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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Violence In Iraq Way Down In October, Peacefulness Confuses Journalists

From Say Anyting:
The funny thing is that when violence in Iraq is escalating, the journalists always know what it is and the meaning is never disputed. When violence is escalating, they call it “civil war” and imply that it means the war in Iraq is a failure. Like this report from November 2006:

As the sectarian violence in Iraq escalates into what the US media is now calling a civil war, Mr Bush said he would press Mr Maliki to develop a strategy to stop the killings.

Escalating violence = civil war

Decreasing violence = confused journalists

But don’t you ever accuse these brave and courageous journalists of not being objective.

Racism at Volokh. Dr. Watson Makes an Un-PC Remark.

What began at the Volokh conspiracy with a discussion of the William and Mary anonymous speech code system became a discussion of Dr. Watson and his unguarded comment regarding the intellectual inferiority of Africans.

Dr. Watson, who shared a Nobel Prize for his part in the discovery of the structure of DNA, has from time to time made remarks that have outraged the sensibilities of the politically correct. From The Independent:

The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.

His views are also reflected in a book published next week, in which he writes: "There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."

Let me acknowledge that prizes like the Nobel and Pulitzer have frequently been awarded to charlatans and mountebanks. The most notorious recipient of the Pulitzer is Walter Durante who airbrushed Stalin’s crimes while the Soviet dictator was killing millions of Russian peasants. And then, of course the more recent recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have been notable for their insipid anti-Semitism (Jimmy Carter) and for their faux science (Al Gore). There is often little relationship between wisdom and intelligence. Some of the world’s foremast writers, artists, scientists and engineers are crackpots who use their fame in a particular field to advance ideas away from their area of expertise.

That having been said, Dr, Watson made a comment that is not totally unrelated to his area of expertise: genetics. It did, however, result in a furor which caused him to be fired from his position as head of Cold Spring Laboratory, a position he held for 50 years.

Dr. Watson has since repudiated his statement. But that repudiation is as suspect as a “confession” of the accused at one of Stalin’s show trials. Even for a 79-year-old the worldwide condemnation that his original comments received would have caused even John McCain to buckle. From the Herald Sun:

However, in apologising in London, Dr Watson said: "I am mortified about what has happened.
"I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways they have.
"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I apologise unreservedly.
"That is not what I meant. More importantly, from my point of view there is no scientific basis for such a belief."
Which gets me back to the Volokh conspiracy in which a commenter identifying himself as PatHMV said:

I'm normally quite suspect of attacks from the P.C. police. However, I think the reaction to Dr. Watson's remarks was quite appropriate. He did not get in trouble for, as you suggest, engaging in any type of scientific research. No, he gave an interview to the Sunday Times, saying, among other things:
“people who have to deal with black employees find this [black intelligence being equal to that of "us"] not true”

He was not "speculating in academia." He was making ill-founded general observations in the public press. Precisely because of his august reputation, he has a greater responsibility than most to speak cautiously, based only on actual science. Had he been crucified for a research paper published in a scholarly journal, I would defend scientific inquiry. But he wasn't doing that, and it was appropriate to loudly criticize him for it.

When challenged on this statement

If I may paraphrase your comment, you believe that someone can make a case for a theory but cannot reflect on it’s practical application if it breaks a cultural taboo?

He replied:
No, Moneyrunner, that's not what I said. I was responding to a statement suggesting that the Watson affair was an attack on academic freedom and our ability to conduct scientific studies. Watson was not attacked for academic work. The specific quote of Watson's which I cited was not in ANY WAY based on any scientific study or data.

Given the terrible history in this country, and around the world, with racism, and with the false pseudo-science which has in the past been used to justify racism, I do think that scientists such as Watson have a special responsibility to not make public statements like that without STRONG scientific evidence to support them.
In other words, there are some areas of science that require a particular sensitivity to correct social thought because they may otherwise be abused by bigots or racists.

A follow-up comment by “MDJD2B” concluded with this:
Does that mean that scientist who engage in such speculation should lose thier jobs? Does it matter whether they are scientific or adminstrative jobs?
To which PatHMV responded:

Yes. Depending on the particular circumstances, they should lose their jobs. No, it doesn't matter what their particular job is.

The anti-scientific bias of this is literally staggering. PatHMV actually sounds like a medieval cleric defending the position of an earth centric universe because to their minds, the mere discussion of another system would destroy the Christian faith. Truly staggering and truly monstrous for the modern age.

The rabid desire to shut off the debate on this subject reveals a more pernicious issue. It is that there is a belief – not just among the usual suspects but also among the Liberal and oh-so unbiased community that there may be differences in cognitive abilities among the races. That would explain the death grip that Liberals have on affirmative action via lower entrance exams to universities, the elimination of certain math tests in communities for new hires to police departments, and other similar demands.

One politician has stated it in a kinder, gentler way: it’s the soft bigotry of low expectations. The expectations people have for children or adults who are not quite … what?

It’s perfectly fine for another racial group to score, on the whole, higher than Caucasians. But it’s not OK for some group to score lower. Which brings us to the dilemma. If Asians are – on the whole – smarter than Caucasians but Africans are – by definition - just as smart as Caucasians can we draw any conclusions about whether Asians are smarter than Africans? Or is that also not allowed?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hillary Clinton and Stan Lee

Stan Lee gave over a million dollars to Hillary. He is now suing her, claiming election fraud.

From Breibart:
First came the Orwellian mash up YouTube video that portrayed Hillary Rodham Clinton as Big Brother. Then came a clip of her off-key rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Now, a stinging 13-minute video by a bitter Clinton foe is finding its own Internet audience.
The clip, a preview of a longer film by one-time Clinton donor Peter Paul, has scored more than 1.4 million hits on Google Video and about 350,000 on YouTube during the past week. Its popularity has driven it to the top spot on Google Video over the past two weeks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Iowa Governor Decrees “Diversity”

Read the article. More comments later.

Mark Steyn: War, like life, is not a movie

Peggy Noonan wrote about it a few days ago. The New Republic's editors seem to have mistaken Vietnam movies for real life. Now Mark Steyn also remarks on the fact that the so-called "reality based community" can't seem to tell the difference reality and Memorex. That's because to them, movies are reality.

And let's face it, unless you're over 50, your experience with war is the movies. Steyn says it well:
...when anti-war types bemoan Iraq as this generation's Vietnam "quagmire," older folks are thinking of the real Vietnam – the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and whatnot – but most anybody under 50 is thinking of Vietnam movies: some vague video-store mélange of "The Full Metal Deer Apocalypse."

Take the Scott Thomas Beauchamp debacle at the New Republic, in which the magazine ran an atrocity-a-go-go Baghdad diary piece by a serving soldier about dehumanized troops desecrating graves, abusing disfigured women, etc. It smelled phony from the get-go – except to the professional media class from whose ranks the New Republic's editors are drawn: To them, it smelled great, because it aligned reality with the movie looping endlessly through the windmills of their mind, a nonstop Coppola-Stone retrospective in which ill-educated conscripts are the dupes of a nutso officer class.


It's the same with all those guys driving around with "9/11 Was An Inside Job" bumper stickers. That aligns reality with every conspiracy movie from the past three decades: It's always the government who did it – sometimes it's some supersecret agency working deep within the bureaucracy from behind an unassuming nameplate on a Washington street; and sometimes it's the president himself – but when poor Joe Schmoe on the lam from the Feds eventually unravels it, the cunning conspiracy is always the work of a ruthlessly efficient all-powerful state. So Iraq is Vietnam. And 9/11 is the Kennedy assassination, with ever higher percentages of the American people gathering on the melted steely knoll.

There's a kind of decadence about all this: If 9/11 was really an inside job, you wouldn't be driving around with a bumper sticker bragging that you were on to it. Fantasy is a by-product of security: it's the difference between hanging upside down in your dominatrix's bondage parlor after work on Friday and enduring the real thing for years on end in Saddam's prisons.

If there was a real conspiracy, if this country were a real dictatorship, the asshats with the bumper stickers would be dead. And they know it, deep in their minds. But they are living as the lead in their own mental movies.

That's the real flaw in Christopher Dickey's "Deliverance" metaphor: If Cheney is Burt Reynolds, and the rest of America is Jon Voight, and the river is Iraq, who are the hillbillies? Well, presumably (for he doesn't spell it out) they're the dark forces you make yourself vulnerable to when you blunder into somewhere you shouldn't be. When the quartet returns to Atlanta a man short, they may understand how thin the veneer of civilization is, but they don't have to worry that their suburban cul-de-sacs will be overrun and reduced to the same state of nature as the backwoods.

That's the flaw in the thesis: Robert D. Kaplan, a shrewd observer of global affairs, has referred to the jihadist redoubts and other lawless fringes of the map as "Indian territory." It's a cute joke but a misleading one. The difference between the old Indian territory and the new is this: No one had to worry about the Sioux riding down Fifth Avenue, just as Burt Reynolds never had to worry about the mountain man breaking into his rec room. But Iran has put bounties on London novelists, assassinated dissidents in Paris, blown up community centers in Buenos Aires, seeded proxy terror groups in Lebanon and Palestine, radicalized Muslim populations throughout Central Asia – and it's now going nuclear. The leaders of North Korea, Sudan and Syria are not stump-toothed Appalachian losers: Their emissaries wear suits and dine in Manhattan restaurants every night.

Life is not a movie, especially when your enemies don't watch the same movies, and don't buy into the same tired narratives. To return to that 1996 presidential race, Bob Dole, apropos Pat Buchanan's experience hosting a CNN talk-show, muttered testily at one point, "I was in the real crossfire. It wasn't on television. It was over in Italy somewhere, a long time ago." Happy the land for whom crossfire is purely televisual and metaphorical. But, when it turns real, it's important to know the difference.

The Virginian: Is Gene Nichol Recreating East Germany in Williamsburg?

The Virginian: Is Gene Nichol Recreating East Germany in Williamsburg?

Is Gene Nichol Recreating East Germany in Williamsburg?

Stanley Kurtz raises concern about the Nichol's new speech codes and anonymous tips.
I’ve heard of speech codes, but I’ve never heard of anything quite like this: a mechanism to anonymously report "bias related to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected conditions" to the university administration, for possible action against the perpetrator. This system has been set up at William and Mary, and a website protesting it can be found here. Is this something new, or at least rare, or is it perhaps more common than I realize?

The definition of "bias" that should be reported to the W&M Speech Code Police:
A "bias incident" consists of harassment, intimidation or other hostile behavior that is directed at a member of the William and Mary community because of that person's race, sex (including pregnancy), age, color, disability, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. A bias incident may be verbal (whether spoken or written) or physical.

If you are not certain whether an occurrence meets the above definition, please report the occurrence under this protocol and allow the College to make the determination.

The Bias Reporting Team them springs into action:
A student or college employee who would like to report an incident may use the online form if the event in question is not presently occurring, and if there is no continued threat of harm to person or property. For immediate response, use the phone report or personal report (listed below). A person reporting online may report anonymously by leaving the personal information fields blank. The Bias Reporting Team will assume that providing a name and phone number indicates a desire for follow-up contact, which will occur within 24 hours, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. Reports submitted on the weekend or holidays will not receive a response until 24 hours from the normal business hours of the College. Those submitting an online form will receive an auto-reply email that will include a list of the steps to be taken next, and a timeline for personal contact.

Or not, but always urgently:

Regardless of the means of reporting (phone, personal, or online), the Bias Reporting Team Chair receives the complaint in the time frame described above, and initiates the following process:

The Chair reviews the report, and decides whether the event fits the mandate of the Bias Reporting Team (is it a bias or hate related event).

If the Chair determines that it is an issue of bias or hate, proceed to the next step. If it does not fit the Bias Reporting Team mandate, the report will be passed on to the appropriate office for reaction and response.

The Chair then determines the level of significance of the report, and whether the Bias Reporting Team should convene. This meeting will occur no more than 24 hours from the time this determination is made. The Team will ALWAYS convene if any of the following are true of the event:

The event includes physical harm, or its potential.

There is the potential or reality for large-scale impact (to the campus or wider community).

The event includes the presence of hate or bias-related symbols. The more public, the more urgent.

The establishment of an entire organization to track down and punish speech code violations via anonymous tips at W&M is the subject of discussion at The Volokh conspiracy.. Volokh himself is not too concerned before students are actually haled before the kangaroo court. But most of his correspondents don't share his view.

There is a difference in the view of a tenured law professor and some poor schlub at W&M who will get hauled in front of this star chamber with the real possibility that he will be expelled, or sent for "psychological counseling" with permanent black mark against him that will follow him for the rest of his career.

Law professors rarely appreciate the transaction costs of lawsuits and analogous actions. I refer not only to economic costs, but to the time and agita' that result from being haled before an official tribunal and forced to defend oneself.

Even if the W&M bias squad were scrupulously fair, and if there were a real presumption in favor of the accused (which is not always true with campus disciplinary bodies), the accused still has to appear and explain himself. The publicity of being accused harms people's reputations. (Yeah, these tribunals are supposed to be confidential.)

Exactly. Law professors make a living teaching people how to participate in a process that can destroy a person's life (at worst) and which is never pleasant. For them, it's what life is about. For others, it's a nightmare. And this is what William & Mary is institutionalizing.

And let's not forget the reason Gene Nichol came to national attention in the first place. Patrick216 reminds us:
I was a 2000 graduate of W&M. In my time there, the university was never a bastion of leftism and I never felt unsafe or unwelcome as a right-of-center student there. To be sure, the professors were predominantly left of center, and in some cases were not afraid to express those views to students in their classes. But I always felt comfortable expressing right-of-center views in class and my grades were never penalized as a result.

But that was under the old President, Tim Sullivan. The new guy, Gene Nichol, strikes me as a total disaster. This was the guy who last year ordered the Wren Cross to be removed from the Wren Chapel out of a fear of offending religious minorities. (Mind you, no religious minorities actually felt offended.) Now we have the Bias Reporting System. Is there any indication that ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, etc. minorities are under assault at W&M such that this system is needed? Or is this another Gene Nichol gross PC overreaction? (Given that Nichol was formerly associated with the ACLU, I'm inclined to believe he's overreacting for no reason.)

There is currently a board that's been appointed by the Board of Visitors to consider whether they want to retain Nichol as President following the expiration of his contract on June 30, 2008. You better believe I am going to write a letter advocating that he not be reappointed. This kind of stuff is over the top and is defaming the good name of a great school.

For more on the Wren Cross fiasco go HERE.

UPDATE: Mike Adams, a professor at UNC-Wilmington reminds us that Nichols and his wife are no strangers to controversy (A Tale of Two Bigots):
Although websites like have done a good job of exposing the history of the current controversy, some facts have been omitted. These accounts have incorrectly suggested that President Nichol has acted alone out of some individual animosity towards Christianity. That is unfair because it fails to mention the probable role of his wife Glenn George, a professor at William and Mary School of Law.

Glenn George was named as University Counsel at UNC-Chapel Hill on December 7th, 2002. Just three days later, a Jihad was launched against religious organizations at that school. Thirteen letters were written to religious groups - twelve to Christian groups – threatening to de-fund them and kick them off campus.

These threats were issued because the groups did not allow membership and voting privileges to students hostile to their religious views. There was also a mandate that the groups adopt policies that allow all students to hold office in the religious groups they oppose.

The policy was so absurd that it should not have required a lawsuit to correct. But it did.

After a religious group filed suit, a federal judge issued an injunction against UNC that caused the policy to be amended. Eventually, Glenn George and her husband Gene Nichols – then the Dean of UNC School of Law – moved on to William and Mary. And they took their penchant for harassing Christians with them.

A comment below refers us to a website devoted to dumping Nichol. William & Mary's Board of Visitors also has a website from which you can e-mail them.

Roswell incident not explained to Richardson's satisfaction

Apparently Bill Richardson believes the military is hiding little green men and their spaceship in Area 54. If this passes for credulity in Democrat circles, it's no wonder that their solutions never survive real world exposure.

If he wins his bid for the White House, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson may be just the man to get to the bottom of the 60-year-old Roswell UFO mystery.

Answering questions at a townhall meeting Friday, a Dell employee asked Richardson about the 1947 incident in which many people still believe a flying saucer landed near the eastern New Mexico town.

"I've been in government a long time, I've been in the cabinet, I've been in the Congress and I've always felt that the government doesn't tell the truth as much as it should on a lot of issues," said Richardson, who is governor of New Mexico.

"When I was in Congress I said (to the) Department of Defense ... 'What is the data? What is the data you have?' "

Truman Lied, Aliens Died

Military Announces Missile Defense Hit

Notice that Ted Kennedy has shut up about "Star Wars?"

The military shot down a Scud-type missile in another successful test of a new technology meant to knock down ballistic missiles in their final minute of flight, the Missile Defense Agency said Saturday.

A ship off Kauai fired a target missile at 9:15 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time Friday, or 3:15 a.m. EDT Saturday. Minutes later, soldiers with the U.S. Army's 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade launched an interceptor missile from Kauai that destroyed the target over the Pacific, according to the agency.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Peggy Noonan: The New Republic's editors seem to have mistaken Vietnam movies for real life.

She summarizes Scott Thomas Beauchamp's "Baghdad Diaries" mercilessly:

"I love chicks that have been intimate with IED's," he announced to his fellow soldiers sitting in the chow tent in Camp Falcon in Baghdad. "It really turns me on--melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses." The soldiers laughed so hard they almost fell from their chairs. They enjoy running over dogs in Bradley Fighting Vehicles, luring them in and then crushing their bones as they whelp. When a soldier comes upon a mass grave, he picks up a human skull, places it merrily on his head, and marches around.

But here's why the editors of the Drive-By-Media don't spot this kind of fabulism as fake: they believe it because they saw it in the movies; movies about Viet Nam. And here's the key:

I'll jump here, or lurch I suppose, to something I am concerned about that I think I am observing accurately. It has to do with what sometimes seems to me to be the limited lives that have been or are being lived by the rising generation of American professionals in the arts, journalism, academia and business. They have had good lives, happy lives, but there is a sense with some of them that they didn't so much live it as view it. That they learned too much from media and not enough from life's difficulties. That they saw much of what they know in a film or play and picked up all the memes and themes.
In terms of personal difficulties, they seem to have had less real-life experience, or rather different experiences, than their rougher predecessors. They grew up affluent in a city or suburb, cosseted in material terms, and generally directed toward academic and material success. Their lives seem to have been not crowded or fearful, but relatively peaceful, at least until September 2001, which was very hard.

But this new leadership class, those roughly 35 to 40, grew up in a time when media dominated all. They studied, they entered a top-tier college, and then on to Washington or New York or Los Angeles. But their knowledge, their experience, is necessarily circumscribed. Too much is abstract to them, or symbolic. The education establishment did them few favors. They didn't have to read Dostoevsky, they had to read critiques and deconstruction of Dostoevsky.

I'm not sure it's always good to grow up surrounded by stability, immersed in affluence, and having had it drummed into you that you are entitled to be a member of the next leadership class. To have this background in the modern era is to come from a ghetto, the luckiest ghetto in the world, a golden ghetto beyond whose walls it can be hard to see. There's much to be said for suffering, for being on the outside or the bottom, for having to have fought yourself up and through. It can leave you grounded. It can give you real knowledge not only of the world and of other men but of yourself. In some ways it can leave you less cynical. (Not everything comes down to money.) And in some ways it leaves you just cynical enough.

These insulated children of privilege think that because they have travelled and live in the bright center of the media universe, they are sophisticated and have a depth of experience that gives them insight. What they have is the life experience of the wealthy pampered child; and the arrogance.

Pol Pot's 1973 stretch Mercedes on eBay

Glenn Reynolds comments:
Ever notice how the champions of the proletariat always have stretch limos?

Mr. Pot killed about two million Cambodians (a quarter of the country's population) in the 1970s in order to live the high life. But you don't need to kill anyone to own this piece of history. You just have to be the high bidder on eBay.

A Serious Discussion of Whether the People Running Stephen Colbert’s Network Have Any First Amendment Rights

At Patterico's Pontifications
Rick Hasen has a post on whether the people running Stephen Colbert’s network would violate the law by letting him “run for President” while also putting him on TV. The post is titled Does Viacom Get the Media Exemption for Stephen Colbert’s Promotion of His Candidacy on the Colbert Report?

In other words, does our government allow Stephen Colbert’s bosses to engage in free speech?

Hasen concludes:

I’m leaning towards no, but the issue is not a slam dunk.

What follows is a very sober discussion — you can almost visualize Hasen furrowing his brow as he taps out the post — of whether someone can exercise his core First Amendment rights without running afoul of the blatantly unconstitutional obstacles that Our Caring Government has put in our way. (Oh, sure: it’s about corporate free speech rights — and this has nothing to do with individuals, because corporations are run by giraffes.)

Savor this passage:

The fact that the show is a satire makes the interpretation question all the more difficult: does schtick count as commentary? I’m not so sure. But consider a case where Jay Leno does his comedy routine wearing a “Vote for Colbert” button. I don’t think that would get the media exemption, and NBC could be in trouble. It is quite a fine line to draw.

Indeed. Why, just imagine the trouble Jay Leno’s bosses would be in with Our Caring Government if he wore a button advocating the candidacy of an actual serious candidate for president.

Why, Our Caring Government would not be very pleased with that.

Atilla comments:
When I was in law school, we used to talk about “core political speech.” Ha!

The First Amendment is now about “core p*rn*graphic speech.” Political speech isn’t covered any more, at least not in campaigns, because you might create the appearance of corruption.

So, no, the First Amendment wasn’t repealed; it was reinvented.

Indeed, the only bright lines that the First Amendment seems to draw is that you can't do anything about pornography and you can't do anything Christian in public.

New Democrat strategy: We must stimulate the amygdalae!

Michelle Malkin
This is high-larious. The Hill reports on an internal Democrat strategy memo complaining that the Democrat Party is too hyper-rational and lacks emotional appeal.

For real. They think “SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILLLLLDREN!” is too bland and accountant-like:

IslamoFascism Awareness Week - Dennis Prager Stuns Them at UCSB

The crowd that packed Girvetz Theatre was amazingly behaved, and much of the credit for that has to go to Prager - he charmed the crowd into submission, and a wry smile came to his face when the last questioner of the night complained that she “didn’t like being manipulated.”

Say What You Will About Norman Hsu...

Suitably flip:
Disgraced political donor Norman Hsu wasn't hiding from anyone over the past few years, his lawyers say. If California authorities really wanted to find him, they could have asked Hillary Rodham Clinton or one of the other prominent Democrats he showered with cash donation.

Hsu is asking a judge to toss his 15-year-old felony fraud conviction, arguing that his right to a speedy trial was violated because authorities weren't actively pursuing him.

Yes, Hsu is arguing that his due process rights were trampled because he'd undertaken the life of a fugitive and the state wasn't holding up its end of the bargain by chasing him diligently enough.

This has to be a joke ....

Oh wait, it's the law we're talking about.

NYT for sale?

Don Surber speculates on what the "family" will do to restore their failing company.
Forbes magazine is speculating that the BDS Times may be on the block. I was told a long time ago what the purpose of a newspaper is by Adam Kelly, who once was the only conservative columnist in West Virginia.

The purpose of a newspaper is to make money for its publisher.


NYT had to sell off its TV stations to keep the newspaper going. I used this analogy before, but it is like tossing the life jackets overboard to keep the Titanic afloat.

The print media is a failing business model, being driven into extinction faster by the ideological passions of their managers.

Ted Kennedy's America ... and How We got Here

Jonah Goldberg
If you think American politics have gotten nastier, crueler, and more symbolic over the last 20 years, blame Ted Kennedy.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the borking of Judge Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan’s failed Supreme Court nominee. And it was Ted Kennedy’s bilious bugle blast that brought the man down. Almost immediately after Reagan nominated Bork, Kennedy pulled himself off his barstool and proclaimed: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of the government ...”

Kennedy’s assault rallied left-wing interest groups to the anti-Bork banner for an unprecedented assault on a man the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger dubbed the most qualified nominee he’d seen in his professional lifetime. As Gary McDowell noted recently in the Wall Street Journal, that time span included the careers of Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, and Felix Frankfurter.
In 1991, Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the high court, and Democrats attempted to replay their Bork triumph and likewise destroy Thomas. But Thomas would not be goaded into the meat grinder. This remains the outrage according to liberals today: He refused to go quietly into the night.

In 1992, Bill Clinton introduced the phrase “the politics of personal destruction” to the lexicon. Clinton used it preemptively to delegitimize scrutiny of his private life. After all, the accusations against Thomas — he allegedly asked a subordinate out on a date; he joked about a pubic hair — were of Disneyesque innocence compared with almost every Saturday night in Little Rock for Clinton. In a world where the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill standard was held consistently, Clinton would not have been qualified to be a tollbooth attendant on the New Jersey Turnpike. Hence, he called for an end to the ratcheting up of the gotcha game before he himself got got.

But it didn’t work. His private life spilled out for public viewing, steaming in the cold air.

Liberals were outraged, sometimes fairly, often not. But they felt they needed to respond tone for tone, blow for blow. They scoured the private lives of Clinton’s “tormentors” for dirt, and they often found it.

There’s more, of course. The Florida recount saw Republicans feeling justified to do whatever it took — even fight like Democrats — to win. The recount, in turn, laid the foundation of bitterness and bile that fuels the omnivorous banshees of the “netroots,” who proudly proclaim they care only about winning and being as ruthless as they imagine the Republicans are.

But at this point you know the story. In Ted Kennedy’s America, it’s blow for blow and eye for eye now, and everyone is blind to how we got here.

Lilly has a point ... but she won't like it.

Rich Tucker writes "Mea Culpa" at

he has decided to be a kindler, gentler conservative. Among the responses was one by "Lilly"

My response was too long to go in the comments box at Rich's column, so I though I would comment here.

There are a lot of people who are simmering from the some of the events and trends of the last 50 years. Oh yeah! But they were isolated and believed they were alone in their views. They were not quoted in the Drive-By-Media (or if they were, they were dismissed as kooks). That has changed, thanks to Rush Limbaugh’s revolution of AM radio and the development of the Internet as an alternative mass media.

An analogy would be the reaction of the people in Eastern Europe who were freed from Communism after the USSR fell. There were a lot of pissed off people who were now finally free to make their opinions known. In some cases they imprisoned or even hung their oppressors.

Here is what Lilly mentioned that – thanks to the alternative media – we now have a chance to debate:

During World War II hardly a family was untouched by the war. People hung little star flags in their windows to show how many living members they had at the front, and how many dead. But even then, we did not see the kind of hysteria that now goes with "Support the Troops!"

You see, that sort of BS is what passes for reality in “Lilly World.” During World War 2 “we” did not see people saying they supported the troops, but not the war. “We” did not have a party that told us the war was lost. “We” did not put Nazi saboteurs in cushy jails, we shot them. “We” moved hundreds of thousands of ethnic Japanese into internment camps and kept them there. “We” gave the military a free hand to bomb cities and when thousands of civilians were killed in the process, that was war, not a cause for legal action. If anyone had said any of the hateful things that are regularly said about our troops today by the Left, they would have been lynched. “Support the troops?” Hell yes; that was not even a question.
It feels now as if a lot of elderly conservatives who have been stewing ever since public protest shut down the Vietnam War are now trying to get even for the way they felt then.

There is truth here too. For years since the end of the war in Viet Nam, the simpering simps who cut off all aid to our allies in South Viet Nam have told us how noble they were while the rotting corpses of the millions of people killed after they had their way stank up the place. The MSM were unified in presenting a picture drawn by the Left. A picture of American brutality and futility that they brought to an end. And when that end did not come in reconciliation but in millions of deaths, tropical Gulags and hundreds of thousands of “boat people” taking chances in shark and pirate infested waters to escape the future that the Left had consigned them to, the Left partied on, congratulating themselves on having won their just cause.

For forty years they have been getting madder and madder not just about Vietnam but about gays coming out of the closet and about unmarried couples living together openly and about legalized abortion and most of all about forced racial integration---and now "Support the Troops" has become the kind of code that "Law and Order" used to be. These people seem to want a new order in which their values will control everyone in the United States. And they very much want their knee on the neck of every liberal.

Well, now. The people I know really don’t have a problem with gays coming out of the closet. They do have a problem with being told that they cannot disapprove of the gay lifestyle unless they want to be called “homophobic.” They have a problem with being told that their moral code is evil and their religion is stupid. They have a problem with people, both gay and straight flaunting their sexuality – not in the bedroom – but on Main Street in “gay pride” parades featuring the public display of body parts that were once called “private.” They have a problem with being told that they must rent rooms in their home to people whose morals they find offensive, or face arrest and jail. They have a problem with doctors sucking the brains out of babies who are partially born and being told that this is a procedure that is guaranteed by the constitution. And they are tired of being told that if they object to this, they are interfering with a woman’s body.

And when they object to having these values forced down their throats, they then find themselves told that their values are illegitimate. The only values that can be forced on people are the values espoused by the Left: the ones who take pride in the death camps of South East Asia, take pride in calling our troops Nazis, take pride in denigrating people of faith, and take pride in killing babies.

Well, the Left’s long march through Academia and the MSM is finally meeting some resistance and has finally found its voice in the alternative media. And the Left is very unhappy with that. They are used to being the ones with the megaphone, the ones who owned the mass media. And they are now doing what bullies always do; they are raising their voices and calling names. What we are seeing is the emergence of a REAL dialog, not just one between Left and Far Left. And if that disconcerts anyone, head for the hills because it’s not going to get any quieter for a while.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bobby Calvan Scores in Baghdad ... After a Stint at the Virginian Pilot

Docweasel saved the entire thread. Its' about a jerk of a reporter, (but I repeat myself) getting in the face of an American soldier at a checkpoint and pulling the "don't you know who I am" routine.

And a defense from a co-worker.

Dan Riehl covers the story and digs into Calvan's bio. Turns out this asshat worked for the Virginian Pilot. Sigh! It figures. That only leaves us with a few dozen jerks on staff.

Here's our intrepid reporter reporting on the environment:
I spoke with Mr. Calvan at length this morning representing the Prius Club of San Diego. What he is specifically looking for is someone who bought their Prius largely because of the HOV lane bill so as to alleviate their commute problems. IF that person is very unhappy now and lives in the Bay Area they would be ideal. LA is ok too.
and a comment:
This is SOP for reporters. (Seriously. Hang out with enough of them and you understand clearly that the normal way to write a story is to decide first on the POV and go looking for quotes that will support it. It is not considered unethical among them; it's the norm.)

So "bias" is a fair call, but this doesn't mean he's any worse than the average reporter.

Exactly. Write your story then find people who you can quote who will support your point of view. It's the drive-by-media way.

From Little Green Footballs:
So much great stuff in this guy’s blog! Here’s more, about a U.S.-led raid on Sadr City, targeting a Shiite insurgent leader who was hiding there. The Army said that the only casualties were insurgents, but Iraqi police said that a woman and three children had been killed! Our brave, impartial hero set out to tell the story:

...the story that was already being composed in my mind. I was after vivid descriptions that could, if warranted, paint a scene of chaos, anger and grief.

You can't make this stuff up!

Uh, sorry, you can, if you are a journalist.

More from Blackfive.

Acceptable Bigotry in the Ivory Tower? Prof. Muqtedar Khan Refuses to Share Panel with IDF Veteran

In the growing list of acceptable bigotries proliferating among those who inhabit the ever-so-progressive Ivory Tower, it seems that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) veterans are fair game. Just ask University of Delaware political science and international relations professor Muqtedar Khan (also a Pentagon consultant and Brookings Institute Fellow), who refused to share an academic panel yesterday at the University of Delaware with Campus Watch Associate Fellow Asaf Romirowsky.

Read the rest.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The mechanism by which the Total State is being built

Perry de Havilland observes that modern Britain is fast becoming a "kinder, gentler" totalitarian state, but one without the gulags and the gas chambers. But, he argues, they are not the core of the totalitarian state, but the appendages that can be added later on.

I have argued in the past that violent repression, gulags and mass murder are not in fact the defining characteristics for a state to be 'totalitarian'. The defining characteristic is, as the word itself suggests, that control over people be pervasive and total... mass murderousness, goose-stepping troops, waving red (or whatever) flags are merely an incidental consequence and which can be better described in other ways (such as 'tyrannical, murderous, dictatorial, brutal, national socialist, communist, islamo-fascist etc.).

As a result my view is that we in the west are already well on the way to a new form of post-modern totalitarian state (what Guy Herbert calls 'soft fascism') in which behaviour and opinions which are disapproved of by the political class are pathologised and then regulated by violence backed laws "for your own good'' or "for the children" or "for the environment".

And so we have force backed regulations setting out the minutia of a parent's interactions with their own children, vast reams on what sort of speech or expression is and is not permitted in a workplace, rules forbidding a property owner allowing consenting adults from smoking in a place of business, what sorts of insults are permitted, rules covering almost every significant aspect of how you can or cannot build or modify your own house on your own property, moves to restrict what sort of foods can be sold, what kind of light bulbs are allowed, and the latest one, a move to require smokers to have a 'licence to smoke'. Every aspect of self-ownership is being removed and non-compliance criminalised and/or pathologised.

The person suggesting this latest delightfully totalitarian brick-in-the-wall, Professor Julian le Grand, says some very telling things:

"There is nothing evil about smoking as long as you are just hurting yourself. We have to try to help people stop smoking without encroaching on people's liberties." [...] But he said requiring them to fill in forms, have photographs taken in order to apply for a permit would prove a more effective deterrent.
No doubt Julian le Grand thinks that makes him seem reasonable and sensible, because he does not want people to have their civil liberties encroached upon... and he then proceeds to describe how he would like to do precisely that in order to 'deter' you from doing what you really wanted to do.

The reason for this seemingly strange approach is simple to understand because to the totalitarian, something does not have to be 'evil' to warrant the use of force to discourage it, you merely have to have (a) coercive power (b) disapprove of another person's choices regarding their own life. That is all the justification you need, simply the fact other people are not living the way you think they should, in your presumably infinite wisdom.

Notice how coercive actions imposed by state power are described as 'helping'. We will force you to pay more, force you to go to a doctor...but we will throw your arse in gaol if you dare try to circumvent our unasked for 'help'.

The 'paleo-totalitarian' simply uses force if you disobey, no messing about... however the post-modern totalitarian prefers to add a morally insulating intermediate step that allows his kind to talk about 'civil liberties': first he gives you a nice regulation to obey and only if you dare not comply with that do the Boys in Blue get sent to show you the error of your ways.

I can think of quite a few ways I would rather like to 'help' Julian le Grand and his ilk in order to mitigate their pathological need to interfere with other people's lives. All for the greater good of society, you understand.

Until I read this essay and the comments that followed, I had not realized how much the modern British "state" controlled the minutiae of people's lives. A place where people are not allowed to protect themselves from violent attackers. A state that is actually thinking of licencing smokers.

Of course in New York City, certain foods are outlawed "for our own good." The totalitarian state is always and everywhere instituted "for our own good."

Klein of American Prospect: 'McCain Was on Wrong Side of Vietnam War'

There is an upside to the “nutroots” egging on the Liberals in American politics. Liberals have tended to assume camouflage for their statist and collectivist ideas because they have perceived that the American public, who they view as ignorant rubes, are not ready for their ideas.

Take the Viet Nam war. The story line is that the Liberals who cut off aid to our South Vietnamese allies were opposed to the war. They wanted an end to bloodshed. They were for peace, even when that peace ended up as the peace of the grave for millions. That’s the story and up until now they have stuck to it.

But the “nutroots” have convinced them that they can now drop the camouflage. They are free to tell us what they really feel. And Ezra Klein, 23 year-old staff writer for the American Prospect, drops his mask about his side on Viet Nam. He tells Chris Matthews that John McCain was on the wrong side of the war. There is only one way of looking at that assertion: Klein and people who think like him were not for peace, they were for a Communist victory.

The “nutroots” have convinced these people that they are now a practical majority.

When you live in an echo chamber, your deepest innermost thoughts come out because you are no longer afraid to utter them. I, for one, am glad that these people are revealed for who they are and what they believe. Camouflaged, they were more dangerous than now that their true shapes are revealed. Thanks to the “nutroots.”

News Flash: Ann Coulter Actually Gets to Finish Speech on College Campus

From the Daily Trojan (no, not the condom, but the student newspaper of USC):

Conservative author and media personality Ann Coulter spoke to more than 200 people at Annenberg Auditorium on Wednesday, a night that included political jabbing inside and a gathering of protestors outside.
Perhaps the most notable part of the event was that Coulter encountered no interruptions. In 2005, she cut short her speech because of jeering at the University of Connecticut, and in 2004 she dodged a pie thrown at her at the University of Arizona.

Note the euphemisms: Ann "cut short her speech because of jeering." Right!? The truth is that her speech was drowned out by rioting demonstrators. And she was assaulted at the University of Arizona by another "demonstrator." Like the "dissidents" in Iraq are blowing up women and children and killing our soldiers.

Diana's Clash of Civilization

It is asserted that we don't understand other cultures. To be specific, I believe that the Left and most people in the center in this country don't understand Islam. If they did, the war would be fought much more aggressively and things like "Islamofacism Awareness Week" would not be greeted by protesters.

But the same can equally be said about Arabs. Even wealthy, well travelled Arabs.

David Pryce-Jones takes the case of Princess Diana and Mohamed Fayed:

An inquest has just opened in London for the purpose of examining the death of Diana Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris no less than ten years ago. The French authorities and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg have already determined on the evidence that the crash was the result of wild and drunken driving by the chauffeur. Lord Justice Scott Baker in charge of the inquest opened proceedings by saying that many members of the public are concerned that something sinister may have caused the collision, and suspicion is now to be “either dispelled or substantiated.”

The holding of this inquest so long after the event, and the Lord Justice’s remarks, are an amazing tribute to Mohamed Fayed. His son Dodi died in the car with Diana. Rumor has it that Diana and Dodi were in a relationship, to use that euphemism. Fayed has since maintained that Diana was pregnant and about to marry Dodi. In his view, the crash was “murder in the furtherance of a conspiracy by the Establishment, in particular His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who used the secret services to carry it out.” And the motive? Supposedly it was intolerable that the mother of the future King of England might be married to a Muslim. Fayed uses his position as owner of Harrods, the famous London store, to publicize these accusations as loudly and as often as he can.

There is no record of British secret services murdering anyone anywhere at any time. Brigadier Mason-Macfarlane was British military attaché in Berlin before the war, and in a memorandum in 1938 he offered to shoot Hitler. Horrified superiors had him transferred at once to be governor of Gibraltar. Michael Grant, a wartime intelligence officer and afterwards vice-chancellor of Belfast university, once told me how early in the war he had had a hand in recruiting a Military Intelligence team of assassins. The authorities were then so frightened by the men they had trained that they kept them enclosed in a country house in Worcestershire for the rest of the war, and disbanded them as quickly as they could.
The concept of the Duke of Edinburgh using the secret services for anything, never mind murder, is so far out as to be rather comic.

But that is how they do things in Egypt, the country in which Mohamed Fayed was born and grew up. Those with the power to do it may well murder whoever gets in the way. Prominent victims of past power struggles have included Hasan al-Banna, head of the Muslim Brothers, and Prime Minister Noqrashi Pasha. President Nasser almost certainly had his friend and rival Field Marshal Amer murdered, and he ensured the judicial execution of the Muslim thinker Sayyid Qutb. Islamists murdered the free-thinker Faraj Fuda, and the secret police cause Islamists to disappear regularly.

Mohamed Fayed’s conspiracy theory is a revealing illustration of how someone can misinterpret British culture in the light of his very own different culture. His vision of the world sounds demented but it’s conditioned by what’s familiar to him.
In their culture, what the British actually do is set up inquests and Lord Justices to deal with issues through due procedure, something unknown in Egypt.

Nobody has a clue what – if anything - Diana and Dodi felt for one another, but if the two of them had settled down together the whole Establishment would have gasped with relief at an example of a Muslim at last integrating, and at the top of society too. Fayed’s insistence that the mother of the future King couldn’t be allowed to marry a Muslim is evidence of the victim complex that runs through Islam - the poor man is simply not equipped to understand the British.


Ann Coulter's latest, and it's very good!

College liberals are in a fit of pique because various speakers are coming to their campuses this week as part of David Horowitz's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week -- not to be confused with Islamo-Fascism Appreciation Week, which I believe is in April.

Apparently liberals support Islamo-fascism.

The Democratic leadership might want to have a powwow with their base because I believe their public position is to pretend to oppose Islamic fascism.

Elected Democrats at least make empty rhetorical gestures about opposing Islamic fascism. Of course, amidst their nonspecific condemnations of Islamic terrorism, they make very specific demands that we genuflect before Islam and perform exotic fetishes on the fascists.

Liberals believe in burning the American flag, urinating on crucifixes, and passing out birth control pills to 11-year-olds without telling their parents -- but God forbid an infidel touch a Quran at Guantanamo.

College campuses across the nation are installing foot baths to accommodate Muslims' daily bathing ritual, while surgically removing the Ten Commandments from every public space in America. Maybe the Ten Commandments could be printed on towels and kept next to the foot baths.

The National Council for Social Studies recommended a lesson plan after 9/11 that included a story titled "My Name Is Osama" about a nasty little white boy, "Todd," who taunts a fine upstanding Iraqi immigrant named "Osama." Go ahead, laugh it up -- we'll see who's laughing when "My Name Is Osama" ends up on ABC's prime-time lineup next year.

This story was proposed in response to an event in which Muslims with names like "Osama" committed the most massive hate crime in U.S. history against 3,000 innocent civilians with names like "Todd."

Still and all, Democrats who seek the votes of their fellow Americans continue to claim in a vague, meaningless way to oppose Islamo-fascism.

And then when speakers like Cyrus Nowrasteh, the writer and producer of the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11," and Nonie Darwish, whose father founded the Fedayeen, show up on college campuses to criticize Islamic terrorism, the Democratic base threatens to riot. The only thing that makes the cut-and-run crowd mad enough to fight is the idea that someone, somewhere might be criticizing radical Islam.

Consequently, the speakers for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week require the sort of security phalanx one would expect for someone more like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Oh wait -- no. Ahmadinejad was cheered by college students a few weeks ago -- at least until he expressed reservations about sodomy. (On the basis of Ahmadinejad's claims, instead of looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, how about we start looking for gays in Iran?)

Even American intellectuals like Dennis Prager and Michael Medved who are speaking during Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week are denounced by liberals as if they were David Duke. One pro-Islamo-fascism Web site indicts Medved on the grounds that he "has claimed that Islam has a 'special violence problem.'" It doesn't get much more diplomatic than that.

Conservative speakers are constantly being physically attacked on college campuses -- including Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan, David Horowitz and me, among others. Fortunately the attackers are Democrats, so they throw like girls and generally end up with their noses bloodied by pretty college coeds. But that doesn't make it right.

Michael Moore can waddle anywhere he wants in America without fear of violence from Republicans. But we still have to hear about every testy e-mail Paul Krugman ever receives as if liberals are living in the black night of fascism. Any time Krugman wants to get into a "Most Vicious Hate Mail" contest, just say the word. You don't hear me sniffling.

Congressional Democrats are constantly calling for conservative private citizens to be silenced. Even Democratic candidates for president and their wives are getting in on the act.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of Senate Democrats' demand that Rush Limbaugh's microphone be silenced, Lizzie Edwards distracted herself from the latest National Enquirer by announcing on Air America that Limbaugh's draft deferment was phony.

I was pretty shocked. Who knew Air America was still on the air?

I know every time Democrats call for me to be silenced, I feel a delicious surge of martyrdom. For a brief moment, I understand the thrill the left gets by going around claiming to be victimized all the time.

I could almost imagine a poem:

First they came for Rush Limbaugh, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Rush Limbaugh;

And then they came for Ann Coulter, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Ann Coulter;

And then they came for David Horowitz, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't David Horowitz;

And then ... they came for me ... And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

Liberals claim to be terrified that the Religious Right is going to take over the culture in a country where more than a million babies are exterminated every year, kindergarteners can be expelled from school for mentioning God, and Islamic fascists are welcomed on college campuses while speakers opposed to Islamic fascism are met with angry protests.
If liberals want to face real fascism, try showing up on a college campus and denouncing fascism.

Protester painted in "blood" accosts Condoleeza Rice

This is "Liberalism Today"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beauchamp takes a powder

Mark Steyn:
No disrespect, Kathryn, but count me among those who raised an eyebrow over your five o'clock Scott Thomas Beauchamp post. It's not about Beauchamp "confessing". Given the alarm bells Beauchamp's original piece set off among those familiar with the subject matter, and given that the anecdote on which the entire premise of the essay hangs has already been determined to have occurred in Kuwait rather than Iraq, all The New Republic had going for it were its editors' insistence that (a) Beauchamp was standing by his story, and (b) the military were preventing him from speaking to them.

It has now been revealed that (a) Beauchamp declined to stand by his story, and (b) the editors spoke with him and knew this weeks ago. Presumably The New Republic's readers are relatively relaxed about the editors colluding in slandering the troops at a time of war: only uptight squares get hung up on that sort of thing. But they ought surely to be concerned at the abuse of trust perpetrated by the magazine against its own readers.

The New Republic is currently owned by my old friends and compatriots, the Asper family. Back when I toiled for the company in Canada, David Asper publicly told one of his own newspapers to "put up or shut up". He should have said the same months ago when The New Republic was bragging about its commitment to rigorous and open investigation of the matter. The magazine is unable to "put up", so it has shut up, and hopes that its silence will help the story die in the shadows. Beauchamp's 15 minutes are up. The issue now is the magazine's conduct, and the Aspers should recognize that and act accordingly.

IslamoFascism Awareness Week at DePaul

Robert Spencer was at Depaul University in Chicago tonight as part of the ‘Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week’ hosted by David Horowitz of Frontpage Magazine. We have some pictures, video and reports to post, in this post we’ll focus on the pix and reports and I’ll put the video up as soon as it’s done processing.

Resistance is futile: You will be (mis)informed.

Michael Yon on the drive-by-media:
All describe the bizarro-world contrast between what most Americans seem to think is happening in Iraq versus what is really happening in Iraq. Knowing this disconnect exists and experiencing it directly are two separate matters. It’s like the difference between holding the remote control during the telecast of a volcanic eruption on some distant island (and then flipping the channel), versus running for survival from a wretch of molten lava that just engulfed your car.

I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States, Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.

Yon is so concerned about the poor reporting coming from Iraq that he is offering his dispatches to newpapers who are memebers of the NNA (National Newspaper Assocaition) free of charge.
Those readers can first check to see if their local paper is a member of the NNA . Because only NNA members will be able to

” . . . print excerpts of Michael Yon’s dispatches, including up to two of his photographs from each dispatch. Online excerpts may use up to 8 paragraphs, use 1-3 photos, and then link back to the full dispatch on his site saying ‘To continue reading, click here.’”

The Media and the War v.2,365,478


ASSOCIATED PRESS: Sharp Drop Seen in US Deaths in Iraq. The Bush Administration's secrecy plan is a miserable failure!

Jules Crittenden has some thoughts on reporting.

UPDATE: Still more thoughts on the press coverage from
Dean Barnett:

YOU'D THINK THIS would be a big story. After all, the mainstream media makes such a show of "supporting the troops" at every turn, you'd think it would rush to report the amazing story of our soldiers accomplishing what many observers declared "impossible" and "unwinnable" not so long ago.
It hasn't worked out that way. When General Ricardo Sanchez (ret.) addressed the situation in Iraq on October 11, he proclaimed that America was "living a nightmare with no end in sight." Naturally, the "nightmare" quote wound up in the first paragraph of the New York Times report on Sanchez's comments. What didn't find its way into the Times' report was any context of what's going on in Iraq. The "nightmare" assessment would have been a whole lot more fitting when Sanchez was helping run the show in Iraq in 2006 than it is today. . . .
WHAT'S MOST FRUSTRATING about the press's reporting about Iraq is that you just know the next time something goes wrong, be it a car bomb slipping through or a mishap involving American soldiers, that story will get above-the-fold treatment in America's major dailies. . . . Of course, there is nothing wrong with the media reporting the bad news out of Iraq. Indeed, it's their duty. But there is something profoundly wrong with the media reporting the bad news while disingenuously ignoring the progress we've made, progress that's only been made because of the sacrifices of 160,000 American soldiers.
Yes, it's almost as if undermining morale on the domestic front were a key goal. When the history of media reportage on this war is written, it will not be kind.

Tom Friedman: Double-Reverse Chickendove

Tom Friedman was for the war before he was against it. Jules Crittenden:
To paraphrase some Marine wag in Ramadi … Tom Friedman isn’t at war, the Marine Corps is at war. The Army is at war. Tom Friedman’s at Neiman Marcus:
The politics aside, there is something particularly loathsome about Friedman’s snide screed this morning.

I know that Friedman travels a lot, talks to a lot people. He’s visited war. Thirty years ago he spent some time in Beirut, and he’s been to Baghdad, met with the big players. But I’m not sure he’s travelled enough to make the arguments he’s making and crack wise about it. Correct me if I’m wrong. Has this guy spent any time in combat with American troops? If not, then he hasn’t met enough big players. Hasn’t sweated enough. Hasn’t counted his last hours and minutes enough. Hasn’t come under enough fire. Hasn’t seen enough bits of people lying around afterward.

People who talk up war without going get slapped with chickenhawk slurs. Clearly Friedman’s no chickenhawk, at least not anymore. Chickenhawk slurs are slapped on people who support war and haven’t gone. ”Chickenhawk” gets tossed around by people who don’t feel the need to lift a finger in support of the peace they profess to love. Not a human shield among them.

Friedman presents us with something different. The double-reverse chickendove. War supporter turned surrender enthusiast makes ironic funny about how painful this war has been for him. The terrible barrage of headlines, slogging through all those long, bitter thumbsuckers. News is hell. But apparently, he hasn’t been reading it.

I have not read Friedman's latest book "The World is Flat" even though it has been praised - maybe because it has been praised - in all the right circles. But like most contemporary Liberal authors, he spouts conventional wisdom long after it has become trite and stale.

From "Falling Flat" a critical review by Roberto J. Gonzalez in SF Gate:
The book's main point is that the world is "flattening" -- becoming more interconnected -- as the result of the Internet, wireless technology, search engines and other innovations. Consequently, corporate capitalism has spread like wildfire to China, India and Russia, where factory workers, engineers and software programmers are paid a fraction of what their American counterparts are paid.

Business reporters, labor activists, historians and anthropologists have reported these trends for more than a decade, but Friedman would have us believe that he single-handedly discovered the "flat world." In fact, without a trace of irony, he compares himself to Christopher Columbus embarking upon a global journey of exploration.

I'm fairly certain that Friedman can write in an entertaining way, and that explains the book's success. But good writing appears to be a substitute for thoughtfulness, which Friedman has never evidenced in any of the columns that I have read.

Nonie Darwish at Berkeley

The "Right" has to get better at holding events. They have to have a game plan to deal with disputers. They have to have physical security for their speakers. They have to be get their supporters to turn out. They have to make sure the sound system works.

The problem is that the Right has not gotten much practice. But I'm sure they will improve.
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" is a nationwide series of lectures and presentations organized by conservative writer David Horowitz and his various organizations. On the evening of October 22, dozens of famous speakers gave lectures at universities around the country, mostly on the subject of Islamic extremism. The presenter at U.C. Berkeley that evening was Nonie Darwish, an Arab-American author and feminist who has become a Muslim apostate and vociferous critic of radical Islam.

Her appearance at Cal was sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans, and strongly opposed by several left-wing groups and Muslim organizations, including World Can't Wait, the Muslim Students Association, and Students for Justice in Palestine. Her speech was even condemned by the ASUC, the official student governing body at Berkeley.

The stage seemed to be set for a tumultuous ideological confrontation, but as things turned out, attendance at the Darwish lecture was surprisingly light, considering the amount of pre-publicity the event had generated. There were conflicts and disruptions, but perhaps fewer than many people had feared.

HERE is an excellent video of the event by "Incorrect University."

Progress is Being Made: Everyone Agrees that "Judicial Activism" is Bad

So now the former proponents of judicial activism are attempting to re-define the terms. Well, at least it's progress.

Ed Whelan takes to the pages of the Los Angeles Times this morning to bash that Sunstein and Miles piece on judicial activism that I criticized here and here.

Ed’s most valuable contribution is to put the Sunstein and Miles piece in its proper context, noting that it is but a small volley in the war “to try to defuse the charge of liberal judicial activism” by advancing “shoddy” arguments that redefine “activism” to allow the charge to be leveled at conservative judges.

Media myths about the Jena 6

The Christian Science Monitor interviews a newsman who lives and Jena and whose wife teaches school there. The Jena story appears to be as badly botched as the "Duke Rape" case or "Katrina," both huge media hoaxes.

By Craig Franklin:
By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they've all heard the story of the "Jena 6." White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There's just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

Keep in mind that Franklin is in the news business - the business of congential liars - and is therefore automatically suspect as a "Dan Rather." But when we weigh the lies of one set of liars against the other, we may eventually arrive at the truth.

Captain Ed opines:
So what were the myths? The whites-only tree was never white-only. The nooses were a message -- to the rodeo team, and a reference to the movie Lonesome Dove, not a message to blacks. The DA threat to "black students" in fact was directed at three white girls who wouldn't shut up during a talk to the student body. The party at which the first assault occurred was not a "whites-only" party but a private party, and the assault was just a punch to the face by someone who wasn't a Jena HS student, not a bottle attack. The attacks had nothing to do with the nooses, which appeared briefly three months prior to the assaults.

All of these could easily have been discovered by the professionals in the national media. Franklin references official reports in each of these refutations of Jena mythology, as well as other specific points. The layers of fact-checkers and editors found in the mainstream media apparently couldn't be bothered to research the assumptions made by the demagogues. Instead of using the facts to defuse a controversy fueled by misunderstanding, the media inflamed a nation by amplifying a series of exaggerations and outright lies.

Unfortunately, this revelation comes too late for the town of Jena, which has been vilified for bigotry that it never displayed. It might be that the Jena incident displays another kind of bigotry, one that afflicts urban and Northern writers about their rural and exurban Southern neighbors. The media apparently shares this bigotry, as shown in their impulse to accept the premise of the Jena mythology instead of actually reporting the facts. (via Power Line)

And Flopping Aces Chimes In:
Like the "rapes and murders" of the Superdome during Katrina, or the "brutal rape" of a stripper in the Duke case, we see a MSM too willing to send the lives of people spiraling out of control in an attempt to sensationalize a otherwise boring criminal incident.

Mission Accomplished

Bartle Bull writes in Prospect (a British publication):
The question of what to do in Iraq today must be separated from the decision to topple Saddam Hussein four and a half years ago. That decision is a matter for historians. By any normal ethical standard, the coalition's current project in Iraq is a just one. Britain, America and Iraq's other allies are there as the guests of an elected government given a huge mandate by Iraqi voters under a legitimate constitution. The UN approved the coalition's role in May 2003, and the mandate has been renewed annually since then, most recently this August. Meanwhile, the other side in this war are among the worst people in global politics: Baathists, the Nazis of the middle east; Sunni fundamentalists, the chief opponents of progress in Islam's struggle with modernity; and the government of Iran. Ethically, causes do not come much clearer than this one.

Some just wars, however, are not worth fighting. There are countries that do not matter very much to the rest of the world. Rwanda is one tragic example; and its case illustrates the immorality of a completely pragmatic foreign policy. But Iraq, the world's axial country since the beginning of history and all the more important in the current era for probably possessing the world's largest reserves of oil, is no Rwanda. Nor do two or three improvised explosive devices a day, for all the personal tragedy involved in each casualty, make a Vietnam.

The great question in deciding whether to keep fighting in Iraq is not about the morality and self-interest of supporting a struggling democracy that is also one of the most important countries in the world. The question is whether the war is winnable and whether we can help the winning of it. The answer is made much easier by the fact that three and a half years after the start of the insurgency, most of the big questions in Iraq have been resolved. Moreover, they have been resolved in ways that are mostly towards the positive end of the range of outcomes imagined at the start of the project. The country is whole. It has embraced the ballot box. It has created a fair and popular constitution. It has avoided all-out civil war. It has not been taken over by Iran. It has put an end to Kurdish and marsh Arab genocide, and anti-Shia apartheid. It has rejected mass revenge against the Sunnis. As shown in the great national votes of 2005 and the noisy celebrations of the Iraq football team's success in July, Iraq survived the Saddam Hussein era with a sense of national unity; even the Kurds—whose reluctant commitment to autonomy rather than full independence is in no danger of changing—celebrated. Iraq's condition has not caused a sectarian apocalypse across the region. The country has ceased to be a threat to the world or its region. The only neighbours threatened by its status today are the leaders in Damascus, Riyadh and Tehran.

A long article but very interesting.

With very important implications for the American election.

Last Gasps from al Qaeda


The last days on Earth of Abu Osama al-Tunisi apparently were filled with anxiety: “We are desperate for your help,” he said in a letter to al Qaeda chieftains.
A copy of the letter was found by U.S. troops sifting through the rubble of the building in Musayb, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, where on Sept. 25 al-Tunisi had been meeting with two local al Qaeda operatives when an F-16 cut their discussion short.

Al-Tunisi was a key member of the rapidly dwindling inner circle of Abu Ayoub al Masri, the al Qaeda chieftain in Iraq. Another key member, Abou Yaakoub al Masri, an intimate of Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, was killed Aug. 31 near the northern Baghdad suburb of Tarmiyah.

Al-Tunisi was responsible for bringing foreign al Qaeda recruits into Iraq and placing them in operational cells, U.S. military spokesmen said. That effort suffered a major blow when “Muthanna,” the al Qaeda emir for the Iraq-Syrian border region, was killed in early September.

Al-Tunisi wasn’t alone in calling for help. “Al Qaeda has lost half its leadership over the summer, and American intelligence collectors have amassed a huge number of desperate messages from al Qaeda leaders and operatives,” said StrategyPage.

The collapse of al Qaeda’s networks in Iraq is the chief reason both U.S. casualties and Iraqi civilian deaths plunged in September, despite an increased operations tempo.

British Mideast expert Bartle Bull thinks it soon will be impossible to ignore the good news from Iraq. In an article this month in the British magazine Prospect titled “Mission accomplished,” Mr. Bull wrote: “With most Sunni factions now seeking a deal, the big questions in Iraq have been resolved positively. The country remains one, it has embraced democracy and avoided all-out civil war.”

The Sunnis, even the ex-Ba’athists, have turned on al Qaeda and are seeking a deal, and the predominantly Shia government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is willing to make one, Mr. Bull said. More than 14,000 Sunnis in Anbar Province, once al Qaeda’s stronghold, have joined the Iraqi army and police since the troop surge began.

“The Sunni insurgents have recognized that there is little point fighting a strong and increasingly skilled enemy ― the United States ― that is on the right side of Iraq’s historical destiny and has a political leadership that ... responds to setbacks by trying harder,” Mr. Bull said.

Hillary Is The Republicans' Dream Candidate

Polls tell us that the public is unhappy both with the Bush administration and with the Democrats who control congress. They dislike the rancor and backbiting that characterizes the status quo. So why would the Democrats run a candidate that represents more of the same? Jonah Goldberg explains:
The most interesting thing to come out of the umpteenth Republican debate Sunday is confirmation that the GOP is dying to run against Hillary Clinton. Like Don Rickles flaying a heckler, each candidate whacked at Clinton as if she were a pants-suited piñata. When they were done with their one-liners, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee deadpanned: “Look, I like to be funny. There’s nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president.”

No, but there’s something deeply advantageous to having her as an opponent. So far, the commentary about the Republican offensive against Hillary has focused mostly on how it reflects poorly on the GOP (those Clinton-hating wing nuts are at it again!). What’s not been fully grasped is how Hillary gives the GOP its best chance at being the party of change.

Newt Gingrich, for one, has been pointing this out for months, using the May electoral triumph of Nicolas Sarkozy in France as an example. A cabinet minister for the unpopular Jacques Chirac, who’d served as president for a biblically long term of 12 years, Sarkozy ran against his own incumbent party’s complaisance as well as his Socialist opponent, Segolene Royal, arguing that she represented a return to a failed past and more of the same.

America isn’t France — obviously — but Democrats may be misreading America nonetheless. It seems incandescently clear that voters want a change, and up to now, change meant little more than Democratic victory and no more President Bush. But Democrats got a significant victory in 2006, when they took control of both houses of Congress. And now Congress is even less popular than Bush. In other words, the clamor for change in Washington is much bigger than Bush.

Besides, Bush is leaving no matter what. And unlike every other election since the 1920s, there’s no White House-approved candidate in the race. Any Republican will start with 40 percent to 45 percent of the vote in his pocket once he gets the nomination. The question is whether the critical 5 percent to 10 percent of swing voters will think Hillary Clinton represents the sort of change they want.

To wit: Most independents and swing voters want an end to the acrimony and bitterness in Washington — and a candidate they like. Whether that’s right or not is irrelevant. That’s what they want.

Which Democratic candidate would be most likely to give those voters what they want? Not Hillary, it’s safe to say.

Right now, she can get away with boasting about her tenure in the Clinton administration. Party activists are drunk with Clinton nostalgia. On the stump in Iowa, Bill Clinton responded to the claim that Hillary was “yesterday’s news” by saying, yeah, but “yesterday’s news was pretty good.”

In the general election, audiences will remember Whitewater, Travelgate, illegal fundraising, bimbo eruptions and impeachment. If they don’t, you can be sure Republicans will remind them. Fair or not, the Republicans’ intense dislike of Hillary will underscore the idea that a vote for her is a vote for more of the same rancor.
If Democrats could get out of their bubble, it might dawn on them that virtually all of their other candidates are better positioned to run as champions of change. Hillary Clinton has shrewdly tried to trim the differences between her and the competition by claiming that any of them would be better than George W. Bush. From a liberal perspective, that’s obviously true. But that perspective won’t necessarily dominate come next fall, particularly if conditions in Iraq continue to improve.

Is it really so obvious that, say, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney represent “change” less than the ultimate Clinton retread, complete with Bill as “first gentleman”? That’s how Democrats are betting right now, and they may be bitterly disappointed — again — when it comes time to collect.

Two year old gives $3200 to Obama

It appears that Clinton AND Obama are accepting illegal campaign contributions.
Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.

Such campaign donations from young children would almost certainly run afoul of campaign finance regulations, several campaign lawyers said. But as bundlers seek to raise higher and higher sums for presidential contenders this year, the number who are turning to checks from underage givers appears to be on the rise.
Just how much campaign cash is coming from children is uncertain -- the FEC does not require donors to provide their age. But the amount written by those identifying themselves as students on contribution forms has risen dramatically this year, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. During the first six months of the 2000 presidential campaign, students gave $338,464. In 2004, that rose to $538,936.

This year, the amount has nearly quadrupled, to $1,967,111.
This is the second time in two months that the Obama campaign has returned contributions from young children. The first involved donations from Maryland developer Aris Mardirossian's two children, Matthew, 8, and Karis, 7; each contributed $2,300 to Obama's primary campaign and $2,300 more for a possible general-election contest.

Although the campaign immediately returned the money, Mardirossian, who along with his wife also gave maximum contributions to Obama, said he saw no need for the campaign to do so.

"My children are very engaged in politics, Mardirossian said. "The whole family is engaged. Every Sunday we get together, all the cousins, everybody comes and talks about politics. The children sit down and listen to the debates and everything."

Helen Maloof Aranda offered a terse explanation when asked how her two children, ages 10 and 16, came to donate the maximum allowed to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's Democratic presidential bid -- some of the more than $32,000 in contributions that Maloof family members gave Richardson.

"We just support him," Aranda said when reached at the family's Santa Fe beer distributorship.

I love the smell of crime in the Democrats camp in the moring.

Fred Thompson on Illegal Aliens

Oops, that should read "illegal immigrants" or "undocumented workers" or "Democrat voters who can't speak English" or "Clinton campaign contributors" or whatever your favorite term is for people who crossed our borders illegally.

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Republican Fred Thompson said Tuesday the government should yank federal dollars from cities and states that don't report illegal immigrants.

In his first major policy proposal, Thompson challenged presidential rivals Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney by criticizing "sanctuary cities" where city workers are barred from reporting suspected illegal immigrants who enroll their children in school or seek hospital treatment.

"Taxpayer money should not be provided to illegal immigrants," Thompson said at a round-table discussion that included Collier County, Fla., sheriff Don Hunter.
The former Tennessee senator also called for stronger laws forcing employers to verify that workers aren't illegal immigrants, for a more rigorous system to track who is coming in and out of the country and for increased prosecution of "coyotes," smugglers who bring illegal immigrants across the Mexican border.

Calling for stronger border security, he said: "A small amount of nuclear material could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands. It makes you wonder why a terrorist would bother going through an airport or a port ... when we have an open border."

The Republican candidates are trying to outdo each other in showing how tough they would be on this issue. Instead of beating each other up, how about agreeing that this is a major issue and uniting on a platform to address it?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Tape: Bin Laden Calls Insurgents ‘Pack of Sissies’

By Scott Ott:

2007-10-23) — In a newly-released audiotape, al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden spoke directly to Muslim insurgents in Iraq, calling them “a pack of sniveling sissies for collapsing in the face of the recent U.S. military surge.”

“When I see how you cower,” Mr. Bin Laden said, “I’m ashamed to wear the flowing robe of Muslim boldness and the fierce, yet festive, headdress of a jihadi. I have wives who are braver than you…several of them.”

The al Qaeda mastermind noted that his own “courageous concealment” has stymied U.S. attempts to kill or capture him, while he ridiculed al Qaeda in Iraq fighters as “pathetic little pigs trembling at the voice of the big bad American wolf.”

“Why don’t you all shave off your beards,” he asked rhetorically, “and apply a nice cucumber-scented moisturizer to your smooth, hairless faces? You don’t deserve to enjoy the glory of the coming Muslim caliphate. You’re not worthy to lick the drippings from the wall of my cave.”

Violence in Iraq down 70%

From Hot Air:
But, I’m confused. I coulda swore I heard someone say “The war is lost.” Maybe that prognostication was a bit premature.

Video: Neal Gabler kinda sorta wishes death on Bill Kristol

From Hot Air

KC Johnson Comments on New Leadership at Duke; Same Old - Same Old

When you read Johnson's comments on the appointment of Donna Lisker as associate dean of undergraduate education, you come to the horrifying conclusion that - at Duke - this is the best that can be done. It's depressing.

Click on the link for the entire article, including sound bites of Lisker commenting on the probable guilt of the lacrosse players.

And how's this for stereotyping: cultural conservatives are more likely to commit rapes! Yes, according to the new Dean most rapists have "traditional beliefs."
K C Johnson:
But there’s something off-putting about a university administrator suggesting that her ideological opponents are more likely to commit rapes—even if, as she hastened to add, most cultural conservatives were not prospective criminals. Imagine the outrage if Duke had appointed as associate dean a conservative who had publicly asserted that feminists were more likely to file false rape reports.

Lisker tries to steer the focus away from the false rape charges to the fact that some members of the team had a party at which there was drinking and that a stripper was hired. I don't know about the stripper - I went to school in a more uptight age, and, frankly, strippers were not in my budget. But to appear to be outraged about drinking in college is so ludicrous as to be a self-parody.

There is much more in this post that needs to be read. But the end result remains horribly depressing. I recently attended a meeting at which one of the men mentioned that his son attended Duke. I told him how sorry I was.

Obama - We Don't Need No Stinking Salute

Naomi Wolf Cries Fascism

Perhaps it's because I am of a certain age, but the people who compare the Bush administration to Fascism don't have any idea about Fascism. But that seems to be the case. The decent into unreality does not stop with the country described a being in the iron grip of a Fascist dictatorship, it also enters discussions of what is torture. There is something surreal about equating loud music, sleep deprivation or waterboarding with physical beatings, branding, gouging out eyeballs or using electric drills on kneecaps.

The problem comes in when real fascism takes over and real torture occurs. If the language has been debased so that we can no longer distinguish between the two, what defense do we have against the reality if ever it should occur?

Aaron Goldstein writes:

One of my pet peeves with the Left is the tendency, almost by default, to liken the Bush Administration to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. It is a significant reason I could no longer bring myself to associate with the Left.

Naomi Wolf is a textbook case of this tendency. Last month, Wolf released her sixth book The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. The book is based on ideas she presented in an article titled, “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps” which appeared in The Guardian last April. In the article, Wolf argued there is a blueprint the Bush Administration is following to close down an open society and that the blueprint was established by Hitler, Stalin and other lesser despots. “As difficult as this is to contemplate,” Wolf writes, “it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush Administration.”

The first of these ten steps is to identify an all encompassing enemy.
Two of Wolf’s other steps are the establishment of a gulag and the development of a thug caste. Yes, Wolf uses the word gulag in describing Guantanamo Bay echoing the sentiments of Irene Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International. It is a curious use of language considering millions of people were killed in Stalin’s gulag whereas at Gitmo all of four people have died by way of suicide. ...

Read the rest.