27 June 2006

Because it makes our claims of heroic dissent look pathetic

[source, source]

A disturbing anecdote from Col. McMaster illustrates why. His 3rd ACR broke the insurgents’ hold of the city of Tal Afar last September in an operation which generated these effusive words of praise from the town’s mayor:

“To the lion hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets…(you are) not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.”

Time magazine had a reporter and a photographer embedded with the 3rd ACR. When the battle was over, they filed a lengthy story and nearly 100 photographs.

“When the issue came out, the guts had been edited out of the reporter’s story and none of the photographs he submitted were used,” said the admiral, quoting Col. McMaster. “When the reporter questioned why his story was eviscerated, his editors…responded that the story and pictures were ‘too heroic.’”

Yet the same Old Media gangs have no problem with implying the heroism of those “resisting” American interests. It’s only the troops they “support” that can’t be portrayed accurately. And there’s no such reticence when it comes to portraying the troops as monsters or thugs. Not that there’s a pre-determined story line or anything.

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Losing less

[source source]

Vietnam’s top three leaders have resigned, saying they want to make way for younger politicians.

The National Assembly in Hanoi approved the resignations of President Tran Duc Luong, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, and Assembly Speaker Nguyen Van An.

They are in their seventies or late sixties, and failed to win re-election to the Communist Party Politburo.


The resignations were announced on Saturday by the General Secretary of the Communist Party, Nong Duc Manh.

He told the National Assembly that because of their age and the policy of rejuvenation of the leadership, the three leaders had expressed their intention of not standing for re-election.

While it’s still a Communist regime, you do have to give credit to them for not heading for the Castro / Cuba ash heap of economic failure.

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If it explodes, it leads

A Dell laptop explodes on a table at a conference. With pictures!

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Let's not forget this

[source, source]

American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.

I can’t decide if Rep. Murtha thinks this because “America is Evil” or because America is the only moral agent on the planet so everyone else only reacts to America.

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26 June 2006

Apparently it's the profit motive that's True Evil

If Julius and Ethel Rosenburg were alive today, they’d be working for the Times (LA or NY, different varieties of the same swill) and they’d be openly getting away with their treason with a smile on their face and with the moonbats cheering them on.

M. Scott Eiland

Yes, as far as I can tell from the attitude of the NY Times and the LA Times, if the Rosenbergs had simply published the plans on the front page of the NY Times instead of giving them directly to the Soviets, they’d be respected journalists. What more do you need to know about modern day journalism?

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24 June 2006

That you don't see the humor just makes it funnier

[source, source]

SIX United States soldiers on their way home from service in Iraq were placed under citizen’s arrest after an anti-war activist spotted them walking around a town [Shannon, Ireland] in their uniforms.


“I placed the soldiers under citizen’s arrest because these soldiers are not supposed to be walking freely on the streets of Ireland in uniform. It is a breach of the Irish Constitution and Irish neutrality,” he [Connor Cregan] said.


The men remained on the footpath as Mr Cregan contacted emergency services. “I was put through to Ennis garda station, but the garda on duty made light of the matter,” Mr Cregan said.

Cregan’s probably lucky that the policeman he called wasn’t drinking coffee, or he might have been arrested for reckless endangerment. One is also left wondering if the soldiers waited to be polite or because they were incapacited with mirth.

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22 June 2006

And now, idiots


Kate Hudson, the chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is implacably opposed to the retention of a modern nuclear deterrent for Britain, arguing that:

To embark on a new nuclear arms race — which is how replacing Trident would be seen abroad - would send the worst possible signal to countries that are already impatient with the nuclear weapons states for failing to comply with their obligation, under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to begin the process of disarmament.

I’m not sure what sort of “signals” Kate Hudson favours. For example, in February of this year, Kate Hudson signed a letter, which was published in the Guardian, expressing her “deepest concern” at the news that the UK, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China were to report Iran to the UN security council, as part of the Anti-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty enforcement procedures. So, clearly, such multilaterial processes are also unacceptable to CND.

While we’re on the subject, it is worth mentioning that CND is also opposed to Britain developing its civil nuclear power industry:

CND believes that nuclear power does not make environmental or economic sense, and Blair’s move to bring new nuclear power stations to Britain must be stopped in its tracks.

When it comes to Iran’s nuclear programme, however, CND have a rather more, erm, nuanced position. In October 2005, CND invited a very special guest to address its annual conference:

The Iranian Ambassador, Dr Seyed Mohammed Hossein Adeli will speak at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s Annual Conference on the 15-16th October 2005. He will be giving Iran’s perspective on the current controversy around the Iranian civil nuclear power programme When it comes to Iran’s nuclear programme, however, CND have a rather more, erm, nuanced position. In October 2005, CND invited a very special guest to address its annual conference:

The Iranian Ambassador, Dr Seyed Mohammed Hossein Adeli will speak at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s Annual Conference on the 15-16th October 2005. He will be giving Iran’s perspective on the current controversy around the Iranian civil nuclear power programme

The CND is still around and siding with oppressive regimes against liberal democracies? Some things never change…

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This is not the pattern you are looking for

Since everyone else is doing it, let’s link to a gloating post about the Fannie Mae scandal, which involved a mistatement of roughly $11B (yes, “Billion”) in earnings, a scam designed to justify massive performance bonuses for the executives running Fannie Mae. It also turns out that those same executives were in tight with a number of major figures in the Democratic Party. Hmmm, Enron, the Oil for Food Scandal, Fannie Mae. Only one made big headlines from the start. Only one had strong links to the GOP. I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

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What's not fit to print

[source, source]

Case in point: the New York Times and their love affair with the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. To date, the New York Times has devoted over 50 front page articles to the story! Currently, not a single individual chronicled in our book, Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, - some of the most highly decorated members of the United States military - has received a front-page story devoted to his or her valorous actions. Even when Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the best the New York Times could muster was a story buried on page 13.

At what point can we ask how the NY Times’ coverage of the war in Iraq differs from Tokyo Rose’s coverage of the war in the Pacific? I don’t that the NY Times staff is doing this purely out of support for American’s enemies, as my impression of the staff is that everyone on the planet except Americans are simply scenery, not people. I suspect it’s a mixture of hatred of America, fear of consequences, a complete lack of introspection, and an inability to comprehend connections between their actions and the real world.

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21 June 2006

Holes with no bottom chronicles

At Little Green Footballs is a post with a screen capture of a story put out by CBS/AP about a Chinese mission to the Moon. So many ways to be wrong:

  • It was originally posted with a Japanese flag (confusing two of the most important nations on the planet: check!)
  • The shadow of the flag goes the wrong way (ignorance of basic physics: check!)
  • The picture is of Dione, a moon of Saturn (living on a different planet: check!)

The last point just kills me — not even knowing what the Moon, that big bright thing in the sky, looks like? That’s cosmically wrong.

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19 June 2006

Doing for the natives what they won't do for themselves

[source, source]

EVER since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel “should be wiped off the map.” Iran’s nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.

Well, yes, because it seems like a rather significant statement, especially for a theocracy that is trying to build the nuclear weapons with which to do that.

But is that what Mr. Ahmadinejad said? And if so, was it a threat of war? For months, a debate among Iran specialists over both questions has been intensifying. It starts as a dispute over translating Persian but quickly turns on whether the United States (with help from Israel) is doing to Iran what some believe it did to Iraq — building a case for military action predicated on a faulty premise.

I.e., losing the debate on the facts, the appeasers (such as the NY Times) decided to debate the political implications instead, which lets them presume the “faulty premise” instead of providing evidence.

“Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian,” remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. “He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse.” Since Iran has not “attacked another country aggressively for over a century,” he said in an e-mail exchange, “I smell the whiff of war propaganda.”

Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: “The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that ‘this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,’ just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The ‘page of time’ phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon.”

If one wants to have a fact free debate, Juan Cole is a good choice and any columnist for the Guardian is a good bet as well. Just look at his ability to call things said by Ayatollah Khomeini “ancient statements”. Cole is no slouch either, managing to elide the fact that he doesn’t speak Persian and so can’t be an authority for a translation.

The NY Times tries to have it both ways, however, by burying some key facts at the end of the article.

But translators in Tehran who work for the president’s office and the foreign ministry disagree with them. All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement, including a description of it on his Web site (www.president.ir/eng/), refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran’s most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say “wipe off” or “wipe away” is more accurate than “vanish” because the Persian verb is active and transitive.

So, we have translators and bilingual experts working directly for Ahmadinejad and the Iranian government who consider the translation in question completely accurate, in contrast to a professor and a columnist who don’t speak the language. It’s clear which pair the NY Times considers more (politically) reliable.

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Limits of tolerance


She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart.

But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her — Christ — her microphone went dead.

The decision to cut short McComb’s commencement speech Thursday at The Orleans drew jeers from the nearly 400 graduates and their families that went on for several minutes.

However, Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb’s mic was the right call. […]

In other words, the government, backed by the ACLU, censored speech based upon its content. Had McComb’s speech praised Fidel Castro and proselytized for Commmunism, the ACLU would have defended her rights vociferously, had it occurred to the school district to protest.

Yes, the ACLU is fine with defending Nazis, Communists, and enemy sympathizers, but Christ — that’s just unacceptable.

P.S. When I was faced with a similar situation (graduation speech, hostile administration), I was lucky to have a small enough class that I didn’t need a microphone so I couldn’t be cut off.

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Proof of innocence

[source, source]

While sticking to its demand for the establishment of an independent inquiry into a blast on a Gaza beach 10 days ago that killed seven Palestinian civilians, the Human Rights Watch conceded Monday night for the first time since the incident that it could not contradict the IDF’s exonerating findings.

Note carefully that HRW isn’t trying to discover the truth, but trying to contradict Israel’s evidence. That tells you what you want to know about HRW’s agenda / bias. HRW also says it wants an independent inquiry, but it’s Hamas that’s erased all the evidence. Not at all unexpectedly, HRW doesn’t seem to give voice to any concerns about that.

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Still plenty of cash for the important things

[source, source]

As the international community wails about the desperate plight of the “cash-starved” Palestinian people, arms dealers in the PA can’t keep up with the demand for tools of violence

A Palestinian arms dealer in Ramallah, who wished to remain anonymous as he offered to sell NEWSWEEK an unsolicited MP5 submachine gun, says that the price of a U.S.-made M-16 on the black market has doubled, from $5,000 to $10,000, since Hamas took power. “Hamas is buying like crazy,” the dealer says.

About what you’d expect from this earlier report. There are those who claim that having to govern will cause Hamas to turn from its thuggish ways to a Westernized political party, but so far I haven’t seen any sign of that.

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15 June 2006

I didn't mean calendar time

[source, source]

A review of Friedman’s punditry reveals a long series of similar do-or-die dates that never seem to get any closer.

“The next six months in Iraq–which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there–are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time.” (New York Times, 11/30/03)

“What I absolutely don’t understand is just at the moment when we finally have a UN-approved Iraqi-caretaker government made up of–I know a lot of these guys–reasonably decent people and more than reasonably decent people, everyone wants to declare it’s over. I don’t get it. It might be over in a week, it might be over in a month, it might be over in six months, but what’s the rush? Can we let this play out, please?” (NPR’s Fresh Air, 6/3/04)

“What we’re gonna find out, Bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war.” (CBS’s Face the Nation, 10/3/04)

“Improv time is over. This is crunch time. Iraq will be won or lost in the next few months. But it won’t be won with high rhetoric. It will be won on the ground in a war over the last mile.” (New York Times, 11/28/04)

“I think we’re in the end game now… I think we’re in a six-month window here where it’s going to become very clear and this is all going to pre-empt I think the next congressional election–that’s my own feeling– let alone the presidential one.” (NBC’s Meet the Press, 9/25/05)

“Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won’t, then we are wasting our time.” (New York Times, 9/28/05)

“We’ve teed up this situation for Iraqis, and I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it’s going to come together.” (CBS’s Face the Nation, 12/18/05)

“We’re at the beginning of I think the decisive I would say six months in Iraq, OK, because I feel like this election–you know, I felt from the beginning Iraq was going to be ultimately, Charlie, what Iraqis make of it.” (PBS’s Charlie Rose Show, 12/20/05)

“The only thing I am certain of is that in the wake of this election, Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it–and the next six months will tell us a lot. I remain guardedly hopeful.” (New York Times, 12/21/05)

“I think that we’re going to know after six to nine months whether this project has any chance of succeeding. In which case, I think the American people as a whole will want to play it out or whether it really is a fool’s errand.” (Oprah Winfrey Show, 1/23/06)

“I think we’re in the end game there, in the next three to six months, Bob. We’ve got for the first time an Iraqi government elected on the basis of an Iraqi constitution. Either they’re going to produce the kind of inclusive consensual government that we aspire to in the near term, in which case America will stick with it, or they’re not, in which case I think the bottom’s going to fall out.” (CBS, 1/31/06)

“I think we are in the end game. The next six to nine months are going to tell whether we can produce a decent outcome in Iraq.” (NBC’s Today, 3/2/06)

“Can Iraqis get this government together? If they do, I think the American public will continue to want to support the effort there to try to produce a decent, stable Iraq. But if they don’t, then I think the bottom is going to fall out of public support here for the whole Iraq endeavor. So one way or another, I think we’re in the end game in the sense it’s going to be decided in the next weeks or months whether there’s an Iraq there worth investing in. And that is something only Iraqis can tell us.” (CNN, 4/23/06)

“Well, I think that we’re going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months–probably sooner–whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we’re going to have to just let this play out.” (MSNBC’s Hardball, 5/11/06)

As others have noted, the problem isn’t that Friedman says this over and over, but that he’s considered an expert for doing so.

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Be careful what you ask for

[source, source]

Adriana Gil braved death threats, public insults and social ostracism to campaign for Evo Morales in Bolivia’s conservative eastern region during the presidential election last year. She now feels “betrayed” by the ruling Movement Toward Socialism, which expelled her and invaded her family’s land.

The only question here is, was Gil too ditzy to understand what she was supporting, or cynical enough to think she could get herself and family exempted from the fate planned for others in her class? I suspect the former, because later in the article it’s clear that she still doesn’t see the connection.

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Post-modern art

[source, source]

David Hensel could not help but chuckle when he went to see his sculpture on display at the Royal Academy.

At first, after wandering through the Summer Exhibition, he concluded that it was nowhere to be seen. But eventually he found it. Or rather, he didn’t.

What he did find was the sculpture’s empty plinth and wooden base displayed as “Exhibit 1201”.

Mr Hensel had never considered the empty plinth a work of art in itself. But the exhibition selectors evidently did. So, too, did visitors, who pronounced it beautiful.

No one seemed to notice, or mind, that the sculpture itself, a laughing head entitled One Day Closer to Paradise, was missing. “What apparently happened was that they had become separated and the selectors judged the empty base a good enough sculpture in its own right to include it in the show,” said Mr Hensel.

What’s the problem? According to post-modern theory, it is the audience that determines the meaning of a text, not the creator.

UPDATE: I was kidding, but apparently this guy isn’t. [via Tim Blair]

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12 June 2006

Just a few more eggs for the omelette


It doesn’t seem so long since we saw a plethora of news coverage describing a humanitarian crisis as Gaza’s medical supplies dwindled. Israeli media reports now make us wonder how serious the crisis really is. YNet News writes:

Livni told Welch that Israel sought to transfer to the Palestinian Authority medications worth NIS 50 million (about USD 11 million), but the Palestinians asked that the sum be delivered in cash from their tax money. Israeli defense officials said that “the Palestinians’ stance reveals that there is no real health crisis in the PA and that they are trying to use the money for other needs.”

The affair was exposed by Channel 10. According to the report, the World Health Organization (WHO) failed to convince the Palestinians to receive the medications from Israel…

WHO representatives recently got back to Israel, saying that the Palestinians were not interested in receiving the medications. According to the representatives, the Palestinians are interested in cash for their own needs.

Considering that Health Minister Dr. Basem Naim recently slammed WHO for failing to denounce “Israeli practices in the Palestinian territories,” we have to wonder: Is Hamas risking the health of the Palestinians for political gain, or is the medical situation perhaps not as dire we’ve been lead to believe?

It says much about the PA and Hamas that there’s no obvious answer to this question. One is also left wondering whether the PA even cares what the answer is.

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Just one more confirming incident

[source, source]

The Associated Press is opening a new branch of their television news service, APTN, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The bureau will be manned by three local North Koreans who “will adhere to the AP’s reporting standards.”

At least they will be able to do that without getting in trouble from the North Korean regime.

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08 June 2006

Because it's rude to cheer for your enemies

[source, source]

Early AP dispatches from the press conference Nouri al-Maliki held this morning to announce the death of Zarqawi said these words were “drawing loud applause from reporters” there.

That didn’t sound typical, and NBC’s Richard Engel was more precise on Today this morning: “Iraqi reporters cheered.” American reporters don’t cheer American victories. They suggest this won’t mean much in the long run.

Is that not exactly the spin that you’d expect from the side in the war that just suffered a defeat?

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If it's rumoured to bleed, it leads


Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan: Earlier this week, Glenn Reynolds reproduced an informal email from Afghanistan, which included an anecdote about the Canadian media maintaining the “Death Watch” (their own words) at Kandahar Airfield. The reporters are restricted to maintaining a presence at the airbase to report on potential deaths or wounding of Canadian soldiers. The soldiers resent the media for this, and the reporters do not like manning the DeathWatch as well. They are at the mercy of the news bureaus, who crave the sensational stories.

Tonight I had the displeasure of witnessing the Death Watch in action. An Al Jazeera report, based on an unsubstantiated claim from an unnamed Taliban source, indicated a Canadian soldier was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Reuters repeated the unsubstantiated claim, which later morphed into an unspecified number of Coalition troops. Canada’s Globe and Mail, in a rush to press, misidentified the lead Canadian Public Affairs Officer, Major Scott Lundy, as the “spokesman for NATO Special Forces” (the webmaster later corrected this and removed the reference to Major Lundy altogether.)

The Canadian media rushes into action, trying to get to the bottom of the story which very likely is a Taliban information operation. Cell phones are buzzing, reporters are pressing the public affairs officers for quotes. The Death Watch is in full news-gathering mode. Media outlets in Canadian are requesting live interviews and quick columns from their reporters at the airfield. The Canadian forces are in turn conducting a headcount but discount the reports, as this has happened in the past. If this is a false report, as it likely is, the propaganda machine of al-Qaeda and the Taliban has succeeded yet again in manipulating the Western media into doing their bidding.

Yes, indeed, it turned out to be another Taliban psy-op that was executed successfully against Old Media. It doesn’t show how savvy the Taliban are, it shows how gullible and eager to be an enemy propaganda mill Old Media is. What’s next, hostage videos with GI Joe dolls? Oh wait …

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07 June 2006

Just a personal note

Orrin Judd, deconstructionist.

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06 June 2006

Killing fun

Via Mudville Gazette, a story in the NY Times lamenting how the inability to get lots of pictures of American dead in Iraq is hurting the careers and “fun” (direct quote) of the photo-journalists. You only need one quote to get the basic gist:

FOR war photography, Vietnam remains the bloody yardstick. During the Tet offensive, on Feb. 9, 1968, Time magazine ran a story that was accompanied by photos showing dozens of dead American soldiers stacked like cordwood.

That’s the kind of imagery Old Media selected for a major battle field victory by the US and South Vietnamese military. And they are proud of it.

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05 June 2006

Stilling those inner voices with soothing bias

Michelle Malkin has an article about the Uk newspaper The Times using pictures of Iraqi civilians massacred by caliphascists to accuse US Marines of war crimes. The Times claims that it was a mistake, but one is left wondering why the mistakes always end up indicting America or Israel and never, say, the caliphascists.

The reality is, of course, the mistakes are made both ways but one way gets checked and the other doesn’t. Aniti-Americanism seems to still any possiblity of doubt in Old Media.

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Using trust to verify


[Senator] John Kerry, obviously running for President again, has recently been addressing the charges of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, something he steadfastly refused to do during the 2004 Presidential campaign. Indeed, after their charges made national attention, he never granted another interview with a reporter, on any subject, until the end of the campaign. The only exception: a friendly interview with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. Thomas Lipscomb has a lengthy look at the issue, and at the dereliction of duty by so much of the press in covering the story.

I hadn’t realized that Kerry had enaged in such a shut down during the campaign. Imagine President Bush getting away with stonewalling an issue like that — it would be front page multiple times a week. We’ll see how many reporters mention Kerry’s still unreleased records.

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It's not the Marines who throw those parties, you know


Twelve dead in East Timor, and the UN is in concealment mode:

The United Nations has ordered staff in East Timor not to co-operate with Australian Federal Police investigating the massacre of 12 unarmed Timorese officers by renegade soldiers, prompting allegations of a cover-up.

A letter from the UN’s deputy representative in Timor, Pakistani General Anis Bajwa, had been circulated to all staff, including employees evacuated to Australia, directing them not to assist AFP detectives investigating the worst atrocity since the violence of 1999.

Something has obviously changed since the UN’s era of everyone can see everything.

And we can see the massive, wall to wall coverage of this and the stonewalling, right? It wouldn’t just be some small stories buried in the back pages, right?

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If you can't handle reality, denial is your only option


I’ve spent much of the day watching coverage of the terrorist cell capture and I’ve been dumbstruck, not by the size of the alleged operation — though it was impressive in its apparent scope, but by the attitudes of Canadians interviewed by the media.

Not surprisingly you have some morons blaming Stephen Harper’s “alliance” with George W. Bush and the fact that there are Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. This ignores the fact that the previous government deployed forces in Afghanistan — one of the few things they did to earn my praise — and that the mayor of Toronto was informed of the plot in January, the same month that Harper assumed office. Now I’m no expert of planning terrorist attacks but that would have to mean that the plot began long before Harper moved to 24 Sussex Drive.

Nor are the attitudes of the Muslim community a shock. Yet another attempt to smear Islam said one man, though the media has bent over backwards not to identify any of the men as Muslims. These people couldn’t have done what they are accused of, said another, they came from good homes. So did the men who carried out the September 11 attacks. Virtually all of them were educated, middle class men. And let’s not forget the educated, middle class Brits who launched attacks in London not that long ago. Citizenship, education and good families don’t seem to be total safeguards against terrorist activity.

Here’s my message to the Muslim community: We aren’t blaming Islam or you, but we would like to know how 16 people, armed with three tons of fertilizer, planned to blow up multiple targets around the city you live and work in, and no one noticed. And when will you take notice of the fact there are members of your community who subscribe to violent ideologies and have no problem with killing me and you, as evidenced by their actions around the world. All I hear are denials…

But what truly surprises me is the shock that Torontonians are expressing that their city was a terrorist target. Did they miss the declaration by Osama bin Laden in 2002 that named Canada a target? Are they unaware that radical Islamists are at war not with the United States alone — who merely represents the ultimate symbol of their hatred — but with Western civilization itself?

I’m amazed that in 2006, nearly five years after September 11, that many Canadians continue to be adolescents when it comes to world affairs. It’s as if their education ended in Grade 8 when every Canadian of a certain age was told that we lived in a “fireproof house”, that because of our distance from the world’s troublespots and because — gosh darned it — everyone likes us! we were safe from the bad guys.

We aren’t a target because we have soldiers in Afghanistan, though admittedly it raises our profile, nor because we have a conservative in office. We’re a target because the way we live our lives — as niave about the world as we are — is a threat to the very existence of people who choose to be the slaves of an extremist political-religious sect dreaming of returning to a mythical 7th century past. We are a target because we exist. So long as we are an example of liberal democracy, we are a threat to their existence. Sooner or later, regardless of whether we fight on the war on terror, ally ourselves with the U.S., or elect conservatives, we’re bound to be attacked.

I suspect, however, that Canadians will learn little from this. Calls for our soldiers to come home will increase, opposition politicians will use the terror plot to try and divide us from the U.S. and the notion that we’re a threat to others will be ignored. We’ll just pretend this was an aberration and that, gosh darned it, people still love us. We can negotiate our way out of everything and if we can’t, we’ll just close our eyes and pretend that the biggest issues of the day aren’t a worldwide war against terrorism and expansion of democracy, but rather whether a Canadian team will win the Stanley Cup and how bad the mosquitoes will be this summer.

Until the next plot when the cycle begins again.

It’s just an extreme form of parochialism, where Canadians are simply too insular and unsophisticated to be able to believe that other people might be different from them.

Posted by orbital at 6:31 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

03 June 2006

Perhaps you should ban the word while you're at it

[source, source]

IN the run-up to the football World Cup, spoilsport New Prospect bosses have banned workers from flying England flags.

A letter has been sent from assistant director of property services John Rule, telling managers to instruct staff that maintenance workers using New Prospect’s fleet must not fly any “unauthorised accessories, namely the flag of St George”.

The letter goes on to add that while “those amongst us who support the England football team in the forthcoming World Cup wish the team every success,” the flags were inappropriate and “can seriously compromise the health and safety of our own employees and members of the public”.

The draconian line taken by New Prospect — in charge of Salford City Council’s stock of 27,000 council homes — has infuriated workers who simply want to demonstrate their support for the national team.

If flying the flag of England in England upsets people living in England, then I would have a problem that won’t be solved by not flying that flag.

Posted by orbital at 9:59 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

01 June 2006

Testing all sorts of boundaries

[source, source]

A group of Palestinian children were sent towards the Gaza Strip border fence holding toy guns on Thursday in order to test the vigilance of the soldiers on duty.

From a distance, troops noticed four apparently armed Palestinians approaching the border north of the Kissufim crossing.

When the four were some 400 meters from the fence, the soldiers realized that they were children, who looked to be about 13 years of age, and that their guns were toys.

“We will have peace when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate the Jews”

Posted by orbital at 2:39 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Don't they have a cheat sheet for those?

[source, source, source]

Before President Bush touched down in Pennsylvania Wednesday to promote his nuclear energy policy, the environmental group Greenpeace was mobilizing.

“This volatile and dangerous source of energy” is no answer to the country’s energy needs, shouted a Greenpeace fact sheet decrying the “threat” posed by the Limerick reactors Bush visited.

But a factoid or two later, the Greenpeace authors were stumped while searching for the ideal menacing metaphor.

We present it here exactly as it was written, capital letters and all:

In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world’s worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE].

I wonder if GreenPeace would be interested in developing a little web application that would let them select a set of fears, and a level of concern, and then generate the appropriate factoid text.

Posted by orbital at 2:33 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL