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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Virginian Pilot on Terror and Guns

In a recent editorial “Let Bus Drivers Drive, Not Hunt for Terrorists” the Pilot denounced the idea that school bus drivers should be encouraged to report activity they see that may be related to terrorism. The ubiquitous school buses drive through most of America’s neighborhoods and if, say, the bus driver saw a group of people wearing turbans and face masks practicing an assault on a synagogue, that would be a good thing, no? Well, according to the Virginian Pilot, no. If the Department of Homeland Security encourages or makes it easier for bus drivers to do this, according to the Virginian Pilot, the Federal Government is unleashing a gang of 600,000 political spies to destroy what is left of our precious freedom.

That freedom of course, no longer includes drawing cartoons of Mohammed, but let that pass.

Of course it comes to the opposite conclusion when it comes having doctors spy on their patients.

The article “Bill would bar doctors from asking about guns” comes down squarely on the reasonableness of doctors asking patients about gun ownership. The American Academy of Pediatrics, a group that advocates a total ban on guns, is quoted but not identified as an advocacy group for a radical position.

So the Virginian Pilot does not want school bus drivers involved in protecting us from terrorism, but is all for having doctors spying on us to see if we own guns.

From the gang that still has not shown us the cartoons of Mohammed, it makes perfect sense.

Toon Trouble for Hitler

Tim Blair has a fascinating piece of history, recounting that prior to World War 2, British cartoonist David Low was asked by some British politicos to avoid offending Hitler.

Current political disputes aren’t the first caused by cartoons. In this 2002 speech, Australian treasurer Peter Costello tells the story of New Zealand-born cartoonist David Low, a troublemaker in Britain during the 1930s:

Low’s regular depictions of the Fuhrer caused enormous diplomatic problems for the British Government, but they were to prove remarkably prophetic. Throughout the decade he portrayed the German dictator as a ludicrous, vain, pompous fool with unbridled ambition.

In 1933 the Nazis banned the Evening Standard and all newspapers carrying Low’s work because of a cartoon he had drawn depicting Germany’s withdrawal from the League of Nations.

In 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games Low received his first request to tone down his depiction of Hitler in the interests of “good relations between all countries”.

In 1937 the British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax visited Germany and met with the Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who told him that Hitler was very sensitive to criticism in the British press, and he singled out Low for attention.

Lord Halifax contacted the manager of the Evening Standard to see if Low could be toned down. He said:

"You cannot imagine the frenzy that these cartoons cause. As soon as a copy of the Evening Standard arrives, it is pounced on for Low’s cartoon, and if it is of Hitler, as it generally is, telephones buzz, tempers rise, fevers mount, and the whole governmental system of Germany is in uproar. It has hardly subsided before the next one arrives. We in England can’t understand the violence of the reaction."

It wasn’t only Hitler complaining about Low. In 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain singled out Low while appealing to newspapers to temper their critical commentary of Germany. Chamberlain said:
"Such criticism might do a great deal to embitter relations when we on our side are trying to improve them. German Nazis have been particularly annoyed by criticisms in the British press, and especially by cartoons. The bitter cartoons of Low of the Evening Standard have been a frequent source of complaint."

Weird to think, from our remove, that anyone would ever have taken complaints from Nazis seriously.

Now it all begins to make sense.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Flemming Rose -editor of the Jyllands-Posten - on the Cartoon Riots

By Flemming Rose
Washington Post
February 20, 2006

Childish. Irresponsible. Hate speech. A provocation just for the sake of provocation. A PR stunt. Critics of 12 cartoons of the prophet Muhammad I decided to publish in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten have not minced their words. They say that freedom of expression does not imply an endorsement of insulting people's religious feelings, and besides, they add, the media censor themselves every day. So, please do not teach us a lesson about limitless freedom of speech.

I agree that the freedom to publish things doesn't mean you publish everything. Jyllands-Posten would not publish pornographic images or graphic details of dead bodies; swear words rarely make it into our pages. So we are not fundamentalists in our support for freedom of expression.

But the cartoon story is different.

Those examples have to do with exercising restraint because of ethical standards and taste; call it editing. By contrast, I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam. And I still believe that this is a topic that we Europeans must confront, challenging moderate Muslims to speak out. The idea wasn't to provoke gratuitously -- and we certainly didn't intend to trigger violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Our goal was simply to push back self-imposed limits on expression that seemed to be closing in tighter.

At the end of September, a Danish standup comedian said in an interview with Jyllands-Posten that he had no problem urinating on the Bible in front of a camera, but he dared not do the same thing with the Koran.

This was the culmination of a series of disturbing instances of self-censorship. Last September, a Danish children's writer had trouble finding an illustrator for a book about the life of Muhammad. Three people turned down the job for fear of consequences. The person who finally accepted insisted on anonymity, which in my book is a form of self-censorship. European translators of a critical book about Islam also did not want their names to appear on the book cover beside the name of the author, a Somalia-born Dutch politician who has herself been in hiding.

Around the same time, the Tate gallery in London withdrew an installation by the avant-garde artist John Latham depicting the Koran, Bible and Talmud torn to pieces. The museum explained that it did not want to stir things up after the London bombings. (A few months earlier, to avoid offending Muslims, a museum in Goteborg, Sweden, had removed a painting with a sexual motif and a quotation from the Koran.)

Finally, at the end of September, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with a group of imams, one of whom called on the prime minister to interfere with the press in order to get more positive coverage of Islam.

So, over two weeks we witnessed a half-dozen cases of self-censorship, pitting freedom of speech against the fear of confronting issues about Islam. This was a legitimate news story to cover, and Jyllands-Posten decided to do it by adopting the well-known journalistic principle: Show, don't tell. I wrote to members of the association of Danish cartoonists asking them "to draw Muhammad as you see him." We certainly did not ask them to make fun of the prophet. Twelve out of 25 active members responded.We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims.

The cartoons do not in any way demonize or stereotype Muslims. In fact, they differ from one another both in the way they depict the prophet and in whom they target. One cartoon makes fun of Jyllands-Posten, portraying its cultural editors as a bunch of reactionary provocateurs. Another suggests that the children's writer who could not find an illustrator for his book went public just to get cheap publicity. A third puts the head of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party in a lineup, as if she is a suspected criminal.

One cartoon -- depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban -- has drawn the harshest criticism. Angry voices claim the cartoon is saying that the prophet is a terrorist or that every Muslim is a terrorist. I read it differently: Some individuals have taken the religion of Islam hostage by committing terrorist acts in the name of the prophet. They are the ones who have given the religion a bad name. The cartoon also plays into the fairy tale about Aladdin and the orange that fell into his turban and made his fortune. This suggests that the bomb comes from the outside world and is not an inherent characteristic of the prophet.

On occasion, Jyllands-Posten has refused to print satirical cartoons of Jesus, but not because it applies a double standard. In fact, the same cartoonist who drew the image of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban drew a cartoon with Jesus on the cross having dollar notes in his eyes and another with the star of David attached to a bomb fuse. There were, however, no embassy burnings or death threats when we published those.

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

This is exactly why Karl Popper, in his seminal work "The Open Society and Its Enemies," insisted that one should not be tolerant with the intolerant. Nowhere do so many religions coexist peacefully as in a democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right. In Saudi Arabia, you can get arrested for wearing a cross or having a Bible in your suitcase, while Muslims in secular Denmark can have their own mosques, cemeteries, schools, TV and radio stations.

I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult.

I am offended by things in the paper every day: transcripts of speeches by Osama bin Laden, photos from Abu Ghraib, people insisting that Israel should be erased from the face of the Earth, people saying the Holocaust never happened. But that does not mean that I would refrain from printing them as long as they fell within the limits of the law and of the newspaper's ethical code. That other editors would make different choices is the essence of pluralism.

As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders. That is what happened to human rights activists and writers such as Andrei Sakharov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, Boris Pasternak. The regime accused them of anti-Soviet propaganda, just as some Muslims are labeling 12 cartoons in a Danish newspaper anti-Islamic.

The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.

Since the Sept. 30 publication of the cartoons, we have had a constructive debate in Denmark and Europe about freedom of expression, freedom of religion and respect for immigrants and people's beliefs. Never before have so many Danish Muslims participated in a public dialogue -- in town hall meetings, letters to editors, opinion columns and debates on radio and TV. We have had no anti-Muslim riots, no Muslims fleeing the country and no Muslims committing violence. The radical imams who misinformed their counterparts in the Middle East about the situation for Muslims in Denmark have been marginalized. They no longer speak for the Muslim community in Denmark because moderate Muslims have had the courage to speak out against them.

In January, Jyllands-Posten ran three full pages of interviews and photos of moderate Muslims saying no to being represented by the imams. They insist that their faith is compatible with a modern secular democracy. A network of moderate Muslims committed to the constitution has been established, and the anti-immigration People's Party called on its members to differentiate between radical and moderate Muslims, i.e. between Muslims propagating sharia law and Muslims accepting the rule of secular law. The Muslim face of Denmark has changed, and it is becoming clear that this is not a debate between "them" and "us," but between those committed to democracy in Denmark and those who are not.

This is the sort of debate that Jyllands-Posten had hoped to generate when it chose to test the limits of self-censorship by calling on cartoonists to challenge a Muslim taboo. Did we achieve our purpose?

Yes and no. Some of the spirited defenses of our freedom of expression have been inspiring. But tragic demonstrations throughout the Middle East and Asia were not what we anticipated, much less desired. Moreover, the newspaper has received 104 registered threats, 10 people have been arrested, cartoonists have been forced into hiding because of threats against their lives and Jyllands-Posten's headquarters have been evacuated several times due to bomb threats. This is hardly a climate for easing self-censorship.

Still, I think the cartoons now have a place in two separate narratives, one in Europe and one in the Middle East. In the words of the Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the integration of Muslims into European societies has been sped up by 300 years due to the cartoons; perhaps we do not need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again in Europe. The narrative in the Middle East is more complex, but that has very little to do with the cartoons.

Col Sanders MIA After Cartoon Riots (From Human Events Online)

As has now been well established by the Western press, five months ago a vicious right-wing propaganda rag in Denmark, possibly edited by a cryogenically preserved Nazi collaborator, sought specifically to denigrate Islam by commissioning a series of unspeakably horrible caricatures that baselessly portrayed Islam as having a tendency towards violence and intolerance.

Now, Muslims are not normally a people to congregate in mass protest and burn flags, hurl stones or break things. But this unprovoked act of cultural aggression (coming, as it did, out of the blue and occurring in Islam’s heartland, Denmark) was simply too much to take. Therefore, after five months of consideration, it was decided to make an exception for this case, and spontaneous protests broke out.

So it’s settled then. Had not the Jyllands-Posten newspaper committed its unforgivable violation of Sharia law, everything would be peaceful in the world. What we have here is a clear case of direct cause and effect, well isolated. That’s why the protestors targeted their anger narrowly at the newspaper in question and did not use the occasion to let loose a general pogrom of anti-Western, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, anti-American and anti-Moderate rioting. Oh wait, now that I think about it, that’s exactly what happened. After a suspicious pause that lasted longer than Joe Biden’s first set of hair plugs, the offended masses erupted in anger at the newspaper, Danish foods, the Prime Minister of Denmark, all the rest of Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, the principle of Free Speech, Israel, the Red Cross, the European Union, Christian churches, their own governments, Catholic Priests, the United States, Christian children, Ronald McDonald, and (of course) Kentucky Fried Chicken.

What? The United States cannot be on that list! Our brave State Department, always at the tip of any retreating spear, issued a condemnation of the cartoons and declared that free speech carries with it the responsibility not to say anything controversial. Plus, 99% of America’s media refused to even show the cartoons without more pixilation than they would provide for a daytime broadcast of “Caligula, The Larry Flynt Cut.”

Then why would many of the crowds feel a need to throw in a chorus of “Death to America!” and burn the U.S. flag at a riot over doodles from Denmark? Perhaps it was just habit. You know, like when I always miss the turn to go to the post office because I am so used to going straight at that intersection on my way to work. Or maybe it’s because the cartoons are just a pretext for many of the professionally angry that assembled at the riots.

Yes, there were many Muslims, normal people of a non-radical bent, that were offended by the cartoons (and embarrassed by the fact Islam is afflicted by so many radicals that the cartoons hit a chord), but they were not the ones doing photogenic things to embassies and effigies.For the radicals that used the cartoons as an excuse to party like it’s 1999, it was all just a pretext. Had the cartoons not existed they would have been in the streets about something else. And once in the streets all the same targets would have been torched.

REUTERS/Mian Khursheed

Consider the protests in Pakistan last week. Enraged, allegedly over Danes having been Danish in Denmark, crowds rushed into the street, shouted “Death To Israel!”, “Death to America!” and, oh yeah, “Death to Denmark!”, all the while burning a seemingly inexhaustible supply of foreign flags. They then attacked a McDonald’s Restaurant, a South Korean phone company, locally owned theaters, a (British owned) Holliday Inn, and (of course) a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Perhaps Colonel Sanders was Danish? Or maybe he was a Colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces?

Sure, he was Southern, but then the Secretary of State of the Confederacy was a Jew, so burning the KFC could have been a clever blow against Zionism. And the Danes are well known as the running dogs of Zionism. It all makes perfect sense now. Those cartoons burned the KFC! It’s all our fault.

In Nigeria, gangs of Muslim “protestors” (some of which claimed to have heard of the cartoons) torched Nigerian Christian churches, purposely dousing at least one man with gasoline and burning him alive, as well as beating to death a dozen others -- reportedly including a Nigerian priest and three Nigerian Christian children. Wow! Way to teach those Danes a lesson, you brave Mujahideen. Or maybe we Christians just all look alike to them.

A cartoonish freak in Turkey murdered an Italian priest. “Protestors” attacked the American embassy in Jakarta (perhaps looking for Colonel Sanders?). And Libyans used one Italian politician’s support for the Jyllands-Posten as an excuse to attack their old colonial nemesis once again. But keep in mind it was all really about cartoons from Denmark.

As retaliation for the Danish cartoons, the President of Iran celebrated a contest to solicit cartoons about the holocaust. How wonderfully non-sequitur: Post-Christian secular Danes speak freely regarding Islam? Then let's have a contest to belittle the holocaust! That’ll learn ‘em! But then, who could resist throwing in the Jews once things got going good? And some people think President Ahmadinejad is a little flaky!

Let’s be honest, most of the media hand-wringing over the cartoons and restraint and sensitivity was simply wasted. There is no avoiding offending the radical branch of Islam. Offense is the fuel with which the movement has been built.

Thus, radical Islam is always looking for insults to freak out about. It's the Joe Pesci of religious movements. One moment you think the world is getting along fine and the next moment some oversensitive suicide bomber has got his finger on the trigger, saying “You think my prophet is funny? Funny how? Like he’s a clown? You think he’s a clown? He’s here to amuse you? No, Anthony, he’s a big boy. He knows what he drew. How is my prophet funny?”

The pretexts under which aggressive action, reaction, and over-reaction are taken by the experienced rabble rousers of the radicalized Muslim street have about as much validity as O.J. asking Nicole "Why do you make me hit you, baby?"

Such complaints should not be an occasion for self-examination and appeasement, but one for disdain and resolve.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Larry Summers: F**** Off

In view of Summers' prostitution of of his position after he got into hot water, the following represents my feelings very well.

(read the whole thing)

I doubt that he could have survived the rage of his politically correct faculty since his board was itself a quivering jelly of conventional opinion. But had he stood up to the mendacious PC establishment, his ritual sacrifice might have possessed a certain tragic dignity. As it was, his departure from the presidency of Harvard was just another grubby chapter in the annals of academic degradation.

Iran Denounces "Tom and Jerry"

This is not a joke. Click on the link and you will find that Tom and Jerry is a Jewish plot to make mice "cute" thus improving the image of Jews. you have to read it to understand it and them to laugh.

Is Islamfascism a mental disease?

White House Secrecy, Then and Now: Foster vs. Cheney

Brent Bozell on the ridiculous Time and Newsweek cover stories on Cheney.

The media defended its frenzied coverage of an accident by arguing it's part of a pattern, a pattern of Cheney keeping secrets from the press. He's a stonewaller, see.

All this said, let us reserve the award for the greatest chutzpah of Birdshot Week to Bill and Hillary Clinton and their ravenous pack of hypocritical wolves, such as James Carville and Paul Begala, all of whom pounded Cheney for his secrecy. While Carville and Begala wailed like vampires for blood-alcohol tests for Cheney and his victim, Hillary Clinton sneered that "The refusal of this administration to level with the American people, on matters large and small, is very disturbing." Bill Clinton agreed with the wife that the Bush people have an "enormous penchant for secrecy -- for not telling anybody anything about anything."

If we learned anything in the Clinton years, it's that they are world-class stonewallers and the phrase "enormous penchant for secrecy," when applied to them, is an understatement. Don't expect the press to agree with this, however. They spent eight years enabling their secrecy.


Time and Newsweek both featured teen gun violence on their covers of August 2, 1993. Foster died on a Tuesday afternoon, giving the magazines plenty of time for reporting. Newsweek promoted the story in a corner of its cover, and had four pages inside headlined "The Mystery of a White House Suicide." It told a soft story that concluded with the picture of Foster's childhood friends Clinton and chief of staff Mack McLarty as "once innocent boys playing mumbletypeg." The only darkness in the piece came from jabs leveled at the editorials of the "acerbically conservative" Wall Street Journal.

Time didn't even use a corner of its cover for Foster, picking instead the whopping story "Are Whales Fair Game?" Time had one page -- just one -- by Clinton-boosting reporter Margaret Carlson, titled "Where Hope Ends," with a childhood picture of Foster and Clinton. Again, the only negative mention was the Wall Street Journal editorials.

Over the next year, we learned that in private the White House had feverishly spent the hours after Foster's death scouring for stonewalled Whitewater documents in his office, hiding them from investigators -- an "enormous penchant for secrecy." But that was another time, when that administration kept all manner of things from the public, and Time and Newsweek found no darkness, only light.

So, what to do when your own press corps cooperates with the enemy’s propaganda machine, not just out of fear but with enthusiasm?

I, for one, am terminally sick of it. But what to do? It’s not like I can call up CNN and say “hey, put me on the air and let me give you a damned good hiding, you rotten skank!”

Well, not with any degree of success, anyway.

Even if I phrase it “Could we have a program about the use of language in the WOT and how word choices have shaped the perception of terrorists and rogue regimes (as well as the West)?” I get a muttered “damn ditto-heads” and a dial tone.

Mind you, it’s hard to be that calm and rational when the bobble-heads on TV are licking the boots of whatever terror regime is in their sights at the moment.

Well put.

The War With Iran Has Begun

From the Adventures of Chester, a thoughtful analysis of current events in the Middle East including the "cartoon riots" and the destruction of the mosque.

Excerpt; read the whole thing.

Allow a slight digression on the nature of terrorism itself. As much as Al Qaeda or its brethren may wish to inflict massive casualties within the West and the US especially, terrorism is just as much about, well, terrorizing a given audience or constituency. That is to say, even though many forms of it might inflict significant casualties, the ultimate goal is influence. It is meant to change minds. When its perpetrators are known, and terror acts are overt, it might be categorized within that type of operation that the West would know as a "show of force." When its origins are not known, or if it is perhaps not even clear that a certain event has a single human agency behind it, then it seeks other forms of influence -- perhaps to change mindsets or affect policy. In some cases, it might even overlap or be confused with covert action, one of the purposes of which is to affect or change policy without any public knowledge of agency or origin.


When considered in the light of the long history of Iran with terror, as both its sponsor and its exporter, one wonders if Iran has begun a new campaign in its quest to achieve nuclear power status with no real objection from the rest of the world. Much of the below has been stated in other venues, but consider each of these points afresh:
-the cartoon controversy did not really begin until after the IAEA had referred Iran to the security council.
-the current chairmanship of the IAEA is held by Denmark.
-some of the worst violence was in Syria, a state where the government controls association, and which is allied with Iran.
And as far as the mosque destruction goes:
-no particular group has claimed responsibility.
-conventional wisdom, correct or not, holds that this act has created one of the highest states of tension in Iraq in some time.
President Ahmadinejad was quick to blame the US and/or Israel, for the act.

Have these acts been effective in influencing the West? The cartoon controversy might have united the West a bit, but it might have united the Muslim world much more. The mosque destruction is a bit too recent to judge.


But all of this raises a larger point: when Americans envision war, we imagine large scale military assaults and operations to neutralize targets, not covert and deniable violence on behalf of influencing public attitudes. Yet this blind spot is exactly what Iran excels at performing, and exactly what vexes Secretary Rumsfeld so much as he laments today in the LA Times:

Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but for the most part we -- our government, the media or our society in general -- have not.

Consider that violent extremists have established "media relations committees" and have proved to be highly successful at manipulating opinion elites. They plan and design their headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communication to break the collective will of free people

.I believe our war with Iran has begun.


Iran has ...a well-crafted strategy really, as it seeks the seams in our defenses. It undermines our cultural assumptions (wars must be declared at a given point, ended at a given point, and fought by uniformed military forces on "battlefields") and even some of our societal organizational seams (media institutions are not part of the governments that fight wars, but are separate, and beheld to different standards).

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bush Sells Port Security to Highest Bidder

From BlameBush this parody:

Bush’s insane decision to surrender our ports to Al Qaeda shatters once and for all the myth that RepubliKKKans are strong on national defense. Our military, economy, environmental policies, and even our criminal justice system would benefit greatly from the fine leadership of the International Community, but our precious shipping centers are just too important to place in the hands of corrupt nation-states. Under the approving eye of the United Arab Emirates, a rogue cargo vessel loaded with nativity scenes or school vouchers could be purposely crashed into any of our vibrant seaports, killing millions of panhandlers and gay prostitutes while Bush calmly finishes the back nine at Pebble Beach.

Americans expect and deserve better from those we trust to protect us. Senator and future President Hillary Clinton knows this well, and has been a vocal opponent of Bush’s lax security at our ports for years. In the coming days, she will be introducing bold new legislation that will require all U.S. shipping centers to be managed either by Americans, or by those wonderful Chinese Communists who ran our nuclear laboratories so splendidly in the 1990’s.

In addition, stringent regulations will be put in place to protect our harbors from terrorist attacks. Using intelligence obtained without resorting to torture, eavesdropping, or asking personal questions, suspicious vessels will be stopped before they even enter our ports.

A Blue Ribbon Commission of Hollywood celebrities, weeping 9/11 widows, and Joe Biden will be quickly formed to determine if the ship means us harm, exactly what we did to provoke it, and how many tight close-ups of Joe Biden it will take to make things right.

If the vessel is determined to be a threat, the commission will then present their evidence to the United Nations Security Council for final approval, then go about obtaining the necessary warrants to board the ship. Each member of the crew will be randomly searched without regards to race, gender, or sexual orientation, and in the full presence of representatives from both the ACLU and Amnesty International. Any nicotine products, offensive cartoons, or weapons purchased through the gun show loophole will confiscated and melted down to create a memorial to honor the thousands of brave men and women who have died from botched back alley abortions since South Dakota revoked a Woman's Right to Choose.

It's all about priorities, folks. Making our ports safe again will be an expensive task and will require thousands of union jobs, but true patriots would willingly sacrifice Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent of Americans to give our Democrat leaders the tools they need to defend us against religious fanatics bent on our destruction.

Thankfully, the Boy Scouts don’t have WMD's or cargo ships to carry them just yet, but as a nation we must be prepared for when they eventually do


It may be hard to believe, but this cartoon:

... had the following response:

Letter in the Straits Times

Obviously, we misjudged how different people would react to Wiley Miller’s Non Sequitur syndicated cartoon published by the New Straits Times last Monday. We have written to the Internal Security Ministry in response to its letter asking us to show cause, explaining the processes involved and how the cartoon came to be published. It is a process involving the human factor, and humans err.

We told the ministry the same thing we are telling you — that we may have misjudged how different people would react to the cartoon, which, as we have pointed out to the authorities, was NOT one of the 12 produced by Danish cartoonists that outraged Muslims throughout the world. It was a totally different cartoon.


The NST never intended to hurt any feelings. At least one religious scholar has told the NST that the cartoon was not offensive but could, if different people wished, be interpreted differently.

But we stand corrected. We should have been more sensitive — human error or not. So again, we apologise.And again, we will willingly accept any action deemed fit by the Government.

This is an abject groveling that is, unfortunately, now the defualt postion of the "news" media. I really do wonder if the "sitzpinklers" at the Virginian Pilot (or at any of the other Dying Media) now dare print this cartoon knowing that members of the "religion of peace" consider it blasphemous.

Virginian Pilot's Editors: sitzpinklers

That the editors of the Virginian Pilot are craven cowards is no longer in dispute. Meanwhile, a tiny minority of the American media are actually trying to stand up for free speech. Some, like the editor of the student newspaper of the University of Illinois, are being slapped down. Other’s like Christopher Hitchins are willing to stand up and even organize solidarity demonstrations at the Danish embassy.

But the example of the Old Media cowardice in the face of physical threats is going to give us wonderful new terms for describing them

Here’s from The Corner:

Apparently, the Germans have a word for men who can't stand up for themselves, both literally and figuratively. It's 'sitzpinkler', which means both one who sits when urinating and wimp.

Welcome Virginian Pilot editors, Sitzpinklers all.

UPDATE: Pictures from the Danish embassy

The Cartoon Wars, Once Again


Let’s begin by stating a few very basic facts.First: the cartoons in question are not offensive in the least. This isn’t really clear in the West because, for the most part, our media has refrained from publishing them (a self-imposed ban now thankfully broken in Canada by the Western Standard).

Much of the offense in the Islamic world comes from the fact that, when displayed there, the cartoons have been mixed with ones depicting Mohammed as a pig and accusing him of bestiality and pedophilia. And, I would note, Islam’s own holy sayings provide at least some evidence on the last count (in the story of Mohammed’s marriage to a six year-old girl), though admittedly the account is disputed.

Second: these cartoons are from last September, with the controversy only really starting in the last few weeks. News, it will be recalled, does not travel by Donkey in all of Araby. What do these facts point to?

Simply, they suggest that someone very purposefully brought about this controversy for some reason. Indeed, a number of Danish Moslem leaders traveled the Middle East for some period of time flogging this story before it took. Why?


UAE, P&O and the Ports

From Captain's Quarters:

The fallout from the Dubai deal continues to mount after a week of protest over the transaction. The UAE has offered to delay the completion of its purchase of P&O to allow Congress to review the deal, while Americans have their first real debate over port security and operations since 9/11 -- not that one existed much before that, either.

Like most controversies, this one has had its share of hyperbole and hysteria, but the debate has been educational. The questions about how port operators affect security needed to be aired, but in some ways the curt answers have left an incomplete picture. The administration's accurate answer that port security would remain in the capable hands of the Coast Guard and Customs service (a part of DHS now) clarified the role of the port operator, but left the impression that the companies filling those roles have nothing to do with security. That simply isn't true; any operation that has to interface with a serious security regimen winds up with potentially critical information regarding security procedures, personnel, and can identify holes within the process that can be exploited later. That to me is the one argument that remains unchallenged in the debate.

The Closing of Civilization in Europe

America’s immigration problems pale in comparison with what confronts Europe. America’s major ethnic minorities – Blacks as well as Hispanics – are Christian, while the meanstream culture is also rooted in Christianity. In Europe a secularized post-Christian culture is facing a Muslim one. The secularized culture is hedonist and values only its present life, because it does not believe in an afterlife. This is why it will surrender when threatened with death because life is the only thing it has to lose. This is why it will accept submission without fighting for its freedom. Nobody fights for the flag of hedonism, not even the hedonists themselves.

The Virginian Pilot Doesn't Want to Piss Off the Wrong People

Call it “anger management.”

The media obviously doesn’t have any problem publishing images that piss off Islamists; just as long as they are incited against the proper people (e.g., the U.S. military).

The Mo-toons are taboo because, well, God forbid the nutbags start bombing us instead of some icky white trash jarhead from Nebraskansaw.

9-11 photos are even more doubleplusbad taboo; those images might piss off icky white trash jarheads from Nebraskansaw.

What Do We Know About Diet and Health?

From TCS Daily:

Well, the latest research on the relation between nutrition and health has just been released and the fur is flying. Turns out the largest study ever done to assess the impact of a low fat diet on some of our major killer diseases has found that the diet has no effect -- no effect on heart disease, no effect on stroke, no effect on breast cancer and no effect on colon cancer.


No matter what health-related research claims, if there is any wiggle room at all (and there usually is quite a bit when dealing with human beings) scientists will put their spins and biases on it in an effort to support what they believe to be true. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is something that people often forget in trying to decide what the findings really mean.

What's more, when it comes to the causes of complex, multifactoral diseases like all of those examined by this research, we know much less than we think we do about why certain people get them while others don't. While nutrition may play a role, it is only one of many, many potential contributing factors.

And when it comes specifically to the links between nutrition and disease, we know even less, again because of how complex the relationships are and how many different factors are involved. Add to this the tremendous variability in individual response to various dietary components and you have a level of complexity that is not described well using 30-second MTV-like sound bytes.

Sticks and Summers

From TCS Daily, a must read:


At Harvard, Mr. Summers faced neither sticks nor stones but an altogether more formidable weapon, the feminist fantods. The utter depravity of his crime -- suggesting that the possibility of innate differences between the genders was one among various hypotheses worth testing in the search for an explanation of the relative scarcity of women in the top rank of science and mathematics -- was first indicated by the reaction of an MIT biologist, who said she fled the scene lest she "black out or throw up." No subsequent elucidation of the nature of Summers' offense ever improved upon that formulation. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but making me barf is poopy."


"While I may not agree with what you say, I'm going to make damned sure you don't ever say it again, see?"-- Voltaire, as played by Edward G. Robinson

Science Journals Delivering “Political Science”

From Townhall by Michael Fumento:

Last May, a Korean report in Science magazine prompted headlines around the world by declaring it had made tremendous advances in the heretofore disappointing field of embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research. It has now prompted much soul-searching in media land. “How could we have been fooled?” reporters are asking themselves in print.
Well, wake up guys, because the major science and medical journals have been fooling you for years. And what appeared to be a trickle
when I first wrote on it in 1999 has become a torrent.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Standing Up for Denmark (Since The Virginian Pilot Won't)

Christopher Hitchens is an unreconstructed Leftist. But unlike most on the Left, he is honest.

Excerpt; read the whole thing:

The incredible thing about the ongoing Kristallnacht against Denmark (and in some places, against the embassies and citizens of any Scandinavian or even European Union nation) is that it has resulted in, not opprobrium for the religion that perpetrates and excuses it, but increased respectability! A small democratic country with an open society, a system of confessional pluralism, and a free press has been subjected to a fantastic, incredible, organized campaign of lies and hatred and violence, extending to one of the gravest imaginable breaches of international law and civility: the violation of diplomatic immunity. And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary—that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage. Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let's be sure we haven't hurt the vandals' feelings.

And I refer you to my previous comments on the craven, stinking, rotten, racist, etc. cowards at the Virginian Pilot.

Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot Virginian Pilot

Those Dirty Rats

Hear about that scare story in the NY Times about the dangers of Aspertame sweetner? The study has come under scrutiny because some of the results are implausible. Here is the conclusion of the analysis by Duane Freese:

Here's what's even stranger: the rats with the highest survival rates at 104 and 120 weeks, at 55% and about 29% respectively, were the rats that ate the most aspartame – the equivalent of 1,750 cans of diet soda a day. And the longest living rat of all consumed the equivalent of 175 cans a day. In short, the control rats died first; the heavy aspartame consumers lived longest.

Looks like if you want to increase your odds of living a long life, be prepared to burp.

Penn State’s black hole of tolerance

Mike Adams writes an open letter to the President of Penn State University about its "tolerance" policies. And why Penn State is being sued.

Read the whole thing.

I'm conservative...and happy

George Will on why Conservatives are happier than liberals.

Why go the F-word network??

Larry Elder on Cheney's decision to be interviewed by Brit Hume of Fox News:

This incident became a perfect storm for all that the mainstream media dislikes about the Bush administration -- tax cuts, the war, his alleged secrecy, tax cuts, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, the Katrina response, tax cuts, Justices Alito and Roberts, his home state of Texas (where they have the death penalty), tax cuts, his walk, his pronunciation of the word "nuclear," and tax cuts.

Uh-oh. CNN's Jack Cafferty said, "It didn't exactly represent a profile in courage for the vice president to wander over there to the 'f-word' network for a sit down with Brit Hume. I mean that's a little like Bonnie interviewing Clyde, ain't it? I mean, where was the news conference? Where was the access to all of the members of the media? Whatever.
. . . I mean, you talk about facing a safe haven. He's not going to get any high hard ones from anybody at the 'f-word' network, I think we know that."

Yes, the same Cafferty, who, during Katrina, said, "Despite the many angles of this tragedy, and Lord knows there've been a lot of 'em in New Orleans, there is a great big elephant in the living room that the media seems content to ignore -- that would be, until now. . . . [W]e in the media are ignoring the fact that almost all of the victims in New Orleans are black and poor."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Larry Summers, x-President of Harvard

We learn more by failure than we do by success.

Larry Summers' ouster as Harvard President as the result of faculty pressure is instructive on several levels.

It instructs us that even (or perhaps especially) at elite institutions, dissent from orthodoxy is not tolerated.

It instructs us that caving in to pressure does not solve your problems, it only encourages your opponents.

Excerpt from Dr. Sanity (read the whole thing):

In the history of academia, I don't think anyone has ever come closer to voluntary castration for the cause of radical feminism.

And look where it got him. As I have stated before, bullies --no matter what their gender or religion--only thrive on appeasement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

David Gregory: I Revoke My Proxy

The MSM is too easy to ridicule:

Apparently, communicating promptly with the Corpus Christi newspaper is considered "secretive" by the Washington press corps. I would have thought NBC News had ways of picking up news from other newspapers and the Internet. Of course, when you are the proxy for the American people, you ought to be notified by the news makers prior to notifying the peasant newspapers in the hinterlands. It may be that the vice president's staff was negligent in not knowing that David Gregory is the proxy of the American people. I didn't know that, but then I live in Texas and have a parochial view of things. All things considered, it is remarkable that I found out about this shooting as soon as I did. Maybe part of the problem is that Mr. Gregory spends too much time keeping the lines open for those that he really is a proxy for-liberal Democrats, the "beautiful and smart" opinion leaders in Hollywood, the academic community and the mainstream media.

To carry out your duties as "proxy for the American people", you really need to do a better job of representing our views, Mr. Gregory. Listening to David Gregory and Maureen Dowd on "Meet the Press", I came away with a better understanding as to why this hunting accident was such a significant national event and emblematic of everything wrong with the Bush administration (why stop there, it is probably equally emblematic of the ills of conservatism in general?). Mr. Gregory explained that "the vice president of the United States accidentally shot a man for the first time since Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton." Now I am only a narrow-minded Texan, but I always looked at people who fought duels intending to kill their opponent differently than friends bird hunting, whose malice aforethought was directed only towards the birds. I guess at the higher levels of the Washington press corps, the mind works much differently.

NASA's James Hansen Compares US Government to Nazis

The American Enterprise Institute discusses the global warming debate and finds that people who are skeptical of global warming are being labeled as Nazis. One scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, who landed in the headlines recently when he complained of political pressure, “compared having a Bush political appointee listen in on his media phone calls--an obnoxious but routine practice in the federal government--to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, eliciting rapturous applause from an audience in New York. And Hansen wonders why people call him an alarmist.”

That got me thinking. As a “financial advisor” for a major global investment firm I am not allowed to make public statements that have not received prior approval by our compliance department. Does that mean that I am living in Bergen Belsen or the Gulag?

As someone born in World War 2 Europe, I think that the Hitler and Stalin’s minions were a touch more repressive than that. In fact, to claim what Hansen is claiming is virtually holocaust denial. And you can get jail time in Austria for that.

The MSM on the War: Sniping From The Sidelines; Taking No Responsibility.

From Faces from the Front we get this useful reminder of the fact that "reality" is somewhat different in the U.S. (behind a computer screen or on a newpaper office) and Iraq.

On Paper, 8,000 Miles Away, Without Responsibility, The Opinions are Easy

An Open Letter to Kevin Drum, Jane Mayer,

Have you ever seen a man turned to mush? A man with a wife and kids. An educated man who spoke several languages. A man who long knew the leader of his country was vicious and who joined the enemies of the leader. A man in his 40s who voted in his first election only a few months before?

It is easy to opine about abuse and torture and rules of engagement on paper, thousands of miles away from the crack of an AK or the bone jarring concussion from a shaped charge or when you have never looked into the eyes of a terrorist who has sawed the head off another human.

Have you ever stood on a narrow ribbon of asphalt on a 110 degree day in Al Anbar?

Have you ever seen your roomate bleeding out on that narrow ribbon of asphalt? Then minutes later, finding the man who detonated the bomb hiding in a building filled with South African tank rounds and pagers?What would you do if you had?

I had the honor of spending 5 months in Iraq with a platoon of infantry Marines and going with them outside the wire on dozens of missions.

They faced these situations. It was not an intellectual or bureaucratic exercise. The bullets, shrapnel and blood were real. The timeline from observation to action not days, or months or even minutes, but mere fractions of a second.

Have you faced these situations? I have and know more who have seen worse.

When I watched 'Ali', an Iraqi national working with the Marines, being pulled out of a smoking humvee, his body charred and limbs hanging by threads the world changed for me. For if the bomb had gone off a minute earlier, it would have been me they pulled out of that smoldering humvee. My limbs would have been dangling. And the Marines would have seen me turned into mush.

You see, it is easy condemn extremely tough interrogation techniques, rough handling of detainees and use of force exceeding the rules of engagement from 8,000 miles away where your decisions hold no weight and the responsibility for your decisions affect no lives.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, February 20, 2006


How often must it be said that the members of the media are rank coward and despicable hypocrites. Having a conniption fit about being scooped by a small Texas paper is now considered standing up to “the man.” Cringing in fear and failing in your duty to inform your readers about the infamous 12 cartoons is now called an exercise in “good taste.” Bullcrap. The media are a bunch of self important lying bigots and cowardly weasels. Can I make it any clearer?

Here is Mark Steyn: Given that the media’s spent the last two weeks telling the public why they don’t need to see these Danish cartoons, it’s hard to take them seriously as sudden converts to the public’s right to know every detail, if only when it comes to minor hunting accidents.

The Legacy media has long been an object of derision to me. But until now I really did not think that these lickspittle bastards were rank cowards. I was wrong about that. They are.

Democrats Call Iraq War Veterans Un-American

Via Powerline we learn that Democrats have called Lt. Col. Bob Stephenson and the other veterans supporting the mission in Iraq as "un-American."

The Democratic Party has undertaken a campaign to suppress two advertisements giving voice to the sentiments of Iraq war veterans and Gold Star Families who support the war.

The two advertisements can be viewed here.

JOHN adds: To my knowledge, not a single Democratic office-holder, in Minnesota or elsewhere, has disassociated himself from the Minnesota Democratic Party's position that it is "un-American" to support our government's policies in Iraq, and that expressions of such support should be banned from the airways.

Mark Steyn: Cheering tidbits lighten otherwise grim week

In an otherwise grim week -- at least on unimportant peripheral matters like Iranian nukes -- three things cheered me up. The first was the decision of Iran's bakers to rename Danish pastries "Roses of the Prophet Muhammed pastries.'' Has a ring to it, don't you think? If they're looking for a slogan, how about "Iranian pastry: There's nothing flakier. Except our president."

The second cheery sight was the destruction of a McDonald's in Lahore by the usual excitable young lads from the religion of pieces. Apparently the lively Pakistanis had burned every single Danish target in the city -- one early Victor Borge LP left behind by the last British governor -- and had been obliged to diversify. So they dragged Ronald McDonald out of the joint, torched him in the street and danced around his flaming remains shouting "Death to America! Death to Britain! Death to Tony Blair!"

I'm not sure I even get that. Ronald and Tony seem kind of similar from a distance but even on the all-infidels-look-alike-to-me-especially-when-they're-alight thesis you'd think they weren't that easily confused.
The third jolly event of the week was those other excitable fellows -- the Big Media White House reporters -- jumping up and down shouting "Death to Dick Cheney!" NBC's David Gregory, the George Clooney of the press corps, was yelling truth to power about why the Elmer-Fudd-in-gun-rampage story was released to "a local Corpus Christi newspaper, not the White House press corps at large.'' I know how he feels. I remember, like, four or five years ago -- early September, maybe second week -- there was this building collapse in New York and I had to learn about it from the TV because this notoriously secretive paranoid administration couldn't even e-mail me a timely press release. For an NBC guy discovering that some hicksville nowhere-burg one-stop-light feed-price sheet got tipped off before he did is like a dowager duchess turning up at the royal banquet to discover the scullery maid's been seated next to the queen.

So anyway David Gregory's going bananas and yelling "I will yell!" and "Don't be a jerk!" at the White House press secretary, and there's more smoke coming out of his ears than from Ronald McDonald in Lahore, and I'm thinking, you know, maybe Karl's latest range of Rovebots that he planted in American media corporations are just a wee bit too parodically self-absorbed to be plausible. And then this lady pipes up and asks, "Would this be much more serious if the man had died?"
Well, maybe. And maybe it would be even ever so much more serious still if, after peppering him with birdshot, Cheney had dragged him into a safe house in the Sunni Triangle and decapitated him with a rusty scimitar while shouting "Allahu Ahkbar!" and then sold the video to al-Jazeera.

Fortunately, the Washington Post had that wise old bird David Ignatius to put it in the proper historical context: "This incident," he mused, "reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy's delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969."

Hmm. Let's see. On the one hand, the guy leaves the gal at the bottom of the river struggling for breath pressed up against the window in some small air pocket while he pulls himself out of the briny, staggers home, sleeps it off and saunters in to inform the cops the following day that, oh yeah, there was some broad down there. And, on the other hand, the guy calls 911, has the other fellow taken to the hospital, lets the sheriff know promptly but neglects to fax David Gregory's make-up girl!
One can only hope others agree with Ignatius' insightful analogy, and that the reprehensible Cheney will be hounded from public life the way Kennedy was all those years ago. One would hate to think folks would just let it slide and three decades from now this Cheney guy will be sitting on some committee picking Supreme Court justices and whatnot.

Meanwhile, from Malaysia to Jordan to Scandinavia, it was a bad week for journalists increasingly constrained -- not to mention fired and otherwise humiliated -- in their ability to cover the big story of our time.

If I had to pick a single moment to contrast with the hilariously parochial narcissist buffoons of the Washington press, it would be another press conference in another government building, this time in Oslo, called by Norway's minister of labor. Surrounded by cabinet ministers and a phalanx of imams, Velbjorn Selbekk, the editor of an obscure Christian publication called Magazinet, issued an abject public apology for reprinting the Danish Muhammed cartoons. He had initially stood firm in the face of Muslim death threats and the usual lack of support from Europe's political class, but in the end Mr. Selbekk was prevailed upon to recant and the head of Norway's Islamic Council, Mohammed Hamdan, graciously accepted the apology and assured the prostrate editor that he was now under his personal protection. As the American author Bruce Bawer commented, "It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom."

In Canada, by contrast, the Western Standard (for which I also write) stood firm in its decision to publish the cartoons, and as a result is suffering legal harassment from Muslim lobby groups and has been banned from both Air Canada and two of the country's leading bookstore chains, Indigo-Chapters and McNally Robinson. Paul McNally of the latter defended his action this way: "We feel there is nothing to gain on the side of freedom of expression and much to lose on the side of hurting feelings." Not exactly Voltaire, is it? "I disagree strongly with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it as long as it doesn't hurt anybody's feelings." Maybe it could be Canada's new national motto.

It's easy to be tough about nothing. The press corps that noisily champions "the public's right to know" about a minor hunting accident simultaneously assures the public that they've no need to see these Danish cartoons that have caused riots, arson and death around the world. On CNN, out of "sensitivity" to Islam, they show the cartoons but with the Prophet's face pixilated so that he looks as if Cheney's ventilated him with birdshot and it turned puffy and gangrenous. C'mon, guys, these are interesting times. Anyone can unload the umpteenth round of blanks into the bulletproof Chimpy Hallibushitler, but why not take a shot at something that matters?

Or perhaps it would just be easier to change the term ''free press'' to the ''Roses of the Prophet Muhammed press.''

Those non-existent WMDs

In the beginning of the tape, Saddam says terrorist attacks are coming to the US but they won’t be from Iraq. Tariq Aziz then tells him that it would not be hard to set off a nuclear, chemical or bio weapon in Washington, but that it was not necessary for a state to do it. There is then some discussion to the effect that anyone could easily do such a thing and it could be argued, says ABC’s Ross, that this could be interpreted as Saddam saying he fears Iraq would be blamed for such an attack. The second part of the tape includes discussion about how quickly Iraq could reconstitute their WMD capability. Duelfer was interviewed for the piece and he said it does not prove that Iraq had WMD, but it shows that Saddam was a master of deception with the intention of acquiring and using WMD. The ABC story linked above gives many quotes from the piece. It is quite interesting.

In my opinion, when these tapes are added to the information we were getting from everywhere that Saddam had WMD and the intent to use it, it makes it difficult for me to imagine how any reasonable person could have ignored the threat Saddam posed. ]

The Media’s Partisan “Domestic Spying” Fight

Brent Bozell on the Media and NSA intercepts:

The debate over the propriety of intelligence-gathering by the Bush administration is complicated, and the programs themselves can lose their secrecy (and effectiveness) the more they are debated. The media aren’t monitoring the debate. They started the fight by blowing the lid off the NSA activity in the New York Times, and they’re pushing the fight day and night, clearly coming down against Bush, that arrogantly unconstitutional rogue.

When given a choice between more information about our intelligence-gathering methods and less safety, or less information about our intelligence-gathering and more safety, which do the public choose? The public tends to prefer more safety. The media prefer more information. And the media would prefer the public believe it agrees with them, even if it has to cook a few surveys to establish that canard.

A recent CBS News/New York Times poll brilliantly illlustrated how the public shifts sides on this question depending on how the question is framed. First question: “In order to reduce the threat of terrorism, would you be willing or not willing to allow government agencies to monitor the telephone calls and e-mails of ordinary Americans on a regular basis?”
“Ordinary Americans”?!? The only Americans being tapped would be those suspected of helping wage war on America – hardly “ordinary Americans.” Who could support secret government surveillance of ordinary Americans? It’s not surprising that this idea was rejected: 70 percent say they’re not willing to allow that, and only 28 percent say yes.
Then the CBS/Times pollsters changed the wording to be much more precise in who is being monitored: "In order to reduce the threat of terrorism, would you be willing or not willing to allow government agencies to monitor the telephone calls and e-mails of Americans that the government is suspicious of?" When the targets are suspected terrorists or sympathizers, the poll numbers completely flipped: 68 percent support monitoring them, and only 29 percent say no.

Now consider that according to the CBS/New York Times pollsters, President Bush has a 42 percent job approval rating, and a 52 percent approval rating in fighting terrorism. It’s shocking to see that almost 70 percent – including a big chunk of people who aren’t wild about Bush -- support keeping electronic tabs on our enemies.

It’s also somewhat shocking that our supposed accuracy-lauding media have preferred the first, more inaccurate phrasing – spying on “ordinary Americans” – over the second phrasing about terrorist suspects. In an eye-opening study of the 69 stories on the last seven weeks of ABC, CBS, and NBC evening-news coverage, Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center found that the TV reporters described who was being monitored.
Most correspondents in those stories portrayed the NSA as casting a wide net, targeting “Americans” or “U.S. citizens” (53, or 40 percent), or used terms such as “domestic” or “communications inside the U.S.” (60, or 45 percent). ABC's Dan Harris even began on December 24 by hyping “the spying was much more widespread, with millions of calls and e-mails tracked — perhaps even yours.”

Perhaps – if you’ve got al-Qaeda on your cell-phone’s speed-dial.
By contrast, only about a sixth of these descriptions (21, or 16 percent) stated that the government was focused on persons contacting suspected terrorists (12) or the suspected terrorists themselves (nine). For example, NBC's Pete Williams described monitoring of “suspected al-Qaeda members” on December 29.

There are more findings. Fully 83 percent of network stories suggested the NSA program was illegal, or legally questionable. Reporters framed the story as the government violating “civil liberties” in 42 percent of stories, but the NSA program’s role in the war on terror surfaced in only seven stories (ten percent). The supposed nonpartisan legal experts quoted on the ethics or legality of the NSA program were a slanted cast: 30 (or 56 percent) condemned the program, while only four (seven percent) found the program justifiable, an eight-to-one disparity.
One aspect of the story was almost completely ignored by TV reporters: the leak of classified information to the New York Times. Only five network stories focused on the leak probe, and those five mostly painted it as an act of retribution from an enraged Bush administration. And you certainly couldn’t expect a New York Times poll on the propriety of the New York Times.

In April of 1995, after the Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton called for more agents to investigate domestic terror suspects, and more power to infiltrate terrorist plots and examine suspects’ “phone, hotel, and credit card records,” as CBS explained at the time. CBS didn’t shriek about “domestic spying” or commission a poll then questioning Clinton’s commitment to civil liberties. They noted Clinton’s handling of Oklahoma City “sent his approval ratings soaring.”

This story is extremely politicized. Americans can’t trust a liberal media, so partisan in this debate, to tell it to them straight.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Three Incidents....

From the Belmont Club ... (read the whole thing)

The French aircraft carrier Clemenceau is classified as industrial waste.

The University of Washington declines to honor Lt Col Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.

San Francisco rejects the battleship Iowa because "Iowa was an instrument of war."

The Spoiled Brat Media

Right to know? Bah, the media will tell us what it wants us to know, and "deep six" what it does not want us to know. Along with physical cowardice (they have still not shown the 12 cartoons of Mohammad for fear of physical reprisal) they are bloviating bastards.

Thomas Sowell has it right when he says:

An off-duty incident in Dick Cheney's private life has been hyped in the media as if it had some real significance for more than a quarter of a billion Americans.

The media want to know when was President Bush informed about this incident? What did the White House press secretary know and when did he know it?

The people who mattered -- doctors and local law enforcement -- were informed immediately about the hunting accident. What was President Bush supposed to do -- other than provide the media with something to print or broadcast?

The media are so full of themselves -- among other things that they are full of -- that they act as if the government exists to provide them with something to publicize. The time is long overdue to put these people in their place. Where is Margaret Tutwiler when we need her?

The New York Times informs us solemnly that, if Mr. Whittington dies, there will be a grand jury investigation.

If Mr. Whittington is so uncooperative as not to die, there will be much disappointment and frustration in Beltway media circles.

Thanks to the alternative media, the "Old Media" are now in the process of self-destructing in public. Watching David Gregory is like coming up on some brain damaged, alcohol addled derelict shouting as he shambles along the street. It is both fascinating and repellent. Yet no media pundit has come close to realizing what has happened. The consensus is that, by delaying the announcement, Dick Cheney has injured himself; committed a political error. Au contraire!Karl Rove could not have done a better job of helping them act crazy in front of the American public if he had told Dick Chaney to shoot his friend deliberately.

Could it have been a Rovian plot? The very thought brings a smile to my face.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Owning the Issue

Today's Day By Day cartoon, by the excellent Chris Muir, exhibits a characteristic conceit of the Left. Please have a look at it, and at yesterday's cartoon as well, before continuing on here.

What does it mean for a political posture to claim to "own" an issue?

That others of different convictions have nothing valid to say on the matter.
That others of different convictions lack either the acknowledged expertise or the "moral authority" required to speak on the matter.
That debate is over; anything said contrary to the "official" position of the "owner" may be dismissed without analysis or consideration.
All of these things are directly implied by the "ownership" claim. Other things follow as well -- the "differential rectitude" of the "owners," for example -- but for the purposes of this tirade, the three above will suffice.

First, imagine the probable response from the Left were the Right to claim to "own" any of these issues:

National security and military preparedness;
Foreign policy and the maintenance of specific alliances and relationships;
Fairness in taxation;
Effective education;
The proper division of authority among the branches of the federal government;
The proper division of authority between Washington and the state governments;
The Constitution's limitations of the powers of government.

Eternity Road has a Good Idea

The World Wide Web has matured just in the nick of time. The American news-consumer can no longer afford to have his information flow throttled by persons who place more importance on swaying him than on informing him. And "throttling" is just what many of our Old Media barons have in mind for us, as witness the near-absolute unwillingness among American newspapers and television broadcasters to show the twelve Jyllands-Posten cartoons over which millions of Muslims are beside themselves with shari'a-induced rage.

Hm, your Curmudgeon just had an idea. How about a trade? If the editors of the major American newspapers and television news bureaus will all agree to display the Jyllands-Posten cartoons prominently and at once, with a complete explanation of their context, the distortions spread about them, and the riots over them, then Vice-President Cheney will agree to make informing them his very first priority, the next time he shoots someone.

UW Declares "Pappy Boyington" a Rich White Male; Declines Honor


Gregory Pappy Boyington...graduate of the Univeristy of Washington (went to High School in Tacoma), winner of the medal of honor, shot down 28 enemy aircraft, was a prisoner of war for 20 months, and apparently does not - according to the student senate - deserve a memorial on campus. Apparently we are told that he "is not the type of person we want to honor" and some even went so far as to liken his duty in WW2 to murder. One of the biggest antagonists of the proposal was apparently the leader of the student Democratic Party. How sad.

This issue is particularly interesting to me because I personally knew Pappy Boyington, not so much as a friend, but as a regular visitor to the Chino Air Museum and Air Show. I met him on numerous occassions and thoroughly enjoyed his willingness to tell me stories about his experiences - and I must say it was HEAVEN to this young man who'd rather feel his way around a restored Corsair than hang out at the mall with his contemporaries.

Read the whole thing.

Here are the minutes of the UW Senate meeting which decided that Boyington was unworthy of these cretins' respect. I'm sure the Virginian Pilot editorial board would approve.

That Courageous Press (Thanks Virginian Pilot)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Steyn on Toon-Deaf Europe ... And the Virginian Pilot.

Toon-deaf Europe is taking the wrong stand
February 12, 2006

From Europe's biggest-selling newspaper, the Sun: ''Furious Muslims have blasted adult shop [i.e., sex shop] Ann Summers for selling a blowup male doll called Mustafa Shag."

Not literally "blasted" in the Danish Embassy sense, or at least not yet. Quite how Britain's Muslim Association found out about Mustafa Shag in order to be offended by him is not clear. It may be that there was some confusion: given that "blowup males" are one of Islam's leading exports, perhaps some believers went along expecting to find Ahmed and Walid modeling the new line of Semtex belts. Instead, they were confronted by just another filthy infidel sex gag. The Muslim Association's complaint, needless to say, is that the sex toy "insults the Prophet Muhammad -- who also has the title al-Mustapha.''

In a world in which Danish cartoons insult the prophet and Disney Piglet mugs insult the prophet and Burger King chocolate ice-cream swirl designs insult the prophet, maybe it would just be easier to make a list of things that don't insult him. Nonetheless, the Muslim Association wrote to the Ann Summers sex-shop chain, "We are asking you to have our Most Revered Prophet's name 'Mustafa' and the afflicted word 'shag' removed."

If I were a Muslim, I'd be "hurt" and "humiliated" that the revered prophet's name is given not to latex blowup males but to so many real blowup males: The leader of the 9/11 plotters? Mohammed Atta. The British Muslim who self-detonated in a Tel Aviv bar? Asif Mohammed Hanif. The gunman who shot up the El Al counter at LAX? Heshamed Mohamed Hedayet. The former U.S. Army sergeant who masterminded the slaughter at the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania? Ali Mohamed. The murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh? Mohammed Bouyeri. The notorious Sydney gang rapist? Mohammed Skaf. The Washington sniper? John Allen Muhammed. If I were a Muslim, I would be deeply offended that the prophet's name is the preferred appellation of so many killers and suicide bombers on every corner of the earth.


The "Mustafa" template is one of the most revered in the English music-hall tradition: "I've been reading the latest scholarly monograph -- 'Sexual Practices of the Middle East by Mustapha Camel.'


…it was NBC who back in the '70s used to have every sitcom joke about homosexuality vetted by a gay dentist in New Jersey. Apprised of this at a conference on censorship, the producer of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" remarked, "You mean there really is a tooth fairy?" [Hah!]


The issue is not "freedom of speech" or "the responsibilities of the press" or "sensitivity to certain cultures." The issue, as it has been in all these loony tune controversies going back to the Salman Rushdie fatwa, is the point at which a free society musters the will to stand up to thugs. British Muslims march through the streets waving placards reading "BEHEAD THE ENEMIES OF ISLAM." If they mean that, bring it on. As my columnar confrere John O'Sullivan argued, we might as well fight in the first ditch as the last.

But then it's patiently explained to us for the umpteenth time that they're not representative, that there are many many "moderate Muslims.''

I believe that. I've met plenty of "moderate Muslims" in Jordan and Iraq and the Gulf states. But, as a reader wrote to me a year or two back, in Europe and North America they aren't so much "moderate Muslims" as quiescent Muslims. The few who do speak out wind up living in hiding or under 24-hour armed guard, like Dutch MP Ayaab Hirsi Ali.

So when the EU and the BBC and the New York Times [and the Virginian Pilot] say that we too need to be more "sensitive" to those fellows with "Behead the enemies of Islam" banners, they should look in the mirror: They're turning into "moderate Muslims," and likely to wind up as cowed and silenced and invisible.



The Traveling Imams

CQ reader Peter A in Denmark sends a translation of a new Jyllands-Posten article that delves into the origins of the Cartoon Wars that have raged around the world for the past two weeks. The true reasons for the manufactured outrage turn out to have more connection to other Danish actions than just the cartoons. The proper context shows that the Muslims in Denmark and elsewhere have much more of an agenda than simply protecting the Prophet from satire and their religious sensibilities from criticism. Be sure to read it all.

Read the whole thing. It ends:

So it isn't just a case of a few supposedly inflammatory cartoons appearing in Jyllands-Posten that set this off. This has been a deliberate provocation by Danish Muslims to inflame Islam against Denmark specifically and the West in general -- and it would have happened eventually even without the cartoons.

Mark Steyn on Blue Helmet Rape

Mark Steyn makes a few great points about the UN and its peacekeeping mission. You know; the ones where the troops rape women and girls as young as four.

When in Rome, do as the Visigoths do

Read the whole thing:

But systemic UN child sex in at least 50 per cent of their missions? The transnational morality set can barely stifle their yawns. If you're going to rape prepubescent girls, make sure you're wearing a blue helmet.

And at least the Pentagon put a stop to Abu Ghraib. As a UN official in Congo told the Telegraph yesterday: "The crux of the problem is that if the UN gets bolshie with these governments then they stop providing the UN with troops and staff."

And the problem with that is?

In Congo, the UN has now forbidden all contact between its forces and the natives. The rest of the world should be so lucky.

Mayor of Tall 'Afar Salutes 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Meanwhile David Gregory Whines.

Elements of the MSM, led by the ridiculous David Gregory of NBC, are working themselves into a fever pitch over the hunting accident involving Vice President Cheney. When they are whining about not being told about the accident for several hours, something else was happening.

Here is a story you won't find David Gregory covering any time soon. It's not part of the way the media covers Iraq.

From the Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Iraq:

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.
The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.

Mayor of Tall 'Afar, Ninewa, Iraq

Virginian Pilot Defends Censorship; Marvin Lake does Stepin Fetchit

The Virginian Pilot must have received several letters and e-mails about it’s failure to publish the famous 12 cartoons of Mohammad. And they have come out with an explanation via it’s “ Public Editor” a certain Marvin Lake.

Before Marvin begins his explanation he launches into a complaint that he has been the recipient of an e-mail campaign on this issue. My response to Marvin is, get used to it. E-mails are easy to forward and their volume is an indication that people are interested in the subject. I should add that receiving an e-mail is not nearly as attention-getting as receiving a bomb threat, or actually being bombed; this being the difference between people who care about a free press and those who wish to abort any negative portrayal of Mohammad.

Marvin begins:

The cartoons — actually a series of 12 — first appeared in September in the conservative Danish daily, Jyllands-Posten.

[Note the adjective: “conservative.” We are rarely treated to descriptive adjectives when referring to – for example the New York Times, the unofficial organ of the Liberal wing of the Democratic party]

They showed the founder of Islam, among other things, wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, and, in another, standing at heaven’s gates, arms raised, saying to what appears to be suicide bombers, “Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins.”

[Note that there were 12 drawings but Marvin describes two of them. Why? What do the other 10 depict?]

The drawings were considered by Muslims to be a violation of a protocol not to print any images of Muhammad, much less those of this nature. The drawings — and their subsequent reprinting in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere abroad — sparked violent protests, deaths and threats.

[Well, actually they are not and they did not. Images of Mohammad are available in Islamic countries, even those ruled by Islamic clergy, like Iran. And the drawings appeared in the Jyllands-Posten four months before the riots began and were even published in an Egyptian newspaper without any rioting. So Marvin’s recitation of facts and opinions is wrong.]

Overwhelmingly, the American print media have refused to publish the offending cartoons, choosing instead to describe them.

[Actually this is not true either. As Marvin has demonstrated in his description of the cartoons, he characterizes two of them and ignores the rest. There is a reason for this. For anyone who has gone to the internet to view the cartoons, the worst than can be said of some is that some are mildly offensive if you are very easily offended and most are not offensive at all. But since the Virginian Pilot refuses to print the images, we have no way to make an independent judgment unless we go to the Internet.]

Ditto for the broadcast media, although ABC did show one of the cartoons during an evening news broadcast, and other networks have shown a blurred version of one or a fragment of a full cartoon.

[This contrasts shockingly with the media’s treatment of the Abu Ghraib pictures. They could not get enough of these images.]

The Pilot has not published the cartoons in its news section or on the editorial page.
Would we? I’ve learned to never say never. So the answer is: Probably not — at this point.

[So far we have gotten a distorted description of what happened and we are then told we can’t see the pictures in the Virginian Pilot. No reasons for this have so far been advanced.]

I know that answer may rile some readers. Like Michael Riley of South Mills, N.C., who e-mailed us that The Pilot, over the years, “has printed numerous cartoons offensive to Christians and even a few offensive to the Jewish religion.” He wanted to know if the American media’s treatment of the offending cartoons amounts to “a double standard or fear,” adding that the matter raises credibility issues.

[Please note that Marvin does not respond to this accusation. Perhaps because there is no response that would not bring derisive laughter.]

Pilot editor Denis Finley says he would publish the cartoons “if the right circumstances compelled me to do so.”

For instance? “One,” he said, “would be that it hits closer to home ... What if a business owner displayed them in his or her shop and the shop was torched? I think I would run them. Right now, they are more the topic of intellectual discussion in this country.”

[Let’s see, embassies burned, people killed, riots in European capitals, an American base attacked by an angry mob, but Denis Finley wants to wait until a local shop is torched before he’ll print the pictures? For this he gets paid the big bucks to make these kind of news judgments. Of course this is not the real reason. This is not the reason the entire American media has “spiked” these cartoons. This is so lame, it doesn’t pass the smell test.]

“The best day to publish would have been the first day of the story, but at that time I don’t think we understood how big this story would become,” Finley said. “To publish them on the news pages now would be a little bit Johnny-Come-Lately.”

[Oh, come on Denis, by publishing now you would scoop all but the Philadelphia Inquirer. You would be ahead of the NY Times, The Washington Post, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC. Isn’t this what every hard-charging newsman wants? To be the first? Johnny-Come-lately? Hell, Denis, you would be leading the parade. Or…. Are you afraid that there won’t be a parade and then the collective wrath of CAIR and every Islamic jihadist will converge on your little piece of real estate?]

Finley, who said he doesn’t like a lot of the editorial cartoons we publish but defends our right to do so, thinks that the Muhammad cartoons “would certainly be appropriate” on The Pilot’s editorial pages. But he can’t say for sure he would have used them originally had he been the chief of the editorial page . Finley has no involvement whatsoever with the editorial page.

[But Denis, no one is asking them to be run on the editorial pages. These are NEWS! The should be published so that your readers can understand the controversy and make their own judgements.]

Editorial page editor Dennis Hartig, who said he never saw the cartoons, isn’t sure if he would have used them when they were originally produced. He does know that he “would not run them now,” he says, “because the context has changed. Given the violence and the counter reaction in Europe, to run them now would raise questions about our motives that didn’t previously exist.”

[Dennis, your motives are so transparent that it's only a question of why you are so craven: is it physical cowardice or intellectual cowardice, or a combination of both?]

On the broader question of spoofing religious institutions, Hartig said: “Generally, we avoid cartoons that ridicule the sacred. But religion isn’t off limits and it can’t be because of the role religion plays in our public life,” he said. Hartig noted that Pat Robertson, the priest sex abuse scandal, prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments monument, gay marriage and the War on Christmas have been frequent subjects of the cartoons.

The question, Hartig said, is where to draw the line. “We have to be careful that we try to avoid a cartoon that some might see as sacrilege. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we don’t. It’s a tough balancing act.”

[One wonders what cartoons Dennis Hartig rejected as an act of sacrilege. I would like just one or two examples Dennis. Just e-mail them to me or put them in the comments. Because, without proof, Dennis, I have to put your assertion in the “unlikely” column.]

It’s a balancing act that applies to more than just religious topics, says Hartig, noting that The Pilot did not use a recent controversial editorial cartoon about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a bedridden figure with no arms or legs “out of concern that it would be misunderstood in our heavily military community.” Rumsfeld, while not off limits, “has not gotten any free passes from our cartoonists on the left or right,” Hartig adds.

Individuals who wish to see the cartoons can find them on the Internet. Indeed, some free-speech advocates and others have lobbied the U.S. media, largely unsuccessfully, for Web site postings to allow readers to see the cartoons. Like most major American newspapers, The Pilot has chosen not to post the cartoons, nor to provide a Web site for finding them.

[One more reason that the newspaper industry is dying while the internet is replacing it as the source of news and information for a large and growing segment of the public.]

Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, National Public Radio’s ombudsman, wrote last week: “In the United States, the war in Iraq has already exacerbated tensions between Americans and the Muslim World. Posting a cartoon might be seen as throwing more kerosene on a fire that is already out of control.”

The same can be said for printing the cartoons at this point.

[So there you have it. We are not printing these cartoons because we do not want to inflame the Muslim world. We will print pictures of Abu Ghraib and keep that controversy boiling. We will print articles about pissing on the Koran and keep that controversy boiling. We will tell the Arabs that we are torturing their people and keep that controversy boiling. But … we … won’t … show … our … readers … the … 12 … cartoons. Because we don’t want to cause any more controversy with our Islamic brethren. Oh, wait. Here’s the headline in the February 12th edition:

Video allegedly shows Iraqis being beaten by British soldiers.

Nah, that won’t inflame the Muslim world.]


Oh, that beating by the Brits? Happened two years ago. If we're lucky the Pilot will post the images of Muhammad sometime in 2008.


Here's what really happened to cause the Moslem riots. It really wasn't the 12 cartoons, although they played a part.