31 January 2007

Wrong personality


The New York Times publically castigates a reporter for saying that the war in Iraq is winnable. The NY Times didn’t react earlier when another reporter on the same show made a personable observation that supported the NY Times party line.

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What does it mean when you share similar tastes?

Hot Air is claiming that CBS News is using the same raw footage as Al Qaeda. Various theories are presented, but the one that rings true to me is that some Iraqi Army guy took the original video and then sold it to both CBS News and Al Qaeda. That still leaves one noting the interesting fact that CBS News and Al Qaeda seem the same sort of video content as good to broadcast.

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How the mighty have fallen

Seriously, this whole ‘conspiracy to out’ [Valerie Plame] thing is soooo disappointing.

I mean, Tony Blair could get his doubter killed so that it looked like suicide. Ditto Vince Foster and Clinton.

But Bush and Cheney can only leak to a reporter who won’t even write a story.

How feckless. No wonder Bush is at 28%.


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30 January 2007

Davos Revisionism

Via Little Green Footballs is a report on how the Davos crew is sanitizing information about the conference and what was said. Sadly for them, the information infrastructure of the West makes that an almost impossible task. It does say something significant that Davos feels the need to try.

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Couldn't you have at least hired an actor?

The Old Media in the West is not the only source of blantat, easily rebutted claims. Michael J. Totten reports on how a couple of Lebanese webloggers busted Michael Aoun peddling a badly photoshopped picture of Christian militia targeting Lebanese soldiers. The hilarious part is that the photoshopped in soldier is from another infamous hoax picture and the soldier is actually a member of the Hizb’allah militia.

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“The reporting is as bad as I've ever seen”

Another long litany of glaring errors and outright delusions about the Libby trial in Old media reporting. It’s not so much that they get it wrong, but these journalists get such easily checked facts wrong.

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28 January 2007

Speaking links to power

A good essay about the apparent policy of the BBC to not link to Little Green Footballs. This policy lead to a credibility hit when Forbes magazine named LGF as one of the top 25 websites. Naturally, the BBC response to a discussion of this in their forums was banned as well. Can’t have just anyone providing information to the masses, can we?

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27 January 2007

It puts those tales of Hollywood "bravery" in proper perspective


That kind of rousing story seems tailor-made for films. So why aren’t they telling it? It’s not just about left and right, blue and red; it really isn’t. You don’t have to like President Bush or support our efforts in Iraq to understand the threat of conspirators plotting to kill your children in the name of jihad.

In all fairness, moviemakers have a legitimately baffling problem with the nature of the war itself. In order to honestly dramatize the simple truth about this existential struggle, you have to depict right-minded Americans — some of whom may be white and male and Christian — hunting down and killing dark-skinned villains of a false and wicked creed. That’s what’s happening, on a good day anyway, so that’s what you’d have to show.

Moviemakers are reluctant to do that because, even though it’s the truth, on screen it might appear bigoted and jingoistic. You can call that political correctness or multiculturalism gone mad — and sure, there’s a lot of that going around. But despite what you might have heard, there are sensible, patriotic people in the movie business too. And even they, I suspect, falter before the prospect of presenting such a scenario.

Yes, let’s call it “political correctness gone made”, because that’s what it is. If such views stop an artist from “speaking truth to power”, then I can’t imagine what else you’d call it. Except maybe cowardice.

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25 January 2007

They all look alike to us

Hot Air has a post with screen captures in which [AP] headlines a story about clashes between Coalition forces and Caliphascists as “U.S., Iraqi troops clash in Baghdad”. AP later changed the headline, but you have to wonder at a news organization suffering from so much reality dysfunction that they got that wrong.

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23 January 2007

States vs. Nations

[source, source, source, source]

An interesting picture that compares the GDP of various nations with the GDP of various states. The result is instructive in terms of judging relative economies.

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21 January 2007

Guardian Hearts Mao

Here is a good fisking of a recent article on the glory that was Mao Zedong. As one would expect for The Guardian, almost all of the “facts” in the article turn to not be so. And as long and thorough as the fisking is, it still doesn’t hit every blatantly wrong trope in the article.

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Only Bush is real

Via Right Wing News comes this survey with the following survey question —

Do you personally want the Iraq plan President Bush announced last week to succeed?

 YesNo(Don’t know)
16-17 Jan 0763%2215

Big chunks of the electorate would prefer an American failure to an American success from a President Bush effort. For the Democractic Party, just barely over half actively want a success if the price tag is political success for Bush. Draw your own conclusions.

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20 January 2007

That wonderful Arab hospitality in action

[source, source]

[T]he Shia militias are stepping up their campaign to drive out Iraq’s 20,000 remaining Palestinians – half the estimated 40,000 living in the country at the start of the war, all of whom were welcomed by Saddam Hussein and provided with housing, money and free education… Sheik Mahmoud El Hassani, a spokesman for the Mehdi Army, said the Palestinians had brought their suffering on themselves. He said Shias believed they were in league with Sunni extremists and al-Qaeda. “We are sure that all the Palestinians in Iraq are involved in killing the Shia people and they have to pay the price now,? he said. “They lived off our blood under Saddam. We were hungry with no food and they were comfortable with full bellies. They should leave now, or they will have to pay.? Kareem Zakia, 61, said his son, Yeha Ahmed, was kidnapped and killed in the Karada area of Baghdad two weeks ago. “The kidnappers called me and told me that they had taken my son because he came from Palestine and all the Palestinians support the Sunni terrorists. I found my son’s body the next day with many holes in his belly made by a drill.? He ordered his two other sons to leave with his wife and two daughters, but neighbouring Jordan refused to allow them to cross the border – as it has with many Palestinians trying to flee Iraq.

The really sad part is that the Palestinians, as a culture, will learn nothing from this experience, as they’ve learned nothing from any previous disaster (such as their being cleansed from Kuwait for basically the same reason).

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19 January 2007

Publically unmasking Carter

The Legacy of former President Jimmy Carter. It looks like Carter’s post-Presidential history of aid and comfort to the worst dregs of humanity are finally too much and people are openly writing about what he’s really like.

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Having put in the hook, B16 yanks the line

[source, source]

Vatican City, 19 Jan. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called on Turkey to give the Catholic Church legal status as a recognised religious institution. The pope made the remark during a meeting with Turkey’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Moammer Dogan Akdur. “In enjoying the freedom of religion which the Turkish constitution grants to all believers, the Catholic Church hopes it can benefit from a recognised judicial statute,” Benedict said.

Benedict told Akdur that he hoped all religions would strive for peace “beginning by denouncing violence which too often in the past has been motivated on religious grounds.”

It looks to me like Pope Benedict XVI has a plan to “force the contradiction” with regard to Christianity and Islam. You give a little now so that you can set up a more defensible line. Should the Turkish government refuse, it gives B16 a hammer to use in any future confrontation.

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18 January 2007

That was then, this is now files


Despite having taken over Congress, Democrats may find it difficult to obstruct President Bush’s plans for Iraq. One reason, as the New York Times notes:

While Democrats control both houses of Congress, their margin in the Senate is so slender that Republican supporters there can fight back, using their chamber’s arcane rules to frustrate Democrats on other issues.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, hinted in morning television appearances that any legislation expressing disapproval of the president’s plan might be blocked by a filibuster, the stalling move that requires 60 votes to overcome, well short of Democratic strength.

OK, how about a little flashback—to a May 24, 2005 Times article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg:

In the end, it was the language of the Constitution itself and two old bulls of the Senate—Robert C. Byrd and John W. Warner—that averted a grim showdown over federal judicial nominees that had threatened to wreak lasting damage on Capitol Hill.

The sticking points were always the same, [Sen. Ben] Nelson said. Democrats wanted assurances that they would not lose the right to filibuster judges, particularly a Supreme Court nominee, and that Republicans would not invoke the nuclear option. Republicans wanted assurances that they were not giving up the right to the nuclear option, and that Democrats would use the filibuster only rarely.

Mr. Warner said Mr. Byrd, who is the longest-serving senator, opened every meeting with a reminder: “Country, institution, and next, us.”

Less than two years ago, preserving the filibuster was a high-minded matter of serving “country” and “institution.” Now the filibuster is an “arcane” “stalling move.”

It’s not about bias, it’s about objectively slanting the story based on which political party is in charge.

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17 January 2007

Kind to be cruel

Now there’s a plan

Well, if Bush pardons Libby, he should also pardon Joe Wilson at the same time.

Just have a pardon order drawn up on Wilson and state on it that his crimes are still classified and thus cannot be revealed to the public, but its really really, frogmarch bad.

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16 January 2007

Now we see the oppression of the occupation

[source, source]

The town of Az Zubayr is unique in Iraq in that its 60,000 Sunni residents live in harmony with the 460,000 Shias. People from the two Islamic branches live next door to each other, a state of affairs unthinkable in Baghdad. “The decision to withdraw is wrong and the British have the responsibility to protect us,? said Sheik Abdul Kareem Al Dusari. “The situation in Az Zubayr is good now because the rogue militias are asleep but if the British leave they will awaken.?…

“I request the British people and commanders to keep British forces working in Az Zubayr until the Iraqi security forces have the authority to run affairs,? he said. “If I inform the Sunni people of Az Zubayr that the British are leaving they will leave too.?…

The sheik’s pleas were even echoed by the rival Shia-backed Tharallah party. Salan Maki Mohana, the party leader in Az Zubayr, said it would be “very dangerous? for the British to leave.

“Lots of people will take advantage of the bad security,? he said…

“If the British leave this area there is no security because security depends absolutely on them,? said Moslem Hussayn, the local council leader.

“I am the democratically elected chairman of the town council and I call on the British government to keep her forces working in Az Zubayr. We need them here until the Iraqi security forces are fully qualified for at least two years.?

Maybe what the Anglosphere should do is stay where asked, and leave elsewhere. The difference in results might be enough to inform the locals where their true interests lie. Or we would at least discover that they have a very different set of priorities.

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11 January 2007

Labor theory of war

[source, source]

“The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict,” President Bush said last night. “It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.” Markos “Kos” Moulitsas begs to differ:

I can’t take anyone bellowing crap like “decisive ideological struggle of our time” seriously when they refuse to call for the sort of national sacrifice that a real “decisive ideological struggle of our time” would demand.

If Bush and his pals truly believe the fate of Western civilization hangs in the balance, they should show they mean it. Mobilize the country. Call for a draft. . . .

And yeah, of course they won’t go anywhere near a draft. They don’t believe in their war that much, enough to kill them electorally for a generation. But if the struggle is so dire and dark, why not do something as tame as repeal their precious tax cuts for the wealthy?

It’s a common trope on the left: the measure of your devotion to a cause is the extent to which you are willing to expand governmental power in the name of fulfilling it. The question of whether a draft or tax increases would, as a practical matter, benefit the cause is treated as irrelevant; what’s important is the symbolism of the grand gesture. It is analogous to evaluating a man’s devotion to his wife or girlfriend solely by how much money he spends on her.

Logo-Realism in action, valuing symbolism over results. It’s exactly the same impulse that judges the charity of society by how much is spent on welfare programs, not what condition the poor are in. See The End of Equality for a good treatment of the subject.

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When you can't keep your shame private anymore

[source, source]

ATLANTA — Fourteen members of an advisory board at the Carter Center resigned today, concluding they could “no longer in good conscience continue to serve? following publication of former President Jimmy Carter’s controversial book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.?

“It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy,? the board members wrote in a letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support. Therefore it is with sadness and regret that we hereby tender our resignation from the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center effective immediately.?

These kind of stories are a bit depressing, because you realize that no amount of feedback, even as strong as this, will have any impact on The Worst President Ever.

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On the other side

Cindy Sheehan and company visit Cuba to protest the Guantanamo prison camp for Caliphascists. Naturally, they completely ignore a request from the wive of Cuban dissidents to visit their prison.

The leader of Ms. Sheehan’s trip, Medea Benjamin, said the American activists had not seen the letter [from the dissidents’ wives] and that they would be focusing solely on Guantanamo.

“It just so happens that this is where the [Guantanamo] prisoners are,? Ms. Benjamin said. That the group is visiting Cuba, where prisons define daily life for many, is “very incidental,? she added […]

So Sheehan et. al. is openly not about civil rights, but only civil rights for enemies of the USA.

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08 January 2007

The newest in Zionist aggression


Just two days after winning the Tiberias Marathon and speaking about how “people should live together in harmony,” Kenyan-born runner Mushir Salem Jawher was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship Saturday for competing in Israel. . . .

Bahrain’s Athletic Union said in a statement Saturday that it had received the news that a Bahraini national competed in Israel with “shock and regret.”

“The union deeply regrets what the athlete has done,” the statement said. A committee of sport and government authorities decided to strike Jawher’s name off the sport union records and strip him of his Bahraini nationality, the statement said.

It said Jawher had entered Israel with his Kenyan passport and added that the runner’s Bahraini citizenship was revoked because he had “violated the laws of Bahrain.” . . .

Jawher was born in Kenya in 1978 and moved to Bahrain in 2003, according to the International Association of Athletics Federation.

How clever and dastardly those Zionists are, letting this poor guy freely compete in Israel, thereby forcing Bahrain to disown him! How can peace be achieved while Israel commits this sort of naked aggression against nations that are just trying to get along, like Bahrain?

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05 January 2007

Making a bad feeling worse


US Representative Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is under federal investigation. He will now also be the chairman of the committee that controls the FBI’s budget. House Speaker Pelosi doesn’t see a problem because “I think the Justice Department is looking into every member of Congress”. Oh yeah, I feel much better about Congress now.

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A truly sad day for the Anglosphere


The Queen’s Navee ain’t gonna be what it uster be:

Royal Navy commanders were in uproar yesterday after it was revealed that almost half of the Fleet’s 44 warships are to be mothballed as part of a Ministry of Defence cost-cutting measure…

The Government has admitted that 13 unnamed warships are in a state of reduced readiness, putting them around 18 months away from active service. Today The Daily Telegraph can name a further six destroyers and frigates that are being proposed for cuts…

The six warships to be mothballed are the Type 22 frigates Cumberland, Chatham, Cornwall and Campbeltown and two Type 42 destroyers Southampton and Exeter.

It is likely that they will eventually be sold or scrapped. There are also fears in the Admiralty that two new aircraft carriers, promised in 1998, might never be built.

Merde alors!

Meanwhile the French navy, which will be far superior to the Royal Navy after the cuts, will announce before the April presidential elections that a new carrier will be built.

Given that the NHS is also running out of money one is left wondering where exactly contents of the British Treasury are going.

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04 January 2007

They're speaking but we're not listening

[source, source, source]

Take, for example, the 1786 meeting in London of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. As American ambassadors to France and Britain respectively, Jefferson and Adams met with Ambassador Adja to negotiate a peace treaty and protect the United States from the threat of Barbary piracy.

These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, “that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.?

Sound familiar?

The candor of that Tripolitan ambassador is admirable in its way, but it certainly foreshadows the equally forthright declarations of, say, the Shiite Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1980s and the Sunni Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, not to mention the many pronouncements of their various minions, admirers, and followers. Note that America’s Barbary experience took place well before colonialism entered the lands of Islam, before there were any oil interests dragging the U.S. into the fray, and long before the founding of the state of Israel.

Is it not fascinating that the Big Lie is so readily belived but the Big Truth almost never is? Perhaps this is one thing President Bush learned from Islam.

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03 January 2007

Dancing with them that brought you

[source, source]

Iraq war protesters [including Cindy Sheehan] broke up a press conference by House Democrats on Wednesday with chants to bring American troops home from Iraq.

Chanting “de-escalate, investigate, troops home now,? the protesters disrupted a briefing aimed at outlining priority goals when Democrats take over the House and Senate on Thursday.

Welcome to Congress, gentlemen.

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I don't think that's quite right

The best of the Tim Blair Mangled Quote thread

A husband works from sun to sun, but a woman’s mouth is never shut.

- anonymous, presumed dead

Check it, a playa with benjamins needs a ho. Know what I’m sayin’?

- Jane Austen

I love the smell of bacon and eggs in the morning. More coffee, Colonel Kurtz?

- Lt. Col Bill Kilgore

Give me ten Divisions of Australians, and I will give you the world’s biggest pub brawl.

- E. Rommel

Don’t cap their asses until they’re up in your grill.

- William Prescott

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LA Times year in review

Patterico’s annual review of the LA Times. Once again, a classic example of what’s wrong with Old Media today (although, admittedly, the LA Times is a standout even in that area).

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Why wait till the actual failure?

[source, source]

Even as Democrats filtered back to Capitol Hill on Tuesday in anticipation of the opening of the 110th Congress on Thursday, there was a bit of confusion about just when the 100 hours would officially begin. Would it be as soon as the new Congress was sworn in and began voting on internal rules changes? Or when the House takes up its first actual legislation next Tuesday?

And since it is 100 hours of strictly legislative activity, the clock would be on pause when House members give their customary one-minute speeches at the start of each day and during the “special orders? at night when members reserve floor time to carry on about their favorite issues for the C-Span audience.

And next Monday is out since the House, despite Democratic pledges of a disciplined five-day work schedule, will not be in session.

Already the excuses begin. I certainly don’t remember this kind of guard house lawyering for any Republican controlled Congress.

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It doesn't matter what he said, but only what we think you should think he said


Jim A. Kuypers, assistant professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, reveals a disturbing world of media bias in his new book Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2006).

Convincingly and without resorting to partisan politics, Kuypers strongly illustrates in eight chapters “how the press failed America in its coverage on the War on Terror.? In each comparison, Kuypers “detected massive bias on the part of the press.? In fact, Kuypers calls the mainstream news media an “anti-democratic institution? in the conclusion.

“What has essentially happened since 9/11 has been that Bush has repeated the same themes, and framed those themes the same whenever discussing the War on Terror,? said Kuypers, who specializes in political communication and rhetoric. “Immediately following 9/11, the mainstream news media (represented by CBS, ABC, NBC, USA Today, New York Times, and Washington Post) did echo Bush, but within eight weeks it began to intentionally ignore certain information the president was sharing, and instead reframed the president’s themes or intentionally introduced new material to shift the focus.?

This goes beyond reporting alternate points of view. “In short,? Kupyers explained, “if someone were relying only on the mainstream media for information, they would have no idea what the president actually said. It was as if the press were reporting on a different speech.?

I.e., once over the shock of the attacks, Old Media reverted to form.

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02 January 2007

But Bandar likes them!

[source, source]

On a weekend when the Bush administration achieved a new CAIR-friendly low, a prominent Democrat, following the lead of other prominent Democrats, distanced herself very publicly from the unsavory Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The Transportation Security Administration is the executive agency created after 9/11 to protect American travelers. Yet, Americans viewing its website this weekend could not have felt very protected. Aghast, instead, would have been the proper response to this posting. As if snuggling up to CAIR, coercing our law-enforcement and intelligence professionals to endure CAIR’s Islamic “sensitivity training,” and inviting CAIR to weigh in on our nation’s foreign policy were not enough, we now have a Bush-administration agency publishing an unedited CAIR press release on publicly subsidized, official government Internet space.

In this instance, right under TSA’s emblem and a memorial banner depicting the late President Gerald R. Ford, Americans were treated to a news announcement beneath the big blue headline, “CAIR Welcomes TSA Hajj Sensitivity Training.” If you have the stomach for it, compare this TSA posting to the official CAIR press release from which it cribbed. They are identical.

Who could have imagined that five years after the worst terror attack on American soil, Barbara Boxer would show more concern for US safety than George Bush?

I still can’t imagine it, but there it is. Is there anything that the current Republican Party leadership isn’t willing to untriangulate for their political opponents?

Posted by orbital at 4:19 PM