Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bush Viewing

Here are the comparative viewership totals for Bush's speech Tuesday night:
  • Fox News Channel: 3,410,000
  • CNN: 917,000
  • MSNBC: 316,000

Before you rush out thinking that polls on Bush popularity are obviously wrong given the public's rejection of CNN and MSNBC, remember that there are still three networks lurking out there. And according to Drudge, here's how they stacked up during the Bush speech:
  • CBS: 5,800,000
  • NBC: 5,300,000
  • ABC: 5,000,000
Five times more people saw the non-Fox reports than the Fox reports. Part can be explained by the fact that not all America gets cable, but that excuse is diminishing as cable and dish service continues to expand. I'm thinking either the networks are inflating their counts, or there's 16,100,000 people over 80 in the country who still watch the channels they've always watched.

New Story Blames US For Journo Death

A Knight Ridder news correspondent was shot at a Baghdad roadblock last week, and the Knight Ridder chain is rushing to judgment with an inflamatory story about the death being at the hands of an American soldier. Here's the lead:

Yasser Salihee, an Iraqi special correspondent for Knight Ridder, was shot to death in Baghdad last Friday.

The shot appears to have been fired by a U.S. military sniper, though there were Iraqi soldiers in the area who also may have been shooting at the time.

Nowhere in the remaining story is this allegation regarding the sniper explained. In paragraph 8 it raises, then dismisses, the US soldier allegation:
An early report said Salihee was shot by a passing U.S. convoy when he failed to heed hand signals or shouts from soldiers. That later turned out to be untrue.
That's it. Where is the justification to point blame at a US soldier when the story makes it clear that both Iraqi and US forces were in the area at the time, and that eyewitness reports were contradictory and even wrong:
Most of the witnesses told another Knight Ridder Iraqi special correspondent that no warning shots were fired. But the front right tire of Salihee's car, a white Daewoo Espero, was pierced by a bullet, presumably meant to stop him from advancing.
Reporting this sloppy requires a conspiracy: Field reporters gather news with bias and compile it into a story with bias. In this case, the reporter, Tom Lassiter, and his Iraqi co-workers obviously talked to a lot of Iraqis, but no military sources -- US or Iraqi -- are quoted in the story. That's biased news-gathering, and it leads to biased reporting.

On the copy desk, an editor saw a story in which an allegation was made, then disproved, and let it stand. To their credit, the headline was strictly reportorial: Reporter Shot In Iraq.

With Eason Jordan and Linda Foley making unsubstantiated claims about deliberate killings of journos by US forces in Iraq, Knight Ridder should have gone out of its way to say there were no indications the forces knew
Salihee, who wasn't stopping at their roadblock, was a journo, and therefore no one is alleging a deliberate journo-killing. It's the sloppiness that comes with an anti-military, anti-war bias.

h/t Media Bistro

Saddam's Links To 9/11

Melanie Phillip's Diary has it all, a chronicle of the connections that make the word "Hussladin" perfectly sensical (if nonsensical is a word, why not?). Like this:

The Sunday Telegraph’s Con Coughlin, Saddam's biographer, got hold of a top secret memo made available by Iraq's interim government which explicitly linked Saddam's regime to Mohammed Atta, the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11, and the Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal. Written to Saddam by the former head of Iraq's intelligence service, it contained the following incendiary passage:

'Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer (an Arabic nom-de-guerre - his real identity is unknown) and we hosted him in Abu Nidal's house at al-Dora under our direct supervision. We arranged a work programme for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him . . . He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy'.

Note the date: July 1 2001. Note the phrases 'the targets that we have agreed to destroy' and 'under our direct supervision'.
There's more. You should print it out and shove it down the blathering mouth of the next anti-Bush blowhard you bump into. Whoa. That's a bit violent for me. Oh, well.

h/t Instapundit

Here Comes The Bride

For Doug TenNapel's unique (always unique!) perspective on gay marriage, click here.

Update On Mexican Stamp Racism

No more racist than Speedy Gonzales?

The White House has taken a strong position on the controversy (here, here) swirling around the new Mexican stamp showing Memin Pinguin, the cartoon character above, who is obviously more than a little demeaning to blacks :

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said it was "an internal issue for Mexico and the postal authorities that issued the stamp. With that said, I would like to make a couple of points. Racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin. The Mexican government needs to take this into account. Images like these have no place in today's world." (AP)

Mexico countered saying that neither Memin nor Speedy Gonzalez should be interpreted as a racial slur. Definitely not Speedy. Smart, quick, hard working. But some of his cohorts? Every bit as racist as Memin ... or HankHill, for that matter.

That said, in light of a war going on in Iraq, the Mullahs and NoKos going nuclear, and the Supreme Court getting ready to condemn your house, the significance of all this is a tad overblown, methinks.

Whacky Swedes Pitch Lee For Nobel

Also from Capitol Morning Report:
Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office reports she’s among 1000 women to be collectively nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a Swiss team of activists. Her office said Lee, of Oakland, was recognized for being the only member of Congress to vote against Pres. Bush’s post-9/11 resolution to “use military force against anyone suspected of having committed the acts.”
If she were to win, she would besmirch many fine people, not among them Yasser Arafat and Le Duc Tho. I decided to be kind to Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan.

Today's Menu

From the Capital Morning Report in Sacramento:
From Karen Hanretty, communications director for the CA GOP – The seafood special of the day at the Democratic Legislative Grill is a pungent red herring poached in special interest sauce. Market price for the red herring: worthless. Red herring is probably the best way to describe the absurdity taking place in the legislature the past few weeks.
By odd coincidence, it's also the dish of choice at the Democratic Congressional Grill in DC.

Taking On Tragedy With Class

To the Dems who say that Pres. Bush is manipulating the message regarding the war, exploiting 9/11 and the servicemen, consider this from the WashTimes about the president's three hours of meetings with families of the fallen prior to his Tuesday Ft. Bragg speech:
Before his speech, as is his custom, the president met for three hours with more than 90 spouses, children and parents of 32 soldiers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The last person he met was Mrs. Owen [whose husband, Staff Sgt. Mike Owen, was killed in action in Iraq last year].

"Even though he'd met with 31 other families prior to me, it was like I was the only one -- I mean, he made me feel special," she told The Washington Times yesterday. "He wanted to know about Mike and about me and if I was OK.

"I did get teary-eyed and he kind of held my hands for a while," she added. "He was very sincere and gave me a kiss on the cheek as he left -- I was a little flabbergasted."

The only other people in the room were two Secret Service agents and a photographer for the White House, which declined to release photos.

Mr. Bush has always barred press coverage of his meetings with family members of fallen soldiers.
Somehow, I can't see President Clinton or John Kerry behaving in such a tasteful manner.

Saddam's Iraq And 9/11

Oh, how they howl! Shame on President Bush for mentioning 9/11 in a speech about Iraq! How could he defile Holy Ground?!

Just for fun, shall we count the number of times FDR mentioned Pearl Harbor in speeches about World War II's fronts in Europe and Southeast Asia?

And while we're on the subject, Anchoress remembers something pertinent: After 9/11 countries all over the world lowered their flags to half staff except one. Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Not a cause for war, for sure, but an indication that if he wasn't connected with the massacre, he wished he had been.

Is A Bed Open At Gitmo?

Tre Arrow is an eco-terrorist who high-tailed to Canada to avoid jail time in the U.S. He's now facing extradition:
A radical environmentalist who is one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives told an extradition hearing Monday he was being unfairly targeted by the U.S. government and should be allowed to remain in Canada. Tre Arrow, born Michael Scarpitti, is accused of taking part in the 2001 firebombings of logging and cement trucks in Oregon. The FBI also claims he is associated with the Earth Liberation Front, a group that has claimed responsibility for dozens of acts of destruction over the past few years. "I am being targeted by the U.S. government and the FBI, not because I am guilty but because I have chosen to challenge the status quo," Arrow, and a Green Party candidate for Congress in 2000, said at his extradition hearing.

In order for an extradition to be ordered, the judge must find there is sufficient evidence to convict the accused on the same charges in Canada. Prosecutor Rosellina Patillo said evidence from the federal prosecutor in Oregon ... comes from statements of Arrow's three coconspirators who have pleaded guilty. The suspects intended to firebomb a U.S. Forest Service office, but abandoned the idea after they found the security system was too tight, Patillo said.

Arrow is seeking refugee status in Canada, his lawyer said. The 30-year-old Arrow - who says the trees told him to change his name - contends he would not get a fair trial in the United States because of the FBI's assertion that his alleged crimes are acts of terrorism. He faces federal charges in Oregon of using fire to commit a felony, destroying vehicles used in interstate commerce and using incendiary devices in a crime of violence. He faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.
Let's see. Someone blows something up to further a radical and unpopular political agenda ... terrorism? Yeah, I think so. And yeah, I think Tre's being targeted -- not for challenging the status quo, but for being a dangerous little schmuck.

h/t Greenie Watch

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Coming Soon To A Post Office Near You?

Will the U.S. follow Mexico's lead?

To find out more, see "So...Mexican Racism is OK?" at the blog of the ever-watchful Michelle Malkin.

Five Bucks Will Getcha A Vote

Here's the full text of a link by Hinderacker at PowerLine:

Democratic Party officials in East St. Louis, Illinois have been convicted of massive voter fraud in last November's election. The local jury convicted them of, among other things, paying people to vote Democratic. This is, really, only the tip of the iceberg; still to come is an attempted murder trial arising out of the effort by a Democratic Party official to murder a witness who threatened to blow the whistle on the Democratic Party's electoral fraud. Based on press accounts, I understand that in the attempted murder case, the prosecution will offer into evidence photographs that were shown to the Democratic Party official, which appeared to show the dead body of the witness whom the Democratic Party official had ordered murdered.

Voter fraud has been a key part of the Democratic Party's electoral strategy for years. Will criminal prosecutions slow down the Democrats' efforts to commit fraud in future elections? I doubt it, but it is good to see ordinary citizens rising up, through the criminal justice system, to bring the Democratic Party to heel.

Follow the link in the text to a bunch of other interesting material. The convicted party bosses and functionaries bought votes for as little as $5, or some booze or cigarettes. Can you imagine a more disgusting disrespect of Democracy?!

Here's a fitting sentence: Loss of citizenship. It would serve these slimes right.


From the WashPost:
The U.S.-Asia foreign policy establishment here is positively gaga over a teensy transmission error last week by consultant Chris Nelson , author of the highly authoritative Nelson Report, a must-read for those involved in foreign affairs, especially on Asia.

Nelson, who works for Samuels International, prepared an exceptionally frank "special report for the embassy of the Republic of South Korea" titled "Players on Korea Policy in Washington, D.C."Acknowledging his brutal assessments -- his survey left few untrashed -- he warned the embassy that "if ANY of this Report is seen by ANY one outside of the embassy, its humble author is going to have to receive political asylum."

Alas. Nelson, instead of sending the 22-page analysis to the Korean Embassy, hit his list for Nelson Report subscribers, administration officials, Hill folks, think tankers, media types and others -- more than 800 people, including many of whom he had skewered or identified as people who talk to him. So it's most unclear who would offer asylum.
Among the terms Nelson used for various named individuals: blowhard, genuinely mentally unbalanced, difficult, trouble, dishonest by omission.

Nelson's sheepish follow-up email got it right: "Apology is impossible at this point. I can only ask mercy."

Selling Unocal To China: Insane

Unocal announced yesterday that it has received a waiver from Chevron allowing it to discuss with the Chinese the prospect of selling a pivotal US energy asset to an unfriendly Communist country:
Unocal intends promptly to commence such discussions with CNOOC Limited. There can be no assurance that any agreement with CNOOC Limited will be reached. In connection with entering into the Chevron merger agreement, the Unocal board of directors recommended the transaction to Unocal stockholders. That recommendation remains in effect.
It's hard to imagine an acquisition of greater strategic value to the Chinese than Unocal. If an oil war (hot or cold) with the US emerges in coming years as many dread they will, it will be about delivery routes and supply. Keep a map of the world in your mind as you consider that Unocal international operations have nearly 12 billion barrels of reserves in country's like:
  • Thailand, where Unocal operates 100 oil platforms
  • Indonesia, including 90% ownership of fields around the Makassar Straits, which most oil to China would have to pass through
  • Vietnam, critical also to sea lanes
  • Myanmar and the Yadana pipeline to Thailand
  • Azerbaijan, which is a bit too far west but still could figure into China's strategic interests in Central Asia.
  • Congo, which would go nicely with China's rabble-rousing in Zimbabwe
And then there's the US operations. Frank Gaffney mentioned on Hugh's show yesterday that Unocal has rare earth mineral resources that are virtually irreplaceable and of significant commercial and military importance.

There are so many reasons why it's in China's military interest to buy Unocal, and sea lanes has got to be at the top of the list. From Dawn's Early Light:

Vietnam is in a strategic geographic position with important oil shipping lanes nearby. Rather than attempting to, as they say, reinvent the wheel, I would like to refer you to Tom Collins' excellent work (he has a history inside the oil industry) and unique perspective on the visit over at QuillNews.

"But the energy realities of the region remain. Oil and energy security will be on the agenda when Khai visits with President Bush today. However, now instead of competing over oil discoveries and drilling rights nearby, China and its East Asian neighbors are forced to rely on oil and gas shipped from the Middle East. Pressure on security of the sea lanes remains paramount to every state in the region where no one trusts anybody else. China’s military build up, partly in its blue water navy to project military power at sea, continues and is causing nerves to twitch in the region. Now, instead of working to deal with the riches of oil at home, Vietnam and the US find themselves again talking about oil – this time keeping sea lanes for oil transportation open.

The Commerce Department exists to approve deals like this in order to balance our trade deficit. They've got to think outside that box on this one!

See also:
Beijing Trying To Buy Unocal

I Guess This Says It All

From the LATimes presentation of the Dem talking points, artfully couched as "Analysis:"
Tad Devine, a veteran Democratic consultant, charged that the reason the administration is emphasizing 9/11 again "is simple: It is a strategy of fear. But as the nation is further and further removed from what happened on that day …"
One party faces the the future as if 9/11 actually happened. The other just wants to go back to the days before it happened, and repeat the mistakes that brought the world to that point.

Hyperbole Of The Day

"The genius of Canada, almost unparalleled in the world,
is built on shared identity, out of respect for each other."

That's Alex Munter, national spokesman for Canadians for Equal Marriage, on Canada's House of Commons passing a gay marriage bill. (AP)

For quotes that may be more to your liking, visit Defend Marriage Canada.

DNC: Missing On All Cylinders

The revamped official Dem National Committee blog may look a bit more professional than the old "Kick Ass" blog -- apparently renamed since they've the the recipient, not the deliverer, of ass-kickings lately -- but it's still braying loudly and dangerously stupid.

Here's their summary of what was wrong with the president's speech on Iraq yesterday evening:

Iraq is not where Osama is --As if the war is only about catching Osama. Besides, as Howdy the milblogger said,
80% of the captured combatants here are foreign. Most are Saudi. Go figure. Most of the 9-11 bombers are Saudi. ... Societies like Saudi Arabia breed dissenters and criminals....ultimately making bad neighbors. So, we fight here or on United States soil. See the connection now to 9-11? Why would they come to fight here? Hate brings them, hate brought them on 9-11.
Iraq was not responsible for 9/11 -- Ditto. This was the Big Talking Point for the Dems, headlining the obedient media's follow-up stories:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused Bush of demonstrating a willingness "exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."
Besides, that point has been made scrupiously clear by the administration since Day One. Afghanistan was about 9/11, Iraq is about preventing the next 9/11.

Terrorists continue to train, violence and intensity continue to increase -- And why do they do so? Because they know that with violence, the DNC will become their ally in dispiriting America,which is the only way we can lose this war. If terrorists can learn from history (the US in Vietnam) why can't the Dems ... especially since they're so fixated on that war? Anyway, if we were to leave Iraq tomorrow, do you suppose the training of sociopathic jihadists would stop? Isn't it better to kill them before they're trained?

The rest is just Bush-bashing. No alternative policies are moved forward. And the words "freedom," "democracy" and "Iraqi vote" appear nowhere in the post.

Which I guess goes to show you can fool 47% of the people most of the time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Here's How We'll Win The War

Charlie Rangle, perhaps the worst example of Democracy in America, but oft-quoted because he's black, has advice for the president that he feels will help the Bush see the light for an Iraq solution:
"We want to make certain that the President tells us what he is doing, and we won't agree to anything less."
"Charlie, George here."

"Yes, that George, Charlie. ... W. ... Yes, the president."

"Let's see if we can get through this call without any more obscenities, OK Charlie? ... Fine, I'll note that you think my entire family history and administration are obscenities."

"OK, and Dad's too. Look, I just wanted to take you up on your suggestion and let you know what I'm doing. I know you won't settle for anything less."

"OK, you won't agree to anything less. Whatever. Charlie, I wanted to let you know that we're going to be doing a little incursion into Syria tomorrow, and at the same time we're going to be sending some CIA guys into Iran with 17 suitcases full of money to finance the resistance movement there."

"Charlie, that was in 1953, for cryin' out loud! We were trying to stop Stalin from taking over the oil."

"No, not the 'Bush-we,' Charlie, the 'America-we.'"

"C'mon, Charlie, I said no more obscenities, OK? And finally, in Afghanistan, we just got some pretty good intelligence on Osama, so we're going to be working with the Pakis and Karzai's guys in a very sensitive area on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It's pretty darn close to China, and the last thing we want is for them decide to start some war games or something while we're up there."

"Remember 9/11, man! Uh-huh ... uh-huh ... well I wouldn't put it that way. Look, I just wanted you to know. Now listen, we've got a lot of troops and agents at risk in this operation, so I can count on you to not go on TV or put something up on Ariana's blog, can't I?"

"Charlie? Charlie?"

Air America Cues Up The Prez

I was out of range of my usual talk radio station today, which led to me stumbling onto Air America, where I heard the end of one show and the beginning of another. The subject, of course, was President Bush's speech, which was still a couple hours away.

Arabs are too dumb to want freedom. That was the message of the first show; an amazing thing to hear from the Left, which supposedly is all about human rights, freedom and the human spirit soaring to be free. The messaging started when a Bush voter called in and was promptly called an "ass." When it turned out the caller was not exactly doctrinaire in his support of Bush, the host chided him for not learning from history -- history that teaches us that there has never been a successful democracy in the Arab world, and therefore there never will be.

Ignoring the fact that there are Arab democracies (Turkey, Lebanon and in a way, Israel), the idiocy and racism of the statement is breathtaking. There never was a Democracy until America; so is Democracy the sole purview of white Eurocentric cultures? The Japanese, Taiwanese and Koreans seemed to have picked it up. Are Asians better than the Arabs? How about the Indians? Blacks ... well, true black democracies are rare to nonexistent in Africa, so I guess Air America probably feels that blacks are incapable of wanting freedom and democracy, too. They'd better not say that to their listeners.

The war is only about WMDs. The second show started with a long lead-in about WMDs, full of quotes Rumsfield and Bush probably wish they could take back today. The point was obvious: The war is about WMDs, there are no WMDs, therefore the war is illegal, false, a sham, a run for oil, the Bush/Nazi connection, whatever.

World War I was about the assassination of a Balkan royal. Is that why we fought it? World War II was about kicking butt after our Pacific Fleet was bombed. But is that why we fought it? Vietnam was about a destroyer being shelled in the Gulf of Tonkin. But is that why we fought it?

Iraq is about being left no options by a despot who was starving his people. It's about stopping a guy from creating (with oil-for-food money) and using (again) WMDs. It's about destabilizing the current, and unacceptable political reality in the middle east. It's about North Korea, Iran and keeping the terrorists there instead of fighting them here.

So, in other others, Air America was about what I expected it to be.

Paranoids Rule On PBS Watch

Maybe I'm naieve. I just think that if you're in charge of something, you ought to know what you're in charge of. The liberal media, knotted up by paranoia, disagree.

Here's the NYT's Frank Rich on yesterday's revelation that Clinton-appointee Kenneth Tomlinson, chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, had several PBS shows monitored for their liberal/conservative content:

That doesn't mean the right's new assault on public broadcasting is toothless, far from it. But this time the game is far more insidious and ingenious. The intent is not to kill off PBS and NPR but to castrate them by quietly annexing their news and public affairs operations to the larger state propaganda machine that the Bush White House has been steadily constructing at taxpayers' expense. ...

There's only one obstacle standing in the way of the coup. Like Richard Nixon, another president who tried to subvert public broadcasting in his war to silence critical news media, our current president may be letting hubris get the best of him. His minions are giving any investigative reporters left in Washington a fresh incentive to follow the money.

... Look instead at the seemingly paltry $14,170 that, as Stephen Labaton of The New York Times reported on June 16, found its way to a mysterious recipient in Indiana named Fred Mann. Mr. Labaton learned that in 2004 Kenneth Tomlinson, the Karl Rove pal who is chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, clandestinely paid this sum to Mr. Mann to monitor his PBS bête noire, Bill Moyers's "Now."

Now, why would Mr. Tomlinson pay for information that any half-sentient viewer could track with TiVo? Why would he hire someone in Indiana? Why would he keep this contract a secret from his own board? Why, when a reporter exposed his secret, would he try to cover it up by falsely maintaining in a letter to an inquiring member of the Senate, Byron Dorgan, that another CPB executive had "approved and signed" the Mann contract when he had signed it himself? If there's a news story that can be likened to the "third-rate burglary," the canary in the coal mine that invited greater scrutiny of the Nixon administration's darkest ambitions, this strange little sideshow could be it.

So this is the tape on the door of the Watergate office? This is the story that will bring down a president viciously fixated on controlling all aspects of communication about his presidency?

Get real. If Bush were so fixated on dominating the message, he might just be dominating it instead of losing control of it so often. And where, in all of this, is there any evidence that any of the information gathered was used against perpretrators of anti-Bush messaging? Who was fired? Who was demoted? Who's show was moved to go up against CSI? No one.

So, Rich old boy, you're a reporter; ask the obvious question: If the information hasn't been used in a personnel sort of way, how has it been used?

It's been used to make a case, and it's a case that Rich and others like him don't want to cover. That is, public funds which are something like 53 percent Republican by the last count (Nov. 2004), are being used to fund something biased against the Republicans. You can't make that case -- and it's an important case -- unless you have the data. And Tomlinson went after the data.

Admitedly, he did it very clumsily. He should have contracted the study internally, in the broad light of day, allowed spirited debate (which would have been fun, as libs would have shouted, "Don't look at the Emporer's clothes!"), and gotten on with the study.

As a PR firm, we regularly analyze media content, looking for how our clients' messages and their opponents' messages are showing up. It's useful information. It helps us hone our messages and occaisionally, we use it to show reporters that why we feel their coverage has been unfair.

We never have, and never would, use it to get someone fired. Neither has Tomlinson.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Are We Winning? Yes

To keep myself from getting depressed when I think about Wahabism and other bloodlusting branches of Islam, I think of ebola. And it gives me peace.

As Richard Preston explained it in The Hot Zone, some viruses are so astonishingly deadly that they quickly kill all the potential hosts, and peter off into a lengthy hiatus, so decades can pass between outbreaks that kill only a few hundred people.

Similarly, the level of hatred ginned up by the psycho-imams is so virulent that it will surely burn itself out. Were it not so, Islam would have conquered the world long ago. And how is the Islamovirus doing at this point in its current infectuous cyle? Howdy of the Iraq milblog Howdy's Blog tells us we are winning in Iraq:

There is an Iraqi face at the front of every major offensive we undertake.

Widespread public support (which there never was any) for murderers and foreign thugs has never materialized. ...

80% of the captured combatants here are foreign. Most are Saudi. Go figure. Most of the 9-11 bombers are Saudi. ... Societies like Saudi Arabia breed dissenters and criminals....ultimately making bad neighbors. So, we fight here or on United States soil. See the connection now to 9-11? Why would they come to fight here? Hate brings them, hate brought them on 9-11.
(h/t Hugh)

We are in an era when exteme intolerance and hate is battling liberal freedom and democracy. As Thomas Jefferson is quoted saying in the Michael Ignatieff/NYT piece linked a couple posts down, the latter option will spread globally, ''To some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all'' because ''the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion'' will convince all people that they were born not to be ruled but to rule themselves in freedom.

Let's pray that when this game's over, the score will be Jefferson 1, bin Laden 0.

Clarity On The Courts

When you're wondering how to interpret what the Supremes are up to, Hugh Hewitt is one of the best places to go, thanks to his ability to take the long-term view. Here's his sum-up on eminent domain and the Ten Commandments:
The cases do underscore the stagnation at the Court, as old battles are fought and refought again and again. Only with new blood and new ideas will the logjams break open. The bottom line is that all 5-4 decisions are hardly anything more than pause points, and not very decisive ones at that.

Every Paper Gets It Right ... Sometimes

What is more special than that warm feeling you get when a newspaper you've come to dread presents something so right it takes your breath away? Or as Cassandra at Villainous Company puts it when writing about a Michael Ignatieff essay on Thomas Jefferson's last letter, says, "What a surprise! For every now and then, the Times can still surprise and delight me. What followed was absolutely amazing." Here it is, with his emphasis:
Despite the exceptional character of American liberty, every American president has proclaimed America's duty to defend it abroad as the universal birthright of mankind. John F. Kennedy echoed Jefferson when, in a speech in 1961, he said that the spread of freedom abroad was powered by ''the force of right and reason''; but, he went on, in a sober and pragmatic vein, ''reason does not always appeal to unreasonable men.'' The contrast between Kennedy and the current incumbent of the White House is striking. Until George W. Bush, no American president -- not even Franklin Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson -- actually risked his presidency on the premise that Jefferson might be right. But this gambler from Texas has bet his place in history on the proposition, as he stated in a speech in March, that decades of American presidents' ''excusing and accommodating tyranny, in the pursuit of stability'' in the Middle East inflamed the hatred of the fanatics who piloted the planes into the twin towers on Sept. 11.

If democracy plants itself in Iraq and spreads throughout the Middle East, Bush will be remembered as a plain-speaking visionary. If Iraq fails, it will be his Vietnam, and nothing else will matter much about his time in office. For any president, it must be daunting to know already that his reputation depends on what Jefferson once called ''so inscrutable [an] arrangement of causes and consequences in this world.''

Cassandra sums it up just as I would:
This observation brought to mind two themes I have tried to stress over and over: first, that George Bush is doing something both visionary and unprecedented in American history. And second, that several recent studies indicate the establishment of stable, mature democracies is the single best antidote to terrorism.
Read Igntieff's full essay here.

Crazy About Dean

Here's a spot-on analysis of Howard Dean from PRWeek's PR Play of the Week by Douglas Quenqua (by subscription only):
Howard Dean has gone from over-caffeinated weirdo to just plain nuts. He's strayed way off the reservation, making remarks about Republicans that no respectable Democrat wants to be associated with. In a summer lacking any big political stories, his wildly un-PC quips have become the hottest potato in DC. ...

Fact is he's doing exactly what he's paid to do as chairman of the Democratic Party. Not that any other Democrats will admit that publicly. Oh no -- that's not how the game works. This is the old "make the crazy guy say what we can't afford to" game. ...

Naturally, fellow Democrats act ashamed and embarrassed. Everyone from prospective presidential candidate Joe Biden to prospective presidential candidate Nancy Pelosi has hit the airwaves in the past few days, distancing themselves from Dean and his whacked-out remarks.

But they do it slowly, as if waiting their turn. It's as if they're trying to keep the story alive, isn't it?

All the while, everyone from Chris Matthews to Bill O'Reilly is debating Dean's comments. Are Republicans really all white and Christian? Do they not do honest work? Is the party racist? ...
Quenqua give Dean a grade of "Savvy" for his efforts, second only to "Ingenious" in the PRWeek grid. I think he's right. While we debate the Chairman, the MSM debates the Republicans, largely ignoring the larger question: What's wrong with the Dems?

Palestinian Girls Gone Wild

If any of you still aren't reading James Taranto's Best of the Web every day, here's an example of what you're missing:

Fundamentalist Muslim mythology has it that terrorist "martyrs" are greeted in heaven by 72 virgins. With Palestinian Arabs increasingly making use of female suicide bombers, we've often wondered what they get in heaven. Now we have the answer, thanks to a report in London's Sunday Telegraph from an Israeli prison:

One of the inmates, Ayat Allah Kamil, 20, from Kabatya, told me why she had wanted to become a martyr: "Because of my religion. I'm very religious. For the holy war [jihad] there's no difference between men and women shaid [martyrs]."

According to the Koran, male martyrs are welcomed to Paradise by 72 beautiful virgins. Ayat, as with many of the women she is incarcerated with, believes that a woman martyr "will be the chief of the 72 virgins, the fairest of the fair."

That is to say, the highest aspiration for a fundamentalist Palestinian girl is murder, suicide and prostitution. Has there ever been a more depraved culture?

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When No News Is No News

This just in from AP:
The Supreme Court ended its term Monday with no retirement announcements from any justices. A retirement could come later, however, in a letter to the president or press release.
Hope that clarifies things for you.

Gay Network Launching Soon

There are already two pay-per-view gay networks, though I've never heard of them (Q and Here). To view them, you've got to pay your bucks and let them into your house. Now there's a new gay network, Logo, that will be more obtrusive. As the AP write up says, "Logo will be available in homes that do not specifically order it."

That means the network can be bundled with Cable packages, which are notoriously inflexible, so many who don't want homosexual programming in their homes will have difficulty keeping it away. And there will be homosexual programming on Logo, including gay stand-up comics, a reality show about opening a gay bar, and a gay sit com.

Shame on creator Brian Graden, who had a chance (presumably) to do something positive with his life. He attended Oral Roberts University, which should have led him in the right direction, but he apparently focused to much on Mr. Roberts' first name, and as such, when he faces eternity, he'll have with him a resume which includes:
  • Logo, the first gay network to get into homes that don't want it
  • Helping develop "South Park"
  • Being the force behind MTV's corruption of youth culture with the shows "The Osbournes," "Pimp My Ride," "Jackass," and "The Newlyweds."
"Uh, sorry St. Peter. I just don't know what I was thinking...."

(h/t Media Bistro)

Why Durbin's Comments Kill

Doug TenNapel has a great interview with Air Force Major Steven Givler on the ins, out, morality and nature of the war in Iraq. In it is a quote that is the meat on the bones of allegations that Dick Durbin and others put our soldiers at risk with their degrading talk of our treatment of prisoners. Here's what Major Givler had to say:
I’ve shared helicopters with just-captured insurgents fresh from the battlefield. I’ve seen how our troops handle them with care and respect, despite the fact that, given half a chance, any one of them would have done anything they could to kill every one of us.

Ultimately we know this is to our advantage. The Japanese were tenacious fighters, in part because they believed that they would be tortured if we captured them. An enemy confident that he will be well-treated is more likely to surrender. A population that understands we are there to protect them (as does the Iraqi population) is more likely to support us. Probably most importantly, when we’ve behaved honorably we can go home with honor and resume our peaceful lives.
An enemy that thinks it will be treated like Hitler treated Jews, Stalin treated dissidents and Pol Pot treated just about everyone is more likely to fight like the Japanese soldier than he is to surrender.

Each time a Durbin, Dean, Pelosi, Kennedy or Reid lies about prisoner treatment for their political gain and tells our enemy that if captured, they will be subjected to torture, they are telling these terrorists, "Go ahead, fight harder, kill more of our soldiers." And why again do they do this? For their political gain, period.

A recent Pew Center poll shows Dem favorability has dropped three times faster than GOP favorability since 2001. (It shows Dems still have higher favorability -- 55% to 52% -- but it's from Pew so it's a suspect poll.) It's actions like their Gitmo rants and embracing of Michael Moore that have them dropping so fast, but the DNC leadership, sunk in blind hatred, just can't help itself.

Women Push For Rights At Mosque

A small but highly visible movement is upsetting the traditions of Islam in America as some women push to be able to pray with the men, to lead prayer, and to be involved in mosque leadership.

A demonstration by a Muslim woman activist at a major LA mosque led to the story being highlighted in today's LA Times -- pretty savvy PR by the woman, Asra Nomani, who also happens to be promoting a book.

Reading the story, I was reminded by Jimmy Carter's departure from the Baptist church because he didn't like Paul preaching that women should be subservient to their husbands. Did he not read the next verses, which say men should die, as Christ did, for their wives? It's easy to suggest that women like Nomani are a lot like Carter, urging reform because they don't understand what's really going on.

It's also easy to want Islam to be punctured and beated by an aggressive reform movement, because it is the religion of our enemy.

So let the debate begin. It's healthy for a church, and the Imams of Islam certainly need to be shaken up some. But as a fundamenalist Christian who is comfortable with the roots of his religion, I worry about calls for Islam to go to its roots through reformation, because Islam's roots are not easy, or particularly good for this world.

Unlike Christianity, which liberated women, moving them forward in a world where they were little more than chattle, Islam kept them as chattle. And Islam preaches Jihad and martyrdom.

If that's the reality of the religion today, reform can't really move Islam backwards. So let the reform effort begin.

Ten Commandment Case: Ostensibly Bad

Anyone who knows the religious history of the United States would cheer parts of today's Supreme Court decision on displays of the Ten Commandments. The court found that a frieze like the one that adorns its own chambers is allowable because it is "neutral" and honors the nation's religious freedom. Under that language, it seems the ACLU would have lost its case against the seal of the City of Los Angeles.

Yet, somehow, a framed rendering of the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky Courthouse was found to violate a principle laid down by Justice Souter:

"The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion. When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates the central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality."

What a mess that quote is. It's from two paragraphs in an AP story, so the context isn't clear. Nevertheless, the first sentence is acceptable. We don't want our government to be in the business of promoting one religion over another. But the second sentence is mystifying and troubling.

We live in a time when "morality" is becoming more and more synonymous with "religion" thanks to the rantings of the secular Left, so Souter's decision will be interpreted to say, "When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing morality, it violates the central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality."

That worries me, but it's not the most troubling part of the ruling, since we should not be looking to government to teach our children or our society morality. What worries me the most about this decision is the "ostensible ... purpose of advancing religion" language. I welcome the word "predominant" because that is a good wiggle word. But "ostensible" will lead to much more restrictive interpretations.

We have entered the day where Christmas displays, Easter egg hunts, greetings of "Merry Christmas," Thanksgiving pagents and even government-issued Korans in Guantanamo will no longer be permitted because they have the ostensible purpose of promoting religion.

And that is a victory for that other religion, Secularism. Government will still be promoting religion, but a religion that doesn't allow itself to be called one. Satan couldn't have planned it better.

Howl's Moving Castle

Incredible Daughter #3 and I saw Howl's Moving Castle last night, the latest film by Japanese anime artist/director Hayao Miyazaki. We're great fans of his Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away, a film that is much like Howl, only better.

Seeing a Miyazki film is a treat for the senses. The art of the animation, the beauty of the score and the reality-slipaway of the plot are like nothing you'll find in American animation ... or film, for that matter.

Like Spirited, Howl's is the story of a young girl who finds herself suddenly in the spirit world, and must also find her inner strength, courage and love to be victorious over her altered, and threatening, circumstances. It's a good plot line for kids, all in all, but ...

Miyazki's world is an ancient one that used to rule the globe, and still exists in the world today, a world ruled by belief in spirits and demons, a theology of fear. In Howl's, the heroine Sophie has no control over her destiny. That's controlled by spirits that are, for the most part, dark and evil ... or in danger of becoming so. She's a good girl, respectful, hard-working, moral, but is suddenly under spells, in danger and seeking love and relief from a magical spirit-man.

I'll give the movie a B+ simply because it's not as strong as Spirited, but I'll recommend both to Christians who are interested in what our faith confronts in places far away, like Africa or Southeast Asia, or near, like Hawaii. In these places, the spirit world is alive and very much in contact with the human world, and those who take the Word there often report things that sound incredible to we who live in a world largely devoid of dark spirituality.

It's not Miyazki's intent to give us a window onto this world, but he does, and it adds an interesting layer over his remarkable work. I wonder what would happen to his stories if he were to become a believer.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ahmadinejad Is Farsi For Bloodthirsty

You've endured an intense electoral campaign. You've thanked your team. You go to the polls, cast your ballot, and meet the press outside. You can say whatever you want ... peace, freedom, democracy, morality ... you ponder, you speak:
"Nuclear energy is a result of Iranian people's scientific development, and no one can block the way of a nation's scientific development. This right of the Iranian people will soon be recognized by those who have so far denied it."
Welcome to the world of new Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who chose that as his take-away quote upon voting. source

Cheney Hatred Gone Wild

Here from the misnamed America Blog are what some bleeding heart liberals think about a man who happens to be our Vice President who has a truly bleeding heart (click comments on linked post):

Die you evil bastard, die yesterday, die die die and enjoy hell with all the other twisted mass murdering ***** of this world. And **** your evil gay-criminalizing gay daughter too.

Nothing wrong with his heart.....he doesn't have one.

die nazi die

How can you kill the undead?

don't wish ill of him, he has many stock option [sic] to cash out yet.

Will rethugs tell us that he is alert, responsive and fully capable of fulfilling his v-p duties a la the Terri Schiavo fiasco? Pull the plug and save the planet.

Where is Dr. Kervorkian when you need him?

...all I can say is, die ************ die and take your demon spawn with you, too.

I don't want Cheney to die. I want him to get caught up in the Anti-Rapture and get sucked bodily into the ninth level [sic] of Hell.

Cheney's heart problem is that he has not heart. That Saudi oil courses through his veins, hyrdraullicly [sic] pulsed by an oil pump from a Cadillac Escalade. That is why he is so concerned about oil. Oil literally is life to Dick Cheney.

This is all wishful thinking. He's not going to step down, he's not going to die, he's going to live until he's 90 -- on the American working poor's dole.

May Goddess in her Infinite Wisdom show you the same Mercy you show Others. Translation - you do not deserve to die, much less painlessly. May you live forever in a penniless state in the hell on earth you've worked so tirelessly to create.

chill the champagne ... [from this web site:]

Moral Relativism Gone Wild

So I was just wondering last night what Daily Kof has to say about Kim Il Jong and I stumbled on this lovely example of the Left's utter inability to differentiate between security and depravity:
So, what's this all about? Is it just an attempt to bolster the credibility of our Secretary of State who ...

spoke of the recent imprisonment of three Saudi dissidents, whose only offense was to peacefully petition for a constitutional monarchy. ''That should not be a crime in any country," she said.

... at the same time that the American Library Association reveals that law officers have requested data about the reading habits of our citizens at least 268 times since 2001?

Condi was chiding a repressive, terrorist-sponsoring regime for throwing people in jail who merely demonstrated for freedom. Kos compared it to looking at 268 library records in a country of nearly 300 million people, over a period of four years.

Q: When did the Left stop standing by people who demonstrate for freedom?
A: When George Bush started standing by people who demonstrate for freedom.

It would be laughable, but these are the people who are setting the agenda for the party that won nearly 50 percent of the vote in the last two elections.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gitmo Visitors Witness Torture!

Here's what they saw!!!
In another [interrogation room], a female interrogator took an unusual approach to wear down a detainee, reading a Harry Potter book aloud for hours. He turned his back and put his hands over his ears.
h/t LGF

Well, Their Symbol Is An Ass...

WILLisms has a rundown on the Dem leadership that shows them in their true colors. It's missing a sweet, easy shot at Teddy, but it's pretty terrific.

h/t Michelle Malkin

Six Months After The Tsunami

Tomorrow is the six month anniversary of the Southeast Asian tsunami, so expect a bevy of articles in your Sunday paper. If they're honest, the stories will be negative because the tsunami aid program is underscoring the ugliness of human nature throughout the rim of the Indian Ocean.

BBC reports, for example:
  • Aid had tended to go to wealthy businesses and landowners, exacerbating the divide between rich and poor.
  • The poor were likely to spend much longer in refugee camps where it is harder to find work or rebuild lives.
  • Dalits - India's outcast caste - have been largely deprived of aid.
  • "These failures would not be tolerated after a disaster in the developed world."
The Perth Sunday Times editorializes:
Six months after billions of dollars of aid was pledged to aid tsunami-lashed Asia, most of it has yet to reach survivors because of corruption, politics and reneging by donor countries.

In a report assessing the situation at the end of April, independent Indian research group the Institute for Human Development said only 39 per cent of the $8.6 billion pledged by governments, agencies and private donors had reached people whose lives were shattered by the December 26 tsunamis.

The report, sponsored by Action-Aid, one of Britain's largest charities, found that, of the $A450 million initially pledged by the US, just 35 per cent had been paid as of April 20.

The report said that other nations were also reneging on their promises, with 84 per cent of Germany's pledged aid yet to see the light of day.
Thai Press (via Nexis) reports:
  • Tourists have not returned to Phuket, and resort workers are suffering
  • The Sri Lankan government has charged the international charity Oxfam $1 million in import fees for tsunami relief goods
  • Also in Sri Lanka, Muslims are refusing to go along with a brokered deal for the distribution of aid, which they see as giving in to the rebel Tamil Tigers.
The South China Daily Post (via Nexis) reports:
  • Up to 30,000 Phuket residents need -- but largely aren't getting -- mental health treatment because of the tragedy
  • Some tsunami victims have been helped by three or four groups, while others have received nothing. Government departments and aid organisations are still struggling to co-ordinate a sensible response.
  • In Thailand, the general view is that the needs of the very rich and the extremely poor have been met but small businesspeople say their needs have been largely ignored.

George And Tony's Special Relationship

The conservative American and the liberal Brit: It's a relationship that will be the subject of many history books, and now there's an interesting new chapter. Tony Blair's son Euan (I have no idea how to pronounce that!) is going to intern at the most partisan of GOP House committees.

BBC reports that Euan, who just graduated from Bristol University, will intern on the Rules Committee, where he will work for David Dreier. Maybe Hugh will have him as a guest one day.

Dems, who generally see Labour as their natural ally, expressed surprise and called the Rules Committee "highly partisan," which it is. Of course, they are justified in expecting that Euan would intern with them, based on his undergraduate major, which goes so well with Dem politics:

Ancient History.

How's This For An Apology?

Linda Foley, the top journalist in America (if being president of the Newspaper Guild allows such a characterization) has finally addressed the uproar that occurred when she repeated the Eason Jordan-ism that US forces were deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq. Here's what she said then:
"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."
And here's her "apology," delivered after refering to criticism of her comments as "a right-wing screed":

"If I made a mistake, it was in trying to cover the issues surrounding safety for journalists in Iraq in an off-the-cuff way. I regret that my in-artful phraseology, and the storm it incited on the right, may detract from a critically important issue for journalists, especially those who cover war.

"So at the risk of repeating what we’ve reported for months in The Guild Reporter and elsewhere, here’s a better way of saying what I was trying to communicate in St. Louis: An unacceptable number of journalists are being killed in Iraq, most of them by insurgents, many of them brutally. Fourteen of those deaths, involving U.S. forces, have been inadequately explained or investigated by the U.S. military. One, the April 8, 2003, bombing of the Al-Jazeera studios in Baghdad, never has been explained at all. As a result, many journalists around the world wonder if the U.S. military is targeting journalists.

"Since April 2003, the Guild, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Reuters and others repeatedly have called upon the Pentagon to conduct independent investigations of these incidences. So far we have received only redacted, whitewashed explanations which often raise more questions than they answer.

Wow. That's quite an artful apology, a great example of apologizing by repeating the allegations. Michelle Malkin headlined her item on this "Durbinizer of the day: Linda Foley." She's got that right.

See also:
Slow-Learning Journalists
No Charges of Targeting US Journalists

A Pol Pot Comparison That's Valid

"The lives of people are at stake [in Zimbabwe], and as far as I understand, religiously speaking and humanitarianly speaking, all our systems in this world must defend human life; otherwise if our systems don't defend human life, it's not worth being alive. I mean, what are all our systems, what is all the hustle and bustle about, what is the G8 about? It's all about defence of human life, and if we are going to allow human life to be sacrificed to the power-mongering of an individual, then we're not being faithful to the aspirations of the human race here."
That's the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, who was interviewed recently on England's Channel 4. The interview is transcribed at Norm Blog (h/t Instapundit).

Ncumbe defends his comparison of Zimbabwe dictator Robort Mugabe to Pol Pot:
It's not extreme. I mean here is a man who is not giving any warning to people, pushing them out, something like one and a half million people. This is extremely cruel, very much like Pol Pot, and this will lead to people starving. People are already starving in the country because Mugabe didn't call for aid, at least not in time, and he's politicizing food in certain areas. So now these people are being forced to go to the country where there's nothing. The rain didn't come down... So, what will happen to these people? They're going to starve...
This cry for help could well cost Ncumbe his life, but still he cries out! Is anyone listening? He called on the UN to arrest Mugabe. Fat chance. All the UN is doing is calling for $3 million in emergency UNICEF relief, that will likely sit on docs, go to Mugabe's henchmen, and be otherwise useless.

Al-Jazeera Looks At Border

Al-Jazeera, the anti-American Arab global TV network, is doing stories on the porousity of the US-Mexican border. According to WND:
Al-Jazeera reporter Naisser Hssaini mentioned the increase in apprehensions of illegal aliens known as OTMs – other than Mexicans. These foreigners increasingly include Arabs, Muslims and others from the Middle East. The reporter also mentioned his familiarity with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement police of catching and releasing OTMS – particularly those not specifically known to be on any terrorist watch list.
Great. It's comforting to know that al-Qaeda understands what the immigration doves in Congress can't seem to fathom.

Pathogen Shifts

"Never have we had to fight such a battle, to protect so many people against so many threats that are so silent and so lethal."
That's Sen. Bill Frist's bottom line in a speech he gave at Harvard on June 1, which appears today in Real Clear Politics. Frist sees ahead an inevitable pathogen crisis, when new, more virulent diseases descend on a world ill-prepared to defend itself. Take, for example, avian flu:
For the virus that is currently the greatest threat, the Avian flu, a vaccine would not become available, at best, until six to nine months after the outbreak of a pandemic. Even then that vaccine would not be available en masse. And even then we do not know if that vaccine would work. It is still experimental. So, in essence, we have no vaccine for Avian flu. Nor do we have enough of the anti-viral agent Tamiflu to treat more than one percent of our population for the Avian flu. To acquire more anti-viral agent, we would need to get in line behind Britain and France and Canada who have tens of millions of doses on order. And where must the world’s only factory in Switzerland go to get the raw materials needed to manufacture Tamiflu? To Asia, to the region that will be hit earliest and likely hardest, and, specifically, to China and only China.
As if the natural "pathogen shift" made possible by wildlife living in closer proximity to domestic animals, and more people having the wealth to eat domestic animals, weren't bad enough, there's the matter of deliberate infection attacks by terrorists:
Who would gamble that if the terrorist enemy possessed even a single nuclear charge, he would fail to devote all his resources to its detonation in the midst of the maximum number of innocents? And though not as initially dramatic as a nuclear blast, biological warfare is potentially far more destructive than the kind of nuclear attack feasible at the operational level of the terrorist, and biological war is itself distressingly easy to wage.

As the commission on intelligence capabilities reported to the President two months ago: “Biological weapons are cheaper and easier to acquire than nuclear weapons -- and they could be more deadly. The threat is deeply troubling today; it will be more so tomorrow….”

Dr. Frist's call for a "new Manhattan Project" is compelling. If I were like my cousin Chris, who's career involves genetics and such, I'd be signing up.

The Gentleness And Harshness Of Faith

If you're looking for an exceptionally good read for a Saturday morning, settle back and enjoy this.

Waiter Rant tells the story of three priests who dine at his station, and the bittersweet memories they bring to him. Wonderful, wonderful!

h/t Anchoress

Friday, June 24, 2005

Brutality, Including Child Rape, In Myanmar

BBC reports that the Brits are going to push for action against the Burmese army based on well documented reports by Guy Horton of extreme human rights abuses, including:

Government soldiers are said to routinely use torture as a weapon, along with the rape of girls as young as five.

Mr Horton told the BBC he had video of "villages in the process of being burnt down", the mass slaughter of animals and "numerous" people being murdered. "It shows one particular massacre of 10 people," he added.

During one four-week visit, almost every village he saw had been burned to the ground. Villagers told him of soldiers throwing babies onto a fire during one raid.

Let's never forget. There are two worlds on this planet; one of democracy and freedom, and another darker world, depraved, deprived of morality, evil. More power to the Brits, but if you're dealing with someone who can throw a baby on a fire, how exactly do you negotiate?

Ups and Downs Of Iranian Election

Publius Pundit has the real story on the recent Iranian election, and this is it:

No one is showing up to vote. This photo, taken in Tabriz, is indicative of voter response in a country that is disgusted with its leadership and its lack of options at the polls.

The Western media is ignoring the story, pretending that Iran is a democracy of sorts. Why? Laziness? Fear? Unwilling to criticize a fellow Bush-hater?

Its difficult to confirm the articles referenced by Publius, but the media runs with unconfirmed anti-Bush stories with regularity. So how can they ignore stuff like this?

Millions of Iranians have boycotted the sham run off elections of the Islamic regime despite the clerics’ tactic of creating fear among the population. The rejection of the regime and its totality is so massive that even the joker card of Islamic republic “AhmadiNejad” was not able to boost the quote of an already discredited Rafsnajani.

In Tehran which has over 14 millions of inhabitants, the regime had to close down several ballot boxes, installed last week, and to consolidate them in order to be able to offer a better show to foreign reporters in the Capital. Same trend has been reported from cities, such as, Tabriz, Esfahan, Mashad, Amol, Zahedan, Abadan, Ahwaz, Khorram-Abad, Mashad, Hamedan, Kermanshah and Oroomiah (former Rezai-e).

Most of the few voters are members of security forces and their families, some governmental employees, paid voters and even well recognized prostitutes transformed into pro-Rafsanjani cheerleaders and supporters.

Rumors about the use of mentally health interned individuals ID cards are spread across Iran.

Update: A different point of view at today's State Dept. press briefing:

QUESTION: The Iranian election, again. Still. They say voting has been extended, so many people are lining up. So I just wondered if this indicates at least the Iranian people feel like they have a choice since you have said that the United States doesn't think they do.

MR. ERELI: Well, the United States thinks that the choice has been severely restricted, to the point that it doesn't represent -- to the extent that it's not a fair representation of the desires of the Iranian people. But as far as comment on the voting process that's underway today, it's ongoing. I don't have the latest facts and details. And, you know, it's something that, before commenting on, we'd want to see what happens.

Spin Meter: Cheney on Gitmo

The Vice President was on CNN today, discussion Gitmo

"They're very well treated down there. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want. There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people."

Asked if the detention center should be shut down and the prisoners transferred, Cheney said "it's a vital facility" and must continue operating.

The approximately 520 remaining detainees are "terrorists. They're bomb-makers. They're facilitators of terror. They're members of al-Qaida and the Taliban," Cheney said. "If you let them out, they'll go back to trying to kill Americans."

Spin Meter
1 - Feel free to walk around the cabin
2 - Mild turblence
3 - Barely holding onto control
4 - Dangerous tailspin
5 - Crashed and burned

I think the reference to "living in the tropics" is way over the top and is just an easy target for Dems, but otherwise, it's a pretty good job of saying it right:

"Jane, You Ignorant ****"

Shana Alexander, the liberal voice on 60 Minute's Point/Counterpoint who was lampooned perfectly by Jane Curtain in early Saturday Night Live shows, has died. Here's an article from the Seattle Post Lack-of-Intelligencer, which feels comfortable putting in a family newspaper the word I used stars for above.

That Confusing Morality Thing

This today from The Daily Kof:
Immediately after the election, there was much speculation as to what would become of the "values voters" who were claiming credit for Bush's re-election. Of course, since then we've all come to realize that this term essentially referred to wingnuts like Falwell and Dobson, not some demographic which just happened to have more values in their souls than the rest of us. But what has become of these folks and their claim to dominance over the Republicans? Seems like a question all those speculators might want to answer at some point.
Granted, Kos doesn't necessarily speak for the DNC, but his blog is certainly aligned strongly with the current leadership. If anyone's getting the DNC talking points, its Kos. So many points to make about this:
  1. The post-election speculation was not about what would become of values voters, but what would become of the current DNC leadership in light of the values voter. It is interesting that Kos is attempting to turn this around: An admission of the inability of the DNC to respond effectively to morality voters?
  2. Marginalization is always alive and well (sick) in the DNC. Their attempt to marginalize the morality vote to wingnuts, then to take the man with the most popular radio program in the world and cast him as a wingnut, shows how impossible it is for the current Dem leadership to climb the morality mountain.
  3. Categorizing all of us as wingnuts allows them to sign in relief that the morality voter doesn't have "more values in their souls" than those who espouse the sort of immorality that permeates the left side of the blogosphere.
  4. Our "dominance over the Republicans" is an interesting concept. The Left fails to recognize that the more accurate phrase would be our "same-mindedness with the Republicans." Sure, there are GOP electeds that posture at morality, but by and large the GOP leadership is in leadership because it reflects the spirit of the party, and the party reflects the spirit of the morality voter.
People can only look at things through their context, through their reality. We on the right have an advantage because all of us were sinners and many of us were left wing sinners at some point in our lives. Few of Kos' readers were ever conservative, God-fearing Republicans. So they just don't, and probably can't, understand us.

Big Bird Reprieve

Note To Paul Krugman

Krugman's got it all wrong in his NYT column. He argues that "war presidents" are so dangerous we cannot afford to look at the current reasons for this war; we must have a full-blown investigation into whether the Bush Administration "hyped the case for war."

No, Paul. Such an investigation now would put the lives of soldiers at risk, and worse, would further the goal of you and other Leftists to "Vietnam-ize" this conflict, cutting it short and risking the sort of horrors -- or worse! -- that followed our departure from Vietnam.

Yes, a strong nation studies itself and determines how to steer a better course. Let's do that, by all means. But let's wait until the job is done, the troops are home and the terrorists are vanquished.

That will not only serve to protect those who protect us, it will also show just how petty and mean you and your cohorts are. Besides, as the WashTimes put it so well today in dissecting the Downing Street memos:
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last year found no evidence that Mr. Bush or his top advisers, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, pressured the intelligence community to make the case for war. A separate British inquiry absolved Prime Minister Tony Blair of similar charges. Still, the "Bush Lied" argument refuses to die in certain circles on the left, and now they have primary documents to prove it -- or so they would have us think.

Judge Orders CIA Agents' Arrest

An Italian judge has ordered the arrest of 13 US CIA agents suspected of "rendering" an Imam ullah off the streets of Milan so he could be transported to Egypt for questioning. (here)

It doesn't seem to matter that the Italians were seeking evidence to lock up the Imam at the time. Abu Omar was believed to have fought with jihadists in Afghanistan and Bosnia and was their investigation is an indication he was up to no good in Italy. Nevertheless, the Italians see the US move as an abduction and are moving forward with prosecution.

This underscores what Karl Rove was saying the other day. Liberals see the War on Terror as a legal matter; conservatives see it as a military matter. Had Italy's strategy prevailed, some form of mutated and insufficient justice may have occurred, but it wouldn't have been pretty. Omar's attorneys would have used the trial for their political and propaganda ends, and precious little intelligence would have been gained.

Viewing Omar as an enemy agent on foreign soil led to his abduction, interrogation and later release. We don't know what was gained from the interrogation, but that's irrelevant. He is an enemy agent and thanks to the CIA, he was interrogated.

Next time, though, the spooks should view operations like this as high-risk and hostile, and cover their tracks. They were identified through hotel and cell phone records. Pretty pathetic.

Omar apparently has been re-apprehended in Egypt after his release, an indication that we're dealing with some folks who just don't deserve due process.

More on Kelo

Steven Greenhut of the OCRegister has an excellent editorial on the Supreme Court's upsetting Kelo lack-of-property-rights decision, and the history of such decisions since the 1950s.

Update: George Will on Kelo:
During oral arguments in February, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled the essence of New London's brazen claim: "You can take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?" Yesterday the court said that the modifier "public" in the phrase "public use" does not modify government power at all. That is the logic of the opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Talking Points Memo To Rove

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks
and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of
the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and
offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

Dem's don't like this quote from Karl Rove (h/t with a thank you to Michelle Malkin) and are shrieking for his resignation. I propose he follow up his first quote with a second one:

"I'll consider resigning when Dick Durbin resigns.
It is much less a sin to impugn the reputation of the
DNC than it is to villainize our brave soldiers."

Update: Hewitt's got it chronicled! Calls by Dems and liberal groups for indictments, therapy, understanding and various nefarious incantations of Kumbaya are documented in giddy detail. It's glorious reading.

Kelo et. al. Mugabe Style

Using eminent domain to build a much needed flood control system or highway despite a property owner who is holding out is one thing. But today's Kelo decision allows private homes and businesses be taken so cities can let other private property owners build businesses that benefit city finances.

This disincentivizes cities from being more fiscally responsible. It's spend some, condemn some, raze some, raise some, tax some, spend some. It's a terrible thing to allow city councils this power. The better solution is to restructure taxes so big retailers don't have such a fiscal advantage over homeowners, or, possibly, to require that evicted homeowners in such situations get partnership profits over the long haul instead of one-time "fair-market" buyouts.

Kelo is especially troubling in the context of what can happen when government takes this too far. I'm thinking, of course, of Zimbabwe, where the heinous dictator Robert Mugabe is razing settlements of poor people -- his political opponents -- in the name of redevelopment. Look at this:

Kelo gone wild. (BBC photo)

There's nothing at all funny about Mugabe's reign, or his recent uprooting of one million of his countrymen. Charles Bird at Redstate.Org has an excellent analysis of China's complicity in Zimbabwe's sinking disaster (h/t Betsy). The country's population has dropped from 13 million to 10 million as its brain and financial power flees, those remaining are dying and if they live, live in fear, and the Communist Chinese are using this pain to gain a foothold in Africa.

I know this is a disjointed post; file it under "two things that really upset me."

Update: Anti-eminent domain crusader Stephen Greenhut writing on the OC Register's blog:
The result of this decision will be disastrous: It will mean the Garden Grove-ization of America, as every two-bit planner will begin looking for neighborhoods and small businesses to bulldoze to make way for tax-generating new big-box stores, Indian casinos, auto malls or theme parks.

The majority said that it wasn't its business to second guess the constitutionality of local cities, but this court has never shied away from second guessing other local decisions on other matters.

Stay Away From Seat 29E

I've seen a lot of blogs, but now, thanks (I guess) to She Who Must Be Obeyed, I've seen The Poop Report. Basically much, much too much information. But this post on seat 29E is hugely funny, especially if you, like me, find yourself hurtling through the atmosphere in an aluminum tube from time to time. Enjoy.

The Good Quote

Commenting on yesterday's 60-38 Senate vote rejecting a watered-down Kyoto treaty, Senate Energy and Natural Resourcess Committee Chair Pete Domenici (R-NM):

"Kyoto is unachievable; and if you look at the numbers
it is impossible; and it is easy to see why the Senante
voted against signing the Kyoto Protocol 95-0 [in 1997].
The reason this bill can't be passed is because it can't
be implemented; nobody knows how to do it, you can't do
it, and nobody who has looked at it has said it can be done."

Source: WashTimes

PBS Is Using Your Money To Lobby

More than 100 of the 145 member stations of the Association of Public Television Stations, public television's lobbying arm, have run spots on their stations, used talk radio programs, and posted items on their web sites decrying proposed cuts to their federal subsidies. A majority of the 780 public radio stations that are members of National Public Radio have done the same. (source)

That's our airtime they're using. Did you tell them that it's all right with you if they use resources we paid for with our tax dollars to try to undermine the directives of the administration we elected? Didn't think so.

The only way their messages will be effective is if they:
  1. Identify the source of their problem, which they will define as the Bush Administration
  2. Say the Administration is wrong
  3. Urge their faithful listeners, who are primarily liberal, to take action against the Administration.
That is not appropriate use of public funds, and the arrogance of the public broadcasters in undertaking this shows that they are, in fact, biased. There can be no room for bias in publicly funded media, and there can be no media without bias. That's just a fact of human nature.

There may have been a legit reason for PBS back when there were only three networks, but now with cable, Internet, satellite and a plethora of news sources, the public can find a news channel that meets their information needs.

The solution is to cut the CPB budget not by 25% but by 100%.

Beijing Trying To Buy Unocal

The Communist People's Republic of China is becoming more capitalistic every day, now bidding $18.5 billion to try to snatch Unocal Corp. from Chevron, which is offering $16.4 billion for it. The deal follows on these, listed by the NYTimes:

This week, a consortium of investors led by the Haier Group, one of China's biggest companies, moved to acquire the Maytag Corporation, the American appliance maker, for about $1.3 billion, surpassing a bid from a group of American investors.

Last month, Lenovo, China's largest computer maker, completed its $1.75 billion deal for I.B.M.'s personal computer business, creating the world's third-largest computer maker after Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

(Disclaimer: Chevron is a current client; Unocal is a past client.)

The consumer product aquisitions are somewhat troubling in their own right, but going after a US oil company is a matter of much greater concern. The deal attracted the attention of two home-state (Unocal is based in LA) Congressmen, Duncan Hunter and Richard Pombo, who wrote President Bush, urging:

"As the world energy landscape shifts, we believe that it is critical to understand the implications for American interests and most especially, the threat posed by China's governmental pursuit of world energy resources. The United States increasingly needs to view meeting its energy requirements within the context of our foreign policy, national security and economic security agenda."

Indeed. As fellow SoCal blogger Dawn's Early Light points out (here, here) acquisition and transportation of oil will be on an even par with Taiwan in future US-Chinese relations. The battle has started with Beijing's attempt to purchase Unocal, and we need to begin protecting our strategic assets now.

The administration is free-market driven, but in this case, it must firmly and quickly tell Beijing, "Hands off!" Signals are important, and the signal to send this time is "We will not roll over."

Lott vs. Durbin: No Contest

No surprise, but MSM regards quotes that put our soldiers at risk today as less newsworthy than quotes that reference bygone and never-returning history. From WashTimes:
According to an analysis by the conservative Media Research Center, CBS News has not run a single story about Mr. Durbin's remarks on the Senate floor June 14, even the morning after his tearful apology Tuesday.

ABC ran its first story Tuesday night, and NBC ran two stories, the first one regarding the White House's reaction to Mr. Durbin's comments two days after they were delivered and one after Tuesday's apology.

Both Mr. Lott and Mr. Durbin generated firestorms of criticism from both the opposing political party and outside groups who took offense. But the New York Times ran just two stories about the Durbin furor -- one a 180-word brief from the Associated Press and one with a staff byline -- and The Washington Post published three.

In the eight days from when Mr. Lott's comments began to elicit outrage, the New York Times published five stories, including front-page stories three consecutive days. The Washington Post also published six stories, including two on the front page.


Obsession can be (and has been) defined as continuing to blindly pursue something long after you've forgotten why you're pursuing it.

That can be said of the Dems. Their obsession is their overwhelming hatred of Bush, their anger that he beat Gore, and their desire to unseat him in 2004.

All that is history, yet they obsess on. Their vileness drove many to vote for Bush in 2004, perhaps costing them the election. Now, with statements like those by Durbin last week, their obsession is putting US soldiers at risk.

The DNC needs a huge psychiatrist's couch to lie down on. They need to work through this. America is being paralyzed by their obsession, and it's time for them to heal themselves so we can get on with the business of leading the world toward democracy and freedom.

Saudi Terror Suspect Dies In Iraq

A terrorist sought by Saudi Arabia for killings there has been killed by US forces in Iraq. AP referred to Abdullah Mohammed Rashid al-Roshoud as a "militant;" he is in fact a terrorist, a wanton killer of women and children.

Notice of al-Roshoud's death came from al-Zarqawi, and is an interesting read:

The Saudi militant and a group of mujahedeen "killed some of the Crusaders until the enemies of God had to withdraw," it said.

"When the Crusaders could not enter the area, the only thing they could do was bombard the mujahedeen with warplanes," it said. "Our sheik (al-Roshoud) got what he wished" — martyrdom.

What a coincidence. We wished martyrdom for him as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Truth About "The Truth About Hillary"

To mute a bit the deafening buzz you're hearing about Edward Klein's new book, The Truth About Hillary, keep this in mind: (AMZN: news, chart, profile) notes online that customers who bought the Klein book also bought" "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out against John Kerry," "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America" and "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter" by Ann Coulter, and so on. (h/t MarketWatch via Media Bistro)
People read criticisms of people they're critical of, and puff pieces on people they feel positive about. The book will outrage those who dislike Hillary and not sway a single Clinton devotee, because they won't read it. Its only impact as a decision-changer will be on those in the middle, and they won't care enough to read it. So the buzz is all that matters.