Sunday, May 29, 2005
Paul, an apostle—(not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
And all the bretheren who are with me, unto the churches in Galatia:
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from the present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Across the nation, liberal professors are being accused of abusing their conservative students by humiliating them in classes, lowering their grades, forcing them to listen to radical leftist views.
Some lawmakers want to even the score. They want to forbid professors from bashing President Bush, mandate that they teach creationism alongside evolution and require them to explain in history class that some doubt the Holocaust existed.
This is, of course, a bizarre misrepresentation of the aims of Students for Academic Freedom. With this in mind, I decided see how a biased writer would begin an article about media bias.
Across the nation, writers for the mainstream media are being accused of Liberal bias, humiliating the readers that don’t agree with them, calling them Neanderthals, forcing them to listen to radical leftist views.
Despite their plummeting believability and drop off in readership, members of the MSM are fighting back. They want to force conservative talk radio off the air and are threatening Rush Limbaugh with jail, they are advocating the assassination of President Bush and believe that journalists are being systematically killed in Iraq by American troops. While praising the image of a crucifix in urine they become outraged by having the Koran touched by a non-Muslim.
I then asked her the following question:
There, do you think that’s a fair representation of the views of the mainstream media? If you don’t, what possessed you to so seriously misrepresent the mainstream views of those who seek more balance in academia?
If you read the entire article you will note the omission of certain facts that make the case against academic bias less forceful. This paragraph, for example omits several easily obtainable facts:
Several national studies are on Horowitz's side, showing that liberal professors outnumber conservative professors on campuses. This year for the first time, universities made the list of top organizations ranked by employees' contributions to a presidential candidate, John Kerry, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
What's missing? The numbers! In an academic study done by political scientist Stanley Rothman of Smith College, communications professor S. Robert Lichter of George Mason University, and Canadian polling expert Neil Nevitte, published in the online journal Forum, paints a stark picture of a politically skewed academy. Nearly three quarters of the professors in a 1999 survey of college faculty identified themselves as left/liberal, only 15 percent as right/conservative; 50 percent were Democrats and 11 percent Republicans.
In OpenSecrets.org we learn that 78% of contributions over $200 went to Democrats and only 21% went to Republicans. At Harvard, 96% of the money went to Democrats.
If you include the numbers, the Liberal bias in academia - especially "elite" academia gets so bad that even Anita Kumar dare not include it in her article, lest she weakens the case against ideological bias.
Good luck on keeping a lid on this.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Today I saw the demonstration that the Muslim Brotherhood organized to protest against the "desecration of the Quran". Hundreds of protesters carrying Qurans and banners were surrounded by thousands of security policemen. They chanted slogans against the US and carried banners with the words "The desecration of the Quran is an unforgivable sin" written on them. Several Arab/Muslim countries witnessed the same protests today. It is very interesting to notice that in nearly all those countries the demonstrations were organized by Islamist parties who wanted to seize the "Quran into the super Gitmo toilet" story in order to flex their political muscles in their countries.
So, today thousands were angry because of the story that turned out to be untrue. Ummmm, interesting. Well, take a look at the above picture. It shows a group of radical Indian hindus burning the Quran in front of a camera. So here you go, a Quran getting burned on camera for the entire world to see. Isn't that more serious than Newsweek's story?
Why didn't the Arab/Muslim world erupt in flames? Where was the outrage against hindus? Why didn't we see Indian flags getting burned? Why didn't we see pictures of hindu gods getting "desecrated"? Well, you know the rule: the US is guilty even if proven innocent. Add to that the hypocrisy of those who call themselves Islamists. Those who see hindus (as long as they are not American hindus) burning Qurans and do not give a hoot. Those who see Iraqis getting killed by fellow Muslims and they do not give a hoot as well.
"Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or … ah, or … ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um … in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq."
Linda Foley is President of the Newspaper Guild, a union affiliated with the AFL-CIO which claims a membership of 34,000.
On May 13, 2005 in St. Louis, Ms. Foley is quoted as saying that the U.S. military is literally targeting and killing journalists. A transcript and link to a video of her comments are HERE.
A virtually identical charge was made by former CNN executive Eason Jordan at a conference in Davos, Switzerland. As a result of criticism of his statement he resigned as head of CNN News.
Now Ms. Foley has repeated these accusations. There has been little comment in the MSM, with the exception of Thomas Lipscom in Editor and Publisher
Now a member of Linda Foley’s union has asked her to respond. Hiawatha Bray has asked for a retraction or a clarification.
Those are the facts.
Now my opinion: I doubt that there will be either a retraction or a clarification of her comments. They are already clear. Further, I have no doubt that Linda Foley believes what she said. In her mind, if a reporter is killed those who killed the reporter did so deliberately and in the knowledge that they were killing reporters. Among certain people these things are articles of faith; a priori assumptions not subject to disproof.
Her remarks are being disseminated by the internet bloggers and the non-coverage by the MSM will not prevent these comments from becoming general knowledge. They will become general knowledge to the politically attuned, the well-informed and the opinion leaders in the country. And they will aid in the self immolation of the MSM. In the last century we have seen both technological and intellectual revolutions take place. What we are now seeing is a revolution in communication and the dissemination of information that is rapidly eroding the role of the monolithic one-way media in favor the democratization of information. Think of it as the Samizdat for the American people. And it will have as profound an effect on American society as Samizdat did for the USSR.
Thank you for your help Linda Foley.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
And why is the Republic saved? Because the “comity” of the Senate has been restored. Have you noticed the comity there? Aren’t you glad? Isn’t that what you wanted? Didn’t you pray for that: “Lord, of only Senators got along, I could die happy?”
I have observed the members of the Gang of 14 breaking their arms patting themselves on the back. Listen to their reasoning: it’s all about “restoring comity” to the Senate.
That is the great result of the compromise that the "Senate 14" achieved. The most exclusive club in the world – inhabited by the most exclusive people in the world – agreed to get along. So the former-KKK-Grand-Kleagle is now bosom buddies with Elizabeth Taylor's seventh husband (only because she married Richard Burton twice).
So we have comity in the Senate.
Forget about the makeup of the Supreme Court; without comity in the Senate, the Republic cannot stand.
Forget about a 200+ year tradition of not filibustering court nominees. Senate comity trumps other traditions since; we are – after all – a club.
Forget about the effects of four years of having your reputation slandered by members of the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” Forget having an alcoholic member of the club, who killed his paramour in an auto accident, tell the nation that you are morally inferior.
There are members of the club, and non-members. It must be comfortable being a member like John Warner, Robert Byrd and John McCain. The issues of the membership of the Federal judiciary, Presidential prerogatives, and two centuries of tradition regarding appointments are as nothing. Not when it comes to members of the club being clubbable.
There is a reason why there exists in most societies an undercurrent of hatred in a ruling caste. I’m beginning to understand why.
UPDATE: For another, similar view, read Krauthammer.
UPDATE 2: Fixed, I hope.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
How about touching the bag or box it’s in? Desecration!
How about having a dog in the house while reading the Koran? Desecration!
How about placing a book on the Koran? Desecration!
Are there other ways of desecrating the Koran? Read LifeTrek and find out.
Newsweek's false, retracted story about American guards flushing the Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo doesn't necessarily mean the magazine's staff hates America or Bush, or wants us to lose in Iraq. To be charitable, let's just chalk that one up to sloppy journalism.
But I'm at a loss to explain this, from the February 2 issue of Newsweek's Japanese edition:
[click on the link for the picture]
As you can see, the cover story shows an American flag, dirtied and tossed in a trash can, its staff snapped in two. The large white text reads, "Amerika ga shinda hi", which translates to "The day America died."
As one commenter said:
"Newsweek doesn't have the courage of its convictions to actually criticize as a friend would, to the face. It criticizes behind the subject's back, speaking to others alone. That is neither friendly, nor particularly loyal."
This revelation makes the case that Newsweek is even more morally corrupt than I ever imagined.
THERE'S REALLY NO ESCAPE from the abiding stupidity of what currently passes for "Western Culture." We have, it would seem, crossed some ghastly Rubicon of sensibility in which many among us have no frame of reference by which to measure evil. Instead these stunted souls seem determined to wallow in the banal and the trivial, asserting that only these tiny concerns have any meaning. It is the zero-sum "philosophy" of moral relativism branded into actual lives. And the afflicted seem to enjoy running the red-hot iron of nullity into their brains over and over. An addiction to absolute zero that no drug other than Nihilism can sate.
He then shows us two picutres, one of a hale and hearty Saddam, and the other of a blindfolded skull, representing one of hundreds of thousands of Saddam's victims.
There is something obscene about the pity for poor Saddam.
That may be why I heard CNN refer to the “Holy Koran” during a news-break on the radio. That may be why Anne Applebaum writes an article about the aftermath of the Newsweek Koran desecration story and blames the Bush administration. Not a word about the rioters.
Glenn Reynolds notes that the New York Times coverage of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan may not really be about prisoner abuse or even Afghanistan, but about maintaining the prestige of Newsweek. He calls it "circling the wagons", the idea being to teach press critics an object lesson in how expensive it is to humiliate the mass media by catching them at sloppy reporting by flooding the zone with stories similar to the one which was discredited . That may or may not be the case, but it is nearly undeniable that the effect of the media's coverage of American misdeeds has been to make the slightest infraction against enemy combatants ruinously expensive. Not only the treatment of the enemy combatants themselves, but their articles of religious worship have become the subject of such scrutiny that Korans must handled with actual gloves in a ceremonial fashion, a fact that must be triumph for the jihadi cause in and of itself. While nothing is wrong with ensuring the proper treatment of enemy prisoners, the implicit moral superiority that has been accorded America's enemy and his effects recalls Rudyard Kipling's The Grave of the Hundred Dead.
For example, a court in The Hague turned down a demand by a dozen plaintiffs who wanted to force the Dutch government to arrest US President George W Bush when he visits the Netherlands. Donald Rumsfeld has been repeatedly asked to resign over 'widespread prison' abuse in Abu Ghraib. The point of these calls for lopsided retribution is to drive home just how dangerous it is to trifle with sacred person and belief system of the enemy. It aims to paralyze anyone who even contemplates such an act of lese majeste. The modern "grave of a hundred dead" isn't a pyramid of skulls over the tomb of British Subaltern: it's an American Secretary of Defense's head on a stake over a photograph of a jihadi wearing a pair of panties as a hat. It is front-page calls for an abject American apology for flushing a Koran down a toilet even if it was never flushed down a toilet at all, except on the pages of Newsweek. It is calls for an admission of guilt if only the mere possibility of guilt existed. And if that were not psychological domination at par with the worst the British Empire could offer in its heyday then nothing is. There are Empires today of a different sort, but they maintain the power by much the same means.
The good news is that while this Empire (dare we call it and “Evil Empire?”) is still powerful and has the ability, the will and the resources to mount a powerful offensive, the Evil Empire is no longer alone in the world of ideas.
The medium is no longer one-way: from mass media to its readers and viewers. It is now multi-way allowing virtually anyone with a computer and modem to become an analyst and commentator. Like the British empire in India, the media barons are not able to withstand the millions who wish to be free and will no longer accept the claims of superiority of the of “the Anointed” as Thomas Sowell has dubbed them.
If you want to see exactly how the new medium can expose the rot at the head of the media, you can go to no better place than Powerline. There three attorneys battle an entrenched newspaper monopoly – The Minneapolis Star Tribune – and has made this liberal dinosaur a laughing stock throughout the country.
However, she is an attorney and she gets her facts right.
The most recent posting on her web site NEWSWEEK DISSEMBLED, MUSLIMS DISMEMBERED lists the news scoops that ace investigative reporter Isikoff found, but which Newsweek and the Washington Post – which owns Newsweek – and for whom Isikoff also wrote:
When ace reporter Michael Isikoff had the scoop of the decade, a thoroughly sourced story about the president of the United States having an affair with an intern and then pressuring her to lie about it under oath, Newsweek decided not to run the story. Matt Drudge scooped Newsweek, followed by The Washington Post.
When Isikoff had a detailed account of Kathleen Willey's nasty sexual encounter with the president in the Oval Office, backed up with eyewitness and documentary evidence, Newsweek decided not to run it. Again, Matt Drudge got the story.
When Isikoff was the first with detailed reporting on Paula Jones' accusations against a sitting president, Isikoff's then-employer The Washington Post — which owns Newsweek — decided not to run it. The American Spectator got the story, followed by the Los Angeles Times.
So apparently it's possible for Michael Isikoff to have a story that actually is true, but for his editors not to run it.
Why no pause for reflection when Isikoff had a story about American interrogators at Guantanamo flushing the Quran down the toilet? Why not sit on this story for, say, even half as long as NBC News sat on Lisa Meyers' highly credible account of Bill Clinton raping Juanita Broaddrick?
Newsweek seems to have very different responses to the same reporter's scoops. Who's deciding which of Isikoff's stories to run and which to hold? I note that the ones that Matt Drudge runs have turned out to be more accurate — and interesting! — than the ones Newsweek runs. Maybe Newsweek should start running everything past Matt Drudge.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
...The pervasiveness and Vietnam era-origins of the lamentable press hostility toward the media are confirmed in the current issue of the New Yorker. An article appears there by Thomas Bass, 'The Spy Who Loved Us," about Pham Xuan An, a South Vietnamese correspondent for Time magazine during the Vietnam War.
Pham was able to use his position at Time to spy for the North Vietnamese. Among his "accomplishments" was playing a key role in identifying targets for the Viet Cong preparatory to their savage Tet offensive, which killed thousands of people (and during which the US Embassy was attacked) and chauffeuring one of the key planners around Saigon before the launch of the attack.
Pham’s cover was never blown during the war, and he was rewarded with a promotion to general in the North Vietnamese army. What is telling are Bass's interviews with American correspondents regarding Pham. Despite thousands of Americans and South Vietnamese killed or wounded with the help of this traitor, the American journalists uniformly praise and admire Pham.
Fellow Time correspondent Robert Sam Anson was captured by the North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge in Cambodia where at least 25 other journalists were already dead or unaccounted for (left unsaid by Bass were the thousands of soldiers enjoying the same status). Through the intercession of Anson's wife, Pham was able to secure his release.
In 1987 Anson asked him why he was saved. Pham responded that he liked Anson. Of course, Anson does not consider the fact that many American soldiers were harmed through his "friend's" efforts. An admiring Anson, to this day, keeps a photo of Pham on his desk.
Bass notes that almost all the journalists who worked with Pham are united in their support of him. Peter Arnett praises him as a "bold guy". Frank McCulloch, who was the head of Time's Asia bureau when he hired Pham said he was "absolutely not" angry when he learned of Pham’s spying and said, "It's his land, I thought. If the situation were reversed, I would have done the same thing."
McCulloch, says Bass, remembers Pham with "tremendous fondness and respect" and says it was a great pleasure to raise thirty-two thousand dollars to send Pham’s son to journalism (!) school in America.
Richard Pyle, the former A.P. Saigon bureau chief, praises Pham for saving Time from embarrassing itself by publishing stories that weren't true (because Pham had sources on the other side). Legendary reporter David Halberstam says he has "no grudges" against Pham and "I still think fondly of An. I never felt betrayed by An." Halberstam and the other reporters did not feel betrayed by An because he helped them in their careers by having the inside scoop about our enemies (and in the case of Anson, springing him from captivity). While their status soared, American soldiers were sinking into the swamps of Vietnam.
Not one journalist interviewed for the article had a negative word to say about a traitor and a spy whose devious efforts helped to cause the death and the maiming of thousands. Not one.
What can we say of a guild - members of the press - who have cut their ties with America. They are a nation apart ... a nation of neutrals. And if asked to choose between traditional American values and bararism will objectively choose barbarism.
Then there was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who announced at a Senate hearing that she had a message for ”Muslims in America and throughout the world.“ And what was that message? That decent people do not resort to murder just because someone has offended their religious sensibilities? That the primitive bloodlust raging in Afghanistan and Pakistan was evidence of the Muslim world’s dysfunctional political culture?
No: Her message was that ”disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States.”
And from Ali Al-Ahmed in the WSJ:
As a Muslim, I am able to purchase copies of the Quran in any bookstore in any American city, and study its contents in countless American universities. American museums spend millions to exhibit and celebrate Muslim arts and heritage. On the other hand, my Christian and other non-Muslim brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia--where I come from--are not even allowed to own a copy of their holy books. Indeed, the Saudi government desecrates and burns Bibles that its security forces confiscate at immigration points into the kingdom or during raids on Christian expatriates worshiping privately.
The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail the arrest and deportation of many Christian worshipers every year. Just days before Crown Prince Abdullah met President Bush last month, two Christian gatherings were stormed in Riyadh. Bibles and crosses were confiscated, and will be incinerated. (The Saudi government does not even spare the Quran from desecration. On Oct. 14, 2004, dozens of Saudi men and women carried copies of the Quran as they protested in support of reformers in the capital, Riyadh. Although they carried the Qurans in part to protect themselves from assault by police, they were charged by hundreds of riot police, who stepped on the books with their shoes, according to one of the protesters.)
Before the issue of Muslim rage and murder is resolved, we must learn to speak openly and honestly about these issues. We should not be offensive, but we should not be cowed into a suicidal "politically correct" corner by assuming that Muslims have the right to riot and kill if one of their religious objects is handled "incorrrectly." That way lies madness and slavery.
Friday, May 20, 2005
For those who read this, let me direct you to an essayist who deal with BIG ideas and deals with them in profound ways: Bill Whittle of Eject!Eject!Eject!.
His current essay – Sanctuary - deals with the issue of the War, modern man, and the fall of civilization in ways that will leave you enlightened and put many of today’s commentators in their proper perspective.
As an example, here’s Bill on the concept of uniforms:
And why do soldiers wear uniforms?
It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier’s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME!
And that’s exactly what a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed.
Now if that’s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does -- the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person – is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not.
By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population.
Find an hour, click on the link, and read one of the most intelligent people writing today.
The quality of writing and intelligent discourse on the internet is THE reason that newspapers, magazines and the legacy electronic media are dying. They do not have the talent to compete.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Well, you'll just have to read the rest. You may not be aware of the fact that these stories were complete and utter trash.
The story was designed to reinforce the stereotype popular in the MSM that the US habitually mistreats and tortures its prisoners in the War on Terror. The basic meme is that the US military in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo gives its personnel free reign to torture, humiliate and abuse prisoners. Any hints, accusations and emanations of penumbras of suggestions that something other than subservience of the US military to the sensitivities of Moslems deserves mention in the MSM, proving that Bush is Hitler, the US military is essentially evil, and – like the evil Emperor in Star Wars – the US is heading into the dark ages of Christian Fundamentalist Repression, led by jingoists who are using terrorism as a handy excuse to enforce a dictatorship on America.
I’m not making this up. If you want to read about the evil plot, just link to Kos and learn the truth.
In the excitement about the Newsweek accusation – now retracted, but defended by the MSM as the shining example of impeccable reporting – I noticed something that aroused my interest. The base of the alleged Moslem outrage against the US was our reported sacrilegious treatment of the “Holy Koran.” That is, the US military was accused of flushing one down the toilet in order to “unsettle” a prisoner during interrogation. Leaving aside the practical impossibility of flushing a Koran down a toilet, just assume there is some validity to the accusation.
Ignore for the moment the adjective “Holy” now commonly used by CNN and others in the Western Media when referring to the Koran. When was the last time you heard anyone in the MS refer to the Christian Bible or the Jewish Torah as “holy?” I confidently predict that we will soon hear references to Mohammed followed the phrase “Peace be unto him” by reporters who have never - and will never – refer to Christians as other than Neanderthal Knuckle Draggers and a threat to the Republic..
No, the item that drew my interest was the mention by a Pentagon spokesman that a prisoner at Guantanamo used pages of the Koran to stop up toilets. If it is sacrilege to put a Koran in a toilet, what are we to make of a Moslem tearing up a Koran and putting the torn pages in a toilet to stop it up?
Several learned sages (as well as Anne Applebaum) have opined on the hair-trigger sensitivities of Moslems regarding religion and religious customs. These appear to include not just issues dealing with the Koran, but nudity, menstrual blood, dogs, and speaking in a sexually suggestive manner. I, myself have excerpted writers who have gone to great lengths to explain to non-Moslems the difference between Western views of sacred books and the Moslem view.
In the past we have been warned that the Arab street would rise up if we conducted military activities during Ramadan (it did not such thing). Conveniently forgotten are the major Moslem vs. Moslem conflicts that occurred during Ramadan.
We have to ask ourselves the question: are people on the Moslem side taking incredibly gullible and ignorant Westerners for fools? Or, is it perfectly permissible for a Moslem to tear up a Koran and use the torn up pages to stop up a flush toilet, but for non-Moslems it is grounds for a holy war?
There are, apparently, a lot of things we do not understand about Moslem customs and religious practices. We should not wish to cause anyone unnecessary pain. But the evidence is out about what those sensitivities are and how there are exploited. Stay tuned, because the answer to this question may be found before this war ends.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
From James Likeks, via Hugh Hewitt we get this:
"It's not right to ask who's side the media's on. They're on the side of America, of course. But it's a rather perfect version they love - at least more than the real messy manifestation. They want the United States to be respected and true to its ideals, and that's why it's important to run a little blurb informing the world that .0000000001 percent of its armed forces put a holy book in the loo to get some information from a detainee. (One wonders if the detainee had 'fessed up to a plan to bring down the Newsweek HQ - would the editors have felt a relief or regret? Fruit of the poisoned tree, you know.) They want America to be good, which is why the actions of some yahoos one wacky night in Abu Ghraib must overshadow and define the entirety of the reconstruction effort. They want the soldiers to win, of course - of course! But if a Marine shoots an enemy who's already down but may have a suicide belt, this must lead the news. Future enemies will know we play clean, and do the same. "Play clean" for them means using a fresh scimitar for beheading, but it's a start.
Everything makes sense from an office high in Manhattan. It's all quite clear.
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter summed up the Big Media position on the Imus show: 'I think the larger question that people have to ask is, do they want news organizations out there trying to dig or do they want to take all their information from the government? And, we are still you know, pretty determined, very determined, to be out there digging.'
True. Absolutely true. But to what end?"
Why money and fame and power of course. But most certainly not the national interest.
Absolutely dead on right.
From Andrew Mc Carthy at NRO, we have an equally valid response:
Someone alleges a Koran flushing and what do we do? We expect, accept, and silently tolerate militant Muslim savagery — lots of it. We become the hangin' judge for the imbeciles whose negligence "triggered" the violence, but offer no judgment about the societal dysfunction that allows this grade of offense to trigger so cataclysmic a reaction. We hop on our high horses having culled from the Left's playbook the most politically correct palaver about the inviolable sanctity of Holy Islamic scripture (and never you mind those verses about annihilating the infidels — the ones being chanted by the killers). And we suspend disbelief, insisting that things would be just fine in a place like Gaza if we could only set up a democracy — a development which, there, appears poised to empower Hamas, terrorists of the same ilk as those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who see comparatively minor indignities as license to commit murder.
"Minor indignities? How can you say something so callous about a desecration of the Holy Koran?" I say it as a member of the real world, not the world of prissy affectation. I don't know about you, but I inhabit a place where crucifixes immersed in urine and Madonna replicas composed of feces are occasions for government funding, not murderous uprisings. If someone was moved to kill on their account, we'd be targeting the killer, not the exhibiting museum, not the "artists," and surely not Newsweek
If there was only a way to get the MSM and Islamofascists destroy each other, I would be willing to watch that spectacle.
The 20th Century has seen the acceptance of the theory that physical pollution by industries and individuals is not acceptable. A business cannot simply dump its waste products onto the public and get away with it. There are laws and regulations that prohibit this. And while businesses fought and argued about he legality and costs involved in environmental laws, they have been accepted both by industry and the general public.
The Newsweek story, now retracted, about the desecration of a Koran is an example of intellectual waste. Who will bear the burden of this type of pollution?
The Agency Problem arises when a conflict of interest arises between a principal and his agent. The press often represents itself as an 'agent' of the larger society, a seeker after the truth on behalf of the public. It is perfectly legitimate to ask whether a conflict of interest can arise between the media and the public. A moment's reflection is enough to establish it is not always the case that the press -- whether a newspaper or an individual blogger -- has interests which completely coincide with the general public because any media entity is a proper subset of the public: being a part it cannot be the whole. In the case of the Newsweek decision to print a poorly sourced story on the descreation of a Koran at Guantanamo Naval Base it is pertinent to ask how the costs and benefits of the magazine's action would be distributed; whether the interests of the agent substantially coincide with the principal -- the public -- in whose name the press often claims to act. But any boost in circulation would accrue benefits to the employees and stockholders of Newsweek and not to general members of the public unless they had shares. It is equally clear that any externalities arising from the Koran story would not normally be borne by Newsweek. Though people might die, places destroyed or riots occur they would not likely happen to people or places associated with Newsweek.
The fallacy in the argument, of course, is the premise that Newsweek acts as an agent for the general public. It isn't, and is free from any responsibility as a public agent in the uproar it has caused by its retracted story. Newsweek is not an agent, but the purveyor of a product for which there happens to be a market protected by the First Amendment. This should be clear, and there is nothing wrong with it. But the question arises: to what extent is a commercial organization free to dump the external costs of their business on others. For historical and political reasons, society has been reluctant to make the purveyors of this sort of information accountable for the full cost of their speech, reasoning it would be better for society -- the Commons -- to bear the externality than to risk restricting expression. As in any case where an economic actor does not bear the entire cost of its actions, there is a tendency to overexploit the capacity of the Commons; to privately appropriate the gains and leave the effluent on the village green to be swept up by everyone else.
Read the whole thing.
I am not sure just how we can make the creators of intellectual pollution pay for their own actions without infringing on our own freedoms. But my concerns may be an echo of those 19th Century industrialists who never imagined that they would be required to, one day, clean up their own filth.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
So Newsweek lied and people died. What are we to do?
Powerline, as usual, has some excellent commentary, HERE and HERE.
And HERE is an excellent comment by Wrechard of Belmont Club.
There do not appear to be any laws against printing stories that make the Bush administration look bad, makes the military look bad and rush it into print without caring about the consequences. There is, after all, the First Amendment.
But should reckless people who get other people killed and lead to serious international unrest skate?
Let’s look at the cast of characters:
Michael Isikoff and John Barry wrote that article that was false and prompted the riots and deaths.
An anonymous “senior government official” claims to have paraphrased an unpublished report. Except now he isn’t so sure.
The editors and publishers of Newsweek who approved the publication of a slanderous article from anonymous sources that they should have known would spark riots and killing.
What is one to make of people who are not part of the fabric of American society? Who are so irresponsible, so careless of the messes they make? Who really, really don’t care because they are “citizens of the world” and answer to a higher calling.
In the business world, we have an Elliott Spitzer, ready to send erring executives to prison for crimes they did not think they were breaking. We have executives of Enron and WorldCom going to jail for financial malfeasance. And Martha Stewart for lying to a government official.
What is the punishment for bearing false witness, writing a false article, and publishing that article that gets over a dozen people killed and threatens to start a religious war?
Saturday, May 14, 2005
I finally have access to the internet again. I’m sitting here reading an AP story titled: US-Iraq Battle Touches on Syrian Border. For some reason, the MSM apparently still thinks we’re fighting Iraqis. Perhaps they’re out of touch…. Perhaps they’re cowering to threats…. Perhaps they have an anti-American agenda. The truth is that we haven’t been fighting against Iraq since the Spring of 2003. What we have been fighting are the variety of Islamofacist hoards attempting to take control of a freshly liberated Iraq and return it to the previous era of oppression and cruelty.
Why don’t they report that we are fighting WITH Iraqis? Why don’t they report that a significant number of “insurgents” and “militants” are made up of Syrians, Jordanians, Saudis, Pakistanis, Egyptians, and Iranians? Why don’t they report how these guys terrorize the local Iraqi populace with horrific torture, rape, and murder? Why don’t they report how the “militants” set hospitals on fire, or hide in schools, or grab children on playgrounds and use them as human shields?
At one time I gave lefty and MSM types the benefit of the doubt. No longer. I have seen what goes on around here first hand and I know much of the MSM has seen it too. If they haven’t – they aren’t doing their job. I think they want us to lose. I think they want Iraq to lose. I think they are propaganda puppets of nihilist chaos, but too stupid and naïve to realize it. Perhaps they’re blinded by some left-over 1960’s utopian hippie dream crap….
If the leftists, the MSM propagandists, and their Islamofacist allies win, the world as we know it will soon come to an end. The “Age of Aquarius” will arrive, but it will hardly be utopia….
It began centuries ago. Mohammed led his followers to conquer the Christians, Jews, animists and “others” that inhabited the Middle East. And, being illiterate dictated the Koran to his followers.
That was in reaction to the Crusades. Oh, you say that was before the Crusades? Never mind ….
Moslems hold the Koran in reverence that is not understood by non-Moslems. Lee Harris has an article in Tech Central Station that is extremely revealing:
The Koran has always been the great stumbling block to any Western understanding of Islam. The Koran means so little to us, and so vastly much to them. We cannot, to be frank about it, comprehend their admiration, not to mention, their abject adoration of the Koran understood as a book. Compare it to Homer or the book of Genesis, or the Gospels, or the great Hindu epochs, and you will be bowled over by the difference. Thomas Carlyle once made the comment that only a high sense of duty could carry a Western reader from the first Surah to the last.
But it is not as a book that Muslims regard the Koran -- that is our first misconception. It is in itself a holy and sacred object, like the cross to the Christians or the American flag to the patriotic and red-blooded among us: you don't mess with it. …. Other peoples, notably the Jews, the Christians, and the Zoroastrians had their books; it was now the turn of the Arabs to receive theirs -- though theirs would supercede the previous editions of God's Word, much in the same way that a new and up-to-date physics text renders those from an earlier era obsolete.
The Koran, however, differed radically from other sacred books. They were inspired by God, but the Koran was the very word of God, and in the language that God clearly spoke when he was by himself, namely, Arabic. Islam would never have been such a challenge to the earlier faiths if it had claimed to have discovered a new god; but it didn't. It claimed to be centered on the same god of the Jews and Christians -- only the Koran represented this god correctly.
Mohammed insisted that any conflict between the new revelation and the previous ones could only have arisen through the accidental or deliberate misinterpretation of God's word by Jews and by Christians. Thus Islam was born flinging a challenge into the face of both Jews and Christians. It claimed to understand the Jewish and the Christian God better than the Jews and the Christians understood Him; and it was this extraordinary claim that explained the common medieval interpretation of Islam as a Christian heresy -- which is why the often politically incorrect Dante put Mohammed in the pit of hell reserved for schismatics and heretics.
Nor was this the only stumbling block posed by the Koran. For the Koran does not claim simply to have been inspired by God, the way that Jews and Christians have traditionally interpreted their scripture; rather it is understood as having been quite literally dictated by God, word by word. Or, more precisely, Arabic word by Arabic word.
By this I don't mean that Allah reveals his Word and that this Word is then encoded into Arabic, as it might have been encoded into any other language; I mean that, according to Islam, Allah's Word is itself Arabic. The Koran is co-eternal with Allah; it always existed, and always will exist; and it has always been in Arabic.
Not aware, or not caring, Newsweek’s May 9th issue carries and article by Michael Isikoff and John Barry that begins:
May 9 issue - Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet…
While Newsweek probably has limited circulation in Afghanistan, this piece of unsourced gossip quickly spread via Arab media and word of mouth. The result was widespread rioting and death. From Times On Line we learn:
AT LEAST nine people were killed yesterday as a wave of anti-American demonstrations swept the Islamic world from the Gaza Strip to the Java Sea, sparked by a single paragraph in a magazine alleging that US military interrogators had desecrated the Koran.
As Washington scrambled to calm the outrage, Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, promised an inquiry and punishment for any proven offenders. But at Friday prayers in the Muslim world many preachers demanded vengeance and afterwards thousands took to the streets, burning American flags.
Although the original report in Newsweek was small, it was re-broadcast by television networks such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya and in Pakistan it was quoted by Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, at a press conference. He said it would strengthen the impression that America’s War on Terror was against Muslims.
In an investigation, the top US military commander, General Richard Myers, said that they had found no evidence that the Newsweek story was true. He mentioned that …in an unconfirmed incident, a Guantanamo prisoner flushed pages from a Quran down a toilet in an effort to clog it. He said Army General Bantz J Craddock, head of US Southern Command, "has been in Guantanamo for the last couple of days digging into this issue to see if there was a time when the Koran was not respected.
"They have looked through the logs, the interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there was ever the case of the toilet incident," the General said. "He did note a log entry, which they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Quran and putting them in a toilet to stop it up as a protest. But not where the US did it."
So what are we to make of this?
First we learn that there is an incredibly violent component in Islam that is difficult for the Western world to comprehend. When someone insults our religion – as happens virtually non-stop in a stridently secular society – Christians have had a tendency to turn their heads or cluck their tongues.
Desecration of the Bible, an insult to the Pope, banning a Christmas crèche has been followed by … peace. The idea of a band of Baptists, arguably among the most fundamentalist of Christian denominations, rioting and killing to proclaim the inerrancy of the Bible, or to protest another slap at them as Neanderthal knuckle draggers, is farcical. This puts the lie to the Liberal yahoos who recently met to equate Christians to the Taliban. To those on the Left who still do not understand the difference between faithful Christians and Moslems, these riots should provide a clue to those that have so far proven clueless.
The second thing we learn is that there do not seem to be any prominent voices of moderation in Islam. The reports coming back from the riots mention police and military reaction, but no political or social condemnation of the hysteria that produced these riots. Where are the voices of moderation in Islam that condemn those who are stoking the fires of violence?
Of course, this could very well be the failure of the media. For all we know, Imams are preaching sermons this very moment condemning these rioters and calling for peace. But as we have seen in the MSM reports form Iraq, the only information we are allowed to obtain are reports of violence and mayhem. What news from Iraq? “Car bomb explodes in (fill in the blank), (fill in the number) killed.” And that’s what happened in Iraq today, courtesy of the MSM.
So I'm waiting for a blogger in the Moslem world to report the story of the "Religion of Peace" and its leaders who advocate peace. I'll try not to hold my breath, but I could be pleasantly surprised.
Putting the focus on Newsweek for a moment: what compelled this story? What is the story, how well sourced is it and what motivated it?
The story is the ongoing media saga that can be summed up as “Wicked US Military Tortures Innocent Bystanders.”
We cannot know who the source of the information is because the reporters do not name their sources. And how likely is it that an American actually flushed a Koran down a toilet? Have you ever tried to flush a book down a toilet?
About the issue of torture. When I was a mere pup, I had simpleminded idea of what constituted torture. The rack, beatings, red-hot-pincers and iron maidens came to mind. The meaning of torture has today been “tortured” out of any semblance of meaning. Torture is defined today as anything of which the Left disapproves. Put women’s panties on a man’s head: torture. Stack naked men in a pile: torture. Put a leash around a man’s neck: torture. Take off your blouse, run your fingers through a man’s hair and sit on his lap: torture. Of course all of these assume that you have not paid some hooker to do this to you. That would be called innocent fun and don’t you dare intrude on what I do in the privacy of my bedroom, you prude!
So this story moves the torture meme along. The fact that it provoked widespread rioting and death is icing on the cake for Isikoff and Barry, the Newsweek “reporters” on the case. Will there be a prize, I wonder for the news puke who manages the get the largest number of people killed? Don't bet against it.
There is at this time no documented proof that the story was actually designed to lead to riots and killings. But if Americans, Pakistanis and Afghans die, but Newsweek circulation increases, isn’t it all worth while? Isn't this what Americans marines and soldiers are fighting and dying for?
Sunday, May 08, 2005
He describes his first marriage:
THE FIRST TIME I WAS MARRIED I was married to over 200 naked people. We weren't quite buck naked. The men had crudely made laurel wreathes on their heads, sometimes just a wad of weeds, while the women had wreathes of flowers around their brows and, for those old enough to have any, small bouquets of blossoms lodged in their pubic hair. All the men had large clubs and all the women large breasts. It was the butt end of the 60s and people in my set tended to have that kind of equipment. What children there were tended to be either infants or toddlers, all still nursing at will.
A must read for those who still don’t understand the 60s.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Tom Friedman had one of his culture analysis pieces in the Times yesterday, relating the thoughts of a friend of his resident in Cairo about Arab terrorism ...[snip]
Friedman doesn't mention Darfur in this column. By contrast, his fellow Times columnist Nick Kristof writes frequently about Darfur without mentioning any Arab country or government other than Sudan's. This is a remarkable coincidence, at least to an admitted layman to whom one slaughter looks much like another. Arabs in Darfur seem to use rape as a weapon more often than Arabs from Saudi Arabia or Ramadi, and explosives not as often. But these look like details to me, a case of different people relying on different chapters of The Savage's Handbook.
I know all the likely rebuttals to this deliberately brutal and inflammatory language. None of them explain the Arab genocide in Darfur; the silence of other Arabs about Arab genocide in Darfur; or the Western media's silence about Arabs' silence about Arab genocide in Darfur. Friedman, for example, seems oblivious to the subject. Kristof, who is not, follows the conventional practice of American journalists witnessing something awful. This is to demand that the American government do something about it.
Well, this is fine. We'd all like Washington to put out this particular fire before it burns itself out, and I don't really object to any of the specific steps Kristof recommends in this case. As a practical matter, though, this habitual treatment of every actual or potential disaster around the world as primarily an American problem is a good way to ensure that actual disasters get worse and potential disasters turn into real ones.
We all saw in the last decade how many people in the former Yugoslavia had to die while European powers fiddled around waiting for the Americans. Europe had the means to stop the fighting sooner, but not the will. At least European countries provided relief to the surviving victims of warfare and ethnic cleansing, and eventually sent large numbers of peacekeepers to Bosnia and Kosovo once it was clear the risk of actual combat was low. Also, European media covered the Balkan wars extensively from beginning to end. At the end of it all European governments had the grace to show some sense of guilt and remorse about the whole sorry business.
The Arab world isn't even doing that about Darfur. No peacekeepers, no aid, no media coverage, and for damn sure no guilt. Does Tom Friedman during all his earnest chin-stroking about the problem of terrorism and Arab culture pause to consider that this might be related somehow? Saudi imams get young men inspired to blow themselves up in the middle of Iraqi crowds, but we sure don't hear too many reports of young Saudi men risking death to stand between Muslim villagers in Darfur and the janjaweed.
What about Nick Kristof, who has access to the same maps of Africa that the rest of us do? Does he wonder that the largest Arab country, directly north of Sudan with a large army and an air force hundreds of planes strong, has never made a move toward establishing, say, a no-fly zone over any part of Darfur? Demanded UN sanctions against Sudan, or imposed any of its own? To be honest, I doubt the idea has even crossed his mind.
Read the whole thing.
Friday, May 06, 2005
George Will, a man who I admire greatly has written a column - “The Christian Complex” – that basically says: Christians are getting hysterical about nothing; chill out.
As proof, he cites the fact that:
- George Bush said that non-believers can be good Americans.
- That non-believers are so numerous they could make up the third largest state.
- That the Terri Schiavo case was unpopular with the public.
- That Pat Robertson has no objection to Rudy Giuliani as President.
- That Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” is a very popular movie and the “Da Vinci Code” is a popular book (he must not have read it).
- That the “Left Behind” series is very popular.
- And that Presidents since Reagan end some of their speeches with “God bless America.”
Glenn Reynolds agrees with Will on this issue. As a libertarian, Reynolds has had his issues with Christian fundamentalists.
I repeat, I greatly admire Will and I rarely find myself in disagreement with him. Like Charles Krauthammer, Will thinks rationally and his conclusions are based on logic. But his “proofs” (read the whole thing) are not really germane. The logic of his thesis disappears when viewed from the perspective that asks the question: do Christians have nothing to fear? In fact, Will puts scare quotes around certain terms when he says: “There is much lamentation about various "assaults" on "people of faith."
What Will has managed to do is prove something that did not have to be proven: that there are a lot of Christians (“People of Faith”) in this country; and that there are a lot of people who are not. By showing that Christians are a majority, Will implies that they don’t need to fear persecution.
The only problem with his argument is that there is no historical evidence that majorities always rule a country and need not fear persecution by minorities. The Sunnis in Iraq are a minority, yet they ran the place under Saddam, oppressing the Shiite majority. Members of the Communist Party and members of the National Socialist Workers (NAZI) party were always minorities in Russia, Germany and China. Yet they ran their countries. The just completed elections in England demonstrate that members of Labor are a minority, yet they will govern for the next 5 years. Only in England, I do not expect Labor to persecute the Conservatives.
The nine members of the Supreme Court are an incredibly tiny minority, yet when it comes to a staggering number of issues in this country, they rule. Can my church put up a crèche on “public” land? A vast majority of people in this country would not object – have not objected for several hundred years – until the Supremes banished our little display of reverence under the guise of protecting American from my establishment of religion for the entire country; a proposition so bizarre it beggars parody.
Yet the passage of time has made this reasoning an article of faith – so much so that hardly anyone even thinks about it and automatically accepts it. That is the way that minorities rule. Mao has famously said the power comes from the barrel of a gun. When the court first ruled, there may have been incredulity, even outrage, but no one was going to rush to the barricades over a crèche. The government has the guns, and the Minutemen were not going to have a revolution over this. Not in this country. Instead there were other test cases, and when the Judges remained adamant, the majority put up their displays on private property and waited for the next insult to their beliefs and traditions. And so it has gone.
And so it has always gone when a determined minority rules a country.
And now we see a troubling next phase of the marginalization of “People of Faith,” their demonization. The equating of Christians with all-mighty bigots, knuckle draggers and Jihadis by prominent public figures like Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchins . There are very troubling precedents about this kind of de-humanization of a group of people. Once “People of Faith” are declared to be “outside the mainstream” and ideological brethren of people who fly planes into buildings and behead their opponents, it becomes acceptable to “do something” about them. What that something is, is yet to be determined.
The Washington Times reports on a conference called "Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right," which was co-sponsored by the New York Open Center, the City University of New York, and People for the American Way.
Thanks to Powerline you can read about one presenter:
The United States is "not yet a theocracy," Joan Bokaer, founder of TheocracyWatch.org, said Friday night, but she argued that "the United States is beginning to fit the model of a reconstructed America."
Tax cuts combined with increased funding for faith-based social programs and decreases in welfare spending, Ms. Bokaer said, were examples of "the theological right ... zealously setting up to establish their beliefs in all aspects of our society."
As Jonah Goldberg opines un NR Online, “His evidence that religion is thriving in America -- Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," the Left Behind books, etc -- potent as it is, is not evidence that anti-Christian sentiment is declining. Indeed, it seems more logical to me that anti-Christian sentiment is rising precisely because Christians are asserting themselves more and that terrifies some people and annoys others”
Christians, like a large, torpid animal, have long allowed themselves to be subject to lies, hatred and vilification because they believed that their role as the majority in this country vouchsafed their freedom and viability. Now that their enemies are attacking on a broad front, in ways that would invite charges of anti-Semitism or racism if the subject of their attacks were Jews or minorities, Christians have stopped turning the other cheek. The problem is, unlike other persecuted groups, they don’t quite know how to react. And the George Wills and Glenn Reynolds are caught in a time warp, in a time when Christians were invulnerable.
Now that Christians are on the receiving end of undisguised hostility formerly reserved by the KKK for minorities like Jews and Blacks by bigots of various persuasions, their reflexive reaction is used as a weapons to bludgeon them by their enemies and a reason to cluck at them by the “sophisticated.”
We have a message for you. Don’t mess with us.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
McCain’s first ethics failure came when he accepted gratuities from failed financier Charles Keating. Perhaps his exposure as a hypocrite – and a crook - before the world has made him determined to do anything, including abridging the constitution, to try to recover his reputation. And he has largely succeeded. Few people remember the McCain of the “Keating 5.” Most associate him with McCain-Feingold, the law that now limits what people can say about candidates as an election draws near.
Even as he publicly crusades against big money in politics, he lacks the integrity to identify real abuses and lets fat cats give him both campaign cash and the use of private jets.
Now it turns out that McCain has secretly set up a parallel campaign organization, the Reform Institute that has hired his campaign staff and supports them with tax exempt donations from the likes of George Soros.
McCain-Feingold is a political abomination created largely by a man who lacks the stability and the ethics to be in public office. McCain is not just an embarrassment to the Senate, but to the Republican Party.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005
But now I know better. Now I know what happened was a terrible trauma. And what the Senator did was unpardonable. People who hurt people are the most hurtful people in the world – and they should not serve in positions of trust and authority. They should not serve as ambassadors, senators or maitre d's.
It was what Sen. Voinovich might call: “The Dining Room Test.”