Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Why Palm Tree Pundit Homeschools

You have to see these textbook disclaimers! It's stuff like this that keeps Anne at Palm Tree Pundit homeschooling her kids.

Ridge, Ashcroft and Reno

As Tom Ridge joins John Ashcroft in departing the Bush administration (here) it seems appropriate to note that in all the hyperventilating over-hype about purported loss of freedom under the Patriot Act, few MSM or liberals bother to remember Elian Gonzales' real loss of freedom under Janet Reno, or, for that matter, the ultimate loss of freedom experienced by 80 Branch Davidians.

UN Congo Sex Scandal: LA Times Responds

In my post of Nov. 27 post, LA Times Squelches U.N. Congo Sex Story (scroll down), I speculated about why reference to the rape of 150 12-15 year old girls had been dropped so quickly from their coverage. Reporter Maggie Farley answered the question, e-mailing me:

Much more is coming on the Congo exploitation story. You are wrong to try to read anything into it not being mentioned in the story about attempts to maintain a Central African peace agreement. We kept the focus narrow because of space constraints.

I sometimes feel as cynical as the reporters and editors I used to work with ... I can't help but think that other stories on other subjects would have included a reference -- you know, Abu Ghraib references in Guantanamo stories, that kind of thing.

But undeniably, Maggie is to be commended for breaking this story. It's a shame so many other MSM have not yet given it the coverage it deserves.

David Brooks' Column on John Stott

The Dems who cling to the faith that conservative Christians are mental Neaderthals (it is a faith, not a fact; they support it only by their own will to believe it) haven't bumped into many deep-thinking Christian intellectuals -- until now, if they read David Brooks in the New York Times. (here)

Brooks starts his column by chiding MSM for continually mischaraterizing the religious: Tim Russert is a great journalist, but he made a mistake last weekend. He included Jerry Falwell and Al Sharpton in a discussion on religion and public life. Inviting these two bozos onto "Meet the Press" to discuss that issue is like inviting Britney Spears and Larry Flynt to discuss D. H. Lawrence.

He then introduces his readers to John Stott, presenting a profile of this author of 40 books that will challenge any basher of the "Christian right" to rethink some of their basic assumptions. Does the following sound like the mental processes of a dunderhead to you?

There's been a lot of twaddle written recently about the supposed opposition between faith and reason. To read Stott is to see someone practicing "thoughtful allegiance" to scripture. For him, Christianity means probing the mysteries of Christ. He is always exploring paradoxes. Jesus teaches humility, so why does he talk about himself so much? What does it mean to gain power through weakness, or freedom through obedience? In many cases the truth is not found in the middle of apparent opposites, but on both extremes simultaneously.

Notably Absent

Absent from a 30-signature rant by civil rights groups against attorney general nominee Alberto Gonzales (here) were two leading Hispanic civil rights groups, the National Council of La Raza, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Some apparently are noticing with approval the inclusionary quality of the Bush administration. The NAACP could take a lesson from La Raza and MALDEF.

A Vast Corporate Conspiracy

Why should anyone who is not a California state employee care about its pension program, CalPERS, or the fate of its president, Sean Harrigan? Simple. With an investment pot of $177 billion and an activist attitude by its president, CalPERS likes to affect the way business does business.

This can be a good thing. For example, CalPERS has tried (not altogether successfully) to encourage more affordable housing in housing-starved California.

But it can also be a bad thing, as when its activist board tries to use CalPERS' clout to force corporations to do things that just don't make business sense. Worse, they continue to put activism above return, and whistle as their invest-if-you-reform policies fail to perform for the employees they are investing for. And worse, when confronted with investment failure, they blame corporate activism instead of their own union activism.

Harrigan is an exec with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and he's pushed his pro-union, anti-management agenda agressively. One of his targets is Safeway. Imagine a union boss of a grocery union using his clout to bully one of the largest employers of his rank and file.

Perhaps he and the other activist board members could get away with it if CalPERS were doing well, but as the Wall Street Journal reported last May, CalPERS assets have dropped $27 billion from 1999 to mid-2003. Its investments have trailed its peers by a full percentage point on average in 2001 and 2002. The Journal concluded, "A cynic, or even a taxpayer, might wonder that the real motive behind the current CalPERS campaign against corporate America is to draw attention away from its own underperformance."

It's catching up with Harriman, as rumors are swirling that he will not retain his board position. His response? Blame Safeway and other corporate giants, a vast corporate conspiracy. The LA Times likes that angle enough to put it on the top of Page One -- and its "coverage" of the story manages to completely ignore the poor performance of CalPERs investments. (here)

Critical Thinkers on College Campuses?

George Will's great column on liberal bias in academia (here) drew this letter in today's OC Register (not yet on-line):

Columnist George Will is not surprised that liberals dominate campuses and attributes it to some kind of "good old boy" network. The simple fact is that people who acquire a good education naturally learn critical thinking, and critical thinkers cannot be strong conservatives, since conservatism requires an unhealthy dose of "head in the sand" mentality.

Oh. That explains why college campuses are the only places where there are still socialists and communists, since they can critically think up ways to ignore nearly 100 years of proof of the failure of that system. And certainly there is no sand anywhere near the heads of race-baiting African studies and family-hating women's studies profs, who force-feed students radical ideologies while ignoring political, sociological and economic realities.

Colleges are havens for leftist ideologues because the only proof required for their ideas is the collective opinion of similarly inclined peers in a highly controlled marketplace of ideas, i.e., "some kind of old boy network." People who want to put their ideas and beliefs to the test of a free marketplace will go elsewhere, as George Will did. And most people who want to rise or fall by what a free marketplace allows, rather than live a subsidized life in a controlled marketplace, will do, not teach.

God bless and protect the few, brave college profs who dare to espouse conservative ideas in that very hostile environment.

Monday, November 29, 2004

That Confusing Morality Thing

They still just don't get it:

Derrick Johnson, Boston Globe columnist (here), parallels morality voters with road-rage murderers and NBA thugs. Why is America so boorish? he asks, then he answers: You cannot expect much else in a nation where we claim to vote on moral values but reelected a trash-talking president.

Also in the Boston Globe (not linkable, except to subscribers) in the Nov. 7 Ideas Section, Rick Perlstein wrote, "We've already heard a lot about the rise of the evangelical vote in this presidential election. Well, God-fearing middle Americans who also fear for their families' economic security would be far more likely to vote their economic interests - rather than on matters like gay marriage and abortion - if the Democratic Party beat a public retreat from a politics that condones or even celebrates the Wal-Martization of America and the world. This is the way forward for the Democrats." Sorry, but that's just wrong. People of faith care more about stopping abortion and getting God back into schools than they do about their paychecks. It's ironic that Liberals find that incomprehensible, since they supposedly always put humanity above economy.

Ken Fireman and Thomas Frank, writing the the November 7 issue of Newsday quoted a couple in-the-dark Dem commentators:
"Voters don't know what we stand for," [Dem strategist Donna] Brazile said. "They view Democrats as godless and gutless. We cannot concede the moral ground to Republicans because it impedes our ability to talk to voters on what they do agree with us on, which is jobs and health care." [Which aren't moral issues; they're economic]

Many Democrats suggested their problem was not their stand on issues but their articulation. "If you can say anything about this campaign, people did not know at the end of it so much what the Democrats were for as much as what we were against," said former Bill Clinton speechwriter Bob Boorstin, a national security analyst at the liberal Center for American Progress. "It's really not so much of an ideological thing as it is a clarity thing." [How exactly do you position partial birth abortion as moral?]

Boorstin and Brazile both said Democrats have to learn to frame their issues as values questions, just as Republicans have. "Why should poverty be any less of a faith issue than gay marriage?" Boorstin said. [So clueless ... poverty is an economic issue, as evidenced by the fact that poor people and wealthy people often share the same morals.]

They get it:

John Leo in U.S. News & World Report (here) who articulates the cunundrum: Why is the imposition of a Christian's beliefs represhensible, but a secularist's beliefs can be applied at will without a peep of outrage? Excerpt:

The "don't impose" people make little effort to be consistent, deploring, for example, Roman Catholics who act on their church's beliefs on abortion and stem cells but not those who follow the pope's insistence that the rich nations share their wealth with poor nations or his opposition to the death penalty and the invasion of Iraq. If the "don't impose" people wish to mount a serious argument, they will have to attack "imposers" on both sides of the issues they discuss--not just their opponents. They will also have to explain why arguments that come from religious beliefs are less worthy than similar arguments that come from secular principles or simply from hunches or personal feelings. Nat Hentoff, a passionate opponent of abortion, isn't accused of imposing his opinions, because he is an atheist. The same arguments and activity by a Christian activist would most likely be seen as a violation of some sort.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reader Gery Steighner submitted an excellent essay on the subject (here), which summarizes well, by pointing out that we're expected to understand them, no reciprocation is needed: Yet the secular elites who profess faith in tolerance won't do the work to achieve a compassionate understanding of moral traditionalists who have deep faith in the law of God as they see it. Thus is explained, in part, the left's angry befuddlement at the results of this election.

In the same Boston Globe "Idea" piece Rick Perlstein is quoted from above, Elaine Kamarck writes, "The fact that Clinton never paid a price within his party for his own mistakes continues to give many Americans the impression that we are a party that is as out of the mainstream on traditional moral questions as the Hollywood celebrities who endorse us. The first step to reclaiming the moral mantle is to stop adoring Bill Clinton the rock star and go back to some of the bedrock, forward-looking middle-class policies that made Clinton's presidency successful in spite of his behavior." How true. One of my incredible daughters was a presidential scholar in junior high. When she saw the certificate was signed by Clinton, she tossed it aside and said, "I don't want this!" Now 18, she voted proudly for Bush.

Ending with a threat:

This from the Nov. 7 New York Times:

Yet gay rights' advocates will need to grapple with the surge in voting by evangelical Christians and those who ranked ''moral values'' first among their concerns. ''When the right wing attacks us it hurts, but it can help,'' Ms. Bonauto said. ''This is going to be an enormous unifying force for us. They had a good day, so to speak. But not as good a day as they think they had.''

Changing Subjects: Let's Talk About Drugs

For the last two years, my wife Beth has dedicated her life to building awareness about the dangers of trendy drugs like ecstasy, ketamine, GHB and DXM. Her web site is full of info, her blog is full of news, and her DVDs are designed to help parents talk to their kids about drugs. The perception that these drugs are safe is furthered by MSM coverage, especially Peter Jennings' hour-long documentary on the subject last summer, which Howard Stern called, "An hour-long advertisement for Ecstasy."

Beth is trying hard to let people know the perception ain't the reality, and is particularly focused on getting parents to have a serious talk with their youngsters about drugs, whether they think their kids are at risk or not. Most parents have a false sense of security, and most kids think the drugs are relativesly safe. Today's LA Times ran a story (here) that shows just how dangerous the designer drug culture has become. Excerpts:

In the latest in a string of violent outbreaks at illegal rave-style parties, a teenager opened fire on a crowd of partygoers late Saturday night, wounding three revelers and a police officer before the officer shot him to death, Los Angeles Police Department officials said Sunday. Jeremy Andre Cervantes, 19, of Los Angeles shot and injured the three people before he was confronted by the policeman, Mario Cardona, 30, one of about a dozen officers trying to shut down the party, police said. ...

Saturday's fatal shooting was the fifth connected with the illegal parties this year in the 77th Street Division and the second at the same building. But the bashes — and the violence — are common throughout the city. For example, in May, two young men were shot and killed at a flier party in Sylmar. On Sept. 25, two teenagers were shot and killed at a flier party in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse. On Nov. 13, two teenage boys were shot and one stabbed at a similar party in the fashion district. ...

Police said partygoers were buying hits of nitrous oxide, which is inhaled through balloons and produces a narcotic effect. Word of the parties usually starts on campus, where the glossy fliers, sometimes adorned with pictures of half-naked women, DJs and dancers, spread from hand to hand. One flier promoting a Nov. 19 party showed images of condom wrappers and women in provocative poses.

Beth's films tell the story of four family tragedies caused by these drugs. If you know anyone who needs to hear this message, PLEASE forward this post to them. Thank you!

Canada Sending Back Bush-Dodgers

Joe Blundo, humor columnist at The Columbus Dispatch, hit the nail on the head in his 11/16 column. (No link; subscription required)

Canada sending back Bush-dodgers
The Columbus Dispatch

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.
The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O'Reilly.
Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.
''I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota.
The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. ''He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"
In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields.
''Not real effective," he said. ''The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station-wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.
''A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. ''I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."
When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.
In the days since the election, liberals have turned to sometimes ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs.
After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers. ''If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies.
''I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. ''How many art-history majors does one country need?"
In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said.
''We're going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is determined to reach out."

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Why Is Kofi Annan Still Leading the U.N.?

Peter Brown asks all the right questions about Kofi Annan and oil-for-food in his Orlando Sentinel column. (here, or here if you're not yet registered) Some excerpts follow, concluding with the same question that's on my mind: Why are MSM largely giving the UN a free pass on this one? His conclusion and mine are the same: The kumbayah concept of the UN is just to groovey for blue state elite media to attack.

If the United Nations were a democratic country under the rule of law, Secretary General Kofi Annan would have resigned in disgrace, and might well be under criminal investigation for, at the least, tolerating massive corruption.

If that idea surprises readers it is only because the mainstream U.S. news media have done an abysmal job reporting on what is undoubtedly the largest bribery and embezzlement scandal in world history. ...

Whether Annan himself is culpable is unclear, but he is acting like the politician whose friends' hands have been caught in the cookie jar and is worried he will be implicated, too. And there are allegations his son was on the take also.

Annan has done everything possible to impede serious efforts to get to the bottom of the scandal, which has implicated Benon Sevan, who was in charge of the U.N. Oil for Food program, the humanitarian effort at the scandal's center. ...

There are many reasons why Americans should be outraged, not the least of which is that U.S. taxpayers fund more than 20 percent of the U.N. budget. Remember, U.N. officials whose job was overseeing the Food for Oil program allegedly took payoffs from Saddam to look the other way. And, according to investigators, some of the money Saddam skimmed went to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Think of the $21.3 billion as more than two-thirds of the budget for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or three times the annual spending by the Environmental Protection Agency -- serious folding money, even in Washington, D.C.

Common sense requires one to question whether U.N. efforts to stop the U.S. intervention in Iraq were tied to its under-the-table relationship with Saddam. Also, among those who allegedly got payoffs from Saddam in the scandal were prominent officials and businessmen from France and Russia, nations that also sought to stop the American effort to oust Saddam. ...

Why the American news media have given this story short shrift -- it hardly makes the network evening-news shows and is buried inside most newspapers, including this one, when mentioned at all -- is a worthwhile question.

The United Nations has long enjoyed a magical image in much of the United States. The idea of all nations getting together to solve problems is a warm and fuzzy one that makes many Americans tingle.

Giving the United Nations a free ride in the news media may well be a function of the red America/blue America divide. The elites along the coasts and in the major news media may see this as a minor issue. My guess, however, is that the resulting public outrage when this story gets its day in the sunshine will be as much a revelation to many of those same folks as Bush's re-election.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Congo: More Questions About LA Times Story

As noted below, today's LA Times ran a glowing story about U.N. efforts to secure peace in Central Africa. Interesting, because yesterday's U.N. Daily Briefing included this:

NO CONFIRMATION OF CLASHES ALONG DR CONGO BORDER WITH RWANDA: Asked about reports concerning possible strikes by the Rwandan Government against rebels based inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Spokesman said that the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) had heard rumors about incidents along the border, including of Rwandan infiltration into the DRC. He said that MONUC continues its reconnaissance patrols by road patrols and helicopters, and so far there has been no confirmation of any such activities. The Spokesman added that the Mission said on Wednesday that Rwanda’s threat to take military action in the DRC seriously threatens the transition process in that country and in the region.

The continuing lack of MSM coverage is becoming less excusable and less acceptable. The U.N. held a press briefing on Wednesday the 23rd, and has a news release on its Web site with a link to a videotape of the briefing.

LA Times Squelches U.N. Congo Sex Story

The story of the U.N. sex scandal in Congo is hanging on by a thread, evidence that the media is running from the story as eagerly as they ran to the Abu Grhaib story. The Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor both ran stories recently (summarized below) but this is a media drizzle, not a media storm.

First, though, big questions about the L.A. Times' coverage:

Maggie Farley of the L.A. Times, who did a good job of breaking the Congo sex scandal story, did an equally good job of covering it up today. Her long pg. 3 piece on U.N. is an apologetic wonder, attempting to cobble together evidence that the U.N. presence in Central Africa is succeeding in holding together a shaky peace. She has a difficult time making its case, citing little in the way of hard evidence the U.N. is actually succeeding, and noting that the same forces that have ravaged the area are still there, and still building their strength.

The story makes no mention of the sex scandal in Congo. Can you imagine the reporter that broke the Abu Grhaib story ignoring any mention of it in a wrap-up story a couple days later? As a former reporter, I can't; but then, I quit reporting because it was much too cynical a profession for me.

Two things might have happened here. First, Farley could have dropped the reference herself, either because she felt pressure from U.N. officials in Africa who were responsible for her safety, or because she is more sympathetic to the U.N. that she is to the girls who were raped. If the U.N. pressured her, then her editors in Los Angeles probably would not have added a reference, since they need to protect their overseas staff. (This is Reuter's excuse for using bland terminology in stead of "terrorist.") If this is the case, it speaks of U.N. cover-up and coercion, and should further the media's desire to investigate the case, not quelch it.

If Farley voluntarily edited her copy, it's simply evidence of pro-U.N. bias -- but to an extreme level that is difficult to comprehend.

The other option is that Farley included a reference in her article, and her editors cut it out in order to protect the U.N. If this is the case, everyone involved in this outrageous breach of news judgment deserves to be fired.

As mentioned above, the story still is weak in the MSM, but hasn't died. Here are the two recent stories:

The Washington Post (here) includes this new information:

The worst alleged violations occurred in the town of Bunia, where more than half of the U.N. mission is headquartered. The U.N. Office of Internal Oversight cited 68 allegations of sexual misconduct against U.N. military personnel and four against civilians in Bunia between May and September 2004.

A 13-year-old girl interviewed in Bunia by Zeid's team said that she was raped by a U.N. worker. "One day, in May 2004, my grandmother had to attend a funeral and I was left alone at home to look after my brothers and sisters," she told investigators. "That night, around 8 p.m., one of the [U.N. Congo mission's] soldiers came into the house. He raped me. My brothers and sisters were in the house at the time."

An article in the Christian Science Monitor (here) points out that while the problem is pervasive, prosecution isn't, because (as in this case) offenders are transferred home, where prosecution is rare:

This darker side of nation-building is explored at length in a new book, "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth." The book has scandalized the UN - Miramax reportedly may turn it into a TV show or movie.

"We draw a distinction between wild behavior that's consensual, and where officials have a duty of care they are abusing," says Amnesty's [Gita] Sahgal.

Sexual violations, says Sahgal, arise from a pervasive air of impunity. Violence against women is generally not prosecuted in the peacekeepers' homeland, let alone in a chaotic war or post-conflict zone. The UN also has no right to conduct background checks on the personnel a country contributes to a mission. And most significantly, foreign troops often enjoy immunity agreements.

Victim advocates complain it's rare for a commander to take accusations against underlings seriously, and even rarer to act against alleged perpetrators. "If a few men were prosecuted ... I think they'd be much more on guard," says Sahgal. "Yet I don't see much evidence of that happening."

The article also outlines previous sex scandals by U.N. troops:

Wherever the UN has established operations in recent years, various violations of women seem to follow:
  • A prostitution ring in Bosnia involved peacekeepers, while Canadian troops there were accused of beatings, rape, and sexually abusing a handicapped girl.
  • Local UN staff in West Africa reportedly withheld aid, such as bags of flour, from refugees in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Jordanian peacekeepers in East Timor were accused of rape.
  • Italian troops in Somalia and Bulgarian troops in Cambodia were accused of sexual abuses.
  • In May, Moroccan and Uruguayan peacekeepers in Congo were accused of luring teenage girls into their camp with offers of food for sex. The girls then fed the banana and cake remuneration to their infants, whom media reported had been born as a result of multiple rapes by militiamen.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Weapons Cache? What Weapons Cache?

The editors of the LA Times decided these are the stories you'd find most important and interesting:
  • Need for More Government Regulation: "Planting Seeds of Wrath in 'Steinbeck Country'" (library closures), "Sweat, Fear and Resignation Among All the Toys" (working conditions in Mattel factories in China)
  • Bush-bashing: "Sizing Up Man Who Would be Atty. Gen." (Scroll down two posts), "Ports Called 'Enormous Targets'"
  • Environmentalism/Animal Rights: "Plans for Seal Safaris Put Norway in a Dilemma"
  • International: "Ukraine Court to Rule on Election"
  • Feature: "Breaking, Entering Your PC" (spyware)

Not making the cut, on page one or anywhere else in todays LAT was this story on the discovery of a huge weapons cache in a Falloujah mosque. As the Washington Times reported:

The weapons cache, described by the U.S. military as the largest uncovered so far in Fallujah, was discovered Wednesday in the Saad Bin Abi Waqas Mosque, where fugitive rebel leader Abdullah al-Janabi often preached.

Troops found small arms, artillery shells, heavy machine guns, and anti-tank mines inside the mosque, the U.S. military said. U.S. forces also uncovered what may have been a mobile bomb-making factory as well as mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, launchers, and parts of surface-to-air weapons systems elsewhere in the mosque compound, the military added.

At a press conference in Baghdad, National Security Adviser Qassem Dawoud said troops found the suspected chemical lab in the southwestern district of Fallujah, where pockets of insurgents are still holding out following the Nov. 8 U.S.-Iraqi assault.

"We also found in the laboratory manuals and instructions spelling out procedures for making explosives," he said. "They also spoke about making anthrax."

I guess the LAT's editors thought it more important to know libraries are underfunded and (surprise!) spyware is a threat to our computers.

For the Record: Shepard Story Buried

In case you're wondering, The LA Times, which yesterday ran a front page story harping about anti-gay prejudice in the LAPD, buried on page 42 the story about Matthew Shepard's killers saying gay-bashing had nothing to do with the murder.

MSM Allegations of Bush "Cronyism"

By way of introduction, a Nexis search with the parameters "clinton AND confidant OR crony OR cronies AND cabinet" in November, 1996, when Clinton was putting together his second-term Cabinet, yield no hits in any English-language newspaper in the world. Not one.

By comparison, the same search results for Bush in this year yielded 283 hits, including mentions of Bush cronism in his Cabinet selections in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, CNN and the Associated Press. Granted, I didn't do a content analysis of these hits, but I believe the numbers speak for themselves, and show that the MSM wants you to believe that Clinton surrounded himself with the best and the brightest, while Bush surrounds himself with yes-men.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury in the case People of the United States vs. Media Bias, the prosecution presents as evidence today's LA Times' page one profile of Alberto Gonzales, the President's nominee for Attorney General. (here)

First, the damning sentences: But Gonzales illustrates how Bush is turning to friends, cronies and associates in stocking his second-term Cabinet, and the relationship with Gonzales may be the closest of them all.

The article actually makes the point that Gonzales is a business-oriented near-moderate, not a crazy right-winger, but even so, the prejudice with which MSM are executing this story is evident. Reporter Richard B. Schmitt let it slip with this paragraph:

Now, with his presumed ascent to the top of the Justice Department, people are starting to wonder which Gonzales will show up for work: the relative moderate who emphasizes a low-key, fact-based approach to the law, or the ardent advocate who follows the marching orders of his president and friend and his expansive view of presidential power.

Schmitt starts with the assumption that the President is not a moderate, and is never low-key, fact-based, or concerned about what is lawful and what is not. And, to accomplish his Orwellian work, Bush needs people who follow his marching orders.

This is, of course, outrageous because the media have four years of Bush record to truth-check their wild allegations against. They will point to Abu Ghraib (and attempt to, with this sentence: Some suspect the [Guantanamo] opinion may have helped set the stage for the mistreatment of prisoners there and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and plan to ask Gonzales about his level of involvement.), the Patriot Act and Halliburton, but what the record shows is a president who follows due process to implement as much of his agenda that the people's representatives in Congress will allow him to.

Geneva Convention "Quaint" and "Obsolete"

Of course the Times article resurrects this famous Gonzales quote from a memo on the Geneva Convention. Let's dispose of this once and (oh, how I wish!) for all. The Geneva Convention is exactly what Gonzales said it is. It was drafted at a time when countries raised uniformed armies and fought each other primarily through conventional warfare. It strived to to maintain that conventionality.

But war today is different. The injured terrorist/insurgent in the Falloujah mosque was not wearing the uniform of an enemy combatant, for example. So the rules are obsolete. The MSM never bother to point this out, prefering to let readers suppose that Gonzales wants to throw out the Convention, the baby and the bathwater.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Give Thanks, But Don't Mention God

Remember when we chuckled at how the Soviets purged their history books of any mention of Stalin? How absurd! And how absurd we've become in America, trying to cover up the fact that our nation has a Christian heritage. (story here)

Teacher Steven Williams tried to show his fifth grade students at Stevens Creek Elementary School in the Bay Area that important historic documents of the United States reflect the religious belief of our nation and its founders. Among the documents he dared to show his students were the Declaration of Independence, "The Rights of the Colonists" by Samuel Adams and William Penn's "The Frame of the Governmentof Pennsylvania."

His efforts to accurately teach our history were shut down when one parent complained. Now his principal demands to see his study plans in advance and nixes any effort to present the Christian roots of our nation for what they are: True and historic.

Stevens has sued, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund. But Berkley prof Daniel Farber says, "I think his claim that he has a constitutional right to use these materials in a classroom is an uphill battle." What have we come to?

Hopefully some of our friends in the media -- Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh come to mind -- will give Mr. Williams' case the coverage it deserves. Let's give The Smart Guys a crack at this, Hugh!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving. Praise God for all the blessings He has bestowed on our country.

MSM Still Ignoring UN Sex Scandal

Associated Press moved a story on the UN sex abuse case in Congo but it's still not being picked up by MSM -- or anyone else for that matter. A Nexis search yields fewer hits than a search for "Nixon AND greatness" would -- 16 hits worldwide in English-language pubs. Not all those are directly on subject, and none are in leading papers like the New York Times.

A reader suggests that it's just the continuing lack of interest in Africa by our media. But the media has shown it can cover Africa when it suits their agenda. It covered the continent when it helped knock down the diseased system of Apartheid in South Africa and its coverage encouraged Clinton's withdrawl from Somalia. Sudan? No, that's another story.

The same reader excused Annan's temerity in attacking us for the Abu Ghreib scandal even as he knew his troops were raping 12 year olds. Sorry, you've missed the point. There is such a massive difference on the scale of evil between sexually assaulting a 12 year old girl and making a grown man strip for a photo. Of course Abu Ghraib was inexcusable, but it wasn't torture. It was cruel prank that hurt our standing in a very sensitive situation. Annan could have helped the U.S. by putting some necessary perspective on vicious Arab media coverage of the event, but he chose to feed the flames, no doubt relieved that his incomparably worse scandal was being swept under the rugs.

It's Come Down to This has an excellent critique of this subject, employing a 1-5 scale from "mean" to "abhorent" for rating these incidents.

The media is ignoring this story, there is no doubt about it. In Congo, 150 young girls are carrying the psychological and physical scars of their abuse at then hands of the U.N. staff and soldiers. Knowledge of this kind of reprehensible behavior by U.N. troops is so common in the international community that some countries refuse U.N. troops that haven't had an AIDs test.

The media covers AIDs endlessly, but apparently not when it's caused by U.N. troops. It covers every rare incident where a single U.S. soldier rapes a girl overseas, but is ignoring a story of systematic child abuse by the soldiers in Baby Blue. And it's trying to make a new Abu Ghraib out of the possibly wrong, but certainly forgivable, mosque shooting ... but protecting the U.N.

The U.N., because of its opposition to the war in Iraq and all things Bush, has earned "don't touch" status in the Liberal media, joining gay activists, environmentalists, the ACLU, separation-of-church-and-state fanatics and pro-abortionists. They now enjoy full protection from criticism by media. If you need further proof, just consider how oil-for-food remains a mere shadow of Halliburton in MSM coverage.

Mysterious UN Reform Study

Today's LA Times details a new UN report that attempts to get the organization restabilized. It apparently acknowledges the UN has an obligaion to uphold "the international community's duty to intervene in any state where the government is unable or unwilling to protect its people," yet finds a way to continue to dismiss Saddam's Iraq as a legitimate target for such intervention.

Interestingly, it proposes to expand the Security Council, adding (probably) Japan, Germany, Brazil and India as permanent members and two more rotating members. Alternatively, six non-permanent members would be added, based on their financial and military support for the UN. No word on whether nations like Sudan would be able to continue to chair the UN's human rights committee.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

For Really Important News, See Page 4

Iran, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabi rebuffed pleas from France to support a deadline for U.S. troop withdrawl from Iraq, and instead gave strong backing to the interim Iraqi government, its battle against insurgents, and its efforts to hold a free and democratic election. They also said the timetable for the US troop withdrawal is the business of the Iraqi government, not the international or Arab community. Important stuff. You'll find it buried on page four.

UN Sex Scandal vs. Abu Ghraib

U.N. staff and soldiers have raped and sexually abused 150 Congolese girls between 12 and 15 years of age, according to the LA Times. The U.N. has known about this since early this year, yet Kofi Annan has the temerity to criticize the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of US troops in Abu Ghraib.

Despite the long, ongoing investigations at the U.N., this is only Day One of press coverage. I did a Nexis search on the topic from Jan. 1, 2003 through October and there was NO coverage of this scandal in U.S. media. By comparison, a search for Abu Ghraib for the same period quickly stopped because Nexis won't list more than 1,000 articles in a search. I narrowed the search to August only and squeaked in with 952 hits.

Reuters moved an item on the U.N. sexual abuse scandal yesterday, and only two newspapers in the entire U.S. picked it up this morning (The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, according to Nexis). The LA Times reported its own story (25" on page 3, a major story but off the front page) and its sister paper, the Chicago Tribune, picked up a short from that.

WHERE ARE THE HUNDREDS OF EDITORS, REPORTERS AND BROADCASTERS THAT WERE SO QUICK TO JUMP ON THE ABU GHRAIB STORY? Do teen and pre-teen girls in Africa not deserve coverage, while suspected terrorists in Iraq deserve months of it? Is rape and sexual abuse OK to ignore, while stripping suspected terrorists demands ongoing, intense Scott-Peterson-esque coverage? Are there no investigative reporters assigned to the U.N.? Are there no reporters in Congo?

Again, this is Day One. Any bets as to how long this story will play?

Like a Judge Eatin' Jello

That's my Ratheresque colloquialism for "just desserts." Goodbye, Dan, enjoy your well deserved retirement.

Monday, November 22, 2004

French Beheadings in Ivory Coast?

This will be the strangest hat-tip I ever give: War In Iraq: Slaughter of the Innocents. The site turns out to protest all "slaughters" of all "innocents," and included these two pieces that should pique the interest of those of us who continue to hold the French government in contempt. Warning: The sources for these items should not be trusted on their face.

Clashes Between French Soldiers And Ivory Coast Rebels (here)
Comment: "French" troops fire on a crowd of civilians, though one cannot see them doing it. Well I cannot. Warning it is very graphic.

French 'decapitated' protestors,,2-11-1447_1624417,00.html
"Paris - Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo said on Saturday he believed reports were true that French troops had decapitated local demonstrators during anti-French riots in the West African state this month. "I wasn't in the hospitals myself but everyone who went there said so: you may take it that the evidence provided by several people is true," he responded online from Abidjan to a website discussion in Paris. Asked by AFP, French army information services in Paris would say only: "We have no comment to make on this kind of statement."

Really Disgusting Editing at LA Times

The LA Times sunk to new lows Sunday, editing key context out of an Associated Press story about the Red Cross' recent comments on Iraq. Their cuts could lead many readers to think the Red Cross was critical primarily of US actions at the mosque in Falluja, when, in fact, its context was much broader. Here is the LA Times news item in full, with the deleted AP content appearing in boldface:

GENEVA — The International Committee of the Red Cross is "deeply concerned" about the killing of noncombatants in Iraq, operations director Pierre Kraehenbuehl said in a statement released late Friday. He stressed that international law prohibits killing anyone who is not actively taking part in fighting.

"As hostilities continue in Fallouja and elsewhere, every day seems to bring news of yet another act of utter contempt for the most basic tenet of humanity: the obligation to protect human life and dignity," Kraehenbuehl said. "We are deeply concerned by the devastating impact that the fighting in Iraq is having on the people of that country."

The world was shocked this week by the killing of Margaret Hassan, CARE International's head of Iraq operations and the fatal shooting of a wounded and apparently unarmed man in a Fallujah mosque by a U.S. Marine, Kraehenbuehl said.
"No one should use torture or any form of inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment, he said. He also said that all parties must provide adequate medical care for the wounded — regardless of the side they fight on — and that hostage-taking was forbidden in all circumstances. "If these rules or any other applicable rules of international humanitarian law are violated, the persons responsible must be held accountable for their actions," Kraehenbuehl said.

As you may remember, in an earlier post I noted that the LA Times' article on Hassan's killing called her murderers merely "captors," "abductors" and "kidnappers," never ruthless, heartless terrorists. Now they edit out even a reference to this reprehensible deed! Shame on the LA Times, for its lack of integrity, and for continuing to think that we readers are too dumb to call them on their shameful behavior.

Bush the Dissident

From the ever-enlightening Opinion Journal:

Last week President Bush met with Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident turned Israeli politician who has long advocated democracy in the Arab world as the way to peace, and whose new book, "The Case for Democracy," is a favorite of the president's. In National Review Online, Joel Rosenberg quotes Sharansky describing the meeting:

"I told the president, 'There is a great difference between politicians and dissidents. Politicians are focused on polls and the press. They are constantly making compromises. But dissidents focus on ideas. They have a message burning inside of them. They would stand up for their convictions no matter what the consequences.'

"I told the president, 'In spite of all the polls warning you that talking about spreading democracy in the Middle East might be a losing issue--despite all the critics and the resistance you faced--you kept talking about the importance of free societies and free elections. You kept explaining that democracy is for everybody. You kept saying that only democracy will truly pave the way to peace and security. You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world.' "

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Another Reason To Be Thankful

Out of curiousity, I did a Nexis search for Teresa Heinz Kerry and found she turned up in only six news stories in the last week (most just noting that she was at the Clinton Library dedication with whats-his-name). What a relief! Imagine how much more of her we'd be suffering through if her hen-pecked husband had won.

One of the articles, about a performance by comedian Wanda Sykes, had a pretty good line in it:

"I fell in love with (Teresa Kerry) during the debates because you could just hear what she was thinking: I could buy everybody in this place.''

With The Election Over, Here Comes Big Green

Even before the last provisional ballot is tallied, the left-leaning media is trying to resurrect the environmental movement from its near death during the campaign. In the lead-up to November, polls showed it ranked in the high teens as an area of concern.

Today's LATimes Magazine cover story picks up the drum beat with a body slam on Smokey the Bear. The Times is hard-left on environmental coverage. It glorifies every environmentalist cause and often goes beyond merely burying quotes from industry sources, and instead, does not run their quotes at all. This is the favorite trick of Elizabeth "So-Green" Shogren, who covers the environment out of DC for the Times.

The piece on the Forest Service by the appropriately named Lee Green is classic LA Times, setting up a Big Environmental Problem that doesn't exist, while ignoring one that does.

What doesn't exist is anything particularly wrong with the fact that the Forest Service allows timber leasing in its forests. Only two percent of US lumber comes from National Forests, so whine and moan as they might, Green and the greens can't get around the fact that they're making a well forested mountain out of a molehill.

What does exist is devastating fires. Just 13 months after the Southern California firestorms, Green uses this piece to argue against thinning forests. Astonishing. That same drumbeat, backed with litigation and Forest Service and Fish & Wildlife Service buy-in have delayed some forest thinning projects for years. Thinned forests cause less damage; unthinned forests, besides being less healthy for wildlife, burn ferociously. That's OK with environmentalists because they don't want houses in their woods anyway.

I have seen pictures taken in the Sierras by pioneer photographers who documented what the forests looked like before there was any intervention by Western man. Guess what? The forests were much THINNER than they are today -- throughout the range! But environmentalists at the Times and elsewere can't accept photo-documented reality if it gets in the way of their mantra of protecting every tree, as if they were ents chock-full of wood elves and fairies.

Green writes that the snowstorm of litigation filed by the environmental litigation industry is evidence that the Forest Service is poorly managed. No, it is evidence that environmentalists, like all liberals, depend on the courts to take what the people of the United States and their elected representatives won't give them. This is a very coy tactic; to take a decently enough functioning bureaucracy, sue it until its budget is squeezed and its programs are suffering, then say the lawsuits are proof that it is dysfunctional.

It's entirely likely the environmentalists went to the LA Times with this story as a first shot of a new campaign against the Forest Service. If that happens, remember, only you can prevent the environmentalists from causing more forest fires.

Easily Pliable Conservatives?

Two items beg MSM to do an "oops, sorry" about their pre-election speculation that a Bush win would lead to a lockstep (goosestep?) march towards the right, as easy to manipulate conservatives fell under the Bush spell.

First, the House's failure to move on the intelligence reform bill despite personal pleas from the President, Vice President and representatives of the 9/11 survivors didn't draw any reflection from the LA Times. Failure to pass the bill is a frustration; hopefully, conferees will work out a difference and move the bill forward shortly.

Second, no mention of their pre-election hysteria was included in the report of the delay of an anti-abortion measure in the spending bill in order to ensure approval. This is a disappointment for those of us who support life, but it's a good thing that the measure will move forward removed from the spending bill, so we can see how our electeds line up following the post-morality vote election.

The press was so ready to position the President as a dictator riding strong-willed over Congress and failed completely, as usual, to acknowledge that our nation is robust, vital and pretty darn hard to keep on a straight course.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

My fabulous daughter's response to those obnoxious "I'm Sorry' photos. Posted by Hello
 Posted by Hello

Iraq Elections: Same Story, Different Spin

LA Times, top of p.1: Chaos in Iraq Imperils Voting -- Security in some areas has deteriorated, U.S. officials say, stalling efforts to rebuild and threatening the elections planned for January.

Associated Press in the OC Register, p. 8: Expanded U.S. Force Likely As Elections Near -- The increase would probably come by prolonging service of some units.

The Times chooses to continue to its agenda of painting everything we do in Iraq as dark, failing and hopeless. AP, hardly a friend of the Bush adminsitration, leads with what matters more to us, that some of our troops may have extended tours through the election (which is also an indication that we're dealing with the problem). The LA Times gets to the troop extensions in pargagraph 21 of its 23-paragraph story.

The Times' lead rational for its "threat to elections" angle is this quote from William Taylor, head of the reconstruction office of the US Embassy in Baghdad, which it played in pargraph 3: "We're worried that in some areas — again, not all, in some areas — it would now be difficult to have elections." The same quote appears in paragraph 12 of the AP story.

To go from "some areas -- again, not all, in some areas" to a "threatening the elections" theme is quite a leap, even for the Times. To shore up their argument, the Times used a quote from Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Taylor is referencing the terrorists' continuing ability to intimidate (the Times refers to the terrorists almost fondly as "guerrillas"). Note how the quote also underscores the viciousness of the enemy and the need for U.S. involvment to free the Iraqi people from terrorist oppression:

"It's that part that we have got to be able to handle and take that away from [insurgents], so that people can freely get out … to vote and not go back and expect their families to be killed just because they go out and vote." I checked on what word the Times replaced with [insurgents] and found it was "them," not "terrorists." The transcript revealed the end of this quote, which the Times cut: "And there's going to take a certain level of courage on the part of the Iraqis, just like there was on the part of the Afghanis to go do that."

The Times chose to ignore this information Smith passed along at the press conference:

Troops who have searched buildings in Fallujah over the past 10 days found 431 homemade bombs, which the military calls improved explosive devices, or IEDs. By comparison, 348 IEDs were found in all of Iraq in October, Smith said. IEDs are a favored weapon of the insurgents in attacks.

Smith, a three-star general, also said it appeared that al-Zarqawi and senior leaders of the al-Qaida terrorist network had attempted to communicate, probably by courier, from Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The Times' daily circulation has dropped well over 5 percent and its Sunday circulation by over 6 percent this year over last. This during a time of economic expansion in Southern California. Lefties that they are, the editors and reporters at the Times pursue their increasingly unpopular agenda, seemingly unswayed by legitimate economic arguments.

Tacky, Tacky Times

In its story on Tom Daschle's long-awaited final remarks from the Senate floor, the LA Times closed with this:

Two of the Senate's 51 Republicans were in the chamber from the start of the speech: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois.

How many Dems were on the floor? We're left to wonder.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Kerry's E-Mail to Supporters

Thank you, thank you, thank you, God, that John Kerry wasn't elected president! Here's an annotated version of what he told his supporters in an email (hat tip to one of my fabulous daughters):

"I want to thank you personally for what you did in the election — you rewrote the book on grassroots politics, taking control of campaigns away from big donors. (1) No campaign will ever be the same," Kerry wrote. "You moved voters, helped hold George Bush accountable (2), and countered the attacks from big news organizations such as Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting, and conservative talk radio." (3)

Kerry went on saying the Bush administration is planning "a right wing assault on values and ideals we hold most deeply" (4) and that diverse opinions are being "eliminated" from the State Department and CIA with the personnel reshuffling (5), and the Bush Cabinet is being remade to "rubber stamp policies that will undermine Social Security, balloon the deficit, avoid real reforms in health care and education, weaken homeland security, and walk away from critical allies around the world." (6)

(1) Everyone knows that big lefty donors like George Soros were a much larger factor in the Dem campaign than big conservative donors were in the Bush campaign.
(2) Do the words "political capital" ring a bell? Do the words "flip/flop" ring a bell?
(3) It always cracks me up when Dems complain about the media's conservative skew. He's Christmasing in Cambodia if he thinks they effectively countered conservative talk radio. Sinclair is tiny and the brouhaha around stopping the election-eve broadcast hurt Kerry more than it helped him. Fox is balanced ... not alway fair, per se, but balanced. If you're looking for examples of lefty bias in MSM, you know where to go.
(4) What values and ideals will that right wing assualt target? Killing unborn babies, judicial fiat, obstructing the prosecution of terrorists, skrewing up the economy with taxes ... oh, those values and ideals.
(5) Translate "diverse opinions" as "people who leak documents in order to tilt the balance towards Kerry." If the shoe were on the other foot....
(6) A nice refresher course in all the jargon that didn't work for Kerry in the election, and won't work for the Dems now. Just remember: Bush 60,608,582 - Kerry 57,289,074 .

The Gag Reflex: Lefty Blogs Exposed

If you can stomach it, you can read a ranting leftist take on the Fallujah mosque incident here.

Fallujah in Ruins?

"Fallujah In Ruins" -- that was the headline in the LA Times a few days back, I am reminded by Gay Patriot. That is the view MSM wants to impose on us, but the evidence left in Fallujah's fall makes it hard to maintain that storyline.

From the staunchly anti-Bush London Times:

Amid the rubble of the main shopping street, one decree bearing the insurgents' insignia - two Kalashnikovs propped together - and dated November 1 gives vendors three days to remove nine market stalls from outside the city's library or face execution. The pretext given is that the rebels wanted to convert the building into a headquarters for the "Mujahidin Advisory Council" through which they ran the city.

Another poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hardline cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.

Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.

How long will anti-interventionist media, blinded by their lack of ability to judge good from evil, be able to ignore the fact that we are fighting to free a good country from incredibly evil people?

And from TechCentral, an analysis that MSM also largely misses, due to its desire to present the "insurgents" as a unified opposition to US "occupation:"

Islamic media around the world began to produce curious items: Moqtada ul-Sadr issued an order for the execution of any Wahhabis caught infiltrating the Shia holy cities; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in turn, supervised the beheading of an Iraqi Shia accused of spying for the Americans. Top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani issued a fatwa saying that anybody who obstructed the U.S.-sponsored elections in Iraq is destined for eternal fire. And the 26 leading Wahhabi radicals in Saudi Arabia published an open letter to the Iraqis calling for stiffened resistance in Fallujah and forbidding any cooperation with the U.S. forces. Little of this was reported in or digested by American media ...

If I were editor of the LA or NY Times (shudder!), I would have at least one reporter assigned full-time to watching and reading Arab media. Oh, but then I'd have to report what they found. Scratch that.

The TechCentral item underscores why so many Iraqis support our intervention. Saddam, through bruttal, murderous rule, was keeping this roiling pot barely under control, like Tito in Yugoslavia before him. Such situations cannot last forever, and the Iraqis' best hope is exactly what's happening: That the world's greatest light of freedom, its greatest military power, lead the way to a new democratic nation where shopkeepers don't have to fear death if they don't move their stalls, and women have rights not to be shot because they don't cover up, and a nation can exist and thrive despite different beliefs among its population.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

How Would MSM Report D-Day?

This was emailed to me. I have no idea who authored it, and I couldn't help myself; I'm a compulsive editor so I've nipped and tucked it a bit.

June 6, 1944. -- NORMANDY

Many French civilians were killed and wounded today in the first hours of America's invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children.

Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Elise said the carnage was far worse than initial U.S. military sources had reported, and reaction against the American invasion was running high.

"We are dying for no reason," said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. "I never thought I'd say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler."

As the invasion slowed to a quagmire, severe environmental damage has occurred. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless French crab was wiped out, threatening the species with extinction.

Greenpeace representative Christine Moanmore said, "This is another example of how the military and its corporate partners destroy the environment without a second thought. They ignored the entire regulatory process and have no permits for the desecration they are causing."

Contacted at his Manhattan condo, a member of the French government-in-exile who bravely abandoned Paris when Hitler invaded said the invasion was based solely on American financial interests. "Everyone knows the President Roosevelt has ties to big beer," said Pierre LeWimp. "Once the German beer industry is conquered, Roosevelt's cronies will control the world market and make a fortune."

An administration spokesperson stated that America's aggressive actions are needed because of unsubstantiated assertions that the Germans are developing a secret weapon, a so-called "atomic bomb." Such a weapon could produce casualties on a scale never seen before, the spokesperson stated.

However, leaked OSS documents call into question the content and timing of the intelligence reports on the weapon. Hitler has denied having such a weapon and international inspectors were unable to locate such weapons even after spending two long weekends in Germany.

Shortly after the invasion began American news services reported that German prisoners had been abused by Americans, and newsreel footage of an American soldier shooting an injured German soldier was released. Mistreatment of Jews by Germans at so-called "concentration camps" has been rumored but so far, remains unproven.

That Confusing Morality Thing 2

Curious, I visited a blog called The Rebirth of Political Common Sense. It's no such thing, although it did present some of the current clueless attempts to understand the morals factor in the last election, including:

I think one of the problems the Democrats have in commanding the political debate in this country is that many of the causes they champion are not easily reduced to a short sound-bite. To expand on the issue of stem cell research ... Republicans are against stem cell research for one reason: “it is a life.” Due to the complex and numerous benefits of stem cell research, it is difficult for Democrats to summarize their position in four paragraphs, let alone four words. The one issue where we have managed to reduce our position to a short sound-bite is abortion: “a woman’s right to choose.” One could argue that it is because Democrats have simplified their message in regard to abortion; they have the support of the majority of the country on this issue.

One could also argue that they don't have the support of the majority of the country on the abortion issue, and that their pro-abortion sound bite doesn't begin to justify partial birth abortion. One could also argue that the reason they can't present a justification for stem cell research in a sound bite is that their radical position just is not justifiable.

But there's something bigger here: The left can't understand the morals vote so they shorthand it.

As this blogger puts it, "They have a religious belief that they are going to Heaven and Democrats and liberals are going to Hell. " Political party and viewpoint have nothing to do with salvation. Many liberal Democrats accept Christ and vote Democratic because they think that party's social policies (welfare more than abortion) emulate Christ's call. And I didn't dislike Kerry because I thought he was going to Hell; I disliked him because he had bad policy on moral and non-moral issues alike and would have made a dangerous and untrustworthy president. They continue to oversimplify our positions because admitting we are capable of complex analysis jeopardizes their secular/agnostic worldview.

As I've said before regarding gay marriage, "moral" issues do indeed have a strong moral core, but are about much more than morals, which makes the road ahead particularly difficult for Dems.

Take abortion. It is inherently a moral issue, of course. But the issue is also about Planned Parenthood working to keep abstinence programs out of schools, Democrats' opposition to parental notification, judges imposing uncontitutional limits on free speech, ongoing bias for abortion in the MSM, and many other interwoven issues. It's policy and morality, and the Dems just can't see the complexity with which we view the issue. To them, it's just they're going to Hell and we're going to Heaven, and that's it.

Their blindness will lead them to continued alienationation of the electorate. Fortunately, their prejudices against us run deep, and I doubt if they will come to fully accept our intelligence any time soon. If you doubt, read Dowd.

Intellectually Challenged Intellectuals

Opinion Journal's Best of the Web cites exit polls ...

The network exit polls found that John Kerry outpolled President Bush among two educational subgroups: those with "no high school" (presumably including high school dropouts) and those with postgraduate education. Bush beat Kerry among high school and college graduates.

... that prove Dennis Prager's point that some concepts -- like Communism -- are so ridiculously flawed that only intellectuals can support them. The "no high school" crowd's vote for Kerry is forgivable, even understandable; people with graduate degrees should know better.

Note: This is based on network exit polls, so it might be completely wrong!

Ammunition for Lefty Arguments

Lefty blogs and water cooler conversations alike are riddled with references to the Fallujah mosque shooting being a violation of the Geneva Convention. Tell them this (hat tip Thomas Sowell and Real Clear Politics):

The rules of war, the Geneva Convention, do not protect soldiers who are not wearing their own country's uniforms. To get the protection of rules, you have to play by the rules.

Saving Private X

Today's Indianapolis Star (hat tip Real Clear Politics) has an article that bitch-slaps the MSM for their coverage of the Marine shooting the wounded insurgent in the mosque. Written by university professor (there is hope!) David Perlmutter at Louisiana State, the article makes the point that for all their effectiveness, U.S. troops are the more disciplined and kinder fighting force in every war they wage.

Drawing on scenes from Saving Private Ryan and quotes from German and Japanese prisoners of war, Perlmutter concludes that if we attack the Marines in Fallujah, then we also attack the "Best and the Brightest" who won World War II. Got that Brokaw?

His thesis, though, is broader and more troubling: We have sanitized war in textbooks because educators feel combat reality will be too upsetting for young minds. As a result, when incidents like the Fallujah mosque shooting occur, we now have two full generations of young Americans view who them without having been taught context.

Perlmutter's email is included in the article. After you read it, send him a well deserved thank you.

That Confusing Morality Thing

Dems take note: You'd better change your terminology to The Vast Moralist Conspiracy.

Yesterday, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops voted overwhelmingly to join an alliance with Christian churches. There's more here, but this is the significant paragraph:

The bishops also agreed to launch a multiyear initiative that would aim to strengthen marriage by, among other projects, raising awareness about church teaching on the importance of the sacrament and providing resources for church programs on preventing divorce.

The nation's 67 million Catholics, in league with mainline Protestants, Orthodox Christians and black and other minority churches, organized to promote marriage, is a harrowing prospect for the Moore/Garafolo/Newsome wing of the Democratic Party. The Dems' choice is getting more and more like Sophie's. They must choose between two things they love: The gay/ACLU agenda and winning elections.

A Million Thanks! (And One Boo)

A local OC girl, Shauna Fleming, 15, has succeeded in her quest to have 1 million thank-you's sent to our troops. What a gal! Read all about it here in the OC Register.

Meanwhile, the OC Edition of the LA Times didn't carry the story. No doubt, the Times' DC bureau received notice that Shauna was on the President's calendar, but didn't see fit to bring its readers the heartwarming story of someone who respects the military.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Dems Find A Moral Candidate for 2008!

In 2008, still trying to understand the "morals vote" that was powerful enough to give Bush the victory margin, the Dems are likely to look for a candidate who can hold up Dem ideals and still attract votes from people who haven't swallowed the "anything goes" pill. After all, faced with a war more popular than un-, they went with a decorated vet who upheld the party's aversion to war.

So, what will the Dem's 2008 candidate sound like?

For starters, the candidate will stand before the DNC, point upward, and say, "With God by my side, I'm reporting for duty!"

Then the candidate will boldly address abortion. Of course, he is personally adverse to it and greatly admires the niece of the Republican vice presidential candidate, who got knocked up at 17 and kept the kid. Or, perhaps, he believes God's love is so big it covers the fetus, the mother and the abortionist alike, so who can find fault?

Next, gay marriage. He says that while he believes homosexuality is wrong, he supports gay unions because God is loving. Or that while he loves his homosexual brothers and sisters, he doesn't support gay marriage because of his longstanding, deeply held beliefs. But out of Christian compassion, he won't impose his will on others that God, in his infinite wisdom, created.

Now he's on a roll. Death penalty? Love they neighbor, an eye for an eye, God gave his only begotten son, and there but for the grace of God go I.

Prayer in school? The Bible says we should pray constantly, but of course if we did that, how would we learn math? So let's render unto the principal that which is the principal's and render unto God that which is God's.

Separation of church and state? The Boy Scouts? Funding faith-based groups? Oh, Bless me! That's nothing we can't achieve a loving understanding on, with God's help!

The balloons fall (hopefully) and the confetti flutters. Beaming, the candidate hits the campaign trail, facing the media, the bloggers and the people, the moral, the immoral and the amoral. Things go well until a 527 runs an ad featuring the candidate's old Church Youth Group members ... you know the rest.

WORLD RECORD! Kerry Flip-Flops on 2008!

You read it here first ... unless you've already read it somewhere else!

Discussing the prospects for another run at the presidency in 2008, John Kerry said: "What I've said is I'm not opening any doors, I'm not shutting any doors."

Aren't you just praying the Dems will nominate him again??

BTW, the Dems aren't happy that Kerry's sitting on as much as $22 million in unspent campaign contributions -- enough to fund a good weekend with Teresa or a couple down-ticket campaigns. (here) Here's a summary-- there will be fireworks when the DNC meets in January!

"Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush (news - web sites) or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars," said Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore (news - web sites)'s 2000 presidential race.

Brazile is a member of the 400-plus member Democratic National Committee (
news - web sites), which meets early next year to pick a new party chairman.

One high-ranking member of the DNC, speaking on condition of anonymity, said word of Kerry's nest egg has stirred anger on the committee and could hurt his chances of putting an ally in the chairmanship. Congressional Democrats and labor leaders also privately questioned Kerry's motives. One said he would personally ask the Massachusetts senator to donate some of the money to the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees.
Three former Kerry campaign aides, also demanding anonymity out of concerns about alienating their former boss, said they were surprised and disappointed to learn that he left so much money in the bank.

Kerry had roughly $45 million left in his primary campaign fund as of mid-October, according to his Federal Election Commission (
news - web sites) report, and could use that as seed money for another presidential bid.

His final report is not due until next month, but officials close to Kerry said he has $15 million to $17 million in that account, with no outstanding debts, after giving the DNC about $23 million and state parties about $9 million since the mid-October report.

In addition, the report showed that Kerry had about $7 million on hand in a legal and accounting compliance fund that he could use for legal expenses in a 2008 campaign. Officials said he raised several million more for that account since the filing.

Good News Judgment or Bias? Media Play of Mosque Shooting Raises Questions

Is the media fairly covering a legitimate story by playing up the killing of a wounded insurgent by a US soldier? Certainly, an argument can be made, primarily because Arab media are running with the story big-time to fuel Anti-American hostility in the Near East. Analysis of that angle, particularly if it plays up the differences between the Arab press and a truly free press, is defensible, even laudable.

The LA Times presents a good Petri dish for testing the fairness/bias question, through its coverage of the mosque shooting (here) and the killing of Margaret Hassan (here).

The mosque killing is played above the fold on page one, immediately under a photo of the President and Condoleezza Rice. Beneath the fold are two grainy black and white photos. In a tiny “Related Stories” box is this: Hostage: CARE chief in Iraq is believed dead. A12.

On A12, facing the end of the mosque shooting story on A13, is the story of the murder of a truly excellent human being by truly reprehensible humans, complete with a photo of her smiling and vital – not the haggard, frightened photos that the editors could have used.

The reporter, John Daniszewski, refers to Hassan’s vicious, heartless and fanatical murders as “captors,” “kidnappers,” and “abductors.” One quote from a family member that is slightly stronger is included: “…those who are guilty of this atrocious act ….”

Meanwhile John Hendren and my least favorite Times reporter, Elizabeth Shogren, have this to say about the soldier in the mosque and US troops: “screaming” and “the shooting evoked the same sentiments as Abu Ghraib which showed US troops torturing [!] Iraqi prisoners.” (Shogren normally covers enviromental issues from Washington; I call her So-Green.)

The mosque story puts the Army’s defense first and reports it fairly, then follows with the NBC crew’s account. The remainder of the story lets Amnesty International, a DePaw University law professor, and a libertarian refute the field reports from the comfort of their safe, climate controlled offices, and concludes with a supposition that the military command and Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi set up such a tragedy with their pre-attack briefings and pep talks.

The article's headline says the killing is causing an uproar in the Arab media, but it really only uses a few quotes, like “It goes to show that the Marines are no better than the so-called terrorists,” and doesn't analyze that angle of the story much further. The reporters are skimming the sensationalistic cream off the Arab media angle and using it to undermine the success of the Falloujah operation. They provide no depth and context, no analysis of the dearth of Arab media coverage of the evidence of numerous insurgent atrocities uncovered by the Marines.

So, the killing of an innocent woman by her vaguely defined kidnappers is described in a sanitized story that does next to nothing to portray the savageness of her murderers and the belief system that drives them, and a tragic but forgivable act by a young soldier, injured the day before and witness to the effect of booby-trapped bodies, is dissected under a harsh, critical light. The bias continues.

Monday, November 15, 2004

"Sour Grapes Are Political Juvenility"

Here's a list of apologies we'd all like to receive from the Democrats. It's from an OC Register op/ed by Eric Patterson, an Asst. Prof. of Political Science at Vanguard University, a great Christian liberal arts college in Costa Mesa.
  • First, an apology. I'm ready for them to show a little respect to the man they have belittled as an ignoramus for the past four years. More importantly, I'd like an apology to me and the majority of Americans who are being denigrated as rubes for being "duped" once again by the president and Karl Rove. We made our decision based on what we thought was best for the country, and the condescension of the liberal press is insulting.
  • Second, I would like to see cooperation from elected Democrats, especially in the Senate. Instead of threatening filibusters, stonewalling judicial appointments and the like, it is time for them to represent the national interest, not sulk at losing additional seats in Washington. It's time for the Democrats to realize that the operative term is loyal opposition.
  • Third, the Democrats need to moderate their own "poisonous discourse." The real venom of the 2004 campaign came from Michael Moore and Al Franken as well as liberal PACs and 527s like Move- On. org and George Soros' Joint Victory Campaign. They did more than mock the president and his supporters: Their campaign disintegrated to outright falsehood, as in the forged National Guard documents aired by Dan Rather. The Democrats may call for civil moderation, but talk is cheap - very, very cheap.

MSM Dissects Kerry Campaign

We all knew it would happen, and with last week's Newsweek, it began. Kerry-leaning media, given access to the insides of the presidential campaign on the condition they wouldn't publish until after the election, are publishing. And the results, deftly summarized by Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post, are predictable, but good reading nonetheless.
  • Teresa was a major bummer, killing crowd enthusiasm and hammering endlessly on the candidate and his staff. She even wanted them to set up a debate between her and Howard Dean!
  • Kerry was even more cranky and indecisive than he was portrayed in MSM. "I couldn't get the man to make decisions," said former campaign manager Jim Jordan.
  • They continue to be blind to Dem campaign recklessness and clueless as to the nature and significance of the morality vote, as evidenced by this from Joe Klein at Time: "John Kerry ran an honorable, if not entirely competent campaign, while the Republicans skimmed the outskirts of the acceptable with their nonstop negativity. And why give ammunition to oleaginous telecharlatans, like James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who have been puffing all over the airwaves since Nov. 2 demanding their pound of policy flesh?" Calling Dobson a charlatan is not a good prescriptive for the Dems.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Fine Photo Sequence from Falloujah

Another surprise from the Times, this great photo essay on our soldiers in Falloujah, with a hat tip to My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Two Out of Three in LA TImes Opinion

Two really great letters in today's LA Times Opinion section. I wrote about Ivory Coast earlier; and liked this letter:

Re "French Soldiers Fire on Protesters in Ivory Coast, Reportedly Killing 5," Nov. 10: Maybe I missed the news, but did France obtain international consensus, as well as United Nations authorization, to use force in the Ivory Coast insurrection?

And I was filled with glee on reading this:

I am sure that the president, newly reelected with the first majority vote in 16 years, will take the advice of the lefties, who now run The Times, about his Cabinet. Who appointed you to staff the Cabinet and make recommendations to a president whom you vilified? Get real!

On the other side of the ledger appeared in an article with a headline that certainly caught my eye: When Will the Red Meat Start to Stink? Turns out the article equally panned most righty and lefty videos spawned by the election ... fine so far ... but it offended me and every other Christian conservative who read this review:

"George W. Bush: Faith in the White House"(released Oct. 5; 70 min.; $11.21, online and in stores)
The Dish: A nuanced look at Bush's faith that stops short of calling him a prophet or his opponents baby-killing atheists.
Made by: Director David W. Balsiger, who says he has distributed 450,000 copies. Balsiger's Grizzly Adams Productions has also examined the End Times (a.k.a. right now), space aliens, Bigfoot, the murdering Clintons, the government conspiracy against Gen. Custer and the military conspiracy to keep dolphin-speak secret.
A Taste: "Will the faith of George Bush be sufficient to keep us in God's hands today? Perhaps — if we all join our faith to his." — Janet Parshall, narrator and religious broadcaster.
Shelf Life: Fruitcake. Good until the Rapture.

There you have it from the media elite. Christians who believe in the Bible, who believe that Christ lived and will return for his church are ... fruitcakes.

No Divorce-Gay Marriage Connection

The New York Times, on a crusade to discredit the intelligence of red state residents, dug around to find studies, some dating back to 2001, showing that divorce rates are higher in many red states than in some prominent blue states, and played the story prominently in its well-read "Week In Review" section.

A bit of glee is evident in the first quote, attributed to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University: "Some people are saying, 'The Bible Belt is so pro-marriage, but gee, they have the highest divorce rates in the country.' " That little "gee" is the codeword for, "Here's another story about the mental inferiority of the red states."

And that's just where the story goes, discussing such keys as younger marriage age, less education, greater poverty and less social structure in states like Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas, which have high divorce rates. It ignores blue states with high divorce rates, like Maine and Washington, focusing instead on Kerry's own Massachusetts as the low-divorce ideal, quoting one resident: "People stay here, their families stay here, and there's more social and family support for people, more communal vs. individualistic culture in New England compared to" ... get this ... "the cowboy states." Gee (there's that word again), I don't remember ever seeing any cowboys in Mississippi.

Nor were there cowboys in Kentucky, where I lived for five years and witnessed intense family support and deep family roots, with the now famous Scotch/Irish independence, not the New England "it takes a village" view.

This is another of the flailing, failing articles of the "liberals trying to understand morals" genre. The point the author, Pam Belluck, and her editors seek to make -- and this may sound familiar by now -- is that those people out there are yahoos, and we're much more sophisticated here on the coast. If you can believe that, you can believe that the election was about smarts, not morality.

But, as usual, they miss the point entirely because they don't understand morality. A failed heterosexual marriage was still a heterosexual marriage, a part of an institution that every society for thousands of years has honored and made superior because of the institution's unique responsibility to create, nurture and educate the next generation. States with high and low divorce rates can honor marriage between a man and a woman equally.

And there is no hypocracy for a divorced person, Christian or not, to oppose gay marriage. They want their children to enter heterosexual marriages, even though theirs failed.

The backlash against gay marriage is so volatile, and so overwhelming, because it is about much more than the question of whether gays should marry. Certainly, those who vote against gay marriage say no to that proposition, but they also say no to the arrogance of judges who go against the will of the people, no to mandated homosexual curricula in schools, no to Gavin Newsom's undemocratic defiancy of the vote of Californians, and the Democratic Party's pandering to gays who think all of the above is just fine.

While divorce and homosexuality may equally sadden God, the answer to divorce is to provide better foundations and fight harder to save it. The answer to gay marriage is to just vote no, as so many voters in high and low divorce states alike have done.