9/07/2002

Diversity or Political Correctness - You Decide

Reader Herbert Bartholomew writes in to note this story from the WashTimes.

The article describes a flier from Arlington County (home of both Mr. Bartholomew and the Empire...funny, I didn't see the flyer anywhere) encouraging residents to display "to display an American flag, and/or flag from your home country" at 9:37 AM on September 11th - the moment that the Pentagon was hit.

Herbert disapproves of this:

I am one Arlingtonian who on September 11th most certainly does not want to see an Iraqi, Iranian or Saudi flag flying in place of American colors.

as do other Arlington residents:

"This is just another example of intolerance towards America," said resident Robert Molleur, a Coast Guard veteran. "America is special in her own right — she deserves nothing more than her own red, white and blue on 9/11. After all, it was America attacked on that day."

I agree.

It should be remembered that although the 9/11 attacks were attacks on America, citizens of other countries died as well. Had the encouragement been to fly the American flag, and in addition, in memory of the victims from other countries, a second flag from a country that was home to one of those foreign victims (or maybe a flag made up of smaller flags, one for each country from which foreign victims came), that wouldn't have been objectionable (or at least, not nearly as objectionable), I think.

But to couch the idea in terms of diversity and "displaying (one's) heritage" isn't appropriate for an event memorializing the September 11th attacks.
Popping Up in the Strangest Places

So I'm looking at the stats for the Empire, and I see that a bunch of folks have visited from Warblogger Watch.

I went over there, and sure enough, they mention this site - objecting to my criticisms of Jimmy Carter and the former Narcissist-in-Chief and their recentl bleatings about why we shouldn't attack Iraq.

The same little note over there cites the Chronicle of Higher Education, asking:

"One Year After September 11, Where Is the Dissent? ... Can we assimilate and understand legitimate criticism? Is there really room in our culture for complex discourse and debate?"

I'd say, sure there is. Let's see some.

Not more bleatings about "we need another round of U.N. inspections of Iraq." And not "the despotic leader of Country X is just as bad as Saddam Hussein, why aren't we going after him instead/too?"

Those aren't terribly strong arguments - I'm not saying people shouldn't say those things if they believe them, just that, in my opinion, they shouldn't be taken seriously.

We had several years of inspections, and they failed. But that's all Jimmy Carter has to offer, and it's just not very insightful, or useful.

And as for Bill Clinton, well, anything he says about foreign policy has to be viewed in light of his failure to do anything about AL Qaeda for eight years, his refusal to take Osama bin Laden when Sudan offered him to us on a plate, and his arm twisting of Ehud Barak to make ever more dangerous and reckless concessions so that Clinton could get a Nobel Peace Prize for presiding over a treaty in the Middle East (no matter how doomed to failure it would be, no matter how many Israeli lives it would cost). So, his credibility on foreign policy is zero. If he'd had anything useful to say, he had eight years to say - and do! - it, and he didn't. Carping about it now is, at best, pointless.

As for dissent in general, the Chronicle piece argues:

What followed from this genuinely horrendous and insane act of homicidal violence has been, unfortunately, a considerable loss of American freedom of one important kind: the freedom of expression. There has always been a small fringe of dissenters within our national borders, but that group has never had an easy time of it. Tocqueville and Thoreau noted our conformist tendencies as a nation, even in times of peace, although we are probably no different from most countries. It's easier to go along with the crowd, to wave the flag, to pledge allegiance to the powers that be.

What exactly is so shocking here? Dissent, by definition, is going to come from a minority, and the majority isn't going to like it. This has been true throughout human history. The author at least has the good grace to note that.

And dissent gets hissed at. Again, this is neither new, nor surprising, nor is it wrong. What is wrong - and what has not happened - is for dssent to be outlawed or otherwise officially punished.

The article says, a little later:

One recalls how Susan Sontag was vilified after, early on, she offered the mildest dissent, in The New Yorker, from the flag-waving. In the mainstream media, there has been a terrifying unanimity of opinion. To be sure, the political fringes have had their spokesmen (Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Edward Said, and so forth), but those voices are rarely heard on CBS, NBC, CNN, or ABC. Even public radio and television seem to steer clear of articulate and unapologetic dissenters.

Villified? So what? She said things that the vast majority of people, apparently, disagreed with and took offense at, and she got criticized. Cry me a river. Free speech is not free from consequences.

It's neither censorship nor stifling of dissent to say that one thinks a dissenter is wrong, or to question their motives or to otherwise attack their speech with speech of one's one. Anything more than that is out of bounds, certainly, and rightly so - and it hasn't happened anyway. Has Sontag (or Chomsky, or Vidal, or Michael Moore, or any other "big name" dissenters) been physically attacked? Fired from a job? Had any official proceeding taken against them? Been "disappeared" or otherwise harassed in any real, physical sense?

We don't much hear them in the mainstream media because they're not in the mainstream. But we do hear them, and the very fact that this conversation is going on is proof in itself that the dissenters are being heard.



Bastards!

Compared to terrorism and war with Iraq and all the other problems of the world, this is awfully small potatoes. But it still sucks:

The Scifi channel has cancelled the best science fiction show on television, Farscape. Word got out during an online chat last night with the show's producer David Kemper and its star Ben Browder.

This comes after the network moved the show around in its time slot and came up with an airing schedule seemingly deliberately designed to make it impossible for fans to follow the show.

Apparently this will save money so that the network can produce more episodes of "Crossing Over with John Edward", and cheesy B-movies starring out-of-work sopa opera actors.

Thanks so much, assholes.

Here's the address for the SciFi channel - I'm writing my letter right now (and, no, neither the word "asshole" nor any other profanity will appear in said letter; that won't help), and if you're a fan of the show, I urge you to do the same.

The Sci-Fi Channel
Attn: Bonnie Hammer, President
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1513

Media Minded

InstaPundit discusses a piece on the site Editor and Publisher titled "Why Do Many Readers Hate Us?"

Glenn also notes a thought from Justin Katz:

the press's enthusiasm for "campaign finance reform" may account for some of this -- he suggests that maybe people just aren't enthusiastic about free speech for the press when the press has shown itself unenthusiastic about free speech for everyone else.

That's a possibility.

There's also the fact that the press claims a status as the watchdog of our democracy - fair enough - but doesn't nearly often enough live up to the responsibilities that go along with that status. To go along with that, many in the press seem to have an attitude that they are somehow "outside" the general citizenry and not subject to the same rules (the unwillingness of some reporters to testify at international war crimes tribunals is a good example of this) as everyone else.

Looking at the actual article in question:

he newest polls about the press are discouraging enough to make even H.L. Mencken weep. The public, which had admired us in the months after Sept. 11, has turned against us again. Nearly half those responding in the most recent Pew Research Center poll seem to think that we "don't stand up for America," and a majority believe we "don't care about the people we report on." Generally, polling numbers have gone back to pre-9/11 levels.

This seems undeserved, given the torrent of money that has been spent by news organizations after 9/11 (despite the advertising drought). And it is in spite of the risks run by scores of reporters to cover a war in Afghanistan that was often more dangerous for journalists than for GIs.


This right here is part of the problem. "Look at how noble and self-sacrificing we are!" Even if that statement is true, which I'd personally doubt, it's not the kind of sentiment that will endear the general populace to the media.

The public loved us most in November, when flags rippled on the corners of TV screens and from on-camera lapels. Journalists were asking few tough questions regarding civilian bombing casualties and civil liberties, and the American military was rolling to a stunning victory in Afghanistan. Despite the tragedy of Sept. 11, we had a lot of good news to cover, and even pieces on the tragic aspects of the story seemed to forge a common sense of outrage and purpose. The more thorny elements tended to be put aside until a later day.

This spring and summer, that day came. The triumphant story ran its course, and the what-really-happened story began to be covered, with disquieting results. We started to get reports that there were significant civilian casualties, and serious questions began to be raised about the wisdom of an invasion of Iraq. Darkening the news atmosphere further were the stories of Enron Corp., Global Crossing, and the betrayal of shareholders. The market fell. The news from the Middle East had seldom been worse. These past six months have not been a happy time on the news pages.


Of course there were civillian casualties! It's a fucking war!

The problem is that unconfirmed reports of awful things done by our troops were reported on the front page of the WashPost and the NY Times (let's not even talk about the European press). But when the real facts came in, and the awful things either never happened, or weren't nearly as awful as had been reported, or were awful-but-unavoidable, those clarifications either didn't appear at all, or got shoved onto page 29.

So, has the public simply returned to its pre-9/11 attitude when the press returned to its normal adversarial role as the news itself turned bad? When the lapdog turned back into a watchdog?

Why is the press' role automatically adversarial? It's the difference, in my mind, between asking tough questions because that's the best way to keep the government on its toes and doing a good job; and asking tough questions because you want to see public officials squirm because that makes for big headlines and good TV.

The point is that we need the public's support, now more than ever. We need for the public to understand that it is not unpatriotic to want government officials to leak information. That's how we -- and our readers -- find out about what Washington is really up to. We need the public to care about access to documents. We need them to believe we are acting on their behalf when we fight for such things. And we need the public to understand that while journalism is not often perfect, that doesn't mean that it's calculatedly slanted and biased.

No. You need to actually be acting on our behalf.

And the fact is, there is plenty of calculation and bias. When it's open and upfront, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Nation is slanted, but that's part of their mission statement. I think they're wrong about virtually everything, but they are not wrong to look at events from an explicitly political perspective, and to openly and proudly proclaim it.

But when the NY Times or the WashPost claim to be independent and nonpartisan (the Post claims on their masthead to be "An Independent Newspaper", while the Times boasts of reporting "All the News that's Fit to Print"), and then you get someone like Howell Raines running an organized campaign against U.S. foreign policy, that's another matter entirely.

It's especially bad because those two papers are the most respected papers in the country, and what they report is picked up by hundreds of other media outlets. They're far, far from objective, and the readers see that.
Good Points

Josh K. at All About Josh has some good comments on the Tommy Friedman column I complained about the other day, and also about a couple of Tom Boswell WashPost baseball columns (see, politics and baseball all in one post!). Check him out.
Lies, Damned Lies and Buddy Selig

Yeah, another baseball post.

In today's WashPost, there's a brief report on the status of the Montreal Expos (the most likely franchise to be relocated) and the possibility of their moving to the DC area (by ffar the most likely, and attractive, market for a baseball franchise to be relocated to).

The article explains that, although Expos management has requested a decision in 10 days, such a decision is not going to be forthcoming from the office of Lying Buddy Selig. The Expos would like to know where they'll be playing next year, since the threat of their being contracted out of the league was nullified in the recent labor agreement (which prohibits any contraction of teams until after the 2006 season).

They'll be in Montreal. Lying Buddy will find some excuse (RFK Stadium can't be made ready in time, the prospective ownership groups in the DC area have some technicial problems with their bids, whatever) to push the decision past the point at which the Expos could be moved down here for 2003. And come the end of the 2003 season, well, lather-rinse-repeat, until they drag the farce out to 2006 when they can contract the Expos.

The problem baseball has with DC has nothing to do with DC's fitness to support a baseball team. There are two factors:

Vile mass-tort lawyer Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, who whines that a DC team will hurt his revenues. Angelos has been a loyal toady of Lying Buddy and the hard line owners in the labor struggles, and no team in DC is his reward.

The second factor is that, right now, DC is a great threat for any owner in another city who wants to extort a taxpayer-financed new ballpark from his current city. It's by far the best available open city to place a team. Once a team actually goes here, the threat of relocation for any other team is much less, since the next tier of available cities (Charlotte? Las Vegas? Portland?) are not nearly as attractive (purely in an economic/population/media market sense; no slur is intended on any of those cities). It's much less of a threat to move to Portland than to DC.

I hope I'm wrong, and I'd love to be forced to eat my words. Especially if I can eat them along with a hot dog while sitting in a season-ticket seat at a gleaming new ballpark just off the Orange Line Metro, with a beer, while watching the Washington Senators (version 3) compete for the National League East title (any DC area team would have to be a National League team, because of the Orioles. This is also good because I could root for them in good conscience as they wouldn't be a direct competitor for my beloved Yankees).

Unfortunately, I don't see it happening.
Can't They Get a Coherent Message Out?

The White House seems to be changing its tune again.

According to this Post article, the President will call for "a possible new round of U.N. inspections" of Iraq, having been persuaded that working through the U.N. is "advisable."

this, of course, is in direct contradiction of what the Administration has been saying for months now.

Just as the President's pledge to obtain Congressional authorization (which he should) is in contradiction to earlier Administration statements that such was unnecessary.

The article notes, as a sign of the Administration's internal divisions, the withdrawl of an OpEd written by Don Rumsfeld making the case for unilateral action in Iraq - originally scheduled for publication this Sunday in the WashPost.

For Christ's sake, can't these people settle their internal divisions and at least present a unified front to the world? They're supposed to be the competent Administration, the professional Administration - that's what Bush promised in 2000.

I know that it's not always easy, and that some of this may be deliberate posturing or disinformation, but there are times that it looks lihe the Keystone Kops, and that is - or should be, at least - unacceptable.

9/06/2002

Ditto

Jeff Durkin's take on Tom Daschle's obstructionism re: war in Iraq:

Senator Daschle still doesn't think this is enough, saying "I'm not going to categorize the information we were provided. All I would say is that some of our questions were answered but there are a lot more out there that need to be addressed." Questions like 'do I want to drag this out, wait for Hussein to do something that will make Bush look bad and then run for President?'

That's pretty much it, I think.

Jeff also discusses the embarrassing Jimmy Carter OpEd from yesterday:

Carter demonstrated his inability to lead when President. Now he demonstrates his intellectual and moral weakness through his preference for the interests of some mythical global community over that of his own country. This is not a case of valid criticism, since his article is devoid of practical alternatives to the policies he dislikes. Lost in the fog of a vision of a utopian, Leftist world, where we all hold hands and sing cumbya, he makes it clear to all that education, experience and position do not lead to wisdom.

Again, yeah, that's pretty much right on target.
Know Your Enemies

Mark Levin writes on NRO this morning about opponents of removing Saddam Hussein, and the utter bankruptcy - and worse - of their arguments.

Levin singles out lying hypocrite Tom Daschle, failed ex-President Jimmy Carter, and former Narcissist-in-Chief Clinton as high-profile opponents of military action.

Clinton's and Carter's comments were discussed in this space yesterday. Of Carter, Levin says:

Carter's incompetence helped bring the current Iranian theocracy, arguably the worst terrorist regime, to power. For hundreds of days we and the rest of the world watched the spectacle of Americans held hostage and paraded before cameras as propaganda tools. Recent news reports continue to link Iran with numerous terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda. This was Carter's foreign-policy legacy. He's not a wise senior statesman, and he's in no position to lecture Bush.
and of Clinton, he writes:

It's amazing that people are still willing to pay $1,000 a plate to listen to this man. Jimmy Carter looks like a successful foreign-policy president when compared to Bill Clinton. It's too bad Clinton wasn't concerned enough about bin Laden during the eight years of his presidency to use military force in a way intended seriously to eliminate him and his terrorist network...

...There was a time, before Clinton became commander-in-chief, when our military prepared for war on at least two major fronts. Assuming, for argument's sake, that we don't have adequate military resources or preparedness to wage war in Iraq, that's a damning indictment of Clinton's irresponsible military cuts.


And as for Daschle, the most troubling of the three because he's still in a position of power and can actually affect what we do or don't do militarily:

So, the evidence that Saddam Hussein is, in fact, close to developing nukes, that his ability to deliver chemical and biological weapons has become more sophisticated, and that he has ties to al Qaeda — which, under the September 14, 2001 joint congressional resolution authorizes the president to wage war against Iraq — is not compelling enough to Daschle to warrant the use of military force against Iraq. Now he insists that the administration not only seek international support and U.N. concurrence, but that such support actually be secured as a predicate to attacking Iraq.

Of course, back in 1991, the fact that the U.N. had passed a resolution supporting military action against Iraq, and that there was a broad coalition of countries lining up behind the U.S. wasn't enough to persuade Daschle to support a joint congressional resolution...

Daschle has scheduled several weeks of congressional hearings, which would likely delay consideration of a congressional resolution until after the November 5th congressional election. It was only a few days ago that the congressional leadership thought a vote on a resolution would occur prior to that date. Daschle's explanation for this new schedule: "I'm more concerned about getting this done right than getting it done quickly."

Daschle's conditions for supporting military force aren't conditions at all. He's simply opposed to defending the U.S. from the serious threat of Iraqi-related terrorism, even though Hussein has both the ability and motivation to arm al Qaeda terrorists to inflict horrific damage on our country...


Daschle is playing politics with American lives. With my life, and the lives everyone I know, and of everyone reading this site. He's demonstrated during his time as Senate Majority Leader that he doesn't care about keeping his word, or about good government, or about the bipartisnship he claims to champion. That's one thing. But this is life and death, and if this hypocritical, corrupt bastard gets his way, the blood of thousands of American civillians will be on his hands just as surely as it will be on the hands of our enemies whom Daschle wants to give a free hand to.



And Also In The Times

Praise for the Earth Summit on the Editorial Page. Thank you, Gail Collins and Howell Raines. I'm glad you approve of a meeting whose purpose was to bash the developed world, primarily the U.S., to praise mass murderer Robert Mugabe, and to provide a forum for kleptocrats and thugs the world over to beg for money. Oh, and for the Palestinians to criticize Israel.

The United States, which emits 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, joined the OPEC oil cartel (in what one critic called an "axis of oil") to oppose clear and binding targets to increase the use of solar and wind power.

Yes, the U.S. does emit 25% of the world's greenhouse gases. And it has around 30% of the world's gross economic output, so we're actually doing less harm, per capita, than other nations. And binding targets are just an excuse, as Kyoto was, to hobble our economy.

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, said there would be monitoring of goals and annual reports.

Thanks, Kofi. Too bad many nations in the world (and pretty much all the poor and underdeveloped ones) are run by the vilest and most corrupt individuals our species has managed to produce, whose activities are the real cause of most of the problems discussed at the Earth Summit. That's who will be writing the reports, and voting on the goals. Not a situation that holds much promise, really.

But, hey, as long as you can take a couple of shots at the President, no need to connect with, you know, reality or anything, right?

He Said It, So I Don't Have To

Juan Gato perfectly describes today's latest vindictive and whiny hit piece from Paul Krugman of the Times.

It's not worth any more time here to discuss Krugman, really. Every column is the same: Bush is evil, anything related to corporations is bad. It's Molly Ivins with an economics degree and less faux-folksy blather. Blah, blah, blah.

Well, At Least We Have One Ally

Thank you, Tony Blair.

The British Prime Minister said yesterday:

he was prepared for Britain to pay "a blood price" to maintain its special relationship with the United States.

In comments likely to fuel speculation of British involvement in any military action against Iraq, Blair said it was important the Americans knew they could count on Britain for more than expressions of sympathy and support in a crisis.

"They need to know, Are you prepared to commit, are you prepared to be there when the shooting starts?,"


Exactly. That's what an ally does. And we're seeing who our allies are, and who they aren't.

9/05/2002

They Cheered For Him at the Earth Summit

Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was cheered at the Earth Summit in J'Burg by the delegates.

This is what they're cheering for:

The ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe is carrying out a policy of selective starvation against its political enemies. The denial of food to opposition strongholds has replaced overt violence as the government’s principal tool of repression in Zimbabwe. Mortality and morbidity rates will continue to accelerate if this policy is not reversed....

AIDS deaths are accelerating as a result of poor nutrition due to the denial of food to certain areas.

Repression is increasing ahead of district elections to be held in late September.

The distribution of food aid has already been politicised, but the commercial food sector is also increasingly monopolised and corrupted by ZANU-PF.

The Zimbabwean government’s strategy of using of food as a political weapon is working. People are beginning to die as a result of their perceived support of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change...


This is why it's a good thing that we didn't send a high level delegation; and why it's not worth taking these riduculous conferences seriously. While some of the delegates and groups there are well-intentioned, ultimately these events are simply platforms for the most odious criminals on the planet to appear respectable, to justify their vile actions, and to stir up envy and hatred of the West, especially the United States. That's what the U.N. and its attendant agencies has come to.

Whatever faults the current President has, and there are many, at least he knows enough not to kowtow to the madness that pervades the U.N.
Would You Just SHUT UP Already?

Former Narcissist-in-Chief Bill Clinton is still running his useless mouth off.

Today, during a Democratic fundraiser in California, Clinton said:

"Saddam Hussein didn't kill 3,100 people on Sept. 11,Osama bin Laden did, and as far as we know he's still alive."

Actually, Bill, we don't know one way or the other. So holding off on other important foreign policy objectives until we "get" someone who might well already have been gotten, is madness.

Of course, if Clinton had bothered to get Osama when the terorist was offered to us on a plate by Sudan, we wouldn't be worrying about it now. But Clinton had more important things on his mind, like soliciting sex from interns, and so Osama was allowed to get away.

Thanks so much, Bill. Your credibility on national security issues is just about zero, so just shut the hell up already.

The Republicans Roll Over

The President rolled over today, standing by silently as Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committeekilled the nomination of Judge Priscilla Owen.

It was a 10-9 party line vote. The Democrats also denied Judge Owen a vote before the full Senate, where a few Democrats had said they would vote for Owen, which would ensure her confirmation.

To the White House: what the hell are you doing? We all know there's a war on, but wasn't there anyone in the Administration who could spend some effort on this one? Couldn't they find a few minutes for President Monkey Boy to speak out for one of his nominees.

To the Republicans on the Committee, and in the Senate generally: let this be the last straw. The Dems have demonstrated that they have no principles (remember their anguished howls when a Republican Senate denied Clinton nominees? Remember how Dems said that was no way to run the Senate, and tried to claim a moral high ground? Well, that was all bullshit). They've demonstrated that bipartisanship is a fantasy. They've demonstrated that they cannot be reasoned with or compromised with.

And to the Demcrats on the Judiciary Committee: you are swine, one and all. You are liars. You are hypocrites. You are unworthy of the office that the American people elected to you. And you can all go to hell.

I'm thoroughly disgusted by this. It's an embarrassment and a disgrace.
Go Back to the Peanut Farm!

Failed ex-President Jimmy Carter bleats in today's WashPost about current U.S. foreign policy. Let's take a look at his words:

Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life. We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as "enemy combatants," incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel.

I don't approve of the detention of Jose Padilla, but let's be honest here. There are exactly two American citizens being held as enemy combatants. One of whom has lived in Saudi Arabia since the age of three and who was captured in Afghanistan while fighting against us, which pretty much by definition makes him an enemy combatant.

And while it's unfortuate that we ignore human rights in some of our "allies" (like Saudi Arabia, etc), this is not new. We've done this throughout the cold war, and before. It's not a "new face of America" or a policy unique to the Bush administration. Besides, Mr. Carter, you've done PR work for people like Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro, so you're the last person in the world with any standing to talk about ignoring human rights.

We cannot ignore the development of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer. There is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in Iraq.

Because they worked so well before. Why would any sane person believe that after a decade of flagrantly violating every agreement he made, that Saddam will now comply with an inspection regime?

We have thrown down counterproductive gauntlets to the rest of the world, disavowing U.S. commitments to laboriously negotiated international accords.

Peremptory rejections of nuclear arms agreements, the biological weapons convention, environmental protection, anti-torture proposals, and punishment of war criminals have sometimes been combined with economic threats against those who might disagree with us. These unilateral acts and assertions increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations needed to join in combating terrorism.


Um...we did consult the Russians before withdrawing from the ABM treaty, and they haven't made a fuss. Nobody else has any standing to talk about that treaty; it doesn't apply to anyone escept us and the Russians in any event.

Kyoto, one more time, was explicitly written to harm the U.S. economy with little if any regard to actual environmental effects. European ministers involved in writing the treaty have said as much.

And the ICC...well, Jimmy Carter may not give a damn about American sovreignity, but it is no sin for the current administration to care about it.

Tragically, our government is abandoning any sponsorship of substantive negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Our apparent policy is to support almost every Israeli action in the occupied territories and to condemn and isolate the Palestinians as blanket targets of our war on terrorism, while Israeli settlements expand and Palestinian enclaves shrink.

That's because Israel is our friend, ally, and a democratic nation, while the Palestinians despise us, are led by dictatorial, criminal thugs, and are engaged in a barbaric campaign of terror that has killed Americans as well as Israelis.

There's more, but you get the idea. There's a reason Carter was a failed President, and this piece makes that very clear.
Partners for Peace, Part 23

The peace-loving and tolerant Palestinians demonstrated their goodwill again yesterday, by trying to smuggle a 1,300 pound car bomb in to northern Israel, where it would have been detonated during the upcoming Jewish religious holidays.

Remember how we were told to stop our campaign in Afghanistan during Ramadan, to show respect for Islam? Funny how that doesn't work both ways. But of course, the Palestinians and their allies throughout the Arab world want all the Jews dead, so this latest act of barbarism - fortunately stopped by Israeli forces - should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.

9/04/2002

Amen to That

Blogger Josh Chafetz speaks with great wisdon on the Israel/Palestinian situation:

Whatever Israel's flaws, it is a liberal democracy, one that tolerates its minority population better than most countries on earth, and certainly better than every other country in the region. Like the US, like the European democracies, it is a country that sometimes does bad things, but it is also a country in which those bad things are publicly debated and criticized, a country in which the people are actively outraged by the persecution of minorities, a country in which the leaders ultimately must answer to those people. It is -- and this fact must be endlessly repeated, because it is so unusual, so shocking -- a country with Arab members of its Parliament. Much of the Palestinian population, on the other hand, has simply gone off the deep end. It has become a culture that celebrates death -- a culture in which young people are encouraged to grow up to be suicide bombers, a culture in which people celebrated in the streets on September 11, 2001.

It is a shame and an embarrassment that we do have to keep repeating this, that it isn't self evident and obvious to even the dullest members of our society, or of the European elites.
Another Blog to Read

Check out the latest entry in my permanant links: MediaWhoresOnline Watch.

They've taken upon themselves the task of fact checking the rabidly leftist site Media Whores Online, which has become the latest darling of lefty bloggers like the dishonest and hateful Eric Alterman. It's a job that's both easy, in the sense that countering the foaming-at-the-mouth rhetoric of MWO really isn't much of a chore, and difficult, in that there's just so many lies and distortions posted there every day.
Black Enough For you?

PostWatch already blogged about this article this morning, but in reading his comments, I noticed something else that bugged me which I missed in my first reading of the article in question.

The article is today's column in the Metro section of the WashPost by Courtland Milloy.

Milloy is responding to a piece last week from former NAACP President Julian Bond, who wrote to complain about the appalling and insulting idea that some candidates are "black enough" and some aren't.

Milloy disagrees:

Now, I may have some unhealthy insecurities as to whether Mayor Williams is black enough, but they are not based so much on how he talks as what he says. To be black enough simply means being able to connect with black people, to speak to their needs, hopes and fears -- especially when other, more powerful constituencies are competing for attention.

This implies that the needs, hopes and fears of blacks are somehow different than those of anybody else. Do black people not want good jobs, safe streets and quality schools for their kids, just like whites, hispanics, asians and everyone else?

This also strays uncomfortably into "Bill Clinton was our first black President" territory, where "feeling pain" is more important than competent, honest government. More on that in a minute.

But Williams can't do that, not because he doesn't have the heart (I actually believe that he has a big heart) but because he has no ear; he is tone deaf to suffering, to say nothing of the silent mourning of many blacks over the loss of a unique city that had once been so firmly in black hands.

Tone deaf to suffering? That's a new one.

And you'll forgive me if I'm not sure exactly what Milloy's talking about when he says that a "unique city that had once been so firmly in black hands" has been lost. How has it been lost? What the hell is he trying to say?

Municipal governments have long been used to empower specific ethnic groups. But that process for blacks in the District was limited by Congress and other challenges to affirmative action. Under former mayor Marion Barry, only a relatively small group truly benefited.

Now a new day is dawning, and it is not at all clear whether the concerns of ordinary blacks will even be heard, let alone acted on.


Good government is not a concern of ordinary blacks? Less corrupt, less incompetent police are not a concern of ordinary blacks? Better schools are not a concern of ordinary blacks? What exactly are their concerns, then?

At the luncheon, Wilson, who is a long-shot contender for Williams's job in the Democratic primary, criticized the mayor for not doing something about the long lines at some Department of Motor Vehicles stations.

Williams responded by explaining that the long lines were the result of the DMV "screening people who haven't settled their accounts."

In other words, forget the inconvenience. What makes Williams proud is the coldly efficient way that his network of computers goes about snaring residents who owe the city. Anyone with, say, $1,500 in outstanding taxes cannot get a driver's license renewed until the bill is paid.

For the District's new well-to-do, that may be chump change. But for many others, that's more than a month's pay.

The inability to anticipate the pain of such actions, and to come up with more reasonable ways for struggling residents to pay, shows a particular kind of insensitivity. It wouldn't matter whether the politician who reveled in such a moneymaking scheme wore a dashiki; he still wouldn't be black enough.


Gee whiz. Cry me a river. Being "black enough" is about making life easier for scofflaws and tax cheats? If that's not a racist assumption, I don't know what is.

Wilson also characterized the mayor's leadership as "dishonest" and "untrustworthy." Now, most black people I know, when called a liar to their face, would offer a quick retort -- or at least an evil eye.

But Williams reacted the way most Ivy League white men would do in a similar situation: He was oblivious. And when Deputy Editorial Page Editor Colby King, who is black, asked him to explain that nonreaction, the mayor first dismissed Wilson's remarks as unworthy of comment. But then he stared meekly at his plate and began talking about how much tourism had increased and how many people had showed up for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Definitely not black enough.


Ah. Being quick to anger is also a black characteristic. That's good to know. I'm willing to bet that had a white writer said exactly these same things, he'd be vilified as a slandering racist bastard, and folks like Milloy would be leading the charge.

Bond, in his column, used the words "foolish" and "dangerous" to condemn such racial ratings. Nevertheless, I was heartened by Williams's appearance at Bible Way Temple a few Sundays ago, when he told the congregation, "I feel like God is saying to me, 'Tony . . . it's about time you started going back into the community . . . and reconnect with your people.' "

Apparently, God knows this is not just about bow ties and tennis.


Apparently, God thinks being a "black enough" politican is about meaningless, pandering gestures rather than actually doing a copmetent job and trying to make life better for the people you govern. Which would make God as much of a fool as Milloy clearly is.






Tommy, Tommy, Tommy

Unlike his companions on the Times editorial pages, Tommy Friedman at least occasionally makes sense. He does produce a lot of drivel, too, but there is some sense mixed in. Today's column is a perfect example:

Who's responsible for terrorism?

while most people in the world are good and decent, there are evil people out there who are not poor, not abused — but envious. These extremists have been raised in societies that have failed to prepare them for modernity, and the most evil among them chose on Sept. 11 to lash out at the symbol of modernity — America. As the Egyptian playwright Ali Salem put it in Time magazine, "Beneath their claims . . . these extremists are pathologically jealous. They feel like dwarfs, which is why they search for towers and all those who tower mightily." Their grievance is rooted in psychology, not politics; their goal is to destroy America, not reform it; they can only be defeated, not negotiated with.

OK, I'm with that so far. But later on, he says:

Why do so many foreigners reject the evil perpetrators of 9/11 but still dislike America? It's because, while we have the best system of governance, we are not always at our best in how we act toward the world. Because we want to drive big cars, we support repressive Arab dictators so they will sell us cheap oil. Because our presidents want to get votes, they readily tell the Palestinians how foolishly they are behaving, but they hesitate to tell Israelis how destructive their West Bank settlements are for the future of the Jewish state. Because we want to consume as much energy as we please, we tell the world's people they have to be with us in the war on terrorism but we don't have to be with them in the struggle against global warming and for a greener planet.

While there are bits of truth here, it's so overly simplified as to be almost useless.

Oil isn't just about "driving big cars". We have an awful lot of electricity generated in oil-fired plants (and that's unlikely to change soon, since wind and solar power are at best limited sources of energy, coal is even worse for the environment than oil, and the words "nuclear power" give Democrats and OpEd columnists the hives). And the chemical industry uses a heck of a lot of oil products, too.

And as for the struggle against global warming, there's a difference between being unwilling to voluntarily wreck our economy to honor a dubious treaty whose main purpose was precisely to harm our economy, while exempting the two largest nations on Earth (India and China) entirely. Funny that Friedman doesn't mention that.

And of course, there's Israel and the evil settlements. Maybe our support for Israel over the Palestinians is about more than votes. Maybe it's principle; Israel is a democracy that shares many of our values. The Palestinians are ruled by a criminal dictator who shares none of our values. And, one more time, the goddamn land that the settlements are now on never belonged to the Palestinians in the first place! It was Jordanian land, lost by Jordan when their war of aggression against Israel was defeated by the Israelis. Too bad for them.

Singing the Same Old Tune

Mo Dowd is at it again. She's back to the cutesy comparisons between the current President and his father the former President.

As crazy Al Haig said Sunday on Fox, Bush 43 "has to be careful of the old gang. These are the people that created the problems in the first place by not handling Saddam Hussein correctly. . . . I'm talking about the previous administration and their spokesmen, Jim Baker, Scowcroft, and a very wise daddy who's not talking at all and he shouldn't."

The pathologically blunt General Haig simply spit out what other conservatives imply: Daddy wimped out in Iraq and Junior has to fix it.


I like that. Pathologically blunt. When they dance around and don't say anything, they're evasive. When they say what they actually think, they're pathological. It must be interesting inside Mo's brain. Scary, but interesting.

You might think the United States would have an elevated debate before deciding to launch a major war against another country. But we've simply had a childish game of Chicken, with different factions sneering at one another: "You're a wimp!" "No, you're a wimp!"

Well, if you don't count the Vce President's speeches on the subject, or Don Rumsfeld's, I guess you could say that. It doesn't make it true, of course, but that's never been a particular concern of La Dowd. And Ms. Dowd probably shouldn't ever accuse anyone else of sneering; that's something she's turned into an art form.

The clique of conservative intellectuals pushing the war has labeled Colin Powell and the Bush I crowd wimpy "appeasers."

Maybe because they are?

Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol echo the message of Eliot Cohen, author of "Supreme Command": "As Lord Salisbury said, `If you ask the soldiers, nothing is safe.' To which the politicians must respond, `Neither is inaction.' "

They paint the military brass as wimpy. "Powell did not want to do Bosnia," said a whack-Iraq'er. "The Pentagon was reluctant on Kosovo. On Iraq, Powell and Schwarzkopf dragged their feet on the first war. And the civilians are right this time, too. Iraq has had 11 years to comply with cease-fire arrangements on weapons of mass destruction."


That's all pretty much true. Altohugh it's more complex than that the generals are "wimpy", but in La Dowd's mind, everything is reducible to a cutesy one or two word catchphrase.

The military types snipe back that the loudly squawking hawks — Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle — are war wimps. "All the generals see it the same way," said the retired Marine Corps general Anthony Zinni, a Powell adviser, "and all the others who have never fired a shot and are hot to go to war see it another way."

And Senator Chuck Hagel, a hero in Vietnam, chimed in: "Maybe Mr. Perle would like to be in the first wave of those who go into Baghdad." (Maybe he would.)


Back to the argument that anyone who hasn't been in a war isn't allowed to have an opinion about it. So much for civillian control of the military, I guess.

Giving a new definition of chutzpah, the conservatives pushing for war began taunting W., saying he had gone too far on Iraq to turn back now without being a wimp.

"The failure to take on Saddam after what the president said," Mr. Perle said, "would produce such a collapse of confidence in the president that it would set back the war on terrorism." Or: Nice little administration you have here; pity if something should happen to it.


No. It's just the logical extension of the the concept that words have meaning, and consequences. If we say for months and months that we're going to remove Saddam, and then we don't, we lose credibility in the international arena. If you don't carry through on your word, neither enemies nor friends will believe you, which is a Bad Thing.

The Bushies figured if they went after Saddam, whom they could find, as opposed to the vanished Osama, they would not seem wimpy.

could be because Osama's dead, part of an unidentifiable pile of remains in a collapsed cave somewhere in Afghanistan. In which case, we'll never have definitve proof that he's dead. So what?

But the more the president let Dick Cheney make the case for him, the more he risked being seen as wimpy. He was saved only by the Democrats, silent all summer, too wimpy to take on the White House and carve out their own case on Iraq.

It seems that Mr. Cheney now regards the end of the gulf war as a great historic gaffe and wants to earn his immortality correcting it.


It couldn't possibly be that Cheney honestly believes that it's better for the U.S. (not to mention the rest of the Western world, and the Iraqi people) for Saddam to be removed and more responsible leadership installed in Iraq, could it?

There are a couple more paragraphs of this drivel, but you get the idea. Blah, blah, blah. Bush bad! Cheney evil! Blah, blah, blah.

9/03/2002

Our Friends in Pakistan

Jeff Durkin points out some remarks by our "ally", President Musharraf of Pakistan.

Says Pervy:

"At the moment all the political disputes, all the military action, all the casualties, the suffering are by Muslims around the world...and more unfortunately Muslims happen to be at the receiving end every year. Therefore, another action against a country -- I am not talking of Saddam Hussain as an individual -- against a Muslim country, will certainly have its impact. We are not going along. So, this is not at all true that we go along. We see our national interest and we move accordingly. It is not a question of removing Saddam Hussain. It's a question of attacking a country, attacking another Muslim country."

Of course. Thanks for clarifying things, Mr. President. It's good to know who our friends are, and who they aren't.

Jeff says:

With all due respect, Musharraf can go f*** himself.

Which I agree with, except that I'd just go ahead and say "fuck".
More Horrors From the State Department

Joel Mowbray at NRO reports on the Congressional delegation that visited Saudi Arabia last week. The group, led by Dan Burton of Indiana, went in hopes of obtaining the freedom of American citizens kidnapped and held prisoner by the Saudis and their medieval legal system.

There was some success; 15 Americans were granted exit visas so that they can escape. But the two children of Pat Roush, kidnapped by their Saudi father 17 years ago, will not be coming home, thanks in part to our own State Department.

Mowbray's article details State's interference in the Congressional visit, and its role in keeping two American citizens imprisoned in a country where they are treated as something lower than cattle.

It is obviosuly a disgrace, and an embarrassment to our country, and a slap in the face of Mrs. Roush - which, given that her efforts to free her daughters have made life more difficult for the State Department, is more than likely deliberate.

One more time: heads need to start rolling at State. Career bureaucrats who care more about kowtowing to foreign governments than they do about serving American citizens need to be removed from their positions so they can do no further harm.
Sounds Good

Over at MIddle East Realities, they're championing the idea of putting terrorist murderer Yasser Arafat on trial.

Imagine the outrage in Europe where this monster is still viewed as some kind of a saint. But then imagine the embarrassment of the Robert Fisks of this world once the evidence starts piling up...

It would be a Good Thing. But it's wrong to imagine that the Fisks of the world would feel embarrassment; unlike sane humans, Fisk and his ilk are not capable of that emotion. No matter how wrong they are proved to be, no matter how morally bankrupt their positions are shown to be, they will neither retreat nor show any shame.
Wow

Andrea Harris has something to say to the America-bashers out there .

She's angry at them, and with good reason:

I was going to go on further about the constant harping on America's past "crimes," as if the very fact that the country was settled (over thousands of years, yes, okay, I know) by human beings instead of perfect angels of goodness means that it is fair game now for anyone who wants to take a potshot at it. But you know, I'm tired. These people, whatever they are -- leftists? loons? -- are almost totally irrelevant, but the deference paid to them by the media is life-draining to witness.

Go Andrea!
No, They're Not a Threat

According to U.N. experts, Iraq currently possesses over 600 tons of chemical weapons, including nerve agents Sarin and VX.

That, of course, is in direct violation of the agreements signed by Iraq in 1991, which, as has been noted before, is sufficent justification to remove the current Iraqi government from power.

However, not everyone is convinced. In an OpEd in today's WashPost, William Raspberry says that, speakoing of Iraq's many provocations and misdeeds:

But none of it is recent, and none of it seems to put America in imminent danger. It cannot possibly be the basis for an attack on Baghdad.

Sure it can. And it should.

9/02/2002

Fire Him Now!

Jeff Durkin calls for the head of Colin Powell.

Jeff notes this WashPost article about our Secretary of State, and he comments thusly:

(Powell) has made it clear who's side he is on. He would rather have his poll ratings, invitations to European state dinners and post-Administration book deals - in which he will undoubedly portray himself as the sole voice of reason - than to do his job and help make the world safe for Americans. He seems to forget that his service is not about him and his oversized ego. It is about us, his fellow citizens.

We here in the Empire could not agree more. Colin must go!
I Said I'd Stop Talking About This Topic, But...

Yeah, it's another baseball post.

Allan Barra at Salon discusses the agreement that saved the 2002 baseball season, and he doesn't like it.

As I noted here on Friday, the agreement doesn't actually do anything to "restore competitive balance," as Lying Buddy Selig claims that it will.

Barra notes, correctly:

To say "restoring" competitive balance implies that there was a time when baseball had competitive balance. Now when would that time have been? From early in the 20th century to early in the 1920s when the New York Giants dominated? From early in the 1920s to early in the 1960s when the Yankees dominated? Exactly which era of "competitive balance" are we trying to restore?

Barra also points out something I've mentioned here in the past; that baseball now is every bit as competitive as the other major sports:

Since 1981, five years after free agency had a chance to kick in in baseball, 20 different teams have played in the World Series, while in the supposedly competitively balanced NFL, only 18 different teams have played in the Super Bowl. (The NBA has seen just 15 different teams play in its finals.) Remember, baseball didn't have a World Series in 1994.

Baseball suffers in this comparison with other sports because of a period when the Yankees happened to win a few World Series. (Wasn't it about time for that to happen anyway?) Still, since 1996, when the Yankees won their first World Series in 18 seasons, there have been 7 different teams in the World Series and 8 different teams in the Super Bowl. What exactly is there in the NFL structure that made it necessary to risk the entire baseball season to emulate?


Barra goes on, and it's worth reading if you care at all about baseball and are as disgusted as I am by the lies that Buddy and his owners keep trying to push on the public.
What Case Do We Need to Make, Exactly?

The debate about Iraq goes on and on and on...in the editorial pages, and within the House of Bush.

It seems to me that this entire debate is focussed on the wrong questions. The opposition to attacking Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein keeps saying that the case hasn't been made.

Well, what more do they want?

There are, at a minimum, four perfectly good justifications for going in at any time:

Iraq's noncompliance with the agreements it signed as part of the cease-fire in 1991. Every pledge it has made has been violated, repeatedly. This also gives the lie to those who call for "one more chance" for inspections. How can any rational person believe that Saddam will comply with an inspection regime this time, when he never has before?

Iraq's support of terrorists. Aside from the Prague meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official, there is Iqar's open support of Palestinian terrorists, including paying off the families of bombers who have murdered American citizens.

Iraq's attacks on U.S. and British aircraft in the no-fly zones. That is direct military action against American forces.

Iraq's continued pursuit and development of weapons of mass destruction.

Any of those is ample justification to remove Saddam at any time.

The more impotant questions, unfortunately, the Administration isn't talking about:

What are the plans for a post-Saddam Iraq? Are we prepared to keep a significant number of AMerican troops there for however long those plans will require?

And do we have the forces available now to accomplish our goals of removing Saddam in the first place?

9/01/2002

And They Call Us Ignorant?

It seems that Americans are not the only people with a lack of understanding and appreciation for their history and that of the world around them.

The British are just as bad according to a poll taken by the UK History Channel:

The top of the list of momentous events in British history excluded both World Wars, the collapse of the British Empire and the rise of the Beatles to stardom.

Instead, Britons said the death of Princess Diana — five years ago today — was the most significant event.


Yes, it's only a poll. And yes, recent events will be uppermost in respondent's minds. And yes, the coverage of Diana's death redefined the term "media saturation".

Still. More significant for British history than World War II?

Ack.