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Sunday, December 31, 2006
Nowadays, when I hear someone say that Islam is a religion of peace, it reminds me of a line from Tim Burton’s disturbing comedy, Mars Attacks: “We have come in peace, please surrender the planet immediately!”
McCain-Feingold,otherwise known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act made that an issue.
Captain's Quarters has a good discussion,
Imagine, if you will, the Founding Fathers who wrote and established this amendment. The young Republic had failed in its first incarnation under the Articles of Confederation and had just created a Constitution that gave far greater powers to the federal government. The Bill of Rights came in reaction to that increase in power, and first and foremost came the protection for speech and religion in order to counter the power of federal officials. Do you suppose for a moment that they intended the federal government to act as an approving agent for political speech -- or do you think they intended free speech to check federal power?
The fact that a sitting jurist could calculate such a reversal of the intent and meaning of the First Amendment should shake Americans to their core, if we hadn't already been inured to the sight of judges arrogating powers to themselves and the bureaucracy. However, it does point out the erosive effect of the BCRA and how the "reformers" would eventually send us into an autocracy where the very act of writing this blog could be construed as illegal.
As does George Will. A Retreat on Rationing Free Speech?
A three-judge federal court recently tugged a thread that may begin the unraveling of the fabric of murky laws and regulations that traduce the First Amendment by suppressing political speech. Divided 2 to 1, the court held -- unremarkably, you might think -- that issue advocacy ads can run during an election campaign, when they matter most. This decision will strike zealous (there is no other kind) advocates of ever-tighter regulation of political speech (campaign finance "reformers") as ominous. Why? Because it partially emancipates millions of Americans who incorporate thousands of groups to advocate their causes, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association.
I am amazed that no one and no group has run a campaign against what has to be the most egregious violation of freedom that has occurred in my lifetime. That is perhaps as ominous as the passage of the bill itself. But perhaps the dogs that claim to speak for us and would be expected to bark - the MSM - is exempt from the law. In fact, but shutting down much of the opposition, the law has made the press more powerful at the expense of the people.
According to Reuters, the major broadcast networks are already discussing how to handle Saddam's date with death. Iraqi officials reportedly plan to tape his execution, raising the question of how to handle those images, if they're offered to western media outlets. Earlier this week, the Iraqi government released video of the mass hanging of 13 convicts, an event some described as "gruesome." In regards to airing Saddam's execution, "taste" has become the operative word on broadcast row:
A slight correction, if I may. Al-Jazeera has never aired the execution of a deposed Arab leader, convicted of murdering his own people. But the Qatar-based channel has shown lots of terrorist video of IED attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, depicting the murder and maiming of U.S. soldiers. Ditto for the U.S. networks. Go to their websites and run a search for "video of IED attacks" and you'll get dozens of hits, with links to their stories on that subject. Many of those reports contain footage of IED explosions, or their aftermath.
In other words, it's perfectly acceptable to show a blast that shreds a HUMVEE and kills American soldiers inside, but it's somehow distasteful to air video of Saddam swinging from the end of a rope.
Give me a break.
I wonder if Linda Mason, CBS's arbiter of broadcast news "taste," is concerned about the impact of those HUMVEE explosion on "children who might be watching," particularly those with a mother, father or other relative fighting in Iraq? The answer to that question is apparently "no," because CBS (and its competitors) have made IED blasts a staple of their coverage from Iraq, even if the victims are often Americans, and their pain and suffering is palpable to the U.S. audience. Such hypocrisy from the networks is galling--yet utterly predictable.
And to have convicted, sentenced and executed the dictator is a signal accomplishment for the new Iraq. When I was in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, shortly after the war, a young boy showed me his schoolbook. It was like my textbooks at his age - full of doodles and squiggles and amusing additions to the illustrations. With one exception: the many pages bearing pictures of Saddam were in pristine condition. Even a bored schoolboy doesn't get so careless that he forgets where not to draw the line. When the cowardly thug emerged from his hole, it was a rare moment: in the fetid stability of the Middle East, how often do you get to see a big-time dictator looking like some boxcar hobo and meekly submitting to a lice inspection by an American soldier?
Read the whole thing.
Miss Righter was one of the first to experience an admittedly minor consequence of September 11th but nonetheless a widespread phenomenon: dinner party dislocation. Every few weeks in the British press, you could read some columnist or other announcing that he could no longer bear the company of his friends: progressive lefties bemoaning the way old friends had gone over to the side of the Pentagon warhawks; old-school Marxists who’d campaigned for unilateral nuclear disarmament outside US military bases 20 years ago disgusted at the way their pals were now defending regimes that brutalized women and executed homosexuals. I found myself estranged from many friends in London, including most of my colleagues at The Spectator, wary small-c conservatives for whom the Atlantic alliance has always been a mixed blessing and who couldn’t help feeling, faced with all this “axis of evil” business, that maybe in his frightfully vulgar way Osama had a point – the issue was America, nothing else.
It’s not just who’s pro-war and who’s anti-war: in London and even more so in Paris and Berlin and Rome, there’s a third group fighting vainly the old ennui – they can’t understand why chaps who used to be such amusing company are suddenly so bloody primal all the time. Not long ago I found myself sitting next to a cool Nordic blonde who turned out to be the Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh. Ms Lindh wanted to know why the Americans present were so “hung up” on war and terror. Why, it was absurd and prevented any normal conversation on the real issues facing the world – welfare, health care, etc. We agreed to disagree. I flew on to Iraq and had a grand old time in the Sunni Triangle. Ms Lindh flew back to Stockholm and was stabbed to death in a department store by an anti-Euro fanatic.
In the days after September 11th, I ran into no end of college students eager to lecture me on the “root causes” – poverty breeds despair, despair breeds anger, anger breeds terrorism, terrorism breeds generalizations – yet unable to name the capital of Saudi Arabia or find Afghanistan on a map.
Partly because of the pardon, the GOP suffered a loss of 48 House seats that November. In January 1975, a radical Congress was sworn in, determined to end all aid to our allies in Southeast Asia, bring about their defeat, then tear apart the CIA and FBI.
In April, Hanoi, with massive Soviet aid, launched an invasion of South Vietnam. Ford went to Congress to beg for assistance to our embattled Saigon allies. His request was rebuffed. Two Democrats walked out of the chamber.
Within weeks, South Vietnam and Cambodia had fallen, and Pol Pot's holocaust had begun. By summer, tens of thousands of Vietnamese had been executed, scores of thousands put into "re-education camps," and the first of hundreds of thousands had pushed off into the South China Sea, where many drowned and others met their fate at the hands of Thai pirates.
Watergate, the Nixon resignation and the political upheavals that accompanied it were not merely a domestic US affair. Thanks to these political events, millions of people died. They may have been little brown people and their deaths may be disassociated from the radicals and the Leftists who rioted in the streets, and that is how history is taught - for now. But the reality is far different. And when the people who still control the textbooks and the newspapers are dead and their grip on "reality" is loosened, this is how they will be remembered. The New York
Times and Walter Cronkite will be identified - with "Der Sturmer" - as accomplices to one of the greatest bloodbaths in the 20th century.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
That I could feel pity for him struck the Iraqis with whom I talked as evidence of a profound moral corruption. I came to understand how a Westerner used to the civilities of democracy and due process — even a reporter who thought he grasped the depths of Saddam’s depravity — fell short of the Iraqis’ sense, forged by years of brutality, of the power of his unmitigated evil.
The players' accuser – a troubled young woman with a history of mental health problems – had given wildly conflicting accounts, variously saying she was gang-raped by two, three, four, five or 20 players. No one – including another stripper at the team party the night of March 13 – corroborated her account. Medical records also didn't back her claims.
So how could Nifong prop up her credibility? By having her identify her attackers – in a police lineup made up solely of Duke lacrosse players. As defense lawyers said, this amounted to “a multiple-choice test in which there were no wrong answers.” As it turned out, one of the players the accuser named – Seligmann – had an airtight alibi. But still Nifong proceeded. He simply didn't care.
This isn't just bad judgment. It's a shocking abuse of power. Given his plain motive – Nifong won re-election by depicting himself as the crusader who wouldn't let privileged white kids get away with brutalizing a young black woman – it is also despicable in its raw demagoguery. All this is why we look forward to the Durham DA having his own day in court.
Tape after tape of Saddam speaking to adoring throngs, of him smiling at a conference table, of Saddam demurely being poked and prodded by an American medic shortly after his capture.
Screaming Kurds and Shia
People being forced to blow themselves up.
People being thrown from high buildings while handcuffed.
People who had their hands cut off by his jailers.
People having their tongues cut out on camera.
Any interviews with Saddam's victims.
The European Union has condemned Saddam Hussein's execution, despite it being carried out with a delicious sense of justice inside one of his former torture centres.
One top EU official has even called it a "barbaric" act that could create an undeserved martyr.
And here is our response: you speak not in our name, nor in the name of the peoples of Europe. You were not elected by us and we did not appoint or authorise you to speak in our name. Nor in the name of the former citizens of Halabja, now deceased, and the hundreds of thousands of others lying in mass graves. We are with the people of Baghdad, shown here today (below), celebrating.
General Mattis clearly isn't clued into the latest leak of classified information from hardened combat insiders like Thomas Ricks.
Read the whole thing, but here is something telling about the MSM and the accuracy of its reporting:
I was talking to a lieutenant in Haditha, he told me that because they are now all connected nowadays in their FOBs, he could read stories about Haditha. He said, 'I guarantee you there has not been a reporter in Haditha in my last two and a half months here.'
We're seeing, I think, an unwitting passing of the enemy's message, uncritical, unwitting passing of the enemy's message because the enemy has successfully denied the Western media access to the battlefields.
I'm not sure what Lloyds of London is charging now, I think it's over $5,000 a month insurance for a reporter or photographer to go in. But the murder, the kidnapping, the intimidation means that, in many cases, we have media folks who are relying on stringers who are Iraqi.
Now you can have any kind of (complaint) about the American media or Western media you want, but there is at least a nod, an effort toward objectivity. The stringers who are being brought in, who are bringing in these stories, are not bringing that same degree of objectivity.
So on the one hand, our enemy is denying our media access to the battlefield, where anything perhaps that I say as a general is subject to any number of interpretations, challenges, questions, but the enemy's story basically gets there without that because our media is unable to challenge them. It's unwitting, but at the same time, it can promote the enemy's agenda, simply because there is an apparent attempt at objectivity.
Sheesh. Can you believe this garbage? Now who are you going to trust - this yayhoo, or the word of a reliable anonymous source leaking classified material he swore never to divulge to the press on the condition that they conceal his identity, lest he be fired and prosecuted for breaking the law?
Yeah. I thought so. The man obviously doesn't know a thing about war. Now where are those Thomas Ricks and Carl Woodward articles, so I can read 'real Washington insiders' tell me how the White House doesn't listen to the Generals?
I am going to get a copy of the Koran and read it. As Francis points out, few people know what it contains first hand. Given that the Islamofascists and their willing accomplices in organizations like CAIR seem to be guided by the Koran, it’s useful to know exactly what the Koran instructs Muslims to do. I have Jihad Watch on my list of favorites. I intend to read it regularly.
I am going to sharpen my shooting skills. It’s a fact that the police have no legal obligation to protect you wherever you are. They have the obligation to try to arrest those who leave your lifeless body bleeding on the ground, but protection? No really. Besides, there are too few of them; they are not my or your personal body guards. Self reliance and personal protection have been an American tradition.
By all means, read Poretto’s essay. It may make you make a few New Year’s resolutions.
Friday, December 29, 2006
We found one quickly. It was driven by an African guy. We had to instruct him about the location of our hotel; it was new. In the course of this I asked him where he was from. Kenya, he said. But then quickly added he was Somali. Many Somalians live in Kenya.
Ah, Somalia. Immediately the three adults in the car perked up. We acknowledged we knew there was big trouble in that country, the attack from Ethiopia on the ICU, etc. To our surprise, our driver immediately launched into a vitriolic attack on Al Qaeda. They were evil violent men, hijacking Islam across the globe. He had details of their infiltration of Somalia from a phone call he had made the previous night, how they were using Saudi money, etc. Thousands of people were being murdered by these Wahhabis for no reason. He was obviously following the situation closely. Al Qaeda was a danger to all mankind, he said.
It was a refreshing to hear this view from a Moslem taxi driver in Seattle. He was obviously pleased that we recognized the travails of his people too. So he continued with his explication of what was behind this terrible situation - how the Moslem religion could have been taken over by these violent forces. Someone was behind the rise of this Saudi Wahhabism . The answer, he said, was Israel. It was all an Israeli plot. They were behind the Wahhabis.
Suddenly our hearts sank. How could a man who seemed so reasonable, so knowledgeable, say something so obviously crazy?
Just then we were at our hotel. Sheryl and I left the cab, stunned. I phoned Gerard from the airport. What had the man said on the way to his place? Gerard - wisely - had let him continue. There was no point in fighting with a man like that. Better to learn how his mind worked. Gerard simply inquired why the Israelis would want to back Al Qaeda when Al Qaeda was sworn to destroy Israel. The man replied by talking about his childhood, his Islamic education. He had learned about the Jews from the Koran. That was the truth, of course.
Taxi driving in Seattle. So it goes.
“I think the best definition of journalism is history as refracted through the prism of the unfolding present.”
There is a term for this, and it's "cant." It refers to jargon, often indecipherable, of a particular group. It’s often meaningless or totally obscure and is widely used to disguise the fact that the speaker is a charlatan who is trying to fool the rubes.
Hugh Hewitt interviewed Joe Rago who achieved fame by penning an editorial in the Wall Street Journal calling bloggers “The Blog Mob: Written By Fools To Be Read By Imbeciles”. Like the kind of person who guests on Jerry Springer’s show, Joe Rago revels in his 15 minutes of fame without the wit to know that he is exposing himself as a buffoon.
Dean Barnett makes this excellent point:
IT HAS TO BE FRUSTRATING for journalists that hordes of bankers,lawyers, professors and other anonymous shlubs can so easily crash their gate. It's probably still more galling that the gate crashing can only go one way. If the typical journalist said he wanted to give being a law professor a whirl, no matter how skilled he was at refracting history through the prism of the unfolding present, he would find no takers.
Neophytes can enter the previously sacred temple of journalism and go as far as their talent will take them. Other professions remain closed. A brain surgeon can go to Townhall.com and start a blog in five minutes. Journalists aren't allowed to perform brain surgery, unless there's a really crappy HMO out there that I'm not aware of.
HH: Time to do an end of the year look at the media hour. It’s pretty easy to find a lot of aging MSM’ers who hate the new media, and blogs in particular. But it’s very rare to find a young MSM’er who wants to throw down against the blogs especially, but we’ve got one. Last week, Joseph Rago wrote, “The Blog Mob: Written By Fools To Be Read By Imbeciles”, in the Opinionjournal.com, and I welcome him now to the Hugh Hewitt Show. Joe, welcome. Good to have you.
JR: Thanks for the invitation, Hugh.
HH: Now did this piece also appear in the print edition of the Wall Street Journal?
JR: Yes, it did.
HH: All right. And what day was it on…December 20th, correct?
JR: That’s right.
HH: Okay. Now what is your job at the Journal?
JR: I’m an assistant editorial features editor.
HH: And how long have you been at it?
JR: What that basically means is I edit and commission op-ed pieces, and I write occasionally for the page.
HH: And so how long have you been doing it?
JR: About 20 months now, something like that.
HH: Okay. Before that, you were an undergrad at Dartmouth, correct?
JR: That’s right.
HH: What year did you graduate?
HH: And you were the editor of the Dartmouth Review, a student newspaper, right?
JR: I was.
HH: Are writers and editors of student newspapers journalists, Joe?
JR: Yeah, I would say they are, in a minor way. You know, they cover the campus.
HH: So they’re not paid, though.
JR: No, they’re not.
HH: And what makes them journalists then?
JR: Sorry, can you repeat the question?
Read the whole thing...
Oprah Winfrey recently spoke about a pre-Iraq invasion show, in which her guests questioned the war's wisdom and validity.
After that show, she said she received a bunch of hate mail. One letter writer called her the "n" word and suggested she go back to Africa. Those in the studio collectively gasped, the camera cutting away to a woman in the audience whose face showed astonishment and revulsion. The beloved, respected and widely admired Oprah? Getting that kind of mail?
As an American who happens to be black; who believes in limited government; supports the war in Iraq and considers it a battle in the broader war against Islamofascism; opposes race-based preferences; and believes the Nanny State absolves the responsibility of charity, community, family and individuals — I receive a decent amount of "fan" mail.
Some gems from my mailbag over just the last couple of months:
"Not since the Nazi [sic] has any propaganda been so successful at leading a population to certain doom. The war in Iraq, affirmative action, Israeli occupation and the so-called axis of evil, are but a few of you [sic] mission of disinformation. You recognized a long time ago that if you could speak for racist white America you would rise like a star above what your [sic] could ever be by telling the truth. . . . Your power is satanic and you [sic] arguments are based on mixing lies with the truth. Only someone skilled at confounding Devils can confront you on your program. In honest fair debate your arguments would dry up and die." — Anthony
"You are so full of sh-t your eyes are brown. Your Bush propaganda continues to hurt this country. You've been serving the Republican kool-aid for years now and the people are getting sick of it." — KJ
Read the rest...
From reporters throwing national security secrets onto the front page to publishers going on liberal rants at graduation ceremonies, we've whittled down the worst from another liberally slanted year in Timesland.
Read the rest...
Yasser Arafat orchestrated and ordered the murders of two United States diplomats (as well as one Belgian diplomat) in Sudan in March 1973.
The faked attack on the ambulances at Qana is the subject of a Human Rigths Watch defense. The only problem with their defense is that it is so badly researched that their conclusions are impossible. All except the "and then a miracle happens" explanation.
Read the whole thing.
More analysis from Jawa on the Human Rights Watch sick report
There is considerable interest in the idea that "blogs" are somehow able to offset the mainstream media's (MSM) ability to sell a given narrative to the public, a power which is of considerable interest in peace and even more so in war. It is widely recognized that molding public perceptions through narratives is nearly as important in war as the outcomes on the actual battlefield. Palestinian Media Watch convincingly demonstrates that Arab and Muslim organizations have long made influencing international publics through print and broadcast media a strategic goal, especially in any confrontation with Israel. This effort has historically followed two tracks: the establishment of technically sophisticated media outlets like al-Jazeera to sell messages directly to audiences; and mounting information operations aimed at shaping the way in which Western Media outlets cover any issue of interest.
Although these efforts have long been in train, it was Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah that fully demonstrated how far the the virtual "power of the airwaves" could neutralize physical "airpower", in the striking analogy used by Michael Widlanski. Hezbollah's skillful use of the media during that war, especially in playing up and inflating casualties from an Israeli airstrike at Qana in Southern Lebanon, succeed in generating enough diplomatic pressure to ground the Israeli Airforce -- the strongest airforce in the Middle East -- while permitting Hezbollah to rain rockets down upon Israel. It was a tremendous achievement. Although the IDF dominated the kinetic war against Hezbollah, on the information battlefield things were often the reverse. One IDF spokesmen stationed on the Northern Front recently told an audience how he was haplessly herding literally one thousand journalists, many of whom were besieging him with questions fueled by rumor, innuendo and sometimes outright lie delivered over their Blackberries, radios and cellular phones. The middle-aged spokesman realized how drastically the game had changed from the public relations wars of his youth. Looking out on the hordes of journalists wired to their comms the spokesman realized how out of date he had become. "We were immigrants to a new world in which both the media reporters and the enemy were native".
Read the whole thing.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Vietnam forever changed the relationship between the military and the Mainstream Media. I think that the case can be made to some degree that the real issue is between various administrations, their Pentagon inhabitants, and the media…not between the media and the troops on the ground. But what happens in this food fight is that the cafeteria fare almost always ends up on the faces, and uniforms of the troops. (good references here…A Bright and Shining Lie, Dereliction of Duty, Once Upon a Distant War, The Best and the Brightest, The Pentagon Papers) And all the troops I know are pretty unforgiving when their uniform is stained by someone else’s careless behavior, or their reputation is smeared through careless and biased reporting. (Hugh Hewitt’s interview with LtGen Mattis makes the case here.)
This fissure, first noticed after ApBac in Vietnam, and widened irreparably by Walter Cronkite’s 1968 Tet reporting, has only festered since. The military has done its part…successful campaigns in Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm and the current war in Iraq. There have been setbacks, Iranian Hostage Rescue, Beirut (driven by political constraints of the day, see The Root by Eric Hammel ), the USS Cole, but-by-and large, the military has more than upheld its contract with the citizens of this country by responding superbly when tasked by the nation Command Authority.
Their reward?...continuous deriding and minimalization of their accomplishments by the MSM corps. The badgering of generals, the callous showing of soldiers and Marines dying at the hands of snipers, the blatant disregard for other metrics of success other than US casualty counts, only reinforces the utter disrespect and disdain that the MSM has for the military, and by extension…the troops in the field.
As a result of the MSM messaging, our field generals, and our troops are being portrayed as failing. I think this is an incorrect representation of what is happening…we are really losing the information war, and as with Vietnam, if we don’t adjust fire soon, we may lose the war in Iraq…a vital battle in the Global War on Terror.
Part of the problem is that the military doesn’t get that trying to deal with the MSM as partners will not work. Even the new Insurgency Field Manual (3-24) still expects the military forces to deal with the MSM as responsible parties…
“5-33. Good working relationships between counterinsurgent leaders and members of the U.S. media are in the Nation’s interest. Similar relationships can be established with international media sources. When they do not understand COIN efforts, U.S. media representatives portray the situation to the American public based on what they do know. Such reports can be incomplete, if not incorrect. Through professional relationships, military leaders can ensure U.S. citizens better understand what their military is doing in support of the Nation’s interests.
5-34. The media are ever present and influence perceptions of the COIN environment. Therefore, successful leaders engage the media, create positive relationships, and help the media tell the story. Operations security must always be maintained; however, security should not be used as an excuse to create a media blackout. In the absence of official information, some media representatives develop stories on their own that may be inaccurate and may not include the COIN force perspective. (See JP 3-61, FM 46-1, FM 3-61.1 for public affairs doctrine.)” (my emphasis)
Sorry…this is Mission Impossible IV. News flash…this is already happening through no fault of the dutiful military PA types. This is already occurring because of an agenda driven media, that is decidedly anti-Bush, then anti-war, and consequently anti-military. PAOs all over the military could run textbook FM 3-61.1 plays, and it would make no difference…it is time to change the playbook when it comes to Insurgency Information Warfare.
To do this we can use some of the techniques that we us in other forms of warfare.
By-pass strongholds of enemy opposition The MSM is a “dead” outlet for the military. Regardless of the hopeful encouragement above in paragraphs 5-33 and 5-34 to commanders and PAOs…the MSM needs to be cut off from military support in the theater. They are of no use, and they are only haggling and counter-messaging the provided information anyway.
By cutting them out of the pattern, you diminish their ability to claim to be “fair.” They are making things up anyway, by cutting off their information and access you publicly cut on their credibility…when they decide they can be fair, they can come back, until then take away their ability to claim to be impartial.
This cuts at the very essence of their existence, and their ability to compete in the information marketplace. Hit them in the pocketbook…they’ll come back, AND play nice. Anyone see the news on the Strib sale?
Establish Air/net Supremacy
The six O’clock news isn’t what it once was…how is Katie doing? Print media isn’t what it once was…anyone see the news on the Strib sale? Skip those, go to talk radio, go to the big blogs. These out outlets that friendly to the effort and will go a long way in letting the military get their information out.
Pay for theater insurance twenty more Michael Yons. Get your field commanders on the air with Hugh, Laura, Bill Bennett, Rush, etc. everyday, don’t just chum the waters once a week. This is the “media” in the new information age, not personality driven reporting and anchoring.
Quit caring what the MSM thinks, establish air/net dominance on talk radio and on the internet.
Prepare for Battle The obituaries for former President Ford that are finding their way into the papers and onto television today were not written last night. News agencies, papers, and networks have been assembling files so that a competent story could be written in a timely manner after his death. Good job, good planning.
Coincidentally, a few days ago the MSM took great pains to emphasize that the number of casualties in Iraq and now exceeded the number of casualties that we suffered in the World Trade Center Attacks on 9/11…as if there was some correlation or relevancy. Our military should have been prepared for that messaging. We knew it was coming…it is SOP for the lame, redundant MSM.
We know that the press/networks are numbers, date, coincidence driven in finding angles for their stories; we need to anticipate this and execute pre-emptive messaging and effective counter-messaging. We need to be proactive, and anticipate the MSM moves, so that we are either ahead of them with more effective messages, or able to cover their messages with effective themes and responses.
Yes, we need to counter attack the media when they are out of bounds. When they publish something false, we need to quit ignoring the issue, in the hopes that one day they will be nice to us…they will not…and fire back. We need to put young troopers in front of Ollie North and let them describe to America how CNN, AP, or CBS lied, or misrepresented a story. They need to be getting it back in spades from our generals and field commanders when they imply that we are failing…we need to point out where they are failing…press room composition data, objectivity, and published falsehoods.
It needs to be open warfare, until the MSM realizes that the American public will side with the troops, and the media will be diminished as the fourth rail. The MSM has been firing broadsides at the military for nearly forty years it is time to fight back.
Indeed this is the crux for our victory…this endeavor and our goals to win this intermediate objective in the GWOT, can be all but wiped out by another Walter Cronkite moment. We truly lost Vietnam through a MSM induced erosion of public support and will, and if we do not actively fight their tactics, we are on the precipice of losing in Iraq in exactly the same fashion. Fight back…they are not likely expecting it.
They need to be taken to the woodshed like the impudent child they are emulating.
The current, preeminent measure of success in Iraq is the media “body count.” Iraqi civilian or US military, it doesn’t matter. They keep that metric in the forefront every day. They are intentionally using that metric in an effort to erode support for President Bush and the war. We need to neutralize that as a metric. We need to become metric agile, and metric profuse.
But, before we go there we need to understand, that if we pick one or even just a few alternative metric(s), the enemy, because of our media’s complicity in undermining our effort, will target that/those metric(s). If we define a measure of success, then the enemy will do everything in their power to present to our media, that we are failing. Our media, because of their bias, will do everything in their power to present it to the American public.
Hence we need to be both metric profuse and metric agile. We need to develop dozens of “metrics” that help us define, not military victory, but movement towards a state of normality. These metrics could include GNP growth, unemployment, commercial airliner traffic, gross vehicular traffic, small business openings, construction projects completed, pedestrian traffic in commercial zones, internet address registrations, internet traffic, Iraqi blogs, etc., the more, the better. We need to overwhelm the current metric, and saturate the media with alternative metrics…metrics too numerous to count…too numerous for the insurgents to effectively target.
Essentially, strip them of their metric, substitute with our own, equally…possible more viable, metrics. And don’t let up. Use all outlets, all the time. Change and update frequently. Overwhelm their recourses and their ability to target.
It is time for our military to accept the fact that the media is working against us. Yes, they pretend they aren’t, and they posture behind the thinnest of guises, but they are actively trying to subvert the intentions of the President, and in doing so, “fighting” the military. It is time to fight back.
I am not talking about closing them down. I am talking about countering their methods and their messaging, and rendering their tactics harmless to our efforts. It can be done, and we should start by accepting that we no longer should be seeking their coverage as validation of our efforts or righteousness. They have gone beyond the pale, we no longer need them on our team, and in fact it is time to rid ourselves of them.
Then don’t look back.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Imposing the death penalty, indefensible in any case, is especially wrong after such unfair proceedings,” said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. “That a judicial decision was first announced by Iraq’s national security advisor underlines the political interference that marred Saddam Hussein’s trial.”
The irrational defending the execrable.
Have you heard the news? Belief is bad.
Pick up an eggheady book review, an essay in Time magazine, or listen to a thumb-suck session on National Public Radio for very long and you’ll soon hear someone explain that real conviction — dogmatism! — is dangerous.
Whenever I hear people say such things, I like to ask them, “Are you sure about that?” When they say yes, which they always do, I follow up by asking, “No, no: Are you really, really certain that certainty is bad?” At some point even the irony-deficient get the joke.
Read the rest...
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
This is a true story....Check out this photo from our mess hall at the US Embassy yesterday morning. Sen. Kerry found himself all alone while he was over here. He cancelled his press conference because no one came, he worked out alone in the gym w/o any soldiers even going up to say hi or ask for an autograph (I was one of those who was in the gym at the same time), and he found himself eating breakfast with only a couple of folks who are obviously not troops.
What is amazing is Bill O'Reilly came to visit with us and the troops at the CSH the same day and the line for autographs extended through the palace and people waited for two hours to shake his hand. You decide who is more respected and loved by us servicemen and women!
A few comments on the Kerry/Rangel slurs.
Many believe that it is racist for whites to say white supremacy is dead, and that it is Uncle Tomism for blacks to say it. But it is dead nevertheless. Once a legitimate authority with dominion over all the resources and peoples of the world, it is today universally seen as one of history's greatest evils. It is dead today because it has no authority anywhere in the world and no legitimacy out of which to impose itself. It was defeated by revolutions in the last half of the 20th century that spanned the globe from India to Algeria to the United States. It was defeated by the people who had suffered it. And even if it survives in some quarters as an idea, as a speculation, it now stigmatizes anyone associated with it to the point of ruin.
How does a 47-year-old Belgian with three wives and thirty children live? Very well, thanks to the Belgian taxpayer.
The Belgians call Régnier, a stocky, balding man with a fringe of beard, the “Marcinelle bull.” Non-Belgians wonder perhaps how he provides for his large family. Here is the answer.
Régnier applied for and received the status of an invalid from Wallonia's generous welfare authorities. He consequently receives a welfare check of over €1,000 a month. His three wives are all unemployed. Hence, they each get €800 in unemployment benefits. On top of this the family receives €4,000 in child allowances. This makes a grand total of more than €7,400 a month ($9,700 or £4,960) – all of it provided by Belgium’s taxpayers. All the money matters in the household are taken care of by Serge. His wives are only interested in children. They have told the press that they each hope to have another baby in 2007.
Read the whole thing...
Much of the discussion over the shape of the family model is motivated by a desire to predict what Western society will look like after they all unfold. ...
It may turn out that the traditional nuclear family played a key role in shaping the human unit that was best suited for meeting the demands of an modern society. The triangular family, father, mother and children, like the triangular military structure may have evolved, not by patriarchy or religion, but by practical necessity into its present state. The last years of the 20th century may have seen such a sense of unshakeable security in the permanence of the Western world that its leading intellectuals believed they had the luxury to pursue all kinds of optional extras: from unlimited sexual gratification to the idea that the ethnic groups could be preserved in some kind of ethnographic museum to visited on photographic safari. The future would be one big party in a world that had no need of God. Religion, national defense, traditional morality -- these were all superfluous obstacles to our enjoyment. Dispensable, unnecessary dead weight from a primitive past; excess baggage at the End of History. The family, once our link to both the past and the future may be slowly dying. Good luck to those who would prosper without it.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
According to Nichols “Over the past eighteen months, a number of members of our community have indicated to me that the display of a cross—in the heart of our most important and defining building—is at odds with our role as a public institution. They did not say, of course, that the cross is an offensive or antagonistic symbol. They often understand that to Christians, like me, the cross conveys an inspiring message of sacrifice, redemption and love. Rather, they have suggested that the presence of such a powerful religious symbol—in a place so central to our efforts—sends a message that the Chapel belongs more fully to some of us than to others. That there are, at the College, insiders and outsiders. Those for whom our most revered space is keenly inviting and those whose presence is only tolerated.”
This is a curious view of W&M. Is the Wren Chapel the most revered space on campus? Is it so central to their efforts? As a neighbor to W&M, the Chapel is a well known historical building and a reminder of W&M's historical heritage. And it was built as a Chapel by the most noted architect England produced.
This is a rather strange view of the symbols of Christianity. Unlike some other religions, Christianity is openly inclusive. Christian churches are open to all, and people of all faiths are welcome to enter to observe, participate or join. Rather than “tolerate” non-Christians, Jesus told his followers to spread his story. That is the meaning of evangelism. To take one other major religion as an example, Islam does not tolerate the presence of unbelievers. Should you try to join the annual Hajj – or pilgrimage to Mecca, you would be blocked from doing so.
Nichol continues: “Nor are such sentiments merely fanciful. I have been saddened to learn of potential students and their families who have been escorted into the Chapel on campus tours and chosen to depart immediately thereafter. And to read of a Jewish student, required to participate in an honor council program in the Chapel during his first week of classes, vowing never to return to the Wren. Or to hear of students, whose a capella groups are invited to perform there, being discomfited by the display of the cross. Or of students being told in times of tragedy of the special opening of the Chapel for solace—to discover that it was only available as a Christian space. Or to hear from a campus counselor that Muslim students don’t take advantage of the Chapel in times of spiritual or emotional crisis. Or to learn of the concerns of parents, immensely proud for the celebration of a senior’s initiation into Phi Beta Kappa, but unable to understand why, at a public university, the ceremony should occur in the presence of a cross.”
Read carefully the examples given here. In each case, the issue was internal to the individual. It was the person who expressed antagonism to the cross, not the cross that was objectively antagonistic to the person. Cases like this make me wonder why there is this newfound antagonism to the symbol of Christianity in the United States.
Antagonism to Christianity and its symbols is not new. When Islam conquered Constantinople, they converted St. Sophia, one of the holiest sites of Christendom, into a mosque in 1453 and into a museum in 1935. After the Communist Revolution in Russia, The new government took St. Basil’s cathedral in the Kremlin and “…In 1918 the communist authorities shot the church's senior priest, Ioann Vostorgov, confiscated its property, melted down its bells and closed the cathedral down.”
During the French Revolution, anticlericalism was the order of the day and on 1793 the churches of Paris were closed and the public reading of the Bible forbidden. In these temples, a prostitute, Désirée Candéille, was installed as the Goddess of Reason after being paraded naked through the streets of Paris.
Make no mistake; the removal of the cross from the Wren Chapel was an act of de-consecration. And so public an act is a message to Christians: “You are not welcome here. Your symbols are not welcome. You are the people who divide the community and the symbols of your presence must be erased.”
That this should take place now in the politically correct and aggressively secular atmosphere of the academy is surprising only when we ask the question: what took them so long?
For those who sympathize with Gene Nichol (and I have a certain amount of sympathy for him) it is clear that it takes a person with a great strength of character and leadership to resist the forces of secularism. So Nichols has decide to invest the “Wren Temple of Reason” at William & Mary with a Christian symbol on Sundays, while de-consecrating the temple on the other six days.
I wish he would not.
Perhaps we should be grateful for his removing the cross. It may not be appropriate to have the symbol of our faith exhibited to people who are offended by it. By its weekly travels from the altar to its hiding place, it has become a symbol of a kind of Christianity that Hegel described as “conceptual.” It has become the symbol of the kind of Christianity that has destroyed the faith of most of the nations of Europe.
Please Mr. Nichol. Put the cross away. The Wren Temple of Reason is what William & Mary deserve.
The attack was carried out by individuals recruited principally by a senior official of the IRGC [the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp], Brigadier General Ahmed Sharifi. Sharifi, who was the operational commander, planned the operation and recruited individuals for the operation at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria. He provided the passports, the paperwork, and the funds for the individuals who carried out the attack. Id.
The truck bomb was assembled at a terrorist base in the Bekaa Valley which was jointly operated by the IRGC and by the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah. The individuals recruited to carry out the bombing referred to themselves as “Saudi Hezbollah,” and they drove the truck bomb from its assembly point in the Bekaa Valley to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Id.
The terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers was approved by Ayatollah Khameini, the Supreme leader of Iran at the time. It was also approved and supported by the Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security (“MOIS”) at the time, Ali Fallahian, who was involved in providing intelligence security support for the operation. Fallahian’s representative in Damascus, a man named Nurani, also provided support for the operation. Id.
[T]he FBI also obtained a great deal of information linking the defendants to the bombing from interviews with six admitted members of the Saudi Hezbollah organization, who were arrested by the Saudis shortly after the bombing. Id. at 11-30. These six individuals admitted to the FBI their complicity in the attack on the Khobar Towers, and admitted that senior officials in the Iranian government provided them with funding, planning, training, sponsorship, and travel necessary to carry out the attack on the Khobar Towers. (Exh. 7 at 11, 13-14, 27; see also Dec. 18, 2003 Tr. at 24-30.) The six individuals also indicated that the selection of the target and the authorization to proceed was done collectively by Iran, MOIS, and IRGC, though the actual preparation and carrying out of the attack was done by the IRGC. (Dec. 18, 2003 Tr. at 25.)
According to Director Freeh. the FBI obtained specific information from the six about how each was recruited and trained by the Iranian government in Iran and Lebanon, and how weapons were smuggled into Saudi Arabia from Iran through Syria and Jordan. One individual described in detail a meeting about the attack at which senior Iranian officials, including members of the MOIS and IRGC, were present. (Dec. 18, 2003 Tr. at 23.) Several stated that IRGC directed, assisted, and oversaw the surveillance of the Khobar Towers site, and that these surveillance reports were sent to IRGC officials for their review. Another told the FBI that IRGC gave the six individuals a large amount of money for the specific purpose of planning and executing the Khobar Towers bombing.
Christmas is a good time not just for Christians to ponder the central proposition of their faith -- the baby in the manger -- but for post-Christian secularists to ponder the central proposition of theirs: that religion is a lot of goofy voodoo nonsense and that any truly rational person will give it the bum's rush. The problem with this view is that "rationalism" is looking less and less rational with each passing year. Here are three headlines from the last couple of weeks:
• • "Mohammed Overtakes George In List Of Most Popular Names" (Daily Telegraph, London)
• • "Japan's Population 'Set To Plummet' " (BBC News)
• • "Islam Thrives As Russia's Population Falls" (Toronto Star)
By comparison with America, those three societies are very secular. Indeed, Russia spent three-quarters of a century under the most militantly secularist regime of all: Under Communism, the state was itself a religion, but, alas, only an ersatz one, a present-tense chimera. As a result, Russians more or less gave up begetting: Slavs are in steep population decline, and, on present trends, Russia will be majority Muslim by 2050. And the Russian army will be majority Muslim by 2015. In western Europe, societal suicide isn't quite so advanced, but the symbolism is still poignant: "George" isn't just the name of America's reviled cowboy president, but of England's patron saint; the national flag is the Cross of St. George, under which Englishmen sallied forth to smite the Mohammedans in those long-ago Crusades. Now the Mohammedans have managed to smite the Georgians big time, not by conquest but simply by outbreeding. Mohammed is also the most popular boy's name in Brussels, Amsterdam and other Continental cities.
But forget Islam: In Europe, they're inheriting by default. There are no Muslims or any other significant group of immigrants in Japan and yet the Japanese are engaging in a remorseless auto-genocide. Already in net population decline and the most geriatric society on earth, their descent down the death spiral is only going to accelerate.
Will Islam take over the earth with the belly if it's women? It's something to be considered.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
But I digress. I have been anointed as Person of the Year by the omniscient editors of Time Magazine. That’s an honor right up there with being invited to the Captain’s table of the Titanic.
But the magazine does acknowledge its own doom by referring – I understand – to the “citizens of the new digital democracy” – a realm that We have inhabited for several years now.
As the newly crowned Personal of the Year We will be referring to Ourselves in the Royal third person. You may address us a “My Lord.”
In response to Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong's decision Friday to drop charges of rape in the Duke lacrosse case, [Duke] President Richard Brodhead questioned Nifong's conduct and called for the district attorney to relieve himself of his duties in the case.
Brodhead said Nifong's decisive public statements about the rape allegations and subsequent decision to drop the charge call into question of the validity of the remaining charges that have been brought against three members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team--kidnapping and sexual offense.
"The district attorney should now put this case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process," Brodhead said in a statement Friday. "Further, Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter."
As Jews began their Hanukkah celebrations this week, commemorating the recovery of the Holy Land and the Temple from foreign invaders by Judas Maccabeus, and more than a billion Christians prepare for one of the holiest days of the church year, where the doors of Christian churches will be thrown open to anyone willing to hear the good news of Christ’s coming to earth as a human to redeem humanity, millions of Muslims are preparing for their own spiritual journey next week in the annual trek to Mecca to perform the Hajj.
But quite unlike the Jewish and Christian religious celebrations of Hanukkah and Christmas, if you are a non-Muslim, don’t plan on investigating the mysteries of Islam by joining your Muslim friends on their trip to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj – you’re not invited.
Read the rest..
But Goldberg also reminds us why I loved Giuliani before 9/11.
... Giuliani was considered a raging right-winger as mayor. No doubt this had much to do with the city’s political center being so far to the Left. But there’s more to it than that. When I grew up in New York in the 1970s and 1980s, the job of mayor was, essentially, to manage the city’s decline. Crime was not only seen as permanent, some on the Left even tried to rationalize it as part of the city’s charm.
By the time Giuliani arrived, social chaos was seen as the natural order of things. Giuliani heroically challenged these assumptions. He and his first police commissioner, William J. Bratton, refused to accept that mere containment was the best anyone could hope for.
Some are familiar with Giuliani’s quality-of-life campaign against turnstile jumpers, welfare cheats, squeegee men, graffiti artists and porn shops. What’s forgotten is that Giuliani was reviled for these efforts by the New York Times, the entertainment industry and the intellectual left — whose numbers are so great in the Big Apple that they actually constitute a voting bloc — and that every day he leaped back into the breach.
It’s true; Rudy turned New York City around. Not everything he did was pure as the driven snow, he was – after all – a politician who craved the limelight. To show how tough he was on “white collar” crime he once invaded the offices of Kidder, Peabody subjected several of it’s executives to a “perp walk,” ruining their careers before releasing them – uncharged.
But he was good for the city. Tough in the face of the entire Liberal establishment who were content to see the pimps, pushers, robbers and thieves make New York a living sewer while they insulated themselves from all that with limousines, luxury apartments with doormen and houses in the Hamptons.
I was sorry to see Rudy refuse the race for Senator because of prostate cancer. But in a primary and in the general election, I would vote for him in a New York Minute.
Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.
The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.” Thank you again for your email and thoughts.
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
In a PC world (Virgil Goode’s district includes Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia) Virgil Goode has certainly taken a controversial stand. He opposes illegal immigration and is for reduced legal immigration.
I don’t know Goode so I have to judge him by his words. I also make my judgments of people by the friends that they have and the enemies that they make.
Regarding Muslim immigration I am on Goode’s side. Massive Muslim immigration into Europe has been disastrous for that continent. Parts of France are no-go zones for French police as Muslim "youths" run riot. The capital of England is referred to as Londonistan – for good reason.
Muslims in England are applying Sharia law as opposed to English law, and the Briish justice system turns a blind eye.
In the Netherlands, older relative tell me that people fear to go out of their homes at night. Throughout Europe authors and writers who have “insulted” Islam are living in hiding or with police protection after their lives were threatened by Islamic religious zealots. Some, like Dutch Member of Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali have fled the Netherlands for the United States.
Given that situation, I would not like to see the United States make the same error. As an immigrant myself, I consider immigration a priviledge, not a right. A nation has the right to set the terms for who enters and who does not. Attempts to shut off debate with cries of racism, bigotry or Islamophobia are not part of a reasoned debate. They are attempts to shut off debate by demonizing those with whom you disagree.
A comment left on Jihad Watch struck me as particularly appropriate:
Malinois: "He [Mahdi Bray] said Goode should also recall the biblical passage: "love thy neighbor as thyself."You can tell an awful lot about a person by their friends and enemies, especially their enemies. And right now, Goode’s enemies are the enemies of of those who are fighting for freedom from Islamic oppression.
I love how Muslims always resort to quoting Biblical passages to Christians when they want to invoke the Golden Rule. Watch for it. They always say, "Well, you're not exactly following the model of Jesus are you?"
In this sort of situation, have you ever seen a Muslim say to a Christian, well shouldn't you really ought to be more like Muhammad?
No. And why doesn't Bray ask that question or actually quote what the Koran says about the Golden Rule if he wants to lecture Goode on Islamic ethics?
Answer: Because the Koran doesn't embrace the Golden Rule as a normative ethical prescription. And the reason Muslims ask Christians why they don't follow the example of their prophet Jesus, instead of asking them instead - why can't you be a little more like our prophet Muhammad when dealing with us, is because their own prophet was a ruthless mass murderer, who had no grasp of the Golden Rule. That's why.
In response to this sort of manipulative bullshit, infidels like Goode or like any of us, when confronted with this sort of manipulation ought to say, "Why my friend, I am merely inspired by YOUR prophet in taking my stance here today. And really, as a true believer (and I respect that, I really do!), you ought to be flattered by the compliment!" And then smile really really sweetly.
I'm on your side, Virgil.
We will conquer your country with the bellies of our women
We will outbreed you in 10/20 years time
Political correctness will assist us
You’ll be surprised how fast we multiply
We will use your liberal laws against you
Your welfare system works for us just fine
We will sue your socks off for discrimination
And your silly immigration laws
Will never allow you to draw the line
We call you racist, and Islamophobic
That always works to shut you up
The spirit of political correctness
The silliness of human rights
You guys are ready pushover
You don’t even realize:
We already control your institutions,
We bought your media, and your politicians too
With the help of Saudi money,
Youre all such suckers for a little honey
Such is written in the Koran, such is Allahs will
It’s only a matter of time before we reach critical mass
Then forget about your country that once was…
Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists.
"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.
Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.
"And if you don't refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate," he said.
And from Jihad Watch.
Zawahri claims victory in the U.S. midterm elections. How much he will be setting policy remains unclear. "Al Qaeda Sends a Message to Democrats," by Brian Ross and Hoda Osman at the ABCNews blog, with thanks to Davida...
Friday, December 22, 2006
I have read the report. There are a lot of redactions, but the story is fairly clear. Here it is:
The National Archive and record Administration has issue a report on the unauthorized removal of classified documents from the National archives by Samuel “Sandy” Berger. His access to the archives and the unauthorized removal occurred in connection with a request by the Joint Intelligence Committee (the Graham-Goss Commission) for his testimony. In addition he was to review documents in response to a request from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: the “9/11 commission.”
“On April 12, 2002 President Clinton signed a letter designating Mr. Berger and [REDACTED] as agents on his behalf to review relevant NSC (National Security Council) documents regarding Osama Bin Laden/ Al Qaeda, Sudan and Presidential correspondence from or to Omar Bashir, contained in the Clinton Presidential records.”
Over the subsequent year-and-a-half Sandy Berger reviewed the records held by the “Archives” four times. The first was on May 30, 2002, and three other times in July18th, September 2nd and October 2nd 2003.
Security protocol allowed Sandy Berger to read the documents and make notes. However, he was not allowed to remove documents or take the notes with him. The notes were not to be taken out of the archives, but were to be “retained by NARA staff and forwarded to the NSC for a classification review and appropriate marking.” In other words, Sandy Berger was not to take any documents out of the archives, including his notes. His notes were to be classified before being returned to him.
Berger reviewed the documents in the office of a [REDACTED] official of the Archives. The protocol is for anyone reading classified document in the archives to have someone monitoring this person. In the case of Sandy Berger, because of his previous high position of trust, he was provided with space in a comfortable office.
By his time, Mr. Berger had established a consulting business and was the originator or recipient of numerous phone calls during his time reading documents. A pattern was established that during such phone calls, the other person in the office would step outside to allow Mr. Berger privacy. In addition, Mr. Berger availed himself of the use of the rest room either ever half-hour or hourly. The report notes that both the private phone calls and the bathroom breaks allowed Mr. Berger quite a bit of time to secrete documents on his person.
Those who rely on either news reports on the omniscience of the federal government will be disappointed to find that even after three years of investigation, much remains unexplained.
It is glaringly obvious from the report that the National Archives are a large, but largely and for the most part unorganized - data dump. The fact is that the records kept in the archives are no more organized than the records kept by the average person at home. Files hold documents that do not correspond the tabs on the file folders. File folder tabs are found in the bottom of file boxes.
It is admitted that “…as Mr. Berger was provided original documents [REDACTED] said [REDACTED] would never know what if any original documents were missing from Mr. Berger’s visits on May 30, 2002 and July 18, 2003.”
And: “The OI with assistance from [REDACTED] reviewed the documents Mr. Berger reviewed in an attempt to identify if it could be determined if additional documents were missing. It was not apparent that Mr. Berger removed and entire NSC numbered package or a SMOF file folder, however, the contents of these documents could not be verified. Due to complications, the emails Mr. Berger reviewed could not be readily reconstructed.”
I would say that if the files in my office were managed as sloppily as the files at the archives, I would be very worried. The problem appears to be data overload and no negative repercussion for failure; unfortunately, almost a definition of a government bureaucracy.
The suspicion began on September 2nd that Sandy was a burglar. “On September 2, 2003, there was a suspicion Mr. Berger may have removed classified material from the Archives.” An employee thought he had seen a “white” something in Mr. Berger’s socks.
The law was not called at this time. We can only assume that Mr. Berger benefited from the “Important Person” syndrome. Who was going to call the cops on President Clinton’s former National Security Advisor? Some in the Archives were probably Clinton fans. Others were afraid that blowing the whistle could cost them their jobs. You don’t accuse the rich and powerful of crimes unless you have them dead to rights otherwise their friends will ride you out of town.
On October 2rd, employees of the archives set a trap for Burger by numbering several of the documents. They determined that Berger removed documents from the archive. Again, no law enforcement individuals were called; the incident was investigated internally and included a call to Mr. Berger. Berger removed four documents, all versions of the MAAR (Millennium After Action Report).
Berger took a break near the end of the day, walked outside, hid the documents and a sheaf of notes he had taken in a construction site underneath a trailer. Following this he retuned to the archives, not having any notable bulges, and continued his document review. At the end of the day he left the archives, retrieved the documents from the construction site and took them to his office.
An employee of the archives called Burger on October 4th and told him that the documents were missing. Berger denied having them. Berger was then told that “I hope you can find them because if not, we have to refer this to the NSC [REDACTED]…” It as a little late for that because on the night of October 2nd Berger had cut three of the four documents into small pieces and put them in the trash.
On October 5th 2003, Berger agreed to return documents that he had in his possession. Unfortunately for Berger, he also retuned documents that the Archives did not realize were missing. So we do not know what documents he took and when he took them. Some of the documents he was given to review were copies and some were originals. From the release, it is not clear what the definition of “copy” and original” is..
According to Sandy Berger’s testimony, “There were not any handwritten notes on the documents [he] removed from the Archives. [he] did not believe there as unique information in the three documents he destroyed. [he] never made any copies of these documents.”
The question remains, what was on the documents that were cut up and thrown away. I am not ready to take Sandy Berger’s word for their contents.
UPDATE: I am honored and pleased that Doug Ross has commented on this post. Click HERE for his take on how this story would be treated if the person stealing and destroying documents were Dr. Rice.
and from Dr. Sanity, a Sandy Burger song.
Traditionalists have had it with the hierarchy, and the in-your-face elevation of a green and trendy liberal prelate to lead them broke it. Not only have the nine parishes severed ties, with more considering secession, seven of 111 Episcopal dioceses have rejected Schori’s authority. Sad as the story seems, however, it produced mirth and mockery from Washington Post columnist Howard Meyerson.
“Whether it was the thought of a woman presiding over God’s own country club or gays snuggling under its eaves, it was all too much” for the “Fairfax Phobics,” wrote Meyerson. This is “just the latest chapter in the global revolt against modernism and equality and, more specifically, in the formation of the Orthodox International.”
And what, exactly, is the “Orthodox International”?
“The OI unites frequently fundamentalist believers of often opposed faiths in common fear and loathing of challenges to ancient tribal norms. … The OI’s founding father was Pope John Paul II, who … sought to build his church in nations of the developing world where traditional morality and bigotry, most especially on matters sexual, were … more in sync with the Catholic Church’s inimitable backwardness. Now America’s schismatic Episcopalians are following in (John Paul’s) footsteps – traditionalists of the two great Western hierarchical Christian churches searching the globe for sufficiently benighted bishops.”
The reference to “benighted bishops” is to Archbishop Akinola, who believes, as the 13 colonies and 50 American states did up until the late 20th century, that homosexual sodomy should be a crime. Jefferson, the patron saint of liberals, thought active homosexuals should be emasculated.
Meyerson dismisses the Fairfax dissenters as a “distinct minority.” Yet, he concedes that only 13 of 38 national churches in the Anglican communion ordain women, and only three – the United States, Canada and New Zealand – permit the consecration of women bishops.
So who are the real schismatics, the real heretics?
Read the whole thing..
Thursday, December 21, 2006
It’s interesting because it brings together two apparently dissimilar issue, the issue of global warming and the novel by Mary Shelly about the creation of Victor Frankenstein’s monster.
Recall that in Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein was a scientist who wished to create a living creature from dead tissue. When he animates his creation, he is repulsed and rejects his creation.
It now appears that climate scientists are, like Frankenstein, beginning to have doubts about the creature they have created. It's partly a confession:
We tried for years – decades – to get them to listen to us about climate change. To do that we had to ramp up our rhetoric. We had to figure out ways to tone down our natural skepticism (we are scientists, after all) in order to put on a united face. We knew it would mean pushing the science harder than it should be. We knew it would mean allowing the boundary-pushers on the "it's happening" side free reign while stifling the boundary-pushers on the other side. But knowing the science, we knew the stakes to humanity were high and that the opposition to the truth would be fierce, so we knew we had to dig in. But now they are listening. Now they do believe us. Now they say they're ready to take action. And now we're wondering if we didn't create a monster. We're wondering if they realize how uncertain our projections of future climate are. We wonder if we've oversold the science. We're wondering what happened to our community, that individuals caveat even the most minor questionings of barely-proven climate change evidence, lest they be tagged as "skeptics." We're wondering if we've let our alarm at the problem trickle to the public sphere, missing all the caveats in translation that we have internalized. And we're wondering if we’ve let some of our scientists take the science too far, promise too much knowledge, and promote more certainty in ourselves than is warranted.
Which Is More Important, Sandy Burger's Theft of National Security Archive Documents or Laura Bush's Legs
And the answer is: Laura's Legs.
An interesting contrast: Tony Snow recently was grilled agressively and repeatedly because the first lady had an innocuous medical procedure performed, and she didn’t launch a media blitz about it. On the other hand, Sandy Berger uses his national security clearance to steal sensitive classfied documents (by stuffing them in his pants no less!) and destroy them, immediately prior to his meeting with the 9/11 commission to explain Clinton administration policies prior to an act of war that killed 3000 Americans....MSM yawns and looks the other way.
On Nov. 7, voters in Michigan passed Proposition 2, which prohibits state and local government from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to -- in the language of the ballot -- "groups or individuals based on their race, gender, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes."
The new law is supposed to take effect on Dec. 22. But it seems that affirmative action is not over yet. University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman apparently believes that the democratic process is valid only when the voters agree with her.
On Nov. 8, Ms. Coleman vowed that she would "immediately begin exploring legal action" against Prop 2. "I will not allow this university to go down the path of mediocrity" she told a cheering crowd. "Diversity makes us strong, and it's . . . too critical to simply abandon."
click on the link to read the rest...
“In order to be a racist, one has to have a certain amount of power. In this society, Black people in this country do not possess the institutional power to be racists. They never have.”Interesting re-definition of racism. Professors of “African American and African Studies” can pronounce the following without a hiccup in their synapses:
"I absolve you, my child, of the sin of racism which can only be practiced by people who are melanin challenged. No matter what you do and who you do it to, your actions can never be racist."
This kind of non-thinking leads to graduate degrees at Michigan State – and, I am sure at most of our hallowed institutions of higher learning, like Vanderbilt and Duke.
I wonder who has the power in the following little vignette:
On Halloween night, in an upscale neighborhood of Long Beach called Bixby Knolls, three young white women were surrounded and severely beaten by about 30 black youths, who allegedly punctuated their assault with comments like “We hate white people, f— whites.” One of the victims suffered multiple facial fractures; reportedly she was struck with a skateboard. Ten black kids, ages 12 to 17, are currently on trial for felony assault. Eight of them are charged with a hate-crime enhancement. Nine of them are girls.
Read more at Patterico.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Then he rages: “The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. …Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.”
In the end he cries: “Of course, once a technosocial force like the blog is loosed on the world, it does not go away because some find it undesirable. So grieving over the lost establishment is pointless, and kind of sad. But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we've allowed decay to pass for progress.”
To be sure, some of his criticism is true. Like a Palestinian with an AK-47 on full-auto his fusillade of accusations does hit a few targets.
“posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion . . .”
Like all glittering generalities, there is both truth and falsity in this broadside. Many posts and replies are snide expressions of opinion, with little argument and a great deal of venom. Replies are often either a brief, sometimes obscene version of “you’re stupid,” or virtually endless essays often assembled as cut-and-paste jobs that assault reason like a bludgeon.
But I have found more humor, both broad and pointed in the internet than in the print media in the years I have been a member of the electronic community. You want irony? You want well reasoned analysis? Go to the Belmont Club if you want something deeper and more insightful than the retread sages of the beltway like David Broder and the members of the Journal’s Washington Bureau.
He complains that:
“The blogs must be timely if they are to influence politics. This element -- here's my opinion -- is necessarily modified and partly determined by the right now. Instant response, with not even a day of delay, impairs rigor. It is also a coagulant for orthodoxies. We rarely encounter sustained or systematic blog thought -- instead, panics and manias; endless rehearsings of arguments put forward elsewhere; and a tendency to substitute ideology for cognition. The participatory Internet, in combination with the hyperlink, which allows sites to interrelate, appears to encourage mobs and mob behavior.”
Is there anything more ironic than a member of the MSM arguing about a mob mentality? Where-oh-where is there a replay of ANY White House press briefing which most nearly resembles a feeding frenzy this side of a school of ravenous sharks? Why only yesterday the famously “independent” MSM was falling all over its shoe laces to be the first, second, third, whatever, to declare the violence in Iraq as a “civil war.” Depart from that orthodoxy and you will never get another column inch in “respectable” newsprint.
There is also the argument that precious little “new reporting” is being done by the blogosphere.
“Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage.”
This is an argument that assumes that blogs began as a substitute for newspapers. This is simply not true. Instead, many of the most influential sites on the internet – such as Drudge or Instapundit or FreeRepublic – bring together a veritable feast of traditional reportage from all over the globe. This is simply not possible due to space and/or time constraints in the old media.
But some bloggers like Bill Roggio, have packed their bags and become what the old media would recognize as “reporters.” And thanks to the internet, we are getting news from the front produced – not by the members of the press corps assembled on the bar stools and pool sides in Green Zone hotels – but by soldiers actually patrolling the streets of Baghdad and Fallujah.
But the most valuable service that the blogs have performed, and the elephant in the room that Joe Rago does his best to ignore, is that the blogs have done something that the MSM studiously avoids doing: investigating itself. The old MSM is a one-way communication media that, left to itself warps reality to its themes. Once Walter Cronkite said we lost Tet – even though we won that battle - objective reality bowed to media reality and the end of our attempt to keep part of Viet Nam free was in sight. The killing field of Cambodia, re-education camps and the boat people were simply collateral damage to the media’s war on the war.
Thanks to literally millions of people, operating like computers in parallel, The “Rather Papers” on Bush’s military career were exposed as fakes – something that would never have happened pre-web. The faked photographs from the Israel-Lebanon war were exposed by bloggers. The present question about the AP’s reporting of the “burning Mosques” and “Burning Iraqis” is being exposed as fake. There is now an entire industry devoted to exposing the old MSM as slipshod at best and liars at worst.
We now have two way communications. We are no longer at the mercy of editors who deign to print the occasional complaint. We do our own, and the old MSM is unhappy with its loss of total control over the way the issue is being framed. That is why Joe Rago is crying.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
We begin with Houston A. Baker and wife Charlotte Pierce-Baker. To get a flavor for Houston Baker I refer you to Joe's Dartblog and the intemperate rant that "convicted" the Duke lacrosse players of rape, sodomy and strangulation … because they were white. The hatred demonstrated by his rant reveals something putrid on this man's soul. It is particularly instructive now that the Duke players are virtually certainly the victims of a particularly modern version of racism; a collusion between politicians going for the "black" vote, radical academics and the "drive by media" who collude to smear the one remaining valid victim in America, white males.
Here is Vanderbilt’s proud announcement
Hortense Spillers is the author of Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture. "Spillers is best known for her race-centered revision of psychoanalytic theory."
A reviewer at Amazon had this to say: Bringing together some very familiar (and endlessly cited) essays, such as "Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe...", as well as essays from more obscure locations, and unpublished work, 'Black, White, and in Color...' illuminates Prof. Spillers' resolutely unorthodox and powerful thinking around the racialization and gendering of the brutal history of the United States, from the genocide of American Indians to the enslavement of Africans in the "New World".
If anyone has any personal knowledge of any of the other recent hires, I would be interested in hearing about them.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Top 1% . . . of What?
By ALAN REYNOLDS
December 14, 2006; Page A20
As many others have done, Virginia's Democratic Senator-elect Jim Webb recently complained on this page of an "ever-widening divide" in America, claiming "the top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980." Those same figures have been repeatedly echoed in all major newspapers, including this one. Yet the statement is clearly false. The top 1% of households never received anything remotely approaching 16% of personal income (national income includes corporate profits). The top 1% of tax returns accounted for 10.6% of personal income in 2004. But that number too is problematic.
The architects of these estimates, Thomas Piketty of École Normale Supérieure in Paris and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley, did not refer to shares of total income but to shares of income reported on individual income tax returns -- a very different thing. They estimate that the top 1% (1.3 million) of taxpayers accounted for 16.1% of reported income in 2004. But they explicitly exclude Social Security and other transfer payments, which make up a large and growing share of total income: 14.7% of personal income in 2004, up from 9.3% in 1980. Besides, not everyone files a tax return, not all income is taxable (e.g., municipal bonds), and not every taxpayer tells the complete truth about his or her income.
For such reasons, personal income in 2004 was $3.3 trillion, or 34.4%, larger than the amount included in the denominator of the Piketty-Saez ratio of top incomes to total incomes. Because that gap has widened from 30.5% in 1988, the increasingly gigantic understatement of total income contributes to an illusory increase in the top 1%'s exaggerated share.
The same problems affect Piketty-Saez estimates of share of the top 5%, which contradict those from the Census Bureau (which also exclude transfer payments). Messrs. Piketty and Saez figure the top 5%'s share rose to 31% in 2004 from 27% in 1993. Census Bureau estimates, by contrast, show the top 5%'s share of family income fluctuating insignificantly from 20% to 21% since 1993. The top 5%'s share has been virtually flat since 1988, aside from a meaningless one-time jump in 1993 when, as the Economic Policy Institute noted, "a change in survey methodology led to a sharp rise in measured inequality."
Unlike the Census Bureau, Messrs. Piketty and Saez measure income per tax unit rather than per family or household. They maintain that income per tax unit is 28% smaller than income per household, on average. But because there are many more two-earner couples sharing a joint tax return among high-income households, estimating income per tax return exaggerates inequality per worker.
The lower line in the graph shows that the amount of income Messrs. Piketty and Saez attribute to the top 1% accounted for 10.6% of personal income in 2004. That 10.6% figure looks much higher than it was in 1980. Yet most of that increase was, as they explained, "concentrated in two years, 1987 and 1988, just after the Tax Reform Act of 1986." As Mr. Saez added, "It seems clear that the sharp, and unprecedented, increase in incomes from 1986 to 1988 is related to the large decrease in marginal tax rates that happened exactly during those years."
That 1986-88 surge of reported high income was no surprise to economists who study taxes. All leading studies of "taxable income elasticity," including two by Mr. Saez, agree that the amount of income reported by high-income taxpayers is extremely sensitive to the marginal tax rate. When the top tax rate goes way down, the amount reported on tax returns goes way up. Those capable of earning high incomes had more incentive to do so when the top U.S. tax rate dropped to 28% in 1988 from 50% in 1986. They also had less incentive to maximize tax deductions and perks, and more incentive to arrange to be paid in forms taxed as salary rather than as capital gains or corporate profits.
The top line in the graph shows how much of the top 1%'s income came from business profits. In 1981, only 7.8% of the income attributed to the top 1% came from business, because, as Mr. Saez explained, "the standard C-corporation form was more advantageous for high-income individual owners because the top individual tax rate was much higher than the corporate tax rate and taxes on capital gains were relatively low." More businesses began to file under the individual tax when individual tax rates came down in 1983. This trend became a stampede in 1987-1988 when the business share of top percentile income suddenly increased by 10 percentage points. The business share increased again in recent years, accounting for 28.4% of the top 1%'s income in 2004.
As was well-documented years ago by economists Roger Gordon and Joel Slemrod, a great deal of the apparent increase in reported high incomes has been due to "tax shifting." That is, lower individual tax rates induced thousands of businesses to shift from filing under the corporate tax system to filing under the individual tax system, often as limited liability companies or Subchapter S corporations.
IRS economist Kelly Luttrell explained that, "The long-term growth of S-corporation returns was encouraged by four legislative acts: the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990, the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993, and the Small Business Protection Act of 1996. Filings of S-corporation returns have increased at an annual rate of nearly 9.0% since the enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 1986."
Switching income from corporate tax returns to individual returns did not make the rich any richer. Yet it caused a growing share of business owners' income to be newly recorded as "individual income" in the Piketty-Saez and Congressional Budget Office studies that rely on a sample of individual income tax returns. Aside from business income, the top 1%'s share of personal income from 2002 to 2004 was just 7.2% -- the same as it was in 1988.
In short, income shifting has exaggerated the growth of top incomes, while excluding a third of personal income (including transfer payments) has exaggerated the top groups' income share.
There are other serious problems with comparing income reported on tax returns before and after the 1986 Tax Reform. When the tax rate on top salaries came down after 1988, for example, corporate executives switched from accepting stock or incentive stock options taxed as capital gains (which are excluded from the basic Piketty-Saez estimates) to nonqualified stock options reported as W-2 salary income (which are included in the Piketty-Saez estimates). This largely explains why the top 1%'s share rises with the stock boom of 1997-2000 then falls with the stock market in 2001-2003.
In recent years, an increasingly huge share of the investment income of middle-income savers is accruing inside 401(k), IRA and 529 college-savings plans and is therefore invisible in tax return data. In the 1970s, by contrast, such investment income was usually taxable, so it appears in the Piketty-Saez estimates for those years. Comparing tax returns between the 1970s and recent years greatly understates the actual gain in middle incomes, and thereby contributes to the exaggeration of top income shares.
In a forthcoming Cato Institute paper I survey a wide range of official and academic statistics, finding no clear trend toward increased inequality after 1988 in the distribution of disposable income, consumption, wages or wealth. The incessantly repeated claim that income inequality has widened dramatically over the past 20 years is founded entirely on these seriously flawed and greatly misunderstood estimates of the top 1%'s alleged share of something-or-other.
The politically correct yet factually incorrect claim that the top 1% earns 16% of personal income appears to fill a psychological rather than logical need. Some economists seem ready and willing to supply whatever is demanded. And there is an endless political demand for those able to fabricate problems for which higher taxes are, of course, the preferred solution. In Washington higher taxes are always the solution; only the problems change.
Mr. Reynolds, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, is the author of "Income and Wealth" (Greenwood Press, 2006).