31 July 2007

The Root of All Judgement

Wall Street’s self appointed watchdog gets caught using state resources for a private vendetta:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s aides, including one of his closest advisers, improperly used the State Police to gather information about the governor’s chief rival, Joseph L. Bruno, the State Senate majority leader, in an effort to plant a negative story about Mr. Bruno and damage him politically, according to a report on Monday by the attorney general’s office. Spitzer denies any knowledge of what his closes aide was doing, which seems improbable.

But hang on. Even he didn’t know, isn’t this the same guy who wants corporate executives held criminally liable for the mistakes of their underlings, even if they had no knowledge of those mistakes? Isn’t this the guy who wanted to make not knowing about those mistakes a crime in and of itself?

And if anything, shouldn’t someone who holds high political office ought to be more accountable than the executive of a private company?

Radley Balko

And Spitzer is fully accountable — to Spitzer. That’s the consistent principle, that Elliot Spitzer is the ultimate arbiter of what is appropriate.

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Redistribution at home, indifference abroad

Liberals used to be the ones who argued that sending U.S. troops abroad was a small price to pay to stop genocide; now they argue that genocide is a small price to pay to bring U.S. troops home.

Jonah Goldberg

It’s a narrowing of world view, brought on by the abject failure in the real world of the basic political platform of modern liberalism.

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30 July 2007

Tales froma Disunited Kingdom

As part of a new scheme to increase a sense of Britishness, Gordon Brown said he wanted the national flag flown year round on Government buildings, and eventually on police stations and hospitals across the UK. […]

Justice Secretary Jack Straw assured First Minister Alex Salmond that the new policy would not apply north of the border when he visited Scotland earlier this month, an SNP spokesman said.

He added: “Jack Straw agreed there are different considerations in Scotland than there are in England.

The meta-amusing part is that one doesn’t need to comment for readers to understand why this is so funny, yet the politicians implementing are completely oblivious. They’re like poorly built artificial intelligences, saying things that can sound intelligent but lack any larger coherence or connection to reality.

[source, source]

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29 July 2007

Completely non-historical

The [MI6] report criticises the Bush administration’s approval of practices which would be illegal if carried out by British agents. It shows that in 1998, the year Bin Laden was indicted in the US, Britain insisted that the policy of treating prisoners humanely should include him. But the CIA never gave the assurances.

A two-fer! Bush wasn’t President in 1998, but MI6 doesn’t seem to have a long enough memory to know that. Second, what a bunch of weenies that were more concerned about Bin Laden being safe than his potential victims.

[source, source]

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28 July 2007

Who are the citizens to know their government?

The BATFE has filed a legal complaint which, as a basis, claims that ordinary citizens cannot photograph or record public officials in public places doing public things while on official duty. Only “authorized journalists” can do that, and the BATFE claims sole jurisdiction to make that determination when BATFE agents are involved. I am just left wondering at the mentality that causes someone to enter public service then do things they know are unpopular with said public. But the BATFE hasn’t been much for logic and coherence for quite a while.

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27 July 2007

It looks good when I do it

The magazine’s [The New Republic] editor, Franklin Foer, disclosed in an interview that Beauchamp is married to a New Republic staffer, and that is “part of the reason why we found him to be a credible writer.?

Perhaps, since this works so well for TNR they should suggest it as a hiring strategy for city governments.

[source]

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Semiotic selling

Mother of Storms […] is an ecological disaster novel about sudden global warming […] For all those strange people who are not into meteorology, let me add that it contains a great deal of sex and violence.

John Barnes, author, semiotician

Sometimes you have to play to the fringe as well.

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26 July 2007

No, really, these are new concepts to our journalists

BBC bosses have been accused of wasting licence-fee money on teaching their staff not to lie.

[…]

Two of the corporation’s top executives appeared before a Commons committee investigating the affair.

[…]

Tory MP Philip Davies asked: “Is funding a training programme to tell your staff not to lie and cheat viewers a good use of licence-fee payers’ money? Perhaps you need to look at your recruitment process if you have to train them on such fundamentals as not lying or cheating?”

Now there is a good question.

But Mr Byford insisted the training programme, called Safeguarding Trust, was a good idea.

And a very telling response.

[source, source]

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23 July 2007

Useful tools

There are times when I am tempted to think that the Western Left is radical Islam’s Ring of Power. And the brilliance of al-Qaeda’s reliance on it as a force-multiplier is that the defeat of radical Islam must consequently come at the price of altering the structure of post-war Western politics itself. In a sense the Western Left has become a hostage to the current world crisis, and perhaps the only part of the Left that understands this are the signatories of the Euston Manifesto, who realized that al-Qaeda had already claimed its political soul: that unconciously, almost imperceptibly, the Left in uncritical embrace of any foe of America had come to align itself with the most brutal, obscurantist, repressive theocrats on the planet. And would conceivably share its fate with them.

But al-Qaeda’s allies can only control events up to a point. Elemental forces are ranged against it. Chief among which is the sheer, simple brutality of countries like Putin’s Russia and China. If a snapping point is reached, even the Left may not forever restrain the West. The end point of debasing the coin of information is absolute bankruptcy.

Wretchard

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22 July 2007

Don't ask, don't tell, British style

A police force withdrew plans for a televised appeal to help catch an Afghan suspected of sexually assaulting women after a race watchdog warned that it might spark a violent backlash. Detectives were due to appear on an episode of ITV’s Manhunt to ask for help finding Noorullah Seddiqi, 34.

The Afghan had absconded from bail after being arrested in connection with the rape of one woman and the sexual assault of three others.

[…]

But the Chief Constable of the Devon and Cornwall force, Stephen Otter, told officers not to go ahead with the programme after the Devon Racial Equality Council, funded by and affiliated to the Commission for Racial Equality, said the appeal could lead to a racist backlash.

One wonders if the police will be permitted to make an arrest, which might also lead to a “racist backlash”. Perhaps they’ll have to quietly disappear the accused, just to be safe.

[source, source]

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21 July 2007

And now, your moment of reality

[source, source]

Diane Sawyer: “You know, I wanted to sit on a jury once and I was taken off the jury. And the judge said to me, ‘Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?’ And I said, ‘That’s what journalists do.’ And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I’ve ever had.”

Perhaps Sawyer should get someone to look in to why a collection of random citizens would react that way. I wonder if she knows anyone who has any experience in finding out what’s really going on.

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If you can't ask something mean, don't attend at all

The latest (via Hot Air) in the blatant partisan ship of Old Media — reporters are “uneasy” about attending a non-partisan, symbolic, baby kissing event with President Bush if they can’t be overtly hostile.

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And they mocked Bush about cash register scanners

phony as a two dollar bill

Jim Manley, spokeman for Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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17 July 2007

If it bleeds on Bush, it leads

Confederate Yankee reports on the tale of two massacres in Iraq. One obviously fake and reported as real, the other well documented and ignored.

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Emerging paradise

[source]

Just when you think you’ve heard it all about Detroit, the last major supermarket chain pulls out altogether, leaving nothing but mom-and-pop stores within the city limits. In the absence of Wal-Mart and other evil, community-destroying superstores, it should be paradise, right? Right?

How could it be otherwise? But the cited article points out one little inconvenient thing —

The lack of major grocery stores has long been a quality-of-life problem in Detroit and one reason some families don’t want to live in the city. Now, however, the situation is getting worse as the last two Farmer Jack stores in the city prepare to close by Saturday.

Lack of chain stores a negative for quality of life? How can that be, when Wal-Mart is pure evil?

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05 July 2007

Making citizens in to mushrooms

The new European Union treaty will mean “transfers of sovereignty” from Britain and Gordon Brown is right to hide the fact from the public, an EU leader admitted yesterday.

[…]

“I am astonished at those who are afraid of the people: one can always explain that what is in the interest of Europe is in the interests of our countries,” he told Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

“Britain is different. Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

Not if your interest is political victory instead of good governance. I am mordantly amused by his own implied estimate of his intelligence, blurting this out in a public interview.

[source]

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For real dictator, they roll over

[source]

The Venezuelan government has been busy lately. They’ve been stocking up on arms; cracking down on democracy; and now the latest, pressuring the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to cancel a “newsmaker” event on press freedom organized by Venezuelan students.

The Club claims the event was “postponed” because it had more than one speaker, violating the spirit of the event. But, as the source points out

  • The Club admits being contacted by the Venezulean government just before canceling.
  • This wouldn’t have been the first time multiple speakers were allowed.
  • It was canceled the day before the event. If the number of speakers were the issue, wouldn’t that have been noticed a wee bit earlier in the process?

Old Media, always happy to suppress dissent for real dictators.

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01 July 2007

UNneedful

[source, source]

There is a rutted track that passes a nearly empty dam where a truck has broken down and been left to its own fate.

Sheds and barns for curing tobacco are deserted. Gates hang open and there is scant fencing. A fallen tree lies across the track. The only sign of activity is a flock of sheep owned by a neighbouring white farmer who leases the unused grazing.

This is the farm of Francis Nhema, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment, who became chairman of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development last month. He occupied Nyamanda farm, just south of the small town of Karoi in northern Zimbabwe in 2003, a year after its owner, Chris Shepherd, and his family were driven out by lawless ruling party militias.

On its 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres), Mr Shepherd had planted 80 hectares of high-grade tobacco and 200 hectares of maize. Cattle grazed on 300 hectares.

Last year Mr Nhema managed three hectares of tobacco and ten hectares of maize.

“This year there is nothing,? said a former farm security guard, who asked to remain anonymous. “There is a small patch of soya beans. The rest is weeds. The whole 1,000 hectares are weeds.?

Mr Nhema, who is now the world’s leading international authority on global policies for the prudent management of rural and industrial resources, has never been on the farm for more than a few hours and comes once every few months, said the guard. A relative lived in the house for a while “but he knew nothing about farming?, and it is now empty, he said.

The 4,300 farms seized illegally by President Mugabe since 2000 have followed the same pattern overwhelmingly, and turned one of the most robust and enterprising agricultural industries into a model of neglect.

Welcome to the UN.

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Giving up on the "alpha male" stylings

Al Gore hands down his Seven Commandments. The only difference between these and the work of an earnest 13-year-old girl is the lack of pony drawings.

Tim Blair

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Betrayed by a source

[source]

On June 28, in an historic move the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the expert review comments and responses to its latest assessment of the science of climate change. The IPCC report is the primary source of data for Al Gore’s movie and book titled “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Many of the comments by the reviewers are strongly critical of claims contained in the final report, and they are directly at odds with the so-called “scientific consensus” touted by Gore and others calling for immediate government action. For example, the following comment by Eric Steig appears in Second Order Draft Comments, Chapter 6; section 6-42:

In general, the certainty with which this chapter presents our understanding of abrupt climate change is overstated. There is confusion between hypothesis and evidence throughout the chapter, and a great deal of confusion on the differences between an abrupt “climate change” and possible, hypothetical causes of such climate changes.

[…]

See the IPCC expert comments “here”: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Comments/wg1-commentFrameset.html

Unbiased observers have known from the start that the IPCC was primarily a political document. It’s interesting that even as it tones down the “destroy us all!” rhetoric from previous releases, the actual scientists still think it’s over the top.

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Insourcing enemy propaganda

[source]

June 29, 2007: U.S. troops have been mystified at how differently the war they fight in Iraq is portrayed by the U.S. media back home. Most just shrug it off as “politics,” and yet another reason to not trust what the mass media presents as reliable reporting. But recently, the troops have been passing around an interesting discovery. Namely, that the Japanese psychological warfare effort during World War II included radio broadcasts that could be picked up by American troops. Popular music was played, but the commentary (by one of several English speaking Japanese women) always hammered away on the same points;

  1. Your President (Franklin D Roosevelt) is lying to you.
  2. This war is illegal.
  3. You cannot win the war.

The troops are perplexed and somewhat amused that their own media is now sending out this message. Fighting the enemy in Iraq is simple, compared to figuring out what news editors are thinking back home. A few times, the mass media has been bold, or foolish, enough to confront the troops about this divergence of perceptions. The result is usually a surreal exchange, with the troops giving the journalist a “what planet are YOU from” look. Naturally, this sort of thing doesn’t get much exposure. When pressed, a journalist or editor will dismiss the opinions of the troops (of all ranks), because they are “too close” to see “the big picture.” For the same reason, reporters who send back material agreeing with the troops, find their stuff twisted into an acceptable shape, or not used at all. Historians will have a good time with all this.

And when editorial bias isn’t enough, Old Media is quite willing to just make stuff up.

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