Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Ethics Group Says Constitutional Issue on William Jefferson Raid is Smokescreen for Political Interference in Criminal Investigations
Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today made the following statement regarding the Constitutional issues raised by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others regarding the FBI raid on the Congressional office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.):
There is no Constitutional issue involved. The Speech and Debate clause of the constitution covers statements made on the House floor itself, and even that clause includes a specific exception for crimes. Members of Congress are not above the law. Their offices are not immune from search by law enforcement officials executing valid warrants. Hastert and Pelosi have advanced this notion that there is some Constitutional problem in bad faith.
House leaders cannot come together to deal with the actual problems of the country, but when it comes to protecting corrupt members of Congress, they are united and energized. If Hastert and Pelosi want to destroy any remaining public confidence in Congress, they have picked the right issue.
In addition to the raid on William Jefferson's office, FBI agents have descended on West Virginia in recent days as part of the Alan Mollohan investigation. News reports also indicate that the FBI may be investigating Jerry Lewis, the powerful Chairman of the appropriations committee. These events, not some high- minded concern about the Constitution, have prompted the House leadership to act.
This political interference in a criminal probe is outrageous. House leaders should have never gotten involved and the administration should not have agreed to seal the records for 45 days. The American people side with the prosecutors and FBI agents who are trying to get to the bottom of all the corruption on Capitol Hill.
This issue may well lead to an investigation of Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi.
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.
Deterrence works because one is able credibly to threaten the center of gravity of the enemy: the threat of inflicting unacceptable losses upon him, whether in a bar brawl or in nuclear escalation. The calculus deterrence relies upon is: is it worth it? Is the Price/Earning Ratio of the contemplated action so hugely negative that it would wipe out the capital? Deterrence works if the price to be paid by the party to be deterred hugely exceeds his expected earnings. But deterrence only works if the enemy is able and willing to enter the same calculus. If the enemy plays by other rules and calculates by other means, he will not be deterred. There was nothing the Philistines could have done to deter Samson. If the calculus is: I exchange my worthless earthly life against the triumph of Allah on earth, and an eternity of bliss for me, if the enemy wishes to be dead, if to him the Apocalypse is desirable, he will not be deterred.
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the Mayor of Tehran, he insistently proposed that the main thoroughfares of Tehran should be widened so that, he explained, on the day of his reappearance, the Hidden Imam, Mohamed ibn Hassan, who went into the great occultation in 941 AD could tread spacious avenues. More recently, he told the Indian Foreign Minister that “in two years, everything will be settled,” which the visiting dignitary at first mistook to mean that Iran expected to possess nuclear weapons in two years; he was later bemused to learn what Ahmadinejad had meant, to wit, that the Mahdi ould appear in two years, at which points all worldly problems would disappear.
This attitude, truly, is not new, nor should it surprise us: religious notions and their estranged cousins, ideological representations, determine not only their believers’ beliefs but also their believers’ actions. Reality, as it were, is invaded by belief, and belief in turn shapes the believer’s reality. The difference between the religious and the ideologically religious is this: the religious believer accepts that reality is a given, whereas the fanatic gambles everything on a pseudo-reality of what ought to be. The religious believer accepts reality and works at improving it, the fanatic rejects reality, refuses to pass any compromise with it and tries to destroy it and replace it with his fantasy.
As Pat Moynihan memorably told an opponent, “you are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to your facts.” Ahmadjinedi inhabits his beliefs rather than the common earth. With him we do not share the same facts, even though we share a planet. The sharing takes the form of bombs and bullets.
The Record reports that Derek Vaught's congressman, Mike Espy, rose on the floor to give a tribute to the lad's karate skills. "I thought it was pretty awesome," Vaught said.
The Record says a congressman rose to pay tribute to rock singer Ted Nugent for being "as good with a bow and arrow as he is with a guitar."
The Record claims that a congressman said, "Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in saluting Dot Hill, who's a legend not only in her own hometown, but throughout the world." (Hill is a drum majorette.)
None of those tributes was ever made, but they're all in print, enshrined in history along with what really was said.
Or wasn't said. A congressman once got angry with a colleague and exclaimed, "You're trying to shut me off? You better not do that, ma'am. . . . Who do you think you are?"
You didn't read that in the Congressional Record. The Congressman or his staff had the Record print his comments this way: "I will say to the gentle lady for whom I have the greatest respect . . ."
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Although reasonable people may disagree on this, I think the main problem with the immigration plans offered by Bush and the Senate is this:
Most Americans saw the words "immigration reform" as meaning enforcing border security and allowing some legal guest-worker immigration. The idea, we thought, was no to increase the numbers of immigrants working in America, nor to increase the numbers of legal immigrants, but to regularize, legalize, and recognize some fraction of the immigrants working here already.
I didn't think "immigration reform" was going to be an amnesty, or a bonanza of new legal immigrant citizens, or a huge new number of legalized immigrant workers.
Bush and the Senate seem to think the only problem with illegal immigrants is that they're 1) illegal and 2) immigrants. So they have a solution-- we'll just make them all immediately legal, and in a couple of years, non-immigrant citizens.
Well, that does solve the problem, in the sense you won't have illegal immigrants anymore. You'll have legal citizen workers.
But that's not the way most of us were looking at the problem. We sort of thought the main problem was that we had too many low-skilled workers coming into America, displacing Americans who would otherwise be doing those low-skill jobs (as they historically have), and furthermore creating problems with public services, as they simply don't pay nearly enough in taxes to reach the break-even point as far as public services. I trust most conservatives understand that it's the rich who pay the lion's share of the taxes, federal and property and so forth; importing millions of people who pay little to no taxes, while having a great need of public services, just means that everyone else has to pay more.
Read the whole thing...
Victor David Hanson comments on illegal immigration (excerpt):
Zealots may chant ¡Si, se puede! all they want. And the libertarian right may dress up the need for cheap labor as a desire to remain globally competitive. But neither can disguise a cynicism about illegal immigration, one that serves to prop up a venal Mexican government, undercut the wages of our own poor and create a new apartheid of millions of aliens in our shadows.
We have the entered a new world of immigration without precedent. This current crisis is unlike the great waves of 19th-century immigration that brought thousands of Irish, Eastern Europeans and Asians to the United States. Most immigrants in the past came legally. Few could return easily across an ocean to home. Arrivals from, say, Ireland or China could not embrace the myth that our borders had crossed them rather than vice versa.
Today, almost a third of all foreign-born persons in the United States are here illegally, making up 3 to 4 percent of the American population. It is estimated that the U.S. is home to 11 or 12 million illegal aliens, whose constantly refreshed numbers ensure there is always a perpetual class of unassimilated recent illegal arrivals. Indeed almost one-tenth of Mexico's population currently lives here illegally!
What's with John Kerry and his stupid magic hat. He is still insisting that he ferried Martin Sheen up the Blue Nile river on a top secret mission to find and kill Marlon Brando. Sheen was assigned this mission because the Army brass had decided that Brando had to go due to his unacceptable weight gain and talking with cotton balls stuffed in his jowls. The generals in Saigon, capital of Cambodia, couldn't understand anything he was saying over the field telephone when he was speaking in Morse Code. For example, when Brando called to say "Merry Christmas", the generals thought they heard, "May you kiss my ass." So, they ordered the recently decorated hero John Kerry (who had shot himself in the fingernail) to ferry the notoriously bloodthirsty right-wing bigot with the idiot sons (Sheen) to the border between Laos and Tasmania to find and silence Don Vito Brando.
As proof, Kerry offers an Army/Navy Surplus Store campaign hat that he carries around in a secret magic briefcase (its secret is that it is covered in bull elephant foreskin and the magic is that, when you rub the side of the briefcase, it grows into a full-size Pullman suitcase).
"They gave me a hat," Mr. Kerry says. "I have the hat to this day," he declares, rising to pull it from his briefcase. "I have the hat."
Ok, ok, you've got the damned hat. The people listed below all were quite proud of their hats, too, and justifiably so.
Read the rest...
Monday, May 29, 2006
These days it makes me feel cheap and contemptible to think of the things I did to point out all the ways in which this country fails to achieve some fantasied perfection. I was a small part of promulgating a great wrong and a large lie for a long time, and I'm sure there's no making up for that. My chance to be worthy of the man in the photograph, the name on the wall, has long since passed and all I can do is to try, in some way, to make what small amends I can.
Remembering these long ago moments now as we linger on the cusp of the Long War, I still cannot claim to understand the deep sense of duty and the strong feeling of honor that drove men like the uncle I've never known to sacrifice themselves. Lately though, as we move deeper into the Fourth World War, I think that, at last, I can somehow dimly see the outlines of what it was. And that, for now, will have to do.
Since finding his name on the stone in 1975, I've been back to that place a number of times. I once took my daughter, Justine Van der Leun, there, but she is much more spoiled than I had been. She didn't get it, was quickly bored.
After September 11th, I made a point of going to the monument as soon as the way was cleared, sometime in 2002. It was for the last time.
But if you go the monument, you can see the name in the stone. It's not my name, but the name of man much better than most of us. It's on the far left column on the third stone in on the right side of the monument looking towards the sea. The name is usually in shadow and almost impossible to photograph.
Like most of the other names carved into the stone it's up there very high. You can see it, but you can't touch it. I don't care who you are, you're not that tall.
All week the BBC has been plugging heavily its Five Live Report on increased British Army desertions due to the Iraq war. There have been endless trailers for the investigation by BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Charles, and today BBC news carried related headlines about the dramatic rise in desertion levels in the past three years.Well, Marc at USS Neverdock has found evidence to the contrary - on the BBC’s own website. I’ve taken the relevant screencaps just in case some stealth editing occurs:
[Click the link to see screen shots of stories from today and 2000. Then see how the BBC edits the story to remove the more egregious lies.]
The BBC is still desperately trying to give the impression of increasing numbers of missing servicemen, but it’s fairly obvious that over time more of them will turn up or be tracked down. More soldiers are still missing from 2005 than 2001 because less time has passed, not because more of them are going AWOL. These figures are therefore meaningless for year by year comparison.
We need to get through a few more paragraphs to discover the relevant information, also added to the original article:
According to MoD figures 2,670 soldiers went "absent without leave" in 2001, with the figure rising to 2,970 in 2002 and falling in 2003 to 2,825. In 2004 it rose to 3,050, falling back again in 2005 to 2,725.
Which is, as the MOD says, “fairly constant”. And that pisses all over the BBC's little fire, doesn't it? No wonder Jonathan Charles is too ashamed to show his face.
The real story here, of course is that the BBC is populated by people ranging in ideology from the Far Left to the Barking Moonbat Fever Swamp Left. That is why the story implies that desertions from the British Army are the result of the war in Iraq.
What is telling is that the BBC has been forced to edit its own propaganda by the pajamas media. They are convicted with their own words, and nothing will ever be the same again.
The Telegraph, another British newspaper, has reprinted the BBC fable. This is why when the Virginian Pilot reprints a story from the NY Times or some other “Drive By Media” publication, it’s so often wrong.
(Speaking of the fallen:)
Your loved ones' lives had what we all want: meaning. The knowledge you were doing something big for others. That is EVERYTHING in life.
Wall Street does not have it. Hollywood does not have it. They're just in it for the fame and the money.
Your loved ones were in it for unselfishness, for kindness, for love of one's fellow man. There is no higher meaning on this earth.
The media try to rob your husbands' and wives' and kids' lives of meaning saying this war is not about anything.
They're wrong and they say what they say because they don't see the truth. They print a story on the front page about Marines killing civilians in a town in Iraq and if they did, it was wrong. But the big media never report a MARINE throwing himself on a bomb to protect an Iraqi child, or a Marine giving his life to rid a town of murderers or a Marine or an Army man or woman or a Navy Seal or a Coast Guardsman offering up his life so that Iraqi human beings can have the same freedoms and rights we take for granted here in America.
The media are like grave robbers, robbing you of the certain knowledge that your spouses gave their lives for something deeply worthwhile: human dignity.
Your loved ones' lives and deaths had as much meaning at the lives and deaths of every American who died for freedom from Valley Forge to the Battle of the Bulge to Cho-Sin Reservoir to the Cu Chi tunnels to the Balkans to Kabul, Afghanistan, to Falluja, Iraq.
And if the media doesn't know it, every other American does. This is a very difficult fight, but the ordinary American knows what your loved ones have done and respects them.
Your families, your loved one, your children have more respect than Sean Penn and Barbra Streisand and the Dixie Chicks all put together times a million. And the media like to criticize because they know -- in their hearts -- that they will never have the guts that the man and woman in uniform have. I think media envy of your loved ones' courage has a lot do with media mockery of the war.
To heck with them. ....
His major prop is Jim Winkler who he identifies as “the Methodists' chief social-issues spokesman.”
“Winkler, believes Congress should "impeach President Bush." He proposed that during the annual "Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace With Justice," attended by 923 progressives, mostly from the National Council of Churches and member denominations (e.g., the United Methodists, Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church USA and United Church of Christ).”
“Winkler's complaint: "The attack on Iraq was sold to our people on lies, and the war itself was an illegal war of aggression" that included things such as "unconstitutional" National Security Agency surveillance."There was nothing Christian in (Bush's) response to Sept. 11," Winkler asserted. "The war on terror is a war of terror. We have to stop it."
Winkler, who wants the U.S. defense budget slashed by 80 percent, could be considered a semipacifist. He said "Jesus Christ, if not a pacifist Himself," at least "chose a nonviolent course of action." He also cited Paul: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. ... So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves" (Romans 12:17-19).
That reflects the Methodists' official Social Principles: "We believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ" and reject it "as an instrument of national foreign policy."
I am constantly amazed by the fact that as I sit in my Methodist Church pew, that the Jim Winklers of this world are never found in my Methodist congregation. Where do these people come from and how do they get where they are? What is it about a religious bureaucracy that attracts the Jim Winklers and what does it say about a church leadership that these people are appointed as spokesmen?
What has kept me in the Methodist pews are the people sitting next to me. What is making my place in the pews problematical is that I find myself angry with a denomination to which I provide financial support.
Abraham Lincoln famously borrowed a biblical phrase when he said that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This is the situation that not just the Methodists but many mainline denominations find themselves in. And when the people in the pews find out what the people in the hierarchy are really saying, there may be many more rifts in the fabric of the church.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
The New York Times is past being the paper of record and is now again recorder for John Kerry’s crap. In another of the New York Times' pattern of weekend raids, this one ironically if not purposely on Memorial Day weekend when honorable service and sacrifice is remembered, it instead cooperates with John Kerry's pathetic attempt to redeem his record of exaggerations and lies, and his dishonor of those who served honorably.
Read the whole thing...
It does seem to be true that the Republican Party that, in 1994, came into power in the House by promising smaller, more open government that was more responsive to the people, has changed.
The Senate has always the the home of elitists. One example is John McCain. He has always been arrogant, hot tempered, and slick. He is the one Republican who has most successfully sucked up to the media elite even as he teamed up with Feingold to pass the most outrageous unconstitutional infringement on free political speech since the Alien and Sedition Acts.
But the most shocking evidence of change in the House Republicans was Dennis Hastert’s insane claims of House Members’ immunity from court approved searches for evidence of crimes.
It is not only unsupportable in a legal and Constitutional sense, but it is a leading candidate for the stupidest political move of the year. He managed to turn a Democrat corruption scandal into a reason for Republicans to doubt their congressional leaders’ sanity and honesty.
As Steyn says:
After all, the GOP's 1994 Contract with America stated pretty plainly that henceforth "all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress."
But that was a long time ago, wasn't it?
Saturday, May 27, 2006
By one of those coincidences that don't mean anything, 70 years ago today - and I mean to the very day - the poet T.S. Eliot paid a visit to a small hamlet in Cambridgeshire. He took the name of this place as the title for the fourth of his Four Quartets - 'Little Gidding'. What has that got to do with the Euston Manifesto? Nothing, really.
But in the way of these things, I went back to the poem just to have a look, in case (you never know) I might find some other connection than merely the date. What I came back to there were these lines:
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from...
There you go – that gives me somewhere to start from this evening. Because I want to talk about ends and beginnings in both a public and a personal sense.
The first of these: 9/11 - September 11, 2001. It is a day imprinted on the public memory - indelibly - because the crime committed in New York and Washington DC announced a terrible willingness, of which few previously had been aware: a willingness to use terror without limit for political ends; a terrorism, that is to say, unconstrained by any concern about the numbers of the innocent dead. That day was both an end and a beginning because it showed, and to many of us in an instant, that the world was now different, dangerously so, and in a way not amenable to simple-minded responses.
This brings me to a second end and beginning, and if I may get your indulgence for this, I will frame it in more personal terms. It happened in the days immediately following 9/11. Not just simple-minded, but cold, shameful, appalling responses to the crime that had been perpetrated, parading across the pages of the liberal and left press. You know the terms of it: blowback; comeuppance; yes, a crime of course but... But what? But a crime to be contextualized immediately, just in case you might be unaware that it wasn't the first or the worst crime in human history.
This kind of stuff, I regret to say, was coming principally from a part of the left. And in those few days, 12, 13, 14 September 2001, it became clear to me that this part of the left wasn't a part one should have anything - or anything more, depending on where you were at the time - to do with if the left was to have a worthwhile future and merit anybody's support.
Anyone who's ever belonged to anything, as we all have - a family, a group, a club, a movement - will know that this involves having some quarrels. If you're part of the left then you have your quarrels; and having been a part of the left all my adult life, I've had my share. But some things you quarrel about. About other things you draw a line.
Over 9/11 I decided the time had come to draw a line. A left truly committed to democratic values doesn't make excuses for terrorism, not at all, not ever. Terrorism is murder. There is no context that makes it OK. This is a simple principle - that you do not wantonly kill the innocent - embodied in the most basic moral codes of civilized existence, embodied in the rules of warfare and in international humanitarian law.
The Bizarre Twists of the Duke Rape Case
Ann Coulter has pointed out:
However the Duke lacrosse rape case turns out, one lesson that absolutely will not be learned is this: You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don't hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money. ,
It is a study in the consequences of bad actions. I’m not talking about raping people; I’m talking about hiring strippers. That is bad morally, spiritually and even intellectually. And as we see, it can lead to all sorts of legal problems even if all you did was watch.
It is a study in race relations with black “community leaders” calling for the heads of the white lacrosse players even as the evidence for a crime being committed becomes weaker and weaker.
It is a study in prosecutorial misconduct. Unless the district attorney has a case that is much stronger than what it now appears, there is a distinct whiff of political grandstanding even more gratuitous than found in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities where “Master of the Universe” Sherman McCoy, becomes the “Great White Defendant.”
VDARE does a devastating comparison between McCoy, Bonfire’s fictional anti-here and the rich white Duke Lacrosse team players.
So today, via ABC11tv, we find that the woman who has accused the Lacrosse team of rape changed her story about: being raped, where it occurred and how many men raped her.
And from the News Observer:
The accuser in the Duke lacrosse case viewed a photo lineup of players one week after the alleged attack and did not pick out a team captain who has since been charged with rape, according to court papers filed today.
The March 21 photo lineup was made public by lawyers for captain David Evans in a motion demanding more evidence from the files of police and prosecutors.
Evans, 23, of Bethesda, Md., is one of three players charged with first-degree rape, sexual offense and kidnapping in the case. Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J. face the same charges.
The accuser, an escort service dancer, told police she was raped during a team party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. in the early morning hours of March 14.
I wish I could have been there to witness it myself.
After Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. issued a restraining order barring Russell County (Ky.) High School and senior Megan Chapman from including prayer at the school's graduation ceremony, students decided to take matters in their own hands. (Miss Chapman was elected by students last fall as the senior class chaplain.)
In an act of protest to the court order issued just hours before the graduation, about 200 seniors spontaneously stood and began reciting the Lord's Prayer, prompting a standing ovation from a standing-room only crowd at the ceremony.
The student message: We will not be silenced.
The religious freedom organization Liberty Counsel, which is representing Miss Chapman, reported that thunderous applause drowned out the last part of the prayer.
"The revival-like atmosphere continued when senior Megan Chapman said in her opening remarks that God had guided her since childhood," Liberty Counsel reported. "Megan was interrupted repeatedly during her speech by the cheering crowd as she urged her classmates to trust in God as they go through life."
Read the whole thing...
"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--John Stuart Mill
To the congregation's strains of "America the Beautiful," the casket of Marine Cpl. Stephen R. Bixler was carried last week from his family church in Suffield, Connecticut, en route to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery.
Steve Bixler was an all-American kid. He was a model son to parents Richard and Linda. He was an Eagle Scout. He was a good athlete. After graduating high school, he became one of the few, the proud.
Bixler was assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. When his battalion called for volunteers to man a Provisional Rifle Platoon, Stephen stepped forward. His platoon commander, 1st Lt. Nicholas Lodestro, says Stephen was "loyal, knowledgeable and dedicated. He was a warrior I felt comfortable to serve with. He was the man in front protecting us. He was a dedicated, unselfish, charismatic warrior."
Cpl. Bixler, age 20, was killed on 4 May while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, Iraq. His battalion commander, Lt. Col. James Bright, said of this young Marine, "He died fearlessly leading and willingly sacrificing his own safety for those around him."
Stephen Bixler is one of 2,738 uniformed Patriots who have died on the joint warfronts with Jihadistan -- Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, most of them killed in combat operations.
This week, in advance of Memorial Day, we recognize Cpl. Bixler, not because he is more noteworthy than the more than eight-hundred-thousand American Patriots who have, since our nation's inception, made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our liberty, but because he is, in many ways, representative of all those who have fallen before him.
Read the whole thing.
Give me that old-time (liberal) theocracy
Excerpt (read the whole thing):
Liberalism had turned off people who take their faith seriously.
For the past few years, the left in general and the Democratic Party in particular have been struggling with religion – to be specific, with Christianity. The 2004 election demonstrated this clearly; moral values voters, evangelical Christians…the label doesn’t matter. Catholics, especially devout ones, chose the Protestant Bush over the Catholic Kerry. Liberalism had turned off people who take their faith seriously.
The left’s first response was a self-indulgent orgy of hateful rhetoric. Apparently, the real American Taliban isn’t John Walker Lindh, but James Dobson. Though this reaction has receded, it remains a strong presence, as evidenced by a plethora of books, articles, op-ed pieces, etc, decrying the theocracy the religious right is purportedly establishing in America. But the animosity toward the religious right is prompting another impulse: theocracy envy. Having determined that the right manipulated religion to get elected, liberals are increasingly determined to do the same
Thursday, May 25, 2006
George Bush tossed a lifesaver to Denny Hastert and the rest of the imperial Congress today by temporarily sealing the evidence seized from the legislative offices of Rep. William Jefferson, the target of an FBI corruption investigation. Sealing the records gives both branches more time to work out their differences, Bush said, but made clear that prosecutors would eventually gain access to the material:
Meanwhile, if there is absolutely no possible selfish national-security benefit to be gained for America, the left is pretty comfortable with putting our soldiers in harm's way. Haiti, Bosnia, Dafur. Each of these presents a strong case for intervention on moral grounds alone-- without any appreciable strategic benefit to America. As there is no chance that America may benefit from such interventions, the left supports risking our soldiers' lives and limbs to intervene.
I was struck by a comment that a GOP staffer made to my buddy Dales, that, “I have been inspired by the recent actions of the Speaker and Majority Leader. It would have been easier perhaps for them to score quick political points, to ignore a constitutional responsibility, 291 years of precedent and the potential consequences for future generations.”
For starters, when you’ve just shot yourself in a foot with a howitzer, and managed to change the one lawmaker caught with piles of cash in his freezer from a Democratic problem to a Republican problem, stop bragging about your high-minded refusal to score quick political points. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, pal, but the GOP hasn’t been scoring any political points these days. When you’re getting shut out 21-0 heading into halftime, it’s not the right time to take such pride in your good sportsmanship.
The legal folks I read and trust seem to think the constitutional argument is pretty weak; at the very least, Hastert’s logic would establish lawmakers’ offices as no-search-zones, where any lawmaker could stash any evidence he wished, beyond the reach of law enforcement. Hmm. Better rethink those “potential consequences for future generations.”
New Congressional Bumper Sticker
(in a secret government meeting room, somewhere in a secret government location....)
"Okay, so we've decided: we're going to hijack two airplanes carrying our fellow Americans and crash them into the heart of our country's financial center - which will be full of tens of thousands of American workers. That ought to get this country angry enough for war!"
"Uh, sir? I'm not sure that's enough. How 'bout we find a way to rig the buildings in advance so they'll collapse after the planes hit?"
"Hmmm.... interesting idea Smith. How would we do that?"
"Well, we'd have to hire a contractor and probably a hundred or so workers. And find a way to clear the building for several days before hand. Oh, and we'd have to make sure that all those contractors were as evil as we are and wouldn't mind killing thousands of their fellow citizens. Shouldn't be a problem."
"Great. Let's do that too. Add that to the list."
“Why do we need to collapse the buildings? Don’t we think Americans will be angry enough at hundreds of dead airline passengers and WTC workers?”
“Shut up Johnson.”
"Hey! And let's let lots of people in the WTC know that it's going to happen so they can benefit by insider trading!"
"Now that's thinking Smith. Get right on it! So... are we decided then?"
(chorus) "Yes sir!"
"Sir, I have another great idea."
"Let’s hear it Smith."
“Let’s get a third plane and crash it into the Pentagon!”
“Wow. The Pentagon. I like the way your murderous mind works Smith. Somebody put three planes on the requisition list.”
“Well, instead of an actual plane, I was thinking we could just use a missile and tell the American public that it was a plane.”
“Hmm... so we don’t hijack a third airplane?
“Oh no, we still hijack a third plane, but we don't crash it, instead we fire a missile into the Pentagon and say that it's the plane we hijacked.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier to just crash an actual plane?”
“Well, yes, it would be easier. But I was talking with Stevens here, from the Office of Making Things Exponentially More Complicated Than Necessary, and he thinks that not only should we use a missile instead of the plane that we’re going to have to hijack anyway, we should offload all the passengers and crew somewhere else, kill them, and then return the plane to the airline.”
“So we kill the passengers and crew at some other location and then transport all the dead bodies to the Pentagon?”
“No we’ll just dump the bodies somewhere else, maybe a mass grave in Iraq - dress them all up to look like dead Kurds or something.”
“How will we explain the fact that there are no passengers’ bodies at the crash site? And no plane?”
“We’ll say they were incinerated in the fire.”
“Hmmm... that makes no sense whatsoever. I think I like it.”
“What is it this time Johnson?”
“Why return the plane to the airline?”
“Shut up Johnson”
“Okay, so I think we’ve got it. We hijack three planes, crash two of them into the WTC which we’ve prewired to crumble into dust, take the third plane and disappear it long enough to murder the passengers and crew then return that plane to the airline (Stevens, make a note to find an evil airline that will go along with that) and fire a missile into the Pentagon that we will then claim is the missing airplane. Now that will definitely get us a war! The public will be outraged!!! So I guess we’re all decided.... Wait. As long as we’re destroying the twin towers, lets blow up that ugly little building on the side too. I never liked that building.”
(chorus) “Yes sir. You da man!”
"Sir? I recommend that we also crash a plane into Pennsylvania."
"Pennsylvania? Into what, the Amish?"
"No. Just a field in Pennsylvania."
“Smith, I like the idea of killing innocent Americans as much as the next government official, but we’ve already stretched ourselves pretty thin here. We’ve got to find evil contractors to help us blow up the WTC, evil capitalists who’re willing to profit from it even while they’re sitting in the building that they know is about to be hit by an airplane, murderers who will kill the passengers of the plane we’re not crashing and help dispose of the bodies, an evil airline to take the supposedly-crashed plane back, evil military types with missiles to launch one at the nation’s military command center... the list goes on and on. And I think we’ve got our war pretty well sewn up with what we’ve got here. I don’t see why we need to attack a Pennsylvania field.”
"Yes sir. But you haven’t heard the rest of my idea. Instead of just hijacking the plane and crashing it into the field - that would be easy enough - we’ll hijack the plane, fly it to Ohio, unload everyone (and kill them of course) then create a fake crash site in Pennsylvania and transport the bodies there along with some fake wreckage!"
"Wouldn't it be easier to just hijack the plane and crash it?"
“Well of course. But if we do it my way we could let literally hundreds MORE unnecessary people in on our plan!”
“You’re right Smith, when it comes to a huge secret conspiracy like we’re planning, the more people involved, the better.”
“Oh, and before we kill the passengers and crew, we’ll record their voices and use some brand new and still pretty untested technology to place phony phone calls to their loved ones telling those loved ones that they’re going to die! That way we’ll have even more people involved.”
"Smith, you're a genius. No one can concoct a super-secret conspiracy like you."
“This better be good Johnson.”
“I don’t know if I can really go along with this. I mean, isn’t just one plane into one tower plenty of carnage to get us our war? After all, only a few hundred soldiers died at Pearl Harbor and that led to a World War. Isn’t this, well,
“You really feel that way Johnson?”
“Somebody shoot Johnson.”
(chorus) "Yes sir!"
"Instead of just shooting Johnson, why don't we take off all his clothes and throw them out the window? Then we can tell people that he jumped and killed himself but that his body vaporized upon contact with the ground. Then we'll call an emergency evacuation of this building so that we can walk Johnson buck naked down thirty floors and into the parking garage, where we'll take him into the security room and have a dozen-or-so evil teamsters beat him senseless with tire irons. Then we'll get a squad of evil cheerleaders to .....
Here he was in his glory days, perhaps relishing the fact that he had invaded Kuwait, burned its oil fields in a dastardly act of eco-vandalism, killed some 5,000 of his own people with chemical weapons at Halabjah, and stuffed another 400,000 or so of his constituents into mass graves.
Did he still possess Weapons of Mass Death? Seemingly not, at least not in the quantities America and its allies expected. But wasn't there another reason America and its Coalition partners invaded Iraq? Didn't Saddam Hussein have ties to terrorism?
The notion that he did not is an article of faith among the critics of President Bush, Tony Blair and their allies. Saddam Hussein, they argue, knew little if anything about terrorism, especially al-Qaeda. Listen to a few of these more notable detractors:
Read the whole thing...
We mostly heard about Rohe's bravery from Rohe — and, really, who is in a better position to judge? As Rohe herself put it: "If there's one thing that I know about myself, it is that I care for people, and in that sense I have a great deal of character."
According to her posted biography, Rohe "grew up singing and performing folk music with her family. Jean spent a year at Smith College followed by a summer at the Universidad de la Habana in Cuba on scholarship where she honed her Spanish skills, learned about Cuban history, culture and politics, and made some of her dearest friends" — mostly while waiting in line for hours and hours each day to get toilet paper.
In other words, Rohe is just a typical all-American girl, right down to a stint in Castro's Cuba.
In an unintentionally ironic article about her brave decision to attack the commencement speaker, Rohe describes going around campus the day before her speech and discovering how overwhelmingly popular it would be to attack McCain. At two graduation ceremonies a day earlier, attacks on McCain brought wild cheers from the audience.
See, where I come from, sucking up to the audience is not called "courageous." It's called "toadying."
Every place Rohe went that day she ran into students and faculty fashioning armbands and preparing their protests. As she said: "The situation seemed pretty serious."
Literally every person Rohe talked to the day before the ceremony opposed the war in Iraq and hated McCain with blind fury. Her mother — the one who tortured the children by making them sing folk songs — wept when Rohe read her illiterate speech over the phone.
Rohe's resolve to tell the audience what it wanted to hear, guaranteeing wild standing ovations for herself, was only hardened when she was told there would be media at the event.
While some might say it was gutless to suck up to the audience by insulting an invited guest, they didn't understand the incredible risks Rohe was taking by attacking a Republican at the New School: You'll be a pariah in the West Village! You'll never sing in a jazz club on the Lower East Side again! And don't even think about setting foot on the Upper West Side!
As Rohe later said: "It was something I didn't want to do, but knew I had to out of an obligation to my own values" — which happened to be the exact same values as the entire audience, the faculty, her fellow students, her boyfriend and her mother, each of whom shared the value of being rude to an invited guest who also happened to be a Republican, a U.S. senator and decorated war hero.
And so Rohe attacked McCain's speech before he delivered it, with such devastating ripostes as this:
"Sen. McCain will tell us that we, those of us who are Americans, 'have nothing to fear from each other.' I agree strongly with this, but I take it one step further. We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet."
Except all the people who want to kill us.
Such as, for example, Osama bin Laden — and that's according to Rohe, who is furious with Bush for not having caught him yet. Isn't Osama a person "on this living planet"? Does she think we have something to fear from him?
I'm sorry to be a snob, but this trusting view of terrorists is hard enough to take from smart liberals. When I have to hear the New School version of it, my eyeballs have rolled not only out of their sockets but out of the building.
Maybe in her heart of hearts, Rohe does think Bush is an imbecile, McCain a lout, and the war is wrong. Maybe she would think so even if she had ever met someone who holds a different opinion.
But then she should just admit: "I know, I know. I'm an utterly conventional brown-noser, the very definition of going-with-the-flow, middle-of-the pack, finger-to-the-wind follower, who doesn't have the candlepower to resist conforming to the beliefs of everyone around me — but that's what I think."
If you want to find the cool, anti-establishment rebels who don't answer to "The Man" on college campuses today, you have to go to a meeting of the College Republicans. They are rebelling against at least 99 percent of their professors. Even the original '60s anti-war protesters were rebelling against at least 5 percent of their professors. Today's college liberals ape the beliefs of 99 percent of their professors and then pretend they're on-the-edge radicals.
We've always had to endure goody two-shoes apple-polishers — kids with their hands always up, who turn in talkers when the teacher leaves the classroom and volunteer for extra work after school. But not until today's college liberals have we ever had to suffer the effrontery of the ass-kissers telling us: "I'm bad — I clean erasers for teachers after class because I'm baaad."
I don't care what liberals think. I don't care that they're spineless suck-ups. Just don't insult my intelligence by telling me they're brave.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Sure, I may not have any information, but it could be true, right?
Let’s see if the moonbats swarm this headline even though it’s false.
Wonder if Google will put me on their list of reliable sources?
I wonder if the LA Times and the NY Times will quote me.
Check out my other posts while you're here.
Dowdification (n): Using ellipses to willfully and substantially alter or change the meaning of a quotation. Also dowdify (v). Pejorative.
Originated from WSJ's Best of the Web column by James Taranto (28 May 2003). Taranto was criticizing NYT columnist Maureen Dowd for using ellipses to radically after the meaning of a statement by George Bush in her column of 14 May 2003:
Dowdified quote: "Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated.... They're not a problem anymore."
Original quote: "Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore."
The ellipses altered the antecedent of "they", making it appear that Bush said Al Qaeda as a whole was not a problem anymore.
The AP ran an earlier story on the Osama bin Laden tape that included an admission implicating two Gitmo detainees in the 9/11 attack. However, the the AP later ran "excerpts" of the Bin Laden tape, that admission curiously went unreported -- even though it would have a significant impact on the debate over the fate of Gitmo detainees.
Day By Day: MSM Repetition of Lies
But it is worth reminding people that the Katrina they think they remember wasn't the Katrina that actually took place. In fact, it is difficult to think of a bigger media scandal in my lifetime than the fraudulently inaccurate coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
Where to begin? As I've written before, virtually all of the gripping stories from Katrina were untrue. All of those stories about, in Paula Zahn's words, "bands of rapists, going block to block"? Not true. The tales of snipers firing on medevac helicopters? Bogus. The yarns, peddled on "Oprah" by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and the New Orleans police chief, that "little babies" were getting raped in the Superdome and that the bodies of the murdered were piling up? Completely false. The stories about poor blacks dying in comparatively huge numbers because American society "left them behind"? Nah-ah. While most outlets took Nagin's estimate of 10,000 dead at face value, Editor and Publisher - the watchdog of the media - ran the headline, "Mortuary Director Tells Local Paper 40,000 Could Be Lost in Hurricane."
In all of Louisiana, not just New Orleans, the total dead from Katrina was roughly 1,500. Blacks did not die disproportionately, nor did the poor. The only group truly singled out in terms of mortality was the elderly. According to a Knight-Ridder study, while only 15 percent of the population of New Orleans was over the age of 60, some 74 percent of the dead were 60 or older, and almost half were older than 75. Blacks were, if anything, slightly underrepresented among the dead given their share of the population.
This barely captures how badly the press bungled Katrina coverage. Keep in mind that the most horrifying tales of woe that captivated the press and prompted news anchors to - quite literally - scream at federal officials occurred within the safe zone around the Superdome where the press was operating. Shame on local officials for fomenting fear and passing along newly minted urban legends, but double shame on the press for recycling this stuff uncritically. Members of the press had access to the Superdome. Why not just run in and look for the bodies? Interview the rape victims? Couldn't be bothered? The major networks had hundreds of people in New Orleans. Was there not a single intern available to fact-check? The coverage actually cost lives. Helicopters were grounded for 24 hours in response to media reports of sniper attacks. At least two patients died waiting to be evacuated.
Read the whole thing...
And more at Powerline:
With another hurricane season approaching, Lou Dolinar's analysis of the medial meltdown over Katrina in Real Clear Politics couldn't be more timely. Dolinar shows that the media almost completely ignored an extraordinarily successful rescue effort, by the National Guard and others, that saved tens of thousands of lives in New Orleans. In their haste to broadcast lurid (albeit false) stories of chaos and mayhem, the press missed the real story:
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
A day after releasing a report accusing the United States of torture, and demanding closure of its terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the United Nations anti-torture panel called on Al Qaeda to “open a detention facility anywhere, hold prisoners for years without charges, and subject them to controversial interrogation techniques.”
“The U.S. is a super power that has violated the 1984 Convention Against Torture,” said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “But Al Qaeda is still is a developing power, so we must have different expectations and goals for Mr. Bin Laden.”
The panel’s report laid out a process designed to move al Qaeda in “baby steps” from its current practice of beheading and blowing up innocent civilians, to taking them prisoner and torturing them, to eventually running a clean, safe, modern prisoner-of-war camp in full compliance with the United Nations protocols.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon is considering a plan to transfer its 460 ‘Gitmo’ detainees to the U.N., “where a group of international thugs, still awaiting charges, would not attract so much attention.”
But how can you push the envelope when the paper's already sopping wet? How could anyone be interested in her trivial, clichéd nonsense when we've already seen the "Piss Christ" (That was banal enough), not to mention a half-dozen fifty year old Bunuel movies? Now if she had any real guts, Madonna would dance around on stage as Mohammed in drag. Don't hold your breath, however. Was this supposed freethinker around for the Danish Cartoons protest? Of course not. Why should she clutter her head with things that have nothing to do with money?
And from Ace of Spades:
Well, yeah. Again, we have a Brave Artiste attacking those they know pose them no threat whatsoever, while avoiding all offense to those who may, you know, saw their heads off.
One unintended effect of the September 11 attacks is that it put a defining question to different modes of American political consciousness. Until then it was possible to treat many ideologies respectable since the 1960s as harmless forms of iconoclasm, posing "provocative" but fundamentally hypothetical views. But when attacks on the US homeland made it categorically necessary to answer the question: 'are you willing to fight our assailants', many sincere ideologues paused, shook their heads and said: 'No. In fact I am morally obligated to help our assailants'. When Noam Chomsky went out of his way to support Hezbollah it wasn't inexplicable, it was logical. His long articulated hypotheticals have simply become actuals.
The murky concept of sedition, with which freedom of speech must uneasily coexist, is founded on the notion of a threat. Radical Marxist thought derives protection from its status as a defeated mode of political action. The Cold War was fought against armed Marxism on every continent and clime for half a century. But when the Cold War was over, or in places where Radical Marxists did not actually take up arms they were allowed to keep their narratives and tolerated, as the Muslim Ottoman Empire once countenanced Jews and Christians for as long as they posed no threat. No physical threat. But although Marxism was defeated by the largely economic process of Globalization it flourished -- even dominated -- in the cultural institutions of the West at a time when Islamism was triumphing over secularism in the Middle East. From the Marxist perspective at least, the Cold War ended not in defeat, but in a negotiated armistice; with surrender on the economic front offset by a capitulation to it by the West on cultural matters. People might have to work in private companies, it's true, but all the accompanying baggage of traditional culture like religion, sexual mores, notions of objectivity, etc were forfeit; and that was more than compensation. That was the tacit 'deal' and the EU, UN and cultural institutions were going to carry it out. By slow degrees the Western world was going to be politically corrected, multiculturalized and transnationalized. "Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do". And as the 1990s drew to a close it didn't seem all that far away.
September 10, 2001 was the last day on which which hypothetically incompatible modes of thought could coexist in a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" environment. When the planes smashing into the Twin Towers forced everyone to nail their colors to the mast Marxists no less than the conservatives indignantly found themselves facing an unanticipated rebellion. Liberal rage over Bush -- and maybe Lieberman and McCain -- for behaving "illegitimately" and "turning back the clock" is incomprehensible until one realizes that from a certain perspective it represents a double-cross. The West was supposed to die; slowly and comfortably but ineluctably. And we were supposed to buy off the Islamists until we could finish the job ourselves.
As it turns out, Macbeth has absolutely no service record of any kind.
This story is too delicious for words, so click the links for details.
Iowahawk has fun with it:
Iowahawk Guest Commentary
by Jesse Macbeth
Iraq War Veterans Against Google
Breakfast Shift Associate, Wendys of Tacoma
Photo courtesy Sears Portrait Studios
As a decorated combat veteran of Bush's Iraq misadventure, I am all too familiar with the saying "the first casualty of war is truth." Because this administration sold us a war of empire on a double stack combo of lies, biggie sized them, and served them up with extra mustard. And I was there to see it, man.
My story starts in 2001. I was a sophomore at Mayfield High, a star athlete who was captain of the basketball, football, and track teams, and had singlehandly scored 200 home runs in one memorable wrestling meet against the Riverdale Archies. Obviously, this made me irresistable to girls, and I easily bagged the entire pom squad after winning my 4th straight state debate championship. No shit dude, I totally taped the whole thing, but I left it in the VCR and my stupid mom recorded it over with an episode of Wheel of Fortune.
While my incredible athletic and sexual prowess earned me accolades on the field and in the sack, it also earned me many enemies in the halls of Mayfield High. An upperclassmen named Dawson became enraged after learning I completely wanged his girlfriend Stacey, who went into a jealous fit after she found out I also wanged her totally hot mom. Then I learned a senior named Bueller had sworn his revenge on me because I smoked his Ferrari with my 600 horsepower VTEC Civic, which does 180 mph in the quarter, easy.
These lying liars went to the principal and started hurling lies. They accused me of drilling the mysterious hole in the girl's locker room. They accused me of showering in my underpants during PE, when they had no concrete evidence, and also maybe it was because of a medical condition. The accused me of lying, which was a complete lie, because in truth they were the real liars.
My Ranger School ClassIt was then I realized how damaging lies can be, even when the fat Goth poetry club chicks still believe you. I was expelled and my name was banished from the school and state athletic record books, effectively ruining my chances at the NBA. I channeled my anger into my Civic, adding a bitchin' body kit from Pep Boys, nitrous, and a sweet 4" exhaust tip, but the cops busted me for 300 mph over the limit. Without a diploma or any way to pay the $500,000 speeding fine, the angry judge gave me the hard alternatives: jail, the Army, or male modeling school.
Read the rest...
Day By Day: The Politics of Corruption
Remember the dozens, maybe hundreds, of rapes, murders, stabbings and deaths resulting from official neglect at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina? The ones that never happened, as even the national media later admitted?
Sure, we all remember the original reporting, if not the back-pedaling.
Here's another one: Do you remember the dramatic TV footage of National Guard helicopters landing at the Superdome as soon as Katrina passed, dropping off tens of thousands saved from certain death? The corpsmen running with stretchers, in an echo of M*A*S*H, carrying the survivors to ambulances and the medical center? About how the operation, which also included the Coast Guard, regular military units, and local first responders, continued for more than a week?
Me neither. Except that it did happen, and got at best an occasional, parenthetical mention in the national media. The National Guard had its headquarters for Katrina, not just a few peacekeeping troops, in what the media portrayed as the pit of Hell. Hell was one of the safest places to be in New Orleans, smelly as it was. The situation was always under control, not surprisingly because the people in control were always there.
From the Dome, the Louisiana Guard's main command ran at least 2,500 troops who rode out the storm inside the city, a dozen emergency shelters, 200-plus boats, dozens of high-water vehicles, 150 helicopters, and a triage and medical center that handled up to 5,000 patients (and delivered 7 babies). The Guard command headquarters also coordinated efforts of the police, firefighters and scores of volunteers after the storm knocked out local radio, as well as other regular military and other state Guard units.
Jack Harrison, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia, cited "10,244 sorties flown, 88,181 passengers moved, 18,834 cargo tons hauled, 17,411 saves" by air. Unlike the politicians, they had a working chain of command that commandeered more relief aid from other Guard units outside the state. From day one.
There were problems, true: FEMA melted down. Political leaders, from the Mayor to Governor to the White House, showed "A Failure of Initiative", as a recent House report put it. That report, along with sharply critical studies by the White House and the Senate, delve into the myriad of breakdowns, shortages and miscommunications that hampered relief efforts.
Still, by focusing on the part of the glass that was half-empty, the national media imposed a near total blackout on the nerve center of what may have been the largest, most successful aerial search and rescue operation in history.
Read the whole thing...
WITH the formation of Iraq's new government, it's a good time to take stock of where we stand in our confrontation with Islamist terror. You wouldn't know it from the outrageously dishonest headlines, but we're winning.
We could do even better, if we put national security above partisan politics.
Our enemies are far from giving up, of course. But they realize now that Americans won't quit after suffering the first dozen casualties. That came as a shock after the cowardice of past presidential administrations.
Our enemies can still grab the tactical initiative by killing the innocent, but terrorists around the world have been shoved onto the strategic defensive. We tend to overlook that. So let's consider just how far we've come:
* The mainstream media said it couldn't be done, so the Iraqis did it: Under new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, they formed a permanent government based on free elections. (Those free elections were supposed to be impossible, too - remember?)
Read the whole thing...
Search engine giant Google has cut off its news relationship with a number of online news publications that include frank discussions of radical Islam – the New Media Journal becoming the latest termination. as its owner just discovered.
Frank Salvato, who began the agreement with Google News last September, said he received a reply from the company's help desk Friday indicating there had been complaints of "hate speech" on his site, as first reported by media watchdog Newsbusters.org
Read the whole thing...
From secret hideouts in South Asia, the Spanish-Syrian al-Qaeda strategist published thousands of pages of Internet tracts on how small teams of Islamic extremists could wage a decentralized global war against the United States and its allies.
With the Afghanistan base lost, he argued, radicals would need to shift their approach and work primarily on their own, though sometimes with guidance from roving operatives acting on behalf of the broader movement.
Read the whole thing...
Friday, May 19, 2006
Harry Reid, recall, once criticized (black) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for writing a dissent in a case called “Hillside” that was, Reid said, written at an eighth-grade level. Thomas’s dissent was far inferior, Reid said, to the clearly reasoned dissent written in the same case by (white) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Reid called Thomas an “embarrassment.” Unfortunately for Reid, a quick look at the law books showed that Scalia didn’t write a dissent in the Hillside case.
Don't Question Their Naziism: Iran Passes Law Making Jews Wear Yellow Badges
And Christians will have to wear blue ones, and Zaroasterans red ones.
Meanwhile, all Muslims must wear virtually identical robes, so as to present a unified look for the return of the hidden 12th Imam.
Allah spits sarcasm at the new meme on the left-- that it's only "fearful" conservatives who worry about such trifles.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging fraud, corruption, and kickbacks at one of the most prominent legal firms in the class-action lawsuit industry. Milberg Weiss also has two of its partners under personal indictment for a criminal racketeering conspiracy, and the feds want over $200 million in restitution:
That made my day. There IS a way of fighting BIG LAW!
Now I'm looking for a lawyer.
Does anyone know where I can get a lawyer who will represent me and about 300 million other people? I believe that I have a class action case against the law firms that are suing the phone companies for their cooperation with the NSA. It is my judgment that their actions endanger me and the rest of the country by making it harder for the government to find terrorists. The plaintiffs are the American people; the defendants are the ABA and every law firm that has filed suit.
Personally I have nothing against Muslims, which is not the same as expressing an acquiescence to extremist Islamism. It's the weakness of the West that has made the simple problem of facing up to thugs into a world crisis. The asking price for making the world safe for the psychotic West is elminating all projecting surfaces -- such as the Islamic World -- which are threats to a society living in its dreams.
The liberal West needs its padded cell; needs a world in which it cannot come to hurt, for it has lost the natural societal defenses which even primitive tribes have. It needs someone to make the threats all go away and sometimes I think the liberal world secretly hopes GWB would nuke the Islamic world, which would give them safety without guilt. An avian flu, a GWB nuke, an act of a God they don't believe in -- anything so that the music will always play.
But history, if we prefer the term to God, is not always so obliging. It may even be just. The appeasers will have to pay full price, just like it did the last time. The cup will not pass away.
Among the most difficult problems currently plaguing Iraqis is the fact that the police have been infiltrated by Shiite murder squads, and that thugs have been using the cops' uniforms as a cover for payback murders against Sunnis and others.
Whose fault is this? Many if not most Iraqis place the blame on Bayan Jabr, who has headed the Interior Ministry under the Jaafari regime, and who thus has had responsibility for the cops. Jabr, who allowed the police to become an apparent arm of the Shiite militias, has personal connections with the largest of those militias: He was a leader of the Badr Brigades, the Iranian-trained force of SCIRI, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Obviously, Jabr was an awful choice for the role of interior minister, and was a significant factor in the Jaafari regime's loss of trust and credibility. Restoring trust in the interior ministry must be a major objective of the new Maliki government.
Yet in recent days, Jabr has added a new public role to go with his "achievements" as a pro-Iranian militia leader and disastrous interior minister: He has become a source for The Washington Post on the issue of the infiltrated Iraqi police force. Using Jabr's claims, the Post's Ellen Knickmeyer has suggested that the ongoing campaign of terror against Sunnis is the work not only of militias, but to an unknown degree of the Facilities Protection Service (FPS), a largely uncontrolled body of guards that was originally established by the U.S.
This is an almost perfect confluence of interests. Jabr gets to use a major U.S. newspaper to minimize his record of ineptitude and/or malice, while the Post gets to tell its preferred Iraqi narrative: that the proximate cause of every Iraqi ill is the United States.
Read the whole thing
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
DO YOU TRUST YOUR NEWSPAPER TO TELL THE TRUTH?
We are told, by polling organizations that trust in the President is at an all time low.
This is a little poll questioning the perception of the truthfulness of the media.
Tell us what you think of the truthfulness of your local newspaper, TV network or news magazine.
Just leave a message in the comments section…
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Why make hydrogen in a mobile lab when everybody else makes it in a fixed facility – usually as a byproduct of petroleum refining - and move it around in cylinders.
Stories like this are concocted to take advantage of the technological illiteracy of the average American as well as virtually all of the members of the media.
What amazes me is that this fairy tale has been accepted by most of the people who have heard of this controversy.
Template B (note to editors: to be used in the run-up to the next terrorist atrocity): "Shocking new report leaked to New York Times for Pulitzer Prize Leak Of The Year Award nomination reveals that paranoid government officials are trying to connect the dots! See pages 3,4,6,7,8, 13-37."
How do you connect the dots? To take one example of what we're up against, two days before 9/11, a very brave man, the anti-Taliban resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, was assassinated in Afghanistan by killers posing as journalists. His murderers were Algerians traveling on Belgian passports who'd arrived in that part of the world on visas issued by the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom. That's three more countries than many Americans have visited. The jihadists are not "primitives". They're part of a sophisticated network: They travel the world, see interesting places, meet interesting people -- and kill them. They're as globalized as McDonald's -- but, on the whole, they fill in less paperwork. They're very good at compartmentalizing operations: They don't leave footprints, just a toeprint in Country A in Time Zone B and another toe in Country E in Time Zone K. You have to sift through millions of dots to discern two that might be worth connecting.
I'm a strong believer in privacy rights. I don't see why Americans are obligated to give the government their bank account details and the holdings therein. Other revenue agencies in other free societies don't require that level of disclosure. But, given that the people of the United States are apparently entirely cool with that, it's hard to see why lists of phone numbers (i.e., your monthly statement) with no identifying information attached to them is of such a vastly different order of magnitude. By definition, "connecting the dots" involves getting to see the dots in the first place.
Leaky Pat Leahy is, as usual, pointing fingers of blame. Well, I blame him for allowing 9/11 to happen in the first place. He was in government. What did he do to stop it?
Not fair? bull***t, it's exactly as fair a Pat Leahy on his best day.
I yield to no one in my antipathy to government, but not everyone who's on the federal payroll is a boob, a time-server, a politically motivated malcontent or principal leak supplier to the New York Times. Suppose you're a savvy mid-level guy in Washington, you've just noticed a pattern, you think there might be something in it. But it requires enormous will to talk your bosses into agreeing to investigate further, and everyone up the chain is thinking, gee, if this gets out, will Pat Leahy haul me before the Senate and kill my promotion prospects? There was a lot of that before 9/11, and thousands died.
Pat Leahy did not kill them personally, he and his minions did just enough to make sure the killers could get away with it.
We Spent Some Time In Charleston, SC
At the Charleston Place Hotel
Went out to Fort Sumter
The cannon were impressive
This is the first story of the original Fort Sumter. The fort was virtually destroyed during the Civil War. The higher stories collapsed into this section, saving it from ruin, and this is what you can see after the ruins were excavated.
The original fort was multi-story and the top was as high as the highest flag pole.
Spent shells can still be seen embedded in the walls of the fort.
The Boone Plantation (no relation to Daniel).
The Boone Plantation boasts an impressive drive lined with Live Oaks.
Charleston is a beautiful city drenched in history, filled with restored antebellum homes and good food. Worth a trip to see
Read the whole thing.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Going to see ``United 93'' is a civic duty because Samuel Johnson was right: People more often need to be reminded than informed. After an astonishing 56 months without a second terrorist attack, this nation perhaps has become dangerously immune to astonishment. The movie may quicken our appreciation of the measures and successes -- many of which must remain secret -- that have kept would-be killers at bay.
The editors of National Review were wise to view ``United 93'' in the dazzling light still cast by a Memorial Day address, ``The Soldier's Faith,'' delivered in 1895 by a veteran of Ball's Bluff, Antietam and other Civil War battles. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said why understanding that faith is important:
``In this snug, over-safe corner of the world ... we may realize that our comfortable routine is no eternal necessity of things, but merely a little space of calm in the midst of the tempestuous untamed streaming of the world, and in order that we may be ready for danger. ... Out of heroism grows faith in the worth of heroism.''
The message of the movie is: We are all potential soldiers. And we all may be, at any moment, at the war's front, because in this war the front can be anywhere.
To understand what Americans are fighting, it is necessary to first understand that we are not fighting a "War on Terror." We are no more fighting a "War on Terror" than we fought a "War on Kamikazes" in World War II. Of course we had to stop Kamikaze attacks, the suicide crashing by Japanese pilots of airplanes into American war ships. But we were fighting Japanese fascism and imperialism.
The same holds true today. We are fighting Islamic fascism and imperialism (though surely not all Muslims).
Nevertheless, one can say that from its inception, Islam has been imperialist. My working definition of imperialism is that of University of London professor Efraim Karsh, whose recent book, "Islamic Imperialism" (Yale University Press), is one of the few indispensable books on Islam.
Karsh defines imperialism as "conquering foreign lands and subjugating their populations." Whenever possible, Muslims from the time of Muhammad have done that. Now, the Church also subjugated peoples to Christianity, and Europe suffered from prolonged religious wars. But as Karsh notes, from its inception, Christianity acknowledged a separation of the religious and the political, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.
No such division was allowed for in Islam. That is why the nation-state developed in the Christian world but not in the Muslim world. The Muslim states of the Middle East, for example, are creations of Western (secular) imperialism or pre-date Islam (Egypt, for example); and they are foreign concepts to most Middle Eastern Muslims, who recognize themselves much more as part of the ummah, the Muslim community, than as Iraqis, Jordanians, Syrians, etc.
Nor is Islamic imperialism only a function of Muslim behavior rather than Muslim theology. Karsh opens his book citing the statements of four Muslim figures.
The Prophet Muhammad in his farewell address: "I was ordered to fight all men until they say, 'There is no god but Allah.'"
Read the whole thing...
Monday, May 08, 2006
Che Guevara is a testament to the power of a media symbol. As a purely military force he was negligible. As an organizing force and agitator of Bolivians he was an abject failure. But as an international Marxist symbol and poster-boy Che was eminently successful. Millions of people have worn his likeness on a T-shirt believing that he was a brilliant revolutionary and guerilla when in fact he was neither. But that would be missing the point. Guevara was the prototypical example of the triumph of image over reality. What did it matter if he wrote nothing of lasting ideological value? What did it matter if he was a comparative military failure? He was a surpassing public relations success and that made up for everything else. The power of Che lay not in his M2 carbine, which was shot out of his hands by the Bolivian Rangers. It lay in his beard, beret and his photogenic camera angles. Long before the word "spin" came into common usage Guevara was all spin -- a spin which will outlast the memory of those who defeated and slew him.Looking back on the events of my life, I realize that the media has created and nurtured a great many myths, myths that cost literally millions of people their lives:
Though he died nearly forty years ago Che, from a media perspective, is thoroughly modern. He is so modern it would be possible to argue that both Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi are simple extensions of his great archetype. Zarqawi, for example, is by almost any measure a complete military failure unless one counts massacring women and children as some kind of martial accomplishment. Zarqawi is even incapable of clearing a stoppage from a light machinegun he fires on video. But no matter, because it is the video not the machinegun which is the real weapon. It is the T-shirt graphic not the man depicted on the T-shirt which is important. News no longer describes war; it is war which inscribes news.
The myth of “Uncle Joe” Stalin – the man who was responsible for well over 60 million corpses
The myth of “McCarthyism” which smeared the reputations of many good Americans who resisted the minions of “Uncle Joe” in the late 1940s and 1950s.
The myths of the Tet Offensive that led directly to the loss of Viet Nam, thanks to “The Most Trusted Man in America” Walter Cronkite.
And today we have the media trying to create another myth: the myth of our failure in Iraq. But this time and “Army of Davids” will not let an small, shadowy and evil band of men and women succeed. This time it really is different.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The most dangerous tendency of military planners is the arrogant belief that all of war’s age-old rules and characteristics are rendered obsolete under the mind-boggling technological advances or social revolutions of the present. Tactics alter, and the respective roles of defense and offense each enter long periods of superiority vis-à-vis each other. The acceptance of casualties is predicated on domestic levels of affluence and leisure. But ultimately the rules of war and culture, like water, stay the same — even as their forms and their pumps change.
Read the article. It is eye opening.
I worked under a tourist visa for three months and could legally renew it for three more months. After that you were working illegally. I was technically illegal for three weeks waiting on the FM3 approval.
During that six months our Mexican and US Attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a FM3. It was in addition to my US passport that I had to show each time I entered and left the country. Barbara's was the same except hers did not permit her to work.
To apply for the FM3 I needed to submit the following notarized originals (not copies) of my:
1. Birth certificates for Barbara and me.
2. Marriage certificate.
3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation.
4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation.
5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year.
6. A letter from The ST. Louis Chief of Police indicating I had no arrest record in the US and no outstanding warrants and was "a citizen in good standing."
7. Finally; I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our "I am the greatest person on earth" letter. It was fun to write.
All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right.
Once they were completed Barbara and I spent about five hours accompanied by a Mexican attorney touring Mexican government office locations and being photographed and fingerprinted at least three times. At each location (and we remember at least four locations) we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences.
We could not protest any of the government's actions or we would be committing a felony.
We paid out four thousand dollars in fees and bribes to complete the process. When this was done we could legally bring in our household goods that were held by US customs in Loredo Texas. This meant we rented furniture in Mexico while awaiting our goods. There were extensive fees involved here that the company paid.
We could not buy a home and were required to rent at very high rates and under contract and compliance with Mexican law.
We were required to get a Mexican drivers license. This was an amazing process. The company arranged for the licensing agency to come to our headquarters location with their photography and finger print equipment and the laminating machine. We showed our US license, were photographed and fingerprinted again and issued the license instantly after paying out a six dollar fee. We did not take a written or driving test and never received instructions on the rules of the road. Our only instruction was never give a policeman your license if stopped and asked. We were instructed to hold it against the inside window away from his grasp. If he got his hands on it you would have to pay ransom to get it back.
We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The company's Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. It was about twenty legal size pages annually.
The FM 3 was good for three years and renewable for two more after paying more fees.
Leaving the country meant turning in the FM 3 and certifying we were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens) before our household goods were released to customs.
It was a real adventure and If any of our senators or congressmen went through it once they would have a different attitude toward Mexico.
The Mexican Government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant.
They never protest at their White House or government offices but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican Military surround the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on US or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in California or Texas.
Please feel free to share this with everyone who thinks we are being hard on illegal immigrants.
The Latest AP/Ipsos "Bush And The GOP Suck" Poll
You'll likely be hearing (again) MSM crowing about this AP Ipsos poll which (of course) shows the President and the GOP's ratings the lowest ever. The poll shows the following:Quote:
Wrong Track - 73%/Right Track - 23%
Bush Approval Rating - 65% Disapprove/33% Approve
Who Do You Want To Control Congress - 51% - Democrats/34%- Republicans
Sounds bad, huh? Well, as we've said before you (and the GOP leaders) shouldn't use these polls as any kind of indicator as to what could happen in 2006, which is certainly how the MSM will spin it.
But here's what you won't see in the news stories. - the demography of the poll respondents
First, only 82% of respondents were even eligible to vote, and there's no indication of how many of them actually went to the polls in 2004.
1. Party Leanings - The poll is slanted 50-41% towards Democrats, even though the voters in the 2004 election were split evenly at 37% between Republicans and Democrats.
2. Religion - Next, a whopping 19% of respondents had "no" religion, while in 2004 only 10% of voters had "no" religion, and they voted overwhelmingly for Kerry (+36%).
3. Age of Respondents In this poll 31% of the respondents were between 18-34, even though the 18-29 year olds (a slightly smaller demo) only made up 17% of the electorate in the 2004 election. I think it's pretty safe to say that by including 30-34 year olds that number would still not have come close to the IPSOS sample.
4. Income Level of Respondents - This one is amazing. In this poll 17% of respondents made under $20,000 per year. In 2004, only 8% of voters were in this income bracket, and voted 63-36% for Kerry.
5. Geography - In this poll, only 19% of respondents were from "rural" areas. In 2004, 25% of voters were from rural areas, and voted 57-42% for Bush.
6. Race - In this poll, there were 69% white respondents and 13% Hispanic respondents. In 2004, 77% of voters were white, and only 8% Hispanic. Bush won the white vote 58-41% and Kerry the Hispanic vote 53-44%.
We're not saying the GOP is going to have an easy time in 2006. Lord knows they've done everything humanly possible to ensure a defeat, and it wouldn't be a surprise if they actually lost the House. But that's not the point we're trying to make. And we're not saying that the turnout model in 2006 is going to be the same as in a mid-term election in 2004.
Rather, the point here is that when you polls like this, which you really wonder if the purpose of conducting it was to get good results, or push an agenda. Nowhere in the news stories you see on this poll are you going to read about how there is no way to know if these respondents are even going to show up to vote, let alone hear about the demographic data we've outlined above.
But it's not hard to understand given that the AP/Ipsos poll has a history of slanting towards the Democrats. See here, here, here, here, and finally here
The New York Times leaps to defend the dignity and praise the terrorist abilities of Al Qaeda head-chopper Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: Not All See Video Mockery of Zarqawi as Good Strategy.
An effort by the American military to discredit the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by showing video outtakes of him fumbling with a machine gun — suggesting that he lacks real fighting skill — was questioned yesterday by retired and active American military officers.
And more from PajamasMedia:
The New York Times got itself sideways with many bloggers with its story cautioning against criticizing brutal terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s for his incompetence in handling a machine gun in a recently reeased videotape.
Little Green Footballs: “Times leaps to defend the dignity … of Zarqawi”’
The Mudville Gazette: “The New York Times and Associated Press are rushing to defend … Zarqawi”
Junkyard Blog: “NYT: It’s wrong to mock Zarqawi”
Sweetness and Light: “Times defends Zarqawi’s skills”
More from Protein Wisdom.
As XDA quips:
The SAW is complicated to master—you have to put in the clip or belt, set the selector switch, rack in the first round and then pull the freakin’ trigger. It’s really hard.
EVEN by the stupefying standards of Iraq’s unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country’s top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty.
Nobody but her killers knew just how much she had suffered until a film showing her death on February 22 at the hands of two musclebound men in military uniforms emerged last week. Her family’s worst fears of what might have happened have been far exceeded by the reality.
Bahjat was abducted after making three live broadcasts from the edge of her native city of Samarra on the day its golden-domed Shi’ite mosque was blown up, allegedly by Sunni terrorists.
Roadblocks prevented her from entering the city and her anxiety was obvious to everyone who saw her final report. Night was falling and tensions were high.
Two men drove up in a pick-up truck, asking for her. She appealed to a small crowd that had gathered around her crew but nobody was willing to help her. It was reported at the time that she had been shot dead with her cameraman and sound man.
We now know that it was not that swift for Bahjat. First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.
Then her arms were bound behind her back. A golden locket in the shape of Iraq that became her glittering trademark in front of the television cameras must have been removed at some point — it is nowhere to be seen in the grainy film, which was made by someone who pointed a mobile phone at her as she lay on a patch of earth in mortal terror.
By the time filming begins, the condemned woman has been blindfolded with a white bandage.
It is stained with blood that trickles from a wound on the left side of her head. She is moaning, although whether from the pain of what has already been done to her or from the fear of what is about to be inflicted is unclear.
Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war.
A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.
Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.
Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.
Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.
Read the rest, if you will...
It reveals the cowardice and evil at the heart of terrorists, no matter the cause. When a cruelty grows too banal for them, they come up with ways to increase the depravity. These sick and disgusting cowards use a woman in the most grotesque manner possible, and then send off the video to her family. Of course, their pride doesn't extend to revealing their identities on the video so that they can actually take responsibility for their cowardly cruelty. This is the measure of the terrorists that have declared war not just on us but on liberty wherever it appears. The terrorist groups are nothing but a club for craven sociopaths and psychopaths that use religion as an excuse to get their sick, twisted kicks.