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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why the Mumbai Police Did Not Shoot

The Mumbai massacre will be dissected by all and sundry. But the facts that surprise a lot of people are the number of attackers, the scale of the attack and the death toll.

This terrorist attack is being called “India’s 9/11.” Like America’s 9/11, the attack was carried out by radical Islamists. It was also a strike at cultural symbols, and it was meant to inflict large numbers of deaths. By some accounts, the objective was 5000 dead.

While the 9/11 attacks resulted in 3000 dead and the Mumbai death toll is measured in the hundreds, what is surprising about Mumbai is the death toll in view of weapons used. Ten men with rifles and grenades rather than fuel laden jetliners inflicted hundreds of retail deaths in battles that raged for days and may well be the model for the next attack in the US.

Why did they succeed for so long in India? A reporter in the Mumbai train station reported that quite a number of armed police were present who made no effort to shoot the attackers. It’s worth examining the reasons why.

We don’t know why the police did not shoot at the terrorists, but there are only a few reasons why:

• Personal fear
• Legal consequences
• Cultural issues

The first one, personal fear, is a rational one. After all, if you are armed with a pistol and your adversary is armed with a rifle, you are at a severe disadvantage in a shootout at anything beyond point blank range. It takes a brave man to be willing to face a couple of terrorists who are shooting at anything that moves. Especially if you are not particularly well trained to respond to this kind of threat.

The second, legal consequences can be ascribed to an event of just a month ago when police in Mumbai shot and killed a man who had shot up a bus. This resulted in condemnation by high government officials of the Mumbai police for their actions.

There are also cultural issues against taking a life in a country where cows are still sacred and pacifism is widely admired and practiced. Hinduism is the predominant religion in India and while it does not specifically reject wars against injustice, it does have a broad streak of fatalism and pacifism.

So why did the police in the Mumbai train station not open fire? All three factors were probably at work. America has the cowboy as its icon – the John Wayne figure – India has Mahatma Gandhi who threw off the British yoke via non-violent resistance. But Gandhi also recommended pacifism in the face of the Hitler’s aggression.

How different then would I expect the response to be if the Islamofacists try a Mumbai in the US? Two of the three factors would apply here, but in somewhat different order.

I would expect terrorists to meet both civilian and police resistance. More Americans are armed than Indians and civilians have been known to defend themselves and their neighbors from armed attacks.

I would expect the police to be cautious about returning fire for fear of legal repercussions of injuring civilians, but our cultural imperatives would result in more “heroic” behavior.

As a sidelight it is interesting that Western culture has created something that may almost be referred to as a “Genteel War.” I have just finished reading a book about Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. In those wars the Romans killed literally hundreds of thousands of their enemies and sold tens of thousands into slavery. After the end of one battle, in a demonstration of determination, Caesar ordered his troops to cut off the hands of 4000 men who had surrendered; an object lesson that ended resistance to Roman rule.

A little over 50 years ago we conducted a war of total destruction, shelling towns and villages, killing civilians in population centers, firebombing Dresden and utterly destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the end millions were dead, an entire continent lay in ruins, the Russian army was systematically raping the German women and the survivors were starving.

Fast forward to today and we have a war in Iraq during which we lost about 4200 troops killed and the Iraqis lost 5 – 6000 troops killed and by some estimates 50 – 60,000 civilian deaths from all causes. As wars go, this was virtually bloodless. More people were killed in single battles during our Civil War than during the entire Iraq war.
Most of the civilian casualties appear to have been inflicted by the terrorists that set off bombs following the defeat of the Iraqi army. Meanwhile, to show we mean well, we are desperately trying to rebuild the infrastructure of the country which we invaded a few years ago and befriending those who just months before were trying to kill our soldiers, while prosecuting and imprisoning guards who took pictures of naked prisoners in embarrassing positions.

The results of all these attempts to fight a "kinder, gentler war" while trying to prevent another 9/11? Members of the legal profession are shunning a member of the Bush administration who determined that some non-lethal and non-permanent stresses could be used during prisoner interrogation, horrifying the armchair generals who insist that anything beyond gentle persuasion is –by definition – torture.

These same people want to extend the status of legal combatants to people who do not wear uniforms so that they can blend in to the civilian population. A status that is specifically counter to the reasons why the rules of lawful combatants were written: the protection of civilians.

At some point the memory of John Wayne will be erased from the American psyche and we will react like the Mumbai police, waiting until the terrorists run out of ammunition. But not quite yet.
There are some who are calling for understanding that we are facing an enemy that really does not operate according to the rules.
...the war on terror’s doctrine must change. The old-time suicide bombers mostly operated alone or in small groups, in order to prove their power and hurt the enemy as much as is possible. Yet their time has passed.

Today, we see the emergence of a dark, new, and different army, with new branches that include all the components of a military, yet still utilize the terror doctrine. The advantage of terrorist armies is first and foremost the fact they are not subjected to any law or international convention. They do not face any pressure and they are not accountable to anyone.

They tie the hands of the responding force, which is the only side subjected to conventions pertaining to human rights, war captives, and the targeting of civilians.

Every terror event makes it increasingly clear that the danger to the stability of societies and regimes is much greater than we thought. The Mumbai events must serve as a turning point in the way we address terror armies. This is no longer a conventional war. The war codes formulated in the wake of World War II are no longer relevant. Instead, an international anti-terror force must be created; this force must be specialized, it must study the new threat, and it must be able to provide an immediate response by forces trained especially to that end.

U.S. Troops Kill Taliban Commander Clad in Woman's Clothing

The Left and the world's lawyers seem to equate jihadi terrorists with soldiers for some purposes and civilians for other purposes, whichever gives them the greatest protection.

So what are we to make of a terrorist who dresses up in women's clothing?

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunbattles and airstrikes by NATO and Afghan troops killed 53 militants in Afghanistan, including a wanted Taliban commander who tried to hide from soldiers under a woman's burqa, officials said Saturday.

The U.S. forces targeting the commander surrounded a house Friday in Ghazni province and ordered everyone inside to leave, a military statement said.

Six women and 12 children left the building, but while soldiers were questioning the women they discovered one was actually a man dressed in a burqa, the traditional all-encompassing dress that most Afghan women wear. The man, later identified as the targeted commander Haji Yakub, tried to attack the soldiers and was killed, the military said.

Well, he's dead so the issue is probably moot.

Mumbai photographer: I wish I'd had a gun, not a camera. Armed police would not fire back

From the Belfast Telegraph:

Sebastian D'Souza, a picture editor at the Mumbai Mirror, whose offices are just opposite the city's Chhatrapati Shivaji station, heard the gunfire erupt and ran towards the terminus. "I ran into the first carriage of one of the trains on the platform to try and get a shot but couldn't get a good angle, so I moved to the second carriage and waited for the gunmen to walk by," he said. "They were shooting from waist height and fired at anything that moved. I briefly had time to take a couple of frames using a telephoto lens. I think they saw me taking photographs but theydidn't seem to care."

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."

As the gunmen fired at policemen taking cover across the street, Mr D'Souza realised a train was pulling into the station unaware of the horror within. "I couldn't believe it. We rushed to the platform and told everyone to head towards the back of the station. Those who were older and couldn't run, we told them to stay put."

The militants returned inside the station and headed towards a rear exit towards Chowpatty Beach. Mr D'Souza added: "I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."

What use indeed?


First pictures of burned-out rooms inside Mumbai terror siege hotel

From the Daily Mail:
The first pictures of burned-out rooms at a luxury Mumbai hotel where terrorists were holed up for three days were released today after the siege ended.

The shocking images emerged after crack troops killed the remaining three insurgents at the five-star Taj Mahal after a fierce one-hour gun battle.

At least 195 people were killed in a series of ten coordinated attacks which began on Wednesday - but the death toll is likely to rise much further.

Click on the link for the rest.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mark Steyn: Mumbai could happen just about anywhere

The MSM still doesn’t get it. They’re waiting for the arrests, the trial and the appeals. Then we’ll know whether a crime has been committed in Mumbai.

As I wrote here regarding the question about the identity of the terrorists …. err… suspected terrorists:

The question implies that somehow al Qaida is handing out uniforms, ID cards and diplomas to graduates from "The Bin Laden Terrorist Academy." The war we are in is a distributed war in which the common denominator is Islamic Jihad. The MSM has as much trouble getting its mind around it as they have coming to grips with the Internet. It is outside their matrix, outside their template and they are desperately trying to fit it into a pattern with which they are familiar.

Mark Steyn has some added insights:

But we're in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The forest is the ideology. It's the ideology that determines whether you can find enough young hotshot guys in the neighborhood willing to strap on a suicide belt or (rather more promising as a long-term career) at least grab an AK-47 and shoot up a hotel lobby. Or, if active terrorists are a bit thin on the ground, whether you can count at least on some degree of broader support on the ground. You're sitting in some distant foreign capital but you're of a mind to pull off a Mumbai-style operation in, say, Amsterdam or Manchester or Toronto. Where would you start? Easy. You know the radical mosques, and the other ideological front organizations. You've already made landfall.

It's missing the point to get into debates about whether this is the "Deccan Mujahideen" or the ISI or al-Qaida or Lashkar-e-Taiba. That's a reductive argument. It could be all or none of them. The ideology has been so successfully seeded around the world that nobody needs a memo from corporate HQ to act: There are so many of these subgroups and individuals that they intersect across the planet in a million different ways. It's not the Cold War, with a small network of deep sleepers being directly controlled by Moscow. There are no membership cards, only an ideology. That's what has radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Indonesia to the central Asian 'stans to Yorkshire, and co-opted what started out as more or less conventional nationalist struggles in the Caucasus and the Balkans into mere tentacles of the global jihad.

Many of us, including the incoming Obama administration, look at this as a law-enforcement matter. Mumbai is a crime scene, so let's surround the perimeter with yellow police tape, send in the forensics squad, and then wait for the D.A. to file charges.

There was a photograph that appeared in many of the British papers, taken by a Reuters man and captioned by the news agency as follows: "A suspected gunman walks outside the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus railway station." The photo of the "suspected gunman" showed a man holding a gun. We don't know much about him – he might be Muslim or Episcopalian, he might be an impoverished uneducated victim of Western colonialist economic oppression or a former vice-president of Lehman Brothers embarking on an exciting midlife career change – but one thing we ought to be able to say for certain is that a man pointing a gun is not a "suspected gunman" but a gunman. "This kind of silly political correctness infects reporters and news services worldwide," wrote John Hinderaker of Powerline. "They think they're being scrupulous – the man hasn't been convicted of being a gunman yet! – when, in fact, they're just being foolish. But the irrational conviction that nothing can be known unless it has been determined by a court and jury isn't just silly, it's dangerous."
More from John Hineraker:
This kind of silly political correctness infects reporters and news services world-wide. They think they're being scrupulous--the man hasn't been convicted of being a gunman yet!--when in fact they're just being foolish. But the irrational conviction that nothing can be known unless it has been determined by a court and jury isn't just silly, it's dangerous. For example, I believe that this kind of confused thinking lies behind liberals' indignation that terrorists can be held in Guantanamo Bay "without being charged"--as though they were criminal defendants.

Is Tamara Dietrich a racist?

Leaving aside the question of her position on the provisions of the Constitution, we need to explore the racism that is going to divide America during the Obama administration, as practiced by his acolytes. That his acolytes can be defined as anyone who is a member of the press goes without saying. So let’s start with Tamara Dietrich who writes: It's a madhouse outside the gun shops, too in the Daily Press.

She begins her screed about guns sales with the following observation:

A black man gets elected president and half the country dives for the panic room, buying up guns and squirreling away supplies like fatalists awaiting the End of Days.

So Tamara ascribes the rise in guns sales to Obama’s skin color. That’s wrong in so many ways. First, it’s a logical fallacy known as “post hoc ergo propter hoc” which is translated as “after this therefore because of this.” Keep in mind that this is by far the most often-observed fallacy in the news business. The lazy reporter (but I repeat myself) observes something happening and looks back to find what she thinks is the cause and ties the two together. It’s stupid and in other professions it can lead to failure. It has just taken somewhat longer to catch up with the news industry.

We can then ask why Tamara linked race and gun purchases. It’s because she is a racist and that’s how racists think. Want proof? Let’s go to her next few words:

That's an exaggeration, of course.

Barack Obama is biracial, not black.

In the South during Jim Crow and in South Africa during apartheid, the amount of “black blood” you had determined your racial identity. It was known as the “one drop” rule: if you had only “one drop” of back blood in your background, you were legally black. Tamara has internalized that view which explains her position. In this case, because of his white mother, Obama is not authentically black.

Which gets us involved in another interesting discussion: are there any authentically black people in the US by Tamara’s standards? Are our home grown “African Americans” really black enough? If so, why are their African African cousins so much darker?

DAI in "Paranoid Gun Owners" deals with Tamara’s other problems, which are – at their base – rooted in her racism: her refusal to admit any other reason for the rise in gun sales.

Far from putting racism behind us, Obama’s election has brought it to the fore, giving the most rabid racists – white and black – Obama’s skin color as the reason for everything. Starting with a smarmy little jerk at the Newport News Daily Press.

In case you want to know what she looks like, in case you run into her:

American Muslim Reaction to Mumbai Massacre

Via a Jawa report.

It is good to Give Thanks that jews may very well die as brother Bilal pointed out as the jewish from Crown Heights Brooklyn had set up occupation in that city as well and is now under threat of death in this lovely lovely and happy episode of a Thanksgivings Day adventure. Williamsburg and Crown Heights in New York are so well guarded even by their own Chasid jew police besides New York's police, and what with the islands and limited on and off access and the bridges you almost cannot imagine that a God Damned jew can be killed there. I'm glad they came to Bomb bay to hopefully, God Willing, be killed in it.

Read the whole thing.

Muslims "Worry About Image"

Beware the church of climate alarm

If Al Gore is the Pope of the Church of Global Warming, is the NY Times the official Church newspaper?

As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change sceptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him.

The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report, claiming he behaves like a "rejected genius", and asserts there is "palpable fear" he will "embarrass" the EU.

But the real fear driving climate alarmists wild is that a more rational approach to the fundamentalist religion of global warming may be in the ascendancy - whether in the parliamentary offices of the world's largest trading bloc or in the living rooms of Blacktown.

From Australia:

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will."

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

Another slide charts the alternating periods of cooling and warming on Earth, with the Pleistocene Ice Age starting 110,000 years ago and giving way, 14,700 years ago, to the Bolling warm period for 800 years. This in turn gave way to the Older Dryas cooling for 300 years, then the Allerod warming for 700 years, and so on, until the cooling of the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. Since 1850, we have lived through the "Modern Warming", one of the most stable climate periods in history.

Plimer said some astronomers predict we are headed for a new cooling period.

Plimer said there is a division between those scientists who sit in front of super computers and push piles of data into the mathematical models that drive the theory of climate change, and those who take measurements in the field.

We are not sceptical enough about the data. For instance, Plimer cited differences between results from temperature measuring stations in urban and rural areas. Those in urbanised Chicago, Berkeley, New York, and so on, show temperature rises over the past 150 years, whereas those in the rural US, in Houlton, Albany and Harrisburg (though not Death Valley, California) show equally consistent cooling. "What we're measuring is urbanisation," Plimer said.

To understand the chaotic nature of climate change, we need to consider all the inputs - cosmic radiation, sun, clouds and so on, he said.

There was much more but essentially Plimer's message is that the idea humans cause climate change has become a fundamentalist religion which is corrupting science. It is embedded with a fear of nature and embraced principally by city people who have lost touch with nature.

What happens when someone defines you as an “enemy?”

You may not take them seriously since you are too “grown up” … too sophisticated … to take the ranting of crazy people (fringe groups?) seriously. After all, Mr. & Mrs. Liberal, you stand at the pinnacle of civilization (even as you deny this in “multiculturalism class”). So what happens when the rabble comes to your 5 star hotel and shoots you?

From India during Mumbai:
We did not wish to be ‘enemies’, but since we have been constructed that way, should not we take our roles as ‘enemies’ a bit more seriously? I cannot speak the language of peace and love anymore. If the war is forced upon us, we will have to accept it. And since our state is too inept to handle it on our behalf, let us debate ways in which we can all participate in this ‘war’, through words, wisdom or actions.

I am afraid it will not soothe my senses anymore by being told again and again that religions stand for peace and ‘some people’ are misusing religion and misquoting scriptures. The problem is that the supply of ‘some people’ seems to be never ending. These ‘some people’ are not just a few people but like amoeba they keep multiplying. I am afraid I will not feel calmed tomorrow when I hear that we should try to understand the ‘root causes’, the injustices and anger that force people on the path of terror.

I grew up at a time when the nation of India stood for pacifism. Mahatma Gandhi – that uber-pacifist – was still our image of the typical Indian. That image of India has passed, but it still lingers in the mind as a cultural echo. So what is going to be the India that has war waged against it?

If we are paying the price for being a tolerant and democratic (although not perfect) nation (there are many dissenting voices tolerated in this country including the voices that speak of hatred against communities of all kinds, voices that talk of revenge and exclusion and voices that are overtly seditious against the state), I reject the guilt, shame and tolerance today for it makes me your ‘enemy’. You punish our innocent people for crimes of a few; and scream hoarse when the ‘innocent’ in your community are held up because of your barbarity. You reject our diversity (of our opinion and politics as well that has defended you and stood for you always), you do not like it when we have spoken with different voices. I, therefore, accept the ‘national identity’ you have bestowed on me as your ‘enemy’, an identity that I had always questioned in order to understand you and your problems. Thank you for reminding us, Indians (those who consider themselves one), once again that we are all equal ‘enemies’ in your war and that we need to think of an equal and befitting response.

This is a comment that could be made by pretty much anyone in the US. Except Hollywood, the Universities, the Left, No?

Obama drinks the media's milkshake.

REALITY CHECK: Obama Received About the Same Percentage from Small Donors in 2008 as Bush in 2004

Much has been made by me – and others – about Obama’s internet fund raising efforts. We find it particularly suspicious that the Obama campaign disabled credit card identity checks, making it possible for non-citizens and fictitious persons to make contributions. If the Obama campaign is to be believed, contributions for people who gave less than $200 totaled over $125 million (26% of the $600 million raised).

But according to The Campaign Finance Institute, an affiliate of George Washington University, the “small” contributions raised were comparable – in percentages, if not amounts – to those raised by George W. Bush during his run against John Kerry.

The difference appears to be that the Obama campaign reports that many of the people who contributed $200 or less, did so multiple times, taking their total contributions to over $200 and making their contributions eligible for public disclosure.

It turns out that Barack Obama's donors may not have been quite as different as we had thought. Throughout the election season, this organization and others have been reporting that Obama received about half of his discrete contributions in amounts of $200 or less. The Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) noted in past releases that donations are not the same as donors, since many people give more than once. After a more thorough analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), it has become clear that repeaters and large donors were even more important for Obama than we or other analysts had fully appreciated.

Obama also raised 80% more from large donors than small, outstripping all rivals and predecessors

Please note that I am rounding the numbers up because Obama raised about $150 million in September alone; the CFI report ends in August.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai terror attacks

Click on the link to the UK Guardian.

Also from, a timeline.

The question is being asked whether the terrorists are al Qaida. The question is irrelevant and shows that the questioners is trapped in an outmoded mindset. From NR Online:

A feature of this morning's coverage is the standard and increasingly less relevant questions that come up whenever we see global jihadist attacks: (a) Is this an al Qaeda operation? and (b) Are these just home-grown terrorists animated by local issues?

When he guest-hosted Hannity & Colmes last night, Rich had a very edifying couple of segments with Mark Steyn and Richard Miniter. Mark made the excellent point about the reluctance to come to grip with the fact that these attacks on iconic targets, which we're now seeing in Mumbai/Bombay but of course have seen elsewhere, are fueled by an ideology. That's exactly right. The obsession over whether al Qaeda or its endless jumble of affiliates pulled off the operation is a misguided attempt to mimimize the challenge. The bin Laden network is not unimportant, but it is tapping into something that is much bigger than itself.

It's become fashionable for pundits to confine the threat of radical Islam to a relative fringe of disgruntled takfiris and rationalize that if we could only eliminate them all would be well. But that fringe represents only a strain of the virus.

In July 2007, our intelligence community released findings of a National Intelligence Estimate that indicated jihadist ideology had become so extensively propagated in the West that the mediating influence of terrorist organizations like al Qaeda was no longer essential in order for radical cells to spring up and interconnect. Naturally, these local operatives are spurred, in part, by local and regional issues. But, though the mainstream press recoils from this reality, such local issues are fitted to an ideological framework that is global, hegemonic, and more about the ultimate triumph of fundamentalist Islam than, say, a Palestinian state, Kashmir, Danish cartoons, economic inequality, or whatever this week's complaint is.

The jihad, moreover, is about much more than terrorism. Terrorism is one method of extortion, but is far from the only one — though it makes other methods in what Robert Spencer aptly calls the "Stealth Jihad" far more successful.
The question implies that somehow al Qaida is handing out uniforms, ID cards and diplomas to graduates from "The Bin Laden Terrorist Academy." The war we are in is a distributed war in which the common denominator is Islamic Jihad. The MSM has as much trouble getting its mind around it as they have coming to grips with the Internet. It is outside their matrix, outside their template and they are desperately trying to fit it into a pattern with which they are familiar.

Mark Steyn comments:
Homegrown Terror Or International Jihad?

False choice. The answer is: Homegrown terror in the service of international jihad. Clearly, India has had a Muslim problem to one degree or another in the 60 years since partition, but increasingly those locally driven grievances have been absorbed within the global pan-Islamic ideology. What strikes you, as the dust clears in Bombay, is that one assault provided an umbrella for manifestations of almost every strain of Muslim grievance.

Bad timing?
Bollywood actor Imraan Khan poses at the premiere of "The President is Coming" in Mumbai November 26, 2008. The film is directed by Kunaal Roy Kapur and stars Konkona Sen Sharma. Picture taken November 26,

Cheap turkeys are Bush’s fault.

I stopped at the local Food Lion last night to pick up a few pre-Thanksgiving groceries. Walking from my car to the store I saw a sign advertizing turkeys for 29 cents a pound. The only hitch was that you had to buy $25 worth of groceries and I was only buying a package of cake mix and some ice cream for the Thanksgiving meal.

Inside, I found 15 pound turkeys for $4.35! What a deal!

I love turkey and asked the woman at the checkout register if that $25 purchase policy was firm. That’s when she told me that, yes the policy is firm and that it’s the lousy Bush economy that forces Food Lion to sell turkeys for 29 cents a pound.

All of a sudden the recent election campaign was brought back to me. The feelings of that campaign and the view that – to me - the most repellent part of the Obama campaign was its supporters. And the undercurrent of concern I have about a political figure that can attract and energize the most rabid, and stupid, among us.

For the rest of us, have a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. We have so much to be thankful for in this great country. And go to Food Lion, planning to spend at least $25 so that you can get a 29 cent per pound turkey.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Should we stop AIDS Research because AIDS is not inclusive enough?

Does this sound like a bad joke? Change the name of the disease to cystic fibrosis and you have reality. Here's a news report (via Ace of Spades):

A Canadian student association has voted to drop cystic fibrosis research as a charity. On the grounds that the disease isn't "inclusive" enough, as it mainly affects whites, and men.

Which, by the way, they're wrong about.

But let's assume it was true: Shall non-gay non-minorities stop donating for AIDS causes? And go a step further and start demanding the government stop funding such research? After all, doesn't help us.

This is truly vile -- deciding some victims of serious diseases are better off being left to their fates because of their unfortunate skin color or gender.

As reported in the Vancouver Sun ...
Every year near the beginning of fall classes, during university orientation for new arrivals, students fan out across the city and seek donations from passersby. According to the motion, "all orientees and volunteers should feel like their fundraising efforts will serve their (sic) diverse communities."

Nick Bergamini, a third-year journalism student on the student council, said he was the only elected councillor present to vote against the motion. The decision is an example of campus political correctness gone too far, he said.

"They're not doctors. They're playing politics with this," said Bergamini. "I think they see this, in their own twisted way, as a win for diversity. I see it as a loss for people with cystic fibrosis."

The motion was forwarded by Donnie Northrup, who represents science students. Northrup did not respond to a request for an interview.

You can't make this stuff up.

Rush to Refinance (Drudge headline)

My first thought was that Rush Limbaugh was refinancing his Palm Beach mansion.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Real Rage of the Left

It is literally amazing that the Left projects its worst pathologies on the Right. Some call it projection, others fear, still others the Big Lie reminiscent of Goebbels and the Stalinists. Tell a brazen lie often enough and it will become “the truth that everyone knows.”

The insane rage erupting following the defeat of Prop 8 in California is a perfect example.

Via Michelle Malkin:

Before Election Day, national media handwringers forged a wildly popular narrative: The right was, in the words of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, gripped by “insane rage.” Outbreaks of incivility (some real, but mostly imagined) were proof positive of the extremist takeover of the Republican party. The cluck-cluckers and tut-tutters shook with fear.

In fact, in the wake of campaign 2008 there’s only one angry mob gripped by “insane rage”: left-wing same-sex marriage activists incensed at their defeat in California. Voters there approved Proposition 8, a traditional marriage initiative, by 52 percent to 48 percent.

Instead of introspection and self-criticism, however, the sore losers who opposed Prop. 8 responded with threats, fists and blacklists.

Their sentiments?
…found on the anti-Prop.8 website “JoeMyGod,” are common across the left-wing blogosphere: “Burn their f—-ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers.”

Come on Krugman, where’s the outrage? THIS is the hate and rage the Left was predicting … and it occurred … by those on YOUR side, the Left.

Thousands of gay-rights demonstrators stood in front of the Mormon temple in Los Angeles shouting “Mormon scum.” The Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City received threatening letters containing an unidentified powder. Religion-bashing protesters filled with hate decried the “hate” at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif. Vandals defaced the Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, Calif., because church members had collected Prop. 8 petitions. One worshiper’s car was keyed with the slogans “Gay sex is love” and “SEX.” Another car’s antenna and windshield wipers were broken.

In Carlsbad, Calif., a man was charged with punching his elderly neighbors over their pro-Prop. 8 signs. In Palm Springs, Calif., a videographer filmed unhinged anti-Prop. 8 marchers who yanked a large cross from the hands of 69-year-old Phyllis Burgess and stomped on it.

And don’t try to tell me that those rioters and haters are a “fringe group.” People who take to the streets and riot are ALWAYS a fringe group. Most people have better things to do, families to feed, jobs to go to. But this is the militant arm of the Democrat party and of the Left in general. This is the spirit that animates it and drives its direction.

This is Krugman if he had the balls.

More Malkin:
Corporate honchos, church leaders, and small donors alike are in the same-sex marriage mob’s crosshairs, all unfairly demonized as hate-filled bigots by bona fide hate-filled bigots who have abandoned decency in pursuit of “equal rights.”

Where is the media who was covering front pages with stories of church burnings that never occurred? That’s another branch of the Left that averts its eyes while telling us the latest outrage committed by “Christers.”

Meanwhile, that shrew Kathleen Parker has joined the Krugmans and the rest of the Left in demonizing Christians. Kathleen is putting on the martyr act for getting hate mail. While she poses for the Joan-of- Arc prize the people she reviles as “low brows, gorillas and oogedy-boogedy types” are subject to real physical assault. There is something worse than having an avowed enemy facing you and that’s someone who pretends to be your friend stab you in the back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Suddenly the “illegal, immoral, unconstitutional” confinement of terrorists is off the table

The Volokh Conspirators and an interesting bunch of guys. It may not be their fault that they attract a bunch of nuts and Jacobins to their blog site.

The individual contributors are capable of making reasonable-sounding arguments as to why the detention of enemy combatants should not be held indefinitely at Guantanamo (assuming you view our war against Islamic radicals as a civil police action in which the US military got involved). But, as I said, their arguments usually avoid the foam flecked comments that follow these postings.

But suddenly, now that Obama has been elected, the subject has been dropped. I go to the site almost daily and the subject is internet hoaxes, the auto bailout, Eric Holder, Prop 8, God in the Declaration of Independence, Virgin Annulment, Dan Rather, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, and much more.

Why the disinterest? Could it be that there have been hints out of the incoming Obama administration that they may have to keep these people confined? That there may be a reason for not granting them bail and letting them out in the streets? Could we be setting the stage for the “normalization” of Guantanamo (or its equivalent)?

And then Eureka! I find it. The thing that I thought I had lost. The Volokh article on Military Commissions and National Security Courts After Guantanamo

Because I wanted to re-visit just one more time what Liberals believed should be done to members of the Bush administration:

--Impeachment of Bush and Cheney. If necessary, after they leave office!

--Impeachment of a federal judge for writing a memo that enabled “torture”

--Local, State, and federal prosecutions such as the Brattleboro, Vermont, ordinance that calls for the arrest on sight of Bush and/or Cheney…

--Charge Bush and Cheney with murder of U.S. soldiers who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan war under state law.

--Use of common law courts … as a means to turn revisionist international law theory by asserting international humanitarian and human rights law violations as common law in state courts prosecutions.

--Having citizens file charges with the police in various countries

--Foreign and International Prosecution of US officials.

--Complaints to licensing boards for professionals who assisted the government

The person who proposed this is a law professor in Ohio. And he is far from alone. There is a third-world smell to the Left in this country; the sort of things that juntas do to their predecessors after they take over the government. All, of course, in the name of justice. All great crimes are committed in the name of Justice for the People. I am reminded that most of the leaders of the French Revolution were lawyers, Jacobins, who revelled in the destruction of the old regime via the Reign of Terror, and then, having finished off the aristocracy turned on each other after which they drowned Europe in blood for a generation. All in the name of Justice and Virtue.

A question to ponder: is this a case of Bush hatred or is the professor planning to follow the same course of action against members of the Obama administration should the prisoners at Guantanamo not be released?

Why Do They Hate Obama?

After 9/11, prominent members of the Left asked the question of why “they” hated us. They asked the question: what did we do to deserve the hate? And the answer, of course, was American crimes against humanity: our greed, capitalism, racism, exploitation of natural resources, pollution, support of Israel, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo. Oh, sorry about that. Those last two were in the future, not yet part of the grievances of the past.

Now, having turned our backs on the policies of the past with the election of Obama we have a leader who is determined to wipe the slate clean. Greed is replaced by spreading the wealth. We have obviously moved beyond racism with the election of Obama. The same Obama has committed himself to the end of drilling for oil and mining for coal and replacing them with wind and solar energy, and properly inflated tires. The end of pollution as we know it is guaranteed by the green policies of the new government. He has promised that the oceans will recede and global warming will cease. And Israel will learn what it is like to live with an American ally that finds the plight of Hamas compelling. Guantanamo will be closed and each of its inhabitants will be supplied with a lawyer and the right to bail.

Yet with all this in the offing, the practitioners of the Religion of Peace have done the unthinkable; they have committed the unpardonable sin in American culture: they have branded Obama with the “N” word.

Ram jetliners full of passengers into the World Trade center killing 3000. Kill 4000 of our soldiers and maim several times that many, and Liberalism will ask what we did to deserve this. But call The One the “N” word and it’s just possible that you have caused many on the Left to stop asking what He has done to be hated.

Is it the one thing that will make the nation’s gays riot in from of mosques? Didn’t think so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Jews Vote the Way They Do

Don Feder:

Back in the 1980s, during the euphoria of the Reagan-era, Neo-cons like Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol predicted a seismic shift in Jewish voting patterns.

Once American Jews discovered that voting Republican was crucial for the survival of the Jewish state, they’d naturally align themselves with the party that actually believes in national security, we were assured.

It never happened.

After this year’s election – in which Barack Hussein Obama got 77% of the Jewish vote – we can confidently say it never will. Once again, in 2008, most American Jews voted their religion – liberalism.

Some minorities have a clearer perception of where their interests lie. According to the American Muslim Task Force for Civil Rights and Elections, nearly 90% of Muslims voted for Obama, only 2% for McCain – smart Muslims, dumb Jews.

If there was ever a year in which Jews should have been forced to reconsider their robotic loyalty to the Democratic Party, 2008 was it.

The Democratic presidential candidate should have set off alarm bells in the head of the average Jewish voter – from his whack-job pastor’s anti-Israel ravings, to his multiple ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, to his Middle East donors, to his terrorist cheering section, to his refusal to condemn Jimmy Carter’s meeting with Hamas – Jews should have broken out in a cold sweat at the thought of this ideologue directing U.S. military and foreign policy.
Along with other dogmatic utopians, they actually believe that any enemies we have are of our own making, that America has generally been a force for oppression and exploitation in the world, that terrorism is born of poverty and despair (rather than a murderous fanaticism), that America must do perpetual penance for past mistakes, and that a Palestinian state will usher in the messianic age. I could go on, but it’s too depressing.
To the question, “Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons,” 47% of Jews said they’d oppose America moving to save Israel from nuclear annihilation, 42% would support it, and 11% were unsure.

This is perhaps the clearest indication that a significant segment of the Jewish community either doesn’t give a damn about Israel or is delusional.

I have a friend who is an elderly Jewish retired professor. He is very, very proud of a grandson who took time off from college to work on the Obama campaign. Not wishing to introduce friction into our relationship I never asked him about the concerns I have regarding Obama's position on Israel and his anti-Semitic associates. I don't have to raise the issue since he is assuredly aware of them. Yet he ignores them and beams with pride at Obama's election.

How Obama Got Elected

Via Ace of Spades:

Rank ignorance. They don't know which party controls Congress, and never heard of Reid, Frank, or Pelosi, but damn, do they know the media-approved misinformation that Palin wore a $150,000 wardrobe.

Here's a question for Howie Kurtz

Where do people get their information?

If people don’t know which party is in control of Congress, who is to blame?

If people are totally unaware of congressional leaders who is to blame?

The media will attribute the ignorance to the audience.

But why is it that those same people know about Palin’s wardrobe and pregnant daughter?

Why is it that those same people think that Sarah Palin said she can see Russia from her house?

Why don’t those same people know that Obama claimed to have campaigned in 57 states?

But why is it that those same people know about Palin’s wardrobe and pregnant daughter?

Why don’t those people know that Obama won his first election by getting his opponents kicked off the ballot? (They guessed McCain).

But why is it that those same people know about Palin’s wardrobe and pregnant daughter?

Why don’t those people know who said the Obama would be tested by an international crisis if he was elected?

But why is it that those same people know about Palin’s wardrobe and pregnant daughter?

Why don’t these people know that Obama said his policies would bankrupt the coal industry and make energy prices skyrocket?

But why is it that those same people know about Palin’s wardrobe and pregnant daughter?

Good job MSM. How's this for a new slogan: "Ignorance is our most important product."

UPDATE: John Ziegler, who produced the video and commissioned the Zogby poll has a website.
and has the video website "How Obama Got Elected."

UPDATE2: the Zogby Poll

The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama and Vice-President–Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. The survey was commissioned by John Ziegler, author of The Death of Free Speech, producer of the recently released film "Blocking the Path to 9/11" and producer of the upcoming documentary film, Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected.

"After I interviewed Obama voters on Election Day for my documentary, I had a pretty low opinion of what most of them had picked up from the media coverage of the campaign, but this poll really proves beyond any doubt the stunning level of malpractice on the part of the media in not educating the Obama portion of the voting populace," said Ziegler.

Obama voters did not fare nearly as well overall when asked to answer questions about statements or stories associated with Obama or Biden -- 83% failed to correctly answer that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his opponents removed from the ballot, and 88% did not correctly associate Obama with his statement that his energy policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry. Most (56%) were also not able to correctly answer that Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground.

Zogby is getting criticized for the poll, responds:
"We stand by the results our survey work on behalf of John Ziegler, as we stand by all of our work. We reject the notion that this was a push poll because it very simply wasn't. It was a legitimate effort to test the knowledge of voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama in the Nov. 4 election. Push polls are a malicious effort to sway public opinion one way or the other, while message and knowledge testing is quite another effort of public opinion research that is legitimate inquiry and has value in the public square. In this case, the respondents were given a full range of responses and were not pressured or influenced to respond in one way or another. This poll was not designed to hurt anyone, which is obvious as it was conducted after the election. The client is free to draw his own conclusions about the research, as are bloggers and other members of society. But Zogby International is a neutral party in this matter. We were hired to test public opinion on a particular subject and with no ax to grind, that's exactly what we did. We don't have to agree or disagree with the questions, we simply ask them and provide the client with a fair and accurate set of data reflecting public opinion." - John Zogby

Howard Kurtz Pens a Love Poem to Obama

Kurtz writes “A Giddy Sense of Boosterism” which has been interpreted by many as critical of the MSM’s over-the-top celebration of their Chosen One’s election. But its recitation of the adoration that the media has for all-things-Obama is really a victory lap, with a mild warning that while Obama walks on water, he may not do it well … in the future. A warning that they may want to tone it down before we get Obama’s “Bay of Pigs.”

But not to worry, Howie, the Bay of Pigs did nothing to stop the creation of the Camelot legend. The “Legend of Obama” has taken on a life of its own; a golem no longer controlled by its master.

What gives it away? Here’s a sentence that a neutral observer would NOT write:
The media would be remiss if they didn't reflect the sense of unadulterated joy that greeted Obama's election, both here and around the world, and the pride even among those who opposed him.

Really? “unadulterated joy … and pride … even among those who opposed him?” Howie must be referring to the distant cousin of the wife of a friend in the newsroom, who knew of a McCain supporter who’s so glad that … what?

Meanwhile in another part of the galaxy, a place that “unadulterated joy” has never visited we’re sort of worried if the slimmer, “cleaner” version of Kwame Kilpatrick will do for the entire country what the Democrats did for Detroit.

Just sayin’ bro.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Moral Differences Between Conservatives and Liberals

Could it be that Liberals and Conservatives operate from two different sets of moral values and the Liberals simply do not recognize the moral values of Conservatives?

According to one study
, that is exactly right.

In a 2007 paper, Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham, a couple of social justice researchers, managed to come up with an explanation. Brace yourselves: it turns out that our beliefs are immoral.

Well, at least as far as liberals are concerned. These researchers determined that "there are five psychological foundations of morality, which we label as harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity." Conservative morality is based on some combination of all five of these moral foundations. There may not be an exact 20% input from each one, but they are all present. Liberal morality is based on only the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity foundations.

"Conservatives have many moral concerns that liberals simply do not recognize as moral concerns... liberals often find it hard to understand why so many of their fellow citizens do not rally around the cause of social justice, and why many Western nations have elected conservative governments in recent years."

Liberals are only concerned about harm/care and fairness/reciprocity. When we talk about patriotism, or respect for the country, or abortion, we are speaking from a set of morals and values that liberals simply do not see as being moral at all. In fact, liberals often believe that we have "non-moral motivations—such as selfishness, existential fear, or blind prejudice."

In 2004, "political liberals in the United States were shocked, outraged, and unable to understand how 'moral values' drove people to vote for a man who, as they saw it, tricked America into an unwinnable war, cut taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, and seemed to have a personal animosity toward mother nature." They couldn't understand it because unlike conservatives, liberals don't believe that ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity are actual moral foundations.

Take abortion. For conservatives, abortion is mainly a religious issue, and relates to the purity/sanctity moral foundation. For liberals, purity/sanctity is not a moral foundation. Instead, they may argue that from the fairness/reciprocity moral foundation, having an abortion allows the mother to avoid the unfairness of being burdened with a child she doesn't want. For liberals, those who are pro-life have no moral foundation to stand on, and the pro-lifers are attacking a very moral position. No wonder they think we're evil.

Patriotism? Forget it. There's no moral foundation to ingroup/loyalty as far as liberals are concerned.

Want to make a movie mocking a sitting president, or write a book about assassinating him? Who cares? Believing in authority and having respect for tradition is so old-fashioned, and not moral at all. If you're a liberal.

Gay marriage? "Conservatives and many moderates are opposed to gay marriage in part due to moral intuitions related to ingroup, authority, and purity, and these concerns should be addressed, rather than dismissed contemptuously."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The world has never seen such freezing heat

The brave folks who brought you the global warming hoax are at it again.

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

A sudden cold snap brought snow to London in October

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs - run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious "hockey stick" graph - GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new "hotspot" in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen's institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)

Yet last week's latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen's methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.

Casual Browser's Friends

For those who read Russian.

Is the NY Times Bankrupt?

The Iceberg Awaiting The New York Times
From BNET Industries

Over the past few months, we’ve frequently speculated here that The New York Times Co. may be in worse financial condition than it was admitting. Evidence is emerging that we were right. The Silicon Alley Insider has been digging through the company’s latest SEC filings to find that the Times owes its creditors a huge $400 million payment next May, but it only has $46 million in cash on hand with six bleak months to go.

Its stock closed today at a historic low — $7.34/share — a two-thirds drop from its high point over the past year. Layoffs — some announced, some not — have been regularly shrinking the newsroom, even as other executive talent walks out the door. For example, Vivian Schiller, the General Manager of, is leaving the Times on December 1st to become the President and CEO of NPR.

According to its latest 10-Q, the Times has short-term cash and collectibles totaling $412 million and debt payments and accounts payable totaling $865 million, including long-term debt payments and rent of $50 million. The long-term picture is no better, with $1.501 billion in assets (according to the company’s internal valuation methodology) and $1.468 billion oflong-term debt and other liabilities.

Add in the steady fall in advertising revenue for all newspapers, and you can surmise the extent of the crisis that faces the Times. None of its remaining options — cutting its dividend, selling off major assets, and/or many more layoffs — are attractive. On top of all of this, there are questions about whether the $366 million short-term credit line on its books is still actually available. The company’s stock has been downgraded to junk status, it is shut out of the commercial paper market, and selling equity at fire sale prices has to seem likely to emerge as the choice of last resort.

Of course the Sulzbergers have been bleeding the Times via dividends for decades. But at this point, the company is not earning its dividend so it will have to eat in to capital to pay off the family.

The bondholders can't be happy: Pinch Sulzberger's Achilles Heel: The Bondholders

And here's a sophisticated way of looking a newspaper finances (the Z score).
Financial Woes for the New York Times

Here is a comparison between "Pinch" and Rupert Murdoch:
Running headlong into a perfect storm, the Times' has to fight off attacks on their ad revenue on three fronts: A cyclical downturn in the crucial auto and real estates sectors, the inexorable migration of advertising to the internet, and lastly, the competitive pressures likely wrought by Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal.

The Future of the News wrote an excellent summation of the revenue strategy Murdoch is planning to use to pinch Pinch.

"In what could not possibly be a coincidence, Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and New York Post both announced today that they will be publishing glossy weekend magazine inserts supported by high-end, luxury advertisers. The Post will be inserting "Page Six" magazine in its Sunday editions, featuring celebrities, fashion, profiles, food, wine, and restaurants. Sunday's first issue will be 96 pages, and will include ads from Calvin Klein, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and other high-end advertisers rarely seen in the Post. Then a year from now, the WSJ will begin inserting "Pursuits" magazine into its Saturday editions once per month. Exploring "the world of wealth," this publication will include ads for luxury goods and travel."

All of which means that crosstown at the NY Times, the Gray Lady is bracing to have her purse snatched again [....]

Worse still for the Times, rather than grow new advertisers, the Post seems intent on stealing high-end ones from the Sunday Times. Same goes for the WSJ, with its new weekend magazine.
Leveraging the NY Post and the WSJ brands to snatch advertisers from a distressed competitor? Brillant. Can you say cross promotion platform? Rupert can.

Variety reports on Murdoch's upcoming launch of the Fox Business Network.
"It's going to be different from CNBC, just as Fox News is different from CNN," Murdoch told Wall Streeters at a Goldman Sachs-sponsored conference. "CNBC is a financial channel for Wall Street; we're for Main Street." CNBC has had little competition, short of Bloomberg TV, since CNN shuttered CNNfn in late 2004. Fox Business Network is set to launch in 34 million homes Oct. 15, when it will begin to compete with the NBC Universal-owned network.

"They dwell too much on failures and scandals and politics," he said. "We want to spend a lot of time on innovation, successes and people who are making money"
Broaden the audience, make more more compelling television, grow ratings.

Here's the money quote that sums up his philosophy:

"Cost savings, he said, "are not really what we're about; we're about expanding revenues."

Rupert is all about top line growth. Pinch is reduced to selling off valuable assets and hollowing out his core business with drastic expense cuts just to pay the current dividend!
If I were a betting man I would take Murdoch over Pinch any day of the week. Pinch inherited the New York Times, a global icon in newspaper publishing. Murdoch inherited a tiny paper called the Barrier Miner, in Broken Hill, New South Wales, (2000 population: 21,000), and Southdown Press, a small publisher of American comic books. While not nothing, it is an awfully humble beginning compared to Pinch.

All told, the Murdoch's companies were probably worth at most a few hundred thousand US$ or so when he took control of them. Today, the News Corp. market cap is $68.82 billion, while the Times is $2.89 billion. News Corp., in other words, has a market cap almost 24 times as much as the New York Times.

It's as if Pinch left England on the QE2 and washed up in New York harbor in a lifeboat, while Murdoch left Australia in a rowboat and sailed into NewYork commanding the Seventh fleet.

Freshman Beaten On Minnesota Campus for Being a Republican

The American Thinker:

On election night in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a blue state, comes a criminal horror story short of murder, but no less disturbing. It happened at Augsburg college, a private liberal arts school named after a place in Germany the reformer monk Martin Luther served in the 1500s.

After taunting 18-year old freshman Annie Grossmann for wearing her McCain-Palin campaign button at an election night get-together, and "getting in her face," four women beat her for political views which, obviously, they did not share. Grossmann took verbal abuse at the party, then left for her dorm after it was clear, about 10 p.m., that her candidates had lost. She was followed by the four women into the shadows of a nearby skyway.

There she was beaten. The four women, all black, called Grossmann a "racist." She knew none of them. Nor did they know her, to her knowledge. It was that damn campaign button that evidently caused their frenzy. Their earlier taunts proved that. They were, Grossmann said, "rubbing her face in Obama's win."

"Why do you call me a racist when you don't even know me?" she screamed. Made no difference. Grossmann was felled by the largest of the four. She hit her head on the brick wall, and staggered back to her dorm. The other three black women at the beating chucked at this dark manifestation of partisan evil. They walked away laughing, offering no help to their victim. The banality of evil had asserted itself. And at four-to-one, it was also a cowardly act of mindless violence which, presumably, the four thought "normal."

Right here, right here in these United States, it happened, in my home state. A cruel re-awakening to the excesses of partisanship, in this case mixed with racism. That it happened on a college campus is hardly surprising. Not today. Campuses ooze with crazed partisan intolerance, places mostly where left-wing academia hold forth, along with politically correct staff, inculcating students with staunch, impenetrable biases, often leading to violent confrontation.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is not sure of the reaons for the attack:
Politics prompted her assault, Augsburg student says
So Paul Walsh at the paper refers to the victim's "claim." See how it's done? I wonder if there will be a follow-up story? Nah, it doesn't fit the template. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

MSM: We're not biased, but the perception of bias is a problem.

Newspapers are losing readers, some have gone out of business, the NY Times is essentially bankrupt, and the solons at the media are beginning to notice that one of their problems is that at least half the country hates them. They are the only major industry that actually insults its customers and asks them to pay for the pleasure.

Like the sclerotic leaders of the Soviet Union, some are beginning to pay heed, but they are still in denial.

From Extreme Mortman:
Tom Rosenstiel –
“a former political reporter who directs the Project for Excellence in Journalism:”
“The perception of liberal bias is a problem by itself for the news media. It’s not okay to dismiss it. Conservatives who think the press is deliberately trying to help Democrats are wrong. But conservatives are right that journalism has too many liberals and not enough conservatives. It’s inconceivable that that is irrelevant.”

How to respond to so much denial packed into so little space? It’s merely the “perception of bias” that’s the problem? You mean lots of people are deluding themselves about bias in the MSM? The word perception is a code word that is meant to imply that reality and perception are two different things. So Rosenstiel is still in denial about bias.

Then there is the statement that “Conservatives who think the press is deliberately trying to help Democrats are wrong.” How stupid does Rosenstiel think his audience is? If the press is composed of 80+% percent Liberal Democrat, does Rosenstiel think that the press is “accidentally” trying to help Democrats rather than “deliberately”?

No reporter, no human being, is going to make a case for a proposition which he believes to be wrong. He is going to help people who he believes are doing the right thing and hinder people who he thinks are doing the wrong thing. It so happens that the members of the press believe the Democrats are on the right road and the Republicans are wrong. So of course the press is going to help the Democrats.

If he really believed that the press is not deliberately trying to help Democrats, why add that journalism has too many liberals and not enough conservatives? Why is the mix NOT irrelevant if the people in the press are not trying to help Democrats? The logical inconsistency of Rosenstiel’s argument is mind-blowing.

And Deborah Howell is nattering on again about examples of Liberal bias in the Washington Post and ends with this howler:

After Obama is inaugurated, he will be the authority the news media challenge. It happens in every administration.

Haaaah Haaaah! Oh Deborah, you kidder you. You kill me.

Some comments from the folks at FreeRepublic:

“We are not sinking. It is the perception of water that is the problem.” - Last Words of the Captain of the Titanic

Like every failing enterprise they blame their problems on their customers.

Right. It's not you, it's the tens of millions who perceive you incorrectly.

Your Honor, How can my client get a fair trial with all this evidence against him?

Ted Bundy was not a serial killer, but all those women he killed sure created the impression he was.

Who is Valerie Jarrett?

According to Fox News Transition Tracker
...longtime Obama friend and supporter Valerie Jarrett will be a senior adviser and assistant to Obama for intergovernmental relations.

Here is what you may not know. She was:
Chicago mayor Richard Daley’s deputy chief of staff

Jarrett is the chief executive of Habitat Co., which managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter...

And what is Parc Plaza? From the Boston Globe's Binyamin Appelbaum Grim proving ground for Obama's housing policy
The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can't afford to live anywhere else.

But it's not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

Some of the residents of Grove Parc say they are angry that Obama did not notice their plight. The development straddles the boundary of Obama's state Senate district. Many of the tenants have been his constituents for more than a decade.

"No one should have to live like this, and no one did anything about it," said Cynthia Ashley, who has lived at Grove Parc since 1994.

Is this an aberration? Why no!
Allison Davis, a major fund-raiser for Obama's US Senate campaign and a former lead partner at Obama's former law firm. Davis, a developer, was involved in the creation of Grove Parc and has used government subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,500 units in Chicago, including a North Side building cited by city inspectors last year after chronic plumbing failures resulted in raw sewage spilling into several apartments.

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, perhaps the most important fund-raiser for Obama's early political campaigns and a friend who helped the Obamas buy a home in 2005. Rezko's company used subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, mostly in and around Obama's district, then refused to manage the units, leaving the buildings to decay to the point where many no longer were habitable.

Campaign finance records show that six prominent developers - including Jarrett, Davis, and Rezko - collectively contributed more than $175,000 to Obama's campaigns over the last decade and raised hundreds of thousands more from other donors. Rezko alone raised at least $200,000, by Obama's own accounting.

One of those contributors, Cecil Butler, controlled Lawndale Restoration, the largest subsidized complex in Chicago, which was seized by the government in 2006 after city inspectors found more than 1,800 code violations.

Butler and Davis did not respond to messages. Rezko is in prison; his lawyer did not respond to inquiries.
Thanks to Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club (quoting Vogue. Is Vogue a better source of news than the major dailies and the alphabet networks?) we learn that
"Jarrett gets up between 4:30 and 5:00 A.M. and works out every morning before she heads to Habitat and starts her workday with a scheduled campaign phone call with Obama’s other top advisers, including David Alexrod and David Plouffe. ‘I trust her completely,’ Barack Obama has said. ‘She participates in every conversation we have in the campaign.’”
He ends with
May she have better luck in the White House than in low-cost housing.

Several of the comments following the Belmont Club post are worth reading. This one addresses the MSM's taking a dive for Obama.
All of which serves to amaze me once again for the upteenth time that Obama has managed to get to the presidency without someone blowing the whistle on him in such a way as to be taken seriously. Everything we know about this guy makes him out to be precisly the hustler “CJM” talks about (#1), though Obama was hardly “small time”: nothing is small time in Chicago corrupt politics. If it were there wouldn’t be so much money sucking people like Obama into it.

Slowly but surely, the public dossier on Obama is growing and accumulating. It is only a matter of time before the tipping point rounds the bend, and Obama and his apologists will no longer be able to hide the elephant in the living room.
The question remains: who will bring this information to a wide enough spectrum of the American people so that there will be widespread concern? These low cost housing projects are not simply mismanaged, they are the ways that people who are "connected" to the Chicago machine get paid off. Do the Liberals who make up the MSM and claim to be on the side of the poor and dispossessed really not care?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Socially Liberal but Fiscally Conservative: BS!

Ace of Spades has several good posts up, and this one is excellent.
The Problem with Socially Liberal Republicans...

I still ask - aside from Abortion and Gay Marriage, what social issues do these people have in mind?
guns? Amnesty? Sex education? condom handouts? needle handouts? What? And, where do things like entitlement programs fall? People who are socially liberal would probably support entitlement programs to "help those less fortunate" but then what about their supposed economic conservatism? these issues don't exist in a vacuum.

I personally am not a social issues voter, but I find that I trust socially conservative politicians to remain conservative much more than I do the opposite. I can't recall, for instance, a socially conservative politician or jurist who "grew" in office to a leftward tilt. I can, however, name a slew of socially liberal GOPers who "grew" once in office to embrace ever more leftist positions.
It's true: Once you've crossed the Rubicon and declared yourself pro-life, by and large you're stuck being a conservative. The New York Times hates you and there's absolutely no reason whatsoever to curry favor with them. There is little chance of "evolution" in office once you've already declared yourself a hopelessly devolved troglodyte.

The pro-life position is not for me a position I favor in and of itself -- but a proxy for other positions I care more about. Judicial restraint, for example: Look, if I were playing the Wishing Game, I might suggest that conservative judges give a pass to Roe v. Wade (just to not upset the political applecart) while ruling conservatively on every other issue. But I'm not playing the Wishing Game. In reality, judges who favor Roe v. Wade favor just about every other example of liberal judicial legislating, and judges who are against Roe v. Wade are against every other example of liberal judicial legislating.

As a general matter (with many exceptions, of course), I'm more comfortable voting for pro-lifers than pro-choicers because pro-choice Republicans seem to be eager to find lots of other shared values with Democrats.
Culture and class is overwhelmingly important in this, and most refuse to acknowledge it. The Christie Todd Whitmans of the party love Bill Weld and hate Sarah Palin. Of course they love Bill Weld-- a liberal Northeastern establishment patrician country-club Republican.

But Sarah Palin? Not quite our class, dear.

Worth reading in full.

Is Child Porn a Democrat Trend?

What is it with Democrats and child porn?

Ace of Spades asks questions of the MSM, Democrat sexual practices and “trends.”

Two Democratic Senatorial Aides Nabbed for Child Porn; Media Predictably Uninterested in "Trend"
...But I do happen to know for a fact that had these been Republicans, the media would be greatly interested in the "trend."

When the media bothers to explain such obvious bias at all, they always claim that there is an objective reason to publicize Republican sexual scandals and downplay Democratic ones -- "hypocrisy," of course. Those Puritanical scolds the Republicans are always nattering on about sexual morality, so of course the media gives such stories more play.

This "hypocrisy" excuse doesn't work in most cases, and it certainly doesn't work here. For these Democrats to be free of the taint of hypocrisy, it would have to be true that the Democratic Party's ideology was latitudinarian on child porn-- which, to my understanding, it is not.

Is the media claiming the Democratic Party isn't as opposed to child porn as Republicans? If so, let us have a report on that -- I'm sure the public would love to know that one party isn't quite on board with this whole anti-child-porn program.
But we really don’t have to ask the question, do we. The answer is that Democrats ARE more tolerant of sexual aberrations, they just pretend not to be. It’s the tribute vice pays to virtue.

Of course at some point in the not-too-distant-future the rights of child porn viewers and participants will be as great a cause as same-sex marriage is today. The old slogans are simply going to have to be updated from “get your prying eyes out of my bedroom” to “get your prying eyes out of the crib.”

Any social movement that can demonize people who own SUVs and riot for gay marriage is not about to stop at a little toddler sex.

The Number of Ohio Agencies Investigating Joe the Plumber Grows

The election is over, but the Joe the Plumber case is not.

Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles said his office is now looking at a half-dozen agencies that accessed state records on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher.

The Beacon Journal has learned that, in addition to the Department of Job and Family Services, two other state offices — the Ohio Department of Taxation and Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers — conducted database searches of Joe the Plumber.

Wurzelbacher became an instant celebrity after he asked Barack Obama a series of questions in his Toledo driveway about the Democrat's tax policies.

And what governmental purpose did these searches serve?
Kohlstrand said that the AG's office wanted access to the records so they could turn over to the national media lien information that was a public record in Lucas County. He said the national media did not have reporters in Toledo, so the attorney general's office was helping them out with public records.

So six Ohio governmental agencies were in a race to see who could provide the MSM with more information on Joe the Plumber.

I am going to try something. I’m going to call these Ohio agencies and ask for whatever information they can give me on their personnel. I’ll explain that I am part of the “National Media” and would like their assistance in uncovering whatever information I can get on these people since they are public figures.

Since they seem to see this as part of their public duty, I see no reason why they should not cooperate.

Here are some of the the names:
Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers
Ohio Tax Commissioner Richard A. Levin
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley
Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles
Rick Anthony, deputy tax commissioner
Jim Gravelle, a spokesman for Attorney General Rogers
John Kohlstrand, a taxation department spokesman

The Catherine Vogt Experiment on Diversity of Thought

John Kass in the writes of an eighth grader who conducted an experiment by wearing a McCain shirt to school one day and an Obama shirt the next. The results were electric.

"McCain Girl."

"I was just really curious how they'd react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters," Catherine told us. "I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be."

Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain's name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.

"People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn't be wearing it," Catherine said.

Then it got worse.

"One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed," Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.

But students weren't the only ones surprised that she wore a shirt supporting McCain.

"In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain," Catherine said.

The next day, switching allegiances to Obama:
"People liked my shirt. They said things like my brain had come back, and I had put the right shirt on today," Catherine said

This episode has garnered a lot of media attention. I saw this on "Fox and Friends" where Catherine was interviewed in the morning. She was amazingly bright and composed for her age.

From the Liberal side we have some clucking about the lack of civility. Katie Granju (a favorite link of Glenn Reynolds) remarks on incivility and blames it on...(your guessed it) the parents:
Its prevalence is a sad commentary on the way we're raising the next generation of voters. I mean, where do you think they hear this stuff to begin with? At home.

I could not help but reply:

You omitted a very, very important part of the story. When the girl went back the next day with an “Obama Girl” shirt she was praised. That is the way pets – and people – are trained. They are punished for “bad” behavior but rewarded for “good” behavior. It does not take long for reasonably intelligent people to know what to say and in order to earn the tolerance or respect of people around them.

And it’s the way the media, including TV shows and movies are training people. It’s the way you are doing your little part. You just wrote about incivility and suggested we all get along, but failed to point out the larger lesson. The girl did not have to wear a T-shirt to school to know what attitudes were approved and which were not approved. She just needed quotes for her thesis. She may have been surprised by the vehemence of the response to her McCain shirt, but she was under no illusions which shirt would get a negative reaction and which would get a positive reaction. Those signs were all around her, in school, in the press, in the movies and TV shows she watched. It’s a total immersion experience. It’s something most people don’t notice like fish don’t notice the water.

I wonder if you even thought about it as you wrote your column.

Oh, I'm sure the home has some influence on the kids, but children spend much more time out of the house than inside. They are awash in messages, in school, watching TV, going to the movies, listening to music, talking with their friends.

"The home" is a facile and ever-ready explanation of why people do what they do, and it's simply wrong as "The Answer." It is, on even a moment's reflection, one of those clich├ęs that is obviously wrong, but, like jokes, probably goes back thousands of years.

New media gets the perspective on the MSM.

Racism Ends Forever

Racism Ends Forever

Friday, November 14, 2008

The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth

Peter Hitchins in MailOnline:

Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.


I was in Washington DC the night of the election. America’s beautiful capital has a sad secret. It is perhaps the most racially divided city in the world, with 15th Street – which runs due north from the White House – the unofficial frontier between black and white. But, like so much of America, it also now has a new division, and one which is in many ways much more important. I had attended an election-night party in a smart and liberal white area, but was staying the night less than a mile away on the edge of a suburb where Spanish is spoken as much as English, plus a smattering of tongues from such places as Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan.

As I walked, I crossed another of Washington’s secret frontiers. There had been a few white people blowing car horns and shouting, as the result became clear. But among the Mexicans, Salvadorans and the other Third World nationalities, there was something like ecstasy.

They grasped the real significance of this moment. They knew it meant that America had finally switched sides in a global cultural war. Forget the Cold War, or even the Iraq War. The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world.

Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.

These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America’s conservative party – the Republicans – to fight on the cultural and moral fronts.

They preferred to posture on the world stage. Scared of confronting Left-wing teachers and sexual revolutionaries at home, they could order soldiers to be brave on their behalf in far-off deserts. And now the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World. How sad. Where now is our last best hope on Earth?

A very good writer. Read the whole thing.