Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Taking Liberty

If you've heard of the Wildlands Initiative it's either terrified you, or you've figured its just extreme property rights propaganda ... or you're a happy Marxist thrilled by what it proposes.

The Initiative would, if it's real, achieve Marx's goal of eliminating property rights, using as its tool that most Marxist of ideologies, radical environmentalism. For a really slick flash presentation on the Wilderness Initiative by the group Taking Liberty, click here. You have to click back after each "chapter" to view it all.

Taking Liberty believes environmentalists, state and federal government and NGOs, including the UN on a global scale, are working together to shoehorn humans into highly confined areas so the primordial wildnerness can return to the land. I heard about it four years ago via a fabulous Christian trilogy that unfortunately was abandoned by the authors after the second book, so I won't recommend it to you.

Some say the process got well underway during the Clinton administration with the a mapping of all federal and state lands, the Gap Analysis Program, which analyzed critical lands that weren't already out of private ownership, the initiative to remove roads from wilderness areas, and several related state programs.

One little matter throws the whole theory into doubt: If it were all true, why didn't the whole thing blow up when Bush took office? There are only a few possible answers: It just burrowed deeper and will re-emerge (the conspiracy theorists' answer), Bush is in on it too (the whacko answer), or it never really existed anyway (the eternal optimists' answer).

Or, what I believe, it's still too loose to be a real conspiracy. There's an undeniable dynamic at work to maximize public ownership through wetlands, endangered species, national monuments and the like. It's very U.N.-think and Al Gore-think, and it's real. But the Wilderness Initiative itself is most likely just a theoretical construct out of the fevered dream of a Deep Green philosopher. And it happens, by coincidence, that a whole lot of powerful governments, agencies, NGOs and non-profits, working for separate goals in seperate processes, are creating something that looks surprisingly like the Wilderness Initiative.

In a way, that makes it even scarier.

(h/t Jim)

Late-Term Abortions OK With LATimes

The LATimes led off it's newspaper this morning with an article glorifying late-term abortions and the "heroic" women who have them. It's as if the editors were asking me, "Want to start your day with a little nausea, revulsion and anger?"

I'd write about it, but Dale the Okie has covered all my bases and then some. Read his post here. Dale probably wouldn't be here if abortion had been legal in 1952, so he's got a powerful perspective.

Spin Meter: CNBC Boss Breaks Rules

Note: This is the first of what will probably be periodic Spin Meter posts on CSM.

Four months ago, CNBC initiated a strict policy forbidding managers, news staff, spouses and dependents from owning individual securities. The policy's goal is to prevent conflicts of interest.

Now word comes out (h/t Media Bistro's link to NY Times story) that CNBC chair Pamela Thomas-Graham has accepted a position as a director of Idenix Pharmaceuticals and has been granted 15,000 stock options and additional compensation from the company. The newsroom is not taking the news well.

Here's the CNBC spin:
"As CNBC chairman, Pamela Thomas-Graham is responsible for strategic planning and for identifying major growth opportunities for the brand," said Kathy Kelly-Brown, a spokeswoman at NBC Universal, the General Electric subsidiary that is CNBC's parent. "In this role, she is in no way responsible for or in any way involved in deciding the network's day-to-day content or coverage." She added that NBC Universal's management had "made an exception and approved the appointment" before Ms. Thomas-Graham joined Idenix's board.
1 - Feel free to walk around the cabin
2 - Mild turblence
3 - Barely holding onto control
4 - Dangerous tailspin
5 - Crashed and burned

CNBC's policy is extremely strict, so much so that its imposition probably came at considerable financial consequence to many of its staffers. Such a policy says, in effect, "We don't trust our employees to behave responsibly, and we're going to prevent that in order to stand above the crowd." No one should follow the policy more stringently than the company chair, and she refused to do so for exactly the sort of personal gain she was afraid her employees would pursue.

So CNBC, instead of having a squeeky clean policy and staff, has only a corrupt boss. And we all know that corrupt bosses run corrupt organizations. GE, get rid of her if she can't play be her own rules -- or you've got a dangerous tailspin in your hands.

New Book On Mao Details Evil

"He was as evil as Hitler or Stalin, and did as much damage to mankind as they did. And yet the world knows astonishingly little about him."
That's Jung Chang, author of the wildly popular novel about her Chinese roots, Wild Swans, who just published along with her historian husband Mao, the Unknown Story. The result of 10 years of research, the Mao book includes details like the fact that Mao did not march in the near-mythical Long March; instead he was carried in a bamboo rig of his own design. And this:
"Seventy million killed at the absolute minimum. We didn't even count people like my grandmother's death - which should really be on Mao's account. That figure only includes people who were murdered by Mao - and in peace time, which is completely unprecedented in the history of the world."
Who was Mao? What drove him? Certainly not a love of the people, according to Chang:
His complete lack of ideological belief underpins the book: far from being the great peasant leader of communist mythology, it argues, Mao was motivated simply by a pursuit of personal power; he despised equality and introduced a succession of disastrously anti-peasant policies. Not content with his tyranny over China, he wanted to conquer the world, and became obsessed with acquiring nuclear weapons at great cost to his country. This quest to become a world superpower, according to Chang,"was at the core of his thought".
This man was the heroic myth that fueled the men who are running China today. One wonders what they would have said to Chang if they were free to do so. Would they have criticized Mao, or would they have fallen in line, giving an indication of how they intend to deal with the growing desire for freedom among the Chinese?

"Le Vote 'Non'" Fallout Starts

I was reading the Guardian (London) this morning doing some research for my wife's blog, and found a good write-up of the falling out from the weekend's election in France rejecting the European Union constitution.
  • Jean-Pierre Raffarin is out as prime minister and Dominique de Villepin is in, tasked with trying to save the Cherac government after the vote. de Villepin was the leading voice in France against the war in Iraq, so it will be fun to watch him squirm a bit in his new post.
  • Charac rival Nicolas Sarkozy didn't get the PM slot, but is in at Interior Minister.
  • Opinon polls say the Dutch will reject the constitution tomorrow, by even higher margin's than France's strong 55% statement.
  • In England, Tony Blair has refused to cancel a referendum vote, even though it appears increasingly likely that the people of Great Britain and France are united on this one.
Also while Beth-Blogging, I found a book review that's related. Called Dead Europe, by Aussie novelist Christos Tsiolkas (not on Amazon yet), the book paints a picture of Europe that many of us would nod our heads to:
Dead Europe stinks. The stench is the pornographic decay of contemporary Western decadence. Isaac, an Australian photographer born to Greek immigrants, journeys through Europe in the wake of the Berlin Wall collapse and the Balkan wars. Expecting the sophisticated high culture of his youthful imagination, travels and longings, he finds something radically different. His family's home continent is a theme park. Overweight neo-bourgeois tourists swarm from Paris to Santorini, "in Prada, Gucci and Versace ... drinking, eating and speaking loudly and ostentatiously on their mobile phones", and young professionals debate the best source of ecstasy and LSD: Amsterdam, London or Barcelona? Beneath it all lies the rot of dead and damaged bodies: newer ones of prostitutes and asylum-seekers, untermenschen from beyond the eastern limits of Old Europe; older ones from death camps, pogroms, purges and revolutions. The land of Dead Europe is stained and haunted.
The EU vote may be a sign that Europe is coming back from the dead. I think that's probably too optimistic a take on the situation, but I am a believer in pendulums, and Europe has swung terribly far towards the dysfunctional, decadent and dead. Some day, it will start moving back towards a healthier position and the pressures of this vote, dealing with Muslimification and the failure of Socialism are all instruments toward that end.

Monday, May 30, 2005

San Fran Painting The Town Green

With the pestering and pushing of mayor "Gay Marryin'" Gavin Newsom, San Francisco is hosting World Environment Day, the day the world celebrates instead of our Earth Day. Oh, it just sounds so cool ... and threatening ... as described by the UN:
Our agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is a people's event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and clean-up campaigns.
UN-friendly greenies from all of the world will converge on the Bay City this Wednesday to talk and talk and talk about new ways to penalize activities they don't like, such as economic activity and human progress. They'll see a house made of scrap metal and a sculpture made of discarded chopsticks. The city's restaurants will join in the fun, adding organic specials to their menus, celebrating the fact that organic food cannot possibly feed the growing global population because it requires so much more land conversion than genetically altered, chemically protected food.

And then they'll all go home, feeling better. Meanwhile, the earth's abundant resources, the dynamic cleansing powers of nature, and the self-righting mechanisms of the free market will do more to "save the planet" than this celebration ever will.

Read a much rosier story about it in the LATimes.

Terrorism: Weak Grip On Arabs

A poll by Al Arabiya network finds that just 4% of "the Arab street" sees terrorism as the route to better economic conditions for Arabs, while 81% see freer government as the route -- evidence of the potential effectiveness of the Bush Doctrine. That there could still be 4% holding out for the effectiveness of terrorism as a change engine in startling in any context other than the Arab context; there it is a cause for hope.

Read more at Strategy Page; h/t to Instapundit.

Faith In America's Sons and Daughters

My mom's cousin Christopher Fassnacht is the only relative in my family to die in combat. His bomber was shot down over Germany, leaving behind a lot of sorrows and human memorials. My uncle Bill changed his last name from Fassnacht to Christopher, and I have a brother and a cousin named Chris.

So, on this Memorial Day I can reach back to get a sense of what we're honoring, but the personal touch is no closer than a great-cousin who died before I was born. My father is a World War II vet who was graduated early by Annapolis and sent to fight the last year of the war under the sea, on subs in the Pacific. I remember a piece of framed embroidered cloth with the SSN Truta's record iconized -- some fishing boats and freighters sunk; no warships sunk; and there across the bottom, a neat row of dozens of depth charges they survived.

That touches me. Thinking of my dad, young, black-haired and handsome, inside the sunken tube that was the Truta, as it shook from the near-by blasts.

I asked Dad recently if patriotic fervor caused him to leave his junior college in Mississippi and go to Annapolis. His eyes registered a bit of surprise, and perhaps a bit of shame. "No, it was the opposite," he said. "I figured that the war would be over before they graduated me in four years, and I'd be able to miss it." They graduated him in three, which meant he netted on extra two or three years in college, away from the war. It may have saved his life; and that may have led to me being here at all.

Still, Memorial Day touches me deeply, as it should all American's who recognize the great privilege it is to live in the Beacon of Democracy. But maybe not as much as it touches Frank Schaeffer, who wrote today in the LA Times about what it was to be a man like me, untouched personally by war, and suddenly have a son join the Marines and fight in Iraq:
I left my Marine asleep in his room. I poked my head through his door every few minutes. At one point, I found myself kneeling by his bed watching him breathe. I found myself praying and crying for all the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives of those who were not coming home. For the first time in my life, I was weeping for strangers.

There are Americans on their knees next to fresh graves from Arlington to Bozeman, from Tampa to Fargo. There are young men and women learning to walk again and receiving skin grafts for horrible burns.

Before my son went to war I never would have shed tears for them. My son humbled me. My son connected me to my country. He taught me that our men and women in uniform are not the "other."

They are our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. Sometimes shedding tears for strangers is a sacred duty. Sometimes it's all we can do.
Full LATimes text here. Hattip to Hedgehog

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Brussles Blues and France Says "Non"

Some takeaways from the French rejection of the EU constitution, which Agence Presse France called "a slap in the face to President Jacques Chirac and a potentially fatal setback to the continent's ambitious plans for deeper political union.:

It's hard to read whether the big turnout -- 70% -- or the landslide proportions of the "no" vote -- nearly 55% -- is a vote for a more socialist France or a more conservative France. The "no" vote came from both ends of the spectrum, as Socialists/leftists/labor fretted over cheaper labor in Eastern Europe suddenly having to be welcomed and conservatives worried about decreasing individual freedoms and increasing Muslimization in Europe.

For pan-Europeans who thought their amalgamated mess of a "nation" could stand up to the US' world dominance, the defeat is crushing. It shows Europe to be what it always has been, not what they would have it: different countries serving different self-centered interests.

China-Japan Split Evident On-Line

The WashTimes has a good analysis of the increasing concern many analysts have over the widening gap between East Asia's two power houses, China and Japan. The article included this startling statement:
One useful, if rough, barometer of anti-Japanese sentiment in China ... is the number of anti-Japanese Web sites in that country.

The number of Chinese sites calling for rallies and boycotts, for instance, had more than doubled to nearly 800,000 by late April over the previous summer, he told a recent gathering at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Japan.
Whoa. If you combined all the right- and left-wing Web sites in the US, what would you get? Maybe 100,000 in a computer-rich country?

Analyst Andrew Horvat offers some good advice for getting out of his conundrum:
The only way out, many analysts say, is taking the difficult and long road embarked on by Germany and France back in the 1950s: To cease recriminations, drawing lines in the sand and bickering over petty sovereignty issues, and instead start looking ahead.

"You need the desire for a shared future," Mr. Horvat said.

Boxer Has Seizure

My heart raced when I saw the LATimes on-line headline:

Boxer Has Seizure, Then Brain Surgery

But it was one of those guys who fights in a ring, not a NoCal gal who fights in the Senate. Prayers to him; soul-searching to me.

I confess, my first reaction was not one of sympathy and compassion for my fallen representative to the US Senate. No, I saw the Bolton nomination moving forward and an embarassment to our state possibly silenced. Not exactly Christian love and mercy.

Did I feel compassion at all in the couple sections it took me to find out the story was about Ruben Contreras (who's stable), not Barbara Boxer (who is anything but)? I plead that it was a very short duration before the question became moot.

Lebanese Voter Turnout Low

Lebanese, free to vote without Syrian oppression, are so far not mimicking the Iraqis, as the election there is getting off to a slow start.

Rafiq hariri's son Saad is expected to win, and two parties, one Christian and one Armenian, are urging a "no" vote, having learned nothing from the Shiites' mistake in Iraq.

Here's a full write-up, at Agence Presse France.

EU Vote Splintering France

Chirac's popularity is lower than George Bushes. Go ahead, read it again. Jacques "32 perent" Chirac's voter approval is so thin, it's probably the end of his career. We'll know at 1 p.m. PST today, when the results of the election are posted.

Upate: Sunday morning, Agence Presse France (in English) reports that turnout is high, and speculates that a high turnout will favor the yes vote.

There's a good analysis in the International Herald Tribune of political affairs in France on the eve of the plebicite on the EU constitution, a vote that appears likely to fail. It shows how Chirac has polarized France even more than that cowboy in the White House has polarized America:
The Socialist Party, one of the two main pillars of French democracy, is fractured and possibly fatally wounded, with its voters now so deeply divided that, if it doesn't break up entirely, it will at the very least need an ideological makeover.

The deterioration of the political center has enabled a rise in forms of populism generally viewed as dangerous for democracy, with the nationalism of the extreme right and the protectionism of the extreme left making inroads into mainstream discourse.

The upshot is that France faces a long political season of account-settling at home - in addition to the reckoning it faces with its European partners if voters reject the treaty on Sunday.

Repeat After Me: Phthalates, Phthalates

If you read something like this in your favorite electron array or newsprint news source ...
A new health alert over chemicals used in make-up, shampoo and soaps is issued today. Experts say products containing the chemicals - called phthalates - could cause women to give birth to boys with female characteristics.
... fear not; it's just more Greenie fearmongering, and Greenie Watch has the comforting rebuttal. In a nutshell, they've tried this twice before, in the 1970s and 1990s, and they've dusted it off again, once again without evidence.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Oliver, Stoned

So Oliver Stone got busted for driving under the influence of, and having possession of, some drug or another.

Watch the story die. This will not be a Rush Limbaugh on drugs story because it gives the left no joy. It's just the story of another aging hippie who thinks he's better than the law, better than us, getting busted for being stupid, stupid, stupid. For the second time, yet; his 1999 drunk driving conviction didn't seem to teach him much.

And none of his fellow travelers in the media will want to keep this story afloat for long.

Bury To The Neck; Use Proper Stone

I'm 100% with Amnesty International on this one: The Mullahs of Iran are perpetrating such repulsive and frequent human rights violations on their people that these "holy" men have joined the ranks of such evil forces as Iddi Amin and Pol Pot.

With a hat tip to LGF, here's a link to the Free Iran Project article on the stoning of women in Iran. I decided not to print the picture of the woman being buried prior to stoning; it was far too troubling.

The article describes in detail the procedures and perversions of stoning and various ritual mutilations carred out by the "religious" leadership of Iran, then provides numerous other insights into the horrors that are carried out routinely by Islamic dictators in Iran:
  • Dealing with troublesome youth: Put in simple terms, the Islamist establishment carries no consensus among the Iranian youth, which now numerically represents the absolute majority of the population. The Islamist regime has responded by cracking down on students on several occasions in order to defuse the most imminent threats of rebellion. It has also devised a more sinister and long-term plan for the containment of Iranian youth: a systematic and massive induction to drug addiction, which has now reached colossal proportions. Several United Nations and DEA reports have documented this crisis, indicating that drug addiction is the thorniest problem in Iran.

  • Ayatollahs as mafiosa: While the extremely dangerous situation, as far as drug addiction is concerned, is well known by UN officials, their recipe to regain control of the problem is doomed to failure, simply because there is no such thing as a “government” in Iran. The best parallel one can use to describe the Iranian power structure is the Mafia. The “Genovese,” “Gambino,” “Bonano,” “Colombo” and “Lucchese” type families have their equivalent in the ayatollahs Rafsanjani, Jannati, and Khamenei, Messbaheh-Yazdi, Vaa’ezeh-Tabasi and man, many more, each one with a private militia at their disposal. Just like the Mafia families divvied territory and areas of influence, the Ayatollahs divvy interests and “monopolize” particular businesses. For example, Rafsanjani started his personal fortune by supervising all oil deals, while Tabassi “looks after” the major charity organization, the Shrine of Imam Reza, which is a huge source of liquid cash. Rafsanjani later diversified his business, and was the mullah who most profited when ex-President Clinton allowed the import of pistachios and carpets from Iran.

  • "Humanitarian" Mullahs: The extent of Iranian corruption is difficult to comprehend in the Western world. It is something so endemic and so entrenched in all societal strata that it can be described as an uninterruptible chain which starts with the President, continues through the functionaries and public servants at all levels and ends with the police officers who patrol the streets. On December 26, 2004, One year after the terrible earthquake that killed 70,000 people in the Iranian city of Bam, survivors are still sleeping in poor quality tents, exposed to the inclement weather. Top quality tents sent by Germany, which could alleviate the poor living conditions of the survivors, have been sold by the mullahs on the black market, together with other items such as water pumps, water filters and generators, sent by the international community in great quantity in the weeks that followed the earthquake.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Get A Grip, Young Republican

I can't moan about how wrong it is that every vestage of decency is forced out of school because some Satan-worshiping Che Guevera wannabe is offended if I don't also moan about young Repubs getting upset by anti-Bush sentiments on campus.

Our schools are getting way too sensitive, and we're raising a generation of crybabies. From AP via the Sacramento Bee:
Bush-as-Groucho posters spark furor
at San Fernando Valley school

Posters for a San Fernando Valley high school play that depicted President Bush with Groucho Marx-style eyebrows, mustaches and a cigar were ordered torn down after a student complained that they were offensive.

Principal Kenny Lee ordered 100 posters removed from the campus of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills last week on grounds that they promoted smoking and "endorsing one ideology over another." ...

Controversy erupted when a senior who supports the president wrote a letter to the administration complaining about the poster's depiction, teachers and students said.

"We had one student who was very upset," Lee said. "So much turmoil within himself, he was distraught."

Turmoil within himself?! Oh, please. I thought it was Dems who were supposed to be softies with feelings, not upstanding young Republicans.

Barbed Wire As Social Commentary

My friend Jim confesses, "I'm kind of goofing off today, my youngest, Allison, is graduating from the University of LaVerne in the morning...." Congratulations, Jim, but I'm trying to have a productive day here, and you keep sending me these fascinating links from your international Web surfing.

Like this one, a review by Edward Luttwak in the Times of London's Literary Supplement of the book Barbed Wire, an Ecology of Modernity by Reviel Netz.

HOLD ON!! I know the Bolton hearings, the Zarqawi health watch and and the DeLay-Wolf flap all sound more exciting than barbed wire, but this is a really fun read.

Why? Because Netz is nutz. He's a classic New Age academic and Luttwak, who runs cattle in Bolivia, has got him in lassoed.
For Netz, the raising of cattle is not about producing meat and hides from lands usually too marginal to yield arable crops, but rather an expression of the urge to exercise power: “What is control over animals? This has two senses, a human gain, and an animal deprivation”. To tell the truth, I had never even pondered this grave question, let alone imagined how profound the answer could be. While that is the acquisitive purpose of barbed wire, for Professor Netz it is equally – and perhaps even more – a perversely disinterested expression of the urge to inflict pain, “the simple and unchanging equation of flesh and iron”, another majestic phrase, though I am not sure if equation is quite the right word. But if that is our ulterior motive, then those of us who rely on barbed- wire fencing for our jollies are condemned to be disappointed, because cattle does not keep running into it, suffering bloody injury and pain for us to gloat over, but instead invisibly learns at the youngest age to avoid the barbs by simply staying clear of the fence.
Netz is on a roll, but Luttwak's riding this bum steer down:
We finally learn who is really behind all these perversities, when branding is “usefully compared with the Indian correlate”: Euro-American men, of course, as Professor Netz calls us. “Indians marked bison by tail-tying: that is, the tails of killed bison were tied to make a claim to their carcass. Crucially, we see that for the Indians, the bison became property only after its killing.”

We on the other hand commodify cattle “even while alive”. There you have it, and Netz smoothly takes us to the inevitable next step:

“Once again a comparison is called for: we are reminded of the practice of branding runaway slaves, as punishment and as a practical measure of making sure that slaves – that particular kind of commodity – would not revert to their natural free state. In short, in the late 1860s, as Texans finally desisted from the branding of slaves, they applied themselves with ever greater enthusiasm to the branding of cows.”

Texans? Why introduce Texans all of a sudden, instead of cowboys or cattlemen? It seems that for Professor Netz in the epoch of Bush II, Texans are an even more cruel sub-species of the sadistic race of Euro-American men (and it is men, of course). As for the “enthusiasm”, branding too is hard work, and I for one have yet to find the vaqueros who will do it for free, for the pleasure of it.
There's more; trust me, these longish excerpts will not diminish your enjoyment. It's a long weekend and you'll probably be eating some tasty red meat before Tuesday rolls around, so click through and enjoy.

"Thank you, soldiers of the United States"

My friend Jim sent this over remarkable piece from an Iraqi that appeared on the Mesopotamian blog ("To bring one more voice of the Iraqi silent majority to the world"). With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, and with the media continuing to misclassify interrogation as torture, it couldn't be more fitting.
What prompted me to write about this subject today is watching the film that was shown on the “Iraqiya” on the anniversary of the fall of Saddam, that showed the cutting of tongues and heads, the breaking of arms and other fearful tortures in the prisons of Saddam the “Haddam” [the wrecker-translator]. These things would have continued to our present day had the Americans not intervened to depose this savage animal and his criminal Baathist regime.

I asked myself there and then: How can I thank the American liberators who have avenged us and avenged all the victims of Saddam’s regime? How can I avoid being ungrateful like Muqtada and his followers, who are enjoying now the freedom that America brought while at the same time shouting insults at this same America ? I could find nothing in my possession to thank these liberating soldiers except these words:

Thank you, soldiers of the United States of America and soldiers of her allies. Thank you our true friends. Thanks to all your sacrifices that delivered us from the darkness of Saddam to the light of freedom, elections and democracy.

We shall never ever, forget what you have given us, liberators."
There's much more. Be sure to read the whole thing. And God bless America and watch over our brave troops.

Maybe The Next Show On A Murdered Girl Will Feature A Reference To Teddy

Law & Order: Criminal Intent is suffering the wrath of Tom DeLay for a reference to him that the speaker said slurred him and trivialized the serious matter of threats to judges. I think the show did much worse than that.

First, the story, from the NYPost:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has fired off an angry letter to NBC, saying a character on Wednesday's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" "slurred" him.

In the episode, Detectives Goren and Eames were investigating a right-wing group's connection to the murder of an appellate judge.

"Maybe we should put out an APB [all-points bulletin] for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt," said Eames.

In his letter to NBC entertainment chief Jeff Zucker, DeLay wrote, "This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse."

"Law & Order" creator/executive producer Dick Wolf fired back, "Up until today, it was my impression that all of our viewers understood that these shows are works of fiction . . . "but I do congratulate Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a TV show."

DeLay has been in hot water over alleged ethics violations.

Let's discount DeLay's bruised ego. The big problem here is that Dick Wolf is getting away with linking judicial murders to a right-wing group.

Have I missed a big story here? I know of thugs, brutes and misfits who have murdered or tried to murder judges. I remember Black Panthers, Symbionese Liberation Army members and other radical lefties calling for the murder of judges. But even in the highly emotional Schiavo case, none of the anger against the judges led to actions or even threats.

A couple weeks ago, a federal judge whose husband and mother were murdered also wrongly attacked the right, when her criticisms should have been directed to the federal government for not protecting judges against unpolitical nutcases like the one who murdered her loved ones.

Now Wolf has picked up this biased thread. He needs to disclipline the raging leftist hormones of his screenwriting crew. And he also needs a new key message writer. When you put a real persons name in a work of fiction, it becomes something other than a work of fiction.

ACLU: Can't Recant

Everyone but the ACLU appears to know that the detained terrorist behind the Koran flushing allegations admitted he lied and witnessed no such event. The ACLU's news release that started the latest kerfuffle is still on its Web site uncorrected. Not that facts should ever get in the way of ideology.

Meanwhile at the NYTimes and WashPost, both of which blasted the ACLU release across their front pages yesterday (links in this CSM post) hid behind the Pentagon's release of new information on "Koran abuse" (Oh, please!) to not have to directly say the ACLU had misreported.

The important news from the Pentagon is that the incidents were minor and preceded the drafting of guidelines, so efforts by the ACLU and MSM to exploit this story for their anti-military agendas have failed. I wonder if they'll notice.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

UN Probe of Hariri Killing Begins!

They say the trail grows cold after 48 hours. The UN missed that deadline by just 2,448 hours, as its crack investigator finally touched down in Beirut today, three months and 12 days after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In the UN press briefing today, a reporter asked if the investigation might be starting just a tad too late, and the UN spokesperson soothingly reassured the reporters that Detlev Mehlis, Commissioner of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission on the assassination of Hariri, has had "quite an extensive" briefing.

Here's the UN release on the appointment. I liked how they're going to have 45 investigators from 25 countries. How very, very UN: Overstaff, overspend and underperform in the name of internationalism.

Update: Read Steve's comment below. He nailed this one.

Koran Flushing Retracted!

See Powerline -- the obviously bogus Koran flushing story that had the ACLU all flushed yesterday (here) has been retracted by the human slime who first perpetrated it.

Watch tonight's news and tomorrow's papers. Will the retraction play as big as the allegation did? (here) Or how about this nightmare: They will allege that the slime was tortured into recanting.

When will the media learn that the US administration is much more trustworthy than the Taliban or Al Qaeda? It better be quick, because the US public is learning that the media aren't very trustworthy at all.

Rule One: Lie About Being Tortured

The Al Qaeda training manual is quickly spreading around the blogosphere. Read it. It says exactly what's going on with the Guantanamo guano.

For those who might ask legitimate questions about the manual's authenticity, The Smoking Gun provides this:
The 180-page volume, seized from the Manchester, England home of a bin Laden disciple, offers jihad members guidance on subjects such as assassination, forging documents, and preparing poisons in its 18 chapters. The terrorism manual was placed into evidence last year by prosecutors during the federal trial of four men accused of involvement in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (the below English translation was also placed in evidence). All four defendants were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

CBS Poll On Bush: Faulty

You're going to be hearing and reading about George Bush's declining popularity thanks to a new CBS poll that's just come out.

Balderdash! Here's the poll's makeup:
Total Republicans.........390

Total Democrats............394

Total Independents......366
As Capt. Ed says in breaking this story,
The CBS weighting puts Republicans on the same footing as independents, an unusual and unrealistic model for any polling sample.

It's not the first time that CBS skewed its polling samples to get the desired results, as CQ readers already know. It's interesting to note that even when they can't skew it badly enough to substantiate its editorial positions, CBS will simply mischaracterize its own poll in its reporting.

Out of Africa: Good News

Growing economies, growing exports and perhaps most significantly, the fastest growth in cell phones and internet on any continent -- that's the news out of Africa that's not about AIDS, UN abuses or government corruption.

I particularly like the idea of the spread of communication tools that are difficult for authoritarian government to control. Despots try hard to control the media, and these alternative new media are a major threat to them.

Read more at Outside the Beltway. (h/t Instapundit)

Europe's Slide Into Islam

Italy is going to put Orianna Fallaci on trial for daring to criticize Islam in her new book, The Strength of Reason.

According to the WashPost, the renown 70-year-0ld journalist is being put on trial because Muslim activist Adel Smith said the phrase in her book referring to Islam as "a pool ... that never purifies" is offensive. Get a grip. Christians suffer through more verbal abuse every time Robert Sheer or Bill Moyers put pen to paper.

Letting this case move forward (even though an earlier prosecutor had sought its dismissal) is more evidence that Europe is falling into the grip of radical Islam. How could a continent that has so thoroughly turned to Secularism allow Allah rights they deny God?

Italy's Justice Minister, Roberto Castelli put it right:

"Fallaci had the courage to say what she thinks. [She expressed] deep criticism, but not defamation. Religious sensitivity must be defended, but at the same time, the individual freedom to express one's own thought must be guaranteed."

(h/t Media Bistro)

That Confusing Morality Thing

Editorializing against the President's stand against federally funded stem cell research, the NYTimes says:
The president's policy is based on the belief that all embryos, even the days-old, microscopic form used to derive stem cells in a laboratory dish, should be treated as emerging human life and protected from harm. This seems an extreme way to view tiny laboratory entities that are no larger than the period at the end of this sentence and are routinely flushed from the body by Mother Nature when created naturally.
How odd that a newspaper that can take threads of allegations (treatment of imprisoned terrorist soldiers) and weave a whole cloth of US condemnation can't see that someone might see complete DNA as evidence of the whole cloth of a human being. They have drawn a moral curtain tightly around themselves, refusing to believe evidence because it gets in the way of their beliefs.

In other words, they're no different than what they accuse Christians of being.

Dennis Prager stopped one such caller in his tracks yesterday when he asked if it would be OK to take an 8-month-old embryo for stem cell research. Indeed, what difference is there between eight days and eight months if it's life? The little puppies chewing on my shoes right now are about eight weeks old; were they any less alive nine weeks or 20 weeks ago?

Tuck Them In, Turn Off The Lights

While the NYT's front page rails against dissin' the Koran, Bob Herbert holds forth on the Editorial page about using psychology to get information from people who would kill our children:

A recent report from [Cambridge, MA-based] Physicians for Human Rights is the first to comprehensively examine the use of psychological torture by Americans against detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The employment of psychological torture, the report says, was a direct result of decisions developed by civilian and military leaders to "take the gloves off" during interrogations and "break" prisoners through the use of techniques like "sensory deprivation, isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, the use of military working dogs to instill fear, cultural and sexual humiliation, mock executions, and the threat of violence or death toward detainees or their loved ones."

"Although the evidence is far from complete," the report says, "what is known warrants the inference that psychological torture was central to the interrogation process and reinforced through conditions of confinement."

Note Herbert uses the phrase "psychological torture." What is that? He lists sensory deprivation (dark rooms), isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, fear and threats. This is torture? From Tehran to Maputo, tyrants are getting a chuckle out of that.

What are we supposed to do with these guys? We can't touch them, we must carefully respect their religion (the very thing that drives them to terrorism!), and we can't cause them any physical or psychological discomfort.

What's left? It seems that all that the Left would leave is with is sending mommy over to tuck them in and whisper, "Honey, if you feel like it, you might want to tell the nice man why you want to destroy his country."

Making his GOP-bashing personal, Herbert continues:
Warfare, when absolutely unavoidable, is one thing. But it's a little difficult to understand how these kinds of profoundly dehumanizing practices - not to mention the physical torture we've heard so much about - could be enthusiastically embraced by a government headed by men who think all life is sacred. Either I'm missing something, or President Bush, Tom DeLay and their ilk are fashioning whole new zones of hypocrisy for Americans to inhabit.
Pointing an AK47 at a US soldier is a dehumanizing effort. Making someone embarassed or uncomfortable is not physical torture. There is a difference between an innocent embryonic human being and a terrorist picked up in the battlefield with a rifle in his hands.

Sorry, Bob. I see a hypocrite, but it's not Bush or DeLay.


I wish I could send out a news release and get my clients' news on the front page of the NYTimes and WashPost. But that won't happen, because my clients aren't anti-Americanism, terrorism and Islamic fascism.

The ACLU-MSM alliance was in full force and full view today as yesterday's ACLUnews release on new unsubstantiated allegations by imprisoned enemies of America are splashed across the front pages of the MSM establishment rags.

There is no news here; these unproven, highly suspect allegations have been floating around for a long time. The ACLU released them now to give Newsweek cover, and the big media, more eager to protect its own than protect American interests, were glad to run with it. There is no corraboration by outside authorities, only the allegations of people who can only be trusted for one thing: Trying to tear down America.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

State on Uzbekistan

In today's State Department press briefing, spokesman Richard Boucher said America believes the Uzbek government is lying about the deadly demonstration in Andijan, and will continue to pressure for an international investigation, even though Uzbekistan is a ally. He aslo acknowledges that being an ally in the on terror carries some weight:

QUESTION: The President of Uzbekistan has now gone on television and very verbally rejected, again, an international commission for an investigation. And Russia is supporting him in not having an international investigation. Can you comment on that?

MR. BOUCHER: We have made clear our view of the situation there. We have, I think, in many ways, in public and in private, made clear to the Government of Uzbekistan that we think there needs to be a credible and transparent assessment of the events in Andijan with international participation. That is really the only way to clear up all the questions that have been raised, both about the violence that started this, the violence against government buildings and prisons, and the government's response, which by many reports involved indiscriminate shooting.
So we will continue to support that. We will continue work with other neighbors, friends, OSCE, NATO to promote that point of view. But we have, I think, called and continued to press for that kind of investigation. We have continued to press for access for journalists and human rights workers to the area, humanitarian workers to the area, as well as meaningful political reform so that Uzbekistan can grow beyond these kinds of troubles.

QUESTION: Well, apparently holding out the prospect of losing money isn't daunting for him. What else -- what are the tools you have at your disposal? Is there a reconsideration of Uzbekistan's position as an ally?

MR. BOUCHER: The kind of cooperation we can have with Uzbekistan – again, the fight against terrorism -- is based on common interests, interests that the United States has in the region, interests that we all have, that the Government of Uzbekistan has in fighting terrorism. It doesn't do any of us any good to abandon the effort against terrorism in this critical region. So we will continue work with them in many areas, including the fight against terrorism.
At the same time, we will continue to press for the kinds of changes in the human rights situation which we think ultimately are the best bulwark against terrorism, the best way to build a healthy and prosperous society.

QUESTION: So would you say it's unaffected, that cooperation on counterterrorism is completely unaffected by --

MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't say that. The overall effort against includes progress on human rights and we will continue pressing for that.

Slow-Learning Journalists

I've been a bit out of touch, so I was surprised when I read this:

A public statement by Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley is reviving questions about the intentional targeting of journalists in Iraq by the U.S. armed forces.

At a May 13 meeting in St. Louis, Foley said: "Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or politically. They are also being targeted for real in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq."

Linda, meet Eason Jordan. Did you happen to miss the story?

There has been no further evidence to support radical media allegations of US soldiers targeting journalists, but that doesn't stop the media from blaring out their anti-military prejudices. That such accusations come from the president of the journalist's union raises concerns exponentially.

There's a good write-up at Media Slander, a great blog which I was just turned onto by LGF.

ACLU Out For More Muslim Blood

Whenever there's an anti-American pile-on the ACLU is ready to jump on: "Gee look! Fifteen dead muslims and waves of anti-American hatred! Can we get some of that?"

So today they sent out a news release alleging -- you guessed it -- flushed Korans in Guantanamo:
New documents released by the FBI include previously undisclosed interviews in which prisoners at Guantánamo complain that guards have mistreated the Koran, the American Civil Liberties Union said today. In one 2002 summary, an FBI interrogator notes a prisoner’s allegation that guards flushed a Koran down the toilet.
The claim, of course, is utterly unsubstantiated, since it came from FBI files that are like the now infamous Saad files -- information that has been gathered, but not verified. And as everyone except the Left knows, Guantanamo detainees rank lower than the US prison population and Clinton fundraisers in believability.

The ACLU is clearly afraid they might be criticized for being cavalier about releasing this informaiton even if it could cause more deaths; it's evident because their news release mentions the Newsweek article, but not the deaths that resulted. Such behavior is typical of leftwing zealots. Ban DDT even if it kills millions of Africans. Publish Guantanamo detainee allegations even if they've been shown to kill Muslims.

Hmm. Maybe this could be our new weapon in the war on terror. Publish all kinds of extreme, ungrounded allegations of Koran-thrashing and Mohammed-bashing and let them thin their own ranks.

Newsweek Flushes Koran Cover

The New York Observer got the scoop on this week's Newsweek editorial meeting on the newsweekly's upcoming cover. Decision: Bury the bad news.

But Newsweek, for its part, decided to tone down the talking. Following Mr. Graham’s address, the editors and staff hunkered down for their weekly cover decision. At a meeting the day before, according to two staffers who’d been present, the staff had contemplated preparing a cover package pegged to the Periscope controversy.

Another staffer, who wasn’t present at the meeting but had been briefed on the package, described the concept as an overview about "What’s Wrong With the Media?" While the planning was only preliminary and no pieces had been assigned, the editors had discussed potential elements of the package, including pieces by guest contributors, a piece on blogs and the media by Steven Levy, and a meditation on sourcing by Jonathan Alter.

The editors decided, however, to shelve the idea. Instead, they picked newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for the cover, fronting a package about the growing political influence of Latinos. The media package would be scaled down and put in the inside.
Also coming in the next issue: Michael Isikoff on the Pentagon’s investigation of Guantánamo Bay log entries for evidence of Koran abuse. So he's learned nothing from his experience, and apparently he's not taking my advice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Parkside letters: Kenny

Note: This is one in a series of posts presenting letters received by the California Coastal Commission regarding Parkside Estates, a proposed 155-home development in Huntington Beach. I am presenting these letters as evidence of how some teachers are brainwashing our children into a state of panic about the environment. Out of kindness, I have corrected simple grammatical and spelling errors.

Parkside Estates is being built on a bean field that has been in agricultural production for 50 years. A portion of the land with less than half an acre of marginal wetlands is being preserved. The builder has never owned the land known as Bolsa Chica, which has been purchased by the public and is being restored to its natural state. For more information on Parkside, click here.
Dear Ms. Vaughn:

Did you know that around [95]% of California's wetlands are destroyed? My name is Kenny [surname deleted] and I am a student at Los Coyotes School. I am writing to inform you about California's dying wetlands. The wetlands here need your help to exist because homes are gonig to be built there.

We know that the California Coast Act Section 30233 doesn't allow people to build on wetlands. The [builder's] CDP application should be denied. Over 27 species of natural plants live in Bolsa Chica. Also, Bolsa Chica provides a habitat for around 30% of California's endangered species. Building homes on wetlands is not a very bright idea because it is a lot more expensive than building on dry land.

Wetlands are one of the last open spaces in California and if we slowly build homes on them, they will be destroyed. We must ask ourselves one question, will we miss them? Animals that lose their wetland habitat and can't adapt to a new environment will die. Endangered species will probably become extinct and common plants and animals will most likely become endangered if we continue to destroy our wetlands.

As you can see, many unfortunate things can happen if we destroy our wetlands. I hope you will help me in the battle to save California's remaining wetlands.
Do you think Kenny knows what a CDP is (it's a Coastal Development Permit) or that he researched California Coastal Act Section 30233 all by himself? I doubt it. Especially because if Kenny had read the Act, he would have found that it includes criteria for determining what is, and what is not, a wetland. The Corps of Engineers and US Department of Fish & Game also have criteria. Parkside Estates doesn't meet them. The nearby Bolsa Chica does, and California taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase and restore that land.

As for Kenny's statement that 95% of California's wetlands have been destroyed, no one seems to know where that number comes from, and it's oft repeated as holy. (Here's a reference to a 91% loss, most of it to rice farming in the Sacramento Delta, not development.) It's unimportant anyway. What matters is what's happening to wetlands in the state today. According to the California Wetlands Information System:
The State's wetland acreage is expected to increase as a result of the Governor's new policy. The policy recommends the completion of a statewide inventory of existing wetlands that will then lead to the establishment of a formal wetland acreage goal. The Resources Agency expects that the wetland acreage and quality could increase by as much as 30 to 50 percent by the year 2010. Based on the current estimate that there are 450,000 acres of existing wetlands in the State, the increase could be as much as 225,000 acres.
Whoa. I thought they were dying.

Kenny also was made to think (I almost typed "Kenny also thinks," but that's incorrect) that wetlands are one of the last remaining open spaces in California. Uh-uh. In fact, 95% of California is undeveloped -- 50% state and federal lands, 45% agriculture, 5% development. Unlike Kenny's 95% figure, this one is proven and sourced. I have a map of it from the California Resources Agency on my wall.

Kenny's little brain has been greenwashed and now he lives with a false fear of ecological holocaust that may be with him for what should be a long and healthy life, given the excellent condition of our environment. His teacher goes undisciplined, probably championed, ready to warp again next year.

Oh, and I don't know about you, but I liked it better when they called them swamps. Coming up with "wetlands" was a masterful stroke by the green lobby.

See also:
The Parkside Letters: Jeremy

LATimes Once Again Defies Logic

The LATimes supports gun control, but it says the following in an editorial lambasting those who lambast Newsweek for shoddy reporting:
Contrary to the impression you might get by following the story in the U.S. media, the riots were not about the journalists' use of anonymous sources. They were about perceived American contempt for the faith, the culture and ultimately the lives of Muslim Arabs and other dark-skinned people in distant lands.
Guns don't kill people; people kill people. Journalists don't kill people; people kill people.

The LAT then went on to say something both funny and hopelessly lost:
Where did The Times' editorial page get the idea that winning the war on terrorism depends on persuading societies that breed terrorists that they should like us and adopt our values? Actually, this is not some wooly left-wing notion concocted over a joint during a lesbian wedding reception in Santa Monica. It is the cornerstone of the George Bush presidency, according to Bush himself.

In his State of the Union address in January, for instance, Bush said, "In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder. If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America…."
We like the self-depreciating acknowledgment of the LAT's liberal bias in the first paragraph, but there's something dreadfully wrong with their interpretation of the second paragraph. When the President said it, he was saying that radicalism and hatred grew out of authoritarian, repressive states. The LAT thought they heard him say it grew out of America.

Saving Isikoff

Hearing a clip from Newsweek's Michael "Commode" Isikoff on Laura Ingraham this morning, hearing him qualify, justify and not apologize, I thought, "This guy will forever be the guy who killed the people by misreporting." What a career!

Here's how he can save himself. Seeing what he's seen, his take-away should be, "These radical Muslims are crazy. They're obviously the problem, not Bush." Repenting (the word means "do a 180"), he should transform into a supporter of the war on terror, a critic of the media's handling of it, and a champion for democracy and freedom.

If that were the new Isikoff, I'd buy his book. Wouldn't you?

Filibuster Follow-Through

It's done and it's disappointing.

Of course, fundraising and elections will tell the true story over the next few years.

But I have a confession to make. I think Bush could have handled this better, by acknowledging that his majority leader isn't exactly a major league closer and doing hime a favor by re-nominating most of his candidates but dropping the most problematic nominee, probably Saad. With that, we might have won and be in better standing prior to the Supreme Court nominations.

Some would argue full strength is necessary before the Supremes play, and it's easy to agree. But that's not what we ended up with, and I'm not happy with the tilt of the playing field now.

I know, I know. I'm asking for Reid and Company to be reasonable. I'm asking them to let a good deed go unpunished. I could be wrong. But the thought still is clattering around in there.

LAT On Rome: "Sanctimonious Medieval Morality"

I usually don't even bother with Robert Sheer, the columnist who proudly and continuously prevails in the highly charged competition for the "most leftist/most biased" prize among the LATimes' editorialists and columnists.

But today's column is just too much. Taking on the Catholic church's sex scandals, Sheer lets his radical secularism and anti-Christian attitudes run wild. The sex scandals are a terrible stain on Rome and the church's response has fallen far short of ideal, but that does not justify Sheer's anger, or his open promotion of homosexuality.

There's an irony here. Sheer is decrying the homosexual scandals of the church, which deserve decrying for may reasons, primary among them is that early homosexual sex "rewired" some of the victims to become gay. Yet Sheer uses the scandal to promote the homosexual agenda -- so what is it, Bob? Good or bad?

His language drips with hatred for the church and soars with love for the gay agenda.

The chuch: sanctimonious, midieval, repressed (at least three times), severely judgmental, and a perpetrator of "viscious attacks on 'evil' gays."

The gays: "loving and nurturing parents who happen to be gay" and "a model of honest and socially accountable behavior." Is that inside or outside the bath houses, Bob? Are you figuring in the raves where "sextasy" (Viagra and Ecstasy) is leading to open sex and the rapid spread of AIDS? How do such socially accountable people so often end up in the particularly vicious kind of domestic violence that occurs among gay couples? And are those gay pedophiles loving and nurturing?

Painting the gay community with beautiful brush strokes is largely justified. I was raised in a liberal household in Japan, a country where US gays in the 50s and 60s tended to migrate, and I have known many gay couples who, on the outside, seem as happy and loving as do heterosexual couples, on the outside. But Sheer's giddily positive view is not entirely justified, just as painting the Catholic church only with angry, stabbing brush strokes is largely unjustified, but not entirely.

Sheer entirely misses the point that Christians, Catholics and Evangelicals alike, don't look at sex like the secular world does. We celebrate it higher when it's moral and have no tolerance for it when it's immoral. They have to celebrate it when it's moral and immoral, which makes it hard for them to justify moral attacks on the church when it fails.

Sheer, speaking for the left, is entirely unforgiving of the church, and a complete apologist for the secular. It makes his demand that the church vigorously attack pedophile priests -- a very worthy objective -- nothing more than a tinny, hollow, angry, biased temper tantrum.

The New Cold War

Kyer at Whatsakyer asked me why I termed Uzbekistan the first front on the new Cold War.

Let me start by simply saying I hope the war stays cold. It has two hot fronts -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- but these wars are contained, modest compared to Vietnam, and hopefully will be winding down soon.

Here are the players in the new Cold War:
  • The old Soviet bloc, now known at least temporarily as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Bear and the Dragon are working together as the pro-authoritarian bloc, and Uzbekistan and other old-school dictatorships are allying with them.
  • GUUAM, the Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova alliance, which probably won't be a big player, but as a force for democracy could pressure Russia to be more moderate, weakening the SCO.
  • The US and its democratic allies, which sometimes may appear as a one- or two-man show, but if the Cold War heats up in ways that threaten other democracies, the make-up of this group could change quickly and dramatically. New Europe will be particularly sensitive in this manner.
  • The Islamofascists, who won't ally significantly with any of the "infidel" factions, except to get weapons or money.
Uzbekistan is the first battleground of this new Cold War because the message stakes are so high there. We made military and perhaps some political inroads into the country, which put the Russians on red alert and bothered the Chinese as well. (Remember than China was ruled for centuries by Central Asians.) By supporting Karimov and letting him know it's OK with them if he cracks down on dissidents, they're provoking the Bush administration, testing whether or not it will stand by the Bush Doctrine.

Europe will be one key area. With its growing Muslim population, it could fold under appeasement pressure and be a thorn in our side, or it could rise up against the virus of radical Islam and become a battleground in the war. The latter is the braver, smarter course, so don't expect much.

Central Asia will be another, with its volatile mix of Muslim populations, historic Soviet rule, ethnic ties to (and resentments of) China and newfound strategic importance. They've got oil and nukes, and are midway between the Middle East and the two CSO nations, and would be a wonderful foothold for the Democratic factions.

We can expect no meaningful diplomacy in this war from the UN. We can expect no reasonable position from the Islamofascists. So whether or not this becomes a true Cold War, or even a hot war, depends on how the Democracies, the Democracy-friendly GUUAM and the dark forces of CSO can work ... or not work ... things out between themselves.

Monday, May 23, 2005

When Is Good Faith Good?

What are you doing here? The Confirm Them blog is the place to be tonight. But since you're here, let's focus on this section of the Memorandum of Capitulation ... er, Understanding:
A. Future Nominations. Signatories will exercise their responsibilities under the Advice and Consent Clause of the United States Constitution in good faith. Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.
Would any of the 45 Democratic senators admit that they have done anything in bad faith since the start of the judicial nomination debate? Of course not! That makes this capitulation a carte blanche to Dems to misrepresent, defame, stonewall, leak confidential information and deny the President any reasonable expectation of receiving anything remotely approaching "advise and consent."

It turns my stomach that after all we've seen, seven GOP senators have any trust remaining for the Dems, and would grant them any discretion based on good faith, or trust them to define "extraordinary circumstances" in any manner that is remotely honest.

This debacle bodes very, very badly for any upcoming Supreme Court nominee or nominees, and for the 2006 elections.

The Good Quote

If the West does not support Uzbek democratization
at a time when the Uzbek people need help from outside,
then the course of history will be determined only by
authoritarian rulers playing the insipid game of
accumulating power for themselves, and fanatical
elements attempting to exploit chaos.
-- Carroll Andrew Morse

Read the entire piece at Tech Central Station; it is the best analysis I've read yet of what's at stake in Uzbekistan, where the forces of democracy and the forces of authoritarianism are fighting what may be the first battle of the new cold war.

Arabs "Giddy" Over Freedom

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, I (and thousands of others) found this Fouad Ajami piece in Opinion Journal, which leads with, "To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country." In the homes and on the streets in four Arab countries, Bush is lionized and the itch for freedom is getting some good scratching. Excerpt:
The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.

Newsweek Apology Not In Arabic

New York Magazine has found that Arabic-language editions of Newsweek did not carry the retraction of the Koran-flushing story that ran in the English-language, American editions:

‘Newsweek’ apologizes (In English Only)
Arabic edition misses out.
Newsweek’s report that American interrogators at Guantánamo Bay allegedly flushed a Koran down the toilet was linked to deadly riots in the Muslim world, which is why the magazine apologized for the story in last Monday’s issue. Except not in the edition of the magazine actually printed in Arabic. Newsweek’s New York editors don’t control the content of the foreign editions, which are published by companies abroad that license the name. So Mark Whitaker’s editor’s note expressing “regret” and “sympathies to victims of the violence” was only in the U.S. version. Editor’s notes don’t normally run in foreign editions, and no special effort was made to include this one, despite the controversy. The Kuwait-based company that publishes Arabic Newsweek, which has a circulation of about 30,000, “can choose to edit the magazine as they like,” says the weekly’s spokesman, Ken Weine. (Arabic Newsweek did print the Evan Thomas article explaining “How did Newsweek get its facts wrong?”) As for the subsequent retraction, which appeared on Newsweek’s American Website last Monday, it was not posted simultaneously on the Arabic Newsweek Website.
—Kate Pickert
(h/t Media Bistro)

N. Korea Dissidents? Perhaps.

Barbara Demming, the LATimes reporter who infuriated the blogosphere with her recent love piece on North Korea has a story in today's paper critical of the regime ... but the story reads like it's wrapped in a candy wrapper, reflecting Demming's ongoing failure to criticize the North Korean regime.

The story details just one sign of dissent: People hanging banners critical of the regime, taking video of the banners, and selling the video to South Korean or Japanese television stations. You can download one such clip as a Wave file here.

Obviously, the perpetrators are vulnerable to charges that they are just doing this for money. Just as obviously, they are risking the lives of themselves and their families for doing so. And not as obvious to me, given the news of late, there is a healthy and heartening interest in Japan and South Korea for bad news about Kim Jong Il's regime.

Any dissent, whether pure or for profit, is good news -- but Demming's reporting is still bad news. She again misses multiple opportunities to inform her readers of the nightmare that is North Korea.

She refers to "Kim's grip on power," writes that the filmers "want to bring the world's attention to the human rights situation," and adds on the filmer's motivation: "They blamed him for the country's poverty and for stifling reforms. They accused him of arresting reformers and causing the death of his father, who they claimed died of grief because of the country's deterioration."

She also quotes a filmer:
"I saw that everybody was starving, and the state wasn't doing anything but building mausoleums to Kim Il Sung and villas for Kim Jong Il." and

"If we were caught, everybody would be dead."
Missing from the story is any documentation of the reality of any of these references and quotes. No mention of mass starvation, gulags, spontaneous killings of entire families for one person's perceived slight of the regime.

Much is known about the incredible inhumanity that is going on in North Korea. There are satellite photos of the prison camps and stories from defectors who survived them. Demming continues to fail to share this information with her readers, to the detriment of the readers' understanding and LATimes' reputation.

See Also:
N. Korean Spin Machine Hits LA

How The Left Justifies Newsweek

AmericaBlog, strangely named since the authors seem to hate America intensely, is greatly offended by a photo a reader found on a USMC Wargames Web site. Here's what they said about the photo:
DOD Web site jokes of Christian crusade against Muslims
by John in DC - 5/22/2005 05:30:00 PM

A clever AMERICAblogger sent me the following link to the US Department of Defense's own Marine Corps Web site. It shows a photo taken May 5, 2005 in Iraq. It's a photo of a US tank dubbed the "New Testament" - the name of the tank is written across its barrel. The even funnier part is that this photo MADE IT PAST military censors and the DOD Web page with the photo on it even brags about the name "New Testament" in the caption. So some jerk at the Pentagon knew exactly what this was about and found it funny enough to put on their Web site, and it passed various level of review. Lovely.

Why does Newsweek hate America?
Here's the photo:

This photo is supposed to be enough to give Newsweek reason to hate America?

The Left is peopled with so many who hate Christianity so much that they can't see that we are fighting an Islamic crusade waging against Christianity. They see this tank photo as evidence of a Christian crusade; have they forgotten that it was Islam that flew into our buildings, blew up Spain's trains, wiped their butts on our holy bible, beheaded innocents? To AmericaBlog, these crimes against humanity mean nothing.

To them, mentioning the bible in Iraq is the only sin.

Pirate of the Caribbean

I share Publius Pundit's feeling that the headline above is one I wish I'd written about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. It appears above an article at that points out that Chavez, like most bullies, is not loved much by those who live around him. For example:

Odd, that as "popular" as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is said to be, he's so detested by Venezuelans that he can no longer go to baseball games without being booed by the whole stadium.

Odder still, as "appealing" as Chavez is touted around the hemisphere, every politician running for office — from Ecuador to Bolivia to Mexico — has one moment where he stresses to voters that he "won't be the next Hugo Chavez."

The contradictions mean something ominous: There's a bully stalking the hemisphere, and his shadow is lengthening. The region's weakened states have well-founded fear of being Chavez's next target. He can cut off their oil. He can crush their economies. In the past two years, he's done it on a hair trigger.

He did it to Colombia this year, shutting down border trade in a dispute over the apprehension of a terrorist. Before that, he did it to the Dominican Republic, cutting off oil in a fit of pique over an asylum case. Indirectly (at the very least), he's supporting Bolivia's coca-growing roadblockers who are trying to starve Bolivian cities into submission to their demands for investment-killing taxes. That's economic warfare.

Good stuff, and there's more.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Most Important Read of the Day

As the Dems pontificate about their righteous desire to protect the Constitution, as they rail against mainstream judges by calling them out of the mainstream (more disapprove of abortion, by the way, than approve of it), Edward Whelan's Putting Judicial Nominees in Perspective, Part III on NRO has the most shocking perspective on the confirmation debate I've read yet.

Imagine, if you will, that a Democrat President nominated a judge whose constitutional and policy views were, by any measure, on the extreme left fringes of American society.

Let’s assume, for example, that this nominee had expressed strong sympathy for the position that there is a constitutional right to prostitution as well as a constitutional right to polygamy.

Let’s say, further, that he had attacked the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts as organizations that perpetuate stereotyped sex roles and that he had proposed abolishing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and replacing them with a single androgynous Parent’s Day.
Be sure to read on. It is amazing.

(h/t Betsy's Page)

Dems Put Social Security Above Teri

In his lengthy Meet the Press interview today, Howard Dean was grilled on Dems and morality, sticking pretty much to the "We've got morals, we care about the poor" line. But when he strayed, boy, did he stray:
RUSSERT: Why didn't one Democratic senator stand up in the U.S. Senate and stop the legislation regarding Terri Schiavo if the party feels so strongly about it?

DEAN: [Blah, blah, blah] The reason I didn't say anything about it at the time--and leaving the senators aside, as the chairman didn't say anything about it at the time, is because we are on a roll with Social Security.
That's good; because the Dems were pleased with the way things were going on Social Security, they didn't take a strong moral stand on an issue they feel strongly moral about. The Dems practice relative, selective morality, and as long as they do so, they will not get the vote of people who know that morals don't flex.

"Smart Guy" Eastman on Judges

John Eastman, one of the "Smart Guy" constitutional law experts on the Hugh Hewitt Show, gives his rundown of judge nominees Janice Brown and Priscilla Owen in an OCRegister editorial today. His opinion's not a surprise, as he finds them both deserving not only of a seat at the bench, but also of an up-or-down vote.

There's also a good profile of Janice Brown in the WashTimes.

Howard Dean Loses His Mind

Here's what the Hed Dem said today on Meet the Press:
Dean: "But the thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn't true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9-11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false."
(h/t to Jackson's Junction, which has video)

UPDATE: The DNC's quotes extensively from the interview here. It makes no mention of the quote above or makes any attempt to refute it. If it was just a slip of the lib, why didn't the Dem's correct it?

No Valid Criticisms of Judges?

After a spirited judicial nominee debate on the Kevin Drum/Washington Monthly blog, Patterico challenged the Left to tell him why they opposed Bush's judicial nominees. Groundrules: Cite specific cases, provided a link to the case and read the opinon before opining.

The results? After more than four hours, just two posts, and only one on point. Here it is:
  1. I had already started from a list of cases. I could find nothing I disagreed with when I looked them up. My conclusion was that I will never trust these organization’s [sic] representations of a judge’s record again.

    Comment by MaxedOutMama — 5/22/2005 @ 2:18 pm

NYT's Frank Rich Loses His Mind

NYTimes columnist Frank Rich is ticked off about what's happened since Newsweek published its erroneous story about Koran flushing. Is he angry about sloppy, agenda-driven journalism? No. That people died because of Isikoff's folly? No. He's mad at the Bush White House for suggesting Newsweek and the media could do better.

Don't bother reading the piece, which you'll find here. Why would you want to read something written by someone who would write something as blindly idiotic as this:
The administration has been so successful at bullying the news media in order to cover up its own fictions and failings in Iraq that it now believes it can get away with pinning some 17 deaths on an errant single sentence in a 10-sentence Periscope item that few noticed until days after its publication.
What in the world is Rich thinking? That we didn't notice that the "errant sentence" did in fact get noticed? That Newsweek should get a free pass because they snookered the world for 10 whole days before the riots broke out? And if the administration was so successful in bullying the MSM, then why are we still putting up with their shameless and irresponsible anti-American stories?

The circling of the MSM wagons around Newsweek must have kicked up a lot of dust, because even the most famous columnists obviously can't see anything clearly.

LATimes Keeps Up The Idiocy

15 dead not enough? How about 19? 25? Do I hear 50?

Not to be outdone by Newsweek's jump on the Death by Journalism market, the LATimes has loosed its considerable investigatory powers onto the Koran desecration story, without care to the possible results of dead Muslims or threatened US soldiers:
An examination of hearing transcripts, court records and government documents, as well as interviews with former detainees, their lawyers, civil liberties groups and U.S. military personnel, reveals dozens of accusations involving the Koran, not only at Guantanamo, but also at American-run detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There you have it: Seven, count 'em, seven, different investigatory directions have been pursued by the LAT on this story. We don't have an indication of whether they started their investigation before or after the Newsweek story triggered riots, killed people and hurt America's image -- but it is clear they're not learning from Newsweek's experience and are doggedly pursuing the story.

The article, which takes three jumps to read in its entirety, is short on named sources. No US sources are quoted validating the charges. Five detainees are quoted, and combined they have no believability. Here's a typical allegation:
"They tore it and threw it on the floor," former detainee Mohammed Mazouz said of guards at Guantanamo Bay. "They urinated on it."
I read somewhere this morning that Muslim demonstrators urinated on a Bible yesterday. I thought at the time, "Gee, all that Abu Ghraib sensationalism said it was reprehensible for Muslim men to be nude in public. Someone tell me exactly how one urinates without being naked in one critical part of the body?"

So when I read this urination allegation in the LAT story, my main response is, "Why do they bother? And who cares?"

They bother because they are more anti-Bush and anti-American then they are sensible. And the only people who care are the two tribes that Mark Steyn's column detailed so beautifully today -- the radical Arabs and the radical media.

Steyn, by the way, fingers the instigator of the deadly Koran riots as Imran Khan, a wealthy cricket star with a celebrity English wife. Let's hear it for the Arab street! What a bizarre world.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fahrenheit vs. Passion Redux

Last October, I predicted that George Bush would win the election based on the fact that The Passion of the Christ was out-boxofficing Fahrenheit 9/11 three-to-one.

In October, Moore was talking about how Fahrenheit was scoring big in Red States, even in North Carolina and Oklahoma. But there was no information available to disprove it, because only boxoffice stats were available. But the boxoffice was impressive enough, topping out at Passion drawing $370 million and Fahrenheit garnering a relatively paltry $119 million.

Now Byron York has produced the real goods in his book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: Hollywood over- and under-perfomance stats. The statistics evaluate the film's performance within each of the Country's DMA's, Demographic Marketing Areas, compared to that DMA's share of the total American film market. The results are astounding.

Here are Fahrenheit's top five over-performing markets. The percentage is the amount above the market's expected DMA:
  • Vancouver, Canada +96% (in other words, nearly double what you'd expect a movie to do in Vancouver)
  • Victoria, Canada +82.1%
  • San Francisco, Cal. +73.2%
  • Tornonto, Canada +73.1%
  • Ottowa, Canada +67.8%
Obviously, Canadian voters weren't in a position to help Kerry's cause. San Francisco broke the top five and the movie did very well in New York, Boston and DC. It underformed by three percent in LA thanks to my hometown of Orange County which is in the Los Angeles DMA.

But how about in the critical swing states? Surely all that Michael Moore touring in the last weeks of the campaign helped. Well, here's Ohio's major markets:
  • Columbus -17.5%
  • Cincinnati -15.1%
  • Dayton -33.3%
  • Toledo -25.0%
And those are in the blue-ish big cities. Imagine how poorly it fared in the suburban and rural Ohio towns. The same held for Florida and Missouri -- Fahrenheit underperformed in the major markets. Quoting York:
In Greensboro, North Carolina, Where Moore said the film had been enthusiastically received, it underperomed by nearly 27 percent. And in Fayetteville and Tulsa, where Moore boasted that his movie had sold out, Fahrenheit 9/11 under-performed by 41 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
So the Dems and Moore just lied about performance to go on top of the lies in the film, while Passion creamed Fahrenheit in the red states, and had lower underperformer downside than Fahrenheit had overperformer upside.

Lies vs. morality. A paraphrase of the election.

Great Moments in Journalistic Ethics

As the Newsweek scandal rages on, I thought you might be wondering about some of the other heavy issues that are defining serious discussion of journalistic practices. Always your faithful servant, I give you this, from the New York Post and its continuing probe into journalistic practices at the New York Daily News:
May 20, 2005 -- DAILY News editor-in-chief Michael Cooke brazenly indulged his famous fetish for female feet in yesterday's Snooze. We knew something was afoot when we turned to Page 4 and found a large photo of the bare soles of two college co-eds (above). Cooke stubbed his toe again on Page 14 with a half-page photo of a woman standing in a pile of shoes she won in a contest tied to the circulation-plunging paper's recent "Shoe Week." Cooke recently denied to a Chicago magazine that he had a foot fixation, but some of his staffers say otherwise. Jennifer Hunter, a columnist for his old paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote that Cooke "had a fetish for women's footwear" and "kept commissioning stories about them, over the protest of women staff members." Neil Steinberg has also alluded to Cooke's fondness for feet in his Sun-Times column, in which he ribbed Cooke for being turned on by a pair of gold slingbacks worn by the wife of Mexican president Vicente Fox. But although the shoe would seem to fit, Daily News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy claims we're the ones who are weird. "These are some very happy Columbia students and they're sunning themselves," she said of the bare feet photo. "It was a beautiful day. I think your noticing their feet is what's unusual."
Fiddling (or fetishing?) while Rome burns, eh? (h/t Media Bistro)

Holy Jim, Cussin' Jim, and America

Looking at the mountains that surround my home this morning, I was reminded of the story of the naming of Holy Jim Canyon, and its tale of the transformation of American society and morality over the last century.

Holy Jim Canyon (click here for Google satellite image) starts a few miles up Trabuco Creek Road, a bumpy but passable road that very quickly removes you from the urbanism of Orange County. At Holy Jim, you can park your car under the oaks by the volunteer fire station and take Holy Jim Trail, climbing up through oaks to sage to chaparal to cedars to Santiago Peak, 7.5 miles up the trail and 5,300 feet above the Pacific on the Orange County/Riverside County border. It's a wonder day hike, and on a clear day, the views are breathtaking.

What does this have to do with the transformation of America? Just this:

The place was originally called Cussin' Jim Canyon, named after Cussin' Jim Smith, who had a fig plantation at the mouth of the canyon in the late 1800s. Cussin' Jim earned his name. In fact, the story goes that "When Cussin' Jim got to talkin', his language could peel the paint off a stovepipe."

When cartographers from the US Geologic Survey got around to mapping the Santa Ana Mountains in the early 1900s, they had a discussion about Cussin' Jim Canyon and decided that a word like "Cussin'" had no place on a map being produced by the U.S. government. So they changed the name. To "Holy Jim."

Today, "Cussin' Jim" wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but "Holy Jim" might need to be changed to dodge the wrath of the ACLU. Can we please turn back the hands of time?