-to-achieve simultaneous high unemployment, high inflation, and high interest rates, Mr. Brzezinski is at least a valuable barometer of the current pessimism over events such as September 11.
Such gloom seems to be the fashion of the day. Iraq is now routinely dismissed as a quagmire or “lost.” Osama bin laden is assumed to be still active, while we are beginning the fifth year of the war that is “longer than World War II.” Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo purportedly are proof of our brutality and have lost us hearts and minds, while gas prices spiral out of control. The U.S. military is supposedly “overextended” if not “wrecked” by Iraq, while the war in Afghanistan “drags on.” Meanwhile, it is “only a matter of time” until we are hit with another terrorist strike of the magnitude of September 11. To cap it off, the United States is now “disliked” abroad, by those who abhor our “unilateralism” and “preemptive” war.
All that is a fair summation of the current glumness.
But how accurate are such charges? If one were to assess them from the view of the Islamic fundamentalists, they would hardly resemble reality.
Many of al-Zarqawi or Dr. Zawahiri’s intercepted letters and communiqués reveal paranoid fears that Iraq is indeed becoming lost — but to the terrorists. The enemy speaks of constantly shifting tactics — try beheading contractors; no, turn to slaughtering Shiites; no, butcher teachers and school kids; no, go back to try to blow up American convoys. In contrast, we are consistent in our strategy — go after jihadists, train Iraqi security forces, promote consensual government so Iraq becomes an autonomous republic free to determine its own future. We will leave anytime the elected government of Iraq asks us to; the terrorists won’t cease until they have rammed, Taliban-style, an 8th-century theocracy down the throats of unwilling Iraqis.
Bin Laden is in theory “loose,” but can’t go anywhere except the wild Afghan-Pakistan border or perhaps the frontiers of Kashmir. His terrorist hierarchy is scattered, and many of his top operatives are either dead or, like him, in hiding. For all the legitimate worry over the triangulation of Pakistan, it is still safer for Americans openly to walk down the streets of Islamabad than for bin Laden. In any case, at least the former try it and the latter does not. How much food and medical supplies will bin Laden airlift in to his fellow Muslims reeling from the earthquake?
Note how al Qaeda has dropped much of its vaunted boasts to restore the caliphate over the infidel, and now excuses its violence with the plea of victimhood: “After all this, does the prey not have the right, when bound and dragged to its slaughter, to escape? Does it not have the right, while being slaughtered, to lash out with its paw? Does it not have the right, after being slaughtered, to attack its slaughterer with its blood?”
The war against the terrorists may be entering the fifth year, but despite over 2,000 combat fatalities, we have still only lost a little over 2/3s of those killed on the very first day of the war, almost 50 months ago — quite a contrast with the over 400,000 American dead at the end of World War II. And a wrecked Japan and Germany were not on a secure path to democracy until six years after America entered the war, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan that were defeated without killing millions and already have held plebiscites on new constitutions.
Westerners, it is true, sensationalize the abuses of Abu Ghraib and perceived grievances of Guantanamo far more than they do the abject slaughtering and beheading by the enemy. Nor do Americans write much about the heroics of their own U.S. Marines in retaking Fallujah or their brave Army battalions in providing security for civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq to vote.
But our enemies still are not impressed by such a self-critical mentality, and know that a trip to Abu Ghraib does not mean either a Saddam-like torture chamber or an al Qaeda beheading, but rather far better conditions than they ever would extend to others, and often a rest of sorts between attacking Americans. As for Guantanamo, it is humane compared to any jail in the Middle East, and fundamentalists only harp on its perceived brutality since they think such invective resonates with Western opponents of America’s current policy.
Oil is the weirdest theme of the debate over the war. Opponents claim that we went there to steal or control it. But after we arrived, as in the case of 1991 when we had the entire mega-reserves of Kuwait in our grasp, we turned it back over to the local owners, ensuring that for the first time in decades a transparent Iraqi government — not the French, not the Russians, not the Baathists, not the Saddam kleptocracy — now controls its own petroleum. The more the terrorists talk about Western theft of their national heritage, the more OPEC gouges the industrialized world and sends its billions in petrodollars abroad to foreign banks.
The story of the war since September 11 is that the United States military has not lost a single battle, has removed two dictatorships, and has birthed democracy in the Middle East. During Katrina, critics suggested troops in Iraq should have been in New Orleans, but that was a political, not a realistic complaint: few charged that there were too many thousands abroad in Germany, Italy, the U.K., Korea, or Japan when they should have been in Louisiana.
Afghanistan is nearing the status of the Balkans — after nearly four, not eight years of peacekeeping to keep down the remnants of fascism while democracy takes root. And Afghanistan was a war (like Iraq) approved by the U.S. Senate and House — unlike Mr. Clinton’s bombing of Serbia.
The enemy seems frustrated that it cannot repeat September 11 here in the United States. Hundreds of terrorists have been arrested, and direction from a central al Qaeda leadership has been lost. Killing jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq has, as their communiqués show, put terrorists on the defensive — understandable after losing sympathetic governments like the Taliban.
We have made plenty of mistakes since September 11, often failed to articulate our goals and values, and turned on each other in perpetual acrimony. Federal spending is out of control, and our present energy policy won’t wean us off Middle Eastern petroleum for years. But still lost in all this conundrum is that the old appeasement of the 1990s is over, the terrorists are losing both tactically and strategically, and, as Tony Blair said of the evolving Western mentality, “The rules of the game are changing.”
Finally, we need to be systematic in our appraisal of the course of this war, asking not just whether the United States is more popular and better liked, but rather whether Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Egypt are moving in the right or wrong direction. Is Europe more or less attuned to the dangers of radical Islam, and more or less likely to work with the United States? Is the Israeli-Palestinian dispute getting worse or stabilizing? Is our security at home getting better, and do we understand radical Islam more or less perfectly? Are Middle East neutrals like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan more or less helpful in the war against the terrorists? Are global powers like India and Japan more or less inclined to America? And are clear-cut enemies such as Iran and Syria becoming more or less emboldened or facing ostracism?
If we look at all these questions dispassionately, and tune out the angry rhetoric on the extreme Left and Right, then we can see things are becoming better rather than worse — even as the media and now the public itself believes that a successful strategy is failing.
And as for Mr. Brzezinski’s indictment — most of us still would prefer the United States of 2005 to the chaotic America of 1977-80 under an administration that did little to confront the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, which began in earnest on its watch with the real debacle in Tehran.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His book A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War appears this month.
FRIENDS, THE MEDIA, IRAQ AND THE WAR
You will find it here: http://www.wtv-zone.com/Mary/THISWILLMAKEYOUPROUD.HTML
(Click on it and scroll down)
In response he replied that he is proud of the marine, but that he believed that the war in Iraq is wrong, that the “Free World” opposes us, that the war has cost us billions that presumably could have been better spent elsewhere, that we are mired down and that our actions are encouraging terrorists. He went on to mention the Geneva convention and prisoner abuse. I suspect that he is unfamiliar with the actual Geneva convention and assumes that prisoner abuse is SOP in the army (there may be a part in the army field manual that tells our soldiers just how to abuse prisoners).
I don’t know my friend that well any more; we played together nearly 50 years ago in a small town in Michigan and have gone our separate ways since then. But I can understand why he believes what he believes.
And it’s too bad.
He believes what he believes because that is the story that has been reported via the MSM since the early days of the war. Click on the link above again and let me know if you have seen any news reports of heroic action on the part of our troops in Iraq. Tell me if you are aware of any reconstruction going on in Iraq. Yet, if the situation is so dire, if the people hate us so, if the Islamofascists are winning, why are people lined up in the street to join the Iraqi army? Why do Iraqi children swarm around our soldiers (and become the targets of murderous killers who drive car bombs into the crowd)? Why did they line up outside polling places, braving bombs and bullets, to vote in legislative election in January and why did they line up again yesterday to vote on the new constitution?
An interesting example of the media’s bias found in Oxblog where the NY Times and the Washington Post could not agree on WHAT HAPPENED TODAY IN IRAQ? Were the voters “unenthusiastic “(NY Times), or were there “scenes of joy” (WA Post)?
Thank God for Al Gore’s invention of the internet. We now get our reports unfiltered, if we want to get the facts. If we are still stuck on the wrong side of the bridge to the 21st Century, we can still have the MSM tell us they facts they wish us to know, and tell us how to think about them.
But by all means, don’t red more than one newspaper; you’ll get confused.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
The first surprise was that a city supposedly blockaded wasn't actually all that hard to get into. The TV reports insisted that the National Guard had arrived - there were pictures of soldiers showing up, so how could it not be true? - but from the Friday morning of my arrival through the weekend after Katrina hit, there was no trace of the Guard, or any other authority, on high ground.
The next surprise was that a city supposedly inundated had so much dry land. When the levees broke, Lake Pontchartrain stole back the wetlands long ago reclaimed for housing. Between the new lake shore and the Mississippi River of my youth is dry land with the houses of about 185,000 people. The city government in exile has categorized the high-ground population as 55 percent black, 42 percent white and 3 percent Hispanic. The flood did not discriminate by race or class. It took out a lot of poor people's homes, but it took out a lot of rich people's homes too. It did discriminate historically: it took out everything but the old city. If you asked an architecture critic, or a preservationist, to design a flood of this size in New Orleans, he would have given you something like this one.
This wasn't supposed to be. After the levees broke, Mayor Ray Nagin, who grew up in New Orleans, predicted that even Uptown would be under 15 to 20 feet of water. But most of Uptown was dry.
The police had said that gangs of young black men were looting and killing their way across the city, and the news had reached the men inside the forts [because of widespread reports of looting and murder, some people had fortified their homes and were guarding them with guns]. These men also had another informational disadvantage: working TV sets. Over and over and over again, they replayed the same few horrifying scenes from the Superdome, the convention center and a shop in downtown New Orleans. If the images were to be reduced to a sentence in the minds of Uptown New Orleans, that sentence would be: Crazy black people with automatic weapons are out hunting white people, and there's no bag limit! "The perspective you are getting from me," one of Fort Huger's foot soldiers said, as he walked around the living room with an M-16, "is the perspective of the guy who is getting disinformation and reacting accordingly." He spoke, for those few days, for much of the city, including the mayor and the police chief.
No emotion is as absurd as fear when it is proved to be unjustified. I was aware of this; I was also aware that it is better to be absurdly alive than absurdly dead. I broke into the family duck-hunting closet, loaded a shotgun with birdshot and headed out into the city. Running around with a 12-gauge filled with birdshot was, in the eyes of the local militia, little better than running around with a slingshot - or one of those guns that, when you shoot them, spit out a tiny flag. Over the next few days, I checked hundreds of houses and found that none had been broken into. The story about the Children's Hospital turned out to be just that, a story. The glass door to the Rite Aid on St. Charles near Broadway - where my paternal grandfather collapsed and died in 1979 - was shattered, but the only section disturbed was the shelf stocking the Wild Turkey. The Ace Hardware store on Oak Street was supposed to have had its front wall pulled off by a forklift, but it appeared to be, like most stores and all houses, perfectly intact. Of all the stores in town, none looked so well preserved as the bookshops. No one loots literature.
The old houses were also safe. There wasn't a house in the Garden District, or Uptown, that could not have been easily entered; there wasn't a house in either area that didn't have food and water to keep a family of five alive for a week; and there was hardly a house in either place that had been violated in any way. And the grocery stores! I spent some time inside a Whole Foods choosing from the selection of PowerBars. The door was open, the shelves groaned with untouched bottles of water and food.
Downtown, 25,000 people spent the previous four days without food and water when a few miles away - and it's a lovely stroll - entire grocery stores, doors ajar, were untouched. From the moment the crisis downtown began, there had been a clear path, requiring maybe an hour's walk, to food, water and shelter. And no one, not a single person, it seemed, took it.
Here, in the most familial city in America, the people turned out to know even less of one another than they did of the ground on which they stood. Downtown, into which the people too poor to get themselves out of town had been shamefully herded by local authorities, I found the mirror image of the hysteria uptown. Inside the Superdome and the convention center, rumors started that the police chief, the mayor and the national media passed along: of 200 people murdered, of countless rapes, of hundreds of armed black gang members on the loose. (Weeks later, The Times Picayune wrote that just two people were found killed and there had been no reports of rape. The murder rate in the city the week after Katrina hit was unchanged.)
There, two poor people told me that the flood wasn't caused by nature but by man: the government was trying to kill poor people. (Another reason it may never have occurred to the poor to make their way into the homes and grocery stores of the rich is that they assumed the whole point of this event was for the rich to get a clean shot at the poor.) In their view, the whole thing, beginning with the levee break and ending with the cramming of thousands of innocent people into what they were sure were death chambers with murderers and rapists, was a setup.
My great-grandfather J. Blanc Monroe is dead and gone, but he didn't take with him the climate of suspicion between rich and poor that he apparently helped foster. On St. Claude Avenue, just below the French Quarter, there was a scene of indigents, old people and gay men employed in the arts fleeing what they took to be bombs being dropped on them by Army helicopters. What were being dropped were, in fact, ready-to-eat meals and water in plastic jugs. But falling from the sky, these missiles looked unfriendly, and when the jugs hit concrete, they exploded and threw up shrapnel. The people in the area had heard from the police that George W. Bush intended to visit the city that day, and they could not imagine he meant them any good - but this attack, as they took it, came as a shock. "Run! Run!" screamed a man among the hordes trying to outrun the chopper. "It's the president!"
Overnight, the city went from being a place that you couldn't get out of to a place you had to be a conniver to stay in. In the few people who still needed to be saved there was a striking lack of urgency. When Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, rescuing people in a boat, spotted three young men on a roof and tried to ferry them out, they told him to leave them be and said, "We want to be helicoptered out." After my host, Jim Huger, took a pirogue to help an old man surrounded by flood waters, he passed an old woman sitting on her porch and offered to rescue her too. "Are you the official Coast Guard?" she asked. He said he wasn't. "I'm waiting for the official Coast Guard," she said and sat back down.
I had a half-dozen equally perplexing encounters. For instance, on one occasion I ran into a lady of a certain age, wearing a broad straw hat, pedaling a decrepit bicycle down the middle of St. Charles Avenue. She rode not in a straight line but a series of interlinked S's; it was as close as bike riding gets to wandering. I pulled up beside her in my car, rolled down the window and saw, in her lap, a dog more odd than she. "It has two purebred pedigrees," she said. "One is Chihuahua and the other is poodle."
"Are you all right?" I asked.
"I'm fine!" she said. "It's a beautiful day."
"Do you want to evacuate?" I asked, because I couldn't think of what else to say.
"I have $80," she said, still smiling. "I'd like to go to New York, but you tell me how far you can go in New York with $80."
In the back of my car, I now had about 60 gallons of water, picked up from beside Uptown houses, with the intention of redistributing them to the needy. "Do you need anything?" I asked her. "Water? Food?"
"No," she said, still pedaling. "I have a lot of water and even more food."
As I pulled away toward the water, she shouted, "But I could use some ice!"
The old facade; the pretense that New Orleans was either the Big Easy or it was nothing; that no great change was ever possible. A lot of New Orleanians, from the mayor on down, obviously did not feel so easy. They harbored a deep distrust of their own city and their fellow citizens - which is why they were so quick to believe the most hysterical rumors about one another.
Meanwhile, in another universe, the MSM is busy creating a new batch of News Idols, the bizarre hysterics who created the legend of New Orleans after Katrina.
Here is an excerpt.:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina two sports were all the rage in New Orleans. One was the blame game, attributing all local and state incompetence to the feds. The other was inventing and spreading stories of murder and mayhem -- killings, rapes, firing at rescuers, bodies stacked like cordwood.
But the accounts turned out to be grim fairy tales. They were also hardly harmless sensationalism -- if there be such a thing; because of them people suffered and apparently died.
Among the horrors that never happened:
* Editor & Publisher headlined an article, "Mortuary Director Tells Local Paper 40,000 Could Be Lost in Hurricane," while the French paper Liberation ran a detailed report on 1,200 people drowning in a single school.
* CNN claimed snipers were taking potshots at helicopters trying to evacuate patients from hospitals, while separately CNN host Paula Zahn breathlessly spoke of "reports" of "bands of rapists, going block to block."
* To be fair and balanced, we note that Fox News's Geraldo Rivera claimed from the scene that "Yesterday the sun set on a scene of terror, chaos, confusion, anarchy, violence, rapes, murders, dead babies, dead people."
* Oprah Winfrey's special report from New Orleans was wall-to-wall hysteria. Mayor Ray Nagin told her "They have people standing out there, have been in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people." Police Chief Eddie Compass (since resigned) added that "little babies [are] getting raped."
Winfrey herself, knowing how trusting (or gullible) her audience is, told them that in the Superdome "gangs banded together and had more ammunition, at times, than the police."
If all of this sounds like something from a post-apocalyptic zombie movie, that's pretty much what it was said professional rabble-rouser Randall Robinson. Four days after the storm "thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs," he wrote, and "have begun eating corpses to survive." Just four days and already feasting on your friends? ...
Read the rest.
Islamic political theory began with certain statements in the Quran and events from the life of the Prophet Muhammad which emphasized that political power arose from the right faith. This was followed by the amazing Arab conquests of the seventh century and confirmed by the dominance, with only temporary reversals, of Muslim states up to the height of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. Islamic legal doctrine developed which taught that it was the duty of the state to wage jihad to expand the borders of Islam. Monotheistic peoples who accepted Muslim rule would be able to keep their property and practice their religion, but those who resisted could be forced to convert and/or be sold into slavery. Islamic law also held that once land was brought under Muslim rule, it remained obligatory for Muslims to reconquer it should it be taken over by non-Muslims.
With this framework in mind, what is offensive to many Muslims is not that others believe differently than they do, but that non-Muslim states have power, and that non-Muslims in formerly Muslim lands, such as modern Israel, Spain and Sicily, do not submit to Muslim rule. Note that this has nothing to do with terrorism per se. Traditional mainstream Islam was not terroristic, as Islamic law contained rules of warfare which forbade intentionally killing non-combatants, required the protection of enemies who surrendered on terms, required fair notice before resuming hostilities after a truce, etc. Mainstream Islam held that the doctrine of jihad included spreading Muslim rule by conquest, but through conventional modes of warfare rather than what we think of as terrorism.
There are two additional factors which I believe also influence how Arabs view the United States, but this primary factor is so powerful that most situations can be analyzed based on the framework I have laid out. Five examples:
[read the rest here]
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Excerpt from Reason.com:
A Louisiana National Guardsman explains how he dealt with false rumors being piped into Ground Zero of Hurricane Katrina
We are now into Week Two of elite news organizations' re-evaluation of the New Orleans horror stories they helped transmit to the world in the first seven days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. It was known already by September 6 that tales of evacuee ultra-violence in refugee centers like Baton Rouge and Houston were both false and strikingly similar to one another, but it took much longer to begin clearing the muck from the Big Easy.
But starting with New Orleans' heroic though not-infallible Times-Picayune, the correctives have come rolling in, from (in order) the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, Knight Ridder, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Most focused on apocalyptic tales of violence that did not leave an evidentiary trail after the Superdome and Convention Center were finally cleared out—the mythical seven-year-old rape victim with her throat slit, the 30-40 bodies in the freezer, the constant gun violence.
Did you know that there were hundreds of Louisiana National Guardsmen in the New Orleans Super Dome throughout the storm? Click on the headline and read an interview with Major Ed Bush, public affairs officer for the Louisiana National Guard, who was there at the Superdome before, during, and after the evacuees got there. It will open your eyes.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
VIRGINIAN PILOT TRIES TO SQUELCH DISCUSSION ON RACE
In the course of his Morning in America radio show on Wednesday, Bennett engaged a caller who sought to view the complexities of Social Security solvency through the narrow lens of abortion, an explosive but only tangentially relevant issue. Specifically, the caller contended that if there had not been so many abortions since 1973, there would be millions more living people paying into the Social Security System, and perhaps the system would be solvent.
Bennett responded by saying that the utilitarian argument against abortion was fraught with danger. It was in this context that Bennett remarked: “I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do.”
So what we have Bennett saying is the following:
- Blacks commit a proportionally greater number of crimes than their percentage of the population, and,
- Aborting blacks for that reason is morally reprehensible, and
- He opposes abortion.
This, naturally, has the Left in a uproar. The usual suspects are accusing Bennett of not just racism but of wishing to exterminate blacks. It is equally obvious a manufactured uproar since Bill Bennett specifically disavowed any intention of aborting anyone. He is opposed to abortion for any reason and his enemies know it.
That included the editors of the Virginian Pilot who begin their editorial by stating that aborting every future radio talk show host in America would increase the nation’s IQ; without disavowing of their support of abortion. So the Virginian Pilot could be deemed to be closer to supporting abortion eugenics that Bill Bennett.
The Pilot uses the specious argument that Bennett “allowed the underlying implication that blacks and crime are somehow synonymous.” For members of the party of nuance, this statement is simply … crap.
The Editors admit that blacks are “disproportionately represented in the criminal population but far more whites are arrested than blacks.” This statement may be true, but it’s a close call since the white and black prison population is roughly equal while blacks make up only 12% of the population.
From this it can be assumed, in the absence of further evidence that far more whites are NOT arrested than blacks. And if 12% of the population accounts for half the criminals, we have a disproportionate criminal problem with that part of our population.
The Pilot editors piously claim that “the nation could use plenty of honest discussion about the social forces – poverty, single parenthood, inadequate education – that drive a disproportionate number of young black people into criminal pursuits.” But then does its best to stifle that discussion by pronouncing some parts of that discussion out of bounds.
And note the formulation: black people are “driven” into a life of crime. This is known as the soft bigotry of low expectations. I call it by its rightful name: racism; Liberal racism which excuses people who are independent and free moral agents when they do wrong.
It dehumanizes the black man or woman by making them morally vacant. It makes the black person who does not pursue a life of crime the moral equal of the one who does. It belittles, in a not so subtle way, the black man; making him the moral equal of children or pets. After all we do not blame the baby who soils his diaper or the puppy that makes messes on the floor. That is their nature. And it is – according to the soft racists at the Virginian Pilot – the nature of people when they are poor, born to single parents and condemned to a louse state supported school system – to commit crimes way out of proportion to their numbers.
The Virginian Pilot from time to time calls for an honest discussion on race, but it really isn’t interested in one. A honest discussion on race would cover the spectrum from Leftist race baiters like Louis Farrakhan, John Conyers, Randall Robinson and Jesse Jackson to people like ex-Klansman Robert Byrd, David Duke and someone who represents the Aryan Nation, plus of course the 90% who are in between.
But the Pilot’s idea of an honest discussion is that which takes place in its editorial meetings where opinions seem to range from the tweedle dee Liberal to the tweedle dum Liberal. That’s not an honest discussion, that’s a group grope.
For what it’s worth, here’s what Ward Connerly, a black man, says about the controversy. In my book he has more credibility than the (all-white) editorial board of the Virginian Pilot.
I know Bill Bennett. Bill Bennett is a friend of mine. There are few individuals who have such moral clarity about race as Bill Bennett. To his credit--and it is one of the things that I admire about him--Bill is honest and forthright. To say, in essence, that the overall crime rate is substantially influenced by the level of crime among blacks is not news. Look at the demographics of our prisons to affirm this fact. It is only when such a fact is said in such a blunt manner, and coupled with the factor of abortion, that it takes on such a harsh and "controversial" tone. In our society, there are some things that one cannot say without engendering the wrath of one's opponents and other timid souls. Discussing race and abortion is a form of double jeopardy. But, was Bill Bennett wrong in terms of his facts or the point that he was making? No! Would I have made such a statement in that manner, even with the qualification that Bill made following his comment about the reprehensibility of the point that he was making? No! And, the reason I would not do such a thing is because I have learned that race is such a treacherous topic that one must pick his spots very carefully in discussing the matter. However, Bill's comment does not warrant the condemnation that he is receiving. President Bush remarked that Bill's comment was "inappropriate." Yes, Mr. President, but was it accurate? And, is Bill's comment a reminder that the crime rate among blacks needs to be reduced so that blacks are not committing crimes at any rate that is higher than the rate among other "groups" of people? I am certain that there are a lot of black people in predominantly black neighborhoods who would second that motion